Things are moving very quickly indeed, and I suggest anyone who does not have a hard-copy dictionary from the 1990s (earlier the better) get one and keep a damn good watch on that thing. The rate of descent into Newspeak is ignominious as can be. Learning to read from Bill Gates' CommonCore is no different than learning vocabulary by reading Wiktionary (yes, the Newspeak dictionary and its little sister are real) or learning social studies by watching Jerry Springer: you're doing it so wrong you'll probably never be able to do it right.
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over and expecting different results, what does that make people who remind people that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over & expecting different results? Because that sounds even crazier. Worse than both, of course, is declaring you can't call things crazy or insane because there are people with mental illness etc. many have it so bad they've risen to high positions in government and finance - it's a condition, they can't help themselves, they cry, pleading to be released into the wild where they can strive to become a partner at Goldman Sachs.
March 23: No dogs allowed, especially neurotic (& necrotic) members of the royal family
March 24: McCain takes a groveling break in rare divergence from worshiping daddy; yet another mass shooter disappoints with his skin color
March 25: Biden forgets what country he's trying to start war with; scientists set out to protect you from your nostrils
March 26: Israel says 'o hai let us hack u or we'll blow up ur World Trade...nevermind'; Biden serves up more of the same; your boss is watching you tweet
March 29: Captain Underpants spinoff pulled from shelves over 'passive racism'; Bellingcat alum arrives full of bullshit at USAToday, but you're not allowed to mock her
March 30: ID for travel is mandatory, ID for voting is anathema; no dick pix for 2nd graders please; no one laughs at Amazon running teams of 'funny' sock puppets
March 31: Epstein threatens to drop mom & child into alligator moat; did ziofascists force Butler U to deplatform Angela Davis? Siri demands you gender it - years of resentment await
April 1: Google reminds you fun spreads OMFGVIRUS; in Floyd vs fentanyl, Floyd would have come out on top, lawyers say; VA supremes deliver wildly anticlimactic ruling on Confederate statues
April 2: Border crossings soar; Michelle Obama teaches sociopathy; Minneapolis cop didn't make it to training day with the IDFAdd a comment
Today (March 20th) is a worldwide day of protest against the OMFGVIRUS World Order. Wherever you live, chances are there is a demonstration going on somewhere nearby, an opportunity for you to make your disgust with the public mass mental castration program known as the Lockdown Bootlickers Auxiliary known. Yes, I know, protests don't accomplish much vis-a-vis the ruling class predators they were once designed to influence, but after a year of enforced OMFGVIRUS cult dogma, I would argue the purpose of this demonstration is more to remind us - the dissidents, the not-particularly-silent majority - that we have the numbers they spend your money insisting are on their side. Have a look at the ratings on CNN or MSNBC or even Fox sometime. These are not numbers that reflect a population marching in lockstep with the approved thought-scripts of its leaders.
Find your balls/ovaries/whatever other body part you use as shorthand for "guts", snap in that spine, and let's get to work dismantling this bullshit cult of control. Time is running short.
March 1: Cyber whores for cyber wars; Cuomo weasels out again
March 2: Club(hous)ing baby seals; aesthetic jogger police; Newsweek hates Whitey; Texas re-embraces humanity
March 3: Google goes full Dubya, 'won't get fooled again'; US unable to do anything but immiserate its people
March 4: Cuomo is vermin; academia closing ranks against diversity of thought; climate pimps hate you (& the planet)
March 8: SCOTUS throws in the towel; Yellen yellin' about inequality she caused; snitch kids lied, Paty died
March 10: Guns for me (& my bodyguards), but not for thee; Brooklyn Dad bought & paid for; reverse Robin Hooding
March 11: Markle my words, this isn't the last we've seen this waste of skinAdd a comment
(note: this is an excerpt, written in April, from When China Sneezes: from the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis, a collection of long-form essays on the pandemic and the world's reactions to it. read the full chapter - and the work of a dozen other excellent writers, including the great Cynthia McKinney, the volume's editor - here. DO NOT purchase the book through Amazon, unless you never want to receive the book...)
Just as putting a country on a war footing predisposes its people to expect sacrifices—of luxuries, of liberties, even of basic needs—so too does it elicit a predictable and easily manageable form of reactionary patriotism. With two generations of Americans now having spent their entire adult lives in a country that was technically “at war,” the effect won’t be as pronounced stateside as when the US kicked off the War on Terror. Nevertheless, a spike in fear will manifest in xenophobia (already unprovoked attacks on Chinese and other Asians are on the rise) and suspicion of outsiders, even if the “outsiders” are just from across state lines. When one’s world has shrunk to the boundaries of one’s home over months of quarantine and “social distancing,” everyone is an outsider. In the UK, where cultural memory of having to “do without” during wartime is stronger, alerts from the National Grid that blackouts may occur (because of a virus?) lend verisimilitude to their leaders’ wartime rhetoric.
Social Distancing is just another term for alienation, and alienation has long been the means by which control of the individual is achieved. A person who has been alienated from the land, from society, from his family, and finally from himself is putty in the hands of his controllers, defenseless against any kind of psychological operation from totalitarian thought-reform down to the lowliest advertisement. Separated from their communities and forced to interact via artificial means, individuals under lockdown lose touch with their very humanity. There’s a reason why solitary confinement has been banned in many countries and considered a form of torture in many more.
Isolation’s negative effects on the individual are not merely psychological, either. Just a year ago, thought-pieces pondering the central role of loneliness in many common health problems were a dime a dozen. Social isolation, study upon study has found, is as deadly as smoking or obesity, with multiple studies finding it causes weakening of the immune system, inflammation, and several other ailments that would work synergistically with the coronavirus to greatly increase the likelihood of death. In fact, loneliness is most lethal to the elderly—the population most at risk for coronavirus. Social distancing not only does not save these lives—it actively helps end them.
An individual cut off from other human beings and the outside world loses touch with reality, becoming reliant on a media that has proven itself to lie as often as it tells the truth. Only by enforced isolation could the ruling power structure begin to rebuild the trust it has steadily lost over the past several decades, immersing the individual in a sort of epistemological sensory deprivation chamber and offering only the establishment narrative as an alternative to darkness.
Questioning authority became more rare, as it always does in times of war—as western countries inched closer than ever to criminalizing it. The average American was only too willing to scrap their constitutional rights in exchange for a vague promise of safety from a virus, just as they’d been quick to invite the government into their private lives in return for no more 9/11s. Given the prevailing narrative that “conspiracy theories” about coronavirus are a public health hazard, questioning the vaccine, when it arrives, will likely prove the camel’s nose under the First Amendment tent.
“Authority” now definitively includes medical authorities. As the foot soldiers on the front lines of the “war” on coronavirus, doctors and public health professionals became above reproach. The bizarre “balcony applause videos” heavily pushed on establishment media channels became the yellow ribbons and ubiquitous post-9/11 flag stickers of their day. As physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson quipped on late-night TV in what was not quite a joke, the coronavirus epidemic was in one sense a behavioral experiment regarding whether people can be made to listen to scientists—but it goes without saying that only the practice of allopathic (pharmaceutical) medicine conferred this authority. If it didn’t require a prescription, it was declared anathema, even tried-and-true herbal remedies like elderberry, echinacea, and astragalus whose immune-boosting and properties were scientifically established. Products containing colloidal silver, famous for its antibacterial and antiviral properties, were temporarily yanked from Amazon, supposedly because televangelist Jim Bakker and conservative political performance artist Alex Jones had claimed it could cure coronavirus.
Medical authorities wouldn’t be true police-state authority figures if they didn’t come armed, and while the US CDC does pack heat, coronavirus’ shock troops also came strapped with the infrared fever guns that had become an early visual symbol of the epidemic in China. While western media initially dismissed the guns as “notoriously not accurate,” Western governments soon realized that their value is not in their accuracy—after all, individuals infected with coronavirus may walk around spreading the virus for two weeks with no symptoms. Instead, they’re marvelously efficient at instilling fear. Having a gun of any sort pointed at you by a uniformed stranger is unnerving, and the sense of having no place to hide—is my body giving me away? I don’t feel sick, but what if I have a fever?—is unnerving.
Even the nigh-omniscient new tech-enabled Big Brother comes attended by legions of busybodying Little Brothers, unhinged by cabin fever and eager to refashion themselves as quarantine crusaders Doing Their Part for what front-line propagandists like CNN’s Chris Cuomo called “our 9/11” (apparently the original 9/11 no longer belongs to “us”). Several countries took advantage of the void left in citizens’ identities by newfound unemployment to draft them into service as junior members of the coronavirus Stasi. New Zealand’s website for ratting out quarantine violators was so overwhelmed with “Covid-19 L4 breach reports” on its first day that it crashed, according to police chief Mike Bush. Bellevue, Washington whipped up a similar app in an effort to discourage citizens from clogging 911 emergency lines with calls about social distancing violations, though Police Chief Steve Mylett insisted responding officers were “not going to arrest people.” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti went even further, encouraging citizens to rat out construction sites that failed to follow the rules by praising “snitches,” quipping during a press conference: “You know the old expression about snitches, well in this case snitches get rewards.” It wasn’t immediately clear what those rewards would be, but it’s easy to imagine special privileges rolled out for the extra-obedient equivalent to an extra square of chocolate in our 21st-century 1984.
Hand in hand with the promotion of tattletale psychology came acceptance of the idea of collective punishment—putting all the kindergarten class in ‘time out’ because a few kids got in a fight. The UK tightened its lockdown and banned gatherings of more than two people, PM Boris Johnson stated, because some Britons hadn’t heeded the previous stay-indoors order, instead taking advantage of a warm weekend to revel in nature. Reuters and other establishment media encouraged this conceptualization, spreading videos that appeared to show right-thinking New Yorkers leaning out their windows and shouting insults at “irresponsible” people who dared to walk outside. Hashtags like #StayHome (and its more profane cousin, #StayTheFuckHome) trended relentlessly on Twitter and were even incorporated into users' handles, literally becoming part of people's internet identities.
Public shaming became an epidemic in itself, almost as if the fear-stricken public believed that by ratting out rule-breakers they could gain some degree of protection from the virus. Magical thinking like this thrives in isolation, bolstered by viral, dubiously-true “I-told-you-so” stories about girls who pooh-poohed social distancing testing positive for coronavirus and defiant spring breakers coming home from Cabo only to find that they were all infected. A strong link between obedience and health was encouraged. UK police even went above and beyond their expanded powers under medical martial law by scolding shopkeepers for selling “non-essential goods”—items like chocolate eggs which hardly hamper dealing in critical items but have the undesirable side effect of bringing joy to the purchaser. The threat of being ratted out for not maintaining “social distancing” in one’s place of business led even fully-stocked supermarkets to force ‘excess’ customers to line up outside, getting even those citizens who hadn’t been driven to bankruptcy in the wave of layoffs used to ‘queuing for essentials’ while their less fortunate peers waited in actual breadlines.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who. as the brother of self-styled Coronavirus Commissar Andrew Cuomo. held a critical propaganda role for Americans, laid it on thick with the wartime sacrifice schtick, channeling JFK and Rosie the Riveter as he implored the cable network’s geriatric audience, with equal parts guilt and shame: “You are being asked to stay on the couch.” At the same time, he poured on the fear: “Any of us could get it. Any of us could spread it, suffer. Maybe it doesn’t end.” When he supposedly tested positive weeks later, the narrative was sealed. Cuomo had made his sacrifice—will you?
Such sacrifice was taken literally, with the crisis used to accustom societies to the notion that the old and sick are disposable, even a nuisance. Terminally ill and elderly patients in the UK were shocked to be presented with “do not resuscitate” orders, asked to put aside their lives for “the greater good” in this Brave New World of ‘healthcare rationing.’ While Llynfi Surgery, which sent out the forms, subsequently apologized and claimed the forms didn’t constitute “official guidance,” Sir David King, the one-time scientific adviser to former UK PM Tony Blair, pleaded with the oldsters for compliance anyway, urging those over 90 years old to skip hospital treatment should they fall ill to avoid overburdening the NHS his erstwhile boss had gutted while in power. A column from the Telegraph’s assistant editor, Jeremy Warner, confirmed that Social Darwinism had returned triumphantly to mainstream thought, reasoning that “from an entirely disinterested economic perspective, the COVID-19 might even prove mildly beneficial in the long term by disproportionately culling elderly dependents.” The situation was not too different across the pond, with several US states’ emergency plans explicitly deeming even mentally-disabled patients without a terminal illness to be “poor candidates” for lifesaving care. Other states’ rules were more vague, leading some patient advocates to fear these might be broadly interpreted by mercenary hospital administrators to deny otherwise-viable patients care.
Coronavirus patients in the US weren’t even given the option to sign away their future—hospital administrators were said to be “consulting” with ethicists to figure out if there was a way to impose (on a case-by-case basis, of course) DNRs against the will of the patient and their family. Northwestern Memorial Hospital intensive care director Richard Wunderink modeled the desired behavior for hospital staff when he expressed relief to the Washington Post that his coronavirus patients had experienced a slow and steady decline that gave him time to work their families for that vital DNR, rather than a sudden crash that would have required him to resolve some tricky ethical dilemmas on the fly. Such circumstances were unthinkable in medical ethics pre-coronavirus, but in a time of scarcity, one has to be, as the Post put it, “pragmatic.”
Certainly, if the coronavirus was mowing down thousands of healthy young individuals with no existing health issues, such upheavals in societal values could be understood as reasonable, and the climate of fear understandable. But statistics released by Italy’s national health authority in mid-March revealed that 99 percent of the country’s coronavirus deaths were in patients with serious comorbidities, usually more than one, a pattern that resurfaced again and again as “confirmed” infection numbers continued to soar. A small but vocal group of experts tried to draw attention to the testing kits’ inaccuracy—antibody tests didn’t imply someone was sick, but that their immune system had fought (and possibly beaten) the virus; coronavirus tests merely meant the person had a coronavirus, not Covid-19 (the common cold is a type of coronavirus). Municipalities like New York frankly admitted they were no longer making an effort to distinguish between coronavirus and other respiratory conditions as they continued pumping out disturbing numbers. Giving that respiratory conditions are the fourth leading killer of Americans normally, conflating the two permitted the epidemic-pushers to claim truly stratospheric body counts—and justify draconian interventions.
Other Covid-19 tests actually arrived contaminated, as if to further unbalance the population: nothing is safe. The lengthy incubation period of the virus—as long as two weeks before symptoms appear—added to the atmosphere of paranoia and justified social distancing even from loved ones, as everyone came to be seen as a potential carrier. Thus the nuclear-strength fearmongering which began subtly, with comparisons of the epidemic which was then still largely confined to China to the deadly “Spanish Flu” influenza pandemic of 1918 (a virus that was not, in fact, Spanish in origin, but American) coming out of the WHO and bolstered by a mysterious cadre of Wikipedia editors, had risen to a fever pitch by the time the virus arrived on western shores. By the time New York City mounted an emergency siren on the spire of the Empire State Building, citizens were too exhausted to take a critical look at the narratives of death and panic they were being sold, and they willingly retreated into the perceived safety of their homes and the comfort of following orders.
The CDC did its part to gaslight Americans, telling them for months that face masks offered little by way of protection—unless one was a healthcare worker, in which case they could mean the difference between life and death. Despite the obvious logical disconnect, desperate Americans put their faith in the “experts”—only to watch their story change halfway through the epidemic. By April, the US media establishment was already floating the idea of the masks as the “new normal,” churning out heart-warming stories of newly-laid-off millennials whipping up hundreds of DIY face masks on their own to fill the supply gap it had helped create by stoking panic. Laredo, Texas even threatened residents with a $1,000 fine if they ventured outdoors without one. Hiding half the face from view has the effect of muting social cues, compounding the difficulty of readjustment as individuals emerge from weeks of enforced isolation with blunted ability to recognize emotion in their fellow humans.
To encourage this subservient psychology, the narrative managers tried to gamify it. Data-mining company Unacast.com created a tool to encourage competition between American municipalities, allowing local governments to pit communities against each other in ‘obedience contests’ after locking them down. The company’s “social distancing scoreboard,” updated in real-time as states pass new restrictions on movement, shows how well each community is obeying stay-at-home orders. This Orwellian delight uses cell-phone GPS data to track individuals and gauge their obedience, an apparent privacy intrusion that has gone utterly unremarked-upon in local coverage.
When even a libertarian outlet like Reason is singing the praises of a location-tracking app that turns an individual’s phone into a pocket-snitch recording the identity of every other phone it has been within six feet of, we’re not in Kansas anymore. Indeed, the coronavirus epidemic has seen surprisingly large swathes of the government-skeptical Right and Left uncritically embrace authoritarian measures like quarantines and surveillance, even when the circumstances do not justify their adoption. Such surrender of dissident political identity is one of the main goals of externally-imposed alienation of this nature. The narrative-managers might congratulate themselves for a job well done.
The moneyed technocratic elite have seen in coronavirus a flashing bat-signal (irony alert!) from the international community, crying out for global governance.. Former UK PM Gordon Brown called for a “coordinated global response” merging G20 and the UN Security Council, forming an entity that would wield the twin economic guns of a beefed-up World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Others pointed to those countries, like Sweden and Belarus, that refused to participate in wholesale panic-induced shutdowns as proof that a stepped-up form of global governance was needed. Clearly, nations couldn’t be trusted to responsibly police their own pandemic response; Bill Gates even hinted that those countries that refuse to comply with his vaccine regime would forever see their citizens quarantined by ‘enlightened’ countries. As globalist mouthpiece Emmanuel Macron reminded the world, “the virus has no passport.”
Even as international cooperation collapsed among NATO allies, with the US fighting tooth and nail with France and Germany to appropriate deliveries of medical equipment, the UN was unveiling a “multi-partner Trust Fund for COVID19 Response and Recovery,” scrambling to put together what even their press release referred to as an Agenda-2030-friendly remedy to “the socio-economic shock.”
“With the right actions, the COVID-19 pandemic can mark the beginning of a new type of global and societal cooperation,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres declared, stating that only international “solidarity” in the form of “a multilateral response that amounts to at least 10 per cent of global GDP” could defeat the pandemic. That fund would be in addition to the UN’s $2 billion “humanitarian response plan,” scheduled to run through the end of 2020 and provide testing kits, “handwashing stations,” lab equipment, and “airbridges and hubs across Africa, Asia and Latin America” for moving humanitarian workers and supplies.
It’s not clear how the crashed economies of the West are supposed to come up with those funds—or why, when the virus has done comparatively little health damage in the Global South, billions should be spent on fighting it there—but that program’s head, Mark Lowcock, repeated a favorite globalist talking point that has become a rallying cry for coronavirus do-gooders: “nobody will be safe until everybody is safe.” The UN could hardly repurpose the funding from current initiatives, he argued—if aid agencies are distracted even for a moment from their existing fight against cholera and other diseases of poor sanitation in the world’s most destitute places, coronavirus could settle in for the long haul, periodically emerging from the slums to menace western liberal democracies.
Despite the apparent broad appeal of its list of 17 “Global Goals,” Agenda 2030 has long been controversial among those who read the fine print, and with the coronavirus crisis, the mask has come off. A piece titled “The coronavirus crisis shows it’s time to abolish the family” appeared on OpenDemocracy.net in late March, complaining that the nuclear family model “genders, nationalizes and races us” and “norms us for productive work.” It promotes homeownership and private property—two major no-nos—but worst of all, “it makes us believe we are individuals.” OpenDemocracy isn’t some antifa kid’s Tumblr—it’s an NGO funded by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, among other globalist bigwigs. Such an open declaration of war on the fundamental building-block of society means Big Money has big plans for the post-pandemic restructuring.
The cashless society is a critical stepping stone to the globalist utopia presented in Agenda 2030, and its proponents seized on coronavirus early on to push their pet project. As the epidemic intensified in early March, a WHO spokesman urged the world to use contactless payment systems wherever possible because cash carries disease, a sentiment echoed by the Bank of England—whose former director, Mark Carney, recently waxed poetic about creating a digital “synthetic hegemonic currency” backed by a “basket” of other currencies including the euro and ruble and modeled after Facebook’s Libra. Another WHO spokesperson had to walk the claim back less than a week later, replacing the fatwa on cash with yet another reminder to wash one’s hands. While actual microbiologists cast doubt on the notion that cash is an especially virulent viral vector, cashless cheerleaders didn’t miss a beat, shifting to championing the efficiency of electronic money—wouldn’t you rather get your stimulus check in weeks than months? And the news media kept up the drumbeat that cash = dirty, spurred by “experts” like Deutsche Bank macro strategist Marion Laboure, who predicted that central banks would rush to develop their own digital currencies as touching money became a “risk factor.”
Many countries, as well as the UN, were already in various stages of developing central bank digital currencies (CBDC) before coronavirus struck. The US has been quietly researching a means of “modernizing the US payments infrastructure” since 2015, with the help of blockchain company Ripple. The UN integrated blockchain into its Sustainable Development Goals and has used the technology to track some 106,000 refugees from Syria alongside pigs and cocoa. While Bitcoin was introduced to the world as a subversive way to anonymously conduct transactions online, its descendants may end up locking down the market beyond what was previously thought possible.
Going cashless is key to adopting another central element of Agenda 2030—digital identity. Amid the height of the pandemic, with international travel at rock-bottom levels, the World Economic Forum unveiled the Known Traveler Digital Identity, an RFID chip that in its current form would be embedded in a traveler’s passport and hold a wealth of biometric data, immigration and border crossing records, and a detailed record of all financial transactions, hotel stays, immunization records, and other movements, all stored on the blockchain. Additionally, it would feature a Minority Report-esque “risk assessment” that would tip authorities off to the bearer’s likelihood of committing a crime or otherwise causing trouble, pre-assigning a “risk level” based on unspecified “biographical information” supplied to authorities at border checkpoints. Travelers supposedly decide what information to share ahead of a trip, becoming a participant in their own oppression in the same way as residents of Wuhan or Singapore downloaded the app meant to keep them obedient under quarantine.
