Yellowhammer signposted the weakness. Two weeks after Brexit...Corona stress tests it.


A week after writing this, the US Health Dept. gets cyber attacked.  With the light dimmed, if not off, they tried to enter the building. One cant help think this is simply a vulnerability test, rather than some pre-planned diversion.  May be now more than ever, a few more 'noble lies'?  Anyway they say 'follow the money' and clearly there is no one country that could gain hugely from another nation's demand for say, pharmaceutical products that they control the supply chain there?


Put aside talk of conspiracy theories, or non-evidence-based panic, and simply examine the facts.  The Government, MOD, Cabinet Office, now COBR all have their teams of strategists and planners tucked away in some Whitehall recesses, tasked with anticipating possible scenarios.  Was this one of them?

Conspiracy theories are rife, and perhaps it really is coincidental that the level 4 (highest biosafety level) research laboratory was in Wuhan.. home of patient zero and the start of it all.  However, let us for a minute suppose, in almost 'Holmesian' cynicism that there are no such things as coincidences.  That is after all a reasonable starting point for any disaster planning scenario.  If this were a war time issue, the events we have witnessed over the last twelve months, some more publicised than others, could sit well in the syllabus of day one "war strategies" at Sandhurst or West Point.  The leaked Yellowhammer report gave our, let’s call them adversaries, a gift that in any traditional wartime scenario would be akin to an intelligence Fabergé.  It signalled for all the world to see, where and when the UK infrastructure would be at its weakest.  In this sense we are not talking about cyber warfare but rather physical, logistical issues involving population movements, distribution of supplies from abroad, transport networks, emergency services, financial side effect...and many more. 


So, in a hypothetical war game scenario, the most opportune time to stress-test a system such as the UK's infrastructure, would be when you know it is at its weakest.  That will undoubtedly have been planned for and anticipated way before yellow hammer.  Two weeks after the UK left the EU, the corona virus (COVID-19) emerged as a significant threat not just to the UK but the world.  It may well be a stretch too far to really believe this was a man-made event brought about to coincide with Brexit.  The UK is probably not seen as that important to have mounted such a planned event.  The coincidences are there for all to see, and in a world where information is free flowing, conspiracy theories will always flourish.   All one can expect a Government to do is either provide cast iron denials or at the very least, alternative possible explanations.  That is normally enough to silence the conspiracy theorists.

Either way, manufactured or not, if a possibility exists it has to be considered.  To bastardise another Holmes reference, no matter how improbable the event, if we eliminate the impossible, whatever remains could be the truth.  That being the case, if this were a traditional engagement then one should expect that as a system such as ours (and possibly the US next) is stress-tested by the sheer impact of an escalation on the spread of Corona, then it is now we have to be on our guard the most.  If these events have affected the physical framework, a second wave of cyber-attack could be catastrophic.  If one wanted to be particularly Tom Clancy about it, it might be the equivalent of taking out the lights of a building before the assault.

So, the behind the scenes planning will be immense and will have started possibly years ago.  That is the job of the unsung egg heads.  If that has not happened, and the UK is living this out in "real time", then we need more egg heads.  COBR is an amalgamation of different branches brought together at no. 70, and one hopes that at this critical moment, the Government has its finger on the PR pulse to avoid mass panic.  In nearly all conflict or emergency situations we are all aware of how important remaining calm is.  This is where the British media has to be controlled as much as possible...ok it may not be democratic but tell that to Churchill in his early days in

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A Government Department of Virus Safety

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Wuhan conspiracy theories aside, diplomatic traction is the reward.


A week or two ago we wrote an article "Conspiracies & Ripples" which focused primarily on conspiracy theories and kicked off with the rather obvious statement that a conspiracy theory is simply a theory without the facts i.e. just a theory.  Within that we highlighted that ‘flavour of the month’ theorist’s delight, the origins of the Coronavirus and its links to Wuhan.  This echoed our views published in February which, as many did, ponder the chances of this remote coincidence maybe actually being true.  Since then there have been swathes of articles on the topic citing all sort of sources and from numerous ‘renowned’ scientists.  We have also recently had the opinions offered by those whose opinions really count, that this virus originating from the labs in Wuhan may not actually be so far-fetched after all.

We do tend to agree, or at least we did.  That was then and this is now and in the world of Politics things move quickly and one does have to look at the reality of the situation.  If there is enough fog between you and your destination, then sometimes the route you take can change, leaving you all sorts of options.  If the objective was originally to circumnavigate through uncertain waters to establish who, what, why and when the virus came about – then that is now lost in the fog.  It is arbitrary.  Now we have something that is far more concrete and tangible to use to our advantage – we have uncertainty.  We now have enough debate and conspiracy to render the findings of the scientists open to interpretation.  And that… is a diplomat’s dream come true.   This particular carcass will feed many and although the WHO will go in, on the ground, and no doubt find yet more uncertainty…it really is irrelevant.  You will certainly not find individual government’s chomping at the bit to send their representatives into Wuhan anytime soon, and even if they did, why?  Wuhan is not some sleepy suburb in leafy Northamptonshire… it is in China.  Whatever was there has long gone, if indeed it was ever even there.  So perhaps it would be wise to assume that at least for the next few decades this is a conspiracy that will never find out those salient facts. 

Now, listening to the scientists, there is an overwhelming urge to say, “shush now”.  Step back ladies and gentlemen and look at the bigger picture at play.  Nobody is actually interested whether or not the virus started in Wuhan, intentionally or not.  As long as it is open to debate, it is far more valuable.  The scientists have debated at length and argued, but there is still no unequivocal proof either way that satisfies all parties…and why could that be?  Scientific fact is not open to debate or questioning, that is a given.  However, to say Science is correct, is not true.  That is because Science has Scientists, and Scientists are human beings who in turn are fallible and motivated by many many other factors.  In China for example, one might say that scientific fact is exactly what they want it to be.  Indeed, who is to say it ends in China.


So why is uncertainty such a blessing in this case?  It provides an additional bargaining chip and a weapon in the armoury for all Governments to now use against the Chinese.  Maybe on the other side of the fence their own initial conspiracy theory that a foreign Government (the US) planted the virus in their midst, is being written about in their own press.  Or maybe not. The fact is it is a safe bet to assume that no body will ever know.  There will be no compensations or admissions of guilt in this case sadly…however the capillaceous network that is politics, diplomacy and economic negotiations will be the real beneficiaries.


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