Coronavirus: A blame game or a collective fight?

With great power comes great responsibility is not just a proverb popularised by a superhero, it holds true to even the real world affairs.

The superpower, United States,  stockpiled biological weapons and continued to work on developing new and more effective variants in the 1960s, surely the use of biological weapons is inconceivable today. Initially United States was not among the signatories of the Geneva Protocol on the use of biological weapons.

Matthew Stanley Meselson a geneticist and molecular biologist currently the Thomas Dudley Cabot professor of the natural sciences at Harvard recalled how he became involved in the campaign against bioweapons “by accident.”

While working on arms control issues in 1963 as an academic he learned that the US was working on developing anthrax.

“I asked why would we do that? [My boss] said it would be a biological weapon a lot cheaper than nuclear weapons. I don’t think it hit me immediately. But by the time I got back to the office, it dawned on me that we don’t want a weapon of mass destruction that is cheap. We don’t want to save money to the point where anybody could have a cheap weapon of mass destruction.” recalls Meselson

Now we have many organisations like Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) located in The Hague, currently has 189 nations and represents about 98% of the global population. In September 2001 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a relationship agreement between UN and OPCW.

There is also Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), a legally binding treaty that outlaws biological arms. BWC entered into force on March 26, 1975. The convention discussed and negotiated in the United Nations’ disarmament forum in 1969 currently has 183 state parties including China and United States. 

Fast forward to today the scenario we are currently living in, the age of coronavirus, clearly tells us that we didn’t learn anything from our past. The presence of the global organisations, conventions, protocols to ensure the renunciation of biological weapons and all the countries who signed those agreements simply didn’t pay any heed to it, it seems. Are we doing a favour to our future generations by living this way, blinded by the greed for more power and money?

The greed that has blinded the powerful elite is not a conspiracy but a fact, an institutional analysis. The truth eventually comes out but timing is important too if we desire to come to a solution to this pandemic known as Covid 19. And then we have the threats that the powerful impose, recently the US President Donald Trump sharply criticised the World Health Organization (WHO) and said he would put a hold on US funding for the agency.

So maybe the many organisations and conventions in place to ban biological warfare need to have a yes boss mentality when it comes to being funded by the many nations who are also signatories, as there will be a threat of freezing funds.

The institutions like UN and OPCW in place holding the countries accountable for their actions are silent.  So who is accountable for all the things that have been going on since a long time? Who is responsible to get answers from the powerful elite controlling the world and whose actions affect the 99% of the rest of us?

Will Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the British Pirbright Institute which in 2015 filed for a patent for a living coronavirus, which was later approved in 2018 give us the details of what this was all about?

Will the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, John Hopkins Centre for Health Security and World Economic Forum ever explain the coincidence of a pandemic tabletop exercise in October 2019 called Event 201?

“For the scenario, we modelled a fictional coronavirus pandemic, but we explicitly stated that it was not a prediction. Instead, the exercise served to highlight preparedness and response challenges that would likely arise in a very severe pandemic. We are not now predicting that the nCoV-2019 outbreak will kill 65 million people. Although our tabletop exercise included a mock novel coronavirus, the inputs we used for modeling the potential impact of that fictional virus are not similar to nCoV-2019.” Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

Back in August 2019 in Chicago US federal agencies conducted a mock drill namely “Crimson Contagion 2019 Functional Exercise” to see how the nation would handle a pandemic, specifically a deadly global outbreak with flu like symptoms beginning in China with no known cure. Can someone be held accountable for such a prophetic and timely mock drill? 

So with nobody accountable for their actions just coming forth with prophetic ideas as if suddenly dropped from the sky on their heads we have the right to question what has been going on in all those biosafety laboratories, there should be accountability and investigations conducted to find the answers and trash the conspiracies circulating around, fair enough i think.

The Independent  had reported, “In 2009, research at Fort Detrick Laboratory in US was suspended because it was discovered it was storing pathogens which were not listed on its inventory.

The regulations on keeping close track of hazardous biological material were tightened after the 2001 anthrax attacks, which saw five people die after spores were posted to several media newsrooms and Democratic senators.

The FBI’s chief suspect in the 2001 case, Bruce Ivins, was a senior biological weapons researcher at Fort Detrick. He killed himself in 2008, shortly before the FBI was planning to charge him with the attacks.” 

We still don’t know whether the recent coronavirus outbreak was a biological weapon or not what we know is that there are laboratories all around the world making dangerous viruses. These Biosafety Laboratories , BSL-3 and BSL-4, leak deadly bio-weapons and must be closed down. These are unsafe, illegal and immoral. All these labs should be held accountable making their motives known to a wider audience.

During a recent US Defense Department Press Briefing on Investigating and Developing Vaccine Candidates Against COVID-19,  Army Brigadier General Michael J. Talley, U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC) discussed why in July 2019 Fort Detrick was issued a cease and desist order but now they are back in the business after CDC’s inspection.

The research in these many laboratories should be made public if it is for the public good and if it is about saving the humanity. The coronavirus has to be fought together because we all are in it, aren’t we?

Anam Gill

Anam Gill is a social activist and journalist from Lahore, Pakistan. She is the founder of Dialogue Café, a creative space bringing people together to interact and engage in debates. Her writings have appeared in several renowned Pakistani and international news outlets, including the Dawn, Express Tribune and Deutsche Welle.


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