TrustWho (2016) - full transcript

A damning investigation into the World Health Organisation's hidden practices.

(faint ambient sounds)

(faint sound of
children playing)

How many of you,
put, have family

or close friends with cancer
or have experienced cancer.

Put up your hands.

What about diabetes?

How about infertility?

Family or close friends.

Now I want those of you who put
your hand up at least once

to put it up again,

for any of those questions,
and look around you.


today every third
person develops cancer.

Who will it be?

(Obama) Because if we want
to protect Americans from

Ebola here at home, we
have to end it over there.


Universal health coverage is the
single most powerful concept

that public health has to offer.
We will not let the people down.

(radio static)

(radio static)

But after Fukushima,
I think, you can

see that everyone
knows that there's

a kind of official
and high level cover

up and the WHO is
involved in it.

The WHO's been criticised for
reacting too slowly to the

outbreak, do you think any
of that criticism is fair?

They don't have the money, they

don't have the
capacity, they don't

have the leadership, they don't

have the courage
to say 'let's go'.

I'm a filmmaker, I have a
daughter, it is important

to me that she finds the
world in good condition.

That is why I'm travelling to
the WHO headquarters in Geneva.

The American journalist
Robert Parsons lives here.

For 20 years now he's been
writing about the WHO.

Until a few years ago,
every Monday, the

opening day of the
World Health Assembly

there was a sumptuous
reception at the

WHO given by the
Director General

that was the great
centrepiece where

everybody met and talked.
It was a

very good situation
for pulling everybody

together in an informal setting.


Now, more than ever,
that sort of thing

has been replaced by
a private reception.

And they are organised
by industry.

I'm particularly pleased to
have two ministers of health.

And the industry spends a
lot of money, for them

it's just part of the
cost of doing business.

It's a way of making
direct contact

with the people who
back in their home

countries are making
decisions to formulate

and implement public
health policy.

It's extraordinarily
expensive, you

can imagine it,
if you have 1,000

people and you give
100 francs a person

it's 100,000 francs
right there at least,

just to feed people who
are already over-fed.

There's no limit on
the champagne or the

wine and it's always
very good wine.

Straight through if you can.

No you can't.

(narrator) What a
promising start.

But originally it must
have been about more.

The suffering of
millions of human beings

in scores of countries
will be alleviated

and many, many thousands
of lives will be saved.


WHO has positively
changed everything.

Smallpox was completely
eradicated which was the

first time ever that a
disease was wiped out.

The world saves each year
1000 million dollars

on vaccines and care
of the sick alone.

According to Robert
Parsons, the WHO is

infiltrated by the industry
from the very start.


This one's in English.

This is in the San
Francisco examiner.

Anyway, WHO was not
happy with my coverage

because it made them
look less than good.


Ever since the
1950s, studies have

shown that smoking
damages health.

But for decades the
WHO does little

to oppose the tobacco industry.


How often does your
job call you out

of bed in the middle
of the night.

Well if you were a
doctor it would be often

and generally there isn't
much time to spare.

Coffee doctor?

Oh fine!

Have a Camel with your coffee


You know, this night work's
kind of rough isn't it.

That's right,

but a Camel's always a pleasure.

The majority of politicians
take no action

against tobacco
advertising for decades.

Nothing is done to check the
profits of the tobacco industry

until charges are
brought against

it by its victims and the USA.

As late as 1994, heads
of the tobacco industry

testified before the
American congress.

Do you believe that
nicotine is not addictive?

I believe that nicotine
is not addictive.

I believe that nicotine
is not addictive.

I believe that nicotine
is not addictive.

The real issue is: Should
cigarettes be outlawed.

Gradually the tobacco
companies are obliged

to publish their
internal documents.

These general requests
are getting very broad.

No that's not broad at all Mr.

Will you provide that
information to the committee?

We're extremely concerned
about competitive activity...

Yes or no Mr. Campbell?

I will do my best, yes.

Their strategies to combat
the WHO are made public.

One example is the Boca Raton
action plan from the year 1988.

Senior figures at Philip Morris
met in Florida and drew up a

number of sophisticated

to limit the power of the WHO.

The first and most
important aim.

