Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 18, 2020

Justice Department Drops Case Against 'Russian Influence Campaign' While New Fake Claims Arise

The Justice Department dropped its case against a Russian company which was alleged of influencing the 2016 elections. But as one false claim about Russian influence campaigns is now thoroughly debunked new nonsensical claims about alleged Russian influence campaigns arise.

In February 2018 the Mueller investigation of alleged election interference indicted a Russian company and individuals. As we reported at that time:

Yesterday the U.S. Justice Department indicted the Russian Internet Research Agency on some dubious legal grounds. It covers thirteen Russian people and three Russian legal entities. The main count of the indictment is an alleged "Conspiracy to Defraud the United States".

The published indictment gives support to our long held believe that there was no "Russian influence" campaign during the U.S. election. What is described and denounced as such was instead a commercial marketing scheme which ran click-bait websites to generate advertisement revenue and created online crowds around virtual persona to promote whatever its commercial customers wanted to promote. The size of the operation was tiny when compared to the hundreds of millions in campaign expenditures. It had no influence on the election outcome.

We could claim that because the indictment said in its point 95:

Defendants and their co-conspirators also used the accounts to receive money from real U.S. persons in exchange for posting promotions and advertisements on the ORGANIZATION-controlled social media pages. Defendants and their co-conspirators typically charged certain U.S. merchants and U.S. social media sites between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for promotional content on their popular false U.S. persona accounts, including Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and Blacktivist.

The Russian trolls sold media space to advertisers. They had nothing to with the election. 

Our report then continued:

The indictment is fodder for the public to prove that the Mueller investigation is "doing something". It distracts from further questioning the origin of the Steele dossier. It is full of unproven assertions and assumptions. It is a sham in that none of the Russian persons or companies indicted will ever come in front of a U.S. court.

The last sentence of that quote has proven to be wrong. One of the legal entities the Mueller investigation indicted, the Russian company Concord Management, hired a U.S. attorney and challenged the justice department. The back and forth during the pre-trial discovery hearings in front of the court, which can be followed in the docket of the case, proofed to be highly entertaining as Concord attorney Eric Dubelier was running circles around the Special Counsel and DOJ lawyers.

On Monday the Justice Department dropped the case:

The US Justice Department on Monday abruptly dropped its criminal case against a company controlled by an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which allegedly funded the campaign to meddle in the United States' 2016 elections.

Just weeks before the trial was to begin, the Justice Department announced it was withdrawing the eight-count indictment of Concord Management and Consulting, a company owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The Justice Department claims that Concord Management is demanding evidence for discovery which is secret and that such a demand makes it impossible to move towards a trial:

In a filing in Washington federal district court, the Justice Department said that Concord's tactics of trying to use US law and court procedures to prise out classified intelligence related to the evidence against it was a threat to national security.

"The government has concluded that further proceedings as to Concord, a Russian company with no presence in the United States and no exposure to meaningful punishment in the event of conviction, promotes neither the interests of justice nor the nation's security," it said.

Imagine that - someone who is accused of a crime is using the law and court procedures to see the evidence against him. That can not be allowed. Drop the case.

Those who still defend the Russian interference nonsense will claim that the Trump's Attorney General, William Barr, has killed the case. But that is wrong:

The trial team included Adam C. Jed, who had worked on Mr. Mueller’s team, and Heather Alpino, a Justice Department National Security Division lawyer who worked closely with the special counsel’s office. Both signed the brief filed on Monday.

So essentially the Mueller team dropped its own case against Concord because there was no chance that they would win it.

But as all claims about Russian influence campaigns are now debunked new ones must be made to keep the meme going.

Reuters: Russia deploying coronavirus disinformation to sow panic in West, EU document says

Russian media have deployed a “significant disinformation campaign” against the West to worsen the impact of the coronavirus, generate panic and sow distrust, according to a European Union document seen by Reuters.
“A significant disinformation campaign by Russian state media and pro-Kremlin outlets regarding COVID-19 is ongoing,” said the nine-page internal document, dated March 16, ..
It quoted fake news created by Russia in Italy, the second-most heavily affected country in the world, that health systems would be unable to cope and doctors would choose who lived or died because of a lack of beds.

One wonders if Reuters confused the shady EU paper with its own March 16 special report about Italy's use of triage in it's fight against the epidemic. Was that also 'fake news'?

Every time a bed comes free, two anaesthesiologists consult with a specialist in resuscitation and an internal medicine physician to decide who will occupy it.
The most devastating medical crisis in Italy since World War Two is forcing doctors, patients and their families to make decisions that Resta, a former military doctor, said he has not experienced even in war.
Italy’s Association of Anaesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care published new guidelines on March 7. Because it expects a “huge imbalance” between the clinical needs of the population and intensive care resources over the next few weeks, it told those on the front lines: Give priority to those with “greater life expectancy.”

If Russian state media indeed reported that Italy's health system is unable to cope with the epidemic and that doctors must choose who to save than it reported the naked truth. There were more than 4,000 new cases in Italy today and more than 450 dead. That is a new global record.

Western media, primarily the New York Times, were the ones which made false claims about Russian influence campaigns which never existed. Western media, primarily the New York Times, continue to do so.

Posted by b on March 18, 2020 at 19:01 UTC | Permalink


you've got this posted twice on the front page b.

Posted by: annie | Mar 18 2020 19:21 utc | 1

You've double posted this one b.

Posted by: Morbid | Mar 18 2020 19:26 utc | 2

Good article, but double post.

