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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 #1132 Bio-Psy-Op Apocalypse Now, Part 8: Remdesivir Uber Alles

This broad­cast details the process of vet­ting the anti-Covid-19 drug remde­sivir, high­light­ing the insti­tu­tion­al short­cuts tak­en in test­ing the prod­uct, as well as the dubi­ous nature of the bil­lion­aires net­work­ing with offi­cials involved in the approval process.

Before ana­lyz­ing remde­sivir, how­ev­er, we update dis­cus­sion about the SARS CoV‑2 virus hav­ing been engi­neered, not­ing joint U.S.-Chinese projects in which bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es were genet­i­cal­ly engi­neered. The process­es used to mod­i­fy the virus­es would not show any overt evi­dence of human manip­u­la­tion.

Most impor­tant­ly, these projects received financ­ing from insti­tu­tions with doc­u­ment­ed links to U.S. intel­li­gence and mil­i­tary inter­ests.

Research into the his­to­ry of GOF (gain-of-func­tion) work on bat coro­n­avirus­es at the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy indi­cates mul­ti­ple areas of U.S. intel­li­gence pres­ence in that work. 

It was pub­licly dis­closed in a 2017 paper that the US and Chi­na col­lab­o­rat­ed on “gain-of-func­tion” research on bat coro­n­avirus­es to infect humans and that the work received fund­ing from the Unit­ed States Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Development–a fre­quent cut-out for the CIA.

In addi­tion, the work was also fund­ed in part by the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health, which have col­lab­o­rat­ed with both CIA and the Pen­ta­gon in BSL‑4 (Bio-Safe­ty-Lev­el 4) projects. 

The Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy has also part­nered with the USAMRIID since the mid-1980’s.

Impor­tant to note is the fact that it was pub­lic infor­ma­tion that some of this work was done in a biosafe­ty-lev­el 2 lab­o­ra­to­ry, giv­ing an observ­er intent on under­tak­ing a bio­log­i­cal war­fare covert oper­a­tion against Chi­na use­ful field intel­li­gence about the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of WIV for such an “op.”

1.–The inves­ti­ga­tion of infec­tiv­i­ty used unde­tectable meth­ods, negat­ing arti­cles claim­ing the virus could not have been genet­i­cal­ly engi­neered: ” Evi­dence has emerged that researchers at the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy (WIV) in Chi­na, work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with sci­en­tists in the USA, have been genet­i­cal­ly engi­neer­ing bat virus­es for the past sev­er­al years to inves­ti­gate infec­tiv­i­ty – using unde­tectable meth­ods. . . . The evi­dence rebuts claims by jour­nal­ists and some sci­en­tists that the SARS-CoV­‑2 virus respon­si­ble for the cur­rent COVID-19 pan­dem­ic could not have been genet­i­cal­ly engi­neered because it lacks the ‘signs’ or ‘sig­na­tures’ that sup­pos­ed­ly would be left behind by genet­ic engi­neer­ing tech­niques. . . .”

2.–Dr. Richard Ebright not­ed that the research was joint­ly fund­ed by the U.S. and Chi­na, that Peter Daszak (about whom we have voiced reser­va­tions in the past) was one of the Amer­i­can col­lab­o­ra­tors. Fur­ther­more, the research was fund­ed in part by USAID, a com­mon U.S. intel­li­gence cut-out. ” . . . . Dr Richard Ebright, an infec­tious dis­ease expert at Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty (USA), has alert­ed the pub­lic to evi­dence that WIV and US-based researchers were genet­i­cal­ly engi­neer­ing bat virus­es to inves­ti­gate their abil­i­ty to infect humans, using com­mon­ly used meth­ods that leave no sign or sig­na­ture of human manip­u­la­tion. Ebright flagged up a sci­en­tif­ic paper pub­lished in 2017 by WIV sci­en­tists, includ­ing Shi Zhengli, the virol­o­gist lead­ing the research into bat coro­n­avirus­es, work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Peter Daszak of the US-based Eco­Health Alliance. Fund­ing was shared between Chi­nese and US insti­tu­tions, the lat­ter includ­ing the US Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health and USAID. The researchers report hav­ing con­duct­ed virus infec­tiv­i­ty exper­i­ments where genet­ic mate­r­i­al is com­bined from dif­fer­ent vari­eties of SARS-relat­ed coro­n­avirus­es to form nov­el ‘chimeric’ ver­sions. This formed part of their research into what muta­tions were need­ed to allow cer­tain bat coro­n­avirus­es to bind to the human ACE2 recep­tor – a key step in the human infec­tiv­i­ty of SARS-CoV­‑2. . . .”

3.–Furthermore, the researchers used a type of genet­ic engi­neer­ing that leaves no sig­na­ture of human manip­u­la­tion: ” . . . . The WIV sci­en­tists did this, Ebright points out, ‘using ‘seam­less lig­a­tion’ pro­ce­dures that leave no sig­na­tures of human manip­u­la­tion’. This is note­wor­thy because it is a type of genet­ic engi­neer­ing that Ander­sen and his team exclud­ed from their inves­ti­ga­tion into whether SARS-CoV­‑2 could have been engi­neered – and it was in use at the very lab that is the prime sus­pect for a lab escape. . . .”

4.–In addi­tion, Ebright high­lights the 2015 work done by Ralph Bar­ic in col­lab­o­ra­tion with WIV’s Shi Zhengli–a project we have dis­cussed at length in the past: ” . . . . A group of sci­en­tists from the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na in the USA, with the WIV’s Shi Zhengli as a col­lab­o­ra­tor, pub­lished a study in 2015 describ­ing sim­i­lar exper­i­ments involv­ing chimeric coro­n­avirus­es, which were also cre­at­ed using stan­dard unde­tectable genet­ic engi­neer­ing tech­niques. . . .”

5.–Ebright also cites work done in a bio-safe­ty lev­el 2 lab­o­ra­to­ry. : ” . . . . Ebright points out that the paper states, ‘All work with the infec­tious virus was per­formed under biosafe­ty lev­el 2 con­di­tions’. This lev­el is suit­able for work involv­ing agents of only ‘mod­er­ate poten­tial haz­ard to per­son­nel and the envi­ron­ment’. . . .But they are not at fault in fail­ing to use BSL‑4 for this work, as SARS coro­n­avirus­es are not aerosol-trans­mit­ted. The work does, how­ev­er, fall under biosafe­ty lev­el 3, which is for work involv­ing microbes that can cause seri­ous and poten­tial­ly lethal dis­ease via inhala­tion. . . .”

6.–Dr. Jonathan Lath­am under­scored the reser­va­tions expressed by many con­cern­ing “gain-of-func­tion” exper­i­ments on these kinds of coro­n­avirus­es: ” . . . . The bio­sci­en­tist Dr Jonathan Lath­am crit­i­cised the kind of research on bat coro­n­avirus­es that has been tak­ing place in Wuhan and the USA as ‘pro­vid­ing an evo­lu­tion­ary oppor­tu­ni­ty’ for such virus­es ‘to jump into humans’. Lath­am, who has a doc­tor­ate in virol­o­gy, argues that this kind of work is sim­ply ‘pro­vid­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for con­t­a­m­i­na­tion events and leak­ages from labs, which hap­pen on a rou­tine basis’. . . .”

U.S. Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute of Infec­tious Disease–located at Ft. Det­rick and closed by the CDC for safe­ty vio­la­tions in August, 2019.

Note, again, that the whole world was informed back in 2017 that  dan­ger­ous research involv­ing the cre­ation of bat coro­n­avirus­es to infect humans was being car­ried out in Chi­na.  Note again, that the research was fund­ed in part by the US, includ­ing USAID–a fre­quent U.S. intel­li­gence cut-out; the NIH–which has active­ly col­lab­o­rat­ed with both CIA and Pen­ta­gon. The WIV has also part­nered with the USAMRIID.

Flash for­ward a cou­ple of years and we have a night­mare virus that ini­tial­ly appeared to pop up near­by the WIV, with the Trump admin­is­tra­tion aggres­sive­ly push­ing the idea that it escaped from that lab.

