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American Pravda: Confronting Covid Crimestop
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In George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel 1984, one of the many interesting concepts was the notion of “Crimestop,” the ability of well-trained citizens to self-censor their thoughts before they strayed into dangerous and forbidden territory. As conveniently summarized in the Wikipedia entry, Orwell wrote:

Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.

Given the existing and ever-growing number of forbidden topics in contemporary Western society, this concept may or may not be applicable. Perhaps thoughts are being self-censored or perhaps merely words. Lacking eyes into human souls, it’s obviously difficult for us to distinguish between the two cases.

In any event, that concept entered my mind near the end of November when I began reading a full page of book reviews in the Wall Street Journal entitled “What Happened in Wuhan,” with the descriptive subtitle “Four books pursue theories of possible origins of the Covid-19 virus—and the question of cover-ups.”

Our global Covid catastrophe is probably the most important historical event since the end of World War II, and with its second anniversary now upon us, serious books analyzing the origin have finally begun to appear in print. I have extensively written on exactly this topic since April 2020, so the Journal review afforded me an excellent opportunity to compare my own analysis with those of the leading mainstream authors.

Until recently the media might have relegated any such discussion of Covid origins to the “fever swamps” of the conspiratorial fringe. The scientific establishment uniformly proclaimed that the virus was natural, randomly crossing over from some animal species in late 2019, and that was that. But then in early May, an 11,000 word essay by Nicholas Wade, a longtime science journalist, punctured that ideological bubble and persuaded a large and growing segment of the media that the virus had been the human product of some laboratory, a shocking possibility that launched a fierce public debate on its origins, including the question of who might have created it and why.

Pride of place in the Journal review was given to a paperback version of Wade’s seminal essay, so only three new books were actually discussed.

Although they took a variety of different approaches, all three supported the so-called “lab-leak hypothesis,” the perceived alternative to the natural virus theory. Under this reconstruction, Covid is believed to have been accidentally released by China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, which contained the closest genetic match of the Covid virus and whose researchers were also known to have been involved in exactly the sort of “gain of function” experiments that might have produced it.

This evidence is purely circumstantial, but fairly compelling nonetheless, and the Journal reviewer certainly seemed to accept it. Given the magnitude of the global disaster, it is hardly surprising that the Chinese government has fiercely denied that any such lab-leak occurred. According to The Economist‘s detailed worldwide analysis of “excess deaths,” the Covid outbreak has already claimed up to twenty million lives, and enormously disrupted the activities of many billions more, so if Chinese government were proven guilty, the world’s geopolitical landscape might certainly shift.

One of the books discussed is by Jasper Becker, a British journalist who had spent 18 years as a Beijing correspondent, and the closing paragraph of the review quotes him as suggesting that a Chinese admission of responsibility could even lead to the downfall of the ruling regime:

The national shame might spell the end of the Chinese Communist Party’s seventy-year rule. It would start a political earthquake which would begin in China but spread around the world.

The reviewer notes that Becker draws upon history to suggest that China’s current denials cannot be trusted, emphasizing that during the Korean War the Chinese Communists had launched a major propaganda offensive, falsely claiming that the American military had used illegal “germ warfare” to attack China’s own forces:

This is one reason why Western intelligence agencies are likely to doubt or at least question official accounts about the origin of the virus and the role of the Wuhan Institute of Virology…While the Chinese and Soviet governments pushed a completely false story of its enemies waging war with bioweapons against civilians, they actively pursued their own germ warfare programmes in secrecy.

Becker and the reviewer both reasonably argue that if a government has been caught lying in the past about biological warfare, its current claims about the Covid outbreak cannot be trusted.

I am sure that the vast majority of readers simply nodded their heads at all of these statements and earlier this year I would have done the same. But several months ago I had carefully investigated the history of American biological warfare and discovered that the story I had casually absorbed from our media was the exact opposite of the historical truth. Based upon declassified government documents and other fully mainstream sources, there was actually overwhelming evidence that the Chinese had been telling the truth during the Korean War while our own denials had been false. America had indeed used illegal biological warfare during that conflict.

