COVID-19: ‘Putin Hacked Our Vaccine’ Is Dumbest Story Yet

Caitlin Johnstone tackles the latest “Russiavape” story. 

By Caitlin Johnstone

OMG you guys Putin hacked our coronavirus vaccine secrets!

Today mainstream media is reporting what is arguably the single dumbest Russiavape story of all time, against some very stiff competition.

“Russian hackers are targeting health care organizations in the West in an attempt to steal coronavirus vaccine research, the U.S. and Britain said,” reports The New York Times.

“Hackers backed by the Russian state are trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine and treatment research from academic and pharmaceutical institutions around the world, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said on Thursday,” Reuters reports.

“Russian news agency RIA cited spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying the Kremlin rejected London’s allegations, which he said were not backed by proper evidence,” adds Reuters.

I mean, there are just so many layers of stupid.

First of all, how many more completely unsubstantiated government agency allegations about Russian nefariousness are we the public going to accept from the corporate mass media? Since 2016 it’s been wall-to-wall narrative about evil things Russia is doing to the empire-like cluster of allies loosely centralized around the United States, and they all just happen to be things for which nobody can actually provide hard verifiable evidence.

Ever since the shady cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike admitted that it never actually saw hard proof of Russia hacking the DNC servers, the already shaky and always unsubstantiated narrative that Russian hackers interfered in the U.S. presidential election in 2016 has been on thinner ice than ever. Yet because the mass media converged on this narrative and repeated it as fact over and over they’ve been able to get the mainstream headline-skimming public to accept it as an established truth, priming them for an increasingly idiotic litany of completely unsubstantiated Russia scandals, culminating most recently in the entirely debunked claim that Russia paid Taliban-linked fighters to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Secondly, the news story doesn’t even claim that these supposed Russian hackers even succeeded in doing whatever they were supposed to have been doing in this supposed cyberattack.

“Officials have not commented on whether the attacks were successful but also have not ruled out that this is the case,” Wired reports.

Thirdly, this is a “vaccine” which does not even exist at this point in time, and the research which was supposedly hacked may never lead to one. Meanwhile, Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University reports that it has “successfully completed tests on volunteers of the world’s first vaccine against coronavirus,” in Russia.

Fourthly, and perhaps most importantly, how obnoxious and idiotic is it that coronavirus vaccine “secrets” are even a thing?? This is a global pandemic which is hurting all of us; scientists should be free to collaborate with other scientists anywhere in the world to find a solution to this problem. Nobody has any business keeping “secrets” from the world about this virus or any possible vaccine or treatment. If they do, anyone in the world is well within their rights to pry those secrets away from them.

This intensely stupid story comes out at the same time British media are blaring stories about Russian interference in the 2019 election, which if you actually listen carefully to the claims being advanced amounts to literally nothing more than the assertion that Russians talked about already leaked documents pertaining to the U.K.’s healthcare system on the internet.

“Russian actors ‘sought to interfere’ in last winter’s general election by amplifying an illicitly acquired NHS dossier that was seized upon by Labour during the campaign, the foreign secretary has said,” reports The Guardian.

“Amplifying.” That’s literally all there is to this story. As we learned with the ridiculous U.S. Russiagate narrative, with such allegations, Russia “amplifying” something can mean anything from RT reporting on a major news story to a Twitter account from St. Petersburg sharing an article from The Washington Post. Even the foreign secretary’s claim itself explicitly admits that “there is no evidence of a broad spectrum Russian campaign against the General Election.”

“The statement is so foggy and contradictory that it is almost impossible to understand it,” responded Russia’s foreign ministry to the allegations. “If it’s inappropriate to say something then don’t say it. If you say it, produce the facts.”

Instead of producing facts you’ve got the Murdoch press pestering Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party candidate, on his doorstep over this ridiculous non-story, and popular right-wing outlets like Guido Fawkes running the blatantly false headline “Government Confirms Corbyn Used Russian-Hacked Documents in 2019 Election.” The completely bogus allegation that the NHS documents came to Jeremy Corbyn by way of Russian hackers is not made anywhere in the article itself, but for the headline-skimming majority this makes no difference. And headline skimmers get as many votes as people who read and think critically.