This organisation
has extraordinary

influence on government
and consumers

and we must find a
way to diffuse this.

The WHO gets under pressure.

(speaking French)

The evidence show that
tobacco companies had

operated for many years
with the deliberate purpose

of subverting the efforts
of WHO to control tobacco.



One of these
institutes is lead by

the American lawyer
Paul Dietrich.

Philip Morris finances
it with $240,000 a year.

At the same time
Dietrich is a consultant

for the WHO regional
office in America.

When his double
role becomes known,

Dietrich moves into
the finance industry.

And we bought back
our own bonds, that

money never went back
into the economy!

He won't agree to talk to me.

And the WHO report on the
strategies of the tobacco

industry, 6 other
consultants are mentioned.

The British toxicologist
Frank Sullivan

for instance, claims
that passive smoking

doesn't harm your health.
His study on the

subject is financed
by Philip Morris.

Hello, Frank Sullivan.

Hello Mr Sullivan,

oh (awkward laughter)

Good to hear you.

I tell you why I'm calling you.

I came across the
tobacco scandal at

WHO and there your
name is mentioned.

(Sullivan) My name?!


Oh I didn't know that.

(narrator) Were you
a WHO consultant?

Yes I'm an (awkward stutter)

Yeah, I am

I, I, I'm a consultant
for WHO, and I also used

to be a consultant in
the tobacco industry.

There was a great long
form you had to fill

in every time I went
to a meeting at WHO.

(narrator) But did you
declare in those forms

that you also consulted
tobacco industry?

Yes, yes, yes.

And it was no problem for WHO?

No, no, no because (laughing)
it wasn't a big issue.

From when till when were
where you a WHO consultant.

Oh, I don't know when.

Did you stop after the
tobacco scandal or not?

No, no, no.


In the year 2000, Sullivan's
collaboration with the tobacco

industry becomes public, but he

still continues to
advise the WHO.

I meet with two department
leaders combating

tobacco under the
auspices of the WHO.

We have a zero tolerance
approach as I

said the Director
General says, the

tobacco industry is
our number 1 enemy

and we wear that
badge very proudly.

(narrator) Is Frank Sullivan
still a WHO consultant.

Absolutely not I mean...

They can't because the
names of all those

persons are well known
through the documents.

But did Frank
Sullivan consult to

WHO in for example
2002 let's say?

Not that I'm aware of as
well too, and again the

policies that are in place
now is that all consultants

no matter whether
they're working in

tobacco control or
infectious diseases

or anywhere in the
organisation, have

to sign a declaration
of interest.

(narrator) But this
means a lot of trust.

Don't you think they
should be reviewed?

Trust I think that
you should trust

until such a day you lack trust.

You cannot just start by
already being suspicious

about people and their
capacity to do things.

That's good.

Thank you so much.

We are not alone during
the conversation,

three WHO staff are
watching us and

the press spokesman
conducts the person

I'm interviewing with
silent gestures.

I would like to
know about conflict

of interest forms and I would

like to see the conflict of

interest forms of
Frank Sullivan.

I just am able to refer
the question on to the

necessary people because
that might be in the

archive of the organisation
but in the role of

the reference library
and that's what we do.

My official enquiry about
Frank Sullivan's conflict of

interest form is a dead end
despite countless phone calls.


The WHO and also Thomas Zeltner
they always say ok we had

a problem and there was single
persons who were corrupt.

This was Sullivan, Paul
Dietrich and so on.

But I'm always doubting was it

really single persons
and now it's

over or could you
say that entire

segments of WHO are corrupt?

We have all the tobacco
company documents

which show how major
corporations operate.

And the pharmaceutical
companies or the chemical

companies do not operate
any differently.

Their obligation to their
shareholders completely

overwhelms any consideration
of public health.

So these are the people that
are involved in the H1N1 push.

(tense music)

Swine flu, or H1N1, is presented
by the WHO and in the

public media as a huge threat.
Wrongly as it later emerges.

(newsreader) We are in the
earliest days of the pandemic)

(news reports playing
over each other)

Do you remember swine flu?

You were really frightened.

The numbers are staggering.

Well first of all, they
are estimated by the

WHO to affect 2bn people
worldwide with H1N1.

