Russophobia Goes Viral Again… And Fatally No Cure

Russophobia Goes Viral Again… And Fatally No Cure – The 21st Century
REUTERS Lucas Jackson

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July 31, 2020

This week saw U.S. media reports claiming that Russian military intelligence is spreading disinformation about the coronavirus to sow discord ahead of the November presidential election. Such reports are nothing but more bombast and reprehensible Russophobia as part of a chronic mental condition which seems to have no cure.

Meanwhile, British media reported claims that Russia and China were targeting Germany with interference campaigns in order to undermine the transatlantic alliance. More bombast and reprehensible Russophobia augmented with Sinophobia.

Hardly a week goes by without some such lurid Western media “report” of malign Russian or Chinese plot to subvert Western democracy. Suitably, in this time of global pandemic, the political phobia seems to be going viral.

It can be reasonably posited that as certain nations undergo severe political and economic disruption from the coronavirus pandemic, there is a tendency to find a scapegoat as a means to “explain” the crisis. The United States and Britain stand out as the globe’s worst casualties from the pandemic. President Donald Trump in particular has seen his much-vaunted “economic success” turn to dust. Out of trauma to his ego, Trump has taken to blaming China for “the plague”. Trump’s cheap-shot politicization also resonates with a deeper political agenda to create a Cold War with China.

The pandemic has also exacerbated an explosion in popular protests across the U.S. over systemic police brutality and racism. The mix has created a climate of chaos and discontent in American society not seen for decades. Thrown into the mix is sharp partisan rivalry between supporters of this president and his opponents. The bitter factionalism is set to intensify as the nation heads to presidential elections in less than 100 days.

Given the upheaval and turmoil, it is all too tempting to find a distraction in the form of “foreign interference”. A Cold War legacy of Russophobia and Sinophobia is being resurrected to provide a convenient political escape route for deep-seated structural problems.

Both sides of the American political divide seem adept at playing the xenophobic interference card. Republican Trump this week claimed that foreign interference would abuse mail-in voting systems and suggested the election should be postponed. There is no evidence for such concern.

Likewise, Trump’s opponents in the Democratic party and their sympathetic news media outlets are adept at playing the same nefarious game.

Ever since Trump was elected to the White House in 2016, his opponents have obsessed over alleged Russian interference without ever providing any evidence for their outlandish speculations.

Chief among the exponents of such conspiratorial thinking is the New York Times, the so-called “newspaper of record”. The Times is a diehard pro-Democrat and “never-Trump” organ. The paper also has a long history of serving as a conduit for U.S. intelligence agencies. Its nadir of propagandist functioning was making the false case of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the genocidal U.S. and British war on that country. Indeed, some of the journalists who peddled that propaganda are still working at the paper and penning the most recent Russophobic articles.

In recent weeks, Russophobia at the Times has become feverish. On June 26, it launched a series of stories, amplified across U.S. media, claiming that Russian intelligence was operating a “bounty-hunter” scheme for assassinating American military in Afghanistan.

On July 16, the Times headlined with “Russian hackers trying to steal coronavirus vaccine research”.

This week, the “paper of record” announced “Russian intelligence agencies push disinformation on pandemic”.

The fiendish thing about such “stories” is the cleverly disguised lack of evidence. They all rely on unsubstantiated allegations made by anonymous sources who hide their vacuous “details” behind national security pretenses. This is an audacious affront to journalistic standard and ethics, but the one “advantage” is that the claims are sealed off from being definitely critiqued and disproven because the lack of evidence precludes a specific rebuttal. The upshot is the innuendo is permitted to linger and sow doubts.

The problem for the propagandists, however, is that the credibility of the “reporting” becomes threadbare with each cycle of unsubstantiated allegations. The increased frequency of the cycle indicates the propagandists are realizing their diminishing potency in the eyes of the public and hence try to compensate by narrating ever-more lurid stories.

In the final analysis, the political and economic problems facing the United States and Britain are endemic. The abysmal failure over the coronavirus pandemic is but one accelerant of a chronic collapse. The chaos and division in those societies is of their own making from the corruption of the political and economic system. Trying to resurrect a Cold War with Russia or China is a futile attempt to postpone a reckoning over inherent problems.

President Trump’s indulgence in conspiracies about China is consistent with his conspiracies about quack medical remedies. His conspiratorial psychosis is reflected in the derangement of his Democrat opponents and their media concerning alleged malign Russian interference. The chaos and division attributed to foreign powers is actually a bipartisan vice for avoiding the radical challenge facing the U.S. and its Western vassals like Britain.

