Western secret service sources revealed to the German Welt paper that Hizballah owned the stock of ammonium nitrate that triggered the Aug. 4 disaster in Beirut, killing 170 people and devastating the city. Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah categorically denied his organization had anything to do with the 2,750 tons of the chemical stored in Beirut port since 2013. However, those sources now reveal that, around this date, Hizballah took delivery of at least three shipments of this dangerous substance from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Al Qods, which was then headed by Gen. Qassam Soleimani, who was killed last year by a US drone. Hizballah is said to have paid a billion Iranian rials (around 61,438 euros) for the supplies on April 4, 2014.
The ammonia nitrate shipments came in by sea, air or overland through Syria. The freight from October 2013 is said to have been transported in flexible bulk containers by plane, presumably with one of the private Iranian airlines, which are front companies of the IRGC. One of them, Mahan Air, was deprived of the right to take off and land in Germany last year.
Mohammad Qasir, 57, is said to have been Hizballah’s logistics master for 20 years and responsible for paying for the ammonium nitrate deliveries. He has been on the US list of sanctions to stop Hizballah funding since 2018. In Nov. 1982, during the Lebanon war, his brother Ahmed Qasir drove a truck into the headquarters of the Israeli army in Tyre and killed at least 75 Israeli soldiers, 14 of their Arab prisoners and himself. The explosive used in this attack: ammonium nitrate. Mohammed knowingly sacrificed his brother.
On the Iranian side of the dangerous chemicals’ supply line to Hizballah is Behnam Shahriyari, who has been subject to US sanctions since 2011. He appears as the head of the Iranian transport company Liner Transport Kish, which apparently also handled the ammonium nitrate delivery to Hizballah.
An expert talking to Welt offered several reasons to explain why Hizballah maintained a stock of explosive substances at Beirut port at that time. One was its possible use in support of Bashar Assad’s battle against Syria rebels; another related to the tunnels Hizballah was then driving under the border into Israel. The Shiite terrorists may have intended to use the ammonium nitrate for attacks on northern Israel. Those tunnels were uncovered and deactivated by the Israeli military last year.
Also last year, the London Telegraph reported that Hizballah had cached thousands of ice packs in four properties in northwest London, a deception tactic also used in Germany. A counter-terrorism source told the paper that the ammonium nitrate was to be used for “proper organized terrorism.”
The nondescript cafe is where Alexei Navalny, the main opposition leader and Putin’s most vociferous critic, sipped a cup of tea before boarding a flight back to Moscow yesterday
Tomsk, one of the oldest cities in remote Siberia, rarely makes headlines in Russia – let alone around the world. Not any more.
For the Vienna Cafe at Tomsk Airport may one day be ranked alongside Zizzi in Salisbury and the Millennium Hotel, Mayfair, on Vladimir Putin’s charge sheet under the heading: Suspected Poisonings.
The nondescript cafe is where Alexei Navalny, the main opposition leader and Putin’s most vociferous critic, sipped a cup of tea before boarding a flight back to Moscow yesterday.
Within hours he was hospitalised and, as I write, is on a ventilator as doctors try to determine what led a healthy, 44-year-old fitness fanatic to collapse screaming in agony then fall into a coma.
His family and supporters are in no doubt that a toxin was administered via the tea. He has, after all, been subject to such an attack before.
For those of us in Britain, the news brought back memories of the audacious poisonings of Russian exiles here: the murder of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 after he drank tea contaminated with radioactive polonium at a London hotel, and the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in 2018.
(The pair fell ill after lunch at the Zizzi restaurant although the poison, novichok, had been administered elsewhere.)
Too many of Putin’s enemies at home and abroad have been the victims of mysterious poisonings for there not to be a link back to the Kremlin despite the routine outraged denials.
His family and supporters are in no doubt that a toxin was administered via the tea. Navalny is pictured in Tomsk with his supportersPutin foe rushed off plane unconscious with suspected ‘poisoning’
But why now? Why would Moscow want to create an international scandal over Navalny when it is dealing with a full-on crisis in neighbouring Belarus?
After a rigged election on August 9, that country has erupted in often violent protest against Alexander Lukashenko, who has held power for 26 years.
Putin is anxious to keep his hardline ally Lukashenko in power for one very good reason. He fears that the virus of a sudden mass protest against a ‘president-for-life’ there could spread to Russia and he has been shaken by an apparently docile population turning on a leader who is in effect a dictator.
