Politicising Covid-19: open letter of complaint to Channel 4 Dispatches "Covid Leak"
C4 DISPATCHES COVID LEAK — Sunday 22nd August 2021
“Did Covid Leak from a Lab in China?
“An in-depth look at the origins of Covid-19. Did it really start in a food market in Wuhan, China? Or was the global pandemic caused by a lab accident in the same city?”
So was it China? Or was it China?
I am shocked to see Channel 4 squander its reputation as a serious investigative news channel by regurgitating overwrought right-wing claims about lab-leak theories, which have been regularly debunked by virologists who you failed to interview for the programme.
You are surely aware that there’s a growing maelstrom of sinophobia. East Asians, not just Chinese, fear for their safety in western countries, including here in the UK. Your ill-informed, one-sided hatchet job is helping whip this up into an anti-Chinese pogrom where Asians are attacked, maimed and, in the US, killed. As a Brit of Chinese origin, I no longer feel safe going out alone, and you have made this situation worse for us.
Timed for the release of Biden's Covid Origins report, Channel 4 Dispatches cheerleads the USA’s Cold War, reinforces the side with its fleet in China's back yard, threatening war on the upcoming rival just as China’s economy is about to draw level with America’s.
And you politicise the pandemic that's sickening and killing us. Instead, you could be encouraging us to work together with the country that first identified SARS-CoV-2, shared the genome sequence with the world within days, and eradicated Covid by day 43 of its 76-day lockdown and reopened.
China has since supplied millions of vaccine doses to the poorest nations while the rich west — 14 per cent of the world’s population — hoard 60 per cent of vaccinations. China expects to provide 2 billion doses for the world and donate $100 million to COVAX this year. They even sent a pandemic team along with medical supplies to London in March 2020 to help us combat Covid-19, but they were ignored by the UK government and most of the media, leaving us to the mercies of an incompetent and deceitful government.
6.7 million Brits have now caught Covid-19 and 132,000 are dead. But, yeah, let’s blame China.
The Dispatches programme cuts out all this context, aligning itself with the US’s “America first” framing attempt, and providing cover for the long-expected ‘Thucydides Trap’ clash as China rises.
Covid-19 hysteria was birthed by Trump’s vicious trade war on China, beginning 2017, in which China would not buckle.
Another elephant in the room you ignore is former President Trump’s Covid-19 super-spreader policy.
* Trump was briefed in detail about the expected pandemic by the outgoing Obama administration in 2017, and should have known of the major Johns Hopkins/Bill Gates Event 201 table-top pandemic exercise taking place in his native New York on 18th October 2019 (same day as the opening of the Wuhan Military Games!).
* Despite knowing this, Trump shut down with undignified haste the White House pandemic team and the CDC’s Beijing office, which was supposed to help monitor new diseases in China, by July 2019.
* Trump’s own National Security officers briefed him in detail about the deadly pandemic on 28th January 2020 and yet he played down the virus, denied its existence, called it a hoax, stigmatised masks, held massive unmasked rallies, and pirated PPE from other countries and his own blue states.
* In March 2020, Trump’s inevitable U-turn was accompanied by a State Department cable instructing US officials to blame China for Covid-19 — see The Daily Beast, Independent and Politico reports.
Was Channel 4 influenced by these White House instructions? Did the UK government press the programme makers to conform? Because it sure looks like it.
““NSC Top Lines: [People’s Republic of China] Propaganda and Disinformation on the Wuhan Virus Pandemic.”
Half a million American deaths later, having initially dismissed these absurd claims from the same party that was recommending hydroxychloraquine and bleach to medicate against Covid-19, President Joe Biden opportunistically grasped at straws in May 2021 when the proprietor of the Wall Street Journal, Rupert Murdoch (also owner of Fox News), revived the lab-leak conspiracy theory in May 2021 and published an article co-written by Michael Gordon. (Partnered with Judith Miller, Gordon was one of two “experts” notorious for concocting a Weapons of Mass Destruction casus belli for invading Iraq in 2005.)
And here he was again, manufacturing consent for war. His WSJ article, based on “an undisclosed US intelligence report,” claims that “Three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care.”
Apart from the fact that in China you go to hospital as we would visit the doctor for relatively minor ailments, the source refuses to name the staff and allow Chinese authorities to investigate. And if this happened in November 2019, this does not explain how 106 antigen-positive US Red Cross blood samples could be found from December 2019 – January 2020, indicating an initial infection event in America around August 2019, unless the cartoon Yellow Peril villains being painted here had a time machine. This would surely be a better investigation for an outlet that purports to “foster the new and experimental in television”.
