Federal Judge Orders Dr. Anthony Fauci Deposed
A First Amendment lawsuit, Missouri v. Biden, is gaining momentum after a federal judge ordered depositions of top-ranking Biden administration officials, including NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci and several other high profile defendants.
In a 164-page legal filing, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt detailed a massive “censorship enterprise” within the Biden administration to pressure Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube and other tech companies to “suppress private speech that federal officials disfavor.”
“We’ve found a staggering ‘censorship enterprise’ that extends to a multitude of federal agencies and implicates government officials at the highest levels of government,” Schmitt and Landry said in a statement.
The lawsuit alleges that more than 60 Biden administration officials across 13 agencies violated the First Amendment rights of many Americans. The group of silenced individuals ranges from doctors and scientists, including prominent Drs. Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, who are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
Other plaintiffs include psychiatrist Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, Jill Hines, co-director of Health Freedom Louisiana and Reopen Louisiana, and Jim Hoft, owner of The Gateway Pundit. All were heavily censored or banned from social media platforms.
In addition to the plaintiffs, the owner of a conservative radio show with tens of thousands of followers, medical experts sharing their protocols for Covid-19, and many rank and file Americans who criticized the government’s pandemic response, all found their social media accounts shut down.
[Government officials] “threatened, cajoled and colluded” with social media outlets to suppress speech about topics the White House disliked such as the origins of Covid-19, election integrity, mask mandates and other Covid restrictions, the lawsuit charges.
Judge Orders Defendants to Testify Under Oath at Depositions
Two weeks ago, U.S. District Judge Doughty went a step further than a previous ruling that compelled the defendants to give written testimonies. He ordered Dr. Fauci and a number of other defendants to testify in person, under oath, at depositions.
Observers reasoned that Judge Doughty’s stricter requirement was prompted in part by Dr. Fauci’s refusal to verify his written responses under oath. Several pages of the judge’s deposition order were in fact devoted to Dr. Fauci, explaining why his testimony was highly relevant and why it warranted deposition.
Judge Dougherty first rebuked Fauci for failing to sign a sworn affidavit verifying his written denials of allegations that he had communicated with social-media outlets regarding censorship. Instead of affirming his statements with his own signature, Fauci had the document signed by a CDC colleague, Dr. Jill Harper.
“Dr. Fauci has made no statements under oath regarding his communications with social-media platforms, which violates this Court’s Order that instructed him to provide [sworn] responses,” Judge Doughty wrote.
The judge added that he agrees with the plaintiff position that “they should not be required to simply accept at face value Dr. Fauci’s ‘self-serving denials’ that were issued from someone other than himself.”
The judge also noted that “even if Dr. Fauci can prove he never communicated with social-media platforms about censorship, there are compelling reasons that suggest he acted through intermediaries, and acted on behalf of others, in procuring the social-media censorship of credible scientific opinions.”
‘Ripped From Stalin’s Playbook’
“The crux of this case is the fundamental right of free speech,” Judge Doughty summed up, and “Dr. Fauci’s comments on these important issues are relevant to this important matter.”
The lawsuit strikes at the heart of what critics say is an alliance between the White House, Democratic leaders and Big Tech to suppress and discredit conservative voices.
For the past two years it has been virtually impossible to post content relating to the pandemic that contradicted mainstream views. Alternative opinions as well as highly credible scientific data that proclaimed the importance of natural immunity, or questioned the lockdowns or the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, have been quickly de-platformed.
“Ripped from the playbook of Stalin and his ilk, Biden has been colluding with Big Tech to censor free speech and propagandize the masses. We are fighting back to ensure the rule of law and prevent the government from unconstitutional banning, chilling, and stifling of speech,” Louisiana AG Jeff Landry said.
Biden Strong-arms Social Media to Censor Speech
The attorneys’ brief points to examples as far back as Jan of 2020, when newly elected Biden, in an interview with the NY Times editorial board, disclosed his views on having social media companies censor speech.
In that interview, President Biden asserted that Section 230 (which generally provides immunity for website platforms) should be revoked because social-media companies weren’t doing enough to censor information.
He also “suggested that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg should be subject to civil liability and even criminal prosecution for not censoring enough political speech,” the brief alleges. The brief also points to examples of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy stating in press briefings that Facebook and social media platforms should be doing more to combat health “misinformation.”
“We’re saying we expect more from our technology companies,” Murthy reportedly stressed. “We’re asking them to monitor misinformation more closely. We’re asking them to consistently take action against misinformation super-spreaders on their platforms.”
Judge Doughty in his ruling said based on the foregoing quotes, there’s an “overwhelming” need for Flaherty to be deposed to determine whether fundamental rights to free speech were “abridged,” as a result of alleged collusion between senior Biden administration officials and Big Tech.
The court order cited a series of public comments made by Psaki when she served as White House press secretary, including calling on social media platforms for consistency in banning disfavored speakers. “Psaki has made a number of statements that are relevant to the Government’s involvement in a number of social-media platforms’ efforts to censor its users across the board for sharing information related to Covid-19,” Doughty noted in his ruling.
