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Coronavirus, the Totalitarian Excuse

by LC Douglass 2 years ago in fact or fiction

Velvet Gloves Hide Iron Hands

Image Source: 4chan.

An Omen

As the coronavirus spreads worldwide, draconian patterns emerge. An omen flashed by in the cascade of information. At a 26 February 2020 press conference with President Trump, Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the US CDC (full press conference here), wore a jeweled coronavirus brooch, with an embedded pentacle in its center.

The pentacle, as anyone familiar with Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian man diagram knows, can be a magical symbol for a human being. This star represents the five-pointed symmetry of the human body. Thus, the brooch apparently symbolized the coronavirus completely encircling humanity. It looked as though, contrary to her overtly-stated public health tasks and goals, Dr. Schuchat was paying subtle homage to her dark and silent god.

The novel coronavirus will challenge all social, economic and political systems. The crisis exacerbates any pre-existing lack of confidence, alienation, or vulnerability. The pandemic and infodemic come hand-in-hand, engulfing government after government. Despite local differences, the same trends emerge as previously appeared in China: semi-normal warnings, containment, limitation of movement, confiscation and crackdown. While the stress intensifies, members of the mainstream and alt media have been providing daily pandemic digests. The vlogger Koreana Jones covered outbreaks in Chinese prisons and the release of Iranian prisoners (below). Koreana Jones claims he is being demonetized and intimidated to cease producing content.

Meanwhile, the Kiwi vlogger Ed at The Outer Light channel on Youtube provided his daily overview for 4 March 2020 (above). You can hear the weariness in his voice, with which I identify. It is exhausting covering this deadly topic.

It is also increasingly dangerous. Authorities equate their narratives with social order. They see themselves as the legitimate guardians of vetted information. They stand in place to prevent panic and protect the economy. Deeper truths about the virus, its pandemic spread, and the human cost and comfort, all follow after that in terms of importance. Critics who focus on the virus itself and on human factors are derided as fake news fear-mongers. Some of those critics have risked their lives to bring alternative information forward in order to save people. Shouldn't the public have a right to know about it, even if it challenges the official version of reality?

Citizens have an exaggerated sense of their own importance in larger systems. China lost USD $196 billion in the first two months of 2020 due to the coronavirus. Consider how much money you individually make in a year and how much you spend as a consumer in a year. Even if you have a highly developed professional skill set, those figures measure what you are worth to the economy. Multiply your personal total by the population of your city or nearest town. How do your individual and local numbers compare to those at play in international trade? Life is cheap compared the the huge numbers at stake, day by day, in global economies.

Step One: Manage the Narrative

Officials are holding reassuring press conferences to maintain public order, like the 4 March 2020 official Canadian 'elbow bump instead of a handshake' cringefest. The gist of the message was: the federal government will fob off what it can onto the provinces and after that, individual patients are on their own. Don't go to the hospital if you feel ill, call first (so we can stop you from coming in).

As for the provincial-level response, the Ontario provincial government's real, bare bones advice is 'go buy a humidifier.' Is it any wonder that people start searching online for alternative information about the virus and how it can be combated - rightly or wrongly - with vitamin supplements, along with herbal preventions against cytokine storms?

Half of the special Canadian parliamentary committee which will deal with nCov holds economic portfolios in Prime Minister Trudeau's cabinet, showing the government's real priority. On 4 March 2020, the Canadian Armed Forces received a pre-pandemic planning activation, but the public are left in the dark as to the orders the soldiers have received.

Ontario Websites (here, here, here, here) are typical of second-tier governmental information. If anything, they are rather better than typical. They do advise the public and health care workers and they try to be complete. But they are filled with gaps. Their 26 February 2020 synopsis acknowledges: "It is recognized that there may be additional information not captured in this document."

Indeed, the Ontario advisory, What We Know So Far About…the Risks to Health Care Workers, states blandly that,

"Based on current information, the proportion of health care-associated COVID-19 infection in health care workers (HCWs) is relatively low compared to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)."

To their credit, the Ontario government cites major, recently-published studies of how Chinese health care workers became infected in clinical settings. The Ontario advisory refers to one now-well-known JAMA study from 7 February 2020, which stated that an incredible one third of hospitalized COVID19 patients (of the sample reviewed) were Chinese medical staff.

