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FTR #‘s 1157, 1158 and 1159–Bio-Psy-Op Apocalypse Now, Parts 17, 18 and 19: An Ounce of Prevention, Parts 2, 3 and 4

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FTR #1157 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

FTR #1158 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

FTR #1159 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment

Intro­duc­tion: A note­wor­thy devel­op­ment in the Covid-19 “op” con­cerns the selec­tion of experts to over­see The Lancet’s inves­ti­ga­tion of the ori­gins of the SARS CoV‑2.

In FTR #1156, we looked at the involve­ment of known U.S. intel­li­gence cut-outs–notably USAID–and their fund­ing of pro­grams osten­si­bly aimed at pre­vent­ing epi­demics. Those pro­grams involved the “Gain-of-Func­tion” muta­tion of bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es, cre­at­ing nov­el “chimeric” virus­es that nev­er exist­ed before.

The osten­si­ble pur­pose was to “pre­vent” future epi­demics. We won­dered in FTR #1156 if those osten­si­ble epi­dem­ic “pre­ven­tion” pro­grams may have masked epi­dem­ic prop­a­ga­tion pro­grams, rather like Unit 731.

Peter Daszak of the Eco­Health Alliance was select­ed to lead the project.

His per­spec­tive would, on the sur­face, appear to be less than objec­tive, in as much as he cham­pi­oned the very type of GOF exper­i­ments that are at the cen­ter of this inquiry.

Of inter­est, as well, is the selec­tion of Jef­frey Sachs, an econ­o­mist, mem­ber of the [Bernie] Sanders Insti­tute, eco­nom­ic advis­er to Bernie Sanders, eco­nom­ic advis­er to AOC and, most impor­tant­ly, head of the [part­ly] gov­ern­ment financed Har­vard Insti­tute of Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment which (as advis­ers to Boris Yeltsin) drove the Russ­ian econ­o­my back to the Stone Age.

Sachs has no med­ical or sci­en­tif­ic cre­den­tials.

A con­sum­mate­ly impor­tant arti­cle about Daszak and the Eco­Health Alliance pro­vides trou­bling insights into the uneven pro­fes­sion­al track record of Daszak and the pro­found involve­ment of the orga­ni­za­tion he heads with the Pen­ta­gon and oth­er U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment insti­tu­tions.

Eco­Health Alliance looks dis­turbing­ly like an orga­ni­za­tion that fronts for ele­ments and indi­vid­u­als involved with bio­log­i­cal war­fare research.

“Peter Daszak, Pres­i­dent of Eco­Health Alliance, is a top sci­en­tif­ic col­lab­o­ra­torgrantwriter and spokesper­son for virus hunters and gain-of-func­tion/­d­ual-use researchers, in labs both mil­i­tary and civil­ian.

Daszak works with dozens of high-con­tain­ment lab­o­ra­to­ries around the world that col­lect pathogens and use genet­ic engi­neer­ing and syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy to make them more infec­tious, con­ta­gious, lethal or drug-resis­tant. These include labs con­trolled by the U.S. Depart­ment of Defense, in coun­tries in the for­mer Sovi­et Union, the Mid­dle East, South East Asia and Africa.

Many of these labs are staffed by for­mer bio­log­i­cal weapons sci­en­tists. (See Arms Watch’s reports.) Before the Bio­log­i­cal Weapons Con­ven­tion was rat­i­fied, this research was called what it is: bio­log­i­cal weapons research. Now, it’s euphemisti­cal­ly called gain-of-func­tion or dual-use research. 

Gain-of-func­tion research to alter coro­n­avirus­es for the infec­tion of humans goes back to 1999 or ear­li­er, years before the first nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break. On behalf of the U.S. gov­ern­ment, often the mil­i­tary, Daszak scours the globe for ani­mal pathogens and brings them back to the lab to be cat­a­logued, inves­ti­gat­ed and manip­u­lat­ed. . . .”

Key points of analy­sis and dis­cus­sion include:

  1. Eco­Health Alliance con­tracts with the Pen­ta­gon in Tan­za­nia, South Africa, Geor­gia and Malaysia, as well as the U.S.
  2. ” . . . . A recent Wired mag­a­zine arti­cle quot­ing Daszak described how a virus col­lect­ed in 2012 was found to be a 96-per­cent match to SARS-CoV­‑2 in 2020 . . . ‘a lack of fund­ing meant they couldn’t fur­ther inves­ti­gate the virus strain now known to be 96 per­cent genet­i­cal­ly sim­i­lar to the virus that caus­es Covid-19’ . . . .”
  3. Dasza­k’s claim that they could­n’t fur­ther inves­ti­gate that virus because of a lack of fund­ing is dubi­ous, in that recent grants to the orga­ni­za­tion are on top of ” . . . . $100.9 mil­lion that Eco­Health Alliance has received in gov­ern­ment grants and con­tracts since 2003. . . .”
  4. Daszak does not explain how that virus (dis­cov­ered in 2012) turned into SARS-CoV­‑2. ” . . . . Some sci­en­tists say it would take 50 years for RaTG13 [the virus in question–D.E.] to turn into SARS-CoV­‑2. . . .”
  5. Daszak is heav­i­ly net­worked with the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty: ” . . . . the Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s Nation­al Bio­sur­veil­lance Inte­gra­tion Cen­ter (NBIC)  . . . . gave Daszak’s Eco­Health Alliance a $2.2‑million con­tract (2016–2019) to cre­ate a ‘Ground Truth Net­work’ of ‘sub­ject mat­ter experts’ who could pro­vide ‘con­tex­tu­al infor­ma­tion per­tain­ing to bio­log­i­cal events.’ . . . .”
  6. The intel­lec­tu­al and pro­fes­sion­al track record of Daszak and Eco­Health Alliance is porous. Eco­Health Alliance float­ed a canard about Ebo­la poten­tial­ly trav­el­ing to the U.S. ” . . . . an Eco­Health Alliance spokesper­son, spread a false (not to men­tion racist and xeno­pho­bic) nar­ra­tive, one that sub­se­quent­ly would be thor­ough­ly debunked, that bush­meat smug­gled to the U.S. from Africa could trans­mit Ebo­la to Amer­i­cans. . . .”
  7. Daszak missed the boat bad­ly with regard to SARS: ” . . . . It is com­mon­ly accept­ed that the SARS pan­dem­ic began in 2002, when humans caught a bat virus from civet cats at a wet mar­ket in Guang­dong, Chi­na. But Daszak and his col­lab­o­ra­tors admit they have no evi­dence to explain how the virus leapt from bats to civets to humans. . . .”
  8. ” . . . . SARS-CoV was found in civets at the Guang­dong wet mar­ket, but civets aren’t the nat­ur­al reser­voir of this virus. Bats are. Only the civets at the market—and no farm-raised or wild civets—carried the virus. None of the ani­mal traders han­dling the civets at the mar­ket had SARS. . . .”
  9. ” . . . . When Daszak and his col­lab­o­ra­tors at the WIV searched the cave in Yun­nan for strains of coro­n­avirus sim­i­lar to human ver­sions, no sin­gle bat actu­al­ly had SARS. Genet­ic pieces of the var­i­ous strains would have to be recom­bined to make up the human ver­sion. Adding to the con­fu­sion, Yun­nan is about 1,000 kilo­me­ters from Guang­dong. . . .”
  10. ” . . . . So, how did virus­es from bats in Yun­nan com­bine to become dead­ly to humans, and then trav­el to civets and peo­ple in Guang­dong, with­out caus­ing any ill­ness­es along the way dur­ing this 1,000 kilo­me­ter trip? . . .
  11. Daszak and the Eco­Health Alliance were deeply involved with a USAID and NIH fund­ed joint WIV/University of North Car­oli­na project we have cov­ered exten­sive­ly in past pro­grams” . . . . The two insti­tu­tions also worked as col­lab­o­ra­tors under anoth­er $2.6‑million grant, ‘Risk of Viral Emer­gence from Bats,’ and under Eco­Health Alliance’s largest sin­gle source of fund­ing, a $44.2 mil­lion sub-grant from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia at Davis for the PREDICT project (2015–2020). . . .”
  12. ” . . . . It’s the $44.2‑million PREDICT grant that Eco­Health Alliance used to fund the gain-of-func­tion exper­i­ment by WIV sci­en­tist Zhengli Shi and the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na at Chapel Hill’s Ralph Bar­ic. Shi and Bar­ic used genet­ic engi­neer­ing and syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy to cre­ate a ‘new bat SARS-like virus . . . that can jump direct­ly from its bat hosts to humans.’ . . .”
  13. ” . . . . The work . . . pub­lished in Nature in 2015 dur­ing the NIH’s mora­to­ri­um on gain-of-func­tion research, was grand­fa­thered in because it was ini­ti­at­ed before the mora­to­ri­um (offi­cial­ly called the U.S. Gov­ern­ment Delib­er­a­tive Process Research Fund­ing Pause on Select­ed Gain-of-Func­tion Research Involv­ing Influen­za, MERS and SARS Virus­es), and because the request by Shi and Bar­ic to con­tin­ue their research dur­ing the mora­to­ri­um was approved by the NIH. . . .”
  14. ” . . . . As a con­di­tion of pub­li­ca­tion, Nature, like most sci­en­tif­ic jour­nals, requires authors to sub­mit new DNA and RNA sequences to Gen­Bank, the U.S. Nation­al Cen­ter for Biotech­nol­o­gy Infor­ma­tion Data­base. Yet the new SARS-like virus Shi and Bar­ic cre­at­ed wasn’t deposit­ed in Gen­Bank until May 2020. . . .
  15. ” . . . . why is the gov­ern­ment focus­ing on just one of Eco­Health Alliance’s projects, when the orga­ni­za­tion has received $100.9 mil­lion in grants, pri­mar­i­ly from the Depart­ment of Defense, to sam­ple, store and study bat coro­n­avirus­es at labs around the world? Coro­n­avirus­es, both those that have been col­lect­ed from ani­mals and those that have been cre­at­ed through genet­ic engi­neer­ing and syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy, at all of these labs should be com­pared with SARS-CoV­‑2. . . . .”
  16. ” . . . . Daszak’s col­lab­o­ra­tors work­ing under con­tracts with the Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices (HHS) aren’t allowed to con­duct gain-of-func­tion research unless specif­i­cal­ly approved to do so by the Poten­tial Pan­dem­ic Pathogen Care and Over­sight (P3CO) com­mit­tee. This com­mit­tee was set up as a con­di­tion for lift­ing the 2014–2017 mora­to­ri­um on gain-of-func­tion research. The P3CO com­mit­tee oper­ates in secret. Not even a mem­ber­ship list has been released. . . .
  17. Exem­pli­fy­ing Eco­Health Alliance’s work is a Pen­ta­gon con­tract with Tan­za­nia, research­ing CCHF–Crimean-Congo Hem­or­rhag­ic Fever. ” . . . . Eco­Health Alliance has a $5‑million Pen­ta­gon con­tract, ‘Crimean-Con­go Hem­or­rhag­ic Fever: Reduc­ing an Emerg­ing Health Threat in Tan­za­nia.’  Crimean-Con­go Hem­or­rhag­ic Fever (CCHF) is a tick-borne dis­ease, orig­i­nal­ly only infect­ing ani­mals. . . . There was only ever one case of CCHF in Tan­za­nia, and that was in 1986. . . . Gain-of-func­tion research on CCHF is being con­duct­ed at the U.S. Depart­ment of Agriculture’s Nation­al Bio and Agro-Defense Facil­i­ty (NBAF) . . . . (The Nation­al Bio and Agro Defense Facil­i­ty will take over the mis­sion of the Plum Island Ani­mal Dis­ease Cen­ter and become the lead facil­i­ty for For­eign Ani­mal Dis­ease research.) . . .
  18. ” . . . .Tan­za­nia is the ori­gin of chikun­gun­ya, a mos­qui­to-borne virus that the U.S. has long cul­ti­vat­ed as a poten­tial bio­log­i­cal weapon. accord­ing to a patent held by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas for a ‘chimeric’ chikun­gun­ya virus cre­at­ed through genet­ic engi­neer­ing and syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy: ‘The 39 doc­u­ment­ed lab­o­ra­to­ry infec­tions report­ed by HHS in 1981 strong­ly sug­gest that Chikun­gun­ya virus is infec­tious via aerosol route. Chikun­gun­ya virus was being weaponized by the U.S. Army army when the offen­sive pro­gram was ter­mi­nat­ed.’ Tan­za­nia is one of the coun­tries where bat coro­n­avirus­es were col­lect­ed for the PREDICT project. . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include: The promi­nent role in the Sanders Insti­tute and AOC’s advi­so­ry team of Jef­frey Sachs, whose HIID team of advis­ers (with gov­ern­ment fund­ing) sent Rus­sia back to the Stone Age, eco­nom­i­cal­ly; the “hand­off” to Jef­frey Sachs and his HIID of Rus­sia and oth­er for­mer Sovi­et Republics by the Gehlen/GOP Nazis man­i­fest­ing through the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion; review of the oper­a­tional polit­i­cal con­tin­u­um stretch­ing from the Third Reich, through the OSS, the CIA and the GOP; review of the roles of Allen Dulles, William Casey, Resorts Inter­na­tion­al and Don­ald Trump in that con­tin­u­um. 

