By Henry Kamens for VT and New Eastern Outlook
The world has rarely, if ever, seen anything like this Covid-19 crisis. Consequently there are few signposts for how to deal with it. But we are still human beings, and on that basis alone, there are certain things we know.
Trump is dealing with it by trying to hold back money due to the WHO, which he is calling an instrument of lying and damage control for the Chinese. It is true that the head of the WHO is a very shady character tied in with drug companies and corrupt dealings. But when even mouthpieces of US policy are publishing articles with such titles as How WHO Became China’s Coronavirus Accomplice, you can see that these allegations are part of a game, not things designed to identify problems and solutions.
Allegations are being presented as facts, not to add to understanding but to shift the blame, as if that is all that matters during a deadly pandemic. Apparently, after initial denials and cover-ups, China has successfully contained the COVID-19 outbreak. But this is not before it has exported many cases to the rest of the world, so goes the latest script.
The buck stopped with Harry Truman
COVID-19 is giving us more insight into the corruption of organisations that we once trusted without question, and government agencies who are supposed to be looking out for our health and well-being. We are coming to question statistics that few have ever questioned before, such as numbers of deaths and why people have died, and how viruses in general spread.
For example, when we hear about the number of COVID-19 deaths we are not told how many of these people died from COVID-19 itself and how many simply had tested for COVID-19, but died of something else – or if it is even possible to draw such a line. Nor do we know if the figures are recorded the same way everywhere, even if they are truthful – what may be listed as a COVID-19 fatality in one place might be categorised differently elsewhere, based on both medical opinion and policy.
The way statistics are used at a time of pandemic reminds me of the Mark Twain quote, “Figures Don’t Lie but Liars Figure.” Such an expression fits much of the data we are being presented with by government and the business community alike. Another quote along these lines is the one about three kinds of lies – “lies, damned lies, and statistics.
The data has never been fully reliable, and possibly could never be, unless there those collecting it be very active, widespread testing. The government in South Korea has taken that path. I would also like to think that this is the reason Armenia has had more reported cases than Georgia or Azerbaijan, although I admit that the Georgian authorities also don’t have strong reasons to be insincere in the numbers they are publishing.
In the US, however, the data methodology is clear – Don’t test, don’t tell. We don’t know how many people are actually infected with COVID-19 because there aren’t enough tests to determine this, and this was a deliberate policy from day one. So we come to question official documents, briefings, numbers infected and how many have actually died from COVID-19 and its complications, which seems to depend on what you can pin on the Chinese.
The main activities of those entrusted to address this pandemic are recrimination, denial and finger-pointing. Even the Chinese are blaming high officials. The “Blame Game” is the best way to describe what is going on now.
Every cloud has a trough and a pie
I don’t want to see who is gaining from this turmoil. But there may be long term benefits in finding out, as this could help explain away what happened to much of the artificial wealth created on paper since 2008, it has disappeared, and the historic highs in the stock markets.
I keep reading about how the post-corona world will be very different. On the other hand, too often in human history have things gone back to normal without many lessons being learned.
Maybe the virus was just something that got out of control. However, it looks to be manageable if the right steps are taken at the right time. It is taking time and plenty of effort to be managed, but even if priorities shift, were these problems created deliberately?
The real story here is not the official narrative but the folks with big households, people who cannot work from home, or all the physicians or emergency workers, plus grocery store staff, delivery workers, the postal service, etc., etc. They are the very people whose jobs and lives have been mucked about with by politicians pursuing ideology for the sake of it, Soviet-style, as if that somehow is the answer for everything.
In the meantime everybody is blaming everybody, even platforms such as Zoom, whose online conferencing and virtual classes have come under scrutiny for security breaches and suspected insider trading. It is true that its top management dumped stock before this scandal became mainstream news, but online platforms do not spread viruses that kill humans, or prevent them.
Where does it end?
Unfortunately, many people in politics rise to the top because they are incapable of seeing anything in any other terms. Everything has to be a political calculation or the product of one, as if the rising and setting of the sun are election gimmicks or plots by a certain voter base’s enemies.
The COVID-19 assistance Russia has provided Italy is being attacked based on its intentions, most likely because it came with no strings attached. If the Russians are doing it, there must be a bad political reason for it, as Russians can only try and help resolve the problem if they want to gain something at the end of it.
Naturally Russian health officials are also in Italy to find out about the specific strain which is affecting that country, as all strains do not kill with the same effectiveness. They have an interest in doing this because this is as close to a post-use bio weapons scenario that you can get without a mass kill off.
Where was NATO and EU unity when Italy needed it? As one Italian doctor shared, “Good old Donald, he talked on the phone with our useless Prime Minister Giuseppe and then sent him a check of 100 million dollars overnight.”
Looking at the numbers, we need to consider the average age in Italy and how they categorise patients as having COVID-19. As in the US and elsewhere, many deaths are being attributed to the virus when they are not a direct product of it.
