ICYMI: What went wrong in the global governance of covid-19? + Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant + MUST WATCH: Doctors and Nurses Giving the Covid-19 Vaccine Will Be Tried as War Criminals - Dr. Vernon Coleman

British Medical Journal calls pandemic response “social murder”

By Andre Damon - 07. February 2021

Mortician Triston McAuliff works in a cooler holding deceased people Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in Springfield, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

On last Thursday, the BMJ (formerly, British Medical Journal ) published an editorial accusing the world’s governments of “social murder” in their collective response to the pandemic.

The BMJ is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious medical periodicals, with a publication history going back to 1840. Its editorial, “Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant,” is signed by executive editor Kamran Abbasi. It is a devastating indictment of policies implemented over the past year that have led to the deaths of more than two million of people.

“Murder,” the editorial begins, “is an emotive word. In law, it requires premeditation. Death must be deemed to be unlawful. How could ‘murder’ apply to failures of a pandemic response?” The BMJ then goes on to argue that the term is entirely appropriate:

When politicians and experts say that they are willing to allow tens of thousands of premature deaths for the sake of population immunity or in the hope of propping up the economy, is that not premeditated and reckless indifference to human life? If policy failures lead to recurrent and mistimed lockdowns, who is responsible for the resulting non-covid excess deaths? When politicians willfully neglect scientific advice, international and historical experience, and their own alarming statistics and modelling because to act goes against their political strategy, is that lawful? Is inaction, action?

“At the very least,” the BMJ writes, “covid-19 might be classified as ‘social murder,’” pointing to the use of the term by the socialist leader Friedrich Engels in “describing the political and social power held by the ruling elite over the working classes in 19th century England.”

The editorial savages the lying justifications of capitalist politicians, who “say they have done all they can or that the pandemic was uncharted territory; there was no playbook. None of these are true. They are self-serving political lies from the ‘gaslighters in chief’ around the globe.”

The characterization by the BMJ of the response to the pandemic is entirely accurate. Around the world, politicians deliberately and knowingly handicapped government responses to the pandemic, often claiming that the mass infection of the population was desirable—in a policy dubbed “herd immunity.”

In the United States, US President Donald Trump demanded that his government “slow the testing down,” in order to conceal the scale of the disease from the population throughout 2020. “I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told journalist Bob Woodward in March.

Not only Trump, but members of Congress in both political parties were fully briefed on the massive threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but they refused to alert the public, encouraging the population to travel, go to restaurants, and send their children to school.

The policies of governments have been dictated by one overriding priority: No measures could be taken to stop the spread of the virus that impinged on the interests of the financial oligarchy. The slogan, “the cure can’t be worse than the disease,” first coined by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, meant in practice that the necessary measures to stop the virus—including the shutdown of non-essential production, with full income to all workers—were unacceptable to the ruling class.

These social interests dictated not only the initial cover-up of the pandemic, but also the premature reopening of schools and workplaces, which helped fuel a massive resurgence that has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people since the lifting of partial lockdowns in the spring.

In its most damning passage, the BMJ concludes, “The ‘social murder’ of populations is more than a relic of a bygone age. It is very real today, exposed and magnified by covid-19. It cannot be ignored or spun away. Politicians must be held to account by legal and electoral means, indeed by any national and international constitutional means necessary.”

What conclusions follow from the sober assessment provided by the BMJ? The journal argues forcefully for accountability, but how is this accountability to be achieved? The editorial calls for the public to “vote out elected leaders and governments that avoid accountability and remain unrepentant,” adding that “the US showed that a political reckoning is possible.”

This is a reference to the 2020 US political election, in which voters overwhelmingly rejected Donald Trump, the world’s leading advocate of “herd immunity,” handing the Democratic Party not only the White House, but control of both houses of Congress.

The effort by millions of people to repudiate the policy of “social murder” through the ballot box has been a failure. As for the courts, to which the BMJ also appeals, they have repeatedly struck down the most rudimentary measures to contain the pandemic. In other words, none of the institutions of the capitalist state are capable of changing a pandemic policy rooted in the most fundamental social interests of the capitalist class.

Just as the policies of “herd immunity” or, as the BMJ puts it, “social murder,” are rooted in the class interests of the financial elite, so, too, the opposition to these policies must express the interests of another social force, the working class.

As the BMJ notes, the term “social murder” was coined by Engels in his 1845 masterpiece, The Conditions of the Working Class in England, one of the early works of Marx and Engels as they formulated the theory of scientific socialism. Engels wrote:

When society places hundreds of proletarians in such a position that they inevitably meet a too early and unnatural death, one which is quite as much a death by violence as that by the sword or bullet; when it deprives thousands of the necessaries of life, places them under conditions in which they cannot live – forces them, through the strong arm of the law, to remain in such conditions until that death ensues which is the inevitable consequence – knows that these thousands of victims must perish, and yet permits these conditions to remain, its deed is murder just as surely as the deed of the single individual; disguised, malicious murder, murder against which none can defend himself, which does not seem what it is, because no man sees the murderer, because the death of the victim seems a natural one, since the offence is more one of omission than of commission. But murder it remains.

