Origins of Covid-19

A Pandemic Caused by Science?

Margret Kopala
January 12, 2024
The idea that the virus that caused Covid-19 leaked out of a laboratory in Wuhan, China rather than being passed from an animal to a person at a Chinese market has gained more and more support. Remarkable as that is, more worrisome is evidence that the secretive lab was designed to develop and tinker with dangerous viruses to make them more virulent and contagious — ostensibly in the name of medical research. Still more disturbing are the links between the Chinese facility and American scientists, government agencies and NGOs, and the possibility that the road to the pandemic actually began decades ago with efforts to weaponize medicine. Margret Kopala unpacks this tawdry tale and notes warnings from those at the centre of the story that another and possibly even worse pandemic is likely.
Origins of Covid-19

A Pandemic Caused by Science?

Margret Kopala
January 12, 2024
The idea that the virus that caused Covid-19 leaked out of a laboratory in Wuhan, China rather than being passed from an animal to a person at a Chinese market has gained more and more support. Remarkable as that is, more worrisome is evidence that the secretive lab was designed to develop and tinker with dangerous viruses to make them more virulent and contagious — ostensibly in the name of medical research. Still more disturbing are the links between the Chinese facility and American scientists, government agencies and NGOs, and the possibility that the road to the pandemic actually began decades ago with efforts to weaponize medicine. Margret Kopala unpacks this tawdry tale and notes warnings from those at the centre of the story that another and possibly even worse pandemic is likely.
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That scientists toil away in laboratories trying to make viruses more contagious and more deadly might seem the stuff of horror movies. In fact, it has been going on for decades. Called “gain-of-function” research, it involves genetically altering an organism to enhance its normal behaviour – in the case of a virus, to make it infect an organism more quickly and/or more seriously. The practice is intended to help in the study of dangerous pathogens for the development of treatments and vaccines to prevent fatal infections.

Gain-of-function research is obviously questionable, given the risk that such pathogens could be accidentally – or even intentionally – released into the general population. In 2014 then-U.S. President Barack Obama placed a moratorium on government-funded gain-of-function research, though it was rescinded three years later.

It is also one of the principal points of disagreement between Robert Redfield and Francis Collins and Anthony Fauci, three of the key players in the U.S. pandemic response. Redfield was Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Collins Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Fauci Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Following his testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic last March, Redfield told The Hill TV that, in any debate, Fauci and Collins “will argue [gain-of-function research] needs to be done,” that it’s in the “best interests of science.”

“I don’t blame the Chinese lab per se”: Robert Redfield (top), former Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), believes the virus that causes Covid-19 leaked out of China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (bottom), but that the “gain-of-function” research which created the lethal pathogen had heavy U.S. involvement. (Sources of photos: (top) CBS News/YouTube; (bottom) AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

This research is at the centre of the continuing controversy over the origins of Covid-19 – specifically, the growing belief that it leaked out of China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) when workers there became infected. In his Hill TV interview (at the 7:50 mark on the link above), Redfield was clear where he thought responsibility truly lay. “I don’t blame the Chinese lab per se,” he said. “The reality is the U.S. government funded this work, NIH funded it, NIAID funded it, the state department funded it and the [Department of Defense] funded it and the scientific community largely in the U.S. and Europe fostered the gain-of-function research. Which was the basis from which this virus came.”

Redfield’s chilling conclusion? “This pandemic was caused by science.”

That an international web of scientists, government agencies and scientific programs would bear ultimate responsibility for Covid-19 is not something most laypeople would want to countenance, and not something most of the news media or officials in public health establishments have shown any real interest in investigating. More disturbing still is evidence that the coronavirus that almost shut down the world may have been the foreseeable consequence of efforts to weaponize medicine that began decades ago. Perhaps worst of all are warnings from some of those at the centre of this story that another pandemic is highly likely.

From Wet Market to Lab-Leak

When the SARS-CoV-2 virus first emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, many in the scientific community concluded it must have been the result of “zoonotic spillover” – that it had been passed naturally from an animal to a human. After all, that’s how history’s most infamous outbreaks got started: the bubonic plague in the 14thcentury was caused by deadly bacteria transmitted by flea-bitten rodents; the 1918-20 Spanish Flu came from the H1N1 Influenza A virus transmitted by birds. More recently, bats carrying coronaviruses were thought to have caused the SARS epidemic in East Asia in 2002-04, which included 8,000 cases and 774 fatalities.

