‘Dark Winter’ 2001: War games weeks before 9/11 and in 2019 were all about vaccines

Special to WorldTribune.com, September 14, 2021

Corporate WATCH

Commentary by Joe Schaeffer

In last week’s Corporate Watch we asked:

Seeds were planted. And now, 20 years later, the question deserves to be asked: How much of America’s long War on Terror was really about creating the infrastructure for the domestic social curbs now being imposed on us all today?

And then we get this…

George W. Bush commemorates 9/11 by suggesting Trump supporters are 9/11 terrorists:

Maybe it is time Americans learned a lot more about everything that was going on around 9/11 and the beginnings of a “War on Terror” that has caused so much damage to this nation over the past two decades.

For example…

Many Americans have discovered that medical experts at Johns Hopkins University staged a health pandemic war game called Event 201 in October 2019, just months before the coronavirus swept the planet. By all accounts, the operation seems to have served as a dress rehearsal for what was to come. But did you know the same people staged a similar war game right before Sept. 11, 2001, with vaccines playing a central role then as well?

The anthrax letter scare – which was enormous in the country in the weeks after Sept. 11 – played a crucial part in justifying the small pox hysteria.

Remember the anthrax letter scare?

In 2001, the George W. Bush administration rolled out a federal smallpox vaccination campaign due to hyped-up fears of bioterrorism attacks on America in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

The anthrax letter scare – which was enormous in the country in the weeks after Sept. 11 – played a crucial part in justifying the hysteria.

From the New York Times, Oct. 22, 2001 (bold added throughout this column):

Even before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration was determined to straighten the problem out. In June, a team of bioterrorism experts, led by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies, conducted an exercise code-named Dark Winter that simulated an outbreak of smallpox in the United States. As the imaginary epidemic spread, growing grimmer and grimmer, the government quickly ran out of vaccine.

“After Dark Winter, there was a whole spate of briefings, so that a whole lot of people suddenly began to realize just how serious an epidemic of this sort could be,” said Dr. Donald A. Henderson, who directs the center at Johns Hopkins and led the global effort to eradicate smallpox.

The anthrax letters amounted to another “crisis means cash cow for Big Pharma” moment:

Even so, it was not until Oct. 4 – just hours before Mr. Thompson announced to the nation that a Florida man had become sick with pulmonary anthrax – that he secured Mr. Bush’s commitment to pay for his entire $1.6 billion bioterrorism preparedness package.

“It was the double whammy of the World Trade Center and the anthrax attack that made everybody realize that these are real problems that need to be dealt with,” said Peter B. Jahrling, an Army scientist who is one of the nation’s leading smallpox researchers. “In all my years of government service, I have never seen anything move this fast.

And guess who was at the heart of fast-tracking it all? Dr. Anthony Fauci:

“When the anthrax hit, it was like, whoof!” Dr. Henderson said. “Sort of like a blow in the stomach.” The next Monday, Oct. 8, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, received an order from Mr. Thompson’s chief deputy, Claude Allen. His mission, Dr. Fauci said, was “to determine the scientific and technical feasibility of rapidly expanding the production of smallpox vaccine.”

That Friday, a collection of the nation’s top scientists and public health officials gathered in Dr. Fauci’s office on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. They included representatives from the Food and Drug Administration, the disease control centers and Dr. Fauci’s institute, as well as Dr. Jahrling, the Army scientist.

It was a high state of adrenaline,” Dr. Fauci recalled. He remembered telling the assembled scientists: “We have been given a task. We are going to get it done, and we are going to get it done on time. Failure is not an option.” One concern, he and others said, was that the administration was taking a risk by relying on just one company, Acambis, to make the smallpox vaccine. So by this time, officials from Mr. Thompson’s office were already meeting with other vaccine manufacturers, including Merck and Baxter International, which has a 20 percent stake in Acambis, to determine whether they would help in the effort….

“We were on a very fast track,” Dr. Fauci said.

The report on Dark Winter shows the project entailed the direct involvement of big-box media “participants” from The New York Times, CBS News, NBC News and the BBC.

It’s eerie how similar the details of the operation are to the coronavirus experience of the past 18+ months:

Human beings are considered universally susceptible to smallpox virus, unless they have been vaccinated or have been infected previously with an orthopox virus. Given the absence of endemic smallpox in the world and the absence of vaccination programs since the 1970s, the global susceptibility to smallpox virus is higher than it has ever been in modern history. Data from the 2000 US Census indicate that ∼42% of the US population is aged <30 years and, therefore, has never been vaccinated against smallpox. For those who have been vaccinated, the susceptibility to smallpox infection is uncertain, because acquired immunity is known to wane over time. Exactly how long and to what extent smallpox immunity endures is unknown. Epidemiologic data offer some information and insights into the expected duration of immunity and the benefits of past revaccination: “an increased level of protection against smallpox persists for ⩽5 years after primary vaccination and substantial but waning immunity can persist for ⩾10 years….antibody levels after revaccination can remain high longer, conferring a greater period of immunity than occurs after primary vaccination alone.”

Curtailing civil liberties in the name of health was a central feature:

NSC officials confront a growing set of challenges and decisions. Given the shortage of vaccine, how can the spread of smallpox be halted? Should patients with smallpox be confined to facilities dedicated to care for them? Should contacts of patients be forced to remain at home or in dedicated facilities until they are proven to be free of smallpox? Should national travel restrictions be imposed? How can disease containment best be balanced against economic disruption and the protection of civil liberties? To what extent can and should the government infringe upon civil liberties? Under what conditions can those powers be exercised? What federal actions can and should be taken to care for the sick?

