The New Observer Uncategorized The anti lab leak theory for Covid. The propaganda never stops – but why?

The anti lab leak theory for Covid. The propaganda never stops – but why?

I still haven’t quite understood why the liberal media is deadset on killing off the most likely (by a long way) hypothesis for the origins of the Sars-Cov-2 virus. Until some US government agencies, such the FBI, indicated some degree of support for the lab leak theory the liberal media was calling it a “conspiracy theory”. Somewhat amusingly, they just stopped using the term when US intelligence indicated it was being taken very seriously; no corrections, no apologies for misleading their readers. They just moved on as if they hadn’t been, essentially, lying for many months. Predictably enough, after a couple of months of relatively accurate reporting; that at least that some US agencies (and, apparently No. 10), had accepted the lab leak theory, the pushback began. Once again they started trying to promote the (completely lacking in evidence) zoonotic transmission theory. They are still at it. It obviously really matters to them to kill off the lab leak theory. It is really striking; they are more relentless on this issue than almost any other of their propaganda themes. At least it is on a par with “Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine”.

This is today’s Washington Post with a report on the Congressional Committee looking into the pandemic:

We have gone through a countless amount of pages, countless amount of interviews, countless amount of hours,” Ruiz [a Democrat Congressman] said in a recent interview,stressing that no one has linked SARS-CoV-2, the virus that sparked the outbreak, to any lab. Many scientists say it’s more likely the crisis began just like other outbreaks: the virus made the leap from an animal to a human.

“Many scientists” is a sleight of hand. Some favour lab. Some favour zoonosis. Responsible scientists acknowledge that neither hypothesis is proven. The wording is supposed to lull people into thinking that the matter is pretty much settled. True, as the Democrat claims that Sars-Cov-2 has not been linked (if we mean a proven link) to either of the 2 labs in Wuhan (the secure one and the less secure one where much of the dangerous work on creating infectious viruses was taking place). On the other hand no link to any one animal species has been established. The latter fact is rather surprising; one would imagine that the Chinese have been looking for this. The actual animal link to Sars-Cov-1 was found after a matter of months. (The specific argument about ‘more likely’ that ‘like other outbreaks’ Sars-Cov-2 was zoonotic is specifically the argument put forward by Dr Fauci who is, in fact, one of the suspects in the case and, if it was the lab, someone who was potentially partly responsible for the pandemic through the funding given by his agency to Eco Health Alliance and the Wuhan lab despite controls being in place on gain-of-function research [1]).

The evidence for the lab is strong. Not least; there is incontrovertible evidence of a database being removed from the internet, a lack of cooperation with WHO, failure to provide data about early infections, and researchers from the Wuhan lab falling sick just before the start of the spread of the pandemic. For this writer the question is; why would there be a cover-up if there was nothing to cover up?

I think lab leak is far more likely. We know that the kind of research, gain-of-function, that could create Sars-Cov-2 was going on at this lab. Researchers had previously applied for a grant to carry out the specific work that would have led to something like Sars-Cov-2. They were refused. Perhaps they did the work anyway, using another grant? Apart from anything else it is a very large coincidence that the outbreak happened in precisely the place, in fact just a few Km away, from where this dangerous research was taking place in known-to-be insecure locations. The bats who are the carriers of this type of virus are found hundreds of kilometers way. Virologists argue about the structure of the virus; those who favour lab leak point to some unusual features of the virus suggestive of artificial creation. (The furin cleavage site apparently uses unusual-in-nature codons to code for the amino acid arginine). [1] Those who favour lab counter that these features are not so unusual in nature. The latter usually seem to me to be struggling to find counter arguments. But that is just my impression. For me; the strongest argument for lab leak is the fact of the cover-up.

But lab or not – the question remains. Why is the liberal media-political elite so absolutely dead set on suppressing the lab leak theory? It isn’t enough to say Trump backed the lab leak theory and they are against Trump so that explains it. One could say that it is because they don’t want to risk relations with China; if lab leak is extablished then the authories would come under pressure to put some kind of sanction on China. But; at the moment, in the US there is bipartisan support to have a strong policy of containing China. Another reason to contain China would fit into this quite well.

It is just really hard to explain this. I think that it is to do with ‘science’. Science is at the basis of the modern world. We are supposed to be a scientific society; in contrast to the pre-scientific ways of thinking of the medieval period, and before, right back to primitive magical thinking and cave people. Science is not just an outlook; it is intimately connected to every aspect of modern life; production, medicine, education, the economy. And, if the lab leak theory is in fact reality, then science itself might be called into question. They are protecting their whole world-view.

