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The lie of the "Wuhan laboratory" and the political witch hunt against science

 The lie of the "Wuhan laboratory" and the political witch hunt against science

Over the past week, the US media and the Biden government have sought to legitimize the conspiracy theory that the COVID-19 virus has come out of the Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases [Credit: Sarah Silbiger / Pool via AP].

On May 23, the Wall Street Journal published an article by Michael R. Gordon claiming that American "officials" said workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in November 2019. The article led the report. almost all of the US media said the conspiracy theory was "credible."

The corollary of the claim that the "Wuhan lab" conspiracy theory is "credible" is that all of the world's leading infectious disease experts, who universally rejected it after rigorous investigation, were engaged in a massive cover-up operation. .

Neither the Wall Street Journal nor any of the news organizations that promoted his article disclosed that Gordon was the author, in 2002, of the discredited New York Times article which incorrectly claimed that the president Iraqi Saddam Hussein was looking to buy "aluminum tubes" to make nuclear weapons.

Responding to the Journal article , The Washington Post said the theory of a laboratory leak was "credible" and bluntly states that "efforts to find a natural source of the virus [had] failed."

The White House has ordered US intelligence agencies to investigate the potentially artificial origins of COVID-19. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Services, Xavier Becerra, speaking to the United Nations World Health Assembly, demanded a "transparent" investigation into the origins of the disease.

Along with the Democratic Party campaign, personalities claiming to be left-wing politics such as journalist Glenn Greenwald and Jacobin Branko Marcetic's collaborator have also jumped at the opportunity to legitimize the “Wuhan lab” theory.

Through their coordinated campaign to promote the "Wuhan lab" lie, the establishment media and the Biden government are bringing into mainstream discourse what would otherwise have remained behind the smelly backstage of far-right and fascist politics.

According to supporters of this conspiracy theory, the United States National Institutes of Health funded research conducted by the Chinese military at the Wuhan Institute of Virology which then genetically modified and spread, accidentally or not, COVID- 19. “The United States paid the Chinese People's Liberation Army to create coronaviruses,” Rupert Murdoch's Australian said , in one of the countless variations of this story.

They further accuse NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) director Anthony Fauci and leading disease specialists - including Kristian G. Andersen, director of infectious disease genomics at the Scripps Research Translational Institute, and Peter Daszak, president of the Ecohealth Alliance - to cover up the allegedly anthropogenic origins of the disease, or to be directly involved in its making.

Trump's far-right supporters are going on the offensive. "I told you so," tweeted right-wing ideologue Rand Paul, with the hashtag #firefauci. MP Marjorie Taylor Greene, a supporter of the fascist QAnon movement, lashed out at Fauci on Twitter: "He has to be FIRED!"

Far-right legitimation has gone as far as an official "correction" by the Washington Post of an article it wrote in February 2020 about the promotion of the Wuhan lab story by the fascist senator from the Arkansas, Tom Cotton. The Post's original headline read : "Cotton Keeps Repeating Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory That Has Already Been Torn Down."

Post editors have since "revised" the story last week, issuing a notice that said the article "characterized [Cotton] incorrectly." "The term 'demolished' and the Post's use of [that of] 'conspiracy theory' were deleted because, then as now, the origins of the virus were not determined."

If the Post were honest, it would say it was he, the Biden government, and the Democratic Party who are now promoting a “conspiracy theory” that has, in effect, been “demolished”.

In a stereotypical Orwellian fashion, the past must be rewritten to serve the interests of the present. Here, the Post apologizes to Cotton and establishes an alliance with him. In June 2020, he published an infamous column in the New York Times calling on the Trump administration to invoke the Insurgency Act to deploy the army against anti-police violence protests.

In the thousands of papers written on the "Wuhan lab" theory there is not a shred of direct evidence showing any link between COVID-19 and the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The most concrete "evidence" was given by Gordon's Journal article which claimed unnamed officials said institute researchers were hospitalized in November.

However, according to the fact sheet released by the State Department earlier this year, the suspected sufferers had "symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses." Additionally, Gordon's article notes: "One person stated that it was an international partner who provided this evidence and that it was potentially significant, but still needed further investigation and corroboration." .

In other words, the body of evidence for the "Wuhan lab" theory boils down to a claim by a promoter of lies about the Iraq war that anonymous officials said that members of the staff of the Wuhan Institute of Virology exhibited symptoms “consistent with… common seasonal illnesses”; what other officials, also anonymous, question.

The promotion of this baseless theory by the American media can only be explained by the socio-economic interests that underlie it. As the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site wrote in its statement earlier this week, the campaign has two interrelated goals:

First, it aims to distract attention from the actions of the United States and other governments that have implemented policies that have led to large-scale death. When the public begins to recover from the enormous shock of the pandemic, they will demand an explanation of the reasons for the deaths of so many people and hold those responsible to account ...

Second, the "Wuhan laboratory" lie is aimed at stoking nationalist hatred in support of the central strategic objective of the Biden government: the preparation of an economic, and potentially military, conflict with China.

If scientists are the direct target, this campaign aims to abandon all scientifically based measures necessary to contain the pandemic. The main defenders of this conspiracy theory support the program of "collective immunity", that is to say, give free rein to the pandemic.

As COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly around the world, new variants are appearing. Africa has seen a 20% increase in COVID-19 cases in the past week, with eight countries showing an increase of more than 30%. In the UK, the most vaccinated country, the so-called 'Delta' variant has become dominant, fueling an increase in cases.

In the face of the looming global resurgence of the pandemic, the ruling classes will insist that no action can be taken to save lives at the expense of profit. They will insist on blaming China for the mass death, which is tantamount to making it "guilty of war." The attack on science and scientists aims to silence and intimidate any opposition to a policy that threatens countless lives.

But the inhuman and anti-scientific policy of the ruling class is met with growing resistance from a working class which is increasingly struggling to defend its own social interests. It is this social force that provides the basis for the defense of science and medically necessary measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. This is why the defense of science and the fight to stop the COVID-19 pandemic are inseparable from building a socialist movement in the working class.

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