Participants of Exercise Clade X on May 15, 2018: left, Tara O'Toole, scriptwriter of several pandemic exercises; to her right, Tom Daschle, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and in 2001 recipient of an anthrax letter | Image: Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

Clade X – A bioweapon for population reduction

In 2018, a small circle of government experts in Washington rehearsed a pandemic triggered by a bioweapon, scripted to be caused by a group that wanted to use it to reduce the world's population to achieve, literally, “the 'reset' or 'paradigm shift' that would be required to fundamentally alter the balance.” An excerpt from the book “Chronicle of an Announced Crisis”.

PAUL SCHREYER, 8. März 2021, 0 Kommentare

Note: This article ist also available in German.

After increasingly apocalyptic pandemic exercises were launched in rapid staccato between 1998 and 2005 in the context of the „war on terror“, the intensity subsequently waned. Little happened for more than ten years. From 2008 onward, the major global issue, the financial crisis, apparently offered few points of contact for smallpox maneuvers. And the swine flu fiasco of 2009 probably had to be digested first.

The situation changed with the emergence of Donald Trump, an event symbolic for the visible decline of the U.S.-led world system. Shortly after his election as U.S. president in November 2016, which initially seemed unbelievable to many observers and sent shock waves around the globe, the exercises started again.

At this time, Bill Gates' efforts to link vaccines, international security, and bioterrorism intensified. In January 2017, he traveled to the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he stated that there needed to be “serious discussions about how to prepare for a possible biological weapons attack.” Gates announced his intention to explore this topic in greater depth at the Munich Security Conference in February of that year. The occasion was the launch of the CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) vaccine research initiative, which he founded together with the pharmaceutical industry and several governments. This aimed to develop vaccines much faster than before – instead of within ten years in under twelve months – and to secure public-private funding for this.

The 2017 Munich Security Conference, where Gates subsequently appeared, was overshadowed by Donald Trump's move into the White House a few weeks earlier. The German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine reported a “peculiar atmosphere in the hallways and back rooms” of the conference venue:

”Rarely – perhaps never – have the expressions of the heads of state, ministers, adlates and experts who attended been so marked by question marks. Growing uncertainty, insecurity and mistrust preoccupied the participants and overshadowed all discussions: Will the Americans abandon the Europeans? Will NATO fray? And above all: What will hold the West together in the future? (...) It is as if more than 20 heads of government, more than 80 ministers, adlates and experts – in short, the elite of foreign and security policy makers – had come together for what is probably the largest group therapy this apparatus has experienced this century. With an uncertain goal: to find out what common ground remains – and whether it still supports a Western security architecture.”

”I refuse to accept the demise of our world order”

According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine, John McCain, then one of the United States' most influential foreign policy leaders, struck „at the heart of the Western crisis of soul“ in his Munich speech: The question of whether the West will survive, McCain said, would have been dismissed as alarmism in the past – but now it would be „deadly serious“. The conservative hardliner (who died a year later) concluded his speech, which received thunderous applause from the assembled audience of world leaders and military officers, with the pithy confession: „I refuse to accept the demise of our world order.“

At this conference, in front of that very audience, Bill Gates gave his speech the following day. In it, he explained the dangers and possible details of a major pandemic:

“The next epidemic could originate on the computer screen of a terrorist intent on using genetic engineering to create a synthetic version of the smallpox virus – or a super contagious and deadly strain of the flu. (…) Whether it occurs by a quirk of nature or at the hand of a terrorist, epidemiologists say a fast-moving airborne pathogen could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year. (…) We need to prepare for epidemics the way the military prepares for war. This includes germ games and other preparedness exercises so we can better understand how diseases will spread, how people will respond in a panic, and how to deal with things like overloaded highways and communications systems.”

Three months later, for the first time in many years, comprehensive planning began at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security for a new pandemic exercise – even larger and more complex than previous ones. The title was "Clade X". Preparations began in May 2017, four months after Trump moved into the White House.

The scenario was different this time. No smallpox, no plague, no anthrax, but instead a novel virus mixture that, according to the script, had been developed in the laboratory of a biotech company: a genetic combination of a highly contagious parainfluenza virus and the particularly deadly Nipah virus. (The Nipah virus, incidentally, broke out in India at the same time as the exercise in real terms and was contained there with the help of a U.S. military researcher who had developed a vaccine whose manufacturing companies received $25 million in funding after the outbreak).

“Direct action to achieve the 'reset'”

What was new about the exercise script was not only the type of virus, but also the fact that the terrorists were no longer assumed to be nameless and without biography, but that a document accompanying the maneuver described in surprising detail the history of the fictitious terrorist group called ABD (“A Brighter Dawn”). It said:

“A Brighter Dawn was established in the 1990s in the United States. The group’s stated purpose was to slow and eventually reverse the degradation of the planet that was occurring from overpopulation. ABD’s goal at that time was to help humanity return to an earlier state of being. The group’s activities were uniformly peaceful at that time and included lecture and discussion sessions, grassroots activism, and outreach.

By 2010, A Brighter Dawn’s membership had grown substantially in both numbers and geographic diversity. There were members and local chapters in many countries. At around that time, a split appears to have occurred within A Brighter Dawn. An extreme faction in ABD felt that direct action was needed to achieve the 'reset' or 'paradigm shift' that would be required to fundamentally alter the balance.

