But Dr Bhattacharya made the mistake of telling the truth in modern America.
I remember in 1975 when a high court found that then-prime minister of India Indira Gandhi had interfered unlawfully in an election. The ruling disqualified her from holding office. In response, she declared a state of emergency, suspended democracy, censored the opposition press and government critics, and threw her political opponents in jail.
I remember the shock of these events and our family’s collective relief that we were in the US, where it was unimaginable that such things could happen […]
Unfortunately, during the pandemic, the American government violated my free speech rights and those of my scientist colleagues for questioning the federal government’s pandemic policies.
And, just like the tinpot dictatorship his parents had fled, the regime colluded with big business and the apparatus of state enforcement to censor and oppress them.
That isn’t hyperbole.
On Friday, at long last, the Fifth Circuit Court ruled that we were not imagining it – that the Biden administration did indeed strong-arm social media companies into doing its bidding. The court found that the Biden White House, the CDC, the US Surgeon General’s office, and the FBI “engaged in a years-long pressure campaign [on social media outlets] designed to ensure that the censorship aligned with the government’s preferred viewpoints.”
The judges described a pattern of government officials making “threats of ‘fundamental reforms’ like regulatory changes and increased enforcement actions” if we did not comply. The implication was clear. To paraphrase Al Capone: Nice company you have there. It’d be a shame if something were to happen to it.
It worked. According to the judges, “the officials’ campaign succeeded. The platforms, in capitulation to state-sponsored pressure, changed their moderation policies.”
In other places, of course, the government hardly had to bother. Like the apparatchiks of Lysenkoism, there’s no shortage of lickspittle intellectual minnows only too willing to slavishly lick the state’s boots in order to boost their own unspectacular scientific careers.
The trouble began on October 4, 2020, when my colleagues and I – Dr Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine at Harvard University, and Dr Sunetra Gupta, an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford – published the Great Barrington Declaration. The Declaration called for an end to economic lockdowns, school shutdowns, and similar restrictive policies on the grounds that they disproportionately harm the young and economically disadvantaged while conferring limited benefits to society as a whole.
The Declaration endorsed a “focused protection” approach that called for strong measures to protect high-risk populations while allowing lower-risk individuals to return to normal life with reasonable precautions.
In other words, exactly what decades of pandemic planning had recommended. Including the WHO, which updated its policies with just such principles only the month before scientists in Wuhan got the sniffles.
And, as so many of us both predicted and now see, thanks to the evidence, it would have been the best policy indeed.
Sweden, which in large part eschewed lockdown and, after early problems, embraced focused protection of older populations, had among the lowest age-adjusted all-cause excess deaths than nearly every other country in Europe and suffered none of the learning loss for its elementary school children. Similarly, Florida has seen lower cumulative age-adjusted all-cause excess deaths than lockdown-obsessed California since the start of the pandemic.
But where was the untrammelled state-bureaucratic power-grab in that?
Federal officials immediately targeted the Great Barrington Declaration for suppression because it contradicted the government’s preferred response to Covid. Four days after the Declaration’s publication, then-director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr Francis Collins, emailed [Anthony Fauci] to organize a “devastating takedown” of it.
Almost immediately, social media companies such as Google/YouTube, Reddit, and Facebook censored mentions of the Declaration.
As The Free Press revealed in its Twitter Files reporting, in 2021 Twitter blacklisted me for posting a link to the Great Barrington Declaration. YouTube censored a video of a public policy roundtable of me with Florida governor Ron DeSantis.
If that all sounds like a conspiracy theory, it isn’t. It’s a proven conspiracy fact.
Broad discovery of email exchanges between the government and social media companies showed an administration willing to use its regulatory powers against social media companies that did not comply with censorship demands.
The case revealed that a dozen federal agencies – including the CDC, the Office of the Surgeon General, and the Biden White House – pressured social media companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter to censor and suppress even true speech contradicting federal pandemic priorities. For instance, in 2021, the White House threatened social media companies with damaging regulatory action unless it censored scientists who shared the demonstrable fact that the Covid vaccines do not prevent people from getting Covid.
Remember, these were the very people finger-wagging you that they were your sole sources of truth.
The very opposite was – and remains – true.
Lushington describes himself as Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. This article was first published HERE