You are hereBlogs / dr-no's blog / The Eichmann Defence

The Eichmann Defence

Posted by Dr No on 24 January 2015

eichmann_defence.jpgIn a curious move, because to many it will suggest the GMC perceives itself to be on the back foot, Stilton yesterday had published in Pulse an article in which he attempts to portray the GMC as a listening organisation which ‘accepts there is a lot more to do’. Or, to put it another way, on the matter of its regulatory functions, the Council accepts this is ‘an area where more can be done’. Pulse’s standfirst boldly promises an explanation of ‘how the body is ‘improving fitness-to-practise regulations’ - this being, after all, and as the Council accepts, ‘an area where more can be done’ - but in the body the article fails to keep its promise. Instead, Stilton delivers a peevish nit-picking lawyerly rebuff to two recent articles, and a bizarre waffle on why GMC punishments are not punishments. These, however, are diversions. The real message, the payload, part-hidden as it is, is much darker. It is that age old defence against charges of involvement in state sponsored evil that has become known, since the Nuremberg trials, as the Eichmann Defence: ‘only following orders’.

This is not unexpected. Last month, after the GMC released its report detailing the number of deaths among doctors undergoing FtP investigation, Dr No suggested the GMC would use either the Denning Defence (better to convict a few innocents than let one guilty go free) or - as appears to be the case - the Eichmann Defence. It gives him no pleasure that his prediction appears to have come to pass. What it does suggest, though, is just how far the GMC is from taking responsibility for the sinister reality of its conduct, and how keen it is to absolve itself from any blame. For those wondering what happens next, it also tells us that no mere tinkering at the edges will do, wholesale reform is needed, and that means action by Parliament.

Hints of dodging the blame are there from the start and indeed again at the end: the airy blandishments about ‘a lot more to do’ and ‘an area where more can be done’. The implication is that plenty has been done (but there is always more that can be done). Such breeziness may work in a local council update on filling in the potholes, but it fails utterly to strike the right tone when the subject involves hundreds of deaths. The peevish nit-picking is neither here nor there, since it misses the more important point about the first article, which the second relies heavily on (Dr No welcomes both as important contributions), which, despite itself noting the risk of doing so in a cross-sectional study, manages to promote assocaition to causation in the very title: ‘The impact of complaints procedures on…doctors’. Though there is no doubt that complained about doctors are sicker, we don’t know – despite anecdotal accounts and intuitive hunches - where on the causation spectrum these doctors lie. This matters, because if complaints cause illness, then the complaint procedures, notably the GMC’s, are vituperative, and need wholesale reform. If, on the other hand, ill-health causes the conduct leading to the complaint, then the doctor should be nowhere near the regulator, but should instead be under the care of a competent doctor able to manage such complex patients.

The Eichmann Defence itself is part hidden in the rambling and contradictory ‘our punishments are not punishments’ section, but before we come to that we might do well to remind ourselves of Eichmann and his defence. Eichmann was, it is said, the man who made the trains run on time. Interestingly, the GMC has a similar interest in timing. Right at the start of it’s accountability hearing earlier this month, the GMC boasted that is now has 91% of its trains (inquiries) running on time, beating its 90% target. No one can object to trains/inquiries running on time, but to focus on the timings is to miss the bigger matter of what was in the trains/inquiries.

Both Eichmann knew and the GMC know what was and is in the trains/inquiries, and in both cases death was and is an outcome. Before someone starts shrieking, Dr No is not conflating millions of Holocaust deaths with 114 FtP deaths: instead, he pleads that any wrong death, even just one wrong death, is unacceptable; it is the moral objection to wrong death not the numbers that matter here. Eichmann’s defence was that his position was a ‘misfortune’ for which he was not responsible. Speaking after the guilty verdict but before sentencing, he said “It was my misfortune to become entangled in these atrocities. But these misdeeds did not happen according to my wishes. It was not my wish to slay people. The guilt for the mass murder is solely that of the political leaders…I would stress that I am guilty [only] of having been obedient, [of] having subordinated myself to my official duties… I did not persecute…with avidity and passion. That is what the government did.’ This, and much else of what Eichmann said, is of course normally abbreviated to ‘only following orders’.

