By Deb Boelkes, 12-4-22
Editor’s note: Local businesswoman and activist Ms. Boelkes has researched this important case and written it up for the public to better understand what is going on.
Are you aware of the Missouri v. Biden Case – No. 3:22-cv-01213-TAD-KDM? … alleging that key federal government bureaucracies conspired with Big Tech companies to censor non-state-sponsored opinions that they didn’t like about COVID and masking on social media platforms.
If you are not familiar with this legal complaint filed in May of this year against some of the highest-ranking officials in federal government, now’s your chance to catch up on what might be the most important 1st Amendment lawsuit in US history.
The Plaintiffs in the case are both the State of Missouri (Attorney General Eric Schmitt), and the State of Louisiana (Attorney General Jeff Landy).
The Defendants—in addition to the President of the United States, JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR.—are:
- JENNIFER RENE PSAKI, White House Press Secretary
- VIVEK H. MURTHY, Surgeon General of the United States
- XAVIER BECERRA, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services
- DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
- JEN EASTERLY, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and
- NINA JANKOWICZ, Director of the so-called “Disinformation Governance Board” within the Department of Homeland Security.
Essentially, the states of Missouri and Louisiana are suing the federal government, alleging that these key bureaucracies conspired with Big Tech companies to censor non-state-sponsored opinions that they didn’t like about COVID and masking on social media platforms—an infringement on the 1st Amendment rights of the citizens who live in those states.
Of course, in lawsuits you have to produce discovery. It was no surprise that the government didn’t (and still doesn’t) want to produce anything, claiming it would be “burdensome” and their records are covered by “Executive Privilege”. Regardless, the judge granted a very rare, expedited discovery which quickly produced profound results.
Turns out, Meta’s response to early discovery provided information that identified individuals within the Department of Health and Human Services who were communicating with them about “Misinformation.” So, in September the judge issued an order for an expedited timetable due to the potential harm and to justify a temporary injunction stopping the government from colluding with private entities to stifle free speech. The emails the Defendants were forced to produce proved they had indeed colluded with social media companies to silence Americans.
So now Missouri and Louisiana want to expand the scope of the case to include additional government agencies. This case is a VERY BIG DEAL.
To We the People – It’s been an interesting week with all the news coming out of Elon Musk / Twitter about the massive fraud, deception and abuse of our 1st amendment rights through collusion between Big Tech Companies, the DNC, and the Dem party. Yet that’s not all there is to know about this situation.
Hat’s off to investigative journalist Tracey Beanz, who has done an excellent job following, reviewing, and interpreting what has transpired (via Telegram posts). This week, on 11/29/22, the judge DENIED Jen Psaki’s motion to adjourn her deposition. Thanks to Tracy Beanz for reviewing and summarizing the court’s latest 39-page filing of Case 3:22-cv-01213-TAD-KDM Document 37, Filed 12/01/22.
Regarding this case, MISSOURI ATTORNEY GENERAL Eric Schmitt said “…the information we’ve uncovered through those depositions has been shocking to say the least. It’s clear from Tuesday’s deposition that the FBI has an extremely close role in working to censor freedom of speech.”
Whereas this case is SOOOO important; and Whereas I have found nothing posted by the media about this proceeding, and Whereas knowing that many of you don’t use Telegram, I have taken the liberty, below, to copy Tracy Beanz posts about the Missouri v. Biden case filing dated December 1…all in Tracy Beanz’ words, not mine (aside from a few snapshots taken from the documents itself. You can find / read / download and follow along with the actual 39-page filing document at: https://ia902208.us.archive.org/3/items/gov.uscourts.lawd.189520/gov.uscourts.lawd.189520.137.0.pdf
Apologies for the length of this piece, but assuming a few of you will take interest in the document and Tracy’s analysis, here you go….
