In the July 22, 2021, article,1 “Did Scientists Stifle the Lab-Leak Theory,” foreign reporter and columnist for Unherd, Ian Birrell, analyzes the circumstances that led to a near-complete blackout of questions about SARS-CoV-2’s origin.
In September 2019, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board issued a warning that a new infectious disease was poised to spread around the world, and that nations were ill prepared for such an event.
The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board is a joint arm of the World Health Organization and the World Bank — two technocratic entities that aren’t always working in the best interest of humanity as a whole.
On the 15-person Board are Sir Jeremy Farrar (director of the Wellcome Trust), Dr. Anthony Fauci (director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIAID) and George Fu Gao, director-general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Technocrat-Led Board Predicted Manmade Pandemic
As noted by Birrell, the board’s warning was “astonishingly prescient,” as SARS-CoV-2 emerged in December 2020. Importantly, the board did not necessarily focus its prediction on the emergence of natural zoonotic diseases but, rather, warned of technological and scientific advances that “allow for disease-creating micro-organisms to be engineered or recreated in laboratories.”
According to the board, accidental release of such manmade organisms could actually be far more devastating than a natural outbreak. “Accidental or deliberate events caused by high-impact respiratory pathogens pose global catastrophic biological risks,” the board stated in its September 2019 report, titled “A World At Risk.”2 In passing, the report also mentioned the need to control the flow of information:
“A deliberate release would complicate outbreak response; in addition to the need to decide how to counter the pathogen, security measures would come into play limiting information-sharing and fomenting social divisions.”
Same Board Members Denied Possibility of Manmade Pandemic
Despite the Board’s recognition that manmade pathogens pose a significant threat, some of its board members — Fauci and Farrar in particular — have played central roles in roundly dismissing the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 leaked from a lab. As reported by Birrell:3
“Farrar was a central figure behind two landmark documents published by influential science journals that played a key role in shutting down discussion of the lab leak hypothesis by branding it conspiracy theory.
These statements, signed and promoted by leading figures in the scientific establishment, pushed an idea that the pandemic was a natural occurrence by arguing against the plausibility of ‘any type of laboratory-based scenario.’ Critics say this ‘false narrative’ set back understanding of the disease for more than a year.”
In his book, “Spike: The Virus vs. The People — the Inside Story,” Farrar praises China for its pandemic response at the outset of the pandemic. This despite the fact that the Communist dictatorship is known to have silenced doctors who wanted to warn the public, and allowed the annual Chinese New Year’s celebration to proceed, thereby ensuring massive spread as people from all parts of China and across the world gathered.
Did Fauci and Farrar Collude to Suppress Lab-Leak Theory?
Birrell goes on to detail how Farrar and Fauci reacted to early reports suggesting the virus had telltale signs of gain-of-function. Emails4 obtained via freedom of information act (FOIA) requests reveal Fauci received a Science magazine article detailing the work of Peter Daszak (EcoHealth Alliance) and Shi Zhengli at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
“The article discussed controversies over risky ‘gain of function’ experiments, including mention of a 2015 paper by Shi and a U.S. expert on modification of a Sars-like bat virus to boost infectivity to humans,” Birrell writes.5
“Emails released through freedom of information requests show Fauci instantly circulated the article to U.S. officials and contacted Farrar saying it was ‘of interest to the current discussion’ …
[Scripps virologist Kristian] Andersen, when sent the Science article at the end of January, admitted a close look at the genetic sequences of Sars-CoV-2 showed that ‘some of the features (potentially) look engineered’ and that other experts agreed the genome was ‘inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory’ …
The Wellcome boss then set up a conference call for the pair of them with 11 other experts from around the world, warning their discussions were ‘in total confidence’ and information ‘not to be shared’ without prior agreement.
Farrar also sent Fauci a link to an article on ZeroHedge … that tied a Wuhan researcher to the virus outbreak. The site was banned the next day from Twitter …”
While we don’t know the full details of what was discussed during that February 1, 2020, phone call, Birrell points out what we do know. For example, we know they discussed contacting the WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and that two days later, Ghebreyesus made a public call for censorship of misinformation.
Five days after that call, Daszak also circulated the first draft of a scientific consensus statement6 that eventually got published in The Lancet, and thereafter was used by mainstream media and fact checkers everywhere to “debunk” any and all evidence of a lab leak.
