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The Awful Covid Disclosures of Li-Meng Yan: Steve Bannon Associate Makes “Bioweapon” Allegation

(Expanded)

From Fox News, July:

A Hong Kong virologist who fled to the U.S. earlier this year told “Bill Hemmer Reports” in an exclusive interview Monday that lives could have been saved if the Chinese government hadn’t censored her work.

…[Li-Ming] Yan exclusively told Fox News Digital last week that she believes the Chinese government knew about the novel coronavirus well before acknowledging the outbreak publicly. She also claimed her supervisors, renowned as some of the top experts in the field, ignored research she was doing at the onset of the pandemic that she believes could have saved lives.

From Fox News, September:

The Chinese government intentionally manufactured and released the COVID-19 virus that led to mass shutdowns and deaths across the world, a top virologist and whistleblower told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday.

Carlson specifically asked Dr. Li-Meng Yan whether she believed the Chinese Communist Party released the virus “on purpose.” “Yes, of course, it’s intentionally,” she responded on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Yan said more evidence would be released but pointed to her own high-ranking position at a World Health Organization reference lab as a reason to trust her allegation.

The video of the interview shows Yan claiming that the coronavirus is like a “cow, with a deer’s head, rabbit’s ears, and a monkey’s hands” – in other words, SARS-CoV-2 is such a monstrous anomaly that human origins should be obvious immediately to any scientist working on it. So how come no-one else has drawn attention to the same evidence? And why didn’t she mention it in July, instead of confining herself to a less sensational claim about transmission? In August, the Mail on Sunday reported only that Yan “fears the disease may have been created on purpose”, rather than that she had definite proof.

On the first point, Yan alleges that scientists are in fact all in the know, but are keeping quiet due to the global influence of the Chinese Communist Party (1). And on the second, it appears that Yan was making her “bioweapon” allegation within the milieu of Steve Bannon’s alternative media “War Room”, but for some reason was holding back when speaking to Fox. The current round of media interest derives from a new paper, where she gives her current affiliation as “Rule of Law Society & Rule of Law Foundation”. As has been noted elsewhere, Bannon created both organisations in cooperation with Guo Wengui, a US-based Chinese billionaire who has been accused of corruption by the Chinese authorities. Guo also runs a website called G-News, and in June he and Bannon announced the creation of a Chinese “government-in-exile”, under the name “New Federal State of China”. Both G-News and promotional material for the “New Federal State” have been amplifying Yan’s claims (2).

The Sun followed up on the Mail on Sunday profile with a piece that described Yan as a “heroic whistleblower”, and last week the paper’s headline was shown when she made an appearance on Loose Women, a light-entertainment chat-show on ITV. Feeding back to the US, this was then reported in the New York Post ahead of her interview with Carlson.

As regards her credentials, Yan does have an academic publication history, but it is not extensive and it’s impossible to identify what exactly her contribution was to each co-authored item. One piece, published in the Lancet in March, was “correspondence” rather than a peer-reviewed article. Hong Kong University denies she worked on human-to-human transmission, and describes her as a former “post-doctoral fellow”rather than a “top virologist” with a “high-ranking position”.

The paper itself (“Unusual Features of the SARS-CoV-2 Genome Suggesting Sophisticated Laboratory Modification Rather Than Natural Evolution and Delineation of Its Probable Synthetic Route”) has simply been uploaded to Zenodo rather than published through academic processes; it is being referred to as “the Yan Report”, although three “Rule of Law Society” co-authors are also listed (Shu Kang, Jie Guan and Shanchang Hu). It has not been well-received by scientists; on Twitter, Kristian G. Andersen, from the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research, describes it as “non-scientific and false – cherry picking data and ignoring data disproving their hypotheses”.

He explains:

It’s using technical language that is impossible to decode for non-experts – poppycock dressed up as ‘science’. [1]

– “SARS-CoV-2 was created using ZC45 and/or ZXC21 bat coronaviruses”.

This simply can’t be true – there are more than 3,500 nucleotide differences between SARS-CoV-2 and these viruses. [2]

– The report ignores ALL recent coronavirus data from pangolins and bats.

Had this been included, the data would have invalidated all the ‘mysterious’ homology findings in the report as they relate to matrix protein, Orf8, receptor binding domain, etc. [3]

“Smoking gun” in the form of restriction sites.

These sites are not unique, are all present in genomes ignored by the authors (e.g., RaTG13), and are expected to be present by random chance. None of these would have been used for cloning. [4]

– Blueprint for how to make SARS-CoV-2.

Instead of following the absurd ‘recipe’ for creating SARS-CoV-2 described in the report, here’s how one could actually do it: [Link] [5]

– “Proximal Origin” paper authors are conflicted.

Not correct – my lab has never received funding from China and we have no collaborations with Chinese investigators. I have no financial interests in China. All our analyses are scientific and unbiased. [6]

Newsweek has similarly dismissive quotes from scientists, and it notes the paper’s “conspiratorial tone”:

To back up their assertion that authors of a Nature Medicine article had undisclosed conflicts of interest, they point to an announcement of an award given by China to Dr. Ian Lipkin, an epidemiologist at Columbia, for his work on the country’s disease preparedness after the first SARS outbreak. The other reference links to a scientist’s C.V.

Andersen also draws attention to a photograph that shows Rudy Giuliani posing with an associate of Guo who goes by the name of Lude, while Bannon and Yan appear behind them in a mirror. This photo was noted by J. Michael Waller a few days previously, as evidence against Yan’s claim to be “in hiding”. Rather, “she is going around with Guo Wengui’s sidekicks Lude and Bannon, who are on an image-salvaging operation to make themselves look connected to Trump”.

(Name variations: Limeng Yan; Yan Limeng; Yan Li-Meng; 闫丽梦; 閆麗夢)

Footnotes

1. Some of Yan’s supporters have referred to an article that appeared in the Daily Telegraph in June, which reported three scientists as claiming that the virus had “fingerprints” that were “indicative of purposive manipulation”. These were quotes from an article that at the time had not been published, although the Telegraph made up for this by referring to an earlier peer-reviewed article by the same authors and by securing an endorsement from former MI6 head Richard Dearlove, thus giving a spurious “intelligence” imprimatur. The article did subsequently appear, but it was not peer reviewed – indeed, the Telegraph report indicates that it consists of material that had had to be excised from the earlier paper following the peer-review process. However, it should be noted that the article – by Birger Sørensen, Angus Dalgleish and Andres Susrud – refers specifically to “the biochemistry of the Spike”. One wonders why scientists who were looking for evidence of human manipulation did not anticipate Yan’s far broader claims.

2. These promotional materials are branded to an organisation called “Himalaya”, which is active in several countries. Twitter accounts linked to Himalaya show street advertising in London (as well as an advert in the Evening Standard), as well as a protest event in Germany where participants waved a blue flag and held a banner bearing Yan’s face. There have even been leaflets promoting Yan’s claims delivered through people’s letterboxes: one was received by a resident of Kent named Chris McBride, who has uploaded images to Twitter (here and here). The leaflet describes Himalaya UK as a “social and economic entity that is established by warriors of the Whistleblower Movement, who devoted to pursue democracy, rule of law, and freedom”. Guo has also composed a song called “Take Down the CCP”; Bannon’s associate Raheem Kassam (who interviewed Yan a week before Carlson) can be seen promoting it here.

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