Tucker Carlson and RFK Jr. on the JFK Assassination
Tucker Carlson hosts the most popular cable news show and last Thursday he aired an explosive segment in which he declared that that 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy had been the work of a conspiracy, with our own CIA heavily involved.
Carlson’s regular nightly audience is over 3 million, and more than a million have already watched the Youtube video, so these bombshell accusations regarding the events in Dallas have probably now reached more ordinary Americans than anything else on the topic in the three decades since Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning film JFK was playing in the theaters.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., nephew of the slain President and son of his murdered brother praised Carlson’s show as “the most courageous newscast in 60 years,” and his remarks have been Retweeted more than 22,000 times.
Kennedy is a prominent public figure and best-selling author, with the strongest possible personal standing on the murder of his uncle. But I suspect that if Elon Musk hadn’t bought Twitter, that Tweet would have been immediately shadow-banned, disappearing with scarcely a trace.
In recent decades, such conspiratorial beliefs on the JFK assassination have been largely confined to the Left, with Stone himself being a prime example. But Carlson is one of America’s most influential conservatives, so he may have successfully implanted these ideas among a portion of our citizenry previously unexposed to them. He also noted that widespread use of the insulting phrase “conspiracy theory” only began in the aftermath of the JFK assassination, with the CIA itself successfully marginalizing its critics by promoting that accusation in the compliant media.
Indeed, as a consequence of those decades of skewed and dishonest media coverage, I had spent most of my entire life assuming that such “conspiracy theories” were total nonsense and had never taken them seriously. But about a dozen years ago, I stumbled across some surprising facts and later began a serious investigation, eventually leading me to publish several articles summarizing my remarkable conclusions:
- American Pravda: How the CIA Invented “Conspiracy Theories”
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • September 5, 2016 • 2,600 Words
- American Pravda: The JFK Assassination, Part I – What Happened?
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • June 18, 2018 • 4,800 Words
- American Pravda: The JFK Assassination, Part II – Who Did It?
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • June 25, 2018 • 8,000 Words
- American Pravda: Anne Frank, Sirhan Sirhan, and AIDS
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • January 31, 2022 • 3,600 Words
Manipulating the JFK Assassination Cover-Up
By purest chance, Carlson’s show had aired just a few days after I had finished reading an important book on the JFK assassination that someone had brought to my attention last year. Originally published almost thirty years ago, this work provided some crucial insights into how the political cover-up of the conspiracy had been arranged, a cover-up that has now successfully endured for nearly six decades. The most powerful man in the world had been killed at the very height of America’s postwar success and prosperity, yet nearly all of America’s political elites were successfully enlisted to suppress the truth of what had happened.
John Newman had spent twenty years in Military Intelligence and then became a professor of history at the University of Maryland. Since then, he had applied the technical skills that he had honed in his many years of government service to analyzing the bureaucratic minutia of declassified government files and using this material to produce a series of books on the hidden side of American government policies during the 1960s, including our growing involvement in Vietnam and especially the complex circumstances of the JFK Assassination. Oswald and the CIA originally appeared in 1993, but the 2008 edition included a new epilogue, summarizing some of his most important findings.
The book is a lengthy one, running over 650 pages with notes and appendices, and his exhaustively detailed analysis of the released intelligence files and their interpretation can be eye-glazingly dull at points, but his broader conclusions are not difficult to state. The profusion of internal CIA documents regarding Oswald and his movements seems completely inconsistent with any institutional plot at the Agency to kill Kennedy, but might fit very well with the hypothesis of a “rogue faction” at the CIA having played a central role in the affair.
Newman argued that Oswald was exactly the “patsy” that he claimed to be, but more importantly he drew a very sharp distinction between the small group of plotters who had actually organized the JFK assassination itself and the much larger group who carried out the subsequent cover-up, with the motives of many of those latter individuals being entirely different. As he persuasively explained in his epilogue, the conspirators had created a false intelligence trail suggesting that Oswald might have been a Soviet agent, and then used that misinformation to force our fearful government leadership into become their unwitting accomplices after the fact, compelling them to suppress all evidence of any conspiracy in Dallas:
It is now clear that most of the U.S. leaders and officials who participated in the national security cover-up had nothing to do with the plot that was hatched before the president’s murder. Many of them—including leading legislators and Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren—were motivated by the perceived threat of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union. Inside the executive branch of government, many others were motivated by the desire to protect their jobs and their institutions. Their collective actions, however, were not the result of an accident; rather, they were the forced checkmate in the endgame of an ingenious plan.
