the flaws of a conspiracy theory

Did you like Event 201, the pandemic simulation that, according to conspiracy networks, would have served as a rehearsal before Covid-19? You will love NTI 2021 tabletop, a monkeypox epidemic scenario, which in turn is presented as proof that the current epidemic has been knowingly organized.

  • Where does the rumor come from?

It began to circulate at very low noise around mid-May, before experiencing a massive and sudden exposure of Kim Schmitz, known as Kim Dotcom. The founder of the file hosting site Megaupload shares, on May 20, with his 800,000 Twitter subscribers a report excerpt accompanied by an allusive message: «The scenario of smallpox in 2021. Coincidence? The next $ 500 billion from Big Pharma? »

Immediately, this report hitherto reserved for an audience of experts in the fight against infectious diseases is immediately spreading in the conspiracy spheres. In France, it is picked up in the days following by sites like Nexus or World Resistance, with articles ranging from the insistent suspicion to the frank and open conspiracy accusation, like the title of, “A document of 2021 proves that Bill Gates fomented the monkeypox attack by May 15, 2022 ”.

  • What is it based on?

This new rumor is spreading through a mixture of authentic documents, selective lectures, cognitive biases, and intentionalist worldviews.

The first finding: when capturing the shared screen is the issuance of an authentique document. It emanates from the NTI (for the Nuclear Threat Initiative), a non-profit organization founded in 2001 by former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and philanthropist Ted Turner, which studies military but also health scenarios. , which threaten the planet.

In March 2021, the NTI, in conjunction with the Munich Security Conference, organized its fourth pandemic simulation exercise. And, indeed, the coincidence is remarkable, since it concerns the emergence of an epidemic of smallpox in May 2022. In the eyes of a conspiracy-minded person, this is proof that -this was orchestrated and planned.

A timetable for an epidemic of imaginary blood variation, set up for a Nuclear Threat Initiative simulation exercise, has given rise to problems, with some refusing to see a mere coincidence.
  • The limits of coincidence

The correspondence is not, however, total between simulation and reality. The NTI envisioned an epidemic that would break out on May 15, when the country at the heart of the epidemic is “During the national holidays, with many trips inland and abroad.” While it is tempting to recognize China, the scenario is based on an imaginary country, the nation of Brinia.

The situation, in reality, was different. The WHO detected the first symptoms of the epidemic on April 29. A case of smallpox contamination was found in the UK on a British national returning from Nigeria – the first case outside Africa, where the disease is endemic. it has been circulating uninterruptedly for several decades.

The NTI exercise takes to the stage the imaginary countries of Brinia and Arnica, one of the many details attesting to its purely fictional character.

Finally, in the simulation exercise, the monkeypox strain involved came from laboratory experiments, which would have made it more deadly. In reality, to date, there is no indication that this is the case. “We have no reason to think that the current epidemic involves a manipulated pathogen, even if we have no evidence to support a hypothesis.wrote the NTI on May 24 in a post to answer questions about its 2021 “prophetic” exercise. We do not believe that it has the potential to spread as quickly as the fictitious strain of our scenario, or to cause such a high mortality rate. »

The organization reiterates that in its view the emergence of a smallpox epidemic in May 2022, as it had imagined, is “Purely a coincidence.”

  • Why the connection with Bill Gates is overinterpreted

Billionaire Bill Gates is well involved, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation [également contributrice financièrement parlant du Monde Afrique], to NTI funding, but marginally. Between 2004 and 2020, the world’s largest sponsorship organization provided three grants to the organization, totaling $ 3.5 million (€ 3.27 million).

Application: Article reserved for our subscribers Coronavirus: how American billionaire Bill Gates crystallizes the clothes of the conspirators

To put these figures in context, the Gates Foundation distributed a total of nearly six billion dollars (5.61 billion euros) in 2020; and, that same year, foundation sponsorship accounted for a quarter of NTI’s budget. These financial ties are therefore in the minority and did not prove an alleged subjugation.

The political influence of patrons must, in general, be relativized. As they pointed out in 2009, economist Guy Carron de la Carrière, a specialist in economic diplomacy, “Private actors have become indispensable, the role and influence of the latter should not be overestimated. (…) It is the policies defined by the traditional administrations that keep the monopoly of major decisions and their implementation. »

  • Several NTI scenarios are not produced

It should also be noted that this is the fourth exercise put in place by the Nuclear Threat Initiative and that the previous ones did not focus on conspiracy theorists, because they had no echo in reality.

In 2020, the exercise featured a laboratory-manipulated H2N2 influenza virus in the fictional country of Aplea, which reportedly spread to neighboring Vezu. In 2019, it was the plague bacillus that struck Vestia, an imaginary and unstable European country.

By 2020, the Nuclear Threat Initiative had tackled an imaginary influenza A epidemic in the fictional countries of Vezu and Aplea.

This whole conspiracy theory is based on a mental ploy, constantly overturning the chain of causation. In conspiracy logic, the resemblance between a simulation exercise and reality would prove that the first was a preparation for the second.

However, the opposite is true: when the NTI implemented its scenario, monkeypox already existed. This endemic disease in sub-Saharan Africa was discovered in the 1970s, and is a title that is an exploitable material for a pandemic simulation. “The risks it poses have been well documented for years by many public health authorities.recalls the organization.

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