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Provocation: Covid-19 as a False Flag “Bio-Reichstag Fire” (Updated on 4/22/2020)

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The Reich­stag Fire

COMMENT: In FTR #1126 [6], we exam­ined the Trump admin­is­tra­tion and GOP’s exploita­tion of the Covid-19 out­break as a cam­paign tac­tic and right-wing hints that the virus escaped from a Chi­nese bio­log­i­cal war­fare lab­o­ra­to­ry.

Now, Ger­many, France and Britain are join­ing with the Trump admin­is­tra­tion and the GOP in hint­ing that the coro­n­avirus escaped from a Chi­nese bio­log­i­cal war­fare lab­o­ra­to­ry.

Amer­i­can media voic­es from (pre­dictably) Fox News [7] to (also pre­dictably) The New York Times [8] are orgias­ti­cal­ly dis­sem­i­nat­ing [9] the Fresh Fer­til­iz­er, act­ing in con­junc­tion with intel­li­gence offi­cers. 

Note that the linked sto­ry about Fox News describes state­ments by right-wing jour­nal­ists, act­ing in con­cert with ele­ments of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, inti­mat­ing that offi­cials of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty are in bed with Chi­nese intel­li­gence.

This reeks of McCarthy­ism and may well hand Trump vic­to­ry in the fall and, even­tu­al­ly, lead to war.

In fact, there is a high-secu­ri­ty bio­log­i­cal research facil­i­ty in Wuhan at which Chi­nese sci­en­tists, along with Amer­i­can peers, have been study­ing coronaviruses–a source of inter­mit­tent dis­ease trans­mis­sion in Chi­na. This facil­i­ty involves joint research [10] fund­ed, in part, by the Pen­ta­gon.

As the Ger­man For­eign Pol­i­cy [11] arti­cle notes, the tone of both Amer­i­can and Ger­man rhetoric con­cern­ing Covid-19 is rem­i­nis­cent of the delib­er­ate dis­in­for­ma­tion that led to the Amer­i­can inva­sion of Iraq in 2002.

” . . . . Last week­end, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump warned the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic that it should face con­se­quences if it was ‘know­ing­ly respon­si­ble’ for the spread of the pan­dem­ic. Wash­ing­ton is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly spread­ing delib­er­ate rumors that the virus could have orig­i­nat­ed in a Chi­nese lab­o­ra­to­ry. Where­as, sci­en­tists vehe­ment­ly refute the alle­ga­tions, Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter Heiko Maas declared, he ‘does not want to exclude’ that the WHO will have to deal with these issues. On Mon­day, Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel called on Bei­jing to show ‘trans­paren­cy’ on the issue. . . .”

” . . . . At the same time delib­er­ate rumors are being spread in the Unit­ed States that the Covid-19 virus could have orig­i­nat­ed in a Chi­nese lab­o­ra­to­ry — pos­si­bly in bioweapons lab. The US gov­ern­ment indi­cat­ed that it does not rule out this pos­si­bil­i­ty; US intel­li­gence ser­vices are cur­rent­ly inves­ti­gat­ing the issue. Par­tic­u­lar­ly giv­en the lie about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruc­tion, such an alle­ga­tion must be per­ceived as a threat to lend legit­i­ma­cy to new aggres­sions. . . .”

” . . . . Already last week, Ger­man media organs have increas­ing­ly been call­ing Chi­na the ‘cul­prit’ behind the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic out­break. Under the head­line ‘what Chi­na already owes us,’ Ger­many’s Springer press even called for ‘repa­ra­tions.’ (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[5]) Lead­ing British and French politi­cians have expressed sim­i­lar views. British For­eign Min­is­ter Dominic Raab has repeat­ed­ly declared that Chi­na will be held respon­si­ble for the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic. French Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron has now joined the cam­paign. Regard­ing the pan­demic’s alleged ori­gin, he declared, ‘there are clear­ly things that have hap­pened’ in Chi­na ‘that we don’t know about.’[6] It is not clear how Macron can know some­thing exists that he does not know about. It is how­ev­er clear that he seeks to impli­cate Bei­jing. . . .”

