Our Grave Concerns About the Handling of the COVID Pandemic by Governments of the Nations of the UK

Open letter from several healthcare professions to the UK government/administrators.

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Mr Boris Johnson, Prime Minister

Ms Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister for Scotland

Mr Mark Drakeford, First Minister for Wales

Mr Paul Givan, First Minister for Northern Ireland

Mr Sajid Javid, Health Secretary

Dr Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer

Dr Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Officer

 

22 August 2021

Dear Sirs and Madam,

Our grave concerns about the handling of the COVID pandemic by Governments of the Nations of the UK.

We write as concerned doctors, nurses, and other allied healthcare professionals with no vested interest in doing so. To the contrary, we face personal risk in relation to our employment for doing so and / or the risk of being personally “smeared” by those who inevitably will not like us speaking out.

We are taking the step of writing this public letter because it has become apparent to us that:

  • The  Government (by which we mean the UK government and three devolved governments/administrations and associated government advisors and agencies such as the CMOs, CSA, SAGE, MHRA, JCVI, Public Health services, Ofcom etc, hereinafter “you” or the “Government”) have based the handling of the COVID pandemic on flawed assumptions.
  • These have been pointed out to you by numerous individuals and organisations.
  • You have failed to engage in dialogue and show no signs of doing so. You have removed from people fundamental rights and altered the fabric of society with little debate in Parliament. No minister responsible for policy has ever appeared in a proper debate with anyone with opposing views on any mainstream media channel.
  • Despite being aware of alternative medical and scientific viewpoints you have failed to ensure an open and full discussion of the pros and cons of alternative ways of managing the pandemic.
  • The pandemic response policies implemented have caused massive, permanent and unnecessary harm to our nation, and must never be repeated.
  • Only by revealing the complete lack of widespread approval among healthcare professionals of your policies will a wider debate be demanded by the public.

In relation to the above, we wish to draw attention to the following points. Supporting references can be provided upon request.

  1. No attempt to measure the harms of lockdown policies

The evidence of disastrous effects of lockdowns on the physical and mental health of the population is there for all to see. The harms are massive, widespread, and long lasting. In particular, the psychological impact on a generation of developing children could be lifelong.

It is for this reason that lockdown policies were never part of any pandemic preparedness plans prior to 2020. In fact, they were expressly not recommended in WHO documents, even for severe respiratory viral pathogens and for that matter neither were border closures, face coverings, and testing of asymptomatic individuals. There has been such an inexplicable absence of consideration of the harms caused by lockdown policy it is difficult to avoid the suspicion that this is willful avoidance.

The introduction of such policies was never accompanied by any sort of risk/benefit analysis. As bad as that is, it is even worse that after the event when plenty of data became available by which the harms could be measured, only perfunctory attention to this aspect of pandemic planning has been afforded. Eminent professionals have repeatedly called for discourse on these health impacts in press-conferences but have been universally ignored.

What is so odd, is that the policies being pursued before mid-March 2020 (self-isolation of the ill and protection of the vulnerable, while otherwise society continued close to normality) were balanced, sensible and reflected the approach established by consensus prior to 2020. No cogent reason was given then for the abrupt change of direction from mid-March 2020 and strikingly none has been put forward at any time since.

  1. Institutional nature of COVID

It was actually clear early on from Italian data that COVID (the disease – as opposed to SARS-Cov-2 infection or exposure) was largely a disease of institutions. Care home residents comprised around half of all deaths, despite making up less than 1% of the population. Hospital infections are the major driver of transmission rates as was the case for both SARS1 and MERS. Transmission was associated with hospital contact in up to 40% of cases in the first wave in Spring 2020 and in 64% in winter 2020/2021.

Severe illness among healthy people below 70 years old did occur (as seen with flu pandemics) but was extremely rare.

Despite this, no early, aggressive and targeted measures were taken to protect care homes; to the contrary, patients were discharged without testing to homes where staff had inadequate PPE, training and information. Many unnecessary deaths were caused as a result.

Preparations for this coming winter, including ensuring sufficient capacity and preventative measures such as ventilation solutions, have not been prioritised.

