Biotechnology, Health, News December 16, 2020

Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance Has Hidden Almost $40 Million In Pentagon Funding And Militarized Pandemic Science

by Jonathan Latham

by Sam Husseini

“Pandemics are like terrorist attacks: We know roughly where they originate and what’s responsible for them, but we don’t know exactly when the next one will happen. They need to be handled the same way — by identifying all possible sources and dismantling those before the next pandemic strikes.”

This statement was written in the New York Times earlier this year by Peter Daszak. Daszak is the longtime president of the EcoHealth Alliance, a New York-based non-profit whose claimed focus is pandemic prevention. But the EcoHealth Alliance, it turns out, is at the very centre of the COVID-19 pandemic in many ways.

To depict the pandemic in such militarized terms is, for Daszak, a commonplace. In an Oct. 7 online talk organized by Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Daszak presented a slide titled “Donald Rumsfeld’s Prescient Speech.”:

“There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns — there are things we don’t know we don’t know.” (This Rumsfeld quote is in fact from a news conference)

The Pentagon
The Pentagon (Credit the Smithsonian)

In the subsequent online discussion, Daszak emphasized the parallels between his own crusade and Rumsfeld’s, since, according to Daszak, the “potential for unknown attacks” is “the same for viruses”.

Daszak then proceeded with a not terribly subtle pitch for over a billion dollars. This money would support a fledgling virus hunting and surveillance project of his, the Global Virome Project — a “doable project” he assured watchers — given the cost of the pandemic to governments and various industries.

Also on the video was Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs. Sachs is a former special advisor to the UN, the former head of the Millennium Villages Project, and was recently appointed Chair of the newly-formed EAT Lancet Commission on the pandemic. In September, Sachs’ commission named Daszak to head up its committee on the pandemic’s origins. Daszak is also on the WHO’s committee to investigate the pandemic’s origin. He is the only individual on both committees.

These leadership positions are not the only reason why Peter Daszak is such a central figure in the COVID-19 pandemic, however. His appointment dismayed many of those who are aware that Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance funded bat coronavirus research, including virus collection, at the Wuhan Institute for Virology (WIV) and thus could themselves be directly implicated in the outbreak.

For his part, Daszak has repeatedly dismissed the notion that the pandemic could have a lab origin. In fact, a recent FOIA by the transparency group U.S. Right To Know revealed that Peter Daszak drafted an influential multi-author letter published on February 18 in the Lancet. That letter dismissed lab origin hypothesese as “conspiracy theory.” Daszak was revealed to have orchestrated the letter such as to “avoid the appearance of a political statement.”

Sachs for his part seemed surprised by Daszak’s depiction of Rumsfeld but Daszak reassured him. “It’s an awesome quote! And yes, it’s Donald Rumsfeld, Jeff, and I know he’s a Republican, but — what a genius!”

Following the EcoHealth Alliance’s money trail to the Pentagon

Collecting dangerous viruses is typically justified as a preventive and defensive activity, getting ahead of what “Nature” or “The Terrorists” might throw at us. But by its nature, this work is “dual use”. “Biodefense” is often just as easily biowarfare since biodefense and the products of biowarfare are identical. It’s simply a matter of what the stated goals are.

This is openly acknowledged [See below] by scientists associated with EcoHealth Alliance when talking about alleged programs in other counties — like Iraq.

For much of this year, Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance garnered a great deal of sympathetic media coverage after its $3.7 million five-year NIH grant was prematurely cut when the Trump administration learned that EcoHealth Alliance funded bat coronavirus research at the WIV.

The temporary cut was widely depicted in major media as Trump undermining the EcoHealth Alliance’s noble fight against pandemics. The termination was reversed by NIH in late August, and even upped to $7.5 million. But entirely overlooked amid the claims and counter-claims was that far more funding for the EcoHealth Alliance comes from the Pentagon than the NIH.

To be strictly fair to the media, Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance obscures its Pentagon funding. On its website EcoHealth Alliance states that “A copy of the EHA Grant Management Manual is available upon request to the EHA Chief Financial Officer at finance ( at ) ecohealthalliance.org”. But an email to that address and numerous others, including Peter Daszak’s, requesting that Manual, as well as other financial information, was not returned. Neither were repeated voicemails.

