The Horn of Africa Center for Strategic and International Studies.

February 27, 2020, BY Prof. Anthony Hall The Wuhan Coronavirus Epidemic

Part 3: Ideology and Investigative Journalism

India, and especially India’s capital of New Delhi, have been important bases where challenging interpretations of the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic have been formulated and distributed. In some circles in India there is a high level of attentiveness and concern about China’s interest in biological warfare. This concern was expressed in Tehelka, an important English-language publication based in New Delhi.

Tehelka reported on 18 Feb. that

China’s national strategy of military-civil fusion has highlighted biology as a priority, and the People’s Liberation Army – PLA could be at the forefront of expanding and exploiting this knowledge… China’s Biological Warfare Programme is believed to be in an advanced stage that includes research and development, production and weaponization capabilities. Its current inventory is believed to include the full range of traditional chemical and biological agents with a wide variety of delivery systems including artillery rockets, aerial bombs, sprayers, and short-range ballistic missiles.

As we have seen, New Delhi’s Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis hosted Dr. Shoham during a study leave in 2014. During his time in India, the Israeli intelligence officer devoted his study leave with the approval of his Indian hosts to investigating China’s alleged biological warfare program.

Not surprisingly, Indian scientists were especially fast off the mark in trying to understand the nature of the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic. Some in India well remember that the Chinese government was slow in releasing information on the SARS infection of 2002-3. Some, including Dr. Dany Shoham, believe this delay had to do with the importance of SARS in the Chinese program of bioweapon research. Dr. Shoham has maintained that Coronaviruses, but particularly SARS, have been studied in the Wuhan Institute of Viriology. He adds, “SARS is included in the Chinese Bioweapons program, and is dealt with in several pertinent facilities.”

During January of 2020 a team of nine high-level researchers at the University of Delhi’s Kusuma School of Biological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology investigated the RNA side of the genetic blueprint of the COVID-19 virus. These Indian researchers collaborated in the analysis of the organism that some have taken to calling the Wuhan supervirus.

The initial findings of the researchers have been published on line in a paper entitled, “Uncanny Similarity of Unique Inserts in the 2019-nCoV Spike Protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag.” At the time of writing this essay, the University of Delhi’s much-smeared contribution to COVID-19 research  continues to be available on the line even though it is still making its way through the process of peer review with possible future revisions.

The main finding of the study so far is that the genetic structure of the virus has “4 insertions in the spike glycoprotein (S) which are unique to the 2019-nCoV [COVID-19] and are not present in other coronaviruses.” These “4 inserts have identity or similarity to those in HIV-1 gp120 or HIV-1 Gag.” This finding “sheds light on the evolution and pathogenicity of this virus.”

The authors of the paper find that the genetic inserts into the virus “have identity/similarity to amino acid residues in key structural proteins of HIV-1.” These characteristics are “unlikely to be fortuitous in nature.” This key phrase indicates that in the opinion of the researchers the presence of HIV genes in COVID-19 was not the result of some process of random mutation in nature. Instead, the insertion of the HIV genes into the new coronavirus probably took place through an engineered intervention by experts in microbiology.

The finding that HIV genes are integral to the genetic structure of COVID-19 has not been seriously challenged. The fact that HIV treatments are being widely used to ease the symptoms of those suffering the effects of the new infection is highly suggestive. It implies that some of the analysis of the Kusuma School of microbiologists was quickly seized upon and applied in clinical situations.

The main subjects of the controversy that has been generated so far arise mostly from the question of whether or not the insertion of the HIV genes could have occurred without human intervention, without genetic engineering. That issue is bound to attract much scientific attention in the weeks and months ahead.

The work of the Kusuma microbiologists at the University of Delhi has become important in the interpretation of the epidemic advanced by Zero Hedge. The size of the group following Zero Hedge’s coverage of the Coronavirus crisis of 2020 only became larger after the censorious thought police at BuzzFeed and Twitter intervened. The public is not taking well to corporate intervention aimed at dictating what can or cannot be communicated, viewed, considered or debated.

