After Four Years and Thirty Million Deaths

Source : – 22 april , 2024

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The Covid Epidemic and the Trump Neocons

The global Covid epidemic began more than four years ago, and although its visibility has largely faded over the last couple of years, displaced in the headlines by Russia’s Ukraine war and the more recent Israel-Gaza conflict, its lingering impact has been enormous.

Since 2020 The Economist has maintained the most authoritative account of the human toll and by its reckoning, the total number of “excess deaths” worldwide has nearly reached thirty million, while many billions more had their lives greatly disrupted by the lockdowns and economic dislocations. Our own country certainly suffered from these same factors, with well over a million American deaths, and the massive government spending used to avert an economic collapse raised our debt by more than $10 trillion, an increase of roughly 50% over just the last few years.

During that same period I’d published a long series of articles focused on the origins of Covid. Yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of the first of those pieces and over the last few days I’ve reread most of my writings on that topic, which totaled well over 100,000 words.

In many of those articles, I’d assumed that the long-term social and economic impact of the epidemic and lockdowns would be far greater than was the case. Ordinary life in America seems to have largely returned to normal much more rapidly than I had expected at the time. Except for a few permanent changes here and there, little sign of those very difficult years seems to remain in our daily lives, and I think the same situation has also been true in most other countries. But aside from those mistaken expectations—probably shared by many others at the time—I’d strongly stand behind almost everything else that I wrote in those two dozen major articles, especially including my extremely controversial analysis of the true cause of that devastating global epidemic.

The origin of Covid had been my primary contribution to the public debate and now that four years have gone by and the dust has partially settled, I think it’s worth revisiting that question and reviewing some of my arguments. But although my first article appeared in April 2020, the underlying analysis can best be understood after carefully considering some earlier events.

In 2016 a massive wave of popular revulsion against the political establishments of both the Democratic and Republican parties unexpectedly propelled Donald Trump into the White House. However, he unfortunately soon proved himself to be a disengaged and rather erratic president, and suffering from the natural problems of someone entirely new to holding elective office, he notoriously allowed his top aides to run circles around him on important issues.

Furthermore, although he’d run for the presidency as a candidate of drastic ideological change, most of his appointments were relatively conventional Republicans. Within fifteen months he’d been persuaded to place his national security policy in the hands of hardline Neocons such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, who were both intensely hostile toward China and Iran and sometimes ignored or circumvented their ignorant superior. Leading journalists later reported that Trump’s senior aides would sometimes hide his executive orders, thereby preventing him from signing them into law while correctly assuming that he would soon forget about them.

An extremely serious example of Trump’s inability to control his own underlings came in late 2018 during a crucial summit meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Huawei was one of China’s most important corporations, a global technology champion whose CFO Meng Wanzhou was the daughter of the company’s founder and chairman and was herself one of her country’s highest-profile executives. But just eight months after taking office, Bolton ordered her arrest as she was changing planes in Canada on charges that she had violated American sanctions on Iran, an action that severely damaged our relations with China. Several years later a 10,000 word article in the Wall Street Journal revealed some of the fascinating details behind that serious international incident.

Mr. Bolton, then-national security adviser in the Trump administration, knew Ms. Meng’s arrest could disrupt the summit’s marquee event that evening, a dinner between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Yet Mr. Bolton, a longtime China hawk, felt it was worth the risk. The president didn’t yet know about the plan. White House staffers later debated whether Mr. Bolton had told Mr. Trump or if it hadn’t fully registered with the president…

At the police station, Ms. Meng was fingerprinted, and allowed a phone call to the only Chinese-speaking lawyer Huawei could find on short notice, a patent attorney. As the attorney dashed to the station, Ms. Meng began to gasp for air, worrying officers who sped her to a hospital.

Messrs. Trump and Xi were dining on Argentine sirloin, accompanied by a 2014 Malbec. The goal of the dinner was to reach a truce in an escalating U.S.-China trade war. Neither man appeared aware of Ms. Meng’s arrest. Mr. Bolton, seated near Mr. Trump, didn’t mention it.

Mr. Xi learned shortly after, according to Chinese government officials, and it struck him as deceptive and an insult. He had just agreed to buy more U.S. food and energy.

Mr. Trump questioned Mr. Bolton days later at a White House Christmas dinner, according to people familiar with the conversation. “Why did you arrest Meng?” the president said. “Don’t you know she’s the Ivanka Trump of China?”

Thirteen months later, an even more shocking incident unfolded in the Middle East. For many years, Gen. Qasem Soleimani had been regarded as Iran’s most important military commander and given his very widespread popular appeal, he was considered a likely candidate in his country’s 2021 presidential election. But in early 2020 American officials lured him to Baghdad for Middle East peace negotiations with our representatives and then persuaded Trump to order his assassination when he arrived there on January 2nd. That heinous killing brought our two nations to the very brink of war as the outraged Iranians bombarded our Middle Eastern bases with a dozen or more ballistic missiles in retaliation. Although Iran provided sufficient advance warning that no American lives were lost, more than one hundred of our servicemen were injured.

Iran had long sought to reestablish amicable relations with the U.S., but the Israelis regarded that country as their most formidable regional rival and for more than a dozen years they and their close Neocon allies had been working to provoke an Iranian war with America, hoping to use our powerful military to destroy their local adversary, much like we had attacked and destroyed Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Therefore, this assassination was almost certainly part of that long-standing pro-Israel project, and although the exact American government officials responsible were never identified, it seems very likely that Pompeo and Bolton were heavily involved.

The public, peacetime assassination of so high-ranking a foreign leader was an almost unprecedented act during the last three centuries of world politics, while our disingenuous mainstream media carefully avoided suggesting the obvious Israeli dimension to the crime. As a result, I decided to explore the broader issue of assassinations, particularly focusing on Israel’s Mossad and its likely hidden role in so many of the highest-profile incidents of the previous seventy years. Near the end of that month, I published a very long and comprehensive review of that important history.

The Covid outbreak as a biowarfare attack ?

Although that lengthy article attracted considerable readership and more than 1,000 comments, by the time it ran the emerging Covid outbreak was receiving more and more attention, soon sweeping aside all other issues. But those earlier incidents in the Trump Administration remained in the back of my mind as I began considering the sudden emergence of this new and mysterious virus in Wuhan, China.

