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An In-Depth Look Into Who The Cabal (Deep State) Really Is

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    There is a deep state or shadow government that operates, unelected, behind the scenes of governments. They make key financial market decisions, geopolitical decisions and are involved in limiting humanities potential.

  • Reflect On:

    Why has this reality remained hidden from the general public? Why do we bother to vote for leaders when they are not who make decisions? What would the world look like if this deep state wasn't in control?

Before you begin...

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If you’re familiar with CE’s content, you may have noticed that we frequently refer to the shadow government, the deep state, the cabal, the Illuminati, and the elite. We often use these words synonymously, though some of these terms have slightly different meanings.

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If you’re unfamiliar with the true meanings of these terms, then this article is for you! This article will examine what the shadow government is, what people and which companies fall within it, and how they gained so much control over the U.S. government and society in general.

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What Do “Shadow Government” and “Deep State” Mean?

Shadow government and deep state are both political terms in a sense, as they’re used to define the groups of people who control the U.S. government. I’m not referring to the people within political parties that perceivably control the system — not the Presidents or Congress — but the individuals and the companies who control the government and influence policies and decisions.

The very definition of the shadow government lies within the term itself; it’s the real government entity that hides within the shadows, making all of the important decisions in secret. Their political agenda and true motives are completely hidden from the public. These aren’t the people you see on mainstream media, nor are they the people you vote for; they’re the individuals who lurk in the shadows, which is precisely how they’re able to maintain control over the population, feeding the illusion of democracy.

The term deep state refers to “a state within a state,” a group of people who have so much control inside of a state that they don’t actually have to abide by the same laws, largely because they’re the ones creating them. The deep state can even include elements of the government, including the Pentagon, which has acted immune to many laws. Up until this year, for instance, they had never been audited, despite the fact that this is illegal and an astounding $10 trillion in tax payer money had gone completely unaccounted for since 1996.

According to an in-depth report by journalist Mike Lofgren:

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The Deep State does not consist of the entire government. It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street.

Numerous politicians have publicly discussed the people who secretly control the U.S. political system, and are creating laws and bending them.

As John F. Hylan, former Mayor of New York City, explained:

The real menace of our Republic is the invisible government, which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities, states and nation . . .  The little coterie of powerful international bankers virtually run the United States government for their own selfish purposes. They practically control both parties . . .  [and] control the majority of the newspapers and magazines in this country. They use the columns of these papers to club into submission or drive out of office public officials who refuse to do the bidding of the powerful corrupt cliques which compose the invisible government. It operates under cover of a self-created screen [and] seizes our executive officers, legislative bodies, schools, courts, newspapers and every agency created for the public protection. (source)(source)

Senator Daniel K. Inouye, a high ranking Asian-American politician, has also stated: “There exists a shadowy government with its own Air Force, its own Navy, its own fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of the national interest, free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself.” (source)

 Theodore Roosevelt, former President of the United States, stated:

Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare they have become the tools of corrupt interests, which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, is the first task of the statesmanship of the day. (source) (source)

When former President Eisenhower coined the term “Military Industrial Complex,” his main concern was the potential for the “disastrous rise of misplaced power.” After him, former President John F Kennedy (JFK) warned citizens that we are living in “a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.” He went on to state that “its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumour is printed, no secret is revealed.”

Even before both of these two, former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson revealed:

Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men’s views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.  (source)

The following video from THRIVE Movement, a documentary created by the heir to Proctor & Gamble, Foster Gamble, perfectly explains how this system works:

Who Is a Part of the Shadow Government and the Deep State?

Since the shadow government and the deep state are fairly broad terms to define the people and the corporations that control the government, they include a lot of people and a lot of corporations.

To begin, the shadow government includes billionaire families like the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds. The Rothschilds became very wealthy in the 1700s off the banking system, and then spread out all over Europe, gaining more power through other industries. The family also has strategic marital times to big names such as Du Pont, Hilton, and Guinness. However, the Rothschilds are most well-known for their control over the American Federal Reserve Bank, though they own countless big banks all over the world. Check out this CE article to further understand how big banks actually work and gain control over society.

