05/12/20

Trump Halts Federal Retirement Accounts Investing in China

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

In February of 2020, this site published an article describing the California Public Pension Fund’s investment in Chinese stocks that could lead to national security risks and even spying. The value of the fund is $3.1 Billion. Meanwhile, Speaker Pelosi refuses to approve House committee hearings on anything related to China….

The Chinese Communist Party has both different accounting rules for corporations reporting financial data and or refuses to release any accounting data. How and why Chinese companies are listed on U.S. Stock Exchanges in the first place is an unanswered question and one that is likely being reviewed now by the Securities and Exchange Commission along with several other agencies due to a very contested relationship between the U.S. and China due to the virus outbreak.

Please find linked a complete list of all Chinese companies listed on the NASDAQ, New York Stock Exchange, and NYSE American, the three largest U.S. exchanges. As of February 25, 2019, there were 156 Chinese companies listed on these U.S. exchanges with a total market capitalization of $1.2 trillion.

An asterisk next to the stock symbol indicates a company with at least 30 percent state ownership. As of February 25, 2019, there were at least 11 Chinese state-owned companies listed on the three major U.S. exchanges.

A highlighted row indicates a company that was not included on the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (PCAOB) September 2018 review of non-U.S. companies where the PCAOB is denied access to conduct inspections.

So as an interesting measure to begin measures against China, President Trump issued a letter to the Labor Secretary to halt investments in Federal Savings Plans in Chinese equities.

A second letter was sent by the Secretary of Labor to the Thrift Investment Board and that is found here.

Rather than the normal contested and really stupid questions that the media asks during White House daily briefings, there are some real questions that should be asked and they include all things China.

For some context on how China is all over the United States, consider the information below.

For many Chinese companies, their dreams of listing in New York are only on hold.

Some high-profile Chinese stocks listed in the U.S. such as Luckin Coffee, the self-proclaimed Starbucks rival in China, have been rocked following allegations by short-sellers that these companies faked their numbers, accusations that in some cases are now being internally investigated.

The reports are the latest challenge for Chinese initial public offerings in New York, on top of U.S.-China trade tensions and the impact of the coronavirus.

But some in the cross-border IPO business say the listing plans are just delayed, not canceled.

“I do know Chinese companies that are planning to list this summer as soon as after Labor Day,” said Jim Fields, a Shenzhen-based producer of videos for Chinese companies presenting to potential IPO investors in the U.S. China celebrates the holiday on May 1.

Fields noted the new IPO timeframe is a delay of about one to three months.

Last year, 25 Chinese issuers went public in the U.S., in addition to three special-purpose acquisition companies — companies that raise money to buy another — according to Renaissance Capital, which sells IPO-focused exchange-traded funds. That’s down from 32 Chinese listings in 2018, which was double that of the prior year and the most since 2010.

Despite geopolitical and epidemiological challenges in the first three months of this year, seven Chinese companies and three special-purpose acquisition companies went public in the U.S., according to Matthew Kennedy, IPO market strategist at Renaissance Capital.

“We suspect several more had planned to list, but delayed their offerings amid the Covid-19 outbreak,” Kennedy said in an email. “As we noted in our 1Q20 Review, China appears to be the first country emerging from the pandemic, so Chinese companies may also be first to return to the IPO market. However, these financial scandals do reputational damage to Chinese issuers broadly.”

On April 2, Luckin Coffee announced an internal investigation found the chief operating officer fabricated sales by about 2.2 billion yuan ($314 million) from the second to fourth quarter of last year. Shares have plunged more than 80% since the latest disclosure this month, and have been halted for pending news for roughly the last week.

About two months ago, investment firm Muddy Waters said it was shorting, or betting on a decline in the price of the stock, based on an anonymous report that alleged the coffee company fabricated financial and operating numbers beginning in the third quarter of last year. Luckin said at the time the allegations were “misleading and false.”

The company did not respond to a request for comment. Representatives from Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange were not available for interviews for this story.

Other high-profile U.S.-listed stocks have come under scrutiny in the last several days.

Shares of video streaming site iQiyi, which is majority-owned by search giant Baidu, dipped last week after a report by Wolfpack Research alleged the video company inflated revenue by about $1 billion to $2 billion. Muddy Waters said it assisted Wolfpack with the report and is also betting against iQiyi’s stock. The Chinese company said in a statement it believed the report contained “errors” and was “misleading.”

China's hottest companies - Tal Education (8) - CNNMoney

Tutoring company TAL Education announced last week it suspected an employee of inflating sales for its “Light Class” product, which accounts for about 3% or 4% of the company’s total estimated revenues. TAL said the employee has been taken into custody by the local police. More here.

05/12/20

Grenell is on a Mission to Expose the Unmasking Scandal

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Primer: (Hint, Flynn was not a target to be unmasked, but remember the name Mary McCord and the unmasking list will be fascinating.)

Back in 2017 to set up what is about to happen in the coming days –>

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is accusing top political aides of President Obama of making hundreds of requests during the 2016 presidential race to unmask the names of Americans in intelligence reports, including Trump transition officials.

Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), in a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, said the requests were made without specific justifications on why the information was needed.

“We have found evidence that current and former government officials had easy access to U.S. person information and that it is possible that they used this information to achieve partisan political purposes, including the selective, anonymous leaking of such information,” Nunes wrote in the letter to Coats.

The letter was provided to The Hill from a source in the intelligence community.

In March, Nunes disclosed that he had seen data suggesting Trump campaign and transition officials were having their names unmasked by departing officials in the Obama White House.

National Security Adviser Susan Rice and CIA Director John Brennan have acknowledged making such requests though they insisted the requests were for legitimate work reasons.

Nunes recused himself from his committee’s work on its investigation over Russia’s meddling in the 2016 campaign after a controversy over his charges about Obama-era unmasking.

The chairman had reviewed intelligence reports on White House grounds that he said showed unmasking of Trump officials by Obama aides. Democrats accused him of working with the White House to make the disclosures.

In Thursday’s letter, Nunes said the total requests for Americans’ names by Obama political aides numbered in the hundreds during Obama’s last year in office and often lacked a specific intelligence community justification. He called the lack of proper justifications a “serious deficiency.”

His letter noted requests from senior government officials, unlike career intelligence analysts, “made remarkably few individualized justifications for access” to the U.S. names.

“The committee has learned that one official, whose position had no apparent intelligence related function, made hundreds of unmasking requests during the final year of the Obama administration,” Nunes wrote. “Of those requests, only one offered a justification that was not boilerplate.”

Sources familiar with the Nunes letter identified the official as then-U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power.

Power did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nunes also wrote that “Obama-era officials sought the identities of Trump transition officials within intelligence reports.”

Nunes said he intends to introduce legislation to address concerns about the unmasking process impacting Americans’ privacy.

Ordinarily, Americans whose email or phone data or conversations are intercepted by the National Security Agency without a warrant overseas are legally required to have their names redacted or masked with descriptions like “U.S. person 1” to protect their identities in intelligence reports.

But beginning in 2011, Obama loosened the rules to make it easier for intelligence officials and his own political aides to request that the names be unmasked so they could better understand raw intelligence being gathered overseas.

The change has been criticized by liberal groups like the ACLU and conservatives like Nunes because of the privacy implications.

***

Mission Possible – DNI Richard Grenell Delivers Satchel of ...

Media late last week showed Ambassador Ric Grenell and Acting DNI Director walking into the Department of Justice holding a satchel. Now we may know the contents.

