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U.S. Declassifies COVID-19 Origins Report



The Office of the Director of National Intelligence finally released a government report on the origins of COVID-19 on Friday. The chairs of the House Intelligence and Coronavirus Pandemic committees say the report lends credence to the theory that the virus may have originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

Early this year, Congress enacted legislation requiring the declassification of evidence on possible links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and the pandemic’s beginnings.

The declassified study outlines the Intelligence Community’s (IC) knowledge of the COVID-19 beginnings and offers insight into the WIV’s operations prior to the pandemic. It does not, however, conclusively identify the virus’s origin.

“All agencies continue to assess that both a natural and laboratory-associated origin remain plausible hypotheses to explain the first human infection,” the 10-page declassified report states (pdf).

The report includes assessments from the National Intelligence Council (NIC), the Department of Energy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and other unnamed agencies.

Most organizations, including the NIC and four other Intelligence Community organizations, concur that the virus was likely spread naturally by contact with an infected animal or a close relative. The FBI and the Department of Energy, although having differing justifications, both believe that the virus first appeared in a lab.

The CIA and another agency are unable to determine the precise origin of COVID-19, as both hypotheses rely on significant assumptions or face challenges with conflicting reporting, the report states.

Some of the assessments in the report were previously known.

In order to determine if the original human infection resulted from contact with an infected animal spontaneously or if it was related to a laboratory occurrence, the IC broadened its investigation into COVID-19 in March. According to “almost all” of the agencies involved, the virus was neither genetically modified nor produced as a biological weapon, as stated in the study. Agencies dispute with the idea that the study was done in a lab, though.

Wuhan Experiments ‘Left No Traces of Genetic Modification’

Before the pandemic, the WIV engaged in collaboration with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on “public health-related research.” Some of the WIV scientists conducted experiments on coronaviruses, but there is no evidence of genetic modification in these viruses, according to the report.

However, the report states that the WIV did not possess viruses that could “plausibly be the progenitor of SARS-CoV-2” before the pandemic. Instead, the viruses were primarily used for “virology and vaccine-related work.”

The WIV supported research initiatives between 2017 and 2019 and employed some of its staff in efforts to “enhance China’s knowledge of pathogens and early disease warning capabilities for defensive and biosecurity needs of the military.”

“The IC assesses that this work was intended for public health needs and that the coronaviruses known to be used were too distantly related to have led to the creation of SARS-CoV-2,” the report states.

Before the pandemic, the WIV carried out considerable research on coronaviruses, including genetic testing and animal collection, notably of bats.

The study confirms that genetic engineering work is being done at the WIV but claims that there is no “direct evidence that a specific research-related incident occurred involving WIV personnel before the pandemic that could have caused the COVID pandemic.”

The study, which cites a 2017 dissertation by a WIV student, says that several of the WIV’s genetic engineering experiments on coronaviruses included methods that might make it difficult to identify deliberate modifications.

“Some of the WIV’s genetic engineering projects on coronaviruses involved techniques that could make it difficult to detect intentional changes,” the report states.

“A 2017 dissertation by a WIV student showed that reverse genetic cloning techniques—which are standard techniques used in advanced molecular laboratories—left no traces of genetic modification of SARS-like coronaviruses.”

The WIV researchers tried to clone unrelated pathogenic viruses and genetically modified chimeras of coronaviruses that resembled SARS. SARS-like coronaviruses were subjected to reverse genetic cloning procedures, despite the fact that the paper claims there is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 has ever undergone purposeful genetic change.

Inadequate Biosafety Precautions at Wuhan Lab

Before the pandemic, the WIV had raised biosafety issues when dealing with coronaviruses that resembled SARS.

The report noted that some WIV researchers “probably did not use adequate biosafety precautions at least some of the time prior to the pandemic in handling SARS-like coronaviruses.” This increased the risk of potential exposure to viruses.

The report adds that biosafety upgrades, training, and purchases were being done in the middle of 2019, but the IC is not aware of any particular event that led to those actions. This happened at the same time as China’s more extensive biosecurity laws.

Even after the WIV’s BSL-4 laboratory was accredited in 2017, one problem raised in the study is the lack of openness around China’s determinations regarding which diseases required stricter biocontainment measures. At the facility, there was a dearth of staff who were adequately trained.

Despite recognized hazards, tests were nevertheless carried out in lower containment facilities in 2019.

