Pandemic Games

The following investigative report takes a detailed look at the players in the international “pandemic preparedness” simulations, and charts their intersection with German politics.

Many thanks to Hellequin GB for translating this article from

Secret network uncovered: Spahn and Wieler planned lockdown before the Corona outbreak

In February of 2019, a senior employee of Health Minister Jens Spahn took part in an international pandemic exercise organized by privately funded US institutions. A year later, the same official recommended that several state secretaries of the Federal Ministry of the Interior prepare lockdown measures — which were not included in any official pandemic plan. When asked, he does not want to comment. Research shows that an international network with connections to the US Pentagon was very active shortly before the crisis broke out.

by Paul Schreyer

For a long time it was unclear how the previously unprecedented idea of a lockdown found its way into German government circles. Who recommended that the government take the radical measures that are not found in any official pandemic preparedness paper? Where did the plans come from, including curfews and the shutdown of large parts of society?

In the spring of this year, the former Spiegel editor-in-chief Georg Mascolo shed some light on this darkness. In the book Outbreak — Inside Views of a Pandemic, written together with his wife, the Stern journalist Katja Gloger, the first pages describe what was discussed within the federal government after Italy — in view of five Corona deaths — on February 23, 2020 adopted the Chinese model and cordoned off entire cities:

“On Rose Monday [the day before Shrove Tuesday] of 2020, it is February 24th, Jens Spahn’s State Secretary Thomas Steffen asks for an urgent appointment at the Federal Ministry of the Interior. […] Heiko Rottmann-Großner accompanies him, Head of Subdivision 61: ‘Health Security’. Minister Horst Seehofer’s three state secretaries are already waiting for the two of them, along with other officials. […] State Secretary Steffen looks tense. He admits that he does not believe that Corona can be contained any longer. […] Now the next phase is active: mitigation, damage reduction. When the officials from the Ministry of the Interior want to know what exactly ‘mitigation’ means, Rottmann-Großner takes over. Precautions must be taken to ensure that there are curfews of indefinite duration. One must also, as it will later be said in a note on the conversation, ‘paralyze the economy and call on the population to stock up on food and medicines.’ Something like this will soon be called ‘lockdown’, but another word will be used on this Shrove Monday: it is ‘shutdown’.”

In the extensive National Pandemic Plan of the Federal Republic of Germany from 2017 (here Part 1 and Part 2), however, there is no mention of such measures. It only recommends much more cautious steps, such as closing community facilities and restricting or banning large events. The pandemic plan takes a very differentiated view of school closings and only discusses them with numerous reservations. Closing borders is clearly discouraged. “Social distancing” in public with clearly defined distances (1.50 meters) is nowhere to be found as a recommendation, just as there are no curfews or even “paralyzing the economy”.

So where did the unusually radical recommendations put forward by Rottmann-Großner come from? Had someone advised him accordingly? If so, who? When asked by Multipolar, the officer kept a low profile. He was able to “basically understand” the interest, but could “not comment” on the passage, which does not mean that he would “confirm the description in the book itself or give further assessments”. A question whether he would at least justify his silence on the matter and thus explain why no transparency is being established at this crucial point, he left unanswered.

Who is Heiko Rottmann-Grossner?

The ministerial official comes from the environment of Merkel’s confidante Hildegard Müller, a banker who switched to politics. First, he headed the office of their representatives in the Bundestag, then from 2005, after her promotion to Minister of State to the Chancellery, her office there, where Müller coordinated the federal-state relations for the newly elected Chancellor. Müller, whose political rise was co-financed by the Dresdner Bank, belonged to the small group within the CDU, on which Merkel could “really rely”, as Der Spiegel estimated at the time.

