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Rachel Marsden: Why are democracies rushing to enshrine restrictions despite Omicron’s mildness?

Tribune Content Agency logoTribune Content Agency 1/4/2022 Rachel Marsden, Tribune Content Agency
Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President, speaks alongside U.S. President Joe Biden as he delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting of the COVID-19 response team at the White House on Nov. 29, 2021, in Washington, DC. © TNS Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President, speaks alongside U.S. President Joe Biden as he delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting of the COVID-19 response team at the White House on Nov. 29, 2021, in Washington, DC.

PARIS — Is anyone else concerned about the hurriedness with which western officials have insisted on implementing and widening vaccine mandates, pushing booster jabs, and enshrining digital identities attached to QR codes into law?

What’s the big rush when it’s now obvious that the now-dominant Omicron variant, while highly transmissible, has death, hospitalization, and infection counts that more closely resemble those of the common cold or annual flu? Why aren’t our governments adapting scientifically to the data as the virus mutates? Instead, what we’re witnessing across western democracies, from France and the U.S. to Canada and beyond, is increasing detachment of government rhetoric and control from everyday reality.

Why can’t they just freeze their initiatives and wait to see what happens? Why was France’s government, for example, trying to ram through a pre-ordained law to convert the “health pass” into a “vaccine pass” in the middle of the night from Monday to Tuesday of this week? Why were they upset when the opposition blocked nighttime debates and voting, demanding a reset of the timeline of the law's planned January 15 adoption in favor or more democratic debate? Why are they so adamant about passing this law now — which would effectively make the jabs and boosters mandatory for everyday life without even the option of substituting a nose swab test — just as Omicron is mass-spreading acquired gold-standard natural immunity relatively harmlessly?

Rachel Marsden wearing a dress shirt and tie: Rachel Marsden. © Provided by Tribune Content Agency Rachel Marsden.

Sure, one could argue that they’re just looking out for our best interests and trying to protect us, the delicate babies pressed to the nanny state’s bosom that they think we are, from any possible future risk — just as governments always do, right? Just like when heads of state appear on TV to proclaim that a country requires invasion because it represents a clear and present danger — and not just because it’s loaded with natural resources. Or when they send thousands of troops to fight for “our freedom” in a country that has never attacked our homeland.

If we the people have learned not to blindly trust governments and their advisers when it comes to conventional warfare, then why should anyone assume their good faith now? They have repeatedly failed to earn our trust. Their assertions, initiatives, and agendas warrant the utmost scrutiny rather than a free pass.

A key tactic used by governments when laying the groundwork for an initiative that risks being received as unpopular at home — thereby presenting a risk to the political livelihood of those in power making such decisions — is fear. Fear of an enemy. Fear of losing something like your livelihood or ability to enjoy your life. Fear of death. And a second key tactic used by the same rulers is what is referred to militarily as “hearts and minds” propaganda. Together, they form the carrot-and-stick strategy.

First comes the big stick that provokes your compliance out of fear. Then comes the carrot to manipulate you into complying for reasons that play on your emotions and goodwill — whether it’s your patriotic duty or your sense of community and empathy for your fellow citizens.

Make no mistake that these are military grade tactics, the likes of which emerged from the Pentagon during the second Iraq War, for example. In 2008, the New York Times reported on a covert Pentagon propaganda program that used former generals as message multipliers across media outlets. And in 2016, a former contractor for a British public relations firm, Bell Pottinger, blew the whistle on a U.S. government initiative described by Britain’s Independent as, “$500m on fake Al-Qaeda propaganda videos that tracked location of viewers.” It further cites a Los Angeles Times report from 2005 that stories, planted in foreign newspapers, “were intended to tout the U.S.-led efforts in Iraq and denounce insurgent groups.”

What do you think the odds are that propaganda deliberately planted in foreign publications by officers of the state who are paid to do so can’t find its way to domestic outlets? In fact, that’s how PR works. Once a piece is planted anywhere that’s “discoverable”, it has the potential to propagate to more prestigious outlets.

Anyone who thinks that governments aren’t being advised by experts in wartime propaganda amid the COVID-19 crisis are fooling themselves. According to a Canadian Forces report disclosed by the Ottawa Citizen, “Canadian military leaders saw the pandemic as a unique opportunity to test out propaganda techniques on an unsuspecting public.” And here in France, it’s no secret that the government has paid millions of euros to various private consulting firms to assist it with its COVID-related “strategy”. It’s not difficult to imagine that such services would include message management and control by top experts in this field.

So how about governments taking their own advice to “follow the science”, rather than insulting us with pandemic measures that appear increasingly divorced from it?

(Rachel Marsden is a columnist, political strategist and host of an independently produced French-language program that airs on Sputnik France. Her website can be found at http://www.rachelmarsden.com.)

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