A few months after the COVID-19 epidemic started in 2020, the high-containment laboratories of the WIV were inspected. The inspection found a number of problems, including the need for equipment updates, more disinfection precautions, and ventilation system upgrades.

Although the results were made during the institute’s crisis reaction to the COVID-19 epidemic, the study included a warning that they may not be accurate. “not necessarily indicative” of the WIV’s biosafety status prior to the outbreak.

In the fall of 2019, some WIV researchers fell sick before the COVID-19 outbreak. The IC’s assessment “neither supports nor refutes” the theory that they were infected with SARS-CoV-2, saying that their symptoms were “consistent with but not diagnostic of COVID-19.” Their symptoms, the report states, “could have been caused by a number of diseases and some of the symptoms were not consistent with COVID-19.”

China Has ‘Some Serious Explaining To Do’

In a joint statement, Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), chair of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, said the declassified report is “a promising step toward full transparency.”

The two Republican lawmakers declared that “everyone deserves to know the truth.” The pair said the information gathered by their committees during this Congress and the last “supports the likelihood of a lab leak.”

Turner and Wenstrup said their committees “will continue to investigate the origins of COVID-19 and the information obtained today will help to further its investigation.”

“The Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army have some serious explaining to do. This declassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Intelligence Community lends credence to the lab leak theory, which suggests that the coronavirus outbreak most likely originated from a Wuhan virology lab in China,” they said.

“This is on top of the Government Accountability Office’s report released last week outlining the flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars to Chinese entities known to be doing coronavirus research,” their statement continued.

“While we appreciate the report from ODNI, the corroboration of all available evidence, along with further investigation into the origins of COVID-19 must continue.”

Government Accountability

Bipartisan House Task Force to Investigate Assassination Attempt on Donald Trump



In a rare display of unity, House Speaker Mike Johnson and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries announced their joint support for the creation of a bipartisan House Task Force to investigate the attempted assassination of 2024 presidential nominee Donald Trump. The task force will consist of seven Republicans and six Democrats.

“The security failures that allowed an assassination attempt on Donald Trump’s life are shocking. In response to bipartisan demands for answers, we are announcing a House Task Force made up of seven Republicans and six Democrats to thoroughly investigate the matter,” said Speaker Johnson and Leader Jeffries in a joint statement. “The task force will be empowered with subpoena authority and will move quickly to find the facts, ensure accountability, and make certain such failures never happen again.”

According to Speaker Johnson’s office, the House will vote on a resolution this week to formally establish the task force and appoint its members. The task force will have the full investigative authority of the House of Representatives, including the power to issue subpoenas.

The primary objective of the task force will be to investigate the circumstances surrounding the assassination attempt, identify security lapses, and hold accountable those responsible. The task force will also be tasked with making recommendations for reform to relevant government agencies and proposing any necessary legislation to implement those reforms.

The formation of this task force highlights the urgency and seriousness with which Congress views the attempted assassination of a presidential candidate. By working together, both parties aim to ensure that such a security breach never happens again and to reinforce the integrity of the electoral process.

As the House prepares to vote on the resolution, the nation will be watching closely to see how the investigation unfolds and what steps will be taken to address the security failures. The bipartisan nature of the task force underscores the commitment of both parties to uncover the truth and protect the democratic process.

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Biden Crime Family

Justice Department Finds Transcripts They Previously Denied Existence of in Biden Classified Material Investigation



In a significant development, the Justice Department revealed to a federal judge late Monday that it possesses transcripts of President Joe Biden’s conversations with a biographer, contradicting earlier denials. These transcripts are related to the recently concluded criminal investigation into Biden’s handling of classified materials before he became president.

The special counsel, Robert Hur, issued a report in February describing Biden as “a well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” This report has prompted a surge of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and lawsuits aimed at obtaining records related to Hur’s investigation. These requests have come from various news outlets and conservative groups seeking to scrutinize Biden’s mental acuity and fitness for the presidency.

Concerns about Biden’s cognitive abilities were exacerbated by a poor debate performance against Donald Trump, leading Biden to announce on Sunday that he would not seek reelection. It remains unclear how his exit from the race will affect the Justice Department’s handling of the materials from Hur’s investigation.

The Justice Department has argued that releasing the audio of Biden’s interviews would violate his privacy, potentially lead to abuses like deepfakes, and discourage other witnesses from agreeing to recorded interviews. Biden has asserted executive privilege over these recordings to prevent House Republicans from holding Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to release them.