Suspicions about the origins of SARS-CoV-2 centred on Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, a huge open-air “wet” market selling seafood and  exotic wild animals including raccoon dogs, Siberian weasels and the like. Some considered live animals held at Wuhan to be possible intermediate hosts, while others thought frozen animal and seafood products sold there might have harboured the virus. As explained by Alina Chan and Matt Ridley in their book Viral: the Search for the Origin of Covid-19, these initial attempted explanations had considerable shortcomings, not least that winter was a quiet season for the sale of wildlife in China.

In-depth analysis had, however, proved difficult. The Chinese government’s obfuscation, tight control and delays in releasing key information had frustrated investigation of the virus’s origins. Finally in January 2021, after two weeks in quarantine, a team of experts assembled by the World Health Organization (WHO) undertook a carefully arranged, 12-day tour of Wuhan, including a 2-3 hour visit to the WIV. On February 9, The WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease announced that the virus’s arrival on frozen animal products or seafood was plausible and should be followed up.

By contrast, the chance that Covid-19 had leaked out of a laboratory was so “extremely unlikely” that this theory would not even be pursued. “Reaction in the west to the WHO’s dismissal of the laboratory leak hypothesis and endorsement of the frozen-food hypothesis was highly sceptical,” Chan and Ridley wrote. In some circles, anyway. Others – much of the news media, many public health officials and Canada’s Justin Trudeau government – had long since accepted the Chinese government’s essential benignity. Still, the WHO team’s distinct lack of curiosity concerning the large viral laboratory located only a few kilometres from the Wuhan wet market accentuated suspicions that had already fallen on the WIV.

“Zoonotic spillover”: China-friendly governments, many scientists and public health officials have clung to the contention that SARS-CoV-2 must have been passed from an animal to a human, possibly at the Wuhan “wet market” where live exotic animals and frozen animal and seafood products were sold. (Sources of photos (clockwise, starting top-left): AP Photo/Dake Kang; STS Schweizer Tierschutz/Flickr; Smarta/Shutterstock; Daily Mail)

According to The Wuhan Cover-Up and the Terrifying Bioweapons Arms Race by environmental lawyer, vaccine sceptic and independent U.S. Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the WIV was billed as a “beacon of international scientific collaboration” and regarded as the flagship of China’s growing roster of biosecurity labs. It had been built by the French company BioMerieux despite “fierce opposition from French defense and intelligence agencies who feared the sinister purposes of the Chinese,” Kennedy writes. BioMerieux Chairman Alain Merieux had hoped for a close working relationship with the Chinese, but after years of providing technical assistance, Merieux gave up, saying somewhat cryptically, “It was a very Chinese operation.” BioMerieux’s CEO, Stéphane Bancel, would go on to become CEO of Moderna, a soon-to-be manufacturer of Covid-19 vaccines.

The Wuhan facility became the home laboratory of Shi Zhengli, a French-trained virologist and an authority on bats, the group of mammals harbouring the largest number of coronaviruses. By 2019 over 200 coronaviruses had been identified in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, among which only a handful, such as SARS, were known to infect humans. Already in 2005 Shi had published a paper with British zoologist Peter Daszak entitled Bats are natural reservoirs of SARS-like coronaviruses.

But for her and the WIV, the seminal event occurred in 2012. Cleaning out an abandoned, bat-infested copper mineshaft in southwest China, nearly 2,000 km from Wuhan, six workers became sickened with a SARS-like virus; three died. This alarmed China’s government including, reportedly, elements in the military. Shi was authorized to collect samples and pursue further research. Shi became known as “batwoman”, while China’s biosafety labs in Wuhan became the premier research facilities for coronaviruses. 

Gain-of-Function Emerges

A 2022 conversation between Michigan State University physics professor Stephen Hsu and prominent U.S. environmental economist Jeffrey Sachs put the research occurring at Wuhan into sharp focus. In mid-2020 Sachs had chaired The Lancet Commission, which was tasked with assessing what had happened and what lessons could be learned from the pandemic outbreak. The Commission’s findings were non-committal about Covid-19’s origins, reflecting Sachs’ acceptance of the zoonotic spillover hypothesis.

But by the time of his conversation with Hsu, Sachs was clearly leaning towards what’s now known as the lab-leak theory. Sachs said his mind had been changed when several documents released under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act revealed that dangerous research had been conducted at the Wuhan lab. The lab was creating what are called “chimeric” coronaviruses, containing genetic material from two or more distinct viruses, to test for pathogenicity and transmissibility. That is, the WIV was making a synthetic virus that was more virulent and/or more infectious than either of the two originals.

More damning still were revelations from the “DEFUSE Proposal” submitted in 2018 to the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The DEFUSE Proposal revealed a partnership involving the WIV, the EcoHealth Alliance (a U.S.-based NGO ostensibly working to prevent pandemics and led by Shi collaborator Daszak), and the University of North Carolina (UNC), where a leading investigator on coronavirus gene manipulation, Ralph Baric, holds professorships.

