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Brownstone Institute

The FDA’s Ties to the Gates Foundation

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10 minute read

From the Brownstone Institute

BY Maryanne DemasiMARYANNE DEMASI 

In 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Under the MOU, the two entities agreed to share information to “facilitate the development of innovative products, including medical countermeasures,” such as diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics to combat disease transmission during a pandemic.

The FDA has MOUs with many academic and non-profit organizations, but few have as much to gain as Bill Gates, who has invested billions into pandemic countermeasures.

Experts are concerned the Gates Foundation could have undue influence over the FDA’s regulatory decisions of these countermeasures.

David Gortler, an ex-senior adviser to the FDA commissioner between 2019 and 2021, says he is “suspicious” of the MOU.

“If the Gates Foundation establishes an MOU with a regulator on a product they want to develop, it seems like it would be a conflict of interest.  What if every other drug company did the exact same thing as the Gates Foundation?” he says.

Gortler, now a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, explained that normally, meetings between developers and regulators are supposed to be an official part of the public record and subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.

“However, an MOU such as this can circumvent the usual requirements for the transparency of official communications,” says Gortler. “This way their communications can be kept secret.”

David Bell, a former medical officer for the World Health Organization (WHO) who now works as a public health physician and biotech consultant, agrees that the MOU has potential to corrupt the regulatory process.

“The narrative is that philanthropic foundations can only be good, because they’re making vaccines and saving thousands of lives, so we need to cut the red tape and help the FDA get stuff done quickly otherwise children will die,” says Bell. “But in reality, it has potential to corrupt the whole system.”

Bell adds, “Speaking generally, close relationships between regulators and developers raise inevitable risks that shortcuts and favours will breakdown the rigorousness of the product review, putting the public at risk.”

Revolving door

The FDA has been roundly criticised for its “revolving door.” Ten of the past 11 FDA commissioners left the agency and secured roles with pharmaceutical companies they once regulated.

Similarly, the Gates Foundation hired high-ranking members of the FDA, who bring with them intimate knowledge of the regulatory process.

For example, Murray Lumpkin had a 24-year career at the FDA, serving as senior advisor to the FDA commissioner and representative for global issues. Now, he is deputy director of regulatory affairs at the Gates Foundation, and signatory on the MOU.

And Margaret Hamburg, who served as FDA commissioner between 2009 and 2015, is now on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Gates Foundation.

Murray Lumpkin, deputy director regulatory affairs, Gates Foundation; Margaret Hamburg, scientific advisory board, Gates Foundation

Bell has no doubt that these appointments were strategic to “game the system” saying, “If I worked at the Gates Foundation, I would certainly hire somebody like Murray Lumpkin.”

The only way to fix the revolving door problem Bell says, is to have a ‘non-compete clause’ in their contracts.

“It might be that FDA employees cannot work for the people they’ve regulated for at least 10 years. There are places that have those rules – private companies have agreements that you can’t work for a rival,” said Bell.

The FDA dismissed questions about the potential for conflicts of interest, or the lack of transparency over its communications with the Gates Foundation. In a statement, the FDA said:

FDA regulatory decision making is science-based. Former FDA officials do not impact regulatory decisions. FDA only collaborates with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation under the MOU as described.

Gates has billions at stake

Gates boasted about receiving a 20-to-1 return on his $10 billion investment into the “financing and delivery” of medicines and vaccines.

“It’s the best investment I’ve ever made,” he wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “Decades ago, these investments weren’t sure bets, but today, they almost always pay off in a big way.”

In Sept 2019, just prior to the pandemic, SEC filings showed the foundation purchased over 1 million shares in BioNTech (Pfizer’s partner) for $18.10/share. By Nov 2021, the foundation dumped most of the stock for an average of $300/share.

Investigative journalist Jordan Schachtel reported the foundation pocketed approximately $260 million in profit – more than 15 times its original investment – most of it untaxed because it was invested through the foundation.

In his recent book, How to Prevent the Next Pandemic, Gates warns that future pandemics are the biggest threat to humankind and that survival depends on global pandemic preparedness strategies, firmly positioning himself at the center of shaping the agenda.

In October 2019, the Gates Foundation and the World Economic Forum hosted Event 201, which gathered government agencies, social media companies, and national security organizations to war game a “fictional” global pandemic.

Oct 2019, Gates and WEF fund Event 201 to simulate a global pandemic response

The key recommendations from the event were that such a crisis would require the deployment of new vaccines, surveillance, and control of information and human behaviours, by orchestrating the cooperation and coordination of key industries, national governments, and international institutions.