The Rockefellers have their hands in practically every industry, including banking, health, oil, food, and more. Over a century ago, the Carnegie and Rockefeller foundations began to alter university medical curricula to reflect a greater focus on pharmaceuticals so they could increase their profits. They put their money into drug-based research and made that the main focus of modern day healthcare.

Since then, the Rockefellers and banking elite have been able to control and profit from the drug industry. The AMA, the largest association of physicians in the U.S., enforces the drug-treatment paradigm by heavily lobbying Congress and publishing one of the most influential journals, JAMA, which is largely funded by pharmaceutical advertisers.

Mainstream media networks are owned by fewer than five multinational corporations, and all of these corporations have ties to the Rothschild and Rockefeller families. The Rockefellers were also involved in the creation of the United Nations (UN), which you can read more about in our CE article here. This may not raise red flags to those who aren’t familiar with the Rockefeller family, but consider this: The UN was created in 1945 as a result of World War 2. In practically every global conflict, something is created out of that conflict to give the illusion that whatever is created will solve it. Have you ever thought that the people who created the conflict are doing so so they can propose the solution in order to manipulate the population and gain further power?

George Soros is another key member of the shadow government, disguised as a philanthropic billionaire. His donations seem heartfelt and meaningful, but if you look a little closer, you’ll realize that every donation he makes has an ulterior motive behind it, helping to secure his control over the political landscape and in turn profit from it. Similar to the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds, he has secured his political control all over the U.S. and in other places like Europe and holds many strategic investments, including in the DNC and in organizations that support the DNC. You can read more about George Soros in our CE articles here and here.

Many large corporations fall into the shadow government as well. SONY is one of these corporations, as the CIA and the government have strong ties to the movie industry. In a statement made last year, Wikileaks wrote: “The Sony Archives show that behind the scenes this is an influential corporation, with ties to the White House (there are almost 100 US government email addresses in the archive), with an ability to impact laws and policies, and with connections to the US military-industrial complex.” You can read more about that in our CE article here.

The list of corporations that could be seen as members of the shadow government goes on and on: Exxon Mobil, Monsanto, Big Pharma companies, Corrections Corporations of America, Wall Street (Goldman Sachs, etc.), American Bail Coalition, other big oil corporations, big players in the factory farming industry, and more. Corporate members of the deep state or the Military Industrial Complex include big military contractors like Lockheed Martin. According to William Hartung, the Director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, contractors will “periodically intervene to try to stop practices that would make them more accountable.”

How They Influence Legislation and Gain Control Over the Government

It’s clear that corporations have a strong hold on government regulations; why else would chemicals be put in our food and the environment? Even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has strong ties to oil companies, despite the fact that they’re supposedly the government agency that protects the environment (learn more here).

The simple answer to this question: money, the promise to gain more control over the population, and lobbying efforts. The shadow government can manipulate, or in some cases, create legislation through either close ties to politicians or even organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

ALEC is a conservative group comprised of state legislators and corporate leaders that allows corporations to help write, or in some cases, just hand over legislation that the “official lawmakers” can then take credit for and formally propose. ALEC has been responsible for numerous immoral bills including those that aim to lower minimum wage, suppress voter rights, pro-gun laws, ag-gag (animal cruelty) bills, and more.

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) conducted research into ALEC’s funding while looking into Exxon Mobil and the company’s wrongdoings regarding climate change denial. CMD found that 98% of ALEC’s funding comes from private sources other than state legislators. This means that ALEC is basically entirely funded by global corporations, including Exxon Mobil.