Sug­ges­tions that the virus could have orig­i­nat­ed in a Chi­nese bioweapons lab are curi­ous­ly blind to events in the Unit­ed States. In ear­ly August of 2019 [12], short­ly before the record­ed start of the out­break in Wuhan, Chi­na, the U.S. Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute of Infec­tious Dis­eases at that facil­i­ty was closed down by the CDC due to mul­ti­ple safe­ty vio­la­tions. “All research at a Fort Det­rick lab­o­ra­to­ry that han­dles high-lev­el dis­ease-caus­ing mate­r­i­al, such as Ebo­la, is on hold indef­i­nite­ly after the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion found the orga­ni­za­tion failed to meet biosafe­ty stan­dards. . . . The CDC sent a cease and desist order in July. After USAMRIID received the order from the CDC, its reg­is­tra­tion with the Fed­er­al Select Agent Pro­gram, which over­sees dis­ease-caus­ing mate­r­i­al use and pos­ses­sion, was sus­pend­ed. That sus­pen­sion effec­tive­ly halt­ed all bio­log­i­cal select agents and tox­in research at USAMRIID . . . .”

1. “Bats, Gene Edit­ing and Bioweapons: Rec­cent DARPA Exper­i­ments Raise Con­cerns Amid Coro­n­avirus Out­break” by Whit­ney Webb; The Last Amer­i­can Vagabond; 1/30/2020. [13]

  1. ” . . . . the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), began spend­ing mil­lions on such research in 2018 and some of those Pen­ta­gon-fund­ed stud­ies were con­duct­ed at known U.S. mil­i­tary bioweapons labs bor­der­ing Chi­na and result­ed in the dis­cov­ery of dozens of new coro­n­avirus strains as recent­ly as last April. Fur­ther­more, the ties of the Pentagon’s main biode­fense lab to a virol­o­gy insti­tute in Wuhan, Chi­na — where the cur­rent out­break is believed to have begun — have been unre­port­ed in Eng­lish lan­guage media thus far. . . . For instance, DARPA spent $10 mil­lion on one project [14] in 2018 ‘to unrav­el the com­plex caus­es of bat-borne virus­es that have recent­ly made the jump to humans, caus­ing con­cern among glob­al health offi­cials.’ Anoth­er research project backed by both DARPA and NIH [15] saw researchers at Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty exam­ine the coro­n­avirus that caus­es Mid­dle East Res­pi­ra­to­ry Syn­drome (MERS) in bats and camels ‘to under­stand the role of these hosts in trans­mit­ting dis­ease to humans.’  . . . For instance, one study con­duct­ed in South­ern Chi­na in 2018 [16] result­ed in the dis­cov­ery of 89 new ‘nov­el bat coro­n­avirus’ strains that use the same recep­tor as the coro­n­avirus known as Mid­dle East Res­pi­ra­to­ry Syn­drome (MERS). That study was joint­ly fund­ed by the Chi­nese government’s Min­istry of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy, USAID — an orga­ni­za­tion long alleged to be a front for U.S. intel­li­gence [17], and the U.S. Nation­al Insti­tute of Health — which has col­lab­o­rat­ed with both the CIA and the Pen­ta­gon [18]on infec­tious dis­ease and bioweapons research.. . . .”
  2. DARPA is doing this work, in part, at bio­log­i­cal research facil­i­ties ring­ing both Chi­na and Rus­sia. ” . . . .  One of those stud­ies [19] focused on ‘Bat-Borne Zoonot­ic Dis­ease Emer­gence in West­ern Asia’ and involved the Lugar Cen­ter in Geor­gia, iden­ti­fied by for­mer Geor­gian gov­ern­ment offi­cials [20]the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment [21]and inde­pen­dent, inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Dilyana Gay­tandzhie­va [22] as a covert U.S. bioweapons lab. . . . Anoth­er U.S. gov­ern­ment-fund­ed study that dis­cov­ered still more new strains of ‘nov­el bat coro­n­avirus’ was pub­lished just last year. Titled ‘Dis­cov­ery and Char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of Nov­el Bat Coro­n­avirus Lin­eages from Kaza­khstan [23],’ focused on ‘the bat fau­na of cen­tral Asia, which link Chi­na to east­ern Europe’ and the nov­el bat coro­n­avirus lin­eages dis­cov­ered dur­ing the study were found to be ‘close­ly relat­ed to bat coro­n­avirus­es from Chi­na, France, Spain, and South Africa, sug­gest­ing that co-cir­cu­la­tion of coro­n­avirus­es is com­mon in mul­ti­ple bat species with over­lap­ping geo­graph­i­cal dis­tri­b­u­tions.’ In oth­er words, the coro­n­avirus­es dis­cov­ered in this study were iden­ti­fied in bat pop­u­la­tions that migrate between Chi­na and Kaza­khstan, among oth­er coun­tries, and is close­ly relat­ed to bat coro­n­avirus­es in sev­er­al coun­tries, includ­ing Chi­na. . . .”