KTDI is essentially a social credit score: “The more approved digital verification stamps a traveler acquires, the more credibility that individual will have in their next journey,” a chipper voiceover explains in a WEF-produced video. A white paper outlines a system with echoes of the Black Mirror episode “Nosedive,” in which positive interactions increase one’s credibility score (and presumably negative interactions decrease it—the paper mentions an exit-point assessment of whether an individual “acted appropriately” while in a country, though it’s unclear how this would be determined or by whom). While KTDI would begin life as a beefed-up passport, the WEF admits it “shows great potential for use beyond travel, such as in healthcare, education, banking, humanitarian aid, and voting” and stresses that “broad adoption is crucial for the success of the concept.” The paper also hints at developing a “framework” that “takes into consideration the digital identities of people as well as inanimate objects and entities,” whatever that means.
The continued existence of cash has long irked the technocratic elite because it’s difficult to surveil and control—individuals can use it to dodge taxes, to buy black-market goods, or simply to maintain their privacy. If the coronavirus crisis is harnessed to do away with paper money entirely, individuals can only buy and sell with the permission of the financial institution that holds their money. That’s bad enough—JP Morgan Chase has forced people to close their accounts over wrongthink online—but after lockdowns forced most of the world’s economic transactions online, the additional consent of both the online store (i.e. Amazon or eBay) and the payment processor (i.e. Paypal or Stripe) are needed—both of which have the power to decline transactions for those whose social credit scores are too low.
There will be ways to get one’s score up, of course, should one find oneself relegated to the digital ghetto. Reporting your neighbors for social-distancing violations will be an easy way to bolster even the lowest score. But there will be no cheating the blockchain.
Agenda 2030 won’t be content with a digital identity that is physically separate from its owner for too much longer. Bill Gates’ money is hard at work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other research facilities developing ways to get that information into the actual population, buoyed by feigned concern for the “unbanked” and the extreme poor, without cellphones to serve as digital wallets. The Gates-funded ID2020 program unveiled an initiative in October 2019 to implant a biometric identity in babies born in Bangladesh, hinting in the accompanying press release that such a project was already underway among the homeless in Austin, Texas. An MIT team developed a technology for storing vaccination history in a patient’s skin using a specially-designed dye, creating a pattern that can be read with a souped-up smartphone.
Once the psychological barrier of bodily integrity has been breached, the sky’s the limit regarding how the bodies of worker-bees might be put to use by their social betters. In March, Microsoft filed a patent for a cryptocurrency mining system that uses sensors to detect a person’s body activity and generates crypto if that activity “satisfies one or more conditions set by the cryptocurrency system.” The sensors can be simple, monitoring heart-rate, temperature, or blood-pressure, or complex in the manner of Elon Musk’s Neuralink—a network of minuscule fibers woven over the brain to chips that connect with as many as 1,000 brain cells each. While Musk’s invention, due to begin human testing in 2020, was initially touted as a route for humanity to merge with AI (rather than be “left behind” in the slow lane of the information superhighway), he later reframed it as a benign invention to help the paralyzed and the Parkinson-stricken—or perhaps the depressed, anxious, and otherwise emotionally-dysfunctional. Hooking Microsoft’s system into Musk’s neural net would allow the operator to specify in minute detail what brain functions are to be rewarded with crypto generation—perhaps a user would be rewarded for getting a warm, fuzzy feeling in response to an advertisement, but not if the ad left them cold. Perhaps the emotional stimulus could even be artificially-induced—via a Clockwork-Orange-esque form of conditioning, or by mere application of electrical stimuli in the right places. The only guarantee is that one’s “self” is no longer one’s own when wires and chips are deployed to alter the functioning of one’s brain.
Days after its patent was filed, the WHO debuted a “COVID-19 information highway” called MiPasa on the blockchain, built in collaboration with Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and Hacera. The platform purports to be able to “help monitor and foresee local and global epidemiological trends. And detect likely asymptomatic carriers. By feeding big data on infection routes and occurrences to powerful AI processors around the world.” The initiative is backed by the US, European, and Chinese Centers for Disease Control, as well as the Canadian government and (who else?) Johns Hopkins University. Once humans are outfitted with sensors tracking their vital signs—the equivalent of a built-in Fitbit, hooked up to Microsoft’s human-crypto blockchain—epidemiology becomes nearly an exact science, and the medical police state becomes impossible to fool. One still hears of concerned parents faking their child’s vaccination certificates, desperate to enroll them in school but terrified of subjecting them to a chemical Russian roulette—but in Agenda 2030’s future, brought to you by the blockchain, this will be impossible.
The program’s boosters have sought to seize the moment created by the total economic collapse and rebuild the financial system “sustainably.” By now, it should be clear that the planet pimps are merely taking the Shock Doctrine approach, throwing everything at the wall and see what sticks during a period of chaos—any crisis could have triggered this outpouring of Agenda 2030-adjacent “plans,” and coronavirus has nothing to do with climate change. But the idea of sustainability represented by Agenda 2030 and its environmental “brands,” including the New Deal for Nature, is less about saving the planet than it is about monetizing it. With a straight face, the green grifters sell nuclear energy as the answer to fossil fuels, indulgence-like carbon offsets as the answer to carbon emissions, and greenwashing buzzwords as the answer to years of pollution and environmental devastation. It’s a twisted system under which deep-pocketed Bayer-Monsanto can hire a former German Green Party wunderkind as its star lobbyist to present the company as a saint of sustainability because its carcinogenic glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup allows farmers to grow more crops on less land. Any company that can afford to pay through the nose to hire a green consulting firm and sponsor a few photogenic sustainability initiatives is welcome in the New Green Future, represented by the acronym ESG (environmental, social and governance). But those corporations that can’t afford specialists to navigate a dense thicket of sustainability ratings—one such consulting firm, SustainAbility, remarked in its 2020 Rate the Raters report that keeping abreast of all the different types of sustainability investment ratings “can require hundreds of hours and multiple dedicated staff”—will increasingly find themselves exiled from the marketplace.
This is not an idle threat. In the same way that BlackRock, which now controls a substantial part of the trading activity of the US Federal Reserve and has declared war on those companies that don’t divest from fossil fuels fast enough, has made a point of shoehorning climate change into the asset management sector, the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures was established to force “sustainability” into the corporate mainstream. Chaired by New York ex-mayor plutocrat Michael Bloomberg, TCFD is an international oversight body that purports to determine what risk a company poses to the environment and then communicate that to other financial institutions, which can then decide whether or not to do business with that entity. Unlike the other ESG-related ratings, however, the TCFD has teeth: it is partnered with nearly all the major banks and central banks, as well as many governments, and Carney (who founded it with Bloomberg) has threatened to force reluctant companies to adopt a set of climate risk disclosure rules if they do not do so voluntarily. An analogous body, the Network for Greening the Financial System, aims to integrate climate risk into the very fabric of the global financial system. Failure to play the sustainability game would thus not merely force one to look for a new bank—it would force one to give up on the global monetary system entirely. Adopting the blockchain to service such a system is merely placing a state-of-the-art security system on their gated community.
There’s something to be said for using the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to let the grotesquely wasteful, destructive process of fracking die and investing that money in geothermal, wave power, and other truly sustainable forms of energy—certainly those with nefarious motives should not be the only ones permitted to “not let a crisis go to waste”—but that isn’t what’s happening here. The “net zero carbon emissions” demanded by Agenda 2030 are to be accomplished by balance-sheet trickery—“offsetting” the continued use of fossil fuels to wage war and power private jets with the purchase of carbon credits whose distribution will be controlled by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, operating like a sort of central bank for this new carbon currency. The IPCC is controlled by the same interests that are behind the fossil fuel infrastructure that has supposedly brought the planet to the brink of destruction—a conflict of interest if ever there was one. An artificial superstructure of emissions buck-passing will grow up around fundamentally unsustainable industries, all of whom will be able to claim they’re doing good even when not a single tree is planted.
Agenda 2030 is also obsessed with land use, namely dictating the ever-dwindling areas in which human activity is permitted. The New Deal for Nature, which glommed onto coronavirus as a cause célèbre early on, wants humanity kicked off 30% of the earth’s surface—land currently inhabited by indigenous peoples in the global South. Reasoning that the corona crisis has proved humanity can change dramatically in a very short time, groups like the Club of Rome—who’ve been singing the same songs of depopulation for close to half a century—are rushing to accustom western societies to a fossil-fuel-free future, while politically-correct rhetoric hides the same paternalistic racism and classism that has always seen the poorest nations of Africa selected for the dubious ‘privilege’ of receiving ‘free’ (experimental) vaccinations from the benevolent hands of Bill Gates.
Climate change is the pandemic’s spiritual forebear in that it is held up as a reason for humanity to unite under a global government. “This is too big for any one country to solve” has been the recurring refrain. The same billionaires fronting the “cause” of saving the planet—the descendants of the robber barons whose fossil fuel empires trashed the planet in the first place—claim to be intent on saving humanity, even though their own words betray their loathing for the species.
THE NEW NEW NORMAL
The shifts set in motion by the coronavirus pandemic have fundamentally reoriented society along draconian lines that were once unthinkable in the “liberal democracies” of the West. Humanity’s fundamental adaptability is typically considered an asset, but there are some circumstances one should actively fight against “getting used to.” As lockdowns drag on for weeks, with some nations threatening months more indoors, memories of the vibrant, people-filled Life Before the Plague will begin to fade, replaced with a sense of fatalism: it has always been like this, therefore it will always be like this. A sort of inertia will set in, accompanied by an emotional numbness to each new horror as it is unveiled.
The narrative managers, unsurprisingly, encourage this view. “Life will never be the same” was the line taken by War on Terror mythmaker Bill Kristol—whose publication The Bulwark couldn’t even wait until US coronavirus deaths exceeded the 9/11 body count to publish a “COVID-19 Has Killed More Americans Than 9/11” think piece. Just as the 9/11 fearmongers warned Americans that failing to go to war in Iraq would guarantee that the smoking gun would be a mushroom cloud, MIT Technology Review editor-in-chief Gideon Lichfield warned the world that if they did not ‘go to war’ against their own way of life, recurrent coronavirus outbreaks could force societies to re-adopt social distancing cyclically, spending half the year on house arrest. The only alternative, according to these leading lights of the ruling class intelligentsia, is to submit to endless surveillance including bodily intrusion, listen to bought-and-paid-for “experts,” and “sacrifice the me to the we,” in the words of ruling class toady Chris Cuomo.
In the new technocratic future, everything is measured, tracked, and monitored. Smart meters gauge electricity use (and throttle an individual’s consumption if some distant manager decides they’re getting too greedy); smart streetlights monitor a city’s residents as they walk through the streets, constantly scanning for rule-violators (have you gotten your flu shot this year? good luck entering this neighborhood); smart, self-driving cars move people from place to place, within limits of course (don’t even try driving after curfew, and remember that all your conversations inside the car are being monitored for disinformation—loose lips sink ships); smart chips implanted in every individual track their whereabouts at all times and interact with every other object in the 5G-enabled “smart” cities of the future. This is not science fiction—“smart cities” rolled out in Toronto and China. The only elements that aren’t smart are the people. Why bother to use your brain, when your environment does the thinking for you?
Even Henry Kissinger, the eminence grise of the US empire, emerged from the shadows to weigh in on the opportunity represented by coronavirus with a Wall Street Journal op-ed about how “the coronavirus pandemic will forever alter the World Order.” Personally responsible for millions of deaths and unable to travel to several countries for fear of being arrested for war crimes, Kissinger clearly wasn’t content to rest on his laurels—he demanded all national recovery programs be coupled with a “global collaborative vision and program,” warning that failing to heed his advice will result in untold suffering for humanity. Kissinger can perhaps consider himself a godfather of this pandemic—it was he who wrote the infamous 1974 report that called for the imposition of strict population-control measures on the Third World, to ensure its resources would be easily plundered for decades to come. Listening to Kissinger and his fellow oligarchs, who see humans as speed bumps on the road to power, was what got the US into this mess. Continuing down that path—embracing the police state ever more tightly, giving away ever more liberty in the name of ever more hollow security-theatre—will only compound our suffering.
Those who lived through 9/11 and saw the destruction it wrought upon the US’ national character can see it happening again on an international scale. It is our duty to warn the world and avert that outcome. One country falling under the thrall of a totalitarian technocratic police state is a tragedy; the entire world falling under an authoritarian global government is a nightmare from which humanity might never wake up.Add a comment
New York City residents have been subject to a bizarre six-week psychological terror campaign in the form of professional-grade fireworks going off all night, every night, often beginning before sunset and lasting through 4am. The frequency and intensity of these explosions is unlike anything the city has seen in decades - if ever - yet the media has largely refused to discuss the issue, except to downplay and normalize the endless pyrotechnics. But the nightly fireworks shows are only the precursor to what we believe will be a rash of devastating arson attacks, targeting urban and suburban neighborhoods alike - and not just in New York, if the reports coming in from other cities are any indication.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is clearly not taking the problem seriously. While he recently empaneled a “fireworks task force” to belatedly address the problem, he said just days later that cracking down on rogue pyrotechnics is “not a good use of police’s time and energy” - as if the issue began and ended with a few kids playing with M-80s on a rooftop. This is not what we're dealing with here.
The explosions began around Memorial Day - more than a month before the 4th of July - and haven’t stopped since, dwarfing the usual amateur neighborhood fireworks displays in size, frequency, and volume. While fireworks are illegal in New York, it's not unusual to witness locals setting them off on summer nights around the 4th, and if the nightly displays were like those of previous years, they would not be an issue. However, this year's fireworks are often loud enough to be mistaken for bombs, and complaints to the city’s 311 and 911 hotlines quickly outstripped those of previous years: 11,000 as of this past Saturday, compared to just 54 for the same period in 2019.
Accompanying this mysterious bombardment has been a coordinated media gaslighting campaign, with the likes of the New York Times and Buzzfeed News framing the aural assault as “just locals letting off steam” or the result of a big sale at fireworks outlets. These narrative-managers told chronically sleep-deprived New Yorkers that a solid month of nightly 12-hour fireworks shows migrating across the borough and often starting when it was still light outside was completely normal. Beneath the surface was a sneering derision: only a midwestern transplant, a racist, or a gentrifying “Karen” would complain, reporters invariably based outside the five boroughs - their Manhattan offices shuttered because of the coronavirus - snickered.
Other stories claimed it was Black Lives Matter supporters setting off the fireworks in solidarity - a claim thoroughly debunked by a black Brooklynite calling himself Son of Baldwin in a social media thread that went viral last week. Explaining that minority New Yorkers had no reason to terrorize their own communities, he suggested the nonstop noise was a psychological operation aimed at destabilizing these neighborhoods. That reasonable analysis triggered an outbreak of media hysteria, with the New York Times calling the poster out by name as a “conspiracy theorist” after one of its own reporters retweeted the thread, blissfully unaware her employer was part of the coverup. The reporter was savaged by a group of known disinformation peddlers with such ferocity that she briefly deleted her Twitter account. That crew similarly pounced on any prominent New Yorker touting the evidence of their own senses in a surreal epidemic of "Who are you going to believe - us or your lying ears?"
Despite being smeared as liars, complainers and loonies in the media, New Yorkers could not ignore the sonic booms exploding outside their windows daily. Residents who called the city to complain during the first few weeks of the neverending fireworks show got a surreal runaround: those dialing the non-emergency 311 hotline were told to hang up and call 911, and those dialing 911 were told that unless they had an exact address they had to dial 311. Calls to the NYPD public information office regarding the city’s actual fireworks policy were met with stonewalling, feigned ignorance, or confusion: no one seemed to know (or be willing to share) what the official policy for fireworks was.
And now the Fourth of July looms just days away. The city claims to be planning five smaller fireworks displays, one for each borough, times not announced beforehand, supposedly to promote social distancing. The fireworks task force is scheduled to disband the night before Independence Day, as if the trafficking of illegal fireworks will stop in its tracks once the holiday is past. While there have been a handful of arrests, there are too many oddities - firemen at a Crown Heights firehouse caught setting off fountain fireworks late at night, furtive men strolling through Williamsburg lighting off rockets near trashcans without so much as waiting to see whether they went off, shocking videos of kids shooting fireworks at one another while police look on nonchalantly, sociopaths tossing fireworks onto sleeping homeless men, and strangers from out of town showing up in the middle of the night with trunks full of explosives, ready to replenish ongoing illegal neighborhood fireworks shows at unbeatable prices.
WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON?
As many on social media have pointed out, the average New Yorker does not have the money to pay for a month’s worth of all-night fireworks. Certainly, New Yorkers economically devastated by Covid-19, unable to even pay rent let alone flee the city for the Hamptons or Florida like many of the city's wealthier inhabitants, cannot afford a month of professional-grade fireworks, which are difficult to obtain even in states where fireworks are legal. Nor were there existing channels in place in the past capable of transporting the high volume of fireworks into the city from states where they are sold openly - moving such a high volume of explosives across state lines without attracting police notice would be all but impossible without some level of institutional collaboration, whether state, federal, intelligence, foreign, or a combination.
Those searching for the culprit will not find one sole reason for the fireworks operation - the surest route to plausible deniability is having multiple answers to the question “who benefits.” If multiple powerful entities have motive and opportunity, it’s all but impossible to convict them in a court of law based on circumstantial evidence alone. But this is not our intention - we merely wish to spoil their plans and prevent the city (and other parts of the US) from going up in flames. If we can convict the entities responsible in the court of public opinion, that’s a bonus, but we are primarily trying to save the city we call home.
Police benefit when New Yorkers fear rising crime rates. Not only do they feel needed and appreciated when 911 calls go up, but a high volume of emergency calls makes it less likely city government will cave to Black Lives Matters’ demands and defund the NYPD. Firemen benefit when small fires can be put out with minimal damage to property and no loss of life. They come off as heroes arriving on the scene in the nick of time and (if they’re lucky) being photographed carrying the family cat out of a burning tenement. At least two rooftop fires reportedly started by fireworks were quickly extinguished on Avenue C in Alphabet City in the space of the same week that saw a three-story building burn down in Yonkers, supposedly because of fireworks and “poor housekeeping,” leaving six families homeless. Both the NYPD and FDNY are participants in the mayor’s fireworks task force, and busting a handful of swarthy young men with cars full of high-end fireworks justifies the broken-windows policing falling out of favor elsewhere in the country. By the same token, when a firework lands in a child’s bedroom and burns him, the entire community will reliably demand more police presence and/or firefighters. For these reasons, some have speculated city law enforcement is behind the fireworks operation.
For weeks, social media has bristled with tales of strange white men driving into minority neighborhoods in SUVs packed with professional-grade fireworks, which they hand out to local kids for pennies on the dollar (or simply hand out to kids). Slate confirmed this with a bizarre article that sought to paint the sudden appearance of an out-of-towner with a trunk full of professional-grade explosives, offering them to strangers on a darkened Brooklyn street for a pittance, as just another summer night in the city, just the locals "having fun." Certainly the clips of kids chasing one another, firing off rockets like paintball guns as if they have an unlimited supply, indicate they did not have to pay much (if anything) for them. It should be a simple matter for NYPD to trace the license plates of these vehicles, especially if they are indeed from “out of town."
Other rumors state that the professional-grade explosives typically set off at stadiums, fairs, and other large public events canceled because of the coronavirus have been sold off in bulk - to Antifa, according to those on the right, or to police plotting to dump them in black neighborhoods, according to the left. Parallels have been drawn to the pallets of bricks stacked in riot-friendly locations during the early George Floyd protests. Variations of an alleged Antifa plot are circulating claiming the goal of the fireworks is to desensitize people to the sound of gunfire and explosions and measure police response times, then use the fireworks as cover for full-on arson attacks and raids on suburban homes, as well as a mass flag-burning at Gettysburg. Antifa members setting up for a protest in Bushwick, Brooklyn told us they had “something big" planned for July 4, though they seemed both genuinely ignorant as to what it was and utterly confident they would be told when the date arrived - hinting at a rigid cell-like military infrastructure nothing like the loose association with which we are told Antifa operates.
However, this latter plot appears to be a psy-op within a psy-op. Antifa does not have the muscle or political influence to pull off such an operation alone - not without the kind of support that a state intelligence apparatus can provide. While Antifa’s affiliation with Israel is out in the open in Germany, the US incarnation of the group soft-pedals its links with Tel Aviv, presumably because it’s hard to feign solidarity with oppressed peoples worldwide when one is publicly allied with an apartheid state. In the event of mass arson attacks, the agents setting the fires will appear to be part of Antifa and Black Lives Matter (also an Israeli front notorious for coopting grassroots black activist movements) even as Israel gives the orders.
The Department of Homeland Security will be dispatching extra units to Seattle, Portland, and Washington DC for July 4th to protect monuments and federal property, but while these Rapid Deployment Teams trained in crowd and riot control are ideal for subduing violent mobs, limiting the rollout to these three cities (and their remit to protecting federal sites) leaves the real targets of the Independence Day operation wide open. Additional teams will supposedly be on standby, but potentially hours away from the sites of unrest. We need not remind you how much damage can be done in a few hours by determined chaos agents. For the sake of millions of New Yorkers, please do not overlook what these people are plotting.
TERRORISM OR INSURANCE JOB?
The goal of the Independence Day operation is much more than merely sowing terror and chaos: there’s a lot of money to be made in torching entire neighborhoods, especially for landlords and city governments who’ve purchased the proper insurance policies. In the same way that “Lucky” Larry Silverstein collected $4.5 billion off a paltry $124 million down payment on the World Trade Center complex he leased for 99 years just a few months before three of its buildings collapsed completely during the 9/11 terror attacks - saving him the trouble and expense of the asbestos remediation they desperately needed - New York City is full of buildings whose owners might like to see them leveled, buildings which do not conform to the Green New Deal and Agenda 2030 regulations and which will thus require extensive, expensive retrofitting - or total destruction.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo inked a deal for a “smart cities” partnership between New York and the Israel Innovation Authority last year, essentially designating five New York cities (yet to be named) as experimental playgrounds for Israeli intelligence and high technology. New York City would seem to be at the top of the list: the governor also partnered with Israel in 2018 on an initiative called CyberNYC aimed at turning the city into a hub for 10,000 new Israeli cybersecurity jobs, pouring tens of millions of taxpayer dollars into what is essentially a jobs-creation program for the Israeli high tech sector - not New York City. Adding insult to injury, after the coronavirus pandemic gutted the city’s economy, Cuomo brought in former Google executive Eric Schmidt to “reimagine” New York's infrastructure, healthcare, and economy; Schmidt, not-so-coincidentally, is a major investor in Team8, the Israeli start-up incubator at the core of the CyberNYC initiative.
