Adriana Gamondes

Kitty Genovese and the Bystander Effect Circa 2018 Part 2

The eyes of Kitty Genovese2
Note: We ran this two part post by Adriana in April of 2011.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Kitty Genovese story, she is a young woman who was stabbed, left for dead, her screams unanswered, her attacker returned, she was raped and finally stabbed to death in Queens, New York in 1964. Bystanders who heard her screams did nothing.  Did. Nothing. Sound familiar? Her death coined the phrase, "the bystander effect," whereby good people.... do nothing. To read more about her legacy click here.  We bring the posts back in October 0f 2017 because of the current climate of sociopolitics. At Age of Autism and elsewhere, we live the Bystander Effect every single day. Our cries for our children fall on indifferent ears. Part 2 will run tomorrow.

When Adriana wrote this post I had yet to step onto a karate mat as a white belt. Now, 8 years later, I have two black belts in two martial arts, Shito Ryu Karate and Matayoshi Kobudo (a 19 weapons Okinawan fighting art.)  I teach self defense to women and men and we tell students to yell "Fire!" because "Help" may fall on indifferent ears. That is part of Ms. Genovese's legacy. Protecting others. Just as we do here at Age of Autism.

Thank you to Adriana for her brilliant essay.

By Adriana Gamondes

Read Part 1 HERE.

We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself
. ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer 

What I mostly learned from advocacy for domestic violence survivors which applied to my children’s injuries was a partial answer to the haunting question: why us? I thought my husband and I had been good people and we’d even tried to help others. I didn’t drink or take drugs during pregnancy; I followed doctors’ orders, ate mostly organic, used only nontoxic household products, even “thought good thoughts”. Our children are everything to us. They weren’t born prematurely. They developed normally for a year. Then, moreover, why was virtually no one outside our family or outside the “movement” willing to effectively help our kids once they did become ill? They’re innocent; why them? Why anyone? 

Explanations of industrial greed, regulatory capture, government corruption, gene/environment interplay and toxic mechanisms aside, the general answer is A) because sometimes bad things happen to good people and, though there is often a reason for this, it’s mostly not a good reason and never a justification; and B) often few will help in the right way, in the way that is being asked for because many inactive or negative bystanders don’t believe that “A” is true. Not really, not in their heart of hearts. Instead they believe, mostly unconsciously, that bad things happen to bad people.

And that brings up the question: why Kitty Genovese? Why did her family and her girlfriend have to suffer loss?  In moving interviews, Kitty’s brother Vincent described decades of flashbacks and her partner, Mary Ann Zielonko, said, “I still have a lot of anger towards people because they could have saved her life…That’s the lesson to be learned from this: to really love each other— we have to— on this planet.”( HERE ). Kitty Genovese was, by all accounts, a vibrant and loving person.

The prevailing negative attitudes about rape victims and victims of domestic violence were similar at the time of Kitty Genovese’s murder, though if openly used as rationales for inaction, ignoring a stranger rape in progress would have been deemed more shameful, whereas refusing to “butt in on” a “lover’s quarrel” could be seen as a somewhat less shameful—even acceptable-- position. Never mind that parsing up varying degrees of “innocence” between categories of victims is a giveaway that dangerous discrimination is afoot, the fact that Genovese’s attacker was unknown to her might have mattered just enough to bystanders to have driven—if just barely— one more call to police. As I already mentioned, I tend to think that bystanders were being frank when they described the judgment call they made in place of calls to the police--- that many assumed the screams were from a domestic violence assault, a crime which is hundreds of times more common than stranger rape. Aside from the fact that police, again, are statistically most likely to be killed while interrupting a domestic violence incident and it’s a crime which is particularly unsafe for bystanders to intervene in, there are specific social assumptions about “inherent” traits that battered women supposedly possess which make them viewed as more or less dispensable if not “bad”.  

I believe the first part of the attack occurred because Kitty Genovese was a woman in the wrong place at the wrong time and evil exists. I believe the second, deadly part of the assault occurred because killer Winton Mosely—when he returned and saw that no help for his prey was at hand—  had been trained since birth to understand the dynamics of the situation and knew precisely how much screaming and pleas bystanders would “stand by for” before being moved to action. Kitty Genovese literally died of “second injuries”—those induced by a typically inadequate or punitive social response to certain types of crimes.

 It may not be happenstance that, just three years ago, Mosely explained to a parole board that his murderous compulsions resulted from growing up with domestic violence ( HERE). Sometimes an excuse and a reason are the same thing (i.e., “thimerosal is cheap”). From seeing his mother repeatedly battered and stalked by his father from infancy until the day Mosely went to jail for murder, Mosely would have known that, no matter how victims screamed, help was rarely or never forthcoming: he understood the nature of bystanders. Mosely did not get leniency by this admission and should not have. Another individual with the same background could have made the reverse choice. But the information might still provide insight into the dynamics of the event; that it was, in the final analysis, a “relationship crime”, defined by a psychological interaction between killer and bystanders which was far more complex than the interaction between killer and victim. Predicting what the victim would do was easy in comparison: when stabbed, she would fall and she would die.

 Kitty G
Kitty Genovese could not have known that self-defense instructors in the future would invoke her name when they urged women to scream “fire”, never “help” in response to attack. Why “fire” and not “help” to overcome bystander apathy? Why must vaccine injury claimants file for “Seizures and Encephalitis” or “mitochondrial disease” instead of “autism”?

It’s not actually the science or the independent scientists that are the problem in viewing autism as a possible result of vaccine injuries. 74% of studies on thimerosal and autism support a link. The Lancet paper has been replicated in five countries and Brian Deer was paid by industry. “Transfer factor” was not a rival vaccine but akin to goat’s milk— and the patent for it never belonged to Andrew Wakefield. Dr. Wakefield never kept a dime of “lawyer money” but donated it to the Royal Free. There’s documented proof Lancet researchers could not have altered patient records. The O’Leary lab has been cleared and Poul Thorsen has not been (HERE).

 In the case of domestic violence, negative attitudes towards victims backed up by clinical victim blaming also persist in the face of all evidence to the contrary and in the face of clear biases of clinical “blame purveyors”. Things are not getting better in that arena: an entry in the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) has outdone even the past diagnostic “blame-laying” under the heading of “relational disorders”. Relational disorders are those which are said, quite controversially, to arise from the dynamics of a relationship while both parties may not necessarily suffer from disordered personalities. This is supposedly an improvement over former marginal entries into the DSM, such as “psychological deficiency disorder”, as if the panel had said, “Now we’re not saying victims have anything wrong with them. We’re just saying that they have as much or as little wrong with them as perpetrators.” The new proposals are “Marital Abuse Disorder” or, alternately, “Marital Conflict Disorder With Violence”—the idea being that it was the relationship’s dynamics which “caused” the violence, effectively splitting/removing blame equally between two parties, “takes two to tango” style. It’s minimizing at best (to equivocate chronic, injurious battering to the one time an average couple, say, got drunk and shoved each other)— and a lethal call for noninterventionism at worst. The diagnosis could easily be used to justify the removal of children from the custody of evident victims. Though supposedly “no fault”, if this thinking is extrapolated to other crimes, the “borrowing from Peter (laying partial responsibility on victims or “borrowing some of their innocence”) to pay Paul (to remove an equivalent degree of responsibility from perpetrators and bequeath them with a degree of innocence) would appear grossly unjust. Did Kitty Genovese emit negative astrowaves as she walked to her apartment that Mosely couldn’t help being swept up in? Did captured slaves just have dysfunctional relationships with traders and plantation owners?

Continue reading "Kitty Genovese and the Bystander Effect Circa 2018 Part 2" »

Kitty Genovese and the Bystander Effect in 1964 and 2018

Kitty G
Note: We ran this two part post by Adriana in April of 2011.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Kitty Genovese story, she is a young woman who was stabbed, left for dead, her screams unanswered, her attacker returned, she was raped and finally stabbed to death in Queens, New York in 1964. Bystanders who heard her screams did nothing.  Did. Nothing. Sound familiar? Her death coined the phrase, "the bystander effect," whereby good people.... do nothing. To read more about her legacy click here.  We bring the post back today because of the current climate of sociopolitics. At Age of Autism and elsewhere, we live the Bystander Effect every single day. Our cries for our children fall on indifferent ears. Part 2 will run tomorrow. Thank you to Adriana for her brilliant essay.

April 4, 2011
By Adriana Gamondes

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. ~Albert Einstein

“’I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury,’ said cunning old Fury: ‘I’ll try the whole cause and condemn you to death.’ ~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Exactly a year ago in March I heard on National Public Radio that the Center for Disease Control had given a million dollar grant to the University of New Hampshire to start a program called “Bringing in the Bystanders”. The program was intended to combat sexual assault on campus by eliciting the intervention of witnesses to potentially high risk situations.  If the CDC threw a campaign like that for autism and a host of other childhood disorders which have hit epidemic proportions in the past two decades, the agency would have to bring itself in. 

That “good people do nothing” is a documented component of many categories of traumatic experience, whether the trauma is wartime atrocity, political captivity, torture, etc. According to many trauma experts, the very depth of psychic injury in trauma often hinges on the existence of inactive or negative bystanders. In his 1986 memoir, Survival in Auschwitz, Holocaust survivor Primo Levi described a common, recurring nightmare he experienced along with fellow death camp survivors. In the dream, the survivor had somehow escaped the camp and had gotten home to his or her family. They would find themselves surrounded by loved ones and would begin to tell of their ordeal, only to endure crushing grief as the others turned away as if deaf or indifferent to the horror. Survivors of other atrocities describe very similar dreams.
I’ve had my own version of this dream going on six years now. It started before I was even consciously aware that something was going seriously wrong with my children’s health or had even conceived of the possibility that vaccines weren’t safe for all children. Of course I didn’t base my understanding of what happened to my twins on a dream; the dream was just added data. And now I can’t seem to wake up from it and I’m not speaking figuratively. In the recurring dream, I’m at a party in a strange mansion surrounded by a spooky, aloof crowd. I want to leave, but suddenly realize my children aren’t with me and panic.
Finally, I find my son in a strange bedroom, tucked into an enormous, carved bed as if someone had made it around him with hospital corners. The room is from another century and there’s no phone. I go to lift him up and there’s something warm and wet on the back of his head: it’s blood. He’s still breathing but has what looks like an icepick wound to the back of his skull. People are gathering around the door of the bedroom and I shriek at them for help and to find whoever did this. They stare at their shoes and at their fingernails and do nothing. I know I can’t leave my son with these zombies, so I cradle him and rush to the door to seek medical attention and find my daughter, who I know is in danger. I shout at the bystanders to move aside. I plead, I spit abuse at them, scream like an animal, but they continue to stand there, forming a wall.   

And when I wake up, nothing’s really changed. The dream is essentially real life romance. Every time I turn on the radio in the car, scan the news on the web or television, I hear not just the strains of indifference about what’s happened to my children and more than a million others, but a systematic campaign to render the listener deaf and disinterested. It’s precisely what Noam Chomsky refers to as “manufacturing consent”—i.e., bystander training. Not only has it not eased off as the evidence mounts that there may indeed be something in the environment—and something in the exponentially increased number of childhood vaccines—that is causing 1 in 91 children in the US (and rising) to regress into lifelong disability, the policy of censure has been officially decreed and we’ve now moved into an era of monumental disinformation.

The aims behind the barrage of disinformation are becoming more explicit. “Vaccine Epidemic” (HERE ), edited by Louise Habakus and Mary Holland, lays the warnings out plainly: potential legislation for vaccine mandates, removal of exemptions, more shots added to the schedule. More legal harassment of independent scientists and practitioners. More legal harassment and isolation for families who stray from conventional treatments. More children spuriously snatched by autism-illiterate child welfare agencies who will remain autism-illiterate because of the lack of funding for internal education and an increase in internal bigotry arising from denial of an epidemic and its cause. More profits, more control, more autism.

The hypocrisy of the media and medical authorities is sometimes staggering. The New York Times may, for instance, occasionally play hero and unleash idealistic reporters on the issue of institutional abuse (HERE ), or report on the dangers of drugging granny and typical children to gain a “credence balance” for fair reporting which it then blows on its policy of omitting or distorting evidence based correlations between vaccines, pollution and the exploding rate of disability. The paper’s omissions of conflicts of vaccine promoters, attacks on consumer safety advocacy and prevention and recovery methods virtually feed the modern snake pits and the $3.5 billion and growing “autism drug profits”, so the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare unions can hardly complain about the “little slap” of occasional criticism because it comes with a great big kiss of a growth market.   

As levels of fear and desperation rise, we may hear louder denials from certain corners of the autism community that vaccines or toxic environment played any role in their children’s or their own disability. It will be tantamount to futile groveling for amnesty from a virtual purge because, ultimately, it’s not just inconvenient theory of cause for the epidemic which is the enemy but the epidemic itself, a wave of which is coming of age into a system that has never seen so many adults on the spectrum and can’t support the weight. The sheer numbers are inconvenient evidence of the man-made nature of the disorder, not to mention the fact that it’s becoming horrendously expensive to manage. Whether effected families or individuals believe autism is environmental or vaccine-mediated or not, they will see services, programs, support and compassion cut to the bone, then cut again and again. That is, unless the public or key members of government can be made to truly heed the warnings that the nightmare is already here.  

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The Gestics of Power: Barcelona Artist Luis Quiles Destroys Appetites for Consumption and Obedience

Luis Quiles

(A Spanish translation is at the end of this post.)

By Adriana Gamondes

Age of Autism is honored to announce the release of a new book by Barcelona artist Luis Quiles titled The Antisocial Networks which Quiles describes as a personal dissection of modern society.

The book also includes several stunning expressions of vaccine politics which the artist has generously allowed to be published here for the first time.  Though most regular readers will recognize the figures immortalized in the images above, included are CDC Whistleblower William Thompson, California Senator and vaccine mandate crusader Richard Pan, and vaccine industrialist Paul Offit.

Quiles’ book is available for preorder on Amazon only in Spain, Italy and France, but since Amazon USA carries other of Quiles’ works, The Antisocial Networks may eventually be available for direct order in the US.  Quiles’ past and current works can be viewed via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter  and DeviantART.  

Predictably, the art of Luis Quiles is often flagged as “NSFW” (not safe for work) and “adult content” because it unflinchingly covers a range of ironies, tragedies, atrocities and exploitation from child sex trafficking to war collateral to the pandemic of cyber alienation. Be warned: his work is an assault on conscience. Just don’t ask him what it means. In the Spaceman crowdfunding website through which Quiles published the book to avoid censorship, Quiles will only outline his general intent:

I see my work as a way to grab people by the chest and shake them to make them think about what they see.

Quiles describes being bombarded with criticism that his work is gratuitously perverse by people who are either unaware of the long and honored tradition of artists using black humor, garish symbolism and raw suffering to trigger political awakening… or by those who are fully aware of the power of political art to do just that and would rather it didn’t.

If political art wasn’t powerful, Bill Gates wouldn’t have attempted to hijack the tradition  to push vaccines in 2015. Furthermore  political art and satire wouldn’t be included as major strategies in the bible of civil disobedience, The Politics of Nonviolent Action by Gene Sharp which has been used by resistance movements around the world.

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Los Gésticos del Poder: el Artista Barcelonés Luis Quiles Destruye los Apetitos por el Consumismo Obediente

Luis Quiles

(An English translation is at the end of this post.)

Los  gésticos del poder: el artista barcelonés Luis Quiles destruye los apetitos por el consumismo obediente

Por Adriana Gamondes

Age of Autism tiene el honor de anunciar el lanzamiento de un nuevo libro del artista barcelonés Luis Quiles titulado The Antisocial Networks que Quiles lo describe como “una disección personal de la sociedad moderna.”

El libro también incluye varias expresiones impresionantes sobre la políticas de vacunación que el artista generosamente ha permitido publicar aquí por primera vez. La mayoría de los lectores habituales reconocerán las figuras inmortalizadas en las imágenes más arriba, que son del denunciante del fraude del CDC,  William Thompson; el senador de California y defensor de la vacunación  completa obligatoria sin excepciones, Richard Pan ;  y el fabricante de vacunas Paul Offit.

El libro de Quiles está disponible para solicitarlo en Amazon solo en España ,Italia y Francia, pero como Amazon USA tiene otras obras de Quiles, The Antisocial Networks  pueden estar disponibles para pedidos directos en los Estados Unidos. Las obras pasadas y actuales de Quiles pueden verse a través de Instagram, Facebook, Twitter  y DeviantART.

Como era de esperar, el arte de Luis Quiles a menudo se tilda de "NSPT" (no seguro para el trabajo) y "contenido para adultos" porque cubre inquebrantablemente una serie de ironías, tragedias, atrocidades y explotación del tráfico sexual infantil, las guerras sucias hasta la pandemia de la alienación cibernética.

Tenga cuidado: su trabajo es un asalto a la conciencia. Simplemente no pregunteal autor qué significa. En el sitio web Spaceman a través del cual Quiles publicó su libro para evitar la censura, Quiles solo describe su intención general:

Veo mi trabajo como una forma de agarrar a las personas del cuello y sacudirlas para que piensen en lo que ven.

Quiles describe ser bombardeado con críticas de que su obra es desubicada y perversa por personas que, o desconocen la larga y honrosa tradición de artistas que usan el humor negro, el simbolismo chocante y el sufrimiento crudo para desencadenar el despertar político ... o por aquellos que son plenamente conscientes del poder del arte político para hacer justamente esto y prefieren que esto no suceda.


Si el arte político no fuera poderoso, los artistas que lo crean no recibirían amenazas de muerte, Bill Gates no habría intentado secuestrar la tradición con el  propósito de impulsar las vacunas en el 2015,  y no se incluiría como una estrategia importante en una de las Biblias de la desobediencia civil, The Politics of Nonviolent Action por Gene Sharp.

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All Choked Up: New CDC Director and Mandatory Screening Proponent Robert Redfield Gives Tearful Oath of Fealty to “Data-Driven Science” and Vaccines

Winston Smith Nineteen Eighty Four John Hurt.
Still from Nineteen Eighty-Four

By Adriana Gamondes

Is it no longer enough to make loud public pledges of loyalty to the industry medical model these days? Do we now have to give weeping declarations?

Robert Redfield
Robert Redfield

From The Washington Post:

Robert Redfield Jr., the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gave a deeply personal agencywide address Thursday in which he repeatedly underscored the importance of science and data and said the CDC's most critical public health mission is to protect Americans “from that which we don't expect.”

The 66-year-old Redfield, a longtime AIDS researcher appointed to the job a week ago, was overcome by emotion twice during his brief remarks and a question-and-answer session. The University of Maryland medical professor had sought the top job at the CDC and the National Institutes of Health for more than a decade.

About 30 seconds into his address, he choked up and then regained his composure. He spoke of the honor of leading the best “science-based, data-driven agency in the world. I've dreamed of doing this for a long time.”

Redfield went on to discuss the subject of vaccination:

He also spoke of the importance of vaccines and recounted how as an Army doctor in the early 1980s, he helped persuade military leadership to vaccinate “every individual in the armed forces” against hepatitis B after a young soldier for whom Redfield had cared infected his wife and newborn child. “That's probably the most important thing I did in my life,” he said.