The Russian president has made it clear he is prepared to intervene militarily to ‘restore order’ in Belarus where – and no doubt at the Kremlin’s behest – Lukashenko has accused Alexei Navalny of fomenting protest.
Navalny, the charismatic founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, made his name exposing the lifestyles enjoyed by Putin’s appointees which go far beyond their meagre official salaries.
He has highlighted how the president’s closest aides live like lottery winners. He has called Russia’s ruling elite a ‘party of crooks and thieves’.
This has put him in the Kremlin crosshairs and he is hated by the apparatchiks, suffering arrest, imprisonment and losing partial sight in one eye after an attack by a pro-Kremlin activist.
Until recently, however, the Kremlin could dismiss him as a Moscow phenomenon, the equivalent of a privileged Hampstead liberal with as much electoral clout.
But the opposition leader has used the internet brilliantly to evade media censorship and his blog, Twitter feed and YouTube channel have linked him with a growing tranche of discontented people across Russia.+
Putin is seen as coldly-calculating. In practice, he takes reckless chances that paralyse his opponents because they could never have imagined him doing something so risky
That’s what made his visit to Tomsk, where regional elections are about to take place, so sensitive politically.
Russia’s regions are restive, cut off from Moscow and politicians who seem oblivious to their concerns. In this political climate, Navalny is seen as the underdog tackling the head of Russia’s wolf pack pretty well single-handedly.
In Belarus, Putin saw how the opposition candidate and rightful winner of the election, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a mother of two with limited political experience, could galvanise voters antagonised by the one-man rule of Lukashenko for a generation.
After all, it was just two months ago that Putin changed the Russian constitution to let him rule well into the 2030s.
Putin is seen as coldly-calculating. In practice, he takes reckless chances that paralyse his opponents because they could never have imagined him doing something so risky.
Think back to when he sent ‘little green men’ – Russian special forces – into Crimea in 2014.
Stamping out dissent in Belarus would warn off any Russians thinking of protesting at home. And fear has always made Russia’s rulers ruthless.
As Stalin used to say: ‘Get rid of the person, you get rid of the problem.’Russian police storm opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s office
Kim Yo Jong, 32, is now in charge of North Korean policy towards the US and South Korea, effectively making her his de-facto deputy, spy chiefs said.
Her brother still maintains ‘absolute authority’ over North Korea, but has delegated some responsibilities to help him deal with the ‘stress’ of ruling, it was claimed.
The report comes months after 36-year-old Kim disappeared from public view for 21 days, amid speculation he was seriously ill.
Kim Jong Un has promoted his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, to become his de-facto second in command and help deal with the ‘stress’ of leadership, South Korea’s spy agency claimsSouth Korea says Kim Jong-Un’s sister is ‘de facto second-in-command’
Ha Tae-kyung, a member of South Korea’s Intelligence Committee, said spy chiefs revealed the transfer of powers during a briefing on Thursday.
‘Kim Jong-un is still maintaining his absolute authority, but some of it has been handed over little by little,’ he said, according to Chosun Ilbo.
While the move makes Kim Yo Jong her brother’s effective deputy, it does not make her his official successor, the newspaper added.
Other subordinates were also handed additional responsibilities, South Korea said.
Kim is thought to have three children with his wife Ri Sol Ju, though none of them have been seen in public. They are thought to be aged ten, seven, and three.
Kim Yo Jong had already taken a more prominent role in North Korea’s leadership structure following suspicions over her brother’s health back in May.+1
Kim Yo Jong had already been taking a more prominent role in North Korea, after her brother disappeared from public view earlier this year amid speculation about his healthKim Jong Un’s sister lurks behind Donald Trump at Hanoi summit
In June, she gave the order to blow up a joint liaison office with South Korea amid fury at propaganda leaflets being sent over the border.
She was also charged with organising a counter-leaflet campaign in revenge, and ordered loudspeakers playing propaganda messages to be erected along the border.
She also threatened South Korea with unspecified military action, until Kim Jong Un ordered the threat to be withdrawn.
At the time, observers said it was possible that North Korea was trying to boost the leadership profile of the younger Kim, in the event she has to step in for her brother if his health fails.
Others suggested that the pair were attempting to develop a ‘good cop, bad cop’ dynamic, potentially giving them an edge in negotiations with foreign powers – after the collapse of nuclear talks with Donald Trump.
In January 2017, former State Department official Jonathan Winer destroyed several years worth of reports from former UK spy Christopher Steele, at Steele’s request, according to the Daily Caller, citing a report released Tuesday.
