Author Archives: The Refusers

Probiotic reduces risk of diarrhea and respiratory tract infection in toddlers

By MB Mar 23, 2014

A new study shows that probiotics reduce childhood infectious disease by boosting natural immunity – without adverse reactions. Want healthy kids? Use probiotics instead of vaccines and routine antibiotics.

Reuters Health Mar 21, 2014

A trial in Mexico suggests probiotics may help protect kids from the mild, but seemingly constant, illnesses they pick up in daycare.

Preschoolers given a daily probiotic for three months had markedly fewer respiratory infections and bouts of diarrhea compared to classmates taking a placebo, according to the trial results published in Pediatrics.

Dr. Pedro Gutierrez-Castrellon, who led the study, said probiotics are a promising line of research in the field of pediatric preventive medicine.

Children in daycare centers are at increased risk of both gastrointestinal and respiratory illness. Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria thought to benefit the immune system and digestion.

Often available over the counter, probiotics can come in capsules, drops or incorporated into foods like yogurt.

For the study, Gutierrez-Castrellon, a researcher with the National Perinatology Institute in Mexico City, and his colleagues tested a friendly-bacteria strain called Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 in four daycare centers in Mexico City.

“When we analyzed the field of probiotics in pediatrics, we identify L. reuteri as one of the strongest type of probiotics for use in children,” Gutierrez-Castrellon said.

He added that it’s better to use a single strain of probiotic bacteria than multiple strains, so they focused their study on L. reuteri.

Gutierrez-Castrellon and colleagues enrolled a total of 336 children ages six months to three years in the study and followed each child for six months.

Half the children were given eight probiotic drops daily for three months, while the other half were given a placebo treatment – identical drops containing no probiotics.

Parents and caregivers recorded any episodes of diarrhea or respiratory symptoms for the three months the children were given the drops and for the three months after the drops were discontinued.

During the first three months, there were a total of 42 episodes of diarrhea with an average duration of 1.4 days among kids who got the probiotics. The children in the placebo group had 69 diarrhea episodes that lasted, on average, 2.5 days.

Respiratory tract symptoms totaled 93 reports among kids in the probiotic group compared to 204 reports in the placebo group.

The differences in illness rates endured after the children stopped taking the probiotics. During the three-month follow-up, there were 57 reports of diarrhea in the treatment group compared to 83 in the placebo group and 129 reports of respiratory symptoms compared to 197 in the placebo group.

The researchers also found the children in the treatment group used antibiotics less during the study. When they calculated the total costs of illnesses, including medical visits, rehydration solutions and all types of drug treatments, they linked probiotic use to cost savings of $36 per episode of diarrhea and $37 per case of respiratory tract infection.

The study was funded by BioGaia AB, Stockholm, Sweden, which also provided the L. reuteri probiotic used in the research.

Roger Clemens told Reuters Health the study validates and reinforces previous studies on probiotic use in young children.

“I think this is critical from a public health perspective in daycare centers where we have a high increase of diarrheal disease because kids pass everything around,” he said. “The kids go to daycare centers and bring it home and mom and dad get sick – so they share that a lot.”

Clemens, who was not involved in the study, is a researcher and associate director of the regulatory science program at the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy in Los Angeles.

He added that studying specific strains of probiotics at specific doses for specific outcomes is important, and he believes L. reuteri is a potent strain of probiotic.

“If you take it on a regular basis you can reduce the risk of all kinds of conditions that can happen in the GI tract as well – it’s pretty powerful,” he said.

With the large number of probiotics available, it’s difficult for parents to know which probiotics to use without doing a little research.

Clemens said that pharmacists should know which probiotics are best, but that parents can also read labels on the products for additional information.

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Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics  January 13, 2014

Diarrhea in Preschool Children and Lactobacillus reuteri: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Abstract

OBJECTIVES To evaluate whether daily administration of Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 reduces the frequency and duration of diarrheal episodes and other health outcomes in day school children in Mexico.

METHODS: Healthy children (born at term, aged 6–36 months) attending day care centers were enrolled in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. They received L reuteri DSM 17938 (dose 108 colony-forming unit; n = 168) or identical placebo (n = 168) by mouth, daily for 3 months, after which they were followed-up after a further 3 months without supplementation.

RESULTS: Data from all children were included in the final analysis. L reuteri DSM 17938 significantly reduced the frequency and duration of episodes of diarrhea and respiratory tract infection at both 3 and 6 months (P < .05). Additionally, the number of doctor visits, antibiotic use, absenteeism from day school and parental absenteeism from work were significantly reduced in the L reuteri group (P < .05). A cost-benefit analysis revealed significant reductions in costs in the L reuteri-treated children. No adverse events related to the study product were reported.

CONCLUSIONS: In healthy children attending day care centers, daily administration of L reuteri DSM 17938 had a significant effect in reducing episodes and duration of diarrhea and respiratory tract infection, with consequent cost savings for the community.

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CDC Is Denounced For Phony Study That Shows A 43% Decline In Child Obesity

By MB  Mar 16, 2014

The government agency in charge of public health has been caught in a bald-faced lie. The CDC claims child obesity has declined by 43%. Experts in childhood obesity universally deride this new CDC study as balderdash. ‘Based on the researchers’ own data, the obesity rate may have even risen rather than declined.’

This phony CDC study should be retracted and the authors fired. An investigation should probe who ordered the phony study’s conclusions. The obvious question arises: Was this data politically manipulated to flatter first lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign?

This clear example of government malfeasance should cause you to question all CDC studies.

This is the same government agency that claims injecting mercury into your baby is perfectly safe.

That same poisonous mercury is in every multi-dose vial of flu vaccine being foisted on children and adults at their neighborhood drug store or doctor’s office.

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A plunge in U.S. preschool obesity? Not so fast, experts say – Reuters

(Reuters Mar 16, 2014) – If the news last month that the prevalence of obesity among American preschoolers had plunged 43 percent in a decade sounded too good to be true, that’s because it probably was, researchers say.

When the study was published in late February in the Journal of the American Medical Association, no one had a ready explanation for that astounding finding by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Indeed, it seemed to catch the experts by surprise …

First Lady Michelle Obama and others seized on the finding as a sign that efforts to combat the national obesity epidemic were paying off.

But as obesity specialists take a closer look at the data, some are questioning the 43 percent claim, suggesting that it may be a statistical fluke and pointing out that similar studies find no such decrease in obesity among preschoolers.

In fact, based on the researchers’ own data, the obesity rate may have even risen rather than declined.

“You need to have a healthy degree of skepticism about the validity of this finding,” said Dr. Lee Kaplan, director of the weight center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

No evidence of the kinds of major shifts in the behavior among preschoolers aged 2 to 5 exists which would explain a 43 percent drop in their obesity rates, he said …

A CDC press release trumpeted in its first sentence “a significant decline in obesity among children aged 2 to 5 years,” with obesity prevalence for this group showing “a decline of 43 percent.”

A CDC spokeswoman said the lead author of the JAMA study, Cynthia Ogden, “is not doing any media interviews.” …

DEARTH OF SUPPORTING EVIDENCE

A study of preschoolers in the federal WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program, which provides food vouchers, nutrition classes and counseling to low-income families, found virtually no change in obesity rates.

