Dr Augusto Zimmermann on State Power, Control and Covid-19 By James Reed
ere are some thoughts by Dr Zimmermann on the Covid issue. As a background: “Dr Augusto Zimmermann PhD, LLM, LLB, DipEd, CertIntArb is Professor and Head of Law at Sheridan College in Perth/WA, and Professor of Law (Adjunct) at the University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney campus. He is President of the Western Australian Legal Theory Association (WALTA), and former Law Reform Commissioner with the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, from 2012-2017 (appointed by then state Attorney General Christian Porter). Dr Zimmermann was chair and professor of constitutional law at Murdoch University from 2007 to 2017.”
“Of course, every life matters. But sometimes I ask myself how can any rational person not see that the Wuhan virus has been ingeniously used to scare, brainwash and control entire populations, even to the point of what amounts to virtual house arrest.
Based on fundamental biology and the evidence in hand, the appropriate policy to fight the coronavirus should be focused on protecting only the most vulnerable – those who are very old or suffering from any chronic illness. As for the vast majority of us, says Dr Atlas, ‘essential socialising’ is essential to ‘generate immunity’ and ‘limiting the enormous harms compounded by continued total isolation’.
Whether you agree or not with this leading medical doctor and academic, informed debate is what we need to make wise decisions. Whatever your view of the pandemic, some of the points raised by Dr Atlas are important. We should all be able to question government policy. Unfortunately, informed debate is precisely what we are not being allowed to have. Suddenly, our media are no longer questioning power, but colluding with power that takes away our fundamental rights and freedoms. There is very little critical coverage of the massive expansion of state surveillance currently in progress. The reality is that since March this year our government is ruling by executive decree and this country has effectively become a police state. Of course, a police state does not mean a totalitarian state — I am still able to write this article without being immediately arrested.
However, we are already living with all key hallmarks of a police state. According to Dennis Prager, the primary elements of a police state are: (1) draconian laws depriving citizens of elementary rights; (2) a mass media supportive of the state’s messaging and deprivation of fundamental rights; (3) excessive use of power by the police; (4) people being encouraged by the State to inform on their fellow citizens. We are currently experiencing every single one of these elements. Furthermore, many Australians apparently believe that no government action can ever be used for utterly oppressive purposes. Many even support a tracing app which their leader has painted as a service to the nation, saying it will be made compulsory if not enough people voluntarily download the application to help coronavirus case tracing. This is truly frightening, echoing as it does with reminders of Soviet and Nazi subjugation of rights and institutions, again for the alleged betterment and security of the State.
As my good friend Bill Muehlenberg correctly points out,
Those who seem to think that the state is always benign clearly have no understanding of history. We know how often dictators and tyrants came to power by dealing with – or promising to deal with – various emergencies and crises. It could be a breakdown in law and order, real or perceived external threats, or economic crises, but the masses tended to support these leaders in their rise to power in the face of such threats.
The same concern was once expressed by Friedrich Hayek. An Austrian-British economist and philosopher who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974, in volume 3 of his seminal ‘Law, Legislation and Liberty’ (1981), Hayek reminds us that “temporary” measures and policies seem to have a way of becoming permanent after the emergency is over. He offered this sobering reflection:
The conditions under which such emergency powers may be granted without creating the danger that they will be retained when the absolute necessity has passed are among the most difficult and important points a constitution must decide on. ‘Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded – and once they are suspended it is not difficult for anyone who has assumed such emergency powers to see to it that the emergency will persist.
But perhaps we should not be so concerned. Our Prime Minister is a ‘Christian’ and he is even promising to reward us for our good behaviour in the future by allowing the pubs to re-open, for example, if we all dutifully download the COVIDsafe tracing app. Meanwhile, however, he is kindly letting us know in advance that his government will ‘have many more [restrictions] in front of us before it can even possibly contemplate the easing of restrictions’ ‘There’s got to be a reward for all of this great effort that’s going in, and there will be, but we’ve got to make sure that’s done at the right time’, the Prime Minister told Sky News.
This generosity is really very nice of him. His help will be most welcome when all these ongoing government restrictions provoke widespread job losses, bankruptcy, marriage breakdowns, and inadequate supplies of food and other essentials.
Of course, when this is over, almost none of us will know anyone who lost their lives to the Wuhan virus. We will all know, however, countless people who have lost their jobs, their businesses, their families, and even their very lives as a result of the arbitrary shutting down of the entire nation. As can be seen, this present crisis is not just about science and public health. It is also about power and about a supposed “pandemic” usefulness in dramatically increasing the power of the State.”
However, while that excellent piece was published in 2020, in 2021, we are moving more towards the “permanent pandemic,” where if it is not Covid-19, it will be some other disease:
“Those in positions of power have long recognized that conditions of fear and panic furnish exploitable opportunities to restructure society. COVID-19 is certainly a textbook example of this observation, illustrating that well-tuned fear campaigns can persuade many people to abandon essential medical and individual freedoms.
One of the key elements in the propagandist’s toolkit for perpetuating fear is repetition, particularly if the fear messages come from different directions and sources and are cloaked in a veneer of officialdom and respectability.
