Just weeks after ending the COVID-19 national and public health emergencies and the resignation of COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha, the White House launched its Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy (OPPR).
Retired Major General Paul Friedrichs, a military combat surgeon, will lead the office, the White House said.
According to the White House, the OPPR will be “a permanent office in the Executive Office of the President (EOP) charged with leading, coordinating, and implementing actions related to preparedness for, and response to, known and unknown biological threats or pathogens that could lead to a pandemic or to significant public health-related disruptions in the United States.”
The OPPR will take over the duties of President Biden’s COVID-19 and monkeypox response teams, including “ongoing work to address potential public health outbreaks and threats from COVID-19, Mpox, polio, avian and human influenza, and RSV [respiratory syncytial virus],” the announcement stated.
The OPPR also will oversee efforts to “develop, manufacture, and procure the next generation of medical countermeasures, including leveraging emerging technologies and working with HHS [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] on next generation vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 and other public health threats.”
According to The New York Times, Friedrichs, set to take office Aug. 7, will have the authority to “oversee domestic biosecurity preparedness.” He will work on the development of next-generation vaccines, ensure adequate supplies in the Strategic National Stockpile and “ramp up surveillance to monitor for new biological threats.”
Several medical, biosecurity and civil liberties experts questioned the selection of a career military and biosecurity individual to head a new office charged with pandemic preparedness.
They also told The Defender they saw parallels between the White House’s establishment of the OPPR and ongoing United Nations (U.N.) efforts to draft a global declaration on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (PPPR).
‘Is OPPR a health program or a military program?’
Friedrichs, a board-certified physician, is currently a special assistant to the president and senior director for Global Health Security and Biodefense at the National Security Council.
He previously served as joint staff surgeon at the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and as medical adviser to the Pentagon’s COVID-19 task force.
Throughout his career, the White House said, Friedrichs worked closely with federal, state, tribal, local and territorial government partners, as well as industry and academic counterparts.
According to the White House:
“As the United States’ representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Committee of Military Medical Chiefs, he worked closely with many of America’s closest allies and partners throughout the pandemic and in developing medical support to the Ukrainian military.”
In his previous roles at the National Security Council and DOD, Friedrichs was a strong proponent of COVID-19 vaccines and countermeasures.
The Times reported that, in a February speech, Friedrichs said, “The military health system became the pinch-hitter that stepped in to help our civilian partners as we collectively struggled to work through that pandemic.”
In a February 2022 podcast, Friedrichs praised the COVID-19 vaccines and also appeared to blame those who were unvaccinated for placing “stress on our system.”
And in remarks shared in January 2022 with the Association of the United States Army, Friedrichs asked military families to continue holding off on gatherings so that service members are “able to do the things that our nation depends on them to do.”
Does Friedrichs’ appointment signal more vaccine mandates?
Describing Friedrichs’ appointment as “a joke and a fraud,” Francis Boyle, J.D., Ph.D., a bioweapons expert and professor of international law at the University of Illinois who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, told The Defender:
“DOD has routinely enforced experimental medical vaccines on U.S. Armed Forces, in gross violation of the Nuremberg Code on Medical Experimentation — that is, a Nuremberg crime against humanity — from today’s COVID-19 ‘vaccines’ and going all the way back in recent history to the ‘vaccines’ that produced Gulf War sickness starting in 1990-1991, when Friedrichs was a U.S. Military medical doctor.
“Of 500,000 U.S. troops inoculated, 11,000 died and 100,000 were disabled. I do not recall that Friedrichs was among the handful of courageous and principled military medical doctors who refused, as a matter of principle, to inflict Nuremberg crimes on our own troops. Did he? That needs to be investigated.”
Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D., author of “Google Archipelago: The Digital Gulag and the Simulation of Freedom,” said the selection of Friedrichs, who supported military vaccine mandates, may signal similar future mandates for the general public.
“We should not forget that the DOD mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for service members,” Rectenwald said. “The OPPR will mandate vaccines for the nation.”
And writing on her blog, Dr. Meryl Nass, an internist, biological warfare epidemiologist and member of the Children’s Health Defense scientific advisory committee, questioned if the OPPR plans “to use the military’s OTA [other transaction] authority again to bypass the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] and vaccinate us with untested junk that turned out to be poison, like it did for COVID.”
Is OPPR “a health program or a military program?” Nass wrote.
Nass told The Defender that if the main purpose of the OPPR was to respond to pandemics and pandemic threats, an epidemiologist or infectious disease doctor would have been tapped to head the office instead of a military general.
