LAB LEAK (5): Why have US bosses helped Chinese bosses develop biological weapons of mass destruction?
Are these guys really enemies?
There has long been talk that the strategic rivalry emerging between the United States
and China in recent years could one day give way to confrontation.
That moment has arrived. Welcome to the cold war 2.0.1
—Mark Leonard, 2018
( founder and director of ECFR - European Council on Foreign Relations )
The second-ranking general in the US military has sounded the alarm about China’s weapons development — warning that Beijing may soon have the capability to launch a surprise nuclear strike against America.2
—New York Post, 2021
Political scientists, news organizations, politicians, and bureaucrats all say that the US and China are enemies on the brink of war.
But US bosses have been helping Chinese bosses build biological weapons of mass destruction.
Is this a madhouse? Or is your reality being managed?
Let’s say I make a claim. For example: US and Chinese bosses are rivals—even enemies. And let’s say that I believe my claim is true.
But is it? Who knows. Maybe yes, maybe no. Of course, I want to say ‘yes’ (it’s my claim). But let’s be fair: What evidence—if found—would undermine my claim and make me doubt it? Can I say what that is? If I can, then my claim is a hypothesis.
If, by contrast, I take the position that no evidence could ever make me change my mind, that I could never even consider doubting that US and Chinese bosses are rivals and even enemies, then my claim is not a hypothesis. We might call it a religious belief, an axiom, or a dogma of some kind, but not a hypothesis. It is a hypothesis only if I can recognize what evidence—in principle (if found)—would undermine it.
The great philosopher of science Karl Popper taught us that.
And this attitude—the one that says: I will reconsider my claim if the evidence demands it—is a requirement in science. By adopting this attitude, it is possible to learn many new things about the Universe in a very short period of time, as the last few hundred years have demonstrated.
I have found it useful, in my scientific process, to get in the habit of specifying the dramatic fact. This is something that, under my hypothesis, is just impossible. If such a fact manifests, my hypothesis is not merely undermined but destroyed—it must be discarded. It has been ‘falsified,’ as Popper says.
(To Bret Weinstein fans: when Bret says that “Zero is a special number,” he is talking about one kind of dramatic fact.)
Of course, the world of social behavior is noisy, which often makes documenting anything so clean as a dramatic fact unlikely. The best I can hope for is to accumulate a sufficient preponderance of anomalous evidence that makes me decide to abandon one hypothesis in favor of an alternative. But specifying at least one imaginable dramatic fact can be clarifying, conceptually.
Okay, so let us treat the claim—US and Chinese bosses are rivals, and even enemies—as a hypothesis. What, then, would be a dramatic fact, utterly impossible if US and Chinese bosses were—in fact—enemies?
Here’s one: If US and Chinese bosses are enemies, the former will not intentionally help the latter build weapons of mass destruction. That’s impossible.
All right. Let us now consider the impossible fact.
First, the background.
Some virologists are involved with something called ‘gain of function’ (GOF), which means this: they augment the powers of natural viruses to make them more lethal and contagious to humans.
Why would anybody do that? The official justification is medical: the augmented viruses are supposed to teach us, in the lab, what evolution might later do in nature, thus helping us prepare for a future epidemic.
That sounds like a worthy purpose. But even if you accept this story, the fact remains: this is ‘dual use’ research, meaning that any artificially augmented virus—regardless of why anybody says it was augmented—can potentially be used as a biological weapon of mass destruction. (It is important to keep this in mind.)
Now, there has been a controversy over the origin of SARS2 (full name: SARS-COV-2), the virus responsible for COVID-19. There are two main contenders, here:
In one corner, mainstream Western authorities insisted for a long time that only a natural origin was at all conceivable, and that any assertion to the contrary was ridiculous and moreover racist against the Chinese—I kid you not. (This extreme behavior I consider a grammatical anomaly).
From the other corner, many squinted with puzzlement at all that and defended instead the lab-leak hypothesis, according to which SARS2 escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. This Wuhan lab is just a few miles from the first reported cases of COVID and is home to scientists doing ‘gain of function’ on SARS viruses almost identical to SARS2.
Now, in May of 2021, Nicholas Wade published a piece in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists where he showed that the evidence supporting the lab-leak hypothesis was overwhelming; by contrast, almost nothing supported natural origins. Following this, the earlier mainstream practice of ridiculing the lab-leak hypothesis ceased. It just became embarrassing to keep doing that.
But that doesn’t matter here. And it doesn’t matter whether you agree with the lab-leak hypothesis. What matters is what was documented as a consequence of that public controversy over COVID origins. And it is this:
For its ‘gain of function’ work on SARS viruses, the Wuhan lab was getting funding and technical assistance from the US government.
But this is impossible. Because, as noted above, ‘gain of function’ research, however publicly justified, is biowarfare research. And US bosses, running the most powerful empire in history, would not help their biggest and most dangerous enemy to develop biological weapons of mass destruction. Especially not when they always knew that the Wuhan lab is a Chinese military lab.
