Disaster X is a new publication, that is tied to this site: it is available on Substack. Here I just want to briefly introduce the material that already is there, and which will appear there. I have extracted this text from the “About” page:
“There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees”—Michel de Montaigne
“If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking”—Benjamin Franklin
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right”—Thomas Paine
“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair”—C.S. Lewis
“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned”—Richard Feynman
What Came Before This?
The Covid-19 “pandemic” was very much the “Disease X” that the WHO, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Western governments, establishment scientists, and pharmaceutical corporations were awaiting, expecting, and desiring. The problem with “Disease X” is that there is not just one. Will we be ready for the next “Disease X” if we do not learn from this one?
Why Disaster X?
“Disaster X” is derived from the repeated mention of a hitherto unknown “Disease X” that is “completely novel,” as described by the UK Government. “Disease X” first featured in an alert by the World Health Organization (WHO): “Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown”. As The Telegraph summarized: “Disease X is not a newly identified pathogen but what military planners call a ‘known unknown’. It’s a disease sparked by a biological mutation, or perhaps an accident or terror attack, that catches the world by surprise and spreads fast”. (In June of 2018, the WHO thought it had already found its “Disease X” in the form of H7N9, a zoonotic flu virus in China.) For the WHO, “Disease X” emphasized the need for “preparedness,” a term that is itself derived from strategic security plans and then imported into blueprints for “resilience”. Preparedness for “Disease X” is always framed as requiring a “global response”. “Disease X” was also the featured term in Bill Gates’ most dire predictions in 2018 of an upcoming global pandemic whose centerpiece was the perfect virus, one endowed with maximum transmissibility, and extreme lethality, that escaped control. Gates voiced his fear in these words: “The threat of the unknown pathogen – highly-contagious, lethal, fast-moving – is real. It could be a mutated flu strain or something else entirely”. Subsequently, a Disease X Working Group was set up by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “(with support from PricewaterhouseCoopers) [which] coordinated subject matter experts to create a preparedness plan for Disease X”. (For more, see the UK Government’s “100 Days Mission to Respond to Future Pandemic Threats”; Alanna Shaikh and Paul Nuki, “Beware ‘Disease X’: the mystery killer keeping scientists awake at night,” The Telegraph, March 10, 2018; Anne Gulland, “Deadly Chinese poultry flu could be ‘disease X’ that sparks worldwide pandemic,” The Telegraph, June 15, 2018; Shmona Simpson, Michael C Kaufmann, Vitaly Glozman, Ajoy Chakrabarti, “Disease X: accelerating the development of medical countermeasures for the next pandemic,” The Lancet, 20(5), May 1, 2020, E108-E115; Joe Shute, “Bill Gates: ‘My biggest fears about what’s coming next for this world’,” The Telegraph, September 18, 2018.)
Disaster X is thus a general “preparedness” plan that awaits or facilitates the next exploitable disaster which can be leveraged by authoritarian states in partnership with large transnational corporate interests. Any human disaster represents a profitable opportunity, one that invites intervention. Disaster X can also be created in the form of “humanitarian crises” that have been engineered by states, and for which coercive “humanitarian intervention” is required. Invoking the security dogma of safetyism (“saving lives”), state bureaucracies have an opportunity to expand their size, their power, and their penetrative reach into daily lives. Nothing suits Disaster X better than a permanent state of emergency.
Disaster X is useful for referring to a two-fold phenomenon which, until recently, was studied by separate sets of specialists. Disaster X is governed by a regime, where the latter is best understood as a system of interlocked interests and partnerships. One side of the two-fold phenomenon is the famous Military-Industrial-Complex (MIC)—which has grown to include academia and regime media. The main players are governments and their security and intelligence agencies, and their partners, the weapons manufacturers and their lobbyists. Their most common tools of intervention are missiles/bombs and sanctions. The other side is the Health-Industrial-Complex (HIC)—which also includes academia and regime media. The main players are governments and their regulatory agencies, and their partners, pharmaceutical corporations and hospital chains. Their most common tools of intervention are pharmaceuticals and mandates. Sitting on top of both the MIC and HIC is a Security State at the service of the transnational capitalist class (as described by Leslie Sklair). The Security State is composed of both the National Security State and the Health Security State—and in both, concepts of “emergency,” “safety,” and “preparedness” are fundamental. Regimentation is the process and outcome of the operations of both the MIC and HIC. Where sanctions have been used as collective punishments against citizens of foreign nations, mandates and financial penalties have been used against citizens at home. Disaster X is any “useful” disaster that can be facilitated, manufactured, or exploited by the Security State and its private partners.
This publication will feature a combination of anthropological, historical and political economic analysis of the attempts of encrusted transnational elites to reduce humanity to a state of perpetual dependency, fear, and poverty. It is closely tied to two other online fora: the Zero Anthropology Magazine, and the Zero Anthropology Telegram Channel which serves more as a traditional “blog”. “Disaster X” will share some articles in common with Zero Anthropology, also as a way to bypass certain censorship measures. It will also feature both archived and new posts that appear in the Telegram Channel, which are otherwise not publicly visible to people outside of Telegram. “Disaster X” will thus often have the “feel” more of a blog than is the case with Zero Anthropology. From this point onward, you should find me active on all three platforms.
This substack was launched on June 24, 2022.
2 thoughts on “Introducing: “Disaster X””
I am in the process of self-publishing yet another book of poems titled From Our Camp on the Glacier. The first section, “Bad Medicine”, concerns my embroilment with the great covid caper. It runs to 40+ pages. To augment my exposure as a backwoods poet, I would be delighted were you to run this material either as a stand-alone edition of Disaster X, or else in the form of separate entries shoehorned in here and there. (Guess which of the two options I prefer!) In any case I would be very willing to send a PDF of this material for review either to yourself or your editor, were I provided with a suitable email destination.
~ Doug Smith
Maximilian C. Forte
Thanks very much Doug,
my language can be too formal at times, my apologies for any confusion that might cause. Anyone can publish on Substack. You could just as easily–and it is very easy–set up your own subtack account and start publishing your work straight away. I have no editor (and I think I need one!), so it’s just me. Let me know if you go ahead an publish on substack, and I will help to promote your work. Many thanks also for past mailings–I received one book during the lockdowns, and only saw it for the first time a few weeks ago, and have not returned yet to the office to pick it up.
Very best wishes.
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