Robert Redfield may have been surprised by his appointment as the head of the CDC given his history: Redfield was investigated by the Pentagon in 1994 for overstating the effectiveness of the gp-160  AIDS vaccine—a vaccine which was tested in unethical human trials using child wards of the state in New York in 2004. 

Was he crying from relief? The scandal originally broke while Redfield was leading an HIV vaccine study for the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Redfield also drew public criticism for instituting mandated HIV screenings for military personnel and for segregating HIV-infected soldiers.  But considering the CDC’s questionable ethical culture, rather than being a liability, Redfield’s near brush with charges of scientific fraud and willingness to employ draconian measures might have given him an edge.

Robert Redfield may be a man after the CDC’s own heart. It’s all a question of where the data is being “driven.”  Redfield’s inconvenient data was “sloppily” misplaced and “inadvertently” misconstrued according to his defenders. CDC whistleblower William Thompson attests that the CDC’s data on a 340% increase in autism among black male infants receiving the MMR vaccine prior to 36 months found its way into a “large trash can.”

Redfield’s appointment at this critical juncture is particularly disconcerting considering what’s at stake in US vaccine policy—such as the 146 peer reviewed studies demonstrating a link between vaccines and autism and the current autism rate of 1:36; the status of the CDC whistleblower case, the politicized vaccine mandate campaign and loss of genuine informed consent at a time when there are several hundred vaccines in the approval pipeline.  

Continue reading "All Choked Up: New CDC Director and Mandatory Screening Proponent Robert Redfield Gives Tearful Oath of Fealty to “Data-Driven Science” and Vaccines" »

I’m Talking to Me?

Ag Deniro
I’m Talking to Me?  WebMD Reports “Vaccine Skeptics” Are Swaying Parents of Children With Autism To Forego Vaccines. But Vaccine Skeptics And Parents of Children With Autism Are ONE AND THE SAME.

By Adriana Gamondes

A Case of Mass Soliloquizing

Do you talk to yourself? Do you tell yourself about the time your once-healthy children regressed into autism following routine infant vaccinations and try to urge yourself to cease vaccinating? 

Do you say “No, that can’t be!” and look aghast but then nod back wearily to yourself with an air of knowing gravitas and insist that it can indeed be while citing the 146 peer reviewed studies demonstrating a link? Do you counter with standard talking points from WaPost and million-dollar vaccine industrialist Paul Offit that vaccines are safe and effective, no proof of association, etc? Do you then force yourself to sit through the documentary Vaxxed and pull out full color historical charts belying the herd immunity theory?

AG Talking

Do you then roll your eyes at yourself but find yourself wrestling yourself to the ground and beating yourself up to convince yourself that yourself is right?


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Best of: Frau Koma Returns After Another American Mass Shooting

Frau K By Adriana Gamondes

Note: Yes. Again.

Part 1,  Demon Seed Read Part 2 and Part 3.

And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  ~Revelations, 20:14-15

By Adriana Gamondes

In September, 2011, Manitoba judge Robert Heinrichs ruled that a sixteen year old accused of murder would remain in youth court where he faces a maximum sentence of four years rather than the possibility of life without parole in adult court. Family members of the fifteen year old victim were outraged by the ruling, though Heinrichs stated that the accused’sbasic normalcy now further confirms he no longer poses a risk of violence to anyone and that his mental deterioration and resulting violence would not have taken place without exposure to Prozac…He has none of the characteristics of a perpetrator of violence.”

Dr. Peter Breggin, the reform psychiatrist and psychopharmaceutical expert who testified on antidepressant-induced psychosis and violence in the Manitoba case, was sued for his medical license in 1987—the very year that Prozac was first mass marketed by Eli Lilly. The charges were filed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a consumer group which has always lobbied for forced institutionalization and mandated treatment of the mentally ill ( Section 9.2 of NAMI’s Public Policy Platform)—including drugs and electroconvulsive therapy or ECT— and was recently exposed as a long-standing pharmaceutical industry front organization in The New York Times.

Due to his success in banning forced lobotomy in institutions coupled with efforts to raise the alarm on clinical risks of ECT and psychiatric drugs, Dr. Breggin has been a thorn in the side of industry and its various front organizations since the 1970’s. After Breggin went on Oprah and reported that Eli Lilly’s own trial data showed that even individuals lacking histories of violence or serious mental illness who were exposed to the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant Prozac and antipsychotics would frequently develop violent ideation or violent psychosis, NAMI claimed that Breggin’s remarks could cause patients to discontinue their meds. Following an outpouring of support for Breggin from the international medical reform community, the Maryland licensure board dropped the charges and Breggin prevailed. Seventeen years later, the FDA adopted black box warnings for suicide and violence on SSRI antidepressants. The black box warnings are, almost word for word, the precise clinical caveats that Breggin repeatedly submitted to the FDA and in Congressional hearings.

The previously concealed Prozac trial data Breggin uncovered and exposed in 1987 included cases of child subjects on Prozac who suddenly developed intrusive dreams and visions of going to school with guns and shooting classmates.  There were also far more attempted and completed suicides among drug-exposed subjects than in the placebo groups.

Over the years, Breggin and other researchers have worked to identify the mechanism by which certain psychopharmaceutical drugs induce violence and suicidality. Breggin has described phenomenon such as drug-induced akathisia, an uncontrollable sense of restless inner torment caused by an amphetamine-like and even LSD-like effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI’s, and has written about prescription drug-inducedintoxication anosognosia” or “medication spellbinding:

Medication spellbinding has four basic effects.

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Part 4 Grist For the Mill For the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective

                                                 Deliverance painting
                                                                                                       Teresa Elliot, “Deliverence”

By Adriana Gamondes

Read part 3 here

Read part 2 here

Read part 1 here

The Burning Question

The study  reporting the massively elevated rate of early death among individuals with autism came out over a year ago.  Even less reassuring is that the study was done in a country—Sweden—that has far better healthcare and disability systems than the US as well as a voluntary vaccine program and lower rate of autism.

But as cruel as the news was, it was grimly validating of all the measures many families have taken to keep affected children alive, often in the face of bitter criticism that these concerns are unfounded and the measures unnecessary. All the same, it’s something no one wants to be right about.

In the report, individuals with autism, especially “high functioning,” were found to commit suicide at much higher rates than typical peers, and children with autism are 28 times more prone to suicidal ideation.  Accidents were also a leading cause of early death. But the reigning cause of early mortality in autism is seizures, which cut lifespan by thirty years on average.

Researchers note that individuals with autism are also up to 40 times more prone to seizure disorders than the general population, which must be one of the factors that has spiked the statistical rate of epilepsy to the current 1 in 26 in the U.S., not the older figure of 1 in 100 that was reported  by study authors.  Authors further note that many individuals with autism develop seizures in their teens and twenties in a late-onset form that tends to be far deadlier than epilepsy in typical individuals for reasons that researchers don’t (or won’t) understand. 

But that’s something else parents know, isn’t it? Though it’s impossible to foresee every cause, autism parents tend to develop a radar for many of the triggers of neurological events—the toxic and allergic exposures, the depleted nutritional status, the infections and stressors— that inch children closer to the abyss of full-blown seizure disorders. This is because immediate families live with the immediate fallout. 

After the study came out, my husband and I had an epiphany. We realized what many autism parents are doing  when we issue “too much information” on health concerns, special diets, treatments, institutional abuse, wandering deaths and seizure risks is that we’re asking an important question of those in our family circles. We’re asking who among our clans would not only watch out for injured children but also who might do what it takes to keep those children out of institutions and alive for more than a few years in the case we were taken out of the picture through disability or death.  Parents may also be asking who among their families will be raising the next generations to actually give a damn about their disabled relatives once those in the older generation die or become too infirm to manage.  

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Part 3 Grist for the Mill for the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective

Deliverance painting

Teresa Elliot, “Deliverence”

By Adriana Gamondes

Read part 2 here

Read part 1 here

A Dirty Game

Some autism families have been very lucky to find tremendous emotional support and even occasional respite within their family networks. Others swear this is the case while their affected children are very young but then find the support falling away once those children reach their teens and are no longer quite so small and cute.  Some find themselves completely alone immediately following diagnosis. 

However the defection plays out, for years I’ve been hearing the same story from countless autism parents—the crisis when they find themselves mysteriously alienated from the extended family fold, usually after coming under severe criticism for some aspect of their parenting.  

The complaints and charges fueling the attacks might all be different, but the effect is the same: the stricken children at the center of the fracas are left even more isolated than they were already.  I’m beginning to think that’s the whole point.

One parent I know suddenly disappeared from Facebook, explaining later in private that she couldn’t take how her  extended family were using social media as a buffer to avoid having any contact with her disabled child. They would post birthday greetings on her Facebook wall in place of gifts, cards and, most importantly, visits. This parent’s son was too “severe” for family to deal with.

Another friend found herself cut out of a family elder’s will because, as he argued before the entire family (minus her and her affected son), she had fabricated her son’s autism to leech off the state. Never mind that her son’s diagnosis was well documented. Never mind if she barely took advantage of available public programs because, with all the defunding, the quality of certain services had become appalling and often came with scary and unwanted strings of state control. In her case, none of the remaining beneficiaries offered to share their cut or attempted to argue with the cruel elder, leaving this friend in a state of shock and, ironically, all the more in danger of being dependent on the state.

In her case, what gave bystanders the luxury of opining that her son never had autism were all the grueling effort and sacrifices she’d made along the way to get him to that level, to the point of nearly impoverishing herself. In that story, her son was too recovered for family to deal with.

There are so many other stories of parents being informed that their disabled children weren’t welcome at family celebrations or events that all the other children in the extended family and half the neighborhood attended.  I’ve spoken to too many parents who were told, often by those near and dear, that they should institutionalize their affected children who “belong with their own kind” so that they “don’t hold back the others.”

Some unreflective types might bluntly admit that they can’t stand being around disabled child or adult family members, but most seem to opt for the more socially defensible tact of spinning blame from parenting practices. In these dramas, parents find themselves blamed for being overly protective or not doing enough to rein their children in; they’re criticized for their choice of school or lack of school in the case of homeschoolers. They’re criticized for letting their children eat junk food in an attempt to head off meltdowns and self injury or for feeding them an overly crunchy diet. They’re criticized for neglecting their children’s health conditions regardless of how helpless they are in getting proper care, or of spending too much time talking about and attending to health. They’re criticized for giving too much attention to earning a living to dig out from under the tombstone of “disability debt,” or of neglecting their work and finances to be with their disabled children.

But I think the tactics are just a cheap and easy way of feigning concern for a disabled child while simultaneously abandoning them. It’s a dirty game. The bystanders get their cake—or so they think: a life free of the “burden” of disability. And they eat it too—or so they think: they can try to convince themselves and those around them that they’re not simply shallow and apathetic.

Continue reading "Part 3 Grist for the Mill for the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective" »

Part 2 Grist For the Mill For the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective

Deliverance painting
Teresa Elliot
, “Deliverence”

Grist For the Mill For the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective

Part 2

Read part 1 here.

By Adriana Gamondes

Bearers of the Unbearable Bear

If bystanders or the professionals who originally diagnosed our once catastrophically disabled children would now have trouble believing how they’ve progressed, that’s not our problem. It’s a problem of institutional theory of cause. If you believe that autism is genetic, lifelong and static or a matter of Freudian phallic substitution, then our kids are miracles and my husband and I are living gods.

That’s right. We’re deities. We cause autism with our minds. We can also make it disappear through divine intervention.  Bow down before us, ye mortals.

But if you believe autism is a form of chemical brain injury— an acquired, man-made, industrial-age affliction which can occasionally improves due to non-psychotropic, integrated medical interventions— then we’re just damned lucky.

Lucky relative to the many individuals whose injuries are far too severe to recover or whose families can’t afford it. Lucky relative to the horrendously high death toll among the afflicted. Lucky relative to being at war.

My husband and I manage the combat pretty well most of the time. You don’t curl up and give way to despair while a battle is still raging. Instead we “despair of” certain circumstances or conduct in a sort of “What hath God wrought in man?” kind of way. There’s no time for sadness. We have children to save and blessings to count. One blessing is our kids’ significant recoveries. It’s good news. But our good news comes with bad news about how our once non-verbal, once seriously ill, once severely disabled children were injured to begin with. We’re the bearers of more bad news regarding the risks our children still face. To our despair, we’re getting shot for it regular intervals.

What adds to the despair is that sometimes misguided attacks come from those within our own clan, from those who believe they mean well, who might dote over typical kids, cry over lost puppies in the pound or the plight of landmine victims half a world away. Some may even occasionally be generous with material resources, but never with time. Not the time it takes to read the books and studies that explain, nor the time it takes to get to know the children at the center of so much unwanted drama.

But we don’t hate the people who’ve caused these dramas or who’ve ridden roughshod over our children’s tragedies in the past.  What we hate is the drama and the tragedy. I also hate going into details because I hate the details. I hate having to put anything related in clever terms to make it digestible or readable.

 If I had to give one reason why my husband and I haven’t been able to bring ourselves to see or speak to the individuals who most recently maligned us or their enablers, it’s because the mere act of having to defend ourselves also requires dredging up memories of the worst periods of the children’s lives that seem to come with a soundtrack of screaming souls in purgatory.   It’s as grim as watching the sun rise on three hours sleep for four years and made worse by having to go through it under the gaze of people who refuse to understand. 

And now the same onlookers are having a problem because the kids play a hand of poker to decide who has to wash the dishes, and because they’re expressive and empathic and charming in ways that defy previous diagnoses.

But our children aren’t out of the woods yet.  That’s probably another core reason we can’t face the snipers at the moment. If certain individuals judged and blamed in the face of past struggles, if they’ve already said or done terrible things in periods of grief and difficulty,  what could we expect from them if, God forbid, any of the disasters that are statistically so common in autism befell our children in the future? 

For the moment, the twins’ symptoms have become hazy and are wrapped in a lot of typical child behavior, but still surface enough to make them hard to be around for those who look to children to amuse them and provide them with reflections of family pride and golden projections of hope and unfettered potential. In some senses, the children’s risks are just beginning as they hit the teen stage. There are no guarantees of unfettered anything.  

Continue reading "Part 2 Grist For the Mill For the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective" »

Grist for the Mill for the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective

Deliverance painting
Teresa Elliot, “Deliverance”


Part 1

By Adriana Gamondes


The last words Age of Autism editor and founder Dan Olmsted communicated to me shortly before he died were on January 11th, 2017. We were discussing a few editing issues with the following series. What he said was “Don’t rush the fine wine.”

Dan was kind. At the time I resisted making a joke about the series being a “fine whine” because Dan had a sense of humor, but not when it came to grim and bleak topics. The series is about abandonment of the disabled, so if it’s fine wine, it’s a bitter vintage but a subject Dan fundamentally understood, which is something I understood about Dan. His interest wasn’t in well-covered stories but in neglected, silenced, untellable stories. It’s why, as a journalist, he took on an issue he was not personally obliged to because too often those more obliged will not. 

I’m convinced this contrast is one of the reasons for the high divorce rate among autism parents. In comparison to the strong bonds forged in the midst of shared conflict or the respect that’s inspired for those who walk the walk, less ride-or-die partners will seem that much more disappointing as well as less ride-or-die friends or family.

For better or worse, autism is a filter of the finest mesh. Even if a marriage survives the strain, other relationships may not. That’s been my family’s experience. My husband and I just had our 20th anniversary but there were a few empty chairs at the celebration.

There was a reason for it.  Around Easter, 2016, we learned that our parenting had come under attack from a few members of the extended family circle.  Yes, the controversy was about autism. The attack was off the wall and spectacularly unfair, the drama spread, sides squared off, the opposition’s enablers leapt in and our defenders landed in the line of fire. People who’d known each other most or all of their lives stopped speaking. When the smoke cleared, we were looking at real wreckage.  

The clichéd war terminology is deliberate. The holidays. Obligatory family interactions. Autism. Bullshit— that thing that pushes many affected families over the brink and ends up in studies that conclude autism parents have stress levels equivalent to combat soldiers

The stress of disability isn’t confined to immediate family either. It radiates.  In The Drown and the Saved, Holocaust survivor, political historian and scientist Primo Levi compared extreme stress to the North Pole, proximity to which can cause moral compasses to stutter. He added that this is particularly true in individuals who lack any solid political or philosophical armature.

Continue reading "Grist for the Mill for the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective" »

Los Desaparecidos Industriales: Privatization and the Use of Child Protective Services as a Tool of Vaccine Enforcement


By Adriana Gamondes

While a system of holding people in hostage is as old as the oldest war, a fresher note is introduced when a tyrannic state is at war with its own subjects and may hold any citizen in hostage with no law to restrain it. An even more recent improvement is the subtle use of what I shall term “the lever of love” (applied so successfully by the Soviets) of tying a rebel to his wretched country by his own twisted heart strings.  ~Vladimir Nabokov,  Bend Sinister

Over the past several years, it’s been more and more common to hear stories in the news or through the social grapevine about parents losing their children to the state due to disagreements with doctors or hospital staff. Some of these cases involve children’s medical conditions which are arguably vaccine-related—like the 2014 case involving the late Maryanne Godboldo  and the state’s attempt to forcibly sedate her daughter, who Godboldo claimed was vaccine-injured; or the more current case of Joe and Maria Selva’s attempts to treat their daughter’s seizures with (legal) medical cannabis instead of risky standard anti-epileptic drugs.

But over the past year, these stories of state child removal have shifted from possibly vaccine-related to vaccine-contingent, such as the case of vaccine-resistant Florida mother Autumn Ceyten losing four children to the state. Ceyten’s is not an isolated account and  follows an increasing number of news stories in which vaccination status played some key role in state charges of parental neglect. Taken together, this creates the appearance of a disturbing but not unexpected trend. 

On April 28th, 2015, New York University law professor Mary Holland expected it as she testified before the California Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to SB277, a bill—since passed— that would remove all personal exemptions to vaccination, leaving only impossible-to-acquire medical exemptions for California’s school children.

On the issue of consent, Holland drew a sharp parallel between forced vaccination and rape that angered Chairwoman Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara).  When Chairwoman Jackson was done sputtering, Holland asked whether the state would criminalize dissent.

MARY HOLLAND:  Furthermore, a problem with SB277 would be in its enforcement…Will you be willing to remove children and force-vaccinate them as wards of the state?

Will you be willing to throw non-vaccinating parents in prison?

And what happens if the state does vaccinate a child who is removed and that child is severely injured or dies?

What will the state do?

SEN. JACKSON: Where in this bill does it talk about throwing parents in prison?

MARY HOLLAND: No, but what will you do? The parents—many of the parents who are…

SEN. JACKSON: I’m sorry but there is nothing in this… I mean, there are enough concerns raised.  To kind of push it to a level…  Now we are talking about putting parents in prison…

Senator Jackson expressed outrage for several more minutes about Holland’s “inflammatory” suggestions, to which Holland replied, “But I don’t know what you will do.”

Now, in 2017, we’re getting a clearer idea of what they will do. Shortly after Mary Holland testified,  various state social services divisions began adding a stipulation that parental failure to get children immunized with all required vaccinations can be categorized as a form of child abuse/neglect and can be grounds for criminal investigation.

