It has often been said, not without justification then the Watergate cover-up was worse than the original crime. If you commit a crime (I haven’t, of course!) it’s always best to ‘fess up. Joe Biden may discover that before the year is out. The Chinese most certainly are. The first cracks have already started to appear in the naturally occurring virus theory. Only this weekend those nice people at the Gatestone Institute in New York City have openly questioned it.
The credibility of the Chinese Communist Party is on the line. Built on one of the grossest deceptions in the history of mankind and a creature of the Abwehr, people should have stopped taking it seriously years ago. Even sinophile organizations like the Cabinet Office, which wants to replace the special relationship with America with a client relationship with Peking, must be having second thoughts.
Covid-19 (I’m going with the flow and using a lower case) is a bio-weapon, pure and simple, developed at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, China’s main biological warfare establishment. The only questions are how did it get out, who was the intended target and were the ChiComs seriously going to use it?
I’ve already indicated my view that this was an unintended release. Given that it’s primarily an economic disruptor, not a killer, I simply cannot conceive of why Peking would want to shaft their own economy. The Communist Party can only get away with running an autocratic one-party state if it delivers prosperity and strength, and the latter is to a large extent dependent upon the former.
Since we passed peak population growth in the late 1960s concern about population growth could not rationally lead a sane government to conclude that it needed to cull its own population. The rate of population growth is, in fact, declining steadily. The planetary population reached one billion around 1804, two billion around 1930, three billion around 1960 and four billion around 1974. Thus the fourth billion only took around half the time of the third. We’re now at just over 7,750,000 people but the yearly growth rate is down to just over 1%.
Technological improvements, including agricultural technology, and increasing urbanization mean that we can cope with the increase, indeed we are coping. Some countries are coping better than others, but that’s because they have inefficient systems of government and haven’t grasped the Laffer Curve. By the second half of this century at the latest, we should have commenced the permanent settlement of space, starting with the Moon.
There’s simply no way that Britain or America could have organized a release of Covid-19 in China – our intelligence agencies are too heavily compromised by the DVD. Neither country has a properly functioning intelligence community. No, this was clearly an accidental release.
Who was the intended target?
If the facts change I change my opinion – I’m not a liberal. The last week has seen some interesting casualties, in Iran. It looks to me as though we had a bunch of Iranian intelligence officers visiting Wuhan and I don’t think they were there because they liked bat soup.
I suspect that they were in Wuhan acquiring some Covid-19 and got caught up in the release. It’s even just possible that the release was linked in some way to the transfer, which would have been a critical stage in Iranian acquisition of a biological WMD capability (Iran already has nukes of course).
Either way, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we have senior Iranian intelligence officers and other regime figures coming down with a touch of Coronavirus. Assuming that the Iranians were arming themselves with Covid-19 they would only have had one target in mind – Israel. I’m pretty sure they weren’t intending to whack the Ethiopians.
In my opinion, this wasn’t just a Chinese own goal, but an Iranian. If they ever played each other at soccer the match would make hilarious watching.
Not all Chinese scientists are mad. Some sensible Chinese scientists, who are trying to limit the death toll and probably wish they could give Xi Jinping a dose, have concluded that the virus has mutated. I respectfully agree. They’re calling the two strains ‘L’ and ‘S’, but in order to cause confusion, I’m going to call them Covid-19a and b.
It looks as though the first, more lethal strain (‘a’) has a fatality rate of about 2.5%. The ‘b’ strain appears to be rather less lethal, with a fatality rate of about 1%. This would explain the differential casualty rates between Hubei Province, the rest of China and the West. That’s still pretty lethal for the flu, but it’s a lot better than Spanish Flu or SARS, which also looks like a bio-weapon. Covid-19b is the bio-weapon you want if you want to get whacked by a bio-weapon that is.
Is it a pandemic?
No, is the short answer. A couple of thousand dead Chinese and a couple of hundred dead Italians don’t add up to a pandemic, however sad it might be for the individuals concerned and their families. The media keep banging on about ‘global’ infection and death rates when what they really mean s Chinese infection and death rates. The overwhelming majority of cases have been in the country which was crazy enough, and malicious enough, to create the weapon in the first place, that is to say, the People’s Republic of China. (It may not be a people’s republic for much longer, of course, indeed at this rate, they’ll probably bring back the Emperor!)
The British media announced the second death here as though it was a great tragedy. Then it turned out that it was in Milton Keynes, no offense intended. The death toll so far is about average for Nottingham on a Saturday night, indeed there have been more murders since the outbreak began than deaths from Covid-19.