Posted by: David | Mar 18 2020 19:38 utc | 3

Thanks for the posting b and I want to use it to ask about a related lie that Trump continues to spread.....that the virus is a Chinese virus

It is one thing to use the judicial system to help manage disinformation but when one has to resort to what seems to be a provable lie and keep repeating it in hopes more will believe it in spite of facts to the contrary.

As ugly as this all is, I see it as a necessary part of the failure process for the Western structure of social organization.....with private finance at the core of the social contract.

When empire has been proven repeatedly to lie, cheat and steal AND there are alternative nations going more honorable directions then the end will finally come for the cancer of global private finance that has stifled our species for centuries.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 18 2020 19:49 utc | 4

thanks b.. it is fucking hilarious actually, but i trust the dependable russia phobes will be out in action and in a state of complete denial - emptywheel in particular..

Posted by: james | Mar 18 2020 20:04 utc | 5

Thanks for bringing this story out B. I think they are trying to hide it among the other alarming news of the day. So really no prob with double post.

I would also thank the commenters here. Being in my 70's I need the best news I can get through this pandemic. I find the community at large here, and I include b, does a great job of bringing together the facts we/I need for survival. There is good community here, a jewel.Thanks all.

Posted by: Myopic Longshot | Mar 18 2020 20:19 utc | 6


Actually, I read somewhere that I can't seem to locate now that the US was pressuring the WHO to officially name this the Wuhan virus in hopes of forever tying it to China. No doubt for the same reasons they were forbidding local jurisdictions from testing for the corona virus early on, and to date have for all intents and purposes tested no one, certainly not with an eye toward tracking the disease in a scientific manner. It's almost like they're afraid it will ultimately be proven that the corona virus did indeed originate in the US, and was spread to China (and Iran...imagine that), whether purposely or not.

And while no one would think the virus was unleashed just to change the subject from the final evaporation of Russiagate, it is certainly unarguable that they are using the distraction as the perfect time to quietly report this case dismissal, as well as apparently Crowdstrike suddenly acting like it never really was involved in the whole fiasco, either, and doesn't know why anyone would think they had asserted anything.... Stupifying.

Posted by: J Swift | Mar 18 2020 20:20 utc | 7

When do we begin the daily two minutes of hate?

Posted by: Michael Weddington | Mar 18 2020 20:35 utc | 8

As soon as the DOJ's bluff was called, it was entirely predictable that prosecutors would cut and run from this preposterous Mueller Report-boosting frame-up; it was only a matter of time.

Naturally, they invoked the tried-and-true face-saving, CYA excuse that they reluctantly decided not to proceed because doing so would have an unacceptably adverse impact on "national security".

It is to laugh. BTW, I was mildly surprised to see venerable international-affairs pundit Martin McCauley echoing this official explanation on RT News today, apparently without irony. He mildly reiterated the standard bromide that (I paraphrase) on occasion, judicial authorities are indeed compelled to desist from pursuing cases when there is "sensitive" information that might reveal state-security apparatus methods and sources.

I expected him to at least add that this rationale is a convenient red herring to trot out when the government has no real case in the first place. Maybe he was on automatic pilot, or I missed the part where he leaned in and winked meaningfully into the camera.

Posted by: Ort | Mar 18 2020 20:38 utc | 9

I've read and watched quite a bit about the origin of CV19 since the beginning, but this is a 19 minute video that makes a convincing argument that the origin of the virus is very likely from Fort Dietrich, Maryland. What is most convincing for me is that it substantiates much of what I have already read elsewhere. Watch and make up your own mind.

Posted by: lgfocus | Mar 18 2020 20:41 utc | 10

Well yes of course. But i still think it would be nice if SOME Chinese folk stopped eating dogs, monkies and pangolins.

Posted by: dh | Mar 18 2020 21:08 utc | 11

dh @11:

It's all a matter of perspective. I think it would be nice if people in general stopped eating (e.g.) cows, pigs, and chickens.

Posted by: corvo | Mar 18 2020 21:15 utc | 12

"I was mildly surprised to see venerable international-affairs pundit Martin McCauley echoing this official explanation on RT News today, apparently without irony."ort@9
As Brian Mulroney once said "There is no whore like an old whore."

It long ago became apparent that there are no limits to the rubbish that the media promotes regarding Russian interference in elections. And this despite the fact, underlined in b's story above, that there is not a shred of evidence that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 elections.
It would be a great deal more rational to blame coke addicted raccoons in Billings Montana for Clinton's defeat, at least until millions of dollars had been expended on investigations that uniformly failed to produce any evidence.
The remarkable conclusion of all these investigations, from the Mueller report to the prosecution evidence in the various persecutions that have ensued, is that the Russian government seems to have been utterly indifferent to the issue of that contest. At least it would be remarkable were it not so evident that, like shrewd observers around the globe, nobody in the Kremlin could detect any gradations in candidates representing evil, stupidity and dishonesty in equal quantities.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 18 2020 21:20 utc | 13

Yes indeed corvo. Perspectiveb is everthing. I could have predicted your response.

Posted by: dh | Mar 18 2020 21:25 utc | 14

@dh 11

Not just monkies, we should stop eating beatles, too. :)

Posted by: gaspode | Mar 18 2020 21:29 utc | 15

dh @14:

That's one of the nice things about logical thought. ;-)

Posted by: corvo | Mar 18 2020 21:33 utc | 16

@14 We? I'm regretting this already.

Posted by: dh | Mar 18 2020 21:34 utc | 17

gaspode @15:

No kidding. The immature ones are insipid and the mature ones too drug-adulterated.

Posted by: corvo | Mar 18 2020 21:35 utc | 18

I guess if pangolins, cockroaches, bats etc. are reared and prepared in hygenic conditioons they are safe enough.