The plan was designed to force official Washington to bury a radioactive story in Oswald’s files in order for America to survive. The plan worked. No matter how sloppy the performance of the shooters in Dallas was, no matter how bungled the autopsy and the handling of the evidence was, all would be trumped by the threat of WWIII and 40 million dead Americans. From the beginning, the plot was based upon the assumption that, when presented with this horrific possibility, everyone would fall into line. This assumption was correct.
…There was a darker purpose for Oswald’s visit to Mexico City. He was sent there to seek visas from the Cuban Consulate and Soviet Embassy…the objective was simply incidental contact between Oswald and the man who issued Soviet visas in Mexico City: Valery Kostikov. The value of this contact derived from what only a handful of counterintelligence officers in Washington knew: Kostikov was an important operative of the KGB assassinations in the Americas…The handler’s purpose in having both Oswald’s and Kostikov’s names mentioned was to place evidence into the CIA’s records that, on 22 November, would link KGB assassinations to the murder of President Kennedy. The activities of this impersonator are what made it possible for President Johnson to tell Senator Russell on 29 November that those investigating the case were “testifying that Khrushchev and Castro did this.” Johnson insisted that this must be prevented “from kicking us into a war that can kill forty million Americans in an hour.”
So under Newman’s convincing reconstruction, most of the powerful American officials who played such a pivotal role in concealing the conspiracy may have been acting under the best of intentions, seeking to protect our country from the risk of a devastating retaliatory war with the Soviets. And obviously these concerns would have been deliberately fanned by those among them who had been involved in the plot and created the false trail of evidence connecting Oswald with KGB assassination efforts.
The author therefore argued that creating that false trail had constituted an absolutely crucial element of the assassination plot, and by a very careful examination of the intelligence files, he concluded that longtime CIA Counter-Intelligence Chief James Angleton had been the likely culprit, thus identifying him as one of the key conspirators. This conclusion meshes perfectly with the entirely different arguments advanced by the late Michael Collins Piper in Final Judgment, his 1994 landmark work, which had also argued that Angleton was a central figure in the assassination.
Next year marks the 60th anniversary of the JFK assassination. Angleton, guilty or not, died in 1987, and all the other individuals involved have surely been dead for many years, even many decades. Newman’s important book was published almost 30 years ago, and today the issue that he so effectively analyzed hardly seems of urgent importance.
But once we recognize that for nearly six decades our government and our media had successfully concealed the reality of JFK’s assassination, we must necessarily turn a skeptical eye to more recent events. If the President of the United States—the most powerful man in the world—could be struck down in public by a conspiracy involving rogue elements of his own government, and that truth then kept hidden from the American people for generations, other important matters may have followed a similar pattern.
Over the last few years, I have carefully investigated quite a number of these, and my American Pravda series has been the result, now including many dozens of individual articles and totaling nearly a half-million words.
- The American Pravda Series
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • 476,000 Words
Manipulating the Covid Origins Cover-Up
Of all these other events I have investigated, the one of greatest recent importance has been the Covid pandemic, the sudden appearance of a new coronavirus in late 2019 that soon spread around the world, killing perhaps 18 million people, including more than a million Americans. The global epidemic also produced major changes in the patterns of world trade, daily life, and government spending, and resulted in the widespread introduction of social controls that would have previously been unthinkable, while the new vaccines used to control the disease have provoked tremendous controversies of their own.
Although those latter issues have dominated the recent political debate, a fierce scientific dispute still rages over the origins of the virus, a controversy that has assumed much political importance. From the very beginning, there was considerable scientific evidence that the virus was artificial and had been produced in a lab, but that explosive possibility was quickly suppressed by influential members of the scientific community and the Western media, and their efforts amounted to a cover-up of why our society had been devastated, leaving more than a million Americans dead.
Aside from the huge historical importance of both the JFK assassination and the Covid epidemic, I think there is also a close analogy between how both those subsequent cover-ups came about. Newman argues that the vast majority of the individuals participating in the whitewash of JFK’s assassination had been manipulating into doing so, persuaded by false information that they needed to take such actions for the good of their country and their institutions. And whether intentional or not, I believe that a very similar dynamic came into play during the early weeks of the global Covid epidemic, as numerous prominent individuals began proclaiming—despite all evidence to the contrary—that the virus was clearly natural, with most of them probably convincing themselves that they were taking that position for the best of intentions.