In part from ABC News:

Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has declassified a list of former Obama administration officials who were allegedly involved in the so-called “unmasking” of former national security adviser Michael Flynn in his conversations with the former Russian ambassador during the presidential transition, a senior U.S. official tells ABC News.

Grenell, who remains the U.S. ambassador to Germany along with being the acting DNI, visited the Justice Department last week and brought the list with him, according to the official.

His visit indicates his focus on an issue previously highlighted in 2017 by skeptics of the investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, specifically allegations that former officials improperly unveiled Flynn’s identity from intercepts of his call with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

In May 2019, Trump empowered Barr with declassification authority for his broader investigation into the Russia probe.

While the law requires that identifying information of U.S. persons picked up during foreign surveillance be “masked,” high-ranking intelligence officials can request the identities be revealed if they feel the information is necessary to further understand the intercepts.

Former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice has openly acknowledged unmasking the identities of some senior Trump officials during the presidential transition but has strenuously denied ever leaking any identities and said nothing she did was politically motivated. More here.

05/11/20

When the Roads Closed in Wuhan Last October

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

This is what global intelligence agencies are searching for… answers. It was determined that the roads around the Wuhan Laboratory in question were closed by the lack of cell phone activity. How is that possible? There are in fact several telecom/research firms around the globe that monitor traffic and for two weeks in October, there was almost no activity. Deeper investigations are underway.

In part from an NBC News article published May 8, 2020: WASHINGTON — A private analysis of cellphone location data purports to show that a high-security Wuhan laboratory studying coronaviruses shut down in October, three sources briefed on the matter told NBC News. U.S. spy agencies are reviewing the document, but intelligence analysts examined and couldn’t confirm a similar theory previously, two senior officials say.

The report — obtained by the London-based NBC News Verification Unit — says there was no cellphone activity in a high-security portion of the Wuhan Institute of Virology from Oct. 7 through Oct. 24, 2019, and that there may have been a “hazardous event” sometime between Oct. 6 and Oct. 11. Because the Wuhan lab is a high-security facility in an adversary nation studying dangerous pathogens, it is a collection target for several U.S. intelligence agencies, multiple officials told NBC News. Data gathered would include mobile phone signals, communications intercepts, and overhead satellite imagery, the officials said.

Analysts are now examining what was collected in October and November for clues suggesting any anomalies at the lab, officials said. Congressional intelligence committees have also been given the document, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R.-FL) appeared to be alluding to it or a similar report in a tweet on Wednesday.

“Would be interesting if someone analyzed commercial telemetry data at & near Wuhan lab from Oct-Dec 2019,” Rubio tweeted. “If it shows dramatic drop off in activity compared to previous 18 months it would be a strong indication of an incident at lab & of when it happened.”

As noted also within the article, nothing yet is conclusive.

***

Interesting to note, however, it seems that another shutdown in Wuhan happened in January if those reports are found accurate regarding the empty roads and void of cell phone traffic.

From MIT Technology in part: On January 22, China took the extraordinary step of shutting down all transportation in the city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak first began. The measure effectively put 11 million people under quarantine, which is still ongoing as public health officials work to treat individuals who have fallen ill and stop the spread of the virus. As satellite images shared with MIT Technology Review by Planet Labs and Maxar Technologies show, the metropolis has ground to a halt. Bridges and roads are empty. The city’s train stations are deserted. Wuhan’s normally busy airport has completely ceased operations.

Photo Credits: Top photo Before The Wuhan Train Station surrounded by an enormous amount of traffic on the roads. Bottom photo After Traffic around the station evaporated following the quarantine. Trains have not been running since its implementation on January 22. PLANET LABS

Also in January of 2020:

The World Health Organization has denied a media report that claimed that Chinese President Xi Jinping personally asked WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom to ‘delay a global warning’ regarding the coronavirus outbreak during a phone call in January.

The German news outlet, Der Spiegel, published a report citing intelligence from the country’s Federal Intelligence Service, known as the ‘Bundesnachrichtendienst’ (BND), that China “urged” the WHO to “delay a global warning” about the coronavirus outbreak. As per the report, the intelligence found that Xi and Tedros spoke by phone on January 21 during which the Chinese President “urged” the WHO chief to “hold back information about a human-to-human transmission and to delay a pandemic warning.” “The BND estimates that China’s information policy lost four to six weeks to fight the virus worldwide,” the report further added.

The WHO noted on Saturday that “China confirmed human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus on Jan. 20.” The WHO publicly declared on Jan. 22 that “data collected … suggests that human-to-human transmission is taking place in Wuhan.” The organization declared coronavirus a pandemic in March. 

China's Silk Road and global health - The Lancet

If a country is not part of the China Silk Road Initiative then cooperation of any sort is limited as noted from their own website –>

China and International Community Work

Together to Build Health Silk Road

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads rapidly across the globe, China has made tremendous contributions to the international cooperation on combating the virus. China has actively conducted cooperation with the participating countries for the Belt and Road Initiative and international organizations, through mutual support and assistance as well as solidarity, to tide over the difficulties, in joint efforts to build the Health Silk Road and promote the global community of shared future for mankind.

As of March 31st, Chinese government has provided 120 countries and 4 international organizations with aid supplies including medical masks, N95 respirators, protective gowns, NAT kits and ventilators. Chinese local authorities have donated medical supplies to 50 countries through international sister-city channel. Chinese enterprises have donated medical supplies to over 100 countries and international organizations. Up to April 7th, China has sent 11 batches of medical specialist teams to 9 countries comprised of Italy, Serbia, Cambodia, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Laos, Venezuela, and the Philippines. China has unreservedly shared the anti-contagion information with the international community, shared the pandemic prevention and control, treatment and other technology documents with over 100 countries and 10 international and regional organizations, established the online knowledge center for the pandemic and the expert tank for international cooperation, and held more than 40 conferences on technology exchanges via remote video with over 100 countries and regions. China has donated 20 million USD to WHO in support of anti-pandemic international cooperation organized by WHO.

***

According to China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, the chance that exotic pathogens could be brought into the country has dramatically increased (7). Our new BSL-4 facility will play an integral role in preventing and controlling highly pathogenic microbes. To safely operate this facility, we designed a training program that ensures all personnel meet the institutional, national, and international standards for working in maximum-containment laboratories.

In preparation for the opening of the Wuhan BSL-4, we engaged in short- and long-term personnel exchanges focused on biosafety training through international cooperation (8). Four staff members visited the P4 Jean Mérieux-Inserm Laboratory in Lyon, France; 2 visited Galveston National Laboratory, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Texas, USA; and 1 visited the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, Geelong, Victoria, Australia for training and certification on BSL-4 laboratory operations, maintenance, and scientific or support work. These members are now the main instructors for our BSL-4 laboratory user training program.

Rather than being standardized, our training is specialized to fundamentally cover different BSL-4 users, including administrators and management, biosafety professionals, operations and maintenance staff, and researchers and technicians who currently work in the laboratory. The theoretical coursework is designed to help trainees understand the features of the BSL-4 laboratory and prepares them to enter the laboratory environment. We constructed the first BSL-4 training laboratory in China with the sole purpose of providing hands-on practicum for staff. This laboratory gives staff a safe environment in which they can learn all routine and emergency procedures of high-containment laboratories without the risk of exposure to dangerous pathogens. In addition, we developed an online training management software tool to support the training program and track participants’ progress towards certification.

We plan to incorporate additional user training, such as training for temporary or visiting workers from outside the institution who currently do not have access to our laboratory. In addition, we are planning specific training designed for emergency first responders, such as security staff at the institute and the city’s police and fire departments. Because these groups are tasked with responding to incidents, such as terrorism or fires, they need to be familiar with the complex design and mechanical and engineering features of the BSL-4 facility. Our expanded training will orient them to the laboratory and its operating systems so they can respond as safely as possible to any emergency at our facility.

