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FTR #1111 and FTR #1112 Update on the Alleged “Suicide” of Iris Chang and the Destabilization of China and “BioWarfare-Psy-Op” Against China?

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FTR #1111: This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment. [6]

FTR #1112: This pro­gram was record­ed in  one, 60-minute seg­ment. [7]

[8]Intro­duc­tion: This descrip­tion encom­pass­es mate­r­i­al for two pro­grams. Fol­low­ing up on FTR #‘s 1107 and 1108 [9], we high­light a San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle [10] arti­cle about the alleged sui­cide of Iris Chang [9], a sug­ges­tive, impor­tant detail was noticed by a sharp-eyed listener/reader [11]. A detail about the phys­i­cal cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing Iris’s “sui­cide” suggests–strongly–that she did not pull the trig­ger her­self. Her body was dis­cov­ered by a San­ta Clara Coun­ty Water Dis­trict Employ­ee. Some­one who had fired a .45 cal­iber black pow­der weapon [12] into her mouth would be unlike­ly to have her hands crossed in her lap and with the revolver on her left leg. This sounds like it may well an arranged crime scene. . . . . He noticed con­den­sa­tion on the win­dows, peered inside and saw Iris in the dri­ver’s seat with her hands crossed in her lap. The revolver lay on her left leg. . . .” Some­one who had fired a.45 cal­iber black pow­der weapon [12]into her mouth would be unlike­ly to have her hands crossed in her lap and with the revolver on her left leg. This sounds like it may well an arranged crime scene.

Tran­si­tion­ing to dis­cus­sion about bio­log­i­cal war­fare, we dis­cuss [13] Unit 731–a Japan­ese chem­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal war­fare unit that com­mit­ted egre­gious atroc­i­ties in Chi­na dur­ing World War II.  We note: ” . . . . the U.S. Gov­ern­ment secret­ly absorbed Unit 731, mov­ing most of its sci­en­tists, per­son­nel, and doc­u­ments to U.S. mil­i­tary research cen­ters like Fort Diet­rick in the Mary­land coun­try­side. All infor­ma­tion about its activ­i­ties, includ­ing bio­log­i­cal war­fare atroc­i­ties, and hor­rif­ic exper­i­ments on ful­ly con­scious vic­tims, was with­held by Wash­ing­ton from the Amer­i­can and Japan­ese pub­lic, and from the Tokyo War Crimes Tri­bunals. All Unit 731’s records held by the U.S. Gov­ern­ment are still top secret. . . .”

In con­nec­tion with the coro­n­avirus, we note that U.S. sci­en­tists had syn­the­sized [14] a virus of that type in a lab­o­ra­to­ry by 2008–an virus that infect­ed mice, as well as human tis­sues. The syn­thet­ic coro­n­avirus was described, in part, as fol­lows: ” . . . .  Here, we report the design, syn­the­sis, and recov­ery of the largest syn­thet­ic repli­cat­ing life form, a 29.7‑kb bat severe acute res­pi­ra­to­ry syn­drome (SARS)-like coro­n­avirus (Bat-SCoV), a like­ly prog­en­i­tor to the SARS-CoV epi­dem­ic. Syn­thet­ic recom­bi­nant bat SARS-like coro­n­avirus is infec­tious in cul­tured cells and in mice. . . .”

Alto­geth­er curi­ous in the con­text of the stri­dent­ly alarmist cov­er­age of the coro­n­avirus out­break is the fact that Thai doc­tors have appar­ent­ly suc­cess­ful­ly [15] treat­ed the virus with a drug cock­tail involv­ing some com­mon anti-virals. “. . . . A Chi­nese woman infect­ed with the new coro­n­avirus showed a dra­mat­ic improve­ment after she was treat­ed with a cock­tail of anti-virals used to treat flu and HIV, Thai­land’s health min­istry said Sun­day. The 71-year-old patient test­ed neg­a­tive for the virus 48 hours after Thai doc­tors admin­is­tered the com­bi­na­tion, doc­tor Kriengsak Atti­porn­wanich said dur­ing the min­istry’s dai­ly press brief­ing. ‘The lab result of pos­i­tive on the coro­n­avirus turned neg­a­tive in 48 hours,’ Kriengsak said. . . . The doc­tors com­bined the anti-flu drug oseltamivir with lopinavir and riton­avir, anti-virals used to treat HIV, Kriengsak said, adding the min­istry was await­ing research results to prove the find­ings. . . .”

Report­ed by both Agence France Presse and Reuters–two major wire services–this (appar­ent­ly suc­cess­ful) ther­a­peu­tic regime has gone unre­port­ed in U.S. media, so far.

The lift­ing of a mora­to­ri­um on the test­ing of virus­es such as the SARS and MERS coro­n­avirus­es was lift­ed at the end of Decem­ber of 2017, a lit­tle more than two years before the out­break occurred. A num­ber of key points of inquiry in a post [16] by Dr. Joseph Mer­co­la should be scru­ti­nized:

Next, we note that Steve Ban­non [18]–at the epi­cen­ter of the anti-Chi­na move­ment [19]–is pro­fes­sion­al­ly aligned with an exiled Chi­nese bil­lion­aire and a wealthy Texas hedge fund man­ag­er [20] posi­tioned to make a great deal of mon­ey from a down­turn in Chi­na’s mar­kets.

Ban­non is also very close [21] to the accom­plished investor bil­lion­aire Robert Mer­cer, of Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca fame. In our next pro­gram, we will dis­cuss Mer­cer’s Reinais­sance Tech­nolo­gies hedge fund and its invest­ment posi­tion with regard to a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal giant that may prof­it from the coro­n­avirus out­break.

Key points of dis­cus­sion:

Sup­ple­ment­ing [25] the pre­vi­ous arti­cle about Ban­non, J. Kyle Bass and Guo Wen­gui, we note that Bass is close to, and may well be a co-investor with, Tom­my Hicks Jr., a key mem­ber of Team Trump. Hicks, Com­merce Sec­re­tary Wilbur Ross [31] and nation­al secu­ri­ty offi­cials are, in turn, work­ing to deny Chi­nese elec­tron­ics firm Huawei access to devel­op­ing 5G net­works, fur­ther ham­string­ing the Chi­nese econ­o­my.

Paul Krug­man, among oth­ers, has not­ed that Wilbur Ross was open­ly cel­e­brat­ing [31] the coro­n­avirus as a boon to the Unit­ed States.

We high­light key aspects of this dis­cus­sion:

The broad­cast con­cludes with a read­ing of head­lines and, in some cas­es, text excerpts of arti­cles about the eco­nom­ic impact of the coro­n­avirus out­break, as well as xeno­pho­bic over-reac­tion on the part of many gov­ern­ments.

1.  In a San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle [10] arti­cle about the alleged sui­cide of Iris Chang [9], a sug­ges­tive, impor­tant detail was noticed by a sharp-eyed listener/reader [11].

A detail about the phys­i­cal cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing Iris’s “sui­cide” suggests–strongly–that she did not pull the trig­ger her­self. Her body was dis­cov­ered by a San­ta Clara Coun­ty Water Dis­trict Employ­ee.

Some­one who had fired a .45 cal­iber black pow­der weapon [12] into her mouth would be unlike­ly to have her hands crossed in her lap and with the revolver on her left leg. This sounds like it may well an arranged crime scene.

“His­to­ri­an Iris Chang Won Many Bat­tles: The War She Lost Raged With­in” by Hei­di Ben­son; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 4/17/2005 [10].

. . . . He noticed con­den­sa­tion on the win­dows, peered inside and saw Iris in the dri­ver’s seat with her hands crossed in her lap. The revolver lay on her left leg. . . .

Some­one who had fired a .45 cal­iber black pow­der weapon [12] into her mouth would be unlike­ly to have her hands crossed in her lap and with the revolver on her left leg. This sounds like it may well an arranged crime scene.

