Activist group Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for all records and communications between the Surgeon General’s office and social media companies about COVID-19 vaccines.
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the HHS refused to adequately respond to a FOIA request filed in March 2022.
We obtained a copy of the complaint for you here.
The request was for: “All records, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, texts, memoranda, and handwritten notes, of, regarding, referring, or relating to any efforts of Alexandria Phillips, Communications Director, Office of the Surgeon General, to contact any employee of Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Pinterest concerning COVID-19 vaccines.”
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has previously called for censorship of Covid misinformation. In 2021, he published a report titled “Confronting Health Misinformation,” which aimed to “slow the spread of health misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”
The report encouraged platforms to censor vaccine misinformation and other misinformation related to the pandemic.
A left-wing think tank erroneously claiming to track Russian online activity was responsible for thousands of bogus stories asserting the nation’s influence in US politics, according to the latest batch of Twitter Files.
The Hamilton 68 “dashboard” was the brainchild of former FBI special agent and MSNBC contributor Clint Watts and operated under the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a think tank founded in 2017 — shortly after former President Trump took office.
The ASD Advisory Council included such figures as top Clinton ally John Podesta, Obama-era acting CIA Director Michael Morell, former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, and former conservative activist Bill Kristol.
The latest Twitter Files disclosure, the 15th so far, revealed how Hamilton 68’s Russian bot dashboard repeatedly insisted there was widespread and deep Russian penetration of social media and unveiled that Twitter executives frequently challenged those claims internally.
Twitter content moderators knew that a “Russian bots list” used by mainstream media to discredit unwelcome political viewpoints was fake, but ultimately remained silent on it due to fears of bad press, according to newly unveiled internal email exchanges.
Independent journalist Matt Taibbi on Friday released the latest installment of revelations dubbed the “Twitter Files.” This new batch of internal communications involved the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD), a nonprofit organization that studies strategies to counter campaigns to “undermine democratic processes” across the world.
ASD also created and maintains “Hamilton 68,” a dashboard that tracks, among other things, 600 Twitter accounts alleged to be Russian government-controlled bots. This online tool received positive mainstream media coverage, including from Politico, The Washington Post, and CNN.
In screenshots of emails shared by Taibbi, Twitter’s former head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth appeared to have dismissed Hamilton 68’s list of Russian bots as untrustworthy.
In a January 2018 email, Roth lamented Hamilton 68’s accusing an organically trending political hashtag of being driven by Russian bots. He also talked about potentially calling out such behavior.
YouTube has deleted an undercover video by Project Veritas that showed a Pfizer director of research and development make comments about an idea he calls “directed evolution.”
YouTube has also punished the entire Project Veritas by issuing a “strike.”
“YouTube has taken down our Pfizer DirectedEvolution bombshell. It had 800K views,” O’Keefe announced on Twitter. “Pfizer is scrambling today per sources inside.”
“Project Veritas channel has been given a ‘strike’ and ability to upload ANY new videos is ‘restricted’ for a week with threats of future ‘permanent removal’ Project Veritas announced.
The subject of the video, Jordan Trishton Walker, Pfizer’s director of research and development strategic operations, was later approached by O’Keefe and his team in a New York restaurant and asked about the comments he made in the undercover video.
The later video showed the Pfizer employee becoming angry after being confronted by O’Keefe.
“You work for Pfizer,” O’Keefe said to Walker in the video. “My question for you is, why does Pfizer wanna hide from the public the fact that they’re mutating the COVID viruses?”
O’Keefe was referring to an undercover video, that YouTube has now deleted, where Walker said, “One of the things we’re exploring is like, why don’t we just mutate it [the COVID virus] ourselves so we could create — preemptively develop new vaccines, right?”
During a portion of an interview with NBC News Senior Washington Correspondent Hallie Jackson released on Thursday, Meta President for Global Affairs Nick Clegg stated that if former President Donald Trump uses “Facebook and Instagram to cast doubt on and delegitimize the upcoming election,” they will limit the reach of his posts and possibly could keep his posts from being reshared and restrict his ability to run political ads on the platforms, but maintained Meta is not the “truth police, never have been, and we’ll never seek to be.”
Clegg stated, “[I]f he kind of sails…close to the wind and tries to use Facebook and Instagram to cast doubt on and delegitimize the upcoming election, we’ll also take measures like letting him post, but not necessarily having that post appear in people’s feeds, possibly removing the reshare button so people can’t reshare his posts, and if he keeps doing that, possibly also restricting his ability to run political ads on Facebook and Instagram.”
The mask is slipping (pun fully intended), all over the place – regarding the Big Tech/Big Government collusion. Now it’s time to pay close attention to the role played by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
We’ve already been awed – just by the magnitude of the whole thing – if not exactly “shocked” by the Twitter Files.