Rather than reducing the prevalence of obesity among 3-and-4-year olds in the WIC program in California’s Los Angeles County, researchers found that the problem worsened from 2003 to 2011. Obesity rose to 20.4 percent from about 17 percent, the researchers reported in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report in 2013 …

SCANT SIGNS OF BEHAVIORAL CHANGE

For obesity rates to drop, researchers reckon, young children have to eat differently and become more active. But research shows little sign of such changes among 2-to-5-year olds, casting more doubt on the 43 percent claim.

Such a decline would require changes in exercise, food consumption and sleep patterns, said Mass General’s Kaplan “There is no evidence of that,” he said.

In 2010 Whaley and her colleagues examined the effectiveness of WIC classes and counseling to encourage healthy eating and activities for women and children in the program.

Their findings were discouraging: Television watching and consumption of sweet or salty snacks actually rose, while fruit and vegetable consumption fell – changes that could lead to weight gain.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

New CDC data show encouraging development in obesity rates among 2 to 5 year olds

Press Release Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The latest CDC obesity data, published in the February 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, show a significant decline in obesity among children aged 2 to 5 years. Obesity prevalence for this age group went from nearly 14 percent in 2003-2004 to just over 8 percent in 2011-2012 – a decline of 43 percent …

“We continue to see signs that, for some children in this country, the scales are tipping. This report comes on the heels of previous CDC data that found a significant decline in obesity prevalence among low-income children aged 2 to 4 years participating in federal nutrition programs,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. …

“I am thrilled at the progress we’ve made over the last few years in obesity rates among our youngest Americans,” said Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States of America. “With the participation of kids, parents, and communities in Let’s Move! these last four years,  healthier habits are beginning to become the new norm.”

Read the CDC press release

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Lancet Journal study says fluoride causes brain damage

by Catherine J. Frompovich Natural Blaze March 12, 2014

What are neurobehavioral effects and disabilities? you may be asking. They are negative health effects that include the following: autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments, which are occurring with increasing frequency, especially in U.S. children along with millions of others on a global basis.

Two physicians, Philippe Grandjean, MD, and Philip J Landrigan, MD, whose research in neurobehavioral effects was published in The Lancet Neurology [1] March 2014 issue, state that industrial chemicals injure the developing brain and are the cause of their widespread rise.

In their 2014 study, the doctors named manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers that they added to five previous chemicals they wrote about in their 2006 paper: lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, and toluene.

It’s rather profoundly ironic that fluoride, which dentistry has touted as a prophylactic dental health benefit since the 1960s, is now being demonized as contributing to neurobehavioral disabilities, especially since it’s been implicated in lower IQ test scores. [2] And, paradoxically, fluoride, a protoplasmic poison, is added to most municipal water sources in the USA. [3]

Ever since day one that fluoride was ‘supplemented’ into municipal water systems in the USA, I opposed it and did my best not to consume it – even to this day, I don’t drink it. In my practice as a consulting natural nutritionist, I always advised clients to avoid eating, drinking, or cooking with fluoridated water, plus avoiding bathing in it, as fluoride can be absorbed through the skin. Furthermore, I did not approve of fluoride drops [4] that pediatricians prescribed for children. For those convictions, I was called a “quack.”

Honestly, can readers understand just how inaccurately-skewed medical science is, if over 50 years ago fluoride was touted as a health prophylactic; mandated to be placed in municipal drinking water systems; and prescribed as a ‘nutritional supplement’ by pediatricians. And, now it’s being cited as a causative or contributing factor in autism, ADHD, dyslexia, plus other cognitive disorders to which I’d like to add Alzheimer’s, while also claiming it exacerbates other dementias. Most people are not aware there a numerous forms of dementia. See this http://www.webmd.com/brain/types-dementia?page=2 for a listing.

If that newly-documented detrimental fluoride information doesn’t tear a hole in medical science’s validity, accuracy, and transparency, perhaps, nothing will for anyone, including the medical profession, its acolytes, and apologists.

What really validates the two doctors’ research statement is the fact that more and more healthcare agencies and consumers now are recognizing that there is an inordinate number of cognitive impairments in humans, especially in the USA where children seem to take the brunt of chemical application toxicity. How? Well, let me explain.

Just about everyone in the USA has to drink fluoridated water to live. Most children are fed fluoride in water via infant formulas, in food, or as an added pediatrician-prescribed ‘supplement’. Furthermore, their pregnant mothers most likely ingested fluoridated water. Babies, in particular, get inordinate amounts of fluoride relative to their small size, weight, and inability to detoxify chemicals, including – and especially – those toxins that get injected with vaccines, thus contributing to more neurological and neurobehavioral effects.

Another fact that Drs. Grandjean and Landrigan ought to take into consideration, I feel strongly about, is how man-made petro-chemicals interact with human DNA/RNA that can cause adducts, plus the role of epigenetics, particularly since hundreds of thousands of chemicals have come into daily living in the last hundred years – and since 1994, GMO agriculture toxic chemical sprays. I talk about those issues in great detail in my 2009 book, Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick, available on Amazon.com.

Probably the most diabolical contribution of toxic chemicals harming children is one that most people revere as lifesaving and/or disease ‘prevention’ ideologies: vaccines! The laundry list of toxic and neurotoxic chemicals, plus other foreign materials [5], e.g., animal tissues, aborted fetal cell lines, mycoplasma, etc., that are inoculated into a less-than-ten-pound infant, especially within 24 hours of birth (Hepatitis B vaccine), ought to be considered nothing short of child abuse! Let’s not forget the influenza vaccines that pregnant women now are mandated to receive, which affect the fetus.

In my 2013 book, Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com, I devote chapter 2 to both the 2011 Pink Book list of vaccine ingredients and the 2012 version, which the CDC revised apparently to appear more benign, I’d say. Unfortunately, no one in medicine is taking on vaccine chemicals as a contributing factor to children’s poor health problems. Shouldn’t they? After all, children’s health problems now are at an all-time-high rate for chronic diseases usually associated with elderly folks.

In 2010, WebMD Children’s Health published “Rise in Chronic Childhood Health Problems.” The University of Michigan Health System has a comprehensive site devoted to that problem, “Children with Chronic Conditions.”  And, Healthy Children.org devotes a website to “Coping with Chronic Illness.” No one can deny that childhood chronic diseases are on the rise.

However, I can attest to the fact that U.S. children are in serious health trouble territory, i.e., having switched from contracting communicable infectious diseases, e.g., mumps, measles, etc., which actually improved immune response and provided what is considered life-long immunity, to an unheard-of pandemic-like spate of chronic diseases, especially childhood cancers. According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, “About one in 300 boys and one in 333 girls will develop cancer before their 20th birthday.” [6] The communicable infectious/chronic disease switch coincided, coincidentally, and parallels with, the overwhelming vaccine mandates starting in the late 1980s!

When I was a child growing up during the Second World War, I and all my little friends contracted everything that came down the pike. NO ONE DIED, and we didn’t have the medicines doctors have today; mothers used “home remedies”! Furthermore, our immune systems were strengthened as a result, and females were able to pass on to their children what’s called passive immunity. Today that ability is almost lost because most child-bearing-age females have been vaccinated and their immune systems have been damaged thereby compromising to some degree, the passing on of innate immune factors to their developing fetuses, plus in their breast milk, what’s called “passive immunity.”

