How US Media Misrepresent the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Laboratories and Safety Protocols

Joshua Cho

MintPress News | September 15, 2021

Lab Leak Media Feature photo

Editor’s Note | We recognize that COVID-19 coverage can inflame passions and is prone to controversy. In the past, MintPress News has published varying viewpoints on the topic (including ones that stand in contrast to those represented in the following article). We strive to provide well-researched articles representing a diversity of views to our readers in the interest of fostering healthy discussion in the public interest.

WUHAN, CHINA — While many people have already criticized the lack of evidence and scientific basis for the hypothesis that the Covid-19 pandemic originated from a laboratory, both critics and proponents of the lab-leak theory appear to have uncritically accepted false or unproven premises regarding work done at the laboratory most often implicated in these speculations, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).

Some of the most prominent accusations pointed at the WIV are that it was conducting research as part of China’s alleged biowarfare program, and was conducting its experiments in substandard biosafety conditions. The implication is that if the WIV lied about not having SARS-CoV-2 before the outbreak, the virus would also be more likely to have originated from there owing to their inadequate biosafety standards. However, after investigating these widely circulated claims and contacting several scientists, it turns out there is actually little evidence for any of these allegations.

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China Firmly Rejects Illegal Detention of Venezuelan Diplomat Alex Saab

Orinoco Tribune | September 19, 2021

On Friday, September 17, the People’s Republic of China firmly rejected the illegal detention of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab and urged the United States to respect the norms that govern international law.

Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry, stated at a press conference that the US “has been playing a shameful role in regard to Venezuela. The US has constantly abused political and judicial maneuvers, including sanctions and extraditions; with the purpose of meddling in the internal affairs of Venezuela.”

Lijian went on to point out that the US harassment policy “affects the regular international personnel exchange and endangers mutual trust and cooperation between countries,” and due to this reason “China firmly rejects this.”

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

15. Enter regional states 

The Taliban hoisted their black and white flag on the presidential palace in Kabul on September 11, which happens to be the twentieth anniversary of the Al-Qaeda’s attack on New York and Washington, DC. The symbolism is too obvious to be missed. Although the Taliban had no hand in the 9/11 attacks, it took the brunt of the US’ revenge act to invade Afghanistan. 

No doubt, the flag hoisting is an assertion by the Taliban that they have returned as the ruling elite 20 years after their government was overthrown, and that is a reality the US cannot ignore. 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-15/

16. Biden’s Taliban blues 

The best part of the visit by the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Nikolay Patrushev to New Delhi (September 7-8) was that the two countries may embark upon a voyage of discovery of each other at a phase in their relationship when the US-led Quad irrevocably sets them apart and as Delhi climbs on board the US’ Indo-Pacific Strategy to fight the Chinese on the beaches, in the hills and in the air. 

The Americans are of course back on the cold war era track obsessed with weakening and possibly dismembering Russia, if they can, to realise their elusive dream of ‘nuclear superiority’. 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-16/

17. Foreign Devils on the Silk Road  

The title of an unputdownable 1980 classic by Peter Hopkirk comes to mind even as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation are preparing to hold back-to-back summit meetings at Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on September 17. 

Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Treasures of Central Asia tells the breathtaking story of the intrepid men who made long-range archaeological raids in far west China looking for the lost cities of the Taklamakan Desert before they were gradually swallowed by the shifting waves of sand (and weren’t rediscovered until the early 19th century.) 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-17/

18. India’s ‘over-the-horizon’ dilemma 

In England, they’d plan a park, build it but wouldn’t complete it until they could observe  for a while the foot tracks of walkers, before deciding where to lay the pathways for optimal utility. 

The Blinken Administration and Modi Govt apparently think they don’t have that luxury when it comes to Afghanistan. That is the troubling signal out of the Congressional hearing on Monday in Washington with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

But, for a start, Blinken was rather muted in his reaction on Pakistan’s perceived duplicity in taking advantage of the US. Certainly, he would know three things. 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-18/

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Colombia’s Iván Duque Launches Another False Flag Operation Against Venezuela

José Manuel Blanco Diaz

orinocotribune | September 13, 2021

Right wing Colombian president, Ivan Duque. File photo.

Venezuelan Minister for Defense, Vladimir Padrino López, issued a forceful response to new accusations from the President of Colombia, Iván Duque, who recently launched a new false positive against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Calling out Duque’s manipulation and conspiratorial plans, Padrino López denounced the Colombian president’s pronouncement as a “tormented attempt” to torpedo the Venezuelan government-opposition dialogue that is being held in the Mexico.

In recent days, violent attacks against military and police authorities have plagued Colombia. Without providing any evidence, Colombian authorities have pointed to Venezuela as being the place where these alleged FARC and ELN attacks were planned.

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US ECONOMIC WAR ON CUBA CONTINUES, EVEN AFTER WAR IN AFGHANISTAN ENDS

President Joe Biden justified military withdrawal from Afghanistan by arguing that the US must stop “military operations to remake other countries,” but its efforts to “remake other countries” like Cuba through economic warfare continue unabated.

Radhika Desai and Arnold August

The Real News Network | September 01, 2021

As the 20-year war in Afghanistan officially came to an end, President Joe Biden justified US military withdrawal in an address to the nation on Aug. 31: “This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries.” While these remarks suggest a potential reckoning with the longstanding US policy of imperialist intervention around the world, increased US sanctions on Cuba demonstrate that such intervention persists in the form of economic warfare. From the dire strain US sanctions have put on the Cuban economy to the corporate media frenzy that exploited protests in Cuba this summer as a justification for interventionist “regime change,” it is clear that efforts by the US to “remake other countries” are not ending any time soon.

