Confusion and fear are to be expected in novel situations where experience is limited; this should fade as understanding grows. Such is the natural cycle. When governments employ behavioural psychologists to induce fears in order to control and coerce the population, however, we have to question their motives and methods.
Initially we were advised that a zoonotic virus crossed species: horseshoe bat to pangolin and then to humans, via the food chain. Ghastly images were shown nightly of a range of exotic creatures that Chinese people – portrayed in somewhat xenophobic terms because of their, to us, foreign tastes – supposedly enjoy consuming. This outbreak witnessed sagacious, and wealthy, heads knowingly saying ‘I told you so.’
And apparently we can expect much more, and worse, in the future because of the ways in which we live and eat. Last year any question of whether it could have come from any other source was shot down as absurd by dubious fact checkers, and freighted with conspiracy theory fairy dust.
This despite Wuhan containing a level 4 BSL laboratory, and three members of its staff being hospitalised in November 2019 with coronavirus-like respiratory symptoms. Furthermore, this same laboratory was conducting gain of function research into coronaviruses, through a grant form EcoHealth Alliance, an organisation funded by U.S. National Institutes for Health. This type of research using viruses was banned by the Obama administration as being too risky.
This same research is not far removed from the process of weaponising a pathogenic organism. So why did NIH fund this laboratory to carry out this type of research, and who else knew of the potential risks, and incentives, for finding a novel infective agent and researching possible treatments and vaccines?
The first we in the West learnt about any of this came from the videos on TV and social media of people dropping dead in the street – in hindsight clearly not coronavirus cases – and the Chinese locking down it citizens. Next there was Italy, with coffins being carted away by military trucks.
These were all carefully orchestrated publicity stunts, but who was responsible? Who decided to broadcast uncritically these sensational images? The world took note, a pandemic was declared and governments around the world, almost uniformly, imposed harsh and unprecedented restrictive measures on their citizens.
In Britain the initial plan was to protect the vulnerable, through cocooning, whilst awaiting herd immunity in the young. But there followed a swift turnaround in the face of public outcry. In Europe only Sweden resisted the clamour to lockdown and was pilloried in the international media. ‘Sweden has become the World’s Cautionary Tale’ declared The New York Times in July, 2020.
The British government’s approach was strongly influenced by the epidemiological modelling of Imperial College’s Professor Neil Ferguson, of previous forecasting fiascos. For example, he predicted three to four million deaths from Swine Flu in 2009, which ultimately resulted in less than 300,000 global fatalities.
Ferguson’s Imperial paper predicted 500,000 deaths in the U.K. in an unmitigated scenario, and on March 20th, told the New York Times that the ‘best case outcome’ for the U.S. was a death toll of 1.1 million, rising to 2.2 million in a worst case scenario. As of June, the U.S. has seen just over 600,000 deaths, and the U.K. 127,945, in circumstances where the attribution of death to Covid-19 is often deceptive.
Further doom and gloom laden scenarios was provided by Professor Christian Drosten, head of the institute of virology, Charite university hospital, Berlin, while alternate modelling provided by Professor Michael Levitt, Stanford University and Nobel laureate was ignored.
Nobel Laureate Michael Levitt rebukes the global scientific response to Covid-19; in particular the role of Imperial College's Neil Ferguson.https://t.co/hQwHxnJ5s8@MLevitt_NP2013 @FatEmperor @broadsheet_ie @SunetraGupta @freddiesayers @susmitchellSBP @DonnellyStephen
— CassandraVoices (@VoicesCassandra) June 29, 2020
Dorsten’s main contribution to this story is his paper ‘Detection of 2019 novel corona virus by real time RT-PCR’ outlining the basis for the widely used Drosten-PCR test that has been criticised for multiple errors, and the haste with which it was published. This test is now the most widely used diagnostic test for Sars-CoV2.
