almost 10 years ago, and may she rest in power!
Mae-Wan Ho (Chinese: 何梅灣; pinyin: Hé Méiwān; born 12 November 1941, Hong Kong; UK citizen – April 2016) was a geneticist known for her critical views on genetic engineering and neo-Darwinism. She has authored or co-authored a number of publications, including 10 books, such as The Rainbow and the Worm, the Physics of Organisms (1993, 1998), Genetic Engineering: Dream or Nightmare (1998, 1999), Living with the Fluid Genome (2003) and Living Rainbow H2O (2012).
Paul Haeder: Where is the GMO debate now worldwide?
Mae-Wan Ho: The GMO debate should be over by now, at a time when the agronomic failures of GM crops are there for all to see (particularly in the United States, which has more than 40% of global GM crops planted) together with serious health and environmental impacts from scientific studies that fully confirm what farmers have been experiencing in the fields for years (ISIS Special Report  Ban GMOs Now). But all that is being smothered by a massive campaign of dissimulation perpetrated by even traditionally respected science magazines (see  Scientific American Disinformation on GMOs, SiS 60).
A measure of how desperate the GM proponents are is the recent decision of the journal editor to retract a thoroughly peer-reviewed paper – the famous Séralini study – published a year ago, basically because it found serious health impacts in rats fed GM maize and/or exposed to Roundup herbicide compared to controls. An open letter has been posted for signing to demand reinstating the paper and pledging to boycott the publisher unless and until that is done ( Open Letter on Retraction and Pledge to Boycott Elsevier, SiS 61). The letter has already attracted thousands of signatures from around the world. Please sign on and forward widely. We need to stop this unprecedented censorship on scientific knowledge and information crucial to public health and well-being.
PH: Why are GMO labeling initiatives failing in the USA?
MWH: The GMO labelling initiatives are failing in the USA because people are still being told lies and half-truths that GM products are no different from their non-GM counterparts. There has been saturation coverage in the media, not just in the USA but worldwide. Most people are not fooled, which is why GM crops are still confined to 28 countries with over 90% within just 5 countries after 20 years of commercial growing. But people do need to understand the dangers for themselves.
PH: What’s your biggest reservation about GMOs?
MWH: GMOs are not only inherently unsafe, they are highly unsustainable, and most of all, obstructing the shift to non-GM organic, agro-ecological farming already taking place in local communities and countries around the world, which have proven to increase yields, mitigate climate change, and more able to adapt to climate change (see  Food Futures Now *Organic *Sustainable *Fossil Fuel Free, ISIS Special Report and  Paradigm Shift Urgently Needed In Agriculture). I have a recurrent nightmare of aliens from outer space landing on our planet in the not too distant future finding a wasteland filled with giant cockroaches. That’s what could happen if we are all forced and tricked into growing GM crops.
PH: Is science at a crossroads, as you say, vis-a-vis the retraction of the Séralini article?
MWH: Yes, I think this sordid act is symbolic. The Séralini study is not the only scientific evidence of harm from GMOs and herbicide, as mentioned earlier, nor the only published paper to be retracted recently (see  Over 1170 Condemn Retraction and Pledge Elsevier Boycott, SiS 61). I was nearly a victim myself for a paper explaining why artificial genetic modification is inherently hazardous . The order to withdraw it most likely came from the publisher. Fortunately, the editors apparently stood their ground and reinstated my paper. If we don’t stop such practice now, it really could mean the end of science. One scientist actually said to me: “it chills me to the bone to think they could do this.” Incidentally, our Open Letter  attracted so many signatures within the first days that the pro-GM trolls began to attack us by constantly sending in fake signatures, so we have had to double check every one. Would you trust people who fake and lie and suppress research results from you to tell you what food is safe to eat?
PH: What can the average citizen do to get involved in the GMO debate?
MWH: Take it upon yourself to understand the science behind genetic engineering, expose the lies and half-truths you’ve been told; that’s how to learn real science, and it is fun. Don’t be intimidated by the ‘experts’. Run informal teach-ins (combined with organic fests). Involve your whole family. Think of imaginative ways to explain things to other people. Scientists themselves are not very good at that, me included. I am still trying my best.
PH: How has science from your experience changed over the years?
MWH: I am still a scientist in love with science. That was what motivated me to be a scientist in the first place. I am still inspired about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, the ‘big questions’. Nowadays, this sense of wonder and excitement is lost. No one asks big questions anymore, they want to know how to exploit nature rather than living sustainably with nature.
