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Big oil companies post record profits for 2006

Bill Van Auken

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The three giant US-based energy conglomerates—ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhilips—posted record profits for 2006, according to reports issued by the companies at the end of the week.

Profiteering off of the doubling of crude oil prices in the space of just two years—topping $78 a barrel in the summer of 2006—the big three recorded combined windfall profits of over $72 billion.

ExxonMobil, the world’s largest publicly traded company, raked in $39.5 billon last year—the largest annual profit recorded in US corporate history. The oil giant generated a staggering average of $108 million in profits a day, or $4.5 million an hour. The total topped the previous record for corporate profit, also set by Exxon Mobil in 2005, of $36.13 billion.

Exxon’s total annual profits amounted to more than the federal government spends on public K-12 education per year and were roughly equivalent to the amount that Congress appropriated to provide health care for some 6 million low-income children over a span of 10 years.

Total revenues for the biggest oil company topped $377 billion last year, an amount greater than the gross national product of countries that include Belgium, Sweden, Turkey and Austria.

The profits of ExxonMobil’s closest US competitors also soared. Chevron, the nation’s second-largest oil company, posted its most profitable year on record with $17.1 billion in earnings, while number-three ConocoPhillips did likewise, taking in $15.55 billion.

The big oil companies have profited mainly off of the volatility and chaos on the crude oil markets, resulting in large part from the war for oil in Iraq and the threat of even widening the war to include military aggression against Iran.

The vast annual profits for ExxonMobil came despite a 4 percent decline in profits for the last quarter of 2006, largely the result of the driving down of gasoline prices in the immediate run-up to the 2006 elections. It is widely suspected that the energy monopolies deliberately cut gas prices in the vain hopes of bolstering the political fortunes of their allies in the Bush administration and the Republican leadership in Congress.

Conscious of public outrage over the profiteering by big oil, ExxonMobil ran full-page ads in national newspapers Thursday claiming that its 2006 profits were not excessive and that much of them are reinvested in the discovery and exploitation of new energy sources to meet growing global demand.

“Our revenues are large and they need to be large to support the huge investments we make to produce the energy our country and the world needs,” company spokesman Kevin Cohen said defending ExxonMobil’s profits Thursday.

In reality, however, in 2006 Exxon spent considerably more of its profits to buy back its own shares on the stock market than it did on new capital investments.

The company laid out fully $25 billion on repurchasing its own shares in a scheme to drive up stock prices. During the same year, it spent $19.9 billion for capital investment. Exxon shares rose by approximately 20 percent in 2006, posting another dollar increase on annual profit news Thursday to reach $75.08 on Wall Street.

The big three US oil companies, as well as their smaller competitors, owe their record profits to the gouging at the gas pumps, which saw consumers paying an average of $3 a gallon last spring and summer. This fleecing of average working people on gasoline sales is supplemented by an array of corporate welfare measures, tax breaks and royalty relief worth tens of billions of dollars.

High fuel prices continue to exact their toll on working class Americans, with the poorest section of society unable to afford heating their homes through the winter. While continuing to underwrite the staggering profits of the big energy conglomerates, the federal government slashed funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program by one third last year, from $3.2 billion to $2.1 billion. Barely 17 percent of low-income households eligible for assistance are presently benefiting from the program.

Big payday for Exxon CEO

ExxonMobil’s Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson took home a total compensation package of at least $18.5 million in 2006—making considerably more in one hour than someone working for the federal minimum wage earns in an entire year. This massive sum is by no means exorbitant by the standards of the oil industry, and pales by comparison to the $400 million retirement deal awarded to his predecessor, Lee Raymond.

The announcement of ExxonMobil’s profits follows by only days President George W. Bush’s speech delivered on Wall Street on the state of the US economy. In it, Bush acknowledged growing income inequality in America as “real” and admonished his big business audience that “salaries and bonuses of CEOs should be based on their success at improving their companies and bringing value to their shareholders.”