This is despite its invenor Kary Mullis’s – Nobel laureate for chemistry for his work with PCR – stating unequivocally ‘it doesn’t tell you if you are sick’.
Inventor of PCR test Dr. Kary Mullis says categorically that "PCR doesn't tell you that you are sick!" This is DIRECT! It cannot be more direct than this!
He died mysteriously just before the Covid out break.. pic.twitter.com/3iWlfScGyi
— Zaid Hamid (@ZaidZamanHamid) April 21, 2021
There are a number of criticisms of the Drosten method in that he reportedly developed it using partial genetic sequences provided by the Chinese, in conjunction with sequences from other corona viruses. Furthermore, the test which according to Kary Mullis is a quantitative test, is not reported to clinicians this way.
Instead a qualitative result ‘detected’ or ’not detected’ is reported without giving the cycle threshold, even after the WHO suggested physicians should be given this figure. The significance of the cycle threshold harks back to Kary Mullis’s ‘it doesn’t tell you if you are sick.’ Even Dr Anthony Fauci of the NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) has stated that at ct values of greater than 35 it is unlikely that any live virus is present in the patient.
1/3 Anthony Fauci on cycle threshold values in PCR testing for #coronavirus on @profvrr's program. Seems this is a critical number to know to put the massive case numbers in context. Standards? Clip below, full interview here w/ other good bits in there: https://t.co/I52MdkAQyG pic.twitter.com/ZRNDngBKLa
— Jim Grisanzio (@jimgris) November 11, 2020
Why then did Irish laboratories use ct values as high as 45? And why did we go from testing inpatients with PCR, knowing the false positive rate, to the community setting and especially the asymptomatic, given asymptomatics are often ‘false positives’, leading to an inflated ‘case’ count.
One has to wonder if the state’s spending of an estimated €400 million on PCR testing has been a case of noses in the trough not wanting to avoid the public smelling the coffee. Who were the people with vested or conflicted interests in this issue?
Most Western governments, including Australia and New Zealand, paraded their respective Prime Ministers before the cameras to make speeches of Churchillian gravity, implicitly likening the threat of Sars-CoV2 to World War II. Leo Varadkar even paraphrased Churchill in his first speech to the nation -’never will so many ask so much of so few,’ before imposing unprecedented draconian lockdown measures, based on fear.
Along the way we have heard words of caution from notable academics including Stanford Professors John Ioannidis and Jay Bhattacharya, as well as Professor Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University. But these voices were hardly ever heard on Irish mainstream media.
These authorities cautioned that measures would disproportionately hurt the poor and vulnerable; that severe illness was mainly confined to a recognisable cohort, and that there was no evidence for the efficacy of lockdown measures.
Nobody listened. Instead the government closed schools, prevented people from earning a living, stopped all cultural and sporting activity, prohibited religious worship and confined travel to within five kilometres of home.
For months elderly people languished alone in nursing homes and hospitals, some dying alone; women gave birth without their partners; funeral rites were severely curtailed, as basic civil rights were completely ignored in response to an illness with an estimated infection fatality rate of 0.05% for anyone under the age of seventy years.
Every night the state broadcaster became the government’s harbinger of doom with the recitation of nightly death tolls. What purpose other than ratcheting up of fear did this serve?
Through the diligent questioning of Michael McNamara TD, however, we know that the reported mortality figures included anyone testing positive in the previous twenty-eight days with a PCR test, no matter what their underlying condition. Deaths unassociated with Sars-CoV2 were obviously irrelevant.
Covid deaths data skewed by other illnesses, says Mayo coronerhttps://t.co/2izkMNLBRF
— john burns (@JohnBurnsST) April 18, 2021
They turned out to be very relevant as the CSO annual death figures of 6.4 per 1000, which were little different to previous years, and even less than 2013. Why then, when death figures dropped, did reporting switch to the spurious concept of ‘cases’, defined by a positive PCR test? Why did the Irish government shamefully enlist the services of RTE in terrifying the nation, and why did the state broadcaster acquiesce? Answers on the back of a postcard…
The message ‘we are all in this together’ was a big lie. The disease disproportionately killed people over the age of eighty, especially those in nursing homes, many of whom were needlessly infected after being transferred to hospitals with testing withdrawn at the height of the pandemic in spring 2020. The obese, those with diabetes, chronic heart and lung diseases are also disproportionately affected.
