Cover for No Agenda Show 1351: Bug Appetit!
May 30th, 2021 • 3h 7m

1351: Bug Appetit!


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

Vax the Kids
In 1983 Dr Fauci Deceptively Attempted To Link AIDS To Children And Failed | GreatGameIndia
Thu, 27 May 2021 13:32
In May 1983, amid the rapidly escalating AIDS crisis, a doctor at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) promoted a stunning theory about the newly encountered disease in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Noting that the same issue of the journal contained an article documenting one of the first cases of the immunodeficiency disease's appearance in an infant, the author sounded an alarm about ''the possibility that routine close contact, as within a family household, can spread the disease.''
The article took an increasingly speculative turn in promoting this new theory. ''If indeed the latter is true, then AIDS takes on an entirely new dimension,'' it continued. ''If we add to this possibility that nonsexual, non-blood-borne transmission is possible, the scope of the syndrome may be enormous.'' Although the article reiterated the need to ''be cautious'' in accepting these findings as they awaited more evidence, the discovery ''should at least alert us to the possibility that we are truly dealing with AIDS in children,'' as transmitted through routine interaction.
The author of the article has since attained widespread familiarity. It was Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a rising star within the NIH bureaucracy.
Press accounts, noticing Fauci's article, immediately sounded the alarm. ''Household contacts can transmit AIDS,'' read one nationally syndicated report on the UPI wire dated May 5, 1983. The Associated Press queried the next day ''Does AIDS spread by Routine Contact?'' and quoted Fauci as their lead authority. The New York Times raised the specter of household transmission between family members, invoking Fauci's commentary as its main authority.
We now know of course that Fauci's theory was wrong. HIV, the virus that was later discovered to cause AIDS, only transmits by exposure to infected bodily fluids such as blood, or by sexual contact. The infant infection discussed in the same JAMA issue involved vertical transmission from the mother to child during pregnancy.
The damage was already done though, as the media went to work stoking alarm about AIDS transmission through simple routine contacts. Hundreds of newspapers disseminated the distressing theory from Fauci's article. Writing a few weeks later, conservative columnist Pat Buchanan enlisted Fauci as the centerpiece of a rebuttal against Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler, who told him ''there is no evidence'...that the general population is threatened by [AIDS].''
On July 14, both Buchanan's column and its excerpt of Fauci's article were entered into the congressional record along with moralizing commentary that assigned blame for the disease to homosexual establishments and gatherings. Unfounded fears of transmission risk through simple contact, and accompanying social ostracization of the disease's victims, became one of the most notorious and harmful missteps of the entire AIDS crisis.
It might be tempting to chalk Fauci's error up to the scientific uncertainties of a novel disease. Medicine advances by investigating all plausible theories, subjecting them to testing, and ruling out those that lack evidence. In this case however, the more likely candidate was scientific negligence and unwarranted alarmist speculation.
Journalist Randy Shilts documented the incident in his classic early history of the AIDS crisis, And the Band Played On. Immunologist Arye Rubinstein had already offered a more plausible explanation for the infant case, which even cursory examination would verify: the disease transmitted from the mother to the baby during pregnancy. As Shilts explains, ''Upon investigation, Rubinstein learned that Anthony Fauci had not bothered to read his paper.'' The NIH scientist instead relied on second-hand information from another researcher to indulge in open-ended speculation (for a longer excerpt of Shilts, see David Henderson's post on Fauci's early career).
Although his speculative commentary had triggered a national media frenzy over unfounded fears of AIDS transmission through routine contact, Fauci himself emerged relatively unscathed from the episode. He did so by deploying an all-too-familiar tactic from his Covid-19 commentary: the political pivot, executed in front of a fawning news media.
On June 26, less than two months after his JAMA article appeared, Fauci publicly contradicted its most irresponsible claim '' albeit without ever acknowledging his own central role in promoting that claim to begin with. As he told the Baltimore Sun, ''It is absolutely preposterous to suggest that AIDS can be contracted through normal social contact like being in the same room with someone or sitting on a bus with them. The poor gays have received a very raw deal on this.'' In short, Fauci flip-flopped with the political winds and the press barely even noticed.
It's a familiar pattern to anyone who has closely followed the infectious disease bureaucrat's public commentary since Covid-19 burst into the national news cycle last January. It usually starts with Anthony Fauci fielding a question about a disease from the press, at which point he offers up a highly speculative answer that nonetheless appears to carry the gravity of his own authority.
Fauci usually caveats his remarks with a stream of noncommittal auxiliary verbs '' the disease ''could,'' ''might,'' or ''may'' behave as his latest prognostication asserts. But the press runs with a bold headline anyway, declaring that Fauci has spoken and his word is final' least until it is not. That's when Fauci modifies his prior position without even the slightest scrutiny from an adoring press corps, and proceeds as if his newer pronouncement has been his position all along. The flip-flop is then complete and broadcast by the same press as the new gospel, even if it directly contradicts the fair doctor's own advice given only weeks or days prior.
Consider one of the first examples of Fauci's commentary on Covid-19, given to CNN on January 24, 2020 '' the day after the Wuhan region of China went into draconian lockdown. Asked about the Chinese government's decision, Fauci declared ''That's something that I don't think we could possibly do in the United States, I can't imagine shutting down New York or Los Angeles.''
This assessment was no casual political preference, but rather reflected Fauci's own judgment from past pandemics. He continued: ''[h]istorically when you shut things down it doesn't have a major effect.'' Indeed, this was Fauci's own position during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. A recently resurfaced interview on NBC shows Fauci warning against ''draconian'' quarantine measures for Ebola, and chastising several state governors for enacting hasty emergency restrictions to contain an outbreak in the United States without considering the unintended consequences.
By mid-March 2020, less than two months after he disavowed the use of lockdowns in major US cities such as New York and Los Angeles, Fauci executed a flip-flop and repositioned himself as the U.S. government's primary architect of our historically unprecedented lockdown response. ''If you look at the curves of outbreaks, they go big peaks, and then come down. What we need to do is flatten that down,'' he told the press on March 11. On March 16, Fauci, along with the rest of the Trump administration's coronavirus task force, threw their weight behind the now-discredited Imperial College Model of Neil Ferguson, igniting a wave of draconian shelter-in-place ordinances in not only New York and Los Angeles but ultimately 43 of 50 states.
''But the evidence on lockdowns changed!'' comes the predictable cry of those who instinctively defend Fauci through every twist and turn in his messaging. Except it didn't. Prior to March 2020, a substantial body of epidemiological literature strongly condemned lockdowns '' both for their ineffectiveness and their extremely high social and economic costs. The only change that happened between January and March was political; namely that technocratic modelers such as Ferguson realized that fear and alarm over the coronavirus could be used to brush aside civil liberties and democratic norms in favor of a society-wide quarantine modeled on the Chinese response in Wuhan. Neil Ferguson openly boasted as much in a December 2020 interview, recalling the political sea change of those confused and panicked days from the previous March.
Among those who embraced this rapid political shift toward lockdowns was none other than Fauci. Indeed on February 17, 2020 the infectious disease administrator told USA Today that the risk from the coronavirus in the United States was ''just minuscule.'' Barely three weeks later Fauci would call for a nationwide lockdown, albeit for only two weeks.
For Fauci, that quickly became a month. Then two months. Then denunciations of states that reopened ''too early.'' Then testimony praising New York for remaining closed and providing a ''model'' Covid response despite boasting one of the highest per-capita death rates in the entire world. Then a push to reimpose stricter lockdowns in the fall. Per his latest prognostication, offered almost exactly 1 year to the day after he dismissed Covid-19 as a ''minuscule'' threat to the United States, we may return to normal by early 2022. And just like that, ''two weeks to flatten the curve'' became two years.
In recounting this history, it is important to be mindful that high-uncertainty events such as a novel virus and pandemic are unavoidably difficult to predict. But that acknowledged challenge is no excuse for figures like Fauci, who not only offer their prognostications on the whim of the moment but often do so on an entirely speculative basis, fully knowing that it will see credulous repetition in the press as an authoritative pronouncement.
Fauci's greater fault is not that he errs, although he does err frequently, but rather the hubris of the moment through which he speaks even as he curiously shelters his pronouncements in caveats intended to permit a future pivot. Yet when that pivot occurs and Fauci adopts a completely different or even contradictory position in light of new political circumstances, he advances it with further hubristic pretensions before an obsequious gaggle of journalists, as if the new stance had always been his position.
We've now seen such pivots on countless occasions, including some that entailed willful duplicity. Consider Fauci's pronouncements against mask wearing in March 2020 on 60 Minutes. By July, Fauci had not only reversed to the opposite position '' he essentially conceded that he deceived the public back in March in order to allegedly prevent a run on masks that might cause a hospital shortage.
In effect, Fauci told what he considered to be a ''noble lie'' in the name of coaxing the public into a position he desired them to follow, rather than serving as a reliable source of scientific information. It's a pattern he has repeated many times, most recently when he moved the target vaccination rate goalposts from 70% to 90% in a self-admitted deception intended to ''nudge'' the public toward his new position. That duplicity earned him praise though when he excused it as an effort to counter vaccine misinformation.
Even beyond these intentional manipulations though, Fauci's commentary displays a stunning level of inconsistency and contradiction. Long after masking supplanted his initial advice against masking, Fauci shifted yet again to double-masking, then backtracked on this advice a few days later, then re-embraced the practice a few days after that in conjunction with a new CDC recommendation. More recently, he's taken to contradicting himself on whether to expect the sharp peaks and declines in case numbers we've recently seen in the US and around the world. Yet throughout, Fauci's reputation as a steady and measured source of sage wisdom and medical authority remains largely intact before the public's eye.
Why? I'll posit that it's the product of a skilled political operative with four decades of honing his abilities to execute politically motivated pivots amid disease uncertainty.
Note the recurring characteristics of his public communications that have become hallmarks of Fauci's style. Whether it's the coronavirus of 2020-21 or the AIDS crisis of 1983, he routinely stakes out public positions that rely upon unwarranted speculation about scientific matters in the absence of evidence. His scientific statements carry an air of authority, and are certainly repeated as such by an adoring press '' including in ways that mislead the public and even cause harm to our ability to address and combat an emerging disease. Yet if one reads his statements carefully, they also contain enough weasel words '' ''might,'' ''may,'' ''could'' '' to facilitate a convenient political pivot at a later date, shirking all responsibility for the harm caused in the process. And in the instances where a complete contradiction occurs, he takes refuge in duplicity for a ''noble'' purpose, which the press is all too happy to excuse away.
But missteps by powerful and trusted public health officials often lead to genuine harms. Indeed, it's no small irony that Fauci's initial response to AIDS triggered a wave of panicked fear that quickly morphed into the social ostracization of the disease's victims. It's not difficult to see similar patterns at play in the rise of a moralizing coronajustice ideology that treats all of society as a potential disease vector, and even valorizes social derision of those who contract Covid-19. While Fauci is not the only factor in the politicization of either disease, his vacillating commentary has often served to inflame these and other social ills, and usually with few or no professional repercussions to himself. Quite the opposite '' the more he's been wrong, the higher his stature has grown. The more he's played politics in the name of doing science, the higher levels of political power he has attained.
If you want to see an end to the lockdown madness, the ongoing destruction of human lives and livelihoods, and the unprecedented government failures that have come to characterize our daily routines for the last year, the lessons of this administrator's performance should be obvious. It's time to stop listening to Fauci, and time to stop treating his wildly inconsistent political posturing as if it carries any scientific authority.
Originally published on American Institute for Economic Research. Phil Magness is a Senior Research Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. He is the author of numerous works on economic history, taxation, economic inequality, the history of slavery, and education policy in the United States.
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These Florida concert tickets are $18 if you're vaccinated, $1,000 if you're not - ABC News
Sat, 29 May 2021 17:05
The promoter behind the discount hopes it encourages people to get their shot.
May 27, 2021, 10:43 PM
' 5 min read
A concert promoter in Florida came up with a creative way to encourage his community to get vaccinated by offering $18 discounted tickets to an upcoming show for those who have been vaccinated -- and charging $999.99 per ticket for those who have not.
Paul Williams of Leadfoot Promotions in Tampa Bay said he came up with the idea as vaccination appointments in his state opened up to all, and while trying to plan a concert that people could safely enjoy after over a year of living through a pandemic that shut down most live events with crowds.
"I also wanted it to be a vaccine drive to get the fence-sitters off the fence," Williams told ABC News. "I wanted to get the kids that want to go to shows to go out and get their shots."
The concert is set to take place on June 26 at the VFW Post 39 venue in St. Petersburg. It will feature performances from three punk rock banks: Teenage Bottlerocket, MakeWar and Rutterkin.
Some 250 discounted tickets for vaccinated patrons for are sale, compared to just four thousand-dollar tickets. So far, Williams said no one has bought any of the $1,000 tickets.
"We're all vaccinated. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated so we can see you in the pit," Ray Carlisle, singer and guitar player with the band Teenage Bottlerocket, told Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS.
In this Sept. 18, 2012, file photo, Ray Carlisle of Teenage Bottlerocket performs onstage in Indianapolis.
The response to his initiative from the local music scene has been "overwhelmingly positive," Williams said. He has been receiving negative comments, however, from a slew of anti-vaxxers who he said obtained his phone number and have been inundating him with spam messages.
"To care about people being safe is very bad apparently," Williams said.
The promoter said he isn't denying entry to unvaccinated concertgoers, saying, "You can buy a full-price ticket and you'll be treated like everyone else."
The concert comes amid nationwide pushes to encourage widespread vaccinations that could help bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Teenage Bottlerocket performs in London, Aug 5, 2017.
A handful of states have announced vaccine lotteries, companies including Krispy Kreme are offering a slew of incentives and even dating apps have started letting users share their vaccination status.
Earlier this week, the U.S. reached the milestone of over half of all adults being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Still, despite the U.S. pandemic death toll approaching 600,000, nearly 1 in 4 Americans say they are disinclined to get any of the coronavirus vaccines, according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll.
Huge crowd descends on London's Chinatown for 'no questions asked' coronavirus jab | Evening Standard
Sat, 29 May 2021 17:41
Thousands of people descended on Chinatown in extraordinary scenes after a council promised Covid-19 jabs with no appointment, NHS number or ID.
Crowds gathered on the pavement outside a barber shop following an advert posted on the Chinese Information and Advice Centre charity's website saying ''undocumented migrants'' were welcome to get a jab at the specially appointed bus.
The bus, run by Westminster Council, is an official service facilitated by the Government and NHS visiting different locations within the area.
The CIAC advert said: ''A vaccine bus is available in London Chinatown to offer free vaccine jab to the Community without appointment.
''You DO NOT need to have: NHS number, any proof of address, personal identification. Undocumented migrants also welcomed. Stay safe! Get vaccinated!''
Coronavirus jabs can normally only be booked via the NHS website or at a GP surgery.
Vaccine buses have popped up around the UK with volunteer groups enlisted to help run them in areas where take-up has been low such as Luton and Bolton.
However, the demand in Chinatown appears to be by far the highest seen so far.
Anti-vaxxer Piers Corbyn, brother of ex-Labour leader Jeremy, turned up to lead a protest urging people not to get the jab.
A group of women chanted ''shame on you'' at people onboard the bus.
To counter fears, pamphlets were delivered through the doors of local businesses a week before the arrival of the vaccine bus to encourage people to attend.
A spokesman for the North-West London Clinical Commissioning Group, which set up the vaccine bus, said: ''The offer of the Covid vaccine is available to people over the age of 30 and those in the priority groups as outlined by the JCVI [joint committee on vaccination and immunisation].
''Getting the vaccine is the single most important step we can take to protect ourselves, our families and our communities against Covid-19 and we remain committed to working with the local community to ensure all those who are eligible can receive their vaccine."
Bat or Lab
How Distrust of Donald Trump Muddled the COVID-19 'Lab Leak' Debate | Time
Thu, 27 May 2021 20:38
This article is part of the The DC Brief, TIME's politics newsletter. Sign up here to get stories like this sent to your inbox every weekday.
Around this time a year ago, then-President Donald Trump and his administration started to pivot away from their early defense of China's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. They abandoned their chase of an election-year trade deal and adopted a more critical posture that laid blame for the fast-spreading virus on Beijing. Deploying patently anti-Asian rhetoric, Trump and his team started a systemic'--and roundly condemned'--campaign in April suggesting that the virus leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, the city in which it was first identified. Trump routinely referred to COVID-19 as ''the China virus,'' ''the Wuhan virus'' and even ''Kung Flu.''
Most mainstream voices in the press and in labs ignored Trump's rhetoric, rightly predicting it would spark a wave of anti-Asian hate crimes. The majority of scientists said at the time'--and maintain to this day'--the most likely explanation was zoonotic transfer, with the first human infection likely due to the exposure to the virus at a seafood market in Wuhan. On April 30, the same day that Trump invoked the Wuhan theory, the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement debunking Trump's assertion. That wasn't so surprising; after all, just seven days before floating the idea, Trump had suggested injecting bleach might help fight COVID-19.
Now Washington is scrambling to re-examine the origins of the virus, after the Wall Street Journal reported on intelligence indicating Chinese researchers at the Wuhan lab were hospitalized, for symptoms similar to those of COVID-19, in November 2019'--weeks before anyone knew a coronavirus was spreading. Biden today released an unusual statement revealing he has ordered a review among intelligence agencies about the source of the pandemic. Yesterday, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra called for a fresh investigation into the virus' origins, saying the probe must be swift and independent, setting up a distinction from a February study by the WHO and China that concluded a lab jailbreak was not the source.
He joins prominent scientists who are similarly expressing skepticism about the early conclusions and urging further study. When Trump's former CDC chief speculated in March that the virus may have ''escaped'' from a Chinese lab, he was almost universally shrugged off as a Trumpian kook. In reality, the concerns he raised might be worth real consideration.
As early as January of 2020, months before Trump got onboard in a public way, conservative voices were suggesting that Wuhan's top-tier research laboratory was at the center of the outbreak, and not the seafood market. Sen. Tom Cotton, a loud and proud critic of China and its government, likened the alleged Chinese coverup to the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl. A Washington Post headline in February 2020 telegraphed just how unseriously Cotton's push was being treated: ''Tom Cotton Keeps Repeating a Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory That Was Already Debunked.''
Meanwhile, the same month, Chinese researchers posted online a preprint paper funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, suggesting that ''the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.'' The paper was withdrawn a few weeks later before it could be peer-reviewed. In March 2020, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency'--the Pentagon's spy arm'--updated its findings to include the possibility of a lab error. When asked weeks later on April 30 why he was suggesting had suddenly suggested that day that the Wuhan lab was the source, Trump, uncharacteristically, kept mum: ''I can't tell you that. I'm not allowed to tell you that.''
Trump was widely criticized for his xenophobic language and what many critics assumed was another example of his irresponsible deployment of non-facts. The President was far afield from what trusted experts were saying at the time and, by that point in what would be his presidency's final year, had blown most of his credibility outside the bubble of his ardent fans. When given the benefit of the doubt, Trump usually confirmed that he didn't deserve it.
At times of national crisis, Americans turn to their leaders for information, comfort and encouragement. But only if that leader is a credible voice. Then-President George W. Bush had barely been on the job eight months when al-Qaeda terrorists carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He had come to power after a contentious 37-day recount in Florida but on that Tuesday, even Bush's sharpest critics sheathed their contempt. His job approval spiked instantly from 55% to 87%'--a record in Gallup's polling matched only by Harry Truman immediately after Germany surrendered in 1945 and George H.W. Bush after pushing Iraqi forces from Kuwait during the first Gulf War. Trump's approval rating never topped 50% in any Gallup survey.
But perhaps the more telling number in thinking back on the events of last year is Gallup's measure of whether a leader is seen as ''honest and trustworthy.'' In its June survey, taken as the U.S. was starting to realize this whole work-from-home situation might be more than a blip, Gallup found that only 36% of Americans would describe Trump as ''honest and trustworthy.'' For comparison, at the same point in his term, President Barack Obama enjoyed a 60% rating on the ''honest and trustworthy'' question from all voters, while only 24% agreed with that characterization of President Bill Clinton at the height of his impeachment trial.
The most telling slice of that ''honest and trustworthy'' metric is Trump's decline among fellow Republicans. At the start of his presidency, 81% of Republicans described Trump that way. By June of 2020, the figure had fallen nine percentage points. The fact that a staggering 3-in-10 Republicans didn't see him as an honest conveyor of fact speaks volumes to just how little credibility Trump had. (It will shock no one that 91% of Democrats said they did not see Trump as an ''honest and trustworthy'' figure.)
Seldom has the nation seen such a profound and self-inflicted trust deficit in its leader. Trump may have been telling us things that we now know could be true. He may have been able to save his re-election bid had he prosecuted the evidence that is now emerging in a way that resonated with independents and even a few Democrats in the Midwest who still harbor deep animosity toward China for the collapse of the industrial core. He may even have rallied the world to step up pressure on the WHO and China to open its doors in a meaningful way for inspectors.
Instead, Trump had squandered that pulpit by the time he reached his final year in power by embracing all manner of nonsense. He started 2020 on trial for deputizing foreign leaders to dig up dirt on his rival's family and ended it claiming his victory was stolen. Trump didn't tell the truth about either'--and a whole lot more, to be honest'--and is now banned from social media.
But he is not gone, as evidenced by a stream of statements sent from his office in recent days. ''Now everybody is agreeing that I was right when I very early on called Wuhan as the source of COVID-19, sometimes referred to as the China Virus. To me it was obvious from the beginning but I was badly criticized, as usual,'' Trump said in a statement yesterday.
The statement was preceded by one promoting the incorrect view among 53% of Americans that Trump is the rightful President, and followed by another claiming 2020 was ''the most corrupt Election in the history of our Country.'' It follows months of incoherent responses and irrational denialism from a man who claimed the pandemic would just go away and yet had to be airlifted to Walter Reed while infected himself. And we wonder why Americans dismissed Trump when he asserted that a lab accident in China may have been to blame. It's possible to be correct and untrustworthy at the same time.
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Chinese scientists created COVID-19 in a lab and then tried to cover their tracks, new study claims
Sat, 29 May 2021 22:53
An explosive new study claims researchers found 'unique fingerprints' in COVID-19 samples that they say could only have arisen from manipulation in a exclusively obtained the new 22-page paper authored by British Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Dr. Birger S¸rensen set to be published in the Quarterly Review of Biophysics DiscoveryThe study showed there's evidence to suggest Chinese scientists created the virus while working on a Gain of Function project in a Wuhan lab Gain of Function research, which was temporarily outlawed in the US, involves altering naturally-occurring viruses to make them more infectious in order to study their potential effects on humans According to the paper, Chinese scientists took a natural coronavirus 'backbone' found in Chinese cave bats and spliced onto it a new 'spike', turning it into the deadly and highly transmissible COVID-19The researchers, who concluded that COVID-19 'has no credible natural ancestor', also believe scientists reverse-engineered versions of the virus to cover up their tracks'We think that there have been retro-engineered viruses created,' Dalgleish told 'They've changed the virus, then tried to make out it was in a sequence years ago.'The study also points to 'deliberate destruction, concealment or contamination of data' in Chinese labs and notes that 'scientists who wished to share their findings haven't been able to do so or have disappeared' Until recently, most experts had staunchly denied the origins of the virus were anything other than a natural infection leaping from animals to humansEarlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci defended US funding of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, saying the $600,000 grant was not approved for Gain of Function research An explosive new study claims that Chinese scientists created COVID-19 in a Wuhan lab, then tried to cover their tracks by reverse-engineering versions of the virus to make it look like it evolved naturally from bats.