(Incidentally, Murdoch is one of the Big Tech and Media moguls embittered and vengeful due to their exclusion from China’s huge growing market for refusing to abide by local laws.)
Three days after the publication of the WSJ article, Biden, who had sworn China would not overtake the US — “not on my watch” — called for a Covid Origins Report from his intelligence services in 90 days. And here you are, Channel 4, warming up British audiences for the report’s release with a relentless Case for the Prosecution and no balance, just like the rest of the mainstream media.
Where is your promise to be “a commercial broadcaster, with a funding structure and public service remit to provide diverse and innovative programming and services. We are there to offer a benchmark of quality and innovation, providing competition to commercial and public sector broadcasters alike.”
It is pure advocacy, pushing a pre-set conclusion. It was China … or it was China. Among a rogues’ gallery of clearly prejudiced interviewees more interested in convicting the accused than working on ending the pandemic, you filmed discredited science writer Nicholas Wade.
140 scientists decried Wade’s book on race, many complaining about being misrepresented by him. Their letter criticized “Wade’s misappropriation of research from our field to support arguments about differences among human societies … there is no support from the field of population genetics for Wade’s conjectures.”
Yet you present him to your viewers as a credible figure.
"Racism is alive and kicking (sometimes literally), and this book provides succour for racists by using speculation to support the idea that differences between population groups are in their genes."https://investigativegenetics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2041-2223-5-14
With no expertise in virology, Wade twists a piece in the journal Nature Medicine written by several highly respected virologists and microbiologists who you SHOULD have interviewed, including Edward Holmes, Kristian Andersen, Robert Garry and Ian Lipkin (who was in China with the WHO at the end of January 2020).
Wade misquotes and neglects to inform you that they point out that five of the six amino acids in the SARS-Cov-2 Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) are ABSENT from the other SARS CoV viruses, a tell-tale sign of messy evolutionary trial and error and not neat human calculation. They wrote, “Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a puposefully manipulated virus”.
Why did you not interview any of the scientists attacked by Wade, or the much respected Dr Angie Rassmussen, who has written on the subject? If you asked them to participate, how much time did you give them?
So here's the final chapter in my thread just answering the lab leak community's "just-asking-questions" questions.— Dr. Angela Rasmussen (@angie_rasmussen) August 19, 2021
These threads all concern our paper exploring the evidence, fresh out of peer review today in @CellCellPress. Give it a look!https://t.co/b1OkjCELRU
And why was there only one Asian speaker?
Another interviewee, Jamie Metzl, a “Geopolitical Advisor” on the Washington-based Atlantic Council and “global investor”, accuses China of suppressing information, which is a huge invented distraction from the US silencing Seattle doctors who discovered earlier outbreaks in the US. Or police drawing guns on the Florida Covid-19 data scientist Rebekah Jones when she was at home with her family, having fired her for “unauthorised public comments” about the data in May”. (See more cases with links below.)
Incidentally, there’s a lot of money to be made shorting a country (see Soros fortune made shorting Great Britain’s sterling).
The programme’s accusation that “in late January 2020, the position of the Chinese government and the WHO was still that Covid-19 could not transmit directly between humans” is easily checkable. The WHO announced at their 14th January 2020 press conference, “it is certainly possible that there is limited human-to-human transmission”. The WHO then tweeted, “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” (italics mine) — NOT that it could not happen.
Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China🇨🇳. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020
The next day, Wuhan’s health commission said that “although significant evidence confirming human-to-human transmission has yet to be found, the possibility of limited human-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out”. Days later, they found their proof when medics became infected and Dr Zhong Nanshan of China’s National Health Commission confirmed human-to-human transmission on 20th January. Three days after that announcement, Wuhan began its unprecedented lockdown.
Why aren’t you investigating the real story? Instead you repeat warmongering hate speech propaganda issued on a bloated Pentagon budget of around $753 BILLION at the last count. I couldn’t get a cigarette paper between what you peddled and the right-wing, US-led consensus.
According to your own code, Channel 4 should “foster the new and experimental in television. It will encourage pluralism, provide a favoured place for the untried and encourage innovation in style content perspective and talent on and off screen”.
No pluralism, nothing new and experimental, no taking risks, no investigation. All thesis and lack of antithesis means no synthesis, just one-dimensional propaganda.
“We will reflect the diversity of Britain; culturally and geographically. We will reflect the energy of our multicultural society, by representing the voices of a new generation of programme makers from the ethnic minorities. We will reflect the complexity of Britain back to itself, in the range of programmes and production companies commissioned from cities across the whole of the UK.”
