Why is the liberal media suppressing the Chinese lab theory for the origin of Sars-Cov-2?

A likely candidate for the origin for Sars-Cov-2 is the Level 4 Bio secure lab in Wuhan where scientists were conducting research into Coronaviruses from bats from several hundred Km away and where a previous research project had involved a gain-of-function experiment – (manipulating a virus to make it more infectious to humans for valid but controversial research purposes).

A second theory is that it could have jumped from bats to humans almost certainly via an intermediary animal. (Bats are so far genetically removed from humans that an intermediary animal is much more likely than direct transfer). Wuhan animal market has been canvassed as a likely source though there is some evidence which seems to suggest that it was not the epicentre of the epidemic. The supposed intermediary animal has yet to be identified credibly though there was an organised effort in China to point to pangolins (but this is not accepted as established).

Attentive and scientifically literate readers will note that I am discussing theories. No one knows – these are just theories and one can weigh them up, consider which way the evidence tends and come to a provisional conclusion. The fact is that right now there isn’t much concrete and definitive evidence for either the lab theory or the transfer from bats via an intermediary animal to humans theory other than from genetic analysis. The majority of virologists seem to believe that Sars-Cov-2 does not show signs of having been engineered in a lab. But not all. [2] I am struck by the coincidence of the outbreak occurring just a few Km from a lab where controversial research had been previously conducted into just this type of virus, which occurs naturally some hundreds of Km away, and by the existence of well-documented efforts by the Chinese authorities to prevent a free investigation into the origins either by journalists (a BBC team was interfered with) or by scientists (some scientists on the WHO mission have said that they were not provided with full data).

Other significant voices have argued for the likelihood of the lab origin. This is David Asher a US official who investigated the matter for the State Department. He says that there was an early cluster – workers from the Biolab. He raises the possibility that the virus was part of a military research programme. Sky News also reports (not David Asher) that a key database from the Wuhan Institute of Virology was taken offline in 9/2019. The Institute claims that this was due to hacking attempts. Alternatively it reflects an early crisis at the lab. The US State Departments belief that there was an early outbreak amongst lab staff is also reported by the Daily Telegraph. The full State Department document is here.

I’m interested in how the liberal press is working so (so) hard to squash the lab theory and I wonder why this is. This, is an example of this in the Guardian:

The origin of the pandemic has become a political football with some, including Dr Robert Redfield, a former director of the CDC, suggesting without evidence the virus escaped a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

The phrase here “suggesting without evidence” is the one they have settled on to try to discredit this theory. It is widely used and deployed against anyone who suggests the lab as the origin for Sars-Cov-2. Let’s look at what Dr Robert Redfield actually said. (After all, he is a former director of the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and a former University professor of virology, so not some kind of fringe loon). He said: “I am of the point of view that I still think the most likely aetiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory, escaped. The other people don’t believe that. That’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out” [1]

He didn’t “suggest without evidence”. He simply expressed his view that of the competing theories for the aetiology of Sars-Cov-2 the lab theory is the most likely. Scientists deal with theories and Dr Redfield is simply saying that this is the theory he favours – explicitly acknowledging that he could turn out to be wrong. I.e. he demonstrates that he understands how science works.

It is possible that the Guardian simply doesn’t understand how science works. (How theories can be be developed. How a scientist can favour one theory while still being open to an alternative theory being proved when all the evidence is in). But the systematic insistence with which they try to misrepresent all such theorizing tells me that it isn’t just intellectual clumsiness but that someone at a political-editorial level has decided that the line must be to suppress the lab theory. I’m interested in why. (And who is behind it).

One highly unlikely theory for the origin of Sars-Cov-2 is something to do with it being imported into China in chilled food. This theory has even found its way into the current WHO report – advocated for by Chinese members of the ‘investigation’ team. Its function is to spread out and dilute the lab theory. The Guardian plays the role asked of it by China:

While concluding that the two least likely hypotheses for the emergence of the deadly virus – a leak from a lab (pushed by senior Trump officials) and being introduced via frozen food from outside (promoted by China) 

Chinese officials will be delighted with the Guardian’s reporting. They have equated the highly credible lab theory with this highly dubious claim about chilled food and thus managed to discredit the lab theory.

