On Recent Investigations Into The Lab-Leak Covid-19 Origins Theory

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Probably the most interesting part of the recent investigation into the possibility of a “lab-leak” origin for Covid-19 … has nothing to do with the origins of Covid-19:

Apparently, efforts by the American NSC to actually seriously investigate said possibility kept being hampered by other American institutions and experts *urging them not to look too heavily into* gain-of-function research, because it might inadvertently shine a light on America’s own developments in this area.

Now, I’ve previously said that this entire phase of operations reminds me a little *too* much of the climate circa 2002 – when American intelligence agencies had claims about ‘proof’ that Saddam Hussein was running a serious Weapons of Mass Destruction programme (and it’s interesting that the NSC branch charged with investigating ‘lab-leak’ is from the WMD directorate) … only for it to turn out that the *only* material of that kind to be found in Iraq were the leftovers of what the Americans and their allies had sold Saddam several decades prior.

I personally think that the People’s Republic of China has done itself a significant disservice by running what looks rather like a “deny everything and make wild counteraccusations” stance – as their lack of transparency around particular areas pertaining to the virus’ potential origins has only provided space for conspiratorial thinking to fill in the gaps.

However, it is rather … bemusing that their shouted claims about American origins for Covid-19 – while almost certainly untrue – do parallel the evident advanced state of gain-of-function research in the US at the time.

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All up, the scrabbling over “who to blame” for the Covid-19 outbreak is – just as it was this time a year ago – an empty sport being played for psychopolitical gain.

If somebody *else* is responsible for the ultimate origins of the pandemic, then somebody *else* is responsible for all the destruction and loss of life which it has caused, goes the emotional timbre of  this approach.

Which ignores the fact that *however* the virus got its start – most of its active consequences have been the result of very human, and occasionally very deliberate decisions undertaken many thousands of kilometers from Wuhan: in the capitals of countries which have had to deal with it since.

It’s certainly possible – indeed, I would say that it is quite appropriate – to be quite negative about the PRC’s initial handling of the situation, which facilitated the virus’ international spread. Although credit where credit’s due, the PRC’s subsequent internal management was a significant improvement – and their ‘vaccine diplomacy’ is actually having a tangibly beneficial impact in some countries even as we speak.

However, even though the PRC may have played host to the virus in its early days, and even though the PRC may have initially protested when we suspended travel from China … in most of the world, the PRC was not responsible for various countries bungling their own local Covid-19 responses.

The Hunt For Covid-19’s Origins, while it *does* have legitimate scientific and especially epidemiological necessity to it – is also, as I have said, a psychopolitical sport.

Because if the PRC can be fingered as the dastardly mad scientist (or, at least, careless overseer of same) in this story, then somebody *else* – somebody *other* than lackadaisical or callous home-grown government personnel – is “responsible”.

It wasn’t the fault of some political factotum who declared they wanted to prioritize keeping ‘the economy’ breathing easy and open at the tangible expense of human wellbeing – it was the fault of some shadowy lab administrator half a world away in China that there was even a virus to speak of to begin with.

I expect that this is going to become ever more of a thought-terminating cliche as the smoke clears in various polities and serious, searching questions around crisis-response and disaster-readiness begin to be asked therein.

Every time there is a strenuous probing interrogative, the answer shall come to rhetorically bat it away – “why are you trying to take the focus off of the *true* culprits here, in Wuhan??”

As I think I have said before, elsewhere –

When it comes to this virus’ origins, just as with a great many other things … I do not trust the PRC’s government.

However I *also* do not tend to trust US intelligence agencies or American politicians, either.

19 COMMENTS

  1. If the Wuhan Institute of Virology had absolutely nothing to do with the outbreak, then why did the PLA take over and shut down the labs in the city in early January 2020. And why won’t they allow any form of investigation into the data or records relating to these labs. After all, they ‘apparently’ have no association with the virus. Nothing to fear, nothing to hide?
    If this was a legal case without any concrete evidence, and relied merely on circumstantial evidence, the case for the lab as being a likely culprit is overwhelming. And it has right from the early stages.

    • Yes, but it would be racist to even imply it; conversely, not racist or genocidal at all to round up ethnic minorities and put them in camps and torture them.

    • > Nothing to fear, nothing to hide?

      Not in the current political climate. Even if there is nothing to hide, China has plenty to fear given the toxic politicisation of the investigation into the COVID origins. It might hold the view that the West would accept nothing short of a guilty verdict and have no qualms in using any means to achieve just that.

      • The CCP didn’t seem to mind when the politicized theory that it was impossible to have been engineered or originated from a lab. They hoped it would stay that way.

        • The hypothesis that it was unlikely to be engineered or originated from a lab is based on scientific not politicised grounds. This remains the consensus view of most scientists, including our own. See NZ Herald’s article on 3 June “Covid 19 coronavirus: Why the lab leak theory is still unlikely”.

    • Does anyone still have any memory of Iraq? China haters still remember Tibet so surely its not to much of a stretch? Saddam had nothing to fear cause he had no WMD and knew it. So he let the investigators in. That went well for him didn’t it?

  2. Fort Detrick for sure. They’ve been in the bioweapons business since 1943. The CIA used them for a test lab for all the development of chemical and biological weapons. Factoid.

  3. Stop and reflect.
    1. Accept we will never find out who where why. Today we can never know the truth and we are edging further away from ever knowing the truth on any issue.
    2. Accept everyone is full steam creating all sorts of new weird ways of killing.
    2. In this world we know it is race to dominate/capture resources/exploit etc.
    3. Eventually the wealthy of all countries will realise the only hope is to mass depopulate.
    4. I have been predicting for several years that a virus would be deliberately released. It is a very efficient way to remove a problem. The next one will be ebola like and someone will have the vaccine good to go.
    The destruction of the world is an evolutionary process that cannot be stopped.
    Think climate change, nuclear weapons, pollution, water and food shortages, communicable diseases, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, dictatorships, terrorism, space exploration.
    An ecosystem takes millions of year to evolve. We need to respect and understand this process and not diverge far from any natural system.

  4. FWIW I think that if it is a lab leak then at the very least the scientific community and probably society as a whole really needs to ask if gain of function research is what we want to be doing especially in as much secrecy as the PRC

      • Fort Detrick was closed because of safety reasons.Thereafter American scientists collaborated with the Wuhan lab on gain of function projects
        It’s not so clearcut as the Wuhan lab is purely Chinese

        • Faucci made it clear, not gain of function in the case of human viruses, which apparently allowed gain in function research on coronavirus bat viruses.

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