Some personal issues required us to take the last couple of days off. We are, as always, appreciative of your indulgence. We're excited to be back tonight for what we think is a great show and we begin with an extraordinary hearing that was held today on Capitol Hill, conducted by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic that provided all new and highly compelling evidence that Dr. Anthony Fauci deliberately manipulated the scientific investigation into – and the public debate regarding – the origins of the COVID pandemic.
Specifically: Fauci was well aware that ample evidence existed to support the belief that COVID came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and yet he secretly worked – using the immense power he wields over budgets and scientists – to have the lab leak theory declared to be a crazy, debunked conspiracy theory, and instead claimed a scientific certainty that he knew was lacking for the view that COVID evolved naturally, meaning that it had a zoonotic origin by species leaping from non-human animals into humanity. We will show you some of the most important exchanges from today's hearing and explore the answers we now have and the ones we still need to get.
Plus, a new article in the liberal-left British New Statesman officially expelled from the left my colleague here on Rumble, Russell Brand. The article is entitled “We have lost Russell Brand” and that article has no importance unto itself. Nobody, least of all Russell, cares if some neoliberal magazine in London considers him part of the left or not, but in arguing that he has now joined the heterodox part of the far-right –having been taken in, it argues, by the likes of Joe Rogan, Tucker Carlson and myself – this article really does vividly reveal how these labels are now wielded far more as tools of coercion, conformity-enforcement and punishment, then as illuminating signifiers of substantive belief. And what it really reveals is how, in mainstream circles, the terms “left” and “right” have become so inverted as to be meaningless, largely because the most meaningful dichotomy is no longer archaic dichotomies of “Democrat versus Republican” or even “left versus right”, but rather pro or anti-establishment or, relatedly, pro or anti-authoritarianism. Since few articles make as manifestly clear how these terms are now wielded, we'll examine this one as a means of shedding light on – more broadly – how radically our discourse has changed.
For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update, starting right now.
Congressional hearings on the origins of COVID
There was a newly created committee as part of the new Republican majority called the House Subcommittee on the COVID Pandemic. Today it held its first hearing, designed to examine what is – in my view and I think it's hard to dispute at this point – one of the most significant controversies in science and journalism in this generation, namely the obviously manipulated discourse, intentionally manipulated discourse, surrounding one of our generation's most important questions, namely, how did the COVID pandemic begin? From where did the virus, the novel coronavirus, originate?
In order to be able to have the key context for this hearing, it's important to quickly review some of the key events that preceded not just the hearing but the most recent revelations that give real context and real fuel to this debate. Just last week, we covered in-depth, in an episode devoted to some new findings, that key parts of the U.S. government – including some of its most elite scientists and its teams – are now convinced not just that the lab leak is viable but, according to at least two key agencies – the Department of Energy and the FBI – their belief now is that the lab leak is the most likely explanation for how the COVID virus began, that it emanated or leaked intentionally or otherwise, from the Wuhan Institute of Virology
Most of these agencies are emphasizing their belief that it was unintentional, as a leak, not something that was deliberately weaponized. But they haven't really strongly opined on that as much as they have on their view, whether with low confidence or mid-level confidence, that the much more likely explanation for how COVID originated is not that it was naturally occurring in science, or that it had a zoonotic origin – that it leaked from bats or pangolins to humans. But instead, according to these key and elite scientific teams inside the U.S. government – inside the U.S. Security State – they have now concluded that the lab leak theory is the most likely explanation.
What is so important about this news is not that it closes the debate forever – there are still agencies in the U.S. government that believe it's more likely that the virus originated naturally. The CIA continues to maintain a posture of neutrality – you know, the CIA is always eager to latch on to a theory only once they're certain it's absolutely true. That's how much integrity that agency has.
But the fact that the Department of Energy and the FBI – and specifically this key elite team of scientists within the Department of Energy tasked with overseeing the U.S. government's own biological research labs – have concluded the lab leak theory is the most viable is so important because what it reveals is that the debate that Dr. Fauci caused to be closed, almost immediately at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, is, in fact, very open and always has been open. Specifically, with regard to the lab leak theory, that bout in secret eagerly engineered to have declared to be some crazy, deranged conspiracy theory that was so debunked, according to him and the team of scientists he assembled, that Big Tech did not even allow you to express the view that you thought COVID came from the lab, upon pain of being banned or having your post removed. That is how strong was the consensus that Fauci engineered and imposed that the U.S. government knew for sure from the start of that pandemic where COVID came from and what they said they knew for sure was that it came from a species leaping naturally occurring, zoonotic origin, and not from a lab leak.
All along, what we know for sure – and this is the evidence we reviewed in depth last week, so we're just going to show you the highlights – from the very beginning, the question obviously, that people wanted to ask, especially leading virologists who have studied viruses like this their whole life, was where did this come from? Where did this novel coronavirus come from? And what was so remarkable about the speed with which the U.S. government declared itself certain was that, first of all, they called it a novel coronavirus because it was unlike anything science had seen before. It was novel, new and different. It needed to be studied. And so, the idea that the U.S. government was instantly able with certainty to identify where it came from in and of itself was just inherently suspect. And yet they were adamant that they were able to determine the cause right away before they knew how to test for it, before they knew how to treat it, before they knew almost anything about it, they declared that everything was off limits as a possible explanation for its origin, except the theory that Fauci claimed – baselessly – they had proven or were certain of, namely that it came from natural evolution. What made that additionally suspect is the fact that the Chinese government also declared very early on, in fact, late in 2019, rather, heading into 2020, that the debate over Covid's origin was so clear and so conclusive that no evidence needed to be examined. They refused to allow any evidence to be examined either with regard to the Wuhan Institute of Virology – to determine whether it might have led from there – or to study the data they had collected as ground zero for this pandemic. And so even if Dr. Fauci had managed to assemble a team of scientists so brilliant that they were capable of instantly concluding with so much certainty to close the debate where COVID's origins were, the fact that the Chinese had made it impossible for them to even access the data that you would need to even get started, made the idea that they had been able to prove the origins of COVID additionally suspect. And yet that's exactly what they did. They announced in various ways in a letter in Lancet, followed by an article in Nature, followed by all kinds of other press conferences and assertions they definitively declared, led by Dr. Fauci, that they had proven the origins of COVID and knew that it was natural and that anyone even questioning the possibility of a lab leak was a deranged conspiracy theorist who deserved to be excluded and shamed from decent society. And only months later did we learn that not only was there no basis for that declaration – that of course the corporate media repeated over and over, like the obedient servants to authority that they always are – not only was there no basis for it, from the beginning, Fauci knew that the most prestigious and most well-regarded virologist and other scientists told him the exact opposite, that they strongly believed, based on the available data, that it could not have been naturally occurring, but instead almost certainly came from the Wuhan lab, or at least was highly likely that it came from a leak.
