Dmitry Orlov: Gaslighting the Coronavirus

Gaslighting the Coronavirus
For the past few days I have been holding back on commenting on current events, all of which revolve around the new coronavirus panic, and doing as much research as I could because the substance of what’s happening has been unclear to me.

• Why shut down the global economy because of a virus that isn’t particularly dangerous and has only been responsible for just over 1% of the deaths so far this year and has only affected 0.04% of the population and has killed off a mere 0.0028% of it?

• Why quarantine healthy people instead of just the old and the sick? (In Sweden, to take a typical example, 90% of the fatal cases were among those older than 70.)

• Why shut down schools and confine children indoors if they don’t even get sick from this virus?

• Why tell people to remain indoors when lack of sunlight, exercise and exposure to a wide variety of antigens leads to weakened immune systems and higher rates of infection?

• Why struggle to create a vaccine and vaccinate everyone when this virus happens to be a safe, effective and freely available inoculant against itself for the vast majority of healthy people?

• Why emphasize artificial lung ventilation when (in New York, for example) 80% of the patients who are hooked up to ALV machines die?

• Why tell everyone to wear face masks when they only stop 95% of virus particles (at best) and so delay the amount of time it takes to get infected from 10 seconds to as much as three minutes?

After some research and some thought I have been able to arrive at a single answer to all of these questions. But first, let’s examine some of them.

First, let’s handle the question of vaccination. There is a measles vaccine, yet it kills 140,000 a year. There is a pneumococcus vaccine, yet it kills between 2 and 2.5 million a year. There is a hepatitis B vaccine, yet it kills 140,000. There is a tetanus vaccine, yet it kills 89,000 annual deaths. There is a rotavirus vaccine, yet it kills 800,000. There is a HPV vaccine, yet it kills 250,000. There is a tuberculosis vaccine, yet it kills 1.5 million. There is an influenza vaccine, yet it kills 650,000 to 1 million deaths a year. None of these are considered pandemics, cause entire economies to be shut down or, or call for any extraordinary measures at all.

And then there is the novel coronavirus which has killed 218,187 people to date (the vast majority of them very old and/or very sick)—and this is considered to be a problem to be solved with all possible haste. Some infectious disease experts have suggested that the entire populace may be required to shelter in place until a vaccine becomes available. Meanwhile, deaths from the novel coronavirus largely fit within the usual mortality of the flu season. The northern hemisphere winter was warmer than usual, and some of the elderly and sick people who would have been killed off by any of the usual influenza viruses (including other coronaviruses) during any of the previous three flu seasons were claimed by the novel coronavirus.

But even this is uncertain because it is unclear whether these 218,187 deaths were actually caused by the coronavirus or whether the coronavirus just happened to be present in their bodies at the time of death. Furthermore, a lot of people were diagnosed as suffering from this coronavirus based on symptoms which are not too different from those caused by other viral agents. Lastly, the vast majority of those who have died from it had what are called comorbidities. Elderly immunocompromised morbidly obese diabetics with high blood pressure, cancer and other potential fatal ailments have been particularly susceptible. If you discard all fatal cases with comorbidities and only consider young healthy people, then the number of deaths where the new coronavirus is obviously the root cause may turn out to be as low as zero.

Confirmed novel coronavirus cases number less than 3,147,626 worldwide, which is 0.04% of the world’s population. This barely adds up to a cough and a sneeze. As this virus has spread throughout the world the increase in cases has slowed, but the number of confirmed cases could yet double or even triple, adding up to as much as three coughs and three sneezes. But then the World Health Organization enters the fray. The WHO makes gratuitous use of appellations such as “world” and “health” but is actually a semi-private entity lavishly financed by Bill Gates and Big Pharma, which is owned by a handful of highly inbred oligarchic entities that include Vanguard, BlackRock, Capital Group, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Northern Trust and State Street, which in turn own each other in various convoluted ways. WHO’s main function is to scare people into getting vaccinated and accepting expensive drug regimens (barely half of which do any good at all), thus funneling resources toward Big Pharma.

The World Health Organization establishes thresholds to determine whether to declare an influenza epidemic that range between 2.5% and 5%. The novel coronavirus misses the mark by a thousand-fold, yet the WHO has declared it to be the cause of a global pandemic. If this seems like an extreme overreaction, that is because this is an extreme overreaction. Some conspiratorially-minded people may surmise that this is a conspiracy, but it isn’t. It is yet another blatant attempt to confiscate a chunk of the world’s wealth by requiring it to buy something worthless, just like this same set of medical/financial interests did with the relatively worthless Tamiflu antiviral medication during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic of 2009-10 which caused a mere 18,036 deaths worldwide. This is a specific group pursuing its own group interests.

There are other disparate interests that are pursuing their own aims by fighting (or attempting, or pretending to fight) the awful-terrible-horrible novel coronavirus global plague that could easily carry off 0.005% of the world’s population and as much as 0.05% of the planet’s septuagenarians.