In the same report the Guardian also claims that Mike Pompeo – who has raised the possibility of the lab origin – has done so “without evidence”. But this is not true – unless ‘evidence’ means a signed confession and a vial of the engineered virus. The State Department in the dying days of the Trump Presidency published a detailed paper (also linked to above) in which they raise the possibility of the lab being the origin. (The paper remains on the State Department web site under the new President). It is worth noting that no direct accusation is made; simply the two leading theories (lab origin and animal origin) are discussed. “The virus could have emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals, spreading in a pattern consistent with a natural epidemic. Alternatively, a laboratory accident could resemble a natural outbreak if the initial exposure included only a few individuals and was compounded by asymptomatic infection.” The document reviews the evidence of cover-up and other factors such as the early cluster of sick lab workers. Together these factors do indeed give rise to serious questions. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence here.

One possible reason why the liberal press is working in overdrive to squash the lab theory may be that it is associated with Trump. [2] Though for me that explanation doesn’t seem to quite explain everything.

Notes

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/26/science/redfield-coronavirus-wuhan-lab.html
  2. https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/03/18/1021030/coronavirus-leak-wuhan-lab-scientists-conspiracy/

Guardian Propaganda Watch 201

I’m not quite sure why I write these posts. I think in part because I live in Russia and I find it distasteful to see misinformation being created by a newspaper. Casual readers will tend to believe what they believe in the Guardian and it is frsutrating to see such an innacurate picture being painted.

I am also – and I think this even more strongly – troubled by the violation of journalistic norms. Journalism is a profession and a practice with certain standards – such as factual accuracy, truthfulness and so on. To see these norms being so casually violated by people who pretend they are doing journalism is very frustrating. If there is no real journalism then we already live in a post-democractic distopian world.

This is the Guardian’s Theo Merz writing a piece on a demand by the Russian internet regulator for Twitter to remove/block the channel of an outlet linked to Khodorkovsky. [1]

Russia’s media watchdog has told Twitter to delete the account of an opposition news outlet following threats from Moscow to block the social network entirely if it did not remove “banned content” within a month.

For Guardian journalists Russia has no right to make its own laws. If they try to ban child porn then child porn is described as “illegal”. Russia has a set of laws which include the banning of certain organistions outright which are considered to be trying to agitate for regime change. MBKh media is accused of posting content from a banned organisation. The content is not “banned”. It is banned. It is sheer imperialism to deny to Russia the right to make and enforce their own laws.

Veronika Kutsyllo, the outlet’s editor in chief, denied sharing such material and said that MBKh had not been informed of the watchdog’s demand in advance. “[The state] has been pursuing this new tactic for some time, putting pressure on networks and providers without first warning their potential ‘victims’,” she said.

In fact this is normal – in the West too. The issue is with Twitter not MBKh media. There is no reason for Roskomnadzor to contact MBKh media. It is also typical of this pseudo-journalism to give full airtime to the opponents of the Russian state, however misldeading their statements. MBKh media is of course not a “victim”.

Authorities have previously demanded that Twitter and other social networks delete messages that allegedly called on minors to take part in anti-Kremlin protests.

Nothing in fact ‘alleged’ about this. Navalny was even calling for kids to take part in illegal demonstrations from prison. In Russia Navalny is known as “King of the Kids” for his propensity to summon children to his rallies. But just as they treat everything that e.g. Navalny says as unquestionable fact so everything which the Russian authorities says is always “alleged”. This is pathetic and hardly journalism.