Winer, a former legislative assistant to former Sen. John Kerry who became the State Department’s Special Envoy for Libya when Kerry was Secretary of State – was Steele’s contact at the State Department, and received the now-debunked reports claiming that President Trump had been compromised by the Russians.
According to the Senate report, Winer disclosed that he destroyed reports that Steele had sent him over the years. The Senate report also says that Winer failed to reveal when asked in his first interview with the committee that he had arranged the meeting for Steele at the State Department months earlier.
“After Steele’s memos were published in the press in January 2017, Steele asked Winer to make note of having them, then either destroy all the earlier reports Steele had sent the Department of State or return them to Steele, out of concern that someone would be able to reconstruct his source network,” reads the Senate report, which quote sWiner as saying “So I destroyed them, and I basically destroyed all the correspondence I had with him.“
In total, Winer had received over 100 intelligence reports from Steel between 2014 and 2016.
Emails that The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit show that Winer shared Steele’s reports with a small group of State Department officials. The Senate report says that the State Department was able to provide the committee with Steele’s reports from 2015 and 2016, though most from 2014 are missing.
In March, Steele told a UK court that he had “wiped” all of his dossier-linked correspondence in December, 2016 and January, 2017, and had no records of communications with his primary dossier source, Igor Danchenko.
In addition to receiving reports from Steele, Winer gave Steele various anti-Trump memos from Clinton operative Sidney Blumenthal, which originated with Clinton “hatchet man” Cody Shearer. Winer claims he didn’t think Steele would share the Clinton-sourced information with anyone else in the government.
“But I learned later that Steele did share them — with the FBI, after the FBI asked him to provide everything he had on allegations relating to Trump, his campaign and Russian interference in U.S. elections,” Winer wrote in a 2018 Op-Ed.
Steele was paid $168,000 by opposition research firm Fusion GPS to produce his anti-Trump dossier, which was funded in part by Hillary Clinton and the DNC, who used law firm Perkins Coie as an intermediary.
As scenes of brutal violence become depressingly commonplace in an NYC were hundreds of cops have been removed from their street posts by Bill de Blasio’s NYPD, this latest video shared by the New York Post is particularly memorable.
In an attack that took place in Manhattan’s garment district, a well-heeled part of town where violence is uncommon, two young men beat and robbed a retired NYPD sergeant after the man appeared to try and reason with one of the two men, before the man – who had a desk warrant out for aggressive panhandling at the time – suddenly assaulted him.
Nobody bothered to intervene as assailant landed dozens of punches to the sergeant’s head, and as his partner in crime came by to pick up his belongings.
After the ordeal was over, one of the assailants returned to deliver another kick to the retired sergeant’s head as he tried to regain his composure. Later, one of the patrons at a nearby deli offered the sergeant some napkins to help wipe off his face.
The suspect, whom police sources have identified as Masterjadin Roman, 20, of Canarsie, has been arrested.
In timing sure to make things awkward at the UN where the Security Council just voted down the United States’ bid to extend the weapons embargo on the Islamic Republic, Tehran has unveiled a new ballistic missile named after Gen. Qassem Soleimani, killed last January in a US drone strike.
“Iran displayed locally made ballistic and cruise missiles – a move certain to anger the United States as it prepares to demand that all UN sanctions be reimposed on the country,” Al Jazeera reports. State media featured a ballistic missile launch test in the desert Thursday.
The other missile is named after Iraq’s top Shia militia leader who was killed in the same convoy while traveling with Soleimani through the Baghdad airport, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Defense Minister Amir Hatami touted the ballistic missile’s range of 1,400km (or 600 miles), with the cruise missile at an estimated 1,000km (400 miles), which flies in the face of Washington’s demands that Iran shut down its advanced missile program.
Indeed the Iranians almost seem positively boastful, choosing this moment to show off the new missiles as a thumb in the eye to the United States, given it was only last Friday night the UN vote was announced wherein the US utterly failed to achieve its objective. The only “yes” vote the US could muster in its favor was from the Dominican Republic.
“Missiles and particularly cruise missiles are very important for us… The fact that we have increased the range from 300km to 1,000km in less than two years is a great achievement,” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on the occasion of the new weapons roll out Thursday. “Our military might and missile programs are defensive,” he emphasized.
Though Iran hawks have consistently warned these ballistic missile pursuits go hand in hand with Tehran’s alleged nuclear weapons aspirations, and could be used to attack US allies like Israel or even American bases in the region (as happened earlier this year in response to the Soleimani assassination), it must be remembered that the two countries immediately bordering Iran on either side have both been attacked by the United States and are still being occupied.