1a. A note­wor­thy devel­op­ment in the Covid-10 “op” con­cerns the selec­tion of experts to over­see The Lancet’s inves­ti­ga­tion of the ori­gins of the SARS CoV‑2.

In FTR #1156, we looked at the involve­ment of known U.S. intel­li­gence cut-outs–notably USAID–and their fund­ing of pro­grams osten­si­bly aimed at pre­vent­ing epi­demics. Those pro­grams involved the “Gain-of-Func­tion” muta­tion of bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es, cre­at­ing nov­el “chimeric” virus­es that nev­er exist­ed before.

The osten­si­ble pur­pose was to “pre­vent” future epi­demics. We won­dered in FTR #1156 if those osten­si­ble epi­dem­ic “pre­ven­tion” pro­grams may have masked epi­dem­ic prop­a­ga­tion pro­grams, rather like Unit 731.

Peter Daszak of the Eco­Health Alliance was select­ed to lead the project.

His per­spec­tive would, on the sur­face, appear to be less than objec­tive, in as much as he cham­pi­oned the very type of GOF exper­i­ments that are at the cen­ter of this inquiry.

Of inter­est, as well, is the selec­tion of Jef­frey Sachs, an econ­o­mist, mem­ber of the [Bernie] Sanders Insti­tute, eco­nom­ic advis­er to Bernie Sanders, eco­nom­ic advis­er to AOC and, most impor­tant­ly, head of the [part­ly] gov­ern­ment financed Har­vard Insti­tute of Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment which (as advis­ers to Boris Yeltsin) drove the Russ­ian econ­o­my back to the Stone Age.

Sachs has no med­ical or sci­en­tif­ic cre­den­tials.

Sachs and Com­pa­ny will be dis­cussed at greater length below, as well.

“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

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”.

1b. A con­sum­mate­ly impor­tant arti­cle about Daszak and the Eco­Health Alliance pro­vides trou­bling insights into the uneven pro­fes­sion­al track record of Daszak and the pro­found involve­ment of the orga­ni­za­tion he heads with the Pen­ta­gon and oth­er U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment insti­tu­tions.

Eco­Health Alliance looks dis­turbing­ly like an orga­ni­za­tion that fronts for ele­ments and indi­vid­u­als involved with bio­log­i­cal war­fare research.

“Peter Daszak, Pres­i­dent of Eco­Health Alliance, is a top sci­en­tif­ic col­lab­o­ra­torgrantwriter and spokesper­son for virus hunters and gain-of-func­tion/­d­ual-use researchers, in labs both mil­i­tary and civil­ian.

Daszak works with dozens of high-con­tain­ment lab­o­ra­to­ries around the world that col­lect pathogens and use genet­ic engi­neer­ing and syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy to make them more infec­tious, con­ta­gious, lethal or drug-resis­tant. These include labs con­trolled by the U.S. Depart­ment of Defense, in coun­tries in the for­mer Sovi­et Union, the Mid­dle East, South East Asia and Africa.

Many of these labs are staffed by for­mer bio­log­i­cal weapons sci­en­tists. (See Arms Watch’s reports.) Before the Bio­log­i­cal Weapons Con­ven­tion was rat­i­fied, this research was called what it is: bio­log­i­cal weapons research. Now, it’s euphemisti­cal­ly called gain-of-func­tion or dual-use research. 

Gain-of-func­tion research to alter coro­n­avirus­es for the infec­tion of humans goes back to 1999 or ear­li­er, years before the first nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break. On behalf of the U.S. gov­ern­ment, often the mil­i­tary, Daszak scours the globe for ani­mal pathogens and brings them back to the lab to be cat­a­logued, inves­ti­gat­ed and manip­u­lat­ed. . . .”

Key points of analy­sis and dis­cus­sion include:

