“You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”
I have sinned, Dear Father;
Father, I have sinned:
Try and help me, Father;
won’t you let me in?
– Queen, from “Liar”
I may have mentioned the Canadian newspaper The National Post previously – I know I have mentioned it numerous times in comments. It’s a fiercely conservative medium, and its columnists are mostly united in the belief that Canada died a little when Stephen Harper lost the 2015 election to those liberal pansies. I am almost positive I remember him once describing his (Conservative) party as ‘the Republican party of Canada’, perhaps making a joke, but I cannot find any record of it now. Whatever the case, there were plenty of other people ready to attribute the Republican label to him.
Just as an aside, this is not an indictment of Harper as Prime Minister. I didn’t care for his politics personally, but I don’t care for (present Prime Minister) Trudeau’s, either. The former resisted calls from bankers to deregulate at the onset of the 2008 global financial crisis, and no matter what he might personally have wanted to do, it was the right decision; Canada emerged from the crisis with the strongest economy of the western nations. He was a staunch advocate for the military, in which I spent the best part of my adult life. All in all I could find little to personally complain about, except a general revulsion for conservative policies in general. Anyway, the purpose of this detour is to establish an alignment between Harper conservatives and the US Republican party, and by extension, an appetite on the part of National Post writers for conservative fiscal policies, foreign policies and leadership.
Including a visceral dislike – I would go so far as to say ‘hatred’ – of Russia and China, and tireless ridicule and scolding of those countries, as well as enthusiastic buy-in for any case made out against either or both. Would you like an example? Coming right up. Meet David J. Bercuson, a fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and director emeritus of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary. For those from Without – Calgary, Alberta is the very navel of conservatism in Canada. Mr. Bercuson’s piece is entitled, open-mindedly enough, “COVID-19 is bringing out the deceptive worst in Russia, China and Iran”.
He begins reasonably enough; Trump – yes, a Republican, but ideological conservatives often dislike him intensely – is full of shit when he refers to COVID-19 as ‘the Chinese virus’, something he only recently stopped doing, probably after being prompted by advisors. COVID-19 is not a Chinese weapon. Soothing bla bla bla…BANG! China, like all dictatorships, is covering up. It’s in their nature to lie to the west.
Ditto Russia, congenital liars, who are sowing discord through social media and frightening people with looney-tunes rubbish about COVID-19 being introduced to China by the US military.
I had kind of hoped to build up a little before getting straight into it, but we might as well, considering Mr. Bercuson went right to the single biggest bone of contention. First, two qualifiers. One, although I had hoped I would never have to mention it again, the CIA’s Marble Framework was especially developed to allow the CIA to attribute text and messages of any type to another author by ‘hiding text fragments written by the CIA in their own malware, allowing them to easily cover up their own footprint.’
“The Marble Framework is a core principle within the CIA’s malware development sector. The ability to deflect the attribution of an intrusion and point it to another author is breathtaking. According to the CIA, it is “designed to allow for flexible and easy-to-use obfuscation” as “string obfuscation algorithms (especially those that are unique) are often used to link malware to a specific developer or development shop.”
Marble’s source code reveals that the CIA had test examples not just in English, but also in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. This would permit the CIA to attribute the malware to another author or make it appear to be written by someone of another spoken language. The leak reveals the CIA implanted decoy language within the code. Deflecting forensic investigators to believe the malware author was not English, but instead spoke Chinese or Russian. Drawing investigators to the wrong conclusion.”
While the CIA occasionally does come up with a project that might lead you to suspect it is staffed by Dr. Nefario types who are hard of hearing – like its ‘hobby fish’, which sounds as if it might have come from the same lab as Nefario’s fart gun – usually their developments are purpose-built with a concrete objective in mind. To what purpose might string obfuscation algorithms designed to insert fragments of text in languages such as Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi, and thereby mislead forensic investigators to conclude with a high degree of certainty that the message had originated at a place where one of those languages is the national language, be employed? Might it be to plant messages – social-media messages, let’s say – that forensic investigators like Crowdstrike (the Apple-Dumpling Gang of cyber-forensic analysis) would confidently report came from Russia? A reasonable person would allow that is a possibility, in the absence of an alternative explanation. Unless somebody can think of one. Tick-tock.
Two. Even if Russia actually has suggested the coronavirus originated outside China, and was interjected there either deliberately or accidentally, it is certainly not the only one. And the most likely candidate to have done so actually is the United States. Let’s look at the case for it. But first, to the accusation the Chinese government covered up the outbreak until it had exploded beyond control, and leaped the borders.
Horseshit. Who says so? Well, I’m saying so, now, but I’m referencing other sources. Such as Marion Koopmans, a virologist at Erasmus Medical Center and a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) special committee on the novel coronavirus. The article I referenced – not from Russian or Chinese media, and Koopmans is not a very common surname in either country, I think you’ll agree – is dated 31 January, 2020. Its first sentence makes it abundantly clear that the Chinese reported the first cases of a mysterious pneumonia-like illness in Wuhan a month before that date.
“Barely 1 month after Chinese health authorities reported the first cases of a mysterious new pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, the world may be on the cusp of a new pandemic. As Science went to press, the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, dubbed 2019-nCoV, had shot up to more than 4500, most of them in mainland China but more than 80 in 17 other countries and territories.”
Get it? When China originally reported the new illness, not like anything they had seen before, there were no cases outside China. Even allowing for a month-long incubation period – and the best minds on epidemiology and virology suggest it is about half that – the Chinese medical community reported the first cases of what would eventually be designated COVID-19, for 2019, like the year before it is now, a full month before it got away from them. As the referenced article went to press, the WHO was still debating whether this was a pandemic, when Wuhan alone had almost 44,000 infections (estimated by University of Hong Kong epidemiologist Gabriel Leung) and the number was doubling every 6 days according to the mathematical model he developed. I have to ask, if this was not Breaking News on CNN, whose fucking fault was that? China’s? Russia’s? What are journalists for?
