Is News Corp back onto weapons of mass destruction?

May 11, 2021

Australians born in the last century remember how the ‘war on terror’ began in 2001. The same con trick is being tried on us again, for war with China.

It has taken a little over a month for Australia’s leaders to succeed in distracting us from the alleged past misdeeds of Ministers and SAS service people, with the time-honoured trick of finding something worse. Instead of remaining a health problem, COVID-19 has become, or been made into, a national security and economic problem.

Providence dropped the pandemic in the lap of the war-hungry among us. Instead of joining the world’s countries in a common effort to investigate and contain it, Australia obliged our US ally by politicising the WHO inquiry, provoking damaging retaliation from China. Already it is enabling American exporters to snap up our market share. Having proved what useful idiots we are, Australians are now being set up to return the Government at the next election for its handling of the virus.

How are we being set up? By News Corp, whose journalist Sharri Markson has been off writing a book, What Really Happened in Wuhan, about China’s plans for ‘virus warfare’. It appears in October, and reveals the results of a US State Department investigation into the origins of COVID-19, citing Chinese military scientists and public health officials who in 2015 identified SARS coronaviruses as new ‘genetic weapons’. Originating in animals, they could be manipulated in the laboratory into a virus that would spread among humans. Markson quotes a former US Air Force Colonel, asserting that WWIII ‘will certainly be a biological war’.

If these deadly pathogens are warehoused in China ready for WWIII, the implication is, Australians should be very afraid, and do whatever it takes to ward off this existential danger, including forcefully pushing back against China for having them. It sounds just like WMD all over again.

And it is, but not because China doesn’t have ‘Gain of Function’ (GOF) coronaviruses in its laboratories, theoretically for research on antigens against them: this is known. But because Americans have been collaborating with them for years, and working on Gain of Function viruses themselves, using the same research excuse to get around the Biological Weapons Convention.

Experiments with dangerous pathogens, even in high-security laboratories, cause dozens of accidents a year, including in the United States, in the UK, and in Australia. From 2013, when the Obama administration banned GOF research, millions of dollars were sent to support the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which also worked with the University of North Carolina and the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick in Maryland. Its research collaboration with the US began in the 1980s, and headed by Dr Antony Fauci, included work on GOF viruses with bat expert Dr Shi Zhengli.

The Fort Detrick facility was shut down from mid-July2019 by the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), which cited inventory deficiencies and breaches of biosafety protocols. The commanding officer was sacked, a local newspaper, The Frederick News-Post, reported. In October,success in developing a chimaeric coronavirus, a potential biological weapon, was announced by Johns Hopkins University.

In November 2019, when Fort Detrick was partially reopened, ABC (US) quoted the National Center for Medical Intelligence stating that intercepts and satellite imagery showed a new virulent contagion spreading in Wuhan. Analysts briefed the Pentagon and the White House that ‘it could be a cataclysmic event’. Chinese doctors didn’t observe the new contagion until 26 December 2019. China identified it to WHO as a coronavirus on 30 December. COVID-19 (SARS-Cov-2) was named on 8 January 2020. The American Centers for Disease Control called their Chinese counterparts on 3 January and afterwards, offering cooperation, which was declined.

‘Crimson Contagion’ was a series of simulations which anticipated aspects of COVID19, staged from May to August 2019 by the US Center for Health Security. The fourth one, ‘Event 201’, gaming a coronavirus epidemic in the US, included Chinese and Australian participants. It was run in New York on the day the World Military Games began in Wuhan, 18 October 2019. Uncharacteristically, the 300-strong American team won few medals, but their hotel recorded some 40 cases of the virus among employees and guests. The Chinese Foreign Minister accused US service people of introducing it to Wuhan, while Trump claimed China had deliberately let it spread.

Among competing narratives about the origin of the pandemic, one, originally discounted, suggested escape of a Gain of Function virus from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and its transmission to humans. In 2020 Dr Shi and Dr Fauci repeatedly denied that COVID-19 came from WIV, as did 27 scientists writing to the Lancet on 18 February, defending its origins in nature. But Trump and Pompeo claimed they knew that it did, and WIV’s funding was abruptly suspended by the National Institutes of Health in late April.

US Intelligence agencies deduced that mobile phone silence at the WIV from 7 to 24 October 2019 indicated a ‘hazardous event’, but they didn’t mention the simultaneous shut-down of Fort Detrick. In late 2020 NSA Director Robert O’Brien alleged that Chinese had ‘repurposed [the virus] into a bioweapon’ for geopolitical advantage, which sounded like a reference to America’s own GOF operations. In January 2021, his deputy, Matthew Pottinger, cited US intelligence showing that the pathogen escaped through a ‘leak or an accident’ from WIV. In March, the WHO’s Director-General admitted that the team had not thoroughly investigated a possible leak from a Wuhan laboratory.

The remaining possibility, a ‘leak or accident’ involving a GOF virus from Fort Detrick, is not being considered.

A resolution of these conflicting explanations of COVID-19 is unlikely to be found soon, if ever, no matter how independent are those who inquire into it. The consequences, which include mutations and further pandemics, are potentially disastrous. Worse is war. Before Australians are led into an unwinnable conflict with China, we should remember the false premises on which we fought other wars.

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