Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

Cyber Attribution, the Mega-Hacks of 2021, and the Existential Threat of Blind Faith in Bad-Faith

Move over COVID. 2021 is turn­ing out to be anoth­er year of the dig­i­tal virus. One mas­sive hack­ing sto­ry after anoth­er. Unre­lat­ed sto­ries in many cas­es, we are told. In par­tic­u­lar:
1. The Solar­Winds mega-hack announced in Decem­ber of 2020, blamed on Rus­sia, blamed on Cozy Bear
2. The Microsoft Exchange mega-hack dis­closed in March 2021, blamed on Chi­na.
3. The rev­e­la­tions about NSO Group’s over­sight (or lack there­of) of its pow­er­ful spy­ware sold to gov­ern­ments around the world.
4. The emerg­ing sto­ry of Can­diru, one of NSO Group’s fel­low “com­mer­cial sur­veil­lance ven­dors”, sell­ing toolk­its over­flow­ing with zero-day exploits, spe­cial­iz­ing in tar­get­ing Microsoft prod­ucts.

But how unre­lat­ed are these sto­ries? That’s the big ques­tion we’re going to explore in this post. A ques­tion punc­tu­at­ed by anoth­er meta-sto­ry we’ve looked at many times before: the meta-sto­ry of a cyber­at­tri­bu­tion par­a­digm seem­ing­ly designed to allow pri­vate com­pa­nies and gov­ern­ments to con­coct an attri­bu­tion sce­nario for what­ev­er guilty par­ty they want to fin­ger. As long as there was some sort of ‘clue’ found by inves­ti­ga­tors — like piece of Cyril­lic or Man­darin text or mal­ware pre­vi­ous­ly attrib­uted to a group — these clues were strung togeth­er in a “pat­tern recog­ni­tion” man­ner to arrive at a con­clu­sion about the iden­ti­ty of the per­pe­tra­tors. Attri­bu­tion con­clu­sions often arrived at with incred­i­ble lev­els of con­fi­dence. Recall how the Japan­ese cyber­se­cu­ri­ty firm Trend­Mi­cro attrib­uted a 2017 US Sen­ate email phish­ing cam­paign to ‘Pawn Storm’/Fancy Bear with 100 per­cent cer­tain­ty, and they made this high­ly cer­tain attri­bu­tion based heav­i­ly on how sim­i­lar the hack was to the 2017 hacks of Emmanuel Macron’s emails via a phish­ing cam­paign that Trend­Mi­cro attrib­uted at the time with 99 per­cent cer­tain­ty to Pawn Storm/Fancy Bear and yet the ANSSI, the French government’s cyber­se­cu­ri­ty agency, was leav­ing open the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the hack they could be the work of “oth­er high-lev­el” hack­ers try­ing to pin the blame on “Pawn Storm” (anoth­er name for “Fan­cy Bear”). Trend­Mi­cro was mak­ing 99 per­cent cer­tain attri­bu­tions that the French gov­ern­ment said could be any range of actors. That was the state of affairs for cyber­at­tri­bu­tions in 2017 and noth­ing has changed in the years since. High­ly cer­tain attri­bu­tions con­tin­ued to be piled on top of high­ly cer­tain attri­bu­tions — almost always point­ing towards Russ­ian, Iran, Chi­na, or North Korea — built on a foun­da­tion of what appear to be large­ly guess­work. Often high­ly moti­vat­ed guess­work (i.e. lies).

Supplement to FTR #‘s 1157, 1158 and 1159

This post sup­ple­ments and is intend­ed to call atten­tion to FTR #‘s 1157, 1158 and 1159. A con­sum­mate­ly impor­tant arti­cle about Peter Daszak (right) and the Eco­Health Alliance pro­vides trou­bling insights into the uneven pro­fes­sion­al track record of Daszak and the pro­found involve­ment of the orga­ni­za­tion he heads with the Pen­ta­gon and oth­er U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment insti­tu­tions. Exem­pli­fy­ing Eco­Health Alliance’s work is a Pen­ta­gon con­tract with Tan­za­nia, research­ing CCHF–Crimean-Congo Hem­or­rhag­ic Fever. ” . . . . Eco­Health Alliance has a $5‑million Pen­ta­gon con­tract, ‘Crimean-Con­go Hem­or­rhag­ic Fever: Reduc­ing an Emerg­ing Health Threat in Tan­za­nia.’  Crimean-Con­go Hem­or­rhag­ic Fever (CCHF) is a tick-borne dis­ease, orig­i­nal­ly only infect­ing ani­mals. . . . There was only ever one case of CCHF in Tan­za­nia, and that was in 1986. . . . Gain-of-func­tion research on CCHF is being con­duct­ed at the U.S. Depart­ment of Agriculture’s Nation­al Bio and Agro-Defense Facil­i­ty (NBAF) . . . . (The Nation­al Bio and Agro Defense Facil­i­ty will take over the mis­sion of the Plum Island Ani­mal Dis­ease Cen­ter and become the lead facil­i­ty for For­eign Ani­mal Dis­ease research.) . . .”

FTR #‘s 1157, 1158 and 1159–Bio-Psy-Op Apocalypse Now, Parts 17, 18 and 19: An Ounce of Prevention, Parts 2, 3 and 4

A note­wor­thy devel­op­ment in the Covid-19 “op” con­cerns the selec­tion of experts to over­see The Lancet’s inves­ti­ga­tion of the ori­gins of the SARS CoV‑2.

In FTR #1156, we looked at the involve­ment of known U.S. intel­li­gence cut-outs–notably USAID–and their fund­ing of pro­grams osten­si­bly aimed at pre­vent­ing epi­demics. Those pro­grams involved the “Gain-of-Func­tion” muta­tion of bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es, cre­at­ing nov­el “chimeric” virus­es that nev­er exist­ed before.

The osten­si­ble pur­pose was to “pre­vent” future epi­demics. We won­dered in FTR #1156 if those osten­si­ble epi­dem­ic “pre­ven­tion” pro­grams may have masked epi­dem­ic prop­a­ga­tion pro­grams, rather like Unit 731.

Peter Daszak of the Eco­Health Alliance was select­ed to lead the project.

His per­spec­tive would, on the sur­face, appear to be less than objec­tive, in as much as he cham­pi­oned the very type of GOF exper­i­ments that are at the cen­ter of this inquiry.

Of inter­est, as well, is the selec­tion of Jef­frey Sachs, an econ­o­mist, mem­ber of the [Bernie] Sanders Insti­tute, eco­nom­ic advis­er to Bernie Sanders, eco­nom­ic advis­er to AOC and, most impor­tant­ly, head of the [part­ly] gov­ern­ment financed Har­vard Insti­tute of Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment which (as advis­ers to Boris Yeltsin) drove the Russ­ian econ­o­my back to the Stone Age.

Sachs has no med­ical or sci­en­tif­ic cre­den­tials.

A con­sum­mate­ly impor­tant arti­cle about Daszak and the Eco­Health Alliance pro­vides trou­bling insights into the uneven pro­fes­sion­al track record of Daszak and the pro­found involve­ment of the orga­ni­za­tion he heads with the Pen­ta­gon and oth­er U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment insti­tu­tions.

Eco­Health Alliance looks dis­turbing­ly like an orga­ni­za­tion that fronts for ele­ments and indi­vid­u­als involved with bio­log­i­cal war­fare research.

“Peter Daszak, Pres­i­dent of Eco­Health Alliance, is a top sci­en­tif­ic col­lab­o­ra­tor, grantwriter and spokesper­son for virus hunters and gain-of-func­tion/­d­ual-use researchers, in labs both mil­i­tary and civil­ian.

Daszak works with dozens of high-con­tain­ment lab­o­ra­to­ries around the world that col­lect pathogens and use genet­ic engi­neer­ing and syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy to make them more infec­tious, con­ta­gious, lethal or drug-resis­tant. These include labs con­trolled by the U.S. Depart­ment of Defense, in coun­tries in the for­mer Sovi­et Union, the Mid­dle East, South East Asia and Africa.

Many of these labs are staffed by for­mer bio­log­i­cal weapons sci­en­tists. (See Arms Watch’s reports.) Before the Bio­log­i­cal Weapons Con­ven­tion was rat­i­fied, this research was called what it is: bio­log­i­cal weapons research. Now, it’s euphemisti­cal­ly called gain-of-func­tion or dual-use research. 

Gain-of-func­tion research to alter coro­n­avirus­es for the infec­tion of humans goes back to 1999 or ear­li­er, years before the first nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break. On behalf of the U.S. gov­ern­ment, often the mil­i­tary, Daszak scours the globe for ani­mal pathogens and brings them back to the lab to be cat­a­logued, inves­ti­gat­ed and manip­u­lat­ed. . . .”

Key points of analy­sis and dis­cus­sion include:

1.–EcoHealth Alliance con­tracts with the Pen­ta­gon in Tan­za­nia, South Africa, Geor­gia and Malaysia, as well as the U.S.
2.–” . . . . A recent Wired mag­a­zine arti­cle quot­ing Daszak described how a virus col­lect­ed in 2012 was found to be a 96-per­cent match to SARS-CoV­‑2 in 2020 . . . ‘a lack of fund­ing meant they couldn’t fur­ther inves­ti­gate the virus strain now known to be 96 per­cent genet­i­cal­ly sim­i­lar to the virus that caus­es Covid-19’ . . . .”
3.–Daszak’s claim that they could­n’t fur­ther inves­ti­gate that virus because of a lack of fund­ing is dubi­ous, in that recent grants to the orga­ni­za­tion are on top of ” . . . . $100.9 mil­lion that Eco­Health Alliance has received in gov­ern­ment grants and con­tracts since 2003. . . .”
4.–Daszak does not explain how that virus (dis­cov­ered in 2012) turned into SARS-CoV­‑2. ” . . . . Some sci­en­tists say it would take 50 years for RaTG13 [the virus in question–D.E.] to turn into SARS-CoV­‑2. . . .”
5.–Daszak is heav­i­ly net­worked with the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty: ” . . . . the Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s Nation­al Bio­sur­veil­lance Inte­gra­tion Cen­ter (NBIC)  . . . . gave Daszak’s Eco­Health Alliance a $2.2‑million con­tract (2016–2019) to cre­ate a ‘Ground Truth Net­work’ of ‘sub­ject mat­ter experts’ who could pro­vide ‘con­tex­tu­al infor­ma­tion per­tain­ing to bio­log­i­cal events.’ . . . .”
6.–The intel­lec­tu­al and pro­fes­sion­al track record of Daszak and Eco­Health Alliance is porous. Eco­Health Alliance float­ed a canard about Ebo­la poten­tial­ly trav­el­ing to the U.S. ” . . . . an Eco­Health Alliance spokesper­son, spread a false (not to men­tion racist and xeno­pho­bic) nar­ra­tive, one that sub­se­quent­ly would be thor­ough­ly debunked, that bush­meat smug­gled to the U.S. from Africa could trans­mit Ebo­la to Amer­i­cans. . . .”
7.–Daszak missed the boat bad­ly with regard to SARS: ” . . . . It is com­mon­ly accept­ed that the SARS pan­dem­ic began in 2002, when humans caught a bat virus from civet cats at a wet mar­ket in Guang­dong, Chi­na. But Daszak and his col­lab­o­ra­tors admit they have no evi­dence to explain how the virus leapt from bats to civets to humans. . . .”
8.–” . . . . SARS-CoV was found in civets at the Guang­dong wet mar­ket, but civets aren’t the nat­ur­al reser­voir of this virus. Bats are. Only the civets at the market—and no farm-raised or wild civets—carried the virus. None of the ani­mal traders han­dling the civets at the mar­ket had SARS. . . .”
9.–” . . . . When Daszak and his col­lab­o­ra­tors at the WIV searched the cave in Yun­nan for strains of coro­n­avirus sim­i­lar to human ver­sions, no sin­gle bat actu­al­ly had SARS. Genet­ic pieces of the var­i­ous strains would have to be recom­bined to make up the human ver­sion. Adding to the con­fu­sion, Yun­nan is about 1,000 kilo­me­ters from Guang­dong. . . .”
10.–” . . . . So, how did virus­es from bats in Yun­nan com­bine to become dead­ly to humans, and then trav­el to civets and peo­ple in Guang­dong, with­out caus­ing any ill­ness­es along the way dur­ing this 1,000 kilo­me­ter trip? . . .”
11.–Daszak and the Eco­Health Alliance were deeply involved with a USAID and NIH fund­ed joint WIV/University of North Car­oli­na project we have cov­ered exten­sive­ly in past pro­grams. ” . . . . The two insti­tu­tions also worked as col­lab­o­ra­tors under anoth­er $2.6‑million grant, ‘Risk of Viral Emer­gence from Bats,’ and under Eco­Health Alliance’s largest sin­gle source of fund­ing, a $44.2 mil­lion sub-grant from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia at Davis for the PREDICT project (2015–2020). . . .”
12.–” . . . . It’s the $44.2‑million PREDICT grant that Eco­Health Alliance used to fund the gain-of-func­tion exper­i­ment by WIV sci­en­tist Zhengli Shi and the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na at Chapel Hill’s Ralph Bar­ic. Shi and Bar­ic used genet­ic engi­neer­ing and syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy to cre­ate a ‘new bat SARS-like virus . . . that can jump direct­ly from its bat hosts to humans.’ . . .”
13.–” . . . . The work . . . pub­lished in Nature in 2015 dur­ing the NIH’s mora­to­ri­um on gain-of-func­tion research, was grand­fa­thered in because it was ini­ti­at­ed before the mora­to­ri­um (offi­cial­ly called the U.S. Gov­ern­ment Delib­er­a­tive Process Research Fund­ing Pause on Select­ed Gain-of-Func­tion Research Involv­ing Influen­za, MERS and SARS Virus­es), and because the request by Shi and Bar­ic to con­tin­ue their research dur­ing the mora­to­ri­um was approved by the NIH. . . .”
14.–” . . . . As a con­di­tion of pub­li­ca­tion, Nature, like most sci­en­tif­ic jour­nals, requires authors to sub­mit new DNA and RNA sequences to Gen­Bank, the U.S. Nation­al Cen­ter for Biotech­nol­o­gy Infor­ma­tion Data­base. Yet the new SARS-like virus Shi and Bar­ic cre­at­ed wasn’t deposit­ed in Gen­Bank until May 2020. . . .”
15.–” . . . . why is the gov­ern­ment focus­ing on just one of Eco­Health Alliance’s projects, when the orga­ni­za­tion has received $100.9 mil­lion in grants, pri­mar­i­ly from the Depart­ment of Defense, to sam­ple, store and study bat coro­n­avirus­es at labs around the world? Coro­n­avirus­es, both those that have been col­lect­ed from ani­mals and those that have been cre­at­ed through genet­ic engi­neer­ing and syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy, at all of these labs should be com­pared with SARS-CoV­‑2. . . . .”
16.–” . . . . Daszak’s col­lab­o­ra­tors work­ing under con­tracts with the Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices (HHS) aren’t allowed to con­duct gain-of-func­tion research unless specif­i­cal­ly approved to do so by the Poten­tial Pan­dem­ic Pathogen Care and Over­sight (P3CO) com­mit­tee. This com­mit­tee was set up as a con­di­tion for lift­ing the 2014–2017 mora­to­ri­um on gain-of-func­tion research. The P3CO com­mit­tee oper­ates in secret. Not even a mem­ber­ship list has been released. . . .”
17.–Exemplifying Eco­Health Alliance’s work is a Pen­ta­gon con­tract with Tan­za­nia, research­ing CCHF–Crimean-Congo Hem­or­rhag­ic Fever. ” . . . . Eco­Health Alliance has a $5‑million Pen­ta­gon con­tract, ‘Crimean-Con­go Hem­or­rhag­ic Fever: Reduc­ing an Emerg­ing Health Threat in Tan­za­nia.’  Crimean-Con­go Hem­or­rhag­ic Fever (CCHF) is a tick-borne dis­ease, orig­i­nal­ly only infect­ing ani­mals. . . . There was only ever one case of CCHF in Tan­za­nia, and that was in 1986. . . . Gain-of-func­tion research on CCHF is being con­duct­ed at the U.S. Depart­ment of Agriculture’s Nation­al Bio and Agro-Defense Facil­i­ty (NBAF) . . . . (The Nation­al Bio and Agro Defense Facil­i­ty will take over the mis­sion of the Plum Island Ani­mal Dis­ease Cen­ter and become the lead facil­i­ty for For­eign Ani­mal Dis­ease research.) . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include: The promi­nent role in the Sanders Insti­tute and AOC’s advi­so­ry team of Jef­frey Sachs, whose HIID team of advis­ers (with gov­ern­ment fund­ing) sent Rus­sia back to the Stone Age, eco­nom­i­cal­ly; the “hand­off” to Jef­frey Sachs and his HIID of Rus­sia and oth­er for­mer Sovi­et Republics by the Gehlen/GOP Nazis man­i­fest­ing through the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion; review of the oper­a­tional polit­i­cal con­tin­u­um stretch­ing from the Third Reich, through the OSS, the CIA and the GOP; review of the roles of Allen Dulles, William Casey, Resorts Inter­na­tion­al and Don­ald Trump in that con­tin­u­um. 

