by Kevin Barrett (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 49, No. 3, Ramadan, 1441)
The global coronavirus pandemic has drawn a stark distinction between two sets of countries. The first consists of Russia, China, Cuba, and other global good citizens. These nations have proactively offered aid to other people battling the pandemic. The second set is the global sociopaths. Exemplified by the US and Israel, the sociopaths have tried to snatch resources away from others, while gleefully trumpeting their schadenfreude (pleasure derived from someone else’s misfortune) as the pandemic ravages their designated enemies.
As of late April, Russia has begun to seriously suffer from COVID-19. But in March it was nearly virus-free—and sending aid to Italy and the US, both members of the NATO bloc that is surrounding Russia with first-strike nuclear weapons and biological warfare labs.
Why would Russia help members of the hostile NATO alliance? One of the organizers of the Russian aid effort, VTB Bank chair Andrey Kostin, explained to CNBC: “We’re not enemies, we’re friends to the West, to Europe, to America. Of course, we can’t solve the problems of Italy or other countries, but where we can show our support and provide real assistance we’ll be doing this.” CNBC reported that Russia “labeled the lorries of equipment it sent to virus-stricken Italy in March: ‘From Russia with love.’”
As Russian military transport planes loaded with medical equipment and supplies landed in New York, the American media rewarded Putin’s generosity with a slap in the face. Not a shred of gratitude was expressed. The CNBC story opened: “Russia has been accused of sowing misinformation and distrust in Europe over the coronavirus pandemic, and its efforts to send aid to the US and Italy—two of the worst affected countries—have been met with skepticism.” Other mainstream media coverage of the Russian aid was similarly uncomplimentary. The New York Times accused Russia of “turning the tables on the US” (which had sent Russia food aid in the 1990s) and described Russia’s coronavirus aid efforts as “a propaganda coup for the Kremlin—tempered by an intensifying epidemic at home.”
Meanwhile Cuba—which has been sending medical aid in the form of well-trained doctors and nurses to poor countries for more than five decades—has also been getting few thanks from the mainstream media, and none from the US government, for its efforts to help other nations battle COVID-19. In March, Cuban health experts were invited to assist medical workers in Italy, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Suriname, Jamaica and Grenada. Cubans even built a field hospital in Lombardy, Italy, during the worst days of the pandemic. The US response? Barely-veiled threats from the State Department all but ordering those countries to send the Cuban health experts packing. US media quoted “experts” like anti-Chavista Venezuelan Helena Poleo saying things like, “The Cuban regime has always said that they were better than the rest of the world in their medical research, so they’re using this opportunity to push their alleged advances.”
China, too, is not getting much thanks from Western mainstream media for its massive campaign to help other countries contain the pandemic. Fortune Magazine cast China’s heroic efforts to help Europe as a “propaganda push,” a “conscious exercise of soft power.” Foreign Policy called China and Russia “bad Samaritans,” harping on the same old propaganda talking point that motives for the aid are “not altruistic.”
The fact that virtually every major Western media outlet was saying almost exactly the same thing over and over—that Chinese, Russian, and Cuban aid efforts stemmed from selfish, not generous, motives—raises questions about the West’s allegedly free and independent media.
Indeed, Western media coverage of Russian, Chinese, and Cuban efforts to help other nations struggling against COVID-19 has been so uniformly negative and dismissive that it almost seems to be coming out of the same scriptwriting workshop. Why is the entire mainstream media on the same page on this, like so many other issues?
One answer is that most mainstream media outlets are owned by the same six or seven corporations, themselves controlled by a small number of wealthy individuals via interlocking directorates. Peter Phillips of Sonoma State University writes that genuine US media disappeared during the 1990s: “In its place arose an increasingly concentrated, controlled, and propagandized corporate structure that had abandoned the time-honored commitment to inform and serve the American people… Today, after a dozen years of further consolidation, corporate media have become a monolithic power structure that serves the interests of empire, war, and capitalism.”
Additionally, corporate media provide a megaphone for the intelligence agencies, led by the CIA. The most successful program in CIA history, according to internal evaluations, was Operation Mockingbird, which infiltrates and steers the media. (Officially, Mockingbird was shut down after it was exposed in the 1970s; but in reality, the same program continues under different names.) The Agency paid journalists to gather intelligence and print propaganda. It cultivated the editors and publishers of America’s biggest news outlets. As Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame wrote in 1977: “Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were William Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Time Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the Louisville Courier-Journal, and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps‑Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald‑Tribune.”
How does this control system work? Imagine you were a novice New York Times journalist who wanted to write a positive story about Russia’s aid to coronavirus-stricken New York. Perhaps you saw the aid as a chance to reset US relations with Russia. If you wrote and submitted such a story, you would likely be called into the editor’s office and informed that this just wasn’t the angle that the Times wanted to take. If you asked why not, you wouldn’t be given the straight answer—which is that the owners and top editors at the Times work with the CIA and the billionaire cabal that rules America to propagandize the American people using a strictly controlled set of talking points. Nobody ever says it that bluntly. The truth is concealed behind an endless parade of euphemisms.
The altruistic behavior of Russia, China, and Cuba, cast as disguised selfishness by the Mockingbird media, contrasts sharply with US and Israeli attempts to snatch away medical resources from afflicted countries. One shocking example was US President Trump’s outrageous offer of large sums of money to the German Cure-Vac company to grab exclusive access to its coronavirus vaccine “for the U.S. only.” Even more sociopathically selfish than Trump is Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, which has been stealing ventilators, test kits, masks, and overalls for ambulance workers from other nations, as exposed by internal whistleblowers. Israel also appears to have used its control of Trump, likely gained through Israeli agent Jeffrey Epstein’s filming Trump’s rape of trafficked children, to steal one million face masks from the United States, at a time when masks were in desperately short supply as the US faced a vastly worse crisis than Israel did.
Crises, it is said, test the mettle of men… and nations. The coronavirus crisis, likely unleashed as a US germ warfare operation, may rebound against its perpetrators by exposing the Western oligarchy as a festering cesspool of corruption, lies, and incompetence—while the West’s adversaries, led by such nations as China, Russia, Cuba, and Iran, rise successfully to meet the challenge.