Yet they did do that. It happened—this is undisputed. So something is wrong. But it’s not the Universe. The Universe is just the Universe. If something impossible happened, the problem (trust me) is with your model.
Because a proper model of the world doesn’t say that things which indisputably happened are impossible. Such things—things that did happen—are not only possible within a proper model but expected. The better your model, the fewer surprises and mysteries. By definition.
The hypothesis according to which US and Chinese bosses are enemies must therefore be discarded, because under this hypothesis what indisputably happened is impossible. And yet mainstream politicians, bureaucrats, journalists, and political scientists did not discard this hypothesis. To the contrary: they have continued representing US and Chinese bosses not merely as enemies, but as mortal enemies on the brink of mutual annihilation (and world destruction).
And this representation became rather shrill, in fact, immediately after Nicholas Wade, in May 2021, made respectable the lab-leak hypothesis. To help you see this, I will summarize below what, starting in July 2021, the news media said about the US and China.
The mainstream portrayal: total military confrontation
In July 2021, the New York Times reported that China was constructing nuclear silos at top speed. And in August, Fox NEWS shared that “The Chinese Communist Party aired a video in which it warned Japan”—a key US ally—“of a nuclear response and ‘full-scale war’ if the island nation interferes in China’s handling of Taiwan.”
Then there is EMP (electromagnetic pulse) technology. Back in 2020, the Washington Examiner had already reported on Chinese advances as follows:
“With the help of stolen U.S. technology, China has developed at least three types of high-tech weapons to attack the electric grid and key technologies in a ‘surprise Pearl Harbor’ assault that could send America into a deadly blackout.”
Not just any country, but “America”—the United States.
On 30 September 2021, Forbes developed this EMP story. Chinese scientists, the magazine relayed, were proposing a hypersonic missile be developed and “armed with a non-nuclear warhead that creates an electromagnetic blast that fries a nation’s electrical grid,” leaving said country defenseless.
The hypersonic missiles themselves, according to that late September story, were not yet ready; but things were moving at hypersonic speeds, for less than a month later they were.
Thus, on 21 October Newsweek reported on two successful Chinese tests of hypersonic nuclear missiles. This technology “involves propelling weapons into low-Earth orbit, guiding them along an unpredictable trajectory, before striking their intended targets.” The missile goes around the Earth before impact. The Chinese achievement, according to one stupefied US government expert, seemed to “ ‘defy the laws of physics.’ ”
Two weeks later, on 3 November, a Washington Post headline blared: “China accelerates nuclear weapons expansion.” Why the hurry? Because, wrote the Post, it had been “a tense year” for China-US relations. And not just that year. Under President Donald Trump, explained the Post in the same article, “Chinese and U.S. officials held unusual conversations aimed at avoiding bloodshed.”
According to this story, during Trump’s term, a nervous US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff one day picked up the telephone—entirely on his own, without first getting permission from his Commander in Chief, Donald Trump—to assure the Chinese that Trump, despite appearances, did not mean to attack their country.
The Chinese were so shaken by that, said the Post, that they now wanted “at least 1,000 warheads by 2030,” according to a Pentagon report. How did the Chinese react to that Pentagon analysis? “China Says U.S. Bringing World Closer to Nuclear War After U.S. Military Report,” thundered a Newsweek headline the next day.
Then, on 16 November, a parade of US high military officials and academic experts appeared in the pages of the Financial Review (Australia) under the heading:
‘China’s alarming new nuclear capabilities: The rapid build-up has the potential to alter the power balance in Asia and raises hard questions over US nuclear policy.’
Though the assembled gaggle of bureaucrats and academics expressed a diversity of opinions, they all agreed on one thing: this is a supremely dangerous moment.
The next day, according to headlines in FOX News and the New York Post, General John Hyten, US Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that China would soon be able to launch a surprise nuclear attack on the United States.
The Chinese reply to that was blared on yet another Newsweek headline on 21 November: ‘China Accuses U.S. of Fueling Nuclear War ‘Panic’ After [US] Official Warns of Attack.’
Newsweek was reporting on what the Global Times editorial board—official mouthpiece of the Chinese government—had said. Here’s a quote from that Global Times article:
“There is a serious possibility of a war across the Taiwan Straits, and the US has been implying a possible military intervention from time to time. Several recent literary deductions on the China-US conflict have predicted that the US would be the first to launch a nuclear attack on China.”
I’ll stop here. The picture—expressed by all Big Media, establishment academia, and both governments—is clear: China now inhabits the part and role that once belonged to the Soviet Union in the narrative playing out on the world geopolitical stage: it is the great totalitarian rival of the United States: the existential enemy with whom, they tell us, a nuclear war of mutual annihilation might soon detonate.
Cold War 2.0.
So now the question is this: What model of the meaning-making system—the system that includes academia, bureaucrats, and the news media—is consistent with all of them doubling down on the claim that US and Chinese bosses are mortal enemies immediately after it was dramatically shown that this is impossible?
