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A retrospective analysis of the covid19 pandemic written on March 2020.

A retrospective analysis of the covid19 pandemic written on March 2020.
Photo by Flash Dantz / Unsplash

By  Alan Hamilton

Preface 20 Dec 2021

The following blog post was written btw 23-26 March 2020. It contains my assessment of the Covid 19 pandemic a mere 6 weeks into the event. I was about to publish this article on Linked-In and circulate if for republication elsewhere until a long-time friend of mine, a professional media and political advisor (who does not share my views in any way), advised me most sincerely "not to publish this post under any circumstances". His reasoning for saying this was that the public were in no mood to hear what I was trying to say and that by publishing it, I would discredit myself professionally. I took his advice seriously and withheld it. I understand that there is a time and place for certain messages and I figured that since he owned a polling company, he might be more in touch with public sentiment than me. As a professional political advisor, I guessed he had read the mood of the public and discerned that the zeitgeist at the time was "all-in" on the panic. It was.

What I was trying to highlight in this article almost 20 months ago was the importance of narrative management. In it, I allude to one aspect of narrative management which I identified as important but which (a year and 9 mths later) I have now come to realize is of critical importance, i.e. narrative rhythm. There is a reason James Bond films (and all good action movies) commence with a compelling vignette before the opening credits even roll; such episodes are designed to get you entrained into the larger narrative. I felt the lure of this myself as the 'pandemic' began to unfold. Since I wasn't personally afraid of the 'virus' I found the whole process almost exciting. The more compelling the vignette, the better your engagement in the overall plot. Once you are entrained in the narrative it is the rhythm that keeps you there. By narrative rhythm I mean the cascading sequence of tension and release, secrets and revelations, anxiety and reassurance, dissonance and resolution that make up any exciting story.

Of course there's a deeper narrative structure and an inevitable cast of archetypal characters that necessarily make up any successful story but it is the rhythm that keeps us engaged. After a lifetime of watching Hollywood movies and listening to manufactured pop songs, we can easily become entrained into a set of rhythmic sequences that follow a familiar pattern, regardless of its content. This is the magic of musical and narrative rhythm.

The problem we face today is that these rhythms are now so well understood by intelligent software that we are almost powerless to resist them. These days there is literally nothing that is presented to us thru any form of media that does not follow some form of narrative rhythm. Literally everything is a story now. There are no more facts, only stories. An inconvenient fact, such as deadly vaccine reactions in children, simply becomes a moment of dissonance or tension in a much larger narrative arch. There is nothing so outrageous or incoherent about what politicians or medical practitioners are doing that it cannot be subsumed into a larger narrative about "mutating viruses", "trusting expert advice", or "protecting the community". 

20 months into this nightmare and I look at many of my fellow Australians and see an ancient superstitious people in a long conga line, dancing to the the hypnotic beat of a witch doctor's drum. Intoxicated with digital hallucinations (media) they wind their way into a dark cave from which none of them will ever resurface. If you want to know the secret to the success of the Covid-con, its the rhythm.

Bible stories of old, all followed a certain narrative rhythm. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings followed the same rhythmic pattern and his book sold more copies than the bible. The movie Star Wars was explicitly structured according to the archetypal sequences identified by Joseph Campbell in his book on ancient mythology, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. These same old rhythms are being blasted through our society now from every media orifice available. Refined by AI algorithms to a level of sophistication never before imagined, they have society 'tuned-in' and dancing to an insidious frequency. Amidst all the tumult and shouting, it takes quite some concentration to even hear the still small voice within.

But we can and we must. 

Just what the doctor ordered: an Economic Coup d’état - 26 March 2020

Like all of you I’m currently in a lockdown which in some ways is quite enjoyable. Such a situation gives each of us some time to reflect on why we are in this position, who put us here and what might be their motivations? Even more, it gives us a change to ponder about who ultimately benefits from all of this?

I know for most people reading this piece what I’m about to say will be simply shocking, but you would do well to read on, if for no other reason than to develop your own arguments debunking everything I say. Keep in mind two things: there is a disease and there is our response to it. These two things are separate. One of them is very real, the other is very surreal.

Every day for the past month the news media in Australia has bombarded us with information designed to engender hysteria about the threat to our lives from a virus that is so far appears to be no more deadly than the ordinary flu. Medical doctors have been co-opted by politicians to prescribe medical martial law across the land under the guise that such prescriptions are medical in nature, not political. But this is simply not true. The actions being taken by State and Federal governments in Australia in response to Covid-19 are political and economic in nature, they are not public health measures. There is no medical reason whatsoever for our governments to shut down the economy in response to a coronavirus pandemic that is less severe than the H1N1-Swine Flu or SARS virus outbreaks of 2009 and 2003 respectively. 

