Hold my bier!

Prologue: Mark Steyn mentions a paywalled Telegraph article, Wuhan scientists planned to release coronavirus particles into cave bats, leaked papers reveal.

It can also be found here. It’s a good thing there’s still some journalism going on in Britain. It isn’t happening here.

Chimeras, Cleavage and Bounced Czechs

New documents show that just 18 months before the first Covid cases appeared, researchers had submitted plans to release skin-penetrating nanoparticles containing “novel chimeric spike proteins” of bat coronaviruses into cave bats in Yunnan, China.

They also planned to create chimeric viruses, genetically enhanced to infect humans more easily, and requested $14 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to fund the work.

Papers, confirmed as genuine by a former member of the Trump administration, show they were hoping to introduce “human-specific cleavage sites” to bat coronaviruses which would make it easier for the virus to enter human cells…

A Covid-19 researcher from the World Health Organisation (WHO), who wished to remain anonymous, said it was alarming that the grant proposal included plans to enhance the more deadly disease of Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers).

“The scary part is they were making infectious chimeric Mers viruses,” the source said.

“These viruses have a fatality rate over 30 per cent, which is at least an order of magnitude more deadly than Sars-CoV-2.

Drawing inspiration about merging viruses from a mashup of Jurassic Park with The Andromeda Strain, or possibly a combo of Frankenstein and Contagion; Dr. Fauci’s GovFundMe guy, Peter Daszak, says: “Here’s an idea! Let’s create an airborne coronavirus also transmissible through the skin.

American taxpayer funding for the coronavirus particle accelerator experiment was spiked following a DARPA review. There’s a check-box on the DARPA grant denial form: “Don’t give the ChiComs any ideas!

Some Daszak inspired coronavirus research that Dr. Fauci did fund, and about which Rand Paul asked Dr. Fauci, was exempted from DARPA review. By Fauci.

The responsibility of the NIAID and NIH is even more acute because for the first three years of the grant to EcoHealth Alliance there was a moratorium on funding gain-of-function research. When the moratorium expired in 2017, it didn’t just vanish but was replaced by a reporting system, the Potential Pandemic Pathogens Control and Oversight (P3CO) Framework, which required agencies to report for review any dangerous gain-of-function work they wished to fund.

The moratorium, referred to officially as a “pause,” specifically barred funding any gain-of-function research that increased the pathogenicity of the flu, MERS or SARS viruses. It defined gain-of-function very simply and broadly as “research that improves the ability of a pathogen to cause disease.”

But then a footnote on p.2 of the moratorium document states that “An exception from the research pause may be obtained if the head of the USG funding agency determines that the research is urgently necessary to protect the public health or national security.”

This seemed to mean that either the director of the NIAID, Dr. Anthony Fauci, or the director of the NIH, Dr. Francis Collins, or maybe both, would have invoked the exemption in order to keep the money flowing to Dr. Shi’s gain-of-function research, and later to avoid notifying the Federal reporting system of her research.

“Unfortunately, the NIAID Director and the NIH Director exploited this loophole to issue exemptions to projects subject to the Pause –preposterously asserting the exempted research was ‘urgently necessary to protect public health or national security’ — thereby nullifying the Pause,” Dr. Richard Ebright said in an interview with Independent Science News.

Fauci has also admitted there’s no way of knowing whether researchers in Wuhan carried out undisclosed gain-of-function research. Grant money is, of course, fungible.

Unsettling

They might have gotten away with it if their Lancet published letter hadn’t insisted on a “willing suspension of disbelief”.*

The now-infamous letter, signed by 27 leading public health experts, said they stood together to ‘strongly condemn’ the theories which they said ‘do nothing but create fear, rumours, and prejudice’.

‘Prejudice’ here is just a stand-in for ‘racism.’ The word reinforced the “Trump is a racist” meme because he accurately called SARS-CoV-2 the Spanish flu German measles Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Wuhan flu.

A letter from 27 elite public health officials? In the Lancet?! They cite “prejudice”!!?

That moves the burden of supplying any actual evidence to the footnotes, which the MSM fact checkers never check, giving headline writers a free hand. Too good to check. Probably too complex to understand. And, as it turns out, not at all settled science (oxymoron alert) – despite the credentials and insistence of the signatories.