Only buried under their “Privacy Policy,” under a section titled “EcoHealth Alliance Policy Regarding Conflict of Interest in Research,” does the EcoHealth Alliance concede it is the “recipient of various grant awards from federal agencies including the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the US Agency for International Development and the Department of Defense.”

Even this listing is deceptive. It obscures that its two largest funders are the Pentagon and the State Department (USAID); whereas the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which accounts for a minuscule $74,487, comes before either.

Meticulous investigation of U.S. government databases reveals that Pentagon funding for the EcoHealth Alliance from 2013 to 2020, including contracts, grants and subcontracts, was just under $39 million. Most, $34.6 million, was from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), which is a branch of the DOD which states it is tasked to “counter and deter weapons of mass destruction and improvised threat networks.”

Most of the remaining money to EHA was from USAID (State Dept.), comprising at least $64,700,000 (1). These two sources thus total over $103 million. (See Fig).

Summary EHA Grants and Contracts
Summary of EHA Grants and Contracts. Note this figure doesn’t count subcontracts so it undercounts USAID’s contribution, see footnote (1) below (Credit: James Baratta and Mariamne Everett)

Another $20 million came from Health and Human Services ($13 million, which includes National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control), National Science Foundation ($2.6 million), Department of Homeland Security ($2.3 million), Department of Commerce ($1.2 million), Department of Agriculture ($0.6 million), and Department of Interior ($0.3 million). So, total U.S. government funding for EHA to-date stands at $123 million, approximately one third of which comes from the Pentagon directly. The full funding breakdown is available here and is summarized by year, source, and type, in a spreadsheet format.

Pdf versions of this the spreadsheet are available to download. The summary is here and all Federal grants and contracts are here.

More military connections

The military links of the EcoHealth Alliance are not limited to money and mindset. One noteworthy ‘policy advisor’ to the EcoHealth Alliance is David Franz. Franz is former commander of Fort Detrick, which is the principal U.S. government biowarfare/biodefense facility.

David Franz was part of UNSCOM which inspected Iraq for alleged bioweapons — what were constantly referred to as WMDs or Weapons of Mass Destruction by the U.S. government and the media. Franz has been one of those eager to state, at least when discussing alleged Iraqi programs, that “in biology … everything is dual use — the people, the facilities and the equipment.” (NPR, May 14, 2003; link no longer available).

Just this year Franz wrote a piece with former New York Times journalist Judith Miller, whose stories of Iraqi WMDs did much to misinform the US public regarding the case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Their joint article, “A Biosecurity Failure: America’s key lab for fighting infectious disease has become a Pentagon backwater,” urges more funding for Fort Detrick.

Miller and Franz are long-time associates. Miller co-wrote the book Germs, released amid the 2001 false flag anthrax attacks, which repeatedly quotes Franz. Miller at the time received a hoax letter with a harmless white powder, increasing her prominence.

Franz continued hyping the existence of Iraqi WMDs even after the invasion of Iraq. While she was still with the Times, Miller quoted him in a story “U.S. Analysts Link Iraq Labs To Germ Arms” on May 21, 2003 pushing the theory that Iraq had mobile biological WMD units. (This theory was debunked by the British scientist Dr David Kelly, who would die, apparently by suicide, soon thereafter.)

Four significant insights emerge from all this. First, although it is called the EcoHealth Alliance, Peter Daszak and his non-profit work closely with the military. Second, the EcoHealth Alliance attempts to conceal these military connections. Third, through militaristic language and analogies Daszak and his colleagues promote what is often referred to as, and even then somewhat euphemistically, an ongoing agenda known as “securitization“. In this case it is the securitization of infectious diseases and of global public health. That is, they argue that pandemics constitute a vast and existential threat. They minimize the very real risks associated with their work, and sell it as a billion dollar solution. The fourth insight is that Daszak himself, as the Godfather of the Global Virome Project, stands to benefit from the likely outlay of public funds.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to James Baratta and Mariamne Everett for researching the funding sources.

Footnote

  1. The figure for EHA’s USAID funding was obtained from the University of California at Davis, a major grantee of PREDICT funds, which EHA has been a major sub-grantee of Davis confirmed that EHA’s funding from PREDICT totaled $64,722,669 (PREDICT-1: 2009 to 2014: $19,943,214; PREDICT-2: 2014 to present (2020) $44,779,455)

Sam Husseini is an independent journalist

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Comments 27
  • Excellent article, brilliantly researched. Although it’s just absolutely infuriating.