On 24th of March I turned on the TV to hear the bovine politician, Jackie Lambie, demanding that the military be brought in to impose ‘social distancing’ rules on the community. The day before I endured a pitiful harangue from the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, where he literally squealed about how he really doesn’t want to impose Level III restrictions on the community but he has to do it because “people are going to die!” Exactly the same "no regrets" approach is being taken by the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian. At the time of Andrew’s speech no one in Victoria had died of Corona virus but luckily for him 3 people died on 26 March, providing some vindication for his hysterics – although all of them had pre-existing conditions and its not at all clear whether they died ‘from’ coronavirus or ‘with’ coronavirus.

Jacinta Ardern in New Zealand hasn’t been so fortunate. She’s shut down her entire country for a month to protect New Zealanders from a disease that hasn’t killed a single person. This is truly breathtaking. Think about it for a minute; a politician stands up in front of the public and announces that they are pushing millions of people out of their jobs and into poverty, bankrupting businesses, halting the operations of the legal system, shuttering public services and delaying all non-essential medical procedures, out of fear that someone might die of a disease that so far hasn’t killed anyone in the country. And she gets away with it! What kind of propaganda campaign could induce the public to buy into such nonsense?

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there was a total of 158,493 registered deaths in Australia in 2018 with one person dying every 3 min and eleven seconds. The most common cause of death in Australia is heart disease. The second most common cause is Dementia and Alzheimer’s. The twelfth most common cause of death is Influenza/Pneumonia – diseases closely related to Covid-19.

In 2018, 3102 people died of influenza/pneumonia in Australia (these diseases are grouped together by ABS and WHO for statistical tracking). Roughly this same number die from suicide each year. This translates to 11.7 people per day for each cause. So far, we’ve had 12 people die of Covid-19 in the month of March and we have only 4 days left to go. What this means is that you are currently 30 times more likely to die of pneumonia, flu or suicide than you are of Covid-19 (but this ratio may come down to a factor of 25 by the end of the month). Is this really a reason to detonate our economy and institute medical martial law?

The Australian Government Department of Heath website carries a wealth of charts and information about new infection rates for Covid-19 but interestingly, it has absolutely no information about the age or medical condition of any of the victims of the virus (I had to pick this information up from Wikipedia).  This is salient because an analysis of the victims in Australia indicates that more than half of the 2,700 cases that have been recorded here were acquired overseas – which means that local transmission is very low. Moreover, people over 80 years of age kept in confined spaces with existing medical conditions appear to be the only victims and the claim that the general public are in imminent danger of a deadly plague is simply hysterical. See table below:

It’s the same in Italy. The following extract is taken directly from the Swiss Propaganda Research site, updated 25th March 2020.

The Italian National Institute of Health has published a statistical report on test-positive patients and deceased, confirming the following data: No of Cases: 74,386, No of deaths 7,503

The average age of the positively-tested patients who have died in Italy is currently about 81 years. 10% of the deceased are over 90 years old. 90% of the deceased are over 70 years old.

80% of the deceased had suffered from two or more chronic diseases. 50% of the deceased had suffered from three or more chronic diseases. The chronic diseases include in particular cardiovascular problems, diabetes, respiratory problems and cancer.

Less than 1% of the deceased were healthy persons, i.e. persons without pre-existing chronic diseases. Only about 30% of the deceased are women.

The Italian Institute of Health moreover distinguishes between those who died from the coronavirus and those who died with the coronavirus. In many cases it is not yet clear whether the persons died from the virus or from their pre-existing chronic diseases or from a combination of both.

The two Italians deceased under 40 years of age (both 39 years old) were a cancer patient and a diabetes patient with additional complications. In these cases, too, the exact cause of death was not yet clear (i.e. if from the virus or from their pre-existing diseases).

The partial overloading of the hospitals is due to the general rush of patients and the increased number of patients requiring special or intensive care. In particular, the aim is to stabilize respiratory function and, in severe cases, to provide anti-viral therapies.

Important contextual values include:

   • the number of annual flu deaths in Italy which is around 8,000 per year

   • overall mortality rates in Italy which are around 2,000 deaths per day (all causes); and

   • the average number of pneumonia cases per year, which in Italy is over 120,000 per year.