“After the protests it became clear that Twitter wasn’t planning on deleting messages relating to peaceful civic actions and would continue to flag state propaganda, so users would be able to recognise fake information,” Darbinyan said

This is a quote from someone from an organisation which Theo Merz describes as “the Russian internet rights group Roskomsvoboda” (which appears to be a pressure group). Of course ‘peaceful civic actions’ is entirely misleading. The West always uses the line about ‘peaceful demonstrations’ when they refer to actions which are in fact illegal under Russian law – and in general whenever they are agitating for regime change. But the law is the law. (In the UK too ‘peaceful’ civic actions can also lead to arrest in many circumstances – and even more so if current legislation is passed). [2]

In general the article relies on two sources which are in essence organisations opposed to the Russian state (one based abroad) and contains nothing from the Russian government side or who might explain that position. ‘Balanced journalism’ does not apply to Russia.

Notes

  1. https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/4731142
  2. https://manifestoclub.info/do-we-want-to-still-have-a-right-to-protest-in-2022-the-police-bill-must-be-stopped-at-all-costs/

Guardian comes out in favour of child porn and child suicide sites

Yes. Hard to believe – but all values are relative and when it comes to Russia regime change justifies any means.

It is obvious that Luke Harding is unwell. He may well be being controlled by British intelligence. The fact that the Guardian still publishes him reflects the fact that that the Guardian is aligned with British intelligence.

In a recent piece, with a typically unsubstantiated story about Navalny, – given front-page prominence – Luke Harding writes:

The regulator [Russia’s Internet regulator] alleges that Twitter has failed to remove posts calling on children to take part in pro-Navalny demonstrations. It points to more than 3,000 tweets containing “illegal” content. They cover drug abuse, calls for minors to commit suicide, and child sexual abuse, it says

If this was about the UK child abuse material and material calling for children to commit suicide (which latter if Harding was actually a journalist qualified to write on Russia he would know has been a long-standing problem for many years) would not be called “illegal” in quote marks. They would be called illegal. The implication of quoting “illegal” is that this material is not – as far as Russia is concerned – illegal.

In a statement on the Internet Regulator’s website about blocking Twitter due to its failure to act on take-down notices concerning child porn and child suicide there is no mention of Navalny or posts about Navalny. [1] The linking of the two matters – posts about Navalny and the actual statement about child pornography and child suicides appears to be another case of Harding “joining the dots”. (He explains that the way to do journalism on Russia is to “join the dots”).

Whether it is Luke Harding’s idea to contribute to the destruction of Russia by pushing child porn and child suicide websites or whether the idea was fed to him by Navalny’s “associates” or whether it is the idea of British intelligence I don’t know. It would be better if the Guardian disassociated itself from this horrible project.

Notes

  1. http://rkn.gov.ru/news/rsoc/news73464.htm

Shout out to Craig Murray

I sometimes think that Craig Murry deserves some kind of Nobel Peace Prize for journalism (though perhaps something uncontaminated with dynamite might be better). Sometimes he seems to veer a little towards the conspiracy side (there was one minor mistake in his coverage of the Salisbury affair where I think he confused chemical purity with a question of dirt in the sample) and he is better writing on topics about which his experience in the FO qualifies him to write. But overall he is great. A rare (very rare), serious and honest voice in the British media landscape.

I’m linking to this because I think he sums up a particular trend which has taken place in Britain in the last 25 years very well. This is the same theme which Josie Appleton tackles, from a different perspective. The country has become one of petty officialdom – petty officials (or stooges) are constantly doubting you. You have to produce ID and all kinds of documents to do anything. (My most recent example was having to go through a complex process of producing documents to change address for my Building Society). The assumption is that everyone is lying and no one can be trusted. And, as Craig points out, the result is that …. truth and honour do indeed become devalued. People reason “if they assume I am a liar anyway why don’t I tell a few lies where I can get away with it?”. A horrible, horrible, state of affairs. And the key question is – how do we get back from this to a more decent and trusting society? It is much easier to lose innocence then to regain it once lost.

As far as an amnesty of illegal immigrants. Why not? They are here anyway.