By Larry Romanoff, June 12, 2020
The ZIKA virus is named after the ZIKA forest in Uganda, where it was first discovered, and is a type of flavivirus, closely related to those which cause more serious diseases like dengue and yellow fever. ZIKA normally produces symptoms such as fever or conjunctivitis and sometimes joint pain, but typically so mild that the symptoms last for only a few days and most people don’t even know they have it. The ZIKA is not contagious but is transmitted by mosquitoes, which means you must be bitten by an infected mosquito to contract it. Africans have developed antibodies to the virus and are mostly immune, but Westerners have no such immunity and for them there is no vaccine or cure for the ZIKA virus, though none is generally necessary.
The virus was first isolated from a rhesus monkey in Uganda in 1947, was discovered in a few humans in Uganda and Tanzania some years later, and in humans in Nigeria in 1968. (1) (2) There was never any indication that the virus “traveled well”, and it remained an obscure and unremarkable illness with only a handful of reported cases for 40 years until it suddenly appeared on a South Pacific island in Micronesia in 2007, which was the first time it had been seen outside its original home, but where it apparently did nothing of consequence. (3) Some six or seven years later, there was a outbreak in French Polynesia, also in the South Pacific, that affected about 10% of the population, but this time with the added feature of apparently causing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks itself, or at least the body’s nerves, and can be paralysing or even fatal. Then after a hiatus of seven or so years ZIKA appeared abruptly in Brazil, with a virtually simultaneous spread to more than 20 other countries. On this occasion, ZIKA was now linked to a severe birth defect called microcephaly and possibly other birth defects and neurological disorders. Those are the basic facts.
There was substantial controversy about the links between ZIKA and microcephaly, the official narrative being that ZIKA was suspected – and indeed was strongly promoted – as the cause, but always with caveats suggesting the links might have been coincidental or opportunistic rather than causal. (4) (5) One group of medical practitioners in Brazil wrote a paper suggesting microcephaly was either caused by, or linked to, the dispersal of the chemical pyroxiprophen, an insecticide recommended by the WHO, which was heavily sprayed in drinking water reservoirs in the areas exhibiting the highest incidences of the condition, a theory that appeared to have at least a solid circumstantial basis. The physicians stated that pyriproxifen was a hormone disruptor and growth inhibitor that altered the development process of mosquitoes, generating malformations and causing their death or incapacity to reproduce. They wrote, “Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added pyriproxifen to drinking water is not a coincidence, even though the Ministry of Health [rules out] the hypothesis of direct and cumulative chemical damage.” (6) A German epidemiologist, Dr. Christoph Zink, had been studying and charting the timing and geographic distribution of both ZIKA and microcephaly, and wrote “I soon got the idea that blaming the ZIKA virus for this epidemic does not really get to the point”, stating a suspicion there had been under-reporting of cases for years. (7) But, according to a CBC report, he also suspected a chemical explanation for the heavy concentration in Northeastern Brazil, stating, “I would ask my toxicological colleagues in Brazil to please look very closely into the practical application of agrochemicals”. Others discounted this hypothesis on the basis of an inconsistent time-line and some conflicting data. Be this as it may, the links between ZIKA and the birth defects appeared at the time of writing (and later) to be only coincidental at best, with no evidence of direct causality.
It was interesting that this debate conducted itself with more heat than light, exhibiting the kind of characteristics we associate with the pros and cons of 5G communication, that is to say more ideological and emotional than scientific. It was also interesting that the American CDC and the UN’s WHO acted fervently to lay the blame for birth defects directly on ZIKA while simultaneously building an exit for possible later use with what I thought were rather cleverly-worded suggestions that the link was “not entirely proven”. This clearly coordinated campaign, with its vast international media support, carried with it a powerful scent of an intent to deflect the main issue into a desired channel and thereby discourage active investigation or discussion of topics outside the official approved list. Evidence of this seemed apparent in the unwarranted eagerness with which officials and the many elements of the media literally trashed anyone suggesting a story line that differed from the official version. As I wrote in the Introduction, a clear warning sign that a desired official story is being crafted is when those presenting contrary facts and theories are not only immediately and widely denounced as biased ideologues but derided as conspiracy theorists. ZIKA fit this template very well.
Whatever the totality of truths may be about this viral outbreak, the media coverage – the official narrative – about ZIKA quickly focused entirely on the statistically insignificant numbers of birth defects in relation to the total infected populations, and the simultaneous initiation of a concentrated debate about the cause of such defects, while dismissing in a single careless phrase the origin of the ZIKA outbreak itself. While it is the origin and cause of the outbreak that should have been the main story, the official narrative pushed this aspect into the background where the media buried it. And it is primarily this that contained the scent of an attempt to deflect the main issue not only into a desired channel but away from other, perhaps politically dangerous, aspects of the event. So let’s take a few minutes to examine the curious origin of this outbreak.