What vaccinology is doing, in essence, is reprogramming the human immune system to ‘reboot’ with what is called “adaptive immunity,” “adaptive immune response,” or an antigen response.

The reasons and probable ‘need’ for booster shots or vaccinations ostensibly is this: In adaptive immunity the response is directed only to the vaccine-covered agents that initiate a response, therefore, the need to keep vaccinating and supplying booster vaccine active antigens, which also include neurotoxic and toxic manufacturing chemicals, in order to provide what’s termed ‘immunity’ for specific communicable diseases. In reality, it’s an antigen response!

Whereas, in innate immunity when not interfered with or hobbled by vaccines, a same “overall” response is provided to a wide variety of infectious agents [communicable disease microbes] that can initiate attack responses. That’s why unvaccinated children are vastly more healthy than vaccinated kids. [7]

Here’s something I think is a conundrum, which needs to be considered: Advertisements promoting the disease-contraction fear factor! All vaccination campaigns disseminate and instill a dreaded fear of contracting a communicable disease, even the common cold. However, fully-vaccinated children now are contracting numerous ‘vaccine-diseases’, especially whooping cough. Here’s proof: “Study: Whooping cough outbreak linked to vaccinated children.”  That’s not the only ‘vaccine-disease’!

Numerous outbreaks have occurred in fully-vaccinated children. Check out the following pie charts. In those contracting four communicable diseases [pertussis, measles, mumps, and chickenpox], over 90 percent were fully vaccinated.

The above charts were produced by Raymond Obomsawin, PhD,
National Aboriginal Health Organization, October 2009 (Source)

That disease-contraction trend will continue as microbes become sophisticated and morph into different strains for which there are no vaccines. All while the human immune system has been damaged and can target only organisms found within vaccine-active-supplied-antigens, which will need periodic booster shots, whereas if one has contracted a communicable disease and had proper healthcare, one attains life-long immunity!

Independent research – not necessarily Big Pharma’s – indicates neurotoxins and toxic chemicals contribute to chronic diseases and other serious health problems such as autism, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and even death. The CDC’s VAERS reporting system confirms hundreds of thousands of adverse reactions to vaccines, which damage health often permanently, and for which, except for a few, there is no financial relief for vaccinees or their parents who must foot medical bills due to vaccines gone wrong.

A classic vaccine-gone-wrong-example can be found in HPV vaccines. SaneVax, Inc. displays on its home webpage this information: HPV Vaccine VAERS Reports Up to January 2014, which includes 157 deaths, 33,311 Adverse Events, 6,653 Not Recovers, plus more frightening statistics.

Man-made and petro-chemicals are causing more problems that Drs. Grandjean and Landrigan can imagine. As far as I’m concerned, their research isn’t going fast enough for me. The only problem is: Who will listen?

Ironically, the medical paradigm that modern medicine is built upon is man-made toxic chemicals—prescription drugs, which can be patented; enjoy mega-bucks global sales; and then may be recalled because of class action lawsuits. However, there is no such legal track for vaccines. Their manufacturers were given a “get out of jail free” card by the U.S. Congress in 1986 and innocent children and their families have been paying the price ever since. Go figure!

Notes:

[1] http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(13)70278-3/abstract
[2] http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/fluoride-childrens-health-grandjean-choi/
[3] http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/fluoride.cfm
[4] http://www.circleofmoms.com/welcome-to-circle-of-moms/fluoride-drops-634837
[5] http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/b/excipient-table-2.pdf
[6] http://www.acco.org/information/aboutchildhoodcancer/childhoodcancerstatistics.aspx
[7] http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/new-survey-shows-unvaccinated-children-vastly-healthier-far-lower-rates-of-chronic-conditions-and-autism/

Resource:

MedlinePlus / Immune Response
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000821.htm

Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.

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Jenner’s son suffered brain damage and died after smallpox vaccination

Doctors are indoctrinated in medical school with the myth about the father of vaccination Edward Jenner. It turns out Jenner’s first smallpox vaccination experiment (his own son) ended up with brain damage and died young, most likely from a vaccine-related immune deficiency. The medical textbook definition of a vaccine adverse reaction is encephalitis (brain inflammation) which can lead to permanent neurological damage (aka brain damage, autism, developmental delay).

The closer you look at the vaccination myth the worse it gets.

This article uses the term ‘mental retardation’ which was the term used at that time. This phrase might be offensive to some, but is historically accurate in the quote that follows.

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What Most People Don’t Know About The Father of Vaccination and Why History is Repeating Itself

By Dave Mihalovic March 10, 2014  PreventDisease.com

In 1789, Jenner decided (just after he had been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society) to try immunizing (or what he thought was immunizing) his ten month old son, Edward, Jr, and two of his neighbor’s servants, by inoculating them with swinepox.

He had learned well from his famous teacher, Dr John Hunter, that one will learn more by “trying the experiment” rather than by just speculating about it. So Jenner performed the experiment by making a small scratch on the servants’ and the baby’s arms with a lancet and then infecting the scratch “with matter from a pustule of the baby’s nurse, who had caught the swinepox infection.” Eight days later baby Edward took sick and developed sores, but he did eventually recover.

Then, two years later, Jenner again challenged his son with smallpox again, this time, with unhappy results. This time there was a reaction, and a severe one. But he quickly recovered, and a year later Jenner inoculated him with smallpox once again.

JennerUnfortunately, however, in the years following these experiments, young Edward “became a sickly child and exhibited signs of mild mental retardation,” likely due to neurological damage.

Jenner also inoculated a young boy named James Phipps. both Phipps and Jenner’s son died at ages 20 and 21 respectively from tuberculosis, which has been linked to the smallpox vaccine. Despite these deaths, Jenner continued testing this vaccine on many others producing varying results such as vaccine-induced smallpox and vaccine-induced tuberculosis.

Jenner, in 1798, formulated a new vaccine, which combined “horse-grease” and cow-pox matter as he had proclaimed his first formulation in 1796 as having “no protective virtue.” His new vaccine was met with public disdain and disgust and his experiments failed. He was ridiculed. Jenner then returned to promote his original formulation.

By 1807, he convinced the Royal College of Physicians and the British Parliament that his once defunct and admittedly unprotective vaccine was safe and effective, and as well could produce large revenues. Not trusting the scientific solutions being offered, some countries banned variolation. Yet, quite surprisingly, Jenner’s vaccine became compulsory and mandatory in many other countries. The smallpox vaccine was widely used until 1979 when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared smallpox eradicated from the face of the earth.

Vaccination Pseudo-Science Continues To This Day

Jenner’s legacy promulgated the vaccine frenzy of modern times. Vaccines are so praised and glorified that they are often given the title of “The Sacred Cow” of modern medicine and defended with zealous and concerted might by Public Health organizations and Pharmaceutical companies. This pseudo-ritualistic worship of The Sacred Cow has ruined the careers of doctors who dare question it, and jailed parents who have refused mandatory vaccinations.