Our rigorous training program will reduce the risk of harm or exposure to laboratory staff working with highly pathogenic agents. We encouraged all laboratory users to provide feedback and thoughts regarding how to improve and further advance our training program. China intends to build 5–7 high-containment laboratories by 2025 (9). Our BSL-4 laboratory worker training system is the starting point for developing national norms for high-containment laboratory training and preparing qualified, maximum biocontainment laboratory scientists and facility operations specialists. More detail here.

Before you go… here is an interesting item on China tracking cell phone users and how that data is used. Welcome to the Chinese Communist Party… check yourself at the door.

BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) – When the man from Hangzhou returned home from a business trip, the local police got in touch. They had tracked his car by his license plate in nearby Wenzhou, which has had a spate of coronavirus cases despite being far from the epicenter of the outbreak. Stay indoors for two weeks, they requested.

After around 12 days, he was bored and went out early. This time, not only did the police contact him, so did his boss. He had been spotted near Hangzhou’s West Lake by a camera with facial recognition technology, and the authorities had alerted his company as a warning.

“I was a bit shocked by the ability and efficiency of the mass surveillance network. They can basically trace our movements with the AI technology and big data at any time and any place,” said the man, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions.

Chinese have long been aware that they are tracked by the world’s most sophisticated system of electronic surveillance. The coronavirus emergency has brought some of that technology out of the shadows, providing the authorities with a justification for sweeping methods of high tech social control.

Artificial intelligence and security camera companies boast that their systems can scan the streets for people with even low-grade fevers, recognize their faces even if they are wearing masks and report them to the authorities.

If a coronavirus patient boards a train, the railway’s “real name” system can provide a list of people sitting nearby.

Mobile phone apps can tell users if they have been on a flight or a train with a known coronavirus carrier, and maps can show them locations of buildings where infected patients live.

Although there has been some anonymous grumbling on social media, for now Chinese citizens seem to be accepting the extra intrusion, or even embracing it, as a means to combat the health emergency.

“In the circumstances, individuals are likely to consider this to be reasonable even if they are not specifically informed about it,” said Carolyn Bigg, partner at law firm DLA Piper in Hong Kong.

NEW TECHNOLOGIES

Telecoms companies have long quietly tracked the movements of their users. China Mobile promoted this as a service this week, sending text messages to Beijing residents telling them they can check where they have been over the past 30 days. It did not explain why users might need this, but it could be useful if they are questioned by the authorities or their employers about their travel.

“In the era of big data and internet, the flow of each person can be clearly seen. So we are different from the SARS time now,” epidemiologist Li Lanjuan said in an interview with China’s state broadcaster CCTV last week, comparing the outbreak to a virus that killed 800 people in 2003.

“With such new technologies, we should make full use of them to find the source of infection and contain the source of infection.”

The industry ministry sent a notice to China’s AI companies and research institutes this week calling on them to help fight the outbreak. Companies have responded with a flurry of announcements touting the capabilities of their technology.

Facial recognition firm Megvii said on Tuesday it had developed a new way to spot and identify people with fevers, with support from the industry and science ministries. Its new “AI temperature measurement system”, which detects temperature with thermal cameras and uses body and facial data to identify individuals, is already being tested in a Beijing district.

SenseTime, another leading AI firm, said it has built a similar system to be used at building entrances, which can identify people wearing masks, overcoming a weakness of earlier technology. Surveillance camera firm Zhejiang Dahua says it can detect fevers with infrared cameras to an accuracy within 0.3ºC.

In an interview with state news agency Xinhua, Zhu Jiansheng of the China Academy of Railway Sciences explained how technology can help the authorities find people who might be exposed to a confirmed or suspected coronavirus case on a train.

“We will retrieve relevant information about the passenger, including the train number, carriage number and information on passengers who were close to the person, such as people sitting three rows of seats before and after the person,” he said.

“We will extract the information and then provide it to relevant epidemic prevention departments.”

05/7/20

Seems Schiff was the ONLY Person with Trump Collusion Evidence

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

And no other witness per the released testimonies had evidence. But the preamble by Congressman Schiff proves his hatred and his continued lies as noted below.

Note: top Obama officials acknowledged that they knew of no “empirical evidence” of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election, despite their concerns and suspicions.

That includes top officials such as James Clapper, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Loretta Lynch, and John Brennan.

Secret Impeachment: Matt Gaetz Files Ethics Complaint ...

 

Materials from the Committee’s Investigation into Russian Active Measures

In 2017 and 2018, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) undertook an investigation into Russia’s interference campaign targeting the 2016 U.S. election. The Committee’s investigation came on the heels of an Intelligence Community assessment, which found:

“Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

Democrats on the Committee affirmed that judgment, as did Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee. Throughout its investigation, the Committee uncovered significant evidence of Trump campaign efforts to seek, make use of, and cover-up Russian help in the 2016 presidential election. To date, two witnesses have been convicted and sentenced to prison terms for lying and attempting to obstruct the Committee’s investigation.

Ultimately, this pattern of misconduct and deceit continued when President Trump once again sought to coerce a foreign government into providing him illicit assistance with his reelection campaign, this time from Ukraine. For his efforts, President Trump was impeached in the House and became the first-ever U.S. President to receive bipartisan votes to convict in the Senate.

As part of its commitment to transparency, today the Committee is releasing fifty-seven transcripts of witness interviews during the course of the Russia inquiry, as well as additional relevant material so that every American can see the facts and decide for themselves:

Is this conduct ok?

After releasing the transcripts, Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) stated:

“From 2017 to 2018, the House Intelligence Committee conducted an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Despite the many barriers put in our way by the then-Republican Majority, and attempts by some key witnesses to lie to us and obstruct our investigation, the transcripts that we are releasing today show precisely what Special Counsel Robert Mueller also revealed: That the Trump campaign, and Donald Trump himself, invited illicit Russian help, made full use of that help, and then lied and obstructed the investigations in order to cover up this misconduct.

Unfortunately, the President’s misconduct did not end with his election in 2016 or his attempts to cover up that effort. Rather, in the course of his presidency, he continued to seek illicit foreign help in his campaign by coercing another nation, Ukraine, to smear his opponent. After making use of Russia’s help with his first presidential campaign, President Trump pressed the Ukrainian president to help him in 2020 by withholding critical military aid to that country and a coveted head of state meeting.

These acts ultimately led to the President’s impeachment in the House of Representatives and the first bipartisan vote in the Senate in our history in support of a conviction of a President of the United States. The President’s efforts to make use of the help of a foreign power to win an election, and then to extort yet another foreign power to try to win again, represent a grave threat to the health of our democracy now and in the future.

The transcripts released today richly detail evidence of the Trump campaign’s efforts to invite, make use of, and cover up Russia’s help in the 2016 presidential election. Special Counsel Robert Mueller identified in his report similar, and even more extensive, evidence of improper links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government.  A bipartisan Senate investigation also found that Russia sought to help the candidacy of Donald Trump in 2016.

