The WHO has suddenly gone from a cackling Chicken Little crying “The Sky is Falling!” to squealing like a stuck pig, in response to charges (such as I’ve been making since day one) that it fabricated a pandemic. “The world is going through a real pandemic. The description of it as a fake is wrong and irresponsible,” the agency claims on its website.
A WHO spokesman declined to spell out whom the World Health Organization was responding to in its statement, saying merely that “this applies to anyone who believes it is not a real pandemic.”
But as I’ve previously noted, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, described as a “human rights watchdog” recently recommended that the European Union investigate WHO’s swine flu pandemic declaration to see if the health agency acted under undue influence. Indeed, the chairman of its influential health committee, who is an epidemiologist, has referred to what he calls the “false pandemic” as “one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century.”
To be sure, swine flu has proved to be vastly milder than ordinary seasonal flu. And in fact we knew that (and I wrote about it) before the WHO ever made its pandemic declaration. But spokesman Gregory Hartl told the AP this was irrelevant, because “A pandemic has nothing to do with severity or number of deaths,” rather it just means a global spread of a disease.”
But as I’ve written, that’s only because the WHO changed the definition of “flu pandemic.” “A previous official definition (and widely used unofficial one),” I noted, “required ‘simultaneous epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness.’ Severity – that is, the number – is crucial, because seasonal flu always causes worldwide simultaneous epidemics.
But [the definition] promulgated in April just days before the announcement of the swine flu outbreak, simply eliminated severity as a factor. They’re saying “We weren’t caught with our hands in the cookie jar because we labeled those Oreos ‘rocks.'”
Why? The initial reason is that this is the same WHO that for five years screamed that the sky was falling over avian flu – again even as people like me said it was nonsense. So when swine flu came along, they seized the opportunity to scratch out “avian” and insert “swine.” Add to that the obvious incentives for budget-enhancing and power grabbing. But bizarrely enough, the WHO even saw the chance for economic and social engineering.
In a September speech, WHO Director-General Chan said “ministers of health” should take advantage of the “devastating impact” swine flu will have on poorer nations to tell “heads of state and ministers of finance, tourism and trade” that:
- The belief that “living conditions and health status of the poor would somehow automatically improve as countries modernized, liberalized their trade and improved their economies” is false. Wealth doesn’t equal health.
- “Changes in the functioning of the global economy” are needed to “distribute wealth on the basis of” values “like community, solidarity, equity and social justice.”
- “The international policies and systems that govern financial markets, economies, commerce, trade and foreign affairs have not operated with fairness as an explicit policy objective.”
This is no longer a health agency, it views its function as agit-prop. It’s time to start over with people who see disease as something to combat, not to exploit.