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7/31 Lee Siu Hin--How the Atlantic Council and other neocon think tanks are helping the U.S. to push the fake 'Virus Origin' campaign using small groups of scientists and pseudo scientists as a cover(2)
How the Atlantic Council and other neocon think tanks are helping the U.S. to push the fake “Virus Origin” campaign using small groups of scientists and pseudo scientists as a cover
Lee Siu Hin
(From Part One)
The Pseudo Scientists
Because only a few dozen scientists around the world will choose to risk their academic reputation to join the conspiracy campaign, and they’re often too soft-spoken for spreading rhetoric publicly, there’s a need to find another group of out spoken propagandists who have some kind of tech-celebrity background to do the job, and here is where the pseudo scientists come in. They’re usually science writers for the popular-science magazines or newspaper science sections, they’re not bio-scientists nor have they done any related bio-medical research or published any peer-reviewed SCI scientific papers. They write “investigative” reports on the “lab-leak” theory pretending to know what they’re talking about. However, since they’re not actually bio-scientists, no international research institute or universities will endorse their writings. The think tanks come into the picture by blessing them.
Based on the open records, much evidence shows they work side-by-side – pseudo science (media) talk shows and think tanks will give them academic legitimacy for cover.
In early May, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS, a highly respected magazine run by scientists) republished a Medium blog post by controversial science writer Nicholas Wade, a discredited, racist pseudoscientist. His 2014 book, “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History,” contends that humanity could be broken down genetically into three distinct groups — Africans, Caucasians and East Asians — and that each are sufficiently genetically distinct from each other as to qualify as subspecies, according to the Mint Press.
In the article that appeared in BAS he recycled the unfounded claim that COVID had escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
His evidence was thin, just a theory resting on shaky ground, but because he was published by the BAS, it immediately got a lot of attention, especially from liberal/progressive anti-war media. More troublesome is that a neocon force behind Wade, the Council on Foreign Relations, may have helped get his article accepted by BAS.
Despite the fact that Wade has no new (or any) credible evidence for a lab leak, and he is not a trained scientist, he has been getting a lot of attention from seemingly very “smart” scientists and critical progressive journalists. According to the Mint Press, BAS refused to explain why they’d accepted a conspiracy article from a known racist pseudo scientist. Many believe the forces (and money) behind him had invested heavily in promoting him.
Last year, U.S. media claimed that a "female scientist" who was engaged in research on the coronavirus at the Hong Kong University (HKU) in China had "defected" to the United States. But the woman Yan Limeng was actually an ordinary employee from HKU who is not an expert from the area and did not know anything about the WIV. But in order to meet the needs of the anti-China forces who brought her to the U.S. to prove the “lab-leak theory, she chose to fabricate her credentials and the story of WIV. Initially she was the “star” of the U.S. media but as soon as she wasn’t able to back up her claim, the liberal media dropped her but Rupert Murdoch’s Fox TV still endorses her stories.
On May 24th another of Rupert Murdoch’s publications, the Wall Street Journal, published an “exclusive revelation,” the so-called “Report on Sick Staff at Wuhan Lab Fuels Covid-19 Debate.” The “evidence” was based on nothing – it came from a U.S. intelligence report citing unnamed “current and former officials” who claimed that researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology “went to hospital in November 2019, shortly before a confirmed outbreak” of COVID-19.
A day later, on May 25, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, speaking at the United Nations World Health Assembly, demanded a “transparent” investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
Then on May 26, U.S. President Joe Biden called on the “Intelligence Community” to investigate whether COVID-19 arose “from a laboratory accident” and “report back to me in 90 days” according to the WSWS.
Writer of the WSJ article is Michael R. Gordon, the same reporter who in 2002 claimed he had the so-called “evidence” of “Iraqi weapons of mass destruction” that led to the U.S. invasion of Iraq resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, the destruction of the country, and then to the Syrian civil war, the rise of ISIS that killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians, and the destruction of that country as well.
When this person worked for the New York Times 19 years ago, he hyped an article about Iraq "trying to acquire nuclear weapons" and "purchasing aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium centrifuges." This article was widely quoted by high-level U.S. government officials and became an important basis for the Bush administration to launch the Iraq war. Does such a person who has a history of falsifying major news and causing extremely bad consequences have any credibility to speak of the “lab-leak theory”?
