Recently, Twitter put out a statement, based upon the opinions of so-called fact checkers, that the Covid-19 jab rollout does not contravene the Nuremberg Code. This is just the latest in a long line of such pronouncements from all the social media big players. Twitter said:
The 10-point guidelines established in response to Nazi atrocities during the Holocaust are unrelated to widespread Covid-19 vaccination efforts, according to Lead Stories, FactCheck.org, RMIT ABC and other fact-checkers. Legal and medical experts told The Associated Press that Germany’s new Covid-19 measures don’t violate the Nuremberg Code because that ethical code applies to research involving human subjects, not public health interventions. Moreover, the Nuremberg Code does not apply to Covid-19 jabs, according to Rappler and Full Fact, because they have undergone extensive clinical trials and have received emergency use authorization around the world.
Like other major social media platforms, Twitter employs fact checkers, supposedly to debunk false claims. As we shall see, that claim itself is false.
Reuters is one of the news agencies that are official fact checking partners of Twitter. James C. Smith, chairman of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, is also a Pfizer board member. Reuters is a member of the Trusted News Initiative, whose stated purpose is to combat allegedly harmful vaccine disinformation.
This is just one strand of a web of conflicts of interest that broadly characterise the fact checking industry. Independence and impartiality seem to be irrelevant, as far as the fact checkers and their clients—the social media platforms and the mainstream media—are concerned.
Twitter has a specific policy to address what it calls “misleading information” about Covid-19 and the so-called vaccines. In it, Twitter makes many claims, deemed to be unassailable facts, that are not facts at all. For example, Twitter insists that it is misleading to state:
That vaccines approved by health agencies […] did not actually receive full approval/authorization, and therefore that the vaccines are untested, “experimental” or somehow unsafe.
This is a denial of the facts. As we shall see, the jabs did not receive “full approval/authorization” and there is no evidence that they are either safe or effective. They are also unquestionably experimental.
Since it is a fact checker cited by Twitter, and is based in the UK, we will focus upon the claims made by Full Fact. These are more or less the same as those made by Lead Stories, RMIT, ABC, Reuters and other fact checkers.
Full Fact states, as fact, that the jabs are not experimental. Insisting upon the factuality of this claim, it asserts in consequence that the Nuremberg Code is irrelevant with respect to the vaccine passports. So let’s examine these supposed facts.
The 1947 Nuremberg Code established ethical standards for the treatment of human subjects in experiments. For the purposes of our discussion, we will focus upon the first of ten principles contained in the Code, which can be summarised as:
The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the subject should have legal capacity, be able to exercise free choice and should have all the information they need to make an “enlightened decision.” Any use of “force, fraud, deceit, duress […] constraint or coercion” would be a direct violation of the Code.
The responsibility for judging consent lies with “each individual who initiates, directs or engages in the experiment.” This is “a personal duty and responsibility which may not be delegated to another with impunity.”
The Nuremberg Code is not statute law. However, it not only established a code of medical ethics for such experiments; it also encouraged the development of ethical standards in general medical practice. It is perhaps the single most important document in existence concerning medical ethics and human rights in the field of medicine.
The principle of voluntary informed consent, established at Nuremberg, has been adopted by the medical profession for all medical procedures and treatments. For example, the National Health Service states:
The principle of consent is an important part of medical ethics and international human rights law.
All western, liberal, representative democracies have incorporated the principles outlined in the Nuremberg Code into law. While the Code itself is not law, breaching it certainly does have legal ramifications.
In Montgomery v Lanarkshire 2015, the UK Supreme Court ruling was unequivocal:
An adult person of sound mind is entitled to decide which, if any, of the available forms of treatment to undergo, and her consent must be obtained before treatment interfering with her bodily integrity is undertaken. The doctor is therefore under a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that the patient is aware of any material risks involved in any recommended treatment.
This ruling meant that medical practitioners could no longer choose what information to provide to the patient. Nothing short of complete disclosure of all information, including all potential risks, was required to fulfil the lawful duty to facilitate “informed” consent prior to treatment.