In the aftermath of the George Floyd killing, protests erupted across dozens of cities in California with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets, and despite the raging coronavirus pandemic they were cheered on loudly by the state’s liberal elite with some of the most prominent Hollywood actors taking daily turns to voice their support for the protesters while condemning anyone who did not side with the BLM movement, even when so frequently it devolved into violent rioting and looting of innocent bystanders. All of that abruptly ended, however, when BLM invaded Beverly Hills chanting “eat the rich.” That’s when the police quickly showed up and immediately cleared out all the protesters.
But while such NIMBY hypocrisy has long been a fixture of the ultra-liberal Golden State, nothing compares to what just happened in Chicago whose Mayor Lori Lightfoot – best known for encouraging local BLM protests, going so far as saying that black lives are “more important that downtown corporations” after the unprecedented looting that took place last week – defended the Chicago Police Department’s ban on protesters being able to demonstrate on the block where she lives, telling reporters Thursday that she and her family at times require heightened security because of threats she receives daily.
Yes, Mayor Lori is all about BLM protests… as long as they are literally not in her back yard.
Lightfoot refused to elaborate on the specific threats according to the Chicago Tribune, but said she receives them daily against herself, her wife and her home. Lightfoot also told reporters that comparisons to how the Police Department has protected previous mayors’ homes, such as Rahm Emanuel’s Ravenswood residence, are unfair because “this is a different time like no other.
“I think that residents of this city, understanding the nature of the threats that we are receiving on a daily basis, on a daily basis, understand I have a right to make sure that my home is secure,” Lightfoot said, failing to grasp the simplest truth that all citizens of “her” devastated city also have a right to make sure that their home is secure although unlike Lightfoot they don’t have the local police to protect them. Because when it comes to outrageous liberal hypocrisy, things get complicated.
Lightfoot and Chicago police Superintendent David Brown were asked at an unrelated news conference about a Tribune report noting police have banned protesters from demonstrating on her block in the Logan Square neighborhood, ordering officers to arrest anyone who refuses to leave. The directive surfaced in a July email from then-Shakespeare District Cmdr. Melvin Roman to officers under his command. It did not distinguish between the peaceful protesters Lightfoot regularly says she supports and those who might intend to be destructive, but ordered that after a warning is given to demonstrators, “It should be locked down.”
Activists and police sources could not cite instances when the city repeatedly locked down her predecessor Emanuel’s block against protesters. The Kenwood block where former President Barack Obama lived with his family when his primary residence was in Chicago was shut down for access only by residents after his election.
But Lightfoot said such comparisons “don’t make any sense,” after Brown referenced the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – which she has repeatedly overriden as a concern when BLM protests are to be held – as well as civil unrest that have flared since the George Floyd killing at the hands of Minneapolis police.
“I’m not going to make any excuses for the fact that, given the threats I have personally received, given the threats to my home and my family, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure they’re protected,” Lightfoot said. “I make no apologies whatsoever for that.
It wasn’t clear if Lightfoot would apologize to all those millions of Chicago residents who – just like her – are trying to avoid threats against their own families by angry, violent looters; looters whose despicable actions Lightfoot has repeatedly turned her eyes away from in hopes of peak virtue signaling.
According to the Chicago Tribune, since the order, and even for a time just prior to its writing, Chicago cops have repeatedly blocked protesters’ access to the block with groups of officers and barricades. Police have often kept protesters contained at the nearby corner of Kimball and Wrightwood avenues, though one standoff between activists and officers last month saw police go as far as bringing in an armored vehicle in case things got out of hand.
Aside from the expanded police presence to block protesters from reaching her home, Lightfoot already receives 24/7 protection from cops including officers stationed at the residence. Worse, the aggressive overpolicing of the self-absorbed hypocrite mayor has often siphoned away resources from the area’s police district, some sources with knowledge of the situation told the Tribune, leading to quiet grumbling.
Both Lightfoot and Brown noted there are laws on the books banning residential protests, but Brown acknowledged the Police Department does not always enforce them. Brown said the city tries to give “wiggle room” for protesters.
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Brown also cited instances where peaceful protests have been “hijacked” by agitators as reason for keeping demonstrators off Lightfoot’s block.
“We have seen very peaceful First Amendment protests for the most part but embedded in each of those protests have been very violent people. And they’re embedded. They put up umbrellas. And they come for a fight,” Brown said. “So we have to prepare for what we’ve seen.”