The paper's authors, British Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Dr. Birger S¸rensen, wrote that they have had 'prima facie evidence of retro-engineering in China' for a year - but were ignored by academics and major journals.
Dalgleish is a professor of oncology at St George's University, London, and is best known for his breakthrough creating the first working 'HIV vaccine', to treat diagnosed patients and allow them to go off medication for months.
S¸rensen, a virologist, is chair of pharmaceutical company, Immunor, which developed a coronavirus vaccine candidate called Biovacc-19. Dalgleish also has share options in the firm.
The shocking allegations in the study include accusations of 'deliberate destruction, concealment or contamination of data' at Chinese labs, and it notes the silencing and disappearance of scientists in the communist country who spoke out.
The journal article, exclusively obtained by and slated for publication in the coming days, is set to make waves among the scientific community, as the majority of experts have until recently staunchly denied the origins of COVID-19 were anything other than a natural infection leaping from animals to humans.
An explosive new study on the origins of COVID-19 pandemic claims researchers found 'unique fingerprints' in samples of the virus that they say could only have arisen from manipulation in a lab - supporting theories that it escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (file photo) in China Norwegian scientist Dr. Birger S¸rensen Dr. S¸rensen and British Professor Angus Dalgleish (pictured) said initial attempts to publish their findings were rejected by major scientific journals While China has tried to insist the virus originated elsewhere, academics, politicians and the media have begun to contemplate the possibility it escaped from the WIV - raising suspicions that Chinese officials simply hid evidence of the early spread Click here to resize this module
While analyzing COVID-19 samples last year in an attempt to create a vaccine, Dalgleish and S¸rensen discovered 'unique fingerprints' in the virus that they say could only have arisen from manipulation in a laboratory.
They said they tried to publish their findings but were rejected by major scientific journals which were at the time resolute that the virus jumped naturally from bats or other animals to humans.
Even when former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove spoke out publicly saying the scientists' theory should be investigated, the idea was dismissed as 'fake news.'
Over a year later, leading academics, politicians and the media finally flipped, and have begun to contemplate the possibility that COVID-19 escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China - a lab where experiments included manipulating viruses to increase their infectiousness in order to study their potential effects on humans.
This week, President Joe Biden ordered the intelligence community to re-examine how the virus originated, including the lab accident theory.
The announcement followed the revelation that a previously undisclosed intelligence report had been made to the White House, claiming that several researchers at the Wuhan institute were hospitalized with illness in November 2019. The document was uncovered this week by the Wall Street Journal.
US health officials have also come under fire for allegedly funding researchers' controversial and risky experiments at the Wuhan lab. exclusively obtained the 22-page paper which is set to be published in the scientific journal Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery. In it, researchers describe their months-long 'forensic analysis' into experiments done at the Wuhan lab between 2002 and 2019 A 'GenBank' table included in the paper lists various coronavirus strains, with the dates they were collected and then when they were submitted to the gene bank, showing a delay of several years for some One diagram of the coronavirus shows six 'fingerprints' identified by the two scientists, which they say show the virus must have been made in a lab A second diagram showed how a row of four amino acids found on the SARS-Cov-2 spike have a positive charge that clings to human cells like a magnet, making the virus extremely infectious What is Gain of Function research? Gain of Function Research (GOF) is a controversial practice that involves altering a virus or pathogen in order to study the development of new diseases and their transmission.
Scientists conducting GOF research modify naturally occurring viruses to make them more infectious so that they can replicate in human cells in a lab.
This allows the virus's potential effects on humans to be studied and better understood. GOF has been considered controversial due to its inherent biosafety risks.
In 2014, the Obama administration imposed a moratorium on GOF which included halting funding for projects, however, this decision was overturned three years later by the National Institute of Health (NIH).
On May 25, 2021, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci defended funding the Wuhan Institute of Virology through a $600,000 grant given to the non-profit EcoHealth Alliance, to study whether bat coronaviruses could be transmitted to humans.
He said the research was essential, pointing out that the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s was eventually traced back to bats.
However, Fauci claimed that under the terms of the funding, scientists were not to use the money on Gain of Function research.
Now, Dalgleish and S¸rensen have authored a new study, which concludes that 'SARS-Coronavirus-2 has no credible natural ancestor' and that it is 'beyond reasonable doubt' that the virus was created through 'laboratory manipulation'.
In the 22-page paper which is set to be published in the scientific journal Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery, the scientists describe their months-long 'forensic analysis', looking back at experiments done at the Wuhan lab between 2002 and 2019.
Digging through archives of journals and databases, Dalgleish and S¸rensen pieced together how Chinese scientists, some working in concert with American universities, allegedly built the tools to create the coronavirus.
Much of the work was centered around controversial 'Gain of Function' research '' temporarily outlawed in the US under the Obama administration.
Gain of Function involves tweaking naturally occurring viruses to make them more infectious, so that they can replicate in human cells in a lab, allowing the virus's potential effect on humans to be studied and better understood.
Dalgleish and S¸rensen claim that scientists working on Gain of Function projects took a natural coronavirus 'backbone' found in Chinese cave bats and spliced onto it a new 'spike', turning it into the deadly and highly transmissible SARS-Cov-2.
One tell-tale sign of alleged manipulation the two men highlighted was a row of four amino acids they found on the SARS-Cov-2 spike.
In an exclusive interview with, S¸rensen said the amino acids all have a positive charge, which cause the virus to tightly cling to the negatively charged parts of human cells like a magnet, and so become more infectious.
But because, like magnets, the positively charged amino acids repel each other, it is rare to find even three in a row in naturally occurring organisms, while four in a row is 'extremely unlikely,' the scientist said.
'The laws of physics mean that you cannot have four positively charged amino acids in a row. The only way you can get this is if you artificially manufacture it,' Dalgleish told
Their new paper says these features of SARS-Cov-2 are 'unique fingerprints' which are 'indicative of purposive manipulation', and that 'the likelihood of it being the result of natural processes is very small.'
'A natural virus pandemic would be expected to mutate gradually and become more infectious but less pathogenic which is what many expected with the COVID-19 pandemic but which does not appear to have happened,' the scientists wrote.
'The implication of our historical reconstruction, we posit now beyond reasonable doubt, of the purposively manipulated chimeric virus SARS-CoV-2 makes it imperative to reconsider what types of Gain of Function experiments it is morally acceptable to undertake.
'Because of wide social impact, these decisions cannot be left to research scientists alone.'
The study concluded 'SARS-Coronavirus-2 has no credible natural ancestor' and that it is 'beyond reasonable doubt' that the virus was created through 'laboratory manipulation' The study claims that scientists at the Wuhan lab (pictured) working on Gain of Function projects took a natural coronavirus 'backbone' found in Chinese cave bats and spliced onto it a new 'spike', turning it into the deadly and highly transmissible COVID-19During a Senate hearing on Wednesday, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted he was not certain US funding for researchers at the Wuhan lab was not spent on controversial and risky Gain of Function experiments.
Conflicting studies on the origins of COVID-19 Dalgleish and Sorensen's explosive claims have been a matter of controversy since they first put forward their hypothesis last summer, and the scientific community is still split over the likely origins of the virus.
27 scientists published a statement in The Lancet on February 19 last year saying they 'strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that covid-19 does not have a natural origin' and asserted that experts 'overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife' '' though three authors later backtrackedA group of prominent scientists wrote in leading journal Nature on March 17, 2020 that 'the evidence shows that SARSCoV-2 is not a purposefully manipulated virus,' and that 'we do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible'In an unorthodox move, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a public statement on April 30 last year that 'The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified'But dissenting voices have started to appear, pointing to evidence that COVID-19 in fact originated from a Wuhan lab:
In November last year, a paper by bioengineer Rossana Segreto and geneticist Yuri Deigin conceded that 'the genetic structure of SARS-CoV-2 does not rule out a laboratory origin' and noted features of the virus that 'might be the result of lab manipulation techniques such as site-directed mutagenesis'The same month, David Relman, a Stanford University microbiologist who has worked on biosecurity initiatives for the government, wrote a journal article for the National Academy of Scientists that the 'origin story' for covid-19 is 'missing many key details', including a plausible history of the virus and explanation of how the first human got infectedEarlier this month, 18 prominent scientists published a letter in the top journal Science, calling for a new investigation into the origins of the virus, adding that 'theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover both remain viable''How do you know they didn't lie to you and use the money for gain of function research anyway?' Louisiana Senator John Kennedy asked Fauci.
'You never know,' he replied, but added that scientists at the lab are 'trustworthy'.
National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins told the hearing that US-funded scientists at the lab 'were not approved by NIH for doing gain of function research.'
In another striking claim contained in the research paper, Dalgleish and S¸rensen say they have evidence that after the pandemic began, Chinese scientists took samples of the COVID-19 virus and 'retro-engineered' it, making it appear as if it had evolved naturally.
They said they were suspicious of a raft of new strains suddenly entered into gene databases by predominantly Chinese scientists early in 2020, years after they were recorded as being collected.
'We think that there have been retro-engineered viruses created,' Dalgleish told 'They've changed the virus, then tried to make out it was in a sequence years ago.'
In their paper, Dalgleish and S¸rensen also pointed to 'deliberate destruction, concealment or contamination of data' in Chinese labs and noted that 'Chinese scientists who wished to share their knowledge have not been able to do so or have disappeared.'
'It appears that preserved virus material and related information have been destroyed. Therefore we are confronted with large gaps in data which may never be filled,' they wrote.
'Strains 'popped up' after January 2020 are not credible'... For a year we have possessed prima facie evidence of retro-engineering in China in early 2020.'
In January last year revealed that scientists had been warning about the risk of deadly pathogens escaping from the Wuhan lab since it was opened in 2017.
China installed the first of a planned five to seven biolabs designed for maximum safety in Wuhan in 2017, for the purpose of studying the most high-risk pathogens, including the Ebola and the SARS viruses.
Tim Trevan, a Maryland biosafety consultant, told the science journal Nature that year, when the lab was on the cusp of opening, that he worried that China's culture could make the institute unsafe because 'structures where everyone feels free to speak up and openness of information are important.'
In fact, the SARS virus had 'escaped' multiple times from a lab in Beijing, according to the Nature article.
US State Department officials visited the Wuhan institute in 2018 and sent two official warnings back to DC alerting the government to poor safety there, according to the Washington Post.
Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, housed at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, was China's first lab to be rated biosafety level 4, the most secure classification.
But S¸rensen said that he believes the virus escaped from lower security areas of the institute, where he believes Gain of Function research was performed.
'We have seen lab leaks and we know it's happening. We also know from the reports we've seen, that coronavirus is worked on in Biosafety Level 2 or 3 labs. If they do Gain of Function in such labs, what do you expect?' he said.
In February 2020 a molecular biomechanics researcher at South China University of Technology, Botao Xiao, published a paper claiming 'the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan,' highlighting safety issues at the institute.
How Dalgleish and S¸rensen's explosive claims were ignored by academics and major journals for a year Dalgleish and S¸rensen's explosive claims have been highly controversial since they first put forward their hypothesis of a man-made virus last summer.
In June 2020, after Dalgleish and S¸rensen's theory was championed by a former MI6 chief, the Times of London quoted MI5 sources dismissing the theory as 'fake news.'
Gunnveig Gr¸deland, a vaccine researcher at the University of Oslo, told Forbes in June last year that the parts of the virus that Dalgleish and Sorensen believe must be man-made, in fact appear in nature.
'Examples can be found in other viruses including subtypes of influenza (including 'bird flu'), HIV, and several human coronaviruses (MERS, OC43, HKU1),' she said.
Dr Rachael Tarlinton, an associate professor of veterinary virology at the UK University of Nottingham, told Sky News that Dalgleish and Sorensen's theory was 'magical thinking' in a July 2020 interview.
'The artificial release theories seem to be a form of 'magical thinking' - a simplistic solution to a complex problem where if someone can be blamed then that someone can be removed and the problem go away,' she said.
One of the two scientists' biggest critics was Professor Kristian Andersen at the department of immunology and microbiology at Scripps research facility in California, who described Dalgleish and Sorensen's first paper last summer as 'complete nonsense, unintelligible, and not even remotely scientific.'
Months earlier, a statement published in the Lancet by a group of 27 scientists said: 'We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that covid-19 does not have a natural origin.'
The statement, released February 19, 2020, added that scientists 'overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife.'
Three of the authors later backtracked, saying they thought a lab accident was plausible.
A paper by a group of prominent scientists was published in the leading journal Nature on March 17, 2020, co-authored by Professor Andersen, concluding that 'the evidence shows that SARSCoV-2 is not a purposefully manipulated virus,' and that 'we do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible.'
The scientists added that it was 'currently impossible to prove or disprove the other theories of its origin.'
In their new paper, Dalgleish and Sorensen criticized Andersen and his colleagues' conclusions, saying some of the studies the opposing scientists used to back up their claims in fact contradict their own arguments.
A week before the Nature paper was published, Chinese scientist Shi Zhengli, who led a bat coronavirus research group at the Wuhan institute, told Scientific American that she checked the records for mishandling of experimental materials, and said none of the viruses her team sampled from bat caves were among them.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement on April 30 last year saying: 'The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified.'
The director said the intelligence community would 'rigorously examine' whether the virus escaped from the Wuhan lab or whether the first infection arose through contact with infected animals.
Xiao withdrew the paper weeks later after Chinese authorities denied any accidents at the lab.
The same month, a group of 27 scientists wrote a statement in top journal The Lancet, saying they 'strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that covid-19 does not have a natural origin' and 'overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife.'
Dr Anthony Fauci told lawmakers this week that the National Institutes of Health committed $600,000 to the Chinese lab through a non-profit, to study whether bat coronaviruses - but denied funding went towards Gain of Function researchThree of the authors later told the Wall Street Journal that they now believe a lab accident is worth consideration as an explanation for the origins of covid-19.
Dalgleish told that he believed resistance to the theory that COVID-19 is a man-made, escaped virus comes from scientists fearful that the revelation would shut down their field.
'This looks like a weak defense to protect the discipline so that this type of genetic engineering will not be interfered with,' he said. 'I make no bones about it. The Gain of Function engineering should have been banned ages ago.'
Questioned at a congressional hearing this week, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci denied that any US funding went towards Gain of Function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Fauci told lawmakers that the National Institutes of Health committed $600,000 to the Chinese lab through the non-profit EcoHealth Alliance, to study whether bat coronaviruses could be transmitted to humans.
NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins also told the hearing that US-funded scientists at the lab 'were not approved by NIH for doing gain of function research'.
'We are, of course, not aware of other sources of funds or other activities they might have undertaken outside of what our approved grant allowed,' he added.
The NIH ceased its funding to the EcoHealth Alliance in April 2020.
Daily Mail has been asking if the virus stemmed from a Wuhan lab since April 2020The Daily Mail has consistently questioned the consensus that COVID-19 was transmitted from humans to animals.
Our reporters have dug into the details and challenged the assumptions about how the pandemic originated.
APRIL 4, 2020:
Did coronavirus leak from a research lab in Wuhan? Startling new theory is 'no longer being discounted' amid claims staff 'got infected after being sprayed with blood'
Ministers fear that the coronavirus pandemic might have been caused by a leak from a Chinese laboratory, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Senior Government sources say that while 'the balance of scientific advice' is still that the deadly virus was first transmitted to humans from a live animal market in Wuhan, a leak from a laboratory in the Chinese city is 'no longer being discounted'.
One member of Cobra, the emergency committee led by Boris Johnson, said last night that while the latest intelligence did not dispute the virus was 'zoonotic' '' originating in animals '' it did not rule out that the virus first spread to humans after leaking from a Wuhan laboratory.
APRIL 15, 2020:
Mike Pompeo demands truth from Beijing as US investigates if COVID-19 escaped from Wuhan lab during experiments and China covered it up by blaming 'wet' food markets
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has demanded that China 'come clean' following reports that coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory, not as a bioweapon, but as part of bungling experiments to prove that Chinese scientists were superior to Americans in identifying emerging virus threats.
It comes after President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the U.S. is trying to determine whether the coronavirus first crossed to humans accidentally during experiments with bats at the Wuhan Institute of Virology Lab.
After word of the outbreak finally became public, Chinese leaders were quick to blame Wuhan's 'wet market' where wild animals -- though not bats -- are sold for consumption, leading one source to tell Fox News the debacle is the 'costliest government coverup of all time.'
MAY 2, 2020:
Wuhan virus lab 'cover-up': Startling photos of scientists wearing little protection as they handle deadly bat samples vanish from website of Chinese institute at the centre of global suspicion over pandemic
Pictures which appear to show slack safety standards at the Chinese laboratory at the centre of international sus­picion over Covid-19 have been systematically deleted from its website '' as Donald Trump continues to ramp up the pressure on Beijing over its potential role in the outbreak.
During the past month, Wuhan's Institute of Virology has removed photographs of scientists working in its laboratories and edited out references to visits by US diplomats who subsequently raised the alarm about the laboratory's work on bats.
US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he had seen intelligence that gave him a 'high degree of confidence' that the global crisis had its origins in the institute '' a month after The Mail on Sunday first revealed that British Cabinet Ministers had received classified briefings raising the possibility of a leak from the institute.
Downing Street did not take issue with President Trump's remarks. 'There are clearly questions that need to be answered about the origin and spread of the virus,' a spokesman for Boris Johnson said.
MAY 30, 2020:
Beijing now admits that coronavirus DIDN'T start in Wuhan's market... so where DID it come from
China has become used to public confessions on television. But this time the words came from one of the nation's top officials and had seismic global implications.
'At first, we assumed the seafood market might have the virus, but now the market is more like a victim,' said Gao Fu, director of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gao's initial analysis had made sense after previous outbreaks of zoonotic viruses (diseases that jump from animals to humans). Yet suspicion grew over the Chinese government's failure to share data from animals sampled in the market following its early cover-ups.
JANUARY 2, 2021:
China lab leak is the 'most credible' source of the coronavirus outbreak, says top US government official, amid bombshell claims Wuhan scientist has turned whistleblower
One of America's most senior government officials says the most 'credible' theory about the origin of coronavirus is that it escaped from a laboratory in China.
Matthew Pottinger, who is President Donald Trump's respected Deputy National Security Adviser, told politicians from around the world that even China's leaders now openly admit their previous claims that the virus originated in a Wuhan market are false.
Mr Pottinger said that the latest intelligence points to the virus leaking from the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology, 11 miles from the market, saying: 'There is a growing body of evidence that the lab is likely the most credible source of the virus.'
JANUARY 9, 2021:
New cover-up fears as Chinese officials delete critical data about the Wuhan lab with details of 300 studies vanishing - including all those carried out by virologist dubbed Batwoman
The Chinese government is facing fresh accusations of a cover-up after officials deleted crucial online data about the laboratory suspected of being the source of Covid-19.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that hundreds of pages of information relating to studies carried out by the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology have been wiped.
Details of more than 300 studies, including many investigating diseases that pass from animals to humans, published online by the state-run National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) are no longer available.
APRIL 24, 2021:
Worrying new clues about the origins of Covid: How scientists at Wuhan lab helped Chinese army in secret project to find animal viruses
Scientists studying bat diseases at China's maximum-security laboratory in Wuhan were engaged in a massive project to investigate animal viruses alongside leading military officials '' despite their denials of any such links.
Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal that a nationwide scheme, directed by a leading state body, was launched nine years ago to discover new viruses and detect the 'dark matter' of biology involved in spreading diseases.
Scientists at Wuhan lab admitted being bitten by bats: reports
Sat, 29 May 2021 23:18
May 28, 2021 | 11:26am | Updated May 28, 2021 | 2:31pm
Scientists at the Chinese lab eyed as a possible source of the coronavirus pandemic were previously filmed getting bitten and spattered with blood while handling bats without protection, according to reports.
The state-run TV footage showed researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) disregarding gloves, masks and other PPE while handling bats and collecting feces in the field, Taiwan News first noted.
In one section, virus expert Cui Jie related how a bat's fangs once went right through his glove, describing it as feeling ''like being jabbed with a needle,'' the outlet noted.
The video '-- first broadcast in China on Dec. 29, 2017 '-- then cut to a person's limb badly swollen from an apparent bat bite. Scientists also admitted getting spattered with blood during the research, according to the Sun.
As one scientist was shown handling samples with bare hands, the narrator noted how the risk of injury ''still exists,'' and that team members got a rabies vaccine before each field sampling, the Taiwan report said.
However, the lab's now-notorious ''bat woman'' leader, Shi Zhengli, dismissed the fears in a since-deleted article, claiming that ''this job is not as dangerous as everyone thinks,'' Taiwan News noted.
''The odds of directly infecting humans is very small,'' she reportedly wrote before her lab become the focus of worldwide attention because of the coronavirus pandemic that as of Thursday has killed more than 3.5 million people worldwide.
''In most cases, only ordinary protection will be utilized,'' she admitted at the time of their risky research, the outlet said.
The video was aired by Chinese TV to showcase the lab's work as well as celebrate its ''bat woman'' director, Taiwan News has said.
Researchers working at the Wuhan lab being probed for the potential source of the coronavirus. Chinatopix via AP, File The P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty ImagesBut it has resurfaced now that world leaders are increasingly concerned about possible ties to the pandemic '-- with President Biden this week ordering US spy agencies to carry out a 90-day investigation.
Former President Donald Trump and his administration long raised suspicions over the coincidence of the bat research lab being in the epicenter of the pandemic's outbreak, with its research including similar viruses.
Swelling seen on a researcher after being bitten during experiments. CCTV13 via Youtube Scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology seen researching in the lab. Youtube A scientist shown handling samples with bare hands.Biden finally focused on the lab after it emerged that a US intelligence report had raised concerns over three of the lab's researchers getting sick from a mystery illness in November 2019, just before the first COVID-19 cases were officially noted.
The renewed focus even encouraged Facebook to reverse its ban on stories linking the lab to the outbreak.
U.S. intel report identified 3 Wuhan lab researchers who fell ill in November 2019
Sun, 30 May 2021 12:15
WASHINGTON '-- A U.S. intelligence report identified three researchers at a Wuhan lab who sought treatment at a hospital after falling ill in November 2019, a source familiar with the matter tells NBC News.
The new details, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, add to the body of circumstantial evidence that supports a hypothesis that the Covid-19 virus may have spread to humans after it escaped from a Chinese research lab in Wuhan. But the evidence is far from conclusive.
This reporting adds a new level of detail to the information put out in a Department of State fact sheet last year, which said the United States had confirmed that researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had fallen ill.
"The U.S. government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illnesses. This raises questions about the credibility of WIV senior researcher Shi Zhengli's public claim that there was 'zero infection' among the WIV's staff and students of SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-related viruses,'' the fact sheet said.
In February, NBC News reported that the U.S. intelligence agencies had not ruled out the possibility of a lab accident, noting that a growing number of scientists are urging an investigation into that possibility. The other theory is that the virus was transmitted to humans through an animal host. After a year and half of looking, no such host has been identified.
U.S. officials say that unless China allows more access to records and people, they may never get to the bottom of it.
The P4 laboratory, left, at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on April 17, 2020. Hector Retamal / AFP - Getty Images fileIn April 2020, NBC News reported that the U.S. had indications as far back as November of a possible health crisis in Wuhan.
''The most important implications of this would be to show that Wuhan Institute of Virology director Shi Zhengli was not being truthful when she said that no one in the institute had been ill in that time period,'' said Jamie Metzl, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former national security official in the Clinton administration, who has been calling for an investigation into the lab theory.
