• When Israel Bombed AP’s Gaza Office

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    ***

    Wednesday was Nakba Day—the day commemorating the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians with the creation of Israel, in 1948—but there was another anniversary worth remembering. The day a foreign country bombed the offices of a major U.S. press outlet, accusing it, without evidence, of harboring terrorists. And a significant portion of the US media spun the story to support the foreign country.

    On May 15, 2021, as part of its “Operation Guardian of the Walls” military campaign in Gaza, Israel bombed the Associated Press offices’ building, based on the still evidence-free claim that the AP headquarters “housed Hamas”. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the week prior, IDF bombed two other office buildings that “housed more than a dozen international and local media outlets.”



    Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) gave the tenants of the al-Jalaa Building in Gaza—which included AP, other news agencies including Al-Jazeera, and residential homes—a stern warning. IDF informed them they had one hour to evacuate their homes before the building would be bombed by Israeli missiles. Sixty minutes and three Israeli missiles later, the 12-story building was leveled to the ground.

    The IDF posted a short vague statement that provided no evidence for their claim the building was being used by terrorists but made sure to repeat the term “Hamas terror organization” four times, in just four sentences—five times if you count “Hamas military intelligence” in the headline.



    The AP’s CEO at the time, Gary Pruitt, said the news agency had been in the building for 15 years and “we have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building.”

    So could Israel have been lying? Well, retired US Army colonel and former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson seems to think so.



    Let me let me preface these remarks with I never, never, ever believe Israeli figures. I’ve been in the government too long to know that the Israelis are patent liars in their intelligence community, in their propaganda community, certainly, and in their leadership. They are inveterate liars. Let me say that again. They are liars. So you can’t believe anything that comes out of Jerusalem. It’s all propaganda.

    The fact that Israel lied to the international press just one week prior about a fake ground invasion, to trick Hamas into giving up their positions, doesn’t help Israel’s case. On the contrary, it clearly shows that Israel puts military victory over truth, and has no respect for the press.



    Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus claimed that “Hamas used the building for a military intelligence office and weapons development” but “could not provide evidence” to back up the claims without “compromising” intelligence efforts.

    This “trust me I have the evidence” bullshit is reminiscent of the false narrative that fueled the 2003 Iraq War and the more recent Trump/Russia hoax. Such a pathetic cover story is enough to make most conservatives cringe but ultimately, many conservatives were tricked into celebrating anti-American terrorism—the bombing of civilian infrastructure that housed an American news outlet.

    A pro-Israel disinformation campaign, attempting to justify the bombing, began at the Washington Free Beacon before spreading across conservative media. The Republican-aligned Beacon has a history of lying and smear campaigns. It was founded by Bil Kristol, famous for helping the Bush admin lie America into the disastrous Iraq War. It went on to fund the Fusion GPS anti-Trump research that would later, under Democrat tutelage, hire Christopher Steele, a crucial source of the Trump/Russia investigation hoax, and more recently, the Beacon reported the Jewish girl “Stabbed in the Eye” hoax as fact.

    On the same day of the AP building bombing, the Beacon published an “exclusive” to defend IDF’s missile attack on the American press in Gaza. It cited two sources: (1) a Twitter post of Beacon contributor Noah Pollak, and (2) an old article published seven years prior in 2014 by Matti Friedman, a former AP reporter, and former IDF soldier.

    Pollack’s Twitter post cited an anonymous source he described as, “a well-placed friend in the IDF,” claiming that the AP office building “contained multiple Hamas operations & offices including weapons manufacturing and military intelligence,” adding that, “The building also housed an Islamic Jihad office. And AP’s local reporters knew about it.”



    “This info will come out soon,” he said.



    Yes, that’s right. He said, “This info will come out soon.” Over three years later now, “this info” supporting his claims still hasn’t come out.

    That alone is enough to completely discredit Pollak. But he’d already proven himself uncredible. He ran the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) (another “clown show” created by Kristol) which even the President of the Anti-Defanation League—not exactly an anti-Israel organization—called “misleading, distorted, inaccurate”. He was also caught leading an astroturfed pro-Israel counterprotest on a college campus. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)

    Nevertheless, Pollak’s completely unsubstantiated claims were published immediately by the usual suspects—Fox News, Newsmax, New York Post, etc. The Republican party-aligned outlets also followed the Beacon’s lead, citing its second source, Friedman’s 2014 article.

    Like Pollak, Friedman also had a “well-placed friend” who “suggests there were indeed Hamas offices” in the AP building.




    Oh boy, another anonymous “friend”! Despite sounding so sure of his “intimately familiar with military decision-making” friend’s secret information, Friedman also wrote on Twitter that “Contrary to what I’ve seen attributed to me today, I didn’t write [in 2014] that Hamas operated out of the same building, and don’t know if that’s true”.




    The media citing Friedman typically omitted this. And I couldn’t help but notice that the media sharing his 2014 piece in The Atlantic accusing the AP of bias, and the piece itself failed to mention his own bias—his years of service in the IDF, and his “slightly rosier view of the IDF”, according to The Times of Israel.

    Now pause for just a moment to ponder how insane it is—even if all of Friedman’s disputed 2014 claims were true—to rely on an article written in 2014 by an IDF vet, who worked at AP in 2006-2011, to justify the IDF bombing Associated Press in 2021, for which the IDF itself provided no evidence to justify.

    This is the following 2014 excerpt that made the media rounds after the 2021 bombing:

    “The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby—and the AP wouldn’t report it, not even in AP articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas. (This happened.) Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff—and the AP wouldn’t report it. (This also happened.) Cameramen waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying. (This too happened; the information comes from multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of these incidents.)”

    AP’s Director of Media Relations Paul Colford said Friedman’s story was “filled with distortions, half-truths and inaccuracies”, arguing that Israel challenged the AP with as many dangerous obstacles as Hamas and that AP covered both sides of the conflict.

    [Friedman’s] arguments have been filled with distortions, half-truths and inaccuracies…

    Like other media covering this story, we dealt with numerous obstacles, including Hamas intimidation, Israeli military censorship, anti-media incitement on both sides of the border, Hamas rocket fire and intense Israeli airstrikes that made it dangerous and difficult to get around Gaza during the fighting.

    Courageous AP staffers worked around the clock in Gaza, often at the risk of great personal harm. Intense Israeli airstrikes literally shook the high-rise building housing the AP’s office. Two AP employees were ultimately killed in Gaza, and a third critically wounded and maimed. Our body of work included images and stories about Hamas rocket fire from civilian areas, the suffering of the residents of southern Israel living under the threat of rocket, mortar and tunnel-based attacks, Hamas’ summary executions of suspected collaborators, the fears of Gazans to criticize the group, Hamas’ use of civilian areas for cover and the devastation wreaked on Gazan civilians by Israeli airstrikes and artillery attacks.

    Colford confirmed that armed militants entered AP’s offices in the early days of the 2008-2009 Gaza War to intimidate AP but said that AP did not give in to the intimidation.

    Regarding a few specific issues that Mr. Friedman has raised most recently:

    The AP published numerous photos and TV footage of rockets being launched from Gaza City. AP’s Josef Federman and Hamza Hendawi collaborated on an investigation into Hamas’ use of civilian areas for rocket launches, comparing maps obtained from Israeli military intelligence to facts on the ground.

    In the early days of the war, armed militants entered the AP’s offices in Gaza to complain about a photo showing the location of a specific rocket launch. The AP immediately contacted Hamas, which insisted the men did not represent the group. The photo was not withdrawn and the men were never heard from again. Subsequent videos similarly showed rocket launches from within the urban area. Such intimidation is common in trouble spots. The AP does not report many interactions with militias, armies, thugs or governments. These incidents are part of the challenge of getting out the news — and generally not themselves news.

    The Beacon’s “exclusive” was just the beginning. The “trust us we have secret evidence” disinformation campaign continued as the pro-Israel media eagerly forwarded another empty Israeli government claim, from a nameless “senior diplomatic source”, who told the Jerusalem Post of “smoking gun” evidence that Hamas was using the same Gaza building as AP.

    “We showed [the US] the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building,” a senior diplomatic source said. “I understand they found the explanation satisfactory.”

    What evidence? Who exactly did they “show”? I guess we’ll never know!

    If there’s a satisfactory explanation for why IDF bombed an American news agency, you’d think Israel and the US might want to make that known. But they haven’t.

    Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu repeated the claim of secret “smoking gun” evidence on CBS’s Face the Nation, saying, “We share with our American friends all that intelligence”.

    Hmmm. Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken appear friendly…

    But no, Blinken said he “had not seen any evidence”.

    When asked the next day if he’d received any evidence, Blinken didn’t quite confirm receiving anything. He said, “Um…uh…it’s my understanding that uh, we’ve uh, uh received uh, some further information through, uh, uh intelligence channels.” The only thing he actually confirmed was that it’s “not something that [he] can comment on.”

    WAPO: Yesterday you said the US requested an explanation from Israel about its bombing of a high rise building containing U.S. and foreign media offices. Have you received anything? And what’s your assessment of that?

    BLINKEN: Um. We uh. Did uh. Seek uh. Further information from, uh, Israel on this question. Uh, it’s my understanding that uh, we’ve uh, uh received uh, some further information through, uh, uh intelligence channels. And that’s not something that, that I can comment on.



    Click here to watch the video

    The following month, in June 2021, Israel’s Channel 12 news reported that IDF Lieutenant-General Aviv Kohavi said that the AP’s journalists drank coffee with Hamas each morning in the building’s cafeteria, whether they knew it or not. The AP called the comments “patently false”, noting “there was not even a cafeteria in the building”. Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz told AP that the IDF General was speaking figuratively. However, Gantz, like all the Israeli officials before him, offered AP no evidence to support IDF’s bombing of the news agencies.

    Gantz said Israel has shared its intelligence with the U.S. government. But he indicated that Israel has no intention of making the information public, saying it did not want to divulge its sources.

    As usual, the propaganda was not limited to conservative media. The Democrat Party-aligned television network CNN platformed IDF Spokesperson, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus. Asked, “Can you show us the evidence?” Cornicus replied, “That’s in process, and I’m sure that, in due time, that information will be presented.”

    It’s due time to come to grips with the reality that there is no evidence to justify the attack. Israel bombed an American news agency (with an American bomb), and the American government continues to cover for Israel and continues to fund continued death and destruction in Gaza.

    *

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    All images in this article are from the author
    When Israel Bombed AP’s Gaza Office All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the Translate Website button below the author’s name (only available in desktop version). To receive Global Research’s Daily Newsletter (selected articles), click here. Click the share button above to email/forward this article to your friends and colleagues. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to our Telegram Channel. Feel free to repost and share widely Global Research articles. Global Research Wants to Hear From You! *** Wednesday was Nakba Day—the day commemorating the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians with the creation of Israel, in 1948—but there was another anniversary worth remembering. The day a foreign country bombed the offices of a major U.S. press outlet, accusing it, without evidence, of harboring terrorists. And a significant portion of the US media spun the story to support the foreign country. On May 15, 2021, as part of its “Operation Guardian of the Walls” military campaign in Gaza, Israel bombed the Associated Press offices’ building, based on the still evidence-free claim that the AP headquarters “housed Hamas”. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the week prior, IDF bombed two other office buildings that “housed more than a dozen international and local media outlets.” Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) gave the tenants of the al-Jalaa Building in Gaza—which included AP, other news agencies including Al-Jazeera, and residential homes—a stern warning. IDF informed them they had one hour to evacuate their homes before the building would be bombed by Israeli missiles. Sixty minutes and three Israeli missiles later, the 12-story building was leveled to the ground. The IDF posted a short vague statement that provided no evidence for their claim the building was being used by terrorists but made sure to repeat the term “Hamas terror organization” four times, in just four sentences—five times if you count “Hamas military intelligence” in the headline. The AP’s CEO at the time, Gary Pruitt, said the news agency had been in the building for 15 years and “we have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building.” So could Israel have been lying? Well, retired US Army colonel and former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson seems to think so. Let me let me preface these remarks with I never, never, ever believe Israeli figures. I’ve been in the government too long to know that the Israelis are patent liars in their intelligence community, in their propaganda community, certainly, and in their leadership. They are inveterate liars. Let me say that again. They are liars. So you can’t believe anything that comes out of Jerusalem. It’s all propaganda. The fact that Israel lied to the international press just one week prior about a fake ground invasion, to trick Hamas into giving up their positions, doesn’t help Israel’s case. On the contrary, it clearly shows that Israel puts military victory over truth, and has no respect for the press. Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus claimed that “Hamas used the building for a military intelligence office and weapons development” but “could not provide evidence” to back up the claims without “compromising” intelligence efforts. This “trust me I have the evidence” bullshit is reminiscent of the false narrative that fueled the 2003 Iraq War and the more recent Trump/Russia hoax. Such a pathetic cover story is enough to make most conservatives cringe but ultimately, many conservatives were tricked into celebrating anti-American terrorism—the bombing of civilian infrastructure that housed an American news outlet. A pro-Israel disinformation campaign, attempting to justify the bombing, began at the Washington Free Beacon before spreading across conservative media. The Republican-aligned Beacon has a history of lying and smear campaigns. It was founded by Bil Kristol, famous for helping the Bush admin lie America into the disastrous Iraq War. It went on to fund the Fusion GPS anti-Trump research that would later, under Democrat tutelage, hire Christopher Steele, a crucial source of the Trump/Russia investigation hoax, and more recently, the Beacon reported the Jewish girl “Stabbed in the Eye” hoax as fact. On the same day of the AP building bombing, the Beacon published an “exclusive” to defend IDF’s missile attack on the American press in Gaza. It cited two sources: (1) a Twitter post of Beacon contributor Noah Pollak, and (2) an old article published seven years prior in 2014 by Matti Friedman, a former AP reporter, and former IDF soldier. Pollack’s Twitter post cited an anonymous source he described as, “a well-placed friend in the IDF,” claiming that the AP office building “contained multiple Hamas operations & offices including weapons manufacturing and military intelligence,” adding that, “The building also housed an Islamic Jihad office. And AP’s local reporters knew about it.” “This info will come out soon,” he said. Yes, that’s right. He said, “This info will come out soon.” Over three years later now, “this info” supporting his claims still hasn’t come out. That alone is enough to completely discredit Pollak. But he’d already proven himself uncredible. He ran the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) (another “clown show” created by Kristol) which even the President of the Anti-Defanation League—not exactly an anti-Israel organization—called “misleading, distorted, inaccurate”. He was also caught leading an astroturfed pro-Israel counterprotest on a college campus. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) Nevertheless, Pollak’s completely unsubstantiated claims were published immediately by the usual suspects—Fox News, Newsmax, New York Post, etc. The Republican party-aligned outlets also followed the Beacon’s lead, citing its second source, Friedman’s 2014 article. Like Pollak, Friedman also had a “well-placed friend” who “suggests there were indeed Hamas offices” in the AP building. Oh boy, another anonymous “friend”! Despite sounding so sure of his “intimately familiar with military decision-making” friend’s secret information, Friedman also wrote on Twitter that “Contrary to what I’ve seen attributed to me today, I didn’t write [in 2014] that Hamas operated out of the same building, and don’t know if that’s true”. The media citing Friedman typically omitted this. And I couldn’t help but notice that the media sharing his 2014 piece in The Atlantic accusing the AP of bias, and the piece itself failed to mention his own bias—his years of service in the IDF, and his “slightly rosier view of the IDF”, according to The Times of Israel. Now pause for just a moment to ponder how insane it is—even if all of Friedman’s disputed 2014 claims were true—to rely on an article written in 2014 by an IDF vet, who worked at AP in 2006-2011, to justify the IDF bombing Associated Press in 2021, for which the IDF itself provided no evidence to justify. This is the following 2014 excerpt that made the media rounds after the 2021 bombing: “The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby—and the AP wouldn’t report it, not even in AP articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas. (This happened.) Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff—and the AP wouldn’t report it. (This also happened.) Cameramen waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying. (This too happened; the information comes from multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of these incidents.)” AP’s Director of Media Relations Paul Colford said Friedman’s story was “filled with distortions, half-truths and inaccuracies”, arguing that Israel challenged the AP with as many dangerous obstacles as Hamas and that AP covered both sides of the conflict. [Friedman’s] arguments have been filled with distortions, half-truths and inaccuracies… Like other media covering this story, we dealt with numerous obstacles, including Hamas intimidation, Israeli military censorship, anti-media incitement on both sides of the border, Hamas rocket fire and intense Israeli airstrikes that made it dangerous and difficult to get around Gaza during the fighting. Courageous AP staffers worked around the clock in Gaza, often at the risk of great personal harm. Intense Israeli airstrikes literally shook the high-rise building housing the AP’s office. Two AP employees were ultimately killed in Gaza, and a third critically wounded and maimed. Our body of work included images and stories about Hamas rocket fire from civilian areas, the suffering of the residents of southern Israel living under the threat of rocket, mortar and tunnel-based attacks, Hamas’ summary executions of suspected collaborators, the fears of Gazans to criticize the group, Hamas’ use of civilian areas for cover and the devastation wreaked on Gazan civilians by Israeli airstrikes and artillery attacks. Colford confirmed that armed militants entered AP’s offices in the early days of the 2008-2009 Gaza War to intimidate AP but said that AP did not give in to the intimidation. Regarding a few specific issues that Mr. Friedman has raised most recently: The AP published numerous photos and TV footage of rockets being launched from Gaza City. AP’s Josef Federman and Hamza Hendawi collaborated on an investigation into Hamas’ use of civilian areas for rocket launches, comparing maps obtained from Israeli military intelligence to facts on the ground. In the early days of the war, armed militants entered the AP’s offices in Gaza to complain about a photo showing the location of a specific rocket launch. The AP immediately contacted Hamas, which insisted the men did not represent the group. The photo was not withdrawn and the men were never heard from again. Subsequent videos similarly showed rocket launches from within the urban area. Such intimidation is common in trouble spots. The AP does not report many interactions with militias, armies, thugs or governments. These incidents are part of the challenge of getting out the news — and generally not themselves news. The Beacon’s “exclusive” was just the beginning. The “trust us we have secret evidence” disinformation campaign continued as the pro-Israel media eagerly forwarded another empty Israeli government claim, from a nameless “senior diplomatic source”, who told the Jerusalem Post of “smoking gun” evidence that Hamas was using the same Gaza building as AP. “We showed [the US] the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building,” a senior diplomatic source said. “I understand they found the explanation satisfactory.” What evidence? Who exactly did they “show”? I guess we’ll never know! If there’s a satisfactory explanation for why IDF bombed an American news agency, you’d think Israel and the US might want to make that known. But they haven’t. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu repeated the claim of secret “smoking gun” evidence on CBS’s Face the Nation, saying, “We share with our American friends all that intelligence”. Hmmm. Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken appear friendly… But no, Blinken said he “had not seen any evidence”. When asked the next day if he’d received any evidence, Blinken didn’t quite confirm receiving anything. He said, “Um…uh…it’s my understanding that uh, we’ve uh, uh received uh, some further information through, uh, uh intelligence channels.” The only thing he actually confirmed was that it’s “not something that [he] can comment on.” WAPO: Yesterday you said the US requested an explanation from Israel about its bombing of a high rise building containing U.S. and foreign media offices. Have you received anything? And what’s your assessment of that? BLINKEN: Um. We uh. Did uh. Seek uh. Further information from, uh, Israel on this question. Uh, it’s my understanding that uh, we’ve uh, uh received uh, some further information through, uh, uh intelligence channels. And that’s not something that, that I can comment on. Click here to watch the video The following month, in June 2021, Israel’s Channel 12 news reported that IDF Lieutenant-General Aviv Kohavi said that the AP’s journalists drank coffee with Hamas each morning in the building’s cafeteria, whether they knew it or not. The AP called the comments “patently false”, noting “there was not even a cafeteria in the building”. Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz told AP that the IDF General was speaking figuratively. However, Gantz, like all the Israeli officials before him, offered AP no evidence to support IDF’s bombing of the news agencies. Gantz said Israel has shared its intelligence with the U.S. government. But he indicated that Israel has no intention of making the information public, saying it did not want to divulge its sources. As usual, the propaganda was not limited to conservative media. The Democrat Party-aligned television network CNN platformed IDF Spokesperson, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus. Asked, “Can you show us the evidence?” Cornicus replied, “That’s in process, and I’m sure that, in due time, that information will be presented.” It’s due time to come to grips with the reality that there is no evidence to justify the attack. Israel bombed an American news agency (with an American bomb), and the American government continues to cover for Israel and continues to fund continued death and destruction in Gaza. * Note to readers: Please click the share button above. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to our Telegram Channel. Feel free to repost and share widely Global Research articles. All images in this article are from the author
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  • Talk about a long day!!! Leftt #Vancouver at 11am on Friday - flew all night to Frankfurt, missed our connection - wait 8+hrs - we won’t arrive in #Slovenia now until 12am! Yup, that’s 36hrs….. are we tired!!! In great spirits, but VERY tired! Hotel and car rental agency have been notified of our extra late arrival…..
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  • Newly published documents from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) show its researchers explicitly warned that their analysis showed lockdowns in Africa showed 'an expected rise in child mortality'.

    'The consequences of the lockdowns are in parts more severe than the virus itself,' the December 2020 report said, with another document dated to October 2020 suggesting that there was 'no evidence' to support that FFP2 medical masks could prevent the spread of Covid.

    But the findings were never made public, despite researchers clearly advocating for the open communication of their research in meeting minutes, with the German government choosing to pursue legislation their own researchers advised against.

    The revelations come after a two-year legal battle between the RKI and German magazine Multipolar, which ultimately won the court case to publish documents that were heavily redacted by the health agency.

    Multipolar has since launched another legal claim in an attempt to secure full access to the unredacted documents, which may conceal a trove of Covid policy recommendations that the RKI and the German government opted not to share with the public.

    http://donshafi911.blogspot.com/2024/04/lockdowns-could-cause-more-harm-than.html
    Newly published documents from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) show its researchers explicitly warned that their analysis showed lockdowns in Africa showed 'an expected rise in child mortality'. 'The consequences of the lockdowns are in parts more severe than the virus itself,' the December 2020 report said, with another document dated to October 2020 suggesting that there was 'no evidence' to support that FFP2 medical masks could prevent the spread of Covid. But the findings were never made public, despite researchers clearly advocating for the open communication of their research in meeting minutes, with the German government choosing to pursue legislation their own researchers advised against. The revelations come after a two-year legal battle between the RKI and German magazine Multipolar, which ultimately won the court case to publish documents that were heavily redacted by the health agency. Multipolar has since launched another legal claim in an attempt to secure full access to the unredacted documents, which may conceal a trove of Covid policy recommendations that the RKI and the German government opted not to share with the public. http://donshafi911.blogspot.com/2024/04/lockdowns-could-cause-more-harm-than.html
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  • The WHO Pandemic Agreement: A Guide
    By David Bell, Thi Thuy Van Dinh March 22, 2024 Government, Society 30 minute read
    The World Health Organization (WHO) and its 194 Member States have been engaged for over two years in the development of two ‘instruments’ or agreements with the intent of radically changing the way pandemics and other health emergencies are managed.

    One, consisting of draft amendments to the existing International health Regulations (IHR), seeks to change the current IHR non-binding recommendations into requirements or binding recommendations, by having countries “undertake” to implement those given by the WHO in future declared health emergencies. It covers all ‘public health emergencies of international concern’ (PHEIC), with a single person, the WHO Director-General (DG) determining what a PHEIC is, where it extends, and when it ends. It specifies mandated vaccines, border closures, and other directives understood as lockdowns among the requirements the DG can impose. It is discussed further elsewhere and still under negotiation in Geneva.

    A second document, previously known as the (draft) Pandemic Treaty, then Pandemic Accord, and more recently the Pandemic Agreement, seeks to specify governance, supply chains, and various other interventions aimed at preventing, preparing for, and responding to, pandemics (pandemic prevention, preparedness and response – PPPR). It is currently being negotiated by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB).

    Both texts will be subject to a vote at the May 2024 World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland. These votes are intended, by those promoting these projects, to bring governance of future multi-country healthcare emergencies (or threats thereof) under the WHO umbrella.

    The latest version of the draft Pandemic Agreement (here forth the ‘Agreement’) was released on 7th March 2024. However, it is still being negotiated by various committees comprising representatives of Member States and other interested entities. It has been through multiple iterations over two years, and looks like it. With the teeth of the pandemic response proposals in the IHR, the Agreement looks increasingly irrelevant, or at least unsure of its purpose, picking up bits and pieces in a half-hearted way that the IHR amendments do not, or cannot, include. However, as discussed below, it is far from irrelevant.

    Historical Perspective

    These aim to increase the centralization of decision-making within the WHO as the “directing and coordinating authority.” This terminology comes from the WHO’s 1946 Constitution, developed in the aftermath of the Second World War as the world faced the outcomes of European fascism and the similar approaches widely imposed through colonialist regimes. The WHO would support emerging countries, with rapidly expanding and poorly resourced populations struggling under high disease burdens, and coordinate some areas of international support as these sovereign countries requested it. The emphasis of action was on coordinating rather than directing.

    In the 80 years prior to the WHO’s existence, international public health had grown within a more directive mindset, with a series of meetings by colonial and slave-owning powers from 1851 to manage pandemics, culminating in the inauguration of the Office Internationale d’Hygiene Publique in Paris in 1907, and later the League of Nations Health Office. World powers imposed health dictates on those less powerful, in other parts of the world and increasingly on their own population through the eugenics movement and similar approaches. Public health would direct, for the greater good, as a tool of those who wish to direct the lives of others.

    The WHO, governed by the WHA, was to be very different. Newly independent States and their former colonial masters were ostensibly on an equal footing within the WHA (one country – one vote), and the WHO’s work overall was to be an example of how human rights could dominate the way society works. The model for international public health, as exemplified in the Declaration of Alma Ata in 1978, was to be horizontal rather than vertical, with communities and countries in the driving seat.

    With the evolution of the WHO in recent decades from a core funding model (countries give money, the WHO decides under the WHA guidance how to spend it) to a model based on specified funding (funders, both public and increasingly private, instruct the WHO on how to spend it), the WHO has inevitably changed to become a public-private partnership required to serve the interests of funders rather than populations.

    As most funding comes from a few countries with major Pharma industrial bases, or private investors and corporations in the same industry, the WHO has been required to emphasize the use of pharmaceuticals and downplay evidence and knowledge where these clash (if it wants to keep all its staff funded). It is helpful to view the draft Agreement, and the IHR amendments, in this context.

    Why May 2024?

    The WHO, together with the World Bank, G20, and other institutions have been emphasizing the urgency of putting the new pandemic instruments in place earnestly, before the ‘next pandemic.’ This is based on claims that the world was unprepared for Covid-19, and that the economic and health harm would be somehow avoidable if we had these agreements in place.

    They emphasize, contrary to evidence that Covid-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) origins involve laboratory manipulation, that the main threats we face are natural, and that these are increasing exponentially and present an “existential” threat to humanity. The data on which the WHO, the World Bank, and G20 base these claims demonstrates the contrary, with reported natural outbreaks having increased as detection technologies have developed, but reducing in mortality rate, and in numbers, over the past 10 to 20 years..

    A paper cited by the World Bank to justify urgency and quoted as suggesting a 3x increase in risk in the coming decade actually suggests that a Covid-19-like event would occur roughly every 129 years, and a Spanish-flu repetition every 292 to 877 years. Such predictions are unable to take into account the rapidly changing nature of medicine and improved sanitation and nutrition (most deaths from Spanish flu would not have occurred if modern antibiotics had been available), and so may still overestimate risk. Similarly, the WHO’s own priority disease list for new outbreaks only includes two diseases of proven natural origin that have over 1,000 historical deaths attributed to them. It is well demonstrated that the risk and expected burden of pandemics is misrepresented by major international agencies in current discussions.

    The urgency for May 2024 is clearly therefore inadequately supported, firstly because neither the WHO nor others have demonstrated how the harms accrued through Covid-19 would be reduced through the measures proposed, and secondly because the burden and risk is misrepresented. In this context, the state of the Agreement is clearly not where it should be as a draft international legally binding agreement intended to impose considerable financial and other obligations on States and populations.

    This is particularly problematic as the proposed expenditure; the proposed budget is over $31 billion per year, with over $10 billion more on other One Health activities. Much of this will have to be diverted from addressing other diseases burdens that impose far greater burden. This trade-off, essential to understand in public health policy development, has not yet been clearly addressed by the WHO.

    The WHO DG stated recently that the WHO does not want the power to impose vaccine mandates or lockdowns on anyone, and does not want this. This begs the question of why either of the current WHO pandemic instruments is being proposed, both as legally binding documents. The current IHR (2005) already sets out such approaches as recommendations the DG can make, and there is nothing non-mandatory that countries cannot do now without pushing new treaty-like mechanisms through a vote in Geneva.

    Based on the DG’s claims, they are essentially redundant, and what new non-mandatory clauses they contain, as set out below, are certainly not urgent. Clauses that are mandatory (Member States “shall”) must be considered within national decision-making contexts and appear against the WHO’s stated intent.

    Common sense would suggest that the Agreement, and the accompanying IHR amendments, be properly thought through before Member States commit. The WHO has already abandoned the legal requirement for a 4-month review time for the IHR amendments (Article 55.2 IHR), which are also still under negotiation just 2 months before the WHA deadline. The Agreement should also have at least such a period for States to properly consider whether to agree – treaties normally take many years to develop and negotiate and no valid arguments have been put forward as to why these should be different.

    The Covid-19 response resulted in an unprecedented transfer of wealth from those of lower income to the very wealthy few, completely contrary to the way in which the WHO was intended to affect human society. A considerable portion of these pandemic profits went to current sponsors of the WHO, and these same corporate entities and investors are set to further benefit from the new pandemic agreements. As written, the Pandemic Agreement risks entrenching such centralization and profit-taking, and the accompanying unprecedented restrictions on human rights and freedoms, as a public health norm.

    To continue with a clearly flawed agreement simply because of a previously set deadline, when no clear population benefit is articulated and no true urgency demonstrated, would therefore be a major step backward in international public health. Basic principles of proportionality, human agency, and community empowerment, essential for health and human rights outcomes, are missing or paid lip-service. The WHO clearly wishes to increase its funding and show it is ‘doing something,’ but must first articulate why the voluntary provisions of the current IHR are insufficient. It is hoped that by systematically reviewing some key clauses of the agreement here, it will become clear why a rethink of the whole approach is necessary. The full text is found below.

    The commentary below concentrates on selected draft provisions of the latest publicly available version of the draft agreement that seem to be unclear or potentially problematic. Much of the remaining text is essentially pointless as it reiterates vague intentions to be found in other documents or activities which countries normally undertake in the course of running health services, and have no place in a focused legally-binding international agreement.

    REVISED Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement. 7th March, 2024

    Preamble

    Recognizing that the World Health Organization…is the directing and coordinating authority on international health work.

    This is inconsistent with a recent statement by the WHO DG that the WHO has no interest or intent to direct country health responses. To reiterate it here suggests that the DG is not representing the true position regarding the Agreement. “Directing authority” is however in line with the proposed IHR Amendments (and the WHO’s Constitution), under which countries will “undertake” ahead of time to follow the DG’s recommendations (which thereby become instructions). As the HR amendments make clear, this is intended to apply even to a perceived threat rather than actual harm.

    Recalling the constitution of the World Health Organization…highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.

    This statement recalls fundamental understandings of public health, and is of importance here as it raises the question of why the WHO did not strongly condemn prolonged school closures, workplace closures, and other impoverishing policies during the Covid-19 response. In 2019, WHO made clear that these dangers should prevent actions we now call ‘lockdowns’ from being imposed.

    Deeply concerned by the gross inequities at national and international levels that hindered timely and equitable access to medical and other Covid-19 pandemic-related products, and the serious shortcomings in pandemic preparedness.

    In terms of health equity (as distinct from commodity of ‘vaccine’ equity), inequity in the Covid-19 response was not in failing to provide a vaccine against former variants to immune, young people in low-income countries who were at far higher risk from endemic diseases, but in the disproportionate harm to them of uniformly-imposed NPIs that reduced current and future income and basic healthcare, as was noted by the WHO in 2019 Pandemic Influenza recommendations. The failure of the text to recognize this suggests that lessons from Covid-19 have not informed this draft Agreement. The WHO has not yet demonstrated how pandemic ‘preparedness,’ in the terms they use below, would have reduced impact, given that there is poor correlation between strictness or speed of response and eventual outcomes.

    Reiterating the need to work towards…an equitable approach to mitigate the risk that pandemics exacerbate existing inequities in access to health services,

    As above – in the past century, the issue of inequity has been most pronounced in pandemic response, rather than the impact of the virus itself (excluding the physiological variation in risk). Most recorded deaths from acute pandemics, since the Spanish flu, were during Covid-19, in which the virus hit mainly sick elderly, but response impacted working-age adults and children heavily and will continue to have effect, due to increased poverty and debt; reduced education and child marriage, in future generations.

    These have disproportionately affected lower-income people, and particularly women. The lack of recognition of this in this document, though they are recognized by the World Bank and UN agencies elsewhere, must raise real questions on whether this Agreement has been thoroughly thought through, and the process of development been sufficiently inclusive and objective.

    Chapter I. Introduction

    Article 1. Use of terms

    (i) “pathogen with pandemic potential” means any pathogen that has been identified to infect a human and that is: novel (not yet characterized) or known (including a variant of a known pathogen), potentially highly transmissible and/or highly virulent with the potential to cause a public health emergency of international concern.

    This provides a very wide scope to alter provisions. Any pathogen that can infect humans and is potentially highly transmissible or virulent, though yet uncharacterized means virtually any coronavirus, influenza virus, or a plethora of other relatively common pathogen groups. The IHR Amendments intend that the DG alone can make this call, over the advice of others, as occurred with monkeypox in 2022.