The new genetics, for example, is enchanting; it is completely different from the old obsolete genetics that motivated genetic engineering and genetic modification . It has turned conventional genetics upside down. Instead of a one way flow of information from DNA (the genetic material) to traits (biological function) to the environment, there is a circular feedback from the environment and the organisms’ experience that marks out which genes are to be expressed or not, even changing the genes themselves. I call this natural genetic modification. It is an intricate molecular dance of life that is essential for survival. Natural genetic modification is done with finesse and precision by the organisms themselves, without damaging the genome. In contrast, artificial genetic modification done in the laboratory by genetic engineers is crude, imprecise, uncontrollable, and ends up scrambling and damaging the genome with totally unpredictable effects on safety. It also interferes inevitably with the natural genetic modification process, and that is ultimately why artificial genetic modification is inherently hazardous.
I would love to see more new genetics research being done. Instead, most postdocs and graduate students are trapped into doing mindless, soul destroying genetic modification when they should be doing exciting research on how and under what circumstances natural genetic modification takes place.
PH: Why has the narrative around precautionary principle tied to GMOs turned into anti-science rhetoric coming from both scientists and the media?
MWH: There is a great deal of misunderstanding about the precautionary principle. It is absolutely based on scientific evidence. It is not anti-science at all, far from it. It just says that where there is scientific evidence for a hazard, the fact that the evidence may not be conclusive is not to be used as an excuse for ignoring the hazard. I would argue that in most cases, it leads to creative, imaginative solutions and alternatives. Critics are using it as a refuge for weak mindedness and lack of imagination. Prof Peter Saunders from ISIS has written what many people regard as the best article on the subject some years ago  Use and Abuse of the Precautionary Principle (ISIS News 6). A recent article answering the critics of the precautionary principle is also compelling reading  Caution Needed for the Precautionary Principle (SiS 61).
PH: GE-GMO capitalists seem to have the upper hand, as all marketers have — just push through with the product, get it into every corner of society, and, a decade later, or earlier, well, it’s so pervasive that it’s normalized and the average citizen accepts the new normal. Is this true?
MWH: It is a subtle psychological warfare, and some critics actually play into their hands. They hype up the GM technology to be just the most powerful thing in the world, or that ‘the genie is out of the bottle’ and it is already everywhere, so resisting it is useless. This leads people to feel absolutely powerless and paralysis sets in, which is exactly where they want you to be. That is why it is so important to understand the science for oneself.
The new genetics tells us we can reverse things if we take care of the environment, build a healthy soil without pesticides and other agrochemicals, and we can get rid of the pests, the diseases, very likely even the bad genes, and get the good genes back.
PH: What is your work?
MWH: My own research work is centered on the big question — what is life — Schrödinger posed in 1941. I pioneered an interdisciplinary way of understanding life in two books, both best-sellers for the publisher, the first having gone through 3 editions and multiple reprints [10, 11] (The Rainbow and the Worm, The Physics of Organisms and Living H2O the Dancing Rainbow Within). I am very pleased to receive the 2014 Prigogine Medal for that work ( ISIS Director Wins Science Award, SiS 61). My inaugural lecture title is “Circular Thermodynamics of Organisms and Sustainable Systems”  to be delivered in Sienna in Italy at a conference on sustainable cities; for ‘circular thermodynamics’ read ‘circular economy’ of nature. The lecture is on how to live sustainably with nature by integrating and building ourselves into the circular economy of nature.
Best known for his cat thought experiment, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger (1887 – 1961) contributed significantly to fields of wave mechanics and wave equation. In 1933, he co-won the Nobel Prize for Physics for the introduction of Schrödinger’s wave, which is still widely used in modern quantum theory.
PH: There seems to be a big disconnection between nature and industry, technology, economics?
MWH: Spot on. That’s the reductionist science way. I have spent my whole life recovering the organic holistic science that really enables us to live sustainably with nature where knowledge is all of a piece (art, science, music, philosophy in one), and we are immersed within nature. The organic, holistic way is not only sustainable; it is very joyful and sustaining. It gives us all the strength and vitality of nature as well as all her beauty and inspiration.
PH: Climate change is the big game changer, and seems to be the underpinning of the pro-GMO industries and sciences. Discuss how non-GMO farming might be the answer to some of the changes we will face because of climate change — i.e. hotter, wetter, dryer, irregular weather.