While Special Counsel Mueller found insufficient evidence to prove the crime of criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt, he refused to draw any conclusion on the issue of collusion — contrary to false representations made by Attorney General Bill Barr and others. There is ample evidence of the corrupt interactions between the Trump campaign and Russia, both direct and circumstantial, in the record:

  • In June of 2016, a Russian delegation offered dirt on Donald Trump’s rival—presidential candidate Hillary Clinton—to the highest levels of the Trump campaign, and did so in writing. Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., accepted that offer, and then set up a secret meeting between the Russian delegation, himself, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to discuss that illicit help. When news of the meeting was about to break, Trump and his son drafted a false statement for the press together in order to cover up the true purpose of the meeting. This written offer of illegal help by the Russians and its acceptance by the President’s campaign, and the secret meeting that followed, provide some of the most damning and direct evidence of the President’s to make use of Russia’s assistance in the election.
  • Throughout the summer of 2016, the Trump campaign and candidate Trump himself repeatedly sought damaging information on Clinton from Russia. In July of 2016, Trump publicly called on Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, and – as the Special Counsel found – that night, Russian military intelligence officers did precisely that. Our transcripts show that numerous individuals affiliated with or working for the Trump campaign were in communication with individuals offering help to set up private backchannels with the Russian government.
  • Multiple witnesses sought to hide and cover up illicit activity related to Russia during the presidential campaign. One-time campaign advisor and close confidant to Trump, Roger Stone, has been sentenced to prison for lying to the Committee about his advanced knowledge of impending WikiLeaks releases of Clinton campaign information. Former personal attorney to Trump, Michael Cohen, was imprisoned in part on charges that he lied to the Committee about Trump’s role in arranging a lucrative business deal in Russia during the course of his campaign and early presidency. The President’s pursuit of Trump Tower Moscow — potentially the most lucrative deal of his life — while lying to the American people about his business interests in Russia, provided the most serious counterintelligence risk to the United States.
  • Another associate of Trump, Erik Prince, misled our Committee about his efforts to take part in a secret backchannel with a senior Russian government official while he was unofficially supporting the Trump campaign.
  • And the transcripts also show that during the transition period in late 2016, the incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn undertook efforts to undermine U.S. sanctions on Russia imposed by the previous administration over Russia’s interference in the election on Trump’s behalf.  Flynn would later lie to the FBI about these efforts, and the President would try to pressure then-FBI Director Comey to shut down any investigation into Flynn.  It would take the firing of then Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the later appointment of an unscrupulous Attorney General, Bill Barr, for the President to achieve his aim of seeking dismissal of the case against Flynn, and only after Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI.

Despite taking part in this investigation and hearing these facts first-hand, the transcripts reveal how House Republicans used witness interviews not to gain the facts, but to press President Trump’s false narrative of ‘no collusion, no obstruction.’  It would be a pattern they would follow throughout the Russia investigation and into the President’s subsequent Ukraine misconduct. To that end, House Republicans sought to use the Committee’s Russia investigation to undermine the Intelligence Community’s assessment that Russia sought to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. That assessment has been affirmed by this Committee’s Democrats, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, and Special Counsel Mueller. 

These transcripts should have been released long before now, but the White House held up their release to the public by refusing to allow the Intelligence Community to make redactions on the basis of classified information, rather than White House political interests.  Only now, and during a deadly pandemic, has the President released his hold on this damning information and evidence. 

Like the Ukraine investigation that would follow it, the investigation into the Trump campaign’s effort to seek and utilize Russian help in 2016 and to obstruct justice, reveal a President who believes that he is above the law. But we are a country where the truth still matters and where right still matters. Our investigation into the Trump campaign, and the evidence we uncovered despite formidable obstruction, affirms that.”

Read the full statement here.

Correspondence

Interview Transcripts

05/7/20

Comey’s Petulant Response to DOJ Over Dropping the Case v. Flynn

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Losing gracefully is hardly part of the character of former FBI Director James Comey.

As the news broke that under the recommendations of Jeff Jensen to Main Justice, that the case be dropped, Comey remains petulant.

Not to be left out, Congressman Adam Schiff also tweeted the following:

The Democrats have formed their response already filled with bias and fake outrage… but if the reader should take the time to fully read the 20 pages in the motion to dismiss, context becomes much more clear actually. There was great division it seems within the 7th Floor of the Bureau and even at the Department of Justice. You can bet not a single Democrat read the full motion. By the way, the Judge has the final authority to approve the motion.

Michael Flynn's Sentencing Delayed By Judge Sullivan After ...

The target paragraph(s) in the motion is as follows:

Mr. Flynn entered a guilty plea—which he has since sought to withdraw—to a single count of making false statements in a January 24, 2017 interview with investigators of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”). See ECF Nos. 3-4. This crime, however, requires a statement to be not simply false, but “materially” false with respect to a matter under investigation. 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2). Materiality is an essential element of the offense. Materiality, moreover, requires more than mere “relevance” or relatedness to the matter being investigated; it requires “probative weight,” whereby the statement is “reasonably likely to influence the tribunal in making a determination required to be made.” United States v. Weinstock, 231 F.2d 699, 701 (D.C. Cir. 1956) (emphasis added).

After a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information appended to the defendant’s supplemental pleadings, ECF Nos. 181, 188-190,1 the Government has concluded that the interview of Mr. Flynn was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn—a no longer justifiably predicated investigation that the FBI had, in the Bureau’s own words, prepared to close because it had yielded an “absence of any derogatory information.” Ex. 1 at 4, FBI FD-1057 “Closing Communication” Jan. 4, 2017 (emphases added). The Government is not persuaded that the January 24, 2017 interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue.

Flynn-Motion-to-Dismiss

In part of commentary by Jonathan Turley:

The Flynn case represents one of the most ignoble chapters of the Special Counsel investigation. Notably, the motion itself could lay the foundation for suing on the basis of malicious prosecution.

While Judge Emmet Sullivan could dismiss the charges on the papers (and unopposed motion), I would expect a hearing to be called. There is a great irony here. Sullivan’s last hearing on sentencing led to controversial statements from the bench and a delay in sentencing that resulted in an easier path to dismissal.

In the motion below, the Justice Department stresses that “the citizen’s safety lies in the prosecutor who … seeks truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes, and who approaches [the] task with humility.”  It also establishes that there was never a satisfaction of the materiality element to the criminal allegation.

Who Is Emmet Sullivan, the Judge Who Will Sentence Michael ...

Keep your eyes on Judge Sullivan… will he sign the motion?

Hat tip to Sidney Powell for her legal tenacity.

05/7/20

What Did Biden Know and When Did He Know It?

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Somehow it seems the matter of the Bidens and all things Ukraine or China have faded from the headlines.

To Fight Russia, Ukraine Must Also Fight Corruption, Biden ...

Maybe there is more to learn here from Biden’s video for his trip to Kyiv.

Now in sporadic form, news articles challenge Presidential candidate Biden on his history or predatory behavior with Tara Reade. Okay, so the Senate Officers in charge of records belonging to Joe Biden’s time as a senator are under seal and cannot be released. It seems two other possible repositories for government records that included Joe Biden in government are the National Archives or the University of Delaware. Is there not some official rule or protocol for where those records actually reside and unsealing them or making them available in the case of an investigation?

When it comes to the Russia/Trump investigation, how come journalists never asked candidate Joe Biden about Crossfire Razor, Crossfire Typhoon, or Crossfire Hurricane? You can bet that during the last months of the Obama White House that Biden was either read in or part of the conversations dealing with the counter-intelligence investigation(s). It is no secret that during the transition, President Obama warned Donald Trump about General Flynn and earnestly suggested that President Trump not hire Flynn as National Security Advisor. Why would that be?

From General Flynn: He recounted that his agency was producing intelligence reports indicating that radical Islamists were the main force in the Syrian insurgency and “that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria”. According to Flynn, these reports “got enormous pushback from the Obama administration.