Posted by: dh | Mar 18 2020 21:43 utc | 19

@ dh 19

Perhaps there were some nasty zoonotic transmissions in the prehistoric days of domestication of "normal" livestock. I wonder if anyone has done any research on that.

Also, damn! - the band in question were the Monkees.

Posted by: gaspode | Mar 18 2020 21:51 utc | 20

@20. Perhaps. It probably has more to do with quality control as humanity became more 'civilized'. Not sure if they served refreshents on the last train to Clarksville.

Posted by: dh | Mar 18 2020 22:02 utc | 21

The DOJ should be prosecuting the criminals on Wall Street.

THIS is the reality of USA justice - chasing will o the whisps and plunder just goes on.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 18 2020 22:10 utc | 22

The DOJ could investigate Lt. Colonel Jamie Blow and Professor Gavin James Smith of Duke University for crimes against humanity or perhaps criminal manslaughter or criminal negligence. The problem is at home, in the USA where chemical and biological warfare is the game.

For example, a detachment of military biologists worked under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Blow, who studied African swine fever, for a long time in the TsRL in Tbilisi. Shortly after the start of the work of this team, in 2013, an outbreak of this disease was recorded in the southern regions of Russia.

The project was led by Professor Gavin James Smith of Duke University (USA), closely associated with the National Institute of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the US Department of Health.....


The source of the Kazakh publication reported that the biosamples containing coronavirus delivered to the CRF in the winter of 2020 “at the molecular level, they completely coincide with the strain, the study of which was started in the laboratory about two years ago and which, according to his observations, should not all this time was to leave the TsRL.

It was a joint development led by scientists from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the final stage of training a large group of Kazakh epidemiologists.


With a careful study of the materials of the American CRL in Kazakhstan, studies raise many questions. The KZ-33 project is entitled “Middle East Respiratory Coronavirus Syndrome”, and it is completely unclear why it should be studied on bats in Central Asia.

Even stranger is the ability of the aforementioned Professor Gavin Smith to find bats carrying the coronavirus literally anywhere. In 2017, he published a study (Transboundary Emerg Dis, Dec; 64 (6): 1790–1800. Doi: 10.1111 / tbed.12568) on coronavirus bats in Singapore. ”

DOJ blowing smokescreens!

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 18 2020 22:35 utc | 23

It's hymietown newspaper. What do you expect.

Posted by: bjd | Mar 18 2020 22:52 utc | 24

A dog ate my evidence:

"Upon careful consideration of all of the circumstances, and particularly in light of recent events and a change in the balance of the government’s proof due to a classification determination, as well as other facts described in more detail in a classified addendum to this motion, the government has concluded that further proceedings as to Concord, a Russian company with no presence in the United States and no exposure to meaningful punishment in the event of a conviction, promotes neither the interests of justice nor the nation’s security."

Posted by: Keith McClary | Mar 18 2020 23:26 utc | 25

lgfocus | Mar 18 2020 20:41 utc | 10:

Thanks for the link.

Posted by: Ian2 | Mar 18 2020 23:28 utc | 26

uncle tungsten 23

Horseshoe bats are common throughout Asia.
This from wikipedia..
"Horseshoe bats are relevant to humans as a source of disease and as food and medicine in some regions. Several species are the natural reservoirs of SARS, though masked palm civets were the intermediate hosts through which humans became infected. Some evidence suggests that some species could be the natural reservoir of SARS-CoV-2, which causes coronavirus disease 2019. They are hunted for food in several regions, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa, but also Southeast Asia. Some species or their guano are used in traditional medicine in Nepal, India, Vietnam, and Senegal."

Some time ago when this first kicked off and blame was being laid on the pangolin, I did a bit of research. A few years back, one of the earlier coronavirus strains, SARS I think, was found to be carried in pangolins in Malaysia.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 18 2020 23:29 utc | 27

dh and corvo

Better yet, we should stop eating all forms of life. There is a virtually unlimited supply of dirt we can eat and plenty of water to wash it down.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 18 2020 23:35 utc | 28

lgfocus #10

Thank you. Great video and that presenter does a good effort in bringing events into perspective while discussing the contra positions and calling for more reliable data. Again we need post mortem data to unravel the conundrums and render accuracy here.

The comments were interesting and I especially noted those pertaining to the total lack of gold medals at the Wuhan Military Games in October 2019.

I recall oldmicrobiologist also discussed in an earlier thread the remarkable capacities of the US military olympic standard soldiers that compete in these types of games and how they failed miserably in Wuhan. Odd.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 18 2020 23:36 utc | 29

Peter AU1 #27

Horseshoe bats are common throughout Asia. etc.

Thanks but this part in the story was particularly interesting if ethnic cleansing was in someone's mind.

A genetically modified sample, later called COVID-19, could cross the border by accident or as a result of intentional manipulations.

The recent mass pogrom in the Dungan villages of the Kordai region can also be considered as an attempt to “clean up” witnesses of the work of American military biologists in the region in 2017-2019, their negligence or intentional actions to import COVID-19 to China.

Nobody seems to have cleaned up Professor Smith, but the Duke Institute, of which he is still an employee, seemed to have forgotten about its existence.

The coronavirus pandemic on the site of the scientific center is commented on by many researchers, but not by Gavin Smith, who has studied the spread of a very similar disease in East and Central Asia for at least four years.

Why such secrecy? Perhaps, in order not to remind once again about explorations in Almaty.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 18 2020 23:51 utc | 30

Peter AU1 @28:

Have at it!