The dam is breaking. And with the surging floodwaters, comes a stunning realization: Almost across the board, our elite institutions got the most important question about COVID wrong. ~ James Meigs
The statement, signed by 27 experts, including Farrar, condemned “conspiracy theories suggesting that Covid-19 does not have a natural origin.” A FOIA request revealed Daszak was the mastermind behind that Lancet statement7 — which, by the way, presented no actual evidence of natural origin — and that he wanted to make sure it could not be identified as being from a single individual or organization.
Six weeks after Farrar’s group call, four of the participants on the call — including Andersen — also published a commentary in Nature Medicine, titled “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2,”8 in which they stated they “do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible.”
“This statement in a world-renowned journal, which has been accessed 5.5 million times, further depressed debate of alternative theories on the origins, despite being challenged by a few brave voices in the scientific community,” Birrell writes.9
In his book, “Spike,” which was published July 22, 2021, Farrar admits he had deep concerns about the “huge coincidence” of SARS-CoV-2 emerging in a city with a biosafety level 4 (BSL4) laboratory that just so happens to specialize in collection, storage and research of bat coronaviruses. Birrell writes:
“The new coronavirus ‘might not even be that novel at all,’ he thought. ‘It might have been engineered years ago, put in a freezer, and then taken out more recently by someone who decided to work on it again. And then, maybe, there was … an accident?’
He was so concerned that he confided in Eliza Manningham-Buller, then the Wellcome Trust chair and a former head of the MI5 intelligence service, who told him to start taking precautions such as avoiding putting things in emails and using a burner phone for key conversations.
So what changed his mind so firmly he started signing letters and tweeting about alleged conspiracy theories? When I asked Farrar to share the evidence that set his mind at rest, he pointed to the Nature Medicine article. Yet his office told me later he helped ‘convene’ these five authors.
They also insist that ‘the weight of available data and scientific evidence continues to point towards zoonotic origins.’
But scientists have found no hard evidence on the pandemic origins, despite testing 80,000 samples on animals to find a natural link, while China has made increasingly ludicrous claims over the origins as well as covering up the outbreak, lying over the date of first cases and taking offline Wuhan’s key database of samples and viral sequences.”
In his book, Farrar also discusses specific concerns brought forth by Andersen in January 2020. Recall, in April 2020, Andersen published “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2” with four other co-authors. But in January, three things alarmed him about the virus:
The receptor binding domain, which is like a perfect key for entering human cells
The furin cleavage site, which is not found in other bat coronaviruses and would be expected “if someone had set out to adapt an animal coronavirus to humans by taking a specific suit of genetic material from elsewhere and inserting it”
A scientific paper describing the use of that very technique to modify the original SARS virus. Andersen allegedly thought it “looked like a how-to manual for building the Wuhan coronavirus in a laboratory”
Evidence of Collusion
Before Farrar’s February 1, 2020, call, Andersen was “60 to 70%” convinced SARS-CoV-2 was a lab creation, according to Farrar’s account. Yet Andersen also told Farrar he did not want to be a front man for the lab leak theory. Birrell writes:10
“Anderson told [Farrar] that he suddenly realized he might be the person who proved the new virus came from a lab. ’I didn’t necessarily want to be that person,’ he said.
‘When you make big claims like that you had better be sure that you can conclude something is based on evidence and not on speculation.’ So according to Farrar, then five experts wrestled with the evidence and, the following month, they declared in Nature Medicine that Sars-CoV-2 was ‘not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus’ …
They offered the circumstantial evidence that RaTG13, the closest known coronavirus to Sars-CoV-2, had different binding mechanisms — yet similar ones were found on pangolins, so ‘the ingredients … were out in the wild. They did not need to have escaped, or been unleashed, from a containment lab.’”
The problem with this argument is that they have no firm evidence of natural emergence. What’s more, while Andersen and co-authors claim they spent many sleepless nights carefully analyzing and evaluating the lab leak theory before finally dismissing it, in a May 2021 interview,11 co-author Robert Garry admitted the first draft of the Nature Medicine paper was finished February 1, 2020 — the day of Farrar’s conference call, which included four of the five co-authors.
Fauci’s email trove also reveals Farrar sent Fauci a rough draft of the Nature Medicine paper three days after that conference call, urging him to keep it confidential. That same day, Andersen also told another group of experts that the data “conclusively show” there was no engineering involved. “So far from having ‘many sleepless nights,’ these scientists seem to have changed their minds amazingly fast and reached fresh conclusions,” Birrell writes.
