Bioweapon Labs Must Be Shut Down and Scientists Prosecuted
The idea that SARS-CoV-2 originated in a bioweapons laboratory is gaining traction. May 3, 2020, The New York Times reported that during an ABC “This Week” interview Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had stated “the coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan.” Pompeo also accused China of covering up the leak.
“Mr. Pompeo, the former C.I.A. chief and one of the senior administration officials who is most hawkish on dealing with China, said that ‘there’s enormous evidence’ that the coronavirus came from the lab, though he agreed with the intelligence assessment that there was no indication that the virus was man-made or genetically modified,” The New York Times writes.
Now, if you’ve been following this newsletter, you’ve likely seen my interviews with bioweapons expert Francis Boyle and molecular biologist Judy Mikovits, both of whom have cited evidence that strongly points toward SARS-CoV-2 being a laboratory creation. So, the assessment that there’s “no indication” that the virus has been modified seems dubious at best. Most likely, we’re not just dealing with scientific interpretations here, but with political games as well.
Bioweapon Labs Must Be Shut Down and Scientists Prosecuted
As noted by Boyle — professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of the book, “Biowarfare and Terrorism,” who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 — what’s needed is a ban on biosafety level (BSL) 3 and 4 labs.
Time and again, serious safety breaches have been identified at laboratories working with the most lethal and dangerous pathogens in the world. For example, in 2014, six glass vials of smallpox virus were accidentally found in a storeroom in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s lab at the National Institutes of Health.
It was the second time in one month mishandling of potential deadly infectious agents was exposed. One month before this shocking discovery, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention realized as many as 84, and possibly 86, of its scientists had been exposed to live anthrax.
The live pathogen had been sent from another, higher-security facility, which failed to follow biosafety protocols. The anthrax sample was supposed to have been inactivated prior to transfer, but for a variety of reasons it wasn’t dead on arrival.
The next year, in 2015, the Pentagon realized a Dugway Proving Ground laboratory had been sending incompletely inactivated anthrax (meaning it was still live) to 200 laboratories around the world for the past 12 years. According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued in August 2016, incompletely inactivated anthrax was sent out on at least 21 occasions between 2003 and 2015.
Asia Times lists several other examples as well, as does a May 28, 2015, article in USA Today and an April 11, 2014, article in Slate magazine. In 2017, the BSL 4 lab on Galveston Island was hit by a massive storm and severe flooding, raising questions about what might happen were some of the pathogens kept there to get out. As recently as 2019, the BSL 4 lab in Fort Detrick was temporarily shut down after several protocol violations were noted.
In October 2014, a U.S. moratorium on experiments on coronaviruses that might make the viruses more pathogenic and/or easy to spread among humans took effect.
The ban came on the heels of “high-profile lab mishaps” at the CDC and “extremely controversial flu experiments” in which the bird flu virus was engineered to become more lethal and contagious between ferrets. The goal was to see if it could mutate and become more lethal and contagious between humans, causing future pandemics. However, the federal moratorium on lethal virus experiments in the U.S. was lifted at the end of December 2017.
Fauci Backed Dangerous Coronavirus Research
In 2015, researchers announced that in their labs they had created a hybrid coronavirus similar to that of SARS that was capable of infecting both human airway cells and mice.
The NIH had allowed the controversial research to proceed, despite the moratorium, because it had begun before the moratorium was put in place — a decision criticized by Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at Pasteur Institute in Paris, who pointed out that “If the [new] virus escaped, nobody could predict the trajectory.”
Others, such as Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist and biodefence expert at Rutgers University, agreed, saying “The only impact of this work is the creation, in a lab, of a new, non-natural risk.”
In 2017, Tim Trevan, a Maryland biosafety consultant, expressed concern about viral threats potentially escaping the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory. As reported by The Washington Post and Business Insider, diplomatic cables sent in 2018 also warned about “possible safety breaches at a lab in Wuhan.”
Backing dangerous coronavirus research was none other than Dr. Anthony Fauci, who now leads the White House pandemic response team. As reported by Newsweek, April 28, 2020:
“Just last year, the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases [NIAID], the organization led by Dr. Fauci, funded scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other institutions for work on gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses.
