The course of human history may sometimes be shifted by a single spark if it happens to ignite a barrel of ideological gunpowder. With perfect timing for our Fourth of July holiday, an enormous explosion of public attention has suddenly engulfed the origins of the Covid outbreak, renewing the discussion of the causes of the global epidemic that has taken more than a million American lives and disrupted the entire world.
Prof. Jeffrey Sachs is the high-ranking academic who had chaired the Lancet commission on Covid, and a couple of weeks ago he made public statements seeming to suggest the virus had been produced by America. On July 1st I republished a brief item from RT highlighting these, and the following day a short clip of his remarks went super-viral, retweeted more than 9,000 times and producing over 800,000 views of the video, totals that have been rising minute by minute. At very long last, our Western media outlets may finally be forced to confront the issue that they have so carefully avoided for more than two years.
Sachs’ incendiary suggestion came a month after he had co-authored an academic paper in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pointing to the strong evidence that Covid was the genetically-engineered product of a lab and calling for an independent inquiry into America’s possible role in creating the virus that has killed up to 20 million people worldwide.
- A call for an independent inquiry into the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus
Neil L. Harrison and Jeffrey D. Sachs • PNAS • May 19, 2022 • 2,800 Words
Two years ago, the Covid commission that he chaired had concluded that the virus was probably natural, a verdict soon uniformly adopted by the American media, even leading Facebook to ban any contrary views. So Sachs’ public reversal on this crucial question represented a gigantic bombshell, but with the exception of a single piece appearing in the Intercept, it was totally ignored in the media, although I did my best to highlight it.
But a well-crafted Tweet has now attracted such enormous attention that the cat is probably out of the bag, and the media may finally be forced to cover the issue.
As I glanced over that massive Twitter thread, the only substantial push-back I noticed came from Prof. Richard H. Ebright of Rutgers, an influential virologist heavily involved in the Covid debate, who argued that Sachs’ words were being misinterpreted. According to Ebright, Sachs was merely suggesting that American biotechnology rather than an actual American lab had been responsible for Covid.
Sachs’ words are indeed a little indistinct and perhaps somewhat ambiguous, and I had personally interpreted them as such, believing that he was merely implying that the virus might have been produced in America rather than making any explicit claim to that effect. But the other leading candidate for the source of the virus has always been the Wuhan lab, and Sachs never even mentioned that possibility, perhaps reflecting his personal skepticism. Nonetheless Ebright states “Sach[s] concludes virus came from Chinese lab using US biotechnology,” an entirely false summary of his presentation.
This strange and fallacious claim by Ebright may finally draw attention to his own bizarre and rather convoluted past involvement in the debate over Covid’s origins, a subject that I had covered at length in an article I published nearly a year ago, portions of which are worth excerpting.
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?
The Iranians themselves were well aware of these facts, and their top political and military leaders publicly accused America of an illegal biowarfare attack against their own country and China, with their former president even filing an official protest with the United Nations. But although these explosive charges were widely reported in the Iranian press, they were completely ignored by the American media so that almost no Americans ever became aware of them.
And the central role in rebutting those explosive Iranian accusations was played by Ebright, whose early public position on the virus was exactly opposite to the one he later claimed to have held from the first moment. As I wrote:
I think that this reconstruction of events is supported by the remarkably contradictory public positions taken by Prof. Richard H. Ebright, a highly-reputable Rutgers molecular biologist and biosafety expert, who has recently established himself as one of the most widely cited scientific backers of the Wuhan lab-leak theory.
In January, Nicholson Baker had quoted Ebright as saying that for years he had been concerned about the Wuhan lab and the work being done there to create “chimeric” SARS-related bat coronaviruses “with enhanced human infectivity.” In an email, the scientist further declared that “In this context, the news of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan ***screamed*** lab release.”
Soon afterwards, Ebright became one of the prominent signatories of the March Open Letter sharply criticizing the WHO report and calling for a renewed international investigation of the Wuhan lab, outlining his views in a lengthy Independent Science News interview. According to the Vanity Fair article, when the earliest reports of the Covid outbreak appeared, his suspicions that an artificial virus had leaked from the Wuhan lab were immediate, emerging within “a nanosecond or a picosecond.” Ebright’s statements also constituted a centerpiece of Wade’s seminal article:
It is clear that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was systematically constructing novel chimeric coronaviruses and was assessing their ability to infect human cells and human-ACE2-expressing mice. It is also clear that, depending on the constant genomic contexts chosen for analysis, this work could have produced SARS-CoV-2 or a proximal progenitor of SARS-CoV-2…It is clear that some or all of this work was being performed using a biosafety standard … that would pose an unacceptably high risk of infection of laboratory staff. It also is clear that this work never should have been funded and never should have been performed.
Yet strangely enough, during the early months of the epidemic, Ebright had seemingly taken an entirely contrary public position. In his January 29, 2020 interview with the Washington Post, he had declared: “Based on the virus genome and properties there is no indication whatsoever that it was an engineered virus.” And according to a Post story a couple of weeks later, he also added “The possibility that this was a deliberately released bioweapon can be firmly excluded.”
Ebright’s sweeping statements had been intended to rebut the widespread allegations that Covid was a Chinese bioweapon that had accidentally been leaked, but they soon proved extremely helpful to our own government-sponsored RFE/RL, which denounced the Iranian biowarfare accusation as “an unfounded claim” backed by “no evidence,” and quoted Ebright’s blanket assertion as an effective rebuttal. The apparent scientific consensus that the virus was natural ensured that any further Iranian accusations were summarily rejected as completely irrational by the international media, forcing Tehran to soon abandon the effort as counter-productive.
Whether or not my analysis of Ebright’s motive is correct, there is the undeniable reality that the loudest early scientific voice favoring Covid as natural has become the loudest voice arguing that it came from a lab, a belief he now claims to have held from the very beginning. No one in the media seems to have commented upon or perhaps even noticed this radical reversal.
So when the Iranians in early 2020 publicly accused America of having launched a biowarfare attack against their own country and China using the Covid virus, Prof. Ebright’s declarations that the virus was entirely natural were used to rebut those dangerous charges against the American government. But later that same year, after those Iranian accusations had been forgotten, Ebright then claimed that from the very first moment, he had believed that the virus was artificial, very likely a Chinese product of the Wuhan lab. In each case, his position perfectly served the immediate propaganda interests of the American national security establishment, and absolutely no one in our media has ever asked him to explain those completely contradictory positions. Perhaps individuals active on Twitter should now begin questioning him on those matters.
The absolutely unmentionable subtext of the current debate is the obvious possibility that the Covid virus was created in an American lab and then deliberately deployed against China and Iran, just as the Iranian government had claimed at the time, eventually leaking back and devastating America and the rest of the West.
Over the last two years I have been virtually alone in advocating this controversial hypothesis, which has been almost totally excluded from both the mainstream and the alternative media. My lengthy series of articles can be read on this website, and have also been collected together in a freely available eBook, which has been downloaded more than 11,000 times:
- Covid/Biowarfare Series
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • April 2020-December 2021 • 60,000 Words
For those who prefer reading the lengthy material in printed form, they are now also available in a short book, reasonably priced at just $9.99.
Meanwhile, the video interviews in which I presented my analysis of the Covid origins have now been viewed nearly 600,000 times, and here are the three most popular and substantial ones. I suspect these totals will greatly increase if Sachs’ comments move the issue to center stage of the public debate.