    (j) “persons in vulnerable situations” means individuals, groups or communities with a disproportionate increased risk of infection, severity, disease or mortality.

    This is a good definition – in Covid-19 context, would mean the sick elderly, and so is relevant to targeting a response.

    “Universal health coverage” means that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship.

    While the general UHC concept is good, it is time a sensible (rather than patently silly) definition was adopted. Society cannot afford the full range of possible interventions and remedies for all, and clearly there is a scale of cost vs benefit that prioritizes certain ones over others. Sensible definitions make action more likely, and inaction harder to justify. One could argue that none should have the full range until all have good basic care, but clearly the earth will not support ‘the full range’ for 8 billion people.

    Article 2. Objective

    This Agreement is specifically for pandemics (a poorly defined term but essentially a pathogen that spreads rapidly across national borders). In contrast, the IHR amendments accompanying it are broader in scope – for any public health emergencies of international concern.

    Article 3. Principles

    2. the sovereign right of States to adopt, legislate and implement legislation

    The amendments to the IHR require States to undertake to follow WHO instructions ahead of time, before such instruction and context are known. These two documents must be understood, as noted later in the Agreement draft, as complementary.

    3. equity as the goal and outcome of pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, ensuring the absence of unfair, avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people.

    This definition of equity here needs clarification. In the pandemic context, the WHO emphasized commodity (vaccine) equity during the Covid-19 response. Elimination of differences implied equal access to Covid-19 vaccines in countries with large aging, obese highly vulnerable populations (e.g. the USA or Italy), and those with young populations at minimal risk and with far more pressing health priorities (e.g. Niger or Uganda).

    Alternatively, but equally damaging, equal access to different age groups within a country when the risk-benefit ratio is clearly greatly different. This promotes worse health outcomes by diverting resources from where they are most useful, as it ignores heterogeneity of risk. Again, an adult approach is required in international agreements, rather than feel-good sentences, if they are going to have a positive impact.

    5. …a more equitable and better prepared world to prevent, respond to and recover from pandemics

    As with ‘3’ above, this raises a fundamental problem: What if health equity demands that some populations divert resources to childhood nutrition and endemic diseases rather than the latest pandemic, as these are likely of far higher burden to many younger but lower-income populations? This would not be equity in the definition implied here, but would clearly lead to better and more equal health outcomes.

    The WHO must decide whether it is about uniform action, or minimizing poor health, as these are clearly very different. They are the difference between the WHO’s commodity equity, and true health equity.

    Chapter II. The world together equitably: achieving equity in, for and through pandemic prevention, preparedness and response

    Equity in health should imply a reasonably equal chance of overcoming or avoiding preventable sickness. The vast majority of sickness and death is due to either non-communicable diseases often related to lifestyle, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus, undernutrition in childhood, and endemic infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. Achieving health equity would primarily mean addressing these.

    In this chapter of the draft Pandemic Agreement, equity is used to imply equal access to specific health commodities, particularly vaccines, for intermittent health emergencies, although these exert a small fraction of the burden of other diseases. It is, specifically, commodity-equity, and not geared to equalizing overall health burden but to enabling centrally-coordinated homogenous responses to unusual events.

    Article 4. Pandemic prevention and surveillance

    2. The Parties shall undertake to cooperate:

    (b) in support of…initiatives aimed at preventing pandemics, in particular those that improve surveillance, early warning and risk assessment; .…and identify settings and activities presenting a risk of emergence and re-emergence of pathogens with pandemic potential.

    (c-h) [Paragraphs on water and sanitation, infection control, strengthening of biosafety, surveillance and prevention of vector-born diseases, and addressing antimicrobial resistance.]

    The WHO intends the Agreement to have force under international law. Therefore, countries are undertaking to put themselves under force of international law in regards to complying with the agreement’s stipulations.

    The provisions under this long article mostly cover general health stuff that countries try to do anyway. The difference will be that countries will be assessed on progress. Assessment can be fine if in context, less fine if it consists of entitled ‘experts’ from wealthy countries with little local knowledge or context. Perhaps such compliance is best left to national authorities, who are more in use with local needs and priorities. The justification for the international bureaucracy being built to support this, while fun for those involved, is unclear and will divert resources from actual health work.

    6. The Conference of the Parties may adopt, as necessary, guidelines, recommendations and standards, including in relation to pandemic prevention capacities, to support the implementation of this Article.

    Here and later, the COP is invoked as a vehicle to decide on what will actually be done. The rules are explained later (Articles 21-23). While allowing more time is sensible, it begs the question of why it is not better to wait and discuss what is needed in the current INB process, before committing to a legally-binding agreement. This current article says nothing not already covered by the IHR2005 or other ongoing programs.

    Article 5. One Health approach to pandemic prevention, preparedness and response

    Nothing specific or new in this article. It seems redundant (it is advocating a holistic approach mentioned elsewhere) and so presumably is just to get the term ‘One Health’ into the agreement. (One could ask, why bother?)

    Some mainstream definitions of One Health (e.g. Lancet) consider that it means non-human species are on a par with humans in terms of rights and importance. If this is meant here, clearly most Member States would disagree. So we may assume that it is just words to keep someone happy (a little childish in an international document, but the term ‘One Health’ has been trending, like ‘equity,’ as if the concept of holistic approaches to public health were new).

    Article 6. Preparedness, health system resilience and recovery

    2. Each Party commits…[to] :

    (a) routine and essential health services during pandemics with a focus on primary health care, routine immunization and mental health care, and with particular attention to persons in vulnerable situations

    (b) developing, strengthening and maintaining health infrastructure

    (c) developing post-pandemic health system recovery strategies

    (d) developing, strengthening and maintaining: health information systems

    This is good, and (a) seems to require avoidance of lockdowns (which inevitably cause the harms listed). Unfortunately other WHO documents lead one to assume this is not the intent…It does appear therefore that this is simply another list of fairly non-specific feel-good measures that have no useful place in a new legally-binding agreement, and which most countries are already undertaking.

    (e) promoting the use of social and behavioural sciences, risk communication and community engagement for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

    This requires clarification, as the use of behavioral science during the Covid-19 response involved deliberate inducement of fear to promote behaviors that people would not otherwise follow (e.g. Spi-B). It is essential here that the document clarifies how behavioral science should be used ethically in healthcare. Otherwise, this is also a quite meaningless provision.

    Article 7. Health and care workforce

    This long Article discusses health workforce, training, retention, non-discrimination, stigma, bias, adequate remuneration, and other standard provisions for workplaces. It is unclear why it is included in a legally binding pandemic agreement, except for:

    4. [The Parties]…shall invest in establishing, sustaining, coordinating and mobilizing a skilled and trained multidisciplinary global public health emergency workforce…Parties having established emergency health teams should inform WHO thereof and make best efforts to respond to requests for deployment…

    Emergency health teams established (within capacity etc.) – are something countries already do, when they have capacity. There is no reason to have this as a legally-binding instrument, and clearly no urgency to do so.

    Article 8. Preparedness monitoring and functional reviews

    1. The Parties shall, building on existing and relevant tools, develop and implement an inclusive, transparent, effective and efficient pandemic prevention, preparedness and response monitoring and evaluation system.

    2. Each Party shall assess, every five years, with technical support from the WHO Secretariat upon request, the functioning and readiness of, and gaps in, its pandemic prevention, preparedness and response capacity, based on the relevant tools and guidelines developed by WHO in partnership with relevant organizations at international, regional and sub-regional levels.

    Note that this is being required of countries that are already struggling to implement monitoring systems for major endemic diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, and nutritional deficiencies. They will be legally bound to divert resources to pandemic prevention. While there is some overlap, it will inevitably divert resources from currently underfunded programs for diseases of far higher local burdens, and so (not theoretically, but inevitably) raise mortality. Poor countries are being required to put resources into problems deemed significant by richer countries.

    Article 9. Research and development

    Various general provisions about undertaking background research that countries are generally doing anyway, but with an ’emerging disease’ slant. Again, the INB fails to justify why this diversion of resources from researching greater disease burdens should occur in all countries (why not just those with excess resources?).

    Article 10. Sustainable and geographically diversified production

    Mostly non-binding but suggested cooperation on making pandemic-related products available, including support for manufacturing in “inter-pandemic times” (a fascinating rendering of ‘normal’), when they would only be viable through subsidies. Much of this is probably unimplementable, as it would not be practical to maintain facilities in most or all countries on stand-by for rare events, at cost of resources otherwise useful for other priorities. The desire to increase production in ‘developing’ countries will face major barriers and costs in terms of maintaining quality of production, particularly as many products will have limited use outside of rare outbreak situations.

    Article 11. Transfer of technology and know-how

    This article, always problematic for large pharmaceutical corporations sponsoring much WHO outbreak activities, is now watered down to weak requirements to ‘consider,’ promote,’ provide, within capabilities’ etc.

    Article 12. Access and benefit sharing

    This Article is intended to establish the WHO Pathogen Access and Benefit-Sharing System (PABS System). PABS is intended to “ensure rapid, systematic and timely access to biological materials of pathogens with pandemic potential and the genetic sequence data.” This system is of potential high relevance and needs to be interpreted in the context that SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen causing the recent Covid-19 outbreak, was highly likely to have escaped from a laboratory. PABS is intended to expand the laboratory storage, transport, and handling of such viruses, under the oversight of the WHO, an organization outside of national jurisdiction with no significant direct experience in handling biological materials.

    3. When a Party has access to a pathogen [it shall]:

    (a) share with WHO any pathogen sequence information as soon as it is available to the Party;

    (b) as soon as biological materials are available to the Party, provide the materials to one or more laboratories and/or biorepositories participating in WHO-coordinated laboratory networks (CLNs),

    Subsequent clauses state that benefits will be shared, and seek to prevent recipient laboratories from patenting materials received from other countries. This has been a major concern of low-and middle-income countries previously, who perceive that institutions in wealthy countries patent and benefit from materials derived from less-wealthy populations. It remains to be seen whether provisions here will be sufficient to address this.

    The article then becomes yet more concerning:

    6. WHO shall conclude legally binding standard PABS contracts with manufacturers to provide the following, taking into account the size, nature and capacities of the manufacturer:

    (a) annual monetary contributions to support the PABS System and relevant capacities in countries; the determination of the annual amount, use, and approach for monitoring and accountability, shall be finalized by the Parties;

    (b) real-time contributions of relevant diagnostics, therapeutics or vaccines produced by the manufacturer, 10% free of charge and 10% at not-for-profit prices during public health emergencies of international concern or pandemics, …

    It is clearly intended that the WHO becomes directly involved in setting up legally binding manufacturing contracts, despite the WHO being outside of national jurisdictional oversight, within the territories of Member States. The PABS system, and therefore its staff and dependent entities, are also to be supported in part by funds from the manufacturers whom they are supposed to be managing. The income of the organization will be dependent on maintaining positive relationships with these private entities in a similar way in which many national regulatory agencies are dependent upon funds from pharmaceutical companies whom their staff ostensibly regulate. In this case, the regulator will be even further removed from public oversight.

    The clause on 10% (why 10?) products being free of charge, and similar at cost, while ensuring lower-priced commodities irrespective of actual need (the outbreak may be confined to wealthy countries). The same entity, the WHO, will determine whether the triggering emergency exists, determine the response, and manage the contracts to provide the commodities, without direct jurisdictional oversight regarding the potential for corruption or conflict of interest. It is a remarkable system to suggest, irrespective of political or regulatory environment.

    8. The Parties shall cooperate…public financing of research and development, prepurchase agreements, or regulatory procedures, to encourage and facilitate as many manufacturers as possible to enter into standard PABS contracts as early as possible.

    The article envisions that public funding will be used to build the process, ensuring essentially no-risk private profit.

    10. To support operationalization of the PABS System, WHO shall…make such contracts public, while respecting commercial confidentiality.

    The public may know whom contracts are made with, but not all details of the contracts. There will therefore be no independent oversight of the clauses agreed between the WHO, a body outside of national jurisdiction and dependent of commercial companies for funding some of its work and salaries, and these same companies, on ‘needs’ that the WHO itself will have sole authority, under the proposed amendments to the IHR, to determine.

    The Article further states that the WHO shall use its own product regulatory system (prequalification) and Emergency Use Listing Procedure to open and stimulate markets for the manufacturers of these products.

    It is doubtful that any national government could make such an overall agreement, yet in May 2024 they will be voting to provide this to what is essentially a foreign, and partly privately financed, entity.

    Article 13. Supply chain and logistics

    The WHO will become convenor of a ‘Global Supply Chain and Logistics Network’ for commercially-produced products, to be supplied under WHO contracts when and where the WHO determines, whilst also having the role of ensuring safety of such products.

    Having mutual support coordinated between countries is good. Having this run by an organization that is significantly funded directly by those gaining from the sale of these same commodities seems reckless and counterintuitive. Few countries would allow this (or at least plan for it).

    For this to occur safely, the WHO would logically have to forgo all private investment, and greatly restrict national specified funding contributions. Otherwise, the conflicts of interest involved would destroy confidence in the system. There is no suggestion of such divestment from the WHO, but rather, as in Article 12, private sector dependency, directly tied to contracts, will increase.

    Article 13bis: National procurement- and distribution-related provisions

    While suffering the same (perhaps unavoidable) issues regarding commercial confidentiality, this alternate Article 13 seems far more appropriate, keeping commercial issues under national jurisdiction and avoiding the obvious conflict of interests that underpin funding for WHO activities and staffing.

    Article 14. Regulatory systems strengthening

    This entire Article reflects initiatives and programs already in place. Nothing here appears likely to add to current effort.

    Article 15. Liability and compensation management

    1. Each Party shall consider developing, as necessary and in accordance with applicable law, national strategies for managing liability in its territory related to pandemic vaccines…no-fault compensation mechanisms…

    2. The Parties…shall develop recommendations for the establishment and implementation of national, regional and/or global no-fault compensation mechanisms and strategies for managing liability during pandemic emergencies, including with regard to individuals that are in a humanitarian setting or vulnerable situations.

    This is quite remarkable, but also reflects some national legislation, in removing any fault or liability specifically from vaccine manufacturers, for harms done in pushing out vaccines to the public. During the Covid-19 response, genetic therapeutics being developed by BioNtech and Moderna were reclassified as vaccines, on the basis that an immune response is stimulated after they have modified intracellular biochemical pathways as a medicine normally does.

    This enabled specific trials normally required for carcinogenicity and teratogenicity to be bypassed, despite raised fetal abnormality rates in animal trials. It will enable the CEPI 100-day vaccine program, supported with private funding to support private mRNA vaccine manufacturers, to proceed without any risk to the manufacturer should there be subsequent public harm.

    Together with an earlier provision on public funding of research and manufacturing readiness, and the removal of former wording requiring intellectual property sharing in Article 11, this ensures vaccine manufacturers and their investors make profit in effective absence of risk.

    These entities are currently heavily invested in support for WHO, and were strongly aligned with the introduction of newly restrictive outbreak responses that emphasized and sometimes mandated their products during the Covid-19 outbreak.

    Article 16. International collaboration and cooperation

    A somewhat pointless article. It suggests that countries cooperate with each other and the WHO to implement the other agreements in the Agreement.

    Article 17. Whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches

    A list of essentially motherhood provisions related to planning for a pandemic. However, countries will legally be required to maintain a ‘national coordination multisectoral body’ for PPPR. This will essentially be an added burden on budgets, and inevitably divert further resources from other priorities. Perhaps just strengthening current infectious disease and nutritional programs would be more impactful. (Nowhere in this Agreement is nutrition discussed (essential for resilience to pathogens) and minimal wording is included on sanitation and clean water (other major reasons for reduction in infectious disease mortality over past centuries).

    However, the ‘community ownership’ wording is interesting (“empower and enable community ownership of, and contribution to, community readiness for and resilience [for PPPR]”), as this directly contradicts much of the rest of the Agreement, including the centralization of control under the Conference of Parties, requirements for countries to allocate resources to pandemic preparedness over other community priorities, and the idea of inspecting and assessing adherence to the centralized requirements of the Agreement. Either much of the rest of the Agreement is redundant, or this wording is purely for appearance and not to be followed (and therefore should be removed).

    Article 18. Communication and public awareness

    1. Each Party shall promote timely access to credible and evidence-based information …with the aim of countering and addressing misinformation or disinformation…

    2. The Parties shall, as appropriate, promote and/or conduct research and inform policies on factors that hinder or strengthen adherence to public health and social measures in a pandemic, as well as trust in science and public health institutions and agencies.

    The key word is as appropriate, given that many agencies, including the WHO, have overseen or aided policies during the Covid-19 response that have greatly increased poverty, child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and education loss.

    As the WHO has been shown to be significantly misrepresenting pandemic risk in the process of advocating for this Agreement and related instruments, its own communications would also fall outside the provision here related to evidence-based information, and fall within normal understandings of misinformation. It could not therefore be an arbiter of correctness of information here, so the Article is not implementable. Rewritten to recommend accurate evidence-based information being promoted, it would make good sense, but this is not an issue requiring a legally binding international agreement.

    Article 19. Implementation and support

    3. The WHO Secretariat…organize the technical and financial assistance necessary to address such gaps and needs in implementing the commitments agreed upon under the Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations (2005).

    As the WHO is dependent on donor support, its ability to address gaps in funding within Member States is clearly not something it can guarantee. The purpose of this article is unclear, repeating in paragraphs 1 and 2 the earlier intent for countries to generally support each other.

    Article 20. Sustainable financing

    1. The Parties commit to working together…In this regard, each Party, within the means and resources at its disposal, shall:

    (a) prioritize and maintain or increase, as necessary, domestic funding for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, without undermining other domestic public health priorities including for: (i) strengthening and sustaining capacities for the prevention, preparedness and response to health emergencies and pandemics, in particular the core capacities of the International Health Regulations (2005);…

    This is silly wording, as countries obviously have to prioritize within budgets, so that moving funds to one area means removing from another. The essence of public health policy is weighing and making such decisions; this reality seems to be ignored here through wishful thinking. (a) is clearly redundant, as the IHR (2005) already exists and countries have agreed to support it.

    3. A Coordinating Financial Mechanism (the “Mechanism”) is hereby established to support the implementation of both the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations (2005)

    This will be in parallel to the Pandemic Fund recently commenced by the World Bank – an issue not lost on INB delegates and so likely to change here in the final version. It will also be additive to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and other health financing mechanisms, and so require another parallel international bureaucracy, presumably based in Geneva.

    It is intended to have its own capacity to “conduct relevant analyses on needs and gaps, in addition to tracking cooperation efforts,” so it will not be a small undertaking.

    Chapter III. Institutional and final provisions

    Article 21. Conference of the Parties

    1. A Conference of the Parties is hereby established.

    2. The Conference of the Parties shall keep under regular review, every three years, the implementation of the WHO Pandemic Agreement and take the decisions necessary to promote its effective implementation.

    This sets up the governing body to oversee this Agreement (another body requiring a secretariat and support). It is intended to meet within a year of the Agreement coming into force, and then set its own rules on meeting thereafter. It is likely that many provisions outlined in this draft of the Agreement will be deferred to the COP for further discussion.

    Articles 22 – 37

    These articles cover the functioning of the Conference of Parties (COP) and various administrative issues.

    Of note, ‘block votes’ will be allowed from regional bodies (e.g. the EU).

    The WHO will provide the secretariat.

    Under Article 24 is noted:

    3. Nothing in the WHO Pandemic Agreement shall be interpreted as providing the Secretariat of the World Health Organization, including the WHO Director-General, any authority to direct, order, alter or otherwise prescribe the domestic laws or policies of any Party, or to mandate or otherwise impose any requirements that Parties take specific actions, such as ban or accept travellers, impose vaccination mandates or therapeutic or diagnostic measures, or implement lockdowns.

    These provisions are explicitly stated in the proposed amendments to the IHR, to be considered alongside this agreement. Article 26 notes that the IHR is to be interpreted as compatible, thereby confirming that the IHR provisions including border closures and limits on freedom of movement, mandated vaccination, and other lockdown measures are not negated by this statement.

    As Article 26 states: “The Parties recognize that the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations should be interpreted so as to be compatible.”

    Some would consider this subterfuge – The Director-General recently labeled as liars those who claimed the Agreement included these powers, whilst failing to acknowledge the accompanying IHR amendments. The WHO could do better in avoiding misleading messaging, especially when this involves denigration of the public.

    Article 32 (Withdrawal) requires that, once adopted, Parties cannot withdraw for a total of 3 years (giving notice after a minimum of 2 years). Financial obligations undertaken under the agreement continue beyond that time.

    Finally, the Agreement will come into force, assuming a two-thirds majority in the WHA is achieved (Article 19, WHO Constitution), 30 days after the fortieth country has ratified it.

    Further reading:

    WHO Pandemic Agreement Intergovernmental Negotiating Board website:

    https://inb.who.int/

    International Health Regulations Working Group website:

    https://apps.who.int/gb/wgihr/index.html

    On background to the WHO texts:

    Amendments to WHO’s International Health Regulations: An Annotated Guide
    An Unofficial Q&A on International Health Regulations
    On urgency and burden of pandemics:

    https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/downloads/download/228/rational-policy-over-panic

    Disease X and Davos: This is Not the Way to Evaluate and Formulate Public Health Policy
    Before Preparing for Pandemics, We Need Better Evidence of Risk
    Revised Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement:

    Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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    Authors

    David Bell
    David Bell, Senior Scholar at Brownstone Institute, is a public health physician and biotech consultant in global health. He is a former medical officer and scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), Programme Head for malaria and febrile diseases at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) in Geneva, Switzerland, and Director of Global Health Technologies at Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund in Bellevue, WA, USA.

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    Thi Thuy Van Dinh
    Dr. Thi Thuy Van Dinh (LLM, PhD) worked on international law in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Subsequently, she managed multilateral organization partnerships for Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund and led environmental health technology development efforts for low-resource settings.

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    https://brownstone.org/articles/the-who-pandemic-agreement-a-guide/