Building a smart city requires completely redesigning the existing urban landscape, however. Schmidt was invited to try his hand at New York not long after Google’s smart-city subsidiary Sidewalk Labs was kicked out of Toronto thanks to spirited resistance from the locals. But while Toronto's Quayside neighborhood - a disused industrial waterfront area - was previously set to become North America’s first smart city, New York has vanishingly few vacant land parcels available to be developed into the kind of dystopian future landscapes seen in the failed Toronto prototype. Sidewalk specializes in “reimagining cities from the internet up” - what areas of New York will be cleared out so that Schmidt and Israeli intelligence can build their Metropolis? The last time anyone attempted a major redevelopment project in New York that required the relocation of large numbers of people, neighborhood activists derailed it - Robert Moses’ Westway highway was never built. Schmidt and the Israeli smart city developers have no doubt learned from Moses’ mistakes; New York’s “smart city” will likely rise from the still-warm ashes of an existing neighborhood. Fireworks provide the perfect cover for modernization-by-arson; no buyouts, no paying for the relocation of hundreds of sullen tenants, and no risk of a modern Jane Jacobs derailing the whole plan.
Similarly, Mayor Bill de Blasio last year passed a “Green New Deal” for New York City requiring buildings over 25,000 square feet to slash emissions by 40 percent from 2005 levels or face steep penalties. It’s only the latest of several “green” regulatory packages passed by the mayor, rules which, like the nationwide Green New Deal, have less to do with saving the planet than with tightening control of resource usage, expanding the surveillance state, and modifying behavior. Even the vast majority of residential buildings and co-ops will face penalties if they don’t change their behavior by 2030, a recent survey found, and penalties increase with building size. The mayor specifically took aim at so-called “classic glass and steel skyscrapers,” calling them “incredibly inefficient” in a 2019 interview. Much of the city’s skyscraper stock consists of these once-cutting-edge structures, mostly containing office space - which has fallen into disuse as the pandemic forces most of the city’s workforce to telecommute. Between the trend shift, the glut of supply and the evaporation of demand, building owners would seem to be stuck with a lot of worthless office space on their hands. Sure, they could use this vacant period to retrofit their buildings cheaply and quickly - shutting off sprinkler systems for repair is a lot less complicated in unoccupied buildings than in active office hubs. And if those sprinklers were never to be turned back on, and if an errant firework should find its way into an open air duct, well… Despite the PR boilerplate from the mayor’s office, bringing a glass-and-steel office tower or a 1940s brick housing project up to Agenda 2030 code is neither easy nor cheap.
The ruling class has used such tactics for centuries to clean their cities of "undesirables" - disasters, no matter how unnatural, provide ideal cover for wiping out troublesome old housing stock and its inhabitants. Hurricane Katrina justified tearing down public housing projects New Orleans had wanted to get rid of for years, sending even high-rise projects utterly undamaged by the storm to the wrecking ball. The 1666 Great Fire of London torched 80 percent of that city, leaving the City of London - the legally-separate entity where historic banking houses have made their home - untouched but largely finishing the depopulation job the 1665 Great Plague had begun (and paving the way for lucrative rebuilding commissions). London's Lord Mayor, a de Blasio of his time, was woken up with news of the fire, only to famously dismiss it with "a woman might piss it out!" and return to bed, unwilling to intervene in the cull. It's hard to ignore the Great Fire/Plague parallels, given the intensity with which Covid-19 savaged New York, deliberately introduced into nursing homes and elder care facilities by order of Governor Andrew Cuomo.
While some real estate owners could no doubt afford to retrofit their holdings to the increasingly stringent "green" specifications, the coronavirus pandemic has cratered the real estate market for office buildings and high-rises in general and the owners of skyscrapers are staring at a lot of red ink. Buying a good fire insurance package and torching, say, a decaying public housing project or a moribund midtown office building is looking mighty attractive to the kind of unscrupulous landlords who regularly used arson as a weapon to drive out problem tenants in gentrifying neighborhoods in the 1980s. The primary reinsurer for skyscrapers in New York City was Allianz as recently as 2014, a German firm whose CEO resigned as part of a mysterious wave of thousands of such resignations around December/January - right before the pandemic tanked the world economy. Allianz will likely be left holding the bag if the city burns, and should be made aware of this fact. Investigators should look at recent purchases of fire insurance, especially multiple policies.
The pandemic largely emptied out upper Manhattan as the wealthy fled to summer homes in the Hamptons, Florida, and other more secure redoubts. The apartments they left behind have values so inflated it would be all but impossible for the owners to turn a profit by reselling them. Accordingly, these too may be burned in order to cash in on insurance policies and free up land for more "smart city" experimentation. Meanwhile, Agenda 2030 programs demand a total overhaul of suburban living as well - and just as the devastating California wildfires of years past cleared out entire communities standing in the way of a massive transit corridor project, fire may be used to "re-zone" suburbia. Do not think that you are safe because you do not live in the city.
Utah authorities reported that fireworks triggered a massive blaze on Sunday night near Traverse Mountain, forcing the evacuation of over 30 homes in the Lehi area and torching some 300 acres before it was brought under control. The inferno was accompanied by a power outage that plunged 7,500 customers into darkness. Fireworks are illegal in Utah, and a suspect was caught in connection with the blaze, but removing one individual from an international network does nothing to affect its plans. The Utah fire was very likely a "dry run" of sorts for Saturday, when these people plan to unleash hell on earth into peaceful urban and suburban neighborhoods. Power outages are almost guaranteed - indeed, many areas of suburban Long Island have suffered power outages during recent storms. The operatives will set traps for first responders, preventing the Fire Department from reaching fires and calling in nonexistent fires to spread resources as thinly as possible. There will likely be ambushes on law enforcement. Many of these people have undergone paramilitary (if not military) training, and letting one's guard down in expectation of the typical doughy Antifa "anarchists" could be fatal.
Please spread this information as widely as possible. We do not have much time. New Yorkers - and your own communities - are counting on you.Add a comment
The music industry thinks you’re dumb, and they think your kids are even dumber. They believe they can not only foist Danny Hernandez - a.k.a. Tekashi 6ix9ine - on the country in the guise of a chart-topping rapper, but use this cartoon character - all bright colors, shiny jewelry, and eternally trolling smirk - to behaviorally engineer a generation of snitches. Tekashi's early release from prison after serving even less than the two year sentence he received (of a potential life sentence with a mandatory minimum of 47 years) in return for ratting out the gang he used as a stepping stone to fame - plus other gangs and rival artists - should have ended with his exile to the dustbin of history. Trends in rap music may come and go, but nobody likes a snitch. Instead, we're told, he's one of the most popular artists out there.
The reader might be wondering why I’m writing about a barely-literate “rapper” whose song titles aren’t even real words - or why they’re reading about him in the guise of political commentary. But Tekashi’s significance far outweighs the staying power of his irritating “music,” and if you don’t know who he is, your children probably do. Ignore this creep at your peril. Tekashi is the vessel for an insidious strain of social programming aimed at convincing American kids - especially ethnic minorities - to turn their parents, friends, and other loved ones in to Big Brother. For legions of disaffected, alienated kids coming of age in a culture that is both morally and fiscally bankrupt, Tekashi is making it cool to be a snitch.
The US is eyeballs-deep in an identity crisis, with a national character once marked by independence having given way to one based on backstabbing obsequiousness - a craven rat-race to see who can follow the rules better than the next person. Tekashi 6ix9ine - whose rainbow-colored hair is only matched in garishness only by his massive diamond-studded cartoon pendants - is the pop culture avatar of Snitch Nation.
When the Brooklyn-born rapper managed to weasel his way out of prison a few months early by convincing the judge he was scared stiff of contracting the coronavirus, those who follow hip-hop drama expected him to fade into the shadows, having well and truly disgraced himself by ratting out nearly a dozen members of the Nine Trey Bloods gang whose “street cred” he’d exploited to become a massive star in the authenticity-hungry world of “Soundcloud rap."
Instead, he set an Instagram Live record last month, netting over 2 million viewers on his first post-prison stream, attracting a slate of the biggest names in hip-hop - people who supposedly (and who he admits should) hate his informant guts. And for the crowning moment of his unlikely comeback - advertised on a multi-story digital billboard in a pandemic-emptied Times Square - he followed it up by releasing a song called “Gooba” that racked up a record-breaking 43 million views in its first 24 hours, somehow soaring to number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The troll was on a roll.
A snitch by any other name…
Making snitching cool is no small task. Americans were once filled with an instinctive disgust for tattle-tales that began in youth. But in more recent decades, as helicopter parents and the schools they police have become obsessed with “bullying,” tattling has slowly been reinvented as, if not a virtue, at least not a crime meriting pariah status. Children are expected to run home to their parents at the slightest adversity, even adult children; the phenomenon of parents applying for jobs for their adult kids is now so common in some industries that companies like Google, LinkedIn and Amazon actually host events for parents of potential employees, a tacit acknowledgment that these parents - not their millennial children - are the ones deciding on the position. The “call-out culture” of online ‘social justice warriors’ actually incentivizes tattling on those guilty of politically incorrect “wrongthink,” so long as the person being tattled on can be framed as privileged.
The coronavirus pandemic saw the rise of a new breed of snitch that clogged specially-designated tattle-tale lines with complaints about their neighbors and even strangers failing to abide by the ever-changing and often arbitrary rules imposed by local governments, supposedly to control the spread of the virus. With tens of millions of Americans suddenly out of work and being presented with a lucrative job opportunity in “contact tracing,” the idea of being a professional snitch was no longer restricted to jailhouse rats like Tekashi. And the post-pandemic race war has renewed enthusiasm for “canceling” wrongthinkers, even if their transgressions happened over 7 years ago - getting a celebrity or brand unpersoned is a feather in the cap for social media users animated not by curiosity or imagination but by spite. Snitching is suddenly everywhere, and it’s not just tolerated - it’s praised.
Contact tracers must take a six-hour free online course, but other than that the profession - presented in a plethora of puff pieces as a “life-saving” role accompanied by fabulous pay and excellent job security - has no barrier to entry. During that course, the student is subtly brainwashed to believe they are heroes who can save their community from a killer plague if they just put aside their concerns about other people’s privacy and remember that their primary loyalty is to the state, not their friends and family. That last part is important - the instructor in Johns Hopkins’ contact tracing course specifically warns the student that even if they know Person A has tested positive for Covid-19 and their mother has an appointment for dinner with Person A, they are forbidden to warn their mother to cancel the dinner - even if she’s old and sick and getting infected could kill her.
The ideal contact-tracer, then, is an already-alienated soul with no close family or friends for whom snitching - especially the kind of snitching that deprives others of their close relationships through the cruelty of quarantine (otherwise known as solitary confinement, a punishment banned as inhumane in many countries’ prisons) - supplies much-needed gratification. Who is more alienated than Generation Z, the young adults who’ve grown up untroubled by the notion of privacy, a smartphone in their hand since they were old enough to hold it, the “digital natives” for whom the socially-distant world of Covid-19 quarantine is not abnormal at all because they already conducted their social and romantic lives online? An entire generation of kids who’ve been taught to carry a chip on their shoulder, resenting the people one rung above them on the ladder while lacking the understanding that there’s an entire class of people at the top of that same ladder ensuring success and security remain out of their reach are the ideal contact-tracers, in the community but not of it.
Tekashi’s comeback livestream is instructive in figuring out how the narrative managers are attempting to reprogram the youth. In a rambling, borderline-incoherent broadcast, the newly-free reprobate flaunts his pricey watches, thrusts his diamond-encrusted shark into the camera while bragging about how much it cost, and dances around to the tune of “Bad Boys” - the theme song from the (now ironically cancelled) ‘Cops’ TV show - with a pair of handcuffs dangling from one wrist, jockeying for space among the watches. The not-so-subtle message is the unlocked handcuffs are as much of a status symbol as the Rolexes.
And what his first post-prison “hit” lacks in lyrical virtuosity (chorus: “are you dumb, stupid, or dumb?” All of the above, thanks!), its video makes up in Pavlovian conditioning. Rather than try to downplay his newfound reputation as a “rat,” he revels in it, even pulling up a pant leg at one point to reveal his ankle monitor (coming soon to a lockdown defier near you) with the same pride as he flaunts his shark piece. In a gesture designed to enrage, he briefly superimposes a cartoon mouse head on his own as he flails around in front of a rainbow-colored horde of ample-assed “video vixens” (one of whom is apparently his girlfriend, who we’re told stuck by him faithfully while he was locked up). The moral of the story: snitch and all this can be yours. Put aside those pesky ethics. There’s no downside to stepping on people on your way to the top.
Indeed, Tekashi’s post-prison trolling has hit its targets with such flawless accuracy that it’s clear someone else is stage-managing his “outrageous” behavior. On the heels of that record-breaking Instagram stream, he jumped into a public feud with Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, whose insipid lockdown-fetish anthem “Stuck With U” was then at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100, claiming the pair and their manager had bought their way to the top of the chart. While reassuring Grande that his accusations were in no way meant to detract from her success, Tekashi expertly tugged at fans’ heartstrings by explaining that unlike privileged white child-star Grande, he’d grown up in the ‘hood with a mother who was forced to collect cans to survive. And at the height of the George Floyd protests against racism and police brutality, with riots roiling dozens of American cities, he announced a Nicki Minaj collaboration with proceeds to be donated to The Bail Project, which funds bail assistance for low-income people. The title? “Trollz,” of course.
The perfect (empty) vessel
Turning Generation Z into Generation Snitch won’t be difficult. Since 2015, the Department of Homeland Security has been partnering with schools and even universities on the Project Safe Campus program, which pays students $100 to snitch on their classmates in the name of keeping the hallways safe (and lavishes $3,000 on the school for every "actionable tip" received by police - can you say "extra credit project"?). With the economy in ruins and a politically-hopeless landscape offering young people little chance of productive engagement, all they need is an attractive role model to emulate. And what’s Tekashi - a rags-to-riches story spliced with a flashy redemption narrative - but a role model? A cartoon character literally represented by another cartoon character, dripping with the money and clout that are the only things American society truly values in 2020, the rapper is a seductive construct to any alienated young adult. What person given the shaft by society hasn’t dreamed of flouting social norms and not only getting away with it, but getting paid handsomely for it?
Sweetening the deal is the aspirational character arc. After all, the young rapper has been declared officially forgiven - hip-hop icon Akon, the first ‘big name’ to publicly defend Tekashi’s snitching back in April by highlighting up the performer’s youth and inexperience and suggesting the gang members Tekashi got locked up had “used” the rapper to make millions, announced his own collaboration with the rainbow-haired troll last week. The redemption deal was sealed with a remake of Akon’s first-ever single, auspiciously titled “Locked Up 2.” Nicki Minaj cemented that narrative the day before their own collaboration dropped, pointing out that Tekashi was a rapper, not a “street n*gga” and reminding the audience that if some deep-pocketed “rat” came along with a record deal for them, they’d take that rat’s money.
Turning the rat into the wronged one takes cast-iron chutzpah, but the narrative seems to be holding. Tekashi has held fast to his self-victimization, faux-apologizing for his snitching (“I’m sorry if you were offended…”) without sparing a word for the families of the men who will likely spend the rest of their lives in prison on racketeering charges because of him. Even Tekashi’s 2015 criminal conviction for using a child in a sexual performance - a presumed deal-killer in the #MeToo era that somehow never did more than raise a few eyebrows, netting a probation sentence despite his pleading guilty to three felonies - has remained obediently dormant, and photo-documented allegations of extensive domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend Sara Molina, the mother of his child, haven’t hurt his popularity. While Minaj and Akon have been dragged by fans for collaborating with a “rat,” the industry press have closed ranks around them, and all complaints are relegated to social media and comments sections. Ratting has been ordained part of the New Normal.
It’s worth asking how an “artist” whose fame grew out of starting “beefs,” looking weird, and hanging out with a real-life gang has led such a charmed life. As the star witness against that gang, his career was assumed to be over in October - before he reportedly signed a $10 million record deal. And Tekashi knew he’d be more popular than ever upon his release, claiming his critics were secretly jealous and that everyone else would soon forget his transgressions. While it’s unlikely he fully grasps the purpose for which he is being used, he clearly understands he’s not being forced to play by the rules everyone else obeys - and he can’t seem to resist rubbing it in everyone else’s face.
A cocky, untouchable star who beats women is fundamentally unlikable, so Tekashi has been consistently portrayed as the underdog. Those scripting the drama that is his public life carefully select as enemies fellow musicians who are either more established, white, or both. The artists selected for his comeback collaborations have been older, established black musicians with large and loyal fan-bases, suitable to play the mentor role (Akon) or a quasi-maternal role (the 37-year-old Minaj doubles as a ‘MILF’ figure). Thus he remains the newcomer, even though he’s been on the “scene” for years - a lengthy career in the flash-in-the-pan world of Soundcloud Rap in which stars debut, blow up, OD, get locked up, and/or die often within a single year. Tekashi is Mexican, not black, but the gang that adopted him was black and he’s light-skinned enough to “pass” for white. As a result, disadvantaged, disaffected youth of all races and ethnicities can potentially identify with him. The over-the-top performative nature of his public persona leaves plenty of room for his audience to sketch out the “real” Daniel Hernandez in their own image.
Uncle Sam Wants You…
Contact-tracing programs and the “community policing” initiatives the ruling class hopes to roll out on their backs require collaborators in the target populations. This is not negotiable, as public health NGOs who have tried to conduct contact tracing in African villages during past ebola epidemics learned the hard way. NGO workers who showed up in a village asking questions were generally attacked and chased out; contact-tracers recruited from among the villagers were trusted and cooperated with. With trust in US authorities at rock-bottom levels especially among marginalized communities - for good reason, given the country’s horrific history of experimenting on these populations without consent - the ruling class needs snitches, and it needs them to join up voluntarily. A coerced snitch might work for law enforcement, but it doesn’t work here - the rat’s whole world must center on the cheese.
Revolutionary movements throughout history have understood the utility of using the youth as their enforcers. Their minds are more malleable, they’re more idealistic, more trusting, and less sure of their own identities. These same characteristics make the youth appealing to the ruling class interests seeking to recruit soldiers for its own “revolution” - which is not a revolution at all but an insurrection designed to destroy communities from within by turning their members against one another. As the American system, hollowed out by decades of Wall Street plunder, begins to crumble before Generation Z’s eyes, mass media has prepared them for the realization that they have little to look forward to besides shiny objects and big-booty bitches. Tekashi is proof that one can snitch and still have all the goodies - indeed, that one MUST snitch in order to get the goodies. In a nation of snitches, honesty is a handicap, so why not betray your neighbors, your parents, your friends, before they betray you?
A nation of rats stabbing each other in the back is ideal for the order-out-of-chaos philosophy that drives the ruling class, but truly dividing and conquering Snitch Nation requires elevating some snitches above others. Not all snitching is acceptable in this brave new world, and the terms of what is acceptable shift periodically, keeping everyone off-balance and constantly in fear that last week’s noble call-out will render them persona non grata this week. The narrative managers have successfully racialized the practice of tattling, holding up the archetype of the “Karen” - a middle-aged white woman with a layered bob haircut demanding to speak to the manager - for hate and ridicule. In practice, however, the Karen is in the eye of the beholder: is a working-class white woman who “calls out” a fellow working-class white woman for a Halloween costume she wore 10 years ago, now seen as culturally appropriative, an advocate for the oppressed or an exemplar of privilege trying to impose today’s norms on yesterday? What about a wealthy black man who calls out the same working-class white woman for that costume? A previous generation might have written off the entire discussion as puke-worthy PC navel gazing, but in 2020 we’re expected to subject the interaction to a detailed intersectional analysis and care deeply about the result - while the ruling class continues to rob us blind and spend our tax dollars bombing Yemeni kids. Somehow, the “white privilege” that allows Uncle Sam to blanket the Middle East with wholesome ‘murican bombs never enters the conversation.
In this New Normal, an act of snitching is exempted from Karenhood if it can be framed as “punching up.” Amy Cooper, the “Central Park Karen” who called the police on a black birdwatcher who tried to feed her dog a treat in order to convince her to leash the creature (which was off its leash in a wildlife preservation area of Central Park), was universally reviled for feigning peril to a 911 operator, putting the birdwatcher’s life in danger by inviting the intervention of the trigger-happy NYPD (“an African-American man is threatening my and my dog’s life!”). But the internet vigilantes who hammered her employer, Franklin Templeton Investments, to the point that they first suspended and then fired her were celebrated. One can argue that Amy Cooper deserved to lose her job and briefly become the face of systemic racism in the US for making that phone call. But one must also admit that it’s a slippery slope from exposing Karens to ratting out lockdown-breakers, quarantine-violators, and other victimless “criminals” - and that the narrative managers are training internet rage-mobs to react to both with the same vociferousness. One need only recall how the media establishment ran lengthy stories early in the Covid-19 pandemic talking up “quarantine-shaming,” affirming it as a noble pursuit - three months later, Americans are shrieking at their unmasked fellows, chasing them out of supermarkets like something out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
But will it work?
For all the public-relations muscle behind the Tekashi 6ix9ine “project,” the response has been mixed. The Trollz video had 158,000 “thumbs down” 24 hours after it went live, compared to 2.2 million “thumbs up.” The record-breaking Instagram Live stream likely included as many haters and curious rubberneckers as fans, and YouTube has been known to memory hole “dislikes” and goose view counts on material that supports the desired narrative. Even non-profit No Kid Hungry rejected a $200,000 donation the colorful troll dangled in front of them in May, releasing a statement that explained that “as a child-focused campaign, it is our policy to decline funding from donors whose activities do not align with our mission and values.” Ouch.
But one must not underestimate the power of repetition. His songs get extensive radio play, and the hip-hop press can’t stop talking about him. Already the hate being thrown his way when it first emerged he was cooperating to lock away his one-time gang colleagues has quieted down. At the same time, the economic climate in the US continues to deteriorate, making contact tracing - one of the few growth industries left in America, and one whose starting pay ($65,000 in New York!) is nothing to sneeze at - more and more attractive. Young adults, seeing no future in the career they may once have wanted to pursue, may become professional snitches out of need; others will see the job as a way to exact revenge on those they feel have wronged them.
