May 15 2021 — A young man asked if I could offer a few advises as to how one should investigate a complex story. Initially, I thought the idea a bit strange and I was inclined to ignore the letter. After all, there are good reasons why I have chosen to turn down an offer to teach at Yale University. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
RELATED POST: Disinformation — Who Coined That Word Anyway?
UPDATE (February 28 2022) — Last week, a Belgian newspaper has finally acknowledged the reality of the death toll in the capital of Europe.
For the last two years, Belgian politicians have denied the truth and blamed the very large death toll on the methodology…. But as I wrote in May 2020, the number of deaths due to COVID was clearly accurate.
Here is what I wrote at the time:
“Based on a comparison of corona-virus deaths in 178 countries relative to their population, Belgium had the most losses to COVID-19 up until May 29, 2020.
These statistics were horrifying. And yet, the truth was even worse. In the Region of Brussels-Capital, the relative death rate was actually twice higher than the average for Belgium.”
Here are the data as published by Belgian newspaper LE SOIR (Wed. 23 2022):
Obviously, the numbers which I gave you in May 2020 were fairly accurate. I suggested an over-mortality of 50% and the final analysis published this week yields 53.6% nationwide.
As far as the death toll is concerned, I suggested 10,000 and the final analysis yields 8,947. [And I would willing to dispute this official number because the confinement has lowered the baseline. For instance, virtually no one died from the flu during these weeks.]
Please, pay attention to the unusually large over-mortality in Brussels [102.6 vs 53.6% nationwide] during the first wave. No explanation has ever been provided for this anomaly and there is — of course — no ongoing criminal investigation.
PS — Allow me to add a small point. When I wrote this post in May 2021, I reminded you that:
“The intermediary host species of SARS1 was identified within four months of the epidemic’s outbreak, and the host of MERS within nine months. But 16 months after the outbreak of this pandemic, neither the original bat population, nor the intermediate species to which SARS2 might have jumped, has been identified.”
And to this day, this statement remains true. That link — if it exists — is still unknown…
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Yet, this is becoming a serious issue for the proponents of the natural origin hypothesis. Amazingly, the ODNI report does not say a word about this issue…
END of UPDATE
First, I fully agree with Marx — Groucho, not the clown! — and, like him, I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.
On a more serious note, I always doubted the usefulness of teaching. As most professors, Richard Feynman included, soon conclude when they begin to teach, “The power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous.”
On second thought, I realized that there was no harm in writing down a few ideas and let the reader decides if these may be useful to him or not….
First thing first… I strongly believe that the best way to teach anything is to walk the student through a real-life example. Once upon a time, a physics teacher would conduct real experiments in the classroom. There were giants walking on the earth in those days…
My first advise would be to be suspicious of everything. And to make my point, I would like to take you back 16 months in the past when the pandemic just arrived in Europe.
Have you noticed that great scientific minds seem to be always grumpy and suspicious of everything?
These folks know that “Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.” [Franklin D. Roosevelt]
As you probably know already, there are three kinds of lies: simple lies, damned lies, and statistics which are told, logically enough, by simple liars, damned liars, and scientific experts.
I would argue that the difference between a simple liar and a damned liar is a matter of intensity or professionalism.
James Jesus Angleton, the head of CIA counterintelligence for three decades, once explained to Paul Craig Roberts that “Intelligence Agencies create stories inside stories, each with its carefully constructed trail of evidence, in order to create false trails as diversions.”
This technique is known as the Theorem of [Charles] Pasqua. The name is rather pompous but the idea is very simple.
When you are in trouble over a story, you simply have to invent another story within that first story, and, if necessary, yet another story within the story within the story, so that no-one can understand any of it.
But the scientific experts lie differently. Their lies do not differ from the others merely by their intensity or professionalism. They differ by their methodology which is usually built upon a triple line of defense.
First, they lie and lie and they keep on lying. And they never ever admit that they are lying. This strategy is usually plenty good enough to handle ordinary clusterfucks.
If it ever becomes absolutely obvious that they have been lying all along, they will provide new lies which are intended to confuse the first lies.
In the vast majority of cases, the truth dies at this stage as the story does not go any further.
And, of course, more often than not, a journalist dies with the story, usually shooting himself twice in the back of the head…
But once in a while, the people refuse to let go and they demand the Truth.
In these extremely rare cases, the liars will then argue that the whole thing was unavoidable. It was necessary. It was an Act of God. Whatever…. It just was not their responsibility…
All this probably sounds a bit pedantic and I will therefore remind you of a true story.
Belgium had a disastrous — in fact chaotic — response to the COVID-19 pandemic. How do you think Belgian politicians and their scientific experts reacted?
At first, they simply denied the reality of the crisis. The Intelligence Unit of The Economist published an index that ranks the quality of the policy response to Covid-19. Belgium was at the very bottom. The facts were absolutely crystal clear.
Based on a comparison of corona-virus deaths in 178 countries relative to their population, Belgium had the most losses to COVID-19 up until May 29, 2020. These statistics were horrifying. And yet, the truth was even worse. In the Region of Brussels-Capital, the relative death rate was actually twice higher than the average for Belgium.