For example, leaked emails have demonstrated that Dr. Kristian Andersen of Scripps and other leading advocates of the natural origins hypothesis had initially believed that characteristics of the virus strongly suggested that it had come from a lab, but then surprisingly reversed themselves after an urgent conference call was arranged. As I described a year ago, others had originally had similar thoughts:
Jeremy Farrar served as Director of Britain’s Wellcome Trust, one of the world’s largest funders of public health projects, and he played a crucial role in organizing the immediate measures taken to contain the Covid epidemic. Spike, co-authored by journalist Anjana Ahuja, is his short narrative account of those important events beginning in the last days of 2019, and it provides the useful perspective of a leading insider. I was also particularly interested to discover that Wellcome’s chair was the former head of MI-5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, who may have helped provide the author with some important insights on certain matters.
In his account, Farrar repeatedly emphasized that the Covid outbreak had hit China at the absolute worst possible time, appearing on the eve of Chinese Lunar New Year, when 450 million Chinese might be traveling. This seemed likely to spread the disease to every corner of the huge country, and that gigantic, looming disaster was only averted by an immediate public health lockdown unprecedented in all of human history.
Farrar is the most respectable of establishmentarian figures, and I was surprised to discover that in the early days of the epidemic he and his circle of leading scientific experts freely discussed whether the virus had been bioengineered, with some of them thinking that likely, and he even mentioned the speculation that it might have been a bioweapon, deliberately released. But as the practical needs of the terrible public health crisis facing Britain and the rest of the West began absorbing all of his concentration, these theoretical issues understandably faded from their discussions.
I think that the obvious reason for these sudden reversals on the origins of Covid was the massive propaganda barrage that America had quickly directed against China, leading many of these individuals to fear that this might lead to a disastrous global conflict. As I wrote last year:
Although in recent decades America seems to have fallen behind various other countries in industrial production, governing competence, and some important aspects of military technology, the effectiveness of our propaganda organs remains undiminished…
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….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.”
As the Times article indicated, these early claims that Covid might be a leaked Chinese bioweapon were soon heavily amplified by Neocon-oriented international news outlets such as the Washington Times and Alex Jones’s popular InfoWars network. Fearful of the possible international consequences of such explosive charges, well-intentioned scientists mobilized behind the defense that the virus was entirely natural, whether or not they actually believed the evidence was as strong as they claimed. Public statements to this effect appeared in a January 29th Washington Post article and a couple of weeks later the New York Times article debunking Sen. Cotton’s charges.
This may also be the most likely explanation for the high-profile declaration published in the Lancet on February 19, 2020 by a group of 27 virologists and other noted scientists, condemning speculation about an artificial virus as an untenable “conspiracy theory,” and the equally high-profile piece the following month in Nature Medicine arguing for a natural Covid origin. These early statements in prestigious journals completely framed the media discourse for more than a year, and as a consequence this supposed scientific consensus ensured that any Iranian accusations of a biowarfare attack were automatically dismissed as absurd and ridiculous.
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.
I cannot say if this political/media strategy was actually planned, but it proved very effective, and the fierce, early attacks on China for having released Covid achieved a double result. The accusations successfully demonized that country with much of the American and world public, so that according to a poll taken at the end of April, a remarkable 45% of Americans believed that the deadly virus had “probably” or “definitely” originated in a Chinese laboratory, with 74% of Republicans holding that opinion. But the charges also provoked a defensive response by reputable scientific authorities, who gravitated towards the doubtful natural virus theory as their best defense, and this proved extremely useful in defeating the Iranian accusations when they soon came. Moreover, the resulting natural virus consensus remained confined to the mainstream media, a source of information widely distrusted by populist conservatives, most of whom may have remained stubbornly convinced that Covid had indeed come from the Wuhan lab and had probably been a Chinese bioweapon.
Evidence Against a Natural Virus and Against a Lab-Leak
The successful media suppression of the lab-leak theory came to an end last year with the publication of a lengthy article by Nicholas Wade, former Science Editor of the New York Times, who marshaled the strong evidence that the virus was artificial, and since then the debate has see-sawed back and forth, propelled by both scientific and journalistic volleys from the two camps.
