HHS Must Release Billion Dollar Coronavirus Vaccine Contracts, Public Citizen Lawsuit Says – Global Research


18-10-20 09:19:00,

The Public Has A Right to Know How Their Money Is Being Spent

Public Citizen today filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to compel disclosure of coronavirus vaccine development and manufacturing contracts with major pharmaceutical corporations worth billions of dollars.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenges HHS’s withholding of records requested by Public Citizen under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) related to Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s initiative to accelerate the development of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.

Operation Warp Speed, which is co-led by HHS, has given more than $10 billion to pharmaceutical corporations. The terms of these contracts remain secret. Public Citizen first requested Operation Warp Speed’s contracts with AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer and Regeneron, among others, in May 2020. The contracts could shed light on critical questions like:

  • Will pharmaceutical corporations be required to set a reasonable price for their products, or will they be free to profiteer despite the public’s massive investment?
  • Will taxpayer-funded technology be held as corporate secrets, or can the U.S. government share technology with the World Health Organization to advance scientific research, accelerate manufacturing and more quickly end the global pandemic?
  • What rights does the U.S. government maintain in the factories it is helping build?

“The success, failure and terms of Warp Speed projects may determine when and under what conditions people living in the U.S. receive a safe and effective vaccine,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program. “Taxpayers deserve to know what they are getting in return for their billions of dollars in investments. Health experts should be able to assess whether our government is doing everything possible to end the pandemic.”

Earlier this year, Public Citizen worked with the group Knowledge Ecology International to demand that HHS enforce its disclosure requirements for a pharmaceutical corporation developing a COVID-19 vaccine. At that time, a leader of Operation Warp Speed responded:

“The trust of the American people is vital in the all-of-America response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In recognizing this important relationship, the leadership of… Operation Warp Speed [is] committed to remaining transparent with the American people.”

The lawsuit is available here.

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Release the hounds! Singapore deploys ROBOT DOG to help enforce social distancing (PHOTOS, VIDEO)


08-05-20 04:19:00,

Singapore has taken the monitoring and enforcement of social distancing to a whole new level, opting to deploy a robot dog, backed by a fleet of drones, to make sure citizens keep their hands to themselves to combat coronavirus.

Beginning on Friday May 8, the robot dog, creatively dubbed ‘Spot,’ will monitor the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in the city-state. 

It is the first trial of a new initiative to help manage and enforce social distancing in the Singapore’s parks, gardens and nature reserves, all managed by the National Parks Board.

The motorized mutt delivers a pre-recorded message reminding visitors to keep a safe distance from each other and is fitted with cameras and video analytic software to calculate and estimate visitor numbers to a given park and to monitor their density. The machine will be accompanied by a handler during the trial. 

Spot’s cameras will reportedly not be fitted with or tied to facial recognition software and will not collect or store any personal data. For the time being, at least. 

Originally developed by American company Boston Dynamics, the robot dog has fitted sensors so it doesn’t inadvertently crash into people but that also allow it to navigate diverse terrains and to manage obstacles with relative ease.

Authorities opted to try the system out to reduce the number of human staff in the parks, thus limiting potential infection vectors in green public spaces. 

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The Spot robot is also on trial at the Changi Exhibition Centre community isolation facility, which houses coronavirus patients exhibiting mild symptoms, where it helps deliver food and medicine while minimizing human-to-human contact. 

The parks board is also deploying a fleet of 30 drones to monitor visitor numbers in certain parks and shared green spaces,and potentially to work in tandem with a pack of robot dogs, should the trial prove successful.

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AG Barr Blocks Release Of 9/11 Documents Despite Promises To Victims’ Families


19-04-20 05:02:00,

Authored by Derrick Broze via TheMindUnleashed.com,

On Monday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr, acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell, and other senior officials called on a federal judge to prevent the disclosure of files related to the role of the government of Saudi Arabia in the September 11 attacks. The officials told the judge in the civil case that the release of the files would endanger national security.

The files are being sought by families of the 9/11 victims who have spent the last two decades attempting to uncover the truth about the attacks. The families filed a lawsuit in federal district court in New York in 2017 as part of their effort to uncover the role of the Saudi government. What is publicly known is that the alleged 9/11 hijackers had a relationship with Saudi government officials. As Pro Publireported, at the 2019 White House September 11 memorial, U.S. President Donald Trump promised the families he would help them uncover the truth about 9/11. He made similar promises while he was campaigning for president.

