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Friday, 4 June 2021
Did ‘Gain-of- Function’ Research at Wuhan Lab accidentally leak the SARS-Covid-2 Virus? An Interview with Stephen Bryen
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by Jerry Gordon

Senator Rand Paul during  US Senate Hearings on May 11, 2021, confronted Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy, and Infectious Diseases  (NIAID) with a question. Did his NIAID program fund what some bio research scientists, considered “dangerous” gain-of-function (GOF) research that may have resulted in the SARS-Covid-2 coronavirus? GOF research is where you take an existing virus, and you modify it in certain ways to increase or change its function.  At present  the SARS-Covid-2 Pandemic has taken 3.8 million lives resulting in hundreds of billions in lost income and economic value.  Un-authorized Gain-of-function  research  could have caused the accidental release of  dangerously infectious pathogens for  humans. At issue is whether research conducted  by the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV)  into bat origin coronaviruses like  SARS-Cov-2 may have leaked from the laboratory triggering  the pandemic. 


US. Sen. Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci of NIAID

Dr. Fauci replied, “the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”  Immediately following the Senate Hearing, Dr. Fauci in a PolitiFact.com  briefing deepened the controversy saying, “ it would almost be irresponsible to not collaborate with Chinese scientists given that the 2003 SARS outbreak originated in China. So, we really had to learn a lot more about the viruses that were there, about whether or not people were getting infected with bad viruses.”

During the Senate Hearing, Sen. Paul cited a statement by the Cambridge Working Group in July 2014 ‘requesting a pause in gain-of-function research signed by more than 300 scientists. It  called for “experiments involving the creation of potential pandemic pathogens (PPP) … until there has been a quantitative, objective and credible assessment of the risks, potential benefits, and opportunities for risk mitigation, as well as comparison against safer experimental approaches.”   On October 17, 2014, the Obama White House  Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a statement confirming what ultimately became a three-year pause, saying: “The funding pause will apply to 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.” 

Notwithstanding, the pause, over the period from 2014 through 2017, NIAID  contracted with EcoHealth Alliance (EcoHealth) which  in turn subcontracted research with the Wuhan Institute of Virology  (WIV)  into the bat origin of  coronaviruses led by Dr. Shi Zhengli, “the Bat Lady”.

The US NIAID funding of $3.7 million for the EcoHealth project allocated $600,000  for investigations by the WIV.   The Trump Administration shut down the EcoHealth funding in March 2020.  Further, the Trump Administration under the leadership of then Secretary of State Pompeo initiated a study into the origin of the virus that was shut down by the Biden Administration.                        

Dr. Shi Zhengli of Wuhan Institute of Virology

Dr. Shi was trained by a eminent American microbiologist, Dr. Ralph S. Baric of the University of North Carolina.  Shi, Baric and others authored a 2015 paper,” A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses show potential for human emergence.”  The Abstract noted the extent of the WIV findings based in part on analysis of horseshoe bat guano samples collected by Dr. Shi’s team  from an abandoned copper mine in Yunnan province. That effort was precipitated by an outbreak that sickened six miners, killing three. “The results indicate that group 2b viruses encoding the SHC014 spike in a wild-type backbone can efficiently use multiple orthologs of the SARS receptor human angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2), replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells and achieve in vitro titers equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV”.

Dr. Stephen Bryen notes in this interview the Acknowledgements section of this 2015  study states  that the funding and institutions in this collaborative research was conducted under the auspices of the US NIH.   "Research in this manuscript was supported by grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of Aging of the US National Institute of Health, under a number of awards," including  National Natural Science Foundation of China”. They also cite help from various institutions, from among others, the University of Texas, and the University of North Carolina.”  The paper goes further saying  "Experiments with the full-length and chimeric SHC014 recombinant viruses were initiated and performed before gain-of-function research funding paused and have since been reviewed and approved for continued study by the NIH." In other words, contrary to what Dr. Fauci told Senator Paul, the NIH was supporting gain-of-function research.

