In the January 22, 2021, lecture above, Jonathan Latham, Ph.D., discusses what he has dubbed the pandemic virus industrial complex — who they are, how they function and interact with elements within the academic, military and commercial complexes, and how they have been trying to obscure facts that indicate SARS-CoV-2 is a manmade virus that originated in a lab.
I have previously interviewed Latham a few times. He is the publisher of Independent Science News, a website that provides critical commentary on food, agriculture and biotechnology. It’s part of the Bioscience Resource Project, an educational nonprofit public interest group co-founded by Latham and Allison Wilson, Ph.D., that provides independent research and analysis of genetic engineering and its risks.
Latham points out that there are currently no data to suggest a natural zoonotic origin of SARS-CoV-2. On the other hand, there’s plenty of evidence and data suggesting the virus was genetically manipulated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China. Much of the related research was done by a scientist called Shi Zheng-Li, Ph.D.
He goes on to summarize the Mojiang miners passage theory. This theory postulates that the virus evolved inside the bodies of six miners who became ill with a suspected novel coronavirus infection in 2012. Some of the miners were sick for several weeks — a sufficient amount of time for the virus to mutate, Latham believes.
Viral samples from the miners were sent to the WIV. Latham and Wilson believe research on these samples was what led to an accidental release of the virus in late 2019.
The Pandemic Virus Industrial Complex
Latham describes the pandemic virus industrial complex as “an interlocking set of corporations and other institutions who feed off and support each other with goods and services in a self-reinforcing way.” It is an enterprise that leverages public money for private profit. He also notes that many of these participants play unexpected roles. For example:
- Philanthropic organizations act as string-pullers, influencers and profit centers
- The Defense Department is both a cash cow and a provocateur
- Academia provides public relations via legacy media controlled by philanthropic organizations and the drug industry
- Academic nonprofits act as money launderers
“These nontraditional roles are intended to confuse and camouflage the various moving parts of what is a complex situation,” Latham says, “thereby protecting the whole from scrutiny.” While there are many similarities between the military industrial complex and the pandemic virus industrial complex, there’s an important difference between the two.
The pandemic virus industrial complex is public facing, and is expected to be beneficial and transparent. As such, it has an image of respectability that must be maintained, and that is why academics and philanthropic and nonprofit organizations play such important roles in this scheme.
Together, they help obscure the real agenda under a veneer of respectability and public good. In essence, they maintain the illusion that everything that’s taking place is for the betterment of mankind when, in reality, it’s a profit-making scheme.
Latham believes the pandemic virus industrial complex has played a decisive role in the effort to obscure the likely origin of the pandemic. He also believes this is the missing framework that helps explain the politicization of the pandemic.
Previous Obscuration Attempts of Manmade Outbreaks
In his lecture, Latham reviews some of the history of this viral pandemic industrial complex. In 2014, an Ebola outbreak in West Africa was decisively blamed on zoonotic transfer from infected bats. According to a report in EMBO Molecular Medicine,1 a 2-year-old boy playing with bats in a tree stump was Patient Zero.
However, while the paper failed to produce conclusive evidence to support its conclusion, Western media ran with this story. In West Africa, however, the rumor was that the real source of the outbreak was a hospital in Sierra Leone, which housed a biological laboratory where research on Ebola and related viruses, such as the lassa fever virus, was being done.
This research was largely funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. The reason for this funding was a recent upgrading by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the lassa fever virus as a Category A infectious substance, meaning a pathogen likely to be used as a bioweapon by terrorists. The research was carried out under the auspices of the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium, led by Harvard University.
The Consortium is also tied to other academic institutions, including Tulane University, Scripps Research Institute, the University of California, San Diego, the Broad Institute of Boston and the University of Texas, as well as a number of private drug companies. According to Latham, statements made by some of the people involved in the research suggest they were taking advantage of West Africa’s lax and inferior biosecurity standards.
In his book, “The Ebola Outbreak in West Africa: Corporate Gangsters, Multinationals & Rogue Politicians,” Chernoh Bah provides evidence showing the Patient Zero story was a fraud. The young boy died at 18 months of age, far too young to play with bats, and he was never diagnosed with Ebola. Neither was anyone in his family. The first recorded case of Ebola was actually found in Guinea, some three months after the little boy had died.
Bah also found other gaping holes in the narrative. For example, despite widespread sampling, no Ebola virus was ever found in any animal, and no animal die-offs occurred before the outbreak, which tends to be typical in natural zoonotic spillover events. Despite the obvious problems with the official narrative, no formal investigation of the lab leak theory was ever performed.
