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The WHO’s Covid shame Their investigation into the pandemic was little more than an appeasement of Beijing

The WHO: selling China's bat story to the world. Credit: Andre Malerba/Bloomberg via Getty

The WHO: selling China's bat story to the world. Credit: Andre Malerba/Bloomberg via Getty


February 10, 2021   6 mins

Since the pandemic started, China has promoted various narratives on its possible origins. First, the country’s top scientists blamed a Wuhan market selling wild animals, which was rapidly cleaned up and all the samples kept secret. Then officials suggested the devastating disease might have come from outside the city, even pointing the finger at a possible laboratory leak — from a United States military base in Maryland rather than within their own borders. More recently, following the slaughter of infected mink at farms in Europe, prominent figures focused on these furry mammals as hosts of the virus, while pushing hard with another theory that Covid might have been imported on chilled or frozen food.

These ideas have been knocked down or failed to fly. Several studies showed Sars-CoV-2 — the strange new strain of coronavirus — was unlikely to have come from the market, leading to formal dismissal of this suggestion by Beijing’s top expert last May. More recent research by molecular epidemiologists assessed thousands of samples from infected patients to conclude the “progenitor” emerged in China in late October. Other scientists say there is no evidence of origin in mink. And even Kristian Andersen, a prominent US professor of immunology and microbiology who is dismissive of lab leak theories, said he does not find the data linking the virus to frozen foods to be “credible”.

Yet when the World Health Organisation (WHO) held its press conference in Wuhan to announce the surprisingly quick initial results of its inquiry into the origins, there was much talk of the market — although it stated this was not the birthplace — along with floating of that idea that mink might be linked. There was discussion of frozen food, musings that this disease might have emerged outside China, strong focus on the need to find the intermediate animal source as the “most likely” source. Yet they also confessed to a failure to find any clues backing this popular theory, even admitting that testing thousands of samples from scores of different species did not produce positive results.

The speakers said, rightly, there is much work to do in tracing the source. This is a vital quest to help guard against future — and potentially worse — pandemics. Yet these scientists were certain on one aspect of their investigation: this disease did not leak from one of the three laboratories in Wuhan studying bats and bat-borne coronaviruses. Never mind the extraordinary coincidence of an outbreak almost certainly connected to creatures living hundreds of miles away in the caves of southern China occurring in the city that was host to Asia’s top research centre into such viruses. The experts were adamant: there is no need for further inquiries into this concept since it is “extremely unlikely” to be the cause of this global catastrophe.

It was no surprise to hear such claims from Liang Wannian, the Chinese professor on the podium. He is, after all, head of the Covid-19 panel at their National Health Commission who led Beijing’s response to the crisis. He has defended his government’s “decisive” approach, despite the silencing of doctors trying to warn their fellow citizens, the denials of human transmission, the deletions of key data and the reluctance to share genetic sequencing. This Communist apparatchik was never going to be the most dispassionate person probing the pandemic origins. Predictably, he pushed from the outset an unproven idea this disease might have started beyond his country’s borders. He also claimed the earliest confirmed cases were December 8 2019, conflicting with his own nation’s main health body, a key early study by Chinese scientists in The Lancet and a well-sourced leak in the South China Morning Post that dated the first incidence back to November 17.

Yet how shameful to see the WHO — a branch of the United Nations tasked with protection of public health — diminish itself again by kowtowing to China’s dictatorial regime in such craven style. Beijing fiercely resisted this mission for months, even imposing sanctions on Australia after it called for such an inquiry. It gave consent after considerable haggling in return for the right to vet the team of scientists. Lo and behold, those picked included the British charity chief Peter Daszak, who has worked with Wuhan scientists for years on their controversial experiments and led efforts to dismiss claims of any lab leak as “baseless”. Now suddenly this is a “WHO-China Joint Study” — and it seems the chosen experts see their task as selling China’s story to the planet.

So why is WHO so dismissive of a possible lab leak? After all, Peter Ben Embarek, the Danish food safety scientist leading its mission, explained that all the work to identify the origin of Covid-19 continues to point towards a natural viral reservoir in bats — but accepted they were unlikely to have been flying over Wuhan. He said his team held a “very long, frank, open discussion with the management and the staff” at Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), listened to their description of research carried out, accepted assurances that they did not posses Sars-Cov-2 in their virus banks, examined health data they were given, took the view such leaks are rare and then decided that microscopic pathogens could not escape from such a high-secure unit. “It was very unlikely that anything could escape from such a place,” he said firmly.

It is sweet these international scientists are so trusting of their Chinese colleagues, despite all the evidence of cover-up with the previous Sars epidemic soon after the turn of this century and then again in initial weeks of this pandemic. But this hardly sounds the most forensic, evidence-based approach given the seismic importance of their conclusions. We know the controlling nature of Chinese state repression. We know there have been many leaks before from labs, including 11 Sars infections from a top-security Beijing research centre in 2004. We know there were safety concerns since they were admitted by WIV’s head of security in a journal shortly before the outbreak. We know databases of unpublished viruses were hidden from outsiders. And we know that for all the WHO team’s faith in the WIV security, much of their Sars research was carried out at lower security labs in the city,

We also know scientists in Wuhan initially feared the novel coronavirus leaked from their lab. We know they were performing risky “gain of function” research that forces evolution of viruses, which some scientists have long feared might spark pandemic. We know they were combining snippets from different strains of bat coronaviruses and creating chimeric diseases using cloning techniques that display no sign of human manipulation. We know they were injecting viruses into “humanised mice” and trying to determine how bat diseases jump the barrier between species. We know also this new disease was well adapted to human transmission, possessing a mutation that allows its spike protein to bind to many human cells that is not found on similar types of coronaviruses. And we know two Chinese scientists in February claimed “the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan” before their paper was hastily deleted.

Then there are the issues swirling around Shi Zhingli, Wuhan’s famed expert known as “Batwoman” for her sample-gathering trips in southern China, that have raised suspicions after being winkled out by Drastic, a group of researchers and scientists. Her actions include claiming three miners died of a fungal infection in 2012, when it later emerged they died from a respiratory disease similar to Covid that they caught clearing bat droppings in one of those caves. She obscured a link to their fatalities when publishing an influential Nature paper about the closest known relative to Sars-Cov-2 — and altered the name of this virus without mention of her action in that paper, widely taken as indication of natural transmission. Now she pushes ideas of transmission by mink and, yes, frozen food.

None of this amounts to proof. Science, like journalism, should rely on evidence and facts. And it is entirely possible that — as a majority of scientists believe — this cruel new virus emerged naturally from Mother Nature’s bosom, even if both China and the WHO experts have failed so far to find any animal source. There is also no doubt that Donald Trump’s botched intervention injected this important debate with lethal toxicity. Yet the US government in a sober statement from the State Department claimed it has “reason to believe” WIV researchers fell sick with Covid-like symptoms in autumn 2019 “before the first identified case of the outbreak”. We see also a growing number of highly-credible experts putting heads over the parapet to say that a leak is a plausible hypothesis deserving investigation. I have even spoken to senior figures in WHO who freely accept the leak possibility. Yet, instead, we are getting this patsy inquiry that accepts possibility of direct infection from bats but discounts the chance of infection during collection of their faeces or research into their diseases.

That charade of a press conference — after 12 days wandering around Wuhan that included visiting a propaganda exhibition celebrating China’s recovery — was simply embarrassing. There is also a major flaw in the logic expressed at the event. The WHO stance is based on placing faith in China, despite all the evidence that this is a state that cannot be trusted — whether lying about its horrific treatment of minorities in Xinjiang, breaking a historic deal with Britain to protect freedom in Hong Kong or silencing noble doctors trying to alert the world to looming disaster. Yet if a leak was covered up, is it possible to trust such a government? So if WHO is ruling out the likelihood of a laboratory accident, it must immediately release all data and evidence supporting its case.

“An investigative process should be transparent, collaborative, international and, to the extent possible, devoid of political interest,” wrote David Relman, a biosecurity expert at Stanford University, in a superb analysis of the origin scenarios. “Without these features it will not be credible, trustworthy or effective.” This renowned scientist has raised the coincidence of the world’s largest repository of bat coronaviruses being in the city that gave birth to global pandemic. “A more complete understanding of the origins of Covid—19 clearly serves the interests of every person in every country in the planet,” he said succinctly. Instead, we seem no closer to understanding the arrival of this new disease, which remains a perplexing mystery, while witnessing a grotesque display of appeasement of China’s dictatorship by an increasingly discredited UN body.


Ian Birrell is an award-winning foreign reporter and columnist. He is also the founder, with Damon Albarn, of Africa Express.

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Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago

Thank you for writing this piece.

It is one thing for the Chinese state to have created this virus and covered up its release — you would expect as much — but the role played by Western media and scientists in deflecting attention from this hypothesis is really just depressing.

The CCP realises that the Western elite would prefer being called a “traitor” rather than a “racist” and are taking full advantage.

Alan Girling
Alan Girling
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Indeed. Being a traitor is exactly the way to be the most anti-racist.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Girling

l

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago

It’s a good news story for the paranoid and beginning conspiracy theorists. Let me add another conspiracy. Institutions — the WHO, the Chinese state, any other state, and so on and so forth, operate primarily to preserve themselves. They are usually good at politics and marketing (if necessary). They are often not very good at what they are supposed to be doing. Maybe COVID-19 came from infected bats — nobody knows. Told to discover its origin, the institutions involved will act so as to preserve their lives and to get along with the other institutions. So it will be with COVID-19. You may think it’s a scandal but if you do you’re pretty naïve.