As already noted, ZIKA was never predisposed to travel, considering that it sat in Uganda since 1947 and went nowhere. Surely it had multiple opportunities to attach itself to a person or mosquito and land on another continent. But no. It stayed at home, and for almost 60 years was not a public menace, had never been associated with birth or other physical defects, and attracted no attention. So, if this ZIKA virus could stay at home and remain more or less localised for 60 years, why would it suddenly begin travelling the world? And, if the virus had never spread explosively at home in Africa in that 60 years, how could it suddenly become so active and virulent as to have infected almost the entirety of South and Central America in only a few months?
Let’s review the path. One day in 2007, ZIKA traveled by means unknown, 15,000 kilometers from Africa to land on a tiny Micronesian island named Yap, where it rested for six or seven years doing nothing remarkable, then continued its voyage of several thousand kilometers to French Polynesia where it landed to infect a large percentage of the population and do rather more harm. After another lengthy pause of six or seven years it began another voyage, this time traveling 12,000 kilometers or so, crossing much of the Pacific Ocean, the US and Mexico, all of Central America and the Caribbean, and finally traversing all of South America to land on the Atlantic side in Rio and São Paulo. From there, it almost instantaneously radiated outward 4,000 or 5,000 kilometers in all directions to cover most of Brazil (the fifth-largest country in the world). ZIKA then spread to all of South and Central America and the Caribbean, flooding more than 20 countries within a few months, then embarked on journeys of 8,000 kilometers or more, voyaging as far as Mexico and Puerto Rico. It then quickly headed Northeast on another journey of 8,000 kilometers to land in Spain where it was predicted to become a calamity.
Now let’s think about the journey. Viruses can’t fly, and they don’t travel on airplanes. They travel by mosquito, and mosquitoes don’t travel either. They live their entire short lives within maybe one kilometer of wherever they were hatched. It’s true they are sometimes blown around by prevailing winds and could potentially end up almost anywhere, but these wind-blown insects tend to number in the tens or hundreds rather than the hundreds of millions necessary to infect millions of people in a vast country like Brazil. Some news media published deliberately misleading and unforgivably uninformed reports referring to the “migration patterns” of mosquitoes, but mosquitoes do not migrate, not in any sense of the meaning of that word. Birds migrate, caribou migrate, locusts and lemmings migrate. Monarch butterflies migrate. Ducks, geese and hummingbirds migrate. Mosquitoes do not migrate. They cannot.
As one entomologist wrote, “mosquitoes live within a mile or two of their breeding grounds their entire life, with little evidence they make purposeful long distance flights that can be classified zoologically as migration. It is better to regard all mosquito flights as dispersal.” In other words, we cannot have tens of millions of mosquitoes, infected or otherwise, filling their tiny luggage with mini-viruses and flying 15,000 kilometers to take up residence in another country. We are told that mosquitoes will sometimes breed in pools of water, in old auto tires and other odd places, and can by this method be transported around the world, but again the numbers of insects traveling this way would be exceedingly low for our purposes since no country – and certainly not Brazil – is importing sufficient numbers of old tires to bring us the hundreds of millions of insects we need to create an epidemic. And yes, mosquitoes breed, but to burgeon in only weeks from a few infected mating pairs in one location to a few hundred million scattered over millions of square kilometers is beyond the ability even of mosquitoes.
- The Infected World Cup Visitor
And it was here that the WHO and the Western media began crafting their tale. The official narrative was that the mosquitoes never did travel. Instead, the virus found itself a means of long-distance transport and was “believed to have been brought to Brazil by an infected visitor to the World Cup”. Thus, according to the WHO and the compliant media, a lone traveler infected millions of people in Rio and within a few months the disease had spread to Colombia, Paraguay, Venezuela, Panama, the Honduras, Guyana, Martinique, Puerto Rico and Mexico, and altogether more than 20 countries. We need only think for a moment to realise this proposition is a ridiculous impossibility. I wrote above that the origin of the ZIKA outbreak was dismissed in a single careless phrase, that phrase being “believed to have been brought to Brazil by an infected visitor to the World Cup”, a statement tossed out with no evidential support, one that appears superficially credible but which constitutes logical rubbish. And, as we will see, ZIKA was in Brazil long before the World Cup. Remember, ZIKA is not a contagious disease spread by coughing or sneezing or even extended social contact. It is a virus infection carried by mosquitoes, and one must be bitten to contract it. The traveling of infected people from Polynesia to Brazil is of no consequence in itself since the only way to transmit their disease is by being bitten by mosquitoes, which might in turn become infected then spread the infection by biting others. (8)
Let’s take a moment to think about the supposedly-infected (and surely imaginary) World Cup visitor, and consider the astonishingly-rapid spread of the infection. The official narrative was that the virus came to Brazil from French Polynesia, but how many people, infected or otherwise, would be likely to travel from the tiny population of French Polynesia to Brazil just to watch a football game? Two? Ten? So how could clean, uninfected Brazilian mosquitoes find those few infected Polynesian people, bite them and become infected in turn, then spread the infection to at least tens of millions of insects in a few months so as to bite and infect many millions of people throughout the entirety of Latin America? The sheer volume of the outbreak coupled with its virtually instantaneous spread, dismisses any possibility of this infection originating with a foreign traveler. One mosquito biting one person does not constitute an epidemic. If we want to have an “explosive spread” of a mosquito-borne virus like the ZIKA, which infected millions of people in only a very short time, we need at least tens of millions of mosquitoes but more reasonably we need hundreds of millions of them. This is especially true when the mosquitoes seem determined to infect the enormous land areas of South and Central America, passing over vast unpopulated areas in the process. Not every mosquito is infected, not every infected mosquito will find someone to bite, not everyone will be bitten, and not everyone bitten will be infected. And a mosquito’s life is very short indeed, about ten days.