 

I have no doubt that Becker was being entirely sincere, and his statements on that specialized historical question were simply due to his acceptance of the conventional media narrative rather than any deliberate deception. But suppose we now apply his own standard. Once we recognize that China had been truthful in the past, while America had both employed illegal bioweapons and then lied about their use, these disturbing facts must inform our own analysis of the Covid outbreak.

Perhaps Covid was a natural virus and perhaps it accidentally leaked out of a Wuhan lab. But there is also a third logical possibility, that it was deliberately released in one of China’s largest cities as a planned biowarfare attack. The Covid outbreak occurred at the height of China’s ongoing international conflict with America, so elements of our own hostile government would be the obvious suspects. None of the three books seemed to recognize the existence of this hypothetical possibility even merely to dismiss it, an enormous blind spot that may or may not be due to the constraints of the American publishing industry.

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Becker’s own book is entitled Made in China, and seems to focus very heavily upon the real or imagined iniquities of America’s giant global adversary, while glossing over contrary or contextualizing material.

His major blunder regarding our own biowarfare attacks during the Korean War comes early in the book and sets the general tone. A little later he criticizes the damaging adulteration of Chinese consumer products, highlighting the deaths of several infants in the notorious Melamine scandal, while entirely ignoring America’s own Vioxx disaster a few years earlier, whose forgotten body-count had been more than 10,000 times larger.

One of Becker’s areas of particular interest is China’s biowarfare development efforts, but although such a program probably exists, he seemed to provide little hard evidence demonstrating that fact. Meanwhile, America’s own biowarfare infrastructure, certainly the largest in the world, went entirely unremarked, except for those erroneous Korean War denials. Indeed, I noticed that his lengthy index contains no mention of our own Ft. Detrick, which certainly ranks as the world’s oldest continuous biowarfare facility, now approaching its eighth decade.

The author also seems quite credulous in accepting evidence supporting his lab-leak hypothesis, swallowing highly-implausible suggestions that by September 2019 the Covid epidemic in Wuhan had already reached such an enormous size that it could be detected by satellite imagery, which I’ve demonstrated seems very likely to be an intelligence hoax.

My own rather dismissive appraisal of this book may have been shared by others. Except for this combined Journal review, I haven’t seen it discussed anywhere else, and with a current Amazon sales rank of over 400,000, few copies seem to have been purchased.

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Equally hostile to China is What Really Happened in Wuhan by Sharri Markson, an Australian journalist for Rupert Murdoch’s Sky TV network and his flagship newspaper in that country.

The Journal reviewer suggests that her “whodunit” with its “fast-paced narrative” might be attractive to a Hollywood movie studio, and the story told by this television journalist does seem to feature numerous James Bond elements. Although the book lacks any individual source notes or index, it fills its text with dramatic speculation intensely hostile to China. In the very first chapter, a couple of Chinese exiles speculated that Covid was a Chinese bioweapon deliberately released by its own government, perhaps due to an internal power-struggle, a suggestion repeatedly presented at length elsewhere in the narrative; but such a notion was so wildly implausible that even the author’s own hard-line anti-China government and intelligence sources uniformly rejected it.

The key figures in the anti-China faction of the Trump Administration seem to have provided much of Markson’s information, with Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo and his top aides being especially important conduits, which raises all sorts of doubts.

For example, on the 30th anniversary of the notorious Tienanmen Square Massacre, Markson breathlessly reported Pompeo’s fierce denunciation of that horrific atrocity, including his claims that up to 10,000 innocent Chinese civilians had been slaughtered in the incident. Yet as I have repeatedly noted, more than twenty years ago the former Beijing Bureau Chief of the Washington Post, who himself had personally covered the event, published a short article in the prestigious Columbia Journalism Review admitting that the supposed massacre had probably never happened and amounted to a Western media hoax.

