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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(1)
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
The 2020 Ig Nobel Prize (a satiric prize awarded annually to celebrate unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research) for Management was awarded to five professional hitmen in Guangxi province of China, who managed a contract for a hit job (a murder performed for money) in the following way: After accepting payment to perform the murder, Xi Guang-An then in turn subcontracted the task to Mo Tian-Xiang, who then in turn subcontracted the task to Yang Kang-Sheng, who then in turn subcontracted the task to Yang Guang-Sheng, who then in turn subcontracted the task to Ling Xian-Si. Each subcontracted hitman received a smaller percentage of the fee, and nobody actually performed a murder. Ling was not happy to get such a small cut, so he went to the person planning the hit, begged him to pretend to be dead so Ling could get the money; the person in turn would call the police and all the hitmen would be arrested; interesting.
That’s exactly what is happening right now when President Biden and the right-wing neocon Republicans are resurrecting and viciously spreading the baseless “Wuhan Institute of Virology man-made virus lab-leak” conspiracy theory, started by far-right Republicans and former President Trump last year. This scenario accuses China of causing the global COVID-19 pandemic disaster that already has led to 197 million infections and 4.2 million deaths. (Democrat and Republican visions of the conspiracy are different, which will be explained later).
Instead of working together in cooperation with China and the World Health Organization (WHO) to focus on the fight against COVID-19 which will resurge later this year, the U.S. instead is wasting more time calling for an international investigation of China and discrediting the earlier WHO conclusion that the theory of a China lab leak virus is “highly unlikely”. On May 26th Biden called for his intelligence agency to issue a report within 90 days, that is sometime in August. If successful, it’ll be a road map for the U.S. to launch a COVID responsibility movement against China for the coming years.
According to our investigation, unlike the failed Trump “lab-leak” propaganda campaign last year, the Biden administration's fake scientific campaign is a well-organized top-down by anti-China neocons. It is a push by far-right politicians such as Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), and others, and is being executed by Neocon anti-communist think tanks such as the Atlantic Council, the Hudson Institute, the Center for the New American Security, and others. They are coordinated by elite DC neocon warmonger think tankers like Yu “Miles” Maochun, David Feith, and so on. They will bring small groups of biological and medical scientists from Broad Institute of MIT, Harvard among others, as well as non-medically trained “experts” like Nicholas Wade, the racist pseudoscientists, neocon Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Gordon and others, to build an ad hoc working group to launch a fake grassroots “scientific” campaign. Their intent is to silence majority and legitimate scientific community voices who believe COVID-19 virus came from natural origins. They want to call for a U.S. investigation and push for second WHO mission that’ll be supporting the baseless U.S. conspiracy theory.
It’s a textbook-U.S. military intelligence style step-by-step “self-directed and self-acted” covert operation scam. Chinaphobia DC neocons fantasize that they can control the world by fabricating “evidence” during their own investigation to prove China leaked the virus. Then they will call for international sanctions against China, demand massive financial compensation, direct political pressure to undermine the Chinese government and its influence around the world.
Between March and June, they coordinated dozen of “reports” to spread baseless conspiracy theories in the media and academic and neocon think-tank circles under the guise of “science,” calling for a redo of WHO’s recent investigation of how the virus originated in China earlier this year. Not surprisingly, the timing coincides with Biden’s May 26th call for an intelligence report within 90 days about China’s responsibility for lab leaks and the virus' origin; most likely the report will quote much “evidence” from these think-tank “sources”.
The Open Letters from the “Scientists”
Early this year when WHO sent a scientific investigative team to Wuhan, China, it concluded that there was no evidence to support the lab leak theory, concluding that the virus originated somewhere else. They recommended further investigation in different countries. Realizing that baseless political rhetoric against scientists wouldn’t work; U.S. politicians changed tactics and began recruiting “scientist” against scientist.
In order to push their hidden agendas they recruited biologists and medical professionals as spokespersons who would use scientific trappings to bolster their misleading claims that China had lied about the virus lab leak. Then they coordinated with right-wing media interviews to amplify their demands for a second stage investigation into China, giving the impression that there is a large sector of the scientific community (including scientists from Harvard University) calling for the U.S.-led WHO investigation.
The first WHO investigation had “too many” Chinese scientists and no I”ndependent” western/U.S. (CIA-backed) scientists on the team. They want to exclude all Chinese scientists and only allow western (CIA-backed) scientists on the team for a second WHO investigation so U.S. can manipulate the results for their own political goals.
However, since the overwhelming majority of the professional medical community, scientists and doctors around the world don’t support the conspiracy theory, no respectable or prominent medical/biological scientists or professors will risk their reputations or careers to support a theory that is not supported by hard data or peer reviews.