  1. Eco­Health Alliance con­tracts with the Pen­ta­gon in Tan­za­nia, South Africa, Geor­gia and Malaysia, as well as the U.S.
  2. ” . . . . A recent Wired mag­a­zine arti­cle quot­ing Daszak described how a virus col­lect­ed in 2012 was found to be a 96-per­cent match to SARS-CoV­‑2 in 2020 . . . ‘a lack of fund­ing meant they couldn’t fur­ther inves­ti­gate the virus strain now known to be 96 per­cent genet­i­cal­ly sim­i­lar to the virus that caus­es Covid-19’ . . . .”
  3. Dasza­k’s claim that they could­n’t fur­ther inves­ti­gate that virus because of a lack of fund­ing is dubi­ous, in that recent grants to the orga­ni­za­tion are on top of ” . . . . $100.9 mil­lion that Eco­Health Alliance has received in gov­ern­ment grants and con­tracts since 2003. . . .”
  4. Daszak does not explain how that virus (dis­cov­ered in 2012) turned into SARS-CoV­‑2. ” . . . . Some sci­en­tists say it would take 50 years for RaTG13 [the virus in question–D.E.] to turn into SARS-CoV­‑2. . . .”
  5. Daszak is heav­i­ly net­worked with the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty: ” . . . . the Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s Nation­al Bio­sur­veil­lance Inte­gra­tion Cen­ter (NBIC)  . . . . gave Daszak’s Eco­Health Alliance a $2.2‑million con­tract (2016–2019) to cre­ate a ‘Ground Truth Net­work’ of ‘sub­ject mat­ter experts’ who could pro­vide ‘con­tex­tu­al infor­ma­tion per­tain­ing to bio­log­i­cal events.’ . . . .”
  6. The intel­lec­tu­al and pro­fes­sion­al track record of Daszak and Eco­Health Alliance is porous. Eco­Health Alliance float­ed a canard about Ebo­la poten­tial­ly trav­el­ing to the U.S. ” . . . . an Eco­Health Alliance spokesper­son, spread a false (not to men­tion racist and xeno­pho­bic) nar­ra­tive, one that sub­se­quent­ly would be thor­ough­ly debunked, that bush­meat smug­gled to the U.S. from Africa could trans­mit Ebo­la to Amer­i­cans. . . .”
  7. Daszak missed the boat bad­ly with regard to SARS: ” . . . . It is com­mon­ly accept­ed that the SARS pan­dem­ic began in 2002, when humans caught a bat virus from civet cats at a wet mar­ket in Guang­dong, Chi­na. But Daszak and his col­lab­o­ra­tors admit they have no evi­dence to explain how the virus leapt from bats to civets to humans. . . .”
  8. ” . . . . SARS-CoV was found in civets at the Guang­dong wet mar­ket, but civets aren’t the nat­ur­al reser­voir of this virus. Bats are. Only the civets at the market—and no farm-raised or wild civets—carried the virus. None of the ani­mal traders han­dling the civets at the mar­ket had SARS. . . .”
  9. ” . . . . When Daszak and his col­lab­o­ra­tors at the WIV searched the cave in Yun­nan for strains of coro­n­avirus sim­i­lar to human ver­sions, no sin­gle bat actu­al­ly had SARS. Genet­ic pieces of the var­i­ous strains would have to be recom­bined to make up the human ver­sion. Adding to the con­fu­sion, Yun­nan is about 1,000 kilo­me­ters from Guang­dong. . . .”
  10. ” . . . . So, how did virus­es from bats in Yun­nan com­bine to become dead­ly to humans, and then trav­el to civets and peo­ple in Guang­dong, with­out caus­ing any ill­ness­es along the way dur­ing this 1,000 kilo­me­ter trip? . . .
  11. Daszak and the Eco­Health Alliance were deeply involved with a USAID and NIH fund­ed joint WIV/University of North Car­oli­na project we have cov­ered exten­sive­ly in past pro­grams” . . . . The two insti­tu­tions also worked as col­lab­o­ra­tors under anoth­er $2.6‑million grant, ‘Risk of Viral Emer­gence from Bats,’ and under Eco­Health Alliance’s largest sin­gle source of fund­ing, a $44.2 mil­lion sub-grant from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia at Davis for the PREDICT project (2015–2020). . . .”
  12. ” . . . . It’s the $44.2‑million PREDICT grant that Eco­Health Alliance used to fund the gain-of-func­tion exper­i­ment by WIV sci­en­tist Zhengli Shi and the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na at Chapel Hill’s Ralph Bar­ic. Shi and Bar­ic used genet­ic engi­neer­ing and syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy to cre­ate a ‘new bat SARS-like virus . . . that can jump direct­ly from its bat hosts to humans.’ . . .”
  13. ” . . . . The work . . . pub­lished in Nature in 2015 dur­ing the NIH’s mora­to­ri­um on gain-of-func­tion research, was grand­fa­thered in because it was ini­ti­at­ed before the mora­to­ri­um (offi­cial­ly called the U.S. Gov­ern­ment Delib­er­a­tive Process Research Fund­ing Pause on Select­ed Gain-of-Func­tion Research Involv­ing Influen­za, MERS and SARS Virus­es), and because the request by Shi and Bar­ic to con­tin­ue their research dur­ing the mora­to­ri­um was approved by the NIH. . . .”
  14. ” . . . . As a con­di­tion of pub­li­ca­tion, Nature, like most sci­en­tif­ic jour­nals, requires authors to sub­mit new DNA and RNA sequences to Gen­Bank, the U.S. Nation­al Cen­ter for Biotech­nol­o­gy Infor­ma­tion Data­base. Yet the new SARS-like virus Shi and Bar­ic cre­at­ed wasn’t deposit­ed in Gen­Bank until May 2020. . . .
  15. ” . . . . why is the gov­ern­ment focus­ing on just one of Eco­Health Alliance’s projects, when the orga­ni­za­tion has received $100.9 mil­lion in grants, pri­mar­i­ly from the Depart­ment of Defense, to sam­ple, store and study bat coro­n­avirus­es at labs around the world? Coro­n­avirus­es, both those that have been col­lect­ed from ani­mals and those that have been cre­at­ed through genet­ic engi­neer­ing and syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy, at all of these labs should be com­pared with SARS-CoV­‑2. . . . .”
  16. ” . . . . Daszak’s col­lab­o­ra­tors work­ing under con­tracts with the Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices (HHS) aren’t allowed to con­duct gain-of-func­tion research unless specif­i­cal­ly approved to do so by the Poten­tial Pan­dem­ic Pathogen Care and Over­sight (P3CO) com­mit­tee. This com­mit­tee was set up as a con­di­tion for lift­ing the 2014–2017 mora­to­ri­um on gain-of-func­tion research. The P3CO com­mit­tee oper­ates in secret. Not even a mem­ber­ship list has been released. . . .
  17. Exem­pli­fy­ing Eco­Health Alliance’s work is a Pen­ta­gon con­tract with Tan­za­nia, research­ing CCHF–Crimean-Congo Hem­or­rhag­ic Fever. ” . . . . Eco­Health Alliance has a $5‑million Pen­ta­gon con­tract, ‘Crimean-Con­go Hem­or­rhag­ic Fever: Reduc­ing an Emerg­ing Health Threat in Tan­za­nia.’  Crimean-Con­go Hem­or­rhag­ic Fever (CCHF) is a tick-borne dis­ease, orig­i­nal­ly only infect­ing ani­mals. . . . There was only ever one case of CCHF in Tan­za­nia, and that was in 1986. . . . Gain-of-func­tion research on CCHF is being con­duct­ed at the U.S. Depart­ment of Agriculture’s Nation­al Bio and Agro-Defense Facil­i­ty (NBAF) . . . . (The Nation­al Bio and Agro Defense Facil­i­ty will take over the mis­sion of the Plum Island Ani­mal Dis­ease Cen­ter and become the lead facil­i­ty for For­eign Ani­mal Dis­ease research.) . . .
  18. ” . . . .Tan­za­nia is the ori­gin of chikun­gun­ya, a mos­qui­to-borne virus that the U.S. has long cul­ti­vat­ed as a poten­tial bio­log­i­cal weapon. accord­ing to a patent held by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas for a ‘chimeric’ chikun­gun­ya virus cre­at­ed through genet­ic engi­neer­ing and syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy: ‘The 39 doc­u­ment­ed lab­o­ra­to­ry infec­tions report­ed by HHS in 1981 strong­ly sug­gest that Chikun­gun­ya virus is infec­tious via aerosol route. Chikun­gun­ya virus was being weaponized by the U.S. Army army when the offen­sive pro­gram was ter­mi­nat­ed.’ Tan­za­nia is one of the coun­tries where bat coro­n­avirus­es were col­lect­ed for the PREDICT project. . . .”

“Peter ‘Show Me the Mon­ey’ Daszak Pulls in Big Bucks, through Eco­Health Alliance, for Risky Virus ‘Research’” by Alex­is Baden-May­er; About Mag­a­zine; 9/19/2020.

Peter Daszak, Pres­i­dent of Eco­Health Alliance, is a top sci­en­tif­ic col­lab­o­ra­torgrantwriter and spokesper­son for virus hunters and gain-of-func­tion/­d­ual-use researchers, in labs both mil­i­tary and civil­ian.

Daszak works with dozens of high-con­tain­ment lab­o­ra­to­ries around the world that col­lect pathogens and use genet­ic engi­neer­ing and syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy to make them more infec­tious, con­ta­gious, lethal or drug-resis­tant. These include labs con­trolled by the U.S. Depart­ment of Defense, in coun­tries in the for­mer Sovi­et Union, the Mid­dle East, South East Asia and Africa.

Many of these labs are staffed by for­mer bio­log­i­cal weapons sci­en­tists. (See Arms Watch’s reports.)

Before the Bio­log­i­cal Weapons Con­ven­tion was rat­i­fied, this research was called what it is: bio­log­i­cal weapons research. Now, it’s euphemisti­cal­ly called gain-of-func­tion or dual-use research.

Gain-of-func­tion research to alter coro­n­avirus­es for the infec­tion of humans goes back to 1999 or ear­li­er, years before the first nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break.

On behalf of the U.S. gov­ern­ment, often the mil­i­tary, Daszak scours the globe for ani­mal pathogens and brings them back to the lab to be cat­a­logued, inves­ti­gat­ed and manip­u­lat­ed.

Daszak and oth­ers jus­ti­fy their research this way: If/When an out­break of a new virus occurs, they can com­pare it to the ones in their labs, and maybe glean how the nov­el virus emerged. A recent Wired mag­a­zine arti­cle quot­ing Daszak described how a virus col­lect­ed in 2012 was found to be a 96-per­cent match to SARS-CoV­‑2 in 2020:

“The search for the source of SARS – which killed more than 770 peo­ple two decades ago – has giv­en us a head­start for the cur­rent hunt. Wear­ing haz­mat suits and equipped with mist nets, a team from the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy, togeth­er with the ecol­o­gist and pres­i­dent of Eco­Health Alliance Peter Daszak, ven­tured into lime­stone caves to col­lect fae­ces and blood sam­ples from thou­sands of roost­ing bats before test­ing them for nov­el coro­n­avirus­es in the lab. ‘At the time, we were look­ing for SARS-relat­ed virus­es, and this one was 20 per­cent dif­fer­ent,’ says Daszak. ‘We thought it’s inter­est­ing, but not high-risk. So we didn’t do any­thing about it and put it in the freez­er.’ The group has found around 500 bat-borne virus­es in Chi­na over the last 16 years, but only flagged those that most resem­bled SARS to the author­i­ties – a lack of fund­ing meant they couldn’t fur­ther inves­ti­gate the virus strain now known to be 96 per­cent genet­i­cal­ly sim­i­lar to the virus that caus­es Covid-19.”

Inter­est­ing though that sto­ry is, it fails to explain how SARS-CoV­‑2 evolved. Some sci­en­tists say it would take 50 years for RaTG13 [the virus in question–D.E.] to turn into SARS-CoV­‑2. Oth­ers pro­pose the­o­ries on how the virus might have evolved so quick­ly, yet still sus­pect that it escaped from the Wuhan lab.

Cer­tain­ly, to learn that the clos­est known rel­a­tive to SARS-CoV­‑2 has been in the care of the gain-of-func­tion researchers at the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy (WIV) for sev­en years does noth­ing to allay sus­pi­cions that the virus infect­ed humans only after being tin­kered with in a lab.

Still, the Nation­al Insti­tute of Aller­gy and Infec­tious Dis­eases is going all-in on virus hunt­ing. The insti­tute just announced a five-year, $82-mil­lion invest­ment in a new glob­al net­work of Cen­ters for Research in Emerg­ing Infec­tious Dis­eases, includ­ing gain-of-func­tion exper­i­ments to “deter­mine what genet­ic or oth­er changes make [ani­mal] pathogens capa­ble of infect­ing humans.”

