Their names were mentioned frequently on June 29 at an expert forum held by House Republicans entitled “Led By Science: The COVID-19 Origin Story.” Anthony Fauci and David Hassell were even invited to speak, along with NIH director Francis Collins. All three refused.
Each of the people I’ve profiled in my Gain-of-Function Hall of Shame series is complicit in the hunting and manipulation of bat coronaviruses that likely resulted in an industrial accident (or worse) causing SARS-CoV-2 to emerge in the vicinity of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in late 2019.
However, recent sleuthing suggests that, while they are indeed the likely suspects, they may also be a carefully chosen group of spokespersons and poster-scientists whose job it is to take the flak for this deadly mistake threatening the multi-billion-dollar emerging infectious disease industry and its gain-of-function research on potential pandemic pathogens.
Peter Daszak made news this week with an addendum to his infamous February 2020 Lancet letter. In the addendum, he finally listed his many conflicts of interests that compromised his roles as Wuhan Institute of Virology funder and collaborator, spokesperson for the anti-lab-leak-hypothesis camp, and COVID origins investigator. What he failed to mention is his long-standing and ongoing relationship with Google.
Natalie Winters’ revealed in the National Pulse that Eric Schmidt’s Google had funded Wuhan collaborator Peter Daszak’s virus experiments for over a decade. The news was explosive for a number of reasons, most notably that:
1. Google has censored the lab origin hypothesis.
2. Eric Schmidt’s foundation is funding the Covid Commission Planning Group.
Winters didn’t link Google to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but I reveal here that Google has funded the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative/Metabiota and HealthMap’s work with the Wuhan Institute of Virology for several years.
Metabiota, HealthMap, the Wuhan Institute of Virology and EcoHealth Alliance were partners in USAID’s PREDICT program from 2009 to 2020.
USAID’s PREDICT and PREVENT programs, launched in 2009, actually began at Google.org in 2008 as the non-profit foundation’s Predict and Prevent program.
Then, in 2020, the Global Virome Project was rolled into the Trinity Challenge, led by Google, Microsoft, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Facebook, GSK, the Clinton Health Access Foundation, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Vaccine Confidence Project and several other corporations and corporate non-profits.
In 2021, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard launched the new, $300 million Eric and Wendy Schmidt Center, collaboration of biopharmaceutical companies, including Genentech (a member of the Roche Group), AstraZeneca, and Novartis and technology and research companies, including DeepMind, Google Research, and Microsoft.
The new government home and funding source for these efforts is HARPA, the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency. President Biden has formally proposed $6.5 billion in the FY 2021-2022 budget for the agency and Congress is currently reviewing this proposal. Whitney Webb, writing in Unlimited Hangout, warned, “This Biden Proposal Could Make the US a ‘Digital Dictatorship.’”
Google is not merely a participant in the pandemic industrial complex, but a major driver of the emerging infectious disease industry, a force that may be more powerful and influential than any other in this sphere, including Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation’s Scott Dowell.
At best, despite the billions of dollars devoted to these efforts since 2008, Google has failed to predict or prevent a single outbreak or epidemic. At worst, it may have had a hand in causing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Google, Metabiota, the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Origins of COVID-19
Through Metabiota, a government-funded for-profit organization that Google Ventures is invested in and partners with, Google has funded and collaborated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology for several years.
Metabiota, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, along with EcoHealth Alliance, were members of the PREDICT and PREDICT-2 Consortiums which dispersed $211.8 million in USAID PREDICT grants between 2009 and 2020.
The three organizations received PREDICT funding for work they published together in May 2014, “Evidence for Retrovirus and Paramyxovirus Infection of Multiple Bat Species in China,” an analysis of bat viruses collected in Yunnan near Pu’er City, south of Kunming, between November 2011 and March 2012.
That places Google at a scene of a very significant moment in the COVID-19 origin story.
It was in Kunming, just after Metabiota, the Wuhan Institute of Virology and EcoHealth Alliance had finished their virus hunt that six men exposed to bat guano were hospitalized with severe pneumonia of an unknown cause. They were admitted to the hospital in April. Three died. The longest hospitalization lasted into September.
It was during and after that outbreak, (August and September 2012 and April and July 2013) that Shi Zhengli, working under a grant from Anthony Fauci’s National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, discovered the closest known relative to SARS-CoV-2 in the same cave where the six men had been working.
In February 2020, Shi published the same virus as RaTG13, calling attention to its similarities to SARS-CoV-2 without mentioning the virus’s relationship to the hospitalized men or the fact that it had been published as RaBtCoV/4991 in 2016’s “Coexistence of multiple coronaviruses in several bat colonies in an abandoned mineshaft.”
The omission tells us there’s something about the hospitalized men Shi Zhengli doesn’t want us to know.
Did the men get sick while “cleaning the bats’ feces inside the cave” for one of the PREDICT research teams?
Was RaTG13 taken from the hospitalized men rather than a bat colony, as Drs. Jonathan Latham and Alison Wilson have suggested?
