The Vice-President of this P.R. company rather forcefully informed us that SIGA Technologies had no involvement with vaccines, and that our reporting of such a false statement was potentially "libelous." They demanded we retract parts of our original story to eliminate any idea that SIGA was involved in vaccines in any way.
That's funny, I thought to myself, because in researching the story, I remember very clearly reading the title of this company's own home page, which reads, exactly:
Smallpox Antiviral, Drug Development and Vaccine Development - SIGA Human BioArmor
This is found in the title tag of their home page, www.Siga.com -- or at least it was as of this writing. (They will likely change the title as soon as this story hits the 'net, but I saved a copy for safekeeping.)
I don't know about you, but when I read the title of some company's web page, and it says, "Vaccine Development" in plain English, I sort of figure the company must be involved in -- guess what? -- vaccine development!
But no, I was told. That's completely wrong. SIGA Technologies had nothing to do with vaccine development. They only make anti-virals, we were told. Nothing to do with vaccines. Nothing. Nada.
So I took a moment to search a little deeper into their home page, and within less than five seconds, I found these keywords in their meta keywords tag:
Smallpox Antiviral, Smallpox Drug Development, Smallpox Vaccine Development, Infectious Disease Development, Biological Warfare Terrorism... [and so on]
Now, maybe I'm just seeing things because I haven't yet been vaccinated against H1N1, so perhaps I'm suffering from double vision or something, but when I see "Smallpox Vaccine Development" in a company's home page title tags, I sort of figure that company is somehow involved in -- wait for it -- smallpox vaccine development!
But no. The P.R. consultant for this company said I was totally off base, and that they had nothing whatsoever to do with vaccine development. The exact quote we were given on the phone was, "SIGA Technologies has nothing to do with vaccines..."
Well, maybe not, except for the fact that they claim to develop them right on their home page.
Crowdsourcing more research
In any case, I wasn't waiting around for these people to get their story straight, so I went to my Facebook page where really cool NaturalNews fans hang out and discuss important subjects, and I posed this question to them: "Hey, this company SIGA is claiming they have nothing to do with vaccines. Can you find any additional documents demonstrating they do?"
This "homework assignment" was deemed altogether too easy for the NaturalNews Facebook crowd. It took them mere minutes to come up with all sorts of additional documents proving beyond all doubt SIGA Technologies' involvement in vaccine development.
For example, they found this description of SIGA Technologies on Hoovers.com , a Dunn & Bradstreet company, which says: (emphasis added)
"SIGA Technologies is trying to put itself on the front lines of US biodefense efforts. The drug company has a number of development programs for vaccines, antivirals, and antibiotics for drug resistant infections; however, its main focus is on vaccines for bio-defense. The company's smallpox vaccine ST-246, which is intended both to prevent and treat the disease, has received Fast Track and Orphan Drug designations from the FDA. SIGA is also developing vaccines for use against hemorrhagic fevers and other infectious diseases and biothreats."
NaturalNews Facebook team members also discovered this Yahoo Finance link which describes SIGA Technologies as "...a biotechnology company [that] engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of anti-infectives, antibiotics, and vaccines for the prevention and treatment of serious infectious diseases."
Continuing with the financial research, this company profile at Morningstar.com (one of the leading financial ratings companies) describes SIGA Technologies as "...developing vaccines that may prevent strep throat and periodontal disease."
Our Facebook group also found this quote from Bloomberg.com, which describes SIGA as follows:
"SIGA Technologies, Inc. discovers and develops vaccines and antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of infectious diseases.
Once again, I don't know about you, but when I read that a company "develops vaccines and antibiotics," I sort of figure that those words mean... well, the company develops vaccines and antibiotics. The point of using words, after all, is that they carry some sort of consistent meaning so that when person A says "vaccines" then person B can magically hear "vaccines" and understand what's trying to be communicated.
But maybe SIGA operates in an alternate universe where the word "vaccines" doesn't mean "vaccines" and instead means the opposite of vaccines. Sort of like vaccine antimatter.