From page 14 of the Mandated Reporter Training Educators Training Manual put forth by California Department of Social Services:

Lesson 1 - What to Report:

Other forms of neglect include

  • Medical neglect, such as not providing appropriate medical care, dental care, or immunizations
  • Emotional neglect, such as not interacting with an infant or child
  • Educational neglect, such as not enrolling a child in school or providing proper home-schooling

The addition of the word “immunizations” in the routine language of a standard document seems to be new. Having seen various states’ mandated reporter guides in the past, I know several specifically indicated that vaccination was not in the purview of child protective services and that an investigation could not be launched on those grounds. 

The addition of immunization to mandated reporter guidelines isn’t isolated to California  and could turn out to be an edict sent down from on high—the US Department of Health and Human Services, the parent agency of Child Protective Services as well as the CDC.  Whatever is the case, reports are coming in from teachers in other states that their mandated reporter training modules have changed in the past few years. The following photo of a media presentation given to staff during a mandated reporter training session was taken in an Oklahoma public school:

AGamondes 2

The teachers in Oklahoma reported that vaccine exemptions were never mentioned during this or any other presentation on the issue. When several individuals attempted to call various regional departments of children and families to inquire about the new language, they were reportedly angrily brushed off, much like Chairwoman Jackson’s stonewalling of Mary Holland.

In any event, it’s clear certain machinery has gone into gear and vaccine industry avatars like UC Hastings assistant law professor Dorit Reiss could not be happier.

During a panel discussion for the National Meningitis Association in May,  Reiss— wearing what appears to be a mermaid costume and bedroom slippers—explains how employing police to "force vaccination...certainly isn't easy on anyone. So it's not something done easily. It can be done. But just not done easily“

Evoking unsettling visions of police with military grade tactical gear battering down doors, tasing dads, shooting dogs, putting moms in headlocks and snatching up screaming kids  seems quite easy for Reiss.  I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that, throughout the videotaped meeting, her demeanor is disjointedly cheerful considering the grimness of the topic: her eyes glow, she smiles reflexively and swings her fidgety feet like a contented toddler at story time.  But it's apparent by Reiss's mincing grammar why she feels so buoyant: only police are assigned agency and the burden of responsibility regarding the thing she describes being "done." Those directing the doing of it and fabricating legal and moral pretexts for the doing of it remain unburdened, unnamed.   

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Buzzfeed, Native Advertising and Death of the Free Press: Media Vaccine Defenses aren’t Merely a Case of Pliancy to please Ad Sponsors. They are Ads.

AG Libertad
Cartoon: Roberto Weil

Buzzfeed, Native Advertising and Death of the Free Press:  Media vaccine defenses aren’t merely a case of pliancy to please ad sponsors. They are ads.

Advertising is the rattling of a stick in a swill bucket.  ~George Orwell

Adriana Gamondes

A fellow contributing editor recently brought attention to yet another hit piece against Dr. Andrew Wakefield and Miranda Bailey’s film The Pathological Optimist in Buzzfeed titled The World’s Most Notorious Anti-Vaxxer Wants a Second Act.

The article was penned—or, you might say, grammatically assembled—by a science reporter named Azeen Ghorayshi who once studied fruit fly neurogenetics at UC Berkeley.

Readers are free to review the article themselves but a quick summary is that it’s like listening to pigeons cooing in an echo chamber without a single humanizing word about the severely disabled individuals at the center of the controversy or the harrowing rise in autism. 

Coo coo coo Brian Deer quote. Coo coo coo Paul Offit quote.  

Because that’s what journalists from the mainstream media and pseudo-alternative media like Buzzfeed represent: carrier pigeons, or stenographers or all of the other derisive names (hack, shill) used for reporters who simply repeat the party line.

And where’s the party? It’s in the pants of multiple industries—especially the pharmaceutical industry— their shareholders and corrupted regulators where the fidgety hands of complicit journalists are lodged in the delusion they’re reviving the fourth estate, the death throes of which are accelerating because of something called “Native Advertising” or “Sponsored Content.”

Native advertising is when ads or other forms of commercial promotion or defense are disguised as news content, supposedly to overcome consumers’ growing “banner blindness” and ability to ignore obvious ads. Since its advent, native advertising has been like a progressive disease toppling one press giant after another and advancing from promos so blatant that they could hardly be accused of stealth to promotions so subtly entwined in “regular content” that it would be impossible for viewers or readers to distinguish without actually seeing the contract. 

Imagine opening the New York Times one day and reading coverage of, say, the catastrophic effects of a category 5 hurricane on an island nation that’s been fighting back against the oil industry’s attempts to control offshore drilling and having no idea that descriptions of looting, misappropriation of charitable donations, and the general fecklessness and compensation fraud among islanders has been brought to you courtesy of Shell Oil because dead men floating face down in flood waters don’t picket.

Engineering public approval for the victimization or abandonment of certain populations or even certain sectors of our own society is not new and is the theme of Manufacturing Consent by political media analysts Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman. In an interview for Byline, Chomsky states, “This [native advertising… in Buzzfeed and Vice] is exaggerating and intensifying a problem that is serious and shouldn’t even exist in the first place. The reliance of a journal on advertisers shapes and controls and substantially determines what is presented to the public.”

Continue reading "Buzzfeed, Native Advertising and Death of the Free Press: Media Vaccine Defenses aren’t Merely a Case of Pliancy to please Ad Sponsors. They are Ads. " »

Negación del Autismo Como Epidemia

NOTE: Autism is a global epidemic. Adriana Gamondes has teamed up with Alberto Castro, in Argentina, to begin providing perspective from beyond our shores.  Just as John Stone brings us the UK news, Adriana and Alberto will be adding more international flair to AofA. Please join us in welcoming Alberto. The English translation follows the Spanish.

By Alberto Castro

 Hace 40 años, en EEUU había 1 caso de autismo cada 10.000 niños y ahora de acuerdo al Centro de Control de Enfermedades (CDC ), hay 1 caso cada 68 niños. Los síntomas del autismo son únicos, no hay antecedentes de estos antes de1930. Esta epidemia se ha incrementado significativamente desde que el Congreso de ese país aprobó una ley en 1989 que impedía a cualquier persona demandar a las empresas fabricantes de vacunas, sin importar lo perjudicial que pueda ser la vacuna, lo enfermo que uno pueda quedar, o lo imprudente o negligente que puedan haber sido en la producción. A partir de esa maniobra del lobby farmaceutico, nuevas vacunas se incorporaron en el programa de vacunación, muchas de estas sin haber sido debidamente probadas y algunas contenían mercurio. Ell mercurio es mil veces más neurotóxico que el plomo. Actualmente gran parte se ha sacado de las vacunas para niños pero aún hay restos en alguna de ellas en gran cantidad en la vacuna contra la gripe, que le dan a los niños y a mujeres embarazadas. Las cantidades de mercurio en esas vacunas son cientos de veces y en algunos casos miles de veces más de lo que el cerebro de un niño puede recibir.

En el 2014, un denunciante del CDC, el Dr William Thompson, científico senior de la división de vacunas del CDC, declaró que le entregó 100.000 páginas de documentos comprometedores, al Congreso y dejó grabado en su declaración que él y todos los científicos de la división de vacunas del CDC habían alterado datos de un estudio para ocultar la conexión entre el autismo y las vacunas y en particular mercurio en las vacunas. Estudio del cual él fue uno de los autores en el 2004 en los que había 4 autores, incluyendo a Frank di Stefano Jefe de la sucursal principal del CDC.

A pesar de toda esta evidencia recientemente se han publicado libros argumentando que el autismo estuvo siempre presente y es una variación genética que exige aceptación y en casos celebración, negando así esta epidemia. Este argumento obstruye la necesidad urgente de enfrentar y detener la epidemia y pone en peligro a la humanidad toda. El Libro “Denial” de Mark Blaxill y Dan Olmsted descartan estas teorías acerca del autismo con una minuciosa investigación documentada de su historia. Ponen de manifiesto el dolor, sacrificio y privaciones que pasa una familia con uno de sus miembros afectados y nos despierta a reaccionar ante esta desconcertante realidad, tergiversada por poderosos intereses.


Denial of Autism as an epidemic

40 years ago, the rate of autism in the United States was 1 in 10,000 children. But currently, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the rate has climbed to 1 in 50.

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“Unholy Coalition”: How Common Concerns, Chronic Disease, Biotech Trolls and State Terror Act as Unifying Forces Between Vaccine Safety and Anti-GMO Activism

Unholy Coalition Adriana Gamondes
By Adriana Gamondes

There’s a particular plot twist in epic films that never fails to yank at my heartstrings even if the scene in question is over the top, hammed up or riddled with historical inaccuracies: that moment when all seems lost, yet against all odds, disparate forces gather together in a unified front to battle evil.

Since Scotland recently declared a ban on GMOs and since Skeptic astroturfer and dual Monsanto/vaccine defender David Gorski has repeatedly flogged a Braveheart analogy for—as he puts it— the “unholy coalition” of the vaccine safety movement, one scene from that the film comes to mind. It’s the moment when Irish conscripts stop in the middle of the battlefield to shake hands with the Scots to the dismay of dastardly Edward I.

To Gorski—aka Murdoch blogger “Orac” (Murdoch owns National Geographic which runs ScienceBlogs which hosts Gorski)— the comparison between vaccine safety activists and rebel Scots isn’t meant to be flattering because, as some recall, William Wallace gets drawn and quartered and the Scots independence movement failed, an idea that clearly fills Gorski’s mercenary little heart with glee.

But the scene still gets me every time… even though that historical moment of transnational male bonding never actually happened.

It would be nice if it did. It would be great if human beings were never weak, short-sighted and had enough clarity and courage to see common ground between embattled causes. All the same, sometimes the impossible comes to pass and seemingly different political movements discover aims in common and shift into loose allegiance. I think this is happening in regard to the vaccine safety and anti-GMO movements. The March Against Monsanto website recently reposted a GreenMedInfo article by Dr. Kelly Brogan titled Naturopathic Doctor Connects the Dots Between GMOs and Vaccines:

As discussed earlier on this website, a debate has brewing throughout the holistic health and clean food movements about whether to include the “green our vaccines” and GMO free movements together, or to keep them separate so as not to turn certain segments of people off to the cause.

Continue reading "“Unholy Coalition”: How Common Concerns, Chronic Disease, Biotech Trolls and State Terror Act as Unifying Forces Between Vaccine Safety and Anti-GMO Activism" »

Andrew Solomon Scrubs Pharma from Autism Mass Murder Connection

Gun pillsBy Adriana Gamondes

Another Andrew Solomon fail. For his recent New York Times op-ed on autism and mass murder, it appears as if he scoured AofA's and other coverage of autism/mass murder spin and then surgically excised any mention of prescription drugs. It's no surprise. Solomon famously takes psychiatric drugs himself, and is the son of Howard Solomon, CEO of Forest Labs for the past 35 years.  He's a shill, though with a genuine blind spot and the NY Times is using him to defend drug sales.

"The Myth of the Autistic Shooter"

Despite what is probably Solomon's sincere intent to deflect the mass murder/autism association, his theories do nothing to protect people with autism or any other mental disorder to set off an alternative witch hunt for the "psychopathic gene.” It simply opens the door for a gold rush of diagnostic theories that psychopathology “often coexists” with autism and we’re back at square one—with a bulls eye across the backs of entire diagnostic categories. As Solomon himself admits, there’s no biomarker for psychopathology. It’s diagnosed through subjective observation, so therefore can be pinned on anyone handy. And who could be more handy than the population of individuals with autism whose inconveniently rising ranks stand as evidence against the safety of another profitable pharmaceutical product line? 

And worse, considering CDC whistleblower disclosures that African American boys exposed to certain vaccines suffer a 340% increased risk of autism that likely explains the current massive increase in diagnosis within minority populations,   and considering the Minority Report-style hunt for criminal genes has historically centered on race, Solomon's resurrection of the crime gene hypothesis is an ill wind that blows no good. It was the theme of Peter Breggin’s chilling history of racist psychiatric abuse, The War Against Children of Color.  Reference to the modern crime gene program was the final warning in Cologne geneticist Benno Müller-Hill’s seminal study of the Nazi T-4  killing program, Murderous Science: The Elimination by Scientific Selection of Jews, Gypsies, and the Mentally Disabled in Germany, 1033-1945. And according to political philsopher Hannah Arendt, the idea of a biomarker for criminality – the “objective (scientifically proven) enemy”—is the core of every totalitarian cult of the 20th century.

More than a century of hunting for this crime gene has turned up nothing because it doesn't exist, though the concept that it does has unleashed horrors and repression.

Modern Mass Murder and Autism: Sometimes it’s Just the Drugs


By Adriana Gamondes

On August 18th, 2015, Chris Harper Mercer, the gunman responsible for the murders of 9 people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon on October 1st, wrote on his Facebook page:

I have a pill bottle with like five types of pills mixed in. I don't know which ones are the sleep aids so I just took four of each.

The following is a screenshot of this Facebook post taken within minutes of Mercer’s name being released to the media by a PhD in psychology and activist (who prefers to remain anonymous) just moments before the page was taken offline. It was then disseminated by Nancy Rubenstein Delgiudice, a contributor to journalist Robert Whitaker’s blog, Mad in America, and director of public education and volunteer coordinator for the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (

AG Chris Harper Mercer

The chain of possession of the screenshot is probably important to mention since Oregon authorities as well as the FBI are actively researching Mercer’s background for clues about what may have led to his crime. The screenshot was not hacked and no one from Age of Autism actually knew him. Mercer’s page apparently had minimal privacy settings before it was taken down and was accessible to the public.

Providing information about what medications Mercer may have taken is not intended as a plea for sympathy for perpetrators of mass violence. Though children, those detained in psychiatric facilities and the severely disabled may not have a choice or can’t legally consent to treatment, most adults can choose treatment methods—and with choice comes responsibility, particularly in the web age.

Mercer and his mother Laurel Harper Mercer spent a great deal of time online according to reports. Much has been written about Laurel Mercer’s admissions that both she and her son had Asperger’s and their views on guns (she and her son were apparently avid collectors and gun rights proponents), but very little has been written about her views on mainstream medicine. Laurel Mercer, an RN, reportedly spent hours a day answering questions on Yahoo Answers under the tag Tweetybird. Her views on a range of issues— from antidepressant use to the connection between vaccines and autism—are still online (herehere and here).

AG Yahoo Vax Autism


AG Antidepressants


The New York Times reports that Laurel Mercer sometimes had difficulties getting her son to take his meds.

Alexis Jefferson, who worked with Ms. Harper at a Southern California subacute care center around 2010, said the gunman’s mother sometimes confided the difficulties she had in raising her son, including that she had placed Mr. Harper-Mercer in a psychiatric hospital when he did not take his medication.

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Evolution of the National Institutes of Mental Health Revolving Door

Raking in the moneyManaging Editor's Note:  Thank you to Adriana for this series of five infographics that we hope you will share.  They show the "evolution" of the public service to profit model prevalent in American government, and are a result of the recent departure of Dr. Tom Insel, from the National Institutes of Mental Health where he was chairman of  IACC - the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. Mind you, autism rates increased from 1 in 150 when Insel joined NIMH to a staggering 1 in 68, 1 in 42 boys.  Is this Insel's idea of a "high point" and a "bright future?"

Why am I leaving? I had always planned to depart after 10 years. I stayed longer because of the fun of first launching a new Institute, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), and then the BRAIN Initiative, as well as my passion for what we have been doing at NIMH. I am not leaving because of a problem or crisis. Indeed, I chose this moment because I wanted to leave at a high point: for the first time in many years we have a complete and completely outstanding leadership team at NIMH, we have excellent engagement from the advocacy community, we have unprecedented support from Congress, and we have an inspiring strategic plan. I want to step away at the best of times with all signs pointing to a bright future.

By Adriana Gamondes

  1 Herbert Pardes NIMH Revolving Door Adriana Gamondes

2 Lewis Judd NIMH Revolving Door Adriana Gamondes

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State of Plague, Part 10: Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance

  Desaparecidos Adriana Gamondes1

Those with power have always manipulated reality and created ideologies defined as progress to justify systems of exploitation. Monarchs and religious authorities did this in the Middle Ages. Today this is done by the high priests of modernity—the technocrats, scholars, scientists, politicians, journalists and economists. They deform reality. They foster the myth of preordained inevitability and pure rationality. But such knowledge—which dominates our universities—is anti-thought. It precludes all alternatives. It is used to end discussion. It is designed to give to the forces of science or the free market or globalization a veneer of rational discourse, to persuade us to place our faith in these forces and trust our fate to them. These forces, the experts assure us, are as unalterable as nature. They will lead us forward. To question them is heresy. ~Chris Hedges

Read Part 1, Part 2Part 3,  Part 4,  Part 5,   Part 6, Part 7,  Part 8 and Part 9.

By Adriana Gamondes

Neoliberal Noir and the Globalized Junta  

On April 28th, 2015, New York University law professor Mary Holland testified before the California Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to SB277, a bill that would remove all personal exemptions to vaccination—religious and philosophical— except medical for California’s school children.

On the issue of consent, Holland drew sharp parallels that angered Chairwoman Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara).

MARY HOLLAND: Without some measure of realistic choice—and I do not believe that medical exemptions or homeschooling present viable options for the majority who have resolute convictions against vaccination—this bill will be coercive. Parents will be vaccinating their children under duress, invalidating any notion of informed consent. 

In employment, lack of consent is forced labor. In military service, it’s conscription. In contracts, it leads to invalid contracts. In intimate relations, it’s called rape. And in medical treatment, it’s battery.

SEN. JACKSON: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Wait a minute. Wait a second... Rape is a loaded word and as the Chair of the Women’s Caucus, I don’t take the use of the word lightly.

MARY HOLLAND:  I don’t either.

Sen. Jackson chastised further on use of the rape analogy, then asked Holland to provide examples of Supreme Court or other rulings dealing specifically with the issue of informed consent and vaccination. It was some time before Holland could continue with her testimony, at which point she discussed the potential denial of public education that would result from instituting such a law, the fact that the laws already in place in all states ensured high vaccination rates as it is, then asked whether the state would criminalize dissent.

MARY HOLLAND:  Furthermore, a problem with SB277 would be in its enforcement.

The parents here today are unlikely to comply with the vaccine schedule. They will either be forced—it would violate the covenant with their God or their conscience because, rightly or wrongly, they believe that they would be putting their children at risk of severe injury or death by vaccinating them.

How will you possibly enforce this with parents who won’t vaccinate and cannot, for economic or other reasons, home school?

Will you be willing to remove children and force-vaccinate them as wards of the state?

Will you be willing to throw non-vaccinating parents in prison?

And what happens if the state does vaccinate a child who is removed and that child is severely injured or dies?

What will the state do?

SEN. JACKSON: Where in this bill does it talk about throwing parents in prison?

MARY HOLLAND: No, but what will you do? The parents—many of the parents who are…

SEN. JACKSON: I’m sorry but there is nothing in this… I mean, there are enough concerns raised.  To kind of push it to a level…  Now we are talking about putting parents in prison…

Senator Jackson sputtered for several more minutes about Holland’s “inflammatory” suggestions, to which Holland replied, “But I don’t know what you will do.”

