COVID-19 could well turn out to be a 21st-century repeat of Chernobyl. Both involved the gross scientific incompetence of communist regimes which resulted in devastating health consequences for the rest of the world.
In short, the most likely explanation for Covid-19 is that it is a genetically modified virus—a process referred to as gain-of-function—which escaped from the virology lab in Wuhan. That’s the case the two-time Walkley Award-winning journalist, Sharri Markson, persuasively makes in her book, What Really Happened in Wuhan (Harper Collins, 2021).
Unfortunately, the issue has become so politicised that most people even now, still refuse to seriously consider the proposition Markson argues for. Although, even progressive comedians such as Jon Stewart can’t help but hilariously point out the obvious:
It’s worth noting that Steven W. Mosher published the same theory in February 2020 in the New York Post, and then later on Bret Baier for Fox News as well as David Ignatius and Josh Rogin in the Washington Post. All of which is to say, Markson is by no means alone. But at close to four hundred pages, Markson has served the international community well through her extensive research and easy to read prose. Indeed, Markson’s work demonstrates all the hallmarks of working with a broader investigative team whom she generously acknowledges in her final chapter.
The book’s greatest strength is Markson’s writing style. A trained and experienced journalist, What Really Happened in Wuhan is a gripping narrative that oscillates between personal testimony and scientific explanation. Indeed, at times it reads like something of a detective novel as Markson truly takes the reader on a journey of political intrigue and personal discovery.
The number of negative reactions to her book though have been swift, although not unexpected. For instance, Hamish McDonald writing in The Guardian dismisses much of what Markson says stating, “The science Markson cites needs more expert evaluation than this article can wield”. McDonald then goes on to quote Prof Dominic Dwyer—the University of Sydney virologist who was part of the WHO team that went to Wuhan in February to investigate the virus origins—who hadn’t even read the book but was simply going off what she had written in her articles.
In an effort to relay the strength of her research, what follows is a summary of some of Markson’s most salient points:
First, shoddy Chinese bio-security standards. Probably the most damning argument of all is the lax safety standards surrounding the virology lab in Wuhan. Markson states:
Disturbing photographs obtained from the official Wuhan Institute of Virology compliance certificate and laboratory safety records show employees wearing no protective equipment crouched inside a sewage-treatment facility to collect samples for testing. A 2018 ‘Wastewater Monitoring’ test report for the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, which includes BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratories, features photographs labelled import and export of “sewage treatment facilities”. Photographs show employees handling similar sewage samples in another location. Two other photographs show close-up detail of the sewage collection. The photographs are shocking given the staff are not even wearing gloves, which would be especially risky had there been an infection or improper disposal of infectious virus materials.
Unsurprisingly, then, are the tenders from early in 2019, and which relate to incineration and toxic wastewater disposal. The Wuhan Institute of Virology put out a tender for toxic wastewater equipment worth $62,000 in April 2019. At the end of July 2019, a successful bid was completed for “third-party biosafety testing project of Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory”. Contact with infected wastewater that had not been properly treated is one of the many ways in which a leak of a virus could occur.
Second, the testimony of internal whistleblowers. Even before the CCP acknowledged that there was a problem, Chinese doctors were coming forward to warn that a strange new SARS-like virus had appeared. Heroic figures such as Dr. Li Wen Liang tried to sound the alarm but were quickly suppressed. Thankfully though, their brave actions have not been forgotten:
Markson quotes Chen Quanjiao, a female researcher and group leader who had worked with the infamous Shi Zhengli (aka ‘bat woman’) as saying on the Chinese social media platform Weibo:
I hereby report that the virus was leaked by Wang Yanyi, director of the P4 Wuhan Institute of Virology. Wang Yanyi has little knowledge of medicine. While at Beida [Peking] University, which enrols students only of high ability, other researchers did her research for her. She often sells animals used on experiments in the lab to game meat vendors in the South China Seafood Market. She is the culprit of the epidemic and her husband has brothers/friends who have grown up playing with a certain deputy state-level official. We must not forget Wang Yanyi, how many innocent people she has killed, and the lives lost.