Gordon mentioned other people in his article: former U.S. official and Hoover Institution visiting fellow Yu Maochun, and Hudson Institute researcher David Asher.
Yu “Miles” Maochun is a famous neocon anti-communist/anti-China scholar, born and educated in socialist China but who has chosen to act against his motherland and move to the U.S. He currently teaches East Asia and Military History at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He has written books such as “The Dragon's War” to viciously attack China and suggest the U.S. should launch a military campaign in the region. He was principal China policy and planning adviser to former United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during the Trump era.
David Asher, is the Hudson Institute researcher focusing on U.S. foreign policy in Asia, economic and financial policy toward the U.S., and a former Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). He has been working at the U.S. Department of State for the past 25 years where he “played a senior role in numerous economic and financial pressure campaigns involving defiant states, terrorist organizations, drug cartels, and weapons proliferation networks,” including North Korea, Iran and ISIS, according to his bio at the CNAS website.
On June 6th David Asher and Yu Maochun published a so-called “report” under the Hudson Institute’s banner, entitled “A Just Response to Beijing’s COVID-19 Abuses.” Besides spreading the baseless “WIV lab leak” conspiracy theory, they offer the Biden administration "advice" how to sanction China for "war crimes" for manufacturing biological and chemical weapons. They call for civil claims against China “if that government does not provide substantive cooperation, including direct access to physical evidence, within a specified time frame.”
The report’s other co-authors, according to their bios, have very close past and current connections to the U.S. Department of State, Pentagon and the intelligence community. These DC-bureaucratic elite war monger neocons with long histories of interests against North Korea, Iran, Syria and China are:
David Feith, Adjunct Senior Fellow of the Center for a New American Security, was a former Trump State Department official, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Before that he was an editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong.
Matthew Zweig, former Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), “produces accurate and timely analyses, identifies illicit activities, and provides policy options – all with the aim of strengthening U.S. national security and reducing or eliminating threats posed by adversaries and enemies of the United States and other free nations,” according to the FDD website. Zweig “served as the Senior Sanctions Advisor in the Office of the Special Representative for Syria Engagement” at the State Department, also worked interagency partners, multinational counterparts, and others to help implement the “anti-Assad economic pressure elements of the administration’s Syria strategy.” From 2001 to 2018, Zweig served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, according to his FDD bio.
Thomas DiNanno is an Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute. He served as a professional staff member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and Assistant Secretary of State of the Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Bureau from 2018-2021. He was also assistant administrator at the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency “where he oversaw nearly $5 billion in counter-terrorism programs and national preparedness initiatives that focused on resilient public safety communications systems, national continuity planning, and cyber-security initiatives,” according to his bio.
They’re not just a circle of “friends” connected together out of political convenience; further investigation found that they have all been well connected for a while. Michael Gordon also has very close connections with the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) where David Feith from CNAS is spearheading calls for “transparency” with COVID origins following “his” WSJ “revelations” and Fox TV; and they are connected to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) where they recently invited Nicholas Wade to speak.
They have such close and closed neocon, political media, think tank, pseudo scientist inner-circle connections, no wonder it sounds like just one big happy family.
There’s no doubt that at the top of the “WIV virus leak” deception-making food-chain there will always be the politicians and the think tank alliance who take the lead and where it is Joe Biden/Nancy Pelosi on the Democratic side, Donald Trump/Tom Cotton/Ted Cruz/Mike Gallagher on the Republican side, with their common goal to politically undermine China; only the rhetoric is slightly different.
U.S. politicians mostly come from a lawyer background – they certainly don’t know anything about molecular biology – and they need scientists, think tanks and journalists to help them achieve their political goals.
Picture the politicians as the “boss” at the top-of-the chain-of-command, the think tanks as the “fixers,” the media as the “stereo-amplifiers,” and the scientists (who are supposed to be the most important part of this scientific investigation) are merely at the bottom of the chain of command, the “foot-soldiers” of all of those above.
