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FTR #1155 Bio-Psy-Op Apocalypse, Now Part 15: Covid-19 Updates, Part 4

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FTR #1155 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: Con­tin­u­ing cov­er­age of the Covid-19 pandemic–almost cer­tain­ly a bio­log­i­cal war­fare project craft­ed by the U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty establishment–the broad­cast cen­ters on the dual func­tion of “epi­dem­ic pre­ven­tion” and “epi­dem­ic cau­sa­tion” and sup­ple­ment­ing a Charles Blow op-ed piece in The New York Times.

Build­ing on the con­cept (dis­cussed many times in the past) that the dif­fer­ence between “offen­sive” and “defen­sive” bio­log­i­cal war­fare research is aca­d­e­m­ic, we note that cre­den­tialed observers have cit­ed Pen­ta­gon “vac­cine” research as a cov­er for offen­sive BW research. In addi­tion, we observe that numer­ous, over­lap­ping pro­grams osten­si­bly aimed at “pre­vent­ing” epi­demics may well mask efforts at gen­er­at­ing them.

One of the most noto­ri­ous and advanced bio­log­i­cal war­fare pro­grams in his­to­ry was Japan’s Unit 731, meld­ed into the U.S. bio­log­i­cal war­fare pro­gram at the end of World War II. The pro­gram was offi­cial­ly labeled: “the Epi­dem­ic Pre­ven­tion and Water Purifi­ca­tion Depart­ment of the Kwan­tung Army.”

Revis­it­ing the con­sum­mate­ly impor­tant Whit­ney Webb arti­cle about Pen­ta­gon research into bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es, we note:

  1. The DARPA research is osten­si­bly aimed at pre­vent­ing pan­demics but–very possibly–masking prepa­ra­tions for offen­sive bio­log­i­cal war­fare projects.
  2. The Pen­ta­gon is research­ing  “gene-driving”–a biotech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ment that can per­ma­nent­ly alter the genet­ic make­up of entire pop­u­la­tion groups and lead to the extinc­tion of oth­er groups.
  3. The Pen­ta­gon research is heav­i­ly net­worked with com­pa­nies using DNA and mRNA vac­cines for Covid-19.

Genet­ic Engi­neer­ing

The fun­da­men­tal point of analy­sis and dis­cus­sion in this pro­gram, and the next, con­cerns the use of “Epi­dem­ic Pre­ven­tion” to mask exter­mi­na­tion­ist offen­sive bio­log­i­cal war­fare pro­grams to entrench, expand or intro­duce a white-suprema­cist/­First World Dom­i­na­tion dynam­ic in the U.S. and abroad.

Is this the lega­cy of Unit 731, nom­i­nal­ly an “Epi­dem­ic Pre­ven­tion” pro­gram?!

A col­umn by Charles Blow cor­rect­ly notes that the right-wing is work­ing to “lock-in” pow­er. Blow’s obser­va­tion is far more impor­tant when the con­text is expand­ed to include the full-court press against Chi­na and the effects of Covid-19 in the U.S.

Not a super­pow­er at this point in time, Chi­na has made rapid, remark­able progress:

  1. In 1981, 88% of the Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion lived in pover­ty. That was down to 0.7% in 2015.
  2. The Chi­nese mid­dle class was 4% of their pop­u­la­tion in 2002. By 2018, that was up to 31% of their pop­u­la­tion.
  3. In 2000, just 2% of the Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion had access to the inter­net. That was up to 29% by 2009.

With the stun­ning progress made by Chi­na, in com­bi­na­tion with their enor­mous pop­u­la­tion, the nation will be a major pow­er in the future.

Because they are not white and because their sys­tem of state cap­i­tal­ism is at log­ger­heads with the neo-lib­er­al dog­ma to which the West is enthrall, that coun­try will be brought to heel. The anti-Chi­na push by the West is fun­da­men­tal­ly white suprema­cist in nature.

Pur­suant to dis­cus­sion of the Charles Blow col­umn, Mr. Emory reads the head­lines and bylines from a num­ber of New York Times arti­cles under­scor­ing how the pan­dem­ic is work­ing against two trends that Blow cites as inim­i­cal to con­tin­ued GOP con­trol.

The pan­dem­ic is bad­ly dam­ag­ing the for­tunes of urban cen­ters and edu­ca­tion, both at the pub­lic school and uni­ver­si­ty lev­els. In that regard, the pan­dem­ic is accom­plish­ing what the Charles Blow col­umn enun­ci­ates.

Some inter­est­ing points raised by Dr. Daniel R. Lucey are par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant in light of the infor­ma­tion we have devel­oped in the past about gain of func­tion exper­i­ments.

Lucey’s points of inquiry–although not dis­cussed in this article–are par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant when con­sid­ered in con­junc­tion with the joint U.S./Chinese pro­gram to inves­ti­gate bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es, a pro­gram whose Amer­i­can fund­ing appa­ra­tus involved USAID, a fre­quent front for CIA oper­a­tions.

The gain of func­tion exper­i­ments we dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 1116, 1117 and 1121 involv­ing adapt­ing the H5N1 avian flu virus to fer­rets is worth con­tem­plat­ing in the con­text of infor­ma­tion indi­cat­ing that the SARS Cov‑2 virus is par­tic­u­lar­ly infec­tive for fer­rets.

Was part of the mod­i­fied H5N1 flu virus adapt­ed to SARS Cov‑2?

Anoth­er sub­ject worth con­tem­plat­ing con­cerns Gilead Sci­ences, Tam­i­flu and the prog­nos­ti­ca­tions con­cern­ing a “twindem­ic” this fall, with influen­za and Covid-19 com­bin­ing to over­whelm the health sys­tem.

Might we see an enhanced H5N1 avian influen­za this fall, pro­vid­ing enor­mous prof­its to Gilead Sci­ences, which, as we saw in FTR #1138, made an enor­mous amount of mon­ey (for itself and for­mer Chair­man of the Board Don­ald Rums­feld) devel­op­ing Tam­i­flu to negate the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an H5N1 pan­dem­ic?

Josef Men­gele

A key fac­tor spurring our sus­pi­cion con­cern­ing genet­ic-engi­neer­ing of one or more vari­ant of the Covid-19 virus con­cerns a 2015 Gain-of-Func­tion exper­i­ment per­formed by Ralph Bar­ic, employed in a joint U.S./Chinese exper­i­ment part­ly financed by USAID (a front for CIA activ­i­ty in the past) and NIH (used by both CIA and the Pen­ta­gon in the past). In that project, Bar­ic: ” . . . . pub­lished a study on his team’s efforts to engi­neer a virus with the sur­face pro­tein of the SHC014 coro­n­avirus, found in horse­shoe bats in Chi­na, and the back­bone of one that caus­es human-like severe acute res­pi­ra­to­ry syn­drome (SARS) in mice. The hybrid virus could infect human air­way cells and caused dis­ease in mice. . . . The results demon­strate the abil­i­ty of the SHC014 sur­face pro­tein to bind and infect human cells, val­i­dat­ing con­cerns that this virus—or oth­er coro­n­avirus­es found in bat species—may be capa­ble of mak­ing the leap to peo­ple with­out first evolv­ing in an inter­me­di­ate host . . .” 