In 2015 Baric had published an article with Shi entitled A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence. According to the paper’s Abstract, the authors “generated and characterised a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SCH014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone.” The Abstract goes on to explain how this work resulted in a virus that could replicate in human airway cells, producing effects “equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV…with notable pathogenesis.”

That is to say, an American and a Chinese researcher were boasting that they had jointly created a coronavirus infection more serious than the original SARS virus.

If the 2015 SARS-like cluster paper was a bombshell, the 2018 DEFUSE application detonated it. Sachs puts it in plain language (at the 18:46 mark of the interview linked to above): “Page 10 of DEFUSE discloses 180 previously unreported strains of [certain types of coronaviruses]…page 11 says we will examine the viruses and when they don’t have a particular part of the genome called a proteolytic cleavage site we will insert [it] into the virus. What they’re saying there is, we will deliberately make these previously unreported viruses much more dangerous…” [Emphasis added]

A viral bombshell: Microbiologist/immunologist Ralph Baric (left) from the University of North Carolina in 2015 co-authored a paper with prominent Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli (right) of the Wuhan lab, revealing they had engineered a coronavirus that could trigger infections more serious than the original SARS virus, which caused a deadly regional epidemic in 2002-2004. (Sources of photos: (left) Coalition for the Life Sciences/YouTube; (right) Chinatopix via AP, File)

“But [the] core of the biological innovation,” Sachs continues, “is to add the furin cleavage site, i.e., four amino acids that make all the difference in infectivity. SARS [on its own] just is not very infectious, it died out.” But, notes Sachs, “Add to the genome and you’ve got a doozy. Where did the furin site come from?…That was a major focus of Ralph Baric and UNC. It’s the secret sauce to make a SARS-like virus really dangerous.”

Although the Pentagon’s DARPA rejected the DEFUSE application, Sachs suggests the work had already been completed through some combination of operations at the Wuhan lab and the UNC using techniques developed by Baric.

Since then, the ranks of those who believe SARS-CoV-2 leaked out of the WIV have grown considerably. A month after Redfield’s House Committee testimony last March came the 300-page Muddy Waters: The Origins of COVID-19 Report. It was sponsored by Republican Senator Roger Marshall but authored by Robert Kadlec, a longstanding Department of Defense (DOD) bioweapons expert and, more recently, head of the Covid-19 vaccine development program in 2020 under the Trump Administration known as “Operation Warp Speed”.

Muddy Waters concluded that SARS-CoV-2 originated at the WIV. Assigning neither blame to the Chinese nor acknowledging involvement by the U.S, the report is true to its title as it asserts that the “preponderance of information supports the plausibility of an unintentional research-related incident that likely resulted from failures of biosafety containment during SARS-CoV-2 vaccine-related research.”

Other U.S. government agencies, including the FBI and Department of Energy, reached similar conclusions. Speaking with Fox News, FBI Director Christopher Wray explained that “the FBI has specialists who focus on the dangers of biological threats” and, despite the Chinese government’s lack of cooperation, “The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan.”

This carefully assessed evidence from multiple credible sources was clearly a step forward in the world’s understanding of the pandemic’s origins – as well as a welcome boost for longstanding sceptics of the zoonotic theory. What none of these reports would acknowledge, however, is how, out of the mists of sometimes difficult, obscure and risky science, the SARS-like cluster and DEFUSE papers had revealed something much more dangerous, even sinister: a working relationship between key Chinese and American scientists in pursuit of one or possibly more highly pathogenic viruses, one of which would eventually have all the features of SARS-CoV-2, the cause of the disease Covid-19.

Who Knew?

A series of documents released under the Freedom of Information Act recently revealed an email dated January 27, 2020 establishing that Anthony Fauci knew at that time, if not about the lab leak, then certainly about the existence and nature of work at Wuhan. “NIAID has funded Peter’s group for coronavirus work in China for the past 5 years,” an aide told Fauci in the email, sent as preparation for a press conference. “Peter” was Peter Daszak, the British zoologist, expert in disease ecology and president of the EcoHealth Alliance. Just hours earlier, Fauci had received an email from Daszak himself detailing “NIAID’s role in bat-origin CoVs”.

In his book The Truth About Wuhan, former EcoHealth vice president Andrew Huff asserts that SARS-CoV-2 had been in development since before 2012, involving not only EcoHealth but several U.S.-based academic institutions plus widespread funding sources, to advance gain-of-function research. Speaking with Fox Business in early 2023, Huff said Daszak admitted to having ties to the CIA. Accordingly, Huff believes the WIV was not researching viruses simply for health-care purposes – but as potential bioweapons.

