It is unethical, immoral, and inappropriate for an individual, business, institution, organization, or government to force a person to put something into their body, or on their body, against their will. The Health Freedom Defense Fund, led by Leslie Manookian, is defending our right to bodily autonomy in the United States. They have won significant cases against the executive branch in the U.S. and currently have cases against Nike, Disney, and LAUSD. Their objective? To protect the constitutional rights of those who have simply been denied their rights to bodily autonomy. Some were denied religious exemptions from vaccinations; others were harassed for refusing to comply with mandates. Still, others were obligated to wear masks by the CDC (that only has the power to recommend courses of action, not to mandate them).
Today, Leslie describes how her group seeks justice and defends our rights. She shares the hurdles they face and what successes they’ve had. She also touches on what she foresees down the line in terms of mandates and potential victories over them.
Visit Leslie’s website: Healthfreedomdefense.org
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Within the below transcript the bolded text is Hilda.
The Supreme Court ruled more than 100 years ago that bodily autonomy was among the most sacred of our human rights. It’s time for the courts to continue to uphold that right. This is Episode 426, and our guest is Leslie Manookian, the Founder and Head of the Health Freedom Defense Fund. This nonprofit has won significant cases against the executive branch in the United States. It has cases against Nike, Disney, and the LAUSD. Their objective is to protect the constitutional rights of those who have simply been denied those rights to bodily autonomy. Some have been denied religious exemptions. Others have been harassed for refusing to comply with mandates. Still, others were obligated to wear masks by the CDC.
The CDC only has the power to recommend courses of action, not to mandate them. In this episode, Leslie covers how her group seeks justice, the challenges they face, and what successes they’ve had. She also touches on what she foresees down the line in terms of mandates and victories over them. Before we dive into the conversation, did you know that the Weston A Price Foundation is a member-supported nonprofit? I want to invite you to join hands with us by becoming a member. We count on you so that the Weston A Price Foundation can continue its mission of education, research, and activism.
Please become a member. Go to Weston A Price and click on the Join Now button. Use the code POD10 to join for only $30 for the entire year. Thank you so much in advance, and welcome to the family. This episode is brought to you in part by Green Pastures. To grab your bottle of fermented cod liver oil, visit Green Pasture. Remember that fermentation equals the difference.
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Welcome to the show, Leslie.
Hilda, it’s so great to be with you. It’s been a while.
It has, and we have so much ground to cover because your Health Freedom Defense Fund organization has been managing all sorts of cases. I don’t want to waste any time. Let’s get right away into the landmark case against the Los Angeles Unified School District. What’s happening with that case?
I have huge news. We filed twice against the Los Angeles Unified School District. The Los Angeles Unified School District first implemented a mandate for the emergency use authorized vaccine in the spring of 2021. We filed, and the day after we filed, they rescinded their mandate. Score one for the good guys, justice, and freedom. We won, and then what happened was they represented to the court that there was no mandate. The court dismissed the case without prejudice, meaning that if they ever did implement a mandate, we would be able to refile. Seventeen days later after filing this representation to the court that they were not doing a mandate, they issued a mandate on August 13, 2021.
This is three weeks after CDC issued new guidance saying that the shots do not stop transmission or infection. There was zero justification for doing so. Anyway, what happened was we refiled in November 2021 and the case ultimately got dismissed. We are now appealing it. I tell you, I don’t know how these people sleep at night. What happened was LAUSD fired over 1,000 teachers and staff because they exercised their constitutionally protected right to religious freedom and bodily autonomy. They placed another 300 plus on what’s called The Virtual Academy, which is this online academy that they created, where anybody who teaches on that is not allowed to come onto campus or to have any physical contact with anybody.