Posted by: corvo | Mar 19 2020 0:48 utc | 31

The big problem with extracting the truth from these secretive events, is the same problem that the governed multitudes have been dealing with since 1789. Those loonies who work in and for the state, who do their thing in secret, is the problem.
why? Because the private parties that make their money buy encouraging state loonies to cause the state to do things that allow the money makers to make more money. The concept that imprisoned humanity in the nation state system is called state secrecy. If the masses were informed, and if the same masses, understood what was happening, those in charge of the state would be hanged, and those who made their profits by corrupting the state into privatizing state power would be waterboarded, drawn, quartered and hung out to dry on a pair of sticks one vertical the other horizontal.

The great good that could come from the COVID 19 pandemic is that humanity, in the name of democracy and human rights, forces those in the state, to tear down state secrets. Denying all person elected to political office, doing business with, contracting with, or working for, the state any right to privacy for any reason. How is that justified.
basically, it does not matter which person in which nation state use the state to commits a corruption such corruption is a crime against humanity, that crime affects all humanity, and humanity suffers for it.

Posted by: snake | Mar 19 2020 1:04 utc | 32

uncle tungsten

Russia has questioned what the US is doing in its labs, especially the one in Georgia. Putin himself publically questioned why US was collecting ethnic Russian blood samples.
The fortruss article though has no meat to it no links and that sort of thing. A lot of work has been dobe with coronavirus since the MERS and SARS outbreaks, some for good reasons and others to see if it can be weaponised.
Every Tom Dick and Harry are finding proof that every lab researching this virus and putting out public records on that research are responsible for kicking it.
I look at the pros and cons as to whether this is a bio-weapon or not and there are some of each.
A couple of the major cons is that it has not hit Venezuela which is a primary Trump admin target
and it has not hit Russia which is a hereditary type US anglo target.
China though is the main threat to US dominance that Trump wishes to take down so it is possible the admin working with the CIA and perhaps the pentagon released a strain in China to try and create a bit of havoc.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 1:16 utc | 33

Lung injury due to e cigeretts.
"Symptoms of lipoid pneumonia—chest pain, difficulty breathing, chronic coughing, or even coughing up blood—can be similar to some symptoms of bacterial pneumonia. The two conditions are treated differently, though. With bacterial pneumonia, antibiotics can be given to treat the root cause. “With lipoid pneumonia, we don’t have a treatment that can dissolve or dissipate the lipids,” Freeman said. “Instead, we may try to decrease the inflammation with steroids, but much of the treatment is centered around supporting someone’s body while the respiratory system and lungs recover to the best of their natural ability on their own.”"

A young female vaper presented with insidious onset cough, progressive dyspnoea on exertion, fever, night sweats and was in respiratory failure when admitted to hospital. Clinical examination was unremarkable. Haematological tests revealed only thrombocytopenia, which was long standing, and her biochemical and inflammatory markers were normal. Chest radiograph and high-resolution CT showed diffuse ground-glass infiltrates with reticulation. She was initially treated with empirical steroids and there was improvement in her oxygenation, which facilitated further tests. Since the bronchoscopy and high-volume lavage was unyielding, a video-assisted thoracoscopicsurgical biopsy was done later and was suggestive of lipoid pneumonia. The only source of lipid was the vegetable glycerine found in e-cigarette (EC). Despite our advice to quit vaping, she continued to use EC with different flavours and there is not much improvement in her clinical and spirometric parameters."

Quite different to coronavirus pneumonia.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 1:27 utc | 34

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 1:16 utc | 33

'kicking it'??

If it is from a lab, how about accidental release? This would be the dumbest 'weapon' of all time.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Mar 19 2020 1:59 utc | 35

Peter AU1 #34

Thanks for that info re vaping. I am undecided as to the bio-weapon story but did lean that way initially given reports from China and Canada. Clearly it may not be a weapon as in a constructed virus with novel add ons. Any novel (meaning new or emergent) virus if deliberately introduced to a target population with no prior contact is a 'weaponisation' of the human environment though. This is not clearly demonstrated in the FortRuss story but rather alluded. FortRuss is no different to WaPo etc quoting 'confidential sources'.

Fort Russ gives a story and names some players that could be transparent as to what they were doing. More importantly the recent shenanigans in Khazakistan by the USA etc. These named individuals owe us an explanation in any case.

The story did state this source (without link)....

Recently, a Kazakhstani resource Yvision reported that “a source among the staff of the Central Reference Laboratory (CRL) in Almaty confirmed that the deadly coronavirus was developed in this institution.”

I share your scepticism but I also share data that may be of use or that people may shine further light on.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 19 2020 2:03 utc | 36

That should have read "kicking it off".

Accidental release at Wuhan then would be the most likely. All China has to do is blame the illegal so called wet food market but they are not doing that. It was Chinese research that showed the difference in coronavirus strains between that isolated from the first patients and pangolins.
So it is doubtful it is a strain that is under research at the Wuhan lab.
it escapes from a foreign lab and rides a magic carpet or US soldier to Iuhan accidently... I guess all things are possible.
My take in looking at pros and cons is that it either a natural occurrence or US warfare rather than accidental release of bug used in vaccine research.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 2:11 utc | 37

Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 1:16 utc | 33

... perhaps the pentagon released a strain in China to try and create a bit of havoc.

If that's true it's inconceivable the current pandemic situation was part of the plan in which case the best explanation I can come up with was an accidental release or possibly a release by rogue elements.

Posted by: Carciofi | Mar 19 2020 2:22 utc | 38

uncle tungsten

Cant find much n Yvision (your vision) who owns it and so forth. Kicked off in 2008.
Scrolling through some of the articles and from other bits and pieces I saw while looking up Yvision, Almaty seems to be a bit of a centre for coronavirus cases in Kazakhstan.
Apparently Almaty is also where a research lab is located. (Yandex is the best search engine for anything ex soviet block and auto translates from Russian to English)
"Confirmed 9 cases of registration of coronavirus, from them in Almaty – 7, Noor-Sultan – 2."