Independently, an investigative report by the respected UK newspaper The Sunday Times published last June concluded that the WIV had been operating a highly classified program to make an already lethal virus even more dangerous. One investigator told The Times, “The reason it was covered up was due to [Chinese] military secrecy related to the army’s pursuit of dual-use capabilities in virological biological weapons and vaccines.”

Weaponizing germs? Andrew Huff, former vice president of the EcoHealth Alliance, an NGO that helped fund the Wuhan lab’s gain-of-function research, asserts in his book The Truth About Wuhan that SARS-CoV-2 had been in development since before 2012; Huff believes the lab was engineering viruses not only for health-care purposes but as potential bioweapons.

More suggestions of an intelligence angle came via recent allegations from a senior CIA officer that are being investigated by the U.S. Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. The agent claims Fauci pressured the CIA to maintain the zoonotic spillover hypothesis.

Which is indeed what Fauci, NIH Director Collins and Jeremy Farrar, then head of the U.K.-based Wellcome Trust and now the WHO’s Chief Scientist, were actively promoting as Covid-19 erupted and swept around the world in early 2020. By March that year Farrar had organized the publication of The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2 in the prestigious science journal Nature. With over 2,000 press citations it would become, in the words of investigative journalist Emily Kopp, “One of the most influential scientific articles in history.” Proximal Origin resolutely argued that zoonotic spillover was the origin of the virus that nearly shut down the world.

The papers authors as well as Fauci seemingly cling to that increasingly tenuous position to this day. Just four days ago, for example, Fauci appeared behind closed doors at the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic and, through eight hours of questioning, reportedly remained vague about U.S.-funded research, claimed he did not know how funding by the institute he oversaw was actually used, and maintained that he could not recall specific information about the virus’s origins or pandemic policies. 

The Biopharmaceutical-Military-Industrial Complex

Central to understanding this tawdry tale is knowing how and why gain-of-function research began in Wuhan in the first place. Many pieces of the big pandemic puzzle picture have been investigated by various publications, including here, here, and here in the C2C Journal, by other news outlets and online sources, and by citizens’ forums. But the story arguably begins with what former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his 1961 farewell address, described as America’s “military-industrial complex.”

Two recent books by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a vaccine sceptic and independent Presidential candidate, trace developments that led to the current state of medical science and its disturbing possibilities; Kennedy alleges the longstanding existence of a U.S. “Biosecurity Agenda” meant to militarize medicine and introduce “centralized autocratic governance.” (Source of top photo: fundacioncajasol, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Since that time, critics contend, Eisenhower’s “complex” has expanded vastly, including adding a “bio-pharmaceutical” component. Fittingly, perhaps, it is a current Presidential candidate who has investigated and written about this new phenomenon, with alleged tentacles reaching into academe, medical journals, governments, corporations and international as well as domestic NGOs: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. His above-mentioned book details the events and developments that led to the current state of medical science and its disturbing possibilities – including the work that probably went on at the WIV.

Kennedy explored similar themes in his best-selling 2021 book The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health. Large-scale bioweapons research has been underway since the Second World War, Kennedy alleges, when pharmaceutical companies (predominantly Merck at the time) and the U.S. military began collaborating. Bioweapons would not only be inexpensive to produce, the book reports George W. Merck as remarking, but such work could be conducted as “legitimate medical research.”

In 1969, worried about the potential for accidental escape of pathogens and, as physician and bioweapons expert Meryl Nass contends, shamed by the horror of chemical weapons’ use in Vietnam, President Richard Nixon closed the U.S. government’s program for “moral and strategic” reasons. In 1972, Nixon signed the Biological Weapons Convention, reaffirming the 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibiting the development, use and stockpiling of biological and chemical weapons.

The Convention’s “dual-use research of concern” (DURC) designation, however, allows gain-of function research so long as it is undertaken for civilian use as a vaccine or treatment. This meant that, for example, vaccines could be produced from anthrax and other biowarfare agents. This loophole, The Real Anthony Fauci alleges, kept the Pentagon and CIA sufficiently busy to enable shipment – with the help of then-Searle Pharmaceutical CEO Donald Rumsfeld, later Secretary of Defense to George W. Bush – of chemical and biological armaments in support of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s war with Iran in the 1980s.

The collapse of the Soviet Union around 1990 required new rationales to continue biowarfare programs, Kennedy argues. History didn’t disappoint. The post 9/11 War on Terror saw Islamic jihadists become the “essential adversary in U.S. foreign policy” and the anthrax attacks that followed 9/11 occasioned the launch of what Kennedy calls the “Biosecurity Agenda”.

