Abstract of the study WHO scandal tobacco free initiative
The CD
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Here some brief descriptions of elements of the CD "WHO Scandal Tobacco Free Initiative". This text is the Abstract of the Analysis "WHO Submissions".

More to get a first impression:

Criteria. Content: Criteria for the analyzing the use of sources. It was necessary to draw attention to these basic principles, because all too often authors ignore not only the rules of scientific propriety, but also fundamental legal regulations on freedom of expression.

Duplicates. Excerpts from Table 9: WHO/TFI Techniques used to generate "Duplicate Files"

Final. Final remarks of the author. Quotation: "I cannot claim to have found out what purpose is ultimately supposed to be served by the activities of the WHO/TFI. One thing I believe I can state for certain is that this initiative is not serious in its treatment of the topic of "smoking". Some of the things the WHO/TFI has published as "factual accounts" are grotesque. It seems that people at the WHO/TFI have grown so accustomed to constantly recycling standardized blocks of text that they do not think about consequences of what is disseminated in this way."

JunkScience. Quotation: "Both producers and users of junk science have no scientific interest in the content they publish. Their purpose is not to clarify issues. Nor are they bothered about the consequences of their actions. Junk science is simply an instrument used to reach certain goals, nothing more. If the deception works, all is well. If something goes wrong and the junk science products are not accepted as intended, their initiators and authors will not open their arguments for debate. Instead, they will do what they always do: try to confuse and deceive everyone by selling themselves as the innocent victims of malicious critics."

Start_EN. The structure of the CD, Content of all main tables and appendices.

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CD "WHO Scandal Tobacco Free Initiative": ABSTRACT



OBJECTIVE

To check the WHO's claim that the response to its request for submissions on the planned Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was "overwhelming".

BACKGROUND

The introduction of a "Framework Convention on Tobacco Control" ("FCTC") is one of the WHO's most ambitious projects. The aim of such a convention is to enact advertising bans and similar instruments of tobacco control with mandatory legal effect in all 191 WHO member states.

The WHO held public hearings on the FCTC in Geneva on October 12/13, 2000, in order to prepare for negotiations with the member states. This had been preceded on May 18, 2000, by a request to "interested parties" to make submissions. Submissions were published in the Internet which, according to the WHO, had been received according to their rules within the binding submission period. The WHO announced on September 1, 2000, that the request for submissions had been an "overwhelming" success.


METHODS

We downloaded from the Internet all the submissions published by the WHO (in the form of files). We generated an overall table (Table 1) according to the WHO's list of all submissions (file fctc.cfm, to be found on the CD in the SUBMISSIONS directory). We used the original names of the submitters given by the WHO and tacitly corrected spelling errors. We added, where applicable, data on whether the submitters were members of the "Framework Convention Alliance" and/or the "International Non-Governmental Coalition Against Tobacco" ("INGCAT"). We also noted the tendency of each submission (i.e. "positive statement on a FCTC" or "sceptical towards/ against a FCTC"). Submissions written in Arabic, Chinese and Russian were not analyzed.

We made remarks on the respective data, covering the following (as appropriate or applicable):

* whether a submission was a "duplicate file"

* the date of the signature

* name of the signatories

* references (yes or no)

* whether the signatory or organization took part in the public hearings in Geneva on October 12/13, 2000

* peculiarities (if any)

* hidden information.

Hidden information includes, for example, information which does not normally appear on the screen, but is nevertheless present, e.g. in the Internet format HTML, in the source code. Hidden information provides data on the real authors, the date on which a text was generated, the transmission paths of the files to the WHO, and so on.

Of the submissions published on the WHO website, 67 could not be analyzed for hidden information (1 jpg file and 66 pdf files). All the others were analyzed. The CD contains various tables with information, for example, on files that had been processed using WHO's computers and much more.


RESULTS

The data provided by the WHO on the success of its request for submissions are objectively wrong. Quantitatively speaking, the WHO received far fewer submissions that it claims. Qualitatively, the WHO not only created the false impression of an "overwhelming" response; it also manipulated its entire presentation of the results using falsification techniques.

For example, duplicate files were generated (2, 4, even as many as 17 supposedly separate submissions were generated from one text). In at least 101 cases (of a total of 507 [the WHO's number of 514 is result of a counting error] the texts of the supposed submissions were processed at/by the WHO. It is impossible to say at this stage whether they were also written there. In about 15 cases, the WHO categorized various texts as being reactions to the request for submissions which definitely could not be for reasons of time (e.g. the date of origin was years before the request was made). The WHO ignored criteria it had itself laid down for defining submissions as "eligible", etc.

CONCLUSION

The WHO's action was recognizably systematic, which excludes the possibility that this might have been caused by mistakes and/or technical hitches.

One possible explanation of the systematic acts of deception that have been uncovered might be the fact that the WHO has unusual connections with economic interest groups. This collaboration and its effects are documented in part 2 of the study (page 10 ff.)

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Hans-Joachim Maes and W+D Wissenschaft + Dokumentation GmbH, Berlin, 2001