Background Briefing: May 26, 2021


Biden Calls For an Investigation Into Whether a Lab Accident Caused the Covid Pandemic

We begin with President Biden’s announcement today that he has tasked the Intelligence Community to come up with a report in 90 days to determine whether the Covid pandemic emerged “from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident.” Joining us to discuss the growing interest in the possibility of a lab accident is Dr. Stanley Perlman, a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Iowa who has studied coronavirus pathogenesis for four decades. We will look into how a recent U.S. intelligence report that found several researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in November of 2019 with Covid-19-like symptoms before the first case in China was announced on December 30, has raised suspicions with Biden remarking today without mentioning Trump by name, that “The failure to get our inspectors on the ground in those early months will always hamper any investigation into the origin of Covid-19.” The president went on to say that “The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence.”


The Fate of Journalists Jailed and Tortured by the Lukashenko Regime

Then with Putin inviting the dictator of Belarus to his summer residence in Sochi next week, we investigate further Russia’s role in the hijacking of a civilian airliner in order to arrest one journalist. Joining us is Gulnoza Said, the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator who is a journalist with over 15 years experience in New York, Prague, Bratislava and Tashkent and we discuss her article at CNN “The shocking detention of a journalist in flight” and the fate of the many other journalists jailed and tortured by the Lukashenko regime.


Exhuming Mass Graves 100 Years After the Tulsa Race Massacre

Then finally we speak with Dr. Scott Ellsworth, a Professor of Afro- American and African Studies at the University of Michigan who joins us on his way to Tulsa, Oklahoma where his team of researchers will exhume a mass grave on June the first, the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre. He joins us to discuss his latest book, The Ground-Breaking: The Tulsa Race Massacre and an American City’s Search for Justice and how he has fought for decades to get the story out about the 1921 massacre of hundreds of African Americans and the destruction of their prosperous community and to bring justice to the three living survivors all of whom are over 106 years old.