There can - in this official information space - be no acknowledgement of grey, unconfirmed details which may nonetheless be critical for health care workers and the public. No government can afford to be seen speculating as to whether the virus did not emerge from Wuhan's wet market (the initial Chinese governmental story) and was in fact either lab-made or a bioweapon. If the virus is synthetic, obviously the Chinese government would not admit it. The bioweapon possibility violates international laws prohibiting the development of weapons of mass destruction. Lately, the Chinese government has tried to steer that narrative in a new direction and has been claiming that the virus was a bioweapon made in America.

This is the murky intelligence behind a prim, Ontario brief from 26 February 2020, which states simply that the virus came out of Wuhan's wet market. However, a Lancet article from 15 February 2020 clearly states that it did not come out of that market.

Consider what the virus-as-bioweapon implies for clinicians. It changes the picture completely. But no government - except at the highest security levels - will acknowledge this possibility. That is partly why foreign governmental officials cannot acknowledge Chinese medical whistleblowers who leaked the true spread of COVID19 among their ranks.

The picture Chinese medics painted was anecdotal, yet terrible: all the lab techs dead, whole wards left without physicians, the majority of health care workers infected and dying. These leaks came out in bits and pieces over two months. The vloggers who disseminated them and added English subtitles were censored on big tech platforms. Under these conditions, the independent media were not able to compile a holistic picture of numbers and time frames which would make sense to health care professionals outside China, who are accustomed to bullet-pointed, ring-fenced, orderly, verifiable and respectable information.

Health care professionals already work in environments that are operating at 100+ per cent capacities. They do not have time to dig into non-peer-reviewed research or to ponder neckbeards' conspiracy theories about the coronavirus in the Internet Underground. If they did, they would begin to understand the sad, red-pilled truth that their lives are cheap, too. They would understand that basement dwellers are the only people who are truly on their side. I know this because medics are not being given the advice, money and equipment which they need now to marshal a full onslaught against this pandemic. Health care professionals are the most important workers operating in the front lines against this virus. Their victories and losses determine whether our societies will fall into public health totalitarianism.

Canadian planners do not plumb such depths. As with most other countries, they steer the public toward a program of passive, phased expectation. The phases mirror the WHO's stages of epidemics. In Canada, look for: containment, preparation, and mitigation. Never mind where the virus thing came from or what that could mean. Stop discussing how the virus works and what you can do. Stop comparing notes amongst yourselves. Dear Sheeple, please, just focus on the new euphemisms we just provided to you, in this handy list.

Incidentally, in the United States, expect messiness. Scattershot CDC strategies await test kits still under development, while the west coast endures the initial brunt of infections. By contrast, in Britain, the stage-by-stage approach has a 'Keep Calm and Carry On' quality and is unsurprisingly almost identical to that of Canada. The UK provides a rhetorical and psychological framework for understanding a pandemic which is already out of control: contain, delay, research, mitigate. In Australia, the presentation is the same: alert, delay, contain, sustain, control, recover. At least they include a recover stage! In New Zealand, the stages (dating from August 2017) are: plan for it, keep it out, stamp it out, manage it, manage it post peak, recover from it.

The French are the same. So are the Germans. In 2005, a German researcher, W. H. Haas, recognized in Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz that one of the problems with managing a pandemic is that the public cannot imagine what is about to happen to them, and so they lapse into a defensive, stubborn denial about it. They carry on as normal. Haas concluded that this response is extremely dangerous:

"The world population would be 'immunologically naïve' to a new pandemic virus, permitting explosive spread of the disease."

This was why several governments instituted incremental protocols, so that the public could gradually understand what is transpiring. The mainstream media have been moving in lockstep with governments, offering only a gradual awakening to the increasingly ugly reality. This is why they initially stated that the flu was worse than the coronavirus. Now, their story is changing. It's meant to look like the journalists are slowly discovering the qualities of the virus in an organic way. You will see, for example, startled new reports that the mortality rate is higher than the press initially expected. This is not an organic discovery. They already knew that from the beginning.

Even for health care professionals, the process by which economic and social control trumps public health is incremental, akin to the boiling frog parable. The model of incrementally-presented information should nonetheless be familiar. Doctors in critical care settings know big picture prognoses and statistical likelihoods for survival regarding most diseases and treatments. They know that patients and patients' families do not know this big picture; physicians are accustomed to controlling and presenting information on a need-to-know basis. Now, they are on the receiving end of that same approach, inflicted upon them from above by politicians, bureaucrats, and corporate business leaders. They are only being told right now what others think they need to know. They will later discover the true extent of the situation.