Building upon the Nuremberg Code, the subsequent Declaration of Helsinki clarified the same standard of informed consent required for medical research:
No individual capable of giving informed consent may be enrolled in a research study unless he or she freely agrees […]
In medical research involving human subjects capable of giving informed consent, each potential subject must be adequately informed of the […] potential risks of the study and […] any other relevant aspects of the study[;] the physician or another appropriately qualified individual must then seek the potential subject’s freely-given informed consent.
With regard to voluntary consent, the ethical standards required for medical researchers on the one hand (in clinical trials) and physicians on the other (in medical practice) differ little. It is undoubtedly the responsibility of the physician or qualified person to ensure that the subject or patient has all the information they need to give informed consent. These principles, based upon human rights law developed from the Nuremberg Code, have been adjudicated in law on many occasions.
Fact-Free Fact Checking
So-called fact checkers do not define facts. Like any mainstream media outlet, blogger or alternative news platform, they simply report information, provide evidence and draw conclusions. In other words, they offer opinions.
Those expressed opinions may or may not accurately report the facts. However, unlike other segments of the media, the fact checkers claim additional authority. They demand that you accept their opinions as unassailable facts. They allege that their word is truth and that they define reality for us.
This claim of infallibility was recently exposed in the US federal courts as complete nonsense by Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta corporation. The libertarian John Stossel launched a legal challenge against the warnings that Meta (previously known as Facebook) had applied to his videos on climate change. In their submission to the court, Meta stated:
Stossel’s claims focus on the fact-check articles written by Climate Feedback, not the labels affixed through the Facebook platform. The labels themselves are neither false nor defamatory; to the contrary, they constitute protected opinion.
In a representative democratic society, built upon the principles of individual sovereignty, freedom of speech and expression, there is no such thing as a “protected opinion”. This bizarre concept would appear to breach the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, for a start.
Meta’s labelling system is a function of its Third Party Fact Checking Program. This is a service that it buys in from “fact checkers”, who, as Meta freely admit, do nothing other than check posts for possibly contravention of whatever they deem to be “protected opinion”. Facts have nothing to do with it.
Full Fact’s Protected Opinion On Experimentation
Many people allege that the Covid-19 rollouts contravene the Nuremberg Code because governments, administering physicians and practitioners have not informed the recipients that the jabs are experimental. Full Fact state:
We have seen several examples of posts on social media claiming that Covid-19 vaccines violate the Nuremberg Code because they are somehow “experimental” […] This claim that the Covid-19 vaccines are experimental is simply not true, and something we have corrected multiple times.
This statement by Full Fact is not a fact. Full Fact has not “corrected” anything, because it is emphatically wrong. In fact, beyond the basic report of the Code’s history, pretty much all the assertions that Full Fact seeks to make in its Nuremberg fact check are untrue.
Full Fact’s entire argument rests on its erroneous opinion, and its subsequently false claim, that the Covid jabs are not experimental. Full Fact embellishes this with a set of logical fallacies and ultimately offers an opinion piece that is largely non-factual.
The Covid jabs only have Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA). The implications of an EUA were explained by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) when it granted the Astrazeneca jab an EUA (emphasis below added):
This temporary Authorisation under Regulation 174 permits the supply to and by the Crown of Covid19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, based on the safety, quality and efficacy data submitted by AstraZeneca to MHRA […] This authorisation is not a marketing authorisation […]
As provided in Regulation 174A(2) of the Human Medicine Regulations, the sale or supply of this vaccine will not be deemed to be licensed or approved under this Authorisation […]
This authorisation will be valid until expressly withdrawn by MHRA or upon issue of a full market authorisation by the MHRA.
Based upon whatever AstraZeneca chose to disclose, the UK regulator gave the jab temporary authorisation. That authorisation is not an “approval” but rather a temporary permit for an unlicensed medication that does not have market authorisation. All Covid jabs in Western democratic nations, on both sides of the Atlantic, currently have emergency use authorisation or equivalent only.