There are even more serious problems with her apparent heavy reliance upon Pompeo and his senior staff. Biowarfare is a major element of Markson’s account, which is replete with suggestions that Covid was designed as a bioweapon. But nowhere does she ever consider the possibility that it may have been an American bioweapon, deliberately released in Wuhan. And if such an attack had taken place, Pompeo would certainly rank near the very top of the list of likely suspects, so his role in guiding her investigation seems extremely problematic.

Although her book does provide a good deal of useful testimony indicating that Covid is probably an artificial virus, her lack of a science background weakens the credibility of such reporting, and most of the same material has also been presented in the work of Wade and others. Given all these flaws, I’m not surprised that the only major media review I located was a generally negative one published in the Guardian.

 

The third book in the set is far more limited in scope than the other two but also far more effective for that same reason. While there is obviously a market for broad-brush attacks on China’s government and policies, such an audience tends to cluster in a particular ideological niche, so that most of the readers probably agree with the conclusions before they have even opened the first page.

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By contrast, Viral, co-authored by molecular biologist Alina Chan of the Broad Institute and British science journalist Matt Ridley, seems aimed at winning over fair-minded neutrals rather than providing additional ammunition to true believers. Released in mid-November, the text is much more scrupulous and careful in the material it presents, and focuses narrowly on mustering the strong arguments against the virus being natural, together with suggestive indications that it may have been a product of the Wuhan lab, from which it accidentally leaked. There has been considerable coverage of the book and its authors especially Chan in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Reason, and other publications, some of these hostile but others quite friendly. The current Amazon sales rank is around 1,300, hardly making it a bestseller, but still a factor of seven better than the Markson book.

Credibility may be severely damaged by major errors of fact, and I noticed almost none of these, with my complaints being limited to errors of omission. At one point, the authors do acknowledge the swirling Internet accusations that Covid was a bioweapon—a Chinese bioweapon—but only to dismiss that notion as a “distraction.” Given the often lurid nature of such claims, this approach is quite understandable, but it also automatically excludes any consideration that Covid might have had American origins.

Even merely raising that possibility would have obviously required such lengthy and specialized discussion that the book’s tight focus would have been completely disrupted. We must also recognize that Chan is a young researcher, in the early stages of her scientific career, which had already suffered a near-death experience last year when she challenged the official dogma of a natural virus, and she would naturally be reluctant to suggest that an illegal American bioweapon has now killed 20 million people worldwide. However, completely ignoring that possibility does sometimes undercut the book’s analysis.

For example, the first scientific paper discussing the genetic structure of the virus was published in late January by a group of Wuhan lab researchers, and the authors consider it extremely odd and suspicious that these expert virologists ignored the remarkably unusual aspects of the genetic structure that seemed to imply an artificial origin. But at that point in time, the dangerous viral disease was already spreading into other parts of their country and threatening to become an uncontrollable national epidemic, so suggesting that it was bioengineered would have been tantamount to declaring that China was under deadly biowarfare attack, obviously the sort of momentous public decision that must be deferred to China’s top political leaders.

Consider the broader aspects of that same issue. The authors of all these books and numerous other Western scientific observers have repeatedly stressed the highly-suspicious behavior of China’s researchers and its government, arguing that the Chinese have been insufficiently willing to open the doors of all their research facilities and make available all confidential information that might be connected with the Covid outbreak.

But suppose that the evidence for the virus being artificial is actually as strong as most of these analysts claim. The Chinese would know perfectly well that their own labs had not created the virus, so a biowarfare attack would be the only possible explanation, a blatant act of war with America as the obvious suspect. However, the West totally dominates the global media landscape, so leveling such incendiary accusations without solid proof would probably achieve nothing while being both dangerous and counter-productive, leaving silence as the wisest policy. But would it be rational for a country that knows it had suffered a potentially devastating biowarfare attack to open all its own scientific installations to teams of investigators and intelligence agents from the country that had probably launched that deadly attack?

