How the ‘conspiracy theorists’ overthrew the ‘experts’ on COVID’s origins

As establishment narratives crumbled, many critics were shown to be right.

The documentation keeps getting more damning when it comes to the US government’s involvement in the origins of COVID-19.

A Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) filed by the White Coat Waste Project back in 2021 revealed the US government had been providing funding for gain-of-function research on coronaviruses in the Wuhan lab, and that three scientists in the lab were the first to fall ill.

From their website, “As we’ve previously written about, in January 2021, the State Department reported that white coats at the Wuhan lab who were working on coronavirus animal experiments fell ill in November 2019 with COVID-like symptoms, before the first case of COVID was even reported. A few months later, reports detailed that in November 2019 three Wuhan lab experimenters became so sick that they had to be hospitalized. Another report indicated that the wife of a Wuhan white coat died in December 2019 from a COVID-like illness.”

Despite that fact, social media platforms continued to censor the lab leak theory for some time.

Now, new reporting by Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger, whose sources are familiar with the State Department’s investigation, has named those scientists and identified ‘Patient Zero’ as Ben Hu. Their work shows that Hu, along with fellow research scientists Yu Ping and Yan Zhu, were the first to fall ill with the disease in the Fall of 2019, and that their work on coronaviruses was being funded by the US government.

According to reporting from The Intercept, “The funding came in three grants totaling $41 million, doled out by USAID and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) the agency then headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci. Hu is listed as an investigator on the grants.”

These reports are significant as many of the people complicit in the cover-up of the funding in the Wuhan lab continue to spread actual disinformation to cover their tracks. Fauci and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have even gone so far as to try to change the very definition of gain-of-function research in their desperation to misconstrue what they were doing.

But identifying Patient Zero gets us closer to pinpointing the true cause of COVID-19, and all of this is even more concrete evidence that the disease came from a lab the US government was funding. This is the bombshell many have gone to great lengths to prevent from going off.

That they have not been able to shut down dissent or get away with this suppression is ultimately going to be a tale for the ages.

David vs. Goliath

If most novels follow the archetype of the hero’s journey, most political battles can be boiled down to a David vs. Goliath fight where plucky people armed only with their principles and the facts go up against a behemoth power.

They say the winners get to write the history books, and that’s good news for those of us who have suffered through the numerous injustices, cruelties, and ineptitude of the COVID-19 years as we can now say with certainty that the “David” in this scenario has indeed taken down “Goliath.”

Allow me to set the stage.

Goliath is in this instance, of course, the government—a complex web made up of governors, the CDC, the NIH, multiple presidents, congressional leaders, and various government agencies across all federal and state levels that were in lockstep not only in their approach to the pandemic, but in setting the official narrative on its origins.

They had endless resources (forcibly taken from taxpayers of course). They had the mainstream media at their disposal. They had the healthcare and scientific community scared into submission. They had the law and the police. They even had the townsquare locked down—both physically through actual lockdowns and metaphorically as they used the FBI to bully social media platforms into censoring Americans.

And importantly, they had a lot of people who’ve been conditioned to never question authority.

In opposition to all of this were the supposed “conspiracy theorists.” The everyday Americans who refused to negate their own common sense and logic in the face of immense public pressure, threats of jail, and as their livelihoods were shut down. In the corner of “David,” the rock in this metaphor if you will, was a little known nonprofit called the White Coat Waste Project—a free market animal welfare organization dedicated to defunding the torture of animals with taxpayer dollars in government labs. (Disclosure: I am a Fellow for the WCW).

The White Coat Waste Project (WCW) may have been one of the few entities paying attention to Dr. Anthony Fauci and his operation within the NIH before COVID struck our shores. And that’s because Fauci has long been one of the top funders of animal torture within the government. WCW was tracking gain-of-function research back when it was banned under President Barack Obama (2014-2017) since the research is in and of itself animal torture.

WCW had been filing FOIAs and lawsuits against the government to obtain information on these practices for a hot minute, and so they were virtually the only entity armed with the arsenal of information needed to go up against the government’s machine when disaster struck.

The Cover-Up

In 2020, the government immediately went into cover-up mode. Those who insisted that a disease of this kind had leaked, in the very town where a giant, sketchy lab was operating and experimenting with these specific diseases no less, were treated like lepers. They were censored, kicked off social media, laughed out of polite society, maligned in the mainstream media, called racists even. (Side note: Charles CW Cooke wrote a hilarious piece mocking the “racist” label in 2021).

As James B. Meigs pointed out in Commentary, “focusing on China’s sloppy research practices and possible cover-up would distract the public from the media’s preferred COVID narratives: Trump’s incompetence, racial injustice, and red-state recklessness.” Politics was always at play. People’s safety, the desire to identify root causes and ensure such a calamity never occurred again, came much later—if at all.

But there was also a deeper motivation at play. Focusing on China’s sloppy research practices and possible cover-up was always going to trace directly back to those who were funding the Chinese lab, which was of course the US government, the NIH, and specifically Dr. Anthony Fauci, who had been using a pass through organization (EcoHealth Alliance) to illegally fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan lab.

It’s hard to overstate what Fauci had quickly come to represent to the Left by the Spring of 2020. He was the face of science itself, the embodiment of all the faceless “experts” Americans were mocked for having the audacity to question, and the patron saint of the progressive’s new religion. If Catholics mark their foreheads with ashes and Christians bedeck themselves with WWJD bracelets, progressives found a mechanism for publicly displaying their faith in the government with masks, vaccine cards, and Fauci candles.