In January, a bipartisan commission released a dramatic 44-page report calling for an “Apollo Program for Biodefense,” explicitly comparing the proposal to the efforts that first landed humans on the moon. The commission laid the groundwork for its report in 2015, when it published a National Blueprint for Biodefense.
Now, seizing the COVID-19 moment, the commission is making the case for a vastly expanded biodefense budget — amounting to billions of biodefense dollars annually — to implement its conveniently ready-to-go blueprint.
Key members of the Biodefense Commission used the “existential threat” language in the aftermath of 9/11 in reference to terrorism — the same language they are using now regarding pandemics. Commission Chair Joseph Lieberman championed the post-9/11 creation of the Department of Homeland Security; Co-chair Thomas Ridge served as the first Homeland Security director.
Around 2014, world leaders began signaling their intent to swap out the War on Terror for a new narrative. That fall, President Obama hosted the first major meeting of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) — which he later elevated to a national priority — and soon thereafter pronounced the terrorist threat “over-inflated.”
Observing the downplaying of terrorism by Obama and senior administration officials, including then-Vice President Biden, journalists at The Guardian chimed in, calling assertions of an “existential [terrorist] threat” hyperbolic, “zany” and “absurd.” The next year, the Biodefense Commission issued its National Blueprint.
Dovetailing with the Biodefense Commission’s report, the media are telling the public to “start planning for a permanent pandemic.” For example, deploying the loaded language so favored by propagandists, German-American writer Andreas Kluth warned Americans on March 24 (in Bloomberg) of a “global arms race” pitting “coronavirus mutations … against vaccinations,” suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 could “become our permanent enemy, like the flu but worse.”
A former writer for The Economist and a self-styled interpreter of historical successes and failures, Kluth conjures up a foe — a mutating virus too “protean and elusive” to ever be conquered — that undoubtedly hits the biodefense wonks’ sweet spot. Far from rejecting pandemic hyperbole as “zany” or “absurd,” Kluth instead cheerlessly advises Americans to brace for “endless cycles of outbreaks and remissions, social restrictions and relaxations, lockdowns and reopenings.”
Ironically, Kluth argued last July in favor of a revival of “classical liberalism,” clarifying that he meant “not in the American sense of ‘left’ but in the European sense of ‘freedom.’”
Kluth also assures residents of the U.S. and other wealthy nations that vaccination “a couple of times a year” will be part of the “new normal.” Arguing for realism, however, he cautions that vaccination against “the latest variant in circulation” will never occur “fast or comprehensively enough to achieve herd immunity.”
The most positive notes Kluth seems able to strike are his conclusions that this “Brave New World needn’t be dystopian” and that, with each successive lockdown, “we [will] damage the economy less than in the previous one.”
Global control grid
As Children’s Health Defense and others have pointed out, COVID-19 — and the spectre of pandemics more generally — offer a handy pretext for the wider financial and governance overhaul that is unfolding, benefiting the few while building out a global control grid for the many.
In this context, we should not be surprised to see that the Biodefense Commission’s report highlights 15 core technology priorities that would fundamentally restructure society and daily life — in both the physical and digital realms — in the service of pathogen vigilance. These include:
- A National Public Health Data System to “integrate, curate and analyze” granular data at all levels in “real time.”
- Artificial-intelligence-driven “digital pathogen surveillance” involving tracking of data sources like social media, online forums and internet search queries.
- “Pathogen transmission suppression in the built environment,” including “air filtration and sterilization systems” that could involve diffusion ofnanoparticles (no consent required) via HVAC systems.
- “Needle-free” methods of drug and vaccine administration to “increase uptake” and work around “the logistical challenges of delivering these pharmaceuticals to potentially billions of people.”
In light of these stated priorities, it is interesting to note that the Biodefense Commission’s Ridge heads up an eponymous Beltway security consultingfirm, while Lieberman serves as senior counsel for a New York law firm whose roster of financial services, real estate and (bio)technology clients includes Google and Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals.
Teva announced in February that it is in discussion with COVID-19 vaccinemakers about possible “co-production” of some of the shots. The same day, Teva’s CEO told CNBC’s Meg Tirrell (who asked about this “very bright spot in Teva’s business”) that the company was “proud to be the partners” for the distribution and logistics of Pfizer’s experimental vaccine in Israel which, as of mid-March, had administered the shots to nearly 60% of the population, “more doses per capita than any other country,” according to Tirrell.
Teva’s CEO said nary a peep about the experts who are warning that Pfizer’s injection of Israelis is producing mortality far in excess of what would be expected from COVID itself.
Like Teva’s CEO, Andreas Kluth has been an enthusiastic booster of messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology, happy about synthetic mRNA’s endless permutations and the possibility of telling cells “to make whatever protein we want.”
While acknowledging that experimental mRNA vaccines had problems in the past (such as their tendency to cause “fatal inflammation” in animals), Kluth celebrates the COVID-19 pandemic as the “grand debut of mRNA vaccines and their definitive proof of concept,” stating: “Henceforth, mRNA will have no problems getting money, attention or enthusiasm — from investors, regulators and policymakers.”
In short, permanent pandemics promise to be good for technocracy and good for Big Business.’
That is the bottom line as to why pandemics, real or imaginary will be here forever, profit over human life.