Chinese researchers first ‘shared’ – that means ‘made public’ – a genomic sequence of the virus on 11 January. It was known at that time, if I have not made it sufficiently clear, that the growth of infection was explosive and that scientists did not know with any degree of certainty how long the virus remained dormant or if those who showed no symptoms were able to transmit the virus to others. Pretty much the polar opposite of ‘covering up’, if you get my drift. Since that time, researchers in China and elsewhere announced nearly three dozen additional genomic sequences; “a stellar job”, according to Koopmans. You remember; the guy on the WHO special committee on COVID-19.
We could go on for quite a while discussing how China did not ‘cover up’ anything except in the estimation of those too oblivious to notice anything that is not printed on Kim Kardashian’s ass. Especially considering the USA topped a 2019 list of countries as most prepared – by a significant margin, a glowing 83.5 of a possible 100 – to detect and respond to an epidemic. As long as they notice it before it’s already been raging for two months, evidently.
But let’s move on to the part where the Russians are sowing disinformation that the virus originated in the United States, and was somehow transported from there to Wuhan, China. Quite apart from the obvious caution that such allegations might not have come from Russia at all, since it so obviously suits the agenda of western conservatism to pin such shenanigans on them…is that really so farfetched? Let’s look at who speculates it might not be.
First, though, take a look at this chart.
Note the first case, reported 01 December, 2019. Connection to the seafood market in Wuhan, where the virus was said to have originated? None. Well, perhaps there’s something the Chinese investigators don’t know, or perhaps they’re lying, or perhaps the patient lied to them. But keep it in the back of your mind as we proceed. The source for that graphic is The Lancet, and although the published researchers are all Chinese, you would think a source with The Lancet‘s reputation would decline to print anything they knew very well was obfuscationary hogwash.
Also, before I go on, I should fairly attribute where I am getting the suggestion that the virus may have originated in the USA; it derives from these two articles:
https://www.globalresearch.ca/china-coronavirus-shocking-update/5705196 , and a more recent update;
Please note; some detractors will immediately howl with laughter, and roll around, gasping, “Global Research!! He believes those lunatics!!” First, I did not say I believed it – I merely ask readers to examine the possibility for themselves. Second, please also note all allegations made therein are footnoted below; you can judge for yourselves if the sources to which they refer are more likely to know what they are talking about than conservative journalists who don’t notice an invasive epidemic until people are dropping around them like the opening scenes from “Saving Private Ryan”, and then bitch that the Chinese covered it up.
As both articles point out, Japanese and Taiwanese researchers – not Chinese dissemblers or Russian hackers – assessed that the virus might have originated in the United States because the USA is the only country in which all five known strains are present. In Wuhan, the supposed point of origin, only one strain was and is present. Where did the other four come from? Obviously they could have come from other countries into the United States, but it seems pretty clear that they did not come from Wuhan. Likewise, other strains in other countries did not come from Wuhan, and I think a reasonable person must allow the possibility that the virus was present in the United States all along.
A Taiwanese researcher notes the emergence of a pneumonia-like illness in the USA in August of 2019, which was blamed on ‘vaping’ of e-cigarettes. The researcher comments that the symptoms could not be explained by the practice, and theorizes it was an early outbreak of coronavirus. He also notes that the US government issued a cease-and-desist order against the US military’s biological weapon research laboratory at Fort Detrick – allegedly for concerns over the security of pathogens; this is a matter of public record, and nobody made it up. The alleged pneumonia-like illness blamed on vaping emerged very shortly thereafter.
Personally, I find that part the most likely to be a conspiracy theory, and most likely to have been a coincidence, although the timing is fortuitous for the case. But I tend to disbelieve it mostly because the US response to the actual no-bullshit announced pandemic has been so incompetent that if the virus had gotten loose in the USA that early, even the coal miners of Blandville, Kentucky would have it by now. Population 30, as of summer 2015. Still, it is a little hair-raising to read that the shutdown of Fort Detrick – ordered by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you please – was based on an assessment that the lab ‘failed to run sufficient systems that should decontaminate wastewater from the facility.’ And that the facility handles some of the most dangerous pathogens and toxins in the world, including Ebola and Anthrax among 67 agents and toxins that the government determined as potential threats to humans, the environment and animals.
Similarly, it is a matter of record that the 2019 World Military Games were held in Wuhan, China, in October 2019, just a little over a month before the first known case of what is now called COVID-19 was observed. Remember, the incubation period is tentatively established at about 2 weeks. The Wuhan games were the first instance of the games being open to the public, and the first to be held entirely in one city. The first games in which host volunteer services were offered to all delegations. The US delegation consisted of nearly 300 athletes and staff. According to Chinese media, five foreign athletes or other personnel visiting Wuhan for the military games were hospitalized in Wuhan for an undetermined infection.
A lot remains unknown. The actual incubation period is not precise. The identities of agents being handled at Fort Detrick are not known, suppressed due to – you guessed it – national security, but perhaps coronavirus was not among them. The timeline could be purely coincidental, although I suspect if the military games had been held in New York and a mysterious outbreak followed immediately thereafter, entertainment of ‘coincidence’ would be considerably more limited. However, consider means, motive and opportunity. We have established means and opportunity to a very reasonable standard. Only motive remains unsubstantiated.
Non-stop bashing of China for allegedly covering up the initial outbreak does nothing to remove that from consideration.