China Accuses the US of Using A Powerful “Bio-Weapon”

( China-owned Global Times blamed the looming global food crisis not on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or China’s coronavirus lockdowns but on super-insects weaponized by the U.S. military to trigger famines in “enemy nations.”

The Global Times admitted the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has led to a global food crisis but claimed the real danger is a U.S. military program called “Insect Allies” that uses bugs to deliver a “genetically engineered virus” that could affect crop growth by altering which genes the plants express.

The Global Times reported that “experts” fear the U.S. would launch bug-based bio-warfare.

The publication asked, β€œis the Pentagon truly trying to save mankind from starving, or will it manufacture a humanitarian disaster to accomplish military aims?”

Insect Allies is a 2016 DARPA initiative, as the Chinese Communist tabloid subsequently confirmed. The concept was to employ insects, which transmit the most devastating plant viruses, to deliver gene therapy to crops.

Instead of letting crops die and replacing them with genetically-modified virus-resistant plants, researchers thought this technique might rescue harvests by making living plants more immune to famine-causing illnesses.

DARPA said insects might distribute virus prevention faster, cheaper, and safer than industrial sprayers. Insect Allies aimed to safeguard crops from drought, floods, and frost.

Insect Allies were regarded with skepticism about its effectiveness and conspiracy theories about how it may convey hazardous substances.

A 2016 criticism speculated if DARPA was developing Insect Allies because U.S. intelligence feared a hostile nation was working on insect-borne genetic weapons. DARPA suggested Insect Allies might defend against “state or non-state threats.”

DARPA dismissed the conspiracy claims, stating it acknowledged worries about “possible dual use of technology” for evil ends, but Insect Allies would be a “transparent, university-led research initiative” performed under strict biosecurity rules.

The Global Times editorial was a grab bag of everything negative its authors could find. Using web searches, they found every possible critic saying something terrible about Insect Allies. They hastily stitched everything together into a propaganda hit piece that builds off Chinese and Russian conspiracy theories about U.S. bioweapons labs in Ukraine – and Beijing’s desire to thwart investigations into the Wuhan coronavirus.