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TBR News May 25, 2020

May 25 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. May 25, 2020: Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it. “
Comment for May 25, 2020 : “The CIA, has been responsible for manufacturing the nearly-perfect counterfeit 50 and 100-dollar-notes that Washington has been accusing the North Koreans of making.The charge comes after an extensive investigation in Europe and Asia by the German BfV and after interviews with counterfeit money experts and leading representatives of the high-security publishing industry.
The U.S.-dollar forgeries, designated ‘Supernotes,’ are so good that even specialists are unable to distinguish them from genuine notes, have circulated for almost two decades without a reliable identification of the culprits. Because of their extraordinary quality, experts had assumed that some country must have been behind the enterprise.
North Korea is one of the world’s poorest nations and lacks the technological capability to produce notes of such high quality. According to the BfV, North Korea is at present unable to even produce the won, the North Korean currency.
The German sources state that the CIA has printed the falsified ‘Supernotes’ at a secret facility near Washington to fund covert operations without Congressional oversight. The same agency has also been falsifying Euros to fund its large-scale bribery of German government officials.”

The Table of Contents
• Trumpocalypse review: David Frum bushwhacks a new axis of evil
• Anthrax anxiety has gripped America
• What we can learn from conspiracy theories
• ‘Pure fabrication’: Head of Wuhan lab DENIES claims virus leaked from there, says ‘we didn’t even know it existed’
• TWA Flight 800: The Gathering of the Nuts
• Who is the brilliant Russian scientist, Sorcha Faal?
• The Great Mortgage Scandal

Trumpocalypse review: David Frum bushwhacks a new axis of evil
The former George W Bush speechwriter thinks 21st-century conservatism has ‘delivered much more harm than good’
May 24, 2020
by Lloyd Green
The Guardian
Nearly 100,000 Americans lie dead, almost 40 million people are out of work, home mortgage delinquencies are soaring and the Mall of America is stiffing its lenders. The US looks like one of the president’s brand-name casinos. When Donald Trump said “One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear,” he meant the coronavirus. He could have been referring to the American Dream itself.
The Atlantic writer David Frum argues that “democracy is tested by its ability to deliver security, prosperity, and justice”. By that metric, the Trump presidency is a shambolic failure.
In a book mostly written before the pandemic, Frum details the efforts of the 45th president to gut the rule of law and institutionalize “white ethnic chauvinism”, leaving the country reeling, the constitution bruised. Trumpian alchemy has turned gold to lead.
Trumpocalypse recalls that in 2016, Senator Ted Cruz compared Trump to Benito Mussolini, then “went to work” in his “cloakroom”. Most recently, the president has threatened Michigan and Nevada over absentee balloting and waged war on government inspectors general. Sacking Rome was quicker than building it.
Frum’s journey is emblematic of our ongoing political realignment. The Republican party’s embrace of rural and white working-class voters has been met with an exodus of college graduates and suburbanites. Reliably red Arizona is tilting toward Joe Biden because of defections among seniors and four-year degree holders.
Anti-closure protesters have toted Confederate flags, slung arsenals on their shoulders and left state legislatures in lockdown. Their avatar brags of medicating with hydroxychloroquine, a drug with side-effects that include paranoia, hallucinations and psychosis. Peloton moms are repulsed.
Over the past half-century, the GOP has morphed into the heir of George Wallace, the segregationist Alabama governor and presidential candidate, and Pat Buchanan, Richard Nixon’s paleoconservative speechwriter. The party of Abraham Lincoln and the upward arc is gone.
Frum was a speechwriter to George W Bush and helped coin the phrase “axis of evil”. Now he declares that 21st-century conservatism has “delivered much more harm than good, from the Iraq war to the financial crisis to the Trump presidency”. Yet he remains committed to his Burkean worldview, of individual autonomy fused to social cohesion.
Trumpocalypse quotes the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, that it is “culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society”. By the same measure, “politics can change a culture and save it from itself”.
Frum criticizes the effective disenfranchisement wrought by the electoral college but does not call for its abolition. That would be futile. Although the Republicans lost the popular vote in six of seven presidential contests since 1992, they captured the White House three times. Few surrender power for the asking.
After the debacle of 2000, Frum’s boss extended an olive branch to blue America. Bush sought to broaden his mandate. Trump still spits in half the country’s eye. Conciliation is not part of his DNA, or even his playbook.
Frum questions the legitimacy of the process if Trump wins re-election but finishes second again in the popular vote. He also homes in on the contradiction at the heart of Trumpian populism.
On the one hand, it is rooted in the belief that the silent majority should come first, not the elites. On the other, its operative dictum is “we should not choose our leaders just by counting who got the most votes”. Shades of Animal Farm: some folks are more equal than others.
Said differently, the people’s preferences should not be equated with “will of the people”. In the end, Frum says, Trumpism is about defending a “distinct way of life”, one challenged by modernity.
rum makes clear that this outlook is shared by the cosseted segments of Trump’s base. Trumpocalypse quotes Peter Thiel, a pillar of Silicon Valley and an early Trump supporter, who sees democracy at odds with his libertarian ideals. Thiel has written that he “no longer believes that freedom and democracy are compatible”.
A PayPal co-founder and Kushner family partner, Thiel blames this decoupling on the “extension of the franchise to women”. He also contends that the welfare state has “rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron”. Recent reports, however, describe even Thiel as displeased with Trump over his handling of the pandemic.
Trumpocalypse voices irreconcilable grievance. Still, Frum’s dismay is not directed at the president’s supporters, at least he tries not to. Frum understands that even if the incumbent loses re-election, the great American divide is not disappearing anytime soon.
On that note, Trumpocalypse rejects progressivism’s embrace of the “Great Awokening”, the volatile brew of identity politics and intersectionality. The left’s orthodoxies find few takers in swing districts. Frum opposes liberal immigration policies as devaluing the rights and status of actual citizens. He also criticizes Biden for advocating healthcare expansion to cover undocumented migrants.
More Americans favor a wall along the southern border than support granting government healthcare to the undocumented. Frum warns that “the election can be thrown away by people who will not meet voters where they are”.
Trumpocalypse proposes a series of reforms to rebalance the disconnect between the populace and electoral outcomes. Among other things, Frum urges abolishing the filibuster if the Democrats retake the Senate: “Don’t study or debate it. Just do it.” Right now, the odds of the GOP keeping the upper chamber are no better than 50-50.