''Because so much of the argument against a possible lab incident origin of the pandemic depends on the word of Dr. Shi, proving her an unreliable source would essentially destroy the most significant argument that's been used to counter the lab incident."
Metzl noted that Shi's claim that there were no Chinese military experiments in the lab has also been contradicted by the State Department, which said last year that the lab ''has collaborated on publications and secret projects with China's military.''
Metzl is calling on the Biden administration to release the evidence used to make the assessments about the Chinese military and the three sick researchers.
Ken Dilanian Ken Dilanian is a correspondent covering intelligence and national security for the NBC News Investigative Unit.
Sun, 30 May 2021 12:00
discussion of drosten pcr test
Sat, 29 May 2021 08:38
Night mode>>'--title: The Fake PCR Test from Prof. Dr. Drostenlayout: reports'--
(Translation to English of a German language podcast from Corona-Transition on 2.12.2020)
BackgroundThe PCR Test Protocol developed by Germany's Prof. Christian Drosten is the basis for the global infection counts, lockdowns and political decisions. Now, a high-powered international research team has documented ten grave errors and hidden conflicts of interest arising in this test. These scientists are calling for the retraction of Prof. Drosten's scientific publication describing the test. This could have wide reaching consequences. Vlad and Arno discuss this in the 4th podcast episode from the
Translation of DiscussionSo here we are again, and this is already the 4th episode of the Corona Transition podcasts and we must connect again with Vlad Georgescu because Vlad wants to talk about Christian Drosten whose activities he has been busy following, not just yesterday but already for quite some time. Now something new and explosive has just happened.
Vlad: Hello, my mood is really good today, I am very optimistic.
Arno: That's hard to imagine when compared to the last time we talked.
Vlad: Yes, I am very optimistic that the career of Prof. Drosten is getting a massive dent, or perhaps it's finished, I don't know really.
Arno: You did a great amount of research and were yourself in Leipzig to read his doctoral thesis. Can you give us another small update on what has happened so far?
Vlad: Well I don't want to take credit myself but in this case would just refer to Dr. Markus K¼hbacher as one of the leading experts in Germany who specialises in science fraud. All we have done from the Corona Transition side is just to look for the doctoral thesis which for a very long time was not to be found in any library in Germany. Then at some point it appeared in the National German Library. I was then able to look at it in peace and quiet but what Dr. K¼hbacher did is to investigate very meticulously why this thesis paper was not previously listed or catalogued in any library.
Also the University of Frankfurt, the Goethe University, was more and more entangled in some kind of contradiction and, just so that you don't misunderstand this, it is not about someone claiming that Drosten should have done something different about the PCR test but onlyabout meeting the strict deadline every applicant has to meet for submitting a doctoral thesis.
The University of Frankfurt has claimed that everything was in order and the thesis submitted on time but the facts Dr. K¼hbacher discovered suggest something completely different. The University of Frankfurt said there was a revision certificate in the archives and one has to understand what this means. A revision certificate effectively says that everything was delivered correctly, so it is like a receipt for delivery. This was Frankfurt University's official position. But last week Dr. K¼hbacher proclaimed on Twitter that upon request to the University they have admitted that this certificate is not available. Naturally, that is a game changer, because in my opinion this means '... it suggests to me that the certificate to evidence the timely submission of the thesis does not exist at all. This would naturally have certain consequences; as you can imagine for example if you do not deliver something on time to an official body, like the Tax Authority. This is something which has to be taken seriously and it is the same rule for everybody. So what I am saying is that it is possible that Drosten's promotion (to doctor status) has been falsely approved.
Indeed, if he were not entitled to this doctor title then he could not be a professor. If this were sothen he would not be allowed to apply for third party funding and do what he has now done, so the legal implications would be huge. But Dr. K¼hbacher is taking care of this investigation and we very excited of course but just observers. At Corona Transition we only report on the hard facts, we are not speculating. But it remains exciting in any case.
Arno: This would have very serious consequences for him but now something else came out a few days ago and it is about the PCR test and this again has consequences worldwide.This test can be interpreted in many different ways and we have already written and reported a lot about it and I think that we will achieve little new. But now there is actually an international research team of very high-ranking doctors and scientists and they have had a concrete look at what the Drosten PCR test can and cannot do.
Vlad: Yes, and you really have to say that compared to the fuss about his doctorate this is actually the real bombshell. Why? Well, because so far there has only been isolated media reports, a few individual scientists very gently hinting that the PCR test possibly might not be running smoothly.There has been this discussion going on from the beginning, there were actually people who said that the PCR test leads to many false positive results. And we at Corona Transition have now also explicitly explained why this is so.
But now it is naturally a big difference if a medium like us writes and says that based on various scientific studies that prove this, or however when it is a truly international team composed together around Dr. Peter Borger and we now have names like Prof. Dr. Ulrike K¤mmerer from the university hospital of W¼rzburg, or Prof. Klaus Steger at the Justus Liebig University of GieŸen. There are professors from Japan, from Austria, from the UK and from Switzerland, from Italy and from Germany'.... and so when it also includes people from the USA and from the Netherlands this really is a very, very, top-class consortium. They did not just say that the test shows nothing, but they have explained exactly why and also made much harsher accusations, one of the most bitter accusations made against Prof. Drosten is that he failed to report conflicts of interest. This not only has a bitter taste but of course raises the question of whose payroll he is actually on and which interests he really pursues.
All this can be viewed online, it is very well summarised, very well scientifically supported and the quintessence is that they say that the method Drosten presented '...
Arno: '... you have to say that was in January when he presented a test of how to detect this virus without knowing the virus and without, so to speak, having had the virus under the microscope.
Vlad: OK you can say that he is a genius to get this Drosten-Corman study appearing in the Eurosurveillance journal on I think the twenty first of January, but this team of researchers said that it has such serious flaws in the development and the process that the publication should be withdrawn. You could excuse this by saying 'shit happens' but they just haven't kept up certain standards, and the consequences for the world public identified by the authors of the analysis were gigantic '... because you have to realise that all measures worldwide '... lockdowns '... all measures in Germany and Switzerland are actually based on the number of so-called 'new infections' and that is defined as a positive PCR test.
This means that a positive result signifies you are 'infected', you are a new 'case' of infection and because these case numbers have increased with the increase in testing, people have exclaimed; 'Oh god there is a dramatic increase'. So this drives the lockdown and all the measures we know.
But it goes even further than this. They have even said we must now allow the pharmaceutical industry to throw all regulations overboard and allow them to produce millions'... no billions '...of vaccine doses containing nano particles so that all mankind can be treated with a vaccine where you neither know the long-term risks nor the long-term effects nor anything at all, because this whole thing has only gone on for just a few months now. And all that is based on the worldwide PCR testing regime.
The authors say the second big mistake of this test is that there are no standards specified so Drosten and his cohorts actually did not even think it necessary to specify the right parameters. As an example, he should have said that the test must run for so many cycles, twenty or eighteen or ten for example in order to determine how many times these small fragment of virus have to be replicated before one can see if there really is something there or not. But he didn't do that and the consequence of this is that everybody is doing what they want with regard to number of cycles. Switzerland uses on average about forty cycles, Germany uses about thirty five to forty and this is all far too high because you actually know that anything over twenty cycles twenty-four cycles always leads to a false positive test.
Arno: I have even read that after sixty cycles red wine tests positive for Corona!
Vlad: Yes, (laughing) I cannot say if red wine has the corresponding gene but yes, naturally it follows from what you are saying '... after sixty cycles you will always find something. That's just one mistake with this test protocol.
We also have to consider exactly how we should think about this test but now we don't have to because what these scientist say is that the test is '... just no good'... and everything that results from this test, Prof. Drosten has to answer for. This will have far-reaching consequences for him'...
Arno: '... perhaps not immediately so I will listen to his podcast more often to see if he reacts in any way'... because actually he has to react to this '... there is really no other way out for him. He really manages to escape all conflicts and confrontations in a very nice and smooth way so I am curious to see which turn this will take.But Vlad, why now? Why ten months after the whole thing is running and why not before? Why did nobody before deal with the issue in this level of clarity?
Vlad: You have to just realise that this is a very complex procedure. You have to analyse this test step by step in the publication and look into it line by line, and that takes time so it seems to me that what's been done here is even quite fast really. You can imagine this knowing how long a team, say of five people working together, requires to solve some complex problem which has to be discussed in detail. The second point is that they are not working full time just investigating Prof. Drosten's test. So in all I find it quite brilliant that they have done this work so fast '... in a couple of months '... while being careful to identify everything which doesn't add up. If they had just started now we would probably not have seen this work for another ten months.
It is also difficult for him (Drosten) now because this group are all professionals so he can't say they are a bunch of fake news / conspiracy theorists, crackpots or laymen.
Arno: Who is this Peter Borger who leads the science team?
Vlad: Peter Borger, we have linked on our website so you can go through his research profile. He has worked at the university of Sydney in Australia and the university of Basel specialized in Medical Science. He's an expert of molecular biologist and gene expression, signal transduction. He has over seventy scientific articles in leading international journals including the New England Journal of Medicine '...that is the literary journal par excellence. So this is someone of who Drosten can't just easily dismiss as an inexperienced young kid. And from the others, complete silence.
Peter Borger, is also quite an interesting person for example if you look at the awards he's received e.g. the 2012 B¶hringer-Ingelheim Pneumology Award, the Swiss Society for Pneumology. That means he is not a nobody and you can't accuse him for being somehow hostile to pharma. And he is not on this for political reasons he is simply saying that the test protocol is worth nothing and therefore should be withdrawn.
Arno: And how will it go from here?
Vlad: My guess is that Drosten will be silent. He has already said that the PCR test is so good and about how well it is working. It is now difficult, so he's just going to ignore it, just like he has ignored all questions about his doctorate.
This is the man who stands as a kind of 'moral apostle' who tells us what to do, who says when you have a sore throat you must stay at home, and when you don't do that you are an evil person who is bringing your environment and your fellow men into mortal danger.
So this person does not feel like answering certain questions, namely, about his PCR test. At minimum a press conference should have happened by now, and he can organise that quite well and have 'uncle' (Jens) Spahn next to him, and (Lothar) Wieler from the RKI and reject point by point what this consortium has pointed out about his test.
But he does not do this and would not do so because he cannot do it. And he also could not do the same concerning the problem with his doctor thesis. Who else but himself could have said this in public and then shown the proof and said 'stay cool' this is all in order and this is how it was done, it was done on time etc. etc. But he doesn't do it, he lets the University of Frankfurt make a press release where they get entangled because one learns afterwards that everything they said was not true and so on and so on. So it is getting tight for him.
Arno: Yes, the pressure is getting greater?
Vlad: He can go bankrupt! Because there is this lawyer, Reiner Fuellmich. He sits in G¶ttingen and he is really an expert and a bit of a freak. He has something which many German lawyers do not have; namely he is allowed to practice law in the USA, and he is also doing that and has announced that he will sue for damages, among others, Professor Drosten in a class action lawsuit.
Arno: We have to say here that class actions only work in the USA and that this possibility doesn't exist in Germany or Europe. That's why it is so valuable or so special that he has a licence so he can organise and carry out these class actions.
Vlad: Exactly right, and he has announced that he will sue Professor Drosten and of course this outside study report comes at exactly the right time for him because now he really has something solid in his hand to argue with. He can say that Drosten must have known the problem, and the Federal government must have known the problem, I mean our federal government and the authorities of this country, the RKI (Robert Koch Institute), the licensing authorities etc etc and then at a regional (state) level the same again. They are not all Drosten clones, there are plenty of reasonable people sitting there but they all said nothing. Perhaps they had thought about what he had published as a researcher but theydidn't say anything.That means that from my point of view, I am not a lawyer, but the triggering factor in this chain of events was this test, and this study is something worth its weight in gold for lawyer Fuellmich because in every American court it will be relatively clear what the scientific facts are.
And he (Drosten) can't talk himself out of the legal consequences. We'll see, but interesting is what could theoretically happen '... and this is speculation '... if he is successfully sued in the USAwith people entitled to compensation for damages. Then there is a chance that he won't ever be a able to leave Germany again. There is no extradition agreement so Germany would certainly not extradite him but then he would ironically have the fate of ending up in quarantine so to speak.
Arno: So it remains exciting in any case and there will be a lot of things happening in the near future. This is really to be expected because there are several 'games changers' here which seem to be out on the table now. And therefore Vlad is in a good mood and yes, there is a bit of light for us at the end of the tunnel during these dark times.
Vlad: Yes but I still want to tell our readers, don't let anyone think I have become the optimist. Even if the rot is now so to speak stopping because the truth is coming to light, other dark clouds are already coming on us. One is now worried about the vaccines and their potential consequences so that is what really worries me.
To say again clearly I am really not against vaccines. I have also been through vaccinations but today this will not perhaps be the case anymore. But, I can only say that I will not be vaccinated because these vaccines have been developed just as solidly as the PCR test which means not at all.
Arno: Yes, we talked about this in the last-but-one-episode. And we got a glimpse of what a whistle blower from the pharmaceutical industry has reported about these new gene vaccines, about which one can say that they have not been tested nearly enough. So if you are concerned about this then please take a look now. Otherwise I have something funny to share, and it comes from Mr. Lauterbach.
Vlad: Yes, I won't say anything more and am looking forward to Mr. Lauterbach in any case.
Arno: Laughter is for simplicity's sake already included because actually it is stuck in my throat. Quote from Herr Lauterbach's interview (Scientist and politician of the SDP) ' to sounds of hilarious laughter playing in the background
'''... and all three have achieved first class results; an efficacy of 90 to 95% with three very good vaccines. These are real breakthroughs for medicine and every single person will be completely vaccinated, everything we receive we will can use.
Whether the first vaccinations in Germany can take place before Christmas '... I wouldn't bet on it, but if it is just shortly after that then this is very good for the race for the approval process started in the second week of December in the United States '... and it will get approval in Europe immediately after that.
And we can't post on a board here that everybody can get out of everything and that therefore we can all live together and go out and party etc . First of all, we don't know if those who are vaccinated can also get re-infected again and be infectious. We can't answer that at the moment and therefore can't go out to celebrate, but they are definitely much better protected if they get sick again. And will they pass it on to others but probably not get seriously ill themselves? We cannot yet go and celebrate.''
Interviewer: But does this mean that those who are vaccinated will still be subject to the same measures? Are they not free?
''No, they are not free, because we cannot at this point exclude that those who are vaccinated could pass on the disease to others. They could infect others.
So the consideration we need to show for each other here of course also applies to the vaccinated and that is exactly the same as we demands of the younger ones who themselves are not seriously ill, and rightly so.
So if we have vaccinated enough people that the virus will die out in Germany and the risk factor groups will all be well vaccinated, so it would be back to normal in the course of 2021 or possibly at the end of 2021.''
Arno: So that is all for today. You can listen to us again if you wish in a week from now.
Eurosurveillance | Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR
Sat, 29 May 2021 08:35
HomeEurosurveillanceVolume 25,Issue 3, 23/Jan/2020 Article Research Open Access
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Victor M Corman1, Olfert Landt2, Marco Kaiser3, Richard Molenkamp4, Adam Meijer5, Daniel KW Chu6, Tobias Bleicker1, Sebastian Br¼nink1, Julia Schneider1, Marie Luisa Schmidt1, Daphne GJC Mulders4, Bart L Haagmans4, Bas van der Veer5, Sharon van den Brink5, Lisa Wijsman5, Gabriel Goderski5, Jean-Louis Romette7, Joanna Ellis8, Maria Zambon8, Malik Peiris6, Herman Goossens9, Chantal Reusken5, Marion PG Koopmans4, Christian Drosten1 View Affiliations Hide Affiliations
Affiliations: 1Charit(C) '' Universit¤tsmedizin Berlin Institute of Virology, Berlin, Germany and German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF), Berlin, Germany 2Tib-Molbiol, Berlin, Germany 3GenExpress GmbH, Berlin, Germany* 4Department of Viroscience, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands 5National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, the Netherlands 6University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China 7Universite d Aix-Marseille, Marseille, France 8Public Health England, London, United Kingdom 9Department of Medical Microbiology, Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Institute, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium Correspondence: Christian Drosten christian.drosten
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Citation style for this article: Corman Victor M, Landt Olfert, Kaiser Marco, Molenkamp Richard, Meijer Adam, Chu Daniel KW, Bleicker Tobias, Br¼nink Sebastian, Schneider Julia, Schmidt Marie Luisa, Mulders Daphne GJC, Haagmans Bart L, van der Veer Bas, van den Brink Sharon, Wijsman Lisa, Goderski Gabriel, Romette Jean-Louis, Ellis Joanna, Zambon Maria, Peiris Malik, Goossens Herman, Reusken Chantal, Koopmans Marion PG, Drosten Christian .Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR.Euro Surveill. 2020;25(3):pii=2000045. Received : 21 Jan 2020; Accepted : 22 Jan 2020
Abstract Full-Text Figures & Tables References (22) Supplementary Material Metrics/Cited By Related Content Abstract BackgroundThe ongoing outbreak of the recently emerged novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) poses a challenge for public health laboratories as virus isolates are unavailable while there is growing evidence that the outbreak is more widespread than initially thought, and international spread through travellers does already occur.
AimWe aimed to develop and deploy robust diagnostic methodology for use in public health laboratory settings without having virus material available.
MethodsHere we present a validated diagnostic workflow for 2019-nCoV, its design relying on close genetic relatedness of 2019-nCoV with SARS coronavirus, making use of synthetic nucleic acid technology.
ResultsThe workflow reliably detects 2019-nCoV, and further discriminates 2019-nCoV from SARS-CoV. Through coordination between academic and public laboratories, we confirmed assay exclusivity based on 297 original clinical specimens containing a full spectrum of human respiratory viruses. Control material is made available through European Virus Archive '' Global (EVAg), a European Union infrastructure project.
ConclusionThe present study demonstrates the enormous response capacity achieved through coordination of academic and public laboratories in national and European research networks.
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Immune Passports
Louisiana adds vaccine status to digital driver's license app -- GCN
Sun, 30 May 2021 13:56
Louisiana adds vaccine status to digital driver's license app By GCN StaffMay 07, 2021Residents of Louisiana can now have an electronic version of their COVID-19 vaccination records added to their LA Wallet, the state's digital drivers' license app.
Launched in 2018, LA Wallet is a legal driver's license available to all Louisiana residents. It was jointly designed by the Office of Motor Vehicles, the State Police and the Department of Public Safety. It was developed for free by Louisiana software firm Envoc and is currently used by 670,000 state residents across 1.2 million devices.
The vaccination record on file with the Louisiana Department of Health can be easily added to the app, and recent COVID-19 test result status will soon be available. Residents who choose to use the LA Wallet app can share their COVID-19 status with others either visually or programmatically.
Adding the vaccination status to the app is free, so there are no barriers to adoption, according to the app website. It can be used not only by residents, but also by businesses, schools, sports events, entertainment and other venues to protect public health and ensure data privacy.
''The power and opportunity of LA Wallet come from its real-time connections to the documents of record of both the Louisiana Department of Public Safety for identity and status and now the Louisiana Department of Health for COVID-19 vaccination status and will be extended to recent COVID-19 test result status,'' state officials said. ''All of this carefully curated through HIPAA-compliant channels and permissively granted by each citizen wishing to participate.''
Louisiana is the first state to give residents digital access to their vaccination records in accordance with the SMART Health Cards Framework, a standard for sharing and verifying personal health information using open, interoperable and verifiable standards.
''This enhancement is about connecting people with their own personal health information in a simple, secure way,'' Gov. John Bel Edwards said. ''The LA Wallet app is free, safe, and private and people who use it are assured that their personal health information is well protected.''
People without access to smartphones can get printed copies of their vaccine records from their parish health unit or from any provider that administers vaccines and uses the LINKS system. Residents can also print their complete immunization record through MyIR.
About the Author
Connect with the GCN staff on Twitter @GCNtech.
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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signs law banning COVID-19 'vaccine passports' -
Sat, 29 May 2021 17:32
January 31, 2020
National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI |
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Chinese President Xi Jinping virtually visits patients who are being treated at the Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, China. Wuhan was the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. Photo by Xinhua News Agency/EPA-EFE
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A poll worker hands out a ballot with protective glovers during the special election for Maryland's 7th Congressional District to choose a successor to the late Rep. Elijah Cummings in Baltimore. Maryland postponed its primary election until June due to coronavirus pandemic but still held the special election to replace Cummings. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI |
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Sami Snow (C) reacts as friends pass by during a surprise drive-by bat mitzvah celebration for her in Potomac, Md.. The family held a small ceremony at the home with their rabbi officiating online followed by a surprise drive by celebration. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI |
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High school seniors stand in vehicles as their names are called during a drive-through graduation ceremony at Rockwood Summit High School in Fenton, Mo. Seniors have been out of school since March, unable to participate in prom, sports and traditional graduation ceremonies because of coronavirus concerns. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI |
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President Xi Jinping (C) and Premier Li Keqiang (R) sing the national anthem during the closing ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. After being postponed from March due to the coronavirus outbreak, the annual CPPCC parliamentary session closed in the capital with over 2,0000 delegates from across China in attendance. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI |
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Black Lives Matter protesters clash with New York Police Department officers as protests around the country continue over the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police amid the pandemic. Officer Derek Chauvin was arrested days after video circulated of him holding his knee to Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes before Floyd died. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI |
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greet people on the street and ask them to take part in the "Asians Are Not A Virus 2020" campaign in the Chinatown section of New York City. Due to the pandemic,
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From left to right, President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff hold a moment of silence at a candle-lighting ceremony on the South Portico of the White House for the 500,000 Americans who have died of COVID-19. Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/UPI |
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Bonnie Rybstein (L) and her husband, Jack Rybstein, both survivors of the Holocaust in their late 90s, sit together after they receive their first COVID-19 vaccines at a pop-up site for seniors including 60 Holocaust survivors in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI |
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Inslee administration to require vaccine passports in the workplace; to be enforced by business owners >> Publications >> Washington Policy Center
Sat, 29 May 2021 17:36
New COVID workplace restrictions, issued by Washington State Labor and Industries (L&I) late last Friday, May 21st, require employers to check employee vaccine documents before allowing relaxation of social distancing and mask requirements in the workplace.
The new state rules require an employer to confirm, and have employees prove their vaccine medical status. The process used to verify vaccination, and the medical status of the employee's vaccination record, including the employee medical information must be made available for L&I for inspection. Vaccination status can be collected in several ways, including daily checks, attestation from the employee and documentation from a health professional or state immunization information system.
Most troubling though, is the L&I rule that an employee badge or credential be marked to show vaccination status, a clear violation of medical privacy.
The rules also do not allow any medical, personal or religious exemptions.
By requiring a vaccine passport, the new L&I rules, place businesses and non-profit organizations in a difficult position. The rules require them to discriminate against people who may not be vaccinated for medical, religious or personal reasons.
This would have a similar harmful effect as the failed contact tracing rule that was tried by the state in mid-2020. Contract tracing was highly unpopular, failed to gain traction and state officials ultimately abandoned it.
Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), a company of scientists and engineers based in Pullman, has written to Governor Jay Inslee, asking him to repeal the L&I rules. SEL has already, voluntarily, been following CDC workplace guidelines and has required non-vaccinated employees to wear masks. SEL, however, is opposed to the mandatory collection of private medical information and the subsequent sharing of that information with state government officials and articulately voices what thousands of other business owners are now thinking after learning about these new rules.
The ability for employees to work unhindered is guaranteed under the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It states,
''No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.''
Certainly, a requirement that a business determine the vaccination status for every employee, and subsequently require masks for some and not others, abridges the rights of Washington residents and the businesses owners themselves.