All this new Cold War Russia hysteria is turning people’s brains into guacamole. We’ve got to find a way to snap out of the propaganda trance so we can start creating a world that is based on truth and a desire for peace.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium.   Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her books “Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and “Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.”

This article was re-published with permission.

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26 comments for “COVID-19: ‘Putin Hacked Our Vaccine’ Is Dumbest Story Yet

  1. Marty
    July 20, 2020 at 15:32

    Now that Roger Stone is free to tell the truth, it is a good time to hear someone who offered testimony at his trial show to prove that he was innocent, but was prevented by the corrupt Judge:
    NSA Whistleblower William Binney holding internet press conference 7/23 “Neither Flynn Nor Stone Were Guilty, Because There Was No Russian Hack:”

    William Binney Makes His Case To The World

    Internet Press Conference Thursday, July 23, 11 a.m. EDT


  2. Zhu
    July 19, 2020 at 22:01

    Whichever party loses in November will come up with an even dumber conspiracy fiction, rather than admitting mistakes.

  3. Putin Apologist
    July 19, 2020 at 17:50

    “How many more completely unsubstantiated government agency allegations about Russian nefariousness are we the public going to accept from the corporate mass media?”

    The Answer is none. Nobody (well, nobody with a brain) believes anything the “corporate mass media” says about Russia, or China, Iran or Venezuela… or anything else for that matter.

  4. James Keye
    July 19, 2020 at 10:26

    The problem I have with this story about a story is the certainty about the certainty of others…and the excessive use of words like ridiculous and stupid; if it is intentional propaganda aimed at a particular audience, then it is neither ridiculous or stupid, though it may be evil.

    The other concern I have is based on the question, ‘What would I do?’ Having been in the position to act on and control an small insurgency, I used every tool to pry out information on those in opposition, legal, not so legal and nefarious. I was a good person on a righteous errand (so I told me); what would people steeped in a culture of secrets and their discovery do with the tools presently available?

    Does this and related stories seem super-hyped? Sure! But, is everyone out there prying into every nock and cranny with the easy tools down the wires from a computer keyboard? That seems equally likely. At this point the only thing I distrust more than certainty is more certainty.

  5. Guy
    July 18, 2020 at 15:32

    But,but, but we never heard the words “highly likely” ,they must be slipping.LOL

  6. DH Fabian
    July 18, 2020 at 13:41

    The Democrat right wing are robotically persistent, and count on the ignorance of their base. By late last year, we saw them begin setting the stage to blame-away an expected 2020 defeat on Russia. Once again, proving that today’s Democrats are just too dangerous to vote for. Donald Trump owes a great deal to his “friends across the aisle.”

    • Mark
      July 19, 2020 at 01:02

      The Presidential defeat was UN-expected by many, including the Donald.

  7. John R
    July 18, 2020 at 11:15

    The Russians did it (pick from the list of provided baseless accusations or add your own as desired, ie. the Russians stole my car) – it’s the new version of “the dog ate my homework”, only weaker.

    • Mark
      July 19, 2020 at 02:26

      The English word disinformation is a loan translation of the Russian dezinformatsiya, derived from the title of a KGB black propaganda department. Joseph Stalin coined the term, giving it a French-sounding name to claim it had a Western origin.

      Given the inventor, I’m sure Russia doesn’t use Black propaganda…

      Black propaganda is a form of propaganda intended to create the impression that it was created by those it is supposed to discredit. Black propaganda contrasts with grey propaganda, which does not identify its source, and white propaganda, which does not disguise its origins at all. It is typically used to vilify or embarrass, the enemy through misrepresentation

  8. michael888
    July 18, 2020 at 05:08

    “We’ve got to find a way to snap out of the propaganda trance so we can start creating a world that is based on truth and a desire for peace.”

