Debunkers Debunked

THE last time Jack the Insider earned a mention here was February when he claimed that the anti-mandates protest in Canberra would be a fizzer. Bad call. Before that, I noted agog a 23 September 2021 column in which he inferred (without any evidence) that an unknown but significant number of participants in this massive anti-mandates march in Melbourne were phony tradesmen wearing just-purchased orange-wear. It would be an understatement to say Jack didn’t have much time for those who opposed the mentally deranged, ultra-violent and scientifically fatuous tyranny imposed on them during the ‘pandemic’. In November, he spoke for toey conformists everywhere when he described the dissenters: “I like to think of them as people who think freedom means having the right to jump the queue at Centrelink.” But covid is no longer The Current Thing.

Ukraine is The Current Thing. The same frightened zombies who waved pom-poms for Justin Trudeau and Daniel Andrews as their brave spetsnaz horse-trampled the frail and shot the publicly assembled are now waving them for dear old Ukraine. Sceptics of a lachrymose alliance with this game reserve for the world’s surviving Nazis are of course dismissed as ‘conspiracy theorists’ while adherents of the new Manichaeism are Current Thingers in excellent and virtuous standing.

Back to Jack who always has the back of the latter. His latest column – on biological laboratories in Ukraine – purports to demonstrate “how Russian propaganda found its way into the mainstream.” On the question of how dangerous the labs might be and who ran them, he sides with cult member and World War III advocate Mitt Romney – the man who once explained his five sons’ eschewal of military service by saying they served the nation by helping him get elected – and seeks to discredit Iraq War combat medical veteran and former Hawaii congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard.

Now, while it is fair to say the vagueness surrounding the labs has been exploited by the Kremlin to make unverifiable accusations of US-controlled bio-weapons research, it is egregious nonsense to argue, as Jack does, that Gabbard and lavishly laurelled journalist Glenn Greenwald inaugurated a “conspiracy” on the subject. It was Victoria Nuland – Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs – who told a Senate hearing on 8 March that the Biden Administration was “concerned” about the labs and was working with Ukraine to make sure “materials of biological research” did not fall into Russian hands. If the labs were utterly harmless, why was she “concerned”?

The reason Jack boldly airbrushed Nuland out of the picture was that he wanted to hype geneticist Olga Pettersson and a “team” of scientists as the heroes who “comprehensively debunked” claims that harmful “materials” had existed at the facilities. Their findings, Jack reports, are “on a Twitter thread.” If you’re thinking, 1) Twitter isn’t a refereed journal; 2) that researchers in France, Sweden and Belarus couldn’t possibly know what may or may not have happened in Ukrainian labs; and 3) that ‘debunking’ anything in a field so ultra-secret and murky cannot be done using “documents” only, congratulations. You’re not a credulous dope. The truth is nobody knows anything about the labs but reluctance to accept the conclusions of Swedish Tweeters or ‘intelligence experts’ working for the Democratic National Committee is sound policy.

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17 Responses to Debunkers Debunked

  1. C.L. says:

    Two American politicians duked it out over the hot topic of Ukraine’s bio-labs. This time it was a Democrat pushing the conspiracist’s line while a Republican called it out.

    On March 15, Tulsi Gabbard, a former congresswoman from Hawaii took to Twitter.

    “There are about 25 plus bio-labs in (the) Ukraine war zone, which could easily be breached, unleashing dangerous pathogens, igniting new worldwide pandemics. And, they label those of us who say we must take action to prevent a new pandemic as being treasonous,” she wrote.

    She’d been making similar remarks earlier on US media and had copped a rebuke from Utah senator, Mitt Romney for her trouble. It was Romney who claimed Gabbard was spreading Russian propaganda and was being “treasonous.”

    In turn Gabbard used her media platforms to call for Romney to resign. In the course of the brouhaha, Gabbard who had initially intimated Ukraine had been developing a biological weapons capability, walked those claims back to the statement above where she claimed the war in Ukraine created the potential for the release of deadly pathogens.

    A week earlier, on March 8, Director of Information and Press in the Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Maria Zakharova held a press briefing where she said Russian armed forces had obtained evidence of the development of biological weapons by Ukraine under US guidance. This information, she said, had come from employees in Ukraine’s bio-labs.