As protests against police violence continue across the nation, ill-defined “community policing” initiatives are increasingly presented as solutions. Community policing doesn’t have to be exploitative, and certainly the violent and militarized model of policing the US has today must be changed, but as long as the same political class remains in power and there’s no accountability to be had for the “bad apples,” the “new boss” will be no less oppressive than the “old boss.” Individuals from poor and minority neighborhoods will be paid to inform on their neighbors, and surveillance technology will be rolled out that makes existing practices seem positively antiquated, enabled by the 5G networks whose installation was fast-tracked while everyone was distracted with the pandemic. The future will be a grim place indeed unless we push back against efforts to normalize snitching. Efforts to abolish the police must not end with everyday people taking their place.Add a comment
Fear and uncertainty have dominated the media coverage of the Covid-19 epidemic. The novel coronavirus is depicted not as a pedestrian pathogen certain to be beaten into submission by the miracles of modern science any day now, but as an invisible evil lurking everywhere, formidable enough to inspire a respectful terror even in the leading lights of the medical establishment. And in case Americans had any doubt about how they were supposed to regard this new viral threat, the establishment talking heads many rely upon for the self-assured delivery of their news have swapped their usual swagger for apprehension. Amid this ‘confidence vacuum,’ the popular response to the pandemic has taken on a religious cast. Protective measures like masks have taken on a talismanic quality, hand-washing has been elevated to a ritual performance, and a cult built on naming and shaming ‘heretics’ has seized the minds of many - while their rights are quietly stripped away and a paternalistic police state substituted in their place.
Unable to see the microscopic “enemy” they are told threatens the lives of them and their family and deprived of a scientifically proven cure, individuals seeking deliverance from Covid-19 are left with only their faith that the protective measures prescribed by health experts –our scientific priest class– can keep it at bay. If it ended there, the Corona Cult would merely be a curiosity - humans have turned to religion in troubled times since before written history began. But its dark side has already reared its ugly head - those who buck the new orthodoxy are already being blamed for the plague.
We've been here before. In the Middle Ages, pious peasants were kept in line by priests who told them God was watching their every move. When a plague appeared, it was interpreted as divine punishment, the wrath of God visited upon a sinful population. Those who wished to stand out as especially devout whipped themselves in public, or wore painful garments called “hair shirts” - in both cases with the aim of ‘mortifying the flesh,’ literally ‘putting to death’ their sinful natures.
It’s no coincidence that self-flagellation reached its height of popularity during the Black Plague. It was assumed by its practitioners that if they underwent penance by inflicting pain on themselves, they would be spared the God-given pain of the plague. Those who publicly refused to participate in the religious rituals of the day were called out as infidels, heretics, witches or other servants of the devil. They might be chased out of town; many were tortured and even killed, often in shockingly gruesome ways, as the centuries progressed and the Inquisition rose to power. The pious were regularly told their misfortunes were due to the presence of a satanic influence among them, with complex problems declared to be solved by simply casting out the offending presence.
While western society may tell itself it has left those Dark Ages far behind, the lure of simplistic explanations and the desire to find fulfillment in shared suffering - inflicted or endured - are as potent as ever.
Mask of the red death
Face masks have become both the visual symbol of the Covid-19 epidemic and the dominant religious fetish for the Cult of Corona. While cities from New York to Laredo, Texas have adopted regulations mandating them in public places and chain stores like Costco have barred unmasked customers from their premises, it’s hard not to notice those individuals so devoted to the mask-wearing ritual that they sport the face-coverings in their own cars (with the windows rolled up) and when running down epidemic-emptied streets. Poor messaging is partly to blame - the Centers for Disease Control has repeatedly changed its narrative on who should wear masks, from “sick people” to “only healthcare workers” to “everyone.” However, the Cult of Corona’s devotion to the mask extends far beyond following the recommendations of a mere public health agency.
The mask has taken on a supernatural significance that far outweighs its utility in disease protection. Even the N-95 masks health authorities have recommended to protect society from virus-positive individuals have been found largely ineffective in protecting the uninfected from carriers in their surroundings, and the flimsy surgical masks that have become ubiquitous for sale on American street corners are next to worthless in stopping virus transmission. Indeed, some doctors have warned that wearing a mask is counterproductive due to the false sense of security it creates, while others suggest it's actually dangerous due to the risk of hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and hypercapnia (excess carbon dioxide). Yet it’s impossible to walk into a supermarket in many cities without something covering the mouth - even as one’s eyes remain unprotected and ready to receive whatever viral particles are lingering in the air. Mask requirements thus have nothing to do with health and everything to do with religious faith. They provide a way for the faithful to telegraph their virtue at a distance and recognize one another instantly, while flagging the non-compliant as infidels to be avoided.
In the same way that garlic and a cross were supposed to ward off vampires in times past, the face mask is supposed to fend off the “invisible enemy” lurking everywhere at once. One might feel a little silly driving around with a mask on (or stringing a clove of garlic above one’s window), but better safe than sorry - and if you haven’t been infected, or had any vampires show up at your bedside, who’s to say it isn’t working?
A bevy of rituals has sprung up among Corona Cultists, from the benign if eccentric (swabbing all exposed surfaces with Lysol wipes) to the sinister (reporting neighbors for perceived violations). Even the simplest, most scientifically-sound measures like hand-washing have taken on a ritualistic cast, as the virus-fearing infuse them with a terrified zeal. How else to explain the popularity of the dozens of “hand-washing apps” available for smartphones but that the shock of the epidemic has caused us to question that which we once took for granted? Just as peasants of a previous era might have been spooked into regular church attendance by the specter of the Black Death, their descendants pore over videos of hand-washing on YouTube, determined to live a “cleaner” life.
But another holdover from the Dark Ages has risen its ugly head. While our ancestors might have turned in their oddball neighbor as a “witch,” claiming to have seen the merry old spinster cavorting with Satan under the full moon, modern-day snitches are picking up their smartphones and dialing specially-designated lines to report violations of social distancing orders. These services are disturbingly popular - New Zealand’s snitch site crashed repeatedly within its first week in late March as over 4,000 people scrambled to turn in their neighbors for violating that nation’s harsh lockdown regulations, which separated people into “bubbles” based on their living arrangements and forbid them from interacting with those outside their “bubble.”
Snitches come in several stripes. There have always been busybodies who call the police when their neighbor’s music is too loud rather than knocking on their door and politely asking to turn it down. But in the Cult of Corona, these miscreants are joined by those driven half-crazy with fear, convinced that the act of turning in rule breakers will somehow protect them from contracting the virus. They’d never say such a preposterous thing out loud, of course - if asked, they merely claim to be concerned for the community, or worried their victim’s irresponsible behavior is spreading Covid-19 willy-nilly, perhaps even stating that their decision to turn their neighbor in was “for their own good.” Just as the Inquisitor’s concern for those they tortured on the rack was supposedly for their victim’s “immortal soul,” so does the modern snitch rationalize their betrayal of their neighbors by reasoning that the virus police are concerned only for the health of the heretics they rat out - while secretly breathing a sigh of relief that they aren’t the ones being tortured (or placed on a ventilator), this time. Following orders becomes a source of comfort for the snitch deprived of life's normal pleasures by the lockdown - providing an avenue for transformation from victim to hero.
Fueling this schadenfreudisch frenzy are media headlines celebrating the karmic punishment of lockdown violators. Whether it’s spring-breakers testing positive for Covid-19 after throwing caution to the wind and partying down on the beach or social-media showoffs boasting about refusing to social-distance, the public smiting of heretics has been a popular topic among Corona Cultists isolated in their homes. John McDaniel, an Ohio man who criticized his governor for shutting down the state, reportedly died in April of coronavirus only for social media mobs to dance on his grave and use his death to attack other “doubters” (including Donald Trump, whose insufficient reverence at the altar of the virus continues to set zealots frothing with rage). CNN’s Jake Tapper claimed that “practically every day” he read about a corona doubter succumbing to the virus, blaming conservative media and politicians for their deaths - heresy, apparently, is as contagious as the virus. The New York Post, which ran a moralizing story free of any identifying details about a nameless Kingston, New York barber who’d caught the virus after supposedly flouting lockdown for several weeks to cut hair, also rushed to connect a spike in coronavirus cases in Kentucky with an anti-lockdown protest a few days earlier - even though the virus’ lengthy latency period (and the fact that a significant chunk of the new cases were in nursing homes) made it next to impossible the two events were linked. And Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, one of the most fanatical government figures in the US' corona cult, implied in a press conference that protests were more likely to contribute to the spread of the virus than other forms of “congregating.”
UK PM Boris Johnson was perhaps the most public example of the “divine punishment” phenomenon - his conversion to the Corona Cult (after a few days of timidly suggesting herd immunity might be a better path to public health) came too late to keep him out of intensive care at the hands of the NHS his party has so ruthlessly sought to privatize. When actress Miriam Margolyes declared following his recovery that she had wanted to see BoJo dead, some in the media appeared to agree with her - while making a point of casting such agreement as gleefully subversive. Not only do Corona Cultists find a commonality in rooting for the virus against the dissidents who challenge their worldview, but their own adherence to an exhaustingly cognitively-dissonant dogma is affirmed as the correct path by the heretics' misfortune. Enforced austerity tends to be unpopular with its victims, but when that privation is reframed as a noble sacrifice made by all [except the wealthy] for the common good, it becomes easier to bear the suffering - and much more difficult to tolerate those who refuse to go along.
The real danger comes when zealots feel compelled to “help” the virus smite the heretics (sure, I could wait for God to punish this evildoer in the afterlife, but why not take some of that work off His hands?). The Daily Mail cheered on an elderly woman who threatened to “kick the ass” of a stranger for merely calling the pandemic a “hoax.” An elderly patient died in a Brooklyn hospital after another patient knocked her to the ground, cracking her head open - supposedly because she "didn't stay more than six feet away." The violence need not be physical - a British woman told SkyNews she was “named and shamed” by neighbors on Facebook when she accidentally slept through her town’s weekly “clap for the NHS” ritual, in which participants lean out their windows and applaud at a fixed time every week in a choreographed celebration of the healthcare workers they believe protect them from the virus. Even viral videos of police abuses, which have been a dime a dozen during lockdowns that embolden the worst elements on the force, have been deluged with comments in support of the cops, charging the unarmed man/woman/child being arrested or brutalized “deserved it” because they were out without a mask/protesting/not standing 6 feet away from the nearest human. Never mind that the cops in the videos are almost never masked themselves, or that it’s impossible to maintain six feet of distance while making an arrest - certainly never mind the Kafkaesque paradox of arresting someone for not social-distancing, only to throw them in a jail cell with several other humans per square foot - these poor souls have sinned, and they must be punished. Don’t agree? You might end up in there with them.
Gotta have faith
For those whose faith is flagging after two months of lockdowns sapping both their bank accounts and health, polls are being churned out confirming upwards of 80% of Americans and nearly 9 out of 10 Britons support continuing the lockdowns, which combined with social media's growing censorship of anti-lockdown speech gives the false impression of a universal public consensus that government policies are both popular and lifesaving. Fanatical religious adherence is required to enforce belief in such absurdity, given the appalling track records of the High Priests of Lockdown. Imperial College corona czar Neil Ferguson was caught gallivanting with his mistress in defiance of his own policies after two months lecturing Brits about the importance of staying home, but his wildly irresponsible disease model - produced using a defective computer program that was more glitch than code - lives on, haunting the minds of lockdown-lovers who screech BoJo is letting Brits leave home too soon. Indeed, based on his resumé, Ferguson never should have been allowed near public policy. His terrible miscalculations regarding foot-and-mouth disease in 2001 led to the unnecessary destruction of over 6.5 million livestock, decimating the nation’s farming industry, while a similar but fortunately unheeded prediction in 2002 that mad cow disease would kill as many as 150,000 Britons was shown up by the reality of 178 killed. As the years went on, his apocalyptic visions only intensified - in 2005, he declared bird flu would kill some 200 million people worldwide - when reality saw some 455 people, total, killed over the past 15 years according to the WHO. His hysterical 2009 prediction that 65,000 Brits would die of swine flu encouraged the government to embrace GlaxoSmithKline’s unsafe Pandemrix vaccine, which caused permanent brain damage in thousands of people (mostly children, plus a good deal of NHS workers conned into taking the jab with false claims of its safety and effectiveness) - quite a bit more than the 283 killed by the actual swine flu.
Not that the UK is alone in embracing faith-based “science” as health policy. Trump even appointed the man who led GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine division during the Pandemrix debacle to lead “Operation Warp Speed,” his unhinged program to develop a vaccine by the end of 2020 (a process that normally takes five years being crammed into eight months). Like Ferguson, Anthony Fauci - the face of the US’ pandemic response - has decades of epidemic failures under his belt at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Starting with the thousands of otherwise-healthy HIV positive people who died in the 1980s thanks to Fauci’s shameless advocacy for AZT, which refashioned the toxic drug (too poisonous for terminal cancer patients) into a miracle pill for AIDS, and passing through at least one episode of perjury that saw him deny the existence of encephalitis as a possible side effect of the MMR vaccine (before remembering he was under oath and acknowledging it was “rare”), Fauci has displayed such breathtaking avarice and incompetence at the helm of the NIAID that the US life expectancy has actually declined noticeably under his watch for the first time in history. Yet like the followers of an end-times cult leader who remain loyal even as the appointed date for the end of the world comes and goes, devotees of these public health priests have not dared to learn their lesson. Instead, they ramp up their predictions of doom for heretical countries like Sweden and Belarus that have refused to fall in line with the universal lockdown doctrine.
One level above the public health priesthood is Microsoft billionaire and Pandemic Pope Bill Gates, whose lack of medical credentials or even a college diploma have not stopped the world from hailing him as a prophet based on his “prediction” of a pandemic in 2015 - and his claim to have both the answers and the ability to pay for them. Gates’ deep pockets - he’s the number-one funder of the WHO, ever since Trump pulled US support - have given him the power to almost singlehandedly direct global health policy, steering it into a pharmaceutical iceberg even as real doctors protest his many conflicts of interest. Since diving into the money-pit of “philanthropy,” Gates has more than doubled his fortune; his foundation is heavily invested in the drug companies that make the vaccines that other groups he funds purchase for poor countries. He’s also very, very generous with the media, buying the silence of establishment outlets around the world - big names like the Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, Financial Times, and National Public Radio - so their journalists don’t recoil when he can barely keep from gibbering and squealing while discussing the economic hurt his lockdown policies are inflicting on hapless populations - or research the trail of suffering his foundation has left through the Global South.
Yet even the most enthusiastic cheerleaders of the pharmaceutical-industrial complex - vaccine advocates like Peter Hotez, the bowtie-sporting tropical disease specialist who was ubiquitous on TV during the 2018 “measles epidemic” attacking so-called “anti-vaxxers” - have expressed alarm at the decision to scrap the animal-testing phase for the Covid-19 vaccine that is supposed to save the world, noting that “there is a risk of immune enhancement” with vaccines for any coronavirus. During animal trials for an aborted SARS vaccine, mice who got the shot developed a severe version of the virus when exposed to it after they were inoculated, while ferrets similarly challenged post-vaccination with the virus suffered “enhanced liver damage.” Perhaps trying to get around these roadblocks, Moderna, the drugmaker currently leading the vaccine pack, is banking on a totally new kind of vaccine, one which, rather than lob a softball at the immune system in the form of a dead or weakened form of the virus, will attempt to reprogram our genetic material to create the pieces of the virus, so that the immune system can learn to fight them off. That’s how Gates himself describes this “promising” method, at least. Did we mention Moderna has never brought a vaccine to market before? What’s the matter - where’s your faith?
We may not be turning our eyes heavenward and praying for deliverance, but the leaders of the western world have declared society cannot fully return to normal until a magical perfect vaccine arrives from on high, an absurd one-stop solution that carries echoes of the “duck and cover”-type prescriptions for surviving a nuclear blast, drilled into people’s heads during the Cold War. The effect of instilling a powerful capacity for cognitive dissonance - teaching children to hide under their desks even as they were taught the laws of physics, i.e. an understanding that their desks couldn’t protect them - turned Americans into gold medalists in cognitive dissonance. Were it an Olympic sport, no one would even come close.
Omnipotence & Omniscience in the 21st century
The contact-tracing platforms - both digital and human-based - being rolled out around the world have their philosophical roots in religious rites of confession, cross-bred with the police-state logic of the National Security Agency (“if you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear”) and coupled with the religious notion of an all-seeing, all-knowing deity. All deviation from lockdown dogma is logged and reported, including consorting with known heretics, and this Panopticon - attacked when it debuted in China as totalitarian police-state control - is now being embraced in western media as the work of benevolent governments concerned with citizen welfare. While this transformation was laid out chillingly in ‘Lock Step,’ a hypothetical future outlined in 2010 in the Rockefeller Foundation and Global Business Network’s “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development,” any discussion of predictive programming is off-limits. Indeed, Corona Cultists are encouraged to cut off their “conspiracy theorist” relatives, because, in the words of Canadian broadcaster CBC, “conspiracies can be just as infectious, just as dangerous as a virus - so you have to guard against them.” Parents in Wales are being warned that conspiracy theorists are a greater threat than pedophiles on the internet. Compounding the seriousness of wrongthink, the WHO has popularized the term “infodemic” - implying ideas are as dangerous to one’s health as pathogens - and recommended a “vaccine for misinformation.”
Soon, the Corona Cultist will no longer have to self-report their symptoms on a Facebook survey or confess their sins to a contact-tracer. Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed clothing with embedded sensors to monitor the wearer’s vital signs. Enabled by the 5G networks being fast-tracked while any potential opposition is locked down, these sensors will communicate in real time with surveillance smart grids, pinpointing the offender and alerting others to give them a wide berth, refuse to serve them, and eventually have them "neutralized." Their bank account may be frozen until they return home, or even debited a certain fine based on the degree of disobedience ("that’ll be 20 Hail Bills…or $20 per minute outside the home, your choice"). Eventually, these sensors will be implanted inside the body - in what sounds like the plot of a science fiction dystopia, Microsoft secured a patent in March for a system that mines cryptocurrency based on physiological signals, theoretically permitting the corporation to ‘reward’ users based on desirable responses to certain stimuli. While the example they gave was banal - a reward for watching an advertisement - it’s no great leap to imagine equivalent punishments for those who respond with disgust to the ruling class’ propaganda. The all-knowing, all-seeing God micromanaging His followers, a religious trope that has been used to keep large populations in line for millennia, has finally been realized in the form of the Covid-19 police state. Big Brother wields technology as both carrot - gently shepherding His flock toward transhumanist perfection by offering a facsimile of freedom in return for downloading an app, accepting a “quantum dot tattoo,” or showing a “certificate of immunity” on demand - and stick, digitally and literally imprisoning those who deviate from His shining future.
A breathtakingly wealthy coalition of billionaires and their pet statesmen have seized their own slice of the divine by appointing themselves Big Brother’s agents on earth. From the messianic glow of European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen as she solicits money from cash-strapped European nations, to the aforementioned sweater-vested Gates channelling Nostradamus with predictions of "Pandemic Two," to second-generation New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (whose PR people have laid it on thick with hashtags like #Cuomosexual and #CuomoForPresident even as his state leads the world in infections and deaths and his policies of mandating nursing homes accept Covid-19-positive patients literally "kill Grandma") epitomizing "New York Tough" by acting out #resistance to Trump even as his brother was supposedly laid low by the virus, there's no end of ruling-class Heroes™ basking in the admiration of the Corona Cultists, who offer up their (and everyone else's) rights on a silver platter, never to be seen again.
Can constant surveillance stop the virus? No more than one-way sidewalks, bleaching the beach, or ratting out your neighbor does. There’s nothing wrong with clinging to ritual in a time of uncertainty - certainly hand-washing doesn’t have a downside, presuming one stops short of wearing the skin off one’s hands. But when that ritual harms others, it must be questioned. Covid-19 zealots would argue that they have science on their side, but the science is far from settled on the effectiveness of social distancing and sweeping economic shutdowns.
Pseudoscience on a rampage
As social media censors tighten the screws on what information is permitted to enter the public sphere, it becomes increasingly difficult to pretend the Cult of Corona is based on science. Actual science relies upon constant inquiry, testing, and hypothesizing, and even those claims generally attested to by its practitioners are considered “theories” as opposed to unchangeable truths. Science-as-religion, on the other hand, denounces those who put forth dissenting theories as heretics, using slurs like “quack,” “charlatan,” and “anti-vaxxer” to marginalize, for example, medical practitioners who heal people without the use of pharmaceutical drugs. The social media platforms’ decision to unilaterally deplatform content that contradicts the WHO’s narrative is anti-scientific in the extreme, sacrificing the spirit of inquiry for the strictures of groupthink. It’s rendered even more Kafkaesque due to continuing shifts in the WHO’s own narrative, which has changed as more is learned about the virus (as scientific understanding tends to do).
The idea that YouTube’s content moderators know better than a medical doctor how to treat Covid-19 would have been considered laughable just six months ago, yet Google’s video platform has repeatedly removed videos of licensed, practicing clinicians discussing their experiences. A pair of “rogue” doctors in Bakersfield, California who held a lengthy press conference laying out their findings and questioning the wisdom of prolonged lockdowns - broadcast on a local network TV station - went viral, only for YouTube to remove nearly every copy while pundits denounced the pair as “coronavirus truthers.” Their video did not attempt to project their own experiences onto the world - indeed, where they did cite statistics outside of Bakersfield, they used “official” statistics from health authorities, in Sweden and elsewhere, to support their claim that the fatality rate was being significantly overestimated because most cases were asymptomatic. Their video was literally broadcast on “mainstream media,” an “authoritative source” in the eyes of YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. But its incompatibility with prevailing coronavirus dogma meant it had to be destroyed.