Three years later, Marx and Engels published the Communist Manifesto, which formulated the definitive response to the ruling class’s acts of “social murder”: “The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interests of the immense majority.” The aim of this movement, they wrote, must be the overthrow of capitalist property relations and the expropriation of the ruling class through socialist revolution.

What was true then is even more true now. The interests of all society—expressed in the demand for emergency measures to contain the pandemic through lockdowns with full economic compensation—are represented nowhere but in the movement of the working class.

The social interests of the working class and the interests of human society as a whole are expressed in the worldwide struggle for socialism. This movement will not only take the necessary measures to save human lives and finally tame the pandemic, but see to it that the politicians and corporate executives guilty of social murder are brought to justice.

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UPDATE:

What went wrong in the global governance of covid-19?

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n303 (Published 04 February 2021)Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n303

  1. Clare Wenham, assistant professor of global health policy
  1. Author affiliations

Plenty, according to the latest independent panel report

The mandate of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response is to “provide an evidence-based path for the future, grounded in lessons of the present and the past to ensure countries and global institutions, including specifically WHO, effectively address health threats.”1 These lessons are starting to emerge with the publication of the panel’s second progress report.2 Unsurprisingly, the report touches several key problems in the global governance of covid-19: WHO’s position, structure, and lack of financing; excessive focus on metrics to the detriment of political analysis; a lack of coordinated and sufficient financing for pandemic preparedness and response; global vaccine inequities; and the role of the broader global health architecture.

Almost every section of the report points to the extent to which politics has driven the trajectory of the pandemic in different locations—establishing that the policies chosen by governments reflect deeper political agendas and that the tension between the economy and public heath is a false dichotomy. Those governments willing to take the political and economic hit of harsh restrictions early in 2020 are now benefiting from freedom from population restrictions, and in the case of South Korea and China, flourishing economies.

Trying to appease both public health demands and the libertarian views of the free market has led not only to astronomical death tolls, such as in the US, UK, and Brazil, but to flailing economies. Halfway compromises do not work in response to pandemics and have just dragged out the pandemic for all. Frustratingly, for those of us who research the politics of global health security, this was entirely foreseen.34

The panel’s suggestion that protocols within the International Health Regulations (IHR)—WHO’s legal framework for preventing, detecting, and responding to emerging pathogens—are from an analogue era and need to be digitalised are misconstrued. It was through digital systems such as HealthMap, ProMED-Mail, and WHO’s Global Outbreak and Alert Response Network that the world first came to know about Ebola, Zika, and SARS-CoV-2. All these mechanisms are permitted under article 9 of the IHR.5

Act on the lessons

The panel identifies 12 previous commissions and panels that made similar recommendations on how to improve global health security. The lessons in this second progress report repeat much of what was said in the other reviews. However, real progress can occur only if the effort and people power currently devoted to convening new panels is diverted instead to implementing their recommendations. We need to move on from reviews and prioritise action to fix the identified weaknesses.

The overwhelming subtext to the independent panel’s report is that the system we have established for global health security cannot respond adequately to a health emergency. Global health security remains too focused on prevention and detection—improving surveillance, laboratory capacity, and the resilience of health systems—with too little attention paid to a managed response. Going forward, the mechanisms for managing health emergencies must rapidly scale up the response element of pandemic preparedness plans, including learning from clear evidence.6

However, given the politicisation of responses globally, any efforts to develop a standardised response to health emergencies will have to overcome serious challenges to secure agreement among all member states. Full agreement and adherence are unlikely without WHO building the trust of member states and gaining greater authority in global disease governance.7

An alternative proposal from the EU is to create political buy-in through a new treaty for pandemic preparedness.8 However, treaties work only if they are ratified by states. The Framework Convention for Tobacco Control, for example, is often hailed a success but has not been ratified by several countries, showing the challenges inherent in a treaty.9

The UK government’s leadership of G7 is set to champion global health security, including review and reform of WHO.10 As the independent panel highlights, global health security has to start with an empowered WHO with the mandate, authority, and financing to execute the public health delivery expected of it. To do this, WHO must confront the geopolitical tensions it has experienced, such as between the US and China, to reassert its leadership and hold governments to account for their flagrant departure from WHO guidance for pandemic preparedness and response. This includes considering whether China could have done more in the early stages of the pandemic, which a WHO panel is currently investigating.11 Would governments have acted differently had they known about the pathogen sooner?

