Washington Post Admits Wuhan Lab Leak Theory Was Dismissed Because it was Supported by Trump

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Photo Credit: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

At a Jan. 30, 2020 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican told colleagues: “This coronavirus is a catastrophe on the scale of Chernobyl for China. But actually, it’s probably worse than Chernobyl, which was localized in its effect. The coronavirus could result in a global pandemic. I would note that Wuhan has China’s only biosafety level-four super laboratory that works with the world’s most deadly pathogens to include, yes, coronavirus.”

Cotton was widely mocked by the liberal media over those remarks and similar ones to follow.

Looking back to the early days of the coronavirus, anyone who mentioned that the virus may have escaped from a lab in Wuhan was labeled a conspiracy theorist. Saying the virus may have been created in that lab was even worse.

In recent weeks, however, journalists who once scoffed at such a notion are opening to the possibility.

The Washington Post’s “fact-checker,” Glenn Kessler, who was himself the subject of a fact-check involving remarks about Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, actually admits that the legacy media’s anti-Trump bias may have been behind their rejection of the lab leak theory.

Kessler excuses both himself and his colleagues from performing their due diligence by saying that the lab leak theory “often got mixed up with speculation that the virus was deliberately created as a bioweapon,” which he finds preposterous. (When the truth finally comes out, he may be proven wrong about that as well. But I digress.) Surely any journalist worth his or her salt would be able to separate the two, and investigate both theories. Did the virus escape accidentally from the lab that was tied to the CCP’s military or was it intentionally released?

It was China’s “lack of transparency” and “renewed attention to the activities of the Wuhan lab” that finally opened their eyes to the possibility that the virus may have leaked from the lab, the only lab in China that is known to work with this specific pathogen.

He finally gets around to the real reason: former President Donald Trump. Here too, Kessler tries hard to absolve himself and the rest of the media. He writes: “The Trump administration also sought to highlight the lab scenario but generally could only point to vague intelligence. The Trump administration’s messaging was often accompanied by anti-Chinese rhetoric that made it easier for skeptics to ignore its claims.”

I’m sure by now, nearly a year and a half after the coronavirus reached our shores, U.S. intelligence agencies have more solid information about its origins. But in those early days, all Trump had to go on was vague intelligence.

As for his anti-Chinese rhetoric making it easier to ignore his claims, wouldn’t a serious investigative journalist be able to put the President’s comments aside and look at the facts? Isn’t that a journalist’s job?

Isn’t Kessler essentially saying that the theory was dismissed mostly because of its connection to Trump?

Kessler takes readers through a COVID-19 timeline. Most of the early reactions were based on the lab leak theory and left the door open to the possibility that it could have been intentional.

Later in January, The Daily Mail and The Washington Times published articles making the connection between the virus and the Wuhan lab.

On Feb. 6, “Botao Xiao, a molecular biomechanics researcher at South China University of Technology, posts a paper stating that ‘the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.’ He pointed to the previous safety mishaps and the kind of research undertaken at the lab. He withdrew the paper a few weeks later after Chinese authorities insisted no accident had taken place,” according to The Post.

Did any journalists wonder why Xiao withdrew the paper? That researchers who didn’t acquiesce to the CCP’s version of events had a way of disappearing?

On Feb. 9, Cotton struck back via Twitter against China’s ambassador who had said his remarks were “absolutely crazy.”

Following more criticism from The Washington Post, Cotton responded with the following Twitter thread:

The hypotheses include: “1. Natural (still the most likely, but almost certainly not from the Wuhan food market); 2. Good science, bad safety (eg, they were researching things like diagnostic testing and vaccines, but an accidental breach occurred); 3. Bad science, bad safety (this is the engineered-bioweapon hypothesis, with an accidental breach); 4. Deliberate release (very unlikely, but shouldn’t rule out till the evidence is in); Again, none of these are ‘theories’ and certainly not ‘conspiracy theories.’ They are hypotheses that ought to be studied in light of the evidence.”

The turning point in the debate over COVID’s origins came on Feb. 19 when a group of public health scientists published a joint statement, which was scolding in its nature, in the elite medical journal Lancet.

It read: “The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumours and misinformation around its origins. We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin. Scientists from multiple countries have published and analysed genomes of the causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2),1 and they overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife.”

According to The Post, “the statement was drafted and organized by Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance,which funded research at WIV with U.S. government grants. (Three of the signers have since said a laboratory accident is plausible enough to merit consideration.)”