We don’t know but we can guess. To quote G.K. Chesterton, “If you let loose a law, it will do as a dog does. It will obey its own nature, not yours. Such sense as you have put into the law (or the dog) will be fulfilled. But you will not be able to fulfill a fragment of anything you have forgotten to put into it.” In other words, if 277 passes, children will be taken and parents will go to jail since there’s absolutely nothing in the bill that guards against this.

Senator Jackson’s objections to Mary Holland’s use of analogy and Orwellian rhetorical inquiry were transparent and Jackson’s reasons for demonstrating outrage didn’t make sense.  Any “disservice” these references rendered was not to consumer advocates but to the bill’s sponsors and Jackson’s biased censorship.

Continue reading "State of Plague, Part 10: Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance" »

State of Plague, Part 9: Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance

9-A McSkeptics Shermer-Reiss-Offit-Plait-Thorsen-Dawkins-Gates-Randi-Harris-Mnookin   A Gamondes1

The pomp of the Fascists, taken at its face value, has a hollow gest, the gest of mere pomp, a featureless phenomenon: men strutting instead of walking, a certain stiffness, a lot of colour, self-conscious sticking out of chests, etc. All this could be the gest of some popular festivity, quite harmless, purely factual and therefore to be accepted. Only when the strutting takes place over corpses do we get the social gest of Fascism.  ~
Berthold Brecht, Brecht on Theater

Read Part 1, Part 2Part 3,  Part 4,  Part 5,   Part 6, Part 7 and Part 8.

By Adriana Gamondes

Skeptic Gestics and Troubleshooting the Wounded

Parts 1 through 8 delved into the how and why the wars on disease/terror have merged and the resulting moebius strip reality where the public rides an eternal loop between bomb threats and disease scares, maintaining a permanent state of crisis or, as Foucault put it, a state of plague to justify progressively greater incursions on rights and privacy.  

These “wars on” have their various strategists, their generals and intelligence gatherers and their propagandists, snitches, provocateurs and hired thugs who sow divisions and rationalize the collateral of all these ideological, social and actual wars.  In the case of the organized Skeptics PR front, it’s a three-fer. In effect, the Skeptics are the tape on the moebius strip, binding all the themes and entrapping public discourse in the perpetual cycle through a sort of bullying fundamentalist science rhetoric.

The Skeptic front organization not only leads the charge in “defining the enemies” of the vaccine industry as “anti-vaccine” and has harped in particular on religious resistance towards vaccination, the chemical industry and genetically modified crops,  associated members and leaders of the group have also helped hone PR rationalizations for preemptive invasion of biofuel-rich, often Islamic countries by demonizing Islamic culture based on the actions of a minority and characterizing Islam as anti-progress and anti-science.

The problem in establishing the Skeptics' corporate and state connections is that, due to tax loopholes allowing educational foundations to keep funding sources anonymous, for the time being there are only circumstantial hints that the Gates Foundation— aside from  pharmaceutical companies, public health regulators and chemical giants like Monsanto— may be among the Skeptics’ backers. It’s beside the point in a sense since, according to the number of Skeptic affiliates ensconced in the media, academia and who hold positions on public boards despite sometimes outrageous conduct and statements, the group seems to have plenty of institutional support. In a corporocratic world, institutional support and a teflon veneer frequently imply corporate support. 

But one thing is very clear—the biotech defense front is very centralized. One way or another, a high number of prominent public health avatars and industry defenders in the media have ties to the organized Skeptics. All unilaterally spin apologias and swap soundbites for a range of industrial products while stumping for policy which supports their brands, using methods that combine literal and figurative panoptic themes. Whether selling the war on terror, the war on disease or the war on “irrationality,” the group’s figureheads argue that carriers of anti-science/anti-progress beliefs doubly endanger the public through actual and conceptual contagion and that both the ideas and the carriers themselves must be contained. 

Continue reading "State of Plague, Part 9: Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance" »

State of Plague Part 8: Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance

8-A Trojan Horse GAVI AFRICOM  Adriana Gamondes

No colonial power is going to succeed unless it’s going to play on existing divisions, and sharpen them, increase them, exacerbate them.   ~Mahmood Mamdani, Uganda Rising

Read Part 1, Part 2Part 3,  Part 4,  Part 5,   Part 6 and Part 7.

By Adriana Gamondes

McRevolutions, Resources and Panoptic Optics

In looking at the pattern of global philanthropy in the buildup towards Western intervention in resource-rich nations around the world, connections can’t be forced. The substantiations are often hidden in closed door meetings and on the ground among populations the media, largely controlled by those pushing particular agendas, mostly ignores. But even so, certain patterns emerge in the shadows.  

For instance, the map illustration from the lead article in this series simply compared GAVI target countries with oil operations and US military expansion using a map provided by Tom Dispatch from an article by Nick Turse, AFRICOM’s Gigantic “Small” Footprint:

Here’s a question for you: Can a military tiptoe onto a continent? It seems the unlikeliest of images, and yet it’s a reasonable enough description of what the U.S. military has been doing ever since the Pentagon created an Africa Command (AFRICOM) in 2007. It’s been slipping, sneaking, creeping into Africa, deploying ever more forces in ever more ways doing ever more things at ever more facilities in ever more countries -- and in a fashion so quiet, so covert, that just about no American has any idea this is going on.  One day, when an already destabilizing Africa explodes into various forms of violence, the U.S. military will be in the middle of it and Americans will suddenly wonder how in the world this could have happened. 


The fact that medical philanthropy often tiptoes in prior to invasions for resources might demonstrate, at least in part, how in the world this could have happened.  In order to avoid exaggerating associations between events through blatant examples like Ebola outbreaks and the US boots on the ground that followed, and because sometimes, as Turse puts it, “to see the big picture you need to focus on the smallest part of it,” I raked over several seemingly random news items for countries which are mostly obscure to Westerners such as Mali.  Most don’t even know where Mali is much less the country’s history or what the US is currently doing there. But the stories I ran across took a certain shape: the a rash of experimental trials for Ebola, HPV, rotavirus and other vaccines and  the Gates Foundation’s involvement; a US-facilitated coup d’état in 2012  and finally an industry-centric view of civil disorder as an impediment to oil and gas exploration in that country.  

News 24 reports:

Mali's health minister says the West African country has started trials of an Ebola vaccine on scientific researchers.

"It's purely a scientific step. The trials are on volunteer researchers," said Ousmane Kone.

Mali has no Ebola cases but it borders Guinea, where the outbreak began.

The trials in Bamako are being supervised by the vaccine research centre of the medical school of the University of Maryland in the United States and Mali's health ministry, Kone said.

Trials of the vaccine started in September on 10 US volunteers and 60 in Britain.

The vaccine is being developed by the British drug company GlaxoSmithKline and the US National Institute of Health.

This recalls the Serum Institute of India's MenAfriVac meningococcal vaccine developed as part of the PATH Partnership for Global Health in cooperation with the WHO, Unicef, GAVI, the University of Maryland and private industry (GSK, etc.) which was used in the deadly, forced trials organized by the Gates Foundation in Chad, itself a nest of US military activity. Years earlier, in 2002, the University of Maryland School of Medicine website reported the school’s abiding vaccine alliance with Mali and the Gates Foundation:  

Two researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore have received prestigious honors from the Mali government in recognition of their efforts to develop and distribute vaccines to children in that country who are vulnerable to numerous infectious diseases common in Africa. The awards were presented at a special ceremony in Mali in June on behalf of the President of Mali, His Excellency Amadou Toumani Touré…In 2000, the Ministry of Health of Mali and the University of Maryland School of Medicine signed a formal agreement to establish the CVD-Mali to provide laboratory space and resources for CVD researchers working in the country and to train Malian scientists and physicians.

Continue reading "State of Plague Part 8: Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance" »

State of Plague Part 7:Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance

7-A Midnight oil Adriana Gamondes

The mindset is that the barbarians are backward and inferior and, for their own benefit, we have to uplift them, civilize them and educate them and so on. The psychology behind it is kind of transparent. When you’ve got your boot on someone’s neck and you’re crushing them, you can’t say to yourself “I’m a son of a bitch and I’m doing it for my own benefit.” So we have to figure out some way of saying “I’m doing it for their benefit.” And that’s a very natural position to take when you’re beating someone with a club. ~Noam Chomsky, Uganda Rising

Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3,  Part 4,  Part 5 and Part 6.

By Adriana Gamondes

Midnight Oil: Hearts and Minds and Fuel and Lives Going Dark Around the World

For a recap, Part 1 of this series discusses the potential role of the use of vaccine drives as cover for military intelligence and drone operations in domestic legislative campaign to make vaccines compulsory in the US.  Part 2 discusses Foucault’s “panoptic,” disease-driven theory of the surveillance state and overlaps with the Gates Foundation’s militarized approach to public health.  Part 3 looks into the merger between the wars on disease/terror and the dangerous exchange of tactics and  ideology that results, from the likening of ideological enemies to “viruses” to the elevation of  commercial science to the status of state religion. Part 4 discusses Kissinger’s panoptic viral theory of foreign policy and ways this model is used against Americans.   Part 5  discusses the viral theory in the framework of the Gates Foundation’s fundamentalist market and science doctrines and engagement in radical social engineering. Part 6 looks into the deeper history and racial implications of the alleged use of abortifacient vaccines against Kenyan women by their own government, UNICEF, WHO and the Gates Foundation and discusses whether this represents a militarized  Heart-of-Darkness  scheme to engage a target population in its own destruction—a type of panoptic inoculation drive against threats to corporate interests.

Since the overall forcus of the series is the possible blowback of foreign exploits in the form of repressive domestic policy—ways in which weaponized tactics, ideology and metaphors spawned by the merger between military interests and public health used as a Trojan horse for foreign exploits come home to roost—it would seem important to take a look at the global stakes. 

Kenya, the target of the most recent credibly alleged mass sterilization campaign using vaccination as cover,  is just one example of countries currently at the center of the global battle for resouces. This could be due to competition with China for newly discovered Kenyan oil and gas stores. As The Guardian’s John Pilger wrote in 2013, a lot of what’s happening relates to China: 

For Obama, there is a more pressing cause – China. Africa is China's success story. Where the Americans bring drones, the Chinese build roads, bridges and dams. What the Chinese want is resources, especially fossil fuels. Nato's bombing of Libya drove out 30,000 Chinese oil industry workers. More than jihadism or Iran, China is Washington's obsession in Africa and beyond. This is a "policy" known as the "pivot to Asia", whose threat of world war may be as great as any in the modern era.

Competition with China may likewise explain a few things that otherwise make no sense at all.  It might explain why Bill Gates fulfilled Kenyan President Uhuro Kenyatta’s 2013 campaign promise to provide laptops  to all Kenyan children—an arguably election-swinging promise Kenyatta would likely never have made had it not been prearranged. It could explain why Gates intervened despite the fact that Kenyatta was not Washington’s preference while, oddly,  the Marxist, militant-backed Raila Odinga was: Kenyatta’s defiant relationships with Russia and ChinaChina in particular—though the latter is no hindrance to Gates. Gates, who appeared to play “good cop” to Washington’s “bad cop” regarding Kenyatta, has heavily invested in China—at one time through Microsoft and now through the Gates Foundation—and has multiple connections to the country through investments in atomic power, vaccine and computer tech and agriculture. Also oil through circuitous routes, such as Gates’ ownership of the Canadian National Railway as the rail company is revitalized by China’s investment in Canadian oil.

Continue reading "State of Plague Part 7:Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance " »

State of Plague, Part 6: Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance

  6-A Cradle of Civilization Adriana Gamondes

... it was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.

~Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness

Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4 and Part 5.

By Adriana Gamondes

Loyal to the Nightmare: The Vatican Squares off with Gates and the World Health Organization Over Mass Sterilization in Kenya via Vaccination—Implications for Race and Corporatism

Religious organizations have frequently accused Gates of diabolical extremes, specifically of advancing a eugenicist population control agenda. The charge is usually based on hyperbolized statements Gates made at the mHealth Summit on the issue, most famously his suggestion that if families in the third world could count on losing fewer children to disease, they might choose to have fewer in the first place: "The key thing, the most important fact that people should know and make sure other people know: As you save children under 5, that is the thing that reduces population growth…That sounds paradoxical. The fact is that within a decade of improving health outcomes, parents decide to have less children."

Gates’ references to the dangers of overpopulation are not novel and are carefully scripted. But again, it may be a litmus of Gates’ and his foundation’s global reputation that many assume the various disasters that trail Gates’ philanthropic and industrial schemes listed in Parts 2 and 5 are necessarily deliberate, thereby lending a sinister subtext to his population control statements and others. The progressive concern about the strain of overpopulation on the survival of the planet and the delicate ecosystem in itself is not particularly evil or authoritarian.  What would make it so is any argument that the end justifies any means at all and evidence that those ends were implemented using unethical means.

Since long before Operation Neptune Spear, the mainstream media— often citing sources associated with UNICEF, the WHO or the Gates Foundation’s vaccine surveillance program—  reported that religious leaders in Islamic countries spread “irrational fear” of vaccination, such as the idea that vaccines can cause infertility. A 2004 report from Reuters:

ABUJA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigeria is to test samples of the polio vaccine next month in the hope of resolving a dispute with Muslim authorities which has helped spread the crippling disease to children across Africa.


Three predominantly Muslim states in northern Nigeria stopped immunizations in November because Islamic authorities suspect the vaccines of spreading infertility -- which they believe is part of an American conspiracy to depopulate Africa's most populous nation...

"There are serious suspicions of a conspiracy by the U.S. government to depopulate Nigeria, among other developing countries," he told Reuters.

"Unless a joint examination is undertaken, suspicions will linger and people will not be forthcoming."

If the joint test puts fears to rest, the minister said vaccinations would resume nationwide on February 23.

Nigeria is proving the main obstacle to the WHO's goal of eradicating polio globally by 2005.

  As it happens, the WHO had been attempting to squash rumors of abortifacient vaccines since 1995.    Damage to immunisation programmes from misinformation on contraceptive vaccines >Abstract

Tetanus is responsible for 550,000 neonatal deaths globally each year. Tetanus toxoid vaccines are provided through the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund for national immunisation programmes to prevent infant deaths from tetanus. The vaccines are manufactured and controlled under strict standards. Rumours have circulated recently in Mexico, Tanzania, Nicaragua and the Philippines that WHO and UNICEF are using women as guinea-pigs to test a contraceptive vaccine given to them under the guise of tetanus toxoid vaccine. These rumours, apparently initiated by so-called pro-life' groups, are completely untrue. The vaccines do not contain contraceptive vaccines or any other substance which interferes with fertility or pregnancy and their labelling accurately describes their actual contents. The false claims made by these groups have had an adverse impact on immunisation programmes in all four countries.

Incidentally, western media have generally omitted reports by healthcare workers directly involved in the vaccination campaign used as cover for Operation Neptune Spear that the drive targeted women of childbearing age (15 to 49) for Hepatitis B vaccination, not solely children:

All day, as part of a hepatitis B vaccination team that the doctor had assembled, the nurses had been canvassing the area, knocking on doors and looking for women ages 15 to 45 to cajole into taking the needle. First a drop of blood would be drawn from the patient and blotted on a rapid-test strip, which would show, within minutes, whether the patient had been infected with hepatitis. If the patient was negative, the nurses were instructed to administer the vaccination.

This in itself could explain why suspicions of ill intent have lingered for so many years, though use of vaccination as cover for drone and military intelligence hasn’t helped. What has also rarely been mentioned in the “Islamic Luddite” stories is that it was medical organizations in the Philippines that initially reported that vaccines supplied by the World Health Organization and UNICEF contained human chorionic gonadotropin. The information was then publicized by Catholic pro-life groups, though the BBC documentary The Human Laboratory demonstrated that it was doctors from the Philippine Medical Association who first reported the scandal:

Dr. Reynaldo Echavez: We in the Philippine Medical Association don’t believe in what the government is saying. The tests that were made in both big medical centres were all positive for HCG, Beta HCG, and they claim that this is insignificant. To me this could not be insignificant because it can produce anti-HCG. At the moment there is a presence of HCG in the vaccine. It can produce anti-HCG and this can now neutralise the HCG that a woman will produce during pregnancy and abortion will set in.

Dr. Vilma Gonzaga: Women should have been told that the injection would cause miscarriage and, in the end, infertility. The Department of Health should have asked beforehand, so that only those who didn’t want to have children had the injection.

Continue reading "State of Plague, Part 6: Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance" »

State of Plague, Part 5: Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance

5-A Bill Gates hand that rocks the cradle Adriana Gamondes

Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4.

By Adriana Gamondes

Mixed Metaphors: Gates’ Inverted Totalitarian Corporate Conquistadors

As mentioned in Part 2, Bill Gates’ investment in a fracking tech corporation and Operation Neptune Spear corresponded with the intensive and obviously orchestrated vaccine defense media campaign which began with the publication of Paul Offit’s Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All;  followed by Murdoch stringer and paid pharmaceutical operative Brian Deer’s regurgitation of old claims against Andrew Wakefield in the British Medical Journal, and crescendoing with Gates nosing out from behind the curtain to declare a virtual fatwa on purported “anti-vaccine”  advocates who “kill children.” The campaign finished off with the seemingly endless junket for Seth Mnookin’s vaccine-defense screed, Panic Virus. The mandate drumbeat and calls for censorship against critics have only amplified since. 

At the time, the media crusade was like one long, belletristic plea that this could be the last attempt to deploy persuasion before the erosion of consumer rights would begin in earnest, and that certain policies could be—ever so reluctantly and unfortunately— forged to make vaccination fully compulsory in the US. At some point the media signaled that the “gloves were coming off,” which brings us to the current rhetoric on jail, fines, fees, segregation and child removal for vaccine dissent.

The absolutist campaign was nevertheless only one of several similar campaigns since 9/11. As journalist and Dirty Wars author and documentarian Jeremy Scahill wrote in Huffington Post, Scooter Libby, with the help of the NY Times WMD spin-planting columnist Judy Miller, lobbied to make disease outbreaks instrumental to war footing.

The fact that the shot obsession in this century began with the Bush administration and Libby—one of the officials at the heart of the “yellow cake” and WMD fabrication scandal—shouldn’t come as much of a shock since the vaccination campaign continues to be as orchestrated as WMD spin had been (and still is). The fact that the campaign has only ratcheted up under the Obama administration— known for jailing and persecuting whistleblowers  who threatened more current “WMD” ploys— isn’t so shocking at this point either. As mentioned in Part 2, all of the odd convergences bring up questions over both what is at stake that would explain the parallel intensity of the wars on terror/disease as well as questions about the power of particular figures enmeshed in the blitz to coordinate the centralized message.  At least one of the answers is obvious. As the Seattle Times reported in 2010 in a report titled Does Gates Funding Taint Media Objectivity?

Better-known for its battles against global disease, the giant philanthropy has also become a force in journalism.

The foundation's grants to media organizations such as ABC and The Guardian, one of Britain's leading newspapers, raise obvious conflict-of-interest questions: How can reporting be unbiased when a major player holds the purse strings?

But direct funding of media organizations is only one way the world's most powerful foundation influences what the public reads, hears and watches.