Of more than pass­ing inter­est is the dis­clo­sure that the project on bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es con­duct­ed in the Wuhan lab­o­ra­to­ry was a joint U.S./Chinese project, and that Ralph Bar­ic was a key Amer­i­can part­ner in the project.

This is the under­tak­ing about which we have report­ed and dis­cussed exten­sive­ly in the past! . . . . One of Dr Shi’s co-authors on that paper, Pro­fes­sor Ralph Bar­ic from North Car­oli­na Uni­ver­si­ty, said in an inter­view with ‘Sci­ence Dai­ly’ at the time: ‘This virus is high­ly path­o­gen­ic and treat­ments devel­oped against the orig­i­nal SARS virus in 2002 and the ZMapp drugs used to fight ebo­la fail to neu­tralise and con­trol this par­tic­u­lar virus.’ . . . .”

1a. Note­wor­thy in that gen­er­al con­text is the obser­va­tion by Jonathan King (pro­fes­sor of mol­e­c­u­lar biol­o­gy at MIT), that Pen­ta­gon research into the appli­ca­tion of genet­ic engi­neer­ing to bio­log­i­cal war­fare could be masked as vac­cine research, which sounds “defen­sive.”

In FTR #1130, we not­ed the role of four-star gen­er­al Gus­tave Per­na in Trump’s “Oper­a­tion Warp Speed,” insti­tut­ed by Gen­er­al Mark Mil­ley, Chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Whether the pro­gram serves as cov­er for mil­i­tary research seems a rea­son­able ques­tion to ask, under the cir­cum­stances.

Gene Wars: Mil­i­tary Con­trol Over the New Tech­nolo­gies by Charles Piller and Kei­th R. Yamamo­to; Beech Tree Books/William Mor­row [HC]; Copy­right 1988 by Charles Piller and Kei­th Yamamo­to; ISBN 0–688-07050–7; p. 217

. . . . King, who has chaired the micro­bial phys­i­ol­o­gy study sec­tion for the NIH, believes that with­out inten­sive inde­pen­dent scruti­ny, the Pen­ta­gon is free to obscure its true goals.

“The Defense Depart­ment appears to be pur­su­ing many nar­row, applied goals that are by nature offen­sive, such as the genet­ic ‘improve­ment’ of BW agents,” King says. “But to achieve polit­i­cal accept­abil­i­ty, they mask these inten­tions under forms of research, such as vac­cine devel­op­ment, which sound defen­sive. . . .

1b.  In past pro­grams, we have briefly not­ed that mil­i­tary and [osten­si­bly] civil­ian pro­grams offi­cial­ly involved with “epi­dem­ic pre­ven­tion” might con­ceal clan­des­tine bio­log­i­cal war­fare appli­ca­tions designed to cre­ate epi­demics.

The offi­cial dis­tinc­tion between “offen­sive” and “defen­sive” bio­log­i­cal war­fare research is aca­d­e­m­ic.

In that con­text, one should note that the offi­cial title of Unit 731, the noto­ri­ous Japan­ese bio­log­i­cal war­fare unit was “the Epi­dem­ic Pre­ven­tion and Water Purifi­ca­tion Depart­ment of the Kwan­tung Army.”

“Unit 731”; Wikipedia.com.

Unit 731 (Japan­ese: 731部隊, Hep­burnNana-san-ichi Butai), also referred to as Detach­ment 731, the 731 Reg­i­mentMan­shu Detach­ment 731The Kamo Detach­ment,[3]:198 Ishii Unit,[5] Ishii Detach­ment[5] or the Ishii Com­pa­ny, was a covert bio­log­i­cal and chem­i­cal war­fare research and devel­op­ment unit of the Impe­r­i­al Japan­ese Army that under­took lethal human exper­i­men­ta­tion dur­ing the Sec­ond Sino-Japan­ese War (1937–1945) of World War II. It was respon­si­ble for some of the most noto­ri­ous war crimes car­ried out by Impe­r­i­al Japan. Unit 731 was based at the Ping­fang dis­trict of Harbin, the largest gas cham­ber in the Japan­ese pup­pet state of Manchukuo (now North­east Chi­na), and had active branch offices through­out Chi­na and South­east Asia.

It was offi­cial­ly known as the Epi­dem­ic Pre­ven­tion and Water Purifi­ca­tion Depart­ment of the Kwan­tung Army (関東軍防疫給水部本部, Kan­tō­gun Bōe­ki Kyū­suibu Hon­bu). . . .

3. Select­ed excerpts of a Whit­ney Webb arti­cle pro­vide insight into the pos­si­ble offen­sive nature of pro­grams osten­si­bly aimed at pre­vent­ing epi­demics. Like Unit 731 (see above), “Epi­dem­ic Pre­ven­tion” may well be mask­ing “epi­dem­ic cre­ation.”

In con­nec­tion with that pos­si­bil­i­ty, the DARPA focus on gene-dri­ving tech­nol­o­gy is fright­en­ing and fraught with dev­as­tat­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties.

Whether or not gene-dri­ving impacts DARPA assist­ed Covid-19 vac­cine devel­op­ment by Mod­er­na and Inovio, the Pen­ta­gon under­writ­ing of these firms is of con­cern.

“Bats, Gene Edit­ing and Bioweapons: Rec­cent DARPA Exper­i­ments Raise Con­cerns Amid Coro­n­avirus Out­break” by Whit­ney Webb; The Last Amer­i­can Vagabond; 1/30/2020.