As for climate change, the author opposes the Green New Deal but backs a carbon tax and carbon sequestration. In 2010, the GOP regained the House in part due to congressional Democrats passing a “cap and trade” tax.
Whenever Trump leaves office, his legacy will haunt. He was more than just a candidate, he embodied a movement. His children show no hint of leaving the stage.
Frum observes that in theology, the apocalypse was not “the end” but the harbinger of a “new and better order”. We’ll see. But Trumpocalypse is an apt title for these blighted time

Anthrax anxiety has gripped America
BBC News
Anthrax is not the only potential biological weapon. Other well-known diseases such as smallpox, botulism and Ebola could also be used in a terrorist attack.
And biological warfare is not only limited to diseases that directly target humans. Those that affect our food sources – wheat smut, rice blast, insect infestations, even foot and mouth – will in turn affect the humans that depend on them.
BBC News Online examines the diseases that could become weapons of war.
• Botulism
• Smallpox
• Plague
• Tularaemia
• Haemorrhagic fever
• Crop diseases
• Animal diseases
________________________________________
Botulism
What is it?
Botulism is a muscle-paralysing disease caused by a toxin from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. There are three main types – food-borne, wound and infant botulism.
Symptoms
The first recognisable symptoms, usually appearing 12 to 36 hours after exposure to the toxin, include blurred vision, vomiting and difficulty in swallowing.
If untreated, the disease can eventually lead to respiratory failure and paralysis. It is fatal in 5 to 10% of cases.
How is it spread?
Botulism is caused by eating or inhaling the bacterial toxin. It cannot be spread from person to person.
If used as a biological weapon, the toxin could be sprayed as an aerosol – it is colourless and odourless – or used to contaminate food.
Is there an antidote?
An antitoxin is available, but it is only effective if administered early in the course of the disease. There is also a vaccine, but concerns about its effectiveness and possible side-effects mean it is not widely used.
Availability
The bacterium from which botulism is derived occurs naturally in the ground, so many samples are likely to be held around the world. The Japanese cult Aum Shikrikyo dispersed it in aerosols on at least three occasions in the early 1990s. According to John Eldridge, the editor of Jane’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence, Iraq, Russia and Iran are likely to have large quantities at their disposal.
Overall risk
One problem for health experts would be distinguishing a terrorist attack from a natural outbreak of food poisoning.
John Eldridge said: “Botulism toxin was considered by coalition forces to be a viable threat during the Gulf War. Some 10,335 kg was destroyed under UNSCOM [United Nations Special Commission] supervision.”
Smallpox
What is it?
Smallpox is a viral infection caused by the variola virus. One of the biggest killers in history, the disease was effectively wiped out in the 1970s by a worldwide vaccination plan.
Symptoms
The incubation period is about 12 days. First symptoms include fever, tiredness and an aching head and back. Over the next few days, a distinctive rash develops, usually on the face, legs and arms.
Lesions then appear, which form crusts and fall away within a few weeks. Death occurs in up to 30% of cases.
How is it spread?
Smallpox can be caught by inhaling the virus from an infected person. Sufferers are most infectious during the first week of illness.
In the event of a purposeful attack, the virus could be released in an aerosol, or suicide attackers could deliberately infect themselves. Its stability in air and high infection rate make the smallpox virus potentially very dangerous.
Is there an antidote?
There is a vaccine against smallpox but routine public inoculation ended in the 1970s as incidence of the disease declined. Everyone born before 1972 was vaccinated, but immunity has probably worn off by now.
In people exposed to smallpox, the vaccine can lessen the severity of, or even prevent, illness if given within four days of exposure. The US currently has an emergency supply of the vaccine.
There is no proven treatment for smallpox victims – except supportive therapy to combat the symptoms.
Availability
There are two World Health Organisation-approved repositories of variola virus – one at the US Center for Disease Control and the other in Novosibirsk, Russia.
The extent of secret stockpiles in other parts of the world remains unknown, but according to Jane’s Defence, Iraq and Russia are likely to have the virus.
Overall risk
Smallpox is often cited as the most feared biological weapon. There is no proven treatment, and the virus could race through a population before anyone realises it has been released.
According to John Eldridge: “It is possible that cultures have found their way out of Russia and could be in the hands of terrorists.”
Plague
What is it?
Plague is an acute bacterial infection caused by Yersinia pestis. There are two main strains – bubonic and pneumonic.
SymptomsIn bubonic plague, the bacteria invade the body causing swollen lymph nodes and fever. The less frequent pneumonic plague causes severe respiratory problems, including coughing and breathing difficulties. The incubation period is usually between one and seven days.
How is it spread?
Bubonic plague is generally not spread from person to person, except through direct contact with fluids from the swellings. The disease is mainly transmitted from the bite of infected fleas carried by rodents.
But pneumonic plague can be passed on by face-to-face contact, through the inhalation of bacteria from a sneeze or cough of an infected person.
Terrorists would most likely attack by spraying an aerosol containing plague bacteria, causing the pneumonic variety.
Is there an antidote?
Plague can be effectively treated with antibiotics such as streptomycin and tetracycline. In treated cases, death occurs in fewer than 5% of victims, but if left untreated mortality rates can be higher than 90%. There is no vaccine.
Availability
Natural outbreaks of plague still occur – most notably in Africa, Asia and western USA. The bacterium responsible is also widely available in microbe banks around the world.
According to Jane’s Defence, America, Iraq, Russia, Iran and possibly North Korea have supplies of the bacterium.
Overall risk
Pneumonic plague is less virulent than smallpox but more so than anthrax. John Eldridge said: “Plague is a possible low-tech choice as successful vectors include insects and rodents.”
Tularaemia
What is it?
Francisella tularensis, the organism that causes tularaemia, is one of the most infectious bacteria known.
Symptoms
Symptoms vary according to the method of infection. If the bacteria are inhaled, symptoms can be similar to pneumonia.
Victims who ingest the bacteria may get a sore throat, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting. Untreated, the disease could progress to respiratory failure, shock and eventually death. The overall mortality rate is about 5%.
How is it spread?