You certainly do, and so do all the other millions of Chicago residents and yet under Lightfoot’s directives it will be a miracle if Chicago has a police force this time next year… besides those cops of course stationed at Lightfoot’s house to protect the (soon to be former) mayor from the protesters she herself has repeatedly egged on.
While the man sat on the ground apparently texting on his phone, one of the rioters who had initially confronted him ran up from behind and kicked him in the side of the head, rendering him unconscious. Shouts of support for Black Lives Matter can be heard as other rioters began examining the man. A woman can be heard shouting multiple times to call 911 as the man lay bleeding on the street. Police did not arrive on the scene until after the crash and the violence had already occurred. When the police began attempting to tow away the man’s vehicle, the crowd started accusing them of “protecting white supremacists.”
A motorist was dragged from his car, forced to the ground, and beaten unconscious by Portland Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA rioters on Sunday night, as lawlessness continues to reign with no law enforcement in sight.
The so-called rioters in Portland and Seattle, BLM and ANTIFA domestic terrorists, are not only a pathetic bunch of cowardly pack animals, they are also filled with the spirit of Antichrist. You are an idiot if you think any of what they’re doing is being done to stop fascism or racism, because these people are fascists who use racism as a weapon. This is lawlessness, this is anarchy, this is absolute planned systemic violent assault.
The videos I have placed below are violent in the extreme and filled with profanity, but I have included it to show you the depth of depravity that these reprobates operate on. I want you to watch these videos multiple times, so you will know what to do should they form a line on the street where you and your loved ones are driving. You should watch the videos enough times to be able to answer the question of “should I stop or not stop” if I find them blocking the road. If you watch the videos enough times, you will have no trouble answering that question. Just picture yourself as the man sitting on the curb, the answer will come to you immediately. I was able to answer that question 3 seconds into the second video.
It’s Time To Open Your Eyes To The Fact That The Spirit Of Antichrist Is Now Here And That We Are At War Whether You Want To Be Or Not
Portland Rioters Drag Man from Car and Beat Him Senseless
FROM BREITBART NEWS: The incident was reported and shared by Andy Ngo, editor at-large of the Post Millennial. The scenes are graphic. Ngo then shared a tweet of the moments immediately preceding the assault, where the driver can be seen apparently trying to explain how and why his vehicle crashed. He is then made to sit while others search his vehicle. After trying to get up, the man is violently shoved to the ground.
Then, while the man sat on the ground apparently texting on his phone, one of the rioters who had initially confronted him ran up from behind and kicked him in the side of the head, rendering him unconscious.
Shouts of support for Black Lives Matter can be heard as other rioters began examining the man. A woman can be heard shouting multiple times to call 911 as the man lay bleeding on the street. Police did not arrive on the scene until after the crash and the violence had already occurred. When the police began attempting to tow away the man’s vehicle, the crowd started accusing them of “protecting white supremacists.”
Portland is entering its 81st consecutive day of riots as demonstrators have moved beyond attacking federal courthouses and have now entered into residential areas. The condition of the man who was knocked unconscious is unknown.
A coalition of more than 2,700 high-profile evangelicals spanning the fields of science and religion have signed onto a statement billed “A Christian Statement on Science for Pandemic Times,” which warns against the politicization of the new coronavirus and urges Christians to take appropriate action against it, including taking a vaccine when it’s ready. BioLogos was founded by U.S. National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, a devout Christian geneticist, and his wife, to foster discussions about the harmony between science and biblical faith.
These people will steal your blessed hope if you let them, my advice to you is to not let that happen. They want to make you take the COVID vaccine as well, should you trust them? Nope.
We warned you about the vaccine, we told you this was coming and now it begins to rear its ugly, ugly head. The New World Order has determined that the entire world needs to be vaccinated, and that is exactly what they will attempt to do. It will go a lot easier, though, with the help of the lukewarm Laodicean church. Allow me to introduce you to BioLogos, a consortium of evangelical sellouts who won’t rest until every Christian takes Bill Gates syringe of poison, and receives an implantable biometric ID chip.
“But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.” Mark 13:9 (KJB)
There are so many things happening now, it is easy to miss it, but if you look closely you will see it. COVID is not going away, COVID is a real virus but it has been weaponized to bring you into submission. To beat you into submission with crashed economies, forced lock downs, mandatory mask wearing, steep fines and prison time for non-compliance. The America that will exist on the other side of this is not an America you will recognize. It will be a brutal, dystopian place that the last two decades of apocalyptic zombie movies have prepared you to accept. Only the zombies will be real, if they have their way, the zombies will be me and you.
