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Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Ivermectin Cover-up?

Judicial Watch Takes Lead at Conservative Political Action Conference
Emails Reveal British Physicians Recommended Ivermectin for COVID-19
Special Counsel Durham’s FY 2022 Budget Was Over $8.5 Million
Hearing Scheduled in Suit Over Meeting Between DOJ Lawyers and Reporters

 


Judicial Watch Takes Lead at Conservative Political Action Conference

Judicial Watch is participating as a Supporting Sponsor of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), being held through tomorrow at the Gaylord National Harbor in Maryland. I am scheduled to speak on the main stage on Saturday.

You can watch the broadcast live at www.judicialwatch.org/cpac. You can also visit our Facebook page or YouTube page.

CPAC brings together thousands of people and the leading conservative organizations and speakers engaged with conservative thought. Regularly seen on C-SPAN and other national news networks, CPAC has been the premier event for any major elected official or public personality seeking to discuss issues of the day with conservatives. From presidents of the United States to college student leaders, CPAC has become the place to find our nation’s current and future leaders.

 

Emails Reveal British Physicians Recommended Ivermectin for COVID-19

One of the many controversies surrounding our government’s response to COVID-19 involves the drug Ivermectin, an anti-parasite medication whose antiviral activity has made of interest for those seeking treatment and prevention of Covid. The controversy around the drug is at the center of 254 pages of records from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this included emails of then-Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Francis Collins regarding a British group’s recommendations on the use of Ivermectin to prevent and treat COVID-19.

We obtained the records as the result of our August 2021 FOIA lawsuit for Collins’ emails filed after the HHS failed to respond to a June 8, 2021, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:21-cv-02302)).

In February 2021, a leading British physician and World Council for Health co-founder Dr. Tess Lawrie,who is director and founder of a doctors’ organization called the British Ivermectin Recommendation Development Group (BIRD), emailed 31 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials, including the Director of the Offfice of New Drugs in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Peter Stein; Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Peter Marks; and then-Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock; and copying several leading foreign medical figures, with an email titled “URGENT: The BIRD meeting and recommendation on covid-19 prevention and treatment.” She attached a document titled “Draft BIRD Proceedings 25-02-2021 v.1.4.pdf.”

While the document attached to the email is completely redacted, Lawrie’s cover letter states: “BIRD panel conclusions are that Ivermectin should be approved immediately for prevention and treatment of covid-19:”

The British Ivermectin Recommendation Development Panel recommends ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of covid-19 to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with covid-19 infection and to prevent covid-19 infection among those at higher risk. [Emphasis in original]

The BIRD Steering Group has taken heed of the WHO statement on ‘Developing global norms for sharing data and results during public health emergencies’ that states that ‘public disclosure of information of relevance to public health emergencies should not be delayed’, and also notes the ‘very great risks’ that can occur from ‘withholding data and results arising from analyses’. We are, therefore, sharing this evidence-to decision framework within just a few days of the BIRD meeting to avoid delay.

Further, due to the urgency related to the communication and dissemination of this recommendation that is aimed at saving thousands of lives daily, please forgive the limitations of the draft proceedings document attached. Information on the process and methods can be found among the annexes. An Executive Summary is being finalised and will be available on Monday.

Later that day, Woodcock forwards Lawrie’s email and attachment to then-NIH Director Francis Collins, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, Operation Warp Speed director David Kessler and several other HHS officials, with a comment that is entirely redacted.

It is quite telling that, rather than educate the public about their rejection of the Ivermectin-use recommendation, the FDA, NIH, and Fauci’s former agency have blacked out their responses in these documents.

Through a separate lawsuit, in July 2022, we uncovered FDA records regarding COVID booster vaccines research that show top officials being pressured by “companies and, for that matter the Administration, who try to impose timeless [sic] that make no sense”

Those records included an August 25, 2021, email from the former director of the FDA’s Office of Vaccines Research and Review Marion Gruber to her boss, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) Director Peter Marks:

Over the last couple of days, Janssen has bombarded us with emails regarding their booster dose studies.