Tularaemia is not spread though human-to-human transmission. Many small mammals harbour the disease, and naturally-acquired human infection occurs through animal bites, ingestion of contaminated food or water and inhalation of infective aerosols.
Aerosol dispersal would be the most likely method of terrorist attack.
Is there an antidote?
There is an effective vaccine, and the disease is treatable with antibiotics.
Availability
During World War II, the potential of F. tularensis as a biological weapon was studied by both sides.
Tularaemia was one of the biological weapons stockpiled by the US military in the late 1960s, but the supply was subsequently destroyed.
The Soviet Union continued production into the early 1990s. Jane’s Defence believe that Iraq and Russia are likely to have stockpiles of this bacterium.
Overall risk
Tularaemia is considered to be dangerous because of its extreme infectivity and because it is easily spread. But it would not kill the vast majority of those infected.
Haemorrhagic fever
What is it?
The most well-known haemorrhagic fever is Ebola, caused by a virus of the same name. A similar disease, also found in the tropics, is caused by the Marburg virus. Both are lethal and relatively easily transmitted.
Symptoms
Within a few weeks of exposure, ebola victims suffer from headaches and muscle aches. They may also experience nausea, chest pain and profuse bleeding. More than half of all Ebola sufferers die from the disease.
How is it spread?
The virus can spread from person to person, through direct contact with blood or other secretions.
Is there an antidote?
For both Ebola and Marburg, there is no cure, no vaccine and no treatment.
Availability
Like cholera and typhoid, these diseases are endemic in many poor countries. There is also speculation that the Soviets experimented with the Marburg virus for its use as a biological weapon.
Overall risk
Haemorrhagic fevers are unlikely to be an obvious choice as they are so hazardous to work with. But, said John Eldridge, perpetrators could quickly acquire the capability to use these germs as weapons.
Crop diseases
Many countries have investigated the effects of purposefully inflicting crop diseases on an enemy. Japan, Germany, France, Britain, the former Soviet Union and the US have all – at various stages – invested in anti-crop warfare of various kinds.
Potato blight, soybean rot and diseases that can affect staple crops like wheat and rye are all capable of decimating huge swathes of agricultural land. So too are infestations by insects such as the Colorado and rapeseed beetle.
The potato blight of 19th Century Ireland and the brown spot disease responsible for the Bengal famine in 1942 show just how devastating these crop diseases can be.
Dr Simon Whitby, from the Department of Peace Studies at Bradford University, said that while attacking a crop is unlikely to cause widespread starvation in anywhere but the very poorest countries – those largely reliant on one staple crop – the method could still be effective as an “economic weapon” elsewhere.
This is especially true when the agriculture is concentrated on intensive farming of genetically similar crops.
“There would be social disruption at one end of the scale, and starvation at the other,” he said.
Two of the main crop diseases identified as potential bio-weapons are wheat stem rust and rice blast.
Rice blast
What is it?
This is one of the most important rice diseases and is caused by the fungus Pyricularia oryzae. There are 219 types, so breeding a resistant crop is complex.
Characteristics
Grey-white lesions appear on the leaves, which eventually produce a brown margin when the lesion stops growing. The fungus may also attack the stem of the plant. Yield losses may be large as few seeds are likely to develop.
Availability
The US chose blast disease as its main anti-rice agent. The US anti-crop programme, an intensive operation throughout the 1950s and 60s, had a cache of nearly a tonne of rice blast at the time it was disbanded. The stockpile would have been intended for a potential attack on Asia, said Dr Simon Whitby.
Other countries apart from the US are also likely to have investigated this disease as a biological weapon, but information is limited.
Overall risk
Rice blast is a fungal disease, in which thousands of spores form on the infected plant. These spores multiply rapidly and float through the air infecting other plants. This easy dispersal, coupled with the complexity of breeding resistant plants, make rice blast a potentially dangerous biological weapon.
Wheat stem rust
What is it?
Stem rust is caused by the fungus Puccinia graminis tritici.
Characteristics
Dark red postules appear on both sides of the leaves and stems of the infected plant. As well as attacking wheat, the fungus can also affect barley, rye and other grasses.
Availability
Between 1951 and 1969, the US stockpiled more than 30,000 kg of wheat stem rust spores, which Dr Simon Whitby estimated is probably enough, in theory at least, to infect every wheat plant on the planet.
The US also developed means of disseminating the spores. An early design, according to Dr Whitby, was a 500-lb bomb originally designed to release propaganda leaflets. Instead it was packed with bird feathers which carried the fungal spores.
Other countries have also investigated the use of wheat diseases in biological warfare. Dr Simon Whitby said: “Iraq has looked into its military capability and has carried out limited testing. The potential target was probably Iran.”
And the USSR’s huge programme in the 1970s, mostly concentrated on wheat diseases, is believed to have employed 10,000 personnel working solely on agricultural biowarfare, said Dr Whitby.
Overall risk
As stem rust is a fungal disease, the spores are easily dispersed in air. The use of resistant wheat strains limits its effectiveness as a biological weapon, but it still has the potential to be dangerous.
Animal diseases
The warfaring potential of diseases that affect animals is often overlooked. “This is a new type of hazard,” said John Eldridge, from Jane’s Defence. “In the UK we are already experiencing the effects of one of the most virulent animal pathogens, from a natural outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.”
According to Piers Millett, a specialist in anti-animal biowarfare from the Department of Peace Studies at Bradford University, the main targets for terrorists are likely to be rinderpest, anthrax, foot and mouth, swine fever and Newcastle disease, which affects poultry.
During the two world wars, both sides investigated the capability of anti-animal weapons. In World War I, Germany conducted a sabotage programme infecting animals destined for use on the battlefield.
In World War II, the British trials of anthrax infection on Gruinard Island off the coast of Scotland rendered the island uninhabitable for almost 50 years.
The Americans also experimented with rinderpest and swine fever, but according to Piers Millett, this was abandoned through fear of spreading the disease to America’s own cattle. “The last thing you want to do is end up infecting your own country,” he said.
Other countries such as Russia, Iraq and Japan have also investigated biowarfare of this kind, and Piers Millett said that anti-animal weapons were technologically easier to develop than anti-crop weapons.
While unlikely to kill humans, a biological attack on livestock can have severe results.
According to Piers Millett, “The recent foot and mouth disease in the UK is a good simulation of what a biological attack of this nature would look like.”

