In a secret meeting room beneath the World Health Organisation Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland the 34 members of the World Health Assembly gathered in subdued silence. Director General Margaret Chan stood before them glancing at her notes upon the lectern.
She looked up over the top of her glasses as a chime rang for eleven pm. It was the eve of the week long assembly and once again she had to brief the members of their responsibilities even though they had all been serving the cause for decades.
“Good evening ladies and gentlemen and thank you for coming,” she said in a somber voice that was projected by the microphone pinned to her lapel. “I know that you live in accordance with the rules every day of your lives but alas it is my duty to gather you all here and remind you of the importance of your continued silence. This is a big week and there will be a lot of media attention and scrutiny upon us all. Nobody can afford to slip up in any way or everything the WHO has worked so hard for over the past sixty seven years will fall apart.
“Imagine just for a second if it was revealed that any one of our drugs or treatments was only in fact a placebo. That is something from which we would never recover. Now imagine if humanity discovered that every single drug and treatment on the entire planet is simply a placebo. The general public cannot know the lengths that we have gone to in order to fabricate such an elaborate scam. If even one person found out word would spread like wildfire and not only would we be ruined but the entire platform of modern civilisation would crumble beneath our feet. Society is not only built around modern medicine and the advances that have extended and enriched our lives but it relies extremely heavily upon it to push us forward into a better and brighter future free of famine and disease.”
Margaret paused for a second to have a drink and used the opportunity to scan the faces of the gathered doctors. All of them were nodding along but had fear hidden behind their sternness. No matter how many times they heard the same speech they acted in the same way. As scared of the consequences of failure as she was. They valued their lives far too much to be blase about any of it.
“As always I am expecting you all to talk about and discuss new ventures. Of course there will also be a lot of focus on the fallout of the Ebola scare from last year. So ensure that if it pertains to your area of expertise you can effectively answer any questions without hesitation. Briefing packets were provided to you all three weeks ago which cover every point down to the smallest details. I know you all received them and have had the time to peruse the content.”
The vigorous nodding proved that Margaret’s continued decision to trust these people with her life had been a sound one. In the sixty seven year history of the World Health Organisation covering up that there were no actual cures or remedies for any disease or illness only one doctor had ever tried to take that information public. The rest knew the importance of the Placebo Initiative and how critical it was to keep it a secret.
“Finally this is in no way a judgment of any of your abilities to maintain secrecy,” Margaret clarified even though she knew it wasn’t necessary to say so. “If it were you would not be sitting where you are and preparing to present to the world the biggest lie ever constructed. I trust each and every one of you with my life and the lives of every person on Earth.
Because that is what is on the line today and has been every day since the creation of the World Health Organisation. Be certain, be positive and most importantly be calm. There hasn’t even been a passing rumour about placebo treatments and I intend it to stay that way. If nobody has anything else to add I will see you all tomorrow.”
Margaret didn’t even need to look up from the lectern to know that nobody would have anything more to say. She folded the notes she had been reading before delivering the speech and slipped them back into her briefcase. They made no mention of anything she had just talked about. Not only that but there was no record anywhere but in the minds of the Assembly members that the Placebo Initiative even existed. From every perspective the World Health Organisation was responsible for curing illness and prolonging the lives of humans. When in fact nobody knew the real reason that life expectancy was getting longer and people kept recovering from certain death.
Margaret was not willing to find out what would happen if the Placebo Initiative was exposed so she did everything she could to keep up the false pretense the WHO was built upon. It wasn’t the role she expected to land after a life studying medicine but it was the most important one in the history of mankind.