    https://www.minds.com/donshafi911/blog/the-who-pandemic-agreement-a-guide-1621719398509187077
    The WHO Pandemic Agreement: A Guide By David Bell, Thi Thuy Van Dinh March 22, 2024 Government, Society 30 minute read The World Health Organization (WHO) and its 194 Member States have been engaged for over two years in the development of two ‘instruments’ or agreements with the intent of radically changing the way pandemics and other health emergencies are managed. One, consisting of draft amendments to the existing International health Regulations (IHR), seeks to change the current IHR non-binding recommendations into requirements or binding recommendations, by having countries “undertake” to implement those given by the WHO in future declared health emergencies. It covers all ‘public health emergencies of international concern’ (PHEIC), with a single person, the WHO Director-General (DG) determining what a PHEIC is, where it extends, and when it ends. It specifies mandated vaccines, border closures, and other directives understood as lockdowns among the requirements the DG can impose. It is discussed further elsewhere and still under negotiation in Geneva. A second document, previously known as the (draft) Pandemic Treaty, then Pandemic Accord, and more recently the Pandemic Agreement, seeks to specify governance, supply chains, and various other interventions aimed at preventing, preparing for, and responding to, pandemics (pandemic prevention, preparedness and response – PPPR). It is currently being negotiated by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB). Both texts will be subject to a vote at the May 2024 World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland. These votes are intended, by those promoting these projects, to bring governance of future multi-country healthcare emergencies (or threats thereof) under the WHO umbrella. The latest version of the draft Pandemic Agreement (here forth the ‘Agreement’) was released on 7th March 2024. However, it is still being negotiated by various committees comprising representatives of Member States and other interested entities. It has been through multiple iterations over two years, and looks like it. With the teeth of the pandemic response proposals in the IHR, the Agreement looks increasingly irrelevant, or at least unsure of its purpose, picking up bits and pieces in a half-hearted way that the IHR amendments do not, or cannot, include. However, as discussed below, it is far from irrelevant. Historical Perspective These aim to increase the centralization of decision-making within the WHO as the “directing and coordinating authority.” This terminology comes from the WHO’s 1946 Constitution, developed in the aftermath of the Second World War as the world faced the outcomes of European fascism and the similar approaches widely imposed through colonialist regimes. The WHO would support emerging countries, with rapidly expanding and poorly resourced populations struggling under high disease burdens, and coordinate some areas of international support as these sovereign countries requested it. The emphasis of action was on coordinating rather than directing. In the 80 years prior to the WHO’s existence, international public health had grown within a more directive mindset, with a series of meetings by colonial and slave-owning powers from 1851 to manage pandemics, culminating in the inauguration of the Office Internationale d’Hygiene Publique in Paris in 1907, and later the League of Nations Health Office. World powers imposed health dictates on those less powerful, in other parts of the world and increasingly on their own population through the eugenics movement and similar approaches. Public health would direct, for the greater good, as a tool of those who wish to direct the lives of others. The WHO, governed by the WHA, was to be very different. Newly independent States and their former colonial masters were ostensibly on an equal footing within the WHA (one country – one vote), and the WHO’s work overall was to be an example of how human rights could dominate the way society works. The model for international public health, as exemplified in the Declaration of Alma Ata in 1978, was to be horizontal rather than vertical, with communities and countries in the driving seat. With the evolution of the WHO in recent decades from a core funding model (countries give money, the WHO decides under the WHA guidance how to spend it) to a model based on specified funding (funders, both public and increasingly private, instruct the WHO on how to spend it), the WHO has inevitably changed to become a public-private partnership required to serve the interests of funders rather than populations. As most funding comes from a few countries with major Pharma industrial bases, or private investors and corporations in the same industry, the WHO has been required to emphasize the use of pharmaceuticals and downplay evidence and knowledge where these clash (if it wants to keep all its staff funded). It is helpful to view the draft Agreement, and the IHR amendments, in this context. Why May 2024? The WHO, together with the World Bank, G20, and other institutions have been emphasizing the urgency of putting the new pandemic instruments in place earnestly, before the ‘next pandemic.’ This is based on claims that the world was unprepared for Covid-19, and that the economic and health harm would be somehow avoidable if we had these agreements in place. They emphasize, contrary to evidence that Covid-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) origins involve laboratory manipulation, that the main threats we face are natural, and that these are increasing exponentially and present an “existential” threat to humanity. The data on which the WHO, the World Bank, and G20 base these claims demonstrates the contrary, with reported natural outbreaks having increased as detection technologies have developed, but reducing in mortality rate, and in numbers, over the past 10 to 20 years.. A paper cited by the World Bank to justify urgency and quoted as suggesting a 3x increase in risk in the coming decade actually suggests that a Covid-19-like event would occur roughly every 129 years, and a Spanish-flu repetition every 292 to 877 years. Such predictions are unable to take into account the rapidly changing nature of medicine and improved sanitation and nutrition (most deaths from Spanish flu would not have occurred if modern antibiotics had been available), and so may still overestimate risk. Similarly, the WHO’s own priority disease list for new outbreaks only includes two diseases of proven natural origin that have over 1,000 historical deaths attributed to them. It is well demonstrated that the risk and expected burden of pandemics is misrepresented by major international agencies in current discussions. The urgency for May 2024 is clearly therefore inadequately supported, firstly because neither the WHO nor others have demonstrated how the harms accrued through Covid-19 would be reduced through the measures proposed, and secondly because the burden and risk is misrepresented. In this context, the state of the Agreement is clearly not where it should be as a draft international legally binding agreement intended to impose considerable financial and other obligations on States and populations. This is particularly problematic as the proposed expenditure; the proposed budget is over $31 billion per year, with over $10 billion more on other One Health activities. Much of this will have to be diverted from addressing other diseases burdens that impose far greater burden. This trade-off, essential to understand in public health policy development, has not yet been clearly addressed by the WHO. The WHO DG stated recently that the WHO does not want the power to impose vaccine mandates or lockdowns on anyone, and does not want this. This begs the question of why either of the current WHO pandemic instruments is being proposed, both as legally binding documents. The current IHR (2005) already sets out such approaches as recommendations the DG can make, and there is nothing non-mandatory that countries cannot do now without pushing new treaty-like mechanisms through a vote in Geneva. Based on the DG’s claims, they are essentially redundant, and what new non-mandatory clauses they contain, as set out below, are certainly not urgent. Clauses that are mandatory (Member States “shall”) must be considered within national decision-making contexts and appear against the WHO’s stated intent. Common sense would suggest that the Agreement, and the accompanying IHR amendments, be properly thought through before Member States commit. The WHO has already abandoned the legal requirement for a 4-month review time for the IHR amendments (Article 55.2 IHR), which are also still under negotiation just 2 months before the WHA deadline. The Agreement should also have at least such a period for States to properly consider whether to agree – treaties normally take many years to develop and negotiate and no valid arguments have been put forward as to why these should be different. The Covid-19 response resulted in an unprecedented transfer of wealth from those of lower income to the very wealthy few, completely contrary to the way in which the WHO was intended to affect human society. A considerable portion of these pandemic profits went to current sponsors of the WHO, and these same corporate entities and investors are set to further benefit from the new pandemic agreements. As written, the Pandemic Agreement risks entrenching such centralization and profit-taking, and the accompanying unprecedented restrictions on human rights and freedoms, as a public health norm. To continue with a clearly flawed agreement simply because of a previously set deadline, when no clear population benefit is articulated and no true urgency demonstrated, would therefore be a major step backward in international public health. Basic principles of proportionality, human agency, and community empowerment, essential for health and human rights outcomes, are missing or paid lip-service. The WHO clearly wishes to increase its funding and show it is ‘doing something,’ but must first articulate why the voluntary provisions of the current IHR are insufficient. It is hoped that by systematically reviewing some key clauses of the agreement here, it will become clear why a rethink of the whole approach is necessary. The full text is found below. The commentary below concentrates on selected draft provisions of the latest publicly available version of the draft agreement that seem to be unclear or potentially problematic. Much of the remaining text is essentially pointless as it reiterates vague intentions to be found in other documents or activities which countries normally undertake in the course of running health services, and have no place in a focused legally-binding international agreement. REVISED Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement. 7th March, 2024 Preamble Recognizing that the World Health Organization…is the directing and coordinating authority on international health work. This is inconsistent with a recent statement by the WHO DG that the WHO has no interest or intent to direct country health responses. To reiterate it here suggests that the DG is not representing the true position regarding the Agreement. “Directing authority” is however in line with the proposed IHR Amendments (and the WHO’s Constitution), under which countries will “undertake” ahead of time to follow the DG’s recommendations (which thereby become instructions). As the HR amendments make clear, this is intended to apply even to a perceived threat rather than actual harm. Recalling the constitution of the World Health Organization…highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition. This statement recalls fundamental understandings of public health, and is of importance here as it raises the question of why the WHO did not strongly condemn prolonged school closures, workplace closures, and other impoverishing policies during the Covid-19 response. In 2019, WHO made clear that these dangers should prevent actions we now call ‘lockdowns’ from being imposed. Deeply concerned by the gross inequities at national and international levels that hindered timely and equitable access to medical and other Covid-19 pandemic-related products, and the serious shortcomings in pandemic preparedness. In terms of health equity (as distinct from commodity of ‘vaccine’ equity), inequity in the Covid-19 response was not in failing to provide a vaccine against former variants to immune, young people in low-income countries who were at far higher risk from endemic diseases, but in the disproportionate harm to them of uniformly-imposed NPIs that reduced current and future income and basic healthcare, as was noted by the WHO in 2019 Pandemic Influenza recommendations. The failure of the text to recognize this suggests that lessons from Covid-19 have not informed this draft Agreement. The WHO has not yet demonstrated how pandemic ‘preparedness,’ in the terms they use below, would have reduced impact, given that there is poor correlation between strictness or speed of response and eventual outcomes. Reiterating the need to work towards…an equitable approach to mitigate the risk that pandemics exacerbate existing inequities in access to health services, As above – in the past century, the issue of inequity has been most pronounced in pandemic response, rather than the impact of the virus itself (excluding the physiological variation in risk). Most recorded deaths from acute pandemics, since the Spanish flu, were during Covid-19, in which the virus hit mainly sick elderly, but response impacted working-age adults and children heavily and will continue to have effect, due to increased poverty and debt; reduced education and child marriage, in future generations. These have disproportionately affected lower-income people, and particularly women. The lack of recognition of this in this document, though they are recognized by the World Bank and UN agencies elsewhere, must raise real questions on whether this Agreement has been thoroughly thought through, and the process of development been sufficiently inclusive and objective. Chapter I. Introduction Article 1. Use of terms (i) “pathogen with pandemic potential” means any pathogen that has been identified to infect a human and that is: novel (not yet characterized) or known (including a variant of a known pathogen), potentially highly transmissible and/or highly virulent with the potential to cause a public health emergency of international concern. This provides a very wide scope to alter provisions. Any pathogen that can infect humans and is potentially highly transmissible or virulent, though yet uncharacterized means virtually any coronavirus, influenza virus, or a plethora of other relatively common pathogen groups. The IHR Amendments intend that the DG alone can make this call, over the advice of others, as occurred with monkeypox in 2022. (j) “persons in vulnerable situations” means individuals, groups or communities with a disproportionate increased risk of infection, severity, disease or mortality. This is a good definition – in Covid-19 context, would mean the sick elderly, and so is relevant to targeting a response. “Universal health coverage” means that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship. While the general UHC concept is good, it is time a sensible (rather than patently silly) definition was adopted. Society cannot afford the full range of possible interventions and remedies for all, and clearly there is a scale of cost vs benefit that prioritizes certain ones over others. Sensible definitions make action more likely, and inaction harder to justify. One could argue that none should have the full range until all have good basic care, but clearly the earth will not support ‘the full range’ for 8 billion people. Article 2. Objective This Agreement is specifically for pandemics (a poorly defined term but essentially a pathogen that spreads rapidly across national borders). In contrast, the IHR amendments accompanying it are broader in scope – for any public health emergencies of international concern. Article 3. Principles 2. the sovereign right of States to adopt, legislate and implement legislation The amendments to the IHR require States to undertake to follow WHO instructions ahead of time, before such instruction and context are known. These two documents must be understood, as noted later in the Agreement draft, as complementary. 3. equity as the goal and outcome of pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, ensuring the absence of unfair, avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people. This definition of equity here needs clarification. In the pandemic context, the WHO emphasized commodity (vaccine) equity during the Covid-19 response. Elimination of differences implied equal access to Covid-19 vaccines in countries with large aging, obese highly vulnerable populations (e.g. the USA or Italy), and those with young populations at minimal risk and with far more pressing health priorities (e.g. Niger or Uganda). Alternatively, but equally damaging, equal access to different age groups within a country when the risk-benefit ratio is clearly greatly different. This promotes worse health outcomes by diverting resources from where they are most useful, as it ignores heterogeneity of risk. Again, an adult approach is required in international agreements, rather than feel-good sentences, if they are going to have a positive impact. 5. …a more equitable and better prepared world to prevent, respond to and recover from pandemics As with ‘3’ above, this raises a fundamental problem: What if health equity demands that some populations divert resources to childhood nutrition and endemic diseases rather than the latest pandemic, as these are likely of far higher burden to many younger but lower-income populations? This would not be equity in the definition implied here, but would clearly lead to better and more equal health outcomes. The WHO must decide whether it is about uniform action, or minimizing poor health, as these are clearly very different. They are the difference between the WHO’s commodity equity, and true health equity. Chapter II. The world together equitably: achieving equity in, for and through pandemic prevention, preparedness and response Equity in health should imply a reasonably equal chance of overcoming or avoiding preventable sickness. The vast majority of sickness and death is due to either non-communicable diseases often related to lifestyle, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus, undernutrition in childhood, and endemic infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. Achieving health equity would primarily mean addressing these. In this chapter of the draft Pandemic Agreement, equity is used to imply equal access to specific health commodities, particularly vaccines, for intermittent health emergencies, although these exert a small fraction of the burden of other diseases. It is, specifically, commodity-equity, and not geared to equalizing overall health burden but to enabling centrally-coordinated homogenous responses to unusual events. Article 4. Pandemic prevention and surveillance 2. The Parties shall undertake to cooperate: (b) in support of…initiatives aimed at preventing pandemics, in particular those that improve surveillance, early warning and risk assessment; .…and identify settings and activities presenting a risk of emergence and re-emergence of pathogens with pandemic potential. (c-h) [Paragraphs on water and sanitation, infection control, strengthening of biosafety, surveillance and prevention of vector-born diseases, and addressing antimicrobial resistance.] The WHO intends the Agreement to have force under international law. Therefore, countries are undertaking to put themselves under force of international law in regards to complying with the agreement’s stipulations. The provisions under this long article mostly cover general health stuff that countries try to do anyway. The difference will be that countries will be assessed on progress. Assessment can be fine if in context, less fine if it consists of entitled ‘experts’ from wealthy countries with little local knowledge or context. Perhaps such compliance is best left to national authorities, who are more in use with local needs and priorities. The justification for the international bureaucracy being built to support this, while fun for those involved, is unclear and will divert resources from actual health work. 6. The Conference of the Parties may adopt, as necessary, guidelines, recommendations and standards, including in relation to pandemic prevention capacities, to support the implementation of this Article. Here and later, the COP is invoked as a vehicle to decide on what will actually be done. The rules are explained later (Articles 21-23). While allowing more time is sensible, it begs the question of why it is not better to wait and discuss what is needed in the current INB process, before committing to a legally-binding agreement. This current article says nothing not already covered by the IHR2005 or other ongoing programs. Article 5. One Health approach to pandemic prevention, preparedness and response Nothing specific or new in this article. It seems redundant (it is advocating a holistic approach mentioned elsewhere) and so presumably is just to get the term ‘One Health’ into the agreement. (One could ask, why bother?) Some mainstream definitions of One Health (e.g. Lancet) consider that it means non-human species are on a par with humans in terms of rights and importance. If this is meant here, clearly most Member States would disagree. So we may assume that it is just words to keep someone happy (a little childish in an international document, but the term ‘One Health’ has been trending, like ‘equity,’ as if the concept of holistic approaches to public health were new). Article 6. Preparedness, health system resilience and recovery 2. Each Party commits…[to] : (a) routine and essential health services during pandemics with a focus on primary health care, routine immunization and mental health care, and with particular attention to persons in vulnerable situations (b) developing, strengthening and maintaining health infrastructure (c) developing post-pandemic health system recovery strategies (d) developing, strengthening and maintaining: health information systems This is good, and (a) seems to require avoidance of lockdowns (which inevitably cause the harms listed). Unfortunately other WHO documents lead one to assume this is not the intent…It does appear therefore that this is simply another list of fairly non-specific feel-good measures that have no useful place in a new legally-binding agreement, and which most countries are already undertaking. (e) promoting the use of social and behavioural sciences, risk communication and community engagement for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. This requires clarification, as the use of behavioral science during the Covid-19 response involved deliberate inducement of fear to promote behaviors that people would not otherwise follow (e.g. Spi-B). It is essential here that the document clarifies how behavioral science should be used ethically in healthcare. Otherwise, this is also a quite meaningless provision. Article 7. Health and care workforce This long Article discusses health workforce, training, retention, non-discrimination, stigma, bias, adequate remuneration, and other standard provisions for workplaces. It is unclear why it is included in a legally binding pandemic agreement, except for: 4. [The Parties]…shall invest in establishing, sustaining, coordinating and mobilizing a skilled and trained multidisciplinary global public health emergency workforce…Parties having established emergency health teams should inform WHO thereof and make best efforts to respond to requests for deployment… Emergency health teams established (within capacity etc.) – are something countries already do, when they have capacity. There is no reason to have this as a legally-binding instrument, and clearly no urgency to do so. Article 8. Preparedness monitoring and functional reviews 1. The Parties shall, building on existing and relevant tools, develop and implement an inclusive, transparent, effective and efficient pandemic prevention, preparedness and response monitoring and evaluation system. 2. Each Party shall assess, every five years, with technical support from the WHO Secretariat upon request, the functioning and readiness of, and gaps in, its pandemic prevention, preparedness and response capacity, based on the relevant tools and guidelines developed by WHO in partnership with relevant organizations at international, regional and sub-regional levels. Note that this is being required of countries that are already struggling to implement monitoring systems for major endemic diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, and nutritional deficiencies. They will be legally bound to divert resources to pandemic prevention. While there is some overlap, it will inevitably divert resources from currently underfunded programs for diseases of far higher local burdens, and so (not theoretically, but inevitably) raise mortality. Poor countries are being required to put resources into problems deemed significant by richer countries. Article 9. Research and development Various general provisions about undertaking background research that countries are generally doing anyway, but with an ’emerging disease’ slant. Again, the INB fails to justify why this diversion of resources from researching greater disease burdens should occur in all countries (why not just those with excess resources?). Article 10. Sustainable and geographically diversified production Mostly non-binding but suggested cooperation on making pandemic-related products available, including support for manufacturing in “inter-pandemic times” (a fascinating rendering of ‘normal’), when they would only be viable through subsidies. Much of this is probably unimplementable, as it would not be practical to maintain facilities in most or all countries on stand-by for rare events, at cost of resources otherwise useful for other priorities. The desire to increase production in ‘developing’ countries will face major barriers and costs in terms of maintaining quality of production, particularly as many products will have limited use outside of rare outbreak situations. Article 11. Transfer of technology and know-how This article, always problematic for large pharmaceutical corporations sponsoring much WHO outbreak activities, is now watered down to weak requirements to ‘consider,’ promote,’ provide, within capabilities’ etc. Article 12. Access and benefit sharing This Article is intended to establish the WHO Pathogen Access and Benefit-Sharing System (PABS System). PABS is intended to “ensure rapid, systematic and timely access to biological materials of pathogens with pandemic potential and the genetic sequence data.” This system is of potential high relevance and needs to be interpreted in the context that SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen causing the recent Covid-19 outbreak, was highly likely to have escaped from a laboratory. PABS is intended to expand the laboratory storage, transport, and handling of such viruses, under the oversight of the WHO, an organization outside of national jurisdiction with no significant direct experience in handling biological materials. 3. When a Party has access to a pathogen [it shall]: (a) share with WHO any pathogen sequence information as soon as it is available to the Party; (b) as soon as biological materials are available to the Party, provide the materials to one or more laboratories and/or biorepositories participating in WHO-coordinated laboratory networks (CLNs), Subsequent clauses state that benefits will be shared, and seek to prevent recipient laboratories from patenting materials received from other countries. This has been a major concern of low-and middle-income countries previously, who perceive that institutions in wealthy countries patent and benefit from materials derived from less-wealthy populations. It remains to be seen whether provisions here will be sufficient to address this. The article then becomes yet more concerning: 6. WHO shall conclude legally binding standard PABS contracts with manufacturers to provide the following, taking into account the size, nature and capacities of the manufacturer: (a) annual monetary contributions to support the PABS System and relevant capacities in countries; the determination of the annual amount, use, and approach for monitoring and accountability, shall be finalized by the Parties; (b) real-time contributions of relevant diagnostics, therapeutics or vaccines produced by the manufacturer, 10% free of charge and 10% at not-for-profit prices during public health emergencies of international concern or pandemics, … It is clearly intended that the WHO becomes directly involved in setting up legally binding manufacturing contracts, despite the WHO being outside of national jurisdictional oversight, within the territories of Member States. The PABS system, and therefore its staff and dependent entities, are also to be supported in part by funds from the manufacturers whom they are supposed to be managing. The income of the organization will be dependent on maintaining positive relationships with these private entities in a similar way in which many national regulatory agencies are dependent upon funds from pharmaceutical companies whom their staff ostensibly regulate. In this case, the regulator will be even further removed from public oversight. The clause on 10% (why 10?) products being free of charge, and similar at cost, while ensuring lower-priced commodities irrespective of actual need (the outbreak may be confined to wealthy countries). The same entity, the WHO, will determine whether the triggering emergency exists, determine the response, and manage the contracts to provide the commodities, without direct jurisdictional oversight regarding the potential for corruption or conflict of interest. It is a remarkable system to suggest, irrespective of political or regulatory environment. 8. The Parties shall cooperate…public financing of research and development, prepurchase agreements, or regulatory procedures, to encourage and facilitate as many manufacturers as possible to enter into standard PABS contracts as early as possible. The article envisions that public funding will be used to build the process, ensuring essentially no-risk private profit. 10. To support operationalization of the PABS System, WHO shall…make such contracts public, while respecting commercial confidentiality. The public may know whom contracts are made with, but not all details of the contracts. There will therefore be no independent oversight of the clauses agreed between the WHO, a body outside of national jurisdiction and dependent of commercial companies for funding some of its work and salaries, and these same companies, on ‘needs’ that the WHO itself will have sole authority, under the proposed amendments to the IHR, to determine. The Article further states that the WHO shall use its own product regulatory system (prequalification) and Emergency Use Listing Procedure to open and stimulate markets for the manufacturers of these products. It is doubtful that any national government could make such an overall agreement, yet in May 2024 they will be voting to provide this to what is essentially a foreign, and partly privately financed, entity. Article 13. Supply chain and logistics The WHO will become convenor of a ‘Global Supply Chain and Logistics Network’ for commercially-produced products, to be supplied under WHO contracts when and where the WHO determines, whilst also having the role of ensuring safety of such products. Having mutual support coordinated between countries is good. Having this run by an organization that is significantly funded directly by those gaining from the sale of these same commodities seems reckless and counterintuitive. Few countries would allow this (or at least plan for it). For this to occur safely, the WHO would logically have to forgo all private investment, and greatly restrict national specified funding contributions. Otherwise, the conflicts of interest involved would destroy confidence in the system. There is no suggestion of such divestment from the WHO, but rather, as in Article 12, private sector dependency, directly tied to contracts, will increase. Article 13bis: National procurement- and distribution-related provisions While suffering the same (perhaps unavoidable) issues regarding commercial confidentiality, this alternate Article 13 seems far more appropriate, keeping commercial issues under national jurisdiction and avoiding the obvious conflict of interests that underpin funding for WHO activities and staffing. Article 14. Regulatory systems strengthening This entire Article reflects initiatives and programs already in place. Nothing here appears likely to add to current effort. Article 15. Liability and compensation management 1. Each Party shall consider developing, as necessary and in accordance with applicable law, national strategies for managing liability in its territory related to pandemic vaccines…no-fault compensation mechanisms… 2. The Parties…shall develop recommendations for the establishment and implementation of national, regional and/or global no-fault compensation mechanisms and strategies for managing liability during pandemic emergencies, including with regard to individuals that are in a humanitarian setting or vulnerable situations. This is quite remarkable, but also reflects some national legislation, in removing any fault or liability specifically from vaccine manufacturers, for harms done in pushing out vaccines to the public. During the Covid-19 response, genetic therapeutics being developed by BioNtech and Moderna were reclassified as vaccines, on the basis that an immune response is stimulated after they have modified intracellular biochemical pathways as a medicine normally does. This enabled specific trials normally required for carcinogenicity and teratogenicity to be bypassed, despite raised fetal abnormality rates in animal trials. It will enable the CEPI 100-day vaccine program, supported with private funding to support private mRNA vaccine manufacturers, to proceed without any risk to the manufacturer should there be subsequent public harm. Together with an earlier provision on public funding of research and manufacturing readiness, and the removal of former wording requiring intellectual property sharing in Article 11, this ensures vaccine manufacturers and their investors make profit in effective absence of risk. These entities are currently heavily invested in support for WHO, and were strongly aligned with the introduction of newly restrictive outbreak responses that emphasized and sometimes mandated their products during the Covid-19 outbreak. Article 16. International collaboration and cooperation A somewhat pointless article. It suggests that countries cooperate with each other and the WHO to implement the other agreements in the Agreement. Article 17. Whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches A list of essentially motherhood provisions related to planning for a pandemic. However, countries will legally be required to maintain a ‘national coordination multisectoral body’ for PPPR. This will essentially be an added burden on budgets, and inevitably divert further resources from other priorities. Perhaps just strengthening current infectious disease and nutritional programs would be more impactful. (Nowhere in this Agreement is nutrition discussed (essential for resilience to pathogens) and minimal wording is included on sanitation and clean water (other major reasons for reduction in infectious disease mortality over past centuries). However, the ‘community ownership’ wording is interesting (“empower and enable community ownership of, and contribution to, community readiness for and resilience [for PPPR]”), as this directly contradicts much of the rest of the Agreement, including the centralization of control under the Conference of Parties, requirements for countries to allocate resources to pandemic preparedness over other community priorities, and the idea of inspecting and assessing adherence to the centralized requirements of the Agreement. Either much of the rest of the Agreement is redundant, or this wording is purely for appearance and not to be followed (and therefore should be removed). Article 18. Communication and public awareness 1. Each Party shall promote timely access to credible and evidence-based information …with the aim of countering and addressing misinformation or disinformation… 2. The Parties shall, as appropriate, promote and/or conduct research and inform policies on factors that hinder or strengthen adherence to public health and social measures in a pandemic, as well as trust in science and public health institutions and agencies. The key word is as appropriate, given that many agencies, including the WHO, have overseen or aided policies during the Covid-19 response that have greatly increased poverty, child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and education loss. As the WHO has been shown to be significantly misrepresenting pandemic risk in the process of advocating for this Agreement and related instruments, its own communications would also fall outside the provision here related to evidence-based information, and fall within normal understandings of misinformation. It could not therefore be an arbiter of correctness of information here, so the Article is not implementable. Rewritten to recommend accurate evidence-based information being promoted, it would make good sense, but this is not an issue requiring a legally binding international agreement. Article 19. Implementation and support 3. The WHO Secretariat…organize the technical and financial assistance necessary to address such gaps and needs in implementing the commitments agreed upon under the Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations (2005). As the WHO is dependent on donor support, its ability to address gaps in funding within Member States is clearly not something it can guarantee. The purpose of this article is unclear, repeating in paragraphs 1 and 2 the earlier intent for countries to generally support each other. Article 20. Sustainable financing 1. The Parties commit to working together…In this regard, each Party, within the means and resources at its disposal, shall: (a) prioritize and maintain or increase, as necessary, domestic funding for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, without undermining other domestic public health priorities including for: (i) strengthening and sustaining capacities for the prevention, preparedness and response to health emergencies and pandemics, in particular the core capacities of the International Health Regulations (2005);… This is silly wording, as countries obviously have to prioritize within budgets, so that moving funds to one area means removing from another. The essence of public health policy is weighing and making such decisions; this reality seems to be ignored here through wishful thinking. (a) is clearly redundant, as the IHR (2005) already exists and countries have agreed to support it. 3. A Coordinating Financial Mechanism (the “Mechanism”) is hereby established to support the implementation of both the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations (2005) This will be in parallel to the Pandemic Fund recently commenced by the World Bank – an issue not lost on INB delegates and so likely to change here in the final version. It will also be additive to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and other health financing mechanisms, and so require another parallel international bureaucracy, presumably based in Geneva. It is intended to have its own capacity to “conduct relevant analyses on needs and gaps, in addition to tracking cooperation efforts,” so it will not be a small undertaking. Chapter III. Institutional and final provisions Article 21. Conference of the Parties 1. A Conference of the Parties is hereby established. 2. The Conference of the Parties shall keep under regular review, every three years, the implementation of the WHO Pandemic Agreement and take the decisions necessary to promote its effective implementation. This sets up the governing body to oversee this Agreement (another body requiring a secretariat and support). It is intended to meet within a year of the Agreement coming into force, and then set its own rules on meeting thereafter. It is likely that many provisions outlined in this draft of the Agreement will be deferred to the COP for further discussion. Articles 22 – 37 These articles cover the functioning of the Conference of Parties (COP) and various administrative issues. Of note, ‘block votes’ will be allowed from regional bodies (e.g. the EU). The WHO will provide the secretariat. Under Article 24 is noted: 3. Nothing in the WHO Pandemic Agreement shall be interpreted as providing the Secretariat of the World Health Organization, including the WHO Director-General, any authority to direct, order, alter or otherwise prescribe the domestic laws or policies of any Party, or to mandate or otherwise impose any requirements that Parties take specific actions, such as ban or accept travellers, impose vaccination mandates or therapeutic or diagnostic measures, or implement lockdowns. These provisions are explicitly stated in the proposed amendments to the IHR, to be considered alongside this agreement. Article 26 notes that the IHR is to be interpreted as compatible, thereby confirming that the IHR provisions including border closures and limits on freedom of movement, mandated vaccination, and other lockdown measures are not negated by this statement. As Article 26 states: “The Parties recognize that the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations should be interpreted so as to be compatible.” Some would consider this subterfuge – The Director-General recently labeled as liars those who claimed the Agreement included these powers, whilst failing to acknowledge the accompanying IHR amendments. The WHO could do better in avoiding misleading messaging, especially when this involves denigration of the public. Article 32 (Withdrawal) requires that, once adopted, Parties cannot withdraw for a total of 3 years (giving notice after a minimum of 2 years). Financial obligations undertaken under the agreement continue beyond that time. Finally, the Agreement will come into force, assuming a two-thirds majority in the WHA is achieved (Article 19, WHO Constitution), 30 days after the fortieth country has ratified it. Further reading: WHO Pandemic Agreement Intergovernmental Negotiating Board website: https://inb.who.int/ International Health Regulations Working Group website: https://apps.who.int/gb/wgihr/index.html On background to the WHO texts: Amendments to WHO’s International Health Regulations: An Annotated Guide An Unofficial Q&A on International Health Regulations On urgency and burden of pandemics: https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/downloads/download/228/rational-policy-over-panic Disease X and Davos: This is Not the Way to Evaluate and Formulate Public Health Policy Before Preparing for Pandemics, We Need Better Evidence of Risk Revised Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement: Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author. Authors David Bell David Bell, Senior Scholar at Brownstone Institute, is a public health physician and biotech consultant in global health. He is a former medical officer and scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), Programme Head for malaria and febrile diseases at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) in Geneva, Switzerland, and Director of Global Health Technologies at Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund in Bellevue, WA, USA. View all posts Thi Thuy Van Dinh Dr. Thi Thuy Van Dinh (LLM, PhD) worked on international law in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Subsequently, she managed multilateral organization partnerships for Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund and led environmental health technology development efforts for low-resource settings. View all posts Your financial backing of Brownstone Institute goes to support writers, lawyers, scientists, economists, and other people of courage who have been professionally purged and displaced during the upheaval of our times. You can help get the truth out through their ongoing work. https://brownstone.org/articles/the-who-pandemic-agreement-a-guide/ https://www.minds.com/donshafi911/blog/the-who-pandemic-agreement-a-guide-1621719398509187077
    BROWNSTONE.ORG
    The WHO Pandemic Agreement: A Guide ⋆ Brownstone Institute
    The commentary below concentrates on selected draft provisions of the latest publicly available version of the draft agreement that seem to be unclear or potentially problematic.
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  • ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 178: Israel withdraws from al-Shifa Hospital, leaving evidence of a massacre in its wake
    Dozens of bodies are still being recovered from the rubble of a destroyed and burnt al-Shifa Hospital, following a two-week Israeli raid and siege on the hospital.

    Qassam MuaddiApril 1, 2024
    A destroyed and bombed out hospital room in the al-Shifa Hospital in the foreground; a burned edifice of the al-Shifa Hospital complex in the background.
    Palestinians assess the damage and search the rubble in the area of the destroyed al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on April 1, 2024. The Israeli army said Monday that it wrapped up its military operation at the al-Shifa Hospital complex following a 14-day siege and attack that resulted in scores of casualties and hundreds of arrests. (Khaled Daoud /apaimages)
    Casualties

    32,623 + killed* and at least 75,092 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
    450+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**
    Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,139.
    600 Israeli soldiers have been killed since October 7, and at least 6,800 injured.***
    *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

    ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure.

    *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”

    Key Developments

    Israel has killed 140 Palestinians and wounded 202 in the Gaza Strip since Saturday morning, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
    Israeli army withdraws from al-Shifa Hospital complex after two-week siege, leaving total destruction in its wake and dozens of dead. Israeli military sources say al-Shifa “will not come back to operation” after withdrawal.
    Gaza’s interior ministry announces the arrest of 10 intelligence officers from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, claiming that they entered Gaza in coordination with Israel to “destabilize the internal front.” Ramallah officially denies the claims.
    Gaza’s health ministry calls upon the international community to intervene to reopen Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, which was put out of service by Israeli forces after sustained attacks in recent weeks.
    Israel announces killing of Hezbollah military commander in strike on southern Lebanon. Israeli strikes hit the Lebanese towns of al-Khyam and Markaba, while Hezbollah fires rockets on Israeli settlements and military bases in the Galilee.
    Israeli forces raid Jenin in the occupied West Bank amid arrest wave.
    Palestinians in Israel and West Bank march in commemoration of Palestinian Land Day protesting Gaza genocide.
    Israeli Channel 12: Over 6,800 Israeli soldiers wounded since October 7th.
    Israel kills 140 Palestinians in Gaza, including 10 journalists in targeted strike

    The Palestinian health ministry reported that Israeli forces committed 14 massacres across the Gaza Strip since Saturday, killing 140 Palestinians and wounding 202, raising the death toll of Israel’s assault since October 7 to 32,782 with more than 75,392 wounded.

    In Gaza City, medical sources reported finding at least 50 dead bodies in the surroundings of al-Shifa hospital after the Israeli army withdrew from the medical complex following two weeks of raids. The health ministry said in a statement on Sunday that medical staff are unable to recover the bodies and the wounded under the rubble.

    Palestinians search the rubble of destroyed and burned buildings of the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City following a two-week Israeli raid.
    Palestinians search the rubble of destroyed and burned buildings of the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City following a two-week Israeli raid that claimed hundreds of casualties. The Israeli military said that the hospital will be inoperable following the withdrawal of its forces. (APA Images)
    On Sunday, Israeli airstrikes hit a residential building in the al-Daraj neighborhood in Gaza City, killing an unspecified number of Palestinians. In western Gaza City, Israeli strikes killed at least two Palestinians and wounded 10 in al-Shati refugee camp.

    In the central Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed six Palestinians in a strike on a family house in al-Maghazi refugee camp. Israeli strikes also killed four Palestinians and wounded 15, including 10 journalists in a strike on a tent in the courtyard of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah.

    In the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli strikes continued over the weekend on Khan Younis and its surrounding villages. In Bani Suhaila, west of Khan Younis, Palestinian medical teams recovered five more bodies. Local media sources also reported that Israeli armored vehicles opened fire at Palestinian houses in Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis.

    Israeli army withdraws from al-Shifa Hospital after two-week attack, leaving ‘total destruction’

    The Israeli army withdrew from al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City early on Monday, following 14 days of raids on Gaza’s largest medical complex. Testimonies from the ground reported finding at least 50 dead bodies in the complex, while medical sources said that “hundreds of bodies” continue to be found in the hospital’s vicinity.

    Israeli media quoted the Israeli army spokesperson saying that Israeli forces have “ended their operation” at al-Shifa, killing 200 Palestinians whom it claims to be members of Palestinian resistance groups, including a senior commander of Hamas’s military wing.

    The Israeli army repeated throughout the two-week-long raid that it took “precautions” to avoid harming civilians and civilian infrastructure. However, testimonies from journalists and civilians of executions and torture inside the hospital and photos of a completely burnt hospital indicate otherwise.

    Palestinians look on at the damaged and burned remaining edifice of al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest hospital, which was destroyed by the Israeli military in a deadly two-week raid.
    Palestinians look on at the damaged and burned remaining edifice of al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest hospital, which was destroyed by the Israeli military in a deadly two-week raid. April 1, 2024 (APA Images)
    Palestinians rushed into al-Shifa following the withdrawal of Israeli forces, with reports from local media sources describing the “total destruction” of the hospital’s facilities.

    According to medical sources at al-Shifa, Israeli troops completely destroyed the specialized surgeries building and set fire to the rest of the building. Sources also indicated that Israeli soldiers also torched the reception and emergency buildings, destroying dozens of rooms and all of its equipment.

    Local sources added that Israeli forces destroyed or torched several residential buildings surrounding al-Shifa and that residents have recovered dozens of dead bodies in the streets surrounding the complex.

    On Monday, the Haboush family told news outlet Arab 48 as they evacuated the area that they had spent nine days with very little water at their home in al-Shifa’s vicinity. The family said that their eldest son was killed by an Israeli quadcopter drone and was left to bleed to death and then decompose before their eyes, as they couldn’t risk recovering his body under Israeli fire.

    On the second day of the Israeli raid, Palestinian Gaza-based journalist Bayan Abu Sultan reported through her X account that Israeli forces killed her brother in the surroundings of al-Shifa.

    Palestinian medical sources said in the aftermath of Israel’s withdrawal from al-Shifa that the medical complex was completely inoperational and that it will be “very difficult to resume work in al-Shifa in the current stage.”

    Hours prior to Israeli forces’ withdrawal, the Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhom Ghebreyesus, called upon opening a humanitarian corridor to al-Shifa.

    Ghebreyesus added that 21 Palestinian patients have died inside al-Shifa during the Israeli raid since March 19 and that 107 more patients are still inside the hospital in inappropriate medical conditions, including four children and 28 in critical condition. Ghebreyesus indicated that the patients include some with wound inflammation, due to the lack of clean water.

    Israeli army sources also said through the Israeli army radio that al-Shifa Hospital “will not come back to work” after the destruction it suffered during the Israeli military raid.

    Israeli forces had raided al-Shifa in November and forced Palestinians, including patients and medical staff, to exit, leaving behind several newborn babies without functioning incubators.

    Palestinians returned to al-Shifa following the first Israeli withdrawal from the hospital in December, where journalists reported finding the left-behind-babies decomposing.

    Gaza interior ministry accuses PA intelligence of ‘infiltrating Gaza in coordination with Israel


    The Gaza-based Palestinian interior ministry, which is administered by Hamas, said on Monday that an intelligence force belonging to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, led by Hamas’ political rival Fatah, entered the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

    The ministry announced arresting the force’s members, whom it claimed were on a mission to “sabotage the internal front” in Gaza. A Palestinian Authority senior official denied accusations on Monday in statements to the PA-affiliated Wafa agency.

    According to Gaza authorities, the intelligence force entered on Saturday in Egyptian Red Crescent trucks that were allegedly allowed into the Strip by Israel. Gaza officials added that Egyptian authorities denied having any knowledge of the alleged infiltration.

    An official in the Gaza interior ministry said that the force entered by direct orders of the Ramallah-based Palestinian general intelligence apparatus chief, Majed Faraj, with the mission of “spreading chaos,” and in coordination with the Israeli army and the Israeli internal security intelligence – the Shin Bet, or as it’s known locally, the Shabak.

    The official noted that the Gaza security forces received instructions from the ‘Palestinian resistance factions joint operation group,’ the coordinating body of a dozen Palestinian armed factions in the Strip. The instructions, according to the official, were to intercept the alleged force “and any security force that enters Gaza other than through the resistance.”

    On Monday, the Palestinian Authority’s official Wafa news agency quoted a senior PA official calling the Gaza interior ministry statement “an enraged media campaign to cover up the suffering of our people in Gaza.”

    The Israeli Kan channel had reported earlier that Israel’s war minister Yoav Gallant had proposed Majed Faraj take charge of running the Strip after the war in cooperation with local figures who wouldn’t include members of Hamas.

    Last week, The White House spokesperson Mathew Miller said that one of the U.S. administration’s orders for a post-war Gaza is that the PA must run both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Miller added that the U.S. is discussing with the PA and other countries in the region all the issues concerning the administration of the Strip after the war, without giving further details.

    600 Israeli soldiers killed, 6,800 wounded as fighting with Palestinian resistance continues

    The Israeli army announced on Monday that a soldier from its 77th brigade was killed in combat with the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip, as Israeli media outlets reported that 600 Israeli soldiers and officers have been killed since October 7, and 6,800 have been wounded.

    The Israeli army, which delays the announcement of its losses under strict military censorship, has so far admitted the loss of 264 soldiers and officers since the beginning of its ground invasion of the Gaza Strip in November.

    Meanwhile, the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, announced that its fighters targeted an Israeli tank in Khan Younis with an armor-piercing explosive device and that Israeli military helicopters rushed to evacuate casualties.

    Al-Qassam also announced that its fighters engaged Israeli soldiers with an anti-fortification projectile inside a house near the Nasser Hospital, west of Khan Younis. Al-Qassam added that it targeted Israeli troops in the vicinity of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City with mortar rounds.

    Simultaneously, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad -PIJ announced that its fighters engaged Israeli forces in the al-Qarara neighborhood in Khan Younis.

    For its part, the Israeli army announced that it continues to fight Palestinian factions in al-Qarara and that 81 soldiers were wounded in the southern Gaza Strip in the past week.