    Obviously Caitlin is on some strong recreational drug. This post-truth fact-free easily manipulated world view is EXACTLY where the DNC/ CIA/ Establishment MICIMATT wants us!

  9. Tim Jones
    July 18, 2020 at 01:15

    “I mean, there are just so many layers of stupid.” True, and Caitlin also helped me to see the humor in it.

  10. Tom
    July 18, 2020 at 01:00

    The hacking fake news story indeed is very, very stupid one meant to be digested by stupid people. Firstly the global scientific community shares findings and information and publishes it in scientific magazines. Secondly if the UK had New or advanced research data that could lead to an effective and reliable vaccine, why than was it Russia who was able to produce that new vaccine and not the UK. The fake narrative simply does not add up. It’s trash. The western media is a propaganda media.

    • Mark
      July 19, 2020 at 01:04

      So the Russian announcement of a phase 1 (safety) test of a vaccine by 50 military subjects states a success. Several others on the planet have made it to this point also.

  11. Zhu
    July 17, 2020 at 22:32

    Too many Americans seem to be post-modernists, convinced there are no facts, only opinions. When reality bites their butts, they hop around like a scalded cat, looking for scapegoats.

  12. Randal Marlin
    July 17, 2020 at 21:15

    The shame is not that a country might spy on vaccination research in search of a counter to a pandemic killing many thousands or even millions. It is that the principle of protecting profit over lives dooms the poor while preserving the lives of the rich. I think I know what Jesus would say about that principle.

    • DH Fabian
      July 18, 2020 at 13:44

      A pandemic requires a cooperative INTERNATIONAL effort, with scientists around the world working together, sharing data.

  13. ronnie mitchell
    July 17, 2020 at 16:08

    Unfortunately, websites that called ‘progressive’ echo the same propaganda. Today on Democracy Now! Amy Goodman pushed the story and asked her guest not did she believe that story , but instead talked about what can be done about it.

    She also uncritically repeated the ‘bounty’ story that didn’t even hold up for a week but offered no correction.

    If it’s something bad and the story has ‘Russia’ in the plot line she never questions if it is true, and the same goes for statements by “unnamed sources in the intelligence agency”.

  14. July 17, 2020 at 14:38

    Caitlin ‘s title: COVID-19: ‘Putin Hacked Our Vaccine’ Is Dumbest Story Yet

    Then she writes about “Government Confirms Corbyn Used Russian-Hacked Documents in 2019 Election.”

    That was a newspaper headline with flat zero of supporting claims in the body of the paper. Clearly, the competition for “The Dumbest Story” in categories: of the week, of the month, of the year, ever, is fierce, especially if we have the widest category “ever/yet”. With all that, “unsuccessful hacking efforts” may well be true, because everybody has some phishing-looking entries in the spam filter, assuming that the e-mail address was used for any non-secret purpose, e.g. writing this reply. Now we simply need an expert divining who “was behind” the attempt. That is probably automated, so one can surmise that every agency that participates in “Five Eyes” has a big backlog of documented “probably Russian efforts” with sinister aims that were not converted into stories that properly alarm the public.

    OTH, one mystery can be explained. As the author observes, “All this new Cold War Russia hysteria is turning people’s brains into guacamole.” And the situation urgently calls for developing new methods of converting parts of human body into edible green gooey substance that people would voluntarily consume:

    >>Soylent Green. Richard Fleischer’s “Soylent Green” is a good, solid science-fiction movie, and a little more. It tells the story of New York in the year 2022, when the population has swollen to an unbelievable 80 million, and people live in the streets and line up for their rations of water and Soylent Green.<<

    There are only two years left. The last time I checked my supermarket, guacamole was the only edible gooey substance offered in larger packages (pesto and canned spinach are offered in smallish jars and cans). Of course, we may develop more tightly controlled hysterias so brains will turn to pesto, minced spinach etc……

    • July 18, 2020 at 11:15

      Some apologies to Caitlin. Sadly, I missed a point. My objection was that just because the story was completely bogus it does not make it a serious contender for “the dumbest story”. But that should be a prerequisite for the competition. Where this story seems to be particularly dumb is on the sinister side. Nothing about stealing secrets of British ingenuity to copy advanced weapons and threaten the peaceful islands of Great Britain with an attack, about subverting exemplary British democracy, sowing discord, the damn Ruskies (allegedly) wanted to know some ideas about making a vaccine, presumably superior to what they know already.

