back to article Somebody's Russian to meddle with UK coronavirus vaccine efforts, but GCHQ won't take it lying down

British eavesdropping agency GCHQ is actively hacking Russian attempts to undermine coronavirus vaccine efforts, according to The Times. Citing government press officers anonymous sources, the newspaper reported this morning that the agency was "taking down hostile state-linked [propaganda] content and disrupting the …

  1. wolfetone Silver badge
    Coat

    Nothing to see here. Just GCHQ, Putin themselves about.

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

      I'm vlad that you posted your pun.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        But not russian to do it

    2. Anonymous Coward
      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells
        Coffee/keyboard

        Do you not like puns? You're Lenin the side down.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          If you can't join the pun fun ...

          ... Trot off

          1. a pressbutton

            Re: If you can't join the pun fun ...

            Always stalin the best lines

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it could "turn people into monkeys".

    Given the activities of the last 5 years (15 if you include anti vaxers) I reckon it already has.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: it could "turn people into monkeys".

      given we are led by donkeys, turning into a monkey is the least of my worries

    2. Ken 16

      Re: it could "turn people into monkeys".

      I liked Planet of the Apes, let's see what happens.

    3. sev.monster Bronze badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: it could "turn people into monkeys".

      It would be awesome to be monky. Just eat, sleep, and throw fæces.

      No more politics, no more malware, no more money problems, just monky.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: it could "turn people into monkeys".

        Is that you Donald?

      2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: it could "turn people into monkeys".

        Well that is a Westminster debate for you

    4. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

      Re: it could "turn people into monkeys".

      >...because AZD1222 uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector, it could "turn people into monkeys"

      The Librarian would like a word with you, comrade.

      1. Citizen99

        Re: it could "turn people into monkeys".

        Oook !

  3. _LC_ Silver badge
    Stop

    I reckon the news in North Korea look similar

    I reckon that the "news" in North Korea look similar. Does that get you thinking?

    Hint: GCHQ bots responding, just as in NK, but the weather is worse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I reckon the news in North Korea look similar

      ... W... hat?

    2. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
      Trollface

      Individual taste, but

      North Korea is a bit chilly in winter, so not too sure about the better weather.

      Unless you mean the political climate, which is decidedly frosty all year round ... with occasional days when it heats up.

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Say no more, Squire

    according to The Times.

    Well, what else can one say and expect ...... it is one of Rupert's comics, is it not? Hardly a bastion of forthright rectitude to be following religiously with apparent unquestioning glee ....... although I'm sure there are those who are into supporting it fanatically.

    One does have to ask ..... Why, if intelligence services are supposed to be so good at what they are supposed to be so very good at, and here we appears to be being told they are excelling at it with a commanding control of mis/dis/malinformation, is everything so very bad and maddening?

    Nothing is changed. SNAFUBAR Rules the Roost .... and aint that the Gospel.

    In anyones' language/lexicon is that an Epic Fail and yet here in the above tall tale is it being lauded. Strewth, whatever are they on? Can you get it with a doctor's prescription? What do you need to say you are chronically suffering from?

    Conspiracy loons in the weirder corners of the internet have leapt on the hacking story as proof of everything from a government campaign to silence alternative,...

    How are finding those corners, Gareth? Enjoyable/Exhilarating/Enriching/Exhausting/Evil? :-)

    1. JDPower Bronze badge

      Re: Say no more, Squire

      Have you been at the strong liquor?

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Say no more, Squire

        Have you been at the strong liquor?

        It's amanfromMars 1. Quite restrained for him I thought.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Say no more, Squire

        @JDPower, you are questioning the sobriety of ManFromMars? You using someone elses account ?

        1. sev.monster Bronze badge

          Re: Say no more, Squire

          He is the liquor.

      3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Say no more, Squire

        @JD Power, @Arthur the cat

        That post could be by GCHQ... having broken into the amanfromMars 1 account

        1. ClockworkOwl
          Terminator

          Re: Say no more, Squire

          Nah, I think (hope :) it's just muzzle flash in our own quiet war...

          I for one have had enough of our current ship lice "leadership" and their "authority"!

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re Leading Authorships .... Say no more, Squire. Mighty Mice and Remote Access Trojans Rule ‽ .