Daszak’s Eco­Health Alliance will receive $7.5 mil­lion from this grant. This is on top of $100.9 mil­lion that Eco­Health Alliance has received in gov­ern­ment grants and con­tracts since 2003. (What was that Daszak said about how “a lack of fund­ing meant they couldn’t fur­ther inves­ti­gate the virus strain now known to be 96-per­cent genet­i­cal­ly sim­i­lar to the virus that caus­es Covid-19”)?

Crit­ics of virus hunt­ing say sci­en­tists like Daszak could make a greater con­tri­bu­tion to human health by going after the virus­es that com­mon­ly infect humans, not the ones that nev­er have. Accord­ing to a 2018 Smith­son­ian Mag­a­zine report:

“Not every­one thinks that dis­cov­er­ing virus­es and their hotspots is the best way to pre­vent pan­demics. Dr. Robert B. Tesh, a virol­o­gist at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas Med­ical Branch, says we don’t under­stand enough about zoonot­ic virus­es to cre­ate pre­dic­tive mod­els. ‘A lot of the stuff they pro­duce is hype. … It’s more PR than sci­ence.’”

Daszak’s research might be more hype and pub­lic rela­tions than sci­ence, but the Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s Nation­al Bio­sur­veil­lance Inte­gra­tion Cen­ter (NBIC) has cho­sen to rely on it. NBIC gave Daszak’s Eco­Health Alliance a $2.2‑million con­tract (2016–2019) to cre­ate a “Ground Truth Net­work” of “sub­ject mat­ter experts” who could pro­vide “con­tex­tu­al infor­ma­tion per­tain­ing to bio­log­i­cal events.”

The con­text Daszak invari­ably pro­vides is a com­pelling one. Destruc­tion of forests and oth­er encroach­ments on wildlife habi­tats, espe­cial­ly the hunt­ing of wild ani­mals and the sale of live ani­mals in wet mar­kets, is  forc­ing humans and ani­mals into uncom­fort­able prox­im­i­ty. This is bad for vul­ner­a­ble and endan­gered species, as well as for humans who are at increas­ing risk for con­tract­ing nov­el zoonot­ic dis­eases.

Who isn’t shocked and appalled to learn that peo­ple eat bats, or that mar­velous­ly strange and adorable ani­mals you’ve nev­er heard of―pangolins, civet cats―have had their habi­tats destroyed and are now being sold for meat at live ani­mal mar­kets?

Daszak’s fram­ing of the issue―what has come to be known as the One Health approach―has been hearti­ly embraced by the U.S. mil­i­tary.

But what if the sto­ries being spun by Daszak and his fel­low gov­ern­ment-sup­port­ed sub­ject mat­ter experts aren’t sup­port­ed by the evi­dence?

Let’s look at Eco­Health Alliance’s sto­ry about Ebo­la and bush­meat.

False nar­ra­tive, trag­ic out­comes

From 2011 to 2014, Eco­health Alliance had a $164,480 pur­chase order con­tract from the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol in Pitts­burgh for “Bush­meat.” No more infor­ma­tion than that is avail­able on that con­tract (HHSD2002011M41641P), but the mon­ey like­ly fund­ed a paper Daszak and his col­leagues pub­lished in 2012.

The 2012 paper, “Zoonot­ic Virus­es Asso­ci­at­ed with Ille­gal­ly Import­ed Wildlife Prod­ucts,” was used in August 2014, at the height of the West African Ebo­la pan­dem­ic, as the basis for a Newsweek arti­cle titled, “Smug­gled Bush­meat Is Ebola’s Back Door to Amer­i­ca.”

The arti­cle, which quot­ed an Eco­Health Alliance spokesper­son, spread a false (not to men­tion racist and xeno­pho­bic) nar­ra­tive, one that sub­se­quent­ly would be thor­ough­ly debunked, that bush­meat smug­gled to the U.S. from Africa could trans­mit Ebo­la to Amer­i­cans.

In Jan­u­ary 2015, a meet­ing of the UK Bush­meat Work­ing Group con­vened. The group coun­tered Daszak’s mis­in­for­ma­tion with the facts, in an arti­cle titled, “Ebo­la and Bush­meat: Myth and Real­i­ty.” The arti­cle stat­ed:

“As the Ebo­la virus can remain viable in untreat­ed car­cass­es for up to 3–4 days, there is a risk of trans­port­ing it to bush­meat mar­kets (although there is no evi­dence of this to date). How­ev­er, the risk of trans­mit­ting Ebo­la in bush­meat over­seas to Europe or the USA is extreme­ly low, giv­en the  total  trav­el  time  and  the  fact  that  these  car­cass­es  are  usu­al­ly  smoked  (which prob­a­bly inac­ti­vates the virus). The risk of spread to new areas lies with the move­ment of infect­ed peo­ple, not infect­ed meat.”

Trag­i­cal­ly, the mis­in­for­ma­tion about bush­meat as a pri­ma­ry cause of Ebo­la trans­mis­sion had already been com­mu­ni­cat­ed to West Africans in the midst of the cri­sis, through inter­na­tion­al health orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing Daszak’s fun­der, the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC). Daszak’s mis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign over­shad­owed the truth—that the only way Ebo­la was actu­al­ly being trans­mit­ted dur­ing the pan­dem­ic was via con­tact with the bod­i­ly flu­ids of peo­ple sick with Ebo­la, or with their corpses.

Per­pet­u­at­ing myth­i­cal the­o­ries

The SARS pan­dem­ic is anoth­er instance where Daszak’s the­o­ries didn’t pan out.

It is com­mon­ly accept­ed that the SARS pan­dem­ic began in 2002, when humans caught a bat virus from civet cats at a wet mar­ket in Guang­dong, Chi­na. But Daszak and his col­lab­o­ra­tors admit they have no evi­dence to explain how the virus leapt from bats to civets to humans.

SARS-CoV was found in civets at the Guang­dong wet mar­ket, but civets aren’t the nat­ur­al reser­voir of this virus. Bats are. Only the civets at the market—and no farm-raised or wild civets—carried the virus. None of the ani­mal traders han­dling the civets at the mar­ket had SARS.

When Daszak and his col­lab­o­ra­tors at the WIV searched the cave in Yun­nan for strains of coro­n­avirus sim­i­lar to human ver­sions, no sin­gle bat actu­al­ly had SARS. Genet­ic pieces of the var­i­ous strains would have to be recom­bined to make up the human ver­sion. Adding to the con­fu­sion, Yun­nan is about 1,000 kilo­me­ters from Guang­dong.

So, how did virus­es from bats in Yun­nan com­bine to become dead­ly to humans, and then trav­el to civets and peo­ple in Guang­dong, with­out caus­ing any ill­ness­es along the way dur­ing this 1,000 kilo­me­ter trip?

No one knows. Just like no one knows how SARS-CoV­‑2, the virus that caus­es COVID-19, leapt from bats to pan­golins to humans.

(The most recent study, “Broad host range of SARS-CoV­‑2 pre­dict­ed by com­par­a­tive and struc­tur­al analy­sis of ACE2 in ver­te­brates” in the Pro­ceed­ings of the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences, showed that the SARS-CoV­‑2, which infects human cells through bind­ing of the viral Spike pro­tein to ACE2, has a “very high” bind­ing affin­i­ty to ACE2 in “Old World” mon­keys apes, and humans. But in bats, the bind­ing affin­i­ty is “low” and in pan­golins it is “very low.” The authors also not­ed that “nei­ther exper­i­men­tal infec­tion nor in vit­ro infec­tion with SARS-CoV­‑2 has been report­ed for pan­golins.”)

Daszak con­tin­ues to tell his bat-ori­gin sto­ry, but the sci­ence doesn’t back it up.

That―along with the fact that dozens of labs con­duct “gain-of-func­tion” research on bat coro­n­avirus­es and there are trou­bling safe­ty issues at these labs―is why the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health (NIH) is inves­ti­gat­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty that SARS-CoV­‑2 escaped from a lab.

Inquir­ing minds at the NIH want to know . . . 

On July 8, the NIH sent a let­ter to Daszak ask­ing Eco­Health Alliance to arrange for an inspec­tion of the WIV by an out­side team that would exam­ine the facility’s lab and records “with spe­cif­ic atten­tion to address­ing the ques­tion of whether WIV staff had SARS-CoV­‑2 in their pos­ses­sion pri­or to Decem­ber 2019.”

The WIV and the Wuhan Uni­ver­si­ty School of Pub­lic Health are list­ed as sub­con­trac­tors for Eco­Health Alliance under a $3.7‑million NIH grant titled, “Under­stand­ing the Risk of Bat Coro­n­avirus Emer­gence.” The two insti­tu­tions also worked as col­lab­o­ra­tors under anoth­er $2.6‑million grant, “Risk of Viral Emer­gence from Bats,” and under Eco­Health Alliance’s largest sin­gle source of fund­ing, a $44.2 mil­lion sub-grant from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia at Davis for the PREDICT project (2015–2020).

It’s the $44.2‑million PREDICT grant that Eco­Health Alliance used to fund the gain-of-func­tion exper­i­ment by WIV sci­en­tist Zhengli Shi and the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na at Chapel Hill’s Ralph Bar­ic. Shi and Bar­ic used genet­ic engi­neer­ing and syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy to cre­ate a “new bat SARS-like virus . . . that can jump direct­ly from its bat hosts to humans.”

Daszak described the work being done by Shi and Bar­ic in a 2019 inter­view:

“You can manip­u­late them [coro­n­avirus­es] in the lab pret­ty eas­i­ly. Spike pro­tein dri­ves a lot of what hap­pens with the coro­n­avirus, zoonot­ic risk. So, you can get the sequence, you can build the pro­tein, and we work with Ralph Bar­ic at UNC to do this. Insert it into a back­bone of anoth­er virus, and do some work in the lab.”