My first major Covid article appeared in April 2020 and in it I described the sequence of events:

When my morning newspapers first began mentioning the appearance of a mysterious new illness in China during mid-January, I paid little attention, absorbed as I was in the aftermath of our sudden assassination of Iran’s top military leader and the dangerous possibility of a yet another Middle Eastern war. But the reports persisted and grew, with deaths occurring and evidence growing that the viral disease could be transmitted between humans. China’s early conventional efforts seemed unsuccessful in halting the spread of the disease.

Then on Jan. 23rd and after only 17 deaths, the Chinese government took the astonishing step of locking down and quarantining the entire 11 million inhabitants of the city of Wuhan, a story that drew worldwide attention. They soon extended this policy to the 60 million Chinese of Hubei province, and not longer afterward shut down their entire national economy and confined 700 million Chinese to their homes, a public health measure probably a thousand times larger than anything previously undertaken in human history. So either China’s leadership had suddenly gone insane, or they regarded this new virus as an absolutely deadly national threat, one that needed to be controlled at any possible cost.

Those early stories in the New York Times and other mainstream outlets either ignored the origins of the Covid virus or treated it as natural, but from a very early stage many others on the Internet had adopted a radically different perspective.

Back in January, few Americans were paying much attention to the early reports of an unusual disease outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which was hardly a household name. Instead, overwhelming political attention was focused on the battle over Trump’s impeachment and the aftermath of our dangerous military confrontation with Iran. But towards the end of that month, I discovered that the fringes of the Internet were awash with claims that the disease was caused by a Chinese bioweapon accidentally released from that same Wuhan laboratory, with former Trump advisor Steve Bannon and ZeroHedge, a popular right-wing conspiracy-website, playing leading roles in advancing the theory. Indeed, the stories became so widespread in those ideological circles that Sen. Tom Cotton, a leading Republican Neocon, began promoting them on Twitter and FoxNews, thereby provoking an article in the NYT on those “fringe conspiracy theories.”

Soon afterward, I discovered that many of the Covid theories promoted by these right-wing, anti-China activists apparently had their roots in American government propaganda efforts. As early as January 9th, before even a single Covid death had been officially reported, our CIA-associated Radio Free Asia outlet had begun running stories that Covid might be a Chinese bioweapon that had leaked from the Wuhan lab, and a couple of weeks later the right-wing Washington Times picked up on the same story, quoting unnamed U.S. government officials who seemed to lend it credence.

These strange developments began raising early doubts in my mind. Furthermore, whether the virus was natural or the result of a lab-leak, the timing of its appearance seemed very suspicious to me, as I explained in my article:

Regardless of the origins of the idea, does it seem plausible that the coronavirus outbreak might have originated as an accidental leak from that Chinese laboratory?…

During January, the journalists reporting on China’s mushrooming health crisis regularly emphasized that the mysterious new viral outbreak had occurred at the worst possible place and time, appearing in the major transport hub of Wuhan just prior to the Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions of Chinese would normally travel to their distant family homes for the celebration, thereby potentially spreading the disease to all parts of the country and producing a permanent, uncontrollable epidemic. The Chinese government avoided that grim fate by the unprecedented decision to shut down its entire national economy and confine 700 million Chinese to their own homes for many weeks. But the outcome seems to have been a very near thing, and if Wuhan had remained open for just a few days longer, China might easily have suffered long-term economic and social devastation.

The timing of an accidental laboratory release would obviously be entirely random. Yet the outbreak seems to have begun during the precise period of time most likely to damage China, the worst possible ten-day or perhaps thirty-day window. As I noted in January, I saw no solid evidence that the coronavirus was a bioweapon, but if it were, the timing of the release seemed very unlikely to have been accidental.

America and China had spent the previous several years locked in bitter international confrontation and then a sudden, mysterious virus had appeared in the latter country, potentially wrecking its society and economy. That hardly constituted any sort of proof, but it certainly raised my reasonable suspicions:

If the virus had been released intentionally, the context and motive for such a biowarfare attack against China could not be more obvious. Although our disingenuous media continues to pretend otherwise, the size of China’s economy surpassed that of our own several years ago, and has continued to grow much more rapidly. Chinese companies have also taken the lead in several crucial technologies, with Huawei becoming the world’s leading telecommunications equipment manufacturer and dominating the important 5G market. China’s sweeping Belt and Road Initiative has threatened to reorient global trade around an interconnected Eurasian landmass, greatly diminishing the leverage of America’s own control over the seas. I have closely followed China for over forty years, and the trend-lines have never been more apparent. Back in 2012, I published an article bearing the provocative title “China’s Rise, America’s Fall?” and since then I have seen no reason to reassess my verdict.

  • China’s Rise, America’s Fall
    Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?
    Ron Unz • The American Conservative • April 17, 2012 • 7,000 Words

For three generations following the end of World War II, America had stood as the world’s supreme economic and technological power, while the collapse of the Soviet Union thirty years ago left us as the sole remaining superpower, facing no conceivable military rival. A growing sense that we were rapidly losing that unchallenged position had certainly inspired the anti-China rhetoric of many senior figures in the Trump Administration, who launched a major trade war soon after coming into office. The increasing misery and impoverishment of large sections of the American population naturally left these voters searching for a convenient scapegoat, and the prosperous, rising Chinese made a perfect target.

Despite America’s growing economic conflict with China over the last couple of years, I had never considered the possibility that matters might take a military turn. The Chinese had long ago deployed advanced intermediate range missiles that many believed could easily sink our carriers in the region, and they had also generally improved their conventional military deterrent. Moreover, China was on quite good terms with Russia, which itself had been the target of intense American hostility for several years; and Russia’s new suite of revolutionary hypersonic missiles had drastically reduced any American strategic advantage. Thus, a conventional war against China seemed an absolutely hopeless undertaking, while China’s outstanding businessmen and engineers were steadily gaining ground against America’s decaying and heavily-financialized economic system.