Maybe they're developing vaccines in conjunction with the physicists at the Large Hadron Collider, accelerating and smashing vaccine materials in order to find Dark Matter Vaccines that don't exist, and that's what they were really talking about. So when their P.R. person said they were NOT developing vaccines, maybe she really meant they were developing "NOT vaccines." (Get it? Like antimatter vaccines...)
It's tricky to deconstruct their claims, actually. As a bit of a linguist myself, I like to think that words convey fairly consistent meaning, but this SIGA public relations rep was essentially telling me that "vaccine development" doesn't really mean vaccine development. It's difficult to talk to people when they keep changing the definitions of the words they use.
Vaccines, vaccines and more vaccines
About this time, the research results from the Facebook group really started to pour in (yes, what we've printed above is just a fraction of the links we received from Facebook members).
We received these links about SIGA Pharmaceuticals being involved in vaccine patents with the U.S. Army (http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-53169654...), and how they developed a cancer vaccine (http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-53023069...), and how they have an amazing new vaccine delivery system .The headline of that story is, "SIGA Technologies Reports Successful Trials for Vaccine Delivery System."
SIGA even received a $3 million research grant from the NIH just two months ago (http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/news.h...). This award is described with the news headline, "Company to Research ST-246 as a Treatment for Adverse Reaction to Smallpox Vaccine." That announcement goes on to describe how ST-246 is used "as an adjunct to the current smallpox vaccine for prevention of smallpox vaccine-related adverse events."
Another press release from 2003 declares, "SIGA Technologies, Inc. Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Assets of Plexus Vaccine Inc." This indicates, of course, that SIGA acquired assets of a vaccine company, and those assets -- I'm just taking a wild guess here -- probably have something to do with vaccines.
A search on SIGA Technologies' corporate officers reveals that the company's Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Dennis E. Hruby, "...specializes in virology and cell biology research, and the use of viral and bacterial vectors to produce recombinant vaccines."
Here's an announcement from 2004, bragging about how high SIGA's stock price has surged due to its smallpox vaccine. From the press release: "The stock of SIGA Technologies Inc. soared Monday after the biotechnology company reported favorable results for a trial of its smallpox vaccine on mice." (http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary...)
That same year, a Marketwatch.com article announces that "Shares of SIGA Technologies rose more than 7 percent... The company said it was named as the prime contractor by the U.S. Air Force to create systems to develop vaccines and therapeutics..."
And then there's SIGA's patent. As this BusinessWire story announces [emphasis added], "SIGA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today that a United States patent covering its strep throat vaccine technology has been granted to The Rockefeller University. SIGA is the exclusive licensee to the patent."
The actual patent text from 2001 (click here to read) cites SIGA Vice President Dennis E. Hruby as one of the inventors. It includes 18 mentions of the word "vaccine" and is all about vaccine-related technologies and processes.
As you can see for yourself -- and there's much more to come, below -- for SIGA to claim they don't have anything to do with vaccines is sort of like PepsiCo claiming they don't have anything to do with soft drinks.
SIGA admits to vaccine development in SEC filing
It gets even better. We've barely scratched the surface of all the fascinating documents to be found on SIGA Technologies and their vaccine research project.
Here's SIGA's own 2003 filing with the SEC:
In this document, they admit in plain English:
"SIGA is a development stage biotechnology company incorporated in Delaware on December 9, 1996. We aim to discover, develop and commercialize vaccines, antibiotics and novel anti-infectives for serious infectious diseases. Our lead vaccine candidate is for the prevention of group A streptococcal pharyngitis or "strep throat." We are developing a technology for the mucosal delivery of our vaccines which may allow those vaccines to activate the immune system at the mucus lined surfaces of the body..."
And then, in another section entitled, "Vaccine Technologies: Mucosal Immunity and Vaccine Delivery," SIGA Technologies goes on to explain:
"Our vaccine candidates use genetically engineered commensals to deliver antigens for a variety of pathogens to the mucosal immune system... Our commensal vaccine candidates use Gram-positive bacteria... We believe that mucosal vaccines developed using our proprietary commensal delivery technology could provide a number of advantages..."