2. Piv­ot­ing to the sub­ject of bio­log­i­cal war­fare and Chi­na, we high­light the activ­i­ties of Japan­ese Unit 731:

 Gold War­riors by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; Ver­so [SC]; Copy­right 2003, 2005 by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; ISBN 1–84467-531–9; pp. 30–31. [13]

. . . . Manchuria also became the main prov­ing ground for Japan’s bio­log­i­cal war­fare pro­gram, called sim­ply Unit 731. Head­quar­tered at Ping Fan, out­side Harbin, it was head­ed by Colonel Ishii Shi­ro, a 1920 grad­u­ate of Kyoto Uni­ver­si­ty, who per­suad­ed the high com­mand to let him devel­op chem­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal weapons, and test them on Chi­nese in Manchuria. Pu Yi said he learned that his sub­jects were being enslaved by the Japan­ese to build these instal­la­tions, then were poi­soned to keep the loca­tions secret. Lat­er, dur­ing the Pacif­ic War, oth­er labs wee set up in Peking, Can­ton, and Sin­ga­pore, exper­i­ment­ing on Allied POWs and civil­ian pris­on­ers. Emper­or Hiro­hi­to was briefed about it in detail dur­ing at least one record­ed meet­ing with Colonel Ishii. The emper­or’s broth­ers toured Ping Fan to observe exper­i­ments. Prince Mikasa, Hiro­hi­to’s youngest broth­er, revealed after the war that he had seen films in which “large num­bers of Chi­nese pris­on­ers of war . . . . were made to march on the Manchuri­an plain for poi­son gas exper­i­ments on live sub­jects.” Oth­ers, he said, were “tied to posts in a wide field [and] gassed and shot. It was a hor­ri­ble scene that could only be termed a mas­sacre.” . . .

3. Of pos­si­ble sig­nif­i­cance, aside from the fact that atroc­i­ty and chem­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal war­fare was deemed appro­pri­ate by ele­ments of the nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment is the fact that tis­sue from this long-ago unit would still be able to yield impor­tant infor­ma­tion about Chi­nese DNA and immuno­log­i­cal pecu­liar­i­ties.

 Gold War­riors by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; Ver­so [SC]; Copy­right 2003, 2005 by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; ISBN 1–84467-531–9; p. 110. [13]

. . . . Gen­er­al Mar­quat was also in charge of clos­ing down and pun­ish­ing Japan’s bio­log­i­cal and chem­i­cal war­fare ser­vice, Unit 731. Instead, the U.S. Gov­ern­ment secret­ly absorbed Unit 731, mov­ing most of its sci­en­tists, per­son­nel, and doc­u­ments to U.S. mil­i­tary research cen­ters like Fort Diet­rick in the Mary­land coun­try­side. All infor­ma­tion about its activ­i­ties, includ­ing bio­log­i­cal war­fare atroc­i­ties, and hor­rif­ic exper­i­ments on ful­ly con­scious vic­tims, was with­held by Wash­ing­ton from the Amer­i­can and Japan­ese pub­lic, and from the Tokyo War Crimes Tri­bunals. All Unit 731’s records held by the U.S. Gov­ern­ment are still top secret. . . .

4. We have done a num­ber of pro­grams about the desta­bi­liza­tion of Chi­na.

(FTR #‘s 1089 [32], 1090 [19], 1091 [33], 1092 [34], 1093 [35], 1094 [36], 1095 [37], and 1103 [38].)

We have also done many shows over the years about ele­ments of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty and mil­i­tary test­ing and using bio­log­i­cal weapons on civil­ian pop­u­la­tions, inside and out­side of the U.S.

Use the search func­tion on this web­site (be sure to use quo­ta­tion marks when look­ing for a word or words) and look for: AIDS, Lyme Dis­ease, Ed Haslam, Han­ta Virus, to name just a few.

We are sus­pi­cious of the lat­est out­break of an appar­ent­ly bat-borne coro­na virus in Chi­na, which is desta­bi­liz­ing cap­i­tal mar­kets, Chi­na (to an extent at least) and stok­ing the anti-Chi­na feed­ing fren­zy of CIA-linked media out­lets like The New York Times [39].

It should be not­ed that Chi­nese sci­en­tists have been study­ing this type of virus and antic­i­pat­ed the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the next out­break of a bat virus to human out­break might well occur in Chi­na.

The tim­ing of this out­break, coin­cid­ing with the Chi­nese New Year, is sig­nif­i­cant, in our opin­ion.

In that con­text, it should not be over­looked that a bat-borne coro­n­avirus like the one appar­ent­ly caus­ing the Chi­nese out­break was syn­the­sized in U.S. labs more than ten years ago and report­ed in pub­li­ca­tions of the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health. NB: After post­ing this link and excerpt, we tried the link five days lat­er and it could not be accessed. Two days lat­er, the link worked just fine. This may have been com­put­er weird­ness.

As illus­trat­ed in–among oth­er pro­grams–FTR #686 [40]–ele­ments of the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health have a his­to­ry of col­lab­o­ra­tion with the nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment.

This is NOT to say, nec­es­sar­i­ly, that there MUST be a con­nec­tion between this syn­the­sis and the out­break in Chi­na. NOR are we cast­ing asper­sions on the researchers involved.

Even IF, for the sake of argu­ment, there is a link, male­fac­tors in or asso­ci­at­ed with the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty might well have availed them­selves of this, or relat­ed organ­isms.

Nonethe­less, giv­en past his­to­ry, this is a pos­si­bil­i­ty that war­rants care­ful exam­i­na­tion and con­sid­er­a­tion.

Note that: ” . . . . Syn­thet­ic recom­bi­nant bat SARS-like coro­n­avirus is infec­tious in cul­tured cells and in mice. . . .

“Syn­thet­ic recom­bi­nant bat SARS-like coro­n­avirus is infec­tious in cul­tured cells and in mice” by Michelle M. Beck­er, Rachel L. Gra­ham . . . Mark R. Deni­son; Nation­al Cen­ter For Biotech­nol­o­gy Infor­ma­tion [Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health]; 11/26/2008. [14]

. . . . Here, we report the design, syn­the­sis, and recov­ery of the largest syn­thet­ic repli­cat­ing life form, a 29.7‑kb bat severe acute res­pi­ra­to­ry syn­drome (SARS)-like coro­n­avirus (Bat-SCoV), a like­ly prog­en­i­tor to the SARS-CoV epi­dem­ic. Syn­thet­ic recom­bi­nant bat SARS-like coro­n­avirus is infec­tious in cul­tured cells and in mice. . . .

5a. In the movie “The Wiz­ard of Oz,” Dorothy, the Scare­crow and the Cow­ard­ly Lion pro­ceed with trep­i­da­tion through The Dark For­est chant­i­ng “Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!” In a recent post [41], we cov­ered our sus­pi­cions that the coro­n­avirus out­break in Chi­na was part of the desta­bi­liza­tion process under­way against that coun­try.  

We also won­dered if there might be a rel­a­tive­ly mun­dane ther­a­peu­tic reg­i­men that could be used to suc­cess­ful­ly treat the virus.

With innu­mer­able com­par­isons between the lat­est out­break and the 2003 SARS out­break, caused by a sim­i­lar virus, we note that it turned out that the SARS virus was read­i­ly treat­able with a ther­a­peu­tic reg­i­men sim­i­lar to that used to treat the flu and com­mon cold.

Amidst all of the cat­a­stroph­ic, world-wide head­lines, it turns out that there IS just such a ther­a­peu­tic reg­i­men!

We find it curi­ous that Amer­i­can media out­lets have remained silent on such a promis­ing ther­a­peu­tic reg­i­men. Reuters report­ed it, as did Agence France Presse. These are major wire ser­vices. Why not Amer­i­can media out­lets?

