by Mike Whitney and Ron Unz, The Unz Review:
“…..we are left with the strong likelihood that Covid came from a laboratory (and) was designed as a bioweapon… China was the intended target (and) America seems the likely source of the attack… The most likely suspects would be rogue elements of our national security establishment… The virus and its dispersal devices might have been obtained from Ft. Detrick and CIA operatives… would have been sent to Wuhan to release it.” Ron Unz, Editor of The Unz Review; from the text
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Question 1– What makes your theory about the origins of SARS-CoV-2 so controversial, is not that it suggests that the pathogen was created in a lab, but that it is, in fact, a bioweapon that was deliberately released by US agents prosecuting a secret war on presumed enemies of the United States. Here’s the “money quote” from your article titled, “American Pravda: George Orwell’s Virus Lab-Leak”:
“…..we are left with the strong likelihood that Covid came from a laboratory along with a good possibility that it was designed as a bioweapon, yet we lack serious indications that any lab-leak occurred. So if the original Wuhan outbreak was due to the deployment of a powerful bioweapon but not one that had accidentally leaked from any lab, then surely China was the intended target, the victim rather than the perpetrator….
Given our ongoing military and geopolitical confrontation with China, America seems the likely source of the attack… The most likely suspects would be rogue elements of our national security establishment, probably some of the Deep State Neocons whom Trump had placed near the top of his administration.
This small handful of high-level plotters would have then drawn upon the resources of the American national security apparatus to actually carry out the operation. The virus and its dispersal devices might have been obtained from Ft. Detrick and CIA operatives or members of special forces would have been sent to Wuhan to release it…. In effect, what happened was a Dr. Strangelove-type scenario, but brought to real life.” (“American Pravda: George Orwell’s Virus Lab-Leak”, Ron Unz, The Unz Review)
So, here’s the question: Do you think recent developments lend credibility to your explosive theory or do you now believe that Covid-19 was merely “accidentally” leaked through human error?
Ron Unz– As everyone knows, over the last month the entire “mainstream narrative” of the Covid outbreak has been completely overturned. Just a few weeks ago, anyone suggesting the virus was artificial was denounced and ridiculed as a “conspiracy theorist” and any such statements were automatically banned by Facebook.
But exactly these same prohibited ideas are now widely accepted and promoted by leading figures in the media and political establishments. The 45-year veteran of the New York Times who spearheaded its Covid coverage has now admitted that he was completely mistaken, and that the virus probably came from a lab. The three billion Facebook users can now openly discuss this possibility.
The total collapse of this “natural virus” propaganda-bubble was produced by a self-published 11,000 word article by longtime science journalist Nicholas Wade. Yet the astonishing thing is that almost none of the crucial facts he cited in his article were new. Nearly all of Wade’s important evidence had been publicly available for a full year, but was simply ignored by our entire political and media establishment, partly because Trump took that position and they all hated Trump.
So the virus probably came from a lab. But the question now becomes “which lab?” Just as the MSM had promoted the totally unsubstantiated belief that Covid was natural, the MSM has now begun promoting the equally unsubstantiated belief that Covid accidentally leaked from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology. However, the evidence of any such Wuhan lab-leak is so thin as to be almost invisible.
It’s true that Chinese researchers at that lab were experimenting with related bat viruses, but many American researchers were doing very similar experiments, and for decades bat viruses have also been the central focus of America’s huge biowarfare program.
Wuhan is an enormously large metropolis of 11 million, much larger than New York City, and the Wuhan lab is located 20 miles(!) from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which was the earliest epicenter of the Wuhan outbreak. A distance of 20 miles seems pretty far for an accidental lab-leak.
Immediately after the initial Wuhan outbreak, the virus began infecting Iran’s top political elites, and killing a number of them. Isn’t it implausible that a random lab-leak in Wuhan would so quickly jump to the Holy City of Qom on the other side of the world?
There are many other aspects of the timing of the outbreak that seem very inconsistent with a random, accidental lab-leak.
Until a few weeks ago, the MSM and Facebook shut down anyone who disagreed with the “natural virus” theory, even though the evidence for an artificial virus had always been much stronger. They’ve now said “Oops! We were wrong. The virus probably came from a lab.” So I think they’ll now have a much harder time shutting down any debate about which lab.
Once people became aware of the basic facts of the virus, belief that it was artificial quickly collapsed. And once people become aware of the basic facts of the initial Covid outbreak, I think that belief in an accidental lab-leak will also begin to collapse.
Question 2–You seem to have anticipated my next question, but I’ll go ahead and ask it anyway. In another one of your articles, you say this:
“As the coronavirus gradually began to spread beyond China’s own borders, another development occurred that greatly multiplied my suspicions. Most of these early cases had occurred exactly where one might expect, among the East Asian countries bordering China. But by late February Iran had become the second epicenter of the global outbreak. Even more surprisingly, its political elites had been especially hard-hit, with a full 10% of the entire Iranian parliament soon infected and at least a dozen of its officials and politicians dying of the disease, including some who were quite senior. Indeed, Neocon activists on Twitter began gleefully noting that their hatred Iranian enemies were now dropping like flies.