In that con­text, we note the fol­low­ing:

1.–In 2017, Chi­na got approval for its first BSL‑4 lab in Wuhan, the first of sev­er­al planned BSL‑4 labs. “A lab­o­ra­to­ry in Wuhan is on the cusp of being cleared to work with the world’s most dan­ger­ous pathogens. The move is part of a plan to build between five and sev­en biosafe­ty level‑4 (BSL‑4) labs across the Chi­nese main­land by 2025, and has gen­er­at­ed much excite­ment, as well as some con­cerns. . . . Some sci­en­tists out­side Chi­na wor­ry about pathogens escap­ing, and the addi­tion of a bio­log­i­cal dimen­sion to geopo­lit­i­cal ten­sions between Chi­na and oth­er nations. . . .”

2.–As will be seen below, the pro­lif­er­a­tion of BSL‑4 labs has sparked wor­ries about “dual use” tech­nol­o­gy: ” . . . . The expan­sion of BSL-4-lab net­works in the Unit­ed States and Europe over the past 15 years — with more than a dozen now in oper­a­tion or under con­struc­tion in each region — also met with resis­tance, includ­ing ques­tions about the need for so many facil­i­ties. . . .”

3.–The above-men­tioned Richard Ebright notes that the pro­lif­er­a­tion of BSL‑4 labs will spur sus­pi­cion of “dual use” tech­nol­o­gy, in which osten­si­ble med­ical research masks bio­log­i­cal war­fare research: ” . . . . But Ebright is not con­vinced of the need for more than one BSL‑4 lab in main­land Chi­na. He sus­pects that the expan­sion there is a reac­tion to the net­works in the Unit­ed States and Europe, which he says are also unwar­rant­ed. He adds that gov­ern­ments will assume that such excess capac­i­ty is for the poten­tial devel­op­ment of bioweapons. ‘These facil­i­ties are inher­ent­ly dual use,’ he says. . . .”

In the con­text of the above arti­cles, 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 the U.S. and Europe have twelve BSL4 labs apiece, Tai­wan has two, while 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. . . .”

Note, also that:

1.–The WIV has part­nered with the U.S. Army’s Med­ical Research Insti­tute of Infec­tious Dis­eases, locat­ed at Ft. Det­rick.

2.–In ear­ly August of 2019, short­ly before the record­ed start of the out­break in Wuhan, Chi­na, the U.S. Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute of Infec­tious Dis­eases at that facil­i­ty was closed down by the CDC due to mul­ti­ple safe­ty violations.“All research at a Fort Det­rick lab­o­ra­to­ry that han­dles high-lev­el dis­ease-caus­ing mate­r­i­al, such as Ebo­la, is on hold indef­i­nite­ly after the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion found the orga­ni­za­tion failed to meet biosafe­ty stan­dards. . . . The CDC sent a cease and desist order in July. After USAMRIID received the order from the CDC, its reg­is­tra­tion with the Fed­er­al Select Agent Pro­gram, which over­sees dis­ease-caus­ing mate­r­i­al use and pos­ses­sion, was sus­pend­ed. That sus­pen­sion effec­tive­ly halt­ed all bio­log­i­cal select agents and tox­in research at USAMRIID . . . .”

Fol­low­ing the update on the WIV and BSL‑4 lab­o­ra­to­ries, we piv­ot to analy­sis of the ele­va­tion of remde­sivir as the “go-to” treat­ment du jour for Covid-19. Of para­mount impor­tance is the remark­able time­line: The DSMB (data safe­ty and mon­i­tor­ing board) ” . . . . 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. . . . 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. . . .” 

As will be seen, it was on 4/29 that Joe Gro­gan resigned. (See below.)

When pos­i­tive news on a NIAID study on the drug remde­sivir were released–on 4/29–it drove broad gains in the stock mar­ket. In FTR #1131, we not­ed that dis­clo­sures con­cern­ing pos­i­tive news about Mod­er­na’s exper­i­men­tal Covid-19 vac­cine also proved to be a sim­i­lar dri­ver of the stock mar­ket, as well as of Mod­er­na’s stock.

Dis­cus­sion of the hard details of sev­er­al remde­sivir tri­als begins with dis­cus­sion of an NIAID tri­al that helped move the mar­kets, as seen above. The tri­al was a mod­est suc­cess, indi­cat­ing that recov­ery for recent­ly infect­ed patients was about 31% faster than for place­bo. There was no sig­nif­i­cant sta­tis­ti­cal dif­fer­ence in mortality–the most impor­tant mea­sure of effec­tive­ness accord­ing to many experts.

” . . . . Dur­ing an appear­ance along­side Pres­i­dent Trump in the Oval Office, Antho­ny Fau­ci, the direc­tor of NIAID, part of the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health, said the data are a ‘very impor­tant proof of con­cept’ and that there was rea­son for opti­mism. He cau­tioned the data were not a ‘knock­out.’ At the same time, the study achieved its pri­ma­ry goal, which was to improve the time to recov­ery, which was reduced by four days for patients on remde­sivir. The pre­lim­i­nary data showed that the time to recov­ery was 11 days on remde­sivir com­pared to 15 days for place­bo, a 31% decrease. The mor­tal­i­ty rate for the remde­sivir group was 8%, com­pared to 11.6% for the place­bo group; that mor­tal­i­ty dif­fer­ence was not sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant. . . .”

Next 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. . . .”

6.–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. . . .”

7.–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.’ . . . .”

Next, we ana­lyze a STAT News excerpt that goes into more of the con­cerns about the Gilead study design.

The Gilead study was designed with­out any con­trol group, so the ques­tion of how much remde­sivir actu­al­ly helps sick patients (or doesn’t help) can’t be defin­i­tive­ly answered by that study.

The arti­cle also gives Gilead’s expla­na­tion for why they left out a con­trol group: due to the lim­it­ed sup­plies of the drug the com­pa­ny decid­ed to pri­or­i­tize on pro­duc­ing more of the drug itself rather than a place­bo con­trol. It’s an expla­na­tion that only makes sense if pro­duc­ing place­bo dos­es was some­how a sig­nif­i­cant tech­ni­cal chal­lenge, which seems dubi­ous.

Due to a lack of a con­trol group, the study instead focus­es on answer­ing the ques­tion of whether or not the recov­ery times for patients dif­fers between groups receiv­ing a 10-day course of the drug vs a 5‑day course. The patients were severe­ly ill but not on ven­ti­la­tors when enrolled in the study (so the patients that need the drug most weren’t test­ed). The pre­lim­i­nary results released Wednes­day sug­gest there is no dif­fer­ence between the recov­ery times for the two groups.

1.–The Gilead study lacked a con­trol group: ” . . . .  But out­side experts in clin­i­cal tri­al design wor­ry that the results, instead of lead­ing to a clear pic­ture of whether the med­i­cine is effec­tive, will instead mud­dy the waters fur­ther. The main con­cern, they say, stems from the fact that the Gilead tri­al expect­ed to read out this week, which was con­duct­ed among patients with severe dis­ease, lacks a con­trol group — that is, patients who are ran­dom­ly assigned to receive the best treat­ment avail­able, but not remde­sivir. As designed, the only ran­dom­iza­tion is the dura­tion of treat­ment: either five days or 10 days of drug. With­out a true con­trol group of patients, many experts say, it will be dif­fi­cult to deter­mine whether remde­sivir is effec­tive. . . .”

2.–The above-men­tioned Steven Nis­sen summed up the use­ful­ness of the Gilead tri­al. ” . . . . ‘The over­all study itself has lit­tle or no sci­en­tif­ic val­ue since all patients are receiv­ing the drug,’ said Steven Nis­sen, the chief aca­d­e­m­ic offi­cer at the Cleve­land Clin­ic and lead inves­ti­ga­tor of many tri­als for heart drugs that have been approved by the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion. ‘The study, as designed, is essen­tial­ly use­less and can­not be used by the FDA for con­sid­er­a­tion of remde­sivir for approval to treat coro­n­avirus,’ Nis­sen said. . . .”

3.–Gilead’s spokesper­son alleged that the com­pa­ny had a lim­it­ed sup­ply of place­bo and remde­sivir. ” . . . . ‘In the ear­ly stages of the pan­dem­ic, we not only had a lim­it­ed sup­ply of remde­sivir but also a lim­it­ed sup­ply of the matched place­bo required for place­bo-con­trolled stud­ies,’ said Amy Flood, a Gilead spokesper­son. ‘We chose to pri­or­i­tize man­u­fac­tur­ing active drug over place­bo, and we pro­vid­ed our sup­ply of place­bo to Chi­na and NIAID for their stud­ies of remde­sivir.’ . . .”