After Müller left politics and became a lobbyist, Rottmann-Großner continued his career under her successor Hermann Gröhe, whose office in the Chancellery he headed as well as his office as CDU general secretary. After Merkel made Gröhe Minister of Health in 2013, he promoted Rottmann-Großner to head of the management staff of this ministry. When at the beginning of 2018, after the federal election, Gröhe had to make room under pressure from the Chancellor for Jens Spahn, Rottmann-Großner took up his current post as head of the health security subdivision — and thus at a key position in the Corona crisis.

Even before the crisis, the term “health security” was gradually loaded with meaning and administrative weight. While there was only a small section in the ministry in 2017, Spahn initially expanded this to a subdivision and finally even to a complete separate department — the highest level of division in the ministry. From March 2020, this department was headed by a Bundeswehr general — a striking novelty in the Ministry of Health. Spahn explained in a subordinate sentence to his appointment that the department had already been planned at the end of 2019, i.e. before the crisis broke out.

A conspiratorial pandemic exercise in Munich in 2019

What was previously unknown: The same ministry officials, who recommended the lockdown measures to the federal government in February 2020, had a year previously served as German representatives at a high-level pandemic simulation function, which was organized and funded by private US institutions. There he met the “who’s who” of the international biosecurity scene, a small group of lobbyists and experts with a lot of sponsorship money, who, since the global shock of the Trump presidency in 2017, have been warning of pandemics and bio-terrorism and employed political decision-makers from many countries around the world in corresponding simulations.

The best known of these exercises are “ Event 201” in October of 2019 in New York and “Clade X” in May of 2018 in Washington. To date little is known about the intervening exercise that took place in Munich on February 14, 2019, one day before the start of the Munich Security Conference. Rottmann-Großner, Spahn’s sub-department head for “health security”, met key people from the international biosecurity scene there, but who are hardly known to the general public. Among them were:

  • Chris Elias, president of the Global Development department at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, responsible, among other things, for “vaccine delivery”, and a few months later a member of Event 201
  • Tim Evans, co-founder of the vaccination alliance GAVI, former employee of the Rockefeller Foundation, from 2003 to 2010 in the management level of the WHO and from 2013 to 2019 at the World Bank as Director for Health, Nutrition and “Population Global Practice” — and also a participant in Event 201
  • Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, a British foundation for global health promotion that is worth more than 30 billion dollars and is politically as active and powerful as the Gates Foundation; Farrar and Elias have also — together with Christian Drosten — since 2017 been members of a committee that advises the federal government on questions of “international health policy”
  • Jeremy Jurgens, an American from the management level of the World Economic Forum, director for “Global Industries and Strategic Intelligence”

Cameron, the Pentagon, and the Nuclear Threat Initiative

Beth Cameron is also a key figure in the scene. From 2010 to 2013 she worked at the Pentagon as director of the department of Cooperative Threat Reduction, and then moved to the White House on the National Security Council as director for Global Health Security and Biodefense. This department, which was only created under US President Barack Obama in 2016, was disbanded by Trump’s security advisor John Bolton in 2018. Then Cameron switched to the private lobby group Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

This group, founded in 2001 with the money of CNN founder and billionaire Ted Turner, with the participation of ex-US Foreign Ministers George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, initially campaigned primarily for a world free of nuclear weapons. In the following years, however, she expanded her field of work to include other types of security threats, including “biosecurity”, i.e. the risk of bio-terror and pandemics. Cameron headed this area. The activities are financed by, among others, billionaire and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz (also one of the biggest financiers of the presidential election campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden) and Bill Gates.

The NTI was chaired by former US Senator Sam Nunn, who headed the Senate’s powerful Defense Committee from 1987 to 1995. As chairman of the committee, he exerted great influence on the nuclear disarmament of the successor states of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Formally, in his Senate function, he represented legislative control over the Pentagon; in reality, however, Nunn, husband of a CIA agent, was at an extremely delicate interface — between the democratic surveillance of the military on the one hand and the interests of the generals and the armaments industry on the other. Nunn also took part in the “Dark Winter” bioterror simulation game in June 2001 and played the US President there.