I won't bore you with all the sentences in which SIGA Technologies discusses vaccines in their 2003 SEC filing document. Suffice it to say that I counted the number of times the word "vaccine" appears in the document, and it comes to a grand total of 105.
And just in case you think this particular document is some sort of fluke (or was planted there by the SEC in a conspiracy to fool the world into mistakenly thinking SIGA is involved in vaccine development), here's another SEC filing that includes this interesting sentence:
"SIGA Technologies, Inc. is a development stage company with interests in biotechnology and the Internet. Siga Research Labs, (SRL), our biotechnology division, is focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of vaccines, antibiotics and novel anti-infectives for serious infectious diseases. SRL's lead vaccine candidate is for the prevention of group A streptococcal pharyngitis or 'strep throat.'"
If you want more examples (believe me, there are hundreds), here's a page from EvaluatePharma.com (a research site for the biotech sector) which details SIGA's financials for 2006, 2007 and 2008, then goes on to describe SIGA Technologies as having a "Chlamydia Trachomatis Vaccine Program", a "Periodontal Vaccine", a "Smallpox Vaccine Program" and a "Strep Throat Vaccine."
Again and again... vaccines!
The funny thing is that these published news stories, press releases, research documents and SEC filings all have two words in common: SIGA and Vaccines. There's that pesky word again... vaccines. It just won't go away when you're researching SIGA. In fact, it strangely shows up with a very high frequency for a company that so adamantly claims to have nothing at all to do with vaccines.
Their denials just boggle the mind. It sort of reminds me of President Clinton's slicing and dicing of the English language in the midst of the Lewinsky saga when he actually questioned what the meaning of the word "is" was. (Classic, huh? Gotta hand it to him...)
So we asked the P.R. rep about this, and she actually tells us -- get this -- that "There is no SIGA Pharmaceuticals... only SIGA Technologies!"
Sort of like "there is no spoon" from The Matrix. That's when I pointed out this link that explains SIGA Pharmaceuticals changed their name to SIGA Technologies:
The headline reads, "SIGA Pharmaceuticals Changes Name to SIGA Technologies."
It's fairly straightforward. Not much wiggle room in that statement.
The P.R. rep kept talking. She said that SIGA underwent a management change way back in 2001 and since then they haven't been involved in vaccines.
Plain English translation
Got that? No vaccines since 2001. So why, then, do we find all these articles from 2003 and 2004 talking about vaccines? Case in point: An article in 2003 declares, "SIGA Technologies, Inc. Announces Positive Results in Safe Smallpox Vaccine Development."
The SEC document cited above , which says, " We aim to discover, develop and commercialize vaccines, antibiotics and novel anti-infectives for serious infectious diseases. Our lead vaccine candidate is for the prevention of group A streptococcal pharyngitis..." was filed in 2003!
Importantly, note that these documents are all written in plain English. The words "Smallpox Vaccine Development" actually mean in English, believe it or not, "Smallpox Vaccine Development."
I know this for a fact because I went to the Google translation tool and chose an English-to-English translation, then pasted in the words "Smallpox Vaccine Development."
Astoundingly, the translation results came back as "Smallpox Vaccine Development."
This same Google tool also verifies that the word "vaccines" translates to, exactly, "vaccines."
At one point, we were so amazed by the insistent denials from SIGA's public relations firm that we just had to come out and ask the obvious question: "Do you categorically deny that SIGA Technologies has no involvement with vaccines?"
Their answer? They hung up on us.
Strange matter and not-so-clever denials
I'm not sure if the hanging up part was a yes or a no. In fact, I'm not even sure the P.R. rep we were talking to has any idea what their client actually does. It's one thing to say, "Well, we disagree with your article and we'd like to submit a rebuttal" or something along those lines (which we have published from time to time, depending on the request), but it seems completely outlandish out to call us up and claim the company in question has nothing whatsoever to do with vaccines when "vaccine development" is right there on the home page, in perhaps the most important piece of text on any home page -- the title!