A sharp-eyed lis­ten­er not­ed the fol­low­ing: ” . . . . A Chi­nese woman infect­ed with the new coro­n­avirus showed a dra­mat­ic improve­ment after she was treat­ed with a cock­tail of anti-virals used to treat flu and HIV, Thai­land’s health min­istry said Sun­day. The 71-year-old patient test­ed neg­a­tive for the virus 48 hours after Thai doc­tors admin­is­tered the com­bi­na­tion, doc­tor Kriengsak Atti­porn­wanich said dur­ing the min­istry’s dai­ly press brief­ing. ‘The lab result of pos­i­tive on the coro­n­avirus turned neg­a­tive in 48 hours,’ Kriengsak said. . . .

“The doc­tors com­bined the anti-flu drug oseltamivir with lopinavir and riton­avir, anti-virals used to treat HIV, Kriengsak said, adding the min­istry was await­ing research results to prove the find­ings. . . . Thai­land so far has detect­ed 19 con­firmed cas­es of the virus believed to have orig­i­nat­ed in the cen­tral Chi­nese city of Wuhan, which is under lock­down. . . .

”  . . . .That is the sec­ond-high­est num­ber of cas­es out­side of Chi­na, with Japan record­ing 20. So far, eight patients in Thai­land have recov­ered and returned home, while 11 remain in the hos­pi­tal. In a video released Sun­day, Thai health min­is­ter Anutin Charn­vi­rakul vis­it­ed a patient from Wuhan who had recov­ered from the coro­n­avirus, chat­ting with her ami­ca­bly in Man­darin as she thanked him and the med­ical staff. . . .”

“Thai­land ‘Cures’ Coro­n­avirus with anti-HIV Drug Cock­tail in 48 Hours;” Dai­ly Sab­bah [Agence France Presse]; 2/2/2020. [15]

A Chi­nese woman infect­ed with the new coro­n­avirus showed a dra­mat­ic improve­ment after she was treat­ed with a cock­tail of anti-virals used to treat flu and HIV, Thai­land’s health min­istry said Sun­day.

The 71-year-old patient test­ed neg­a­tive for the virus 48 hours after Thai doc­tors admin­is­tered the com­bi­na­tion, doc­tor Kriengsak Atti­porn­wanich said dur­ing the min­istry’s dai­ly press brief­ing.

“The lab result of pos­i­tive on the coro­n­avirus turned neg­a­tive in 48 hours,” Kriengsak said.

“From being exhaust­ed before, she could sit up in bed 12 hours lat­er.”

The doc­tors com­bined the anti-flu drug oseltamivir with lopinavir and riton­avir, anti-virals used to treat HIV, Kriengsak said, adding the min­istry was await­ing research results to prove the find­ings.

The news comes as the new virus claimed its first life out­side Chi­na – a 44-year-old Chi­nese man who died in the Philip­pines – while the death toll in Chi­na has soared above 300.

Thai­land so far has detect­ed 19 con­firmed cas­es of the virus believed to have orig­i­nat­ed in the cen­tral Chi­nese city of Wuhan, which is under lock­down.

That is the sec­ond-high­est num­ber of cas­es out­side of Chi­na, with Japan record­ing 20.

So far, eight patients in Thai­land have recov­ered and returned home, while 11 remain in the hos­pi­tal.

In a video released Sun­day, Thai health min­is­ter Anutin Charn­vi­rakul vis­it­ed a patient from Wuhan who had recov­ered from the coro­n­avirus, chat­ting with her ami­ca­bly in Man­darin as she thanked him and the med­ical staff.

Thai author­i­ties are try­ing to bal­ance the screen­ing of inbound Chi­nese vis­i­tors with the eco­nom­ic needs of its tourist sec­tor, which is heav­i­ly reliant on arrivals from the main­land.

Mes­sages of sup­port say­ing “Our hearts to Wuhan” in Eng­lish, Chi­nese and Thai were plas­tered on a Bangkok mall pop­u­lar with tourists.

The bulk of con­firmed cas­es have been Chi­nese vis­i­tors to Thai­land, but on Thurs­day the king­dom record­ed its first human-to-human trans­mis­sion when a Thai taxi dri­ver was diag­nosed with the dis­ease.

The taxi dri­ver had not trav­eled to Chi­na but may have had con­tact with tourists.

Thai­land’s gov­ern­ment is also bat­tling pub­lic crit­i­cism that it has been slow to evac­u­ate scores of its cit­i­zens from Hubei province, at the cen­ter of the out­break.

Anutin said the evac­u­a­tion would hap­pen Tues­day, and the returnees would be quar­an­tined for 14 days.

5b. The lift­ing of a mora­to­ri­um on the test­ing of virus­es such as the SARS and MERS coro­n­avirus­es was lift­ed at the end of Decem­ber of 2017, a lit­tle more than two years before the out­break occurred. A num­ber of key points of inquiry in this post by Dr. Joseph Mer­co­la should be scru­ti­nized:

“Nov­el Coronavirus–The Lat­est Pan­dem­ic Scare” by Dr. Joseph Mer­co­la; Mer­co­la [16]; 2/4/2020. [16]

. . . . Mora­to­ri­um on SARS/MERS Exper­i­ments Lift­ed in 2017

As men­tioned, a num­ber of reports raise ques­tions about the source of the 2019-nCoV [The Chi­nese coronavirus–D.E.]. For starters, a 2014 NPR arti­cle32 was rather prophet­ic. It dis­cuss­es the Octo­ber 2014 U.S. mora­to­ri­um on exper­i­ments on coro­n­avirus­es like SARS and MERS, as well as influen­za virus, that might make the virus­es more path­o­gen­ic and/or easy to spread among humans.

The ban came on the heels of “high-pro­file lab mishaps” at the CDC and “extreme­ly con­tro­ver­sial flu exper­i­ments” in which the bird flu virus was engi­neered to become more lethal and con­ta­gious between fer­rets. The goal was to see if it could mutate and become more lethal and con­ta­gious between humans, caus­ing future pan­demics.

How­ev­er, for the past decade there have been red flags raised in the sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty about biose­cu­ri­ty breach­es in high con­tain­ment bio­log­i­cal labs in the U.S. and glob­al­ly.33 There were legit­i­mate fears that a lab-cre­at­ed super­flu pathogen might escape the con­fines of biose­cu­ri­ty labs where researchers are con­duct­ing exper­i­ments. It’s a rea­son­able fear, cer­tain­ly, con­sid­er­ing that there have been many safe­ty breach­es at bio­labs in the U.S. and oth­er coun­tries.34,35,36,37

The fed­er­al mora­to­ri­um on lethal virus exper­i­ments in the U.S. was lift­ed at the end of Decem­ber 2017,38 even though researchers announced in 2015 they had cre­at­ed a lab-cre­at­ed hybrid coro­n­avirus sim­i­lar to that of SARS that was capa­ble of infect­ing both human air­way cells and mice.

The NIH had allowed the con­tro­ver­sial research to pro­ceed because it had begun before the mora­to­ri­um was put in place — a deci­sion crit­i­cized by Simon Wain-Hob­son, a virol­o­gist at Pas­teur Insti­tute in Paris, who point­ed out that “If the [new] virus escaped, nobody could pre­dict the tra­jec­to­ry.“39

Oth­ers, such as Richard Ebright, a mol­e­c­u­lar biol­o­gist and biode­fence expert at Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty, agreed, say­ing “The only impact of this work is the cre­ation, in a lab, of a new, non-nat­ur­al risk.“40

Wuhan is Home to Lab Study­ing World’s Lat­est Pathogens

In Jan­u­ary 2018, Chi­na’s first max­i­mum secu­ri­ty virol­o­gy lab­o­ra­to­ry (biose­cu­ri­ty lev­el 4) designed for the study of the world’s most dan­ger­ous pathogens opened its doors — in Wuhan.41,42 Is it pure coin­ci­dence that Wuhan City is now the epi­cen­ter of this nov­el coro­n­avirus infec­tion? 