Several weeks later when the covid-19 pandemic emerged, many aspects of this ‘hypothetical scenario’ became a chilling reality.

The Gates Foundation, which holds shares in a range of drug companies including Merck, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, is now credited with wielding significant influence over the direction of the global response to the pandemic, saying its goal is to “vaccinate the entire world” with a covid-19 vaccine.

Global dominance

The Gates Foundation has poured millions into funding NGOs, media, and international agencies, earning Gates significant political clout.

Financial contributions to the media have garnered Gates favourable news coverage, boasting on the foundation’s website it committed almost $3.5 million to the Guardian in 2020 – 2023.

The UK medicines regulator – the MHRA – disclosed it took approximately $3 million in funding from the Gates Foundation in 2022, which would span across several financial years.

Presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy, Jr labelled Gates “the most powerful man in public health” because he managed to steer the WHO’s pandemic strategy to focus primarily on vaccination.

Kennedy said in an interview that the WHO “begs and rolls over” for Gates’ funding, which now makes up over 88 percent of the total amount of the WHO’s donations by philanthropic foundations.

“I think [Gates] believes that he is somehow ordained divinely to bring salvation to the world through technology,” said Kennedy. “He believes the only path to good health is inside a syringe.”

The Gates Foundation’s CEO Mark Suzman responded to concerns that the foundation has “disproportionate sway in setting national and global agendas, without any formal accountability to voters or international bodies.”

“It’s true that between our dollars, voice, and convening power, we have access and influence that many others do not,” admitted Suzman in his 2023 annual letter .

“But make no mistake – where there’s a solution that can improve livelihoods and save lives, we’ll advocate persistently for it. We won’t stop using our influence, along with our monetary commitments, to find solutions,” he wrote.

Republished from the author’s Substack

Author

  • Maryanne Demasi

    Maryanne Demasi, 2023 Brownstone Fellow, is an investigative medical reporter with a PhD in rheumatology, who writes for online media and top tiered medical journals. For over a decade, she produced TV documentaries for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and has worked as a speechwriter and political advisor for the South Australian Science Minister.

Brownstone Institute

Deborah Birx Gets Her Close-Up

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From the Brownstone Institute

BY Bill RiceBILL RICE 

According to Birx, she intentionally buried the more draconian elements of the lockdowns in text at the end of long documents, theorizing (correctly apparently) that most reporters or readers would just “skim” the document and would not focus on how extreme and unprecedented these mandates actually were.

Most Americans will remember Dr. Deborah Birx as the “scarf lady” who served on the White House’s Covid Response Team beginning in February 2020.

According to a recently-released (but little-seen) 24-minute mini-documentary, it was Birx – even more so than Anthony Fauci – who was responsible for government “guidelines,” almost all of which proved to be unnecessary and disastrous for the country.

According to the documentary, the guidelines ran counter to President Trump’s initial comments on Covid, but ultimately “toppled the White House (and Trump) without a shot being fired.”

The mini-documentary (“It Wasn’t Fauci: How the Deep State Really Played Trump”) was produced by Good Kid Productions. Not surprisingly, the scathing 24-minute video has received relatively few views on YouTube (only 46,500 since it was published 40 days ago on Feb. 26).

I learned of the documentary from a colleague at Brownstone Institute, who added his opinion that “Birx (is) far more culpable than Fauci in the Covid disaster…Well worth the time to see the damage an utter non-scientist, CIA-connected, bureaucrat can do to make sure things are maximally bad.”

I agree; the significant role played by Birx in the catastrophic national response to Covid has not received nearly enough attention.

Brought in from out of Nowhere…

From the video presentation, viewers learn that Birx was added to the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force as its coordinator in latter February 2020.

Birx worked closely with Task Force chairman Vice President Mike Pence, a man one suspects will not be treated well by future historians.

According to the documentary, “career bureaucrats” like Birx somehow seized control of the executive branch of government and were able to issue orders to mayors and governors which effectively “shut down the country.”

These bureaucrats were often incompetent in their prior jobs as was Birx, who’d previously served as a scientist (ha!) in the Army before leading the government’s effort to “fight AIDS in Africa” (via the PEPFAR Program).

When Birx was installed as coordinator of Covid Response she simply rehashed her own playbook for fighting AIDS in Africa, say the filmmakers.

The three tenets of this response were:

  1. “Treat every case of this virus as a killer.”
  2. “Focus on children,” who, the public was told, were being infected and hospitalized in large numbers and were a main conduit for spreading the virus.
  3. “Get to zero cases as soon as possible.” (The “Zero Covid” goal).

The documentary primarily uses quotes from Scott Atlas, the White House Task Force’s one skeptic, to show that all three tenets were false.