The hysteria aroused by the “Uncanny Resemblance” paper captured the attention of a site called GreatGameIndia. This operation publishes a regular “Journal of Geopolitics and International Relations.” The co-founders and editors of GreatGameIndia, an especially lively and edgy publishing venue, are Raja Sekhar and Shelly Kasli.

The interpretive bent of this venue begins with the surprising observation that the English East India Company was the most influential and large-scale business venture in all of history. According to Raja Sekhar, this history established patterns of Western kleptocracy in Asia that continue to this day.

The publication of GreatGameIndia on the background of the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic has attracted positive attention from Tehelka and from many other publications throughout the world. The venue, unfortunately, is not always completely transparent. For instance the names of specific authors of specific essays are sometimes not published.

GreatGameIndia describes itself as “India’s one-of-a kind portal on international affairs providing global intelligence… in a geopolitical and historical framework to better understand international developments and the world around us. Experts in the field of Geopolitics and International Relations, we bring in fresh perspective to the otherwise redundant academic approach. We are read, recommended and published by decision makers, renowned personalities and organisations around the world.”

GreatGameIndia did indeed bring “fresh perspective” in highlighting a possible role for Canada in China’s alleged military program to develop bioweapons. This story was developed in a rapid-fire series of articles, most of which appeared in January and February of 2020. These items brought together intertwined news on the possible roles of the Wuhan Institute of Virology and Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory in the genesis of the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic.

This juxtaposition of the two institutions highlights the work of Israeli intelligence expert, Dr. Dany Shoham. It seems he may have had some role in shaping the overall narrative. Dr. Shoham’s oft’ republished essay highlighting the role of Dr. Xiangguo in the Winnipeg-Wuhan axis of biotechnology was republished by GreatGameIndia.

A number of issues are raised by Dr. Shoham’s possible involvement in the genesis of the stories run by GreatGameIndia and by other related venues on the Wuhan Coronavirus crisis. Is Dr. Shoham to be understood as an agent of Israel in the discussions and debates? Is his consistently critical stance on China’s alleged bioweapons program together with his relative silence on similar US programs a significant sign of an Israel-US or an Israel-US-India alignment on this issue?

One could legitimately ask, for instance, if the series of narratives highlighting the Chinese-Canadian connection might have been meant as a diversion? Might such a diversion have been mounted to point attention away from the possibility that a germ warfare attack was covertly mounted in Wuhan by US soldiers taking part in the 7th World Military Games? Over 300 US military personnel took part in this event organized in Wuhan from October18-27, 2019.

In an interview with Jeff Brown, a veteran of US special operations in China, “Uriah Heep,” aka “Metallicman,” has speculated about the possibility that the US government was responsible for a biological attack resulting in the COVID-19 epidemic.

The GreatGameIndia essays are premised on a very harsh picture assessment of the Chinese government’s intentions as directed especially at North America. J. R. Nyquist is the author of the article in GreatGameIndia outlining the historical background of China’s emphasis on biotechnology, including the development of the means to conduct biological warfare.

A version of Nyquist’s GreatGameIndia essay also appeared in the Falun Gong-backed Epoch Times. Nyquist writes frequently for The Epoch Times. Many of his essays emphasize very critical assessments of communism in a variety of contemporary and historical settings.

The heart of the essay introducing readers to the genesis of China’s biological warfare capacities highlights a speech given in 2005 by Chi Hoatian, an important General in the People’s Liberation Army. Between 1993 and 2003 General Chi was also China’s Minister of National Defence. The full text of the speech is available here.

The essence of the presentation is based on the premise that by 2005 China had become severely overpopulated, a problem that entailed a growing degradation of the national environment. The solution to this problem, General Chi decided, was to colonize a portion of the globe as a second China. Chi observed that the region neighboring China was already densely populated. He added, “only countries like the United States, Canada, and Australia have the vast land to serve our need for mass colonization.”

