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Smallpox in America: Into the Garden of Delights

Smallpox in America: Into the Garden of Delights

By Jennifer Van Bergen
t r u t h o u t | Report

Tuesday 14 January 2003

[Coleridge] said ... there were only three things which the government had brought into that garden of delights, namely itch, pox, and famine.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson, English Traits(1856)

We are told that there is new grave threat to our welfare. Smallpox.

If we are indeed in danger of a smallpox outbreak (which is contradicted by medical testimony), the threat appears to be inflated.

A far more grave threat, however, is the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA, MEHPA, or EHPA), portions of which were incorporated into the Homeland Security Act (HSA). The EHPA provides for forced vaccinations and confiscation or destruction of personal property under the mere threat of a threat of an outbreak.

Representative Ron Paul (R.-TX.), who also is a medical doctor, writes:

When we give government the power to make medical decisions for us, we in essence accept that the state owns our bodies. The possibility that the federal government could order vaccines is real. Provisions buried in the 500-page homeland security bill give federal health bureaucrats virtually unchecked power to declare health emergencies.
Specifically, it gives the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services _ in my view one of the worst of all federal agencies _ power to declare actual or potential bioterrorist emergencies; to administer forced "countermeasures," including vaccines, to individuals or whole groups; and to extend the emergency declaration indefinitely.
These provisions mirror those found in the Model Emergency Health Powers Act [MEHPA], a troubling proposal that was rejected by most state legislatures last year. That Act would have given state governors broad powers to suspend civil liberties and declare health emergencies. Yet now we're giving virtually the same power to the Secretary of HHS. Equally troubling is the immunity from civil suit granted to vaccine manufacturers in the homeland security bill, which potentially could leave individuals who get sick from a bad batch of vaccines without legal recourse.(2)
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Rep. Paul omits that the smallpox vaccine can be fatal. The MEHPA sounds almost like state-sponsored population control. But this is not only population control via, say, contraception. It is by state-mandated and enforced, vaccine-induced illness and death.

That is frightening. In the name of fighting terrorism, we are now going to kill off a small percentage of our own people.

Health and welfare issues have traditionally been state issues. Since 1824, the so-called "police power," which includes "the authority to provide for the public health, safety, and morals," has been the exclusive province of the states.(3)

Sandy Mintz, who writes on Vaccination News, states: "The Homeland Security Bill as now written, however, appears to be an effort to circumvent states' rights, by federalizing declared emergencies related to "public health". It seems to have been decided that declaring a federal emergency using federal law would allow states' rights to be by-passed." (4)

She continues, "This effort seems to be, at least in part, a reaction to the failure of all states to pass, or in some cases to even consider passing thus far, an MEHPA bill."

Florida and The Model Emergency Health Powers Act

The MEHPA has been passed in only one state: Florida.(5) Adopted home of Jeb Bush. Land of electoral madness. Home to alligators and other swamp creatures. The garden of delights.

Joanna Rohrback, a health activist in Broward County, Florida, who has been trying to raise awareness about the Florida EHPA, says: "Some of the worst ramifications would include forced vaccinations on the WHOLE population as well as the ability to seize our property and quarantine us."(6)

Mintz writes that the dubiously titled Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, which, as I understand it, is identical to the Florida EHPA, "give[s] the power of life and death over citizens to each state's governor."

Mintz delineates a few specific things the MEHPA does:

1. Grant the governor of each state power to declare a "public health emergency" as defined in the act, with or without consulting anyone. (Article IV, Section 401)

2. Require medical examination and/or testing and force isolation or quarantine if it is deemed that refusal "poses a danger to public health". (Article VI, Section 602(c))

3. Require treatment and/or vaccination and "isolate or quarantine" those "unwilling or unable" to do so. (Article VI, (Article VI, Sections 603(a)(3) and 603(b)(3))

4. Constitute as a misdemeanor, "failure to obey these provisions" (for examination, testing, isolation or quarantine). (Article VI, Sections 604(a) and 604(c))

