The current influenza outbreak has killed less than half 1 million people worldwide, and at least in the more developed countries the rate of infection has slowed or even reduced. It is far too early to claim that the pandemic has been defeated, and the potential for significant increases in the number of deaths in Africa and South America still exists, particularly as their health services are not as advanced as that enjoyed by North America, Europe, Australasia and most of Asia.
One of the outstanding characteristics of the present pandemic has been an unprecedented closing down of developed economies, as well as unprecedented restrictions on national and international travel. Arguably, there has been a massive over-reaction to the actual scale of the problem. Just by way of comparison for example, the so-called Spanish flu of 1919 (which ironically had its origins in the United States) killed between 50 and 100 million people (Spinney “Pale Rider” 2017). The current pandemic is highly improbable to reach remotely comparable levels, either absolutely or as a percentage of the total population.
What is perhaps different about this pandemic is that it has been used as a weapon to mount the most extraordinary vilification of China by, among others, the President of the United States. Trump’s extraordinary verbal attacks upon China have been faithfully repeated by some other countries whose allegiance to the United States outweighs logic, common sense, and most importantly, the actual evidence.
The western mainstream media has been guilty of endless repetition of these mindless claims, despite authoritative voices pointing out that such allegations lack an evidential foundation.
For example, the respected journal Nature on 17 March 2020 reported on the results of investigations by a team of United States, British and Australian researchers. They argued that on the basis of their investigations into the source of COVID-19, they could “not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is possible.” They went on to say that “our analysis clearly shows that SARS-Cov-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.”
A similar line of argument was advanced by a group of 27 public health scientists from eight different countries. In a letter to the medical journal Lancet in March of this year they “strongly condemned” conspiracy theories that suggested that Covid-19 did not have a natural origin. In the same manner as multiple other emergency pathogens throughout known medical history, “the coronavirus originated in wildlife.”
Even if it were “Chinese wildlife” for which there is zero plausible evidence, it still would not justify the intemperate vilification of China, let alone claims lodged in United States courts for sums up to $20 trillion. They tell one more about the greed and stupidity of the litigants than they do about the merits of their argument.
There were certainly cases of the disease in China, but that fact of itself is not proof of either its source or, much less, evidence that the Chinese government have been concealing the incidence of the disease.
As analysed in an excellent article by the independent writer Pepe Escobar the first Covid-2 case was detected in Wuhan in mid to late December 2019, at which point the Chinese authorities promptly advised the World Health Organisation.
Prior to that date however, in November 2019 the United States organisation NEMI was warning about a viral pandemic, more than one month before such a disease was identified in China. Escobar rightly calls it “the burning question” as to how such prescience was possible.
According to Escobar, Israeli intelligence have confirmed that they have been warned by the United States in November 2019 about a possible catastrophic pandemic in Wuhan, before such an outbreak was suspected, let alone known, by the Chinese authorities. The United States’ NATO allies received a similar warning from the United States that had been given to Israel.
Escobar further reports that United States Intelligence authorities knew about a chain of events that could lead to a “mysterious outbreak” in Wuhan in November 2019. This raises the obvious question: how could United States Intelligence have known about a Chinese contagion one month before Chinese doctors first identified an unknown virus?
Escobar calls that the “smoking gun”. In the complete absence of any other plausible explanation, the irresistible conclusion must be that the United States government intelligence agencies knew about a deadly virus before the country where it was to make its first alleged appearance.
There have been persistent rumours that the virus actually started in the United States, fuelled in part by an extraordinary surge in 2019 of deaths attributed to ordinary influenza. There are a number of questions about the United States experience in 2019 that lack satisfactory answers. One was the closure of the Fort Dietrich Research facility in June 2019 following an inspection that disclosed unspecified problems with the security of its biochemical research program.
The Italian government was sufficiently alarmed by these and related reports that they sought the exhumation of the so-called flu victims. The United States refused their request and failed to provide a plausible reason for the refusal.
China is obviously less than impressed with the anti-China rhetoric heard in various western countries and the violence meted out to Chinese citizens in those countries. In what may be seen as a classic preliminary Chinese response, the Chinese government authorised its ambassador to Russia, Mr Zhang Hanhui to give an interview with the Russian news agency TASS on the weekend of 18/19 April 2020.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the western mainstream media has been conspicuously silent about the content of Mr Zhang’s interview. In the interview Mr Zhang cautioned against preliminary conclusions. He nonetheless made some major points, the content of which helps explain why the western mainstream media have carefully avoided reporting his interview in any detail if at all.
The former Indian diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar has helpfully provided a detailed English summary of Mr Zhang’s interview on his website. People are urged to read Mr Bhadrakuma’s details of the interview, safe in the knowledge that it is highly unlikely to appear in any western mainstream outlet.
It would be unfair to Mr Zhang to try and summarize his evidence in a few words, but the following points may be made. The virus we now identify as COVID-19 has a lengthy history in earlier formats, well known in the West. Covid-1’s earliest ancestor is known as
MV-1 which evolved into H-13 and H-38 which in turn evolved into H3 and then in turn again into what we now call COVID-19.
Ambassador Zhang also made the point that the origin of the COVID-19 is yet to be determined although according to medical reports, COVID-19 first appeared in Lombardy, Italy and was prevalent before 1 January 2020. The Italian specialist Guiseppe Remuzzi argues that the COVID-19 epidemic began in Italy before it started in China.
That single point alone is sufficient to destroy the allegations against China. Mr Zhang gave a very strong hint that further revelations are imminent when he said that “everything that has been concealed will be revealed.”
It is beyond mere coincidence that President Trump modified his anti-China rhetoric two days after the interview with Mr Zhang was broadcast. That is more than can be said of his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, not known for being pro-China, or indeed, on his own admission, pro-truth rhetoric.
When one looks at the current pandemic, and importantly the rhetoric of western politicians, it is immediately apparent that there is a wider agenda at play here than reacting to an acute medical pandemic.
The United States clearly sees China as a greater threat to its earlier (and rapidly declining) hegemony and is prepared to use any weapon at its disposal to counter the crumbling of its earlier predominance.
Whether or not the United States is in fact the origin of the present pandemic is in a sense a secondary question. There is no doubt that it has sought to capitalise on the outbreak to denigrate its major economic and political challenger. The question is: how far will an increasingly desperate and declining United States go in an attempt to recapture its previous predominance.
James O’Neill, an Australian-based Barrister at Law, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.