Filipino scholars petition WHO to probe Fort Detrick, breaking 'wall of silence' imposed by US
Published: Aug 06, 2021 04:38 PM
Photo: screenshot of the Filipino petition urging probe into US' Fort Detrick biolab

Photo: screenshot of the Filipino petition urging probe into US' Fort Detrick biolab

After 25 million Chinese signed an online petition asking the World Health Organization (WHO) to probe the US' Fort Detrick biolab, a group of Filipino scholars, including political commentator Herman Laurel, launched a similar online petition on Thursday to break the wall of silence around the suspicious lab, with more ASEAN members expected to join.

Chinese netizens drafted a petition letter and entrusted the Global Times to post it on social media platforms, and it has garnered 25 million signatures as of Friday. Inspired by the petition, Laurel wrote in his column for the Global Times earlier that he "thought of the thousands of Filipinos who agree that Fort Detrick mysteries must be brought to the light of day."

Filipinos are already aware of the US biolab's notorious reputation and wonder why the US is going to so much trouble to avoid opening up the military biological warfare facility to global public view. 

Laurel told the Global Times that the petition launched on Thursday has garnered more than 200 signatures so far and he expects it to reach thousands. The more signatures the petition gets, the higher the chance it can appear on front page of website where the petition is placed, and engage more people to join.

"The global community must raise its voice enough to break down the wall of silence around Fort Detrick that is imposed by the US government," Laurel said.

A petition to the WHO is the only way for the global community to make progress (on origins-tracing), not going around in circles as some forces in the US insist on doing — by pressuring the WHO to avoid scrutiny of their own possible accountabilities, Laurel said.

Laurel and his colleagues at think tank Philippine-BRICS Strategic Studies have reached out to Malaysian scholar Anna Malindog-Uy, who wrote with regional media organization ASEAN post. "We connected her to start a Malaysian sign-up petition on WHO to investigate Fort Detrick and then (expand to) other ASEAN members," the commentator said. 

The WHO mission to Wuhan went to various places there to conduct research, and their report helped answer many questions, including the conclusion of a lab-leak "extremely unlikely." 

Laurel pointed out that reports emerged from many other countries such as Italy, Spain, France as well as the US indicated the presence of COVID-19 even earlier than the first case was found in Wuhan, which demands an inquiry and verification from WHO experts as soon as possible. 

Ideas of investigations into the US biolab in Maryland came up to Laurel and his colleagues at Philippine-BRICS Strategic Studies as early as the second half of 2020. 

Think tank member Mauro Gia Samont published an article on the Manila Times on July 18 titled "Fort Detrick mystery resurrects," urging the US to explain its suspicious biolab rather than attack people who raise questions about the lab.

"Fort Detrick is too dangerous a mystery to remain shrouded in secrecy," Laurel said. He noted the biolab has a notorious history of links to mind-control drugs experiments with LSD in the secret MK ULTRA program, Anthrax virus leaks, Ebola and smallpox experiments. Fort Detrick was closed by the US CDC for "national security reasons" in August 2019 and efforts to interview civilians living around it have been met with silence. "All these circumstances and questions arising from them make it imperative that the next focus of the virus origins-tracing investigation be done at Fort Detrick," Laurel emphasized. 

The US has long mastered and employed "information wars" to advance its global agenda. Hyping the so-called Wuhan "lab leak" theory is clearly a strategy to waylay and/or delay the imperative to look into them, Laurel noted. 

The top-notch scientists and virologists with the WHO team proclaimed the lab-leak theory as "extremely unlikely." They appreciated the full and open cooperation of the Chinese government and their counterparts. 

Citing examples of US disinformation including in the Iraq War that was labeled a "war of mass distraction," Laurel noted, "It is absolutely correct to say the US is using the same strategy on this issue or virus-origin tracing and distracting the scientific inquiries away from itself and onto to China which has actually been most transparent.

The Chinese petition, which concluded on Friday 12pm with more than 25 million signatures, made a splash internationally. Relevant news reports were cited more than 600 times by news outlets from more than 40 countries.

Following work will be done to ensure the Chinese public opinion and international support for such a probe is heard by WHO and becomes reference for the phase 2 origins tracing.

"It is important for all the peoples of the world to join in the petition to know the truth about Fort Detrick at this time and end the delusions the US is creating," he stressed.