We need to make sure that accountability is not just focused on China but on the many states that delayed their preparedness and response efforts. The panel highlights that “it is clear that the volume of infections in the early period of the epidemic in all countries was higher than reported.”2 We need a targeted review that names and shames governments, rather than obscuring them with generalisations. I look forward to bolder reports from the independent panel that consider not only the economic and social effect of the pandemic but the failure of Western governments too.

Footnotes

  • Competing interests: I have read and understood BMJ policy on declaration of interests and have no relevant interests to declare.

  • Provenance and peer review: Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ's website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

https://bmj.com/coronavirus/usage

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View Abstract

===

PLEASE READ ALSO:

THE VACCINE CONUNDRUM II

===

ICYMI:

Doctors and Nurses Giving the Covid-19 Vaccine Will Be Tried as War Criminals

Dr Vernon Coleman

Dr Vernon Coleman - 02 Feb 2021 (in case your browser makes problems -->>> DIRECT VIDEO LINK) - GooTube of course took this powerful video down immediately, thereby violating the right to information and being guilty of aiding and abettting the war-criminals.

In recent months, Dr Coleman's videos have been targeted by trolls spreading lies, libels and misinformation and because of this, Dr Coleman has had to disable comments. We hope you understand.

In an emotional video, Dr Vernon Coleman MB ChB DSc FRSA, explains why doctors and nurses giving the covid-19 vaccine will be tried as war criminals. 

For more unbiased information about other important matters, please visit https://www.vernoncoleman.com

BACKUP on BITCHUTE:

Doctors and nurses giving the covid-19 vaccine will be tried as war criminals

Re-published on BITCHUTE February 8th, 2021.

ANOTHER BACKUP

===

Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n314 (Published 04 February 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n314

  1. Kamran Abbasi, executive editor
  1. Author affiliations

After two million deaths, we must have redress for mishandling the pandemic

Murder is an emotive word. In law, it requires premeditation. Death must be deemed to be unlawful. How could “murder” apply to failures of a pandemic response? Perhaps it can’t, and never will, but it is worth considering. When politicians and experts say that they are willing to allow tens of thousands of premature deaths for the sake of population immunity or in the hope of propping up the economy, is that not premeditated and reckless indifference to human life? If policy failures lead to recurrent and mistimed lockdowns, who is responsible for the resulting non-covid excess deaths? When politicians wilfully neglect scientific advice, international and historical experience, and their own alarming statistics and modelling because to act goes against their political strategy or ideology, is that lawful? Is inaction, action?1 How big an omission is not acting immediately after the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020?

At the very least, covid-19 might be classified as “social murder,” as recently explained by two professors of criminology.2 The philosopher Friedrich Engels coined the phrase when describing the political and social power held by the ruling elite over the working classes in 19th century England. His argument was that the conditions created by privileged classes inevitably led to premature and “unnatural” death among the poorest classes.3 In The Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell echoed these themes in describing the life and living conditions of working class people in England’s industrial north.4 Today, “social murder” may describe the lack of political attention to social determinants and inequities that exacerbate the pandemic. Michael Marmot argues that as we emerge from covid-19 we must build back fairer.5

International accountability

A pandemic has implications both for the residents of a country and for the international community, so sovereign governments should arguably be held accountable to the international community for their actions and omissions on covid-19. Crimes against humanity, as adjudicated by the International Criminal Court, do not include public health.6 But David Scheffer, a former US ambassador for war crimes, suggests that we could broaden the application of public health malpractice “to account for the administration of public health during pandemics.”7 In that case, public health malpractice might become a crime against humanity, for leaders who intentionally unleash an infectious disease on their citizens or foreigners. Others have argued similarly for environmental crimes.8

If not murder or a crime against humanity, are we seeing involuntary manslaughter, misconduct in public office, or criminal negligence? Laws on political misconduct or negligence are complex and not designed to react to unprecedented events, but as more than two million people have died, we must not look on impotently as elected representatives around the world remain unaccountable and unrepentant. What standard should leaders be judged by? Is it the small number of deaths in countries such as New Zealand and Taiwan, or the harsher standard of zero excess deaths? Deaths do not come as single spies but as a battalion of bereaved families, shattered lives, long term illness, and economic ruin.

From the United States to India, from the United Kingdom to Brazil, people feel vulnerable and betrayed by the failure of their leaders. The over 400 000 deaths from covid-19 in the US, 250 000 in Brazil, 150 000 each in India and Mexico, and 100 000 in the UK comprise half of the world’s covid death toll—on the hands of only five nations.9 Donald Trump was a political determinant of health who damaged scientific institutions.10 He suffered electoral defeat, but does Trump remain accountable now that he is out of office? Bolsonaro, Modi, and Johnson have had their competence questioned in differing ways, and McKee and colleagues argue that populist leaders have undermined pandemic responses.11 The prospect of accountability in autocracies such as China and Russia is more distant still and relies on strong international institutions and the bravery of citizens.