Per Tracy Beanz:
The judge in the case had ordered that 10 high ranking government officials sit for expedited depositions after early and expedited discovery revealed stunning abuses of the first amendment as government agencies partner with social media companies to censor the speech of Americans; in the case of CISA, designating YOUR THOUGHTS “Cognitive Infrastructure.”
Granting expedited discovery, in any case, is rare. Granting expedited depositions, in any case, is rarer. Granting expedited depositions of high-ranking government officials is nearly unheard of. Of course, the Biden administration freaked out and went around to a gazillion different courts filing motions to dismiss, mandamus petitions, etc. So far, every time, they have been rebuked.
The latest one was in the 5th circuit, where they asked a panel of 3 judges to rule that the LA [Louisiana] court erred in granting a motion to depose Deputy Assistant to the President Rob Flaherty, CISA Director Jen Easterly, and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.
Rather than rule in the Biden admin’s FAVOR, they kicked it back to the judge in LA, asking him to revisit whether some lower-level officials could sit instead, or they could get more written discovery. The judge asked them to brief him on responses.
What I am about to thread for you is the filing by Missouri and Louisiana that answers the judges question “Can you bring someone lower level in, or do exceptional circumstances exist that make it so NO ONE but these people can answer these questions?”
They also lumped Psaki in here too because the Biden Admin lawyers petitioned the judge saying that what the 5th circuit said about the three above should apply to her too. If you have followed my timeline, you would have seen my breakdown of the maneuvers Psaki and company tried and my reading of the transcript out of a VA court where the judge smacked down long-time Obama fixer and deep state extraordinaire Jeannie Rhee. The reason why I am threading this particular filing, is because we learn a HELL of a lot of information in here, and we get to see some of the discovery in the case in the form of exhibits.
We will begin with an introduction where we learn WHY this filing is being made. Read it. It’s very concise and you’ll get up to speed quickly. One thing that you will note as we move on- the Biden Admin (here forth BA) will likely not be happy they did this, as the “lower” ranking folks are probably not much better for them than the department heads. This is going to be something. Off we go.
Now, as I was reading this, I briefly started saying, “oh, here we go… the cave begins, where Missouri decides to back off and not hold them to the fire,” and that happened to me a few times. Within a paragraph or so, I was back to cheering. I have loved every second of covering this case.
Rob Flaherty could respond using written interrogatories. You may think that’s an out for him because lawyers could write it, or he could weasel his way out of questions… Pay close attention to what I underlined in red. The “…so-called Election Integrity Partnership”
Wendi Strauch Mahoney has done an absolutely STELLAR job of reporting on all things MDM/CISA/Oreweillan censorship since early last YEAR, so if you are a regular reader this is familiar to you, but if you missed it, READ THIS NOW. https://www.uncoverdc.com/2022/06/17/cisas-2022-interim-election-security-plan-says-mdm-is-a-persistent-threat/
Vivek Murthy: They don’t want to budge on him. In order to take these depositions at all, the judge needs to rule that there are EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES that make it so NO OTHER PERSON could sit and answer questions. The bar to exceptional circumstances is exceedingly high. Judges don’t typically find there are exceptional circumstances at all.
It is important to note, that this judge found there WERE exceptional circumstances already, but needed to revisit because of the 5th circuit. They are really standing firm that Murthy is the only one who can successfully answer these questions.
Jen Psaki: Here is where they really take it to the Biden admin. They discuss how the BA has continuously said they won’t release the names of the people who have the information they are seeking from Psaki, while also saying that she shouldn’t have to testify. “While insisting that Psaki is not the only source for the information that Plaintiffs seek from her, Defendants have steadfastly refused to reveal the identit(ies) of the other officials who have the information. The Court should put an end to Defendants’ gamesmanship by ordering Defendants to identify and produce lower-ranking official(s) who have the information that Plaintiffs seek from Psaki, if such official(s) exist(s).”