“Scientists” and pseudoscientists who’re calling for an investigation into the “lab-origin” represent only a small fringe number of the scientific community. Therefore it is necessary for think tanks and media to hype their significance to make them look “big.” Meanwhile, they will use any means to discredit – even bring dirty-war type toxic and violent threats into the scientific community against any scientists who oppose the “lab-leak” theory, in order to shut them down. For the past several months, several bio-scientists who are against the “lab-leak” theory have been harassed by the media and the politicians.
Historically, most neocon think tanks are Republican-based, and academia/research institute “scientists” on the other hand, are more liberal/Democratic Party oriented, while both sides are accusing China of having “leaked the virus.” Neocon think tanks are accusing China of making manmade bio weapons that they deliberately leaked to the world; while academia/research institutes “suspect” WIV was working on a non-military project and accidently leaked the virus.
Why is there a difference? The possible explanation is based on their track record: neocon think tanks are mostly non-biomedical science related warmongers, they shamelessly lie for a living; while academia/research institutes are scientists who pride themselves in being able to say “I am the expert.” They worry that if their deceptions go too far, they could backfire on them later and they would be facing academic condemnation and even lose their comfortable ivy tower jobs.
Their difference also leads to the open air stupid dog fights between think tanks/ Republican politicians vs. academia/research institutes/Democratic politicians over who the real “experts” are. While Republicans accuse Democrats/Biden of being “too soft” on the “virus origin” probe, liberal media like Politico fight back, accusing “Republicans dive into the politically fraught push for Covid's origin story” (6/4/2021). Even the name calling in the May 27th CNN interview, where Marc Lipsitch from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (a co-signer of the May 14th open letter), insisted China “lied” and there is the possibility of a “lab leak.” But when he ask by CNN host to comment Dr. Robert Redfield, Trump’s former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when Redfield offered his “lab leak” conspiracy theory at the earlier interview, Lipsitch accused saying that Redfield did not “know what he is talking about.”
Besides the usual “anti-China” suspect Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton (who had been leading the “Wuhan virus lab leak” conspiracy campaign early last year even before former President Trump start saying it, U.S. politicians like Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and so on, also took this opportunity to call for their own congressional investigation political theater in recent months.
U.S. senators including Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez on the other hand sent a letter to President Joe Biden on July 28th asking the administration to take three steps on COVID-19 origins - directing the intelligence community to continue investigating, working with allies and partners to "use all available resources and tools" to pressure Beijing into permitting an investigation in China.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas on the other hand, is a good example how a politician acts when their political future is at the stake: they need to find a political hype. After his failure on COVID spreading and the disastrous Texas storm response early this year, he began hyping the “lab-leak” theory for his personal political future. Cruz's allegations are similar to wild claims made by other US politicians. Texas is one of the worst states in the U.S. in terms of confirmed COVID-19 cases but obviously he has not focused on effectively responding to the epidemic.
Former President Trump and his far-right anti-communist Republicans began spreading “China virus” fringe conspiracy theories last summer but other than a lot of loud propaganda they never offered any concrete evidence to prove their claim; their actions went nowhere, only becoming material for TV jokes for the liberal media.
Now Biden and the Democrats want to distract the public from his own failures in handling the pandemic as well as vaccine racism at home and vaccine imperialism abroad. They are recycling last year’s far-right neocon racist anti-China conspiracy campaign. But they understand that political rhetoric won’t be enough; they will need a “systematic” political PR approach. Neocon think tankers with past expertise on fabricated Iraq WMDs, Iran nuclear capacities or Syrian chemical weapons can certainly offer their “services” to the Democratic White House in this latest “WIV virus lab leak” hoax.
Why is the U.S. desperately doing this? And why now? Because the U.S. is facing a desperate COVID resurgence with the Delta variant. Biden has clearly lost the fight against the pandemic. The worst case scenario is that the U.S. could see another peak in the coming winter, with hundreds of thousands of infections and thousands of deaths daily by mid-October. With the possibility of hyper-inflation, even an economic crash, caused by the massive printing of money (the pandemic “stimulus”), it will lead to massive Democratic losses in the 2022 mid-term election. The “Wuhan virus” hoax invented by right-wing Republicans and former President Trump for their election 2020 could still be a great tool for Biden and the Democrats to recycle to distract the public from focusing on the real American issues.