The letter in question was written by Peter Daszak, whose blatant conflict of interest goes unmentioned;

[H]e told his fellow signatories in an email that the letter would not be sent under the EcoHealth logo ‘and will not be identifiable as coming from any one organisation of person’.

The emails show he even considered not signing the letter himself, although in the end he did.

The idea, Daszak said, was for it to be coming from ‘a community supporting our colleagues’.

It condemned as conspiracy any thought that the CCP virus did not naturally emerge from wild animals. Of course, he stands by it.

The letter would have been more plausible if the Chinese Communist Party had actually been “rapid, open, and transparent” in “sharing of data” at the beginning of the outbreak, rather than the opposite. It would have been more believable if the Chinese hadn’t restricted travel internally, while leaving international flights out of Wuhan undisturbed. It would have been more credible if the Chinese hadn’t stonewalled the WHO investigation of which one Peter Daszak was a part. It would have been less suspicious if the US Department of Health and Human Services hadn’t redacted parts (which, absent the other prevarication, would have appeared unremarkable) of an email from Daszak to Anthony Fauci, who had used Daszak as a cutout to fund bat coronavirus research in Wuhan. Research which had all the qualities of gain-of-function despite Fauci’s ever less plausible denials.

Peter Daszak enlisted 26 scientists and the Lancet to spike scientific inquiry of a totalitarian regime’s response to a pandemic, which unequivocally began in their country (though they mounted laughable attempts to shift the blame to the US Army, and imports of frozen food)… in favor of self-interest tempered by political expediency. What he was really concerned about was his own reputation, funding, and relationship with the totalitarians in China… and in our own NIAID.

The scientific credibility of the ‘Public Health’ elite Daszak brought on board has been damaged. Worse, much worse, the credibility of public health science and science in general has suffered.

The Lancet consensus science (oxymoron alert) article rejected as “conspiracy” the possibility that the CCP virus could have originated in a lab. It claimed the CCP “worked diligently and effectively to rapidly identify the pathogen behind this outbreak” We knew the Chinese Politburo had by then already deleted a major bat coronavirus genome database, and had restricted the WHO team’s physical access to the wet market and to the labs.

Now the Lancet U-turns over Covid lab leak theory and publishes an ‘alternative view’ calling for a ‘transparent debate’ on the origins of the virus

After eighteen months the science is no longer settled.

We’d have far less vaccine resistance if we could place any trust in these ‘experts’ who think their most precious resource is credentials; when, actually, it’s trust. Credentialism corrupts absolutely. Trust is only protected by truth.

*H/T: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Mendastasizing mistrust in science

It started out with “noble” lies:
The CCP virus is not much threat to Americans
(the Chinese say no evidence it’s airborne, and they’re still sending flights out of Wuhan);
masks are unnecessary for the public
(well, that’s wrong, but the public can’t be trusted with the real reason);
the virus was not engineered
(at a lab leading the world leader recombinant coronavirus, to which Americans transferred the technology, and which partnered with the People’s Liberation Army… who strategized about weaponizing it);
the idea the virus escaped from that lab is not remotely credible
(even though it wouldn’t have been the first time, and the Chinese are obviously hiding data);
herd immunity is an ever growing percentage of the population
(gotta keep the plebes motivated).

Dr. Fauci has admitted many of these statements were intended to manipulate Americans. It gradually became plain none of it was based on science. These were political acts. In some cases he said things he knew to be false, in others he assured us of things he knew to be uncertain.

If you criticize him for this, he calls it an attack on science. Au contraire. Public policy making by deceit is not the action of a scientist.

This mendacity has caused outcomes opposite of his central plan. At the low consequence end it surely contributes, for example, to vaccine hesitancy. Not that he didn’t have help on that from the President and Vice President calling it the “Trump vaccine,” and hypocritical Governors ignoring their own mandates on masks*, lockdowns, and travel.

*And, uh… others:

July 2020

At the high impact end, he’s damaged the idea that our scientific institutions actually practice scientific methods. He’s mendastasized disrespect for science. See also, Michael Mann.

