As the world is hearing about the spread of monkeypox we are also learning of a 2021 exercise which simulated a worldwide monkeypox outbreak killing 270 million people.
In March 2021, two organizations partnered together to conduct a simulation to evaluate “high-consequence biological threats”. The simulation focused on a bio-terror attack which used a weaponized version of the monkeypox virus. Now, in early June, we are beginning to be inundated with reports of monkeypox cases in the UK, and now the United States. Can this simulation — which took place only 14 months ago — tell us anything about the allegedly developing monkeypox outbreak?
The Monkeypox Mania
As of May 26th, the World Health Organization reports there are 257 laboratory confirmed cases of monkeypox and around 120 suspected cases. There have been no reported deaths as of June 1st. Most of the people allegedly infected are reporting “relatively mild” symptoms and the majority of the cases are said to have been detected in gay men.
Monkeypox is in the orthopoxvirus family which includes the smallpox virus. Monkeypox triggers milder symptoms than smallpox.
In the United States, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) confirmed a single case of monkeypox in an adult male who had recently traveled to Canada. The health department said the case “poses no risk to the public”. Despite the low risk and the mild symptoms the US government is purchasing millions of monkeypox vaccines.
“Bavarian Nordic, the biotech company that makes the vaccine, has announced a $119 million order placed by the U.S., with the option to buy $180 million more if it wants. Should that second option be exercised, it would work out to approximately 13 million doses.
The order will convert existing smallpox vaccines, which are also effective against monkeypox, into freeze-dried versions, which have a longer shelf life. The converted vaccines will be manufactured in 2023 and 2024, the company says.”
In addition to reporting a low number of cases and zero deaths, the WHO is reporting the “overall public health risk at [a] global level is assessed as moderate”. However, the WHO cautioned that the public health risk could become high “if this virus exploits the opportunity to establish itself as a human pathogen and spreads to groups at higher risk of severe disease such as young children and immunosuppressed persons”. The agency says it will be working with affected countries to “expand disease surveillance to find and support people who may be affected”.
The WHO also noted that much of the population is “vulnerable to monkeypox virus” because the smallpox vaccination has been discontinued since 1980. According to a paper published in July 2020, “over 70% of the world’s population is no longer protected against smallpox” there is potential that an “emergent or re-emergent human monkeypox might fill the epidemiological niche vacated by smallpox.”
“At present, the risk for the general public appears to be low. Nonetheless, immediate action from countries is required to control further spread among groups at risk, prevent spread to the general population and avert the establishment of monkeypox as a clinical condition and public health problem in currently non-endemic countries,” the WHO warned.
It should be noted that as long as “public health authorities” are using the PCR method to detect viruses, we should remain extremely skeptical about all numbers of cases, and especially, claims of deaths. As I have previously reported for TLAV, the simple fact is the PCR method can be used to create a false pandemic.
Regardless of your current level of concern about monkeypox, it’s worth noting that, once again, a reported outbreak of a pathogen was preceded by a simulation involving the exact pathogen.
Strengthening Global Systems to Prevent and Respond to High-Consequence Biological Threats
On October 18, 2019, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation partnered with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the World Economic Forum on a high-level pandemic exercise known as Event 201. Event 201 simulated how the world would respond to a coronavirus pandemic which swept around the planet. The simulation imagined 65 million people dying, mass lock downs, quarantines, censorship of alternative viewpoints under the guise of fighting “disinformation,” and even floated the idea of arresting people who question the pandemic narrative.
The timing of Event 201 — only months before the world would hear of COVID-19 — immediately set off alarm bells for astute observers who thought there might be something more to the claimed pandemic. Now, many COVID-19 skeptics are disturbed by ongoing reports of monkeypox, especially because a similar exercise preceded the reports of monkeypox cases.
In March 2021, the Nuclear Threat Initiative partnered with the Munich Security Conference to conduct a tabletop exercise apparently aimed at “reducing high-consequence biological threats”. Similar to other simulations organized by other non-profits and think tanks, this exercise was ostensibly designed to identify gaps in security and policy. In this case, the potential gaps in “national and international biosecurity and pandemic preparedness architectures”.