The whole thing really left me wondering: What's the real story here? Why would they lie about this?
Seriously. What's so important about distancing themselves from the vaccine projects they have obviously been involved with that they would be so insistent in their denials?
It reminds me of a child who just stole cookies out of the cookie jar, and you spot them in the kitchen with their hands behind their back and cookie crumbs on their lips, and you ask, "Have you been eating cookies?" And they say, "No. Not me." So you ask, "Do you know why the cookies are missing from the cookie jar?" and they answer, with an expression of sudden revelation, "Maybe someone took them!"
Let's imagine for a moment that SIGA Technologies doesn't research vaccines. But then why would they lie on their home page and say they do? Why would they file a report with the SEC claiming they're developing vaccines? Why would press releases, announcements and articles across the 'net explain that SIGA was involved in vaccine patents, vaccine testing, vaccine company acquisitions, vaccine research and vaccine technologies?
Here's an even better question: Why make a story out of a non-story by issuing a thinly-veiled denial that can be proven wrong in 8 minutes searching around on Google? I really had nothing more to write about SIGA Technologies until this denial came our way. It was the denial that made the story. Without the bizarre denial... no story!
In my years as NaturalNews editor, I've received some whacky phone calls. I've been threatened with lawsuits and attacked by hackers. I was even impersonated once by some goon trying to break into the NaturalNews offices. But I've never had a company's P.R. firm call me up and point blank lie to my face with such a flimsy, hilarious lie.
SIGA Technologies needs to get their story straight. If they really have absolutely nothing to do with vaccines, why wouldn't they just email us a statement containing these 8 simple words: "We categorically deny any involvement with vaccines or vaccine technologies." (The mathematically inclined among you will notice there are actually ten words in that sentence. But out of respect to SIGA Technologies, we're not counting "vaccine" or "vaccines.")
I sent them an email, by the way, asking these three simple questions:
1) Will you categorically deny any involvement with vaccines?
2) If so, when did SIGA's involvement with vaccines end?
3) Does SIGA have any plans to be involved with vaccines in the future?
The answer to these three questions? Nothing. Zip. Nada.
This is how the vaccine industry works, by the way: When anyone starts to ask questions, just shut them up and cut off all communication. If there's one thing I've learned in my years as a natural health journalist, it's that asking questions about vaccines is a dangerous business. There are simply too many secrets in the vaccine industry that certain companies don't want made public.
But that's my job: To ask questions. To think critically. To demand some answers on behalf of NaturalNews readers. And to ask for help from the NaturalNews Facebook crowdsourcing team, too, because they're great at coming up with amazing information.
Special thanks go to Brad, Carmine, Cassandra, Elaina, Lynnea, Patricia, Stephen, Josephine, Vanessa and especially Jennifer Lewis , who did such an amazing job that she should probably be working as an online private investigator.
By the way, as a matter of due diligence, NaturalNews made one more phone call to SIGA Technologies in an attempt to get clarification on these questions. A NaturalNews reporter called SIGA, identified herself as a NaturalNews reporter, and asked the phone receptionist if we could speak to someone about SIGA's vaccine development.
We were told -- get this -- that we could talk to their "investor relations" people. Yep... the very same people who had already hung up on us once before.
The real story
This crowdsourcing project shows the power of individual action to make a difference. Without the help of our Facebook fans, this article wouldn't have been possible. Thank you all for your amazing help! And keep up the awesome work to expose the blatant lies of pharmaceutical and vaccine companies.
The real story here, by the way, is how a big public vaccine company with Dr. Mehmet Oz on the Board of Directors tried to threaten and intimidate a tiny independent news organization (NaturalNews) into altering our story but got slapped into the corporate liars Hall of Fame by a crowd of volunteer Facebook fans.