 In November 2019, three WIV laboratory staff came down with severe flu -like symptoms.  Others, not from the laboratory got sick and went to the local Union hospital that subsequently reached out to Dr. Shi for assistance in diagnosing what occurred. This so-called “leak” is what may have triggered the SARS- Covid -2 outbreak.  Comparison with the SHC014 indicated it matched upwards of 96.9 % of the makeup of SARS-Covid-2 coronavirus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted its own on-site investigations at the WIV and released a report on March 30, 2021.  The official statement  issued by  WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus waffled on the core issue of what may have  triggered the SARS-Cov-2  pandemic .  The statement said:   “Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy. Let me clearly say that as far as WHO is concerned all hypotheses remain on the table.”

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Nicholas Wade former New York Times Science Writer

Former Science, Nature and New York Times science writer, Nicholas Wade in a May 2, 2021  11,000 word Bulletin of Atomic Scientists article, “The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?”  The article extensively reviewed the opposing scientific theories of zoonotic transfer of SARS- Cov-2 from bats to intermediate animal hosts to humans versus the possible  laboratory accidental release of SARS COVID-2  with manipulated spike proteins for human virus attachment.  Wade drew attention to  activities of   EcoHealth head  epidemiologist  Dr. Peter Daszak and an ally  at the Scripps Research  Institute, Kristian G. Andersen. Daszak was the only US member of the WHO investigative team at the Wuhan Institute of Virology who promoted the zoonotic theory of SARS-COVID-2 transmissability.

 

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        Dr. Peter Daszak of EcoHealth alliance    Dr. Kristian G. Andersen  of Scripps Research Institute

Daszak “organized and authored” a Lancet  letter signed by a group of fellow virologists published  on February 19, 2020  defending the work of his Chinese colleagues at WIV,  stating “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.” The Lancet signatories said we “overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife.”  A month later in Nature Medicine  on March 17, 2020, Andersen’s letter signed by  five other virologists stated:  “It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of a related SARS-CoV-like coronavirus.”   Wade notes: “their declaration that the SARS2 virus was clearly not manipulated. This conclusion is grounded [in] … two inconclusive speculations, convinced the world’s press that SARS2 could not have escaped from a lab. A technical critique of the Andersen letter takes it down in harsher words”.

Both the US Intelligence community and the world press simply agreed with  the Daszak/ Andersen conclusion without independent investigation of the underlying science.  A FactCheck.org article by the Annenberg institute noted what US Intelligence said in an April 30, 2020, statement “ it concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified”. However, that it “will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”

A  recently updated July 2020  Norwegian study in Minerva of a test for a proposed vaccine refuted the zoonotic transfer hypothesis of  Daszdak/Anderson and allies. The essence of their findings is captured in the title of this paper:  The Evidence which Suggests that This Is No Naturally Evolved Virus: A Reconstructed Historical Aetiology of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Birger Sørensen, Angus Dalgleish & Andres Susru.

Note these comments from the Abstract:

“To discover exactly how to attack SARS-CoV-2 safely and efficiently, our vaccine candidate Biovacc-19 was designed by first carefully analyzing the biochemistry of the Spike. We ascertained that it is highly unusual in several respects, unlike any other CoV in its clade. The SARS-CoV-2 general mode of action is as a co-receptor dependent phagocyte. But data shows that simultaneously it is capable of binding to ACE2 receptors in its receptor binding domain. In short, SARS-CoV-2 is possessed of dual action capability. In this paper we argue that the likelihood of this being the result of natural processes is very small. The spike has six inserts which are unique fingerprints with five salient features indicative of purposive manipulation. We then add to the biochemistry a diachronic dimension by analyzing a sequence of four linked published research projects which, we suggest, show by deduction how, where, when and by whom the SARS-CoV-2 Spike acquired its special characteristics. This reconstructed historical aetiology meets the criteria of means, timing, agent, and place to produce sufficient confidence to reverse the burden of proof. Henceforth, those who would maintain that the Covid-19 pandemic arose from zoonotic transfer need to explain precisely why this more parsimonious account is wrong before asserting that their evidence is persuasive, most especially when, as we also show, there are puzzling errors in their use of evidence”.