5. Provide that there be no liability for any "State or local official" causing harm to individuals in their efforts to comply with the provisions of the act, unless there is "gross negligence or willful misconduct". (Article VIII, Section 804(a))

6. Provide for similar absence of liability for "any private person, firm or corporation" and their "employees" or "agents". (Article VIII, Section 804(b)(2) and 804(b)(3))

7. Allow for the destruction of property without compensation if "there is reasonable cause to believe that [the property] may endanger the public health pursuant to Section 501". (Article V, Sections 506 and 507)

8. Limit legal recourse. (Article VI, Section 605)

9. Allow for "the public safety authority (to) request assistance from the organized militia in enforcing the orders of the public health authority." (Article IV, Section 404).

In other words, martial law. If you have not seen "Minority Report" or read Orwell's "1984," you might want to do so now.

The MEHPA, which was enacted as the Florida EHPA, is the model for those provisions in the Homeland Security Act that deal with emergency health issues.

Conflicts and Dangers

Toni Krehel of Vaccine Awareness of Florida writes that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) "attempted to rush anti-terrorism legislation through state legislatures" giving power to the state to impose "medical procedures on people, using any means necessary, including the kind of restraining methods that law enforcement use to apprehend criminals (guns, militia)."(7)

Rohrback reports that the CDC, along with the National Health Institute, will be receiving "extraordinary funding" under the Homeland Security Act. Rohrback points out that, according to the Congressional Committee for Government Reform back in 1999, there were numerous "conflicts of interest" in the CDC's endorsement of these laws. One blatant example is that the "Chairman of CDC's advisory committee until recently owned 600 shares of stock in Merck, a pharmaceutical company with an active vaccine division."(8) That was 1999 and the conflicts of interest have continued.

Dr. Marcia Angell, in an interview on ABC Lateline in which she discussed the control that the drug industry has taken of medical research, said that the drug companies use medical researchers "as though they were hired guns." Researchers are paid to do what these companies want them to do. "[D]rug companies increasingly design the studies," and "don't even let the researchers see the data."(9)

Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz, President and Publisher of Tetrahedron Publishing Group, wrote in a June 6, 2002 letter to a CDC Working Group: "The little known fact is that the primary smallpox vaccine producers, Aventis and Baxter corporations, or their parent companies, are highly untrustworthy. They have been implicated on more than one occasion in committing genocide. *** Both firms settled out of court ..."(10)

Horowitz further remarks that "Baxter is a subsidiary of American Home Products (AHP)," and AHP, "like Bayer, Hoechst and BASF, is a progeny of I.G. Farben - Germany's leading industrial organization that virtually directed the Third Reich and Hitler's economic war engine." He adds that Aventis is a subsidiary of Hoechst.
Horowitz pleads: "Please, for the sake of millions of people, public healthy, medical respectability, and the future of this great nation, DO NOT SUPPORT ANY POLICY REQUIRING FORCED SMALLPOX VACCINATIONS."

Dr. Tom Mack of the University of Southern California School of Medicine, whose "credentials include probably spending more time working up population-based outbreaks of smallpox than virtually anybody ever has," spoke at the Meeting of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on June 19-20, 2002. Remarking that "I made the arrogant assumption that you might actually be interested in my opinion about the three questions that are open to you, and so I'm going to give it," Dr. Mack said that " were there no smallpox eradication program, my guess is that smallpox would have died out anyway."(11)

One report states that: "By the 1920s, several British medical researchers documented that smallpox was not only more common among the VACCINATED, but that the DEATH RATE from smallpox was actually higher among those who had been vaccinated."(12)

Dr. Mack states that the smallpox vaccine is "the single most dangerous live vaccine."

While these doctors state that smallpox vaccinations are dangerous, they are also clear that the threat of bio-attacks is slim and that even if there is bio-attack, it can be readily contained and mass vaccinations thus are not justified.

Dr Mack -- asking, "What do we expect if there were a terrorist introduction?" - concludes: "I would expect a small number of cases. I don't think suicide dissemination is a very likely possibility because of the severity of the disease. I think that airborne spread would be relatively inefficient and I don't think many cases would occur."

