Over the past few days, Tulsi Gabbard, the former Democratic Party congresswoman from Hawaii, has been attacked for spreading “traitorous lies,” being “treasonous” and peddling “Russian propaganda” by demanding the Biden administration shut down biolabs in Ukraine and destroy the pathogens stored in these facilities managed by the Pentagon.
On Sunday morning, Gabbard posted a video on Twitter with an accompanying text that said, “There are 25+ US-funded biolabs in Ukraine which if breached would release & spread deadly pathogens to US/world. We must take action now to prevent disaster. US/Russia/Ukraine/NATO/UN/EU must implement a ceasefire now around these labs until they’re secured & pathogens destroyed.”
Gabbard’s statement provoked hysterical denunciations from Sen. Mitt Romney (Republican of Utah) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Republican of Illinois). Romney tweeted on Sunday afternoon, “Tulsi Gabbard is parroting false Russian propaganda. Her treasonous lies may well cost lives.” Kinzinger tweeted later that evening, “Actual Russian propaganda. Traitorous. Russia also said the Lugar Center in Georgia was making zombies. Tulsi should go to Russia.”
The wild denunciations of Gabbard are revealing since she is doing what the US media has refused to do, and that is demand an end to the ongoing refusal of the US government to explain what Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was talking about during congressional testimony on March 8 when she admitted that there were “biological research facilities” in Ukraine.
The accusation of “treasonous lies” by Romney is serious. Treason is defined in the US Constitution as either levying war against the United States or adhering to its enemies. It carries a sentence of death or imprisonment and fines.
Meanwhile, Kinzinger’s reference to the “Lugar Center in Georgia” also raises additional questions about US involvement in biological facilities in the territories of the former USSR. The center, named after former Republican Sen. Richard Lugar from Indiana, was opened in March 2011 in Tbilisi, according to a report from the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, “to promote infectious disease detection, epidemiological surveillance, and research for the benefit of the United States, Georgia, the Caucasus region, and the global community.” Tbilisi is approximately 100 miles from the Georgian border with Russia.
Once again, the primary American news outlets—such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today as well as the TV news networks ABC News and CBS News—have refused to report on Gabbard’s comments and the response of Romney and Kinzinger to them.
Meanwhile, these outlets are continuing to accept the public relations offensive mounted by the White House and Pentagon that repeatedly denies US involvement in “biological weapons”—although Nuland did not speak of “weapons” but only “facilities”—in Ukraine. These news sources are acting as direct support for the stonewalling of the Biden administration by claiming that any request for more information or that anything should be done about the pathogens in the biolabs are part of “Russian disinformation.”
In addition to the comments from Romney and Kinzinger, Gabbard was also attacked on Monday by the hosts of the ABC television talk show The View. When guest host Alyssa Farah, a former Trump official who is now a CNN contributor, said that Romney was “absolutely right” and that Gabbard was spreading propaganda that is helping the Russians “get away with acts against Ukrainian civilians,” the others chimed in.
Co-host Ana Navarro then said that the Department of Justice should get involved in investigating people who are “shilling for Putin” and “if you are a foreign asset to a dictator, it should be investigated.” The co-host Whoopi Goldberg said, “They used to arrest people for doing stuff like this.”
In her two-minute video on Twitter, Gabbard said that the Ukrainian biolabs are “US-funded,” and, according to the US government, these labs “are conducting research on dangerous pathogens.” She warned that the “widespread bombing, artillery and shelling” in Ukraine can compromise the facilities and “release these deadly pathogens,” which will then “quickly spread all throughout Europe and the United States, and the rest of the world causing untold suffering and death.”
She went on to say, “instead of trying to cover this up,” the Biden administration and Congress, “need to act now for the health and well-being of Americans and every person on this planet.”
As part of her increasingly close political relationship with right-wing Republicans and Fox News, Gabbard also claimed the Ukrainian facilities are part of a network of “300 biolabs around the world who are engaging in dangerous research including gain of function, similar to the lab in Wuhan where COVID-19 may have originated from.”
The World Socialist Web Site has a consistent record of opposing the reactionary conspiracy theory spread by the far-right and ostensibly liberal US corporate media about the “Wuhan lab” origin of the coronavirus pandemic. We have reported that this fabricated, xenophobic and anti-Chinese lie has been thoroughly debunked by multiple studies that have determined through compelling evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus spilled over from animals to humans more than once in late 2019.
While the WSWS is politically opposed to the Democrat Gabbard and her collaboration with Fox News in perpetuating the Wuhan lab conspiracy theories, we are also opposed to the likes of Romney, Kinzinger and others who are attempting to silence her by demanding she be investigated by the Justice Department, or worse, for demanding answers about the unexplained response of Nuland during her congressional testimony as well as the extremely defensive behavior of the Biden White House to any questions about the Ukrainian biolabs.
On March 9, Gabbard was a featured guest on Fox News with Tucker Carlson, where she took up the testimony of Nuland, saying, “First of all, she didn’t say ‘no’ when she was asked by Marco Rubio about there being biological or chemical weapons in Ukraine.” She then stated that the Biden administration has been trying to hide the truth and Nuland immediately preemptively started the blame-game and said if anything bad happens it’s the “bad guys” to blame. Gabbard was referring to Nuland’s claims that it is Russia that would use chemical weapons in Ukraine.
Early Monday, Gabbard also posted a lengthy tweet thread responding to Mitt Romney and elaborating a series of factual statements about the Ukrainian biolabs from news and US government sources. She then challenged the senator from Utah, tweeting, “Senator Romney, please provide evidence that what I said is untrue and treasonous. If you cannot, you should do the honorable thing: apologize and resign from the Senate.”