The year before, Tim Tre­van, a Mary­land biosafe­ty con­sul­tant, expressed con­cern about viral threats poten­tial­ly escap­ing the Wuhan Nation­al Biosafe­ty Lab­o­ra­to­ry,43 which hap­pens to be locat­ed just 20 miles from the Wuhan mar­ket iden­ti­fied as ground zero for the cur­rent NCIP out­break.44 As report­ed by the Dai­ly Mail:45

“The Wuhan lab is also equipped for ani­mal research,” and “Reg­u­la­tions for ani­mal research — espe­cial­ly that con­duct­ed on pri­mates — are much loos­er in Chi­na than in the U.S. and oth­er West­ern coun­tries … But that was also cause for con­cern for Tre­van. 

Study­ing the behav­ior of a virus like 209-nCoV and devel­op­ing treat­ments or vac­cines for it requires infect­ing these research mon­keys, an impor­tant step before human test­ing. 

Mon­keys are unpre­dictable though, warned [Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty micro­bi­ol­o­gist Dr. Richard] Ebright. ‘They can run, they can scratch they can bite,’ he said, and the virus­es they car­ry would go where their feet, nails and teeth do.’ ” 

Coro­n­avirus Out­break Sim­u­la­tion Took Place in Octo­ber 2019

Equal­ly curi­ous is the fact that Johns Hop­kins Cen­ter for Health Secu­ri­ty, the World Eco­nom­ic Forum and the Bill and Melin­da Gates Foun­da­tion spon­sored a nov­el coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic pre­pared­ness exer­cise Octo­ber 18, 2019, in New York called “Event 201.“46 The sim­u­la­tion pre­dict­ed a glob­al death toll of 65 mil­lion peo­ple with­in a span of 18 months.47 As report­ed by Forbes Decem­ber 12, 2019:48

“The experts ran through a care­ful­ly designed, detailed sim­u­la­tion of a new (fic­tion­al) viral ill­ness called CAPS or coro­n­avirus acute pul­monary syn­drome. This was mod­eled after pre­vi­ous epi­demics like SARS and MERS.” 

Sounds exact­ly like NCIP, does­n’t it? Yet the new coro­n­avirus respon­si­ble for NCIP had not yet been iden­ti­fied at the time of the sim­u­la­tion, and the first case was­n’t report­ed until two months lat­er. 

Forbes also refers to the fic­tion­al pan­dem­ic as “Dis­ease X” — the same des­ig­na­tion used by The Tele­graph in its Jan­u­ary 24, 2020, video report, “Could This Coro­n­avirus be Dis­ease X?“49 which sug­gests that media out­lets were briefed and there was coor­di­na­tion ahead of time with regard to use of cer­tain key­words and catch­phras­es in news reports and opin­ion arti­cles. 

Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty (JHU) is the biggest recip­i­ent of research grants from fed­er­al agen­cies, includ­ing the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health, Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion and Depart­ment of Defense and has received mil­lions of dol­lars in research grants from the Gates Foun­da­tion.50 In 2016, Johns Hop­kins spent more than $2 bil­lion on research projects, lead­ing all U.S. uni­ver­si­ties in research spend­ing for the 38th year in a row.51

If research fund­ed by fed­er­al agen­cies, such as the DOD or HHS is clas­si­fied as being per­formed “in the inter­est of nation­al secu­ri­ty,” it is exempt from Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act (FOIA) requests.52

Research con­duct­ed under the Bio­med­ical Advanced Research and Devel­op­ment Author­i­ty (BARDA) is com­plete­ly shield­ed from FOIA requests by the pub­lic.53 Addi­tion­al­ly, agen­cies may deny FOIA requests and with­hold infor­ma­tion if gov­ern­ment offi­cials con­clude that shield­ing it from pub­lic view “pro­tects trade secrets and com­mer­cial or finan­cial infor­ma­tion which could harm the com­pet­i­tive pos­ture or busi­ness inter­ests of a com­pa­ny.“54

The U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion under the U.S. Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices states that its mis­sion is “to pro­tect Amer­i­ca from health, safe­ty and secu­ri­ty threats, both for­eign and in the U.S.“55 Clear­ly, it will be dif­fi­cult to obtain infor­ma­tion about gov­ern­ment-fund­ed bio­med­ical research on microbes like coro­n­avirus con­duct­ed at major uni­ver­si­ties or by phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal cor­po­ra­tions in bio­haz­ard labs. 

How like­ly is it, then, that the coro­n­avirus out­break mak­ing peo­ple so sick today “sud­den­ly” emerged sim­ply because peo­ple ate bats and snakes in a Wuhan mar­ket? It looks more like a biose­cu­ri­ty acci­dent but, until more is known, inevitably there will be more ques­tions than answers about whether this lat­est glob­al pub­lic health emer­gency is a more ambi­tious tac­ti­cal “sand table exer­cise,” echo­ing unan­swered ques­tions about the 2009 swine flu pan­dem­ic fias­co. 

This time, there could be a lot more bod­ies left on the field, although some sta­tis­ti­cians con­duct­ing ben­e­fit cost analy­ses may con­sid­er 65 mil­lion casu­al­ties in a glob­al human pop­u­la­tion of 7.8 bil­lion peo­ple56 to be rel­a­tive­ly small when advanc­ing med­ical research con­duct­ed in the name of “the greater good.”

6. Next, the pro­gram under­takes an exam­i­na­tion of cir­cum­stances that sug­gest the pos­si­bil­i­ty of investor activ­i­ty by peo­ple linked to Steve Ban­non, who is at the epi­cen­ter of the anti-Chi­na effort. Ban­non has been the ben­e­fi­cia­ry of the enor­mous wealth of the bril­liant, eccen­tric investor Robert Mer­cer. Mer­cer has used AI-direct­ed invest­ment pro­jec­tion to afford a 70% return for his hedge fund. We won­der if he might have had fore­knowl­edge of the coro­n­avirus out­break?

IF that was the case, this would have enabled him to have made a great deal of mon­ey on the tor­pe­do­ing of the Chi­nese econ­o­my.

NB: The infor­ma­tion from Dr. Mer­co­la’s post should be fac­tored in to the infor­ma­tion about invest­ing and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of short-sell­ing and/or oth­er types of maneu­ver­ing to prof­it from this cri­sis. Equi­ty mar­kets are very respon­sive to sug­ges­tion, accu­rate or fala­cious. We note that the hys­te­ria allud­ed to in the post by Dr. Mer­co­la may well con­tribute to the steep decline in mar­kets. Chi­na, of course, has shut down much of its infra­struc­ture to com­bat the virus. That is con­tribut­ing, obvi­ous­ly. To what extent they, too, are respond­ing to hys­te­ria is an open ques­tion.

We also won­der if they know some­thing we don’t. Media have fea­tured pic­tures of Chi­nese per­son­nel in pro­tec­tive cloth­ing fumi­gat­ing pub­lic facil­i­ties. We won­der if they are pro­tect­ing against rodents or oth­er ani­mals spread­ing the virus. Note the ref­er­ence in the post by Dr. Mer­co­la:

It Came From Some­thing Awful: How a Tox­ic Troll Army Acci­den­tal­ly Memed Don­ald Trump into Office by Dale Beran; All Points Books [HC]; Copy­right 2019 by Dale Beran; ISBN 978–1‑250–18974‑5; p. 173. [21]

 . . . . In the 1970s, Mer­cer pro­grammed machine-learn­ing arti­fi­cial intel­li­gences to process vast sets of data and so pre­dict what was sup­posed to be the cen­tral mys­tery of cap­i­tal­ism, the move­ment of mar­kets. And, well, they did–and still do. The hedge fund for which Mer­cer worked, Renais­sance Tech­nolo­gies, has earned an aver­age of 70 per­cent each year, mak­ing Mer­cer one of the rich­est men on the plan­et. . . .

7a. In addi­tion to the Mercer/Bannon/investment con­sid­er­a­tion, we note that Steve Ban­non [18]–at the epi­cen­ter of the anti-Chi­na move­ment [19]–is pro­fes­sion­al­ly aligned with an exiled Chi­nese bil­lion­aire and a wealthy Texas hedge fund man­ag­er posi­tioned to make a great deal of mon­ey from a down­turn in Chi­na’s mar­kets.