FTR #1134 Bio-Psy-Op Apocalypse Now, Part 9: Covid-19 Updates

As indi­cat­ed by the title of the pro­gram, this broad­cast updates var­i­ous arti­cles and book excerpts con­cern­ing Covid-19.

A Dai­ly Mail Online [UK] arti­cle sets forth two bogus papers con­tend­ing that the SARS CoV‑2 virus was genet­i­cal­ly engi­neered by the Chi­nese as a bioweapon in a lab­o­ra­to­ry and that it “escaped.” Note the cham­pi­oning of one of the papers by a for­mer head of MI6 and the author­ship of the sec­ond by The Epoch Times, the paper of the Falun Gong cult. Linked to CIA, Steve Ban­non’s anti-Chi­na milieu and the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, the orga­ni­za­tion is a fas­cist mind con­trol cult dis­cussed in numer­ous shows, includ­ing FTR #‘s 1089 and 1090. 

1.–“A for­mer MI6 chief was yes­ter­day accused by Gov­ern­ment offi­cials of ped­dling ‘fan­ci­ful claims’ that coro­n­avirus was acci­den­tal­ly cre­at­ed in a Chi­nese lab­o­ra­to­ry. British secu­ri­ty agen­cies believe Covid-19 is not a man-made virus and is ‘high­ly like­ly’ to have occurred nat­u­ral­ly and spread to humans through ani­mals. And Health Sec­re­tary Matt Han­cock has said there is ‘no evi­dence’ to back up the the­o­ry that it orig­i­nat­ed in a lab­o­ra­to­ry. But Sir Richard Dearlove, who was head of the MI6 from 1999 to 2004, cit­ed a recent report claim­ing the dis­ease was acci­den­tal­ly man­u­fac­tured by Chi­nese sci­en­tists.
2.–“ ‘I do think that this start­ed as an acci­dent,’ Sir Richard told The Dai­ly Telegraph’s ‘Plan­et Nor­mal’ pod­cast. ‘It rais­es the issue: if Chi­na ever were to admit respon­si­bil­i­ty, does it pay repa­ra­tions? I think it will make every coun­try in the world rethink how it treats its rela­tion­ship with Chi­na.’ He added: ‘Look at the sto­ries... of attempts by the [Bei­jing] lead­er­ship to lock down any debate about the ori­gins of the pan­dem­ic and the way peo­ple have been arrest­ed or silenced.’ . . . . The paper – co-authored by Pro­fes­sor Angus Dal­gleish, a renowned oncol­o­gist and vac­cine researcher who works at St George’s Hos­pi­tal, Uni­ver­si­ty of Lon­don, and Birg­er Sorensen, a Nor­we­gian virol­o­gist – con­tains none of the stark alle­ga­tions that orig­i­nal­ly stunned its review­ers.
3..–“The ini­tial paper that trig­gered wild rumours failed strin­gent tests of ver­i­fi­ca­tion and is under­stood to have been reject­ed in April by emi­nent inter­na­tion­al jour­nals such as Nature and the Jour­nal of Virol­o­gy. Bio­med­ical experts from the Fran­cis Crick Insti­tute and Impe­r­i­al Col­lege Lon­don are said to have refut­ed its con­clu­sions. Then one of the paper’s co-authors, Dr John Fredrik Moxnes, chief sci­en­tif­ic advis­er to the Nor­we­gian mil­i­tary, asked for his name to be with­drawn. This week, after numer­ous rewrites, the paper was pub­lished by the Quar­ter­ly Review of Bio­physics Dis­cov­ery. And those orig­i­nal world-shak­ing con­clu­sions have now with­ered to innu­en­do. No accu­sa­tion of Chi­nese manip­u­la­tion appears. . . .”
4.–”. . . . Back in April, a slick­ly pro­duced inves­tiga­tive doc­u­men­tary, Track­ing Down The Ori­gin Of The Wuhan Coro­n­avirus, was released online. It claimed con­clu­sive proof that the Covid-19 virus had been cre­at­ed as a bio­log­i­cal ‘weapon of mass destruc­tion’ in a Chi­nese lab. . . .”
5.–“At first sight, it seemed a shock­ing­ly con­vinc­ing piece of jour­nal­ism. On behalf of this news­pa­per, I cross-checked every claim: The experts it cit­ed and the fac­tu­al evi­dence unearthed. I also researched the back­grounds of its mak­ers. I then approached some of the world’s best inde­pen­dent sci­en­tif­ic author­i­ties to ask their opin­ion. They all agreed – this entic­ing­ly spicy sto­ry just did­n’t stand up.”
6.–“It had been pro­duced by a US based anti-Chi­nese gov­ern­ment media organ­i­sa­tion called the Epoch Times. Its ‘experts’ were vet­er­an hard-Right­ists. Most damn­ing­ly, its sci­en­tif­ic ‘facts’ were twist­ed out of shape.So much, then, for the Chi­nese-man­u­fac­tured coro­n­avirus con­spir­a­cy . . .”

Steve Ban­non is at the epi­cen­ter of the anti-Chi­na effort and–to no one’s surprise–never real­ly left the Trump White House.

When assess­ing Ban­non as a polit­i­cal ani­mal, one should nev­er for­get that among the impor­tant ide­o­log­i­cal influ­ences on him is Julius Evola, an Ital­ian fas­cist who found Mus­soli­ni too mod­er­ate and ulti­mate­ly took his cues from the Nazi SS, who were financ­ing his work by the end of World War II.

” . . . . Don­ald Trump’s light­ning-rod 2016 cam­paign boss and for­mer White House chief strate­gist who was ban­ished from the West Wing in 2017 has qui­et­ly crept back into 1600 Penn­syl­va­nia Ave., reestab­lish­ing ties to staffers, par­tic­u­lar­ly with regard to his pet issues of Chi­na and immi­gra­tion. . . . Anoth­er for­mer admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial told The Post that Ban­non nev­er real­ly left the White House after he was fired, main­tain­ing con­tacts and keep­ing up reg­u­lar chan­nels of com­mu­ni­ca­tions with offi­cials there. . . .”

In addi­tion, as dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 1111 and 1112, Ban­non is part of a net­work that includes J. Kyle Bass and Tom­my Hicks, Jr. This nexus involves asym­met­ri­cal invest­ing with regard to the Hong Kong and Chi­nese economies and the inter-agency gov­ern­men­tal net­works involved in both overt and covert anti-Chi­na poli­cies imple­ment­ed by Team Trump. As will be seen below, they also are net­work­ing with the mis-named “Sci­en­tists to Stop Covid-19.” In that regard, they are also help­ing steer pol­i­cy that con­trols devel­op­ment of treat­ment and vac­cines for Covid-19. The man­age­ment of drug and vac­cine devel­op­ment, in turn, dou­bles back to mar­ket-dri­ving invest­ment dynam­ics.

An inter­est­ing sum­ma­tion of char­ac­ter­is­tics of a “delib­er­ate” epi­dem­ic are eval­u­at­ed against the find­ing that New York City was the epi­cen­ter of the U.S. Covid-19 out­break: 

Bit­ten: The Secret His­to­ry of Lyme Dis­ease and Bio­log­i­cal Weapons by Kris New­by; Harper­Collins [HC]; Copy­right 2019 by Kris New­by; ISBN 9780062896728; p. 185.

Poten­tial epi­demi­o­log­i­cal clues to a delib­er­ate epi­dem­ic:

Clue no. 1–A high­ly unusu­al event with large num­bers of casu­al­ties: Check!

Clue no. 2–Higher mor­bid­i­ty or mor­tal­i­ty than is expect­ed. Check!

Clue no. 3–Uncommon dis­ease. Check!

Clue no. 4–Point-source out­break. Check!

Clue no. 5–Multiple epi­demics. Check! (Glob­al pan­dem­ic)

                      –Z. F. Dem­bek, et al., “Dis­cern­ment Between Delib­er­ate and Nat­ur­al Infec­tious Dis­ease Out­breaks”

The pre­vail­ing view of the Covid-19 out­break con­tends that the Amer­i­can out­break spread out­ward from New York City. The strain of SARS CoV‑2 that appeared in New York came, in turn, from Europe. 

This does­n’t make sense. There were con­firmed cas­es of the virus on the West Coast that did not come from New York. A Euro­pean strain of the virus trans­mit­ted to New York City would have come in via air. In such an event, there would have been a well-doc­u­ment­ed out­break of Covid-19 among flight atten­dants, who oper­ate in close con­tact with pas­sen­gers in cramped cir­cum­stances, as well as expe­ri­enc­ing jet lag, which com­pro­mis­es the immune sys­tem.

Next, we review an aspect of the 2001 anthrax attacks. We high­light­ed the 2001 anthrax attacks in con­nec­tion with the Covid-19 out­break in New York City in FTR #1128.

We note that the Anthrax attacks appear to have oper­at­ed in over­lap­ping con­texts, includ­ing jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the war in Iraq. 

The 2001 anthrax attacks appear to have served as a provo­ca­tion that jus­ti­fied a ten-fold increase in spend­ing for bio­log­i­cal war­fare devel­op­ment. The num­ber of BSL‑4 labs (hav­ing dual civil­ian and mil­i­tary use) increased from two in 2001, to a dozen in 2007.

This increase occurred while Don­ald Rums­feld was George W. Bush’s sec­re­tary of defense. He went to that posi­tion from being Chair­man of the Board of Direc­tors for Gilead Sci­ences, the man­u­fac­tur­er of remde­sivir.

We will delve into the pol­i­tics of the anthrax attacks in the future.

In the con­text of the above arti­cle, note that the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health have also part­nered with CIA and the Pen­ta­gon, as under­scored by an arti­cle about a BSL‑4 lab at Boston Uni­ver­si­ty. Note that Europe and the U.S. have twelve BSL4 labs apiece. Tai­wan has two. Chi­na has one:

1.–As the arti­cle notes, as of 2007, the U.S. had “more than a dozen” BSL4 labs–China com­mis­sioned its first as of 2017. a ten­fold increase in fund­ing for BSL4 labs occurred because of the anthrax attacks of 2001. Those attacks might be seen as some­thing of a provo­ca­tion, spurring a dra­mat­ic increase in “dual use” biowar­fare research, under the cov­er of “legit­i­mate” medical/scientific research. In FTR #1128, we hypoth­e­sized about the milieu of Stephen Hat­fill and apartheid-linked inter­ests as pos­si­ble authors of a vec­tor­ing of New York City with Sars COV2: ” . . . . Before the anthrax mail­ings of 2001, the Unit­ed States had just two BSL4 labs—both with­in the razor-wire con­fines of gov­ern­ment-owned cam­pus­es. Now, thanks to a ten­fold increase in funding—from $200 mil­lion in 2001 to $2 bil­lion in 2006—more than a dozen such facil­i­ties can be found at uni­ver­si­ties and pri­vate com­pa­nies across the coun­try. . . .”
2.–The Boston Uni­ver­si­ty lab exem­pli­fies the Pen­ta­gon and CIA pres­ence in BSL‑4 facil­i­ty “dual use”: ” . . . . But some sci­en­tists say that argu­ment obscures the true pur­pose of the cur­rent biode­fense boom: to study poten­tial bio­log­i­cal weapons. ‘The uni­ver­si­ty por­trays it as an emerg­ing infec­tious dis­ease lab,’ says David Ozonoff, a Boston Uni­ver­si­ty epi­demi­ol­o­gist whose office is right across the street from the new BSL4 facil­i­ty. ‘But they are talk­ing about study­ing things like small pox and inhala­tion anthrax, which pose no pub­lic health threat oth­er than as bioweapons.’ . . . The orig­i­nal NIH man­date for the lab indi­cat­ed that many groups—including the CIA and Depart­ment of Defense—would be allowed to use the lab for their own research, the nature of which BU might have lit­tle con­trol over. . . .”