Now, defending himself with word games, Fauci expects to be believed in asserting his agency ever provided any funding for gain of function research in Wuhan. His personal stake in this matter does not make him more believable.

In fact, these dots can all be connected by assuming he was covering up the funding from the first. He approved waivers for it. His actions all are consistent with a desire never to be associated with it. He can’t be blamed for wishing the pandemic wasn’t real, but that is not what we pay him for. We pay him for applying the scientific method.

For all the ill effects of his haphazard, self-aggrandizing interference in public policy, the long term damage he has done to science is worse. THAT is the attack on science. Worse, he is not alone in this playing of politics by those who call themselves scientists.

Here comes Richard Feynman on “What is Science?” (1966). Read it. It’s funny, profound, humble, a defense of free thinking. It explains that words matter, but that a definition is just a label. It demonstrates that science is grounded on the idea of falsifiability. Which necessitates humility.

It is a paean to his father. An education in 10 minutes. I want you to read the whole thing, but I will provide one snippet:

[T]he importance of freedom of thought; the positive results that come from doubting that the lessons are all true. You must here distinguish–especially in teaching–the science from the forms or procedures that are sometimes used in developing science. It is easy to say, “We write, experiment, and observe, and do this or that.” You can copy that form exactly. But great religions are dissipated by following form without remembering the direct content of the teaching of the great leaders. In the same way, it is possible to follow form and call it science, but that is pseudo-science. In this way, we all suffer from the kind of tyranny we have today in the many institutions that have come under the influence of pseudoscientific advisers.

We have many studies in teaching, for example, in which people make observations, make lists, do statistics, and so on, but these do not thereby become established science, established knowledge. They are merely an imitative form of science analogous to the South Sea Islanders’ airfields–radio towers, etc., made out of wood. The islanders expect a great airplane to arrive. They even build wooden airplanes of the same shape as they see in the foreigners’ airfields around them, but strangely enough, their wood planes do not fly. The result of this pseudoscientific imitation is to produce experts, which many of you are. [But] you teachers, who are really teaching children at the bottom of the heap, can maybe doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

When someone says, “Science teaches such and such,” he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach anything; experience teaches it. If they say to you, “Science has shown such and such,” you might ask, “How does science show it? How did the scientists find out? How? What? Where?”

It should not be “science has shown” but “this experiment, this effect, has shown.” And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments–but be patient and listen to all the evidence–to judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at.

In a field which is so complicated [as education] that true science is not yet able to get anywhere, we have to rely on a kind of old-fashioned wisdom, a kind of definite straightforwardness. I am trying to inspire the teacher at the bottom to have some hope and some self-confidence in common sense and natural intelligence. The experts who are leading you may be wrong.

I have probably ruined the system, and the students that are coming into Caltech no longer will be any good. I think we live in an unscientific age in which almost all the buffeting of communications and television–words, books, and so on–are unscientific. As a result, there is a considerable amount of intellectual tyranny in the name of science.

Finally, with regard to this time-binding, a man cannot live beyond the grave. Each generation that discovers something from its experience must pass that on, but it must pass that on with a delicate balance of respect and disrespect, so that the [human] race–now that it is aware of the disease to which it is liable–does not inflict its errors too rigidly on its youth, but it does pass on the accumulated wisdom, plus the wisdom that it may not be wisdom.

It is necessary to teach both to accept and to reject the past with a kind of balance that takes considerable skill. Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the preceding generation.

Feynman is probably spinning in his grave because of the adulation we give to people who pretend they are scientists. Spinning in his grave would come as quite a surprise to him.

I miss his brilliant humility.

For me, I haven’t yet got a grave to spin in. So I just weep.

Semantigans

I do not watch television news, but I suspect the story of Senator Rand Paul’s questioning of Dr. Anthony Fauci, if covered at all, is generally of the form “Ignorant Senator smears Hero Doctor.” An alternative headline would be “Practicing MD challenges career bureaucrat.”

The exchange itself was rancorous and somewhat confusing. Dr. Fauci ended up replying (less charitably, you could say he seized the deflection opportunity) to an implication that NIH funding was directly related to the CCP virus pandemic. This would also require that some form of the lab leak hypothesis is true; or worse, it was deliberate. Three weeks ago we weren’t allowed to speak of a lab leak, but even the Biden Administration is changing its mind.