  1. The exaggerated nature of the threat

Policy appears to have been directed at systematic exaggeration of the number of deaths which can be attributed to COVID. Testing was designed to find every possible ‘case’ rather than focusing on clinically diagnosed infections and the resulting exaggerated case numbers fed through to the death data with large numbers of people dying ‘with COVID’ and not ‘of COVID’ where the disease was the underlying cause of death.

The policy of publishing a daily death figure meant the figure was based entirely on the PCR test result with no input from treating clinicians. By including all deaths within a time period after a positive test, incidental deaths, with but not due to COVID, were not excluded thereby exaggerating the nature of the threat.

Moreover, in headlines reporting the number of deaths, a categorisation by age was not included. The average age of a COVID-labelled death is 81 for men and 84 for women, higher than the average life expectancy when these people were born. This is a highly relevant fact in assessing the societal impact of the pandemic. Death in old age is a natural phenomenon. It cannot be said that a disease primarily affecting the elderly is the same as one which affects all ages, and yet the government’s messaging appears designed to make the public think that everyone is at equal risk.

Doctors were asked to complete death certificates in the knowledge that the deceased’s death had already been recorded as a COVID death by the Government. Since it would be virtually impossible to find evidence categorically ruling out COVID as a contributory factor to death, once recorded as a “COVID death” by the government, it was inevitable that it would be included as a cause on the death certificate. Diagnosing the cause of death is always difficult and the reduction in post mortems will have inevitably resulted in increased inaccuracy. The fact that deaths due to non-COVID causes actually moved into a substantial deficit (compared to average) as COVID-labelled deaths rose (and this was reversed as COVID-labelled deaths fell) is striking evidence of over-attribution of deaths to COVID.

The overall all-cause mortality rate from 2015-2019 was unusually low and yet these figures have been used to compare to 2020 and 2021 mortality figures which has made the increased mortality appear unprecedented. Comparisons with data from earlier years would have demonstrated that the 2020 mortality rate was exceeded in every year prior to 2003 and is unexceptional as a result.

Even now COVID cases and deaths continue to be added to the existing total without proper rigour such that overall totals grow ever larger and exaggerate the threat. No effort has been made to count totals in each winter season separately which is standard practice for every other disease.

You have continued to adopt high-frequency advertising through publishing and broadcast media outlets to add to the impact of “fear messaging”. The cost of this has not been widely published, but government procurement websites reveal it to be immense – hundreds of millions of pounds.

The media and government rhetoric is now moving onto the idea that “Long Covid” is going to cause major morbidity in all age groups including children, without having a discussion of the normality of postviral fatigue which lasts upwards of 6 months. This adds to the public fear of the disease, encouraging vaccination amongst those who are highly unlikely to suffer any adverse effects from COVID.

  1. Active suppression of discussion of early treatment using protocols being successfully deployed elsewhere.

The harm caused by COVID and our response to it should have meant that advances in prophylaxis and therapeutics for COVID were embraced. However, evidence on successful treatments has been ignored or even actively suppressed. For example, a study in Oxford published in February 2021 demonstrated that inhaled Budesonide could reduce hospitalisations by 90% in low risk patients and a publication in April 2021 showed that recovery was faster for high risk patients too. However, this important intervention has not been promoted.

Dr. Tess Lawrie, of the Evidence Based Medical Consultancy in Bath, presented a thorough analysis of the prophylactic and therapeutic benefits of Ivermectin to the government in January 2021. More than 24 randomised trials with 3,400 people have demonstrated a 79-91% reduction in infections and a 27-81% reduction in deaths with Ivermectin.

Many doctors are understandably cautious about possible over-interpretation of the available data for the drugs mentioned above and other treatments, although it is to be noted that no such caution seems to have been applied in relation to the treatment of data around the government’s interventions (eg the effectiveness of lockdowns or masks) when used in support of the government’s agenda.