In 2019, with the backing of NIAID, the National Institutes of Health committed $3.7 million over six years for research that included some gain-of-function work. The program followed another $3.7 million, 5-year project for collecting and studying bat coronaviruses, which ended in 2019, bringing the total to $7.4 million.
Many scientists have criticized gain of function research, which involves manipulating viruses in the lab to explore their potential for infecting humans, because it creates a risk of starting a pandemic from accidental release.”
NIAID Funded Coronavirus Gain-of-Function Research
According to Newsweek, the NIAID research in question was conducted in two parts. The first, which began in 2014 and ended in 2019, focused on “understanding the risk of bat coronavirus emergence.” Initial findings were published in Nature Medicine in 2015.
The program, which had a budget of $3.7 million, was led by Wuhan virologist Shi Zheng-Li and sought to catalogue wild bat coronaviruses. As noted by Boyle in our interview, it also involved U.S. scientists from the University of North Carolina and Harvard.
The second phase began in 2019 and included additional surveillance of coronaviruses along with gain-of-function research to investigate how bat coronaviruses might mutate to affect humans. This second phase “was run by EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit research group, under the direction of president Peter Daszak, an expert on disease ecology. NIH canceled the project Friday, April 24, 2020” Newsweek reports, adding:
“The project proposal states: ‘We will use S protein sequence data, infectious clone technology, in vitro and in vivo infection experiments and analysis of receptor binding to test the hypothesis that % divergence thresholds in S protein sequences predict spillover potential.’
In layman’s terms, ‘spillover potential’ refers to the ability of a virus to jump from animals to humans, which requires that the virus be able to attach to receptors in the cells of humans. SARS-CoV-2, for instance, is adept at binding to the ACE2 receptor in human lungs and other organs.
According to Richard Ebright, an infectious disease expert at Rutgers University, the project description refers to experiments that would enhance the ability of bat coronavirus to infect human cells and laboratory animals using techniques of genetic engineering. In the wake of the pandemic, that is a noteworthy detail.”
Fauci Defended Gain-of-Function Research on Bird Flu
Fauci also defended and promoted gain-of-function research on bird flu viruses a decade ago, saying such research was worth the risk because it allows scientists to prepare for pandemics. In reality, this kind of research does not appear to have improved governments’ pandemic responses.
If anything, it’s a curious coincidence that the very viruses undergoing gain-of-function research are the ones causing pandemics. As noted in an interesting April 24, 2020, Salon article written by independent journalist and analyst for the Institute for Public Accuracy Sam Husseini, dangerous pathogens are made even more so in laboratories around the world, and the COVID-19 pandemic really “exposes the threat of a biowarfare arms race.”
“Regardless of the source of this pandemic, there is considerable documentation that a global biological arms race going on outside of public view could produce even more deadly pandemics in the future,” Husseini writes, adding:
“Governments that participate in such biological weapon research generally distinguish between ‘biowarfare’ and ‘biodefense,’ as if to paint such ‘defense’ programs as necessary. But this is rhetorical sleight-of-hand; the two concepts are largely indistinguishable.
‘Biodefense’ implies tacit biowarfare, breeding more dangerous pathogens for the alleged purpose of finding a way to fight them. While this work appears to have succeeded in creating deadly and infectious agents, including deadlier flu strains, such ‘defense’ research is impotent in its ability to defend us from this pandemic.”
‘Natural Leap’ Explanation Is Weak at Best
Husseini goes on to discuss a widely-cited study published March 17, 2020, which claims to disprove a lab origin for SARS-CoV-2. He writes:
“That journal article, titled ‘The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2,’ stated unequivocally: ‘Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.’
This is a subtly misleading sentence. While the scientists state that there is no known laboratory ‘signature’ in the SARS-Cov-2 RNA, their argument fails to take account of other lab methods that could have created coronavirus mutations without leaving such a signature.”
One way to manipulate viruses without genetically engineering them per se is by growing them in a series of animal tissues. This is a process used in vaccine development to speed up evolution of the virus. As explained by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in our recent interview, the way they accelerate evolution of bat coronaviruses is by taking it from the anus of the bat and replicating it in animal tissue such as pangolin kidney tissue.
Next, the grown viruses are placed on feral monkey kidney cells, followed by mouse brain tissue. Each time you transfer the virus to another animal tissue, you increase the risk of zoonotic animal virus contamination in addition to mutations. According to Kennedy, six years of evolution can be accomplished in a matter of days using this accelerated evolution process. Through this process, extremely viral forms of the virus can be rapidly created. Husseini also points out that:
“… there is also the question of conflict of interest in the Nature Medicine article. Some of the authors of that article, as well as a February 2020 Lancet letter condemning ‘conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin’ … have troubling ties to the biodefense complex, as well as to the U.S. government.
Notably, neither of these articles makes clear that a virus can have a natural origin and then be captured and studied in a controlled laboratory setting before being let loose, either intentionally or accidentally — which is clearly a possibility in the case of the coronavirus.”
Mainstream media are now trying to squash conversations about the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 was man-made by insisting scientists wouldn’t have chosen a harmless coronavirus to work with. Live Science, for example, tried debunking the man-made virus theory, saying:
“Scientists have studied how SARS-CoV differs from SARS-CoV-2 — with several key letter changes in the genetic code. Yet in computer simulations, the mutations in SARS-CoV-2 don’t seem to work very well at helping the virus bind to human cells.
If scientists had deliberately engineered this virus, they wouldn’t have chosen mutations that computer models suggest won’t work. But it turns out, nature is smarter than scientists, and the novel coronavirus found a way to mutate that was better — and completely different— from anything scientists could have created …”
Similarly, a Scripps Research press release states that, “If someone were seeking to engineer a new coronavirus as a pathogen, they would have constructed it from the backbone of a virus known to cause illness.”
‘Natural Leap’ Theory Is Not Believable in Face of Evidence
Meanwhile, a recent article in the Great Game India Journal of Geopolitics & International Relations points out that Radiotelevisione Italiana exposed China’s coronavirus work in a November 2015 broadcast, raising serious questions about the ethics involved. An English transcription of the Italian broadcast reads, in part:
“Chinese scientists have created a pulmonary super virus from bats and mice … It is a group of Chinese researchers attaching a protein taken from bats to the SARS virus, Acute Pneumonia, derived from mice. The output is a super coronavirus that could affect man.
It remains closed in laboratories and it is only for study purposes, but is it worth the risk — creating such a great threat only for examination purposes? …
Here is an experiment in China, in which a group of scientists has managed to develop a chimera — an organism modified by attaching the surface protein of a coronavirus found in bats of the common species called the Great Horseshoe Bat, to a virus that causes SARS in mice, although in a non-fatal form.
It was suspected that the protein could make the chimeric hybrid organism suitable for affecting humans, and the experiment confirmed it.
It is precisely this molecule, called SHCO14, that allows the coronavirus to attach itself to our respiratory cells and to trigger the syndrome. According to researchers, the two organisms, the original and even more so the engineered one, can infect humans directly from bats, without going through an intermediate species like the mouse …”
In Great Game India’s “COVID-19 Files,” you can find data exploring the origin of SARS-CoV-2 from five different angles, including epidemiological investigations, virus gene comparisons, cross-species infection research, intermediate hosts and findings from the Wuhan lab.
Dr. Meryl Nass — who in 1992 published a paper in which she identified the 1978-1980 Zimbabwe anthrax outbreak as a case of biological warfare — also isn’t buying the all-natural argument. In an April 2, 2020, blog post, she wrote:
“Why are some of the U.S.’ top scientists making a specious argument about the natural origin of SARS-CoV-2? … Prior to genetic engineering techniques being developed (1973) and widely used (since late 1970s), more ‘primitive’ means of causing mutations, with the intention of developing biological weapons, were employed …
They resulted in biological weapons that were tested, well-described, and in some cases, used … These methods can result in biowarfare agents that lack the identifiable signature of a microbial agent constructed in a lab from known RNA or DNA sequences.