The Chinese have taken the novel coronavirus outbreak as a chance to train for repelling a biological warfare attack. To argue that this coronavirus is indeed the agent of a biowarfare attack is to argue for something extremely stupid because it just isn’t effective as a biowarfare agent. It’s almost as bad as Novichok, which was touted as being able to wipe out entire armies but only managed to sicken five people and kill just one of them. It doesn’t matter whether this coronavirus leaked out of a dead bat or a biowarfare lab, or both—it just isn’t any good as a weapon. But the Chinese government imposed extreme, unprecedented controls over much of the population and the economy. The Russians followed suit, with the difference that while the Chinese saw these extreme measures as temporary, setting up makeshift hospitals, the Russians seized on them as a chance to fundamentally upgrade the entire health care system, setting it up to effectively handle any future biological warfare attacks.

In doing so, the Chinese and the Russians pursued different goals. The Chinese need to find a way to stop shipping actual physical manufactured goods to the US in exchange for pieces of paper or promises to pay, all of which are about to become worthless, without triggering a dangerous escalation. The need to do so with all necessary haste became obvious in mid-August of 2019, when it turned out that banks were no longer to accept US Treasury debt instruments as collateral for overnight loans. These were supposedly the safest investments in the world that made up the world’s largest and most liquid financial market—until it turned out that they weren’t that at all.

China’s exports to the US comprised around 20% of its total exports, and this number needed to be reduced. With the entire West heading into a major economic recession, China also had to partially reorient its economy away from exports and toward domestic capital investment and consumption. A global panic and an economic reset provoked by the new coronavirus has been useful in furthering the goal of reducing China’s dependence on the US while hiding behind the smokescreen of a plausible force majeur incident.

Russia’s goals in stoking the coronavirus panic are somewhat different from China’s. Unlike China, whose military standoff with the US has been limited to posturing around maritime routes and control over disputed Spratly Islands, Russia has been forced to deal with a more serious attempt by the Pentagon to rekindle the Cold War. There have been NATO troops holding training exercises within artillery range of Russia’s second-largest city, NATO instructors training and arming Ukrainian Nazis who are shelling Russian passport-holders who inhabit the eastern portions of the Ukrainian area, and the Pentagon setting up and operating multiple US biowarfare laboratories in some of the countries that neighbor Russia.

At this point neither nuclear nor conventional war between Russia and the US is at all likely. The US never developed the capability to win a nuclear conflict with Russia using a preemptive first strike and the US could never even dream of conquering Russia in a land war. This leaves biological warfare as the only possible course of action for the Pentagon should it decide to attack Russia, and the Russians appear to have taken this threat quite seriously. In response, the US has demonstrated abject fecklessness in facing of the coronavirus pandemic, even to the point of being forced to accept Russian humanitarian aid—flown in on military transport jets, just to stress the point.

While China must solve the problem of reorienting its export flows away from the rapidly failing US and liquidating its hoard of dollar-denominated financial paper, Russia has no such problems, since it does very little trade with the US and has liquidated its dollar-denominated reserves. However, in spite of efforts to diversify its trade relationships, it still does a great deal of trade with the rapidly failing EU. Thanks to the Western sanctions imposed on it in 2014 over its reunification with Crimea, as well as the ensuing countersanctions, it has implemented a successful policy of import replacement. Now that Western economies are failing, it has to also implement a policy of export-replacement, reorienting resource and production flows toward domestic consumption, further embracing the concept of limited autarky. This is no minor task, and the coronavirus provides a useful smokescreen behind which the economy can be switched to manual mode, so that the government can effectively direct the process of transforming the economy.

While China and Russia seem able to find constructive uses for the coronavirus pandemic, its functions for the EU and for the US seem entirely destructive for these two political entities. In the case of the EU, the pandemic gave the constituent nations a chance to reassert their sovereignty while the central bureaucracy in Brussels was demonstrated to be incapable of any constructive response, belatedly closing EU borders even after most countries have already done so on their own. Anti-EU sentiment is rising in Italy and elsewhere, and it is starting to seem more likely that Brexit will have set off a domino effect of EU exits by other countries. This will provide openings for various European countries to shrug off the yoke of “universal European values” and find their own way by formulating saner policies on issues such as migration and negotiate bilateral trade relationships both within and outside Europe.

In the US the pandemic is being used to prosecute a sort of civil war as the Democrats attempt to use it, and the unfolding economic crash, to unseat Trump and replace him with some other political cadaver. Meanwhile, the leadership of various states are finding less and less common ground with the federal authorities and are grabbing more political power for themselves while making plans to go their separate ways.

The list of actors who use the coronavirus pandemic for their very different and often contradictory aims can be extended virtually ad infinitum. But what if we try to factor out the common term, to use a mathematical metaphor? What factor appears in every term of the equation and can therefore be moved outside the parentheses? It is the factor of absolute control: restrictions on movement, restrictions on behavior, restrictions on what businesses may operate, and constant medical testing.