There are also many well documented cases of children who have been killed by vaccines where the parent (s) are charged and in some cases, convicted of murdering their children. A cursory glance at the government’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System data-base shows thousands upon thousands of deaths and disorders associated with vaccines and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) admits this only represents at best, 10% of the actual occurrences of adverse vaccine reactions. The Sacred Cow is a false deity and a harsh demon indeed.

The Vaccine Agenda Is Built On A Myth

One of the greatest lies you will ever hear is that vaccination programs caused the decline of childhood diseases in the 20th century. This is complete fiction. The truth is well documented that these rates declined by 90% before the introduction of mass/routine vaccination campaigns.

Vaccines had not effect on infectious disease in the past 200 years. When we compare the natural infectious disease declines versus the vaccination effectiveness dangers, there is clearly evidence that vaccines did not save humanity from infectious disease. John B. McKinlay and Sonja McKinlay demonstrated how questionable the contribution of medical measures were on the decline of mortality in the 20th century. There is an abundance of irrefutable evidence showing that the historical application of vaccines had no health benefit or impact on the prevention of Infectious Disease. This evidence is shown in different countries and the World Health Organization was forced to concede that sanitation, better hygiene and antibiotics are the main reason disease mortality and morbidity have declined.

Click PLAY to hear Refusers song Vaccination Uber-Alles

Despite overwhelming evidence, proponents of the Sacred Cow continually covet this accomplishment as their own. Realizing that this deception is “the rock” of the Sacred Cow church is essential in seeing the myth and hypocrisy of vaccines.

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Renowned Expert: GMOs Pose More Risk Than We Think

March 5, 2014    By Brian Stoffel Motley Fool

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have the ability to cause “an irreversible termination of life at some scale, which could be the planet.”

This warning, as emotional and overstated as it sounds, isn’t coming from some anti-science zealot or conspiracy theorist.

It is, instead, coming from Nassim Taleb, distinguished professor of risk engineering at New York University, author of best-sellers The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness, and shrewd investor who made a fortune when “black swans” like September 11 and the Great Recession occurred.

Recently, he’s been making his feelings on GMOs crystal clear: they’re dangerous to the overall health of our planet. In a paper that’s available to the public, yet still in draft form, Taleb — along with two colleagues — lay out their case.

The threat
GMOs are historically different from their naturally occurring peers in that their genetic make-up has been altered in a laboratory before being planted in fields.

Often, these types of seeds are favored because of their ability to yield larger harvests and avoid certain pests or weeds that usually eat up some of their productivity.

Source: Lindsay Eyink, via Wikimedia Commons

Taleb’s primary concern isn’t that ingesting GMOs is necessarily bad for us; he’s instead focused on the monumental threat such technology has on our worldwide ecosystem. While Taleb agrees that the relative risk of any one transgenic seed ruining the ecosystem is incredibly small, people are still underestimating the risks involved.

That’s because, as humans, we are ill equipped to understand the mathematics behind such risks. Let’s say each GM seed that’s produced holds a 0.1% chance of — somehow, in the intricately interdependent web of nature — leading to a catastrophic breakdown of the ecosystem that we rely on for life. All by itself, it doesn’t seem too harmful, but with each new seed that’s developed, the risk gets greater and greater.

The chart below demonstrates how, over time, even a 0.1% chance of ecocide can be dangerous.

I cannot stress enough that the probabilities I am using are for illustrative purposes only. Neither I, nor Taleb, claim to know what the chances are of any one type of seed causing such destruction.

The focus, instead, should be on the fact that the “total ecocide barrier” is bound to be hit, over a long enough time, with even incredibly small odds. Taleb includes a similar graph in his work, but no breakdown of the actual variables at play.

Source: Author’s input, based on Taleb, Read, and Bar-Yam paper

As Taleb says, “Over time, something bound to hit the [ecocide] barrier is about guaranteed to hit it.”

Why be so worried if the level of threat isn’t known?
The crux of this argument hinges on the fact that GMOs represent a systemic, and not localized, risk. Because the wind will blow where it wants to, insects will go — and carry with them — what they please, and GM goods will surely be exported to countries throughout the world, the concept of being able to control GM traits in nature is impossible to guarantee.

As Taleb says, “There are mathematical limitations to predictability in a complex system, ‘in the wild,’ which is why focusing on the difference between local (or isolated) and systemic threats is a central aspect of our warnings.”

Answering the critics
Unsurprisingly, Taleb has run into a fair share of criticism for his views.

But Taleb also addresses those concerns in his paper. Here’s how he responds to the most common critiques:

Humans have been modifying plants for years via selective breeding and tinkering with crops.
While this may be true, Taleb claims there’s a fundamental difference between this and GMOs. “There is no comparison between the [bottom-up] tinkering of selective breeding and the top-down engineering of taking a gene from an organism and putting it into another.”

Furthermore, Taleb claims that nature has never allowed such a systemic risk to evolve. “The planet took about close to zero risks of ecocide in trillions of variations over 3 billion years, otherwise we would not have been here.”

How about the risk of famine without GMOs?
This is “a deceitful strategy, no different from urging people to play Russian roulette in order to get out of poverty.” That’s because, as his probability shows, we’ll all end up dying in the end when we hit the ecocide barrier.

New technologies could solve these problems if they arise
The whole point is that these threats could lay dormant for years before they finally surface. When they do, they would be difficult to control, and could act fast.

Risk is inherent in everything. We can’t just be paralyzed by fear and not progress.
The risk of “generalized human extinction” is not inherent in everything. That’s because most consequences are localized, not systemic. And progress can be made using bottom-up techniques that have worked for eons.

There is no evidence that this type of ecocide could really happen
The precautionary principle — which is what Taleb calls his warning — is all about managing risk, not about waiting for it to surface. The fact that GMOs are a systemic entity is undeniable. Taleb is equally skeptical of all entities that carry systemic risk — like too-big-to-fail banks.

New organisms have been introduced into new ecosystems before and this hasn’t caused total collapse
Many of these new organisms — people often refer to potatoes or tomatoes being introduced into the Old World from the New World — were naturally occurring in nature, or the result of bottom-up tinkering.

Also, the fact that there’s no evidence showing that GMOs have so far caused system damage doesn’t mean it won’t eventually surface. We don’t, as Taleb says, argue that a game of Russian roulette is safer with each empty barrel we find. It is, in fact, more dangerous.

By no means am I as smart as Taleb when it comes to risk, and I don’t have a degree in agricultural sciences. I do find Taleb’s assertions to be a little alarmist.

At the same time, as someone who spends a quarter of every year working on a coffee farm in Costa Rica that transitioned from conventional farming methods to permaculture ones — and having seen the vast improvements in the overall ecosystem on the farm, I think it’s wise to, at the very least, give some credence to the concerns Taleb raises.

After all, it’s not that scientists are dumber than Mother Nature; it’s simply that Mother Nature has been around for about 300,000 times longer than us humans, and what she’s picked to stay around have obviously passed the test of time.

Click PLAY to hear Let’s Roundup Monsanto by The Refusers
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Good Citizens Don’t Question Vaccines

GoodCitizenWhiteKnowledge

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Is US Health Really the Best in the World? Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH

Definition of Iatrogenic: Induced inadvertently by a physician or surgeon or by medical treatment or diagnostic procedures.

