The lab leak theory went from "conspiracy theory" to dominate narrative. Why?
After years discrediting the lab leak theory as a "conspiracy theory" it is now the dominate theory even though there is still not definitive conclusion.
The narrative that was "true" and acceptable according to our government institutions and big tech ideologues appears to be crumbling.
This news is not surprising to “conspiracy theorists” or survivors of the "winter of sickness and death." But when a narrative is pushed so hard, any opposition is silenced, and evidence is still published supporting the original accepted narrative. I wonder why, all of a sudden, the change?
Just last week, the House voted 419 - 0 on a bill that requires the Director of National Intelligence to declassify all information on the origins of COVID. On March 1, the bill, which was introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), also passed unanimously in the Senate. Today Biden signed the bill into law.
When was the last time all of Congress and the President agreed on anything?
Before this bill was introduced, the groundwork was being laid, signaling to the public that it is finally okay to consider the lab leak theory a viable and likely cause of the COVID pandemic.
When did the lab leak theory become acceptable?
Experts have been calling for a closer investigation into the lab leak theory since Biden's election win in 2020.
December 2020, Jamie Metzl, a biosecurity and technology expert at the Atlantic Council who had worked in the Clinton administration, arranged a private call with the incoming national security adviser Jake Sullivan to make the case that a research-related origin was a real possibility.
Metzl joined a small group of scientists who had trouble getting letters published in science journals and helped them publish their views in news outlets. The frustration of virus experts with the World Health Organization and China's pandemic origin report led to more scientists urging a closer look at the lab leak theory.
In May 2021, President Biden ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On August 3, 2021, Metzl helped plan a private bipartisan briefing for senators, which included prominent colleagues who spoke about the theory, leaving Sen. Blumenthal (D- Ct.) with a more open mind.
Later that same month, a report with inconclusive findings was released. The intelligence agencies reiterated that there is not enough evidence to support either theory of whether the virus occurred naturally or was created in a lab and accidentally released and that they know little about the origin of the virus.
It's Meseidy is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
The report stated that analysts had different views on which theory is more likely, or if a conclusion can be made at all.
At the time of the report, four intelligence agencies consider the natural causes theory more plausible, while the FBI backed the lab leak theory. However, none of the agencies provided a high-confidence assessment to the director of national intelligence or the White House, indicating continued uncertainty around the origin of the virus. However, the report concluded that the virus was not developed as a biological weapon.
Almost a year and a half later, on February 27, The Wall Street Journal reported that the US Department of Energy's (DOE) report endorsed the theory that COVID-19 leaked from a lab. Differing from their earlier report in 2021, where they were unsure about the virus's origins. This shift in perspective was due to "fresh intelligence," but officials haven't given any details on exactly what that means.
The DOE made its determination with "low confidence." However, the judgment is considered significant as the DOE oversees the American nuclear weapons program and primarily gathers its intel from national labs rather than traditional intelligence channels.
The National Intelligence Council and four unidentified agencies still say they believe with "low confidence" that the virus first spread to humans as the result of natural transmission from an infected animal.
This latest report from the DOE also comes over a year after the FBI concluded with “moderate confidence” that a lab accident in China was the origin of the disease.
The FBI’s conclusions were further confirmed in an interview with Fox News's Bret Baier later that same week, FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed the bureau’s reported stance that the COVID-19 virus came from a Chinese lab leak.
“The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan."
There is yet any clear consensus among federal agencies on the origins of the COVID pandemic, and many questions remain about exactly how the pandemic was unleashed upon the world. It is possible we will never know. But what I find interesting is that our government, which has made a great effort not to bad-mouth or criticize the CCP too harshly, is suddenly ok with pointing the finger at a Wuhan lab leak.
The bat/wet market theory was the only one we could openly speculate on for a long time. If you even touched on the lab leak theory, you risked censorship, cancellation, and accusations of xenophobia or racism. Even though, if we are honest, bat/wet market theory has much more racist and xenophobic overtones than a lab leak theory.
At the time, it was so important that the lab leak theory be quashed that the U.S. government, health agencies, and social media platforms did their best to censor and manipulated information by outright lying and concealing it.
Interestingly enough, I am not the only one questioning why the sudden change in narrative about the origins of the pandemic. The NYTimes today released an article walking through the change in narrative and pondering why the dominant narrative has shifted to the lab leak theory when new and past studies still give credence to the pandemic having been caused by natural occurrence.
However, the past study that the NYTimes cites for the virus not originating from a lab leak is the same that was recently revealed by the subcommittee on the Coronavirus pandemic to have been commissioned by Fauci to combat the lab leak theory.
