Filipino, Malaysian scholars join intl chorus of urging US open Fort Detrick for virus probe
Filipino scholar to present latest petition to WHO
Published: Aug 17, 2021 09:39 PM
Military personnel stand guard outside the USAMRIID at Fort Detrick on September 26, 2002.  Photo: AFP

Military personnel stand guard outside the USAMRIID at Fort Detrick on September 26, 2002. Photo: AFP

A month after an online petition in China demanded that the WHO investigate the US' Fort Detrick lab for the origins of the novel coronavirus, which gained over 25 million signatures online and inspired people in the Philippines, Australia, Malaysia and South Korea to call on the US to "open its door" for a thorough probe, Chinese Foreign Ministry urged the US on Tuesday to respond to doubts raised by the international community as soon as possible. 

The petition was drafted by a group of netizens and entrusted to the Global Times on July 17 as a response from the Chinese public to US politicization of the COVID-19 origins tracing. It concluded on August 6 after garnering 25 million signatures. The petition was considered the loudest call from the Chinese public on the probe into Fort Detrick, when the US ramped up its information war against China on COVID-19 origins tracing to serve its intelligence-led 90-day investigation on the matter. 

The public call has been echoed by more countries and experts as well as groups around the world. 

A South Korean civic group has sued the Fort Detrick biological laboratory and the US Forces Korea (USFK) over the smuggled toxic substances to US military bases in South Korea in violation of domestic law, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

Kim Hyun-joong, chairman of the Korea Fire Safety Education Culture Association, filed a complaint with a court in the country's southeast city of Busan against the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Maryland, and the USFK commander Paul LaCamera.

It claimed that the USFK and the Fort Detrick biolab violated South Korean law and imported toxic substances into the country three times between 2017 and 2019.

It came after Filipino political commentator Herman Laurel launched a similar online petition earlier this month to break the silence around the dubious lab, with more ASEAN members expected to join.

"We already have signatures from Malaysia and Australia. We are planning a media forum to announce our visit to the local office of the WHO to follow up our petition," he said, noting that he hopes delivering a letter of request by Friday next week at the latest. 

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."

The columnist of Filipino newspaper Pwersa also mentioned that one of the most intriguing reports concerns the early presence of a "strange flu" in other countries and the mysterious issues such as the "vaping deaths" emanating from the US around the middle of 2019. And those reports emerged from the US revolving around Fort Detrick, which had been ordered by the US CDC to shut down for "national security reasons" in August 2019, putting the lab at the center of questions and doubts. 

All those reports showed that the public has a clear mind, and many rational and justified voices emerged from the international community, Hua Chunying, spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry, told a routine press conference on Tuesday. 

In a new book unveiled by a former press officer of the Philippine Embassy in the US, titled The Racism Virus Is Incurable, it listed a timeline of the COVID-19 outbreak in the US, which could be traced back to June 2019, Hua said. 

The Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 was first discovered in Texas before the virus was transmitted through the US military to Europe. So the US politicizing the COVID-19 outbreak is like the Spanish virus repeating itself, Hua said.

With more and more new clues pointing to the US on COVID-19 origins, a number of media and experts in the US, Russia, South Korea and Japan spoke out to call for an investigation into Fort Detrick. But the US government has yet to respond to these doubts and calls, walking away from its responsibility but focusing on political maneuvers by spreading disinformation and lies, the spokesperson noted. 

In a briefing on Friday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu asked why the US has no courage to open its door for the origins tracing investigation but hypes the so-called lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. In fact, the US is the place with the most problems in labs, Ma noted. 

"Recently, 25 million Chinese people joined the petition to ask for a probe into Fort Detrick, which shows the reasonable concern and justified request. Why not open the lab? If the US has nothing to hide, it should invite the WHO to investigate Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina (UNC)," he said. 

China called on the US again to respond to doubts from the international community and release its testing results of the early cases, inviting the WHO experts to investigate Fort Detrick, its more than 200 biolabs around the world, and the UNC, and publish the data of the US soldiers who were sick and attended the Wuhan Military Games, Hua said.