“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:20,21 (KJB)
Please visit the BioLogos website, and read every page, this is what a Laodicean sellout looks like. They want to “educate you” how science can be compatible with biblical Christianity. You will enjoy the section where they teach you how compatible evolution is with biblical creation. They will steal your blessed hope if you let them, my advice to you is to not let that happen. They want to make you take the COVID vaccine as well, should you trust them? Nope. This is their official COVID statement, you should read it, all of it. Know your enemy.
SHOULD YOU DO AS BIOLOGOS SAYS AND TAKE THE VACCINE? BEFORE YOU ANSWER, CLICK HERE FOR A MEMORY REFRESHER
2,700 evangelicals warn against politicizing coronavirus, urge Christians to take vaccine
FROM THE CHRISTIAN POST: A coalition of more than 2,700 high-profile evangelicals spanning the fields of science and religion have signed onto a statement billed “A Christian Statement on Science for Pandemic Times,” which warns against the politicization of the new coronavirus and urges Christians to take appropriate action against it, including taking a vaccine when it’s ready.
“We are deeply concerned about the polarization and politicization of science in the public square when so many lives are at stake. The word ‘science’ has become a weapon in the culture wars. Scientists are vilified and their findings ignored, while conspiracy theories go viral. Sadly, Christians seem just as susceptible to these trends. Thoughtful Christians may disagree on public policy in response to the coronavirus, but none of us should ignore clear scientific evidence,” the statement published online by the nonprofit organization BioLogos says.
“WE CALL ON ALL CHRISTIANS TO FOLLOW THE ADVICE OF PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS AND SUPPORT SCIENTISTS DOING CRUCIAL BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH ON COVID-19.”
BioLogos was founded by U.S. National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, a devout Christian geneticist, and his wife, to foster discussions about the harmony between science and biblical faith. Collins was honored earlier this year with the Templeton Prize, a financial award of $1.3 million for his storied career using science to advocate for the “integration of faith and reason.”
Some of the influential evangelicals who have already signed the statement include: Bishop Claude Alexander, senior pastor, The Park Church, Charlotte, North Carolina; National Association of Evangelicals President Walter Kim; William Phillips, a distinguished professor of physics at the University of Maryland who was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize of Physics “for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light” in 1997; and Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
THE SIGNERS AFFIRM THAT THEY “UPHOLD THE AUTHORITY OF GOD’S WORD AND SEE SCIENCE AS A TOOL TO UNDERSTAND GOD’S WORLD.”
The statement comes in the wake of the fragmented response in the Christian community to the coronavirus which has fed skepticism about how it has been handled and challenged advice from public health officials on issues such as the wearing of masks to stem the spread of the disease.
BioLogos urges Christians to wear masks, get vaccinated, correct misinformation, work for justice and pray.
“Mask rules are not experts taking away our freedom, but an opportunity to follow Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves,” it says. “Christians are called to love the truth; we should not be swayed by falsehoods. Get vaccinated against COVID-19 when a safe and effective vaccine is available and as directed by a physician. A large fraction of the population needs to be vaccinated to develop the ‘herd immunity’ which protects the immuno-compromised and others who cannot be vaccinated.”
The International Center for Technology Assessment is placing its bets on a leak from a lab in Wuhan.
“After considerable research, including a thorough review of the selected research materials and discussions with experts in the field, we have come to agree with the view that the virus causing COVID-19 did not evolve naturally but rather is the product of one of the high-security bio-medical laboratories in Wuhan, China,” the group said in a statement issued last month. “We believe that there is a preponderance of circumstantial and scientific evidence demonstrating that the ‘laboratory virus’ hypothesis is not only possible but probable. By contrast, recent refutation of the hypothesis that the virus originated at a Wuhan wet market and new findings that the virus has not been found in nature despite significant effort to do so, makes the view that the virus evolved naturally unlikely.”
“No dispositive finding on the virus’ origin can be made without a full review of the records and logs of the Wuhan high security laboratories involved, which the current stance of the government of China makes improbable. Nevertheless, in coming to a conclusion as to the probability of its laboratory origin, ICTA understands that it is critical that any analysis of the origin of this catastrophic contagion be apolitical and constructive. ICTA’s work in this area is not intended to blame individual scientists or any country, but rather to help provide the insight, and encourage the action needed to spare humanity from a series of future man-made pandemics that could surpass the current one in transmissibility and lethality.”
Andrew Kimbrell is executive director of the International Center for Technology Assessment.