2. “The Sus­pi­cion Cam­paign;” Ger­man For­eign Pol­i­cy; 4/21/2020. [11]

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment is join­ing the US cam­paign of alle­ga­tions against Chi­na regard­ing the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic out­break. Last week­end, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump warned the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic that it should face con­se­quences if it was “know­ing­ly respon­si­ble” for the spread of the pan­dem­ic. Wash­ing­ton is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly spread­ing delib­er­ate rumors that the virus could have orig­i­nat­ed in a Chi­nese lab­o­ra­to­ry. Where­as, sci­en­tists vehe­ment­ly refute the alle­ga­tions, Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter Heiko Maas declared, he “does not want to exclude” that the WHO will have to deal with these issues. On Mon­day, Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel called on Bei­jing to show “trans­paren­cy” on the issue. Senior Ger­man mil­i­tary offi­cials have recent­ly been demand­ing that the EU adopt “a joint polit­i­cal-strate­gic response” to Chi­na’s grow­ing strength, because in the Coro­na cri­sis, Bei­jing is gain­ing con­sid­er­able influ­ence. Accord­ing to a recent poll, more than half of the Ital­ian pop­u­la­tion sees Chi­na as a “friend,” while near­ly half see Ger­many as an “ene­my.”

Delib­er­ate Rumors

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment is join­ing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s new cam­paign against Chi­na, albeit atten­u­at­ed. On the week­end, Pres­i­dent Trump claimed that the virus “could have been stopped in Chi­na” and warned that the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic “should face con­se­quences” if it was “know­ing­ly respon­si­ble” for the spread.[1] At the same time delib­er­ate rumors are being spread in the Unit­ed States that the Covid-19 virus could have orig­i­nat­ed in a Chi­nese lab­o­ra­to­ry — pos­si­bly in bioweapons lab. The US gov­ern­ment indi­cat­ed that it does not rule out this pos­si­bil­i­ty; US intel­li­gence ser­vices are cur­rent­ly inves­ti­gat­ing the issue. Par­tic­u­lar­ly giv­en the lie about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruc­tion, such an alle­ga­tion must be per­ceived as a threat to lend legit­i­ma­cy to new aggres­sions. There is no proof that the virus orig­i­nat­ed in a lab­o­ra­to­ry. Sci­en­tif­ic stud­ies clear­ly con­clude that it was trans­mit­ted from wild ani­mals to humans.[2]

Open to Sus­pi­cion

Berlin is open to entire­ly unfound­ed sus­pi­cions. For­eign Min­is­ter Heiko Maas is quot­ed say­ing he “does­n’t want to exclude” that “the WHO will have to deal with these issues.”[3] The Min­is­ter of Devel­op­ment Gerd Müller declared that the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic must dis­play “com­plete open­ness” — “par­tic­u­lar­ly regard­ing the ori­gin of the virus.”[4] Already last week, Ger­man media organs have increas­ing­ly been call­ing Chi­na the “cul­prit” behind the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic out­break. Under the head­line “what Chi­na already owes us,” Ger­many’s Springer press even called for “repa­ra­tions.” (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[5]) Lead­ing British and French politi­cians have expressed sim­i­lar views. British For­eign Min­is­ter Dominic Raab has repeat­ed­ly declared that Chi­na will be held respon­si­ble for the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic. French Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron has now joined the cam­paign. Regard­ing the pan­demic’s alleged ori­gin, he declared, “there are clear­ly things that have hap­pened” in Chi­na “that we don’t know about.”[6] It is not clear how Macron can know some­thing exists that he does not know about. It is how­ev­er clear that he seeks to impli­cate Bei­jing.

“A Dev­as­tat­ing Impres­sion”

Insight into the Ger­man-Euro­pean involve­ment in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s new cam­paign against Chi­na is pro­vid­ed by Ger­man mil­i­tary offi­cials’ recent state­ments. A new work­ing paper by the Fed­er­al Acad­e­my for Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy (BAKS), for exam­ple, exam­ines the Covid-19 pan­demic’s poten­tial glob­al polit­i­cal ram­i­fi­ca­tions. The author, Ret. Brig.Gen. Armin Staigis, BAKS Vice-Pres­i­dent (2013 — 2015) today’s Chair of BAKS “Asso­ci­a­tion of Friends” points out that the USA, “up to now the EU’s most impor­tant part­ner” is “erod­ing in the glob­al con­text.” Chi­na, on the oth­er hand, is emerg­ing more and more “on the world stage.” “With its eco­nom­ic pow­er, it is reach­ing the Euro­pean con­ti­nent and is thus ... also becom­ing a polit­i­cal rival.”[7] The EU should “not become a pawn” in the hands of states like Rus­sia (“revan­chists”), the USA (“off course ego­centrics”) or Chi­na (“hun­gry up-starts”). The EU “still has to for­mu­late a joint polit­i­cal strate­gic answer” par­tic­u­lar­ly to the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic’s grow­ing strength. This is all the more impor­tant in light of the polit­i­cal devel­op­ment in the Coro­na cri­sis: “There is a pub­lic per­cep­tion that Chi­na is pro­vid­ing faster and more help­ful sup­port in Europe than the EU and its mem­ber states among them­selves.” This, how­ev­er, is a “dev­as­tat­ing impres­sion.”