By this perverse standard, both Tillerson’s and Raymond’s compensation are fully justified, given the huge profits that their company has generated, and the driving up of share values, in part through an aggressive buyback campaign that had the not incidental effect of substantially fattening the personal portfolios of Tillerson and other Exxon executives.

The consequences of the economic activity of ExxonMobil and other energy giants for society as a whole, however, are quite another matter.

Aside from the toll taken by price gouging on gasoline and home heating fuels on working families in the US, the oil companies and ExxonMobil in particular have engaged in a concerted campaign to block any effective response to the immense threat posed by global warming and to deny the mountain of scientific evidence blaming climate change on the use of fossil fuels. A report issued last month by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that the oil giant paid out $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a web of advocacy groups dedicated to denying the human cause of global warming.

The Guardian newspaper in Britain, meanwhile, carried a report Friday detailing an attempt by an ExxonMobil-funded think tank, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), to bribe scientists and economists into attacking the new report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirming global warming and its source in human activity. AEI, whose vice-chairman is former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond, offered to pay $10,000 for papers casting doubt on the IPCC document.

There is also the strong evidence that Exxon Mobil and other US energy monopolies played a significant role in the preparations for the war to conquer Iraq and open up its oil reserves to direct exploitation. Executives for the companies met behind closed doors with Vice President Richard Cheney and his Energy Task Force in 2001, reviewing maps of Iraq’s oilfields and lists of companies seeking contracts with Baghdad.

In its article on the oil profits Friday, the Wall Street Journal warned that market trends may not prove as favorable for big oil in 2007. “Exxon, Shell and their oil peers face a tough future,” the newspaper reported. “Many untapped oil and gas reserves are held by nations that don’t want to let in Western oil companies. The companies also face industry-wide cost inflation and pressure by governments seeking more for themselves in production agreements.”

The Journal pointed in particular to Exxon’s negotiations with the Venezuelan government, which is demanding a greater stake in multibillion-dollar heavy crude oil ventures in the Orinoco Belt.

The unmistakable implication is that, as in the case of Iraq, “nations that don’t want to let in Western oil companies” can become the targets of US military aggression.

The massive oil profits recorded for 2006 once again point to the necessity of taking these corporations, which promote social inequality, militarism and the destruction of the environment, out of private hands and turning them into public utilities. Only in this way can society begin to confront the urgent dangers posed to the future of humanity by war and climate change.

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U.S. Anti-missile Systems in Europe Threatens Ukraine — Official

A senior Ukrainian official criticized U.S. plans to deploy its anti-missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, the Associated Press reported February 5.

“First of all missiles deployed near our territory are objects for attack by any sides. So it is a threat to involve Ukraine in a direct conflict,” First Deputy Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said.

Earlier Washington announced its plan to place a radar system in the Czech Republic and a missile interceptor site in Poland.

Last week, a top U.S. general in charge of developing U.S. missile defenses said that the United States was looking for ways to involve Ukraine in its plans to develop such a system in Europe. But the Ukrainian government said that it had no plans to deploy the U.S. missile defense system in its country.

Russia has harshly criticized the U.S. plans to build missile defense sites in Central Europe, shrugging off U.S. assurances that the installations would be meant to deal with a potential threat from Iran and calling them an effort to strengthen U.S. military might in the region.

Azarov said that the issue will not help supporters of NATO membership for Ukraine to achieve their aim.

Ukraine has been divided over the issue of possible NATO membership, with Western-leaning President Viktor Yushchenko backing the move and pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych opposing it.

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How would you like to be TORTURED For Knowing the Truth and teaching it?

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The Montana Freemen are Political Prisoners who are currently being tortured in jail and may possibly die at any time because of public ignorance of the true law and lack of real de jure Americans. The government does not bring in the BATF, SWAT teams and Military because a few guys are writing bad checks and stole a news crew camera!!