Let us consider the implications of these facts. Across the entire world the only political elites that have yet suffered any significant human losses have been those of Iran, and they died at a very early stage, before significant outbreaks had even occurred almost anywhere else in the world outside China. Thus, we have America assassinating Iran’s top military commander on Jan. 2nd and then just a few weeks later large portions of the Iranian ruling elites became infected by a mysterious and deadly new virus, with many of them soon dying as a consequence. Could any rational individual possibly regard this as a mere coincidence?”
My question is this: Is this the smoking gun? In other words, do these two “attacks” on enemies of the United States strongly suggest Washington’s involvement?
Ron Unz– Well, it’s certainly an *extremely* odd coincidence for those who claim the global Covid outbreak was caused by an accidental, random lab-leak of a virus in Wuhan, China.
Iran is on the other side of the world from China, and very few Chinese visit the Holy City of Qom. So it’s extremely strange that the Covid virus would have jumped so extremely quickly from a Wuhan lab-leak to Iran’s top political leadership, which suffered the next major outbreak.
A few weeks afterward, the third major world outbreak began in Northern Italy, but 200,000 Chinese live and work in that region, and many had just returned from their Lunar New Year holiday in China. The Chinese population in Qom is absolutely negligible by comparison. The Italian outbreak makes perfectly logical sense while the one in Qom does not.
None of this constitutes proof, but it raises huge doubts about the likelihood of the random lab-leak hypothesis. By contrast, the deliberate release of a viral bioweapon seems a much more plausible explanation of both these outbreaks.
America has the world’s largest and most comprehensive biowarfare program, and America’s two leading international adversaries—China and Iran—were almost simultaneously hit by a mysterious, deadly virus. Suspicion seems to point in a pretty obvious direction.
If the Colombo crime family of NYC is locked in a bitter feud with the Genoveses, and two capos of the latter are found shot to death in a 24-hour period, maybe they both suddenly decided to commit suicide. But most sensible observers would also tend to consider other possibilities.
Question 3– Shortly after you published your explosive piece suggesting US Intel agents may have been involved in releasing Covid-19 among the Chinese and Iranian people, your website was deplatformed by Google and banned on Facebook? Would you briefly explain what happened and will you also tell us whether you think that your alleged offense was:
1– Suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 was created in a lab?
2– Or, suggesting that Washington might have used SARS-CoV-2 as a bioweapon directed at its geopolitical rivals?
In my opinion, ruling elites don’t really care if people think Covid was man-made. What they’re concerned about, is that people will think it was intentionally released. That is the thought they don’t want us to think.
Ron Unz– Obviously, all this is entirely speculative. But for six years our website had been publishing a wide variety of extremely controversial articles on all sorts of different subjects, and we had never had any problems with either Facebook or Google.
Then in late April 2020, I published my first long article laying out the substantial evidence that the global Covid outbreak might have been due to an American biowarfare attack against China (and Iran), and that article got very strong early traffic, with more Facebook Likes in the first few days than anything I had previously published.
But about ten days after it ran, our website was suddenly banned by Facebook. A few days later, our entire website was deranked by Google, so that all our web pages would appear near the very bottom of Google searches and almost no one would see them. The coincidental timing of these actions seems very suspicious.
At that point, I think we were one of the most popular websites to have ever been banned by Facebook. For example, our traffic far exceeded that of the venerable New Republic, a century old publication that had spent decades as America’s most influential opinion magazine. Although Facebook did publish an official report explaining that month’s bans, our name was barely mentioned, with almost all the pages of discussion devoted to obscure foreign websites in Georgia, Mauritania, or Myanmar, or those located in America’s major geopolitical adversaries such as Russia or Iran. The report explained the reasons for banning VDARE, “a website known for posting anti-immigration content” and then banned our own website for being “similar.”
This explanation seemed very strange. We do regularly republish VDARE articles, but since the beginning of 2020, these had only amounted to 41 of our 1,751 total articles and posts, representing just 0.2% of our content, and few of these VDARE pieces had anything to do with immigration. Meanwhile, Google provided no explanation at all for our sudden purge from their search results.
It seems likely that the sudden purges by Facebook and Google were due to our very extensive Covid coverage over the previous couple of months, culminating in my major article. Among English-language websites, the vast majority of mainstream outlets had been reporting that the virus was obviously natural and denouncing anyone who suggested it came from a lab as “crazy conspiracy theorists.”
Meanwhile, large numbers of right-wing, anti-China, or pro-Trump websites regularly claimed that the Covid outbreak was due to a lab-leak in Wuhan, and sometimes suggested that the virus was a Chinese bioweapon. I think we almost alone in focusing upon America’s huge and well-documented biowarfare program, sometimes publishing important articles that had been rejected elsewhere, and pointing suspicion in that direction.
Because we were banned by Facebook and Google, what should have became a debate over three origin Covid possibilities—a natural virus, a Chinese virus, or an American virus—became a year-long debate between only the first two.
Given enormous negative impact the Covid epidemic has had on America and the rest of the world, it’s easy to understand why our political leadership would be extremely concerned if people merely began to even consider the possibility that the virus may have been produced by an American government lab, let alone deliberately released. And persuading Facebook and Google to block such theories would make perfect sense.
