The pandemic of 2020 saw the imposition of shocking restrictions. For the first time, healthy people were confined to their homes. Vaccines cleared for emergency use – meaning not rigorously tested – were forced on all citizens. Debate, even by scientists, was censored. Refusal to obey these arbitrary impositions could mean arrest, legal action, or, as Dr. Aaron Kheriaty found out, losing one’s job.
What we saw rolled out in March 2020 was not a new approach to public health, Dr. Kheriaty said, but a new paradigm of governance and controlling populations on a widespread scale – the rise of the biomedical security state.
Dr. Kheriaty authored The New Abnormal: The Rise of the Biomedical Security State, a sober analysis and exposure of the tyranny of pandemic policies and the devastation they wrought. You can read a review of his book HERE. At a recent medical summit, he presented a summary of some of his analysis of the rise in the biomedical state.
Aaron Kheriaty is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, director of the Program in Bioethics and American Democracy at the Ethics and Public Policy Centre in Washington, D.C., and director of the Health and Human Flourishing Program at the Zephyr Institute in Palo Alto, California.
He formerly taught psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine (“UCI”) School of Medicine, was the director of the Medical Ethics Program at UCI Health, and was the chairman of the ethics committee at the California Department of State Hospitals. Dr. Kheriaty’s work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Arc Digital, New Atlantis, Public Discourse, City Journal and First Things.
Below is his speech at the Mises Institute Medical Freedom Summit recorded in Windham, New Hampshire held on 20 August 2023 followed by text based on this speech.
If you are unable to watch the video above on Rumble, you can watch it on Odysee HERE.
What we saw rolled out in March 2020 was not a new paradigm of trying to fight a novel virus or a new public health approach to a new pandemic. What we saw rolled out in March 2020 was a new paradigm of governance and a new paradigm of controlling populations on a widespread scale – a biomedical security state.
Dr. Kheriaty believes that what was rolled out in March 2020 and during the three years that have followed has had at least a 25-year history. He can trace the origin of this biomedical state back to a 1989 public health conference sponsored by Anthony Fauci which was held in Washington D.C. The conference was about dealing with pandemics and introduced the concept of a biosecurity threat.
During this conference, there was this subtle shift of emphasis that if you follow it out to its logical conclusions, led to covid and the response to it. What happened at that conference was a shift from traditional public health that viewed the pathogen, the infectious agent, as the enemy to be combatted to the human being the vector of disease.
So, the primary problem was not the virus but it was the human being who could be the carrier of the virus that was the problem. Following this ideology to its logical conclusions, public health is about managing entire populations rather than trying to help sick people and trying to protect those who are most vulnerable to bad outcomes if they get sick.
However, in 1989 when the conference was held, the technological ability was not yet available to micro-manage populations in the same way that we saw in 2020.
Further reading: Dr. Fauci’s Amnesia, Human Flourishing, 16 December 2022
Basic Facts About Covid Ignored
It took 25 years for this subtle shift in emphasis in public health to play out and lead to what we saw in 2020 – one-size-fits-all policies: lockdowns, school closures, mask mandates, vaccine mandates and in many jurisdictions vaccine passports.
All these policies ignored the two most basic epidemiological facts about covid which were known as early as March/April 2020: the infection fatality rate and the age demographics of those who were susceptible to serious illness and death.
The IFR initially reported by WHO was 3-4%. Which to a lot of people sounds terrifying – a highly contagious virus that kills 3 or 4 people out of one hundred. Dr. Jay Bhattacharya at Stanford University, who was one of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, and many others found that many who had the virus were asymptomatic. For every person that was counted as sick, 50 others were asymptomatic. So, the actual IFR was 0.2%. However, this was the maximum IFR and was age-dependent, meaning it was lower for younger healthy adults or children.
It was clear from very early on there was a significant age gradient. The vast majority of people who died were over the age of 70. For people under the age of 50, the IFR was roughly comparable to influenza.
Those two facts were either seriously downplayed or ignored, even though they were well known, in favour of the one-size-fits-all policies where measures were applied equally to all “human vectors” of disease – whether we were ill or healthy, old or young, containment measures were applied across the whole of society.
Uninformed Consent, Not Freely Given
The ethical principle of free and informed consent which was guaranteed by the Nuremberg code – that an adult of sound mind has the right to decline or accept a medical intervention, has the right to decline or accept enrolment in an experimental study – was tossed aside without any public argument or debate when vaccine mandates for competent adults were instituted.