This explosive allegation was quickly recanted via an official statement by Chen Quanjiao but Markson points to communications from the author’s relatives that this was given under duress. Markson then records a similar accusation was also made by a Chinese biologist, Dr Wu Xiaohua, against Shi Zhengli who was responsible for overseeing coronavirus research involving bats at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIR). Markson writes:
…Dr Wu said she was aware that Shi Zhengli oversaw the poor disposal practices of animals that had been tested on with viruses and suggests this may have been the origin of the pandemic. She says some WIV researchers had sold animals used in experiments to wet markets in Wuhan, while others had even been sold as pets. She also said that dead laboratory animals were not properly disposed of and some lab workers had even been known to boil and eat laboratory-used eggs.
Significantly, since making these accusations in early February 2020, Dr Wu Xiaohua has “not surfaced online since then”.
Third, the findings of Dr Nikolai Petrovsky. Through the use of the supercomputer provided by the Oracle Corporation to help fast-track a vaccine for COVID-19 as well as develop pharmaceuticals for people who had been infected. Markson writes that, “He innocently wanted to see if he could work out which animal host the coronavirus had infected before being transmitted to humans”. What he discovered though, put his entire professional reputation at risk.
Strangely, humans came out at the very top of the list…That was not what we were expecting, as the animal host from which the virus had been transmitted should have been at the top of the list. This presented a puzzle as the data suggested the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein had uniquely evolved to bind and infect cells expressing human ACE2. Normally with a new pandemic virus, whatever species that virus originally came from would be the best fit and the virus would initially only half fit the human lock but then mutate over time to try and become a better fit. A virus should not be able to evolve to be a perfect fit for a lock it has never seen, and yet this is what the data was telling us. The virus spike protein looked like ti couldn’t have been better designed to fit the human ACE2. Go figure.
Significantly, in relaying his findings, Dr. Petrovsky then reportedly said to his colleagues:
Please don’t think I’m crazy or a conspiracy theorist, I’m really truly not. But basically, I’ve founded a conclusion that we can’t exclude the possibility that what these results might be telling us is this could be a man-made virus, or at the very least something that was generated in a lab and then got accidentally released…I understand this might be difficult to publish. I understand there’s going to be a backlash. But these are the findings and surely we have a responsibility to try and make the world aware of them.
Fourth, the Communist Chinese Party were developing a vaccine before the pandemic. In a report for the US government in April 2020 titled, “The PRC’s Biosafety Negligence and Circumstantial Evidence Against the Wuhan Institute of Virology” by Miles Yu opens with the statement:
China is a country obsessed with dangerous viruses. State-run media outlets often tout China’s great discoveries of a phenomenal number of new viruses heretofore unknown to mankind. Over the past 12 years, China’s army of virologists have discovered close to 2000 new viruses while over the past 200 years, the rest of the world has only discovered 2284. In its rush to greatness and dominance in virus studies, China often neglects biosafety, with catastrophic consequences.
However, Markson records that Yu goes on to make to raise “the bombshell possibility that China may have invented a Covid-19 vaccine prior to the outbreak.” As the dossier from Yu states:
Prior to the surprise outbreak in its close vicinity, WIV had possessed the novel coronavirus in its lab and had known of its lethality and pathogenicity for a while. It had been actively researching a vaccine before anyone else could succeed, thus giving China the sole paten right.
Fifth, Fauci’s involvement in funding and overseeing gain-of-function research. It has become clear that Dr. Anthony Fauci’s agency had been the funding of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. And yet, inexplicably, “America’s Doctor” failed to notify the Trump administration. As Markson writes:
If it was a shock for senior White House officials to learn through media reports that Fauci had quietly lifted the ban on gain-of-function research back in 2017, they were even more astounded to discover he knew so much about the research in Wuhan, but never said a word as the pandemic unfolded. Instead, the role of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in conducting risky coronavirus research was left to officials like Miles Yu and Matt Pottinger to uncover.
Markson goes on the further write:
In mid-January 2020, Fauci donated free Remdesivir samples to China for an experimental clinical trial to save Chinese lives, to see if it was effective against Covid-19. Remdesivir was an American invention, developed by scientists at USAMRIID in conjunction with the American pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, using taxpayer funds. After Fauci donated the samples, the Wuhan Institute of Virology compiled a commercial patent for the treatment on January 19 in a case of intellectual property theft.