This is not only a moral affront; it is an unnecessary overreach by the state. Requiring private Washington businesses to determine an employee's medical status based on government guidance is outrageous. Business owners should determine how they want to operate their own workplace safely.
The final, and frankly, disturbing suggestion from L&I to mark an employee identification with their vaccination status, creates a discriminatory class system for employees.
The safety of Washington residents is of course important but both residents and business owners have been sensible in their approach to the COVID-19 crisis and can obviously self-regulate to keep their businesses and our communities safe. Small business owners will continue to do voluntarily everything they need to do keep their guests and employees safe.
Other diseases, some that are more contagious than COVID-19, do not require proof of vaccination before an employee can work, unrestricted. Why should COVID-19 be the exception?
It is not the state's responsibility to make medical decisions for its residents and then restrict the freedom to work and conduct commerce based on those decisions.
The state should not be requiring businesses and organizations to determine employee's medical status and make people wear a special badge to enforce government rules before being allowed to conduct business without restrictions.
The state's L&I rules are a clear overreach of state government and should be repealed immediately.
Tennessee Hat Shop Blasted for Selling Nazi-Style Jewish Stars Proclaiming 'Not Vaccinated'
Sun, 30 May 2021 12:39
A Nashville, Tennessee store name hatWRKS has promoted its sale of a wearable yellow Star of David, a Nazi-era anti-Jewish emblem, bearing the words "NOT VACCINATED."
The store advertised the item in a now-deleted Instagram post showing the store's owner, Gigi Gaskins, smiling and wearing the star on her chest. The post mentioned that the stars cost $5.
Twitter users widely criticized the post as offensive, causing the store to respond via Instagram.
A seemingly deleted Instagram post allegedly posted by the Nashville, Tennessee shop hatWRKS shows its owner, Gigi Gaskins, wearing a yellow Nazi-era Star of David bearing the words "Not vaccinated." Instagram screenshotThe shop's stars emerged in the same week that Republican Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene made comparisons between the COVID-19 pandemic and the Holocaust. The Holocaust, which occurred from 1941 to 1945, involved Nazis killing roughly 6 million European Jews.
"Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi's forced Jewish people to wear a gold star," Greene tweeted on Tuesday. Greene has also compared face masks to the gold stars. Nazis forced Jews to wear the stars to stigmatize, humiliate, isolate and control them.
In an Instagram post published Friday afternoon, hatWRKS wrote, "people are so outraged by my post? But are you outraged with the tyranny the world is experiencing? if you don't understand what is happening , that is on you, not me."
"i pay much more respect to history by standing up with the fallen than offering silence & compliance. that is the worst crime," the post stated. "It was then & is now. i will deleted you disgust and hope you put it where it belongs."
The hatWRKS Instagram page contains numerous images opposing face-masks, Democratic President Joe Biden and COVID-19 vaccines. The page also contains a flagged image pushing a conspiracy theory that claims George Soros and Bill Gates helped create the COVID-19 pandemic for global financial benefit.
On Friday, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum published an open letter signed by 50 Holocaust survivors urging politicians to stop making comparisons between modern social conditions and the Holocaust.
"We also watch with great dismay a persistent and increasing tendency in American public life to invoke the Holocaust for the purpose of promoting another agenda," the letter said.
"It is deeply painful for us to see our personal history'--the systematic destruction of our families and communities and murder of six million Jewish men, women, and children'--exploited in this way," it continued. "What we survived should be remembered, studied, and learned from, but never misused."
Fellow Republicans criticized Greene for her Holocaust comparisons. Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney called Greene's comparisons "evil lunacy" and Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger called them an "absolute sickness."
"Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling," Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said in a statement.
Newsweek contacted hatWRKS for comment.
A Tennessee hat shop called hatWRKS has started selling yellow stars, similar to those Nazis used to publicly shame Jews during the Holocaust, The hop's stars proclaim, "not vaccinated." In this photo, Polish-born 84-year-old Sarah Montard one of the survivors of infamous Vel D'Hiv roundup shows her Birkenau prisoner identification tattoo as she wears the yellow Jewish star reading in French "Jew", on July 5, 2012 in Tremblay-sur-Mauldre, outside Paris. She survived the Holocaust. Mehdi Fedouach / AFP/Getty
The flip side to Bill Gates' charity billions | New Internationalist
Sat, 29 May 2021 08:51
1 April 2012
Microsoft's former CEO has made record-breaking donations to global health programmes '' but an investigation by Andrew Bowman reveals some unpleasant side-effects.
Last year, Bill Gates reminisced in theHuffington Post about his first trip to Africain 1993. 'I saw that many of the world's lifesaving,life-enhancing discoveries were notavailable in Africa,' he said. 'That was deeplyupsetting'... I became convinced that if scienceand technology were better applied to thechallenges of Africa, the tremendous potentialof the continent would be unleashed and peoplecould be healthier and fulfil their promise.'Having spent 18 years making as much moneyas possible with Microsoft (the computersoftware company he co-founded in 1975), in1994 Gates started giving it away.
Philanthropic funds are common among thesuper-rich in the US; they enable tax avoidanceprovided five per cent of net investment assets aregiven away annually. What quickly set Gates' fundapart was its orientation towards the poor '' ratherthan (C)lite culture or religion '' and its sheer size.
Bill Gates
Photo of Bill Gates: World Economic Forum Under a CC Licence
Targeting global health and US education,Gates' giving rapidly ballooned into thebillions. In 2006, his friend Warren Buffet (thebusiness magnate currently ranked the world'sthird richest person) pledged $31 billion incompany stock to the Bill and Melinda GatesFoundation. Combined with Gates' committedassets of over $30 billion, this made it arguablythe biggest philanthropic venture ever. Thatyear, its Global Development Programmeextended its activities to agriculture andeconomic development and, with projectsmultiplying, Gates began working full-timeon philanthropy in 2008.
In 2010, the Foundation gave $2.5 billionin grants '' 80 per cent to international projects.In total it has disbursed over $26 billion, most of it to global health. To put these figuresinto perspective: since 1914 the RockefellerFoundation has given $14 billion (adjustedto today's values). Only the US and Britishgovernments give more to global health today.The World Health Organization (WHO ),meanwhile, operates on less than $2 billion a year.
The Foundation's achievements areundoubtedly impressive. Through supportingvaccination programmes, for example, it claimsto have saved nearly six million lives. With richworld enthusiasm for foreign aid wavering, on26 January this year Gates committed a further$750 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,Tuberculosis and Malaria '' an organization heclaims saves 100,000 lives a month. Admirerscredit the Foundation with putting global healthback on world leaders' agendas and, throughGates' Giving Pledge initiative, encouragingseveral other US multi-billionaires to pledgetheir wealth to charity. What's not to like?
Accountable to whom?Philanthropy '' and particularly philanthropy onthis scale '' isn't a black-and-white issue though,and important questions have been raised aboutthe way the Foundation operates, and theimpact of its work.
The first question concerns accountability.While only around five per cent of theFoundation's annual global health fundinggoes directly to lobbying and advocacy, thismoney (over $100 million) talks loudly. Gatesfunds institutions ranging from US universitydepartments to major international developmentNGOs. The Foundation is the main player inseveral global health partnerships and one of the single largest donors to the WHO. Thisgives it considerable leverage in shaping healthpolicy priorities and intellectual norms.
Gregg Gonsalves, an experienced AIDSactivist and co-founder of the InternationalTreatment Preparedness Coalition, welcomes theFoundation's funding, but is concerned aboutits power. 'Depending on what side of bed Gatesgets out of in the morning,' he remarks, 'it canshift the terrain of global health.'
In 2010, the GatesFoundation gavein grants$2.5 billionThe World HealthOrganization,meanwhile,operates on lessthana year$2 billion
The Foundation's 26 strategies are reviewedannually, and although CEO Jeff Rakesstresses that it is making 'a systematic effort tolisten' to grantees, Gonsalves and others aresceptical: 'It's not a democracy. It's not evena constitutional monarchy. It's about whatBill and Melinda want. We depend on themlearning, and it's not as if there are many pointsof influence for this.'
'The Foundation is more than a collectionof grants and projects,' says Dr David McCoy, apublic health doctor and researcher at UniversityCollege London and an advisor to the People'sHealth Movement. 'Through its funding it alsooperates through an interconnected network oforganizations and individuals across academiaand the NGO and business sectors. This allowsit to leverage influence through a kind of''group-think'' in international health.' In 2008the WHO's head of malaria research, AarataKochi, accused a Gates Foundation 'cartel'of suppressing diversity of scientific opinion,claiming the organization was 'accountable tono-one other than itself'.
Seeking miraclesIn what direction, then, has the Foundationbeen pushing global health policy? WarrenBuffet once said of his approach to finance: 'Idon't look to jump over seven-foot bars. I lookaround for one-foot bars I can step over.' Gates asserts his philosophy of philanthropy to be theopposite: 'We should be looking around for theseven-foot bars; that's why we exist.'
This entails game-changing technologies,specifically vaccines '' 'a miracle because withthree doses you can prevent deadly diseases foran entire lifetime'. Just as a vaccine eliminatedsmallpox in the 20th century, science could,Gates hopes, do the same for AIDS, malariaand tuberculosis in the 21st. Research on newdrugs and vaccines has been the single largestdestination for his funds, receiving 36.5 percent of grants given between 1998 and 2007.
Through the public-private GAVI Alliance'' which Gates helped found a decade ago withan initial grant of $750 million and which aimsto increase access to immunization '' vaccinesfor Hepatitis B and the HiB bacteria have beenbrought into widespread use. GAVI's currentfocus is on new vaccines for pneumococcus androtavirus '' causes of pneumonia and diarrhoea'' which could, it suggests, save nearly 700,000lives by 2015.
Making greed good?Coupled with a belief in science and innovationis Gates' vision of 'creative capitalism'. Settingout his approach at the 2008 World EconomicForum in Davos, he said: 'There are two greatforces: self-interest and caring for others.' Toreconcile the two, the Foundation pursuespartnerships in which, guided by NGOs,academics and assorted 'stakeholders', donorfunds are used to overcome the 'market failures'which deny the poor access to medicine, bypaying pharmaceutical companies to sell theirproducts cheaper and pursue research projectsthey would otherwise ignore.
Through GAVI, the Foundation claimsto have lowered the costs of Hepatitis Binoculations by 68 per cent, and is supporting a$1.5 billion 'advanced market commitment' todevelop pneumococcal vaccines.
For supporters, it's a win-win: the poorget new medicines faster and cheaper; and, asthe Financial Times explains, it's a leg-up forpharmaceutical companies 'seeking to expandinto faster-growing, lower-income countrieswhere they need to charge less and co-operatemore' to share the risks of development.
The arrangements have, however, created concerns. As Tido von Schoen Angerer,Executive Director of the Access Campaignat M(C)decins Sans Fronti¨res, explains, 'TheFoundation wants the private sector to domore on global health, and sets up partnershipswith the private sector involved in governance.As these institutions are clearly also trying toinfluence policymaking, there are huge conflictsof interests... the companies should not play arole in setting the rules of the game.'
The GatesFoundation isone of the singlelargest donors tothe World HealthOrganization.This gives itconsiderableleverage inshaping healthpolicy priorities
The Foundation itself has employednumerous former Big Pharma figures,leading to accusations of industry bias. Manycampaigners see loosening intellectual propertylaws as a better way of increasing access tomedicines, both in lowering prices throughgeneric competition and in enabling innovationoutside patent-hoarding companies.
However, Microsoft lobbied vociferouslyfor the World Trade Organization's TRIPSagreement (the agreement on trade-relatedaspects of intellectual property), which obligesmember countries to defend patents for aminimum of 20 years after the filing date. Asrecently as 2007, Microsoft was lobbying theG8 to tighten global intellectual property (IP)protection, a move that would, Oxfam said,'worsen the health crisis in developing countries'.
Global access agreements '' to keep prices lowand share results '' are required for companiesreceiving Foundation money, von SchoenAngerer says, 'but could they go further?Definitely yes. In examples like GAVI, industrygets quite beneficial deals.' Gonsalves, himselfHIV positive, explains, 'I would be dead were itnot for the pharmaceutical industry. That said,a lot more people will be dead if we don't haverobust generic competition.'
The Gates' mettle will be tested aroundthe combustible issue of IP in middle-incomecountries. Big Pharma is sometimes willing torelax IP for the world's poorest nations, butrarely in emerging markets '' which still containmost of the world's poorest people.
Philanthro-capitalism vs democracy?Gates' philanthropy seeks not just to makebusinesses more charitable, but to make charitymore business-like. Dubbed 'philanthrocapitalism'or 'venture philanthropy', theapproach is based on NGOs competing for grants with their performance evaluated usingbusiness metrics.
According to Gates, 'our net effect shouldbe to save years of life for well under $100;so, if we waste even $500,000, we are wasting5,000 years of life.' Under these terms, thebest results are achieved through 'vertically'funded projects '' interventions targeted atspecific diseases or health problems, largelybypassing existing health systems. The pay-offsfrom 'horizontal' integration with public-healthsystems can, in contrast, be comparatively slowto materialize and hard to measure.
A study in the Lancet in 2009 showedonly 1.4 per cent of the Foundation's grantsbetween 1998 and 2007 went to public-sectororganizations, while of the 659 NGOs receivinggrants, only 37 were headquartered in low- ormiddle-income countries.
Depending onwhat side of bedGates gets out ofin the morning,it can shift theterrain of globalhealth
In many Majority World countries, statehealthcare was eviscerated by structuraladjustment programmes enforced by the WorldBank and International Monetary Fund, andby the continued loss of skilled personnel inglobalized labour markets. Now, says McCoy,NGOs have stepped into the breach but havealso created a 'fragmented ''patchwork quilt''landscape of healthcare provision' whichgovernments struggle to co-ordinate and alignto national priorities.
This has potentially serious implications. PollyClayden of i-Base, an HIV information andactivist organization, says, 'some of the researchGates funds is ill-advised, but if you had HIVand somebody was paying for your antiretroviraldrugs in a trial, perhaps you wouldn't really care[who provided it]. What you really want is forthose people to be treated.'
'However,' she warns, 'the problem issustainability. Donors are quite capricious:AIDS might be the priority one year, and thensuddenly they will go on to something else.'
Research by Devi Sridhar at OxfordUniversity warns that philanthropicinterventions are 'radically skewing publichealth programmes towards issues of thegreatest concern to wealthy donors'. 'Issues,'she writes, 'which are not necessarily toppriority for people in the recipient country.'
The situation is replicated at an internationallevel. With the rise of health partnerships, theproportion of global health funding channelledthrough the UN fell from 32 to 14 per centbetween 1990 and 2008, placing majorlimits on the possibility for poorer nations toinfluence international health policy. Althoughthe Gates Foundation provides considerablesupport to the WHO, the money is, as withmuch of the WHO's funding nowadays,earmarked for preconceived projects rather thanthe decisions of the World Health Assembly.
For critics, then, the way 'venturephilanthropy' focuses on measurable impact may obscure the less tangible, butequally important, goals of democracy andempowerment. As the philanthropy analystMichael Edwards has asked: 'Would philanthrocapitalismhave helped fund the civil rightsmovement in the US? I hope so, but it wasn't''data driven'', it didn't operate throughcompetition, it couldn't generate much revenue,and it didn't measure its impact in terms of thenumbers of people who were served each day.Yet it changed the world forever.'
The fruit or the trees?Mark Harrington, Director of the TreatmentAction Group, an AIDS advocacy thinktankwhich has received Foundation money in thepast, also feels that, ultimately, democraticallyaccountable governments should solve globalhealth problems, but that in the absence of theircommitment there is a need for pragmatism.
'Medical research and global health are bothpublic goods: the benefits accrue to everyone,even though only some people pay for them.Industry will only do it if they see return oninvestment; and philanthropists, well, it's betterGates doing this with his money than what theKoch brothers [funders of the rightwing TeaParty political movement in the US] are doingwith theirs. Do I think it's good that we live in aworld where some people have so much money?Not really, but I don't get to choose that. Wehave to work with the world the way it is.'
Appealing to themega-rich to bemore charitableis not a solutionto global healthproblems.This kind ofphilanthropyis either adistraction orpotentiallyharmful
McCoy insists, however, that it is importantto mount a challenge: 'Appealing to the megarichto be more charitable is not a solution toglobal health problems. We need a system thatdoes not create so many billionaires and, untilwe do that, this kind of philanthropy is eithera distraction or potentially harmful to the needfor systemic change to the political economy.'
Carlos Slim, the Mexican multi-billionairewho replaced Gates at the top the world's richlist(due to Gates' charity), likened philanthropyto owning an orchard: 'You have to give awaythe fruit, but not the trees.' He and Gatesare products of an economic system that hasproduced monopolies and redistributed wealthupwards for 30 years. Parallels may be drawnbetween the inequalities of today and theVictorian era, when health provision for thepoor depended on the largesse of the rich.Oscar Wilde observed of the philanthropists ofthat era: 'They seriously and very sentimentallyset themselves to the task of remedying the evilsthat they see in poverty, but their remedies donot cure the disease: they merely prolong it.'Then and now, as Wilde said, 'the proper aimis to try and reconstruct society on such a basisthat poverty will be impossible.'
This article is fromthe April 2012 issueof New Internationalist.You can access the entire archive of over 500 issues with a digital subscription.Subscribe today >>
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Covid-19: How independent were the US and British vaccine advisory committees? | The BMJ
Sat, 29 May 2021 17:52
News & ViewsCovid-19: How...Covid-19: How independent were the US and British vaccine advisory committees? Feature Conflicts of Interest BMJ 2021 ; 373 doi: (Published 26 May 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1283 Read our latest coverage of the coronavirus pandemic
Paul D Thacker , investigative journalist Madrid thackerpd{at} Follow Paul D Thacker on Twitter: @thackerpdExperts who sit on national vaccine advisory panels are asked to disclose any industry ties and other conflicts of interest. But Paul D Thacker finds that disclosure standards differ widely, often leaving the public in the dark
In the wake of lightning fast authorisations of covid-19 vaccines in the UK and the US, public health officials have worked hard to maintain confidence in these new products. British and American officials have emphasised the independence of the experts who authorise vaccines and those who issue advice on them. But an investigation by The BMJ has found that some of these experts have significant industry ties that government agencies do not always disclose.
We looked at experts sitting on the covid-19 authorisation committees at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as those on the UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises the government on vaccines. It was not possible to repeat the exercise with the UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which licenses medicines and gave temporary authorisation for covid-19 vaccines, because the MHRA and its adviser, the Commission on Human Medicines, make almost none of their meetings or documents public.1
Both the FDA and the UK government require panellists to disclose conflicts only from the previous 12 months, which can miss significant financial payments that occurred in recent years. We also found examples where panellists disclosed to committees their grants, patents, and other industry relationships in their publications, but it seems that the committees did not find these matters worth making public, and they remained undisclosed until now.
No conflicts registeredMost experts on the FDA and JCVI committees registered no conflicts of interest. From the JCVI's December meeting on 22 December 2020, the minutes report that 18 of 19 members had ''no registered conflicts of interest,'' a pattern repeated in its eight other minuted meetings. Among FDA experts who were not industry or consumer representatives, the agency reported that 20 of 21 voting members had no conflicts at the 10 December advisory committee, as well as the same or a similar proportion at other covid vaccine meetings.
Adriane Fugh-Berman, professor of pharmacology and physiology at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, is not surprised at this low level of declarations. ''Twelve months is too short. It's not going to give you a complete picture,'' she says. She adds that it's preferable for government bodies to rely on experts who have had no financial ties for several years previously. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, for example, calls for disclosure of relationships going back 36 months.
In some cases, an expert has made a disclosure but the committee has not deemed it a conflict. For example, in the case of the UK's JCVI, the chair of the covid-19 meeting is Wei Shen Lim, a professor at the Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, who JCVI says has ''no registered conflicts of interest.'' The same document, however, further states that Lim's ''institution has received unrestricted investigator-initiated research funding from Pfizer for a study in pneumonia in which Professor Lim is the chief investigator (non-vaccine related).'' And in a preprint published only months before the JCVI's December meeting, Lim reported this Pfizer grant.
Similar matters exist with Adam Finn, professor at Bristol University, UK, as the JCVI reports him as having ''no personal payments from manufacturers of vaccines'' but adds that he is a local principal investigator for the Oxford-AstraZeneca covid vaccine. In disclosures for the New England Journal of Medicine in 2020 and in a disclosure the same year to The BMJ, Finn reported a study grant from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). And in 2019 he published a study disclosing that his institution received funding from various drug companies and that he was president of a medical society whose annual meeting received sponsorship from vaccine manufacturers.2
For Maarten Postma of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, the matter is rather complex. The JCVI reports no conflicts for his work on the covid-19 guidance, while he discloses board membership for two scientific consultancies on his website. And in a 2018 paper published in JAMA Oncology Postma disclosed grants and honorariums from more than a dozen drug companies, including AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and GSK. He also disclosed grants and personal fees from various pharmaceutical industries and financial support from the flu vaccine company Seqirus in studies he had published in recent months.34
''I declare my conflicts of interest to JCVI in the field of vaccines,'' wrote Postma in an email to The BMJ. ''They are indeed aware of those in the field of vaccines. Outside vaccines, I am happy to declare, but I think we decided we felt these are not relevant.'' He also emailed The BMJ a list of his conflicts that JCVI reported for the main JCVI meeting, which was more expansive than what it reported for Postma for the covid meeting.
A spokesperson for Public Health England told The BMJ that for a single issue meeting of the JCVI such as for covid-19, conflicts of interest must be reported ''only if they relate directly to that matter, rather than more widely.''
Transparency problems increase with the UK's MHRA, which authorises vaccines after seeking advice from the Commission on Human Medicines, an independent expert scientific advisory body to government ministers. The commission does not make its advice public, publishes a scant record of meeting minutes, and has not disclosed its members' declarations of financial interest since 2018.
Seeking the full pictureIn the US, outside experts advise the FDA on whether to approve or authorise products. Only two members were reported to have conflicts of interest among several covid authorisation panels that met in late 2020. But The BMJ found panellists who had significant financial matters by looking at the Open Payments disclosure website and examining panellists' published papers.
For example, Open Payments reported that Arnold Monto, professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and acting chair for the FDA's covid vaccine authorisation meetings, had received over $24'‰000 (£16'‰970; '‚¬19'‰650) in payments from drug companies in 2019. That same year, Open Payments reports that Myron Levine, a panellist from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, received about $30'‰000, mostly in consulting fees.
In 2019, Open Payments reports, Robert Schooley of the University of California at San Diego received over $25'‰000 in payments. It also reports that Ofer Levy at Boston Children's Hospital received $5500 in mostly travel expenses from GSK. And in a 2020 publication Levy disclosed that he was a named inventor on several patent applications related to vaccine adjuvants.
Ofer explained in an email that GSK was not a sponsor for either of the covid vaccine panels. He added that the pending adjuvant patents ''were revealed to FDA in my disclosures and these were appropriately deemed by FDA as irrelevant to the subject matter being considered.''
In another email an FDA spokesperson explained that all potential candidates were required to report detailed financial matters to evaluate possible conflicts of interest. The email advised, ''To protect the credibility and integrity of advisory committee advice, the FDA routinely screens members of all advisory committees carefully for potentially disqualifying interests or relationships and makes changes to committee meeting rosters as needed.''