    Qassam Muaddi
    Qassam Muaddi is the Palestine Staff Writer for Mondoweiss.



    https://mondoweiss.net/2024/04/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-178-israel-withdraws-from-al-shifa-hospital-leaving-evidence-of-a-massacre-in-its-wake/
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 178: Israel withdraws from al-Shifa Hospital, leaving evidence of a massacre in its wake Dozens of bodies are still being recovered from the rubble of a destroyed and burnt al-Shifa Hospital, following a two-week Israeli raid and siege on the hospital. Qassam MuaddiApril 1, 2024 A destroyed and bombed out hospital room in the al-Shifa Hospital in the foreground; a burned edifice of the al-Shifa Hospital complex in the background. Palestinians assess the damage and search the rubble in the area of the destroyed al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on April 1, 2024. The Israeli army said Monday that it wrapped up its military operation at the al-Shifa Hospital complex following a 14-day siege and attack that resulted in scores of casualties and hundreds of arrests. (Khaled Daoud /apaimages) Casualties 32,623 + killed* and at least 75,092 wounded in the Gaza Strip. 450+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.** Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,139. 600 Israeli soldiers have been killed since October 7, and at least 6,800 injured.*** *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead. ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure. *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” Key Developments Israel has killed 140 Palestinians and wounded 202 in the Gaza Strip since Saturday morning, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Israeli army withdraws from al-Shifa Hospital complex after two-week siege, leaving total destruction in its wake and dozens of dead. Israeli military sources say al-Shifa “will not come back to operation” after withdrawal. Gaza’s interior ministry announces the arrest of 10 intelligence officers from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, claiming that they entered Gaza in coordination with Israel to “destabilize the internal front.” Ramallah officially denies the claims. Gaza’s health ministry calls upon the international community to intervene to reopen Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, which was put out of service by Israeli forces after sustained attacks in recent weeks. Israel announces killing of Hezbollah military commander in strike on southern Lebanon. Israeli strikes hit the Lebanese towns of al-Khyam and Markaba, while Hezbollah fires rockets on Israeli settlements and military bases in the Galilee. Israeli forces raid Jenin in the occupied West Bank amid arrest wave. Palestinians in Israel and West Bank march in commemoration of Palestinian Land Day protesting Gaza genocide. Israeli Channel 12: Over 6,800 Israeli soldiers wounded since October 7th. Israel kills 140 Palestinians in Gaza, including 10 journalists in targeted strike The Palestinian health ministry reported that Israeli forces committed 14 massacres across the Gaza Strip since Saturday, killing 140 Palestinians and wounding 202, raising the death toll of Israel’s assault since October 7 to 32,782 with more than 75,392 wounded. In Gaza City, medical sources reported finding at least 50 dead bodies in the surroundings of al-Shifa hospital after the Israeli army withdrew from the medical complex following two weeks of raids. The health ministry said in a statement on Sunday that medical staff are unable to recover the bodies and the wounded under the rubble. Palestinians search the rubble of destroyed and burned buildings of the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City following a two-week Israeli raid. Palestinians search the rubble of destroyed and burned buildings of the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City following a two-week Israeli raid that claimed hundreds of casualties. The Israeli military said that the hospital will be inoperable following the withdrawal of its forces. (APA Images) On Sunday, Israeli airstrikes hit a residential building in the al-Daraj neighborhood in Gaza City, killing an unspecified number of Palestinians. In western Gaza City, Israeli strikes killed at least two Palestinians and wounded 10 in al-Shati refugee camp. In the central Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed six Palestinians in a strike on a family house in al-Maghazi refugee camp. Israeli strikes also killed four Palestinians and wounded 15, including 10 journalists in a strike on a tent in the courtyard of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah. In the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli strikes continued over the weekend on Khan Younis and its surrounding villages. In Bani Suhaila, west of Khan Younis, Palestinian medical teams recovered five more bodies. Local media sources also reported that Israeli armored vehicles opened fire at Palestinian houses in Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis. Israeli army withdraws from al-Shifa Hospital after two-week attack, leaving ‘total destruction’ The Israeli army withdrew from al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City early on Monday, following 14 days of raids on Gaza’s largest medical complex. Testimonies from the ground reported finding at least 50 dead bodies in the complex, while medical sources said that “hundreds of bodies” continue to be found in the hospital’s vicinity. Israeli media quoted the Israeli army spokesperson saying that Israeli forces have “ended their operation” at al-Shifa, killing 200 Palestinians whom it claims to be members of Palestinian resistance groups, including a senior commander of Hamas’s military wing. The Israeli army repeated throughout the two-week-long raid that it took “precautions” to avoid harming civilians and civilian infrastructure. However, testimonies from journalists and civilians of executions and torture inside the hospital and photos of a completely burnt hospital indicate otherwise. Palestinians look on at the damaged and burned remaining edifice of al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest hospital, which was destroyed by the Israeli military in a deadly two-week raid. Palestinians look on at the damaged and burned remaining edifice of al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest hospital, which was destroyed by the Israeli military in a deadly two-week raid. April 1, 2024 (APA Images) Palestinians rushed into al-Shifa following the withdrawal of Israeli forces, with reports from local media sources describing the “total destruction” of the hospital’s facilities. According to medical sources at al-Shifa, Israeli troops completely destroyed the specialized surgeries building and set fire to the rest of the building. Sources also indicated that Israeli soldiers also torched the reception and emergency buildings, destroying dozens of rooms and all of its equipment. Local sources added that Israeli forces destroyed or torched several residential buildings surrounding al-Shifa and that residents have recovered dozens of dead bodies in the streets surrounding the complex. On Monday, the Haboush family told news outlet Arab 48 as they evacuated the area that they had spent nine days with very little water at their home in al-Shifa’s vicinity. The family said that their eldest son was killed by an Israeli quadcopter drone and was left to bleed to death and then decompose before their eyes, as they couldn’t risk recovering his body under Israeli fire. On the second day of the Israeli raid, Palestinian Gaza-based journalist Bayan Abu Sultan reported through her X account that Israeli forces killed her brother in the surroundings of al-Shifa. Palestinian medical sources said in the aftermath of Israel’s withdrawal from al-Shifa that the medical complex was completely inoperational and that it will be “very difficult to resume work in al-Shifa in the current stage.” Hours prior to Israeli forces’ withdrawal, the Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhom Ghebreyesus, called upon opening a humanitarian corridor to al-Shifa. Ghebreyesus added that 21 Palestinian patients have died inside al-Shifa during the Israeli raid since March 19 and that 107 more patients are still inside the hospital in inappropriate medical conditions, including four children and 28 in critical condition. Ghebreyesus indicated that the patients include some with wound inflammation, due to the lack of clean water. Israeli army sources also said through the Israeli army radio that al-Shifa Hospital “will not come back to work” after the destruction it suffered during the Israeli military raid. Israeli forces had raided al-Shifa in November and forced Palestinians, including patients and medical staff, to exit, leaving behind several newborn babies without functioning incubators. Palestinians returned to al-Shifa following the first Israeli withdrawal from the hospital in December, where journalists reported finding the left-behind-babies decomposing. Gaza interior ministry accuses PA intelligence of ‘infiltrating Gaza in coordination with Israel The Gaza-based Palestinian interior ministry, which is administered by Hamas, said on Monday that an intelligence force belonging to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, led by Hamas’ political rival Fatah, entered the Gaza Strip on Saturday. The ministry announced arresting the force’s members, whom it claimed were on a mission to “sabotage the internal front” in Gaza. A Palestinian Authority senior official denied accusations on Monday in statements to the PA-affiliated Wafa agency. According to Gaza authorities, the intelligence force entered on Saturday in Egyptian Red Crescent trucks that were allegedly allowed into the Strip by Israel. Gaza officials added that Egyptian authorities denied having any knowledge of the alleged infiltration. An official in the Gaza interior ministry said that the force entered by direct orders of the Ramallah-based Palestinian general intelligence apparatus chief, Majed Faraj, with the mission of “spreading chaos,” and in coordination with the Israeli army and the Israeli internal security intelligence – the Shin Bet, or as it’s known locally, the Shabak. The official noted that the Gaza security forces received instructions from the ‘Palestinian resistance factions joint operation group,’ the coordinating body of a dozen Palestinian armed factions in the Strip. The instructions, according to the official, were to intercept the alleged force “and any security force that enters Gaza other than through the resistance.” On Monday, the Palestinian Authority’s official Wafa news agency quoted a senior PA official calling the Gaza interior ministry statement “an enraged media campaign to cover up the suffering of our people in Gaza.” The Israeli Kan channel had reported earlier that Israel’s war minister Yoav Gallant had proposed Majed Faraj take charge of running the Strip after the war in cooperation with local figures who wouldn’t include members of Hamas. Last week, The White House spokesperson Mathew Miller said that one of the U.S. administration’s orders for a post-war Gaza is that the PA must run both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Miller added that the U.S. is discussing with the PA and other countries in the region all the issues concerning the administration of the Strip after the war, without giving further details. 600 Israeli soldiers killed, 6,800 wounded as fighting with Palestinian resistance continues The Israeli army announced on Monday that a soldier from its 77th brigade was killed in combat with the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip, as Israeli media outlets reported that 600 Israeli soldiers and officers have been killed since October 7, and 6,800 have been wounded. The Israeli army, which delays the announcement of its losses under strict military censorship, has so far admitted the loss of 264 soldiers and officers since the beginning of its ground invasion of the Gaza Strip in November. Meanwhile, the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, announced that its fighters targeted an Israeli tank in Khan Younis with an armor-piercing explosive device and that Israeli military helicopters rushed to evacuate casualties. Al-Qassam also announced that its fighters engaged Israeli soldiers with an anti-fortification projectile inside a house near the Nasser Hospital, west of Khan Younis. Al-Qassam added that it targeted Israeli troops in the vicinity of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City with mortar rounds. Simultaneously, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad -PIJ announced that its fighters engaged Israeli forces in the al-Qarara neighborhood in Khan Younis. For its part, the Israeli army announced that it continues to fight Palestinian factions in al-Qarara and that 81 soldiers were wounded in the southern Gaza Strip in the past week. Qassam Muaddi Qassam Muaddi is the Palestine Staff Writer for Mondoweiss. https://mondoweiss.net/2024/04/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-178-israel-withdraws-from-al-shifa-hospital-leaving-evidence-of-a-massacre-in-its-wake/
    MONDOWEISS.NET
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 178: Israel withdraws from al-Shifa Hospital, leaving evidence of a massacre in its wake
    Dozens of bodies are still being recovered from the rubble of a destroyed and burnt al-Shifa Hospital, following a two-week Israeli raid and siege on the hospital.
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  • US congressman Walberg says Gaza should be destroyed 'like Nagasaki and Hiroshima', also suggests nuking Russia
    walberg
    The coments were made during a town hall meeting in Dundee, Michigan on March 25
    A Michigan Congressman has suggested a nuclear bomb should be dropped on Gaza to 'support Israel's swift elimination of Hamas.'

    Speaking during a town hall earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, a Republican from Lenawee County, appeared entirely comfortable advocating for the use of nuclear weapons against the Palestinians.

    'It should be like Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Get it over quick,' Walberg could be heard stating in a video posted to X in which he mentioned the Japanese cities in which America detonated atomic bombs at the end of World War II.


    Walberg, an eight-term Republican congressman from Lenawee County, can also be heard speaking against providing humanitarian aid for those in the Palestinian territory.


    'We shouldn't be spending a dime on humanitarian aid,' Walberg stated in response to a question about American troops being deployed into Gaza to build a port that would help aid be delivered to the Palestinians.

    Walberg had been responding to a question about an initiative put forward by President Joe Biden to use American tax dollars to construct a port off the Gaza coast that would allow humanitarian aid to be delivered more quickly.

    Walberg's office has now attempted to explain the GOP congressman's seemingly straightforward answer as a metaphor.

    'During his community gathering, he clearly uses a metaphor to support Israel's swift elimination of Hamas, which is the best chance to save lives long-term and the only hope at achieving a permanent peace in the region,' Walberg spokesman Mike Rorke said on Saturday.

    'Congressman Walberg vehemently disagrees with putting our troops in harm's way. He has great empathy for the innocent people in Gaza who have been thrust into this situation due to the attack carried out by Hamas leaving 1,163 innocent civilians dead,' Rorke continued.


    'To this day, Hamas still is holding hostages, including Americans. Hamas should surrender and return the hostages.'

    Walberg's comments have been described as 'clear call to genocide by a member of Congress'.

    The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said his remarks should be 'condemned by all Americans who value human life and international law.'

    'To so casually call for what would result in the killing of every human being in Gaza sends the chilling message that Palestinian lives have no value,' CAIR Executive Director Dawud Walid said to Detroit News.

    'It is this dehumanization of the Palestinian people that has resulted in the ongoing slaughter and suffering we see every day in Gaza and the West Bank.'

    The U.N. food agency has said famine is 'imminent' in northern Gaza, with two-thirds of population experiencing catastrophic hunger.

    Later in the town hall, held on March 25 in Dundee, Michigan, Walberg went on to suggest that a nuclear bomb should also be used in Russia's war with Ukraine in order to 'defeat Putin quick.'


    He said instead of American money being used to provide aid to Ukraine for humanitarian purposes, it should instead be used 'to wipe out Russia, if that's what we want to do.'

    Walberg has been taken to task over his comments by his Democratic colleagues with some calling for his immediate resignation.

    Michigan state Democratic Senator Darrin Camilleri tweeted how Walberg had been caught on video 'endorsing and calling for a complete genocide in Gaza.'

    'He's an absolute disgrace and needs to resign,' Camilleri stated.

    'Threatening to use, suggesting the use of, or, God forbid actually using nuclear weapons, are unacceptable tactics of war in the 21st Century,' wrote Democratic Michigan Rep. Haley Stevens.

    'As W.J. Hennigan recently & accurately described for the NYT, the use of nuclear weapons creates hell on earth.'

    Fellow Michiagn Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin also condemned his remarks.

    'This is a reprehensible thing for anyone to suggest, especially an elected official and someone who considers himself a man of faith. Rep. Walberg should take back his comments, and try to put himself in the shoes of the many Michiganders who see themselves in the casualties in Gaza,' Slotkin said in a statement.

    Democratic U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee said Walberg's comments were horrific and shocking.

    'It is an indefensible position to argue against humanitarian relief for the people of Gaza while also calling for the wholesale massacre of the Palestinian people. I could not disagree more with these extreme and dangerous comments,' Kildee said in a statement.


    https://www.sott.net/article/490259-US-congressman-Walberg-says-Gaza-should-be-destroyed-like-Nagasaki-and-Hiroshima-also-suggests-nuking-Russia
    US congressman Walberg says Gaza should be destroyed 'like Nagasaki and Hiroshima', also suggests nuking Russia walberg The coments were made during a town hall meeting in Dundee, Michigan on March 25 A Michigan Congressman has suggested a nuclear bomb should be dropped on Gaza to 'support Israel's swift elimination of Hamas.' Speaking during a town hall earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, a Republican from Lenawee County, appeared entirely comfortable advocating for the use of nuclear weapons against the Palestinians. 'It should be like Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Get it over quick,' Walberg could be heard stating in a video posted to X in which he mentioned the Japanese cities in which America detonated atomic bombs at the end of World War II. Walberg, an eight-term Republican congressman from Lenawee County, can also be heard speaking against providing humanitarian aid for those in the Palestinian territory. 'We shouldn't be spending a dime on humanitarian aid,' Walberg stated in response to a question about American troops being deployed into Gaza to build a port that would help aid be delivered to the Palestinians. Walberg had been responding to a question about an initiative put forward by President Joe Biden to use American tax dollars to construct a port off the Gaza coast that would allow humanitarian aid to be delivered more quickly. Walberg's office has now attempted to explain the GOP congressman's seemingly straightforward answer as a metaphor. 'During his community gathering, he clearly uses a metaphor to support Israel's swift elimination of Hamas, which is the best chance to save lives long-term and the only hope at achieving a permanent peace in the region,' Walberg spokesman Mike Rorke said on Saturday. 'Congressman Walberg vehemently disagrees with putting our troops in harm's way. He has great empathy for the innocent people in Gaza who have been thrust into this situation due to the attack carried out by Hamas leaving 1,163 innocent civilians dead,' Rorke continued. 'To this day, Hamas still is holding hostages, including Americans. Hamas should surrender and return the hostages.' Walberg's comments have been described as 'clear call to genocide by a member of Congress'. The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said his remarks should be 'condemned by all Americans who value human life and international law.' 'To so casually call for what would result in the killing of every human being in Gaza sends the chilling message that Palestinian lives have no value,' CAIR Executive Director Dawud Walid said to Detroit News. 'It is this dehumanization of the Palestinian people that has resulted in the ongoing slaughter and suffering we see every day in Gaza and the West Bank.' The U.N. food agency has said famine is 'imminent' in northern Gaza, with two-thirds of population experiencing catastrophic hunger. Later in the town hall, held on March 25 in Dundee, Michigan, Walberg went on to suggest that a nuclear bomb should also be used in Russia's war with Ukraine in order to 'defeat Putin quick.' He said instead of American money being used to provide aid to Ukraine for humanitarian purposes, it should instead be used 'to wipe out Russia, if that's what we want to do.' Walberg has been taken to task over his comments by his Democratic colleagues with some calling for his immediate resignation. Michigan state Democratic Senator Darrin Camilleri tweeted how Walberg had been caught on video 'endorsing and calling for a complete genocide in Gaza.' 'He's an absolute disgrace and needs to resign,' Camilleri stated. 'Threatening to use, suggesting the use of, or, God forbid actually using nuclear weapons, are unacceptable tactics of war in the 21st Century,' wrote Democratic Michigan Rep. Haley Stevens. 'As W.J. Hennigan recently & accurately described for the NYT, the use of nuclear weapons creates hell on earth.' Fellow Michiagn Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin also condemned his remarks. 'This is a reprehensible thing for anyone to suggest, especially an elected official and someone who considers himself a man of faith. Rep. Walberg should take back his comments, and try to put himself in the shoes of the many Michiganders who see themselves in the casualties in Gaza,' Slotkin said in a statement. Democratic U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee said Walberg's comments were horrific and shocking. 'It is an indefensible position to argue against humanitarian relief for the people of Gaza while also calling for the wholesale massacre of the Palestinian people. I could not disagree more with these extreme and dangerous comments,' Kildee said in a statement. https://www.sott.net/article/490259-US-congressman-Walberg-says-Gaza-should-be-destroyed-like-Nagasaki-and-Hiroshima-also-suggests-nuking-Russia
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  • Repugnant Trump PRO-VAX and PRO-ZIONISTS! - VT Foreign Policy
    March 29, 2024
    VT Condemns the ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINIANS by USA/Israel

    $ 280 BILLION US TAXPAYER DOLLARS INVESTED since 1948 in US/Israeli Ethnic Cleansing and Occupation Operation; $ 150B direct "aid" and $ 130B in "Offense" contracts
    Source: Embassy of Israel, Washington, D.C. and US Department of State.

    By Fabio Giusepe Carlo Carisio

    VERSIONE IN ITALIANO

    «The Pandemic no longer controls our lives. The Vaccines that saved us from COVID are now being used to help beat Cancer – Turning setback into comeback!” YOU’RE WELCOME, JOE, NINE MONTH APPROVAL TIME VS. 12 YEARS THAT IT WOULD HAVE TAKEN YOU!»

    Trump’s Pro-VAX Propaganda for Big Pharma Money

    This is what we read in a post published in recent days by Donald Trump, the only Republican candidate remaining in the running for the US Presidential Elections of November 2020, relaunched by the attentive analyst of the problems of mRNA genetic serums Igor Chudov who limited himself to a laconic comment.

    «In the TruthSocial post above, Trump mentioned his nine-month approval time for Covid vaccines.I am frankly shocked by the stupidity of both statements.The vaccines did not “save us from the pandemic” – they made the pandemic worse. And being proud that such vaccines were pushed through in just nine months is perhaps a bit misguided».


    Trump’s embarrassing post was immediately contested by one of his followers
    Chudov’s comment was far too pitiful. Trump, who poses as an anti-system fighter, hits the ground running by relaunching propaganda on vaccines while completely ignoring three crucial elements:

    the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic was created in the laboratory in a deal between CHINA and the USA (with the help of the EU and the United Kingdom) as reported by the late biologist Luc Montagnier and his biomathematician friend Jean-Claude Perez, confirmed by dozens of scientific studies and finally also supported by the US Senate Health Committee led by a Republican
    there is evidence that Moderna patented its anti-Covid vaccine 9 months before the discovery of the Wuhan outbreak in collaboration with the virologist Anthony Fauci and with funding from the Pentagon’s DARPA military agency provided by the Obama-Biden administration
    Suspicious Turbo-Cancer from Vaccines for Wales Princess Kate. Devastating Toll of VIPs Ill or Dead from Tumors after Genetic Serums

    mRNA gene sera are causing a myriad of adverse reactions, including serious and lethal ones, precisely because they are based on the artificial manipulation of proteins and molecules that interact in a devastating way with the natural immune system of human beings
    finally, these Covid vaccines have been identified as the main culprits in the degeneration of the Turbo-Cancer phenomenon, so much so that a doctor suffering from a tumor acted as a guinea pig for the new anti-Cancer vaccine in a grotesque spiral with the stench of transhumanism.
    TRANSHUMANIST BIOMEDICINE! World 1st mRNA Cancer Vaccine to treat a Brain Turbo-Cancer from mRNA Covid

    After 4 years and tens of thousands of deaths after reports of unwanted effects related to Covid vaccines, the former president seems not to want to make a “mea culpa” for the management of the pandemic left in the hands of the terrorist Fauci (former NIAID director but also consultant of the White House on the Covid emergency) nor question the work of Moderna (which benefited from the Warp Speed contribution provided by the Trump administration) and Pfizer, which refused the help but in return financed an avalanche of senators and Republican deputies.

    The impression is that he is looking for sponsors among Big Pharma…

    DA PFIZER SOLDI PURE AI PROCURATORI USA! Lobbying da 1milione di Dollari alla Conference Attorneys General. Altri 8 a 1.842 Politici Bipartisan

    Lolling in wavering positions like a drunken elephant, after pretending to ride the battle against Big Pharma of Florida governor Ron DeSantis and surgeon general Joseph A. Ladapo who called for a stop to all mRNA serums precisely because they can cause cancer, now reveals his idolatry towards one of the fundamental components of the global immunization plan launched by Bill Gates and the Rockefeller Foundation way back in 1999 in Italy and then culminated in a pandemic “planned for decades” as declared by Robert F-Kennedy jr and demonstrated by patent expert David Martin but above all detailed by the 74 investigations of the WuhanGates cycle by Gospa News.

    BOMBSHELL! Florida State Surgeon General Calls for Halt of COVID MRNA Vaccines due to Dangerous, Oncogenes DNA Fragments

    Believing that voters are drunk on ignorance like him, however, he is countered by one of his followers who gained 2.59 Likes, 10% of those of Trump’s post.

    This would be enough to make it clear that the former president is hypocrisy personified.

    Donny’s Connections to the Weapons Lobby

    But since we have followed him since he had the US Navy launch 100 Tomahawk missiles on Syria in retaliation for the chemical attack in Douma attributed to Assad’s army but which turned out to be a “false flag” of the jihadists of Al Nusra with the complicity of the White Helmets trained by British intelligence, we know well the international damage it has done.

    Especially in Venezuela, triggering electromagnetic sabotage against President Maduro and consequent lethal blackouts interrupted only by the intervention of Russian experts.


    Il presidente Donald Trump ad un vertice internazionale accanto al ceo di BlackRock Larry Fink
    In the first Weapons Lobby investigation we published a photo of Trump smiling next to Larry Fink, the Zionist financier from New York who founded BlackRock, shareholder of the main warlord corporations but also of Big Pharma.

    Trump’s policy in the Middle East allowed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to build a Zionist dictatorship in his country and lay the foundations for the latest devastating war in Gaza which turned into a systematic and premeditated genocide.

    And in fact the former MAGA president who fell like a fish in a barrel into the Capitol Hill trap on January 6, 2021, never misses an opportunity to reiterate his support for the Zionists.

    Support for the Israeli Zionists of the Gaza Genocide

    Here is what he recently wrote from the international newspaper Politico:

    The Biden campaign and allied Democratic groups swiftly denounced Donald Trump on Monday after the former president told a conservative radio host that Jews who vote Democratic were sacrilegious.

    The comments from Trump came during an interview with Sebastian Gorka, his one time campaign aide, who pressed him on criticism prominent Democrats have had for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the Israel-Hamas war.

    Paradoxically, at the very moment in which Biden is trying to distance himself from the massacre of Palestinians aimed at depopulating the Gaza Strip, Trump strengthens his extremist positions thus becoming a fan of that New World Order of Masonic and Zionist origin which through Tel Aviv aims to take control of the Mediterranean Sea with the complicity of a NATO that almost seems like a supporting player.

    Toward another Zionist Massacre in Gaza Strip: Netanyahu approves Rafah Operation Plan

    Unfortunately too many people in Italy too are blinded by the image of Donny as the only opponent of NWO and Biden, but they have not understood that he is also the son of that same evil bipartisan alliance of Big Pharma and the Weapons Lobby which has imposition in its sights of military dictatorships for “inevitable wars” and who knows how many new “laboratory” pandemics for other compulsory vaccination campaigns.

    WEAPONS LOBBY – 15. Kiev War: Gold Mine for NATO’s Merchants of Death. German Industry aims New Plants in Ukraine

    Trump is nothing more than the right-wing – almost extreme – counterpart of his rival.

    Indeed, given his different size, he could become a grotesque sarcophagus if, with the help of the Zionist lobbies, he won the challenge for the White House.

    Subscribe to the Gospa News Newsletter to read the news as soon as it is published

    Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio
    © COPYRIGHT GOSPA NEWS
    prohibition of reproduction without authorization
    follow Fabio Carisio Gospa News director on Twitter
    follow Gospa News on Telegram

    MAIN SOURCES

    GOSPA NEWS – COVID-19 DOSSIER

    GOSPA NEWS – WUHAN-GATES DOSSIER

    BLACKROCK “KILLED” CARLSON FOR VACCINES & WEAPONS BUSINESS. The Fund of WEF’s Zionist King owns Big Part of Fox News

    WUHAN-GATES – 62. MANMADE SARS-Cov-2 FOR GOLDEN VACCINES: Metabiota, CIA, Biden, Gates, Rockefeller intrigued in Ukraine, China and Italy

    WUHAN-GATES – 74. The Greatest Story Never Told: German Virology in China and Montana

    “Soros” French Judges want to Arrest Assad for Douma Chemical Attack despite it was White Helmets False-Flag

    Venezuela: Guaido’s Friends ParaMilitary Narcos Tied to Italian Mafia but Trump charges Maduro

    WEAPONS LOBBY – REPORT 1: The Us Corporations shareholders

    Gaza, Donbass, Syria: GENOCIDES of the Zionist, Nazi, Jihadist Regimes is US-NATO’s “New” Geopolitical WEAPON

    UPDATE – Fauci’s Testimony before US Congress: “Pandemic from Lab Leak is not a Conspiracy Theory”.

    Fabio G. C. Carisio
    Fabio is investigative journalist since 1991. Now geopolitics, intelligence, military, SARS-Cov-2 manmade, NWO expert and Director-founder of Gospa News: a Christian Information Journal.

    His articles were published on many international media and website as SouthFront, Reseau International, Sputnik Italia, United Nation Association Westminster, Global Research, Kolozeg and more…

    Most popolar investigation on VT is:

    Rumsfeld Shady Heritage in Pandemic: GILEAD’s Intrigues with WHO & Wuhan Lab. Bio-Weapons’ Tests with CIA & Pentagon

    Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio, born on 24/2/1967 in Borgosesia, started working as a reporter when he was only 19 years old in the alpine area of Valsesia, Piedmont, his birth region in Italy. After studying literature and history at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, he became director of the local newspaper Notizia Oggi Vercelli and specialized in judicial reporting.

    For about 15 years he is a correspondent from Northern Italy for the Italian newspapers Libero and Il Giornale, also writing important revelations on the Ustica massacre, a report on Freemasonry and organized crime.

    With independent investigations, he collaborates with Carabinieri and Guardia di Finanza in important investigations that conclude with the arrest of Camorra entrepreneurs or corrupt politicians.

    In July 2018 he found the counter-information web media Gospa News focused on geopolitics, terrorism, Middle East, and military intelligence.

    In 2020 published the book, in Italian only, WUHAN-GATES – The New World Order Plot on SARS-Cov-2 manmade focused on the cycle of investigations Wuhan-Gates

    His investigations was quoted also by The Gateway Pundit, Tasnim and others

    He worked for many years for the magazine Art & Wine as an art critic and curator.

    VETERANS TODAY OLD POSTS

    www.gospanews.net/

    ATTENTION READERS

    We See The World From All Sides and Want YOU To Be Fully Informed
    In fact, intentional disinformation is a disgraceful scourge in media today. So to assuage any possible errant incorrect information posted herein, we strongly encourage you to seek corroboration from other non-VT sources before forming an educated opinion.

    About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy
    Due to the nature of uncensored content posted by VT's fully independent international writers, VT cannot guarantee absolute validity. All content is owned by the author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images are the full responsibility of the article author and NOT VT.

    https://www.vtforeignpolicy.com/2024/03/repugnant-trump-pro-vax-and-pro-zionists/
    Repugnant Trump PRO-VAX and PRO-ZIONISTS! - VT Foreign Policy March 29, 2024 VT Condemns the ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINIANS by USA/Israel $ 280 BILLION US TAXPAYER DOLLARS INVESTED since 1948 in US/Israeli Ethnic Cleansing and Occupation Operation; $ 150B direct "aid" and $ 130B in "Offense" contracts Source: Embassy of Israel, Washington, D.C. and US Department of State. By Fabio Giusepe Carlo Carisio VERSIONE IN ITALIANO «The Pandemic no longer controls our lives. The Vaccines that saved us from COVID are now being used to help beat Cancer – Turning setback into comeback!” YOU’RE WELCOME, JOE, NINE MONTH APPROVAL TIME VS. 12 YEARS THAT IT WOULD HAVE TAKEN YOU!» Trump’s Pro-VAX Propaganda for Big Pharma Money This is what we read in a post published in recent days by Donald Trump, the only Republican candidate remaining in the running for the US Presidential Elections of November 2020, relaunched by the attentive analyst of the problems of mRNA genetic serums Igor Chudov who limited himself to a laconic comment. «In the TruthSocial post above, Trump mentioned his nine-month approval time for Covid vaccines.I am frankly shocked by the stupidity of both statements.The vaccines did not “save us from the pandemic” – they made the pandemic worse. And being proud that such vaccines were pushed through in just nine months is perhaps a bit misguided». Trump’s embarrassing post was immediately contested by one of his followers Chudov’s comment was far too pitiful. Trump, who poses as an anti-system fighter, hits the ground running by relaunching propaganda on vaccines while completely ignoring three crucial elements: the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic was created in the laboratory in a deal between CHINA and the USA (with the help of the EU and the United Kingdom) as reported by the late biologist Luc Montagnier and his biomathematician friend Jean-Claude Perez, confirmed by dozens of scientific studies and finally also supported by the US Senate Health Committee led by a Republican there is evidence that Moderna patented its anti-Covid vaccine 9 months before the discovery of the Wuhan outbreak in collaboration with the virologist Anthony Fauci and with funding from the Pentagon’s DARPA military agency provided by the Obama-Biden administration Suspicious Turbo-Cancer from Vaccines for Wales Princess Kate. Devastating Toll of VIPs Ill or Dead from Tumors after Genetic Serums mRNA gene sera are causing a myriad of adverse reactions, including serious and lethal ones, precisely because they are based on the artificial manipulation of proteins and molecules that interact in a devastating way with the natural immune system of human beings finally, these Covid vaccines have been identified as the main culprits in the degeneration of the Turbo-Cancer phenomenon, so much so that a doctor suffering from a tumor acted as a guinea pig for the new anti-Cancer vaccine in a grotesque spiral with the stench of transhumanism. TRANSHUMANIST BIOMEDICINE! World 1st mRNA Cancer Vaccine to treat a Brain Turbo-Cancer from mRNA Covid After 4 years and tens of thousands of deaths after reports of unwanted effects related to Covid vaccines, the former president seems not to want to make a “mea culpa” for the management of the pandemic left in the hands of the terrorist Fauci (former NIAID director but also consultant of the White House on the Covid emergency) nor question the work of Moderna (which benefited from the Warp Speed contribution provided by the Trump administration) and Pfizer, which refused the help but in return financed an avalanche of senators and Republican deputies. The impression is that he is looking for sponsors among Big Pharma… DA PFIZER SOLDI PURE AI PROCURATORI USA! Lobbying da 1milione di Dollari alla Conference Attorneys General. Altri 8 a 1.842 Politici Bipartisan Lolling in wavering positions like a drunken elephant, after pretending to ride the battle against Big Pharma of Florida governor Ron DeSantis and surgeon general Joseph A. Ladapo who called for a stop to all mRNA serums precisely because they can cause cancer, now reveals his idolatry towards one of the fundamental components of the global immunization plan launched by Bill Gates and the Rockefeller Foundation way back in 1999 in Italy and then culminated in a pandemic “planned for decades” as declared by Robert F-Kennedy jr and demonstrated by patent expert David Martin but above all detailed by the 74 investigations of the WuhanGates cycle by Gospa News. BOMBSHELL! Florida State Surgeon General Calls for Halt of COVID MRNA Vaccines due to Dangerous, Oncogenes DNA Fragments Believing that voters are drunk on ignorance like him, however, he is countered by one of his followers who gained 2.59 Likes, 10% of those of Trump’s post. This would be enough to make it clear that the former president is hypocrisy personified. Donny’s Connections to the Weapons Lobby But since we have followed him since he had the US Navy launch 100 Tomahawk missiles on Syria in retaliation for the chemical attack in Douma attributed to Assad’s army but which turned out to be a “false flag” of the jihadists of Al Nusra with the complicity of the White Helmets trained by British intelligence, we know well the international damage it has done. Especially in Venezuela, triggering electromagnetic sabotage against President Maduro and consequent lethal blackouts interrupted only by the intervention of Russian experts. Il presidente Donald Trump ad un vertice internazionale accanto al ceo di BlackRock Larry Fink In the first Weapons Lobby investigation we published a photo of Trump smiling next to Larry Fink, the Zionist financier from New York who founded BlackRock, shareholder of the main warlord corporations but also of Big Pharma. Trump’s policy in the Middle East allowed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to build a Zionist dictatorship in his country and lay the foundations for the latest devastating war in Gaza which turned into a systematic and premeditated genocide. And in fact the former MAGA president who fell like a fish in a barrel into the Capitol Hill trap on January 6, 2021, never misses an opportunity to reiterate his support for the Zionists. Support for the Israeli Zionists of the Gaza Genocide Here is what he recently wrote from the international newspaper Politico: The Biden campaign and allied Democratic groups swiftly denounced Donald Trump on Monday after the former president told a conservative radio host that Jews who vote Democratic were sacrilegious. The comments from Trump came during an interview with Sebastian Gorka, his one time campaign aide, who pressed him on criticism prominent Democrats have had for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the Israel-Hamas war. Paradoxically, at the very moment in which Biden is trying to distance himself from the massacre of Palestinians aimed at depopulating the Gaza Strip, Trump strengthens his extremist positions thus becoming a fan of that New World Order of Masonic and Zionist origin which through Tel Aviv aims to take control of the Mediterranean Sea with the complicity of a NATO that almost seems like a supporting player. Toward another Zionist Massacre in Gaza Strip: Netanyahu approves Rafah Operation Plan Unfortunately too many people in Italy too are blinded by the image of Donny as the only opponent of NWO and Biden, but they have not understood that he is also the son of that same evil bipartisan alliance of Big Pharma and the Weapons Lobby which has imposition in its sights of military dictatorships for “inevitable wars” and who knows how many new “laboratory” pandemics for other compulsory vaccination campaigns. WEAPONS LOBBY – 15. Kiev War: Gold Mine for NATO’s Merchants of Death. German Industry aims New Plants in Ukraine Trump is nothing more than the right-wing – almost extreme – counterpart of his rival. Indeed, given his different size, he could become a grotesque sarcophagus if, with the help of the Zionist lobbies, he won the challenge for the White House. Subscribe to the Gospa News Newsletter to read the news as soon as it is published Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio © COPYRIGHT GOSPA NEWS prohibition of reproduction without authorization follow Fabio Carisio Gospa News director on Twitter follow Gospa News on Telegram MAIN SOURCES GOSPA NEWS – COVID-19 DOSSIER GOSPA NEWS – WUHAN-GATES DOSSIER BLACKROCK “KILLED” CARLSON FOR VACCINES & WEAPONS BUSINESS. The Fund of WEF’s Zionist King owns Big Part of Fox News WUHAN-GATES – 62. MANMADE SARS-Cov-2 FOR GOLDEN VACCINES: Metabiota, CIA, Biden, Gates, Rockefeller intrigued in Ukraine, China and Italy WUHAN-GATES – 74. The Greatest Story Never Told: German Virology in China and Montana “Soros” French Judges want to Arrest Assad for Douma Chemical Attack despite it was White Helmets False-Flag Venezuela: Guaido’s Friends ParaMilitary Narcos Tied to Italian Mafia but Trump charges Maduro WEAPONS LOBBY – REPORT 1: The Us Corporations shareholders Gaza, Donbass, Syria: GENOCIDES of the Zionist, Nazi, Jihadist Regimes is US-NATO’s “New” Geopolitical WEAPON UPDATE – Fauci’s Testimony before US Congress: “Pandemic from Lab Leak is not a Conspiracy Theory”. Fabio G. C. Carisio Fabio is investigative journalist since 1991. Now geopolitics, intelligence, military, SARS-Cov-2 manmade, NWO expert and Director-founder of Gospa News: a Christian Information Journal. His articles were published on many international media and website as SouthFront, Reseau International, Sputnik Italia, United Nation Association Westminster, Global Research, Kolozeg and more… Most popolar investigation on VT is: Rumsfeld Shady Heritage in Pandemic: GILEAD’s Intrigues with WHO & Wuhan Lab. Bio-Weapons’ Tests with CIA & Pentagon Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio, born on 24/2/1967 in Borgosesia, started working as a reporter when he was only 19 years old in the alpine area of Valsesia, Piedmont, his birth region in Italy. After studying literature and history at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, he became director of the local newspaper Notizia Oggi Vercelli and specialized in judicial reporting. For about 15 years he is a correspondent from Northern Italy for the Italian newspapers Libero and Il Giornale, also writing important revelations on the Ustica massacre, a report on Freemasonry and organized crime. With independent investigations, he collaborates with Carabinieri and Guardia di Finanza in important investigations that conclude with the arrest of Camorra entrepreneurs or corrupt politicians. In July 2018 he found the counter-information web media Gospa News focused on geopolitics, terrorism, Middle East, and military intelligence. In 2020 published the book, in Italian only, WUHAN-GATES – The New World Order Plot on SARS-Cov-2 manmade focused on the cycle of investigations Wuhan-Gates His investigations was quoted also by The Gateway Pundit, Tasnim and others He worked for many years for the magazine Art & Wine as an art critic and curator. VETERANS TODAY OLD POSTS www.gospanews.net/ ATTENTION READERS We See The World From All Sides and Want YOU To Be Fully Informed In fact, intentional disinformation is a disgraceful scourge in media today. So to assuage any possible errant incorrect information posted herein, we strongly encourage you to seek corroboration from other non-VT sources before forming an educated opinion. About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy Due to the nature of uncensored content posted by VT's fully independent international writers, VT cannot guarantee absolute validity. All content is owned by the author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images are the full responsibility of the article author and NOT VT. https://www.vtforeignpolicy.com/2024/03/repugnant-trump-pro-vax-and-pro-zionists/
    WWW.VTFOREIGNPOLICY.COM
    Repugnant Trump PRO-VAX and PRO-ZIONISTS!
    By Fabio Giusepe Carlo Carisio VERSIONE IN ITALIANO «The Pandemic no longer controls our lives. The Vaccines that saved us from COVID are now being used to help beat Cancer – Turning setback into comeback!” YOU’RE WELCOME, JOE, NINE MONTH APPROVAL TIME VS. 12 YEARS THAT IT WOULD HAVE TAKEN YOU!» Trump's Pro-VAX Propaganda for
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  • The Silent Shame of Health Institutions
    J.R. Bruning
    For how much longer will health policy ignore multimorbidity, that looming, giant elephant in the room, that propagates and amplifies suffering? For how much longer will the ‘trend’ of increasing diagnoses of multiple health conditions, at younger and younger ages be rendered down by government agencies to better and more efficient services, screening modalities, and drug choices?