The Biden admin is playing both sides of the fiddle here when it comes to “Circle Back” “Peppermint Commie” Psaki. They say that no one else can testify to what she knows, but also says she can not testify. They don’t give the Plaintiffs any choice, really.
The Biden admin had asked the court to pause discovery in this case while their motion to dismiss is considered. Now the Plaintiffs explain why that is nonsense. Delays, more delays, obfuscations, court hopping and more by the Biden team. Plaintiffs (Missouri and Louisiana et al.) argue that they are being irreparably harmed by the delays already. I agree
Now the brief moves from the “summary” phase to the “argument” phase, where we get a lot more detail and meat and potatoes.
We will detail Rob Flaherty, Deputy Assistant to the President. Their first point discusses how the 5th circuit said they hadn’t yet obtained any WRITTEN discovery from Flaherty, so a deposition is premature. The plaintiffs told the court WHY they hadn’t gotten anything written. [We have a series of shots here. Read them.] “Having successfully opposed written discovery against Flaherty in this Court, Defendants, in a dizzying reversal, complained to the Fifth Circuit that this Court erred by ordering Flaherty’s deposition without first authorizing written discovery against Flaherty—i.e., the very written discovery that they stridently urged this Court not to order in August.”
In short, Defendants argued to the judge (successfully) that the Plaintiffs SHOULD NOT be able to take written discovery from Flaherty, and then argued to the appeals court that Plaintiffs HAD NOT taken written discovery from Flaherty. The appeals court then outlines WHY THAT DISCOVERY WOULD BE IMPORTANT. It’s just political maneuvering.
“As the Fifth Circuit noted, Doc. 121, at 3, written discovery against Flaherty may illuminate whether it is necessary to depose Flaherty—e.g., it may reveal the content of Flaherty’s oral communications with social-media platforms, or it may identify a lower-level subordinate who participated in the same meetings and thus may serve as an adequate substitute for Flaherty.”
Flaherty has been meeting with reps from social media companies that involve pressure to censor speech about COVID-19. Now the brief gives examples of these meetings. He scolds them and pressures them that their rules for removal policies aren’t catching what he deems “misinformation” and works with them to go “into more detail” in a meeting rather than in writing, likely to avoid discovery such as this.
He also held a meeting with Twitter employees about the same. He also met with Google and Youtube to discuss how the White House could “Partner” in product work…..Not OK.
Flaherty was the only one who attended all meetings. There wasn’t a single social media rep they could get information from about all of them, or any lower level staffer that has been identified who knows about all of them. Still, the Plaintiffs don’t know if one exists because the Biden Admin has refused to let them ask. Therefore, they are asking the judge to order written discovery of Flaherty so that he can inform them of other people. They are going to have to rat on their friends.
They then go into the reasons why Slavitt isn’t a suitable replacement because he was gone for much of the time, and these issues continue to this day. Slavitt was responsible for the deplatforming of Alex Berenson and was independently deeply involved in the censorship enterprise, which is why Plaintiffs sought to question him IN ADDITION to Flaherty.
And here is where I smiled. Because if Flaherty doesn’t adequately respond to discovery, it will warrant his deposition. So either he ponies up written responses of value, or plaintiffs will have no source for the information they seek WITHOUT in-person deposition.
Now we move on to detail on Easterly from CISA. Plaintiffs want to depose TWO people in her place if they can’t depose her, and CISA wont be too happy about that, but they asked for it. First they want Brian Scully, who heads up CISA’s “so called Mis-Dis-Malinformation team.
”Plaintiffs sought Easterly’s deposition because (among other reasons) she participates in and oversees at least five series of recurring meetings about content modulation with social-media companies, and because she plays a key role as the coordinator of joint censorship efforts between government entities and social-media companies”
Looks like Scully may be better than Easterly, IMO
“To fill this censorship void, a group of federal officials—CISA interns—approached the Stanford Internet Observatory, “and, in consultation with CISA and other stakeholders, a coalition was assembled with like-minded partner institutions.”