  • ” . . . . the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), began spend­ing mil­lions on such research in 2018 and some of those Pen­ta­gon-fund­ed stud­ies were con­duct­ed at known U.S. mil­i­tary bioweapons labs bor­der­ing Chi­na and result­ed in the dis­cov­ery of dozens of new coro­n­avirus strains as recent­ly as last April. Fur­ther­more, the ties of the Pentagon’s main biode­fense lab to a virol­o­gy insti­tute in Wuhan, Chi­na — where the cur­rent out­break is believed to have begun — have been unre­port­ed in Eng­lish lan­guage media thus far. . . . For instance, DARPA spent $10 mil­lion on one project in 2018 ‘to unrav­el the com­plex caus­es of bat-borne virus­es that have recent­ly made the jump to humans, caus­ing con­cern among glob­al health offi­cials.” Anoth­er research project backed by both DARPA and NIH saw researchers at Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty exam­ine the coro­n­avirus that caus­es Mid­dle East Res­pi­ra­to­ry Syn­drome (MERS) in bats and camels ‘to under­stand the role of these hosts in trans­mit­ting dis­ease to humans.’  . . . For instance, one study con­duct­ed in South­ern Chi­na in 2018 result­ed in the dis­cov­ery of 89 new ‘nov­el bat coro­n­avirus’ strains that use the same recep­tor as the coro­n­avirus known as Mid­dle East Res­pi­ra­to­ry Syn­drome (MERS). That study was joint­ly fund­ed by the Chi­nese government’s Min­istry of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy, USAID — an orga­ni­za­tion long alleged to be a front for U.S. intel­li­gence, and the U.S. Nation­al Insti­tute of Health — which has col­lab­o­rat­ed with both the CIA and the Pen­ta­gon on infec­tious dis­ease and bioweapons research.. . . .”
  • The DARPA research is osten­si­bly aimed at pre­vent­ing pan­demics but–very possibly–masking prepa­ra­tions for offen­sive bio­log­i­cal war­fare projects. ” . . . . Many of these recent research projects are relat­ed to DARPA’s Pre­vent­ing Emerg­ing Path­o­gen­ic Threats, or PREEMPT pro­gram, which was offi­cial­ly announced in April 2018. PREEMPT focus­es specif­i­cal­ly on ani­mal reser­voirs of dis­ease, specif­i­cal­ly bats, and DARPA even not­ed in its press release in the pro­gram that it ‘is aware of biosafe­ty and biose­cu­ri­ty sen­si­tiv­i­ties that could arise’ due to the nature of the research. . . . In addi­tion, while both DARPA’s PREEMPT pro­gram and the Pentagon’s open inter­est in bats as bioweapons were announced in 2018, the U.S. mil­i­tary — specif­i­cal­ly the Depart­ment of Defense’s Coop­er­a­tive Threat Reduc­tion Pro­gram — began fund­ing research involv­ing bats and dead­ly pathogens, includ­ing the coro­n­avirus­es MERS and SARS, a year pri­or in 2017. . . .”
  • The Pen­ta­gon is research­ing  “gene-driving”–a biotech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ment that can per­ma­nent­ly alter the genet­ic make­up of entire pop­u­la­tion groups and lead to the extinc­tion of oth­er groups. ” . . . . Con­cerns about Pen­ta­gon exper­i­ments with bio­log­i­cal weapons have gar­nered renewed media atten­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly after it was revealed in 2017 that DARPA was the top fun­der of the con­tro­ver­sial ‘gene dri­ve’ tech­nol­o­gy, which has the pow­er to per­ma­nent­ly alter the genet­ics of entire pop­u­la­tions while tar­get­ing oth­ers for extinc­tion. At least two of DARPA’s stud­ies using this con­tro­ver­sial tech­nol­o­gy were clas­si­fied and ‘focused on the poten­tial mil­i­tary appli­ca­tion of gene dri­ve tech­nol­o­gy and use of gene dri­ves in agri­cul­ture,’ accord­ing to media reports. The rev­e­la­tion came after an orga­ni­za­tion called the ETC Group obtained over 1,000 emails on the military’s inter­est in the tech­nol­o­gy as part of a Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act (FOIA) request. Co-direc­tor of the ETC Group Jim Thomas said that this tech­nol­o­gy may be used as a bio­log­i­cal weapon: ‘Gene dri­ves are a pow­er­ful and dan­ger­ous new tech­nol­o­gy and poten­tial bio­log­i­cal weapons could have dis­as­trous impacts on peace, food secu­ri­ty and the envi­ron­ment, espe­cial­ly if mis­used, The fact that gene dri­ve devel­op­ment is now being pri­mar­i­ly fund­ed and struc­tured by the US mil­i­tary rais­es alarm­ing ques­tions about this entire field.’ . . . .”
  • That is heav­i­ly net­worked with the U.S. health and med­ical infra­struc­tures. ” . . . . The sec­ond phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny that was select­ed by CEPI to devel­op a vac­cine for the new coro­n­avirus is Mod­er­na Inc., which will devel­op a vac­cine for the nov­el coro­n­avirus of con­cern in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the U.S. NIH and which will be fund­ed entire­ly by CEPI. The vac­cine in ques­tion, as opposed to Inovio’s DNA vac­cine, will be a mes­sen­ger RNA (mRNA) vac­cine. Though dif­fer­ent than a DNA vac­cine, mRNA vac­cines still use genet­ic mate­r­i­al ‘to direct the body’s cells to pro­duce intra­cel­lu­lar, mem­brane or secret­ed pro­teins.’ Moderna’s mRNA treat­ments, includ­ing its mRNA vac­cines, were large­ly devel­oped using a $25 mil­lion grant from DARPA and it often touts is strate­gic alliance with DARPA in press releas­es. . . .”
  • That is heav­i­ly net­worked with firms cho­sen to devel­op vac­cines for the Covid-19. ” . . . . the very com­pa­nies recent­ly cho­sen to devel­op a vac­cine to com­bat the coro­n­avirus out­break are them­selves strate­gic allies of DARPA. . . . For instance, the top fun­ders of Inovio Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals include both DARPA and the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduc­tion Agency (DTRA) and the com­pa­ny has received mil­lions in dol­lars in grants from DARPA, includ­ing a $45 mil­lion grant to devel­op a vac­cine for Ebo­la. Inovio spe­cial­izes in the cre­ation of DNA immunother­a­pies and DNA vac­cines, which con­tain genet­i­cal­ly engi­neered DNA that caus­es the cells of the recip­i­ent to pro­duce an anti­gen and can per­ma­nent­ly alter a person’s DNA. Inovio pre­vi­ous­ly devel­oped a DNA vac­cine for the Zika virus, but — to date — no DNA vac­cine has been approved for use in humans in the Unit­ed States. Inovio was also recent­ly award­ed over $8 mil­lion from the U.S. mil­i­tary to devel­op a small, portable intra­der­mal device for deliv­er­ing DNA vac­cines joint­ly devel­oped by Inovio and USAMRIID.

4a. For­mer­ly in charge of prod­uct devel­op­ment for Mod­er­na, “Oper­a­tion Warp Speed” chief Mon­cef Slaoui has kept shares in a firm that will be man­u­fac­tur­ing Mod­er­na’s vac­cine.

“Trump’s Vac­cine Czar Refus­es to Give Up Stock in Com­pa­ny Involved In His Gov­ern­ment Role” by Isaac Arns­dorf; ProP­ub­li­ca; 9/23/2020.

. . . . HHS pre­vi­ous­ly said Slaoui “does not have any addi­tion­al stock hold­ings in any oth­er com­pa­nies involved in vac­cines, ther­a­peu­tics and diag­nos­tic prod­ucts devel­oped to com­bat COVID-19.” But in addi­tion to Slaoui’s retained Glax­o­SmithK­line shares, the records obtained by the House Democ­rats revealed he has a hold­ing in anoth­er biotech­nol­o­gy com­pa­ny, Lon­za Group, that wasn’t pre­vi­ous­ly dis­closed. The com­pa­ny has a con­tract with Mod­er­na to man­u­fac­ture its coro­n­avirus vac­cine. Slaoui resigned from Lonza’s board before join­ing Oper­a­tion Warp Speed but kept his shares. The records released by the House com­mit­tee do not show how much the stake was worth. . . .

4b. Inovio’s vac­cine has been delayed due to side effects expe­ri­enced by some of the tri­al sub­jects.

“Vac­cine on ‘Par­tial Clin­i­cal Hold’ ” by James Bar­ron; The New York Times; 09/29/2020; p. A4 [West­ern Edi­tion].