            Nah, I think (hope :) it's just muzzle flash in our own quiet war...

            I for one have had enough of our current ship lice "leadership" and their "authority"! .... ClockworkOwl

            Some, who now can be more than just many and easily far greater than any former self-chosen Few, are a clear/transparent/invisible and present dangerous established geo-political systems worry, for it is not so much muzzle flash, ClockworkOwl, as the resounding and expanding EMP shocks from a series of programs dropping WMD type classified munitions for One Mother of a Hell of an Almighty Intervention, which is/are raining down to Earth from a Space beyond Mortal Command and Remote Autonomous Control, which is a Real Enough Cause for Deep Dark State Concerns.

            And all because of a TOP SECRET Operations Research Technical Manual TM-SW7905.1 ...Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars ...... which did itself proud at the time to realise, and one imagines, if it is possible, to ideally prepare itself for the inevitable nightmare scenario that would force itself to morph into an altogether quite fundamentally different radical phorm of alien being.*

            In 1954 it was well recognized by those in positions of authority that it was only a matter of time, only a few decades, before the general public would be able to grasp and upset the cradle of power, for the very elements of the new silent-weapon technology were as accessible for a public utopia as they were for providing a private utopia.

            And for those who like to listen rather than read, knock yourself out with the narration shared here ...https://youtu.be/TCl9EHlnFV8

            * The jury of peers is presently out considering its verdict on that golden crown jewelled opportunity.

    2. a pressbutton

      Re: Say no more, Squire

      Enjoyable/Exhilarating/Enriching/Exhausting/Evil

      Makes me think of a gartner magic pentangle

      Makes you wonder where you would put the FAANGs (and Oracle)

  5. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Infantile

    So effectively Russia is saying, "Your vaccine is rubbish!"

    And the UK is responding, "Shut your mouth, it's your vaccine that's rubbish!"

    Then both chant, "Nah na na nah nah - my daddy's bigger than your daddy so there!"

    Not sure that's what our tax money should be paying our security services for.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Infantile

      Let them play together, they're not bothering the public.

      1. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: Infantile

        Except they sort of are, what is described is a misinformation campaign to persuade people (well, persuade idiots, but there's an overlap), not to take a vaccine because it will turn you into a monkey/control your brain/cause 5G to erupt from your ears/be a betrayal of brexit.

    2. S4qFBxkFFg

      Re: Infantile

      I am nearly certain that this is overoptimistic, but it would be far better if instead of competition, the work of all the scientists in this field was open access from start to finish. Let the Russians (and anyone with an internet connection) look at "our" data, have the Russian data available to "our" people too.

      If this required temporary nationalisation of large parts of big pharma, the situation justifies it.

      Effective responses to this virus are far more valuable than giving Johnson/Putin something impressive to say in a briefing.

      1. sev.monster Bronze badge

        Re: Infantile

        Sorry, no. There is profit to be made.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Infantile

        People that believe the Russian propaganda don't take the vaccine, get sick and die.

        I don't immediately see the problem

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Infantile

          ... they are carriers who can infect those that can't take the vaccine, or are immune to it..

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Infantile

            Good point. What's the status of hunting with dogs legislation back in blighty?

            1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

              Re: Infantile

              What's the status of hunting with dogs legislation back in blighty?

              You'll end up with hunting dogs that infect you with Covid. Is that what you want?

        2. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Infantile

          The immediately obvious problem is that unvaccinated conspiracy theory adherents will clog up the hospitals between steps B) get sick and C) die.

          1. fajensen Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Infantile

            Well, is there not a manual on EquestrianMink Health Care that can be adopted?

          2. JohnG

            Re: Infantile

            "...unvaccinated conspiracy theory adherents will clog up the hospitals between steps B) get sick and C) die."

            The NHS could be directed to refuse hospital admission to those who have previously refused to be vaccinated, when advised by NHS medical professionals.

    3. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Infantile

      I think it went more like...

      Russians - we have the firstest, bestest vaccine.

      World - show us the evidence because the figures you released are not convincing.

      Russians - your vaccine will turn you into monkeys!

      Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Russians try to hack into AstraZenica and GCHQ try to hack the propagandists who claim we are all going to be monkeys (chimps, Shirley). A disproportionate response?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still confused about the 90%

    Is this the same 90% who do not end up in hospital with sever reaction to covid or is it 90% of the remaining <10% who do end up in hospital?

    I ask as those that do end up dying in hospital with covid are still classed the same as those that die because of covid.

    It has been suggested that those that die of covid are the same group that die of flu each year, even with immunisation, so is the reported 90% of everyone in UK or just 90% of those that are also susceptable to flu?

    1. JDPower Bronze badge

      Re: Still confused about the 90%

      No, it's the 90% in the trial who were regularly tested. Quit trying to make the story fit your moronic agenda.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Still confused about the 90%

          I like 90% of the UK population have already had this infection

          Man flu strikes again.

        2. ibmalone Silver badge

          Re: Still confused about the 90%

          "I like 90% of the UK population have already had this infection without going to hospital, what benefit to me has this vaccine"

          Evidence please. Even the highest estimates are far below that.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Still confused about the 90%

            @"Even the highest estimates are far below that." yes because the vast majority of people only get mild symptoms and do not report it or end up in hospital.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Still confused about the 90%

              Yep, I got it very early on and just stayed in bed for a week. Definitely the worst flu-like symptoms I've ever had but a little R&R and I'm fine.

            2. ibmalone Silver badge

              Re: Still confused about the 90%

              Gosh, if only the people who do this work had thought of that.

              https://www.mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk/now-casting/

    2. Blazde Silver badge

      Re: Still confused about the 90%

      It's *at least* 90%. Likely it's much higher but they don't have statistically significant confidence of that yet. In *healthy* individuals aged 12 and over.

      Flu immunisation is a totally different ballgame because it mutates so rapidly.

    3. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: Still confused about the 90%

      Well, it's the end of the day, so sure, I'll bite:

      "It has been suggested "

      To quote wikipedia, "by who?" Because numbers dying are much higher than those for flu.

      In any case, nothing to do with hospitalisation risk, this is those vaccinated are 90% less likely to catch coronavirus than those unvaccinated. Meaning a widespread vaccination programme could stop the unconstrained spread because it wouldn't get far.

      "I ask as those that do end up dying in hospital with covid are still classed the same as those that die because of covid."

      No you don't, because if you had looked at excess deaths this year compared with other years it'd have been pretty clear that however you want to count them there are a lot more.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Still confused about the 90%

        @"Because numbers dying are much higher than those for flu" got anything to back this up?

        1. Natalie Gritpants Jr Silver badge

          Re: Still confused about the 90%

          Go look up the excess death rates on the ONS website. There is a nice graph with the five yearly average (that includes flu) and a walloping great big spike starting in March.

          If you trust me it's https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending1may2020

          1. sev.monster Bronze badge
            IT Angle

            Re: Still confused about the 90%

            That reads like Timmy's First Website from CS 100.

          2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

            Re: Still confused about the 90%

            There is a theory that we in Britain ( and Belgium, and other countries with high excess deaths ),have high excess deaths because we had a good flu season last year - leaving vulnerable people alive who would on average have died last year.

            I hope that is true, because if this does rumble on it won't trouble us as much next year because that means the worst is over.

            Hopefully we won't have to find out.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Still confused about the 90%

        Also, these conspiracy nutjobs seem to forget we've been wearing masks, locking down, and social distancing to reduce the covid casualties. We never did this with flu.

      3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Still confused about the 90%

        "

        No you don't, because if you had looked at excess deaths this year compared with other years it'd have been pretty clear that however you want to count them there are a lot more.

        "

        Counting "excess deaths" does not tell you a great deal, because it includes those who died as a result of the reaction to covid rather than covid itself. e.g. fatal heart attacks that would have been treated sucessfully had the victim not been dissuaded from going to doctor/hospital due to lockdown. People dying as a result of postponed treatments and tests for cancer and other conditions. However covid has almost certainly cause a great number of deaths.

        But there will also be many deaths in the years to come, long after covid, due to poverty-related conditions resulting from the severe slump in the economy & job losses. The situation is thus far from being as clear-cut as many believe. There is a huge tradeoff between "more deaths now" vs "more deaths in the coming decade". The difference being that the immediate deaths from covid will be mainly elderly people with serious illnesses, while future deaths will include a large proportion of children & younger adults.