Argued Atlas: Covid was not a killer – or a genuine mortality risk – to “99.95 percent” of the population. Children had virtually zero risk of death or hospitalization from Covid. And there was no way to get to “zero cases.”

Atlas Didn’t Shrug, but was Ignored…

Furthermore, the documentary convincingly illustrates how the views of Atlas were ignored and how, at some point, his ability to speak to the press was curtailed or eliminated.

For example, when Atlas organized a meeting for President Trump with Covid-response skeptics (including the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration) this meeting was schedule to last only five minutes.

The documentary also presents a report from the inspector general of the Department of State that was highly critical of Birx’s management style with the African “AIDS relief” program she headed.

Among other claims, the report said she was “dictatorial” in her dealings with subordinates and often “issued threats” to those who disagreed with her approach.

Shockingly, this highly-critical report was published just a month before she was appointed medical coordinator of the Coronavirus Task Force.

A particularly distressing sound bite from Birx lets viewers hear her opinion on how controversial “guidance” might be implemented with little pushback.

According to Birx, she intentionally buried the more draconian elements of the lockdowns in text at the end of long documents, theorizing (correctly apparently) that most reporters or readers would just “skim” the document and would not focus on how extreme and unprecedented these mandates actually were.

The documentary points out that Birx’s prescriptions and those of President Trump were often in complete conflict.

Birx, according to the documentary, once pointed this out to Vice President Pence, who told her to keep doing what she believed.

Indeed, the Vice President gave Birx full use of Air Force 2 so she could more easily travel across the country, spreading her lockdown message to governors, mayors, and other influencers.

Several Covid skeptic writers, including Jeffrey Tucker of Brownstone Institute, have noted that President Trump himself went from an opponent of draconian lockdowns to an avid supporter of these responses in a period of just one or two days (the pivotal change happened on or around March 10th, 2020, according to Tucker).

Whoever or whatever caused this change in position, it does not seem to be a coincidence that this about-face happened shortly after Birx – a former military officer – was named to an important position on the Task Force.

(Personally, I don’t give Anthony Fauci a pass as I’ve always figured he’s a “dark master” at manipulating members of the science/medical/government complex to achieve his own desired results.)

This documentary highlights the crucial role played by Deborah Birx and, more generally, how unknown bureaucrats can make decisions that turn the world upside-down.

That is, most Americans probably think presidents are in charge, but, often, they’re really not. These real rulers of society, one suspects, would include members of the so-called Deep State, who have no doubt installed sycophants like Fauci and Birx in positions of power.

I definitely recommend this 24-minute video.

A Sample of Reader Comments…

I also enjoyed the Reader Comments that followed this video. The first comment is from my Brownstone colleague who brought this documentary to my attention:

“… As I said, things can change over the period of 20 years but in the case of Birx/Fauci, I do not believe so. I have never seen people entrenched in the bureaucracy change.”

Other comments from the people who have viewed the mini-documentary on YouTube:

“Pence needs to be held accountable.”

“What does Debbie’s bank account look like?”

“(The) final assessment of President Trump at the 23:30 mark is, while painful, accurate. He got rolled.”

“This is very hard to find on YouTube. You can literally search the title and it doesn’t come up.”

“Excellent summary, hope this goes viral. Lots of lessons to learn for future generations.”

“Eye opening. Great reporting.”

Post from One Month Ago…

“37 likes after 3 years of the most controversial and divisive action in recent history. How can this be?”

“Oh never mind. YouTube hid it from the public for years.”

“Probably hasn’t been taken down yet for that reason, relatively low views.”

“Thanks for this! Sounds like everyone below President Trump was on a power trip and I didn’t think it was possible to despise Pence more than I already do.”

“…the backing of CDC, legacy media, WHO and government schools, business folding in fear are ALL responsible. Accountability for every person and agency is paramount!”

“Should be noted that her work on AIDS in Africa was just as useless and damaging.”

“First, any mature, adult woman who speaks with that much vocal fry should be immediately suspect. And the glee with which she recounts her role at undermining POTUS is remarkable and repulsive. This woman should NEVER be allowed to operate the levers of power again.”

Republished from the author’s Substack

Author

  • Bill Rice

    Bill Rice, Jr. is a freelance journalist in Troy, Alabama.

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Brownstone Institute

Justices’ Grave Error in Murthy v. Missouri

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute

BY Aaron KheriatyAARON KHERIATY 

Along with my co-plaintiffs, I was at the Supreme Court last week for oral arguments in our Murthy v. Missouri case, in which we are challenging the federal government’s alleged censorship on social media. The Supreme Court will likely rule in June whether to uphold, modify, or strike down the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ injunction against five federal agencies, in what, the district court judge wrote, “arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history.”