Follow the Money
According to Latham, we can learn a number of things from this story. First of all, lab escapes are likely more common than we think, and widely considered zoonotic outbreaks may not be zoonotic in origin at all. Another example is the AIDS epidemic, which you can learn about in the book “The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS.”
The second thing we can learn from the West African Ebola story relates to the money trail. The U.S. Department of Defense funded the research done by the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium. Other oft-used alternative sources are public health funding and international aid. Whatever the case, be it biodefense, public health funding or relief aid, the money comes from We the People.
Thirdly, corporate members of the Consortium had a specific business model in mind, and it had nothing to do with protecting vulnerable Africans from lassa or Ebola. The goal of drug companies is to sell vaccines, drugs and diagnostic tools, primarily to the U.S. or European militaries.
The fact that the 2014 Ebola outbreak narrative went unchallenged shows a disturbing lack of academic rigor, and it was certainly not the first time. As noted by Latham, scientists are failing in their role to pursue and promulgate knowledge and understanding.
“Instead, more and more frequently, academia creates fictions,” he says. They create “convenient, self-serving narratives.” Legacy media works hand-in-hand with such academics, acting as a megaphone for their dubious scientific claims.
Science Used for PR Purposes
One example of how businesses use academics to shape a narrative and manipulate public opinion was when, in May 2020, 77 Nobel laureates signed a public letter urging the U.S. government to reinstate funding to EcoHealth Alliance, which has subcontracted gain-of-function research on coronaviruses to the WIV. Earlier that year, then-President Trump had ordered the National Institutes of Health to cancel that funding.
The letter was organized by Sir Richard Roberts, a molecular biologist and Nobel Prize winner who also happens to be a senior executive with New England Biolabs, a manufacturer of laboratory equipment and reagents.
“Cutting funds for biotech virus research threatens their core business,” Latham says. So, is Roberts really a disinterested party? Or does he have a very keen interest in keeping dangerous gain-of-function research going, risks be damned?
Back in 2016, Roberts organized a similar campaign, in which 107 Nobel laureates attacked Greenpeace for supposedly blocking the approval of GMO golden rice.
The National Press Club in Washington D.C. brought nationwide attention to the letter with a formal press conference. One of the organizers of that press event was a former Monsanto PR executive, and the website created to promote the campaign was traced to the biotech industry.
“The point here is that there’s nothing spontaneous about these letters,” Latham says. “They’re carefully choreographed PR gambits … What is really being defended is the overlapping interests of companies like New England Biolabs and Monsanto. In this world, science and scientists are useful pawns with which to shape public opinion.”
Propaganda Now Coming From the Most Unlikely Sources
One of the latest propaganda tactics employed in an effort to shape public opinion and discourage inquisitiveness is that if you’re concerned about the potential for lab leaks, you’re anti-science and a racist pro-Trumper.
If you file freedom of information act (FOIA) requests with scientists, you’re anti-science. If you question Dr. Anthony Fauci, you’re anti-science.2,3 If you’re against GMOs, you’re anti-science. If you’re against gain-of-function research, you’re anti-science. If you’re anti-nuclear energy, you’re anti-science. This is a ploy and nothing else. Sadly, this propaganda is now being spewed by even the most unlikely of sources, such as Mother Jones.
June 14, 2021, Mother Jones published a hit piece on the Center for Food Safety, penned by Kiera Butler.4 In May 2021, the Center for Food Safety sued the NIH in an effort to force the agency to reveal its funding of gain-of-function research.
“Virologists say this kind of research is vital and has led to many important medical discoveries, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Center for Food Safety argues that gain-of-function research is too dangerous to pursue,” Butler writes.
“Why would this lefty food and farms group … rail against high-level virology research? The key to the answer has to do with the Center for Food Safety’s long opposition to the practice of genetic engineering. In a recent phone call, I spoke to CFS’s Kimbrell, who explained what he sees as the connection.
‘You genetically engineer bacteria and plants, then you genetically engineer animals, then you genetically engineer embryos — all that has happened, with some promise, but also a tremendous amount of danger and threat,’ he said.
‘Now, viruses are not technically an organism, but they are living biological elements. So, they fit certainly within that narrative: Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should do something.’
Kimbrell said he ‘absolutely’ thinks the pandemic was the result of an accidental lab release. Scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, he believes, used gain-of-function to enhance a coronavirus. The virus then escaped out of the lab, spread uncontrollably, and caused the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, in effect, gain-of-function research caused the pandemic.”