The Powers-that-be do not want you to know this!!

The Freemen were teaching people how to TAKE BACK GOVERNMENT at the local level. They did two important things :

1. Re-Discovered the supreme Court in the county. This is the highest court in the land, not the Appelate branch Supreme court in the State. There are no lawyers, it’s the private side, not the corporate side. The supreme Court justice is appointed, not elected, & they are not government employees with social security #’s!! This is the venue of the People’s court of original jurisdiction. The Problem has been that the people fell asleep, forgot there are two forms of government operating side by side, private and contract/commercial, or Equity, and by virtue of the social security #, birth certificate etc., which are contracts, most people today are in a joint-venture capacity with the State, which is a corporation, thus making them employees of the Corporation, and therefore taxable.

This has created a dilemma whereby the people have become agents of the agency and have lost their true status as a Principle, who, in contract law, always remains above the agent. The People are the original government, and the public servants in government are our agents!

So the Freemen did what any morally upstanding people would do when the people they hired to uphold the constitution failed to do their job, that is, they had to return to self-governing, which means if the people you hire to do a job don’t do it, you don’t ask them if you can do the job yourself, YOU DO IT!!

They were uncontracted Free Americans who had every right to do what they did, we are a self-governing Nation.

And the second important thing they did was break the secret code of the commercial banking system, which is this :

All credit is creating through the lien process, which is the basis for the commercial credit system. The private credit monopoly, better known as the international bankers do not want this known. The bankers have a lien on the people, the chattel property, of the United States, who are under martial law as of 1861 and bankrupt as of 1933. So the Freemen placed liens on government officials who failed to uphold their sworn oath and duty of their office.

These liens went uncontested and amounted to a total of 17 trillion dollars credit.

Next, the Freemen started to pay off the credit debt of the people of the United States in their certified money orders backed by their newly created credit. This would have eliminated the income tax for all Americans!! This worked for years and was not the reason the government came after them.

The siege began when they issued arrest warrents for corrupt public officials!!

The Freemen are being held at the following location. All mail and visits are being denied to them.

They are routinely being tortured and beaten.

PLEASE CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND LET THEM KNOW that you know the truth and aren’t willing to allow this to happen!!

To show support for Leroy Schweitzer contact him at : Leroy Michael; Schweitzer (02144-046) c/o FDC SeaTac , P.O. Box 68976, Seattle, Washington state, 98168

--- To Complain to the Warden about their treatment and illegal incarceration write to : SeaTac Detention Facility, ATTN Warden Perrill P.O. Box 68168 Seattle Washington, 98168

Comment/Update (2/24/2013)

I came here to read the article titled "Montana freemen truth and tortured". You may want to update it a bit. They are no longer at SeaTac, that was long,long ago. In the meantime, LeRoy passed away 9/21/11 at Florence Admax USP, Colorado. The only ones still locked up are Russell Dean at Terre Haute,Indiana and Daniel E. at Marion,Illinois.

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The Unmentionable Hypocrisy: Hussein Hanged, Bush and Blair Remain in Power

Sean M. Madden

East Sussex, UK - Saddam Hussein was hanged a week ago, today, for executing 148 people. Yet, even by conservative estimates, George W. Bush and Tony Blair are responsible for hundreds, or thousands, of times more deaths due to their war of aggression - the supreme international crime - in Iraq.

But, while Saddam Hussein is hanged, Bush and Blair remain in power with apparent impunity.

Why the double standard?