MWH: Climate change is definitely happening. There is no denying it. No, most scientists who alert us to the dangers of GMOs are not climate deniers (those saying that climate change is not happening at all) or climate sceptics (those who don’t believe human action has anything to do with climate change). Please don’t conflate GMOs with climate change. I often tell climate sceptics or deniers that being sustainable is good whether you believe human action is causing climate change, or whether you believe climate change is happening, because we are running out of all kinds of resources, so renewables are in. Circular economy is in.
There is evidence that the predominantly GM crop system in the US is failing badly  (US Staple Crop System Failing from GM and Monoculture, SiS 59), and not just because of the recent drought, which decimated harvests  (Surviving Global Warming, SiS 60).This is not surprising, as GM crops are industrial monocultures, only more so. The numerous successes and benefits of organic, agro-ecological farming are no longer in doubt: more yields, more organic matter and carbon sequestration in the soil, more fertile soils, more water retention capacity (hence more resistant to drought) more nutritious, health promoting, more resilient to floods and hurricanes, more profitable, and less energy use, hence less carbon dioxide produced [4, 5]. We mustn’t let GM crops spoil our chance for surviving global warming and all climate extremes it will bring.
This interview is an extended version of one that first appeared in DissidentVoice.org. Paul Haeder has been a communications, English and journalism instructor since 1983, and during that time he’s been a journalist in Arizona, Texas, Mexico, Central America, Vietnam and now in Washington State.
- Ho MW and Sirinathsinghji E. Ban GMOs Now, ISIS Special Report, ISIS, London, 2013. https://www.i-sis.org.uk/Ban_GMOs_Now_-_Special_ISIS_Report.php
- Ho MW, Sirinathsinghji E and Saunders PT. Scientific American disinformation on GMOs. Science in Society 60, 2-3, 2013.
- Becker HA, Clark EA, Cummins J, Davidson RM, de Guzman LE, DelGiudice E, Dotson RS, Exley C, Haffegee J, Ho MW, Huber DM, John B, Mason R, Mendoza T, Novotny E, Oller JW, Palmer J, Pollack G, Pusztai A, Samsell A, Saunders PT, Shiva V, Sirinathsinghji, E, Swanson N, Seneff S, Tomlijenovic L, Zamora O. Open letter on retraction and pledge to boycott Elsevier. Science in Society 61 (to appear).
- Ho MW, Burcher S, Lim LC, et al. Food Futures Now, Organic*Sustainable*Fossil Fuel Free, ISIS/TWN, London/Penang, 2008, https://www.i-sis.org.uk/foodFutures.php
- Ho MW. Paradigm shift urgently needed in agriculture, UN agencies call for an end to industrial agriculture & food system. Science in Society 60, 4-9, 2013.
- Ho MW and Saunders PT. Over 1170 condemn retraction and pledge Elsevier boycott. Science in Society 61 (to appear).
- Ho MW. The new genetics and natural versus artificial genetic modification. Entropy 2013, 15, 4748-81 (open access).
- Saunders PT. Use and abuse of the precautionary principle. ISIS News 6, September 2000.
- Saunders PT. Caution needed for the precautionary principle. Science in Society 61 (to appear).
- Ho MW. The Rainbow and the Worm, the Physics of Organisms, World Scientific and Imperial College Press, 1993, 2nd ed 1998, 3rd ed. 2008. https://www.i-sis.org.uk/rnbwwrm.php
- Ho MW. Living H2O, the rainbow within (introducing Living Rainbow H2O, World Scientific and Imperial College Press, 2012 ). https://www.i-sis.org.uk/Living_H2O.php
“ISIS Director wins science award”, Science in Society 61 (to appear).
- Ho MW. Circular thermodynamics of organisms and sustainable systems. Systems 2013, 1, 30-49 (open access).
- Sirinathsinghji E. US staple crop system failing from GM and monoculture. Science in Society 59, 12-13, 2013.
- Ho MW. Surviving global warming, localized food & energy systems in nature’s circular economy. Science in Society 60, 16-17, 2013.
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Death by a Thousand Cuts: When the Cures of Big Pharma are Worse than the Diseases
The more chemicals, drugs, vaccines, additives, toxins they make, the more difficult it is to escape from big business’ straight-jacket
by Paul Haeder / November 17th, 2017
The vaccine debate and prying into Planned Parenthood’s Standard Operating Procedure are two arenas I have not gravitated toward. Genetically-engineered crops, industrial farming, confined feeding operations (CAFOs), dams killing wild salmon, these are my fortes.
The news daily is like death by a thousand cuts for me tied to new studies on collapsing ecosystems, indigenous people fighting against mines and other extractive industries, and more and more on climate change/global warming.
I never thought I’d be embroiled in a fight for my livelihood because I questioned the rampant vaccination of girls (and now boys) with the Merck marketed HPV vaccine, Gardasil. To date, more than 270,000,000 doses have been distributed worldwide, this HPV vaccine (World Health Organization’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety) distributed by both GlaxoSmithKline and Merck versions. There are scientists who say the human papillomavirus is not the cancer threat posited by the drug manufacturers and their paid-off doctors; that most immune systems can fight off the HPV; that the vaccine only hits two of the more than 40 different HPV phenotypes.
My story with HPV vaccine started when I was in a Planned Parenthood training last month, a mandatory course for social workers titled Fundamentals of Sex Ed. For a total of possibly 30 seconds out of a 16-hour two-day training (I was kicked out after day one, eight hours worth), I voiced my opinion about the potential risks associated with Gardasil.
The opinion was put down on a slip of paper, then, and thrown in with dozens of other comments from the 40 participants. This is in Seattle, one of the bigger Planned Parenthood locations, and the comments I made were specifically sold to us all as “an anonymous forum.” I went further with two more comments on the slips of paper — about 60 words answering this first day evaluation question: “What could Planned Parenthood have done differently today in the training?”
I am really disappointed that Planned Parenthood in Seattle is so lock-step in line with Big Pharma. Especially in the case of Gardasil, which is a vaccine that has gotten tens of thousands complaints about it. Anyone, including my 16- to 21-year-old clients, could easily Google ‘Gardasil Dangers’ and find a plethora of very disturbing and legitimate information about its dangers. I wish Planned Parenthood showed more critical thinking and independent pedagogical standards, including informed consent.
Less than two hours after the training, I was called at my hotel room by my supervisor from Portland, who let me know:
The Planned Parenthood trainers said they do not want you back for the second day of training. I am putting you on administrative leave. I am looking into what happened in Seattle. Do not return to the office until further notice.
That was October 15, and I have since been terminated, have been on the job market, am attempting to collect a few weeks of unemployment assistance, have a lawyer investigating my case, and started writing about my case on multiple forums. You can read my posts “My Fate as a Social Worker Sealed by a Vaccine Named Gardasil“; “Planned Parenthood, A Vaccine, Double-think Alive and Well in the World of Non-profits“; “Gardasil and the American Bald Eagle – What Would Rachel Carson Do?”
The Sordid History of the HPV Vaccine
I have collected a hundred reports, articles, documentaries and blogs tied to the HPV vaccine, which has been in use since 2006. Here are just few: How Much Does the Vaccine Cost?, Sacrificial Virgins, Gardasil Did It/ Fue el Gardasil. The treasure trove is enlightening, intimidating, depressing and validating. Every drug and chemical in the world should have this amount of scrutiny, and yet, the depressing part is that once something is introduced into our systems of medicine, food production/ processing, and modern industrial existence, the unintended consequences and synergistic downsides are more difficult to elevate to a level of grave public concern.
The PR firms, legal teams, government agencies, law makers, and politicians all have a stake in the game with trillions of dollars in profits at stake. In fact, the pharmaceutical industry is the single largest contributor (number two being insurance industry) to congressional accounts in the United States, spending almost 2.5 billion dollars the past decade in lobbying efforts, more than double the spending of the defense industry. This is, of course, in addition to the many billions more spent on marketing their products to both consumers and directly to physicians.
The issues whirling around Gardasil represent a microcosm of all that is wrong with our healthcare industry. It is difficult at best and impossible for most to speak out against the power purchased with these multi-billion dollar budgets; in many cases, Big Pharma is killing us with their practices, marketing and products. If you are a citizen, a consumer group, a watchdog agency or journalist going against the grain, the road to hell is paved with threats, lawsuits, and vitriol. We are labeled conspiracists, Luddites, anti-science extremists and crazies or nuts. Death by a thousand cuts!
Here is an anonymous comment emailed to me, and it’s endemic of the HPV vaccination controversy involving thousands of victims (and deaths) ascribed to the vaccination doses given these young girls and women:
I’ve been extensively investigating vaccines for 23 years and I believe that vaccines are one of the biggest contributors to the childhood epidemics of chronic disease. Over half of the kids in this country have been diagnosed with a chronic illness. Not only is it not prudent to mandate vaccines, it is in violation of informed consent and an affront to parental rights. The rush to get Gardasil (and all vaccines) approved is about one thing: $$$. Gardasil is not mandatory though in any state. It’s recommended but not mandatory – yet. It’s one of the most dangerous vaccines and should be completely avoided.