Belgian politicians and their scientific experts falsely blamed the analysis for ignoring the methodology used to count the people who died from the virus.
This was an obvious lie. It is true that many people had not been tested and were simply presumed to have died from the virus.
But, as I pointed immediately at the time, the over-mortality in Belgium made it clear that the numbers were accurate. It was very clear then and perfectly documented today.
As I wrote in May 2020: “From March 16 to May 10 2020, the over-mortality in Belgium was about 50%. And that is about 10,000 more deaths than what would be expected from the average of the same period in the last 5 years, which is exactly the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19.”
Today, we know that 127,134 deaths were registered in 2020. This is 18,389 more deaths (17%) than in 2019 and 16% more than the average for the period 2017-2019.
Step II — When Belgian politicians and their scientific experts could no longer lie and deny this ongoing massacre, they switched gears and argued that the tragedy was unavoidable.
They argued that the statistics reflected the age and high-density of the Belgian population!
Some argued that Brussels should be compared to New York! Please, stop insulting our intelligence!
In fact, there is no major impact of population density on excess mortality. Municipalities such as Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, with a population density of 23,358 inhabitants per km², do not have a significantly higher excess mortality than municipalities such as Gingelom with a population density of 148 inhabitants per km².
During a press conference, a journalist asked a Belgian expert why Belgium has a far higher death rate than Germany, this ‘expert’ explained that Belgium has an older population than Germany.
That is a damned lie. Here is the age structure of German and Belgian population.
0-14 years: 12.83% (male 5,299,798 /female 5,024,184)
15-24 years: 9.98% (male 4,092,901 /female 3,933,997)
25-54 years: 39.87% (male 16,181,931 /female 15,896,528)
55-64 years: 14.96% (male 5,989,111 /female 6,047,449)
65 years and over: 22.36% (male 7,930,590 /female 10,061,248) (2018 est.)
0-14 years: 17.2% (male 1,019,427 /female 970,845)
15-24 years: 11.25% (male 664,789 /female 636,452)
25-54 years: 39.82% (male 2,323,488 /female 2,283,533)
55-64 years: 12.96% (male 742,842 /female 756,509)
65 years and over: 18.78% (male 948,956 /female 1,223,921) (2018 est.)
STEP III — An Act of God! During the April 17 2020 daily press conference, Emmanuel André — the then Belgium inter-federal spokesperson Covid-19 — was asked what he thought about the allegations that the virus accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Instead of answering the question, the expert read a prepared answer from a piece of paper waiting on his desk.
“When we find ourselves in complicated situations, it is understandable to want to look for culprits. But in this case, we know that this virus is very probably from the natural environment. (…) The genetic structure of this virus is natural.”
“When we modify the genes of a virus, it leaves traces that we can notice. In this case, we have no indication to that effect. Most likely , as was the case for many pathogens in history, is an accident in nature where a virus which circulates among animals is found transmitted in humans and develops a capacity to be transmitted from human to human, this who caused this epidemic.”
This answer was almost verbatim the official answer provided a bit earlier by Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for Chinese diplomacy.
Whether true or not, this explanation certainly did not answer the question asked.
This virus may very well be of natural origin and yet leaked from the Wuhan laboratory knowing its horrific track record which has been documented for years.
And indeed, one year later, this is the official conclusion of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
Moreover, it was obvious that this expert had lied when he stated that: “When we modify the genes of a virus, it leaves traces that we can notice. In this case, we have no indication to that effect.”
This is a big lie. Although old methods of cutting and pasting viral genomes retain tell-tale signs of manipulation, newer methods leave no defining marks. Moreover, if this virus had been obtained by serial passage, there is simply no way of knowing.
Over the last 16 months, I have looked carefully at both scenarios. In recent weeks, I have reached the conclusion that it is highly likely that the origin of the virus is not natural.
The likelihood of the natural emergence theory is about nil. The intermediary host species of SARS1 was identified within four months of the epidemic’s outbreak, and the host of MERS within nine months.
But 16 months after the outbreak of this pandemic, neither the original bat population, nor the intermediate species to which SARS2 might have jumped, has been identified.
And there is zero serological evidence that any Chinese population, including that of Wuhan, had ever been exposed to the virus prior to December 2019.
The odds that this monster was bio-engineered and accidentally leaked out the Wuhan laboratory are overwhelming.
There is no doubt in my mind that the CIA and the French Intelligence Services must have come to the same conclusion. But they are not telling…
If politicians tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.
People might come to accept this lie as truth, but the lie does not become truth. Never forget that truth is the daughter of time, not authority. And these lies are never innocent. They kill…
Statbel’s provisional mortality figures for 2020 — Belgian statistical office
Letter to a young investigator — Be suspicious of everything! [On the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic]
Letter to a young investigator — Be suspicious of everything! [On the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic] UPDATE : Belgian Newspaper Confirms Death Toll