A virus without a cure can become fatal. Russophobia is a virus without any cure as far as the Western political establishments are concerned. The result can be deadly. But deadly mainly for their own societies from not addressing real problems.The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

Why I No Longer Read Facebook

 BY GILAD ATZMON

fb hitler_edited-1.jpg

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by Eve Mykytyn

In an effort to stem the torrent of ‘false’ cures and conspiracy theories about COVID-19, Facebook announced it would begin informing users globally who have liked, commented on, or shared “harmful” misinformation about the coronavirus, that the content they reacted to was incorrect and  pointing them in the direction of what Facebook considers to be a  ‘reliable’ source. The reliable source?  The World Health Organization. Here’s the distinctly noninformative WHO Covid 19 website . 


I don’t know what caused Covid 19 to become our disease du jour. Was it a bat? A natural or laboratory mutation? Not only do I not know, but I don’t believe that Facebook, or the WHO know either. Why not let theories abound? Perhaps free speech means that we trust the people to evaluate the source and sort out the facts for themselves. 

The general rule in the US is that no publisher has an obligation to print any particular view: that rule dates from  when ‘publisher’ meant print and print was inexpensive. The founders intentionally strove to open a ‘marketplace of ideas,’ a ‘public square’ with pamphleteers and speeches. Published content was restricted only  by the threat of litigation over libel or defamation which requires publishing material known (or should have known) to be false.

Exceptions to the general rule came about when publishing was through a limited medium regulated by the government. When television stations were a limited resource obtained through government licensing of the  few channels, the government imposed  free speech requirements including an equal time rule, requiring television stations to present both sides of an issue. The rule was dropped, considered unnecessary only when television began to offer a plethora of stations.

So now we get to Facebook( youtube, twitter, etc.). Which is it most like, television or freely available printing?

For many years, including the time that these major platforms became monopolies, the internet depended on cable service which due to the physical nature of cable was a limited resource for which the government issued licenses to certain cable companies. In 1965 , the FCC established rules for cable systems and the Supreme Court affirmed the FCC’s jurisdiction over cable. I believe that  Facebook is also subject to regulation as a monopoly as the government has authority to interfere with monopolies, particularly when they are successful (which is, admittedly another issue) ask AT&T. 

But Facebook wants it both ways.  They don’t admit liability for defamatory statements published on their site. They argue that they behave simply as a platform, a means of transmission. But they also reserve the right to censor content by restricting or deleting material they deem incorrect. So which is it? If they have the power to censor what we see why shouldn’t they be liable for the content?

This censoring of free speech applies broadly. Google favors some content over others in its search engine, Youtube has been on a tear not only deleting videos but replacing videos with others that express an alternative view.   See where they plan to ban holocaust  ‘denial’ (revisionist in any way)  videos and offer wikipedia instead.  Further they intend to offer the banned videos to researchers and NGOs “looking to understand hate in order to combat it,” thereby providing content only to a restricted class of their own choosing.  Twitter inserts a page when a ‘controversial’ link is clicked warning the user that the link has been identified as  malware although Twitter admits that malware warnings are posted based on content. 

What is it that compels these platforms to come down on both sides of the free speech issue?  After all, by editing content Facebook becomes more like a  publisher and less like a mere  platform. Facebook does so because it regularly gets brought before Congress to explain free speech congress doesn’t like. Facebook also defers to European countries that regulate speech.

Facebook argues that internet companies aren’t governments and they can restrict what they like. That’s why they don’t follow the First Amendment and instead enforce more restrictive rules in response to criticism of their content.  See, for ex., The New Yorker on the ‘free speech excuse.’  

I believe that major platforms have become the public square. Yet we allow Facebook to restrict our speech and they do so effectively. As owners of the public square they are uniquely positioned to and do silence  dissenters. Platforms take down posts that don’t fit their ‘standards, and they do so swiftly. Perhaps before we allow Facebook to be the arbitrator of free speech, we should rethink the present day meaning of a marketplace of ideas.

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

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all

April 16, 2020

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all

There is a lot of chatter about how the coronavirus economic overreaction and subsequent US bailouts will end the dollar’s reign as the global reserve currency – such wishful thinking is shortsighted and ignores even recent Western capitalist history.

Last November, in a then-boring but now-prescient 10-part series (I socialistically re-interpreted ex-Wall Streeter Nomi Prins’ book Collusion, which chronologically detailed the QE-spreading collusion between G20 central banks since 2008), I wrote the following in Part 3: QE paid for a foreign buying spree: developing countries hurt the most:

“Yet by flooding the world with trillions of dollars via QE the US was able to, paradoxically, maintain dollar dependence despite their crimes. The US dollar share of global reserves today is 62%, almost exactly what it was in 2008. Combined with the other source of the crisis – the euro – the two combine for 82% of global reserves. By comparison, the yuan – which so many predict is about to dethrone the dollar – is at below 2%; I wouldn’t hold my breath.”