Informed Consent & Lack of Logic

The National Vaccination Information Center (NVIC) maintains that Section 304 of the Homeland Security Act is the "fulfillment of a federal plan in development for several years to allow public health officials to force vaccination and medical treatment on Americans without their informed consent while removing all accountability from drug companies and those who participate in enforcement of the policy."(13)

The legal doctrine of "informed consent" requires that a person who is being subjected to any medical procedure be informed of the nature and risks of that procedure so that s/he can weigh the risks against the benefits and decide whether to consent to allowing the physician to carry out the procedure.

Medical procedures, including vaccinations, involve some type of intrusion on the body, as well as various risks. Without informed consent, any medical procedure is actually technically a battery. In civil law, battery involves intentionally "harmful or offensive" touching of any part of the body. In criminal law, battery involves "unlawful application of force to the person of another."

NVIC states that "a voluntary decision about whether to take the risk has been the centerpiece of bioethics ever since the Nuremberg Code was adopted after World War II and the doctrine of informed consent was introduced into U.S. case law in 1957."

Two major hospitals have already refused to vaccinate their employees because "the risk of dangerous side effects of the vaccine and inadvertent transmission to patients outweighs the remote threat of an attack with a virus."(14) The Boston Globe reported that the decisions "underscore the reluctance of some health workers to return to a decades-old vaccine known for its serious side effects. In rare instances, the vaccine has caused life-threatening cases of encephalitis and some deaths."

''There is a lack of logic to the current proposal,'' said Dr. Richard Wenzel, chairman of the department of internal medicine at Virginia Commonwealth. ''If our government in all its intelligence thinks smallpox exists in enemy hands, why would we creep up on that policy? We would rush to vaccinate everybody right now.''(15)

Military Intervention

The MEHPA provides for military intervention. According to one news report: "The Bush administration is taking initial steps to plan for a potential military role in enforcing a massive quarantine, if smallpox or another highly contagious virus were to break out somewhere in the United States."(16) Remarkably, according to this report: "The possibility of a biological attack on the United States is receiving increased attention as the nation contemplates war against Iraq, which experts fear may have 'weaponized' smallpox, anthrax or other biowarfare agents."

This report also states that "some federal officials, public health analysts and national security experts anticipate a large-scale quarantine would almost surely incite public panic and could require the use of federal troops to restore order."

How ironic.

The Bush Administration says it is going to war with Iraq in order to ensure our safety, but experts fear that Saddam may counterattack with bio-weapons, which means we must forcibly inoculate several million people here with a dangerous vaccine, causing mass panic that will require restoring order with the military.
This surely is the way to make America safe.

Yesterday I, along with several other members of the ad hoc Broward Bill of Rights Defense Coalition, met with a County Commissioner here in Broward County to discuss passing a resolution asking for the repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act. This Commissioner told me that she was ready to give up the Bill of Rights in exchange for safety. She felt we were in grave danger. As an example of what she would accept, she told me that an airport search was "an unreasonable search and seizure."

Search and seizure law is immensely complex and the "rules" for what is a reasonable search vary according to the context. Airport searches of persons entering the boarding area have been deemed constitutional since 1973, as long as the intrusiveness is limited by the administrative need (which is, in this case, flight safety) and the passenger is able to avoid search by electing not to fly. Searches that are minimally intrusive and intended to protect passengers are not violations of the Fourth Amendment. More importantly, we do not give up ANY individual rights by consenting to an airport search. (I am not discussing reports of excessively intrusive and embarrassing public searches that have occurred since 9/11, which, in my opinion, are unreasonable as well as unnecessary.)

If, however, we allow such laws as the PATRIOT Act, the Homeland Security Act, and the Emergency Health Powers Act to stay on the books, we HAVE thrown away our Bill of Rights. We have made the United States Constitution a nullity.

This Administration is taking us down a perilous road. This Administration is putting its own citizenry in grave danger. Forced vaccinations benefit only the producers of those vaccines.