This splinter group consisted of no more than 30 individuals. A charismatic leader assumed leadership, and he worked closely with about 25 other ABD members in the group who had bioscience training, including virologists. Following the schism, the splinter group established a laboratory near Zurich, Switzerland, and masqueraded as a small biotech start-up firm. They set up a sophisticated life science laboratory with commercially available equipment and focused on developing a biological weapon that would have a global impact. ABD’s leadership also seems to have been attracted to the concept of a biblical plague as the corrective to humanity’s excesses. The splinter group’s funding came from members, like-minded private donors, and involvement in illicit activities. (...)

Once the Clade X pathogen had been successfully developed and manufactured, volunteer ABD members, who were willing to risk being infected, traveled the globe with small volumes of liquid agent, which they disseminated using commercially available aerosolizers in crowded public places. The multiple attacks were relatively inefficient in that almost half the attacks failed to infect anyone; in the other attacks, only 50 people on average became clinically ill. But this was sufficient to touch off the Clade X pandemic.”

The exercise took place in Washington on May 15, 2018, again at the luxury Mandarin Oriental hotel. The rehearsed outbreak began in Germany. A series of meetings of the National Security Council were acted out; the players were again high-ranking American politicians, some of whom had already held similar or identical government and parliamentary positions in reality. (A list of the participants can be found at the end of this text).

One of the first events after the outbreak, according to the script, was the development of a PCR test to detect the virus. (PDF, p. 11) Much of the debate then centered on travel restrictions and lockdown (then called quarantine). There was talk about the „level of force authorized to maintain quarantine“ that might be allowed. (PDF, p. 31) More „legal clarity“ should be provided, they concluded, on the issue of „transfer of authority during quarantine“. Also, potential negative impacts of this type of quarantine „including potential public resistance to its implementation“ should be factored into plans by the government.

150 million dead

In the exercise, the crisis was lived through in fast motion. The outbreak to be regulated covered a period of many months. According to the scenario, the death toll eventually accumulated to 150 million worldwide, including 15 million in the United States. According to the authors, these were still low numbers, made possible only by the fact that vaccine production was extremely accelerated.

At the end of the exercise, therefore, the first priority was also to call on the government to immediately provide the necessary funds to be able to develop new vaccines „within months, not years“. In particular, novel RNA vaccines were mentioned (such as those promoted by Bill Gates) – which genetically modify humans and play a major role in the Corona crisis. The recommendations to the government from the planners of the exercise stated:

“Recent developments in synthetic biology (…) are yielding new possibilities for rapid discovery of effective drugs and vaccines. Similarly, novel countermeasure approaches, like self-amplifying mRNA vaccines (...), have promise as platforms to enable quick development in an emergency. (…) This could all be done in a distributed way, allowing more people in more places to produce and scale production of countermeasures.“

All in all, the exercise seemed a success to the organizers. Afterwards, they concluded that the exercise had reached a large public and raised awareness of the effects of pandemics. The Washington Post reported on the maneuver three times. The exercise scenario had also penetrated the professional and policy communities: “Clade X has led to a series of follow-on presentations and events with the US Congress, the Biological Weapons Convention Meeting of Experts, the CDC, the Aspen Institute, and other organizations.“ (2)

So the topic was back on the agenda on several levels. (...) When the team from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security subsequently designed an even larger and more complex follow-up exercise („Event 201“), the upper echelon of sponsors came on board: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Economic Forum (WEF). (...) This exercise was fundamentally different from the previous ones in that this time it was not about debates and votes within government to be rehearsed, but explicitly about training governments to work with global corporations during a pandemic. A description by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security stated:

“In recent years, the world has seen a growing number of epidemic events, amounting to approximately 200 events annually. These events are increasing, and they are disruptive to health, economies, and society. Managing these events already strains global capacity, even absent a pandemic threat. Experts agree that it is only a matter of time before one of these epidemics becomes global – a pandemic with potentially catastrophic consequences. A severe pandemic, which becomes 'Event 201', would require reliable cooperation among several industries, national governments, and key international institutions. (…) Similar to the Center’s 3 previous exercises – Clade X, Dark Winter, and Atlantic Storm – Event 201 aimed to educate senior leaders at the highest level of US and international governments and leaders in global industries.“

The „Event 201“ exercise took place on October 18, 2019, two months before the coronavirus emerged, and irritatingly actually simulated the outbreak of a global coronavirus pandemic.

This text is a translated excerpt from the German book „Chronicle of an Announced Crisis – How a Virus Could Change the World,“ („Chronik einer angekündigten Krise – Wie ein Virus die Welt verändern konnte“). An English translation of the book is underway.


(1) The actors were: Secretary of State: John Bellinger, Former Legal Adviser for the US Department of State and the National Security Council; Secretary of Defense: James Talent, Former US Senator; Attorney General: Jamie Gorelick, Former Deputy Attorney General of the United States, Commissioner on the 9/11 Commission; Secretary of Health and Human Services: Margaret (Peggy) Hamburg, Former Commissioner of the FDA, Former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Secretary of Homeland Security: Tara O’Toole, Executive Vice President and Senior Fellow, In-Q-Tel, Former Under Secretary for Science and Technology; CIA Director: Jeffrey Smith, Former General Counsel of the CIA; Senate Majority Leader: Tom Daschle, Former US Senator, Senate Majority Leader; Speaker of the House of Representatives: Susan Brooks, Congresswoman, Former US Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana; CDC Director: Julie Gerberding, Former CDC Director.

(2) Crystal Watson et al.: “Clade X: A Pandemic Exercise”, Health Security, Vol. 17, No. 5,
7 October 2019, p. 417


Zum Kommentieren bitte anmelden.