Numerous puzzling issues become less puzzling under this biowarfare scenario. Mutational and epidemiological evidence strongly suggests that Patient Zero of the Wuhan outbreak probably became infected sometime during the period from mid-October to mid-November 2019. The authors note that the Wuhan lab’s public virus database had been taken offline on September 12th, and they consider this quite suspicious, perhaps indicating that a lab-leak had just occurred. The official explanation provided was that the database had been repeatedly attacked by hackers, but they reject this as implausible: why would hackers have targeted the database months before the world learned of any outbreak? However, such an attempted hacking would make perfect sense in the context of a forthcoming biowarfare attack against China, which was intended to be blamed upon the Wuhan lab. Being scientists and science journalists, Chan and Ridley fail to consider events through the eyes of intelligence operatives or military planners.

 

I found another omission far more serious. Based almost entirely upon circumstantial evidence and speculation, the two authors have constructed a gossamer narrative that the Wuhan lab secretly created the Covid virus, which then accidentally escaped due to the poor laboratory safety conditions. Yet there exists a highly-credible Western eye-witness who directly contradicts all these claims. On June 27th, Bloomberg published a long interview with experienced Australian virologist Danielle Anderson, who was actually working at the Wuhan lab during exactly the period in question.

Contrary to the claims of the book, Dr. Anderson described the Wuhan lab’s safety protocols as outstanding, so good that she actually recommended that they be adopted at her own facility. She also encountered absolutely no rumors or other indications of any lab-leak nor any evidence that the Covid virus had been created at the facility, and she strongly believed that this information would have come to her attention while she was working there. Some Trump Administration intelligence operatives have floated the accusations that several lab workers became infected with Covid during 2019, but she said that nothing like that actually happened.

The book publishing industry involves long production lead-times, and although the crucial Anderson interview had appeared nearly five months before the book’s release, perhaps the manuscript could not easily be modified to incorporate that important new factual information. But I have also Googled Anderson’s name together with those of Chan or Ridley, and found no indication that they have ever acknowledged the existence of her eye-witness testimony, which seems so potentially damaging to their thesis. By failing to respond to this important development they tarnish their own credibility.

Other omissions are also quite serious, though perhaps more understandable. In describing the global spread of the epidemic, they write “Italy was devastated by the virus. Iran and the United States would soon follow.”

But this is incorrect, or at least extremely misleading. The Iranian and Italian outbreaks occurred around the same time, while the US followed weeks afterward, and aspects of the Iranian outbreak were extremely unusual. As I wrote last year:

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 Northern Italian outbreak began with little media notice in a region containing 300,000 Chinese workers, many of whom had recently returned from their Lunar New Year travels to their home country, including the city of Wuhan. Meanwhile, the Iranian outbreak occurred in the Holy City of Qom, containing very few Chinese, and was centered upon the country’s highest-profile political elites, which soon attracted worldwide attention.

These very strange circumstances aroused considerable suspicion in Iran, and led some of its top political and military leaders to publicly declare that they suspected that Covid was an American biowarfare attack against their own country and China, with their former president even lodging a formal complaint with the United Nations.

Although fully reported in our leading media outlets at the time, that extremely early and highly suspicious Iranian outbreak has long since been flushed down the media memory hole, and since both of the authors are narrowly focused on scientific matters rather than geopolitics, it seems quite possible that they are unaware of those facts, which anyway would be part of the biowarfare “distraction” they have explicitly excluded. But an early section of their Prologue is entitled “The importance of finding the origin of Covid-19” with the first sentence being “How the Covid-19 pandemic started may be the keenest mystery of our lifetime.” Biowarfare may be a lurid subject that invites wild allegations, but completely excluding all such discussion may render that mystery insoluble.