But corona is different, right? Two percent and 62% will suddenly change places, right?

No, more QE is more of the same thing, and this is a “thing” which has worked exactly as designed; it is also a “thing” which is never broached in the Mainstream Media: “A way to create debt traps which increase Western control over their neo-imperial subjects. … Neoliberal-capitalism financial policies must be viewed as a neo-imperial tool, of course.”

People are acting as if Western neoliberalism hasn’t worked, LOL? It has worked spectacularly well… but only for their 1% and not for “the nation”, exactly as designed.

Many fine semi-dissident commentators apparently do not follow high finance, nor can they interpret their actions, even though high finance is the West’s vanguard party (thus the theme of my recent series – “bankocracy”); they often incorrectly focus on an easier-to-grasp storyline of nationalist competition, which (like racism, sexism or tribalism) simply cannot ultimately take precedence over class warfare.

I’m not being dogmatic – this simply provides the fullest explanation of economic events. Reject what socialists could call the “conspiracy” of the 1% via class warfare? Then you likely move on to absurd, unprovable “conspiracy theories” involving secret cults, elaborate handshakes, ritual sacrifice, etc.

This is the bottom line which (whom I will call) “dollar-demisers” simply do not understand: For better or for worse (certainly worse), the US and their greenback are still the gold standard when it comes to 1%er perceptions of a safe harbour in a crisis.

This will hold true in 2020 just as it did in 2008.

Many semi-dissident analysts unwittingly take a rather Trotskyist view that capitalism will eventually implode under the weight of its own contradictions. It won’t – some rats always find a way to survive a sinking ship, eh? Thus, open socialist combat is the only way to defeat modern Western capitalism, and also to satisfyingly explain what is going on in the Western Great Recession/Depression 2.

So maybe the yuan will become the dominant currency… but not in two months, nor two years – maybe two decades? That’s a big “maybe”. In my lifetime, I think.…

Until then, please believe me: Western globalisation/neoliberalism has a LOT of ammo, clout, clients, banks, real money, real gold, fake money and paper gold to keep their mighty dollar on top. Socialism teaches us: it is NOT just Americans who will deploy these weapons.

Just look at what high finance did when the corona crisis hit – journalism is just recent history

As soon as the lockdowns hit Western Europe you couldn’t buy a dollar from high finance. Why? Because people were panicking and wanted a safe haven (and had huge bills to pay) – they did not run to the yuan, but the greenback. The yuans ran to the greenback!

(Some Western commentators often act as if China doesn’t know what they are doing by being the second-biggest holder of US Treasuries – as if Beijing is somehow being suckered or something? Similarly, but from the other side of misunderstanding, Trotskyism faults China for playing along with capitalist-imperialists in order to strengthen Chinese socialism. Both views are absurd.)

As the corona overreaction progressed, and even as it became clear that a country with third-world inequality and gaping structural flaws was about to go on lockdown and impoverish half its populace within a season, this country’s currency did not drop in value as it should have – I am speaking of the US.

Fair? No. Reality? Proven. Predictable? Entirely.

Equally unprecedented during these March days was a historic run on physical gold, history’s nostalgic (not current) safe haven, which I would have bought if I could have found any (I actually did not even look, as I have no money). This was a major step in a vital historical trend – let’s call it “fiat regoldification” – but please note: here we are, still using fiat (paper) money. Please note #2: individual 1%ers are still buying (parking their assets) way more in dollars than they are in bars of gold, even if central banks have edged more towards gold than dollars only recently.

What also happened in March? Just like in 2008, the US immediately opened more “currency swaps” – loaning scores of billions of dollars to their main client states to satisfy dollar demand… and make them even more beholden to maintaining dollar supremacy.

And by the end of March the US announced (effectively) $6 trillion in new bailout money. Yet no dollar devaluation, still? Return back to that 62% figure: yes, dollar dominance didn’t increase significantly since 2008, but there was no stagnation because the total reserves held by all central banks has expanded by more than half since 2008.

The “dollar-demisers” just don’t get it – they must live in nationalist vacuums? Germany just announced $1 trillion, after all, right? (France finally announced theirs – just $120 billion… because the global 1%’s plan continues to be “strangle the French model”.) Many nations have announced a similar “devaluation” as well, and they didn’t benefit from the dollar’s perception of unrivalled stability to begin with. The US $6 trillion comes within this critical context. But now extend out your timeframe to 2008 – how much new money has been printed across the G20? In this global context of recent history $6 trillion isn’t much, certainly not enough to ruin the dollar.