“Let’s start with the probability – more likely than not – that the COVID-19 virus is a lab created virus – from one of the two labs in Wuhan China,” Kimbrell told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last month.
“Let’s take a look at the virus itself.”
“Is there anything about the virus that would indicate one way or another? The other four categories are more circumstantial. Circumstantial evidence is fine in a court of law.”
“One is – location. Where did it happen?”
“Two – precedent. Has anything like this ever happened before?”
“Three – warnings. Did anybody warn that this might happen?”
“And four – cover-up. Did the labs and the Chinese government try to cover it up?”
“Those are the five categories that I would ask your friends and skeptics to go through carefully before they use words like conspiracy or baloney. And later on I will go through why some of them are using those terms. We will get into the corporate support for these people and why you are getting this misinformation.”
“Let’s go through it. It is undisputed that this is a chimeric virus that has never been seen before. It’s a hybrid virus “
“The bat coronaviruses that are closest to COVID-19 are lacking two incredibly important things that COVID-19 has that make it so dangerous. One is the proteins that spike the cell – the spike proteins. The spike proteins that are on COVID-19 are completely different than those on the bat coronaviruses that are closest to it otherwise. Then there is the furin cleavage site. This is something that allows the virus to get inside the cell and have the cell mechanism reproduce it. That does not exist in this group of bat coronaviruses.”
“You have a basic bat coronavirus and you have two things that have been added to it. The spike protein is closest to an animal called the pangolin. We do know that somehow this bat virus was infected by at least two other animals and then went into a human host. And for that virus to be the way it is, it had to happen simultaneously.”
“We have a hybrid virus never seen before in nature, it had to have been infected simultaneously with these other elements that make it more dangerous – make it more infective and more transmissible.”
“There is no theory about how they got in there. They used to think it was the wet market. That has been completely debunked, including by the Chinese government. No one believes that anymore. That explanation was a smoke screen put up by the Chinese and Americans who want to support that idea.”
What are the chances it happened naturally?
“Someone will have to come up with a scenario. It sounds almost like a joke. A horseshoe bat, a pangolin and some other creature met in a bar in Wuhan and somehow simultaneously infected them.”
“I haven’t seen any scenario of how that happened or where that happened. But we know that had to happen. It happened somewhere. It either happened in nature or it happened in the Wuhan Institute of Virology or it happened at the CDC lab in Wuhan.”
“That is undisputed. Then at the end of May, Nickolai Petrovsky and his team in Australia said – let’s see if we can find a creature that might have an affinity for this. That way we might find the animals that might have come together to create this virus. Their conclusion was that they could not find it anywhere else in nature. These are objective researchers. They are not Trump supporters. That study made it even more difficult to accept the natural theory.”
“Meanwhile, we know that this was exactly the kind of work that was going on at one or both of the Wuhan labs. They call it gain of function research. I call it gain of threat research. They were taking NIH money, through the EcoHealth Alliance to do exactly this. And they did exactly this. They added different kinds of protein spikes. They mixed and matched various viruses. They genetically engineered them. They infected a number of animals. They put them into human cell cultures to increase the threat.”
Why were they doing this research?
“The point of the research was to collect all of these bat viruses from 1,000 miles away from Wuhan and bring them back into their labs. The bat coronavirus was also the basis for the first SARS outbreak. They collected the bat viruses and brought them back to the labs. And then we are going to see what it would take for them to become really dangerous. What would it take? The idea was – if we can show what it takes in a laboratory for them to become incredibly dangerous then maybe we can predict that happening in nature. And then maybe we could have vaccines or interventions and be ready for the next pandemic.”
It was a way to develop vaccines?
“No. It was a way to develop a potential pandemic virus that might have occurred in nature at some point in the future. By having it, they would be able to think about what intervention strategies might work against this virus, which is now only in the lab, not in nature.”
“They would say – we’re trying to not have the next pandemic. And there are a couple of problems with that argument. I sent you an article by Marc Lipsitch at Harvard and Tom Inglesby at Johns Hopkins. They pretty much demolished this argument. They say – there are hundreds of combinations of coronaviruses that could happen in nature. The idea that you can pick one or two and that is going to be the one that nature comes up with is like winning the lottery. And then to create a vaccine for a non existent virus – except in your laboratory – no one is going to do that. They are going to wait to see what happens in nature.”
“This whole gain of threat research, there are many reputable scientists now saying – it gives you no information, it’s not useful for vaccines, it’s not useful for anything except for the curiosity and interest of this small group of scientists who do this research.”