Anoth­er vac­cine tri­al was delayed. Inovio Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal said on Mon­day that the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion had put the mid-to-late-stage tri­als of its acci­neon a “par­tial clin­i­cal hold.”

Inovio, a Penn­syl­va­nia biotech­nol­o­gy com­pa­ny whose chief exec­u­tive boast­ed to Pres­i­dent Trump in March that it was the world’s leader in coro­n­avirus vac­cines, said the pause was relat­ed to side effects detect­ed in the first phase of test­ing of its vac­cine, devel­oped from a com­put­er algo­rithm that iden­ti­fies the DNA sequence of the anti­gen. . . .

5a. A col­umn by Charles Blow cor­rect­ly notes that the right-wing is work­ing to “lock-in” pow­er. Blow’s obser­va­tion is far more impor­tant when the con­text is expand­ed to include the full-court press against Chi­na and the effects of Covid-19 in the U.S.

Not a super­pow­er at this point in time, Chi­na has made rapid, remark­able progress:

  1. In 1981, 88% of the Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion lived in pover­ty. That was down to 0.7% in 2015.
  2. The Chi­nese mid­dle class was 4% of their pop­u­la­tion in 2002. By 2018, that was up to 31% of their pop­u­la­tion.
  3. In 2000, just 2% of the Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion had access to the inter­net. That was up to 29% by 2009.

With the stun­ning progress made by Chi­na, in com­bi­na­tion with their enor­mous pop­u­la­tion, the nation will be a major pow­er in the future.

Because they are not white and because their sys­tem of state cap­i­tal­ism is at log­ger­heads with the neo-lib­er­al dog­ma to which the West is enthrall, that coun­try will be brought to heel. The anti-Chi­na push by the West is fun­da­men­tal­ly white suprema­cist in nature.

“Con­ser­v­a­tives Try to Lock In Pow­er” by Charles Blow; The New York Times; 9/21/2020.

. . . . This is all about pow­er for a group of peo­ple who feel their grip on pow­er slip­ping away.

They are try­ing to reshape the courts for a gen­er­a­tion, if not longer, so that as their numer­i­cal advan­tage slips away, their pow­er imbal­ance will have already been enshrined. As Amer­i­ca becomes less reli­gious and less white, more gal­va­nized to fight cli­mate change . . . . and more aware of sys­temic racism, the reli­gious con­ser­v­a­tive spine of the Repub­li­can Par­ty is des­per­ate for a way to save a way of life that may soon be ren­dered a rel­ic.

Accord­ing to the Pew Research Cen­ter, 78 per­cent of white evan­gel­i­cal vot­ers are Repub­li­cans or lean Repub­li­can. So are 62 per­cent of white men with­out a col­lege degree, 60 per­cent of rur­al south­ern­ers and 57 per­cent of peo­ple who attend reli­gious ser­vices week­ly.

Many of those demo­graph­ics are under threat. The Unit­ed States will be major­i­ty-minor­i­ty by 2045 and by 2060 there will be near­ly as many His­pan­ic chil­dren in the coun­try as white ones. . . .

. . . This is why they hap­pi­ly cheer Trump’s attack on immigrants—both legal and undoc­u­ment­ed. It is why they encour­age efforts to dis­en­fran­chise vot­ers. It is why Trump’s attacks on cities res­onate, as does his MAGA mantra. . . .

Urban­iza­tion means that many of those rur­al south­ern areas are los­ing pop­u­la­tion. For instance, an Atlanta Jour­nal Con­sti­tu­tion analy­sis last year, report­ed by The Asso­ci­at­ed Press, found that:

“More than half of the small towns in Geor­gia — those with pop­u­la­tions under 10,000 — have lost pop­u­la­tion since 2010. Mean­while, only 1 in 6 towns with pop­u­la­tions of 10,000 or above have lost res­i­dents.” . . . .

. . . . Last­ly, the per­cent­age of Amer­i­cans with col­lege degrees keeps ris­ing, mov­ing from 4.6% in 1940 to 36% in 2019.

5b. Pur­suant to dis­cus­sion of the Charles Blow col­umn, Mr. Emory reads the head­lines and bylines from a num­ber of New York Times arti­cles under­scor­ing how the pan­dem­ic is work­ing against two trends that Blow cites as inim­i­cal to con­tin­ued GOP con­trol.

The pan­dem­ic is bad­ly dam­ag­ing the for­tunes of urban cen­ters and edu­ca­tion, both at the pub­lic school and uni­ver­si­ty lev­els.

  • “Eco­nom­ic Pain Looms in Cities And in States” by Jean­na Smi­alek, Alan Rappe­port and Cmi­ly Cochrane; The New York Times; 8/15/2020; pp. A1-A6 [West­ern Edi­tion].
  • “The Reces­sion Will Slam Cities. And Not Just Blue-State Ones” by Emi­ly Bad­ger and Quoc­trung Bui; The New York Times; 8/19/2020; pp. B1-B5 [West­ern Edi­tion].
  • “Tran­sit Fore­cast: Dras­tic Cuts With­out Aid” by Christi­na Gold­baum; The New York Times; 8/27/2020; p. A‑4 [West­ern Edi­tion].
  • “If Work­ers Opt Out, Star Cities May Dim” by Eduar­do Porter; The New York Times; 7/21/2020; pp. B1-B5 [West­ern Edi­tion]. ” . . . . The pan­dem­ic threat­ens the assets that make Amer­i­ca’s most suc­cess­ful cities so dynamic–not only their bars, muse­ums and the­aters, but also their dense net­works of inno­v­a­tive busi­ness­es and high­ly skilled work­ers . . . . Com­pelled by the imper­a­tive of social dis­tanc­ing, the cut­ting-edge busi­ness­es that flocked to cities to exploit their bun­dles of tal­ent have been exper­i­ment­ing with tech­nolo­gies to repli­cate their social inter­ac­tions even if every­body is work­ing from home . . . .”
  • “Nation­al Chains Aban­don Man­hat­tan: ‘It’s Unsus­tain­able’ ” by Matthew Haag and Patrick McGee­han; The New York Times; 8/12/2020; p. A8 [West­ern Edi­tion].
  • “Virus Push­ing New York Into a Finan­cial Abyss” by Dana Rubin­stein; The New York Times; 9/29/2020; pp. A1-A9 [West­ern Edi­tion].
  • “Ghost­ly Offices Haunt New York As Rebound Lags” by Julie Creswell and Peter Eav­is; The New York Times; 9/09/2020; pp. A1-A6 [West­ern Edi­tion].
  • “Some Schools (Pri­vate) Are Open­ing While Oth­ers (Pub­lic) Are Not” by Claire Cain Miller; The New York Times; 07/17/2020; p. A5 [West­ern Edi­tion].
  • “Virus Clo­sures Leave Stu­dents Falling Behind Gaps of Race and Class Are Like­ly to Widen” by Dana Gold­stein; The New York Times; 06/06/2020; pp. A1- A7 [West­ern Edi­tion].
  • “ ‘End of the Line’: Pan­dem­ic Leaves the Pri­vate School Bus Indus­try in Cri­sis” by Pran­shu Ver­ma; The New York Times; 08/29/2020; p. A9 [West­ern Edi­tion].
  • “Is This the End of Col­lege as We Knew It?” by Frank Bruni; The New York Times; 06/07/2020; p. 6 (Sun­day Review) [West­ern Edi­tion].
  • “The Only Way to Save High­er Edu­ca­tion Is to Make It Free” by Claire Bond Pot­ter; The New York Times; 06/07/2020; p. 6 (Sun­day Review) [West­ern Edi­tion].
  • “Rich Col­leges Can Spend More” by Paul Cam­pos; The New York Times; 06/07/2020; p. 7 (Sun­day Review) [West­ern Edi­tion].
  • “Will Gifts to Col­leges Keep on Giv­ing? An annu­ity ensures income and leaves a dona­tion. But the pan­dem­ic imper­ils some schools’ finances” by Paul Sul­li­van; The New York Times; 9/05/2020; p. B6 [West­ern Edi­tion].
  • “As States’ Rev­enue Dis­ap­pears, So Might the ‘Pub­lic’ in Pub­lic Col­leges” by Kevin Carey; The New York Times; 05/07/2020; p. A11 [West­ern Edi­tion].
  • “Scat­tered to the Winds, Col­lege Stu­dents Strug­gle” by Anemona Har­to­col­lis; The New York Times; 05/28/2020; p. A11 [West­ern Edi­tion].
  • “Plan­ning for Fall, C0lleges Face A Revolt Among Pro­fes­sors;” The New York Times; 07/03/2020; p. A10 [West­ern Edi­tion].
  • “How to Reopen Amer­i­ca’s Schools” [edi­to­r­i­al] ” . . . . Parental anx­i­ety is strik­ing­ly evi­dent in recent polls, includ­ing one released last month by USA Today/Ipsos. Elect­ed offi­cials should find it sober­ing that six in 10 par­ents say they are like­ly to con­tin­ue home learn­ing instead of send­ing their kids back to school this fall. One in five teach­ers say they are unlike­ly to return to their class­rooms. And when par­ents and teach­ers are con­sid­ered togeth­er, about four in 10 oppose return­ing to school at all until a coro­n­avirus vac­cine is available–in oth­er words, pos­si­bly years from now. . . .”; The New York Times; 06/07/2020; p. 10 (Sun­day Review) [West­ern Edi­tion].