General Chi indicated that is was Deng Xioping who was the most instrumental figure in the decision to build up his country’s arsenal of biological weapons in spite of China’s formal adherence to the Biological Weapons Convention. Deng is best known as the Chinese leader who oversaw the dramatic transformation of the Chinese economy beginning in the 1980s.  Said General Chi

When Comrade Xiaoping was still with us, the Party Central Committee had the perspicacity to make the right decision not to develop aircraft carrier groups and focused instead on developing lethal weapons that can eliminate mass populations of the enemy country. Biological weapons are unprecedented in their ruthlessness, but if Americans do not die then Chinese have to die. If the Chinese people remain strapped to the present land, a total societal collapse is bound to take place.

As General Chi saw it, from the Chinese perspective biological weapons have advantages over nuclear weapons. According to his way of seeing things,’ “only by using non-destructive weapons that kill many people will we be able to reserve America for ourselves.”

GreatGameIndia did little to explain how average people in China have responded to General Chi’s surprising explanation of a perceived need to colonize a portion of the world for a second China.  How seriously were General Chi’s words received in China? How many in China today consider General Chi’s analysis to be still relevant?

The account by GreatGameIndia of the strange viral infection starting in Wuhan depends on some documented evidence mixed in with speculative accounts of things that might have taken place. The essence of the scenario presented to the public is identified by the title of the core essay in the series. Published on 26 January, 2020 this title is “Coronavirus Bioweapon: How China Stole Coronavirus from Canada and Weaponized It.”

This essay was widely republished including by Zero Hedge.

The authors mix sheer conjecture with an evidence-based chronicle of certain events. The aim seems to be to stimulate thinking about what is known to be happening while encouraging concurrently reflections on what might be taking place or what might be about to take place.

Hence the overall nature of the narrative outlined by GreatGameIndia can best be described as an SOS about quickly deteriorating developments containing warnings about possible unseen factors or possible dangers up ahead. The GreatGameIndia project can be conceived, therefore, as a psychological operation meant to shift and enliven public attitudes, behavior and actions. Psychological operations, sometimes innocuously identified as PR campaigns, are very prominent in the media coverage of many events and topics these days.

What is actually known about the condition of Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory during the period when Dr. Qiu’s team of China’s researchers conducted themselves in ways that led to the removal of their security passes, followed by their physical removal from the facility? Recent media reports in Winnipeg have painted a picture of the breakdown of decorum at the NML. In September of 2019 the Winnipeg Free Press reported,

The lab, known as NML, is a source of pride for its role in creating the Ebola vaccine. It’s one of the few facilities in the world accredited to handle the most deadly pathogens. It officially opened in 1999 to much fanfare, after political wrangling had it ultimately placed in Winnipeg.

Yet numerous people who work there have told the Free Press of a workplace rife with intimidation, alcohol abuse and clashes between officials in Winnipeg and Ottawa, which was partially revealed this summer in an administrative breach that has the RCMP investigating a shipment of dangerous substances to China.

“The sad thing is, they do world-class science, but internally they’re almost self-destructing, in terms of how they treat their employees,” said Todd Panas, national president of the Union of Health and Environment Workers.

“The collateral damage to get that science is pretty remarkable.”

As far as the specifics of the RCMP investigation into the much highlighted shipment of deadly viruses from Winnipeg to China, all that has been reported in MSM is that it may have had something to do with “rules around copyright, patents and published works.”

The reporter, Dylan Robertson, went further, indicating, “multiple sources who spoke with the Free Press on the condition of anonymity, say the shipment lacked an agreement spelling out intellectual property rights, which is critical for protecting scientific research.” According to Robertson, the RCMP still will not say if its investigation is going forward in the organizational realm of either national security, or organized crime, or forensics.”