Politics, not Public Health

Around the world almost every nation under the tutelage of the World Economic Forum (and no country which is not) has taken the initiative of shuttering their economy because of an apparent imminent viral threat which so far is killing less people than similar diseases which are ever-present in the community. It’s important to appreciate just how significant this situation is. This is something that has never happened before in history. Even during the darkest days WWI or WWII when London endured a nightly blitz of Nazi bombing, the economy continued to function. Likewise, for the rest of the world, during the Nepoleonic wars, the US Civil War, WWI and WWII the economy of every nation on either side of any conflict continued to function. But not now. So what’s different this time? Is the medical threat so grave that we need to put lives before our livelihoods? Apparantly, “Yes” - if you listen to the media. But almost certainly “Not” if you bother to spend just 5 minutes thinking about this for yourself and looking up some basic statistics.

In Australia your chances of dying from Covid-19 are currently one in 2 million. In India, where 10 people have died of the virus and Narendra Modi has shuttered the entire economy, your chances of dying from Covid-19 are less than one in 100 million. Modi’s stance (like that of most other Western leaders) is truly absurd. 10 people die in India every minute, 14,000 per day. How can a Prime Minister possibly shut down one of the world’s largest economies, on the basis of 10 deaths – and get away with it?

We need to be absolutely clear about one thing: whatever is going on, it is not a medical response to a public health crisis. This is a political initiative and its being done for some reason other than the one we’re being told. The chart below shows the infection rates for various developed countries. Interestingly, the two countries on the chart with the lowest infection rates are Singapore and Japan – both of whom have not shuttered their economies or locked up their civilians.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/ng-interactive/2020/mar/23/how-many-cases-of-coronavirus-are-there-in-australia-live-statistics

This chart uses a log scale and re-indexes the time to the first day since cases were above 50 to make the trajectory of the pandemic in selected countries directly comparable:

Cui Bono?

The Roman judge, Lucius Cassius, is credited with asking the question: "to whom might it benefit?" when investigating cases brought before him. And we would do well to ask this question now while we’re all at home with time to think about it in relative peace. While engaged in this process keep in mind the following facts:

   • we have a very real and deadly pandemic that is spreading around the world

   • at the time of writing this disease has claimed 23,976 victims and has proven to be particularly dangerous for elderly people with existing medical conditions but it is less dangerous to the general population than previous recent pandemics which have had a higher death rate across a broader population base e.g. Bird flu, Swine flu, and the original SARS (2003).

   • In the face of all this, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Germany, France, Canada, India and several other US-allied nations have all shut down their economies, put millions of people out of work and promised trillions of dollars in the form of bail-outs and subsidies to business and civilians.

Who benefits from all this? What’s more why has it all happened so quickly? On 17 March, when the UK death toll from Covid-19 had risen to 71 and the number of confirmed cases had increased to 1,950, Boris Johnson and his (Goldman Sachs) Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, stirred up a national panic and shuttered most businesses in the country, closing the schools and announcing that £330bn would be made available in bail-outs and loan guarantees for businesses affected by the pandemic. The next day the Australian Reserve Bank lowered interest rates to 0.25% and then provided $90 Billion dollars of funding to the banks to buy up corporate bonds.

What this represents is a massive transfer of wealth from the public sector to the corporate sector and the wealthy individuals who own fixed income assets. Fortunately for many highly levered folks, all this largesse was announced just as the stock market was tanking. In America, Congress has just passed a $2 Trillion dollar bailout of the US economy with a significant portion going to corporations and this will be only the start. Meanwhile the social welfare websites in UK and Australia are both down – collapsing under the weight of new applications for unemployment benefits. In Australia thousands of people queued around all fours corners of the city blocks housing several Centrelink offices (no social distancing there) as ordinary people with their livelihoods in tatters lined up for a meagre handout. Trading on bond markets continued uninterrupted.

The claim by our politicians that this behaviour is designed to save lives is simply untenable. When governments destroy the livelihoods and businesses of millions of people in such a deliberate and coordinated way, how can there not be significant health effects associated with this? How many suicides, marital breakdowns, addictions, murders and illnesses will result from what’s happening now? Will our media be tracking and reporting all these consequences with the same breathlessly enthusiasm they are currently reporting Covid-19 statistics now?

Is this the sort of leadership we should expect from our elected representatives and our news media organizations? When the death rate from this disease was just over 1 person in a million in the UK and the infection rate was clearly under control in China, Johnson locks up the whole UK population in their homes and announces a splurge of corporate welfare beyond anything seen in the history of England. Unlike Winston Churchill or Franklin D. Roosevelt, who fortified their nations in difficult times and looked out for the common man, Johnson has gone out of his way to exaggerate and dramatize the risks and severity of Covid-19 while misdirecting extraordinary sums of money away from public health initiatives and towards the corporate sector.