Whether it is vaccines, medications, agricultural or industrial chemicals, questions of safety are rarely tolerated. I knew this from my background in environmental studies, writing and activism. Even so, I was caught off guard by these recent events.
Toxic History and Citizen Action: The Fight Never Ends
I cut my teeth as a budding reporter in Arizona working on issues tied to sprawl, city and county politics, the cop shop, and more as a community journalist for several dailies. I also ate up journalism from other great venues, including one that links tangentially to the Gardasil story. It was on the Love Canal case (a neighborhood near Niagara Falls, NY) in the 1970s. Love Canal’s toxic history began when Hooker Chemical Co. used an abandoned canal from 1942 to 1953 to dump 21,800 tons of industrial hazardous waste (‘Love Canal’ still oozing poison 35 years later).
Later, the slurry was “capped,” and then hundreds of homes and a school were built on top of it. A harsh winter in 1977 with several meters of snow resulted in a spring melt seeping into the buried 16-acre canal which forced chemical waste into groundwater and to the surface, oozing into yards and basements (Superfund).
Residents began complaining of miscarriages, urinary and kidney problems and mental disabilities in their children. A quiet mother and homemaker began putting pieces together and contacted scientists and state government agencies.
Headlines like this anchor what she did as just a common person: “Lois Gibbs, a housewife leads the charge for evacuation, compensation and warns against resettling the area.”
That case led to the formation in 1980 of the Superfund program, which helps pay for the cleanup of toxic sites (From homemaker to hell-raiser in Love Canal).
As I have set up this series with environmentalist-scientist Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, this fourth article around this controversy (for DV) dovetails with environmentalist Lois Gibbs. How insane is it that she revisited the Love Canal site on the 35th anniversary in November 2013 and witnessed a new generation of mothers and fathers locked into lawsuits with Occidental Petroleum Corp., the new caretaker of the land, again, because of the toxic soil and health implications for them and their families (Happy Birthday, Love Canal). Rashes, stomach sickness, fainting, seizure. Insanity, the ooze that Gibbs tied to birth defects was recapped (mitigated) with new homes built where those in Gibbs’ old neighborhood had been demolished.
It was so weird to go back and stand next to someone who was crying and saying the exact same thing I said thirty-five years ago, Gibbs said.
More than 1,000 tons of contaminated soil are being now being shipped to an incinerator in Lincoln, Nebraska (Love Canal soil going to Kimball incinerator). We don’t know who said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” but Albert Einstein did say, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Like Carson, Gibbs penned a few books – Dying from Dioxin (1995); Love Canal The Story Continues (1998); Love Canal: and the Birth of the Environmental Health Movement (2010) – and founded an organization fighting toxins:
The Center for Health, Environment & Justice which supports a nationwide network of more than 300 local community groups to achieve critical policy impacts at the local, regional, statewide and national levels. The communities we serve are largely rural, low-wealth or working class—the kind of areas where toxic chemicals, polluting facilities and other environmental dangers are sited.
Get Lit with Literature!
The biggest influences for me in regard to social justice and the power of collective action came to me through the arts, poetry and literature, at a young age. For me, the game changer was considering Herman Melville’s short story, Bartleby the Scrivener, or Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
Imagine my surprise, nay, my consternation, when without moving from his privacy, Bartleby, in a singular mild, firm voice, replied, ‘I would prefer not to.’
— Herman Melville
The mind of man is capable of anything–because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, valor, rage–who can tell?—but truth–truth stripped of its cloak of time.
— Joseph Conrad
This very concept of those willing to kill and maim and conquer for a profit came to bear quickly after reading Conrad and so many other thinkers. The idea, though, of this strange man, Bartleby, basically intoning his manager, “I would prefer not to,” symbolizes one of the world’s most powerful phrases. “I would prefer not to.” How many among us can say the same when faced with ethical challenges.
Fact is Stranger than Fiction
What I am finding in my own nascent life tied to Gardasil and Planned Parenthood is a type of bearing witness, knowing there are deeper and more layered and nuanced ways of looking at the mad men in advertising, marketing, propaganda and more existential ways of contemplating the insanity of unlimited growth, the consumer assault and battery from the merchants of death.
The leap from literary/poetic to environmental and science writing was not a high one. I was still reading writers like Eduardo Galeano, Vonnegut , Ursula Le Guin, Denise Levertov and Jorge Luis Borges, but I did devour Carson’s Silent Spring when I was 16, and that too put me on a course toward writing literary works, and poetry, as well as becoming a journalist hoping to cover science. Carson was on the staff of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 16 years and was highly cognizant of the fact the government played a huge role in promoting and defending chemical poisons.