The GreatGameIndia essays highlight the role of Frank Plummer, a former Scientific Director of the Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory and a leading researcher on HIV-AIDS. Prof. Plummer conducted much of his primary HIV research in Kenya. He focused especially on the heterosexual spread of AIDS in Africa, developing in the process a joint project between the University of Manitoba and the University of Nairobi.

GreatGameIndia included in their lineup of intertwined stories one describing Frank Plummer as the “key to the coronavirus investigation” who “was assassinated in Africa.” There is nothing but conjecture behind the assertion that Dr. Plummer was assassinated. It was widely reported in MSM that Prof. Plummer died quickly of an unexpected heart attack in Nairobi on 4 February of 2020 just as coverage on the Wuhan epidemic was reaching a point of critical mass.

The conjecture of assassination gave the story a contemporary resonance that captured considerable attention. This twist invested the larger narrative with sensationalist connotations. It strongly implied that some malevolent group of saboteurs had eliminated Dr. Plummer so he could not bear witness to what had apparently happened at the NML in Winnipeg to pour oil on the inflamed crisis in China.

No proof is offered that Dr. Plummer did not die of natural causes. The spotlight put on his career by GreatGameIndia, however, does call attention to the rather exotic career of a significant Canadian involved in many original types of genetic study and alteration totally new to medical and military science. The report serves to stimulate reflections on the types of intrigue that would probably arise on a regular basis in Dr. Plummer’s unusual line of work.

The account by GreatGameIndia of the Canadian connection to the Wuhan plague stresses the role of Dr. Plummer in the process that is said to have brought into Winnipeg’s level 4 pathogen lab a particular SARS strain that initially came from Saudi Arabia. Before arriving in Winnipeg, the strain of SARS said to be investigated by Dr. Plummer passed along a chain of custody involving collaboration with colleagues in Jeddah, Egypt and Rotterdam.

We learn from the narrative that the NML has a “long history of offering comprehensive testing services for Coronaviruses”; that it “isolated and provided the first genome sequence of the SARS Coronavirus and identified another Coronavirus as NL63 in 2004.” We learn that the “Canadian lab grew up stocks of the virus [originating in respiratory illnesses infecting Saudi Arabian victims] and used it to assess diagnostic tests being used in Canada. Winnipeg scientists worked to see which animal species can be infected with the new virus.”

The article uses provocative language calling Dr. Qui “a Chinese Bio-Warfare Agent.” After referring to Dr. Shoham, whose comments appear consistently throughout a wide array of reports critical of the alleged biowarfare program run by the Chines government, a reference is made to James Giordano. a is identified as a neurology professor at Georgetown University and a senior fellow in Biowarfare at the U.S. Special Operations Command. Prof. Giordano is reported to have commented,

China’s growing investment in bio-science, looser ethics around gene-editing and other cutting-edge technology and integration between government and academia raise the spectre of such pathogens being weaponized.

That could mean an offensive agent, or a modified germ let loose by proxies, for which only China has the treatment or vaccine. “This is not warfare, per se,” he said. “But what it’s doing is leveraging the capability to act as global saviour, which then creates various levels of macro and micro economic and bio-power dependencies.”

The authors of the GreatGameIndia series on the possible Canadian connection to the Wuhan Institute of Virology speculate that the shipments of viruses from the NML to China included the specific strain of Coronavirus that originated in Saudi Arabia. This conjecture caused me to speculate about why it is that the Israeli specialist in biological and chemical warfare, Dr. Dany Shoman, took such an active interest in the Winnipeg biolab. I have seen no evidence Dr. Shoham ever visited the Winnipeg lab but for some unexplained reason he seems well informed about its activities.

My own speculations cause me to wonder if Dr. Shoham might have come in contact with Dr. Plummer because of the latter’s reported work in doing the genetic sequencing of the virus causing the Saudi-based outbreak of a version of SARS. This speculation arises because of a serious report in London England highlighting the interests of Israeli biological warfare experts in an “ethnic bomb” that would specifically target Arabs.

