Attempts to see details of a key email conversation between leading scientists – including Sir Patrick Vallance and Anthony Fauci – on the origins of Covid have been quashed by the British Government which has redacted page after page with thick black lines, begging the question: “What are they hiding?” The Mail on Sunday has the story.
[The MoS] used Freedom of Information rules to obtain a cache of 32 emails about a secretive teleconference between British and American health officials held early in the pandemic.
But officials blacked out almost every word before releasing the crucial documents.
Before this discussion, several of the world’s most influential experts believed the new virus most likely came from a laboratory – but days later, the scientists began dismissing such scenarios as “implausible” and branding them conspiracy theories.
The critical call is at the centre of concerns that the scientific establishment tried to stifle debate on the pandemic’s origins, as damning new evidence emerges of U.S. ties to high-risk research on bat viruses in Wuhan, where the first cases emerged in late 2019.
The MoS requested emails, minutes and notes on the call between Sir Patrick Vallance – Britain’s Chief Scientific Adviser – and its organisers Sir Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust medical charity, and Anthony Fauci, the U.S. infectious diseases expert and presidential adviser.
Yet when the documents were released they had page after page redacted with thick lines of black ink by Whitehall officials. Even the names of experts copied in on discussions were blocked – and exchanges as trivial as one Edinburgh biologist’s “thank you” for being invited – leaving only a few basic details about the call visible.
The lines left intact include a demand for the discussions, involving 13 participants around the world, to be conducted in “total confidence”, and an intriguing email line suggesting “we need to talk about the backbone too, not just the insert”.
That was possibly sent by Dutch virologist Marion Koopmans, a member of the World Health Organisation team that produced a widely criticised report into Covid’s origins.
Such absurd state secrecy is highly contemptuous towards taxpayers and to a world that wants to know what caused this devastating pandemic to guard against similar catastrophes in the future.
The response was condemned by Tory MP and freedom of information campaigner David Davis.
“This is a matter of massive public and global importance,” he said. “It is hard to see why there should be such secrecy that it outweighs the immense public interest and requires them to redact this sort of important data.”
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Ian Birrell, who wrote the piece in the Mail on Sunday, has produced a Twitter thread showing some of the redacted documents which you can see here.