Political satirist John Oliver explains this in detail below:

 
ALEC has played a crucial role in influencing laws surrounding gun control, the prison system, voting laws, environmental policies, animal cruelty laws, minimum wage, and more. ALEC-backed legislation is not created “for the people,” but rather, designed so corporations can increase their profits and create loop holes so they don’t get in trouble with the law. You can read more about ALEC in our CE article here.
There are tons of other examples of corporations influencing the government outside of ALEC as well. One court case addressed the EPA’s ties to Monsanto, bending laws and lying about the environmental and health issues involved with the company’s products (GMOs, herbicide Round Up, etc.). You can read more about that here.
Big Pharma is another industry with close ties to the government. Even though it’s illegal for Big Pharma to advertise drugs in other countries, it’s completely legal in North America. The advertisements are often misleading, overstating the benefits and completely omitting the risks or potential side effects (or simply putting them in tiny, illegible letters). Although the FDA has stepped in multiple times, sending pharmaceutical companies warning letters or even forcing them to take down their ads because they are false, misleading, and/or exaggerate the effects of their drugs, this is still an ongoing issue (source).
Lobbying expenditures by the pharmaceutical industry have been increasing every year and hit an all-time high of $273 million in 2009. This money is then used to influence lawmakers and politicians to shape pending legislature. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association conducted by a team from Yale University found that one in three FDA-approved pharmaceutical drugs have safety issues. Big Pharma pressured the FDA to speed up their drug approval process, and this is what happened as a result. You can read more about that here.

The U.S. government also holds strong ties to the meat and dairy industries. The government has helped food providers become more dairy-based, and implemented milk education into school programs. Check out this video that elaborates on the government’s ties to the dairy industry here.

The USDA has heavy ties to many advertisements and campaigns encouraging consumers to purchase meat. The U.S. government spends $38 billion annually to subsidize the meat and dairy industries, in comparison to only 0.04% of that on fruits and vegetables. If the government didn’t benefit from meat and dairy sales, our recommended intake of animal products would look significantly different.

Instead, the USDA Food Guide Pyramid states you should eat 2-3 servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese, despite the fact that only 75% of people can actually digest milk properly, as well as 2-3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts per day. What the food guide doesn’t mention is that numerous studies have proven that meat and dairy consumption can cause cancer, heart disease, obesity, and many more health complications.

Lastly, another crucial way the deep state gains control over the public and the government is through false-flag terrorism. Yes, the government is involved with the creation of these terrorist attacks and the infiltration of other countries, but it’s not just the U.S. government that profits off war and terror.
False-flag terrorism is the idea that a government would stage a terrorist attack in a country (even their own) in order to justify war and the infiltration of a foreign country for their own purposes (whether that be for money, oil, etc.). It’s also used to heighten a state of fear and security within their own country, and in order to do so, they need a villain. For example, in the case of 9/11 it was Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

As former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook explains:

The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al-Qaeda, and any informed intelligence officer knows this. But, there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an intensified entity representing the ‘devil’ only in order to drive TV watchers to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism.

In essence, war and chaos are profitable businesses, and they’ve been used by the shadow government and the deep state for many years to not only take over nations, but to control the masses using fear as well. War is often just a collaborative effort between powerful individuals to play out big picture plans through creating conflict and justifying war. Then, when this heightened fear state occurs in society, people don’t question terrorist bills and surveillance because they’re implemented in the name of “national security.”

“I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”

General Smedley Butler, one of the highest ranking generals in American history

The subject of war and terror also relates to the New World Order, as this is often the overarching goal when it comes to the U.S. invading other countries or the elite creating chaos and terror in other countries.

The New World Order is the supposed goal of a handful of global elitists who are pushing for a one world government and a heightened national security state. This group, often referred to as the cabal/the shadow government/the deep state/the elite, has been using foreign threats to heighten security, strip us of our rights, and invade other countries. The entire world is practically covered with U.S. military bases and big banks owned by the Rothschilds, with the exception of only a few countries.

