Crucial Points on Pandemic Origins Debate
Congress Can Investigate; Lab Leak is not the Same as Lab Origin; Local DAs Can Act
With the "intelligence" "community" providing the results of its alleged "investigation" as to the origins of the pandemic, reportedly "inconclusive" -- it's important to keep some critical things, and some possibilities, in mind. Among them:
* The US Congress can investigate without Chinese involvement. While many are calling for deeper inquiry (an overdue, good thing) they are doing so in a manner that places the burden purely on China. This is wrong for a number of reasons. Richard Ebright at Rutgers has stated: "Many threads of investigation are available in the US and would be accessible to a Congressional inquiry with subpoena power. At EcoHealth. At funding agencies (USAID, DTRA, DARPA, DHS, and NIH). At publishers (Springer-Nature and Lancet). No cooperation from China needed." See my piece on Peter Daszak's EcoHealth Alliance, which funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology's dangerous lab work and itself received over $100 million in USAID, Pentagon and NIH money.
* Many like to say they are not "conspiracy theorists" but what does that mean? There are real conspiracies -- tobacco companies and Perdue Pharma with opioids are obvious examples. There clearly was a conspiracy going on with Peter Dazsak organizing the Feb 19, 2020 Lancet letter that dozens of scientists signed dismissing the possibility of lab origin. Daszak funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology's dangerous lab work while dismissing the possibility of lab origin. He absurdly claimed he had no conflicts of interest and was then put on the WHO Committee regarding lab origins, and the Lancet committee by Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University. None of this outrageous behavior resulted in any substantial reaction in most of the US establishment media for over a year. Where were virologists, scientists, science publications who all should have criticized Daszak for trying to hide his conflicts of interest? See work by US Right to Know that FOIAed relevant documents. [Added: Opening of Channel 4 documentary is good example of this.]
* While some House Republicans are apparently pushing for a Congressional inquiry, Pelosi is preventing it. Where is Schumer, Carolyn Maloney (chair of House Oversight) and Frank Pallone (chair of House Energy and Commerce) -- will they get behind a real investigation? An honest inquiry would almost certainly expose dangerous labwork by US institutions that could be seen as biowarfare -- akin to the Church Committee of the 1970s, or even better. It is possible that some of the Republicans are pushing for it in part because they know Pelosi will block it. Thus, both arms of the US establishment are served: Leverage against China and US government continuing dangerous lab work.
* One arm -- represented most clearly by Peter Daszak and Anthony Fauci -- seeks to ensure that the US government policy of pursuing biowarfare (much of biodefence is actually rebranded biowarfare). Indeed, one needs to keep in mind that Fauci basically lied about the work done in Wuhan when questioned by Rand Paul recently when he claimed the NIH didn't fund "Gain of Function" lab work at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, see below, but he gave some good soundbites, so he has amazingly escaped scrutiny. One needs to also recall that it was Fauci who dismissed the concerns of scientists regarding the escalating level of spending on dangerous biolab work following the 2001 false flag anthrax attacks.
* Redefinition of "Gain of Function" -- the term is a euphemism. It should be called Gain of Threat or the creation of Potentially Pandemic Pathogens. Ebright states of the work the NIH funded at the WIV: "The research also met -- clearly -- the definition of potential pandemic pathogen enhancement under the 2017-present Potential Pandemic Pathogen Control and Oversight (P3CO) Framework." Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety states that NIH director "Collins on CNBC just limited GOF research definition as research on viruses already pathogenic to humans being made more transmissible or lethal. This excludes research on animal viruses not present in humans to make them transmissible and lethal in humans. By that definition taking bat viruses not yet infectious to humans and engineering them to be pandemic viruses in humans would not count as GOF. So Collins says WIV was not doing GOF by using his definition. Ridiculous of course but intended to confuse the media and avoid NIH accountability for the pandemic." Kimbrell is suing the NIH. See latest letter from House Republicans to Collins. Alexis Baden-Mayer has been writing a series of pieces on scientists doing dangerous lab work: "‘Gain-of-Function’ Hall of Shame."
* The attempts to further define away dangerous lab work are even more nefarious when one considers that this entire field is arguably a euphemism for biowarfare. Francis Boyle, who wrote the US implementing legislation for the Biological Weapons Convention, accuses these scientists of engaging in outright criminal work -- making deadly pathogens more deadly. He is now arguing that the federal government is so corrupt, there needs to be action by local legal officials, like District Attorneys filing criminal charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder against individuals pursuing and funding dangerous lab work. He states of a Congressional inquiry: "Pelosi is a member of the Gang of Eight. So of course she knows this has to be shut down." He adds: "US Intels are up to their eyeballs in offensive Nazi Biowarfare Death Science Dirty Work. They have every incentive to stall and delay and cover-up and lie." If you think that's an exaggeration, consider that in some respects it's an understatement. Some of these pathogens -- like the weaponized avian flu created with NIH funding by scientists in the Netherlands and the University of Wisconsin ten years ago -- could wipe out half the world's population if they were to get out of a lab. Another solution from Boyle: "Shut down all BSL4s and BSL3s in the world. And then apply the original draft Verification Protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention before it was watered down by the Clinton administration to deal with work at BSL2s and BSL1s." One could see a movement of global protest on this issue. Ironically, the solution put forward by many officials now is to build more BSL4s.