But beyond the unshakable perception of stability, the dependance entrapment, and the global money printing bonanza, what’s the biggest reason why everyone is rushing to the dollar? Simple – everyone else’s debt and collateral sucks even harder than it did in 2008: Eurozone bonds, corporate bonds, mortgage/credit card/auto loan-backed securities, overinflated stocks, overinflated real estate, overinflated Da Vincis, Third World investments about to go bust, any-World investments about to go bust post-global corona lockdown – US bonds are still the best, safest place for the 1% to park their savings.

So – don’t get it twisted – the dollar is now stronger than ever in 2020.

Just check the dollar index – it’s up over 20% since 2008, even though they were the cause of the crisis, and for the reasons I listed. The dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all.

You’re underestimating people, and you underestimate how much room the US has

Here’s the thing about people not understanding high finance – they also are too dismissive of them (like with China’s treasury-holding bankers): People mistakenly assume that US bankers are a bunch of rich-kid idiots, and that they do not realise that being viewed so positively by the rabid capitalists of the global 1% undoubtedly gives them unparalleled leverage. No – the US is well-aware that its money machine can go brrrrrr, to use the top meme on this subject, and the dollar will not crater.

So when Neel Kashkari goes on TV and says the Fed has an “infinite amount of cash” it is wrong to make fun of him – the focus should be on the fact that he is taken SOMEWHAT seriously despite making such an economically-illogical claim. He is taken seriously because that is HOW VERY much money the US can print before they imperil the dollar’s reserve currency dominance.

The dollar is used in 40% of the world’s debt, 80% of global payments and nearly 100% of its oil sales – again: the world’s rich want to use dollars. Again, China doesn’t even want to use their own currency – in the past two decades dollar-denominated debt has exploded, and this trend was led by China. And yet we should assume the yuan is on the cusp of replacing the dollar? This unwind will not, I’m sorry to say, happen at corona-speed.

How much room does the Fed have to inject? A lot, depressingly.

(So we’re clear: What is this injecting doing? It is assuming the bad debts/failed investments of multinational high finance dominated by NYC. That total is not some infinite, abstract, undefined mathematical variable. This is what the phrase “picking the winners” means. Nobody is holding a marker with “quadrillion” after the number. )

From $2 trillion in 2008, in late March it was suggested it could hit $10 trillion to stem the corona craziness. That won’t be enough – and the hidden “10-to-1” lever in the $450 billion section of the $2.2 trillion bailout implies that already – but the US probably has $20-30 trillion worth of room before difficulty sets in.

People will fly off the handle at that (mainly Austrians and Chicagoans), but they don’t seem to comprehend reality: the unparalleled demand, the importance of competitive context in currency wars, as well as the political reality that the US as well as their allies (capitalism is collusion) will use all their political and probably military tools to postpone the monetary/political/historical revolution which is fundamentally implied by the end of dollar dominance.

And there’s even more advantages, because bankers are not as dumb as you think.

First of all: duh, they aren’t going to inject it overnight. Did they inject their $4 (or $8) trillion since 2008 overnight? Of course not – the US colluded with other G20 nations for over a decade so that the QE machine could keep going “brrrrrrr” – just at different nodes, as Prins’ books an my series related. The Fed works with other G20 central banks, it must be recognised – nationalism does not supersede a class analysis.

Secondly, it’s crucial to recall that the global 1% forced first Japan then the Eurozone (the biggest competitors of the US, at least until the 2008 crisis & response allowed China to rise so high) to take on austerity, bailouts and multiple Lost Decades which made their debt-to-GDP ratios explode. So this bringing down of the competition is only giving US Treasuries more leeway and power. Modern capitalism IS always international collusion – this didn’t start in 2008.

Of all the major Western economies only Germany and South Korea have good debt-to-GDP ratios, but Washington the global 1% have simple solutions to force them to increase their debt in order to protect THEIR dollar: Korean reunification, and an end to German strangulation of the Eurozone. If you don’t think they would force to protect THEIR dollar, then you fatally overrate the power of nationalism.

This 1%er collusion is what so many good commentators just can’t see because they reject the class struggle. This is why they are rather absurdly expecting to use only yuan – or maybe euro or yen or loonies – by next Tuesday. The reality is that a socialist victory against predatory capitalists is long, hard and unyielding – this provides great inspiration and creativity when accepted. It does hurt your job opportunities in journalism, though. But many journalists and analysts are happy with just complaining.

So the corona bailouts are NOT going to end global dollar dominance, for all the reasons I’ve listed.

QE provokes inflation, but do you understand inflation? I mean, REALLY?