What we can learn from conspiracy theories
From political upheavals to anxieties about sex, technology and women, it turns out conspiracy theories can tell us a lot about what’s going on in our societies – and how to fix them.
May 24, 2020
by Zaria Gorvett
BBC News
In 331 BC, something was wrong with Rome. Across the city, swathes of eminent men were succumbing to sickness, and practically all of them were dying. The losses were as baffling as they were alarming.
Then one day, a slave approached a curule aedile – a kind of magistrate – and hinted that she might know why. The girl led a team of investigators to various houses, where she claimed they would find an alliance of upper-class women secretly preparing poisons. They did.
The accused were dragged to the central square, and asked to prove their innocence. Since they claimed their concoctions were medicinal, would they drink them?
Alas, two of the suspects obliged – and promptly dropped dead. Mass arrests followed, and a further 170 women were found to be involved. The incident was a huge scandal. In the aftermath, the people of Rome elected a dedicated official to perform a ritual banishment of evil, a tactic which had previously only been used as a last resort after extreme civil unrest.
Or, at least, this is the version of events that was dutifully recorded by the respected historian Livy, who was born a few hundred years later. But he wasn’t convinced that the women were really responsible, and neither are modern-day experts. Instead, Livy pointed to a far more rational explanation: an epidemic.
At the time, the city was in the grip of an unknown plague – a common cause of death in the classical world. Mass poisonings, on the other hand, were unheard of. The case discussed by Livy was the first of its kind, and the whole affair had struck Roman citizens as distinctly odd.
In fact, the women probably really were preparing medicines – and the rest of the story was heavily embellished or entirely made up. The infamous poisonings of 331 BC are thought to be a conspiracy theory, to explain deaths that had an obvious cause all along.
Amid the current pandemic, this scenario is oddly familiar. Since the beginning of April, at least 77 phone masts and 40 engineers have been attacked in the UK, after some people bought into the erroneous idea that Covid-19 is somehow being spread by powerful forces in the global telecommunications industry. Now the rumour has spread to the US, where there are fears it may lead to further violence. Yet again, reason is being cast aside, in favour of a niche explanation that involves a convoluted secret plot. (Find out why 5G is not responsible for transmitting Covid-19.)
The question is, why did these alternative stories catch on?
From alien lizard rulers to shark attacks instigated by spies and elaborate multi-billion-dollar hoaxes, the menagerie of conspiracy theories in existence is so bizarre, the reasons some take off – and others vanish without a trace – may seem almost random. There’s even a conspiracy theory about how conspiracy theories were invented (in keeping with the standard conspiracy formula, the CIA were allegedly involved).
But there are patterns hidden in their strangeness. The latest thinking suggests that conspiracy theories are filtered by a kind of natural selection, which allows those that fit certain requirements to spread rapidly through our societies – while others are confined to the darkest corners of the internet.
What makes a conspiracy appealing to the masses? And is there anything they can teach us about the problems we face – and how to fix them?
Convincing culprits
First up – successful conspiracies always have the right villain. Throughout history, many widely accepted conspiracy theories have conveniently placed the blame for distressing incidents or trends on the population’s favourite baddies.
According to an analysis by Victoria Pagan, a classical historian at the University of Chicago, the success of the Roman poisonings conspiracy is likely to be partly down to the way it portrayed upper-class women and slaves, who powerful male elites found threatening.
Though the civilisation relied heavily on the exploitation of both these groups, men were constantly worried that their subordinates would turn on them. High-status women were generally viewed with suspicion, and often portrayed as secretive and dangerous. Slaves, on the other hand, had been known to murder their masters from time to time – and there was a long-standing paranoia that they sometimes acted as spies, and so couldn’t be trusted.
In short, a conspiracy involving a gang of murderous women being betrayed by their slaves was ideal – it was always going to be more appealing than the truth.
Collective anxieties
Meanwhile, in the modern world, it’s no accident that popular conspiracies tend to concern themes such as alien life, religious minorities, powerful elites, rival nations, mysterious technologies and the destruction of the environment. “Across the world, people generally believe in theories that are related to the cultural and historical events that have happened in particular places,” says Karen Douglas, a social psychologist at the University of Kent.
Each society has its own anxieties and obsessions – and successful conspiracy theories generally tap into them. Take Romania, where many women decline to have their daughters vaccinated against HPV, the virus responsible for 99% of cervical cancers.
In 2008 – the first year the vaccine was offered – just 2.5% of eligible Romanian women had it. The rates were so low, the school-based vaccination programme was eventually abandoned altogether. This is particularly surprising, when you consider that elsewhere in Europe, the HPV jab is extremely popular, with uptake at around 80% or higher, and that the nation has a long track record of having the highest fatality rates from cervical cancer on the continent.
There are several reasons for Romanian mothers’ suspicion of the vaccine, but research has shown that one is the abundance of conspiracy theories about the true motivations for providing it, including the idea that it’s an attempt to control the world’s population by making women infertile and that it’s a medical experiment by the pharmaceutical industry – though there is no evidence for either.
These, in turn, may have been fed by the country’s history of meddling with women’s fertility, along with a general lack of trust in the healthcare system; it’s still common for patients to bribe medical staff for even basic care, and many of the women in the study reported suspicion about why the vaccination programme was free of charge.
In some cases, it’s thought that concerns like these remain dormant in our minds, until certain events – such as political change – activate them. This can lead them to fuel our collective belief in conspiracy theories.
Anti-Semitic theories – such as the idea that Jews are powerful and engaged in secret evil plots – have historically emerged during times of societal stress, such as periods of unemployment – possibly because they allow people to consolidate blame for what can be the result of a complex set of societal and economic circumstances instead on a single scape-goat. Research has shown that people who have a social identity centred around victimhood are more susceptible to conspiracy theories that villainise Jews, and this might also be true at a societal level.
Tribalism
This fits with another common ingredient in popular conspiracies – they make us feel good about our own social group, often while putting down those we see as our rivals. “That can be your national group, or your gender group or whatever,” says Douglas. “There’s some evidence that people are attracted to conspiracy theories that satisfy these prejudiced attitudes.”