Under these difficult circumstances, an American biowarfare attack against China might have seemed the only remaining card to play in hopes of maintaining American supremacy. Plausible deniability would minimize the risk of any direct Chinese retaliation, and if successful, the terrible blow inflicted to China’s economy would set it back for many years, perhaps even destabilizing its social and political system. Using alternative media to immediately promote theories that the coronavirus outbreak was the result of a leak from a Chinese biowarfare lab was a natural means of preempting any later Chinese accusations along similar lines, thereby allowing America to win the international propaganda war before China had even begun to fight.

These were the thoughts that entered my mind during the last week of January once I discovered the widely circulating theories suggesting that China’s massive disease epidemic had been the self-inflicted consequence of its own biowarfare research. I saw no solid evidence that the coronavirus was a bioweapon, but if it were, China was surely the innocent victim of the attack, presumably carried out by elements of the American national security establishment.

Soon afterward, someone brought to my attention a very long article by an American ex-pat living in China who called himself “Metallicman” and held a wide range of eccentric and implausible beliefs. I have long recognized that flawed individuals can often serve as the vessels of important information otherwise unavailable, and this case constituted a perfect example. His piece denounced the outbreak as a likely American biowarfare attack, and provided a great wealth of factual material I had not previously considered. Since he authorized republication elsewhere I did so, and his 15,000 word analysis, although somewhat raw and unpolished, began attracting an enormous amount of readership on our website, probably being one of the very first English-language pieces to suggest that the mysterious new disease was an American bioweapon. Many of his arguments appeared doubtful to me or have been obviated by later developments, but several seemed quite telling.

He pointed out that during the previous two years, the Chinese economy had already suffered serious blows from other mysterious new diseases, although these had targeted farm animals rather than people. During 2018 a new Avian Flu virus had swept the country, eliminating large portions of China’s poultry industry, and during 2019 the Swine Flu viral epidemic had devastated China’s pig farms, destroying 40% of the nation’s primary domestic source of meat, with widespread claims that the latter disease was being spread by mysterious small drones. My morning newspapers had hardly ignored these important business stories, noting that the sudden collapse of much of China’s domestic food production might prove a huge boon to American farm exports at the height of our trade conflict, but I had never considered the obvious implications. So for three years in a row, China had been severely impacted by strange new viral diseases, though only the most recent had been deadly to humans. This evidence was merely circumstantial, but the pattern seemed highly suspicious.

The writer also noted that shortly before the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, that city had hosted 300 visiting American military officers, who came to participate in the 2019 Military World Games, an absolutely remarkable coincidence of timing. As I pointed out at the time, how would Americans react if 300 Chinese military officers had paid an extended visit to Chicago, and soon afterward a mysterious and deadly epidemic had suddenly broken out in that city? Once again, the evidence was merely circumstantial but certainly raised dark suspicions.

Scientific investigation of the coronavirus had already pointed to its origins in a bat virus, leading to widespread media speculation that bats sold as food in the Wuhan open markets had been the original disease vector. Meanwhile, the orchestrated waves of anti-China accusations had emphasized Chinese laboratory research on that same viral source. But we soon published a lengthy article by investigative journalist Whitney Webb providing copious evidence of America’s own enormous biowarfare research efforts, which had similarly focused for years on bat viruses. Webb was then associated with MintPress News, but that publication had strangely declined to publish her important piece, perhaps skittish about the grave suspicions it directed towards the US government on so momentous an issue. So without the benefit of our platform, her major contribution to the public debate might have attracted relatively little readership.

Around the same time, I noted another extremely strange coincidence that failed to attract any interest from our somnolent national media. Although his name had meant nothing to me, in late January my morning newspapers carried major stories on the sudden arrest of Prof. Charles Lieber, one of Harvard University’s top scientists and Chairman of its Chemistry Department, sometimes characterized as a potential future Nobel Laureate.

The circumstances of that case seemed utterly bizarre to me. Like numerous other prominent American academics, Lieber had had decades of close research ties with China, holding joint appointments and receiving substantial funding for his work. But now he was accused of financial reporting violations in the disclosure portions of his government grant applications—the most obscure sort of offense—and on the basis of those accusations, he was seized by the FBI in an early-morning raid on his suburban Lexington home and dragged off in shackles, potentially facing years of federal imprisonment.

Such government action against an academic seemed almost without precedent. During the height of the Cold War, numerous American scientists and technicians were rightfully accused of having stolen our nuclear weapons secrets for delivery to Stalin, yet I had never heard of any of them treated in so harsh a manner, let alone a scholar of Prof. Lieber’s stature, who was merely charged with technical disclosure violations. Indeed, this incident recalled accounts of NKVD raids during the Soviet purges of the 1930s.

Although Lieber was described as a chemistry professor, a few seconds of Googling revealed that some of his most important work had been in virology, including technology for the detection of viruses. So a massive and deadly new viral epidemic had broken out in China and almost simultaneously, a top American scholar with close Chinese ties and expertise in viruses was suddenly arrested by the federal government, yet no one in the media expressed any curiosity at a possible connection between these two events.

I think we can safely assume that Lieber’s arrest by the FBI had been prompted by the concurrent coronavirus epidemic, but anything more is mere speculation. Those now accusing China of having created the coronavirus might surely suggest that our intelligence agencies discovered that the Harvard professor had been personally involved with that deadly research. But I think a far more likely possibility is that Lieber began to wonder whether the epidemic in China might not be the result of an American biowarfare attack, and was perhaps a little too free in voicing his suspicions, thereby drawing the wrath of our national security establishment. Inflicting such extremely harsh treatment upon a top Harvard scientist would greatly intimidate all of his lesser colleagues elsewhere, who would surely now think twice before broaching certain controversial theories to any journalist.

By the end of January, our webzine had published a dozen articles and posts on the coronavirus outbreak, then added many more by the middle of February. These pieces totaled tens of thousands of words and attracted a half million words of comments, probably representing the primary English-language source for a particular perspective on the deadly epidemic, with this material eventually drawing many hundreds of thousands of pageviews. A few weeks later, the Chinese government began gingerly raising the possibility that the coronavirus may have been brought to Wuhan by the 300 American military officers visiting that city, and was fiercely attacked by the Trump Administration for spreading anti-American propaganda. But I strongly suspect that the Chinese had gotten that idea from our own publication.