Sixth, the expulsion of the French. According to Markson, even though the laboratory in Wuhan was “built on the condition of international collaboration [it] was severely limiting the number of international researchers who could work inside its walls”. What’s more, while the laboratory in Wuhan was constructed in conjunction with the French, after the facility became operational they were “soon kicked out”. Of even greater concern, Markson goes on to state:
What made this particularly alarming was the work the laboratory was conducting. Disturbingly…the laboratory was setting up its very own database identifying all deadly viruses with pandemic potential. It would be its own version of a concept call the Global Virome Project (GVP), the cable states. “The GVP aims to launch this year as an international collaborative effort to identify within 10 years virtually all of the planet’s viruses that have pandemic or epidemic potential and the ability to jump to humans,” the cable read.
Later in the book Markson writes:
French intelligence was also highly concerned about the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s growing ties to the PLA, particularly when French scientists were not welcome as soon as the laboratory was operational in 2017. In discussing the French government’s decision to build the BSL-4 laboratory with the Chinese government, a January 2020 Radio France Internationale report stated that “Some French experts worried that China would use the technology provided by France to develop bio-chemical weapons…
The Wuhan laboratory was meant to be built by a French architectural design firm from Lyon, but once they got the blueprints, the Chinese side redirected the building work to an inexperienced Wuhan company with links to the PLA…
Then, further on in the book, Markson quotes David Asher as saying:
You didn’t need a security clearance to know that the French who led the construction of the BSL-4 lab at the new Wuhan Institute of Virology campus had been kicked out and humiliated in 2017. Our ally, France, reportedly then proceeded to warn the US Intelligence Community and Non-proliferation Community about China’s sinister intention in Wuhan – warnings that were totally dismissed and ignored by the ‘Dilberts, dimwits and do-nothings’ who dominated the US biological weapons and intelligence community leadership.
Seventh, the Wuhan Military Games. One of the most remarkable pieces of evidence Markson uncovers involves the events surrounding the international military games held in Wuhan in the second half of 2019. Markson is at pains to clarify that:
No one currently in government or intelligence I interviewed for this book holds the view the coronavirus was a deliberate release. No one person…There is no evidence that China was planning an attack or that Covid-19 was a deliberate release and no experts support this theory.
However, Markson then goes on to reveal:
It is true, however, that on September 18, 2019, there was a coronavirus drill at the Wuhan airport. The Wuhan Military Games executive committee held and emergency exercise where it simulated the responses to a new coronavirus infection found at the airport and a case of nuclear radiation discovered in luggage. “The exercise included epidemiological investigation, medical investigation, and temporary quarantine. There are multiple links such as regional setting, quarantine, case transfer, and sanitation treatment,” a Chinese-language article on the Xinhua news site about the drill states. It’s quite a bizarre coincidence that in September 2019, right before the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan occurred, there was a test-drill for this exact situation at the airport.
Eighth, American complicity. After US Senator Tom Cotton went public on Fox News linking the Covid virus to biological warfare, Tom DiNanno—the Acting Assistant Secretary of State—launched a special investigation. Markson writes that:
DiNanno’s team obtained a bombshell classified report prepared by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory American’s biodefence labs, which made the case that Covid-19 may have originated in a Wuhan laboratory as a result of synthetic and “serial passage” gain-of-function biological research, while also not ruling out the zoonotic theory…The Lawrence Livermore report, from their intelligence unit the Z division, was dated May 27, 2020, yet it had remained tucked away.
What’s more, Markson goes on to further record that:
The single most extraordinary moment during their investigation was when Pease and Asher walked into DiNanno’s office, with Asher waving a classified report. “Have you seen this?” Asher asked. DiNanno had just walked out of a meeting and didn’t know what the pair were talking about. Pease had found freshly issued reporting from classified intelligence that several researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had fallen ill in November 2019 with Covid-19 like symptoms. The trail to come of the earliest Covid cases led back to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
At this point, though, they ran into something of a brick wall with warnings that they were “opening a can of worms”. Why? Markson writes that:
Asher believers that “can of worms seemed to involve the ridiculous fact that the State non-proliferation bureaucracy had cleared the US government cooperation with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and were fearful of being held responsible for, in effect, proliferating dual-use knowledge, capabilities and money to the PRC. Material support from the US government had been used against us to ensnare the NIH, State AID, and Department of Defense folks in a Chinese Communist spider web operation”.
