The decision of US President Donald Trump to immediately suspend funding to the World Health organisation (WHO) has rightly been described as a ‘crime against humanity’ and a ‘damnable’ act that will cost lives.
With his customary callousness and disregard for the human suffering his decisions cause, Trump casually announced payments to WHO would be immediately suspended for 90 days pending an investigation into their alleged severe mismanagement and ‘covering up the spread of coronavirus’. What he is really trying to cover up is his own moronic, and frankly criminal negligence in the face of the coronavirus threat which he first ignored, then downplayed and now seeks to blame others for.
The World Health Organisation is not above scrutiny and criticism amid the covid19 crisis. No international body, politician or scientist is. In the months ahead there must be thorough examination of all aspects of analysis, forecasting, communication, advice, and action in connection with the covid19 pandemic. However suspending funding to the world recognised body at the forefront of the fight against the virus at this critical juncture when the number of cases approaches two million and the tragic death toll surpasses one hundred and twenty eight thousands is not only stupid, it is, indeed criminal:
Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of the Lancet medical journal, wrote that Trump’s decision was “a crime against humanity … Every scientist, every health worker, every citizen must resist and rebel against this appalling betrayal of global solidarity.”
Trump Was Fully Warned About Covid19 – He Chose to Ignore Warnings
The evidence that Trump was fully briefed and warned about the potential devastation covid19 could cause is a matter of fact and record but don’t expect that to prevent him denying that truth. Trump’s association with truth is rare and fleeting at the best of times.
On February 26th Trump briefed the press at the White House:
“The infection seems to have gone down over the last two days… We’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time.”
The very next day, February 27th, he said:
“It’s going to disappear… One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/14/trump-coronavirus-alerts-disinformation-timeline.
By the 13th of March he was compelled to announce a National Emergency over coronavirus and as of today, 15th April, his country leads the covid19 league table in both infections and deaths. 614,180 US citizens are infected and 26,061 have died. So much for his ‘just one or two people’ boast and ‘it’s going to disappear’ statement? His whole record in office has been lamentable but his performance during the covid19 crisis has been wretched.
Deflection of Blame is Reason Trump Suspended WHO Funds
This is the motivation behind suspension of payments to the WHO. The US contributes around £400 million annually which amounts to ten percent of WHO’s total budget so an immediate suspension of US funds will seriously hamper their global efforts in seeking to coordinate the war against covid19. Thousands of lives will needlessly be lost and the poorer regions and countries of the world will be worst affected. Trump has undoubtedly sanctioned a crime against humanity. And all to deflect attention away from his recklessly incompetent and negligent handling of the crisis. I sincerely hope it doesn’t work and sane citizens across the planet will see the move as the selfish and ‘damnable’ decision it is.
Trump’s addiction to lying was well documented prior to the coronavirus crisis and amounted to an average of 12 untruthful statements a day but any hope that a global pandemic threatening millions of lives would have shaken some honesty into him has been dashed by his daily utterances which have amounted to one falsehood after another.
The few remaining souls on earth who doubted Trump’s pathological narcissism will no longer remain sceptical when they learn that upwards of seventy million poor and desperate Americans have been denied essential relief cheques worth $1200 dollars for several days due to a Trump ordered delay. The original cheques did not feature his name. He ordered them to be withheld and re-printed so his name would appear on the cheques. There is no limit to the man’s narcissistic self-absorption and disregard for human suffering.
Latest ‘Crime Against Humanity’ Continues US Criminal Behaviour
One discordant note worth sounding in relation to the suspension of WHO funding is the disappointment that the appropriate and indignant rage and anger expressed by leading health experts, international bodies and politicians is not so forthcoming in relation to America’s on-going ‘crimes against humanity’ in the shape of economic sanctions.
Trump did not invent or introduce deadly economic sanctions against countries who refuse to tow the neo-liberal economic line of private ownership and privatisation of natural wealth but he has ratcheted them up several notches in an exercise in mass indiscriminate punishments, terrible suffering and premature deaths. If you consider the massive PPE sourcing difficulties in the likes of developed economies like the UK and Italy, imagine how much more difficult it would be if you faced trading blockades and economic sanctions preventing the flow of essential medicines and equipment?
Sanctions are essentially the imposition of arbitrary measures of economic and inhumane hardship on a country. US sanctions affect a third of humanity with more than 8,000 measures impacting 39 countries. Economic sanctions are also known as embargoes. The intention is to choke the economies of poor, developing countries, most of which were formerly colonised, or countries who elect socialist Presidents and governments. The sanctions, as well as visiting extreme hardship upon the civilian population, are intended to serve as a dire threat to surrounding countries, as they impact the economies of the whole region.
It is perverse irony that the powerful nations who impose such deadly economic sanctions against the likes of Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua and others, chiefly the US and UK, profess to be strict adherents to the ‘rule of law’ in society and across the world yet international law and conventions, including the Geneva and Nuremberg Conventions, United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, explicitly prohibit the targeting of defenceless civilians, especially in times of war.
Sanctions Are Brutal and Deadly Acts of War
Sanctions are not a bloodless or peaceful alternative to war. They are in fact the most brutal form of warfare because they are indiscriminate. They are not targeted. They harm the most vulnerable civilians, namely the young, the elderly, sick and disabled people. Most sanctions are intentionally hidden. They do not generate headlines in newspapers or dominate news bulletins. Many sanctions are rushed into law without any scrutiny after a sudden news article about an alleged atrocity. The civilians who suffer have nothing to do with whatever crime the corporate mainstream media use as an excuse. Never mentioned are the economic or political concessions the U.S. government or corporations are demanding, such as wholesale privatisation of industries and confiscation of land for corporate developments.
In a period of human history when hunger and disease are scientifically solvable, depriving hundreds of millions from getting necessities is a ‘crime against humanity’. So while it is encouraging to hear the editor of the respected medical journal, The Lancet, and other health experts and United Nations officials condemn Trump’s cancelling of funding to WHO as a ‘crime against humanity’ and a ‘damnable act’ it is absolutely imperative that even more forceful condemnation and dignified rage is directed against the US for their on-going imposition of sanctions against the likes of Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Nicaragua and scores of other poorer and struggling nations.
More nations and citizens across the world must waken up to the daily reality articulated by Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations, Samuel Moncada, when he spoke prior to the covid19 crisis to the XVIII Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 26, 2019. Addressing the 120 countries represented, he denounced the imposition of arbitrary measures, called “sanctions” by the U.S., as:
“… economic terrorism, which affects a third of humanity with more than 8,000 measures in 39 countries. This terrorism constitutes a threat to the entire system of international relations and is the greatest violation of human rights in the world”.