You liked Event 201, the pandemic simulation which, according to conspiracy networks, would have served as a rehearsal before the Covid-19 ? You’ll love NTI 2021 tabletop, a monkey pox outbreak scenario, in turn presented as proof that the current outbreak was knowingly engineered.
- Where does the rumor come from?
It starts circulating very quietly around mid-May, before experiencing sudden massive exposure by Kim Schmitz, says Kim Dotcom. The founder of the Megaupload file hosting site shared, on May 20, to his 800,000 Twitter followers an excerpt from the report accompanied by an allusive message: “The monkeypox scenario from 2021. Coincidence? Big Pharma’s Next $500 Billion? »
Immediately, this report hitherto reserved for an audience of experts in the fight against infectious diseases experienced an immediate spread in conspiratorial spheres. In France, it was taken up in the days that followed by sites such as Nexus Where Global resistancewith articles ranging from insistent suspicion to frank and open conspiratorial accusation, like the title of 1scandal.com“2021 Document Proves Bill Gates Planned Monkeypox Attack for May 15, 2022.”
- What is it based on?
This new rumor spreads through a mixture of authentic documents, selective reading, cognitive biases, and intentional worldviews.
First observation: the shared screenshot comes from a authentic document. It comes from the NTI (for Nuclear Threat Initiative), a non-profit organization created in 2001 by former US Senator Sam Nunn and philanthropist Ted Turner, which studies military scenarios, but also health, which threaten the planet.
In March 2021, the NTI organized, in conjunction with the Munich Security Conference, its fourth pandemic simulation exercise. And, indeed, the coincidence is remarkable, since it concerns the emergence of an epidemic of monkeypox in May 2022. To the eyes of a conspiratorial mind, this is proof that the -this was orchestrated and planned.
- The limits of coincidence
The correspondence is however not total between simulation and reality. NTI imagined an epidemic that would start on May 15, when the country at the heart of the epidemic is “during national holidays, with many trips inland and abroad”. If it is tempting to recognize China there, the scenario is based on an imaginary country, the nation of Brinia.
The situation in reality was different. WHO has detected the first symptoms of the epidemic April 29. On that day, a case of smallpox contamination was spotted in the United Kingdom in a British national returning from Nigeria – the first case outside Africa, where the disease is endemic, i.e. it has been circulating there uninterruptedly for several decades.
Finally, in the simulation exercise, the strain of monkeypox involved comes from laboratory experiments, which would have made it more deadly. In reality, to date, nothing indicates that this is the case. “We have no reason to believe that the current outbreak involves an engineered pathogen, nor have we seen any conclusive evidence to support such a hypothesis., wrote the NTI on May 24in a post aimed at answering questions about his “prophetic” exercise of 2021. We also don’t believe it has the potential to spread as quickly as the fictional strain in our scenario, or to cause such a high death rate. »
The organization repeats that in its view the emergence of a monkeypox epidemic in May 2022, as it had imagined, is “purely a coincidence”.
- Why the Bill Gates connection is overinterpreted
Multi-billionaire Bill Gates is doing well, through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation [également contributrice financièrement parlant du Monde Afrique], to the financing of NTI, but in a marginal way. Between 2004 and 2020, the largest sponsorship organization in the world awarded three grants to the organizationfor a total of 3.5 million dollars (3.27 million euros).
To put these numbers into context, the Gates Foundation distributed a total of nearly six billion dollars (5.61 billion euros) in 2020; and, that same year, sponsorship by foundations accounts for a quarter of the budget from NTI. These financial links are therefore in the minority and do not make it possible to prove a supposed subjection.
The political influence of patrons must, in general, be put into perspective. As noted it in 2009 the economist Guy Carron de la Carrièrea specialist in economic diplomacy, if it is true that “Private actors have become indispensable, their role and influence should not be overestimated. (…) It is indeed the policies defined by traditional administrations that retain the monopoly of major decisions and their implementation. »
- Several NTI scenarios did not happen
It should also be remembered that this is the fourth exercise set up by the Nuclear Threat Initiative and that the previous ones had not given rise to conspiratorial reasoning, because they had had no echo in reality.
In 2020, the exercise staged an H2N2 influenza virus manipulated in a laboratory in the fictional country of Aplea, and which is said to have spread to the neighboring country of Vezu. In 2019, it’s the plague bacillus who struck Vestiaan imaginary and unstable European country.
This whole conspiracy theory is based on a mental sleight of hand, consisting in reversing the chain of causalities. In conspiratorial logic, the resemblance between a simulation exercise and reality would prove that the former was a preparation for the latter.
It is, however, the opposite: when NTI set up its scenario, monkeypox already existed. This disease endemic to sub-Saharan Africa was discovered in the 1970s, and it is for this reason that it constitutes material that can be used for a simulation of a pandemic. “The risks it poses have been well documented for years by multiple public health authorities, the information in our fictional scenario is not new”recalls the organization.