Why This Is Important Information

Many news organizations and people refuse to discuss the shadow government and the deep state, whether’s that’s because they fear the negativity surrounding the subject or because they’re owned and funded by these groups of people.

Amber Lyon is a three-time Emmy award winning journalist at CNN who went on record stating that mainstream media outlets are routinely paid by the U.S. government as well as by foreign governments to selectively report and manipulate information on specific events. She has also admitted that the U.S. government has editorial control over mainstream media content.

This isn’t anything new; the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD is the government program referring to its interest and relations with mainstream media. MOCKINGBIRD stemmed from the CIA’s forerunner, the Office for Strategic Services (OSS, 1942-47), which, during World War II, created a working relationship with journalists and psychological warfare experts operating primarily in the European theatre.

It’s clear that the truth has been hidden from us for a long time, but it’s crucial that we don’t perceive this information as “scary,” but rather as empowering. If we fear the shadow government and refuse to discuss them, then we’re feeding into their perpetual control over the system. However, if we shed light on this subject and explain to others how our political system actually works, then real, sustainable change can actually occur. Democracy only gives you the illusion of freedom and “human rights,” because only without an overarching, elite-serving government could you truly have these things.

Related CE Articles: The Deep State Institutions That Control America, They Don’t Care Who You Vote For

The Black Budget – This Is What The Secret Government Doesn’t Want You To Know

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Houston Methodist Hospital Set To Terminate Unvaccinated Employees

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Houston Methodist Hospital is set to terminate employees who refuse COVID-19 vaccines. As of June 12th, a district Judge has shot down a lawsuit the employees have filed against the the hospital. The employees, led by Jennifer Bridges, are set to file an appeal and are prepared to take the case all the way to the supreme court.

This case will be important to track as this may set the tone for how private companies will approach the ‘mandating’ of vaccines that governments had suggested would not be policy. If people can be fired for refusing a vaccine, is it fair to say these vaccines are truly not mandatory?

 

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Censorship: Facebook Has Removed 16 Million Pieces of Content & Added ‘Warnings’ On 167 Million

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©Andrey Yanevich/123RF.COM

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Journalist Laurie Clarke has published a piece in the British Medical Journal about the censorship of science, and who these Big Tech "fact-checkers" really are.

  • Reflect On:

    Why has there been such an effort to hide information that threatens the accepted narrative we get from the mainstream? What is going on here? How is this legal, moral and ethical?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

The censorship of information is at an all time high, but do people really recognize the extent to which it has been and is being carried out? A recent article published in the British Medical Journal by journalist Laurie Clarke has highlighted the fact that Facebook has already removed at least 16 million pieces of content from its platform and added warnings to approximately 167 million others. YouTube has removed nearly 1 million videos related to, according to them, “dangerous or misleading covid-19 medical information.”

Being an independent media outlet, Collective Evolution has experienced this censorship first hand. We’ve also been in touch with and witnessed many doctors and world renowned scientists be subjected to the same type of treatment from these social media organizations. Not long ago I wrote an article about Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a Harvard professor of medicine who has been having trouble with twitter. I did the same with Dr. Carl Heneghan, a professor of evidence based medicine from Oxford and an emergency GP who wrote an article regarding the efficacy of facemasks in stopping the spread of COVID. His article was not removed, but a label was added to it by Facebook saying it was ‘fake information.’ There are many more examples.

Clarke’s article says, with regards to posts that have been removed and labelled, that,

“while a portion of that content is likely to be wilfully wrongheaded or vindictively misleading, the pandemic is littered with examples of scientific opinion that have been caught in the dragnet.”

This is true, take for example the ‘lab origins of COVID debate.’ Early on in the pandemic you were not even allowed to mention that COVID may have originated in a lab, and if you did, you were punished for doing so. Independent media platforms were demonetized and subjected to changes in algorithms. Now, all of a sudden, the mainstream media is discussing it as a legitimate possibility. It makes no sense.