A familiar cast of Deep State characters, The Atlantic Council, State Department, Marine Corps, and US Mission to NATO. Understand, these are the people sitting on a “help desk” watching what you say.
“According to Alex Stamos, the Director of the Stanford Internet Observatory who oversees EIP activities, there are “two steps” in EIP’s approach to “effectively pushing platforms to do stuff”: “get good [censorship] policies, and then say ‘this is how [given content] is violating [those policies].’”
Understand, in the Defendants motion to dismiss this case, they argue that the government isn’t FORCING or PRESSURING these companies to censor, only merely making SUGGESTIONS. The problem is that these people were so brazen in their public discussion of what they were doing, it belies credulity. These few short paragraphs debunk their argument, and this is nothing.
He also discusses how successful they’ve been in logging tickets etc. This is abhorrent practice that shouldn’t be tolerated. “Between September 3 and November 19, 2020, EIP “processed 639 in-scope tickets,” …. Thirty-five percent “of the URLs [EIP] shared with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube were either labeled, removed, or soft blocked.” A screenshot of an example ticket shows an online chat-style discussion among an “EIP member,” a “Government partner,” and a “Platform partner” about claims that had been assessed and tagged “for action.”
From the filing: Summing up, the EIP was originated by the federal government (CISA), is partially funded by the federal Government, and holds itself out as a joint federal-private enterprise with a twofold purpose: (1) to pressure social-media platforms to adopt more restrictive content-modulation policies, and (2) to pressure the platforms to enforce those policies against speech that the EIP’s constituents (including federal officials) disfavor.
“Federal officials at CISA and the State Department directly participate in EIP’s operations by submitting “tickets” to demand censorship of speakers and content on social media. EIP boasts that it procured the censorship of nearly 22 million Tweets during the 2020 election cycle alone, id. at 183, to say nothing of other social-media platforms like Facebook. And EIP boasts that it is continuing its operations today.”
They mention Plaintiff Gateway Pundit 49 times, when bragging they censored.
They really need Easterly, because only she attended every weekly meeting in these VERY IMPORTANT FIVE CATEGORIES.
1. “Election Security and Resilience” (“ESR”) subdivision
2. CISA and Facebook planning and setting the agenda for the ESR subdivision meetings
3. CISA’s “Cybersecurity Advisory Committee” (“CSAC”)
4. CSAC’s Subcommittee for “Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Misinformation and Disinformation” (“MDM Subcommittee”)
5. Election Infrastructure Subsector Government CoordinatingCouncil (EIS-GCC) and Election Infrastructure Subsector Coordinating Council (EI-SCC) Joint MDM Working Group.
This is your government, folks. Transparent to no one but themselves, ruling over thee from their ivory towers…..
Until now, it seems.
Remember the “Disinformation Governance Board?” It grew out of this. Easterly was having a hard time managing all of the censorship requests flooding in from everywhere. The social media companies were having a hard time with it too. So, they wanted this board so they could better administer what they were ALREADY DOING, and also make it “acceptable” to do it.
That board was nothing more than a cover for more funding and better censorship organization.
This is abhorrent and un-American. It needs to stop yesterday, Good God.
Almost there, folks. We are on to Murthy, who they really want to depose. Strong language here:
“Exceptional circumstances exist to justify Murthy’s deposition because he has firsthand knowledge of information that is crucial to Plaintiffs’ claims and that is not reasonably available through alternative means. The Court should enter an order articulating the sound factual basis for its conclusion that Murthy’s deposition is justified given the circumstances”
“Plaintiffs do not know and have no way of ascertaining the identities of any of the meetings’ participants other than Murthy. Thus, Plaintiffs cannot access the crucial information they seek from an alternative source or in an alternative form. This alone is a sufficient justification for deposing Murthy notwithstanding his high-ranking status.”