Whatever one’s view on the merits of these repurposed drugs, it is totally unacceptable that doctors who have attempted to merely open discussion about the potential benefits of early treatments for COVID have been heavily and inexplicably censored. Knowing that early treatments which could reduce the risk of requiring hospitalisation might be available would alter the entire view held by many professionals and lay people alike about the threat posed by COVID, and therefore the risk / benefit ratio for vaccination, especially in younger groups.

  1. Inappropriate and unethical use of behavioural science to generate unwarranted fear.

Propagation of a deliberate fear narrative (confirmed through publicly accessible government documentation) has been disproportionate, harmful and counterproductive. We request that it should cease forthwith.

To give just one example, the government’s face covering policies seem to have been driven by behavioural psychology advice in relation to generating a level of fear necessary for compliance with other policies. Those policies do not appear to have been driven by reason of infection control, because there is no robust evidence showing that wearing a face covering (particularly cloth or standard surgical masks) is effective against transmission of airborne respiratory pathogens such as SARS-Cov-2. Several high profile institutions and individuals are aware of this and have advocated against face coverings during this pandemic only inexplicably to reverse their advice on the basis of no scientific justification of which we are aware. On the other hand there is plenty of evidence suggesting that mask wearing can cause multiple harms, both physical and mental. This has been particularly distressing for the nation’s school children who have been encouraged by government policy and their schools to wear masks for long periods at school.

Finally, the use of face coverings is highly symbolic and thus counterproductive in making people feel safe. Prolonged wearing risks becoming an ingrained safety behaviour, actually preventing people from getting back to normal because they erroneously attribute their safety to the act of mask wearing rather than to the remote risk, for the vast majority of healthy people under 70 years old, of catching the virus and becoming seriously unwell with COVID.

  1. Misunderstanding of the ubiquitous nature of mutations of newly emergent viruses.

The mutation of any novel virus into newer strains – especially when under selection pressure from abnormal restrictions on mixing and vaccination – is normal, unavoidable and not something to be concerned about. Hundreds of thousands of mutations of the original Wuhan strain have already been identified. Chasing down every new emergent variant is counterproductive, harmful and totally unnecessary and there is no convincing evidence that any newly identified variant is any more deadly than the original strain.

Mutant strains appear simultaneously in different countries (by way of ‘convergent evolution’) and the closing of national borders in attempts to prevent variants travelling from one country to another serves no significant infection control purpose and should be abandoned.

  1. Misunderstanding of asymptomatic spread and its use to promote public compliance with restrictions.

It is well-established that asymptomatic spread has never been a major driver of a respiratory disease pandemic and we object to your constant messaging implying this, which should cease forthwith. Never before have we perverted the centuries-old practice of isolating the ill by instead isolating the healthy. Repeated mandates to healthy, asymptomatic people to self-isolate, especially school children, serves no useful purpose and has only contributed to the widespread harms of such policies. In the vast majority of cases healthy people are healthy and cannot transmit the virus and only sick people with symptoms should be isolated.

The government’s claim that one in three people could have the virus has been shown to be mutually inconsistent with the ONS data on prevalence of disease in society, and the sole effect of this messaging appears to have been to generate fear and promote compliance with government restrictions. The government’s messaging to ‘act as if you have the virus’ has also been unnecessarily fear-inducing given that healthy people are extremely unlikely to transmit the virus to others.

The PCR test, widely used to determine the existence of ‘cases’, is now indisputably acknowledged to be unable reliably to detect infectiousness. The test cannot discriminate between those in whom the presence of fragments of genetic material partially matching the virus is either incidental (perhaps because of past infection), or is representative of active infection, or is indicative of infectiousness. Yet, it has been used almost universally without qualification or clinical diagnosis to justify lockdown policies and to quarantine millions of people needlessly at enormous cost to health and well-being and to the country’s economy.

Countries that have removed community restrictions have seen no negative consequences which can be attributed to the easing. Empirical data from many countries demonstrates that the rise and fall in infections is seasonal and not due to restrictions or face coverings. The reason for reduced impact of each successive wave is that: (1) most people have some level of immunity either through prior immunity or immunity acquired through exposure; (2) as is usual with emergent new viruses, mutation of the virus towards strains causing milder disease appears to have occurred. Vaccination may also contribute to this although its durability and level of protection against variants is unclear. 