 

We must place the important work of Chan and Ridley within its proper context. Both viral microbiology and national security matters are highly technical subjects that require a great deal of expertise, and individuals who focus on the one may naturally tend to avoid the other, which is fine so long as we acknowledge that necessary division of labor. The first and most important question about the Covid virus is whether it came from nature or from a human lab, but once the microbiologists have had their say on that matter, I think their role is greatly diminished. Perhaps they can then argue that some of the scientific evidence points toward one particular lab rather than to another, but surely any professionals planning a biowarfare attack would have made considerable efforts to conceal its origins, and this might involve laying down false trails.

America’s top virologists had long enjoyed a close working relationship with their Wuhan lab counterparts. Our leading biowarfare experts had regularly paid friendly visits and the American government had funded some of the lab’s crucial research, so surely obtaining some Wuhan viral samples over the years would not have been difficult. And our biowarfare developers might then have decided to engineer Covid from one of those Chinese viruses as an ideal means of throwing suspicion in a different direction.

America’s enormous and longstanding biological warfare program remains the elephant in the room for the media coverage of our global Covid epidemic, and almost no journalists nor authors are willing to acknowledge its presence, let alone finger it as a prime suspect. This state of Orwellian crimestop thinking is really quite remarkable, though occasionally hints of those dangerous and submerged thoughts do manage to poke through.

The Wall Street Journal review of these books on the origins of Covid seems the most comprehensive such discussion that has yet appeared in the major media. And although the text contains absolutely no suggestion that Covid might have been designed as a bioweapon, just above the title of the print version there appears the curious framing quote “Whenever you have a novel outbreak, it could be a bioweapon…” That statement was by Robert Kadlec, an individual whose name appears nowhere in the body of the review nor even in any of the books under discussion. So apparently some Journal editor actually knows far more about the subject than was covered in the books written by these particular authors. And as I’ve emphasized in my own writings, Kadlec’s activities during the last few years certainly do raise all sorts of questions:

For example, in 2017 Trump brought in Robert Kadlec, who since the 1990s had been one of America’s leading biowarfare advocates. The following year in 2018 a mysterious viral epidemic hit China’s poultry industry and in 2019, another mysterious viral epidemic devastated China’s pork industry…

From the earliest days of the administration, leading Trump officials had regarded China as America’s most formidable geopolitical adversary, and orchestrated a policy of confrontation. Then from January to August 2019, Kadlec’s department ran the “Crimson Contagion” simulation exercise, involving the hypothetical outbreak of a dangerous respiratory viral disease in China, which eventually spreads into the United States, with the participants focusing on the necessary measures to control it in this country. As one of America’s foremost biowarfare experts, Kadlec had emphasized the unique effectiveness of bioweapons as far back as the late 1990s and we must commend him for his considerable prescience in having organized a major viral epidemic exercise in 2019 that was so remarkably similar to what actually began in the real world just a few months later.

With leading Trump officials greatly enamored of biowarfare, fiercely hostile to China, and running large-scale 2019 simulations on the consequences of a mysterious viral outbreak in that country, it seems entirely unreasonable to completely disregard the possibility that such extremely reckless plans may have been privately discussed and eventually implemented, though probably without presidential authorization.

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None of these books on the origins of Covid seems likely to reach a mass audience except through secondary media coverage. However, a colossal current bestseller by a prominent national figure falls into a different category. These days, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. may best be known as a leading critic of our vaccination programs, but his #1 Amazon bestseller The Real Anthony Fauci devotes one of its longest chapters to the history of America’s biological warfare programs and their close connection to the Covid epidemic, and Kadlec is one of the central figures in that narrative. When Kennedy was recently interviewed by Tucker Carlson, he pointed to that chapter on biowarfare as the most important in his book.

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The Kindle edition of this crucial work is priced at just \$2.99, but those who seek a briefer discussion can read my own recent review of the material:

 

Several other books are also worth mentioning, as supplements to those already discussed.

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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.

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Josh Rogin is a Washington Post foreign policy columnist, who seems intensely hostile to China and its government and has broken a few Covid-related stories based upon intelligence leaks, which may or may not be reliable. I found his book Chaos Under Heaven to be a rather gossipy account of all the factional infighting of the Trump Administration with regard to its China policy, and only the last chapter focused on the Covid epidemic. Most of that material seemed similar in tone and content to what appears in the Becker and Markson books.

If the author’s account can be credited, Trump was just as disengaged a president as many other journalists have alleged, with his top aides often ignoring his wishes or running circles around him in support of their own policies. This greatly magnifies the possibility that “rogue operations” of a potentially momentous nature might have been organized behind his back.

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Is COVID-19 a Bioweapon? caught my eye because the cover style was identical to that of the Kennedy book, whose publisher it shared. Since it also featured the endorsement of a leading anti-vaxxer, I mistakenly assumed that author Dr. Richard M. Fleming was somehow associated with Kennedy. Unfortunately, I found this very short book heavily padded and largely useless, with one third of the pages merely being print-outs of government funding grants.

Despite the overwhelmingly “conspiratorial” tone, the author oddly enough still seems to shy away from any focus on America’s own biological warfare programs, so that the “bioweapon” emphasized in the title must necessarily be a Chinese one.

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Ideologically antipodal to several of the books already discussed is When China Sneezes, a collection of republished Internet essays, released in late 2020 and edited by Cynthia McKinney, a former Congresswoman and the 2008 Green Party presidential candidate.

Most of her contributors are intensely skeptical of American policies or even explicitly hostile to our government. Several of the pieces do focus on the origins of the epidemic, including claims that the Covid outbreak was an American biowarfare attack, though the arguments provided are of very mixed quality and have sometimes been swept away by subsequent events. For example, the suggestion is made that Covid was designed to be uniquely deadly to Asians and Chinese in particular, with Caucasians being largely immune, speculation that was once quite common but soon disappeared after Caucasians became the overwhelming majority of worldwide victims.

Among the essays, I would particularly recommend investigative journalist Whitney Webb’s important discussion of the history of American biowarfare programs, which we ran on our own website, and the gripping, first-hand accounts of China’s desperate effort to control the sudden disease outbreak by Larry Romanoff and other Chinese local residents.

 

For unknown reasons, some of what I regard as the strongest evidence implicating America in the Covid outbreak has been almost totally ignored outside of my own series of articles, which began making those points in April 2020 and have continued to do so since.

As already mentioned, Iran’s ruling elites were struck down by Covid so soon after the virus had first appeared in China that the country’s political leaders publicly accused America of a biowarfare attack, but that important history has completely disappeared from our media memory.

Furthermore, in April 2020 several American sources inadvertently disclosed crucial information that I have repeatedly highlighted in my writings, revelations that some have characterized as the “smoking gun” proof of an American role:

But with the horrific consequences of our own later governmental inaction being obvious, elements within our intelligence agencies have sought to demonstrate that they were not the ones asleep at the switch. Earlier this month, an ABC News story cited four separate government sources to reveal that as far back as late November, a special medical intelligence unit within our Defense Intelligence Agency had produced a report warning that an out-of-control disease epidemic was occurring in the Wuhan area of China, and widely distributed that document throughout the top ranks of our government, warning that steps should be taken to protect US forces based in Asia. After the story aired, a Pentagon spokesman officially denied the existence of that November report, while various other top level government and intelligence officials refused to comment. But a few days later, Israeli television mentioned that in November American intelligence had indeed shared such a report on the Wuhan disease outbreak with its NATO and Israeli allies, thus seeming to independently confirm the complete accuracy of the original ABC News story and its several government sources.

It therefore appears that elements of the Defense Intelligence Agency were aware of the deadly viral outbreak in Wuhan more than a month before any officials in the Chinese government itself. Unless our intelligence agencies have pioneered the technology of precognition, I think this may have happened for the same reason that arsonists have the earliest knowledge of future fires.