They did this, and we filed. The judge ended up dismissing the case, basically finding in favor of the defendants. We are appealing it, and we think we have a really strong case because the judge said specifically she felt that it was above her pay grade to make this decision. This is why it’s a landmark case because we’re arguing that those shots are not a vaccine. They’re therapeutic. The jurisprudence in the United States in 1905, there was a case in front of the Supreme Court, Jacobson versus Massachusetts, that found that the government in a small area like a city or a municipality can issue a mandate for a vaccine in a super extreme situation like smallpox, where the death rate is 30% to 40%, or they can find you if you refuse to take it. They never said that they could plunge a needle into your arm.
Here’s the thing. This is why it’s a landmark case because the judge said, “There’s that from 1905, and then there’s all this more recent jurisprudence in the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. There are also all these international treaties determining and agreeing that we all have the right to bodily autonomy.” I think it was in the 1960s there was a case called Griswold versus Connecticut. This is quite hilarious because, in Griswold versus Connecticut, it was a Catholic couple who wanted to use contraception. The state said, “No. It was illegal to use a condom.” There were these old blue laws or something like that. We said, “No. You can’t.” They took it up all the way to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court said, “Every American has a zone of privacy around them into which the government cannot intrude. Otherwise, Connecticut would be in everybody’s bedrooms verifying whether or not people are using condoms. That’s clearly not the way that we want to go.” That was very clear that we have a zone of privacy and they can’t intrude. What happened was, in 1990, there was a case called Cruzan versus Missouri. In that case, it involved a young woman. She was around in her mid-20s or late-20s and she didn’t have a living will. She got in a car crash and was in a vegetative state afterward. Her family said, “Pull the plug.”
The hospital said, “Just because you say so, we can’t do that.” It went all the way to the Supreme Court. Supreme Court wrote in its ruling that human beings have a zone of privacy and they have the right to bodily autonomy. Even if a medical treatment might save a person’s life, they have the right to refuse it. Do you see the conflict now between Jacobson and this more recent jurisprudence? One says the state can basically force you to get a shot or pay a fine. The other one says you have a zone of privacy into which the state cannot intrude.
Let me get some clarity on this. Is the trend swinging then in this bodily autonomy direction?
Very much so because ever since the Nuremberg trials in the late-‘40s after the Second World War, the Nuremberg trials were held, and the Nuremberg Code was developed subsequent to the trials. What did that say? That said that prior voluntary informed consent is required for participation in any medical experimentation. It went further with the Helsinki Declaration in the 1960s. In 2005, the UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, and all free nations subscribed to these. The United States has never signed any of them, interestingly, but we all embrace them. American law supports these treaties, which recognize that the practice of ethical medicine requires voluntary informed consent. Things have changed dramatically.
In 1905, they didn’t know the dangers of vaccines. They had no idea. They took its service value and what was being alleged about the safety and efficacy of those smallpox shots. We know that that was inaccurate. Think about 1905, Hilda. We couldn’t vote. We didn’t get the right to vote until 1920. Do you know what else was operative at that time? Jim Crow laws. Around the same time, Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote one of his opinions in Supreme Court Justice.
Three generations of imbeciles are too much or too many. That was in order to justify their ruling, supporting the severing of a young woman’s fallopian tubes so that she could not have children. It’s the sterilization of a human being. Our LAUSD case is huge because we have said to the court, “There’s an inherent conflict here in over a century of jurisprudence, and you’ve got to reconcile it. You’ve got to recognize all of these laws that have been created in the last 50 or 60 years in support of bodily autonomy and the zone of privacy.”
This LAUSD case doesn’t have to do with the school children. It has to do with the employees of the school district.
Yes. I was going to tell you the really exciting news. Let me divert for a second. Basically, we filed the first case then we filed the second case. In the first case, we won because they rescinded their policy. The judge said, “It’s no longer RIPE, meaning that there’s no longer an issue. I’m going to dismiss it without prejudice. You can re-bring it if you need to.” We brought a new suit. We argued some different things in the second suit. That one was dismissed, and we’re appealing it. Here’s what happened. The lawyers and the leadership of LAUSD obviously didn’t think it was enough to fire over 1,000 people who were trying to assert their constitutionally protected religious beliefs and medical freedoms.