Here we can look at just one of these emails, which is from Kristian Andersen. He's a scientist who, despite having sent this letter, ended up subsequently affirming Fauci's view that it had natural origins, he then signed the Nature paper and then, after that, received a significant grant – that Fauci controlled. He also signed the Lancet letter. And in this email, dated January 31, 2020, so, very close to the beginning of the pandemic, he wrote to Fauci and said, “The unusual features of the virus make up a really small part of the genome (0.1%) so one has to look really closely at all the sequences to see that some of the features (potentially) look engineered”. Andersen went on to say that, after discussion, he and several other prominent virologists, “found the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory”.
So, at the very least, yes, one of the leading scientists on questions of the origin of viruses told Fauci, when you look closely, it's inconsistent with the view of a natural origin and far more likely to be from a lab. There were other similar emails Fauci was getting at that time as well as phone calls, and as a result, he then arranged a conference call, in an email sent the following day, February 1st, that he got that email from Kristian Andersen – he was addressing it to Jeremy Farrar and he CC’ed Kristian Andersen, in which he essentially said that he wanted there to be a call. He had gotten on a call with several other virologists to discuss his concerns that the virus was not the result of natural evolutionary biology, but instead the result of human input, namely, gain-of-function engineering, that raised the possibility of a lab leak origin – meaning that Fauci knew he had funded, indirectly, through Peter Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance, research at this exact lab, designed to manipulate the virus to make it more vulnerable for human transmission – called gain-of-function research, which is designed to make a virus more dangerous in a lab.
He obviously did not want the public to believe that that's where it came from. Would you want the public to believe that this pandemic that was killing huge numbers of people and shutting down the world economy and terrorizing everybody came from a lab that you were funding research into? And not just funding research into, but funding research designed to make that very virus more easily contractable and transmissible for humans? If I were somebody who had funded research like that or had approved it or overseen it, I also would want the world to think that that was a deranged conspiracy theory that no one with any credentials would possibly believe, that only crazy conspiracy theorists would believe that. I would definitely want the world to believe that the U.S. government had proven they had nothing to do with that lab, that it just came through bad luck, through zoonotic processes that were naturally developing. So, what Fauci was saying here is essential that we want to make sure that we get these scientists together and instead of having this ugly, unpleasant, inconvenient debate, instead, we get a consensus where everybody gets on board – all these scientists who depend on the billions of dollars of funding that I control – with my view, that serves my interests, that this virus that was threatening the entire world and all of humanity, or at least people believed at the time, had nothing to do with the research I funded, but instead just came from nature.
After he did that, the notes that he ended up producing from this February 1 conference call revealed that Bob Garry, who is Dr. Robert Garry, one of the leading virologists in the country, said on this call,
“I really can't think of a plausible natural scenario where you get from the bat virus or one very similar to it to nCoV […] I just can't figure out how that gets accomplished in nature.”
So, again, here you have a leading virologist, just like Kristian Andersen, telling Fauci what he did not want to hear, namely that not only does he considered the debate open, he considers it extremely unlikely, in fact, not just impossible but unthinkable, that this virus could have occurred naturally. He again was somebody who ended up jumping on the consensus.
Here in this next email. We see an email from Jeremy Farrar to Francis Collins, who is the head of NIH, CC’ing Dr. Fauci. And you can see they're very worried here about what's going on. This, in particular, their concerns, this is February 4 now, about the consensus they're trying to engineer. And it reads, “Being very careful in the morning wording. “Engineered” probably not. Remains very real possibility of accidental lab passage in animals to give glycans”. And, referring to the virologist Eddie Holmes, who was a coauthor of the natural paper: “Eddie would be 60:40 lab side. I remain 50:50”.
So, again, everything Fauci is hearing for days now is telling him that what he’s trying to convince the world of – that the debate is closed, that all the evidence proves that it was naturally occurring – is the opposite of what all of the leading scientists with whom he's speaking are telling him, namely that the debate is wide open and that apparently, from what's been produced here, at least a good number – if not a majority – believe that the far more likely explanation is that it came from the Wuhan lab. And yet, Dr. Fauci, unsurprisingly – given the power that he wields as the person who controls the gigantic budget of scientific research, without which almost no scientist or researcher can possibly find career advancement – was able to use that leverage to at least convene a large group of scientists who were willing to announce very early on in the pandemic before there was any real evidence available, let alone proof demonstrated, that they agreed with what Dr. Fauci wanted the world to believe, namely that the lab leak was some crackpot theory, and the only viable one was that it naturally occurred through nature.