This from a google search
U.S. and Kazakhstani officials formally kick off construction of Kazakhstan's Central Research Laboratory in a 2010 ceremony. The U.S.-supported facility near Almaty, to be completed in 2015, is intended to support peaceful biological research of potentially lethal diseases

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 2:32 utc | 39

Carciofi 38

My thoughts on if it has been used deliberately. Coronavirus has been studied and modified in many labs looking for strains that will act as vaccines for the likes of SARS and MRES. It it quite possible the current coronavirus strains is one of these that was developed in a US lab somewhere and turned out to be somewhat dangerous rather than a mild condition that kicked in the immune system. Perhaps a simple test on a group of prisoners somewhere, then knowing there were plenty of already existing drugs that were potent antivirals against it, sent it into China which is Trump's number one target with Ian either being second most important target or of equal importance.

US has not destroyed nuclear pits as per the Soviet Russian - US treaty. It has not destroyed the chemical weapons as per the convention it signed up to. It is logical to assume it has not abided by its commitment per the bio weapons convention it signed up to.
Trump has frequently stated all options are on the table. He has publicly pulled out of Nuclear treaties and agreements the US had signed up to.
So plenty of reason to suspect US is behind this. But as yet most 'evidence' appearing is more wishful thinking than factual.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 2:51 utc | 40

uncle tungsten
Best to take the back to the coronavirus thread. I think Jackrabbit has the motive. Decoupling.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 3:18 utc | 41

A medical device manufacturer has threatened to sue a group of volunteers in Italy that 3D printed a valve used for life-saving coronavirus treatments. The valve typically costs about $11,000 from the medical device manufacturer, but the volunteers were able to print replicas for about $1.

Posted by: Mao | Mar 19 2020 3:59 utc | 42

Some people criticising Chinese eating habits here need to remember where Spongiform Encephalitis came from.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Mar 19 2020 4:58 utc | 43

Actually, I read somewhere that I can't seem to locate now that the US was pressuring the WHO to officially name this the Wuhan virus in hopes of forever tying it to China....

Posted by: J Swift | Mar 18 2020 20:20 utc | 7

May have been Brian Cloughley:

From "foreign virus" to "Wuhan virus". Of course China already retaliated. If true:

I tried to check the chronology but I think Trump started it. Foreign virus obviously had an American target audience. ;)

Posted by: vig | Mar 19 2020 5:12 utc | 44

This is nothing.

Wait till the media get wind of the fact that Putin is single handedly drawing the magnetic north pole towards Russia in order to deny the West its winters....

Posted by: guidoamm | Mar 19 2020 6:53 utc | 45

To b or any other german speaker: I’ve been unsuccessfully searching for the full text of Angela Merkel speech concerning coronavirus. According to Cassad, in russian, he says that in the full version of the speech Merkel states the following, roughly translated from russian:
We are not concerned with what our foreign partners affirm, that our methods in the fight against coronavirus are similar to the methods employed by the chinese communists. They hypocritically state that with the virus there is no need to fight.
Anyone with a link to the full speech in english, spanish, french or russian, post it, it will be appreciated.

Posted by: Paco | Mar 19 2020 7:46 utc | 46

Posted by: Paco | Mar 19 2020 7:46 utc | 46

No way. Can I have the link to your Russian translation?

Posted by: vig | Mar 19 2020 7:58 utc | 47


Video with English translation here

Chancellor of Germany website here

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 8:03 utc | 48

Нас совершенно не беспокоит то, что наши партнеры за рубежом утверждают, будто наши методы ведения борьбы против коронавируса напоминают методы китайских коммунистов. Они лицемерно утверждают, что это означает, что с коронавирусом вообще не надо бороться.

Posted by: Paco | Mar 19 2020 8:07 utc | 49


Posted by: paco | Mar 19 2020 8:11 utc | 50

Paco, well ok,
here is the transcript via Google translate:

Posted by: Vig | Mar 19 2020 8:16 utc | 51

I've listened to the full 12 minute 40 second speech. The DW video with English translation is 12.40 as is the official video at the Chancellor of Germany website.
I have just read the crap cassad is putting out. No links nothing as to where his fantasy version comes from.

Just found the English language transcript at the chancellor website

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 8:33 utc | 52

By the way Paco:
(Аплодисменты, не утихающие несколько минут.)
This was a public channel broadcast. No audience present, or faked. Thus, were exactly comes the applause from?

Posted by: vig | Mar 19 2020 8:33 utc | 53

That's why I was double checking, Cassad talks about an "extended version".
Thanks anyway.

Posted by: Paco | Mar 19 2020 8:39 utc | 54

watch the actual broadcast before commenting cassads crap. It is easy enough to find as is the transcript and I have linked them.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 8:40 utc | 55


He added a tag, humorous, I guess I swallowed it lock stock and barrel. Sorry for the confusion.

Posted by: Paco | Mar 19 2020 8:43 utc | 56

watch the actual broadcast before commenting cassads crap. It is easy enough to find as is the transcript and I have linked them.
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 8:40 utc | 55

oops, a stern master. Thus far I assumed you were thankfully someone not quite as emotional and more on the rational side. How do you know I didn't?

Otherwise I avoid Cassid too, not as a rule, but yes that fits into the frame leading to my avoidance.