Since the Johnson government is committed, like its predecessors, to keeping the murder rate high by having soft sentences, that’s likely to remain the case, even with the Cabinet Office doing its best to drive up the Coronavirus death toll by importing more infected people from China and Iran. (The plan is having more success in Italy.) Sadly the government’s plan to encourage the Cabinet Secretary to take a holiday in northern Italy or book a cruise on Princess Cruises has yet to come to fruition.
Princess Cruises are of course being encouraged to infect as many passengers as possible by keeping the air-con going. If they’re wondering why Grand Princess is being kept offshore it’s because someone in Washington has finally worked out that Covid-19 is airborne. With respect, the President’s instincts on this are sound. I don’t trust CDC, not least since they have been suppressing the sordid truth about Spanish Flu for over 15 years.
Aside from cleaning out a few supermarkets of their bog roll, suggesting that some people have confused Coronavirus with cholera, there hasn’t been any panic in Britain. I spent today on the wonderful Mid-Hants Railway in Hampshire, which runs between Alresford and Alton. Nobody was wearing masks and everybody was enjoying themselves, especially acute cockerpoo named Stanley.
Driving to Alresford through the glorious, albeit wet, Hampshire countryside, listening to John Rutter’s magnificent setting of the Lord’s Prayer on Classic FM, on my way to spend a day behind steam engines, I was reminded of what a wonderful country this is. Britain is now at peace, after 47 years of disastrous and divisive EU membership. We’re still on our feet, just about, despite all that various half-baked European tyrants and maniacs, from Louis XIV, Napoleon, the Kaiser and Adolf Hitler to Michel Barnier, have tried to throw at us.
This weekend has seen a very special visitor on the Mid-Hants, of course: Flying Scotsman, the world’s most famous steam locomotive. She’s looking in tip-top condition, even with those nasty German-style smoke deflectors. Sadly she’s not allowed to do 100 mph on the Mid-Hants, which officially is a light railroad with a speed limit of 25 mph. (Ideally, heritage railroads in Britain should be allowed to establish themselves through private Acts of Parliament, which would allow them to set safe speed limits according to the nature of the line and the state of the track and not have themselves fettered by a diktat from Whitehall, although 100 mph on the Mid-Hants would be pushing it!)
Speaking of diktats from Whitehall all carriages on steam railroads in Britain have to carry warning signs above the windows ordering you not to open them whilst the train is in motion. This is all because a couple of passengers on steam charters, lacking route knowledge, have stuck their heads out of windows at inopportune moments, and lost them.
Admittedly it can be upsetting for some passengers, especially the non-British ones, to have to step over a headless corpse on their way to the buffet car, but why spoil everybody else’s fun? Steam railroads are actually very safe, and, like the Mid-Hants, very well run.
Whither the Democrats?
The Democratic Party nomination is now a two-horse race, or, more accurately, a race between two old nags. No offense, but I wouldn’t enter either in the 3.30 at Newmarket. My prediction is that Senator Sanders won’t have the numbers to win in the first round and that the super-delegates will swing it to Joe Biden in the second.
Joe Biden faces five fundamental problems, it seems to be, each enough to sink him come November:
(1) His age. He’s not actually that much older than President Trump. The problem is that he looks at least 10 years older and electorates tend to think about how a President is going to perform at the end of his or her term, not just at the beginning. Moreover, he’s already starting to show signs of losing it. As a Democrat he wouldn’t have that many marbles, to begin with, no offense intended. He doesn’t want to be losing any now.
(2) The Obama birthplace cover-up. Remember the advice I gave about doing a DNA test on ‘von’ Obama’s alleged paternal grandmother was given to the DIA as well as the CIA. That means the Pentagon have got it, indeed I know they’re got it, because the subject came up, behind closed doors, with an armed guard on them. As Vice-President, Joe Biden must have known that Obama wasn’t a citizen. I know Joe’s a former senator but he can’t have been that stupid.
(3) Burisma. The Republicans are bound to home in on the appointment of Hunter Biden and ask how well he speaks Ukrainian. The whole Ukraine thing is a mess for Biden, and he knows it.
(4) Abortion. Away from the liberal littoral the American electorate just doesn’t go in for baby-killing. Joe Biden’s plan to kill more babies isn’t likely to play well in the Mid-West. Roe v. Wade is about to sink without trace in the Supreme Court, whatever Chuck Schumer may say, not because the majority are political, but because it’s bad law. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson didn’t believe in abortion and giving women the right to terminate the lives of their unborn children was about the last thing on the minds of the Founding Fathers. If there had been any Founding Mothers it wouldn’t have been on their minds either. Come November abortion is likely to be a hot-button issue. The Democrats may find that it’s about as popular as Coronavirus. It doesn’t matter how many times feminists assert that only one life is involved in the decision to abort a foetus. They’re wrong. Women get to bear children, guys get to take the trash out. That’s just the way it is. Men and women are equal, but we’re not the same, and
(5) Gun control. Democrats expect to be protected by armed security, but they want to take away your guns. Of course, that means that the occasionally unhinged maniac is going to acquire a gun and shoot people, but if you’ve got a gun you can shoot him. Since the world is largely run by unhinged maniacs (have you ever met anyone from the Cabinet Office?) apart from America of course, complaining about what an unhinged maniac might do doesn’t actually cut that much ice with Joe and Jill public.