Here, as you know, is this now notorious Lancet letter from February 19 – so just two weeks after Fauci was hearing from all these experts that they believed lab leak was the more likely explanation – that incredibly said that it's essentially immoral – immoral – to assert that it might have come from a lab, that this is an attack on one's fellow colleagues in science, in China, that it's anti-Asian to even suggest this and that, instead, the debate is closed and all rational people know that the only way COVID could have originated was naturally. One of the key signers on that, in fact, the person who engineered this letter, as we now know, was Peter Daszak, who, although undisclosed in this Lancet letter, was somebody who was the head of an entity, EcoHealth Alliance, that got money from Fauci and provided that funding to the scientists in the Wuhan lab to do this exact research. He had an extraordinary financial conflict of interest, a reputational conflict of interest, in convincing the world that this occurred naturally, not through a lab leak. And they used this Lancet letter to accomplish exactly that without revealing any of those conflicts of interest that I just referenced. And this was what essentially was used to close the debate.
The rapid, open and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumors and misinformation around its origins. We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin (The Lancet. Feb. 19, 2020).
Two weeks after Fauci was hearing from these leading scientists that they believe it was a lab leak, he got all these scientists on board with this announcement that anybody who does not accept the natural origin is a conspiracy theorist who deserves to be strongly condemned. And it went on:
Scientists from multiple countries have published and analyzed genomes of the causative agent, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2), and they overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife as have so many other emerging pathogens. Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumors and prejudice that jeopardize our global collaboration in the fight against this virus. We support the call from the Director-General of WHO to promote scientific evidence and unity over misinformation and conjecture (The Lancet. Feb. 19, 2020).
That is exactly what they wanted it, and what they got: it was unity and the claim that anyone questioning their consensus, their artificially hastily engineered consensus, was nothing but somebody who is spreading misinformation and threatening their scientists, and scientific colleagues in China.
They knew very quickly that Peter Daszak involvement in this letter was going to jeopardize its credibility. So, they then arranged for a new article in Nature Magazine, in March, called “The Proximal Origins of SARS-CoV-2” that similarly asserted that it was essentially proven that it had natural origins. And there you see the names of two of the scientists, Kristian Andersen and Robert F. Garry, who, just a month earlier, in private, were telling Fauci that they strongly believed it came from the lab. Having analyzed it, it's highly improbable, they said, that it occurred naturally. And that at least a couple of the signatories of this article ended up receiving funding from Dr. Fauci. No one can prove that the funding was a quid pro quo, that it came as a result of their willingness to radically change their view. Just a month earlier, you had Robert Garry saying he's 60:40 lab leak and his colleague is 50:50; Kristian Andersen, saying he can't even imagine how it could have occurred naturally. Suddenly they changed their mind. After that, they get gigantic grants from Fauci – that we know for sure. The quid pro quo in the motive is something that is very difficult to prove and never will be proven with certainty. But what it shows for sure is the power Fauci has. If you get on his good side, if you say what he needed you to say, the money flows. Then Nature Magazine was very similar to what the Lancet letter said. It said,
Here we review what can be deduced from about the origin of SARS-CoV-2, from comparative analysis of genomic data. We offer a perspective on the notable features of the SARS-CoV-2 genome and discuss scenarios by which they could have arisen. Our analysis clearly shows that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposely manipulated virus (Nature Magazine. March 17, 2020).
Amazing how rapidly they transformed.
It took a year and a half basically for Lancet to go back and essentially retract that shameful letter that it published early on. This time it was headlined “Science, not speculation, is essential to determine how SARS-CoV-2 reached humans”. It began heavily backtracking on the certainty it purported to have at the beginning of the pandemic, that it came from natural evolution. And here you see it, in a subsequent publication which they called addendum: they disclosed competing interest in the origins of SARS-CoV-2 by specifically noting the interest that Peter Daszak had in ensuring that the public believed all of this.
Again, this worked so well – the closing off of the possibility of a lab leak – that Big Tech considered it such blatant disinformation, that they banned anybody who wanted to even suggest that they believed it was true. It was only once the Biden administration announced that they no longer had confidence in these claims about COVID's origin, that they, too, were now questioning whether it came from a lab. And when investigated, only then did Big Tech, led by Facebook, reverse its policy and say, now that the government has given us permission, we're going to start allowing the question of whether it was man-made to be openly debated on the Internet.
Here you see the article in Politico announcing this change in May 2021. So, a year and three or four months into the pandemic, finally, the debate is declared free to headline “Facebook No Longer Treating Man-Made COVID as a Crackpot Idea. Facebook's policy tweak arrives as support surges in Washington for a fuller investigation into the origins of COVID-19.”
Remember, the media and the government spent a year and three months calling any of you that even entertained the possibility that it came from that Wuhan lab, a deranged conspiracy theorist who should not be allowed to be heard on the Internet, only to then admit – a year and three months later – that not only is the debate not closed, that that same theory they declared off limits, as disinformation, as something deranged, conspiracy theories spread, was in fact a very viable theory that required investigation. As a result,
Facebook will no longer take down posts claiming that COVID-19 was man-made or manufactured, a company spokesman told Politico on Wednesday, a move that acknowledges the renewed debate about the virus' origins.
A narrative in flux: Facebook's policy tweak arrives as support surges in Washington for a fuller investigation into the origins of COVID-19 after The Wall Street Journal reported that three scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized in late 2019 with symptoms consistent with the virus. The findings have reinvigorated the debate about the so-called Wuhan lab leak theory, once dismissed as a fringe conspiracy theory (Politico. May 26, 2021).
Do you notice how often that happens - the theories that the government and the media want you to disbelieve get labeled disinformation and deranged conspiracy theories and they ban you from even debating it on the Internet only then later admit that they were wrong, that they were mistaken, that what they thought was a deranged conspiracy theory, in fact, is now looking increasingly likely? That was not a change at all. Just like the media knew in October 2020 that the material on the Biden laptop was authentic and not “Russian disinformation,” that's not something they discovered later on. It was clear from the beginning .We just showed the emails that these scientists disbelieved that it occurred naturally. There was no evidence of animals having been infected by it. What they had instead was Chinese scientists in that lab, having been infected before the pandemic was even known. Pretty strong evidence that it originated in that lab. As a result, Politico concludes:
Shifting definitions on social media: Facebook announced in February it had expanded the list of misleading health claims that it would remove from its platforms to include those asserting that “COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured'”. The tech giant has updated its policies against false and misleading coronavirus information, including its running list of debunked claims, over the course of the pandemic in consultation with global health officials. But a Facebook spokesperson said Wednesday that the origin language had been stricken from that list due to the renewed debate about the virus's roots.
