By Thomas Neuburger
There's a lot of talk about "lab leaks" and China's Wuhan lab when the subject of Covid comes up. Among the unasked questions on this subject — at least as far as the compliant press is concerned — are those related to the morality and safety of the work done in labs like that in the first place.
A second unasked question: Exactly what is going on in those labs? Research to keep the world safe from these diseases? Or research to develop more and deadlier diseases? Or both?
The mainstream press has been so folded into the operations of most administrations, including Republican administrations like that of George W. Bush, that no unauthorized question is going to be asked. And the two referred to above...
Is the work at labs like Wuhan moral?
Is the work at labs like Wuhan sometimes military in nature?
are never going to be asked by your friendly MSNBC or CNN host. Even your Fox News host will avoid them since Fox is, ultimately, also Establishment-biased in the broad sense, and only anti-Establishment in the narrower, party sense.
Why? Because questions like these questions touch U.S. labs as well. From Stephen Kinzer writing at the Boston Globe:
America has its own virus secrets
Our military’s long history of biological research complicates the quest to clear up what really happened in Wuhan.
...Like the lab in Wuhan, the one at Fort Detrick [Maryland] (pronounced DEE-trick) is among 59 in the world where scientists handle the world’s deadliest pathogens. When the United States had a biowarfare program, it was based at Detrick. If it ever were to reconstitute such a program, Detrick would be the place, because its scientific staff probably represents the world’s greatest concentration of knowledge about plagues, germs, and poisons. ...
During the Cold War, Fort Detrick was abuzz — literally — as scientists developed ingenious ways to infect mosquitoes with disease-causing germs and to weaponize fleas, ticks, ants, lice, and rats; cultivated spores that cause parasitic diseases in crops and livestock; and produced aerosolized toxins that could be used to kill either individuals or entire populations. CIA chemists also maintained a lab there, producing among other things lethal drops, powders, sprays, toothpaste, and cigars intended to assassinate foreign leaders. For 21 months in 1959-61, Quakers and other activists held dawn-to-dusk vigils outside, asserting that the base existed “to plan famine, starvation, and disease.”
In 1969 President Nixon ordered an end to all research into biowarfare — except for research “necessary to determine what defensive measures are required.” Later the United States, along with China, accepted a treaty banning all development of bioweapons “in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective, or other peaceful purposes.” Part of Fort Detrick was turned into a cancer research institute. As the Chinese are clearly aware, though, it remains the epicenter of US military research into biological warfare.
Scientists at Fort Detrick, like those at Wuhan, study Ebola, Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, and other dread diseases. Labs there are supposed to be hermetically sealed, but there have been lapses. Anthrax spores leaked out in 2002, and an Army report later concluded that “multiple episodes of contamination may have occurred.” In 2019 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ordered a halt to research at Fort Detrick’s highest-security lab because it did not have “sufficient systems in place to decontaminate wastewater.” The lab, officially known as the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, reopened a few months later. Its commander said he welcomed the reopening because the lab “has for more than 50 years now played a critical role in the nation’s defense, and we remain an important lab in that sense.” Developing bioweapons is banned by treaty and US law but with a glaring loophole: “Defensive” research is permitted. In order to defend itself against possible bio-attack, each side manufactures and tests toxins that an enemy might use. These toxins, however, can also be seen as prototypes for weapons in a future battle fought with insects, vermin, and aerosolized germs.
To repeat, the current commander at Fort Detrick thinks the lab "remains important" because of its "critical role in the nation's defense." The treaty that constrains it allows any research so long as the products are not large in quantity.
This sounds more or less like a confession that biological warfare is being researched at Fort Detrick — and almost certainly, given the state of militaries around the world, at Wuhan as well.
So where does this leave us? With several questions, each with an answer:
• Is the 'lab leak from Wuhan' theory of Covid's origin likely? Yes, likely but not certain. The evidence of a lab leak is starting to become a preponderance.
• Could a lab leak from Wuhan have been deliberate? Very unlikely, but possible.
• Are biological weapons researched and produced at both Wuhan and Fort Detrick? Almost certainly. Remember, the treaty signed by both China and the U.S. allows for "defensive" research — creation of toxins an enemy "might" create, so long as the quantities are small. An enemy "might" create anything the researchers can conceive of.
• Is the work done at both Wuhan and Fort Detrick moral? Not in the least, even if only the the potential for leaks is considered.
• Should both the U.S and China be widely and equally condemned for doing this work? Of course. But that will never happen, not by the government-compliant mainstream press, at least.
But that shouldn't stop you, dear reader, from viewing the virus news in this wider context. And saying to others what you believe to be true.