Corona’s “Great Lockdown” is sure to provoke falls in subservient currencies, but it won’t cause the dollar to double in value, either. That won’t be permitted:

A weak dollar hurts the average American but it certainly helps the sectors of society supported by the 1%: export-driven corporations, debtors (banks) and landlords (rentier exploiters). I explained this in my “bankocracy” series – Part 5: Understanding the West’s obsession with inflation. The 1% only cares about inflation which hurts their investments – they could not care less about rises in the price of bread, metro tokens, rent, etc. This is precisely why the MSM keeps saying how inflation is low… when 99% of their readers think, “No it isn’t.”

Due to this widespread misunderstanding/misinformation regarding inflation, many commentators confuse a rise in domestic prices for key goods with the international strength of the dollar. The former is a domestic concern – domestic inflation will be a result of money-printing. Domestically the dollar has lost an estimated 80% of purchasing power since Nixon went off the gold standard. However, the latter is an international concern and – while no one stays at the top of the hill forever – the US dollar is (of course!) protecting and re-protecting itself via international 1%er collusion to stay there as long as possible regardless of the effect on the average US consumer. What “1%er patriotism” are you talking about, and in the age of globalisation, too?!

Yes, rents and food will go up: No, the dollar will not stop being the international reserve currency. Yes, because you won’t openly support socialism you suffer under a bundle of unjust contradictions and cognitive dissonances.

Again, a class analysis provides a fuller explanation of corona-related high finance machinations than does an analysis based around mere nationalism.

But many of you older readers can, sadly, take this to your graves: the dollar’s dominance is unquestioned and will be defended by the international 1%, just as it has been since 2008, and just as it has been since it ascended the bloody capitalist heap. The 1% has never known eras, epochs, patriotisms, etc., and certainly not since the rise of industrial capitalism.

The problem is not QE, nor is it the “dollar system” – it is the entire system of values encapsulated by “capitalism-imperialism” and undoubtedly in “capitalism with Western characteristics”.

You can find the odd article like Pandemic proves there is only one world reserve currency, but this article gave the real reasons why; only a socialist microscope can reveal the core economic truth.

I could be wrong – and so could that article – about 20-30 more years of dollar dominance. Maybe the corona overreaction will set off a Great Depression so unmanageable that a socialist revolution occurs quite soon? That’s the only possible way the dollar is dethroned earlier.

(Of course, according to logic, any uprising which is not openly pro-socialist – and is thus pro-capitalist – cannot be a “revolution” at all. The development of post-corona “coups” would produce regimes which would – at best – still certainly collaborate with the dollar for national benefit.)

The West has no solution – wants no solution – wants only more of all this capitalist-imperialist chaos for the 99%… and thus corona immediately kicked off the “solution” of QE Infinity. No Western nation’s 1% is going to stop colluding to make that continue.

So keep your yuan under your mattress – infinity won’t end next Tuesday. I hope you find this article useful in your leftist struggle!

***********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity the lives of post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

COVID-19 HYPE AND HORRORS OF DEEP STATE

COVID-19 Hype And Horrors Of Deep State

South Front

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the hysteria it carried with it is without precedent in modern history, with a massive share of the global population under lockdown, and specifically that of Europe and the United States.

It is customary, furthermore, that every crisis presents opportunities to speculate, and provide alternative narratives (or even conspiracy theories) of what specifically is going on, how and why it was initiated and where it would all lead.

A crisis without precedent, however, creates the opportunity for massive-scale speculation, especially when it’s as polarizing as the COVID-19, with the entire situation having no exact clarity of what the mortality rate is, how many people are and were, in fact, infected, how many are actually dying and so on.

Of course, every respectable conspiracy theory blames a “force” (or a group, individual) that has an interest at stake and there is much to gain from organizing it.

One of them is the following:

In a short summary, the “narrative is the following” and it is a popular QAnon conspiracy theory, that’s being shared by influencers (such as Rose Henges who spread “awareness” for “holistic living”, but she is one of many), on Instagram and other social media.

Supporters of the completely unfounded QAnon conspiracy theory believe that President Donald Trump and the American military are waging a secret war against the deep state, which they believe is a global cabal of pedophiles. They get their updates from off-shoots of the anonymous message board 8chan and a website called QAlerts, which they comb through for barely coherent secret messages from a person they believe has Q-level security clearance within the US government.

Starting from the week beginning on March 30th, thousands (and even hundreds of thousands) of hungry and terribly abused children have been found dead, or in captivity in an underground tunnel in New York.

This tunnel, allegedly, connects between the Clinton Foundation Building and the port of New York, with a length of approximately 4 kilometers.

It is through the end of the tunnel that comes out into the port of New York that children and corpses are loaded onto the USNS Comfort medical vessel.

It should be reminded that a man was arrested for attempting to derail a train and collide with the USNS Mercy, docked near Los Angeles, because he believed that the U.S. government was planning some sort of takeover.

