Corrupt WHO Attempts To Whitewash Swine Flu Inquiry

The head of an expert group brought in to review the World Health Organization's response to the swine flu outbreak said Wednesday that some members of the panel would inevitably be biased because of their close links to the global body or national governments. Critics say many panelists are trusted WHO advisers and government employees who could end up whitewashing any failures. At least ten panelists flown in by WHO are past or current advisers to the organization. Twenty four members of the panel are government employees. Public anger is growing in many countries as vast stocks of unused vaccines, bought by governments at WHO's recommendation, near their expiry date. Philip Stevens of the London-based think tank International Policy Network said WHO's repeated requests for money to help poor countries fight the pandemic also were questionable, but doubted they would be criticized. "They were erroneously invoking the specter of the 1918 pandemic in which 50 million died around the world," he said. James Chin, a retired professor of epidemiology at the University of California at Berkeley and former WHO official who fell out with the global body over its HIV and AIDS policies commented: "If most of these experts were part of the expert group that developed the WHO pandemic alert phase system, then this panel will simply be a whitewashing panel."

Frank Jordans, Associated Press

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