“He looked us in the eye on 9/11, he shook our hands in the White House and said, ‘I’m going to help you – it’s done’,” Brett Eagleson, a banker whose father was killed in the World Trade Center, told Pro Publica.

 “I think the 9/11 families have lost all hope that the president is going to step up and do the right thing. He’s too beholden to the Saudis.”

The Trump Administration stated that the national security threat was so great that even sharing the reasoning behind the request for secrecy could cause harm. According to Pro Publica, AG Barr told the court that public discussion of the issue “would reveal information that could cause the very harms my assertion of the state secrets privilege is intended to prevent.”

Pro Publica notes that four statements from FBI and Justice Department officials were also under seal and can not be seen by the public. Another five statements from FBI, Justice Department, and CIA officials were only seen by the judge and could not even be shared with the families’ lawyers.

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Australian MPs call for release of Julian Assange to home detention as Covid-19 ‘rapidly spreads’ in UK prisons


09-04-20 02:39:00,

There are new calls from Australia to release Julian Assange from prison over Covid-19 fears. Two MPs, supported on Twitter by the whistleblower’s mother, sent letters to UK authorities calling for his release to home detention.

Australian MPs Andrew Wilkie and George Christensen, co-chairs of the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group, wrote to UK Commons Justice Committee Chair Bob Neill MP and Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland MP calling for “urgent” consideration of Assange’s case in light of the fact that Covid-19 is “rapidly spreading” in British prisons.

Assange’s release is important as he would be a “high risk” patient if he contracted the virus given that he has a pre-existing chronic lung condition, they said. The first death due to Covid-19 at Belmarsh Prison, where Assange is being held, was reported on Tuesday.

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It was a “reasonable request” by Assange’s lawyers that he could be “put into monitored home detention” with a “24-hour ankle monitor” instead, they suggested.

The letters were retweeted by the whistleblower’s mother Christine, who wrote that it was an effort to “save his life.” They were “great sample letters for supporters” to send, she added.

Australian MPs/Senators send urgent letters to UK Govt, urging them to release sick & suffering Australian journalist Julian Assange to home detention,to save his life from #COVID19 infected UK prisonGreat sample letters for supporters!#UKBailAssangeRead here👇 https://t.co/2lvYczK9x6

— Christine Assange (@MrsC_Assange) April 9, 2020

The two MPs also noted that Assange “fits all of the grounds” for early release according to organizations like the World Health Organization, the United Nations and the UK Prison Officers Association.

Wilkie and Christensen said they had been told that the prison is also short-staffed and normal activity regimens are suspended. Assange is in “poor mental health due to spending much time in solitary confinement” in recent years, and the current prison conditions are “further exacerbating” his condition. 

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The Release of Chelsea Manning – Global Research


16-03-20 12:06:00,

Chelsea Manning’s release last Thursday by order of Virginia District Court judge Anthony Trenga had an air of oddness to it.  “The court finds Ms. Manning’s appearance before the Grand Jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose.”

Her detention had never served any coercive purpose as such – she remained unwilling to testify before an institution she questions as dangerous, secretive and oppressive.  She steadfastly refused to answer any questions relating to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.  What her detention has done is disturb her health and constitute an act of State harassment that ranks high in the annals of abuses of power.

In March 2019, the former military analyst was summoned to appear and give testimony to the Grand Jury convened in the Eastern District of Virginia.  As the New York Times put it at the time, “there were multiple reasons to believe that the subpoena [forcing Manning to testify] is related to the investigation of Mr Assange.”  She challenged the legitimacy of the subpoena, though lost and was held for contempt.  Having already been court martialled and sentenced, Manning saw little need having to go through another round of ear bashing interrogations.  “Chelsea,” submitted her support committee in a statement, “gave voluminous testimony during her court martial.  She has stood by the truth of her prior statements, and there is no legitimate purpose to having her rehash them before a hostile grand jury.”

In May that year, Manning was granted one week of freedom until the next grand jury was convened.  Again, she was found to be in civil contempt and remanded “to the custody of the Attorney General until such time as she purges herself of contempt or for the life of the Grand Jury”.  Her refusal to purge herself of contempt after 30 days duly incurred a fine of $500 per day, an amount that was increased to $1,000 after 60 days.

As Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment noted at the time, such limitations on Manning’s liberty did “not constitute a circumscribed sanction for a specific offence,

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