“Martin Kulldorff, Anders Tegnell, Johan Giesecke, I really believe there are grounds to indict them for crimes against humanity”

The criminal role of the Swedish government in the pandemic: Testimony from anti-COVID activist Keith Begg

The World Socialist Web Site spoke to Keith Begg, an Irish-Swedish anti-COVID activist who has led efforts to expose the criminal response of the Swedish government to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first part of a two-part interview for the Global Workers’ Inquest into the COVID-19 Pandemic. The second part can be read here.

Sweden is the birthplace of the homicidal “herd immunity” strategy, which the Social Democratic government has ruthlessly pursued since March 2020. This pseudoscientific policy has been ‘exported’ around the world and has, in all essentials, been adopted by almost every capitalist government amid the disastrous surge of the Omicron variant.

In 2020, Begg formed an oppositional Facebook group, “Media Watchdogs of Sweden,” that was vilified in the Swedish media for opposing the government’s reckless policies. This interview was conducted on February 10, 2022.

Gabriel Black: Could you start by speaking about your background and how you came to take this oppositional role during the pandemic?

Keith Begg: My background has been for the last 10 years dealing with rule of law and human rights violations in totalitarian states. I’ve worked for three different Swedish NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] in the human rights and environmental rights area.

Two years ago, when the pandemic started, I never in a million years thought that I would be advocating and challenging a government and a system that has characteristics of some of these totalitarian states that I have worked in.

It all started in April 2020 when it became very clear, even at the start, that Sweden had decided to go its own way. Its neighboring countries, Norway, Denmark, and then followed by Finland, had gone into lockdown. But in Sweden it became very bizarre, even within a few weeks.

The MSB (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap), which is the contingency protection agency within Sweden, put banners up all over its social media asking the question, “If somebody in my household has COVID, but I or my family don’t have COVID, is it okay to go to work or school?” And the answer was, “Yes.”

More worryingly, thousands of largely privileged Swedes went to the Alps for skiing and brought the virus back with them. Very few of them were tested because Anders Tegnell, the Swedish state epidemiologist, said it was not needed and he cited costs. In March of 2020, they only tested those in hospitals.

One of the main reasons why I became interested in creating the “Media Watchdogs of Sweden” group was the constant gaslighting, the misinformation, the lies, and the failure to follow scientific evidence.

The characteristic of the Swedish strategy has been one of data manipulation. What I mean by that is that many, many people died during this period that testing was not allowed, and only given for hospitalized people. So, many elderly died in care homes, and they’re not even registered in the C 19, the COVID-19 statistics, because there’s no test, no confirmation.

Even today, those that die after 30 days of testing positive are not included in the statistic. So, it started in March, it started very, very slowly. But then it snowballed into constant misinformation, and criminal negligence and criminal incompetence. The most vulnerable people, the elderly, those in risk groups, the socially stratified, and now the children, have been put under a ‘COVID bath.’

It was and is an elitist strategy. And it has been based on saving the economy, but more importantly, saving the all-important Swedish image, our ‘Sveriege Bild,’ which comes before everything.

A few of us, mainly foreigners, got together and said we could not sit by and watch this misinformation. The Swedish media and the authorities and the government were feeding this information to international media that never challenged it. What was so damning about the Swedish strategy in the beginning was that it was clear they had adopted a herd immunity strategy without an iota of evidence.

What is so startling today is that masks have been demonized for two years in Sweden, despite 60-70 internationally meritorious research studies. Yet Anders Tegnell and the Swedish Public Health Authority needed no proof whatsoever to unleash a herd immunity experiment on the people of Sweden, but still need proof, up until recently, that masks are an effective and cheap tool to protect people during a pandemic.

GB: Could you speak more about what exactly happened in the first months in Sweden? What was the death toll and what was the impact of this herd immunity strategy?

KB: I would say the first thing that I would need to describe is that the Swedish government bailed out the Swedish media to the tune of 700 million Swedish kronor (75.5 million USD). This was at a time when frontline workers in hospitals were denied PPE and elderly care homes were devoid of oxygen, with costs being cited as the one of the reasons. So, it has become an incredibly toxic and polarized society, even from early on, because the media has been nothing more than a mouthpiece for the government and the authorities. There’s no challenges or little to no challenges, with only a few journalists who have tried and continue to try.

One of the main catastrophes was with the elderly. I would say this is criminal and a human rights violation—and many have occurred in Sweden. [The Swedish government] has breached their own national law and the European Convention on Human Rights by denying people health care on the grounds of age and underlying conditions.

Thousands of elderly were denied access to hospitals. They received a shot of morphine. Their death sentences were often passed over the telephone without a medic ever seeing the patient. This is one of the most criminal things, the most vulnerable in society were literally treated like garbage.

We have leaked documents from different regions, where this was the palliative care that was going to be given for the elderly–they weren’t even going to try [to save their lives]. Of course, some elderly are in such an advanced stage, it would be dangerous to move them. But the first port of call was to give them a shot of morphine with neither the patient, nor their families being informed of the care that would befall their elderly relatives. So, this has been a really, really sinister development that has happened.

In the first few months of the pandemic, it wasn’t just the elderly. Many people were denied care. We have statements from many doctors at Karolinska, which is one of the biggest hospitals in Stockholm, where many people from all walks of life were not given priority care. But shamelessly, the government and the Swedish Public Health Authority built a huge field hospital in the suburbs of Stockholm. It was never used. But what it was used for was propaganda and to gaslight the international community that the Swedish healthcare system never crumbled under the pandemic. So today, we have 16,420 people who are dead.

Yesterday, Sweden made an announcement that it was opening up and dropping restrictions. This is an absolute fantasy. The only restriction, real restriction they still had was that pubs would close at 11pm. They close in normal times in the UK and Ireland at that time. But you know what was so cynical, they interviewed people up and down the country [about the reopening]. Yet 114 people were reported dead yesterday.