Behind reassuring top-down messages about stability and containment, governments everywhere are invoking grim emergency measures, as happened in Los Angeles on 4 March 2020. A state of emergency was also declared in California on the same day.

Image Source: Twitter.

Because these actions are presented solely as a measure to control the pandemic, citizens do not understand what the new states of emergency entail. These measures enable governments to suspend civil or constitutional rights, compel people to leave their homes and force them into quarantine camps. All this, based on diagnoses of COVID19 which are (1) reliant upon a malleable testing group, depending on how you define patients in terms of personal contact, travel or non-travel histories; (2) based on uncertain, delayed, or inaccurate test results. Under these imperfect measures, governments could potentially force people to be vaccinated with half-baked vaccines and they can implement other procedures to combat chaos.

Step Two: Silence the Alt Media

Image Source: Technology Review.

Other procedures to combat chaos could include erasing a citizen from social media; deleting what authorities consider to be criticism; censoring fear-mongering on blogs, vlogs and forums; erasing whole vlogs and blogs; or, in the worst case, removing vloggers and bloggers from existence.

It sounds paranoid, but it is not far-fetched to expect that members of the alt media will disappear into quarantine camps, as has already happened to citizen journalists in China.

During the initial outbreak in Wuhan, a number of articulate and angry independent journalists rose to the top of social media spaces. They commanded a lot of national respect and international attention through their passionate criticisms and investigations. Then they began to disappear. One made a strange recantation. Another probably died. Another disappeared into quarantine. All were threatened. Some were arrested.

The most famous of these figures was Chen Qiushi, a lawyer-turned-citizen journalist. On 6 February 2020, he was snatched up by Chinese authorities and placed in quarantine. Was he thrown in with sick people? Was he by himself? He has been denied communication with the outside world. He became a hashtag on Twitter: #findqiushi.

A pretty 23-year old female student who blogged about governmental disinformation during the epidemic has probably died from COVID19. She claimed that doctors were withholding medicines until she recanted and apologized for her criticisms of the state. Her social media account has lately (most likely) been commandeered by pro-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities, who are currently posting pro-government messages under her name. Examples are below.

In this crisis, the same fate awaits professionals who dare to question the official version of events in this epidemic. In China, there is a conspiracists' consensus that Dr. Li Wenliang, who died from the virus, may have been deliberately infected, or his treatment manipulated so that this physician whistleblower conveniently died. That may not be true. The conspiracy theories about it were, of course, censored. He was mourned by an increasingly traumatized and embittered Chinese public, because with him, their hope for free speech died.

Western MSM outlets were quick to pick up the compelling story of the heroic Dr. Li who told the world the truth about the coronavirus. It's all right to celebrate citizen journalists and daring free speech actors when their commentaries make the Chinese Communist Party look totalitarian. But there is a double standard. When the pandemic reaches Wuhan's level of severity in western countries, western authorities will crack down on their own whistleblowers and alt media with equal fervor.

I share the growing nervousness of bloggers and vloggers. The latter are mirroring their demonetized and shadow-banned Youtube work on free(r) speech platforms like Bitchute. Some members of the alt media are storing their reports on blockchains so that their accounts of the pandemic's outbreak cannot be altered or erased. Collectively, they are building an online historical archive of this time, which may in the future prove to be extremely significant in the medical and social history of our species. Ironically, the Chinese government has also been using blockchains to store patients' medical data.

This epidemic led to the creation of private forums and similar closed social media news rooms. Outside China, alt-news outlets sometimes appear in hidden discussion groups behind bloggers' and vloggers' Patreon paywalls. There, people share local information and discuss the pandemic freely. Until now, similar activity has been particularly important in China, because the CCP is notorious for pushing its official story. From Technology Review:

"['Linda,' a Wuhan native,] decided to spend time collecting, translating, and archiving information as a form of public service. The Chinese government is famously willing to censor its citizens; already, it has deleted many posts criticizing the government for its handling of the outbreak, as well as stories of people affected by the virus. 'I feared that [these accounts] would disappear,' Linda says, 'and that people’s experiences won’t be reported. I just want to keep an emotional archive of some sort for people asking for help and affected by it, mostly patients and medical workers.' Not everything in the archive will be accurate, and she is aware of that risk, but not everything posted from government channels has been accurate either.