“The crusade to create a chemically sterile, insect-free world,” Carson wrote, “seems to have engendered a fanatic zeal on the part of many specialists and most of the so-called control agencies.”
She believed that she was living in an era …
dominated by industry, in which the right to make a dollar at whatever cost is seldom challenged. When the public protests, confronted with some obvious evidence of damaging results of pesticide applications, it is fed little tranquilizing pills of half-truth. We urgently need an end to these false assurances, to the sugar coating of unpalatable facts.
The cross-pollination of a huge marketing campaigns with scientists and medical companies and pharmaceuticals is both bizarre and business as usual. Here, in 2006, from one of those marketing firms:
More than 95 insurance plans–covering 94 percent of insured individuals–have decided to reimburse Gardasil, according to Merck. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also added the vaccine to its Vaccines for Children Contract, making it available to Medicaid-eligible, uninsured, under-insured, or Native American children up to the age of 18.
Analysts are optimistic about the vaccine’s market potential. ‘It’s very clear that patients are going to be interested in it,’ said John Lebbos, MD, therapeutic area director of infectious diseases at market research firm Decision Resources. ‘From what I’ve seen, it’s going to be a blockbuster.’
Education about the vaccine is going to be a critical piece–due both to a lack of understanding about HPV as well as early controversy that vaccination might lead to teen promiscuity.
Note the terminology of the purveyors of capital and profit-making health care: “vaccine’s market potential” and “it’s going to be a blockbuster.” Words from an MD whose Hippocratic oath states first do no harm!
From the onset of Gardasil, after the fast-tracked shoddy FDA approval (Examining the FDA’s HPV Vaccine Records), Merck deployed the services of one of the world’s propaganda firms, AKA PR outfits:
The PR genius behind all stages of Merck’s HPV and Gardasil campaigns is the PR giant Edelman. The world’s largest independent PR firm, Edelman boasts more than 2,100 employees working in 46 wholly owned offices worldwide, plus the additional resources of more than 50 affiliates. Apparently Merck is hoping that most, if not all the states in the US, will mandate a vaccine against HPV as a pre-requisite for school attendance. And beat rivals to it, before GlaxoSmithKline gets FDA approval for its Cervarix.
In the dozens and dozens of articles in the New York Times, in reports by PR Watch and Judicial Watch, scant few mentioning of the untold physical incapacitation, chronic illness and deaths tied to Gardasil by many citizen groups with some scientists behind the calls to stop the Gardasil-Cervarix mass vaccination program (TruthWiki US Court Pays $6 Million to Gardasil Victims Judicial Watch: a, b, c Are You Concerned Over Genetically Modified Vaccine? HPV Researchers, Planned Parenthood Win Prestigious Lasker Medical Awards).
But, 11 years ago, even before FDA approval, Merck and Edelman were on the PR war-path beating the cervical cancer drums:
Merck used its deep pockets to make sure that even before the FDA had approved Gardasil, there was a growing awareness of and concern about HPV and its link to cervical cancer. According to Bloomberg News, Merck spent $841,000 for Internet ads alone relating to HPV in the first quarter of 2006 — months before the FDA had even approved Gardasil (Part One: Setting the Stage).
Again, this series on Gardasil-Merck-Planned Parenthood-and-my-termination looks at the funding and ties to non-profits, but also at the new documentaries and court cases illuminating the young girls and women who say they have been injured (and many family members of deceased girls say killed) by the HPV vaccine.
Here’s just one tip of the iceberg in this non-profit collusion with the funders, health care for-profits, and this is a three-part series written for PR Watch in 2017 by journalist Judith Siers-Poisson:
According to their website, “Women in Government is a national 501(c)(3), non-profit, bi-partisan organization of women state legislators providing leadership opportunities, networking, expert forums, and educational resources to address and resolve complex public policy issues.” The campaigns that they feature on their home page deal with kidney health, Medicare preventive services, higher education policy, and the “Challenge to Eliminate Cervical Cancer,” which was publicly launched in 2004.
On February 2, 2007, Texas Governor Rick Perry, against the wishes of his conservative base and to the surprise of critics, signed an executive order mandating HPV vaccination for girls entering seventh grade. Then, unfortunately for Perry and Merck, details of his many connections with both Merck and Women in Government became public.