There is the sole exception of one product type of the Pfizer Covid jab to which the US FDA has granted full approval, namely Comirnaty. Comirnaty is the very product type of the Pfizer Covid jab that is not available in the USA; see the wording in the last footnote on p. 2, in the middle of p. 12, and in para. AA on p. 20 of the relevant FDA communication, which constitutes admissions that the “licensed” Comirnaty has manufacturer liability but is unavailable in practice while the “legally distinct”, “[emergency-use] authorized” other Pfizer Covid jab is available in practice and has no manufacturer liability.
As stated by the U.S. regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this means that the jabs are investigational medications:
An EUA for a Covid-19 vaccine may allow for rapid and widespread deployment for administration of the investigational vaccine to millions of individuals
The MHRA refer to vaccines, that are yet to receive market authorisation, as biological investigational medicinal products. The FDA outline why this categorises the current crop of Covid jabs as experimental drugs:
An investigational drug can also be called an experimental drug.
Not only are they experimental by virtue of being classed as “investigational” under their respective EUAs, they are indisputably experimental because they are still in trials. Currently, there are no results posted for the NCT04614948 trial of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA jab; none for the NCT04516746 Astrazeneca jab; there are no results from Moderna’s NCT04470427 trial nor any from Johnson & Johnson’s NCT04368728 trial of their Janssen jab. The Moderna jab trial is due to conclude in October 2022; the rest aren’t set to end until 2023.
The co-called fact checkers at Full Fact appear to be denying, rather than reporting, the facts. Even Wikipedia contributors understand that a randomised control trial “is a form of scientific experiment”. Yet Full Fact alleges:
The vaccines still went through extensive clinical testing.
The three Covid vaccines currently given temporary authorisation for use in the UK have been shown to be safe and effective in large scale clinical trials.
They haven’t been “through” any “extensive clinical testing”. Temporary permits have been authorised, based upon interim reports from the manufacturers themselves.
There are no results posted for any of the clinical trials, and none has completed Phase III. There is no evidence that the jabs are “safe and effective in large scale clinical trials”. Full Fact’s claimed fact is not a fact. Is that why it does not link to any of the clinical trials in its opinion piece?
Full Fact offers a slew of strawman arguments. For example:
Arguments that the vaccines are experimental usually hinge on the fact that data is being collected on any side effects in recipients.
The source of this “fact” is unclear. Full Fact references three Facebook posts that have been censored, none of which cites the monitoring of side effects as a reason for their objections.
The notion proffered by Full Fact here—that people think the collection of data from the rollouts proves experimentation—is nonsense. People think they are experimental because they are still in clinical trials and are obviously “experimental” by definition.
They also think those who accepted the jabs should have been told about this fact. Otherwise, they could not possibly have given their informed consent.
Full Fact’s Protected Opinion On Vaccine Passports
Incorrectly insisting that the jabs are not experimental, Full Fact then claims that vaccine passports do not contravene the Nuremberg Code. This reveals either that Full Fact’s writers have no grasp of what the Nuremberg Code constitutes or that they are deliberately attempting to deceive their readers and social media users.
While we might suspect that the reason is the latter, Full Fact’s “protected opinion” is so confused that we can’t rule out the former. Full Fact ties itself up in knots with what is, for Full Fact, an apparent conundrum. Quoting the comments of Prof. Emma Cave, Full Fact notes that the Nuremberg Code:
[…] is really important because it’s a blueprint for many of today’s legal and ethical standards, internationally and nationally.
Deploying yet another fake fact, Full Fact then contradicts itself and states:
The Nuremberg Code would only be relevant at the research trial stage of a vaccine’s development, not its roll out to the general public.
On the one hand, then, the Nuremberg Code is acknowledged a “blueprint for many of today’s legal and ethical standards”, but on the other, it is laid on thick to us that it is only relevant if the drugs are in trials. Which they are.