What could the NHS do with 330 billion pounds? If Johnson has got this sort of money to spend, why not leave the economy running and simply give it to the health sector? But that’s not what the game is about. This Covid-19 Pandemic is public health crisis, there is no doubt. But our response to it is not medical in nature. Rather it is political and economic. It is, in effect, an economic coup d’état perpetrated by white collar criminals under the cover of a global pandemic.

The beneficiaries of Johnson’s money splurge and martial law crackdown will disproportionately be his Eaton classmates. While the commoners are goose-stepped into a state of permanent authoritarianism, the financiers are once again busy looting the treasury, just like they did in 2008 only this time aided and abetted by the Prime Minister and his Treasurer who is still doing “God’s work” despite changing employer.

 A Lock-Down Dress Rehearsal - Event 201

What is unfolding in real life is eerily similar to the October 2019 pandemic simulation exercise at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, known as Event 201. This Event simulated the outbreak of a novel zoonotic coronavirus transmitted from bats to pigs to people that eventually becomes efficiently transmissible from person to person, leading to a severe pandemic. The pathogen and the disease it caused were modelled largely on the 2003 SARS virus, but for the purposes of this simulation the virus was considered more transmissible by people who showed few symptoms in the early stages of infection.

According to the simulation the disease starts in pig farms in Brazil, quietly and slowly at first, but then it starts to spread more rapidly in healthcare settings. When it starts to spread efficiently from person to person in the low-income, densely packed barrios of South America’s megacities, the epidemic explodes. It is first exported by air travel to Portugal, the United States, and China and then to many other countries. Although at first some countries are able to control it, but it continues to spread and be reintroduced, and eventually no country can maintain control.

There is no possibility of a vaccine being available in the first year. There is a fictional antiviral drug that can help the sick but not significantly limit spread of the disease. Since the whole human population is susceptible, during the initial months of the pandemic, the cumulative number of cases increases exponentially, doubling every week. And as the cases and deaths accumulate, the economic and societal consequences become increasingly severe.

Medical martial law of the kind we are experiencing is imposed to control the virus and the importance of narrative control is recognised as tantamount. The scenario ends at the 18-month point, with 65 million deaths and the pandemic beginning to slow due to the decreasing number of susceptible people.

The conclusion of the exercise is that the pandemic will continue at some rate until there is an effective vaccine or until 80-90 % of the global population has been exposed and pathogen becomes an endemic virus along with many others in the natural environment. One of the key take-aways from Event 201is a need for the development and production of billions of vaccine shots by pharmaceutical companies.

Controlling the Narrative

Lenin once commented that decades can pass when nothing happens, and then weeks can pass where decades happen. We are in such a time now. The much celebrated “discontinuous change” that tech entrepreneurs always talk about is upon us now and the direction is not good. In such a situation, it’s important that we keep our heads – even as others about us are losing theirs. Recognise that the most important tool of manipulation that powerful interest groups have is control of the narrative. Realise that you actually have the power to think for yourself and use your mind to control your circumstances. As a society, no one can march us down the road to serfdom if we don’t first consent to the process. We need to be aware when we are being manipulated by fear to accept conditions that we otherwise ought not to accept. But this is a collective claim. We need to make some decisions together. Divided people have no power, collectively we do. That’s why you’re at home alone right now.

Watch how our media are telling us we need to remain under house arrest for our own good, and that life as we know it will never be the same again. Why so? Who decides that? On what basis? Watch how our politicians talk to us like little children, rather than intelligent peers: “Follow the rules” and “Do the right thing”. See how our medical workers are left to treat the sick with insufficient protective equipment and then lionised as “heroes on the front line” by the very politicians who previously underfunded our hospitals and left these people exposed. Watch how our celebrities are instructed to post cheerful videos and tweets saying, “We’re all in this together”, “Let’s be nice to one another”, while the police commissioners back up the new regime of martial law with threats of fines and internment.

It’s time we called “Bullshit” on this whole circus. There’s is no curve to flatten in Australia, or New Zealand, or India, or Jordan for that matter (another American vassal state where not one person has died but where real martial law has been imposed). 430 people die every day in Australia while 12 people have died in a month from coronavirus – all of them over 70. Where’s the curve? The issue is not making the best of our situation, but rather to ask intelligently and insistently, “Why are we in this position? On what basis are these decisions being made? Did Professor Brendan Murphy, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, really order the shuttering of our entire economy or is he being used by politicians as a convenient scapegoat for yet another massive wealth transfer from the poor to the rich and push towards authoritarian rule? 