Some people find it hard to believe that when Care Home residents were in the greatest need for testing and diagnostics, testing service was pulled from the entire sector for 3 weeks, to preserve test supplies for the general public. Most died in Homes many/most were not tested. pic.twitter.com/EFi8XsRqER
— Dr. Marcus De Brun (@indepdubnrth) September 12, 2020
These pre-existing morbidities are more prevalent among lower socioeconomic groups in society. So we were clearly never all in this together.
Civil servants, including politicians and the medical profession, those working in IT and for media corporations, could easily work from home, but nearly half a million people had to stop work for the duration, especially those in the tourism and hospitality sectors. These are mainly young people, and like children, most would only have been mildly effected by the virus. So why were they forced to suffer unnecessarily?
Moreover, why did small retail outlets have to close for months on end, while off licenses and fast food chains were deemed essential services?!
States of Fear
The kind of Propaganda devised by Sigmund Freud’s grandson Edward Bernays who infamously made it fashionable for women to smoke, was evident in the government’s manipulation of the figures, and the media’s delivery. Bernays wrote in Propaganda (1928) ‘The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.’
A host of celebrity scientists appeared, many with Conor McGregor levels of empathy, only better elocution, a gentler demeanour and less tattoos. Trite experiments were undertaken on popular TV shows, where we found dour funereal forecasts from infectious disease experts, who were invariably wrong in their predictions, and inane squeaking from a misplaced neuroscience.
This is a brilliant blog post which should be ready by every journalist covering Covid-19. It takes aim at several ubiquitous experts who have made wildly inaccurate predictions and who have not been held to account for those predictions. https://t.co/1QgEahaxfH
— Ronan McGreevy (@RMcGreevy1301) September 25, 2020
All of these ‘experts’ sang in unison. Dissenting voices were heard briefly and infrequently. Some lost their jobs merely for disagreeing with the bull-in-a-china shop approach taken by the HSE/NPHET/government.
In her new book States of Fear Laura Dodsworth outlines how the UK government used behavioural psychologists, probably via their Nudge unit, to control the population through the deployment of carefully selected ‘experts’ and repetitive messaging on news broadcasting.
This was substantiated in the recent testimonies by Dominic Cummings, the former chief adviser to Boris Johnson. ISAG were also familiar with scaremongering techniques, as intercepted emails highlight their tactic of targeting and discrediting individuals, and keeping fear ramped up as a tool in their ZeroCovid campaign.
To quote Bernays again ‘there are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally realised to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scene.’
Using this sinister playbook, between them NPHET, ISAG and the government managed to sow a level of fear, suspicion and division in society that may take years to unravel.
Flatten the Curve?
Despite all the hype around flattening the curve to save the health service at the beginning of the pandemic, and the use of draconian measures to do so, alas nothing was done to treat patients at home.
Several readily available, cheap and relatively safe products, were hypothesised to have positive benefits in the early stages of a Sars-CoV2 infection, but there were systematic efforts to steer physicians away from these.
The ICGP guidelines for GPs on the treatment of early Sars-CoV2 amounts to do nothing, and wait for patients to get better, or if they fall really ill send them into hospital. Some doctors in the USA lost their licenses for prescribing these medications, and others in Ireland faced censure by the Medical Council.
According to physicians like Peter McCullough, Professor of Medicine at Baylor University, Texas in conjunction with AAPS (The association of American Physicians and Surgeons), and separately Dr Pierre Kory of FLCCCA (Front Line Covid Critical Care Alliance) Sars-CoV2 was empirically treatable, especially in that first week before the patient became very unwell.