Race between the Global Economic Powers

Late last week, Gen­er­al Staff Offi­cer Col. Matthias Rogg, a mem­ber of the board of the Ger­man Insti­tute for Defense and Strate­gic Stud­ies (GIDS), a Bun­deswehr think tank (found­ed in 2018) made a sim­i­lar obser­va­tion. Rogg assumes that in the course of the Coro­na cri­sis, Chi­na will sig­nif­i­cant­ly enhance its inter­na­tion­al influ­ence. “That per­tains to the eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment in coun­tries, for exam­ple in the Mid­dle East or even in Africa, which are not vis­i­bly affect­ed by the epi­dem­ic, but will sure­ly also be seri­ous­ly affect­ed by Coro­na, either direct­ly or indirectly.”[8] There, the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na will be able to secure new influ­ence “through finan­cial, and mate­r­i­al assis­tance.” It should “not be for­got­ten” that it is com­plete­ly uncer­tain “how the USA will eco­nom­i­cal­ly evolve from this cri­sis.” “That means that in the race between the glob­al eco­nom­ic pow­ers, one can assume that Chi­na ... will have a head start and wind up among the win­ners of the cri­sis.” That is grave — after all, with Chi­na, which, for exam­ple, has “offered imme­di­ate assis­tance” to Italy, we are “de fac­to deal­ing with a coun­try from a rival sys­tem.”

Enemy Number One

A cur­rent sur­vey made in Italy shows the prob­lems Ger­man pow­er strate­gists are con­fronting. The Ital­ian sur­vey sug­gests that the sus­pi­cion cam­paign against Chi­na is also aimed at affect­ing Europe. In mid-March it had indi­cat­ed that around two-thirds of the Ital­ians felt EU mem­ber­ship was dis­ad­van­ta­geous to their coun­try. Only four per­cent felt that the Union was pro­vid­ing suf­fi­cient sup­port to Italy dur­ing the Coro­na crisis.[9] Now, since Chi­na’s most recent Covid-19 assis­tance deliv­ery, 52 per­cent of the Ital­ian pop­u­la­tion see Chi­na as a “friend” of Italy; 32 per­cent con­sid­er Rus­sia, who is also pro­vid­ing assis­tance, a “friend,” and only 17 per­cent place the Unit­ed States in this cat­e­go­ry. Among the coun­tries in the sur­vey con­sid­ered an “ene­my” of Italy, first place, with an impres­sive 45 per­cent, went to Germany.[10]

 [1] Trump dro­ht Chi­na mit “Kon­se­quen­zen”. tagesschau.de 19.04.2020.

[2] Vgl. etwa: Kris­t­ian G. Ander­sen, Andrew Ram­baut, W. Ian Lip­kin, Edward C. Holmes, Robert F. Gar­ry: The prox­i­mal ori­gin of SARS-CoV­‑2. Nature Med­i­cine 26 (2020). S. 450–452.

[3] Nils Met­zger: Neue Argu­mente für Labor-The­o­rie? zdf.de 17.04.2020.

[4] Darum nimmt die Kri­tik an Pekings Umgang mit der Coro­n­avirus-Krise zu. tagesspiegel.de 20.04.2020.

[5] See also Bat­tle of Nar­ra­tives [24].

[6] Vic­tor Mal­let, Roula Kha­laf: FT Inter­view: Emmanuel Macron says it is time to think the unthink­able. ft.com 16.04.2020.

[7] Armin Staigis: Ern­st­fall Europa — Jet­zt! Bun­de­sakademie für Sicher­heit­spoli­tik: Arbeitspa­pi­er 2/20. Berlin, April 2020.

[8] “Chi­na dürfte am Ende zu den Krisen­gewin­nern gehören”. cicero.de 17.04.2020.

[9] See also Ger­many First (II) [25].

[10] Mas­si­m­il­iano Lenzi: Lib­ertà super­flua per 2 ital­iani su 3. iltempo.it 18.04.2020.