This afternoon I listened to BBC Radio 4’s call-in program, Any Answers?, hosted by Jonathan Dimbleby. The first caller did what the ‘free press’ — in both the UK and the US — have failed to do. She pinpointed the obvious yet unmentionable hypocrisy hovering over last week’s hanging of Saddam Hussein:

I find I get so angry when I hear expressions of disgust of the way Saddam Hussein was hanged or the procedure. What about the over 400,000 people who have been killed in Iraq, innocent people who didn’t do anything, who died by the invasion of their country by America and Britain? George Bush did not declare war on Iraq. So this is not a genuine war in which civilians are accidentally killed. This was an invasion of their country, illegally. George Bush declared war on terror. There had been no terrorist threat from Saddam Hussein, from Iraq, either to America or to Britain. And, yet, it was invaded. […] My goodness, compared to the 400,000 people — and the country it has devastated — and for no reason whatsoever. Why aren’t they accountable? Why isn’t George Bush being made accountable? If Saddam Hussein has been made accountable for anyone whom he killed, then look at the enormous … [caller was, here, cut off by the BBC host].

The next caller seconded the unmentionable:

I’m really following-up the same point as your previous caller. I hold no brief, whatsoever, for Saddam Hussein. He committed terrible atrocities during his reign. But, he was actually convicted and found guilty of a crime against humanity, condemned to death, and hanged on the narrow charge that he authorized the murder of 200 [148] civilians in a village in northern Iraq. Now compare that, as your previous caller said, with the many thousands, mostly civilians — women and children — who were killed by the American bombing of Baghdad and so forth which was authorized by President George W. Bush in his capacity as the commander-in-chief of the United States forces. The power of simple, common sense truths.

This simple truth — the disparity between Hussein’s being hanged for his crime against humanity of ordering 148 executions versus Bush and Blair’s apparent impunity in committing the supreme international crime of ordering a war of aggression against a sovereign nation and killing tens, or hundreds, of thousands of people in the process — must be carried forth, told and retold, by all who would demand an end to the war in Iraq, the prosecution of all war criminals, and an end to US and UK imperial misadventures.

— — — Sean M. Madden is a UK-based American who guides himself and others in mindful living, meditation and writing. He blogs at Mindful Living Guide and iNoodle.com, and can be reached via email at sean@inoodle.com. © copyright 2007 by Sean M. Madden

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The World Agrees: Stop Him

Robert Scheer Bill Van Auken

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Stop him before he kills again. That is the judgment of the American people, and indeed of the entire world, as to the performance of our president, and no State of the Union address can erase that dismal verdict.

President Bush has accomplished what Osama bin Laden only dreamed of by disgracing the model of American democracy in the eyes of the world. According to an exhaustive BBC poll, nearly three-quarters of those polled in 25 countries oppose the Bush policy on Iraq, and more than two-thirds believe the U.S. presence in the Middle East destabilizes the region.

In other words, the almost universal support the United States enjoyed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks has been completely squandered, as a majority of the world’s people now believe that our role in the entire world is negative.

“The thing that comes up repeatedly is not just anger about Iraq,” said Steven Kull, the director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, which helped conduct the global poll. “The common theme is hypocrisy. The reaction tends to be: ‘You were a champion of a certain set of rules. Now you are breaking your own rules, so you are being hypocritical.’ ”

More depressing, that judgment is shared by those who know us best: our allies in Britain, the only country still willing to share our sacrifices in Bush’s once ballyhooed “Coalition of the Willing.” Despite British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s dogged support of his American chum, fully 81 percent of Britons told the BBC they are opposed to U.S. actions in Iraq, while a scant 14 percent still believe the United States is a stabilizing force in the Mideast.

But it is not just our failure in that all-important region that disgraces us. Those around the world who still believe we play a positive global role has dropped to a miserable 29 percent, strikingly similar to Bush’s overall performance numbers at home, according to the most recent CBS poll. So it’s true: Bush is “a uniter, not a divider”—uniting people across the world in their opposition to his policies.

With a whopping 71 percent saying in an ABC-Washington Post poll that the country is seriously off track, the Post called it “the highest such expression of national pessimism in more than a decade.” And that’s at a time when the economy, presumed to be the all-important bellwether, is in halfway decent shape.