Asher, who has many years of experience following and disrupting Chinese “honey-pot operations” notes that “it would hardly surprise anyone if the PLA ambitions at the WIV included entrapping the naïve US government gain-of-function bureaucracy so as to hold them hostage to contributing to whatever might eventually come out of China’s malevolent dual-use biowarfare designs and programs.
Ninth, the rapid response of Taiwan. According to Time magazine, as early as December 31, 2019 health officials in Taiwan had written to the World Health Organisation asking for more information “about patients falling sick with a mysterious pneumonia in the Chinese city of Wuhan”. Wei Jingsheng—one of Markson’s trusted sources—relayed to her similar concerns. As Markson states:
After the 2019 Military World Games, Wei claims that a Chinese doctor warned his colleagues in Hong Kong about an outbreak of an infectious disease and “Taiwan arranged anti-epidemic measures in advance”. He spoke about athletes who were allegedly hospitalised in Wuhan and could not participate in the competition.
Tenth, obscurification by the WHO. Robert O’Brien, the former National Security Advisor to President Trump, told Markson that:
We weren’t getting a lot from China and we weren’t getting much from the WHO either. The WHO was, as it turns out, the instrumentality of the Chinese Communist Party, in our view, and were simply a mouthpiece for whatever China was saying. There was no independence whatsoever.
From the very beginning, it was obvious that the WHO were complicit in a massive cover-up for China. What’s more, it soon became known the links between the CCP and WHO were more insidious than anyone had realised:
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had his bid for the role funded by the Chinese Communist Party.
He is a member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front – a Marxist liberationist party with links to the former Soviet Union. It is listed by the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium as a left-wing terrorist organisation, responsible for 10 acts of terror between 1975 and 1990, including political assassinations and attacks on soft targets.
In 2017 he tried to have Zimbabwean Dictator, Robert Mugabe, appointed as a WHO goodwill ambassador.
This explains why when health officials were allowed to visit China on a fact-finding mission from February 10 to 24, Markson uncovered that “…only three WHO officials were allowed to visit Wuhan and only for two days… They did not visit the wet market or the Wuhan laboratories. Instead, their visit included trips to hospitals and they had meetings with officials. The WHO’s excuse is that it was too difficult to visit Wuhan.”
Even this visit was only allowed to proceed because Andrew Bremberg, America’s Ambassador to Geneva, had threatened to cut off the WHO’s funding. However, as Markson writes:
Towards the end of the inspection, it became apparent there was a major problem. Bremberg discovered that the WHO had struck a side arrangement with China to change the terms of reference, taking the origins of the virus off the table. The inspectors would simply be learning from China about how to respond to an outbreak.
Incredibly, it would be Australia who would declare that there was a worldwide pandemic nearly two weeks before the WHO would. Meanwhile, the WHO consistently advised against travel bans and the wearing of face masks. As Markson writes:
The WHO’s culpability in kowtowing to the CCP and thus allowing the spread of the virus globally cannot be understated. The WHO’s role in spreading China’s disinformation and the cover-up was crucial. WHO Director-General Tedros repeatedly praised China for its “transparency”. It’s extraordinary now to read the WHO press release from January 5. “WHO advises against the application of travel or trade restrictions on China. WHO does not recommend any specific measures for travellers,” it states.
Eleventh, the collapse of the ‘scientific consensus’. Markson presents a plethora of academics who have challenged the ‘zoonotic’ origin of Covid-19. Markson dedicates an entire chapter to “The Scientists Who Knew” regarding the gain-of-function research that was being conducted in Wuhan. What follows is a summary of their views:
- Professor Richard Ebright from Rutgers University in New Jersey: “There are noteworthy unusual aspects of the sequence of SARS-CoV-2. One is that Covid-19 has what is called a “furin cleavage site” at a very particular location in its spike protein. This greatly expands the ability of the virus to jump between species and could also make it more transmissible within a species”.