GB: Could you speak more about the role of Anders Tegnell, the Swedish state epidemiologist in all this? Tegnell and Sweden’s herd immunity strategy were widely promoted in the international and, especially, the financial press, in early 2020. For example, Thomas Friedman’s ‘the cure cannot be worse than the disease article’ in the New York Times.

KB: I have to be careful when I talk about him because it sounds so unbelievable. First of all, I would say he is and has been a total charlatan. He possesses an online master’s in epidemiology. While he does have a PhD, he has literally been wrong about everything. He has relied on whims, pseudoscience, and gut instincts to get Sweden through this pandemic, all with disastrous consequences.

At the start of the pandemic, many scientists asked him to show them the models that he used to make these predictions with the herd immunity strategy. He couldn’t produce them. He has denied pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic cases. This is huge because it was part of the herd immunity strategy. People will say, “Oh, well, he has denied that herd immunity was ever his strategy or was ever the Swedish strategy.”

But there are leaked emails that came out. One email was sent to Mika Salminen, who is his equivalent in Finland, where they were to use children to spread the virus quicker in the community. Tegnell had deleted hundreds if not thousands of emails. And one of the emails Peter Thall (a Harvard biostatistician) produced was where three scenarios were given, one of which was herd immunity, and Anders Tegnell stated they would be following that strategy.

The worst thing I think Anders Tegnell has done is that he spends more time on the media, especially international media, than actually doing his job. And what I mean by that is Tegnell and Johan Giesecke, who was a former Swedish state epidemiologist, who is a senior advisor at the WHO, and who advised the FHM [Swedish public health agency, Folkhälsomyndigheten] during the spring and summer of 2020, have exported their pseudoscience around the world, from Brazil, to Portugal, to America, to Ireland, the UK. All without an iota of scientific evidence.

They have produced reports, for example, that opening schools in Sweden and closing them in Finland had absolutely no impact on the virus. The thing was that Sweden was not testing young people in school, they left out data! I challenged the FHM with many aspects of that report.

Meanwhile, Tegnell and the FHM were going out to the world lauding this non-peer-reviewed report. When I finally got an answer from the FHM from an epidemiologist, he said, “Oh, this was just a quick situational report.” So, they produce reports to fit in to their own pseudoscientific ravings, where the rest of the world was contradicting it.

I could go on for hours about Tegnell. There have been four waves in Sweden like most of the world, and he predicted each time that not one wave would reach Sweden. He predicted that Stockholm would have herd immunity in April 2020, in May 2020, in June 2020, it went on and on. They became fixated with testing people for antibodies, even when a Dutch and a British study came out saying that antibodies don’t last and maybe they last for between three and six months.

He has been the face of the pandemic, but there is just so many complicit in it, there’s too many to mention. They all have each other’s backs. In Sweden, appalling mistakes are rarely admitted. There’s a very exceptionalist, hyper-nationalistic and corona-nationalistic governance system here.

They’re all in collusion, whether it’s the Minister of Education, who lauds Jonas Ludvigsen, one of the professors who is a signatory of the Great Barrington Declaration, and his campaign to let children spread the virus. She hasn’t protected any schools at all within Sweden, and parents are forced to send their children. So, Anders Tegnell is an emperor with no clothes and he’s the biggest threat to public health in Sweden in recent history, if not since World War II.

GB: There have been several epidemiologists in the United States who have drawn from Tegnell. I was wondering if you could speak about Martin Kulldorff, the Swedish-American biostatistician?

KB: Yes, Martin Kulldorff has been spreading misinformation and pseudoscience since the beginning of the pandemic. He’s one of the chief authors of the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) that advocates for the spread of infection within society as a way out of the pandemic. He recently was banned temporarily from Twitter and also LinkedIn.

We have no proof at the moment, but we know that many of the critics of his strategy have been vilified and smeared on social media either through these kinds of phony accounts, or accounts associated with Martin Kulldorff and with the GBD.

He has twisted and turned outlying scientific reports into fact. He has garnered huge support within the economic and financial community obviously. Because in the world we live in today, it’s the economy that comes first, in many countries, above life. He is one of many Swedish people who have exported the pseudoscience and continue to do so around the world. It’s actually incredible that such a little country like Sweden, has really, really shown its true colors with very much eugenics tendencies.

There are many examples in recent history. Today, you could say it’s the involuntary euthanization of the elderly, but up until 1976, 63,000 women were sterilized under a racial purity policy. Until 2013, up to 800 transexuals were sterilized before they could get the operation and have their reproductive rights denied. In the 1940s and ‘50s, mentally handicapped children and adults were used in dental experiments. This whole social goal has been allowed to thrive, thanks to a very strong PR and brand of ‘Sweden.’ Martin Kulldorff, Anders Tegnell, Johan Giesecke, Jonas Ludvigsen, Johan Carlson, I really believe there are grounds to indict them for crimes against humanity.

Many people say to me, “Oh, well, Keith, you know, where’s the genocide? Where is the intention?” But Stefan Löfven, the former (Social Democratic) Prime Minister said that he accepted that thousands of people would die because of the herd immunity experiment and because of the strategy that Sweden has followed. So, the fact is, there is intent in knowing.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) adds new crimes going forward… everybody talks about Bolsonaro or Boris Johnson. But, in Sweden, there are so many who have willingly committed human rights violations from a legal point of view under the European Convention of Human Rights in the way that they have thrown elderly, marginalized people, and children under a bus, resulting in thousands of elderly dying. I personally hold people like Martin Kulldorff, Anders Tegnell, and Johan Giesecke totally responsible for this.

To be continued