Really? You threw us to the wolves, and got no input off us apart from a single Asian who follows the US line.
A year and a half after they eradicated Covid-19, China becomes the first country to end a Delta variant outbreak. That could have been us. But a mainstream media news blackout – including by Channel 4 – diverted from China’s Covid-eradication roadmap drawn from the pain and trauma of being hit by a virus which was frightening and unknown until they identified, sequenced and shared the genome in record time: by January 11, 2020.
The media denied Britons the right to be fully informed, making us reinvent the wheel while you drip poison on behalf of the global hegemon trying to smash the kneecaps of its talented rival.
The five biggest arms manufacturers made $2 TRILLION from two decades in Afghanistan. Imagine how much more they’ll make from war with the rising superpower. And you are helping them construct a casus belli.
The entire premise of blame serves what purpose? Apart from gays cruelly and unfairly targeted for HIV in the 1980s, this has never happened in any other disease outbreak because there was no political use for it, whether it be Spanish Flu, H1N1 Swine Flu, SARS, MERS or Ebola. State-sanctioned blame has now become a plaything of cowboys, adventurers, bad actors and military think-tanks trying to start a war with a nuclear power.
Every crime and misdemeanor claimed to have been done by China in the programme has already happened in the West, but much worse by an order of magnitude. China fumbled at the start because this was a NOVEL CORONAVIRUS, brand new and unknown, as well as unhelped by the now closed US CDC agency in Beijing which had been set up originally to deal with such emergencies. However, by the 23rd January lockdown the whole world knew about it and had the genome sequence due to China’s rapid action.
If the countries now harassing China had provided an example of how Covid management should be done when the warning was sounded, then criticism might have been valid. But with 132,000 deaths and rising a year and a half later, these are absurd accusations coming from the UK who got it so very wrong and is now deflecting on to the country that showed us how to eradicate the virus at such an EARLY STAGE, now wasted.
On release, Biden’s Origins Committee report drew a blank. It says Covid-19 was not a bioweapon and was unknown to the Chinese prior to the outbreak. Two of the three agencies charged with fitting up China found no evidence while the third remains clutching at straws. In the meantime, we die of Covid-19 due to the criminal negligence of governments.
Don’t you feel mugged off?
Science journalist Peter Hadfield says a definitive answer to where the virus originated will only come from solid evidence on the issue, not “bullcrap, speculation, misquotes, changed documents, fake dossiers, exaggerations, fabrications, misrepresentations and magical facts dreamed up in published papers that don’t exist. It won’t come from circumstantial evidence, suspicions, guesswork or possibilities either.” He adds, “anything is possible but possible don’t make it true.”
Perhaps you should get him to fact-check your output in future.
As a bare minimum, you should apologise for placing Asians in the cross-hairs of a geopolitical conflict. This is such a reckless endangerment of Asians in Britain that I expect a meaningful response in two weeks or I am escalating this to Ofcom.
— Anna Chen —
* * * *
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Trump threatened to fire CDC's chief of respiratory diseases in February: report
Tennessee fired its top immunization official Monday, the official said, in retaliation for her attempts to let teenagers choose whether to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.
“Fired COVID-19 data scientist Rebekah Jones posts video of Florida agents raiding her home: "They pointed guns at my kids"
“… fired for unauthorized public comments about the data in May…”
The Lancet on China's Covid-19 management strategy: Active case finding with case management: the key to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic
Buzz Feed: Trump's State Department Officials Fought Over Whether The Coronavirus Was A Chinese Bioweapon "The department’s former senior official on nonproliferation says he intervened to prevent the US government from 'embarrassing and discrediting' itself with claims that lacked strong scientific evidence." In public view, Mike "we lied, we cheated, we stole" Pompeo's State Department battle to frame-up China for the pandemic after Trump's trade war failed to break the rising superpower.
"Let's Blame China": an infantile disorder when Covid-19 comes knocking.
How the White House turned "China bought us time" into "China lied, people died" and put the world at risk
Note: There's a 4 per cent genetic difference between RaTG13 (bat virus) and SARS-CoV-2, but only 1 per cent between humans and chimpanzees. RaTG13 and SARS-C0v-2 share a common ancestor from around 70 years ago but one did not evolve from the other – one illustration is that while we share a common ancestor with lemurs we are not descended from them. The Biden Origins report confirms that the lineage of SARS-CoV-2 is completely new and was unknown to Chinese scientists before they identified, sequenced and shared the genome in January 2020.