This whole process is a sham. Think back just a month: every single leader of the Western Alliance had the same dickie chart and the same simplistic mantra, “flatten the curve”. All countries are going thru three phases of repression; closure of sporting events and large gatherings, business shut-downs and social distancing, finally school closures and full lockdown with brownshirts on the streets to enforce the rules. Same process in every country, whether or not the disease is spreading at an uncontrollable rate or if anyone is even dying. This is exactly what Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, was bleating about. There is a global playbook at work. Everyone is on script. All Anglo-aligned countries are doing the same thing at the same time to the same narrative rhythm. The messaging in terms of: initial hysteria, to the more moderate “experts say …” norms of control, to the feelgood stories of ‘togetherness’ that we can all participate in (while we’re isolated) are part of a narrative sequence that has been well thought out and expertly planned.

The level of narrative management we are being subjected to is the product of millions and millions of test responses to memes, tropes, nudges and news articles which have been trialled and honed via social media networks for years. If you think you know what’s going on, think again. Narrative management is so sophisticated now that it occurs well below the level of conscious awareness. Enough mathematical analysis and real-time simulations have been conducted by tech companies for them to predict with frightening accuracy how a message will be received (whether consciously or not) and how specific groups and even individuals will respond to it. This is what the Cambridge Analytica scandal was all about. The possession of such power in the hands of unscrupulous people means the end of democratic society.

It was said that Gary Kasparov planned up to 15 moves ahead when he was world chess champion. Well, we have game theoretic and scenario planning algo’s these days that can think and predict more than 30 moves ahead and these tools can run hundreds of millions of simulations on thousands of parameters to ensure predictive success. The bumbling clowns that are put in front of us as our leaders are the absolute antithesis of the capability that’s actually directing the current global lockdown. These politicians are much more a reflection of ourselves than they are of the technology arrayed against us. The idea that any of them should stay in office after the damage they have caused is unconscionable. If ever there was a time when we should “throw the bums out” this is it.

Trolling the Opposition

A critical element of controlling the narrative is trolling of your opposition. When anyone questions an official narrative of any government anywhere, the best defence is to attack them as a conspiracy theorist. This technique is very effective. It’s about as effective as the smear of anti-semitism directed at anyone who questions why Palestinian schools and hospitals get bombed every time there is an escalation of tensions in that land. The best way to malign intelligent examination of the facts around Covid-19 is to suggest that anyone engaging in such a conversation must believe that the virus was developed in a bio-weapons lab, that it was planted in China by the Americans, or in America by the Chinese, or that it is related to 5G, or the New World Order etc.,

I’ve made none of these claims. All I know is what I see. And it’s the same thing you can see for yourself if you open your eyes.

   1. We have a global pandemic disease to contend with. Where it came from is of no consequence to me. All I know is that it’s real and it’s here now.

   2. There was a dress rehearsal for control of a world-wide pandemic run at John Hopkins University only 3 months before this real event began. You can go and watch all the videos right here.

   3. The playbook being rolled out around the world for controlling Covid-19 is exactly the playbook developed during that exercise.

   4. The people behind that program represent some of the richest and most influential industries and individuals in the world (finance, pharmaceuticals and technology),

   5. Believing that all these things are merely coincidental requires a leap of faith that is not supported by historical precedent

 Conclusion

My conclusion from all of this is that there are powerful interest groups who are pushing western societies down a path towards authoritarianism. They are doing this quite deliberately and in a well-planned way. The Covid-19 virus is just a cover. I’m not saying anyone created the virus, what I’m saying is that now that a crisis is here, well-prepared, powerful interest groups are not letting it go to waste. What we are seeing pan out in front of us is a paradigmatic example of Naomi Klein’s “Disaster Capitalism”.

There’s one problem with this whole agenda though. So far, the Covid-19 pandemic isn’t adequate to the task – at least not in the warmer climates of Australia & New Zealand. Simply put, not enough people are dying to legitimise the level of lock-down currently being imposed. Very soon, enough members of the public will wake up to what’s going on and start asking the right questions about exactly who has planned and executed our spurious response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Hopefully you will be amongst them.

Towards the end of her life the German Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt was asked whether or not we would see the rise of another totalitarian regime like the one that occurred in Nazi Germany. Her response was, “Yes we will”. And the reason she gave is that such governments have an enduring appeal: they solve problems that democratic governments cannot otherwise solve.

As democratic societies we have a lot of challenges in front of us, not least of which is this supposed pandemic. Rather than dealing with these problems intelligently and effectively, many democracies are retreating into partisanship and emotivism. The consequences of such developments are well known to political scientists. We’ve been down this path before in very recent history. Let’s not go there again. Conscious resistance starts first and foremost by thinking for ourselves. This is followed with a resolve to hold our leaders to account for their actions.

If we fail at either of these tasks, we fail.

Alan Hamilton