The government appears to be talking of “learning to live with COVID” while apparently practicing by stealth a “zero COVID” strategy which is futile and ultimately net-harmful.

  1. Mass testing of healthy children

Repeated testing of children to find asymptomatic cases who are unlikely to spread virus, and treating them like some sort of biohazard is harmful, serves no public health purpose and must stop.

During Easter term, an amount equivalent to the cost of building one District General Hospital was spent weekly on testing schoolchildren to find a few thousand positive ‘cases’, none of which was serious as far as we are aware.

Lockdowns are in fact a far greater contributor to child health problems, with record levels of mental illness and soaring levels of non-COVID infections being seen, which some experts consider to be a result of distancing resulting in deconditioning of the immune system.

  1. Vaccination of the entire adult population should never have been a prerequisite for ending restrictions.

Based merely on early “promising” vaccine data, it is clear that the Government decided in summer 2020 to pursue a policy of viral suppression within the entire population until vaccination was available (which was initially stated to be for the vulnerable only, then later changed – without proper debate or rigorous analysis – to the entire adult population).

This decision was taken despite massive harms consequent to continued lockdowns which were either known to you or ought to have been ascertained so as to be considered in the decision making process.

Moreover, a number of principles of good medical practice and previously unimpeachable ethical standards have been breached in relation to the vaccination campaign, meaning that in most cases, whether the consent obtained can be truly regarded as “fully informed” must be in serious doubt:

  • The use of coercion supported by an unprecedented media campaign to persuade the public to be vaccinated, including threats of discrimination, either supported by the law or encouraged socially, for example in co-operation with social media platforms and dating apps.
  • The omission of information permitting individuals to make a fully informed choice, especially in relation to the experimental nature of the vaccine agents, extremely low background COVID risk for most people, known occurrence of short-term side-effects and unknown long-term effects.

Finally, we note that the Government is seriously considering the possibility that these vaccines – which have no associated long-term safety data – could be administered to children on the basis that this might provide some degree of protection to adults. We find that notion an appalling and unethical inversion of the long-accepted duty falling on adults to protect children.

  1. Over-reliance on modeling while ignoring real-world data

Throughout the pandemic, decisions seem to have been taken utilising unvalidated models produced by groups who have what can only be described as a woeful track record, massively overestimating the impact of several previous pandemics.

The decision-making teams appear to have very little clinical input and, as far as is ascertainable, no clinical immunology expertise.

Moreover, the assumptions underlying the modeling have never been adjusted to take into account real-world observations in the UK and other countries.

It is an astonishing admission that, when asked whether collateral harms had been considered by SAGE, the answer given was that it was not in their remit – they were simply asked to minimise COVID impact. That might be forgivable if some other advisory group was constantly studying the harms side of the ledger, yet this seems not to have been the case.

Conclusions

The UK’s approach to COVID has palpably failed. In the apparent desire to protect one vulnerable group – the elderly – the implemented policies have caused widespread collateral and disproportionate harm to many other vulnerable groups, especially children. Moreover your policies have failed in any event to prevent the UK from notching up one of the highest reported death rates from COVID in the world.

Now, despite very high vaccination rates and the currently very low COVID death and hospitalisation rates, policy continues to be aimed at maintaining a population handicapped by extreme fear with restrictions on everyday life prolonging and deepening the policy-derived harms. To give just one example, NHS waiting lists now stand at 5.1m officially, with – according to the previous Health Secretary – a likely further 7m who will require treatment not yet presented. This is unacceptable and must be addressed urgently.

In short, there needs to be a sea change within the Government which must now pay proper attention to those esteemed experts outside its inner circle who are sounding these alarms. As those involved with healthcare, we are committed to our oath to “first do no harm”, and we can no longer stand by in silence observing policies which have imposed a series of supposed “cures” which are in fact far worse than the disease they are supposed to address.