They didn’t think that was enough to make them choose between their job and feeding their families, their own health and well-being, or their own religious beliefs. They filed a motion with the court requesting that the Health Freedom Defense Fund and all of the plaintiff’s fired school teachers and the association that represents them, California Educators for Medical Freedom, pay over $200,000 in LAUSD’s attorney’s fees. How despicable are these people? You don’t think it’s bad enough that you fire all these people. Now you want them to pay your attorney’s fees. Do you know what their claim was?
Our lawsuit was frivolous, but here’s the great news. The judge ruled motion denied zero fees go to LAUSD. I was so excited when I heard it. I couldn’t even believe it. She said, “As per the plaintiff’s arguments or assertions, the motion denied.” They got slapped pretty hard. I’m pretty excited about that because it’s disgraceful that they think it’s ethical, moral, and legal to tell someone else what to put in their bodies, but then to go and add insult to injury by literally asking people who’ve been fired for standing up for their constitutionally protected rights to pay their legal fees? It’s saying, “If you think that your rights have been violated by the state, you don’t have the right to challenge that.” The school district is a portion of the state. It’s an arm of the state. It’s insane. This is huge. This is really positive.
It’s disgraceful that the court thinks it’s ethical and morally legal to tell someone else what to put in their bodies.
If the judge had upheld their claim or their plea for this money, anybody who would dare to stand up against any institution would have the understanding that not only am I risking my livelihood, my job, or what have you, but I might have to go above and beyond that, paying these fines. I see it’s beyond the pay.
We’ve already paid hundreds of thousands of dollars on our side, and then we’re going to have to pay theirs, too, for attempting to defend our own rights? It’s insanity. Constitutionally protected rights, Hilda. I am literally over the moon.
To be clear, there still is a case against the LAUSD district. It was this one particular motion that got denied.
Yes, that motion. What happened was it was the same judge who presided over both cases. What happened in her second ruling when she dismissed the case was she didn’t say that there were no merits. She said that this dispute or discrepancy between the Case Law from 1905 and the more recent Case Law was something for a higher court to resolve than for her. She invited us to appeal in some ways. She wrote it’s for a higher court to decide what the situation is here and what the ruling and the decision should be. We appealed. We filed that appeal in early January 2023. We heard a reply, and now we’ve got about two months to follow up.
We are very excited about this appeal because everything that’s happening, all the science that’s coming out, and all of the rulings from the other courts are very much in our favor. What would happen is if the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals finds that there were mistakes, and there were, the lower court is required to assume that whatever information we present to construe it in the most favorable light and also to assume that it’s factually correct and the court did not do that. The court did a couple of other things that are not appropriate. We filed a very compelling appeal. I’m very optimistic that we will prevail. What will happen is it will get set back down to that judge that ruled against LAUSD’s fee motion.
That is encouraging. I can see that there’s promise and hope in the air. Let’s talk about some of the other cases you have going on. You said that you have cases against Disney and Nike. What are those about?
Can I say one last thing about LAUSD? This is so important because it is high time that the district court rule, and hopefully, it is something that’s then supported across the nation, decide that we do, in fact, have this zone of bodily autonomy and no one can intrude upon it. No business, no government, or no bureaucrat can tell you that you have to put something into your body. You can’t undo it after work. It’s an important thing, and that’s why it’s a landmark case. Turning to Disney and Nike, these are also two very important cases. We supported a young woman who’s worked at Disney for many years. This young woman is a receptionist, and she’s been on a variety of different shows.
She filed a request for a religious exemption from the shot after the shot was mandated. The shot was only mandated in April or May of 2022, which is crazy because the CDC had already said on July 27, 2021, that the shots don’t confer immunity and don’t stop transmission or infection. At this point, why in the world would you be doing that? Lots of businesses are rescinding them, but so it goes forward with it. What happens is after she applies for a religious exemption, her supervisor, a woman named Kara Vallow, goes out and starts posting all sorts of nasty things on Instagram about religious people, Trump supporters, conservatives, and Republicans.