        1. ibmalone Silver badge

          Re: Still confused about the 90%

          Let's be clear to start with that people dying of cancer and other conditions because they couldn't get to hospital would have been in that situation anyway, hospitals (especially staff) were overloaded and had the additional burden of trying to deal with infection control while having staff self isolate too. This is not an effect of lockdown, this is a direct effect of the coronavirus burden on the health system. Even now we are having to clean scanners between patients which reduces the number that can get through. The excess deaths data is pretty persuasive because it corresponds pretty well to coronavirus deaths, not to our response to coronavirus, and suggests if anything we've missed cases https://twitter.com/ganeshran/status/1326115141147037701/photo/1

          It's also a bit late to be worrying about the economy, if we cared that much about it then we wouldn't have the mess of Brexit. If we think poverty leads to deaths then maybe we should be addressing poverty, rather than just letting people sink. And if we are going to say we can't properly account for covid deaths because we're worried about exactly what people died of shortly after being diagnosed, then it seems a little speculative to be trying to offset it against some uncertain death rate due to uncertain economic impact.

          1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

            Re: Still confused about the 90%

            "

            Let's be clear to start with that people dying of cancer and other conditions because they couldn't get to hospital would have been in that situation anyway, hospitals (especially staff) were overloaded and had the additional burden of trying to deal with infection control while having staff self isolate too.

            "

            I call bullshit on that. I was in hospital during the height of the first lockdown. All the nurses were saying that they had far less work than usual and that they had never seen A&E so quiet. They had great concern that people were unnecessarily failing to get treatment. My local GP surgery was closed - and that was not because it was overwhelmed. The doctors and staff were at home no working.

            1. ibmalone Silver badge

              Re: Still confused about the 90%

              20,000 patients in hospital at peak, over 3000 on mechanical ventilation. I'll not spend the evening hunting for workload stats, these are probably hard to process, but BMA covid tracker survey through April makes interesting reading, 25% of doctors redeployed (30th April survey), to the question "During this pandemic, do you consider that you are currently suffering from any of depression, anxiety, stress, burnout*, emotional distress or other mental health condition relating to or made worse by your work?" nearly 30% answered "Yes - and worse during this pandemic than before". https://www.bma.org.uk/advice-and-support/covid-19/what-the-bma-is-doing/covid-19-bma-actions-and-policy/covid-19-analysing-the-impact-of-coronavirus-on-doctors

              Possibly being in the relatively quiet environment of a non-covid ward skews the perspective.

              My local GP surgery was closed - and that was not because it was overwhelmed. The doctors and staff were at home no working.

              Not sure if mine were at home or not, what I do know is they were doing remote consultations.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Still confused about the 90%

          What "no-lockdown" types don't seem to understand is that the longer covid exists, and the more cases and deaths, the worse the economy will be.

          If we had a *proper* organised and enforced lockdown in March, we'd be free of it now, and the economy would be free to grow.

          I accept that it doesn't help that the main failures with the first lockdown were due to the criminally incompetent handling of it by the government.

          We're an island - since March, anyone coming into the country should have been put into forced quarantine.

          1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

            Re: Still confused about the 90%

            I disagree with both your assumptions.

    4. RM Myers Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Still confused about the 90%

      They are conducting a trial with 44 thousand people split between those who receive 2 doses of the vaccine and those who receive a placebo. So far, 94 people in the trial have contacted covid-19. Assuming the trial is split equally between vaccine and placebo, which was the plan, it sounds like at least 86 of the 94 people came from the placebo group. This is still preliminary data and the original plan was to run the trial until 164 people were infected. Also, the independent board reviewing the data didn't release any further details.

      1. sev.monster Bronze badge

        Re: Still confused about the 90%

        Unless they are intentionally introduced to a CoVID-19 infection, I call bullshit on any kind of statistical result from this. Have they taken into consideration how many people have knowingly (or unknowingly) been exposed? How can you say your vaccine is effective if you can't prove beyond all reasonable doubt that your vaccinated test group was exposed to the virus at all?