It is an ill-thought-out response, of course. (Like everything else; for example the aimless and futile support for the blood-letting in Ukraine). They could say; “if it was the lab then this shows we need to have better ethical controls on what research is conducted and what not”. That is they need to discrominate between the kind of stupid experiments that were being done in Wuhan and (to put it simply) real science. (It is worth pointing out here that the rationale for these experiments was to help produce a vaccine for a potential new virus. In reality Eco-Health Alliance’s work in Wuhan contributed zilch to any vaccine). The problem is then; they don’t want to discriminate because much of what passes for modern science is in fact ‘stupid’ in this sense. Were they to start discriminating, much of modern academic scientific research would be exposed as pointless or unscientific. An example of what I mean by unscientific science is provided by the endless search for drugs – vast numbers of experiments carried out on animals basically on a “hit-and-hope-harry” basis that something will be produced which a carefully organised clinincal trial can show has some kind of statistical impact on the course of a disease; very rarely do modern pharamaceuticals actually cure a disease. But, no one wants to suffer, and so the authorities are pressurised into subisdising production of drugs which offer marginal benefits for some people, often with myriad side-effects. Meanwhile science might tell us (by common sense, or statistical surveys if you must), that most diseases are avoidable and a healthy lifestyle and responsible management of the environment are the biggest single things we can do to stay healthy individually and as a species. This argument is just a sketch, but hopefully it is clear. They want to avoid scrutiny of what passes for modern science. Modern science is a travesty of real science. But this poor science is not simply an accident. It is linked to a world of over-production and over-consumption. The absolutely desperate attempt to shut down the lab leak theory of Sars-Cov-2 is, ultimately, based on a desire to protect the junk science which is central to our society. And, in turn, to protect the ideological basis of the over-producing and over-consuming nature of those societies. From their point of view they are protecting their very universe. This is why it is so bizzarely irrational. They give themselves away by the strength of their reaction. Rather like the Chinese authorities being quite so touchy about the lab leak theory; it is the loudness of the protests which makes one question what they might be trying to cover up and protect.

Summary; the obviously irrational attempts to shut down the lab leak theory are driven by an unconscious desire to protect the junk science which is the foundation of our over-producing and over-consuming societies.

Update 8-6-24

I could not resist posting this. This is Dr Fauci assuring Jim Jordan in the US Congress that he, Dr Fauci, has “kept an open mind throughout” on the lab leak theory. In fact he developed his current line after his started taking heat from Jim Jordan and Senator Rand Paul; his current line is that “it is much more likely that this came from nature because that is how these pandemics usually start”. Anyone who has been following this will detect what happened. Initially he was at pains to suppress the lab leak theory but when he understood that that was looking suspicious he adopted the new line about “open mind”. (While still heavily promoting the alternative theory).

Just one example from May 2020;

“If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated … Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species,” said Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

When asked if there could have been a scenario where scientists found the virus outside the lab, brought it back and then it escaped, Fauci shut the line of questioning down.

But that means it was in the wild to begin with. That’s why I don’t get what they’re talking about [and] why I don’t spend a lot of time going in on this circular argument,” he said.

(My bold).

Fauci would answer the charge that this shows that he did not have an open mind by replying that he is following the science while keeping an open mind if new science comes along. The problem for Fauci is that there is plenty of science and evidence the other way, indeed so much that both the FBI and the US Department of Energy (quite serious US agencies) have reported that their investigations favour lab leak. Nor is he able to fully explain Jordan’s point about the two scientists Anderson and Gary who initially came out in favour of lab manipulation changing their views after a secret meeting which included Fauci, the head of the Wellcome Trust, a UK government scientist and others, and excluded the head of the CDC. In his exchange above with Jim Jordan Fauci seems to explain that the scientists changed their mind after examining the genome. He makes a big point of “this can be done in a day”. But – according to this report, when these two scientists had initially said that the virus looked engineered they had already analysed its genome. (An email to Fauci mentions discussions and a total of 4 people sharing this view). Of course Fauci would now need to argue that they went back and looked again, and he could also point out that the scientists themselves had said their findings could change. But this still leaves open the question of the call, the contents of which are not in the public record, as a very tantalizing pivot point. Could someone have said: “look, this is really inconvenient, could you go back and look at the genome again”?

His closing down of the variant lab leak theory, that it was not developed in the lab but nonetheless escaped from the lab having been taken as a sample is not science at all. There is nothing circular about this. It is a very real possibility. And if so then that matters. It is not in fact the same at all as natural emergence.

There is zero doubt Dr Fauci has been trying to shut down the lab leak theory. He is smart enough (unlike the Chinese state, see above), to realize that if he wants to suppress the lab leak theory he must not be seen to be doing so.