Nicholas Wade drew attention to the problematic safety issues in a WIV report from a 2018 US State Department inspection report:

“The severe danger of novel coronaviruses has to do with the required levels of lab safety. There are four degrees of safety, designated BSL1 to BSL4, with BSL4 being the most restrictive and designed for deadly pathogens like the Ebola virus.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology had a new BSL4 lab, but its state of readiness considerably alarmed the State Department inspectors who visited it from the Beijing embassy in 2018. “The new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory,” the inspectors wrote in a cable on January 19, 2018”.

Wade and others pointed out Dr. Shi’s work on PPP was done at BSL2:

Much of Shi’s work on gain-of-function in coronaviruses was performed at the BSL2 safety level, as is stated in her publications and other documents. She has said in an interview with Science magazine that “the coronavirus research in our laboratory is conducted in BSL-2 or BSL-3 laboratories.”

"It is clear that some of all of this work was being performed using a biosafety standard - biosafety level 2, the biosafety level of a standard US dentist's office - that would pose an unacceptably high risk of infection of laboratory staff upon contact with a virus having the transmission properties of SARS-CoV-2," Rutgers University Molecular Biology Professor Richard H, Ebright says.

“It also is clear,” he adds, “that this work never should have been funded and never should have been performed.”

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Stephen and Shoshana Bryen in an Asia Times article, “Was the US Complicit in China’s Covid Research? ” raised national security issues in  both US and Canadian bio-research labs:

In 2019, the US temporarily closed some laboratories, including the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland, over safety issues.

According to the CDC: “The two breaches [at Fort Detrick] reported by USAMRIID to the CDC demonstrated a failure of the Army laboratory to ‘implement and maintain containment procedures sufficient to contain select agents or toxins’ that were made by operations in biosafety Level 3 and 4 laboratories …”

The Bryens also point out problematic exchanges with Chinese PLA officers and researchers, subsequently ejected from both US and Canadian labs:

 Fort Detrick was working with other American and foreign labs, which may have included Chinese facilities.  For example, Fort Detrick was connected to Canada’s National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg, which was thoroughly penetrated by the Chinese, including at least one known member of China’s biowarfare community. 

According to Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper: “One of the Chinese researchers, Feihu Yan, from the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Academy of Military Medical Sciences, worked for a period of time at the Winnipeg lab, a Level 4 facility equipped to handle some of the world’s deadliest diseases.”  

There were at least seven Chinese scientists at the lab. Two of them, “Xiangguo Qiu and her biologist husband, Keding Cheng, were fired in January (2021) after the Canadian Security Intelligence Service … recommended that their security clearances be removed on national security grounds,” (allegedly for sending samples of deadly viruses to the Wuhan lab).

In conclusion, we suggest the following:

  • That the NIAID leadership under Dr. Fauci is culpable for continuing  funding of dangerous gain-of-function collaborative investigations involving multiple US and Chinese institutions into development of potential pathogens most notably the SARS-COVID-2 virus. This despite a three year pause from 2014-2017  ordered by the White House  in October 2014  instigated in part by the warnings of the Cambridge Working Group signed by 300 scientists in July 2014.
  • That US State Department inspection of laboratory safety at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were conducted at unsafe BSL-2 and 3 levels, attested in reports by the principal investigator, Dr. Shi-Jieng
  • Those advanced micro-biologic tests of the SARS-COVID-2 spikey protein fail the proofs of natural or zoonotic transfer of the virus suggesting laboratory manipulation of the novel coronavirus.
  • That investigations by the Wuhan Institute of Virology have been stymied  by Chinese authorities and that further investigations by WHO or US will not yield laboratory records.
  • That perhaps the best use of time under the 90-day announced White House investigation would be securing both NIH, NIA,  NIAID and US Universities laboratory records and investigations reports under possible warrants issued by the US Department of Justice.