By emphasising the distinctions between “ingroups” and “outgroups”, conspiracy theories may also lead to stronger social bonds – and provide a sense of protection against those people find threatening. Accordingly, conspiracy theories are often widespread in groups that are involved in mutual conflict.
Uncertainty
“There is some research to suggest people turn to conspiracy theories more when they’re confronted with crisis situations,” says Douglas.
The idea that 5G and other earlier mobile phone networks are somehow bad for our health has been around for years – ever since the technology entered widespread use around 30 years ago. To begin with, it was falsely accused of being responsible for causing autism, infertility and cancer, among other things – but generally confined to the most hardcore conspiracy theorists.
The emergence of a mysterious new coronavirus in December 2019 set the stage for a new slant on this enduring idea. On the 22 January – when the virus still had infected just 314 people, leading to six fatalities, an article was published that changed everything. It was an interview with obscure family doctor in a Belgian newspaper, and titled “5G is life-threatening, and no one knows it”. Crucially, it linked the dangers of 5G to the new coronavirus even though there is no evidence to support the claim. And that was it.
“Conspiracy theories tend to emerge quite quickly when something important happens,“ says Douglas. “They come out of the blue when there’s some kind of crisis or conflict that that people really want to explain and want to have answers for.” She points out that the recent bushfires in Australia also led to a number of trendy conspiracies.
The 5G theory has been called a “conspiracy cocktail”, since it involves several of humanity’s greatest fears, shaken together in one deliciously appetising mixture. As well as the perennial fear of new or invisible technology, which seems to pervade many popular conspiracy theories, it also taps into an undercurrent of anxiety about the emergence of China as a global superpower.
Another reason the 5G conspiracy might be more appealing than the truth is that it’s a story. Fairy tales, legends, anecdotes and gossip are how our brains make sense of the world – they go back tens of thousands of years, and they’re arguably what makes us human. In times of crisis, it’s possible that we turn to conspiracies because we find them reassuring.
Conspiracy theories have all the elements of a good story – terrifying villains, creative plots, and moral lessons. Because of this, a well-constructed conspiracy can have a powerful hold on the public imagination, in a way that a narrative about a “virus emerged entirely unpredictably and killed thousands for no reason” is unlikely to be able to rival.
Some psychologists have compared conspiracy theories to religious beliefs, in the way that they help us to feel more in control, by taking unpredictable or random events and making them seem somehow predestined or shaped by human hands.
Others have gone so far as to suggest that this is why they stick: in their content, storylines and purposes, they come uncannily close to the beliefs perpetuated by many organised religions. Some people believe in conspiracy theories to such an extent that they will even put their lives on the line, in their attempts to prove themselves right.
Knowledge gaps
Similarly, leading conspiracy theories often address some kind of ambiguity or mystery, from unexplained plane crashes to sudden celebrity deaths.
Where the authorities either can’t or won’t provide more information, these knowledge gaps combine with a general mistrust – driving the public straight into the arms of those who claim they have the answers. This is compounded by the fact that science, government inquiries and other legitimate forms of information-gathering can be painfully slow, in the meantime leaving a temporary void in which other sources can become established.
After the disgraced scientist Andrew Wakefield falsely claimed that the MMR vaccine can lead to autism in the 1990s, it took decades of research to establish beyond reasonable doubt that this had absolutely no scientific basis – in which time, the conspiracy had time to do serious damage.
Eventually, conspiracy theories can become so popular that they enter a positive feedback loop, in which the more they’re discussed, the more legitimate they seem.
For example, a recent analysis of Tweets that mention 5G and Covid-19 found that just 34.8% included a suggestion that the two are linked, while the majority either denounced the theory or didn’t express an opinion. Unfortunately, whether the users were making fun of the idea or explaining why it’s false, they were still raising the profile of the idea.
Indeed, the advent of social media and the rise of new technologies have been big moments in the history of conspiracy theories. “Of course you will find more geographically localised conspiracies in certain countries that other people don’t even know about,” says Douglas. “But it is true that the way that we communicate with people now and the way we consume information is much more global than it was before, so some conspiracy theories are just very, very well-known across the world.”
Some conspiracy theories, such as those that involve exclusive groups of people secretly running the world, are now ubiquitous, she observes.
Ulterior motives
As our societies are changing, so are conspiracies – and Russell Muirhead, a political scientist at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, is concerned about the direction they’re taking.
“Classically, conspiracy theories are propagated by people on the margins – they’re almost a weapon of the powerless, for holding the powerful to account,” he says. “But right now the new stuff is coming directly from the powerful, which is really quite extraordinary.”
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, numerous world leaders have announced their public support for related conspiracy theories, which often align remarkably well with their own agendas. For example, US President Donald Trump recently suggested he has seen evidence the coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab while his own intelligence agencies have said there is no evidence for this. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has also claimed it’s the other way around – the pandemic was caused by a bioweapon that was unleashed on China (but again there is no evidence for this).
We are, Muirhead suggests, being manipulated by our own weapons. “There’s this effort by politicians to erase facts and evidence and remake the world into something more conducive to their goals.”
The whole scenario is also being exacerbated by the fact that many countries, such as the United States, are experiencing record levels of political polarisation at the moment. “That’s kind of motivated this new conspiratorial talk,” says Muirhead.
He gives the example of “Pizzagate”, the entirely discredited and widely condemned conspiracy that linked former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager to an alleged child abuse ring in the basement of a pizza restaurant. Despite being entirely made-up, it gained widespread support in 2016, culminating in a man firing an assault rifle inside the business.
“This conspiracy doesn’t try to explain anything about the world,” says Muirhead. “What it does do is paint Hillary Clinton, not just as somebody who [in some people’s opinions] is, on balance, less desirable than her opponent, but as the sort of human being who is worse than a Nazi.”
In the book “A Lot of People Are Saying”, which Muirhead co-authored with the political scientist Nancy Rosenblum from Harvard University, he introduces a second new trend in the conspiracy world: conspiracy without the theory.
“Not only were there no children being held captive at the pizza restaurant, there wasn’t even a basement,” says Muirhead. “What surprised us was the way this narrative was a complete fabrication, from beginning to end.”
He explains that normally conspiracy theories would start with a kernel of truth – an event in the real world that’s easy to see and hard to understand, like an assassination or an attack – and build on it. But the latest generation of conspiracies skip this first step and seem to be successful regardless of how blindingly obvious it is that they’re false.