With only a handful of infected people, such a widespread epidemic is impossible by this method of transmission. The number of travelers is statistically insignificant, so even if they were all bitten many times by different insects, the totality of those insects could not have in turn bitten and infected millions of people in 20 countries within a few months, especially countries many thousands of kilometers away, considering that mosquitoes do not travel. It’s true the infected mosquitoes would breed and perhaps contaminate their young, but this would by definition be a localised outbreak with no natural possibility of traveling even tens, much less thousands of kilometers to cover a continent. One infected mosquito cannot breed millions of offspring and cover millions of square kilometers in a few months. And, if one person traveled to Rio or São Paulo for a football game, how does that explain the disease exploding in a dozen other cities in Brazil, all at approximately the same time? How does that explain the disease spreading to Colombia and a dozen other nearby countries, and 8,000 Kms away in Mexico and Puerto Rico, very shortly thereafter? Even if infected travelers from Brazil went to Mexico, how many would be bitten by clean mosquitoes there, and be able to pass on the virus? Statistically zero, or thereabouts.
Millions of mosquitoes cannot bite the same ten travelers, become infected, then bite millions of other people and cause an epidemic. You don’t have to be a statistician to know that’s not possible. If millions of people are infected, there had to have been at least many millions of infected mosquitoes in the area. So, the most important question in this entire saga is: how did at least tens, and more likely, hundreds, of millions of insects become infected? The virus did not exist in Brazil. Native mosquitoes were not infected with ZIKA, and could have become infected only by either biting countless thousands of infected people, or else being the offspring from millions of matings with infected insects, but where would those come from? A few infected travelers cannot account for such a massive geographical outbreak within weeks, which means vast numbers of infected mosquitoes must have been introduced in those locations. There is no other possible explanation.
The WHO’s official statement said ZIKA appeared to be spreading so rapidly for two reasons: One, because it was a new disease to the region and so the population had no immunity, and two, because ZIKA is primarily transmitted by a mosquito species known as A. aegypti, which lives in every country in North and South America except Canada and Chile. These statements are deliberate misinformation and unforgivably dishonest for what they neglect to say. The portion about the lack of immunity is true, but that lack of immunity exists only because, as the WHO itself pointed out, ZIKA is a new disease to the region, meaning it didn’t exist in Brazil or South-Central America prior to this time. The second portion of the statement is even more dishonest. The WHO tells us the disease spread so rapidly because it is transmitted by a species of mosquito which exists locally, but the reason the disease was new to the region in the first instance is that domestic mosquitoes had never been infected and therefore could not possibly have been responsible for the dispersion of the virus.
It is worth noting the cleverness of the WHO’s statement. It does not say the disease was spread by local mosquitoes (and could not have been, since they weren’t infected), but spread by the same species that lives in South America. That’s not exactly the same thing. The fact that this strain of mosquito lives in South and Central America is entirely irrelevant to the ZIKA outbreak because these local mosquitoes were not infected. The statement appears to blame local insects – by family association, and we would normally draw this inference from a casual reading, but if we examine the words, the statement tells us absolutely nothing and is fraudulent because it leads us to a false conclusion. The WHO glossed over the most important question in this entire issue, which is how tens or hundreds of millions of a local variety of clean mosquitoes suddenly became infected by a foreign virus and in a few months caused an epidemic covering nearly 20 million square kilometers.
It is of course theoretically possible for a single infected person to initiate an eventual epidemic, but consider the circumstances necessary. One infected person traveling to a new location is bitten by one or more mosquitoes who become infected and who bite a few other persons who become infected in turn. The infected mosquitoes breed and die, leaving potentially infected offspring who can gradually spread the disease. At the beginning, this would be tightly localised, not only in one city but likely in one area of one city since we have very few infected mosquitoes that do not travel. Then gradually, infected persons would move to other areas of the city and to other cities, and slowly spread the infection to other areas. But it should be obvious that this method would require years to create an epidemic, and would still not account for an explosive spread in the new locations. By definition, a natural introduction and spread of a mosquito-borne virus would require years to develop. The only physical way to have an explosive spread of an insect-borne disease is to have hundreds of millions of infected insects. And, since Latin America did indeed experience precisely such an explosive spread, the fundamental question is the source of those infected insects.
