Authored by Hans Mahncke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
The takedown, dated May 26, 2020, was written in the form of a working paper called “Critical analysis of Andersen et al. The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2.” It was authored by Commander Jean-Paul Chretien, a Navy doctor working at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and Dr. Robert Cutlip, a research scientist at the Defense Intelligence Agency. The paper came to light on May 15, when it was leaked to the public via virus origins search group DRASTIC (Decentralized Radical Autonomous Search Team Investigating COVID-19).
The working paper forensically dismantles the natural origin case made in Proximal Origin and concludes, “The arguments that Andersen et al. use to support a natural-origin scenario for SARS-CoV-2 are based not on scientific analysis, but on unwarranted assumptions.”
The existence of this internal Pentagon paper is crucial, as it proves that government officials were well aware in the early months of the pandemic that there was no evidence in support of a natural origin of the COVID-19 virus. Additionally, given the crushing discrediting of Proximal Origin, Pentagon officials would also have been aware of Fauci’s efforts to seed a false narrative about the origin of COVID-19.
Proximal Origin was initially conceived by Fauci during a secret teleconference held on Feb. 1, 2020. The ostensible purpose of the teleconference was to deflect attention from a possible lab origin of COVID-19 and to shift the focus to a natural origin theory. Fauci directed a number of scientists, led by Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research and Robert Garry of Tulane Medical School, to pen a study that could be used to discredit the lab leak theory. Despite being directly involved in the inception of the paper, as well as in shaping its arguments, Fauci’s role was concealed from the public. Fauci later bestowed Andersen and Garry with lavish taxpayer-funded grants.
The defects in Proximal Origin were immediately noticed by reviewers at science journal Nature. This fact only became known late last year from emails obtained via the Freedom of Information Act by independent journalist Jimmy Tobias. However, with the help of Jeremy Farrar, who now is the chief scientist of the World Health Organization and who had helped Fauci shape the natural origin narrative, Proximal Origin was accepted for publication in Nature Medicine on March 17, 2020. It boldly concluded that no “laboratory-based scenario is plausible.”
On April 17, 2020, President Donald Trump confirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic likely started in a Wuhan laboratory in China. On the same day, while attending a White House press conference, Fauci categorically dismissed the possibility of a lab origin of COVID-19, citing Proximal Origin as corroboration. Fauci feigned independence, telling reporters that he could not recall the names of the authors. What was not known at the time was that Fauci not only knew the authors well, but had personally led the effort to have Proximal Origin written.
Proximal Origin became the media’s go-to natural origin authority, repeating Fauci’s claim that the paper provided dispositive proof that COVID-19 had come out of nature. It also became the most-read article on COVID-19 and one of the most cited academic papers of all time.
Yet, while the public was being told by Fauci and the media that Proximal Origin had settled the origin debate, Pentagon researchers came to a very different conclusion.
Chretien and Cutlip found that COVID-19’s features, which Proximal Origin ascribed to natural evolution, were actually “consistent with another scenario: that SARS-CoV-2 was developed in a laboratory, by methods that leading coronavirus researchers commonly use to investigate how the viruses infect cells and cause disease, assess the potential for animal coronaviruses to jump to humans, and develop drugs and vaccines.”
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