It’s the war, stupid, and ending it is the major concern of most Americans, while all other issues are in single digits of importance to them.

In a shocking twist, Americans are now turning to the Democrats in Congress for leadership on foreign policy. “Three in 5 Americans trust congressional Democrats more than Bush to deal with Iraq, and the same proportion want Congress to try to block his troop-increase plan,” reported the Post. That is a mandate the Democrats ignore at their own peril.

Even an increasing number of congressional Republicans, most recently Sen. John Warner of Virginia, have made it clear that ending this disastrous adventure is vital to their electoral future. Warner, along with several moderates in both parties, proposed legislation on Tuesday opposing Bush’s sending of 21,500 additional troops to Iraq.

In fact, it seems as if everyone gets it except the president and those still hunkered down with him in the White House. “They’ve backed themselves into a tough corner,” GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio told the Post, “and the problem is his continued insistence for the troop increase, which flies in the face of what 70 percent of Americans want.”

He added that it makes Bush seem to say, “I’ll listen to you, but I’ll do what I want anyway.” Hardly the message that the leader of the world’s greatest experiment in representative democracy should be sending to the world. It is a message voters in the midterm election soundly rejected, along with the association of this great country with torture and chicanery, and it is the basis of what the Post calls a mainstream America “honeymoon” with the Democrats.

Americans understand in their gut that the long-term consequences of disillusionment with democracy, here and abroad, would be disastrous. In the same way Congress repudiated an out-of-control president three decades ago, the House and Senate must show the world today that our celebrated system of checks and balances is not just a fanciful mirage.

Spreading the ideal of democracy throughout the world remains a compelling obligation of those who enjoy freedom, making this an excellent occasion to demonstrate that we still possess a system capable of holding a deceitful and egomaniacal leader accountable.

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From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

Judicial Watch Releases Pentagon Records from “North American Forum” Meetings

Judicial Watch continues to push for transparency regarding high-level meetings between officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico under the auspices of the “Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).”

You may recall, this partnership was launched on March 23, 2005 by President Bush, former Mexican President Vincente Fox and former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin during a meeting in Waco, Texas, with the expressed goal of “a safer, more prosperous North America.” Since that time, high level meetings have taken place between officials from all three nations, making some people very anxious. Congress and many in the media don’t seem much interested in figuring out what the SPP is all about, so Judicial Watch has launched an investigation to get the facts.

Earlier this week, Judicial Watch released documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act from U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) that don’t exactly calm the nerves. The documents concern the participation of NORTHCOM Commander Admiral Timothy Keating, NORTHCOM Political Advisor Deborah Bolton, and Plans, Policy & Strategy Director Major General Mark Volcheff in a meeting of the “North American Forum” at the Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Canada on September 12-14, 2006. (A similar request for records concerning forum participation by then-Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and his entourage is still pending with the Pentagon.)

Thel records we obtained include: 1) Proposed comments for Admiral Keating’s speech to the North American Forum; 2) Presentation outlines withhandwritten marginal notes and comments from Ms. Bolton; 3) Policy papers; 4) Biographic sketches of participants; and 5) Notes fromMajor General Volcheff.

Presentations during the meeting focused on immigration and border enforcement; full economic and energy integration, including infrastructure and transportation; a North American investment fund; and common customs and duties. The idea of a carbon tax was raised as a means to combat so-called global warming. References to the “Security and Prosperity Partnership” occur throughout the documents.

Notes of the presentations note that at least one speaker was concerned about the need to overcome popular opposition to North American integration: “To what degree does a concept of North America help/hinder solving problems between the three countries?…While a vision is appealing, working on the infrastructure might yield more benefit and bring more people on-board (‘evolution by stealth’).”

I’ve said all along there’s nothing wrong with neighboring nations working together to address areas of common interest. But when I see phrases such as “evolution by stealth” used in association with the development of international policies and agreements, it is off-putting. All the more reason why Judicial Watch will continue to bring transparency to the Security and Prosperity Partnership discussions.

