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House COVID Committee Confirms What We Have Long Suspected — The Feds Really Hate Transparency

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From the Daily Caller News Foundation

By ADAM ANDRZEJEWSKI

 

Last week details emerged from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, confirming what government transparency advocates long suspected: Federal bureaucrats are purposefully stonewalling the American people’s right to know about their government.

Republican Kentucky Rep. James Comer, who chairs the full House Oversight and Accountability Committee, read from an email that Dr. David Morens, a top aide to Dr. Anthony Fauci, sent claiming that a staffer inside the National Institutes of Health (NIH) had shown him how to erase records requested by the public.

He was corresponding with Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, the organization that used tax dollars to fund controversial gain-of-function research in Wuhan, where the COVID outbreak began. The Department of Health and Human Services has since suspended funding of EcoHealth Alliance.

Morens wrote: “I learned from our FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) lady here how to make emails disappear after I am FOIA’d, but before the search starts. So, I think we are all safe. Plus, I deleted most of those earlier emails after sending them to Gmail.”

The implications for government transparency are enormous. How often do NIH staffers conceal what they do with our tax dollars? Why did a FOIA officer feel empowered to assist subjects of FOIA requests? How else do FOIA offers interfere with these requests? Has this behavior spread to the Centers for Disease Control and other agencies?

Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com can speak to the problem. We have spent years — and gone to court — to force NIH to reveal the royalties paid to government scientists through medical innovation licensing.

When Americans are considering a drug or therapeutic recommended by public health officials, they deserve to understand all the financial stakes at play. Were any decision makers receiving payments? Were they continuing more lucrative research at the expense of other public health solutions?

For many, the question looming largest has been whether the relentless COVID vaccine push was driven by a potential windfall for NIH and certain scientists there.

When we first filed a FOIA, the agency ignored us and then refused to release the information.

After suing, NIH was required to release the information and began doing so incrementally due to the high volume of data. Tallied from 2009 through 2020, it amounted to an enormous sum–over $325 million paid by private companies to NIH and its scientists over 56,000 transactions.

Previously, we’d also discovered that Dr. Fauci, the face of the nation’s COVID response, was the highest compensated bureaucrat in the country. He out-earned President Biden. He out-earned his own boss, then-Acting NIH Director Lawrence Tabak.

Along with Fauci, who scoffed at concerns about royalty payments, Tabak faced questions from Congress.

In a March 2023 budget hearing, Rep. John Moolenaar told Tabak an obvious truth: every single, secret royalty payment represents a potential conflict of interest.

“To me, one of the biggest concerns people had during this last couple years is: Were they getting truthful information from their government? Could they trust what people were saying about the medicines? To me, that creates a very disturbing appearance.”

“The idea that people were getting a financial benefit from certain research that was done and grants that were awarded, that to me is the height of the appearance of a conflict of interest,” Moolenaar concluded.

The lawmaker urged NIH to make the money trail more transparent.

It was Tabak in the hot seat again last week, as Comer recited Morens’ outrageous email message.

Was the behavior he described consistent with NIH policy, Comer asked? “It is not,” Tabak responded flatly.

Did the FOIA team at NIH help its colleagues avoid transparency? “I certainly hope not,” Tabak offered.

Hope doesn’t suffice in this situation. It demands that lawmakers strengthen transparency law, update it for the 21st century and create some consequences for bad actors.

There are a few primary ways bureaucrats and decisionmakers violate the spirit of the law.

First, they overuse a series of exemptions designed to protect national security secrets or privacy laws. Too much is omitted through these exceptions; the American people deserve the full truth.

When documents are produced, they’re too often rendered useless through excessive redactions. We’re still fighting in real time to get more pieces of the royalty puzzle revealed.

Next, unreasonable delays are blamed on staffing levels, while many FOIA-related roles sit open. Agencies must prioritize filling those seats and Congress should appropriate more of them as needed.

Finally, we have the behavior Morens describes. A post facto effort to simply abscond with the information. It’s not just a policy violation but an affront to the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act. What consequences do these staffers ever truly face?

Until we get serious about protecting transparency, “FOIA lady” will be a duly anonymous symbol of what many have suspected: government employees hustling to cover their tracks.

Adam Andrzejewski is founder & CEO of OpenTheBooks.com, the nation’s largest private database of public spending.

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Civil liberties group demands Fauci preserve records with Big Tech for COVID collusion lawsuit

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, testifies during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing about the federal response to monkeypox, on Capitol Hill September 14, 2022, in Washington, D.C.           Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

From LifeSiteNews

By Didi Rankovic for Reclaim The Net.

The records in question are relevant to a major First Amendment case alleging collusion between the government and tech companies, Murthy v. Missouri (formerly Missouri v. Biden), which is currently in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) non-profit has sent a letter to Dr. Anthony Fauci and several medical and other U.S. officials, as well as to Google, making sure they are formally notified of their obligations to preserve communications records.

The records in question are relevant to a major First Amendment case alleging collusion between the government and tech companies, Murthy v. Missouri (formerly Missouri v. Biden), which is currently in the U.S. Supreme Court.