5.–A num­ber of crit­ics shared Steven Nis­sen’s opin­ion about the sci­en­tif­ic val­ue of the study. ” . . . . Crit­ics point to Gilead’s deci­sion to com­pare two groups giv­en remde­sivir for either five days or 10 days. The prob­lem with this strat­e­gy, they say, is that an inef­fec­tive drug that did noth­ing and a very effec­tive drug that con­sis­tent­ly helped patients over­come the virus would look the same in such a study. Only if the 10-day course were more effec­tive, or if it was worse because of side effects, would the study have any clear result. . . .”

6.–Nissen was more opti­mistic about a sec­ond forth­com­ing Gilead tri­al. Sloan Ket­ter­ing’s Peter Bach did not share that opti­mism. ” . . . .Yet anoth­er tri­al in less sick patients, also run by Gilead, does have a con­trol group and may give a clear­er answer. Nis­sen sees ‘a rea­son­able study design.’ But Bach was more crit­i­cal, say­ing that even though that study has a con­trol group, the lack of a place­bo means the study might not be trust­wor­thy. That’s because its main goal, time to improve­ment of symp­toms, could be affect­ed by the per­cep­tions of clin­i­cians and the patients them­selves. Bach said the hos­pi­tals con­duct­ing the study ‘are eas­i­ly capa­ble of wrap­ping syringes in brown paper and blind­ing the whole thing. I don’t under­stand why you would run a tri­al like this.’ . . . .”

Although it was cut short due to the wan­ing of the pan­dem­ic in Chi­na, a WHO-leaked study was not encour­ag­ing with regard to remde­sivir’s effi­ca­cy as a treat­ment for Covid-19.

1.–The Chi­nese study was a ram­dom­ized con­trolled tri­al: ” . . . . Encour­ag­ing data from patients in that study at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go were described by researchers at a vir­tu­al town hall and obtained by STAT last week. How­ev­er, unlike those data, these new results are from a ran­dom­ized con­trolled tri­al, the med­ical gold stan­dard. . . .”

2.–The Chi­nese study found that remde­sivir was of no val­ue in pre­vent­ing Covid-19 deaths. As not­ed above, the effect of the drug on mor­tal­i­ty was the main con­sid­er­a­tion. Our soci­ety has not been shut down to afford peo­ple short­er stays in the hos­pi­tal, but to pre­vent death. ” . . . . Accord­ing to the sum­ma­ry of the Chi­na study, remde­sivir was ‘not asso­ci­at­ed with a dif­fer­ence in time to clin­i­cal improve­ment’ com­pared to a stan­dard of care con­trol. After one month, it appeared 13.9% of the remde­sivir patients had died com­pared to 12.8% of patients in the con­trol arm. The dif­fer­ence was not sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant. . . .”

3.–The Chi­nese study pro­duced a grim assess­ment of remde­sivir: ” . . . . ‘In this study of hos­pi­tal­ized adult patients with severe COVID-19 that was ter­mi­nat­ed pre­ma­ture­ly, remde­sivir was not asso­ci­at­ed with clin­i­cal or viro­log­i­cal ben­e­fits,’ the sum­ma­ry states. The study was ter­mi­nat­ed pre­ma­ture­ly because it was dif­fi­cult to enroll patients in Chi­na, where the num­ber of Covid-19 cas­es was decreas­ing. An out­side researcher said that the results mean that any ben­e­fit from remde­sivir is like­ly to be small. ‘If there is no ben­e­fit to remde­sivir in a study this size, this sug­gests that the over­all ben­e­fit of remde­sivir in this pop­u­la­tion with advanced infec­tion is like­ly to be small in the larg­er Gilead tri­al,’ said Andrew Hill, senior vis­it­ing research fel­low at Liv­er­pool Uni­ver­si­ty. . . .”

After dis­cussing a num­ber of prob­lems that Gilead Sci­ences may encounter in the pro­duc­tion of sig­nif­i­cant quan­ti­ties of remde­sivir to be effec­tive, the broad­cast con­cludes with dis­cus­sion of the inap­pro­pri­ate­ly-named “Sci­en­tists to Stop Covid-19.”

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 Peter Thiel and 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 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.

1.–” . . . . 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 with a piece about 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 imflu­ence of “Sci­en­tists to Stop Covid-19.”


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 #1126 Bio-Psy-Op Apocalypse Now, Part 2: The Democracy-Killing Virus

We begin a series of pro­grams high­light­ing var­i­ous aspects of the “three-dimen­sion­al chess” aspect of the Covid-19 “bio-psy-op” we feel is under­way. Actu­al­ly six or sev­en dimen­sion­al chess might be a bet­ter way of express­ing this ana­lyt­i­cal con­cept.

It is of para­mount impor­tance for listeners/readers to under­stand that the con­cep­tu­al break­down is for cog­ni­tive clar­i­ty only. The bio-psy-op” is mul­ti-dimen­sion­al in its entire­ty and must be under­stood to be a type of “fascist/totalitarian lasagna” with many lay­ers to be con­sumed.

In this pro­gram, we present ways in which the Covid-19 out­break is sub­vert­ing democ­ra­cy, both inside and out­side of the Unit­ed States.

Although he has only flirt­ed with exer­cis­ing them, to date, Trump does indeed have some emer­gency pow­ers that can be invoked to fur­ther his agen­da” ” . . . . The most notable aspect of pres­i­den­tial emer­gency action doc­u­ments might be their extreme secre­cy. It’s not uncom­mon for the gov­ern­ment to clas­si­fy its plans or activ­i­ties in the area of nation­al secu­ri­ty. . . . By con­trast, we know of no evi­dence that the exec­u­tive branch has ever con­sult­ed with Con­gress — or even informed any of its mem­bers — regard­ing the con­tents of pres­i­den­tial emer­gency action doc­u­ments. . . . That is a dan­ger­ous state of affairs. The coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic is fast becom­ing the most seri­ous cri­sis to face this coun­try since World War II. And it is hap­pen­ing under the watch of a pres­i­dent who has claimed that Arti­cle II of the Con­sti­tu­tion gives him ‘the right to do what­ev­er I want.’ It is not far-fetched to think that we might see the deploy­ment of these doc­u­ments for the first time and that they will assert pres­i­den­tial pow­ers beyond those grant­ed by Con­gress or rec­og­nized by the courts as flow­ing from the Con­sti­tu­tion. . . .”

Next, we add that the Bio-Psy-Op Apoc­a­lypse is spawn­ing total­i­tar­i­an manifestations–not surprisingly–at the Depart­ment of Jus­tice head­ed by “ex” CIA offi­cer William Barr. ” . . . . The request raised eye­brows because of its poten­tial impli­ca­tions for habeas cor­pus — the con­sti­tu­tion­al right to appear before a judge after arrest and seek release. ‘Not only would it be a vio­la­tion of that, but it says ‘affect­ing pre-arrest,’” said Nor­man L. Reimer, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Crim­i­nal Defense Lawyers. ‘So that means you could be arrest­ed and nev­er brought before a judge until they decide that the emer­gency or the civ­il dis­obe­di­ence is over. I find it absolute­ly ter­ri­fy­ing. Espe­cial­ly in a time of emer­gency, we should be very care­ful about grant­i­ng new pow­ers to the gov­ern­ment.’ . . .”

It will come as no sur­prise to vet­er­an lis­ten­ers, the Pen­ta­gon has con­tin­gency plans for vary­ing degrees of gov­ern­men­tal and/or civic dis­abil­i­ty. ” . . . . But Coro­n­avirus is also new ter­ri­to­ry, where the mil­i­tary itself is vul­ner­a­ble and the dis­as­ter sce­nar­ios being con­tem­plat­ed — includ­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of wide­spread domes­tic vio­lence as a result of food short­ages — are forc­ing plan­ners to look at what are called ‘extra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stances’. Above-Top Secret con­tin­gency plans already exist for what the mil­i­tary is sup­posed to do if all the Con­sti­tu­tion­al suc­ces­sors are inca­pac­i­tat­ed. Stand­by orders were issued more than three weeks ago to ready these plans, not just to pro­tect Wash­ing­ton but also to pre­pare for the pos­si­bil­i­ty of some form of mar­tial law. . . .”