Stay tuned…

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The dark secret kept hidden for 50 years: how a global media empire was built on a lie

By Saeed Shah Published: 09 October 2002

The virtuous image of the Bertelsmann media empire has been destroyed by a devastating historical study into the company's Nazi links that exposes its post-war success as built on a lie.

The virtuous image of the Bertelsmann media empire has been destroyed by a devastating historical study into the company's Nazi links that exposes its post-war success as built on a lie.

The report, published this week, not only gives details of the company's role in the Nazi propaganda machinery it was the single biggest producer of pro-Nazi literature but provides evidence of its use of forced labor in the war. The British, who administered the part of Germany where Bertelsmann was based after the Second World War, knew of the Nazi links but turned a blind eye.

The findings shatter the image that Bertelsmann has carefully constructed. In June 1998, it took over the US publisher Random House, and its chairman at the time, Thomas Middelhoff, declared proudly that it was "one of the few non-Jewish media companies closed down by the Nazi regime".

Bertelsmann was indeed shut by the Nazis in 1944, but its dark history has remained hidden for more than 50 years. The closure, supposedly because the company published books that the authorities disapproved of, became a central part of the Bertelsmann legend.

The role of other industries in the Third Reich, such as steel and banking, has been documented. But the Bertelsmann report, commissioned by the company, is the first big study of a media business.

British forces provided Bertelsmann with a license to print books after the Allies occupied Germany at the end of the war, and so gave it a cover to bury its past.In 1945, two officers, known to the researchers only by their surnames, Felix and Paget-Brown, granted Heinrich Mohn, the head of the company's founding family, the authority to set up in business.

Mr Mohn insisted to the officers that Nazis had censored his company's books and that it had been closed in 1944 because of its dissenting texts.

Professor Norbert Frei of the Ruhr University in Bochum, one of the authors of the 800-page report, said: "Mohn lied. He did not mention his support of the SS. He did not mention that one of his daughters had joined the Nazi party ... They just covered up their connection to the National Socialist regime."

By 1947, British officials had found out the truth but, because few in Germany seemed untainted by the Nazis, turned a blind eye to it on condition that Mohn's son, Reinhard, applied for a renewal of the license. Father and son set about turning Bertelsmann into a big media player. Heinrich Mohn died in the mid-1950s but Reinhard Mohn, now in his eighties, remains the power behind the scenes. On its 150th anniversary in 1995, Bertelsmann published a company history that made no mention of Nazi activities.

Bertelsmann is today the world's largest publisher of books, one of the leading publishers of magazines, Europe's biggest television group, and owner of the BMG music business. In the UK, it is the majority owner of Channel 5. As a global media group, Bertelsmann ranks alongside Vivendi Universal and AOL Time Warner and is bigger than Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

However, troubling questions about its past after the Random House takeover in the US forced Mr Middelhoff to set up an independent commission of academics three years ago.

In Munich on Monday, the commission set out its findings. The study helped to explain the rapid rise of an obscure provincial publisher, based in the small central town of Gütersloh. The researchers were stunned to discover that Bertelsmann was the biggest publisher of Nazi texts, bigger even than the National Socialist Party's own printing business. It pumped out 20 million books to spread the word. Its support was evident long before the war. In the early 1930s, the firm published, for instance, The Christmas Book for Hitler Youth, which tried to blend Christianity with Nazi ideology.

Stuart Eizenstat, the American politician and lawyer who led talks with the German government and companies that led to a multibillion-dollar compensation deal over forced labor under the Nazis, praised Bertelsmann for revealing its involvement. But he added: "It underscores for me how broad-based was the incorporation of private German industry in the Third Reich's operations in terms of its involvement at most levels."

Gunter Thielen, Bertelsmann's current chairman, said: "I would like to express our sincere regret for the inaccuracies the Commission has uncovered in our previous corporate history of the World War II era, as well as for the wartime activities that have been brought to light."