To garner attention for the issues it cares about, the foundation has invested millions in training programs for journalists…Magazines and scientific journals get Gates money to publish research and articles. Experts coached in Gates-funded programs write columns that appear in media outlets from The New York Times to The Huffington Post, while digital portals blur the line between journalism and spin…

Some of the foundation's approaches are controversial, such as its embrace of genetically modified crops and emphasis on technological fixes for health problems. Critics fear foundation funding of media will muffle those debates. And with only three trustees setting the overall strategy — Bill and Melinda Gates and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett — there's something "deeply anti-democratic" about such a concentration of influence, [NYU Professor Mark Crispin] Miller said.

"We're not dealing with a lively discussion among players. We're dealing with one gigantic entity ... that seems to be very skilled at promoting its agenda," he said.

This brings up a question over what exactly Gates’ and his foundation’s agenda might be.  

Continue reading "State of Plague, Part 5: Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance" »

State of Plague, Part 4:Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance

4-A viral totem Adriana GamondesIt was very simple, and at the end of that moving appeal to every altruistic sentiment it blazed at you, luminous and terrifying, like a flash of lightning in a serene sky: `Exterminate all the brutes!' 

~ Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness

Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

By Adriana Gamondes

Totem Theory—The Virus of Nationalism

If the cult of state science or “scientism” is the ultimate earmark of 20th century totalitarianism, it’s a cult founded in analogies that grew “fungus-like” from the discovery of infectious pathogens. It’s a form of tribalism that represents itself with a totem of the viral theory of politics and the orgy of disease metaphors arising from the militarization of science, including the disastrous view of human beings, other cultures and ideas as forms of “contagion” that must be “cured.”  

On the literal end of the viral theory, Pacific Standard, a magazine “created for opinion leaders, policymakers, and concerned citizens who are interested in developing solutions to some of the world’s toughest social and environmental problems,” published an article titled The Germ Theory of Democracy, Dictatorship and All Your Most Cherished Beliefs. The article concludes that managing disease is the key to spreading democracy throughout the world: 

According to the “pathogen stress theory of values,” the evolutionary case that  [Randy] Thornhill and his colleagues have put forward, our behavioral immune systems—our group responses to local disease threats—play a decisive role in shaping our various political systems, religions, and shared moral views.

If they are right, Thornhill and his colleagues may be on their way to unlocking some of the most stubborn mysteries of human behavior. Their theory may help explain why authoritarian governments tend to persist in certain latitudes while democracies rise in others; why some cultures are xenophobic and others are relatively open to strangers; why certain peoples value equality and individuality while others prize hierarchical structures and strict adherence to tradition. What’s more, their work may offer a clear insight into how societies change. According to Thornhill’s findings, striking at the root of infectious disease threats is by far the most effective form of social engineering available to any would-be reformer…

Thornhill points out that this rise [in modern democratic states] coincided with an era in which major health interventions, including vaccine programs, the chlorination of drinking water, and efforts to reduce food-borne disease, became commonplace in many parts of the world. Thornhill is not shy about the implications. If promoting democracy and other liberal values is on your agenda, he says, health care and disease abatement should be your main concern.

No one would disagree that managing disease could potentially make societies more stable. But even aside from  the issue that, for better or worse, there are various ways of doing this, the argument that democracy hinges on disease management doesn’t pan out historically.  For instance, Murdoch-held Vox magazine featured an article titled Even ISIS Supports Kids Getting Vaccinated that was dubbed “the weirdest appeal to authority ever.” And in Nazi Germany, the head of the SS  once threatened to shoot any German official who criticized vaccination.  Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was so enthusiastic about Western medicine that he lifted a blockade solely for vaccines and ordered children in orphanages to be inoculated for Hepatitis B which had been spread by repeat blood transfusions. Unfortunately the needles used for both transfusions and inoculations were shared and the children were vaccinated several times a year for the same disease, spreading both AIDS and arguably autism.   

Continue reading "State of Plague, Part 4:Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance" »

State of Plague, Part 3: Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance

3-A Tree of Knowledge Adriana Gamondes

Read Parts 1 and Part 2 of this ten part series.

By Adriana Gamondes

Though jail sounds drastic, it could be the only way to send a strong message about the deadly consequences of failing to vaccinate children. ~Alex Berezow,  USA Today

Actually parents don’t own their children. Parents have a responsibility to care for their children; and if they don’t, the state has a right to step in.  ~Paul Offit, USA Today

All of the barriers that are meant to protect our children–the government, the lawyers, the regulatory agencies, and the press, the checks and balances in our democratic system that are supposed to stand between corporate power and our little children–have been removed, and there’s only one barrier left, and that’s the parents, and we need to keep that in the equation. ~Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Postmodern Hysteria—a Political Virus

Part 2 of this series asked whether the merging of public health with military industrial mechanisms— made evident by the use of philanthropic vaccine drives as cover for military operations— also had the reciprocal effect of militarizing domestic public health authority.  

If this is the case, if both divisions are swapping spit to put it bluntly, it highlights certain risks. As Susan Stuart of Valparaiso University writes inWar as Metaphor, the “increasing use of militaristic rhetoric by politicians and pundits goes beyond its metaphorical use as a war against an abstraction. Instead, the use of such language is becoming literal, and that rhetorical shift matters. Today’s militaristic rhetoric is increasingly identifying fellow citizens as enemies in a literal war.”

In  Stuart’s estimation, a “war on” social problems is a way for a country’s war machinery to come home to roost on its own soil.  In a speech in 2013, journalist and activist Chris Hedges explained the military history of the boomerang effect:

What happens with dying empires—Thucydides [Greek commander circa 400 BC, author of History of the Peloponnesian War] wrote about this— is that the techniques of control, which are always about coercion—the only language most people speak in the outer reaches of empire is the language of force—as the impirium is hollowed out, these techniques migrate back into heart of the impirium, which is exactly what is happening. So you have the mercenaries working in Iraq and Afghanistan [Blackwater,  DynCorp, Intercon, American Security Group, Blackhawk, Wackenhut and Israel’s Instinctive Shooting International, etc.] suddenly appearing in New Orleans after Katrina…

According to Foucault’s panoptic theory, the advantages of the merger between war and public health machinery—much like the merger between military and domestic disaster relief—in terms of boosting domestic militarization would be obvious: fear of disease makes the surveillance state possible. As public health policy moves from persuasion to discussions of coercion and force, it’s clear the marriage has gone beyond the CDC’s symbolic military rank and uniforms. Both have a lot to trade in becoming “pregnant” with the other’s purpose. Not only practical methods are transferred, which is dangerous enough, but also rationales, PR,  ethos and philosophical approaches that are endlessly elastic and can be applied almost anywhere. I think that’s the enduring danger when things that are fundamentally irreconcilable, such as the Hippocratic Oath and rules of engagement, become disturbingly reconcilable.  The Frankenstein result is that human beings become the “disease.”  

Continue reading "State of Plague, Part 3: Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance " »

State of Plague, Part 2: Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance

AG 2-A presidio cuba

[T]he people who go and engage in those anti-vaccine efforts— you know, they, they kill children.
~Bill Gates, CNN, February 4th, 2011

Read Part 1 here.

By Adriana Gamondes

What the Foucault? The Gates Foundation and Panoptic Philanthropy

In February,  2011, less than three months prior to Operation Neptune Spear,  Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the world’s leading vaccine philanthropist, pronounced on CNN that vaccine safety critics “kill children” and are “liars.” A few weeks earlier, Gates had invested in Neos Geosolutions, a mining technology company backed by Goldman Sachs and Saudi investors that has performed airborne surveys in the Middle East and maintains an office in Abu Dhabi.

And as it turns out,  Gates’ investment coincided with several ongoing US military operations and installations in countries—from the Ukraine to Syria, Yemen and Kenya—  openly touted for oil, frackable shale or offshore gas fields.  And every one of these countries had been, at one point or another, a subject of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s and (offshoot) GAVI Alliance’s various disease monitoring and vaccination drives as well as  surveillance of what the organization calls “vaccine confidence.”

It’s a valid argument that Gates Foundation’s initiatives, like biofuel exploration are nearly ubiquitous. The same is true for US military operations, as Nick Turse for The Nation reports:

During the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2014, US Special Operations forces (SOF) deployed to 133 countries—roughly 70 percent of the nations on the planet—according to Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bockholt, a public affairs officer with US Special Operations Command (SOCOM). This capped a three-year span in which the country’s most elite forces were active in more than 150 different countries around the world, conducting missions ranging from kill/capture night raids to training exercises.

But aside from the ubiquity of certain programs,  there are other convergences that make the chain of events leading up to Neptune Spear interesting.  Imagining for a moment that Gates, whose foundation has been called a tax evasion shell by philanthropist and accounting expert Sheldon Drobny, has never used medical philanthropy to advance other investments,  we should still be asking what Gates and members of his foundation—the prime implementers of third world vaccination drives similar to the one used as cover for the Bin Laden mission, and one of the primary media forces behind domestic mandates— may have known leading up to the operation. Was Gates briefed? Were other media and industrial players?  

We may never know the answer to this, as Turse goes on to illustrate:

Despite its massive scale and scope, this secret global war across much of the planet is unknown to most Americans. Unlike the December debacle in Yemen, the vast majority of special ops missions remain completely in the shadows, hidden from external oversight or press scrutiny. In fact, aside from modest amounts of information disclosed through highly-selective coverage by military media, official White House leaks, SEALs with something to sell and a few cherry-picked journalists reporting on cherry-picked opportunities, much of what America’s special operators do is never subjected to meaningful examination, which only increases the chances of unforeseen blowback and catastrophic consequences.

The use of illegal domestic propaganda to facilitate military operations has happened more than once in recent history, most notably Judy Miller’s planting of WMD spin in the New York Times on behalf of the US State Department.  And going by a shocking recent court ruling, it’s just become harder to prove. In a story for The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald reports,  

A truly stunning debasement of the U.S. justice system just occurred through the joint efforts of the Obama Justice Department and a meek and frightened Obama-appointed federal judge, Edgardo Ramos, all in order to protect an extremist neocon front group from scrutiny and accountability…

This group of neocon extremists was literally just immunized by a federal court from the rule of law. That was based on the claim — advocated by the Obama DOJ and accepted by Judge Ramos — that subjecting them to litigation for their actions would risk disclosure of vital “state secrets.” The court’s ruling was based on assertions made through completely secret proceedings between the court and the U.S. government, with everyone else — including the lawyers for the parties — kept in the dark…

But in this case, there is no apparent U.S. government conduct at issue in the lawsuit. At least based on what they claim about themselves, UANI is just “a not-for-profit, non-partisan, advocacy group” that seeks to “educate” the public about the dangers of Iran’s nuclear program. Why would such a group like this even possess “state secrets”? It would be illegal to give them such material. Or could it be that the CIA or some other U.S. government agency has created and controls the group, which would be a form of government-disseminated propaganda, which happens to be illegal?

Continue reading "State of Plague, Part 2: Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance " »

State of Plague, Part 1:Disease-Mongering as Militarized Trojan Horse for Globalization and Surveillance

1-A Trojan Horse GAVI AFRICOM  Adriana Gamondes
The plague-stricken town, traversed throughout with hierarchy, surveillance, observation, writing; the town immobilized by the functioning of an extensive power that bears in a distinct way over all individual bodies - this is the utopia of the perfectly governed city. The plague (envisaged as a possibility at least) is the trial in the course of which one may define ideally the exercise of disciplinary power. In order to make rights and laws function according to pure theory, the jurists place themselves in imagination in the state of nature; in order to see perfect disciplines functioning, rulers dreamt of the state of plague.

~Michel Foucault Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison

Read Part 2Part 3,  Part 4,  Part 5,   Part 6, Part 7,  Part 8 , Part 9 and Part 10

By Adriana Gamondes

Reporting from the Grave

In struggling to explain a new and imminently dangerous political shift in the US, Tom Engelhardt of Tom Dispatch writes,

Have you ever undertaken some task you felt less than qualified for, but knew that someone needed to do? Consider this piece my version of that, and let me put what I do understand about it in a nutshell: based on developments in our post-9/11 world, we could be watching the birth of a new American political system and way of governing for which, as yet, we have no name.

Tom Dispatch has been an important media source for the following report and  I generally agree with the substance of the article—1% elections, demobilization of Americans, privatization of everything and the security state as fourth branch of government. I agree  on every count except one—that any of this is new or lacks a name.  

Like Engelhardt, only moreso, I also feel out of my depth with the issue of militarized “globalization” as it relates to the pharmaceutical crusade against consumer rights.  Others have named these things separately and I’ve waited patiently for years for leading political analysts and activists to put the pieces together.

But  it finally dawned on me that this is the type of reporting that can only happen from the bottom—from  sources with little to lose but themselves—both because the view from political purgatory has a certain clarity and because activists and analysts who focus on broader political scopes generally have other life and death issues hinging on their ability and agency to get a their perspectives into the wider media. When they go down, so does the range of issues they might be rare voices for.

And let’s face it—the vaccine safety and policy reform campaign is more cautionary tale than inspirational activism narrative at this point. If Howard Zinn were alive today, the movement might be added to his list of tragic causes silenced by power and buried by history. Each attempt to improve things has been met at every pass with more system degeneration—from the erection of the disastrous Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP, “vaccine court”) to the Lilly rider and the Bruesewitz decision, crushing Omnibus rulings, the expansion of the childhood schedule to nearly 70 doses,  the digging in of heels on mercury in flu shots and vaccines supplied to the third world, an exploding “autism drug” market further disincentivizing environmental research, the merging of aggressive front groups with a privatized state security apparatus, and finally the current campaign to legislate compulsory vaccination.

Even with recent successes against removal of personal exemptions in Oregon and Washington, state crusades against  vaccine exemptions continue to spread, federal enforcement still looms, and vaccine safety and autism activists seem farther away from original goals.   To make matters worse, in the case an individual is disabled by vaccination—an indisputed risk of a technology ruled “unavoidably unsafe” by the Supreme Court and the reason for the existence of the VICP— the treatment of the disabled in the US, including disabled veterans, is increasingly  lethal and deplorable. And even those few awarded compensation in vaccine court would most likely be ineligible for medical exemptions under progressively narrowing parameters set by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.  

In terms of being the voice of change, those of us with dead and injured family members are, by all appearances,  dead and buried ourselves except for the fact that every crackdown and step backward  correspond to an increase in the number of Americans who view vaccine safety as a research priority or who suspect the tech is not as safe as claimed. Those shifts were inevitable but hardly victories since the aim had been to better the system before the damage, cost and jaundice spread.

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Bombs Away Part 2: Weaponized Analogies and the War on Medical Rights

AG Bombs 2 1


When one lacks character, one must apply a method. 

~Albert Camus, The Fall

(Read Part 1 here.)

By Adriana Gamondes

Looking for Mr. Goodvax

The first time I noticed how territorial industrial pundits are about the use of analogy was from watching the ascent of Panic Virus author Seth Mnookin, who conceivably set off the current mandate campaign. He was also one of the earlier PR figures to deploy a few of the most common false comparisons for vaccine choice advocacy—particularly those geared to progressives, such gay rights opposition, racism, and climate change denial.

Actually Mnookin’s entire book is an analogy. In two hundred words or less, Panic Virus is the story of how “self-indulgent”, “hysterical”, “bitter”, “angry”, “resentful”, “guilt”-ridden, “helpless”, “isolated” and “self-righteous” vaccine safety advocates— corrupted by the democratization of the internet, clouded by the trauma of their children’s disabilities, suffering from low cognitive complexity and seduced by a series of scientific rogues— court the endangerment of their own children and public health.  It’s also a story of how, in order to quell public reservations about mass vaccination at its advent, government and health authorities in the U.S. had to lie about the risks of vaccines at various junctures— although authorities are not lying now when they say benefits outweigh risks and vaccines don’t cause autism. But even if industry and health authorities were lying, human beings are panicky creatures who, being overly dependent on intuition, had best be guided by authority and cooperating media in service to the greater good. Or else… biblical plagues, chaos, the breakdown of the free market, etc. Ergo, compulsory mass vaccination, legal sanctions against those questioning vaccines and inhibition of press freedoms would be justified. The End.

The above is basically the plot of Looking for Mr. Goodbar. But an alternative interpretation of the theme bleeds through the overlay of Panic Virus:

The once conservative fields of vaccine science and health regulation—drawn to the commercial meat market, guilty of departures from medical orthodoxy and nursing themselves back from public jilting—consort with increasingly dangerous public relations initiatives and security industry operations in order to regain status and empowerment at the cost of public trust, children’s health and civil rights.

Mnookin specializes in selling scientific absolutism in progressive drag. If the author doesn’t advocate legislating compulsory immunization clearly enough in his book, then statements he’s made in his blog and to legislators are more explicit:

With the vaccine debate, we're seeing that more and more as more children are getting sick and they're dying. I think we're not far from the point at which we start having real discussions about consequences for people who don't vaccinate and end up bringing in disease. I don't have a background in the law, of course, but I do think the conversation is going to pivot in that direction.

During Mnookin’s seemingly endless book junket in 2011, I noticed his PR tendency to repeat key words and phrases and engage in “repetition of emotional language” such as “anti-vaccine” and “narrative”— the latter to reduce public testimony of vaccine adverse events to folksy mythology. But one repeat term really stood out—the passive form of “disappeared.” At the time, I wondered whether Mnookin was having a reaction to the vaccine safety movement’s use of the expression.

Continue reading "Bombs Away Part 2: Weaponized Analogies and the War on Medical Rights" »

Bombs Away Part 1: Weaponized Analogies and the War on Medical Rights

AG Bombs 1

Although only a few may originate a policy, we are all able to judge it.

~Pericles of Athens

By Adriana Gamondes

Culture Jamming

We seem to be entering a media era that should be called the “Analogy Wars.”  If the looming threat of legislation to remove vaccine exemptions and  jail dissenting parents weren’t bad enough,  we’re also being bombarded with cheap analogies for parents who opt out of some or all shots for their children—like being compared to “Holocaust deniers” or drunk drivers.  In the legislative buildup to compulsory vaccination, the media’s anti-choice proponents put civil rights and a basic comparative accuracy at risk.

As many have remarked, it’s strange to see conservatives arguing the liberty position on this issue while some of worst attacks on consumer freedom are coming from seemingly progressive publications and politicians. Not always—Forbes is an openly neoconservative/neoliberal rag.  But the pseudoliberal mavens of force in the media are more likely to induce mental whiplash by snatching and subverting progressive brand logos—views on civil rights, environment in the form of climate change, gay marriage and all things equality-ecology-peace-freedom—then slapping the symbols haphazardly over their suppressive campaign.

The practice has been referred to as reverse culture jamming.  Borrowing a description of it from UC Santa Cruz anthropology professor Susan Harding’s Get Religion, industry mouthpieces are attempting to pass off corporate and institutional ideology by “appropriating, poaching, channeling, ventriloquism” and “revoicing” the message into a progressive journalistic “pitch” in order to shepherd an errant faction of mainstream progressives back towards the approved and conditioned thoughts and beliefs—or “memes”—from which they’d wandered.

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Ebola Noir: Death Panel for Democracy

Ebola Noir Adriana Gamondes

By Adriana Gamondes

Recently some friends whose son died of autism-related seizures— a tragedy for which the family was compensated through vaccine court after the standard  contentious proceeding and desecration of their son’s memory in the industry press— shared a link to an upcoming conference at NYU:  the Fifth Annual Innovations in Healthcare Symposium: Advances in Global Heath—A Symposium honoring Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin on World Polio Day and Dr. Salk’s Centenary.