The work, “A SARS-like clus­ter of cir­cu­lat­ing bat coro­n­avirus­es shows poten­tial for human emer­gence,” pub­lished in Nature in 2015 dur­ing the NIH’s mora­to­ri­um on gain-of-func­tion research, was grand­fa­thered in because it was ini­ti­at­ed before the mora­to­ri­um (offi­cial­ly called the U.S. Gov­ern­ment Delib­er­a­tive Process Research Fund­ing Pause on Select­ed Gain-of-Func­tion Research Involv­ing Influen­za, MERS and SARS Virus­es), and because the request by Shi and Bar­ic to con­tin­ue their research dur­ing the mora­to­ri­um was approved by the NIH.

As a con­di­tion of pub­li­ca­tion, Nature, like most sci­en­tif­ic jour­nals, requires authors to sub­mit new DNA and RNA sequences to Gen­Bank, the U.S. Nation­al Cen­ter for Biotech­nol­o­gy Infor­ma­tion Data­base. Yet the new SARS-like virus Shi and Bar­ic cre­at­ed wasn’t deposit­ed in Gen­Bank until May 2020.

Why stop with Wuhan?

NIH is right to require that the WIV’s lab and records be opened to out­side inspec­tors.

But why is the gov­ern­ment focus­ing on just one of Eco­Health Alliance’s projects, when the orga­ni­za­tion has received $100.9 mil­lion in grants, pri­mar­i­ly from the Depart­ment of Defense, to sam­ple, store and study bat coro­n­avirus­es at labs around the world?

Coro­n­avirus­es, both those that have been col­lect­ed from ani­mals and those that have been cre­at­ed through genet­ic engi­neer­ing and syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy, at all of these labs should be com­pared with SARS-CoV­‑2.

Daszak’s col­lab­o­ra­tors work­ing under con­tracts with the Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices (HHS) aren’t allowed to con­duct gain-of-func­tion research unless specif­i­cal­ly approved to do so by the Poten­tial Pan­dem­ic Pathogen Care and Over­sight (P3CO) com­mit­tee. This com­mit­tee was set up as a con­di­tion for lift­ing the 2014–2017 mora­to­ri­um on gain-of-func­tion research.

The P3CO com­mit­tee oper­ates in secret. Not even a mem­ber­ship list has been released. The only infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed to the pub­lic is that Assis­tant Sec­re­tary for Pre­pared­ness and Response Robert Kadlec appoint­ed HHS Senior Sci­ence Advi­sor Chris­t­ian Has­sell as its chair.

It’s time to open the records of the PC3O committee’s delib­er­a­tions and deci­sions to exam­ine all gain-of-func­tion research on coro­n­avirus­es. And every lab manip­u­lat­ing these virus­es should have their coro­n­avirus­es com­pared to SARS-CoV­‑2.

The Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduc­tion Agency (DTRA) for its Coop­er­a­tive Bio­log­i­cal Engage­ment Pro­gram (now called the Bio­log­i­cal Threat Reduc­tion Pro­gram) isn’t sup­posed to fund gain-of-func­tion (what they call “dual-use”) research at all.  It’s time to deter­mine whether this pro­hi­bi­tion on “dual-use” fund­ing has been adhered to, espe­cial­ly in light of the invest­ments the Pen­ta­gon is mak­ing across the globe in the con­struc­tion of new lab­o­ra­to­ries for the “con­sol­i­da­tion and secur­ing of pathogens.”

DTRA’s mis­sion was to dis­man­tle the bio­log­i­cal weapons pro­grams of hos­tile or desta­bi­lized coun­tries. Instead it is being used to devel­op new bio­log­i­cal weapons pro­grams in dozens of coun­tries around the world.

Even if these pro­grams are pure­ly defen­sive, they pro­lif­er­ate, around the globe, pathogens with pan­dem­ic poten­tial, even though it’s been dif­fi­cult to keep these dan­ger­ous germs under con­trol here in the U.S. (See “The Glob­al Pro­lif­er­a­tion of High-Con­tain­ment Bio­log­i­cal Lab­o­ra­to­ries: Under­stand­ing the Phe­nom­e­non and Its Impli­ca­tions,” and the Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Office’s reports, “Bio­log­i­cal Select Agents and Tox­ins: Actions Need­ed to Improve Man­age­ment of DOD’s Biosafe­ty and Biose­cu­ri­ty Pro­gram,” and “High-con­tain­ment Lab­o­ra­to­ries: Com­pre­hen­sive and Up-to-Date Poli­cies and Stronger Over­sight Mech­a­nisms Need­ed to Improve Safe­ty”).

EcoHealth’s ten­ta­cles reach far an wide

Eco­Health Alliance is very much involved in the Pentagon’s pro­lif­er­a­tion of high-con­tain­ment bio­log­i­cal lab­o­ra­to­ries. It is con­duct­ing DTRA-fund­ed work in the fol­low­ing coun­tries, which are all par­tic­i­pants in the Pentagon’s Bio­log­i­cal Threat Reduc­tion Pro­gram.

Tan­za­nia: In Tan­za­nia, a coun­try that is con­sid­ered only “part­ly free,” which has a his­to­ry of for­eign med­ical exper­i­men­ta­tion and which didn’t rat­i­fy the Bio­log­i­cal Weapons Con­ven­tion until 2019, Eco­Health Alliance has a $5‑million Pen­ta­gon con­tract, “Crimean-Con­go Hem­or­rhag­ic Fever: Reduc­ing an Emerg­ing Health Threat in Tan­za­nia.”

Crimean-Con­go Hem­or­rhag­ic Fever (CCHF) is a tick-borne dis­ease, orig­i­nal­ly only infect­ing ani­mals, that was dis­cov­ered by Ottis and Cal­ista Causey while work­ing for the Rock­e­feller Foun­da­tion in Nige­ria. There was only ever one case of CCHF in Tan­za­nia, and that was in 1986.

Gain-of-func­tion research on CCHF is being con­duct­ed at the U.S. Depart­ment of Agriculture’s Nation­al Bio and Agro-Defense Facil­i­ty (NBAF) to deter­mine the “mech­a­nisms of CCHF trans­mis­sion includ­ing devel­op­ment of CCHF tick and ani­mal infec­tion meth­ods and CCHF tick-ani­mal trans­mis­sion mod­els.” (The Nation­al Bio and Agro Defense Facil­i­ty will take over the mis­sion of the Plum Island Ani­mal Dis­ease Cen­ter and become the lead facil­i­ty for For­eign Ani­mal Dis­ease research.)

The Nation­al Bio and Agro Defense Facil­i­ty Biosafe­ty Lev­el 4 (BSL4) Zoonot­ic and Emerg­ing Infec­tious Dis­ease team’s CCHF Virus Sur­veil­lance Project is inves­ti­gat­ing “the inter­face between tick vec­tors, live­stock and pas­toral­ist and resource-poor farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties in Tan­za­nia” as well as the disease’s “mol­e­c­u­lar patho­gen­e­sis.”

Tan­za­nia is the ori­gin of chikun­gun­ya, a mos­qui­to-borne virus that the U.S. has long cul­ti­vat­ed as a poten­tial bio­log­i­cal weapon. accord­ing to a patent held by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas for a “chimeric” chikun­gun­ya virus cre­at­ed through genet­ic engi­neer­ing and syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy:

“The 39 doc­u­ment­ed lab­o­ra­to­ry infec­tions report­ed by HHS in 1981 strong­ly sug­gest that Chikun­gun­ya virus is infec­tious via aerosol route. Chikun­gun­ya virus was being weaponized by the U.S. Army army when the offen­sive pro­gram was ter­mi­nat­ed.”

Tan­za­nia is one of the coun­tries where bat coro­n­avirus­es were col­lect­ed for the PREDICT project.

Tan­za­nia has one Biosafe­ty Lev­el 3 (BSL3) lab­o­ra­to­ry, the pri­vate­ly owned Ifakara Health Insti­tute, which is part­ner­ing with PREDICT to launch “con­cur­rent sur­veil­lance of wildlife and peo­ple in at-risk areas for viral spillover and spread.”

South Africa: In South Africa, which had a noto­ri­ous apartheid-era bio­log­i­cal weapons pro­gram, Eco­Health Alliance has a $5‑million Pen­ta­gon con­tract (2019–2024), “Reduc­ing the Threat of Rift Val­ley Fever Through Ecol­o­gy, Epi­demi­ol­o­gy and Socio-eco­nom­ics.” This is on top of a $4.9‑million grant (2014–2019), “Under­stand­ing Rift Val­ley Fever in the Repub­lic of South Africa.”

The last human out­break of Rift Val­ley Fever in South Africa occurred in 2010, when the gov­ern­ment report­ed 237 con­firmed cas­es, includ­ing 26 deaths from 9 provinces. But there were also a few cas­es in 2018 among farm­work­ers who slaugh­tered infect­ed ani­mals dur­ing an out­break in live­stock. The fever can spread from ani­mals to humans if they come into con­tact with the blood and oth­er body flu­ids of an infect­ed ani­mal.

The U.S. mil­i­tary has con­duct­ed offen­sive bio­log­i­cal weapons research on Rift Val­ley Fever.

South Africa’s bio­log­i­cal weapons pro­gram includ­ed the weaponiza­tion of Rift Val­ley Fever virus obtained from the U.S. gov­ern­ment.

Known as Project Coast, South Africa’s bio­log­i­cal weapons pro­gram mur­dered anti-apartheid activists with nar­cotics and poi­sons, and attempt­ed a geno­cide of the black major­i­ty by spread­ing AIDS and by devel­op­ing pathogens and vac­cines that would selec­tive­ly attack black peo­ple with ill­ness, death and infer­til­i­ty.

Dr. Wouter Bas­son, the project’s top sci­en­tist, told Pre­to­ria High Court in South Africa that the U.S. Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency threat­ened him with death, pre­sum­ably to pre­vent him from reveal­ing the deep con­nec­tions between Project Coast and the U.S., which had forced Pres­i­dent F. W. de Klerk to shut down the project and destroy its records. Bas­son named the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol as his source of eight ship­ments of Ebo­la, Mar­burg and Rift Val­ley virus­es, but claimed that he had obtained the virus­es by pos­ing as a med­ical researcher and hid­ing his affil­i­a­tion with the South African Defense Forces.