Following the US Senate Hearings with Dr. Fauci, bi-partisan Congressional concerns were raised amid further revelations about operations at the WIV. In response the Biden White House requested a 90-day study by the Intelligence community on the allegations. These developments enhanced the credibility of concerns raised by the former Trump Administration.  Questions remain on whether China would permit access to appropriate records kept at the Wuhan lab.  

China rejected cooperation in further investigations.  Wade at the conclusion of his BAS article cited this classic comment  of Francis Bacon: “Truth is the daughter not of authority but time.”

                                                 

Against this background, we interviewed Dr. Stephen Bryen.

Jerry Gordon: My name is Jerry Gordon, I am a senior editor at the New English Review, and with me today is a star in military technological circles, Dr. Stephen Bryen, a former Under Secretary for Technology Security, former Capitol Hill senior staffer and columnist for the Asia Times. He and his charming wife, Shoshana, published an article in a recent edition of the Asia Times  regarding something that Dr. Bryen and I have had innumerable interviews about concerning the origins of the novel coronavirus as regards the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The title is:  “Was the US complicit in China's COVID research”?  Steve let us start at the beginning. What are your allegations  about the facts in answer to this question  why this has suddenly become again an issue?

Dr. Stephen Bryen: That is a particularly good question. I am not entirely sure why the dam broke. Why Washington suddenly figured out that this was a man-made virus. I think there are a cluster of reasons. One of them is there have been a lot of scientists in the United States and elsewhere who have said, "Hey, we can't find any evidence that this COVID-19 virus was zoonotically transmitted, that it was transmitted from animals to humans”. Because the bat virus is a very peculiar virus, and it does not work with humans. So, they have been asking that question.

The second reason was Senator Rand Paul, in his dialogues with Dr. Fauci, has pretty much skewered him. I think that is the nicest way you can put it. Because Senator Paul pointed out the inconsistencies and these deceptions that have been coming out of the government's mouth about the origins of this virus, about Chinese involvement, and about the complicity of some US institutions, including the NIH and the CDC.  He had been on the trail of this one. The Republicans  published a paper on this, quite a good one, saying the same things.

There is a lot going on in Washington.  Suddenly, under Biden administration, things have turned around. The intelligence community has backed away from its earlier claims that there was no connection to the Wuhan lab, and now they think there is a connection to the Wuhan lab, so we are starting to see some common sense. I have been writing about this for over a year and talking about it as well. I can give you a little snapshot of some of this evidence. It speaks for itself. There is an important scientific paper written by several US scientists and Dr. Shi Zhengli that was published in 2015 originally.

Jerry Gordon: The bat lady.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: The bat lady. The other Chinese co-author was Zheng Yizhi, who was also a scientist in Wuhan.  The rest of them are Americans, most of them are from the University of North Carolina, including Dr. Ralph Baric, who has become quite famous. The paper is called "A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence." The paper says, "We generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus as HCO-COVID-14 in a mouse adapted SARS COVID backbone." In other words, they transferred successfully by modifying it, this virus into a mouse. From a bat into a mouse. The paper goes to say,  "Additionally, in vivo experiments demonstrate replication of the chimeric virus in mouse lungs with notable pathogenesis." I think this is important, because this was a report on what they were doing at the Wuhan Institute  trying it out on other animals. We know very well that at the Wuhan lab there are a whole lot of different primates. Clearly, they were trying to do this, and I think that is where this starts.

Near the end of this paper, there is a section called Acknowledgements. And they say, "Research in this manuscript was supported by grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of Aging of the US National Institute of Health, under a number of awards," including  National Natural Science Foundation of China. They also cite help from various institutions, from among others, the University of Texas, and the University of North Carolina.

The paper goes further saying  "Experiments with the full-length and chimeric SHC014 recombinant viruses were initiated and performed before gain-of-function research funding paused and have since been reviewed and approved for continued study by the NIH." In other words, contrary to what Dr. Fauci told Senator Paul, the NIH was supporting gain-of-function research beyond the pause. The pause was from 2014 until 2017, so they just kept going during and after the pause. That is the first point.