Why is the death rate higher in Italy than other European countries? Either the virus has had some synergy with a catalyst, or it is the way they are playing with the numbers. The Italians still remember the Marshall Aid years after World War Two, they know how to play such games and win.
Is it not strange that when everyone is talking about viruses, and even the most ignorant people are suddenly masters of scenario planning, nobody covers professionally what the intelligence agencies are doing – and especially their contractors? They operate in a murky environment in virtually unknown countries, where BSL 3 labs have been established under various US-government funded programmes.
What’s sauce for the goose is saucier for the gander
The COVID-19 which has hit Italy and Iran, and now Spain and the UK, is not the same strain as the one seen in Georgia and elsewhere. Georgia has seen only three deaths so far, at least officially. Credit is being given to its healthcare system and professionals, calling it Georgia’s coronavirus miracle.
“So successful has Georgia been in keeping the virus at bay, that governments around the world are now looking at how the small Caucasus country has managed to control the spread of Covid-19 so well.”
Those same governments have never previously taken an interest in the Georgian healthcare system; if they had, it would be well enough funded to be free at point of delivery, and drugs would be reasonably priced. They know that Georgian doctors are notoriously reluctant to talk openly about their work, (or medicine in general), for fear of contradicting official figures and facing consequences.
But now Georgia is being presented as a model, to save the reputations of countries which won’t admit they are lying about the nature and cause of the infections. The same countries which won’t admit that the Richard E. Lugar Centre in Tbilisi is a bioweapons lab, exporting diseases such as these to global flashpoints and testing them on an unwitting domestic population.
Words without songs
As you would expect in a war of recriminations, media groups are also involved. These are collaborating with each other to rubbish anything Russia is doing to help Italy. As one source wrote, “listen to me: you cannot find anything on the media about John Rendon and his activities because he owns the media! The only way you can get info about what they do in Tbilisi Georgia is by finding a whistleblower.”
Jacopo Iacoboni, the journalist who wrote the article which drove the Russians mad, is a really good writer and well-connected. Maurizio Molinari, editor of the newspaper la Stampa, is a former Foggy Bottom correspondent, close to neo-con people, who made a pact with the devil long ago and became the mouthpiece of right-wing Israeli environments.
Molinari is a member of the Democrat alliance in Israel, but no less guilty pursuing US agendas. Such articles as those by Natalia Antelva and Jacopo Iacobonia are templates, and “The Influence Operation Behind Russia’s Coronavirus Aid to Italy” claims that “The Kremlin is using Covid-19 to undermine NATO and the EU.”
Having read the joint articles of Natalia Antelava, the co-founder of Coda Media out of NY and Tbilisi, Iacoboni, and other carefully, I can conclude overall they are speculative and strongly skewed which is obviously intended. The same can be said about COVID data, there are many parameters (incl. statistics) influencing outcome in individual countries, so difficult to extract sensible info from differences alone.
Clearly there is a good-will aspect of Russia giving aid, even if some sources in the West claim that they also gather intelligence. Frankly, I have no clue but I assume that the Italian government has calculated the risk. The Russian military people who have arrived in Italy are indeed mostly from the Centre of Research on Bacteriological Protection of the Russian Ministry of Defence.
If you believe the Western view of facilities such as the Lugar Centre, there is no justification for this. If you believe the reports coming out of the countries these labs are located in, from people on the ground, it would be imperative to find out whether there is an intelligence aspect to the sudden emergence and spread of this virus – because if there is, the health issue be an effect rather than cause of the problems the outbreak has created.
Pardon us for living
Something far more sinister is going on than meets the eye. The well is too deep; we can only do so much to get to the bottom. It is like they want to reboot the global system, write off much toxic debt from the books and draw attention to how they want us to think we ended up here in the first place.
Much of the answer to how we really did end up here, and never should again, lies in the contracts given out to networks of patronage and evil lab researchers; modern-day Nazi doctors, the unscrupulous ones who have elaborate protection mechanisms behind them, as anyone who tries to complain about a doctor, anywhere, soon finds out.
Anyone is prone to become a Joseph Mengele with the proper environment and right money and stroking. A former safety officer for a lab tied to Battelle and Bechtel maintains this could all have been caused by an escape from a lab, as has happened before with some strains of flu that only existed in a lab. But the board of Battelle is most revealing.
It includes characters such as John K. Welch, formerly of General Dynamics and the US Naval Academy Foundation. It was he who ran Gaddafi’s chemical warfare programme, and when Gaddafi was attacked, he called Welch to bail him out, and Welch went to Cairo to ask Israel for help.
But now is not to time to dig too deeply, as the further this goes along the more self-evident will things become. We can only hope that, when everyone has finished blaming everyone else for this pandemic, the public will hold those who want to blame instead of serve responsible for it.
Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.