Joining us now from
Cibolo, Texas,

Patrick and Robyn Henshaw. Their

family has been hit hard by this

Swine flu, good
morning to you both.

Good morning.

My administration's taken
several precautions to

address the challenge posed
by the 2009 H1N1 flu virus.

If you've been diagnosed
with probable or

presumed 2009 H1N1 or Swine
flu in recent months,

you may be surprised to know
this. The odds are you didn't

have H1N1 flu. In fact you
probably didn't have flu at all.

WHO is very happy to be taking
part in this hearing...

(several people speaking
at the same time)

But I've heard no reason why.

Many countries
including Germany,

Italy, France and Great Britain

concluded secret agreements with

pharmaceutical companies
before the Swine

flu incident, which
obliged them to

purchase Swine flu vaccinations.

But only if the WHO issued
a pandemic level 6 alert.


The world is now at the start
of the 2009 influenza pandemic.

Swine flu makes
considerable profits

for the manufacturers
of vaccines.

In first quarter net profit,

saving its Swine flu vaccine,
Lantes, for the gains.

France's largest drug maker
said it's net profit in the

quarter rose to 1.71bn euros,
that's 2.26bn US dollars.

I tried to arrange an
interview with the

person responsible for
Swine flu at the WHO,

Keiji Fukuda,

he was often on
television at the time.

But I get an appointment with
the official press spokesman.

11 countries,
officially reporting

331 cases of influenza A

H1N1 infection, with 10 deaths.

Were you aware of the
contracts between

pharmaceutical companies
and governments?

You have to be aware of this.
Of course, you

have to be aware of
everything that's going on.

And it is extremely easy to
after the fact say, well maybe X

should not have done Y, and
A should not have done B.

However, think about
the opposite.

What would have happened
if the influenza

killed 50 percent of the people

infected and there
was no vaccine.

Then you and others would be
standing here today getting

really mad at us for not having
made vaccine a possibility.

Now in terms of an
overall assessment

of the severity of what we are

seeing, it's probably
fair to call the

situation something
like moderate.

At the time I am
pregnant and I avoid

airports, crowds and
all forms of travel.

Public media exaggerates
with words and

images, the danger
resulting from swine flu.

(music and ambulance siren)

Could they have
declared the pandemic

level 6 also with
the old definition?

So this is er...

This was removed

before 2009, shortly
before H1N1.

Of course, we would like to
have a vaccine tomorrow.

We would have wanted to
have had it yesterday.

In 2009, Miss Kieny
is a member of

the WHO Swine flu working group.

Previously she had
worked for the French

company Transgene.

The press spokesman doesn't
allow me to interview her,

so I try to approach her
directly at a conference.

I ask Miss Kieny why the
criteria of severity was

deleted from the definition
of a pandemic phase.


The WHO working group on Swine
flu consists of 13 external

consultants. Two of them
report conflicts of interest.

Neil Ferguson declares
consultancy fees

from GlaxoSmithKline,
Baxter and Roche,

the manufacturers of
the swine flu vaccines

and medications. Not a
problem for the WHO.

In 2007, Albert Osterhaus
loses his voting right on the

Dutch heath commission due to
his conflicts of interest.

He declares to the WHO that he
has shares in the pharma company

Viroclinics, which is suspected
of profiting from Swine flu.

He also declares that he
is the chairman of ESWI,

describing it as a group
of independent scientists.

In fact it is partly financed
by vaccine manufacturers.

Because I also did some
research about H1N1,

could we also discuss
this a little bit later?


I can tell you there's no
scientific meeting today

organised that is not being
sponsored by industry

and rightly so.
Industry is making

the vaccines, it's
not the national

institutes that are
making the vaccines

any longer, industry
is doing it.

(narrator) I'm very curious, are
you still a WHO consultant?

At the moment I'm working
more with the private sector

as well so I'm still
consulting from time to time.

(narrator) Are you still
working with this

European Scientists
against Influenza?

Yes, I'm the chair of that
particular organisation.

(narrator) Because
I saw that you

declared this as a
conflict of interest.

No no it's not a conflict
of interest but I declare

also what might be perceived
as a conflict of interest.