JAMA, July 26, 2000—Vol 284, No. 4

Highlights: The health care system also may contribute to poor health through its adverse effects. For example, US estimates of the combined effect of errors and adverse effects that occur because of iatrogenic damage not associated with recognizable error include:

• 12,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery
• 7,000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals
• 20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals
• 80,000 deaths/year from nosocomial infections in hospitals
• 106,000 deaths/year from nonerror, adverse effects of medications

These total to 225,000 deaths per year from iatrogenic causes … these estimates are for deaths only and do not include adverse effects that are associated with disability or discomfort. Third, the estimates of death due to error are lower than those in the IOM report. If the higher estimates are used, the deaths due to iatrogenic causes would range from 230,000 to 284,000. In any case, 225,000 deaths per year constitutes the third leading cause of death in the United States, after deaths from heart disease and cancer.

Click PLAY to hear Refusers song FIrst Do No Harm
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Is US Health Really the Best in the World? Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH  JAMA, July 26, 2000

Information concerning the deficiencies of US medical care has been accumulating. The fact that more than 40 million people have no health insurance is well known. The high cost of the health care system is considered to be a deficit, but seems to be tolerated under the assumption that better health results from more expensive care, despite evidence from a few studies indicating that as many as 20% to 30% of patients receive contraindicated care.

In addition, with the release of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report “To Err Is Human,” millions of Americans learned, for the first time, that an estimated 44,000 to 98,000 among them die each year as a result of medical errors. The fact is that the US population does not have anywhere near the best health in the world. Of 13 countries in a recent comparison, the United States ranks an average of 12th (second from the bottom) for 16 available health indicators. Countries in order of their average ranking on the health indicators (with the first being the best) are Japan, Sweden, Canada, France, Australia, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Belgium, the United States, and Germany. Rankings of the United States on the separate indicators are:

• 13th (last) for low-birth-weight percentages
• 13th for neonatal mortality and infant mortality overall
• 11th for postneonatal mortality
• 13th for years of potential life lost (excluding external causes)
• 11th for life expectancy at 1 year for females, 12th for males
• 10th for life expectancy at 15 years for females, 12th for males
• 10th for life expectancy at 40 years for females, 9th for males
• 7th for life expectancy at 65 years for females, 7th for males
• 3rd for life expectancy at 80 years for females, 3rd for males
• 10th for age-adjusted mortality

The poor performance of the United States was recently confirmed by the World Health Organization, which used different indicators. Using data on disability-adjusted life expectancy, child survival to age 5 years, experiences with the health care system, disparities across social groups in experiences with the health care system, and equality of family out-of-pocket expenditures for health care (regardless of need for services), this report ranked the United States as 15th among 25 industrialized countries.

Thus, the figures regarding the poor position of the United States in health worldwide are robust and not dependent on the particular measures used. Common explanations for this poor performance fail to implicate the health system. The perception is that the American public “behaves badly” by smoking, drinking, and perpetrating violence. The data show otherwise, at least relatively. The proportion of females who smoke ranges from 14% in Japan to 41% in Denmark; in the United States, it is 24% (fifth best). For males, the range is from 26% in Sweden to 61% in Japan; it is 28% in the United States (third best). The data for alcoholic beverage consumption are similar: the United States ranks fifth best. Thus, although tobacco use and alcohol use in excess are clearly harmful to health, they do not account for the relatively poor position of the United States on these health indicators. The data on years of potential life lost exclude external causes associated with deaths due to motor vehicle collisions and violence, and it is still the worst among the 13 countries.

Dietary differences have been demonstrated to be related to differences in mortality across countries, but the United States has relatively low consumption of animal fats (fifth lowest in men aged 55-64 years in 20 industrialized countries) and the third lowest mean cholesterol concentrations among men aged 50 to 70 years among 13 industrialized countries.

The real explanation for relatively poor health in the United States is undoubtedly complex and multifactorial. From a health system viewpoint, it is possible that the historic failure to build a strong primary care infrastructure could play some role. A wealth of evidence documents the benefits of characteristics associated with primary care performance.

Of the 7 countries in the top of the average health ranking, 5 have strong primary care infrastructures. Although better access to care, including universal health insurance, is widely considered to be the solution, there is evidence that the major benefit of access accrues only when it facilitates receipt of primary care.

The health care system also may contribute to poor health through its adverse effects. For example, US estimates of the combined effect of errors and adverse effects that occur because of iatrogenic damage not associated with recognizable error include:

• 12,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery
• 7,000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals
• 20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals
• 80,000 deaths/year from nosocomial infections in hospitals
• 106,000 deaths/year from nonerror, adverse effects of medications

These total to 225,000 deaths per year from iatrogenic causes. Three caveats should be noted. First, most of the data are derived from studies in hospitalized patients. Second, these estimates are for deaths only and do not include adverse effects that are associated with disability or discomfort. Third, the estimates of death due to error are lower than those in the IOM report.

If the higher estimates are used, the deaths due to iatrogenic causes would range from 230,000 to 284,000. In any case, 225,000 deaths per year constitutes the third leading cause of death in the United States, after deaths from heart disease and cancer. Even if these figures are overestimated, there is a wide margin between these numbers of deaths and the next leading cause of death (cerebrovascular disease). One analysis overcomes some of these limitations by estimating adverse effects in outpatient care and including adverse effects other than death.

It concluded that between 4% and 18% of consecutive patients experience adverse effects in outpatient settings, with 116 million extra physician visits, 77 million extra prescriptions, 17 million emergency department visits, 8 million hospitalizations, 3 million long-term admissions, 199,000 additional deaths, and $77 billion in extra costs (equivalent to the aggregate cost of care of patients with diabetes).

Another possible contributor to the poor performance of the United States on health indicators is the high degree of income inequality in this country. An extensive literature documents the enduring adverse effects of low socioeconomic position on health; a newer and accumulating literature suggests the adverse effects not only of low social position but, especially, low relative social position in industrialized countries.

Among the 13 countries included in the international comparison mentioned above, the US position on income inequality is 11th (third worst). Sweden ranks the best on income equality (when income is calculated after taxes and including social transfers), matching its high position for health indicators. There is an imperfect relationship between rankings on income inequality and health, although the United States is the only country in a poor position on both (B.S., unpublished data, 2000).

An intriguing aspect of the data is the differences in ranking for the different age groups. US children are particularly disadvantaged, whereas elderly persons are much less so. Judging from the data on life expectancy at different ages, the US population becomes less disadvantaged as it ages, but even the relatively advantaged position of elderly persons in the United States is slipping. The US relative position for life expectancy in the oldest age group was better in the 1980s than in the 1990s.

The long-existing poor ranking of the United States with regard to infant mortality has been a cause for concern; it is not a result of the high percentages of low birth weight and infant mortality among the black population, because the international ranking hardly changes when data for the white population only are used.

Whereas definitive explanations for the relatively poor position of the United States continue to be elusive, there are sufficient hints as to their nature to provide the basis for consideration of neglected factors: The nature and operation of the health care system. In the United States, in contrast to many other countries, the extent to which receipt of services from primary care physicians vs specialists affects overall health and survival has not been considered. While available data indicate that specialty care is associated with better quality of care for specific conditions in the purview of the specialist, the data on general medical care suggest otherwise.