“A Site Tied To Steve Ban­non Is Writ­ing Fake News About The Coro­n­avirus” by Jane Lytvy­nenko; Buz­zFeed News; 02/03/2020 [20]

A web­site that pub­lished two false coro­n­avirus claims, which paint­ed Chi­na in a neg­a­tive light, pre­vi­ous­ly had a con­tract with for­mer White House chief strate­gist Steve Ban­non and was cre­at­ed by an exiled Chi­nese bil­lion­aire and crit­ic of the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Par­ty.

On Jan. 25, G News pub­lished a false sto­ry [22] say­ing the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment was prepar­ing to admit that the coro­n­avirus orig­i­nat­ed in one of its labs. It did not, but the arti­cle still racked up over 19,000 tweets and 18,000 Face­book engage­ments, accord­ing to social track­ing web­site Buz­zSumo. The sto­ry was debunked [42] by Face­book fact-check­ing part­ner Poli­ti­Fact.

The web­site also pub­lished a ques­tion­able doc­u­ment [23] that fed a con­spir­a­cy that the Chi­nese mil­i­tary spread the dis­ease delib­er­ate­ly. That doc­u­ment, which seems to have come from G News orig­i­nal­ly, has been pop­u­lar on anony­mous mes­sage boards like 4chan and 2chan.

G News is part of Guo Media, a project fund­ed by Chi­nese bil­lion­aire Guo Wen­gui, also known as Miles Kwok and Miles Guo. He fled Chi­na in 2014 and has been accused [43] of bribery, mon­ey laun­der­ing, and fraud by the main­land gov­ern­ment. He has denied the charges, call­ing them polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed, and has become a vocal crit­ic of Bei­jing.

In August 2018, Guo’s orga­ni­za­tion signed what Axios report­ed [24] to be a $1 mil­lion con­tract with Steve Ban­non, for­mer White House strate­gist and for­mer chair of the hyper­par­ti­san news site Bre­it­bart. The con­tract required Ban­non to make intro­duc­tions to “media per­son­al­i­ties” and advise on “indus­try stan­dards,” accord­ing to Axios. Guo and Ban­non fre­quent­ly appear togeth­er in videos on G News that attack the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment.

Anoth­er per­son con­nect­ed to G News, hedge fund man­ag­er J. Kyle Bass, also spread a false coro­n­avirus claim in a tweet. His hedge fund report­ed­ly [25] had invest­ments that will increase in val­ue if the Chi­nese econ­o­my fails, but he told Buz­zFeed News he no longer holds “any Chi­nese equi­ty posi­tions what­so­ev­er.” Bass has remained a Chi­na crit­ic, fre­quent­ly [26] echo­ing [27] Ban­non.

“A hus­band and wife Chi­nese spy team were recent­ly removed from a Lev­el 4 Infec­tious Dis­ease facil­i­ty in Cana­da for send­ing pathogens to the Wuhan facil­i­ty. The hus­band spe­cial­ized in coro­n­avirus research,” Bass tweet­ed [28], link­ing to a CBC News arti­cle [29] that did not sup­port his claim.

His tweet gar­nered almost 13,000 retweets and caused Cana­di­an offi­cials to issue a clar­i­fi­ca­tion [44] deny­ing that coro­n­avirus was stolen from the Win­nipeg lab. “This is mis­in­for­ma­tion and there is no fac­tu­al basis for claims being made on social media,” Eric Mor­ris­sette, the chief of media rela­tions for Health Cana­da and the Pub­lic Health Agency of Cana­da, told CBC News [44].

When asked about his tweet, Bass said he had no plan to remove it.

“I am extreme­ly con­cerned about the spread of mis­in­for­ma­tion about the coro­n­avirus by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment,” he said.

Bass is the chair of the Rule of Law Foun­da­tion, a non­prof­it that runs ban­ner ads at the top and bot­tom of the G News web­site solic­it­ing dona­tions. He said he had no affil­i­a­tion with the site.

“I have noth­ing to do with G News or its con­tent,” he said. “Guo Wen­gui has no lead­er­ship posi­tion, oper­at­ing con­trol, or legal posi­tion with the Rule of Law Foun­da­tion.”

Bass added that he hadn’t “read any G News sto­ry. Peri­od.” He also claimed that the Rule of Law Foun­da­tion was sep­a­rate from the $100 mil­lion fund start­ed by Guo and Ban­non [30] called the Rule of Law Fund.

Aside from Guo’s site shar­ing false infor­ma­tion dur­ing the coro­n­avirus out­break, he has been a source of con­tro­ver­sy since arriv­ing in the US. Accord­ing to Politi­co [45], he is involved in a legal dis­pute stem­ming from his alleged hir­ing of a pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tion firm to dig up dirt on Chi­nese nation­als.

After being exiled from Chi­na, he has faced accu­sa­tions of both finan­cial and sex­u­al mis­con­duct, includ­ing a rape alle­ga­tion [46] from a for­mer assis­tant. Guo has main­tained his inno­cence, say­ing that alle­ga­tions were polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed.

———-

7b. Sup­ple­ment­ing the pre­vi­ous arti­cle about Ban­non, J. Kyle Bass and Guo Wen­gui, we note that Bass is close to, and may well be a co-investor with, Tom­my Hicks Jr., a key mem­ber of Team Trump. Hicks, Com­merce Sec­re­tary Wilbur Ross [31] and nation­al secu­ri­ty offi­cials are, in turn, work­ing to deny Chi­nese elec­tron­ics firm Huawei access to devel­op­ing 5G net­works, fur­ther ham­string­ing the Chi­nese econ­o­my.

Paul Krug­man, among oth­ers, has not­ed that Wilbur Ross was open­ly cel­e­brat­ing [31] the coro­n­avirus as a boon to the Unit­ed States.

We high­light key aspects of this dis­cus­sion:

“Want to Meet With the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion? Don­ald Trump Jr.’s Hunt­ing Bud­dy Can Help” by Jake Pear­son; ProP­ub­li­ca; 07/22/2019 [25]

Over the past two years, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion has been grap­pling with how to han­dle the tran­si­tion to the next gen­er­a­tion of mobile broad­band tech­nol­o­gy. With spend­ing expect­ed to run into hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars, the admin­is­tra­tion views it as an ultra-high-stakes com­pe­ti­tion between U.S. and Chi­nese com­pa­nies, with enor­mous impli­ca­tions both for tech­nol­o­gy and for nation­al secu­ri­ty. Top offi­cials from a raft of depart­ments have been meet­ing to hash out the best approach.

But there’s been one per­son at some of the dis­cus­sions who has a dif­fer­ent back­ground: He’s Don­ald Trump Jr.’s hunt­ing bud­dy. Over the past two decades, the two have trained their sights on duck, pheas­ant and white-tailed deer [47] on mul­ti­ple con­ti­nents. (An email from anoth­er Trump Jr. pal char­ac­ter­ized one of their joint duck-hunt­ing trips to Mex­i­co years ago as “muy aggre­si­vo.”)

Tom­my Hicks Jr., 41, isn’t a gov­ern­ment offi­cial; he’s a wealthy pri­vate investor. And he has been a part of dis­cus­sions relat­ed to Chi­na and tech­nol­o­gy with top offi­cials from the Trea­sury Depart­ment, Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, Com­merce Depart­ment and oth­ers, accord­ing to emails and doc­u­ments obtained by ProP­ub­li­ca. In one email, Hicks refers to a meet­ing at “Lan­g­ley,” an appar­ent ref­er­ence to the CIA’s head­quar­ters.

Hicks’ finan­cial inter­ests, if any, in the mat­ters he has dis­cussed aren’t clear. The inter­ests are much more appar­ent when it comes to at least one of his asso­ciates. Hicks used his con­nec­tions to arrange for a hedge fund man­ag­er friend, Kyle Bass — who has $143 mil­lion in invest­ments that will pay off if China’s econ­o­my tanks — to present his views on the Chi­nese econ­o­my to high-lev­el gov­ern­ment offi­cials at an inter­a­gency meet­ing at the Trea­sury Depart­ment, accord­ing to the doc­u­ments.