However, a recent analysis by the Pink Sheet, an industry newsletter, found that the FDA had issued six conflict of interest waivers for experts who advised the agency on whether three oncology drugs should be withdrawn after failed clinical outcome studies.5 And a 2006 study published in JAMA found that conflict of interest disclosures were common at FDA advisory meetings but that they seldom resulted in recusals.6
The BMJ reviewed a blank copy of the FDA's disclosure form and found that, as in the case of the JCVI's disclosure policy, the FDA requires advisory members to disclose matters going back only 12 months.
Fugh-Berman says that these results reveal how confusing disclosure is and that common rules are needed. Few people realise that there's no common standard for what must be disclosed and how far back, she explains, nor that disclosure is a two step process. Experts disclose interests to an entity'--such as a journal, university, or government agency'--which then decides what to disclose to the public.
Fugh-Berman adds that she's sometimes disclosed her own conflicts to editors when writing op-eds for newspapers, for example, and the outlets didn't make them public. She says, ''There needs to be standardisation of what should be disclosed and how it should be disclosed.''
Joel Lexchin of York University in Toronto, who publishes research on conflicts of interest, says, ''Twelve months is really quite short. I think that's not acceptable.'' He also suggests that government agencies should publish everything that experts disclose to them, instead of picking and choosing what to make public. ''The best policy is disclose everything,'' he says. ''Second best, pretty far down, is to have clear rules about why certain things don't need to be disclosed.''
Schooley explains that the various time windows required by different disclosure policies can make it appear that an academic has reported financial interests in one case but not in another. More consistent disclosure policies are needed, he says'--and universities, agencies, and journals should come together to normalise standards.
''If all of this were harmonised, it would improve transparency and reduce the time required for all involved,'' he wrote to The BMJ. ''In the meantime, we can try to answer each request as best we can based on how we interpret each query.''
Lexchin agrees that a standardised, universal disclosure form would make compliance easier for people and help avoid confusion about which financial matters should be disclosed and what the institutions should make public. As he explains, ''People can legitimately follow whatever rules they encounter, but important things may get still get left out.''
NEJM editor had close ties with the FDA authorisation process when publishing covid-19 vaccine trialsThe BMJ's investigation into expert advisory committees for covid-19 vaccines has uncovered close ties between a leading medical journal and the FDA's authorisation process.
The editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), Eric Rubin, sat on the authorisation panels for and voted to recommend authorising the Pfizer,7 Moderna,8 and Johnson & Johnson9 covid-19 vaccines. After the panels authorised these vaccines, Pfizer10 and Moderna11 published their clinical trials in NEJM.
Janssen, maker of the ''one shot'' Johnson & Johnson vaccine, had published its interim results12 in NEJM on 13 January 2021, before seeking FDA authorisation.
Concentration of powerRubin declared no conflicts of interest to all three vaccine panels. Asked by The BMJ whether he recused himself from the decisions on the NEJM submissions, he said, ''Overall, we consider the deep involvement of editors in the medical and research communities to be a strength, not a problem.''
But this is ''a concentration of power that should be questioned and debated,'' says Charles Mehlman, a surgeon at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center who has published several studies on journal editors13 and conflicts of interest.14
Joel Lexchin, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, says that a researcher's involvement in a project that later gets published in a journal where they are editor is sometimes unavoidable. But he adds that Rubin should have recused himself from the FDA panels if he had an inkling that the companies would later publish their results in NEJM. Lexchin explains, ''By publishing, the journal stands to benefit in a number of ways: the impact factor of the journal might go up, or this type of high profile study might allow them to charge more for ads in the journal.''
Mehlman agrees that Rubin should have considered removing himself from the FDA process, and he points to research showing that physicians rarely think that they have a conflict of interest, while their colleagues often do.15 ''People should have the common sense of knowing when to step away,'' he says.
Lisa Cosgrove, professor at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, also studies conflicts of interest and found Rubin's overlapping of roles troubling. When asked whether she would vote to authorise a product knowing that the company might later publish the clinical trial in a journal that she ran, she said, ''Of course not. The obvious thing is that with this study everyone is going to read it, and it helps with their brand.''
Mixed viewsThe BMJ contacted several other journal editors and experts on conflicts of interest who gave a mixed review of the issue. One said that Rubin should have stepped aside from the FDA panel, while others saw no problem with his voting on the vaccine authorisation, as he had no financial conflict himself.
''I can't get worked up about this,'' says Jerome Kassirer, a distinguished professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. Kassirer spent a decade as editor of NEJM in the 1990s and has criticised corporate financial influence in medicine. ''It represents a concentration of power, but I don't get aggravated about this,'' he says. ''I would be deeply concerned about any direct financial interests.''
Fiona Godlee, editor in chief of The BMJ, says that she is most concerned about the concentration of power and lack of independent scrutiny, with Rubin being involved in both the regulatory and publication decisions for the vaccines. She says, ''We don't know whether Eric recused himself from the decision to publish, which would have been most important to do for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine trials since these came to the journal after he had been part of their authorisation process.''
In a statement to The BMJ, Rubin confirmed that he had no direct financial interests in the vaccines and had even declined the FDA stipend to attend the advisory meetings. ''Our editors are active clinicians, and almost all are actively involved in research,'' he wrote. ''They are experts in their fields and serve important roles as members of advisory boards and data and safety monitoring boards.''
He added that NEJM maintained a strict separation between business and editorial, so that he and other editors could not be influenced by the financial implications of reprints or advertising sales.
''That does mean that there are occasional non-financial conflicts, and editors are recused from discussions of some submissions because of their relationships with specific authors and studies,'' he added. ''Overall, we consider the deep involvement of editors in the medical and research communities to be a strength, not a problem.''
FootnotesCompeting interests: I am paid by various media outlets for journalism stories and consult part time for a non-profit institute focused on brain disorders. I run a newsletter called the Disinformation Chronicle.
Provenance and peer review: Commissioned, not externally peer reviewed.
This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ's website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.
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The Cover-Up Continues: The Truth About Bill Gates, Microsoft, and Jeffrey Epstein -
Sun, 30 May 2021 11:25
In early May, the announcement that Bill and Melinda Gates would be divorcing after twenty-seven years of marriage shocked both those that praise and those that loathe the ''philanthropic'' power couple.
Less than a week after the initial announcement of the divorce, on May 7, the Daily Beast reported that Melinda Gates had allegedly been ''deeply troubled'' by Bill Gates's relationship with child sex trafficker and intelligence asset Jeffrey Epstein. The report suggested that Melinda was a major reason for her husband's decision to distance himself from Epstein around 2014 because of her discomfort with Epstein after they both met him in 2013. That previously unreported meeting had taken place at Epstein's mansion on New York's Upper East Side.
The Daily Beast also revealed that the details of the Gates's divorce had been decided several weeks prior to the official announcement. Then, on May 9, the Wall Street Journal published a report suggesting that the plans for divorce went back even farther, with Melinda having consulted divorce lawyers in 2019. Allegedly, that consultation was made after details of Bill Gates's relationship with Jeffrey Epstein had gained considerable mainstream media attention, including from the New York Times.
While mainstream media outlets apparently agree that Jeffrey Epstein was a likely factor in the Gates's recently announced split up, what these same outlets refuse to cover is the real extent of the Bill Gates''Jeffrey Epstein relationship. Indeed, the mainstream narrative holds that Gates's ties to Epstein began in 2011, despite the evidence pointing to their relationship beginning decades earlier.
This blanket refusal to honestly report on the Gates-Epstein ties likely is due to Gates's outsized role in current events, both in terms of global health policy as it relates to COVID-19 and in his being a major promoter and funder of controversial technocratic ''solutions'' to a slew of societal problems. What is more likely, however, is that the nature of the relationship between Gates and Epstein before 2011 is even more scandalous than what transpired later, and it may have major implications not just for Gates but for Microsoft as a company and for some of its former top executives.
This particular cover-up is part of an obvious tendency of mainstream media to ignore the clear influence that both Epstein and members of the Maxwell family wielded'--and, arguably, continue to wield'--in Silicon Valley. Indeed, the individuals who founded tech giants such as Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft, Tesla, and Amazon all have connections with Jeffrey Epstein, some closer than others.
This investigation is adapted from my upcoming book One Nation Under Blackmail, which will be released early next year and will include a more complete investigation into Epstein's ties to Silicon Valley, scientific academia, and intelligence agencies.
The Evening Standard MysteryIn 2001, perhaps the most important article ever written about Jeffrey Epstein was published. The article, which focused mainly on Ghislaine Maxwell's and Epstein's relationship with Prince Andrew, was published on January 22, 2001, in London's Evening Standard. The article, written by Nigel Rosser, was never retracted and was published well before Epstein's first arrest and the onset of his public notoriety. It has, nevertheless, since been removed from the Evening Standard's website and can now only be found on professional newspaper databases. I made a PDF of that article and several other scrubbed Epstein-related articles publicly available in October 2019.
Key statements made in the article make it clear why it was removed from the internet, apparently in the wake of Epstein's first arrest in Florida. Rosser introduces Epstein as ''an immensely powerful New York property developer and financier,'' a nod to Epstein's past in the New York real estate market. Later in the article, he notes that Epstein ''once claimed to have worked for the CIA although he now denies it,'' one of several likely reasons why the article was removed from the internet well before Epstein's second arrest in 2019.
Much of the article notes the closeness of Epstein and Maxwell to Prince Andrew and suggests that both wielded considerable influence over the prince, largely due to Maxwell's role as his ''social fixer.'' It states that Maxwell was ''manipulating'' the prince and that ''the whole Andrew thing is probably being done for Epstein.''
One line stands out, however, as the first major clue toward demystifying the true origin the of the Gates-Epstein relationship. Soon after Rosser introduces Epstein in the article, he states that Epstein ''has made many millions out of his business links with the likes of Bill Gates, Donald Trump and Ohio billionaire Leslie Wexner, whose trust he runs.''
Both Wexner's and Trump's relationships with Epstein prior to 2001 are well known and date back to 1985 and 1987, respectively. Mainstream media, however, continue to report that Gates and Epstein first met in 2011 and have declined to follow the leads laid out by Nigel Rosser. I am personally aware of this withholding of information to a degree as a BBC reporter contacted me in 2019 for details about this 2001 Evening Standard article, which I provided. To date, the BBC has never reported on the contents of that article. Notably, the BBC has received millions in funding for years from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Not only was Rosser's article never retracted, but neither Gates, Trump, nor Wexner disputed the claims made in the article at the time, which was well before Epstein became notorious. In addition, given that Gates is named alongside two known close Epstein associates at the time'--Donald Trump and Leslie Wexner'--it further suggests that Gates's ties to Epstein prior to 2001 were considerable enough to warrant his mention alongside these two other men.
In addition to the Evening Standard article, there is evidence from Maria Farmer, an Epstein victim who was employed by Epstein and Maxwell from 1995 to 1996, that she recalled hearing Epstein mention Bill Gates in such a way as to imply they were close friends and which gave her the impression that the Microsoft cofounder might soon be visiting one of Epstein's residences.
Microsoft, McKinley, and Isabel MaxwellBeyond these two key pieces of evidence, there is also the fact that, prior to the Evening Standard article, Gates already had a documented connection to a business run by Ghislaine Maxwell's sisters in which Ghislaine had a financial stake, which may offer a clue as to the nature of the ''business links'' alluded to by Nigel Rosser. Furthermore, the odd nature of Gates's relationship with Isabel Maxwell, who has ties to the PROMIS software espionage scandal and to Israeli intelligence, is documented in a 2000 article from the Guardian.
Twin sisters Christine and Isabel Maxwell, along with their husbands at the time, created the McKinley Group in January 1992. Christine and Isabel had both previously worked for the front company Information on Demand used by their father Robert Maxwell to sell the backdoored PROMIS software to the US government. After Robert Maxwell's death, Christine and Isabel ''wanted to circle the wagons and rebuild'' and saw McKinley as ''a chance to recreate a bit of their father's legacy.''
The McKinley Group, however, was not just a venture of Isabel, Christine, and their husbands, as Ghislaine Maxwell also had ''a substantial interest'' in the company, according to a Sunday Times article published in November 2000. That same article also noted that Ghislaine, throughout the 1990s, had ''been discreetly building up a business empire as opaque as her father's'' and that ''she is secretive to the point of paranoia and her business affairs are deeply mysterious.'' She chose to describe ''herself as an 'internet operator''' during this period, even though ''her office in Manhattan refuses to confirm even the name or the nature of her business.''
Ghislaine Maxwell posing with her siblings, including twin sisters Isabel and Christine in 2019 in London.Another article, appearing in The Scotsman from 2001, separately notes that Ghislaine ''is extremely secretive about her affairs and describes herself as an internet operator.'' It is unclear how involved Ghislaine actually was in the McKinley Group's affairs. However, during this period, she was operating an intelligence-linked sexual-blackmail operation with Jeffrey Epstein, and there was considerable overlap of their finances, as noted in press reports from the time and afterward.
McKinley created what became known as the Magellan Internet Directory, remembered as ''the first site to publish lengthy reviews and ratings of websites.'' Magellan's ''value-added content'' approach attracted several large corporations, resulting in ''major alliances'' with AT&T, Time-Warner, IBM, Netcom, and the Microsoft Network (MSN) that were all negotiated by Isabel Maxwell. Microsoft's major alliance with McKinley came in late 1995, when Microsoft announced that Magellan would power the search option for the company's MSN service.
McKinley's fortunes fell, as its effort to become the first search engine to go public failed, igniting a stand-off between Christine Maxwell and Isabel's then husband that also resulted in the company essentially falling behind other market leaders. As a result, McKinley missed the window for a second IPO attempt and continued to lag behind in adding ad revenue to their business model. Excite, which was later acquired by AskJeeves, ultimately bought the McKinley Group and Magellan for 1.2 million shares of Excite in 1996, which was then valued at $18 million. It was said that it was Isabel Maxwell who made the deal possible, with Excite's CEO at the time, George Bell, claiming she alone salvaged their purchase of McKinley.
Despite McKinley's lackluster end, the Maxwell twins and other stakeholders in the company, Ghislaine Maxwell among them, not only obtained a multimillion-dollar payout from the deal but also forged close connections with Silicon Valley high rollers. It is unclear if the money Ghislaine received from the sale was used to further the sexual blackmail operation she was then conducting alongside Jeffrey Epstein.
After the sale of McKinley/Magellan, the overt ties of Christine and Isabel Maxwell to intelligence in both the US and Israel grew considerably. Isabel's ties to Microsoft also persisted following the sale of the McKinley Group. She became president of the Israeli tech company CommTouch, whose funding was linked to individuals and groups involved in the Jonathan Pollard nuclear spying affair. CommTouch, an ''obscure software developer'' founded in 1991 by former Israeli military officers, focused on ''selling, maintaining and servicing stand-alone email client software products for mainframe and personal computers.'' The company specifically courted Isabel because she was the daughter of Israeli ''super-spy'' Robert Maxwell. Isabel had similar reasons for joining the company, telling Haaretz that leading the company gave her ''a chance to continue her father's involvement in Israel.''
Of all the alliances and partnerships Isabel negotiated during her early years at CommTouch, it was her dealings with Microsoft cofounders Bill Gates and Paul Allen that put CommTouch ''on the map.'' Microsoft's cofounders did much more than put CommTouch ''on the map,'' however, as they essentially intervened to prevent the collapse of its initial public offering, a fate that had befallen Isabel Maxwell's previous company, the McKinley Group, not long before. Indeed, CommTouch kept pushing back its IPO until a massive investment from firms tied to Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen was announced in July 1999.
The investments from Allen's Vulcan and Go2Net resulted in a jump in ''interest in the stock sale and in CommTouch, until now an obscure software developer,'' according to a Bloomberg report, and also inflated their stock price immediately prior to their going public. The money from the Allen-linked companies was specifically used ''to expand sales and marketing and build its presence in international markets.'' Allen's decision to invest in CommTouch seems odd from a financial perspective, given that the company had never turned a profit and had over $4 million in losses just the year before. Yet, thanks to Allen's timely investment and his apparent coordination with the company's repeated delays of its IPO, CommTouch was valued at over $230 million when it went public, as opposed to a $150 million valuation just weeks before Allen's investment.
Paul Allen and Nicole Junkermann at Cinema Against AIDS Cannes in Cannes, France. Source: Vocal MediaIt is not exactly clear why Paul Allen came to the rescue of CommTouch's IPO and what he expected to gain from his investment. It is worth pointing out, however, that Allen later became among the members of an elite online community set up in 2004 called A Small World, whose membership also included Jeffrey Epstein and Epstein-linked figures such as Lynn Forester de Rothschild and Naomi Campbell, as well as Petrina Khashoggi, the daughter of Adnan Khashoggi, a former client of Epstein's. A Small World's largest shareholder was Harvey Weinstein, the now-disgraced media mogul who was a business partner of Epstein and who has since been convicted of rape and sexual abuse. Around this same time, Paul Allen was photographed with Epstein associate Nicole Junkermann, herself an intelligence asset.
Less than three months after Allen's investments in CommTouch in October 1999, the company announced that it had struck a major deal with Microsoft whereby ''Microsoft will utilize the CommTouch Custom MailTM service to provide private label web-based email solutions for select MSN partners and international markets.'' In addition, per the agreement, ''CommTouch will provide MSN Messenger Service and Microsoft Passport to its customers while building upon its Windows NT expertise by supporting future MSN messaging technologies.'' ''We are looking forward to further enhancing our relationship with Microsoft by integrating other state-of-the-art Microsoft products,'' Gideon Mantel of CommTouch said at the time of the deal's public announcement.
In December 1999, Microsoft announced that it had invested $20 million in CommTouch by purchasing 4.7 percent of its shares. The announcement pushed CommTouch stock prices from $11.63 a share to $49.13 in just a few hours' time. Part of that deal had been finalized by Richard Sorkin, a recently appointed CommTouch director. Sorkin had just become a multimillionaire following the sale of Zip2, Elon Musk's first company of which Sorkin had been CEO.
It further appears that Bill Gates, then head of Microsoft, made a personal investment in CommTouch at the behest of Isabel Maxwell. In an October 2000 article published in the Guardian, Isabel ''jokes about persuading Bill Gates to make a personal investment'' in CommTouch sometime during this period.
The Guardian article then oddly notes, regarding Isabel Maxwell and Bill Gates:
''In a faux southern belle accent, [Isabel] purrs: 'He's got to spend $375m a year to keep his tax-free status, why not allow me to help him.' She explodes with laughter.''
Given that individuals as wealthy as Gates cannot have ''tax-free status'' and that this article was published soon after the creation of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Isabel's statements suggest that it was the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, which manages the foundation's endowment assets, that made this sizable investment in CommTouch.
Furthermore, it is worth highlighting the odd way in which Isabel describes her dealings with Gates (''purring,'' speaking in a fake Southern accent), describing her interactions with him in a way not found in any of her numerous other interviews on a wide variety of topics. This odd behavior may be related to Isabel's previous interactions with Gates and/or the mysterious relationship between Gates and Epstein during this time.
Isabel Maxwell as CommTouch PresidentAfter 2000, CommTouch's business and clout expanded rapidly, with Isabel Maxwell subsequently crediting investments from Microsoft, led by Gates, and Paul Allen for the company's good fortune and the success of its effort to enter the US market. Maxwell, as quoted in the 2002 book Fastalliances, states that Microsoft viewed CommTouch as a key ''distribution network,'' adding that ''Microsoft's investment in us put us on the map. It gave us instant credibility, validated our technology and service in the marketplace.'' By this time, Microsoft's ties to CommTouch had deepened with new partnerships, including CommTouch's hosting of Microsoft Exchange.
Though Isabel Maxwell was able to secure lucrative investments and alliances for CommTouch and saw its products integrated into key software and hardware components produced and sold by Microsoft and other tech giants, she was unable to improve the company's dire financial situation, with CommTouch netting a loss of $4.4 million in 1998 and similar losses well into the 2000s, with net losses totalling $24 million in 2000 (just one year after the sizable investments from Microsoft, Paul Allen and Gates). The losses continued even after Isabel formally left the company and became president emeritus in 2001. By 2006, the company was over $170 million in debt. Isabel Maxwell left her position at CommTouch in 2001 but for years retained a sizable amount of CommTouch stock valued at the time at around $9.5 million. Today, Isabel Maxwell is, among other things, a ''technology pioneer'' of the World Economic Forum.
Epstein, Edge, and Nathan MyhrvoldAnother indication of a relationship between Epstein and Gates prior to 2001 is Epstein's cozy ties with Nathan Myhrvold, who joined Microsoft in the 1980s and became the company's first chief technology officer in 1996. At the time, Myhrvold was one of Gates's closest advisers, if not the closest, and cowrote Gates's 1996 book, The Road Ahead, which sought to explain how emerging technologies would impact life in the years and decades to come.
In December of the same year that he became Microsoft's CTO, Myhrvold traveled on Epstein's plane from Kentucky to New Jersey, and then again in January 1997 from New Jersey to Florida. Other passengers accompanying Myhrvold on these flights included Alan Dershowitz and ''GM,'' presumably Ghislaine Maxwell. It is worth keeping in mind that this is the same period when Gates had a documented relationship with Ghislaine's sister Isabel.
In addition, in the 1990s, Myhrvold traveled with Epstein in Russia alongside Esther Dyson, a digital technology consultant who has been called ''the most influential woman in all the computer world.'' She currently has close ties to Google as well as the DNA testing company 23andme and is a member of and agenda contributor to the World Economic Forum. Dyson later stated that the meeting with Epstein had been planned by Myhrvold. The meeting appears to have taken place in 1998, based on information posted on Dyson's social media accounts. One photo features Dyson and Epstein, with a time stamp indicating April 28, 1998, posing with Pavel Oleynikov, who appears to have been an employee of the Russian Federal Nuclear Center. In that photo, they are standing in front of the house of the late Andrei Sakharov, the Soviet nuclear scientist and dissident, who is alleged to have had ties to US intelligence. Sakharov and his wife, Yelena Bonner, were supporters of Zionist causes.
The photos were taken in Sarov, where the Russian Federal Nuclear Center is based. That same day, another photo was taken that shows Epstein inside a classroom full of teens, apparently also in Sarov, given the time stamp.
Another Dyson image, one without a visible time stamp but with a caption stating the photo was taken ''at Microsoft Russia in Moscow'' in April 1998, shows Nathan Myhrvold. Dyson's caption further states, ''This was the beginning of a three-week trip during which Nathan and a variety of hangers-on (including a bodyguard) explored the state of post-Soviet science.'' Epstein appears to be one of the ''hangers-on,'' given the photographs, dates, and the described purpose of the trip.
Myhrvold and Epstein apparently had more in common than an interest in Russian scientific advances. When Myhrvold left Microsoft to cofound Intellectual Ventures, Vanity Fair reported that he had received Epstein at the firm's office with ''young girls'' in tow who appeared to be ''Russian models.'' A source close to Myhrvold and cited by Vanity Fair claimed that Myhrvold spoke openly about borrowing Epstein's jet and staying at his homes in Florida and New York. Vanity Fair also noted that Myhrvold has been accused of having sex with minors provided by Epstein by none other than Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who stands accused of the same crime and who had previously flown with Myhrvold on Epstein's private plane.
In addition, a former colleague of Myhrvold's at Microsoft later developed her own ties to Epstein. Linda Stone, who joined Microsoft in 1993 and worked directly under Myhrvold, eventually became a Microsoft vice president. She introduced Epstein to Joi Ito of the MIT Media Lab after Epstein's first arrest. ''He has a tainted past, but Linda assures me that he's awesome,'' Ito later said in an email to three MIT staffers. In Epstein's famous little black book, there are several phone numbers for Stone, and her emergency contact is listed as Kelly Bovino, a former model and alleged Epstein coconspirator. After Epstein's 2019 arrest, it emerged that Epstein had ''directed'' Bill Gates to donate $2 million to the MIT lab in 2014. Epstein also allegedly secured a $5 million donation from Leon Black for the lab. Ito was forced to resign his post as the lab's director shortly after Epstein's 2019 arrest.