Sorry, I didn't notice you had already responded and given Paco all he needed. ;)

Posted by: Vig | Mar 19 2020 9:14 utc | 57


apologies. The coronovirus and its fallout interest me so I follow up on links. Waste my time on junk mostly so I get cranky with people dumping internet rumor type stuff here.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 9:32 utc | 58

He added a tag, humorous, I guess I swallowed it lock stock and barrel. Sorry for the confusion.
Posted by: Paco | Mar 19 2020 8:43 utc | 56

Yes, no doubt. Heavily ... mainstream funny. As far as I am concerned.

Posted by: Vig | Mar 19 2020 9:35 utc | 59

Trump invoking wartime powers.
"It puts in place a law that will allow the US Government to speed up the production of masks, respirators, ventilators and other needed equipment.
"We're going to defeat the invisible enemy," said Mr Trump, who said the unfolding crisis had basically made him a "wartime President."...
...Mr Trump said he would invoke another law that would allow authorities to turn back migrants seeking to cross the southern border of the US illegally."

Give the people an enemy as Goering said. Trump is carrying out campaign promises, manufacturing in the US and stopping imigrants. Wartime powers helps.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 9:38 utc | 60

This thread has been hijacked by viral speculation.
What was the original intention?
Ah, yes, Russian disinformation.

Posted by: Sean | Mar 19 2020 10:11 utc | 61

Sean @61

Or more accurately, the original intention was a discussion of fake news surrounding imaginary Russian disinformation. In other words, the real issue is American jingoistic disinformation. Discussing issues surrounding efforts to brand the bioweapon that the US attacked China with as the "China virus" is not really so far from the topic of the thread.

On that note, I assume Chinese rednecks eating horseshoe bats is a recent fad? After all, in the multi-millennial history of China they have never been infected with these novel coronavirii before, thus the "novel" portion of their label. Logically, if the horseshoe bats are a "natural reservoirs of SARS", then they cannot be something that people there have been eating for very long, right? Unless the horseshoe bats themselves being infected with SARS-like viruses is something new.

I realize it is easy for westerners to assume that there are dark and mysteriously unexplored corners of Asia where no man has ever set foot. It is exactly the same infantile and ignorant prejudice that assumes there can be no "firsthand reporting" from Asia if there are no guailo western reporters there. If you can discount the billions of people who live there, then sure, one can assume no human has been there before, and no human is reporting news from there.

But back in the real world, Internet cat memes don't determine elections and Asia has been densely populated for millennia. The novel coronaviruses are new and didn't exist there before, and they didn't just spontaneously evolve over a particularly busy summer of replication.

Anyway, "Russian collusion/interference!" = "China virus!"... that is to say, they are both ham-fisted and obvious efforts at disinformation intended to distract the public from seeing the role of the misnamed "intelligence community" in botched CIA operations. The bioweapon attack on China was botched because the Chinese unexpectedly contained the contagion, while America will not be so lucky.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 19 2020 11:11 utc | 62

NYT: we distort, you belive

Not Just a Crisis: Coronavirus Is a Test for Putin’s Security State
By Anton Troianovski
March 19, 2020
Updated 7:29 a.m. ET

The outbreak offers an opportunity to examine the capabilities of Russia’s expanding surveillance apparatus, and gives Vladimir Putin a chance to prove his indispensability.
Synopsis: sinister autocracy exploits another chance to be popular, using every trick that it could copy from Western democracies.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 19 2020 13:25 utc | 63

The paragraph in the Reuters smear piece has now been edited:

It quoted fake news created by Russia in Italy - which is suffering the world’s second most deadly outbreak of coronavirus - alleging that the 27-nation EU was unable to effectively deal with the pandemic, despite a series of collective measures taken by governments in recent days.

Meanwhile, The Atlantic reports:

Italy’s Coronavirus Response Is a Warning From the Future (The Atlantic, March 8, 2020)

In his overnight news conference, Conte said the heath-care system risked becoming “overwhelmed” and that Italians should not leave the house unless absolutely necessary in order to be mindful of the health of their “grandparents,” given that older people are at greater risk of infection. The issue isn’t just the number of people who have tested positive or even the death rate, it’s the number of beds available in intensive-care units. The head of Lombardy’s intensive-care crisis unit, Antonio Pesenti, told Corriere Della Sera, Italy’s leading daily newspaper, that his region’s health-care system, the best in the country, was “on the brink of collapse” and that they had had to set up intensive care in hallways.

Italy has had thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths, far more than any other European country. Pesenti predicted that in less than three weeks, about 18,000 people would be hospitalized in Lombardy, of which about 3,000 would likely require intensive care—10 times the region’s current capacity. “If the population doesn’t understand that it needs to stay home, the situation will become catastrophic,” he said.

The Extraordinary Decisions Facing Italian Doctors (The Atlantic, March 11, 2020)

Today, Italy has 10,149 cases of the coronavirus. There are now simply too many patients for each one of them to receive adequate care. Doctors and nurses are unable to tend to everybody. They lack machines to ventilate all those gasping for air.

Now the Italian College of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care (SIAARTI) has published guidelines for the criteria that doctors and nurses should follow as these already extraordinary circumstances worsen. The document begins by likening the moral choices Italian doctors may face to the forms of wartime triage that are required in the field of “catastrophe medicine.” Instead of providing intensive care to all patients who need it, the authors suggest, it may become necessary to follow “the most widely shared criteria regarding distributive justice and the appropriate allocation of limited health resources.”

The principle they settle upon is utilitarian. “Informed by the principle of maximizing benefits for the largest number,” they suggest that “the allocation criteria need to guarantee that those patients with the highest chance of therapeutic success will retain access to intensive care.”