In light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that COVID-19 is man-made from our apps”, the spokesman said in an emailed statement. “We're continuing to work with health experts to keep pace with the evolving nature of the pandemic and regularly update our policies as new facts and trends emerge” (Politico. May 26, 2021).
Consider how nefarious that is. The entire purpose of the Internet, the reason why it had promise and excited people was that it was going to remove the stranglehold of information that governments and large media corporations exerted for decades. If they wanted to make you believe something, they would assert it is true – like they did with the claim that COVID was naturally occurring – and there was no way to challenge that because you didn't own a printing press, you didn't own a studio and there was no way for you to widely disseminate views that deviated from theirs. It was an incredible power they wielded. You could go out onto this corner and stand on a soapbox and challenge it that way, and 20 people would hear you and assume you were crazy because they had legitimacy and people believed in them and they had a stranglehold, a monopoly on the flow of information. The only technology that came along that threatened it is the Internet. That's what allowed people for the first time to be heard questioning these narratives and challenging the veracity of these assertions coming from institutions of authority. It was a real threat – and is a real threat – to their ability to maintain a monopoly on the flow of information. That is exactly why it became so important to them to censor the Internet because only by censoring the Internet through Big Tech platforms could they maintain the control, a monopoly that they had for decades in the flow of information. Only by censoring the Internet could they quash the one real challenge to their information hegemony. And that's why it's so important, conversely, to fight for and defend a free Internet – free of censorship – because that's the only way we can viably challenge the disinformation they constantly disseminate while accusing everyone else of being guilty of it.
And here you see Facebook essentially saying, ‘before when the government told us that the lab leak theory was crazy, we obeyed them and we banned it. Only now that the government itself admits that it's viable, are we going to allow it”. So, you see a complete alignment, as always, in what Big Tech allows and what the government wants you to think. So, it was only once Joe Biden and the Biden administration itself started questioning this did Facebook allow you to question it as well.
The key blow to all of this, the thing that finally blew this all out into the open, was this February 26, 2023, report in The Wall Street Journal that reported that very significant components of the U.S. government, in particular the Department of Energy and the FBI, have now concluded that the lab leak theory not only is viable but is the more likely one. We went over this article – I'm sure you've seen it and heard it, but this is an extraordinary development, given that it is now the government itself that says that the theory they succeeded in marginalizing and banning at Dr. Fauci's insistence is in fact not debunked at all but, according to key scientists, the most likely explanation.
So, that was the perfect setting for this new committee to hold its first hearing, which they did today. They called a group of four experts, including the former head of the CDC, as well as Nicholas Wade, the science editor of Science Magazine in The New York Times, before them – I assume, at some point, they're going to demand that Dr. Fauci appear or subpoena him, if he refuses, in order to explore exactly this question: How did this happen? How is it possible that the U.S. government succeeded in roping in a bunch of scientists who knew better into signing on to a letter asserting a scientific certainty they clearly lacked and declaring the theory that they themselves believed to be off limits from the discussion as a crazy conspiracy theory, and then got rewarded for that in the form of large grants from the very person who demanded that consensus be created. This is a gigantic scandal – that the government and the media declared off limits a theory that looks to be extremely viable, if not the most likely, and claimed the debate was closed and had been proven when in fact it was a lie all along, not on an unimportant and trivial question, but on one of the central questions of the most important political event of this generation, which is the COVID pandemic. So, let's look at a few of the key exchanges from today's hearing, because they're really quite remarkable – and what they reveal. So, let's bring up the first one. This is the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Congressman James Comer. This is a subcommittee of his oversight committee. Let's listen to this exchange here.
Rep. James Comer: […] Themes of the pandemic have been scientists’ use of the media to downplay the lab leak theory. Mr. Wade, in your career, you worked at Nature Magazine, Science Magazine and The New York Times. Would you agree that the scientific establishment used the media to downplay the lab leak theory? Like.
Nicholas Wade: That's a complicated issue, Mr. Comer. I think the media was used. It was used in this particular campaign to establish the natural origin theory. The scientific community is very afraid to speak up on political issues. And I think the reason is that government grants are handed out through this system of peer-to-peer review committees. So, you don't want any single scientist on your peer review committee to vote against you, therefore – because you won't get your lead so competitively. So, therefore, scientists are very reluctant to get to say anything that is politically divisive or might turn others on his off against them.
That's a pretty damning admission, even though he was very reluctant to make it. He started out by saying it was a complicated question, but then answered in a way that suggests that it was anything but by saying, yes, the media was in fact, used. Like the little instrument, they are to disseminate a false consensus. If you worked at one of these media outlets that did that if you know that you are part of the effort to deceive the world and were used in this way, wouldn't you be ashamed and angry and betrayed? Do you think any of these people are going to go on to television or into their columns and talk about how they were used and how angry they are about it? Of course not. They see this as their job to disseminate what they're told. But it's also an incredible indictment of the integrity of the scientific establishment that people are afraid to dissent, even if they don't believe the consensus, because all of the money is so centralized that you'll be punished by withholding grants or by being denied tenure or other advancements if you question the consensus at all. That's an incredibly disturbing revelation about how science works, how the help policy expertise functions in this country, and that all the incentives are built in to ensure obedience to the consensus and to disincentivize dissent, especially on the questions that are most important. In other words, he just explained, without really wanting to, why these leading virologists, in private, told Fauci that they found it almost inconceivable that there was a natural origin to this pandemic, only then sign on to that very same theory that they proclaimed unthinkable and then was rewarded with grant money that Fauci controlled. Let’s listen to the rest.
