Friday, 17 October 2014

After Ejecting Media, the UN's WHO Approves Global Tobacco Tax Scheme

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After forcibly blocking and even removing members of the press from the taxpayer-funded conclave in Moscow, the United Nations World Health Organization voted in secret this week to support a planetary tax regime for tobacco products. The controversial measure demands that national governments around the world drastically increase taxes on cigarettes. More than a few analysts, though, suggested that the move was a mere stepping stone on the road toward global taxes paid directly to the dictator-dominated UN “health” agency or other self-styled global “authorities” — a plot pushed by globalists for decades using any conceivable pretext that would unleash unfathomable consequences on humanity.

Even before the secret session on tobacco began in Russia, controversy surrounding it was already making headlines. Particularly outrageous to critics was the WHO panel’s vote to hold the gathering in secret by banning journalists and the public from attending. A credentialed journalist with the Washington Times was escorted from the room by guards before the WHO operatives passed what he described as the “world’s first ever global tax — an outrageous scheme requiring nearly 180 countries to apply a minimum tax on tobacco products.” Planetary regulations for tobacco-free “e-cigarettes” were also discussed.

Of course, the WHO’s totalitarian resolutions and behavior should hardly be surprising. Consider that the UN agency recently selected the brutal Communist dictatorship enslaving the people of Cuba to lead its disgraced decision-making body. Despite taxpayers around the world forking over an estimated $20 million for the half-baked session in Moscow, neither the public nor the media were allowed to attend. Among those who vocally protested allowing outsiders to attend the WHO session was a former “health director” for Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.  

“It’s a chilling and disturbing attack on the freedom of the press — especially given the impact decisions made at the convention will have on people throughout the world,” observed Times columnist Drew Johnson, reporting from Moscow after being threatened with arrest by police if he refused to leave. “It’s no wonder the convention’s delegates voted to ban the public. They obviously don’t want the world to see all the bad decisions they’re making.”

It is hardly the first time tentacles of the UN, widely ridiculed as the “dictators club,” have come under fire for attacks on free speech, transparency, and freedom of the press. Just this summer, The New American reported that the scandal-plagued chief of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) was exposed threatening journalists with criminal penalties for reporting official allegations made in formal complaints against him by his own subordinates. Critics said such totalitarian behavior — along with sending sensitive U.S. technology to dictators, retaliating against whistleblowers, and other assorted scandals — was outrageous and unacceptable.   

In the United States, meanwhile, outrage about the WHO’s tyrannical anti-free press antics was also growing louder after the news made headlines. “If the WHO wants to push for significant policy changes in sovereign, free countries, they should expect to provide transparency to media and the people of those countries,” wrote National Taxpayers Union Communication Manager Douglas Kellogg, adding that taxpayers affected by its decisions were funding the UN agency and deserved to know what it was doing. “Unfortunately it is not surprising to see the WHO take this approach.”

At the meeting, it appears that the WHO’s member regimes stopped short of imposing their sought-after mandatory minimum tax of 70 percent on tobacco around the world — a radical plan that was being considered at the closed-door session and which the UN “health” body continues to promote on its website. However, in a unanimous vote, delegates to the WHO’s so-called “Framework Convention on Tobacco Control” decided to support “guidelines” for national governments calling for much higher taxes on cigarettes under the guise of curbing smoking while stuffing government coffers with humanity’s wealth.

“Any policy to increase tobacco taxes that effectively increases real prices reduces tobacco use,” claimed the draft “guidelines” cited in media reports, adding that poor people would be especially hard hit by the regressive taxation machinations. “There is no single optimal level of tobacco taxes that applies to all countries because of differences in tax systems, in geographical and economic circumstances and in national public health and fiscal objectives.”

Just three major governments — the United States, Switzerland, and Indonesia — have so far refused to join the tax-demanding WHO’s anti-tobacco regime. Canadian and U.S. government delegates reportedly boycotted the meeting to protest Vladimir Putin’s activities in Ukraine. In all, the WHO apparatus dealing with tobacco purports to set policy in about 180 countries. While the U.S. government has not officially joined, it generally sends an “observer” delegation.  

In a slick propaganda brochure, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) styles itself “the pre-eminent global tobacco control instrument, which contains legally binding obligations for its Parties and provides a comprehensive direction for tobacco control policy at all levels.” Like every other UN agency, though, its policy is to demand taxes, always more taxes, even higher taxes, and eventually, planetary taxes.    

On its website, for example, the WHO outlines what it called “best practices” when it comes to extracting more wealth from smokers. Among other key elements, it calls for “at least 70% excise tax share in final consumer price” and efforts to “reduce the affordability of tobacco products.” Then it cuts to the chase: “Such a tax system will have the greatest public health impact, while at the same time produce a more stable, reliable stream of tax revenues.” (Emphasis added). According to estimates in the press, such schemes could make a $10 pack of cigarettes in the United States cost a whopping $33.

“The WHO is committed to helping governments design intelligent tobacco tax policy that best satisfies these dual goals of tobacco use reduction and revenue generation,” continues the unelected bureaucracy, which is also plotting to impose a global “mental health” regime on the planet. “An additional benefit of greater revenues through tobacco taxes is the possibility of generating an additional pool of funding for health, a practice recommended by the WHO and being adopted with increasing frequency by countries [governments and dictators] around the globe.”

Of course, the struggling taxpayers who fund the bloated salaries, luxury hotels, and extravagant lifestyles of WHO’s legions of overpaid bureaucrats generally prefer lower taxes — that is the reason why politicians virtually never campaign on a platform of extracting even more wealth from voters. However, at the WHO, every other UN bureaucracy, and the dizzying array of taxpayer-funded international outfits such as the IMF, demands for more and more taxes — including taxes paid straight to self-styled planetary “authorities” where bureaucrats generally pay no taxes — are the norm.   

The implications of allowing the dictator-dominated planetary body to impose taxes or dictate tax policy would be disastrous. For one, having the ability to directly extract wealth from humanity would free the UN and its tentacles from the final check on their usurped powers. Right now, they must secure contributions from member governments and regimes to fund the globalist machinations. With their own independent revenue streams, the UN and its agencies would be free to fund even more expansive scandal-plagued “peace” armies, courts, police, bureaucrats, and regulatory schemes.

Rather than seeking to “reform” or “improve” the dictators club, the U.S. government should simply withdraw entirely — saving American taxpayers huge amounts of money, much of which is used to attack liberty, national sovereignty, and individual rights in the United States and worldwide. Getting the U.S. out of the UN is particularly urgent now, as its hordes of overpaid bureaucrats plot everything from planetary taxes to a global regime targeting energy and what scientists call the “gas of life.”  

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU.

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