The Second point is that it was funded by the US government and the Chinese government. In view of all these arguments that Dr. Fauci said, "We didn't do gain-of-function, Senator." The fact is that they were doing gain-of-function under government auspices.

Gain-of-function research is where you take an existing virus, and you modify it in certain ways to increase or change its function. In this case, they changed it being solely confined to horseshoe bats to making it work in animals in the laboratory, with US funding.  I do not think there was any real secret here, about what has been going on as it been right there in print for six years.

What I did last year, back in March 2020 was to read these scientific papers. I am not an epidemiologist or a virologist. I am not a medical doctor. I am an independent strategist and researcher who has held several positions in Washington, both in the public and the private sectors, so I know how the scientific community operates .

 I think what we are seeing is something very problematic. That is what Shoshana, and I wrote about in the Asia Times today. That the US government is deeply complicit in this kind of research. The editors of Nature Medicine, trying to cover-up what this research means, in a March 30, 2020, Editor's note said: “We are aware that this article is being used as the basis for unverified theories that the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 was engineered. There is no evidence that this is true. Scientists believe that an animal is the most likely source of the coronavirus."  That contradicted the 2015 paper findings.

Jerry Gordon: Having said all that, I also did some research about the time you and I were discussing this in March 2020 one of the names that came up that appeared to be a conduit during the whole pause in the gain of functions research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology was a grant given by NIH  to EcoHealth.

Dr. Stephen Bryen:  The EcoHealth Alliance.

Jerry Gordon: The EcoHealth Alliance if you read through the nature of their activity, was continuing support for the gain-of-function research during the pause.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: Right. I know that organization, and I have listened to the head of it, Peter Daszak, speak at length and he is not making any apologies.

Jerry Gordon: The other group that, even prior to the release of the reports back in March 2020 at the time of the outbreak here in the United States, who should step up to the plate with a $100,000,000 grant was the Gates Foundation. Part of the Gates Foundation grant was support of "Collaborative work with the Chinese equivalent of the International Security Council and Public Health Organization." That Gates Foundation support had been going on for several years.

Dr. Stephen Bryen:  To be fair about it, that is not the government, this is a private foundation. If the US government is doing it, why can’t the Gates Foundation support it?  I would imagine because these foundations are careful about how they allocate money and who they talk to, so it is likely they spoke to NIH people to make sure there were no problems.

Jerry Gordon: Then we have a series of interesting exclusive investigative reports, some of which appear in the Wall Street Journal, one of which dealt with the mysterious outbreak in October of 2019, by Staffers from the very same Virology Institute in Wuhan.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: Three of them, but we do not know the disease or whatever sickness they had. It has not been characterized as coronavirus by anybody, so we do not know that they had coronavirus, but something they contracted in the lab that made them sick. There were also cases in December, a month later, which involved the Union Hospital in downtown Wuhan. The Union Hospital had sick people come in and the hospital director called in Shi Zhengli.  The question is, why did they do that? If somebody comes in and they have pneumonia, which is what they had, and you are unable to treat them, who do you call? Why would you call Shi Zhengli?  Someone knew something and it was not the first time. My personal view is they knew it was out there. They knew it had gotten out; they had the hospitals on alert. When it happened, the hospital immediately called her because she is the great leader of that type of research at Wuhan. She may know what caused  the pneumonia, but she did not know how to treat it. That is not in her wheelhouse.  There is the famous Tom Lehrer song lyric about Werner von Braun: "The rockets go up; I don't know where they come down. It's not my department said Werner von Braun." It is the same deal here. This is before the big cover up.

Jerry Gordon: Back in 2012, there was an outbreak at a disused copper mine with bat guano in Yunnan province in Southwest China.  Because of that encounter six miners were sickened, three died. Following that the Wall Street Journal report on the incident said the Wuhan Institute sent a team in to collect samples of bat fecal matter.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: Yes, makes sense. That is what she did. I have trouble with some concerns about the US doing this kind of research, for the simple reason that it is so dangerous.