In the science community, it’s a common understanding that for scientists to offer a scientific claim (or discovery), they need to spend at least a minimum of half to a few years to research the topic, collect enough date to analyze and publish a “Science Citation Index” (SCI) level academic paper, with peer reviews to approve its accuracy. This is a basic requirement for scientific work in order to separate speculation from hard science.
Obviously an academic paper to conclude that the hypothesis that COVID started in WIV as a man-made virus leak can’t be ready within 90 days; without being able to present a SCI paper or hard data to prove their claim, in the professional world it will just count as a wild unproven theory – no major professional medical associations, universities, or international health officials will endorse such a non-peer reviewed, unproven theory and will not join their call to launch any wild actions.
Therefore so far only a few dozen mid- or low-level, current or former, biomedical professors or researchers are openly involved in this scheme; not surprisingly, most are white males from the U.S., with a few other international “partners” from U.K., Australia and France.
On March 14th just after the WHO investigative team concluded their China tour and issued their finding, an open letter from a few dozen scientists (and non-scientists) was published in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and other publications, viciously discrediting the WHO finding, spreading rumors, racially attacking China, and calling for another WHO investigation targeting China.
Most notably there are two such open letters: the March 14th and May 14th letters.
The March 14th letter with 25 co-signers included several bio-scientists from around the world, but strangely the letter also included signers from several non-medical professions: non-biology related engineering (ECP) areas and even Masters of Business Administration (MBA) business-degree backgrounds.
The May 14th letter with 18 co-signers, published in the prestigious Science Magazine, are almost all bio-medical professionals.
Strangely, the March 14th letter got more publicity. It was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times; the May 14th letter from more “professional” signers got less attention from the corporate media.
Most co-signers of these two letters who have a bio-medical background are mid-ranking college university professors or researchers, not key decision makers for their university departments or research institutes – they only signed the letters as individuals.
With a deeper look, we found the most important co-signers of these two letters are not bio scientists, but people from the think tanks (not accidentally, they are researchers or professors who do not have bio-medical degrees).
For the March 14th letter it was Jamie Metzl, a senior fellow from the Atlantic Council, a neocon think tank with a long history of having anti-communist/anti-China/anti-Russia agendas, serving the Council's pro-U.S. client states’ global hegemony agenda with manufactured deceptions supporting the U.S. and their allies’ covert actions, military coups and invasions. The Council's leadership includes many former top U.S. military and intelligence officials who receive substantial overseas funds and conduct activities that "typically align with foreign governments’ agendas." Their leading donors in 2018 were Facebook and the British government, according to Wikipedia.
Before joining the Atlantic Council, Metzl, a celebrity-type politician and writer, was the executive vice president of the Asia Society (a neocon think tank for voicing U.S. interests in Asia, notably promoting their anti-China/anti-North Korea positions). He developed and led the Asia Society's Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative, a Pan-Asia-Pacific leadership development program. He had served the Clinton administration as director for multilateral and humanitarian affairs on the National Security Council and at the U.S. Department of State as senior advisor to the undersecretary for public diplomacy, public affairs and information technology, as well as being senior coordinator for international public information. He has also served as deputy staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under then Senator Joe Biden, according to the Wikipedia.
As for the May 14th letter the “mover-and-shaker” co-signer was Benjamin E. Deverman from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, MA. While he is a respected high-ranking scientist and the Broad Institute is a highly recognized medical research institution globally, one of his colleagues and co-signers from the Institute, Yujia Alina Chan (who also co-signed the March 14th letter), clearly is a hard-core anti-China pro-“Wuhan lab leak” conspiracy theorist. She’s repeatedly used her Institute credentials to better spread her message to the academic world and the corporate media. Her action promoting a nonacademic wild fringe theory with Chinaphobic messaging (she is ethnic Chinese living in the U.S.) had already been widely discredited by the bio-medical community. It’s clear that someone from higher-up at the organization – this could be Deverman – gave approval for her to do this.
These two open letters, along with the “investigations” from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, have helped U.S. politicians hype the issue since March. By May, based on the “hype,” Biden decided to call for the intelligence report within 90 days, a well-coordinated step-by-step political show. By comparison, in early July over 1,200 scientists globally issued a statement in The Lancet, the world's most respected medical journal from the U.K., criticizing U.K. Prime Minster Boris Johnson’s decision to lift most COVID restrictions on July 19th, the so-called “Freedom Day,” while infections surged, there were warnings of supermarket shortages, and he himself was forced to self-isolate due to COVID among his close contacts. The statement in the Lancet got almost no major corporate media attention.
Because these are bogus letters, it is not surprising that some co-signers of the letters later backed-off and publicly clarified that they are not supporting the man-made virus lab leak theory.