6. Some inter­est­ing points raised by Dr. Daniel R. Lucey are par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant in light of the infor­ma­tion we have devel­oped in the past about gain of func­tion exper­i­ments.

Lucey’s points of inquiry–although not dis­cussed in this article–are par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant when con­sid­ered in con­junc­tion with the joint U.S./Chinese pro­gram to inves­ti­gate bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es, a pro­gram whose Amer­i­can fund­ing appa­ra­tus involved USAID, a fre­quent front for CIA oper­a­tions.

The gain of func­tion exper­i­ments we dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 1116, 1117 and 1121 involv­ing adapt­ing the H5N1 avian flu virus to fer­rets is worth con­tem­plat­ing in the con­text of infor­ma­tion indi­cat­ing that the SARS Cov‑2 virus is par­tic­u­lar­ly infec­tive for fer­rets.

Was part of the mod­i­fied H5N1 flu virus adapt­ed to SARS Cov‑2?

Anoth­er sub­ject worth con­tem­plat­ing con­cerns Gilead Sci­ences, Tam­i­flu and the prog­nos­ti­ca­tions con­cern­ing a “twindem­ic” this fall, with influen­za and Covid-19 com­bin­ing to over­whelm the health sys­tem.

Might we see an enhanced H5N1 avian influen­za this fall, pro­vid­ing enor­mous prof­its to Gilead Sci­ences, which, as we saw in FTR #1138, made an enor­mous amount of mon­ey (for itself and for­mer Chair­man of the Board Don­ald Rums­feld) devel­op­ing Tam­i­flu to negate the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an H5N1 pan­dem­ic?

“Dis­ease Detec­tive Put Forth Point­ed Ques­tions” by William J. Broad; The New York Times; 7/14/2020; p. D7 [West­ern Edi­tion].

. . . . The sixth and sev­enth ques­tions go to whether the dead­ly pathogen leapt to humans from a lab­o­ra­to­ry. Although some intel­li­gence ana­lysts and sci­en­tists have enter­tained that sce­nario, no direct evi­dence has come to light sug­gest­ing that the coro­n­avirus escaped from one of Wuhan’s labs.

Even so, giv­en the wet market’s down­grad­ing in the inves­ti­ga­tion, “It is impor­tant to address ques­tions about any poten­tial lab­o­ra­to­ry source of the virus, whether in Wuhan or else­where,” Dr. [Daniel R.] Lucey wrote in his blog post.

To that end, he urges the W.H.O. inves­ti­ga­tors to look for any signs of “gain of func­tion” research — the delib­er­ate enhance­ment of pathogens to make them more dan­ger­ous. The tech­nique is high­ly con­tentious. Crit­ics ques­tion its mer­its and warn that it could lead to cat­a­stroph­ic lab leaks. Pro­po­nents see it as a legit­i­mate way to learn how virus­es and oth­er infec­tious organ­isms might evolve to infect and kill peo­ple, and thus help in devis­ing new pro­tec­tions and pre­cau­tions.

Debate over its wis­dom erupt­ed in 2011 after researchers announced suc­cess in mak­ing the high­ly lethal H5N1 strain of avian flu eas­i­ly trans­mis­si­ble through the air between fer­rets, at least in the lab­o­ra­to­ry.

In his blog, Dr. Lucey asks “what, if any,” gain-of-func­tion stud­ies were done on coro­n­avirus­es in Wuhan, else­where in Chi­na, or in col­lab­o­ra­tion with for­eign lab­o­ra­to­ries.

“If done well sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly, then this inves­ti­ga­tion should allay per­sis­tent con­cerns about the ori­gin of this virus,” he wrote. “It could also help set an improved stan­dard for inves­ti­gat­ing and stop­ping the awful virus­es, and oth­er pathogens, in the decades ahead.”

Final­ly, Dr. Lucey asks the W.H.O. team to learn more about China’s main influen­za research lab, a high-secu­ri­ty facil­i­ty in Harbin, the cap­i­tal of China’s north­ern­most province. In May, he notes, a Chi­nese paper in the jour­nal Sci­ence report­ed that two virus sam­ples from Wuhan were stud­ied there in great detail ear­ly this year, includ­ing in a vari­ety of ani­mals. It report­ed that cats and fer­rets were high­ly sus­cep­ti­ble to the pathogen; dogs were only mild­ly sus­cep­ti­ble; and pigs, chick­ens and ducks were not sus­cep­ti­ble at all. . . .