Piv­ot­ing to dis­cus­sion and review of the polit­i­cal, finan­cial and cor­po­rate con­nec­tions to the devel­op­ment of med­i­c­i­nal treat­ments for, and vac­cines to pre­vent, Covid-19, we recap details rel­e­vant to the extra­or­di­nary tim­ing of a 4/29 announce­ment of favor­able results for a tri­al of remde­sivir. That announce­ment drove equi­ties mar­kets high­er and was ben­e­fi­cial to the stock of Gilead Sci­ences.

We present a Stat News arti­cle on the inter­nal delib­er­a­tions behind the deci­sions to mod­i­fy the NIAID study. Of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance is the DSMB delib­er­a­tion. Note the time­line of the DSMB delib­er­a­tion, com­bined with the announce­ment on 4/29 that drove the mar­kets high­er.

1.–The deci­sion was made to cut it short before the ques­tion of remdesivir’s impact on mor­tal­i­ty could be answered: ” . . . .The Nation­al Insti­tute of Aller­gy and Infec­tious Dis­eases has described to STAT in new detail how it made its fate­ful deci­sion: to start giv­ing remde­sivir to patients who had been assigned to receive a place­bo in the study, essen­tial­ly lim­it­ing researchers’ abil­i­ty to col­lect more data about whether the drug saves lives — some­thing the study, called ACTT‑1, sug­gests but does not prove. In the tri­al, 8% of the par­tic­i­pants giv­en remde­sivir died, com­pared with 11.6% of the place­bo group, a dif­fer­ence that was not sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant. A top NIAID offi­cial said he had no regrets about the deci­sion. ‘There cer­tain­ly was una­nim­i­ty with­in the insti­tute that this was the right thing to do,’ said H. Clif­ford Lane, NIAID’s clin­i­cal direc­tor. . . .”
2.–In addi­tion, patients sched­uled to receive place­bo received remde­sivir, instead. ” . . . . Steven Nis­sen, a vet­er­an tri­al­ist and car­di­ol­o­gist at the Cleve­land Clin­ic, dis­agreed that giv­ing place­bo patients remde­sivir was the right call. ‘I believe it is in society’s best inter­est to deter­mine whether remde­sivir can reduce mor­tal­i­ty, and with the release of this infor­ma­tion doing a place­bo-con­trolled tri­al to deter­mine if there is a mor­tal­i­ty ben­e­fit will be very dif­fi­cult,’ he said. ‘The ques­tion is: Was there a route, or is there a route, to deter­mine if the drug can pre­vent death?’ The deci­sion is ‘a lost oppor­tu­ni­ty,’ he said. . . .”
3.–Steven Nis­sen was not alone in his crit­i­cism of the NIAID’s deci­sion. ” . . . .Peter Bach, the direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Health Pol­i­cy and Out­comes at Memo­r­i­al Sloan Ket­ter­ing Can­cer Cen­ter, agreed with Nis­sen. ‘The core under­stand­ing of clin­i­cal research par­tic­i­pa­tion and clin­i­cal research con­duct is we run the tri­al rig­or­ous­ly to pro­vide the most accu­rate infor­ma­tion about the right treat­ment,’ he said. And that answer, he argued, should ide­al­ly have deter­mined whether remde­sivir saves lives. The rea­son we have shut our whole soci­ety down, Bach said, is not to pre­vent Covid-19 patients from spend­ing a few more days in the hos­pi­tal. It is to pre­vent patients from dying. ‘Mor­tal­i­ty is the right end­point,’ he said. . . .”
4.–Not only was the admin­is­tra­tion of remde­sivir instead of place­bo pri­or­i­tized, but the NIAID study itself was atten­u­at­ed! ” . . . . But the change in the study’s main goal also changed the way the study would be ana­lyzed. Now, the NIAID decid­ed, the analy­sis would be cal­cu­lat­ed when 400 patients out of the 1,063 patients the study enrolled had recov­ered. If remde­sivir turned out to be much more effec­tive than expect­ed, ‘inter­im’ analy­ses would be con­duct­ed at a third and two-thirds that number.The job of review­ing these analy­ses would fall to a com­mit­tee of out­side experts on what is known as an inde­pen­dent data and safe­ty mon­i­tor­ing board, or DSMB. . . .”
5.–The per­for­mance of the DSMB for the remde­sivir study is note­wor­thy: ” . . . . But the DSMB for the remde­sivir study did not ever meet for an inter­im effi­ca­cy analy­sis, Lane said. All patients had been enrolled by April 20. The data for a DSMB meet­ing was cut off on April 22. The DSMB met and, on April 27, it made a rec­om­men­da­tion to the NIAID. . . .”
The DSMB meet­ing on 4/27 deter­mined the switch from place­bo to remde­sivir. Of para­mount impor­tance is the fact that this was JUST BEFORE the 4/29 announce­ment that drove the mar­kets high­er and the same day on which key Trump aide–and for­mer Gilead Sci­ences lob­by­ist Joe Gro­gan resigned! ” . . . . . That deci­sion, Lane said, led the NIAID to con­clude that patients who had been giv­en place­bo should be offered remde­sivir, some­thing that start­ed hap­pen­ing after April 28. . . .”
6.–Dr. Ethan Weiss gave an accu­rate eval­u­a­tion of the NIAID study: ” . . . . ‘We’ve squan­dered an incred­i­ble oppor­tu­ni­ty to do good sci­ence,’ [Dr. Ethan] Weiss said. ‘If we could ever go back and do some­thing all over, it would be the infra­struc­ture to actu­al­ly learn some­thing. Because we’re not learn­ing enough.’ . . . .”

The remark­able han­dling of the NIAID study, the tim­ing of the announce­ment of the alto­geth­er lim­it­ed suc­cess of the atten­u­at­ed tri­al and the rise in equi­ties as a result of the announce­ment may be best under­stood in the con­text of the role played in Trump pan­dem­ic deci­sion-mak­ing by an elite group of bil­lion­aires and scientists–including con­vict­ed felon Michael Milken (the “junk bond king”).

1.–” . . . . Call­ing them­selves ‘Sci­en­tists to Stop COVID-19,’ the col­lec­tion of top researchers, bil­lion­aires and indus­try cap­tains will act as an ‘ad hoc review board’ for the tor­rent of coro­n­avirus research, ‘weed­ing out’ flawed data before it reach­es pol­i­cy­mak­ers, the Wall Street Jour­nal report­ed on Mon­day. They are also act­ing as a go-between for phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies seek­ing to build a com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nel with Trump admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials. The group . . . . has advised Nick Ayers, an aide to Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, as well as oth­er agency heads, in the past month. Pence is head­ing up the White House coro­n­avirus task force. . . .”
2.–” . . . The brainy bunch is led by Thomas Cahill, a 33-year-old doc­tor who became a ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist . . . . Cahill’s clout comes from build­ing con­nec­tions through his invest­ment firm, New­path Part­ners, with Sil­i­con Valley’s Peter Thiel, the founder of Pay­Pal, and bil­lion­aire busi­ness­men Jim Palot­ta and Michael Milken. . . .”

Note that Peter Thiel played a dom­i­nant role in bankrolling New­path Part­ners, and the oth­er finan­cial angel who ele­vat­ed Cahill–Brian Sheth–introduced him to Tom­my Hicks, Jr., the co-chair­man of the RNC. In FTR #‘s 1111 and 1112, we looked at Hicks’ net­work­ing with Steve Ban­non asso­ciate J. Kyle Bass, as well as his role in the inter-agency net­works dri­ving the anti-Chi­na effort.

” . . . . At the helm of the effort: The 33-year-old and very-much-under-the-radar ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Tom Cahill, who leads life sci­ences-focused New­path Part­ners. Cahill com­plet­ed his M.D. and PhD at Duke Uni­ver­si­ty a mere two years ago before land­ing at blue-chip invest­ment firm Rap­tor Group through a friend. He went on to found New­path with some $125 mil­lion after impress­ing well-con­nect­ed names like ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Peter Thiel and Vista Equi­ty Part­ners co-founder Bri­an Sheth. . . . It was through Sheth, for exam­ple, that Sci­en­tists to Stop Covid-19 con­nect­ed with the co-chair­man of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, Thomas Hicks Jr. . . .”

The fed­er­al gov­ern­men­t’s extreme focus on remde­sivir has been shaped, in large mea­sure, by the influ­ence of “Sci­en­tists to Stop COVID-19”:

1.–“Scientists to Stop Covid-19” is shep­herd­ing remde­sivir: ” . . . . Sci­en­tists to Stop COVID-19 rec­om­mends that in this phase, the U.S. Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion (FDA) should work to coor­di­nate with Gilead phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals to focus on expe­dit­ing the results of clin­i­cal tri­als of remde­sivir, a drug iden­ti­fied as a poten­tial treat­ment for COVID-19. The group also rec­om­mends admin­is­ter­ing dos­es of the drug to patients in an ear­ly stage of infec­tion, and notes remde­sivir will essen­tial­ly be a place­hold­er until a more effec­tive treat­ment is pro­duced.
2.–The group is doing so by atten­u­at­ing the reg­u­la­to­ry process for coro­n­avirus drugs: “Gov­ern­ment enti­ties and agen­cies appear to adhere to the rec­om­men­da­tions out­lined by the group, with the Jour­nal report­ing that the FDA and the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Affairs (VA) have imple­ment­ed some of the sug­ges­tions, name­ly relax­ing drug man­u­fac­tur­er reg­u­la­tions and require­ments for poten­tial coro­n­avirus treat­ment drugs. . . .”

We con­clude dis­cus­sion of the remde­sivir machi­na­tions with a piece about the tim­ing of the announce­ment of Grogan’s depar­ture.

” . . . . Gro­gan has served as the direc­tor of the White House Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil since Feb­ru­ary 2019, over­see­ing a broad array of pol­i­cy issues includ­ing health care and reg­u­la­tion. . . . Gro­gan was one of the orig­i­nal mem­bers of the White House coro­n­avirus task force launched in late Jan­u­ary. . . . Gro­gan worked as a lob­by­ist for drug com­pa­ny Gilead Sci­ences before join­ing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. . . .”

The depar­ture was announced in the Wall Street Jour­nal on the morn­ing of Wednes­day, April 29, the same day we got our first pub­lic reports of the NIAID clin­i­cal tri­al of remde­sivir that was pos­i­tive enough to show it short­ened the time to recov­ery and the same day the FDA grant­ed remde­sivir emer­gency use sta­tus. 

Note, again, the tim­ing of the DSM­B’s actions, as well as the influ­ence of “Sci­en­tists to Stop Covid-19.”

In FTR #1130, we not­ed that Mon­cef Slaoui–formerly in charge of prod­uct devel­op­ment for Moderna–was cho­sen to head Trump’s “Oper­a­tion Warp Speed.” He will be work­ing with Four-Star Gen­er­al Gus­tave Per­na, cho­sen by Chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen­er­al Mark Mil­ley.

Even after agree­ing to sell his Mod­er­na stock, Mon­cef Slaoui’s invest­ments raise alarm­ing questions–note that he is a “ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist” and a long­time for­mer exec­u­tive at Glaxo-Smithk­line:

The cir­cum­stances of his appoint­ment will per­mit him to avoid scruti­ny: ” . . . . In agree­ing to accept the posi­tion, Dr. Slaoui did not come on board as a gov­ern­ment employ­ee. Instead, he is on a con­tract, receiv­ing $1 for his ser­vice. That leaves him exempt from fed­er­al dis­clo­sure rules that would require him to list his out­side posi­tions, stock hold­ings and oth­er poten­tial con­flicts. And the con­tract posi­tion is not sub­ject to the same con­flict-of-inter­est laws and reg­u­la­tions that exec­u­tive branch employ­ees must fol­low. . . .”
He will retain a great deal of Glaxo-Smithk­line stock: ” . . . . He did not say how much his GSK shares were worth. When he left the com­pa­ny in 2017, he held about [500,000 in West­ern Print Edi­tion] 240,000 shares and share equiv­a­lents, accord­ing to the drug company’s annu­al report and an analy­sis by the exec­u­tive com­pen­sa­tion firm Equi­lar. . . .”
Fur­ther analy­sis of Slaoui’s posi­tion deep­ens con­cern about the integri­ty of the process: ” . . . . ‘This is basi­cal­ly absurd,’ said Vir­ginia Can­ter, who is chief ethics coun­sel for Cit­i­zens for Respon­si­bil­i­ty and Ethics in Wash­ing­ton. ‘It allows for no pub­lic scruti­ny of his con­flicts of inter­est.’ Ms. Can­ter also said fed­er­al law barred gov­ern­ment con­trac­tors from super­vis­ing gov­ern­ment employ­ees. . . . Ms. Can­ter, a for­mer ethics lawyer in the Oba­ma and Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tions, the Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion and oth­er agen­cies, point­ed out that GSK’s vac­cine can­di­date with Sanofi could wind up com­pet­ing with oth­er man­u­fac­tur­ers vying for gov­ern­ment approval and sup­port. ‘If he retains stock in com­pa­nies that are invest­ing in the devel­op­ment of a vac­cine, and he’s involved in over­see­ing this process to select the safest vac­cine to com­bat Covid-19, regard­less of how won­der­ful a per­son he is, we can’t be con­fi­dent of the integri­ty of any process in which he is involved,’ Ms. Can­ter said.In addi­tion, his affil­i­a­tion with Medicxi could com­pli­cate mat­ters: Two of its investors are GSK and a divi­sion of John­son & John­son, which is also devel­op­ing a poten­tial vac­cine. . . .”