Elite Institutions Have Subverted the Truth
Another article addressing the subversion of truth by some of our most trusted scientific institutions is James Meigs’ Commentary piece, “The Lab-Leak-Theory Cover-Up.”12
“The dam is breaking,” Meigs writes. “And with the surging floodwaters, comes a stunning realization: Almost across the board, our elite institutions got the most important question about COVID wrong.
Worse, they worked furiously to discourage anyone else from getting it right. The leading scientific experts turned out to be spinning the truth. Our public-health officials put their political agenda ahead of any scientific mandate.
And the press and social-media giants eagerly played along, enforcing strict rules about which COVID topics were acceptable and which had to be banished from the national conversation.
During the Trump years, we heard a lot of hand-wringing about the public’s unwarranted ‘distrust’ of our society’s designated experts and leaders. But to be trusted, people and institutions have to be trustworthy.
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed a profound corruption at the heart of our expert class. The impact of that revelation will reverberate for years to come.”
As noted by Meigs, leading institutions not only declared the lab-leak theory incorrect, but also “dangerous and malicious,” and went to extraordinary lengths to “protect” the population from hearing anything that might infect their minds with such wrongthink.
In the end, all such efforts failed. Despite the ridicule, personal attacks and censorship, common sense and logic have managed to break through and, today, the failures of our most prestigious science institutions are laid bare.
Government Only Pays Lip Service to the Truth
The lab-leak question has also revealed corruption within other cherished institutions, such as the U.S. intelligence community. Two separate teams, one in the State Department and another under direction of the National Security Council, have been tasked with investigating the origin of SARS-CoV-2.
In Commentary, Meigs points out that both teams report facing intense internal pushback, according to Vanity Fair reporter Katherine Eban. Their own institutions urged them “not to open a ‘Pandora’s Box,’” which suggests the State Department and the NSC aren’t particularly interested in the truth. Of particular concern was the role the U.S. government may have played by funding gain-of-funding research on bat coronaviruses at the WIV.
While the ramifications of the truth might be extremely uncomfortable for some, if we allow individuals to shirk responsibility, the ramifications of that course of action could ultimately turn out to be lethal for mankind.
If U.S. institutions such as the NIAID funded gain-of-function research that resulted in a pandemic, we need to know, so we can close loopholes and implement better safeguards. I’ve argued that gain-of-function research that makes pathogens more dangerous to humans ought to be banned altogether, to prevent the creation of a truly lethal pandemic.
But even if we don’t ban it, we need to know what government agencies have been doing with our tax dollars, and decide whether they’ve been put to good use or not. In my opinion, creating pathogens capable of killing us is hardly a good use of our taxes, and should be stopped.
Origin Story Shows Importance of Independence
Most people want to trust government, academic and scientific institutions, and the media. Unfortunately, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that these institutions aren’t worthy of unequivocal trust.
They say they’re trustworthy, and they insist we must trust them, but their actions tell a different story. The pandemic has also shown us just how important it is for investigators, researchers and reporters to be truly independent. As noted by Meigs:13
“The story of why the line of inquiry survived is not an account of leading scientists and health organizations dutifully parsing the evidence.
Instead, it is largely the story of little-known researchers — many working outside the bounds of elite institutions — who didn’t let the political implications of their findings derail their efforts.
Much of what we know today about the Wuhan Institute’s risky research is thanks to these independent skeptics who challenged the institutional consensus. Some risked their careers to do so.”
One key group of self-organized researchers is the Decentralized Radical Autonomous Search Team Investigating COVID-19 (DRASTIC). They’ve made a number of important discoveries that have kept the lab-leak theory alive.
Massive Collusion to Suppress Inquisitiveness
“Throughout the pandemic we’ve often heard admonitions to ‘follow the science.’ Looking back we can see that few scientists — and even fewer journalists — really did,” Meigs notes. Among the few journalists who did tackle the elephant in the room were former New York Times reporters Nicholas Wade and Donald McNeil Jr.
“Notice the irony here: While two refugees from the New York Times were publishing deep, well-reported articles on an alternative outlet, the Times itself was still mostly ignoring the Wuhan-lab story,” Meigs writes.14
“One of its current pandemic specialists, Apoorva Mandavilli, was on Twitter urging everyone to ‘stop talking about the lab leak’ … When the pandemic hit last year, we were all urged to fall in line and listen to the authorities. Scientists and bureaucrats were elevated to near-divine status.