As I wrote in my book Shrinking the Technosphere, “The reason for extending life for as long as possible, no matter how little sense this makes, is to be found in the abstract teleology of total control. The technosphere’s compulsion is to control everything. It is unacceptable to it for old people to decide when to die all on their own. Death cannot be left up to a subjective judgment; it must be the objective outcome of a technical, measurable process.” In that book, I defined the technosphere as “…an emergent global intelligence that hates all forms of life, likes physics and chemistry, hates anything that it cannot dominate or control, is adept at using humans for its own purposes, but is quite ready to kill them when they are no longer needed or when they get in the way, which it can easily do because its most advanced and effective technologies are its killing technologies—conventional, nuclear and chemical weapons; germ warfare; and political technologies that send people into battle.”

Since the unjustifiably harsh response to the novel coronavirus is a global phenomenon, the imposition of totalitarian control measures can be treated as a manifestation of an emergent global intelligence that transcends the narrow interests of any one country or group of countries but follows an agenda of its own. What could provoke the technosphere to lash out in such a way?

There are two important global processes which, while they will affect the US particularly severely, go far beyond its geographic confines. One is the still relatively gradual process of dethroning the US dollar from its position of dominance. Until the coronavirus pandemic disrupted much of the global economy, most of its participants were interested in preserving some measure of stability to the dollar system. But now that trade has already been disrupted, an opening has been created to dump the dollar without necessarily causing economic damage significantly worse than already exists. The actions of the Federal Reserve, which is in the process of monetizing a large proportion of existing US government debt and virtually all of the new debt being issued to cover the ever-growing budget deficit, are undermining the dollar as well. Although the term “debt monetization” is being used to describe what’s happening, issuing currency with which to buy up worthless promissory notes stretches the definition of “debt” beyond any reasonable limit, while “monetization” is far too dignified a term for such a desperate delaying tactic. As a consequence, some analysts do not see US dollar-based global financial system holding up too far beyond this year.

The other process is the rapid transition of the US from the world’s largest producer of oil to one of the smallest, because the fracking bonanza has largely run its course. It has never really made any money, since fracked oil is, for technological reasons, always too expensive to sustain economic growth. And now, with an economic depression setting in, economies at a standstill and oil futures trading in the negative territory (where market participants are willing to pay producers to get out of having take delivery of the oil when the contract matures) the fracking industry is going bankrupt, production is falling, and in less than a year it is likely to be down by as much as 70%. At that point, any attempt at economic recovery in the US will involve having to start importing large quantities of oil from a world supply that, with the exception of fracked oil from the US, hasn’t expanded much since 2005.

From Shrinking the Technosphere, again: “From the point of view of the technosphere, the biosphere is simply there to provide it with resources and services. Its view of the biosphere demonstrates the technosphere’s striking mental deficit: it is unable to see limits. Until it runs up against them, it simply can’t see them, and assumes that natural resources are infinite. And when it does run up against them, it invariably treats the problem as a financial problem. For example, when oil prices spiked, it was automatically assumed that the problem had nothing to do with resource depletion but was entirely due to lack of investment in the oil industry. Sure enough, increased investment eventually resulted in increased production and a glutted oil market, but the fact that the increased investment became necessary had everything to do with resource depletion: the resources that could be produced most cheaply were the first to become depleted. What’s more, the effect of increased investment is temporary; like rust, resource depletion never sleeps, and at some point the level of spending needed to maintain production becomes impossibly high.”

Here I wish to correct myself: the technosphere can indeed see physical limits. In 2019, it appears to have come to the common realization that the fracking bonanza in the US has pretty much run its course and that no further expansion in the use of oil, and therefore no further economic expansion, would be possible. But a globalized regime cannot be maintained without constant expansion. The only solution was for the technosphere to fracture into zones, some of which can then be de-funded and deprived of access to oil. In order to realize this plan, the entire planet had to be placed under lock-down, and the only way to do that is to scare everyone with a supposedly deadly virus.

One last excerpt from my book: “…[I]t becomes necessary for the technosphere to periodically apply some discipline, in order to keep the dream of infinite technological progress in the service of humanity from starting to look a bit threadbare. The way this is done is by presenting any alternative to endless progress as an unmitigated disaster: it’s either total control or the apocalypse. There are many different varieties of the apocalypse, featuring various combinations of asteroids, zombies, deadly viruses, space aliens, shark-bearing waterspouts over Los Angeles… the list is endless.”

The technosphere looked at the list and picked “deadly viruses.” And there you have it.

It may be difficult for you to take on board the concept of an emergent global intelligence that transcends the confines of every nation, continent and civilization. You may not see it, but once you do you are unlikely to be able to un-see it because it is just too glaringly obvious. It is beyond obvious: it is directly in your face. Perhaps it would be easier for you to consider it as a sort of mass psychosis in need of a cure. Or perhaps you would prefer to view it as an instance of demonic possession in need of an exorcism:

“And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss. … And the demons came out of the man and entered a herd of swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.” [Luke 8:30-31, 33]

Whatever metaphor you choose, the first step is to free your own mind. Once you do, you may realize that the entire global coronavirus fiasco of 2020 may not have been without some benefits. For example, numerous people around the world, coming out of the coronavirus lock-down, are now surely having some of these realizations:

• The internet is no replacement for actual face-to-face contact.

• A city easily becomes a prison and the countryside is a better choice for people who want to remain free.

• The economy doesn’t matter as much as being among people who are willing to help each other.

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