Update – a guilty conscience?

Dr Fauci is the absolute master of deflection. He is acutely aware of his professional image and the way that the sessions in Congress or the Senate will play out in the media. In the following clip, right at the end, he is asked if, without the humanised mice that the US provided to researchers in Wuhan, could they have produced Sars-Cov-2, (assuming they did). The aim of the question is to clarify if the NIAID/NIH has any responsibility for creating Sars-Cov-2 – assuming it did indeed happen in the lab. The question is susceptible of three answers: 1) no; you could not genetically engineer a virus of this kind without using humanised mice, 2) yes; you can genetically engineer a virus in other ways, without humanised mice or 3) I don’t know; it is not my field of expertise. Watch Fauci answer:

The Chair of the Committee then simplifies the question to just “could they have used the mice in this way”, that is he has dropped the more complex logic – could they have produced a virus without the mice. Fauci answers with a little laugh, perfectly timed to be the last moment in the interview, “you are asking me to prove a negative.” No; in fact, he was not being asked to prove that it didn’t happen. He was simply being asked “could it have happened” – that the Wuhan researchers used US humanised mice to help generate Sars-Cov-2. The answer to that, I believe, is “yes” (technically). This point is a little subtle, but if you pay attention you can see that Fauci is focussed on denial. This is not the “open mind” he claims to have. Why not just say – “well, yes, theoretically, they could have used US humanised mice for an experiment on the side”. Why – (illogically) try to squash this open question about the humanised mice with the false line that he is being “asked to prove a negative”. Does he know/suspect something?

Final point; over on the liberal media the Fauci hearings are naturally being presented rather differently. The reporting is based on Fauci’s media skills and is about how he is masterfully refuting Republican “conspiracy theories”.

My view is that Fauci thinks it pretty likely that Sars-Cov-2 came from the lab. He wants to block this because it is inconvenient for him, even if it came from work which his agency was not directly funding. He has prepared a kind of cover story which is very focussed on a small number of papers which say that if you look at the genetics of the funded work at Wuhan and Sars-Cov-2 you can see that the former could not have led to the latter. As to the possibility it could have originated in work in the lab which his agency wasn’t funding he alternately waves his hands – nothing to do with me – or suggests that it is unlikely because zoonotic transmission is “very strongly” likely.

Considering the various hypotheses

The most likely hypothesis in my view is that the Wuhan researchers went ahead with the gain-of-function work which they did not get a grant for, and were doing this alongside the actual NIAID funded work. They may have used the humanised mice which they got as part of the funded work as part of the work on the ‘secret’ unfunded work. (This is the suggestion of the Committee Chair). This work was about creating a virus which could infect humans. It leaked. A second plausible hypothesis is that the virus was simply one they took from the bats, which did manage to do cross-species transmission to a lab worker, and it got into the human population in this way. The least likely hypothesis is zoonotic transmission. The arguments for this hypothesis seem to be rather hypothetical; it could happen, it usually happens in this way, and so on. There is a lack of specific evidence; i.e. the zoonotic animal. There is even an outlying theoretical paper which explains why the zoonotic species has not been found – the jump does not require a single species; it could have happened in a piecemeal way. The best circumstantial evidence for the zoonotic theory is a study which links human DNA, Sars-Cov-2 and racoons at the Wuhan market which is where the zoonotic camp pitch their claim. [2] Given China’s known lack of cooperation with WHO can we even trust samples provided by (state funded) Chinese researchers which claim to be from the market at the time of the outbreak? Even if we accept the link to the market, zoonotic transmission is not thereby established; maybe a lab-infected worker was shopping for a racoon for supper on the way home from work and coughed on the stall as she bought her dinner?

