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Supplement to the Oswald Institute of Virology Series ” . . . . ‘A Can of Worms’ . . . . ‘Pandora’s Box’ . . .”

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COMMENT: Sup­ple­ment­ing the FTR series on “The Oswald Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy,” we high­light three key pieces of infor­ma­tion that will be devel­oped at greater length in pro­grams to come in that series.

As the “Lab Leak Hypoth­e­sis” of the pan­demic’s ori­gins moves toward becom­ing a main­streamed pro­pa­gan­da theme,  we note that:

  1. Antho­ny Fau­ci him­self set forth the “lab leak” sce­nario in his 2012 endorse­ment of a mora­to­ri­um on gain-of-func­tion manip­u­la­tions, set­ting the intel­lec­tu­al stage for the “gam­ing” of just such a sce­nario: ” . . . . In 2012, Dr. Antho­ny Fau­ci, who leads NIH’s Nation­al Insti­tute of Aller­gy and Infec­tious Dis­eases, came out in sup­port of a mora­to­ri­um on such research, pos­ing a hypo­thet­i­cal sce­nario involv­ing a poor­ly trained sci­en­tist in a poor­ly reg­u­lat­ed lab: ‘In an unlike­ly but con­ceiv­able turn of events, what if that sci­en­tist becomes infect­ed with the virus, which leads to an out­break and ulti­mate­ly trig­gers a pan­dem­ic?’ Fau­ci wrote. . . .”
  2. USAID’s PREDICT project trained many of the sci­en­tists at the WIV.  From the stand­point of covert oper­a­tions, this would afford the oppor­tu­ni­ty to place one or more oper­a­tives inside that appar­ent­ly tar­get­ed insti­tu­tion: [USAID is a State Depart­ment sub­sidiary that is one of the largest fun­ders of  the Eco­Health Alliance and a fre­quent cov­er for CIA activ­i­ty.] ” . . . . . . . . Many of the sci­en­tists at the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy have been trained by the U.S. government’s PREDICT project. . . .”
  3. Pom­peo State Depart­ment offi­cials pur­su­ing the lab-leak hypoth­e­sis were told to cov­er it up lest it shed light on U.S. gov­ern­ment fund­ing of research at the “Oswald Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy!”: ” . . . . In one State Depart­ment meet­ing, offi­cials seek­ing to demand trans­paren­cy from the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment say they were explic­it­ly told by col­leagues not to explore the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virology’s gain-of-func­tion research, because it would bring unwel­come atten­tion to U.S. gov­ern­ment fund­ing of it. . . . .In an inter­nal memo obtained by Van­i­ty Fair, Thomas DiNan­no, for­mer act­ing assis­tant sec­re­tary of the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Con­trol, Ver­i­fi­ca­tion, and Com­pli­ance, wrote that. . .  staff from two bureaus . . . “warned” lead­ers with­in his bureau ‘not to pur­sue an inves­ti­ga­tion into the ori­gin of COVID-19’ because it would ‘open a can of worms’ if it con­tin­ued.’ . . . . As the group probed the lab-leak sce­nario, among oth­er pos­si­bil­i­ties, its mem­bers were repeat­ed­ly advised not to open a ‘Pandora’s box,’ said four for­mer State Depart­ment offi­cials inter­viewed by Van­i­ty Fair. . . .”

1.“To the Bat Cave: In Search of Covid’s Ori­gins, Sci­en­tists Reignite Polar­iz­ing Debate on Wuhan ‘Lab        Leak’” by Arthur Allen; KHN; 05/19/2021

. . . . In 2012, Dr. Antho­ny Fau­ci, who leads NIH’s Nation­al Insti­tute of Aller­gy and Infec­tious Dis­eases, came out in sup­port of a mora­to­ri­um on such research, pos­ing a hypo­thet­i­cal sce­nario involv­ing a poor­ly trained sci­en­tist in a poor­ly reg­u­lat­ed lab: “In an unlike­ly but con­ceiv­able turn of events, what if that sci­en­tist becomes infect­ed with the virus, which leads to an out­break and ulti­mate­ly trig­gers a pan­dem­ic?” Fau­ci wrote.

