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Peter Young: Could Trump Have Been Right After All And The Virus Leaked From A Chinese Lab?

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Peter Young

It is the international story of the week. Despite the earlier denials, evidence seems to be mounting that the COVID-19 virus could have leaked from China’s Wuhan laboratory rather than evolving naturally from animals to humans.

Reportedly, the game changer has been new information coming from the publication of Dr Anthony Fauci’s emails that have been obtained through Freedom of Information requests. With his high profile, most people will surely be aware he is America’s top infectious diseases expert and chief medical adviser to the US President. He is known colloquially as the White House’s COVID tsar who has been the face of the nation’s response to the virus that has killed more than 3.5 million people worldwide.

In the midst of the world’s worst pandemic for a hundred years, there is general agreement that it is essential to determine the origin of the virus in order to be able to take action to prevent it - or something similar - from happening again. If it is proven the virus emerged, either accidentally or even nefariously, from the Wuhan Institute of Virology or its Centre for Disease Control - the two laboratories that have been at the centre of the controversy and the conspiracy theories - and that the Chinese authorities knew this but chose to cover it up, such a development could become the biggest international scandal of modern history. Thus, President Biden’s ordering of a 90-day investigation by US intelligence into how the virus started and where it emanated from has been widely welcomed.

Dr Fauci has been a pivotal figure throughout the crisis. He has been under fire for flip-flopping on issues like the wearing of masks and for being overly cautious in advocating strict restrictions and lockdowns that were not based on hard data as well as for his stance that it was highly likely COVID-19 was a natural occurrence. But overall he has been seen as a dedicated public servant who should be listened to as the medical expert and who also stood up to President Trump and denied being ‘muzzled’ by him. However, this has changed after the revelations arising from his emails, and his halo has been tarnished.

At the beginning of the crisis, there were conflicting views about suggestions the virus had escaped from Wuhan. But scientists and medical experts quickly dismissed the idea of a ‘lab leak’ as a wild conspiracy promoted by President Trump. They said it was ‘completely impossible’ because the virus was a phenomenon of nature transmitted from animals to humans, though there was a lack of evidence to support this.

In early 2020, a group of them publicly rejected the ‘lab leak’ theory in a letter to the prestigious UK medical journal, The Lancet. But, as has become clear from some of Dr Fauci’s email exchanges last year, they conceded privately the virus could have been engineered by human hands, and they warned him of the possibility of a ‘lab leak’ though he chose not to make this public. So there was a discrepancy between what he was discussing privately and what he was saying in public.

It has now been revealed Dr Fauci had authorised US government funding of the Wuhan laboratories and he is being accused of a cover-up to distract from this by playing down the ‘lab leak’ theory and deliberately misleading the public. It is contended by some that he had agreed to the use of taxpayer dollars which might have contributed to the funding of reckless and dangerous research.

Significantly, after his email exchanges were published, Dr Fauci has changed his tune and is now saying he is not convinced the virus originated naturally and is ‘keeping an open mind’ that it might be a ‘lab leak’ - though he has dismissed the idea of bioengineering. He is now calling for further investigation and demanding answers from China including release of the medical records of three Wuhan lab workers who fell ill just as the pandemic began.

This is a screeching U-turn. But he is not alone and, despite calls for him to stand down, he still has the public backing of President Biden. More and more experts seem now to be taking the ‘lab leak’ theory seriously, including the World Health Organisation, which had earlier concluded this was ‘extremely unlikely’ but has now announced ‘all hypotheses remain open and require further study’. Moreover, backing for this theory has come from former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who is quoted as saying there is ‘enormous evidence’ the coronavirus outbreak originated in a Chinese laboratory and that China has an interest in ‘covering the whole thing up’.

As a layman, it is hard to know what to make of all this. But, to add to the growing evidence, the Wall Street Journal at the weekend carried an article saying the science suggests a Wuhan laboratory link. Those who, like President Trump, dubbed COVID-19 the China virus and were berated and belittled as conspiracy theorists may well be proved right in the end, and he is now calling for massive reparations. If it is found the virus did indeed escape from a Wuhan lab - and it is determined China has not only been culpable of precipitating the ruinous pandemic but also deliberately embarked on a cover-up denying this - there will be huge repercussions. The world has suffered catastrophic loss in human life and economic downturn and it will demand China should be held accountable.

The control freaks of the nanny state are going too far

Reading the UK press online each morning, a report caught my eye recently that looked barely credible. It said the rural county of Oxfordshire in the depths of the English countryside was set to place a complete ban on smoking in outside areas, with the local council determined to make the whole county “smoke free” by 2025.

Not being a smoker myself, I have no axe to grind over this. But already, of course, there are restrictions on indoor smoking in public places like pubs, cafes and restaurants where people are likely to wish to smoke and this could affect others who are against smoking and may object on health grounds to inhaling tobacco fumes in a confined space.

In a civilised society such restrictions must surely be right. But smoking by individuals outside such places, or in the streets outside offices, cannot be said to affect others or to damage their health. Furthermore, it should not be a matter for local politicians to seek to apply coercively a ban on an activity that is within the law of the land. It seems to me, therefore, that they are busybodies adopting measures ostensibly to improve people’s health but, in the process, are taking away the right of people to conduct their lives as they wish as long as that is within the law.

Then, to my horror, I discovered that other UK local councils were following suit and banning smoking on pavements outside hospitality venues, and that this was being brought in by stealth in the wake of the COVID regulations requiring the provision of smoke-free seating outside as a condition of an establishment being licensed.