Next, we turn to Mod­er­na’s ani­mal tri­al for the mes­sen­ger RNA vac­cine it is devel­op­ing. There are sev­er­al con­sid­er­a­tions to be weighed in con­nec­tion with the Mod­er­na vac­cine.

1.–Again, the chair­man of Trump’s “Warp Speed” vac­cine devel­op­ment program–Moncef Slaoui–was in charge of Mod­er­na’s prod­uct devel­op­ment oper­a­tion.
2.–Moderna’s tri­al with mice was pos­i­tive with regard to gen­er­at­ing anti­body lev­els high enough to pre­vent ADE.
3.–Antibody Depen­dent Enhance­ment (ADE),  is a phe­nom­e­na where low lev­els of inef­fec­tive anti­bod­ies latch onto the virus and exac­er­bate an over­ac­tive immune response that leads to the dead­liest symp­toms likes cytokine-storms. This dan­ger was seen with SARS and attempts to cre­ate a SARS vac­cine so it’s a rea­son­able fear with SARS-CoV­‑2.
4.–The Phase III (human) tri­al is going to be start­ed in July, involv­ing 30,000 peo­ple. Alarm­ing­ly, those 30,000 peo­ple will all be receiv­ing the exact same dosage, 100 micro­grams, and that means the phase III tri­al won’t be test­ing sub-opti­mal dosages. The big Phase III tri­al won’t be test­ing for ADE in humans. 
5.–We may have a night­mare sit­u­a­tion where polit­i­cal pres­sure gives undo weight to ani­mal safe­ty results, leapfrog­ging over the neces­si­ty of test­ing for side effects. 
6.–The ani­mal tri­als have been severe­ly crit­i­cized: ” . . . . ‘This is the barest begin­ning of pre­lim­i­nary infor­ma­tion,’ said Dr. Gre­go­ry Poland, an immu­nol­o­gist and vac­cine researcher at the Mayo Clin­ic who has seen the paper, which has yet to under­go peer-review. Poland said the paper was incom­plete, dis­or­ga­nized and the num­bers of ani­mals test­ed were small. . . . Poland, who was not involved with the research, said the paper leaves out ‘impor­tant para­me­ters’ that could help sci­en­tists judge the work. . . .”
7.–We MIGHT cre­ate a vac­cine that pro­tects those who get a strong immune response while endan­ger­ing those with sub-pro­tec­tive responses–a “eugenic” vac­cine.
8.–The ani­mal tri­als have been severe­ly crit­i­cized: ” . . . . ‘This is the barest begin­ning of pre­lim­i­nary infor­ma­tion,’ said Dr. Gre­go­ry Poland, an immu­nol­o­gist and vac­cine researcher at the Mayo Clin­ic who has seen the paper, which has yet to under­go peer-review. Poland said the paper was incom­plete, dis­or­ga­nized and the num­bers of ani­mals test­ed were small. . . . Poland, who was not involved with the research, said the paper leaves out ‘impor­tant para­me­ters’ that could help sci­en­tists judge the work. . . .”
9.–The phase II clin­i­cal tri­als on humans are still under­way and won’t be com­plet­ed before Novem­ber.  Phase III is going to be get­ting under­way in July. The Human clin­i­cal tri­als are already under­way at the same time the ani­mal safe­ty tri­als have yet to be com­plet­ed.
10.–Side effects can take a while to man­i­fest.

We pro­vid­ed detailed crit­i­cal com­ments on Mod­er­na’s Phase I tri­al in FTR #1132.

We con­clude with a New York Times arti­cle sets forth a “Vac­cine Octo­ber Sur­prise” sce­nario for this fall.

” . . . . In a des­per­ate search for a boost, he could release a coro­n­avirus vac­cine that has not been shown to be safe and effec­tive as an Octo­ber sur­prise. Oct. 23, 2020, 9 a.m., with 10 days before the elec­tion, Fox New releas­es a poll show­ing Pres­i­dent Trump trail­ing Joe Biden by eight per­cent­age points. Oct. 23, 2020, 3 p.m., at a hasti­ly con­vened news con­fer­ence, Pres­i­dent Trump announces that the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion has just issued an Emer­gency Use Autho­riza­tion for a coro­n­avirus vac­cine. Mr. Trump declares vic­to­ry over Covid-19, demands that all busi­ness­es reopen imme­di­ate­ly and pre­dicts a rapid eco­nom­ic recov­ery. Giv­en how this pres­i­dent has behaved, this incred­i­bly dan­ger­ous sce­nario is not far-fetched. In a des­per­ate search for a polit­i­cal boost, he could release a coro­n­avirus vac­cine before it had been thor­ough­ly test­ed and shown to be safe and effec­tive. . . .”

FTR #1131 Bio-Psy-Op Apocalypse Now, Part 7: Moderna Uber Alles

We begin by Intro­duc­ing the top­ic of Mod­er­na’s SARS Cov‑2 vac­cine as a mon­ey mak­er for both Mod­er­na and as a dri­ver for the mar­ket as a whole, we note last Mon­day’s announce­ment which gen­er­at­ed a major boost in the val­ue of Mod­er­na’s stock and a strong, gen­er­al ral­ly. The lat­ter appar­ent­ly stems from opti­mism that a sucess­ful vac­cine will alle­vi­ate the eco­nom­ic dam­age from Covid-19.

A Mar­ket­Watch piece about the rapid fluc­tu­a­tion of Mod­er­na’s stock under­scores the sig­nif­i­cance of the tim­ing of an announce­ment cast­ing Mod­er­na’s vac­cine tri­al in over­ly opti­mistic light:

1.–Moderna’s CEO (Stephen Ban­cel) and CFO (Lorence Kim) both sold stock on Fri­day, in accor­dance with pre­arranged trans­ac­tions. Bear in mind, that (as dis­cussed in FTR #1130) Mod­er­na’s stock was trad­ing at $23.46 at the begin­ning of the year, and the company–which has nev­er mar­ket­ed a vaccine–was the ben­e­fi­cia­ry of $483 mil­lion dol­lars in fed­er­al fund­ing ear­li­er in the year.) ” . . . . On Fri­day, Ban­cel sold 11,046 shares at a weight­ed aver­age price of $65.56 for about $724,200, as part of a pre­de­ter­mined trad­ing plan adopt­ed Dec. 28, 2018, accord­ing to a Form 4 fil­ing with the Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion. He also dis­posed of 1,577 shares as part of a ‘bona fide’ gift. . . . Also, on Fri­day, Kim sold 20,000 shares at a weight­ed aver­age price of $65.53 for about $1.31 mil­lion, as part of a pre­de­ter­mined trad­ing plan. . . .”

2.–Kim also simul­ta­ne­ous­ly bought and sold shares of his firm for a net prof­it of $16.79 mil­lion on Mon­day, the day of an over­ly opti­mistic announce­ment by Mod­er­na. The for­tu­itous­ly timed Mod­er­na announce­ment made the fir­m’s CFO rough­ly $4 mil­lion: ” . . . . On Mon­day, he [Kim] exer­cised options to buy 241,000 shares at a weight­ed aver­age price of $12.45 for about $3 mil­lion, also as part of a pre­de­ter­mined plan. At the same time, Kim exe­cut­ed sales of 241,000 shares, at a weight­ed aver­age price of $82.12 for about $19.79 mil­lion. That means Kim net­ted about $16.79 mil­lion on the simul­ta­ne­ous buy and sale of shares. . . . with Monday’s stock price surge fol­low­ing the announce­ment of ear­ly data on its vac­cine can­di­date poten­tial­ly adding $4 mil­lion to Kim’s cof­fers. . . .”

3.–The above-ref­er­enced announce­ment by Mod­er­na led to a dra­mat­ic increase in Mod­er­na’s stock and boost­ed the mar­ket as a whole. Mod­er­na announced that evening that it would sell $1.34 bil­lion in stock to help its vac­cine oper­a­tion: ” . . . . Shares of Mod­er­na closed at a record high of $80.00 on Mon­day after the com­pa­ny released a slice of pos­i­tive inter­im clin­i­cal data from the first phase of its COVID-19 vac­cine tri­al. That night it announced it would sell $1.34 bil­lion in stock to help fund man­u­fac­tur­ing costs asso­ci­at­ed with the exper­i­men­tal COVID-19 vac­cine. . . .”

4.–Moderna’s stock nose­dived at the end of the trad­ing day on Tues­day, due to a crit­i­cal arti­cle from Stat News: ” . . . . The stock took a nose dive on Tues­day, clos­ing at $71.67, like­ly due in some degree to a Stat News sto­ry that ques­tioned a lack of clin­i­cal clar­i­ty in the data it pro­vid­ed to investors. . . .”
Mod­er­na’s announce­ment was crit­i­cal­ly assessed by Stat News, which point­ed out that the results were incom­plete at best: ” . . . . In a clin­i­cal-tri­al data dis­clo­sure on Mon­day, Mod­er­na shared that eight out of 45 par­tic­i­pants in its COVID-19 vac­cine study devel­oped neu­tral­iz­ing anti­bod­ies, a deci­sion that Stat’s Helen Bran­swell described as a ‘rea­son for cau­tion.’ It didn’t share infor­ma­tion about the immune response to the exper­i­men­tal vac­cine in the remain­ing 37 par­tic­i­pants. . . .”

5.–Nonetheless, Mod­er­na’s stock–bolstered by gov­ern­ment investment–has been on a dra­mat­ic upward swing: ” . . . . The company’s stock was up 3.8% in trad­ing on Wednes­day. Year-to-date, it has soared 270.2%, even though the com­pa­ny has no approved prod­ucts. . . .”

There are seri­ous ques­tions about the sub­stance of Mod­er­na’s state­ment:

1.–Moderna’s much tout­ed report on its vaccine—which trig­gered an upsurge in the mar­kets on Monday—appears to have been incom­plete, at best, and pur­pose­ful­ly decep­tive, at worst. “ . . . . While Mod­er­na blitzed the media, it revealed very lit­tle infor­ma­tion — and most of what it did dis­close were words, not data.. . . . If you ask sci­en­tists to read a jour­nal arti­cle, they will scour data tables, not cor­po­rate state­ments. With sci­ence, num­bers speak much loud­er than words. Even the fig­ures the com­pa­ny did release don’t mean much on their own, because crit­i­cal infor­ma­tion — effec­tive­ly the key to inter­pret­ing them — was with­held. . . .”

2.–Part of the rea­son for alarm and skep­ti­cism con­cerns the behav­ior of the NIAID—whose direc­tor is Antho­ny Fau­ci: “ . . . . The Nation­al Insti­tute for Aller­gy and Infec­tious Dis­eases has part­nered with Mod­er­na on this vac­cine. Sci­en­tists at NIAID made the vaccine’s con­struct, or pro­to­type, and the agency is run­ning the Phase 1 tri­al. This week’s Mod­er­na read­out came from the ear­li­est of data from the NIAID-led Phase 1. NIAID doesn’t hide its light under a bushel. The insti­tute gen­er­al­ly trum­pets its find­ings, often offer­ing direc­tor Antho­ny Fau­ci . . . or oth­er senior per­son­nel for inter­views. But NIAID did not put out a press release Mon­day and declined to pro­vide com­ment on Moderna’s announce­ment. . . .”

3.–To begin with, Moderna’s announce­ment was only sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sub­stan­tive for 8 of the 45 vol­un­teer sub­jects: “ . . . . The company’s state­ment led with the fact that all 45 sub­jects (in this analy­sis) who received dos­es of 25 micro­grams (two dos­es each), 100 micro­grams (two dos­es each), or a 250 micro­grams (one dose) devel­oped bind­ing anti­bod­ies. Lat­er, the state­ment indi­cat­ed that eight vol­un­teers — four each from the 25-micro­gram and 100-micro­gram arms — devel­oped neu­tral­iz­ing anti­bod­ies. Of the two types, these are the ones you’d real­ly want to see. We don’t know results from the oth­er 37 tri­al par­tic­i­pants. . . .”

4.–It is pos­si­ble that neu­tral­iz­ing anti­bod­ies may have been devel­oped in the 37 test sub­jects whose data was not released because the test­ing process is exact­ing. Still the state­ment war­rants cau­tion, at the least. “ . . . . This doesn’t mean that they didn’t devel­op neu­tral­iz­ing antibodies.Testing for neu­tral­iz­ing anti­bod­ies is more time-con­sum­ing than oth­er anti­body tests and must be done in a biose­cu­ri­ty lev­el 3 lab­o­ra­to­ry. Mod­er­na dis­closed the find­ings from eight sub­jects because that’s all it had at that point. Still, it’s a rea­son for cau­tion . . . .”

5.–In addi­tion, the age of the sub­jects was not released and that is rel­e­vant. “ . . . . Sep­a­rate­ly, while the Phase 1 tri­al includ­ed healthy vol­un­teers ages 18 to 55 years, the exact ages of these eight peo­ple are unknown. If, by chance, they most­ly clus­tered around the younger end of the age spec­trum, you might expect a bet­ter response to the vac­cine than if they were most­ly from the senior end of it. And giv­en who is at high­est risk from the SARS-CoV­‑2 coro­n­avirus, pro­tect­ing old­er adults is what Covid-19 vac­cines need to do. . . .”