As ISIS conquered much of Iraq during the summer of 2014 and imposed its brutal, totalitarian rule, it was clear that Obama and his national security team had underestimated the strength of ISIS, while Flynn had understood the threat far better than many of his peers. But Flynn had angered his two bosses, Michael Vickers, the overall head of intelligence at the Pentagon, as well as James Clapper, the director of national intelligence.

Vickers and Clapper thought that Flynn trying to shake things up at DIA was actually sabotaging morale at the agency, according to Clapper’s autobiography, “Facts and Fears.” They decided to force Flynn out of office a year early.

Yet, the Crossfire Razor operation launched by the FBI was about to begin, even while Flynn was still at the DIA. (CR was later closed due to no evidence Flynn was a Russian agent)

301 Moved Permanently

Stefan Halper, who worked for three Republican presidents and was a longtime informant for the American intelligence community, had a February 2014 encounter with Flynn at a London intelligence conference. Halper became so alarmed by Flynn’s close association with a Russian woman that a Halper associate expressed concerns to American authorities that Flynn may have been compromised by Russian intelligence. Flynn was forced out of the DIA six months later, although public accounts at the time cited other reasons for his removal, including his management style and views on Islam.

Exactly where are the archived files for VP Biden these days? What did he know and when? There is still the open question(s) of the Biden interactions or deals with China and Ukraine.

***

As for the assignments given to VP Biden by the Obama White House, it is fascinating that even today speaking intermittently from his basement, the media has not challenged the candidate about his work. Per the White House archives, Biden was the lead in many areas.

As the 47th Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden has continued his leadership on important issues facing the nation and has represented our country abroad traveling over 1.2 million miles to more than 50 countries. Vice President Biden has convened sessions of the President’s Cabinet, led interagency efforts, and worked with Congress in his fight to raise the living standards of middle class Americans, reduce gun violence, address violence against women, and end cancer as we know it.

Eight years ago, the turmoil in the financial sector led to crippling conditions in the real economy — the livelihood of millions of American households and businesses outside of Wall Street. Eight years later, we’re in the midst of the longest streak of job growth in history — with more than 15 million jobs added. The Vice President played a key role in acting aggressively to arrest the crisis, restart growth and job creation, rebuild our economy on a stronger long-term foundation, and expand opportunity for all Americans. The Vice President was tasked with implementing and overseeing the $840 billion stimulus package in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which has helped to rebuild our economy and lay the foundation for a sustainable economic future. He fought for America’s auto industry, saving 1.5 million jobs up and down the supply chain. The Vice President also leads the Ready to Work Initiative, the Administration’s key effort to identify opportunities to improve our nation’s workforce skills and training systems to help better prepare American workers for the jobs of a 21st century economy.

Candidate Biden can hardly put together a cogent thought or sentence these days during any public or virtual appearances. Gotta wonder.

05/2/20

5 Eyes Has Memo/Evidence on China Virus Deception

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Primer: Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo is correct, China is using the same fake/false propaganda tactics well known and exploited for decades by Russia’s FSB. Further, while Beijing refuses to allow foreign (read U.S.) scientists into the Wuhan Laboratory for review/investigation, Beijing is also refusing WHO scientists as well.

China sends thousands of medical staff to Wuhan as ...

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FNC: A research dossier compiled by the so-called “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance states that China intentionally hid or destroyed evidence of the coronavirus outbreak, resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of lives around the world.

The 15-page document from the intelligence agencies of the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand, was obtained by Australia’s Daily Telegraph newspaper and states that China’s secrecy amounted to an “assault on international transparency.”

The dossier touches on themes that have been discussed in media reports about the outbreak of the virus, including the initial denial that the virus could be transmitted between humans, the silencing or “disappearing” of doctors who tried to speak up, the destruction of evidence in laboratories and refusal to provide live samples to international scientists working on a vaccine.

Specifically, the file notes that China began censoring news of the virus on search engines beginning Dec. 31, deleting terms including “SARS variation, “Wuhan Seafood market” and “Wuhan Unknown Pneumonia.”

Three days later, on Jan. 3, China’s National Health Commission, ordered virus samples to be either moved to designated testing facilities or destroyed, while simultaneously enforcing a “no-publication order” related to the disease.

Perhaps most damningly, the dossier states that Chinese authorities denied that the virus could be spread between humans until Jan. 20, “despite evidence of human-human transmission from early December.”

The dossier is similarly unsparing about the World Health Organization (WHO), stating that it toed the Chinese line about human-to-human transmission despite the fact that ”officials in Taiwan raised concerns as early as December 31, as did experts in Hong Kong on January 4.”

As of Friday night, the WHO’s official Twitter account still featured a tweet from Jan. 14 that stated: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan#China.”

At the same time, the dossier states that throughout February, “Beijing [pressed] the US [sic], Italy, India, Australia, Southeast Asian neighbors and others not to protect themselves via travel restrictions, even as [China] imposes severe restrictions at home.”

At the same time, the file states: “Millions of people [left] Wuhan after the outbreak and before Beijing lock[ed] down the city on January 23.”

The dossier continues the litany of Chinese defensiveness, stating: “As EU [European Union] diplomats prepare a report on the pandemic, [China] successfully presses Brussels to strike language on [China] disinformation.”

Similarly, “As Australia calls for an independent inquiry into the pandemic, [China] threatens to cut off trade with Australia. [China] has likewise responded furiously to US [sic] calls for transparency.”

The Telegraph report does present one point of divergence between the allied governments, with Australia believing the virus most likely originated in the Wuhan wet market and putting the chances it accidentally leaked from a lab at “5 percent.”

By contrast, Fox News reported April 15 that U.S. intelligence officials are increasingly confident that coronavirus likely originated in a Wuhan lab as a consequence of China’s attempt to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States

President Trump said Thursday that he’s seen evidence suggesting the virus came from a lab after Fox News and others asked if he knew of anything that gave him confidence that the outbreak originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“Yes, I have,” he replied, “And, I think that the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves because they’re like the public relations agency for China.”

Multiple sources previously told Fox News that it is believed standards in Wuhan were disregarded before the virus leaked, prompting Beijing to initiate a cover-up. Sources also claimed the WHO was complicit from the beginning in helping China cover its tracks.

The WHO and China have denied any wrongdoing.

The Telegraph also reported that key figures at the Wuhan Institute of Virology previously worked or trained in Australian government labs where they conducted research on pathogens in live bats as part of an ongoing partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

According to the dossier, the team’s work at the Wuhan lab involved discovering samples of coronavirus within a cave in Yunnan province and synthesizing a bat-derived coronavirus that could not be cured.

***

KEY DATES IN COVID COVER-UP

November 9, 2015:

Wuhan Institute of Virology publishes a study revealing they created a new virus in the lab from SARS-CoV.

December 6, 2019

Five days after a man linked to Wuhan’s seafood market presented pneumonia-like symptoms, his wife contracts it, suggesting human to human transmission.

December 27

China’s health authorities told a novel disease, then affecting some 180 patients, was caused by a new coronavirus.

December 26-30

Evidence of a new virus emerges from Wuhan’s patient data.

December 31

Chinese internet authorities begin censoring terms from social media such as Wuhan Unknown Pneumonia.

January 1, 2020

Eight Wuhan doctors who warned about the new virus are detained and condemned.

January 3

China’s top health authority issues gag order.

January 5

Wuhan Municipal Health Commission stops releasing daily updates on new cases. That continues until January 18.

January 10

PRC official Wang Guangfa says outbreak “under control” and mostly a “mild condition”.