The NTI, which he heads, was also behind the pandemic simulation game in Munich in February 2019. The US politician took part personally. It becomes clear that when it comes to biosecurity and health security, there is a close personal relationship with the US military and the American security apparatus. “Securing global health” is a term that also conceals power interests and the struggle for international influence. It fits in with the fact that Beth Cameron, one of the organizers of the simulation game, was re-appointed director of the Global Health Security department in the National Security Council, which was re-activated under President Biden, two years later in January 2021.

Bill Gates as a source of ideas

The exercise in Munich was apparently inspired by Bill Gates at the Munich Security Conference of 2017, who declared that “the next epidemic could be created on the computer screen of a terrorist who, with the help of genetic engineering, could create an extremely contagious and deadly flu pathogen.” One must therefore “prepare for epidemics like the military for a war.” This included simulation games (Gates: “Germ Games”) and other emergency exercises. In the final report of the 2019 exercise, Gates’ speech at the time was quoted verbatim: “We ignore the link between health security and international security at our own risk.”

Pneumonic plague as a bioweapon

In Munich in February 2019, it was about a lung plague pandemic, the pathogen of which, according to the scenario, had been deliberately spread and led to “flu-like symptoms” and rapid death. The pathogen spread through the air. In their final report published a few months later in June 2019, the organizers of the simulation came to the usual recommendations: more international cooperation, closer coordination and central coordination are appropriate in an emergency. This automatically always meant a leading role for the USA in the event of a pandemic, which drove the entire advance planning.

The script for the exercise dealt with bio-terrorism, but natural pandemics were also taken into account, as one spoke more generally of “biological events with a high degree of consequence”.

The report said about the fictitious course of the crisis:

“With cases spreading in Europe and the US, WHO declares an international health emergency and the Prime Minister of Vestia [the fictional setting] asks the United Nations Secretary-General to investigate the possible use of a biological weapon. In the further course of the scenario, the pathogen is sequenced [according to the script by the Robert Koch Institute — PS] and it turns out that it was genetically engineered and resistant to antibiotics. The scenario ends with a terrorist group confessing to the attack and intelligence reports linking this group to a possible state sponsor.”

Confidential conversations

What the participants in the exercise in Munich specifically discussed with each other is not known. According to the final report, the event took place under the so-called “Chatham House Rule”, which also applies to the Bilderberg meetings, for example, and according to which those present undertake to maintain secrecy about who said what. The aim is to enable an exchange that is as open as possible. It is therefore unclear which conversations Spahn’s officials had there exactly.

In any case, the event created the framework for getting to know each other personally and for making connections that could be used subsequently. It can be assumed that since February 2019 at the latest, Rottmann-Großner has maintained a personal connection to people like Chris Elias, Tim Evans, Jeremy Farrar or Beth Cameron — all of them functionaries who are part of the global leadership circle of “Pandemic Preparedness”. This connection is to be assumed in particular, because, according to the will of these actors, Germany should take on an international “pioneering role” in “global health policy”. Chris Elias from the Gates Foundation, Jeremy Farrar from the Wellcome Trust, Christian Drosten and the other members of the above-mentioned international advisory group of the federal government put this very frankly in June 2019:

‘The mantra for our German colleagues was ‘Be ambitious’. We have great expectations of Germany, which ranks fourth in the world as a leading economic power and — according to the German government — has to assume greater global responsibility. We believe that the topic of global health is ideally suited to effectively bundling the values, skills and determination of Germany and thus supporting and expanding human rights, multilateralism, humanitarian aid and sustainable development. Of course, we want Germany to do even more — especially in politics, in development finance and in supporting global institutions, especially the WHO. We believe that the EU Council Presidency in 2020 could be an ideal time for this. […] We very much hope that our work will contribute to a stronger pioneering role for Germany in global health policy.”

