COVID origins: Vanity Fair “smashes the scientific consensus to smithereens”…

… by following the money, outing bureaucratic infighting and connecting the dots.
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Yesterday, Vanity Fair — hardly a right-wing, conspiracy-minde rag — published a “must read “ article:

The Lab-Leak Theory: Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins

The article is relatively balanced politically (including the obligatory swipes at Trump), thoroughly sourced (with names) and documented (with links), very logical and well argued.

Note: The article is long and very detailed.  If you want a quick read (or are pay-walled by Vanity Fair, here’s a PDF version (complete with my highlighting).

VF’s overall conclusion:

Throughout 2020, the notion that the novel coronavirus leaked from a lab was off-limits.

Those who dared to push for transparency say toxic politics and hidden agendas kept them in the dark.

Specifically, VF builds the case supporting the lab-leak theory of covid’s origin … and reports how China “doves” within the government and self-interested, grant-funded scientists tried to shut-down consideration of a possible lab-leak explanation.

Here are some highlights…

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Hostility to “open inquiry”

> National security and public health experts and officials across a range of departments in the executive branch were locked in high-stakes battles over what could and couldn’t be investigated and made public.

> Investigators inside the U.S. government  were operating in an environment that was politicized and hostile to open inquiry.

> Investigators were told “not to pursue an investigation into the origin of COVID-19” because it would “‘open a can of worms’ if it continued.”

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A “conflicted” scientific community

> Conflicts of interest, stemming in part from large government grants supporting controversial virology research, hampered the U.S. investigation into COVID-19’s origin at every step.

> Many leading scientists had either received or approved funding for gain-of-function research. Their conflicted status played a profound role in muddying the waters and contaminating the shot at having an impartial inquiry.”

> If the pandemic started as part of a lab leak, it had the potential to do to virology what Three Mile Island and Chernobyl did to nuclear science. It could mire the field indefinitely in moratoriums and funding restrictions.

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A gain-of-function bureaucracy

> Investigators were told not to say anything that would point to the U.S. government’s own role in gain-of-function research … because that would make clear that “there is a huge gain-of-function bureaucracy” inside the federal government.

> In one State Department meeting, officials were explicitly told by colleagues not to explore the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s gain-of-function research, because it would bring unwelcome attention to U.S. government funding of it.

> Inside the NIH, which funded such research, the P3CO approval  framework was largely met with shrugs and eye rolls.

If you ban gain-of-function research, you ban all of virology.

Ever since the moratorium , everyone’s gone wink-wink and just done gain-of-function research anyway.

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About the Chinese military…

> On January 15, five days before President Joe Biden’s swearing in, the State Department released a fact sheet about activity at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, disclosing that:

  • Researchers there had collaborated on secret projects with China’s military and “engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017.”

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Oh my…

Again, the entire article is worth reading for details and context.

Original online article   Highlighted PDF

See also: Fauci: “Doing gain-of-function research was worth the risk of a pandemic.”

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