peter daszak: supervillain origin story
taking a look at one of the more important and lesser studied players in the covid drama and his outright terrifying areas of research interest
there are a million stories in the naked city, but perhaps the story that really ought to be keeping you up at night is the story of the (increasingly ironically named) ecohealth alliance (EHA) and its founder, peter daszak.
it’s a story of nefarious plans, shady dealings, and stunning lapses in judgement and it’s a story that is FAR from over and looks to be, rather than leading to culpability and future restraint, heading for another chapter of more of the same.
to investigate bat crimes takes a bat detective so buckle up and let’s go for a ride, because this reads like a story straight out of DC comics…
our story starts in 2014 when US bans were put in place on so called “gain of function” (GoF) research on viruses. such research seeks to deliberately modify viruses to make them more dangerous, either more deadly, more contagious, or both. contrary to what many seem to believe, this is not the same as a weapons program. this is (mostly) done for the purposes of immunology to try to “head off” future risks and find vaccines and treatments. and not everyone was pleased with these new limits, least of all the NIH who had been working on dozens of such projects including a number with MERS (a close relative to SARS)
anthony fauci was a fierce and longstanding proponent of GoF research.
he opposed the ban and immediately sought to circumvent it. they did so by moving (at least some) of the research to wuhan.
and this rapidly ran into trouble with the US embassy in beijing cabling home advising of safety problems with the wuhan lab and providing sobering warnings. this was in january of 2018.
“Additionally, the cable warned the researchers “showed that various SARS-like coronaviruses can interact with ACE2, the human receptor identified for SARS-coronavirus,” meaning bat coronaviruses can be transmitted to humans to cause SARS-like diseases.”
but how did the NIH do this? it was clearly disallowed. this is where peter daszak enters the stage.
his group, ecohealth alliance, was used as a cut-out to funnel this money to the wuhan institute of virology and its then somewhat and now internationally infamous “bat woman” shi zhengli, renowned for her bat hunting expeditions to explore caves and find new coronaviruses. as we shall see, she and peter were two peas in a pod.
the NIH funneled money to peter, and peter funneled it to the wuhan institute of virology. this is well known and well covered ground.
fauci, daszak, and a cast of dozens denied any possibility of lab leak, orchestrated a massive PR campaign to back it, vilified those seeking investigation, planted fake stories in top journals, and generally acted so shady as to disqualify them from ever being taken seriously again.
these same folks, without taking a breath between their dissembling (including to congress, under oath, which is still illegal last i checked) then nominated themselves to “investigate the matter.” peter was front and center.
“Also on the video was Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs. Sachs is a former special advisor to the UN, the former head of the Millennium Villages Project, and was recently appointed Chair of the newly-formed EAT Lancet Commission on the pandemic. In September, Sachs’ commission named Daszak to head up its committee on the pandemic’s origins. Daszak is also on the WHO’s committee to investigate the pandemic’s origin. He is the only individual on both committees.”
“see any crimes bonnie?”
“nope clyde, not a one…”
this was a world class campaign of mendacity and butt covering. then, it all fell apart and the classic “deny, deny, deny, it’s old news” stratagem was used. mostly, it worked.
this is all known and well documented. i won’t belabor it further, i just wanted to set the stage to ask, perhaps, the more interesting questions going forward:
just who is peter daszak, what is he interested in, what kind of science does he do, and just what is this widely discredited but incredibly connected fellow up to now and who is helping him?
because the answers to this matter a great deal and their are cause for real worry.
you can tell A LOT about a scientist by their grant applications. they tell you what they are up to, what they have been doing, what they would like to be doing, and generally paint a picture of state of mind, character, capability, and sometimes even ethics.
that makes THIS grant application to DARPA filed back in 2018 (right when the GoF ban was lifted) an absolute treasure trove. (strongly recommend downloading this in case it’s taken down)
peter is admitting to having been a naughty boy, to having flouted the GoF ban, and asking for $14 million dollars to do stuff that sounds like the origin story for a zombie apocalypse or a pandemic movie. and he names duke university, UNC, and some other collaborators alongside the WIV.
quite the cast of characters.
and quite the litany of naughty behavior and poor judgement. right from the start we see that peter is already in the wuhan caves looking at high spillover SARS-Covs, wants to amplify them, insert them into bat viruses, but thinks this is “exempt from dual use and GoF concerns”.
but here’s where it REALLY gets scary. these guys (and their cast including now notorious baric and shi, want to create “novel chimeric polyvalent recombinant spike proteins” (like the one in covid 19) and actually go infect wild bats with them while also modulating their immune systems using a set of novel, aerosolized delivery mechanisms.
go back and read that again. because if this does not sound so wildly reckless and unpredictable as to resemble a horror movie plot setup, you may not have grasped what this was.
they want to take hotwired viruses with new, more dangerous spike protein expression and infect caves full of wild bats with them and/or inoculums (vaccines) based on them to see what happens to shedding and see if they can render the bats a less potent reservoir of potential disease risk for human crossover. if this is starting to sound like that scene in jurassic park right before everything goes hopelessly wrong, well, then i think you’re following along. these people are crazy. this is WAY past reckless.
it’s also clear that this is NOT just GoF program. it’s also a vaccine program. and that’s important. file that fact away.
and the work they were positing looks more or less EXACTLY like what seems to have escaped from wuhan.