        1. RM Myers Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Still confused about the 90%

          I assume you have heard of the concept of probability theory. The odds that 22 thousand people randomly assigned to the placebo group in a double blind trial would have 10 times more infections than a similar vaccine group, with 94 total infections, by chance alone is incredibly small. This is basically the same as flipping a coin 94 times and having it be heads 86 or more times. Either the coin is rigged (the random assignment wasn't random), or something very weird is going on.

          1. nematoad Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Still confused about the 90%

            "I assume you have heard of the concept of probability theory. "

            Don't assume that, it's obvious that the AC has not heard of the theory, or if they have, have allowed their preconceived ideas and conspiracy theories to drown it out.

            Personally I reckon they haven't because it contains words of more than one syllable.

            1. sev.monster Bronze badge

              Re: Still confused about the 90%

              I'm no AC.

              Yes, I understand all that, but I still feel the environmental factors of the testing group should be much more relevant. It's like lining up a bunch of people from two groups, with the first group slightly more concentrated into one area, and throwing a can of paint at them. It would be understandable that the group that is more concentrated—even if by slight margins—in that area would be more likely to get splashed.

              I'm no conspiracy theorist, I just find it hard to trust the infection rate to sample size ratio. I don't feel it's a controlled enough test. With all the misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the virus, wouldn't you want more concrete results too?

              1. ibmalone Silver badge

                Re: Still confused about the 90%

                To put your mind at rest then, in a randomised trial each participant is randomly assigned to the treatment or placebo arm by an independent mechanism (there are services set up to do it, generally they provide a code which gets used at the pharmacy). The point of this exercise is that there is nothing about the patients that influences which arm they get into, so the 94 subjects being split 9:86 (the lowest guess compatible with that 90% number) really is analogous to doing 94 coin flips and getting only 9 heads. The only thing that makes the overall trial size relevant is that on that scale randomisation is really good, rather than just the best we can do. The paint analogy would be spray painting an area and finding the paint mysteriously not sticking to half of it.

                I realise 94 seems small, but if this was a cancer treatment and I told you in a balanced study 9 people on treatment had died and 85 on placebo had died, what would you conclude?

                With all the misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the virus, wouldn't you want more concrete results too?

                I don't think clinical evidence will influence misinformation or conspiracy theories much either way. In any case they tend to focus on the safety, if not absolute fantasy. The people who believe Bill Gates is planning to inject us all with microchips wouldn't be persuaded even if this was 160 infections to 0.

                1. RM Myers Silver badge
                  FAIL

                  Re: Still confused about the 90%

                  Good points. I should have explained that this was a random assigned, placebo controlled trial and what that meant in my original post. I assumed* people already knew that. Ugh.

                  * assume = to make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'.

                  1. sev.monster Bronze badge

                    Re: Still confused about the 90%

                    You can blame others for taking your words at face value, without doing their own research :)

                    And I call myself a skeptic.

                    Well, to exacerbate on what I was saying though, even if the subjects are assumedly proportionally distributed, the virus is not. There are hotspots of activity, some people live farther out than others, some have different travel routines, some work from home while others go to an office, etc. I think this is more what I was trying to say, and my paint metaphor may have been misleading.

                    But regardless, until the full trial is released, I hold my action, and default to untrusting. (Perchance "bullshit" is too strong a word? I quite like it.) If they have managed to address or mitigate these potentialities or they end up being lessened or rendered statistically insignificant by enough infections, then that's fine; all I can say is I'm buying tons of Pfizer stock either way.

                    IANALSOD (I Am Not A Lawyer, Statician, Or Doctor, and definitely nothing to do with lawn trimmings shoved up the offramp), just a guy trying to make sense of the world.

                    1. ibmalone Silver badge

                      Re: Still confused about the 90%

                      There are hotspots of activity, some people live farther out than others, some have different travel routines, some work from home while others go to an office, etc. I think this is more what I was trying to say, and my paint metaphor may have been misleading.

                      I understand what you're saying, and can see why it might seem like that, but the randomisation also means those factors are spread evenly.