The mil­i­tary’s con­tin­gency plans have been par­tial­ly acti­vat­ed: ” . . . . While being hit with coro­n­avirus at rates equiv­a­lent to the civil­ian pop­u­la­tion, the U.S. mil­i­tary has acti­vat­ed its ‘defense sup­port of civ­il author­i­ties’ appa­ra­tus, estab­lish­ing liaisons in all 50 states, acti­vat­ing units and com­mand posts, and mov­ing forces to pro­vide med­ical, trans­porta­tion, logis­tics, and com­mu­ni­ca­tions sup­port in New York and Wash­ing­ton states. Lt. Gen. Lau­ra Richard­son, the com­mand of Army North (ARNORTH), has request­ed and received approval for the deploy­ment of ground units in response to the now declared nation­al emer­gency. . . .”

We note, in pass­ing, that, although not in effect at this point, dis­cus­sion of “mar­tial law” are far more than just social media fod­der, to coin a term. ” . . . . Because of so many rumors fly­ing in social media, the Pen­ta­gon estab­lished a ‘rumor con­trol’ web­site to beat down sto­ries of mil­i­tary-imposed quar­an­tines and even mar­tial law. And it said it was going to lim­it details of both the spe­cif­ic num­bers of coro­n­avirus cas­es and oper­a­tional details. . . .”

Mar­tial law dis­cus­sion has been spurred by, among oth­er things, Trump’s rumi­na­tions about what he can and will do: “. . . . Ear­li­er Sat­ur­day, Mr. Trump said that he is con­sid­er­ing declar­ing an ‘enforce­able’ quar­an­tine affect­ing some res­i­dents of the New York met­ro­pol­i­tan area, pos­si­bly includ­ing New Jer­sey and Con­necti­cut. He called the region a ‘hot spot’ of the coro­n­avirus out­break sweep­ing the coun­try. . . . Mr. Trump reit­er­at­ed in his remarks before the send off of the USNS Com­fort that he was con­sid­er­ing a quar­an­tine of the area. The Com­fort is a naval hos­pi­tal boat which is car­ry­ing over 1,000 beds and 1,200 med­ical per­son­nel to New York City. . . . Using active duty troops to enforce a quar­an­tine would require the pres­i­dent to sus­pend the Posse Comi­ta­tus Act, which for­bids the use of the armed ser­vices for law enforce­ment. . . .”

Trump has plen­ty of com­pa­ny: ” . . . . In Hun­gary, a new law has grant­ed Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Orban the pow­er to side­step Par­lia­ment and sus­pend exist­ing laws. Mr. Orban, who declared a state of emer­gency this month, now has the sole pow­er to end the emer­gency. Par­lia­ment, where two-thirds of the seats are con­trolled by his par­ty, approved the leg­is­la­tion on Mon­day. . . .‘The draft law is alarm­ing,’ said Daniel Kar­sai, a lawyer in Budapest who said the new leg­is­la­tion had cre­at­ed ‘a big fear’ among Hun­gar­i­ans that ‘the Orban admin­is­tra­tion will be a real dic­ta­tor­ship.’ . . .”

Orban’s Hun­gary has been joined by, among oth­ers, the long-stand­ing British democ­ra­cy: ” . . . . some of the pro­vi­sions . . . . will give the gov­ern­ment unchecked con­trol. The leg­is­la­tion gives sweep­ing pow­ers to bor­der agents and the police, which could lead to indef­i­nite deten­tion and rein­force ‘hos­tile envi­ron­ment’ poli­cies against immi­grants, crit­ics said. ‘Each clause could have had months of debate, and instead it’s all being debat­ed in a few days,’ said Adam Wag­n­er, a lawyer who advis­es a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee on human rights. . . . ‘These are eye-water­ing pow­ers that would have not been real­ly imag­in­able in peace­time in this coun­try before,’ said Silkie Car­lo, the direc­tor of Big Broth­er Watch, a rights group. She called the mea­sures ‘dra­con­ian.’ . . . .”

Pri­va­cy is being dra­mat­i­cal­ly cur­tailed under cov­er of com­bat­ting the virus: ” . . . . As Thomas Gaulkin of the Bul­letin of the Atom­ic Sci­en­tists not­ed ear­li­er this month, many Amer­i­cans— often fierce in their objec­tions to per­ceived gov­ern­ment over­reach into their lives—might nor­mal­ly object to dystopi­an images of fly­ing robots polic­ing lock­downs. But these, of course, are not nor­mal times. ‘If drones do begin to hov­er over U.S. streets to help con­trol this pan­dem­ic,’ Gaulkin wrote, ‘it will be yet anoth­er vis­i­ble reminder that we’ve entered a pub­lic health Twi­light Zone where Amer­i­cans have no bet­ter option than to embrace what was once only imag­in­able, and nev­er real.’ . . . ”

The alpha preda­tor of the elec­tron­ic sur­veil­lance land­scape is Peter Thiel’s Palan­tir. They have land­ed two key gov­ern­ment con­tracts in con­nec­tion with the Covid-19 out­break:” . . . . Palan­tir, the $20 bil­lion-val­ued Palo Alto tech com­pa­ny backed by Face­book-fun­der Peter Thiel, has been hand­ed a $17.3 mil­lion con­tract with one of the lead­ing health bod­ies lead­ing the charge against COVID-19. It’s the biggest con­tract hand­ed to a Sil­i­con Val­ley com­pa­ny to assist America’s COVID-19 response, accord­ing to Forbes’ review of pub­lic con­tracts, and comes as oth­er Cal­i­forn­ian giants like Apple and Google try to fig­ure out how best to help gov­ern­ments fight the dead­ly virus. . . . The mon­ey, from the fed­er­al government’s COVID-19 relief fund, is for Palan­tir Gotham licens­es, accord­ing to a con­tract record reviewed by Forbes. That tech­nol­o­gy is designed to draw in data from myr­i­ad sources and, regard­less of what form or size, turn the infor­ma­tion into a coher­ent whole. The ‘plat­form’ is cus­tomized for each client, so it meets with their mis­sion needs, accord­ing to Palan­tir. . . . Palan­tir Gotham is slight­ly dif­fer­ent to Foundry, a new­er prod­uct that’s aimed more at gen­er­al users rather than data sci­ence whizzes, with more automa­tion than Gotham. As Forbes pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed, Foundry is being used by the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC) to ingest infor­ma­tion from all man­ner of hos­pi­tals across Amer­i­ca to see where best to pro­vide more or less resource. . . . Palan­tir is now work­ing with at least 12 gov­ern­ments on their respons­es to coro­n­avirus, accord­ing to two sources with knowl­edge of its COVID-19 work. That includes the U.K.’s Nation­al Health Ser­vice, which is using Foundry for sim­i­lar pur­pos­es as the CDC. . . .”

Exem­pli­fy­ing the mul­ti-dimen­sion­al chess sce­nario in con­nec­tion with the “bio-psy-op” is the GOP’s plan to use the Covid-19 out­break to scape­goat Chi­na and tar the Democ­rats and Joe Biden with the same brush. Of par­tic­u­lar note in this regard is the Steve Bannon‑J. Kyle Bass-Tom­my Hicks, Jr. tri­umvi­rate dis­cussed in–among oth­er programs–FTR #‘s 1111 and 1112.

At the epi­cen­ter of the anti-Chi­na effort, Ban­non is net­worked with Bass, who is asym­met­ri­cal­ly invest­ed with regard to the Hong Kong and Chi­nese economies. Hicks, in turn, is a co-investor with Bass, co-chair­man of the RNC, and one of the prime movers of the inter­a­gency gov­ern­men­tal net­works involved in the anti-Chi­na desta­bi­liza­tion oper­a­tion. This net­worked rela­tion­ship affords investors like Bass and Hicks the ulti­mate posi­tion from which to prof­it from “insid­er” infor­ma­tion. 

The syn­the­sis of covert oper­a­tions and elec­toral pol­i­tics reminds us of the 1952 elec­tion, in which Arthur Bliss Lane occu­pied a key posi­tion in the Cru­sade For Free­dom, as well as the GOP. (We dis­cussed this in AFA #37, and uti­lized infor­ma­tion from, among oth­er sources, Blow­back by Christo­pher Simp­son.