National surveys almost all fail to obtain data on the extent to which the care received fulfills the criteria for primary care, so it is not possible to examine the relationships between individual and community health characteristics and the type of care received.

The relationship between iatrogenic effects (including both error and nonerror adverse events) and type of care received. The results of international surveys document the high availability of technology in the United States. Among 29 countries, the United States is second only to Japan in the availability of magnetic resonance imaging units and computed tomography scanners per million population.

Japan, however, ranks highest on health, whereas the United States ranks among the lowest. It is possible that the high use of technology in Japan is limited to diagnostic technology not matched by high rates of treatment, whereas in the United States, high use of diagnostic technology may be linked to the “cascade effect” and to more treatment. Supporting this possibility are data showing that the number of employees per bed (full-time equivalents) in the United States is highest among the countries ranked, whereas they are very low in Japan – far lower than can be accounted for by the common practice of having family members rather than hospital staff provide the amenities of hospital care.

How cause of death and outpatient diagnoses are coded does not facilitate an understanding of the extent to which iatrogenic causes of ill health are operative. Consistent use of “E” codes (external causes of injury and poisoning) would improve the likelihood of their recognition because these ICD (International Classification of Diseases) codes permit attribution of cause of effect to “Drugs, Medicinal, and Biological Substances Causing Adverse Effects in Therapeutic Use.” More consistent use of codes for “Complications of Surgical and Medical Care” (ICD codes 960-979 and 996-999) might improve the recognition of the magnitude of their effect; currently, most deaths resulting from these underlying causes are likely to be coded according to the immediate cause of death (such as organ failure). The suggestions of the IOM document on mandatory reporting of adverse effects might improve reporting in hospital set tings, but it is unlikely to affect underreporting of adverse events in noninstitutional settings. Only better record keeping, with documentation of all interventions and resulting health status (including symptoms and signs), is likely to improve the current ability to understand both the adverse and positive effects of health care.

The relationships among income inequality, social disadvantage, and characteristics of health systems, including the relative contributions of primary care and specialty care. Recent studies using physician-to-population ratios (as a proxy for unavailable data on actual receipt of health services according to their type) have shown that the higher the primary care physician–to–population ratio in a state, the better most health outcomes are. The influence of specialty physician–to–population ratios and of specialist–to–primary care physician ratios has not been adequately studied, but preliminary and relatively superficial analyses suggest that the converse may be the case. Inclusion of income inequality variables in the analysis does not eliminate the positive effect of primary care. Furthermore, states that have more equitable distributions of income also are more likely to have better primary care resource availability, thus raising questions about the relationships among a host of social and health policy characteristics that determine what and how resources are available.

Recognition of the harmful effects of health care interventions, and the likely possibility that they account for a substantial proportion of the excess deaths in the United States compared with other comparably industrialized nations, sheds new light on imperatives for research and health policy. Alternative explanations for these realities deserve intensive exploration.

Read the article

Click PLAY to hear Refusers song Unavoidably Unsafe

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An Exclusive Interview With Dr. Barbara Starfield: Medically Caused Death In America  By Jon Rappoport

On December 6-7, 2009, I interviewed Dr. Starfield by email.

What has been the level and tenor of the response to your findings, since 2000? 

My papers on the benefits of primary care have been widely used, including in Congressional testimony and reports. However, the findings on the relatively poor health in the US have received almost no attention. The American public appears to have been hoodwinked into believing that more interventions lead to better health, and most people that I meet are completely unaware that the US does not have the ‘best health in the world’.

In the medical research community, have your medically-caused mortality statistics been debated, or have these figures been accepted, albeit with some degree of shame? 

The findings have been accepted by those who study them. There has been only one detractor, a former medical school dean, who has received a lot of attention for claiming that the US health system is the best there is and we need more of it.  He has a vested interest in medical schools and teaching hospitals (they are his constituency).  They, of course, would like an even greater share of the pie than they now have, for training more specialists.  (Of course, the problem is that we train specialists—at great public cost—who then do not practice up to their training—they spend half of their time doing work that should be done in primary care and don’t do it as well.)

Have health agencies of the federal government consulted with you on ways to mitigate the effects of the US medical system?

NO.

Since the FDA approves every medical drug given to the American people, and certifies it as safe and effective, how can that agency remain calm about the fact that these medicines are causing 106,000 deaths per year?

Even though there will always be adverse events that cannot be anticipated, the fact is that more and more unsafe drugs are being approved for use. Many people attribute that to the fact that the pharmaceutical industry is (for the past ten years or so) required to pay the FDA for reviews—which puts the FDA into a untenable position of working for the industry it is regulating. There is a large literature on this.

Aren’t your 2000 findings a severe indictment of the FDA and its standard practices?

They are an indictment of the US health care industry: insurance companies, specialty and disease-oriented medical academia, the pharmaceutical and device manufacturing industries, all of which contribute heavily to re-election campaigns of members of Congress. The problem is that we do not have a government that is free of influence of vested interests. Alas, [it] is a general problem of our society—which clearly unbalances democracy.

Can you offer an opinion about how the FDA can be so mortally wrong about so many drugs?

Yes, it cannot divest itself from vested interests. (Again, [there is] a large literature about this, mostly unrecognized by the people because the industry-supported media give it no attention.

Would it be correct to say that, when your JAMA study was published in 2000, it caused a momentary stir and was thereafter ignored by the medical community and by pharmaceutical companies?

Are you sure it was a momentary stir?  I still get at least one email a day asking for a reprint—ten years later!  The problem is that its message is obscured by those that do not want any change in the US health care system.

Do medical schools in the US, and intern/residency programs in hospitals, offer significant “primary care” physician training and education?

NO. Some of the most prestigious medical teaching institutions do not even have family physician training programs [or] family medicine departments. The federal support for teaching institutions greatly favors specialist residencies, because it is calculated on the basis of hospital beds. [Dr. Starfield has done extensive research showing that family doctors, who deliver primary care—as opposed to armies of specialists—produce better outcomes for patients.]

Are you aware of any systematic efforts, since your 2000 JAMA study was published, to remedy the main categories of medically caused deaths in the US?

No systematic efforts; however, there have been a lot of studies.  Most of them indicate higher rates [of death] than I calculated.

What was your personal reaction when you reached the conclusion that the US medical system was the third leading cause of death in the US?

I had previously done studies on international comparisons and knew that there were serious deficits in the US health care system, most notably in lack of universal coverage and a very poor primary care infrastructure. So I wasn’t surprised.

Has anyone from the FDA, since 2000, contacted you about the statistical findings in your JAMA paper?

NO. Please remember that the problem is not only that some drugs are dangerous but that many drugs are overused or inappropriately used.  The US public does not seem to recognize that inappropriate care is dangerous—more does not mean better.  The problem is NOT mainly with the FDA but with population expectations.

… Some drugs are downright dangerous; they may be prescribed according to regulations but they are dangerous.

Concerning the national health plan before Congress—if the bill is passed, and it is business as usual after that, and medical care continues to be delivered in the same fashion, isn’t it logical to assume that the 225,000 deaths per year will rise?

Probably—but the balance is not clear. Certainly, those who are not insured now and will get help with financing will probably be marginally better off overall.