Nathan Myhrvold, Linda Stone, Joi Ito, Esther Dyson, and Bill Gates were all members of the Edge Foundation community ( website), alongside several other Silicon Valley icons. Edge, which is described as an exclusive organization of intellectuals ''redefining who and what we are,'' was created by John Brockman, a self-described ''cultural impresario'' and noted literary agent. Brockman is best known for his deep ties to the art world in the late 1960s, though lesser known are his various ''management consulting'' gigs for the Pentagon and White House during that same period. Edge, which the Guardian once called ''the world's smartest website,'' is an exclusive online symposium affiliated with what Brockman calls ''the Third Culture.'' Epstein appears to have become involved with Brockman as early as 1995, when he helped to finance and rescue a struggling book project that was managed by Brockman.
Edge, however, is more than just a website. For decades, it was also instrumental in bringing together tech executives, scientists who were often Brockman's clients, and Wall Street financiers through its Millionaires' Dinner, first held in 1985. In 1999, this event rebranded as the Billionaires' Dinner, and Epstein became intimately involved in these affairs and the Edge Foundation itself. Epstein was photographed attending several of the dinners as was Sarah Kellen, Ghislaine Maxwell's chief ''assistant'' and coconspirator in the Epstein/Maxwell-run sex trafficking and blackmail scheme.
Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft and Jeffrey Epstein at the 2000 Edge Billionaires' Dinner Source: 2001 to 2017, Epstein funded $638,000 out of a total of $857,000 raised by Edge. During this period, there were several years when Epstein was Edge's only donor. Epstein stopped giving in 2015, which was incidentally the same year that Edge decided to discontinue its annual Billionaires' Dinner tradition. In addition, the only award Edge has ever given out, the $100,000 Edge of Computation prize, was awarded in 2005 to Quantum computing pioneer David Deutsch'--it was funded entirely by Epstein. A year before he began donating heavily to Edge, Epstein had created the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation to ''fund and support cutting edge science around the world.''
Since the Epstein scandal, regular attendees of the Billionaires' Dinner, sometimes called the Edge annual dinner, have referred to the event as an ''influence operation.'' If one follows the money, it appears it was an influence operation largely benefitting one man, Jeffrey Epstein, and his network. The evidence points toward Myhrvold and Gates as being very much a part of that network, even before Epstein's involvement in Edge increased significantly.
A Tale of Two BillsIt is worth exploring the ties between the ''philanthropic'' endeavors of Bill Gates and Bill Clinton in the early 2000s, particularly given Epstein's and Ghislaine Maxwell's ties to the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative during that period. According to former Israeli intelligence operative Ari Ben-Menashe, Bill Clinton had been the main focus of Epstein's sexual blackmail operation in the 1990s, a claim supported by Epstein victim testimony and Epstein's intimate involvement with individuals who were close to the former president at the time.
Bill Gates at the White House Conference on the New Economy in 2000 Source: LA TimesDespite tensions arising from the Clinton administration's pursuit of Microsoft's monopoly in the late 1990s, the Gates and Clinton relationship had thawed by April 2000, when Gates attended the White House ''Conference on the New Economy.'' Attendees besides Gates included close Epstein associate Lynn Forester (now Lady de Rothschild) and then secretary of the treasury Larry Summers, who has also come under fire for his Epstein ties. Another attendee was White House chief of staff Thomas ''Mack'' McLarty, whose special assistant Mark Middleton met with Epstein at least three times at the Clinton White House. Middleton was fired after press reports surfaced detailing his ties to illegal donations linked to foreign governments that had been made to Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign. Another participant in the conference was Janet Yellen, Biden's current Secretary of the Treasury.
Gates spoke at a conference panel entitled ''Closing the Global Divide: Health, Education and Technology.'' He discussed how the mapping of the human genome would result in a new era of technological breakthroughs and discussed the need to offer internet access to everyone to close the digital divide and allow the ''new'' internet-based economy to take shape. At the time, Gates was backing a company, along with American Telecom billionaire Craig McCaw, that hoped to establish a global internet service provider monopoly through a network of low-orbit satellites. That company, Teledesic, shut down between 2002 and 2003 and is credited as being the inspiration for Elon Musk's Starlink.
Bill Clinton and Bill Gates entered the world of philanthropy around the same time, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launching in 2000 and the Clinton Foundation, in 2001. Not only that but Wired described the two foundations as being ''at the forefront of a new era in philanthropy, in which decisions'--often referred to as investments'--are made with the strategic precision demanded of business and government, then painstakingly tracked to gauge their success.''
Other media outlets, however, such as the Huffington Post, challenged that these foundations engaged in ''philanthropy'' and asserted that calling them such was causing ''the rapid deconstruction of the accepted term.'' The Huffington Post further noted that the Clinton Global Initiative (part of the Clinton Foundation), the Gates Foundation, and a few similar organizations ''all point in the direction of blurring the boundaries between philanthropy, business and non-profits.'' It noted that this model for ''philanthropy'' has been promoted by the World Economic Forum and the Milken Institute. It is also worth noting that several of Epstein's own ''philanthropic'' vehicles were also created just as this new era in philanthropy was beginning.
The Milken Institute was founded by Michael Milken, the notorious Wall Street ''junk bond king,'' who was indicted on 98 counts of racketeering and securities fraud in 1989. He served little prison time and was ultimately pardoned by Donald Trump. Milken committed his crimes while working alongside Leon Black and Ron Perelman at Drexel Burnham Lambert before its scandalous collapse. Black was deeply tied to Epstein, even having Epstein manage his personal ''philanthropic'' foundation for several years, even after Epstein's first arrest. Perelman was a major Clinton donor whose 1995 fundraiser for the then president was attended by Epstein and whose companies offered jobs to Webster Hubbell and Monica Lewinsky after their respective scandals in the Clinton administration. Like Gates, Milken has transformed his reputation for ruthlessness in the corporate world into one of a ''prominent philanthropist.'' Much of his ''philanthropy'' benefits the Israeli military and illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine.
Years after creating their foundations, Gates and Clinton discussed how they have ''long bonded over their shared mission'' of normalizing this new model of philanthropy. Gates spoke to Wired in 2013 about ''their forays into developing regions'' and ''cites the close partnerships between their organizations.'' In that interview, Gates revealed that he had met Clinton before he had become president, stating, ''I knew him before he was president, I knew him when he was president, and I know him now that he's not president.''
Also in that interview, Clinton stated that after he left the White House he sought to focus on two specific things. The first is the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), which he stated exists ''thanks largely to funding from the Gates Foundation,'' and the second is the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), ''where I try to build a global network of people to do their own thing.''
The Clinton Health Access Initiative first received an $11 million donation from the Gates Foundation in 2009. Over the last twelve years, the Gates Foundation has donated more than $497 million to CHAI. CHAI was initially founded in 2002 with the mission of tackling HIV/AIDS globally through ''strong government relationships'' and addressing ''market inefficiencies.'' The Gates Foundation's significant donations, however, began not long after CHAI's expansion into malaria diagnostics and treatments. Notably, in 2011, Tachi Yamada, the former president of the Gates Foundation's Global Health program, joined CHAI's board alongside Chelsea Clinton.
Bill Gates and Bill Clinton at the annual Clinton Global Initiative in 2010Regarding the CGI, Epstein's defense lawyers argued in court in 2007 that Epstein had been ''part of the original group that conceived of the Clinton Global Initiative,'' which was first launched in 2005. Epstein's lawyers described the CGI as a project ''bringing together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges.'' The Gates Foundation gave the CGI a total of $2.5 million between 2012 and 2013 in addition to its massive donations to the CHAI and an additional $35 million to the Clinton Foundation itself. In addition to the Gates Foundation donations, Gates's Microsoft has been intimately involved in other ''philanthropic'' projects backed by Clinton.
In addition to these ties, Hillary Clinton established a partnership between the Clinton Foundation and the Gates Foundation in 2014 as part of the Clintons' No Ceilings initiative. That partnership sought to ''gather and analyze data about the status of women and girls' participation around the world'' and involved the two foundations working ''with leading technology partners to collect these data and compile them.'' Months before the partnership was announced, Gates and Epstein met for dinner and discussed the Gates Foundation and philanthropy, according to the New York Times. During Hillary Clinton's unsuccessful run for president in 2016, both Bill and Melinda Gates were on her short list as potential options for vice president.
In addition, Epstein attempted to become involved in the Gates Foundation directly, as seen by his efforts to convince the Gates Foundation to partner with JP Morgan on a multibillion-dollar ''global health charitable fund'' that would have resulted in hefty fees paid out to Epstein, who was very involved with JP Morgan at the time. Though that fund never materialized, Epstein and Gates did discuss Epstein becoming involved in Gates's philanthropic efforts. Some of these contacts were not reported by the mainstream press until after the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce announcement. Yet, as mentioned, it was known that Epstein had ''directed'' Gates to donate to at least one organization'--$2 million in 2014 to the MIT Media Lab.
Recent revelations about Gates and Epstein meetings that took place between 2013 and 2014 have further underscored the importance Epstein apparently held in the world of billionaire ''philanthropy,'' with Gates reportedly claiming that Epstein was his ''ticket'' to winning a Nobel Prize. Norwegian media, however, reported in October 2020 that Gates and Epstein had met the Nobel Committee chair, which failed to make a splash in international media at the time. It is worth asking if Epstein managed to arrange such meetings with other individuals who also coveted Nobel Prizes and if any such individuals later received those prizes. If Epstein had such connections, it is unlikely that he would use them only once in the case of Bill Gates, given the vastness of his network, particularly in the tech and science worlds.
The year 2013 is also when Bill and Melinda Gates together met with Epstein at his New York residence, after which Melinda allegedly began asking her soon-to-be ex-husband to distance himself from Epstein. While the stated reason for this, in the wake of the Gateses' divorce announcement, was that Melinda was put off by Epstein's past and his persona, it could potentially be related to other concerns about Melinda's reputation and that of the foundation that shares her name.
Indeed, 2013 was also the year that the Gates mansion systems engineer, Rick Allen Jones, began to be investigated by Seattle police for his child porn and child rape collection, which contained over six thousand images and videos. Despite the gravity of his crime, when Jones was arrested at the Gates mansion a year later, he was not jailed after his arrest but was merely ordered ''to stay away from children,'' according to local media reports. From Melinda's perspective, this scandal, combined with Bill Gates's growing association with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein may have posed a threat to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's reputation, well before Epstein's 2019 arrest.
2013 was also the year that the Maxwells become involved in the Clinton Foundation. That year, Ghislaine Maxwell's TerraMar Project, which officially supported UN Sustainable Development Goals as they relate the world's oceans, made a $1.25 million commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative as part of an effort to form a Sustainable Oceans Alliance. TerraMar shut down shortly after Epstein's 2019 arrest.
Isabel Maxwell and Al Seckel at the World Economic Forum's 2011 Annual MeetingNotably, Ghislaine's TerraMar Project was in many ways the successor to Isabel Maxwell's failed Blue World Alliance, which was also ostensibly focused on the world's oceans. Blue World Alliance was set up by Isabel and her now deceased husband Al Seckel, who had hosted a ''scientific conference'' on Epstein's island. The Blue World Alliance also went under the name Globalsolver Foundation, and Xavier Malina, Christine Maxwell's son, was listed as Globalsolver's liaison to the Clinton Foundation. He was previously an intern at the Clinton Global Initiative.
Malina later worked in the Obama administration at the Office of White House Personnel. He now works for Google. It is also worth noting that during this same period, Isabel Maxwell's son, Alexander Djerassi, was chief of staff at the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in the Hillary Clinton''run State Department.
Gates Science and Epstein ScienceWhile the Gates Foundation and the Clinton Foundation intermingled, and the latter had ties to Epstein and Maxwell, it also appears that Epstein had significant influence over two of the most prominent science advisers to Bill Gates over the last fifteen years'--Melanie Walker and Boris Nikolic.
A screenshot from a 2019 presentation Melanie Walker gave for Rockefeller Foundation, where she is a fellow. Source: YouTubeMelanie Walker, now a celebrated neurosurgeon, met Jeffrey Epstein in 1992 soon after she graduated from college, when he offered her a Victoria's Secret modelling job. Such offers were often made by Epstein and his accomplices when recruiting women into his operation and it is unclear if Walker ever actually worked as a model for the Leslie Wexner-owned company. She then stayed at a New York apartment building associated with Epstein's trafficking operations during visits to New York, but it is unclear how long she stayed there or at other Epstein-owned properties. After she graduated from medical school in 1998, she became Epstein's science adviser for at least a year. By 1999, she had grown so close to Prince Andrew that she attended a Windsor Castle birthday celebration hosted by the Queen along with Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. During this period, Melanie appears on Epstein's flight logs under her birth name, Melanie Starnes, though it looks like ''Starves'' on the flight logs.
The close relationship between Prince Andrew and Melanie Walker came under scrutiny after Epstein's former housekeeper at the Zorro Ranch property, Deidre Stratton, stated in an interview that Prince Andrew had been ''given'' a ''beautiful young neurosurgeon'' while he stayed at Epstein's New Mexico property. Given that only one neurosurgeon was both close to Prince Andrew and a part of Epstein's entourage at the time, it seems highly likely that this woman ''gifted'' to Andrew was Melanie Walker. According to Stratton, Andrew ''kept company'' with this woman for three days. The arrangement was set up by Epstein, who was not at the property at the time. The exact timing of the stay is uncertain, but it likely took place between 1999 and 2001.
Stratton said the following about the stay:
''At the time, Jeffrey had this, she supposedly was a neurosurgeon, quite young, beautiful, young and brilliant, and she stayed in the home with him'... At one point we had all these different teas and you could pick the teas that you wanted and she asked me to find one that would make Andrew more horny.
I'm guessing she understood her job was to entertain him because I guess, the fear, I don't know; the fear would be that Andrew would say, ''No I didn't really find her that attractive.'' . . . He would tell Jeffrey that and then she would be on the ropes.
I'm guessing that, another theory is, that Jeffrey probably had her on retainer and she knew what her job would be, should be, to make these people happy. . . . Sex was all they thought about. I mean, I know for sure that Jeffrey would ideally like three massages a day.''
Sometime later, Walker moved to Seattle and began living with then Microsoft executive Steven Sinofsky, who now serves as a board partner at the venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz. Andreesen Horowitz notably backs Carbyne911, the Israel intelligence-linked precrime start-up funded by Epstein and his close associate, former prime minister of Israel Ehud Barak, as well as another Israeli intelligence-linked tech company led by Barak, called Toka. Toka recently won contracts with the governments of Moldova, Nigeria, and Ghana through the World Bank, where Melanie Walker is currently a director and a former special adviser to its president. It is unclear when, how and under what circumstances Walker met Sinofsky.
After moving to Seattle to be with Sinofsky and after a brief stint as a ''practitioner in the developing world'' in China with the World Health Organization, Walker was hired as a senior program officer by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2006. Given that the main feature of Walker's resume at the time was having been a science adviser to another wealthy ''philanthropist,'' Jeffrey Epstein, her hire by the Gates Foundation for this critical role further underscores how Bill Gates, at the very least, not only knew who Epstein was but knew enough about his scientific interests and investments to want to hire Walker. Walker went on to become deputy director for Global Development as well as a deputy director of Special Initiatives at the foundation. According to the Rockefeller Foundation, where she is a fellow, Walker later advised Gates on issues pertaining to neurotechnology and brain science for Gates's secretive company bgC3, which Gates originally registered as a think tank under the name Carillon Holdings. According to federal filings, bgC3's focus areas were ''scientific and technological services,'' ''industrial analysis and research,'' and ''design and development of computer hardware and software.''
During her time at the Gates Foundation, Walker introduced Boris Nikolic, Gates's science adviser, to Epstein. Today, Melanie Walker is the cochair of the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Neurotechnology and Brain Science, having previously been named a WEF Young Global Leader. She also advises the World Health Organization, which is closely linked to Bill Gates's ''philanthropy.''
At the WEF, Walker wrote an article in 2016 entitled ''Healthcare in 2030: Goodbye Hospital, Hello Home-spital,'' in which she discusses how wearable devices, brain-machine interfaces, and injectable/swallowable robotic ''medicines'' will be the norm by 2030. Years before COVID-19 and the Great Reset''inspired efforts to change health care in just this way, Walker wrote that while the dystopian scenario she was painting ''sounds crazy . . . most of these technologies are either almost ready for prime time, or in development.'' Of course, a lot of those technologies took shape thanks to the patronage of her former bosses, Jeffrey Epstein and Bill Gates.
In the case of Boris Nikolic, after being introduced to Epstein through Walker, he attended a 2011 meeting with Gates and Epstein where he was photographed alongside James Staley, then a senior JP Morgan executive, and Larry Summers, former Secretary of the Treasury and a close Epstein associate. Nikolic was chief adviser for science and technology to Bill Gates at the time, advising both the Gates Foundation and bgC3. According to the mainstream narrative, this is supposed to be the first time that Gates and Epstein had ever met. In addition, this may have been when Epstein pitched the joint Gates Foundation''JP Morgan ''global health charitable fund.''
The 2011 meeting at Jeffrey Epstein's Manhattan mansion attended by James E. Staley, Larry Summers, Jeffery Epstein, Bill Gates and Boris Nikolic.In 2014, Nikolic ''waxed enthusiastic'' about Epstein's supposed penchant for financial advice ahead of a public offering for a gene-editing company that Nikolic had a $42 million stake in. Notably, both Nikolic and Epstein were clients of the same group of bankers at JP Morgan, with Bloomberg later reporting that Epstein regularly helped those bankers attract wealthy new clients.
In 2016, Nikolic cofounded Biomatics capital, which invests in health-related companies at ''the convergence of genomics and digital data'' that are ''enabling the development of superior therapeutics, diagnostics and delivery models.'' Nikolic founded Biomatics with Julie Sunderland, formerly the director of the Gates Foundation's Strategic Investment Fund.
At least three of the companies backed by Biomatics'--Qihan Biotech, eGenesis, and Editas'--were cofounded by George Church, a Harvard geneticist with deep ties to Epstein and also closely associated with the Edge Foundation. Biomatics investment in Qihan Biotech is no longer listed on the Biomatics website. Church's Qihan Biotech seeks to produce human tissues and organs inside pigs for transplantation into humans, while eGenesis seeks to genetically modify pig organs for use in humans. Editas produces CRISPR gene-editing ''medicines'' and is also backed by the Gates Foundation as well as Google Ventures.
Church has been accused of promoting eugenics as well as unethical human experimentation. Epstein's significant interest in eugenics was made public after his death, and Bill Gates, as well as his father William H. Gates II, have also been linked to eugenics movements and ideas.
After Epstein's death in 2019, it was revealed that Nikolic had been named the ''successor executor'' of Epstein's estate, further suggesting close ties to Epstein despite Nikolic's claims to the contrary. After details of Epstein's will were made public, Nikolic did not sign a form indicating his willingness to be executor and did not ultimately serve in that role.
The Epstein Cover-Up ContinuesDespite the relatively abrupt shift in the mainstream media regarding what is acceptable to discuss regarding the Jeffrey Epstein''Bill Gates relationship, many of these same media outlets refuse to acknowledge much of the information contained in this investigative report. This is particularly true in the case of the Evening Standard article and Bill Gates's odd relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell's sister Isabel and CommTouch, the company Isabel previously led.
The likely reason for the continued cover-up of the true extent of Epstein's ties to Gates has much more to do with Gates's company Microsoft than with Bill Gates himself. While it is now permissible to report on ties that discredit Gates's personal reputation, the information that could tie his relationship with Epstein and the Maxwells to Microsoft has been omitted.
If, as the Evening Standard reported, Epstein did make millions out of his business ties with Gates prior to 2001 and if Gates's ties to Isabel Maxwell and the Israeli espionage''linked company CommTouch were to become public knowledge, the result could easily be a scandal on a par with the PROMIS software affair. Such a disclosure could be very damaging for Microsoft and its partner the World Economic Forum, as Microsoft has become a key player in the WEF's Fourth Industrial Revolution initiatives that range from digital identity and vaccine passports to efforts to replace human workers with artificial intelligence.
There are clearly powerful actors with a vested interest in keeping the Epstein-Gates narrative squarely focused on 2011 and later'--not necessarily to protect Gates but more likely to protect the company itself and other top Microsoft executives who appear to have been compromised by Epstein and others in the same intelligence-linked network.
This is hardly an isolated incident, as similar efforts have been made to cover up (or memory hole) the ties of Epstein and the Maxwells to other prominent Silicon Valley empires, such as those led by Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. One key reason for this is that the Epstein network's blackmail operation involved not only sexual blackmail but electronic forms of blackmail, something used to great effect by Robert Maxwell on behalf of Israeli intelligence as part of the PROMIS operation. Given its nature, electronic forms of blackmail through illegal surveillance or backdoored software can be used to compromise those in power with something to hide, but who were uninclined to engage in the exploitation of minors, such as those abused by Epstein.
That Isabel and Christine Maxwell were able to forge close business ties with Microsoft after having been part of the front company that played a central role in PROMIS-related espionage and after explicitly managing their subsequent companies with the admitted intention to ''rebuild'' their spy father's work and legacy, strongly points to the probability of at least some Microsoft products having been compromised in some fashion, likely through alliances with Maxwell-run tech companies. The lack of mainstream media concern over the documented ties of the Epstein network to other top Microsoft executives of the past, such as Nathan Myhrvold, Linda Stone, and Steven Sinofsky, makes it clear that, while it may be open season on the relationship between Bill Gates and Epstein, such is not the case for Microsoft and Epstein.
The ties of Epstein and the Maxwells to Silicon Valley, not just to Microsoft, are part of a broader attempt to cover up the strong intelligence component in the origin of Silicon Valley's most powerful companies. Much effort has been invested in creating a public perception that these companies are strictly private entities despite their deep, long-standing ties to the intelligence agencies and militaries of the United States and Israel. The true breadth of the Epstein scandal will never be covered by mainstream media because so many news outlets are owned by these same Silicon Valley oligarchs or depend on Silicon Valley for online reader engagement.
Perhaps the biggest reason why the military/intelligence origins and links to the current Silicon Valley oligarchy will never be honestly examined, however, is that those very entities are now working with breakneck speed to usher in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which would make artificial intelligence, automation, mass electronic surveillance, and transhumanism central to human society. One of the architects of this ''revolution,'' Klaus Schwab, said earlier this year that rebuilding and maintaining trust with the public was critical to that project. However, were the true nature of Silicon Valley, including its significant ties to serial child rapist and sex trafficker Jeffery Epstein and his network, to emerge, the public's trust would be significantly eroded, thus threatening what the global oligarchy views as a project critical to its survival.
Germany admits to committing genocide as the colonial power in what is now Namibia - CBS News
Sat, 29 May 2021 04:15
Berlin '-- More than 100 years after the crimes were committed, Germany formally confessed on Friday to having committed genocide as the colonial power in what is now Namibia. After years of negotiations, the German government recognized the atrocities committed against the Herero and Nama ethnic groups as genocide and said reparations would be paid.
"As a gesture of recognition of the immeasurable suffering inflicted on the victims, we want to support Namibia and the descendants of the victims with a substantial program of 1.1 billion euros (about $1.3 billion) for reconstruction and development," said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Germany also said it would officially seek forgiveness for the crimes.