Markson also quotes Prof. Ebright as noting the significant circumstantial evidence linking the virus to a laboratory: “The outbreak occurred in Wuhan, a city of 11 million persons that does not contain horseshoe-bat colonies, and that is tens of kilometres from, and outside the flight range of, the nearest known horseshoe-bat colonies. Furthermore, the outbreak occurred at a time of year when horseshoe-bats are in hibernation and do not leave colonies. The outbreak occurred in Wuhan, on the doorstep of the laboratory that conducts the world’s largest research project on horseshoe-bat viruses, and that possessed and worked with the world’s closest sequenced relative of the outbreak virus. The laboratory actively searched for new horseshoe-bat viruses in horseshow-bat colonies in caves in remote rural areas in Yunnan province, brought those new horseshoe-bat viruses to Wuhan, and then mass-produced, manipulated, and studied those new horseshoe-bat viruses, year-round, inside Wuhan”.
All of which raises the issue of Covid-19 was developed in a lab, then how did it escape? According to Prof Ebright, “Documentary evidence establishes that the bat-SARS-related-coronavirus projects at WIV used personal protective equipment (usually just gloves; sometimes not even gloves) and biosafety standards, usually just Biosafety Level 2, that would pose high risk of infection of field-collection, field-survey or laboratory staff upon contact with a virus having the transmission properties of SARS-CoV-2.
- David Baltimore, co-discoverer of reverse transcriptase, an enzyme used in all PCR-based Covid tests among other things, and was awarded the 1975 Nobel Prize: “When I first saw the furin cleavage site in the viral sequence, with its argine codons, I said to my wife it was the smoking gun for the origin of the virus. These features make a powerful challenge to the idea of a natural origin for SARS2”.
- Richard Muller, emeritus professor at the University of California: “This is a fingerprint of genetic manipulation. It’s like finding a fingerprint at a crime scene. If you pick up a gun at a crime scene and find a fingerprint, this is not circumstantial evidence. This is the smoking gun. The furin cleavage site, the CGG sequences that they splice in if you’re trying to really attack humans, this is the fingerprint. The evidence for zoonotic [animal origin] is all circumstantial”.
- Professor Roland Wiesendanger from the University of Hamburg: “The SARS-CoV-2 viruses possess special cell receptor binding domains combined with a special (furin) cleavage site of the coronavirus spike protein. Both properties together were previously unknown in coronaviruses and indicate a non-natural origin of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen”.
- Dr. Ronen Shemesh, an Israeli geneticist working on Covid-19 treatments: “There are many reasons to believe that SARS-CoV-2 was generated in a lab. Most probably by methods of genetic engineering. The method is very easy, nucleic acid manipulation is a standard in many molecular biology labs. An insertion of four amino acids coded by 12 nucleotides into a DNA or RNA strand by means of PCR and cloning would be an easy task for a third-year student. The planning and generation of the sequences to be entered would need some advanced thinking and could be done by experienced scientists”.
- Dr. Steven Quay, CEO of Atossa Therapeutics: Markson summarises Dr. Quay’s argument as follows: “He says the virus was highly adapted for infection of humans from the start, unlike earlier natural zoonoses, and that its infectious trigger – the furin cleavage site – isn’t found anywhere in related betacoronaviruses in its class, and thus he argues couldn’t have come from a natural recombination, but has been repeatedly included in viruses by laboratory scientists including at the Wuhan Institute of Virology”.
- Yuri Deigin from Youthereun Genetics in Toronto and Rossana Segreto from the Department of Microbiology at the University of Innsbruck in Austria: Deigin and Segreto argue that Covid-19 is a “chimera virus”—the result of genetic recombination of two different viruses—which would require two divergent viruses to infect a host at the same time for a natural recombination to occur. However, they also conclude: “Might genetic manipulations have been performed in order to evaluate pangolins as possible intermediate hosts for bat-derived CoVs that were originally unable to bind to human receptors? Both cleavage site and specific RBD could result from site-directed mutagenesis, a procedure that does not leave a trace”.
- Professor David Relman, a microbiologist who has advised the US government on biosecurity and emerging infectious disease issues: “In nature, recombination is common among coronaviruses. But it’s also common in some research laboratories where recombinant engineering is used to study those viruses”.