TRNN contributor Radhika Desai is joined by Arnold August to discuss the protests in Cuba, the media narratives about the protests, and the prospect that the Biden administration will succeed in exploiting Cuba’s current troubles to achieve its interventionist ends. August is a Montreal-based author, journalist, lecturer, and the author of multiple books on Cuba, including Democracy in Cuba and the 1997–98 ElectionsCuba and Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion, and Cuba–U.S. Relations: Obama and Beyond.

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

11. US slips out of Kabul but is vengeful

The back-to-back press briefings on August 30 by General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr, commander, US Central Command and Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, on Afghanistan conveys the picture of a superpower badly bruised and embittered but remaining vengeful. This is bad news. 

Gen. McKenzie said, “Taliban had been very — very pragmatic and very business-like… they were actually very helpful and useful to us as we closed down operations”. But then, Americans wouldn’t even share with the Taliban the exact time of their “tactical exfiltration”. Nor was there any “discussion of turning anything over.” 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-11/

12. To recognise, or not to recognise, that’s the question

At the weekly briefing in Moscow on Thursday by the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova stated that Russia will consider recognising Afghanistan’s new authorities once an inclusive government is formed in the country. 

To quote Zakharova, “We call for the establishment of an inclusive coalition government in Afghanistan that would involve all of the country’s ethnic and political forces, including ethnic minorities, so the question of recognising the country’s authorities will rise after the process is over.” (TASS

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-12/

13. Panjshir revolt becomes footnote

At the daily foreign ministry briefing in Beijing on Friday, Russian correspondent of Sputnik asked spokesperson Ambassador Wang Wenbin how China viewed the Taliban decision to attack Panjshir and how this will affect the Afghan situation. 

Ambassador Wang replied that “it is China’s sincere hope that all parties in Afghanistan will go with the Afghan people’s eager aspiration and the international community’s expectation to resolve differences through consultation and ensure a steady transition so that the people of this war-torn country can live free from war and conflict and build lasting peace at an early date.” 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-13/

14. The fall of Panjshir

Panjshir has fallen to the Taliban with a bang — and a whimper. The bang is because a 40-year old legend lies shattered, the legend of the invincibility of Panjshir Valley. And the whimper is because the short-lived ‘resistance’ had a tame ending. 

A BBC report said the revolt’s two top leaders Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh were not even in Panjshir during the past 4 days at least but had left for Tajikistan and were apparently leading the so-called ‘resistance’ via Twitter. It may seem farcical and will have deleterious consequences. 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-14/

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Humanitarian measure granted to Alex Saab

Últimas Noticias | 2 September, 2021

In the order dated August 31, to which the Cape Verdean digital medium Notícias do Norte had access, the court considers that “being so, and because it seems to us that such a decision will not create great limitations, and even if it does, health it must come first, it is granted to the transfer of residence requested by Alex Saab to the city of Praia, Santiago ”.

This decision is the result of a request from the defense, to transfer from the city of Santa María, Sal, where the ambassador is under house arrest, to the Cape Verdean capital, alleging “the need for the ambassador to have assistance of specialists in the area of ​​oncology that do not exist on the Island of Sal ”, according to what was reported by the Saab defense team in a press release.

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Another front for U.S. soft coup operations against Cuba

Party Political Bureau member and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla denounces Creative Associates International as a front for the U.S. government to design soft coups in our country and others

Lisset Chavez Bergues

Granma | August 27, 2021

Photo: Poster by Kael Abello

Party Political Bureau member and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla recently denounced Creative Associates International as a front for the U.S. government to design soft coups and overturn the government in our country and others.
The Foreign Minister shared an investigation on his Twitter account conducted by MintPress News on Washington’s use of this company to impose its hegemonic agenda around the world: “With a presence today in at least 85 countries, it employs soft power techniques and designs operations to produce regime change and political transitions,” Rodríguez stated.

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

8. US senses that Taliban is reality – Implications   

This week will stand out as a pivotal moment in President Joe Biden’s presidency. It has been a humble moment yet bold and decisive, far-sighted but tactical, and focused on America’s self-interests. It underscores that the US’ capacity to force its will on other countries (or even non-state actors) has dramatically diminished. 

To Biden’s detractors and critics, this might seem a moment of weakness — that the CIA Director William Burns had to travel to Kabul to seek a concession from the Taliban leadership to extend the August 31 deadline for the evacuations at Kabul Airport, which the Taliban political chief Mullah Ghani Baradar plainly refused. 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-8/

US President Biden enters Roosevelt Room in the White House to give a statement on US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Aug 24, 2021

9. A political windfall for Taliban

The horrific terrorist strikes in Kabul on Thursday which killed at least 12 US servicemen and dozens of civilians will lead to a higher level of cooperation between the US and the Taliban. 

The commander of CENTCOM Gen. Kenneth McKenzie disclosed to journalists on Thursday that  the US was already sharing information on terror threats in Afghanistan with Taliban. As he put it, “We share versions of this information with the Taliban so that they actually make searches… We think they’ve thwarted some.”

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-9/

10. Taliban has a package deal with US. Coast is clear for new government in Kabul. 

The US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan discussed today in an interview with CBS “Face the Nation” the evolving relationship between Washington and the Afghan Taliban. Three things emerge. 

First, Sullivan disclosed that “over-the-horizon strikes” against the ISIS-K from outside Afghanistan will continue but he ruled out any return to combat missions.

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-10/

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