These so-called “experts” did the world a great disservice by signing on to this statement. They provided China with an excuse to escape blame for the virus. It was this letter that did more than anything else to turn the tide away from the lab leak theory.

The media would point to this letter from the “experts” and ridicule anyone who mentioned the lab leak theory.

So, why now are they changing their tune? Why did PolitiFact retract their earlier fact check (which debunked the lab leak theory) last week? Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing. Perhaps they’re privy to something that hasn’t been made public yet. Or maybe it’s because there is growing circumstantial evidence that points to the lab leak theory.

Whatever the reason, Kessler’s article was a feeble attempt to explain why the vast majority of journalists, once again, failed to do their jobs.

A version of this article was posted in The Western Journal.

Uh Oh: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Ghosted by His Chinese Counterpart

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Photo Credit: Image by David Mark from Pixabay

It looks like U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been ghosted by his Chinese counterpart, General Xu Qiliang, the vice-chair of the Central Military Commission and a member of the politburo.

“Three people briefed on the impasse” told The Financial Times on Friday that Austin has tried on three occasions to contact Xu, “but China has refused to engage.”

As evidenced by the acrimonious talks held in Alaska between Biden officials and CCP leaders two months ago, the US/Chinese relationship, while never smooth, has become increasingly more strained in recent months.

Austin would like to speak with Xu about “the rising tensions in the Indopacific,” specifically Chinese aggression in Taiwan and their military activity in the South China Sea. “The two militaries are increasingly coming into closer contact, particularly in the South China Sea as the Chinese navy and air force conduct aggressive activity near Taiwan,” according to the FT.

In March, a U.S. defense official told the FT that “President Xi Jinping was flirting with trying to seize Taiwan.” Within hours, “China flew a record number of fighters and bombers into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.”

In late January, the FT reported that Chinese military aircraft had conducted “simulated missile attacks on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier near Taiwan.”

Additionally, the U.S. is concerned about the ongoing territorial dispute between Japan and China over a small group of uninhabited islands located northeast of Taiwan. The islands are currently controlled by Japan, where they are known the Senkaku Islands. In China, they are called the Diaoyu islands.

These islands are important “because they are close to important shipping lanes, offer rich fishing grounds and lie near potential oil and gas reserves” and they are located “in a strategically significant position,” according to the BBC.

A U.S. defense official who wished to remain anonymous told Reuters, “The military relationship is strained, no question about that. It’s hard to know how much this is reflective of that strain as much as it is just Chinese intransigence.”

“But we certainly want to have a dialogue. We just want to make sure we have a dialogue at the proper level,” the official added.

Reuters spoke to a second official who explained there was disagreement with the Biden administer over whom Austin should reach out to – General Xu or Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe. “Xu is seen as having more power and influence with Chinese President Xi Jinping.”

Both Austin and Wei had planned to attend the Shangri-La defense forum, scheduled to take place in Singapore next month, however, the gathering was cancelled last week due to COVID-19.

A defense official told the FT that Austin prefers to meet with Xu “who outranks Wei in the Chinese political and military system. … We believe the appropriate counterpart is the vice-chair of the Central Military Commission.”

FT reports that “[Former Defense Secretary] Jim Mattis met Xu in Beijing in 2018. … But China almost always offers up its defense minister instead. This has increasingly frustrated the US because he has little power in the Chinese system and does not serve on the 25-member politburo that rules China.”

“The White House is split over how Austin should handle the situation. Some National Security Council officials are opposed to Austin dealing with Wei. Another group are less resistant, but want Austin to use any meeting or call to tell Wei that he would only hold talks with the CMC vice-chair.”

Former Pentagon Asia official Heino Klinck explained that, due to the structural differences between the U.S. and Chinese militaries, “it had always been challenging agreeing [on] protocol for meetings.”

“Given the situation with Taiwan and other issues such as the East China Sea and South China Sea, as well as attempted Chinese coercion of our key allies and partners such as Australia, it is important to have clear communication,” Klinck told the FT. “We need to be conveying to the Chinese what our own red lines are because they convey theirs.”

China’s reluctance to engage with the U.S. should come as no surprise after the complete breakdown of the diplomatic talks in Alaska, where it was made immediately and abundantly clear that Chinese Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi had neither fear, nor respect, for the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The photographs below show that the U.S./Chinese relationship had been quite different under the Trump Administration.

America has never been as weak as they are now against China and the Chinese know it. Maybe Austin ought to drop his war against extremism “in the ranks” and his concern over the “existential” threat to national security from climate change, and focus on America’s real enemies.

 

This post was previously published by The Western Journal.