Butler also discusses the Organic Consumers Association, the U.S. Right to Know, the International Center for Technology Assessment, and Children’s Health Defense — all of which have raised questions and concerns about this kind of dangerous research on pathogens. According to Butler, they have no business questioning such research, and their involvement could put us all in jeopardy.
“With tens of thousands of followers on social media, anti-GMO groups have the potential to turn the tide of public opinion; hanging in the balance is science that could potentially help prevent the next pandemic,” she writes.
Butler Accused of Journalistic Malpractice
In true propagandist fashion, Butler goes on to rebut gain-of-function concerns with commentary from EcoHealth Alliance president Peter Daszak, Ph.D., one of the most conflicted individuals you could possibly find. Indeed, his conflicts of interest have become so widely known, he was recently removed from the Lancet commission charged with investigating the origin of COVID-19 because of it.5,6
Butler also goes to great lengths trying to paint the issue in political partisan colors, and quotes Dr. Peter Hotez, another highly compromised industry-funded player who has publicly called for cyberwarfare assaults on American citizens who disagree with official COVID narratives.
In a scathing rebuttal, Center for Food Safety founder attorney Andrew Kimbrell accuses Butler of “journalistic malpractice,”7 and rightfully so, in my opinion. She clearly tries to confuse readers by stressing that “gain-of-function” is a broad definition and that much of the gain-of-function research being done is both harmless and valuable.
However, that’s not the kind of research the Center for Food Safety or anyone else is concerned about. The Center for Food Safety’s lawsuit specifically pertains to the manipulation of pathogens in order to make them more virulent and dangerous to humans, and she didn’t interview a single mainstream scientist who has warned of the dangers associated with this practice, even though there are dozens of them.
Overall, Butler’s piece reads like classic propaganda, created by the very people with something to hide. As noted by GM Watch:8
“The Gates-funded Alliance for Science was quick to promote Butler’s article. They’re a PR campaign based at Cornell that pushes agrichemical industry views and tries to undermine the industry’s critics, particularly those critics concerned about GMOs.
As part of this effort, the Alliance for Science has been posing as an expert body on myths about the pandemic, even though they have no such myth-busting expertise. An early example of this was a piece they published by their employee Mark Lynas that branded GMWatch, among others, as conspiracy theorists for saying the virus may have accidentally leaked from a lab.
On Twitter, Mary Mangan, who sits on the Alliance’s advisory board, has been carefully tracking and commenting on exactly which ‘anti-GMO groups’ have been calling for the lab leak hypothesis to be taken seriously …
Interestingly, a reporter told HuffPost in relation to a court case involving Monsanto that she thought Mangan had tried to ‘play’ her to do a hit job on one of the expert witnesses critical of the company’s Roundup herbicide. Could it be that Ms Butler wasn’t so resistant to being played?”
Gain-of-Function Research Poses Very Real Threat
Another clear propaganda piece was published by Hotez in The Daily Beast, June 21, 2021.9 In recent weeks, Fauci’s role in the pandemic has become increasingly clear, and it’s far from flattering. He funded dangerous research that may in fact have resulted in a global outbreak. Now, he’s trying to deflect blame by saying that personal attacks on him “represent an assault on American science,” and Hotez is doing what he can to strengthen that ridiculous notion.
To do so, Hotez takes it a step further, linking attacks on Fauci to attacks not only on science but also on the very foundation of democracy. According to Hotez, “moral courage and standing up for democratic values demands that the American people throw their full support behind scientists and scientific institutions. To do otherwise is to capitulate to the forces of insurrection.”10
Like Butler, Hotez spends an inordinate amount of time trying to paint concerns about dangerous research on pathogens that have the potential to kill us all as a far-right, racist, anti-science, anti-democracy issue, when it’s nothing of the sort.
When dangerous science has the potential to wipe out mankind, it is cause for concern among thinking individuals of all political persuasions. It’s not anti-science. It’s anti-recklessness, and to prevent another disaster, those responsible must be held to account for their actions. Clearly, not all science is dangerous. Being against recklessly dangerous science does not mean you’re against all science or science in general.
If we want to prevent another pandemic like this from occurring in the future, we must first determine the origin of SARS-CoV-2 and how it ended up in the population. If it can be proven that it came from a lab, then we need to identify and hold those responsible for its creation and release accountable for their actions and/or neglect and, lastly, we need to prevent a reoccurrence by banning research in which pathogens are purposely manipulated to make them more dangerous.
To get to the bottom of it all, we need to look at the pandemic virus industrial complex. We need to dissect how it functions and how its members interlink and work together to obscure the truth.