    She stressed that such activities violate the Biological Weapons Convention, and that Russia may open a hearing on the issue.

    Zakharova demanded the Biden Administration publicly confess to funding and supporting Ukraine’s biological weapons program.

    Finally, she produced documents she claimed was proof of a hasty attempt to destroy evidence of Ukraine’s development of a bioweapons program.

    Soon afterwards, Chinese government officials expressed concern over Zakharova’s claims and in the UN Security Council, urged the US to “dispel doubts over its bio-labs in Ukraine.”

    At the same time, the news spread like wildfire on the internet and became the source of citizen journalists doing their own research. In the space of two days, social media was abuzz with wild noise.

    The first thing that truth seekers might have turned their minds to was the language used. The facilities were invariably described as bio-labs. It was designed to sound ominous. They are in fact laboratories but that wouldn’t sound quite so beguiling. There are 20 or more in Sydney alone. There is one on the International Space Station.

    These laboratories work on vaccines, and pharmacological treatments for medical and veterinary diseases and provide clinical responses to infection. They are not intrinsically evil but when propagandists say bio-labs over and over, the facilities begin to sound like the stuff of airport thrillers.

    The conspiracy took two separate forms. Either the Ukrainians had a biological warfare capability or the existence of deadly pathogens in Ukrainian bio-labs could be released in the course of battles against the Russian Army.

    The latter is the one ultimately adopted by Tulsi Gabbard while the Kremlin maintains Ukraine has a biological weapons capability.

    In a formal response the White House denied Zakharova’s claims, and went further arguing that it believes Putin may be creating a justification for the use of Russian biological weapons in Ukraine.

    As the conspiracy swirled, one fact was ignored by almost everyone.

    Russia has a huge bioweapons stockpile, the largest in the world. It is Russia’s dirty not-so-secret. Sixty-eight of their own people and probably hundreds more died from an anthrax leak from a facility on Svedlovsk in the Urals in 1979, four years after it ratified the Biological Weapons Convention.

    Military analysts say there is no doubt the Russian Federation has expanded its biological weapons stockpile since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, in contravention of the Biological Weapons Convention of which it, the US, Ukraine and 180 other nations or state parties are signatories.

    None of this was mentioned by journalist and lawyer, Glenn Greenwald who in a one-hour video available on Rumble, used screenshots of Zakharova’s documents that had been circulated by Russia’s state-owned news agency, RIA Novosti.

    Greenwald’s video begins with the journalist claiming, “We don’t know if biological weapons are in Ukraine. We do know there are dangerous “biological research facilities” there: But the history of US programs gives the lie to WH denials about bioweapons in general.”

    The documents purport to show that the Ukrainian government was hastily scrubbing evidence of a biological weapons research program.

    Enter Dr Olga Pettersson, a Soviet-born geneticist living in Sweden, along with a team of scientists from Belarus, France, and Sweden who critically examined the evidence of Ukraine’s development of bacteriological weapons.

    Pettersson’s team comprehensively debunked the documented evidence and posted their results on a Twitter thread that is so long that many readers would have given up, if they had begun to read it in the first place.

    The debunking started with a little joke.

    “We may not be specialists in military propaganda (and may even fall for it), we can and will expose all the fakes. We work in this area, we’re not banned by Google, and we’re ordained by God himself to comb through microbes and scientific articles.”

    Rather than the scrubbing of evidence of a biological weapons research program as described by Greenwald, Pettersson’s team explained that the methods of disposal under high temperature was “standard cleaning.”

    The team went on to say that from the documents provided by Zakharova and RIA Novotni, “None of the above strains is a bacteriological weapon agent.”

    “Are there deadly disease agents on the list? Not one. No cholera, plague, tularemia, typhus, anthrax, legionnaires’ disease, syphilis, etc.

    “Reference bacterial strains can be purchased from many microbial collections worldwide, including Russian ones. Many of the bacterial strains had been purchased from Russian labs, some from the US, some from Europe.

    “If you look at a list of what any microbiological laboratory (and especially clinical laboratory) consistently utilises, then any such laboratory could be classified as a potential developer of weapons of mass destruction (including in Russia as well).”

    The available evidence indicated the presence of nothing more harmful than E.coli – which you can find plenty of in your kitchen or bathroom.

    Pettersson’s team concluded: “The statements distributed by RIA, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, etc. are unsubstantiated, anti-scientific bullshit.”

    So, there you have it, the truth about Zakharova’s documents from a reputable source that has no dog in the fight.

    Not that it will count for much.

    It always pays to identify the source of a conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theories have a beginning and a middle but almost never have an end.

    In this case the beginning is well chronicled. This fantastic story dripping in propaganda spread from official Russian government statements, into the quasi-Russian government internet research agency, Glavnet, while Russian disinformation bots reached into the social media pages of an estimated 150 million Americans alone before being pushed on by far right and conspiracy media spouting disinformation directly from Russia.

    And before you could say ‘anthrax’ it became an article of faith, a new addition to the long list of conspiracies around the world.

  2. Cassie of Sydney says:

    Well, at least Jack’s moved on from being a broken record about anti-vaxxers and clerical “pedophilia”.

    It’s always a toss up as to who is the worst News Corp journalist….Jack the Insider or Greg the Dribbler Sheridan. Both are untalented mediocrities. I suppose Jack….because Sheridan at least knew Pell was innocent and spoke up about it.

  3. Not Trampis says:

    Steve from Brisbane debunked you previously.
    There is a load of difference between being concerned at what the russians might do with said labs and then inventing a conspiracy theory about that only ignorant deplorables would believe.

  4. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “ignorant deplorables would believe.”

    Keep up with the insults.

    BTW…are you Steve from Brisbane?

  5. Chris M says:

    ‘Jack’ has achieved impressive levels of woke dopiness… time for another booster Jack, get jacked.

    So glad I never wasted a dollar on this rag.

  6. C.L. says:

    There is a load of difference between being concerned at what the russians might do with said labs and then inventing a conspiracy theory about that only ignorant deplorables would believe.

    No no, Homer, you appalling clown.
    Nuland didn’t say she was concerned about the LABS falling into Russian hands but “materials of biological research” falling into their hands.

  7. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Ukraine is The Current Thing.

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

    ― H.L. Mencken, In Defense Of Women

    Sounds like that book would explode many many heads.

    (linky for the quote)

  8. jupes says:

    Probably the most disturbing picture you’ve ever used C.L. Give yourself an uppercut.

  9. Boambee John says:

    Cassie

    BTW…are you Steve from Brisbane?

    Non Mentis is not smart enough to be Steve from Brisbane. He can’t even manage an original insult, but simply recycles Shrillary’s 2016 “deplorables” attempt at an insult.

  10. C.L. says:

    LOL, Jupes. Jayne’s magnificent boobage aside, I have to agree.
    New image up.

  11. Not Trampis says:

    CL are you that stupid?
    the materials could only fall into their hands if the Labs did as well. Were the russians going to use telekinesis?
    The russians have a history of using them as well.
    Ukraine doesn’t have any weapons that could be used.
    your own goals are as embarrassing as the socceroos defence last night.

  12. C.L. says:

    the materials could only fall into their hands if the Labs did as well.

    So you now admit there were dangerous “materials” in the labs.

    Thanks.

    You’re now arguing against Jack the Insider and his Swedish Tweeter.

    Well done.

  13. Boambee John says:

    Non Mentis

    Ukraine doesn’t have any weapons that could be used.

    Do you have access to classified intelligence, to support this statement? If not, we must assume that you are simply making things up. (That is a gentle way of saying “lying”.)

    the materials could only fall into their hands if the Labs did as well. Were the russians going to use telekinesis?

    Do you have information to confirm that none of the (supposedly) many labs have yet been captured by the Russians? Or is this just more evidence free assertion?

  14. Lee says:

    Steve from Brisbane debunked you previously.

    Who the hell is “Steve from Brisbane”, and why should an anonymous blogger be accepted as though his was the last word?

  15. twostix says:

    Steve from Brisbane cited as an authority.

    I’m dying.

  16. Boambee John says:

    Lee and twostix

    Non Mentis cites Steve from Brisbane as an authority because Non Mentis is too stupid or too idle to do any actual independent research.

  17. Lee says:

    True, John.

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