7a. A key fac­tor spurring our sus­pi­cion con­cern­ing genet­ic-engi­neer­ing of one or more vari­ant of the Covid-19 virus con­cerns a 2015 Gain-of-Func­tion exper­i­ment:

“Lab-Made Coro­n­avirus Trig­gers Debate” by Jef Akst; The Sci­en­tist; 11/16/2015

. . . . Ralph Bar­ic, an infec­tious-dis­ease researcher at the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na at Chapel Hill, last week (Novem­ber 9) pub­lished a study on his team’s efforts to engi­neer a virus with the sur­face pro­tein of the SHC014 coro­n­avirus, found in horse­shoe bats in Chi­na, and the back­bone of one that caus­es human-like severe acute res­pi­ra­to­ry syn­drome (SARS) in mice. The hybrid virus could infect human air­way cells and caused dis­ease in mice. . . . The results demon­strate the abil­i­ty of the SHC014 sur­face pro­tein to bind and infect human cells, val­i­dat­ing con­cerns that this virus—or oth­er coro­n­avirus­es found in bat species—may be capa­ble of mak­ing the leap to peo­ple with­out first evolv­ing in an inter­me­di­ate host, Nature report­ed. They also reignite a debate about whether that infor­ma­tion jus­ti­fies the risk of such work, known as gain-of-func­tion research. ‘If the [new] virus escaped, nobody could pre­dict the tra­jec­to­ry,’ Simon Wain-Hob­son, a virol­o­gist at the Pas­teur Insti­tute in Paris, told Nature. . . .

. . . . But Bar­ic and oth­ers argued the study’s impor­tance. “[The results] move this virus from a can­di­date emerg­ing pathogen to a clear and present dan­ger,” Peter Daszak, pres­i­dent of the Eco­Health Alliance, which sam­ples virus­es from ani­mals and peo­ple in emerg­ing-dis­eases hotspots across the globe, told Nature. . . .

7b. Of more than pass­ing inter­est is the dis­clo­sure that the project on bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es con­duct­ed in the Wuhan lab­o­ra­to­ry was a joint U.S./Chinese project, and that Ralph Bar­ic was a key Amer­i­can part­ner in the project.

This is the under­tak­ing about which we have report­ed and dis­cussed exten­sive­ly in the past! . . . . One of Dr Shi’s co-authors on that paper, Pro­fes­sor Ralph Bar­ic from North Car­oli­na Uni­ver­si­ty, said in an inter­view with ‘Sci­ence Dai­ly’ at the time: ‘This virus is high­ly path­o­gen­ic and treat­ments devel­oped against the orig­i­nal SARS virus in 2002 and the ZMapp drugs used to fight ebo­la fail to neu­tralise and con­trol this par­tic­u­lar virus.’ . . . .”

In FTR #1121, we not­ed that Bar­ic was the selectee to recon­struct the SARS Cov2 virus from scratch. We also not­ed that: ” . . . . The tech­nol­o­gy imme­di­ate­ly cre­at­ed bio-weapon wor­ries. . . . Researchers at the US Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC) drove that point home in 2005 when they res­ur­rect­ed the influen­za virus that killed tens of mil­lions in 1918–1919. . . .

“Coro­n­avirus NSW: Dossier lays out case against Chi­na bat virus pro­gram” by Shar­ri Mark­son; The Dai­ly Tele­graph; 05/04/2020

. . . . Their Novem­ber 2015 study, done in con­junc­tion with the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na, con­clud­ed that the SARS-like virus could jump direct­ly from bats to humans and there was no treat­ment that could help.

The study acknowl­edges the incred­i­ble dan­ger of the work they were con­duct­ing.

“The poten­tial to pre­pare for and mit­i­gate future out­breaks must be weighed against the risk of cre­at­ing more dan­ger­ous pathogens,” they wrote. . . .

. . . . One of Dr Shi’s co-authors on that paper, Pro­fes­sor Ralph Bar­ic from North Car­oli­na Uni­ver­si­ty, said in an inter­view with Sci­ence Dai­ly at the time: “This virus is high­ly path­o­gen­ic and treat­ments devel­oped against the orig­i­nal SARS virus in 2002 and the ZMapp drugs used to fight ebo­la fail to neu­tralise and con­trol this par­tic­u­lar virus.” . . . .

 

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #1155 Bio-Psy-Op Apocalypse, Now Part 15: Covid-19 Updates, Part 4”

  1. Here’s an inter­est­ing update on the glob­al inves­ti­ga­tion into the ori­gins of the SARS-CoV­‑2 coro­n­avirus: the Lancet COVID-19 Com­mis­sion, which was estab­lished in July to “offer prac­ti­cal solu­tions” to the pan­dem­ic and make rec­om­men­da­tions on how the next one can be avoid­ed or bet­ter defend­ed against, set up a new sci­en­tif­ic team to inves­ti­gate the ori­gins of the virus. The team is tasked with exam­in­ing all pos­si­bil­i­ties, includ­ing a lab-based ori­gin. The broad­er Lancet COVID-19 Com­mis­sion is head­ed by US econ­o­mist Jef­frey Sachs and is going to be look­ing into the glob­al response to the pan­dem­ic.

    Guess who is lead­ing the sci­en­tif­ic team tasked with ques­tions about the virus’s ori­gin: Dr. Peter Daszak, pres­i­dent of the US-based Eco­Health Alliance. Daszak is an obvi­ous choice to lead such a com­mis­sion in the sense that he’s a glob­al expert in zoonot­ic ‘spillover’ events where virus­es jump species. But there’s one rather sig­nif­i­cant com­pli­cat­ing fac­tor in select­ing him to lead this inquiry: Recall how the Eco­Health Alliance is an inte­gral orga­ni­za­tion in estab­lish­ing the inter­na­tion­al col­lab­o­ra­tions of virol­o­gy stud­ies that have involved all sorts of con­tro­ver­sial stud­ies like the 2015 ‘gain-of-func­tion’ study where US and Chi­nese researchers — includ­ing Chi­na’s top coro­n­avirus research Shi Zhengli — joint­ly cre­at­ed chimeric coro­n­avirus­es using the back­bone of a coro­n­avirus found in horse­shoe bats in Chi­na spliced with the SARS virus. Daszak was a defend­er of the study at the time and has long been a cham­pi­on of these kinds of stud­ies. So the guy who is going to be lead­ing the sci­en­tif­ic inquiry into the ques­tion of whether or not the virus could have had a man-made ori­gin is one of the lead­ing advo­cates of the safe­ty and neces­si­ty of pre­cise­ly the kinds of exper­i­ments that are the top can­di­dates for a man-made ori­gin of this virus:

    The Tele­graph

    Sci­en­tists to exam­ine pos­si­bil­i­ty Covid leaked from lab as part of inves­ti­ga­tion into virus ori­gins

    Lead inves­ti­ga­tor says no stone will be left unturned, although exist­ing evi­dence points to a nat­ur­al zoonot­ic spillover event

    By Paul Nuki, Glob­al Health Secu­ri­ty Edi­tor, Lon­don and Sarah Newey
    15 Sep­tem­ber 2020 • 9:59pm

    An inter­na­tion­al team of sci­en­tists will exam­ine the pos­si­bil­i­ty Sars-Cov­‑2 leaked from a lab­o­ra­to­ry as part of a com­pre­hen­sive inves­ti­ga­tion into the ori­gins of the virus.

    The team is being set up as part of the Lancet COVID-19 Com­mis­sion, a body estab­lished in July to “offer prac­ti­cal solu­tions” to the pan­dem­ic and make rec­om­men­da­tions on how the next one can be avoid­ed or bet­ter defend­ed against.

