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Commentary: U.S. intelligence community overwhelming in virus origin tracing, no place for science

Source: Science and Technology Daily| 2021-08-24 18:30:30| Author: Staff Reporters

U.S. President Joe Biden ordered a 90-day intelligence review into the origins of COVID-19 on May 26, 2021. As the deadline is approaching, the intelligence agency must be preparing the important report.

Shall we look back to the investigation results that the U.S. intelligence community once produced? And why Biden asked the intelligence community to do what scientists ought to do?

It is known that the U.S. intelligence community has been playing vital role in political manipulation, assassination, and conducting military operations against foreign countries. Since the Cold War, U.S. intelligence agencies have spared no effort to create social divisions around the world, improve the image of the U.S., stigmatize competitors, and secretly deliver weapons, which is no secret.

So, it goes against the interests of the agency to provide an impartial and objective investigation report that reflects the truth.

In 1964, the U.S. intelligence community reported that two attacks by North Vietnamese torpedo boats on the destroyers Maddox and Turner Joy of the U.S. Seventh Fleet and that led to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which allowed President Lyndon B. Johnson to greatly escalate U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War. However, the information provided by the intelligence community was later proved to be faulty and misinterpreted.

In 2003, Colin Powell took out a test tube of white powder at the UN Security Council, saying that it was Iraqi chemical weapon acquired through investigation by intelligence community, laying out the Bush administration’s rationale for war in Iraq. The speech set out to detail Iraq’s weapons program, but as the intelligence would later confirm, that program was nonexistent. The tube of powder became a joke.

It is hard for experts in virology, microbiology, and infectious diseases to trace the origin of virus. For intelligence community, it is much simpler, nothing but a tube of powder.

Although Trump, who has been hyping conspiracy theories, stepped down, there are still many standing for conspiracy theories in the U.S., and Biden almost followed his predecessor’s strategy after inauguration.

The U.S. government took advantage of the epidemic to set up issues, create incidents, increase ideological divides, label the virus, and stigmatize China. Because by doing so, the U.S. can shirk the responsibility for its ineffective prevention and control of the epidemic, and it can also mislead public opinion for attacking China.

Although the scientific community has repeatedly given opinions that the Wuhan laboratory virus leak is groundless, some U.S. officials are determined to scapegoat China and pin their hopes on intelligence community. They would rather listen to the intelligence than authoritative and objective origin tracing research, which is self-deceptive, pathetic and ridiculous.

No scientists in the world can guarantee a decisive breakthrough in virus origin tracing within 900 days. Well, the intelligence community is required to produce a report within 90 days, which violated the common sense and science.

The U.S. media has interviewed relevant authorities, and most of them said that the U.S. intelligence community does not have enough information to confirm when and where the novel coronavirus began to spread, nor can it prove whether the virus jumped naturally from animals to humans in the wild or leaked from the lab.

In other words, if the intelligence agencies respect science and go to trace the source of COVID-19 honestly, they would only copy the current consensus reached by scientists. Yet, the U.S. intelligence community led by politicians treats science as nothing.

As some analysis points out, in the 300 or so words of the Statement by President Joe Biden on the Investigation into the Origins of COVID-19, the word "intelligence community" is mentioned six times and the word "science" is not even mentioned once. In the statement, Biden had his National Security Advisor "task the intelligence community to prepare a report on their most up-to-date analysis of the origins of COVID-19" and "ask the intelligence community to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information." It is clear that the origin tracing of COVID-19 has been dominated by the U.S. intelligence community.

Some commentary notes that Biden's order was hardly questioned by the U.S. media, as if all parties were waiting for the intelligence community to give them a predetermined answer. It’s common in the U.S. that the intelligence community get to speak for its national interests at critical moments and deliver the conclusions the country needs. The CIA investigation is more of political cooperation than objectivity and independence. As long as they accomplish their political tasks, no one will hold them accountable, even if their falsehoods are found out after a while.

"This reminds me of the beginning of the Iraq War," said Fareed Zakaria, a CNN host, "what you have right now is people in the White House and the State Department forcing, pressuring the intelligence community to come to a conclusion."

Tracing the origin of viruses is a complex and difficult scientific issue, which requires scientists to put forward hypotheses, verify them and publish results in accordance with scientific norms. It may take a decade or even decades of painstaking researches.

The "Spanish flu" in 1918, for example, was initially thought to have originated in Europe, but it was not until years later that the outbreak was found to first break out in the U.S.. In 1997, the full genetic sequence of the virus was isolated from cadaveric samples in the permafrost of Alaska.

The origin tracing of HIV, for another example, began in 1980. Since then, more and more earlier HIV samples have been discovered and renewed people’s knowledge. The discoveries suggest that the virus may have originated in chimpanzees and passed to humans at least a hundred years ago, and spread to the Americas in the 1960s. However, this is still not the final conclusion.

There is no room for falsehoods in scientific matters, and no predetermination or political desire should interfere with scientific research. CIA, instead of scientists, going to trace the origin of COVID-19, is ridiculous and breaks the bottom line of science and justice.

Indeed, if the U.S. intelligence community really wants to show its expertise, they should look into the role of U.S. politicians in this unfolding disaster of COVID-19 across the country. However, they certainty won’t do that, and they won’t pay any effort for seeking scientific truth.

Editor:WANG Xiaoxia

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