Fauci took active measures to discredit the lab leak theory.
The Nation and The Intercept obtained emails on discussions during the pandemic's early stages involving Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Francis Collins, and several virologists. The discussions centered around the possibility of SARS-CoV-2 being either engineered in a laboratory or accidentally released due to laboratory activities.
The group speculated on the laboratory techniques that could have led to the virus's emergence. However, after a week of data collection and discussion, the group shifted their focus to disproving any theories about the virus's origins being linked to a laboratory.
On March 5, the Republican-led select subcommittee on the Coronavirus pandemic released emails it uncovered which showed that Fauci "prompted" or commissioned and had final approval on a February 2020 paper written with the purpose of disproving the Wuhan lab leak theory.
Translation. Fauci sent an email and requested a paper be written that would debunk the lab leak theory.
The timing is fascinating because the paper was written four days after Fauci and his NIH boss Dr. Francis Collins held a call with the four authors to discuss reports that COVID-19 may have leaked from the Wuhan lab and “may have been intentionally genetically manipulated.”
Two months after the publication of the report, Fauci was alongside former president Trump citing the study as evidence as to why the virus did not originate from a lab leak. Fauci said it was implausible while acting as if he had nothing to do with the study and didn't even know the authors.
“The paper will be available…I don’t have the authors right now, but we can make that available to you.”
The paper titled "The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2" was submitted by Kristian Andersen, a Danish evolutionary biologist and professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the Scripps Research Institute and one of the virologist included in the thread of emails uncovered by The Intercept and The Nation.
The paper was to be published in Nature Medicine on February 17, 2020 and was prompted by Fauci, NIH Director Francis Collins, and Jeremy Farrar, who were concerned about the speculation, fear-mongering, and conspiracies surrounding COVID-19's origins.
Francis Collins has since retired as NIH Director and went on to join Biden’s cabinet as Acting Science Advisor to the President, replacing Eric Lander.
Farrar, the head of the Welcome Trust, which has ties to the pharmaceutical industry and the Gates Foundation, became the chief scientist at the World Health Organization in December 2020.
On the day the paper was published, Farrar requested a crucial change, replacing the word "unlikely" with "improbable" in a statement about the lab leak origin.
This change more accurately reflected Fauci and his associates’ belief that the lab leak theory was too improbable to be considered seriously, even though dissenting scientists believed it was probable from the start.
Former CDC Director Redfield supports lab leak origin and blames gain of function.
During a March 8 congressional hearing on the origins of COVID-19, former CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield testified that he believes gain-of-function research was the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic and when asked if such research has ever resulted in any life-saving treatments or vaccines, Redfield said that it had not.
Redfield explained that he was excommunicated from talks on the virus because he had a different point of view from Fauci. He had told Fauci early in 2020, the same time Fauci commissioned the Nature Medicine article, that he did not believe the "natural spillover" theory was scientifically plausible with the origins of COVID-19. According to Redfield, his exclusion was because they wanted a single narrative.
During the hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) questioned Redfield about two emails that Dr. Fauci received, in which Andersen and three virologists had studied the genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 and suspected right away that it was cooked up in a lab and not naturally occurring spillover, which is the nice way to say bat soup from a wet market bat.
“Eddie, Bob, Mike, and myself all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory,” Andersen wrote in an email to Fauci dated January 31, 2020. Redfield stated that he was not aware of these emails and that Fauci did not share them with him.
Jordan pointed out that shortly after a conference call with Fauci on February 4th, Andersen dismissed claims suggesting that the unknown bat virus causing COVID-19 originated from a lab as being one of several unsubstantiated theories. Completely changing his tune from a month earlier.
Later in March, he co-published the paper in the journal Nature Medicine that concluded COVID-19 was not artificially produced in a lab or intentionally engineered. Why the change of heart? Could a $1.88 million research grant from the NIH under Collins' direction have anything to do with it?
Redfield testified that COVID was likely unleashed on the world as a result of gain-of-function research, which he believed was funded by American tax dollars. He pointed out that the funding probably came from various departments, including the NIH, the State Department, USAID, and the Department of Defense.
Why would it be so important to Fauci that we believe COVID originated from nature and not a lab? Maybe it would look bad if it was exposed that NIH funding was used for gain-of-function research at the very lab in Wuhan where it is speculated COVID originated. During a time when there was a federal pause on gain-of-function research.
Even though Fauci argues that it was not gain-of-function research.