This scripted simulation of a bio-terror attack was based on an intentionally weaponized version of the monkeypox virus. Participants in the exercise included 19 “senior leaders and experts” from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe with “decades of combined experience in public health, biotechnology industry, international security, and philanthropy”.
The report “Strengthening Global Systems to Prevent and Respond to High-Consequence Biological Threats: Results from the 2021 Tabletop Exercise Conducted in Partnership with the Munich Security Conference,” written by Jaime M. Yassif, Ph.D., Kevin P. O’Prey, Ph.D., and Christopher R. Isaac, M.Sc., summarizes the findings from the exercise.
“The international community cannot postpone implementing the steps necessary to protect against future biological threats. This must include the recognition that while naturally emerging pandemics continue to pose a significant threat, the next global catastrophe could be caused by the deliberate misuse of the tools of modern biology or by a laboratory accident,” Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. Interim Vice President of the Nuclear Threat Initiative writes in the introduction. “We must build our public health and medical systems to be anticipatory, responding energetically and proactively in the face of uncertainty—taking what humanitarian and crisis response communities describe as a “no regrets” approach.”
In the NTI scenario, an engineered strain of monkeypox was discovered in the fictional country Brinia, found to be released by terrorists. According to the report’s Executive Summary:
“The exercise scenario portrayed a deadly, global pandemic involving an unusual strain of monkeypox virus that emerged in the fictional nation of Brinia and spread globally over 18 months. Ultimately, the exercise scenario revealed that the initial outbreak was caused by a terrorist attack using a pathogen engineered in a laboratory with inadequate biosafety and biosecurity provisions and weak oversight. By the end of the exercise, the fictional pandemic resulted in more than three billion cases and 270 million fatalities worldwide.”
The report draws several conclusions and details the weaknesses detected during the exercise. The weaknesses include weak global detection and warning of pandemic risks; gaps in national-level preparedness and gaps in biological research governance; and insufficient financing of international preparedness for pandemics.
In “Finding 2” of the report they recommend that “governments should improve preparedness by developing national-level pandemic response plans built upon a coherent system it ‘triggers’ that prompt anticipatory action on a ‘no-regrets’ basis.” This mention of a “no regrets” approach is important because it appears to indicate that in the event of a pandemic the governments of the world will not exercise the precautionary principle and will instead act swiftly with “no regrets”.
The report says this approach should involve “taking anticipatory action—as opposed to reacting to mounting case counts and fatalities”. To do this, the authors believe national governments should develop “national-level plans” that incorporate “triggers for responding to high consequence biological events”. The authors also call on the WHO to “issue guidance that encourages or requires national governments to develop
national-level pandemic response triggers”.
The language of the document sounds similar to calls for upgrading the International Health Regulations and the so-called Pandemic Treaty to establish an international supranational body which has the power to declare pandemics and send in teams to “protect the people”.
The use of monkeypox and the predicted start date of May 15th are leading to more questions from the public. Due to the public’s increasing concern with the NTI/MSC exercise, the NTI actually released an explainer assuring the public there is nothing to see her but a giant coincidence.
While it remains to be seen how much of the simulation mirrors real world events, a fictional timeline of the simulation shows that the fictional terror attack involving monkeypox happens on May 15, 2022. Coincidentally, according to a document from the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization, on May 15, 2022, the WHO was notified of 4 confirmed cases of monkeypox from the United Kingdom.
The simulation’s fictional timeline also states that by June 5, 2022 it is discovered that the monkeypox strain “contains mutations that make it resistant to existing vaccines”. This revelation prompts “aggressive measures” from some countries, including “shutting down mass gatherings, imposing social-distancing measures, and implementing mask mandates.” Other nations choose to prioritize “keeping their economies open and downplaying the virus and its potential impacts”. These nations suffer much worse outcomes in terms of mortality.
The implication is that those who take authoritarian measures with a “no regrets” approach will fare better in the face of a monkeypox outbreak.
Who is NTI and MSC?
