Consider a two-day-old 60 Minutes report, moderated by Lesley Stahl, about the origins of Covid-19 and the refusal of the World Health Organization to attempt a serious, real-deal investigation of what happened.
It focuses on a WHO excursion to Wuhan earlier this year. Technology futurist and geopolitics expert Jamie Metzl, who suspects that the coronvavirus may have came from a lab leak, is the good guy in the report. EcoHealth Alliance president Peter Daszak is the bad guy.
60 Minutes transcript excerpt: “The question: how did SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, originate? Among the leading theories examined: was it accidentally leaked from a lab in Wuhan or did it come from infected animals in a wet market there?
“The WHO inquiry was far from comprehensive, because, as it has done since the beginning of the outbreak, the Chinese government withheld information.
Jamie Metzl: “I wouldn’t really call what’s happened now an investigation. It’s essentially a highly-chaperoned, highly-curated study tour.”
Lesley Stahl: “Study tour!”
Metzl: “Study tour. Everybody around the world is imagining this is some kind of full investigation. It’s not. This group of experts only saw what the Chinese government wanted them to see.”
Metzl — former NSC official in the Clinton administration and member of a WHO advisory committee on genetic engineering — is one of more than two dozen experts, including virologists, who signed an open letter earlier this month calling for a new international inquiry with a return to China.
The letter says the WHO team did not have the independence or access “to carry out a full and unrestricted investigation” specifically into a possible accidental leak from a laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the city where the first outbreak occurred.
Metzl: “We would have to ask the question, ‘Well, why in Wuhan?’ To quote Humphrey Bogart, ‘Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, why Wuhan?’ What Wuhan does have is China’s level-four virology institute, with probably the world’s largest collection of bat viruses, including bat coronaviruses.
Stahl: “I had seen that the World Health Organization team only spent three hours at the lab.”
Metzl: ‘While they were there they didn’t demand access to the records and samples and key personnel.
That’s because of the ground rules China set with the WHO, which has never had the authority to make demands or enforce international protocols.
Metzl: “It was agreed first that China would have veto power over…over who even got to be on the mission. Secondly…”
Stahl: “And WHO agreed to that.”
Metzl: “WHO agreed to that. On top of that, the WHO agreed that in most instances China would do the primary investigation. And then just share its findings…”
Metzl: “…with these international experts. So these international experts weren’t allowed to do their own primary investigation.
Stahl: “Wait. You’re saying that China did the investigation and showed the results to the committee and that was it?”
Metzl: “Pretty much that…”