The signatories of this letter call on you, in Government, without further delay to widen the debate over policy, consult openly with groups of scientists, doctors, psychologists and others who share crucial, scientifically-valid and evidence-based alternative views and to do everything in your power to return the country as rapidly as possible to normality with the minimum of further damage to society.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Jonathan Engler, MB ChB LLB (Hons) DipPharmMed

Professor John A Fairclough, BM BS B Med Sci FRCS FFSEM,  Consultant Surgeon, ran vaccination program for a Polio Outbreak, Past President BOSTA, for Orthopaedic Surgeons, Faculty member FFSEM

Mr Tony Hinton, MB ChB, FRCS, FRCS(Oto), Consultant Surgeon

Dr Renee Hoenderkamp, BSc (Hons) MBBS MRCGP, General Practitioner

Dr Ros Jones, MBBS, MD, FRCPCH, retired consultant paediatrician

Mr Malcolm Loudon, MB ChB MD FRCSEd FRCS (Gen Surg) MIHM VR

Dr Geoffrey Maidment, MBBS, MD, FRCP, retired consultant physician

Dr Alan Mordue, MB ChB, FFPH (ret), Retired Consultant in Public Health Medicine

Mr Colin Natali, BSc(Hons), MBBS FRCS FRCS(Orth), Consultant Spine Surgeon

Dr Helen Westwood, MBChB MRCGP DCH DRCOG, General Practitioner

Click here for the complete list of signatories and if you wish to add your name to the letter.

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Featured image: Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference on 16 March, with Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Witty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance. Picture by Andrew Parsons

CDC to Withdraw Emergency Use Authorization for RT PCR Test Because It Cannot Distinguish Between SARS-CoV-2 and the Flu

The whole COVID narrative was based on fraudulent tests…

Reblogged from globalresearch.ca/Health Impact News:
by Brian Shilhavy on July 25, 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

Visit and follow us on Instagram at @crg_globalresearch.

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The CDC quietly announced last week that it was withdrawing its request to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel, the assay first introduced in February 2020 for detection of SARS-CoV-2.

Most of the public is probably unaware that similar to the current COVID-19 injections that are not yet approved by the FDA, but only given Emergency Use Authorization, so too the hundreds of diagnostic tests that supposedly detect COVID-19 are also NOT approved by the FDA, but only authorized via an EUA.

What is the reason the CDC is withdrawing its EUA request for the Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel?

In preparation for this change, CDC recommends clinical laboratories and testing sites that have been using the CDC 2019-nCoV RT-PCR assay select and begin their transition to another FDA-authorized COVID-19 test.

CDC encourages laboratories to consider adoption of a multiplexed method that can facilitate detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses. (Source.)

Caitlin McFall, writing for Fox News, is the only one in the corporate media I could find that even reported this, and the few reports I found in the Alternative media so far have been mostly inaccurate.

McFall reports:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged labs this week to stock clinics with kits that can test for both the coronavirus and the flu as the “influenza season” draws near.

The CDC said Wednesday it will withdrawal its request for the “Emergency Use Authorization” of real-time diagnostic testing kits, which were used starting in February 2020 to detect signs of the coronavirus, by the end of the year.

“CDC is providing this advance notice for clinical laboratories to have adequate time to select and implement one of the many FDA-authorized alternatives,” the agency said.

The U.S. has reported more than 34.4 million cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began in 2020 and more than 610,000 deaths.

But while cases of COVID-19 soared nationwide, hospitalizations and deaths caused by influenza dropped.

According to data released by the CDC earlier this month, influenza mortality rates were significantly lower throughout 2020 than previous years.

There were 646 deaths relating to the flu among adults reported in 2020, whereas in 2019 the CDC estimated that between 24,000 and 62,000 people died from influenza-related illnesses.

The CDC urged laboratories to “save both time and resources” by introducing kits that can determine and distinguish a positive test for the coronavirus and flu. (Source.)

So there you have it. The CDC just basically admitted that many of the COVID-19 cases this past year could not be distinguished from “flu cases.” No wonder flu cases decreased to zero in so many places. See: Health Officials Admit that Only Those Vaccinated for the Flu are Getting the Flu This Year

The ending of the EUA for the Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel will not happen until the end of the year, December 31, 2021, and the CDC recommends that laboratories start transitioning to other types of COVID-19 diagnostic tests that have been given an EUA by the FDA here.