Did your 2000 JAMA study sail through peer review, or was there some opposition to publishing it?

It was rejected by the first journal that I sent it to, on the grounds that ‘it would not be interesting to readers’!

Do the 106,000 deaths from medical drugs only involve drugs prescribed to patients in hospitals, or does this statistic also cover people prescribed drugs who are not in-patients in hospitals?

I tried to include everything in my estimates.  Since the commentary was written, many more dangerous drugs have been added to the marketplace.

106,000 people die as a result of CORRECTLY prescribed medicines.  I believe that was your point in your 2000 study.  Overuse of a drug or inappropriate use of a drug would not fall under the category of “correctly prescribed.”  Therefore, people who die after “overuse” or “inappropriate use” would be IN ADDITION TO the 106,000 and would fall into another or other categories.    

‘Appropriate’ means that it is not counter to regulations.  That does not mean that the drugs do not have adverse effects.

Read the interview

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How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations

By 24 Feb 2014 The Intercept

Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums …

Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation. Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups …

Then there is the use of psychology and other social sciences to not only understand, but shape and control, how online activism and discourse unfolds. Today’s newly published document touts the work of GCHQ’s “Human Science Operations Cell,” devoted to “online human intelligence” and “strategic influence and disruption” …

Under the title “Online Covert Action”, the document details a variety of means to engage in “influence and info ops” as well as “disruption and computer net attack,” while dissecting how human beings can be manipulated using “leaders,” “trust,” “obedience” and “compliance” …

Claims that government agencies are infiltrating online communities and engaging in “false flag operations” to discredit targets are often dismissed as conspiracy theories, but these documents leave no doubt they are doing precisely that.

By 343
Featured photo - How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations A page from a GCHQ top secret document prepared by its secretive JTRIG unit

One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.

Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series of articles about “dirty trick” tactics used by GCHQ’s previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on four classified GCHQ documents presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking “Five Eyes” alliance. Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations.”

By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse “hacktivists” of using, the use of “honey traps” (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.

Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums. Here is one illustrative list of tactics from the latest GCHQ document we’re publishing today:

Other tactics aimed at individuals are listed here, under the revealing title “discredit a target”:

Then there are the tactics used to destroy companies the agency targets:

GCHQ describes the purpose of JTRIG in starkly clear terms: “using online techniques to make something happen in the real or cyber world,” including “information ops (influence or disruption).”

Critically, the “targets” for this deceit and reputation-destruction extend far beyond the customary roster of normal spycraft: hostile nations and their leaders, military agencies, and intelligence services. In fact, the discussion of many of these techniques occurs in the context of using them in lieu of “traditional law enforcement” against people suspected (but not charged or convicted) of ordinary crimes or, more broadly still, “hacktivism”, meaning those who use online protest activity for political ends.

The title page of one of these documents reflects the agency’s own awareness that it is “pushing the boundaries” by using “cyber offensive” techniques against people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security threats, and indeed, centrally involves law enforcement agents who investigate ordinary crimes:

No matter your views on Anonymous, “hacktivists” or garden-variety criminals, it is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption. There is a strong argument to make, as Jay Leiderman demonstrated in the Guardian in the context of the Paypal 14 hacktivist persecution, that the “denial of service” tactics used by hacktivists result in (at most) trivial damage (far less than the cyber-warfare tactics favored by the US and UK) and are far more akin to the type of political protest protected by the First Amendment.

The broader point is that, far beyond hacktivists, these surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats. As Anonymous expert Gabriella Coleman of McGill University told me, “targeting Anonymous and hacktivists amounts to targeting citizens for expressing their political beliefs, resulting in the stifling of legitimate dissent.” Pointing to this study she published, Professor Coleman vehemently contested the assertion that “there is anything terrorist/violent in their actions.”

Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation. Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups.

Sunstein also proposed sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” which spread what he views as false and damaging “conspiracy theories” about the government. Ironically, the very same Sunstein was recently named by Obama to serve as a member of the NSA review panel created by the White House, one that – while disputing key NSA claims – proceeded to propose many cosmetic reforms to the agency’s powers (most of which were ignored by the President who appointed them).

But these GCHQ documents are the first to prove that a major western government is using some of the most controversial techniques to disseminate deception online and harm the reputations of targets. Under the tactics they use, the state is deliberately spreading lies on the internet about whichever individuals it targets, including the use of what GCHQ itself calls “false flag operations” and emails to people’s families and friends. Who would possibly trust a government to exercise these powers at all, let alone do so in secret, with virtually no oversight, and outside of any cognizable legal framework?

Then there is the use of psychology and other social sciences to not only understand, but shape and control, how online activism and discourse unfolds. Today’s newly published document touts the work of GCHQ’s “Human Science Operations Cell,” devoted to “online human intelligence” and “strategic influence and disruption”:

Under the title “Online Covert Action”, the document details a variety of means to engage in “influence and info ops” as well as “disruption and computer net attack,” while dissecting how human beings can be manipulated using “leaders,” “trust,” “obedience” and “compliance”:

The documents lay out theories of how humans interact with one another, particularly online, and then attempt to identify ways to influence the outcomes – or “game” it:

We submitted numerous questions to GCHQ, including: (1) Does GCHQ in fact engage in “false flag operations” where material is posted to the Internet and falsely attributed to someone else?; (2) Does GCHQ engage in efforts to influence or manipulate political discourse online?; and (3) Does GCHQ’s mandate include targeting common criminals (such as boiler room operators), or only foreign threats?

As usual, they ignored those questions and opted instead to send their vague and nonresponsive boilerplate: “It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters. Furthermore, all of GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. All our operational processes rigorously support this position.”

These agencies’ refusal to “comment on intelligence matters” – meaning: talk at all about anything and everything they do – is precisely why whistleblowing is so urgent, the journalism that supports it so clearly in the public interest, and the increasingly unhinged attacks by these agencies so easy to understand. Claims that government agencies are infiltrating online communities and engaging in “false flag operations” to discredit targets are often dismissed as conspiracy theories, but these documents leave no doubt they are doing precisely that.

Whatever else is true, no government should be able to engage in these tactics: what justification is there for having government agencies target people – who have been charged with no crime – for reputation-destruction, infiltrate online political communities, and develop techniques for manipulating online discourse? But to allow those actions with no public knowledge or accountability is particularly unjustifiable.

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The Vaccine That Almost Always Fails: Shingles

By Bob Livingston  Feb 22, 2014   Easy Health Options

Shingles is caused by a reactivation of dormant varicella zoster (chicken pox) virus. It is most common in older adults and people with immune systems weakened by stress, injury, medications or other reasons.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends the shingles vaccine “to reduce the risk of shingles and its associated pain in people 60 years old or older.” According to David Brownstein, M.D., the question of whether to have the shingles vaccine is one of the most asked by his patients.

Faulty Recommendation

Since the vaccine is recommended by the CDC, there should be some evidence that it is effective. Brownstein’s analysis of the evidence provided in a research paper titled “Prevention of Herpes Zoster in Older Adults” indicates it’s not nearly as effective as the CDC would have you believe.