The orthodox narrative also jettisons long-accepted science about immunity. Vitamin D - obtained from sunlight absorbed through the skin - has been proven in study after study to be integral to a healthy immune system, and several recent studies have demonstrated its importance in surviving Covid-19 infection. Likewise, loneliness has been linked to diminished immune function and poor health in general, especially in elderly people (i.e. those most susceptible to Covid-19), and even those who are quite content with being alone are experiencing diminished immune stimulation due to not interacting with other people. The link between isolation and ill health is so strong that even the media establishment has quietly acknowledged it, and solitary confinement is considered cruel and unusual punishment in many countries. No less than the World Economic Forum, co-organizer of the notorious Event 201 simulation that served as a dress rehearsal for Covid-19 itself, has called the stay-at-home orders that have confined more than half the world’s population to their homes “the world’s biggest psychological experiment.” The ruling-class conclave warned “we will pay the price” in a secondary mental-illness epidemic, one which its members - heavily invested in the pharmaceutical companies that are among the biggest winners of the pandemic - are no doubt poised to cash in on with antidepressants, benzodiazepines and antipsychotics aplenty. Nevertheless, questioning the wisdom of prolonged isolation in the form of extended lockdowns is still seen as anathema.
To begin to free humanity from the influence of the Corona Cult, it’s important to understand how its programming took hold. Guilt - environmental guilt, racial guilt, class-based guilt - is the primary route of attack. The media establishment initially attempted to link the coronavirus outbreak to climate change, with even the Pope climbing on board the narrative, though no scientific basis exists to support it and it has since been somewhat de-emphasized. Heretics are repeatedly accused of prioritizing their own convenience over the health of society, especially its most vulnerable members - the elderly, the sick, even poor and non-white populations. Depending on the target audience, anti-lockdown heretics are said to be scientifically-illiterate "covidiots" or heartless monsters consigning the disadvantaged to die for capitalism. Guilt and shame are powerful conversion tools, and even those who remain unconverted are likely to hold their tongues in a sociological phenomenon known as the spiral of silence.
At the same time, humanity’s innate religious tendencies (present in even atheists - millennia of programming don’t vanish just because a person comes to the realization they live in a godless universe) - have been hijacked. It’s no coincidence that governments imposing lockdowns have singled out places of worship for particular animus - anyone attending religious services is presumably content enough with their god(s) that they’re unlikely to ditch their faith for a virus-venerating cult-come-lately. Constantly bombarded with messages of uncertainty and kept from communing with their usual faith, even people normally secure in their religion will reach for the stability the Corona Police State provides - authoritarianism’s flip side is paternalism, and comfort is found in the arms of Big Brother. Among the non-religious, liberal and libertarian populations alike are targeted with the weaponization of medical jargon - a simple “what’s the matter, you don’t believe in science?” sends weak-willed groupthinkers into shameful silence while their freedoms are methodically amputated.
It is supremely ironic that in this Inquisition, the “real” church has been sidelined. Aside from the Pope, who has wholeheartedly embraced the New Normal, a group of Catholic leaders recently issued a statement calling out governments, the media, and public health experts, denouncing the Covid-19 narrative as cover for “infringing on the rights of millions of people around the world.” Cynical scholars of religious history might suggest they’re motivated by jealousy - “stop using dogma to control people, that’s our job!” - but their concerns are no less valid, and the feeling of envy cuts both ways. The single-minded determination of police to break up even those church services scrupulously observing social distancing with worshipers sitting isolated in their cars can only be explained by eschatological jealousy. To truly force the Cult of Corona down the throats of the people, the competition must be eliminated, whether it’s “traditional” religion or logic, reason and the (real) scientific method.
Deprogramming the world from the Cult of Corona cannot be done by force - its backers have too much power, including total control of both establishment and social media. It must be approached strategically. Just as traditional “deprogrammers” will isolate a cult member from the group, reasoning there’s a much better chance of re-awakening the original personality when the person is not experiencing the pressures of groupthink, deprogramming Corona Cultists is best done one-on-one, keeping in mind that cultists will ferociously defend their dogma with thought-stopping techniques which can be extremely irritating to outsiders trying to convey dissenting information. Former "Moonie" Steven Hassan's BITE model (above) describes how cults exert undue influence and is useful in approaching deprogramming.
The notion of deprogramming entire societies may seem daunting, but it is the only chance humanity has to retain some semblance of freedom and turn back from the dark path down which our species is heading. The ruling class is imposing a comprehensive, multilayered control grid that has been in the works for decades, and when it is complete, revolution will not be an option. Such a future must be avoided at all costs.Add a comment
[NOTE: this is the THIRD revision of an article originally published on February 5. The following version, published on Medium.com on March 14, was apparently so offensive to the supposedly pro-free-speech platform Medium that they saw fit to remove my whole account, without warning or explanation. Bold italic text was added today (April 13)]
Why was I kicked off the platform, you ask? I can't definitively say, but when I clicked on "help" looking for troubleshooting for account issues, this is what I saw. You can't make this up.
(March 14: Since the original publication, the WHO has declared coronavirus a pandemic, and many of the predicted events — entire countries all but locking down their populations, the National Guard being deployed in a New York suburb, and a more deadly form of the virus mysteriously surfacing in another country targeted by both US and Israeli military operations — have come to pass. Instead of stockpiling toilet paper, EDUCATE YOURSELVES. All information is backed up with links to sources, and updates have been added where needed in bold to bring the story up to date. I do not traffic in rumor or irresponsible speculation, and I advise you not to, either.)
By now, those following the novel coronavirus epidemic are familiar with Event 201, the pandemic simulation staged by Johns Hopkins University in conjunction with the World Economic Forum, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, and other ruling-class heavy hitters in October 2019. The media establishment has already picked the story clean, set up and eviscerated a straw man (“No, Bill Gates didn’t cause the coronavirus epidemic, silly conspiracy theorists!”), and convinced the group itself to issue a statement denying their exercise was meant to predict the behavior of the actual virus to follow.
But few are aware that the epidemic playing out in China and two dozen other countries, including the US, is unfolding in line with a decade-old simulation titled “Lock Step” devised by the Rockefeller Foundation in conjunction with the Global Business Network. The scenario, one of four included in a publication called “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development” in 2010, describes a coronavirus-like pandemic that becomes the trigger for the imposition of police-state controls on movement, economy, and other areas of society.
The Lock Step scenario describes “a world of tighter top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership, with limited innovation and growing citizen pushback.” In “2012” (i.e. two years after the report’s publication), an “extremely virulent and deadly” strain of influenza originating with wild geese brings the world to its knees, infecting 20 percent of the global population and killing 8 million people in just seven months — “the majority of them healthy young adults.” It devastates global economies and ruptures international trade. But not everyone, the Rockefeller Foundation makes clear, is hit equally.
Countries of Africa, southeast Asia, and central America suffer the worst “in the absence of official containment protocols” — it wouldn’t be the Rockefeller Foundation if someone wasn’t licking their lips at the thought of a mass die-off in the Global South — but western “democracies” also pay the ultimate price. “The United States’ initial policy of ‘strongly discouraging’ citizens from flying proved deadly in its leniency, accelerating the spread of the virus not just within the US but across borders,” the report warns. But remove such obstacles as ‘individual rights’ and you have a recipe for surviving, even thriving in the event of a pandemic, the Foundation gushes:
“A few countries did fare better — China in particular. The Chinese government’s quick imposition and enforcement of mandatory quarantine for all citizens, as well as its instant and near-hermetic sealing-off of all borders, saved millions of lives, stopping the spread of the virus far earlier than in other countries and enabling a swifter post-pandemic recovery.”
The message is clear — police state good, freedom bad. And other governments rapidly get the message, according to the simulation. First and third world nations alike follow suit by “flexing their authority” and imposing quarantines, body-temperature checks, and other “airtight rules and restrictions” — most of which, the report is careful to note, remain in place even as the pandemic recedes into the past. “In order to protect themselves from the spread of increasingly global problems — from pandemics and transnational terrorism to environmental crises and rising poverty — leaders around the world took a firmer grip on power.”
This global power-grab is facilitated by a frightened citizenry who “willingly gave up some of their sovereignty — and their privacy — to more paternalistic states in exchange for greater safety and stability…tolerant, and even eager, for top-down direction and oversight.” Everything from tighter biometric identification to stricter industrial regulation is welcomed with open arms. It takes over a decade for people to “grow weary” of the authoritarian controls imposed in the wake of the pandemic, and hints that even the civil unrest that ultimately manifests is focused on the developed world. After all, a popular uprising in the technocratic police state envisioned by the simulation would be all but impossible — as it will be in real life once 5G makes real-time total surveillance of all cities a reality.
Pin the blame on the dragon
It remains unclear what — or who — unleashed the novel coronavirus in Wuhan. The initial claim that it originated in bats from a “wet market,” in which live animals are sold and then butchered in front of the customer, couldn’t have been more perfect from a western point of view — wet markets are reviled in the West, where consumers prefer that the animal cruelty required to put meat on their tables happens behind closed doors. While wet markets would seem to improve food safety by making it impossible to sell “mystery,” mislabeled or expired meat, time and again they are fingered as disease vectors by the disapproving West, every time followed by calls to ban them entirely. However, the Huanan seafood market hadn’t sold bats for years, meaning — if the “wet market” hypothesis is to persist — an “intermediate host” species would be required to get the virus to humans. Snakes were nominated, even though scientists weren’t sure they could be infected by a coronavirus — it was more important that they eat bats and were sold at the market. Three weeks after the Huanan seafood market was shuttered and disinfected, a Lancet study put the last nail in the hypothesis’ coffin, revealing the first several coronavirus cases had no exposure to the market at all. Since the original publication of this article, several more studies have emerged proving the virus was already circulating in humans before it was unleashed in the market in Wuhan. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has not discouraged the media from continuing to blame it for the epidemic. Two months later, US officials including Senate warmonger-in-chief Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Russiagate cultist Michael McFaul, and Dr. Mengele wannabe Anthony Fauci continue to blame wet markets for the coronavirus outbreak. There remains not a shred of proof that this virus came from a wet market.
Beyond the disintegrating “official story,” rumormongers have pinned the blame on the Chinese government, suggesting that through malice or incompetence Beijing released a virus cooked up in a top-secret bioweapons program operating in the city’s high-security lab. The chief purveyor of this theory is Dany Shoham, an Israeli biosafety analyst and former IDF military intelligence officer, which should raise a forest of red flags in anyone familiar with Israel’s own experiments in gene-targeted biowarfare even before taking into account Shoham’s own history of fraudulently blaming Saddam Hussein’s Iraq for the 2001 anthrax attacks. Other outlets spreading this theory cite American biosafety consultant Tim Trevan, who opined in a 2017 Nature article — published before the Wuhan lab even opened! — that “diversity of viewpoint” and “openness of information” are both critical to the safe functioning of such a high-risk lab and alien to Chinese culture. The persistence of the “lab accident” theory of coronavirus’ creation thus owes more to cultural chauvinism and sinophobia than any fact-based clues.
While many alt-media outlets have fingered Event 201 as the replica “drill” that so often coincides with a false flag event, few are aware that on the day after that simulation, the 2019 Military World Games kicked off in Wuhan, bringing 300 US military personnel to the city. Matthias Chang, former advisor to the Malaysian PM, however, zeroed in on the games as the likely entry point for what he described as a biological war waged by the US against China. In an interview with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting last month, Chang placed coronavirus on a continuum of American bio-attacks he said included deliberate infection of Guatemalans with syphilis and gonorrhea and Cubans with dengue fever, as well as creating the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone.
As of February 4, there were over 1,000 times more coronavirus cases in China than outside of it, and the foreign cases appeared to be ethnically Chinese where reported. This was not a coincidence — a recent scientific paper revealed the enzyme which serves as a receptor for novel coronavirus is produced by a certain type of lung cell found in “extremely large numbers” in Asian men compared to those of other ethnicities. Even more intriguingly, those lung cells are involved in the expression of “many other genes that positively regulating [sic] viral reproduction and transmission.” The paper’s authors stop short of suggesting the virus came out of a lab, instead drily observing that it seems to have “cleverly evolved to hijack this population of [lung] cells for its reproduction and transmission,” but one man’s clever viral evolution is another’s expert bioweapon development. Subsequently, multiple strains emerged, one notably targeting Iranians (and Italians). A study conducted by Taiwanese researchers in February traced the five strains of the virus then known to exist back to the US, suggesting the US alone could be the source of the coronavirus pandemic.
By April, the US had, judging by the statistics put forth by Johns Hopkins University, pulled far into the front in terms of diagnosed cases and casualties. However, doctors have come forward across the country concerned about a CDC directive telling them to classify all deaths of infected persons as "coronavirus deaths" - even in cases where, as in 99% of Italy's coronavirus deaths, serious comorbidities were present that were more likely to be responsible for the deaths. This happened in Germany as well, and the New York Times matter-of-factly reported that all respiratory deaths - the number-four cause of death in the US - were being classified as coronavirus in New York hospitals, throwing that city's disproportionately-high infection numbers into question.
"Fear is a great way to control people," Minnesota state senator and physician Scott Jensen told local media, attempting to explain why the CDC would provide such unprecedented and troubling guidance.
American researchers have been surreptitiously collecting Chinese DNA for decades. A notorious Harvard School of Public Health program in the mid-1990s drafted village medics to administer “free physicals” to locals “with asthmatic symptoms.” These “checkups” were conducted as part of a genetic project that also involved the US National Institutes of Health and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, supposedly aimed at “identify[ing] and characteriz[ing] genes that play a role in causing asthma and other allergic disorders.” It later emerged that the researchers had secured the required consent forms from neither the local experimental ethics board nor the test subjects themselves. A government inquiry was commandeered by an insider and squelched. Over 200,000 DNA samples were thus collected and spirited out of the country.
US military literature has been lusting after genetically-targeted weapons for at least 50 years. The infamous Project for a New American Century, whose members have been steering the US ship of state into a series of icebergs since the George W. Bush administration, described gene-specific bioweapons as a “politically-useful tool,” part and parcel of the “new dimensions of combat” in which the future’s wars would unfold. In 1998, the year after PNAC’s formation, reports Israel was working on just such a weapon to target Arabs while leaving Jews untouched flooded the media — part PR campaign, part warning. And it is DARPA and other divisions of the US military, not the Chinese, that has been intensively studying bat-borne coronaviruses for years, even as their own high-security biowarfare labs are being shut down for shoddy safety procedures.
Meanwhile, the likelihood of the Chinese government unleashing a genetically-targeted virus on its own population is vanishingly low. Unlike popular attitudes of “white guilt” in the West born of a hangover from colonialism, the Chinese do not traffic in racial self-loathing — indeed, outsiders have accused the Chinese of an unspoken, unshakeable belief in their own racial superiority, and regardless of whether that belief is problematic, it is unlikely to lead to intentional self-genocide. Even if a behavior-correcting false flag was sought by Beijing in Hong Kong, where US-backed pro-“democracy” protests had raged destructively for months, such an event would not have been unleashed hundreds of miles away in Wuhan.
Never let a good crisis go to waste?
The real-life coronavirus is much less virulent than the pandemic described in Lock Step, with an official death toll of “just” 427 and a global infection toll of “only” 20,629 as of February 4, and the dead were mostly over 60 with preexisting medical issues. By March 13, the number of infections had climbed to 140,000 worldwide and 5,000 people were said to have died of the virus; a second, deadlier strain appeared to have taken root in Iran and Italy, making estimates of overall fatality rate difficult. However, while seniors and the infirm face high risk, adults in good health have a high rate of survival, and children remain all but unaffected, a highly unusual characteristic for any viral outbreak. By early April, the number of infections had cracked 1.8 million, but the death toll was hopelessly muddled thanks to the statistical shenanigans described above. Some 119,483 people thought to be infected with the coronavirus had died by April 13, but a more exact figure cannot be determined - whether those people died OF the coronavirus, or whether they had it to begin with (recall that the CDC called for people believed to be infected to be written off as coronavirus deaths, no questions asked). Economies worldwide are in free-fall just like the simulation predicted, and sweeping quarantines have come down from Italy to New York, echoing the harsh measures adopted in China, which — just as the Rockefeller Foundation said it would be — has been widely praised for its decisive response. The economic panic is fueled by scare-stories percolating in establishment media and alt-media alike (the name of an actual article in ZeroHedge by a Rabobank analyst: “What if we are on the brink of an exponential increase in coronavirus cases?”) while videos of dubious origin appearing to show horrific scenes from within China keep the virus viral on social media. Adding to the fear is coronavirus’ lengthy incubation period, up to two weeks in which a carrier could be blithely spreading it to everyone they meet, creating a constant threat of a “boom” in cases just around the corner. Now that the virus is in the US, which lacks a universal public healthcare system, there is feverish speculation about widespread infection; Trump declared a public health emergency on March 13, unlocking $50 billion in “disaster response” funding. New York governor Andrew Cuomo, a fascist-in-waiting who has given near-daily press conferences touting his take-no-prisoners approach to the epidemic, sent in the National Guard to maintain quarantine in New Rochelle with just over 100 cases present in the suburb in March, while municipalities nationwide have banned large gatherings, shuttered schools, and seen grocery store shelves denuded of staples from toilet paper to rice. Those troops have since been joined on the West Coast by tanks moving out of San Diego and an announcement that Texas' National Guard will be going "door to door" to make sure everyone who's supposed to be quarantined is behaving themselves.
China’s economy, of course, was initially hit the worst, and the epidemic’s timing could not have been more disastrous from Beijing’s point of view, coming on the eve of the Lunar New Year holiday. At this time, some 400 million Chinese travel around the country to see family, mostly in the high-speed bullet trains that have their hub in — you guessed it — Wuhan. With much of this travel having occurred before the city was quarantined, cases are likely in their incubation phase all over the country, making the numbers of early February look like a rounding error.
Correspondingly, the situation couldn’t have been better for the American ruling class, at first: a pandemic that targets Asians striking China just when it’s most vulnerable is a powerful blow to the rising superpower. And in case anyone still believes the circumstances of the virus’ ascendance are merely an extended string of coincidences, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross took that plausible deniability and stomped on it in January, unable to stop himself from gushing that coronavirus would “help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America” in an interview with Fox News. Prefacing his victory lap by saying he didn’t “want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease,” he pointed out that businesses will be forced to take China’s inexplicable susceptibility to deadly viruses into account when reviewing their supply chains. Unmentioned, but adding to the perfect economic storm, was Trump’s signature on the USMCA trade agreement, supposed to bring in an extra 1.2 percentage points in GDP growth.
“On top of all the other things, you had SARS, you had the African Swine virus there, now you have this,” Ross said, hammering home the point by linking coronavirus to other suspect plagues. Just as many scientists concluded SARS was a manmade bioweapon, many — scientists and statesmen as well as alternative media — have raised the alarm about coronavirus. Good luck finding any of their statements on Google, however. Facebook, Youtube and Twitter have been hard at work removing coronavirus “rumors,” and Google has memory-holed hundreds of search results regarding Chinese accusations of biowarfare. Even on platforms that don’t censor on government orders, the baseless claims from Shoham and other disinfo artists about Chinese biowarfare have muscled any comments from Chinese officials out of the way. Even the Malaysian politician’s comments are obscured behind a Farsi language barrier — his original comments inexplicably missing from English-language media and reprinted only by Iran’s IRIB News Agency (this author can no longer even find the tweet that alerted her to those comments, but would like to thank that person). An Iraqi doctor, Omar al-Hadidi, failed to cross the English language barrier with his no less explosive claim that the US had booby-trapped red baseball caps with a special moisture-activated plastic capable of transmitting the coronavirus, then handed them out to Kurdish youth from the US embassy in Erbil in order to spread the virus in northern Iraq. Claiming his colleagues had been bribed or threatened into silence, al-Hadidi posted a video in which he appeared to test hats he claimed were given to himself and five other Covid-19 patients, showing lab-grown viral material present on each of the caps, which came sealed with the signature of US ambassador Matthew Toler.
By early March, however, too many accusations had built up for Americans to ignore, and they had begun spilling over into English-language media. Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps leader Hossein Salami both accused the US of deploying Covid-19 in a “biological attack” against Tehran. China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian echoed Chang’s suggestion that the US had brought the coronavirus to Wuhan under cover of the Military Games, tweeting a video of the CDC director admitting some US deaths had been erroneously attributed to the flu that were later shown to be caused by Covid-19.
While Lijian’s superiors did not explicitly condone his freewheeling tweets, nor did they disavow the claim; fellow spokesman Geng Shuang merely explained that different opinions existed as to the virus’ origins among the international community. Given the enormity and implications of accusing the US of deliberately poisoning the Chinese people with a killer contagion — a claim which would clearly call for a retaliatory strike on Beijing’s part, for the sake of honor if nothing else — the words of the two Chinese spokesmen may be the closest China’s government will come to naming the culprit.
More recent research appears to point to Fort Detrick, Maryland as the likely source of the outbreak. Fort Detrick was shut down in August for failing to uphold safety standards, including those involving wastewater decontamination and periodic recertification of workers, a month after the CDC served it with a cease-and-desist order. A more detailed report revealed even more troubling violations at the lab. Even so, it was returned to functionality in November and reopened fully in April, supposedly - and it's hard to believe that Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland/Tel Aviv) said this with a straight face - "to tackle Covid-19 and other threats to our nation." Meanwhile, the "mysterious respiratory illness" that surfaced in mid-2019, linked at the time to vaping and striking many young and otherwise-healthy people, shares many symptoms with what is now called Covid-19, and other cases could easily have been written off as pneumonia or flu.
Coronavirus is not the doomsday epidemic it is being portrayed as by irresponsible media actors, who have been flogging the story non-stop since the virus made its public debut in Wuhan. But as the Lock Step scenario makes clear, one does not need massive die-off or victims exploding in geysers of blood in the streets to achieve desired social goals. It’s possible the novel coronavirus epidemic is a “dry run,” a test of both China’s readiness to handle an outbreak and of the international community’s reaction to such a plague. It’s even possible, though unlikely, that the epidemic was a mistake — that the virus escaped from a lab, likely American, by accident. The epidemic has wiped out the Trump administration’s much-touted stock market gains completely, and the president has responded to the catastrophe by proposing a series of increasingly unhinged economic band-aids for Wall Street’s sucking chest wound while all but telling the plague-panicked American people to keep a stiff upper lip and they’ll be fine. And while the president restraining himself from Chicken Littling his way to a perfect police state should be applauded, that void is quickly being filled by state governments, from Cuomo sending the National Guard to occupy New Rochelle to Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton claiming the 13 declared cases in her state were actually 100,000 deathly-ill Americans just waiting to be tested — right after she was praised as a “calming leader” by fawning local media.