Nicholas Wade: This means that they cannot be relied upon in the way that I think we would like them to, to be independent and forthright and call it as they see it.
Rep. James Comer: Well, we saw this first with the “Proximal Origin” paper that said, “Our analysis clearly showed that COVID-19 is not a laboratory construct or a purposely manipulated virus”. This was first published on February 17, 2020. Each witness, over a simple question, yes or no: Was there science available to make such an unequivocal statement against the possibility of a lab leak that early on in February of 2020?
He's talking there about the Lancet article, as well as the Nature article, from February and March. The “Proximal origins of the pandemic” was the Nature article. The February article was Lancet. He's asking, “Is it conceivable that we had enough evidence early on to make these definitive judgments, as those two papers purported to do?
Rep. James Comer: February 2020?
Dr. Jamie Metzl, Ph.D. Senior Fellow The Atlantic Council: Absolutely no.
Mr. Nicholas Wade: I know it was not.
Paul G. Auwaerter, MD, MBA (Minority Witness): I don't have sufficient frame of reference to give an answer.
Dr. Robert Redfield, Former CDC Director: No.
Again, I just need to emphasize how significant it is, not allowing this to be lost in kind of the casual nature of the tone that was just used there. Those papers that I showed you were the ones that formed the basis for the discourse around the world for the first year to year and a half of the pandemic. You're not allowed to even mention the lab leak, because scientists have said in the Lancet letter and in the Nature journal, in February and March, that all of these scientists had established a consensus that the data proved that it occurred naturally and that, under no circumstances, could ever come from a lab. And these experts were asked, did we have anything close to sufficient evidence to form those judgments scientifically. And three out of the four said absolutely not. And one said, I'm not sure. That is a gigantic fraud, a scientific fraud perpetrated on the public, that because Fauci was privately urging and demanding that they do so, pressuring them in all ways, they signed on to a letter that purported to have certainty without any of the available evidence that would be needed to assert that in their hands. It is really remarkable the more you think about what happened here.
Rep. James Comer: Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance orchestrated a letter in The Lancet, a prestigious journal, on February 19, 2020, that said, quote, “We strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin”, end quote. Each witness, yes or no, is the possibility COVID-19 leaked from a lab a conspiracy theory?
Dr. Jamie Metzl, Ph.D. Senior Fellow The Atlantic Council: Absolutely not.
Mr. Nicholas Wade: No. I would say.
Paul G. Auwaerter, MD, MBA (Minority Witness): No, but also it has been approached as such.
Dr. Robert Redfield, Former CDC Director: No.
I mean, someone should have to pay for this, shouldn't they? I mean, this is what we were told over and over: that it is a deranged conspiracy theory to suggest that the coronavirus may have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. And then, all the adjacent questions that naturally emerge from that, such as whether that took place because of the manipulation of the virus to make it more dangerous to humans, to make it more susceptible to become a pandemic; whether the United States government paid for that research or whether Dr. Fauci, who in some way contributed funds directly or indirectly to the research of that sort, all while vehemently denying under oath for months that he ever funded gain-of-function research – how it is that Peter Daszak, who absolutely funded that kind of research, or at least research into coronaviruses in this very lab, was able to engineer this incredibly influential letter in Lancet without any disclosure of his overwhelming investment, personal conflict, and having the public believe this? So, to watch these witnesses out in the open and these are not just randomly chosen witnesses, these are the leaders in virology, the CDC, in science journalism, all affirming these extraordinary revelations, it's like a gigantic earthquake into the laps of the scientific establishment and the corporate media that endorsed what they were doing, deceiving the world for a very long time, ruining people's reputations and foreclosing any inquiry into where this pandemic came from.
Now, let's look at the next exchange from this hearing. It's led by Congressman Jim Jordan, a person of whom I'm not always a fan, especially when it comes to his protection of Google and Facebook when it comes to antitrust legislation, but in this particular case, he does an extremely good job revealing some of the core revelations from today's hearing. Let's watch.
Rep. Jim Jordan: Look forward, the Democrats tell us. Focus on the future. Might have started in the lab, might have, might have happened in nature. But here's the question I keep coming up with. If it may have been a lab, maybe in nature, we're supposed to look forward, then why did Dr. Fauci work so hard for just one of those theories? Why was it so important to push one over the other? Dr. Barra said, Oh, we should entertain all hypotheses, Dr. Fauci, that his hypothesis, how this started, we should entertain all of them. But that's not what happened. That is definitely not what happened. Three years ago, if you thought it came from a lab if you raised that, you were called a nut job, you got censored on Twitter, you were blacklisted on Twitter, you were even called a crackpot by the very scientist who, in late January, sent emails to Dr. Fauci and said it came from a lab. They called you crackpot, is that right, Dr. Redfield?
Dr. Redfield, former CDC director: I think the most upsetting thing to me was the Baltimore Sun calling me a racist because I said this came from a Wuhan lab.
Let's not forget that part of it, either. One of the most nefarious parts of this all. Think about how they weaponized racism and racism accusations in order to foreclose this debate. They didn't just accuse people raising the lab leak possibility of being crackpots or being anti-science, even though this particular person was the head of the CDC. They didn't just do that. They didn’t just insult their intelligence or their rationality or their judgment, they did all that too. They accused everybody suspecting a lab leak of being a racist, of being an anti-Asian racist, of trying to stimulate racial hatred against the Chinese. Do you see how readily and casually American elites weaponize racism accusations like a plaything, like their little toy to manipulate public discourse and to prevent people from dissenting upon the pain of being called a racist?