Thus, according to the conspiracy theory, the USNS Mercy is docked near Los Angeles to provide the same service – care for kidnapped children and the victims of horrible abuses saved from the tunnels, because there’s also apparently tunnels under L.A.

These rescue activities are under the patronage of the “Pentagon Pedophile Task Force,” which is another quite popular conspiracy theory.

This conspiracy theory, however, goes one step further – some of the corpses had bitemarks on them, maybe by rats, but it even claimed that the starving children ate the corpses of the dead ones.

The makeshift field hospital in the middle of Central Park in New York, also, is there to treat the children, rather than to fight COVID-19.

And it is estimated that New York needs 100,000 body bags.

And it is expected that between 4 and 6% of these children would die, because they were too weak. They were tortured and sexually abused. Many of these children were raised for this specific purpose and have never seen the light of day, and so on.

Furthermore, there’s also an explanation of the urgent need of respirators – the air in the tunnels is stagnated, thus they need help breathing.

Finally, police officers who entered the tunnels were traumatized, and they were even given bags in which to throw up if it’s too much.

Furthermore, in addition to that, global celebrities began providing all sorts of entertainment, to presumably keep people away from seeing the truth.

These include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Antonio Banderas, Robbie Williams, and many more, who have began releasing videos, and what not, in order to entertain the quarantined masses.

Then, the conspiracy theory went even deeper – Madonna was quoted in Vogue magazine that she “would kill for pasta” and most would think its because panic buying left shelves empty and restaurants and bars are closed far and wide.

But no, “pasta” apparently is some sort of pedophile slang for the murder of a young boy.

And that’s also done for a purpose – apparently it all connects to also the, now deceased, Jeffrey Epstein who presumably killed himself used to take celebrities on a private island for that sort of entertainment.

It was to produce Adrenochrome was used by celebrities as a drug and an elixir of immortality. It is derived from a child’s body at the time of terrible fear and pain.

So, apparently, the synthetic adrenochrome produced in Wuhan, China, was intentionally infected with a special type of coronavirus.

Thus, a person who has taken some of this substance could easily be tracked.

And quarantine served as a cover for the largest ever secret U.S. intelligence operation, which will arrest 158,000 people and “remove all the villains” – politicians, celebrities and company heads, bankers such as George Soros, the heads of the United Nations, the founders of GRETA and more.

Indirectly, this wild theory, according to its followers, is proved by the US statistics, according to which in the USA annually, according to the official version alone, about 460,000 children disappear each year.

In short, people began to seriously discuss that Jeffrey Epstein on his island treated his influential friends not only to young girls, but also to children. And everyone who flew in private jets to his island will face arrest and a military tribunal.

The list of people who have visited Epstein’s island is long and is no secret and it includes many influential politicians, entertainers, film and music celebrities and what not.

And all sorts of stories such as this are being propagated by the entire quarantine that keeps everybody at home, generally alone with themselves or with likeminded individuals who can spiral their ideas out of control.

Gone are the times when the most illogical, weird and “disturbing” thing was the ending of Game of Thrones.

Now, there’s surely very little truth to the general idea of the conspiracy theory, but what’s interesting is who it’s aimed at and why it appears now, of all times.

More than likely, what’s described above is a well-planned (albeit hastily, since the timeline with the COVID-19 was a bit short) campaign to discredit the entire “neoliberal elite” group that’s quite popular in recent times.

It is no secret that many of the faces behind some of the major global capital, or some of the leaders of entertainment and media are associated with some very large-scale scandals (such as Harvey Weinstein, for example, or maybe George Soros’ heart transplants, there’s numerous other cases), and these are generally related to things that the “common folk” would find disturbing.

The general concept is to get some facts, such as the quarantine, the field hospital (as if out of M*A*S*H) and the UNSN Mercy and the USNS Comfort, and such, glue them together with a very questionable, horror-filled content and try to pass it as a possible version that sounds at least “slightly reasonable.”

Who could stand behind the propagation of such narratives, however?

There are several options.

