By Tank Murdoch
(TNS) Long-time readers know we don’t do conspiracy theories of the tinfoil hat variety here because they are an insult to your intelligence and because there are plenty of other sites out there doing them because their more interested in publishing clickbait than real news.
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That said, we noted on Sunday that China’s top diplomat to the United States, AmbassadorÂ Cui Tiankai, expended a lot of words during an interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” toÂ not deny that the rapidly spreading coronavirus is the product of one of Beijing’s bio-weapons.
This is important because a U.S. senator not known for hyperbole and who happens to have a military background as an office — Tom Cotton of Arkansas — raised the possibility last week that the virus may have been manufactured for use during wartime.
A little about Cotton first. He is a Harvard-educated lawyer who joined the U.S. Army in 2005 following the 9/11 attacks, then shunned the Judge Adjutant General Corps — Army lawyers and judges — to volunteer for the infantry. After graduating Officer Candidate School, he would serve to combat tours — one in Iraq and a second in Afghanistan. He was awarded a Bronze Star, and earned aÂ Ranger Tab,Â Combat Infantryman Badge,Â Parachutist Badge, and anÂ Air Assault Badge. He currently serves on the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees, so he has a high security clearance and, thus, access to the latest U.S. intelligence.
Last week, Cotton raised eyebrows and made headlines when he suggested that the coronavirus could be a Chinese bioweapon — which, coming from him, should be taken seriously because he’s a rational guy who is not prone to hyperbole.
It also makes sense given the difficulty the Chinese are having in terms of how quickly the virus is spreading and how many deaths are associated with it (now more than the SARS outbreak in 2002, which also originated in China).
In any event, Cotton’s suggestion (it was never an allegation) was addressed to Cui on Sunday via BS Newsâ€™ Margaret Brennan. “Thatâ€™s an extraordinary charge. How do you respond to that?â€ she asked — implying, as usual, that Cotton the Republican Trump supporter is clueless as are all Trump supporters.
Cui’s non-answer is telling.
â€œI think itâ€™s true that a lot is still unknown and our scientists, Chinese scientists, American scientists, scientists of other countries are doing their best to learn more about the virus, but itâ€™s very harmful,â€ Cui responded.
â€œItâ€™s very dangerous to stir up suspicion, rumors and spread them among the people. For one thing, this will create panic. Another thing that it will fend up racial discrimination, xenophobia, all these things, that will really harm our joint efforts to combat the virus,” he said, throwing the race-and-bigotry card like a boss.
â€œOf course, there are all kinds of speculation and rumors,â€ Cui continued. â€œThere are people who are saying that these virus are coming from some- some military lab, not of China, maybe in the United States. How â€” how can we believe all these crazy things?â€
â€œYou think itâ€™s crazy,â€ Brennan pressed. â€œWhere did the virus come from?â€
â€œAbsolutely crazy,â€ responded.
â€œWhere did the virus come from?â€ Brennan asked.
â€œWe still donâ€™t know yet,â€ Cui responded. â€œItâ€™s probably according to some initial outcome of the research, probably coming from some animals. But we have to- to discover more about it.â€
That dodge did not escape the attention of Republican National Committee Rapid Response Director Steve Guest, who cited the clip on Twitter.
â€œChinaâ€™s ambassador to the United States just went on CBSâ€™ â€˜Face the Nationâ€™ and DID NOT deny that coronavirus stemmed from the Chinese militaryâ€™s biological warfare program. Amb. Cui Tiankai then suggested that the virus could come from a US military lab,” Guest wrote.
China's ambassador to the United States just went on CBS' "Face the Nation" and DID NOT deny that coronavirus stemmed from the Chinese military's biological warfare program.
Amb. Cui Tiankai then suggested that the virus could come from a US military lab. pic.twitter.com/z2g254iccz
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) February 9, 2020
It’s important to remind readers that, as is the case in all authoritarian societies, official government positions and responses are carefully scripted in order to protect the regime.
It would seem much simpler, then, to simply deny outright that coronavirus stemmed from a Chinese biological weapons program. So why didn’t Cui just say that?
Meanwhile, other media in other countries — in Russia and in the Middle East — are claiming that the virus is the result of anÂ American bioweapons program, not a Chinese program, the Daily Wire reported.
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