A lab leak is possible, and unproven. Paul did walk it back. But, by that time, Dr. Fauci was off on the tangent.

Senator Paul should have been more circumspect, his main point is beyond rational contention. To wit: Fauci’s repeated and absolute denial the NIH ever funded gain of function research at the Wuhan lab depends on semantigans worthy of Bill Clinton’s question about what the word “is” means.

In challenging Fauci, Paul referred to a 2017 Wuhan lab research paper linked next. It credits NIH with funding recombinant experimental work on coronavirus and infectivity testing against the human ACE2 target. One author, Shi Zhengli, is known as the “Bat Woman” at the Wuhan lab.
Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirusPLOS (Public Library of Science) Pathogens

This work was jointly funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (81290341, 31621061) to ZLS, [etc. etc.]… the National Institutes of Health (NIAID R01AI110964)…

Using the reverse genetics technique we previously developed for WIV1 [23], we constructed a group of infectious bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones with the backbone of WIV1 and variants of S genes from 8 different bat SARSr-CoVs…

The HeLa cell line was kindly provided by Australian Animal Health Laboratory, CSIRO (Geelong, Australia). HeLa cells expressing human ACE2 were constructed as described previously [17]. HeLa cells expressing human ACE2 and Vero E6 cells were cultured on coverslips in 24-well plates (Corning) incubated with the newly isolated or recombinant bat SARSr-CoVs at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) = 1.0 for 1h…

HeLa cells expressing human ACE2 were inoculated with WIV1, Rs4874, WIV1-Rs4231S, and WIV1-Rs7327S at an MOI of 1.0, and were incubated for 1h at 37°C…

There is no question NIH funded research in Wuhan. There is no question at least one so funded research project involved modification of bat coronavirus. There is no question those modified viruses were tested on human ACE2 receptors.

Dr. Paul is not alone in his opinion that this is GoF research:

Dr. Roger Ebright, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University and biosafety expert… claims that the work being conducted at the WIV, using NIH funds originally granted to Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance, “epitomizes” gain-of-function research under the definition HHS provided in its guidance, and is the exact kind of research that led the Obama administration to conclude that gain-of-function was too dangerous to continue domestically.

The only remaining questions, then, are the definition of the phrase “gain of function,” and the meaning of the word “we.” Dr. Fauci insisted “that paper” Rand used as his proof had been carefully examined “up and down the line” and it was not gain of function research. According to the NIH.

Dr. Fauci also added that it was biologically impossible for those particular viruses to be implicated in the pandemic. That last, of course, is irrelevant.

Under the Obama Administration gain of function research was paused using this definition:

U.S. Government Gain-of-Function Deliberative Process and Research Funding Pause onSelected Gain-of-Function Research Involving Influenza, MERS, and SARS Viruses

Gain-of-function studies, or research that improves the ability of a pathogen to cause disease,
help define the fundamental nature of human-pathogen interactions…

New USG funding will not be released for gain-of-function research projects that may be reasonably anticipated to confer attributes to influenza, MERS, or SARS viruses such that the virus would have enhanced pathogenicity and/or transmissibility in mammals via the respiratory route. The research funding pause would not apply to characterization or testing of naturally occurring influenza, MERS, and SARS viruses, unless the tests are reasonably anticipated to increase transmissibility and/or pathogenicity.

See also: The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. This is interesting for what is described in the title, but it also speaks directly to the funding question.

The media’s big mistake on the covid-19 ‘lab leak’ theoryWashington Post Even the WaPo is willing to consider what they once dismissed as a crazy conspiracy theory.

Fauci’s only other possible defense is that “we” (the NIH) were not doing the funding. As we’ve seen, Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, awarded a at coronavirus study grant to the EcoHealth Alliance, which subcontracted the research to the Wuhan lab. Fauci insists that the money did not support gain of function research. But as Nicholas Wade points out, that is exactly what the Wuhan institute was doing. The grant proposals from Shi Zhengli — (aka “Bat Woman”) are a matter of public record. She said she planned to use the money for gain-of-function research.