The federal judge listed other topics that the suit alleges were flagged for censorship on social media, due to interference from the Biden administration. Those subjects include “the Hunter Biden laptop story prior to the 2020 Presidential election, discussion of the lab leak theory of Covid-19’s origins, and speech about election integrity and the security of voting by mail,” according to the lawsuit.
The list of defendants to be deposed, in addition to the above-mentioned names, includes top officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the FBI, as well as Director of White House Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty, and former White House Covid-19 Advisory Andrew Slavitt.
Also identified as defendants in the lawsuit are the Census Bureau, the FDA, CISA, DHS, HHS, the Treasury Department, and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
FOIA Emails Offer Incriminating Evidence
A key piece of evidence in the lawsuit, based on emails produced in a FOIA request, is a confidential phone call with scientists, coordinated by Fauci, aimed at discrediting any theory that the pandemic was the result of a “lab leak” in Wuhan, China.
The scientists on the phone conference went on to write a paper harshly critical of the lab-leak hypothesis and those subscribing to it. [For Fauci, quashing the lab leak theory was of critical importance. If the theory gained traction, the brief argued, Fauci could be potentially implicated in causing the pandemic that killed millions of people worldwide. This is because as director of NIAID, he allegedly funded risky “gain-of-function” research at the Wuhan Institute that sought to make viruses more deadly.
Although he denied it at congressional hearing under questioning by Sen. Rand Paul, documents prove that Fauci funneled millions of dollars for this research, using intermediaries such as EcoHealth Alliance, plaintiffs attested.]In another key example of lab-leak censorship cited by the brief, in late January 2020 and early February 2020, Fauci was in touch with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in oral communications about the government’s Covid-19 response. Facebook subsequently went on to censor the lab leak theory, according to the plaintiffs.
Censorship Scheme Wiped Hunter Biden Laptop off the Radar
A New York Post op-ed described the Missouri v. Biden lawsuit as having uncovered “astonishing evidence of an entrenched censorship scheme cooked up between the federal government and Big Tech that would make Communist China proud.”
The op-ed describes how the NY Post fell victim to the “censorship regime” on the eve of the 2020 presidential election. This took place when the paper ran its expose on Hunter Biden’s laptop that appeared to incriminate Joe Biden, only to have the story suppressed by Facebook and then Twitter in October 2020.
“This was after the FBI went to Facebook, warning it to watch out for a so-called ‘dump’ of Russian ‘disinformation’ pertaining to the Bidens. When the scandal broke in the Post, all mention of it on Twitter and Facebook was scrubbed, in compliance with the FBI, the op-ed said.
Another target of government-media censorship detailed by the lawsuit was the Great Barrington Declaration. Lawyers for the plaintiffs have issued subpoenas to social media companies for all correspondence related to this extraordinary document, published as an open letter in October 2020 by Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford and Dr. Martin Kulldorff of Harvard, two of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs’ brief describes the suppression of the Declaration, composed in Great Barrington, Mass., as one of the most flagrant acts of government-backed censorship.
In their open letter, the doctors, prominent experts in their respective fields, recommended “focused protection” of the elderly and those at high risk, as opposed to the sweeping lockdowns being mandated by the government. The letter challenged lockdowns as futile, dangerous and harmful for younger people who are at very low risk of infection.
“Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice,” it added.
The scientists’ letter also explained the importance of natural immunity from Covid infection as a robust form of protection equal to vaccination.
NIH Director Collins to Dr. Fauci: ‘Make it Quick and Devastating’
The de-platforming of the Great Barrington Declaration was carried out after an email from former NIH Director Francis Collins to Dr. Anthony Fauci—recently released by federal Judge Doughty’s court order–insisted on an immediate attack of the document’s recommendations.
“There needs to be a quick and devastating published takedown of the premises. Is it underway?” Collins demanded of Fauci.
Over the next couple of days, Fauci in appearances on various news shows, made a point of denigrating Drs. Bhattacharya and Kulldorff and their recommendations as “ridiculous” and “nonsensical.” No mainstream media outlet carried the Great Barrington Declaration and it was banned on social media.
Undeterred, Drs. Bhattacharya and Kulldorff courageously went on to espouse the position that forcing a Covid-recovered person with natural immunity to take a vaccine that provides virtually no benefit while risking adverse effects, is not rational. They were then permanently banned from LinkedIn and other social media accounts.
The two physicians also participated in a roundtable discussion with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis about the reasons children should not be masked during Covid-19. YouTube lost no time in removing the video of the roundtable.
The authors’ crucial insights, mocked and reviled by Fauci, Collins, media anchors and fact-checkers, have since been fully vindicated.
The “Johns Hopkins Study,” published in Jan. 2022 by three renowned scientists, collapsed the global narrative that lockdowns and school closures were essential to saving lives and curbing the pandemic. That these draconian restrictions in fact brought no benefit but considerable harm to society, is now widely acknowledged.
And in August, after months of claiming the vaccines were superior to natural immunity, the CDC did a quiet about-face, acknowledging the long-recognized science it had tried to deny, that those who possessed natural immunity from previous Covid infection were as protected as the vaccinated.