She says that family ties don’t matter and you must break ties. Republican women are lying fascists like their Republican husbands and all this stuff. She literally says gnarly things. If you go on the woman’s Instagram, you will not believe the kinds of things she’s saying about people who voted for Trump and who are religious. She would oftentimes post on the very day that there would be some interaction with the young woman.
She wasn’t mentioning the young woman by name, but she was using broad brush strokes to speak ill of anybody who was religious or of a different political affiliation.
Yes, and not only speak ill of them. She literally calls them nasty human beings, lying fascists, and other horrible things. It’s unreal and unbelievable. This woman was doing this, and simultaneously, Pamela Petroff, who is the plaintiff, was told that she was not allowed to put the American flag on any of the flyers she circulated in the office to pet people up. She would put around these cherry flyers to increase morale and things like that. She was told that those flags on the flyers might offend some people. She was told she had to go and have an interview with HR.
Basically, she got bullied and harassed, and she was told she was going to be fired over and over again for months and months. Once we filed suit, then they backed down, finally. Anyway, we’re going for damages. That’s why this is a big case, and so is Nike because most of these businesses have used, “I was complying with what the government told me to do as cover for their policies.” If these businesses are forced to pay damages, they might think twice about heating some advice without any question. We’re pursuing this.
Was something similar happening at Nike?
At Nike, we filed on behalf of three employees, and these three employees were senior people. One of them had been there for 20-plus years, one for 14 years, and one for 7 or 9 years. They were all managers, high earners, respected, appreciated, and as soon as they claimed religious exemptions, they were persona non grata. One of them is so tragic. It’s really horrible. She was the primary breadwinner for her family and had a couple of small children. Nike denied religious exemptions. They denied them outright. They had denied this one woman’s religious exemption twice, I believe. She had kept asking about it and was told that if she didn’t get it, she was going to be fired the next day. That afternoon, she went and got the shot.
That night, they approved her religious exemption. She developed a disabling autoimmune condition, neurological problems, and she’s doing much better. This one is a whammy because in this one, not only did they violate these employees’ religious beliefs and their constitutionally protected right to religious beliefs, but they also committed battery of this woman. She was coerced into getting something under threat of not being able to feed her children. Now she’s dealing with the ramifications of doing so. We’re going for damages in this as well. This is going to be much higher in damages because they violated privacy. I won’t go into the legal part of it, but there are a bunch of different causes of action in this lawsuit and serious damages to be determined should we prevail.
What you’re doing is so significant, Leslie. I imagine there are countless people who face these same situations but didn’t know where to turn and were coerced, harassed, went ahead, and got the shot, and who knows what consequences they’re facing? They didn’t know how to stand up for or defend their bodily autonomy. We’re all so grateful for the work you’re doing. I want to ask you one more question before we go to our break here.
Can I say, too, that it wasn’t that these people didn’t know where to turn? There weren’t enough attorneys, and there wasn’t enough money for us to help every single person, but I promise you, millions of Americans were affected. We intend to make sure that Corporate America knows this will not be tolerated going forward. That is the reason for these lawsuits.
That’s important so that we set a precedent for the future. These companies know they’re going to hit us where it hurts, which is in the pocketbook. We can’t willy-nilly try to enforce things or coerce people into getting these shots. We can’t even fall back on what the government told us to because it’s causing this ripple effect of negativity in the workplace and harming people.
It’s unconstitutional. It’s inhumane. It’s a violation of our most basic and fundamental rights. The Supreme Court ruled more than a century ago that bodily autonomy was among the most sacred of our human rights. It’s time that they upheld that.
The Supreme Court ruled more than a century ago that bodily autonomy was among the most sacred of our human rights. It’s time that they upheld that.