Laurie Clarke outlines in her piece,

This underscores the difficulty of defining scientific truth, prompting the bigger question of whether social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube should be tasked with this at all…

“I think it’s quite dangerous for scientific content to be labelled as misinformation, just because of the way people might perceive that,” says Sander van der Linden, professor of social psychology in society at Cambridge University, UK. “Even though it might fit under a definition (of misinformation) in a very technical sense, I’m not sure if that’s the right way to describe it more generally because it could lead to greater politicisation of science, which is undesirable.”

This type of “politicization of science” is exactly what’s happened during this pandemic.

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. – Kamran Abbas is a doctor, executive editor of the British Medical Journal, and the editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization. (source)

An important point to get across is also the fact that these independent “fact checkers” are working with Facebook, who in turn is working with the government. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden offered his thoughts on the censorship we’ve been seeing during this pandemic in November of last year stating the following,

In secret, these companies had all agreed to work with the U.S. Government far beyond what the law required of them, and that’s what we’re seeing with this new censorship push is really a new direction in the same dynamic. These companies are not obligated by the law to do almost any of what they’re actually doing but they’re going above and beyond, to, in many cases, to increase the depth of their relationship (with the government) and the government’s willingness to avoid trying to regulate them in the context of their desired activities, which is ultimately to dominate the conversation and information space of global society in different ways…They’re trying to make you change your behaviour.

If you’re not comfortable letting the government determine the boundaries of appropriate political speech, why are you begging Mark Zuckerberg to do it?

I think the reality here is…it’s not really about freedom of speech, and it’s not really about protecting people from harm…I think what you see is the internet has become the de facto means of mass communication. That represents influence which represents power, and what we see is we see a whole number of different tribes basically squabbling to try to gain control over this instrument of power.

What we see is an increasing tendency to silence journalists who say things that are in the minority.

It makes you wonder, is this “fact-checking” actually about fact checking? Or is something else going on here?

Below is a breakdown from Clarke’s article illustrating how fact checking works and what the problem is with following the science. Since we have reported this many times over the last 5 years, we decided to let our readers hear it from someone else for a change as it’s truly quite vindicating to see more investigators coming to these conclusions.

How fact checking works

The past decade has seen an arms race between users who peddle disinformation (intentionally designed to mislead) or unwittingly share misinformation (which users don’t realise is false) and the social media platforms that find themselves charged with policing it, whether they want to or not.1

When The BMJ questioned Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube (which is owned by Google) they all highlighted their efforts to remove potentially harmful content and to direct users towards authoritative sources of information on covid-19 and vaccines, including the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although their moderation policies differ slightly, the platforms generally remove or reduce the circulation of content that disputes information given by health authorities such as WHO and the CDC or spreads false health claims that are considered harmful, including incorrect information about the dangers of vaccines.

But the pandemic has seen a shifting patchwork of criteria employed by these companies to define the boundaries of misinformation. This has led to some striking U turns: at the beginning of the pandemic, posts saying that masks helped to prevent the spread of covid-19 were labelled “false”; now it’s the opposite, reflecting the changing nature of the academic debate and official recommendations.

Twitter manages its fact checking internally. But Facebook and YouTube rely on partnerships with third party fact checkers, convened under the umbrella of the International Fact-Checking Network—a non-partisan body that certifies other fact checkers, run by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a non-profit journalism school in St Petersburg, Florida. Poynter’s top donors include the Charles Koch Institute (a public policy research organisation), the National Endowment for Democracy (a US government agency), and the Omidyar Network (a “philanthropic investment firm”), as well as Google and Facebook. Poynter also owns the Tampa Bay Times newspaper and the high profile fact checker PolitiFact. The Poynter Institute declined The BMJ’s invitation to comment for this article.