We obtained a copy of the letter for you here.

The NCLA letter specified that the request pertains to all documents and electronically stored information, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34.

Those named in the letter are former chief medical adviser to President Biden Dr. Anthony Fauci, his colleague from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (that Fauci headed during the pandemic) Dr. David Morens, Adam Kirschner of the U.S. State Department, and Google General Counsel Halimah DeLaine Prado, among others.

The letter recalled that Fauci is a defendant in the landmark First Amendment case, alleging that he and other government officials named in Murthy v. Missouri – including the president himself – engaged in unconstitutional censorship of social media around Covid issues such as lockdowns, mask mandates, and vaccines.

NCLA has joined the plaintiffs in Murthy v. Missouri and is now in that capacity requesting that Fauci, Morens, and others preserve all documents, including drafts and copies, and paper files maintained by their staff that are relevant to the case.

The letter lists examples of the sort of communications that, if deleted to further the interests of the defendants, would in effect unfairly influence the outcome of this pivotal case.

Additionally, the letter warns that Fauci and Morens were using private emails unlawfully, but that an act or attempt of deleting those messages would in itself be illegal.

In line with that, the letter says the request to preserve documents applies not only to communications made through official but also unofficial channels – including third-party messaging and social media apps.

NCLA’s own, direct “skin in the game” is spelled out in a statement that says, “Our clients, who include top doctors and scientists, were censored for social media posts that turned out to be factually accurate, depriving the public of valuable perspectives during a public health crisis.”

This refers to epidemiologists and co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, Jayanta Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, Aaron Kheriaty, and Jill Hines. The statement added:

We’re optimistic that the majority will look at the record and recognize that this was a sprawling government censorship enterprise without precedent in this country, and that this cannot be permitted to continue if the First Amendment is to survive.

Reprinted with permission from Reclaim The Net.

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The Telegraph reports COVID shots may have helped cause over 3 million excess deaths

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From LifeSiteNews

By Emily Mangiaracina

A BMJ study found that there have been over three million excess deaths in 47 countries from 2020 to 2022 and acknowledged that the COVID shots may have had ‘detrimental effects,’ the Telegraph reported.

The popular U.K. media outlet the Telegraph published a report Tuesday admitting that a recent peer-reviewed study shows COVID shots “may have helped fuel a rise in excess deaths” numbering over three million.

The medical journal BMJ Public Health conducted a data analysis of 47 countries, largely in Europe and North America, which found high excess death rates for three continuous years since the outbreak of COVID-19.

“This is unprecedented and raises serious concerns,” the researchers concluded. They noted that it was “likely” that “containment measures” increased the death rate, but that it is difficult to prove the fatal effects of restricted health care and economic decline.

The researchers also pointed out that the COVID shots, like the containment measures, may have had “detrimental effects that cause inferior outcomes,” especially since clinical trials have shown that recipients of the mRNA vaccines have shown substantially higher instances of adverse events than control groups.

Using a statistical method called Karlinsky and Kobak’s estimate model, the study compared death rates in given countries from 2020 to 2022 to death data from 2015 to 2019, accounting for seasonal variation in mortality rates.

The researchers found 1,033,122 excess deaths – 11.5% more than expected – recorded in the countries in 2020, when the COVID-19 outbreak began and measures such as lockdowns and social distancing were enacted.

In 2021, when the COVID shots were widely made available for public use and “containment” measures continued, 1,256,942 excess deaths – just under 14% more than expected – were recorded.

And in 2022, when the COVID shot rollout continued and most containment measures were lifted, 808,392 excess deaths were recorded, although the researchers pointed out there is a typical data reporting lag of months or even years in many countries.

The Telegraph highlighted the fact that the “onset of excess mortality in early 2021” in Germany synchronized with the rollout of COVID shots, according to German researchers who have said this calls for “further investigation.”

The researchers noted that “side effects linked to the Covid vaccine had included ischaemic stroke, acute coronary syndrome and brain haemorrhage, cardiovascular diseases, coagulation, haemorrhages, gastrointestinal events and blood clotting,” the Telegraph said.

The British media outlet also pointed to the repeated warnings of Gordon Wishart, chief medical officer at Check4Cancer, that delaying cancer diagnoses would cause increased deaths.

“It was predicted early in the lockdown period that limited access to healthcare for non-Covid conditions would lead to delays in the diagnosis and treatment of time-critical conditions such as cancer, cardiac disease, diabetes and dementia and that this would lead to excess deaths from these conditions,” Wishart said, The Telegraph reported.

According to NHS England data, the cancer rate fell from 521 per 100,000 people in the year before lockdowns to 456 from 2020-2021, “suggesting around 45,000 cancers were missed in the first pandemic year.”

“Government leaders and policy makers need to thoroughly investigate underlying causes of persistent excess mortality and evaluate their health crisis policies,” the researchers concluded.

U.S. citizens: Demand Congress investigate soaring excess death rates

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