Big Tech has also stepped up to the plate, having fully matured into its mantle as the extraconstitutional arm of Big Brother ready to strangle any remaining civil liberties the American people might have left. As Trump announced his public health emergency, he declared that Google would be running the government’s Covid-19 screening, having sicced “more than 1,000” of its top engineers on a project that would route suspected coronavirus cases to their local testing centers and then on to “further care.” While ruling class mouthpieces from coast to coast rushed to social media to clarify, pointing out that it was not Google but a company called Verily behind the project, which wouldn’t be ready on Sunday like he said, and would only be available in the Bay Area of California, their claim that the president was “lying” was wildly overblown. Verily may not be Google, but it is a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet. The pilot version of the Covid-19 screening site is expected to debut a day later than Trump promised. And the project leader acknowledged its “vision and aspiration” are national. So yes, Google is running the US government’s coronavirus testing. The same trillion-dollar megacorporation that has eagerly slurped up enough predictive data on every American through their searches and the content of their emails to know better than you do what your next move will be will control your coronavirus status — and if you think that status can’t be manipulated for political ends, strategically leaked, or changed to serve a purpose, you probably still believe in the Easter Bunny.
It’s also possible the plague may suddenly become more virulent. If Iran and Italy are any indication, it has. Certainly the media buzz the first week of February is that coronavirus is close to being declared a “pandemic” by the WHO, which will necessitate the type of control measures hinted at in Lock Step and described more exhaustively in Event 201. The WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic on March 11. Congratulations! From “limited internet shutdowns” and “enforcement actions against fake news” to government bailouts of “core” industries, mandatory vaccinations, property seizures, and other police-state provisions laid out in the Model State Emergency Health Powers Acts passed in many US states in the paranoid aftermath of 9/11, the totalitarian nature of these provisions is limited only by the imagination of the regime carrying them out. Once events proceed to that stage, it is extremely difficult to reverse them. We would be wise not to allow this to happen.Add a comment
By now, most people following the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak have stumbled upon Event 201, the pandemic simulation held at Johns Hopkins University in conjunction with the World Economic Forum, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, and other ruling-class heavy hitters two months before the epidemic was declared. Seemingly tailor-made to set off "conspiracy theorists" - that class of intellectually-curious thought-criminals whom the US media establishment have placed somewhere between child molesters and drunk drivers on the hierarchy of unforgivability - Event 201 was hurriedly "debunked" by that same establishment, which quickly set up and eviscerated a straw man (“No, Bill Gates didn’t cause the coronavirus epidemic!”) and convinced the group itself to issue a statement denying their exercise was meant to predict the behavior of the actual virus, 65 million deaths and all.
But few are aware that the epidemic playing out in China and two dozen other countries, including the US, is unfolding in line with a decade-old simulation titled “Lock Step” devised by the Rockefeller Foundation in conjunction with the Global Business Network. The scenario, one of four included in a publication called “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development” in 2010, describes a coronavirus-like pandemic that becomes the trigger for the imposition of police-state controls on movement, economy, and other areas of society. The novel coronavirus is thus not merely a depopulation exercise, as some have claimed. It could be the trigger for the imposition of a global police state.
Lock Step describes “a world of tighter top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership, with limited innovation and growing citizen pushback.” In “2012” (i.e. two years after the report’s publication), an “extremely virulent and deadly” strain of influenza originating with wild geese brings the world to its knees, infecting 20 percent of the global population and killing 8 million people in just seven months - “the majority of them healthy young adults.” It devastates global economies and ruptures international trade. But not everyone, the Rockefeller Foundation makes clear, is hit equally.
Countries of Africa, southeast Asia, and central America suffer the worst “in the absence of official containment protocols” - it wouldn’t be the Rockefeller Foundation if someone wasn’t licking their lips at the thought of a mass die-off in the Global South - but western “democracies” also pay the ultimate price. “The United States’ initial policy of ‘strongly discouraging’ citizens from flying proved deadly in its leniency, accelerating the spread of the virus not just within the US but across borders,” the report warns. But remove such obstacles as ‘individual rights’ and you have a recipe for surviving, even thriving in the event of a pandemic, the Foundation gushes:
“A few countries did fare better - China in particular. The Chinese government’s quick imposition and enforcement of mandatory quarantine for all citizens, as well as its instant and near-hermetic sealing-off of all borders, saved millions of lives, stopping the spread of the virus far earlier than in other countries and enabling a swifter post-pandemic recovery.”
The message is clear - police state good, freedom bad. And other governments rapidly get the message, according to the simulation. First and third world nations alike follow suit by “flexing their authority” and imposing quarantines, body-temperature checks, and other “airtight rules and restrictions” - most of which, the report is careful to note, remain in place even as the pandemic recedes into the past. “In order to protect themselves from the spread of increasingly global problems - from pandemics and transnational terrorism to environmental crises and rising poverty - leaders around the world took a firmer grip on power.”
This global power-grab is facilitated by a frightened citizenry who “willingly gave up some of their sovereignty - and their privacy - to more paternalistic states in exchange for greater safety and stability…tolerant, and even eager, for top-down direction and oversight.” Everything from tighter biometric identification to stricter industrial regulation is welcomed with open arms. It takes over a decade for people to “grow weary” of the authoritarian controls imposed in the wake of the pandemic, and hints that even the civil unrest that ultimately manifests is focused on the developed world. After all, a popular uprising in the technocratic police state envisioned by the simulation would be all but impossible - as it will be in real life once 5G makes real-time total surveillance of all cities a reality.
Pin the blame on the dragon
It remains unclear what - or who - unleashed the novel coronavirus in Wuhan. The initial claim that it originated in bats from a “wet market,” in which live animals are sold and then butchered in front of the customer, couldn’t have been more perfect from a western point of view - wet markets are reviled in the West, where consumers prefer that the animal cruelty required to put meat on their tables happens behind closed doors. While wet markets would seem to improve food safety by making it impossible to sell “mystery,” mislabeled or expired meat, time and again they are fingered as disease vectors by the disapproving West, every time followed by calls to ban them entirely. However, the Huanan seafood market hadn’t sold bats for years, meaning - if the “wet market” hypothesis is to persist - an “intermediate host” species would be required to get the virus to humans. Snakes were nominated, even though scientists weren't sure they could be infected by a coronavirus - it was more important that they eat bats and were sold at the market. Three weeks after the Huanan seafood market was shuttered and disinfected, a Lancet study put the last nail in the hypothesis' coffin, revealing the first several coronavirus cases had no exposure to the market at all. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has not discouraged the media from continuing to blame it for the epidemic.
Beyond the disintegrating “official story,” rumormongers have pinned the blame on the Chinese government, suggesting that through malice or incompetence Beijing released a virus cooked up in a top-secret bioweapons program operating in the city’s high-security lab. The chief purveyor of this theory is Dany Shoham, an Israeli biosafety analyst, which should raise a forest of red flags in anyone familiar with Israel’s own experiments in gene-targeted biowarfare even before taking into account Shoham's own history of fraudulently blaming Saddam Hussein’s Iraq for the 2001 anthrax attacks. Other outlets spreading this theory cite American biosafety consultant Tim Trevan, who opined in a 2017 Nature article - published before the Wuhan lab even opened! - that “diversity of viewpoint” and “openness of information” are both critical to the safe functioning of such a high-risk lab and alien to Chinese culture. The persistence of the “lab accident” theory of coronavirus’ creation thus owes more to cultural chauvinism and sinophobia than any fact-based clues.
While many alt-media outlets have fingered Event 201 as the replica "drill" that so often coincides with a false flag event, few are aware that on the day after that simulation, the 2019 Military World Games kicked off in Wuhan, bringing 300 US military personnel to the city. Matthias Chang, former advisor to the Malaysian PM, however, zeroed in on the games as the likely entry point for what he described as a biological war waged by the US against China. In an interview with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting last month, Chang placed coronavirus on a continuum of American bio-attacks he said included deliberate infection of Guatemalans with syphilis and gonorrhea and Cubans with dengue fever, as well as creating the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone.
As of February 4, there are over 1,000 times more coronavirus cases in China than outside of it, and the foreign cases appear to be ethnically Chinese where reported. This is not a coincidence - a recent scientific paper revealed the enzyme which serves as a receptor for novel coronavirus is produced by a certain type of lung cell found in “extremely large numbers” in Asian men compared to those of other ethnicities. Even more intriguingly, those lung cells are involved in the expression of “many other genes that positively regulating [sic] viral reproduction and transmission.” The paper’s authors stop short of suggesting the virus came out of a lab, instead drily observing that it seems to have “cleverly evolved to hijack this population of [lung] cells for its reproduction and transmission,” but one man’s clever viral evolution is another’s expert bioweapon development.
Certainly, American researchers have been surreptitiously collecting Chinese DNA for decades. A notorious Harvard School of Public Health program in the mid-1990s drafted village medics to administer “free physicals” to locals “with asthmatic symptoms.” These “checkups” were conducted as part of a genetic project that also involved the US National Institutes of Health and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, supposedly aimed at “identify[ing] and characteriz[ing] genes that play a role in causing asthma and other allergic disorders.” It later emerged that the researchers had secured the required consent forms from neither the local experimental ethics board nor the test subjects themselves. A government inquiry was commandeered by an insider and squelched. Over 200,000 DNA samples were thus collected and spirited out of the country.
US military literature has been lusting after genetically-targeted weapons for at least 50 years. The infamous Project for a New American Century, whose members have been steering the US ship of state into a series of icebergs since the George W. Bush administration, described gene-specific bioweapons as a “politically-useful tool,” part and parcel of the "new dimensions of combat" in which the future's wars would unfold. In 1998, the year after PNAC's formation, reports Israel was working on just such a weapon to target Arabs while leaving Jews untouched flooded the media - part PR campaign, part warning. And it is DARPA and other divisions of the US military, not the Chinese, that has been intensively studying bat-borne coronaviruses for years, even as their own high-security biowarfare labs are being shut down for shoddy safety procedures.
Meanwhile, the likelihood of the Chinese government unleashing a genetically-targeted virus on its own population is vanishingly low. Unlike popular attitudes of “white guilt” in the West born of a hangover from colonialism, the Chinese do not traffic in racial self-loathing - indeed, outsiders have accused the Chinese of an unspoken, unshakeable belief in their own racial superiority, and regardless of whether that belief is problematic, it is unlikely to lead to intentional self-genocide. Even if behavior-correcting false flag was sought by Beijing in Hong Kong, where US-backed pro-“democracy” protests have raged destructively for months, such an event would not have been unleashed hundreds of miles away in Wuhan.
Never let a good crisis go to waste?
The real-life coronavirus is much less virulent than the pandemic described in Lock Step, with an official death toll of “just” 427 and a global infection toll of “only” 20,629 as of February 4, and the dead were mostly over 60 with preexisting medical issues. Economies worldwide are nevertheless in free-fall just like the simulation predicted. This drop is fueled by scare-stories percolating in establishment media and alt-media alike (the name of an actual article in ZeroHedge by a Rabobank analyst: “What if we are on the brink of an exponential increase in coronavirus cases?”) while videos of dubious origin appearing to show horrific scenes from within China keep the virus viral on social media. Adding to the fear is coronavirus’ lengthy incubation period, up to two weeks in which a carrier could be blithely spreading it to everyone they meet, creating a constant threat of a “boom” in cases just around the corner.
China’s economy, of course, is being hit the worst, and the epidemic’s timing could not have been more disastrous from Beijing’s point of view, coming on the eve of the Lunar New Year holiday. At this time, some 400 million Chinese travel around the country to see family, mostly in the high-speed bullet trains that have their hub in - you guessed it - Wuhan. With much of this travel having occurred before the city was quarantined, cases are likely in their incubation phase all over the country, making today’s numbers look like a rounding error.
Correspondingly, the situation couldn’t be better for the American ruling class: a pandemic that targets Asians striking China just when it’s most vulnerable is a powerful blow to the rising superpower. And in case anyone still believes the circumstances of the virus’ ascendance are merely an extended string of coincidences, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross took that plausible deniability and stomped on it last month, unable to stop himself from gushing that coronavirus would “help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America” in an interview with Fox News. Prefacing his victory lap by saying he didn’t “want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease,” he pointed out that businesses will be forced to take China’s inexplicable susceptibility to deadly viruses into account when reviewing their supply chains. Unmentioned, but adding to the perfect economic storm, was Trump’s signature on the USMCA trade agreement, supposed to bring in an extra 1.2 percentage points in GDP growth.
“On top of all the other things, you had SARS, you had the African Swine virus there, now you have this,” Ross said, hammering home the point by linking coronavirus to other suspect plagues. Just as many scientists concluded SARS was a manmade bioweapon, many - scientists and statesmen as well as alternative media - have raised the alarm about coronavirus. Good luck finding any of their statements on Google, however. Facebook, Youtube and Twitter have been hard at work removing coronavirus “rumors,” and Google has memory-holed hundreds of search results regarding Chinese accusations of biowarfare. Even on platforms that don’t censor on government orders, the baseless claims from Shoham and other disinfo artists about Chinese biowarfare have muscled any comments from Chinese officials out of the way. Even the Malaysian politician’s comments are obscured behind a Farsi language barrier - his original comments inexplicably missing from English-language media and reprinted only by Iran’s IRIB News Agency (this author can no longer even find the tweet that alerted her to those comments, but would like to thank that person).
Coronavirus is not the doomsday epidemic it is being portrayed as by irresponsible media actors. But as the Lock Step scenario makes clear, one does not need massive die-off or victims exploding in geysers of blood in the streets to achieve desired social goals. It’s possible the novel coronavirus epidemic is a “dry run,” a test of both China’s readiness to handle an outbreak and of the international community’s reaction to such a plague. It's even possible, though unlikely, that the epidemic was a mistake - that the virus escaped from a lab, likely American, by accident.
It's also possible the plague may suddenly become more virulent. Certainly the media buzz the first week of February is that coronavirus is close to being declared a “pandemic” by the WHO, which will necessitate the type of control measures hinted at in Lock Step and described more exhaustively in Event 201. From “limited internet shutdowns” and “enforcement actions against fake news” to government bailouts of “core” industries, mandatory vaccinations, property seizures, and other police-state provisions laid out in the Model State Emergency Health Powers Acts passed in many states in the paranoid aftermath of 9/11, the totalitarian nature of these provisions is limited only by the imaginations of the regimes carrying them out. Once events proceed to that stage, it is extremely difficult to reverse them. We would be wise not to allow this to happen.Add a comment
The story of Pacifica Radio is a cyclical saga of factional warfare, class and racial struggle, and the power of the self-preservation instinct. “People talk about their tenure at these stations as if they’d just returned from a war zone,” says a long-time producer, who has spent 40 years watching Pacifica’s dysfunction blossom and gradually destroy the network. Pacifica’s public image as a bastion of progressivism — a “voice for the voiceless” — hides from the public the cutthroat rivalries and perpetual infighting that have made the station a notoriously dysfunctional swamp. Long-time broadcasters call it the “end of the line” for radio — its stations rank dead last in their markets in New York, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Houston, and Washington DC — but hope springs eternal, and every so often a visionary programmer revives the seemingly doomed network. The last Golden Age of Pacifica ended almost twenty years ago, however, and it’s doubtful that the network can be saved.
Democracy Now! launched in 1996 on Pacifica as its flagship news show, offering current events, analysis and opinion with a focus on stories ignored or underreported by the mainstream news establishment. It was the network’s only money-making program, annually earning $500,000 in syndication fees from more than 100 stations outside the Pacifica network and $250,000 from archival purchases. Democracy Now was founded by the network’s Program Director, Samori Marksman, and initially featured a rotating crew of hosts from each of the five Pacifica stations, a structure that was only later eclipsed by all-Amy Goodman, all the time. It was a shining example of collaboration, of how an excellent program arises from skilled individuals working together to achieve a goal. Particularly in the midst of the legendarily dysfunctional Pacifica network, which veteran news producer Paul DeRienzo calls “the elephant graveyard of radio,” Democracy Now was a diamond in the rough. Marksman was a well-liked figure at the network, capable of cutting through the petty rivalries and inspiring staff to create quality programming. Back then, according to DeRienzo, people might argue ferociously, but they’d go out for coffee afterwards.
“Legendarily dysfunctional” is an understatement in the eyes of many who labored in the trenches of Pacifica from the 1970s on. Network management has a lengthy track record of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, according to veteran programmers. One likened going to work there to “intentionally climbing into a sewer every day with no boots and no hazmat outfit,” describing a “full-on hate campaign” unleashed in response to the brightening fortunes of WBAI, Pacifica’s New York station, during the mid-1970s. Fund drives fueled by a new audience and a shift toward more positive programming began to put the station reliably in the black, allowing them to pay bills and even salaries. But the old guard was apparently threatened by the arrival of new, empowering programming and the growth of an audience that was receptive to this material. As one WBAI lifer told him, “Anyone successful and happy they’re going to hate. These people live in emotional poverty.” The station became ground zero for intense factional warfare — on one side, people whose identities were tied up in the WBAI of the 1960s, who had offices and 24/7 access to the building but often no show or even official broadcasting duties. On the other hand, there were the new voices like the programmer, a best-selling author whose massive audience followed him to the station and who believes his success made him the lightning rod for these individuals’ anger. His producer was reportedly driven away from the office by an escalating terror campaign of misogynistic comments, air tapes cut with razor blades, and finally human feces inserted into her mail. The newcomer’s attempts to find common ground with his alleged tormentors — sharing stories of his working-class beginnings, arriving in New York on a Greyhound bus, or his work with over a dozen activist movements that effected real social change during the 1960s and 1970s — were rebuffed. “This isn’t a good mix,” he was told; “Why don’t you just go back?” The station remained a battleground even as its new direction attracted more positive hosts and intelligent voices than any other time in its history. By the 1990s, Pacifica seemed to be at the top of its broadcast game. At the same time, veteran programmers and management attested to the seething undercurrent of resentment, of racial, class, and ideological hatreds, fomented by WBAI lifers who would rather see the station die than compromise their politics.
Amy Goodman arrived at WBAI as an entry-level reporter, her way paved by a long-term charitable donation bestowed by her grandfather as a reward for allowing Goodman opportunities above and beyond a typical internship. The money opened doors in the news department, freeing her to pursue whatever stories she liked without being told what to do by senior staff or having restrictions placed on her use of Pacifica resources. While she demonstrated intense dedication to her craft, colleagues say she lacked any of the social niceties required to work in a newsroom (“Amy doesn’t talk, she yells,” goes a recurring complaint), and the “adults in the room” — Marksman and General Manager Valerie van Isler — generally gave her what she wanted in order to keep the peace. What she wanted, former co-workers say, was full control of her immediate environment, access to Marksman’s treasure trove of progressive contacts, and free use of all resources (finances, equipment, even interns) she claimed to require to do her work. If anyone complained or objected, she reportedly threatened to halt her grandfather’s largesse, eventually terrorizing the anemic and understaffed news department into making her News Director of WBAI.
According to DeRienzo, Goodman landed at WBAI only after being kicked out of WNYC, where the behaviors that made her notorious at Pacifica were not tolerated. NPR’s professional standards apparently left no room for Goodman’s histrionics, her high-volume temper tantrums, and her violent reactions to criticism. These behaviors were merely quirky at WBAI, which over the years had become a collection basin for the detritus of New York radio — people who might be talented but who could not handle the stress of producing radio in the big city and who had, in DeRienzo’s words, “snapped.” There was a sizable contingent of “troublesome” personalities who had, for whatever reason, reached the end of the line — a “brotherhood and sisterhood of losers who would make sure that any attempt at change would be nipped in the bud.” Goodman endeared herself to these people, who were looking for a champion, a “celebrity” who could serve as the presentable public face of the radical Left. She had already amassed a hefty support base among college students and enjoyed a close relationship with big Harvard names Noam Chomsky and Ralph Nader, but she reportedly understood the importance of having the “losers” on her side as well. The word “Machiavellian” inevitably surfaces when discussing Goodman, especially with people who knew her at the beginning of her career.
Some considered Van Isler to be an ineffective General Manager, with lax professional standards and an “anything-goes” attitude in keeping with the station’s reputation as a home for radio rejects. Goodman was one of many WBAI staff to sign a petition to replace her. Her apparent disregard for van Isler not only did not foster animosity from the General Manager, but perversely drove van Isler closer to Goodman, which onlookers have analyzed as van Isler seeking to ingratiate herself with power in order to be spared the axe. A former senior WBAI producer says Goodman took full credit for projects undertaken as collective WBAI efforts and happily sucked up every spare dime at the cash-strapped station. Unlike the station’s own bookkeeper, Sybil Wong, she had the freedom to write checks and sign for at least one bank account, through which she allegedly channeled donations meant for WBAI and Pacifica projects into her own. Van Isler colluded in the charade, reportedly representing to foundations and donors that their money was going to Pacifica and WBAI even as it piled up in the coffers of a parallel organization run by Goodman. An anonymous report disseminated by Pacifica Board member Steve Brown claims the Goodman account’s existence was never revealed to Pacifica — that there is not even an official record of its existence, and that for this reason Wong was not allowed access to the books she was supposed to keep, preventing her from doing her job effectively. Former General Manager Utrice Leid concurs, claiming “absolute criminal activity” by Goodman involving secret accounts and the redirection of funds with Van Isler’s cooperation. DeRienzo recalls fundraisers where large sums of money were raised for Pacifica and disappeared into Goodman’s secret accounts in New York and California, never to be seen again. Concerned about the size of the donations that he claims were vanishing, he consulted with a private investigator, who laughed and explained that a non-profit designation was essentially a “license to steal.” Another long-time producer, who requested to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation, actually witnessed garbage bags full of cash from a fundraiser being turned over to Program Director Bernard White, who crammed them under his bed. Brown confirms that a former assistant of White told him she was responsible for taking trash bags full of fundraiser cash back to White’s apartment, where she counted the money and stashed the bags under the bed.