January 12

Professor Zhang Yongzhen’s lab in Shanghai is closed by authorities for “rectification”, one day after it shares genomic sequence data with the world for the first time.

January 14

PRC National Health Commission chief Ma Xiaowei privately warns colleagues the virus is likely to develop into a major public health event.

January 24

Officials in Beijing prevent the Wuhan Institute of Virology from sharing sample isolates with the University of Texas.

February 6

China’s internet watchdog tightens controls on social media platforms.

February 9

Citizen-journalist and local businessman Fang Bin disappears.

April 17

Wuhan belatedly raises its official fatalities by 1290.

05/1/20

Operation Warp Speed

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

The mission is for the United States to have the ability to inoculate 300m people by January 2021. In a collaboration between Health and Human Services, the FDA and the Department of Defense, the DOD has a unique division known as The Research Regulatory Oversight Office (R2O2) which is the P&R component level oversight office for the authorities and responsibilities under Department of Defense (DoD) Instruction 3216.01, “Use of Animals in DoD Programs.” The R2O2 manages animal care and use review and oversight processes for research conducted and supported by the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, both of which are accredited by AAALAC as is required for all DoD institutions housing animals for Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation or training.

U.S. Department of Defense and FDA collaborate to help speed ...

***

The Trump administration is organizing a Manhattan Project-style effort to drastically cut the time needed to develop a coronavirus vaccine, with a goal of making enough doses for most Americans by year’s end.

Called “Operation Warp Speed,” the program will pull together private pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and the military to try to cut the development time for a vaccine by as much as eight months, according to two people familiar with the matter.

As part of the arrangement, taxpayers will shoulder much of the financial risk that vaccine candidates may fail, instead of drug companies.

The project’s goal is to have 300 million doses of vaccine available by January, according to one administration official. There is no precedent for such rapid development of a vaccine.
Last month, Trump directed Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to speed development of a vaccine, and administration officials have been meeting on the effort for three to four weeks, one of the people said. A meeting on the project was scheduled at the White House on Wednesday.

The people familiar with the project and the administration officials asked not to be identified because it hasn’t yet been publicly announced.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, Michael Caputo, said the president refused to accept the timeline for standard vaccine development and encouraged a breakthrough process.
Speeding Up

Vaccine development is typically slow and high risk. The project’s goal is to cut out the slow part, the people said. Operation Warp Speed will use government resources to quickly test the world’s most promising experimental vaccines in animals, then launch coordinated human clinical trials to winnow down the candidates.
The group is discussing which Americans might be vaccinated first, as the medicines would likely roll off production lines in batches, one of the people said. The project would be funded from money already available to the government and won’t require new authority from Congress, one of the people said.

There are at least 70 different coronavirus vaccines in development by drugmakers and research groups, according to the World Health Organization. But drugmakers have not coordinated their efforts to the extent they could through the Warp Speed project, one of the people said.
Under the effort, the Defense Department would make its animal research resources available for pre-clinical work on vaccines.

The group is also discussing the use of what’s known as a master protocol to test the vaccines. Instead of multiple clinical trials run by each drugmaker, competing for patients and resources, the government would organize one large trial to test several vaccines at once and advance the most promising ones.
Oxford Vaccine

The Trump administration isn’t alone in trying to fast-track a vaccine. One of the world’s most promising vaccine candidates has been developed by a team at Oxford University in London. Last month, scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health innoculated six rhesus macaques with the Oxford vaccine and then exposed them to the coronavirus, the New York Times reported.

All six were healthy more than four weeks later, according to the Times. The researchers are currently testing their vaccine in 1,000 patients and plan to expand to stage two and three clinical trials next month involving about 5,000 more people.

The Oxford group told the Times they could have several million doses of their vaccine produced and approved by regulators as early as September.

In the U.S., the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has meanwhile shifted much of its research effort to the coronavirus virus.

One of the people familiar with Operation Warp Speed drew a distinction with the Oxford group, describing the U.S. effort as broader in scope. It’s unclear which vaccine candidates would be part of Operation Warp Speed, or whether it would include the Oxford vaccine.

More than 1 million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S., and at least 58,000 people have died from the illness it causes in the last two months. Widespread social-distancing measures have helped slow the spread, but at the cost of millions of jobs and losses to the economy that experts fear will take years to recover.

Along with wider diagnostic testing for the virus and an effective therapeutic drug, a vaccine is one of the key tools for reducing long-term risk from the virus. Testing can help contain an outbreak in its early stages, or after it’s been curbed enough to manage. A therapy can help those who get sick, reducing the risk of death and the burden on hospitals.

Gilead Sciences Inc. announced Wednesday that in a trial conducted by Fauci’s agency, the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, its experimental coronavirus therapy remdesivir helped patients recover faster than under standard care. More here from Bloomberg.

04/15/20

A Deeper Dive on the World Health Organization

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Hold on…it is gonna be a rough ride….President Trump must not only investigate but for sure suspend funding….the reasons go way beyond the recent scandalous headlines.

Given the tight relationship between Dr. Tedros Adhanom, the Director and the Chinese Communist Party, it is a certainty that WHO is in possession of the report noted below:

Chinese researchers initially pointed to the possibility of a lab accident in a study published in February on ResearchGate. “The killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan,” wrote researchers — although they also raised the possibility of natural transmission. “Safety level may need to be reinforced in high-risk biohazardous laboratories,” continued Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao of Guangxhou’s South China University of Technology.

and then there is this –> The possibility that the virus leaked during a lab accident “is being seriously considered” within the U.S. government, according to another recently retired senior national security official, who pointed to the State Department’s 2019 compliance report on arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament. The report notes that Chinese officials have failed to reassure inspectors they are obeying the Biological Weapons Convention, including by not providing information about research on “numerous toxins with potential dual-use application.”  More here.

From my friend Adam Andrzejewski with his Forbes piece on funding the WHO…the money that flowed in recent years to WHO is remarkable.

With his recent vow to halt and reassess all aid to the World Health Organization (WHO), President Trump legitimized critics who allege that the agency shielded information from the world about the lethality of the coronavirus and its ability to spread by human-to-human contact.

The WHO delegation highly appreciated the actions China has implemented in response to the outbreak, its speed in identifying the virus and openness to sharing information with WHO and other countries.

World Health Organization | January 28, 2020 | Beijing

The most likely presidential policy response will be to re-purpose all or most federal money from the WHO. If done in this manner, the president must notify Congress but has the executive power to reallocate the monies to other organizations. Therefore, legitimate programs will continue to help humanity.

Responding to our request for comment, the White House, Office of Management and Budget provided a fact sheet detailing the WHO’s “corruption and abuse.”

The W.H.O. really blew it. We will be giving that a good look.

President Donald J. Trump

Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com reviewed all disclosed grants by federal agencies to the WHO since 2010 and found that $3.5 billion in taxpayer money funded the WHO during this period.What’s more, only $611.1 million of that funding came from “assessed dues” required by participating countries. The U.S. government voluntarily sent the WHO roughly $2.9 billion more than their required contribution. It’s no surprise that, annually, the United States is the largest funder of the WHO.We also found that federal funding of the WHO remained strong during the Trump era. We compared the first three years of the Trump administration (FY2017-FY2019) to the first three years during the second term of President Barack Obama’s administration (FY2013-FY2015).

The WHO received more money under Trump than Obama (inflation adjusted): $1.4 billion versus $1.1 billion.

Federal funding of the World Health Organization annually.

U.S. funding of the WHO year by year since 2010.