Hicks is hard­ly the first pri­vate-sec­tor pow­er bro­ker to emerge in a pres­i­den­tial admin­is­tra­tion, but he may rep­re­sent a new sub­species: The Friend of the President’s Kid.

In fact, Hicks’ influ­ence and career over­whelm­ing­ly hinge on two peo­ple: Trump Jr., his friend of about two decades, and, first and fore­most, Hicks’ father. In a rough­ly 20-year career, Hicks has spent 17 of them work­ing for invest­ment funds and sports teams owned by his wealthy financier dad, Thomas Hicks Sr., and the oth­er three work­ing for a client of his father.

The gen­er­al­ly priv­i­leged life of the younger Hicks has been speck­led with occa­sion­al instances of mis­be­hav­ior, one of them seri­ous. At age 18, he plead­ed no con­test to mis­de­meanor assault, reduced from an orig­i­nal charge of felony aggra­vat­ed assault, after he and two oth­ers were arrest­ed in the beat­ing of a fel­low high school stu­dent at a par­ty. (The vic­tim was also kicked in the face dur­ing the assault, accord­ing to peo­ple famil­iar with the case. He told police that one of the three assailants — he didn’t say which — asked him, “What is your name, fag­got?”) The crim­i­nal con­vic­tion did not pre­vent Hicks from being admit­ted to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas, where his father was an alum­nus, a mem­ber of the Board of Regents and soon there­after the first chair­man of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas Invest­ment Man­age­ment Com­pa­ny, which man­ages the school’s endow­ment and oth­er assets.

As an adult, friends say, Hicks’ carous­ing ways and occa­sion­al bel­liger­ent out­bursts led some in his cir­cle to bestow a heav­i­ly iron­ic nick­name: “Sen­a­tor Hicks.” His tenure as a direc­tor of the soc­cer team his father owned in Liv­er­pool, Eng­land, a decade ago end­ed right after an email he sent to a heck­ling fan [48] — “Blow me fuc kface. Go to Hell. I’m sick of you.” — sur­faced pub­licly.

Friends say Hicks has matured, par­tic­u­lar­ly since he mar­ried and had three daugh­ters. He has risen quick­ly in recent years. Hicks lever­aged his Dal­las finan­cial net­work to become a top Trump cam­paign fundrais­er in 2016 and a vice chair­man of the inau­gur­al finance com­mit­tee; in Jan­u­ary, he was named co-chair­man of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee. His friends say he is moti­vat­ed by patri­o­tism.

Hicks also played a behind-the-scenes role, accord­ing to two peo­ple famil­iar with the mat­ter and an account by a Turk­ish jour­nal­ist, in the free­ing last year of Andrew Brun­son, an Amer­i­can pas­tor who was detained for two years by the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment on what the U.S. gov­ern­ment viewed as pho­ny charges of spy­ing and help­ing ter­ror­ists.

Even before becom­ing the sec­ond high­est-rank­ing GOP offi­cial, Hicks was a fre­quent White House guest. He liked to have lunch in the White House mess with his half sis­ter, who worked for a time in the com­mu­ni­ca­tions oper­a­tion. (The fam­i­ly is not relat­ed to Hope Hicks, the for­mer White House com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor.) Hicks would then stroll the halls, accord­ing to a for­mer senior admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial, drop­ping in to offices for impromp­tu chats with var­i­ous offi­cials, includ­ing Jared Kush­n­er.

Those sorts of con­nec­tions have giv­en Hicks a con­ven­ing pow­er, the abil­i­ty to call togeth­er mul­ti­ple offi­cials. “He basi­cal­ly opened the door for hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with peo­ple who I didn’t know but need­ed to know,” said Robert Spald­ing, a for­mer senior direc­tor for strate­gic plan­ning at the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil dur­ing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

The efforts, detailed in hun­dreds of pages of gov­ern­ment emails and oth­er doc­u­ments obtained under the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act, show that Hicks had access to the high­est lev­els of gov­ern­ment to influ­ence pol­i­cy­mak­ing in ways that could lead to painful eco­nom­ic out­comes for the Chi­nese — and a poten­tial­ly lucra­tive result for Hicks’ hedge fund friend, Bass.

“When some­body comes in like this, a hedge fund man­ag­er who has an inter­est in the via­bil­i­ty of China’s econ­o­my, you’re giv­ing them an oppor­tu­ni­ty to influ­ence pol­i­cy,” said Vir­ginia Can­ter, a for­mer ethics lawyer at the Trea­sury Depart­ment who now serves as chief ethics coun­sel for Cit­i­zens for Respon­si­bil­i­ty and Ethics in Wash­ing­ton, a watch­dog group. (CREW has sued Don­ald Trump for accept­ing emol­u­ments from for­eign gov­ern­ments.) “The ques­tion is why?”

Hicks’ unusu­al role as a non­govern­ment employ­ee who opened doors on behalf of both indus­try and oth­ers, Can­ter said, put him in a gray zone of ethics and lob­by­ing reg­u­la­tions. “He’s act­ing in a lob­by­ist role when he may fall out­side the lob­by­ist dis­clo­sure rules, and it’s not clear how he ben­e­fits finan­cial­ly,” she said. “So the ques­tion is: What’s he get­ting out of it? What are his friends get­ting out of it? And is the gov­ern­ment pro­cess­ing it in a way that ensures the pub­lic ben­e­fits?”

Bass pre­sent­ed his views on China’s bank­ing sys­tem in the office of Heath Tar­bert, an assis­tant sec­re­tary at Trea­sury in charge of inter­na­tion­al mar­kets and invest­ment pol­i­cy and a pow­er­ful inter­gov­ern­men­tal com­mit­tee that reviews for­eign invest­ments in the U.S. for nation­al secu­ri­ty con­cerns. Among the offi­cials at the meet­ing with Tar­bert were Bill Hin­man, the direc­tor of the divi­sion of cor­po­ra­tion finance at the Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion, and Ray Wash­burne, a wealthy Dal­las restau­rant own­er and fam­i­ly friend of Hicks’ who was nom­i­nat­ed by Trump to head the Over­seas Pri­vate Invest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion.

Hicks and Bass, both Dal­las res­i­dents and long­time denizens of the finan­cial com­mu­ni­ty there, have invest­ed togeth­er since at least 2011, accord­ing to secu­ri­ties fil­ings and court records. They’ve owned shares of a pub­licly trad­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tions-tech­nol­o­gy man­u­fac­tur­er. And they were among the biggest cred­i­tors to the bank­rupt law enforce­ment con­tract­ing com­pa­ny run by Chris Kyle, the ex-Navy SEAL por­trayed by Bradley Coop­er in “Amer­i­can Sniper.” The man­ag­ing direc­tor of a new invest­ment fund start­ed by Hicks had pre­vi­ous­ly advised Bass on the suc­cess­ful stock-short­ing of a Texas real estate lender, accord­ing to cor­po­rate fil­ings and court papers from a law­suit in state court in Dal­las.

But it’s not clear if Hicks or his fam­i­ly have an invest­ment in Bass’ Chi­na-relat­ed funds. Reached twice on his cell­phone, Hicks declined to be inter­viewed by ProP­ub­li­ca. In the sec­ond call, in June, Hicks didn’t dis­pute that he and his fam­i­ly have invest­ed in Bass’ funds. But when asked to detail their busi­ness rela­tion­ship, he cut the con­ver­sa­tion short. “I’ve got to run. Let me see if I can get back to you,” Hicks said before hang­ing up. He didn’t call back.

