A House Foreign Affairs Committee Republican report that points the finger at the Wuhan lab as the origin of COVID-19 calls on scientist Peter Daszak to be subpoenaed, labeling him the “public face” of a Chinese “disinformation campaign designed to suppress public discussion about a potential lab leak.”
The GOP report mentions Daszak by name at least 127 times and called on him to be subpoenaed to appear before the House and Senate Foreign Relation Committees. The investigators said that they repeatedly reached out to Daszak with questions, but he never responded.
Daszak, a World Health Organization-China joint study team member, maintained a working relationship with Wuhan's “bat lady” Shi Zhengli, sending her at least $600,000 in NIH funding for bat coronavirus research. Daszak said in March it was the fault of “anti-China political rhetoric” in the United States that resulted in the Chinese Communist Party blocking a Wuhan investigation for a year. He dismissed the lab leak hypothesis in March when he admitted he took lab workers at their word and claimed he didn't see evidence of a Chinese cover-up. He also criticized the Biden administration for appearing skeptical of the WHO-China findings and defended China to CCP-linked outlets.
The House GOP report devoted an entire section to the “WIV [Wuhan Institute of Virology] Disinformation Campaign Involving Peter Daszak” and noted he was heavily involved in gain-of-function research at the lab.
“We have uncovered strong evidence that suggests Peter Daszak is the public face of a CCP disinformation campaign designed to suppress public discussion about a potential lab leak,” the report said.
It highlighted that, despite the U.S. recommending a trio of other scientists for the WHO-China joint study earlier this year, Daszak was the only American picked and pointed out the WHO-China report’s annexes “include multiple examples of CCP disinformation that have been repeated by Daszak.”
The GOP report said it “uncovered further evidence” on how Daszak, along with top scientists at the Wuhan lab, furthered a Chinese cover-up, which included “bullying other scientists who questioned whether the virus could have leaked from a lab, misleading the world about how a virus can be modified without leaving a trace, and, in many instances, directly lying about the nature of the research they were conducting, as well as the low-level safety protocols they were using for that research.”
The GOP said, “These actions not only delayed an initial investigation into the possibility of a lab leak costing valuable time, but provide further proof the virus likely leaked from the WIV.”
The office for Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, contended Shi has “repeatedly lied about” gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab, Chinese military presence at the WIV, the timing of when she sequenced SARS-CoV-2’s closest known genetic relative, the Wuhan lab’s adherence to safety protocols, and reasons for pulling the Wuhan lab’s massive viral database offline.
House investigators said Daszak and Shi “repeatedly engaged in gain-of-function research on coronaviruses designed to make them more infectious in humans."
They also accused Shi and her colleagues, along with funding and support from Daszak, of "actively genetically manipulating coronaviruses and testing them against human immune systems in 2018 and 2019.”
“It is also concerning the scientific community told the American people for more than a year it was impossible to modify a virus without leaving a trace when this technology existed more than 14 years before the pandemic began,” McCaul said. “As this report lays out, researchers at the WIV were also able to successfully modify coronaviruses without leaving a trace as early as 2016.”
McCaul added that Daszak needed to be subpoenaed to address his "inconsistent" and "knowingly inaccurate" statements.
Meeting minutes from discussions between Wuhan lab scientists and the WHO-China team reveal lab leak concerns were referred to as “conspiracy theories.” The WHO-China report concluded the most likely origin for COVID-19 was a jump from animals to humans. However, the U.S. and others have cast doubt on the credibility of the report, while Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said there was a "premature push" to dismiss the lab leak hypothesis.
The House report pointed to a February 2020 Lancet letter secretly organized by Daszak that dismissed the lab leak hypothesis as a conspiracy theory. Emails show Daszak organized the 2020 Lancet statement despite his clear conflicts of interest, and he recruited prominent scientists to sign on to it.
The majority of signatories of the 2020 letter, including Daszak, defended themselves last month, saying they still stood in solidarity with their Chinese counterparts.
The House GOP report also hit out at Daszak for defending the Wuhan lab’s decision to pull down its online viral database in September 2019.
Proposed questions for Daszak included asking about the extent of genetic manipulation of coronaviruses and their testing against human immune systems at the Wuhan lab in 2018 and 2019, who requested the statement of support in the Lancet in early 2020, who put forward Daszak’s name for the WHO-China team, and whether Daszak was aware of U.S. funding supporting gain-of-function research at the lab.
The GOP also recommended a ban on gain-of-function research, the sanctioning of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the blacklisting of the Wuhan lab and its leadership.
Daszak did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment, but on July 29, he tweeted out an article that included a defense of him by Dr. Peter Hotez, saying, “Thank you @PeterHotez for raising awareness of these coordinated attacks!” The paper, listed as an “uncorrected proof” in PLOS Biology, alleged that “the far-right media harasses or stalks other prominent U.S. scientists, including Dr. Peter Daszak.”
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Original Author: Jerry Dunleavy
Original Location: Peter Daszak should be subpoenaed in Wuhan lab investigation, House GOP says