Exem­plary, as well, of the bio-psy-op as syn­the­sis of covert oper­a­tion and polit­i­cal cru­sad­ing is the GOP’s cyn­i­cal manip­u­la­tion of emer­gency appro­pri­a­tions to achieve their long­stand­ing objec­tive of crip­pling state and local gov­ern­ments, as well as dri­ving the Postal Ser­vice into bank­rupt­cy. Pri­va­tiz­ing postal ser­vice has been a right-wing/­GOP objec­tive for a long time. ” . . . . Every­one, and I mean every­one, knows what is real­ly hap­pen­ing: McConnell is try­ing to get more mon­ey for busi­ness­es while con­tin­u­ing to short­change state and local gov­ern­ments. After all, “starve the beast” — forc­ing gov­ern­ments to cut ser­vices by depriv­ing them of resources — has been Repub­li­can strat­e­gy for decades. This is just more of the same. . . . Oh, and Trump per­son­al­ly has ruled out aid for the Postal Ser­vice. . . .”


Tulsi and the Fascists

Bernie Sanders asso­ciate Tul­si Gab­bard has report­ed­ly been con­tem­plat­ing an inde­pen­dent run for Pres­i­dent. A mem­ber of the Sanders Insti­tute, she nom­i­nat­ed Boinie at the 2016 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion and was bandied about as Sanders’ poten­tial Vice-Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date. With her pos­si­ble role as a “spoil­er” in the 2020 Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign loom­ing larg­er, Gab­bard’s ado­ra­tion by Amer­i­can fas­cists and reac­tionar­ies is some­thing to be con­sid­ered. In addi­tion to David Duke’s sup­port for her: “Stephen K. Ban­non, Pres­i­dent Trump’s for­mer chief strate­gist, is impressed with her polit­i­cal tal­ent. Richard B. Spencer, the white nation­al­ist leader, says he could vote for her. For­mer Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ron Paul prais­es her ‘lib­er­tar­i­an instincts,’ while Franklin Gra­ham, the influ­en­tial evan­ge­list, finds her ‘refresh­ing.’ . . . . And far-right con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists like Mike Cer­novich see a cer­tain MAGA sais quoi. ‘She’s got a good ener­gy, a good vibe. You feel like this is just a seri­ous per­son,’ Mr. Cer­novich said. ‘She seems very Trumpian.’ . . . . Then there is 4chan, the noto­ri­ous­ly tox­ic online mes­sage board, where some right-wing trolls and anti-Semi­tes fawn over Ms. Gab­bard, call­ing her ‘Mom­my’ and prais­ing her will­ing­ness to crit­i­cize Israel. In April, the Dai­ly Stormer, a neo-Nazi web­site, took cred­it for Ms. Gabbard’s qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the first two Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­ma­ry debates. . . .” In past broad­casts, we have not­ed that Gab­bard is a mem­ber of the Hare Krish­na cult. She also sits on the advi­so­ry board of a Koch-fund­ed think tank with links to the Neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment. Often described as “the first Hin­du in Con­gress,” she is a vital con­tact point for Naren­dra Mod­i’s Hin­dut­va fas­cist gov­ern­ment in India.


FTR #1087 Fascism: 2019 World Tour, Part 2

After review of Carl Lund­strom’s financ­ing of the Swe­den Democ­rats, as well as his cen­tral role in financ­ing the Pirate Bay site (which host­ed Wik­iLeaks, cour­tesy of Joran Jermas/Israel Shamir), we delve into the oper­a­tions of Lund­strom’s Swe­den Demo­c­rat asso­ciates.

Uti­liz­ing the anti-immi­grant theme uti­lized with great effect by fas­cists around the world, the Swe­den Democ­rats are gain­ing ground on the Swedish polit­i­cal land­scape.

Key points of dis­cus­sion include: The Nazi ori­gins of the Swe­den Democ­rats; the Waf­fen SS back­ground of one of the par­ty’s founders; net­work­ing of the Swe­den Democ­rats with fas­cists and reac­tionar­ies in oth­er coun­tries, includ­ing the U.S., France and Ger­many; the piv­otal role of the inter­net in advanc­ing the for­tunes of the Swe­den Democ­rats.

Next, we exam­ine the rise of Jair Bol­sonaro’s fas­cist gov­ern­ment.

Again, in recent pro­grams, we have exam­ined the pro­found role of online tech­nol­o­gy. in the pro­mo­tion of fas­cism, as well as over­lap­ping areas of intel­li­gence activ­i­ty. In that con­text, it is vital to remem­ber that the Inter­net was devel­oped as a weapon, with the focus of the tech­nol­o­gy being coun­terin­sur­gency.

In Brazil, the rise of Jair Bol­sonaro’s fas­cist gov­ern­ment received deci­sive momen­tum from YouTube, which is trans­form­ing the polit­i­cal land­scape in Brazil, as it is in this coun­try.

” . . . .In col­or­ful, far-right rants, Mr. Moura accused fem­i­nists, teach­ers and main­stream politi­cians of wag­ing vast con­spir­a­cies. Mr. Dominguez was hooked.

As his time on the site grew, YouTube rec­om­mend­ed videos from oth­er far-right fig­ures. One was a law­mak­er named Jair Bol­sonaro, then a mar­gin­al fig­ure in nation­al pol­i­tics — but a star in YouTube’s far-right com­mu­ni­ty in Brazil, where the plat­form has become more wide­ly watched than all but one TV chan­nel. Last year, he became Pres­i­dent Bol­sonaro.

‘YouTube became the social media plat­form of the Brazil­ian right,’ said Mr. Dominguez, now a lanky 17-year-old who says he, too, plans to seek polit­i­cal office. . . .”

Two excerpts from the sto­ry below encap­su­late and epit­o­mize the grow­ing, suc­cess­ful man­i­fes­ta­tion of inter­net fas­cism: “An Ecosys­tem of Hate” and the “Dic­ta­tor­ship of the ‘Like’ ”

“. . . . An Ecosys­tem of Hate

. . . . As the far right rose, many of its lead­ing voic­es had learned to weaponize the con­spir­a­cy videos, offer­ing their vast audi­ences a tar­get: peo­ple to blame. Even­tu­al­ly, the YouTube con­spir­acists turned their spot­light on Deb­o­ra Diniz, a women’s rights activist whose abor­tion advo­ca­cy had long made her a tar­get of the far right.

Bernar­do Küster, a YouTube star whose home­made rants had won him 750,000 sub­scribers and an endorse­ment from Mr. Bol­sonaro, accused her of involve­ment in the sup­posed Zika plots.

As far-right and con­spir­a­cy chan­nels began cit­ing one anoth­er, YouTube’s rec­om­men­da­tion sys­tem learned to string their videos togeth­er.

How­ev­er implau­si­ble any indi­vid­ual rumor might be on its own, joined togeth­er, they cre­at­ed the impres­sion that dozens of dis­parate sources were reveal­ing the same ter­ri­fy­ing truth.

‘It feels like the con­nec­tion is made by the view­er, but the con­nec­tion is made by the sys­tem,’ Ms. Diniz said.

Threats of rape and tor­ture filled Ms. Diniz’s phone and email. Some cit­ed her dai­ly rou­tines. Many echoed claims from Mr. Küster’s videos, she said.

Mr. Küster glee­ful­ly men­tioned, though nev­er explic­it­ly endorsed, the threats. That kept him just with­in YouTube’s rules.

When the uni­ver­si­ty where Ms. Diniz taught received a warn­ing that a gun­man would shoot her and her stu­dents, and the police said they could no longer guar­an­tee her safe­ty, she left Brazil. . . .

. . . . ‘The Dic­ta­tor­ship of the Like’

Ground zero for pol­i­tics by YouTube may be the São Paulo head­quar­ters of Movi­men­to Brasil Livre, which formed to agi­tate for the 2016 impeach­ment of the left-wing Pres­i­dent Dil­ma Rouss­eff. Its mem­bers trend young, mid­dle-class, right-wing and extreme­ly online.

Renan San­tos, the group’s nation­al coor­di­na­tor, ges­tured to a door marked ‘the YouTube Divi­sion’ and said, ‘This is the heart of things.’

Inside, eight young men poked at edit­ing soft­ware. One was styl­iz­ing an image of Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni for a video argu­ing that fas­cism had been wrong­ly blamed on the right.