Evidently, Full Fact is reluctant to inform its readers about the real reason why people cite the Nuremberg Code in their objections to the vaccine passports: namely, precisely because the Code is an ethical blueprint.
In addition to the non-negotiable status of informed consent, as stated in the Code, people must absolutely be free of any “force, fraud, deceit, duress […] constraint or coercion”. Yet vaccine passports conditional upon one’s jab status are an inducement to get the jab.
Initially designed only to restrict travel, currently they are being used to limit access to an ever-increasing range of activities, venues and services. Therefore, not having access to a vaccine passport is definitely a punishment for not getting the jab.
It is a fact that the vaccine passports constitute coercion to get the jab. That this is a clear dereliction of medical ethics is also a fact.
All Manner of Artifice
Despite the attempts of the fact checkers and the social media giants to obscure the facts, coercion as a policy has largely failed. Recently, the UK Government has intimated that it no longer intends to implement the domestic version of the passport, though it will still be required in its “certificate” form for international travel. It claims this is because the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is relatively mild.
While this apparent climbdown is perhaps encouraging, we shouldn’t simply accept government statements without considerable caution. This is the same government that said it had no plans to introduce any vaccine passports shortly before rolling out vaccine passports. It now have its digital identity infrastructure in place and a firm commitment to enforce it upon the population.
When identity cards have been put to a vote, the British people have consistently rejected the idea, defied trials of them and gone to court to have them scrapped. The vaccine passports represented the Government’s best chance to surreptitiously introduce the digital identity-based biosecurity state that it desires. It is extremely unlikely that it has given up on this ambition.
As we head into the spring, the normal seasonable variation in respiratory illness is set to decline. Now is perhaps not the time to try to force through the passports. However, the return of the usual winter excess mortality will present new opportunities for the emerging UK dictatorship.
Full Fact seems unable to acknowledge these facts and is instead forced to deploy all manner of artifice in a hopeless attempt to debunk them, including allegations of far-right extremism, anti-Semitism and insinuations of being “morally grotesque” heaped upon anyone who questions that “protected opinion”. Such ad-hominem attacks are all the fact checkers have left, because they don’t have any evidence with which to question the known facts.
Another Arm of the Global Public-Private Partnership
Fact checkers such as Full Fact are part of the Global Public-Private Partnership’s (G3P’s) war on the “infodemic”. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in February 2020, the Director General of The World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said:
We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic. Fake news spreads faster and more easily than this virus, and is just as dangerous. That’s why we’re also working with search and media companies like Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Tencent, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and others to counter the spread of rumours and misinformation.
We call on all governments, companies and news organizations to work with us to sound the appropriate level of alarm […] It takes a whole-of-government approach. But that approach must be coherent and coordinated […] The greatest enemy we face is not the virus itself; it’s the stigma that turns us against each other.
The priority was never Covid-19; it was the infodemic, G3P cohesion and control of the narrative. “They” feared the collapse of the COVID-19 story more than the public health impact of any disease. Notably, this “whole-of-government approach” was to be coordinated, which necessarily means that some group, over and above government, undertook the coordination.
“They” are the G3P. The fact checking industry—primarily funded by philanthropic foundation partners of the G3P, and also funded through contracts with corporations, who are also stakeholder partners within the G3P—has been a leading combatant in the G3P’s war on the “infodemic”.
“Protected opinion” is whatever agrees with the Great Narrative that the G3P wants to tell. As we can see from Full Fact’s woeful attempt to “debunk” the facts surrounding the Nuremberg Code, that “opinion” is not fact-based.
Fact-checking is divorced from any dialectical exploration of the facts. It is nothing more than another form of propaganda designed to bury the facts, censor valid opinion and stifle debate. It is constructed upon little more than baseless allegations, innuendo and deception. It is anti-democratic and an anathema to every value our society is built upon.
If any of us want to know the facts, we have to familiarise ourselves with the evidence, apply some critical thinking skills and decide for ourselves. The last thing any of us need to do is check the right-think of the day with “fact checkers”.