The existence of such a program was outlined on 15 November, 1998 in a London Sunday Times story entitled, “Israel Planning ‘Ethnic Bomb’ as Saddam Caves In.” The story’s authors, Uzi Mahnaimi and Marie Cohen, explain the existence of such a clandestine research project on ethnic-specific bioweapons at Ness Ziona Israel near Tel Aviv. The Israeli research project, which still continues, apparently drew earlier on investigations on ethnically-targeted biological weaponry that took place in South Africa during the era of apartheid.

The Times article reported that

Israel, using research obtained from South Africa, was developing an “ethno bomb; In developing their “ethno-bomb”, Israeli scientists are trying to exploit medical advances by identifying a distinctive gene carried by some Arabs, then create a genetically modified bacterium or virus… The scientists are trying to engineer deadly micro-organisms that attack only those bearing the distinctive genes.

As an Israeli military and medical expert in the field of biological and chemical warfare, Dr. Shoham must have had some awareness of the founding and genesis of Ness Ziona “ethno-bomb” project.

What is the past or current relationship of Dr. Shoham to the Ness Ziona Institute for Biological Research? Did Dr. Shoham have professional interactions with Dr. Plummer following the reported cultivation and genetic sequencing by the Winnipeg scientist of the Saudi-derived strain of SARS. This strain came to be known as MERS. Was Dr. Plummers’s involvement in a strain of Coronavirus that initially targeted Arabs a factor in attracting Dr. Shoham’s interest to Winnipeg’s NML.

GreatGameIndia has published a rich and detailed academic paper presenting a chronicle and an assessment of the spread of the SARS strain that struck down Arab victims initially in Qatar and Jordan as well as Saudi Arabia. Some of the victims also spread the illness to family members in London and Pakistan. The labeling of this strain of infection as MERS comes from the name, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

Prof. Gufaraz Kahn is the author of the paper published on 28 February of 2013 in Vol. 10 (no. 66) of Virology Journal. Dr. Kahn’s professional base is the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at United Arab Emirates University.

Dr. Kahn’s rich and erudite academic account of the early stages of the MERS infections in Virology Journal would almost certainly have drawn the attention of Israeli agents involved in the country’s alleged biological and chemical warfare program. This attraction would have been especially enticing for any Israeli military officials still seeking to target Arab victims with genetically-engineered viruses.

Did Dr. Plummer knowingly or inadvertently help Dr. Shoham with his research work based in Israel? How does the staff of the NHL navigate the inevitable military side of their research with its applications in Canada, in the US and internationally?

If Dr. Plummer did in some way collaborate with Dr. Shoham and with other Israeli researchers in biotechnology, might this activity have been a factor in the decision of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to grant Dr. Plummer the Scopus Award? What level of accountability is owed by the managers of the NML in Winnipeg to the citizens who fund the research facility? Shouldn’t these managers and their supervisors in administrative and elected office make a commitment not to hide research for biological warfare behind veneers of public health research?

In the last year of his life Dr. Plummer agreed to the insertion of a surgically inserted implant in his brain meant to help the scientist cope with a severe case of alcoholism that plagued his life beginning in the 1980s. Dr. Plummer agreed to be a test case in this new biomedical therapy after he suffered a liver failure followed by a liver transplant in 2012.

The case was widely publicized by the BBC and many other media venues in the weeks and days before the death of Dr. Plummer by heart failure in Nairobi. It is legitimate to ask whether Dr. Plummer’s longstanding problem with alcoholism contributed to the breakdown of orderly procedures and civility reported to have overtaken the culture of scientific work at the Winnipeg’s NML?

*Part 5: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Masks Its Own Ineptitude by Attacking ‘Conspiracy Theorists’ and ‘Vigilantes’  



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