First of all, the whole concept of racism had no role at all in the inquiry over where the COVID pandemic came from. It was a purely scientific question. It's impossible for any one theory or the other to be racist. It's either true or false. That's the only import. That's the only relevant metric. Is it true or is it false? Nor is it ethical or moral or racist. But beyond that, it was always so bizarre to me that the people who were accusing dissenters of being racists were pushing a theory that if anything – if anything – was racist. This was by far the most racist theory, which is that the Chinese have extremely filthy, primitive and unsanitary eating practices and wet markets, filled with filth and disease. They have crazy, primitive ideas, of what animals can and can't be eaten. They eat bats, they eat pangolins. The people who are pushing that theory were the ones accusing others of racism, even though there's, I don't think, any better way to stimulate anti-Asian animus than by telling the world the reason their economies are shut down, they have to stay at home and their parents are dying, they can't attend their parents’ funerals or visit them as they die in the hospital, is because the Chinese are so unsanitary and primitive and their dietary habits, that they created a global pandemic they unleashed on the world this twisted fatal virus. That was their theory.
I personally don't care about whether any of it is racist. I care only about whether it was true but it is remarkable to watch in real-time how they do that, how they just label any view that they want marginalized: they just label it racist. I think it's very important to remember, going forward, whenever they deploy accusations of this kind, to remember what they did here because this is what they always do. They don't care about racism at all. They cynically exploit it, as they did in this case, to force people into submission to the views that they want the public to believe for their own interest. It is a self-serving tactic and if anything is racist, it is looking at racism as a toy to play with for these ends. And that's exactly what American elites do. And this was one of the most vivid cases of how they did it. Let's look at another exchange with the former CDC director.
Dr. Robert Redfield, Former CDC Director: Because it was told to me that they wanted a single narrative and then I obviously had a different point of view.
Rep. N. Malliotakis: Okay. In emails following the conference call, the 11 scientists told Fauci that they all found the genetic sequence inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory, basically is what you're saying. However, just three days later, these four scientists had drafted a paper arguing the exact opposite, and that's now the infamous “Proximal origins of SARS CoV2”. Our investigation shows, this paper was prompted by Dr. Fauci, among others, with a goal to disprove the lab leak theory. What is the likelihood that these scientists came across additional information just three days after making these statements to conclude with such certainty that COVID-19 came from nature instead of the lab leak that they thought it was three days earlier?
Dr. Robert Redfield, Former CDC Director: I think it's unfortunate. Again, I've said this before, that this whole approach that was taken on February 1, and subsequently in the month of February, if you really want to be truthful, it's antithetical to science. Science has debate and they squashed any debate.
Rep. N. Malliotakis: Thank you.
That's exactly what happened.
Let me just remind you of the sequence of events that at the time convinced a lot of people that health experts were yet another institution of authority that didn't deserve any trust or faith, but only contempt and scorn. Which was, you remember, I'm certain, that for the first four months, five months of 2020, all we heard was your only moral obligation is to stay at home. Stay at home. Anybody who leaves their house for any reason is a sociopath willing to murder old people or sacrifice the lives of old people for their personal interests. That included wanting to go visit your parents in the hospital, wanting to go attend their funeral, wanting to take your kids to a deserted beach so they get air and sun, wanting to attend a political protest against these rules and laws that had been implemented that severely restricted our civil liberties and our ability to movement. There was no excuse of any kind that justified your leaving your home. The only moral option for any decent person was to park yourself at home and not move there unless absolutely necessary. That's what health officials told us for months. And then, we had the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, and throughout the country erupted one of the most densely packed street protest movements in the history of this country. And those very same health experts – who told you that you were not allowed to leave your home morally for any reason, including to protest – switched on a dime, the minute they had a protest they liked and that aligned with their ideology, and then, said, not only is it permissible for you to leave your home but it’s also your moral obligation to do so. There was a famous or notorious letter from health experts saying that because racism was actually a greater threat to public health than COVID, it was worth risking the spread of COVID in order to combat racism. So not only was it permissible, but it was actually an obligation now, morally, to leave your home to go attend a protest that they supported ideologically, it was still immoral to go to protests they didn't like, such as the protest against lockdown laws or school closings.
A more brazen politicization of health expertise is almost impossible to imagine. And that was a moment, an epiphany for a lot of people, including myself. I wrote about it that day at The Intercept. The fact that here we now see what they were doing behind the scenes, that they completely switched on a dime. What they actually believed signed on to a letter they didn't believe with no scientific evidence at all, is all the more reason never to trust this group of elites again. And this hearing revealed that. Let's look at this last exchange, again with the former CDC director.
Rep. B. Wenstrup: Dr. Redfield has gain-of-function created any lifesaving vaccines or therapeutics, to your knowledge?
Dr. Robert Redfield, Former CDC Director: Not to my knowledge.
Rep. B. Wenstrup: Has gain of function stopped a pandemic? In your opinion?
Dr. Robert Redfield, Former CDC Director: No. On the contrary. I think it probably caused the greatest pandemic our world has seen.
So that's the CDC director who was appointed by Donald Trump and therefore, a lot of people would be inclined to dismiss. But if you look at the history of who was right and who was wrong, who acted with integrity and who did not, he comes out extremely well, certainly way better than all the heroes we were given in the scientific community, starting with Dr. Fauci. And there he's telling you that he believes that the gain-of-function research, the attempt to manipulate this virus, to make it more susceptible to human transmission that was undertaken in that lab, he believes was the cause of this pandemic, something that we were not allowed to mention, literally prohibited from suggesting, on the Internet, upon pain of being removed and banned by the world's largest Internet companies. This is the danger of allowing censorship. This is the danger of placing blind faith in these corrupt elites. This is the serious harm that always emerges whenever institutions of authority are allowed to function without scrutiny, transparency, challenge and dissent.
Russell Brand declared right-wing.
So, at the top of our show, I mentioned that there was an article not very important unto itself, but very revealing in terms of the arguments it made that I do want to spend just a few minutes examining because it's one of the most vivid articulations of how political labels are now wielded, but also the incredible reversal that has been imposed on our political discourse in a very short period of time.