Sur­veys of bats in South Africa found no evi­dence of bats being nat­ur­al car­ri­ers of Rift Val­ley Fever virus, but exper­i­ments have shown that bats can be infect­ed with it in a lab­o­ra­to­ry set­ting.

A bat coro­n­avirus col­lect­ed in South Africa in 2011 was thought to be the clos­est known rel­a­tive of the MERS-CoV virus that emerged in Sau­di Ara­bia in 2012, until a 100-per­cent match for MERS-CoV was detect­ed by Daszak and his col­leagues in viral RNA frag­ments from an Egypt­ian tomb bat found near the home of one of the first MERS vic­tims in Sau­di Ara­bia.

Liberia: In Liberia, which didn’t rat­i­fy the Bio­log­i­cal Weapons Con­ven­tion until 2016, Eco­Health Alliance has a $4.91-million Pen­ta­gon con­tract, “Reduc­ing the Threat from High-risk Pathogens Caus­ing Febrile Ill­ness in Liberia.”

Febrile ill­ness­es include Ebo­la, which has been the sub­ject of some of the most con­tro­ver­sial dual-use research.

While the U.S. has a sor­did his­to­ry of bio­log­i­cal weapons exper­i­men­ta­tion on its own peo­ple— with con­sci­en­tious objec­tors, mil­i­tary “vol­un­teers,” and the gen­er­al pub­lic as fre­quent subjects—there were some bio­log­i­cal weapons tests the Depart­ment of Defense con­sid­ered too uneth­i­cal to per­form with­in the con­ti­nen­tal U.S.. Those tests were con­duct­ed in oth­er coun­tries, includ­ing Liberia.

Like­wise, mir­ror­ing med­ical exper­i­men­ta­tion on African Amer­i­cans, there is a his­to­ry of colo­nial med­ical exper­i­men­ta­tion in Liberia going back to 1926 when the Fire­stone tire com­pa­ny financed sur­veys of local dis­eases they feared could cur­tail the prof­itabil­i­ty of their rub­ber plan­ta­tions.

More recent­ly, a failed Pen­ta­gon-fund­ed Ebo­la drug tri­al caused many Liberi­ans to sus­pect that the sub­se­quent Ebo­la out­break was the fault of Tek­mi­ra, the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny that cre­at­ed TKM-100802. Doubt sur­round­ed the offi­cial sto­ry, pro­mot­ed by Daszak, that the West African Ebo­la out­break hap­pened because bats flew in with the Ebo­la Zaire virus from 2,500 miles away.

In Jan­u­ary 2014, the Phase I tri­al for TKM-100802 was launched, but put on clin­i­cal hold by the U.S. Food & Drug Admin­is­tra­tion due to high cytokine release in par­tic­i­pants. In a dose-esca­la­tion, healthy vol­un­teer study, one (of two) par­tic­i­pants dosed at the high­est lev­el of 0·5 mg/kg expe­ri­enced cytokine release syn­drome. Cytokine release syn­drome is a pro-inflam­ma­to­ry reac­tion that occurs when acti­vat­ed lym­pho­cytes and/or myeloid cells release sol­u­ble immune medi­a­tors fol­low­ing admin­is­tra­tion of cer­tain ther­a­peu­tic agents, espe­cial­ly mon­o­clon­al anti­bod­ies. Onset can be rapid (with­in hours of admin­is­tra­tion) and can be life-threat­en­ing.

Ulti­mate­ly, TKM-100802 proved use­less for Ebo­la patients, but the Pentagon’s $140-mil­lion invest­ment, and the boost Tekmira’s stock expe­ri­enced on spec­u­la­tion that Ebo­la would soon spawn the next $1‑billion drug,  made many investors rich.

Sus­pi­cions were raised because the TKM-100802 Phase I tri­al on healthy vol­un­teers began in Jan­u­ary 2014, before the first cas­es of the Ebo­la out­break in March 2014.

Lat­er, the World Health Organization’s Pierre For­men­ty traced the first case back to late Decem­ber 2013, in Melian­dou, Guinea. There, 50 meters from the home of patient zero, anoth­er researcher, Fabi­an Leen­dertz, found DNA frag­ments that matched the Angolan free-tailed bat, a species known to sur­vive exper­i­men­tal infec­tions with Ebo­la. Then, Daszak’s Eco­Health team found viral RNA frag­ments of Ebo­la Zaire in a greater long-fin­gered bat, cap­tured in 2016 in Liberia’s San­niquel­lie-Mahn Dis­trict, which bor­ders Guinea. There was a 1982 arti­cle in Annals of Virol­o­gy in which a trio of Ger­mans report­ed find­ing Ebo­la anti­bod­ies in 26 of 433 Liberi­ans (6 per­cent).

Bats aren’t the only place to look for Ebo­la.

There’s a BSL‑4 lab that was han­dling Zaire Ebo­la before the pan­dem­ic in Ken­e­ma, Sier­ra Leone. This is where inter­na­tion­al law attor­ney Fran­cis Boyle, a drafter of the US Bio­log­i­cal Weapons and Anti-Ter­ror­ism Act passed into law in 1981, believes the pan­dem­ic orig­i­nat­ed.

There’s also Liberia’s Mon­key Island. As the Wash­ing­ton Post report­ed, that’s where 66 chim­panzees have been since 2004, when they were aban­doned by the Amer­i­can sci­en­tists at the Liber­ian labs of the New York Blood Cen­ter. From 1974 to 2004, the New York Blood Cen­ter cap­tured wild chimps, engaged them in med­ical exper­i­men­ta­tion and then released them back into the jun­gle in a project known as Vilab II (Virol­o­gy Lab II), which main­tained a colony of 200 chimps. Vilab II was built from the rem­nants of the Liber­ian Insti­tute of Trop­i­cal Med­i­cine. Built by Fire­stone in 1946, the Liber­ian Insti­tute of Trop­i­cal Med­i­cine had once employed 60 sci­en­tists, but by 1974, med­ical doc­tor Earl Reber was there alone with eight chimps. The roots of the Liber­ian Insti­tute of Trop­i­cal Med­i­cine go back to the research begun in 1926 by Har­vard Depart­ment of Trop­i­cal Med­i­cine chief Richard Pear­son Strong.

Virus hunters like Daszak should have a keen inter­est in a pop­u­la­tion of chim­panzees that, for near­ly 100 years, has been caught, inject­ed with virus­es and then released back into the wild, espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing the work of the researchers who han­dled the chimps.

The New York Blood Cen­ter is at the cen­ter of a the­o­ry on the ori­gin of HIV/AIDS, that it came from a con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed Hepati­tis B vac­cine the cen­ter dis­trib­uted to gay men from 1978–1981. The New York Blood Cen­ter also test­ed its vac­cine on Liberi­ans.

Richard Pear­son Strong is infa­mous for killing 13 men when he infect­ed a group of 24 inmates of Manila’s Bili­bid Prison with plague through a con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed cholera vac­cine. That was pri­or to his work in Liberia, which is only now being explored, and also involved exper­i­ments with humans as well as chim­panzees.

Geor­gia: Eco­Health Alliance has a $6.5‑million Pen­ta­gon grant for “Under­stand­ing the Risk of Bat-borne Zoonot­ic Dis­ease Emer­gence In West­ern Asia” (2017–2022).

Arms Watch reports that this grant involves genet­ic stud­ies on coro­n­avirus­es in 5,000 bats col­lect­ed in Geor­gia, Arme­nia, Azer­bai­jan, Turkey and Jor­dan. The stud­ies were con­duct­ed at the Lugar Cen­ter, a $161-mil­lion Pen­ta­gon-fund­ed bio­lab­o­ra­to­ry in Georgia’s cap­i­tal, Tbil­isi. Rus­sia claims the Geor­gia lab is the site of a U.S. bio­log­i­cal weapons pro­gram.

Accord­ing to USASpending.gov, Eco­Health Alliance has received $2.88 mil­lion in grants for work in Geor­gia. The Lugar Cen­ter is one of the labs that hosts Eco­Health Alliance’s West­ern Asia Bat Research Net­work.

Malaysia: In Malaysia, which is only now in the process of cre­at­ing a leg­isla­tive frame­work for enforc­ing the Bio­log­i­cal Weapons Con­ven­tion, Eco­Health Alliance had a $1.6‑million Pen­ta­gon grant (2017–2019) for “Sero­log­i­cal Bio­sur­veil­lance for Spillover of Heni­pavirus­es and Filovirus­es at Agri­cul­tur­al and Hunt­ing Human Ani­mal Inter­faces in Penin­su­lar Malaysia.”

There are no known cas­es of filovirus infec­tions in humans in Malaysia. But Malaysia is the ori­gin of the Nipah virus, first rec­og­nized in 1999, dur­ing an out­break among farm­ers and farm­work­ers in fac­to­ry farms and slaugh­ter­hous­es pro­duc­ing pork. The virus spread to Sin­ga­pore. In all, there were 265 cas­es of acute encephali­tis with 105 deaths, and the bil­lion-dol­lar pig-farm­ing indus­try near­ly col­lapsed. No new out­breaks have been report­ed in Malaysia since 1999.

Nipah virus, a zoonot­ic pathogen for which no treat­ments exist, is the inspi­ra­tion for the film “Con­ta­gion.” The virus can only be exper­i­ment­ed on in BSL‑4 lab­o­ra­to­ries. The Nation­al Bio and Agro-Defence Facil­i­ty in Kansas will be the first bio­con­tain­ment facil­i­ty in the U.S. where research on Nipah and Ebo­la (a filovirus) can be con­duct­ed on live­stock.

In 2019, Nipah Malaysia was among the dead­ly virus strains shipped from Canada’s Nation­al Micro­bi­ol­o­gy Lab to the WIV.