. . . . The group’s co-founder, a man-bunned for­mer rock gui­tarist name Pedro D’Eyrot, said ‘we have some­thing here that we call the dic­ta­tor­ship of the like.’

Real­i­ty, he said, is shaped by what­ev­er mes­sage goes most viral. Even as he spoke, a two-hour YouTube video was cap­ti­vat­ing the nation. Titled ‘1964’ for the year of Brazil’s mil­i­tary coup, it argued that the takeover had been nec­es­sary to save Brazil from com­mu­nism.

Mr. Dominguez, the teenag­er learn­ing to play gui­tar, said the video per­suad­ed him that his teach­ers had fab­ri­cat­ed the hor­rors of mil­i­tary rule.

Ms. Borges, the his­to­ry teacher vil­i­fied on YouTube, said it brought back mem­o­ries of mil­i­tary cur­fews, dis­ap­peared activists and police beat­ings. ‘I don’t think I’ve had my last beat­ing,’ she said. . . .”


FTR #1081 Surveillance Valley, Part 7: Yasha Levine Gets the Jim Garrison/Gary Webb Treatment

We empha­size the treat­ment afford­ed Yasha Levine. As might be expect­ed, Levine received the Jim Garrison/Gary Webb treat­ment. The ret­ri­bu­tion direct­ed at Yasha Levine epit­o­mizes why Mr. Emory refers to the so-called pro­gres­sive sec­tor as “so-called.”

” . . . . The threats and attacks had begun some­time overnight while I slept. By morn­ing, they had reached a vicious and mur­der­ous pitch. There were calls for my death—by fire, by suf­fo­ca­tion, by hav­ing my throat slit by razor blades. Peo­ple I had nev­er met called me a rapist, and alleged that I took delight in beat­ing women and forc­ing peo­ple to have sex with me. I was accused of homo­pho­bia. Anony­mous peo­ple filed bogus claims with my edi­tor. Alle­ga­tions that I was a CIA agent poured in, as did claims that I worked with British intel­li­gence. The fact that I had been born in the Sovi­et Union did­n’t do me any favors; nat­u­ral­ly, I was accused of being an FSB spy and of work­ing for Rus­si­a’s suc­ces­sor to the KGB. I was informed that my name was added to a dark net assas­si­na­tion list—a site where peo­ple could place anony­mous bids for my mur­der. The roam­ing eye of the Inter­net hate machine had sud­den­ly fixed on me. . . .”

In addi­tion to online bul­ly­ing, slan­der and veiled and direct threats, the so-called “pri­va­cy activists” joined in pil­lo­ry­ing Yasha Levine: ” . . . . Mic­ah Lee, the for­mer EFF tech­nol­o­gist who helped Edward Snow­den com­mu­ni­cate secure­ly with jour­nal­ists and who now works at The Inter­cept, attacked me as a con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist and accused me and my col­leagues at Pan­do of being sex­ist bul­lies, he claimed that my report­ing was moti­vat­ed not by a desire to get at the truth but by a mali­cious impulse to harass a female Tor devel­op­er. Although Lee con­ced­ed that my infor­ma­tion about Tor’s gov­ern­ment fund­ing was cor­rect, he counter intu­itive­ly argued that it did­n’t mat­ter. . . .

” . . . . Jour­nal­ists, experts, and tech­nol­o­gists from groups like the ACLU, the EFF, Free­dom of the Press Foun­da­tion and The Inter­cept and employ­ees of the Tor Project joined in to attack my report­ing. Unlike Lee, most did not attempt to engage my report­ing but employed a range of famil­iar PR smear tactics—tactics you usu­al­ly see used by cor­po­rate flacks, not prin­ci­pled pri­va­cy activists. They took to social media, telling any­one who showed inter­est in my arti­cles that they should ignore them instead. Then, when that did­n’t work, they tried to dis­cred­it my report­ing with ridicule, mis­di­rec­tion, and crude insults. . . .

” . . . . A respect­ed ACLU pri­va­cy expert, who now works as a con­gres­sion­al staffer, called me “a con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist  who sees black heli­copters every­where” and com­pared my report­ing about Tor to the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion. As some­one who escaped state-spon­sored anti-Semi­tism in the Sovi­et Union, I found the com­par­i­son extreme­ly offen­sive, espe­cial­ly com­ing from the ACLU. The Pro­to­cols were an anti-Semit­ic forgery dis­sem­i­nat­ed by the Russ­ian Tsar’s secret police that unleashed waves of dead­ly pogroms against Jews across the Russ­ian Empire in the ear­ly twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. Tor employ­ees put forth a tor­rent of child­ish insults, call­ing me a ‘dumb Stal­in­ist state-felch­er’ and a ‘fuck­tard’s fuck­tard.’ They accused me of being fund­ed by spies to under­mine faith in cryp­tog­ra­phy. One of them claimed that I was a rapist, and hurled homo­pho­bic insults about the var­i­ous ways in which I had sup­pos­ed­ly per­formed sex­u­al favors for a male col­league.

 “In the way that these Inter­net haz­ing ses­sions, go, the cam­paign evolved and spread. Strange peo­ple began threat­en­ing me and my col­leagues on social media. Some accused me of hav­ing blood on my hands and of rack­ing up an “activist body count”–that peo­ple were actu­al­ly dying because of my report­ing under­mined trust in Tor.The attacks widened to include reg­u­lar read­ers and social media users, any­one who had the nerve to ask ques­tions about Tor’s fund­ing sources. An employ­ee of the Tor Project went so far as to dox an anony­mous Twit­ter user, expos­ing his real iden­ti­ty and con­tact­ing his employ­er in the hopes of get­ting him fired from his job as a junior phar­ma­cist.

It was bizarre. I watched all this unfold in real time but had no idea how to respond. Even more dis­con­cert­ing was that the attacks soon expand­ed to include libelous sto­ries placed in rep­utable media out­lets. The Guardian pub­lished a sto­ry by a free­lancer accus­ing me of run­ning an online sex­u­al harass­ment and bul­ly­ing cam­paign. The Los Ange­les Review of Books, gen­er­al­ly a good jour­nal of arts and cul­ture, ran an essay by a free­lancer alleg­ing that my report­ing was fund­ed by the CIA. Paul Carr, my edi­tor at Pan­do, lodged offi­cial com­plaints and demand­ed to know how these reporters came to their con­clu­sions. Both pub­li­ca­tions ulti­mate­ly retract­ed their state­ments and print­ed cor­rec­tions. An edi­tor at the Guardian apol­o­gized and described the arti­cle as a ‘fuck up.’ But the online attacks con­tin­ued. . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

1.–The role of Eddie Snow­den in mis­at­tribut­ing the Shad­ow Bro­kers non-hack to Rus­sia.
2.–Snowden’s fore­shad­ow­ing of the alleged Russ­ian “hack” of the Macron cam­paign”: ” . . . . ‘That could have sig­nif­i­cant for­eign pol­i­cy con­se­quences,’ Snow­den wrote on Twit­ter. ‘Par­tic­u­lar­ly if any of those oper­a­tions tar­get­ed US allies. Par­tic­u­lar­ly if any of those oper­a­tions tar­get­ed elec­tions.’ . . .”
3.–James Bam­ford’s analy­sis of WikiLeaker/Tor promoter/BBG asso­ciate Jacob Apel­baum as the most like­ly source of the Shad­ow Bro­kers non-hack. 
The ludi­crous nature of the “Rus­sia-did it” hypoth­e­sis con­cern­ing the Macron hacks: ” . . . . The hacked doc­u­ments in the ‘Macron hack’ not only con­tained Cyril­lic text in the meta­da­ta, but also con­tained the name of the last per­son to mod­i­fy the doc­u­ments. That name, ‘Rosh­ka Georgiy Petro­vichan’, is an employ­ee at Evri­ka, a large IT com­pa­ny that does work for the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment, includ­ing the FSB (Russ­ian intel­li­gence.) Also found in the meta­da­ta is the email of the per­son who uploaded the files to ‘archive.org’, and that email address, frankmacher1@gmx.de, is reg­is­tered with a Ger­man free web­mail provider used pre­vi­ous­ly in 2016 phish­ing attacks against the CDU in Ger­many that have been attrib­uted to APT28. It would appear that the ‘Russ­ian hack­ers’ not only left clues sug­gest­ing it was Russ­ian hack­ers behind the hack, but they decid­ed to name names this time–their own names. . . .”
4.–Neo-Nazi and Glenn Green­wald and Lau­ra Poitras asso­ciate Andrew Aueren­heimer’s role in mod­i­fy­ing the doc­u­ments in the Macron hack:  ” . . . . Short­ly after an anony­mous user of the 4chan.org dis­cus­sion forum post­ed fake doc­u­ments pur­port­ing to show Mr. Macron had set up an undis­closed shell com­pa­ny in the Caribbean, the user direct­ed peo­ple to vis­it nouveaumartel.com for updates on the French elec­tion. That web­site, accord­ing to research by web-secu­ri­ty provider Virtualroad.org, is reg­is­tered by ‘Wee­v­los,’ a known online alias of Andrew Auern­heimer, an Amer­i­can hack­er who gained noto­ri­ety three years ago when a U.S. appeals court vacat­ed his con­vic­tion for com­put­er fraud. The site also is host­ed by a serv­er in Latvia that hosts the Dai­ly Stormer, a neo-Nazi news site that iden­ti­fies its admin­is­tra­tor as ‘Weev,’ anoth­er online alias of Mr. Aeurn­heimer, Virtualroad.org says. ‘We strong­ly believe that the fake off­shore doc­u­ments were cre­at­ed by some­one with con­trol of the Dai­ly Stormer serv­er,’ said Tord Lund­ström, a com­put­er foren­sics inves­ti­ga­tor at Virtualroad.org. . . .”
5.–French cyber­se­cu­ri­ty chief Guil­laume Poupard negat­ed the asser­tion that Rus­sia hacked the Macron cam­paign: ” . . . . The head of the French government’s cyber secu­ri­ty agency, which inves­ti­gat­ed leaks from Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron’s elec­tion cam­paign, says they found no trace of a noto­ri­ous Russ­ian hack­ing group behind the attack. . . . ”


New Book on Manson Killings and the Intelligence Community (UPDATED on 7/23/’19)

In FTR #809, we high­light­ed evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries run­ning between the assas­si­na­tions of both Kennedy broth­ers and the Man­son crimes, the assas­si­na­tion of Robert F. Kennedy, in par­tic­u­lar. The Reeve Whit­son con­nec­tion may have some con­nec­tion to the infor­ma­tion dis­cussed in that pro­gram. A new book about the Man­son Fam­i­ly and their killings high­lights the prob­a­bil­i­ty that ele­ments of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty may have had involve­ment with the group and its devel­op­ment. One of the most strik­ing of the appar­ent intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty con­nec­tions to the Man­son inves­ti­ga­tion is the afore­men­tioned Reeve Whit­son. Reeve Whit­son: 1.–Was alleged by Iran­ian immi­grant Shahrokh Hata­mi to have phoned him with knowl­edge of the killings of Sharon Tate, et al, before the crime was report­ed by the news media and before law enforce­ment even arrived at the crime scene!; 2.–Was alleged by the LAPD’s top inves­ti­ga­tor and Sharon Tate’s father (a Colonel in Army intel­li­gence) to have been deeply involved with the Man­son inves­ti­ga­tion; 3.–Was alleged by attor­ney Neil Cum­mings to have main­tained some kind of sur­veil­lance on the Cielo Dri­ve home, as part of some sort of work he was doing for the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty; 4.–Was con­firmed as an offi­cer of the CIA by his own ex-wife; 5.–Was known to have felt that he was–in the end–betrayed by the fac­tion of the CIA for which he worked; 6.–Was asso­ci­at­ed, through his intel­li­gence work with Otto Sko­rzeny and his wife Ilse; 7.–Was the spe­cial advis­er to the chair­man of the board of the Thyssen firm, also as part of his intel­li­gence work; 8.–Was appar­ent­ly a close asso­ciate of retired Gen­er­al Cur­tis LeMay, George Wal­lace’s Vice-Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in 1968; 9.–Was asso­ci­at­ed with LeMay when the lat­ter became vice-pres­i­dent of a mis­sile parts man­u­fac­tur­er, which was head­ed by Mihai Patrichi. Patrichi was a for­mer Roman­ian army gen­er­al and a mem­ber of the Roman­ian Iron Guard, part of the Gehlen “Org” and the GOP.


FTR #1039 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates

In FTR #718, we warned [back in 2010] that Face­book was not the cud­dly lit­tle enti­ty it was per­ceived to be but a poten­tial engine of fas­cism enabling. Momen­tum for the remark­ably timed immi­grant car­a­van that became a focal point for Trump/GOP/Fox News pro­pa­gan­da dur­ing the recent­ly-con­clud­ed midterm elec­tions was gen­er­at­ed by a fake Face­book account, which mim­ic­ked a Hon­duran politician/human rights activist, Bar­to­lo Fuentes. Sig­nif­i­cant aspects of the event:

1.–” . . . . Face­book has admit­ted the account was an imposter account imper­son­at­ing a promi­nent Hon­duran politi­cian. But it is refus­ing to release infor­ma­tion about the account, who may have set it up or what coun­try it orig­i­nat­ed from. . . .”
2.–” . . . . In response to a query from Buz­zFeed News, a Face­book spokesper­son said the pho­ny account ‘was removed for vio­lat­ing [the company’s] mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion pol­i­cy,’ but declined to share any fur­ther infor­ma­tion, such as what coun­try it orig­i­nat­ed from, what email address was used to open it, or any oth­er details that might reveal who was behind it. Face­book added that, bar­ring a sub­poe­na or request from law enforce­ment, it does not share such infor­ma­tion out of respect for the pri­va­cy of its users. Fuentes said he believes it’s impor­tant to find out who was behind the rogue account — but hasn’t got­ten any answers from Face­book. ‘Who knows how many mes­sages could have been sent and who received them?’ . . . .”
3.–” . . . . Fuentes has been unable to get any infor­ma­tion from Face­book about the account, but one small detail stood out. Who­ev­er cre­at­ed it list­ed the Hon­duran cap­i­tal of Tegu­ci­gal­pa as Fuentes’s home­town, rather than the San Pedro Sula sub­urb of El Pro­gre­so. That might seem like a minor error, but it’s the sort of mis­take a for­eign­er — not a Hon­duran — would make about the well-known for­mer law­mak­er, whose left-wing par­ty stands in oppo­si­tion to the cur­rent president’s admin­is­tra­tion. . . . ”
4.–” . . . . It oper­at­ed entire­ly in Span­ish and pre­cise­ly tar­get­ed influ­encers with­in the migrant rights com­mu­ni­ty. And rather than crit­i­cize or under­mine the car­a­van — as oth­er online cam­paigns would lat­er attempt to do — it was used to legit­imize the event, mak­ing a loose­ly struc­tured grass­roots event appear to be a well-orga­nized effort by an estab­lished migrant group with a proven track record of suc­cess­ful­ly bring­ing Cen­tral Amer­i­can peo­ple to the US bor­der. . . .”
5.–” . . . . before the account got start­ed not many peo­ple seemed to be join­ing. Only after the account kicked into gear did enthu­si­asm and par­tic­i­pa­tion spike. The account also claimed false­ly that the car­a­van was being led by a migrant rights orga­ni­za­tion called Pueblo Sin Fron­teras. Lat­er, once the car­a­van swelled to a mas­sive scale, the Pueblo Sin Fron­teras did get involved, though in a sup­port rather than lead­er­ship role. . . .”
6.–” . . . . It appears that this account helped the car­a­van gain key momen­tum to the point where its size became a self-ful­fill­ing prophe­cy, spurring even more to join and groups which hadn’t been sup­port­ive to get involved. . . .”
7.–” . . . . It’s hard to believe one Face­book account could play that deci­sive a role. But the account seems to have been sophis­ti­cat­ed. And it is equal­ly dif­fi­cult to believe that a sophis­ti­ca­tor oper­a­tor or orga­ni­za­tion would have gone to such trou­ble and lim­it­ed their efforts to a sin­gle imposter account. . . .”

Christo­pher Wylie–the for­mer head of research at Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca who became one of the key insid­er whis­tle-blow­ers about how Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca oper­at­ed and the extent of Facebook’s knowl­edge about it–gave an inter­view last month to Cam­paign Mag­a­zine. (We dealt with Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca in FTR #‘s 946, 1021.)