Now, as you probably have seen, it went very viral, the British comedian and political analyst Russell Brand – who I now consider a colleague because he has his own daily show right here on Rumble, that is exclusive to Rumble – went on the “Bill Maher Show” and ran circles around one of the mainstays of American establishment journalism, John Heilemann, who worked for years to Mark Halperin until Mark Halperin had this MeToo scandal, he's on “Morning Joe”, seemingly every day spouting establishment tripe and Russell basically humiliated him in all kinds of ways.
The reaction to this, the attention that Russell got through that, but also by appearing on Joe Rogan's program a couple of days earlier, was that something happened to Russell Brand. He has radically changed. He was once somebody who was clearly a leftist, somebody who made – in the words of the New Statesman, we're about to show you – communism sexy, has instead become a far-right American culture war pundit.
There you see the article. “We have lost Russell Brand”, and this is The New Statesman. It's, I would describe it, as a formerly left-wing, now a more establishment liberal, neoliberal journal. If I wanted to use their tactics of demonizing anything I disliked, I would call it a far-right fascist journal. But I'm not going to use their tactics. We're going to examine that topic instead by looking at this article. So, it's basically a formal declaration that Russell Brand is no longer an official card-carrying member of the left – as if anyone, including him, cares. But what is amazing are their reasons for concluding this and, in particular, the arguments that they cite, which they assert are the reasons to believe he's now on the far-right.
I wanted to pull up the first paragraph. I hope we have that. If not, I'm going to need somebody to get that for me because essentially it's the most important article in which it lists the views that he now advocates, which they claim prove that he's now a man of the far-right and no longer a man of the left, really the crux of the argument.
I have my own experience with this. I have had plenty of newspapers and magazines under the headline “What Happened to Glenn Greenwald?” Very similar ones saying, “Oh, the beloved heroic leftist has now become a tool of the far-right, even though they can't identify a single one of my views that I've changed. And oftentimes they cite views of mine that I've held and expressed and advocated for decades that now have suddenly somehow become a signifier of being on the far-right. And that's essentially what they're doing in this article to Russell Brand. They're saying he's no longer on the left. He's moved to the far right. And his proof of that, they say he went on Bill Maher and in general been advocating a bunch of views that are views that only someone on the far-right would actually assert.
So here it is. Listen to these arguments that they cite as proof that Russell Brand is now on the far-right: “Speaking on the comedian Bill Maher’s talk show last weekend, Brand launched into a tinny rant that encompassed every right-wing signaling trope.”
“Every right-wing signaling trope” he expressed on “Bill Maher’s Show.” What are these right-wing signaling tropes? According to the new statement: 1) the ghoulish mainstream media. So, if you dislike the mainstream media, if you don't trust them if you think they're corrupt, the corporate media, you are now expressing a right-wing trope that the media, the corporate media is bad. The next one, is “the dishonest and untrustworthy pharmaceutical industry”. If you distrust or harbor suspicion of Big Pharma, Pfizer and the rest, that is now proof that you are on the far right. You're spreading far-right tropes. The next one: “The West's shameful treatment of Julian Assange and Scarecrow American hero Edward Snowden”. So, if you believe that Edward Snowden and Julian Assange are heroic, for having revealed secrets showing that the U.S. Security State committed war crimes and lied to the public and spied on them in mass with no warrants, and if you oppose the persecution of those two whistleblowers and journalists, in the case of Julian Assange, that too means that you're somehow now on the far-right. If you like, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange and opposed their imprisonment by the West, you're now on the far right. And the last one was, “the COVID drug Ivermectin. In other words, if you question the pronouncements of the same health authorities that – we just showed you – systemically, deliberately, lied to the public, you're also now on the far-right.
No distrusting health officials, no protecting whistleblowers who expose the crimes of the Security State, no distrust in Big Pharma and most of all, no suspicion of the corporate media: anything that you do that expresses those views according to this New Statesman article places you on the far-right. These are far-right tropes. Even though the article acknowledges, then pivoted leftward and rounded off his angry sermon with an endorsement for Bernie Sanders. That's exactly right. Russell Brand continues and always has supported Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn. They acknowledge that, and yet he's nonetheless on the far right because he dislikes the mainstream media, Big Pharma and the persecution of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.
Let me look at one more part of this article because, actually, we are to look at two more. Here's another one that essentially says that if you are somebody who distrusts the U.S. Security State and the U.S. posture of endless war and the motives for why the United States keeps going to war, then that two makes you on the far-right
As for any self-styled alternative media guru, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a central theme of inquiry. Brand quotes long passages of texts from Substack about the true intentions of Tony Blair and Hillary Clinton; he suggests it is a proxy war fought with the ultimate ambition of privatizing Ukraine. When he shouts about the military-industrial complex, intentionally generating a state of perpetual crisis, he means it. Brand is not just paranoid about intervention, he's actively conspiratorial about it (The New Statesman. March 7, 2023).
So if you are now somebody who opposes or questions the motives of Western wars, if you think that maybe there's an economic motive to why the U.S. continually finds reasons to fuel wars and to purchase large amounts of armaments – the way every single person on the left in 2002 was claiming about Dick Cheney's reason to go to war in Iraq, that it would help Halliburton – if you are somebody who thinks there's a military-industrial complex that generates perpetual war in order to satisfy economic motives or suspicions about the reasons they're giving – if you don't really believe that they're fighting wars to safeguard democracy and vanquish authoritarianism – then now you too are on the far right, that places you on the far right. That's another view that if you believe means you're a fascist. Now that then concludes. But look at this last one here. It says,
Whatever it is, Brand has internalized assumptions generated by a brand of heterodox American Joe Rogan. Glenn Greenwald. Tucker Carlson […]
These are the people who have manipulated Russell Brand and lured him out of leftism and convinced him to become a far-rightist. Like us, myself, Joe Rogan and Tucker Carlson,
[…] while clinging to a veneer of old fashioned British socialism. But perhaps that tension is not as awkward as it seems. The soul of Corbynism, for example, is the argument that a cabal of elite capitalists have manipulated the system against the everyman.