Put a pin on that.
One noteworthy exception
Someone who took the dramatic fact seriously was Senator Rand Paul. It seemed to make him livid during a Senate hearing in which he interrogated the head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious diseases (NIAID), considered also the de facto head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH): Dr. Anthony Fauci.
But why was Senator Paul interrogating Fauci? Because Fauci is the bureaucrat responsible for approving NIH funding for ‘gain of function’ work on SARS viruses at the Wuhan lab in China. As the health bureaucrat squirmed uncomfortably in his seat, the senator declared the relevant facts to create the context for Anthony Fauci’s grilling. This—for the history books—is what Rand Paul said on the record:
“Viruses that in nature only infect animals were manipulated in the Wuhan lab to gain the function of infecting humans. (…) Dr. Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist from Rutgers, described this research in Wuhan as:
‘The Wuhan lab used NIH funding to construct novel chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses able to infect human cells … This is high risk research that creates new potential pandemic pathogens—potential pandemic pathogens that exist only in the lab, not in nature.’ ”
This was edge-of-your-seat political drama. Senator Paul wanted to know: Why in the world have the NIH—the US government—been giving funding for ‘gain of function’ work to the Chinese government? Yes, said Paul,
“[to] the Chinese government that we may not be able to trust with this… uh knowledge and with this… uh incredibly dangerous viruses (…) You’re allowing super viruses to be created with a 15% mortality. It’s very dangerous. I think it was a huge mistake to share this with China.”
Yes, because: Weren’t the US and China supposed to be enemies?
So why did the US government assist these Chinese efforts to build biological weapons of mass destruction?
As Paul points out, it wasn’t just funding—they also shared information. The Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch is a creature of the NIH, and as the Washington Post has mentioned (though entirely in passing), “The Wuhan lab … has strong ties to the Galveston National Laboratory.” There has been plenty of technical collaboration.
This Galveston lab is focused on biological warfare and does a lot of work for the military. In essence it is a US military lab.3
So why in the world has a de facto US military lab been collaborating on SARS ‘gain of function’ with the Wuhan lab, which, de facto, is a Chinese military lab?
Or put it this way:
What is the right model of the geopolitical system?
Under the model that says US and Chinese bosses are geopolitical superpowers on the brink of nuclear war, this is impossible. But it happened, so the model must be wrong.
Which model works? Oh, that is obvious, though certainly uncomfortable. What happened makes sense if US and Chinese bosses are in reality allies—intimate allies, in fact. For just as you wouldn’t hand your gun over to someone you didn’t absolutely trust, much less would you give them your weapon of mass destruction.
But then… Why are all meaning-making institutions in the West still saying that US and Chinese bosses are enemies? We need a model that will explain the rather exaggerated behavior of those occupying the key structural—gatekeeping—nodes in our meaning-making systems.
One viable model was bequeathed to us long ago in the final scene of The Wizard of Oz. Awed but not cowed by the sights and sounds of the fearsome Wizard, Dorothy—assisted by her inquisitive dog—investigates and pulls back a mysterious curtain in the corner. There she reveals an old man who speaks into a microphone the very same words—Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain!—that Dorothy can hear booming all around her, and meanwhile pulling all sorts of levers to make the intimidating light-and-sound show. The Wizard. The application of this model is straightforward: the curtain has been pulled, yet Western meaning makers keep screaming: Pay no attention to the virus we made at Wuhan!
In this model, the meaning system has been thoroughly corrupted—or captured, as they say. And you almost have to adopt this model, because, how else but with a captured meaning system could the Western bosses hide in plain view their unholy alliance with the Chinese bosses?
But then perhaps that scene in the Wizard of Oz was an inside joke—the bosses chuckling to themselves. Because that film was premiered in 1939, and MOR has two separate investigations according to which the news media and academic systems in the United States and Britain were fully captured by the year 1938.
But this all raises an interesting question:
Since when have US and Chinese bosses been allies, so intimately joined by a common purpose, ideology, and goals that US bosses trust Chinese bosses with their biological weapons of mass destruction?
Since Mao, will be our answer.
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‘The US and China are the closest of enemies’; European Council on Foreign Relations; 27 November 2018; by Mark Leonard.
‘Top general warns China could soon spring surprise nuclear strike on US’; The New York Post; 17 November 2021; by Callie Patteson.
The Galveston lab at the University of Texas was “constructed with funding awarded in October 2003 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/National Institutes of Health (NIAID/NIH).”
The purpose of the Galveston lab, as its website once explained, is
“defending our society against bioterrorism … [by developing] … diagnostic tests … for microbes that might be employed by terrorists.”
Not surprisingly, then, the Galveston lab routinely does work for the US military. In essence, it is a US military lab.
This is now embarrassing. So the Galveston lab ‘About’ page has found it prudent to remove from its website any reference to its military work on bioterrorism (see for yourself).