***

I am also very concerned that companies (such as Pfizer and Janssen) are trying to put pressure on OVRR [Office of Vaccines Research and Review] by way of PR [public relations]. We need to be given time to consider their data and cannot be pushed by these companies and, for that matter the Administration, who try to impose timeless [sic] that make no sense (e.g., Sep 20)…. It appears that at least Pfizer’s data will not be aligned with this approach and the ‘n’ [test numbers] they have is grossly insufficient. Obviously, we have to review the data but we have taken a peak and have serious concerns.

Lastly, and this is my personal opinion, data we have seen so far from various companies (Pfizer, Janssen, Moderna) appear to suggest that boosters are not needed.

Through FOIA requests and lawsuits,we have uncovered an incredible amount of information about COVID-19 issues:

  • Heavily redacted HHS records showed that just two days prior to FDA approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine a discussion was held between U.S. and UK health regulators regarding the COVID shot and “anaphylaxis,” with the regulators emphasizing their “mutual confidentiality agreement.”
  • We obtained HHS records regarding data Moderna submitted to the FDA on its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, which indicated a “statistically significant” number of rats were born with skeletal deformations after their mothers were injected with the vaccine. The documents also revealed Moderna elected not to conduct a number of standard pharmacological studies on the laboratory test animals.
  • Heavily redacted records from the FDA regarding the COVID-19 booster vaccine detailed pressure on COVID booster use and approval.
  • HHS records detailed internal discussions about myocarditis and the COVID vaccine. Other documents detail adverse “events for which a contributory effect of the vaccine could not be excluded.”
  • We uncovered HHS records detailing the extensive media plans for a Biden administration propaganda campaign to push the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • HHS records revealed previously redacted locations of COVID-19 vaccine testing facilities in Shanghai, China. The FDA had claimed the name and location of the testing facilities were protected by the confidential commercial information exemption of the FOIA.
  • NIH records showed an FBI “inquiry” into the NIH’s controversial bat coronavirus grant tied to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The records also show National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) officials were concerned about “gain-of-function” research in China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2016. The Fauci agency was also concerned about EcoHealth Alliance’s lack of compliance with reporting rules and use of gain-of-function research in the NIH-funded research involving bat coronaviruses in Wuhan, China.
  • Texas Public Information Act (PIA) records showed the former director of the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), James W. Le Duc, warned Chinese researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology of potential investigations into the COVID issue by Congress.
  • HHS records regarding biodistribution studies and related data for the COVID-19 vaccines showed how a key component of the vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, lipid nanoparticles (LNPs), were found outside the injection site, mainly the liver, adrenal glands, spleen and ovaries of test animals, eight to 48 hours after injection.
  • Records obtained from HHS through a FOIA lawsuit related to hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19 revealed that a grant to EcoHealth Alliance was cancelled because of press reports that a portion of the grant was given to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
  • HHS records revealed that from 2014 to 2019, $826,277 was given to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for bat coronavirus research by the NIAID.
  • NIAID records showed that it gave nine China-related grants to EcoHealth Alliance to research coronavirus emergence in bats and was the NIH’s top issuer of grants to the Wuhan lab itself. The records also included an email from the vice director of the Wuhan Lab asking an NIH official for help finding disinfectants for decontamination of airtight suits and indoor surfaces.
  • HHS records included an “urgent for Dr. Fauci ” email chain, citing ties between the Wuhan lab and the taxpayer-funded EcoHealth Alliance. The government emails also reported that the foundation of U.S. billionaire Bill Gates worked closely with the Chinese government to pave the way for Chinese-produced medications to be sold outside China and help “raise China’s voice of governance by placing representatives from China on important international counsels as high level commitment from China.”
  • HHS records included a grant application for research involving the coronavirus that appears to describe “gain-of-function” research involving RNA extractions from bats, experiments on viruses, attempts to develop a chimeric virus and efforts to genetically manipulate the full-length bat SARSr-CoV WIV1 strain molecular clone.
  • HHS records showed the State Department and NIAID knew immediately in January 2020 that China was withholding COVID data, which was hindering risk assessment and response by public health officials.
  • HHS records show that NIH officials tailored confidentiality forms to China’s terms and that the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted an unreleased, “strictly confidential” COVID-19 epidemiological analysis in January 2020.
  • Fauci emails include his approval of a press release supportive of China’s response to the 2019 novel coronavirus.

And more is coming, so check back with Judicial Watch often!