Heni­pavirus­es, in the paramyx­ovirus fam­i­ly, were the first emerg­ing dis­eases linked to bats. In June 2012, in the same Chi­nese cave (actu­al­ly an old cop­per mine where work­ers doing cleanup had become sick and died) in which Daszak’s WIV col­leagues found SARS-CoV‑2’s most close­ly relat­ed coro­n­avirus, anoth­er fre­quent col­lab­o­ra­tor of Daszak’s, Zhiqiang Wu of the Chi­nese Acad­e­my of Med­ical Sci­ences, found a new heni­pavirus-like pathogen in a rat, nam­ing it the “Mojiang paramyx­ovirus,” after the coun­ty in Yun­nan province where it was found.

Malaysia was the planned site of a BSL‑4 lab­o­ra­to­ry run by the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny Emer­gent Bioso­lu­tions for the pro­duc­tion of a halal ver­sion of the Bio­Thrax vac­cine. But that project failed.

In addi­tion to the Pen­ta­gon fund­ing, Dazsak obtained $1.7 mil­lion in grants (2002–2005) from NIH’s Fog­a­r­ty Inter­na­tion­al Cen­ter for “Anthro­pogenic Change & Emerg­ing Zoonot­ic Paramyx­ovirus­es.” In 2012–2014, Daszak had a $569,700 grant from the Nation­al Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice for “Devel­op­ment of a Great Ape Health Unit in Sabah, Malaysia.”

Daszak has a new Nation­al Insti­tute of Aller­gy and Infec­tious Dis­eases grant, “Under­stand­ing Risk of Zoonot­ic Virus Emer­gence in EID Hotspots of South­east Asia,” for $1.5 mil­lion (2020). The grant is for an “Emerg­ing Infec­tious Dis­eases – South East Asia Research Col­lab­o­ra­tion Hub (EID-SEARCH)” that “brings lead­ers in emerg­ing dis­ease research from the U.S., Thai­land, Sin­ga­pore and the three major Malaysian admin­is­tra­tive regions togeth­er to build an ear­ly warn­ing sys­tem to safe­guard against pan­dem­ic dis­ease threats. This team will iden­ti­fy nov­el virus­es from South­east Asian wildlife [and] char­ac­ter­ize their capac­i­ty to infect and cause ill­ness in peo­ple…”

Oth­er Pen­ta­gon con­tracts: Eco­Health Alliance had a $1‑million Pen­ta­gon con­tract (2017–2019) for an Inbound Bio-event Infor­ma­tion Sys­tem (IBIS), “a web-based appli­ca­tion and ear­ly warn­ing sys­tem for glob­al infec­tious dis­ease bio-events that threat­en the U.S. via inter­na­tion­al trans­porta­tion net­works.”

Eco­Health Alliance also had anoth­er $4.5‑million Pen­ta­gon con­tract (HDTRA115C0041) for 2015–2017. No oth­er infor­ma­tion is avail­able on this con­tract oth­er than that it is for “Applied Research/Exploratory Devel­op­ment” in the “Phys­i­cal, Engi­neer­ing, and Life Sci­ences (except Biotech­nol­o­gy).”

Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty Con­tracts: Eco­Health Alliance has a $566,300 con­tract (2019–2021) with the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty for the Rapid Eval­u­a­tion of Pathogens to Pre­vent Epi­demics in Live­stock (REPEL) project “to apply bio­log­i­cal-based, pathogen agnos­tic med­ical coun­ter­mea­sure vac­cine and diag­nos­tic plat­forms to devel­op for­eign ani­mal and emerg­ing zoonot­ic live­stock dis­ease vac­cines.”

Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices Fund­ing: Daszak obtained a $300,000-grant in 2012 from NIH’s Fog­a­r­ty Inter­na­tion­al Cen­ter for research on “Com­par­a­tive Spillover Dynam­ics of Avian Influen­za In Endem­ic Coun­tries.” While most of the research list­ed in the “results” sec­tion of the grant are flu-relat­ed, it also includes the WIV’s  paper, “Iso­la­tion and Char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of a Bat SARS-like Coro­n­avirus that Uses the ACE2 Recep­tor.”

Daszak was giv­en $3.7 mil­lion in grants (2002–2012) from NIH’s Fog­a­r­ty Inter­na­tion­al Cen­ter for “The Ecol­o­gy, Emer­gence And Pan­dem­ic Poten­tial of Nipah Virus in Bangladesh.”

The grants Daszak used to sup­port the work of the WIV were a $3.7‑million grant (2014–2020) “Under­stand­ing the Risk of Bat Coro­n­avirus Emer­gence,” and a $2.6‑million grant (2008–2012) “Risk of Viral Emer­gence From Bats,” each from the Nation­al Insti­tute of Aller­gy and Infec­tious Dis­eases.

U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment (USAID) fund­ing: In Thai­land, Eco­Health Alliance has a $647,200-grant for “One Health Work­force – Next Gen­er­a­tion” (2019–2020).

Alex­is Baden-May­er is polit­i­cal direc­tor for the Organ­ic Con­sumers Asso­ci­a­tion (OCA).

1c. It is impor­tant to note that, in effect serv­ing as an advance ele­ment or Fifth Col­umn for the neo-Lib­er­al poli­cies presided over by Yeltsin and craft­ed by Sachs & Com­pa­ny, the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion served as an exten­sion of The Cru­sade For Free­dom and the pro­jec­tion of the ABN milieu into the GOP. This was the polit­i­cal pre­de­ces­sor to the Yeltsin poli­cies.

Dom­i­nat­ing the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion, the ABN milieu was pro­ject­ed back into East­ern Europe and the for­mer Sovi­et Union by the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion, heav­i­ly over­lapped with Las­z­lo Pasz­tor and the GOP Nazis dat­ing from the Cru­sade For Free­dom.

Heav­i­ly over­lap­ping the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion of Paul Weyrich, the GOP “eth­nics” and the OUN/B, in par­tic­u­lar, played a lead­ing role in the polit­i­cal tutor­ing of Boris Yeltsin’s IRG orga­ni­za­tion. Ulti­mate­ly, Yeltsin’s forces were instru­men­tal in break­ing up the U.S.S.R.

We note that the head of the lib­er­a­tion sub-group of the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion was Hun­gar­i­an Arrow Cross vet­er­an Las­z­lo Pasz­tor, the head of the GOP “eth­nics.” 

“The Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion Goes East” by Russ Bel­lant and Louis Wolf; Covert Action Infor­ma­tion Bul­letin #35; Fall/1990.

With the rapid pace of polit­i­cal change sweep­ing East­ern Europe and the Union of Sovi­et Social­ist Republics, many oppor­tu­ni­ties have emerged for west­ern inter­ests to inter­vene in the pol­i­tics of  that region. In some cas­es, such a vac­u­um has been cre­at­ed that vir­tu­al strangers to the area sev­er­al years ago are now able to active­ly par­tic­i­pate in chang­ing those soci­eties from with­in.

These inter­ven­tions are not only being prac­ticed by main­stream orga­ni­za­tions. The involve­ment of the Unit­ed States Far Right brings with it the poten­tial revival of fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions in the East. One U.S. group, the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion, has been plahy­ing a role in East­ern Euro­pean and Sovi­et pol­i­tics and has ties to Boris Yeltsin and the Inter-Region­al Deputies Group (IRG) in the U.S.S.R.

The Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion (FCF) was found­ed in 1974 by Paul Weyrich as the Com­mit­tee for the Sur­vival of a Free Con­gress. Weyrich, who had start­ed the Her­itage Foun­da­tion the year before, was heav­i­ly fund­ed by the Coors fam­i­ly for both orga­ni­za­tions.

Weyrich has kept one foot in the right wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty while dal­ly­ing with the racist Right and the extreme Chris­t­ian Right. In 1976, for instance, he and a hand­ful of oth­er New Rights (William Rush­er, Mor­ton Black­well, Richard Viguerie) attempt­ed to take over the seg­re­ga­tion­ist  Amer­i­can Inde­pen­dent Par­ty (AIP), formed by George Wal­lace in 1968. The AIP was an amal­gam of Ku Klux Klan and John Birch Soci­ety ele­ments. . . .

. . . . The IRG was estab­lished by Andrei Sakharov, Boris Yeltsin and oth­ers in the sum­mer of 1989. By the end of that year, a train­ing school had been estab­lished for can­di­dates to put for­ward the IRG pro­gram. Their elec­toral suc­cess this year pro­pelled Yeltsin to the lead­er­ship of the Russ­ian Sovi­et Social­ist Repub­lic. He imme­di­ate­ly began forg­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive rela­tion­ships with the deeply reac­tionary lead­ers of the Lithuan­ian Sajud­is par­ty. The IRG has also served as a source of right-wing pres­sure on Gor­bachev to dis­man­tle social­ism and the Sovi­et Union itself.

One of the key dan­gers in this agen­da is the polit­i­cal vac­u­um it cre­ates, allow­ing ultra-nation­al­ist forces in a num­ber of republics to take pow­er. Such nation­al­ist and fas­cist ele­ments are already evi­dent in Lithua­nia and the Ukraine. In the lat­ter repub­lic, the pro-Nazi Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN) has gained influ­ence in sev­er­al par­ties and has mobi­lized large demon­stra­tions that hon­or OUN lead­ers who abet­ted Hitler’s war on the East­ern Front. Sim­i­lar­ly, sev­er­al deputies Sajud­is deputies served in Ger­man mil­i­tary units in 1944, and Sajud­is has made dec­la­ra­tions against eth­nic Rus­sians liv­ing in Lithua­nia. Accord­ing to some reports, Poles have also been den­i­grat­ed.

It should also be not­ed that the “rad­i­cal reformer” Boris Yeltsin has dal­lied with Pamy­at, the fore­most Russ­ian fas­cist group to emerge in the last sev­er­al years. Pamy­at’s vir­u­lent anti-Semi­tism com­pares to the crude pro­pa­gan­da of the ear­ly Ger­man Nazi Par­ty in the 1920’s.