The “man-made Wuhan lab-leak” conspiracy not only would embarrass China, but also could supply a long-term racist political and military strategy for the U.S. to launch a zero-sum cold war against China:
1) Use the virus origin probe to control the World Health Organization (WHO): after Trump took office in 2017, U.S. relations with WHO and other international bodies (such as the World Trade Organization, the United Nations and the Paris Climate Accord) have been growing increasingly sour. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, WHO has praised China for their anti-pandemic efforts refusing to side with the U.S. against China, which enraged Trump. In April 2020, he announced that the U.S. would halt funding for WHO, and in May 2020 he declared that the United States would “terminate” its relationship with the organization. When Biden took office early this year, he took a “softer” approach by rejoining WHO while behind the scene, he has tried to use political muscle and think tanks as pressure groups to coordinate the massive “virus leak” conspiracy campaign against WHO credibility on dealing with China, in order to oust the top WHO leadership whom the U.S. doesn’t like, and replace it with U.S. puppets. As China Daily says: “It is clear that the US returned to the WHO only to try to take control of it, as the country is by no means content with its status as a member equal to others. Compared with its predecessor, the Biden administration has only intensified the efforts to press the WHO to do the US' bidding, and so make the world health body its puppet.”
2) The use of Chinaphobia rhetoric to blame China for the global health disaster: It has already partially succeeded in the U.S. and the western world, where 60% or more people believe the Trump/Republican “WIV man-made virus lab leak” theory. Although still an unproven fringe racist theory, the U.S. hopes it can hijack the WHO leadership and get it to support the conspiracy. By doing this it will recreate the situation faced by Iraq in 2003 when the U.S. successfully pushed the idea that Iraq had WMDs (weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear and chemical/biological/nuclear weapons that the U.N. prohibited Iraq to have). This conspiracy in the United Nations Security Council gave the U.S. and the western countries license to invade Iraq. With help from neocon think tanks to formulate the strategy, they now want to recycle the same tactic to push for international sanctions and demand compensation to the world for the losses stemming from the pandemic (just like what the U.S. and the western countries had done to Iraq during the UN-imposed sanctions after the first Gulf War of 1990s).
3) Destroy China's global influence: China's Belt and Road Initiative is one of the biggest “fears” of the U.S. Also China’s successful anti-COVID global solidarity diplomacy with Africa, Latin America and South East Asia has certainly made neocons very jealous. They’re dreaming of a simple lab leak hoax that can destroy Chinese credibility around the world, along with facing sanctions to destabilize China.
4) Prevent the growing international call for the WHO to launch a COVID next stage origin investigation from focusing on the U.S., especially on investigating Fort Detrick in Frederick, MD.: Fort Detrick has been the notorious U.S. biological weapons lab where the CIA had their operations. It is well documented that they were using civilians for testing LSD, anthrax and other bio-weapons in communities. Because of their dirty history and many unexplained illnesses that happened in 2019 around the region, many conspiracy theorists suggest Fort Detrick is the “real” site of the COVID virus lab leaks. While there is still no proof, if WHO comes to the U.S. for investigation, it will expose the dark history of Fort Detrick and may find some evidence – it would certainly be a political disaster for the U.S. and a victory for China.
However, China is not Iraq or Syria; Biden will certainly not find any proof, and their actions certainly will fail and backfire on them, dealing them a humiliating political defeat.
So what’ll happen next?
In late July China rejected WHO’s Phase 2 COVID-19 origins study (the so called second-phase study to audit the first WHO COVID origin report done early this year), calling it a “lack of respect for common sense, arrogant toward science” according to statements from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China.
Chinese health authorities and officials from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) had spoken and slammed the "lab-leak" theory, stressing that no staff of WIV have been infected with COVID-19, and WIV has no viruses that can directly infect human beings. Their voices have been increasingly echoed from the global scientific communities.
While calling the World Health Organization (WHO)'s second phase study proposal on COVID-19 origins politically motivated, Chinese health officials and observers said the next stage study should be carried out in more countries and places around the world on the basis of wide consultations among member states, not in places that have already been inspected.