The authors, who are medical doctors, then deduce a set of concrete recommendations for how to manage these impossible choices, including this: “It may become necessary to establish an age limit for access to intensive care.”

Those who are too old to have a high likelihood of recovery, or who have too low a number of “life-years” left even if they should survive, would be left to die. This sounds cruel, but the alternative, the document argues, is no better. “In case of a total saturation of resources, maintaining the criterion of ‘first come, first served’ would amount to a decision to exclude late-arriving patients from access to intensive care.”

In addition to age, doctors and nurses are also advised to take a patient’s overall state of health into account: “The presence of comorbidities needs to be carefully evaluated.” This is in part because early studies of the virus seem to suggest that patients with serious preexisting health conditions are significantly more likely to die. But it is also because patients in a worse state of overall health could require a greater share of scarce resources to survive: “What might be a relatively short treatment course in healthier people could be longer and more resource-consuming in the case of older or more fragile patients.”

These guidelines apply even to patients who require intensive care for reasons other than the coronavirus, because they too make demands on the same scarce medical resources. As the document clarifies, “These criteria apply to all patients in intensive care, not just those infected with CoVid-19.”

I guess The Atlantic is now a part of “Kremlin’s evil disinformation campaign”.

Posted by: S | Mar 19 2020 15:04 utc | 64

Boris Rozhin’s post is a parody of Goebbels’ most famous speech “Nation, Rise Up, and Let the Storm Break Loose” delivered on February 18, 1943:

. . .
It bothers us not in the least that our enemies abroad claim that our total war measures resemble those of Bolshevism. They claim hypocritically that that means there is no need to fight Bolshevism. The question here is not one of method, but of the goal, namely eliminating the danger. (Applause for several minutes) The question is not whether the methods are good or bad, but whether they are successful. The National Socialist government is ready to use every means. We do not care if anyone objects. We are not willing to weaken Germany’s war potential by measures that maintain a high, almost peace-time standard of living for a certain class, thereby endangering our war effort. We are voluntarily giving up a significant part of our living standard to increase our war effort as quickly and completely as possible. This is not an end in itself, but rather a means to an end. Our social standard of living will be even higher after the war. We do not need to imitate Bolshevist methods, because we have better people and leaders, which gives us a great advantage. But things have shown that we must do much more than we have done so far to turn the war in the East decisively in our favor.

As countless letters from the homeland and the front have shown, by the way, the entire German people agrees. Everyone knows that if we lose, all will be destroyed. The people and leadership are determined to take the most radical measures. The broad working masses of our people are not unhappy because the government is too ruthless. If anything, they are unhappy because it is too considerate. Ask anyone in Germany, and he will say: The most radical is just radical enough, and the most total is just total enough to gain victory.

The total war effort has become a matter of the entire German people. No one has any excuse for ignoring its demands. A storm of applause greeted my call on 30 January for total war. I can therefore assure you that the leadership’s measures are in full agreement with the desires of the German people at home and at the front. The people are willing to bear any burden, even the heaviest, to make any sacrifice, if it leads to the great goal of victory. (Lively applause)
. . .
It is time to get the slackers moving. (Stormy agreement) They must be shaken out of their comfortable ease. We cannot wait until they come to their senses. That might be too late. The alarm must sound throughout the nation. Millions of hands must get to work throughout the country. The measures we have taken, and the ones we will now take, and which I shall discuss later in this speech, are critical for our whole public and private life. The individual may have to make great sacrifices, but they are tiny when compared to the sacrifices he would have to make if his refusal brought down on us the greatest national disaster. It is better to operate at the right time than to wait until the disease has taken root. One may not complain to the doctor or sue him for bodily injury. He cuts not to kill, but to save the patient’s life.

Again let me say that the heavier the sacrifices the German people must make, the more urgent it is that they be fairly shared. The people want it that way. No one resists even the heaviest burdens of war. But it angers people when a few always try to escape the burdens. . . .
. . .
We are all children of our people, forged together by this most critical hour of our national history. . . .
. . .

Posted by: S | Mar 19 2020 16:24 utc | 65

so, after eighteen months, US prosecutors dropped the case under cloak of "in the interest of national security."
They did not have a case and now, RFLMAO with a bowl of popcorn.

- Russian businessman seeks criminal proceedings against Obama over unlawful prosecution


a $50 billion lawsuit !!!!

Yevgeny Prigozhin demands either to continue the trial or remove charges from his company due to lack of guilt and corpus delicti

MOSCOW, March 19. /TASS/. Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin demanded that criminal proceedings be initiated against former US President Barack Obama, as well as a number of US congressmen, senators and officials because of the illegal prosecution of his Concord company and him personally.

The businessman’s letter to US Attorney General William Barr was published by the Concord Press Service on Thursday.

"By this letter, I demand that a criminal case be initiated against a group of individuals, including former US President Barack Obama, senior officials from the US Department of Justice, members of the US Congress and Senate, who, by entering into collision, taking illegal actions, falsifying documents and evidence managed to institute "the United States against Concord" criminal proceedings to defame Concord, me personally, and the Russian Federation," Prigozhin said in a letter.

In another letter addressed to Barr, the businessman demands that the case against Concord, which was terminated on Wednesday, be returned to the court.[.]

the trial was terminated at the request of the prosecutor’s office because the prosecution fears "to present false evidence in open jury, on the basis of which a criminal case against Concord was framed and considered for more than two years."

Prigozhin demands either to continue the trial or remove charges from his company due to lack of guilt and corpus delicti.[.],

did Mueller really consider the consequences of taking on the Russians?

Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 19 2020 21:45 utc | 66

Bevin, sadly, I never saved the Putin interview wherein when asked if Russia interfered in the US election he calmly replied: "We (Russia) have no interest in who is President of the USA, because it really doesn't matter, as the policies of the US never change. Just look at history"

Posted by: joetv | Mar 20 2020 2:44 utc | 67

The American authorities are big on accusations, but remarkably short on any actual evidence.

And when they are asked provide proof for the pudding, in an actual court case when evidence must be provided in order to find someone/entity guilty, once again they come up short.

"National Security!" they howl, which seems little more than an excuse.

Seriously, if they had any actual evidence to prove their case against Concorde, or indeed any other of the thirteen Russian Federation citizens or the other two companies they indited, wouldn't that be all over the NYT or Wapo?

They don't have any. It's nonsense. It's the usual anti-Russion/Chinese propaganda, because the US authorities always have a need for a straw puppet to justify their hysterically over-blown war-machine, and excite their deluded public into being bigots.

Wasn't there an American general that accused the Russians of being 'genetically pre-disposed' to hate? I'm struggling to find that accusation, it seems to have been white-paged. I'm sure B. has it archived.

Bur seriously, we are living in a Macarthey-rite era. All things Russian are bad, all things American are great. Despite all evidence to the contrary.

Boeing, in spite of their horrendous record of using profits to buy-back shares and increase share-holders profits (not to mention board members bonuses), will be bailed out by the American government, aka, the taxpayers. The F-35 is a Boeing boondoggle after all, it cannot be allowed to fail. They are far from the only ones:

I'm sure you can find other news articles that repeat the same info. So much for economic stimulus to increase US domestic employment and productivity, the rich just want to get richer.

Meanwhile, various pension funds in the glorious USA are something like 90 trillion dollars shortfall of where they wanted to be, somehow expecting and continuing to predict a 6-8% profit on all their investments (fail, more like 2-3%). Not to mention the 24-odd trillion government debt to you-know who, the bankers, who themselves don't have that kind of reserves (there's that fractional reserve banking).

Glorious economies just don't work. They've been patching themselves ever since the eighties. But who cares, we'll just keep printing money, issue government bonds (US bonds actually went to a negative interest rate recently).

Economies have to expand in order to survive. Largely they have done that by simply importing people (well, western economies anyway). That is clearly not sustainable. You can't increase your population ad infinitum. Sooner or later, you will run aut of room, food production, etc. But, isn't consumerism an panacea for everything? Just ask an economist, whom I believe are far to close to their own imagined trees to see the whole forest.

Clearly not. We have developed a fantastic false reality. All worship the Great Dog Dollar!

End of rant.

Posted by: Ant. | Mar 20 2020 13:30 utc | 68

Daniel Lazare is very good on this question:

Likklemore@66: great news. The answer to your question "..did Mueller really consider the consequences of taking on the Russians?" is No, as Lazare explains. They really didn't think much at all about the consequences- they were caught up in the hype that they, themselves were generating. It would not surprise me to learn that Mueller's team members were able simultaneously to believe that 'Russiagate' was genuine and that it was a hoax entirely fabricated.
Calling all psychologists!!

Posted by: bevin | Mar 20 2020 19:25 utc | 69

But what if the claimed propaganda is true? I was reading a report by a US State Department official summarizing Soviet "propaganda" around the Civil Rights movement and the status of African Americans at the time. The State official called it propaganda, but as I read it, the Soviet claims were actually true.

The common Joe thinks the word propaganda means false claims. Maybe we need a new category called "true propaganda".

Posted by: Erelis | Mar 21 2020 3:31 utc | 70

Propaganda was intended to spread the truth, the current term originates from "Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide", in other words, spreading the earnest belief.

Establishment media has some cases like that, but of course they apply a ton of shady tricks.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 22 2020 13:54 utc | 71

One now has to wonder if the other two Igor Prigozhin-owned companies who were indited will now take on the US DOJ regarding their inditements.

One has succeeded, and presumably their court costs must now be paid by the American tax-payer (that's the usual result).

Of course, the original intention, that the DOJ must release their 'evidence', has been bypassed by the DOJ's gutless refusal to provide any, claiming 'national security' (the usual excuse for any one that doesn't have any), and making a motion to the court to drop the case..

And what of the 13 Russian Federation individuals that were also indited? Presumably, they don't have the finances to take on the US state. I'm surprised they aren't financed by the Russian Federation state, to claim both libel and slander, given the case has seriously fallen apart.

Meanwhile, there is Seth Rich...

Posted by: Ant. | Mar 23 2020 14:17 utc | 72

Economies have to expand in order to survive. Largely they have done that by simply importing people (well, western economies anyway). That is clearly not sustainable. You can't increase your population ad infinitum. Sooner or later, you will run out of room, food production, etc. But, isn't consumerism an panacea for everything? Just ask an economist, whom I believe are far to close to their own imagined trees to see the whole forest.

Clearly not. We have developed a fantastic false reality. All worship the Great Dog Dollar!

End of rant.

Posted by: Ant. | Mar 20 2020 13:30 utc | 68

Japan is not expanding, but it survives. There are benefits of no-growth, for example, it is easier to reach adequate levels of infrastructure, get sufficient housing, sewage, pipes, wires etc. One cited problem of no demographic growth is shortage of labor -- this is not a huge problem if you are a member of the labor force. Another is the number of taxpayer for a retired person. This is not a problem if we get a proper mix of taxes and expenditures. American think tanks assume that taxes should stay low or be lowered, and that there should be no control over the costs of national security and healthcare, and for the sake of arguments, they assume that the budget should be balanced -- but not when they ram through tax cuts or reject sensible tax like on fuel.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 23 2020 22:41 utc | 73

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