Since Bertelsmann took part in the previous settlement, it would like to end the matter with its apology. That will not satisfy victims of the Nazis.

Lord Janner of Braunstone, chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said Mr Thielen's statement was "pathetically inadequate and disgraceful ... From now on, Bertelsmann should do everything in its power to influence public opinion against racism. They have the ability and responsibility to make amends."

Bertelsmann's role in Nazi propaganda had much to do with Heinrich Mohn, who in 1921 took over the family business, then a small publisher of religious texts and hymn books. The man, the company and that region of Germany were imbued with a conservative Protestantism that looked forward to a new, strong state that would reinstate traditional "folkish" German values. That outlook fitted perfectly with that of the Nazi party, which took power in 1933.

Until 1924, Mr Mohn was a member of the German National People's Party, which was largely taken over by the National Socialists. He also joined a scheme that financially supported the SS. Although Mr Mohn was never a member of Adolf Hitler's party, he was sympathetic to it and saw an ideological and business opportunity in its rise to power.

The company outsourced some work and it was in the Baltic cities of Riga and Vilnius that the researchers found that slave Jewish labour was used. Professor Frei said: "The whole post-war image of Bertelsmann was built on a perception that was created after the war. It was possible because there was a significant loss of interest and loss of understanding."

The younger Mr Mohn was not involved with the company during the war but when he returned to Germany in 1946, he took over a firm that had many of the same pro-Nazi managers in place. He says he rarely discussed the war with his father and was not aware of its links with the Nazis.

Professor Frei said: "After 1945, Germans interpreted themselves as the first victims of Nazis. They did not want to accept what they had done before. After such a total defeat, people reinterpret their lives."

BLACKLIST TAINTED BY THE NAZIS

Bertelsmann

The world's largest book publisher insisted for years that it had opposed the Nazi regime, but a new company history says that it benefited from the use of Jewish slave labour and exploited the war so that it could grow from a small provincial firm into the biggest supplier of literature to Hitler's troops.

Deutsche Bank

Germany's largest financial institution became implicated in the expropriation of Jewish-owned enterprises during the Nazi dictatorship.It was not until 1999 that Deutsche Bank admitted its involvement in funding the construction of Auschwitz, the concentration camp where 1.5 million people died.

Degussa

Degussa, one of Germany's oldest companies, admitted in 1997 that it had probably been involved in melting down gold taken from Jewish concentration camp victims. Degussa was under international pressure to admit its part in the affair after years during which it proclaimed its innocence. The precious metals company has also paid compensation to about 500 Auschwitz prisoners reported to have worked for it in a tyre factory.

Siemens

In 1998, the company expressed "deepest regret" for the use of slave labour – an estimated 50,000 workers – to build underground and electronics factories for the Nazi war effort. The company claims, however, that it was forced to do so by the Nazis to fulfill wartime production goals.

Daimler

Daimler was one of the first companies to commission an independent history of its wartime activities, opening its archives to historians in the early 1980s. It has voluntarily paid out more than £6m in compensation to former slave workers, and has initiated contacts with hundreds of former forced laborers.

Volkswagen

The history of Volkswagen's involvement in the Nazi regime was published in 1996 after the company commissioned independent research. Its findings give details of how Hitler commissioned the Beetle and then ordered the building of Kraft durch Freude Stadt – Strength-through-Joy Town – to house the workers. The production lines were staffed with Jewish inmates of Auschwitz concentration camp.

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Facts Behind Merck's Mandatory Vaccine Campaign to Help Pay forVioxx

Sunday, 04 February 2007

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American preteen girls have been designated to pay the price by exposing their bodies to risks of harm.

Condoms remain the safest (and cheapest) method for preventing sexually transmitted diseases. But the pharmaceutical / biomedical industry is Hell bent on marketing more profitable invasive methods.

