By Mary Beth Pfeiffer

On Tuesday, March 1, 2022, I received an email from Twitter. It seems I had violated policy “on spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”

Without ceremony or meaningful due process, Twitter suspended my account, stripped me of 37,000 followers, and, just like that, silenced me.

I will not go quietly. For what it is worth, I will have the last word.

My offending tweet said, simply, “Pharma is afraid of ivermectin. It should be.”

I then recommended, and linked to, an article by Dr. Steven Phillips, which I said was on “the evidence in favor of IVM—from Covid to Cancer. It explains a lot.”

Phillips’ well-researched piece laid out the case for ivermectin, much as I had in more than two dozen articles since Oct. 1, 2020. My favorite headline, which Twitter also called misinformation: “Not Using Ivermectin, One Year In, Is Unethical And Immoral.” That time, the lockout was temporary. Now, it’s for good.

Pharma is afraid of ivermectin, and Twitter is afraid of Mary Beth Pfeiffer saying so. She received this message from Twitter right before they banned her for life.

My view of the journalist’s job is to contribute to the slow, steady, and reliable process of social reform, one that enlightens the electorate and prods regulators. I have succeeded in doing this before, in articles about torturous conditions in solitary confinement units in New York, for example.

Wouldn’t government, media, and the public want to know, as my Twitter profile put it, “Ivermectin could end this”? Wouldn’t this message be readily embraced? How naïve I was.

Every American should be angry at how speech is suffering death by a thousand cuts, as I have reported before. I’m just the latest on a long list of people and groups—including expert scientists, physicians, and analysts—who have been purged from Twitter, censored and erased by the thousands from Facebook, and silenced on LinkedIn.

Their crime was to disagree with mainstream covid thought, using data and experience to bolster their views. The whole idea of protecting speech is to curb the long arm of central authority from controlling discourse and thought. Yet it is doing just that.

I am disturbed—livid also applies—at the way in which government and media are closely and tightly controlling scientific debate. If you believe, as I do, that science supports the use of inexpensive generic drugs, or that it suggests vaccines fail and even cause harm, you have a target on your back.

From the get-go, bucking the covid narrative means being diminished with political pejoratives. If you push back against the narrative too loud or too long, the gatekeepers of social media truth tell you: “Shut up.”

That is the long-employed tool of authoritarian societies. It scares me to see it used in America.

In this scheme, Twitter accounts like mine are small potatoes. Far more sinister is the trend to discredit, derail, or outright retract scientific articles, like the one by Dr. Pierre Kory and four colleagues on an ICU regimen that successfully used ivermectin. A Mexico City study that showed ivermectin distribution prevented covid was also banned—after 11,000 downloads.

To Dr. Kory, the leading ivermectin proponent, this pushback is about money. “Never has a single generic drug posed as large a threat to industry profit nor have they ever committed such openly brazen and widespread criminalities using unprecedented levels of informational control,”he wrote on substack. 

These strong-arm tactics don’t use billy clubs and bullets. But they nonetheless have cost lives that ivermectin and other inexpensive and widely available treatments—hydroxychloroquine, fluvoxamine—could have saved.

This chilling of speech has also led to self-censorship by outside-the-mainstream rabble-rousers like me. Ivermectin becomes the “I word.” The word “vaccine” is sprinkled with hieroglyphics. Like people in despotic countries, we learn how to dodge authorities through shared and personal experience. 

Months ago, I tweeted the non-conforming words “ivermectin works” in the midst of a tweet storm I orchestrated with a British compatriot. Our goal was to get ivermectin to trend on Twitter, and we succeeded, at least in France. I, meantime, withstood eight days of Twitter lockout until I agreed to take the tweet down.

In eighteen months of ivermectin reporting, I interviewed patients who, after taking the drug, came back from severe covid, some miraculously; doctors who reported consistent stories of success; and analysts who saw promise in the literature and trends of ivermectin.

I do, too.

@Covid19Crusher had nearly 100,000 Twitter followers before banishment. Daily scrutinizers of covid data, repeatedly noting high rates of covid infections in highly vaccinated countries was enough to send them to Twitter heaven.

For his article, Phillips, a Connecticut physician I know through my reporting on Lyme disease, listed the attributes of this anti-parasitic drug that incidentally is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines and won its developers the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2015.

He cited science articles on its potential to fight cancer and make chemotherapy drugs less resistant. He found evidence in the literature of its potential to repair cells damaged by multiple sclerosis and to regrow peripheral nerves. He linked to 150 articles that overwhelmingly found it effective for covid. He quoted a long-standing article in the scientific literature that found ivermectin to be “astonishingly safe for human use.”

Now contrast ivermectin’s well-established record of safety with government pronouncements on its use for covid.

“Using the Drug Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 can be dangerous and even lethal,” warned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a tweet last August prompted by an alleged flood of ivermectin calls to poison control centers. Using freedom-of-information laws, my colleague, Linda Bonvie, and I found that the ensuing firestorm of media coverage stemmed from just four calls to the Mississippi Poison Control Center. The New York Times and Washington Post printed corrections as a result, but it mattered little. The “horse paste” dye was cast.

These government lies, a term I dislike using, are only a small part of the skewed official portrait of covid, which dismisses scores of  favorable ivermectin studies as flawed, small, and untrustworthy. And yet, on the basis of one unpublished study, covid czar Anthony Fauci embraced the potentially toxic and ineffective drug remdesivir in April 2020. “The standard of care,” he called this failed Ebola drug.

No matter that The Lancet and WHO, among others, have declared remdesivir worthless. Virtually every ICU patient in America gets the patented drug, at $3,000 a pop, excluding the cost of hospital care. Patient families report vigorously fighting against its use for their loved ones, often repeatedly and sometimes to no avail. I have seen no serious media pushback on remdesivir.

Yet a recent report in the the Journal of the American Medical Association was widely covered precisely because it purported to show that ivermectin failed to prevent progression of covid to severe disease. The article could have been framed far differently, typical of how anti-IVM papers find homes while those in favor languish. How? Just three patients died in the group that received ivermectin; ten died in the comparative group. Talk about burying the lede.

In the current milieu there is only one way to read modern ivermectin literature. We cannot, must not, say it works out loud. We also must not say that vaccines might possibly be causing serious heart damage, as Peter McCullough and Jessica Rose did in their retracted article.

Ironically, my current pinned tweet was on the suspension of an anonymous account called @Covid19Crusher with nearly 100,000 followers. I adored this account and learned a lot from its daily stream of covid scientific scrutiny. It was measured, insightful, and analytical. Just before banishment, the account had frequently noted high rates of covid infections in highly vaccinated countries. I suspected that’s all it took.

Twitter may disagree with Covid19Crusher, Drs. Robert Malone and Syed Haider, and myriad others who have been suspended. That is their right. But they, and the powers they are beholden to, should allow free speech to do what it does.

Let us share information. Let us disagree and debate. Let truth rise in a fair fight.

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