Revelatory emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request indicate the depths to which National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, then-National Institutes of Health (NIH) head Dr. Francis Collins, numerous of their cohorts on the tax-fed, politicized “science” side, and their pals at various media outlets recently descended to smother, smear, and silence powerful voices of reason and honest debate when it comes to COVID-19, economy-strangling lockdowns, and herd immunity.
The innocent targets of this government cabal are the signers of The Great Barrington Declaration (GBD), a document and pronouncement inspired by a gathering of infectious disease epidemiologists, scientists, and journalists from October 1-4, 2020 at the American Institute for Economic Research, located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
Stressing the historically and scientifically sound approach to managing a viral pandemic into a stable “endemic” state where herd immunity is maintained, mortality is minimized, and the economy is not smothered by lockdowns, the document quickly went viral, and has, in a way, become the scientific equivalent of the Declaration of Independence against the lockdown, anti-debate mentality of many national, state, and local politicians.
The GBD was authored by the primary signers, Dr. Martin Kulldorff (Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School), Dr. Jay Bhattacharya (Professor of Medicine, Stanford University), and Dr. Sunetra Gupta (Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology, University of Oxford), and had 34 more internationally-known scientists, doctors, and economists sign that very day. Since that time, the number has swelled to more than 897,000, and the GBD message has been recognized worldwide.
Key to the message – and, evidently, something that set off Fauci – are two recommendations:
The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.
Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.
As one can tell, this is a freedom-oriented approach.
And now, thanks to FOIA’d Fauci emails (many of which remain redacted, something usually done only for “national security” reasons), we can see just how this freer, historically proven, GBD approach seemed to enrage the highest-paid bureaucrat in the U.S. government.
Those who, like I, follow AIER Senior Research Faculty and Interim Research and Education Director and author of “1619: A Critique,” Phillip W. Magness December 18 got to see his real-time tweets on the Fauci emails as he scoured through them and released screen-shots. Subsequently, he and AIER Senior Editor James Harrigan put into a detailed AIER article their research.
The story of the coordinated Fauci-Collins-NIAID-NIH-media campaign against the declaration and its signers begins October 8, just days after the GBD was released, and sees Collins in a not-so-happy state, writing to Fauci and Cliff Lane, of NIAID, and CC-ing NIH Deputy Ethics Counselor Lawrence Tabak (remember, Fauci’s wife, Christine Grady, runs the “Bioethics” Department at NIH):
Hi, Tony and Cliff:
See (he offers the link to the GBD). This proposal from the three fringe epidemiologists who met with the Secretary (of HHS) seems to be getting a lot of attention – and even a co-signature from Nobel Prize winner Mike Leavitt of Stanford. There needs to be a quick and devastating published takedown of its premises. I don’t see anything like that online yet – is it underway?
Which tells us a few things. First, Collins appears to consider anyone who doesn’t agree with his authoritarianism to be “fringe.” Second, Collins appears to think that scientific dissent (or, perhaps any kind of dissent) from his orthodoxy is dangerous (which is the opposite of how the scientific method works – Galileo was supposed to have taught us that in 1633), and, third, it seems plausible to think that Collins was asking Fauci not only if someone inside NIAID was creating a “devastating published takedown,” but that he expected outside resources in media to do that work.
As we will see, this is precisely the way it played out.
Magness writes that Fauci didn’t tell Collins that they had a group of scientists who would refute the arguments of the GBD. Instead, he sent a link to a less-than-stellar article published prior to the argument of the GBD:
Fauci wrote that same night to let Collins know that there was already a devastating take down of the Great Barrington Declaration…in that august scientific publication Wired.
‘Francis,’ Fauci wrote, ‘I am pasting in below a piece from Wired that debunks [the GBD].’ There, science reporter Matt Reynolds told us there was no ‘scientific divide’ over herd immunity, but that’s not the funny part. The funny part came when Reynolds declared quite confidently that we no longer had anything to worry about, as lockdowns were – as of October 2020 – a thing of the past.