For scientific and medical content the International Fact-Checking Network involves little known outfits such as SciCheck, Metafact, and Science Feedback. Health Feedback, a subsidiary of Science Feedback, handpicks scientists to deliver its verdict. Using this method, it labelled as “misleading” a Wall Street Journal opinion article2 predicting that the US would have herd immunity by April 2021, written by Marty Makary, professor of health policy and management at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. This prompted the newspaper to issue a rebuttal headlined “Fact checking Facebook’s fact checkers,” arguing that the rating was “counter-opinion masquerading as fact checking.”3 Makary hadn’t presented his argument as a factual claim, the article said, but had made a projection based on his analysis of the evidence.

A spokesperson for Science Feedback tells The BMJ that, to verify claims, it selects scientists on the basis of “their expertise in the field of the claim/article.” They explain, “Science Feedback editors usually start by searching the relevant academic literature and identifying scientists who have authored articles on related topics or have the necessary expertise to assess the content.”

The organisation then either asks the selected scientists to weigh in directly or collects claims that they’ve made in the media or on social media to reach a verdict. In the case of Makary’s article it identified 20 relevant scientists and received feedback from three.

“Follow the science”

The contentious nature of these decisions is partly down to how social media platforms define the slippery concepts of misinformation versus disinformation. This decision relies on the idea of a scientific consensus. But some scientists say that this smothers heterogeneous opinions, problematically reinforcing a misconception that science is a monolith.

This is encapsulated by what’s become a pandemic slogan: “Follow the science.” David Spiegelhalter, chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at Cambridge University, calls this “absolutely awful,” saying that behind closed doors scientists spend the whole time arguing and deeply disagreeing on some fairly fundamental things.

He says: “Science is not out in front telling you what to do; it shouldn’t be. I view it much more as walking along beside you muttering to itself, making comments about what it’s seeing and making some tentative suggestions about what might happen if you take a particular path, but it’s not in charge.”

The term “misinformation” could itself contribute to a flattening of the scientific debate. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, has been criticised for his views on lockdown, which tack closely to his native Sweden’s more relaxed strategy.4 He says that scientists who voice unorthodox opinions during the pandemic are worried about facing “various forms of slander or censoring . . . they say certain things but not other things, because they feel that will be censored by Twitter or YouTube or Facebook.” This worry is compounded by the fear that it may affect grant funding and the ability to publish scientific papers, he tells The BMJ.

The binary idea that scientific assertions are either correct or incorrect has fed into the divisiveness that has characterised the pandemic. Samantha Vanderslott, a health sociologist at the University of Oxford, UK, told Nature, “Calling out fake stories can raise your profile.” In the same article Giovanni Zagni, director of the Italian fact checking website Facta, noted that “you can build a career” on the basis of becoming “a well respected voice that fights against bad information.”5

But this has fed a perverse incentive for scientists to label each other’s positions misinformation or disinformation.6 Van der Linden likens this to how the term “fake news” was weaponised by Donald Trump to silence his critics. He says, “I think you see a bit of the same with the term ‘misinformation,’ when there’s science that you don’t agree with and you label it as misinformation.”

Health Feedback’s website says that it won’t select scientists to verify claims if they’ve undermined their credibility by “propagating misinformation, whether intentionally or not.” In practice, this could create a Kafkaesque situation where scientists are precluded from offering their opinion as part of the fact checking process if they expressed an opinion that Facebook labelled misinformation. Strengthening the echo chamber effect is the fact that Health Feedback sometimes verifies claims by looking at what scientists have said on Twitter or in the media.

Scientific “truth”

Van der Linden says that it’s important for people to understand that in the scientific domain “there’s uncertainty, there’s debate, and it’s about the accumulation of insights over time and revising our opinions as we go along.” Healthy debate helps to separate the wheat from the chaff. Jevin West, associate professor in the Information School at the University of Washington in Seattle, says that social media platforms should therefore be “extra careful when it comes to debates involving science.” He explains: “The institution of science has developed these norms and behaviour to be self-corrective. So, for [social media platforms] to step into that conversation, I think it’s problematic.”