  1. The pro-Trump lobby, and his team (not directly Donald Trump himself), are, at least partially, responsible for starting the “versions” since they discredit his direct opponents quite apparently, and it is not a bad timing for the diffusion of such information, after all his entire handling of the COVID-19 situation is turning into a fiasco.
  2. It could be China – and why not, these “neoliberal elites,” are, to a very large degree, in charge of global affairs – globalism is a narrative that they push forward, in a way. China isn’t interested in a US-oriented global order, or a West-oriented one, it has little interest in a group of people pushing the narrative. Beijing wants to be the sole super power, for its own reasons and to achieve its own goals. Discrediting its direct “competition” and also by maintaining that US soldiers brought the coronavirus to Mainland China is one way to do so.
  3. It could be Russia – but, it makes no sense, since some of these theories slam traditional Russian “allies” (in very broad terms) as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is willing to “look the other way” from the Western-propagated narrative for the greater (economic) wellbeing. Furthermore, the “Great Russian propaganda machine” is much more a myth than a reality, as it has been proven time and again. Finally, a large part of the current Russian elite is very much integrated with the Western elite, there’s little (if any) interest in undermining it, after all it works to their benefit.
  4. There’s always “rogue actors” those who are conditionally “patriotic” or conditionally “conservative” since the current climate doesn’t specifically play into their field, this could relate to capital, political interest, various lobbyist interests.

There’s other QAnon versions, as the “movement” has seen increased activity on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter since the outbreak of COVID-19. Some Q followers baselessly claim the virus is a human-made bioweapon, which they believe was created by either the Chinese government or Bill Gates, depending on which Twitter account you read.

One thing is certain, during a crisis, conspiracy theories are abound, and truth, sometimes, comes around, factual stories are few and far between.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

The Corona Debacle

MARCH 30, 2020

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker blog

I have deliberated for some time before deciding to write a Saker article about the COVID-19 outbreak. Firstly, because this is not a forum to write about such issues, and secondly because I am not a medic. But given that this is all that people want to talk and hear about right now, given that COVID-19 articles have already been published on The Saker, I might as well have my say. After all, technically-speaking, I am a scientist, albeit not a medical one.

Before writing this, I have exchanged thoughts and listened to the advice of many friends in the medical profession. As a conclusion, to try to understand what is going on, if we ever can, I feel that we perhaps need to dissect the unprecedented lockdown situation that humanity is facing for the first time in its history; beginning with the nature of the virus itself.

The Virus:

As far as I know, these are the dangerous aspects of COVID-19:
1. It is highly contagious.

2. It causes a vicious infection that requires ICU support.
3. It is potentially lethal.

As far as I know as well, these are the ‘not so bad news’:
1. It is not airborne.
2. It has a very low mortality rate.

If there is more to say about the above, the world leaders will have to come clean and provide more information.

For COVID-19 to become a serious danger, the likes of such that the whole world is shutting down for, it will have to undergo two mutations:

a. It has to become airborne i.e. become transmitted by wind rather than person to person contact, and;

b. It has to become more virulent.

Whilst it is true that those mutations can happen, as far as we are told, they haven’t, at least not yet. Equally, they can happen to any known or unknown virus.

Genetic mutations happen randomly within all living things including viruses. But because viruses have very little genetic material (DNA/RNA) and a very high replication rate, mutations can result in major shifts; and in short periods of time.

Like all mutations, viral mutations happen randomly. In other words, they do not have a targeted approach, and this is why specific mutations are not inevitable. It is not therefore a question of time before the COVID-19 mutates to become airborne and very lethal. Actually, it may mutate in the opposite directions. And even though a mutation that makes the virus less contagious will eventually lead to its own demise, it is only by chance that a mutation that guarantees its survival eventuates. It is a hit-and-miss situation.

Furthermore, the probability for TWO random mutations to happen, instead of only one, in a manner that is specifically dangerous to humans, is much less likely than for either one to eventuate alone. According to the law of probability, a double probability is the mathematical multiplication of both. As we cannot give a mathematical figure to the probability of each of the above mutations to eventuate, it would be almost impossible to give an estimate of both of them happening together. But to give an example, if the chance of each probability is as high as 10% (and in reality, it has to be much lower because it is a random event), then for the two to take place, the probability of both combined goes down to 1%.

In other words, there is a much higher probability for the virus to become just airborne and remain with the same level of virulence than it is to become both airborne and more lethal. The opposite is also true. There is a much higher probability for the virus to become just more lethal and not become airborne than it is to become both airborne and more lethal.

For all we know, it can even mutate to become both less contagious and less lethal. Actually, statistically speaking, the probability of the virus becoming airborne and more lethal is the same as the probability of it becoming less contagious and less harmful.

Unless we are not given the complete information, the COVID-19, according to what we are presented with therefore, does not in its current form pose a serious threat to the human population.

The Statistics:

1. In 2009, Novovirus H1N1 (aka Swine Flu) infected 60 million people worldwide causing 200,000 to 400,000 deaths with 18,000 in the USA alone.

2. Annually, 300,000 to 500,000 people die of the common flu worldwide.

3. The fatality rate of COVID-19 varies with age and physical conditions, but it is under 3% for healthy people under 60 years old.

