On whether COVID-19 was manmade:
Mike 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 COVID-19 virus 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, wanted to support 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 that "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. to be the most generous nation on the planet.
But he got a slap in the face 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 an act 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 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. France 24 on April 3 reported that the leader of the Ile-de-France region, which includes Paris, had accused unidentified Americans of swooping in with cash to secure face mask shipments already promised to French buyers.
Barbados condemned the U.S. too. Barbados Health Minister Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic said the ventilators they ordered had not arrived in the North American island nation because "they were seized in the U.S."
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. Fact is that China shared the genome sequencing of the novel coronavirus with the world scientists on January 10 and was recognized and appreciated by U.S. pharmaceuticals like Moderna Theraputics 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."
"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.
Medical experts tell CBS News they are skeptical of the need at this point for early virus samples to develop a vaccine and treatments.
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, Mr. 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 2009-2016. But it was under an arrangement of China, not the WHO Secretariat, that Taiwan participated under the name of "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."
These tricks might prove useful in covert operations. But when you become the secretary of state, you need to side with facts, not fictions; stick to truths, not lies; resort to multilateralism rather than unilateralism.
Secretary Pompeo told an amusing story about how Sergeant Petry reminded him when he was a West Point cadet, "Young man, you'll do well if you just shut up for a while."
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