The Munich Security Conference is described as “the world’s leading forum for debating international security policy” and “a venue for diplomatic initiatives to address the world’s most pressing security concerns”. The MSC’s main conference is held in February in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. The event typically gathers around 450 “high-profile and senior decision-makers as well as thought-leaders from around the world, including heads of state, ministers, leading personalities of international and non-governmental organizations, high-ranking representatives of industry, media, academia, and civil society”.
The MSC was founded in 1963 by Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist-Schmenzin, an officer in the Wehrmacht during World War II who reportedly opposed Hitler and advocated to prevent military conflicts such as the Second World War in the future. The first meeting of what would become the MSC involved 60 participants, including Henry Kissinger. MSC partners include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Atlantic Council, the Wellcome Trust, and Chatham House of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the UK parallel to the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations.
According to Influence Watch, the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) is a “center-left” nonprofit formed in 2001 by eugenicist and media executive Ted Turner and former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn. The group describes themselves as a “a nonprofit, nonpartisan global security organization focused on reducing nuclear and biological threats imperiling humanity”.
In January 2018, NTI announced that it had received $250,000 in support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The funds were part of NTI’s efforts to develop a “Global Health Security Index” which would analyze a country’s biological programs and policies.
Interestingly, there is some overlap between the participants and contributors of the NTI exercise and the aforementioned Event 201 coronavirus simulation. These include Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust, China CDC, United Nations, Merck, John Hopkins, and the U.S. Department of State.
At least two people were present at both exercises. George Fu Gao, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control, and Dr. Michael Ryan, the head of the World Health Organization’s team responsible for the international containment and treatment of COVID-19. During Event 201 it was Gao who infamously called for censorship to counter “misinformation”. In March 2020, Dr. Ryan called for looking into families to find potentially sick individuals to “remove them and isolate them”.
The authors of the NTI report based on the simulation include Jaime M. Yassif, Ph.D.; Kevin P. O’Prey, Ph.D.; and Christopher R. Isaac, M.Sc.
Jaime Yassif has an interesting history working as a Science and Technology Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) at the Department of Health and Human Services, where she helped lay the groundwork for the WHO Joint External Evaluations and the GHSA Steering Group.
Yassif has experience working on pandemic exercises, including developing the Clade X exercise. Clade X took place on May 2018 and examined the response to a pandemic resulting from the release of a fictional virus known as Clade X. In the simulation, the virus was released by a terror group called A Brighter Dawn. As the outbreak spread through the United States, the participants asked what would be needed if the President issued a federal quarantine, noting that authorities would need to “Determine (the) level of force authorized to maintain quarantine.” The Clade X exercise also resulted in the federal government nationalizing the healthcare system.
In December 2021, Yassif testified before the US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation at a hearing on “Biosecurity for the Future: Strengthening Deterrence and Detection”. She echoed recent calls on the need for global governance schemes.
“There is no existing international entity—including the World Health Organization and the Biological Weapons Convention—dedicated as its primary mission to strengthening biosecurity and bioscience governance and reducing emerging biological risks associated with technology advances. This global governance gap leaves us all vulnerable,” Yassif told the panel.
To address this gap, NTI is working with international partners to develop what they call the International Biosecurity and Biosafety Initiative for Science (IBBIS). Yassif said NTI is working to launch this project as a method for nations to “work collaboratively to strengthen global biosecurity norms and develop innovative tools to uphold them”.
During her testimony she also noted that NTI is working with the World Economic Forum and other “key international partners” to bring to life their vision for IBBIS and “to build international support for this initiative”. Yassif claimed the NTI will be launching this “independent organization” in 2022. She concluded her testimony by stating that “COVID-19 has served as a warning shot” to highlight how vulnerable we are to pandemics.
Kevin P. O’Prey’s bio states that he was a senior vice president at Cadmus where he led the homeland security sector. Prior to Cadmus, O’Prey was co-founder and president of Obsidian Analysis, Inc. Both companies have a focus on providing “analytical and policy consulting for homeland security, national security, and business resilience decision makers”. The two companies merged in 2016.