“I’m worried that ordinary people trying to understand the world are going to become very disoriented as they try to navigate this kind of whiteout blizzard of conspiratorial fictions and lies,” says Muirhead.
So what should we do about it?
“We can’t just take on the conspiracy charges one by one by one,” says Muirhead. In his view, part of the problem is that people have gradually lost trust in experts, governments and powerful institutions. To fix the system, he suggests that we need to re-legitimise democracy – reform our governments and retrain our institutions. “In the United States that was done in the early decades of the 20th Century. It rehabilitated the government for new generations, and led to all sorts of progressive reforms, culminating in female suffrage.”
Douglas, on the other hand, thinks more research is needed. “I think it is really, really important to understand where conspiracy theories come from and how they spread, because there’s strong evidence that believing them has significant consequences.”
In particular, she explains that there have been very few studies into why some have extraordinary longevity, such as the Flat Earth, Illuminati and Moon Landing conspiracies, while others die out relatively quickly – though this is something she is starting to look into.
In fact, despite decades of research and an endlessly captivated public audience, there are still many unanswered questions in the field. “I think there’s a general consensus amongst researchers that we are in an age of conspiracy, but again, there’s no real evidence for that,” says Douglas.
Who knows, perhaps that could be the next conspiracy…

‘Pure fabrication’: Head of Wuhan lab DENIES claims virus leaked from there, says ‘we didn’t even know it existed’
May 24,, 2020
RT
The head of Wuhan’s virology institute has debunked the evolving US ‘Wuhan virus’ theory, saying SARS-CoV-2 couldn’t have artificially leaked. She said her lab didn’t have the first virus samples until as late as the end of 2019.
Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) director Wang Yanyi described the theory – that SARS-CoV-2 was a creature of her laboratory – as “pure fabrication.” She explained that the institute was effectively caught off-guard when learning about the newly discovered contagion.
“Our institute first received the clinical sample of unknown pneumonia on December 30 last year,” she recalled, in an interview to China’s CGTN news outlet. Shortly after this, Beijing alerted the World Health Organization to the virus, just as media reports started circulating of the first Wuhan residents being hospitalized with fever and lung failure.
Before that, Wang insisted, the institute neither had any knowledge of SARS-CoV-2, nor had it encountered, researched or stored it. “In fact, like everyone else, we didn’t even know the virus existed,” she stated.
“How could it have leaked from our lab when we never had it?”
Her comments were apparently directed at the “Wuhan lab origin” theory aggressively pushed by the Trump administration. Some of its members, like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, didn’t hesitate to cite “enormous evidence” which, as he stated, proved that the virus was man-made and likely originated from the Chinese laboratory.
Wang confirmed the institute had done work on three live strains of a bat coronavirus, but their genome was different from that the one causing Covid-19.
One such strain has a 96-percent similarity to the regular SARS virus, whereas “their highest similarity to SARS-CoV-2 only reaches 79.8 percent.” But under the standards of virology studies, even the tiniest percentage gap makes a huge difference, Wang explained.
“In the natural world, it takes a long period of time for a virus to naturally evolve and mutate to become SARS-CoV-2,” the virologist revealed. She invoked “the current consensus of the international academic community” that Covid-19 originated from wild animals. Now it’s up to researchers to dig deeper into its origins “based on scientific data and facts.”
China has itself consistently dismissed the US theory as “groundless accusations,” whereas the WHO concluded that all available evidence suggests it did not originate in a lab. That assessment generally coincides with the view of Washington’s closest allies – let alone the United States’ own intelligence community – which has already ruled out the possibility of Covid-19 being a man-made disease.
Beijing, for its part, has signaled its readiness to cooperate on identifying Covid-19’s origins, provided such international inquiry would be “professional” and free of a political blame game, state councillor and China’s foreign minister Wang Yi said on Sunday.

TWA Flight 800: The Gathering of the Nuts
Whenever a disaster happens that, unlike a volcanic eruption or a huge forest fire, cannot be immediately explained, a great gathering of self-serving individuals begin to spout forth theories, plans, tales of “secret documents,’ and “confidential communications” with unnamed “experts.” The purpose of expounding these weird tales generally is to draw attention to the expounder. That no reputable segment of any media bothers with discussing these theories is always attributed to control by an irate Government who are furious at the brilliance of the theorist and who spend endless hours spying on them, opening their solicitations from NAMBLA and installing microphones in their desks at the local Humane Society.
As a case in point, let us consider a well-known tragedy. First come the actual facts and then the actual fictions.
On July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800, a Boeing 747-131 registered as N93119, took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York) enroute to Charles De Gaulle International Airport (Paris).
The aircraft was flying more than eight miles off the cost of East Moriches, New York (part of Long Island) when the fuel tank exploded. The aircraft banked and the front part of the aircraft broke off. The wind pushed the aircraft into a climb. Then, the aircraft went into a dive, causing the wings to break off the aircraft. Pieces of the aircraft plummeted down into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 230 passengers on board.
After what has been billed as the longest and most expensive accident investigation in American aviation history, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation found that the flammable fuel/air mixture of the center wing fuel tank probably ignited due to electrical failure in the center fuel tank, causing the plane to explode in flight. The FBI agreed that there had been no criminal act after examining all the plane’s wreckage that had been recovered. In May of 1997, mechanics discovered a fuel leak in a Boeing 737-200 that they believed was caused by the kind of electrical arcing suspected of causing the TWA Flight 800 fatal explosion. NTSB investigators believed that the same kind of arcing from the wiring in the center fuel tank of TWA Flight 800 sparked the explosion that brought the plane down. As a result of extensive and very through testing, the NTSB issued an “airworthiness directive” requiring the immediate inspection of the wiring of older 747s. In April, it recommended further inspections and design changes in the wiring of 747s and in Boeing 707s and C-130 transport planes, as well.
Eight years after the crash, in February 2004, the FAA indicated that it would start the process of ordering airlines to install a fuel tank inerting system in most of their aircraft. It was stated that the order would probably actually be issued within two years, and then the airlines would be required to install the devices over the subsequent seven years. The FAA stated that, including the TWA Flight 800 crash, there had been three fuel tank explosions in airliners over the previous 14 years (the two others having occurred on the ground),
Various groups and individuals continue to maintain that the plane was downed by a bomb or missile, and that there was a subsequent cover-up to disguise the real cause of the crash.
