The West’s Wuhan cover-up will not be forgotten easily
Elites will rue their efforts to trash the lab leak theory if, as seems increasingly likely, it proves to be right
DOUGLAS MURRAY 4 June 2021 •
Last week there was another major anti-lockdown protest in London. As usual, it was ignored by most of the media, and its participants were derided by commentators who prefer their rule-breakers to be violent and thuggish rather than peaceful and generally good-natured.
It is very easy to dismiss such people. But the well of suspicion of authority that they draw upon has just received an unprecedented boost.
I am not sure that many people have yet grasped the significance of a shift in the official narrative that has occurred in recent weeks. A shift so profound and far-reaching in its consequences that its repercussions may be felt for years to come.
I refer of course to the shift in the story about where the Covid virus came from. Since the beginning of the pandemic many of us have been of the view that it was strange that the virus should have originated from the province where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) happens to have a laboratory looking into precisely such viruses.
My own such feelings were bolstered by a conversation I had just before the first lockdown with a US official who had recently been in a position of prominence and who commented that the Wuhan lab would be an obvious place for such a virus to emerge.
In the year that followed there were many senior figures from the worlds of intelligence, science and politics who felt the same thing. Last year, members of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network said that they suspected that the virus had come from a laboratory and not – as the CCP wished everyone to believe – from a Chinese wet market.
Yet much of the media and, more importantly, the social media companies that now decide what we can all know, say and do, decided that they knew better. Facebook, Twitter and other companies decided to either “flag” or bar content that suggested that the Covid virus had originated in a laboratory.
The tech overlords love to flex their muscles on such occasions. Just as they decided before the last election that America’s oldest newspaper – The New York Post – should not be allowed to run a major story about Joe Biden’s family, so the kidults in Silicon Valley decided that they knew best about Wuhan wet markets and virus origins.
The same thing happened with views that were anti-lockdown. As the Telegraph reported last year, interviews with major scientists such as the former WHO adviser Professor Karol Sikora were taken down by YouTube as soon as they were posted online. Anyone who questioned the received narrative was virtually disappeared. The public were only allowed to be told one version of one story. And that whole narrative began with the assertion that the virus was the result of an accident in a Wuhan wet market.
Well, now the story has changed completely. An increasingly incontrovertible pile of evidence has come to light that suggests that the lab leak theory is indeed the correct one.
The turnaround comes in part from the CCP’s own attempts at covering its tracks. In February of this year, officials from the WHO were given a carefully curated tour by the Chinese authorities that was meant to conclude what the CCP wanted them to conclude: that there was no evidence of the virus coming from the laboratory at Wuhan. But the press conference was hijacked by the CCP’s spokespeople, and even the WHO was brave enough afterwards to dissent from the conclusions forced upon them. The CCP’s behaviour could not have been more suspicious if it had tried.
In the weeks since then, a growing number of experts have begun to highlight elements of the virus which point to the lab leak theory. And there has been a turnaround in those portions of the media which have spent the past year pouring scorn on the same claims. One of those in the firing line is America’s Dr Anthony Fauci, a trove of whose emails have recently been released. In them he can be found early on in the pandemic accepting credit for having helped to quash the lab leak theory.
In part, this was all just one more political casualty of the partisanship of everything that happened during the presidency of Donald Trump. Because Trump himself was not averse to the lab leak theory, there was a special premium for his opponents in promoting the wet-market explanation. It allowed them to say that the president was spreading another dangerous conspiracy theory.
The investigation into how the virus came out was already hampered by the fact that the CCP was doing everything it could to interfere with the rest of the world’s efforts to explore what really happened. And then there was this additional layer of obstacles to the truth provided by the most powerful country in the world fighting the virus-origin story, like everything else, through the lens of whether you were pro or anti Donald Trump.
No wonder we are all these months on and still so very far away from knowing everything we should know by now. The CCP hampered us. And then the free societies of the world hobbled themselves.
Papers and media companies that previously dismissed the lab-leak theory have spent recent days quietly editing some of their own past content. But they are fooling no one but themselves if they think that they can get away with rewriting the past. The CCP might have the power and malevolence to play the cover-up game. But the companies and institutions in the West who ordered the public to believe one thing and are now accepting another will have a much harder time of it.
We have lived through an unprecedented period. One in which our freedoms have been curtailed like never before. Such a period makes people ripe for and receptive to conspiracy theories. But to grasp the full fracturing nature of what has just occurred we must consider the fact that one of the things that we have spent the past year being stopped from knowing is a thing that turns out most likely to have been true.