Julian Hartley
Julian Hartley
3 years ago

Are you honestly linking us to a news story about the very same WHO press conference that Ian Birrell was criticising in this article? At best, that is absent-minded; at worst, it is sinister.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

No now we have the South African, Brazilian and British variants of the virus we may not call Chinese – because can’t support Trump innit…

Joe Reed
Joe Reed
3 years ago

The WHO and all other leading western NGOs will always prostrate themselves before China, despite well-substantiated suspicions like those detailed in this article, not to mention the CCP’s abysmal human rights record – including concentration camps and ethnic cleansing. Why? Because western technocratic elites admire its model of governance – its hi-tech fusion of the worst characteristics of both communism and capitalism into a kind of corporate SMART fascism. They see this as the blueprint for their dystopian future.

nick harman
nick harman
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

Easy there tiger, let’s not get carried away. It’s more about simple stuff like money and trade.

kevin.bennewith
kevin.bennewith
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

If it was about money and trade, why would the Chinese allow the virus to be carried to the rest of the world by residents of Wuhan? Do people cripple their best customers? There must be more to it than such a facile reason. When Joseph says it is a kind of corporate fascism, given China’s current aim to take its “rightful place” as world hegemon, I think he is right.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

On China’s side it is about total control of the rest of us as well as their own people. That’s why they will ” cripple their best customers”

Alun Griffiths
Alun Griffiths
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

There are other bigger forces out there than the Chinese who are tying to control us! The World Bank, IMF, the media and the WHO are all complicit in the the chaotic situation out of this orchestrated pandemic. By the way the WHO changed the definition of what constitutes a pandemic in 2009. How convenient! We have an obligation for the sake of humanity to fight back.

hugh bennett
hugh bennett
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

Josef, I agree.
WHO and “China & the Virus”…. another two things that, as time passes by, a past President of the US may be seen to be correct about? We drop our guard at our peril.

Sue Blanchard
Sue Blanchard
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

Brilliant!
…its hi-tech fusion of the worst characteristics of both communism and capitalism into a kind of corporate SMART fascism. They see this as the blueprint for their dystopian future

Roland Ayers
Roland Ayers
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

They are a bit queasy about some of the most grotesque aspects, like the concentration camps, but lack the backbone to do anything beyond muttering a few vaguely disapproving noises.

David Otness
David Otness
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

Too many dismiss Bill Gates’ takeover of WHO. It’s a fact. One more chess piece for Mr Gates. Like so many other institutes, universities, major media—Everything from Oxford to MSNBC. It’s quite easy enough to make a person pause long enough to see themselves minus the grandiose funding Gates provides all. over. this. world… For a price. For a Hell of a price.
And Anthony Fauci’s connection to Wuhan’s lab is quite another eyebrow raiser; including his signing off on gain-of-function research—therein. Documented in both pdf and email trails.
Ludicrous, you say? Paranoid rantings from the unwashed?
And while we’re at the nation bashing above, quid pro quo and cui bono….?
“US scientists working at the Lugar Center [in not the U.S. state of Georgia] have diplomatic status and immunity (without being diplomats) to research deadly viruses and insects in Georgia. They could even perform illegal experiments without being prosecuted as they have diplomatic immunity.”
http://dilyana.bg/new-data-leak-from-the-pentagon-biolaboratory-in-georgia/
A friend whom I trust implicitly (he lives and fights in Donetsk for his country and family,) reports 15 active U.S. bio labs that have sprung up following the Maidan Coup of 2014.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago

It came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Occam’s razor.

Stop all support for the WHO.

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Could Covid 19 be some sort of ‘dry run’ to test a global pandemic hypothesis before a main event at some point in the future. Could the Han Chinese be taking the idea of a China dominated world in the 21st century more literally than we dare imagine? Just a thought, I hope its not true, but my late father who spent time there in the 40s told me he’d never met a more utterly racist people in his life, and he got about a bit my dad.

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

I can accept it was an accidental release. It’s a virus that uniquely targets the elderly and seriously ill. Which country in the world has the most serious aging problem? China. The problem created by their one child policy. The virus may have been part of a plan to eliminate much of their aging population.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

Accidental or on purpose?

Irene Polikoff
Irene Polikoff
3 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

I am not sure that it uniquely targets the elderly and seriously ill. The emphasis is on “uniquely”. Elderly are much more likely to die from any upper respiratory infection because their immune system is weak and their body doesn’t have enough “reserves” to fight of diseases. The infection turns into pneumonia, etc., etc. Their nervous system is also typically more fragile. Being alone, isolated and scared badly impacts them, contributing to poor outcomes. I am not arguing against the possibility of the accidental lab release, just saying that Covid’s impact on elderly does not negate nor confirm it.
It is a novel, but a relatively mild virus which is why reasonably healthy people don’t have much problems with it. Yes, there are rare exceptions which get sensationalized. In the beginning, there were also treatment issues. Initially, many mistakes were made in treating Covid. I am not blaming anyone, just stating the fact. These days, there are effective treatment regimes. People with mild cases can take vitamins, minerals and one or two prescription drugs that suppress the virus and prevent the mild case from turning into a moderate one. People with moderate to severe cases can additionally take steroids and antibiotics to prevent the cytokine storm. High risk people can also be preventatively treated with the antibody infusions.
I can’t understand why anyone below 75 and in a relatively good health should be anymore worried about Covid than they would be about the flu during a flu season. Older people or people with serious health issues should be concerned – as they should be about the flu. Yes, we have the readily available flu vaccines, but they are often only 30% effective. Elderly population should try to stay protected and vaccinate quickly. But they should not be completely terrified either. The vast majority will have an unpleasant couple of weeks and then be OK. It is a shame that media and governments are hyping this up so much. Cytokine storm is fed by adrenaline. Excessive fear is a direct contributor to bad outcomes.
And, yes, I am saying this based on the first hand experience with Covid including caring for sick relatives that are over 90.

steveroylance2012
steveroylance2012
3 years ago
Reply to  Irene Polikoff

Agree with most of that Irene – well said. If it wasn’t for the ridiculous over hyped media sensationalising it all i doubt I would even know it existed

colinkingswood4
colinkingswood4
2 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

If Chinese numbers are to be believed, they didn’t get hard by the virus at all.

Terence Riordan
Terence Riordan
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

The worrying thing is that we have testing of Chemical and Biological warfare happening.Russia with Chemical, China with biological. It worries me that release of viral strains is not difficult even for a terrorist organisation like ISIS.Much easier than blowing major societies to pieces.

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
3 years ago

Agreed. But the crazy thing is, if they really were planning something as radical as that, given that these virus’s mutate frighteningly quickly could they ever dare risk it? Pre-vaccinating your own people might not work. And anyway, they could hardly expect all their doomed enemies to just twiddle our thumbs whilst waiting to die, no doubt nukes etc. would start to be thrown about sooner or later.

Chris Weideman
Chris Weideman
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

It should be called the Chinese virus or Wuhan Virus

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Weideman

that happened in the US and the usual suspects rushed from the woodwork to declare this naming ‘racist.’

Jack Walker
Jack Walker
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

And yet we have the South African variant and the UK (or Kent) strain, and we are happy to talk about the Spanish flu (even though it didn’t originate in Spain) and the Honk Kong flu.

Let’s call a spade a spade, this is the Chinese virus, it can’t be racist if it’s a fact.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Walker

I applaud your logic but since when did facts have anything to do with being called racist?

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Walker

Calling someone a spade is also racist.

Chris Billington
Chris Billington
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Walker

That was all down to the corrupt WHO and Dr Tedros determined to deflect the blame from China from the outset of the outbreak. The WHO have been complicit in the cover up from the word go, remember when Tedros stood in China and told the world that it could not transfer from human to human, at the same time the CCP put a ring of steel around Wuhan and then despatched 5,000+ foreign nationals back to their own countries to infect the world. It was manufactured in the only grade 4 Biological Weapons Lab in China – Wuhan – run by the nephew of the CCCP President. Meanwhile Tedros, a Dr in name only – the title bestowed on him by the CCP is anti west, anti capitalist and is due to face charges for genocide against his own people.

This virus was meant to bring down the west and capitalism and they have almost succeeded, President Trump was right, it is the China Virus and the corrupt WHO should be defunded and disbanded, they are complicit in this crime against humanity. Visiting the site some 15 months after the first outbreak and their subsequent pathetic pro CCP statements are absolutely shocking!

colinkingswood4
colinkingswood4
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

China’s 50 cent internet army.

steveroylance2012
steveroylance2012
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Weideman

It is in my eye Chris – well said

J Haase
J Haase
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

A story came out in Canada last summer – early June, I believe (for about a day and it was hardly covered) about a researcher at the National Virology Lab at the U of M sending samples via regular post, no special packaging or proper documentation to the lab in Wuhan. She, her husband and her Chinese research team were promptly dismissed but I don’t believe any charges were pressed. I found it strange that this was discovered peak “pandemic” when most of the world was still locked down and the story just disappeared overnight, no follow up or anything.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/can

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Yes, stop funding the WHO and by that, hopefully Bill Gates will be weakened as well.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

Gates latest propaganda book ”is Having zero carbon World.Climate Control” so idiot Wants No Crops,Forests, Ignores Suns 99% Influence on Weather,Communications..