“Covid-19 recommendations no longer differentiate based on a person’s vaccination status,” the CDC website now advises. No apologies were offered to the tens of thousands who lost their jobs and livelihoods and were bullied, shamed and ostracized over the refusal to take a shot they did not need.
One More for History’s Dustbin
As Covid myths continue to crumble, the latest one to be officially discarded is the theory promoted by Dr. Anthony Fauci and former NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, that the pandemic began with a virus that migrated to humans from an animal in a Chinese wet market.
“The hypothesis of a natural zoonotic origin no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt or the presumption of accuracy,” stated the Senate interim report, released by Republicans on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in late October.
The report went on to state that an investigation into the origins of Covid-19 concluded that the virus most likely leaked out of a Chinese laboratory.
“Based on the analysis of the publicly available information, it appears reasonable to conclude that the Covid-19 pandemic was… the result of a research-related incident,” the report read.
Researchers named China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology as the likely source of the virus, the Washington Examiner and Forbes reported.
The lab-leak theory, trashed as “debunked” by Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins –and by a wide array of media anchors who dutifully parroted them—has now been officially recognized as the most probable explanation for how the pandemic originated.
“The zoonotic origin theory is unlikely,” the report concluded, “because no evidence of an animal being infected with the Covid-19 virus, or even a closely related virus, prior to 2019, has ever been found.”
Infected Bat Was Brought to Wuhan Lab by Virus Researchers
While the report notes that the virus likely originated from a horseshoe bat, there is no natural way the infected bat would have traveled thousands of miles from Southern China or Southeast Asia to Wuhan.
That is, unless it was brought by virus researchers—which is exactly the scenario investigators now believe took place.
Senate Committee Republicans cite “high-risk” coronavirus research being conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology along with evidence of “persistent biosafety problems” and inadequate security at the lab, as factors that led them to the lab-leak conclusion.
The committee found that the Wuhan Institute purchased several pieces of equipment in the weeks leading up to the pandemic, including an air incinerator and an air disinfection system that suggest it had problems containing aerosolized viruses. This impression is compounded by evidence of shortages of other safety equipment in the Wuhan lab.
Additionally, the report said, researchers at the lab also often collected the bat samples with inadequate protective coverings. That discovery, coupled with the knowledge of the lab’s other biosafety deficits, led researchers to conclude the virus escaped from the lab—whether accidental or intentional is not known.
The implications of this finding for Dr. Fauci, who is accused of having funded the dangerous gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab but continues to vehemently deny it, remain to be seen.
DHS Still Working with Big Tech to Combat ‘Disinformation’
Republicans are sounding the alarm after newly published documents detailed how the Department of Homeland Security is still working with social media companies to combat ‘disinformation.”
This is despite disbanding its controversial “watchdog” board (DGB) earlier this year, due to intense public backlash and questions about its legality.
The documents, first reported by The Intercept, revealed that while DHS scrapped the Disinformation Governance Board in May, the agency is still working to combat disinformation on a range of topics, and regards this task (“disinformation spread by violent domestic terrorists”) as one of its top priorities.
The topics under surveillance include “the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic; the efficacy of the Covid vaccines; racial justice; U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine,” The Intercept reported.The paper also published a leaked document showing Facebook’s “Government Reporting System,” a special link which allows government officials to directly flag content on Facebook or Instagram and request that it be taken down.
The link remains operational despite the public furor over the proposed DGB to police domestic political speech. Critics had likened the DGB to the nefarious “Ministry of Truth” in the George Orwell classic, “Nineteen Eighty Four,” a book about a totalitarian society.
Although the much derided DGB was shuttered mere weeks after it was announced, it now appears that it has simply gone underground.
DHS Castigated for Politicizing Itself
Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., the leading Republican lawmaker on the House Homeland Security Committee, slammed the Department of Homeland Security for “politicizing” itself in the name of dispelling “disinformation.”“Reports of DHS’s involvement in efforts to be the arbiter of truth on wide-ranging topics are extremely concerning,” Katko said. “This is not DHS’s role, as evidenced by the fierce backlash against and ultimate disbanding of the DGB earlier this year.”
“The American people do not approve of the department engaging in unaccountable and opaque efforts led by the Biden administration’s ever-changing definition of ‘truth,’” Katko continued.“It is unfathomable to me how severely misplaced the DHS’s priorities continue to be,” the NY Republican said. “When the border crisis is reaching record-breaking levels daily, the rise in violent crime is putting Americans across the country in danger, and disrupted supply chains are having devastating impact… Yet DHS cannot seem to let go of the desire to police Americans’ free speech!”Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., in an appearance on Jesse Watters Primetime called out the administration for paying lip service to democracy.
“What’s really disinformation is the message the Biden administration believes in democracy. Here is how it works: Do what they tell you to do, and believe what they tell you to believe and vote the way they want—then they’re all for democracy.”
“But if you want to have your own ideas or speak your own mind or look into things for yourself, then they will monitor you, they will censor you, they will use the government against you,” Sen. Hawley said.
“That is a threat to our democracy, and we’ve got to do something about it.”