Worried about the possible escape of dangerous pathogens and shamed by the horrors of chemical use in Vietnam, U.S. President Richard Nixon signed the Biological Weapons Convention in 1972 prohibiting the development, use and stockpiling of bioweapons. Shown at top, a U.S. helicopter spraying defoliant in Vietnam in 1969; at middle, a Vietnamese mother and daughter suffering from severe health complications after exposure to Agent Orange; at bottom, Nixon signing an international agreement in 1969. (Sources of photos: (top) Brian K. Grigsby/Department of Defense; (middle) Alexis Duclos, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0; (bottom) Richard Nixon Foundation)

A New Threat, A Powerful New Weapon

A prime mover in this initiative was Robert Kadlec, future author of the aforementioned Muddy Waters report. Kadlec saw then that infectious diseases could become a potential weapon and, thus, a grave national security threat that, he concluded, required a militarized response. In 1998 Kadlec authored a strategy paper for the Pentagon describing pathogens as a stealth weapon that could be deployed “without leaving any fingerprints.” Biological warfare, Kadlec’s paper argued, had the potential to “create significant economic losses and consequent political instability, coupled with plausible deniability.” This he said, exceeded “the possibility of any other human weapon.”

By 2001 Kadlec was urging the creation of a Strategic National Stockpile to warehouse what were now being called “countermeasures,” including vaccines and antibiotics, in the event of a pandemic or other catastrophic biological threat. Along with such materials, he recommended population-wide civil defence measures such as mandatory vaccinations and mass quarantines – neither of which were considered valid public health strategies at the time.

“No evidence to support this virus came from an animal”: Robert Kadlec, a physician and long-time Department of Defense bioweapons expert, wrote a 1998 strategy paper for the Pentagon that described pathogens as a stealth weapon that could be deployed “without leaving any fingerprints”; Kadlec later led the U.S. Covid-19 vaccine development program and authored a report asserting that the Wuhan lab was the source of the virus, a position he continues to state. (Source of photo: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The known U.S. biodefence budget grew from US$137 million in 1997 to US$14.5 billion in 2001-2004 and, by 2014, the U.S. had spent a total of US$80 billion on biodefence. Even so, countries were hampered by the Biological Weapons Convention from undertaking “leading edge biodefense programs.” Then U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s answer, according to Kennedy, was to transfer this research from the DOD to the NIH, specifically the NIAID, making Fauci in Kennedy’s words a “major player in biodefense and germ warfare.”

With no further bioterror attacks forthcoming (following the 2001 anthrax attacks), Fauci turned his attention to natural but emerging infectious diseases. Writes Kennedy: “Dr. Fauci’s pivot to conflate infectious diseases with terrorism proved a milestone inflection point in the militarization of pandemic response and in overcoming the traditional revulsion among Western democracies – codified in the Nuremberg Charter – against coercive medical interventions.”

The SARS coronavirus outbreak of 2002-2004 helped this narrative along, creating fear of a global pandemic despite its only killing 774 people – a tragedy, to be sure, but not a world-threatening one. By 2011, Kennedy writes, Fauci was boasting that the work done since the anthrax response had allowed the U.S. to build “both a physical and an intellectual infrastructure that can be used to respond to a broad range of emerging health threats.”

By then, the U.S. biodefence complex was also deeply involved in gain-of-function research. Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance would receive some $100 million between 2004 and 2022 from, among many agencies, the Pentagon’s DARPA, some of which went to operations at Wuhan. The U.S. Agency for International Development’s pandemic early-warning program PREDICT would become EcoHealth’s largest funder.

Anthony Fauci (right at top) and Francis Collins (left at top), who would become key players in the U.S. pandemic response, shared the fear of a global pandemic and/or bioterror attack raised by the 2002-04 SARS outbreak. They regarded gain-of-function research as necessary to scientific progress – but Fauci today denies knowing anything about it. Shown, people wearing masks in 2003 in Hong Kong (middle) and Toronto (bottom). (Sources of photos: (top) Bill Branson, retrieved from NIH Record; (middle) AP Photo/Anat Givon; (bottom) CP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

Beyond vaccines and medical responses, authorities undertook planning exercises to prepare for the worst. In 1999, Kadlec organized a smallpox terrorist attack simulation for a joint exercise by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, which would become kind of a command central for bioterrorist attack preparations. That same year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would become major donors to the university, although their contribution would be dwarfed by the US$13 billion advanced by the NIH and NIAID since 2001.