Vaccines authorised under emergency use authorisation are by definition experimental. According to the US ClinicalTrials.gov site, the clinical trials of the covid injections were only due to be completed, for most, more than a year after the worldwide mass covid injection campaign began. The estimated end date for Pfizer-BioNTech’s clinical trials was 2 May 2023, Moderna 27 October 2022, AstraZeneca 14 February 2023 and Janssen 2 January 2023.
Standing Up for Ethical Principles
Dr. Kheriaty was involved in developing covid policies for the US from the very beginning of the pandemic. But things changed for him in 2021 when the University of California floated its advice for a vaccine mandate policy.
“Our group at the office of the president from all five of the branch campuses was not consulted. There was no debate, no discussion,” he said.
“I found this very puzzling because it was very clear to me that of all the policies that we had developed in the first year [to] year and a half of the pandemic, vaccine mandates were definitely going to be the most ethically controversial and the most publicly controversial. And so, [he thought to himself], ‘Why was this policy simply coming down from on high without going through the usual process of vetting and discussion and debate?’”
Universities were the first institutions in the US to mandate vaccinations, Dr. Kheriaty said. In an attempt to get a debate started about vaccine mandates, he published an article in the Wall Street Journal arguing that university vaccine mandates were unethical. However, the article failed to get a conversation going at either the University or the office of the president. Shortly after the article was published, the University finalised the mandate and began implementing it.
Next thing, nurses were being fired for exercising their right to refuse an experimental vaccine. He also had students reaching out to him stating they didn’t want to take a vaccine but were concerned about losing their position or scholarship at the University. Based on the draconian policy, there was nothing the students could do, he said.
It seemed publishing an article against this policy was not enough and Dr. Kheriaty felt he had to do something to change the policy. So, in August 2021, he filed a lawsuit in Federal Court challenging the University’s vaccine mandate policy. In response, the University very quickly placed him on investigatory leave. A month later he was placed on unpaid suspension and a month after that “they fired me,” he said.
“That decision cost me my job but it saved me my integrity. And I don’t regret having done it. And there’s nothing better than waking up every morning with a clear conscience.”
Further reading: From Hero to Fired: Dr. Aaron Kheriaty and the University of California Irvine, National Review, 20 December 2021
The Battle for Informed Consent
Another ethical principle that was simply tossed out during the pandemic was the principle of transparency.
It’s not only the “freely given” part of consent that is important. The “informed” part of consent is also important. You have to be given an adequate understanding of the risks, benefits and alternatives to the proposed intervention or treatment to make a reasonable decision for yourself.
However, Americans, as with the rest of the world, were not being given adequate information about the vaccines. “So that concerned me,” Dr. Kheriaty said. “So, I organised a group of doctors and scientists to file a Freedom of Information Act request to get the Pfizer data, the clinical trials data, that was submitted to the FDA for the approval of their shot.”
“They tried to slow walk it. They said we’ll give you 500 pages a month which, a back-of-the-napkin calculation, suggested it would have taken – initially we thought it was 55 years but then we later learnt that there were more documents than we realised so it would have taken 75 years for the FDA to release the data that they reviewed in 108 days.”
The judge said the US Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) had nine months to release the data. Pfizer then intervened saying that they wanted to redact the data before it was released to the public. What was surprising is the lawyers for the FDA agreed with Pfizer and petitioned the court to allow Pfizer to redact the data, Dr. Kheriaty said. “The judge said ‘no’.”
The information about side effects, the information about the early safety concerns, released with that data was not being given to Americans whose informed consent basically consisted of two words repeated over and over again – “safe and effective.”
“I felt on a principled ethical matter that the public should know and have the information on this product that they were being forced to take on pain of losing their jobs,” he said.
The Economics that Drove the Pandemic
Covid was the first time in human history that we had quarantined healthy populations – during the so-called “lockdowns.” Quarantining sick people is a very old idea and is a traditional public health policy. But the idea of confining healthy people to their homes, closing businesses and not allowing people to work was a first. Governments instituted these measures with virtually no public debate and without due deliberation of the overall consequences, Dr. Kheriaty said.
“If you look at this from a purely public health point, you really can’t make sense out of it … To really understand why we did what we did and why we doubled down on it even when it was clear that it was failing and it was harming people, I think you have to look at the larger economic and political issues that drove our pandemic response.”
Economically, covid saw the largest upward transfer of wealth in world history. “It was a world-historical scheme of larceny,” Dr. Kheriaty said. “Vacuuming up wealth from the working class and the middle class to, not just the upper class, but to the very tip of the socioeconomic pyramid – to the wealthiest of the wealthy tech elites and financial firms.”
How did this happen? Dr. Kheriaty explained how.
Amazon lobbied for lockdowns on the West Coast of the US. “It’s not because Jeff Bezos knows a lot about public health or managing a pandemic,” he said. It’s because of what happened to Amazon stock and Bezos’ personal wealth when his competition was eliminated because small businesses had to close down and people were locked in their homes so they were forced to do e-commerce. “40% of those small businesses that closed down have still not reopened,” he said. The shutdowns were devastating to entrepreneurs and small business owners.
“Deaths of Despair”
Dr. Kheriaty’s speciality is psychiatry and dealing with mental health issues. Within a few weeks of the lockdowns, he started to see the devastating mental health consequences.
“I couldn’t believe that more psychiatrists and psychologists were not standing up and saying: ‘Hey we’re seeing people coming into our clinic who are absolutely terrified, paralysed with fear – who are developing depression, who are relapsing with addictions because they can’t access treatment or they can’t access their 12-step programme or because they’re lonely or socially isolated’,” he said.
Before the pandemic, there was an opioid crisis. “We had the largest drug crisis in United States history – 44,000 deaths from drug overdose in 2018 … In 2020, that number was 100,000. 100,000 deaths by drug overdose,” he said.
Suicide had been rising since 1999, among all age groups from 7 to 75 years had rising rates before the pandemic. “We poured gasoline on that fire.” These so-called “deaths of despair” – deaths due to addiction, suicide and alcohol – were a crisis before the pandemic. And, “that problem got exponentially worse with lockdowns and with school closures,” Dr. Kheriaty said. “And nobody was talking about it.”
Further reading: Dying of Despair, Aaron Kheriaty, August 2017
The Biomedical Security State
The construct that he describes in his book ‘The New Abnormal’ consists of three distinct elements. Elements that used to be more or less separate but have now been welded together into a new way of governing and controlling people that 10 or 20 years ago would have been unimaginable, Dr. Kheriaty said. The three elements are:
- Militarised public health apparatus
- Use of digital technologies for surveillance and control
- And the first two are backed up by the powers of the police state
Militarised Public Health Apparatus
Militarising public health involved a pandemic response that was in reality run by the Department of Defence, as Dr. Peter McCullough described in an earlier session of Mises Institute’s Medical Freedom Summit.
You would have thought a pandemic response at the federal level would have been run by the Department of Health and Human Services but it turns out they were not. At the top of the organisation chart was the Department of Defence.
Setting aside the question of whether or not SAR-CoV-2 was a bioweapon that was accidentally or deliberately released and regardless of the theories of the origins of the virus, the US government treated it as though it was a biological weapon. “That’s how the US government responded to it,”` Dr Kheriaty said.
Further reading: Did National Security Imperatives Compromise COVID-19 Vaccine Safety?Brownstone Institute, 6 January 2023 and US Department of Defence has been running the “covid vaccine” fraud worldwide, The Exposé, 6 February 2023
Preparing for Pandemics
The tabletop exercise Event 201 that happened in October 2019 included many of the key players that immediately moved into positions of authority guiding the United States’ pandemic response.
Event 201 was a tabletop exercise on how to respond to a novel coronavirus before anyone had heard of covid – caused by a novel coronavirus. If you’re not familiar with Event 201, you can watch the highlights from it HERE.
The war gaming for pandemics had been going on for about 20 years and they all ran according to the same script: What people thought they should do, to respond to the virus was never enough and a bunch of people died because we didn’t lockdown hard enough, we didn’t mandate the vaccines, we didn’t control the flow of information through censorship aggressively enough and so there’s blood on our hands. “That’s the kind of takeaway message that you get from all of these tabletop exercises,” Dr. Kheriaty explained.
The Origins of Lockdowns
Fauci sent his deputy, Clifford Lane, with the WHO delegation to China in February 2020 to ask some questions about the origins of the virus and to look at how China was responding. They didn’t get any answers as to the virus’ origins but concerning China’s response to it, “they came back with glowing reports,” Dr. Kheriaty said.
Lane told Fauci “Hey, they’re controlling the spread of this virus through locking down, through very rigorous responses of forcing people to stay at home.” And Fauci embraced the idea of lockdowns which had never been part of traditional public health measures.