    Multimorbidity, the presence of many chronic conditions, is the silent shame of health policy.

    All too often chronic conditions overlap and accumulate. From cancer, to diabetes, to digestive system diseases, to high blood pressure, to skin conditions in cascades of suffering. Heartbreakingly, these conditions commonly overlap with mental illnesses or disorders. It’s increasingly common for people to be diagnosed with multiple mental conditions, such as having anxiety and depression, or anxiety and schizophrenia.

    Calls for equity tend to revolve around medical treatment, even as absurdities and injustices accrue.

    Multimorbidity occurs a decade earlier in socioeconomically deprived communities. Doctors are diagnosing multimorbidity at younger and younger ages.

    Treatment regimens for people with multiple conditions necessarily entail a polypharmacy approach – the prescribing of multiple medications. One condition may require multiple medications. Thus, with multimorbidity comes increased risk of adverse outcomes and polyiatrogenesis – ‘medical harm caused by medical treatments on multiple fronts simultaneously and in conjunction with one another.’

    Side effects, whether short-term or patients’ concerns about long-term harm, are the main reason for non-adherence to prescribed medications.

    So ‘equity’ which only implies drug treatment doesn’t involve equity at all.

    Poor diets may be foundational to the Western world’s health crisis. But are governments considering this?

    The antinomies are piling up.

    We are amid a global epidemic of metabolic syndrome. Insulin resistance, obesity, elevated triglyceride levels and low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and elevated blood pressure haunt the people queuing up to see doctors.

    Research, from individual cases to clinical trials, consistently show that diets containing high levels of ultra-processed foods and carbohydrates amplify inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance. What researchers and scientists are also identifying, at the cellular level, in clinical and medical practice, and at the global level – is that insulin resistance, inflammation, oxidative stress, and nutrient deficiencies from poor diets not only drive metabolic illness, but mental illnesses, compounding suffering.

    There is also ample evidence that the metabolic and mental health epidemic that is driving years lost due to disease, reducing productivity, and creating mayhem in personal lives – may be preventable and reversible.

    Doctors generally recognise that poor diets are a problem. Ultra-processed foods are strongly associated with adult and childhood ill health. Ultra-processed foods are

    ‘formulations of ingredients, mostly of exclusive industrial use, typically created by series of industrial techniques and processes (hence ‘ultra-processed’).’

    In the USA young people under age 19 consume on average 67% of their diet, while adults consume around 60% of their diet in ultra-processed food. Ultra-processed food contributes 60% of UK children’s calories; 42% of Australian children’s calories and over half the dietary calories for children and adolescents in Canada. In New Zealand in 2009-2010, ultra-processed foods contributed to the 45% (12 months), 42% (24 months), and 51% (60 months) of energy intake to the diets of children.

    All too frequently, doctors are diagnosing both metabolic and mental illnesses.

    What may be predictable is that a person is likely to develop insulin resistance, inflammation, oxidative stress, and nutrient deficiencies from chronic exposure to ultra-processed food. How this will manifest in a disease or syndrome condition is reflective of a human equivalent of quantum entanglement.

    Cascades, feedback loops, and other interdependencies often leave doctors and patients bouncing from one condition to another, and managing medicine side effects and drug-drug relationships as they go.

    In New Zealand it is more common to have multiple conditions than a single condition. The costs of having two NCDs simultaneously is typically superadditive and ‘more so for younger adults.’

    This information is outside the ‘work programme’ of the top echelons in the Ministry of Health:

    Official Information Act (OIA) requests confirm that the Ministries’ Directors General who are responsible for setting policy and long-term strategy aren’t considering these issues. The problem of multimorbidity and the overlapping, entangled relationship with ultra-processed food is outside of the scope of the work programme of the top directorates in our health agency.

    New Zealand’s Ministry of Health’s top deputy directors general might be earning a quarter of a million dollars each, but they are ignorant of the relationship of dietary nutrition and mental health. Nor are they seemingly aware of the extent of multimorbidity and the overlap between metabolic and mental illnesses.

    Neither the Public Health Agency Deputy Director-General – Dr Andrew Old, nor the Deputy Director-General Evidence, Research and Innovation, Dean Rutherford, nor the Deputy Director-General of Strategy Policy and Legislation, Maree Roberts, nor the Clinical, Community and Mental Health Deputy Director-General Robyn Shearer have been briefed on these relationships.

    If they’re not being briefed, policy won’t be developed to address dietary nutrition. Diet will be lower-order.

    The OIA request revealed that New Zealand’s Ministry of Health ‘does not widely use the metabolic syndrome classification.’ When I asked ‘How do you classify, or what term do you use to classify the cluster of symptoms characterised by central obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and insulin resistance?’, they responded:

    ‘The conditions referred to are considered either on their own or as part of a broader cardiovascular disease risk calculation.’

    This is interesting. What if governments should be calculating insulin resistance first, in order to then calculate a broader cardiovascular risk? What if insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidative stress are appearing at younger and younger ages, and ultra-processed food is the major driver?

    Pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes are driven by too much blood glucose. Type 1 diabetics can’t make insulin, while Type 2 diabetics can’t make enough to compensate for their dietary intake of carbohydrates. One of insulin’s (many) jobs is to tuck away that blood glucose into cells (as fat) but when there are too many dietary carbohydrates pumping up blood glucose, the body can’t keep up. New Zealand practitioners use the HbA1c blood test, which measures the average blood glucose level over the past 2-3 months. In New Zealand, doctors diagnose pre-diabetes if HbA1c levels are 41-49 nmol/mol, and diabetes at levels of 50 nmol/mol and above.

    Type 2 diabetes management guidelines recommend that sugar intake should be reduced, while people should aim for consistent carbohydrates across the day. The New Zealand government does not recommend paleo or low-carbohydrate diets.

    If you have diabetes you are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke, and at a younger age. Prediabetes, which apparently 20% of Kiwis have, is also high-risk due to, as the Ministry of Health states: ‘increased risk of macrovascular complications and early death.’

    The question might become – should we be looking at insulin levels, to more sensitively gauge risk at an early stage?

    Without more sensitive screens at younger ages these opportunities to repivot to avoid chronic disease are likely to be missed. Currently, Ministry of Health policies are unlikely to justify the funding of tests for insulin resistance by using three simple blood tests: fasting insulin, fasting lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides), and fasting glucose – to estimate where children, young people, and adults stand on the insulin resistance spectrum when other diagnoses pop up.

    Yet insulin plays a powerful role in brain health.

    Insulin supports neurotransmitter function and brain energy, directly impacting mood and behaviours. Insulin resistance might arrive before mental illness. Harvard-based psychiatrist Chris Palmer recounts in the book Brain Energy, a large 15,000-participant study of young people from age 0-24:

    ‘Children who had persistently high insulin levels (a sign of insulin resistance) beginning at age nine were five times more likely to be at risk for psychosis, meaning they were showing at least some worrisome signs, and they were three times for likely to already be diagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia by the time they turned twenty-four. This study clearly demonstrated that insulin resistance comes first, then psychosis.’

    Psychiatrist Georgia Ede suggests that high blood glucose and high insulin levels act like a ‘deadly one-two punch’ for the brain, triggering waves of inflammation and oxidative stress. The blood-brain barrier becomes increasingly resistant to chronic high insulin levels. Even though the body might have higher blood insulin, the same may not be true for the brain. As Ede maintains, ‘cells deprived of adequate insulin ‘sputter and struggle to maintain normal operations.’

    Looking at the relationship between brain health and high blood glucose and high insulin simply might not be on the programme for strategists looking at long-term planning.

    Nor are Directors General in a position to assess the role of food addiction. Ultra-processed food has addictive qualities designed into the product formulations. Food addiction is increasingly recognised as pervasive and difficult to manage as any substance addiction.

    But how many children and young people have insulin resistance and are showing markers for inflammation and oxidative stress – in the body and in the brain? To what extent do young people have both insulin resistance and depression resistance or ADHD or bipolar disorder?

    This kind of thinking is completely outside the work programme. But insulin levels, inflammation, and oxidative stress may not only be driving chronic illness – but driving the global mental health tsunami.

    Metabolic disorders are involved in complex pathways and feedback loops across body systems, and doctors learn this at medical school. Patterns and relationships between hormones, the brain, the gastrointestinal system, kidneys, and liver; as well as problems with joints and bone health, autoimmunity, nerves, and sensory conditions evolve from and revolve around metabolic health.

    Nutrition and diet are downplayed in medical school. What doctors don’t learn so much – the cognitive dissonance that they must accept throughout their training – is that metabolic health is commonly (except for some instances) shaped by the quality of dietary nutrition. The aetiology of a given condition can be very different, while the evidence that common chronic and mental illnesses are accompanied by oxidative stress, inflammation, and insulin resistance are primarily driven by diet – is growing stronger and stronger.

    But without recognising the overlapping relationships, policy to support healthy diets will remain limp.

    What we witness are notions of equity that support pharmaceutical delivery – not health delivery.

    What also inevitably happens is that ‘equity’ focuses on medical treatment. When the Ministry of Health prefers to atomise the different conditions or associate them with heart disease – they become single conditions to treat with single drugs. They’re lots of small problems, not one big problem, and insulin resistance is downplayed.

    But just as insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidative stress send cascading impacts across body systems, systemic ignorance sends cascading effects across government departments tasked with ‘improving, promoting, and protecting health.’

    It’s an injustice. The literature solidly points to lower socio-economic status driving much poorer diets and increased exposures to ultra-processed food, but the treatments exclusively involve drugs and therapy.

    Briefings to Incoming Ministers with the election of new Governments show how ignorance cascades across responsible authorities.

    Health New Zealand, Te Whatu Ora’s November 2023 Briefing to the new government outlined the agency’s obligations. However, the ‘health’ targets are medical, and the agency’s focus is on infrastructure, staff, and servicing. The promotion of health, and health equity, which can only be addressed by addressing the determinants of health, is not addressed.

    The Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand Joint Briefing to the Incoming Minister for Mental Health does not address the role of diet and nutrition as a driver of mental illness and disorder in New Zealand. The issue of multimorbidity, the related problem of commensurate metabolic illness, and diet as a driver is outside scope. When the Briefing states that it is important to address the ‘social, cultural, environmental and economic determinants of mental health,’ without any sound policy footing, real movement to address diet will not happen, or will only happen ad hoc.

    The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission, Te Hiringa Mahara’s November 2023 Briefing to Incoming Ministers that went to the Ministers for Health and Mental Health might use the term ‘well-being’ over 120 times – but was silent on the related and overlapping drivers of mental illness which include metabolic or multimorbidity, nutrition, or diet.

    Five years earlier, He Ara Ora, New Zealand’s 2018 Mental Health and Addiction enquiry had recognised that tāngata whaiora, people seeking wellness, or service users, also tend to have multiple health conditions. The enquiry recommended that a whole of government approach to well-being, prevention, and social determinants was required. Vague nods were made to diet and nutrition, but this was not sufficiently emphasised as to be a priority.

    He Ara Ora was followed by 2020 Long-term pathway to mental well-being viewed nutrition as being one of a range of factors. No policy framework strategically prioritised diet, nutrition, and healthy food. No governmental obligation or commitment was built into policy to improve access to healthy food or nutrition education.

    Understanding the science, the relationships, and the drivers of the global epidemic, is ‘outside the work programmes’ of New Zealand’s Ministry of Health and outside the scope of all the related authorities. There is an extraordinary amount of data in the scientific literature, so many case studies, cohort studies, and clinical trials. Popular books are being written, however government agencies remain ignorant.

    In the meantime, doctors must deal with the suffering in front of them without an adequate toolkit.

    Doctors and pharmacists are faced with a Hobson’s choice of managing multiple chronic conditions and complex drug cocktails, in patients at younger and younger ages. Ultimately, they are treating a patient whom they recognise will only become sicker, cost the health system more, and suffer more.

    Currently there is little support for New Zealand medical doctors (known as general practitioners, or GPs) in changing practices and recommendations to support non-pharmaceutical drug treatment approaches. Their medical education does not equip them to recognise the extent to which multiple co-existing conditions may be alleviated or reversed. Doctors are paid to prescribe, to inject, and to screen, not to ameliorate or reverse disease and lessen prescribing. The prescribing of nutrients is discouraged and as doctors do not have nutritional training, they hesitate to prescribe nutrients.

    Many do not want to risk going outside treatment guidelines. Recent surges in protocols and guidelines for medical doctors reduce flexibility and narrow treatment choices for doctors. If they were to be reported to the Medical Council of New Zealand, they would risk losing their medical license. They would then be unable to practice.

    Inevitably, without Ministry of Health leadership, medical doctors in New Zealand are unlikely to voluntarily prescribe non-drug modalities such as nutritional options to any meaningful extent, for fear of being reported.

    Yet some doctors are proactive, such as Dr Glen Davies in Taupo, New Zealand. Some doctors are in a better ‘place’ to work to alleviate and reverse long-term conditions. They may be later in their career, with 10-20 years of research into metabolism, dietary nutrition, and patient care, and motivated to guide a patient through a personal care regime which might alleviate or reverse a patient’s suffering.

    Barriers include resourcing. Doctors aren’t paid for reversing disease and taking patients off medications.

    Doctors witness daily the hopelessness felt by their patients in dealing with chronic conditions in their short 15-minute consultations, and the vigilance required for dealing with adverse drug effects. Drug non-compliance is associated with adverse effects suffered by patients. Yet without wrap-around support changing treatments, even if it has potential to alleviate multiple conditions, to reduce symptoms, lower prescribing and therefore lessen side effects, is just too uncertain.

    They saw what happened to disobedient doctors during Covid-19.

    Given such context, what are we to do?

    Have open public discussions about doctor-patient relationships and trust. Inform and overlay such conversations by drawing attention to the foundational Hippocratic Oath made by doctors, to first do no harm.

    Questions can be asked. If patients were to understand that diet may be an underlying driver of multiple conditions, and a change in diet and improvement in micronutrient status might alleviate suffering – would patients be more likely to change?

    Economically, if wrap-around services were provided in clinics to support dietary change, would less harm occur to patients from worsening conditions that accompany many diseases (such as Type 2 diabetes) and the ever-present problem of drug side-effects? Would education and wrap-around services in early childhood and youth delay or prevent the onset of multimorbid diagnoses?

    Is it more ethical to give young people a choice of treatment? Could doctors prescribe dietary changes and multinutrients and support change with wrap-around support when children and young people are first diagnosed with a mental health condition – from the clinic, to school, to after school? If that doesn’t work, then prescribe pharmaceutical drugs.

    Should children and young people be educated to appreciate the extent to which their consumption of ultra-processed food likely drives their metabolic and mental health conditions? Not just in a blithe ‘eat healthy’ fashion that patently avoids discussing addiction. Through deeper policy mechanisms, including cooking classes and nutritional biology by the implementation of nourishing, low-carbohydrate cooked school lunches.

    With officials uninformed, it’s easy to see why funding for Green Prescriptions that would support dietary changes have sputtered out. It’s easy to understand why neither the Ministry of Health nor Pharmac have proactively sourced multi-nutrient treatments that improve resilience to stress and trauma for low-income young people. Why there’s no discussion on a lower side-effect risk for multinutrient treatments. Why are there no policies in the education curriculum diving into the relationship between ultra-processed food and mental and physical health? It’s not in the work programme.

    There’s another surfacing dilemma.

    Currently, if doctors tell their patients that there is very good evidence that their disease or syndrome could be reversed, and this information is not held as factual information by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health – do doctors risk being accused of spreading misinformation?

    Government agencies have pivoted in the past 5 years to focus intensively on the problem of dis- and misinformation. New Zealand’s disinformation project states that

    Disinformation is false or modified information knowingly and deliberately shared to cause harm or achieve a broader aim.
    Misinformation is information that is false or misleading, though not created or shared with the direct intention of causing harm.
    Unfortunately, as we see, there is no division inside the Ministry of Health that reviews the latest evidence in the scientific literature, to ensure that policy decisions correctly reflect the latest evidence.

    There is no scientific agency outside the Ministry of Health that has flexibility and the capacity to undertake autonomous, long-term monitoring and research in nutrition, diet, and health. There is no independent, autonomous, public health research facility with sufficient long-term funding to translate dietary and nutritional evidence into policy, particularly if it contradicted current policy positions.

    Despite excellent research being undertaken, it is highly controlled, ad hoc, and frequently short-term. Problematically, there is no resourcing for those scientists to meaningfully feedback that information to either the Ministry of Health or to Members of Parliament and government Ministers.

    Dietary guidelines can become locked in, and contradictions can fail to be chewed over. Without the capacity to address errors, information can become outdated and misleading. Government agencies and elected members – from local councils all the way up to government Ministers, are dependent on being informed by the Ministry of Health, when it comes to government policy.

    When it comes to complex health conditions, and alleviating and reversing metabolic or mental illness, based on different patient capacity – from socio-economic, to cultural, to social, and taking into account capacity for change, what is sound, evidence-based information and what is misinformation?

    In the impasse, who can we trust?

    Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
    For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author.

    Author

    J.R. Bruning is a consultant sociologist (B.Bus.Agribusiness; MA Sociology) based in New Zealand. Her work explores governance cultures, policy and the production of scientific and technical knowledge. Her Master’s thesis explored the ways science policy creates barriers to funding, stymying scientists’ efforts to explore upstream drivers of harm. Bruning is a trustee of Physicians & Scientists for Global Responsibility (PSGR.org.nz). Papers and writing can be found at TalkingRisk.NZ and at JRBruning.Substack.com and at Talking Risk on Rumble.

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    https://brownstone.org/articles/the-silent-shame-of-health-institutions/
    The Silent Shame of Health Institutions J.R. Bruning For how much longer will health policy ignore multimorbidity, that looming, giant elephant in the room, that propagates and amplifies suffering? For how much longer will the ‘trend’ of increasing diagnoses of multiple health conditions, at younger and younger ages be rendered down by government agencies to better and more efficient services, screening modalities, and drug choices? Multimorbidity, the presence of many chronic conditions, is the silent shame of health policy. All too often chronic conditions overlap and accumulate. From cancer, to diabetes, to digestive system diseases, to high blood pressure, to skin conditions in cascades of suffering. Heartbreakingly, these conditions commonly overlap with mental illnesses or disorders. It’s increasingly common for people to be diagnosed with multiple mental conditions, such as having anxiety and depression, or anxiety and schizophrenia. Calls for equity tend to revolve around medical treatment, even as absurdities and injustices accrue. Multimorbidity occurs a decade earlier in socioeconomically deprived communities. Doctors are diagnosing multimorbidity at younger and younger ages. Treatment regimens for people with multiple conditions necessarily entail a polypharmacy approach – the prescribing of multiple medications. One condition may require multiple medications. Thus, with multimorbidity comes increased risk of adverse outcomes and polyiatrogenesis – ‘medical harm caused by medical treatments on multiple fronts simultaneously and in conjunction with one another.’ Side effects, whether short-term or patients’ concerns about long-term harm, are the main reason for non-adherence to prescribed medications. So ‘equity’ which only implies drug treatment doesn’t involve equity at all. Poor diets may be foundational to the Western world’s health crisis. But are governments considering this? The antinomies are piling up. We are amid a global epidemic of metabolic syndrome. Insulin resistance, obesity, elevated triglyceride levels and low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and elevated blood pressure haunt the people queuing up to see doctors. Research, from individual cases to clinical trials, consistently show that diets containing high levels of ultra-processed foods and carbohydrates amplify inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance. What researchers and scientists are also identifying, at the cellular level, in clinical and medical practice, and at the global level – is that insulin resistance, inflammation, oxidative stress, and nutrient deficiencies from poor diets not only drive metabolic illness, but mental illnesses, compounding suffering. There is also ample evidence that the metabolic and mental health epidemic that is driving years lost due to disease, reducing productivity, and creating mayhem in personal lives – may be preventable and reversible. Doctors generally recognise that poor diets are a problem. Ultra-processed foods are strongly associated with adult and childhood ill health. Ultra-processed foods are ‘formulations of ingredients, mostly of exclusive industrial use, typically created by series of industrial techniques and processes (hence ‘ultra-processed’).’ In the USA young people under age 19 consume on average 67% of their diet, while adults consume around 60% of their diet in ultra-processed food. Ultra-processed food contributes 60% of UK children’s calories; 42% of Australian children’s calories and over half the dietary calories for children and adolescents in Canada. In New Zealand in 2009-2010, ultra-processed foods contributed to the 45% (12 months), 42% (24 months), and 51% (60 months) of energy intake to the diets of children. All too frequently, doctors are diagnosing both metabolic and mental illnesses. What may be predictable is that a person is likely to develop insulin resistance, inflammation, oxidative stress, and nutrient deficiencies from chronic exposure to ultra-processed food. How this will manifest in a disease or syndrome condition is reflective of a human equivalent of quantum entanglement. Cascades, feedback loops, and other interdependencies often leave doctors and patients bouncing from one condition to another, and managing medicine side effects and drug-drug relationships as they go. In New Zealand it is more common to have multiple conditions than a single condition. The costs of having two NCDs simultaneously is typically superadditive and ‘more so for younger adults.’ This information is outside the ‘work programme’ of the top echelons in the Ministry of Health: Official Information Act (OIA) requests confirm that the Ministries’ Directors General who are responsible for setting policy and long-term strategy aren’t considering these issues. The problem of multimorbidity and the overlapping, entangled relationship with ultra-processed food is outside of the scope of the work programme of the top directorates in our health agency. New Zealand’s Ministry of Health’s top deputy directors general might be earning a quarter of a million dollars each, but they are ignorant of the relationship of dietary nutrition and mental health. Nor are they seemingly aware of the extent of multimorbidity and the overlap between metabolic and mental illnesses. Neither the Public Health Agency Deputy Director-General – Dr Andrew Old, nor the Deputy Director-General Evidence, Research and Innovation, Dean Rutherford, nor the Deputy Director-General of Strategy Policy and Legislation, Maree Roberts, nor the Clinical, Community and Mental Health Deputy Director-General Robyn Shearer have been briefed on these relationships. If they’re not being briefed, policy won’t be developed to address dietary nutrition. Diet will be lower-order. The OIA request revealed that New Zealand’s Ministry of Health ‘does not widely use the metabolic syndrome classification.’ When I asked ‘How do you classify, or what term do you use to classify the cluster of symptoms characterised by central obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and insulin resistance?’, they responded: ‘The conditions referred to are considered either on their own or as part of a broader cardiovascular disease risk calculation.’ This is interesting. What if governments should be calculating insulin resistance first, in order to then calculate a broader cardiovascular risk? What if insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidative stress are appearing at younger and younger ages, and ultra-processed food is the major driver? Pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes are driven by too much blood glucose. Type 1 diabetics can’t make insulin, while Type 2 diabetics can’t make enough to compensate for their dietary intake of carbohydrates. One of insulin’s (many) jobs is to tuck away that blood glucose into cells (as fat) but when there are too many dietary carbohydrates pumping up blood glucose, the body can’t keep up. New Zealand practitioners use the HbA1c blood test, which measures the average blood glucose level over the past 2-3 months. In New Zealand, doctors diagnose pre-diabetes if HbA1c levels are 41-49 nmol/mol, and diabetes at levels of 50 nmol/mol and above. Type 2 diabetes management guidelines recommend that sugar intake should be reduced, while people should aim for consistent carbohydrates across the day. The New Zealand government does not recommend paleo or low-carbohydrate diets. If you have diabetes you are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke, and at a younger age. Prediabetes, which apparently 20% of Kiwis have, is also high-risk due to, as the Ministry of Health states: ‘increased risk of macrovascular complications and early death.’ The question might become – should we be looking at insulin levels, to more sensitively gauge risk at an early stage? Without more sensitive screens at younger ages these opportunities to repivot to avoid chronic disease are likely to be missed. Currently, Ministry of Health policies are unlikely to justify the funding of tests for insulin resistance by using three simple blood tests: fasting insulin, fasting lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides), and fasting glucose – to estimate where children, young people, and adults stand on the insulin resistance spectrum when other diagnoses pop up. Yet insulin plays a powerful role in brain health. Insulin supports neurotransmitter function and brain energy, directly impacting mood and behaviours. Insulin resistance might arrive before mental illness. Harvard-based psychiatrist Chris Palmer recounts in the book Brain Energy, a large 15,000-participant study of young people from age 0-24: ‘Children who had persistently high insulin levels (a sign of insulin resistance) beginning at age nine were five times more likely to be at risk for psychosis, meaning they were showing at least some worrisome signs, and they were three times for likely to already be diagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia by the time they turned twenty-four. This study clearly demonstrated that insulin resistance comes first, then psychosis.’ Psychiatrist Georgia Ede suggests that high blood glucose and high insulin levels act like a ‘deadly one-two punch’ for the brain, triggering waves of inflammation and oxidative stress. The blood-brain barrier becomes increasingly resistant to chronic high insulin levels. Even though the body might have higher blood insulin, the same may not be true for the brain. As Ede maintains, ‘cells deprived of adequate insulin ‘sputter and struggle to maintain normal operations.’ Looking at the relationship between brain health and high blood glucose and high insulin simply might not be on the programme for strategists looking at long-term planning. Nor are Directors General in a position to assess the role of food addiction. Ultra-processed food has addictive qualities designed into the product formulations. Food addiction is increasingly recognised as pervasive and difficult to manage as any substance addiction. But how many children and young people have insulin resistance and are showing markers for inflammation and oxidative stress – in the body and in the brain? To what extent do young people have both insulin resistance and depression resistance or ADHD or bipolar disorder? This kind of thinking is completely outside the work programme. But insulin levels, inflammation, and oxidative stress may not only be driving chronic illness – but driving the global mental health tsunami. Metabolic disorders are involved in complex pathways and feedback loops across body systems, and doctors learn this at medical school. Patterns and relationships between hormones, the brain, the gastrointestinal system, kidneys, and liver; as well as problems with joints and bone health, autoimmunity, nerves, and sensory conditions evolve from and revolve around metabolic health. Nutrition and diet are downplayed in medical school. What doctors don’t learn so much – the cognitive dissonance that they must accept throughout their training – is that metabolic health is commonly (except for some instances) shaped by the quality of dietary nutrition. The aetiology of a given condition can be very different, while the evidence that common chronic and mental illnesses are accompanied by oxidative stress, inflammation, and insulin resistance are primarily driven by diet – is growing stronger and stronger. But without recognising the overlapping relationships, policy to support healthy diets will remain limp. What we witness are notions of equity that support pharmaceutical delivery – not health delivery. What also inevitably happens is that ‘equity’ focuses on medical treatment. When the Ministry of Health prefers to atomise the different conditions or associate them with heart disease – they become single conditions to treat with single drugs. They’re lots of small problems, not one big problem, and insulin resistance is downplayed. But just as insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidative stress send cascading impacts across body systems, systemic ignorance sends cascading effects across government departments tasked with ‘improving, promoting, and protecting health.’ It’s an injustice. The literature solidly points to lower socio-economic status driving much poorer diets and increased exposures to ultra-processed food, but the treatments exclusively involve drugs and therapy. Briefings to Incoming Ministers with the election of new Governments show how ignorance cascades across responsible authorities. Health New Zealand, Te Whatu Ora’s November 2023 Briefing to the new government outlined the agency’s obligations. However, the ‘health’ targets are medical, and the agency’s focus is on infrastructure, staff, and servicing. The promotion of health, and health equity, which can only be addressed by addressing the determinants of health, is not addressed. The Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand Joint Briefing to the Incoming Minister for Mental Health does not address the role of diet and nutrition as a driver of mental illness and disorder in New Zealand. The issue of multimorbidity, the related problem of commensurate metabolic illness, and diet as a driver is outside scope. When the Briefing states that it is important to address the ‘social, cultural, environmental and economic determinants of mental health,’ without any sound policy footing, real movement to address diet will not happen, or will only happen ad hoc. The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission, Te Hiringa Mahara’s November 2023 Briefing to Incoming Ministers that went to the Ministers for Health and Mental Health might use the term ‘well-being’ over 120 times – but was silent on the related and overlapping drivers of mental illness which include metabolic or multimorbidity, nutrition, or diet. Five years earlier, He Ara Ora, New Zealand’s 2018 Mental Health and Addiction enquiry had recognised that tāngata whaiora, people seeking wellness, or service users, also tend to have multiple health conditions. The enquiry recommended that a whole of government approach to well-being, prevention, and social determinants was required. Vague nods were made to diet and nutrition, but this was not sufficiently emphasised as to be a priority. He Ara Ora was followed by 2020 Long-term pathway to mental well-being viewed nutrition as being one of a range of factors. No policy framework strategically prioritised diet, nutrition, and healthy food. No governmental obligation or commitment was built into policy to improve access to healthy food or nutrition education. Understanding the science, the relationships, and the drivers of the global epidemic, is ‘outside the work programmes’ of New Zealand’s Ministry of Health and outside the scope of all the related authorities. There is an extraordinary amount of data in the scientific literature, so many case studies, cohort studies, and clinical trials. Popular books are being written, however government agencies remain ignorant. In the meantime, doctors must deal with the suffering in front of them without an adequate toolkit. Doctors and pharmacists are faced with a Hobson’s choice of managing multiple chronic conditions and complex drug cocktails, in patients at younger and younger ages. Ultimately, they are treating a patient whom they recognise will only become sicker, cost the health system more, and suffer more. Currently there is little support for New Zealand medical doctors (known as general practitioners, or GPs) in changing practices and recommendations to support non-pharmaceutical drug treatment approaches. Their medical education does not equip them to recognise the extent to which multiple co-existing conditions may be alleviated or reversed. Doctors are paid to prescribe, to inject, and to screen, not to ameliorate or reverse disease and lessen prescribing. The prescribing of nutrients is discouraged and as doctors do not have nutritional training, they hesitate to prescribe nutrients. Many do not want to risk going outside treatment guidelines. Recent surges in protocols and guidelines for medical doctors reduce flexibility and narrow treatment choices for doctors. If they were to be reported to the Medical Council of New Zealand, they would risk losing their medical license. They would then be unable to practice. Inevitably, without Ministry of Health leadership, medical doctors in New Zealand are unlikely to voluntarily prescribe non-drug modalities such as nutritional options to any meaningful extent, for fear of being reported. Yet some doctors are proactive, such as Dr Glen Davies in Taupo, New Zealand. Some doctors are in a better ‘place’ to work to alleviate and reverse long-term conditions. They may be later in their career, with 10-20 years of research into metabolism, dietary nutrition, and patient care, and motivated to guide a patient through a personal care regime which might alleviate or reverse a patient’s suffering. Barriers include resourcing. Doctors aren’t paid for reversing disease and taking patients off medications. Doctors witness daily the hopelessness felt by their patients in dealing with chronic conditions in their short 15-minute consultations, and the vigilance required for dealing with adverse drug effects. Drug non-compliance is associated with adverse effects suffered by patients. Yet without wrap-around support changing treatments, even if it has potential to alleviate multiple conditions, to reduce symptoms, lower prescribing and therefore lessen side effects, is just too uncertain. They saw what happened to disobedient doctors during Covid-19. Given such context, what are we to do? Have open public discussions about doctor-patient relationships and trust. Inform and overlay such conversations by drawing attention to the foundational Hippocratic Oath made by doctors, to first do no harm. Questions can be asked. If patients were to understand that diet may be an underlying driver of multiple conditions, and a change in diet and improvement in micronutrient status might alleviate suffering – would patients be more likely to change? Economically, if wrap-around services were provided in clinics to support dietary change, would less harm occur to patients from worsening conditions that accompany many diseases (such as Type 2 diabetes) and the ever-present problem of drug side-effects? Would education and wrap-around services in early childhood and youth delay or prevent the onset of multimorbid diagnoses? Is it more ethical to give young people a choice of treatment? Could doctors prescribe dietary changes and multinutrients and support change with wrap-around support when children and young people are first diagnosed with a mental health condition – from the clinic, to school, to after school? If that doesn’t work, then prescribe pharmaceutical drugs. Should children and young people be educated to appreciate the extent to which their consumption of ultra-processed food likely drives their metabolic and mental health conditions? Not just in a blithe ‘eat healthy’ fashion that patently avoids discussing addiction. Through deeper policy mechanisms, including cooking classes and nutritional biology by the implementation of nourishing, low-carbohydrate cooked school lunches. With officials uninformed, it’s easy to see why funding for Green Prescriptions that would support dietary changes have sputtered out. It’s easy to understand why neither the Ministry of Health nor Pharmac have proactively sourced multi-nutrient treatments that improve resilience to stress and trauma for low-income young people. Why there’s no discussion on a lower side-effect risk for multinutrient treatments. Why are there no policies in the education curriculum diving into the relationship between ultra-processed food and mental and physical health? It’s not in the work programme. There’s another surfacing dilemma. Currently, if doctors tell their patients that there is very good evidence that their disease or syndrome could be reversed, and this information is not held as factual information by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health – do doctors risk being accused of spreading misinformation? Government agencies have pivoted in the past 5 years to focus intensively on the problem of dis- and misinformation. New Zealand’s disinformation project states that Disinformation is false or modified information knowingly and deliberately shared to cause harm or achieve a broader aim. Misinformation is information that is false or misleading, though not created or shared with the direct intention of causing harm. Unfortunately, as we see, there is no division inside the Ministry of Health that reviews the latest evidence in the scientific literature, to ensure that policy decisions correctly reflect the latest evidence. There is no scientific agency outside the Ministry of Health that has flexibility and the capacity to undertake autonomous, long-term monitoring and research in nutrition, diet, and health. There is no independent, autonomous, public health research facility with sufficient long-term funding to translate dietary and nutritional evidence into policy, particularly if it contradicted current policy positions. Despite excellent research being undertaken, it is highly controlled, ad hoc, and frequently short-term. Problematically, there is no resourcing for those scientists to meaningfully feedback that information to either the Ministry of Health or to Members of Parliament and government Ministers. Dietary guidelines can become locked in, and contradictions can fail to be chewed over. Without the capacity to address errors, information can become outdated and misleading. Government agencies and elected members – from local councils all the way up to government Ministers, are dependent on being informed by the Ministry of Health, when it comes to government policy. When it comes to complex health conditions, and alleviating and reversing metabolic or mental illness, based on different patient capacity – from socio-economic, to cultural, to social, and taking into account capacity for change, what is sound, evidence-based information and what is misinformation? In the impasse, who can we trust? Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author. Author J.R. Bruning is a consultant sociologist (B.Bus.Agribusiness; MA Sociology) based in New Zealand. Her work explores governance cultures, policy and the production of scientific and technical knowledge. Her Master’s thesis explored the ways science policy creates barriers to funding, stymying scientists’ efforts to explore upstream drivers of harm. Bruning is a trustee of Physicians & Scientists for Global Responsibility (PSGR.org.nz). Papers and writing can be found at TalkingRisk.NZ and at JRBruning.Substack.com and at Talking Risk on Rumble. View all posts Your financial backing of Brownstone Institute goes to support writers, lawyers, scientists, economists, and other people of courage who have been professionally purged and displaced during the upheaval of our times. You can help get the truth out through their ongoing work. https://brownstone.org/articles/the-silent-shame-of-health-institutions/
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  • ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 171: ‘Horrific’ eyewitness accounts continue to emerge from Israel’s siege on Gaza’s hospitals
    Leila WarahMarch 25, 2024
    Injured Palestinians, including children, are brought to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir El-Balah for treatment following the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, on March 23, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images)
    Injured Palestinians, including children, are brought to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir El-Balah for treatment following the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, on March 23, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images)
    Casualties