What does Stilton have to say in is ‘our punishments are not punishments’ section? Is he ‘only following orders’? It seems, from what he says in the article, more than likely (Dr No quotes the whole paragraph, to avoid any charge of selective quotation):

“So the claim that we want to punish and punish more is quite wrong. We have always accepted that the effect of the fitness-to-practise process created by Parliament can be punitive, the point we have sought to make is that the purpose is not to punish. It is to protect patients and the reputation of the profession.”

Now consider this: why has the apparently superfluous phrase ‘created by Parliament’ been inserted?


Dr No apologises for the order at the end of para 1 that has the Nuremberg trials and Eichmann's trial as contemporaneous. They were not (1940s/1960s), so it was the Nuremberg Defence that became the Eichmann Defence. Dr No prefers Eichmann to Nuremberg Defence, because this is about culpable people, not indeterminate cities.

Back in 2004, I wrote a letter on Human Rights and privacy to Ian Beales, secretary to the committee of the PCC.

In this letter, I stated that I often felt like a Jew in Nazi Germany.

It was subsequently published by Christine "Squeaker" Burns and may be read on PP 38-39.

Can you see the irony of her committing an offense under the European Convention?

What I didn't realise at the time was that this was absolutely historically accurate. This is Jewish medicine and the knowledge was burnt on May 10th 1933

My Grandpa, Dr JTS Hoey, would be jolly proud of Dr No.

I was tortured by the hireling chaplain of the DOP in Southampton between 1998 and 2001 when I tried to report the original assault in the Warneford in 1982. I have documentary evidence of this now. It was illegal under International Law

Another problem was unresolved grief concerning the death of Grandpa Hoey in May 1976 when I was at the Dragon School.

This is my research website:

London Gazette 1932: there is a vacancy as a certifying surgeon in Petersfield, county of Hampshire due to the resignation of Dr JTS Hoey.

My current objective is to create a few vacancies ...!

An excellent article on Major CF Hoey VC MC by Con McGrath came out in Ireland's Own last year:

Here is an inspiring broadcast from VE day 1945 about Major Hoey.

Charlie and many other brave people didn't lay down their lives in order for this country to turn into Nazi Germany. There is a deep moral necessity for making a stand against this

Dr No is absolutely correct that any unnecessary deaths are totally unacceptable.

We have a long term problem with Nazi shrinks killing innocent citizens in Southampton.

Herr Schlich and several other doctors have a criminal plot to harrass me using the police for complaining about this.

As Winston Churchill once pointed out, "the measure of a society is the way it treats its most vulnerable".

I have a utube video here:

Last December there was a historic debate in the House of Lords.

Out of 100 cases of abuse, the GMC showed interest in investigating 39, including mine.

As Baroness Gould points out in her speech, they have done absolutely nothing to investigate any of them.

John Barnard rejected my complaint again under rule 12 for the same reasons as before: "sexual assault in the context of a medical examination lessens its gravity".

The debate may be found on the BBC:

Your blog is quite interesting when we are talking about this kind of stuff. You are often aware about all the subjects in this area and I am really impressed about your way of thinking. Great job, although!

i find your blog very informative in this field and useful for people who are searching for this kind of information, like me. thanks for sharing your thoughts. Andrei

Add a comment...

Will show as anonymous if no name added

If added, your name will be a link to the address you enter

If left blank, first few words of comment will be used

• Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li>
• Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically
• Lines and paragraphs break automatically

NOTE: Dr No's spam filter can be somewhat overzealous. If your comment has been wrongly rejected, Dr No apologises, and asks that you let him know (via Contact Form in side-bar). Many thanks.