Presenters will be, among others, Seth Mnookin, Drs. Paul Offit, Julie Gerberding, Peter Hotez and Arthur Caplan, PhD, and a special video presentation by Bill Gates. Also in attendance will be Francoise Gilot, widow of Jonas Salk and author of Life with Picasso which partly inspired the film Surviving Picasso, Robert Gallow of And the Band Played On fame (or infamy),  and a filmmaker who produced a documentary on a polio-stricken Balanchine dancer.  The first thing that came to mind was—just in time for Halloween!

  E-boo-la A Gamondes

But after browsing the program, I thought it was interesting that a vaccine conference would focus largely on polio in the middle of an Ebola epidemic, not to mention finding the subtitle a little ironic (“Advances in Global Health”… really? While the toll in Africa explodes?). On the other hand, the overall theme of the conference is clearly about how to bring the errant consumer flock back into the vaccination fold—something which could be considered relevant as the CDC pays cash to Baltimore’s poor and indigent in exchange for taking various trial Ebola vaccines. It’s not as if conference presenters will be lining up to take the untested shots, so the burning question may be how to make other people do it. No experimental vaccine kiosk listed in the program in any case.  NYU’s Arthur Caplan is set to lead off with a presentation titled Session on Ethics: What Ought to be Done to Overcome the Anti-Vaccine Trend?

A huge component of the recurrence of measles, mumps, pertussis and other vaccine preventable diseases is vaccine refusal and vaccine hesitation.  What can be done to combat this problem?  What educational, legal and policy efforts are most likely to persuade individuals and parents to accept vaccinations as very safe and effective?

There’s no mention of Ebola in the blurb, although Caplan’s and other presentations are sure to make references to it. Also no mention of the fact that the CDC itself and bastions of radicalism like the Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group declared the outbreaks of measles, mumps and pertussis to be occurring largely among fully vaccinated populations due to vaccine failure.  But it’s not unreasonable to ponder over the question of public trust in vaccination as a deadly scourge heads our way—if only anyone was talking about the actually deadly scourge or about earning trust through the usual routes—through transparency, accountability, respect for civil rights, etc.  

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The Color by Numbers Epidemic: Formerly Low Autism Rates among Ethnic Groups Skyrocketing After Massive, Coercive Campaign to Vaccinate “Underserved” Minorities

Color by Numbers Epidemic Adriana Gamondes
By Adriana Gamondes

…displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat. It is an unnecessary insult.

~Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

A recent study in Pediatrics reports that autism rates now appear to be higher among the children of American born Hispanic and African American mothers and among children of mothers within certain immigrant groups:

The study group comprised children born in Los Angeles County with a primary diagnosis of autism at ages three to five years from 1998 through 2009. The children were linked to 1995–2006 California birth certificates (7,540 children with autism from a total 1,626,354 births). The investigators identified a subgroup of children with autism and a secondary diagnosis of mental retardation; they investigated differences in language and behavior among this subgroup.

The researchers found an increased risks of being diagnosed with autism overall and specifically with coexisting mental retardation in children of foreign-born mothers who were black, Central/South American, Filipino, and Vietnamese, as well as among United States-born Hispanic and African American/black mothers, compared with US-born Caucasians. Compared to children of US-born Caucasians, children of US African American/black and foreign-born black, foreign-born Central/South American, and US-born Hispanic mothers were at higher risk of autism, characterized by both severe emotional outbursts and impaired language skills.

This report is a dramatic turnaround from only a few years ago, when the CDC reported an entirely different pattern among ethnic groups in the US:

Non-Hispanic white children were approximately 30% more likely to be identified with ASD than non-Hispanic black children and were almost 50% more likely to be identified with ASD than Hispanic children.

The earlier CDC study went on to say that it was unknown whether the disparities in ethnic rates existed because of differences in recognition or diagnosing:

The extent to which this variation might be attributable to diagnostic practices, underrecognition of ASD symptoms in some racial/ethnic groups, socioeconomic disparities in access to services, and regional differences in clinical or school-based practices that might influence the findings in this report is unclear.

But as David Kirby reported in the Huffington Post in 2009, not even National Institute of Health director Thomas Insel thought the rise in autism could be explained away by changes in diagnostic practices or “increased recognition,” so it might follow that the formerly low rates of autism among minority children could not be entirely explained by lack of recognition.  Not only were rates of autism among minorities lower, as autism rose among white children in the US, rates among Hispanics in some regions were even dropping:

In 2006, the rate among non-Hispanic white children was 102-per-10,000, but among black children it was 76-per-10,000, a 34 percent difference, and among Hispanic children it was 61-per-10,000, a difference of 67 percent.

Inexplicably, the rate among Hispanics in Alabama actually plummeted during the period in question, by 68 percent, from an already low 19-per-10,000 in 2002 to an almost rare 6-per-10,000 in 2006. Meanwhile, with the exception of Arizona, the CDC said, "prevalence among Hispanic children did not change significantly within any of the other10 sites."

For the record, my own affected twins have sixteen different nationalities, including Hispanic, North African and Amerindian as well as European. Regarding the issue of autism within various ethnic communities, when rates were low there were many public discussions of “cultural differences” that could supposedly account for cases being ignored, as if minority parents don’t notice or care when children don’t reach milestones, or that there’s more “cultural acceptance” in some quarters of children who don’t speak, sleep or who exhibit endless raging meltdowns. It should be interesting to hear what the next apologia will be now that rates among the same groups have exploded, and bitterly fascinating to see whether the pop-psych hypothesis of the “autistic killer” receives more media play as a result of the epidemic being racialized, particularly in light of the fact that the theory was founded on arguably racist research. It will also be curious to watch what happens with “investor confidence” in the multi-billion dollar autism drug market now that fresh blood has been thrown into the pool.

What’s also bitterly fascinating—and not mentioned in media coverage of the recent study on high rates of autism among ethnic groups— is that there had also been a radical shift in ethnic and economic demographics regarding vaccine uptake. At one time, for instance, African Americans were the least compliant and most “under-vaccinated”:

Factors That Distinguish Fully Vaccinated Children from Undervaccinated Children (2001 NIS)

These analyses indicated that, compared with fully vaccinated children, undervaccinated children were significantly more likely to be black than Hispanic or non-Hispanic white; younger; or foreign-born than born in the United States. Undervaccinated children were significantly more likely to have a mother who was young; widowed, divorced, or separated than married; had educational attainment that was high school or less than a college degree; and whose preferred language was English than Spanish. Finally, undervaccinated children were significantly more likely to live in a household with an annual income below the poverty level than in a household with an annual income greater than $75 000…

Unfortunately the study above, which was originally accessed in June, 2011, may have been bowdlerized—the title and text altered.  In any case, the old link to the 2001 study (Pediatrics)  now redirects to a 2004 study which weaves in the updated issue of “unvaccinated” privileged white children whose parents avoid vaccines rather than having reduced access—something not mentioned at all in the 2001 study. The original 2001 title appears only in the citations of other studies at this point.  

Continue reading "The Color by Numbers Epidemic: Formerly Low Autism Rates among Ethnic Groups Skyrocketing After Massive, Coercive Campaign to Vaccinate “Underserved” Minorities" »

Frau Koma's Second Coming: The Bitch is Back—Totalitarian Moral Theory of the “Autistic Killer”

Frau K By Adriana Gamondes
Frau Koma’s Second Coming 2014: Mass Murder, Autism and the Cult of Weaponized Genetics

By Adriana Gamondes

The Frau Koma series I wrote in 2013 was intended to explore questions over politics, genetics, corporate crime and scapegoats in the media campaign to associate autism with mass murder. In light of the current  fanfare over yet another research claim of an association between autism and modern massacre— as well as another recent  mass murder committed by an individual who reportedly suffered from autism—the series is unfortunately relevant again.  

On Friday, May 23rd, 22 year old Elliot Rodger, son of Hunger Games assistant director Peter Rodger, became the latest poster child or “horned devil”—a killer with a reportedly identifiable trait, in this case possible Asperger’s—for the mass murderer profile. According to CNN, Rodger’s mother made a sworn statement in divorce documents that her son had been diagnosed with high functioning autism as a child.

The original Koma articles on mass murder, autism and drug side effects were an attempt to illustrate through the views of a range of independent psychopharmaceutical experts, reform psychiatrists and through independent research that, due to the current rate of roughly 1 in 50 boys (and rising) with the condition, autism is still statistically underrepresented among non-ideological mass murderers.  But the series also considers that, due to the extremely high rate of drugging among the developmentally disabled with medications that carry black box warnings for violence and suicide—up to 90% according to reform psychiatrist and expert witness Dr. Peter Breggin, a drugging rate approximately 1000% higher than the already high American average—we could eventually see the prophesy of the autistic killer self-fulfilled through the “magic bullet” drugs meant to treat them. The conjectures made in recent reports on the Santa Barbara massacre appear to be no exception to the general pattern.

On the evening of May 23nd, Rodger stabbed and shot six people to death in a college town near Santa Barbara, drove his car into another and left six more hospitalized, two in critical condition. Several sources claimed that, according to family members, Rodger had seen psychiatrists for many years and had been on medication. In a video, Rodger explained that he’d refused to take Risperdal due to the side effects, though he didn’t indicate whether or not he took other prescriptions.  Sudden withdrawal from certain drugs is associated with a steep increase in suicidal and homicidal reactions.  

Rodger, like many of the modern random mass murderers,  had no history of violent assault but, by all accounts, had recently become increasingly paranoid and withdrawn and had quit school. Members of a chat group the Rodger belonged to described Rodger’s violent hate speech towards women and his musings on releasing a virus that would kill off his male competitors. Shortly before the massacre, his family had attempted unsuccessfully to get an emergency commitment for him after learning of a Youtube video in which he described his rage at sexual rejection and social isolation. Rodger’s manner of evading police scrutiny during the welfare check—by convincing them that he was a “kind and wonderful human being”— does not jibe with an autism diagnosis but there’s no indication in reports that Rodger's diagnosis had been updated.  In the video, Rodger vowed to take deadly revenge against those he saw as unfit to live for committing the “crime” of rejecting him. In his 141 page manifesto, Rodger describes his intended rampage as the “Day of Retribution,” himself as “divine” and unambiguously akin to the Second Coming who will rid humanity of the “impure” and “depraved.”

Rodger's demeanor in the video segment could be taken for a Sheldon Cooper send-up, but the combined effect of pompous delusions and his view of himself as a “living god” who will reduce his victims to “mountains of skulls and rivers of blood” is chilling. His rampage in Isla Vista left two young women and four young men dead. There was no indication from reports that he personally knew the victims, though he stated in the video that he intended to target a particular sorority house. He reportedly shot himself after the killing spree. Family members of both victims and the perpetrator called for stricter gun control in the wake of the crime.

In the recent study on mass murder and developmental disability, Neurodevelopmental and psychosocial risk factors in the development of serial killers and mass murderers, researchers postulate that an extremely diverse category of mass killers had/have autism.  Essentially two things are looked at in the work: killing and autism. Killing how, why, how many (or any) and over what time period are simply a grab bag. The study calls for a raking over by experts to formally analyze methods and case definitions, but I’ll list a few of the obvious highlights:

The authors indicate the research focused only on subjects apprehended for murder after 1985, explaining that the cut-off point was chosen “because there has been a dramatic increase in the recognition of ASD” since this date. The date also precedes by a year the mass marketing of Prozac, the first SSRI antidepressant—a drug class most associated with school shootings, random mass murder and suicide. Researchers do not discuss whether there had been an actual dramatic increase in autism, do not note  the expansion of the vaccination schedule which also occurred in 1987, nor the recent research of a connection between SSRI antidepressants and autism (discussed in Part 2 of the Koma series).  Authors don’t comment on the fact that at least one subject was only an attempted murderer and killed no one, and that another conspired and planned a militant mass murder but did not commit the actual act. There may be more irregularities among other cases listed in the study’s tables.

The authors admit to using Google as a primary research tool: “The name of the killer was entered into the search engine ‘Google’ followed by ‘AND’ and each of the following search terms were explored separately: ‘brain’; ‘head injury’; ‘asperger’; ‘autis*’ and, in some cases, ‘murder’ if the name alone was failing to produce relevant sites. In these searches, numerous resources were examined in detail including court transcripts; newspaper articles and other online resources.”

The study’s authors mention Adam Lanza once in the introduction (apparently justifying the use of Lanza’s photo for media coverage). Lanza is not included in tables for some reason, though he’d already been mostly confirmed to have high functioning autism by family members. Also in the introduction, authors claim killers such as Norway’s Anders Breivik and James Holmes of the Aurora, Colorado massacre (both discussed in Part 2) had some form of autism spectrum disorder based on Daily Mail articles. What’s good for the goose… Daily Mail is the source on Elliot Rodger’s medication, though this source quotes a family member while the material on Holmes and Breivik involve no sources close to either. Researchers repeatedly cite the works of Professor Michael Fitzgerald, whose theory that Adolph Hitler had autism (discussed in Part 3) has been widely criticized.

Authors also cite Simon Baron-Cohen’s work claiming an association between “zero empathy killers” and autism based in part on the undeniably racist MAOA or “warrior gene” theory (also discussed in Part 3). The MAOA gene theory has zombied along for decades, mainly due to the fact that it supposedly implicates the role of “low serotonin” in violence—meaning that it has an automatic serotonergic drug marketing algorithm attached.  But one of the problems with the theory—in addition to the fact that it blatantly implies that people with brown skin are “more violent,” and was used in the 1990’s as grounds for a prospective program to psychiatrically “vaccinate” certain racial groups against violence using medication— is that the role of serotonin in mental disorders has repeatedly been debunked as a drug industry PR myth.

In fact, other than the claim that over a quarter of the 239 “eligible killers” studied had “definite, highly suspected or possible/probable ASD,” the study breaks no new ground  in presenting evidence that mass murder is associated with ASD.  There are some references to head injuries and psychosocial factors among certain infamous or obscure perpetrators which are not novel, but what is notable and particularly irresponsible is the conflation of older-than-the-hills crimes such as serial murders, domestic violence killings and militant ideological acts of terrorism with the recent historical advent of non-ideological, random mass murder. The researchers thereby sloppily imply that a high percentage of terrorists could have “definite” autism and an even higher percentage have probable autism.  The attempt to find a “terrorism gene” also isn’t new but there’s a level of flagrancy in this attempt that hits a new low. 

Continue reading "Frau Koma's Second Coming: The Bitch is Back—Totalitarian Moral Theory of the “Autistic Killer”" »

Retch 22: The Vultures Gather over the Autism-GI Marketing Bonanza Vomiting Forth from the Grave of the Lancet Paper

 By Adriana Gamondes

'What right did they have?'


'What?' Yossarian froze in his tracks with fear and alarm and felt his whole body begin to tingle.

'What did you say?'

'Catch-22' the old woman repeated, rocking her head up and down. 'Catch-22. Catch-22 says they

have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.'

Catch 22 ~ Joseph Heller

 (screenplay by Buck Henry; film directed by Mike Nichols)

Gut Revisionism as Drug Market Purgative

Don’t get me wrong: the “Lancet Paper” and Andrew Wakefield are nowhere near dead. In fact. the front groups are always prematurely celebrating Dr. Wakefield’s politicide and the “debunking” of the modest case study right before both are exonerated yet again by yet another research finding, injury claim or legal ruling.

But industry desperately needed for Dr. Wakefield to be buried along with all memory of the embattled paper before it could fully monetize the undeniable connection between gastrointestinal disorders and autism. Basically all industry needed to launch the gut-drug-palooza chapter of “Autism: Disaster Capitalism Unlimited,” was for the gut-ASD connection to be effectively divorced from a vaccine-induction theory. That connection is not buried and never will be since the truth will always out, including the fact that safety advocacy doesn’t equivocate to an extremist anti-vaccine position. But the corporatocracy confuses media spin for reality all the time.  WMD? Gulf of Tonkin? Swine Flu

Remember Anne Dachel’s report on the new “autism vaccine”? The original report was from Science Daily

A first-ever vaccine created by University of Guelph researchers for gut bacteria common in autistic children may also help control some autism symptoms.

Call it “hair of the dog.” The story immediately reminded me of the “IV/pee-swap” scene from Catch 22.

At the end of her post on the “autism vaccine,” Anne concluded sadly thatthe money's in treatment, not prevention.” In that sense, it’s par for the course that, even as industry backed researchers and pundits claimed  no gut connection whatsoever, industry vultures have quietly circled the autism-gut issue for several years. 

And the media vultures have begun to convene as well. Since last year, Emily Willingham has turned herself into a regular GI Jane in her efforts to laxatize the backlog of gut meds in the pipeline which are just waiting for the break-up of the gut-autism/Lancet marriage to be finalized in public perceptions before being (typically) blasted all over the airwaves in drug puff promos and DTC ads as the new “revolutionary” thinking in autism. 

 In her touting of a new gut-autism study in Pediatrics, Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Meta-analysis, Willingham tries to reconcile the irony with an acrobatic bullshitsu maneuver attempting to—  uh —blame the gastroenterologist who largely called attention to the autism-gut connection for causing the commercial science lag in recognizing the association.  In Blame Wakefield for the Missed Autism-Gut Connection, Willingham attributes the accusation to the new study’s authors, writing,

When children aren’t autistic and they have stomach pain or constipation or diarrhea, the frequent conclusion is that stress and anxiety are the cause and predictive of anxiety in adulthood. Indeed, with that little nervous system parked there in our gut, it’s no wonder that things get a little seized up and out of rhythm when the rest of us does.

So why is it that no one attends to this clear (to me) link when it come to autistic children? Well, the Pediatrics review by McElhanon et al. happens to cite that reason several times:  Wakefield’s MMR/autism/gut red herring and the subsequent noxious cloud that his fraud left over any research examining autism and the gut. So we don’t know anything about the real underlying causes of these digestive problems among autistic children. The Pediatrics authors state it unequivocally:

“It is clear that greater clinical and research scrutiny is needed to increase awareness on this topic and thus support development of the best standards of care. Previous controversy surrounding the MMR vaccine and proposed causal link between ASD and infection of the GI tract probably deterred investigators from dedicating resources to examine GI functioning in this population while fostering uncertainty in the ASD community regarding the validity of this line of inquiry.”

While Andrew Wakefield has published his response to the Forbes article, families who benefitted from Wakefield et al.’s more timely warning have our own perspectives and they run more than a tweet long. Aside from the fact that blaming Wakefield for the lag in autism-GI investigations is a bit like blaming Galileo for the church’s lag in accepting heliocentrism,  investigators and physicians who’ve been making money hand over fist drugging the bejesus out of affected children with medications that—whoops—often cause gastrointestinal disease, left children in agonizing pain, denied care to and allowed some affected individuals to die while parents frequently lost custody through state child welfare apparatuses which parroted mainstream claims that attempting to treat bowel disorders in autism was tantamount to “medical child abuse”— all because these investigators feared facing the same media assaults as Andrew Wakefield? And these gutless wonders who would put their “good names” above the lives of children have apparently been the dominant force in the same commercial field we’re now supposed to entrust with the task of coming up with a solution?

Continue reading "Retch 22: The Vultures Gather over the Autism-GI Marketing Bonanza Vomiting Forth from the Grave of the Lancet Paper " »

Autism Speaks and Avonte. Open Barn Door. Smack Cow on Ass. Buy Door Alarms.