A few months ago, the skeptics of a natural virus gained a powerful advocate in Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Chairman of the Lancet‘s Covid Commission, whose academic writings and public interviews strongly argued that the virus had probably been produced in a lab, and he attracted considerable public attention when he denounced the governmental and media establishments for attempting to conceal this reality.
In mid-October further support for this position came in an important new scientific preprint by three researchers.
- Endonuclease fingerprint indicates a synthetic origin of SARS-CoV-2
Valentin Bruttel, Alex Washburne, and Antonius VanDongen • bioRxiv • October 20, 2022 • 6,300 Words
The authors noted that when a virus is bioengineered, it is usually broken up into a half-dozen or so pieces for convenience, with most of those segments being of roughly similar size. The splitting is done by a selection of tools that use a number of possible genetic markers. Meanwhile, those same techniques would usually split natural viruses into pieces of much more irregular size.
They therefore tested how the Covid genome would be split under those various tools, and discovered that the largest piece was only a small fraction of the total length, then applied the same test to many dozens of the most closely-related natural viruses, finding that the pieces produced are much more irregular in size. So according to the statistical test they applied, the Covid virus is more regular in its decomposition than roughly 99.9% of natural viruses, strongly suggesting that it was bioengineered.
Although this analysis was taken very seriously by the Economist, the natural virus camp soon sharply challenged the strength of the case, arguing that it was far from conclusive, and the debate is still playing out. But at the very least, this analysis certainly demonstrates the extremely unusual characteristics of Covid compared with nearly all natural viruses of a related type.
However, strangely enough, even as this evidence mounted against the Covid virus being natural, entirely conflicting evidence also appeared on the other side. A couple of weeks before the release of the important Bruttel preprint, award-winning science writer David Quammen published a book supporting the orthodox case that no lab-leak had occurred and that the Covid virus was probably natural. His work received strongly positive reviews in the New York Times and the Guardian, though it attracted a sharp dissent from Nicholas Wade.
Although little of Quammen’s factual material was new to me, I still found it quite helpful that all the information was collected together in one place. But the author is an experienced journalist, long friendly with important individuals in both camps, and probably the greatest value of his book came in the nearly 100 personal interviews he conducted with key figures from both sides of the debate. These subjects included George Fu Gao, head of the China’s CDC, and virologist Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan lab, as well as numerous other Chinese scientists and officials.
According to the lab-leak hypothesis the Covid virus had been created at the Wuhan lab, then accidentally leaked out during late 2019, with the looming disaster concealed by the Chinese authorities; the Trump Administration even claimed that several members of the research staff had been infected with Covid at that time. However, as Quammen says, unless all of the Chinese figures whom he interviewed were remarkably good at deceiving him, absolutely none of these claims were true. The Covid virus had not been developed at the lab, nor had there been any known leak, while no one involved had had any suspicious of a viral outbreak until late December, just as presented in the standard timeline of the outbreak. Moreover, not a single staff member had tested positive for infection even after the circulation of the virus in Wuhan was detected.
Experienced Australian virologist Danielle Anderson had been working at the Wuhan lab during October and November 2019, exactly when the Covid outbreak probably began, and she repeated her strong doubts that the virus had been created there, nor that any lab-leak had occurred, let alone that some of the researchers had become infected.
Obviously, trained Intelligence operatives are experts at deceiving journalists, but the same is much less likely to be true of research scientists, so I consider Quammen’s lengthy interviews fairly compelling evidence against the lab-leak hypothesis, as it has usually been presented.
Moreover, one of central figures in Quammen’s narrative was Eddie Holmes, another leading Australian virologist who had been involved in the Covid outbreak from the very beginning, and the book’s publication prompted a science podcaster to interview Holmes at length regarding the discovery of the Covid virus and the debate over its origins.
Holmes had been a key participant in all the crucial early Covid discussions, and he claimed that the redacted contents of the controversial emails involving Anthony Fauci, Francis Collins, and Peter Dauzek were entirely innocuous, while the widespread accusations against Dauzek seemed utterly ridiculous to him. He also made a seemingly strong case against the possibility that the Wuhan lab had developed Covid or had any connection to it. Although he also made a few glancing arguments against Covid having been bioengineered, these hardly seemed detailed or persuasive. For obvious epidemiological reasons he dismissed all those claims of Covid circulating in Italy and elsewhere during 2019 as false positives, feeling sure that the first appearance of the virus in the world had been in Wuhan during November, with his reasoning and conclusions being identical to my own. Others should watch the 90 minute interview and decide for themselves, but Holmes struck me as completely honest and very credible in his remarks. And if he is correct, much of the lab-leak case disintegrates.