Murthy had accused Facebook of “killing people” by not more stringently censoring what they consider “coronavirus misinformation”
(Beanz note: I like to call that LIFESAVING TRUTH, but I digress)
“President Biden had (also) accused Facebook of exactly that “by allowing disinformation about the coronavirus vaccine to spread online,” Kanno-Youngs, “They’re Killing People”.
Facebook didn’t like the tone, and scolded them.
And, of course, Facebook acquiesced.
A subsequent email from Clegg began, “Thanks again for taking the time to meet earlier today.” Doc. 86-5, at 15. Clegg proceeded to summarize the steps Facebook was taking “to adjust policies on what we are removing with respect to misinformation,” including deplatforming the “disinfo dozen” and “expand[ing] the group of false claims that we remove.”
“The Disinfo dozen” were a group of journalists and doctors singled out for trying to save lives. Terrible the way they were targeted by name. Justice for the brave doctors and media who did something to save people when our Surgeon General was doing the opposite.
Clegg continued: “We hear your call for us to do more and, as I said on the call, we’re committed to working together . . . . You have identified 4 specific recommendations for improvement and we want to make sure to keep you informed of our work on each.”
“The Virality Project’s retrospective report indicates that it “built strong ties with several federal government agencies, most notably the Office of the Surgeon General (OSG) and the CDC,” and the only official that it mentions in connection with its ties to the OSG is Murthy himself. The Virality Project employs substantially the same “ticketing” process as the EIP to identify perceived misinformation, loop in “external stakeholders” including government officials, and “refer” the disfavored content to social-media companies for “action,” that is, censorship.
“Needless to say, the direct involvement of the U.S. Surgeon General in this federal-private censorship project to suppress dissenting views about COVID-19 on social media raises questions of grave First Amendment concern. Uncovering the extent of Murthy’s involvement in the Virality Project is crucial to Plaintiffs’ claims. But Murthy’s responses to Plaintiffs’ written discovery requests do not shed any light on this involvement”
And now moving on to Psaki, who has been the subject of a lot of my coverage on this case lately. Believe it or not, this is one of the more frustrating ones in my opinion.
As Plaintiffs say, Defendants are playing a game of “heads I win; tails you lose”. When Plaintiffs tried to get information from elsewhere the government claimed it didn’t know because she didn’t work there anymore, and now are trying to say SHE can’t answer either.
Just some of her nonsense (I have discussed this previously).
And here are the threats they won’t be able to get past in their motion to dismiss. They REALLY DO NOT want her to testify.
And here they detail the threat– this is KEY.
If they are threatening social media companies, it isn’t just “guidance” and “suggestion” it’s coercion using government threat of action, and that makes this case wholly actionable.
The media also took that from the statement, as they followed up with a question and Psaki gave here typical “Peppermint Commie” answer. The government is trying to weasel its way out of things. Plaintiffs have already inquired with the government for other sources of information, and have gotten literally nothing. The reason, IMO, is because this is one of the major lynchpins of this case. By trying to skirt the question and say they are “unaware” they are making the deposition of Psaki literally critical. They’ve shot themselves in the foot here.
One last part here on pausing the discovery while the motion to dismiss is considered, and it’s really a super strong argument.
Defendants delayed filing, and have participated so far without trying to stop anything. When they petitioned the 5th circuit, they only challenged the decision on the depositions, not any expedited discovery etc. Every single day this goes on, we suffer irreparable harm. They give examples of recent actions that platforms have been taking, including on childhood vaccination.
On October 31, 2022, The Intercept reported that it had obtained a leaked “draft copy of DHS’s Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, DHS’s capstone report outlining the department’s strategy and priorities in the coming years,” which indicated that “[DHS] plans to target ‘inaccurate information’ on a wide range of topics, including ‘the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.
It’s a government gone rogue, kids, with no sign of stopping and an ever-broadening range of “disfavored” thoughts to censor. When will it end?
I think it will end with this judge, in this case. But only time will tell.
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