Thursday 31 July 2014

Interpol versus the World Health Organisation

In 2012, I wrote about the paranoid, megalomaniac delusions of the World Health Organisation's 'Conference of the Parties' (COP) shindig that was held in Korea that year. Amongst other things, they made the Walter Mitty decision to "eliminate the illicit trade in tobacco"—something that has never been achieved with any other product, let alone one that grows ever more expensive on the licit market.

The masterstroke of this confederacy of unelected dunces was to ban journalists from their sessions in the fear that one of them might have 'links' to the tobacco industry and therefore might—what?—Hyptonise them? Give them the evil eye? Who knows, but they then proceeded to ban Interpol—yes, frickin' Interpol, who have been fighting the illicit trade in tobacco for donkey's years—on the basis that it had taken money from Philip Morris to help fight tobacco smuggling.

I said at the time:

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. I don't imagine that the industry necessarily represents the views of its customers, but they represent them better than the people who hate the customers, hate the industry and hate the product. Ideally, I'd like to see the tobacco control "community" invite smokers to their conferences and ask them how they feel about higher taxes and outdoor smoking bans, but they never do. I can't think why.

The result of excluding everybody except fellow fanatics is that you end up with retarded and delusional policies which only make sense at two in the morning when they are being discussed by monomaniacs in the hotel bar. It seems obvious, for example, that the tobacco industry could make common cause with the anti-tobacco industry—not to mention Interpol—on the issue of counterfeit cigarettes where both parties stand to lose. No dice, say the anti-smokers.

Remember that we are not talking about Interpol taking part in the discussions, only about them being admitted as spectators. Such is the tinfoil hat mentality of the anti-smoking lobby today that mere observation is considered threatening.

The next WHO COP meeting takes place, appropriately enough, in Russia. While the rest of the world balks at the idea of associating with Putin's terrorist-supporting, gay-bashing, journalist-hating semi-dictatorship, the denizens of public health are rushing to embrace it because it has recently introduced a smoking ban. An interesting set of priorities.

Even now, the WHO zealots are still furrowing their brows and beating their chests about the idea of Interpol being in the audience at their miserable conference. It's worth reading this document to see the depths of paranoia to which this once great institution has sunk.

The WHO clings to Article 5.3 of the FCTC which 'public health' campaigners seem to think is a some sort of Get Out of Jail card for them to avoid seeing, hearing or speaking to anyone who disagrees with them. To be clear, this is what it says (in full):

In setting and implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control, Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law.

That's all it says—that the tobacco industry shouldn't be helping to develop 'public health policies' in nation states.

In its response to the WHO, Interpol gently points out that it is "not a country and consequently cannot be party to the FCTC". It also points out that it has no role in setting policy. If it was less polite, it might also have said that, even if it could set policy, it was hardly likely to be able to do so as an observer at row Q of a WHO meeting. If it was really impolite, it could have pointed out that the WHO is not a country either, it is an unelected supranational part-private, part-public organisation like Interpol, and should not be setting policy either.

The WHO has not yet made a decision about whether to let Interpol (I'll say it again—because it's hard to believe I'm actually typing this—frickin' Interpol) into their Moscow conference. It admits that Interpol is a "respected, credible international organization" and acknowledges "the value of its expertise in law enforcement and combating illicit trafficking of goods". Well, duh. But it still frets about "the importance of transparency in dealings with the tobacco industry" as if Interpol was actually the tobacco industry. (UPDATE: It banned them.)

Interestingly, the WHO has expressed no concern whatsoever about the funding Interpol receives from the pharmaceutical industry (which, quite reasonably, is used to fund the massive black market in medicines). But why would it? After all, the WHO's tobacco division has been getting millions of dollars from Big Pharma since 1999 and it sees no conflict in trying to kill off the pharmaceutical industry's main competitor in the nicotine market, e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes will be one of the main topics under consideration at the Moscow summit and we know how the pharmaceutical industry feels about them. It is, funnily enough, the same as the WHO feels about them.

But let's not worry about that little competing interest, shall we? Let's worry about someone from the world's police cooperation service watching from the wings.

Crooked and delusional beyond belief.

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