No but you have to be
very careful there so at

least if you say that,
people can hold it against

you yeah but at least I
can always say and I have

always done that. At least
you show what you do.

(narrator) It was written there

'independent group
of scientists', when

I looked on the
website I saw it's

funded by all the
vaccine producers.

No no it's not funded by,
some money comes from

vaccine producers but
there's money coming

from many other sources
as well and that's the

same with WHO and a lot
of other organisations.

As long as you're
transparent and show

what you're doing,
it's fine I think.

(narrator) How is the
percentage of funding?

I don't know exactly, but there
is a substantial part of

the funding comes from
elsewhere. From meetings, comes

from European projects, and
there is a percentage coming

from industry as well and
that's completely transparent.

It's fine to bring it up
again but for me it's over.

I don't get any hard figures
from Mr. Osterhaus either.

Without any facts,
without transparency,

I can't make any progress here.

What about the WHO?

We didn't say anything - No, no

No, I wouldn't like you
to use what I just

said but I'm happy to
say something else.

Please don't approach
people with a camera.

We have issues,
please don't do that.

I ask and then it's fine?

If you ask and you set up
the interview, that's ok.

At the country level,

I hear good news and
I hear bad news

about engagement with
non state actors.

We found out that there has
been a big lack of transparency

with the pandemic alert
experienced in 2009.

What did you do since then
to have more transparency

concerning the decisions
done, concerning the staff,

concerning the declarations
of conflicts of

interest. How do you
want to improve this?

I want to erm...

agree with you. There
is no replacement

of transparency and

And that's the only way to
hold people to account.

But in order to do that, we must
recognise that in this 21st

century, no government
can provide

everything to their people.

So you do need to work
with the industry.

But work in a way that there is

no room for conflict
of interest.

(road noise and music)

In the case of the

industry, it's even
more difficult for

the WHO to maintain
it's independence

than with the tobacco industry.

On the one hand the WHO
is dependent on the

industries for research

and medication. But the
industries financial

interests mustn't
damage the WHO's

activities in the
area of health.

One thing is clear, today the

industry is part of

the health system, just like the

governments that
control the WHO.


Pfizer doesn't need a PR man,
they've got the Prime Minister!

Secretary Clinton has a
number of super packs

and in the last filing
period reported

receiving 15 million
dollars from Wall Street.


My whole life I've
been a business

man. I've contributed
to most of them.

I've given to
democrats, I've given

to Hillary, I've
given to everybody!

Because that was my job.

I gotta give to them

because when I want
something I get it.

When I call...

they kiss my ass.

Ok, it's true, they kiss my ass.

(cheering and applause)

Politics are losing power.

And that's also reflected in
the financing of the WHO.

In the 1990s, all countries
froze their membership

contributions in the wake
of the financial crisis,

Desperate times do indeed
call for desperate measures.

We are in a mess.

The financial crisis hit the
world like a sudden jolt

and it hit the world where
it hurts most... money.

Today UN organisations,
foundations, NGOs and industry

contribute almost 40 percent
of the WHO's annual budget.

The second largest source
of finance right after

the USA is the Bill and
Melinda Gates foundation.

30 years ago, in starting
Microsoft we had a

very ambitious vision: a
computer for everyone.

Now I join you in seeking to
achieve an even more important

vision which is good health
for every human being.

Today the WHO
relies on voluntary

contributions like that from

the Gates foundation, but these
are often linked to conditions.

Bill Gates declares,

'our priorities are
your priorities',

not the other way around.

A Freudian slip?

Our priorities are
your priorities.


Today the WHO's annual budget
amounts to about 2bn dollars.

Coca Cola spends twice that
much on advertising alone.

And the hospitals around lake
Geneva spend 6bn dollars a year.

When it was founded,
the WHO could decide

how to distribute
it's funds itself.

Now 70 percent of it's
budget is tied to

particular projects,
countries or regions.

If the WHO receives funding
to fight malaria for

example, it can't use that
money to combat Ebola.

(background chatter)

The Ebola interim
assessment panel put it

in very precise words.

In present WHO does not

have the operational
capacity or culture to

deliver a full emergency
public health response.


(narrator) What
does the Director

General of the WHO
think about that?

I want to ask her what
constraints she is under.

I need that!



