Special to WorldTribune, June 24, 2021
Analysis by R. Clinton Ohlers
New revelations that Google funded virus gain-of-function scientist and Wuhan Laboratory of Virology collaborator, Peter Daszak, places motive behind the tech giant’s censoring discussion of increasing evidence that COVID-19 may have originated in the Wuhan lab.
It now appears that from the time of the outbreak, virtually all the principal funders of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s gain-of-function research, including Anthony Fauci, Ralph Baric, and Peter Daszak, engaged in a coordinated public disinformation campaign regarding the possible origins of the virus and sought actively to suppress public discussion of a possible lab leak.
Google.org, the tech giant’s charity arm, has funded studies by EcoHealth alliance researchers including Daszak, its president, since at least 2010, Natalie Winters of the National Pulse reports. She found multiple papers published by EcoHealth researchers and by Daszak bearing the acknowledgment, as partly “supported by Google.org” and “made possible” by the financial contribution of Google.org.
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Daszak worked closely with the lab's so-called 'bat lady’ Shi Zhengli, investigating and modifying coronaviruses. Along with University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor Ralph Baric, another leader in gain-of-function scientist, are described by the Wuhan Zhengli as “my longtime collaborators
In 2006, Daszak directed $200 million from the U. S. State Department to the Wuhan lab. Between 2014 and 2019, Fauci as head of the the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAIAD) was responsible for $7.4 million provided by the National Institutes of Health that went to funding gain of function in two batches, as reported by Newsweek
in April of 2020.
The first $3.7 million went to collection and study of bat coronaviruses under the direction of Wuhan’s Shi Zheng-Li, with a portion of another $3.7 million for gain of function research directed there by Daszak.
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In November of 2015, working under grants from Fauci, Baric published a paper on their work turning coronavirus into a chimeric virus, an animal virus that can infect humans. He gave credit to coauthor Shi Zengli, then his colleague at UNC before her tenure in Wuhan.
In an abstract that sounds chillingly like a preview to the COVID-19 pandemic, Baric wrote: "Using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone. The results indicate that group 2b viruses encoding the SHC014 spike in a wild-type backbone can efficiently use multiple orthologs of the SARS receptor human angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2), replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells and achieve in vitro titers equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV."
Additionally, “experiments demonstrate replication of the chimeric virus in mouse lung with notable pathogenesis,” Baric observed.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology also happens to be a P4 weapons lab, meaning that it houses the most dangerous pathogens on Earth, including Ebola. It has engaged in research on behalf of the People’s Liberation Army since 2017, the same year Fauci and Francis Collins, head of the NIH, approved gain-of-function research there.
In December of 2019, just before the outbreak, Daszak spoke openly
about the accomplishments from more than fifteen years of genetically engineering viruses at the Wuhan laboratory, and the ease of doing this with coronaviruses.
After the five year project to collect and study bat coronaviruses ended in 2019, the research entered a new phase to enhance the collected viruses for transmission to humans. That phase continued through April of 2020.
Newsweek reported: "A second phase of the project, beginning that year, included additional surveillance work but also gain-of-function research for the purpose of understanding how bat coronaviruses could mutate to attack humans. The project was run by EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit research group, under the direction of President Peter Daszak, an expert on disease ecology. NIH canceled the project just this past Friday, April 24th.
"According to Richard Ebright, an infectious disease expert at Rutgers University, the project description refers to experiments that would enhance the ability of bat coronavirus to infect human cells and laboratory animals using techniques of genetic engineering. In the wake of the pandemic, that is a noteworthy detail."
By January of 2020, mounting support for the likelihood of a laboratory leak had already begun to circulate and was showcased by experts on Steve Bannon’s War Room: Pandemic podcast, which appears to have first broken the story to the public.
In response, February of 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic spreading globally, Daszak penned an open statement signed by 26 other scientists designed to quell such inquiry. The group of scientists flatly denied the possibility of a laboratory origin of the disease. Daszak labeled such a notion a “conspiracy theory.”