 

Special Counsel Durham’s FY 2022 Budget Was Over $8.5 Million

After waiting for 16 months, we finally received 3 pages of budget records from the Justice Department concerning the operations of the Office of Special Counsel John Durham that show its fiscal year 2022 budget was over $8.5 million.

And we have to wonder: What exactly did we get for our money?

The document production comes in our March 2022 FOIA lawsuit filed after the DOJ failed to respond to an August 2021, request for records of communication between Special Counsel John Durham and Attorney General Merrick Garland, and all budget records related to the operations of the office of Special Counsel (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:22-cv-00734)).

Durham was appointed to serve as Special Counsel for the Department of Justice on October 19, 2020:

The Special Counsel is authorized to investigate whether any federal official, employee, or any other person or entity violated the law in connection with the intelligence, counter-intelligence, or law-enforcement activities directed at the 2016 presidential campaigns, individuals associated with those campaigns, and individuals associated with the administration of President Donald J. Trump, including but not limited to Crossfire Hurricane and the investigation of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, Ill.

The Department of Justice initially produced budget records responsive to our lawsuit on June 3, 2022, but redacted the actual budget numbers. We challenged the withheld information, and the DOJ now has re-released the documents withoutthe redactions.

The supplemental response includes an unredacted June 30, 2021, memo from Assistant Attorney General Lee Lofthus to Attorney General Garland with the subject line “Fiscal Year 2022 Special Counsel’s Office Budget Request,” showing a previously withheld estimated budget of $8,627,629.

Attached is the John Durham Special Counsel Office Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget plan.  The Justice Management Division has completed its review under 28 C.F.R. 600.8(a)(1). The FY 2022 budget estimate is $4,463,525 which, after Office of Management and Budget technical adjustments for the mandatory sequester, totals $4,209,104 in available operational funds.

In a line-item breakout of costs for FY 2022 attached to the memo, DOJ has now released figures indicating that total income paid to “Full Time Permanent” personnel, including benefits, was $1,874,193. Non-reimbursable costs totaled $2,334,911, for costs such as travel ($457,207), rent ($306,350), and “Other Contractual Services” ($1,297,054). The budget also indicates there was one direct position, 11 “Reimbursable Detailees” and three “Non-Reimbursable Investigative Staff,” for a total of 15 personnel. [Emphasis supplied for previously redacted numbers]

Special Counsel Durham has spent millions in tax dollars to investigate the worst government corruption scandal in American history – the abuse of Trump – to little good end. That we had to file a federal lawsuit to get basic budget information about this historic investigation speaks volumes. And that the Garland DOJ is still hiding documents adds to the scandal.

 

Hearing Scheduled in Suit Over Meeting Between DOJ Lawyers and Reporters

A court hearing will be held before U.S. District Court Carl J. Nichols on Thursday, March 9, 2023, in our FOIA lawsuitagainst the Justice Department for records of a meeting set up by then-Chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Fraud Section Andrew Weissmann between the DOJ, FBI and reporters from The Associated Press (AP), in which Weissmann allegedly provided guidance to reporters investigating Paul Manafort, and which may have led to the raid of Manafort’s storage locker (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-00879)).

In October 2019, we made public two productions of documents from the FBI – 28 pages and 38 pages – about an April 11, 2017, “off-the-record” meeting set up by Weissmann between the DOJ, the FBI and The Associated Press in which AP reporters reportedly provided information on Manafort, including the numeric code to Manafort’s storage locker.

But we also explained to the court that the search for attorney Shreve Ariail’s records remains at issue. At the time Ariail was assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. He subsequently became deputy general counsel for litigation and investigations at the CIA and is now in private practice. Ariail was among the three U.S. attorneys who attended and emailed about the meeting with at least one AP reporter and Andrew Weissmann. (Weissmann was hired to work on Robert Mueller’s special counsel operation against President Trump. Weissman then reportedly spearheaded the subsequent investigation and prosecution of Manafort.)

The DOJ refused to search Ariail’s records until it was ordered to do so by the court in March 2022. During this process, new information came to light that casts doubt on the DOJ’s obligation to retain Ariail’s records during our pending lawsuit.

We contend that the DOJ’s response about its retention of Ariail’s records raises critical questions about potential deletion of records that require the court’s immediate attention.

Until next week,


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