by Dick Puddlecote
The Most Corrupt And Anti-Democratic Movement In Post-War History Further to my piece on Monday about the World Health Organisation’s plan to class e-cigs as tobacco products – and consequently subject to crippling taxes, display bans, graphic warnings etc – former ASH supremo Clive Bates has obtained a leaked copy of the minutes which reveal it, and written a comprehensive article on how criminally misguided this approach is.
I would highly recommend you read it in its entirety as Bates lifts the veil on how crooked and unconcerned with health the WHO really is in relation to e-cigs and harm reduction products such as snus.
However, this particular paragraph cuts to the very heart of how the global tobacco control industry has got to where it is today – the most corrupt and anti-democratic movement in post-war history.
Notice that these minutes are leaked, and not simply routinely published as we now expect from 21st Century transparent government. There is no reason to keep them secret and every reason to publish them – other than how embarrassing they are to the participants. But then one gets an idea of this institution’s interest in openness in Agenda item 8: para 57-60, where they discuss screening and excluding members of the public who are associated with the tobacco industry – note this isn’t about granting ‘observer status’ (the right to sit in the negotiating room and occasionally make statements when invited by the chair), it is about the right to sit in the public gallery, when the public gallery is open. Then they discuss holding closed sessions: why? This is not a place where anything needs to be secret – no operational security detail are discussed – and the sunlight of public scrutiny is always valuable. The idea that WHO chooses which stakeholders are granted access to a process that may significantly [affect them] is reinforced at para 34-36, where they (correctly) note tobacco growers have a legitimate interest in Article 17 and 18 of the FCTC (economic diversification and environment), but then decide to shut the ITGA (International Tobacco Growers Association) out of the proceedings all the same. One wonders about the integrity of a process that is so fragile that it cannot tolerate dissenting voices.
In fact, it’s not just tobacco growers who are frozen out of the debate. At the last WHO FCTC meeting of this kind in 2012, journalists were banned too, for fear of the media challenging any press releases the pharmaceutical industry backed WHO might come out with after the event.
World Health Agency Evicts Press, Public From Talks on Global Tobacco Tax
According to Drew Johnson, a “waste hunter” with the Newsmax website, the agency’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control began its biennial gathering Monday “on a high note by ratifying an agreement to combat smuggled and pirated tobacco products.”
However, that goodwill quickly evaporated the following day, when delegates of the conference’s member nations chose to meet behind closed doors for a discussion about raising taxes to reduce smoking.
Johnson added that attempting to cover this meeting was “frustrating” and “raises some serious questions about an organization that for years has operated largely behind the scenes and without the benefit of much public scrutiny.”
“When is the media more necessary than when an unaccountable, shadowy organization that devours millions of tax dollars each year from people across the world debates getting in the business of issuing global taxes?”
By ‘unaccountable’, of course, he refers to the fact that the WHO have never been made to suffer the inconvenience of having to attract even a single democratic vote to provide them a mandate. It is so astonishingly totalitarian that even the democracy-light EU was attacked in 2012 for not bowing to its demands [opens
Furthermore, the WHO didn’t stop at excluding tobacco growers, journalists, or the public. Even international police are not welcome!
Here’s an interesting fact about these ‘Conference of the Parties (COP)’ shindigs. It won’t surprise you to hear that the tobacco industry is not invited to participate, but they are apparently not even allowed to observe proceedings from the spectator’s gallery. These are—I say again—publicly funded conferences. Refusing to allow the relevant industry to even hear what is being said strikes me as peculiarly paranoid—as if tobacco execs are so powerful that they can transmit pro-tobacco messages by just being in the same room.
But it gets worse. As if it wasn’t crazy enough not to allow the industry to see what goes on in these meetings, the fanatics have now banned Interpol (yes, that Interpol) from attending. Why? Because the tobacco company Philip Morris recently gave Interpol 15 million euros “to support the agency’s global initiative to combat trans-border crime involving illicit goods, including tobacco products”.
This is madness. Is there any organisation these maniacs do not suspect are ‘front groups’ for Big Backy? The real issue here is not allowing the industry—or Interpol—to engage, it is that no opposing views are allowed whatsoever.
But this is how tobacco control has always worked and why just about everything you have ever heard out of them is either grossly exaggerated or untrue.
Anti-smoking groups like ASH were not demanded by the public; they were created by anti-smoking politicians and staffed at taxpayer expense simply because there was a feeling that the public were not anti-smoking enough, not just in this country but around the world. In short, no-one really cared but were made to.
This is the same scenario from bottom to top. They exist purely to talk to policy-makers (i.e. idiot career politicians) and encourage the silencing of all dissent by way of their own rules (Article 5.3) and by pressuring ‘scientific’ journals to ban all studies which might come up with a heretical conclusion.
It is a long-standing tactic of the anti-smoking movement to make it impossible for the public to make their own minds up after being presented with both sides of the debate. From smoking bans to plain packaging, they know that their evidence is so incredibly weak that it would be roundly rejected by the public if they were informed properly … so they pro-actively ensure that you can never be properly informed.
With regard to the WHO’s proposals on e-cigs, this is precisely what will be happening again in Moscow when the massed ranks of highly-paid tobacco control executives meet for their latest exercise in truth-avoidance and unaccountability. As Bates explains.
The people involved in the bureau and secretariat are supposed to be neutral civil servants serving the decision makers, who are national governments and ‘state parties’ to the FCTC. But on this evidence and all that has come before, they are not acting that way, but betraying crude ideological biases of politicised officials with a little self-serving power but no accountability.
To illustrate this, who do you think will be representing the UK’s interests as bound signatories to the WHO’s FCTC? Well, Deborah Arnott of ASH attended the previous one in South Korea but can’t be trusted to object strongly to the WHO I reckon – for a start ASH has changed its focus from smoking to nicotine and, besides, I’m sure being a black sheep at the WHO is probably more than her massively-salaried and uniquely enhanced pensioned job’s worth.
That would then leave us beholden to ‘neutral civil servants’ like Jeremy Mean of the MHRA, an organisation whose forerunner was described in 2003 as having “a stated objective to facilitate the development of the UK pharmaceutical industry”; and which is still “funded entirely by the pharmaceutical industry”. So, with his organisation being so far up pharma’s backside that he cleans their teeth every morning, there’s not much hope of Jeremy objecting there either.
All we can do, then, is to keep on the side of the angels – as we have always been – and carry on pointing out the deeply corrupt nature of the WHO and its preference for pharmaceutical bottom lines over and above what it claims to care for. Because it is certainly not democracy or informed choice, and now doesn’t even seem seem to be about health.