Weeks lat­er, after ProP­ub­li­ca fol­lowed up with ques­tions to the RNC, a spokesman respond­ed by email­ing a “state­ment attrib­uted to Tom­my Hicks.” It read: “As a busi­ness­man, I pas­sion­ate­ly sup­port­ed caus­es I believed in and, if appro­pri­ate, would some­times meet with gov­ern­ment offi­cials to pro­mote them. There is noth­ing wrong with that. I have tak­en every pre­cau­tion dur­ing my time as Co-Chair of the RNC to ensure there is no con­flict of inter­est between my job here and any per­son­al busi­ness­es.” (The spokesper­son also emailed a state­ment on behalf of the RNC: “Tom­my has done an out­stand­ing job work­ing on behalf of Pres­i­dent Trump and his agen­da.”)

Bass, who made his name and for­tune by bet­ting against sub­prime mort­gages before the crash and is known for large bets that economies or cer­tain macro trends will turn down­ward, declined to com­ment. “I’m not inter­est­ed in talk­ing with you about my friends or any meet­ings I have or haven’t had pri­vate­ly with any­one,” he wrote in an email. In a sub­se­quent mes­sage, Bass wrote that any sug­ges­tion “that we had cor­rupt inten­tions in meet­ing with Trea­sury offi­cials… is cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly false and defam­a­to­ry and could neg­a­tive­ly affect our busi­ness.”

An admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial briefed on the Bass meet­ing at the Trea­sury down­played it as “strict­ly a lis­ten­ing ses­sion.” He said Bass did not ask the atten­dees to take any actions, nor did the atten­dees divulge any­thing about U.S.-China pol­i­cy. Gov­ern­ment ethics offi­cers vet­ted the fed­er­al employ­ees for any con­flicts and found none, the offi­cial said. He acknowl­edged that the review didn’t include an exam­i­na­tion of any finan­cial rela­tion­ship between Hicks and Bass.

Spald­ing said the con­ver­sa­tion cen­tered pri­mar­i­ly on Bass’ analy­sis of pub­licly avail­able records on the Chi­nese finan­cial sys­tem. “I think the thing that I’ve dis­cov­ered over the past years is that the infor­ma­tion in the pri­vate sec­tor is bet­ter than any­thing we have in gov­ern­ment,” Spald­ing said of Bass’ pre­sen­ta­tion. “You have to reach out to where the exper­tise is. In our coun­try, that’s where the tal­ent is.”

Bass has become a vocal advo­cate for an aggres­sive U.S. pol­i­cy toward Chi­na. On Twit­ter and on cable busi­ness chan­nels he’s denounced every­thing from the country’s Com­mu­nist Par­ty gov­ern­ment to its busi­ness prac­tices. Secu­ri­ties fil­ings show Bass raised $143 mil­lion from about 81 investors in two funds — invest­ments that would ben­e­fit if China’s cur­ren­cy were deval­ued or the coun­try faced cred­it or bank­ing crises. In April, in a let­ter to his investors, Bass wrote that his com­pa­ny, Hay­man Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, was posi­tioned for com­ing prob­lems in Hong Kong and was set up to “main­tain a mas­sive asym­me­try to a neg­a­tive out­come in Hong Kong and/or Chi­na.”

Hicks’ work on the 5G ini­tia­tive was exten­sive.

Over just a few months in late 2017 and 2018, records show, he was part of an infor­mal group led by then NSC offi­cial Spald­ing, that advo­cat­ed for a strat­e­gy in which the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment would plan out a nation­al pol­i­cy for 5G. One memo described their goal as the “equiv­a­lent of the Eisen­how­er Nation­al High­way Sys­tem — a sin­gle, inher­ent­ly pro­tect­ed, infor­ma­tion trans­porta­tion super­high­way.”

The group con­duct­ed mul­ti­ple meet­ings and brief­in­gs. For exam­ple, Hicks, Spald­ing and oth­ers trav­eled to Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics’ Dal­las-area offices for one meet­ing in Jan­u­ary 2018.

That same month Hicks attend­ed a 5G meet­ing that he’d arranged with Com­merce Sec­re­tary Wilbur Ross. Com­merce plays a key role in the future of 5G since a divi­sion with­in the agency man­ages gov­ern­ment spec­trum and anoth­er main­tains a list of com­pa­nies the gov­ern­ment believes are, or will become, nation­al secu­ri­ty threats. Com­pa­nies that end up on that list can be effec­tive­ly shut out from glob­al deal-mak­ing. The meet­ing with Ross focused heav­i­ly on the threat of Chi­na, said Ira Green­stein, who served as a White House aide and was part of Spalding’s 5G crew.

Hicks was one of a dozen non­govern­ment employ­ees, includ­ing exec­u­tives from Wells Far­go, Nokia, Eric­s­son and Google, that Spald­ing sent read­ing mate­ri­als to ahead of a 5G dis­cus­sion in the Eisen­how­er Exec­u­tive Office Build­ing. Copied on the email were top Com­merce Depart­ment offi­cials, a Booz Allen Hamil­ton con­trac­tor and a senior advis­er for cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and IT mod­ern­iza­tion at the White House Office of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy. On the agen­da? “Mid Band vs High Band” spec­trum, “secu­ri­ty,” “sup­ply chain,” “financ­ing” and oth­er crit­i­cal issues.

Hicks wasn’t just a pas­sive observ­er. On Jan. 2, 2018, the man­ag­ing direc­tor of OPIC, which pro­vides finan­cial back­ing to Amer­i­can com­pa­nies expand­ing into for­eign mar­kets, emailed Spald­ing and oth­ers to say that the CEO of a satel­lite com­pa­ny called OneWeb had a plan to pro­vide world­wide 5G cov­er­age by 2027. Hicks fired back a note from his iPhone. “2027 is too late,” he wrote. “Let’s dis­cuss as a small­er group tomor­row.”

Spald­ing was forced out of the West Wing in ear­ly 2018 after a draft 20-page brief­ing memo he authored propos­ing a gov­ern­ment-orga­nized nation­al 5G net­work was leaked, then panned as an attempt to nation­al­ize the wire­less broad­band indus­try. Trump has not pur­sued such an ini­tia­tive, ulti­mate­ly defer­ring to wire­less car­ri­ers to bid on pub­licly main­tained spec­trum and devel­op their own net­works as has tra­di­tion­al­ly been the case.

Still, the admin­is­tra­tion has made sig­nif­i­cant efforts to counter Chi­nese influ­ence in 5G and relat­ed tech­nolo­gies, which are said to be crit­i­cal for indus­tries such as dri­ver­less cars, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, machine learn­ing and much more. In May the Com­merce Depart­ment barred Chi­nese tele­com equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­er Huawei from doing busi­ness in the U.S. for nation­al secu­ri­ty rea­sons. And the top Depart­ment of Defense offi­cial in charge of acqui­si­tions also recent­ly announced the cre­ation of a gov­ern­ment-approved pri­vate mar­ket­place to pair Amer­i­can pri­vate equi­ty firms with U.S. tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies pro­duc­ing prod­ucts with nation­al secu­ri­ty appli­ca­tions to keep Chi­nese mon­ey out of 5G.

It isn’t clear what influ­ence, if any, Hicks had in those deci­sions. But his pro­file is only ris­ing. In April, he led a Repub­li­can del­e­ga­tion to Tai­wan along­side a U.S. gov­ern­ment del­e­ga­tion. Hicks met with the country’s pres­i­dent, Tsai Ing-wen, who has late­ly been posi­tion­ing her country’s cor­po­ra­tions as safer providers of 5G equip­ment than those in Chi­na. Tsai thanked the U.S. for sell­ing arms to Tai­wan. She asked Hicks to con­vey her regards to the Trumps.

8. The pro­gram con­cludes with the read­ing of head­lines (and some text) from New York Times sto­ries about the eco­nom­ic effects of the coro­n­avirus out­break.

“Who Says Vis­it­ing Chi­na Isn’t Safe?” by Rosie Spinks; The New York Times; 2/7/2020; p. A29 [West­ern Edi­tion.] [49]

. . . . The coro­n­avirus out­break seems defined by two oppos­ing foces: the astonin­ish­ing effi­cien­cy  with the trav­el indus­try con­nects the world and a polit­i­cal moment dom­i­nat­ed by xen­pho­bic rhetoric and the buildin­gof walls. . . .