The “terrorist theory” was, as usual, one of the first to be mentioned, especially due to the fact that the accident happened during the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, where a bomb exploded ten days later. In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks, these alternate explanations have been revisited, as some officials and commentators have mentioned this disaster among lists of terrorist attacks. Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, a retired Naval officer who conducted an independent investigation, disagrees with the official theory. According to Commander Donaldson, “jet airliners built by the American aerospace industry have logged at least 150 thousand years of flight time. Not once has there ever been a spontaneous fuel tank explosion on any fuel tank while airborne” (Letter to NTSB 11-14-97).
Donaldson concluded that the airplane was “shot down by missiles.” He interviewed hundreds of witnesses and said he reconstructed the flight paths of these missiles by triangulating the eyewitness accounts. Soon after, a photo that a passenger of a North American Airlines plane arriving at JFK supposedly took, seemed to support the missile theory because the “photo” showed a “missile” missing the NA Airlines jet narrowly.
Pierre Salinger, a former White House press secretary to President John F. Kennedy and ABC News journalist, prominently and repeatedly claimed he had proof that the flight was downed by a missile from a U.S. Navy ship. The documents on which he relied were later found to be vague rumors that had been distributed over Usenet, with attributions only to many “unnamed experts”. Some people briefly gave the name of Pierre Salinger Syndrome to the tendency to believe things that one reads on the bloggers of the Internet.
One such theory has the US Navy conducting tests of submarine-to-air missiles, accidentally hitting Flight 800, and then covering up the fatal error. After initial denials, the U.S. Navy later admitted that USS Wyoming (SSBN-742), commissioned only days before, was conducting sea trials in the area, and that USS Trepang (SSN-674) and USS Albuquerque (SSN-706) were conducting unspecified operations in the area. It should be noted that all three of these submarines lacked any surface to air missile armament as part of their standard munitions loadout (as do all submarines). It is possible that any of the three subs could have been carrying MANPADS missiles. However all three subs were more than 50 miles (80 km) away from the crash site, very far outside the range of any MANPADS missile in the world. One suggested possibility is that the type of missile involved may be classified.
Another possible alternate theory involving the US Navy is that a missile was fired from the USS Normandy (CG-60), operating 185 nautical miles (340 km) south of the TWA 800 crash site. This is well outside of the range of currently deployed Standard Missiles carried by US ships, almost double the range of the current Block IIIB versions, and just within the future Block IV ER versions. Even if this were a test of a Block IV version, although there is no evidence for this, at the extreme range in question the engine would have long burned out and the warhead would be gliding. This contradicts the main claim that a missile was involved, which is a number of eyewitness accounts claiming to have seen “a missile trail almost vertical under the explosion site.” Furthermore, inventories of USS Normandy’s missile complement immediately following the crash of TWA 800 showed no missiles missing from the inventory, according to the US Navy
Regardless of the very faint possibility of any number of missiles and missile launch platforms being in the vicinity of TWA 800 at the time of the accident, no evidence of any kind of a missile impact exists within the recovered wreckage, according to a study conducted by the Department of Defense’s Office of Special Technology
However, at least one individual involved at higher levels with the FBI’s portion of the recovery operations has stated publicly that he saw during his involvement predominant evidence in the state of the wreckage, the form of the wreckage field, the state of the victim’s remains, public and confidential actions by the airlines, investigation officials, and the Navy following the event, and other factors that convinced him the crash was the result of an “accidental missile strike.” Unfortunately, they have neglected to produce their evidence, claiming that the FBI and the CIA broke into their apartment and stole it, along with certain magazines, a picture of Matt Drudge in a leather thong and a six pack of warm beer.
One of the usual “reliable eyewitnesses” was a Malvina Tidwell of Long Island who claimed she and her husband, Oscar, (since desceaed) “positively identified” an Arab submarine, firing rockets, from their vantage point of the beach where they were looking for driftwood. “I knew it was an Arab sub,” Tidwell said, “because they had men with beards running around the deck and a green flag with Arab writing on it.” Mrs Tidwell is legally blind and her husband, who also gave a long interview to the alternative media, was suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s Disease and believed that he was the illigetimate son of Harry Truman.
For instance, the following affidavit, dated January 2003 (and which looks very much like blogger information that was passed around the internet shortly after the crash), is being listed as one of the “articles of evidence” in recent FOIA suits pressed by Captain Ray Lahr against the National Transportation Safety Board: This document states he viewed “radar tapes” and took part in “phone conversations” which convinced him Flight 800 was a victim of friendly fire, and that he later passed on this information to Pierre Salinger (Note such anomalies as the doubling of every statement in the affidavit, the second half being a reworded version of the first half).
Elaine Scarry, in a number of articles in the New York Review of Books, has raised the possibility of electromagnetic interference being responsible for the accident. It has also been suggested that an electronic death ray developed by the brilliant Nicholas Tesla and utilized by a mysterious group calling itself the Hidden Hand brought down the plane in furtherance of a plan that no one seems to know about. The Hidden Hand was supposed to have detonated an atomic bomb over Houston, Texas on Christmas Day of 2004 but apparently was unsuccessful as Houston, unfortunately, is still intact.
A number of strange “alternate theories” surrounding TWA 800 relied on so-called eye witness accounts as collected by the FBI. However, very few of the witnesses were within five miles (8 km) of TWA 800 at the time of the accident, according to a witness map provided by the NTSB. The vast majority of the witnesses were too far away from the accident scene to discern any significant details, and some witnesses describe events that are well beyond the visual acuity of humans
Ex- CBS Investigator Kristina Borjesson, (email: FKLB@aol.com) and co-workers (including Oliver Stone) were on a documentary project for ABC, until it was aborted. Ms. Borjesson’s “documentary” involved the scores of the usual “eyewitnesses” who were desperate for their fifteen minutes of fame and who claimed they saw “something streaking from the ocean toward the plane.” This documentary was for a show, Declassified, that was being produced by Oliver Stone and slated to air on ABC. But the Stone connection grew controversial, and ABC canceled the program. CBS also immediately dissociated itself from Ms. Borjesson. Josh Howard, a senior producer at 60 Minutes, said, “Her official relationship with CBS ended before she pitched that story. (About mythic ‘rocket fuel’ being found on a strip of cloth alleged to have come from one of the passenger seats on Flight 800) She had maybe a month to go on her contract. She was anxiously looking around for other projects to prolong her employment.”