So, despite a concerted effort to vilify them, they treated their patients. Why did Irish GPs, save for a few, fail to do so?
In doing nothing did many patients needlessly died? With our widespread application of lockdowns and our disregard for focused protection measures, as advocated by the Great Barrington Declaration (which has garnered 850,000 signatures, including 43,000 from medical practitioners) coupled with our refusal to at least try and treat patients, have we done a great disservice to our patients?
Silencing of Dissent
Sweden did not adopt anything like the same draconian measures, and their economy and society has not been disrupted to anything like the same extent as Ireland’s. Yet their mortality figures compare favourably, especially when adjusted for the relative age of each population.
Perhaps one of the main reasons for the concerted campaign to ensure that no other treatments were deemed suitable for the early treatment or prevention of the disease was the FDA criterion for an EUA (emergency use exemption). No such exemption would have been granted to a product in such an early stage of development, without animal or human study data, except in what are deemed to be extraordinary circumstances.
€26 billion – the amount Pfizer expects to earn this year after producing the first Covid-19 vaccine – might buy a lot of scientific validation, and political influence.
The undue haste with which these vaccines have been rolled out demands sceptical enquiry, especially in relation to two particular cohorts: pregnant women and children. As clinicians we generally exercise extreme caution in these groups.
So why is it that for a condition with an overall IFR of 0.15% have we discarded this caution? Linking vaccination status to the right to work, travel, attend cultural and sporting events is divisive, coercing those who wish to exercise a degree of caution and/or exercise autonomy over their health.
Without the questionable concept that is asymptomatic spread, there is no justification for vaccinating anyone in low risk groups, and certainly no justification for using bully tactics.
Despite all these glaring questions, there has been a deafening silence from the medical profession in Ireland, and those that have spoken out have been quickly silenced. Is this how we are going to deal with complex issues in future? Adopting binary, categorical approaches without nuance leaves no room for debate.
RTE have paid lip service to the notion of an informed debate, hosting Martin Feeley and then later pitching Professors John Lee and Sunetra Gupta into debate with hand-picked stalwarts.
In Ireland today scepticism is viewed as a contagion to be eradicated, with compliance seen as the perfect state of health. As a nation we must ask: why have so many been so quiet; why has fear replaced reason, and groupthink taken over once again?
One must question the role of doctors ‘stuffing their mouths with gold’ as Aneurin Bevan put it in relation to British doctors at the inception of the NHS. A quick look at the 2019 PCRS payments to GPs shows a healthy €85 million in government expenditure. This, however, mushroomed to over €200 million for the same period in 2020.
Some were clearly making a killing during the pandemic. And whose idea was it to advise doctors not to see patients face-to-face during the pandemic? If a doctor won’t see you who will?
Further to this windfall will be vaccination payments at a cool €60 per patient. Is it any wonder GPs want everyone vaccinated?
There may even be boosters for variants required for everyone on the planet! The media should be asking the question: who is benefitting from this Monty-Pythonesque situation?
Certainly any government with the slightest authoritarian bent, which it transpires appears to be most Western ‘democracies’. It really is worrying how little opposition there has been to Chinese-inspired lockdowns, with opponents dismissed as a far right fringe – even by the apparently left-wing opposition – despite the obvious damage these policies have done to the poorest, who were also least protected by the measures.
Why did so many European governments fall into line so quickly, when even a passing familiarity with EU politics would indicate that it can take years for Member States to agree on the number of legs that the average cow possesses?
If you intuit that something is just not right, and baulk at jingoistic phrases like ‘the new normal’ and ‘build back better’ ask yourself cui bono or ‘who benefits’, and don’t let the fear of being labelled a ‘conspiracy theorist’ dissuade you from asking reasonable questions.
Feature Image: Daniele Idini