In fact, it would be desirable to produce such agents, since it would be difficult to prove they were deliberately constructed in a lab. Here are just a few possibilities for how one might create new, virulent mutants:
- Exposing microorganisms to chemical or radiological agents that cause high mutation rates and selecting for desired characteristics
- Passaging virus through a number of lab animals or tissue cultures
- Mixing viruses together and seeking recombinants with a new mix of virulence factors”
Tracking Down Origin of SARS-CoV-2 Is Crucial
As noted by the National Review, getting to the bottom of the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is indeed important if we want to prevent a similar pandemic to erupt in the future.
“If it originated from a person eating bat or pangolin at a wet market, then we need to take steps to ensure that bat and pangolin consumption and trade stops …” the National Review writes.
“Bat guano is used as fertilizer in many countries, and that guano can be full of viruses … If this is the source of the virus, we need to get people to stop going into caves and using the guano as fertilizer …
In a strange way, the ‘lab accident’ scenario is one of the most reassuring explanations. It means that if we want to ensure we never experience this again, we simply need to get every lab in the world working on contagious viruses to ensure 100 percent compliance with safety protocols, all the time.”
Do You Live Near a Bioweapons Lab?
Many are unaware of just how many BSL 3 and 4 labs there are in the world. According to the National Review, BSL 4 laboratories are found in the U.S., China, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, The Czech Republic, France, Gabon, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
In testimony about high-containment biosafety laboratories presented to the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in October 2007, Keith Rhodes, chief technologist at the Center for Technology and Engineering, points out that BSL4 labs in the U.S. increased from five to 15 between 2001 and 2007 alone, and that no one is actually responsible for tracking the proliferation of BSL 3 and 4 labs in the U.S. or determining the risks associated with them.
On top of that there are dozens more BSL 3 laboratories. The map below was published in the journal Science in 2007 and reprinted in Asia Times April 6, 2020, showing the proliferation of high-containment labs in the U.S. A USA Today investigation published in 2015 put the number of BSL 3 and 4 labs in the U.S. around 200, and Boyle estimates there are about 400 worldwide.
The Danger Outweighs Any Potential Benefit
As long as we are creating the risk, the benefit will always be secondary. By taking dangerous pathogens and making them even more lethal through gain-of-function research, scientists and those who fund them are playing a high-risk game of Russian Roulette. Any scientific or medical gains made from such research pales in comparison to the incredible risks involved. This sentiment has been echoed by others in a variety of scientific publications.
Considering the potential for a massively lethal pandemic, I believe it’s safe to say that BSL 3 and 4 laboratories pose a very real and serious existential threat to humanity. U.S. biowarfare programs employ some 13,000 scientists, all of whom are hard at work creating ever-deadlier pathogens, while the public is simply told to trust that these pathogens will never be released, either involuntarily or voluntarily.
Historical facts tell us accidental exposures and releases have already happened, and we only have our lucky stars to thank that none have turned into pandemics taking the lives of millions. Considering safety breaches at these labs number in the hundreds, it’s only a matter of time before something really nasty gets out. Consider the ramifications if a souped-up Ebola or Spanish flu were to get out, for example.
Regardless of the exact method behind its creation, it seems clear to me that SARS-CoV-2 has been modified and that its origin is being covered up by responsible parties. Why the cover-up? In short, to avoid life behind bars. The Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 states:
“Whoever knowingly develops, produces, stockpiles, transfers, acquires, retains, or possesses any biological agent, toxin, or delivery system for use as a weapon, or knowingly assists a foreign state or any organization to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both. There is extraterritorial Federal jurisdiction over an offense under this section committed by or against a national of the United States.”
With sufficient evidence, many researchers and public health authorities stand to spend the rest of their lives behind bars, which is the penalty that the Anti-Terrorism Act calls for. This is why it is vital that we initiate immediate actions to start closing BSL 3 and 4 laboratories that are working with the most lethal pathogens known to man and prosecuting those involved in biowarfare-related research.
If we fail to start this process soon, and simply wait until something worse escapes, the COVID-19 pandemic will seem like a walk in the park and we could approach death rates more similar to the Spanish flu of 1918 or even the bubonic plague that wiped out 60% of Europe.