    32,333 + killed* and at least 74,694 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
    435+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**
    Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147.
    594 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.***
    *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

    ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure.

    *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”

    Key Developments

    UNRWA: Israel says no more UNRWA food convoys to north Gaza.
    UNRWA chief: Israeli decision to deny all UNRWA food convoys to northern Gaza is “obstruct[ing] lifesaving assistance during a man-made famine.”
    Doctors Without Borders “deeply concerned” after medical staff arrested at al-Shifa Hospital amid “heavy air strikes by Israeli forces and fierce fighting” nearby.
    Tanks crushed bodies, ambulances at al-Shifa Hospital, reports AP News, citing witnesses.
    Footage emerges of Israeli soldiers assaulting Palestinian boy
    Casualties in Israeli attack on aid distributors at Kuwaiti roundabout in Gaza City, reports Al Jazeera.
    Israeli forces raid Al Aqsa mosque during nightly prayers, assault and expel worshipers, reports Al Jazeera journalist.
    WHO Chief: Israel must reverse decision on blocking north Gaza aid.
    Israeli war cabinet minister threatens to quit if bill exempting ultra-Orthodox Jews from conscription passes
    UNRWA: U.S. funding cut will ‘compromise access to food’ in Gaza.
    UN special rapporteurs decry underreporting of sexual violence against Palestinians.
    Israel blocks access to Jerusalem for West Bank Christians on Palm Sunday, reports Wafa.
    PRCS says it has lost radio contact with staff at al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis.
    Euro-Med: Israel’s attacks on academics in line with Gaza ‘genocide’
    WAFA correspondent killed along with son Israeli airstrike on Gaza
    MAP report: Doctor says conditions inside European Gaza Hospital ‘unimaginable’
    Gaza: Three Hospitals under military siege

    The Israeli military has imposed ongoing sieges on at least three medical facilities in the besieged enclave, terrorizing, injuring, and killing thousands of civilians in the process.

    Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza has entered its seventh day under siege, and the civilians able to flee are reporting ruthless massacres in and around the medical complex.

    A teenage Palestinian boy, Farouk Mohammed Hamd, told Al Jazeera he witnessed Israeli soldiers executing a group of eight people, including his father and brother, inside al-Shifa Hospital.

    He said he and the others were stripped of their clothing and moved several times inside the al-Shifa Hospital building in central Gaza over the course of hours before being taken to the top floor of the facility.

    “They left us for about three hours, then said, ‘You are safe. You can go south.”

    “We stood up, but then they opened fire. We all laid down on the floor again. Then, the snipers entertained themselves by shooting us one after the other.”

    Hamad said his father told him before being killed to run away if he could, and he managed to run, but not before seeing the unresponsive bodies of the executed group.

    On Sunday, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said its staff have reported “heavy air strikes by Israeli forces and fierce fighting” in the vicinity of al-Shifa hospital, “endangering patients, medical staff and people trapped inside with very few supplies.”

    Jameel al-Ayoubi, one of the thousands of Palestinians sheltering at the hospital, saw Israeli tanks and armored bulldozers drive over at least four bodies in the hospital courtyard, AP News reports. Ambulances were also crushed, he says.

    Kareem Ayman Hathat, who lived in a five-story building about 100 meters (328 feet) from the hospital, told AP he hid in his kitchen for days waiting as explosions shook the building.

    “From time to time, the tank would fire a shell,” he said. “It was to terrorise us.”

    MSF added that Israeli forces have carried out a mass-arrest campaign of medical staff and other people and that the organization is “deeply concerned” for the safety of those detained.

    Meanwhile, another two hospitals in Khan Younis have been under Israeli military siege for the last 24 hours: al-Amal and Nasser hospitals, reports Al Jazeera correspondent Hani Mahmoud from Gaza.

    “Military vehicles, tanks and attack drones are encircling these two facilities. They’re also blocking the entrance with piles of sand, preventing medical staff, patients and injured people inside from leaving safely and constantly failing to provide a safe corridor for people and evacuees trapped inside the hospital,” Mahmoud said.

    Palestinian Red Crescent (PRCS) gave their latest update on the situation in al Amal hospital on Sunday afternoon, saying Israeli tanks and armored vehicles have completely surrounded all entrances to the hospital and control any movement in and out.

    Israeli forces attacked the hospital earlier on Sunday, surrounding it with tanks and forcing nearly everyone inside, from patients to displaced Palestinians sheltering there, to evacuate.

    “What we’re getting confirmed from al-Amal Hospital is that not only has it been under constant bombing and tank shells, but loudspeakers are ordering people inside the hospital to come out only with their underwear on. And that has been confirmed by multiple sources and witnesses on the ground, those who managed to flee the harrowing situation,” Mahmoud added.

    On Sunday evening, the PRCS announced that they lost radio contact with their staff at the hospital.

    While all displaced Palestinians and patients who could move independently were evacuated towards the al-Mawasi area west of Khan Younis, hospital staff remain, along with nine patients and their ten companions and a displaced family with children who have disabilities. PCRS says all of them need to be safely evacuated.

    PRCS added that staff member Amir Abu Aisha and a wounded individual who was being treated at the hospital after being shot in the head by the Israeli military were both killed, and their bodies need to be removed.

    In a statement, Hamas said the Israeli military is systematically targeting hospitals across Gaza with the goal of displacing all Palestinians from their lands, showing Israel wants to continue its “war of extermination” against Palestinians and forcibly displace them from their land “by destroying all means of life in the Gaza Strip, especially hospitals,” reported Al Jazeera.

    Underreporting of sexual violence against Palestinians

    Witnesses at al-Shifa hospital have reported that “Palestinian women have been subjected to rape, torture, and execution by Israeli forces.”

    Reem Alsalem, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, said in a post on X that it is “abhorrent” that reports of rape by Israeli forces keep coming out without any consequences.

    “Rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide! It must stop!”

    Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territory, similarly said, “I lost count of how many renowned journalists interviewed me on the alleged mistreatment of/sexual abuse against Palestinian women by Israeli forces, and never published any article on this.”

    “What we can see on the ground is a systematic creation of a corrosive environment in which Israel, with its destruction of neighborhoods and hospitals, is making Gaza unliveable for the majority of Palestinians,” said Al Jazeera co-respondent, Tareq Abu Azzoum from Gaza while reporting on the besieged hospitals.

    “Horrific scenes” at European Hospital

    Meanwhile, at Gaza’s European Hospital near Khan Younis, one of the last functioning medical facilities, medical staff report “horrific scenes” at the hospital with patients “dying from infections with evidence of serious malnutrition,” reported Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP).

    Husam Basheer, an orthopedic surgeon working at the hospital, says he and his staff are “managing with the bare minimum of resources” at the medical facility due to Israeli restrictions on medical aid entering the besieged enclave.

    “One day we wanted to do a plate and screw, which is a standard procedure for bone fixation, but we didn’t have the right equipment. Sometimes we’ve also lacked gauze which is a basic supply for surgery. We worked around the challenges we faced and managed in a different way, but the staff here are overwhelmed,” he said.

    Similarly, Konstantina Ilia Karydi, an anesthetist, described the situation inside the medical facility as “unimaginable.”

    “This hospital had an original capacity of just 200 beds. Now, it has expanded to 1,000 beds,” she said.

    “There are around 22,000 displaced people sheltering in the corridors and in tents inside the hospital because people feel that it’s safer to be here than anywhere else.”

    Israel bars UNRWA from northern Gaza

    The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced on Sunday that Israel has officially barred it from making aid deliveries in northern Gaza, where the threat of famine is highest.

    “This is outrageous [and] makes it intentional to obstruct lifesaving assistance during a man-made famine. These restrictions must be lifted,” the head of the UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, wrote in an X post.

    Famine is likely to occur by May in northern Gaza and could spread across the enclave by July, according to the world’s hunger watchdog, Integrated Food-Security Phase Classification (IPC), said last week.

    Lazzarini warned that Israel’s decision would speed up the coming of famine in the north of the Strip and said that “many more will die of hunger, dehydration.”

    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), says Israel must “urgently reverse” its decision to block the entry of food convoys organized by UNRWA into northern Gaza, where humanitarian needs are most urgent.

    “The levels of hunger are acute. All efforts to deliver food should not only be permitted but there should be an immediate acceleration of food deliveries,” Ghebreyesus said in a post on X.

    Martin Griffiths, the undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator at the UN, says he repeatedly urged Israel to lift all its restrictions on aid to Gaza. Still, it has now done the exact opposite.

    “UNRWA is the beating heart of the humanitarian response in Gaza,” Griffiths said on X , “The decision to block its food convoys to the north only pushes thousands closer to famine. It must be revoked.”

    No other agency is able to provide lifesaving assistance in Gaza in the same way as UNRWA, Natalie Boucly, the deputy commissioner-general of the UN agency, has said on X.

    Boucly added that attempts to “isolate” UNRWA will result in more people dying, “UNRWA is part of the UN and it was given a specific mandate by the General Assembly.”

    In January, several countries cut funding to UNRWA following unverified Israeli allegations that less than a dozen employees participated in Hamas’s operation on October 7.

    While some countries, including Canada and Sweden, have since reinstated their funding, several countries, including the US, have yet to follow suit, which will have severe implications for Palestinians in Gaza and the region.

    Israel is using famine as a “weapon of war” in Gaza to put pressure on the Palestinian people to leave the besieged enclave, Adel Abdel Ghafar, an analyst at the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, told Al Jazeera.
    “In Gaza, the humanitarian community is racing against the clock to avert famine. As the backbone of the humanitarian response, any gap in funding to UNRWA will compromise access to food, shelter, primary health care & education at a time of deep trauma,” the organization’s chief, Lazzarini, wrote on X.

    “Palestine Refugees are counting on the international community to step up support to meet their basic needs.”

    Israel is using famine as a “weapon of war” in Gaza to put pressure on the Palestinian people to leave the besieged enclave, Adel Abdel Ghafar, an analyst at the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, told Al Jazeera.

    The “dream” of many far-right politicians in Israel is to make Gaza “uninhabitable” for Palestinians, with the goal of re-establishing settlements for the Israelis, Ghafar continued.

    “The destruction of schools, hospitals, infrastructure [is making Gaza] almost unlivable and it will force the international community to take further refugees and thin out the population of Gaza,” he said.

    “I think Israel wants to have a big chunk of the population leave and become refugees elsewhere.”

    UN Resolution for ceasefire

    On Monday, the UN Security Council is expected to vote on yet another resolution regarding Israel’s war on Gaza. Since October seven, only two of eight resolutions have been accepted, with both mainly dealing with humanitarian aid to the besieged enclave.

    Guterres says the most recent UN Security Council resolution does not link a ceasefire in Gaza to the release of Israeli captives, reported Al Jazeera.

    In the resolution, “a ceasefire is required together with, but not in a linkage with, the unconditional release of all hostages,” he said. “And we have also claimed the need for that release.”

    Diplomats told the AFP news agency that the resolution had been worked on with the U.S. to avoid a veto, reported France 24. The U.S. has vetoed three resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

    “We expect, barring a last-minute twist, that the resolution will be adopted and that the US will not vote against it,” one diplomat told AFP.

    Last Friday, the Security Council voted on a draft submitted by the U.S. that called for an “immediate” ceasefire linked to the release of captives. China and Russia vetoed the resolution, criticizing it for stopping short of explicitly demanding Israel halt its campaign.

    No progress on negotiations.

    Meanwhile, Israel and Hamas have continued negotiations mediated by Qatar with little progress.

    Hamas’s political bureau official Basem Naim says a lot of “misinformation” has recently been circulated through the media regarding the ongoing truce talks in Doha, reported Al Jazeera.

    Naim said the Israelis are focusing on only one aspect of the negotiations, the release of captives, and are unwilling to discuss Hamas’s three demands – a permanent end to the war, “total withdrawal” from Gaza, and the return of displaced people to their homes.

    Hamas had proposed the release of some 100 Israeli captives in phases in exchange for a permanent end to the war, total withdrawal of Israeli troops, and the return of displaced people to their homes; however, according to Al Jazeera, Israel rejected the demand to end the war and withdraw troops from Gaza.

    Al Jazeera added that Israeli negotiators said they would allow only 2,000 Palestinians to return to their homes each day, meaning it would take more than two years for all displaced Palestinians to leave Rafah.

    Meanwhile, Israel wants all Israeli captives released immediately. Hamas has indicated it will only release women and children in the first phase.

    As negotiations continue, Yossi Amrosi, an ex-senior official of Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as admitting that the Israeli army does not have the means to return all captives currently held in Gaza by Hamas and other Palestinian groups.

    Hamas’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, said at the start of the war that it had taken 250 captives during its October 7 incursion into Israel.

    According to the Qassam Brigades, 50 captives have been killed in Israeli air raids. Israeli intelligence officers say 30 captives have died in Gaza so far since they were taken to the enclave.

    https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-171-horrific-eyewitness-accounts-continue-to-emerge-from-israels-siege-on-gazas-hospitals/
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 171: ‘Horrific’ eyewitness accounts continue to emerge from Israel’s siege on Gaza’s hospitals Leila WarahMarch 25, 2024 Injured Palestinians, including children, are brought to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir El-Balah for treatment following the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, on March 23, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images) Injured Palestinians, including children, are brought to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir El-Balah for treatment following the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, on March 23, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images) Casualties 32,333 + killed* and at least 74,694 wounded in the Gaza Strip. 435+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.** Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147. 594 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.*** *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead. ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure. *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” Key Developments UNRWA: Israel says no more UNRWA food convoys to north Gaza. UNRWA chief: Israeli decision to deny all UNRWA food convoys to northern Gaza is “obstruct[ing] lifesaving assistance during a man-made famine.” Doctors Without Borders “deeply concerned” after medical staff arrested at al-Shifa Hospital amid “heavy air strikes by Israeli forces and fierce fighting” nearby. Tanks crushed bodies, ambulances at al-Shifa Hospital, reports AP News, citing witnesses. Footage emerges of Israeli soldiers assaulting Palestinian boy Casualties in Israeli attack on aid distributors at Kuwaiti roundabout in Gaza City, reports Al Jazeera. Israeli forces raid Al Aqsa mosque during nightly prayers, assault and expel worshipers, reports Al Jazeera journalist. WHO Chief: Israel must reverse decision on blocking north Gaza aid. Israeli war cabinet minister threatens to quit if bill exempting ultra-Orthodox Jews from conscription passes UNRWA: U.S. funding cut will ‘compromise access to food’ in Gaza. UN special rapporteurs decry underreporting of sexual violence against Palestinians. Israel blocks access to Jerusalem for West Bank Christians on Palm Sunday, reports Wafa. PRCS says it has lost radio contact with staff at al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis. Euro-Med: Israel’s attacks on academics in line with Gaza ‘genocide’ WAFA correspondent killed along with son Israeli airstrike on Gaza MAP report: Doctor says conditions inside European Gaza Hospital ‘unimaginable’ Gaza: Three Hospitals under military siege The Israeli military has imposed ongoing sieges on at least three medical facilities in the besieged enclave, terrorizing, injuring, and killing thousands of civilians in the process. Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza has entered its seventh day under siege, and the civilians able to flee are reporting ruthless massacres in and around the medical complex. A teenage Palestinian boy, Farouk Mohammed Hamd, told Al Jazeera he witnessed Israeli soldiers executing a group of eight people, including his father and brother, inside al-Shifa Hospital. He said he and the others were stripped of their clothing and moved several times inside the al-Shifa Hospital building in central Gaza over the course of hours before being taken to the top floor of the facility. “They left us for about three hours, then said, ‘You are safe. You can go south.” “We stood up, but then they opened fire. We all laid down on the floor again. Then, the snipers entertained themselves by shooting us one after the other.” Hamad said his father told him before being killed to run away if he could, and he managed to run, but not before seeing the unresponsive bodies of the executed group. On Sunday, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said its staff have reported “heavy air strikes by Israeli forces and fierce fighting” in the vicinity of al-Shifa hospital, “endangering patients, medical staff and people trapped inside with very few supplies.” Jameel al-Ayoubi, one of the thousands of Palestinians sheltering at the hospital, saw Israeli tanks and armored bulldozers drive over at least four bodies in the hospital courtyard, AP News reports. Ambulances were also crushed, he says. Kareem Ayman Hathat, who lived in a five-story building about 100 meters (328 feet) from the hospital, told AP he hid in his kitchen for days waiting as explosions shook the building. “From time to time, the tank would fire a shell,” he said. “It was to terrorise us.” MSF added that Israeli forces have carried out a mass-arrest campaign of medical staff and other people and that the organization is “deeply concerned” for the safety of those detained. Meanwhile, another two hospitals in Khan Younis have been under Israeli military siege for the last 24 hours: al-Amal and Nasser hospitals, reports Al Jazeera correspondent Hani Mahmoud from Gaza. “Military vehicles, tanks and attack drones are encircling these two facilities. They’re also blocking the entrance with piles of sand, preventing medical staff, patients and injured people inside from leaving safely and constantly failing to provide a safe corridor for people and evacuees trapped inside the hospital,” Mahmoud said. Palestinian Red Crescent (PRCS) gave their latest update on the situation in al Amal hospital on Sunday afternoon, saying Israeli tanks and armored vehicles have completely surrounded all entrances to the hospital and control any movement in and out. Israeli forces attacked the hospital earlier on Sunday, surrounding it with tanks and forcing nearly everyone inside, from patients to displaced Palestinians sheltering there, to evacuate. “What we’re getting confirmed from al-Amal Hospital is that not only has it been under constant bombing and tank shells, but loudspeakers are ordering people inside the hospital to come out only with their underwear on. And that has been confirmed by multiple sources and witnesses on the ground, those who managed to flee the harrowing situation,” Mahmoud added. On Sunday evening, the PRCS announced that they lost radio contact with their staff at the hospital. While all displaced Palestinians and patients who could move independently were evacuated towards the al-Mawasi area west of Khan Younis, hospital staff remain, along with nine patients and their ten companions and a displaced family with children who have disabilities. PCRS says all of them need to be safely evacuated. PRCS added that staff member Amir Abu Aisha and a wounded individual who was being treated at the hospital after being shot in the head by the Israeli military were both killed, and their bodies need to be removed. In a statement, Hamas said the Israeli military is systematically targeting hospitals across Gaza with the goal of displacing all Palestinians from their lands, showing Israel wants to continue its “war of extermination” against Palestinians and forcibly displace them from their land “by destroying all means of life in the Gaza Strip, especially hospitals,” reported Al Jazeera. Underreporting of sexual violence against Palestinians Witnesses at al-Shifa hospital have reported that “Palestinian women have been subjected to rape, torture, and execution by Israeli forces.” Reem Alsalem, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, said in a post on X that it is “abhorrent” that reports of rape by Israeli forces keep coming out without any consequences. “Rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide! It must stop!” Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territory, similarly said, “I lost count of how many renowned journalists interviewed me on the alleged mistreatment of/sexual abuse against Palestinian women by Israeli forces, and never published any article on this.” “What we can see on the ground is a systematic creation of a corrosive environment in which Israel, with its destruction of neighborhoods and hospitals, is making Gaza unliveable for the majority of Palestinians,” said Al Jazeera co-respondent, Tareq Abu Azzoum from Gaza while reporting on the besieged hospitals. “Horrific scenes” at European Hospital Meanwhile, at Gaza’s European Hospital near Khan Younis, one of the last functioning medical facilities, medical staff report “horrific scenes” at the hospital with patients “dying from infections with evidence of serious malnutrition,” reported Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). Husam Basheer, an orthopedic surgeon working at the hospital, says he and his staff are “managing with the bare minimum of resources” at the medical facility due to Israeli restrictions on medical aid entering the besieged enclave. “One day we wanted to do a plate and screw, which is a standard procedure for bone fixation, but we didn’t have the right equipment. Sometimes we’ve also lacked gauze which is a basic supply for surgery. We worked around the challenges we faced and managed in a different way, but the staff here are overwhelmed,” he said. Similarly, Konstantina Ilia Karydi, an anesthetist, described the situation inside the medical facility as “unimaginable.” “This hospital had an original capacity of just 200 beds. Now, it has expanded to 1,000 beds,” she said. “There are around 22,000 displaced people sheltering in the corridors and in tents inside the hospital because people feel that it’s safer to be here than anywhere else.” Israel bars UNRWA from northern Gaza The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced on Sunday that Israel has officially barred it from making aid deliveries in northern Gaza, where the threat of famine is highest. “This is outrageous [and] makes it intentional to obstruct lifesaving assistance during a man-made famine. These restrictions must be lifted,” the head of the UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, wrote in an X post. Famine is likely to occur by May in northern Gaza and could spread across the enclave by July, according to the world’s hunger watchdog, Integrated Food-Security Phase Classification (IPC), said last week. Lazzarini warned that Israel’s decision would speed up the coming of famine in the north of the Strip and said that “many more will die of hunger, dehydration.” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), says Israel must “urgently reverse” its decision to block the entry of food convoys organized by UNRWA into northern Gaza, where humanitarian needs are most urgent. “The levels of hunger are acute. All efforts to deliver food should not only be permitted but there should be an immediate acceleration of food deliveries,” Ghebreyesus said in a post on X. Martin Griffiths, the undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator at the UN, says he repeatedly urged Israel to lift all its restrictions on aid to Gaza. Still, it has now done the exact opposite. “UNRWA is the beating heart of the humanitarian response in Gaza,” Griffiths said on X , “The decision to block its food convoys to the north only pushes thousands closer to famine. It must be revoked.” No other agency is able to provide lifesaving assistance in Gaza in the same way as UNRWA, Natalie Boucly, the deputy commissioner-general of the UN agency, has said on X. Boucly added that attempts to “isolate” UNRWA will result in more people dying, “UNRWA is part of the UN and it was given a specific mandate by the General Assembly.” In January, several countries cut funding to UNRWA following unverified Israeli allegations that less than a dozen employees participated in Hamas’s operation on October 7. While some countries, including Canada and Sweden, have since reinstated their funding, several countries, including the US, have yet to follow suit, which will have severe implications for Palestinians in Gaza and the region. Israel is using famine as a “weapon of war” in Gaza to put pressure on the Palestinian people to leave the besieged enclave, Adel Abdel Ghafar, an analyst at the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, told Al Jazeera. “In Gaza, the humanitarian community is racing against the clock to avert famine. As the backbone of the humanitarian response, any gap in funding to UNRWA will compromise access to food, shelter, primary health care & education at a time of deep trauma,” the organization’s chief, Lazzarini, wrote on X. “Palestine Refugees are counting on the international community to step up support to meet their basic needs.” Israel is using famine as a “weapon of war” in Gaza to put pressure on the Palestinian people to leave the besieged enclave, Adel Abdel Ghafar, an analyst at the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, told Al Jazeera. The “dream” of many far-right politicians in Israel is to make Gaza “uninhabitable” for Palestinians, with the goal of re-establishing settlements for the Israelis, Ghafar continued. “The destruction of schools, hospitals, infrastructure [is making Gaza] almost unlivable and it will force the international community to take further refugees and thin out the population of Gaza,” he said. “I think Israel wants to have a big chunk of the population leave and become refugees elsewhere.” UN Resolution for ceasefire On Monday, the UN Security Council is expected to vote on yet another resolution regarding Israel’s war on Gaza. Since October seven, only two of eight resolutions have been accepted, with both mainly dealing with humanitarian aid to the besieged enclave. Guterres says the most recent UN Security Council resolution does not link a ceasefire in Gaza to the release of Israeli captives, reported Al Jazeera. In the resolution, “a ceasefire is required together with, but not in a linkage with, the unconditional release of all hostages,” he said. “And we have also claimed the need for that release.” Diplomats told the AFP news agency that the resolution had been worked on with the U.S. to avoid a veto, reported France 24. The U.S. has vetoed three resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. “We expect, barring a last-minute twist, that the resolution will be adopted and that the US will not vote against it,” one diplomat told AFP. Last Friday, the Security Council voted on a draft submitted by the U.S. that called for an “immediate” ceasefire linked to the release of captives. China and Russia vetoed the resolution, criticizing it for stopping short of explicitly demanding Israel halt its campaign. No progress on negotiations. Meanwhile, Israel and Hamas have continued negotiations mediated by Qatar with little progress. Hamas’s political bureau official Basem Naim says a lot of “misinformation” has recently been circulated through the media regarding the ongoing truce talks in Doha, reported Al Jazeera. Naim said the Israelis are focusing on only one aspect of the negotiations, the release of captives, and are unwilling to discuss Hamas’s three demands – a permanent end to the war, “total withdrawal” from Gaza, and the return of displaced people to their homes. Hamas had proposed the release of some 100 Israeli captives in phases in exchange for a permanent end to the war, total withdrawal of Israeli troops, and the return of displaced people to their homes; however, according to Al Jazeera, Israel rejected the demand to end the war and withdraw troops from Gaza. Al Jazeera added that Israeli negotiators said they would allow only 2,000 Palestinians to return to their homes each day, meaning it would take more than two years for all displaced Palestinians to leave Rafah. Meanwhile, Israel wants all Israeli captives released immediately. Hamas has indicated it will only release women and children in the first phase. As negotiations continue, Yossi Amrosi, an ex-senior official of Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as admitting that the Israeli army does not have the means to return all captives currently held in Gaza by Hamas and other Palestinian groups. Hamas’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, said at the start of the war that it had taken 250 captives during its October 7 incursion into Israel. According to the Qassam Brigades, 50 captives have been killed in Israeli air raids. Israeli intelligence officers say 30 captives have died in Gaza so far since they were taken to the enclave. https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-171-horrific-eyewitness-accounts-continue-to-emerge-from-israels-siege-on-gazas-hospitals/
    MONDOWEISS.NET
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 171: ‘Horrific’ eyewitness accounts continue to emerge from Israel’s siege on Gaza’s hospitals
    Eyewitness accounts continue to emerge from Gaza’s hospitals, including rape, torture, mass executions, and soldiers crushing Palestinian bodies with tanks. Hamas says Israel’s systematic attack on hospitals is central to its “war of extermination.”
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  • ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 170: Israel assaults al-Shifa, Nasser, and al-Amal hospitals in one day
    Mustafa Abu SneinehMarch 23, 2024
    Injured Palestinians, including children, are brought to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah for treatment following Israeli airstrikes, March 23, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images)
    Injured Palestinians, including children, are brought to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah for treatment following Israeli airstrikes, March 23, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images)
    Casualties

    32,223 + killed* and at least 74,518 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
    435+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**
    Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147.
    594 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.***
    *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

    ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure.

    *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”

    Key Developments

    Israeli forces commit eight massacres in Gaza, kill at least 84 people and injure 106.
    Israeli forces shell and bomb vicinity of al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, killing one volunteer with PRCS.
    PRCS says Israeli tanks and forces are “besieging both al-Amal Hospital and al-Naser Hospital amidst very intense shelling and heavy gunfire.”
    Wafa reports infected wounds of injured Palestinians inside al-Shifa due to lack of essential medical supplies.
    Al-Jazeera Arabic reports Israeli tanks ran over evacuating people from al-Shifa Hospital, shows blurred footage of Palestinian with marks of tank wheel on lower body.
    Jamila al-Hissi, survivor of storming of al-Shifa, tells Al-Jazeera Arabic that “Palestinian women have been subjected to rape, torture, and execution by Israeli forces.”
    UN chief Antonio Guterres says “horror and starvation stalk the people of Gaza” in visit to Rafah crossing.
    U.S. Secretary of State warns Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Rafah offensive would “further isolate” Israel in the region.
    Netanyahu hopes to invade Rafah with “the support of the U.S., but if we have to – we will do it alone.”
    Hamas says 34-year-old Israeli captive died in Gaza as “he did not escape the lack of food and medicine.”
    Dozens of settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem to mark Jewish holiday of Purim.
    Israeli forces block Palestinian Christians in occupied West Bank from entering Jerusalem to participate in Palm Sunday.
    Al-Amal Hospital in ‘extreme danger’ as Israel attacks

    Gaza’s two major hospitals were under attack on Sunday morning as thousands of Palestinians in the coastal enclave have been living under bombardment for the past 170 days.