Jerry Gordon:  Correct.

Stephen Bryen. Even the NIH did not follow it. The reason the pause was put in 2014 was  people thought this was dangerous. I imagine that what may have brought it to high-level attention was a possible leak happened. It may not have been about SARS; it could have been something else. They realized that the integrity of these laboratories left something to be desired. We know, in 2019, that even the famous US Army biomedical labs at Fort Detrick, which does super sensitive highly classified work, had a problem, and the CDC went in there and closed it up until they could fix the problems. Also, something triggered our interest in 2017, two years earlier, in Wuhan, and again in 2018, that there was a problem at the Wuhan lab.  A State Department-led team went into the Wuhan Institute to try and see what was going wrong. The fact was the  Chinese were willing to talk to them and let them come back and try to fix these problems. The US team was obviously VIP, from the Chinese point of view. That is the part that has been missed here, the Chinese were our partners. We partnered with them, doing gain-of-function research, which is highly dangerous, and making a mess of it.  The same thing happened at the US Army lab in Maryland  and the CDC was  involved  when they got a report from the Army lab that it had a problem, they went in there and closed it up for about three months to fix the problem.

Jerry Gordon:  One of the persons that we interviewed on Israel News Talk Radio- Beyond the Matrix someone you know, Tevi Troy. Tevi Troy happened to be on a Blue-Ribbon Biodefense Panel that was underneath the Vice President of the United States during the Obama Administration. Their focus was on coming up with contingency plans for a bio-warfare outbreak. That effort was triggered by the 2002 Anthrax outbreak, at the US Capitol  and letters sent via mail that killed several unrelated civilian people.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: Yes, it was lucky it was not worse.

Jerry Gordon: That is correct.  However, the question is really timing. What did the Blue-Ribbon Panel say about such things as gain-of-function research?

Dr. Stephen Bryen I have no idea, do you?

Jerry Gordon: No. However, it does raise the question about whether that was in the briefing book presented to the then-Vice President that might have prompted the pause in US supported collaborative research into gain of function research.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: I have no way to know that. It certainly has not been written about. When you get to that level of concern about bio-warfare and biological threats, you are into a very highly classified sensitive area, where you are not going to get information. I think it is a deep state problem. How come these scientists were doing this dangerous bioresearch while our leaders were worried about bio-warfare? Certainly, the CIA was really worried about bio-warfare and plague. How come the NIH authorized this sort of research to be done, knowing full well how dangerous it was in  China of all places, which is not a friendly country these days.

Jerry Gordon: Could be it that they were motivated by China being a source of previous episodes, like SARS?

Dr. Stephen Bryen: I think that is a factor, as Shi Zhengli was the leading world expert. The research that has been undertaken is probably important.  However, do we have to take such risks of transferring a virus that has never infected a human being historically, and put it into animals so that it can infect human beings? What was going on here? Why would we allow it? I think some senior officials in certain agencies have some explaining to do.

Jerry Gordon:  For sure, Dr. Fauci does. He was the nexus of concern and investigations into this. Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky and now President Biden. Fauci, just after that exchange, said, "Why should we not investigate these activities. We would have been irresponsible if we did not investigate”.

Dr. Stephen Bryen:    He should not be making those kinds of decisions if that is what he did. I am assuming that by saying that he did realize that these kinds of decisions are life and death issues. Some doctor in NIH or CDC is not the right level for that kind of decision.  I think part of the reason about this sudden turn of events in Washington that there is a lot of complicity here and no accountability.

Jerry Gordon:  I must ask why the CIA was not involved in executive level policy on dangerous virology research given that the agency has watching brief on this issue.  President Biden effectively said  "Yes, we will conduct our own internal investigation." Well, the problem is, how remiss not to have included those matters in, for example, the Presidential Daily Briefings at critical points in time.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: What did they know? I do not know what they really knew and how much they knew. You had senior intelligence officials saying it was a zoonotic virus naturally transmitted in nature, and somehow became a pandemic. Well, that was the reigning theory, that was the Chinese argument.  Are they trying to protect China, is that what they were doing?

You see, I think it is more than China. Perhaps the US and China were working together with  other countries like Canada,  France and  Germany. I think that needs to be investigated. We must come up with some way of assuring that these research or scientific decisions, are vetted by people who are accountable.

Jerry Gordon:  Does that warrant something like a Blue-Ribbon bipartisan panel or commission investigation?

Dr. Stephen Bryen:  I am not sure. The reason is there is a debacle with the WHO investigation. WHO had scientists from different nations. They did their study, which was worthless.  The Chinese have now told them, "No more studies." The Chinese are in a dither because they have a huge responsibility here, but so do we. And there are a lot of dead people.

Jerry Gordon: Too many. Over 3.8 million with more to come.

Dr. Stephen Bryen:  One life is too many. Then we have billions of dollars of loss, the damage to our economy and other economies, the loss of life, the billions that were invested in vaccines, and  it is still ongoing. Look at the mess in India right now, it is terrible. I think we needed a real bi-partisan accounting.

Jerry Gordon: Absolutely.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: Whether it is a good idea to just use scientists? You need political statesmen and women who are capable of discerning truth from fiction.  Who can understand how the decisions were made, who was involved and who is responsible? That is a huge project. That is not something that could happen in 24 hours. Biden is calling for a limited time limit of 90 days.

Jerry Gordon: Much of that investigation will likely not break new ground.  This calls out for a bipartisan Blue-Ribbon group, with commission-like authorities to call in experts and others before rendering a decision.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: Yes. We need terms of reference. If we are just going to look at China, that is not enough. I am concerned that we had a reckless decision involving a biohazard of great importance that was made at a working level, or at least at a level below political decision-making, by people who work for the government, universities and foundations that exposed us to a deadly virus. That must be taken apart. There is a lot involved.  We  have the problem of the Canadian lab, in Winnipeg, which was penetrated by the Chinese, and they were smuggling samples out from Winnipeg to Wuhan. The same people were going down to the US Army lab and were allowed in. They would not let me or you in.

Jerry Gordon: There was another PLA officer at a Boston University epidemiological laboratory as well. She was escorted out of the country.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: There was another one in Detroit.  There is a whole pattern of activity here. The Chinese picture was something like this: You have both Chinese and American laboratories that are working on bioscience. Then you have a pharmaceutical industry in China, US, UK, France, and Germany competing to developing vaccines based on the science.  China, for political reasons, if they had the vaccine could have made a lot of money and held the world for ransom. That is another factor you must look at. Finally, there is a third, even scariest one, bio-warfare. Bio-warfare, which can occur at vastly different levels. It is unexplored terrain because there has never really been, in modern times, bio-warfare. There are some bits and pieces of bio-warfare, some anthrax, and  bio-toxins that the Iraqis used, and the mycotoxin poisons that the Russians used in Cambodia. We've have seen that.

Jerry Gordon:  Lest we forget the Soviet era Biopreparat smallpox outbreak in 1971 on an Island in the Aral Sea that sickened 11, from which 3 died and was not revealed until 2002. That testing could have been in violation of the International Bio-warfare Convention.

Dr. Stephen Bryen:  I think the Russians may have gotten rid of it. But they are still good in making poisons. Look what they have done to some ex-Russian KGB agents with Polonium and Novichok.

Jerry Gordon:  Such was the case with  currently jailed Russian oppositionist leader Navalny and an ex-KGB agent  and one civilian in the UK.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: Navalny, among others. . He is just part of a long line. It goes back to the '70s, when they stuck an umbrella into the back of Georgi Markov, the umbrella contained a tiny sphere in its tip that was shoved into his back at a metro station in Paris and the microsphere contained ricin, and he died a few days later. That assassination was 1979, that was not wide scale bio-warfare. Then there was murdering some Hmong people in Laos with mycotoxins.