There was a Canadian angle as well. According to Kennedy, Ottawa got involved through Top Official 2, second of a series of U.S.-organized exercises wherein 8,000 participants gathered in Seattle and Chicago to consider chemical and biological attack scenarios and pandemic management. Just two years before the Covid-19 outbreak, the now-renamed Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security published the eerily anticipatory The SPARS Pandemic 2025-2028: A Futuristic Scenario for Public Health Risk Communicators.

October 2019 would see another eerily anticipatory development, this time in the form of Event 201. Boasting a distinguished array of participants, including George Fu Gao, then Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Avril Haines, formerly the Deputy Director of the CIA and now Director of National Intelligence in the Biden Administration, this table-top exercise prepared technocrats from around the world in the art of pandemic management. Many were involved with the now-expanding network of organizations pushing a mass-vaccination agenda, such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and GAVI the Vaccine Alliance.

All these events, notes Kennedy, had common features. None emphasized preventative measures to bolster the individual’s immune system, such as adequate vitamin D, healthy diets and exercise. None looked at the invaluable role individual frontline doctors might play – as they had in all previous epidemics and pandemics. Certainly none looked into the use of re-purposed, off-the-shelf drugs – as doctors have successfully done and continue to do to treat innumerable diseases and conditions.

“Instead,” notes Kennedy, “the simulations war-gamed how to use police powers to detain and quarantine citizens, how to impose martial law, how to control messaging by deploying propaganda, how to employ censorship to silence dissent, and how to mandate masks, lockdowns, coercive vaccination, and construct track-and-trace surveillance among potentially reluctant populations.”

Exactly what this meant remains arguable, and many will still recoil at Kennedy’s conclusion that it was aimed at “militarizing medicine and introducing centralized autocratic governance.” Still, the immediate and practical effects of this expanding web of organizations, relationships, research and policies would become evident in the winter of 2019-2020. Science, public health institutions, local economies and civil liberties would all be hijacked, bringing most of the world to its knees in a way no disease could.

Event 201, held in October 2019, was one of several pre-Covid-19 simulations meant to train technocrats around the world in pandemic response; Robert F. Kennedy Jr. alleges that these exercises actually “war-gamed” how authorities could enforce quarantines, silence dissent, mandate lockdowns and employ coercive vaccination. Depicted, screenshots of Event 201. (Source: Rumble)

The War on Covid-19

When Covid-19 did come along, the many existing local and national emergency preparedness plans didn’t have a chance. The U.S. perceived, treated and managed the pandemic as a formal national security threat, explains Robert Malone, a physician and early mRNA developer, in the linked video (at 31:00). Because they are considered a type of countermeasure to a bioterror attack, vaccines were authorized to be rushed into service. Exercising what is known as Other Transaction Authority, the U.S. DOD contracted vaccine development as “demonstration products not as final products.”

And thus, continues Malone (at 33:00), “because they were a prototype, they did not require the standard testing.” Variations on that process were adopted elsewhere as fear gripped the world. It must, of course, be noted that millions of people pursued development of Covid-19 vaccines or participated in their rollout in good faith, considering them instrumental to halt the pandemic and protect the population.

Sasha Latypova, a former pharmaceutical industry executive, explains in this video (beginning at 32:10) that these countermeasures are contracted and funded with the same process used to buy conventional weapons. The U.S. Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act removes liability for “covered persons using covered countermeasures on condition of following orders of health authorities.” So long as no rules are violated, no charge of criminality or wilful misconduct will apply if the countermeasure kills or injures a person. Countermeasures, then, are “medicines” without any regulatory safeguards. Under similar provisions of the same law, no clinical trials, Congressional or judicial review, or criteria for stopping vaccination programs are needed.

While this shocking theory of how the Covid-19 vaccines were authorized and developed may still seem far-fetched, there is indirect supporting evidence. One example is the attempted lawsuit by Brook Jackson, former regional director of a Texas testing facility. In 2021, Jackson concluded that Pfizer’s Stage III clinical trials of its mRNA vaccine ignored “data integrity” and patient “safety”.

After being fired for raising concerns, Jackson attempted to sue Pfizer and her former employer. In court, Pfizer stated that it was simply doing what was ordered and approved by government. Last April, a U.S. district court judge agreed and dismissed the case. “Ms. Jackson is in effect asking this Court to overrule the DoD’s decision to exercise Other Transaction Authority to purchase Pfizer’s vaccine,” the judge noted, confirming the existence and legal force of several of the key puzzle pieces alleged by critics like Malone, Kennedy and others.

