Fauci, Emails, and Some Alleged Science

by | Dec 20, 2021 | Headline News | 8 comments

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    This article was originally published by Phillip W. Magness and James R. Harrigan at The American Institute for Economic Research.  

    From October 2-4, 2020, the American Institute for Economic Research hosted a small conference for scientists to discuss the Covid-19 lockdowns. Just four days later, Dr. Francis Collins, the retiring Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), would call the three of the scientists in attendance “fringe epidemiologists,” in a directive he sent to Anthony Fauci and other senior staff of his agency. They were “fringe epidemiologists” because they had the temerity to ask whether the lockdowns of 2020 were effective. Those three, Martin Kulldorff of Harvard, Sunetra Gupta of Oxford, and Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford were simply doing what any good scientist would do: They were following the evidence.

    They wrote the Great Barrington Declaration [GBD] as they parted company at AIER, posting it for all to see.

    So why was Dr. Collins so intent on impugning these three scientists? It’s hard to know exactly, mostly because any scientist worth his salt should have been happy to see further research being done. That is, after all, how ignorance is replaced by knowledge. But Collins was clearly in no mood to replace his own possible ignorance with any kind of knowledge. He was pretty sure he knew all he had to know, and this is one of the most dangerous positions a scientist can take.

    In an email obtained by AIER through a Freedom of Information Act request, Collins told Anthony Fauci, CCing Lawrence Tabak, Deputy Ethics Counselor at NIH, that he wanted “a quick and devastating published take down (sic)” of the Great Barrington Declaration’s premises.

    One wonders why he would CC the Deputy Ethics Counselor on this, given the trouble these people seem to have with ethics, but here they were in October of 2020. 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.

    “The problem [with the GBD] is that we aren’t in lockdown,” Reynolds explained. “[I]t’s hard to find people who are advocating for a return to the lockdown we saw in March. When the Great Barrington Declaration authors declare their opposition to lockdowns, they are quite literally arguing with the past.”

    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.

    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.

    As the bedfellows became more strange, Gregg Gonsalves 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.

    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.

    Fauci, it turns out, had to miss the October 16 task force meeting, though he likely breathed a sigh of relief when Collins emailed him two days later. “Atlas did not take part in the [task force] meeting on Friday,” Collins wrote, “and the Great Barrington Declaration did not come up.” Another partially-redacted email hints that Fauci celebrated this outcome. Atlas’s opposition to the lockdown faction on the task force “is driving Deb [Birx] crazy,” he continued.

    Fauci and Collins were not done, though, in their campaign to “takedown” the GBD scientists.

    Our story picks up again in earnest on November 2, when Fauci’s chief of staff Greg Folkers replied to an email that was not made public in pursuance to AIER’s FOIA request. It seems pretty clear, though, that Fauci asked Folkers for a list of sources that would allow him to argue effectively against the GBD. The email’s subject line references a previous correspondence from Fauci “as discussed,” noting that Folkers had “highlighted the three i found most useful” (sic).

    Multiple sources, and particularly Scott Atlas’s recently-published account of his time on the task force, have noted that Fauci often relies on aides to curate lists of sources in advance of his many media appearances. He seldom reads the scientific literature on Covid-19 himself and instead arrives at meetings with staff-prepared talking points. It appears that Folker’s email was an answer to one such request for talking points to attack the GBD scientists.

    Note that Fauci frequently portrays himself as a staunch defender of science who stays above the political divide and remains outside of partisan debates. In light of that, you might expect that Folker’s response to Fauci’s request would yield a small sample of scientific analysis on the logic behind lockdowns, even if only in a format bullet-pointed by his staff. But you’d be wrong. Folkers sent Fauci a list of seven political op-eds and articles opposing the GBD from popular media outlets.

    So yeah. Science.

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      8 Comments

      1. SlackMavo

        Chapter # 5

        Fold facemask in half and move upward on face and head.

        to be worn as a blindfold.

      2. cranerigger

        The propaganda machine idiots like Fauci & Collins are so invested in their freedom-killing narrative that they continue to dig their holes deeper. Like many tyrants (think Pelosi, Biden, etc.), they deny-deny-deny when their idiocy catches up with them. Their answer to differing analysis is to wrongfully demonize the messenger – how dare anyone question the edicts by these Napoleon-wannabes.

      3. Woogie

        New York Bill Lets Governor Detain Anyone Suspected as ‘Threat to Public Health’ So Fauci’s Covid Prison Camps could be here in the US. Can detain anyone or group who poses a (health) threat to the Governor indefinately . This is Communist China at it’s best.

        The State Senate has had an overwhelming negative response to this bill, but who knows what executive order may be imposed.

      4. JRS

        The fact that Fauci uses staff to do his research and talking point writeups is not much different than any government legislature in general. They all read from prepared scripts generated by their staff, who go by party guidelines, who go by lobbyist and think tank draft legislation. There is no “science” more important to the apparatchiks (Left or Right) in government than the science of greed and power.

        They are all corrupt grifters…except possibly one or two.

      5. Bill

        Tuesday evening prezzJB is giving a speech how ALL Americans mus get the covid “vaccinations” and boosters. Without resorting to hyperbole or even bias, his administration has been a complete failure; thank God. I say administration because he is the prez. in name only, he is not really running the show. He isn’t formulating policy or making the final decisions. He doesn’t even set the agenda, he is merely a rubber stamp what a group of individuals devise and want implemented. And everyone knows it.
        All of congrress (both the housse and the sennate) have been completely compromised by lobbyists, special interests groups, big money, and on and on, we all know that too. The speech the prezz is going to give Tuesday evening will be little more than a propaganda speech how all Americans are in mortal danger from covid (again), and that we need observe all the restrictions they want to impose on us, and receive all the vaccines big pharma and his minions are telling him we need. This is proof the prezz too has been fully compromised and co-opted. He has been reduced to being a front man for big pharma and their commercial interests. By now it is obvious to all we do not have a gov’t of, by, or for the people.
        The prezz will tell us the what the “experts” are telling him and will paint a dire picture and warn of horrible consequences, and tell us what the gov’t will be “forced to do” if we do not acquiesce to all of their demands. H.L. Mencken said “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”. Mencken also said “The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule”.
        Nevertheless, he will succeed in making millions of non-thinking sheeple cringe in fear. He will use the tried and true tactic of turning one set of Americans against another, namely, the “unvaxxed” will be blamed for causing every problem in the country. This strategy of course is nothing more than creating a scapegoat for his admin’s failures and unpopularity. It is all very predictable. I give it a big yawn.

      6. Anonymous

        The science being used is political science, not medical science.

        Once you understand that things become much clearer.

      7. Apache54

        This is what happens when politics and the NWO agenda’s are the route cause of this virus and NOT science based factual information. ALL involved in the cover up should be held for crimes against humanity and public execution to follow conviction.

      8. Ogamol

        Based on the South Korea evidence, mass lock-downs work, but early opening because of absent symptoms is a problem. Based on the New Zealand evidence, mass lock-downs work. Based on various sources (mostly published scientific research projects concerning both the early pandemic and later spasms of same), most Covid-19 cases are over within 3 weeks of symptoms. A few cases (i.e. outliers) have been seen where the illness continues for months, with most being non-contagious.

        So, based on the evidence from free-information sources, lock-downs work, but they have to be extensive and enforced and maintained long enough for the disease to die out.

        (I will not include the U.S. as a good example of anything, regarding the pandemic, other than vaccine production speeds and treatment adaptability. We sucked at lock-downs, quarantines, tracing, social distancing, and adhering to mask mandates^.)

        ^ – Apparently, despite mask use working to slow transmission, many people think helping their neighbors takes second place to easy breathing. (As an asthma and hay fever sufferer, I can say that wearing those masks did not appreciably hinder my breathing, whether sitting in front of a computer or bicycling to/from work. My mild allergy season (9 non-winter months) was less intense once I started following the state mask mandate.)

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