After all, while it was happening, a whole lot of observers surmised that something of the sort had to be behind the unprecedented and, seemingly inexplicable levels of censorship on the platform.
But – what in the world was happening at Facebook, around the same time? After all, Facebook is an almost orders of magnitude bigger and more influential social network than Twitter.
For the time being, we don’t have the same “direct line” to internal documents as is the case with Twitter, which was made possible by the dedication to transparency by the new owner himself.
However, what could be dubbed as the “Facebook Files” are based on credible sources, too – Reason is coming out with a story based on confidential emails that emerged thanks to a court case – the state of Missouri suing the Biden administration.
The emails show that Facebook (and by extension Instagram) representatives and the CDC not only kept in touch at all times, but that the tech giant also “routinely asked government health officials to vet claims relating to the virus, mitigation efforts such as masks, and vaccines.”
The latest batch of Twitter Files, released on Friday by independent journalist Matt Taibbi, showed that Rep. Adam Schiff’s office repeatedly contacted Twitter requesting the removal of posts critical of Joe Biden and staff at Schiff’s office.
“Staff of House Democrat @AdamSchiff wrote to Twitter quite often, asking that tweets be taken down,” Taibbi wrote. “This important use of taxpayer resources involved an ask about a ‘Peter Douche’ parody photo of Joe Biden. The DNC made the same request.”
Taibbi said that Schiff’s office pestered Twitter to remove the parody photo after former President Donald Trump retweeted it.
“To its credit, Twitter refused to remove it, with Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth saying it had obvious ‘humorous intent’ and ‘any reasonable observer’ – apparently, not a Schiff staffer – could see it was doctored,” Taibbi wrote. “Schiff staffer Jeff Lowenstein didn’t give up, claiming there was a ‘slippery slope concern here.’”
The Public Good Projects (PGP), a nonprofit that has developed several projects to fight so-called Covid “misinformation,” received $1,275,000 from the Pfizer and Moderna lobbying group, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), to create a content moderation campaign that influenced Twitter’s Covid misinformation rules. As part of this campaign, PGP sent Twitter lobbyists and content moderators weekly emails containing lists of tweets to censor.
Journalist Lee Fang published one of the weekly emails that Twitter received from PGP as part of the latest release of the Twitter Files — collections of internal Twitter communications that have exposed the censorship relationships Twitter had with government agencies and other powerful groups before Elon Musk took over.
The email shows Todd O’Boyle, a senior manager on Twitter’s Public Policy team, sharing “this week’s misinfo report” from PGP. The February 24, 2022 email included a list of top trends the PGP had seen during the week and two attached lists. According to Fang, one of the lists contained tweets the PGP wanted Twitter to take down and the other list contained tweets that it wanted Twitter to verify.
A brief batch of Twitter Files dropped on Friday by Matt Taibbi shows that staff of House Democrat Adam Schiff were in frequent communication with Twitter to demand the removal of content from the platform. Documents show that the DNC and Schiff made requests to remove a “Peter Douche” parody photo of Joe Biden after President Donald Trump retweeted the photo.
Twitter refused to remove the photo, with Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth saying that it had obvious “humorous intent” and that “any reasonable observer” could tell that the photo was edited.
Schiff’s staff did not lay off, however, claiming that there was a “slippery slope concern” to be had.
Taibbi wrote that even when Twitter did not suspend accounts, they would often act against accounts. “Schiff’s office repeatedly complained about “QAnon related activity” that were often tweeting about other matters, like the identity of the Ukraine “whistleblower” or the Steele dossier.
Mention the term “deep state” in polite company and most likely no one will want to speak to you the rest of the evening. The deep state is what Wikipedia calls “discredited,” something reeking of conspiracies, false accusations, and the substitution of fantasy for the truth.
After the FBI raided Donald Trump’s home in Florida, Trump alluded to “deep state” actions, which brought predictable ridicule from the mainstream media. Trump was speaking conspiratorially, and if one follows the mainstream media these days, the only conspiracies are on the right. (You know, like the one in which the unarmed, ragtag January 6 rioters nearly overthrew the US government.)
After the recent revelations about how Twitter worked to hide the story of the infamous Hunter Biden laptop, Trump attributed the secrecy to a plot by the “deep state.” However, while the facts of the story really are outrageous, I don’t believe it was as much a secret conspiracy as a case of people being able to engage in certain actions with no political consequences.
Furthermore, journalist Matt Taibbi’s stunning revelations regarding FBI and CIA agents’ outright interference in the 2020 election via Twitter on the pretense that Russian operatives were spreading disinformation has further exposed both the involvement of federal law enforcement agents in partisan activities and the sad fact that those agents need not worry about being held accountable—especially if they are engaged in a “progressive” cause.