That letter has recently been discovered to have been so intentionally misleading that it resulted in Daszak’s removal from the UN commission investigating the origin of COVID-19.
The laboratory’s funder, Google, followed Daszak’s lead by actively suppressing discussion of the “lab leak” theory on its publishing and social media platforms.
New revelations the the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s also funded Daszak and his co-collaborator Baric may shed light on Facebook’s similar suppression of the lab leak theory. Facebook only recently lifted that ban at the end of May.
Fauci and Baric also supported suppression of the lab leak hypothesis as a conspiracy theory. Fauci’s leaked emails show he received a personal “thank you” from Daszak for publicly dismissing the theory, in spite of the fact that Fauci had previously learned of the theory’s plausibility from colleagues.
In April, Daszak wrote to Fauci: “I just wanted to say a personal thank you on behalf of our staff and collaborators, for publicly standing up and stating that the scientific evidence supports a natural origin for Covid-19 from a bat-to-human spillover, not a lab release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
In April, the NIH also misleadingly parroted the Daszak letter, stating
, “scientific research indicates that there is no evidence that suggests the virus was created in a laboratory.”
When questioned by Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul about the now well documented connections between Baric, Daszak, Shengli, and the NIH funding that Fauci himself directed to the lab, Fauci further dissembled, calling such claims “entirely and completely incorrect.”
It was discovered earlier in June that through a Freedom of Information Act request that Daszak collaborated with Baric on the statement, and told his fellow signatories in an email that the letter would not be sent under the EcoHealth logo “and will not be identifiable as coming from any one organization of person.”
The purpose, he said was for it to appear to be coming from “a community supporting our colleagues.” The emails also show Daszak briefly considered not signing the letter himself, although ultimately he did.
Daszak noted that he could “send it round” to other scientists to sign, the US Right to Know Biohazards Blog, reports
. “We’ll then put it out in a way that doesn’t link it back to our collaboration so we maximize an independent voice,” Daszak wrote.
Leaving his own name and those of two other EcoHealth-affiliated scientists would give the letter “some distance from us and therefore doesn’t work in a counterproductive way,” Daszak wrote.
Daszak wrote to two other scientists about the need to make the paper appear independent of EcoHealth, Ralph Baric and coronavirus expert Linfa Wang.
Baric agreed with Daszak’s suggestion not to sign The Lancet statement, writing “Otherwise it looks self-serving, and we lose impact.”
The letter, titled 'Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of China combatting Covid-19’, stated:
“We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that Covid-19 does not have a natural origin.
“Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumours and prejudices that jeopardise our global collaboration in the fight against the virus.”
It ended with the false claim: “We declare no competing interests.”
“The letter proved so influential that it virtually ended debate on the origin of Covid for more than a year,” Martin Gould reports in the Daily Mail
. “Anyone who suggested it could have been man-made was shot down amid accusations of anti-Chinese xenophobia.”
Adding, “After the letter was published, any idea that Covid may have been lab-engineered, deliberately or otherwise, were dismissed.”
So intense was the subsequent opposition to a lab leak theory that Robert Redfield, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control, told Vanity Fair
that received death threats after commenting in an interview that the virus could have been man-made.
“I was threatened and ostracized because I proposed another hypothesis. I expected it from politicians. I didn’t expect it from science,” Redfield said.
Jamie Metzl, a member of the World Health Organization's advisory committee on human genome editing and a former Bill Clinton administration staffer, said of Dr Daszak's statement: “The Lancet letter was scientific propaganda and a form of thuggery and intimidation.”
Nevertheless, “left-wing websites masquerading as ‘fact checkers,’ ” Winters observes, “still call the lab theory
‘false,’ despite the shift in tone from the Biden regime, leading world scientists, and intelligence officials.”
Chief among these is Google.
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