Question 4– There’s a part of your theory I have a problem with. You say: “CIA operatives or members of special forces (may) have been sent to Wuhan to release “(the virus) This could be true, but why do you exclude the possibility that Chinese scientists may have been working either secretly with their US counterparts (Baric, Fauci?) or that the Chinese leadership is cooperating with foreign elites and Intelligence agencies to help them implement authoritarian policies in their own countries? Is that too far-fetched for you to even consider?
Ron Unz– Well, anything’s possible, but there’s simply no evidence of that.
Given the extreme recent hostility between the American and Chinese governments, I think it’s very unlikely that any senior officials of the two countries would be secretly cooperating behind the scenes in releasing the Covid virus.
Since the Trump Administration spent much of the Spring claiming that the Chinese had “covered up” the outbreak, large teams of investigative journalists from our top media outlets devoted many weeks of effort to tracking down the facts. Based upon all available evidence the Chinese government only discovered the existence of this mysterious, unsuspected new virus near the end of December, and almost immediately informed the World Health Organization.
Once the Chinese realized that Covid was highly contagious and spreading around Wuhan, they reacted very quickly. Some local officials tried to ignore or minimize the problem, costing them about a week, but once the national government discovered the danger, it quickly ordered massive public health measures, locking down the entire city of 11 million, and soon expanding the lockdowns to the region and then the entire country, confining 700 million Chinese to their homes for several weeks. This allowed them to completely stamp out the virus, and within a few months, the country was almost back to normal.
Meanwhile, the American government mostly ignored the entire potential problem and the possibility that the virus would back into the U.S. Our CDC botched the production of testing-kits, so for many weeks we had no way of knowing if the virus was starting to spread here. Trump and his supporters engaged in wishful thinking, claiming that the virus wasn’t dangerous and might disappear “like magic.” The American government only started to take the problem seriously after the horrific outbreak in Northern Italy.
Since the American government was harshly denouncing China during this entire period and reacting so differently to their Covid outbreaks, I think it’s very unlikely that American and Chinese leaders had planned the Covid outbreak together or were secretly cooperating in any way.
On the other hand, it’s certainly true that for many years Chinese scientists and American scientists had worked together on viral research, and jointly published papers. But that’s true of scientists all around the world, and until the last few years, China and America had generally been on pretty friendly terms. I don’t think it’s particularly surprising that the American NIH provided some funding to the viral research of the Wuhan lab, and until the Covid outbreak, nobody would have cared about that. As far as I know, America provides research grants to scientists all around the world, and other countries, including China, do the same thing with American research.
And despite all the media hype, I also didn’t see anything particularly surprising in those Fauci emails that were recently released. American financial support for the virus research of the Wuhan lab had never been a secret, and I’ve been reading about it for over a year. However, once Trump and Pompeo began claiming that devastating Covid epidemic had been caused by a Wuhan lab-leak, the situation obviously changed. If they were correct, then everyone in America even somewhat associated with the Wuhan lab could share some of the gigantic blame, including Fauci. So it’s hardly surprising that Fauci and all the others began hiding their connection and also using their influence to try to (dishonestly) persuade the media that the virus was natural, thereby protecting the Wuhan lab and also themselves.
That worked for about a year, and nobody paid attention to the issue. But now that the media has come around to the virus being artificial, the Wuhan lab has become a prime suspect, putting Fauci and the others back in the hot-seat. Fauci seems a dishonest federal bureaucrat, but our entire government is filled with such people, and the focus on Fauci seems ridiculous. I think it’s quite unlikely that Covid was produced in Wuhan or leaked out, so Fauci’s dishonesty was totally unimportant.
Finally, while it’s remotely possible that America intelligence agencies had some spies in Wuhan or even the Wuhan lab, there seems no evidence of this. In fact, the only secret intelligence we allegedly received about events in Wuhan came from a third-country source, which demonstrates our own total lack of information and agents. If we did release the Covid bioweapon in Wuhan, it’s pretty unlikely that we were able to recruit local Chinese agents to carry out the operation.
For about a year, most experts had agreed that the Covid outbreak in Wuhan probably began in late October or early November of 2019. By a remarkable coincidence, there were 300 American military servicemen visiting Wuhan for the World Military Games, which ended in late October. That visit would have provided perfect cover for America to slip a couple of operatives into the group, and have them release the virus in the city. With thousands of foreign military personnel traveling around and doing sightseeing, any risk of detection would have been minimal. That seems much more plausible than the risk of finding and using local Chinese operatives.
Question 5— Alot of people who read this interview are going to think, “The United States is not capable of crime like this.” But, over the years, US-funded laboratories have created, modified and stockpiled all manner of toxic agents including “six mass-produced, battle-ready biological weapons”, namely, anthrax, tularemia, brucellosis, Q-fever, VEE, botulism and God knows what else. The United States has also authorized highly controversial human research programs that involved people and groups who were never informed that they were being used as guinea pigs in a government lab experiment. As Jeanne Guillemin said more than three decades ago: