Anti-Trump sentiment has been one of the factors that contaminated the debate on the origin of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, has said.
Speaking to The Telegraph‘s “Planet Normal” podcast on Wednesday, Dearlove said that it was interesting that U.S. epidemiologist Ralph Baric—”one of the original scientists to research with Zhengli Shi,”—is one of the signatories.
Shi, nicknamed “Bat Lady” for her research on bat coronaviruses, is a senior virologist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the center of a theory that says the CCP virus, a virus that causes COVID-19, was accidentally leaked from a Chinese lab, where it had been created by enhancing natural bat coronaviruses during gain-of-function research.
Baric and Shi are both among the authors of a paper published in 2015 on bat coronaviruses. Baric is also one of the scientists that classified the CCP virus and named it “SARS-CoV-2.”
However, despite the pivot in the debate on the origin of the virus, the former spy chief said the evidence ‘Has Probably Been Destroyed‘ by the Chinese regime.
CCP Propaganda, Anti-trump Sentiment Contaminate Debate
Dearlove has said he believed the lab accident theory a year ago when British oncology professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian biotech company CEO Birger Sorensen wrote a paper in which they claimed to have found “inserted sections placed on the SARS-CoV-2 Spike surface in positions to bind efficiently” with human cells.
According to The Daily Mail, Dalgleish and Sorensen have written a new paper, which reasserts that the CCP virus was artificially enhanced, claims “COVID-19 ‘has no credible natural ancestor,” and that versions of the virus had been reverse-engineered to cover its origin.
U.S. President Joe Biden also said on May 26 that he wanted the Intelligence Community to produce a report on the origin of the CCP virus in 90 days.
Dearlove told The Telegraph that he did feel “a sense of vindication.”
“We’ve had a lot of stick for advocating this point of view,” he said, “and at long last, it seems as though it’s going to be a balanced scientific debate.”
Dearlove attributed the dismissal of the theory to the Chinese regimes’ narrative control, “academic bullying” behavior in the scientific community, and anti-Trump sentiment.
“I think there are all sorts of reasons: Control of the narrative by the People’s Republic of China; and some extraordinary behavior in the scientific community, which successfully shut down any debate,” he said.
“I would describe it, almost as academic bullying, some of the influential virologists absolutely insisting that they knew the answer.”
Dearlove said he suspected that “a lot of very eminent scientific journals are not willing to print stuff which was going to upset the Chinese.”
“Well this doesn’t seem to me very strongly in the spirit of science,” he said.
The third reason why the theory had been dismissed out of hand is that “an awful lot of respectable academics did not want to associate themselves with a view which was being pushed by the Trump administration,” Dearlove said, referring to former U.S. President Donald Trump.
“In a way, it was a contamination of the argument,” he said, adding that he was happy that the removal of the factor has changed the balance of discussion.
Asked if liberal groupthink and anti-Trump sentiment had been responsible for letting the Chinese regime off the hook for so many months, Dearlove said: “I think to a certain extent.”
‘Most Disruptive Global Event Since WWII’
Dearlove called the CCP virus pandemic “the most disruptive global event since World War Two.”
“It’s more consequential in its ramifications for pretty much every economy, every country in the world, every political leadership,” he said. “Quite apart from the number of people it’s killed and the chaos that it’s caused, it must change the way that we view China in the future.”
The Chinese authorities officially confirmed that the virus can be transmitted between humans on Jan. 20, 2020, almost three weeks after Taiwan wrote to the World Health Organisation (WHO) pointing out signs of the human-to-human transmission of the virus.
On Jan. 23, 2020, Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in China, imposed a lockdown. By then, around 5 million people had left the city without being screened for the virus. But international travel was still allowed from Wuhan to the rest of the world.
An early study by the University of Southampton suggested that if non-pharmaceutical interventions were carried out one week, two weeks, or three weeks earlier, the number of COVID-19 cases could have been reduced by 66 percent, 86 percent, or 95 percent respectively.
Asked if “it’d be fair to say that over 3 million people have lost their lives to save the face of the Chinese government,” Dearlove replied, “I fear that that is maybe a conclusion that we will eventually reach when all the material about the pandemic is put together.”
“There’s no question the Chinese reacted appallingly in the initial stages, and there was no need for this virus to be disseminated through the international airline system and international travel in the way that it was,” he said.
Dearlove said that even if the CCP virus pandemic has started from a zoonotic outbreak, which he believes is highly unlikely, “the fact that they managed it so bad” would have destroyed the Chinese regime’s international reputation.
WHO ‘A Lost Cause’
Apart from the Chinese regime, the WHO has also attracted criticism over its failings in response to the CCP pandemic.
The WHO has said that Chinese authorities first informed it about the outbreak on Dec. 31, 2019, but the WHO conveyed none of its information to the world that day.
It also remained silent when the epidemic spread widely in Wuhan, and the Chinese regime silenced doctors and other whistleblowers who tried to warn the public about the outbreak.
The organization delayed informing the world about the possible human-to-human transmission of the COVID-19 disease or infections among healthcare workers, allowing the CCP virus to spread internationally, and ignored findings from medical experts in Taiwan who conducted evaluations of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan.
Dearlove said he suspected the organization had been manipulated.
“One ends up with a feeling of great suspicion about the lack of independence in the WHO,” he told The Telegraph.
“I’m sure you’re aware, the current head of the WHO … was the Chinese candidate to lead the WHO,” he said, referring to the organization’s Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
And it looks very much as though they have, in this instance, been manipulated.”
Asked if the organization can be pushed to behave objectively, Dearlove said maybe it could, but he’s not optimistic.
“In a way, the WHO, in my book at the moment, looks like a lost cause,” he said, adding that it probably shouldn’t be the agency to deliver “material which gives us a clear understanding” of what happened.
Eva Fu, Omid Ghoreishi, Ella Kietlinska, and Reuters contributed to this report.