Charlie's Diary

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Fri, 11 Apr 2003

I really hope this guy is wrong ...

Russian Information Agency Novosti reports that Sergei Kolesnikov, an Academician in the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, believes the virus responsible for SARS was been created deliberately, possibly as a bacteriological weapon.

According to him, the virus of atypical pneumonia is a synthesis of two viruses (of measles and infectious parotiditis or mumps), the natural compound of which is impossible. This can be done only in a laboratory, the academician is convinced. He also said that in creating bacteriological weapons a protective anti-viral vaccine is, as a rule, worked out at the same time. Therefore, the scientist believes, a medicine for atypical pneumonia may soon appear. He does not exclude that the spread of the virus could have begun accidentally, as a result of "an unsanctioned leakage" from a laboratory.

Here's a random thought: SARS showed up first in China and Hong Kong, but spread fairly rapidly in the direction of the US via air transport routes. What country in the region (a) doesn't get on very well with the Chinese government these days, (b) isn't likely to be very worried about a contagious disease like SARS because its own citizens aren't very mobile, (c) is known to be dicking around with other weapons of mass destruction, and (d) is also pissed off with the Russians right now?

Clue: it was the last link in the article below this one, and one might well wonder why Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexander Losyukov, might have felt it necessary to publicly say "We are forced to think about preventive measures to defend our national interests and - why hide it - to defend our population on territories bordering on Korea in case of a serious conflict in the region," according to Interfax.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. I know I'm prone to being alarmed by diplomatic mutterings that come to nought in the end, but there is a good chance that the djinn is already out of the bottle this time. The US pursuit of Saddam is sending a very explicit message to Kim Jong-Il, and that message is "use it or lose it". If SARS is a North Korean strategic bioweapon, it almost certainly isn't the only one. In fact, the nightmare scenario is that it may be the attenuated form of something like the ebola-equivalent mousepox strain that Australian scientists unwittingly stumbled across last year, and this release is a test run in case they feel the need to bring the house down by releasing the real thing. Dr Strangelove, eat your heart out ...

[ Link ] [ Discuss ww3 ]

posted at: 13:11 | path: /misc | permanent link to this entry

Manufacturing Consent (in Iraq)

Remember that memorable news TV footage of dancing Iraqs celebrating the fall of the Ba'athist regime, and pulling down a big statue of Saddam?

Looks like it was a US tank that did the pulling. In front of a rather small crowd who, under the guns of the US military, did what any prudent native of an occupied country would do and danced like monkeys.

So much for whooping it up like the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The stench of propaganda lies heavily upon the mainstream "embedded" media these days ... meanwhile, in other news, prominent US-backed Shi'ite cleric Abdul Majid al-Khoei was stabbed to death on the steps on a mosque in Najaf, the situation on the streets of Baghdad is beginning to resemble Belfast in 1969 (can you spell s-e-c-t-a-r-i-a-n d-i-v-i-d-e?), the Pentagon says Saddam is either dead or on the run and therefore out of the picture (just like that pesky Osama bin Laden), and Our Boys have got everything under control, including all those weapons of mass destruction. Let me repeat that; everything is under control, and there is no cause for alarm.

[ Link ] [ Discuss Iraq invasion ]

posted at: 12:53 | path: /wartime | permanent link to this entry


Is SF About to Go Blind? -- Popular Science article by Greg Mone
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