During a hearing last month, DOJ lawyers informed U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich that processing the audio files of Biden’s interviews with writer Mark Zwonitzer would be highly time-consuming. They claimed that the recordings spanned 70 hours and reviewing audio for classified material is more challenging than reviewing written material.

Justice Department lawyer Cameron Silverberg stated at a June 18 hearing that no transcripts from the special counsel existed. However, Silverberg’s recent court filing revealed that the DOJ had found six electronic files, consisting of 117 pages of verbatim transcripts, created by a court-reporting service from Biden’s discussions with Zwonitzer. Some of these conversations contained classified information, but DOJ policy barred pursuing charges against a sitting president.

In an unexpected reversal, the Justice Department reached out to Robert Hur directly after initially resisting requests from the Heritage Foundation to contact him about materials he used for his report. Hur confirmed he relied on the Biden-Zwonitzer audio recordings and a portion of Biden’s handwritten notes regarding a memo about Afghanistan.

Judge Friedrich has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday morning to address these developments. The Justice Department has indicated it will discuss with the parties seeking access to Hur’s materials whether Biden’s notes should also be processed for potential release.

The Justice Department’s admission of the existence of transcripts in the Biden classified material investigation marks a crucial turn in the ongoing scrutiny of Biden’s handling of classified information. As legal proceedings continue, the implications for transparency, presidential privacy, and the political landscape remain to be seen.


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Leaked Emails Expose BBC’s Unverified Reporting and Political Bias



In a startling revelation, newly leaked internal emails from BBC correspondent Rami Ruhayem have unveiled serious allegations against the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The emails suggest that the BBC has been broadcasting news without verifying claims or seeking evidence, raising concerns about journalistic integrity and ethical practices within the organization.

The leaked emails highlight a pattern of unverified reporting, particularly concerning coverage of the conflict in Palestine. Ruhayem, a Beirut-based correspondent, criticized the BBC for airing sensational stories about alleged atrocities committed by Hamas fighters without proper verification. These unsubstantiated claims were broadcast repeatedly, despite the lack of concrete evidence.

In one instance, Ruhayem detailed how graphic allegations about Hamas fighters were allowed to pass unchallenged on air. “From the start, it was evident that unverified claims of the most atrocious acts by Hamas fighters against Israelis were being circulated and repeated at the highest levels,” Ruhayem wrote. He pointed out that BBC presenters often failed to ask for evidence or clarify that the claims had not been verified.

The emails also accuse the BBC of sensationalizing news stories to push a specific political agenda. Ruhayem suggested that the unverified allegations were part of a broader strategy to garner political support for Israel’s actions. “The BBC’s approach to reporting has contributed to shaping public perception in a way that supports Israel’s actions,” he stated.

Ruhayem’s emails describe how the repetition of unverified and sensational claims served to reinforce extreme portrayals of Israel’s enemies. This biased coverage likely influenced public opinion and political discourse, aligning with Israeli propaganda efforts.

The leaked correspondence reveals deep-seated grievances among BBC staff regarding the organization’s editorial direction. Ruhayem noted that despite numerous evidence-based critiques from staff members, BBC management failed to address these concerns. Instead of fostering thorough examination and inclusive discussions, the management opted to continue the problematic editorial practices.

In an email dated May 1, 2024, Ruhayem wrote to BBC Director General Tim Davie and several departments, detailing the editorial failings. He emphasized the need for mechanisms to ensure accurate and ethical reporting, which he claimed were ignored by the management.

The allegations of journalistic malpractice have significant implications for the BBC’s reputation and credibility. Broadcasting unverified information and sensationalizing stories undermine the core principles of journalism: accuracy, fairness, and impartiality. These practices not only misinform the public but also erode trust in the media.

The leaked emails call into question the integrity of the BBC’s news coverage and highlight the need for rigorous journalistic standards. As the organization faces scrutiny, it must address these issues to restore its standing as a trusted news source.

The bombshell leaks from Rami Ruhayem’s emails expose serious flaws in the BBC’s reporting practices, revealing a troubling pattern of unverified reporting and political bias. As the media landscape continues to evolve, maintaining journalistic integrity and accountability remains paramount. The BBC must take urgent steps to rectify these issues and uphold the highest standards of journalism.

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