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 hated 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?

Biological warfare is a highly technical subject, and those possessing such expertise are unlikely to candidly report their classified research activities in the pages of our major newspapers, perhaps even less so after Prof. Lieber was dragged off to prison in chains. My own knowledge is nil. But in mid-March I came across several extremely long and detailed comments on the coronavirus outbreak that had been posted on a small website by an individual calling himself “OldMicrobiologist” and who claimed to be a retired forty-year veteran of American biodefense. The style and details of his material struck me as quite credible, and after a little further investigation I concluded that there was a high likelihood his background was exactly as he had described. I made arrangements to republish his comments in the form of a 3,400 word article, which soon attracted a great deal of traffic and 80,000 words of further comments.

Although the writer emphasized the lack of any hard evidence, he said that his experience led him to strongly suspect that the coronavirus outbreak was indeed an American biowarfare attack against China, probably carried out by agents brought into that country under cover of the Military Games held at Wuhan in late October, the sort of sabotage operation our intelligence agencies had sometimes undertaken elsewhere. One important point he made was that high lethality was often counter-productive in a bioweapon since debilitating or hospitalizing large numbers of individuals may impose far greater economic costs on a country than a biological agent which simply inflicts an equal number of deaths. In his words “a high communicability, low lethality disease is perfect for ruining an economy,” suggesting that the apparent characteristics of the coronavirus were close to optimal in this regard. Those so interested should read his analysis and assess for themselves his credibility and persuasiveness…

One intriguing aspect of the situation was that almost from the first moment that reports of the strange new epidemic in China reached the international media, a large and orchestrated campaign had been launched on numerous websites and Social Media platforms to identify the cause as a Chinese bioweapon carelessly released in its own country. Meanwhile, the far more plausible hypothesis that China was the victim rather than the perpetrator had received virtually no organized support anywhere, and only began to take shape as I gradually located and republished relevant material, usually drawn from very obscure quarters and often anonymously authored. So it seemed that only the side hostile to China was waging an active information war. The outbreak of the disease and the nearly simultaneous launch of such a major propaganda campaign may not necessarily prove that an actual biowarfare attack had occurred, but I do think it tends to support such a theory.

By early March, I had become increasingly convinced of what had happened. After all, China and Iran were the two countries in the world that were the leading targets of American hostility, and those were the two countries first hit by the mysterious Covid virus, an extremely strange coincidence under either the natural virus or lab-leak scenarios.

But the accusation I was considering was a monumental one, namely that an ill-fated biowarfare attack launched by elements of our own government had disastrously backfired, with many hundreds of thousands of Americans facing illness and death as a consequence. So although all of this circumstantial evidence seemed quite persuasive to me, I still didn’t feel I had sufficient proof to warrant publication.

However, all that changed in early April as the disastrous failure of our own public health authorities to control the burgeoning epidemic prompted a series of angry leaks from within our intelligence service. I quickly recognized the explosive implications of those revelations, which otherwise seem to have almost entirely escaped any notice.

But with the horrific consequences of our own later governmental inaction being obvious, elements within our intelligence agencies have sought to demonstrate that they were not the ones asleep at the switch. Earlier this month, an ABC News story cited four separate government sources to reveal that as far back as late November, a special medical intelligence unit within our Defense Intelligence Agency had produced a report warning that an out-of-control disease epidemic was occurring in the Wuhan area of China, and widely distributed that document throughout the top ranks of our government, warning that steps should be taken to protect US forces based in Asia. After the story aired, a Pentagon spokesman officially denied the existence of that November report, while various other top level government and intelligence officials refused to comment. But a few days later, Israeli television mentioned that in November American intelligence had indeed shared such a report on the Wuhan disease outbreak with its NATO and Israeli allies, thus seeming to independently confirm the complete accuracy of the original ABC News story and its several government sources.

It therefore appears that elements of the Defense Intelligence Agency were aware of the deadly viral outbreak in Wuhan more than a month before any officials in the Chinese government itself. Unless our intelligence agencies have pioneered the technology of precognition, I think this may have happened for the same reason that arsonists have the earliest knowledge of future fires.

With that final, conclusive element in place, I went ahead and published my long article.

Covid Biowarfare Accusations by Iran and Russia

My controversial analysis attracted enormous immediate interest, probably generating more traffic than anything I’d published in years. But within days, our website was banned by Facebook and all our pages deranked by Google, with the blows from those twin Internet gatekeepers severely reducing the distribution of our information. For nearly six years, we had published ultra-controversial content on a very wide range of extremely sensitive topics and encountered no problems whatsoever, but my carefully-reasoned discussion of Covid origins immediately provoked a harsh clampdown. Restricting the easy distribution of important information can severely skew an informed public debate.

Many observers have agreed with me regarding the extremely suspicious nature of the very early Iranian outbreak and in a lengthy 2021 article I discussed those facts in far greater detail as well as some surprising discoveries I had recently made:

That initial Iranian outbreak was also strangely centered on the Holy City of Qom, the home of that country’s elite political and religious leadership rather than in the far larger metropolis of Tehran. Whether Covid appeared in Wuhan as a natural virus or was released due to an accidental lab-leak, Wuhan is some 5,500 kilometers from Qom, so the latter city would hardly seem the most likely location for the next major appearance of the virus.

By March additional major Covid outbreaks had also occurred in Northern Italy and soon afterwards Spain, but the circumstances were quite different. According to Wikipedia, some 300,000 Chinese live and work in that Italian region while another 150,000 Chinese reside in Spain, and many of these individuals had surely returned from annual Lunar New Year trips to their Chinese homeland, perhaps bringing the virus back with them. By contrast, Iran’s total Chinese population is one of the smallest in the world, numbering just 5,000-9,000, and overwhelmingly concentrated in Tehran rather than Qom.

China has very extensive trading and business links throughout the world, with perhaps a million Chinese residing in Africa and several million Chinese immigrants in the US and Canada, many of whom retain close personal ties to their homeland. So if an international panel of expert epidemiologists had been given the hypothetical case of a new epidemic in Wuhan, China and asked to predict the next city to which the disease would spread, I suspect that Qom in Iran would have been close to the bottom of their list. But after our early January assassination of Gen. Qasem Soleimini and Iran’s retaliatory cruise missile strikes against our Middle Eastern bases, any panel of military strategists would surely have ranked Iran’s leadership near the absolute top of American targets.

