COVID is an evolving story. No one has a monopoly on the truth on how and why the nightmare happened. Some now want to put it behind us. Others believe we should try to learn the lessons quickly to prevent the mistakes from being repeated.
Prominent among themes emerging from the Daily Telegraph’s Lockdown Files is that Matt Hancock behaved as an egotistical clown, seemingly taking pleasure from terrorising the public into submission to unprecedented restrictions on freedom.
Hancock does not come out well, but understanding the wider context to this failure also requires examination of the quality of scientific advice received, the role of joint ministerial responsibility in such circumstances, and how Parliament itself failed to restrain the appalling ‘Big Brother’ style misuse of the NHS during the crisis. Relentless, manipulative, fear-mongering propaganda, and coercive measures including vaccine mandates, were encouraged rather than curbed by the Leader of the Opposition.
Most important among the revelations so far, however, is clear proof that Whitehall chiefs were complicit in the cover-up of the pandemic’s origins: the revelation of the way the Cabinet Office censored Hancock, taking the ‘coincidence’ stand for diplomatic reasons.
When Hancock was preparing his book Pandemic Diaries, the Cabinet Office would not let him make a straight statement about the Wuhan lab leak because it would risk ‘damaging national security’ by upsetting the Chinese. The Government’s official position, he was told, was that the original outbreak’s location was ‘entirely coincidental’.
That is not being ‘economical with the truth’, as a former Cabinet Secretary once defended obfuscation on an important policy issue. It is a direct lie. This lie infected the handling of the Covid crisis from its very beginning and it needs now to be thoroughly called out.
In the original draft of the book, put together with journalist Isabel Oakeshott, Hancock wrote that ‘given how cagey the Chinese have been, I think we have to treat their official version of events – still the Wuhan thing – with considerable scepticism.
‘Imagine there was an outbreak of a deadly new virus in Wiltshire and we shrugged off the fact that the outbreak “just so happened” to be near a little place called Porton Down. We’d be laughed out of town.’
Cabinet Office officials responded: ‘This is highly sensitive and would cause problems if released.’ With the required changes made, the book was signed off by Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary, on November 4 last year.
This means that for more than three years, from the pandemic’s origins in China in late 2019, diplomatic necessities have been put before the public’s right to know the truth of how the crisis arose. For three years Jeremy Farrar, now Chief Scientist at the World Health Organisation, and the main science journals have been and are still maintaining the lie. They knew, but chose to mislead the world.
This smokescreen in itself added to the global insecurity that made so many countries fall victim to panic measures. Uncertainty added to the fear. If the leap into humans was ‘coincidental’ and natural, might it not easily happen again?
Would so many have accepted the experimental vaccines so readily if they had known that the science on which they were constructed had a huge lie at its base?
As reported here more than two years ago, high-level knowledge existed from very early on that the virus was a chimera – a product of genetic engineering that had made it both more infectious and more dangerous than existing coronaviruses.
Meticulous electron microscopy research by an Anglo-Norwegian team, which included Norwegian biological warfare experts, demonstrated unique ‘fingerprints’ of laboratory manipulation. The scientists argued that the evidence as good as proved that the virus had originated in a laboratory rather than evolved naturally.
The manipulation, in which a bat virus genetic template was made a danger to humans, was exactly as envisaged by American and Chinese scientists collaborating for several years on research known as ‘gain of function’. Their aim was to test what was possible, and then produce a vaccine aimed at reducing the impact of any such future outbreaks.
The paper describing these immensely important findings, co-authored by London University vaccines expert Professor Angus Dalgleish, was suppressed in both the US and UK and to this day has hardly entered public discussion.
Journal editors told the Anglo-Norwegian team it was not in the public interest to publish the findings. Dalgleish shared the manuscript with Cabinet and scientific advisers but was told categorically that there was no way it could have been a laboratory escape. He even came under pressure from his university employers not to speak out about the findings.
Leading science journals, including Nature andthe Lancet, along with the World Health Organisation (WHO), were making strenuous efforts at the time to persuade us that Covid was a natural occurrence – and that we should spend billions more to fight any such future threats.
They were encouraged in this stand by two of the scientists leading Britain’s response to the pandemic – Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the immensely wealthy Wellcome Trust, and Sir Patrick Vallance, a former GlaxoSmithKline research president now serving as chief scientific adviser to the Government. Both have been implicated in an alleged cover-up of the virus’s origins (see here and here).
Farrar was party to a secret meeting called by Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on February 1, 2020, the day after the WHO declared that Covid represented a global health emergency. The call was related to a document called ‘Coronavirus sequence comparison’ and followed a tip-off to Fauci the night before in which immunologist Kristian Andersen, of the Scripps Research Institute in California, warned that the virus had features which might make it look as though it had come from a laboratory.
A follow-up email sent by Farrar to Fauci and Vallance carried the warning: ‘Information and discussion is shared in total confidence and not to be shared until agreement on next steps.’ It was cc-d to six others including Paul Schreier, chief operating officer at Wellcome.
The next month (March 2020) a paper published in Nature Medicine, signed by a large group of scientists, declared: ‘Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.’ Farrar, Vallance and Fauci were all involved in discussions around this declaration, according to a report last November by Sarah Knapton, the Telegraph’s science editor.
In emails released under freedom of information legislation, Farrar said the purpose of the discussions was to come to a consensus view and ‘lay down a respected statement to frame whatever debate goes on, before that debate gets out of hand with potentially damaging ramifications’.
The month after that (April 2020) Fauci told a White House press conference: ‘A group of highly qualified evolutionary biologists looked at the sequences there, and the sequences in bats as they evolve, and the mutation that it took to get to the point where it is now totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human.’
Farrar has consistently promoted the same theory, while claiming it is important to retain an ‘open mind’.
The damaging consequences of these long-lasting attempts to fool us into believing the virus arose naturally are incalculable.
The Dalgleish paper carried a warning that mistaken assumptions about where the virus came from would ‘risk creating ineffective or actively harmful vaccines’. Is it just a coincidence that the Covid vaccines produced were described this month by Dr Restef Levi, a risk assessment professor at MIT Sloan School of Management, as ‘a colossal failure’ in terms of safety and effectiveness, and one of the worst public health disasters in history?
For Whitehall, it appears that the lie was to protect our relationship with China. For the US, it was also to avoid admission of complicity in the gain-of -function research outsourced to China. For the big boys in science, it was to protect reputation, funding and the ultimate goal, necessary government investment in vaccines.
The British and Americans were not the only ones seeking to obscure the truth. China, as has been well reported in Western media, took immediate steps in September 2019 to delete viral sequences at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and switched it from civilian to military leadership.
But with the current worsening of relations between America and China, the dam may finally be breaking. Last Wednesday Dr Robert Redfield, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control, told a Congressional inquiry: ‘Even given the information that’s surfaced in the three years since the Covid-19 pandemic began, some have contended that there is really no point in investigating the origins of this virus. I strongly disagree. There is a global need to know what we are dealing with, because it affects how we approach the problem of trying to prevent the next pandemic.
‘Gain-of-function research has long been controversial within the scientific community, and in my own opinion the Covid-19 pandemic presents a case study on the potential dangers of such research.
‘While many believe that gain-of-function research is critical to get ahead of viruses by developing vaccines, in this case I believe it was the exact opposite, unleashing a new virus on the world without any means of stopping it and resulting in the deaths of millions of people.’
Deaths that include those caused by lockdown and the Covid-19 vaccines themselves.