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Medical Martial Law? (Updated on 12/2/2020)

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COMMENT: Real con­ser­v­a­tives are scarcer than hen’s teeth–the vast major­i­ty of peo­ple call­ing them­selves “con­ser­v­a­tives” are fas­cists.

real con­ser­v­a­tive would be appalled at the details of the unfold­ing of the Covid-19 treat­ment pro­gram.

In pre­vi­ous posts and pro­grams, we have not­ed that Mod­er­na’s vac­cine work has been financed by DARPA. We have also not­ed that the over­all head of Oper­a­tion Warp Speed is Mon­cef Slaoui, for­mer­ly in charge of prod­uct devel­op­ment for Mod­er­na!

Of great sig­nif­i­cance is the cen­tral role of the mil­i­tary in the devel­op­ment of treat­ment for Covid-19:

  1. We note that: ” . . . . Remde­sivir pre­dates this pan­dem­ic. It was first con­sid­ered as a poten­tial treat­ment for Ebo­la, and was devel­oped through a long­stand­ing part­ner­ship between the U.S. Army and the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion. . . .”
  2. Jonathan King, who has chaired the micro­bial phys­i­ol­o­gy study sec­tion for the NIH has sound­ed the alarm about “vac­cine research” mask­ing offen­sive bio­log­i­cal war­fare research: “. . . . King, who has chaired the micro­bial phys­i­ol­o­gy study sec­tion for the NIH, believes that with­out inten­sive inde­pen­dent scruti­ny, the Pen­ta­gon is free to obscure its true goals. ‘The Defense Depart­ment appears to be pur­su­ing many nar­row, applied goals that are by nature offen­sive, such as the genet­ic ‘improve­ment’ of BW agents,’ King says. ‘But to achieve polit­i­cal accept­abil­i­ty, they mask these inten­tions under forms of research, such as vac­cine devel­op­ment, which sound defen­sive. . . .”
  3. Mod­er­na’s vac­cine devel­op­ment was over­seen by an unnamed Pen­ta­gon offi­cial: ” . . . . Moderna’s team was head­ed by a Defense Depart­ment offi­cial whom com­pa­ny exec­u­tives described only as ‘the major,’ say­ing they don’t know if his name is sup­posed to be a secret. . . . .”
  4. The per­va­sive role of the mil­i­tary in Oper­a­tion Warp Speed (the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s vac­cine devel­op­ment pro­gram) has gen­er­at­ed alarm in civil­ian par­tic­i­pants:”. . . . Scores of Defense Depart­ment employ­ees are laced through the gov­ern­ment offices involved in the effort, mak­ing up a large por­tion of the fed­er­al per­son­nel devot­ed to the effort.  Those num­bers have led some cur­rent and for­mer offi­cials at the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion to pri­vate­ly grum­ble that the military’s role in Oper­a­tion Warp Speed was too large for a task that is, at its core, a pub­lic health cam­paign. . . .
  5. Gen­er­al Gus­tave Perna–one of the prin­ci­pals in Oper­a­tion Warp Speed–has cho­sen a retired Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al to over­see much of the pro­gram: ” . . . . ‘Frankly, it has been breath­tak­ing to watch,’ said Paul Ostrows­ki, the direc­tor of sup­ply, pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion for Oper­a­tion Warp Speed. He is a retired Army lieu­tenant gen­er­al who was select­ed to man­age logis­tics for the pro­gram by Gen. Gus­tave F. Per­na, the chief oper­at­ing offi­cer for Oper­a­tion Warp Speed. . . .”
  6. The mil­i­tary will be able to trace the des­ti­na­tion and admin­is­tra­tion of each dose: ” . . . . Mil­i­tary offi­cials also came up with the clever idea — if it works — to coor­di­nate the deliv­ery of vac­cines to drug­stores, med­ical cen­ters and oth­er immu­niza­tion sites by send­ing kits full of nee­dles, syringes and alco­hol wipes. Vac­cine mak­ers will be alert­ed when the kits arrive at an immu­niza­tion site so they know to ship dos­es. Once the first dose is giv­en, the man­u­fac­tur­er will be noti­fied so it can send the sec­ond dose with a patient’s name attached sev­er­al weeks lat­er. The mil­i­tary will also mon­i­tor vac­cine dis­tri­b­u­tion through an oper­a­tions cen­ter. ‘They will know where every vac­cine dose is,’ Mr. [Paul] Man­go said on a call with reporters. . . .”

The opaque char­ac­ter of Big Phar­ma’s vac­cine con­tract­ing with the U.S. is exac­er­bat­ed by the fact that the firms man­u­fac­tur­ing the prod­uct are work­ing through a third par­ty cor­po­rate enti­ty called ATI.