Together with its close Israeli ally, the U.S. has long maintained an effective network of agents and operatives in Iran, who have successfully carried out numerous major sabotage operations and high-level assassinations. Compared to such difficult attacks on heavily-guarded targets, the quiet release of an invisible and untraceable but highly contagious virus in some gathering of political elites would have been an extremely easy operation, especially since the results would have only become apparent weeks later as the victims fell ill and the disease began to spread.

The circumstantial evidence suggesting that America (or its Israeli partner) had deployed Covid against Iran’s leadership class in Qom seemed so strong, I found it puzzling that the Iranians themselves had apparently not drawn those same conclusions and publicly denounced what had occurred. They might not have had any proof, but such a biowarfare attack would been an unprecedented violation of important international conventions, and surely such plausible allegations would have generated worldwide headlines and elicited a considerable amount of sympathy. But then a few months ago, I was very much surprised to discover that the Iranians had actually done exactly that.

In February 2021, a social media research group affiliated with the establishmentarian Atlantic Council released a massive 17,000 word, 54 page report documenting and denouncing the wide range of supposedly false or unsubstantiated “conspiracy theories” regarding the Covid epidemic, and devoted several pages to presenting what they considered widespread Iranian “falsehoods,” but which I viewed in an entirely different light. By early March 2020, the Iranian general overseeing his country’s biowarfare defense had already begun suggesting that Covid was a Western biological attack against his country and China, and a couple of days later the semiofficial Iranian news agency FARS quoted Iran’s top Revolutionary Guards military commander as declaring:

Today, the country is engaged in a biological battle. We will prevail in the fight against this virus, which might be the product of an American biological [attack], which first spread in China and then to the rest of the world…America should know that if it has done so, it will return to itself.

Soon afterward, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei took the same public position, while populist former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became especially vocal on Twitter for several months, even directing his formal accusations to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Just a single one of his numerous Tweets drew many thousands of Retweets and Likes.

Iranian radio and television and its international news service repeatedly carried these stories, backed by supportive interviews with a top political aide to Malaysia’s former prime minister. But America’s overwhelming domination over the English-language global media ensured that this major international controversy never came to my attention at the time it occurred.

The blockade preventing these Iranian charges from reaching the English-speaking world was further facilitated by American control over the basic infrastructure of the Internet. Just one month earlier, Iran’s PressTV channel for Britain had been deleted by YouTube, following the earlier removal of its main global channel. Most recently, the American government took the unprecedented action of seizing PressTV‘s Internet domain, completely eliminating all access to that website.

Wikipedia is also under hostile control, so we should hardly be surprised that ubiquitous source of worldwide information rather implausibly suggests that a single Iranian businessman returning from China was the cause of the Qom outbreak.

In 2022 Lt. Gen. Igor Kirillov, the head of Russia’s Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Defense forces, held a public briefing in which he suggested that the American government had been responsible for the global Covid epidemic. A couple of days later, Twitter suspended the official account of the Russian Foreign Ministry for distributing that information.

Although I believed that the case I had made in my original April 2020 article was quite strong, as additional facts gradually came out they further reinforced those conclusions.

For example, in that same long 2021 article I’d noted that in 2017 Trump brought in Robert Kadlec, who since the 1990s had been one of America’s leading biowarfare advocates. The following year a mysterious 2018 viral epidemic hit China’s poultry industry and another mysterious viral epidemic devastated China’s pork industry in 2019. Furthermore:

From the earliest days of the administration, leading Trump officials had regarded China as America’s most formidable geopolitical adversary, and orchestrated a policy of confrontation. Then from January to August 2019, Kadlec’s department ran the “Crimson Contagion” simulation exercise, involving the hypothetical outbreak of a dangerous respiratory viral disease in China, which eventually spreads into the United States, with the participants focusing on the necessary measures to control it in this country. As one of America’s foremost biowarfare experts, Kadlec had emphasized the unique effectiveness of bioweapons as far back as the late 1990s and we must commend him for his considerable prescience in having organized a major viral epidemic exercise in 2019 that was so remarkably similar to what actually began in the real world just a few months later.

With leading Trump officials greatly enamored of biowarfare, fiercely hostile to China, and running large-scale 2019 simulations on the consequences of a mysterious viral outbreak in that country, it seems entirely unreasonable to completely disregard the possibility that such extremely reckless plans may have been privately discussed and eventually implemented, though probably without presidential authorization.

The Hidden History of American Biowarfare

Not long after publishing that comprehensive 2021 update to my original 2020 Covid analysis, I began exploring the broader history of America’s biological warfare capabilities and discovered quite a number of surprising facts previously unknown to me.

Our biowarfare infrastructure had originally been established during World War II and then incorporated the advanced systems developed by our defeated Japanese opponents, soon being accorded government resources very comparable to that of our much higher-profile nuclear weapons program. Nearly eighty years later, that massive system of biowarfare/biodefense has absorbed around $100 billion in total funding and was certainly the largest and oldest such program in the world.

Moreover, contrary to everything I’d always been led to believe, there seemed overwhelming evidence that America had illegally deployed our biological weapons during the Korean War against both the Chinese and North Korean forces, just as the latter had loudly accused us of doing at the time. Other biological weapons aimed at damaging food supplies had been used against East Germany, Cuba, and possibly other countries during the long Cold War era, while we had also developed similar weapons aimed at the Soviet Union. Our own country had apparently sometimes suffered damaging blowback from the development or use of those bioweapons, incidents that were concealed by our government and its subservient media. Given these revelations, the deployment of the Covid virus against China and Iran was hardly as novel or extraordinary an action as I had initially assumed.

Although solidly-established by reputable experts, those important facts regarding the history of American biological warfare programs were not well-known outside narrow circles. I soon discovered such serious blind spots when I read and reviewed a number of books that had recently been published on the disputed origins of the Covid virus.