                      This is why I keep comparing it to a coin toss, because, sure it could happen that every single person in the treatment group lives in the countryside and works from home, and everyone in the placebo group works in an ICU, but it's exceptionally unlikely, you calculate the probabilities by multiplying and at first it starts out plausible, 50:50, then 25:75, then 13:87, 06:94, even up to the first ten it's about a thousand to one for that kind of imbalance and it's not utterly implausible. But it's exponential, so by the time you've got over eighty in one group and under ten in the other it's really unlikely it can happen by chance.

                      (For purists, I've skated over the combinational aspect if you allow a few of the placebo group to be living in the country, but as we're at the tails of the distribution it doesn't make much difference.)

                2. sev.monster Bronze badge

                  Re: Still confused about the 90%

                  My other comment was in response to the both of you, but to address you specifically:

                  I realise 94 seems small, but if this was a cancer treatment and I told you in a balanced study 9 people on treatment had died and 85 on placebo had died, what would you conclude?

                  I likely wouldn't conclude without reading the study. But that's just me. I am hard to convince.

                  The people who believe Bill Gates is planning to inject us all with microchips wouldn't be persuaded even if this was 160 infections to 0.

                  B-but I thought Evil Micro$oft Billy killed all of Africa with botched super malaria vaccines!!!???

                  1. ibmalone Silver badge

                    Re: Still confused about the 90%

                    I likely wouldn't conclude without reading the study. But that's just me. I am hard to convince.

                    Actually I agree, my own area is plagued with press release before publication which is incredibly frustrating. Interesting to see what we can infer from this limited data though, thankfully more will be coming.

                    B-but I thought Evil Micro$oft Billy killed all of Africa with botched super malaria vaccines!!!???

                    It's easy to forget these things in 2020.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Still confused about the 90%

            Nicely explained here: https://xkcd.com/882/

        2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Still confused about the 90%

          That's the difference between our testing and the Russian testing. IIUC the Russians *do* deliberately infect the trial group, and so get more accurate results more quickly. That would be illegal in the Western World, so we have to rely on statistical evidence, which needs far larger trial groups and is less accurate.

          1. sev.monster Bronze badge

            Re: Still confused about the 90%

            Since I am apparently a mad scientist, what I'm getting out of this is I should move to Russia. Do I get a complimentary plot of land in Crimea? When do I get the federally-required AKM and vodka? What if I have my own AKM, can I import it? Can I choose what type of vodka? Does Dan Akyroid's Crystal Head Vodka count? Please, I need answers.

          2. ibmalone Silver badge

            Re: Still confused about the 90%

            Can't find any direct report of rAd5-S or rAd26-S challenge trials. Ultimately it's down to ethical approval, not outright illegal to do (lack of effective treatments is an issue). Not sure if the Russians would be keeping quiet about it if they'd already proved it to work (their current roll-out is actually just a phase 3).

            Additionally all medical evidence is statistical in nature, science generally is anyway, but in medicine things tend to be noisy and small numbers. Even if the Russian vaccines achieve a 90% efficacy (which is quite high for vaccines I'm told), one in ten of the treatment group will get an infection. Not all the control group might. Got to separate the two somehow. (You've still got a control group, otherwise how do you know the protocol worked? Is it as big as the treatment group? Maybe it's smaller because you don't want to give too many people a severe coronavirus challenge, but that makes noise more of a problem.)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it could "turn people into monkeys"

    I wouldn't be surprised if millions of people fell for it. Why waste resources on "subtle", if your target audience are, for lack of better word, stupid?

  8. Fred Dibnah

    Public statements from Russian British officials should mostly always be taken with a pinch of salt; they often accuse others of doing what they themselves are guilty of.

    FTFY

    1. A. Coatsworth

      There is this beautiful scene in "The hunt for Red October" where the Russian ambassador is talking to a senior U.S politician.

      They are both lying, they know the other is lying and to some extent they know the other knows what they are trying to cover with the lies. It is probably the best representation of foreign relations in film, or at least my favorite.

      The two countries in question could be changed around without any modification to the results.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I had the same feeling when I watched V for Vendetta a few weeks back and realised that I was basically watching the play for the US under Trump, just with less orange.

        1. Reg Reader 1

          "Public statements from Russian officials should mostly be taken with a pinch of salt; they often accuse others of doing what they themselves are guilty of."

          Coincidentally ( ;) ), this described Trump's modus operandi.