When the pandemic first broke, Fauci was on the frontline; I would argue he was the frontline for the U.S. Considering he had facilitated NIH funding to the Wuhan lab for gain-of-function research during a time that there was a moratorium on such research, it is not surprising that he would take advantage of his position to deflect attention away from a Wuhan lab leak and onto natural occurrence.
The lab leak theory censorship machine
However, Fauci wasn’t the only one going hard on the natural occurrence narrative. The media and academics dismissed anyone raising the theory of the virus originating in a lab as a conspiracy theorist or racist. Democratic politicians got in on it by firmly backing natural occurrences, thus leaving racism open as the motive for anyone pushing the lab leak theory.
One study labeled the theory as an example of “anti-Chinese racism” and “toxic white masculinity.”
As late as May 2021, the Science and Health reporter at The New York Times, Apoorva Mandavilli, was referring to any discussion of the lab theory as "racist."
Journalists who remained objective were purged from the ranks of the New York Times. However, former science editor Nicholas Wade chastised his colleagues for ignoring the evidence supporting the lab theory. Academics quickly joined the bandwagon to assure the public that there was no scientific basis for the theory, leaving only racism or politics as the motivation behind it.
President Biden accused former President Trump of fanning racism in his criticism of the Chinese government over the pandemic.
After all of that work to keep the lab leak theory out of people’s mouths, why the change of heart?
Of course, we can assume we know more; therefore, opinions change with the change of information. But that would insinuate that the politicians care about the truth, and if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that the last thing the majority of politicians care about is the truth.
The only time these people historically agreed on anything was for some kind of mutual gain.
So let’s speculate what the mutual gain is, shall we?
I am putting on my hat to emphasize this is just me thinking out loud. I have no insider information; I am simply an over-consumer of news who has questions. You can do with it what you will.
There is no issue that is more likely to bring Congress together than war. That is not to say every single person in Congress is itching to go to war. There are those who earnestly want to know the origins of COVID-19. But the Warhawks dominate in congress and are on both sides of the aisle. The difference is who they believe to be the U.S.'s largest adversary.
Republicans see China as our primary threat, especially when it comes to economic issues. Democrats, on the other hand, are focused on Russia and supporting Ukraine for as long as is necessary. Even though there are signs that while Americans support the war in principle, they are growing weary of the financial costs.
Republicans, however, are reinforcing support for the war in Ukraine because of Russia’s relationship with China.
When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) said more aid to Ukraine was not in the U.S.' "vital national interests." Several prominent Republicans did not agree.
In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) — a member of the Foreign Relations Committee — asserted that America does "have an interest" in providing further assistance to Ukraine, specifically in the U.S.' attempts to be more hawkish towards China.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said he was "disturbed" by DeSantis's position in an interview in the Capitol.
"I'm disturbed by it. I think he's a smart guy. I want to find out more about it, but I hope he feels like he doesn't need to take that Tucker Carlson line to be competitive in the primary," Cornyn said. "It's important for us to continue to support Ukrainians for our own security."
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) added:
“Yeah, I disagree. I think we have to look better than just the conflict in Ukraine. There's a humanitarian crisis. There are war crimes being committed.”
This is at a time when Xi and Putin are becoming fast friends, and the interests of both warhawk Republicans and Democrats have united.
Today, Putin is hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Moscow, hoping for support against Western pressure over his war in Ukraine, while Xi is expected to emphasize China's plan to elevate himself on the world stage and act as a peacemaker over the conflict.
It is reasonable that Biden requested an investigation into the origins of the pandemic when he first entered office. It was a good political move to make it look like he was doing something at a time when the pandemic was fresh in everyone’s minds.
But here we are over two years later, and even though there is still no consensus on the origin, and there was a strong effort to direct the narrative towards natural occurrence, the dominant narrative that has risen to the top recently is the lab leak theory.
It's Meseidy is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Why break from the original narrative and feed the idea that you were wrong? Perhaps our government is seeking an opportunity to justify escalating a conflict with China if need be. China which is also supporting Russia against Ukraine.
If you want to ensure the support of Americans and U.S. allies in a conflict against China while continuing to support Ukraine, faulting China with the pandemic is a way to do that. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
Today Biden signed the COVID-19 Origin Act into law. I am not sure if it was before or after he hosted Jason Sudeikis and the cast of Ted Lasso to discuss the importance of addressing mental health and promoting overall well-being.
He did say that he shares "Congress's goal of releasing as much information as possible about the origin of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)."
"We need to get to the bottom of COVID-19's origins to help ensure we can better prevent future pandemics," Biden said. "My administration will continue to review all classified information relating to COVID-19's origins, including potential links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology."
I guess the narrative has officially shifted and now has government approval.
What do you think?