In 2017, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment lift­ed its pause on such exper­i­ments but has since required some be approved by a fed­er­al board.

2.  “Trump admin pulls NIH grant for coro­n­avirus research over ties to Wuhan lab at heart of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries” by Conor Finnegan; ABC News; 05/01/2020

. . . . Many of the sci­en­tists at the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy have been trained by the U.S. government’s PREDICT project. . . .

3.  “The Lab-Leak The­o­ry: Inside the Fight to Uncov­er Covid-19’s Ori­gins” by Kather­ine Eban; Van­i­ty Fair; 6/3/2021.

. . . . A months long Van­i­ty Fair inves­ti­ga­tion, inter­views with more than 40 peo­ple, and a review of hun­dreds of pages of U.S. gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments, includ­ing inter­nal mem­os, meet­ing min­utes, and email cor­re­spon­dence, found that con­flicts of inter­est, stem­ming in part from large gov­ern­ment grants sup­port­ing con­tro­ver­sial virol­o­gy research, ham­pered the U.S. inves­ti­ga­tion into COVID-19’s ori­gin at every step. In one State Depart­ment meet­ing, offi­cials seek­ing to demand trans­paren­cy from the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment say they were explic­it­ly told by col­leagues not to explore the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virology’s gain-of-func­tion research, because it would bring unwel­come atten­tion to U.S. gov­ern­ment fund­ing of it.

In an inter­nal memo obtained by Van­i­ty Fair, Thomas DiNan­no, for­mer act­ing assis­tant sec­re­tary of the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Con­trol, Ver­i­fi­ca­tion, and Com­pli­ance, wrote that staff from two bureaus, his own and the Bureau of Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty and Non­pro­lif­er­a­tion, “warned” lead­ers with­in his bureau “not to pur­sue an inves­ti­ga­tion into the ori­gin of COVID-19” because it would “‘open a can of worms’ if it con­tin­ued.” . . . . 

. . . . But for most of the past year, the lab-leak sce­nario was treat­ed not sim­ply as unlike­ly or even inac­cu­rate but as moral­ly out-of-bounds. In late March, for­mer Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol direc­tor Robert Red­field received death threats from fel­low sci­en­tists after telling CNN that he believed COVID-19 had orig­i­nat­ed in a lab. . . . 

. . . . In the words of David Fei­th, for­mer deputy assis­tant sec­re­tary of state in the East Asia bureau, “The sto­ry of why parts of the U.S. gov­ern­ment were not as curi­ous as many of us think they should have been is a huge­ly impor­tant one.” . . . .

. . . . As offi­cials at the meet­ing dis­cussed what they could share with the pub­lic, they were advised by Christo­pher Park, the direc­tor of the State Department’s Bio­log­i­cal Pol­i­cy Staff in the Bureau of Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty and Non­pro­lif­er­a­tion, not to say any­thing that would point to the U.S. government’s own role in gain-of-func­tion research, accord­ing to doc­u­men­ta­tion of the meet­ing obtained by Van­i­ty Fair.

Only two oth­er labs in the world, in Galve­ston, Texas and Chapel Hill, North Car­oli­na, were doing sim­i­lar research. “It’s not a dozen cities,” Dr. Richard Ebright said. “It’s three places.” 

Some of the atten­dees were “absolute­ly floored,” said an offi­cial famil­iar with the pro­ceed­ings. That some­one in the U.S. gov­ern­ment could “make an argu­ment that is so naked­ly against trans­paren­cy, in light of the unfold­ing cat­a­stro­phe, was…shocking and dis­turb­ing.”

Park, who in 2017 had been involved in lift­ing a U.S. gov­ern­ment mora­to­ri­um on fund­ing for gain-of-func­tion research, was not the only offi­cial to warn the State Depart­ment inves­ti­ga­tors against dig­ging in sen­si­tive places. As the group probed the lab-leak sce­nario, among oth­er pos­si­bil­i­ties, its mem­bers were repeat­ed­ly advised not to open a “Pandora’s box,” said four for­mer State Depart­ment offi­cials inter­viewed by Van­i­ty Fair. The admo­ni­tions “smelled like a cov­er-up,” said Thomas DiNan­no, “and I wasn’t going to be part of it.” . . . . 

 

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