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Pompeo puts U.S. credibility at risk
How U.S. secretary of state spread lies
By Liu Yunyun  ·  2020-05-15  ·   Source: NO.21 MAY 21, 2020

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is living up to his reputation as King of Disinformation during the global combat of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

On whether COVID-19 was manmade

Pompeo said to ABC News, "The best experts so far seem to think it was manmade and I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point."

He was then confronted by Mark Milley, U.S. Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said, "The weight of evidence is that it was natural and not manmade."

On whether the novel coronavirus came from a Wuhan lab

Pompeo said, "I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan."

According to the German Der Spiegel magazine, Germany's BND spy agency had asked members of the U.S.-led Five Eyes intelligence alliance for evidence to support the accusation. None of the alliance's members, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. included, supported Pompeo's claim.

Spiegel went on saying that an intelligence report prepared for German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer concluded that the U.S. accusations were a deliberate attempt to divert public attention away from President Donald Trump's "own failures."

On U.S. generosity

Pompeo said on April 7 at a State Department news briefing, "I want everyone to be reminded that America remains the world's leading light of humanitarian goodness amidst this global pandemic." And he praised the U.S. as the most generous nation on the planet.

But he was contradicted by the U.S. allies including France and Germany. German DW News reported on April 7 that Berlin's city government had accused the U.S. of modern-day piracy after a shipment of 200,000 protective face masks was hijacked on its way from China to Germany.

Al Jazeera on April 4 reported that the heads of the three regions worst hit by the coronavirus in France had accused the U.S. of effectively hijacking millions of masks at a Shanghai airport. They were made in China and destined for France.

On sharing virus samples and genome sequencing

Pompeo has repeatedly accused China of "not sharing the virus sample with the outside world" and said China hindered the world's effort to develop a vaccine. The fact is that China shared the genome sequencing of the novel coronavirus with world scientists on January 10 and was recognized and appreciated by U.S. pharmaceuticals like Moderna Therapeutics and Inovio Pharmaceuticals for doing so. Stephen Hoge, President of Moderna, said in an interview with Time magazine on February 25 that "the first thing that [developing a vaccine] has to happen is somebody has to get their hands on the virus, sequence it and share that with the world, and the Chinese Government did that less than a month ago now."

"The fact that there isn't an actual replicating vial of virus is not a problem, as long as you have this sequence of what was in that tube," said Dr. Andy Pekosz of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in an interview with CBS News on April 25.

On who has the authority on Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA)

On May 7, Pompeo urged World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to invite Taiwan to observe this month's WHA, "as he has the power to do and as his predecessors have done on multiple occasions." Again, the secretary of state was spreading lies in an attempt to confuse his audience.

On the same day at a WHO daily press briefing, WHO legal counsel Derek Walton responded, saying, "the involvement, if any, of observers from Taiwan, China, in that assembly is a question for the 194 members of WHO, the member governments; it's their decision." He continued to explain that "it's for the member states, rather than the Secretariat to decide that question." In a word, WHO director general has no power to do so.

It must be pointed out that China's Taiwan had indeed attended the WHA as an observer in the previous years in 2009-16. But it was under an arrangement of China, not the WHO Secretariat, that Taiwan participated as "Chinese Taipei." At that time, then Taiwan authorities promoted a sound relationship with the mainland which made such arrangements possible.

Pompeo alleged that China "behaved like authoritarian regimes do" and "attempted to conceal and hide and confuse." But laughably, he personally admitted at an event hosted by Texas A&M University in 2019, "I was the CIA director, we lied, we cheated, we stole, we had entire training courses."

Comments to liuyunyun@bjreview.com

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