Herero people taken captive after a rebellion by German colonial powers in what is now Namibia are seen chained in a photo from 1904 or 1905. ullstein bild via Getty Earlier, delegations from both countries reached an agreement on a joint political declaration after nearly six years of negotiations. The German Empire was the colonial power in what is now Namibia from 1884 until 1915, and it brutally quashed repeated rebellions during that time.
Historians believe that German forces in what was then known as German Southwest Africa killed about 65,000 of the 80,000-strong Herero population, and at least half of the 20,000 Nama in the region.
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The official request for forgiveness was reportedly to be made by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at a ceremony in the Namibian parliament.
U.S. House panel advances slavery reparations bill The 1.1 billion euros are to be paid over a period of 30 years, primarily to support projects in the areas where most ethnic Herero and Nama people have settled. The projects will focus on land reform, agriculture, rural infrastructure, water supply and vocational training.
The German government emphasized, however, that its recognition of the genocide and the establishment of the aid fund do not stem from any legal claims for compensation, but rather a political and moral obligation.
A memorial to the genocide of the Herero and Nama (1904-1907) committed by German colonial troops, is seen in the center of the Namibian capital, Windhoek, June 4, 2019. J¼rgen B¤tz/picture alliance via Getty "I am pleased and grateful that we have succeeded in reaching an agreement with Namibia on how to deal jointly with the darkest chapter of our common history," said Maas. "Our goal was and is to find a common path to genuine reconciliation in memory of the victims."
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Maas stressed that Germany wasn't trying to draw a line under the country's past misdeeds to move on.
"Acknowledging the guilt and our request for an apology is, however, an important step in coming to terms with the crimes and shaping the future together," he said. The negotiations were conducted by officials from the two governments, but Herero and Nama representatives were closely involved.
Namibia's government welcomed Germany's recognition of its crimes. President Hage Geingob's spokesman Alfredo Hengari told the French news agency AFP that it was "the first step in the right direction."
Skulls of Herero and Nama people are displayed during a devotion attended by representatives of the tribes from Namibia, in Berlin, Germany, September 29, 2011. Michael Sohn/AP Some members of the political opposition in Namibia, however, criticized the agreement. A representative of the south African nation's biggest opposition party, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), called it an "insult" to Namibia.
Germany's representatives had "not negotiated in good faith," the daily newspaper The Namibian quoted parliamentarian Inna Hengari as saying.
"If Namibia receives money from Germany, it should go to the traditional leaders of the affected communities instead of to the government," said a representative of the Landless People's Movement (LPM) party.
House panel advances slavery reparations bill...Opposition leader Mike Kavekotora of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) also accused President Geingob's government of "excluding" the Nama and Herero in the process, saying: "I don't think this is the best that Namibia's government could have gotten from Germany."
Some parliamentarians called on the various opposition parties to unite and unanimously reject the deal between the two countries. They continue to argue for direct reparations to the descendants of genocide victims.
Biden's 2022 Budget Includes New Crypto Reporting Proposals - CoinDesk
Fri, 28 May 2021 21:48
Biden's 2022 Budget Includes New Crypto Reporting ProposalsPresident Joe Biden's 2022 budget proposal includes several new crypto reporting requirements, according to a pair of documents published Friday.
The budget published Friday, the first from the Biden administration, includes two proposals that would give the Treasury Department additional requirements around what type of information financial institutions must report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or other Treasury sub-departments.
The first proposal, mentioned in the White House budget itself, would ''expand broker information reporting with respect to cryptocurrency assets.''
A Treasury Department ''Green Book'' provided more context, saying the proposed change would ''expand the scope of information reporting by brokers'' by allowing them to share information across different jurisdictions that have partnered with the U.S.
The document states:
"The proposal would require brokers, including entities such as U.S. crypto asset exchanges and hosted wallet providers, to report information relating to certain passive entities and their substantial foreign owners when reporting with respect to crypto assets held by those entities in an account with the broker."
Gross proceeds, sales and ''substantial foreign owners'' in passive entities would be included in these reports.
The proposal would take effect for returns filed after Dec. 31, 2022, according to the document.
''Tax evasion using crypto assets is a rapidly growing problem. Since the industry is entirely digital, taxpayers can transact with offshore crypto exchanges and wallet providers without leaving the United States,'' the Treasury Department document said as an explanation for the proposal.
Information reporting
The 2022 budget includes several other crypto reporting requirements, according to the Treasury document.
The second proposal to introduce a ''comprehensive financial account reporting'' structure for tax compliance purposes, would require financial institutions to report data on user accounts with a breakdown on different types of transfers above a de minimis threshold of $600.
This would include crypto asset exchanges and custodians, the document said.
''Separately, reporting requirements would apply in cases in which taxpayers buy crypto assets from one broker and then transfer the crypto assets to another broker, and businesses that receive crypto assets in transactions with a fair market value of more than $10,000 would have to report such transactions,'' the proposal said.
The budget comes just over a week after the Treasury Department proposed that financial institutions and other businesses which receive transfers of over $10,000 in crypto to report those to the IRS. The proposal is similar to a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network proposal as well.
Noodle Gun
Apple employees are going public about workplace issues '-- and there's no going back - The Verge
Sat, 29 May 2021 15:42
Illustration by William Joel / The Verge Employees say the recent leaks might have changed the tech giant forever
Even to the workers who wrote the letter, the leaks came as a shock. Apple employees rarely speak to the media, particularly about the company culture. In Silicon Valley, Apple operates with an unprecedented level of secrecy, managing personnel issues and product launches with complete authority.
The culture has benefits for employees. People work at Apple because they are design fanatics. The elegant hardware products are seen by many as unmatched in the tech industry. Fewer leaks mean fewer distractions and more time to focus on the work.
The company also has an aura of prestige. Working at Apple is widely seen as the pinnacle of success in the tech industry, even more than the company's biggest rivals. If Google is a sprawl of creativity and ideas, Apple represents a workplace of organization and vision. People don't go there for a few months or a year; they stay for decades. The tenure makes employees loyal.
So it was surprising, to some, when the company hired Antonio Garc­a Mart­nez, a former product manager at Facebook who'd written a tell-all book about Silicon Valley. Garc­a Mart­nez's tone in the book was brash and misogynistic '-- it didn't match with Apple's carefully managed public image and commitment to diversity.
After he arrived, multiple female Apple employees went public about their concerns on Twitter '-- a rarity at a company where employees are discouraged from sharing their opinions about work. ''I have been gutted, as many other folks at Apple were, with the hiring of Antonio Garc­a Mart­nez,'' wrote Apple engineer Cher Scarlett. ''I believe in the strength of community we have at Apple, & that the culture we've built can weather this. I also believe in leadership to do the right thing, whatever that is.''
Then, a group of workers wrote a letter calling for an investigation. ''Given Mr. Garc­a Mart­nez's history of publishing overtly racist and sexist remarks about his former colleagues, we are concerned that his presence at Apple will contribute to an unsafe working environment for our colleagues who are at risk of public harassment and private bullying,'' they said.
Within hours, the letter had well over 1,000 signatures. It was leaked to The Verge. That evening, Garc­a Mart­nez was fired.
''Either somebody is a very good actor or there's someone else who felt like the letter was going to disappear unless it became public.''
The events stunned even the letter writers. They'd expected the note to cause a stir inside Apple, but they hadn't intended for it to become public. ''The leak was very shocking to everybody who was vocal and involved in writing the letter,'' says one worker who asked to remain anonymous for fear of professional retaliation. ''Either somebody is a very good actor or there's someone else who felt like the letter was going to disappear unless it became public.''
A week after The Verge published the Garc­a Mart­nez letter, a group of Muslim employees at Apple penned a note calling for the company to release a statement in support of Palestine. When Tim Cook didn't respond, the letter was leaked to The Verge.
The two letters, and their leaks, are signs of a slow cultural shift at Apple. Employees, once tight-lipped about internal problems, are now joining a wave of public dissent that's roiling Silicon Valley. Employees say this is partly because Apple's typical avenues for reporting don't work for big cultural issues. They also note the company rolled out Slack in 2019, allowing workers to find and organize with one another.
Now, some are beginning to feel that the company culture has harmed diversity and inclusion efforts. ''Apple's secrecy works great for protecting our customers and our products, but it hinders inclusion and diversity,'' says an anonymous employee. ''There's a lack of education around what is confidential versus what is your protected speech and you should speak up about.''
Public organizing, particularly on social media, has been enormously successful in Silicon Valley, allowing workers to wrestle power away from management. At Google, it's led the company to end forced arbitration for all full-time employees. At Amazon, it's spawned massive unionizing campaigns. Now, it seems to be Apple's turn. ''Suddenly at Apple, as everywhere else, managers can only stand back and watch as workers reshape the bounds of what will be permitted at work,'' wrote Casey Newton, founder and editor of Platformer.
There's no sign the leaks will extend to Apple's product launches. This is the part of the business that Apple cares about most '-- and it has gone to great lengths to dissuade employees from leaking. In 2018, the company sent out a note threatening to fire and even sue workers who shared product information.
The company also has a structure in place to prevent employees from sharing '-- or even finding out about '-- product information before it's public. Employees sign project-specific NDAs and are dissuaded from telling their spouses about their work. Their badges only open certain doors at the company's Cupertino, California headquarters. Prior to the pandemic, most engineers were barred from taking products in development home from the office.
The culture of secrecy has bled over into many aspects of Apple's culture. But employees say it is enforced more through norms than through rules. ''The habit of secrecy is self-enforcing once established,'' an anonymous employee says. Most of the time, problems are escalated internally and quietly resolved without the public ever finding out.
''How do you report someone who has done something, but hasn't done something to you specifically?''
That didn't happen when Garc­a Mart­nez was hired at Apple. Female employees weren't sure who would care about their concerns. ''For women, it was especially sensitive because the things that were being highlighted [from Chaos Monkeys] were all very misogynistic, so it felt very personal, but at the same time, who do you report it to?'' asked an anonymous worker. ''How do you report someone who has done something, but hasn't done something to you specifically?''
Apple employees are quick to point out that they've been organizing internally for years. In 2020, they pushed the company to move away from using the terms ''master'' and ''slave'' in engineering contexts where one process controlled another, part of an industry-wide shift away from the labels.
They also called for Election Day and Juneteenth to become paid company holidays in a letter last year. ''Apple is one of the most influential companies in the world,'' they wrote. ''While there is undeniable momentum behind the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement, we can and should be setting a better standard for other companies to follow. We believe we have an opportunity with Election Days to be a leader that forges ahead of the rest.'' The push was largely successful. On July 24th, 2020, Bloomberg reported the company was giving workers four hours off to vote on Election Day. Employees in the United States get Juneteenth off this year.
Apple management might not love what is happening '-- it's not very Apple-y, after all '-- but if employees maintain their secrecy surrounding its products, the firm might not care enough to crack down. Workers can tweet about Apple, just not Apple products. And they likely will: as one anonymous employee told The Verge in the wake of the Garc­a Mart­nez letter, ''I think this has forever changed the culture of Apple.''
Apple declined to comment for this story.
'Gender Nullification Surgery' Enables 'Non-Binary' Patients To Achieve 'Smooth Genital Area' | The Daily Wire
Sat, 29 May 2021 17:08
There's no good way to introduce this, but for those of you who enjoy following the latest trends in gender medicine, the newest procedure being offered is called ''nullification.''
According to Align Surgical Associates , a medical practice based in the San Francisco Bay Area, ''nullification creates a relatively continuous and mostly unbroken transition from the abdomen down into the genital area, enabling gender non-conforming patients to enjoy a body that looks closer on the outside to the way they feel on the inside.''
The Align medical practice also offers other custom surgeries for unique gender identities, including a phallus preserving vaginoplasty , which entails creating a ''functional'' vagina out of scrotal skin while preserving the phallus. According to Align's website, ''this non-standard gender affirming surgery is an excellent way to align the way you feel on the inside with the way your body looks on the outside, confirming your gender identity and enabling you to live your ideal life.''
They also offer vagina-perserving phalloplasties , which involves the ''construction of a new adult phallus, while still preserving the presence of the vaginal canal.'' As photos on the website purport to demonstrate, these patients can achieve ''both'' forms of genitalia.
Who is a candidate for these procedures? According to the website, ''the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) has standards of care in place that require patients over eighteen have two letters from mental health providers, stating their readiness for surgery. Clients must be taking hormones and be non-smokers.''
The website boasts that the phallus-preserving vaginoplasty has been ''shown to have a positive, lasting benefit for transmen and nonbinary individuals.'' It is unclear from the website how much longitudinal research has been completed in order to substantiate this sweeping and vague claim.
Far be it from me to prevent others from pursuing their ''ideal life,'' and frankly I am still gathering my thoughts about this. However, my immediate reaction is this is wildly predatory on the part of these doctors. It should be plainly evident to anyone, regardless of medical credential, that a person who wants to remove all genitals, or add supplementary genitals, is someone who requires far more care and counseling than just superficial plastic surgery. I don't mean to be insensitive to the '' enbys , '' but this is insane and astonishingly exploitative.
This news comes on the heels of the shocking 60 Minutes special about young people who regretted undergoing permanent gender reassignment surgery. Something tells me we are due to see a lot more regret in the future.
The views expressed in this piece are the author's own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
The Daily Wire is one of America's fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.
Build Back Better
Gateway Tunnel Between New York and New Jersey Gains Federal Support - The New York Times
Sat, 29 May 2021 15:40
After four years of stalling by the Trump administration, officials in Washington approved the $11.6 billion project for federal funding.
The existing rail tunnels under the Hudson River were badly damaged by flooding during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Credit... Victor J. Blue for The New York Times May 28, 2021
For five years, the plan to build a second pair of rail tunnels between New York City and New Jersey has been deemed one of the most critical infrastructure projects in the country.
But it needed a green light from federal officials.
On Friday, after years of delaying by the Trump administration, that approval officially arrived from the new administration in Washington. Now, much of the $11.6 billion needed for the tunnel project could come from the giant infrastructure bill that Republican and Democratic lawmakers are wrangling over in Congress.
''We're now where we should have been four years ago,'' said Steven M. Cohen, co-chairman of the Gateway Program Development Corporation, the agency overseeing the project. ''All of this has been in suspended animation for four years for no reason other than politics and games.''
The Biden administration has indicated its support for the long-tortured project, which has been contemplated in various forms for nearly three decades. On Friday, the transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, acknowledged its importance to the economy of the region and the nation.
''This is a big step for the Northeast, and for the entire country, as these tunnels connect so many people, jobs and businesses,'' Mr. Buttigieg said in a statement announcing the approval.
Still, as with many major infrastructure plans in the early stages, there are still uncertainties, especially around the finances. Ambitious transportation projects in the region have often ballooned in cost as construction delays or design changes drove up the final tally.
While the governors of New York and New Jersey have agreed to share the cost with the federal government, both have elections looming. If they leave office, there is no assurance their successors will uphold that commitment.
The one-track tunnels, which would carry trains deep under the Hudson River, are part of a massive project known as Gateway that aims to modernize the rail system that serves New York City. They would supplement the existing single-track tunnels that are more than 110 years old and were severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Under the existing construction timetable, the new tunnels would be built in eight years. But the planners hope that they could be finished long before the end of the decade.
Before the pandemic, 450 trains carried about 200,000 passengers each weekday through the old tubes, which connect to Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan. Most riders were commuters, but many others were traveling from other cities on Amtrak, the national railroad that owns the tunnels and Penn Station.
Since the hurricane, transportation officials in the New York region have worried about the deteriorating condition of the existing tubes under the Hudson. Salt left over from the flooding has been eating away at the interior walls and electrical cables, forcing occasional shutdowns for repairs.
Amtrak officials say that the old tubes cannot be fully fixed until there are new ones to handle the daily traffic. About $1.8 billion of the $11.6 billion estimated cost for the tunnel project would go toward overhauling the old tubes, they say.
The idea of building the tunnels has been a political football for years. Democratic politicians have promoted it as a critical piece of the nation's transportation infrastructure that cannot be realized without significant aid from Washington. But some Republican leaders saw it as a gift to New York and a potential boondoggle that could wind up costing much more than advertised.
During Barack Obama's presidency, there had been a general agreement that the federal government would cover half the cost of building the tunnels, with New York and New Jersey sharing the other half. That commitment from the states still stands, said Anthony Coscia, the chairman of Amtrak.
The two states had intended to borrow much of their shares of the cost from the federal government, a standard practice in big, expensive projects. But the Trump administration ruled that such borrowings would not count as contributions from the states. The Biden administration quickly reversed that position in February, clearing one hurdle for the tunnel project.
A bigger hurdle was the lack of a response to the application from the project's sponsor for a decision on its environmental impact statement. That decision could have come as far back as 2018, Mr. Coscia said.
But the federal Department of Transportation, which under President Trump was headed by Elaine Chao, did not respond to the application, despite repeated entreaties from Mr. Coscia and elected officials from New York and New Jersey. That stonewalling was the second major setback to a plan that dates back to the 20th century.
In a previous incarnation, the concept was known as the A.R.C. tunnel and it was going to lead not to Penn Station, but to a new terminal deep beneath 34th Street, near Macy's flagship store. Construction had begun on that tunnel, with federal backing, when New Jersey's former governor, Chris Christie, ordered a halt.
Mr. Christie, a Republican, argued that New Jersey would have been responsible for any cost overruns, which could have amounted to an unfair and unaffordable burden to the state. Democratic leaders from both sides of the Hudson were furious that Mr. Christie had passed up billions of dollars of federal money that would have flowed to the region.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, who is now the majority leader, was among them. From the start, Mr. Schumer has been an ardent champion of building a modern rail link to New York City. He pressed the Trump administration for approvals and funding, to no avail.
Now, with an ally in the White House, Mr. Schumer promised he will shepherd the Gateway program toward completion. Altogether, Gateway involves expanding Penn Station and adding tracks beneath it, as well as making improvements along the Northeast rail corridor, including replacing a 111-year-old swing bridge in New Jersey.
Mr. Christie's successor, Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, has staunchly supported the Gateway plan. His counterpart in New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, has at times raised doubts about his commitment to the tunnel project while he has focused on redeveloping the blocks around Penn Station.
But Mr. Cohen, a close ally of Mr. Cuomo, said on Friday that the governor would stick with the formula that calls for each state to cover 25 percent of the costs. He said Mr. Cuomo, ''made it clear that whether he thought it was a good deal or not, he was not going to trade on that.''
Mr. Schumer sounded exuberant in a brief interview about the pockets of federal money that could be used to pay for the tunnels. He cited $25 billion in the infrastructure bill known as the American Jobs Plan that is intended for ''transit expansion,'' $39 billion for ''Northeast Corridor modernization'' and $25 billion for projects of national significance.
''Not only have we gotten the barriers lifted, but we have also now made sure there is plenty of money in the pipeline,'' Mr. Schumer said. ''I'm going to use my clout as majority leader to make sure they go there,'' he added, referring to Gateway.
A few weeks ago, the Biden administration signaled that a decision on the project was coming soon. But its official arrival provided long-awaited relief to those who have been planning the tunnel project for eight years.
''This approval means a lot of things,'' Mr. Coscia said, ''but what it really means is that it's time to stop talking about this project and it's time to start building it.''
Joe Biden criticizes Texas bill that restricts voting hours | The Texas Tribune
Sun, 30 May 2021 11:50
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With Texas Republicans poised to sign off on a sweeping voting bill, President Joe Biden said Saturday that legislation like Senate Bill 7 that restricts voting access is ''un-American.''
''Today, Texas legislators put forth a bill that joins Georgia and Florida in advancing a state law that attacks the sacred right to vote, '' Biden said in a statement to The Texas Tribune. ''It's part of an assault on democracy that we've seen far too often this year '-- and often disproportionately targeting Black and Brown Americans.''
SB 7, the Texas GOP's priority voting bill, would limit early voting hours, curtail local voting options, further clamp down on mail-in voting and expand freedoms for partisan poll watchers, among several other changes to elections. Biden's denouncement of the bill came just as a draft of the final version began circulating at the Texas Capitol. The House and Senate are expected to take final votes on the bill in the next day and send it to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature before it becomes law.
''It's wrong and un-American,'' Biden said. ''In the 21st century, we should be making it easier, not harder, for every eligible voter to vote.''
Texas Republicans began the 2021 legislative session staging a sweeping legislative campaign to pass new voting restrictions, proposing significant changes to nearly the entire voting process and taking particular aim at local efforts to make voting easier. It was formally touched off by Abbott, when he named ''election integrity'' one of his emergency items for the legislative session despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also named ''election and ballot security'' one of his priorities.
SB 7 ultimately emerged as the main vehicle through which state lawmakers, like Republicans across the country, would further restrict how and when voters cast ballots following the 2020 election.
''Overall, this bill is designed to address areas throughout the process where bad actors can take advantage, so Texans can feel confident that their elections are fair, honest and open,'' Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes said while presenting the bill to the Senate earlier this year.
While Republicans have tried to frame the legislation as one that standardizes voting rules across the state, substantial portions of SB 7 were written to specifically outlaw voting initiatives carried out last fall in largely Democratic Harris County, the state's largest county where voters of color make up a high share of the electorate.
That includes drive-thru voting to allow people to vote from their cars, extended early voting hours after the usual 7 p.m. cutoff and a day of 24 hours of uninterrupted early voting to reach shift workers who have trouble casting ballots during regular hours. Those initiatives '-- which proved particularly successful in reaching voters of color '-- would be banned under SB 7.
But the expansive bill will prompt changes to voting across the state. SB 7 sets new windows for early voting '-- generally from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. '-- that would also slightly shorten the extra hours other large counties offered in the last election.
The bill clamps down on voting by mail, making it a state jail felony for local officials to distribute applications to request mail-in ballots to voters who didn't ask for them. This ban was also a response to Harris County's failed attempt to send applications to all 2.4 million registered voters last year, even though other Texas counties sent applications to voters 65 and older without controversy. Although those voters automatically qualify to vote by mail, SB 7 bans counties from proactively mailing unrequested applications to them in the future. Political parties can still send unsolicited applications, as both Republicans and Democrats often do before elections.
It creates new identification requirements for voters looking to cast their ballots by mail and sets a higher standard for who can qualify to vote by mail based on a disability. It also grants partisan poll watchers "free movement" within a voting site.
The legislation has been condemned by advocates for voters with disabilities, voter advocacy groups and civil rights organizations with histories of fighting laws that could harm voters of color. Throughout the legislative session, they've repeatedly warned lawmakers that SB 7 would raise new barriers to the ballot for marginalized voters, including voters of color and voters with disabilities, and that it likely violates federal safeguards for those voters.
The final version of the bill was negotiated behind closed doors over the last week after the Senate and the House passed significantly different versions of the legislation.
''It is fitting that the final push to get anti-voter Senate Bill 7 to the Governor's desk would take place behind closed doors, hidden from public scrutiny,'' MOVE Texas communications director Charlie Bonner said Saturday. ''This bill does nothing to improve the security of our elections '-- it only makes our democracy weaker by limiting access for young, disabled, Black and Brown Texans.''
On Saturday, Biden also cited the imminent passage of SB 7 to a call on Congress to act on federal voting legislation that would significantly reform elections and another measure that would bring back federal oversight of state changes to voting law.
Until 2013, Texas was among the states under federal supervision of its election and voting laws to ensure they did not hamper the voting rights of people of color. Federal courts repeatedly found that Texas lawmakers discriminated against voters of color in their political mapmaking and in writing up new voting requirements, including the state's original voter ID law in 2011.
Disclosure: MOVE Texas has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.