4. The fatality rate from some strains of Common Flu can be as high as 8%.

5. Thus far, and as far as I know, there is no satisfactory medical explanation that links the death of COVID-19 victims with the actual virus. Doctors don’t know what actually killed the patients other than pre-existing conditions compounded with the COVID-19.

The ‘Conspiracy Theories’:

The COVID-19 scare is giving two groups of people a field day; 1) the conspiracy theorists, and 2) certain religious groups.

I will not even bother trying to write about the mileage that the latter group is aiming to gain from this traumatic episode in human history. As far as conspiracies are concerned, conspiracy theorists do not ‘need’ a Coronavirus scare to come up with new conspiracy material. That said, we must keep open minds and listen to at least some of them. Some of what they say might, just might, make sense. But when they say that ‘Big Brother’ is behind this, which ‘Big Brother’ I ask?

According to some, the USA ‘created’ the virus and had a plan to hold China accountable for a pandemic in the eyes of the world. In such a case, surely the USA would have made provisions to make sure that the disease did not reach it own shores.

Some may argue that those on the top of the hill don’t care about those who live in the fields, but when I see that Prince Charles and UK’s PM have tested positive, The Queen has been shifted out of the Buckingham Palace and Angela Merkel is in isolation, then surely this cannot be a Western political game.

Furthermore, even though the USA is perhaps using the situation to impose more sanctions on Iran, when I see that the USA has become the world leader in infection cases, when I see a unified and consolidated approach to the so-called pandemic among all world leaders, from all divides, something about any conspiracy theory must be amiss.

The Winners and Losers:

In any warfare situation, there are winners and losers, or at least would-be winners and losers.

Surely, some governments are using the scare as an opportunity to introduce draconian laws that they were not able to pass in ‘peace time’. But again, this alone is not enough reason to initiate this situation; and worldwide.

Call me naïve if you wish, but I can only see losers herein and no winners.

Of course, there are those who made, or hope to make, short/long term gains when/if they bought stocks for dirt cheap prices in the hope that those shares will bounce back again. But given those unprecedented events of almost total shutdown, who is to guarantee that those stocks will bounce back? And even if they do, to say that this whole scare was about taking the chance of a stock market bust, followed by boom, is almost impossible to fathom. Why would all governments of the world, collectively, agree to deliberately create mass unemployment and risk cataclysmic financial depression and bankruptcy in order to satisfy the greed of some shareholders, even the likes of the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers?

After all, those trillionaire legacies have had the tradition of manipulating markets for so long without having to orchestrate a crash of such magnitude as seems to be looming. Why did they take this extreme measure now if they indeed did?

Surely, China will be selling more masks and protective gear to the rest of the world, but how can this compensate for all other sales lost?

No explanation seems to make any comprehensive sense at all. This situation leaves far more room for speculation and less room for identifying any clear winners. The winners/losers scenario has never been so chaotic and nonsensical before. By and large, everyone ultimately will be losers in some way or another.

Geo-Political Situation:

Why would the USA/EU walk away from Italy at a time when Italy needed such a level of support? If the USA is trying to ‘punish’ Italy for joining the Chine Silk Road initiative, then this pandemic should provide an ideal opportunity for bringing Italy back in line and for the USA/EU to come to Italy’s help, presenting themselves as Italy’s best and most reliable allies. Instead, they stepped back, leaving the doors wide open for their rivals to step in. This again does not make sense.

Global Consensus:

Never before have we seen global rivals beating the same drum. If the scare were indeed a scam, surely Russia and China would not be playing America’s tune. Neither would we see photos of President Putin dressed in a Hazmat suit. President Putin does not mince either his words or actions. He must have a real reason. Furthermore, China would not have ‘accepted’ that the virus would take off from Wuhan.

Cold-War type politics have always taught us that there are two sides to any political story; and sometimes more. This is why forums like The Saker exist; because they attempt to tell a story that has been suppressed by the empire’s main stream media. But now, all of those rivals are saying the same story, but in a manner that does not much add up.

Medical Opinion:

Many doctors, actually most doctors, in the world are supporting the narrative of governments. Political leaders are saying that they are working on the advice of medical professionals. But there are some eminent doctors who disagree and are saying that the danger of COVID-19 is very comparable to most other previous flu epidemics. I have seen a few videos to that effect, but this link is a composite of 12 interviews with doctors who agree that the pandemic is blown out of proportion https://off-guardian.org/2020/03/24/12-experts-questioning-the-coronavirus-panic/

The Conclusion?

Given what the public has been told, there is no conclusion to be made. Am I saying that warnings should be ignored and that people should go on partying and having close contact with each other? Definitely not. Personally, I am taking all precautions recommended, I cannot chance it, even though I am not fully convinced that humanity is facing an imminent medical catastrophic danger.

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