Ft. Detrick probe petition concludes with 25m signatures, inspires actions of Filipino think tank to break US 'wall of silence' around lab
Published: Aug 07, 2021 12:06 AM
Infographic: Xu Zihe/GT

Infographic: Xu Zihe/GT

As the US ramps up its information war against China on the coronavirus origins tracing to serve its intelligence-led 90-day inquiry on the issue, the Chinese public expressed themselves - 25 million signed an online petition urging the World Health Organization (WHO) to probe the US' Fort Detrick biolab, which stores dangerous infectious viruses and had a leak record in 2019 right before the pandemic. 

The loudest call on a probe into the Fort Detrick represented the wide public opinion. The Chinese petition, which a group of Chinese netizens drafted and entrusted the Global Times to post on social media, received half a million signatures in 24 hours and 1 million in 48 hours. It concluded on Friday 12pm after garnering 25 million signatures in three weeks.

The petition website suffered severe cyberattacks from multiple US IP addresses as signatures approached 10 million. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press conference on July 26 that the US owes Chinese netizens an explanation on why it remains silent on opening the Fort Detrick lab to an investigation and why it launched cyberattacks on an online petition demanding the WHO to probe the lab.

Under the petition site, netizens expressed themselves, with one saying, "The US must open the biolab for investigations by experts who are geopolitically independent from the US!" "Thorough probe into Fort Detrick is being responsible for lives of all mankind," said another.  

The international community also paid great attention to the petition and the strong public opinion it represented, as 3.2 million views and interactions came from overseas. 

Relevant news reports received attention of news outlets from more than 40 countries, including the New York Times, and wire news service AFP, as well as media from countries including Indonesia, Iran, Turkey, Vietnam and Brazil.

The US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick Photo: AP

The US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick Photo: AP

However, the US keeps ignoring Chinese and world calls for a probe into Fort Detrick while devising smears against China on the virus origins topic. And it has mastered an information war by gaining experience in circumstances such as the launch of the Iraq War by a "tube of detergent."

Global Times learned from sources that some US government and intelligence officials believe that there is always a need to press ahead with the COVID-19 origins probe in China even if no substantive evidence is eventually found. If the US-led probe ends up with nothing, the U.S. can still proclaim that the failure of finding out where the virus came from is due to China's open rejection of the next phase of the investigation, and therefore China must be held responsible for the world's suffering. The more China resists, the more reasons the U.S. will have to unite with its allies and followers to exert greater pressure on China.

The US has provided the WHO with a framework plan for origins tracing and the investigation team should come from the countries including the US, Europe, Canada and Japan, and have access to all parts of China, Global Times learned. The US requires China to share all information on the virus, clinical cases and biological samples. The US plan has already jumped to a false conclusion, even before the probe starts.

The US' COVID-19 origins probe was not to crack scientific puzzle but a pure chronicle of political witch-hunt foretold.

Meanwhile, the US recently set about whitewashing Fort Detrick in Maryland. Its government-controlled media outlets, including Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, have put a positive spin on Fort Detrick, saying that the army base is conducting "beneficial research." 

A CNN "exclusive" on Friday further demonstrated the US is paving the way for the US intelligence agency to frame a lab in Wuhan. The report claimed US intelligence agencies are digging through datasets key to uncovering the origins of the coronavirus. The report gave up covering its real purpose of cooperating with the upcoming 90-day push by Biden administration on virus origins tracing to smear China. Just like framing Iraq to launch a war in 2003, the US is preparing the "tube of detergent" to frame China. 

But the US' political smears and secretive attitude on Fort Detrick have triggered suspicions of other countries. 

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

A group of Filipino scholars, along with political commentator Herman Laurel, launched an online petition on Thursday similar to the Chinese one to break the "wall of silence" around the suspicious Fort Detrick biolab. 

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 told the Global Times.

Laurel and his colleagues at think tank Philippine-BRICS Strategic Studies have reached out to Malaysian scholar Anna Malindog-Uy to start a Malaysian sign-up petition [for probe into Fort Detrick]… and then [expand to] other ASEAN members," the commentator said.