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31 January 2010
This article is part of the series Swine Flu.
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 |
Influence of industry on 'fake pandemic' investigated

By Daan de Wit
Translated by Ben Kearney

The initial enthusiasm for the dynamic approach of the Swine Flu by virologist Ab Osterhaus and Dutch Minister Ab Klink has given rise to criticism. Also beyond The Netherlands the question is being raised over whether the large-scale acquisition of vaccines made sense. The Council of Europe began an investigation into this question last Tuesday. Dutch MP Pieter Omtzigt is the vice chairman of the commission carrying out the investigation and says in an NOS radio broadcast: 'A number of members of the Council of Europe have expressed exceptionally harsh criticism of the World Health Organization and are asking themselves out loud whether drug manufacturers had too much influence in this decision'.

'The commission appointed [...] a special investigator to look into the ties between the WHO and the drug industry. According to critical Euro-MP's, conflicts of interest are the only logical explanation for the all-out alarm', wrote Tubantia on Wednesday. Goverments have stocked up on 12 billion euros worth of anti-flu medication, the paper writes.

'False pandemic'
'The German chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council [of Europe, Social Democratic Party member and doctor], Wolfgang Wodarg, is calling the declaration of the 'false pandemic' one of the biggest medical scandals of this century', wrote De Telegraaf earlier this month in the run up to the investigation and emergency debate. 'The text of a motion for resolution, which will likely receive the support of the vast majority of the 47 countries during the next emergency debate, has that same extremely critical spirit. The resolution states among other things that millions of healthy people worldwide have been needlessly exposed to the unknown side-effects of flu vaccines that were not sufficiently tested'.

WHO alters definition of pandemic
Pieter Omtzicht, speaking in the radio broadcast: 'One of the things that has been changed, for instance, is the definition of a pandemic'. Because of this, level 6 was now reached 'a whole lot faster'. Ab Osterhaus was also featured in the radio segment. He responded to Omtzicht by saying that the definition of pandemic had already been in place for some time. What he means by this is unclear, because the definition was changed just this past May. Another comment made in the press raises questions as well. 'According to Luc Hessel of the European federation that lobbies for the vaccine producers, the laboratories have [...] 'carried out rigorous testing with the newest techniques'.' In part five of this DeepJournal series on the Swine Flu, we showed how the Swine Flu vaccine was being tested at the same time that it was being administered to the public. And the headline from part six reads: Vaccination advice given to pregnant women based on 'practically no scientific data'.

Number of investigations
The results of the Council of Europe's hearing 'are expected to be announced January 29 and will likely be followed by an in-depth study and recommendations to European governments', writes Truthout. The hearing 'is the latest in a series of investigations into the WHO's propriety, which also includes a 2009 Danish Parliamentary inspection of links between WHO expert, Albert Osterhaus, and makers of the swine flu drugs. Russian lawmaker Igor Barinov has also started an inquiry into the WHO's ties to H1N1 drug makers'. The WHO is meanwhile trying to limit the damage with a statement 'on allegations of conflict of interest and 'fake' pandemic'.

Unrest within WHO
Even so there is unrest within the WHO as well. Dr. Ulrich Keil, director of the WHO's Collaborating Centre for Epidemiology, gave this away during the Council of Europe's hearing. Truthout writes: 'Keil hammered his own organization and WHO flu chief, Dr. Keiji Fukuda, for "producing angst campaigns." "With SARS, with avian flu, always the predictions are wrong ... Why don't we learn from history?" Keil asked. "It [swine flu] produced a lot of turmoil in the pubic and was completely exaggerated in contrast with all the really important matters we have to deal with in public health."'

Ab Osterhaus
Epidemiologist Tom Jefferson has similar questions as well. And just as with Keil's concerns, they call to mind one Ab Osterhaus: 'For example, what happened with the bird flu, which was supposed to kill us all? Nothing. But that doesn't stop these people from always making their predictions. Ab Osterhaus DWDD [jpg]Sometimes you get the feeling that there is a whole industry almost waiting for a pandemic to occur', Jefferson says in Der Spiegel.
Another one of Jefferson's observations reminds one of the Tegenlicht broadcast on Osterhaus: 'The WHO and public health officials, virologists and the pharmaceutical companies. They've built this machine around the impending pandemic. And there's a lot of money involved, and influence, and careers, and entire institutions!' In the Tegenlicht broadcast it can be sensed how Osterhaus' enthusiasm for his work crosses over into enthusiasm about the spreading of the virus and the positive effect this has on his influence and his career. A telling scene from the broadcast was shown - somewhat out of context - on De Wereld Draait Door.

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