Clearly, the long-term aim of such bans is to outlaw smoking altogether on health grounds. So the next step will be to try to stop smoking in private cars, houses and even gardens. Already, the control freaks of the ‘nanny state’ are going too far. I believe, if people wish to smoke, they should not be prevented by the majority from doing so as long as it does not affect other people who object to the practice. If the aim is to protect people’s health, then think also about other dangers like the inhalation by pedestrians of fumes from the exhausts of vehicles in crowded city centres – and what about the abuse of alcohol, with excessive consumption linked to disease, or even overeating that leads to obesity and diabetes? Compulsory seatbelts are fine because everybody can see that they save lives and protect against injury. But accidents happen so perhaps the do-gooders should also seek to limit non-essential traffic.

Such issues started me thinking about civil liberties in a democracy – and, inevitably, one is drawn yet again to the down-to-earth wisdom of George Orwell who in his essay The Lion and the Unicorn, published during the Second World War, defined the essence of the national character of England as liberty.

Britain in modern times has been based on the freedom-loving traditions of tolerance and respect for the rights of others in a law-abiding society where calmness under pressure is seen as a virtue and order in everyday life is valued. Freedom of speech and expression nurtures a spirit of reasonableness, live and let live and the right -- in the words of Orwell -- to have a house of your own and to do what you like with your spare time without being bossed around by others, especially by an overbearing state. But this also breeds stubborn individuals and eccentrics -- though there is a fine line between eccentricity and boorishness – where people resent being told what to do by others and want to be left alone to pursue their lives as they see fit.

Despite such individualism, it is also the case that conformism comes easily to the British in times of strife. Wartime government controls were readily accepted because they were seen as necessary, as are today’s security measures at airports. But who would think that in peacetime Britons would be prepared to accept, in response to the pandemic, a huge curtailment of freedom – arguably the biggest since the 1940s -- with three long lockdowns, social distancing and strict controls on meeting others even within families, compulsory wearing of masks, airports at a standstill, schools suspended, sporting events restricted, shopping limited, entertainment disrupted and restaurants and pubs closed.

It is well known that powers once assumed by the state are not easily surrendered. Thus, even in a democracy where a government is supposed to rule with the consent of the people, all concerned have to guard against authoritarianism, the abuse of power by politicians and permanent curtailment of individual freedoms. As has been said so often, the protection of liberty is crucial at every level of society. So, let the smokers decide for themselves, despite the evident threat to their health, as long as they do not infringe the rights of others to breathe unpolluted the fresh air around them that nature has provided.

Never to forget

One stark UK newspaper headline summed it all up: ‘A memorial fit for heroes who lifted the shackles of tyranny, mile by bloody mile’.

This referred, of course, to the official opening on Sunday, June 6 - the 77th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy during the Second World War - of Britain’s Normandy Memorial in the small town of Ver-sur-Mer. This had been delayed for a myriad of reasons so that Britain was the only Allied nation not to have its own national memorial in the region.

Over the years, veterans have regularly attended ceremonies in that part of France - including on the beaches where the invasion took place and at British cemeteries - to commemorate D-Day and to pay tribute to the fallen, with special ceremonies on a larger scale for the 50th and 75th anniversaries. However, their own dedicated memorial was clearly long overdue, so it was welcome news to many that a separate, dedicated national memorial had finally been completed - and on its pillars are inscribed the names of the 22,442 people who lost their lives during the invasion of German-occupied France, both during the D-Day landings and during the Battle of Normandy.

Because of coronavirus restrictions only small numbers of people were able to attend the official unveiling of this national memorial. So a separate ceremony was held for the veterans at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire in central England; and, as Patron of the Normandy Memorial Trust, Prince Charles delivered a poignant address via video link praising the courage and sacrifice of those who died.

Lest anyone could forget, the D-Day landings were a turning point in the war. The Allied invasion - with 160,000 troops from Britain, the US, Canada, France and other nations - was the largest amphibious operation in world history and was considered a spectacular military success. But against sustained German resistance it took nearly a year for the Allies to fight their way through France and Germany in order to achieve ultimate victory and the end of the war in Europe.

Comments

GodSpeed 7 months, 2 weeks ago

"Could Trump Have Been Right After All?"

Of course Trump was/is right. Anyone not brainwashed by mainstream FAKE NEWS like CNN, ABC, MSNBC and FOX knew the lab leak was how it went down from the start. Those who wanted to expose the truth had their social media accounts deleted, were said to be "debunked" and ridiculed by mainstream fake news watching 🐑. Those like Dr. Fauci who were treated as technocratic Gods by the media were the very ones who had culpability in the whole debacle. There are lots of other things Trump is right about as well, but you people who believe in the media will never get it until the truth is forced out.

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quavaduff 7 months, 1 week ago

If tRump told the truth....that would be a first. The jury is still out on this. Personally, I trust Dr. Fauci far more than the pathological lying tRump. I would advise others to follow suit.

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proudloudandfnm 7 months, 1 week ago

Lol. The dumbest, most dishonest scumbag ever to hold office right? Lol... Yeah sure. Ok. Lol...

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milesair 7 months, 1 week ago

The right-wingers utter everything said by the loser Trump without any proof other than his utterings which he mostly pulled out of his butt! We don't need facts cause Trump said so. When there is factual proof provided by a reasonable source that the Chinese are responsible I would consider it, otherwise blaming the Chinese is just another way to spread hatred against a certain group which is something the human race has an affinity for. Some of us actually want REAL proof and not just inuendo!

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