At the time of publication of this article, the FDA has issued 251 EUAs for COVID-19 diagnostic tests since April 1, 2020. The vast majority of them are for the RT-PCR tests, including about 20 that were just issued EUAs since the beginning of this month, July, 2021.

The cash cow for these tests and the hundreds of companies that got rich selling them will now have to move on to the next phase to be able to cash in.

Diagnostic Testing Fraud: Controlling the Masses and Medical Kidnapping

We have been covering the corruption in the medical diagnostic testing field for the better part of a decade now, and we exposed it early on in the COVID-19 Plandemic last year as well.

Here are some of our previous articles from last year exposing the fraud of COVID-19 diagnostic testing.

When we started MedicalKidnap.com back in 2014, we learned that fraudulent diagnostic testing was a common way for doctors and hospitals to order children be removed from their homes.

Often they create false drug test positive results to remove children from their parents.

Alabama Lab Owner Arrested for Falsifying Results of Drug Tests Used to Medically Kidnap Children

The worst offender, by far, in medically kidnapping children by use of a medical diagnostic test, is within the field of radiology and finding “proof” of child abuse simply by looking at x-rays.

This whole field has developed a recent new class of pediatricians “certified” as “Child Abuse Pediatricians,” and the lucrative jobs of these doctors depend on them finding abused children and putting them into the lucrative child trafficking network known as “foster care.”

We have actually published an eBook on this topic, or you can look up individual cases on our MedicaKidnap.com website to learn how this evil system works.

When it comes to diagnosing “influenza,” we have exposed the fraud there as well, as pre-COVID-19 the CDC simply used estimates of cases of the flu, since they cannot verify actual numbers each year by diagnostic testing.

Annual Flu Deaths Scam Unwittingly Exposed and Replaced by the COVID Deaths Scam

So COVID-19 allowed them to just further exploit the fraud of diagnostic testing to create fear and panic, and achieve their goals of enslaving the public and rolling out their experimental mRNA injections.

With this latest announcement by the CDC that they are now going to retire the RT-PCR Diagnostic tests and replace them with other tests that can now test both COVID and influenza, it is pretty easy to see what their game plan is for later this year.

Just about everyone in the U.S. will be able to be tested “positive” for something by this Fall when the flu season starts.

This will be the “Hegelian principle” implementation for 2021. The government creates the problem, and then they create the solution, which we know now is more “vaccines” for everything in life that ails us, and try to punish those who don’t want to play their game.

I’m ready. Are you?

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Featured image is from Health Impact News

ADDITIONAL NOTE from Expanding Awareness Relations in regards to the above post:

Interesting timing that at around the same time that the CDC announces this egregious oversight of the flawed PCR tests and their efforts to find a new testing system, news of Bill Gates and George Soros teaming up to buy a COVID testing company is in the works.

I’m sure that’s not a coincidence at all…

Bill Gates and George Soros team up to buy Covid testing company for $41 Million…

And it must be said that we are always told to “trust the science”, and yet for OVER A YEAR we were basing lockdowns, harmful mask mandates and tragic social distancing practices on false positive cases until they FINALLY announced that the tests were ineffective in detecting this virus. Yet, “trust the science”… And still, even with the information that the COVID cases were not counted accurately, there are many places continuing to enforce the mandatory masks, social distancing, etc., etc. and even vaccine passports.

Meanwhile, the ACTUAL scientists/doctors, who have no government funding and/or alternative motive to embellish or entertain one certain narrative, has been telling us THIS WHOLE ENTIRE TIME that the tests were ineffective and counting too many false positives – enough to indicate that the COVID situation was widely overblown. And they were the ones censored and labeled “misinformation” or “misleading” while the INCORRECT (albeit, deliberately…) scientists/doctors were given airtime and endorsed in perpetuating the “deadly virus” message.

It is INJUSTICE that the public have been misinformed on such a large scale by big tech social media platforms and mainstream media complicit in allowing this deception to continue while those who have been speaking the truth all along have been censored and banned. Where are the efforts to ban these platforms and the erroneously WRONG doctors and scientists for spreading ACTUAL MISINFORMATION?