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

Gates? Why are you agitating about Gates? His Foundation has done incredibly good work.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

Insane slur about Gates. He has devoted his massive fortune to improving world health. Lunatics line up with slurs to spread nonsense about his motives. they are universally mad and pathological liars.

Roland Ayers
Roland Ayers
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

I see Gates as a well-meaning, but deeply misguided philanthropist, addicted to his own feel-good do-gooder glow

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Roland Ayers

In what way is he “misguided”?

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

That is the error Trump made. The fact is that – like it or not – WHO has a legitimate role and purpose. Because it is not funded properly from the US, WHO has been left at the mercy of China.

As a result, it now provides PR for Beijing.

The answer is to jack up US funding and influence in Geneva.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

There is no value at all in funding an organisation charged with international leadership, if it is so venal as to be bought by an oppressive dictatorship and will for money, spread the lies that dictatorship hands it. The WHO has become China’s mouthpiece and gives a cover of respectability to their propaganda. End it now.

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
3 years ago

All the morons in the western establishment media – including our BBC – repeat the line that any suggestion that Covid-19 originated in a leak from the WIV – is a “conspiracy theory”.

Why do they do this? Are they in the pay of the CCP, like we know the WHO is?
No – the answer is even more pathetic: Because Donald Trump suggested it, it must be untrue.

Tony Barry
Tony Barry
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

Exactly. And yet given WIV, which experiments on coronavirus gain of function is in the same city in the world where the outbreak started you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to actually start with that premise, rather than immediately call it a conspiracy theory.

So Trump suggested China may have created it, so the media immediately drops and such notion, and Trump says HCQ works, which it does if given early with zinc, and then the media and medical establishment wage a war against HCQ to discredit it, even though thousands of doctors swear by it and recent studies confirm this. Thousands of lives could have been saved if this had been the default treatment from last March.

One does wonder what the heck is going on?

Philip Stowell
Philip Stowell
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

He who pays the piper . . . .

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

The president of the United States has access to more classified intelligence than anyone in the world, and yet whenever Donald Trump says anything it’s either untrue of he’s breaching security by talking about it.

opn
opn
3 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

He had access, but did he read it ? Was he capable of understanding it ?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  opn

Quite apart from being a relentless liar and fantasist.

SUSAN GRAHAM
SUSAN GRAHAM
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

Love him or hate him Trump called this one right – he was right about the virus and he was right about the WHO re withholding funding. Had it not been for the anti-Trump media we might be in a better position now. With Biden in China’s pocket the truth will never be told.

alancoles10
alancoles10
3 years ago
Reply to  SUSAN GRAHAM

Bullseye!!!

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

Because anyone with a different thought or opinion is called a conspiracy theorist. It is a way to shut down people.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

I very much doubt they would say that if it was suspected the leak was from a US-based facility. And had that been the case there would have been demonstrations condemning the nasty capitalist nation. Countries around the world would have been lining up for “compensation.”
No nation is badgering China for compensation, because they know they’d be wasting their time.
This is nation that doesn’t give a shxt about humanity. It has been committing genocide in Tibet for decades, is now doing so with the Uighurs, and dealt with a peaceful demonstration in Tianenmen Square with tanks and bullets.
If it gets away with being blamed for the pandemic the Chinese Communist Party will feel invincible and invade Taiwan.

Last edited 3 years ago by Martin Tuite
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Well, yes, we have known that for some time. But anyone who expected anything better from any arm of the UN is completely mad. Meanwhile, western governments and, it seems, most of the media see China not as a tyranny to be resisted but as a model to emulate. The future does not look bright.

The estimable Bret Weinstein has given credence to the ‘lab leak hypothesis’ in recent weeks and was even invited on to Bill Maher to discuss it. And now, incredibly, the US media is attacking Maher for being anti-Chinese etc. We live in horrible times.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

One might ask why so many see China as a model to emulate. Certainly democratic governments are messy things and the “right” people are not always the public’s choice. Are we so blinded by avarice?

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The logic is really very simple. Trump stated in public that the virus was Chinese. Ergo, it cannot be said, whether true or not. Because being anti-Trump (and, above all, seen to be) trumps all other considerations of fact, ethics and reason.

Roland Ayers
Roland Ayers
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

The logic here is flawless, but we are not a purely logical species. Now Trump is powerless, we must look beyond blaming either Trump or anti-Trump virtue signalling for everything. The interaction of mass hysteria, behavioural psychologist-crafted propaganda, scientists’ career jeopardy, and non-Trump specific virtue signalling has reshaped the world. This interactive multi-headed monster has exploited an instinctive human fear of contagion and ignorance of history, to push the WHO into abandoning its pre-December 2019 public health principles and pandemic preparation. Most people are not aware of the 1957 & 1968 pandemics and the resulting non-insanity. They really think it’s the (sort of) new virus that is unprecedented, rather than the response to it.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Roland Ayers

The throw-away label “Trump derangement syndrome” is obviously not serious, but actually carries something of a germ of truth. Hence we get people frothing at the mouth over the idiots marching on DC a few weeks ago, as though it was an impending coup, yet massive riotous and destructive protest across the US last Summer was “peaceful protest”. Because Trump innit.

China was, although not effectively, opposed by Trump. Ergo, China cannot be all bad. Because Trump innit.

EU countries continue to feed leech-like upon the body of NATO. Trump opposed this. But the EU should not be held to account, Because Trump innit.

I could go on… The biggest challenge will be for our shriveled media, who have not to move beyond “Orange man bad.” In the UK, of course, we will simply be subjected to “comedians” droning on over their pre-recorded laugh-tracks, repeating variations on a theme of “blah blah blah Boris Johnson blah blah!”

Edward Robards
Edward Robards
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

The obviousness of “Trump derangement syndrome” being a not-serious throw-away label is daily being nullified by the afflicted’s hysterical hyperbole.

“Insurrection”? Where were the automatic weapons, the RPGs, the car bombs, etc., of an actual revolt? Truth, as always, was the first casualty of THEIR war on US.

Bob Sleigh
Bob Sleigh
3 years ago

Remember how that horrid man Trump was criticised for taking the USA out of the WHO?
There are quite a few people around, especially in the media, who really ought to eat their words.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Sleigh

The French created sauces in order to make such meals palatable…

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Sleigh

And Biden rushed to rejoin. The CCP pays him well.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

Ukraine Pays Biden Well. Idiot is turning heat Armed forces on Alert..WEarmonger senile dr strangelove Democrat fool

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Sleigh

I applauded him when he did that and Biden went right back into the WHO the first day he was president. Such baloney.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago

Well said Mr Birrell, by far the best piece you have written over the past year.

You have fully exposed what a wretched, duplicitous, putrid hell hole, the People’s Republic of China really is, and also brilliantly excoriated their appalling lickspittle toady, the WHO.

If you are found ” toes up” in your fishpond, rather like the late Dr David Kelly on Harrowdown Hill, we shall all know who to blame.
Thank you.

alancoles10
alancoles10
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Bullseye,dead centre!!

bob.moore
bob.moore
3 years ago

We are unsure where it came from except we know with almost absolute certainty after a very brief investigation where party officials tracked us everywhere it did not come from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. How can they possibly know this? What sort of “science” is this? It is extremely worrying.

The article gets it spot on – it’s very possible this is a natural virus, but to discard the possibility of it having escaped from a lab without strong evidence of another origin is totally nonsensical.

Elizabeth Cronin
Elizabeth Cronin
3 years ago

I can’t say it any better than Mr. Harvey. I only want to add the disconnection that gov’ts have fast tracked vaccines without the requisite testing and are looking to mandate them while approved cheap drugs that were studied for their efficacy during the last SARS outbreak are banned in the West. I really had a hard time wrapping my head around the media and health officials dismissing the effectiveness of these drugs. (My husband’s brother had a miraculous turnaround with HCQ.) Would they really be willing to risk people’s lives because they hated Trump? But as more and more doctors have come out in support of these FDA approved drugs, risking their professional licenses and their livelihoods, I’ve come to believe there is something much darker than a hatred of Trump.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

I can see why it would appear that way but I don’t believe it’s darker than irrational hatred of Trump. Which hasn’t gone away btw and maybe never will. I know a couple of COVID patients who were able to get HCQ as well and they too credit it for their recovery.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago

I believe it’s more than just TDS. It’s quite clear that top level Western scientists (i.e. Fauci) were closely involved with WIV’s viral manipulation studies, despite the obvious danger of doing these studies at all, but especially of doing them with the Chinese. Many Western believers in the scientific method consider their worldview (liberal/global/individualistic) infallible, whereas they have actually completely f@cked up by enabling a deeply racist, authoritarian kleptocracy to dominate the world both in this particular instance of helping China unleash COVID-19, but also more broadly in transferring Western jobs, technology, and capital to China over the past 30 years. They’re now in full CYA mode.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

You could be right. But will we ever know for sure? And would there be anything that could be done about it? Fauci is about 80, so he won’t be in his position much longer. He should have been removed long ago.

Philip Perkins
Philip Perkins
3 years ago

Meanwhile the BBC have just broadcast a fawning interview with Fauci in which they treated him like a guru, confirming just how out-of-touch their views are.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Perkins

Yes he has been on Canadian television as well. I wanted to scream: “DON’T trust him!!”

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Perkins

Roll on GB news ..proper unbiased News

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

News for right-wing snowflakes who want a safe space.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Perkins

I would expect no less.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago

It will make no difference. He will be replaced by another bureaucrat of the same type. The only thing that made Dr. Fauci look good wass that he was standing next to Mr. Trump.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

No, that did not help. In the least.

Fauci has a long history of failure, all the way back to the 1980s. Trump should never have let him lead anything. When he became political, he should have been removed immediately.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

Or to put it another way “Don’t believe a doctor, believe a lying fantasist politician”.

You still haven’t worked out why the American people rejected him, have you?

Oh, but I forget, he “really” won the election, it’s just that the MSM are lying about the results!

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Believe the doctor which time? When he said masks didn’t work or when he said they did?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

Masks work in some ways but not others (spreading infection to others versus catching it from others, for example), and it can also depend on the mask type (material type, tightness of fitting over the nose…). I expect your caricature of Fauci derives from that kind of nuance. After all, as a doctor he wouldn’t subscribe to Trump’s ignorant and lethal nonsense about Covid. so he has to be monstered by Trump cultists.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Nope, that won’t work. Fauci said masks wouldn’t work then said they would. No nuance at all. And no apology for being wrong. He has been wrong about other things as well.

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago

Personally I can’t stand Trump and I firmly believe he was the worst president America’s ever had – and that’s saying something. But even a stopped clock is right twice a day. I suspect he got much of his “intelligence” (not in the sense of intellect!) from his pals the Russians, and they’re pretty switched-on regarding the threat from China. Brett Weinstein and his brilliant wife Heather put it well in a recent video about the origins of the Covid virus: “Just because The Orange One made a statement that doesn’t automatically mean it’s untrue. That isn’t science.”

Precisely.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

Worst by what calculus? You are demonstrating the irrational sort of hatred that led people to act as if HCQ was something new. And seriously, the Russian angle just makes you look unhinged. We have a president with demonstrable ties to the CCP, something no one was able to document between his predecessor and the Russians.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

Like any US president, Trump had his good points and his not so great points. I guess it depends on who you are. If you had a son in the military stationed in the ME, you probably liked Trump since he was the most anti-war president since WWII. He brought many US troops home. If you are part of the MIC, you probably didn’t like him because to them every problem looks like a nail in search of a hammer. I’m anti-war and want the troops brought home. from everywhere. No chance of that with Joe.

If you needed a job, you probably liked Trump. If you wanted to attend a poorly supported HBCU you also probably liked Trump. If you needed a break on taxes and fuel prices, again, you’d have liked what he did. It isn’t about him, it’s about what he did for people and the economy. If you are a coastal elite, no you probably didn’t like him.

I love the clinging to the “Trump was a pal of the Russians” narrative. Most people have long dropped that after it was so thoroughly disproven by Mueller.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

Glossing what Mueller said.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Look Mueller tried really hard to find something on Trump. He just couldn’t. And prosecutors speak through their prosecution decisions. Mueller spoke loud and clear.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

Agree. Whether the WHO is too close to China is a debate about facts, whatever a relentlessly dishonest American politician of the past may have claimed.

Unfortunately, those who are still devoted to the cult of Trump can’t debate the issue on the facts, because they are so devoted to their idol. Which naturally produces a counter-reaction among those who disagree with almost everything Trump said, but should not assume he was automatically wrong about the WHO.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

Funny then that HCQ didn’t work in a properly conducted trial.

Maybe your two Covid patients ate bacon containing sodium nitrite preservative, or jam containing pectin? Proof that those are effective drugs, surely?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Works in patients but not in trials. Okay. Whatever.

Brian OFlynn
Brian OFlynn
3 years ago

See Trial Site News on IVERMECTIN and Merck…when all of this is over we may need a Nuremberg trial for those who kept cheap and apparently effective treatment from those who died needlessly

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Would they really be willing to risk people’s lives because they hated Trump?
of course, they were willing to do that. From dismissing talk of HCQ to claiming that Trump essentially said people should drink bleach to handing out an Emmy to the nursing home killer in New York.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

HCQ was found to be ineffective in a trial.

But for Trump cultists, loyalty tends to overpower facts, whether it’s the crowd at his 2017 Inauguration, the facts of global warming, or any other issue.

And his comments about injecting bleach are on record.

Edward Robards
Edward Robards
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Trump’s comments about “injecting bleach” are indeed on record. He never mentioned the word “bleach.”

That fact overpowers your loyalty to the cult of reflexively discrediting Trump, honesty be damned.

Colin K
Colin K
3 years ago

> while approved cheap drugs that were studied for their efficacy during the last SARS outbreak are banned in the West
This really gets me. Hydroxychlorioquine has been used for decades, yet is proclaimed dangerous for covid. Meanwhile various untested vaccines are pushed as safe.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

Looked at another way: these doctors Are not expressing any scepticism about these rushed, experimental gene therapy vaccines precisely because they are scared of losing their licences and livelihoods.

Desperate politicians regard the vaccines as an ar*e covering, career preserving panacea even though not even their inventors / manufacturers know the full or true extent of what they do. Having to endure Boris Johnson bumble on about having “full confidence” in the AZ vaccine yesterday should put us on full alert. The craven media, apart from some agonising over small sample sizes in the latest (S. African) study into the AZ vaccine’s effectiveness against the SA strain, are sticking to their government mandated instructions not to question narrative or neo-orthodoxy or risk losing valuable advertising revenue – paid for by the government.

As for the medical community, speaking out against or questioning the vaccines runs the risk of summary termination and ridicule / discredit. The deafening silence, even in the face of increasing anecdotal evidence of post-vaccination deaths (esp. in care homes) suggests a level of institutional enforcement, another branch of psychological / actual intimidation.

Just as anyone declining a vaccine will be ostracised and forfeit all civil / civic privileges (human rights?), declining to endorse or speaking out evidently carries too much risk.

David Simpson
David Simpson
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

“increasing anecdotal evidence of post-vaccination deaths (esp. in care homes)” – where is this evidence please?

regnad.kcin.fst
regnad.kcin.fst
3 years ago

That’s a compete lie, and demonstrates that you are a complete moron.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

The ineffective drugs were dismissed as ineffective because of properly-conducted studies.

With all due respect to your husband’s brother, his ‘amazing turaround with HCQ’ is more likely to have been due to his own immune system. If he had consoled himself with Chateauneuf du Pape ’93, his recovery would have become evidence for the antiviral activity of Chateauneuf du Pape.

Gerry Fruin
Gerry Fruin
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Mmmm… I’m not sure the 93 was that good, still I wouldn’t refuse a top up. 🙂

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
3 years ago

There are currently multiple lawsuits in the US for trillions of dollars that allege that
Chinese negligence in handling the CV19 initial outbreak. One of Biden’s first actions as President was to reestablish support and ties with WHO, which subsequently issues a report that simultaneously explains we don’t know much about where CV19 came from but it definitely didn’t come from the Chinese lab creating new strains of covid. This reeks! The defense lawyers will claim the WHO as a credible authority thereby harming the lawsuits. The only beneficiaries are the Chinese and “The Big Guy”

Chris Weideman
Chris Weideman
3 years ago

Extremely valid point

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

“The only beneficiaries are the Chinese and “The Big Guy”-and the lawyers, because in America we made law the King…

Matt Harries
Matt Harries
3 years ago

The governments involved will now stand firmly behind this charade, look us in the eye and say: ‘Behold. We have done the thing. There is nothing to see here. Now we must move on.’ They will surely do this.

How to respond? What do we do now?

‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.’

(Yes, 1984. No points for originality, I know).

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt Harries

Yes, it doesn’t matter if it is not credible, it doesn’t matter if the main suspects were investigating themselves: nothing can be done (they hope).

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
3 years ago

The Wuhan Virus is the result of “Gain of Function” manipulations to a similar Corona virus that were carried out in the University of North Carolina lab in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. Dr, Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Institute was present and participated in those studies in the USA. That study was closed because the Gain of Function manipulations were deemed too dangerous. What they were doing was changing the virus so it could live in human tissue because in its original state it could not survive in humans. Dr. Shi apparently carried on the gain of function work when she returned to her lab in Wuhan, China. The release of the virus was most likely a laboratory accident when a researcher was infected. Patient zero was a lab worker and or researcher who got the virus and subsequently died. She was cremated and the records of the lab study were destroyed by the CCP to eliminate any possibility of tracking the origin of the virus.
The accident was compounded and made criminal because the Communist Chinese government decided to export the virus to Western countries via infected Chinese travelers.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

Excellent summary of stating the obvious.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Obvious to many of us. Not at all officially obvious and not at all working to agree that GOF research must be much more transparent internationally, if done at all.

Roland Ayers
Roland Ayers
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

Most of this is plausible but not certain. The last bit is less plausible. I don’t think the Chinese authorities are likely to have set out to deliberately infect the west. If they did, they got more than they bargained for. I don’t think they knew the combination of lack of exposure to earlier SARs and poor metabolic health over here would result in covid hitting so hard, or that the response would be so disproportionate. They have played the situation to their advantage in some ways, but I don’t think the damage to the global economy or their reputation would have been their chosen outcome.

Lena Bloch
Lena Bloch
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

Why would China want to export the virus? What for? Has China tried to gain influence through destruction of the West previously? Another question is, why would China export a virus that has such a mild and insignificant expression and only 0.4% of all symptomatically sick people have it in a serious way? It is like “exporting” a mild seasonal flu. Which I am sure a lot of Chinese travelers have always had, all previous years.

Henry Longstop
Henry Longstop
3 years ago

Do you honestly think that the CCP would allow an investigative group from the West into Wuhan unless the conclusions of the investigation were already agreed at the highest level and waiting publication?

Chris Weideman
Chris Weideman
3 years ago
Reply to  Henry Longstop

Yeahhhh. Right. No way that was ever gonna happen.

David Radford
David Radford
3 years ago

I have read most of the comments from people who seem much more qualified to have a view on this than me.
My only contribution is based on a lifetime of considering what available statistics tell me.
If covid originated from bats then the largest cluster of bat viruses by a huge margin is the labs in Wuhan. So it is highly improbable that covid 19 originated from anywhere else.
As a foot note I have read and listened to most of the WHO’s remarks about this subject and concluded that they are a completely hopeless outfit

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  David Radford

Yes, but what do you know about viral genomes…? David S. wants to know.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  David Radford

I am sympathetic to the theory but probability is not proof. UK residents are conditioned to unlearn this because the legal system allows probability to count as proof when it reinforces their prejudices EG – the person is guilty because as a black/gypsy/moslem he/she has a higher probability of committing crime. The notion that it may be more complex -EG marginalised and non indigenous people have less access to wealth creation = more desperate = more crime is hidden despite being demonstrably true.

Vem Dalen
Vem Dalen
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

Proof is difficult when all the evidence is destroyed.
Balance of probabilities is more than enough in this instance.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Vem Dalen

Try and explain to me how probability is the same as proof? No one would
reasonably doubt the sun rotates the earth on the evidence of their
senses. Only when you use a telescope to relate the points of a third,
distant celestial object to the sun and earth does the reality of
earth’s orbit become apparent to the senses.

Vem Dalen
Vem Dalen
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

So, you propose a likely theory and prove it with science at a later date.

Here’s my theory. The Chinese State allowed their bat Coronavirus experiments to escape their lab in Wuhan.

If the Chinese destroyed all telescopes, you might not be able to prove that the Earth rotates around the Sun.

But the deliberate destruction of evidence or the mechanism for collecting evidence does not change the underlying reality.

Destroying all the telescopes, cleansing the Wuhan wet market or covering up viral research lab staff deaths should be viewed as an attempt to hide the facts.

David Radford
David Radford
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

In no way would I ever use the probability ideas you discuss as reason for finding guilt. I am rather concerned at the implication that I would do so that you seem to be making All we have to go on with the Wuhan labs is probability – no evidence has been provided so it is the best we can do as the evidence is being hidden

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  David Radford

Try and explain to me how probability is the same as proof? No one would
reasonably doubt the sun rotates the earth on the evidence of their
senses. Only when you use a telescope to relate the points of a third,
distant celestial object to the sun and earth does the reality of
earth’s orbit become visible.

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

“the legal system allows probability to count as proof”
No it doesn’t, not in criminal law at least.
“Beyond all reasonable doubt” is very different from probability is proof. Stop making things up.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

Try and explain to me how beyond reasonable doubt is the same as proof? – that’s why the Scots have “not proven” verdicts. No one would reasonably doubt the sun rotates the earth on the evidence of their senses. Only when you use a telescope to relate the points of a third, distant celestial object to the sun and earth does the reality of earth’s orbit become visible.

Alan Hall
Alan Hall
3 years ago

We must get Bellingcat to investigate. We can no longer trust any international organisation (not just WHO and other UN agencies, but World Bank, EU, some NGOs like WWF etc) which are unaccountable bureaucracies that face no proper scrutiny. Their main objective is to survive and promote a woke agenda (even though there may be well meaning people among their staff). Instead of constantly bashing western governments the western press need to scrutinise such international bodies.

mcsean2163
mcsean2163
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Hall

Bellingcat by and large sides with the establishment view. I expect it’s a lot easier and financially rewarding to always argue for big government than against

Paul Marks
Paul Marks
3 years ago

The media are dutifully parroting the line that the World Health Organisation (which is part funded by the Chinese Government) “debunked” the “theory” that the virus came from the research lab near Wuhan – when, of course, it did come from the research lab. It is not just the World Health Organisation that is corrupt – it is the media as well.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Marks

the media has become the Ministry of Truth for this unholy cabal. It’s always been so, but press people used to be far less obvious about their activism.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I would like to understand why. Has Trump caused a complete collapse of any hope of honest journalism going forward. The group think in media is stunning, as if they are told what the topic and poll tested mantras are for a given day.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

this slide pre-dates Trump. Far too many journos have the idea that their role is to be activists and participants in the daily scene. The point is to be professionals who chronicle events and as watchdogs, not lapdogs, of those in power.

Charles Murray
Charles Murray
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I agree…a few quality newspapers in the U.K. used to have sizeable teams of investigative journalists who uncovered enlightened material. Now it seems most papers simply go in search of “stories”that align with their preferred narrative….

leellerker
leellerker
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Murray

I’m interested in which ‘quality’ newspapers you’re referring to? I used to subscribe to the i but cancelled in the early days of the pandemic due to what I believe was a massive dereliction of duty – it became just another ‘government phamlet’ imo. I have tried in vain to find another daily newspaper that reports free from bias. Alas a pointless persuit. I do subscribe to Byline now, but miss the daily hard copy read (think Jurassic park).

alancoles10
alancoles10
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Murray

Quality Newspaper,isn’t that a paradox?

David Radford
David Radford
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Murray

I completely agree. The so called quality UK media are pathetic and dangerous having adopted the 100% scare/ 0% facts stance of social media. Not many places left to get what the PCC promises to uphold

David Stuckey
David Stuckey
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Marks

I guess you have a strong background in viral genomics??

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  David Stuckey

-find a new retort.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  David Stuckey

When expertise is liable to be swayed by cash payouts or media pressure, there is nothing wrong with questioning the experts. In fact just going along with what experts say is the very definition of anti-science.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  David Stuckey

Do you? What a tiresome, kneejerk attempt to deflect or stifle debate – the defence mechanism of choice for the unquestioning and credulous, perchance the truly frightened…

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”
(usually misattributed to Cicero but actually from Taylor Caldwell’s, A Pillar of Iron)

The West has too many traitors.

regnad.kcin.fst
regnad.kcin.fst
3 years ago

It’s completely obvious that the Chinese will never agree to a real investigation. We should simply call it the “China virus”, and stop accommodating Beijing in its frantic attempts to evade responsibility.

conall boyle
conall boyle
3 years ago

‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’
“The US is the biggest single donor to the Geneva-based WHO. It contributed more than $400 million in 2019, roughly 15% of the WHO’s annual budget.” says wiki.
Next biggest donors are Gates Foundation, UK and GAVI alliance.
Not getting value for money, eh?

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  conall boyle

The WHO site gives different figures. The US government gives around $60m but in 2016-17 the WHO says the total given by American people was $946m.

Philip Stowell
Philip Stowell
3 years ago
Reply to  conall boyle

The US have I believe withdrew all or most of its funding under ’45’ so its down to Gates the world’s most qualified Health Expert (sick ) and (sic) / Farmer / Eugenicist !!! and China. So no surprises at all. We are at their mercy(sic) waiting for the real depopulator I fear.
I do so hope I am wrong but again I fear I am not. McMillan’s statement that you have never had it so good rings so true now. The world’s response has resulted in a disgraceful destruction of our cultures, wealth and freedoms.
Who can be trusted to tell the truth, or keep the bastards honest, now that the press have lost their balls and any curiosity.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Stowell

The US was the WHO’s top supporter and a close second was Bill Gates. Then Trump dumped the WHO but now Biden is back giving full financial support to the WHO. We do not need the WHO!

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

We need a global health body whether it’s the WHO or a successor body. This is not the Bronze Age. Diseases spread round the world. There needs to be international co-ordination of the response.

Kneejerk US nationalist hostility to any international body because it isn’t controlled by the US Government doesn’t get us anywhere.

David Foot
David Foot
3 years ago

All very nice but the UK is giving shed loads of money to the WHO!
UK needs to stop giving money to our enemies, we need to get out of the UN which has passed its sell by dates, just look at the commissions! Decolonization is run by the Empires of Russia and China, Human rights run by the worst offenders and so on!
The UN is a Third World club and the governors of that club are the Marxist Leninist Empires of Russia and China who have kept their ambitions and tyrannies of Marxist expansion in spite of having to bring in a corrupt form of capitalism to survive.
The UN is no longer a tool for world peace, it is more of a joke which is leading to war or to our domination.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  David Foot

At least Trump was right about one thing..

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

This assumes anyone within WHO having the capacity for shame, and I do not see evidence of that.

Peter B
Peter B
3 years ago

It is certainly a relief that the CCP sponsored WHO thoroughly investigated the
source of the Wuhan Bat Flu Lab Leak Virus and reported that China is
without blame and that the virus probably came from a naughty animal in another country, any other outcome would have been surprising and unsettling.

Brian Bieron
Brian Bieron
3 years ago

So many words when it can all be boiled down to a few simple conclusions —

1. The virus almost certainly escaped into humans through an inadvertent lab leak in Wuhan, but it will never be proved. Never.

2. The Chinese Government does not allow any free expression or regime criticism and so a real investigation of the virus origin will never happen. Never.

3. “The World” is not going to fight the Chinese Government to prove Point #1 because the cost of the fight seems far higher to most than the benefit of proving what is almost certainly true.

None of these three conclusions require any conspiracies. In fact, they are basically a summation of the reality that we live in an imperfect world where accidents happen, some powerful governments don’t allow freedom of speech or even thought, and most people and institutions will just live with it.

Please leave all the other conspiracies behind. The likely virus truth is bad enough without the craziness. And the coverup of a lab leak in Wuhan that led to a couple of million deaths globally is not remotely the worst CCP behavior these days.

Tom Adams
Tom Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Bieron

Got it in one – excellent. The CCP is the nearest to a perfect tyranny we’ve yet seen.

Mark Knight
Mark Knight
3 years ago

And people wonder why ‘multilateralism’ is being rejected again and again at the ballot box. It was sold as an approach to achieve the best results and impacts for individuals. As this example shows, it is now an infallible theology only questioned by heretics. The application of this theology now threatens every individual living on the planet.

p minto
p minto
3 years ago

Good discussion about how little is certain about this debate. With only one exeception! What do you think the author is absolutely adamant about? “There is also no doubt that Donald Trump’s botched intervention injected this important debate with lethal toxicity.” The “also” is misplaced..NOTHING in the previous discussion is free from doubt. But if there is any opportunity to have a go at Trump, lets have it. I expect better from Unherd. I can get this from CNN

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  p minto

Yes, I too noticed that gratuitous insult, but decided to ignore it.
I didn’t feel it any way diminished the rest of the piece, and just assumed that poor old Mr Birrell has to pay lip service to TDS, whether he likes to or not, as it is becoming almost obligatory in these ‘toxic’ times.

Vem Dalen
Vem Dalen
3 years ago

Wuhan research laboratories > gain of function experiments with bat coronaviruses > coronavirus global pandemic starts in Wuhan

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

The WHO should stop insulting the world for the heavy price that we are paying for China’s arrogance and deceit. The international community should act against this information cleansing.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago

The WHO is no more corrupt and dishonest than any other UN institution. The surprise is that anyone should find it surprising

Terence Riordan
Terence Riordan
3 years ago

The only question is whether the initial infections in Wuhan were accidental or a deliberate Chinese trial.There is no doubt that this virus came from the Wuhan lab and there is also no doubt that the Chinese authorities allowed thousands of chnese from Wuhan to travel for Chinese new Year around the world knowing about this virus. As I started the only question is whether they used an accidental leak from the laboratory around Wuhan to become a WW biological warfare test or whether they infected Wuhan deliberately. There is no doubt they deliberately infected the world to see the effectiveness of a relatively mild viral desease on the medical systems and politics of the world. Watch for the next one…learn from this and be prepared.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago

“There is no doubt that this virus came from the Wuhan lab.”
Simply not true. There are many who doubt it to the extent of thinking it highly unlikely. Likewise with “There is no doubt they deliberately infected the world.”

Liewe Lotta
Liewe Lotta
3 years ago

Not only do we have a botched pandemic response, but also a WHO whose words and research can’t be trusted. If the WHO is so easily swayed by politics (Lab leaks and public masking debacles), how can we trust anything that comes from them?

mcsean2163
mcsean2163
3 years ago

Really disappointing to see Daszak on the investigation team. He would be investigating himself were he to pursue lableak.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

The WHO wears China’s collar.

jens christian jacobsen
jens christian jacobsen
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

.. or just another cold war pamphlet from an affiliate of DOD or NSA

sjmartin63
sjmartin63
3 years ago

i think it is also interesting to note western involvement (funding) in the WIV.
when `Gain of Function` studies were banned in the US they simply outsourced them to China!
so this is not solely a CCP problem

David Jory
David Jory
3 years ago
Reply to  sjmartin63

And Professor Fauci and President Obama facilitated that.

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago
Reply to  sjmartin63

Absolutely. This is our responsibility too.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  sjmartin63

EU 50% funding of Wuhan..

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago

It is extremely unlikely that this virus could have completely natural origins. For one thing, it doesn’t behave like any other virus we know of – it’s become extraordinarily virulent in a very short time. And of course the Wuhan labs were definitely experimenting with bat viruses, deliberately enhancing them with “gain of function”, engineering them to become transmissible between human beings… I hadn’t known about the “humanised mice” until now – horrific.

But China isn’t the only country carrying out this kind of research. The US and UK have been funding these labs and there seem to be international links within the field of genetic engineering that make it very difficult to pin down culpability. It’s a highly secretive, hugely powerful and potentially lucrative branch of science. In the hands of a ruthless and totalitarian state like China it was always bound to be abused.

Genetic engineering may appear or be made to appear to have some benefits (and massive profits for companies who exploit it) but it’s a poisoned chalice that could well doom us all. I know I’ll be accused of being “anti-science” etc for saying this. But in playing God and altering the basic codes of life we’ve crossed a line to enter a very dark place, in my opinion.

It reminds me of the Ring of Power in Tolkein’s perceptive vision of evil. It promises unlimited power – power to do good as well, and that is the insidious temptation. But its effect is anti-life, anti-human, and totally evil. It also appears, once it’s been forged, to be indestructible. Certainly no-one who has any power in the world is able to destroy it.

We’ll, it may not be a perfect analogy but it’s along the right lines I feel. The present Covid crisis is just the beginning, I fear.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

Your concerns are more than valid. The ethics of some experiments require scientists who are ethical, but the ability to patent and profit often evade ethics. And the specter of weapons isn’t far behind.

Roland Ayers
Roland Ayers
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

I don’t see that it’s become more virulent except in the sense of spreading to parts of the world with lower levels of SARs-induced immunity, poor metabolic health, and high levels of vitamin D deficiency.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago

Oh, Gosh, golly…what a surprise. Who wouldda thought that? As the Gates foundation, big pharma, the CCP, and World Economic forum, have all been working in “lock-step” for decades, (see event 201) did we really expect truth and honesty? They are all cavorting from the same bed. This is purely an optics and damage limitation exercise for the gullible.

Tom Adams
Tom Adams
3 years ago

Amusingly (sort of) the cover-up only confirms the obvious – the lab dun it. Nothing will be done because the CCP has bought everything and everyone that matters. Bye-bye The West – you were cool while you lasted.

alancoles10
alancoles10
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Adams

Who cares as long as they don’t reduce the chocolate ration!

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  alancoles10

I read the chocco ration has been increased! Good news in these unprecedented times.

Brian OFlynn
Brian OFlynn
3 years ago

It is interesting to note that there were Military games in Hubei province (includes Wuhan) in October 2020 with the participation of 100 countries. It is facile to say that Trump did not handle the issue well. He was quick to restrict travel from China. He was also aware of the deaths from a downward spiral in the economy which far exceed the deaths from the virus. Thereis ample evidence that the excess deaths were grossly inflated in the US. 300,000 should have been 127,000 in a population of 330,000,000. Here in Ireland we had the same monthly death toll from ALL causes in April 2020 as in January 2017 & 2018 at c. 3500. The death toll increases from c. 2500 to c 3500 from November to January annually. The annual death toll is remarkably consistent at c. 31,500 . So far in 2020 , although not yet
complete, it’s less for most months. The truism that “the longer you live, the sooner you die” means that 2021 will fulfill the needs of the doomsayers that we are still under the “threat” of the “deadly?” virus…a gift to the totalitarian instincts of the Government …it’s abhorrent.

https://www.facebook.com/Re
For the Fauci connection to the virus

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago

Had this virus started in the UK we would have had people rushing to excoruiate our scientific community, society and entire way of living.

Because it’s happened in China, it was more important for large sections of our press to rubbish Trump calling it the China Virus, than do or say anything against China.

Aidan Collingwood
Aidan Collingwood
3 years ago
Reply to  Ted Ditchburn

For the media, all bad roads lead to Trump.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago

Those American officials who connived at funding the Wuhan Lab for gain of function experiments after Obama banned them – irrespective of whether Covid was the result – acted treasonously.

Joe Francis
Joe Francis
3 years ago

This is the reason why nobody believes their institutions anymore. Personally, I don’t believe anything any formal authority tells me, including the date.

michael harris
michael harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Francis

‘Every word she writes is a lie, including THE and AND’. Mary McCarthy on Lillian Hellman. Apt for many institutions.

Graff von Frankenheim
Graff von Frankenheim
3 years ago

There is also something very fishy about Peter Daszak, another member of this credulous expedition (which really is no more than a boondoggle to deplete the WHO’s travel budget and absolve China at the same time). Check out: https://articles.mercola.co…. Interesting evidence has now also started to emerge regarding the Wuhan Military Olympics/Games which directly preceded the first Chinese cases and which hosted over a hundred countries’ military who all returned to barracks/places in their home countries that immediately became Covid-hotspots. The most interesting bit about this is that the American military sportsmen all had three strains of Covid-19 when diagnosed while the Chinese cases and the other returning military all had only one of the three main strains. See the investigative work done on this by Larry Romanoff.