    Overnight, Israeli forces committed eight massacres in various areas of the Gaza Strip, according to the Ministry of Health on Telegram, killing at least 84 people and injuring 106. Thousands remain under the rubble of bombed buildings.

    Israeli forces shelled and bombed the vicinity of al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS). Amir Abu Aisha, a volunteer with the PRCS, was killed by Israeli gunfire inside al-Amal.

    His last post on Instagram was a video of Israeli airstrikes near al-Amal.

    PRCS said the medical team inside the facility are “in extreme danger…and are completely immobilized.”

    “They are unable to bury the body of our colleague Amir Abu Aisha within the hospital’s backyard,” PRCS continued as Israeli forces razed and excavated the area.

    Since October, Israeli bombardment killed at least 364 medical workers in the Gaza Strip, including doctors, nurses, and paramedics, and damaged dozens of clinics and ambulances.

    On Sunday morning, PRCS also said that Israeli tanks and forces are “besieging both Al-Amal Hospital and Al-Naser Hospital amidst very intense shelling and heavy gunfire.”

    PRCS said that one of the displaced Palestinians at al-Amal was “injured in the head,” while Israeli drones are ordering that all people inside the hospital “leave it naked.”

    “Smoke bombs are being launched at the hospital to force the staff, wounded, and displaced individuals to leave it,” the PRCS wrote on in a post on X.

    “Israeli vehicles [are] surrounding Al-Amal Hospital and are now bulldozing the area in front and around it and closing the hospital gates with barriers,” the post added.

    Israeli atrocities in al-Shifa, say eyewitnesses

    In northern Gaza, al-Shifa Hospital has been under Israeli assault for a week.

    Israeli forces continued to besiege, shell, and bomb al-Shifa Hospital and its vicinity for the seventh day in a row, saying that Hamas senior leaders had used the facility, a claim which the movement denies.

    Israeli forces killed Palestinian civilians and officials while storming al-Shifa, including Faiq al-Mabhouh, an officer in the Gaza Police force who was responsible for the successful deliveries of food, rice, and flour to thousands of inhabitants of northern Gaza.

    Hamas accused Israel of attempting to spread chaos and civilian disorder by killing officials who coordinate with clans, the UN, and international groups to prevent a famine in the north Gaza.

    On Saturday afternoon, at least five people were killed by Israel and several injured in the al-Shifa medical complex, while Palestinians and medical staff have been living with little food and water. Wafa news agency reported that the wounds of some injured Palestinians inside Al-Shifa got infected and inflamed amid the lack of essential medical supplies.

    Al-Jazeera Arabic reported that Israeli tanks ran over Palestinians who were ordered to evacuate the hospital. Al-Jazeera released blurred footage of a person’s dead body with marks of a tank wheel on his lower body.

    Jamila al-Hissi, a Palestinian woman who survived the Israeli storming of al-Shifa, told Al-Jazeera Arabic that “Palestinian women have been subjected to rape, torture, and execution by Israeli forces.”

    “This is what we witnessed. They raped women. They kidnapped women. they executed women, pulled bodies from under the rubble, and unleashed their dogs to eat them. Is there anything worse?” Al-Hissi told Al-Jazeera in a phone call.

    She left with her daughter, who was bleeding, and evacuated a building belonging to the UN Development Program (UNDP), which was set on fire by Israeli forces, who also burned and destroyed several buildings surrounding al-Shifa in the past days.

    It is unclear how many people remain inside al-Shifa, but prior to Israel’s second storming of the hospital since November, there were 7,000 patients and injured people receiving treatment administered by hundreds of medical staff.

    Al-Shifa is one of Gaza’s oldest medical facilities, built on top of a British barracks in 1946.

    The complex includes several buildings for surgery, internal disease, obstetrics and gynecology, a nursery for premature babies, an emergency department, intensive care units, a radiology department, and a blood bank. Some of these buildings have been damaged, burned by Israel, or have ceased operating fully due to the lack of fuel to generate electricity.

    The complex is built on 45,000 square meters of land west of Gaza City. Prior to October of last year, al-Shifa employed 1,500 medical staff, including 500 doctors and 760 nurses.

    Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, said on Sunday that “Horror & starvation stalk the people of Gaza.”

    “Any further onslaught will make everything worse. Worse for Palestinian civilians, for the hostages, for all people of the region,” he added.

    Guterres visited Egypt on Saturday to inspect the Rafah land crossing, and al-Arish General Hospital in northern Sinai to check on injured Palestinians receiving treatment.

    Israeli forces bomb Rafah, Khan Younis, and Deir al-Balah

    Wafa reported that Israeli forces bombed a house in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip overnight, killing at least eight people in the al-Hakar area. Meanwhile, in Rafah, Palestinian rescue teams recovered the bodies of eight Palestinians under the rubble of a bombed house belonging to the Farwana family in the Jneina neighborhood.

    In Khan Younis, Israeli forces heavily bombed areas in the southeastern part of the city, besieging the Nasser and al-Amal hospitals. In Rafah, they bombed a house near the Rabaa School, killing at least two people, Wafa reported.

    The Israeli government has vowed to invade Rafah, where 1.4 million Palestinians are currently displaced and live in shelters. During his visit to Israel on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned that an offensive on Rafah would “further isolate” Israel in the region, according to Reuters.

    Blinken, who met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that “a major military ground operation in Rafah is not the way to do it,” although the U.S. shares Israel’s goal to “defeat Hamas.”

    “It risks further isolating Israel around the world and jeopardizing its long-term security and standing,” Blinken said during a press briefing after the meeting.

    Netanyahu, however, appeared to be undeterred in invading Rafah, stating in a video statement that he told Blinken, “I hope we will do it with the support of the U.S., but if we have to — we will do it alone.”

    Meanwhile, fighting is still ongoing between Israeli forces and Palestinian resistance fighters in the Gaza Strip. On Saturday, Hamas said that a 34-year-old Israeli captive died in Gaza.

    “Although he survived the army’s attack, he did not escape the lack of food and medicine,” the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades wrote in a video message.

    In another video, Hamas fighters fired al-Yaseen 105mm anti-tank shells on Israeli military vehicles in the vicinity of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza.

    Israel had been blocking sufficient food and medical supplies from entering Gaza, although some of them were funded or sponsored by ally countries such as the UK.

    The Foreign Secretary, Lord David Cameron, accused Israel last week of delaying U.K. aid to Gaza, which was stopped at the crossing point for three weeks.

    Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Pruim

    Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem on Sunday morning to mark the Jewish holiday of Purim, which ends on Monday.

    Israeli forces emptied the al-Aqsa compound of Palestinian worshippers on Saturday evening in preparation for the settlers’ tour, Wafa reported. Israeli forces barred Palestinians from staying overnight in al-Aqsa’s al-Qibli mosque after Ramadan’s tarawih prayers ended, which were attended by 45,000 people.

    During Ramadan, it is worshippers often stay in mosques overnight to pray after tarawih. In 2021, Israeli forces raided the al-Qibli mosque, firing bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas canisters at worshipers who were performing night prayers and reciting the Quran.

    Israeli settlers’ storming of al-Aqsa further escalated tensions in the city, according to Wafa, as Israeli forces prevented Palestinians from entering the site on Sunday morning.

    Wafa said that two settlers were dressed up as Jewish temple priests. Settlers have long stated their wish to rebuild the third Jewish temple in the middle of the al-Aqsa compound atop the Dome of the Rock.

    Meanwhile, Israeli forces blocked Palestinian Christians in the occupied West Bank from entering Jerusalem to take part in the commemoration of Palm Sunday, the anniversary of Jesus’s entry into the city. Those who participated in the ceremony in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher were Palestinians from Jerusalem or from inside Israel.

    Israeli forces arrested 16 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank overnight, from the towns of Hebron, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Tulkarem, and also Jerusalem. Since October, 7,755 Palestinians have been detained by Israel. This figure, released by the Ministry of Detainees’ and Ex-Destainees’ Affairs, does not include Palestinians who were released later or those arrested from the Gaza Strip.

    https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-170-israel-assaults-al-shifa-nasser-and-al-amal-hospitals-in-one-day/
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 170: Israel assaults al-Shifa, Nasser, and al-Amal hospitals in one day Mustafa Abu SneinehMarch 23, 2024 Injured Palestinians, including children, are brought to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah for treatment following Israeli airstrikes, March 23, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images) Injured Palestinians, including children, are brought to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah for treatment following Israeli airstrikes, March 23, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images) Casualties 32,223 + killed* and at least 74,518 wounded in the Gaza Strip. 435+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.** Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147. 594 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.*** *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead. ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure. *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” Key Developments Israeli forces commit eight massacres in Gaza, kill at least 84 people and injure 106. Israeli forces shell and bomb vicinity of al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, killing one volunteer with PRCS. PRCS says Israeli tanks and forces are “besieging both al-Amal Hospital and al-Naser Hospital amidst very intense shelling and heavy gunfire.” Wafa reports infected wounds of injured Palestinians inside al-Shifa due to lack of essential medical supplies. Al-Jazeera Arabic reports Israeli tanks ran over evacuating people from al-Shifa Hospital, shows blurred footage of Palestinian with marks of tank wheel on lower body. Jamila al-Hissi, survivor of storming of al-Shifa, tells Al-Jazeera Arabic that “Palestinian women have been subjected to rape, torture, and execution by Israeli forces.” UN chief Antonio Guterres says “horror and starvation stalk the people of Gaza” in visit to Rafah crossing. U.S. Secretary of State warns Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Rafah offensive would “further isolate” Israel in the region. Netanyahu hopes to invade Rafah with “the support of the U.S., but if we have to – we will do it alone.” Hamas says 34-year-old Israeli captive died in Gaza as “he did not escape the lack of food and medicine.” Dozens of settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem to mark Jewish holiday of Purim. Israeli forces block Palestinian Christians in occupied West Bank from entering Jerusalem to participate in Palm Sunday. Al-Amal Hospital in ‘extreme danger’ as Israel attacks Gaza’s two major hospitals were under attack on Sunday morning as thousands of Palestinians in the coastal enclave have been living under bombardment for the past 170 days. Overnight, Israeli forces committed eight massacres in various areas of the Gaza Strip, according to the Ministry of Health on Telegram, killing at least 84 people and injuring 106. Thousands remain under the rubble of bombed buildings. Israeli forces shelled and bombed the vicinity of al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS). Amir Abu Aisha, a volunteer with the PRCS, was killed by Israeli gunfire inside al-Amal. His last post on Instagram was a video of Israeli airstrikes near al-Amal. PRCS said the medical team inside the facility are “in extreme danger…and are completely immobilized.” “They are unable to bury the body of our colleague Amir Abu Aisha within the hospital’s backyard,” PRCS continued as Israeli forces razed and excavated the area. Since October, Israeli bombardment killed at least 364 medical workers in the Gaza Strip, including doctors, nurses, and paramedics, and damaged dozens of clinics and ambulances. On Sunday morning, PRCS also said that Israeli tanks and forces are “besieging both Al-Amal Hospital and Al-Naser Hospital amidst very intense shelling and heavy gunfire.” PRCS said that one of the displaced Palestinians at al-Amal was “injured in the head,” while Israeli drones are ordering that all people inside the hospital “leave it naked.” “Smoke bombs are being launched at the hospital to force the staff, wounded, and displaced individuals to leave it,” the PRCS wrote on in a post on X. “Israeli vehicles [are] surrounding Al-Amal Hospital and are now bulldozing the area in front and around it and closing the hospital gates with barriers,” the post added. Israeli atrocities in al-Shifa, say eyewitnesses In northern Gaza, al-Shifa Hospital has been under Israeli assault for a week. Israeli forces continued to besiege, shell, and bomb al-Shifa Hospital and its vicinity for the seventh day in a row, saying that Hamas senior leaders had used the facility, a claim which the movement denies. Israeli forces killed Palestinian civilians and officials while storming al-Shifa, including Faiq al-Mabhouh, an officer in the Gaza Police force who was responsible for the successful deliveries of food, rice, and flour to thousands of inhabitants of northern Gaza. Hamas accused Israel of attempting to spread chaos and civilian disorder by killing officials who coordinate with clans, the UN, and international groups to prevent a famine in the north Gaza. On Saturday afternoon, at least five people were killed by Israel and several injured in the al-Shifa medical complex, while Palestinians and medical staff have been living with little food and water. Wafa news agency reported that the wounds of some injured Palestinians inside Al-Shifa got infected and inflamed amid the lack of essential medical supplies. Al-Jazeera Arabic reported that Israeli tanks ran over Palestinians who were ordered to evacuate the hospital. Al-Jazeera released blurred footage of a person’s dead body with marks of a tank wheel on his lower body. Jamila al-Hissi, a Palestinian woman who survived the Israeli storming of al-Shifa, told Al-Jazeera Arabic that “Palestinian women have been subjected to rape, torture, and execution by Israeli forces.” “This is what we witnessed. They raped women. They kidnapped women. they executed women, pulled bodies from under the rubble, and unleashed their dogs to eat them. Is there anything worse?” Al-Hissi told Al-Jazeera in a phone call. She left with her daughter, who was bleeding, and evacuated a building belonging to the UN Development Program (UNDP), which was set on fire by Israeli forces, who also burned and destroyed several buildings surrounding al-Shifa in the past days. It is unclear how many people remain inside al-Shifa, but prior to Israel’s second storming of the hospital since November, there were 7,000 patients and injured people receiving treatment administered by hundreds of medical staff. Al-Shifa is one of Gaza’s oldest medical facilities, built on top of a British barracks in 1946. The complex includes several buildings for surgery, internal disease, obstetrics and gynecology, a nursery for premature babies, an emergency department, intensive care units, a radiology department, and a blood bank. Some of these buildings have been damaged, burned by Israel, or have ceased operating fully due to the lack of fuel to generate electricity. The complex is built on 45,000 square meters of land west of Gaza City. Prior to October of last year, al-Shifa employed 1,500 medical staff, including 500 doctors and 760 nurses. Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, said on Sunday that “Horror & starvation stalk the people of Gaza.” “Any further onslaught will make everything worse. Worse for Palestinian civilians, for the hostages, for all people of the region,” he added. Guterres visited Egypt on Saturday to inspect the Rafah land crossing, and al-Arish General Hospital in northern Sinai to check on injured Palestinians receiving treatment. Israeli forces bomb Rafah, Khan Younis, and Deir al-Balah Wafa reported that Israeli forces bombed a house in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip overnight, killing at least eight people in the al-Hakar area. Meanwhile, in Rafah, Palestinian rescue teams recovered the bodies of eight Palestinians under the rubble of a bombed house belonging to the Farwana family in the Jneina neighborhood. In Khan Younis, Israeli forces heavily bombed areas in the southeastern part of the city, besieging the Nasser and al-Amal hospitals. In Rafah, they bombed a house near the Rabaa School, killing at least two people, Wafa reported. The Israeli government has vowed to invade Rafah, where 1.4 million Palestinians are currently displaced and live in shelters. During his visit to Israel on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned that an offensive on Rafah would “further isolate” Israel in the region, according to Reuters. Blinken, who met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that “a major military ground operation in Rafah is not the way to do it,” although the U.S. shares Israel’s goal to “defeat Hamas.” “It risks further isolating Israel around the world and jeopardizing its long-term security and standing,” Blinken said during a press briefing after the meeting. Netanyahu, however, appeared to be undeterred in invading Rafah, stating in a video statement that he told Blinken, “I hope we will do it with the support of the U.S., but if we have to — we will do it alone.” Meanwhile, fighting is still ongoing between Israeli forces and Palestinian resistance fighters in the Gaza Strip. On Saturday, Hamas said that a 34-year-old Israeli captive died in Gaza. “Although he survived the army’s attack, he did not escape the lack of food and medicine,” the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades wrote in a video message. In another video, Hamas fighters fired al-Yaseen 105mm anti-tank shells on Israeli military vehicles in the vicinity of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. Israel had been blocking sufficient food and medical supplies from entering Gaza, although some of them were funded or sponsored by ally countries such as the UK. The Foreign Secretary, Lord David Cameron, accused Israel last week of delaying U.K. aid to Gaza, which was stopped at the crossing point for three weeks. Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Pruim Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem on Sunday morning to mark the Jewish holiday of Purim, which ends on Monday. Israeli forces emptied the al-Aqsa compound of Palestinian worshippers on Saturday evening in preparation for the settlers’ tour, Wafa reported. Israeli forces barred Palestinians from staying overnight in al-Aqsa’s al-Qibli mosque after Ramadan’s tarawih prayers ended, which were attended by 45,000 people. During Ramadan, it is worshippers often stay in mosques overnight to pray after tarawih. In 2021, Israeli forces raided the al-Qibli mosque, firing bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas canisters at worshipers who were performing night prayers and reciting the Quran. Israeli settlers’ storming of al-Aqsa further escalated tensions in the city, according to Wafa, as Israeli forces prevented Palestinians from entering the site on Sunday morning. Wafa said that two settlers were dressed up as Jewish temple priests. Settlers have long stated their wish to rebuild the third Jewish temple in the middle of the al-Aqsa compound atop the Dome of the Rock. Meanwhile, Israeli forces blocked Palestinian Christians in the occupied West Bank from entering Jerusalem to take part in the commemoration of Palm Sunday, the anniversary of Jesus’s entry into the city. Those who participated in the ceremony in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher were Palestinians from Jerusalem or from inside Israel. Israeli forces arrested 16 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank overnight, from the towns of Hebron, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Tulkarem, and also Jerusalem. Since October, 7,755 Palestinians have been detained by Israel. This figure, released by the Ministry of Detainees’ and Ex-Destainees’ Affairs, does not include Palestinians who were released later or those arrested from the Gaza Strip. https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-170-israel-assaults-al-shifa-nasser-and-al-amal-hospitals-in-one-day/
    MONDOWEISS.NET
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 170: Israel assaults al-Shifa, Nasser, and al-Amal hospitals in one day
    Israeli forces ordered Palestinians inside al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis to leave “naked,” while survivors of the al-Shifa Hospital raid witnessed numerous atrocities committed by the Israeli army. In Jerusalem, Israeli settlers stormed al-Aqsa.
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  • COVID Vaccine Gene Could Integrate Into Human Cancer Cells: Researcher
    What Mr. McKernan and his team have found contradicts the latest arguments from fact-checkers.

    COVID Vaccine Gene Could Integrate Into Human Cancer Cells: Researcher
    (CROCOTHERY/Shutterstock)
    Following his discovery of DNA contamination in COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, genomic researcher Kevin McKernan has recently found that the DNA in these vaccines can potentially integrate into human DNA.

    The COVID-19 vaccine spike sequence was detected in two types of chromosomes in cancer cell lines following exposure to the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. Mr. McKernan’s findings, which he presents on his Substack blog, haven’t been peer-reviewed.
    These are expected to be “rare events,” but they can happen, Mr. McKernan told The Epoch Times.
    DNA Integration

    Since the introduction of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, some members of the public have been concerned that the vaccines may modify human DNA by combining their sequences with the human genome.

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    “Fact-checkers” refuted this, saying mRNA cannot be changed into DNA. Yet Mr. McKernan’s earlier work shows that DNA in the vaccine vials may be capable of changing human DNA.
    Ulrike Kämmerer, a professor of human biology at the University Hospital of Würzburg in Germany, conducted earlier stages of this research.

    Exposing breast and ovarian human cancer cells to Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines, Ms. Kämmerer found that about half of the cells expressed the COVID-19 spike protein on their cellular surface, indicating that they had absorbed the vaccines.

    Mr. McKernan then performed gene sequencing and found that these cells and their descendant cells contained vaccine DNA.

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    After this, he tested to see whether any vaccine DNA combined with the cancer cell DNA, a process known as DNA integration. Integration is more of a concern in healthy cells than cancer cells because it disrupts cells’ genetic stability and integrity, increasing cancer risk.

    However, because cancer cells already have unstable DNA, the effects of DNA integration are less clear.

    Currently, in biomedical research, most experiments are carried out in cancer cell lines, as they are easier to obtain, experiment on, and maintain in the laboratory.

    Mr. McKernan detected vaccine DNA sequences on two chromosomes in the cancer cell lines: chromosome 9 and chromosome 12. The sequencing machine detected both instances of integration twice. It is important to get two readings of the DNA integration to ensure that the integration is not a result of misreading or random error, he said.

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    “The integration of ‘vaccine’ genetic information into the genome of cells was not such a surprise for me—more the confirmation of what we had to expect, unfortunately,” he told The Epoch Times.

    Mr. McKernan said it is unsurprising that integration was detected on only two chromosomes with two readings of each integration. This is because integration is rare, and the genes must be sequenced many times to get more sensitive results.

    The current findings are still preliminary, he said. More tests are also needed to determine whether DNA integration could be passed on to descendant cancer cells and whether this may affect cancer patients.

    Also, since the test was conducted in cancer cells and not in healthy human cells, it does not suggest the same integration would occur in healthy human cells.

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    However, Hiroshi Arakawa, a researcher at the Institute of Molecular Oncology who has a doctorate in molecular biology and immunology, wrote in his blog that “what happens in cultured cells can also occur in normal cells” after examining Mr. McKernan’s data.
    His review of Mr. McKernan’s data also found signs of DNA integration at chromosomes 9 and 12.

    “A wide variety of abnormalities can occur [in normal cells] depending on the site of genome integration,” Mr. Arakawa said.
    Not Random Events

    The two integration events into chromosome 9 occurred at the same place, as did the integration events into chromosome 12.

    Mr. McKernan said the odds of this occurring are one in 3 billion, highlighting that where the DNA integrates may not be random.

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    “There’s likely hotspots for this,” he told The Epoch Times, highlighting that in the human genome, jumping genes—short segments of DNA sequences—tend to “jump” into highly activated areas of DNA.

    Highly activated DNA tends to play important roles in the human body.

    The DNA integration into chromosome 12 occurred within the FAIM2 gene. Once activated, this gene creates a protein involved in programmed cell death. Since cancer cells evade cell death, the integration at chromosome 12 may be a survival-driven change.
    Vaccine DNA Is Active in the Cells

    Mr. McKernan said he believes that vaccine DNA is highly active in cancer cells. His sequencing machine detected the DNA of cancer cells 30 times but detected spike DNA 3,000 times.

    Not only did he detect much higher levels of vaccine DNA, but he also detected new variants in certain segments of the vaccine DNA.

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    These new DNA variations were not observed in unvaccinated cancer cells nor in the vaccine not exposed to the cancer cells.

    Mr. McKernan said he believes that these new gene variants likely occurred because the cancer cell made copies of the vaccine DNA and created small errors.

    What he and his team have found contradicts the latest arguments from fact-checkers claiming that the DNA from the mRNA vaccines cannot get into the cell, nor can it be active, he said.
    DNA Contamination From mRNA Vaccine Manufacturing

    DNA is present in the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines because of the manufacturing process.
    This has been verified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health Canada, and the European Medicines Agency.
    The mRNA vaccines are made from DNA; some of this DNA persists in the final product because of insufficient clearance.
    Initially, Pfizer reported that it would use a PCR machine to produce the DNA for its mRNA vaccine. The PCR machine first makes many copies of DNA, which is then sequenced into RNA.

    However, because this process wouldn’t be fast enough to meet demands, the vaccine manufacturers switched to using bacteria to mass-produce DNA as the template for the mRNA vaccine.

    In this process, vaccine manufacturers introduce bacterial DNA containing the vaccine spike sequences. The bacteria make many copies of this spike DNA as they divide. This spike DNA is then harvested and transcribed into mRNA in a machine. The mRNA is then packaged into lipid nanoparticles for use in vaccination.

    However, some bacterial DNA containing spike protein and other sequences could be packaged into lipid nanoparticles during the process, which would then be transported into cells during vaccination. Mr. McKernan’s earlier works have demonstrated this.
    Works by molecular virologist David Speicher have shown that the amount of DNA in the mRNA vaccine vials is higher than the FDA’s allowable threshold of 10 nanograms per vaccine dose.
    Mr. McKernan highlighted that compared with previous vaccines, mainly composed of naked DNA that had difficulty entering the cells, the DNA carried in the mRNA vaccines presents greater health risks, as it is packed into lipid nanoparticles and delivered straight into the cells.

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/health/covid-vaccine-gene-could-integrate-into-human-cancer-cells-researcher-5604184
    COVID Vaccine Gene Could Integrate Into Human Cancer Cells: Researcher What Mr. McKernan and his team have found contradicts the latest arguments from fact-checkers. COVID Vaccine Gene Could Integrate Into Human Cancer Cells: Researcher (CROCOTHERY/Shutterstock) Following his discovery of DNA contamination in COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, genomic researcher Kevin McKernan has recently found that the DNA in these vaccines can potentially integrate into human DNA. The COVID-19 vaccine spike sequence was detected in two types of chromosomes in cancer cell lines following exposure to the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. Mr. McKernan’s findings, which he presents on his Substack blog, haven’t been peer-reviewed. These are expected to be “rare events,” but they can happen, Mr. McKernan told The Epoch Times. DNA Integration Since the introduction of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, some members of the public have been concerned that the vaccines may modify human DNA by combining their sequences with the human genome. Story continues below advertisement “Fact-checkers” refuted this, saying mRNA cannot be changed into DNA. Yet Mr. McKernan’s earlier work shows that DNA in the vaccine vials may be capable of changing human DNA. Ulrike Kämmerer, a professor of human biology at the University Hospital of Würzburg in Germany, conducted earlier stages of this research. Exposing breast and ovarian human cancer cells to Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines, Ms. Kämmerer found that about half of the cells expressed the COVID-19 spike protein on their cellular surface, indicating that they had absorbed the vaccines. Mr. McKernan then performed gene sequencing and found that these cells and their descendant cells contained vaccine DNA. Story continues below advertisement After this, he tested to see whether any vaccine DNA combined with the cancer cell DNA, a process known as DNA integration. Integration is more of a concern in healthy cells than cancer cells because it disrupts cells’ genetic stability and integrity, increasing cancer risk. However, because cancer cells already have unstable DNA, the effects of DNA integration are less clear. Currently, in biomedical research, most experiments are carried out in cancer cell lines, as they are easier to obtain, experiment on, and maintain in the laboratory. Mr. McKernan detected vaccine DNA sequences on two chromosomes in the cancer cell lines: chromosome 9 and chromosome 12. The sequencing machine detected both instances of integration twice. It is important to get two readings of the DNA integration to ensure that the integration is not a result of misreading or random error, he said. Story continues below advertisement “The integration of ‘vaccine’ genetic information into the genome of cells was not such a surprise for me—more the confirmation of what we had to expect, unfortunately,” he told The Epoch Times. Mr. McKernan said it is unsurprising that integration was detected on only two chromosomes with two readings of each integration. This is because integration is rare, and the genes must be sequenced many times to get more sensitive results. The current findings are still preliminary, he said. More tests are also needed to determine whether DNA integration could be passed on to descendant cancer cells and whether this may affect cancer patients. Also, since the test was conducted in cancer cells and not in healthy human cells, it does not suggest the same integration would occur in healthy human cells. Story continues below advertisement However, Hiroshi Arakawa, a researcher at the Institute of Molecular Oncology who has a doctorate in molecular biology and immunology, wrote in his blog that “what happens in cultured cells can also occur in normal cells” after examining Mr. McKernan’s data. His review of Mr. McKernan’s data also found signs of DNA integration at chromosomes 9 and 12. “A wide variety of abnormalities can occur [in normal cells] depending on the site of genome integration,” Mr. Arakawa said. Not Random Events The two integration events into chromosome 9 occurred at the same place, as did the integration events into chromosome 12. Mr. McKernan said the odds of this occurring are one in 3 billion, highlighting that where the DNA integrates may not be random. Story continues below advertisement “There’s likely hotspots for this,” he told The Epoch Times, highlighting that in the human genome, jumping genes—short segments of DNA sequences—tend to “jump” into highly activated areas of DNA. Highly activated DNA tends to play important roles in the human body. The DNA integration into chromosome 12 occurred within the FAIM2 gene. Once activated, this gene creates a protein involved in programmed cell death. Since cancer cells evade cell death, the integration at chromosome 12 may be a survival-driven change. Vaccine DNA Is Active in the Cells Mr. McKernan said he believes that vaccine DNA is highly active in cancer cells. His sequencing machine detected the DNA of cancer cells 30 times but detected spike DNA 3,000 times. Not only did he detect much higher levels of vaccine DNA, but he also detected new variants in certain segments of the vaccine DNA. Story continues below advertisement These new DNA variations were not observed in unvaccinated cancer cells nor in the vaccine not exposed to the cancer cells. Mr. McKernan said he believes that these new gene variants likely occurred because the cancer cell made copies of the vaccine DNA and created small errors. What he and his team have found contradicts the latest arguments from fact-checkers claiming that the DNA from the mRNA vaccines cannot get into the cell, nor can it be active, he said. DNA Contamination From mRNA Vaccine Manufacturing DNA is present in the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines because of the manufacturing process. This has been verified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health Canada, and the European Medicines Agency. The mRNA vaccines are made from DNA; some of this DNA persists in the final product because of insufficient clearance. Initially, Pfizer reported that it would use a PCR machine to produce the DNA for its mRNA vaccine. The PCR machine first makes many copies of DNA, which is then sequenced into RNA. However, because this process wouldn’t be fast enough to meet demands, the vaccine manufacturers switched to using bacteria to mass-produce DNA as the template for the mRNA vaccine. In this process, vaccine manufacturers introduce bacterial DNA containing the vaccine spike sequences. The bacteria make many copies of this spike DNA as they divide. This spike DNA is then harvested and transcribed into mRNA in a machine. The mRNA is then packaged into lipid nanoparticles for use in vaccination. However, some bacterial DNA containing spike protein and other sequences could be packaged into lipid nanoparticles during the process, which would then be transported into cells during vaccination. Mr. McKernan’s earlier works have demonstrated this. Works by molecular virologist David Speicher have shown that the amount of DNA in the mRNA vaccine vials is higher than the FDA’s allowable threshold of 10 nanograms per vaccine dose. Mr. McKernan highlighted that compared with previous vaccines, mainly composed of naked DNA that had difficulty entering the cells, the DNA carried in the mRNA vaccines presents greater health risks, as it is packed into lipid nanoparticles and delivered straight into the cells. https://www.theepochtimes.com/health/covid-vaccine-gene-could-integrate-into-human-cancer-cells-researcher-5604184
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    COVID Vaccine Gene Could Integrate Into Human Cancer Cells: Researcher
    What Mr. McKernan and his team have found contradicts the latest arguments from fact-checkers.
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  • BREAKING: Texas Doctors Force FDA to Remove Covid-19 Posts in Settlement

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has agreed to remove social media posts and webpages that urged people to stop taking ivermectin to treat COVID-19, according to a settlement dated March 21.

    The FDA has already removed a page that said: “Should I take ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19? No.”

    Within 21 days, the FDA will remove another page titled, “why you should not use ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19,” according to the settlement announcement, which was filed with federal court in southern Texas.

    “The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals,” the page currently states. It also says that data do not show ivermectin is effective against COVID-19, despite how some studies it cites show ivermectin is effective against the illness.

    The FDA in the settlement is also agreeing to delete multiple social media posts that came out strongly against ivermectin, including one that stated: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

    In exchange, doctors who sued the agency are dismissing their claims, the filing states.

    READ: https://www.ntd.com/fda-settles-ivermectin-case-agrees-to-remove-controversial-stop-it-post_981178.html
    BREAKING: Texas Doctors Force FDA to Remove Covid-19 Posts in Settlement The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has agreed to remove social media posts and webpages that urged people to stop taking ivermectin to treat COVID-19, according to a settlement dated March 21. The FDA has already removed a page that said: “Should I take ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19? No.” Within 21 days, the FDA will remove another page titled, “why you should not use ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19,” according to the settlement announcement, which was filed with federal court in southern Texas. “The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals,” the page currently states. It also says that data do not show ivermectin is effective against COVID-19, despite how some studies it cites show ivermectin is effective against the illness. The FDA in the settlement is also agreeing to delete multiple social media posts that came out strongly against ivermectin, including one that stated: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.” In exchange, doctors who sued the agency are dismissing their claims, the filing states. READ: https://www.ntd.com/fda-settles-ivermectin-case-agrees-to-remove-controversial-stop-it-post_981178.html
    WWW.NTD.COM
    FDA Settles Ivermectin Case, Agrees to Remove Controversial ‘Stop It’ Post
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has agreed to remove social media posts and webpages that urged people to stop taking ivermectin to treat COVID-19, according to a settlement dated March 21. The FDA has already removed a page that said: “Should I take ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19? No.” Within 21 days, […]
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  • DNA contamination in Covid vaccines DOES get into human cells, new evidence shows
    It also appears that the contamination enters the cell nucleus and integrates with human DNA

    Rebekah Barnett
    Regulators and fact checkers claim that plasmid DNA contamination in the mRNA Covid vaccines can’t change your genomic DNA, but new evidence suggests that it actually can.

    The fact checkers assert that DNA contamination poses no risk to your genomic DNA because your body will naturally destroy any contaminant DNA before it even gets into the cells.