. . . . The Unit­ed States State Depart­ment nev­er­the­less is deny­ing entry to for­eign­ers who have recent­ly been to Chi­na, and is screen­ing Amer­i­cans who arrive home from Chi­na as well as ask­ing them to self quar­an­tine for 14 days. It has told Amer­i­cans not to vis­it the coun­try at all. British Air­ways, Lufthansa and all three major Amer­i­can car­ri­ers have halt­ed all flights to Chi­na, while the cruise line Roy­al Caribbean is deny­ing board­ing to any per­son who has trav­eled to, from or through Chi­na or Hong Kong in the past 15 days. . . .

. . . . But what has moti­vat­ed the response from gov­ern­ments? It does­n’t appear to be evi­dence. . . .

. . . . Coro­n­avirus is dif­fer­ent from oth­er tourism dis­rup­tions in a sig­nif­i­cant way: The poten­tial loss of tourism rev­enue will hurt not only Chi­na but also oth­er coun­tries. In the decade and a half since the SARS cri­sis, the num­ber of Chi­nese trav­el­ers has soared, with Chi­na sur­pass­ing oth­er nations in its vol­ume of out­bound trav­el­ers start­ing in 2012. In 2017, the Chi­nese made more than 143 mil­lion trips abroad; my col­leagues at Skift Research pre­dict that in 2029, that fig­ure will be more than 286 mil­lion. Lux­u­ry retail­ers all over the world rely on Chi­nese trav­el­ers, and des­ti­na­tions devel­op sophis­ti­cat­ed mar­ket­ing strate­gies to cater to them. . . .

. . . . With the rhetoric sur­round­ing coro­n­avirus, how­ev­er, how­ev­er, it appears the aston­ish­ing growth of the Chi­nese trav­el mar­ket in the last 15 years did lit­tle to rid the indus­try of the impulse to treat Chi­nese trav­el­ers as “oth­ers” in the face of doubt and uncer­tain­ty. . . .

“Declar­ing Health Emer­gency, U.S. Restricts Trav­el from Chi­na” by Michael Cork­ery and Annie Karni; The New York Times; 2/1/2020; p. A1 [West­ern Edi­tion.]

. . . . The trav­el restric­tions and the air­line’s announce­ments showed how rapid­ly con­cerns about the virus have esca­lat­ed into a con­test of the glob­al econ­o­my, for which there is no prece­dent. Three weeks after the first virus-relat­ed death was report­ed, Chi­na has found itself cut off from its largest trad­ing part­ner, the Unit­ed States, and many oth­er nations. . . .

 

“Gov­ern­ments Expand Restric­tions on Trav­el to Chi­na as Cas­es Spike” by Paul Mozur; The New York Times; 1/29/2020; p. A6 [West­ern Edi­tion.]

. . . . With Chi­na’s Lunar New Year hol­i­day near­ing its end, com­pa­nies ordered work­ers to stay home and avoid trav­el. The eco­nom­ic impact of such mea­sures point­ed to a deep­er polit­i­cal cri­sis, with many peo­ple accus­ing the Chi­nese author­i­ties online of fail­ing to act quick­ly to con­tain the virus, even as the gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to strug­gle to con­tain its spread. . . .

. . . . Busi­ness­es that oper­ate in Chi­na have issued warn­ings of their own. . . .

. . . . Investors in Asia were gripped on tues­day­with fear about the health of the glob­al econ­o­my for a sec­ond day, with a wide­spread sell-off con­tin­u­ing con­in­u­ing in the mar­kets. Investos dumped stocks in com­pa­nies thought to be most vul­ner­a­ble to the effects of the virus.

 “The coro­na virus is the No. 1 threat to finan­cial mar­kets cur­rent­ly as glob­al investors are becom­ing jit­tery on the uncer­tain­ty.” said Nigel Green, founder of an invest­ment com­pa­ny, the DeVere group . . .

 

“Trade Net­works Face New Men­ace in a Coro­n­avirus” Chi­na in Cross Hairs; by Peter S. Good­man; The New York Times; 2/3/2020; p. A1 [West­ern Edi­tion.]

 

“Chi­na Reels From Virus, and Mar­kets Are on Edge” by Alexan­dra Steven­son; The New York Times; 1/24/2020; p. B1 [West­ern Edi­tion.]

“Out­break Rat­tles Mar­kets, Spurring Down­turn Fears” by Matt Phillips; The New York Times; 1/28/2020; p. B1 [West­ern Edi­tion.]

 

On same page, rel­e­vant to psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare and online activ­i­ty: “On Chi­nese Social Media, Anger over Virus” by Ray­mond Zhong; The New York Times; 1/28/2020; p. B1 [West­ern Edi­tion.]

 

“OPEC Scram­bles to React as Virus Imper­ils Demand” by Stan­ley Reed; The New York Times; 2/4/2020; p. B1 [West­ern Edi­tion.]

 

“Virus Threat­ens an Oil Indus­try That’s Already Ail­ing” by Clif­ford Krauss With a Decline in Chi­na’s Demand send­ing Crude Prices Lowe, Cut­backs by Amer­i­can Com­pa­nies May Be Com­ing; For Now, Dri­vers are ben­e­fit­ing; The New York Times; 2/5/2020; p. B1 [West­ern Edi­tion.]

 

“Africa, With Grow­ing Ties to Chi­na, Is Espe­cial­ly Vul­ner­a­ble” by Simon Marks and Latif Dahir; The New York Times; 2/7/2020; p. A10 [West­ern Edi­tion.]

 

“U.S. Plans Trade Talks With Kenya to Counter Chi­na’s Influ­ence in Africa” by Ana Swan­son; The New York Times; 2/7/2020; p. B4 [West­ern Edi­tion.]

 

“Chi­na’s Com­mand of 5G Is A ‘Dan­ger,’ Barr Says” by Katie Ben­ner; The New York Times; 2/7/2020; p. B7 [West­ern Edi­tion.]

 

“Virus Fuels Anti-Chi­nese Sen­ti­ment Over­seas” by Motoko Rich; The New York Times; 1/31/2020; p. A1 [West­ern Edi­tion.]

. . . . In Japan, the hash­tag #Chi­nese­Don’t­Come­To­Japan has been trend­ing on twit­ter. In Sin­ga­pore, tens of thou­sands of res­i­dents have signed a peti­tion call­ing for the gov­ern­ment to ban Chi­nese from enter­ing the coun­try.

In Hong Kong, South Korea and Viet­nam, busi­ness­es have post­ed signs say­ing that main­land Chi­nese cus­tomers are not wel­come. In France, a front-page head­line in a region­al news­pa­per warned of a “Yel­low Alert.” And in a sub­urb of Toron­to, par­ents demand­ed that a school dis­trict keep chil­dren of a fam­i­ly that had recent­ly returned from Chi­na out of class­es for 17 days. . . .

 . . . . At a time when Chi­na’s rise as a glob­al eco­nom­ic and mil­i­tary pow­er has unset­tled its neigh­bors in Asia as well as its rivals in the West, the coro­n­avirus is feed­ing into latent big­otry against the peo­ple of main­land Chi­na . . .

 

“Virus Puts a Frac­tured Hong Kong on Edge” by Austin Ramzy; The New York Times; 1/29/2020; p. A1 [West­ern Edi­tion.]

The two Hong Kong pro­test­ers were dressed head to toe in black, their faces coverd in masks. They smashed their Molo­tov cock­tails into the lob­by of a pub­lic hous­ing estate, and flames and smoke began  spew­ing out. . . .

 

“Virus Putting E.U. At Risk of Reces­sion” by Jack Ewing; The New York Times; 2/12/2020; p. B1 [West­ern Edi­tion.]

 

“Com­modi­ties Tum­ble as Epi­dem­ic Snarls Sup­ply Chains” by Matt Phillips; The New York Times; 2/12/2020; p. B3 [West­ern Edi­tion.]