 1. “Why We Know So Lit­tle About Pfizer’s Vac­cine Deal with the US” by Katie Palmer; Quartz; 11/9/2020.

On Nov. 9, Pfiz­er and its part­ner BioN­Tech announced some ear­ly results for their Covid-19 vac­cine can­di­date. Data from a late-stage clin­i­cal tri­al show the two-dose shot could be 90% effec­tive at pre­vent­ing infections—a promis­ing devel­op­ment that quick­ly devolved into a fight for brag­ging rights.

Vice pres­i­dent Mike Pence attrib­uted the news to Oper­a­tion Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s “pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship,” while Pfiz­er tried to take cred­it for its own work. Although the com­pa­ny did strike a deal worth $1.95 bil­lion for the US gov­ern­ment to pur­chase 100 mil­lion dos­es of the vac­cine, it empha­sized that it received no fed­er­al fund­ing for vac­cine research and devel­op­ment.

What’s behind the con­fu­sion? In part, it’s because of the way many Oper­a­tion Warp Speed con­tracts have been exe­cut­ed, with their terms large­ly invis­i­ble to the pub­lic.

Oper­a­tion Warp Speed (OWS) is the pub­lic face of the fed­er­al effort to rapid­ly devel­op and dis­trib­ute vac­cines and treat­ments for Covid-19. But under the hood, the effort’s largest agree­ments with vac­cine companies—totaling more than $6 billion—have been man­aged by a third par­ty, a defense-ori­ent­ed non­prof­it called Advanced Tech­nol­o­gy Inter­na­tion­al (ATI). A new crop of vac­cine agree­ments set to be made through ATI may be just as opaque as the first.

For more than 20 years, ATI has man­aged fed­er­al­ly-fund­ed research and devel­op­ment col­lab­o­ra­tions for the Depart­ment of Defense. One of those col­lab­o­ra­tions, the Med­ical CBRN Defense Con­sor­tium, is focused on pro­tect­ing mil­i­tary per­son­nel against chem­i­cal, bio­log­i­cal, radi­o­log­i­cal, and nuclear threats—including virus­es they could encounter in the line of duty, like Ebo­la.

So ATI had some expe­ri­ence with vac­cine deals before the pan­dem­ic. On Jun. 9, it made the shift to Covid-19 vac­cines, solic­it­ing com­pa­nies’ pro­pos­als for research, devel­op­ment, and large-scale man­u­fac­tur­ing. Less than a month lat­er, the US had made its first agree­ment, a deal with Novavax worth up to $1.6 bil­lion.

But the pre­cise terms of that deal, and the one with Pfiz­er that came short­ly after, are still unclear. . . .

. . . . It would be eas­i­er to under­stand the dif­fer­ence between invest­ment and procurement—and what Oper­a­tion Warp Speed could rea­son­ably take cred­it for—if the con­tracts were made pub­lic. Nor­mal­ly, when the gov­ern­ment makes an agree­ment with a con­trac­tor, it has to fol­low fed­er­al acqui­si­tion reg­u­la­tions. But with ATI as an inter­me­di­ary, these bil­lion-dol­lar deals instead fall under some­thing called an “oth­er trans­ac­tion agree­ment” that isn’t sub­ject to the same kinds of cross-checks and account­abil­i­ty. . . .

2. “ATI Builds and Man­ages R & D Col­lab­o­ra­tions;” ATI—About Us.

ATI recruits, orga­nizes, and man­ages teams of large and small busi­ness­es, aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions, and non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions to devel­op new tech­nolo­gies for our fed­er­al clients. We don’t bring our solu­tion; we bring the best solu­tion for the DoD’s most urgent chal­lenges.

A hall­mark of ATI-man­aged col­lab­o­ra­tions is access to non-tra­di­tion­als, inno­v­a­tive com­pa­nies that have not tra­di­tion­al­ly worked with Gov­ern­ment due to the com­plex­i­ty of Fed­er­al con­tract­ing. We vet these inno­va­tors, teach them how to work with the Gov­ern­ment, and pro­vide online and in-per­son forums where they can meet and part­ner with tra­di­tion­al defense con­trac­tors.

In today’s envi­ron­ment of increas­ing­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed adver­saries and rapid tech­nol­o­gy refresh, speed of tech­nol­o­gy acqui­si­tion is crit­i­cal to the DoD. ATI’s exper­tise in pro­gram man­age­ment and rapid con­tract­ing ensures that we deliv­er new tech­nolo­gies at the speed of mis­sion.


One comment for “Medical Martial Law? (Updated on 12/2/2020)”

  1. I need new con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. All my old ones have proven to be right...

    Posted by Susan Anderson | December 2, 2020, 6:49 am

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