And so the entire machinery of the government and the media coalesced to protect Fauci, cover-up this funding, and denounce anyone who dared pushback on their laughably weak theory that COVID came from Chinese people eating bats. (As if that isn’t the actual racist suggestion in all of this?)

Enter Rand Paul

If Fauci became the face of Goliath, Senator Rand Paul (R, KY) soon became the face of David. Time after time, Paul went up against Fauci in congressional committees, armed with FOIAs from the WCW, his knowledge of science as a doctor, and other research gathered by his impressive staff members.

As he continued to pressure Fauci for the truth, he received an onslaught of intense criticism from the mainstream media and death threats from countless trolls in their mom’s basements online. Interestingly enough, those on the Left’s newfound devotion to all healthcare workers and scientists did not extend to Paul, and his medical degree was mocked. Per usual, this group’s devotion to any one group of people, whether it be people of color, women, LGBTQ members, or scientists and doctors, only extends to the point where members of these groups agree with them in lockstep.

(Don’t tweets like these make you glad the internet is forever?)

But as it turned out, one man who stuck to his principles, refused to back down, and who consistently came with the facts was able to turn the tide on behalf of the “conspiracy theorists,” who were absolutely correct in their theories in the end.

But can you imagine where we’d be right now without Senator Paul and the White Coat Waste Project?

Like the end of a Scooby Doo episode, it was the “experts” in the mask all along. “And they would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for the pesky ‘conspiracy theorists!’”

Turning the Tide

The chips have fallen quickly at this point. Numerous government agencies now openly say the lab leak is the most likely theory for the origins of COVID-19. The majority of Americans also agree. The mainstream media has had to reverse course, and actual science and data are no longer being censored on social media (except for on TikTok, which has a particular interest in shutting down the lab leak theory).

Numerous states have demanded a full investigation into COVID’s origins. Congress has given the federal government until June 18th to release all its documents on the matter. Rand Paul has vowed to block all of Biden’s nominations until that is done. And the White Coat Waste Project is continuing to lobby both for final answers on COVID’s origins and on defunding gain-of-function research in all foreign labs.

Come hell or high water, the Davids in this scenario are going to get to the bottom of the matter. But what happens when we do?

What Comes Next

If we could time travel and make demands of the Founding Fathers (aside from obviously banning slavery from the get-go), at the top of my list would be better recourses for citizens in the Constitution in order to punish government actors when they violate our rights. As it stands, they included virtually no tangible ability for the people to punish government actors who violate our rights or break the law.

The lack of such levers means that even as we prove the presence of corruption, we’re left with few options to do anything about it. It is unlikely that anyone will pay any price for the illegal and risky funding of gain-of-function research in Wuhan, even if we are able to show that funding led to the creation and subsequent leak of a global pandemic that destroyed the economy and killed millions.

If every day Americans go to jail for breaking the law, so too should government agents like Fauci. But that’s a pipedream.

What we can do, though, is work to ensure such a catastrophe never occurs again—especially with the use of our tax dollars.

Gain-of-function research should always have been illegal (thanks a lot President Trump), not only because it tortures animals, but because it is innately too risky to be beneficial to humanity. Taxpayers should never be forced to fund unethical practices, and Americans on both sides of the aisle (and in the middle, which is most of us), are none too happy that our wages are being forcibly seized to carry out such grotesque practices.

Ending animal torture in government-funded labs. Outlawing gain-of-function research and attaching some real teeth and penalties for those who do it anyways. Not funding the labs of our foreign adversaries. These are obvious steps that should be demanded. And we’re making some progress on them.

As of this month, the US House panel that funds the Department of Defense (DOD) passed its 2024 spending bill, and it includes key language WCW lobbied for that cuts DOD funding to the Wuhan lab—as well as all other labs in China, Russia, and other adversarial nations. Additionally, it cuts DOD funding for any animal experiments, virus-hunting or other projects in China involving the corrupt pass through organization Fauci has favored for years, EcoHealth Alliance.

According to reporting by Real Clear Politics, “an analysis by (Senator Joni) Ernst and the watchdog group Open the Books found that the American research institutes had sent Chinese and Russian entities at least $1.3 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars over five years for various programs, including several at the Wuhan lab, as well as experiments forcing cats to run on treadmills in Russia and a gender-equality New Yorker cartoon exhibition in Beijing.”

This follows another big development where the NIH recently disqualified the Wuhan animal lab and all animal labs in Russia from future taxpayer funding too.

Justin Goodman, Senior Vice President at WCW had this to say about the bill, “Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill for foreign enemies’ animal experimentation labs, and we’re proud of the progress we’re making to find, expose and defund this waste and abuse in Wuhan and beyond. If signed into law, this bill would prohibit the Pentagon from sending tax dollars to white coats in dozens of animal labs run by China, Russia and other adversarial nations. Our Worldwide Waste campaign first exposed how the DOD, NIH, USAID, and other federal agencies recklessly ship billions of tax dollars to unaccountable foreign animal labs, including how EcoHealth funneled funds to the Wuhan lab for dangerous gain-of-function animal experiments that likely caused COVID and how taxpayers unwittingly funded a Kremlin-linked lab crippling cats. The solution is simple: Stop the money. Stop the madness!”

If there’s one silver-lining to COVID-19, it’s that a whole host of people have woken up to the realities of the nature of government. Big government will always be corrupt. Even with the best of intentions, it is mismanaged, ineffective, wasteful, and causes countless secondary harms. At worst, it funds animal torture, creates global pandemics, and kills millions. And then works to cover it up.

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Hannah Cox
Hannah Cox
Hannah Cox is a libertarian-conservative writer and co-founder of BASEDPolitics. She's also the host of the BASEDPolitics podcast and an experienced political activist.