If we genuinely want peace and safety, then unlawfully invading foreign lands, unlawfully assassinating targeted people overseas, unlawfully divesting our own citizens of their rights and invading their persons -- in other words, violating the most sacred and certain of domestic and international laws -- will not do it.

These unlawful methods cannot continue long without bringing world war. Bin Laden did not attack us because we have a Bill of Rights. He attacked us, as he himself declared, because we had invaded sacred Muslim lands. There is no justification for Bin Laden's attacks on innocent Americans, but neither is there any justification for the United States to invade lands that do not belong to it, or the bodies of persons it does not and cannot ever own.

Our bodies belong to us, not our government. There is no genuine power without consent. Any power obtained through force is illegitimate and eventually rebounds back on those who apply it.

While in the short term, Bush might maintain "order" (a term hauntingly reminiscent of the Nazi aphorism "Alles in Ordnung") by forcing his will and his way on the world, it will not last, and we Americans will be the ones to suffer for his mistakes.

There is no replacement for the Bill of Rights or the Constitution of the United States. Whatever "garden of delights" we have enjoyed will be forever lost.


1 (Into the Garden of Delights, From Title) Grateful thanks to Joanna Rohrback for her assistance in researching and writing about this topic. A health advocate and activist in Broward County, Florida, Ms. Rohrback is a former social worker with the Florida Health & Rehabilitative Services and has a Bachelor of Health Services, specializing in Health Administration, from Florida Atlantic University. She heads the Citizen's For Democracy group in Broward and has a patented fitness program called Prancercise(r). Her report on the MSEHPA (hereafter Rohrback Report) is available at: or via email from me.


3 Barnes v. Glen Theatre, Inc. 501 U.S. 560 (1991). The landmark case that determined that states retain full authority to legislate in any field and to achieve any objective, subject only to the limitations imposed in the Constitution itself is Gibbons v. Ogden, 22 U.S. (9 Wheat.) 1 (1824). Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that such powers included "that immense mass of legislation, which embraces every thing within the territory of a state, not surrendered to the general government; all of which can be most advantageously exercised by the states themselves. Inspection laws, quarantine laws, health laws of every description, as well as laws for regulating the internal commerce of a state ... are component parts of this mass." In 1827, Marshall dubbed this power "the police power." Brown v. Maryland, 25 U.S. (12 Wheat.) 419. In 1878, the Supreme Court decided that the states may not bargain away their police power to corporations. Boston Beer Co. v. Massachusetts, 97 U.S. 25. But not every state law enacted in the purported interests of public health, safety, welfare, and morals, is automatically presumed to be Constitutional. Where a police power enactment infringes on rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, a federal court may strike down a state law. U.S. v. Carolene Products Co., 304 U.S. 144 (1938). Additionally, the General Welfare Clause (Article I, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution) empowers Congress to "collect taxes ... to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States." This has traditionally been interpreted as a federal taxing power only, but also permitted the Supreme Court in 1937 to sustain the Social Security Act. Steward Machine Co. v. Davis, 301 U.S. 548.

4 (All citations to Mintz are to this URL.)

5 Rohrback Report, p. 4.

6 Email from Joanna Rohrback to JVB, 26 December 2002.


8 Rohrback Report, pp. 1 & 2. See this Report for other examples.

9 (cited in Rohrback Report, p. 2-3).

10 Leonard G. Horowitz to ACIP-NVAC Smallpox Working Group, CDC, June 6, 2002, See also:


12 (citing a 1993 book or article titled "Vaccination" by Dr. Viera Scheibner)
13; (cited in Rohrback Report, p. 8) (further quotes from NVIC are from the same)


15 Ibid.

16 Inside the Pentagon, Elaine Grossman, Dec. 12, 2002. (Posted on elist without URL.)


Jennifer Van Bergen is a regular contributor to TruthOut. She has a J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, is a contributing editor of Criminal Defense Weekly, an adjunct faculty member of the New School Online University, a division of the New School for Social Research, and an active member of the ACLU.

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