“Meanwhile they are creating novel pandemic viruses.”
“Let’s get back to the list.”
“Location. Why did this happen in Wuhan? Of all the cities in China. Of all the areas where bats are – and they are nowhere near Wuhan, they are 1,000 miles away. Of all of the cities it could have happened in, of all the small towns it could have happened in, why did it happen in Wuhan? What are the odds of this happening in Wuhan naturally versus happening in Wuhan because researchers there were doing exactly the kind of research that would create it? What are the odds of that? If I was in court, I would say that’s a very strong indicator that it happened in the labs. And in the interview with Shi Zhengli, she was so surprised. Why would this happen in Wuhan? And that’s why she got so nervous. Check that in favor of the lab theory.”
“Two is precedent. Was there any precedent? Yes. In 2003 and 2004, the original SARS virus was leaked four times from Chinese laboratories. It was reported in Science magazine. So, we’ve already had a leak of SARS 1. And a couple of people who worked in that laboratory died in 2004. We have a precedent with the SARS virus.”
“What about warnings? There were numerous warnings. UPMC Center for Health Security looked at ten nations including China. In 2016, they found inadequate training and inadequate safety personnel in China to secure biosecurity.”
“In 2017, there is an article in Nature where scientists say they are very concerned about a biosafety level 4 laboratory in China doing all of this controversial research. We don’t feel they have the experience or the expertise to do that.”
“In 2018, we have the cables from the U.S. State Department saying – we are in this lab in China and we are very concerned that they are not taking appropriate precautions. And we are hoping that the United States government is coming to help them because this could be a very bad result. That was reported on by Josh Rogin in the Washington Post. You can read these cables.”
“In 2019, the Global Health Security Index for the very first time looks at biosecurity for 195 nations. No one has ever done anything that comprehensive. They found that China was not even in the top fifty of the most biosecure countries.”
“NBC reported that in October 2019 there was cell phone silence at the Wuhan lab. They were concerned that might have had something to do with an accident.”
“You had all of these warnings. You had precedent. Then you have a massive cover-up. Milton Leitenberg in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists goes over that cover-up in great detail in an article in June titled “Did the SARS-CoV-2 virus arise from a bat coronavirus research program in a Chinese laboratory? Very possibly.”
“Leitenberg goes over the cover-up in detail. China orders the virus destroyed. They punish those who were publishing stories about it. They refused to make any records from the labs available. They put out disinformation that it came from a U.S. military lab.”
What about the so called batwoman?
“The Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli. She works at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. She says she didn’t sleep a wink for days, fearful that the virus came from her lab. But now she assures us that it didn’t come from her lab. She may be right or she may be wrong. I don’t know. It may have come from the other lab or from someone else working there. But she herself was so frightened about the possibility that her research had created this pandemic that she didn’t sleep a wink for days. That’s enough to say to me – that research should never happen.”
What you call gain of threat research was banned for a while, correct?
“That’s correct. Gain of function research is used for different kinds of research. If you were to be working with a plant and were trying to get the plant to fixate nitrogen better, that would be gain of function for that plant. There is nothing wrong with gain of function research. But to use the term as they do is dishonest. The term gain of function sounds innocuous. Gain of function – that doesn’t sound bad.”
You don’t want to ban gain of function research.
“I don’t want to ban gain of function research. I’m going to take away the double speak and call it what it is – gain of threat research on potential pandemic viruses. That’s what I want to ban. No one in the world should be doing gain of threat research on potentially pandemic viruses. It’s the definition of insanity.”
“In 2014, the Obama administration declared a moratorium on any federal funding of gain of threat research. The reason they did this was because two researchers – Ron Fouchier in the Netherlands and Yoshihiro Kawaoka in Wisconsin – were working on the H5N1 bird flu, which had a 60 percent mortality rate, but was not transmissible through the air. It killed a few hundred people, but because it was not transmissible, it didn’t go very far. But they decided they were going to try and turn it into a transmissible virus and publish their results.”
“With a 60 percent mortality rate, if that virus escaped, you have a potential 1.6 billion casualties.”
Did they actually turn it into a transmissible virus?
“According to them, they did yes.”
What are the ethics of turning that into a transmissible virus?
“Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard School of Public Health said this ‘We have accepted principles, embodied in the Nuremberg Code, that say that biomedical experiments posing a risk to human subjects should only be undertaken if they provide benefits that sufficiently offset the risks – and if there are no other means of obtaining those benefits. Although these experiments don’t involve people directly, they do put human life and well-being at risk.’”