‘Let us pray, now, for science,’ Times tech columnist Farhad Manjoo wrote last February. ‘Pray for reason, rigor and expertise … Pray for the N.I.H. and the C.D.C. Pray for the W.H.O.’ Now the public is waking up to the fact that, prayers notwithstanding, those institutions largely failed us.
The WHO kowtowed to China’s deceptions. Anthony Fauci trimmed his public statements to fit the prevailing political winds. Some of the nation’s top virologists didn’t just dismiss the lab-leak possibility, they appeared to be covering up their own involvement with Wuhan gain-of-function research.
Journalists and social-media companies conspired to suppress legitimate questions about a disease that was killing thousands of Americans each day.”
Establishment Needs a Deep Clean
While we certainly need expertise, as Meigs points out, we must also be able to trust our experts, and the only way for trust to rebuild, experts must act from a strong ethical foundation, and be held responsible for dangerous failures.
“If the public concludes that COVID-19 was, in effect, an inside job, the political fallout could last a generation,” Meigs writes.15 “I don’t mean people will believe the virus was deliberately released … but that they will see the disease as a product of an elite power structure that behaves recklessly and evades responsibility.”
What makes the situation so problematic is that it’s not just one type of institution that is behaving recklessly and shirking responsibility. It’s not just the legacy media, or academia, or government, or public health, the intelligence apparatus, Big Tech, Big Pharma or the medical journal system. It’s all of them.
The Medical Journal System Has Failed Us Too
Continuing along that same line of reasoning, a July 27, 2021, Spectator article16 by Stuart Ritchie reviews the unhealthy relationship between The Lancet and China, and its role in thwarting scientific investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2. Ritchie points out how The Lancet’s editor-in-chief, Richard Horton, has routinely defended China’s actions:
“It’s not just the scientists and health workers of China that the Lancet has praised. In May last year, Horton appeared on the state-owned broadcaster China Central Television to praise how ‘tremendously decisively’ the Chinese Communist party had handled the pandemic. He also penned multiple editorials about China, including one entitled ‘Covid-19 and the Dangers of Sinophobia.’”
Ritchie also stresses that “some of the most famous stories of scientific fraud have originated at The Lancet during Horton’s tenure as editor,” including, most recently, fraudulent papers proclaiming to show that hydroxychloroquine is dangerous when used in COVID-19 patients, and Daszak’s “scientific statement” condemning the lab leak theory as wild conspiracy theory.
“The purpose of the Lancet, back in 1823, was to slice away the immorality and complacency of the medical establishment … [Lancet founder Thomas] Wakley would have been stunned to see that his journal now exemplifies that establishment,” Ritchie writes.17 “It embodies an unaccountable or only partially accountable elite that does often make progress, but fails abjectly to face up to its many faults.
In 2021, we might find that the best rejoinder to our establishment isn’t a new Wakley-style journal, but an entirely new way to think about science and how it’s published: a way that doesn’t hand over all our trust to editors and reviewers, but that emphasizes openness and transparency right from the start.
There are several proposals for how it could happen. The next rotten thing that needs to be cut away could be the journal system — and the Lancet itself.”
The censorship rolled out during the COVID pandemic has revealed a disconcerting truth, namely that corruption and collusion are rampant everywhere. By the looks of it, we need to do a clean sweep across the board, and that will require time, effort, and most of all, open public discussion.
Laws Have Been Broken. Who Will Hold Them Accountable?
In closing, I strongly recommend listening to Dr. David Martin’s explanation of antitrust law in the video below, and how, in the case of a criminal conspiracy, liability shielding evaporates.
In his view, having reviewed the evidence, there’s no doubt that the NIH/NIAID, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ATI, Moderna and Pfizer are guilty of criminal conspiracy (the legal definition thereof) and premeditative antitrust violations.
Without that criminal conspiracy and their premeditative acts, we would not be in the situation we’re in now, where censorship and pandemic measures and rules are putting the public health, well-being and sanity at risk. Unfortunately, while there is, theoretically, a legal way out of this pandemic, deep cracks in our justice system has also been exposed over the past year and a half.
Martin is currently struggling to find a state attorney general willing to pursue these violations so that we can bring this faux pandemic to a close. Hopefully, once enough people understand the illegality of the situation, someone will have the courage to step up to the plate.