And Fauci, who seemed intent on directing Collins to media outlets, sent another off-target link the next day. Writes Magness:
This Fauci-endorsed passage may be one of the worst takes of the entire pandemic. Less than a month later, lockdowns came roaring back with a vengeance. Fauci wrote to Collins again the next day, this time referencing a breathless op-ed by Gregg Gonsalves, a public health professor at Yale, in The Nation. And here we arrive at yet another funny part. Gonsalves’ article was not exactly a critique of the Great Barrington Declaration. Instead, Gonsalves went after Martin Kulldorff, who in an interview with the leftist magazine Jacobin quite reasonably pointed out that the lockdowns hurt the poor more than most talking heads were willing to admit. Gonsalves’s grievance was that by interviewing Kulldorff, Jacobin had broken the lockdown ‘solidarity’ of other far-left websites including the Nation and the Boston Review.
If you’re looking for scientific debate from the tax-paid scientists here, you’ll look in vain.
Soon, Fauci and Collins were engaging in the equivalent of whispering and petulantly bragging behind their dad’s back:
By October 10, the lines were well drawn, and Fauci thrust himself into the middle of the media hootenanny that was clearly emerging. Collins emailed again to boast about calling the three scientists ‘fringe’ in the Washington Post, although he told Fauci that their ongoing campaign to take down the GBD ‘will not be appreciated in the W[hite] H[ouse].’ The White House, Fauci retorted, was ‘too busy with other things to worry about’ the GBD. There was an election to deal with, after all.
Indeed, can one take from such an exchange that Fauci was insinuating to Collins that they were free to stigmatize, propagandize, and smear those who opposed lockdowns because Trump was looking elsewhere?
Gregg Gonsalves (the man who published his screed in The Nation) wrote directly to Collins, thanking him for his undiplomatic approach. For his part, Gonsalves became ever more hostile and profane, in his remarks on the GBD. ‘This f*****g Great Barrington Declaration is like a bad rash that won’t go away,’ Gonsalves tweeted, shortly before reaching out to Collins. A day earlier, the Yale professor also began promoting unhinged conspiracy theories about the GBD and AIER that traced to the blog of a former 9/11 Truther movement activist.
Yet Collins, Fauci, and others in the federal bureaucracy did not distance themselves from Gonsalves. Indeed, Gonsalves soon worked with future CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, Emery U prof Carlos Del Rio, and Harvard prof Marc Lipsitch to pen an Oct 14, 2020 Washington Post piece attacking the GBD signers.
And still, no debate. Magness adds:
Some of the emails between Collins and Fauci sent in response to AIER’s FOIA request have been redacted, but surrounding context makes it pretty clear that they were looking for a way to impugn the GBD further if it came up at the White House Covid Task Force meeting on October 16. That morning, Fauci emailed Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator. He pressed the need for her to oppose the GBD, and set the stage for an attack on Scott Atlas, who was the most friendly champion of the GBD on the Task Force.
Magness’ entire AIER piece is essential to read, and contains many more details than I can offer here, but, to sum up, and for the record, I should note that I have friends who work – and have worked – on the AIER staff. One of them is AIER’s Director of Creative Content, Lucio Eastman. On his Facebook page December 17, Eastman posted this perfectly apropos comment about the aggressive, anti-debate stance of the Fauci-Collins cabal versus the open, truly scientific approach of the GBD signers:
Amazing! The difference in tone between these people is palpable. All the GBD offered was choice, a debate, and a second opinion. All of the language I've seen coming from the other side is ‘there is no debate, we will take you down, the science is settled, shut up, sit down!’
Francis Collins leaves his position at NIH today (Monday, Dec 20), just as this damning information is coming out, and, like the Great Barrington Declaration itself, people worldwide, and numerous websites such as The DailyMail (UK), Gateway Pundit, and the principled, science-oriented Brownstone Institute are letting more people know about his secret emails.
It may be too late to stop Collins' attacks, but we can learn about what he and Fauci and others did. And we can question not only those people in positions of power, but the power structure itself, which stands in complete contravention to not only the scientific method, but to the US Constitution.
That, at least, would be something healthy to take from this terrible period of metastatic government growth.