Ahead of the game: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, a vocal proponent of mass vaccination, spread philanthropic donations across numerous NGOs concerned with epidemics and vaccines before Covid-19 struck; in 2019 the Gates Foundation made a $55 million investment in BioNTech, which would go on to develop what became the most widely used Covid-19 vaccine (marketed under Pfizer). (Source of photo: Suzie Katz, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The pharmaceutical companies were certainly ready. Alongside the virus’s origins lies another mystery: just when it was that development began on the vaccines. The gain-of-function timeline pieced together to date, along with other, still fragmentary evidence, points to yet another shocking possibility. Former EcoHealth vice president Huff notes that Moderna, a leading marketer of Covid-19 vaccines, had filed “several patent applications on or about 2013, and the furin cleavage site is found referenced later in SARS-CoV-2 patent applications filed by Moderna in 2016.” To Huff, “This strongly suggests that the infectious agent SARS-CoV-2 and the Covid-19 mRNA vaccine were co-developed.”

There are disturbing signs that others were also anticipating such a development. Gates, for example, had become a vocal proponent of mass vaccination and development of new vaccines, spreading philanthropic donations across numerous NGOs concerned with epidemics and vaccines. In September 2019 the Gates Foundation made a $55 million pre-IPO equity investment in BioNTech, which would go on to develop and market what became the most widely used Covid-19 vaccine, under Pfizer’s brand.

If pharmaceutical companies were the arms dealers and frontmen of the war on Covid-19, they enjoyed not only tidy profits but arm-twisting power, too. Pfizer’s contract with South Africa, one of the few to have leaked out, is instructive. “It’s a one-sided contract,” says Australian solicitor Tony Nikolic, who has spent two years trying to access procurement contracts by the Australian government. “Pfizer gets all the profits and none of the risks.” Calling it “akin to extortion,” Nikolic notes that, “There’s absolutely no liability from the vaccine manufacturer in terms of injuries that may arise from their product.”

Nikolic attributes this one-sidedness to the fear if not panic that gripped governments worldwide at the time. South Africa’s contracts may well reflect standard operating procedure. Heavily redacted contracts signed by the Government of Canada with pharmaceutical companies and released in 2021 suggest Canada agreed to similar arrangements.

The Aftermath – And Can it Happen Again

If Covid-19 was indeed an accident of catastrophic proportions – a deadly pathogen that leaked out of a lab designed to develop and tinker with such dangerous things – vested interests were certainly ready to exploit it. Governments wasted no time in clamping down. Severe if not grotesque state overreach in the name of safety and security was either part of the game plan all along or quickly swept aside more reasonable existing emergency management plans, as occurred in Alberta. A few countries, like Sweden, did resist the tsunami.

Addressing the National Citizens Inquiry on April 5, 2023, retired lawyer Gail Davidson, an expert in human rights law, argued (at 6:40) that governments everywhere engaged in “widespread and systemic violation of rights and impose(d) measures that caused a great deal of harm to everybody.” These restrictions, Davidson warned, have “paved the way for further measures to destroy democratic governance and entrench authoritarian rule.” (More on the National Citizens Inquiry can be read in this C2C essay). Davidson isn’t the only one sounding such alarms in Canada and around the world.

Safeguarding and, if possible, restoring liberties will be crucial, because concerned critics are already warning that another pandemic is likely. In his interview with Hill TV, the above-mentioned Robert Redfield predicted the next world-threatening pathogen will appear “first in a laboratory, then an escape, then a pandemic which will be much more brutal than Covid was.”

Redfield is calling for a prohibition or at least severe restrictions to be placed on the widespread gain-of-function research which right now, he says, “is being done in university laboratories all over the world.” Such restrictions would take on particular urgency if it were at last officially acknowledged that SARS-CoV-2 itself originated in a lab. On that score, Muddy Waters author Kadlec was crystal-clear in a recent interview: “I can honestly say there’s no evidence to support this virus came from an animal. And there’s a lot of evidence to support this came from a lab.”

Like Redfield, a seemingly chastened Kadlec in the same recent interview also predicts another pandemic. So – chillingly – does “batwoman” Shi, who argues that another coronavirus is “highly likely.” As lead author of a paper published in July, Shi states that, “We conducted comprehensive analysis to all known alpha and beta coronavirus species and pinpointed a list of 20 CoV species with high risk of human spillover, which could be the causative agent of a future outbreak.”

Chilling vision of the future: Key players in the Covid-19 crisis predict another pandemic will strike, one that could be even worse; “batwoman” Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan lab has written that 20 CoV species have been identified “with high risk of human spillover.” (Source of photo: blvdone/Shutterstock)

With such diverse sources warning of a new pandemic, one would think governments, public health officials and the media would be eager if not desperate to learn how to prepare. Alberta’s Public Health Emergencies Governance Review Panel, for example, has recommended much greater democratic accountability in emergency planning. The National Citizens Inquiry’s Report noted particularly the failure to adequately test Covid-19 vaccines, and has called for a full investigation of the process under which vaccines were authorized.