Under the section heading Practice Pointers, Brownstein found these gems:

“[T]he author states that, over a median surveillance period of 3.12 years, with over 52,000 participants, there was a 51% relative risk reduction in confirmed cases of herpes zoster in those that received the vaccine. Furthermore, the author stated that among those aged 60-69, the number needed to treat to prevent one case of shingles was 50. Among those 70 years and older, the number needed to treat was 100.

“These numbers show that, in those aged 60-69, the shingles vaccine was ineffective for 98% (forty-nine out of fifty) of those studied. For those aged 70 and older, the vaccine was 99% ineffective, since 99 out of 100 received no benefit.”

So according to the data, the shingles vaccine was a 98 percent to 99 percent failure. Also, the number needed to harm from the vaccine was 2.8. That means that for every 2.8 vaccines administered, one patient was harmed. And for every 100 vaccinated, one patient suffered a severe adverse reaction like a rash, fever or hospitalization.

Brownstein then presented this evidence in the form of a letter to the editor of the American Family Physician Journal. The letter was rejected without explanation.

Worthless Medicine

So should you have the shingles vaccine? The evidence indicates the answer is “no.” It further indicates the medical establishment doesn’t want you to know this.

The best product that we have found to ease the pain and blistering is L-Lysine, an essential amino acid, found at any pharmacy or health food store. It is available as an oral supplement and as a topical ointment. It is also excellent for the relief of cold sores, which are caused by the herpes simplex virus.

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CDC forced to release documents showing they knew vaccine preservative causes autism

By Dave Mihalovic  Feb 23, 2014

PhD Scientist and Biochemist Reveals Hidden CDC Documents Showing Thimerosal In Vaccines Increase Neurologic Disorders

The CDC has been shunning the correlations between thimerosal and neurological disorders for a very long time. Although the FDA gave a two year deadline to remove the mercury based preservative from vaccines after the neurotoxin was banned in 1999, it still remains to this day in 60 percent of flu vaccines. A vaccine industry watchdog has now obtained CDC documents that show statistically significant risks of autism associated with the vaccine preservative, something the CDC denies even when confronted with their own data.

For nearly ten years, Brian Hooker has been requesting documents that are kept under tight wraps by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). His more than 100 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests have resulted in copious evidence that the vaccine preservative Thimerosal, which is still used in the flu shot that is administered to pregnant women and infants, can cause autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Dr. Hooker, a PhD scientist, worked with two members of Congress to craft the letter to the CDC that recently resulted in his obtaining long-awaited data from the CDC, the significance of which is historic. According to Hooker, the data on over 400,000 infants born between 1991 and 1997, which was analyzed by CDC epidemiologist Thomas Verstraeten, MD, “proves unequivocally that in 2000, CDC officials were informed internally of the very high risk of autism, non-organic sleep disorder and speech disorder associated with Thimerosal exposure.”


Factually, thimerosal is a mercury-containing compound that is a known human carcinogen, mutagen, teratogen and immune-system disruptor at levels below 1 part-per-million, and a compound to which some humans can have an anaphylactic shock reaction. It is also a recognized reproductive and fetal toxin with no established toxicologically safe level of exposure for humans.

In November, 1997, the U.S. Congress passed the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act, requiring the study of mercury content in FDA-approved products. The review disclosed the hitherto-unrecognized levels of ethylmercury in vaccines.

In July 1999, public-health officials announced that thimerosal would be phased out of vaccines. The CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, and FDA insisted that the measure was purely precautionary. They requested of all vaccine manufacturers to eliminate mercury from vaccines.

The requests were denied by vaccine manufacturers and continued every year thereafter.

The FDA does not require ingredients that comprise less than 1 percent of a product to be divulged on the label, so a lot more products may have thimerosal and consumers will never know.

Elevated Risk of Autism

When the results of the Verstraeten study were first reported outside the CDC in 2005, there was no evidence that anyone but Dr. Verstraeten within the CDC had known of the very high 7.6-fold elevated relative risk of autism from exposure to Thimerosal during infancy. But now, clear evidence exists. A newly-acquired abstract from 1999 titled, “Increased risk of developmental neurologic impairment after high exposure to Thimerosal containing vaccine in first month of life” required the approval of top CDC officials prior to its presentation at the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) conference. Thimerosal, which is 50% mercury by weight, was used in most childhood vaccines and in the RhoGAM shot for pregnant women prior to the early 2000s.

The CDC maintains there is “no relationship between Thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism rates in children,” even though the data from the CDC’s own Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) database shows a very high risk. There are a number of public records to back this up, including this Congressional Record from May 1, 2003. The CDC’s refusal to acknowledge thimerosal’s risks is exemplified by a leaked statement from Dr. Marie McCormick, chair of the CDC/NIH-sponsored Immunization Safety Review at IOM. Regarding vaccination, she said in 2001, “…we are not ever going to come down that it [autism] is a true side effect…” Also of note, the former director of the CDC, which purchases $4 billion worth of vaccines annually, is now president of Merck’s vaccine division.

Toxic Effects of Thimerosal No Longer Disputed by Scientific Study

Thimerosal-Derived Ethylmercury in vaccines is now well established as a mitochondrial toxin in human brain cells.

There are dozens of scientific inquiries and studies on the adverse effects of thimerosal, including gastrointestinal abnormalities and immune system irregularities.

Thimerosal, is metabolized (converted) into the toxic and “harmful” methylmercury. And then in turn, the harmful methylmercury is metabolized (converted) into the most harmful, long-term-toxic, “inorganic” mercury that is retained in bodily tissue.

“Inorganic” mercury is the end product of mercury metabolism. Methylmercury subject groups confirm that the metabolic pathway for mercury in the human and animal body consists in the reduction/conversion of the harmful methylmercury into a more harmful “inorganic” mercury which is tissue-bound, and long-term-toxic. Hence, both the originating substance (methylmercury) and its conversion/reduction, inorganic mercury are found.

Based on published findings by Dr. Paul King, the metabolic pathway for organic mercury involves the conversion of Ethylmercury (Thimerosal) into “methylmercury” and then the further reduction of “methylmercury” into inorganic mercury.

Congress Must Act

Dr. Hooker’s fervent hope for the future: “We must ensure that this and other evidence of CDC malfeasance are presented to Congress and the public as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence. Children’s futures are at stake.” A divide within the autism community has led to some activists demanding that compensation to those with vaccine-injury claims be the top priority before Congress. Dr. Hooker maintains that prevention, “protecting our most precious resource — children’s minds,” must come first. “Our elected officials must be informed about government corruption that keeps doctors and patients in the dark about vaccine risks.”

Referring to an organization that has seen its share of controversy this past year, Dr. Hooker remarked, “It is unfortunate that SafeMinds issued a press release on my information, is accepting credit for my work and has not supported a worldwide ban on Thimerosal.”

Brian Hooker, PhD, PE, has 15 years experience in the field of bioengineering and is an associate professor at Simpson University where he specializes in biology and chemistry. His over 50 science and engineering papers have been published in internationally recognized, peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Hooker has a son, aged 16, who developed normally but then regressed into autism after receiving Thimerosal-containing vaccines.

Sources:
prweb.com
preventdisease.com
ashotoftruth.org

Dave Mihalovic is a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in vaccine research, cancer prevention and a natural approach to treatment.

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