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Virologist who denied lab-leak theory wanted to avoid ‘sh*t show’ of blaming China

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New information information on the global COVID-19 pandemic was discovered during a leading virologist’s testimony to the House Oversight Committee hearing Tuesday. Danish virologist Dr. Kristian Andersen, who co-authored the highly influential paper “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2” published in March 2020 that argued the lab-leak theory was not “plausible” had a change of tune when confronted by Congress.

During his appearance, Anderson denied any of his findings were influenced by politics, or an attempt to avoid alienating the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). However, House Republicans obtained messages between Anderson and a colleague from the communications platform ‘slack’ which explain the reality behind Anderson’s actions and writings.

National Review reports of the exchange:

“[G]iven the sh** show that would happen if anyone serious accused the Chinese of even accidental release, my feeling is we should say that given there is no evidence of a specifically engineered virus, we cannot possibly distinguish between natural evolution and escape so we are content with ascribing it to [a] natural process,” Andersen’s colleague, Dr. Andrew Rambaut, wrote to a group of virologists over Slack in February 2020.

“Yup, I totally agree that that’s a very reasonable conclusion. Although I hate when politics is injected into science – but it’s impossible not to, especially given the circumstances,” Andersen replied.

“You are the one with the preferred political narrative. You said right there,” Comer told Andersen after reading the exchange aloud.

Rambaut, a British evolutionary virologist who also co-authored the “Proximal Origins” paper, refused to appear at Tuesday’s hearing. Fellow co-author Edward Holmes, an Australian virologist, also refused to appear.

Anderson’s testimony was to address certain allegations that Dr. Anthony Fauci and his NIH colleagues improperly influenced the paper’s findings. In March, as part of an investigation into the origins of the global pandemic, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic revealed that Fauci directed and approved the publication of the “Proximal Origins” paper.

National Review continues its report on Tuesday:

Subcommittee Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R., Ohio) released a report ahead of Tuesday’s hearings alleging the paper was a “Cover-Up.”

The report cites a February 1, 2020 meeting during which Andersen and fellow virologists told Fauci that they believed Covid bore the genetic markings of lab manipulation. Just four days after that meeting, the virologists presented Fauci with a draft paper which poured cold water on the lab-leak theory — a reversal the report attributes to interference by Fauci and then-NIH director Dr. Francis Collins.

“On January 31, 2020, Dr. Fauci prompted Proximal Origin, which’s goal was to ‘disprove’ the lab leak theory to avoid blaming China for the COVID-19 pandemic. Proximal Origin employed fatally flawed science to achieve its goal. And, finally, Dr. Collins and Dr. Fauci used Proximal Origin to attempt to kill the lab leak theory.”

“This is the anatomy of a cover-up,” the report argues.

CONTINUE READING: National Review

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Trump appointee explains an ‘America First Strategy’ in the ME

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Photo: Israeli Government

The author interviewed Ellie Cohanim, one of the authors of the new book: “An America First Approach to US National Security.” Ellie is the former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism under the Trump administration. She is currently a Senior Fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum focusing on Iran, Israel, and global antisemitism, and is a national security contributor for the Christian Broadcasting Network. In 2021, Ellie launched and hosted for Jewish News Syndicate 30 plus episodes of the show “Global Perspectives with Ellie Cohanim.” Ellie spent 15 years in media and NGO management before serving in the public sector. How would you define an “America First” strategy in the Middle East?

Cohanim: An America First strategy in the Middle East would seek to advance American national security interests in that region, while maintaining our status as THE global superpower. To do that, the US would ensure that our principal allies in the region, countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel, are economically and militarily strong, and that our adversaries in the region are deterred.

Postal: How has the United States’ standing in the Middle East differed between the Trump and Biden administrations?

Cohanim: Under President Trump, for four years we had peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. Under President Biden, in just three tumultuous years there has been war in the region, which holds the potential for becoming a regional conflict and even a nuclear confrontation. Meanwhile, the US’ status in the region and the world has diminished due to Biden’s disastrous mishandling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, his emboldening of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his weak response to Iranian attacks on our personnel and assets in the region. 

 

Postal: Do you think the United States and Israel are/were in a stronger position to deter Iran’s nuclear and territorial ambitions in Biden or Trump’s administration?

Cohanim: America’s position of strength has not changed under either administration vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran. What has changed is our Iran policy. Under President Trump’s administration, the US contained and constrained Tehran. Trump applied a “Maximum Pressure” sanctions campaign which left the Iranian Regime with only $4 billion in accessible foreign currency reserves by the end of his term, giving the Iranians less cash and less ability to fund their terror proxies and their nuclear program, and Trump eliminated Qassem Soleimani. While all President Biden needed to do was to continue implementing such successful policies, his administration instead did the exact opposite.  Under the Biden administration, Israel, our leading ally in the region, was attacked for the first time directly from Iranian soil. This was an unprecedented escalatory attack by the Iranian regime, and could only happen under the Biden administration.

Postal: In your chapter of the book, you discuss the weakening of US relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration. How has the Biden administration affected the likelihood of future normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and deals between Israel and other Muslim countries (i.e., new Abraham Accords)?

Cohanim: The good news is that the Abraham Accords have withstood the test of multiple Hamas provocations against Israel, and now the current war. Despite numerous claims from the Biden administration regarding “successful” efforts to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, I do not think that the Biden administration will be able to clinch such a deal. In the Middle East, people have a long memory. Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has not forgotten President Biden’s snub when he first came into office, and Biden’s incredibly poorly advised behavior towards the Crown Prince when he made his first visit to the Kingdom as president. The last thing the Crown Prince wants is to hand Biden his first foreign policy success with a Rose Garden peace deal ceremony. So, I do not believe President Biden can broker Saudi/Israeli normalization.

However, I am also convinced that it is a matter of “when” and not “if” such a peace deal will happen between those two countries, as it serves both of their interests to make such a deal. The Saudis understand better than anyone that it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that threatens the Kingdom’s security and stability, not Israel.

Postal: What do you think of the Biden administration’s latest statements withholding arms to Israel?

Cohanim: President Biden will go down in history for his abject moral failure in not standing by Israel while she fights a five-front war. Biden has shown his despicable personality for trying to keep his anti-Israel arms embargo concealed until he could first deliver a speech on the Holocaust. Biden’s behavior is despicable on so many levels.

Ultimately, Biden is betraying the American people. He came into office presenting himself as a “centrist Democrat,” but has proven repeatedly to be beholden to the radical, extremist, pro-Hamas wing of his party.

Postal: How does the Biden administration’s support of a Palestinian state differ from the Trump administration’s support of a Palestinian state under its Peace to Prosperity framework?

Cohanim: The Biden administration stated that they will “unilaterally recognize” a Palestinian state. What the borders of that state are and who would lead it, nobody knows. 

The Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” was a detailed plan that was premised on the realities on the ground in Israel. The plan required that the Palestinians reach benchmarks proving a real desire to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors. It included over $50 billion in investment in the region, which would have been a road to prosperity for all. Perhaps most significantly, the Palestinian state envisioned under the Trump plan would have been demilitarized, the wisdom of which could not be more clear following the October 7 massacre and attack.

The author would like to thank Ellie Cohanim for participating in this interview.

 

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