Similarly, Dr. David Bell, a public health physician, biotech consultant and former director of Global Health Technologies at Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund, told The Defender:
“COVID-19 demonstrated that the sort of interventions envisioned by the pandemic preparedness lobby such as lockdowns and coerced mass vaccination, have poor public health outcomes.
“Public health should be concentrated on informing the public to make personal decisions about health, rather than the population-control approaches we saw for COVID-19 that are most profitable to the corporate world. We must hope this new health bureaucracy is more independent of vested interests, and will take an evidence-based approach.”
Nass suggested that Friedrich’s selection belies a broadly encompassing biosecurity agenda, which would include censorship of non-establishment medical information, surveillance and mass, or mandatory, vaccination, tied to U.N. and World Health Organization (WHO) “pandemic preparedness and response” efforts.
A ‘WHO globalist worldwide medical and scientific police state’ here in the U.S.?
Other experts also noted the similarities between the name of the OPPR, the U.N.’s draft PPPR and a similar recent agreement among WHO member states.
Still in “zero draft” form, the PPPR is scheduled to be discussed by the U.N. General Assembly in September 2023. It would also be tied to the WHO’s proposed pandemic treaty and amendments to the International Health Regulations.
Similarly, a June 28 document from the WHO said, “Member States … have agreed to a global process to draft and negotiate a convention, agreement or other international instrument under the Constitution of the World Health Organization to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.”
And a separate but similar set of proposals — part of the U.N.’s “Pact for the Future” and “Our Common Agenda” — would give the U.N. secretary-general unprecedented emergency powers not only for pandemics but seemingly for an unlimited range of other potential crises. The U.N. will discuss these proposals in September 2024.
Boyle told The Defender the OPPR is “obviously being coordinated with the U.N. [and] the Biden administration to establish the effective functioning of a WHO globalist worldwide medical and scientific police state here in the United States.”
“You need the mentality of an unprincipled military medical major general to do that,” Boyle said. “All the trains will run on time.”
Rectenwald drew similar connections, telling The Defender the OPPR and Friedrichs’ selection:
“Signifies the militarization of pandemic responses in the U.S., in line with the ‘global governance’ measures outlined by the U.N.’s Pandemic Preparedness, Prevention and Response declaration.
“This new wing of the executive branch is the means by which this ‘global governance’ (read: one-world totalitarian system) is being introduced to the U.S., using pandemic preparedness as the pretext.”
Notably, proposals for a government “pandemic preparedness” office date at least as far back as October 2020, when the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) issued an extensive set of recommendations calling upon the U.S. government to “adopt a robust strategy for domestic and global pandemic preparedness.”
The report recommended that the U.S. “finally treat pandemics as a serious national security threat, translating its rhetorical support for pandemic preparedness into concrete action.”
According to the CFR, this would entail “bolstering the White House’s leadership role in preparing for and responding to pandemics, improving congressional input into and oversight over executive branch efforts, reforming the CDC so that it can perform more effectively, and clarifying the often confused division of labor across federal, state, and local governments in pandemic preparedness and response.”
“The president should designate a focal point within the White House for global health security, including pandemic preparedness and response,” the report added. “This office would have lead responsibility for coordinating the multiple federal departments and agencies in anticipating, preventing, and responding quickly to major disease outbreaks.”
OPPR reports to Congress required only every 5 years, not annually
The establishment of the OPPR resulted from the passage of the PREVENT Pandemics Act in December 2022.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and the now-retired Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), passed as part of an omnibus spending bill, contained a requirement for the creation of a White House pandemic preparedness and response office.
Though the bill was passed in December 2022, the White House was unable to immediately establish a pandemic preparedness office and name a director.
A Politico report in May said these efforts were “hindered by concerns over whether [the office] will have the influence within the administration and the financial resources needed to fulfill its broad mission — especially as COVID plummets down the list of political priorities.”
According to the White House announcement, OPPR will “Develop and provide periodic reports to Congress” as required by law, including drafting and delivering to Congress “a biennial Preparedness Review and Report and Preparedness Outlook Report every five years.”
On her blog, Nass wrote, “Instead of the more customary yearly reports, the reporting to Congress is being delayed considerably, perhaps until after many of us have died from the countermeasures — a great way to evade oversight.”
In a separate blog post, Nass also observed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requested $20 billion for “pandemic preparedness” in its fiscal year 2024 budget.
Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D., based in Athens, Greece, is a senior reporter for The Defender and part of the rotation of hosts for CHD.TV's "Good Morning CHD."
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