Ellen Goodman of the Boston Globe noted, “It turned out that Perry’s former chief of staff is now a lobbyist for Merck. Did that look bad? Whoa, Nellie. Did it look bad that Merck had funded an organization of women legislators backing similar bills? Whoa, Merck.” USA Today reported that Perry’s current chief of staff’s mother-in-law, Texas Republican State Representative Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government. Perry’s wife, Anita, a nurse by training, addressed a WIG summit on cervical cancer in Atlanta in November 2005. Perry also received $6,000 from Merck’s political action committee during his re-election campaign.
In 2004, more than 20 WIG funders were pharmaceutical companies or entities heavily invested in health care issues that could come before state legislators. A short list includes both Merck & Co., Inc and Merck Vaccine, GlaxoSmithKline (which will soon have the second HPV vaccine on the market), and Digene Corporation (which manufactures an HPV test). Other drug interests listed as donors to WIG include Novartis, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Bayer Healthcare, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb (both the company and their foundation), and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, also known as PhRMA, one of the largest and most influential lobbying organizations in Washington representing 48 drug companies.
The funders of Women in Government today, as I am looking at their website, are still those big ones listed above and others in the for-profit health care fields.
What comes next will be articles tying Planned Parenthood to the makers of Gardasil, and how the science behind the HPV vaccine is not only faulty, but in some ways corrupted. The influence of these private for-profit drug makers to ruin scientists lives is also a big part of the story coming up (Biologist Peter Duesberg was all but banished from science for his views on HIV) The next part of the series will look at the cases of young girls damaged and killed and whose cases are being highlighted in documentaries and added to class action and personal liability cases against Merck and GSK.
Part one of the series over at Hormones Matter & DV was getting the reader’s feet wet effort: Gardasil and the American Bald Eagle. What I am hoping to elicit from this second part is reader’s feedback on the collusion of marketing and science. How do readers see that interplay affecting what they eat, consume, use and purchase? How can a citizen get a handle on all the complicated findings and PR spin and manufactured consent the for-profit world enlists as their marketing schemes?
GMOs, Genetic Engineering, Recombinant Drugs, Vaccines
I end with a lament, since I opened this piece around my background researching and writing about mostly environmental and social justice issues (certainly forced vaccinations in USA and other countries is a social injustice issue). I have many friends and sources in the arena of GMO — genetically modified (engineered) organisms and that giant, Monsanto. In fact, Gardasil is a genetically-engineered virus. The news today exploded with mainstream media touting a new study “clearing” Round-up, also known as glyphosate, of any definitive cancer-causing links.
Of course, this one study is not the final word on cancer and Round-up. One study, versus thousands linking Round-up to all sorts of problems in humans and animals. But then Monsanto is a giant with connected politicians, Supreme Court Justices and PR firms. Monsanto and others like Bayer subsidize entire university programs and departments. Autism and Round-up? Here. Glyphosate in vaccines?
It all ties together, this better living through chemistry-plastics-GE drugs. Even Stephen Hawkins is weighing in on this Genetic Engineering of vaccines.
My friend, who is now deceased, Mae-Wan Ho, submitted to an interview by me a few years ago, and this passage from it elegantly discusses the inherent dangers of GMOs:
The new genetics, for example, is enchanting; it is completely different from the old obsolete genetics that motivated genetic engineering and genetic modification. It has turned conventional genetics upside down. Instead of a one-way flow of information from DNA (the genetic material) to traits (biological function) to the environment, there is a circular feedback from the environment and the organisms’ experience that marks out which genes are to be expressed or not, even changing the genes themselves. I call this natural genetic modification. It is an intricate molecular dance of life that is essential for survival. Natural genetic modification is done with finesse and precision by the organisms themselves, without damaging the genome. In contrast, artificial genetic modification done in the laboratory by genetic engineers is crude, imprecise, uncontrollable, and ends up scrambling and damaging the genome with totally unpredictable effects on safety. It also interferes inevitably with the natural genetic modification process, and that is ultimately why artificial genetic modification is inherently hazardous.
Some writers say “vaccines are the Third Rail for writers. Otherwise totally progressive sites have drunk the Pharma Kool-Aid and [shut down] journalists for simply suggesting that vaccines are neither all safe or all unsafe! Imagine!” (a recent email from a writer answering my questions, preferring to stay anonymous).
Add to my dilemma as a white male, Marxist, 60, dare to complain about anything to do with Planned Parenthood, even this bizarre personal attack on me, as Planned Parenthood Seattle ended up pressuring the former non-profit I worked for to sack me because of my recalcitrance, aggressiveness and non-compliance of a “zeig heil” to all vaccines, manufactured and distributed (sold) by Merck and GlaxSmithKline, not exactly the angels in Big Pharma.