Light it up marie antioinette autism speaks A Gamondes

This week Liz Feld of Autism Speaks appeared on Katie Couric to talk about Avonte Oquendo's wandering, disappearance and death. This precious boy, a mother's son,  died in The East River. I don't know if Avonte could swim or not. But if you fall into a large body of water in the chill of a New York October (he eloped from school due to lack of proper supervision on Friday, October 4) swimming is kind of the least of your worries.  Michael Phelps probably would not have survived the fall, the splash, the panic and then trying to find a safe place to get OUT of the river. Note - this was not the pool at the Harvard Club, it was the dark, murky East River. 

Autism Speaks is backing swimming lessons for our children. Really? After months of Avonte's disappearance - some folks affiliated with AS put together a terrific reward for his return - and that was great - but swimming lessons?  THAT'S their response? 

Our Contributing Editor Tim Welsh Tweeted:

TannersDad Tim @TannersDad
40+ children die from wandering in the last couple of years and no sense of urgency to deal with Autism. Swimming lessons? really no really?

TannersDad Tim @TannersDad
@LizFeld_AS @katiecouric Swimming Lessons?

And our Contributing Editor Adriana Gamondes created the Marie Antoinette graphic meme to show the disconnect of the effort.

I've often said Autism Speaks' role for the community - the flesh and blood people dealing with the challenges of autism - is akin to watching our kids get killed crossing a highway and instead of building fences to protect them, Autism Speaks raises funds on the backs of the very same families to purchase Mercedes Benz ambulances to whisk the kids off to their own hospitals.   The cow has left the barn, so to speak.

Man Flu: The Sorrow and the Suffering of American Flu Politics

AG mF 1

By Adriana Gamondes

 Have you ever tended to a guy with the flu or encountered  the dreaded “man flu syndrome”?  I was accused of reverse sexism by an online troll for daring to mention it, but it really is a “thing” and it’s mostly mocked by guys themselves.  Striking almost exclusively in English speaking countries, man flu has inspired many audiovisual tributes. 




And a post-alternative punk cult band from England!

Actually I couldn’t find any man flu spoofs coming out of the US, where we have no sense of humor at all about influenza.  Here, we take man flu dead seriously.  And deadly it is—to family harmony and marriage anyway. According to many a mom, it’s even worse than “angry dad on vacation.” The sorrow and the suffering. The cries and whispers. And the woe.

Has anyone also noticed that an overwhelming percentage of online biotech stealth-marketing trolls are male?  They can be found in gaggles in every media comment sections following articles even lightly brushing on biotech, usually trailing after Dorit Reiss like little ducklings from their Skeptic front group hubs, spouting pseudorational catchphrases and Latin legalese such as “cum hoc ergo propter hoc!”  defending GM crops, psychiatric drugs and shot mandates till the cows come home.  I could provide a thousand examples of male-dominated comment threads on the subject of vaccines but anyone can look for themselves. Both genders are represented on either side but men lead the Skeptic charge hands down and they tend to hang around the longest to get in the last word. With the exception, again, of Omni-Dorit.

Continue reading "Man Flu: The Sorrow and the Suffering of American Flu Politics" »

Soylent Greenwashing: The Compact Fluorescent Mandate, Mito-Epidemics and the Brave New Mercury Apologism

SG 1
By Adriana Gamondes

You tell everybody. Listen to me, Hatcher. You've gotta tell them! Soylent Green is people! We've gotta stop them somehow!    

~ Detective Robert Thorn, Soylent Green, 1973 (From imbd: In an overpopulated futuristic Earth, a New York police detective finds himself marked for murder by government agents when he gets too close to a bizarre state secret involving the origins of a revolutionary and needed new foodstuff.)                                                           

Given the fact that the U.S. joined the “Minamata Convention on Mercury,” an international environmental agreement which supposedly addresses “specific human activities that contribute to widespread mercury pollution,”was anyone recently surprised to discover that regular incandescent bulbs are being phased out and were off the shelves by January 1st, 2014, and that mercury-containing compact fluorescent bulbs will mostly be sold in their place? Wasn’t the incandescent ban overturned a few years ago?

Good news first: some incandescent manufacturers are using the “rough service bulb” loophole to keep regular 40, 60, 75 and 100 watt bulbs available to consumers, sometimes at twice the cost, though typically they last longer and are less prone to breakage than the low-pressure mercury bulbs. The bad news is that most people are going to give in and buy CFL and most will not be properly disposed of,  potentially dumping more mercury into an environment that is not only dangerously overburdened with mercury itself but with toxicants that compound the effects of mercury. 

It’s known that mercury is both acutely and chronically toxic: it can outright kill or gradually poison at remarkably low levels, but little is commonly understood about the mechanisms by which mercury impacts health.  Aside from mercury’s effects as a metalloestrogen that can alter the sexual characteristics and behavior of various species, one of mercury’s primary routes of damage is its targeting of mitochondria, leading to an array of seemingly unassociated conditions from cancer to autoimmune disease to cognitive decline and birth defects. This is why Rachel Carson focused on the mito-targeting properties of an increasing number of industrial chemical compounds in her 1962 book, The Silent Spring, which summarized that mitochondrial damage would be the downfall of many species of plants and animals, including humans: “Some of the defects and malformations in tomorrow’s children, grimly anticipated by the Office of Vital Statistics, will almost certainly be caused by these chemicals which permeate our outer and inner worlds.”

You know the expression “cut to the quick”? If mitochondria, as the organelle-engines which produce energy in every living cell in every living organism on earth, represent the “quick,” mercury would be the obsidian knife of the modern toxic arsenal. But part of the problem is that it’s not alone.   In Mitochondria as a Target of Environmental Toxicants, Meyers et al. argue that,

The high lipid content of mitochondrial membranes facilitates accumulation of lipophilic compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (Backer and Weinstein, 1982) and some alkylating agents (Wunderlich et al., 1972). Cationic metals, such as lead, cadmium, mercury, and manganese, have also been shown to accumulate in mitochondria preferentially (Atchison and Hare, 1994; Bucio et al., 1999; Castellino and Aloj, 1969; Gavin et al., 1992; Sokolova et al., 2005a). These metals may accumulate in mitochondria due to both entry via calcium transporters (i.e., molecular mimicry) and chemical behavior resulting from their interactions with mitochondrial pH and charge.

The authors provide a short list of environmental mitochondrial toxins and drugs which cause mitochondrial damage and are suspected of proliferating an epidemic of mitochondrial-related diseases:

Adriamycin (Wallace, 2007; Mustonen and Kinnunen, 1993)

Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors or NRTIs and analogs (Benhammou et al., 2007; Blanche et al., 1999; Chan, 2007; Claessens et al., 2003; Divi et al., 2010; Kohler and Lewis, 2007; McKenzie et al., 1995)

Continue reading "Soylent Greenwashing: The Compact Fluorescent Mandate, Mito-Epidemics and the Brave New Mercury Apologism" »

Libertarian Backlash against Reason Magazine’s “Corporatist,” “Pseudolibertarian” Compulsory Vaccine Campaign

AG Entryism

 Entryism: political tactic by which an organization or state encourages its members or agents to infiltrate another, often opposing organization in an attempt to subvert or destroy it.

By Adriana Gamondes

In the age of biotech entryism—where formerly independent media sources that made their names on liberty and transparency platforms increasingly take the dive on pharmaceutical and Big Ag sacred cows like vaccination and GM tech (usually after receiving backing by biotech industrials such as Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch or the Koch brothers)—it’s refreshing  when a media source which doesn’t focus exclusively or even largely on health and biotech issues makes a purely political argument against compulsory medicine.

 One source in particular, Police State USA: Land of the Checkpoints, whose mission is  “to educate and inform the public about issues that endanger our rights and liberties, and to work to fix them through non-violent means,” has a decidedly libertarian bent and took exception to an article published in a 45 year old libertarian publication, Reason Magazine, entitled Refusing Vaccination Puts Others At Risk: A Pragmatic Argument for Coercive Vaccination.  Not surprisingly, Reason writer Ronald Bailey’s book, Liberation Biology: The Moral and Scientific Case for the Biotech Revolution, was published by Prometheus, a publishing hub for biotech PR front group, the Skeptics.

Age of Autism is a politically agnostic forum but not apolitical. To quote Herman Melville, “There seems no reason why serviceable truth should keep cloistered because not partisan.” There are rare exceptions to unilateral mainstream news compliance with government demands that critical views of vaccines be censored.  PSUSA has done an elegant job ignoring the memo and explaining why compulsory medicine cannot be legitimately argued from a liberty position.  Many thanks to Police State USA for agreeing to share their article with Age of Autism readers.

Reason Magazine openly advocates forced vaccination

 Long-time author Ronald bailey says that there is no libertarian case for refusing a vaccine.

Posted on December 10, 2013 by PSUSA

AG child afraid

One aspect of the police state that I find particularly bothersome is forced drugging.  We see this manifest in a variety of situations, usually involving children whose parents question their doctors or want to pursue alternative health care solutions.  Being a complicated and emotional issue, many people end up siding with the courts in pursuit of mandatory medication.  While this position is to be expected from the average statist, it is somewhat alarming when a well-known and respected publication like Reason Magazine comes out in favor of forced mass-drugging of the population, or as it was gently termed, “coercive vaccination.”  These ideas, promoted under a pseudo-libertarian shroud, cannot go unrebuked.

Reason is 45-year old magazine, traditionally promoting the libertarian cause, which has published a lot of thoughtful and compelling work over the years.  It has a large following of readers, of which I have included myself for some time.  Yet, it seems that there is a faction of the staff that is promoting a contentious view of “liberty” when it comes to certain topics regarding science.  One blogger, with the consent of a sympathetic editing staff, is so adamant about promoting the consensus of mainstream scientists that he believe that it should be mandatory for all.

Police State USA will attempt to expose these dubious arguments and set the record straight about libertarianism.

Ideas So Good They Have to be Mandatory

Ronald Bailey, the self-described “science correspondent,” recently wrote a piece which has raised a lot of eyebrows, titled: Refusing Vaccination Puts Others At Risk: A Pragmatic Argument for Coercive Vaccination.   He goes on to argue in no uncertain terms that he not only believes that coerced medicine is libertarian, but that there is no libertarian argument for declining a vaccine.

Bailey’s article is heavy on irrelevant statistics and light on actual libertarian arguments.  The article, which asserts that liberty is incompatible with vaccine refusal, can be condensed into the following three sentences; the only places that liberty is mentioned at all:

Oliver Wendell Holmes articulated a good libertarian principle when he said, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”…. To borrow Holmes’ metaphor, people who refuse vaccination are asserting that they have a right to “swing” their microbes at other people. There is no principled libertarian case for their free-riding refusal to take responsibility for their own microbes.

No Principled Libertarian Case?

Continue reading "Libertarian Backlash against Reason Magazine’s “Corporatist,” “Pseudolibertarian” Compulsory Vaccine Campaign " »

Interview with W VA Valedictorian On Her Punishment for Stance Against Mandatory Vaccination

OH graduationBy Anne Dachel

In May, I found the news reports about a young woman, Olivia Hudok, who stood up to officials and refused two vaccinations required for school in West Virginia, a state that does not allow for a either a religious or personal belief exemption.  (Only a medical exemption is allowed in West Virginia.) 
May 24, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle

May 24, 2013, Hudok to graduate with class
As a result, Olivia was barred from attending school starting in September, 2012, which meant she missed her senior year at the high school. 
I was intrigued by what I read in The Intermountain:
"Olivia Hudok, the class valedictorian, was told last Sept. 7 by Randolph County school officials that she could no longer attend classes without proof of vaccination. She and her father, Phil, took the issue to court, and on Sept. 28 Circuit Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong ordered that the school system must still provide homebound educational services for Hudok.
"The Hudoks told The Inter-Mountain earlier this week that Olivia planned to attend the Pickens graduation ceremony Saturday. On Thursday, Interim Superintendent of Randolph County Schools Terry George announced Olivia will be allowed to take part in the commencement exercises."
Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong, the judge who told the district that they had to provide Olivia with educational services during the time she was excluded from school, was the commencement speaker at her graduation in May.
I contacted Olivia and she agreed to answer questions about her actions and how she was treated.
Q: The story said that you had refused two mandated vaccinations and that you subsequently had been been banned from school since Sept, 2012 because of your non-compliance.  Why did officials take such drastic actions?

Olivia: Starting in the 2012-2013 school year, the Department of Health and Human Resources stated that two vaccinations (tDap and Meningitis) were required for students beginning 7th and 12th grades.

I received two memos in September.  One from the Randolph-Elkins Health Department stating that I must be refused admission to Pickens School because I had not shown proof of the two vaccines required by law for school entry to 12th grade.  The other memo was on a Friday from County Superintendent Dr. Phares, threatening physical removal the following Monday for trespass at the high school today if I came, due to vaccination non-compliance.

My attorney believed that what the health department claimed was law, in fact, was not law at all.   The DHHR failed to get legislative approval for their new vaccination requirements as prescribed by the law. Instead, the health department claimed interpretive rule.

Considering that every state in the United States allows a religious exemption except California (which does include a religious objection in their philosophical exemption), and Mississippi, residents of West Virginia seem to be denied their basic First Amendment rights when it comes to vaccinations.  What do you hope your actions will lead to?

Olivia: Hopefully the legislature will pass a religious freedom act in the upcoming legislative session so that people like me with religious convictions have a law protecting them against vaccinations and other related issues.  A religious freedom act would protect the responsibility of parents to make decisions in raising their children, as they are entrusted by God.

I hope that I have set precedence for those that they can stand up for what they know is right, even if they are the only ones.

Continue reading "Interview with W VA Valedictorian On Her Punishment for Stance Against Mandatory Vaccination" »

The Wizard of Extortion: The Pharmaceutical Epidemic and Why the Judge Rotenberg “School of Shock” Endures

Wizard of Extortion Judge Rotenberg Center-Matthew Israel  Adriana GamondesBy Adriana Gamondes

On Febrary 22th, 2013, Office of Council member Vincent Gentile issued a press release calling for the removal of all New York students of the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts.

Councilman Gentile is no doubt serious in his campaign to pull New York students and funds from the Judge Rotenberg Center and sincere in his outrage at the school’s aversive and dangerous practices.  The following is not meant to express cynicism towards this particular effort and it would be a certain victory for human rights if this campaign succeeded where others have failed. Most have probably noticed by now that, despite repeat major media exposés, clusters of blog criticism, ineffectual clicktivism and even a request filed with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture in 2010 to protest human rights violations, the Judge Rotenberg Center has weathered most storms.

But if the Rotenberg Center didn’t exist, what would the people and organizations instrumental to sustaining the epidemics of childhood developmental disorders and chronic disease moralize about in order to prove they don’t always defend institutional policies? What would those who profit by and suppress constructive solutions for these epidemics point to in order to comparatively diminish how their actions contribute to disaster and the mounting toll of failing health and mortality among American children?

As an estimated three or more individuals with special needs are killed every week in US schools and institutions due to abusive practices; as the news reports more and more children with autism arrested in schools, brutalized by police, denied organ transplants, found face down in ponds and subjected to a lottery for services; and as disability services around the country are trimmed to the bone; as the US drops to #49 on the world infant mortality index; as 1 in 8 children of Somali immigrants in Minnesota are diagnosed with autism and the national rate soars beyond the official 1 in 88;  as toddlers are drugged with increasing frequency; as the vaccine schedule continues to expand and the drum beat of denial over a host of potential environmental causes  and co-factors involved in the rise in disability in the US grows louder, in terms of the mainstream mismanagement of what may be one of the worst medical disasters in history, to be the “leper with the most fingers,” you might have to find another “leper” with stumps in place of arms.

That bar is kept low as long as the JRC exists. To be a champion of children’s rights and a hero for the disabled, all any mouthpiece has to do is criticize the Rotenberg Center.  Meanwhile Matthew Israel, the center’s founder, smiles the wistful, knowing smile of the contracted fall-guy and extortionist. And the center—founded in 1971 and renamed for the judge who defended the institution against the first wave of attacks on it the year the autism epidemic was launched and the year Prozac was first marketed—has endured all the while.

The low-cost way to explain the mystery of the JRC’s endurance: whenever the next crusader in a long line of crusading bureaucrats attempts to shut down the “school of shock,” a handful of parents of the center’s students go up into arms and protest that the Rotenberg Center provided the only therapy that stopped their children from injuring themselves or others, from smearing feces on every surface or otherwise acting like crazed animals.

This explanation is favored by both those who defend the institution and those who want to be perceived as protesting it alike. But even those who genuinely protest the center’s practices are either blind to the machinery which has sustained the institution for so many decades or loathe to commit the politically suicidal act of addressing it. The latter are probably the most hypocritical if they grub for humanitarian “creds” while still performing the table-cloth trick of leaving in place the factors which feed the school.  But even the sincere may eventually throw up their hands as they start stumbling over the skeletons pouring out of every dark “closet” that surrounds the issues of disability and institutional abuse in the US. At least in the past, official demands for long term research on outcomes for the JRC’s specific practices have tended to fade to whispers over and over again.  

Sadly, the airing of the now infamous JRC torture video and the perpetual wilting of each round of public outrage in the press might be used as a kind of litmus test or even public inculcation exercise: if the public sees the video and reads of the campaigns to close JRC and the center is not closed forthwith this time, this can be bureaucratically interpreted as a sign the public tacitly approves and will allow it. 

But even if current campaigns finally succeed, the Rotenberg Center is a hydra: closing the center without investigating the real reasons it’s endured cuts off only one head. The same abusive practices will crop up, even if by stealth, in other institutions. Again, why?

Continue reading "The Wizard of Extortion: The Pharmaceutical Epidemic and Why the Judge Rotenberg “School of Shock” Endures" »

Part 3 Frau Koma’s Second Coming: Mass Murder, Autism and the Cult of Weaponized Genetics

Frau K By Adriana Gamondes

Part 3, The Enlightened Rapture, Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Those who promise us paradise on earth never produced anything but a hell. ~Karl Raimund Popper 

By Adriana Gamondes

Autism, the fastest growing developmental disorder in the US, represents more than 7% of a $40 billion dollar psychopharmaceutical market for a demographic of roughly 1 to 2% of individuals under age 25, where roughly 85% of autism diagnoses are found. Marking a condition as a public safety hazard and those with the traits as near devils is the time honored manner of manufacturing public consent for exploitative and coercive treatment and dehumanization. In other words, a wide belief that those with autism are likely to kill could effectively snuff protest against drugging mandates which Torry, Satel, Koplewicz, NAMI, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Institute of Mental Health, a steady procession of presidential administrations and the pharmaceutical industry have pushed for all along.

But the population with autism may be only one of many targets of this particular campaign. Autism research provides an endless supply of unsubstantiated genetic corollaries which have the distinction of being protected by the state in order to obfuscate the role of government public health agencies in contributing to an epidemic. And, of course, these unsubstantiated genetic corollaries have endless applications for political and industrial exploits.