* I warned in my piece "The Long History of Accidental Laboratory Releases of Potential Pandemic Pathogens Is Being Ignored In the COVID-19 Media Coverage" last Spring that "By not taking on the issue of biowarfare, the left is effectively turning it over to the prowar right which is weaponizing it against China." Indeed, the problem goes beyond major media coverage. The Nation, "Democracy Now" and the Grayzone all dismissed the possibility of lab origin. Scandalous in many ways. But unfortunately, it's not just the rightwing now that wants to target China. It may well be the Biden administration -- which would be expected since the "Asian pivot" was an Obama-Biden initiative.
* Peter Zelikow, who was Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, who headed the skewed 9/11 Commission and has been a card carrying member of the establishment, seems positioned to head up a commission on the pandemic. If allowed to proceed, it may well be his task to engage in a massive coverup and negotiate between the two branches of the establishment. Thus, instead of democratic participation (as might happen with a functional, open Congressional inquiry) the investigation would be a completely establishment managed affair. It's possible that the "intelligence" agencies punting is designed to turn the ball over to Zelikow. But there is no reason to treat statements by the likes of Zelikow more seriously than Chinese government charges that the pandemic originated at US government bioweapons facilities at Fort Detrick. Possibly less, in fact.
* Spy vs Spy: As a few have pointed out, much of the recent moves to make lab origin plausible are driven by political considerations. (This is not to say there is no new data indicating lab origin, for example see "Phylogeographic Mapping of Newly Discovered Coronaviruses Pinpoints the Direct Progenitor of SARS-CoV-2 as Originating from Mojiang, China" by Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson of Independent Science News; disclosure: They have published my work.) That is, the lab origin theory gained traction more than anything from a Wall Street Journal article (published in May by Michael R. Gordon, Warren P. Strobel and Drew Hinshaw) that was sourced to US spook agencies. But it's also the case that the other side seems to represent tentacles of the US establishment. Again, most obviously Daszak is more a Pentagon and USAID contractor than a dispassionate scientist. There is a dearth of players on this who are truly independent.
* Even some who spoke about the possibility of the lab origin dismissed the possibility that it was genetically engineered. Francis Boyle and Luc Montagnier had made such charges early on and were widely dismissed or derided. Dr. Meryl Nass of Anthraxvaccine.blogspot.com and Stuart Newman, author of Biotech Juggernaut: Hope, Hype and Hidden Agendas of Entrepreneurial Bioscience also noted fatal flaws in the establishment narrative early last year.
* The major media dismissed the possibility of lab origins for the first year of the pandemic. This is one of the greatest media scandals ever. It probably even eclipses the Iraq WMD scandal, which was never properly accounted for. It involved many of the same outlets. It was clear from the circumstances and the scientific literature available at the start of the pandemic that lab origins was possible. I wrote a piece for Salon which was published in April of 2020: "Contrary to claims, the pandemic may have come from a lab — and regardless, it exposes the threat of biowarfare arms race." (I tried to get info out before then, but had no takers.) This involved a failure of the scientific system, major media and the legal system. Actually, failure may be too kind of a word. Those systems are massively corrupt -- every field has a political economy, including scientists which many people in the modern world naively hold with such unquestioning reverence. This silence is a major part of the scandal. There are a thousand questions: Are scientists afraid of funding cut offs? What are the ties between the government and Big Tech, etc. What structural reforms need to be made in our mass media system?
* Worse than silence -- you had 77 Nobel Prize winners denouncing the cutoff of funding to EcoHealth Alliance. They were organized by Richard J. Roberts of New England Biolabs. That organization makes a great deal of money from lab equipment purchased by institutions from money doled out by the government. Where is the accountability from these revered scientists? Such scientists should have been in the forefront denouncing Daszak's conflicts of interest -- instead, they covered it up.
* The lies by Daszak and company about the possibility of lab origin -- combined with the silence of others who had been warning of such a disaster like Marc Lipsitch at Harvard effectively prevented the public from realizing at the start of the pandemic what might have caused it. Had the public realized what was happening, the populist rebellion may have been an unprecedented event in human history. Trump talking about the possibility of lab origin further obscured the issue to people who blindly hated Trump, but it did not create the problem. I asked about lab origin at a news conference with the CDC on Feb. 11, 2020, well before Trump uttered a word in public, and I was dismissed with completely disingenuous responses. Even proponents of lab leak, like Jamie Metzl, obscure issues in many ways, for example claiming that while they were disseminating propaganda, Daszak and company "were very well intentioned." That would indicate that Metzl (who was on the Obama National Security Council and is now an advisor to the WHO on gene editing and is also with the Atlantic Council -- funded by NATO, the UAE and Goldman Sachs) is relieved that the public has been robbed so far of meaningfully engaging on this vital issue.
* Some are condemning the scientific enterprise as a whole. Science didn't fail us. Our institutions failed science. Science at its core is about collecting evidence and using reason. That can't happen in a decent manner if winners and losers are not determined on the basis of logic and evidence, but on the basis of the desires of who controls the purse strings. [added: Jon Stewart’s tear is an example of this.]
* Lab Origin Does Not Mean Lab Leak. "Lab leak" implies accident. From the available information, it's possible that the pandemic origins had nothing to do with a lab (less and less likely by the day), it's possible that it accidentally leaked out a lab in Wuhan -- and it's possible that there was intentional release. There are a number of possibilities on the last possibility that I plan on fleshing out in a future piece. The most obvious is that someone was out to frame the Chinese. I'm not saying I think that's what happened. I'm saying it's deranged that that possibility has been scrupulously ignored. That is what happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks. Those attacks were a classic false flag attack. They were designed to appear to be from foreign Arabs or Muslims -- much of the media tried to pin it on a joint Al Qaeda and Iraq operation. See: "How the 2001 Anthrax False Flag Attacks Paved Way for Afghanistan and Iraq Invasions."
* After the 2001 anthrax attacks, which came out of US or US-allied lab, there was more funding for dangerous lab work. Rather than moving to ban all such work, we seem to be moving to do more of it. Again. This was pushed by Anthony Fauci and effectively continues to be. This is putting out fire with gasoline, akin to what the US government has done with its foreign interventions generally. See work regarding the current pandemic and the anthrax attacks by Whitney Webb of unlimitedhangout.com -- she also examines the role of so-called "war games" and possible connections of pandemic origins to the Great Reset agenda pushed by the World Economic Forum -- pointing to mass disruption caused by the pandemic that is used to advantage of Big Tech and other privileged sectors. See discussion we had recently.
* With the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan some are belatedly able to see that the wars were not a disaster for everyone -- military contractors and others benefit from the wars. Similarly, some are tangibly benefiting from the pandemic. Some of these individuals may actually be responsible for the pandemic and for risking future pandemics.
* Russia and China and others seem set to build more and more BSL4 labs. This is effectively a bioweapons arms race under the guise of protecting the public. Make no mistake: This was sparked and fueled by the US government. Part of the dynamic is similar to what we saw with the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty -- the US government along with most of NATO and the Russians are effectively stopping the will of most of the rest of the world to eliminate nuclear weapons because it is the root of much of their illegitimate power and privilage.
* Some of the left wing outlets that dismissed the possibility of lab origin because individuals tied to Israeli intelligence and the US government outlet the Voice of America were pushing the possibility of lab origin early on. It's certainly proper to scrutinize such sources, but it's possible that such outlets reported about the possibility of lab origin not because it was disinformation, but because some covert operators knew it was lab origin -- [add: even possibly] because they were so informed by whoever made it happen. Again, I'm not stating that I know or think that's what happened, but it's a possibility that needs to be examined given the circumstances and the incredible stakes involved. If anyone has been paying attention to US foreign policy -- from bombing of civilian targets to sanctions designed to inflict suffering on entire populations -- there is no ethical limit on the conduct of the US establishment.
* The Chinese government is clearly hiding things, and that must be challenged properly, but there might actually be some legitimate basis for some of their apparent fears. After all, the US government used disarmament as a perverse pretext to pulverize, sanction and then invade Iraq. This included using UNSCOM to do everything short of giving Saddam Hussein a proctology exam -- and then effectively destroying UNSCOM, continuing the sanctions and positioning the invasion.
* What is needed is a stop to biowarfare and any such dangerous lab work -- and real transparency. These problems are indeed chronic. While some researchers like Jeffrey Kaye have charged the US government used biowarfare in the Korean War, others like Nicholson Baker in his 2019 book Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act conclude that proving wide scale use is not feasible -- because the US government, so many decades later, still won't declassify the relevant documents. Baker does conclude that, at minimum, the US government did use bioweapons as a tactic -- to make the Chinese think they were using them to hinder the Chinese military. (Disclosure: Baker was kind enough to draw the picture of me on my website.)
* Some have noted that there is no global body devoted to biowarfare. Having one may give some hope, but it might not actually solve the problem. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for example has been compromised with respect to Iraq (see from 2002, during the buildup to the Iraq invasion "Chemical Weapons Agency 'Coup'?" and from 2018: “'We Know Where Your Kids Live': How John Bolton Once Threatened an International Official.") And in Syria -- see IPA news releases as well as reporting by Aaron Mate. There is a deep seated problem of global governance at the heart of the UN system which has been slavish to the dictates of the most powerful states, most obviously the US government, but also the British government which drafts a completely disproportionate number of Security Council resolutions. This does not imply destroying the UN system. It may imply using it as an interim step toward a better, more open and democratic global system.
* As with the "clash" between "Islam" and "The West" -- polorization with China by the US establishment has to be treated with the greatest of care and thought. There is clearly collusion going on between wealthy elites in both nations. At the same time, the US government is clearly prone to threatening and waging aggressive war. At times -- consciously or not, the militarists on each side feed off of each other. We don't want a world that combines US commercialism with Chinese authoritarianism. We want the opposite. One that strives to adopt the best insight of each tradition. That is the gain of function we should attain.