Is that where Peter Daszak and Shi Zhengli got the virus they gave to Ralph Baric for his infamous gain-of-function experiments published in “A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence”? It was around this time (between April 2011 and September 2012) that WIV’s Shi Zhengli and EcoHealth’s Peter Daszak, working with the USAID PREDICT Consortium, discovered the first bat SARS-like coronavirus that uses the ACE2 receptor “at a single location in Kunming.”
Now that we know that Metabiota was virus hunting with the Wuhan Institute of Virology right before the outbreak, could this explain why Google is so interested in suppressing the origins of COVID-19?
Strangely, none of the PREDICT scientists published anything related to the deadly outbreak, even though spillover events like this were their raison d'etre, and the Wuhan Institute of Virology participated in attempts to diagnose the illness.
The first news of the 2012 outbreak was in March 2014, when Science Magazine ran a story, “A New Killer Virus in China?” about the publication of “Novel Henipa-like Virus, Mojiang Paramyxovirus, in Rats, China, 2012.” According to the authors, an all-Chinese team led by Qi Jin:
We report on a novel henipa-like virus, Mojiang paramyxovirus (MojV), in rats (Rattus flavipectus) in China.
In June 2012, in Mojiang Hani Autonomous County, Yunnan Province, China, severe pneumonia without a known cause was diagnosed in 3 persons who had been working in an abandoned mine; all 3 patients died. Half a year later, we investigated the presence of novel zoonotic pathogens in natural hosts in this cave.
Did they go looking for paramyxoviruses because that was what the Metabiota team had been looking for when men cleaning an abandoned mine for them had gotten sick?
Google’s Pandemic Profiteering
In 2008, Google.org committed $30 million to virus hunting and gain-of-function research on potential pandemic pathogens through a project it called Predict and Prevent. At least $5.5 million of that went to Dr. Nathan Wolfe’s non-profit Global Viral Forecasting Initiative, which was soon to become the for-profit Metabiota. Other GVFI funders at the time included the Skoll Foundation, which also gave $5.5 million, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Merck Research Laboratories and the US Department of Defense.
When the GVFI became the for-profit Metabiota, Google Ventures continued to invest. In addition, it created a business partnership with Metabiota, “offering its big-data expertise to help the company serve its customers–insurers, government agencies and other organizations–by offering them forecasting and risk-management tools.” In other words, they sell pandemic insurance!
Google’s Predict and Prevent was a profitable investment. The company parlayed the $30 million it bundled through its non-profit Google.org, into hundreds of millions in government grants for its partners in the pandemic industrial complex, including $94 million for its for-profit partner Metabiota since 2008.
In its first funding cycle, 2009-2014, $74.7 million was dispersed to these partners from USAID through Dr. Jonna Mazet’s One Health Institute at the University of California, Davis. I have not been able to find a record of sub-awards on that grant. In its second funding cycle, 2014-2020, $137.1 million was dispersed, again through Mazet at UC-Davis. The record of sub awards show that EcoHealth Alliance and Metabiota were the primary recipients of round-2 funding, together receiving more than $74 million, often dispersed in matching grants. For instance, they each got $9.1 million in 2016 and $12.7 million in 2015.
But, Google’s “Predict and Prevent” concept wasn’t just a business or money-making opportunity. It was a means of shaping our understanding of disease threats.
Google as Mythmaker
By embellishing the fiction that most diseases were contracted by humans from wild animals, Google helped to distract from the many health and safety concerns related to the factory farm production of animal protein, bio-weapons research and gain-of-function laboratory experiments on potential pandemic pathogens.
When Google launched Predict and Prevent in 2008, it was intended to settle controversies around the role of modern science in the emergence of HIV/AIDS and Ebola (something I discussed in my profile of Anthony Fauci).
Google justified Predict and Prevent with an exaggeration of the dubious findings of a 2008 article by Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance, that “Three-quarters of new diseases are zoonoses, meaning they've jumped from animals to humans.”
That assertion was just as controversial in 2008 as the claim that humans got SARS-CoV-2 directly from bats is today.
It was drawn from a paper by Peter Daszak that doesn’t mention Marburg, the first filovirus ever detected, which was undeniably the result of laboratory workers being exposed to monkey kidney cell cultures during the production of polio vaccines. Daszak designated Lyme disease, Ebola, HIV/AIDS and SARS as natural zoonoses without commenting on the research of independent scientists journalists and researchers, working without institutional funding, who uncovered evidence to the contrary.
In sum, Google was—and is—in it for myth-making as much as money.
To the corporations and government agencies it invests in, partners with, has licensing agreements with, and sells ads to, there’s no difference between myth-making and money-making. It’s Google’s biggest asset.
The product Google sells is its supreme and unrivaled power to shape perceptions through its monopoly control of information accessed through internet searches.
Right now, they manage our perceptions. Ultimately, they aim to manage us.
How this could play out in the health-monitoring space is the very definition of dystopian. If you have not yet read Whitney Webb’s “This Biden Proposal Could Make the US a ‘Digital Dictatorship,’” please take the time now.