Yet most governments continue to sneer at any suggestion they made mistakes last time, while the public health establishment does its bit in maintaining the narrative by refusing to accept that anything was rushed or compromised. As this doctor explains with apparent sincerity, Covid-19 vaccines were tested on “tens of thousands of volunteers in high quality randomized controlled trials.” Similarly, the current head of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research extols the accomplishments of mRNA technology and the resulting vaccines.

Meanwhile, the biopharma-military-industrial complex rolls along, getting ready for the next war on a dangerous pathogen even as it hands out medals for the last one. U.S. President Joe Biden has committed US$5 billion to develop new Covid-19 vaccines even faster. As for the EcoHealth Alliance, it has been awarded a grant for collaborative research on bat coronaviruses, this time with the Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School. Adding to his considerable CV, Daszak is now the secretary-treasurer of the recently launched Global Virome Project, which aims to produce an archive of wild viruses. As Kennedy grimly predicts in the concluding sections of The Wuhan Cover-up, governments and the corporations that control a process in which they own both the poison and the antidote have almost “limitless” incentives to “engage in diabolical behaviour”.

Even more ominously, in defiance of the hard lesson that a globalized response to a global problem resulted in near-global catastrophe, governments and international organizations appear intent on doubling-down on the very things that didn’t work. Despite a growing backlash, for example, the WHO’s proposed Global Pandemic Treaty as well as revisions to its International Health Regulations are set to be ratified by the United Nations later this year.

If not amended or blocked, these will give the WHO extraordinary powers to mandate measures in any area that can be construed as public health, with the widest possible definition. The World Council for Health, a citizen-funded coalition of individuals and international non-profit organizations, details how these proposals would elevate the WHO from an advisory organization to one making legally binding proclamations, mandating medical treatments, overriding sovereign nations and censoring opposing views.

Importantly, WHO-controlled funds will flow to where the vested interests want them. While member nations vote on matters of general policy, the organization’s corporate, national and individual donors are allowed to direct their funding to favoured projects. In 2020-2021, these contributions made up US$6.4 billion of the WHO’s US$8 billion budget, writes David Bell, former medical officer of the WHO, in a paper entitled Pandemic preparedness and the road to international fascism. This, Bell writes, “means that most WHO work is based on what funders, including private individuals such as Mr. William (Bill) Gates Jr. agree to and are willing to fund – not necessarily what the WHO…deem of primary concern for the populations they serve.”

Increasing the risks of accidents or sabotage: There are more than 50 biosafety level 4 labs around the world, including one in Winnipeg, Manitoba (top), and 18 more are planned – which will mean even more dangerous tinkering with pathogens. (Sources of photos: (top) Independent Science News; (bottom) Global Trends in Biorisk Management, licensed under CC BY 4.0)

Given these trends, it is foreseeable that biosafety labs, instead of being reigned in, will proliferate as countries are encouraged to identify and share genomic sequences of pathogenic viruses. Today there are 51 such labs, including the Wuhan facility and one in Winnipeg, Manitoba. A further 18 are set to open in the next few years despite warnings that more labs mean more dangerous tinkering with pathogens. Plus, expanded risks of accidents or sabotage. So far, no one appears to be discussing who would get the patent rights – that is, ownership of genomic sequences with the exclusive right to develop, manipulate and cash in for possibly decades on any vaccines these labs might produce.

Seeing nothing but more gain for the biopharmaceutical complex and losses for human rights and individual freedom, Bell concludes that the “public health industry must urgently awaken to the changing world in which it works, if it is to adopt a role in saving public health rather than contributing to its degradation.” We can hope the public health industry and, indeed, all governments heed the urgent call of Bell and the growing legion of independent analysts like Kennedy.

These concerns reflect, explicitly or implicitly, the thinking of French philosopher Simone Weil, who in her seminal essay Reflections on War warned of the dangers of an overbearing “Apparatus”. As Weil wrote: “Whether the mask is labelled Fascism, Democracy, or Dictatorship of the Proletariat, our great adversary remains The Apparatus – the bureaucracy, the police, the military…The worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this Apparatus, and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others.” Although she was writing in 1933 as the Nazis came to power in Germany, Weil’s forewarning is even more relevant today.

Margret Kopala is a public policy analyst and lead author of “The Dog Bone Portfolio: An Investor’s Odyssey into the First Kondratieff Winter of the 21st Century.”

Source of main image: Shutterstock.

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