Jerry Gordon.  Then we had the Sarin gas attack on the Kurds in 1988 by Saddam Hussein.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: That's correct. That was not biological, but it was nerve gas.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: Sarin in the form of “cocktails” as the Russians call them where they mix various agents together, and then spread it using aerosols and bombs to kill a lot of people. Saddam Hussein was well along developing and using this stuff. I think US forces may have found large quantities of anthrax at Hussein’s palaces.

Jerry Gordon:  Then that technology and further development of bioweapons was transferred to Assad in Syria and conducted at the Syrian Scientific Research Center. I have pictures of a Russian working at the SSRC labs with US supplied dual use bioreactors and other equipment. Experts who knew what the SSRC was working on indicated they may have been  experimenting with Camel pox.

Dr. Stephen Bryen:  Yes, there is ample evidence of Assad’s use of Sarin gas as well as Chlorine gas on his own people. Sarin is a banned substance; however, Chlorine gas is not. It should be but is not.This stuff is evil from front to back, right?

Jerry Gordon: Right.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: There are pictures of the airbase that the US bombed after the Syrians attacked the two villages in Syria with Sarin gas. Binary containers that were provided by the Russians for the Sarin, as Sarin can be made of two components. If they are not mixed, they are not lethal, otherwise it is dangerous to handle. You only mix the binary containers at the last minute. We had binary bombs, but we supposedly got rid of them.  The membrane inside the binary containers would break when the bomb was released and mix the agents together to create a nerve gas. VX was the American nerve gas. The Russians used primarily Sarin. Tabun was another one. Sarin and Tabun were developed by the Germans in World War II.

Jerry Gordon: Zyklon B used during the Holocaust?

Dr. Stephen Bryen: And the horrible thing about that is the man who invented it was Jewish.

Jerry Gordon:  I think you are on the right track. We need a high-level commission with a proper mandate. A proper mandate and transparency, so the public can see what they are finding out, which has not been classified. It must be an open process. There has been too much disinformation. We do not need any more. We are going to  find out if, after this limited study authorized by President Biden, whether there is going to be further questions posed that warrant a call for such a blue-ribbon panel follow up investigation.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: Well, there is another point too. We are supposed to learn from the past and apply it to the future, right?

Jerry Gordon: Yes.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: Part of what we could do is find a way to have high-level review of the kind of research that has been sponsored by NIH, CDC, and other agencies, of biological research that could be dangerous. We need some high-level review then go to the vice president or the president or a designated cabinet member and say, "We want to do this. What do you think? Here's the pluses and minuses." I think that one thing we could use is some legislation that says, "Any research development decision has to go to a cabinet level officer for review." That would help. At least in theory.

Jerry Gordon :  I think the way to get there is a blue-ribbon commission investigation into the decision-making  processes for approval of these programs, because at present  there is virtually nothing more than peer review activities between scientists.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: Yes, that is exactly what they are. Further, they are tapping into the government funding to get support.

Jerry Gordon: From both US and foreign governments, as well as domestic and international NGOs.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: Yes, all the above. Look what they did to us.

Jerry Gordon: Yes. We had over 600,000 deaths hereto date . Look at Brazil, which is going to have probably close to that death toll within a matter of a month. The so-called variants of COVID -19 are erupting around the world. India is probably verging on having more than a million COVID fatalities soon after the monsoon season is over.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: A lot of people.

Jerry Gordon:  Steve Bryen  I want to thank you for this discussion based on the article  that you and Shoshana Bryen published  in the Asia Times. Would you remind our readers what the title is?

Dr. Stephen Bryen;   Was the US complicit in China's COVID research”? It is in the Asia Times.

Jerry Gordon: Thank you again, please extend our best to your co-author, Shoshana. This has been an especially useful discussion.

Dr. Stephen Bryen: Thank you, Jerry.

Jerry Gordon: My pleasure.

______________________

Watch this NetivOnline You Tube video of our interview with Dr. Stephen Bryen.

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Posted on 06/04/2021 6:12 AM by Jerry Gordon
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