6.–In addi­tion, there was no data released as to the dura­bil­i­ty of the neu­tral­iz­ing anti­bod­ies. If, for the sake of argu­ment, they are not long-last­ing, the util­i­ty of the vac­cine is neg­li­gi­ble. “ . . . . The report of neu­tral­iz­ing anti­bod­ies in sub­jects who were vac­ci­nat­ed comes from blood drawn two weeks after they received their sec­ond dose of vac­cine. Two weeks. ‘That’s very ear­ly. We don’t know if those anti­bod­ies are durable,’ said Anna Durbin, a vac­cine researcher at Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty. . . .”

7.–Still anoth­er point of contention/alarm con­cerns the vari­abil­i­ty in neu­tral­iz­ing anti­bod­ies among recov­ered patients: “ . . . . But stud­ies have shown anti­body lev­els among peo­ple who have recov­ered from the ill­ness vary enor­mous­ly; the range that may be influ­enced by the sever­i­ty of a person’s dis­ease. John ‘Jack’ Rose, a vac­cine researcher from Yale Uni­ver­si­ty, point­ed STAT to a study from Chi­na that showed that, among 175 recov­ered Covid-19 patients stud­ied, 10 had no detectable neu­tral­iz­ing anti­bod­ies. Recov­ered patients at the oth­er end of the spec­trum had real­ly high anti­body lev­els. So though the com­pa­ny said the anti­body lev­els induced by vac­cine were as good as those gen­er­at­ed by infec­tion, there’s no real way to know what that com­par­i­son means. . . .”

8.–It is less than encour­ag­ing that Mod­er­na dis­closed that more rel­e­vant data will be dis­closed in a report to be released in con­junc­tion with NIAID: “ . . . . STAT asked Mod­er­na for infor­ma­tion on the anti­body lev­els it used as a com­para­tor. The response: That will be dis­closed in an even­tu­al jour­nal arti­cle from NIAID, which is part of the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health. . . .”

9.–Ann Durbin was struck by the word­ing of Moderna’s release: “ . . . . Durbin was struck by the word­ing of the company’s state­ment, point­ing to this sen­tence: ‘The lev­els of neu­tral­iz­ing anti­bod­ies at day 43 were at or above lev­els gen­er­al­ly seen in con­va­les­cent sera.’ ‘I thought: Gen­er­al­ly? What does that mean?’ Durbin said. Her ques­tion, for the time being, can’t be answered. . . .”

10.–Jack Rose com­ment­ed on the opaque nature of Moderna’s release: “. . . . Rose said the com­pa­ny should dis­close the infor­ma­tion. ‘When a com­pa­ny like Mod­er­na with such incred­i­bly vast resources says they have gen­er­at­ed SARS‑2 neu­tral­iz­ing anti­bod­ies in a human tri­al, I would real­ly like to see num­bers from what­ev­er assay they are using,’ he said. . . .”

10.–To date, Mod­er­na issues press releas­es, not papers that can be vet­ted by the sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty: “ . . . . It doesn’t pub­lish on its work in sci­en­tif­ic jour­nals. What is known has been dis­closed through press releas­es. That’s not enough to gen­er­ate con­fi­dence with­in the sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty. ‘My guess is that their num­bers are mar­gin­al or they would say more,’ Rose said about the company’s SARS‑2 vac­cine, echo­ing a sus­pi­cion that oth­ers have about some of the company’s oth­er work. ‘I do think it’s a bit of a con­cern that they haven’t pub­lished the results of any of their ongo­ing tri­als that they men­tion in their press release. They have not pub­lished any of that,’ Durbin not­ed. . . .”

After sum­ma­riz­ing a high­ly tech­ni­cal arti­cle warn­ing that of the pos­si­ble con­se­quences of intro­duc­ing a SARS Cov‑2 vac­cine that gen­er­ates inad­e­quate­ly high lev­els of anti­bod­ies, we detail a 2016 STAT News arti­cle about Mod­er­na high­lights a num­ber of areas of con­cern, giv­en the speed and rel­a­tive­ly opaque nature of the poten­tial intro­duc­tion of its Covid-19 vac­cine.

The financ­ing of the com­pa­ny by DARPA, and Mon­cef Slaoui’s join­ing with Four Star Gen­er­al Per­na (ele­vat­ed by the Chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen­er­al Mark A. Mil­ley) are of addi­tion­al con­cern.

1.–As of 2016, Mod­er­na had the largest val­u­a­tion of any pri­vate biotech firm and for­mer employ­ees felt that Mod­er­na prized mon­ey over sci­ence. Note that, as will be reviewed lat­er in the pro­gram, its stock has risen expo­nen­tial­ly as a result of the injec­tion of hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars. Bear in mind that Mod­er­na has also been under­writ­ten by DARPA. “ . . . . Mod­er­na is worth more than any oth­er pri­vate biotech in the US, and for­mer employ­ees said they felt that Ban­cel prized the company’s ever-increas­ing val­u­a­tion, now approach­ing $5 bil­lion, over its sci­ence. . . .”

2.–Moderna has main­tained a cul­ture of secre­cy, which in 2016, applied to the first two prod­ucts under­go­ing phase 1 tri­als: “ . . . . Mod­er­na just moved its first two poten­tial treat­ments — both vac­cines — into human tri­als. In keep­ing with the cul­ture of secre­cy, though, exec­u­tives won’t say which dis­eases the vac­cines tar­get, and they have not list­ed the stud­ies on the pub­lic fed­er­al reg­istry, ClinicalTrials.gov. List­ing is option­al for Phase 1 tri­als, which are meant to deter­mine if a drug is safe, but most com­pa­nies vol­un­tar­i­ly dis­close their work. . . .”

3.–Protein ther­a­py has been a dri­ving eco­nom­ic and ther­a­peu­tic fac­tor in the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal busi­ness: “ . . . . For decades, com­pa­nies have endeav­ored to craft bet­ter and bet­ter pro­tein ther­a­pies, lead­ing to new treat­ments for can­cer, autoim­mune dis­or­ders, and rare dis­eases. Such ther­a­pies are cost­ly to pro­duce and have many lim­i­ta­tions, but they’ve giv­en rise to a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar indus­try. The anti-inflam­ma­to­ry Humi­ra, the world’s top drug at $14 bil­lion in sales a year, is a shin­ing exam­ple of pro­tein ther­a­py. . . .”

4.–Moderna aims at doing an end run around that tech­nol­o­gy with the injec­tion of mRNA (mes­sen­ger RNA) or DNA. This is a risky tech­nol­o­gy: “ . . . . Moderna’s tech­nol­o­gy promised to sub­vert the whole field, cre­at­ing ther­a­peu­tic pro­teins inside the body instead of in man­u­fac­tur­ing plants. The key: har­ness­ing mes­sen­ger RNA, or mRNA. . . . . It’s high­ly risky. Big phar­ma com­pa­nies had tried sim­i­lar work and aban­doned it because it’s exceed­ing­ly hard to get RNA into cells with­out trig­ger­ing nasty side effects. . . . .”

5.–CEO Ban­cel has main­tained the company’s cul­ture of secre­cy: “ . . . . Under Ban­cel, Mod­er­na has been loath to pub­lish its work in Sci­ence or Nature, but enthu­si­as­tic to her­ald its poten­tial on CNBC and CNN, tak­ing part in seg­ments on the world’s most dis­rup­tive com­pa­niesand the poten­tial “cure for can­cer.” . . .”

6.–Moderna had dra­con­ian atti­tude toward employ­ees from its incep­tion: “ . . . . From the begin­ning, Ban­cel made clear that Moderna’s sci­ence sim­ply had to work. And that any­one who couldn’t make it work didn’t belong. The ear­ly Mod­er­na was a chaot­ic, unpre­dictable work­place, accord­ing to for­mer employ­ees. One recalls find­ing him­self out of a job when a quick-turn­around exper­i­ment failed to pan out. Anoth­er helped train a group of new hires only to real­ize they were his replace­ments. . . .”

7.–Joe Bolen exem­pli­fied the treat­ment Mod­er­na met­ed out: “ . . . . Most stun­ning to employ­ees was the abrupt depar­ture of Joseph Bolen, who came aboard in 2013 to lead Moderna’s R&D efforts. Bolen was a big-name hire in biotech cir­cles, an expe­ri­enced chief sci­en­tif­ic offi­cer who had guid­ed Mil­len­ni­um Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals to FDA approval for a block­buster can­cer drug. . . ‘No sci­en­tist in his right mind would leave that job unless there was some­thing wrong with the sci­ence or the per­son­nel,” said a per­son close to the com­pa­ny at the time.’ . . .”

8.–Bolen had com­pa­ny: “ . . . . Bolen wasn’t alone. Chief Infor­ma­tion Offi­cer John Reyn­ders joined in 2013 to make Mod­er­na what he called the world’s “first ful­ly dig­i­tal biotech,”only to step down a year lat­er. Michael Morin, brought in to lead Moderna’s sci­en­tif­ic efforts in can­cer in 2014, last­ed less than 18 months. As did Greg Licholai, hired in 2015 to direct the company’s projects in rare dis­eases. The lat­ter two key lead­er­ship posi­tions remain unfilled. . . .”

9.–The expla­na­tion of CFO Lorence Kim is less than reas­sur­ing from the stand­point of prod­uct safe­ty and reli­a­bil­i­ty: “ . . . . ‘We force every­one to grow with the com­pa­ny at unprece­dent­ed speed,’ Mod­er­na Chief Finan­cial Offi­cer Lorence Kim said. ‘Some peo­ple grow with the com­pa­ny; oth­ers don’t.’ . . .”

10.–Beginning in 2013, Mod­er­na part­nered with a series of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal giants, includ­ing AstraZeneca, which has been select­ed to devel­op a Covid-19 vac­cine: “ . . . . That’s when Mod­er­na — which had just 25 employ­ees — signed a stag­ger­ing $240 mil­lion part­ner­ship with UK phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal giant AstraZeneca. It was the most mon­ey phar­ma had ever spent on drugs that had not yet been test­ed in humans. . . .”

11.–The firm has been lav­ish­ly cap­i­tal­ized: “ . . . . In ear­ly 2015, Mod­er­na dis­closed a $450 mil­lion financ­ing round, the largest ever for a pri­vate biotech com­pa­ny. This month, the com­pa­ny broke its own record, rais­ing anoth­er $474 mil­lion. . . . Though it has yet to reveal data from a sin­gle clin­i­cal tri­al, Mod­er­na is now val­ued at $4.7 bil­lion, accord­ing to Pitch­book. . . .”

12.–Initially, Mod­er­na aimed at devel­op­ing prod­ucts that would be admin­is­tered for a peri­od of years: “ . . . . From the start, Mod­er­na her­ald­ed its abil­i­ty to pro­duce pro­teins with­in cells, which could open up a world of ther­a­peu­tic tar­gets unreach­able by con­ven­tion­al drugs. The most rev­o­lu­tion­ary treat­ments, which could chal­lenge the multi­bil­lion-dol­lar mar­ket for pro­tein ther­a­py, would involve repeat­ed dos­es of mRNA over many years, so a patient’s body con­tin­ued to pro­duce pro­teins to keep dis­ease at bay. . . .”

13.–Instead of pro­duc­ing treat­ments that would be admin­is­tered over a peri­od of years, the com­pa­ny focused on vac­cines: “ . . . . But Moderna’s first human tri­als aren’t so ambi­tious, focus­ing instead on the crowd­ed field of vac­cines, where the com­pa­ny has only been work­ing since 2014. . . . The choice to pri­or­i­tize vac­cines came as a dis­ap­point­ment to many in the com­pa­ny, accord­ing to a for­mer man­ag­er. The plan had been to rad­i­cal­ly dis­rupt the biotech indus­try, the man­ag­er said, so ‘why would you start with a clin­i­cal pro­gram that has very lim­it­ed upside and lots of com­pe­ti­tion?’” . . . .”

14.–The answer to Moderna’s focus on vac­cines may be due to issues of prod­uct safe­ty: “ . . . Deliv­ery — actu­al­ly get­ting RNA into cells — has long bedev­iled the whole field. On their own, RNA mol­e­cules have a hard time reach­ing their tar­gets. They work bet­ter if they’re wrapped up in a deliv­ery mech­a­nism, such as nanopar­ti­cles made of lipids. But those nanopar­ti­cles can lead to dan­ger­ous side effects, espe­cial­ly if a patient has to take repeat­ed dos­es over months or years. . . .”

15.–Vaccines will only admin­is­ter mRNA at the time of vac­ci­na­tion, rather than over a long peri­od of time: “ . . . . ‘I would say that mRNA is bet­ter suit­ed for dis­eases where treat­ment for short dura­tion is suf­fi­cient­ly cura­tive, so the tox­i­c­i­ties caused by deliv­ery mate­ri­als are less like­ly to occur,’ said Katal­in Karikó, a pio­neer in the field who serves as a vice pres­i­dent at BioN­Tech. . . That makes vac­cines the low­est hang­ing fruit in mRNA, said Franz-Wern­er Haas, CureVac’s chief cor­po­rate offi­cer. ‘From our point of view, it’s obvi­ous why [Mod­er­na] start­ed there,’ he said.’ . . .”

16.–Moderna’s expla­na­tion for its focus on vac­cines is not reassuring—the speed with which it can pro­ceed to human tri­als. The firm’s secre­cy has gen­er­at­ed alarm: “ . . . . Mod­er­na said it pri­or­i­tized vac­cines because they pre­sent­ed the fastest path to human tri­als, not because of set­backs with oth­er projects. ‘The notion that [Mod­er­na] ran into dif­fi­cul­ties isn’t borne in real­i­ty,’ said Afeyan. But this is where Moderna’s secre­cy comes into play: Until there’s pub­lished data, only the com­pa­ny and its part­ners know what the data show. Every­one out­side is left guess­ing — and, in some cas­es, wor­ry­ing that Mod­er­na won’t live up to its hype. . . .”