The FCF is not entire­ly dis­con­nect­ed from the his­to­ry of the OUN. The Trea­sur­er of the FCF board is George­town Uni­ver­si­ty Pro­fes­sor Charles Moser. Moser is also serves on the edi­to­r­i­al advi­so­ry board of the Ukrain­ian Quar­ter­ly, pub­lished by the Ukrain­ian Con­gress Com­mit­tee of Amer­i­ca, a group dom­i­nat­ed by the OUN. The Ukrain­ian Quar­ter­ly has praised mil­i­tary units of the Ger­man SS and oth­er­wise jus­ti­fied the OUN alliance with the Third Reich which reflects the fact that the OUN was polit­i­cal­ly and mil­i­tar­i­ly allied with Hitler and the Nazi occu­pa­tion of the Ukraine.

The OUN, an inter­na­tion­al semi-secret cadre orga­ni­za­tion head­quar­tered in Bavaria, has received finan­cial assis­tance from the late Franz Joseph Strauss, the right­ist head of the Bavar­i­an state. Strauss also had a work­ing rela­tion­ship with Weyrich. . . .

. . . . Final­ly, FCF’s insin­u­a­tion into the pol­i­tics of the East must be judged by their selec­tion of Las­z­lo Pasz­tor to head their Lib­er­a­tion Sup­port Alliance, “which seeks to lib­er­ate peo­ples in Cen­tral and East­ern Euro­pean Nations.”

Pasz­tor’s involve­ment in East Euro­pean pol­i­tics began in World War II when he joined the youth orga­ni­za­tion of the Arrow Cross, the Nazi par­ty of Hun­gary.

When the Arrow Cross was installed in pow­er by a Ger­man com­man­do oper­a­tion, Pasz­tor was sent to Berlin to help facil­i­tate the liai­son between the Arrow Cross and Hitler.

Pasz­tor was tried and served two years in jail for his Arrow Cross activ­i­ties after an anti­com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment was elect­ed in 1945. He even­tu­al­ly came to the U.S. and estab­lished the eth­nic arm of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee for Richard Nixon. He brought oth­er Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors from the East­ern front into the GOP. Some were lat­er found to have par­tic­i­pat­ed in mass mur­der dur­ing the war.

The dor­mant Arrow Cross has sur­faced again in Hun­gary, where there have been attempts to lift the ban on the orga­ni­za­tion. Pasz­tor spent sev­er­al months in Hun­gary. When Weyrich lat­er con­duct­ed train­ing there, he was pro­vid­ed a list of Pasz­tor’s con­tacts inside the coun­try. Weyrich reports that he con­duct­ed train­ing for the recent­ly formed and now gov­ern­ing New Demo­c­ra­t­ic Forum.

Pasz­tor claims to have assist­ed some of his friends in Hun­gary in get­ting NED funds through his advi­so­ry posi­tion with NED. In 1989 he spoke at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion under the spon­sor­ship of the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations (ABN), a multi­na­tion­al umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion of emi­gre fas­cists and Nazis found­ed in alliance with Hitler in 1943. It is led by the OUN. Pasz­tor spoke for the “Hun­gar­i­an Orga­ni­za­tion” of ABN, which is the Arrow Cross. . . . .

1d. As seen above, Daszak will be joined in his Lancet inquiry by Jef­frey Sachs, an econ­o­mist with no sci­en­tif­ic or med­ical cre­den­tials. As dis­cussed in FTR#953, Sachs is a mem­ber of the Sanders Insti­tute, and advis­es the orga­ni­za­tion’s name­sake, Bernie Sanders. He also advis­es AOC.

Of pri­ma­ry sig­nif­i­cance–Sachs was an advi­sor to the Yeltsin gov­ern­ment in Rus­sia from 1991 to 1994 . . .”

In that regard, he presided over the HIID: ” . . . . the Har­vard Insti­tute for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment (HIID), led by Jef­frey Sachs and part­ly fund­ed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment. . . .”

What we view as a defin­i­tive analy­sis of Sachs was expressed by a Russ­ian jour­nal­ist: ” . . . . he’s viewed by scores of mil­lions of Rus­sians, as one jour­nal­ist has put it, as either an emis­sary of Satan or of the CIA. . . . He [Sachs] sung the prais­es of ‘trans­paren­cy and hon­esty in gov­ern­ment,’ even though the Yeltsin regime he was advis­ing was opaque and cor­rupt. . . .”

Are the Rus­sians right–IS Sachs CIA? Is THAT what he is doing on the Lancet com­mis­sion?

“The Long, Strange Career of Jef­frey Sachs” by Doug Hen­wood; Left Busi­ness Observ­er; August of 2005.

. . . . Sachs was an advi­sor to the Yeltsin gov­ern­ment in Rus­sia from 1991 to 1994, and also advised Poland, Slove­nia, and Esto­nia as they were begin­ning their tran­si­tions to cap­i­tal­ism. The last three are mixed suc­cess­es — on the sur­face, Poland looks like a suc­cess to some, but with the tran­si­tion came high­er unem­ploy­ment, falling real wages, and aim­less cycles of polit­i­cal dis­con­tent. Rus­sia, though, was a thor­ough dis­as­ter, one of the worst col­laps­es in human his­to­ry. Liv­ing stan­dards fell and the pop­u­la­tion shrank, an almost unprece­dent­ed event in a coun­try not at war.

[U2 Singer] Bono’s new best friend refus­es to accept any blame for the dis­as­ter, offer­ing the defense that the Rus­sians did­n’t take his advice, and the West did­n’t come through with the big aid pack­age he insist­ed was nec­es­sary. Appar­ent­ly this is an well-prac­ticed strat­e­gy. A 1992 Euromoney pro­file notes: “Sachs is reluc­tant to acknowl­edge mis­takes, defin­ing them in terms of regret when gov­ern­ments do not take his advice.” In that case, he blamed Poland for not pri­va­tiz­ing fast enough. Con­trast­ing with Sach­s’s regrets over advice not tak­en, sev­er­al gov­ern­ments he’s con­sult­ed with have since char­ac­ter­ized the mate­r­i­al pro­duced by him and his asso­ciates as irrel­e­vant, or, as a Sloven­ian offi­cial put it at the time, “simplistic...kindergarten stuff.”

But the out­come illus­trates pre­cise­ly the dan­ger of hav­ing the likes of Sachs para­chute in bear­ing the time­less truths of neo­clas­si­cal eco­nom­ics. Any­one who knew Rus­sia knew that any rapid pri­va­ti­za­tion would imme­di­ate­ly lead to the cre­ation of a new cor­rupt elite through mas­sive theft of state prop­er­ty. Any­one who knew Wash­ing­ton knew that no big aid pack­age was ever going to come through; adding to usu­al U.S. cheap­ness, a lot of hard­lin­ers want­ed to see Rus­sia ground into the dirt. In the words of for­mer World Bank econ­o­mist David Eller­man, who fre­quent­ly col­lid­ed with Sach­s’s work in Slove­nia and has fol­lowed him intent­ly ever since, “Only the mix­ture of Amer­i­can tri­umphal­ism and the aca­d­e­m­ic arro­gance of neo­clas­si­cal eco­nom­ics could pro­duce such a lethal dose of gall.”  . . .  .

Dur­ing what offi­cial­dom called the tran­si­tion, there were divi­sions between those who want­ed to reform the exist­ing social­ist sys­tem and exper­i­ment with hybrid forms of own­er­ship, and what Eller­man calls the “clean post­so­cial­ist rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies,” many of them with Amer­i­can eco­nom­ics PhDs, who dis­missed the reform­ers as taint­ed nomen­klatu­ra and want­ed imme­di­ate pri­va­ti­za­tion. Adding to the pres­tige of the rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies were their trust­ed for­eign advi­sors, like those from the Har­vard Insti­tute for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment (HIID), led by Jef­frey Sachs and part­ly fund­ed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment. . . .

. . . . HIID even­tu­al­ly col­lapsed in scan­dal, when it was revealed that the prin­ci­pals of its Russ­ian project, Andrei Shleifer and Jonathan Hay, along with their wives (who hap­pened to be mutu­al fund man­agers), had been buy­ing Russ­ian stocks and dick­er­ing for the priv­i­lege of get­ting the coun­try’s first mutu­al fund license, while dis­pens­ing advice to the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment. (Shleifer was one of the trin­i­ty of so-called Har­vard Wun­derkinder who were to Rus­sia what the Chica­go Boys were to Pinochet’s Chile; the oth­er two were Lawrence Sum­mers — and Sachs.) The U.S. gov­ern­ment sued, and Har­vard shut­tered the insti­tute. Sachs, who was not involved in the scan­dal, decamped to Colum­bia (it’s said there was no going-away par­ty from his Har­vard col­leagues). At Colum­bia, he was appoint­ed to head its new Earth Insti­tute, an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary enter­prise that would bring togeth­er phys­i­cal, health, and social sci­en­tists to pro­mote sus­tain­able eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment. . . .

. . . . Sachs admits to no respon­si­bil­i­ty for the Russ­ian cat­a­stro­phe. When I inter­viewed him in Novem­ber 2002, I asked him to com­ment on the (incon­tro­vert­ible) fact that he’s viewed by scores of mil­lions of Rus­sians, as one jour­nal­ist has put it, as either an emis­sary of Satan or of the CIA. . . . He sung the prais­es of “trans­paren­cy and hon­esty in gov­ern­ment,” even though the Yeltsin regime he was advis­ing was opaque and cor­rupt. Asked to com­ment on pub­lished reports that he sup­port­ed cre­at­ing an infla­tion, so as to wipe out the sav­ings of Rus­sians (part of the shock ther­a­pists’ attempts to start post-Sovi­et Rus­sia with a clean slate), he bris­tled fur­ther, denounc­ing the quote as “pho­ny,” the ques­tion as “inde­cent,” and the inter­view itself as not being in “good faith.”

In his aca­d­e­m­ic work, how­ev­er, Sachs argued that since Chi­na was only very light­ly indus­tri­al­ized, it could afford to take its tran­si­tion slow­ly. Rus­sia, how­ev­er, was bur­dened with the bad inher­i­tance of Sovi­et indus­try, which was hope­less and had to go. . . .

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