Linda spends a few hours a day systematically collecting both official releases and personal accounts about the virus from social media like Weibo, WeChat, and Douban. She then translates or subtitles them into English and posts on Imgur, Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube. Though Linda says she’s 'quite an unqualified social-media specialist,' some of her translations have received over 100,000 views.

... Verifying information in a rapidly changing situation is always a struggle, but it’s especially concerning in a country where there is no free press and citizens are suspicious about whether officials will tell the truth. 'There is a clear reason why people don’t trust the government,' says Yaqiu Wang, a China researcher at Human Rights Watch. Plenty of people remember the lack of transparency during the 2003 SARS outbreak. During the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, people trying to expose the truth were imprisoned, Wang adds, and 'at the beginning of [this] January, people trying to tell the story [of the virus] were summoned by the police for rumor-mongering.'

... Tiny news networks on social apps

While Linda is concerned with creating a chronicle of testimonies that might be deleted, others are operating mini-newsrooms using closed chat groups. Andy Tang, a 17-year-old in Hong Kong, runs a WhatsApp group called GloNews Room (as in 'global news room'). Closed messaging apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, and Telegram have become increasingly popular ways of keeping up with the news given distrust of official sources. The curated nature, and the fact that it seems like a private communication app for friends, makes people feel that it’s a more trustworthy medium, Tang says. He likes WhatsApp because the members can receive instant notifications of his news updates. Friends began adding other friends, especially during the Hong Kong protests earlier this year, and GloNews Room’s membership has now grown to about 80 people. Tang, who has been covering the virus since late December, spends a couple of hours a day scouring the headlines. He will either write digests or directly share links, sometimes adding graphs of his own. Some of the work involves debunking rumors."

To understand what will happen to the alt media, consider the tabletop exercise conducted in New York in October 2019, when Johns Hopkins University, the World Economic Forum, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sponsored simulated training for a novel coronavirus epidemic. The (officially debunked) coincidence that an identical epidemic immediately followed after authorities' simulation indicated to many observers that this pandemic was a planned disaster. The meeting was called, 'Event 201.' As one Youtube skeptic put it: "201 = 20/1 (January 2020) What a coincidence." The significance of Event 201 was not just that it was a creepy dry run which preceded an identical outbreak in reality, nor that its artificial epidemic projected an outcome of 65 million deaths.

The exercise also refined plans for draconian information management. Event 201 practiced how mainstream journalists and politicians could best announce the implementation of martial law. They decided that, as the fake epidemic entered its most serious phase, free members of the alt media would have to be brought to heel - or silenced. The participants - with earnest tones and furrowed brows - created fake news conferences to compare and contrast the effectiveness of different official statements. The Event 201 exercise concluded (here) that censorship was a key and necessary step in pandemic management. This finding implies that the policy has been set already for officials, and that policy dictates that the true, full history of this pandemic will never be told.

The Event 201 results, the seemingly philanthropic, policy-oriented context, and the presumptuous and condescending attitudes could not be more authoritarian, self-deceptive, or sinister. Masquerading as positive public planning for a disaster which might beset us 'one day,' this was an incredible, hypothetical event which began to unfold in reality only one month later. If we lived in a world where the truth actually counted for anything, and this exercise reflected a truth of pandemic-as-social-engineering, the Event 201 participants - or the event organizers - would be tried in an international court for crimes against humanity. Those who think that that is too fantastical to believe, and who trust the institutions involved, should at least try to grasp why the Internet Underground regards Event 201 as a gathering equivalent to the Wannsee Conference.

Velvet Gloves Hide Iron Hands

Several accounts are circulating on American social media from locals, who are observing soldiers and National Guards mobilizing and setting up quarantine centers. It is not clear whether admission into these centers will be voluntary. Forcible removals into quarantine camps already played out in Wuhan.

fact or fiction

LC Douglass

Award-winning writer & blogger. I analyze the impact of technology on 21st century history.

Tech Culture Blog: https://historiesofthingstocome.blogspot.com/

Site: https://www.lcdouglass.com/

Writer's Blog: https://lcdouglass.blogspot.com/

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