Also there: Lothar Wieler

Rottmann-Großner was apparently one of the contact persons for this, among several. In any case, he was not the only representative of Germany at the business game in Munich. It is not mentioned in the text of the published final report, but it can still be seen on a photo contained therein: RKI President Lothar Wieler was also present. You can see him joking with the organizer Beth Cameron.

Wieler apparently belonged to a small group of observers who did not actively participate in the simulation game, but did so as a spectator — which is also evident in another picture of Wieler next to Cameron and sitting directly behind the moderator, NTI co-chairman Ernest Moniz, a former minister under Bill Clinton.

Wieler, who is known to the public as his father’s companion in the crisis and who is often ridiculed by critics as a supposedly inexperienced veterinarian, is far better connected than is generally known. According to the book by Mascolo and Gloger mentioned above, Wieler and the head of the Federal Intelligence Service are “old friends”. The RKI President and the one year younger BND President Bruno Kahl “have known” each other “since university days” and “row together on the Wannsee to this day, an eight-seater with helmsman.”

Wieler also plays a role internationally.

In June 2019, just a few months after the simulation game in Munich, he was appointed co-chair of the WHO “Working Group on Influenza Preparedness and Response”. In September of 2020, he was also raised to the head of the “International Health Regulation Review Committee” and thus to a politically extremely explosive key position, especially with a view to the currently planned “International Pandemic Treaty”.

Pandemic simulation games in December 2019 and February 2020

Germany ‘s “stronger pioneering role” has been actively promoted. The exercise in Munich in February of 2019 was only one aspect. Three months later, in May of 2019, the CDU / CSU parliamentary group invited to a conference on “Global Health” and “Cross-Border Health Risks”, in which, in addition to Farrar and Drosten, Merkel and Spahn and WHO chief Tedros also took part (video recording). Immediately before the outbreak of the Corona crisis, this was followed up with a pandemic simulation game in New York in December (!) of 2019, which an NTI report published later only mentions in passing and describes as follows:

“This version of the exercise included a deeper dive into the deterrence and prevention of catastrophic biological risks from potentially government-sponsored bioweapons research, including the accidental and deliberate release of biological weapons.”

One would like to know more about that, especially given the amazing timing. However, only a list of participants in this New York simulation game has been published. This list includes, among other things, the “Event 201” player, ex-Vice-CIA boss and current director of the US secret services Avril Haines.

According to NTI, the New York exercise served to prepare another bioterror simulation game in Munich, again as part of the Munich Security Conference, which took place in the following year 2020 from February 14th to 16th — exactly at the time while the real Corona virus was spreading in Asia. According to the script, this time it was about an influenza virus that was activated in the laboratory and subsequently infected billions of people. There is a short report from the organizers and a detailed final report for this exercise. However, no one from German politics was invited to this simulation game. It is not known whether Wieler or other German officials participated as observers.

Ten days later, Heiko Rottmann-Großner recommended that the Federal Ministry of the Interior introduce lockdown measures in Germany. Who brought this idea closer to him remains open.

3 thoughts on “Pandemic Games

  1. “A question whether he would at least justify his silence on the matter and thus explain why no transparency is being established at this crucial point, he left unanswered.”

    — It reminds me of the Nazi concentration camps or the Gulag camps. Nobody talked about them publicly at the time. Not even after the war, for a long time, everyone kept silent including the survivors.

  2. “According to the final report, the event took place under the so-called “Chatham House Rule”, which also applies to the Bilderberg meetings, for example, and according to which those present undertake to maintain secrecy about who said what.”

    — Omerta.

    o·mer·ta (ō-mûr′tə, ō′mĕr-tä′)


    A rule or code that prohibits speaking or divulging information about certain activities, especially the activities of a criminal organization.

    [Italian omertà, probably from alteration (influenced by Sicilian omu, man) of Spanish hombredad, manliness, from Spanish hombre, man; see ombre.]


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