I think that the combined testimony provided in Quammen’s book and Holmes’ interview greatly reduces the likelihood that the Covid virus was developed at the Wuhan lab or that any lab-leak occurred at that scientific facility. This evidence is hardly conclusive, but it considerably raises the presumptive burden against those who argue otherwise.
Furthermore, earlier this year, the highly-authoritative Pekar study had demonstrated that the geographical distribution of the earliest known Covid cases in Wuhan clustered in the vicinity of the Huanan Wildlife Market, many miles distant from the Wuhan lab, which seemed to have no association with the outbreak. Once again, these results are far from conclusive and reasonable arguments have been made to explain away this geographical discrepancy, but we would naturally expect a Covid lab-leak to produce many of its early cases in the approximate vicinity of that lab rather than on the other side of a huge metropolis larger than New York City.
While the issue is hardly settled, proponents of the lab-leak hypothesis should candidly admit that there is simply no solid evidence that Covid was developed at the Wuhan lab or that any lab-leak occurred there, while there is instead a great deal of direct evidence against both of these notions.
Considering the Excluded Third Possibility
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.
Indeed, beginning in April 2020 I have published a long series of articles arguing that there is strong perhaps even overwhelming evidence in favor of that third, disregarded possibility.
Last December I had discussed and reviewed several important recent books on the origins of the Covid virus, all advocating the lab-leak hypothesis. I noted that none of the authors—Jasper Becker, Sharri Markson, Alina Chan and Matt Ridley—had dared to even consider the excluded third possibility, perhaps because the realities of the publishing industry required them to apply such Orwellian “crimestop” to their thinking.
- American Pravda: Confronting Covid Crimestop
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • December 13, 2021 • 6,400 Words
Although the Quammen book and the Holmes interview present the absolutely mainstream position of the media and scientific establishments, I found myself agreeing with 90-95% of all their arguments, the sole exception being their skepticism that the virus was bioengineered, representing merely a small slice of their analysis. Yet my own conclusions were radically different.
This apparent paradox arises because Quammen, Holmes, and nearly all their colleagues and sources have been almost exclusively focused upon the scientific aspects of Covid, and seem largely unaware of the broader geopolitical or national security elements, notably those pieces of telling evidence that our Western media has been careful to avoid mentioning.
For example, Quammen naturally discusses the early spread of the virus out of China, noting that Northern Italy, home to 300,000 Chinese, was one of the first places hit very hard. But his index contains no entry for Iran, which was actually hit even earlier than Italy; and that Covid outbreak was centered in the Holy City of Qom, which had a negligible Chinese population but was home to Iran’s elderly religious and political elites, many of whom soon died from the disease. Moreover, that surprising Iranian outbreak began just three or four weeks after America had assassinated Iran’s top military commander, the sort of implausible coincidence that quickly led the Iranian government and media to accuse America of having staged an illegal biowarfare attack and lodge a complaint with the United Nations; but since none of these facts were ever reported in the American media, a science journalist such as Quammen probably never encountered them.
Quammen seems similarly unaware that during the first eight months of 2019, Robert Kadlec, America’s top biowarfare expert, had run the federal/state Crimson Contagion exercise, preparing to defend America against contagion if a dangerous respiratory virus were to suddenly appear in China, which is exactly what happened in Wuhan a few weeks after the conclusion of the drill. Nor does he realize that our Defense Intelligence Agency had prepared and distributed a secret report describing a potentially “cataclysmic” disease outbreak occurring in Wuhan, with that report having been produced in early November, after the Covid virus had probably appeared in that city but before any serious symptoms would have developed in the first handful of infected Chinese.
Scientists and science journalists are naturally focused on their personal areas of expertise, and they can hardly be faulted for failing to notice what virtually all members of the mainstream and alternative media have made such strong efforts to conceal. Even if they did become aware of those facts, they might conclude that mentioning them let alone drawing the obvious conclusions could easily prove fatal to their professional reputations.