Wylie recounts how, as direc­tor of research at Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, his orig­i­nal role was to deter­mine how the com­pa­ny could use the infor­ma­tion war­fare tech­niques used by SCL Group – Cam­bridge Analytica’s par­ent com­pa­ny and a defense con­trac­tor pro­vid­ing psy op ser­vices for the British mil­i­tary. Wylie’s job was to adapt the psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare strate­gies that SCL had been using on the bat­tle­field to the online space. As Wylie put it:

“ . . . . When you are work­ing in infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions projects, where your tar­get is a com­bat­ant, the auton­o­my or agency of your tar­gets is not your pri­ma­ry con­sid­er­a­tion. It is fair game to deny and manip­u­late infor­ma­tion, coerce and exploit any men­tal vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties a per­son has, and to bring out the very worst char­ac­ter­is­tics in that per­son because they are an enemy…But if you port that over to a demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem, if you run cam­paigns designed to under­mine people’s abil­i­ty to make free choic­es and to under­stand what is real and not real, you are under­min­ing democ­ra­cy and treat­ing vot­ers in the same way as you are treat­ing ter­ror­ists. . . . .”

Wylie also draws par­al­lels between the psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions used on demo­c­ra­t­ic audi­ences and the bat­tle­field tech­niques used to be build an insur­gency. It starts with tar­get­ing peo­ple more prone to hav­ing errat­ic traits, para­noia or con­spir­a­to­r­i­al think­ing, and get them to “like” a group on social media. The infor­ma­tion you’re feed­ing this tar­get audi­ence may or may not be real. The impor­tant thing is that it’s con­tent that they already agree with so that “it feels good to see that infor­ma­tion.” Keep in mind that one of the goals of the ‘psy­cho­graph­ic pro­fil­ing’ that Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca was to iden­ti­fy traits like neu­roti­cism.

Wylie goes on to describe the next step in this insur­gency-build­ing tech­nique: keep build­ing up the inter­est in the social media group that you’re direct­ing this tar­get audi­ence towards until it hits around 1,000–2,000 peo­ple. Then set up a real life event ded­i­cat­ed to the cho­sen dis­in­for­ma­tion top­ic in some local area and try to get as many of your tar­get audi­ence to show up. Even if only 5 per­cent of them show up, that’s still 50–100 peo­ple con­verg­ing on some local cof­fee shop or what­ev­er. The peo­ple meet each oth­er in real life and start talk­ing about about “all these things that you’ve been see­ing online in the depths of your den and get­ting angry about”. This tar­get audi­ence starts believ­ing that no one else is talk­ing about this stuff because “they don’t want you to know what the truth is”. As Wylie puts it, “What start­ed out as a fan­ta­sy online gets port­ed into the tem­po­ral world and becomes real to you because you see all these peo­ple around you.”

In FTR #1028, we high­light­ed the killing of Mol­lie Tib­betts not­ing that:

1.–The killing may have been a provo­ca­tion, direct­ed at focus­ing the elec­torate’s ire toward ille­gal immi­grants and away from Don­ald Trump.
2.–The announce­ment about the loca­tion and arrest of the sus­pect­ed perpetrator–Christhian Rivera–came on the same day that Michael Cohen copped a plea and Paul Man­afort was found guilty. Was River­a’s arrest timed as a dis­trac­tion?
3.–There are super­fi­cial indi­ca­tions that Christhi­an Rivera may have been sub­ject­ed to mind con­trol, a la Sirhan Sirhan.
4.–Rivera worked at a dairy facil­i­ty con­trolled by the Lang fam­i­ly, promi­nent Iowa Repub­li­cans.

Now, we learn that Eric Lang, Craig Lang’s brother–is mar­ried to Nicole Schlinger, a promi­nent GOP fundrais­er with strong oper­a­tional and his­tor­i­cal links to the Koch broth­ers’ net­works and oth­er GOP post-Cit­i­zens Unit­ed dark mon­ey net­works.

High-tech may be the future of Trump’s much-bal­ly­hooed wall with Mex­i­co, with a tech­nol­o­gy dubbed AVATAR seen by some as the future of bor­der secu­ri­ty: “A vir­tu­al bor­der agent kiosk was devel­oped to inter­view trav­el­ers at air­ports and bor­der cross­ings and it can detect decep­tion to flag human secu­ri­ty agents. The U.S., Cana­da and Euro­pean Union have test­ed the tech­nol­o­gy, and one researcher says it has a decep­tion detec­tion suc­cess rate of up to 80 per­cent — bet­ter than human agents. The tech­nol­o­gy relies on sen­sors and bio­met­rics, and its lie-detec­tion capa­bil­i­ties are based on eye move­ments or changes in voice, pos­ture and facial ges­tures. . . .”

Futur­ist philoso­pher and author Yuval Noah Harari appears to be a dystopi­an futur­ist, envi­sion­ing a future where democ­ra­cy is seen as obso­lete and a tech­no-elite rul­ing class run com­pa­nies with the capac­i­ty to essen­tial­ly con­trol the minds of mass­es. Those mass­es that will increas­ing­ly be seen obso­lete and use­less. Harari even gave a recent TED Talk called “Why fas­cism is so tempt­ing — and how your data could pow­er it. So how do Sil­i­con Valley’s CEO view Mr. Harari’s views? They appar­ent­ly can’t get enough of him:

We con­clude with a look at how the SCL/Cambridge Ana­lyt­i­ca dynam­ic has man­i­fest­ed in the Rus­sia-gate Psy-Op.

Adding fur­ther per­spec­tive to the utter­ly fan­tas­tic nature of the Rus­sia-Gate “psy-op” is analy­sis of a recent New York Times pro­pa­gan­da piece hyp­ing Rus­si­a’s manip­u­la­tion of Face­book to influ­ence the U.S. elec­tion. “. . . . The fur­ther research into an ear­li­er Con­sor­tium News arti­cle shows that a rel­a­tive­ly pal­try 80,000 posts from the pri­vate Russ­ian com­pa­ny Inter­net Research Agency (IRA) were engulfed in lit­er­al­ly tril­lions of posts on Face­book over a two-year peri­od before and after the 2016 vote. [Just HOW a post gen­er­at­ed after the elec­tion was sup­posed to influ­ence the elec­tion was not explained by The Gray Lady–D.E.]. . . . The news­pa­per [The New York Times] failed to tell their read­ers that Face­book account hold­ers in the Unit­ed States had been “served” 33 tril­lion Face­book posts dur­ing that same peri­od — 413 mil­lion times more than the 80,000 posts from the Russ­ian com­pa­ny. . . .”


The Crusade For Freedom and the Assassination of President Kennedy

We have spo­ken for years about The Cru­sade For Free­dom, a covert oper­a­tion with both for­eign and domes­tic venues. Abroad, the CFF was a vehi­cle for financ­ing the use of East­ern Euro­pean Third Reich alum­ni as “fas­cist free­dom fight­ers” in para­mil­i­tary oper­a­tions in the Sovi­et Union and East­ern Europe. Domes­ti­cal­ly, the CFF spawned a Nazi branch of the Repub­li­can Par­ty, with roots in the Third Reich and the Rein­hard Gehlen spy orga­ni­za­tion. Many of CFF’s mem­bers fig­ure in the milieu of the JFK assas­si­na­tion:
” . . . . Mem­bers of the Texas Cru­sade for Free­dom would become a who’s who of Tex­ans con­nect­ed to the events sur­round­ing the assas­si­na­tion of John F. Kennedy. In addi­tion to Neil Mal­lon, mem­bers includ­ed [Paul] Raig­orod­sky, Lewis W. Mac­Naughton, Everette De Goly­er, and Dal­las may­or Ear­le Cabell, broth­er of Charles Cabell, who was Allen Dulles’s deputy CIA direc­tor [fired by JFK for his con­duct in the Bay of Pigs oper­a­tion along with Dulles him­self]. Anoth­er mem­ber was D. Harold Byrd, who owned the build­ing in down­town Dal­las that would become known as the Texas School Book Depos­i­to­ry. Anoth­er mem­ber was E.M. “Ted” Dealey, pub­lish­er of “The Dal­las Morn­ing News,” who was a harsh crit­ic of Kennedy. . . .”