    The team look­ing at the ori­gins of the virus will be led by Dr Peter Daszak, a British zool­o­gist and lead­ing author­i­ty on zoonot­ic spillover events.

    Dr Daszak said yes­ter­day he and his team would “sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly exam­ine every the­o­ry” about the ori­gin of the virus, care­ful­ly mar­shalling the sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence for each.

    He accept­ed con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists would not wel­come his appoint­ment but said, as a sci­en­tist, he would “not be bound by pre­con­ceived ideas” and would inves­ti­gate all avenues foren­si­cal­ly and “with an open mind”.

    He warned, how­ev­er, it was not pos­si­ble to “prove a neg­a­tive” and said it was unlike­ly it would ever be pos­si­ble to say with “absolute cer­tain­ty” how the virus emerged.

    “But what we can do is look at every pos­si­ble the­o­ry on the ori­gins of COVID-19 and say, ‘what is the evi­dence for that?’ And then we put all of those the­o­ries togeth­er and say, ‘where is the pre­pon­der­ance of evi­dence?’

    “Is it for the virus com­ing from nature and spilling over into peo­ple and emerg­ing that way? Or is it for some form of human involve­ment that involves a lab or biotech­nol­o­gy? Let’s see where the evi­dence lies”.

    ...

    The Lancet Com­mis­sion notes in its mis­sion state­ment that “the evi­dence to date sup­ports the view that Sars-Cov­‑2 is a nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring virus rather than the result of lab­o­ra­to­ry cre­ation and release”.

    But it adds that inves­ti­ga­tors should exam­ine the ‘pos­si­bil­i­ty of lab­o­ra­to­ry involve­ment” in “a sci­en­tif­ic and objec­tive way that is unhin­dered by geopo­lit­i­cal agen­das and mis­in­for­ma­tion”.

    It is hoped a full inves­ti­ga­tion will, if noth­ing else, will rule out “base­less and unin­formed alle­ga­tions and con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries that are unbacked by evi­dence”.

    The wider Lancet Covid-19 Com­mis­sion is being chaired by Pro­fes­sor Jef­frey Sachs, an emi­nent Amer­i­can econ­o­mist and advis­er to the UN.

    He will over­see the inves­ti­ga­tion, not just into the ori­gins of virus, but the world’s reac­tion to it in order to make rec­om­men­da­tions for strength­en­ing pan­dem­ic pre­pared­ness glob­al­ly.

    “What we have learned, I think, about the pub­lic health response [to date] is that even though this is a dev­il­ish virus it is con­trol­lable”, he told the Tele­graph.

    “Around two bil­lion peo­ple live in coun­tries that have sub­stan­tial­ly sup­pressed the virus. They’ve been able to do that, pri­mar­i­ly because of pub­lic health means, and espe­cial­ly these non-phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal inter­ven­tions [social dis­tanc­ing]”.

    “But if we look at the UK, the US, and west­ern Europe, we failed to put such poli­cies in place basi­cal­ly until now. In the US we still don’t have an effec­tive con­trol sys­tem.

    “We have a lot of empha­sis on hos­pi­tals, but far far less on pub­lic health”.

    Prof Sachs said he hoped and expect­ed the Lancet Com­mis­sion would be con­duct­ed on an objec­tive basis and would be free of polit­i­cal bias.

    “There has been a lot of rumour-mon­ger­ing and state­ments that are way out of line, that are part of a polit­i­cal agen­da by some peo­ple, sen­a­tors in the US and oth­ers that have real­ly gone far beyond what we know,” he said.

    “The ori­gins of the virus must be under­stood, both to help end the cur­rent pan­dem­ic and to pre­vent the next one.”

    Dr Daszak, like most zool­o­gists, virol­o­gists and geneti­cists, says the strongest evi­dence avail­able to date points to Sars-Cov­‑2 emerg­ing nat­u­ral­ly.

    It is like­ly the virus has a nat­ur­al reser­voir in bats in which close­ly relat­ed coro­n­avirus­es virus­es have been found.

    From there it may have jumped direct­ly to humans via a so-called spillover event, or per­haps indi­rect­ly via farmed mustelids such as fer­rets, mink, martens, civets and weasels.

    A recent study of mink farms in Hol­land demon­strat­ed that close­ly packed mustelids catch and spread the Sars-Cov­‑2 effi­cient­ly. The researchers were also able to track the virus jump­ing back and forth between farmer work­ers and their ani­mals, mutat­ing as it moved.

    The inten­sive farm­ing of mustelids and oth­er small ani­mals is com­mon in Chi­na where the ani­mals are used for their fur and meat, and in tra­di­tion­al med­i­cine.

    Dr Daszak says the key to under­stand­ing zoonot­ic spillover is to think of it, not as a rare occur­rence but as some­thing hap­pen­ing all the time — a num­bers game.

    Most ani­mal virus­es quick­ly die out if they pass from human to human at all, but giv­en the right virus and the right set of envi­ron­men­tal cir­cum­stances, they can explode.

    “It is not that every 10 years or so a per­son gets infect­ed by a bat virus and it sparks a pan­dem­ic. What’s real­ly hap­pen­ing is, every day peo­ple are get­ting infect­ed,” he said.

    “The chances of it spread­ing depends on things like is the virus repli­cat­ing quick­ly? Does it cause ill­ness? Does the infect­ed per­son have a high lev­el of con­tact with oth­er peo­ple? Do they trav­el to busy cities or mar­kets?”

    As the world has become more devel­oped, mobile and con­nect­ed the risk of spillover events esca­lat­ing has risen, caus­ing sci­en­tists to spec­u­late that we may be fac­ing a “pan­dem­ic cen­tu­ry” in which major out­breaks become much more com­mon. “We may be much more vul­ner­a­ble to these pan­demics than we think,” said Dr Daszak. “We may be cre­at­ing a per­fect storm. And if that’s true, we need to know it. We need to get some data around it.

    “It isn’t a blame game or about pol­i­tics. It’s much more impor­tant. This is about how do we as a species deal with what is poten­tial­ly an exis­ten­tial threat to our exis­tence”.

    ———-

    “Sci­en­tists to exam­ine pos­si­bil­i­ty Covid leaked from lab as part of inves­ti­ga­tion into virus ori­gins” by Paul Nuki and Sarah Newey; The Tele­graph; 09/15/2020

    “He accept­ed con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists would not wel­come his appoint­ment but said, as a sci­en­tist, he would “not be bound by pre­con­ceived ideas” and would inves­ti­gate all avenues foren­si­cal­ly and “with an open mind”.”