Questioning the “largely genetic” foundations of autism has ruined medical, scientific and media careers, and this may partly be because, as with the elusive schizophrenia “genes,” so many reputations and articles of scientific faith hinge on the theory. For instance, if a group of researchers needs to prove that pigs fly to serve an industrial sponsor or as part of an exercise in "weaponized anthropology” targeting a strategic or ideological foe, all they need do is link “proofs” of the imaginary flight of pigs to autism to create an automatic credibility shield.

Continue reading "Part 3 Frau Koma’s Second Coming: Mass Murder, Autism and the Cult of Weaponized Genetics " »

Part 2: Frau Koma's Second Coming: Mass Murder, Autism and the Cult of Weaponized Genetics

Frau K By Adriana Gamondes

Part 2, Profectus Read Part 1 and Part 3.

"No wonder kids grow up crazy. A cat's cradle is nothing but a bunch of X's between somebody's hands, and little kids look and look and look at all those X's..."

"No damn cat, and no damn cradle." ~Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

By Adriana Gamondes

In the introduction to Nuclear Rites, Stanford anthropologist Hugh Gusterson explains why he approached a formal study of atomic weapons scientists in the same manner he’d approach a tribal culture: “one powerful Western institution that is particularly understudied by anthropologists is science.”

Gusterson concludes that, though typical psychological analyses of weapons production bear some truth—that the power of nuclear weapons systems become an extension of the self, an expression of potency,etc.—the view too easily dismisses scientists’ own rationalizations and ideology as mere distractions from driving psychosexual motives. Instead, according to Gusterson, scientists’ faith in the ultimate morality of their work and the fact that this stems from the problems they’re charged with solving (namely the belief that winning the arms race would prevent nuclear strikes by less evolved nations) might better explain the field’s  euphemization of risks,  romanticization of their technology and exaggerated self-assurance that this technology can be controlled even in the face of repeated human error and equipment malfunction  potentially costing the lives of millions. Gusterson discusses profit mostly as it pertains to scientific status, coveted name-rights and the ritual of “initiation and transcendence” involved in creation and testing.

The word “profit” is derived from the Latin profectus—“to gain, advance or progress.“ There are a variety of interweaving gains to be made in ventures that are perceived to advance humanity in the name of progress—money is only one of them. Gusterson quotes Robert Budwine, head of the USA Delegation and director of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory:

The United States, for all our manifest faults, is without a doubt the best hope for a future world of peace and prosperity… Weapons research simply must continue at a determined and intensive level for our nation to have the opportunity to lead humankind towards some future utopian world order.

Several of Gusterson’s works begin with a quote from E.L. Doctorow: “The bomb first was our weapon. Then it became our diplomacy. Next it became our economy. Now it’s become our culture. We’ve become the people of the bomb.”

“To the victor go the spoils” has a different meaning in that sense. Gusterson also points out in The Insecure American that by becoming terrifying on the path to progress—even if this is rationalized, as it always has been, as the conscious pursuit of the “greater good”—we’ve terrified ourselves. Fear sells, but we’re the chief consumers of it.

Every social policy which requires the cover of morality and pursuit of a shining future to rationalize human and ecological collateral is now framed as a “war” on some frightening specter or other: the war on terror, the war on disease, the war on street drugs, and the war on mental illness (providing the sanctioned replacement for street drugs).  Some are beginning to recognize that whenever the “war on” prefix is attached to any problem, whatever the “war” has been declared on will expand.

AG War on Ed

The voting public might backlash against some of these proverbial wars (case in point, the legalization of recreational marijuana in two states), but public opinion is increasingly feeble when it comes up against corporate interests. Most American voters wanted withdrawal from Afghanistan and for Wall Street bankers to be held accountable. Many were repelled by the Supreme Court’s decision to gut limits on corporate campaign financing and almost 90% of Americans are concerned about vaccine and prescription drug safety. But as clinical psychologist Bruce Levine wrote in a Huffington Post article entitled The Myth of U.S. Democracy and the Reality of U.S. Corporatocracy, “’We the People’ have zero impact on policy.”

Continue reading "Part 2: Frau Koma's Second Coming: Mass Murder, Autism and the Cult of Weaponized Genetics" »

Frau Koma’s Second Coming: Mass Murder, Autism and the Cult of Weaponized Genetics

Frau K By Adriana Gamondes

Part 1,  Demon Seed Read Part 2 and Part 3.

And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  ~Revelations, 20:14-15

By Adriana Gamondes

In September, 2011, Manitoba judge Robert Heinrichs ruled that a sixteen year old accused of murder would remain in youth court where he faces a maximum sentence of four years rather than the possibility of life without parole in adult court. Family members of the fifteen year old victim were outraged by the ruling, though Heinrichs stated that the accused’sbasic normalcy now further confirms he no longer poses a risk of violence to anyone and that his mental deterioration and resulting violence would not have taken place without exposure to Prozac…He has none of the characteristics of a perpetrator of violence.”

Dr. Peter Breggin, the reform psychiatrist and psychopharmaceutical expert who testified on antidepressant-induced psychosis and violence in the Manitoba case, was sued for his medical license in 1987—the very year that Prozac was first mass marketed by Eli Lilly. The charges were filed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a consumer group which has always lobbied for forced institutionalization and mandated treatment of the mentally ill ( Section 9.2 of NAMI’s Public Policy Platform)—including drugs and electroconvulsive therapy or ECT— and was recently exposed as a long-standing pharmaceutical industry front organization in The New York Times.

Due to his success in banning forced lobotomy in institutions coupled with efforts to raise the alarm on clinical risks of ECT and psychiatric drugs, Dr. Breggin has been a thorn in the side of industry and its various front organizations since the 1970’s. After Breggin went on Oprah and reported that Eli Lilly’s own trial data showed that even individuals lacking histories of violence or serious mental illness who were exposed to the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant Prozac and antipsychotics would frequently develop violent ideation or violent psychosis, NAMI claimed that Breggin’s remarks could cause patients to discontinue their meds. Following an outpouring of support for Breggin from the international medical reform community, the Maryland licensure board dropped the charges and Breggin prevailed. Seventeen years later, the FDA adopted black box warnings for suicide and violence on SSRI antidepressants. The black box warnings are, almost word for word, the precise clinical caveats that Breggin repeatedly submitted to the FDA and in Congressional hearings.

The previously concealed Prozac trial data Breggin uncovered and exposed in 1987 included cases of child subjects on Prozac who suddenly developed intrusive dreams and visions of going to school with guns and shooting classmates.  There were also far more attempted and completed suicides among drug-exposed subjects than in the placebo groups.

Over the years, Breggin and other researchers have worked to identify the mechanism by which certain psychopharmaceutical drugs induce violence and suicidality. Breggin has described phenomenon such as drug-induced akathisia, an uncontrollable sense of restless inner torment caused by an amphetamine-like and even LSD-like effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI’s, and has written about prescription drug-inducedintoxication anosognosia” or “medication spellbinding:

Medication spellbinding has four basic effects.

Continue reading "Frau Koma’s Second Coming: Mass Murder, Autism and the Cult of Weaponized Genetics" »

For Want of a Nail: School Abuse and the Debate Over Cameras to Protect the Disabled

AG horse 1

By Adriana Gamondes

In our district school, right down the hall from the cinder block scream room, there’s a ten foot statue of Lincoln with the usual engraved quote about liberty, equality and honesty. We think the school should take it down.  

According to my mother’s family tree, Lincoln is some kind of distant cousin. But the irony that the school mistreated descendants of its own mascot isn’t the reason we think the school should remove the statue.  Lincoln didn’t set much stake in perceptions of ancestry—sort of the point of his legacy. The replica is just misleading.

This is a school which chased out a brilliant special education director six years ago because she tried to get the school in compliance with the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) for wider inclusion of disabled students. Like many wealthy districts concerned with appearances, the school spends a fortune to ship children with less-than-high-functioning disabilities out of district and out of sight rather than using funds to build state of the art programs. Some families like their children’s outplacements in private programs that they might not otherwise be able to afford; some are coerced into accepting the placements and would prefer inclusion.

In our case, the private schools also tend to be a long haul away from the community and disabled children often spend more than fifteen hours a week riding buses, sometimes on icy, poorly plowed roads.  Some kids stim on bus travel—ours don’t. And considering that our district fired a bus driver for protesting faulty brakes, we drove.  

Even with the high level of outplacement, the visible rate of autism among seven and eight year olds in our district is the highest I’ve ever seen or heard of—Minnesota Somali high.  Since the rate in Massachusetts is already estimated to be as high as 1 in 48, this town may have a lot to hide—a spike within a spike. It could make prospective business and home buyers wonder what’s in the water. It could hurt real estate. 

Whatever the reason, it was clear from the start that the district didn’t want our children in the school. At first we didn’t either; but this was due to complex health issues, not degree of disability. We saw it as a temporary measure. The children had made such enormous progress from simple changes to diet that we were concerned about food infractions and losing ground in development. We thought a high staff ratio in a private school might be “safer” in this sense. But when the children were mistreated in the private school, and we decided we wanted our children in a less restrictive environment and close to home, we discovered that private placement can be a trap: the district could use past “restrictive” placements to prevent inclusion with typical peers in the future. 

This is pretty much what happened— the district took the private school’s denial that abuse had occurred at face value, falsely framing the children as “aggressive” and us as spurious reporters by way of denying “LRE” or “least restrictive environment”—sped-speak for inclusion.

For the school, denying inclusion really wasn’t about degree of disability either but that we stank of advocacy. Coincidentally, the district and the private school received a letter explaining precisely why the kids were being officially withdrawn from the private school—from the physical assault to the strip search and lack of accountability—the very day the Occupy movement was launched in 2011 and we were seen as nothing more than troublemakers trying to “occupy” the district. Knowing that our issue with the private school had been mistreatment, the district principal threatened to build a seclusion room just for our kids in an openly recorded meeting. His feet did a little dance under the table as he issued the threat while simultaneously dangling admission over our heads. By that time, the children had been out of school for more than two months and it would be another two months before the district finally relented and agreed to provide them with a Free and Appropriate Education, but only on an irregular “trial” basis.  Despite the coercions, we still objected to the use of seclusion in that meeting for the record: restraint and seclusion for noncompliance are illegal in this state unless parents agree to it for supposedly “therapeutic” purposes.    

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In This Day and Age: Abuse, Deaths and Injuries in Schools and Institutions and the Debate Over Cameras to Protect the Disabled

   No Way Adriana Gamondes

By Adriana Gamondes

According to a 2008 study performed in Denmark, the mortality rate for individuals with autism is twice that of the general population. A more recent Swedish study found the rate 5.6 fold higher than expected. Whichever is the true number, the message is clear: far more disabled die young. Among the more common causes of death such as seizure, accident and circulatory disease, asphyxiation is included among unnatural causes.   

Michael Carey’s thirteen year old son was one of the victims of “increased mortality”—a euphemism for the violent death Jonathan Carey suffered at the hands of staff at the O.D. Heck state residential care facility in New York. Since Jonathan’s death in 2007, Michael Carrey has lobbied for improvements within the state’s dangerous disability system, including calling for video and audio surveillance of all special needs classrooms, on transportation, in group and residential homes.

What happened in place of the changes Carey battled for appears to be worse than nothing. The bill signed by Governor Cuomo in June created yet another go-between agency to divert calls and reports of institutional abuse away from 911 and law enforcement. The bill also gives power to the governor to appoint institutional officials and makes the prosecution of accused care workers and administrators more difficult than it already was by raising the bar from “credible evidence” to “preponderance of evidence.” Carey believes the bill was clearly intended to prevent reports of institutional abuse from reaching the justice system.  

Listen to Carey discussing the bill:

Even after Jonathan’s death was covered in The New York Times, the abuse at the center continued according to care worker Mary Maioriello, who provided the Times with recordings of  O.D. Heck administrators taken secretly during meetings in which these administrators fail to show much interest in or stop the assaults and systematic degradation of residents which Maioriello. After the tapes were released, the administrators were replaced. 

The need for surveillance is often demonstrated by surveillance.  

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Occupy the American Psychiatric Association In A Darker Dark Age

OCCUPY the APA FIVE FIVE A Gamondes1By Adriana Gamondes

I’m writing this post for two reasons. First it’s to announce an event which autism families might take an interest in—a chance to protest the proposed changes to the “bible of psychiatry,” the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5, which may go into effect in 2013. Secondly, I’m writing to bridge a gap between causes which otherwise share a lot of common ground.  

On May 5th, a reform psychiatric organization called Mindfreedom has organized a rally in Philadelphia and a march to “occupy” the American Psychiatric Association, which is holding its ritzy, drug industry funded yearly convention at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  MindFreedom states that it represents those who say they have been harmed or even helped by organized psychiatry but find that recent proposed changes to the DSM will lead to increased practices of over or wrongful diagnoses and over-medicating with drugs that carry severe side effects. Among the scheduled speakers will be activist attorney Jim Gottstein, founder of Psychrights, who lobbies against forced institutionalization and drugging and exposed the dangers of atypical antipsychotics frequently prescribed for individuals with autism.

Autism parents have trouble enough attending their own dental appointments much less rallies but the way this event is organized, there is nothing to stop anyone from carrying a sign protesting the proposed changes the DSM’s autism category.  There is also an occupy rally in Boston on the same day in solidarity with the Philadelphia event.

As far as what the “occupy” umbrella means, no one has been able to figure that out yet, though the Occupy Wall Street organizers clearly stated several demands:

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process. No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create [fake] derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

Occupy has been associated with a liberal bent, but according to Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, this is not strictly the case:

I can’t speak for the people out there because I don’t know who they are or exactly what they are demonstrating against…I can argue the case for their right to express their outright frustration with what is going on. Some are liberals and some are conservatives and some are libertarians and some are strict constitutionalists. And if you read carefully over what I’ve written over the past 10 or 15 years, I talk a lot about this, that eventually we will go bankrupt.  

In other words, political constituency is no obstacle in participating— for the time being, “occupy” is what you make of it.  

Most in the autism community have probably seen coverage of how the proposed changes to the DSM’s autism diagnosis would impact individuals with autism and it’s not a pretty picture. Many believe the proposed changes to the autism diagnosis were designed to reduce the appearance of a genuine rise in the disorder in order to squelch public alarm. The proposed changes to autism criteria would eliminate about three quarters of those currently diagnosed according to one study.

At first glance it would seem our concerns are precisely reverse from those of psychiatric reform groups—psychiatric reform groups are concerned with overdiagnosis of certain conditions and the autism community is concerned about a scheme to underdiagnose the condition in question. But the concerns of the autism community come full circle, since individuals who are “booted out” of the autism diagnosis would then be shoved into other diagnostic categories such as “social communication disorder.” This vague and generalized “SCD” appears to have already been matched up with corresponding drugs in the pipeline promising to “improve socialization” in autism. Of particular concern is the new class of exceptionally dangerous glutamate antipsychotics, though old, off-patent drugs may gain a new profitable life as they’re re-patented for autism

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The Phoenicians: Autism Recovery Denial, Drug Profits and the Media’s Flat Earth, 2012

Adriana Gamondes Ship

Managing Editor's Note: Here's yet another updated version of this post by Adriana Gamondes. Last May we told you that there was a new hire by Autism Speaks of a Pfizer Executive. This week AS made an announcement from the UK: Unprecedented Academic-Industry Collaboration Seeks New Drugs and Novel Treatments for Autism.  In January 2011 Vanity Fair ran an article that said  "Prescription drugs kill some 200,000 Americans every year. Will that number go up, now that most clinical trials are conducted overseas—on sick Russians, homeless Poles, and slum-dwelling Chinese—in places where regulation is virtually nonexistent, the F.D.A. doesn’t reach, and “mistakes” can end up in pauper’s graves? The authors investigate the globalization of the pharmaceutical industry, and the U.S. Government’s failure to rein in a lethal profit machine." The Guardian UK ran America's fatal addiction to prescription drugs Misuse of legal medications kills more US citizens than die in car crashes. The cost in dollars, let alone lives, compels action last June.

By Adriana Gamondes

What if the pharmaceutical industry had a formula for projected drug profits from a massive rise in autism? A formula such as:  PY=P×Y
And what if the same industry simultaneously rewarded scientists, media companies and organizations which disseminate the concept that there is no autism epidemic, that the rise is “false”, that the numbers have always been with us, but that there’s just increased diagnosis due to increased clinical and public recognition of autism? And what if this industry went on a massive campaign to proselytize the dangers of any treatment method—or any scientific authority— which threatened PY=P×Y?

Profiting from something while claiming it doesn’t exist is nothing new. According to some historians, the myth of the flat earth was perpetuated by the Phoenicians to prevent maritime trade rivals from voyaging to England to mine tin. Tin, which seems to have been scarce in ancient Canaan, was an essential ingredient to bronze; bronze was the essence of military power and trade at the time. Advantage in the tin trade gave the Phoenicians untold power.  As long as the lie held, Phoenician fleets regularly made mining expeditions north, trading freely with the natives of the British Isles—while neighboring states feared plummeting off the edge of the world if they dared to sail through the Straits of Gibraltar.

For the analogy, imagine the existence of the epidemic as “England”; autism recovery treatments as the “Straits of Gibraltar”; and maybe psychopharmaceutical drug profits as “tin”.

The epidemic-based profit formula actually exists. It was published in a 2003 study for Eli Lilly by researchers Robert and Julia Gerlai (HERE). From the study: Autism: a large unmet medical need and complex research problem

The question whether the epidemic status of ASD is due to true increase of incidence of the disease or simply its better detection and diagnosis is debated. Nevertheless, according to a most recent report to the legislature on the principal findings from the epidemiology of autism in California, the M.I.N.D. institute has confirmed that the increase of incidence is real and cannot be attributed to changes in diagnostic criteria or misclassification. Autism was estimated to have a frequency of more than 1 in 500 children, while more recent studies found its prevalence as high as 1 in 150 (for examples, see; also see CDC website  HERE). Researchers, private (e.g., Alliance for Autism Research), and government (e.g., National Institutes of Health, USA) agencies have recognized the enormous need. As a result, funding for research has significantly increased. Surprisingly, however, autism is still not among the neurological or neuropsychiatric diseases onto which large pharmaceutical research companies traditionally focus. This is unfortunate as ASD represents a significant unmet medical need with an enormous market size. Consider the following: ASD may be diagnosed as early as 2–3 years of age. Some even argue that successful diagnosis may be made at 8-12 months HERE) Autistic persons can live a normal life span. The market size can thus be calculated as follows: 


where PY is the number of “patient years,” P is the number of patients and Y is the number of years for which patients live after diagnosis. Calculating with the conservative prevalence estimate of 1 in 500, there may be approximately 600,000 ASD patients in the USA alone. These persons may live for an average of 76 years. Using the conservative age of 3 years for the time of diagnosis, PY may be calculated as follows.

PY=600,000×73=43,800,000, i.e., almost 44 million patient years.

Continue reading "The Phoenicians: Autism Recovery Denial, Drug Profits and the Media’s Flat Earth, 2012" »

Welcome Adriana Gamondes

Welcome matWe're pleased to announce that Adriana Gamondes is our newest Contributing Editor.  Adriana runs our FaceBook page along with Cathy Jameson, who is also a Contributing Editor. Here is a sampling of her work.  Please join us in welcoming her.

Restraint and Seclusion in Special Education

The Phoenicians: Autism Recovery Denial, Drug Profits and the Media’s Flat Earth

The Bad Business of Autism