Apple delays Podcasts subscriptions to June - The Verge
Sat, 29 May 2021 04:53
They were supposed to launch in May
By Jay Peters on May 28, 2021 6:19 pm Apple is delaying the launch of its upcoming Podcasts subscriptions until June, the company announced in an email sent to creators Friday (via 9to5Mac). The service was previously set to launch this month.
Apple's Podcasts subscriptions will allow people to subscribe to participating podcasts to get extra perks like ad-free listening or early access to episodes. In April, Apple said the subscriptions would launch in 170 countries, and that initial partners include Pushkin Industries and NPR.
The shifted launch comes as some creators using Apple Podcasts have recently run into some issues, such as being unable to log in to Apple's Podcast Connect portal or seeing a delay in the availability of new episodes. In its email sent Friday, Apple said it has fixed the ''disruptions'' that presented problems.
You can read Apple's full email to creators below, which the company shared with The Verge.
We're writing to provide an update on the availability of Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and channels. We've been delighted by the response to last month's announcement and it's exciting to see the hundreds of new subscriptions and channels submitted from creators across the globe every day.
To ensure we are delivering the best experience for creators and listeners, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and channels will now launch in June. We will communicate further updates on availability, and best practices to help you prepare your subscriptions and channels, through this newsletter.
Over the last few weeks, some creators have experienced delays in the availability of their content and access to Apple Podcasts Connect. We've addressed these disruptions and encourage creators experiencing any issues to contact us.
We've also heard from listeners and made adjustments based on their feedback with iOS 14.6, which was released on Monday. We will introduce additional enhancements to Library in the coming weeks.
Thank you for your understanding. We can't wait to see your new subscriptions and channels and we are looking forward to launching them to listeners around the world soon.
VIDEO - (242) Health Canada extends expiry date for thousands of AstraZeneca-Oxford doses - YouTube
Sun, 30 May 2021 11:53
Sun, 30 May 2021 11:35
MUST WATCH: Dr. Peter McCullough discusses the dangers of the novel COVID vaccine and it's roll out. This is a product that had minimal testing but is being pushed on the masses. Must we all get the shot for things to "go back to normal"? Are you going to get the shot?
*Fleccas is not giving any medical advice here ;-)
Dr. Peter McCullough has been the world's most prominent and vocal advocate for early outpatient treatment of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Infection in order to prevent hospitalization and death. On May 19, 2021, he was interviewed regarding his efforts as a treating physician and researcher. From his unique vantage point, he has observed and documented a PROFOUNDLY DISTURBING POLICY RESPONSE to the pandemic -- a policy response that may prove to be the greatest malpractice and malfeasance in the history of medicine and public health.
Dr. McCullough is an internist, cardiologist, epidemiologist, and Professor of Medicine at Texas A & M College of Medicine, Dallas, TX USA. Since the outset of the pandemic, Dr. McCullough has been a leader in the medical response to the COVID-19 disaster and has published ''Pathophysiological Basis and Rationale for Early Outpatient Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Infection'' the first synthesis of sequenced multidrug treatment of ambulatory patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the American Journal of Medicine and subsequently updated in Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine. He has 40 peer-reviewed publications on the infection and has commented extensively on the medical response to the COVID-19 crisis in TheHill and on FOX NEWS Channel. On November 19, 2020, Dr. McCullough testified in the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and throughout 2021 in the Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, Colorado General Assembly, and New Hampshire Senate concerning many aspects of the pandemic response.Peter A. McCullough, MD, MPH, FACP, FACC, FAHA, FCRSA, FCCP, FNKF, FNLA
Professor of Medicine, Texas A & M College of MedicineBoard Certified Internist and CardiologistPresident Cardiorenal Society of AmericaEditor-in-Chief, Reviews in Cardiovascular MedicineEditor-in-Chief, Cardiorenal MedicineSenior Associate Editor, American Journal of CardiologyFor more information about Dr. McCullough, please visit:
VIDEO - (242) How the Covid lab leak theory was shut down - YouTube
Sat, 29 May 2021 18:27
VIDEO - William Shakespeare, first man in the U.K. to receive COVID-19 vaccine, has died of a stroke at 81 - CBS News
Sat, 29 May 2021 18:25
90-year-old first to receive Pfizer vaccine in U.K.
90-year-old first to receive Pfizer vaccine i... 03:23 William Shakespeare '' the 81-year-old man who became the second person in the U.K. to receive a COVID-19 vaccine '' has died.
Shakespeare, who goes by Bill, died of a stroke, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust said, according to BBC News.
In December, Shakespeare became the first man to receive a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, following 91-year-old Margaret Keenan , the first person in the country to get the shot. "It could make a difference to our lives from now on, couldn't it?" he said at the time. "It's started changing our lives and our lifestyle."
William "Bill" Shakespeare, 81, receives the Covid-19 vaccine at University Hospital in Coventry, U.K., on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. Bloomberg He was a patient at the hospital's frailty ward when he received his first dose. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, two sons and grandchildren.
"Bill was so grateful for being offered the opportunity to become one of the first people in the world to be given the vaccine," his wife, Joy, said in a statement released by the trust, according to BBC News.
"It was something he was hugely proud of '' he loved seeing the media coverage and the positive difference he was able to make to the lives of so many," she said. "He often talked to people about it and would always encourage everyone to get their vaccine whenever he could."
Shakespeare enjoyed photography and music, often attending jazz performances to take photos of musicians. He worked at Rolls-Royce and was a parish councillor.
Trending News
"Bill loved meeting people and helping them in any way possible," his wife said. "Most of all he was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, nicknamed Pop Pops by the grandchildren. He left a huge imprint on everyone who knew him and will be greatly missed."
Coventry councillor Jayne Innes, a friend of Shakespeare's, said the best way to pay tribute to him now is to get a vaccine. In a Facebook post, Innes wrote: "Bill will be remembered for many things, including a taste for mischief. He became an international sensation as the first man to receive a Covid vaccine."
VIDEO - How pop culture set the stage for the coming UFO report '-- for better or worse
Sat, 29 May 2021 18:22
'‹The U.S. government is finally starting to publicly acknowledge UFOs. The creator of "The X-Files" has been waiting for this moment for decades.
"It's something I've been interested in for a long time, so to see it make the equivalent of front-page news is a delight," Chris Carter said in a phone conversation this week.
It's a potentially transformative moment for the American public as intelligence agencies prepare to deliver a report to Congress about what they call unidentified aerial phenomena. But it's an especially peculiar time for artists who have long shaped our collective understanding of mysterious flying objects.
Alien life and UFOs in pop culture. Erik Carter / for NBC NewsBarry Sonnenfeld, the director of all three installments of the original "Men in Black" trilogy, said he feels terrified about what we might learn.
"It's scary. If there are aliens out there, I can't imagine they're nice, and I don't think we deserve to be treated particularly nicely. Let's face it, humans are the virus of the planet," he said.
Sonnenfeld's anxiety befits a man whose autobiography is subtitled "Memoirs of a Neurotic Filmmaker." In the first "Men in Black" film, after all, a cockroach-style invader disguises himself as a farmer and goes on a killing spree.
The idea of UFOs' arriving on Earth has long been linked in public consciousness with "aliens" and refracted through the prism of Hollywood, for better or worse. It's a paradigm that some creators have gleefully embraced and others have tried to thoughtfully subvert.
In the 1950s, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" channeled Cold War paranoia. In more recent decades scarred by global terrorism, otherworldly visitors laid waste to Washington ("Independence Day"), New York ("The Avengers") and other landmarks.
The destruction of the White House in Roland Emmerich's "Independence Day." 20th Century Fox Film / Courtesy Everett Collection"The X-Files" went deeper, imagining both paranormal phenomena and a vast government conspiracy to hide the truth about extraterrestrial life.
The show, a 1990s cult hit starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as FBI agents who investigate mysterious occurrences, was partly inspired by what Carter described as the "residue" of Watergate-era distrust of government.
Hollywood's role in shaping public attitudes about UFOs '-- what is considered socially acceptable dinner party conversation, which accounts of purported sightings are taken seriously '-- is hard to overstate and difficult to pin down. The mass media's interest in UFOs has often been a double-edged sword, fueling legitimate interest in the topic while sensationalizing it to sell tickets or boost ratings.
Diana Walsh Pasulka, a professor of philosophy and religion at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and author of "American Cosmic: U.F.O.s, Religion, Technology," said UFO-themed entertainment can be divided into roughly two categories that have coexisted for decades and sometimes overlap.
In the first are titles in which "the UFO event is revealed to be detrimental to humans," such as "Independence Day" and other violent disaster epics. In the second are projects in which UFO encounters take on a gently philosophical dimension and strange visitors are essentially benevolent, such as Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial."
Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" offers a more philosophical portrait of a UFO encounter. Columbia PicturesMark Fergus, a co-writer of the 2011 genre mashup "Cowboys & Aliens," said Hollywood has often stepped in to provide fictional but spiritually resonant explanations for cosmic riddles and national mysteries, such as the "Roswell incident" in 1947. ("Cowboys & Aliens" was co-produced and distributed domestically by Universal Pictures, a unit of NBCUniversal.)
"There's always been a tremendous sense that nobody's adequately explained it all away, to the point where this interest in UFOs lingers in the culture," Fergus said.
Pasulka, however, said she believes that some mass media depictions of UFOs '-- along with the government's attempts to manage national narratives '-- have impeded serious study.
"Lots of people think those who believe in UFOs are weirdos and fringe and marginal," she said. "The credible, serious study of UFOs has been impacted by how people who believe in them have been represented in culture."
In other words, mass entertainment has made it easy to dismiss believers as conspiratorial cartoons rather than treat UFOs as potentially pressing matters of scientific inquiry or even national security.
The day after the former Navy pilot David Fravor spotted an unidentified "Tic-Tac-looking object" during training exercises over the Pacific Ocean in 2004, for instance, the crew on his ship used Hollywood shorthand to razz him. They looped "Men in Black," "Signs" and other alien invasion movies on the internal television channels, Fravor said.
Pasulka observed that over the years, the more conventionally "scary depiction" of UFOs have tended to be more popular, feeding off typical desires to be thrilled and transported. And yet Denis Villeneuve's meditative drama "Arrival," a commercial and critical success released in 2016, offers an interesting case study in the alternative approach.
"Arrival" centers on a linguist (played by Amy Adams) tasked with deciphering the language used by intergalactic visitors inside a spaceship that resembles a metallic black egg. The film unspools its secrets methodically and ultimately reveals itself to be an allegory about the importance of international communication in a world malformed by stubborn nationalism and knee-jerk militarism.
Aaron Ryder, one of the producers of "Arrival," said that when the movie was being shot in Canada in 2015, he felt it was "probably inevitable that there would one day be undeniable evidence that UFOs exist and alien life exists." (Ryder was also executive producer on another modern sci-fi classic: "Donnie Darko.")
"If anything, I'm surprised it's taken this long for more information to come out," Ryder said this week. "I'm wondering why we haven't been demanding this disclosure far earlier. Why should evidence be kept secret? It's about time."
VIDEO - (242) I Am The Last Surviving Prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials - YouTube
Sat, 29 May 2021 18:02
VIDEO - (242) Nurtec TV Commercial, 'Do My Thing' Featuring Whoopi Goldberg - YouTube
Sat, 29 May 2021 17:44
VIDEO - Get ready for the jobs of the future: this week's Radio Davos | World Economic Forum
Sat, 29 May 2021 16:59
The Jobs Reset Summit will take place 1-2 June. Learn more and watch the public sessions here and follow on social media with the hashtag #JobsReset21. Work from Home Facilitator, Algorithm Bias Auditor, Cyber Calamity Forecaster - are these the jobs of the future? This week's Radio Davos digs into just these questions in a special preview to the second annual Jobs Reset Summit. This virtual event held 1-2 June convenes world leaders and top business executives to discuss how factors like wages, job creation and upskilling fit into an inclusive socio-economic COVID-19 recovery.
For a top-level view of these issues. the Forum's Saadia Zahidi joins this week's preview episode to discuss how the pandemic has accelerated job market transformations.
And for insights into whether new roles like 'Cyber Calamity Forecaster' will become more common, Bloomberg TV Editor at Large Francine Lacqua gives her take on an annual future of jobs list drawn up by the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work.
For a sneak peek of the event and this week's podcast episode, see collected highlights below:
Interview highlights - Saadia Zahidi On virtual work:
With a shift towards almost exclusively virtual work for nearly a year, there has been a rise in working hours that is very different from what we've seen in the past, and it is, in part, due to the lockdowns, in part due to the pressures being faced by companies. And that is leading to a broader crisis around health and wellbeing and a need for companies to very consciously rethink what sort of work environment they're creating virtually.
Saadia Zahidi
Image: WEF
On social mobility:
Most generations believe that they can ensure that the next generation will be able to do better than they will: there has been this sort of 'social mobility escalator' that has existed for quite some time. That has fallen apart, when it comes to the technological change of the last five years in particular.
Combine that with the disruption that is currently happening due to the pandemic-induced recession. And combine that with all of the shifts that are being made in terms of a shift towards a more sustainable and greener economy. All of that together is disrupting all of those pathways that people previously had to be able to ensure that the next generation does better than them, that, in their lifetimes, they're able to do better than they had before.
On education and skills:
We don't quite have systems today that work. We have fairly archaic systems that were designed at the time of the first industrial revolution: education systems where schooling of a certain number of years was expected to carry you through to the end of your lifetime. That is simply no longer the case. And so we need one key sector or industry in the social economy which is a skilling-related sector that provides lifelong learning.
The 'jobs of the now'According to the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, new roles will emerge over the next decade and be central to businesses and employees everywhere. The firm's vice-president Robert Brown discussed the findings in a recent article for Agenda stressing that leaders should use such 'future of work' predictions and trends as a prism to help them plan ahead in their own organisations.To get that headstart for your organisation, check out some new roles that Cognizant says will be emerging and reshaping markets:
Work from Home Facilitator
Fitness Commitment Counsellor
Smart Home Design Manager
XR Immersion Counsellor
Workplace Environment Architect
Algorithm Bias Auditor
Data Detective
Cyber Calamity Forecaster
Tidewater Architect
Human-Machine Teaming Manager
Hybrid work - from home and the office
Image: Statista
To learn more:Jobs Reset Summit homepage:
Podcasts mentioned in this episode:
Global Technology Governance Summit:
Follow co-host Francine Lacqua on Twitter:
Mental health in the workplace:
Also mentioned:
The World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report 2021
Find all our podcasts here.
Subscribe: Radio Davos; Meet the Leader
Join the World Economic Forum Podcast Club on Facebook.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
Subscribe for updatesA weekly update of what's on the Global Agenda
VIDEO - (242) Invisible Chains: How Phones Affect Your Brains - YouTube
Sat, 29 May 2021 16:38
VIDEO - (242) The Tuttle Twins children's books teach the ideas of freedom - YouTube
Sat, 29 May 2021 16:36
VIDEO - Hans Mahncke on Twitter: ""the experiments in which the virus was modified to allow for aerosol transmission" ðŸ¤-- h/t @scuba2024" / Twitter
Sat, 29 May 2021 16:13
Hans Mahncke : "the experiments in which the virus was modified to allow for aerosol transmission" ðŸ¤--h/t @scuba2024
Fri May 28 18:22:42 +0000 2021
VIDEO - The Post Millennial on Twitter: "Joe Biden looks at a little girl in the audience, the daughter of a veteran, and says "I love those barrettes in your hair. Man I'll tell you what, look at her she looks like she's 19 years old sitting there like
Sat, 29 May 2021 04:59
The Post Millennial : Joe Biden looks at a little girl in the audience, the daughter of a veteran, and says "I love those barrettes in yo'...
Fri May 28 18:35:26 +0000 2021
CovfefeForT : @TPostMillennial ðŸ®
Sat May 29 04:57:37 +0000 2021
Irwin Gallina : @TPostMillennial Biden needs to seek a mental health professional, these are clearly remarks the President of the U'...
Sat May 29 04:56:33 +0000 2021
Fud Fit : @TPostMillennial
Sat May 29 04:56:22 +0000 2021
Swavek ðŸ : @TPostMillennial Not sure if Joe is the creep or @TPostMillennial for thinking this ðŸ¤--
Sat May 29 04:55:41 +0000 2021
Phantom Roc : @TPostMillennial NO doubt Lamer! Creepy as hell is an understatement! WTF is wrong wit Biden! Im surprised the Vet'...
Sat May 29 04:55:01 +0000 2021
VIDEO - DR Fauci's Opening Statement To Congress 2012 On The Risk Of Dual Research (Gain of Function) - YouTube
Fri, 28 May 2021 20:55
VIDEO - Hans Mahncke on Twitter: ""the experiments in which the virus was modified to allow for aerosol transmission" ðŸ¤-- h/t @scuba2024" / Twitter
Fri, 28 May 2021 20:51
Hans Mahncke : "the experiments in which the virus was modified to allow for aerosol transmission" ðŸ¤--h/t @scuba2024
Fri May 28 18:22:42 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Jeff OB on Twitter: "@scuba2024 @FatEmperor FYI NOAGENDA @adamcurry @THErealDVORAK @MoeFactz Fauci Downfall" / Twitter
Fri, 28 May 2021 19:42
Jeff OB : @scuba2024 @FatEmperor FYI NOAGENDA @adamcurry @THErealDVORAK @MoeFactz Fauci Downfall
Fri May 28 18:52:57 +0000 2021
VIDEO - China 'needs to pay for what they've done' on COVID: Rep. Waltz | Fox Business Video
Fri, 28 May 2021 14:02
(C)2021 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. All market data delayed 20 minutes.
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VIDEO -5mins-17mins- What are the prospects for cryptocurrencies? - CGTN
Fri, 28 May 2021 13:40
Recent weeks have seen a rollercoaster ride for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, with Tesla boss Elon Musk's tweets rocking the crypto-markets and highlighting volatility. And China, which has been home to a large number of bitcoin miners, is stepping up scrutiny over concerns about proper regulation as well as the environmental effects of the high-consumption operations. Is this the beginning of a new era for making and use of cryptocurrencies?
To find out more, we've invited independent current affairs commentator Einar Tangen; Qu Qiang, assistant director of the International Monetary Institute at Renmin University of China; and Anthony Chan, former chief economist of JPMorgan Chase.
VIDEO - (234) Pfizer jab deadlier than AstraZeneca across Europe '' leaked study - YouTube
Fri, 28 May 2021 13:16
VIDEO - (2) Wittgenstein on Twitter: "Dr. Richard Fleming, Physicist-Nuclear cardiologist - shocking if true..." / Twitter
Thu, 27 May 2021 20:39
Wittgenstein : Dr. Richard Fleming, Physicist-Nuclear cardiologist - shocking if true...
Wed May 26 11:48:06 +0000 2021
VIDEO - (227) Nick Offerman testifies on COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence - YouTube
Thu, 27 May 2021 11:59

Clips & Documents

All Clips
+CBS The Late Late Show May 18 - Reggie Watts ask President Obama about his theory on Dem Aliens (1min50sec).mp3
ABC America This Morning - anchor Andrew Dymburt - more incentives for vaccination (30sec).mp3
ABC America This Morning - anchor Andrew Dymburt - olympics could be postponed covid (16sec).mp3
ABC America This Morning - anchor Andrew Dymburt - railway rampage (1) opener (25sec).mp3
ABC America This Morning - anchor Andrew Dymburt - woman drives thru vax event screaming no vaccine (14sec).mp3
ABC America This Morning - anchor Elizabeth Shulze - covid infection could give immunity for life -Dr Alok Patel (31sec).mp3
ABC America This Morning - anchor Elizabeth Shulze - more incentives for vaccination (17sec).mp3
ABC America This Morning - anchor Elizabeth Shulze - origins of covid (1min14sec).mp3
ABC America This Morning - anchor Mona Kosar Abdi - statistics on mass shootings grim -yet support for gun laws down (10sec).mp3
ABC GMA - anchor Dr Jen Ashton - orgins of covid -why push back now (39sec).mp3
ABC This Week - anchor George Stephanopoulus - Colonel Steve Gaynard how should we be thinking about these sightings (1min22sec).mp3
Alex Pierson - Dr. Bridle -2- How vax works-spike protein IN THE BLOODSTREAM.mp3
Alex Pierson - Dr. Bridle -3- Spike Protein gets into the blood and what it does.mp3
Alex Pierson - Dr. Bridle -4- VAERS The Spike Protein is a PATHOGEN TOXIN Infertility.mp3
Alex Pierson - Dr. Byram Bridle, University of Guelph -1- Intro new info The FInal Link.mp3
amazon streaming MPR.mp3
ATF Doofus hearing.mp3
BBC Brood X Cicada report - PROTEIN with Gay culinary expert Bug Apetite.mp3
Biden speech interruption hot kid looks 19.mp3
bogus climate report from CBS.mp3
canned wine NTD.mp3
CGTN - What haooens if Bitcoin succeeds - Asst Dir Int Money Institute Remni University China - We Are All Going To Die.mp3
COVID on Mt Everest.mp3
covid report 2 wtf pbs.mp3
covid report one PBS SAT.mp3
COVID slapping kid.mp3
Dilingpole with Dr Dreiner Fuellmich - lawsuits - 2-3 weeks AND WHY.mp3
Dilingpole with Dr Dreiner Fuellmich - lawsuits - PHEIC pushed by pahrma.mp3
Dr Scott Jenen is back Hospital pediatric admissions data MANIPULATED.mp3
FBN - Buffet pulls out of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.mp3
Fifi LaGarde on negative interest rates in EU.mp3
George Flloyd Description DN.mp3
Health Canada extends expiry date for thousands of AstraZeneca-Oxford doses.mp3
lohmeier Hannity 2.mp3
lohmeier Hannity One.mp3
Marvel Studios Eternals Official Teaser.wav
McCullough FINALE the critics.mp3
McCullough Follow 2 names names.mp3
McCullough Follow 3.mp3
McCullough Follow 4.mp3
McCullough Follow One.mp3
McCullough rant fatality 1.mp3
McCullough rant fatality 2.mp3
McCullough the Marking.mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Jose Diaz-Balart - covid variant in vietnam (21sec).mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Lindsey Reiser - kids and mask debate after CDC revised guidance (1min57sec).mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Miguel Almaguer - railway rampage (2) motive coming into focus (40sec).mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Pete Williams - russia blamed for hack on USAID (1min23sec).mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Peter Alexander - Jan 6th commission fails in senate (54sec).mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Stephanie Goss - CDC revised guidance for mask outdoors (21sec).mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Tom Costello - cybersecurity crackdown (1min23sec).mp3
Nova Scotia's top doctor Robert Strang says there is no need for parents consent to vaccinate kids.mp3
NPR Ads.mp3
Osterholm on unvaxxinated -1- and innoculation passports.mp3
Osterholm on unvaxxinated -2- I'd pay more to keep them away from me Don't want to breathe your air.mp3
PBS looks at violence SF.mp3
Radio Davos - Top 10 Jobs of the Future with Bloomberg TV’s Francine Lacqua.mp3
Rand Paul on afgahn cricket league payments.mp3
RT - Pfizer jab deadlier than AstraZeneca across Europe – leaked study.mp3
San Jose shooter surveillance state two-fer.mp3
Seattle Police quitting NTD.mp3
The Fed this summer will take another step in developing a digital currency.mp3
Thousands of AstraZeneca vaccine doses set to expire in Ontario.mp3
Tom Cotton Army nameing.mp3
WHO Instagram Promo NOT OVER.mp3
WV Gov FINALE Do It For Baby Dog.mp3
WV Gov vax incentives 1 Why let OHIO dominate.mp3
WV Gov vax incentives 2 LOTS of prizes REGISTER NOW.mp3
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