OpenTheBooks.com

Since 2010, the Agency for International Development (USAID) has led all federal agencies with $1.5 billion in grants to the WHO. Roughly half the USAID grant money funded three programs: humanitarian programs ($345.7 million); polio eradication efforts ($307.8 million); and efforts to eliminate tuberculosis ($116.6 million).

Other programs include efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Pakistan and included gender-based anti-violence initiatives; life-saving healthcare services to vulnerable populations; and assistance in floods, emergencies, and to war-torn communities.

USAID efforts through the WHO and other international humanitarian aid agencies were singled out in a blistering USAID Inspector General report in 2018, Insufficient Oversight of Public International Organizations Puts U.S. Foreign Assistance Programs at Risk.

As of January 2018, Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigations in the region have resulted in the suspension or debarment of several dozen individuals and organizations, 20 personnel actions, and the suspension of $239 million in program funds under investigation.

USAID Office of Inspector General

The U.S. Department of State gave $820 million to the WHO since 2010. The largest portion of the money consisted of “assessments” or dues to the organization which amounted to $611.1 million. In addition, the State Department-funded programs for “general assistance” ($95 million); “refugee” health ($17.3 million); “peacekeeping” ($15.9 million); and emergency vaccines ($2 million).

Top U.S. government agencies funding of the WHO since 2010

U.S. federal agencies funding the World Health Organization since 2010

OpenTheBooks.com

Here’s an overview of programs funded by other U.S. federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ($1 billion), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ($30 million), National Institutes of Health (NIH) ($13.5 million), Department of Defense ($10 million) and the Environmental Protection Agency ($3.2 million) at the WHO since 2010:

  • Immunizations, Research, Demonstration, and Public Education/Information: $524.1 million — Through the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control, this funding was spent on WHO programs for the eradication of polio around the world. These grants were centralized through WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Global AIDS: $134.8 million — The Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease control funded support services and the strengthening of public health guidelines around the world to mitigate global AIDS.
  • Ebola virus: $73.5 million — In July 2019 and January 2020, the Congo received $15 million in Ebola eradication grants from the Trump administration specifically earmarked for the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri. The rest of the funding flowed through WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, with the majority of the funding between the fiscal years 2015 and 2017.
  • Biomedical research: $37.9 million — The National Institutes for Health (NIH) collaborated with the WHO on biomedical research. These programs included research on allergies, infectious diseases, and immunology. The transactions show that most funding was for “accelerated public health and biomedical research in priority public health objectives.”

The coronavirus pandemic is testing the World Health Organization. Just like any other health care body, every aspect of their operation will receive scrutiny during these times of insecurity and crisis.

Our analysis of WHO funding by U.S. federal agencies shows that taxpayers have been generous and deserve to know how their money is being spent.

Until recently, American commitments remained strong.

Note: All federal government-funded delineated in this piece was disclosed through the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, co-sponsors Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Barack Obama (D-IL). (Public Law 109-282, 109th Congress)

04/15/20

2017, U.S. Knew the Safety Risks of the Wuhan Virology Lab

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

But it gets much worse… so we will begin with the diplomatic cables.

A woman wearing a protective suit at a hospital in Wuhan, China.

A woman wearing a protective suit at a hospital in Wuhan, China. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Josh Rogin
April 14, 2020

Two years before the novel coronavirus pandemic upended the world, U.S. Embassy officials visited a Chinese research facility in the city of Wuhan several times and sent two official warnings back to Washington about inadequate safety at the lab, which was conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats. The cables have fueled discussions inside the U.S. government about whether this or another Wuhan lab was the source of the virus — even though conclusive proof has yet to emerge.

In January 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing took the unusual step of repeatedly sending U.S. science diplomats to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which had in 2015 become China’s first laboratory to achieve the highest level of international bioresearch safety (known as BSL-4). WIV issued a news release in English about the last of these visits, which occurred on March 27, 2018. The U.S. delegation was led by Jamison Fouss, the consul general in Wuhan, and Rick Switzer, the embassy’s counselor of environment, science, technology, and health. Last week, WIV erased that statement from its website, though it remains archived on the Internet.

What the U.S. officials learned during their visits concerned them so much that they dispatched two diplomatic cables categorized as Sensitive But Unclassified back to Washington. The cables warned about safety and management weaknesses at the WIV lab and proposed more attention and help. The first cable, which I obtained, also warns that the lab’s work on bat coronaviruses and their potential human transmission represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic. More here.

Now, exactly why would a U.S. delegation visit the Wuhan laboratory in the first place and be granted permission to do so?

Experts in the field of virology have been collaborating on research related to viruses in China for years. This includes government health officials, university research/medical schools as well as scientists and laboratory technicians. Last month, I published an article about the collaboration between various health/virus experts and the P4 laboratory in question located in Wuhan, using Duke NUS Medical School as but one example.

But, there is another reason for U.S. access and that is the U.S government gave a sizeable grant to the Wuhan laboratory at the center of the pandemic. Yes, a mere $3.7 MILLION. Likely, the most experienced scientist at this facility is Shi Zhengli. She is honest, candid and desperate. She gladly works with organizations outside of China and even asked for more U.S. help with security measures and control of the facility.

Biosafety Level 4 Laboratory, Wuhan Institute of Virology. The institute is at the center of several controversial conspiracy theories that claim it is to blame for the coronavirus outbreak

Hold on… here is the backstory:

The Chinese laboratory at the center of scrutiny over a potential coronavirus leak has been using U.S. government money to carry out research on bats from the caves which scientists believe are the original source of the deadly outbreak.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology undertook coronavirus experiments on mammals captured more than 1,000 miles away in Yunnan which were funded by a $3.7 million grant from the US government.

Sequencing of the COVID-19 genome has traced it back to bats found in Yunnan caves but it was first thought to have transferred to humans at an animal market in Wuhan.

The revelation that the Wuhan Institute was experimenting on bats from the area already known to be the source of COVID-19 – and doing so with American money – has sparked further fears that the lab, and not the market, is the original outbreak source.

Lawmakers and pressure groups were quick to hit out at U.S. funding being provided for the ‘dangerous and cruel animal experiments at the Wuhan Institute’.

US Congressman Matt Gaetz said: ‘I’m disgusted to learn that for years the US government has been funding dangerous and cruel animal experiments at the Wuhan Institute, which may have contributed to the global spread of coronavirus, and research at other labs in China that have virtually no oversight from US authorities.’

On Saturday, Anthony Bellotti, president of the US pressure group White Coat Waste, condemned his government for spending tax dollars in China, adding: ‘Animals infected with viruses or otherwise sickened and abused in Chinese labs reportedly may be sold to wet markets for consumption once experiments are done.’

The $37million Wuhan Institute of Virology, the most advanced laboratory of its type on the Chinese mainland, is based twenty miles from the now infamous wildlife market that was thought to be the location of the original transfer of the virus from animals to humans.

According to documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday, scientists there experimented on bats as part of a project funded by the US National Institutes of Health, which continues to license the Wuhan laboratory to receive American money for experiments.

The NIH is the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and public health research.

The Wuhan Institute lists them on their website as a partner as well as several other American academic institutions.

Other U.S. partners include the University of Alabama, the University of North Texas, Harvard University, and the National Wildlife Federation.

As part of the NIH research at the institute, scientists grew a coronavirus in a lab and injected it into three-day-old piglets.

The news that COVID-19 bats were under research there means that a leak from the Wuhan laboratory can no longer be completely ruled out.

According to one unverified claim, scientists at the institute could have become infected after being sprayed with blood containing the virus, and then passed it on to the local community.