          1. EnviableOne Silver badge

            And to an extent that of the puppets of a certain visually challenged Mr. D Cummings

      2. sev.monster Bronze badge

        Everyone has their agendas and every nation is guilty of a whole swathe of things. People need to realize their nation realistically isn't any better than anyone else's in the "telling massive lies to the populace and other countries' as well" department.

        Now, some countries are better than others, such as in the deliciousness level of their staple dishes...

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          And ALL countries are good at convincing their *own population* that the other guy is the baddie.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quote: "Public statements from Russian officials should mostly be taken with a pinch of salt; they often accuse others of doing what they themselves are guilty of."

    *

    Actually, the quote could quite reasonably say: "Public statements from Foreign Office or GCHQ officials should mostly be taken with a pinch of salt; they often accuse others of doing what they themselves are guilty of."

    *

    If anyone thinks this (minor) edit is controversial , take a look at this:

    - https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/sep/21/british-spies-hacked-into-belgacom-on-ministers-orders-claims-report

    *

    Yup.......Belgium! GCHQ REALLY NEEDS all these secrets about Belgian chocolate!!!!

    1. Nifty Silver badge

      IIRC, GCHQ believed that terrorists targeting the UK could be tracked via Belgacom. That belief may have been correct or not. But far from a chocolate cliché.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not Nifty!

        @nifty

        *

        So......GCHQ hacking Belgium IS ACTUALLY THE SAME AS THE ALLEGATION ABOUT RUSSIA.

        *

        Why don't you respond to the point given....not the point you wish to use as misdirection?

        *

        But thanks anyway...now we know which side of the hacking debate you are on.....it's the OTHER GUYS who are BAD......of course OUR GUYS can do no evil...oh no!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not Nifty!

          Woooah. Talk about agenda. You just read Niftys post, and somehow completely rewrote it in your head!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Also, Swiss chocolate is better IMHO.

        Just sayin'

        :)

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Actually, the quote could quite reasonably say: "Public statements from Foreign Office or GCHQ officials should mostly be taken with a pinch of salt; they often accuse others of doing what they themselves are guilty of."

      And we've had almost 4 years of Trump giving a masterclass in the subject. The problem is in the pass rate of the students.

      1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

        And we've had almost 4 years of Trump giving a masterclass in the subject.

        I will be honest, I am going to miss that orange-haired baboon when he leaves the office.

        NOTE: Poor Melania. I hope the pre-nup is up-to-date.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "NOTE: Poor Melania. I hope the pre-nup is up-to-date."

          IIRC, she refused to move into the White House until Donald agreed to changes in the pre-nup.

  10. martinusher Silver badge

    They're not being very subtle about it

    If you go to the "Rusia Today" website on any given day you'll find it full of opinion peoples peddling all sorts of weird and wonderful theories. None of these authors are Russian, they're all well known western journalists, albeit definitely somewhat fringe.

    You could put this down to a Russian Disinformation Campaign but I tend to think there's a more prosaic explanations -- they've got so much space to fill and not that much budget to fill it so they're getting contributions from known contributors. The reason for this is twofold. The first is that you occasional get an opinion piece by someone like George Galloway who is definitely not into the right wing misinformation game. The second is that if you go to a site like offguardian.org, a blog site that was originally set up to counter the Guardian's "Comment if Free" censorship that crippled that paper's usefulness post Snowden, you'll find it full of the same sort of stuff these days. In fact its an invaluable resource for learning the latest Covid Conspiracy Theories.

    (I keep telling people to read the book "A Man Called Intrepid". Its history -- WW2 history -- but you'll never look at today's media in the same light once you learn the tricks that were being used 80 years ago.)

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: They're not being very subtle about it

      Alternatively, Russia believes it's propaganda is more effective when dished out by the someone "local" to the intended target audience. eg Lord Haw Haw.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Last post from me

    On anything moderated by Gareth Corfield, clear vested interest is allowed to push personal agenda

    1. ibmalone Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Last post from me

      Alas, poor AC! I knew him, Horatio

      (closest icon to a skull...)

  12. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Pfizer announces a 90%-effective Covid-19 vaccine.

    A few days after that, Russia announces a 92%-effective Covid-19 vaccine

    (None of them provide any independent peer-reviewed data)

    Who says better?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021