- By Staff Reporter
Last week, on August 27, the intelligence community of the United States of America finally came up with its report on the “origin tracing” of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 – or simply Covid-19.
The report took three months after President Joe Biden instructed the intelligence community to comb through or contrive “evidence” that was supposed to link the origins of Covid-19 to China, either as having been developed as a biological weapon or as subject to an accidental laboratory leak, supposedly from Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
In what was probably an anticlimax to months of waiting, politicisation and mudslinging against China in an effort to paint the latter as either on a warpath with humanity or simply careless in its conduct of science, the report dismisses either premise.
What is more, the declassified report openly admits fissures or divisions in the US intelligence community, which must clearly be read as a struggle between those wanting to stick with science and those wanting to push a political agenda.
But, for the purposes of context, the report needs highlighting in some detail.
It says: “The IC was able to reach broad agreement on several other key issues. We judge the virus was not developed as a biological weapon. Most agencies also assess with low confidence that SARS-CoV-2 probably was not genetically engineered; however, two agencies believe there was not sufficient evidence to make an assessment either way. Finally, the IC assesses China’s officials did not have foreknowledge of the virus before the initial outbreak of COVID-19 emerged. “After examining all available intelligence reporting and other information, though, the IC remains divided on the most likely origin of COVID-19. All agencies assess that two hypotheses are plausible: natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-associated incident. “Four IC elements and the National Intelligence Council assess with low confidence that the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection was most likely caused by natural exposure to an animal infected with it or a close progenitor virus—a virus that probably would be more than 99 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2. These analysts give weight to China’s officials’ lack of foreknowledge, the numerous vectors for natural exposure, and other factors. “One IC element assesses with moderate confidence that the first human infection with SARS-CoV-2 most likely was the result of a laboratory-associated incident, probably involving experimentation, animal handling, or sampling by the Wuhan Institute of Virology. These analysts give weight to the inherently risky nature of work on coronaviruses. ” Analysts at three IC elements remain unable to coalesce around either explanation without additional information, with some analysts favoring natural origin, others a laboratory origin, and some seeing the hypotheses as equally likely. Variations in analytic views largely stem from differences in how agencies weigh intelligence reporting and scientific publications, and intelligence and scientific gaps.”
Without even going into a more nuanced analysis of the report – for it still contains some problematic issues that need to be debunked – it is clear that the report is a climbdown from the position of blaming China in a blanket manner, which was done by former President Donald Trump and was maintained by some hawks in Washington.
The blaming of China, which had the effect of soiling public understanding of the phenomenon on a global scale, was a political tactic by the US to smear its major power rival and divert attention from the disastrous handling of the pandemic at home.
The US intelligence community has now seen the limits of this discredited strategy.
The stated division of opinion of the intelligence community is a significant political marker itself!
The politically-motivated origins tracing work was doomed from the start.
If the United States establishment was self-respecting and progressive, it should not have initiated the process at all.
Instead, it should have directed energies towards cooperating with experts and other stakeholders under the aegis of the World Health Organisation to find a solution to the pandemic, which to all intents and purposes, is a natural phenomenon.
The attempts at politicizing the virus has come at a huge cost in dividing the world and causing some people not to trust science, potentially causing deaths.
The US must now turn around and behave in a more responsible manner and cooperate with other stakeholders Governments, including China, to find ways to defeat the pandemic and prevent future diseases.
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