  • Thank you for this timely piece of research.

  • OMG! Am I surprised? No. What surprises me are there not only no repercussions for those like Franz and those who Fund this diabolical “research”, it continues. Tremendous research and excellent article. Thank you so much for making the truth be known.

  • A brief history of the PCR fiasco of the Pandemic that can’t seem to end.

    It all started on Jan 10th 2020, when WHO reported that there is an outbreak in China caused by a novel coronavirus.

    On Jan 17th 2020, The WHO recommended the use of the Corman-Drosten PCR test as a gold standard for detecting SARS-Cov-2 before the paper was even submitted for publishing.

    On Jan 21 2020, the Corman-Drosten paper was submitted to the scientific journal Eurosurveillance describing the PCR test.
    On Jan 22 2020, it was accepted for publication.
    On Jan 23rd 2020, it was published.

    Keep in mind that at the point when they started working on the PCR test, the genetic material of the virus was not yet sequenced.

    “We aimed to develop and deploy robust diagnostic methodology for use in public health laboratory settings without having virus material available.”

    “The PCR test was therefore designed using the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV” “Design and validation were enabled by the close genetic relatedness to the 2003 SARS-CoV.”

    Listen to Kevin_McKernan @ 10:37 he estimates that hey started working on the PCR test at least 2 months prior to the publication of the paper, so towards the end of Nov 2019.

    https://bretigne.typepad.com/on_the_banks/2020/12/wtmwd-50-kevin-.html?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=socialnetwork

    “You have to recognise the body of the work that they presented is not something you can do in a week that looks like maybe 2 months worth of work, which of course begs the question of who tipped them off to making this, early, prior to actually being a pandemic.

    The paper was not peer-reviewed. It was approved in one day. It takes on average 179 days to peer review an article.

    Conflict of interest was not declared: a) Drosten and his co-author Dr Chantal Reusken happen to be members of the editorial board of Eurosurveillance.

    Olfert Landt, of Tib-Molbiol, the company that developed the PCR test being used, was also a co-author of the Drosten paper. “they distributed these PCR-test kits before the publication was even submitted.” They were already in business before the pandemic started.

    In March 2020, the pandemic happened. The more we tested, the more cases we got, the more we assigned any death with a positive test to COVID19.

    The world went into lockdown based on a fear of rising cases, asymptomatic transmission, widespread susceptibility, lack of pre-existing immunity, & lack of acquired immunity after Covid, with complete disregard to the fact that 80% of cases had no symptoms or mild symptoms and that mortality followed an age gradient. All these fears were not justified and contradicted our accumulated scientific knowledge. Basic immunological facts were put to question to disinform and confuse the innocent public.

    Countries adopted an umbrella approach despite the fact that the profile of the vulnerable population was very clear since March 2020: older individuals with multiple comorbidities were at high risk of developing serious disease that could culminate in a negative outcome.

    In June 2020, the casedemic happened. As the prevalence of C19 decreased & herd immunity approached, we started to tally up false (+) ‘cases’. The test was more likely to detect viral debris at this point than an infectious virus, especially with cycle thresholds above 30.

    The WHO & Corman-Drosten protocol recommended a Ct of 45 cycles. Studies that conducted viral culture showed that with a PCR test Ct > 30, the tests were not detecting an infectious virus anymore. Yet governments turned a blind eye to these findings & never revised their Ct.

    On the 27th of November 2020, 23 scientists finally reviewed the Corman- Drosten paper and have demanded it’s retraction.

    Go here:

    https://cormandrostenreview.com/report/

    This has been Big Pharma and biotech fiasco enabled by scientists that lack integrity and are after fame and greed. On the back of this fiasco, power-craving politicians seized the moment and dug their claws into the lives of regular people like you and me.

    Unfortunately, this will continue until you understand that this has been a big fraud. It’s time we end this manufactured pandemic and make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself again.

    Go here:

    https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/reconstruction-of-a-mass-hysteria-the-swine-flu-panic-of-2009-a-682613.html

  • Rumsfeld was a preemptive strike guy. That is what is being advocated by the words Dazak or Sachs or both find to be “genius”.
    That this research was offensive in nature has to be considered. They did work on gain-of-function research using wild bat viruses from to create a strain that caused respiratory disease.