No I'm doing a cinema
documentary, I'm a filmmaker.

Ahh, ok, let's discuss the date.

You don't want July, August?

No August would
also be possible.

July, August whatever,

not so hectic.

If that's better for you then
ok I will adapt my schedule.


Since I can't get to
speak to Margaret Chan,

I meet one of her
close advisors.

(music and ambient sounds)

I think it's simply a
wrong perception to think

there can be external
independent review.

Because then you have to say who
is selecting this independent

expert, and who is controlling
their independence

and who is controlling
the independence

of those controlling
the independence.

There is no external entity
as such independent.

Of course he's right,
but he's wrong.

- You know, he's mixing everything up because
- this world is as it is and you have to do

what you can to make sure
that the independence

of the science is as
good as possible.

It will never ever be perfect,
he's quite right by that,

but he should be talking about
his own. I mean he's from

Switzerland, he came straight
from Switzerland which is a

country that is
completely locked

in to a partnership approach

and he's in charge of
partnerships at WHO.

So I know Gaudenz was very
keen that any countries could

come in, as long as it was
transparent he didn't mind.

This is our
opposition to the non

state actors thing as it is, ok?

Namibia will be onside
with us isn't it?

African groups
generally are worried

about it. How many
people are in?

Quite a few now.

Yeah quite a few, that's enough.

What's going on with them?

Next room - Next room

What's happening there is those
industrialised countries

that would really like
to expand their markets

into the developing world,
they are finding a way to

let WHO allow these companies
in to influence policy.

(speaker) The world
in which the WHO

operates today is
very different from

the world in which
the organisation was

established more
than 60 years ago.

Member states are also
influenced by non state actors.

But since they are our bosses,

and they're sovereign member
states, if it's a private

sector entity, if it's an
NGO or whoever influences

them, as long as they make
it a national position,

it's a national position
and we accept it as such.


(children playing)

Professor Yamashita is

contributing to the

of the risk of radioactive
contamination in public.

Yamashita works
together with the WHO

in cases of nuclear catastrophe.

Is the WHO downplaying the
dangers of nuclear radiation?

Is it for example,
keeping silent

about a rise in thyroid cancer?

There's a lot here
about Swine flu

and almost nothing
about Fukushima.

I would like to talk
to the Director

General about this in person.

Maybe you can help
me, how can I get

an interview with Margaret Chan.


Very difficult.

I have to become friends
with you, ok I see.

(man) She's very busy.

I know I know, this
is why I'm asking.

Can we get you someone else?


Look, no one can promise
you interview with Dr

Chan because she really
prefers others to speak.

So there are some
circumstances where she

does it but nothing
that can be guaranteed.


(children shouting)

It's difficult to find anybody
who is allowed to talk.

The mayor of Matsumoto,
Akira Sugenoya,

is also a doctor and has
founded a convalescence

camp for children from
contaminated areas.


As a result of experience
after Chernobyl, the WHO

recommendations for issuing
iodine were revised in the

year 1999 under the supervision
of the British scientist

Keith Baverstock, a member
of staff at the WHO.


Thank you Mr. moderator for
that kind introduction, and

thank you for the invitation
to come and present here.

I guess I... Ok I
want to start this

presentation by saying a
few words about lessons

learnt from a previous nuclear
power plant accident,

namely the one in
Chernobyl in 1986.

When I started my
programme with WHO,

within a few weeks I learnt that

there was a claim
that there was a

large number of thyroid cancers

in children and this ended up in
the mission to Minsk. We saw an

astonishing number
of children who'd

been operated for
thyroid cancer.

Quite young children,
so to see as we did

on that day possibly
1 maybe 12 cases in

one place at one time,
all having been

operated was really
quite extraordinary.

We took it from there.

And with our
Belarusian colleagues

published two short
papers in the

journal nature to
draw attention to it.

After the papers were
published, WHO asked

me to withdraw the
paper from Nature.

A paper published with
about 5 or 6 other

people, all agreeing
on this position.

And he asked me to withdraw
that paper from publication.

After it had been published.

Chrysler who worked at WHO

Geneva, yes. He threatened me.

How did he threaten you?

With my career.

He said your career will be
shortened if you don't do this.

And was it shortened?


I wonder why in Fukushima
area it wasn't distributed.

I don't know.

I don't know, they
should have given them.


They don't like to cause panic.

Did you have any contact with
WHO after the TEPCO accident?

I still find it beyond belief
that Naoto Kan was convinced at

the time that no radioactivity
would emerge after the accident.

Just one day after the
accident a monitoring

station of the
organisation CTBTO

recorded raised levels
of radioactivity

200km from the nuclear
power station.


But who is right?



What do you think
today about iodine

intake after nuclear accident?

Well again it's more or less
what was said in the video.

People are not taking
iodine as of the moment the

Japanese authorities have no
said that should be done.

They have distributed iodine
tablets, pre-positioned

them but have not yet asked
anyone to take them.

Taking iodine tablets
in the absence of

iodine radiation is
actually bad for you.

You need to match iodine,
taking iodine to the exposure.

I understand but, from today's
point of view was the

exposure given at that time in
most affected areas or not?

You know, again, that's
almost 5 years ago and I

can't remember the process
from day to day and

certainly we would have
adapted our recommendations

based on the information
we were getting.

But there are these
guidelines and

it's written in here you should

take iodine within the first 6
hours after nuclear accident.

It's in here and it's also clear

that it was not
given in Fukushima,

it's also a fact,
it's not something

you have to look
up, it's obvious.


I really think you are wasting
your time on this topic.

And that we should move
on to other topics

because I only have
until 12 o'clock.

Is it that you can't
say something

critical about the
Japanese government?

I... WHO, work on
the basis of facts

and if I don't have the facts

and the information
at my fingertips

I am not going to speculate.

Yeah, but in general
is it possible

for WHO to criticise nations?

I'm not going to say
anything more about

this, why should I
say anything more.

No this was a general question,
not in relation to Fukushima.

Well let's move on
to another topic.




Yeah yeah the speaker.

Well I know what is
his role, not to

answer anything, it's to around,
around, around, around...

This is the problem. One of the

serious problems of
WHO is the media

policing because
they are trying to

avoid any conflict,
to avoid anything.

So they are not talking openly
and transparently to the people.

So what struck me was that your

questions are odd
and out of date.

No it's a great organisation,
I'm the spokesperson

for the organisation I do
this day in and day out.

I love the job.

Is it getting more difficult
now that WHO has lost trust?

Who says WHO has lost trust?

Is that you?


(road noise)

I am Alison Katz,
I worked for the

World Health
Organisation myself for

18 years and since
I have left I have

been involved in independent WHO

which works in the area
of radiation and health

and we have been in front of the

World Health Organisation
headquarters in Geneva for

7 years now and it is a
permanent peaceful protest.

So that the world understands
that somebody is witnessing

the victims of radiation which
includes almost everybody.

The Japanese people are
already talking and they

are reporting very serious
health effects in

children that the WHO
is ignoring. It's not

talking about, doesn't
mention in it's report.

You know.

At the time of Chernobyl, the
people couldn't talk freely.


The New York Academy of Science
book, this one, comes up

with an estimate of 985,000
deaths, that is worldwide,

between 1986 and 2004. And
of course that makes a

dramatic contrast with what
the establishment says,

which is still
around 50 deaths and

possibly 4000 cancers
as a final total.

The other major omission
is that the WHO has never

considered anything except
cancer as a health effect.

(speaking foreign language)

(aeroplane noise)

Since January we know that
there are other diseases

What other diseases?

Unfortunately, um yeah...

for example...

diseases, infertility,

thyroid diseases
other than cancer.

There's a book, maybe
you heard about

it, of the Academy of Science.

Which was reputed by
the New York Academy

of Sciences because
it's so unsound.

But that's not true. - Yes.

If you read the statement
from the New York Academy

of Sciences, in 2011 or 12
they repudiated the book.

Let me give you this.

This is from the
journal of radiology

and it's a review of the New

York Academy of
Science's book which

talks about all the flaws in it.

Ok, ok.

So I should also
give you something.

A book review by
independent WHO.

Yeah - Yeah

Ok we read this and
then we meet again.

(phone dialing)

Hello, this is Lilian Franck.

What does it mean exactly
that the New York

Academy of Science repudiate
the Chernobyl book.

The editor tells me that the

Academy never
repudiated the book.

He permits me to
record the phone call,

but later he withdraws
his permission.

Isn't he able to
speak freely either?

When I try to confront
the WHO press spokesman

with the statement, he
doesn't take my calls.

So he doesn't take it.

Do you wanna try with
my Italian number?

Why not, thanks!

Like mine? Ah yeah.

Hi Gregory, this is
Lilian, good to hear you.

The press spokesman refuses
to give me another interview.

I'm good and you?

He says he's spent enough
time with me already.

I was wondering whether

we could meet again for
another interview.

No? Why not?!

Perhaps the publisher of the
Chernobyl book can help me.

(dialing tone)

(Sherman) Good morning

Good morning!

The original contact person at
the New York Academy of Sciences

agreed to publish the book.

And then there was
a big to-do at the

New York Academy
and they did not

think was a good idea.

And I suspect that they
were pressured by the

nuclear industry but I
don't know for sure.


How big is the influence
of the nuclear industry?

Here at home, nuclear
power is also an

important part of our
own energy future.

As you know I'm a big
believer in Nuclear power.


The international Atomic
Energy Agency, IAEA,

wants to promote the safe and
peaceful use of atomic energy.

Nuclear power will remain an
important and viable option

for many countries as a clean
and stable source of energy.

(muffled voices)

The WHO is concerned
with health.

These are different priorities

but the two organisations are
working closely together.

For example, together with other
UN organisations they are

compiling a report about the

health consequences
of Chernobyl.

I'm a critic of WHO and they
tended not to invite critics

for their two reports, one on
health one on the environment.

What kind of people are these?

Do you know some of them or?

Yes I know most of them.

There's certainly a good bunch.

But the trouble is that they are

outweighed by the
scientists from IAEA.

And erm...

because they're the
ones who ruled

the roost, who
dictated the agenda.

The thing was that
there would be a

whole series of
informal meetings

going on between WHO
and IAEI at quite

senior levels, very
senior levels.

And they would predetermine
what line they would take.

That's why they had a
WHO / IAEI meeting

in Vienna in 2005,
in October 2005

To put the line
across, this is it,

this is what we're going to do.

The trouble was that many, many
people came opposed to all this.


Maria Neira works at the WHO.
She is responsible

for the risks of
radioactive contamination.

I deliberately make an
appointment to see her in

Paris. The press department
won't get in the way here.

To make sure she agrees to
see me, I don't tell her

what I want to talk about
until we first meet.

(Neira) It's like
Chernobyl, there is a book

saying that there have
been 1 million deaths that

the WHO is hiding, how
can you have 1 million

deaths, come on. Seriously,
1 million deaths.

And then the humanity will
not, I mean 1 million.

Yeah but this is because
they were looking

at the broader part of
the world population.

Yeah but 1 million
deaths, you think

that you can hide
1 million deaths?

Yeah but do you seriously think

Which records, do you
have mortality records?

How can you seriously
believe that

Chernobyl accident
caused 50 deaths.

No we didn't say that.

But it's still on
the WHO website!


So we wrote the other report

and the initials are
TORCH which is torch.

We said right away that
we expected somewhere

between 30 and 60,000
altogether worldwide

future deaths.

Because the plume from Chernobyl
went right round the world.

The northern hemisphere.

And whilst the
concentrations were low,

far, far away, it doesn't matter

because there were many,
many millions of people.

There are 600 million
people in Europe alone

and they were all affected.

Politicians who
do not learn from

history are doomed to repeat it.

The purpose of this report
was looking at the exposure

and the doses to which
people have been exposed.

What is the risk
that we can expect

and I think this is more human

than trying to predict how many
people will die from cancer.

The other reason why we were
not using cancer mortality

figures but rather incidents
is because as you know

most of the cancers can
now be treated and

therefore there was no
mortality associated.

I don't know whether you
have noticed but our

health risk assessment is
only with the log of WHO.

But I mean if once heard of
the experts belonged to IAEA.

This is kind of anticipating
that those experts

from IAEA are not on
the best of their

science, which is the
case, I don't think

they were there to
represent any interest.