At the hearing, Justice Samuel Alito pointed out that emails between the White House and Facebook “showed constant pestering of Facebook.” He went on to comment, “I cannot imagine federal officials taking this approach to the print media…It’s treating these platforms like subordinates.” He then asked the government’s attorney, “Would you treat the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal this way? Do you think the print media considers themselves ‘partners’ with government? I can’t imagine the federal government doing that to them.”

The government’s attorney had to admit, “The anger is unusual” — referring to White House official Rob Flaherty literally cursing at a Facebook executive and berating him for not taking action quickly enough to comply with the government’s censorship demands.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh followed up, asking, “On the anger point, do you think federal government officials regularly call up journalists and berate them?” It’s worth recalling that Kavanaugh worked as a White House attorney before he was appointed to the court, as did Justices John Roberts and Elena Kagan. No doubt there were times they dialed a journalist or editor to try to convince them to change a story, clarify a factual assertion, or even hold or quash the publication of a piece. Kavanaugh admitted, “It’s not unusual for the government to claim national security or wartime necessity to suppress a story.”

Perhaps colorful language is sometimes used in these conversations, as Kavanaugh himself hinted. Kagan concurred: “Like Justice Kavanaugh, I have had some experience encouraging the press to suppress its own speech…This happens literally thousands of times a day in the federal government.” With a wink to the other former executive branch attorneys on the bench, Roberts quipped, “I have no experience coercing anyone,” which generated a rare chuckle from the bench and audience.

This analogy to government interactions with print media, however, does not hold in the case of the government’s relationship with social mediaThere are several crucial differences that profoundly change the power dynamic of those interactions in ways directly relevant to our case. These differences facilitate, in Alito’s words, the government treating the platforms like subordinates in ways that would be impossible with print media.

Behind the Scenes

First, when a government official contacts a newspaper, he is talking directly to the journalist or editor — the person whose speech he is trying to alter or curtail. The writer or editor has the freedom to say, “I see your point, so I’ll hold my story for one week to allow the CIA time to get their spies out of Afghanistan.” But the speaker also has the freedom to say, “Nice try, but I’m not persuaded I got the facts wrong on this, so I’m running the story.” The publisher here has the power, and there is little the government can do to threaten that power.

By contrast, with requests or demands for social media censorship, the government was never talking with the person whose speech was censored, but with a third party operating entirely behind the scenes. As my co-plaintiff, the eminent epidemiologist Dr. Martin Kulldorff, quipped, “I would have been happy to get a call from a government official and hear about why I should take down a post or change my views on the scientific evidence.”

Power Dynamic

Additionally, there is little the government can do to destroy the business model and cripple the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, and the journalists and editors know this. If the government pushes too hard, it will also be front page news the next day: “Government Trying to Bully The Post to Censor Our Breaking Story,” with the lede, “Naturally, we told them to go pound sand.”

But the power dynamic is entirely different with Facebook, Google, and X (formerly Twitter): The government does have a sword of Damocles to hang over the head of noncompliant social media companies if they refuse to censor — in fact, several swords, including the threat to remove Section 230 liability protections, which Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has accurately called an “existential threat” to their business, or threats to break up their monopolies. As the record in our lawsuit shows, the government explicitly made just such threats, even publicly on several occasions, in direct connection to their censorship demands.

Furthermore, unlike the major tech companies, newspapers or magazines do not have massive government contracts that might disappear if they refuse to comply. When the FBI or Department of Homeland Security calls Facebook or X with censorship demands, the corporate executives know that a weaponized agency has the power to launch frivolous but onerous investigations at any time. It thus becomes virtually impossible for social media companies to tell the government to take a hike — indeed, they may have a fiduciary duty to shareholders not to incur serious risks by resisting government pressure.

The text of the First Amendment doesn’t say the government shall not “prevent” or “forbid” free speech; it says the government shall not “abridge” free speech — i.e., shall not do anything to lesson a citizen’s ability to speak or diminish one’s potential reach. A sensible and clear injunction would simply state, “Government shall not request that social media companies remove or suppress legal speech.”

But if the justices want to distinguish between persuasion and coercion in the injunction, they need to appreciate that social media companies operate in a very different relationship with government than traditional print media. These asymmetrical power dynamics create a relationship ripe for unconstitutional government coercion.

Republished from The Federalist

Author

  • Aaron Kheriaty

    Aaron Kheriaty, Senior Brownstone Institute Counselor, is a Scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, DC. He is a former Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California at Irvine School of Medicine, where he was the director of Medical Ethics.

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