Experts who spoke to The BMJ emphasised the near impossibility of distinguishing between a minority scientific opinion and an opinion that’s objectively incorrect (misinformation). Spiegelhalter says that this would constitute a difficult “legalistic judgment about what a reasonable scientific opinion would be . . . I’ve got my own criteria that I use to decide whether I think something is misleading, but I find it very difficult to codify.”

Other scientists worry that, if this approach to scientific misinformation outlives the pandemic, the scientific debate could become worryingly subject to commercial imperatives. Vinay Prasad, associate professor at the University of California San Francisco, argued on the MedPage Today website: “The risk is that the myriad players in biomedicine, from large to small biopharmaceutical and [medical] device firms, will take their concerns to social media and journal companies. On a topic like cancer drugs, a tiny handful of folks critical of a new drug approval may be outnumbered 10:1 by key opinion leaders who work with the company.”7 Thus the majority who speak loudest, most visibly, and with the largest number online, may be judged “correct” by the public—and, as the saying goes, history is written by the victors.

Social media companies are still experimenting with the new raft of measures introduced since last year and may adapt their approach. Van der Linden says that the talks he’s had with Facebook have focused on how the platform could help foster an appreciation of how science works, “to actually direct people to content that educates them about the scientific process, rather than labelling something as true or false.”

This debate is playing out against a wider ideological struggle, where the ideal of “truth” is increasingly placed above “healthy debate.” Kulldorff says: “To remove things in general, I think is a bad idea. Because even if something is wrong, if you remove it there’s no opportunity to discuss it.” For instance, although he favours vaccination in general, people with fears or doubts about the vaccines used should not be silenced in online spaces, he says. “If we don’t have an open debate within science, then that will have enormous consequences for science and society.”

There are concerns that this approach could ultimately undermine trust in public health. In the US, says West, trust in the government and media is falling. He explains, “Science is still one of the more trusted institutions, but if you start tagging and shutting down conversation within science, to me that’s even worse than the actual posting of these individual articles.”

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Physicians For Informed Consent Release Safety & Efficacy Data of The Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A group called Physicians For Informed Consent has published a fact sheet, sourced from primarily government sources, outlining the underreported concerns with current COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Reflect On:

    Should we be avoiding meaningful conversation around informed consent when it comes to these new vaccines?

Before you begin...

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The Physicians For Informed Consent (PIC) are a group of doctors and academics from around the world who have come together in support of informed consent (freedom of choice) when it comes to vaccine mandates. Their information is based on science. Their mission is to deliver data on infectious diseases and vaccines, and to unite doctors, scientists, healthcare professionals, attorneys, and families who support voluntary vaccinations. Their vision is that doctors and the public are able to evaluate data on infectious diseases and vaccines objectively and voluntarily engage in informed decision-making about vaccination.

They’ve recently released information regarding the short term efficacy & safety data of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, which has not been fully approved or licensed by the FDA and is still under rigorous study.

It’s no secret that vaccine hesitancy is at an all time high. When it comes to COVID vaccines specifically there are multiple reasons for this including a lack of trust in pharmaceutical companies, the risk of COVID-19 vs vaccine injury, and the emerging science showing concerns regarding long term safety and efficacy. Despite these points, mainstream conversation continues to ridicule hesitancy, label these concerns as ‘anti-vaxx conspiracies’ and fails to address them, leaving most people unaware that these concerns even exist. This can often cause divides and rifts in society as those who only watch mainstream media believe those who have vaccine hesitancy are irresponsible and uninformed.

I recently published an article going in depth regarding the top four concerns people are having which are contributing to them refusing to take the COVID vaccine, you can read that here. These legitimate concerns should be openly and honestly discussed, which is what Physicians For Informed Consent are pushing for. This will not only inform people but create a better sense of unity.

Below is a summary of the most important points regarding the Pfizer vaccine, as outline by PIC. If you’d like to access the PDF, you can do so here.

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