According to these multiply-sourced mainstream media accounts, by “the second week of November” our Defense Intelligence Agency was already preparing a secret report warning of a “cataclysmic” disease outbreak taking place in Wuhan. Yet at that point, probably no more than a couple of dozen individuals had been infected in that city of 11 million, with few of those yet having any serious symptoms. The implications are rather obvious.

Published over the last eighteen months, my Covid series now consists of more than a dozen articles and columns, and has been viewed a total of nearly 400,000 times, while attracting more than 10,000 comments, totaling over 1.5 million words.

The most substantial articles in the series have also been collected together into an eBook, conveniently available for downloading in both EPub⬇ and Mobi/Kindle⬇ formats, and I think this constitutes a very useful supplement to both the mainstream and alternative books on the origins of Covid that have been discussed above.

Given the volume of this apparent readership and the time since the series first began, it is difficult to believe that too many individuals strongly interested in the origins of the Covid epidemic have remained entirely unaware of this material, but any mentions elsewhere, even highly critical ones, have been extremely rare.

In our increasingly Orwellian world, any hints that certain thoughts are even imaginable may sometimes be considered a fatal slip, and one noted public policy analyst flatly told me that even merely criticizing my analysis might seriously impact his career.

Such concerns are hardly implausible. A few years ago when Razib Khan was a blogger on our website, he was hired as a regular Opinion Columnist by the New York Times, then fired from that prestigious position less than 24 hours later after a hostile Slate journalist revealed that Khan had once left a lengthy, critical comment on the VDare website, thus fatally demonstrating that he was aware of its existence and sometimes read it. And a couple of years later, the writer who had denounced him, Jamelle Bouie, became a Times columnist in his stead.

This situation has surely grown worse under the current climate of deplatformings. Individuals who stray outside particular boundaries may sometimes be banned from the most basic Internet services, severely handicapping their ordinary activities, and this greatly increases the need to carefully maintain defensive crimestop. Days after I published my first Covid article, our entire website was banned by Facebook and all of its pages deranked by Google, with the latter action reducing our Google search traffic by around 99%.

Under these difficult conditions, even the boldest writers and analysts must necessarily choose to pick their fights carefully, avoiding the risk of squandering their influence and credibility on matters where they may have little chance of prevailing. But I suspect that if and when an opening arises, they would be fully prepared to take advantage of it.

Consider Glenn Greenwald, one of the world’s most courageous investigative journalists, who abandoned his position at the top of the Intercept because of his refusal to bow to the party line on Russiagate and the 2020 presidential election.

A few days after the appearance of the Journal review article on Covid’s origins, he published a strong 4,100 word column sharply criticizing the Times, the Post, and other pillars of the mainstream media for their continuing use of dishonest arguments in support of their rear-guard effort to maintain that Covid was a natural virus, a viewpoint increasingly challenged by new disclosures and declassified documents. But although the title and text solely focus on the “lab-leak theory” as the only alternative, Greenwald must surely be aware that there is a third possibility as well, a possibility far more likely to be true but also vastly more dangerous to articulate.

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I have hardly been alone in suggesting that no event since the end of the Second World War has had a greater global impact than the Covid outbreak, which continues to reshape both national destinies and personal lives, and challenging the accepted narrative of such enormous events can often become a hazardous undertaking.

For example, more than twenty years after the start of World War II, A.J.P. Taylor wrote a classic account that carefully analyzed the origins of that conflict and this had unfortunate consequences for his career, as I discussed a couple of years ago:

Yet in revisiting Taylor’s ground-breaking study, I made a remarkable discovery. Despite all the international sales and critical acclaim, the book’s findings soon aroused tremendous hostility in certain quarters. Taylor’s lectures at Oxford had been enormously popular for a quarter century, but as a direct result of the controversy “Britain’s most prominent living historian” was summarily purged from the faculty not long afterwards. At the beginning of his first chapter, Taylor had noted how strange he found it that more than twenty years after the start of the world’s most cataclysmic war no serious history had been produced carefully analyzing the outbreak. Perhaps the retaliation that he encountered led him to better understand part of that puzzle.

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