Of course, those of us in the know have already determined that this was a very intentional tactic, with the collusion of the media and the government/health industries, to manipulate as many people as possible into taking the vaccine, which is what this whole “pandemic” boils down to.

Unfortunately, until people open their eyes and actually do their own research on these matters, and admit that there is indeed a sinister motive of a small, yet powerful group of individuals working to enforce worldwide vaccines and a tyrannical control of the population, then they will remain lost in the deception and not only get their rights and freedom taken away from them, but also create a dark and bleak world for future generations. People need to swallow their pride, admit when they’re wrong, face the truth, and stand up for what’s right.

The Other Virus: Learned Helplessness

Compliance leading to our downfall.

What is a culture of compliance, and ever-shifting rules, doing to us?

MAY 17, 2021|12:01 AM

PETER VAN BUREN

Why would any American allow the government to deny him a final goodbye to the person who raised him? Why would anyone allow grandma to die untouched in a hospital room without fighting back? In the post-vaccination era, why don’t people remove their masks? Learned helplessness, employed as a control tool.

Learned helplessness is well documented. It takes place when an individual believes he continuously faces a negative, uncontrollable situation and stops trying to improve his circumstances, even when he has the ability to do so. Discovering the loss of control elicits a passive reaction to a harmful situation. Psychologists call this a maladaptive response, characterized by avoidance of challenges and the collapse of problem-solving when obstacles arise. You give up trying to fight back

An example may help: You must keep up with ever-changing mask and other hygiene theater rules, many of which make no sense (mask in the gym, but not the pool; mask when going to the restaurant toilet but not at your table; NYC hotels are closed while Vegas casinos are open; Disney California closed while Disney Florida was open) and comply.

You could push back, but you have been made afraid at a core level (forget about yourself rascal, you’re going to kill grandma if you don’t do what we say) and so you just give in. Once upon a time we were told a vaccine would end it all, yet the restrictions remain largely in place. You’re left believing nothing will fix this. Helpless to resist, you comply, “out of an abundance of caution.”

American psychologists Martin Seligman and Steven Maier created the term “learned helplessness” in 1967. They were studying animal behavior by delivering electric shocks to dogs (it was a simpler time). Dogs who learned they couldn’t escape the shock simply stopped trying, even after the scientists removed a barrier and the dog could have jumped away.

Learned helplessness has three main features: a passive response to trauma, disbelief that trauma can be controlled, and stress.

Example: You are being stalked by a killer disease which often has no outward symptoms. There is nothing you can do but hide inside and buy things from Amazon. The government failed to stop the virus initially, failed to warn you, failed to supply ventilators and PPE gear, and failed to produce a vaccine quickly enough. You may die. You may kill your family members along the way. You have lost your job by government decree and are forced to survive on unemployment and the odd stimulus check—manufactured dependence. It is all very real: WebMD saw a 251 percent increase in searches for anxiety this April.

Americans, with their cult-like devotion to victimhood, are primed for learned helplessness. Your problems are because you’re a POC, or fat, or on some spectrum. You are not responsible, can’t fix something so systemic, and best do what you are told.

The way out is to allow people to make decisions and choices on their own. This therapy is used with victims of learned helplessness such as hostages. During their confinement all the important decisions of their life, and most of the minor ones, were made by their captors. Upon release, many hostages fear things as simple as a meal choice and need to be coaxed out of helplessness one micro-choice at a time.

Example: You cannot choose where to stand, so follow the marks on the floor. Ignore the research saying three feet apart is as useful or useless as six feet apart. Don’t think about why the rules are the same inside a narrow hallway and outsidein the fresh air but don’t apply at all on airplanes.

Kin to learned helplessness are enforcers. Suddenly your waitress transitions from someone serving you into someone ordering you to wear a mask, sit alone, eat outside, etc. Flight attendants morph from delivering drinks to holding the power to have security haul you to jail for unmasking when not actively eating. Companies once run by entrepreneurs are today controlled by the harassment-stalking undead from HR. We’ve become a republic of hall monitors. And there it is. The wrong people are in charge.