I’ve got compatriots, luckily, at DV, in the writing and voice of Martha Rosenberg —
Of course there are many reasons women may veto the vaccine for themselves or their children. Even though the vaccine is nearly 100 percent effective in preventing precancerous cervical lesions and protects against the two HPV strains that cause 70 percent of cervical cancers and 90 percent of genital warts, it isn’t effective against all HPV strains. It is also not more effective against cervical cancer than a Pap smear and even when it does work, may require a booster. Nor do researchers know how long protection lasts.
The HPV vaccine is also the most expensive of all recommended vaccines at $359.25 for all three doses says Pew Research.
And then there’s the morality issue.
“I was greatly offended that Merck suggests I vaccinate my nine-year-old daughter against an STD,” says Kelley Watson, a mother of two in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park. “Especially insulting to me was that there was never any mention of HPV as being a sexually transmitted disease. It was presented as something women can contract through tampons or nylon stockings — as if men played no part.”
Actually, men’s part in transmitting HPV is beginning to be acknowledged. Last year FDA also cleared the vaccine for boys, in whom the virus can cause genital warts and anal cancer. Even when an individual declines vaccination, his or her chances of infection are lessened as more people, both men and women, vaccinate — a concept called herd immunity.
Thanks to intrepid and thick-skinned writers like Rosenberg, the public might have a chance at getting real news about pharmaceuticals and all the other snake oil and PT Barnum shell games Big For-Profit Medicine pedals. I’ll attempt to be part of that phalanx of writers skeptical of capitalism’s parasitic infestation of things that should not be given to millionaires, billionaires and their financial vultures for profits and rip-offs — education, health, social security, energy, the commons, banking, and community rights to public health, safety and protection. Add the incarceration complex to the mix, and then also think about how infected farming, food, transportation, and telecommunications and media have become through the perversions of big capital and bigger profit schemes of the financial hit men (and women).
Just a year ago, here, Martha’s Counterpunch piece:
They Aren’t All Safe: Pharma is Willing to Look “Unscientific” to Sell Vaccines
Pharma is unwise to cast such parents, of whom there are many, as “nuts.” The degeneration of their child is not their imagination. Also, there is no defensible reason for vaccines to be given all at once to a child, which many say heightens risks. Administering clusters of vaccines–once not given to children–has been called a major, new profit center for pediatricians.
But anti-vaccination activists should also not be absolutist. Would anyone refuse a rabies vaccine after being bitten by a rabid raccoon? A tetanus shot after a serious wound? Would responsible parents deny their child a whooping cough or polio vaccine?
Like all drugs aggressively marketed these days, patients and parents need to do their own research and weigh benefits and risks—never forgetting Pharma’s spotty safety record.
Seems like sanity to me, as a parent, patient and press member!
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho: The Rainbow and the Worm
She saw life unfold in all its splendid colours. Those colors were not only beautiful to look at, but they also told her a lot about the physical processes that took place there. The living cell contains approximately 70% water and it turned out that the processes in and properties of water itself are together responsible for all those colors. Water in living cells behaves like a liquid crystal, which explains the polarization of light going through the cell. This liquid crystal behavior appears to be essential for the chemical processes that run in living cells. This is something that will never be visible with the electron microscope. Ultimately, she concludes that the special properties of water play a major role in the quantum processes that take place in the living cell. All life exhibits quantum coherence. It is the hallmark of life. According to Ho, we see the guiding intelligence of consciousness at work there.
What is quantum coherence?
The quantum wave is an excitation of an immaterial medium. In order to have waves, a the substance of the medium has to be coherent. Which is strange for an immaterial medium. It is striking that if you search for it on the internet you will come across direct relationships with living systems and health. I therefore devoted a special study to it, in which I also came to a better understanding of the efficiency of chlorophyll. I talk about that in my book. After I felt I had a picture of quantum coherence that I could also explain, I dedicated a special page to quantum coherence on my website to it. You can find that page here.
Ho links quantum coherence to life and consciousness. Quantum coherence is an expression of the consciousness that is behind all the life we perceive. In the interview below, she also points to her finding that water at room temperature is already about 40% quantum coherent. When I now try to picture the enormous amount of contiguous water on this planet that is thus 40% quantum coherent, I get an impression of an enormous awe-inspiring living intelligent being in which all life we know must someday arise. Take a walk along the beach, look out over the sea and muse on it.