- Robert Redfield, former director of the Centre for Disease Control: “Normally, when a pathogen goes from a zoonotic to a human, it takes a while for it to figure out how to become more efficient in human-to-human transmission. I don’t think this makes biological sense”.
- Dr Birger Sørensen and Professor Angus Dalgleish: Daryl McCann summaries their position in Quadrant: “Many other research papers corroborating the man-made hypothesis have now been published in high-profile journals, not least British Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian Dr Birger Sørensen in the Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery. SARS-CoV-2 has never been found in nature because it has “no credible natural ancestor”. Superficially the virus has the appearance of natural origins only because it has been “retro-engineered” to seem as if it originated in nature. The virus that causes COVID-19 happens to be unnaturally contagious because—brutally stated—it is unnatural.”
- Epidemiology professor Ian Lipkin, director of Columbia University’s Centre of Infection and Immunity. Markson writes that, “He told former New York Times science writer Donald McNeil Jr that he had favoured a natural origin theory in part because he assumed that all of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s 2019 work with SARS-like viruses had taken place in its top-level BSL-4 laboratory. “But later he learned of studies with Dr Shi’s name on them showing that work he considers dangerous had been done in level BSL-2 labs, which he considers highly porous to leaks, not just in 2016, but in 2020,” McNeil wrote. Lipkin said: “That’s screwed up. It shouldn’t have happened. People should not be looking at batt viruses in BSL-2 labs. My view has changed”.
Twelfth, financial, political and media compromise. With so many eminent scientists questioning the CCP narrative that Covid-19 had arisen naturally, why was it then that their findings were not more widely published? According to Markson, there were three distinct reasons:
First, Markson quotes Sir Richard Dearlove—a former head of MI6—as blaming the reliance of academic journals on Chinese funding:
So many of these institutions are dependent on Chinese Academy of Science funding and Chinese money that they don’t want to offend the Chinese, so what happened internationally is the Chinese narrative became the truth”.
Second, because it was seen as a political endorsement of Donald Trump, especially in the lead up to the 2020 elections. As Markson quotes Prof Muller as explaining:
I learnt very quickly when speaking to well-known scientists that there was a sense that any validation that Covid-19 came from the Chinese laboratory would validate Donald Trump’s position on China, and that this could throw the election. Any suggestion it was from a laboratory engaging in biological warfare was seen as supporting Trump in the election, and this was sufficient to call it a fringe theory or a conspiracy theory.
Third, large swathes of the mainstream media had themselves become political activists. Prof Petrovsky, for instance, gives a damning assessment as to how his research was covered in Australia, especially by the ABC:
It was very clear that the left-wing media were only willing to tell one side of the story, and that included Australia’s public broadcaster, the ABC, who were only repeating whatever propaganda China was putting on this issue. It was maddening to hear the ABC report time and time again that scientists agreed that this virus could only come from a natural animal source. It was very clear that this issue was heavily politicised and the left-leaning media saw this as a great opportunity to beat up Trump and label him as an idiot for suggesting the virus might have resulted from a lab leak. People think of publicly funded media organisations like the ABC as the ultimate truth-tellers, but my experience during that time is that this couldn’t be further from the truth, whether they were reporting on the origins of the virus or discussing vaccine policy and what were the most promising vaccines out there. The ABC was clearly out to politicise the origins issue and chose to present a very one-sided story. It was refreshing and even a little surprising to see Sky News and The Australian newspaper much more open-minded and prepared to explore all sides of these stories.
Conclusion: Have we learned anything at all?
What Really Happened in Wuhan is an extraordinary piece of journalistic research. Sharri Markson is to be commended not only for her work, but also for her courage in standing alone against the consensus of popular progressive opinion. Markson’s concluding paragraph in particular though, is worth everyone pondering:
The unforgivable failures on so many levels means the world is still in the dark about the precise turn of events that sparked this pandemic, and this of course leaves the world vulnerable to whatever comes next. There is still no evidence that the United States and other Western nations are any more prepared for a future pandemic than we were before this global catastrophe, with gain-of-function experiments still largely left unchecked. The failures of the scientific community, intelligence agencies, international bodies and large sections of the media have all left the world a less secure and less safe place to live.