They’ve stitched up our political system to protect the powerful. The former Labor leader said in early 2017, “to line the pockets of their friends”. There are few journalists in the United States who talk more about the rigged system than Tucker Carlson; it is exactly the mode of politics Brand trades in too (The New Statesman. March 7, 2023).
And then here's the key revelation that they stumbled into: “Perhaps the two movements are not as uneasy bedfellows as they appear”. In other words, perhaps the way to look at this is not “left versus right” anymore, or “Republican versus Democrat” but, instead, people who trust global institutions of authority – the Pentagon, the U.S. Security State, Big Pharma, the military-industrial complex, the CIA – versus people who distrust those institutions, and that there are a lot of populists on the left and the right who now find common ground because they stand in opposition to these globalist institutions and distrust their integrity and their motives and believe that they do more harm than good. It kind of stumbles into the truth that the most important framework is no longer these archaic labels of “left” and “right”. But whether you question these global institutions of power and whether you stand in favor of – or opposed to –authoritarian measures, like having Big Tech form a union with the government to censor the Internet; or having the Pentagon in the U.S. Security State dictate to Big Tech whether dissent to wars is permitted.
I agree that that is the much more relevant framework now that this article inadvertently stumbles into. But, of course, it can't concede that because like most traditional media outlets, this magazine only understands the world through these very labels of “left” versus “right”, “Labor” versus “Tory”, “Democrat” versus “Republican”.
And so, they need to cling to this. And so, they end with this smearing of Brand’s reputation, this kind of very lazy way to try and discredit him.
But one thing is abundantly clear: Brand is fighting the American culture wars from a shed in Oxfordshire. His demand to be taken seriously is a rather weak one (The New Statesman. March 7, 2023).
It's just a very lazy way to conclude the article after essentially acknowledging that there's a good reason why people like Russell Brand now have a lot in common with right-wing populists because people on the left and right have come to the same conclusion about these gigantic institutions of authority that they're corrupt and should be opposed. They then have to just discredit him as being on the far-right, as being some rich elite who has no grounds for saying any of this, because they can't allow people to realize that they want to keep separate from these labels - that in fact, we have a lot more common ground than they want us to realize.
So, we have been over many times the data before that shows that, in fact, people who identify as Democrats are far more supportive of Big Tech censorship and of state censorship. That opposition to the U.S. war and the U.S. role in fueling the proxy war in Ukraine comes from conservatives and not liberals, who are almost overwhelmingly, almost entirely unanimously in favor. That admiration for the CIA and the FBI is found on the left and distrust and cynicism about those agencies is found on the right. There have been real changes in the political framework and how left and right now see the world. All the data that we've shown you many times demonstrates that. But I think this attempt to try and grapple with where to place Russell Brand or Joe Rogan or Tucker Carlson or myself on the metric that is the crude and primitive one, the only one they understand, the “left versus right” – the reason it doesn't matter is that those labels don't really matter. All that matters to me is: Are you somebody who is willing to be skeptical of the institutions of authority – that we just showed you through this hearing are very willing to lie to everyone, to lie to the world for their own interest and to censor dissent from their lies, to serve their own interests. That is the most relevant question that I care about, at least, that shapes my view of the world. I don't try and decide what is the left-wing or right-wing view before or now analyzing a certain position. I don't care about ‘Does it help the Republican or the Democratic Party’? The establishment wings of each, I believe, have far more in common than difference.
The only thing I care about is applying skepticism to these institutions of authority that I know are constructed to lie and deceive and serve their own interest at your expense. And I don't care any longer whether someone wants to claim that's a right-wing value or a left-wing value. Is it a right-wing or a left-wing value to oppose Big Tech's censorship in concert with the CIA and the FBI? Is it a right-wing or left-wing value to question the posture of endless war and whom that serves? Is it the right-wing or left-wing value to believe that Julian Assange and Edward Snowden performed a public service by revealing these hidden crimes in secret deceits and lies? Is any right-wing or left-wing value to being happy that the truth about Anthony Fauci and the COVID pandemic is finally emerging? I don't care. And I don't think there's any coherent answer because these labels don't serve to clarify these debates. They serve to keep us divided.
And so, if you're somebody who wants to find the truth and who wants to unify as many people as possible in opposition to these institutions, you too, shouldn't care about these labels. This article reveals how bankrupt they are. The idea that Russell Brand is now on the far-right for supporting ideas he's forever supported and then has long been associated with the left they're so easily manipulated – these labels – just like the racism accusations that health authorities used to deem anyone supporting the lab leak theory as being not just a conspiracy theory but an ill-intentioned and malevolent one. So, the more these institutions do this, the more skepticism people have of them, and the more people distrust them. That applies to the corporate media, the U.S. Security State, Big Pharma, and the health authorities, and the better off we are – because these institutions are absolutely ill-intentioned, they're the ones that spread disinformation. The more skepticism, the better, and the least important and least interesting question is whether or not doing so places you on the left or the right.
So that concludes our show for this evening. Once again, as a reminder, every episode of System Update is available in podcast form on Spotify, on Apple, and on every major podcasting platform. Simply follow System Update on Rumble. Make sure to do the System Update on Rumble. There's an old version of The Intercept that you should definitely not follow for many reasons, including the fact that it's defunct. The System Update on Rumble is the one to follow. You can listen to those episodes 12 hours after they appear first, live, here, exclusively on Rumble.
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Thank you, everybody, for watching. Have a great evening. We hope to see you back here tomorrow night and every night, at 7 p.m. EST, exclusively on Rumble.