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The medical police state

At present, there is growing concern that many nations (including our own) have essentially become a medical police state. Journalist and satirist H L Mencken once said: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed and hence clamoring to be led to safety by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary".


But is this the first time in history something like this has happened? Many would say a resounding “yes”. But let’s take a closer look at the history books. It was the year 1979 when a mysterious pneumonia started spreading through the Russian Urals city of Yekaterinburg. People died in droves days after presenting with mysterious pneumonia at local hospitals. It was then that the secret police stepped in.


Doctors, who were ordered to keep silent, had their patients’ records stripped from them and kept under wraps as the communist government searched for a “more mundane” explanation. In other words, they needed a convenient explanation about what was happening and they needed to be able to sell it to the public via the media. The Soviet government claimed the deaths were caused by intestinal anthrax from tainted meat, a story some influential American scientists found believable. However, officials in the Carter administration suspected the outbreak was caused by an accidental release of anthrax spores from a suspected Soviet biological weapons facility located in the city. The US believed that the Soviet Union was violating the Biological Weapons Convention signed in 1972 and made their suspicions public. But the Soviets denied they were undertaking any activities relating to biological weapons and at numerous international conferences they tried to prove their contaminated meat story.


So, the cover-up began. Troops established a perimeter around the factory in question, hundreds of stray dogs were shot, black-market food vendors were arrested for “spreading tainted food” and victims of the accident had their bodies bathed in chemical disinfectants to remove the evidence left by the spores. They also ordered city workers to scrub and trim trees, spray roads and hose down roofs. However, those measures made the crisis worse. Their actions actually spread the spores further through “secondary aerosols”. Anthrax dust drifted through the city, leading to more victims arriving at hospitals with black ulcerous swellings on their skin.


It wasn’t until thirteen years later (in 1992) that Soviet President Boris Yeltsin admitted, without providing any details, that the anthrax outbreak was the result of military activity at the facility. During those thirteen years, while an intense debate raged within the international scientific and intelligence communities on whether the Russians were telling the truth, the Soviet Union continued its offensive biological warfare program unabated.


Around the time of Yeltsin’s admission, Russia allowed a team of Western scientists to go to the city to investigate the outbreak. Although, as mentioned earlier, the KGB had confiscated hospital and other records, the scientists were able to track where all the victims had been at the time of the anthrax release. Their results showed that on the day of the incident, all of the victims were clustered along a straight line downwind from the military facility. Livestock in the same area also died of anthrax. After completing their investigation, the team concluded that the outbreak was caused by a release of an aerosol of anthrax pathogen at the military facility. Yet, in spite of the evidence gathered, they were unable to determine what caused the initial release or what specific activities were conducted at the facility.


Considering that the Republican Party in the US believes they have sufficient evidence to confirm that COVID-19 originated in a lab at Wuhan, it will be interesting to see the official response from the Chinese Communist Party. However, if they are anything like their Russian counterparts, they will continue to deny it for many years to come.

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