Under a “Lessons of Dark Winter” heading, we see a push for “health experts” to have unprecedented new sway on running the government:

To end a disease outbreak after a bioterrorist attack, decision makers will require ongoing expert advice from senior public health and medical leaders.

There was concern that the American people could not be moved towards mass vaccination:

The individual actions of U.S. citizens will be critical to ending the spread of contagious disease; leaders must gain the trust and sustained cooperation of the American people….

Dark Winter participants worried that it would not be possible to forcibly impose vaccination or travel restrictions on large groups of the population without their general cooperation. To gain that cooperation, the President and other leaders in Dark Winter recognized the importance of persuading their constituents that there was fairness in the distribution of vaccine and other scarce resources, that the disease-containment measures were for the general good of society, that all possible measures were being taken to prevent the further spread of the disease, and that the government remained firmly in control despite the expanding epidemic.

“The federal government has to have the cooperation from the American people. There is no federal force out there that can require 300,000,000 people to take steps they don’t want to take” (participant Sam Nunn).

As with the coronavirus, the media had a crucial role in hyping the smallpox terror hysteria. See if you can find the masks and social distancing Easter Eggs hidden in the tall grass here.

From the 2015 book “The End of a Global Pox: America and the Eradication of Smallpox in the Cold War Era” by Bob H. Reinhardt:

The [New York] Times’s’ Maureen Dowd raised the specter of “Muslim martyrs willing to be infected with smallpox… who could then walk around our malls and cause an epidemic.” Other reporters rediscovered smallpox as the number one bioweapons threat, highlighting (and sometimes exaggerating) its virulence. Six days after the attacks, for instance, the Washington Post’s Rick Weiss explained that smallpox “is easily spread by coughing and sneezing,” which is true insofar as smallpox does spread by inhalation, but only in relatively close proximity, six or seven feet.

Such details did not matter in the superheated context of the moment. The events of September and October 2001 seemed to confirm the growing anxieties of the preceding (post-Cold War) decade…

The Dark Winter scenario suddenly became terrifyingly prescient. The media took a renewed interest in the lessons of Dark Winter, with reports in the New York Times, Newsweek and the New Republic, and on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and more.”

It appears plausible that the main reason the smallpox hysteria didn’t take was because the smallpox vaccine itself was too dangerous for a worldwide pressure campaign, with common serious side effects, including death.

Talk about a standard absolutely not being applied today:

Although federal officials are currently negotiating with drug companies for enough smallpox vaccine to inoculate every American, CDC officials said the “Interim Smallpox Response Plan and Guidelines” does not call for mass vaccination in the absence of any smallpox outbreak. A Nov 26 news release states, “The plan does not call for mass vaccination in advance of a smallpox outbreak because the risk of side effects from the vaccine outweigh[s] the risk of someone actually being exposed to the smallpox virus.”

Nevertheless, in a poll taken two months after 9/11, 61 percent of respondents said they’d take it. This is what fear can do:

Did our ruling elites learn their lesson? Smallpox proved too tricky because the vaccine would have killed too many people. Perhaps the idea was to come up with a lab-designed virus that could be better controlled?

Donald Ainslee Henderson of Johns Hopkins, the man who towers over the 2001 New York Times account, actually named the coronavirus as a similar threat to the smallpox scare while looking back on Dark Winter in 2014, two years before he died:

“The world has changed. I think we really cannot plan to eradicate any organism now. I think we have to simply realize that we have threats, be they terrorists or mother nature—à la coronavirus [SARS]. We better be able to respond and be ready to defend ourselves. And we’re going to have to be much better prepared than we are right now.”

Another Hopkins participant in Dark Winter, Tara O’Toole, went on to serve in Homeland Security for the Obama administration:

From 2009-2013, Dr. O’Toole served as Under Secretary of Science and Technology (S&T) at the Department of Homeland Security, the principal advisor to the Secretary on matters related to science and technology.

Her 2014 quote on Dark Winter:

“The real peril,” says O’Toole, “is going to emerge in three to five years, when advances in biotechnology and bioscience are going to make it possible to create even more powerful weapons.”

Well, she was off by about a year.

During his run for the White House in 2020, Joe Biden continually warned of a Dark Winter to come if the coronavirus wasn’t under control:

As research provided by outstanding investigative reporter Whitney Webb in April 2020 makes clear, Biden was using the exact same language as the original architects of a pre-9/11 establishment war game two decades ago…

The name for the exercise derives from a statement made by Robert Kadlec, who participated in the script created for the exercise, when he states that the lack of smallpox vaccines for the U.S. populace means that “it could be a very dark winter for America.” Kadlec, a veteran of the George W. Bush administration and a former lobbyist for military intelligence/intelligence contractors, is now leading HHS’ Covid-19 response and led the Trump administration’s 2019 “Crimson Contagion” exercises, which simulated a crippling pandemic influenza outbreak in the U.S. that had first originated in China.

How odd that Biden employs the very wording of a pre-9/11 pro-vaccine war game to preview his coronavirus tyranny, which he is now rolling out in full Stalinist measure as fall arrives.

Joe Schaeffer is the former Managing Editor of The Washington Times National Weekly Edition. His columns appear at WorldTribune.com and FreePressInternational.org.

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