      Dumb or clever, the only person experiencing a reaction to the story that is intended by the creators has guacamole brain already. According to opinion polls, it may be a majority in many regions, including UK. The whole premise of marketing is based on a scientific observation that repeating a dumb message can influence millions to waste thousands of dollars (per person). Some dumb messages do not fly (I recall “At last, chewing gum for the rich”, “New Coke, [I do not even remember, but it flopped]”) but many do (e.g. “Great taste, less filling”). Affected people can exhibit decent level of skills, even with more complex mental tasks (solving crossword puzzles?), but develop a desired Pavlovian type of response.

  15. Daniel P.
    July 17, 2020 at 12:15

    Russiagate has made unbearably righteous twits of main stream Democrats. And it is completely disheartening to see the continued use of this psy-op to keep unthinking Dems in line.
    Shame on the D party for foisting this fraud upon the public and pitting Dems against each other. But I guess that’s what they do, isn’t it?

    • Zhu
      July 18, 2020 at 21:53

      Russiagate was just Birthergate with few words changed. This should have been obvious at once. Party X loses an election, blames scapegoats rather than admit mistakes.

  16. vinnieoh
    July 17, 2020 at 11:34

    “Fourthly, and perhaps most importantly, how obnoxious and idiotic is it that coronavirus vaccine “secrets” are even a thing?? ”

    As I started in on this piece, I desperately hoped Caitlin would make this point. Just as soon as China sequenced the genome of this virus THEY PUBLISHED IT FOR ANYONE TO USE. Without that crucial grunt work, efforts to create a vaccine would be stumbling around in the dark.

    But in the US it is disaster capitalism on parade.

    There was a good joke posted by b, over at MoA:

    Q: “What borders on insanity?”
    A: “Canada and Mexico.”

    • Ruth
      July 17, 2020 at 18:59

      My sentiments exactly, and I like your joke.

  17. Aaron
    July 17, 2020 at 11:21

    I like your fourth point, that was my immediate reaction when I heard about this. The Russians are Coming! And they want to save lives?!

    • rosemerry
      July 17, 2020 at 17:39

      Already Pompass is saying that Cuban help in medical matters is “human trafficking”. The USA wants a US-corporate produced expensive, profit-making vaccine for the US only, while everyone else (except the UK, which now joins the US exclusivity) wants to share and make available a vaccine at low cost for all.
      Dmitry Peskov (who tried to stop the nonsensical 2018 “Skripal-poisoning campaign must be the Russkies” in 2018) has seen this new Raab- ish() as more “highly likely” Theresa May fantasies.

    July 17, 2020 at 11:18

    “‘Putin Hacked Our Vaccine’ Is Dumbest Story Yet”

    Agreed. It does seem almost as though there’s a race for producing the dumbest in the ongoing stories. Maybe Pompeo offers secret bounties?

    Russia and China have good vaccine candidates well along in testing.

    It is sad that Western, American-dominated governments commit so much time and resources to the effort .

    The flow of stories just never stops. It follows the old advertising and propaganda principle that if you throw enough crap at the wall, some of it will stick.

    Just ask yourself, are there any figures in today’s world leadership more dishonest and less trustworthy than the Trump tribe of Pompeo and Grenell and Bolton et al?

    I just don’t think so. Trump has been caught, again and again, lying to us about many matters, and his own niece says he is a sociopath.

    Here is a well-written, incisive piece by a former Canadian security service man, expert on Russia, which sheds a great deal of light on all of this nonsense about Russia:


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