Coming up. Leslie speaks to what action her group has taken in light of the dramatic collapse of Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin on Monday Night Football last fall 2022.
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Last football season, a player for the Buffalo Bills collapsed on the field. In the immediate aftermath of that, people were saying, “It was the way he was hit.” Some people suspected that it might have had something to do with an injection. Tell us what initiatives you’re taking to change the NFL Players Association’s stance on such things.
It was on Monday night football. It’s so prominent and public. Millions of Americans watched Monday Night football every week during the season. Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills tackled somebody and stood up. It’s a tackle. Tackles, by definition, are rough, but it was nothing out of the ordinary by any stretch of the imagination. It wasn’t even head-on. His shoulder and head hit the other guy. It wasn’t right in the middle of his chest or anything like that. What happened was they both fell down to the ground and then the other guy got up. Hamlin gets up and takes a couple of steps. He starts to sway and then collapses to the ground. He falls to the ground on his back, out.
He wasn’t out consciously. He was dead. His heart had stopped. It was cardiac arrest. He did not move or anything. The medical staff rushes out onto the field after all the players summon them. People started to realize what the heck was going on. They come out and work on him for nine minutes, and they revive him. They resuscitated him and they brought him back to life. After that, he was taken to the local hospital. His uncle stated to some local news channel, and you can see it online, although they’ve tried to take it down, that Hamlin suffered a second cardiac arrest necessitating resuscitation while he was at the hospital.
This 24-year-old kid, totally healthy, dies twice and needs to be resuscitated. He spends a whole period of time in the hospital. We were very concerned about what was going on. We are very aware of what’s going on with respect to the science that the FDA has even admitted that these COVID shots carry an increased risk of myocarditis and pericarditis heart inflammation, especially for young men in particular. He’s exactly right in the middle of the age group that’s most at risk.
We wrote a letter to the National Football League Players Association requesting that they open up a dialogue with us in order to implement a testing and screening protocol to offer to the players so that players can avail themselves of this to determine whether or not they have subclinical myocarditis. What happens is if you’ve got subclinical myocarditis or myopericarditis, your heart muscle is already damaged, you get adrenaline, and it causes the heart to stop because it’s got scarring or some damage to it. What happens is that an adrenaline burst can be catastrophic.
You’re not trying to change the NFL’s stance on whether or not players should be vaccinated. You’re trying to help protect those who have been vaccinated by having this testing and screening protocol in place.
The NFL Players Association is the players’ union. The players’ union is the organization to which we wrote the letter. The thing is, the players’ union is responsible for protecting and advocating for the health and well-being of the players. It’s their job. They should be pushing back against the NFL. What’s really staggering and disappointing is that the NFL, together with a bunch of other professional sports, all participated in the federal government’s COVID community core. Something like $3 billion was paid to these different groups to promote the shots to their members, players, staff, and things like this. It’s highly questionable whether or not the NFL is in a position to be offering these kinds of programs to the players without any pressure because they clearly have a conflict of interest.
The other thing is, what if they did mandate it? I don’t know what the exact policies were, but I know that these players were pushed. I’ve spoken with a bunch of players now and they say, “It’s a tight little club once you make it in and nobody wants to rock the boat.” If you’re 20, 22, or 24 years old, you don’t want to say, “I’m not getting this shot,” and then have it not get played as much and not get the time that you want on the field to show your skills. The stakes are too high. My view is that these young men deserve to know the truth and have the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not they want to submit to this protocol and screening. They can see if they’ve got an issue and then decide, “Do we want to keep playing or what?” Some people may want to, and some people may not want to.
I guess you can’t really predict, but what has been their response so far to your request?
Crickets. Here’s the thing. If they admit that they push these on their players, that may open them up to liability like in the Nike case. There’s a huge incentive for them to not answer us. We’re working in the background. We’ve got some other things planned along with this to keep the pressure on because, from what I understand from the athletes I’ve spoken with. Ken Ruettgers played for the Green Bay Packers for eleven years. He reached out to one of his teammates who works for the NFLPA. He offered to connect them with all these doctors, scientists, and all this stuff to talk about the issues. They did not want to know. John Stockton of the NBA, one of the most famous players of all time, reached out to the NBA Players Association. They didn’t want to know.
Major League Baseball, the NHL, and the International Olympic Committee have been contacted. None of these groups want to hear anything that any of us have to say. You decide for yourself what that means, but none of these professional sports want to talk. We are going to keep the pressure on until they have to talk and until they do the right thing and honor their players. It’s not only the Leagues. It’s the player’s representatives who are not responding. That’s who’s not responding. Let’s be clear. We haven’t reached out to the actual professional sports organizations. We’ve reached out to all of the players’ associations or the players’ unions representing them. They are the ones who are not talking.
That’s discouraging, but I’m so glad that your team is relentless. Let’s talk about a couple of encouraging cases that you’ve essentially won. One against the Biden administration for mandating the shots for federal contractors and one for the mandating for federal workers. Can you talk to us about those cases?
I’m trying to think of now how many successes we’ve had because we won the first LAUSD case, which was fantastic. We filed a lawsuit against the University of Chicago when they were denying religious exemptions to staff, and they ended up having to change their policy. We won that too. We didn’t ever go to court. They backed down and negotiated with us. Everybody who wanted a religious exemption got one. We’ve now filed three lawsuits against the federal government, which makes me giddy. If somebody had told me a few years ago, I was going to sue the Biden administration three times and win. I would’ve thought they were crazy. Anyway, the federal contractor’s case.
For both the federal contractors and the federal employee’s cases, we filed both of those lawsuits near the end of 2021. We filed those lawsuits before any judges had granted what’s called Injunctive Relief, meaning that they stopped the government’s policy that said, “You can’t do this. You cannot enforce the mandate until we resolve whether or not it’s legal.” We did not request that because no judges were granting injunctive relief. In fact, it was being denied every time it was applied for. That had happened in probably half a dozen cases from August through the fall. We didn’t seek injunctive relief. I’m sharing that because what then happened was states got together. In the federal contractor case, seven states led by Georgia.
The Attorney’s General filed suit against the government and said, “You can’t do this.” It has a little bit more bang when a state files against the government than an individual or a nonprofit. What happened was the State of Georgia and six other states filed on the same merits as our case against the Biden administration. The court found in their favor. While that case was being heard, which was on the same merits as our case, our case was paused. It was ultimately appealed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which is in the Southeastern part of the United States.
The court then upheld the merits. They found that we were right. We were the first ones but they narrowed the injunction to the seven states that had filed. Our judge said, “Ask the government. Are you going to try and implement this mandate nationwide in the 43 states that weren’t involved in this case?” They said, “No. Not at this time.” We won on that. That’s great. Our cases stayed, but we won. We filed on the merits. It was upheld on the merits. That case is indefinitely stayed because I don’t think the government is going to try it again.
I’m trying to take in the gravitas of this statement and of this win. Does this mean that in the future, let’s say in the next few years, if another “virus” comes around that there won’t be a mandate in place for federal workers or contractors?
The federal government may let this case stay in the Eleventh Circuit. What’s happened now is that the ruling by the Eleventh Circuit is only binding on the Eleventh Circuit. There are thirteen circuits in the United States, including Washington, DC, which is his own Circuit. It’s only binding there. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be referenced in other districts around the country. What will happen is if somebody tries it again, the federal government will have to appeal the ruling up to the Supreme Court. They don’t want to do that because if they appeal it up to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court finds against them, then it’s binding on the whole country.
Let’s say something happens again in a few years and if they do try and reimplement something like that, then it would be very easy for us to open up the case again and file suit whatever. We’ve now got some very strong legal arguments about why it’s not legal. The deck is very much stacked against them. It’s only binding on the Eleventh Circuit strictly but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have an impact nationwide. The point is that the Biden administration probably won’t appeal because the risks of doing so are quite high.
Did we touch on the federal employees’ case or not?
No. Let me tell you about that quickly. It’s a similar situation. When we filed on behalf of 6,000 federal employees, the federal government told them that they had to get the shot. They didn’t want to get the shot for health reasons, medical reasons, and religious reasons. The government said too bad. We filed suit on that. It was a group of states, and I forget how many it was. It might have been 15 or 16 states that got together, and they sued and requested injunctive relief. They leapfrogged over us. That ruling came out and does say it reinforces the nationwide injunction and says that the federal government doesn’t have the power. We’ve essentially won on that case as well. Although, we also argued a few other points in our case and we may pursue those to cement those in law.
This is so amazing to me because I feel like the Health Freedom Defense Fund isn’t that big of a company or group, but you are doing so much.
It’s tiny. In terms of our batting record, I don’t think there’s an organization in the nation that has a higher win rate. What we’ve been able to achieve on a very modest budget is pretty incredible.
It really is. Most people may not know that the reason the travel mask mandate was lifted was because of your initiative. That was your case, right?
A hundred percent. It was personally my idea. I made the movie The Greater Good many years ago. I know many people in the Weston Price orbit are aware of it. That movie really catapulted me into the whole health freedom arena and helped me appreciate and understand the importance of health freedom. If they claim the right or authority to tell you what to put in your body, then you’re not free. That’s a problem. What happened was as soon as 2020 rolled around, I realized that we had a problem on our hands. When they implemented the mask mandates, I thought, “This doesn’t make any sense.” Why did I think it didn’t make any sense? It’s because the CDC is an advisory body. That has always been its role historically.
If anybody’s got the right or the authority, if they claim the right or authority to tell you what to put in your body, then you’re not free. And that’s a problem
Think about it. They make a recommended schedule that is not binding on anyone. States pass their own laws about vaccines because the health laws are part of what is called police powers. Those are reserved to the states, not to the federal government. When the CDC grabbed this power, I was like, “They can’t do this.” I started talking to my attorneys and they all started digging in. They were like, “We think you’re right,” and we thought this is the tip of the spear. If the CDC can literally grab this power and authority, then there’s no limit to what they can do to us, and we’ve got to challenge it.
We did. We filed suit in July of 2021 and got the ruling on April 18, 2022, that the federal judge and district court had upheld every single one of our arguments and vacated or struck down the CDC’S order nationwide as invalid. She vacated it. It’s called Vacatur. It’s huge. At that moment, it was instantaneous. People were on planes, trains, and buses, and the drivers and pilots were coming over the loudspeakers saying, “You could take off your masks.”
Leslie, were some people upset about that besides the powers-to-be in the CDC? In other words, are there some public citizens who are like, “This woman is crazy putting all these cases out there because the truth is we should be getting those injections and wearing these masks? Public health is at risk.”
This is going to take us on a downer, Hilda. I will tell you that I’ve been called an anti-Semite because I have spoken about our lawsuits referencing the Nuremberg Code as the International Code of Ethics and starting this whole ball rolling on understanding the primacy of the individual and the supremacy of bodily autonomy. My local newspaper insinuated that we were misappropriating the Holocaust. Local people said that we were hijacking the Holocaust. Having read that article, a local city council person accuse me of being an anti-Semite.
It’s someone I’ve known for a long time. She was upset because a ton of people protested her mask mandate locally. When I pushed back against her, she refused to recant. This is how crazy these people are. She knows darn well. I’ve known her for years. I’ve had dinner with her many times. She knows I’m not an anti-Semite. She knows this from the bottom of her heart. There are some people who are crazy. I have to say it’s not only me. There was a member of Parliament named Andrew Bridgen in Britain. He was provided some information from some Israeli scientists, and he was chucked out of committees in Parliament.
I think he was chucked out of the Conservative Party. I could be wrong about that. He was stripped of any kinds of committees and things that he had. All he did was refer to some research that was done by Israeli scientists and he spoke in Parliament about how dangerous these shots are and how the science doesn’t support their use, efficacy, or safety. They deemed him an anti-Semite. It’s happening all the time. There are two groups of people. There are those who want power no matter what. They will resort to any means necessary. These people are seriously sick, in my view. They’re seriously deranged in their minds that they think that this is appropriate to deem people.
I have fought against discrimination my entire life. I put on a committee on racial awareness when I was in college because somebody wrote a racial slur on a black boy’s door. I was so disgusted by it. To accuse me of this is the most preposterous thing in the whole world. Anyway, they’re those people, and then they’re the other people who I think are either so afraid or are so bought into the narrative that they don’t have any problem telling other people how to live their lives.
They’re that terrified. They have Stockholm syndrome-ing a little bit. You’ll love this. I went to Wise Traditions in October 2022 and my Uber driver was wearing a mask from the Knoxville Airport into the hotel. We started talking and she said, “What’s it like on the airplanes?” I’m like, “There’s still this little bit of tension, but it’s pretty normal.” She said, “I’ve been hearing all sorts of things.” She sounded like she was happy that things were changing, but she was wearing a mask.
I said, “Let me ask you why you are wearing a mask.” She said, “I have a fat neck and it covers up my neck. I feel more comfortable with my mask on.” There are a lot of people who are in that same boat. A lot of young people in particular, where it’s comfortable for them to hide their faces because they don’t have to be seen fully in public. Those people are not happy and terrified and have bought all of the lies of the CDC, the FDA, and the mainstream media. Some of them are not happy either. That’s a small percentage, I think.
I do always like to end the show on a high note. I’m going to ask a question I’d love to pose at the end here. If the audience could do one thing to improve their health, Leslie, what would you recommend that they do? This is a good question, too, because it’s empowering. It’s like, “What can we do actively to promote good health?”
Unplug the mainstream media. I’m serious because you do two things. One is to stop paying attention to it. I don’t care what it is. If it’s big mainstream or super polarizing, it’s not on your side, so unplug. The adjunct to that is that if you unplug from that garbage, you’ll probably get out and move more. See the sun, go for a walk, put your feet in the grass, or the seven feet of snow that I have outside right now. I seriously believe it. I think that our mental health and our physical bodily health are inextricably linked. Unplugging from the media matrix is one of the most proactive things you can possibly do for your health.
That is a great note to end on. Thank you so much for this conversation. It’s been wonderful.
Thank you, Hilda. It’s always a pleasure to be with you and spread the word about truth, freedom, and justice.
Our guest was Leslie Manookian. Visit Health Freedom Defense to support their important work. If you’d like to write us a Letter to the Editor, just write us at that same address, Info@WestonAPrice.org, on the topic of your choice. Stay well. Remember to keep your feet on the ground and your face to the sun.
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About Leslie Manookian
Leslie Manookian is the president and founder of Health Freedom Defense Fund, a nonprofit which seeks to rectify health injustice through education, advocacy, and legal challenges to unjust mandates, laws, and policies that undermine our health freedoms and human rights. She is a former successful Wall Street business executive and award-winning documentary film producer and writer. She writes and speaks on topics of health, freedom, nutrition, personal development, politics and more. She chose to leave Wall Street at the height of her career in order to pursue this more meaningful path.
Leslie serves on the boards of the Weston A. Price Foundation and Health Freedom Idaho. She is a qualified homeopath, nutrition and wellbeing junky, and a health freedom advocate. Originally from Idaho, Manookian’s career in finance took her from New York to London with Goldman Sachs. She later became Director of Alliance Capital in London running their European Growth Portfolio Management and Research businesses. She learned of the vaccine debate while living and working in London and determined that one-day she would make a documentary exploring the issue. She conceived, wrote, and produced, The Greater Good, an award-winning documentary, fulfilling that dream.
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