David Jory
David Jory
3 years ago

Yes, I remember a TV interview where he was confronted with an uncomfortable allegation, and suddenly the link went down.
Now President Biden has turned his interest to Russia, and his Chinese business interests seem to preclude action on China.
Still that’s what the media and Big Tech worked so hard for, and now they can enjoy the fruits of their endeavours.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
3 years ago

The simplest explanation is normally the correct one.

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago

In a way, investigations into the origins are a bit pointless. We all know it came from China- , animal market, Lab or bats. we all know that probably like any other country, China was not going to let an international team into their labs – e.g I can’t see the USA, or any European country ever allowing an international team into any of its research centres dealing with issues of national security or sensitive issues.

The only thing that matters is what’s next and what will happen in terms of making sure that this never happens again – in any country! We need some international protocols and agreements on steps to be taken at the first sign of the next danger ( immediately stopping movement of all people into and out of the country- something at which all countries failed dismally. One year later, the UK is still faffing around on this)

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago

If we’re going to “make sure it never happens again” it would certainly help to know where and how it originated.

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

Yep – but the next one won’t be the same and could come from anywhere by accident, laziness, or just bad luck. A new virulent bird flu, poachers of wild animals in Africa, Asia, South America , who knows

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago

Surely not! It could only conceivably come from a Chinese laboratory.

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

A rather weak attempt at irony in view of your earlier comments. However, the Chinese embassy will have approved.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

“One year later, the UK is still faffing around on this”

Yes, we are governed by “Britain Trump” as the then POTUS admiringly called him.

Even when the Health Secretary and the Home Secretary pressed for travellers from ALL countries to be quarantined in hotels, Boris overruled them and limited it to 33 countries – even though the South African virus is present in more countries that are not on the list of 33 than it is among the 33.

This is what happens when a Tory clown cons people into electing him.

Phil Bolton
Phil Bolton
3 years ago

A good article that continues to show the world the doctrine that the Chinese work to. Slowly but surely democracies around the world are waking up to the threat they pose and what to expect from them.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Phil Bolton

Ya think?! Looks like they are at best sleepwalking, led from the front by Sleepy Joe.

Another democrat, JFK, wrote a long essay in the 1930s (I decline to label it a treatise) called “While England Slept” about Britain (as he ought to have called it) and its complacent lack of preparation for renewed conflict with Germany. Then as now, our so-called elites were in favour of appeasement and accommodation. The parallels with today are uncomfortable.

Of course a strong leader in the form of WSC emerged, forming a valuable alliance with FDR and negating the anti-British prejudices of the despicable Joseph Kennedy. I guess that’s where the parallels stop: we’ve got a bungling idiot in No.10 who aspires to be Churchill (but has no leadership qualities to speak of) and Biden in the White House.

Meanwhile the Germans are doing deals with Russia, the EU is doing likewise with China and despatching the useless Borrell to suck up to Russia.

Forgive me therefore – I see precious little sign of waking up…

mlipkin
mlipkin
3 years ago

Taiwan 2003, in a BSL4 lab (the top biosecurity level, same as Wuhan Institute of Virology) a researcher in a hurry to catch a plane flight takes a short cut on cleaning a spill. The protocol for disinfecting the cabinet would have taken hours so he mopped up the spill with alcohol instead.

On the way back from a conference he feels ill. He knows he has SARS. He goes home and hides there, terrified that he personally is responsible for reintroducing SARS into the human population. He only comes out and admits these errors when his father threatens to commit suicide if he does not do so.

The Taiwanese authorities hide nothing and a full detailed report is available. Fortunately a new outbreak did not occur, its seems that with these diseases some people are much more infectious than others.
This story illustrates the problem: Human Error, which cannot be eliminated. These laboratories are dangerous and not just in China.
Imagine the outbreak which caused covid-19 had been from a lab in a democratic country. Sure, there would have been an initial cover-up but with a free press and a genuine rule of law the truth would have come out.

Now we would be looking at considerable restrictions on these laboratories, most would be closed down, maybe a small number of new ones built far from human habitation and with quarantine rules before workers are allowed to leave the site.
Instead, because of China, we have to wait until the next laboratory caused pandemic, and hope that it is in a democratic country, before these corrections are made.

Morry Rotenberg
Morry Rotenberg
3 years ago

” There is also no doubt that Donald Trump’s botched intervention injected this important debate with lethal toxicity.” And what of the “botched” intervention of the rest of Europe? Or is Trump the only leader that deserves such aprobrium?

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago

The genetic structure of SARS”CoV”2 does not rule out a laboratory origin – SARS”COV”2 chimeric structure and furin cleavage site might be the result of genetic manipulation.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley

Therefore, SARS-CoV-2 would be, to date, the only beta-coronavirus with this multibasic cut-off point. Indeed, bat and pangolin coronaviruses do not possess the cleavage site for furin in protein S [60, 61]. Where does that mutation come from? In theory, it is possible that certain mutation, insertion and deletion phenomena have occurred naturally in protein S in some other animal with a human-like ACE2 receptor with which another genetic recombination would have occurred in the spontaneous creation of SARS- CoV-2 with another virus that does express a multibasic area frequently, such as avian influenza virus (hemagglutinin) [56, 62, 63].

https://www.sciencereposito

SARS-CoV-2 is well adapted for humans. What does this mean for re-emergence?

https://www.biorxiv.org/con

…..

In other words, the WHO needs to explain how SARS-CoV-2 has come to possess the furin cleavage site, which is what makes this virus so contagious and deadly to humans, if not through a laboratory based recombination process.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Gwynne

So here is some evidence WHO may have reviewed – detailed in This Week in Virology podcast # 664 :

1. A paper in Current Biology describing a related beta coronavirus RmYNO2, isolated from bats, that displayed multiple amino acid insertions in its spike protein at the infamous furin cleavage site indicating that such changes to the spike can and do occur in the wild and another paper in 2003 detailing a bat coronavirus, found in the wild, with ACE 2 binding capabilities.

2. If you wanted to do engineering on a virus you wouldn’t use restriction sites – you would use a Gibson assembly that does not leave restriction sites in the genome. There are restriction sites scattered throughout the Sars Cov 2 genome as well as everywhere in wild type microbe genomes.

3. In a 2017 study, Chinese researchers who spent 5 years analyzing SARS-related viruses in horseshoe bats in a cave in Yunnan province found 11 that had all the genetic building blocks of the strain that infected humans, including 3 that use the same receptor to enter human cells.

michaelkll56
michaelkll56
3 years ago

“There is also no doubt that Donald Trump’s botched intervention injected this important debate with lethal toxicity.”
The requisite dissociation from the Hoi polloi.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  michaelkll56

Hoi means the the, so need to repeat it, otherwise spot on. Bravo!

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  michaelkll56

I’m curious what the author believes an appropriate intervention would have been. In the US, states have powers, too, and governors are their chief executives. States took different paths, with NY among the worst. If Trump is to blame for that, then he is also to be credited for states that handled the virus much better than Cuomo the nursing home killer.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  michaelkll56

One must include a gratuitous TRUMP! criticism in order to be accepted by many of the chattering classes, no matter the facts.

nbcaspar1
nbcaspar1
3 years ago

The current viral situation surely underlines that viral warfare would be more effective, much less costly, easier to trigger and cause far less damage for victors to deal with when entering the targeted country(ies) after the attack than a nuclear war.
Therefore countries should be working to disarm viral attacks alongside removing nuclear capabilities and chemical warfare, Covid in all reality is a mild virus, imagine if it was deadly!

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago
Reply to  nbcaspar1

“The supreme art of war is to defeat your enemy without fighting” (Sun Tzu).

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Ralph Windsor

Sadly that won’t be possible next time!

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Ralph Windsor

Sadly the present CCP is hardly likely to heed that advice.

Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
3 years ago

Does anyone, pre- or post-inquiry, actually believe the WHO would find evidence of China’s guilt?

David Barr
David Barr
3 years ago

Seems to me, as a retired scientist, that trying to find the primary source of Covid-19 after more than a year would be almost impossible. But there may be some person or persons who have additional information, if he/she or they can be found.

nick harman
nick harman
3 years ago

I would think ‘somewhat unbelievable coincidence’ sums it up best.

Anyway it’s water under the bridge now. Whatever really happened we are now stuck with the virus.

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago

On the one hand, I can understand that the WHO wishes to avoid a diplomatic incident which will no doubt fuel sinophobia but their deflection strategy will not achieve this. Instead they are actively undermining trust in the WHO, the UN, China and Western media and forcing a political divide between the defenders of rationalism and the apologists of emotionalism.

The question is whether the WHO, the UN, Western media (the Cosmopolitan/globalist superclass) and China are politicising the origins of SARS-CoV-2 wilfully or through naivity.

If the former, then they are wilfully, through sophistry, trying to politically divide the world at national, international and global levels which is very worrying.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Gwynne

do you think that perhaps “a diplomatic incident” is warranted when a govt covers up its role re: the release of a virus? It didn’t spread in Italy because of a bunch of Italians; it was fueled by that country’s connections to China and the daily flights involving people from Wuhan.