Another paper also tries to link early infections to the market. [3] Even if we accept the statistics in this paper which claims to link early cases (anonymised) to a greater than expected geographical proximity to the market compared to the general population of Wuhan, the study still suffers from the problem that the data which seems to have been supplied to the WHO by Chinese authorities [4] is susceptible to manipulation. The WHO mission is on the record as saying they did not get enough data. The study does not compare these results with say a similar statistical locational analysis based on early infections and homes, contacts and travel routes of lab workers, i.e. it does not rule out this alternative. Any researcher wanting to get to the truth would surely have been doubtful about the data actually supplied by the Chinese authorities who it is known have not been forthcoming and transparent. As these researchers themselves say: “Although geographical coordinates of the residential locations of the 164 cases who lived within Wuhan were unavailable, we were able to reliably extract the latitude and longitude coordinates of 155 cases from maps in the report”. Locations, possibly, but not the actual people. Why did China not supply the residential addresses? One result of this is of course that this data cannot be independently verified; a key and basic requirement of science. Did anyone conduct a survey and simply ask the 164 cases if they shopped at the market, or indeed if and when they had Covid? The material about who the early cases were and where they worked and shopped could be supplied to a small team and not made public if privacy concerns are invoked. And even if we accept this doubtful and mysterious base data, (which the researchers certainly should not have done*), all the survey does is link, through statistics, early infections to geographical proximity to the market. It does not provide any evidence of zoonotic transmission. This study [3] also develops their argument based on samples taken from the market. A link is established to certain animal stalls. The samples were supplied by CCDC (Chinese authorities). Again; the same basic problem; there is no independent corroboration of this data. The researchers claim that they have identified 2 early lineages to the virus and suggest that while possible this makes the theory that a lab worker infected someone at the market unlikely as it would have to have happened twice, once for each lineage; I cannot assess the 2 lineages claim, but I do not see why not; if multiple lab workers were infected (as may have been the case, though the reports from US intelligence are not 100% conclusive), could they not have been infected with different variants of the virus they were playing with in the lab and then visited the market? Why is this more unlikely that two separate transmissions from putative racoons to humans? ** It isn’t. This study is a classic example of a certain kind of scientific study which achieves a wanted result by some kind of specific statistical analysis often on questionable base data, as here, rather than by establishing cause and effect based on empirical research. (This kind of study is prevalent in the ADHD-pharma world as well). (Update; this study is critiqued by other scientists on the basis of its statistical assumptions. See also this article: Why Does Bad Science on Covid’s Origin Get Hyped? which criticises the mapping exercise: “But when the paper passed through peer review and was finally published, nearly all of its emphatic language had been stripped out and replaced with more cautious claims, including a statement about the limitations of the study.”),

The studies which are used to support zoonotic transmission are generally theoretical or circumstantial. The exact route of transmission to the human population has not been established for either lab leak or zoonotic. Apart from the sheer coincidence of the research into Corona viruses which was, and may have been, being conducted in the known-to-be-unsafe labs in Wuhan and the outbreak, a key doubt which hovers over the debate is the obvious attempts at a cover-up and the lack of transparency from the Chinese authorities. The strongest circumstantial studies for the market and zoonotic take place in an information sphere where an interested party – the Chinese state – has drip fed selected data to researchers. The researchers exhibit a surprising lack of scepticism towards the data.

* I certainly credit CCDC scientists with the skills to build a map with location points which they know would produce a statistical tie-in to the market if analysed. I am not saying this happened; but it could have done. China has not been forthcoming; data has not been shared and, in fact, key data such as the genetic database from the lab has disappeared. Thus data they do supply should be treated circumspectly; but these researchers just blindly accept it.

** “Is it possible that somebody working in the lab could have gotten infected with lineage B, showed up at the market and didn’t infect anybody else on their way there, even though it’s [about 10 miles away]—and then the next week the exact same thing happened with lineage A virus?” Rasmussen says. “It’s possible, but I don’t think it’s very plausible, compared to the alternative: that lineage A and lineage B came from the animals, and then there were two separate spillovers.” — But notice that the researcher assumes that the lab worker would have gone by public transport. If they drove to the market, then this argument falls; and why wouldn’t they drive? (And even if they did go by public transport and infected one person would he have got different statistical results? Not necessarily). This shows their bias. Have they asked the lab workers? Again; all these assumptions are not just assumptions but they result from the information vacuum created by the Chinese authorities. And, once again, all this could be cleared up if independent researchers were allowed a free hand to interview all the lab workers and all the early cases as well as random hospital staff. Even if we accept that you can conduct a meaningful study based on data which is incomplete and unverified (we don’t) all this well-publicised study does is suggest that the animal market was an early epi-centre of transmission of the virus, which is not the same as being the source. As the authors concede (just) this does not rule out that the initial transmission was from an infected lab worker (or workers) visiting the market. If racoons, as proposed in this version, are the source of zoonotic transmission we can surely assume that field work has been done to find a wild population of racoons infected with Sars-Cov-2? General field work looking for infected populations of wild animals has been done independent of the specific racoon hypothesis. [5] But, to date, no racoon population or any other animal population has been produced…. Of course, we cannot rule out that like magic just such an infected wild population of racoons will indeed be produced by CCDC scientists in due course….


  4. “In the July 2020 ToRs, specific studies were agreed by China and WHO. Based on these ToRs, the Chinese team initiated epidemiological, environmental and retrospective studies, the results of which were presented in meetings before and during the visit.”