The 800 flight number was retired and replaced with flight 924 after the crash, although TWA continued to operate flights between New York and Paris. In Spring 2001, TWA merged with American Airlines. Of the exposers of the Real Truth, throughly discredited Pierre Salinger has since died and Ms Borjesson has slipped into professional oblivion, along with many others.

Who is the brilliant Russian scientist, Sorcha Faal?
Sorcha Faal turns out to be a nom de plume for David Booth, a retired computer programmer from New Hampshire who stirred up limited controversy in conspiracy circles with the promotion of his book ‘Code Red: The Coming Destruction of the United States 2004.’ Booth claimed the book originated in a “consecutive ten day dream he alleged he experienced in 2003 in which he saw a large sized planetary body pass close to Earth causing an explosion. This was then built up into the story about ‘Planet X’ a heretofore unknown planet in our solar system on a very long, elliptical orbit. In May 2003, it was alleged by the lunatic fringe that the non-existant “Planet X” would pass close enough to the Earth to affect it in some way, causing it to flip over (what many call a “pole shift”) and spur many other huge disasters. The end result was solemnly predicted be the deaths of many billions of people. There are a large number of web pages, chat rooms and books about Planet X and its horrible effects on the Earth. So the question is, does this planet exist, and did it come close enough to Earth in May 2003 and cause great catastrophes? Did an atomic bomb explode over downtown Houston, Texas, on December 25th, 2004 by orders of Paul Wolfowitz? Many internet readers were breathlessly informed of this by a Canadian masquerading as the “German Guy,” a purported senior intelligence official in the German BND. Houston still stands, undamaged, and as far as the mythical ‘Planet X’ is concerned, here is a comment from the official NASA website:
From the NASA website:
There is no known Planet X or 10th planet in our solar system. Scientists have been looking for about a hundred years. It was believed that such a planet was required to explain the orbital characteristics of the outer planets Uranus and Neptune. Many searches have been performed and, to date, no evidence of such a planet has emerged. In addition, better information about the masses of outer planets has also now shown that no other planets are necessary to explain the planetary orbits.
There also is no Sorcha Faal in St. Petersburg, Russia or Florida. None of the Russian scientific bodies listed in the Faal accounts, specifically the Russian Academy of Science, has any record of such a person

The Great Mortgage Scandal
MERS = Mortgage Electronic Registration Inc.holds approximately 60 million Amerrican mortgages and is a Delaware corporation whose sole shareholder is Mers Corp. MersCorp and its specified members have agreed to include the MERS corporate name on any mortgage that was executed in conjunction with any mortgage loan made by any member of MersCorp. Thus in place of the original lender being named as the mortgagee on the mortgage that is supposed to secure their loan, MERS is named as the “nominee” for the lender who actually loaned the money to the borrower. In other words MERS is really nothing more than a name that is used on the mortgage instrument in place of the actual lender. MERS’ primary function, therefore, is to act as a document custodian. MERS was created solely to simplify the process of transferring mortgages by avoiding the need to re-record liens – and pay county recorder filing fees – each time a loan is assigned. Instead, servicers record loans only once and MERS’ electronic system monitors transfers and facilitates the trading of notes. It has very conserbatively estimated that as of February, 2010, over half of all new residential mortgage loans in the United States are registered with MERS and recorded in county recording offices in MERS’ name
MersCorp was the created in the early 1990’s by the former C.E.O.’s of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Indy Mac, Countrywide, Stewart Title Insurance and the American Land Title Association. The executives of these companies lined their pockets with billions of dollars of unearned bonuses and free stock by creating so-called mortgage backed securities using bogus mortgage loans to unqualified borrowers thereby creating a huge false demand for residential homes and thereby falsely inflating the value of those homes. MERS marketing claims that its “paperless systems fit within the legal framework of the laws of all fifty states” are now being vetted by courts and legal commentators throughout the country.
The MERS paperless system is the type of crooked rip-off scheme that is has been seen for generations past in the crooked financial world. In this present case, MERS was created in the boardrooms of the most powerful and controlling members of the American financial institutions. This gigantic scheme completely ignored long standing law of commerce relating to mortgage lending and did so for its own prsonal gain. That the inevitable collapse of the crooked mortgage swindles would lead to terrible national reprecussions was a matter of little or no interest to the upper levels of America’s banking and financial world because the only interest of these entities was to grab the money of suckers, keep it in the form of ficticious bonuses, real estate and very large accounts in foreign banks.. The effect of this system has led to catastrophic metldown on both the American and global economy.
MERS, it has clearly been proven in many civil cases, does not hold any promissory notes of any kind.. A party must have possession of a promissory note in order to have standing to enforce and/or otherwise collect a debt that is owed to another party. Given this clear-cut legal definition, MERS does not have legal standing to enforce or collect on the over 60 million mortgages it controls and no member of MERS has any standing in an American civil court.
MERS has been taken to civil courts across the country and charged with a lack of standing in reprossion issues. When the mortgage debacle initially, and invevitably, began, MERS always rotinely broght actions against defauilting mortgage holders purporting to represent the owners of the defaulted mortgages but once the courts discovered that MERS was only a front organization that did not hold any deed nor was aware of who or what agencies might hold a deed, they have been routinely been denied in their attempts to force foreclosure. In the past, persons alleging they were officials of MERS in foreclosure motions, purported to be the holders of the mortgage, when, in fact, they nor only were not the holder of the mortgage but, under a court order, could not produce the identity of the actual holder. These so-called MERS officers have usually been just employees of entities who are servicing the loan for the actual lender. MERS, it is now widely acknowledged by the courty, has no legal right to foreclose or otherwise collect debt which are evidenced by promissory notes held by someone else.
The American media routinely identifies MERS as a mortgage lender, creditor, and mortgage company, when in point of fact MERS has never loaned so much as a dollar to anyone, is not a creditor and is not a mortgage company. MERS is merely a name that is printed on mortgages, purporting to give MERS some sort of legal status, in the matter of a loan made by a completely different and almost always,a totally unknown enitity.

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