17.–Moderna applies soft­ware and a busi­ness mod­el derived from Tes­la, Ama­zon and Uber: “ . . . . Mod­er­na has pio­neered an auto­mat­ed sys­tem mod­eled on the soft­ware Tes­la uses to man­age orders, Ban­cel said: Sci­en­tists sim­ply enter the pro­tein they want a cell to express, and testable mRNA arrives with­in weeks. . . . That has always been part of the plan, for­mer employ­ees said, point­ing to Bancel’s fas­ci­na­tion with the tech indus­try. Uber and Ama­zon were not the first to come up with their respec­tive busi­ness ideas, but they were the ones that built enough scale to ward off com­pe­ti­tion. And Mod­er­na is posi­tion­ing itself to do the same in mRNA. . . .”

Mon­cef Slaoui’s  opti­mistic state­ment on the Fri­day before the Mon­day announce­ment, presents impor­tant con­text for Moderna’s Mon­day announce­ment. That announce­ment moved mar­kets based on inad­e­quate data. “Oper­a­tion Warp Speed” (head­ed by Slaoui) sug­gests that can­di­date Trump  is very inter­est­ed in those pre­lim­i­nary results as well. 

Eliz­a­beth War­ren scored Slaoui’s con­flict of interest–a con­sid­er­a­tion that will be dis­cussed at length: ” . . . . Fol­low­ing Mon­cef Slaoui’s Fri­day appoint­ment as a co-leader of the Warp Speed pro­gram, he’s set to sell about 155,000 shares in Mod­er­na, accord­ing to press reports. They were worth an esti­mat­ed $10 mil­lion Fri­day, but after Monday’s stock run-up on pos­i­tive ear­ly data, they’re now val­ued at about $12.4 mil­lion. . . . Fol­low­ing Slaoui’s selec­tion, Sen. Eliz­a­beth War­ren tweet­ed that it’s a ‘huge con­flict of inter­est’ for him to keep the Mod­er­na stock as he assumes the new role. She said he should ‘divest imme­di­ate­ly.’ In a now-delet­ed tweet, Slaoui respond­ed that there ‘is no con­flict of inter­est, and there nev­er has been,’ Busi­ness Insid­er reports. . . .”

Even after agree­ing to sell his Mod­er­na stock, Slaoui’s invest­ments raise alarm­ing questions–note that he is a “ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist” and a long­time for­mer exec­u­tive at Glaxo-Smithk­line:

1.–The cir­cum­stances of his appoint­ment will per­mit him to avoid scruti­ny: ” . . . . In agree­ing to accept the posi­tion, Dr. Slaoui did not come on board as a gov­ern­ment employ­ee. Instead, he is on a con­tract, receiv­ing $1 for his ser­vice. That leaves him exempt from fed­er­al dis­clo­sure rules that would require him to list his out­side posi­tions, stock hold­ings and oth­er poten­tial con­flicts. And the con­tract posi­tion is not sub­ject to the same con­flict-of-inter­est laws and reg­u­la­tions that exec­u­tive branch employ­ees must fol­low. . . .”

2.–He will retain a great deal of Glaxo-Smithk­line stock: ” . . . . He did not say how much his GSK shares were worth. When he left the com­pa­ny in 2017, he held about [500,000 in West­ern Print Edi­tion] 240,000 shares and share equiv­a­lents, accord­ing to the drug company’s annu­al report and an analy­sis by the exec­u­tive com­pen­sa­tion firm Equi­lar. . . .”

3.–Further analy­sis of Slaoui’s posi­tion deep­ens con­cern about the integri­ty of the process: ” . . . . ‘This is basi­cal­ly absurd,’ said Vir­ginia Can­ter, who is chief ethics coun­sel for Cit­i­zens for Respon­si­bil­i­ty and Ethics in Wash­ing­ton. ‘It allows for no pub­lic scruti­ny of his con­flicts of inter­est.’ Ms. Can­ter also said fed­er­al law barred gov­ern­ment con­trac­tors from super­vis­ing gov­ern­ment employ­ees. . . . Ms. Can­ter, a for­mer ethics lawyer in the Oba­ma and Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tions, the Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion and oth­er agen­cies, point­ed out that GSK’s vac­cine can­di­date with Sanofi could wind up com­pet­ing with oth­er man­u­fac­tur­ers vying for gov­ern­ment approval and sup­port. ‘If he retains stock in com­pa­nies that are invest­ing in the devel­op­ment of a vac­cine, and he’s involved in over­see­ing this process to select the safest vac­cine to com­bat Covid-19, regard­less of how won­der­ful a per­son he is, we can’t be con­fi­dent of the integri­ty of any process in which he is involved,’ Ms. Can­ter said. In addi­tion, his affil­i­a­tion with Medicxi could com­pli­cate mat­ters: Two of its investors are GSK and a divi­sion of John­son & John­son, which is also devel­op­ing a poten­tial vac­cine. . . .”

Mod­er­na stands to make bil­lions of dol­lars if their vac­cine goes to mar­ket:

1.–” . . . . What investors are bet­ting on, for Mod­er­na and oth­ers devel­op­ing vac­cines against the SARS-CoV­‑2 virus, is that a third of the devel­oped world’s pop­u­la­tion will get vac­ci­nat­ed every year. That could amount to a $10 bil­lion annu­al busi­ness, at an esti­mat­ed price of $30 per vac­ci­na­tion. . . .”

2.–” . . . . Mor­gan Stan­ley ana­lysts this past week­end sug­gest­ed that pric­ing might start at $5 to $10 a dose dur­ing this first pan­dem­ic cri­sis, then rise to a range of $13 to $30 for pre­ven­tive dos­es in future years. But at BMO Cap­i­tal Mar­kets, ana­lyst George Farmer spec­u­lat­ed that Mod­er­na could start charg­ing $125 per treat­ment in the U.S. mar­ket and raise that price over time to $200. . . . ”

We close the pro­gram with a reminder of the extent to which fed­er­al fund­ing dri­ves the val­ue of Mod­er­na: ” . . . . ‘Instead of wait­ing for the data and then scal­ing up with man­u­fac­tur­ing process … we can make as many dos­es as we can. We are doing both in par­al­lel,’ he said. The com­pa­ny plans to hire up to 150 peo­ple to sup­port the effort. Ban­cel said the com­pa­ny ‘couldn’t have done this’ with­out the fund­ing com­mit­ment from the Bio­med­ical Advanced Research and Devel­op­ment Author­i­ty, which is part of the Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices. . . .”

FTR #1082 Funky Resumes: Update on Socialists for Trump and Hitler (“The Assistance”)

In this pro­gram, we high­light the dis­con­cert­ing CV’s of Saikat Chakrabar­ti, Cenk Uygur, Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez, as well as PACs and relat­ed enti­ties cre­at­ed by Chakrabar­ti and under­pin­ning AOC. Chakrabar­ti appears to be a polit­i­cal acolyte of Sub­has Chan­dra Bose, “The Duce of Ben­gal.” In a YouTube seg­ment defend­ing AOC against crit­i­cism, the recent­ly resigned Chakrabar­ti sport­ed a T‑shirt fea­tur­ing the like­ness of that key Indi­an fas­cist.

“Sub­has Chan­dra” Chakrabar­ti ignit­ed the war with­in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty that he had intend­ed. Note­wor­thy in his “funky resume” is the fact that he worked for Bridge­wa­ter Asso­ciates, the world’s largest hedge fund. James Comey was the fir­m’s chief legal coun­sel, before mov­ing to head the FBI. His reopen­ing of the Hillary Clin­ton e‑mail “non-scan­dal” just before elec­tion day helped give Trump the vic­to­ry.

Fol­low­ing his res­ig­na­tion this past week, “Sub­has Chan­dra” Chakrabar­ti is now under inves­ti­ga­tion for his cam­paign finance activ­i­ties: ” . . . The inquiry cen­ters on two polit­i­cal action com­mit­tees found­ed by Saikat Chakrabar­ti . . . . The two PACs being probed, Brand New Con­gress and Jus­tice Democ­rats, were both set up by Chakrabar­ti to sup­port pro­gres­sive can­di­dates across the coun­try. . . . But they fun­neled more than $1 mil­lion in polit­i­cal dona­tions into two pri­vate com­pa­nies that Chakrabar­ti also incor­po­rat­ed and con­trolled, accord­ing to Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion fil­ings and a com­plaint filed in March with the reg­u­la­to­ry agency. In 2016 and 2017, the PACs raised about $3.3 mil­lion, most­ly from small donors. A third of the cash was trans­ferred to two pri­vate com­pa­nies whose names are sim­i­lar to one of the PACs — Brand New Con­gress LLC and Brand New Cam­paign LLC — fed­er­al cam­paign fil­ings show. . . .”

We sus­pect that the irreg­u­lar­i­ties in Chakrabar­ti’s activ­i­ties and the irreg­u­lar­i­ties in Oca­sio-Cortez’s resume and activ­i­ties were not only delib­er­ate­ly pre­con­ceived, but are part of an elec­toral “Psy-Op” that will get con­sid­er­able cov­er­age in the 2020 cam­paign, pos­si­bly hand­ing vic­to­ry to Trump.

“Team AOC” will of, course, cry “racism” via Twit­ter.

AOC has already been hand­ed Mar­tyr Sta­tus by Don­ald Trump’s attacks, and we believe she may well become the face of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, as Team Trump wish­es.

A blog post from “The Medi­um” notes the fishy ele­ments of AOC’s CV, the ques­tion­able activ­i­ties of the Chakrabar­ti enti­ties and the indi­ca­tions that “Team AOC” has more in com­mon with the very right-wing ele­ments and indi­vid­u­als that they decry than any­thing that could be called “pro­gres­sive:” ” . . . . inde­pen­dent research into her back­ground and fund­ing has revealed ‘Demo­c­ra­t­ic Social­ist’ Oca­sio-Cortez is nei­ther a pro­gres­sive Demo­c­rat nor a good faith can­di­date. And for some­one with an eco­nom­ics degree — one of the only claims on her resume that checks out — the 28-year-old can­di­date has a lot to learn about cam­paign finance and elec­tion law. At any oth­er time, Oca­sio-Cortez’ myr­i­ad red flags — her unlike­ly vic­to­ry, antag­o­nis­tic rhetoric, nation­al ampli­fi­ca­tion, and shady fund­ing — would beg media scruti­ny. . . .This new breed of sup­posed “pro­gres­sives” — with their rad­i­cal­ized, anti-estab­lish­ment fer­vor — appear to have more in com­mon with that far-right insur­gency [the Tea Par­ty] than either group has with main­stream Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. . . . But we are not liv­ing in ordi­nary times — a sit­u­a­tion Oca­sio-Cortez and her “pro­gres­sive” posse are all too will­ing to exploit to accom­plish their destruc­tive goals. As nat­ur­al as any evo­lu­tion, the “Bernie or Bust” influ­ence oper­a­tion that infect­ed our 2016 elec­tion is alive, well, and adapt­ed for sur­vival. It’s new use­ful idiots are Oca­sio-Cortez and the murky entan­gle­ment of two new Polit­i­cal Action Com­mit­tees (PACs)— found­ed by The Young Turks’ scan­dal-plagued host Cenk Uygur and a group of tech-savvy ex-Bernie cam­paign staffers. . . .”

Ques­tion­able aspects of Team AOC include:

1.–Her entre­pre­neur­ial pre­tense, which appears to be illu­so­ry.
2.–Her ele­va­tion of undergraduate/internship activ­i­ties to be polit­i­cal posts.
3. –The dubi­ous fab­ric of her Bronx work­ing class cache: ” . . . . Oca­sio-Cortez has claimed to be a ‘third-gen­er­a­tion Bronx­ite’ from a ‘work­ing class’ fam­i­ly. . . . She grad­u­at­ed from the pre­dom­i­nate­ly white York­town High School locat­ed in York­town Heights, NY, where the aver­age house­hold income is $141,254 and aver­age house­hold net worth is $1,192,838. . . .”
4.–The fact that she appears to have vet­ted her­self as a can­di­date: ” . . . . A review of the core staff reveals sig­nif­i­cant crossover and a musi­cal chairs of board mem­bers between the two [PACs]. Oca­sio-Cortez assumed a lead­er­ship role with Jus­tice Democ­rats some­time in 2017 — there­by effec­tive­ly vet­ting her­self for the role of can­di­date. . . .”
5.–Brand New Con­gress recruit­ing can­di­dates to run as Repub­li­cans in red dis­tricts: ” . . . . Brand New Con­gress, the PAC we now see Oca­sio-Cortez criss-cross­ing the coun­try help­ing to pro­mote, has the per­plex­ing mis­sion of ‘attempt­ing to recruit Con­gres­sion­al can­di­dates to run as Repub­li­cans in red dis­tricts.’ . . .”
6.–The con­tra­dic­to­ry nature of Team AOC’s activ­i­ties is encap­su­lat­ed in the fol­low­ing ana­lyt­i­cal syn­op­sis: ” . . . . An analy­sis of FEC fil­ings shows that their net­work of PACs, LLCs, board and staff nav­i­gate in the same legal and eth­i­cal grey area their entire “anti-dark mon­ey” plat­form is based on com­bat­ting. Begin­ning with Jus­tice Democ­rats, the PAC has raised $2,100,399 over the course of the 2017–2018 elec­tion sea­son. Yet over that same time peri­od, the PAC has made zero inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures in sup­port of any can­di­dates. In fact, dozens of can­di­dates have instead made pay­ments to Jus­tice Democ­rats. . . .”
7.–The cen­tral role of the “Bernie Bots” in this unsa­vory activ­i­ty: ” . . . . A review of dis­burse­ments reveals that of the $2,026,298 spent to date, over $600,000 for “strate­gic con­sult­ing” ser­vices was direct­ed to Brand New Con­gress LLC — a busi­ness enti­ty con­trolled by Chakrabar­ti. Anoth­er $1 mil­lion in con­tri­bu­tions has been direct­ed to ex-Bernie staffers or their firms. This includes $222,000 to Mid­dle Seat Con­sult­ing LLC, run by Brand New Con­gress co-Founder Zack Exley, and about $800,000 in salaries and pay­roll costs. Because those LLCs have not dis­closed finan­cial reports, the pub­lic has no way of know­ing what that mon­ey was used for. . . .”
8.–Brand New Con­gress also ben­e­fit­ing the Bernie Bots: ” . . . . A review of Brand New Con­gress PAC fil­ings demon­strate a sim­i­lar move­ment of fundrais­ing dona­tions into the pock­ets of ex-Bernie “con­sul­tants”. Of the $477,688 raised, no inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures to can­di­dates were made, yet $261,000 was paid to Brand New Con­gress LLC and over $100,000 was dis­bursed as salaries or pay­roll costs. . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

1.–Review of key points of the fas­cist activ­i­ties of “Team Bose.”
2.–Review of Naren­dra Mod­i’s fush­ion of Hin­dut­va fas­cism with Team Bose.
3.–An overview of Cenk Uygur’s curi­ous resume.
9.–A con­stel­la­tion of high­ly ques­tion­able activ­i­ties in con­nec­tion with AOC’s defeat of 10-term Con­gress­man Joe Crow­ley, such as the role of the “Blue Amer­i­ca” PAC, UK Eng­lish copy: ” . . . . The meme-heavy social media pages for the PAC’s var­i­ous web­sites pushed out vit­ri­olic blog and social media posts dur­ing the pri­ma­ry, using bud­get graph­ics with British-Eng­lish copy to pro­mote hash­tags like #Abol­ishICE #Berniewould­have­won and #Mob­Boss­Crow­ley. . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

Review of key points of the fas­cist activ­i­ties of “Team Bose.”
Review of Naren­dra Mod­i’s fush­ion of Hin­dut­va fas­cism with Team Bose.
An overview of Cenk Uygur’s curi­ous resume.