Although they took a variety of different approaches, all three supported the so-called “lab-leak hypothesis,” the perceived alternative to the natural virus theory. Under this reconstruction, Covid is believed to have been accidentally released by China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology…

One of the books discussed is by Jasper Becker, a British journalist who had spent 18 years as a Beijing correspondent, and the closing paragraph of the review quotes him as suggesting that a Chinese admission of responsibility could even lead to the downfall of the ruling regime:

The national shame might spell the end of the Chinese Communist Party’s seventy-year rule. It would start a political earthquake which would begin in China but spread around the world.

The reviewer notes that Becker draws upon history to suggest that China’s current denials cannot be trusted, emphasizing that during the Korean War the Chinese Communists had launched a major propaganda offensive, falsely claiming that the American military had used illegal “germ warfare” to attack China’s own forces:

This is one reason why Western intelligence agencies are likely to doubt or at least question official accounts about the origin of the virus and the role of the Wuhan Institute of Virology…While the Chinese and Soviet governments pushed a completely false story of its enemies waging war with bioweapons against civilians, they actively pursued their own germ warfare programmes in secrecy.

Becker and the reviewer both reasonably argue that if a government has been caught lying in the past about biological warfare, its current claims about the Covid outbreak cannot be trusted.

I am sure that the vast majority of readers simply nodded their heads at all of these statements and earlier this year I would have done the same. But several months ago I had carefully investigated the history of American biological warfare and discovered that the story I had casually absorbed from our media was the exact opposite of the historical truth. Based upon declassified government documents and other fully mainstream sources, there was actually overwhelming evidence that the Chinese had been telling the truth during the Korean War while our own denials had been false. America had indeed used illegal biological warfare during that conflict…

I have no doubt that Becker was being entirely sincere, and his statements on that specialized historical question were simply due to his acceptance of the conventional media narrative rather than any deliberate deception. But suppose we now apply his own standard. Once we recognize that China had been truthful in the past, while America had both employed illegal bioweapons and then lied about their use, these disturbing facts must inform our own analysis of the Covid outbreak.

Perhaps Covid was a natural virus and perhaps it accidentally leaked out of a Wuhan lab. But there is also a third logical possibility, that it was deliberately released in one of China’s largest cities as a planned biowarfare attack. The Covid outbreak occurred at the height of China’s ongoing international conflict with America, so elements of our own hostile government would be the obvious suspects. None of the three books seemed to recognize the existence of this hypothetical possibility even merely to dismiss it, an enormous blind spot that may or may not be due to the constraints of the American publishing industry.

None of those authors were willing to even consider the possibility that Covid might have been an American virus and they were hardly alone. Since the beginning of the outbreak I have been surprised by the total reluctance of almost any other writers or publications, whether mainstream or alternative, to merely consider or discuss such a possibility, while never mentioning the very telling facts that I had amassed in support of my controversial hypothesis. This brought to mind what George Orwell had called “Crimestop” in his classic dystopian novel 1984, and I used that term in the title of my article.

Lab-Leak or Biowarfare Attack, and a Possible Scenario

Nicholson Baker’s book discussing his partially successful efforts to investigate the history of America’s biological warfare programs had been one of the main texts I’d relied upon in my article on that topic. In a piece published earlier that same year I’d noted that he and the other writers debating the possible origins of Covid seemed to restrict their consideration to only two theories, always ignoring what I called “the excluded third possibility”:

Both these authors seem to assume that there exist only two possible scenarios: a natural virus that suddenly appeared in Wuhan during late 2019 or an accidental lab-leak of an enhanced disease agent in that same city. But there is an obvious third case as well, clearly suggested by Baker’s focus on America’s own very active biowarfare program, which he extensively discussed both in his long article and in his highly-regarded book. We must surely consider the possibility that the Covid-19 outbreak was not at all accidental, but instead constituted a deliberate attack against China, occurring as it did near the absolute height of the international tension with America, and therefore suggesting that elements of our own national security apparatus were the most obvious suspects. Given the realities of the publishing industry, any serious exploration of such a scenario would probably have precluded the appearance of the important Baker or Lemoine articles in any respectable publication, perhaps helping to explain such silence. But as I have argued in my long American Pravda series, many historical accounts that were blacklisted for exactly those sorts of reasons appear quite likely to be true.

Exactly the same glaring omission is found in Wade’s 11,000 word article. Taken together, Lemoine, Baker, and Wade have produced a large collection of high-quality articles on the origins of the global Covid-19 epidemic, but nowhere among their 54,000 words is there even a hint that the virus might possibly have had its origins in America’s well-documented and lavishly funded biowarfare program. For several years, our newspapers have proclaimed that we are now locked into a new Cold War against China, with some risk that it might turn hot. But the obvious possible implications of the sudden, potentially-devastating outbreak of a dangerous viral epidemic in our leading international adversary remains unmentionable, too explosive even to be dismissed or ridiculed, let alone carefully considered.

A later December 2022 article of mine emphasized that because of the total exclusion of that third possibility, the lab-leak scenario had become conflated with the notion of a bioengineered Covid virus, leading to fruitless exchanges in the Covid origins debate.

I think these exchanges demonstrate that to a considerable extent, the two main camps on the Covid origins debate have been talking past each other.

The testimonies provided by Quammen and Holmes strongly challenged the possibility of any lab-leak at Wuhan, suggesting that this proves the virus must have been natural, even though few arguments on that latter point were ever made; at most, they raised some doubts about the strength of the evidence for bioengineering.

Meanwhile, the articles and papers by Wade, Sachs, Bruttel, and others have provided strong evidence that the virus was artificial. All of this has usually been interpreted as support for the lab-leak hypothesis, even though very little evidence was ever presented that any lab-leak had occurred.

Yet the apparent vector-sum of these conflicting arguments is the conclusion that the Covid virus neither leaked from the Wuhan lab nor was natural, and this suggests that the public debate has been improperly restricted to just those two possibilities.

For more than 30 months I have emphasized that there are actually three perfectly plausible hypotheses for the Covid outbreak. The virus might have been natural, randomly appearing in Wuhan during late 2019; the virus might have been the artificial product of a scientific lab in Wuhan, which accidentally leaked out at that time; or the virus might have been the bioengineered product of America’s hundred-billion-dollar biowarfare program, the oldest and largest in the world, a bioweapon deployed against China and Iran by elements of the Trump Administration at the height of our hostile international confrontation with those countries.