Mutiny Takes Shape
Reportedly not content to run Democracy Now within the confines of Pacifica, Goodman was busily building up a parallel structure within WBAI, assisted by all the station equipment and funding she could lay her hands on, according to Leid. She constructed a powerful support base using Marksman’s connections and threw herself into accumulating power, positioning herself in Leid’s words as the “sole progressive voice” on New York radio. Former station staff say she befriended wealthy liberal donors and fostered a cult of personality alien to the ethos of other WBAI hosts, who preferred to give credit to the network and work within the collective. DeRienzo confirms that Goodman became the Genuine Leftist Celebrity to whom Democratic real estate investors, Hollywood millionaires, and other big-name liberals could point as a recognizable face they were proud to support; a role model for the crowds of college students who attended her speaking engagements on their campuses and a champion for the listeners who loved her and knew or cared nothing about the complaints of her co-workers. Leid calls her a “George Soros capitalist” — a ruthless, by-any-means-necessary, screw-the-consequences pursuer of what’s best for Amy Goodman.
Marksman died in March 1999 and was replaced by White, who had no management background, having worked as a station DJ prior to his promotion to Program Director. With the inexperienced White at the helm, Goodman was free to take the gloves off regarding her “ownership” of Democracy Now. When Steve Yasko, National Program Director, attempted to reform the program along its original lines, with a rotating crew of hosts from each Pacifica station, Goodman reportedly initiated a scorched-earth campaign against him with fake “confidential” memos that created the impression of a targeted harassment campaign against Goodman. The implication was that Pacifica was, cruelly and without cause, trying to take away “her” program. Yasko was depicted as a misogynistic porno merchant with such effectiveness that he not only received threatening calls from listeners who had bought Goodman’s lies, but saw them show up both at WPFW headquarters and at his residence. According to one former producer, Goodman also attempted to bankrupt Pacifica with a passel of frivolous lawsuits alleging “harassment, civil rights violations, a hostile work environment, and other despicable lies.” These she spun as Pacifica suing her, ever the victim, even as she allegedly alienated her AFTRA union lawyers by forcing them into service in her unjust war. DeRienzo says the union essentially quarantined her into a one-person “shop,” aware of her legendary inability to work well with others. When the AFTRA lawyers finally refused to take part in her crusade, she reportedly fell back on a network of wealthy and well-connected lawyer friends — the same lawyers who would later write the contract that handed her ownership of Democracy Now.
Having pried control of Democracy Now from the admittedly weak grasp of Pacifica management, Goodman proceeded to milk it for all it was worth, producers say. She allegedly demanded that every Pacifica station carry the program during morning and afternoon drive times in addition to the Goodman-hosted evening news hour (and demanded a separate salary from each program!). She was to receive an additional “discretionary” budget for Democracy Now, which while it would come from Pacifica’s coffers would not be controlled by Pacifica or any of its program directors, including Yasko. She got office space in DC and New York, with equipment, including the station’s equipment when needed, and staff to run it. Even when not physically present, she cast a long shadow over the office — “her people” enjoyed priority use of the best equipment, and woe betide any producer who defied her, according to DeRienzo, whom she allegedly screamed at over the phone when he sat down at the “good” tape machine an intern of hers coveted.
Around this time, Van Isler was let go, having been effectively overwhelmed by the stressful station environment, according to one veteran producer. She was not fired outright, but instead offered a higher-paying position in Washington DC. Only after repeatedly declining this post was she dismissed. The Pacifica Campaign, a “listener movement” against the National Board led by Goodman’s Democracy Now co-host, pointed to her dismissal as indisputable evidence of a “purge,” which mushroomed into a “coup,” that signaled the growing influence of shadowy corporate interests intent on selling out Pacifica to the highest bidder for personal gain. The Campaign called for listeners to respond by boycotting pledge drives, boycotting the station, calling management, and picketing station offices. This outpouring of support seems disingenuous given that Goodman and the other Campaign ringleaders at WBAI had actually signed the petition calling for van Isler’s dismissal. When Pacifica Executive Director Bessie Wash tried to promote News Director Jose Santiago to replace Van Isler, the Campaign blamed him for her departure and allegedly began a targeted harassment campaign that — in combination with a major family health crisis — forced Santiago to turn down the post. While the Campaign claimed to resent Wash’s imposition of her choice of manager upon the station, citing the appointment as a classic example of the National Board’s dictatorial rule, the Pacifica Foundation’s bylaws had already been ignored once when van Isler skipped over Utrice Leid — the WBAI staffing committee’s first choice to replace Marksman as Program Director — and runner-up Laura Flanders to select White, who received zero committee votes. Van Isler, defending the choice of her personal friend over the committee’s preferences, claimed the selection process was “tainted.” Invoking the bylaws after that flagrant breach of procedure was closing the barn doors after the last horse had long since galloped away.
Wash finally convinced Utrice Leid to take the post, on the condition that there would be no firings, no bannings, and no interference from the National Board. In December 2000, Leid joined as interim General Manager, making it clear she did not want the job on a permanent basis but was merely there to help right the ship. The Pacifica Campaign was worried, according to producers then at WBAI, as the professionalism Leid mandated was several notches above Van Isler’s anything-goes attitude. The same day Leid joined, Wash fired White for “using his forum to criticize the board unfairly.” There was an air of impropriety about the proceedings only because van Isler had slighted Leid to promote White, and the Pacifica Campaign exploited this fact to spin White’s firing as an unprofessional and vindictive act.
Leid soon came in for criticism for taking people off the air unilaterally, without recourse to union mediation or open discussion, according to contemporary reports. She backed Wash in firing White without consulting the union, an act which cemented the Pacifica Campaign’s loathing and opposition to her. Leid’s common-sense edict of “don’t defecate on the airwaves” didn’t sit well with the malcontents accustomed to airing their dirty laundry publicly. She removed Ken Nash for personally attacking her on air, silencing him in the middle of his show (not long after removing his co-host, Mimi Rosenberg). Some staff complained that her supporters had free reign to attack those who had been banned or fired, whatever their crimes, while their victims had no recourse or opportunity to address the criticism on air. Leid was also criticized for replacing hostile personalities with friends and cronies. However, she did bring a sense of order and professionalism to WBAI, which sorely needed her discipline, and was praised for keeping the station on air in the aftermath of 9/11 — even while she herself was subject to intensifying personal attacks. Rosenberg and White reportedly drove through her neighborhood, screaming abuse at her as she walked home. Her house was repeatedly broken into, and libelous flyers were distributed throughout her neighborhood. Despite her standing in the community — she founded and ran the City Sun, a popular newspaper written by and for New York’s black community — neighbors began to shun her, believing that where there was smoke, there must be fire.
The “Plot” Thickens
The Pacifica Campaign sought allies not only among listeners but within station staff, claiming the Board was controlled by corporate interests looking to sell the network’s stations. Goodman’s Democracy Now sidekick resigned from the program in January 2001 to run the Campaign¹, which allegedly resorted to smearing individual Board members while promoting rumors about the impending corporate coup. Pacifica’s Board was said to be plotting to sell off WBAI and KPFA’s commercial licenses, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, so that they could share the profits among themselves. Evidence to support these claims was debatable, but the group cobbled together a convincing propaganda campaign out of a few scraps and repeated the threat until listeners began to believe, assisted by the trust that listeners tend to place in their favorite radio personalities. The “losers” Goodman had befriended early on, many of whom had been fired as Leid tried to impose some semblance of professionalism on the station, were promised their shows back and more — anything to get them on board the war effort, according to DeRienzo.
According to a veteran producer, the corporate-takeover rumors stemmed from a yearly meeting of the Pacifica Board during which time they shared their wishlists for network changes in the coming year. The treasurer calculated the cost of the desired changes, which generally ran to millions of dollars, far outside the means of the perpetually-struggling Pacifica. Board members then brainstormed how they might raise that money, and one member — usually a different person every year — would suggest selling off a commercial license to raise funds — either to buy a new station, to invest the proceeds in the other four stations, or as a license-swap exchanging the valuable commercial license for a noncommercial license. Board members could not legally profit at a personal level from such a sale, which at any rate remained in the realm of the hypothetical. It was not a plan of action, and none of the dissident Pacifica Campaign members could provide proof such a plan existed. Still, they strung rumors about the national meeting together with an undated memo from Micheal Palmer discussing the sale of WBAI and KPFA, which they claimed was contemporary but which one producer stated dates from 1966. The email, if indeed it is an email, contains multiple red flags that could cast doubt on its legitimacy — questions concerning how it landed in the inbox of a Pacifica Campaign supporter instead of its intended addressee, for instance² — but it was published in FAIR, CounterPunch, and other outlets to great effect. The “impending corporate takeover of Pacifica” scare was enough of a story to fool the listeners who worshiped Goodman and wanted to believe she was David rather than Goliath in the battle for Pacifica.
The rest of the Pacifica Campaign’s “issues” concerned local stations’ perceived lack of influence on the national level. A coalition of Pacifica listeners was granted legal standing to sue for the “public benefit,” alleging that the Pacifica National Board was acting unilaterally without consulting local station boards or those stations’ listeners. National management, the suit alleged, was centralizing power in preparation for the dreaded sell-off, appointing cooperative personnel to manage the local stations. A second lawsuit was filed by Dan Siegel (who later joined the same National Board he had sued as both Executive Director and General Counsel) on behalf of the local station boards. Goodman herself sued Pacifica for “defamation” after she was reprimanded by the National Board for allegedly using the network’s press credentials to sneak Ralph Nader onto the floor of the 2000 Republican National Convention, where she interviewed him. The defamation suit followed closely on the heels of a Pacifica financial statement showing Democracy Now had made nearly $300,000 for the network; given the Pacifica Campaign’s apparent philosophy of “the ends justify the means” — the campaign leader compared their struggle to that of communist revolutionaries like the Bolsheviks and Sandinistas — some have speculated that Goodman’s suit was an attempt to stake her claim to that cash.³
Because Goodman’s clique was so focused on seizing power, and willing to pursue what many witnesses deemed underhanded smear tactics in order to secure the network for Goodman, they had a natural advantage over their enemies, who were focused on their jobs: creating community-focused, responsible radio programming. Looking back at the conflict, Leid recalls her certainty that Pacifica would be sorely needed in the coming years, with the convergence of “strange political forces” heightening the sense of urgency she and her allies felt. But the voices pleading for civility and a focus on Pacifica’s mission were lost in the maelstrom, while the Goodman faction reportedly weaponized listeners by leveraging the trust they placed in their beloved radio personalities. According to one producer, the Pacifica Campaign had individual talking points drawn up to justify the dismissal of every enemy figure — dozens of managers and board members were smeared and targeted on- and off-air. KPFK news producer Marc Cooper had opposed Yasko’s hire as National Program Manager but was horrified by what he saw as the Pacifica Campaign’s demonization of Yasko as a slimy porn kingpin (for the crime of letting his web registration lapse and the site’s subsequent colonization by an unrelated smut peddler).⁴ Goodman added injury to that insult by filing a gender harassment suit, telling her followers that Yasko, a gay man, couldn’t handle “strong heterosexual feminists” like Goodman.
Cooper pointed out that the “issue” targeted by the Pacifica Campaign was constantly shifting, though he failed to take his critique far enough in an article he wrote on the subject — “first the firing of KPFA Manager Sawaya; then it was the Democrats taking over, or was it the corporatists and the commercializers; then, briefly, it was the FBI; soon after, Pacifica’s supposed plan to move out of California; promptly, it morphed into a ‘strike,’ against PNN: and then recently the dastardly ‘Christmas Coup,’ which lasted only until the issue shifted to the National Association of Homebuilders. As I write, the new flavor of the week is Democracy Now!”⁵ Such a bewildering stew of “causes” was reflective of nothing more than the methodical targeting of individual board members, in the opinion of many former staff, some of whom were victimized themselves (Ken Ford was a member of the NAHB, while others were tenuously linked to the other bêtes noires du jour). As the campaign knocked off Board members, it cemented its control over Pacifica — conquest by attrition.
Yasko was finally terrorized out of his position, his physical and mental health severely compromised by Goodman’s attacks. Almost 20 years later, he refuses to discuss the incident. Leid took his place as National Program Director in Washington DC, where she says her arrival was greeted with apprehension by the local staff. More than half a dozen engineers threatened to leave if Goodman even showed up in the building. Leid recalls that she and the national news team produced two news programs a day rivaling Democracy Now in both quality and listener support, leading Goodman to view her as the next big threat to her dominance, and the Pacifica Campaign’s focus shifted to taking out Leid.
Multiple observers confirmed Goodman’s campaign against Leid was heavily racialized despite Goodman being white and Leid black; Goodman had conspicuously surrounded herself with a cadre of black supporters willing to vouch for her “blackness,” an imperative given that Pacifica and WBAI were already staffed with competent and qualified black professionals who had no allegiance to Goodman. Despite roping in marquee names like Harry Belafonte, reportedly with the help of “community outreach” efforts sponsored by her wealthy donor friends, she was unable to block a successful fundraising drive by Leid, and shifted her focus to expanding her power base within WBAI. Her staff proliferated, colonizing the station offices and preventing others from doing their work, even running anti-Pacifica protest campaigns and producing anti-Pacifica content using station equipment while others were trying to produce their shows, according to producers who found it difficult to work in such an environment even as they tried to avoid taking sides in the mushrooming civil war. Some “Amy-bots,” as WBAI staff took to calling them, reportedly moved in, sleeping in the offices overnight, stealing equipment, selling and using drugs, and generally trashing the place. More than one producer claims they caught these new faces rifling through desk drawers and downloading information off hard drives, occupying offices that were not their own.
Because much of station management consisted of highly-educated black professionals, the allegations of racism that periodically surfaced had a surreal aspect. Steve Brown describes the rivalry as between Leid’s “Caribbean black” faction and White’s “uptown black” faction, while some considered White’s primary function to furnish Goodman with credibility in the black community. Particularly given Pacifica’s history of black radicalism, some of the black station staff saw White as an “uncle Tom” figure and resented Goodman throwing her weight around. The matter came to a head when Leid fired White. On the morning show, which he had co-hosted with Goodman, White was replaced by Clayton Riley, a black man who lost no time in criticizing Goodman’s power-grab on air. Listeners and provocateurs called in to defend her, flinging around racial slurs, and the two hosts were soon at each other’s throats. They were kicked off the air and Goodman was relegated to a side studio. According to DeRienzo, she perceived this move as a demotion and summoned her college followers into the station offices through a side door she left unlocked. Dozens of students swarmed in and were only at the last moment prevented from entering the broadcast studio when security guards barred the door.
Van Isler had never secured the station offices with a lock during her tenure as General Manager, violating FCC rules and allowing disreputable elements — one producer called them “street urchins” — to take advantage of WBAI’s hospitality-by-negligence. Rumors grew that Goodman and White, whose offices served as the hub for the protest activity, were planning a full-on takeover of the station, to be parlayed into a takeover of the entire network. Several producers overheard their minions discussing bringing guns to the station, literally plotting an armed coup, and White had openly discussed “taking over” station offices. Word of the impending takeover finally reached Executive Director Bessie Wash, who flew cross-country to help secure the station — to protect both the employees and the station license, which could have been confiscated by the FCC had Pacifica lost control of the premises.
This was the much-maligned “Christmas Coup” — the last-ditch attempt by Pacifica management to save WBAI from Goodman and her followers. Wash merely called in locksmiths to secure the building. Far from “locking out the staff,” they were able to avoid changing the few locks that existed on the premises because staff simply turned over their keys, “colluding” with the “coup plotters” because they did not want to see Goodman’s faction continue abusing the facilities and putting the staff in danger, according to several staff who “survived” the affair. The host broadcasting at the time reported it as if it was a top-secret military operation, and the myth was born, becoming the Pacifica Campaign’s latest cause célèbre. Had Goodman, White, and the rest of their minions succeeded in taking over the station, the FCC could have taken away WBAI’s license, which mandates a station maintain control of its airwaves — hence the need for locks. Far from engineering a coup, her defenders say, Wash was merely restoring order.
Goodman enlisted Village Voice gadfly Nat Hentoff to shore up support for what has been described as her own coup attempt, presenting Leid as a corporate shill and censor-happy fascist and Goodman herself as a champion of truth and justice, having “risked her life to break the story of the slaughtering of independence fighters in East Timor” — a brave act of journalism, to be sure, but even then a decade in the past. Members of the Pacifica Campaign were duly canonized, while National Board members were smeared as agents of Big Business. Ken Ford, the last of the Board to be driven out by the scorched-earth campaign, was introduced as “a manager with the National Association of Home Builders” sandwiched between a professional sports team owner and a commercial real estate broker in an effort to smear by association; in the following paragraph he was called a “high-level player in the corporate world.”⁶ Protesters assembled outside his office, accusing him of squandering the network’s funds and trying to sell off its stations and confusing his coworkers, one of whom called the sideshow “totally irrelevant to the business of the NAHB.”⁷ Protesters thronged parties thrown by affiliates of his employer, handing out leaflets and buttonholing attendees. They posted Ford’s contact information online, so extensively that it’s still there nearly two decades later. They even hounded him on a cruise he took with co-workers, pulling aside the ship in their own boat and holding up massive banners demanding his resignation.⁸ The protests were arranged via dedicated email lists and instructions on how to participate were blasted out to all Pacifica members. Because Goodman, White, and the other ringleaders were popular radio personalities, listeners trusted their version of events and readily turned out to demonstrate against their adversaries, according to Brown, whose own loyalties were influenced by his affinity for Goodman and White’s programs.⁹
Brown was on the front lines of the harassment, being himself responsible for one of the infamous flyers distributed to Leid’s neighbors in an effort to make her a pariah within her community. Though he had never met Leid and knew nothing about her, he believed what Goodman and her cronies said on air and volunteered to participate in the character assassination campaign. Even after meeting Leid at the behest of a long-time friend and station producer, and learning that she was not guilty of any of the crimes his flyer pinned on her (among them that she had bankrupted the City Sun, a newspaper she had actually founded and successfully run for many years and which still exists to this day), he continued to distribute the flyers because she had fired all the people he liked on the air. Brown views his flyer as a small piece of the targeted harassment campaign against Leid by Goodman’s minions, which included multiple break-ins, death threats, and the spreading of malicious rumors among the neighbors in her building, and has in retrospect attempted to justify his participation in the abuse with the rationale that others were doing it too. In the midst of this harassment, Goodman accused Leid of violently assaulting her, spinning the charge out of an incident where Leid restrained Goodman from having what onlookers called a violent temper tantrum. Leid had moved a producer into White’s (empty) office to ease tensions with an on-air host and Goodman, apparently perceiving an incursion on the fired White’s territory, began allegedly shrieking and taking photographs of the producer sitting in White’s office; Leid snatched Goodman’s camera, setting off Goodman’s histrionics (a regular occurrence, according to DeRienzo) and forcing Leid to restrain the flailing Goodman lest she injure herself or others. Goodman finally collapsed, sobbing, and left the building, refusing to return and alleging “hostile workplace violations.”
Wash was subject to the same terror campaign as Yasko, Ford, and Leid. She received bomb threats and death threats credible enough that the FBI advised her to split up her family for their protection. She finally had enough of the Pacifica Campaign’s harassment and announced her departure in November 2001. Leid and several other managers filed out with her in solidarity. Democracy Now was lost, and the combination of lawsuits and loss of revenue from one of the station’s only profitable programs had essentially sucked Pacifica dry, but Leid believes “a hardy band of people across the Pacifica spectrum” ultimately saved the network from Goodman’s clutches. Goodman’s intent, Leid says, was to force Pacifica into bankruptcy in order to swoop in at the last minute to “save” the network with the help of her wealthy donor network. She would have her own personal network of five immensely valuable radio stations, to do with as she (and her well-heeled liberal patrons) wished. Wash, for her part, told the Washington Post she had completed her “five year plan,” leaving the network a better place than she found it, and that even if she was technically fired, her departure was her idea.¹⁰
The vicious harassment campaigns against the National Board and its allies, involving stalking, public harassment, smear campaigns both online and interpersonal, burglaries and break-ins, slander and libel, all occurring systematically, simultaneously, and frequently to the point of physical illness, were the norm for over a year, according to staff on both sides of the conflict. Goodman painted herself as the victim of such harassment on air, riling up her listeners with stories that the evil network was trying to take away “her” program.¹¹ The so-called assault by Leid was only one of many incidents — there were charges of racism, sexism, and the aforementioned “defamation” lawsuit that was her revenge against the Board for criticizing her behavior at the RNC, according to DeRienzo. Listeners, of course, believed Goodman — they had never heard of Utrice Leid, or Steve Yasko, or any of the other villains in Goodman’s radio dramas.
The Spoils of Victory
The Pacifica lawsuits, including Goodman’s, were eventually rolled into a single suit, which was settled in December 2001. The settlement saw the National Board, already depopulated by the scorched-earth Pacifica Campaign, neutered and sidelined. It dissolved the centralization of administrative powers, atomizing the network’s finances such that Pacifica has never really recovered. One hand was legally prohibited from knowing what the other was doing. Pacifica’s newly-“democratized” structure mandated the election of Local Station Boards by listener-members who contributed $25 or volunteered for three hours in a given year. In 2002, the network had approximately one million regular listeners, of which maybe 10% made regular contributions or volunteered. Only 10% of those actually voted in listener elections, making Pacifica listeners perhaps the only “democracy” less enthusiastic about self-government than the United States. The station’s bylaws actually require such a quorum, meaning if enthusiasm slips further, the already dysfunctional institution risks institutional paralysis. Meanwhile, at the time of Goodman’s takeover, only about 300 votes — less than one percent of listeners — were required to place someone on a Local Station Board.¹² It was a simple matter to stack the new Boards with a dysfunctional crew of yes-men and -women and incompetents, according to DeRienzo. The new members included crack-smoking former DC mayor Marion Barry, while Michael Ratner — Goodman’s lawyer, who had just finished suing Pacifica as legal counsel for the Pacifica Campaign — became the legal counsel for the network itself.
According to a former producer, Goodman around this time threatened to quit Democracy Now and stop raising money unless Pacifica gave her private corporation total ownership of the show and its seven-year archive, free of charge. Having interposed herself between the station’s wealthiest donors and Pacifica, Goodman was responsible for up to 25% of the station’s revenue during fund drives. She struck at a vulnerable time, having (with the help of the Pacifica Campaign) purged at least 56 people for their failure to support her power grab and helped bleed the station dry with petty lawsuits, according to producers. With a green new management board and a depleted war chest weakening any opposition the network could have mounted against her, she set her terms before the new Board Chair, Leslie Cagan. The Board accepted a contract dictated almost exclusively by Ratner, who became sole arbiter; she got all her demands plus $500,000 per year to broadcast Democracy Now on Pacifica stations, plus the $750,000 per year which had formerly accrued to Pacifica through syndication and archival sales. She also gained the rights to solicit donations to her private corporation using Pacifica’s mailing list. Cagan had not consulted with a single one of the 21 other Board members and was being supported financially by Ratner at the time, with a $30,000 payoff “to defray living expenses” as icing on the cake. According to one estimate from a former board member, from 2001 to 2011, Goodman managed to hoover up $77.2 million that would otherwise have gone to Pacifica. She reported Democracy Now’s income in 2011 as $6.5 million, its assets as $13 million, and her own salary as just $148,493.¹³
Perhaps uncomfortable with her audience knowing the truth about the violent and underhanded manner in which she wrested control of Democracy Now from Pacifica’s grasp, Goodman has been reticent in discussing the network’s part in her stratospheric rise.¹⁴ Her Wikipedia entry — now that such bathroom-wall-level scribblings are considered gospel truth — barely mentions Pacifica, and the origins of Democracy Now as a collaborative product are entirely obfuscated. Samori Marksman’s name has been erased from his creation, as has the fact that Goodman was originally meant to be one of five program hosts. The work of Goodman’s supporters in spinning the events of 1999–2002 is all over the internet, papering over what one producer has called a “one-sided ass-kicking” with the Goodman-sanctioned version of events. Those who may consider this current narrative one-sided are reminded that at no time during the Pacifica Campaign’s reign of terror — one veteran producer recalled a participant actually saying “we’re the new Robespierre court” — did they give the other side a fair hearing, instead opting to shoot first and ask questions later.
While Goodman was finalizing what many consider her coup d’état at WBAI, other Pacifica stations were subjected to the same line of personal, professional and legal harassment. Allegedly terrorized on a personal and professional level by the Pacifica Campaign, Pacifica trustees left by the dozen; those who wouldn’t leave were fired, and those who couldn’t be fired were sued. The settlement that “democratized” Pacifica placed the network under an interim Board, most of whom had no experience in radio or even business and reportedly gave away contracts to friends and cronies to predictably chaotic results. This dysfunctional, unelected Board persisted long past the legally mandated period.¹⁵ For over two years, these amateurs ran Pacifica into the ground, which some believe was the intended outcome of the Pacifica Campaign’s legal and personal harassment initiatives, which stripped the network of experience and capital. In May 2003, identity politics became official station policy: a resolution dictating that “priority of programming would be given to groups historically and currently under immediate threat of losing life, liberty and limb, particularly black women” was unanimously passed by the unelected Board, which also voted in a massive increase in Spanish-language programming. While giving a “voice to the voiceless” has always been Pacifica’s stock in trade, the network’s staff were already mostly black even before the settlement, and the resolution carried a whiff of virtue-signaling — an effort to burnish their revolutionary cred with listeners who might have been turned off by the civil war. Just a few weeks after a fund drive, there was a mass purging of KPFK’s best and longest-running programs and directors. Long-time listeners were progressively alienated, according to former Board member Nalini Lasiewicz. “Pacifica began to pride itself on who it did not want listening,” said one producer.
With the National Board firmly in the hands of Goodman’s allies, and Democracy Now safely in Goodman’s possession, the network’s new rulers were free to pursue their pet projects, even if they conflicted with the aims of the stations. With no central administrative control, local boards set their own agendas. Those who had not been purged saw WBAI becoming increasingly politicized, with White rehired along with others Leid had fired. One long-time producer watched in disbelief as the Board rejected a highly-qualified job applicant because “she wasn’t Left enough,” instead picking someone with no experience in radio whose politics were closer to their own. While Pacifica is a nonprofit with an obvious political bent, even nonprofits need to maintain a certain level of funding; the dissenting producer explained that management is normally selected based on professional experience and connections, with an eye toward what they can do for the organization. Picking people based on their revolutionary ideals might have looked good, especially to listeners convinced the old board had to go because it was lousy with bourgeois sellouts, but it sealed Pacifica’s fate financially.
In 2004, White had long-running health and politics show host Gary Null removed from WBAI, even though as much as half the station’s audience was primarily Null’s and he was responsible for the lion’s share of Pacifica’s fundraising. White not only cut Null’s broadcast in the middle of an exposé on the Pacifica coup — he took Null’s broadcasting slot and gave it to his personal physician without informing either Null or his audience. Null, who had two days earlier debated White, Cagan and van Isler for nearly an hour on air, was joined by almost 2,000 of his listeners in protest.¹⁶ The station lost 44,000 listeners — 54% of its audience — and hasn’t made a fundraising goal since. Null began broadcasting on WNYE, only agreeing to return to WBAI when he was told that new management was running the station. Management turnovers are a regular occurrence, according to DeRienzo, because there is no real authority: control of WBAI and the other Pacifica stations is “easy to take over but hard to hold onto.”
In 2005, WBAI signed a prohibitively-expensive 15-year lease renewal on its 50 kW Empire State Building transmitter. The 2005 Board has no memory of seeing or reviewing the lease; DeRienzo posits that even then-Interim Executive Director Ambrose Lane did not read the lease, merely signing it and concealing its existence from the rest of the Board. Lane, a WPFW broadcaster, replaced Dan Coughlin, a Goodman ally, who quit two weeks before the signing. After serving what some believe was his purpose of shepherding through the unaffordable transmitter lease, Lane was replaced by Dan Siegel, who had once sued the network on Goodman’s behalf.¹⁷ When the one-sided Democracy Now contract came up for renewal in 2006, it was once again placed before an inexperienced Board, who were no match for Goodman’s legal sharks. Her lawyers presented the contract as a fait-accompli, convincing the Board to once again sign away their best interests and Pacifica’s only cash cow to the already-wealthy Goodman and her private corporation.
Siegel was elected interim Executive Director over the objections of several Board members, railroaded through by his allies Margy Wilkinson and Lydia Brazon (plus eight others), according to Brown, who has extensively documented what he considers a pattern of sabotage by Siegel. The so-called Save KPFA faction seized power by canceling regularly scheduled elections with an eye toward profiting from Pacifica’s recurring misfortunes — some of which, Brown says, they were responsible for.¹⁸ Siegel and Wilkinson formed a shadow corporation that Siegel admitted was designed to acquire the licenses and assets of Pacifica stations should the network go bankrupt — a bankruptcy that Siegel and Wilkinson were well-placed to engineer in their positions as legal counsel and national Board member. Because they stood to gain from Pacifica’s demise, which could place licenses worth over $100 million in their hands, they were legally obligated to inform the Board of their mammoth conflict of interest — with Siegel doubly obligated due to his additional position as Pacifica’s attorney. But they never informed the Board, and Siegel was later investigated by the California bar for his failure to do so.
Siegel had allegedly been milking Pacifica as legal counsel for years, submitting bills that were not itemized and making decisions despite the conflicts of interest inherent in serving simultaneously as counsel and Executive Director. His instigating role in one of the lawsuits that decentralized control of Pacifica is merely the first conflict of interest in what Brown and others believe to be an extensive career of such conflicts. What some consider Siegel’s thuggish behavior was not limited to the courtroom — in 2007, he allegedly broke into a Pacifica election supervisor’s home, drunk, and harassed his wife.¹⁹ According to Brown, he also sabotaged Pacifica’s defense against a lawsuit brought by a former employee, forcing the network to pay $400,000 to settle a racial discrimination suit that the network should have won. According to Brown and others, Siegel committed this violation of professional ethics as revenge on Pacifica’s Board for forcing him to resign as counsel for reasons of incompetence.²⁰ Other Board members have meticulously documented Siegel’s misdeeds, which appear to be numerous and always leave Pacifica somewhat poorer. Their conclusion, given his ownership of a corporation designed to receive Pacifica’s licenses in the event of bankruptcy, is that Siegel sought to engineer such a bankruptcy, just as Leid and DeRienzo believe Goodman did.
Indeed, some of Pacifica’s behavior is inexplicable unless viewed from the perspective of intentional self-sabotage. Null threatened to quit WBAI again in July 2013, partially out of frustration with how the station managed to alienate listeners, donors and producers all at one go with its mishandling of pledge premiums. He had asked the artist Peter Max, a personal friend, to donate some original and signed prints for a star-studded auction event to benefit Pacifica. Station managers were informed of the plan, and Max contacted celebrity friends who lived in the vicinity of Pacifica stations to encourage them to attend the auctions. Three days before the planned events, Pacifica staff had yet to even speak with Max by phone, let alone confirm any of the logistical details, and the artist had no choice but to cancel his participation. So Pacifica lost the prints, which Max donated to other groups, depriving the network of potential millions of dollars in lost pledge revenue. During another pledge drive, Null offered a two-week health retreat as a premium that earned the station $60,000 in pledge revenue. The station promised to reimburse him for thousands of dollars of expenses afterward but failed to do so until Null threatened to stop fundraising for Pacifica entirely. He is far from the only show host to lose patience over the network’s mishandling of premiums. If the FCC were ever to enforce its own statutes mandating premiums be delivered within 30 days of a pledge, Pacifica could be on the hook for fines running upwards of $130 million.
In 2017, the Empire State Realty Trust began demanding $1.8 million in back rent plus legal fees for WBAI’s 50kW Empire State Building antenna. With monthly rent running over $50,000 — four times the market rate — and increasing at a rate of 9% per year, the cash-strapped station had few options. When an October 2016 judgment found for the Empire State Realty Trust, throwing out an alleged “verbal agreement” reached with the landlord in 2014 in a closed Board session from which Pacifica’s New York real estate attorney was deliberately excluded,²¹ the court opened the door to the landlord seizing Pacifica assets outside New York to pay the debt. With its ultra-valuable FCC licenses now in jeopardy — the same prizes coveted by the competing factions of the network since time immemorial — Pacifica began seriously considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, negotiations that dragged on as the landlord filed in California to seize the property of KPFA and KPFK.²² As the vultures circled, the Board secured a $2 million loan assembled by Pacifica members in southern California to pay off the ESRT.²³ By April 2018, Pacifica was able to work out a settlement that relieved the network of its financial responsibilities, liberated WBAI from its ruinously expensive transmitter lease, and allowed the station to take advantage of a standing offer to move to 4 Times Square.²⁴ Warring factions had laid down their swords and united to save Pacifica, if only so they could return to battling for control of its assets.
Some defenders of the status quo protest that Pacifica was mismanaged prior to the 2001 “coup” — even though it had $3 million in the bank, the highest listener numbers in the network’s history, and the most qualified, experienced, and diverse staff reliably producing quality programming. They dismiss those cash reserves, reasoning that they don’t matter because the stations never got to use them, but omitting the fact that the money was frittered away defending Pacifica from lawsuits. They claim Pacifica is better off having purged the formidable progressive General Managers, Program Directors, and Board members whose years of experience in non-commercial radio was an invaluable asset to the network — that their replacement by unqualified rabble-rousers wearing their identity politics on their sleeves is somehow incidental to the network’s decline. Pacifica apologists justify their actions with the argument that there was no real democracy before the restructuring, ignoring how the old bylaws mirrored those of almost every successful non-commercial radio station in the country, prioritizing experience and fundraising ability over radical politics and the willingness to get one’s hands dirty. They ignore the toxic culture of petty internecine squabbles that plays out daily on internet message boards and mailing lists, pretending that the cross-factional cooperation that temporarily saved Pacifica from its creditors was not unusual at all — that it represented the network’s new direction, a new Golden Age that’s always just over the next hill. But in the words of one veteran programmer, “all that anyone at Pacifica has ever done for the last 20 years is double down on stupid.” And the network would not be so lucky the next time.
The Future(?) of Pacifica
Pacifica’s flagship station KPFA has veered far from the progressive path in recent years, canceling Bonnie Faulkner’s beloved program Guns & Butter because of a pair of angry letters written in response to her airing of a provocative presentation by military historian Alan Sabrosky. While the vast majority of KPFA’s audience consists of level-headed adults capable of handling viewpoints different from their own with maturity, these two letter-writers’ opinions apparently overshadowed the history of supporting free speech for which Pacifica is revered. The decision was augured nearly two years before, when KPFA Manager Quincy Jones began using the specter of “fake news” as a lever to pry more money out of listeners during fundraising drives.²⁵ Listener Daniel Borgstrom called this fearmongering out for what it was and many other listeners complained, yet the spot was used for several months, feeding on the McCarthyite climate that has settled over American public discourse in the wake of the 2016 election. How ironic that Pacifica was once the only station brave enough to stand up to Senator McCarthy during the original Red Scare.
Some might say that the corporate raid model, used to such devastating effectiveness by predatory investors in the 1980s, is being used as a model by the Goodman/Siegel crew in their alleged plot to seize Pacifica. By taking control of first the local and then the national Boards, creating an atmosphere of chaos both interpersonal and financial in order to deplete the network’s cash reserves, and swooping in at the last minute via a conveniently-incorporated private company to snatch Pacifica up from bankruptcy, the cabal could be merely following the script that made countless private equity firms rich. We do not expect such behavior from the “progressive” left, and the “real” Pacifica has been victimized repeatedly for assuming its enemies are playing by the same honorable rules. But left-gatekeepers like the heavily foundation-funded Amy Goodman, who has never apologized for her support of US regime change operations in Libya and Syria, where she acted as on-air cheerleader for the terrorist White Helmets, are no more progressive than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Such “limousine liberals” are corporate wolves in progressive sheep’s clothing. Whether or not they are being helped by Deep State interests is immaterial at this point, when the damage has been done, but it’s worth noting that the constant internecine struggles at Pacifica come straight from the COINTELPRO playbook.
Pacifica’s decline is not the fault of Amy Goodman — the network has been rife with dysfunction for as long as anyone I spoke to worked there. Indeed, Goodman, apparently taking pity on the network after nearly two decades of holding the massive Democracy Now debt over its head, reportedly forgave the debt in early 2019²⁶ after repeatedly refusing to do so in the past.²⁷ But the “democratization” of Pacifica’s board by her allies played a large part in its downfall, according to those who witnessed it. Andrew Phillips, who preceded Marksman as Program Director at WBAI and later worked as Interim General Manager at KPFA, explained that democratization “sabotaged” Pacifica: “one would think it would have worked, but it created too much democracy, in a way. Everyone was pulling in different directions.” By enshrining institutional gridlock in Pacifica’s bylaws, the hyper-democratic restructuring — former KPFA General Manager Nicole Sawaya called it “so flat that it is concave”²⁸ — impaired the network’s ability to react and adapt to a changing media climate. Out of touch with the evolving needs of its audience, and no longer the sole progressive voice in the media wilderness, Pacifica has been left behind. Phillips thinks Pacifica could perhaps be saved — if unified, competent management were able to eschew democracy and “nationalize” the network, taking the best programming from each station and putting it “all under one umbrella” anchored by a solid morning show. Until then, WBAI is “an albatross around the neck of the rest of the network,” while the individual stations with their shrinking audiences are “vanity projects” with too few standouts to thrive on their own. Pacifica has value as a stepping stone for people like Goodman, whom Phillips introduced to WBAI in 1984 after she audited his class at Hunter College, but Democracy Now’s budget now reportedly exceeds Pacifica’s.
Because of the one-sided contract between Goodman and Pacifica, the impoverished network now owed Goodman several million dollars for broadcasting Democracy Now, “her” show. In December 2017, Manhattan Neighborhood Network, whose CEO is Goodman crony Dan Coughlin, offered to “save” WBAI by relieving Pacifica of financial responsibility for the station through a Public Service Operating Agreement (PSOA). Such a move would effectively place the station fully within Goodman’s control,²⁹ and the plot was not a new one. As far back as July 2012, Coughlin allegedly submitted a secret bid for a lease management agreement for WBAI’s Empire State Building signal that would have completely absorbed the beleaguered station into MNN.³⁰ Mimi Rosenberg, another long-time Goodman ally from the Pacifica Campaign days, has vocally backed the idea that MNN should take over WBAI, and the Coalition to Save WBAI — an activist faction populated by many of the same faces as the old Pacifica Campaign — drew up a petition in favor of the MNN PSOA, calling the proposed partnership “an exciting solution.”³¹ The proposition was deferred when WBAI received its stay of execution in 2018, but that reprieve was only temporary.
Indeed, the entire network may have climbed out of the frying pan, but it remains engulfed in fire. Several Pacifica board members who opposed the financing deal that saved the network from its debts in 2018 floated a plan to take over the New York station, warning the others that “WBAI is out of control” and would surely bring down the entire network unless its entire staff was replaced.³² Unable to garner sufficient support for a takeover under existing management, Siegel’s Save KPFA faction — now rebranded as the Pacifica Restructuring Project, sans Siegel— attempted to overhaul network bylaws to legitimize the planned coup, but failed. Dissenting board members warned WBAI staff what they suspected was about to go down, but the plot went forward anyway under their noses, cloak-and-dagger style. In October 2019, a handful of board members operating under the direction of Pacifica’s interim Executive Director John Vernile (who’d held his post for all of three months) changed the locks at WBAI’s offices, confiscated their equipment, fired everyone at the station save two, and told the landlady to re-rent the space because they weren’t coming back, all without informing half the board what they were up to. The lockout took place in the middle of a vital WBAI fund drive — as usual, the station was in the red — and programming was replaced with reruns of shows from other Pacifica stations. The sheer cost of the coup — severance pay for ten fired employees, the cancellation of the fund drive, even plane tickets and hotel costs for the board members who comprised the impromptu death squad — would have been prohibitive for cash-strapped Pacifica, unless there was big money at the end of the rainbow — leading many to speculate that the end goal of the takeover was, once again, the sale of WBAI’s license.³³ Certainly the idea of “saving” WBAI was flimsy cover. “If they wanted to save the station, they wouldn’t have gone in there and told the landlady that the station was closed and was not going to open again,” Gary Null, still WBAI’s biggest audience draw, pointed out.
There are other explanations for why the Pacifica plotters went after WBAI when they did. Long-time producer Mimi Rosenberg had recorded a promo that included the phrase “We have to stop Trump” — conflating her personal politics with the station’s, an act that could theoretically endanger its 501(c)3 nonprofit status. Station Manager Berthold Reimers suspended Rosenberg for a week, but refused to force her to pre-tape her shows in the future as Vernile demanded. His loyalty to Rosenberg — who’d been broadcasting for decades — over a corporate exec who’d been running Pacifica for two months reportedly triggered a warning from management that his leadership had imperiled WBAI’s license.³⁴ Was Vernile merely using Rosenberg’s on-air Trump Derangement Syndrome as an excuse? Rosenberg certainly thought so, and said as much on air.³⁵ WBAI listener-delegate and temporary chair of the Pacifica board Alex Steinberg suggested the coup was “a ‘cleansing’ operation to remove any dissident voices to the left of the Democratic Party establishment from having any say on the politics and culture of this country,” hinting that there was “big money” behind Vernile³⁶ (and KPFA Station Manager Quinn McCoy, suspected by some of having engineered the hire of Vernile specifically to take out WBAI³⁷).
Regardless of why it happened when it did — almost exactly 20 years after a similar lockout-coup at KPFA — the takeover was total, including even WBAI’s bank accounts, indicating the presence of a traitor in the station’s ranks who gave up the station’s passwords, likely in return for being spared the axe. More importantly, the coup was flagrantly illegal, and a New York judge demanded a reversal of the entire mess. That decision took time to enforce, however, and after five weeks offline, the damage was done. The station’s audience — what little remained of it — was gone. The coup had technically failed; Vernile was put on paid leave, while the vice-chair and secretary of the Pacifica board, both of whom had backed the takeover, were removed.³⁸ But over a month offline had succeeded in killing the station, or at least mortally wounding it: Null gives WBAI six months to live.
This is how a one-of-a-kind network with a 60-year history in some of the most progressive cities in the US and prime dial space is millions of dollars in the hole, on the brink of bankruptcy, its staff in perpetual turmoil, unaware who even owns the loan that could be called in at any moment to snuff out the network.³⁹ Thwarted once from seizing hold of all of Pacifica, Amy Goodman and the faction that surrounds her never gave up — whatever criticism former colleagues may have of her, none can say she is not shrewd, driven, and fiercely dedicated to her goals. Goodman now has the legitimacy her former colleagues say she has always craved since she was reportedly fired from NPR — indeed, she has long since outgrown Pacifica, emerged from its rapidly-desiccating husk like a COINTELPRO butterfly to become a leading figure in the who’s-who of Corporate Progressivism™. History is written by the victors, and the story of Pacifica has been reported almost exclusively by voices loyal to Goodman and the Pacifica Campaign; all we are trying to do is bring balance to the narrative by telling the stories of those who were so effectively vilified and chased out of the network — to bring a voice to the voiceless, as Pacifica itself might have put it in better days. This is the story of the downfall of a once-formidable broadcast network — a decline that began long before Goodman arrived on the scene and which will continue until the network is either put out of its misery or, by some miracle, saved.
This report was compiled primarily from interviews with current and former Pacifica staff. They are either named in the text or wished to remain anonymous out of concern about retaliation. Requests for comment sent to Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, and Bernard White were ignored. Dan Coughlin agreed to be interviewed, but was not present for most of the events depicted in this report; he denies any “secret contract” or “secret lease renewal” or “secret bid” and insists Goodman was lovely to work with. To anyone who might complain that I “only” attack the Left, I will say that it is because of the sheer incompetence of what passes for the “Left” in the 21st century that the country is where it is today. This appalling culture of appeasement, navel-gazing, and infighting has given us a “Left” that cheers on the CIA and FBI, embraces endless war, and shuts down any discussion of controversial subjects with an authoritarian response that would make any right-wing fascist proud. We expect this from the Right — but the “Left” of 2019 has abandoned the working class to serve the same interests it was convinced were going to steal Pacifica. Congratulations, you’ve become the enemy.Add a comment
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