In earlier articles I related the opinions of biochemists and bio-warfare specialists on the circumstances justifying suspicion of a virus being created in a lab and deliberately released in a foreign country as a means of either low- or high-intensity warfare, or as merely a means of destabilising a nation and perhaps severely damaging its economy, with the loss of life being an added plus. The US is the country that appears most devoted to biological warfare, though a number of other nations are eager participants, including the UK and Israel.
I would remind readers here of the statement from PNAC, in a report titled, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”, that
“Advanced forms of biological warfare that can ‘target’ specific genotypes may transform biological warfare … to a politically useful tool.” (1)
This subject is difficult to discuss openly in a nation of people, or even within international bodies like the UN. The infliction of such a pathogen onto a nation is clearly an act of war. However, if the leaders have not irrefutable proof of a bio-weapon and its source, and are not prepared for a military response, the only solution is to remain silent and emphasise research on defensive measures in the event of a recurrence. Even with overwhelming circumstantial evidence, a public statement or an accusation would likely be derided as yet another unfounded conspiracy theory. This is essentially the same with disclosure to the UN General Assembly or other such body; an accusation lacking conclusive proof would merely be derided and embarrassing.
This is similarly true with destabilization and violence, as China has very recently experienced in Hong Kong (and which has not yet stabilized), and the violence in Tibet and Xinjiang. The American ‘black hand’ (from the American consulate) was caught red-handed in Hong Kong and sources of funding the HK terrorists are now being identified. There is no dispute anywhere that the violence and terrorism in both Tibet and Xinjiang were American-inspired and funded, but absolute irrefutable proof is lacking. All of these are clearly acts of war but, lacking final proof, responses are limited to defensive measures.
In a previous article on China’s new coronavirus, I referred to a thesis on Biological Weapons by Leonard Horowitz and Zygmunt Dembek who stated that clear signs of a genetically-engineered bio-warfare agent were (a) a disease caused by an uncommon (unusual, rare, or unique) agent, with (b) lack of an epidemiological explanation, i.e. no clear idea of source; (c) An “unusual manifestation and/or geographic distribution”, such as race-specificity; and (d) multiple sources of infection. (2)
China’s coronavirus appears to satisfy all four criteria. This is especially true since it appears that only one Caucasian (and some Japanese) has been infected to date, with the virus so far appearing to be tightly focused to Chinese.
Also the statement by Dr. Leonard Horowitz who quoted one military expert as saying “Even if you suspect biological terrorism, it’s hard to prove. It’s equally hard to disprove . . . You can trace an arms shipment, but it’s almost impossible to trace the origins of a virus that comes from a bug.” Another expert stated that a properly-done release of an infectious agent cannot be traced to its source and might be considered an “act of God”.
In 2003, many Russian medical experts voiced the opinion that the SARS virus was most likely man-made and deliberately released as a weapon. Sergei Kolesnikov, a member of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, said the propagation of the SARS virus might well have been caused by leaking a combat virus grown in bacteriological weapons labs because the natural compound [of contained virus genome sections] was impossible, that the mix could never appear in nature, but could be done only in a laboratory. (3)
At the same time, Nikolai Filatov, the head of Moscow’s epidemiological services, stated he believed SARS was man-made because “there is no vaccine for this virus, its make-up is unclear, it has not been very widespread and the population is not immune to it.” (4) (5)
It appears the Russians may be arriving at the same conclusion for China’s new virus in 2020. The text below consists of a condensed version of an interview conducted by the Russian news portal mk.ru, on January 27, 2020, with Igor Nikulin, a former member of the UN Commission on Biological and Chemical Weapons (1998-2003). (6)
The article begins by noting that the prevalence of the coronavirus in China is increasing, while Beijing takes extraordinary measures to reduce the impact of this disaster. It further states that a number of experts “note strange coincidences in the circumstances” of the emergence of this new infection and are reluctant to exclude an “artificial origin”. Mr. Nikulin was asked to comment on the situation.
With regard to the interview, we should emphasize that at this juncture of the coronavirus pandemic there is no firm evidence of the use of biological weapons against the People’s Republic of China. This Russian viewpoint is not fully corroborated. Translated from Russian.
Russian Expert: “We Cannot Rule Out Man Made Origin of these Infections”
Interviewer: in recent years dangerous for humans coronaviruses appear more and more often. What does this have to do with anything?
Nikulin: With these coronaviruses, the situation is really very strange. Until 2000, none of them “jumped on a person.” They have been living next to humans for millions of years, but always only on some animals parasitized. For example, on camels, as in the case of [MERS]. Or on bats, birds, anyone, but this infection did not pass on to a person. And there are already 8 deadly viruses in 20 years. It’s obviously too much.
Interviewer: So we can’t rule out the man-made origin of these infections?
Nikulin: If it was the first outbreak, you’d think it was a natural mutation. But it is hardly natural, because every few years such incidents are repeated. It’s atypical pneumonia, it’s avian flu, it’s swine flu, it’s something else.
Interviewer: Some experts note that the time of the outbreak in China seems to be chosen specifically to cause maximum harm. Just on the eve of the New Year on the Eastern calendar, when in China mass internal migration for the holidays, as well as events with the participation of a large number of people. And the place seemed to be specially [selected]. Historically and geographically, all roads in China lead to Wuhan. It is the largest transport hub, the largest international airport. Through it [planes] fly to the States, Australia, Japan, the Middle East, Paris, London, Moscow. Besides these coincidences, what can prove the artificial origin of the virus?”
Nikulin: Just deciphering the genome. Its results may show if it is a virus of natural origin, or laboratory, when some recombinant “piece” is inserted into the gene . . . there are modern computer programs [that] allow you to read all this, decipher and compare with the samples available in databases.
Interviewer: Is it possible that the new coronavirus only affects people of Chinese nationality? So it’s set on certain features of the human gene?
Nikulin: If it turns out that this is indeed the case, then such a natural mutation cannot be accurate. It’s mathematical proof that it’s an artificially created virus.
Interviewer: In which labs can it appear?
Nikulin: I can only assume. But look: China, like Russia, is surrounded by American research biolaboratories. They are in different countries along the perimeter of China’s borders – in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Taiwan, Philippines, South Korea, Japan. They were in Indonesia, but they closed them. And wherever there are these American biolaboratories, or near them, there are outbreaks of new diseases, often unknown. Threats to the local population are simply ignored by Americans. The main thing is that it was away from the territory of the United States.
Interviewer: How many foreign biolaboratories do the U.S. have?
Nikulin: It’s 400.
Interviewer: They are overseen by the Pentagon?
Nikulin: Of course. It’s all funded from the Pentagon budget. Therefore, it is not necessary to say that peaceful humanitarian research is being carried out there. Do you think the Pentagon’s money is being spent on peaceful research? No one is allowed in. These are military labs. When more than a hundred people died in Georgia near such a laboratory within one month, do you think someone was allowed to go there? No one was allowed into the American laboratory at all.
Those countries that consider themselves victims of bioterrorism should investigate all these cases and bring them up for international discussion. For example, to the UN Security Council. To raise the issue of the activities of American biolaboratories outside the United States. We have to do something. Because a lot of people are already suffering from it. And in general, it is necessary to strengthen the biosecurity of the country.
Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. His writing has been translated into more than 20 languages and is available on more than 100 foreign-language websites around the world. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.