I think the President will win by a landslide.
Speaking of landslides Rebecca Long-Bailey is about to get buried in one. Labour’s long-drawn-out leadership contest is going Sir Keir Starmer’s way, big time. He’s going to find winning the next General Election a whole lot harder, however, even with Cabinet Office backing.
It’s not that the Cabinet Office is left-wing. Sir Keir doesn’t believe in democracy and thinks that officials should run the country. He would prefer European officials to do the job, of course, but if he can’t have the country run from Brussels he’d rather have it run from Whitehall than Number 10, no offense intended.
Recent Reading: Sailors On The Rocks (Peter C. Smith, 2015)
This book is all about Royal Navy shipwrecks, of which there have been quite a few. In fairness to the Royal Navy, most photographs of shipwrecks, almost by definition, are taken in daylight, usually in calm weather. People then tend to ask ‘how could they have missed that rock etc.’ As Peter Smith explains, however, most shipwrecks take place at night, usually in foul weather.
The most famous recent shipwreck, that of the DDG HMS Nottingham, on Wolf Rock off the coast of Lord Howe Island, in 2002, raised a few eyebrows at the time. How could a ship with every modern navigation aid hit a well-charted rock? It turns out that due to MOD cheeseparing the Nottingham did not, in fact, have every conceivable modern navaid. I was surprised to learn, for example, that she was still using paper charts and apparently wasn’t even fitted with GPS.
Peter Smith, a noted naval historian with sensible views about global warming, is quite fair about the incident. Leaving aside the decision to hit the rock, the officers and crew did just about everything right that night. Damage control was excellent and no lives were lost.
The funniest incident, although not so funny for her skipper and navigator, was the running aground of the old ‘S’ class destroyer HMS Sturdy off the Scottish coast in 1940. What’s so funny about that, I hear you ask? The skipper thought they had hit Northern Ireland! That’s what’s referred to in the trade as a dead-reckoning error.
Smith offers fresh insights into the famous incident involving HMS Effingham in Norway in 1940. Effingham was one of the fine Hawkins class of 7.5”-gunned heavy cruisers completed shortly after the First World War. Graceful and powerful, they were the first modern heavy cruisers. Somewhat long in the tooth by 1940 however, Effingham had been rebuilt as a light cruiser using 6” guns leftover from the conversion of some of the similar vintage C class cruisers into anti-aircraft cruisers.
Part of the hastily assembled Norway operation, Effingham’s skipper decided to take the inshore approach to Bodo, thinking that not even the wily Hun would expect it. That’s because the wily Hun had been planning his invasion for months if not years and had charted in German! Poor old Effingham’s charts were in Norwegian!
Even that would have been fine had any of her officers been fluent in Norwegian or had the Royal Norwegian Navy been invited to send someone along. It rather looks as though the navigating officer misunderstood the Norwegian for ‘watch out, there’s a bloody great rock in the middle of this channel!’ The traditional explanation – that the navigator simply penciled over the rock on his chart – is unlikely to be true. Next time the Hun invades Norway we should ship some decent Norwegian beer and invite the Norwegian Navy along for the party.
It’s a very well researched and written piece of naval history and I recommend it.
This week’s TV review: Intelligence (Sky One, Airdate February 21st, 2020)
I sincerely hope this hilarious new intel comedy is shown Stateside. Starring David Schwimmer (Ross in Friends) as an NSA officer assigned to GCHQ, it sends up the FBI, the NSA, and GCHQ, in just about equal measure.
Schwimmer’s character, Jerry, is a loud-mouthed asshole (sorry, that should read ‘jerk’, I keep forgetting that this is a family website) who rubs his new boss up the wrong way. This is one of the few weaknesses in the plot – as an asshole, sorry ‘jerk’, Jerry really ought to have been cast as CIA, no offense intended. The NSA are very nice people and not at all obsessed with sex.
The GCHQ characters are a hoot and seem to have come straight from central casting. One can’t help feeling that creator Nick Mohammed must have had some inside help.
I don’t want to spoil the plot too much, but it turns out that Meade was anxious to offload Jerry and the FBI come calling. Something to do with helping out the Republican candidate in 2016. The FBI agent, as one would expect, had been sleeping with Jerry’s wife. Jerry then pretends to be gay and goes through a gay marriage to avoid extradition.
It’s very watchable and worth downloading if you can get it.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.