There is an ironic additional example of this political myopia among those analysts narrowly focused on scientific issues. Prof. Richard Muller of Berkeley has been a prominent advocate of the lab-leak hypothesis, arguing that Covid was developed as a Chinese bioweapon, but then accidentally leaked from the Wuhan lab. In his June 2021 presentation for the Neoconservative Hudson Institute, he explained that if the Chinese had wanted to deliberately deploy such a bioweapon, they surely would have released it in the vicinity of our own Ft. Detrick facility so that America would have been blamed for the resulting viral outbreak; and neither he nor either of the other two Covid discussants seemed to recognize that he was perfectly describing the analogous mirror-image of what might have actually unfolded in Wuhan during late 2019.
Beginning in April 2020, my articles have presented all these facts and much additional evidence. Under my scenario, elements of the Trump Administration were responsible for the deliberate release of Covid, but those biowarfare attacks against China and Iran were launched without the knowledge or authorization of the President himself, a proposition that some have dismissed as totally implausible. However, three weeks after the appearance of the Quammen book, the Wall Street Journal published a 10,000 word article on the circumstances of a different American confrontation with China, which provided some fascinating details:
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?”
Obviously, under normal circumstances the notion that an American biowarfare attack could be carried out by “rogue” elements of the Trump Administration without Presidential approval would be utterly outlandish and ridiculous; but recent circumstances in our government have been far from normal.
Most advocates of the lab-leak hypothesis have suggested that the Covid virus was developed in Wuhan under the direction of the Daszek’s EcoHealth Alliance, which they often portray as a highly-nefarious organization. A disgruntled former EHA employee named Dr. Andrew G. Huff recently came forth as a whistleblower, and some of his claims have been cited in support of those accusations. Although Huff had only worked at EHA for about eighteen months and left in early 2016, years before the events in question, the Daily Mail and other British tabloids gave considerable coverage to his new book The Truth About Wuhan, which seemed to blame EHA and the Chinese for having unleashed the global pandemic.
Dr. Huff’s book is fairly short and makes dismal reading, filled with wild and outrageous accusations, while the extensive personal history he relates hardly strengthens his credibility. Despite his supposed doctorate in Environmental Health Studies, he seems to have had a rather mediocre academic record, dropping out of high school and serving as an infantryman in Central America and Iraq, where he attempted to beat to death one of his combat instructors and later required mental health counseling. More recently, he claims to have been massively persecuted by the government, with teams of 20-30 full-time agents constantly watching him, assisted by mechanical drones the size of small insects, all at an estimated cost of at least $45 million. In the two decades since the 9/11 attacks, our military-industrial complex with its myriad private contractors has received an unprecedented ocean of government funding, and I suspect a considerable fraction of our tax-dollars have gone to pay the salaries of very doubtful individuals such as Huff.
Still, some of the direct statements he makes about the activities of the EcoHealth Alliance are probably worth considering, even coming from such a questionable source. As the Daily Mail article summarized some of his most interesting claims:
…but believes the US-funded project was ‘mostly a global fishing expedition for coronaviruses’ to carry out GOF work or for intelligence collection – rather than preventing future pandemics.
‘At the time, I felt like the project seemed more like intelligence collection than scientific research and development,’ he said in his book.
The scientist said the PREDICT program wasn’t collecting the data it should have been and Huff told The Sun that it appeared to be a ‘giant intelligence operation’.
He alleges the US were using the project to assess the bioweapon capabilities of foreign labs – including the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
We know that EcoHealth Alliance was heavily funded by the Pentagon and according to Huff, it largely functioned as an intelligence-gathering operation, using the lure of its small financial grants to the Wuhan lab and other foreign biolabs to monitor them on behalf of our national security apparatus, which seems perfectly plausible. But if EHA was an espionage operation, it hardly seems likely that it would have heavily assisted the Chinese in developing dangerous viruses of their own. On the other hand, EHA might certainly have obtained samples of the natural viruses collected by the Wuhan lab, and passed those along to its Pentagon paymasters, which then used one of them as the precursor to Covid, thus explaining the latter’s close genetic similarity to some of the viruses in the Wuhan collection.
Huff also claims that in October 2019, three years after leaving EHA, he was suddenly and repeatedly offered “his former dream job” at the Pentagon’s elite DARPA unit. After the Covid epidemic and the Wuhan lab reached the headlines, he immediately concluded that the intention had been to quickly bind him with secrecy agreements, thereby preventing him from revealing any of his past knowledge of EHA activities. Huff is convinced that this indicates that the American government was well aware of the Covid outbreak in Wuhan at that point, and if his testimony is accurate, such suspiciously coincidental timing does further strengthen the evidence that foreknowledge of the outbreak existed among some elements of the American national security apparatus.