  • Mr. Husseini, this is an excellent piece of journalism. Thank you. It deserves far more attention and reflecting upon than is apparently happening. That the pandemic has been and continues to be so deeply rooted in a “security” view is easy for the general public to overlook but is so consequential to all.

  • Daszak as the only person on two committees investigating the pandemic’s origin reads like a terrible joke. The guy who’s been trying his damndest (without evidence) to convince the world that it was a natural zoonotic process that led to all this? Sure, there’s no conflict of interest whatsoever… the grant money, government contracts, speculation (with at least some evidence) of his own involvement in the origin… no, nothing to see here, folks. Sadly, the biggest conspiracy here is the continued voluntary ignorance by the “mainstream”.

  • Putting Daszak on the Origin of SARS Cov-2 Commission makes perfect sense.
    It is just like LBJ putting Alan Dulles on the Warren Commission! What better way to control the narrative but to have a prime suspect handle the evidence.
    Warren Commission = Wuhan Commission.
    Nothing changes.

  • Not sure what language this is, but it’s hilarious – a foreign comedian pretending to be Peter Daszak, commenting on the origins of Covid-19. Turn up your sound:
    https://twitter.com/FunctionGain/status/1376248849442934786

  • After the Obama administration terminated coronavirus Gain Of Function research in 2014(?) Fauci and Daszak got around it because of an exception granted for “national security.”
    So typical.

  • Alan: ‘PCR fiasco of the Pandemic’

    Eurosurveillance responded to the Corman-Drosten Review Report on Feb 4, 2021, stating that it was “adequate for its purpose” given the early days of the pandemic, and it has since then been improved, “as per usual practice.”

    Your statement ‘The WHO & Corman-Drosten protocol recommended a Ct of 45 cycles.’ is incorrect. See the Amplification Curves graph in the Corman-Drosten protocol document for 2019-nCov. Only melt curves showing a well formed S curve signify positive results. This can only occur well before 45 cycles is reached.

    Lockdowns reduce cases. No significant decrease in prevalence and mortality though.
    Impact of lockdown on COVID-19 prevalence and mortality during 2020 pandemic: observational analysis of 27 countries (Nov 2020)
    eurjmedres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40001-020-00456-9

  • Because of this grant given by the NIH, Does the BAYH-DOLE ACT Apply…?

  • Peter DASZAK was the only US WHO rep to goto the Wuhan lab, and he came up with the lab leak as not the cause. Also because the NIH gave the grant money to the Eco Health Alliance, does the BAYH-DOLE ACT Apply..?

  • Go to 1:00 for interview with Paul Cottrell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZomSWRH0oA

  • While I appreciate good research, there are numerous errors in facts, insinuations, and connections made in this post. Happy to discuss and cite evidence

  • I did not see any reply from Emily Hagan. Did she cite any specific errors in the report? More generally, has there been any factual contra-evidence to dispute that tens-of-millions $$ granted from multiple agencies that may have supported some of this work since the original article?

  • Happily, and yes that Emily Hagan so my affiliation is clear here. This blog post was shared with me by a family member and we discussed this in detail. My overarching reaction to this post and much of the media regarding this situation is this: there is a tiny grain of truth in each individual sentence, however, the collective insinuation of these sentences leads to an intentionally perverted misrepresentation of the truth.

    The points of most concern are below:

    1. Compared to the cost of pandemics the projected cost of the Global Virome Project is not unreasonable historically and evident by the current pandemic. Additionally, as a research non-profit, it is not uncommon to pitch.

    2. Participation in a statement collaboration that is endorsed by other respected scientists is a clear way to provide a picture of the situation – similar to this article but with many others attaching their names in endorsement to the clarity, truth, and perspective being shared is not uncommon.

    Additionally, keeping it free of entertainment media looking for “gotcha” moments allows for the nuance of science to be discussed rather than politized for a slanted point of view.

    3. More important than sympathy, the funding cut generated a great deal of concern. This was political interferences in science without cause and has the potential to set a dangerous precedent.

    Having scientific partnerships in science is critical for advancement and sharing information – COVID-19 is making that case.

    Additionally, all funded partnerships on grants need to be approved – thus this partnership was approved under the Trump administration.

    4. The funding cut was not temporary – funds for this project were never restored. The August project award mentioned was for a wholly separate and unrelated work. This is an example of truths in a sentence with a purposefully untrue point insinuation.

