Thirty-two years ago this week, the West watched in horror as the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) turned its tanks on protesters in Tiananmen Square. The West was equally horrified, at the outset of the pandemic, by the brutality of the repression exercised by the CCP as the Sars2 virus spread through Wuhan: the monstering of Dr Li Wenliang simply for trying to warn his colleagues about an outbreak of a novel Sars-like pneumonia; the locking down of an entire city of eleven million people turning it into an eerie ghost town. The persecution of doctors, scientists, citizen-journalists and anyone else who dared to speak out.
Yet, 18 months later, none of this is foreign to us anymore. We are compelled to wear masks, even though our national pandemic plan says they are not effective in limiting the spread of respiratory viruses. We have been put under house arrest for up to 23 hours a day at times. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube openly engage in censorship. The police behave with shocking brutality towards anyone who challenges the new order. Doctors have been threatened with losing their licence if they dare to prescribe drugs that are highly effective in reducing Covid mortality if treatment starts early. The media runs a narrative that ridicules, demonises or ignores anything or anyone that departs too far from the official narrative handed down to us by ‘the experts’.
How did this happen? How were we bullied into accepting creeping health authoritarianism with Chinese characteristics? If there is a single man responsible for this it is US presidential Covid advisor, Dr Anthony Fauci or FauXi, the midwife of our Sino-Socialist rebirthing.
This week we got a clearer picture of the role of the most powerful man in the administration, as far as the pandemic was concerned, thanks to a trove of his email correspondance released under Freedom of Information Act requests. Even heavily redacted, the emails expose Fauci as the Covid Conspirator-in-Chief, bringing together powerful people to set a narrative which was forcefully imposed and is only now starting to fall apart.
Fauci’s blithe advocacy of dangerous gain-of-function (GOF) research, in which scientists make viruses more lethal or transmissible, supposedly to better understand the devastation they can wreak, has made him the ‘GOF-father’ of the pandemic. In 2012, he said the benefits of such research outweighed even the risks of starting a pandemic. The families and friends of the 3.8 million victims of Covid-19 no doubt beg to differ. The Covid recession is the deepest since the end of World War II and was greatly exacerbated by the policies Fauci advocated – crippling lockdowns that did not reduce viral transmission and the failure to prioritise effective early treatment.
In 2014, those who saw the dangers of GOF research succeeded in getting a moratorium on funding for new studies that aimed to give novel functions to influenza, Sars, and Mers viruses in the wake of serious biosafety lapses at federal research facilities which accidentally exposed scientists to anthrax and potentially to smallpox. Yet, Barack Obama approved resumption of funding just eleven days before Trump came to office.
When Fauci announced the lifting of the pause on GOF funding at a National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Advisory Council meeting, he said, ‘I don’t think this is gonna be foolproof. Things are gonna slip through.’ This was a worry not just because he was cheerleader-in-chief for GOF research but because NIAID and the NIH were the principal funders. In the decade to 2018, they allocated 42 per cent (US$1,335M) of the total global investment in R&D for neglected tropical disease, with the Gates Foundation, aggregate industry, the Wellcome Trust and the US Department of Defense accounting for the rest. Of all the recipients, the most controversial is Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance which has funded coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) for more than a decade and has received more than $US13 million from the NIH and a total of $123 million from the US government, including one-third from the Pentagon.
When a much more transmissible Sars virus started the sickening of the people of Wuhan in 2019, the WIV, Daszak and Fauci were all in the frame. This looked very much like the accidental pandemic that GOF opponents had feared. How was Fauci able to persuade reputable scientists to ignore the evidence of their eyes that the genome of the virus was, as Kristian Andersen of the Scripps Institute put it in an email revealed this week, ‘inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory’ and get them to argue that it was virtually impossible that the virus had anything other than a natural origin? Who knows but Andersen has been the recipient of over $US23 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health and his Scripps Research Institute had received over $US 6 billion.
Daszak has expended considerable efforts in denouncing the lab leak theory, notably, as revealed in FOIA emails, rounding up 27 experts to sign a letter he drafted to the Lancet which stifled debate by attacking ‘conspiracy theories suggesting that Covid-19 does not have a natural origin’. In spite or because of his massive conflict of interest in potentially funding the research which led to the pandemic, he was invited to join the WHO investigation in China into the origin of the virus and to head a commission of twelve for the Lancet on the same subject alongside five of his co-signatories.
Daszak was infuriated when his funding was cut by Trump last year and only restored on condition that he provide the US government with important information to throw light on the origins of the pandemic such as a vial of the Sars-CoV-2 sample that was used by the WIV to determine the virus’s genetic sequence and an inspection of the WIV by US federal officials. Daszak said the demands were ‘heinous’ and his WIV collaborator Shi Zhengli aka Batwoman, called the demands ‘outrageous’.
In reality, the single biggest lesson of the pandemic, is that the risk of a future pandemic originating in a lab accident is real, GOF research made it more likely and in no way reduced the impact of the pandemic. On the contrary, it inspired the scientific establishment to shut down debate rather than follow evidence, while the pharmaceutical industry has ruthlessly put profits and patents ahead of the people.
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