The entirety of the virus has been politicized, be it to exercise unearned authority through lockdowns, to use as a weapon in opposing a sitting president, or at the international level.

David Simpson
David Simpson
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Aha – the real answer = “to use as a weapon in opposing a sitting president” – it was created by TDS to enable the election of Joe. Without Covid Trump would almost certainly have got his second term. They tried pretty much everything else.

Chris Weideman
Chris Weideman
3 years ago

What I find most amazing about this whole palaver (Not this particular piece of course) is the fact that so many people in the West (especially young people , “academics” & MSM) are SO blind to the evils of Socialism, especially in its extreme form, known as Communism. The fact that so many people are so un – informed & know so little about the world they live in and how we got to where we are now, is astonishing.

The mere notion that that one could even remotely, contemplate, ANYTHING, that the likes of the CCP regurgitates, as being truthful & virtuous, is beyond me. A tree is known by it fruit…. and people seems to have forgotten that.

The US was correct in pulling funding from the WHO since that organisation has been captured, and thus, such an investigation was always going to be a farce. Communists ( Read ML China), can NOT be trusted & its time the West wakes up to that fact, and fast. This “Investigation” will be conducted in the same spirit as a typical totalitarian regime “show trial”, and that’s that.

Any place where you cannot freely access information, where you have to watch your back as to what you say and do and where freedom of speech is not seen a a core value, should be regarded with the utmost disdain and suspicion.

The spurious manner in which they ( Beloved CCP) try to portray facts, is nothing short of disgusting, I fear. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what our Western proponents of socialism hope they will ONE DAY gain out of pushing such a monstrous & grievously dangerous, inept doctrine. Especially having the benefit of hindsight at their disposal. For those who don’t know, its been tried before & it failed….

The only reason I can see for subscribing to such an ideology, is that these people are somehow possessed by it, or, just plain f@cking stupid & easily taken for a ride. And you knows what? China Knows that. Surely there can be little else that drives it? The West must cease and desist from Romanising Marxism & Socialism & start denouncing it where ever it is found. China, Venezuela, Cuba etc. Such denunciation should also apply to places where this narrative is being pushed, such as South Africa, Zimbabwe & even the US.

The very freedom we have & the room we are allowed in the West, to hold such ideas, discuss and even promote them, no matter how destructive & horrifying they may be, should tell these so called Cultural Marxists, Socialists and other detractors of basic freedoms something. Try doing the opposite is a place like Cuba or China. One can be & live as a Marxist or Socialist under Capitalism, but not the other way around. That should tell you something.

Case in point, look at the trumped up charges being levelled again Cheng Lei. https://www.bbc.com/news/wo

Finally, all I can say is that the WHO has been captured by the Radical Left & its current ring leader, Main Land China, so don’t expect too much of it in the years to come.

Thanks for a great article Mr Birral.

Lyn Griffiths
Lyn Griffiths
3 years ago

Analysis – I thought spot on, and I believe the virus did come from the Wuhan laboratory which I read is only one mile from the city and then to read that the first person known to die from the virus was a laboratory technician from Wuhan. I also followed the investigators this month through the media and had a very strong sense it was more a holiday jolly than a serious in-depth study. But this my opinion and as a person not trained in that field, and so only as an observer. But society I believe in this time of passive aggressive attitudes is heading for a major rift and the safe traditions of telling it how it is and bringing in the diversity and inclusivity rule of thumb will blow up in our faces. But I believe truth will win eventually.

David Stuckey
David Stuckey
3 years ago
Reply to  Lyn Griffiths

Err-do you actually know anything about viral genomes? The sequence of Covid means that there are no “engineered” sections in it so it occurred through evolution within mammal hosts, eg pangolins, civet cats. Based on this I guess you are certain about a lot of other things too?

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago
Reply to  David Stuckey

Read about the gain of function programme that WIV was conducting before you start accusing anyone of ignorance in this field. It wouldn’t leave any markers of being “engineered”.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

I thought they were experimenting with chimeric pseudoviruses, which would bear every sign of having been engineered, and wouldn’t be able to morph ‘back’ into coronaviruses.

michael harris
michael harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

But, Ian, neither you nor Andrew nor David have worked in the Wuhan lab. None of us can know for sure what they were and are working on. Nor will anyone who does work there kindly inform us. We are left with only circumstantial evidence; the truth having been dissolved in an acid bath.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago

The UK and most EU Govts, the Democrats in the USA and almost every left/liberal political voice in the NW hemisphere has used lies, leverage, dissemination and mystification over this particularly nasty respirartory virus/flu. China has done the same and two wrongs don’t make a right. However would it not be a good idea to put our own house in order before trying to sort out the others?

davelowry2
davelowry2
3 years ago

I came to read this because Facebook was trying to surpress it as fake news.

Tony Pearson
Tony Pearson
3 years ago

Very well researched and written, thank you. Note that the UN has form when it comes to cover ups, read:
Deadly River: Cholera and Cover-Up in Post-Earthquake Haiti (The Culture and Politics of Health Care Work) by Ralph R. Frerichs if you can
Be sceptical of self serving bureaucratic organisations, as many others here have pointed out

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

Trump’s “botched intervention”? As opposed, I suppose to all of the credible and successful interventions taken by other national leaders, in January 2020…must one include these TDS statements into a paper in order to be printed?

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago

The genetic structure of SARS”CoV”2 does not rule out a laboratory origin – SARS”COV”2 chimeric structure and furin cleavage site might be the result of genetic manipulation.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley

Therefore, SARS-CoV-2 would be, to date, the only beta-coronavirus with this multibasic cut-off point. Indeed, bat and pangolin coronaviruses do not possess the cleavage site for furin in protein S [60, 61]. Where does that mutation come from? In theory, it is possible that certain mutation, insertion and deletion phenomena have occurred naturally in protein S in some other animal with a human-like ACE2 receptor with which another genetic recombination would have occurred in the spontaneous creation of SARS- CoV-2 with another virus that does express a multibasic area frequently, such as avian influenza virus (hemagglutinin) [56, 62, 63].

https://www.sciencereposito

SARS-CoV-2 is well adapted for humans. What does this mean for re-emergence?

https://www.biorxiv.org/con

…..

In other words, the WHO needs to explain how SARS-CoV-2 has come to possess the furin cleavage site, which is what makes this virus so contagious and deadly to humans, if not through a laboratory based recombination process.

Simon During
Simon During
3 years ago

the article seems to miss the main point. The Chinese can and did refuse access to any group wanting to examine this Covid virus’s origin. The WHO had to decide to go on the PRC’s terms or not to go at al (as they would have had to in many countries I suspect). I think they made the right decision, although others may disagree. Appeasement wasnt gutless it was necessary. How compromised is the report? Not very: it openly declares its various levels of ignorance and stymiedness.

Peter KE
Peter KE
3 years ago

A vote for reparations from china.

Chris Burridge
Chris Burridge
3 years ago

The ‘ministry of the bleeding obvious’ needs to be heard. It very probably was a Wuhan lab event that caused the virus.
So much time & effort is being spent on promoting other causes.

David Simpson
David Simpson
3 years ago

I thought this article had been banned by Facebook – why haven’t you taken this filth down?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Simpson

Facebook banning stuff only makes it more attractive, don’t you think? Must be some reason they don’t want you to see it.

David Simpson
David Simpson
3 years ago

I suppose FB not wanting to upset the PRC might be a reason, but I suspect it’s just mindless stupidity, or a very dumb bot

Gary Greenbaum
Gary Greenbaum
3 years ago

Frankly, whenever an article tosses “appeasement” into the title, I know that what follows will hardly be neutral. And the ritual condemnation of Trump reads like an obligatory blow at Emmanuel Goldstein a la 1984. Is that what we will come to?

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
3 years ago

One thing that Covid has clearly demonstrated is that most people, never mind governments, in all countries have totalitatian tendencies. They are perfectly happy to put young people under house arrest and destroy their life prospects just because they’ve been terrorised by fanatical medics and a hysterical media. All this talk about freedom in the West as compared to China is just waffle ðƾ§‡. Add wokeness to these totalitarian tendencies in the Western world and the last vestiges of ‘freedom’ are snuffed out. When you then add systematic anti-Chinese racism it’s fair to say there’s pretty much nothing much of self judged ‘superior’ Western values worth preserving.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

A slight exaggeration if I may say so.
I too the find “totalitarian tendencies” & the consequential destruction of the life prospects of the young by “fanatical medics and a hysterical media” truly abhorrent, but thanks to appalling State/Comprehensive Education, that is how ‘we’ have made them, supine and stupid.

However to compare the West, spastic as it is, with to the truly revolting CCP is a step too far. Yes we have had our Adolph’s, Stalin, and other homicidal despots, too numerous to mention, but they pale in comparison to Moa and a host of other Mongoloid killers, who must, by any standard, take the Victor’s Palm for genocide and mass slaughter on a Industrial scale.

I suggest you do some research on modern
China, if off course you haven’t done so already. Tough as things will be in the West, we have yet to plumb the very depths of depravity already achieved by the wretched CCP & its loathsome chums.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Stalin gave Mao a run for his money. And as for Hitler, he tops the list, not in numbers but in intention and organization.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago

Have the Chinese highjacked UnHerd?
What has happened to the comments section?