I mean it was criticised
that there was

no oncologist or
no radiobiologist

also no scientist who
published critical

articles on health effect
of nuclear energy.

But when you need
to do a scientific

report, it's not a question of

bringing an activist
from the left

wing, an activist
from the right wing.

It's a question of science.

What's happened is that there
are groups outside that

they want to use those accidents
to say you see nuclear

energy is bad, is dangerous,
why we don't stop the

use of nuclear energy, which
is a different cause.

Do you think it could
also be the other

way round, that
nuclear industry...

tries to not to tell the whole
truth about the health impacts.

Absolutely, I have
no doubt for sure.

(ambient sounds)

(eerie sound)

Of course we are not
perfect but we are there

and we are doing the
best we can and with

the support of everybody
who recognises that

there is a need for a
global public health

very heavy institution, heavy
in the good sense, with weight,

institution, powerful

it will be the best
for all of us.

And I will fight for
that for the rest of

my life. I'm a convinced
public health

officer and I think
my record accredits

that if we need to
fight, I am not afraid.

A scientist in the United
States this past spring

made the observation that
this generation of children

is the first generation
in modern history that

is not going to be as
healthy as their parents.

That should not be.

What do I do with
this knowledge now?

Go out on the streets
together with

independent WHO, or
just go home again?

First I have to speak to
the Director General.

(dialing tone)

I was talking to
Margaret Chan for an

interview during World
Health Assembly.

She said yes she would
like to give it

but I didn't get
any answer so far.

I'm just concerned about WHO
and it's image in the film.

It's really important that I
could talk to Margaret Chan.

You know I'm very flexible, it
doesn't have to take long time.

(voice on phone) It's
not about time it's

about her physically
being in the office.

Hello, this is Lilian.

Do you think we can do
the interview tomorrow?

(man on phone) Mm probably not.

(ambient sounds and soft music)

The queue for demands
for her is so long

that you'd be waiting
another 5 years.

(soft music)

Am I at the end now?

Is there any real end?

Margaret Chan carries on.

But I don't know I mean
she is very patient to

stay there because in
my place I was goodbye.

You are destroying, this
is your business, you

are... the organisation,
I'm not going to help.

And probably at
one point she has

to realise that she is helping

and serving the interest of the
people giving funds to WHO.


So last summer, an editor
from the WHO's official

journal world health
bulletin invited me to write

an editorial on psychological
impact of the Fukushima

accident on evacuees and
I agreed to do that.

It was rejected on
the grounds that

it contained criticism
of WHO and the

Japanese authorities.
Well of course it

did. I mean there
were things wrong.

I think the editors words were:
'the world health bulletin will

not be a platform for such
criticism, no matter how valid'.


So this year will
you go to the World

health assembly to
the UN building?


I'm still not allowed in.


Because apparently I asked
too many disobliging

questions, they won't
renew my accreditation.

I've annoyed people.

And I have written about things

they don't want me
to write about.


Why did you stop working at WHO?

I was fired.

I was a staff association
representative and we organised

the first, it wasn't even a
strike it was a go-slow in 2005

and it was to protest against
the levels of corruption

in WHO. Nepotism, mainly
nepotism. Corruption.

And of course they
were absolutely

horrified, so it was a huge

success, but three weeks after
that, my post was abolished.

Right, it's over to
you folks, who'd

like to start the
round of questions?

Is it on? Can you hear me?

Yeah, ok.

Lilian Franck, OVALmedia.

It's a question to Dr. Chan.
We just learnt that refugee

health and climate change are
huge global health challenges.

But I'm asking myself
how can we meet

them if WHO is
constantly losing power.

Important donor nations,
they want a weak WHO, one

could even compare WHO
to Titanic I would say.

So isn't it your
responsibility Dr. Chan

to step down before the
end of your second

term in order to signal
to the world that

your organisation,
you ship is sinking.

You ask an excellent question.

If I tell you

WHO as an organisation,
only 30 percent

of my budget is
predictable funds.

Other 70 percent I
have to take a hat and

go around to world
to beg for money.

And when they give us the
money they are highly

linked to their preferences,
what they like.

It may not be the priority
of WHO so if we do not solve

this, you know, we are not going
to be as great as we were.