and this looks an AWFUL lot like the science that suddenly emerged from the NIH to provide the basis for the moderna vaccine, just days after the SARS-cov2 viral genome was purportedly published, a feat that has always looked deeply implausible washout a HUGE head-start. a picture starts to emerge…
note that this is the same baric about whom facui said “Dr. Baric is not doing gain-of-function research, and if it is, it is according to the guidelines, and it is being conducted in North Carolina.”
because wow, if that’s not GoF work, we need to have a hard look at the definitions and guidelines we’re using…
also telling on p7 is the admission that “EHA (ecohealth alliance) has had unique access to these caves for ~10 years.” this is longstanding research clearly going on during the period when GoF was banned.
and whoo doggie were they playing in a dangerous sandbox. this is pretty much the blueprint of what emerged from wuhan.
ironically, it was the bats got called a “clear and present danger.”
this grant application is like an entire battlefield of smoking guns. there is no way they had this data unless they were already deep into studying and working with the precise viruses that became covid-19.
it also underlines their bizarre lack of safety concern. they want to infect/inoculate wild bats and track they as they fly around foraging at night. this was not a proposed lab experiment. it was an experiment in the wild using dangerous and novel viruses and modalities. it’s just jaw dropping than anyone would put this down on paper. it would be safer and more predictable to juggle nitroglycerine in a fireworks factory while you had the hiccups.
they are obviously fascinated/obsessed with S proteins and inserting them into things (as well as what seems to be deeply iffy loophole around doing so)
this grant application is 75 pages long and much of it is technically dense, but the key takeaway is pretty straightforward:
daszak was in wuahn, working or planning to work with many of the folks that got embroiled in this controversy and clearly had been and sought to work on the exact viruses that become covid-19. his fascination (and that of his peers) was evident and his thought for safety and consequences near absent. hotwiring a virus and spreading it (or some poorly tested inoculum based on it) to wild bats to “see what happens with viral shedding” is batpoo insane. it’s the plot of a marvel supervillain, not the province of the DoD, who (sensibly) seem to have failed to fund this.
but fauci did. he funded these same folks through the NIH. and, until 2020, no one was hiding it.
the NIH was neck deep in this. fauci was neck deep in this. both knew they were lying when they lied.
when you hear tales like this, one could be forgiven for thinking “jail” or even “the hague” but because this is government and connected all the way to the top, instead we see the opposite.
no one is held accountable. no one is fired or even given so much as a time out in the corner. fauci fauches on and peter, well, he’s getting new grants and new collaborations working with many of the same cast of characters from the last mess. here’s the VP of research for EHA… (note the twitter handle)
professor richard ebright at rutgers was quoted as saying
“Columbia University will partner with EcoHealth Alliance in a new "Pandemic Response Institute."
Could any administrator at any university possibly make a more dimwitted, more discrediting, more damaging, unforced error?”
and while, in any sort of sane world, he’d have a point, i fear that it’s the opposite that pertains. these are the spoils that come from having defended the NIH and Columbia was already deeply involved, so this is hardly new.
this is how the grant world works. lipkin, at columbia, won awards from the CCP for his work with the wuhan viral institute. fauci congratulated him. then lipkin was relentlessly on TV claiming the virus was natural and wrote a paper claiming that the virus he quite likely helped make could not be manmade. he even thanked fauci for helping to push such talking points.
jeffrey sachs, also a columbia professor, helped in the cover up, naming daszak to the commission to look into covid origins. (links above)
everyone gets a trip to the goody room, not the naughty corner.
this is how the game is played. you’re a good solider and help with the naughty work and then with the cover up, and pretty soon, you can just get the band back together and the grant gravy flows your way from a grateful government whose fat you kept out of the fire. it’s like the mafia giving you a promotion for not squealing and doing your time like a stand up guy.
no one gets punished. it’s cash cannons of funding all around. you go right back to doing whatever it was you were doing before. when the EHA got its funding pulled until they could provide an accounting of wuhan safety and whether they were in possession of SARS-Cov-2 in 2020, look what happened:
“Jimmy Kolker, a former U.S. ambassador and former assistant secretary for global affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, said the NIH can routinely ask for reports about the progress of research, including updates on the work of a partner and the safety of its lab, but shouldn’t ask about matters outside the scope of the funded research.
The NIH’s list of conditions “is outrageous, especially when a grant has already been carefully evaluated by peer review and addresses one of the most important problems in the world right now—how viruses from animals spill over to human beings,” Harold E. Varmus, a former NIH director, said in an interview. “What could be more important at the moment?”
Dr. Varmus is one of 77 Nobel laureates who asked NIH Director Francis Collins and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in May to review the NIH’s termination of the grant the month before.
“This whole episode is just a woeful attack on the traditional way NIH has maintained its integrity,” he said.”
this is an industry that colors outside the lines and then instantly closes ranks around the money because that’s how you get to keep doing neat, scary stuff without accountability or pesky ethics or safety people nosing around.
so many folks at NIH look dirty here. they funded this work and then astonishingly had a vaccine candidate in what is alleged to be days. this area has been a hobbyhorse for fauci and fauci pals for decades. they ran a vast cover up and are all skating and landing on their feet so far, though the resignation of the head of NIH as yet more emails and FOIA data leak may be an interesting canary (or may just be exhaustion from this mess).
but the machine chugs on, and this warrants scrutiny. guys like daszak should be watched closely. they do not suddenly get sane or careful. they are too big to bust, so they get more funding instead. so do all the co-conspirators. if we still had a real investigative journalist class in the US, they would be ALL OVER this. this is money WELL worth following.
do you really want whatever these folks cook up next to be another surprise?