John Roberts Gives Bad Faith Blessing to Hyper-Partisan Gerrymandering, Paving Way for the Kochstitution.

There was an omi­nous warn­ing about the direc­tion Amer­i­can Democ­ra­cy was head­ing When David Frum warned, “If con­ser­v­a­tives become con­vinced that they can­not win demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly, they will not aban­don con­ser­vatism. They will reject democ­ra­cy.” It was a warn­ing about what might hap­pen, but as we’re going to see, the corporate/billionaire wing com­po­nent of the Repub­li­can par­ty has already con­clud­ed that it can’t get the pub­lic behind its agen­da and has already turned against democ­ra­cy. And John Roberts just hand­ed this bil­lion­aire fac­tion a mas­sive legal vic­to­ry in Rucho vs Com­mon Cause: fed­er­al courts can’t rule on whether or not dis­trict lines are drawn in an over­ly-par­ti­san man­ner. It’s up to each state on its own. And as we’re going to see, Repub­li­cans already dom­i­nate the con­trol of state gov­ern­ments and now state leg­is­la­tures can ger­ry­man­der their own dis­tricts with­out fear of fed­er­al med­dling. Beyond that, the Kochs and ALEC are work­ing on remov­ing state courts from over­see­ing redis­trict­ing maps too. And to top it off, the Kochs are aggres­sive­ly push­ing for a con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion that could eas­i­ly turn into a ‘run­away’ con­ven­tion. And if there’s a con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion, whichev­er par­ty con­trols the most states is going to con­trol the out­come of the con­ven­tion. So the Supreme Court just tur­bocharged the Kochs’ cap­ture of state assem­blies, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and even­tu­al­ly the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Good Evening Mr. Bush! I’ll Be Your Server Tonight!

Exem­pli­fy­ing the grotesque, orgias­tic hagiog­ra­phy to which the media have been sub­ject­ing us since George H.W. Bush died is a reput­ed con­ver­sa­tion between the dying George H.W. Bush and Dubya, as report­ed by James Bak­er. After speak­ing to oth­er off­spring and rel­a­tives, the dying Pop­py report­ed­ly spoke with Shrub, who alleged­ly said: “I’ll see you in Heav­en, Dad!” Sup­pos­ed­ly, Pop­py spoke no more before going on to his Eter­nal Reward. If, in fact, such a ren­dezvous does take place, we do not expect it to occur in the Celes­tial Here­after. Exem­pli­fy­ing the mur­der­ous real­i­ties of George H.W. Bush’s tenure on earth is his super­vi­sion of the Afghan Muja­hadin and the birth of Al-Qae­da: “ . . . . More to the point, now, in the Afghanistan War, Vice Pres­i­dent Bush’s inter­ests and Osama bin Laden’s con­verged. In using bin Laden’s Arab Afghans as proxy war­riors against the Sovi­ets, Bush advo­cat­ed a pol­i­cy that was ful­ly in line with Amer­i­can inter­ests at that time. But he did not con­sid­er the long-term impli­ca­tions of sup­port­ing a net­work of Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ist rebels. . . . . Specif­i­cal­ly, as Vice Pres­i­dent in the mid-eight­ies, Bush sup­port­ed aid­ing the mujahideen in Afghanistan through the Mak­tab al-Khi­damat (MAK) or Ser­vices Offices, which sent mon­ey and fight­ers to the Afghan resis­tance in Peshawar. ‘Bush was in charge of the covert oper­a­tions that sup­port­ed the MAK,’ says John Lof­tus, a Jus­tice Depart­ment offi­cial in the eight­ies. ‘They were essen­tial­ly hir­ing a ter­ror­ist to fight ter­ror­ism. . . . Cofound­ed by Osama bin Laden and Abdul­lah Azzam, the MAK was the pre­cur­sor to bin Laden’s glob­al ter­ror­ist net­work, Al Qae­da. It sent mon­ey and fight­ers to the Afghan resis­tance in Peshawar, Pak­istan, and even the Unit­ed States to bring thou­sands of war­riors to Afghanistan to fight the Sovi­et Union. The MAK was lat­er linked to the 1993 bomb­ing of the World Trade Cen­ter in New York through an office in Brook­lyn known as the Al-Kifah Refugee Cen­ter. It is not clear how much con­tact he had with bin Laden, but Sheikh Omar Abdel Rah­man, the ‘Blind Sheikh,’ who mas­ter­mind­ed the 1993 bomb­ing of the World Trade Cen­ter, also appeared in Peshawar on occa­sion. . . . ”

FTR #1030 Walkin’ the Snake from Ukraine, to the United States and Around the World

We have spo­ken repeat­ed­ly about the Nazi tract “Ser­pen­t’s Walk,” in which the Third Reich goes under­ground, buys into the opin­ion-form­ing media and, even­tu­al­ly, takes over.

Hitler, the Third Reich and their actions are glo­ri­fied and memo­ri­al­ized.

Some­thing sim­i­lar is hap­pen­ing today in Ukraine.

In 2015, a book was pub­lished exam­in­ing the life of Stepan (also translit­er­at­ed as “Stephan”) Ban­dera, the Ukrain­ian fas­cist and Third Reich ally whose polit­i­cal heirs ascend­ed to pow­er in Ukraine through the Maid­an coup. CORRECTION: Mr. Emory, work­ing from mem­o­ry, misiden­ti­fied the pub­li­ca­tion in which Daniel Lazare’s arti­cle  appeared. It was “Jacobin Mag­a­zine,” not “Coun­ter­punch.” 

We have repeat­ed­ly made the point that the dimen­sions of offi­cial lying in the West were of tru­ly Orwellian proportions–documented World War II his­to­ry was being dis­missed as “Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da” or “Krem­lin pro­pa­gan­da.”

” . . . But thanks to Grze­gorz Rossolinski-Liebe’s Stepan Ban­dera: The Life and After­life of a Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ist, it now seems clear: those ter­ri­ble Rus­sians were right. . . Although Ban­dera and his fol­low­ers would lat­er try to paint the alliance with the Third Reich as no more than ‘tac­ti­cal,’ an attempt to pit one total­i­tar­ian state against anoth­er, it was in fact deep-root­ed and ide­o­log­i­cal. Ban­dera envi­sioned the Ukraine as a clas­sic one-par­ty state with him­self in the role of führer, or provid­nyk, and expect­ed that a new Ukraine would take its place under the Nazi umbrel­la, much as Jozef Tiso’s new fas­cist regime had in Slo­va­kia or Ante Pavelic’s in Croa­t­ia. . . .”

Indeed. This is the point we have been mak­ing for many years.

The Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues its rever­sal of the doc­u­ment­ed his­to­ry of World War II: An exhib­it cel­e­brat­ing “Ukrain­ian inde­pen­dence” rev­els in the OUN/B, Nazi-allied forces that ascend­ed in Ukraine after the Third Reich’s inva­sion of the Sovi­et Union.

” . . . . An exhi­bi­tion inside the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment, the Rada last week glo­ri­fied the lead­ing Ukrain­ian Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors of World War II. . . . ‘The orga­niz­ers of the exhi­bi­tion: All-Ukrain­ian char­i­ta­ble Sobor­nist foun­da­tion, Inter­na­tion­al char­i­ta­ble Jaroslav Stezko foun­da­tion, MP Jury Shuchevich.’ Jaroslav Stezko was leader of Stepan Bandera’s Orga­ni­za­tion of the Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN) mil­i­tary brigades from 1968 until his death. A fer­vent Ukrain­ian Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor, in 1941 dur­ing the Nazi Ger­man inva­sion of the Sovi­et Union, he was self-pro­claimed tem­po­rary head of the osten­si­bly inde­pen­dent Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment declared by Stepan Ban­dera. Stet­sko was the head of the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations from the time of its foun­da­tion until 1986, the year of his death. MP Jury Shuchevich is the octo­ge­nar­i­an son of Roman Shuchevich, who was the one of the lead­ers of the infa­mous the SS Nachti­gall bat­tal­ion. SS Cap­tain Roman Shuchevich was award­ed the Nazi Iron Cross for his “exploits” dur­ing the Sec­ond World War in Ukraine and was an Abwehr agent from 1926. ‘The fact that the son of the polit­i­cal leader of the SS Nachti­gall bat­tal­ion and the bear­er of the Nazi Iron Cross is the most respect­ed – accord­ing to Ukrain­ian author­i­ties – mem­ber of their par­lia­ment is telling all by itself,” wrote co-founder and Pres­i­dent of the Rogatchi Foun­da­tion Dr. Inna Rogatchi. . . .”

World War II-era mon­u­ment in mem­o­ry of UPA free­dom fight­ers with inscrip­tion “Glo­ry to Ukraine! Glo­ry to the heroes!”, in place of the Janowa Dolina mas­sacre, Bazal­tove, Ukraine
In addi­tion, the offi­cial salute of the OUN/B is set to become the offi­cial salute of the Ukrain­ian army. ” . . . . ‘Glo­ry to Ukraine! – Glo­ry to the Heroes!’ is a slo­gan of the UPA, the Ukraine Rebel Army who fought on the side of the Nazis. The slo­gans, their ori­gin, and his­to­ry are well known in Ukraine. . . . Present neo-Nazi Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary for­ma­tions estab­lished by order of the Ukrain­ian author­i­ties appro­pri­at­ed the slo­gan from the end of 2013 onward. Now, the Ukrain­ian Nazi collaborator’s greet­ing will become the offi­cial salute in that country’s army. . . .”

Not only has the UPA salute become the offi­cial salute of the Ukrain­ian army, but it has become the offi­cial salute of the police as well. ”  . . . . Also, the law on the Nation­al Police was amend­ed. Accord­ing to it, when the police offi­cers are in line for the greet­ing of the leader or senior offi­cer, when they hear the salute ‘Glo­ry to Ukraine!’ they reply ‘Glo­ry to Heroes’. The same actions take place dur­ing the part­ing. . . .”

As dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 1004 and 1014, the fas­cist Svo­bo­da Par­ty’s mili­tia, C14, and the Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion’s Nation­al Druzhy­na mili­tia have been incor­po­rat­ed into the Ukrain­ian police estab­lish­ment. This is not sur­pris­ing since Vadim Troy­an, the for­mer Deputy Com­man­der of the Azov Bat­tal­ion became: head of the Kyiv police, act­ing head of the Nation­al Police and then Deputy Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter to OUN/B acolyte Arsen Avakov, the main patron of the Azov Bat­tal­ion.

C14’s police cadre has con­duct­ed anoth­er eth­nic cleans­ing raid against Roma, while receiv­ing favor­able cov­er­age from major Ukrain­ian media: ” . . . . Mem­bers of the neo-Nazi C14 move­ment, togeth­er with the ‘Kyiv Munic­i­pal Watch’ civic orga­ni­za­tion which is led by C14 activist Ser­hiy Bon­dar, have car­ried out anoth­er raid, dri­ving Roma cit­i­zens out of the area around the South­ern Rail­way Sta­tion in Kyiv. The raid does not appear to have been accom­pa­nied by shock­ing images of vio­lence like some five oth­ers this year, but that is the only pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence. What is much more dis­turb­ing is that the action appears to have been with the coop­er­a­tion of the police, and was essen­tial­ly giv­en glow­ing cov­er­age on a nation­al tele­vi­sion news broad­cast. . . . the pre­sen­ter of the fea­ture vir­tu­al­ly par­rots parts of the C14 video, with only two Roma peo­ple dri­ven out shown in a neg­a­tive light. There is one telling detail, name­ly that the tele­vi­sion pro­gram is care­ful­ly not to eth­ni­cal­ly label the peo­ple dri­ven out, with the fea­ture enti­tled: ‘Police and civic activists tried to clean the capital’s sta­tion of thieves’. It does, how­ev­er, show the activists wear­ing cam­ou­flage gear and chevrons clear­ly show­ing the C14 sym­bol, and lit­tle effort would be required to find out how C14 presents its vig­i­lante activ­i­ties, and why this orga­ni­za­tion has gained noto­ri­ety over recent months. . . .”  