“Once Deborah Birx started running around telling state governors: ‘You have to lockdown or you’re going to have blood on your hands’, the game was sort of up. So, the key players advising the Whitehouse at that time basically forced us down this path that most people probably didn’t realise was totally untested, totally unwarranted and that all the previous modelling had rejected the idea of doing this,” Dr. Kheriaty said.
Even though China had clearly not controlled the spread of covid or the regional spread of covid near Wuhan through these kinds of lockdowns, the US followed suit. “So, the idea of shutting down the economy and society came from propaganda that was promulgated by the Chinese Communist Party,” he added.
As Dr. Kheriaty noted, neither the pre-war fascist government in Italy nor the post-war Soviet communist states ever tried to initiate a regime of control of their populations that was as severe as most states in the US experienced in March of 2020. Adding: “We vanquished freedoms that were not relinquished by London during the bombings of World War II. They had curfews, but they never locked people down.”
Use of Digital Technologies for Surveillance and Control
Dr. Kheriaty believes vaccine mandates were pushed primarily with the end goal of vaccine passports.
“If I had told you in 2018 that in a year or two, in order to get on a plane, to get on a train, go to a restaurant, go to a public event like a lecture or a concert, you’re going to have to show a QR code at the door demonstrating that you’ve done what public health authorities have told you to do, including getting a novel injection of a gene therapy that you may or may not have wanted – you would have looked at me like I was crazy. It sounds totalitarian and dystopian. And yet, that’s exactly what happened,” he said.
“I think it happened because, after a year of the emotional and physical abuse of lockdowns, people were willing to do just about anything to get a semblance of normal life. So, we submitted to things that otherwise would have been unthinkable.”
All these draconian policies were made possible by declaring a state of emergency.
The declared state of emergency made it possible to freeze the bank accounts of people participating in or donating to the truckers’ Freedom Convoy in Ottawa, Canada. And also made it possible to label a similar freedom convoy in the US to be labelled as “domestic terrorists” by the Department of Homeland Security.
The declared emergency gave the president 128 extra constitutional powers that he wouldn’t otherwise have, Dr. Kheriaty said. “If Biden declares the pandemic over then he has to end the state of emergency and he will have to relinquish those additional powers which includes access to more funding than the president doesn’t normally have [because] Congress normally holds the purse strings.”
This new paradigm of governance is encouraging us to jump from one emergency to the next. There is going to be another public health emergency declared soon. There have already been efforts to reframe other issues such as climate change and racism as public health crises. It’s been a useful fulcrum to gain additional powers and to accomplish things in society that would otherwise not be acceptable or permitted.
Censorship has been used to control the flow of information. Dr. Kheriaty is a plaintiff in a lawsuit Missouri v. Biden, “it’s going very well actually”
“We recently got an injunction. The government appealed the injunction against the censorship industrial complex – the government’s efforts to censor people on social media.”
Further reading: The Censored Video on Censorship, A link to the talk from our Missouri v. Biden lawyers that was censored by YouTube but is now up on Rumble, Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, 29 July 2023
Using a State of Emergency to Govern
Quoting Mark Twain, Dr. Kheriaty said: “History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes.” So, it’s helpful to look at prior regimes where the pretext of public safety during the time of emergency paves the way even for full-blown totalitarianism, he said.
“The Nazis governed for almost the entirety of their existence under Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution. They never overturned the Weimer Republic’s Constitution. But Article 48 allowed for – guess what? – the suspension of German laws for the time of an emergency. And that ‘emergency’ lasted 12 years, virtually their entire time in power.
“Eric Voegelin who studied the 20th century totalitarianism said that the common feature is not mass surveillance – which we have now by the way – it’s not concentration camps, it’s not men in jackboots or secret police. The common feature of totalitarian systems is the prohibition of questions.”
Totalitarian regimes monopolise what counts as knowledge and what counts as rationality – and if you challenge that, if you ask inconvenient questions, they don’t argue with you, they don’t debate with you, they don’t sit down and look at the data and try to come to a conclusion with you – they simply ignore you and if that doesn’t work, they steamroll you. “I would propose that that is exactly what is happening in our country today and the rest of the totalitarian apparatus is not far behind once you start going down that path,” Dr. Kheriaty said.
Dr. Kheriaty ended with a quote from Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The great Soviet dissident wrote in ‘The Gulag Archipelago’: “If only we had stood together against the common threat, we could have easily defeated it. So why didn’t we? We didn’t love freedom enough … We hurried to submit. We submitted with pleasure … We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”
Further reading: Resisting the Rising Biosecurity Surveillance Regime, Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, 21 February 2022