So China had fight back by submitted their proposal to the WHO on July 29th on how second phase of the COVID-19 origin study should be “an effort to support and coordinate with the organization in tracing the origins of the virus globally,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said. The plan emphasizes that the investigation should be led by scientists, based on evidence and carried out in multiple places around the world, Zhao said.
Meantime, on July 17th an online petition organized by Chinese net citizens calling for WHO Fort Detrick probe draws 20 million signatures by July 31st; China further urges U.S. to open University of North Carolina, and publishing data on U.S. sick soldiers who attended the 2019 Wuhan Military World Games to the WHO investigators, incidents that had been reported unusual illness similar to the COVID at 2019 (before Wuhan had first known case in late 2019).
China’s call has been supported by more than 60 countries have appealed to the WHO not to let its origin tracing efforts be politicized.
Since July the U.S. has seeing a COVID resurgence across the country; Biden promised when he took office in January that 70% of Americans would be vaccinated by the 4th of July and that COVID would be under control by summer. However; the U.S. didn’t meet its vaccination target in July, and the new Delta variant has caused a new COVID surge in the U.S. this summer. On July 27th daily cases had reached a hundred thousand, the highest since last February, with the deaths slowly increasing to 500 per day.
On July 21st Massachusetts reported more than 5,000 breakthrough COVID infections and 80 deaths, according to the CBSBoston.com; it’s also the same alarming situation on the other side of the country in Los Angeles County. There on July 23rd it was officially reported that COVID-19 transmission was rapidly rising with the Delta variant: there were 3,058 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and 17 new deaths. For the first time since February 13th there were more than 3,000 daily cases reported, similar to the peak of the outbreak last summer in Los Angeles. However, medical experts say the situation in California and Massachusetts is still better than what is happening in the mid-west and the deep-south, where states with lower vaccination rates are being harder hit in the latest wave, seeing more infections and deaths.
Many scientists worry that based on the latest trends, the U.S. might see COVID cases peak later this year; by mid-October there could be 240,000 daily infections and 4,000 deaths in the worst case scenario, according to the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub.
Yet the U.S. still doesn’t have a national strategy or effective national coordination to combat the virus like China does.
Meanwhile, the U.S. and the western countries are completely ignoring the voice of the more than 60 countries at the WHO, and the Chinese activists’ over 20 million petition.
Anti-science hurts the U.S. where COVID-19 cases and deaths are surging again this summer as the highly transmissible Delta variant is taking hold and vaccination efforts are stagnating in the country.
Along with the rapidly surging cases there is the increasingly fierce anti-vaccination campaign and demonization of scientists. The U.S. is wasting a lot of resources hiring neocon think tanks to push their bogus “Wuhan lab-leak” hoax led by the right-wing Republicans and Biden Democrats for their own selfish political goals. Instead they could be using these resources and efforts to design a better strategy to combat the virus and organize the nationwide vaccination efforts.
COVID is resurging again in the U.S. and Europe while China completely enjoys an almost virus-free summer party with a quick economic recovery; a cold winter is already waiting for the pandemic to go in the wrong direction in the U.S. and Europe.
About Lee Siu Hin
Lee Siu Hin, a Chinese-American immigrant activist from Los Angeles CA, is the founder and national coordinator of China-U.S. Solidarity Network (CUSN), National Immigrant Solidarity Network (NISN), a long-time community, labor, antiwar and immigrant rights activists for grassroots struggle. He's also a long-time Pacifica Radio KPFK Los Angeles unpaid reporter and producer, war correspondent went to middle-east, Europe, and Africa.
NISN, a grassroots-based national grassroots immigrant activist network; and CUSN, a network of academia and community activists in both countries committed to build a China-U.S. grassroots activist dialogue.
Lee holds Maters of Public Administration (MPA) and Masters of Engineering (Aerospace) from California State Polytechnic University Pomona, Pomona, CA.
Currently working on community medical big data technology and COVID-19 AI medial analytic platform for the inner-city community and the global south.
His latest book “Capitalism on a Ventilator” co-published by Sara Flounders at September, 2020; Chinese edition will be coming soon at later 2021.
National Immigrant Solidarity Network http://www.ImmigrantSolidarity.org
ActionLA Network http://www.ActionLA.org
Activist Video Service http://www.ActivistVideo.org
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