    Even if the contaminant DNA could get into cells, there’s no way it can enter the cell nucleus, where genomic integration events occur, they say.

    And even if the contaminant DNA could enter the nucleus, which it can’t, it still couldn’t genomically integrate unless specific enzymes are present, they say.

    However, results from independent lab testing conducted on ovarian cancer cell lines show that contaminant DNA from Pfizer’s Covid vaccine not only crossed into the cells, but that it survived multiple cell divisions. This is suggestive that the contaminant DNA is able to transfect (enter) the cell nucleus, and that it integrated with the human cell DNA.

    TLDR

    1. Scientists claim that Pfizer vaccine contaminant DNA has been detected in ovarian cancer cell line DNA, but they do not yet know if it’s chromosomal (heritable) or extra-chromosomal DNA (not heritable)

    2. This is an in vitro (in a lab dish) finding, and needs to be replicated in vivo (in a human patient)

    3. As the finding is specific to cancer cell lines, it is not generalisable, but scientists say it may give an indication of what cancer patients in remission could experience after mRNA Covid vaccination

    4. This finding calls into question fact checker claims that mRNA Covid vaccine DNA contamination can't enter cells, can't enter the nucleus, and cannot integrate with human DNA.
    Last year, Boston-based genomics scientist Kevin McKernan made the shocking discovery that the mRNA Covid vaccines are contaminated with excessive levels of plasmid DNA, an artefact of the vaccine production process.

    McKernan’s findings were soon confirmed by multiple independent labs around the world for both the Pfizer and Moderna mono- and bi-valent vaccines, including lots approved for children, with one Canadian study led by Dr David Speicher concluding that there are “billions to hundreds of billions of DNA molecules per dose.”

    Scientists including McKernan, University of South Carolina cancer genomics scientist Dr Phillip Buckhaults, and Dr Wafik El-Diery, head of the Cancer Centre at Brown University, expressed concerns that fragments of plasmid DNA contamination could cause adverse events, autoimmune problems and cancers in some patients.

    But perhaps most significantly, there is also a theoretical risk of the contaminant DNA integrating with patients’ chromosomal DNA and modifying the human genome. This is of particular concern with the Pfizer vaccine, which contains an SV40 enhancer sequence, used in gene therapies “to drive DNA into the nucleus,” explains McKernan.

    While regulators have taken a ‘wait and see’ approach, independent scientists, including McKernan, have been more proactive, initiating experiments testing for evidence of genomic integration.

    Now, the first results are in.

    In an experiment conducted together with German molecular biologist Dr Ulrike Kämmerer, McKernan has detected vaccine contaminant DNA in ovarian cancer cell lines treated with Pfizer’s Covid vaccine.

    The scientists found a chimeric combination of human ovarian cell line DNA and spike sequence DNA derived from the contaminating plasmid at at least one, and possibly two sites.

    “If anything, this work has put to bed the question regarding if this contaminant DNA gets into the cell, and the chimeric human and contaminant spike DNA sequences imply it has entered the nucleus,” McKernan says.

    “The PCR and sequencing data both demonstrate the vaccine is getting into the cell and surviving cell passaging. It is likely bioactive and being partially replicated.”

    To reach this finding, Dr Kämmerer first treated ovarian cancer cell lines with mRNA Covid vaccines, using cells treated with AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines as controls.

    The cells were then ‘passaged’, meaning they were left to divide and replicate numerous times. This has the effect of “rinsing away residual vaccine,” explains McKernan.

    Immunohistochemistry (IHC) was then performed, a staining process that Dr Kämmerer used to detect levels of spike protein expression produced by the vaccine modified-RNA.

    This was to confirm that the lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) carrying mod-RNA and plasmid DNA contamination “did their job and delivered the payload,” says McKernan. Measuring how many cells expressed spike protein also allowed the scientists to determine how much of the vaccine to treat the cells with.


    Immunohistochemistry performed with Pfizer top left, AstraZeneca top right as a control. Source: Kevin McKernan’s Substack
    Cell lines were then sent in cold storage to McKernan’s Boston lab, where his team used qPCR to screen which samples to sequence the cell line DNA.

    “What we found is, [contaminant] DNA that is getting transfected into ovarian cancer cell lines is replicating in the cells,” says McKernan, noting that the ratio of vaccine contaminant DNA to human cell DNA was “higher than we expected.”

    Chimeric sequences of human and vaccine contaminant DNA were detected at two sites: chromosomes 9 and 12, with the evidence for the latter being the strongest. “But we don't know if it's extra-chromosomal or whether it's chromosomal because of the Illumina (short read) method we used to sequence,” explains McKernan.


    Source: Kevin McKernan’s Substack
    Extra-chromosomal DNA is not part of the chromosome, and is therefore less likely to replicate and to be heritable. Chromosomal DNA, on the other hand, is heritable and more likely to be replicated. A third category, mitochondrial DNA, is heritable, but only from the maternal line.

    You can read a detailed account of methods and findings via McKernan’s Substack article, ‘Vaccine targeted qPCR of Cancer Cell Lines treated with BNT162b2.’

    ‘Major advance,’ but clinical implications are limited

    McKernan emphasises that these findings cannot be generalised, stating that “it is too early to make comments on the clinical implications.”

    “The study is performed in ovarian cancer cell lines. It is not performed in patient cells, but this is a proxy for what might happen in an ovarian cancer patient who's in remission,” says McKernan, especially as there is evidence that the LNPs go to the ovaries.

    The risk for patients in this scenario is that integration events with contaminant DNA might cause aberrant cell growth, which poses a risk to immune suppression of new cancer cells.

    McKernan notes that his experiment only picked up on putative integration events that persisted after multiple cell replications. That is to say, the scientists were not able to detect integration events that may have occurred, but then died off immediately.

    At the moment, no one knows how many integration events might be occurring, or what effect that would have on patients. “The unknowns are just exponential,” says McKernan.

    The cancer cell line experiment can be said to be “a microcosm of genome integration of contaminated DNA,” said Japanese molecular oncology scientist Hiroshi Arakawa, in his own analysis of McKernan and Dr Kämmerer’s experiment, published to his popular science blog on which he shares critical views on Covid vaccine safety.

    Akira calls the two possible integrations observed in Dr Kämmerer’s experiment a “major advance” laying the ground for further experimentation. “What happens in cultured cells can also occur in normal cells, and a wide variety of abnormalities can occur depending on the site of genome integration,” such as “the induction of cancer or malignant transformation,” he wrote (translated from Japanese to English).

    LNPs deliver contaminant DNA straight to the cells

    A key assumption underlying claims that mRNA Covid vaccine contamination cannot enter the cell nucleus, and cannot genomically integrate with host DNA, is that the contamination will never make it into dividing cells, which would be required for integration to occur.

    This is based on the assumption that the LNPs containing both mod-RNA and contaminant DNA mostly stay in the muscle at the injection site. As muscle cells do not divide, there’s no problem, the logic goes.

    This is misleading, however, as Pfizer’s own biodistribution data shows that the LNPs enter the blood and every major organ system, including the ovaries, as mentioned above. While it is true that muscle cells don’t divide, LNPs distributed around the body can transfect any number of dividing cells in various organ systems.


    Table 4-2. shows biodistribution of LNPs, Pfizer Nonclinical Evaluation Report, 2021
    From there, it’s only a matter of time before the LNP contents get into the cell nucleus, says McKernan. “In any dividing cell, the nucleus dissolves. So, when people say the DNA can get into the cytoplasm [inside the cell membrane] but won't get into the nucleus, well, in any dividing cell, it will end up getting into the nucleus.”

    It is possible that the dissolution of the cell nucleus during division is the mechanism underlying McKernan and Dr Kämmerer’s observed passaging of contaminant DNA, but further research will be required to confirm or disprove this hypothesis.

    Because of the effectiveness of LNPs in delivering their contents into cells, McKernan, Dr Buckhaults and Dr Speicher have questioned the suitability of the current regulatory limits on contaminant DNA in vaccines, which were set prior to the introduction of LNP technology in vaccines.

    Regulators unconcerned

    I sent McKernan’s Substack article documenting the new DNA integration findings to Australia’s drug regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, for comment.

    The TGA did not address the new findings, but a spokesperson from the TGA responded,

    “The Department of Health and Aged Care has every confidence in the safety, quality and efficacy of the various approved COVID-19 vaccines for use in Australia. The TGA’s assessment of all vaccines is based upon high quality evidence, including studies and reviews published in peer-reviewed scientific and clinical journals.”

    However, when asked previously to provide evidence for its position that Covid vaccines pose no risk of DNA integration, the TGA provided no peer-reviewed scientific evidence to support its claims.

    Instead, the TGA provided links to a Mayo Clinic fact page with no scientific citations, an article by the discredited RMIT FactLab, and a scientific commentary article suggesting that in vitro findings cannot be generalised.

    Furthermore, TGA has not been forthcoming with the evidence it does hold. When asked to release Covid vaccine batch testing results under Freedom of Information, the regulator provided all 74 pages - fully redacted.

    In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) denied that contaminant DNA in the mRNA vaccines can enter the nucleus or pose any threat to patients’ genomic DNA, in a response to concerns raised by Florida Surgeon General, Dr Joseph A. Ladapo in December of last year.

    Additionally, the FDA misleadingly refuted the presence of SV40 proteins in the vaccines, when in fact Dr Ladapo raised concerns over the presence of an SV40 enchancer sequence in the Pfizer vaccine, as confirmed by Health Canada and numerous independent laboratories.

    Such ham-fisted mischaracterisation of a gene therapy sequence by the FDA is suggestive of either gross incompetence, or a disinformation play. Both are concerning.

    Science journalist Maryanne Demasi reported, in November last year, that the FDA shut down her enquiries into the DNA contamination matter, refusing to confirm if it found levels of DNA that exceeded acceptable levels, or if it was investigating further.

    The presence of contamination has been officially acknowledged by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Health Canada, with the latter also acknowledging the presence of the SV40 enhancer sequence, though both regulators deny that the amounts exceed regulatory limits, or that the DNA contamination poses any risk.

    ‘No excuse’ for ignoring ‘screaming hot signal’

    Instead of denying excessive DNA levels and deferring to manufacturers’ reported test results, regulators should run their own qPCR testing on batch lots, says McKernan.

    Then, “they would see what everyone else is seeing, which is that sometimes the CT scores come out as low as 13… that’s a screaming hot signal.”

    “As a reference, the Covid test would call people positive at 33-35,” McKernan explains. “That’s a million-fold difference (20 CTs). A million-fold less Covid RNA and you're positive and quarantined. But you can inject a million-fold more past your mucosa?”

    There’s “no excuse” for regulators to not sequence every vaccine lot, says McKernan, when the costs for doing so have dropped dramatically in recent years.

    “DNA sequencing costs have dropped 100,000 fold in the last decade. They have relaxed the DNA contamination limits 1000-fold in this time frame. It likely only costs $1,000 in reagents for millions-to-billions of dollars worth of product.”


    Source: National Human Genome Research Institute
    DNA sequencing by regulatory agencies is important not just for measuring quantities, says McKernan, but also for determining the type of DNA contamination.

    “Not all DNA is created equal. Some is designed to replicate - when it gets into a cell, it can make more of itself. It's a massive loophole in the regulations that they don't do sequencing. But it's never been cheaper. You can precisely know the nature of the DNA in every single vial.”

    Scientists pick up regulators’ slack

    In the absence of any regulatory appetite for investigating the risks of DNA contamination in the mRNA Covid shots, and particularly the risk of genomic integration, independent scientists have taken the baton.

    “We are writing up our findings and will publish a preprint soon,” says McKernan, who is planning further testing in partnership with Dr Kämmerer. “We’re doing more experiments first. We need to sequence deeper to find out if the integration events are in chromosomal or extra-chromosomal DNA.”

    Dr Buckhaults is also running his own experiment, calling for de-identified samples of tumours or fresh blood from pathology and hematology labs. These samples will be tested for the presence of plasmid DNA contamination, with whole genome sequencing to then be carried out on positive samples to identify genomic integration sites.

    In an email outlining his experiment, Dr Buckhaults told me that he intends to report his findings in a peer-reviewed publication, predicting that the work could take “a few months to a year,” depending on how fast samples come in.

    “I am hopeful to prove my concerns are unwarranted by accumulating a lot of negative data, and of course negative data takes the most time to collect,” he said.

    McKernan says he is aware of other labs running tests for contaminant plasmid DNA integration, but cannot disclose the details at present.

    Decentralisation the future of science?

    McKernan says he has experienced some pushback for publishing his methods and findings in real time via Substack, X, and preprints. But, he believes that making his data available as quickly as possible is a way for the field of science to regain public trust.

    “Many will criticize our disclosure of preliminary findings but we feel this is an insult to the intelligence of the average person,” says McKernan.

    “It's a form of scientific elitism that implies people can't handle the truth and will be scared like sheep if given a glimpse of how the true scientific process is performed. Scientists are 90% of the time wrong but only publish the times when they are right. There is no journal of negative results.“

    In light of the prospect that most published research findings are false (as famously asserted in a 2005 article by Professor John Ioannidis), McKernan questions the value of peer-review, instead favouring replication or refutation in the real world.


    Source: X
    For this reason, McKernan says he has not prioritised peer-reviewed publication for his DNA contamination findings, but is rather focusing on conducting more experiments and releasing the data as he goes - even when it’s incomplete, or requires further experimentation.

    “We were not expecting to find any integration events at this depth of coverage, but they are evident to anyone who downloads our public reads. To not speak to obvious evidence in such data would be irresponsible even when such evidence doesn't 100% answer a given question,” says McKernan.

    Dr Buckhaults takes a somewhat different view. After sharing his initial plasmid DNA contamination findings in a South Carolina Senate hearing in September last year, the video recording broke the internet.

    Believing the hearing to have been private, Dr Buckhaults was alarmed that the widespread distribution of his testimony may have caused “unintended, harmful side effects.” He requested that YouTube take down his testimony video, which is now defunct.


    Source: X
    In our correspondence, Dr Buckhaults stressed that while more research is warranted, he is of the opinion that the public “should not overreact to the news of the plasmid DNA contamination. It's serious enough that scientists need to hustle and figure out if it's causing any health problems now or down the road, but it's not cause for the general public to be alarmed.”

    But, “The reality is that`transfection experiments with contaminated DNA' have been carried out on vast numbers of people around the world in the name of vaccination,” writes Arakawa.

    Perhaps the experiment participants will be the ones to decide if they should be alarmed, or not.

    The FDA was contacted for comment about Dr Kämmerer and McKernan’s new findings, but they did not respond by publication deadline. This article will be updated if comment is received.

    View Kevin McKernan’s write up of his DNA integration experiment (in partnership with Dr Kämmerer) here. Scroll down for links to sequencing data files.

    Pathology and hematology labs wishing to send samples to Dr Buckhaults are invited to contact him at the University of South Carolina.

    Update 23 March 2024: This article was edited to add mention of the Dr David Speicher et al. finding of “billions to hundreds of billions of DNA molecules per dose” of the mRNA vaccines, and the scientists’ concerns that regulatory limits on DNA contamination have not taken LNP transfection into account.


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    1
    From an article I wrote for Umbrella News on this topic last year:

    The TGA maintains that allegations put forward in the case about the potential for mRNA vaccines to alter the recipient’s DNA are unfounded. A spokesperson for the TGA told Umbrella News,

    “COVID-19 vaccines do not alter a person’s DNA. The mRNA in the vaccines does not enter the nucleus of cells and is not integrated into the human genome. Thus, the mRNA does not cause genetic damage or affect the offspring of vaccinated individuals.”

    “The TGA continues to monitor the scientific literature associated with the SARS – CoV-2 virus and the various COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Australia.”

    With reference to the specific studies cited in the case materials, the TGA pointed Umbrella News to an RMIT ABC Fact Check post from 2022 purporting to ‘debunk’ claims that mRNA jabs are genotoxic. This is the same site that ‘debunked’ claims that COVID vaccines can cause menstrual disruption, before peer-reviewed scientific studies proved that they can and do (the post has not been corrected).

    As evidence that it is “well established” that vaccine mRNA and protein do not enter the nucleus, the TGA provided a link to a Mayo Clinic fact page which provides no studies or scientific evidence in support of its claims.

    The TGA did provide one commentary article published in a scientific journal which pointed out that the in vitro liver cell line study cannot be extrapolated to generalise about in vivo findings (in a human, not a dish) without further research being undertaken.

    Additionally, RMIT FactLab was suspended by Facebook in August 2023 after an uproar over its blatantly biased and factually dubious ‘fact checking’ of media articles relating to the Voice referendum campaign. It also transpired that RMIT FactLab had falsely represented its accreditation with the International Fact-Checking Network as current, when it had in fact lapsed.


    https://news.rebekahbarnett.com.au/p/dna-contamination-in-covid-vaccines
    DNA contamination in Covid vaccines DOES get into human cells, new evidence shows It also appears that the contamination enters the cell nucleus and integrates with human DNA Rebekah Barnett Regulators and fact checkers claim that plasmid DNA contamination in the mRNA Covid vaccines can’t change your genomic DNA, but new evidence suggests that it actually can. The fact checkers assert that DNA contamination poses no risk to your genomic DNA because your body will naturally destroy any contaminant DNA before it even gets into the cells. Even if the contaminant DNA could get into cells, there’s no way it can enter the cell nucleus, where genomic integration events occur, they say. And even if the contaminant DNA could enter the nucleus, which it can’t, it still couldn’t genomically integrate unless specific enzymes are present, they say. However, results from independent lab testing conducted on ovarian cancer cell lines show that contaminant DNA from Pfizer’s Covid vaccine not only crossed into the cells, but that it survived multiple cell divisions. This is suggestive that the contaminant DNA is able to transfect (enter) the cell nucleus, and that it integrated with the human cell DNA. TLDR 1. Scientists claim that Pfizer vaccine contaminant DNA has been detected in ovarian cancer cell line DNA, but they do not yet know if it’s chromosomal (heritable) or extra-chromosomal DNA (not heritable) 2. This is an in vitro (in a lab dish) finding, and needs to be replicated in vivo (in a human patient) 3. As the finding is specific to cancer cell lines, it is not generalisable, but scientists say it may give an indication of what cancer patients in remission could experience after mRNA Covid vaccination 4. This finding calls into question fact checker claims that mRNA Covid vaccine DNA contamination can't enter cells, can't enter the nucleus, and cannot integrate with human DNA. Last year, Boston-based genomics scientist Kevin McKernan made the shocking discovery that the mRNA Covid vaccines are contaminated with excessive levels of plasmid DNA, an artefact of the vaccine production process. McKernan’s findings were soon confirmed by multiple independent labs around the world for both the Pfizer and Moderna mono- and bi-valent vaccines, including lots approved for children, with one Canadian study led by Dr David Speicher concluding that there are “billions to hundreds of billions of DNA molecules per dose.” Scientists including McKernan, University of South Carolina cancer genomics scientist Dr Phillip Buckhaults, and Dr Wafik El-Diery, head of the Cancer Centre at Brown University, expressed concerns that fragments of plasmid DNA contamination could cause adverse events, autoimmune problems and cancers in some patients. But perhaps most significantly, there is also a theoretical risk of the contaminant DNA integrating with patients’ chromosomal DNA and modifying the human genome. This is of particular concern with the Pfizer vaccine, which contains an SV40 enhancer sequence, used in gene therapies “to drive DNA into the nucleus,” explains McKernan. While regulators have taken a ‘wait and see’ approach, independent scientists, including McKernan, have been more proactive, initiating experiments testing for evidence of genomic integration. Now, the first results are in. In an experiment conducted together with German molecular biologist Dr Ulrike Kämmerer, McKernan has detected vaccine contaminant DNA in ovarian cancer cell lines treated with Pfizer’s Covid vaccine. The scientists found a chimeric combination of human ovarian cell line DNA and spike sequence DNA derived from the contaminating plasmid at at least one, and possibly two sites. “If anything, this work has put to bed the question regarding if this contaminant DNA gets into the cell, and the chimeric human and contaminant spike DNA sequences imply it has entered the nucleus,” McKernan says. “The PCR and sequencing data both demonstrate the vaccine is getting into the cell and surviving cell passaging. It is likely bioactive and being partially replicated.” To reach this finding, Dr Kämmerer first treated ovarian cancer cell lines with mRNA Covid vaccines, using cells treated with AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines as controls. The cells were then ‘passaged’, meaning they were left to divide and replicate numerous times. This has the effect of “rinsing away residual vaccine,” explains McKernan. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) was then performed, a staining process that Dr Kämmerer used to detect levels of spike protein expression produced by the vaccine modified-RNA. This was to confirm that the lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) carrying mod-RNA and plasmid DNA contamination “did their job and delivered the payload,” says McKernan. Measuring how many cells expressed spike protein also allowed the scientists to determine how much of the vaccine to treat the cells with. Immunohistochemistry performed with Pfizer top left, AstraZeneca top right as a control. Source: Kevin McKernan’s Substack Cell lines were then sent in cold storage to McKernan’s Boston lab, where his team used qPCR to screen which samples to sequence the cell line DNA. “What we found is, [contaminant] DNA that is getting transfected into ovarian cancer cell lines is replicating in the cells,” says McKernan, noting that the ratio of vaccine contaminant DNA to human cell DNA was “higher than we expected.” Chimeric sequences of human and vaccine contaminant DNA were detected at two sites: chromosomes 9 and 12, with the evidence for the latter being the strongest. “But we don't know if it's extra-chromosomal or whether it's chromosomal because of the Illumina (short read) method we used to sequence,” explains McKernan. Source: Kevin McKernan’s Substack Extra-chromosomal DNA is not part of the chromosome, and is therefore less likely to replicate and to be heritable. Chromosomal DNA, on the other hand, is heritable and more likely to be replicated. A third category, mitochondrial DNA, is heritable, but only from the maternal line. You can read a detailed account of methods and findings via McKernan’s Substack article, ‘Vaccine targeted qPCR of Cancer Cell Lines treated with BNT162b2.’ ‘Major advance,’ but clinical implications are limited McKernan emphasises that these findings cannot be generalised, stating that “it is too early to make comments on the clinical implications.” “The study is performed in ovarian cancer cell lines. It is not performed in patient cells, but this is a proxy for what might happen in an ovarian cancer patient who's in remission,” says McKernan, especially as there is evidence that the LNPs go to the ovaries. The risk for patients in this scenario is that integration events with contaminant DNA might cause aberrant cell growth, which poses a risk to immune suppression of new cancer cells. McKernan notes that his experiment only picked up on putative integration events that persisted after multiple cell replications. That is to say, the scientists were not able to detect integration events that may have occurred, but then died off immediately. At the moment, no one knows how many integration events might be occurring, or what effect that would have on patients. “The unknowns are just exponential,” says McKernan. The cancer cell line experiment can be said to be “a microcosm of genome integration of contaminated DNA,” said Japanese molecular oncology scientist Hiroshi Arakawa, in his own analysis of McKernan and Dr Kämmerer’s experiment, published to his popular science blog on which he shares critical views on Covid vaccine safety. Akira calls the two possible integrations observed in Dr Kämmerer’s experiment a “major advance” laying the ground for further experimentation. “What happens in cultured cells can also occur in normal cells, and a wide variety of abnormalities can occur depending on the site of genome integration,” such as “the induction of cancer or malignant transformation,” he wrote (translated from Japanese to English). LNPs deliver contaminant DNA straight to the cells A key assumption underlying claims that mRNA Covid vaccine contamination cannot enter the cell nucleus, and cannot genomically integrate with host DNA, is that the contamination will never make it into dividing cells, which would be required for integration to occur. This is based on the assumption that the LNPs containing both mod-RNA and contaminant DNA mostly stay in the muscle at the injection site. As muscle cells do not divide, there’s no problem, the logic goes. This is misleading, however, as Pfizer’s own biodistribution data shows that the LNPs enter the blood and every major organ system, including the ovaries, as mentioned above. While it is true that muscle cells don’t divide, LNPs distributed around the body can transfect any number of dividing cells in various organ systems. Table 4-2. shows biodistribution of LNPs, Pfizer Nonclinical Evaluation Report, 2021 From there, it’s only a matter of time before the LNP contents get into the cell nucleus, says McKernan. “In any dividing cell, the nucleus dissolves. So, when people say the DNA can get into the cytoplasm [inside the cell membrane] but won't get into the nucleus, well, in any dividing cell, it will end up getting into the nucleus.” It is possible that the dissolution of the cell nucleus during division is the mechanism underlying McKernan and Dr Kämmerer’s observed passaging of contaminant DNA, but further research will be required to confirm or disprove this hypothesis. Because of the effectiveness of LNPs in delivering their contents into cells, McKernan, Dr Buckhaults and Dr Speicher have questioned the suitability of the current regulatory limits on contaminant DNA in vaccines, which were set prior to the introduction of LNP technology in vaccines. Regulators unconcerned I sent McKernan’s Substack article documenting the new DNA integration findings to Australia’s drug regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, for comment. The TGA did not address the new findings, but a spokesperson from the TGA responded, “The Department of Health and Aged Care has every confidence in the safety, quality and efficacy of the various approved COVID-19 vaccines for use in Australia. The TGA’s assessment of all vaccines is based upon high quality evidence, including studies and reviews published in peer-reviewed scientific and clinical journals.” However, when asked previously to provide evidence for its position that Covid vaccines pose no risk of DNA integration, the TGA provided no peer-reviewed scientific evidence to support its claims. Instead, the TGA provided links to a Mayo Clinic fact page with no scientific citations, an article by the discredited RMIT FactLab, and a scientific commentary article suggesting that in vitro findings cannot be generalised. Furthermore, TGA has not been forthcoming with the evidence it does hold. When asked to release Covid vaccine batch testing results under Freedom of Information, the regulator provided all 74 pages - fully redacted. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) denied that contaminant DNA in the mRNA vaccines can enter the nucleus or pose any threat to patients’ genomic DNA, in a response to concerns raised by Florida Surgeon General, Dr Joseph A. Ladapo in December of last year. Additionally, the FDA misleadingly refuted the presence of SV40 proteins in the vaccines, when in fact Dr Ladapo raised concerns over the presence of an SV40 enchancer sequence in the Pfizer vaccine, as confirmed by Health Canada and numerous independent laboratories. Such ham-fisted mischaracterisation of a gene therapy sequence by the FDA is suggestive of either gross incompetence, or a disinformation play. Both are concerning. Science journalist Maryanne Demasi reported, in November last year, that the FDA shut down her enquiries into the DNA contamination matter, refusing to confirm if it found levels of DNA that exceeded acceptable levels, or if it was investigating further. The presence of contamination has been officially acknowledged by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Health Canada, with the latter also acknowledging the presence of the SV40 enhancer sequence, though both regulators deny that the amounts exceed regulatory limits, or that the DNA contamination poses any risk. ‘No excuse’ for ignoring ‘screaming hot signal’ Instead of denying excessive DNA levels and deferring to manufacturers’ reported test results, regulators should run their own qPCR testing on batch lots, says McKernan. Then, “they would see what everyone else is seeing, which is that sometimes the CT scores come out as low as 13… that’s a screaming hot signal.” “As a reference, the Covid test would call people positive at 33-35,” McKernan explains. “That’s a million-fold difference (20 CTs). A million-fold less Covid RNA and you're positive and quarantined. But you can inject a million-fold more past your mucosa?” There’s “no excuse” for regulators to not sequence every vaccine lot, says McKernan, when the costs for doing so have dropped dramatically in recent years. “DNA sequencing costs have dropped 100,000 fold in the last decade. They have relaxed the DNA contamination limits 1000-fold in this time frame. It likely only costs $1,000 in reagents for millions-to-billions of dollars worth of product.” Source: National Human Genome Research Institute DNA sequencing by regulatory agencies is important not just for measuring quantities, says McKernan, but also for determining the type of DNA contamination. “Not all DNA is created equal. Some is designed to replicate - when it gets into a cell, it can make more of itself. It's a massive loophole in the regulations that they don't do sequencing. But it's never been cheaper. You can precisely know the nature of the DNA in every single vial.” Scientists pick up regulators’ slack In the absence of any regulatory appetite for investigating the risks of DNA contamination in the mRNA Covid shots, and particularly the risk of genomic integration, independent scientists have taken the baton. “We are writing up our findings and will publish a preprint soon,” says McKernan, who is planning further testing in partnership with Dr Kämmerer. “We’re doing more experiments first. We need to sequence deeper to find out if the integration events are in chromosomal or extra-chromosomal DNA.” Dr Buckhaults is also running his own experiment, calling for de-identified samples of tumours or fresh blood from pathology and hematology labs. These samples will be tested for the presence of plasmid DNA contamination, with whole genome sequencing to then be carried out on positive samples to identify genomic integration sites. In an email outlining his experiment, Dr Buckhaults told me that he intends to report his findings in a peer-reviewed publication, predicting that the work could take “a few months to a year,” depending on how fast samples come in. “I am hopeful to prove my concerns are unwarranted by accumulating a lot of negative data, and of course negative data takes the most time to collect,” he said. McKernan says he is aware of other labs running tests for contaminant plasmid DNA integration, but cannot disclose the details at present. Decentralisation the future of science? McKernan says he has experienced some pushback for publishing his methods and findings in real time via Substack, X, and preprints. But, he believes that making his data available as quickly as possible is a way for the field of science to regain public trust. “Many will criticize our disclosure of preliminary findings but we feel this is an insult to the intelligence of the average person,” says McKernan. “It's a form of scientific elitism that implies people can't handle the truth and will be scared like sheep if given a glimpse of how the true scientific process is performed. Scientists are 90% of the time wrong but only publish the times when they are right. There is no journal of negative results.“ In light of the prospect that most published research findings are false (as famously asserted in a 2005 article by Professor John Ioannidis), McKernan questions the value of peer-review, instead favouring replication or refutation in the real world. Source: X For this reason, McKernan says he has not prioritised peer-reviewed publication for his DNA contamination findings, but is rather focusing on conducting more experiments and releasing the data as he goes - even when it’s incomplete, or requires further experimentation. “We were not expecting to find any integration events at this depth of coverage, but they are evident to anyone who downloads our public reads. To not speak to obvious evidence in such data would be irresponsible even when such evidence doesn't 100% answer a given question,” says McKernan. Dr Buckhaults takes a somewhat different view. After sharing his initial plasmid DNA contamination findings in a South Carolina Senate hearing in September last year, the video recording broke the internet. Believing the hearing to have been private, Dr Buckhaults was alarmed that the widespread distribution of his testimony may have caused “unintended, harmful side effects.” He requested that YouTube take down his testimony video, which is now defunct. Source: X In our correspondence, Dr Buckhaults stressed that while more research is warranted, he is of the opinion that the public “should not overreact to the news of the plasmid DNA contamination. It's serious enough that scientists need to hustle and figure out if it's causing any health problems now or down the road, but it's not cause for the general public to be alarmed.” But, “The reality is that`transfection experiments with contaminated DNA' have been carried out on vast numbers of people around the world in the name of vaccination,” writes Arakawa. Perhaps the experiment participants will be the ones to decide if they should be alarmed, or not. The FDA was contacted for comment about Dr Kämmerer and McKernan’s new findings, but they did not respond by publication deadline. This article will be updated if comment is received. View Kevin McKernan’s write up of his DNA integration experiment (in partnership with Dr Kämmerer) here. Scroll down for links to sequencing data files. Pathology and hematology labs wishing to send samples to Dr Buckhaults are invited to contact him at the University of South Carolina. Update 23 March 2024: This article was edited to add mention of the Dr David Speicher et al. finding of “billions to hundreds of billions of DNA molecules per dose” of the mRNA vaccines, and the scientists’ concerns that regulatory limits on DNA contamination have not taken LNP transfection into account. To support my work, make a one-off contribution to DDU via my Kofi account and/or subscribe. Thanks! Follow me on X Follow me on Instagram 1 From an article I wrote for Umbrella News on this topic last year: The TGA maintains that allegations put forward in the case about the potential for mRNA vaccines to alter the recipient’s DNA are unfounded. A spokesperson for the TGA told Umbrella News, “COVID-19 vaccines do not alter a person’s DNA. The mRNA in the vaccines does not enter the nucleus of cells and is not integrated into the human genome. Thus, the mRNA does not cause genetic damage or affect the offspring of vaccinated individuals.” “The TGA continues to monitor the scientific literature associated with the SARS – CoV-2 virus and the various COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Australia.” With reference to the specific studies cited in the case materials, the TGA pointed Umbrella News to an RMIT ABC Fact Check post from 2022 purporting to ‘debunk’ claims that mRNA jabs are genotoxic. This is the same site that ‘debunked’ claims that COVID vaccines can cause menstrual disruption, before peer-reviewed scientific studies proved that they can and do (the post has not been corrected). As evidence that it is “well established” that vaccine mRNA and protein do not enter the nucleus, the TGA provided a link to a Mayo Clinic fact page which provides no studies or scientific evidence in support of its claims. The TGA did provide one commentary article published in a scientific journal which pointed out that the in vitro liver cell line study cannot be extrapolated to generalise about in vivo findings (in a human, not a dish) without further research being undertaken. Additionally, RMIT FactLab was suspended by Facebook in August 2023 after an uproar over its blatantly biased and factually dubious ‘fact checking’ of media articles relating to the Voice referendum campaign. It also transpired that RMIT FactLab had falsely represented its accreditation with the International Fact-Checking Network as current, when it had in fact lapsed. https://news.rebekahbarnett.com.au/p/dna-contamination-in-covid-vaccines
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    DNA contamination in Covid vaccines DOES get into human cells, new evidence shows
    It also appears that the contamination enters the cell nucleus and integrates with human DNA
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