- Oxitec’s GM “Terminator” Mosquitoes
There is one additional fact in this story, a fact that was heavily suppressed by the media. It involves a company named Oxitec, which bills itself as “a British biotech company pioneering an environmentally friendly [i.e. genetically-modified] way to control insect pests that spread disease and damage crops”. Oxitec was conducting genetically-modified “transgenic mosquito trials” in Brazil and many other locations, trials that, according to Science Magazine, “have not been without controversy in the past”. (9) It will not be a surprise that one of Oxitec’s “collaborators” is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as other non-surprises that include the WHO, the CIA, the Pentagon, the Rockefeller Foundation, Fort Detrick, and other luminaries of the world of genetically-modified pathogens. In particular, one article that appeared to be credible, claimed that the equity owners of Oxitec had strong links to the CIA. Other Oxitec funders are the WHO, who provide research grants, and apparently a Hong Kong investment fund called Asia Pacific Capital, which is controlled by GE Capital of the US.
Oxitec was conducting “experiments in the suppression of mosquitoes”, experiments which involved the release of countless millions of genetically-modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (the same species that spread the ZIKA virus) that had been bio-engineered for male insterility. Oliver Tickell wrote an interesting article published in The Ecologist on February 1, 2016, titled, “Pandora’s Box: how GM mosquitoes could have caused Brazil’s microcephaly disaster”. (10) In it, he wrote, “The idea of the Oxitec mosquitoes is simple enough: the males produce non-viable offspring which all die. So the GM mosquitoes are ‘self-extinguishing’ and the altered genes cannot survive in the wild population.” The theory is that these GM-modified ‘terminator’ mosquitoes will breed with native females to produce non-viable larvae, thereby eradicating the entire mosquito population. Unfortunately, the truth, even according to Oxitec’s own information, is that a large percentage of their mosquitoes are not sterile after all, that many do survive and thrive, and that apparently a large percentage of native female insects refuse to breed with these introduced GM terminators, rendering some part of the experiment useless.
According to Tickell’s research, the insect dispersions occurred between May of 2011 and early 2012 and, in some locations alone, involved millions per month. I do not know the total number of locations in which mosquitoes were dispersed nor the total number of insects dispersed, but for the disease to spread the way it did, the dispersion was certainly carried out in many locations and likely involved tens of millions of insects in each case and, with several years to breed, gives us the hundreds of millions we needed. Certainly the dispersals in some instances contained massive volumes. In the Cayman Islands, Oxitec “liberated” 3.3 million of their “transgenic mosquitoes” in 80 separate releases that covered only about 16 hectares of land, and the same a bit later in Malaysia. (11) With 100 hectares in a square kilometer, how many mosquitoes would have been released in 20 million square kilometers? At this point, we can perhaps assume it was a micro-biologist from Oxitec who traveled to Brazil, but not for the World Cup. This assumption explains many things, but apparently not to the converted. Soon after, the world media were actively promoting the theory that Oxitec’s “mutant” GM mosquitoes were instead being used to battle ZIKA. (12) (13)
Tickell discussed the potential survival of the GM insects and how they could spread the ZIKA infection, but ignored the much more important question of how they became infected in the first place. Let’s try a direct analogy: You do not get rabies from a dog bite; you get rabies when bitten by a rabid dog. If the dog doesn’t have rabies, all you get is a dog bite. And dispersing thousands of non-rabid dogs into a clean environment will give you only thousands of non-rabid dogs in a still-clean environment. You may get bitten much more often, but you still won’t get rabies. By this analogy, the vast dispersal of genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes is of no consequence unless the mosquitoes are already infected with the ZIKA virus. If they do not carry the virus, their bites will do nothing to their victims, leaving us with no way to spread a foreign virus.
The important point, so studiously avoided by the CDC, the WHO and the media, is that since ZIKA was not endemic to Brazil or indeed to South-Central America, it had to be introduced from somewhere, and on a massive scale. One infected visitor to the World Cup cannot do that, but importing and dispersing hundreds of millions of infected mosquitoes can do that. It is not possible to disperse millions of uninfected mosquitoes into a clean environment then have them magically become self-infected by a virus whose nearest proximity is 18,000 kilometers distant, which means the insects dispersed by Oxitec had to have been infected before their dispersal because there is no other credible explanation for the comparatively instantaneous explosion of ZIKA in so many millions of square kilometers, events that appeared to coincide with the dispersion of Oxitec’s insects. The question then is how a company like Oxitec could disperse millions of insects without knowing they were infected. After all, they engineered the mosquitoes, they surely were aware of the dangers, and certainly had the ability to do testing. The only possible conclusion I see, is that they did know. If there is an alternative explanation, I cannot imagine what it would be.
I am reminded of Dr. David Heymann of the WHO who, when speaking of the identical issue of the origin and spread of HIV, claimed, “The origin of the AIDS virus is of no importance … speculation on how it arose is of no importance.” I disagreed then, and I disagree now. The WHO took enormous pains to obscure investigation into the origin and spread of that virus, and appeared to be doing the same with ZIKA. In the Scientific Method, we try to form a theory to explain the phenomena we witness. Then, if we can, we test our assumptions and hypotheses to see if they correlate with the known facts. In this case, we have unknowns and unanswered questions in a situation where the official explanation doesn’t appear plausible, and where confusion exists in some facts. But if we theorise that Oxitec carried out its field trials in these locations with infected mosquitoes our theory explains almost everything we know about ZIKA. But this isn’t quite the end of the story.
- Back to the Future
Many virologists and media sources inform us that the ZIKA virus was first isolated from a monkey in the ZIKA Forest in Africa (Uganda) in 1947 while scientists were researching Yellow Fever, but the more interesting parts of ZIKA’s story occurred in labs rather than forests. The virus was isolated in a laboratory by a microbiologist named Jordi Casals (14) (15), whose entire career (but for two years after graduation) was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, mostly working in labs at Yale University. Casals was a specialist in ticks and virus-borne diseases (of the kind produced by the US Military at Fort Detrick and Plum Island), as well as the viruses that cause encephalitis and the kind of hemorrhagic fever the US dispersed in North Korea during the war and later in Cuba. He was for years a consultant to the WHO and to the US Army Research Institute in Bethseda, Maryland, where he was performing concurrent work in what appeared to be related to bioweapons research.
The media and the medical history books tell us that after its discovery, ZIKA remained an “obscure and unremarkable illness” that caused no trouble and was of no apparent interest to anybody, but that’s not entirely correct. After Casals isolated ZIKA from Rockefeller Foundation monkey number 766, a quiet interest apparently emerged in this ‘obscure’ virus, with both the WHO and America’s CDC establishing “virus research laboratories” very near the same forest where ZIKA was discovered, and in 2008 the Wellcome Trust – who are coincidentally one of Oxitec’s sources of funds – also became involved in microbiology programs at the same location. (16) (17) The Rockefeller Foundation established its East African Virus Research Institute in Entebbe, Uganda, in 1936, the UVRI forming at the same time (with whom the CDC began working in 1991, the WHO joining the affiliation in 1996). (18)
More recently, when the ZIKA outbreak occurred in 2007 on the Micronesian island of Yap, the US military was reported to have sent what was described as “a large research presence” to that island, consisting of individuals from both the CDC labs at the University of Colorado and from the military, all experts in insect-vector bio-pathogens. (19) (20) (21) Perhaps coincidentally and perhaps not, Yap Island is only about 800 Kms. from Guam, the original site of the US military’s NAMRU-2 biowarfare lab which depended primarily on researchers from the Rockefeller Institute. And to bring us up to date with Brazil, one media report informed us that two American researchers from the University of Wisconsin, one a professor of pathobiological sciences named Jorge Osorio (22) (23), the other his assistant named Matthew Aliota, were the first to identify ZIKA virus in South America. Osorio’s assistant, Aliota, had a long history with the US Army’s bio-warfare lab, USAMRIID, located at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and was also a professor at Colorado State University, the source of the CDC’s virological staff originally sent to Yap to examine the first ZIKA outbreak. (24) (25)
- The Microcephaly Problem
There had for many months been a flurry of media activity with reports containing an utter confusion of claims about the incidence of this condition, a multitude of false alarms causing misunderstandings and creating excessive caution. One report in the New York Times claimed that fears of the virus resulted in “massive over-reporting”. In early February of 2016, Brazil’s Health Ministry accounted for about 5,000 reported cases, but in fact only a few hundred had actually been confirmed, an insignificant number that would normally be buried within the statistical averages. Interestingly, the WHO was guilty of laying most of the fuel onto this fire, announcing an “international health emergency”, appearing primarily motivated to strongly focus public attention onto the birth defects and away from other considerations. Indeed, virtually all of the media attention appeared to focus on a few hundreds of potentially damaged fetuses and a few thousands of symptomatic mothers rather than on the millions of civilians inexplicably infected by a foreign virus of (so far) unknown provenance. In any case, the clear intent was to establish a link in the public mind between ZIKA and birth defects, going so far as to advise all mothers in South and Central America to delay planned pregnancies for several years. Much of this was alarmist and unjustified. The New England Journal of Medicine claimed that “29 percent of women who had ultrasound examinations after testing positive for infection with the ZIKA virus had fetuses that suffered [undocumented] “grave outcomes”.” (26) (27) But they neglected to mention that the total number of women in this sample was only about 40, if memory serves me correctly.
The media reports on this problem, virtually without exception and certainly including all those from the WHO, consisted mostly of dramatic attention-getting headlines. An article would quote an apparently prominent virologist claiming his research “strongly indicated” that “the ZIKA virus, and nothing else” was responsible for the rash of birth defects. Other scientists were quoted as saying ZIKA targeted the brain cortex, leaving readers to worry that every pregnant mother in all of Latin America would give birth to a brain-damaged baby. A website calling itself the Virology Blog, run by a virologist and professor at Columbia University in the US, stated that published reports made “a compelling case that ZIKA virus is causing microcephaly in Brazil”, quoting from studies with such small samples they were statistically invalid, and even admitting no confirmations were available of ZIKA infections in the microcephaly cases studied. He even went so far as to write, “Here is the clincher – the entire ZIKA virus genome was identified in brain tissue” of an infant born with this condition. (28) Another virologist promptly informed this writer that he had all his facts wrong, and that only small sections of the virus had in fact been identified. Virology Blog – ZIKA virus is causing microcephaly in Brazil.
Other scientists expressed their amazement that a flavivirus like ZIKA could cause birth defects when no strain or variety of flavivirus had ever done so before. They noted too that the Brazilian strain of the virus was a 99.75% match, indicating it was the same virus from other areas of the world, and that birth defects existed in none of those places. Many virologists stated that historically no flavivirus had ever been implicated in birth defects, claiming the conditions pointed to a “localised environmental factor” or some other cause. Dr. Ahmed Kalebi, Director of the Lancet Pathology Research Group, echoed a similar sentiment, stating the possibility that “ZIKA is just a red herring and there is something else . . . that makes those babies get microcephaly”. And a published study posted on the WHO website stated, “ZIKV has been identified in Africa over 50 years ago, and neither there nor in the outbreaks outside Africa, has such an association with microcephaly [ever] been reported.” Another virologist wrote that there was no proof of a cause-effect relationship, that the ZIKA virus might just have been “infecting opportunistically, and that these are cases that would have developed birth defects even without it”. Others noted that the apparent surge in these cases occurred only in Northeastern Brazil, primarily in Pernambuco in and near Recife (where the WHO-recommended insecticide pyroxiprophen was being sprayed), and many noted that there was no actual proof of correlation between ZIKA and microcephaly, other than the fact that the virus had been found in some infants with the condition. Unfortunately, none of these other voices were ever able to reach the microphone.
And there is more. I downloaded a study from the WHO’s own website, titled “Microcephaly in northeastern Brazil: a review of 16,208 births between 2012 and 2015” (29) that states in part, “However, if the ZIKV were indeed introduced in Brazil at the World Cup in mid 2014, the outbreak of microcephaly would have preceded it.” In case this isn’t clear, the authors of this paper documented that microcephaly began appearing in Brazil in 2011 and 2012, well prior to the appearance of the claimed “visitor from Polynesia”, which by itself would seem irrefutable proof that the ZIKA virus cannot be responsible for the birth defects in Latin America. Not only that, according to this same paper, the initial appearances of microcephaly would have coincided perfectly with the spraying of pyroxiprophen and the timing of Oxitec’s GM mosquito dispersal program. Certainly the WHO was fully aware of this information, and the media pundits either were aware or should have been aware, but these crucial facts were entirely censored by all the media. In March of 2016, Canada’s CBC reported on another study in Paraíba State in Brazil, which lies next to Perambuco, and which also discovered cases of microcephaly prior to 2012, a full two years before the appearance of the supposed Polynesian visitor, and which confirmed as well that these cases have been concentrated in Brazil’s Northeast where the bulk of the chemical spraying was done. (30) (31) (32) (33) Nevertheless, the New York Times was telling us “There is no longer any doubt that Zika causes microcephaly”, quoting a study of ZIKA at estimated a “1 in 100” risk of microcephaly. (34) (35)
- The Media Focus
- The Media Focus
In the extensive media coverage of the ZIKA epidemic, several elements were not only unusual but were so uniformly focused they had a distinct appearance of having been coordinated as part of plan. The first of these I have already discussed: the apparent absence of any interest whatever in the source of the ZIKA infection. Aside from the almost-flippant attribution of a sudden and massive international outbreak of ZIKA to a single traveler from Polynesia, I was unable to find any reference, question or investigation by any part of the Western mainstream media as to alternative explanations. It seems that no scientist or reporter in the Western world had any apparent interest in this critical matter, a circumstance I find almost bizarre. Every newspaper, TV station, publication, that I could monitor, studiously avoided any mention of alternative explanations of the source of millions of infected mosquitoes. With every other disease outbreak in the recent past, we have had various theories and consequent debates as to source and origin, but not this time. This is exceedingly curious, since the officially-attributed source is clearly impossible.
The second element was a persistent coordinated focus on the relatively few instances of microcephaly to the neglect of almost every other aspect, leading one to conclude the outbreak might consist of millions of microcephaly cases instead of instances of a minor virus infection. This was true not only with the Western mass media but also with internet searches. In repeated searches for the incidence of total ZIKA infections in Brazil and other South American nations, Google repeatedly produced only information on births with apparent ZIKA-related defects. I will note here that Google’s searches are often highly selective in a manner not entirely explained by an autonomous algorithm. When repeated and diligent searches on one topic produce only results on another topic, it is safe for us to conclude that someone is pulling the strings. In broad searches for rates of ZIKA infection, Google’s entire emphasis was on supposedly ZIKA-related microcephaly cases, and searches for percentages produced more of the same “reported but unconfirmed” statistics misleadingly quoted to infer that a very high percentage of births were defective – which was absolutely not the case. Let’s look at some statistics.
The total population of South and Central America is almost 450 million, with reported ZIKA infections projected to total perhaps 4 million overall. This means that less than 1% of the total populations of these countries will be infected with the ZIKA virus, of which a very small portion (perhaps only 1% or 2% at any given time) will be pregnant mothers. Remember too, that there were only a few hundred confirmed microcephaly cases and only about 1% of those contained any link with ZIKA. This means that of all the pregnancies in Brazil, perhaps one ten-thousandth will result in microcephaly and, as noted above, only about 1% of these would exhibit a ZIKA infection. I by no means wish to trivialise individual tragedies but, with confirmed cases measured as a percentage of the population or by the incidence of all other primary causes of diseases and deaths, the incidence of microcephaly in Brazil was statistically zero, whether ZIKA-induced or not.
The next concern was what appeared to be a widespread and deliberate program of fear-mongering, with a coordinated focus that I anticipated but found disturbing nonetheless. Even the adjuncts were designed to be unsettling and frightening. For one article on ZIKA, the Washington Post employed a photographic setting of a statue guarding a tomb in a cemetery, with the caption, “Flower urns at many graves are breeding grounds for the disease-carrying mosquitoes.” Why a cemetery setting? Why the photo of graves? How many people had died from contracting ZIKA? Approximately none. The Washington Post screamed that “The more we learn, the worse things seem to get”. It told us of the virus “sweeping through the hemisphere” and wrote of the “growing links to birth defects and neurological disorders” which were even “worse than originally suspected”, and warning of the “increasing the risk for devastating harm” during pregnancy. The Washington Post told us, “Brazilians panic as mosquito linked to brain damage in thousands of babies” (36) (37), and Canada’s Globe and Mail told us that “As the virus ravages Brazil”, several hundred babies were left “with devastated brains” (38), while failing to mention that Canada’s House of Parliament has suffered the same condition for decades.
Thomas Frieden, Director of the US-based CDC, said he expected cases to increase “dramatically” (39), and that “The cost of caring for one child with birth defects can be $10 million or more”. He tearfully told us, according to the Washington Post, of one woman “who was fearful of what would happen to her baby. To quote, “She said, ‘I will be worried for my whole life, and even after I die, who is going to take care of the baby’.” We were further informed that “studies showed” ZIKA was “likely behind more birth defects and problems than researchers realised”, and was linked to “a broad array of birth defects and neurological disorders”. As an aside, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan said ZIKA had gone “from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions”, and that she had set up a ZIKA “emergency team” after the “explosive” spread of the virus. (40) But as you will read elsewhere, Margaret Chan apparently wasn’t concerned about Ebola that was killing by the tens of thousands, to the extent that the WHO stopped answering their phones so people wouldn’t continue to bother them with updates. It took years for Ebola – and other serious outbreaks, including the H5N1 flu and SARS in Hong Kong – to become “alarming” and explosive” and require Margaret Chan to establish an “emergency team”, so why all the fuss about ZIKA that killed nobody? To continue, the Washington Post further informed us:
“A growing concern among pediatricians is that ZIKA could inflict harm to developing brain tissue in other, less obvious ways than microcephaly. That condition could be the “tip of the iceberg” of a series of neurological problems, some of which might not show up in the brain scans used to spot microcephaly, and it might not even show up for years to come, These could include epilepsy, behavioral problems and mental retardation, “It could be that these children are born with a normal head size but manifest other problems later in life”.” From this, we must gather that now even those babies appearing normal at birth are by no means safe or healthy, that they might appear normal today but may very well become delinquent, epileptic and mentally retarded at undetermined points in the future. So we have not only a strong focus on the relatively few cases of confirmed birth defects, but solemn and somber warnings that all births in the entirety of Latin America are suspect far into the indefinite future.
In such a case, what does one do? Fortunately, the WHO, Western medical “experts”, and the Washington Post, all reading from the same page, had the ready answer: legalised abortions. And this was the final, and extraordinarily vocal, thrust of the media coverage. And I have to say, I found this to be suspicious as hell. Reading from beginning to end, it was difficult to avoid concluding that the purpose of the exaggerated focus on the birth defects to the exclusion of all else, coupled with the intense fear-mongering that followed, were simply the prelude to the main act which was to force a change in South America’s abortion laws. The fear-mongering paid off to some extent: The governments of many countries in South and Central America, aided immeasurably by some elements of the media and countless NGOs, advised all women to delay any planned pregnancies until 2018.
The New York Times, Bloomberg, Canada’s Public Health Service and others were instructing Latin American women to avoid pregnancy (41) (42) (43) (44), while the Washington Post ran an article on January 22, 2016 in which it informed that Latin American countries were advising women to not only postpone pregnancies but to avoid sex altogether. (45) But then it launched into what I thought was an extraordinary propaganda piece on abortion in Latin America. It told us that the topic is “Taboo in election campaigns”, then “estimated” the total number of induced abortions at well over 850,000 per year, stating that perhaps ten million women had obtained illegal abortions in Brazil alone during the prior ten years. In other words, roughly a third of all pregnancies in Brazil had been aborted. And a group known as the Pan American Health Organization, a sister to Margaret Chan’s WHO, produced a study claiming the numbers were well over one million per year. (46) And not only that, but more than 20% of all women in Brazil have had “at least one abortion” – this in a country where abortions are illegal. But, according to these “experts”, it is clear that such a prohibition “does not prevent women resorting to abortion”. I guess not. These “experts” even admitted their figures were “ridiculously high”, but used this as proof that abortions would not increase if they were legalised – which was the thrust of the entire argument and the purpose of the almost certainly fabricated facts. The fear-mongering further reared its ugly head with an (undocumented and certainly false) tale of one woman who “disappeared after entering an illegal abortion clinic”, the article confiding to us that “She would have died during the procedure and police suspect that her body was burned and dismembered”. With risks like this, we should conclude that Brazilian women are nothing if not courageous, though I would have thought the more common procedure would be to dismember first and burn later. But then maybe things are different in Brazil.
The Washington Post ran another article on February 8, 2016, titled, “ZIKA prompts urgent debate about abortion in Latin America” (47), in which they stated (much too gleefully, I thought) that calls to loosen restrictive abortion laws were “gaining momentum”, and that “activists” were “pressing lawmakers” to act swiftly in removing these laws. According to the Post, the pro-abortion lobby was “taking advantage of this to liberalize the legislation”, and one spokesman for a pro-abortion NGO named ‘Bureau for the Life and Health of Women’ hoped that “ZIKA would change the debate”. (48) (49) We were also informed of another Canadian NGO named ‘Women on Web’, who specialise in shipping abortion-inducing drugs through the mail (for a “donation” of $100) into countries where abortions are prohibited by law. The article informed us that, sadly, “Often, government customs inspectors seize the pills.” No idea why.“And a columnist named Hélio Schwartsman wrote that he has interviewed a woman that said if she were pregnant and discovered she’d been infected by ZIKA, “I would not hesitate an instant to abort”, dismemberment and subsequent incineration apparently being an insufficient disincentive. (50) (51) I should note here that the Washington Post and all other Western media, while positively glowing about the prospects of abortion being legalised in South and Central America, neglected to mention that all the “activists”, the NGOs, and the “pro-abortion lobbies” were all US-based or US-funded, as well as often being US-managed, many or most closely connected to USAID and US-based Planned Parenthood, who are in turn the Great-Grandfather and Great-Grandmother of eugenics, abortion, forced sterilisation, and population reduction.
Then the New York Times, not one to be left out of the excitement, ran an article by a Simon Romero, informing that “ZIKA Virus Has Brazilians Re-examining Strict Abortion Laws”, and that “the surging reports” of babies with microcephaly “are igniting a fierce debate” over the country’s abortion laws. Romero also noted that (American) “abortion rights activists are seizing on the crisis” to change the country’s laws. (52)”Pregnant women across Brazil are now in a panic”, he tells us, which is no great surprise given “the surging reports” and the extraordinary amount of fear-mongering the media contributed to aid their momentum. After reading all the Western media stories, I’d be in a panic too. He noted that “some activists”, American as usual, compare this to the US debate on abortion following measles infections in that country, a situation that “paved the way” for abortion in California and then most states in the US. “The fears over the ZIKA virus are giving us a rare opening to challenge the religious fundamentalists who put the lives of thousands of women at risk in Brazil each year to maintain laws belonging in the dark ages.”
It needs to be noted somewhere that casual abortions as a means of birth control may not necessarily qualify as a “universal value”. People and societies in different countries are entitled to form their own values, especially those values involving human life, without the belligerent assistance of either Planned Parenthood or the Washington Post, and if the countries in Latin America want to restrict abortions or if China wants to restrict pornography, it is nobody else’s business and is a gross violation of sovereignty to attempt to force our Western or other values onto them. We formed our values, such as they are, without interference from others, and they have the right to do the same.
It is a truth in all matters involving foreign affairs, most especially those carrying significant social, political or economic implications, that there are no fortuitous events, no “coincidences”, that all things happen because they are planned, with the final result inevitably being according to expectation and plan. How then do we think about ZIKA? It seems implausible that the intense onslaught by the WHO and the media, wildly exaggerating what appeared to be non-existent dangers, was simply unintelligent and purposeless fear-mongering. This, and the sudden overwhelming push for legalised abortions were too unanimous, too widespread, and too well-orchestrated to have been merely opportunistic. How then do we think about Oxitec’s release of hundreds of millions of mosquitoes that were almost certainly infected with ZIKA? How do we think about the unanimous official narrative of ZIKA packing its bags and traveling halfway around the world to Brazil at the time of the World Cup? A coincidence? How do we think about ZIKA choosing as its new home the one place in the world with concentrated abortion restrictions? How do we think about the media ignoring the logic in these questions and trashing anyone who raised them?
What were the results of the ZIKA outbreak? The most noticeable was an unparalleled opportunity to raise a critical mass clamoring for legalised abortions, but there were others. Media reports estimated South America would lose at least $53 billion in tourism revenue from the widely-advised travel restrictions. (53) (54) Metropole would have to search hard indeed to find a more convenient economic sanction for a recalcitrant socialist periphery. And of course, economic hardship coupled with public fear and panic easily decay into social unrest, and are the precursor of choice as a seedbed for regime change. We have seen all of these, and more.
Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 32 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’. (Chapt. 2 — Dealing with Demons).
He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org