Pamela Bjorkman, professor of Biology and Biological Engineering at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, CA, is one of the May 14th letter co-signers. In a recent letter to TWiV, or This Week in Virology, a weekly podcast about viruses, she claimed she was “naïve” in signing it and that she had done so because she had hoped to receive more funding for her research. “I thought the letter would have the effect of prompting more funding for searching for natural viruses in animal reservoirs, which I personally have always assumed represent the origin of SARS-CoV-2 infections in humans,” she said. “Perhaps naïvely, I did not anticipate that the letter would be used to promote the lab origin hypothesis,” she explained about having signed the letter.
Another co-signer of the May 14th letter, Professor Michael Worobey, head of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona at Tucson, AZ, also spoke out recently against the “misinterpretation” of his viewpoints on the lab leak scenario, according to Xinhua News Agency.
On July 23rd, he retweeted a post from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health which voiced support for “an animal origin of SARS-CoV-2,” saying that by reposting the post he was to trying to “explain why I (continue to) think that a zoonotic origin of SARS-CoV-2 is more likely than a lab leak scenario – even though I signed 'The Science Letter.'”
However, they’re not mentioning who had been asking them to sign the letter without making their own serious review, and who could be the person to promise funding if they’re going to sign a petition they didn’t draft. It doesn’t seem like a major academic research foundation would be asking them, more likely a nonacademic think tank or lobbyist-type organization with DC political connections, or that would be promising Federal funding (SARS-CoV-2 origin research is a very sensitive topic, most likely only the government will fund such research projects.)
The Think Tanks
So, who’s helping politicians manufacture conspiracy and who's directing the media hype? It’s the far-right neocon think tanks, mostly inside the Beltway, who are directing the task. According to Mint Press, the lab leak theory bears a striking resemblance to the WMD hoax of 2002, not only because one of its key players is literally the same journalist using potentially the same anonymous sources, but also because of the bipartisan political and media support it enjoys.
David Asher, a former U.S. government official who served in the U.S. State Department last year, was responsible for fabricating the rumors smearing China’s WIV (the lab that the U.S. originally accused of leaking the COVID virus). Asher recently mentioned in an interview with U.S. media that the U.S. government should offer a “bounty of US$10 to US$15 million” to “seduce” those Chinese “senior officials” who know the “truth” of the COVID outbreak to defect to the United States and tell the United States what it wants to hear.
This “senior researcher” who is currently working for the Hudson Institute, a conservative American think tank, even said that the US government should send CIA agents to help such people “flee” from China to America, as it did with the Soviet Union, according to the Chinese media investigation.
A conspiracy theory that is out of thin-air and being advanced by journalists without a medical background or pseudoscientists must be packaged like “hard” science. It needs major politically linked think tanks to give credible endorsements – just like Wall Street repackaging of toxic debt into AAA-rated bonds that led to the 2008 financial crisis.
Nicholas Wade’s “Wuhan lab-leak” conspiracy story is an example of a science reporter without any credible academic bio-medical research background. In order to repackage his conspiracy theory and give it a scientific appearance, he was invited to legitimize his work by speaking at different think tanks. One such opportunity was giving a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a right-wing anti-communist think tank, where he spoke on their June 8th podcast with host James M. Lindsay. Lindsay is CFR’s senior vice president and an elite establishment hawk who has written a book praising former President George W. Bush as “a strong and decisive leader with a coherent worldview” to lead a “revolution in foreign policy.”
It’s important to note that in this “lab-leak” conspiracy popularity contest not every anti-communist/anti-China conspiracy think tank is created equal. It’s necessary to separate those who’re movers-and-shakers from the top neocon decision makers, such as the CFR, the Hudson Institute and the Atlantic Council, and the others who’re just small outsiders.
There are clearly some seemingly very small groups of organizations/individuals who are “appointed” to speak and are highlighted by the media and endorsed by major neocon think tanks; there are others who do not have their blessing and who aren’t in this circle.
One such example is Bioscience Resource Project, a think tank based in Ithaca, NY, which runs the Independent Science News. The watchdog mediabiasfactcheck.com, labels this as a conspiracy-pseudoscience organization which spreads conspiracy-pseudoscience theory about GMOs. They also go full-steam ahead in publishing many COVID-19 lab-leak conspiracy theories; however, except in a few conspiracy circles, their reports are never highlighted by major think tanks, politicians or major corporate media.
David Relman, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University, said at an online meeting that it is troubling that investigating the origin of the virus has become deeply politicized. It has gotten to a point where it is “unwise and unhelpful” to share an opinion on the origin as many people have strong views on which scenario is more likely, he said, according to the Chinese media reports.
The neocon think tanks have successfully intimidated scientists from speaking openly about how the virus might not be manmade and leaked from WIV. By redbaiting them, they have labeled them greedy individuals with financial ties to China. It is completely misleading because scientists who work with Chinese universities are not necessarily spokespersons-for-hire to China. At the same time they are praising racist neocon pseudo scientists for spreading their conspiracy theory.
(Continue Part Two)