Dr. O’Prey is also considered a “nationally recognized facilitator and analyst of homeland security challenges”. His bio makes it clear that he is a regular facilitator and lead developer of various government exercises, including the Principals-Level Exercise (PLE) and Senior Officials Exercise (SOE) series, “the federal government’s premier exercises for senior homeland security officials, including Cabinet Secretaries and the President”. In this position, Dr. O’Prey works closely with officials at all levels of government to develop, conduct, and assess the results of exercises that examine the nation’s capacity to manage catastrophic events. He also facilitates “executive-level tabletop exercises and seminars” for the federal, state, and local governments, academic institutions, international organizations, as well as private sector leaders.
Finally, Chris Isaac is a program officer for NTI’s Global Biological Policy and Programs team. NTI states that he “supports efforts to improve biosecurity and biotechnology governance through the Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative”. Isaac has also been involved with synthetic biology through the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) Competition.
Previous Reports About Monkeypox
The NTI/MSC simulation was not the only recent warning or simulation involving monkeypox. There are a number of different stories involving monkeypox or smallpox in recent months.
Only 2 weeks ago the Health Ministers of the G7 nations gathered to “simulate a smallpox pandemic that was transmitted to a human through a leopard bite“. The fictional virus spread rapidly in 21 countries with a high death rate and many infected people in the hospitals. The health ministers discussed “coordinated response” from the G7 countries during the simulation.”
In November 2021, pharmaceutical company SIGA Technologies, Inc. announced the European Medicines Agency Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) approved their product Tecovirimat for the treatment of smallpox, cowpox, vaccinia, and monkeypox. After the approval, Dr. Dennis Hruby, CSO of SIGA, stated that COVID-19 “underscored the importance of preparedness” and the need for governments to build stockpiles that “will allow effective responses to infectious disease outbreaks such as smallpox, a significant bioterror threat that could be even more devastating than COVID-19”.
That same month the FBI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigated “questionable vials” labeled “smallpox” found in a freezer at a Merck facility outside Philadelphia. Within days the CDC stated, “there is no evidence that the vials contain variola virus, the cause of smallpox”.
Also in November 2021, a Maryland resident who had recently returned from Nigeria to the United States was said to have monkeypox. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that they launched an investigation in collaboration with Maryland public health officials.
And, of course, we can go back further to find Bill Gates issuing warnings about the potential for terrorists to use a weaponized version of smallpox. It was actually at the 2017 Munich Security Conference that Gates stated: “The next epidemic could originate on the computer screen of a terrorist intent on using genetic engineering to create a synthetic version of the smallpox virus … or a super contagious and deadly strain of the flu.”
Gain of Function Deja Vu?
Recently, The National Pulse reported that the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been experimenting with the monkeypox virus genome in an apparent effort to allow the virus to be identified via the problematic PCR tests. This method was flagged by researchers as having the potential to create a “contagious pathogen”. The National Pulse reports:
“The study was first published in February 2022, just months before the latest international outbreak of monkeypox cases which appear to have now reached the United States.
The paper, which was authored by nine Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers and published in the lab’s quarterly scientific journal Virologica Sinica, also follows the wide-scale use of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests to identify COVID-19-positive individuals.
Researchers appeared to identify a portion of the monkeypox virus genome, enabling PCR tests to identify the virus, in the paper: “Efficient Assembly of a Large Fragment of Monkeypox Virus Genome as a qPCR Template Using Dual-Selection Based Transformation-Associated Recombination.”
The paper acknowledged that TAR “applied in virological research could also raise potential security concerns, especially when the assembled product contains a full set of genetic material that can be recovered into a contagious pathogen.”
Again, the use of the PCR test is already a huge red flag, but the fact that these same researchers that were experimenting with coronaviruses were recently experimenting with monkeypox should be an ominous warning of potential doom to come.
Are we in for more Lockdowns and Mandates?
While it’s never helpful to be consumed by fear and endless rabbit holes, we should absolutely be aware of these types of exercises which often precede real world events. There may be little we can do as individuals to prevent these exercises from potentially “going live”, but we can take precaution to ensure our families and communities are as reasonably prepared as possible for any potential calamity.
What matters most is that we continue to remain aware of the potentials swirling around us — waiting to be brought into existence — while we expend even more energy envisioning what we would like our future to look like. If we reject this world of endless pandemics and injections we ought to spend our time creating the world we prefer.