    5. Funding support is not buried anywhere, it is just ‘in’ the privacy statement. The research and project funding is also stated in all of the peer-reviewed publications and any scientific presentation.

    Clearly presented on the website are the past 10 years of annual reports and the most recent independent financial audit. Nothing is being hidden or buried.

    6. The last three words of the DTRA mission have been left off – “and Emerging Threats.” (and I will give the benefit of the doubt that this was a mistake). Emerging infectious diseases are a threat to the health and economic prosperity of Americans and preventing that is the aim of EHA and DTRA.

    7. Most research across the US is funded through grants that are funded through USG awards. The USG spends more than $40 billion on grant awards. This means less than 0.003% has been awarded to EHA. https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsb20202/academic-r-d-in-the-united-states

    8. Last, the final paragraph is the epitome of my initial point, there are grains of truth in each individual sentence, however, the collective insinuations of these sentences are provided as untrue conclusions that misrepresent scientific research, partnerships, and collaborations.

    • Emily Hagan, thank you for confirming that you are a member of the EcoHealth Alliance (EHA), and thus in an ideal position to correct any of the “numerous errors in facts, insinuations, and connections” that you claim were made in Sam Husseini’s investigative piece. As you did not mention any factual errors this reply, we take that as a confirmation that the facts are not in dispute — only the interpretation of the facts. Thank you for your interpretation. As all our articles on ISN provide links and references to support their facts, our aim is for readers to assess the facts for themselves to arrive at their own interpretations.

      More specifically, I am puzzled by your points:
      1. Why do you think that more virus hunting (i.e. though more funding e.g. for EHA or the Global Genome Project) will help prevent, predict and effectively alert the world to future pandemics so they can be effectively suppressed — when extensive past virus hunting and research of EHA and WIV failed to predict or suppress this pandemic — even though their hunt did in fact identify the closest known virus to SARS-CoV-2 and WIV was in fact studying it prior to the pandemic and the initial outbreak was in Wuhan, the WIV’s home city? It is unlikely, barring a future lab escape, that any virologists will ever have such a good opportunity to predict, prevent or suppress a pandemic again.
      2.The concern with the Lancet letter is not that it was scientists collaborating — it was that
      (a) the letter called the obvious scientific hypothesis that SARS-CoV had a lab origin a “conspiracy” and
      (b) that the signers of the letter hid their EcoHealth Alliance affiliations and
      (c) that Peter Daszak and Ralph Baric, who instigated the letter, then failed to sign it, so as to create a false appearance of “independence”.
      3. Why would EHA list their funding in their “privacy statement” rather than under a readily visible section titled “funding?”.

      Posted on behalf of Allison Wilson of the Bioscience Resource Project, publisher of Independent Science News.

  • I am glad Dr. Hagan finally replied. But I think it is clear that the fundamental issue was not addressed in the response. It seems clear that various US entities have funded basic research into coronavirus via Eco-health. Not just funding from NIAID, but DOD and others. Tens of millions of dollars, Emily. Not small change. As a scientist, I think you must agree that it is not objective for Dr Dasazk to lead letter writing campaigns or to drive a WHO investigation on the origin of SARS-COV-2. But if you accept all that as routine, maybe you can explain the presence of the furin cleavage site, the fact that no animal vector has been found after 18 months of looking, and the codon bias for certain amino acids lean to human rather than coronavirus.

  • Interesting article from nature.com https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02473-4

    And how is the NIH trying to get a vial of the virus that Chinese scientists allegedly used to ascertian the genome “political”?

  • Peter Dasazk has a salary from Ecohealth Alliance of over a third of a million dollars a year. Follow the money.

  • If the Defense Threat Reduction Agency gave EcoHealth Alliance $6.49m for “understanding the risk of bat-borne zoonotic disease emergence in Western Asia” in a grant aimed at “combating or countering weapons of mass destruction” their money was very poorly targeted. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/may/4/pentagon-officials-wuhan-institute-virology-did-no/

  • Western Asia does not include China.

  • Responding to JM February 7th 2021
    Money from the NIH and DOD have gone to others with connections to China, more specifically Wuhan. This was a brief blurb in the news that got completely swept aside after only one mention. Related at all? The lack of coverage leads me to believe it could possibly be. This arrest was just prior to the time the pandemic was ramping up in the US.

    https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/harvard-university-professor-and-two-chinese-nationals-charged-three-separate-china-related

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