Dr. Fauci claims that NIH “categorically did not fund” GoF research in Wuhan. But, he cannot know that. His boss is Dr. Francis Collins:

NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins told Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) that researchers at the Wuhan lab “were not approved by NIH for doing “gain of function research” before adding “we are, of course, not aware of other sources of funds or other activities they might have undertaken outside of what our approved grant allowed.”

So “we” never approved it. And “we” didn’t monitor it. And “we’ve” never heard the word “fungible.”

And, it’s not as if Fauci never funded such research on other viruses. Here is a statement from NIH on gain of function signed by Dr. Fauci in early 2013. Emphasis mine:

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has worked in a transparent and collaborative fashion to develop a framework for reviewing funding decisions regarding research that might increase mammalian transmission of HPAI H5N1 viruses by respiratory droplets.

Does Dr. Fauci have a different definition for each virus?

Here is further discussion from NIH on gain of function
Gain-of-Function Research Involving Potential Pandemic Pathogens

A definition used by the Obama Administration and another used by NIH seem to contradict whatever definition Fauci is using. One is left with the idea that the NIH created such a definition, after the fact, which has not been shared, to avoid their own oversight mechanism during the pause in funding. If Dr. Fauci wants us to believe him, he should point out exactly when and why an apparently much more complicated definition was created, and what precisely excludes the older definition from his own agency from applying. I believe he would be embarrassed by it, and that’s why we have not seen it.

Bloody handed little weasel

Nice short summary of Fauci Fraud.
Fauci In 2012: Gain-Of-Function Research ‘Worth Risk Of Lab Accident Sparking Pandemic’ | ZeroHedge

In which he is quoted in response to questions from Rand Paul:

“We have not funded gain of function research on this virus in the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” he added. No matter how many times you say it, it didn’t happen.”

This kind of word play is best left to Bill Clinton. He knew succinct misdirection ‘is’ better.

I mean, “this virus?” Makes you wonder which ones he did fund. It may have been unnecessary embellishment.

Fauci knew he had to phrase his response carefully, since he is on record saying gain of function research is more important than the risk of a pandemic, and he’s about to insist vehemently that Senator Paul is a liar. Let’s just unpack that one reply to Senator Paul:

“At one time my agency did fund gain of function research in the US. But, we had to stop because of unsciency moral objections from the Obama administration. They did not understand the precautionary principle only applies to fossil fuel.

To continue GoF research we were forced to fund a third party NGO. This gave us plausible deniability, since the funding destination was almost certain to be a lab in Wuhan, China.

Since US dollars are fungible, this may or may not have probably funded GoF research at a Chinese lab specializing in coronavirus, headed by a woman nicknamed “batlady,” who wrote a paper in 2015 about adding a spike protein to bat coronavirus enabling its attachment to human ACE2 receptors. She had long “openly participated in gain-of-function research in partnership with U.S. universities and institutions”.

Her lab was widely considered to have substandard safety protocols, in a country well known to care little for civilized norms and whose military is known to have speculated about coronavirus biological warfare. Which country obfuscated and obstructed the WHO investigation whitewash of the CCP virus origins, having earlier blamed the US Army for it, and after having delayed providing information to the world public health community at the beginning of the outbreak. In Wuhan. China.

Finally, the person who transferred US taxpayer dollars to the Chinese lab on behalf of my NIH was one of the WHO investigators. He anonymously authored a letter denying it was possible the virus was man made prior to the conclusion of WHO’s investigation. The letter, to which he adduced 27 actual signatures, concluded by stating: “We declare no competing interests.” That, of course, is not the same as not having any. I should know.”

In Fauci’s case the “it” that ‘didn’t happen’ is a matter more important than Bill’s torturing of the word “is.”

References & further reading:
The doctor who denied COVID-19 was leaked from a lab had this major bias

Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of China combatting COVID-19

EXCLUSIVE: COVID-19 ‘has NO credible natural ancestor’ and WAS created by Chinese scientists who then tried to cover their tracks with ‘retro-engineering’ to make it seem like it naturally arose from bats, explosive new study claims

The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?