More than a few countries have failed in their response to the virus; the global missteps are many and well documented by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.1213 Its report calls for comprehensive use of non-pharmaceutical interventions—the means, they say, by which these interventions curb a pandemic are “well known”—and for governments to support equity, reinvent and modernise the global pandemic alert system, take pandemic threats seriously, and cooperate better with other nations and WHO. Acting urgently and collaboratively in these areas will allow the world to be best prepared for any future pandemic.

Hollow excuses

But the global picture does not absolve individual leaders and governments from responsibility.14 Many of the independent panel’s conclusions place the blame squarely at the doorsteps of rulers, although you will be hard pressed to find a single politician who has admitted responsibility for the extent of premature death, let alone resigned. Several have expressed contrition, but “sorry” rings hollow as deaths rise and policies that will save lives are deliberately avoided, delayed, or mishandled.

Others say they have done all they can or that the pandemic was uncharted territory; there was no playbook. None of these are true. They are self-serving political lies from the “gaslighters in chief” around the globe.15 Some attempt to defend their record by claiming that their country has done more testing, counts deaths better, or has more obesity and population density. All of these may contribute, but counting methods or population factors do not explain the sheer scale of the variation in performance.

If citizens feel disempowered, who might hold negligent politicians to account? Experts in science might do so, but official scientific advisers have often struggled to convince politicians to act until it is too late or kept silent to avoid public criticism. So might doctors, with their responsibilities to public health.16

The media might help here, remembering their duty to speak truth to power, to hold elected officials accountable. And yet much of the media is complicit too, trapped in ideological silos that see the pandemic through a lens of political tribalism, worried about telling pandemic truths to their readers and viewers, owners, and political friends. In fact, truth has become dispensable as politicians and their allies are allowed to lie, mislead, and repaint history, with barely a hint of a challenge from journalists and broadcasters. Anybody who dares to speak truth to power is unpatriotic, disloyal, or a “hardliner.”

Ministers in the UK, for example, interact with the media through sanitised interviews, stage managed press conferences, off-the-record briefings to favoured correspondents, and, when the going gets tough, by simply refusing to appear. It is this environment that has allowed covid denial to flourish, for unaccountability to prevail, and for the great lies of “world beating” pandemic responses to be spun. “The most important lessons from this pandemic,” argue Bollycky and Kickbusch, “are less about the coronavirus itself but what it has revealed about the political systems that have responded to it.”17

How many excess deaths does it take for a chief scientific or medical adviser to resign? How long should test and trace fail the public before a minister of health or chief adviser steps down? How many lucrative contracts for unscientific diagnostic tests that are awarded to cronies or errors in education policy will lead to a ministerial sacking?

Getting redress

Where then should citizens turn for accountability, if they don’t find it in their leaders and feel unsupported by experts and the media? The law remains one form of redress, and indeed some legal avenues, including criminal negligence and misconduct in public office, are being explored,1819 although proving any such claims will be difficult and drawn out. But the notion of murder, at least “social murder,” is hard to shake emotionally, and strengthens with every denial of responsibility and every refusal to be held accountable or to change course.

That leaves three options. The first is to push for a public inquiry, as The BMJ and others argued for in the summer of 202020—a rapid, forward looking review rather than an exercise in apportioning blame that will identify lessons and save lives. The second is to vote out elected leaders and governments that avoid accountability and remain unrepentant. The US showed that a political reckoning is possible, and perhaps a legal one can follow, although research suggests that mishandling a pandemic may not lose votes.21The third is for mechanisms of global governance, such as the International Criminal Court, to be broadened to cover state failings in pandemics.

In the UK, which was responsible for about 1% of global deaths in the 1918-19 flu pandemic and now accounts for 5% with a smaller proportion of the world’s population,922 elections are a few years off. As the current government holds a parliamentary majority, avenues for redress seem blocked. What’s left in these circumstances is for citizens to lobby their political representatives for a rapid public inquiry; for professionals in law, science, medicine, and the media, as well as holders of public office, to put their duty to the public above their loyalty to politicians and to speak out, to dissent lawfully, to be active in their calls for justice, especially for disadvantaged groups.

The “social murder” of populations is more than a relic of a bygone age. It is very real today, exposed and magnified by covid-19. It cannot be ignored or spun away. Politicians must be held to account by legal and electoral means, indeed by any national and international constitutional means necessary. State failures that led us to two million deaths are “actions” and “inactions” that should shame us all.

Footnotes

  • Competing interests: I have read and understood BMJ policy on declaration of interests and have no relevant interests to declare.

  • Provenance and peer review: Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ's website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

https://bmj.com/coronavirus/usage

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View Abstract

 

 

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