Steve Bannon, who was Donald Trump's White House chief strategist and retains close links to the Trump administration has claimed that some Chinese scientists in the controversial Wuhan lab, suspected as a potential source for COVID-19, have "defected" and are working with the U.S. intelligence agencies.
While addressing Wuhan as a "biological Chernobyl," Bannon, who is a virulent China opponent said that Chinese researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology are cooperating with the West to build a case against China's role in the Coronavirus pandemic, which has affected over 12 million people and killed more than 565,000 globally.
During an interview with Daily Mail, he also urged the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to drop the plans to allow the Chinese firm Huawei to play a role in the UK's new 5G network and said the firm should be shut down throughout the world in every country.
Bannon, who worked as a naval officer, investment banker and film producer before joining as a chief executive officer of Trump's presidential campaign told the tabloid that there are people out of China's Wuhan lab and other similar facilities who have come to the West and are revealing evidence of the culpability of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
He said "I think people are going to be shocked," adding that Western countries should work together to bring down the "brutal, authoritarian" Chinese regime.
Wuhan, CCP and One Virus
As the Western authorities have started gathering evidence to challenge the original claim that the virus had spread from a Wuhan market, the 66-year-old Bannon said the U.S. intelligence along with the MI5 and MI6 are now trying to build a "very thorough legal case, which may take a long time. It's not like James Bond."
He also mentioned that people from the Chinese labs have been leaving China and Hong Kong since mid-February, during an early stage of the pandemic. It reminds the case of a Chinese virologist, Li-Meng Yan, at Hong Kong School of Public Health, who recently told Fox News in an interview that she was involved in some research into the COVID-19 last year and accused Beijing of lying about when it learned of the novel Coronavirus.
Yan claimed that she was silenced by her supervisor when she sounded the alarm about human-to-human transmission in December 2019. During the interview, she revealed that in April, she fled Hong Kong and escaped to the U.S. to raise awareness about the Coronavirus pandemic.
However, as per Bannon, the defectors were talking to other intelligence agencies in Europe and the U.K. He suggested that the French government, which helped China to build the Wuhan Institute of Virology had left behind monitoring systems after Beijing shut them out of the project before its opening.
Bannon also claimed, "I think what you are going to find out is that these guys were doing experiments which they weren't fully authorized [for] or knew what they were doing and that somehow, either through an inadvertent mistake or on a lab technician, one of these things got out."
While comparing with the nuclear plant disaster in 1986, Bannon said, "You essentially had a biological Chernobyl in Wuhan," and like the Chernobyl incident "you also had the cover-up â the state apparatus reports to itself and just protects itself."
Bannon told the tabloid that regardless of whether the novel Coronavirus came out of the market or the lab in Wuhanm, the Chinese government's subsequent decisions hold them "guilty of premeditated murder.
He said Taiwan had formally informed the World Health Organization on December 31 that there was some sort of epidemic coming out of China's Hubei province, while Chinese CDC was informed in early January, "and they decided to withhold that information" and then sign a trade deal with the U.S.
"If they had been straightforward and truthful in the last week of December, 95 percent of the lives lost and the economic carnage would have been contained," he added.
Meanwhile, a team of scientists from the WHO has left for China to organize an investigation into the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 which sparked the global pandemic and believed to have emerged in a Wuhan market.
As per the spokesperson, Margaret Harris, two experts from the UN agency, specialists in animal health, and epidemiology will work with Chinese scientists to determine the scope and itinerary of the investigation.
She said one of the big issues is to look at whether or not the virus jumped from species to a human and what species it jumped from. "We know it's very, very similar to the virus in the bat, but did it go through an intermediate species? This is a question we all need to be answered," she said.