The first two possibilities have been very widely discussed and debated across the Western mainstream and alternative media, while the third has been almost totally ignored, despite top Russian, Iranian, and Chinese government officials having publicly accused America of releasing Covid in a deliberate biowarfare attack.

Meanwhile, I had closed that same earlier article by summarizing the key pieces of evidence favoring my own biowarfare hypothesis over the competing lab-leak scenario, and then outlining my own reconstruction of events:

(1) For three years, China had been locked in growing conflict with America over trade and geopolitics, and for three years in a row, China had been hit very hard by mysterious viruses. An Avian Flu virus severely damaged its poultry industry in 2018 and the following year a Swine Flu virus destroyed over 40% of its pig herds, China’s primary meat source. The third year, Covid-19 appeared. Certainly a suspicious pattern if the last were just a random lab-leak.

(2) The Covid-19 outbreak appeared at absolutely the worst time and place for China, the major transit hub of Wuhan, timed almost perfectly to reach high local levels of infection just as the travelers for the Lunar New Year holiday spread the disease to all other parts of the country, thereby producing an unstoppable epidemic. The timing of an accidental lab-leak would obviously be random.

(3) 300 American military servicemen had just visited Wuhan as part of the World Military Games, providing a perfect opportunity for releasing a viral bioweapon. Consider what Americans would think if 300 Chinese military officers had visited Chicago, and immediately afterwards a mysterious, deadly viral disease suddenly broke out in that city. It would be a strange coincidence if that American military visit and an entirely unrelated accidental lab-leak had occurred at exactly the same time.

(4) The characteristics of Covid-19, including high communicability and low lethality, are absolutely ideal in an anti-economy bioweapon. It seems odd that a random lab-leak would release a virus so perfectly designed to severely damage the Chinese economy.

(5) From almost the very moment that the outbreak began, anti-China bloggers in America and the US-funded Radio Free Asia network had launched a powerful international propaganda offensive against China, claiming that the outbreak in Wuhan was due to the leak of an illegal bioweapon from the Wuhan lab. This may have merely been an exceptionally prompt but opportunistic response of our propaganda organs, but they seemed remarkably quick to take full advantage of an entirely unexpected and mysterious development, which they immediately identified as being due to a lab-leak.

(6) By “the second week of November” our Defense Intelligence Agency had already begun preparing a secret report warning of a “cataclysmic” disease outbreak in Wuhan although according to the standard timeline at that point probably only a couple of dozen people had started experiencing any symptoms of illness in a city of 11 million. How did they discover what was happening in Wuhan so much sooner than the Chinese government or anyone else?

(7) Almost immediately afterwards, the ruling political elites in Iran became severely infected, with many of them dying. Why did the accidental Wuhan lab-leak jump to Iran’s political elites so quickly, before it had reached almost anywhere else in the world.

Given the conclusions suggested above, I also think it would be useful for me to provide my own summary of a plausible scenario for the Covid-19 outbreak. Although I had already presented this outline in a September 2020 article, I see no need for any revisions. Obviously, this reconstruction is quite speculative, but I think it best fits all the available evidence, while individual elements may be modified, dropped, or replaced without necessarily compromising the overall hypothesis.

(1) Rogue elements within our large national security apparatus probably affiliated with the Deep State Neocons decided to inflict severe damage upon the huge Chinese economy using biowarfare. The plan was to infect the key transport hub of Wuhan with Covid-19 so that the disease would invisibly spread throughout the entire country during the annual Lunar New Year travels, and they used the cover of the Wuhan International Military Games to slip a couple of operatives into the city to release the virus. My guess is that only a relatively small number of individuals were involved in this plot.

(2) The biological agent they released was designed primarily as an anti-economy rather than an anti-personnel weapon. Although Covid-19 has rather low fatality rates, it is extremely contagious, has a long pre-symptomatic infectious period, and can even spread by asymptomatic carriers, making it ideally suited for that purpose. Thus, once it established itself throughout most of China, it would be extremely difficult to eradicate and the resulting efforts to control it would inflict enormous damage upon China’s economy and society.

(3) As a secondary operation, they decided to target Iran’s political elites, possibly deploying a somewhat more deadly variant of the virus. Since political elites generally tend to be elderly, they would anyway suffer far greater fatalities.

(4) The deadly SARS and MERS outbreaks in East Asia and the Near East had never significantly spread back to America (or Europe), so the plotters wrongly assumed that the same would be the case with Covid-19. Anyway, since international organizations always ranked the US and Europe as having the best and most effective public health systems for combating any disease epidemic, they believed that any possible blowback damage would be very minor.

(5) Only a small number of individuals were directly involved in this plot, and soon after the disease was successfully released in Wuhan, they decided to further safeguard America’s own interests by alerting the appropriate units with the Defense Intelligence Agency, probably by fabricating some sort of supposed “intelligence leak.” Basically, they arranged for the DIA to hear that Wuhan was apparently suffering a “cataclysmic” disease outbreak, thereby leading the DIA to prepare and distribute a secret report warning our own forces and allies to take appropriate precautions.

(6) Unfortunately for these plans, the Chinese government reacted with astonishing determination and effectiveness, and soon stamped out the disease. Meanwhile, the lackadaisical and incompetent American government largely ignored the problem, only reacting after the massive outbreak in Northern Italy had gotten media attention. Since the CDC had botched production of a testing kit, we had no means of recognizing that the disease was already spreading in our country, and the result was massive damage to America’s economy and society. In effect, America suffered exactly the fate that had originally been intended for its Chinese rival.

The Possible Role of “Cognitive Infiltration”

Thus, under my scenario, the blowback from a botched American biowarfare attack against China (and Iran) was responsible for the global Covid outbreak, killing well over a million Americans and tens of millions more worldwide, while totally disrupting the lives of many billions. If true, that story might arguably rank as the most remarkable in all of human history, with World War II being its only plausible rival.