A second institute in the city, the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control – which is barely three miles from the market – is also believed to have carried out experiments on animals such as bats to examine the transmission of coronaviruses.

The Wuhan Institute, which keeps more than 1,500 strains of deadly viruses, specializes in the research of ‘the most dangerous pathogens’, in particular, the viruses carried by bats.

Chinese officials decided to build the institute after the country was ravaged by an outbreak of SARS in 2002 and 2003.

SARS, another kind of coronavirus, killed 775 people and infected more than 8,000 globally in an epidemic.

Since an outbreak of the novel coronavirus emerged in the city in December, it has been at the center of conspiracy theories which suggest that the bug originated there.

While scientists believe that the virus jumped to humans from wild animals sold as food in a market in Wuhan, conspiracy theorists promote different assumptions.

Some of them claim that the virus, formally known as SARS-CoV-2, could be a biological warfare weapon engineered there. Others suspect that it escaped from the lab.

China has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Shi Zhengli, a deputy director of the institute, told the press in February that she ‘guaranteed with her own life’ that the outbreak was not related to the lab.

She admits that when summoned back from a conference to investigate the new disease, she wondered at first if a coronavirus could have escaped from her unit.

She has warned about the danger of epidemics from bat-borne viruses.

But she says she did not expect such an outbreak in Wuhan, in the center of China, since her studies suggested subtropical areas in the south had the highest risk of such ‘zoonotic’ transmission to humans.

Shi told the respected science journal Scientific American last month of her relief when, having checked back through disposal records, none of the genome sequences matched their virus samples.

‘That really took a load off my mind. I had not slept a wink for days,’ she said.

Many international experts have also dismissed such theories.

Dr. Keusch, Professor of Medicine and International Health at Boston University’s Schools of Medicine and Public Health, stressed that no release of viruses from a high-level lab, such as the one in Wuhan, ‘has ever happened’.

He defended his peers in the Chinese city as he said: ‘The Wuhan lab is designed to the highest standards with redundant safety systems and the highest level of training.

‘Many of its research faculty trained at a similar laboratory in Galveston, Texas. So we know the Wuhan team is as qualified as the Texas group…

‘This means the assertion of a leak, rather than being highly likely, instead is highly unlikely.’

Last week, further doubt was cast on the animal market theory, however, after Cao Bin, a doctor at the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital highlighted research showing that 13 of the first 41 patients diagnosed with the infection had not had any contact with the market.

‘It seems clear that the seafood market is not the only origin of the virus,’ he said.

American biosecurity expert Professor Richard Ebright, of Rutgers University’s Waksman Institute of Microbiology, New Jersey, said that while the evidence suggests COVID-19 was not created in one of the Wuhan laboratories, it could easily have escaped from there while it was being analyzed.

Prof Ebright said he has seen evidence that scientists at the Centre for Disease Control and the Institute of Virology studied the viruses with only ‘level 2’ security – rather than the recommended level 4 – which ‘provides only minimal protection against infection of lab workers’.

He added: ‘Virus collection, culture, isolation, or animal infection would pose a substantial risk of infection of a lab worker, and from the lab worker then the public.’

He concluded that the evidence left ‘a basis to rule out [that coronavirus is] a lab construct, but no basis to rule out a lab accident’.

Results of the U.S-funded research at the Wuhan Institute were published in November 2017 under the heading: ‘Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus.’

The exercise was summarized as: ‘Bats in a cave in Yunnan, China were captured and sampled for coronaviruses used for lab experiments.

‘All sampling procedures were performed by veterinarians with approval from the Animal Ethics Committee of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

‘Bat samplings were conducted ten times from April 2011 to October 2015 at different seasons in their natural habitat at a single location (cave) in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China. Bats were trapped and fecal swab samples were collected.’

Another study, published in April 2018, was titled ‘fatal swine acute diarrhea syndrome caused by an HKU2-related coronavirus of bat origin’ and described the research as such: ‘Following a 2016 bat-related coronavirus outbreak on Chinese pig farms, bats were captured in a cave and samples were taken.

Experimenters grew the virus in a lab and injected it into three-day-old piglets.

Intestinal samples from sick piglets were ground up and fed to other piglets as well.

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 108,000 people and infected over 1.7 million worldwide.’

On Saturday, the American outbreak became the deadliest in the world over 2,000 deaths in a day.

The national deaths toll is 20,087 and there are 522,643 confirmed cases as of Saturday evening.

China muzzled its Bat Woman: Beijing authorities hushed up the findings of a scientist who unlocked the genetic make-up of the coronavirus within days of the outbreak – which is vital for tests and vaccines

A Chinese scientist who is one of the world’s leading experts on coronaviruses was ‘muzzled’ after unraveling the genetic composition of the new disease, which is crucial for developing diagnostic tests and vaccines.

The revelation will fuel fresh concerns over China‘s cover-up of the pandemic after it erupted in the city of Wuhan. Critics argue that the Communist Party chiefs frustrated efforts to contain the outbreak before it exploded around the world.

At the center of the new claims is Shi Zhengli, known as China’s ‘Bat Woman’ after years spent on difficult virus-hunting expeditions in dank caves that have led to a series of important scientific discoveries.

The virologist was called back to her high security laboratory in Wuhan at the end of last year after a mysterious new respiratory condition in the city was identified as a novel coronavirus – and within three days she completed its gene sequencing.

Her team’s work, and several other breakthroughs in subsequent days, indicated the virus was linked to horseshoe bats found more than 1,000 miles away in Yunnan, a region of southern China.

Their findings showed it was similar to SARS, a respiratory disease that sparked an epidemic in 33 countries after emerging from China in 2002.

Gao Yu, a Chinese journalist freed last week after 76 days of lockdown in Wuhan, said he spoke to Shi during his incarceration and revealed: ‘We learned later her institute finished gene-sequencing and related tests as early as January 2 but was muzzled.’

The Mail on Sunday has learned that on that same day, Yanyi Wang, director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, sent an email to staff and key officials ordering them not to disclose information on the disease.

She warned, according to a leak on social media confirmed by activists and Hong Kong media, that ‘inappropriate and inaccurate information was causing ‘general panic’ – thought to refer to eight whistle-blowing doctors whose warnings to local citizens had led to their arrest.

Wang said the National Health Commission ‘unequivocally requires that any tests, clinical data, test results, conclusions related to the epidemic shall not be posted on social media platforms, nor shall [it] be disclosed to any media outlets including government official media, nor shall [it] be disclosed to partner institutions.’

Eight days later, a team led by a professor in Shanghai who received samples from an infected patient, published a genome sequence on an open-access platform.

His laboratory was closed for ‘rectification’ two days later.

At the time, the public was being told that no new cases had been reported in Wuhan for more than a week and there was no clear evidence of human transmission, although dozens of health workers were starting to fall ill with the disease.

In an online lecture last month, Shi Zhengli said her team found on January 14 that the new virus could infect people – six days before this fact was revealed by China.

On the same day, the World Health Organisation issued a tweet backing China’s denials of human transmissions.

Shi’s team released its data identifying the disease on January 23 on a scientific portal before publication the next month by the journal Nature.

It said the genomic sequence was 96 percent identical to another virus they found in horseshoe bats in Yunnan.

Shi is a specialist in emerging diseases and has earned global acclaim for work investigating links between bats and coronaviruses, aided by expeditions to collect samples and swabs in the fetid cave networks of southern China.

She was a key part of the team that traced SARS to horseshoe bats through civets, a cat-like creature often eaten in China.

Hat tip –> By Frances Mulraney and Glenn Owen For The Mail On Sunday