Business Day column: Beware the ‘fascist incest fest’ that will be the WHO’s COP7 tobacco meeting


The WHO denies the existence of the obvious mental and physical health benefits of human autonomy, satisfaction and coping strategies, writes Leon Louw

Who is WHO? Because of the answer, you should adopt the "brace position" suggested by airlines before a crash. Your freedom is about to crash, not into the sea, but into the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) propaganda cesspool. You would surely have maintained a healthy distance were it not for the fact that your ministry for health and against freedom, slavishly implements the WHO’s imaginary "obligations".

Prepare yourself for a deluge of detritus next week when the WHO meets in India. According to an increasing number of critics, the WHO is reprehensible and dangerous. It spews preordained resolutions designed to legitimise the erosion of lifestyle liberty. It proclaims, contrary to evidence, that healthy alternatives to smoking tobacco (e.g. filters, vaping and e-cigarettes) are unhealthy. It is about to inflict another body blow against your right to control yourself. Superficially, it is about smoking, but substantively about everything.

"Why," you might ask, "would the WHO deceive us? Aren’t the growing number of critics deluded conspiracy theorists? Aren’t most countries willing supplicants? Surely the WHO is benevolent and devoid of perverse interests?"

On the contrary, it is a massive, self-serving empire. It legitimises control of populations. To that end, it denies the existence of the obvious mental and physical health benefits of human autonomy, satisfaction and coping strategies.

An expert on the WHO, Prof Julian Morris, says the WHO lacks "transparency and accountability, [is] embroiled in internal problems, and [has] lost its way." It faces "a barrage of unprecedented criticism and accusations, [which] call into question its agenda, priorities, structure, operating protocols and funding". It is no longer "fit for purpose [and] needs fundamental reform".

The UN Office of Internal Oversight has reported multiple instances of corruption, fraud and misconduct, all on the increase.

Next week’s meeting is the seventh Conference of the Parties (COP7) to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). It will be a deception masterclass. The only transparent thing about it will be its fascistic agenda.

To entrench bias and preclude objectivity, the FCTC prohibits participants with countervailing views. Only "experts" who slavishly endorse predetermined outcomes are allowed. According to Morris, the Moscow FCTC meeting "violated [its own] participation, accountability and transparency" principles. The cloak of secrecy and duplicity is so shameless that documents, according to which your rights will be eroded, are unavailable and password protected.

Whereas the Paris Climate Convention had 2,000 observers, only 26 hand-picked people attended COP6. Morris reported that, "the media and even Interpol couldn’t follow the proceedings [and] civil society groups [were] removed". Delegates from critical countries such as China are excluded. Only compliant "scientists" attend. No one may represent the billions involved in the tobacco value chain: consumers, workers, producers, distributors, dependants etc. Hotels have been asked to ban unwelcome guests.

In short, the COP7 is a fascist incest fest.

Why should you care if, like me, you are a life-long nonsmoker and what some might call a health and fitness fanatic? I would be Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s poster boy were it not for the fact that I am his principal principled critic.

A respected policy analyst chastised me for criticising (in this column) increasingly insane antismoker laws. "Our country has much more important issues," he said. He subsequently apologised and conceded that draconian smoking laws were a precursor to total control.

Condoning the erosion of lifestyle liberty (exercised in ways that harm no one) leaves us without a principled argument against the erosion of all liberty. Although tobacco-related rights are ends in themselves, regulatory and fiscal diarrhoea regarding everything else (fat, sugar, sweeteners, salt, fast-food, liquor, baby food, flavourings, colourants, preservatives, etc) proves that antismoker fanaticism is the tip of a deadly dagger.

Our health ministry will display good faith if it encourages harm-reduction alternatives to conventional smoking.

 Louw is executive director of the Free Market Foundation

This article was first published in Business Day on 2 November 2016


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