Yet aside from a tiny handful of notable exceptions, virtually no one else in the world during the past four years has discussed this possibility or the powerful collection of factual evidence that supports it. And as far as I can tell, this silence has even extended across nearly the entire conspiratorial fringe of the Internet, although that sector is filled with individuals normally so eager to jump on any controversial or “exciting” theories possessing even just a shred of supporting evidence.

Although I still remain puzzled by this bizarre situation, my long 2021 article suggested that at least some of it may be due to a successful effort by pro-government operatives to divert “conspiracy theorists” into dead-ends, just as Cass Sunstein had once notoriously suggested:

Many, perhaps most individuals are quite reluctant to embrace any theory not blessed by their personal figures of authority, whether these be the editors of the New York Times or the pundits of FoxNews. Only a small minority of the population is willing to cross such ideological boundaries and risk the stinging epithet of being labeled “a conspiracy theorist.”

Transgressive individuals who adhere to some heterodox beliefs are also usually willing to accept many others as well, and are often quite eager to do so, sometimes exhibiting the troubling lack of logical thinking and careful analytical judgment that may taint their entire community. This leaves them open to eagerly nibbling the poisoned bait of fraudulent but attractive theories, whether these are advanced by well-meaning advocates, self-serving charlatans, or covert agents of the establishment engaged in “cognitive infiltration.” The vast profusion of unorthodox Covid theories, heavily promoted in videos, Tweets, and websites, may derive from all three of these different sources.

Some individuals have claimed that Covid does not exist, or that it is almost harmless, being little more dangerous than the ordinary flu, with our alleged death-toll merely a product of fraud and media propaganda. Others have taken this notion even further, arguing that viruses in general do not exist. Such sentiments have been all too annoyingly frequent on the very lightly moderated comment-threads of this website…

Not having devoted much time to these matters, I can only say that a great deal of the agitated commentary on this subject appears outlandish and implausible. Many activists seem to assume a unified worldwide conspiracy involving China, America, Russia, Israel, Iran, and virtually every other nation, all secretly working together to pretend that Covid is dangerous and that the vaccines against it are not, even though the truth is exactly the reverse. But the notion of all these mutually-hostile countries collaborating in such a bizarre scheme seems extremely unlikely, and Russian President Vladimir Putin recently made exactly this important point in his long annual presentation to his concerned citizens:

I heard: that there is nothing at all, in reality there is no epidemic. When you tell them that this is happening all over the world, they reply: “Right, country leaders have come into collusion.” Do they have any idea of what is happening in the world, of the contradictions that are plaguing today’s world, where all leaders allegedly upped and conspired with each other? It is absolute rubbish.

Particularly absurd has been the cast of primary villains for many of these agitated activists, who often focus upon Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum and Microsoft founder Bill Gates as the diabolical masterminds of our global calamity, with their plot identified as “the Great Reset.” A couple of months ago I addressed some of these claims in one of my comments:

I’ll admit that the whole Great Reset/Agenda 2021/World Economic Forum stuff has always seemed like total crackpottery to me, so ridiculous that I never looked into it other than sometimes reading some of the articles or discussion on my own website. I also put all the “Bill Gates’ diabolical plot to exterminate mankind” stuff in pretty much the same category.

My very strong suspicion is that these sorts of (in my opinion) implausible and ridiculous “conspiracy theories” are probably promoted to divert attention from the very real and strong evidence of Covid-19 having been an American biowarfare attack. After all, wouldn’t the CIA or whomever prefer that agitated activists on the Internet spend all their time ranting about some 83-year-old Swiss international banker named Klaus Schwab who holds annual public conferences in Davos rather than paying attention to all the numerous pieces of evidence I’ve accumulated implicating America’s national security apparatus in the gigantic global disaster?

In fact, didn’t that Cass Sunstein fellow years ago say that the using “cognitive infiltration” to promote ridiculous nonsense was the best means of defeating “conspiracy theorists” on the Internet? It worked pretty well for 9/11, so why not apply it to Covid-19 as well?

I’d be the first to admit that various groups and individuals are certainly taking advantage of the viral epidemic, notably getting the Federal Reserve to spend many trillions of dollars bailing out their businesses and loans, and massively boosting their stock prices. But after the 2008 Financial Meltdown, they used their political power to loot the American Treasury in exactly the same way and got a huge government bailout without the need for any disease outbreak. So I doubt they created Covid-19 for that purpose.

Most recently, Dr. Anthony Fauci of our NIH has become demonized as a particular target, partly because he had already been hated by many activists for his association with our unpopular lockdowns and other measures to control the epidemic.

I also discussed these issues at length in a 2022 article:

The growing suspicions of the alt-covid community

Aside from the anniversary of my original April 2020 article, I was further prompted to produce this lengthy review when I happened to see Sen. Rand Paul interviewed late last week on Andrew Napolitano’s popular Youtube channel.

The first part of the senator’s discussion focused on the origins of Covid and just as I would have expected, he seemed entirely unaware of almost any of the crucial facts that I have presented in this article. Instead, he favored the Wuhan lab-leak scenario over the likelihood of a natural virus, without ever considering that there might be a third possibility far more plausible—but also far more explosive—than either of those. Furthermore, he seemed somewhat confused about some of the pieces of evidence that he did cite, and failed to recognize the extreme scientific implausibility of certain aspects of his reconstruction. So I think that he or his aides might greatly benefit from reviewing some of my analysis.

Indeed, I believe that the accumulated evidence is so overwhelming that intelligent individuals who approach it with an open mind may very likely be persuaded.

For example, Britain’s Daily Sceptic is a well-regarded science-oriented webzine, originally founded by Toby Young and currently edited by Dr. Will Jones.

By December 2022, Jones had grown suspicious about how our DIA could have possibly become aware of the Covid outbreak in Wuhan as early as it did, and he published a very solidly argued article analyzing that strange anomaly and cautiously suggesting some of the same conclusions that I had reached.

After I passed that article along to a few friends of mine, one of them introduced me to Young, who then put me in touch with Jones. This led a long and fruitful correspondence, during which I provided him with much of the other evidence and analyses that I had accumulated over the years, prompting Jones to produce a series of excellent articles, several of which greatly extended and expanded some of the points that I had only briefly touched upon. I would highly recommend his work, and I discussed it at length in a January 2023 article.

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