    Yes, con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists prob­a­bly haven’t wel­comed Dr. Dasza­k’s appoint­ment to the Lancet Com­mis­sion. Nei­ther have peo­ple who can iden­ti­fy bla­tant con­flicts of inter­est. And note that when Daszak warns that “We may be much more vul­ner­a­ble to these pan­demics than we think...We may be cre­at­ing a per­fect storm. And if that’s true, we need to know it. We need to get some data around it,” that warn­ing is the exact same jus­ti­fi­ca­tion that’s been used to jus­ti­fy the ‘gain-of-func­tion’ exper­i­ments that are the top can­di­dates for a lab-based ori­gin of this virus. Dasza­k’s vision for avoid future pan­demics is for vig­or­ous ‘gain-of-func­tion’ exper­i­men­ta­tion on virus­es found in nature in order to assess how close those nat­u­ral­ly occur­ing virus­es are to acquir­ing the prop­er­ties they need for a human pan­dem­ic. That’s the whole pur­pose of the Eco­Health Alliance inter­na­tion­al col­lab­o­ra­tion. Get­ting the world work­ing togeth­er on iden­ti­fy­ing nov­el virus­es in the wild and then tak­ing those nov­el virus­es and run­ning them through ‘gain-of-func­tion’ exper­i­men­tal pipelines designed to assess their pan­dem­ic poten­tial. Which, again, is why there are some bla­tant con­flicts of inter­est here:

    ...
    Dr Daszak says the key to under­stand­ing zoonot­ic spillover is to think of it, not as a rare occur­rence but as some­thing hap­pen­ing all the time — a num­bers game.

    ...

    As the world has become more devel­oped, mobile and con­nect­ed the risk of spillover events esca­lat­ing has risen, caus­ing sci­en­tists to spec­u­late that we may be fac­ing a “pan­dem­ic cen­tu­ry” in which major out­breaks become much more com­mon. “We may be much more vul­ner­a­ble to these pan­demics than we think,” said Dr Daszak. “We may be cre­at­ing a per­fect storm. And if that’s true, we need to know it. We need to get some data around it.

    “It isn’t a blame game or about pol­i­tics. It’s much more impor­tant. This is about how do we as a species deal with what is poten­tial­ly an exis­ten­tial threat to our exis­tence”.
    ...

    And note the news about the study in the Nether­lands that found the SARS-CoV­‑2 virus jump­ing back and forth between farm­ers and ani­mals at mustelids where fer­rets, mink, martens, civets and weasels are housed that raised the pos­si­bil­i­ty that fer­rets could have been the miss­ing link ani­mal that allowed the virus to jump from bats to humans. Recall that these are favored ani­mals in “gain-of-func­tion” exper­i­ments because of their sim­i­lar­i­ty to human res­pi­ra­to­ry sys­tems. So if fer­rets farm­ing ends up being top ‘zoonot­ic spillover’ sus­pect it’s going to be impor­tant to keep in mind that ‘gain-of-func­tion’ exper­i­ments on fer­rets also hap­pen to be the top sus­pects for a lab-based ori­gin of the virus:

    ...
    Dr Daszak, like most zool­o­gists, virol­o­gists and geneti­cists, says the strongest evi­dence avail­able to date points to Sars-Cov­‑2 emerg­ing nat­u­ral­ly.

    It is like­ly the virus has a nat­ur­al reser­voir in bats in which close­ly relat­ed coro­n­avirus­es virus­es have been found.

    From there it may have jumped direct­ly to humans via a so-called spillover event, or per­haps indi­rect­ly via farmed mustelids such as fer­rets, mink, martens, civets and weasels.

    A recent study of mink farms in Hol­land demon­strat­ed that close­ly packed mustelids catch and spread the Sars-Cov­‑2 effi­cient­ly. The researchers were also able to track the virus jump­ing back and forth between farmer work­ers and their ani­mals, mutat­ing as it moved.

    The inten­sive farm­ing of mustelids and oth­er small ani­mals is com­mon in Chi­na where the ani­mals are used for their fur and meat, and in tra­di­tion­al med­i­cine.
    ...

    It’s also impor­tant to keep in mind that the nov­el virus­es cre­at­ed by many of these tech­niques don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly leave traces of a lab-based ori­gin. It’s one of the fun facts about this type of inquiry that will pose an imme­di­ate test of the hon­esty of the com­mis­sion: will the com­mis­sion acknowl­edge that a lab-based virus won’t nec­es­sar­i­ly show any signs of being cre­at­ed in a lab? If not, it’s going to be hard to take it seri­ous­ly. As Daszak warned, it’s unlike­ly we’ll ever be able to say with “absolute cer­tain­ty” how the virus emerged and we just have to look at where the pre­pon­der­ance of evi­dence points towards:

    ...
    He warned, how­ev­er, it was not pos­si­ble to “prove a neg­a­tive” and said it was unlike­ly it would ever be pos­si­ble to say with “absolute cer­tain­ty” how the virus emerged.

    “But what we can do is look at every pos­si­ble the­o­ry on the ori­gins of COVID-19 and say, ‘what is the evi­dence for that?’ And then we put all of those the­o­ries togeth­er and say, ‘where is the pre­pon­der­ance of evi­dence?’

    “Is it for the virus com­ing from nature and spilling over into peo­ple and emerg­ing that way? Or is it for some form of human involve­ment that involves a lab or biotech­nol­o­gy? Let’s see where the evi­dence lies”.
    ...

    And that’s why it’s going to be cru­cial for the com­mis­sion to be hon­est about the inher­ent lim­i­ta­tions of the avail­able evi­dence too. Lim­i­ta­tions like the inabil­i­ty to dis­tin­guish whether or not a nov­el virus emerged in a lab or not just by look­ing at the viral sequence. We’ll see if these acknowl­edg­ments are part of the com­mis­sions even­tu­al find­ings. But it’s a reminder that any mean­ing­ful inquiry into the ori­gins of the virus is going to have to rely on ALL of the avail­able evi­dence. Avail­able tech­ni­cal evi­dence like viral sequences. But also the avail­able con­tex­tu­al evi­dence like the cre­ation of a glob­al con­sor­tium ded­i­cat­ed to iden­ti­fy nov­el virus­es and then cre­at­ing new forms of the virus­es using tech­niques that would­n’t leave traces of a lab-made ori­gin.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 13, 2020, 3:20 pm
  2. @Pterrafractyl–

    Inter­est­ing­ly, the Eco­Health Alliance of Daszak & Com­pa­ny was one of the out­fits get­ting fund­ed by USAID, which has fre­quent­ly front­ed for CIA in the past.

    Inter­est­ing, as well, is Jef­frey Sach­s’s pres­ence on the board.

    What expe­ri­ence does he have with ANY of the rel­e­vant dis­ci­plines?

    Of inter­est, as well, is the fact that he over­saw the eco­nom­ic dev­as­ta­tion of Rus­sia under Yeltsin.

    The Rus­sians say he was “an emis­sary either of Satan or the CIA.”

    I have nev­er seen any­thing con­crete doc­u­ment­ing any work for CIA, although, IF he is, that is not nec­es­sar­i­ly sur­pris­ing.

    He is also one of the top eco­nom­ic advi­sors to Bernie Sanders and AOC.

    https://spitfirelist.com/news/sachsenhausen-bernie-sanders-neo-liberal-buddy-jeffrey-sachs/

    Just what ARE his cre­den­tials for an exer­cise like this?!!

    Be sure to lis­ten to FTR #1156 when it is pub­lished. I talk about Daszak and Com­pa­ny at length.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | October 13, 2020, 7:38 pm

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