One of the better examples of learned helplessness is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a great book made into an impressive movie starring a lean Jack Nicholson. Nurse Ratched cows a group of mentally ill men into complete learned helplessness, encouraging them to rat each other out for small offenses, and to follow her every order no matter how absurd. The kicker comes near the end when we learn all of the men (except Nicholson) are free to leave the hospital at any time. They just…can’t.

It is amazing how fast people stepped into the Nurse Ratched role. Within moments of COVID’s arrival in the national conscience, officials like California’s Gavin Newsom, and New York’s Andrew Cuomo and Bill De Blasio raced to assume fat emergency powers. They spent not one moment assessing the impact of their decisions to lock down against the effects of the lock down. They ignored information questioning the value of lock down. 

They turned topsy-turvy the idea that in a free society the burden of proof is on those who would restrict freedom and not on those who resist such restrictions.

They were aided in manufacturing learned helplessness by the most sophisticated propaganda operation ever created. Already engorged with the coin of three years of fake news, the legacy media saw the value of a new crisis in working toward their two real goals: making as much money as possible garnering clicks, and defeating Donald Trump. Previous shows—Russiagate, with a hat tip to 9/11 when Americans demanded fewer freedoms to feel safer—illustrated the way. On a 24/7 basis Americans were injected with the message: You are helpless and Donald “COVID” Trump will kill you; your only hope is to comply fully with the people at CNN who are administering the electric shocks.

Truth is useless to propagandists, actually a threat. 

Look at what turned out to be false (in addition to Russiagate): We never ran out of ventilators or PPE or nurses or ICU beds or morgues. Masks are not needed outdoors. We did in fact develop a vaccine, several for that matter, in less than a year. Almost everyone who died was elderly or had serious comorbidities (a distinct class) but we salivated over “new case numbers” as the primary metric anyway because they went up so much faster. When people questioned the real-world view against the media portrayal, they were told about “asymptomatic COVID” or shunned as hoaxers. Everyone makes mistakes. But just as with Russiagate, all the media mistakes swung one way.

It worked. Condo boards boarded up their gyms. Restaurants forced diners to eat outside in the rain. Entire industries, such as tourism and hospitality, disappeared overnight. New groups were shoved into poverty and unemployment. Children were denied education, criminals released from jails. People were told not to hug their loved ones or celebrate birthdays or attend church. We were told to fear our neighbors as potential carriers.

Every time dissenting information popped up—Florida opening its beaches for Spring Break, for example—the media rushed in to declare everyone was going to die. Texas was declared dead, South Dakota was declared dead, and Americans believed it all even when reports of survivors started drifting out of Disney World.

Americans are not comfortable accepting that their lives being manipulated at this level, the way for example many Russians assume it to be so. We tend to dismiss such things as conspiracy theories and make an Oliver Stone joke. 

But ask yourself how many of the temporary security and surveillance measures enacted after 9/11 are still controlling our lives almost 20 years later. Is the terror threat still so real the FBI needs to monitor our social media in bulk? Was it ever?

Nothing here is to say vaccines don’t work, or are themselves dangerous. That’s another debate. 

This is about the politics of mass control. Add up the “doesn’t really make sense but we do it anyway” COVID rules and try to make sense of them. Why would otherwise smart leaders implement such rules, for example in New York’s case, purposely impoverishing a city or seeking to defund the police in the midst of triple digit rises in crime? Every time your answer is, “it just doesn’t make sense,” consider a scenario beyond coincidence where it would make sense, however out there that might be. It might be the most important thing you can do.

Then look out the window. Remember “15 days to flatten the curve?” With no voting or debate, a system based on a medical procedure capable of controlling our travel, which businesses we can visit, which hotels we can stay in, what jobswe can hold, what education we can access, at which point it is no more “voluntary” than breathing, was put into place. We no longer need to ask what is going to happen. 

Remember the real question is always why.

Peter Van Buren is the author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi PeopleHooper’s War: A Novel of WWII Japan, and Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the 99 Perc

Featured image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay