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The battle for free speech - and finding and publishing the facts the world's most powerful companies would rather hide - has only begun
Two years ago today, this newsletter became my refuge. And your voice.
The night before, on Saturday, August 28, 2021, Twitter banned me, caving to pressure from government and Pfizer officials who did not want the mRNA shots questioned.
For writing, “It doesn’t stop infection. Or transmission,” I lost access to a megaphone which broadcast my reporting about the mRNAs to hundreds of millions of people. Further, the Twitter expulsion symbolically marked me as too dangerous to be part of the public discussion - as the censors intended.
But they could not silence me entirely. Months before, I had set up Unreported Truths. I didn’t know much about Substack, but folks like Matt Taibbi were on it and it seemed easy to use.
(NORMALLY I TRY TO WRITE SOMETHING WITTY. NOT NOW. THIS TIME IT’S TOO IMPORTANT. I’M JUST GOING TO ASK YOU TO JOIN ME IN THIS FIGHT.)
For the next year - until I successfully sued Twitter over its ban and forced it to reinstate me - Substack was essentially my only outlet. And many thousands of you joined me here.
But the fight has only begun.
Elon Musk bought Twitter last year, but the Biden Administration is not letting up on social media suppression. It is eagerly fighting two lawsuits over its censorship efforts - a Louisiana case called Missouri v Biden and my own suit, Berenson v Biden.
(Banned for the truth)
As I reported last week, in its response to Berenson v Biden, the Department of Justice went so far as to invoke “national security” interests as a reason to dismiss the lawsuit:
[as Berenson’s] claims call into question the Biden administration’s entire alleged policy of encouraging social media platforms to take more robust steps to combat misinformation, they necessarily implicate national security and foreign policy.
Yes, raising questions about the mRNAs runs contrary to our foreign policy. I guess that’s vaccine diplomacy at its finest.
The other defendants have filed their own motions to dismiss the suit. The Pfizer defendants, Albert Bourla and Dr. Scott Gottlieb, essentially accuse me of being a grifter:
Berenson brought this lawsuit as the centerpiece of an ongoing publicity, merchandising, and fundraising campaign that commenced months before this suit was filed.
This line of attack is particularly, umm, rich, considering Pfizer sold more than $70 billion in mRNA shots in 2021 and 2022, by far the highest annual sales ever for any pharmaceutical product. Pfizer chief executive Bourla took home his share of that loot, making $33 million in 2022 - nearly double what he made in 2019, before the jabs.
(Doin’ good by doin’ well!)
The Pfizer defendants also complained high in their lawsuit about my “misuse of judicial process” in 2006, a most interesting tack.
They’re referring to reporting I did for The New York Times that led to several articles about the hidden risks of an anti-psychotic drug called Zyprexa, including this front-pager on Dec. 17, 2006.
Zyprexa can be a valuable medicine for people in the throes of psychosis, and it is still used today.
But it is a drug prescribed to some of the world’s sickest and most disadvantaged people, mentally ill patients who may have no capacity to understand its potential risks. Which made Lilly’s refusal to talk about them honestly all-the-more problematic.
Further, these articles were instrumental in spurring a federal criminal investigation of Lilly over Zyprexa, which the company resolved in 2009 by paying what at the time was the largest corporate criminal fine in history.
(What’s $1.415 billion between friends?)
Which is to say: if Pfizer wants to talk about my history reporting on the pharmaceutical industry and the way it conceals information, I’m glad to talk about my history reporting on the pharmaceutical industry and the way it conceals information. I’ve been at this a while now. I was writing these stories when Albert Bourla was still in Europe killing cows.
But the last three years have without doubt been the most important work I’ve ever done, based on the sheer number of mRNA Covid vaccines given worldwide, the failure of the rest of the media to ask even basic questions about them, and the potential long-term risks we’re running.
People sometimes ask if I plan to stop covering the jabs anytime soon. For a while earlier this summer I thought I might.
But this month have shown that neither Covid fearmongering nor the government push for the mRNAs will end anytime soon. Public health bureaucrats appear content to pretend these shots are comparable to standard inactivated virus vaccines that can be dosed over and over indefinitely. They’re doing so even though we have essentially no safety data on what fifth or sixth mRNA doses this fall might do.
So, two years after Twitter banned me, I am continuing to fight against some of the world’s most powerful people and companies on a pair of equally important fronts. The first is to find the truth about the mRNAs. The second is to make sure I have the right to report it.
I couldn’t have done it without the support you have provided me and this Substack. I thank you - and I hope you will continue to stand with me.