Addi­tion­al per­spec­tive on the phys­i­cal, polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal real­i­ty under­ly­ing the salute “Glo­ry to Ukraine–Glory to the Heroes” is the slo­gan’s dis­play on a mon­u­ment to the mas­sacre of the 600 res­i­dents of the Pol­ish town of Janowa Dolina by the UPA. ” . . . . On the night of April 22–23 (Good Fri­day), 1943, the Ukraini­ans from the Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army, togeth­er with local peas­ants, attacked Janowa Dolina. Some 600 peo­ple, includ­ing chil­dren and the elder­ly, were bru­tal­ly mur­dered (see Mas­sacres of Poles in Vol­hy­nia). Most homes were burned to the ground and the set­tle­ment desert­ed. The per­pe­tra­tors, com­mand­ed by Ivan Lytwynchuk (aka Dubowy) exer­cised rare cru­el­ty. Poles, unpre­pared and caught by sur­prise, were hacked to death with axes, burned alive, and impaled (includ­ing chil­dren). The mur­der­ers did not spare any­one, regard­less of age and sex. Ger­man gar­ri­son, num­ber­ing around 100 sol­diers, did not act and remained in its bar­racks. After the first wave of mur­ders, the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists start­ed search­ing the hos­pi­tal. They car­ried its Ukrain­ian patients away from the build­ing, while Pol­ish patients were burned alive.[2] Dr Alek­sander Baki­nows­ki, togeth­er with his assis­tant Jan Borysow­icz, were hacked to death on the square in front of the hos­pi­tal. In sev­er­al cas­es, Ukraini­ans were mur­dered for try­ing to hide their Pol­ish neigh­bours. Petro Mirchuk, Ukrain­ian his­to­ri­an, count­ed sev­er­al hun­dred mas­sa­cred Poles, with only eight UPA mem­bers killed. . . .”

 To put the salute of the bru­tal mur­der­ers of the res­i­dents of the town on a mon­u­ment com­mem­o­rat­ing the mas­sacre is sur­re­al.

It is stun­ning to take stock of the open cel­e­bra­tion of the OUN/B’s Nazi alliance by the insti­tu­tions of the Maid­an gov­ern­ment, includ­ing cel­e­bra­tions of atroc­i­ties like Janowa Dolina:

1.–President Petro Poroshenko laid a wreath at the site of the Babi Yar Mas­sacre, hon­or­ing the OUN/B. The Schutz­mannschaft, who did much of the dirty work at Babi Yar, were culled from the ranks of the UPA, the mil­i­tary wing of the OUN/B.
2.–The city of Lviv (Lvov) in West­ern Ukraine has estab­lished Skhukhevy­ch­fest, to hon­or Roman Schukhevych, who led the Nachti­gall Bat­tal­ion in their mas­sacre of the Jew­ish cit­i­zens of that city. The “fest” coin­cides with the date of the com­mence­ment of the exe­cu­tion.
3.–Ukraine has estab­lished a gov­ern­ment min­istry to stand World War II his­to­ry on its head–the Orwellian-titled Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry.
4.–The lus­tra­tion laws for­bid neg­a­tive com­men­tary about the UPA or the OUN/B.

Key Ukrain­ian nation­al secu­ri­ty per­son­nel have giv­en hard proof of their Nazi ori­en­ta­tion, includ­ing:

1.–Former Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence offi­cer Vasi­ly Vovk, who called for the exter­mi­na­tion of Ukraine’s Jews on his Face­book page. (Vovk was in charge of the “inves­ti­ga­tion” of the down­ing of Malaysian Air­lines flight MH17.)
2.–In FTR #1024, we not­ed that Ana­toliy Matios–Ukraine’s top mil­i­tary pros­e­cu­tor and piv­otal­ly involved in the inves­ti­ga­tion of the Maid­an sniper attacks, has man­i­fest­ed Nazi-style anti-Semi­tism.

The pro­gram con­cludes with two items that exem­pli­fy the focus of FTR #1021 Fas­cis­Book: (In Your Face­book, Part 3–part‑3/A Vir­tu­al Panop­ti­con, Part 3.)

Mar­jana Batjuk, post­ed birth­day greet­ings to Adolf Hitler on her Face­book page on April 20 (Hitler’s birth­day). She also taught her stu­dents the Nazi salute and even took some of her stu­dents to meet far right activists who had par­tic­i­pat­ed in a march wear­ing the uni­form of the the 14th Waf­fen Grenadier Divi­sion of the SS. ” . . . A pub­lic school teacher in Ukraine alleged­ly post­ed birth­day greet­ings to Adolf Hitler on Face­book and taught her stu­dents the Nazi salute. Mar­jana Batjuk, who teach­es at a school in Lviv and also is a coun­cil­woman, post­ed her greet­ing on April 20, the Nazi leader’s birth­day . . . . She also took some of her stu­dents to meet far-right activists who over the week­end marched on the city’s streets while wear­ing the uni­form of the 14th Waf­fen Grenadier Divi­sion of the SS, an elite Nazi unite with many eth­nic Ukraini­ans also known as the 1st Gali­cian. . . .”

That was back in April. Flash for­ward to today and we find a sud­den will­ing­ness by Face­book to ban peo­ple for post Nazi con­tent . . . except it’s Eduard Dolin­sky get­ting banned for mak­ing peo­ple aware of the pro-Nazi graf­fi­ti that has become ram­pant in Ukraine: ” . . . . He says that some locals are try­ing to silence him because he is crit­i­cal of the way Ukraine has com­mem­o­rat­ed his­tor­i­cal nation­al­ist fig­ures, ‘which is actu­al­ly deny­ing the Holo­caust and try­ing to white­wash the actions of nation­al­ists dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.’ . . . . Iron­i­cal­ly, the activist oppos­ing anti­semitism is being tar­get­ed by anti­semites who label the anti­se­mit­ic exam­ples he reveals as hate speech. ‘They are specif­i­cal­ly com­plain­ing to Face­book for the con­tent, and they are com­plain­ing that I am vio­lat­ing the rules of Face­book and spread­ing hate speech. So Face­book, as I under­stand [it, doesn’t] look at this; they are ban­ning me and block­ing me and delet­ing these posts.’ . . . .”

Face­book’s pol­i­cy on such issues should be more care­ful­ly scru­ti­nized: ” . . . . Face­book has been under scruti­ny recent­ly for who it bans and why. In July founder Mark Zucker­berg made con­tro­ver­sial remarks appear­ing to accept Holo­caust denial on the site. ‘I find it offen­sive, but at the end of the day, I don’t believe our plat­form should take that down because I think there are things that dif­fer­ent peo­ple get wrong. I don’t think they’re doing it inten­tion­al­ly.’ . . . .”

FTR #964 Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

As we have not­ed in many pre­vi­ous broad­casts and posts, cyber attacks are eas­i­ly dis­guised. Per­pe­trat­ing a “cyber false flag” oper­a­tion is dis­turbing­ly easy to do.

This is of para­mount sig­nif­i­cance in eval­u­at­ing the increas­ing­ly neo-McCarthyite New Cold War pro­pa­gan­da about “Russ­ian inter­fer­ence” in the U.S. elec­tion.

Com­pound­ing the sit­u­a­tion are some recent dis­clo­sures and devel­op­ments:

1.–We learn that the CIA’s hack­ing tools are specif­i­cal­ly craft­ed to mask CIA author­ship of the attacks. Most sig­nif­i­cant­ly, for our pur­pos­es, is the fact that the Agen­cy’s hack­ing tools are engi­neered in such a way as to per­mit the authors of the event to rep­re­sent them­selves as Russ­ian.

2.–The NSA’s elite hack­ing tech­nol­o­gy has been made wide­ly avail­able to the hack­ing com­mu­ni­ty, cour­tesy of “The Shad­ow Bro­kers.”

3.–During the 2016 Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Michael Fly­nn was pro­fes­sion­al­ly involved with numer­ous cyber-secu­ri­ty and cyber arms man­u­fac­tur­ing firms: “ . . . . The month before Fly­nn joined the advi­so­ry board of OSY Tech­nolo­gies, NSO Group opened up a new arm called West­Bridge Tech­nolo­gies, Inc., in the D.C. region. (The com­pa­ny was orig­i­nal­ly reg­is­tered in Delaware in 2014, but formed in Mary­land in April 2016.) Led by NSO Group co-founder Lavie, West­Bridge is vying for fed­er­al gov­ern­ment con­tracts for NSO Group’s prod­ucts. Hir­ing Fly­nn would pro­vide NSO Group with a well-con­nect­ed fig­ure in Wash­ing­ton, to help get its foot in the door of the noto­ri­ous­ly insu­lar world of secret intel­li­gence bud­get­ing. . . .When you’re try­ing to build up your busi­ness, you need some­one who has con­nec­tions, some­one who is seen as an author­i­ty and a legit­i­mate pres­ence,” John­son said. Hir­ing some­one with Flynn’s back­ground in intel­li­gence would ‘open up doors that they wouldn’t have had access to,’ John­son said.Throughout 2016, Fly­nn worked for a num­ber of cyber­se­cu­ri­ty firms per­son­al­ly and through his con­sult­ing firm, Fly­nn Intel Group. In addi­tion to his advi­so­ry board seat at OSY Tech­nolo­gies, he sat on the board of Adobe Sys­tems, a large soft­ware com­pa­ny with Pen­ta­gon con­tracts, and the boards of the cyber­se­cu­ri­ty com­pa­nies Green­Zone Sys­tems and HALO Pri­va­cy. (Though Fly­nn described him­self as an Adobe advi­so­ry board mem­ber in his finan­cial dis­clo­sure paper­work, the group said in a state­ment that he pro­vid­ed only “peri­od­ic coun­sel to Adobe’s pub­lic sec­tor team.”) . . .”

4.–NSO Group and OSY Tech­nolo­gies spe­cial­ize in spear-fish­ing attacks, one of the method­olo­gies used in the hacks of U.S. elec­tion com­put­ers. Is there any link between Fly­n­n’s cyber-secu­ri­ty/­cy­ber arms links and the high-pro­file hacks dur­ing the cam­paign?

5.–A GOP tech database–Deep Root–Exposed the data of almost two hun­dred mil­lion Amer­i­can vot­ers to wide­spread scruti­ny. Is there any con­nec­tion between Deep Root, the GOP and the alleged Russ­ian hack­ing of U.S. vot­ing com­put­ers?

Fol­low­ing a Bloomberg report about wide­spread Russ­ian hack­ing of Amer­i­can elec­tions sys­tems: “ . . . . Kay Stim­son, spokes­woman for the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Sec­re­taries of State, said the mem­bers of her group — which rep­re­sents the chief elec­tion offi­cials in 40 states — were tak­en aback by the alle­ga­tion that 39 states were hacked. ‘We can­not ver­i­fy any infor­ma­tion in that report,’ Stim­son told Ben­zin­ga. “It has some claims that have raised some red flags. I don’t know where they’re get­ting it. We’re not able to assess to the cred­i­bil­i­ty.’ She said that some cyber­se­cu­ri­ty firms were engag­ing in scare tac­tics at the state and local lev­els. ‘There are cyber­se­cu­ri­ty firms mak­ing some wild claims,’ she said. ‘It is a very aggres­sive indus­try.’ . . .”

With the high-pro­file hacks being attributed–almost cer­tain­ly falsely–to Rus­sia, there are omi­nous devel­op­ments tak­ing place that may well lead to a Third World War. Dur­ing the clos­ing days of his Pres­i­den­cy, Oba­ma autho­rized the plant­i­ng of cyber weapons on Russ­ian com­put­er net­works. Oba­ma did this after talk­ing with Putin on the Hot Line, estab­lished to pre­vent a Third World War. Putin denied inter­fer­ing in the U.S. elec­tion.

The con­clu­sion that Rus­sia hacked the U.S. elec­tion on Putin’s orders appears to have been based on a CIA source in the Krem­lin. Even when that intel­li­gence was deliv­ered, oth­er agen­cies weren’t ready to accept the CIA’s con­clu­sion and it took intel­li­gence from anoth­er nation (not named) to pro­vide the final intel­li­gence tip­ping point that led to a broad-based con­clu­sion the not only was the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment behind the cyber­at­tacks but that Vladimir Putin him­self ordered it.

That ally’s intel­li­gence is described as “the most crit­i­cal tech­ni­cal intel­li­gence on Rus­sia,” how­ev­er the NSA still wasn’t con­vinced based on what sounds like a lack of con­fi­dence in that source. Thus, it looks like a CIA Krem­lin source and an unnamed for­eign intel­li­gence agency with ques­tion­able cre­den­tials are the basis of what appears to be a like­ly future full-scale US/Russian cyber­war.

Of para­mount sig­nif­i­cance is the fact that IF, on Putin’s orders (and we are to believe such) Rus­sia con­tin­ued to hack U.S. com­put­er sys­tems to influ­ence the elec­tion, Putin would have to have gone utter­ly mad. Those hacks would have pre­clud­ed any rap­proche­ment between Rus­sia and the Unit­ed States under a Pres­i­dent Trump. There is not indi­ca­tion that Putin went off the deep end.

Also augur­ing a Third World War are two devel­op­ments in Syr­ia. Sey­mour Hersh pub­lished an arti­cle in Die Welt reveal­ing that, not only was the April 4 alleged Sarin attack NOT a chem­i­cal weapons attack but there was wide­spread knowl­edge of this in Amer­i­can mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence cir­cles.

Omi­nous­ly, the Trump White House is claim­ing they have advance knowl­edge of an impend­ing Syr­i­an chem­i­cal weapons strike and will pun­ish Syr­ia heav­i­ly, and hold Rus­sia account­able.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: The fact that the bulk of activ­i­ty detect­ed by the DHS on U.S. elec­tion sys­tems was “scanning”–standard oper­at­ing pro­ce­dure for hack­ing; a for­mer NSA hack­ing specialist–Jake Williams–said that spear-phish­ing oper­a­tion was of “medi­um sophis­ti­ca­tion” that “prac­ti­cal­ly any hack­er can pull off”; the ques­tion of whether or not GOP Sec­re­taries of State might have delib­er­ate­ly respond­ed to the spear-phish­ing e‑mails that per­mit­ted the “hit” on U.S. elec­tion sys­tems; the Russ­ian autho­riza­tion of the use by the Syr­i­an air force of a smart bomb to elim­i­nate Al-Qae­da-linked jihadists; the release of a chem­i­cal cloud as a result of that strike that was caused by sec­ondary explo­sions; Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca’s hir­ing of GOP online data-bas­ing king­pin Dar­ren Bold­ing.

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