Merck has financed an aggressive lobbying campaign on behalf of its new Gardasil vaccine for human papilloma virus (HPV), carried out by professional lobbyists and by Women in Government, an organization of state legislators.

Women in Government are trying to pass legislation in every state that would force 11 year old girls to be vaccinated, or be prevented from going to school.

But Merck went one step further: on Friday, Texas Republican governor Rick Perry issued a MANDATORY executive order to force all Texas girls to be vaccinated with Gardasil, completely bypassing Texas' legislative process, overriding parental authority, and ignoring the ethical issues raised by a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease. Perry, of course, is a recipient of Merck largesse.

If one looks beneath the surface, Merck's strong-arm marketing tactics are really a "Do or Die" effort to finance its huge Vioxx litigation costs. Thus, the mandatory HPV vaccine campaign is really a campaign to "Help Pay for Vioxx" losses.

American preteen girls have been designated to pay the price by exposing their bodies to risks of harm.

Below, Meryl Nass, MD,* whose medical expertise includes vaccine safety, epidemiology and biological warfare, provides insight into the medical and ethical concerns--and the unanswered scientific questions about Merck's Gardasil vaccine.

Among the issues addressed by Dr. Nass:

1. Unlike infectious diseases that spread in schools--like polio and measles--HPV is only transmitted sexually. Why, then, is Merck seeking mandatory vaccine orders? Is it deliberately to usurp parental rights and responsibilities?

2. Since boys transfer the HPV virus to girls, why don't boys get vaccinated? Why are only girls being pushed to take the vaccine?

3. There are over 30 HPV viruses. Of these, 10 may cause cancer. Merck's vaccine is effective for only 4 of these potentially cancerous viruses. Therefore, PAP tests are still essential to detect cancer and save lives, as well as condoms, which remain the safest, most effective method for preventing HIV transfer and numerous sexually transmitted diseases.

4. The oversell of Gradasil is likely to mislead those vaccinated to think that they are safe when they are not. This has the potential of increasing both STDs and cancer.

Other questions remain about the clinical trials: How many girls participated in pre-licensure clinical trials and for how long were they followed up? What is the nature of the adverse event reports received by the government Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) since its approval in July 2006 and February 2007?

According to the National Vaccine Information Center, between July 2006 and January 2007, there have been 82 reports of adverse events filed with VAERS following receipt of GARDASIL by girls and boys ranging in age from 11 to 27 years. Reaction reports have come from 21 states, including Virginia and the District of Columbia. All but three of the reports were for adverse events that occurred within one week of vaccination, and more than 60 percent occurred within 24 hours of vaccination.

See: National Vaccine Information Center http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=62176

The National Vaccine Information Center urges state legislatures to investigate the safety and cost of mandating Merck's HPV vaccine--before any policy is adopted. The Alliance for Human Research Protection joins NVIC in asking for investigations into the vaccine's safety and cost.

*Dr. Nass is a board member of the Alliance for Human Research Protection. See her vita at: http://www.anthraxvaccine.org/docs/CV121206.doc

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav 212-595-8974

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Gardasil vaccine: Facts and Implications

Cervical cancer is caused by changes in the cells of the cervix caused by human papilloma viruses (HPV). These viruses can also lead to cancer of the vagina, vulva, anus, penis and scrotum. [1] The cancer-causing viruses are sexually transmitted.

At least 50% of sexually active men and women acquire a genital HPV infection during their lives. The CDC says that by age 50, at least 80% of women will have developed a genital HPV infection.

There are over 30 different HPV viruses that are sexually transmitted. About ten of these have the potential to cause cancer.

The HPV vaccine, Gardasil, contains antigens designed to protect against 4 of the ten dangerous strains of HPV. Three doses are given over six months for protection against these four strains only.

It is estimated that these 4 viruses cause 70% of HPV-induced cancers. The other HPV viruses, not protected by the vaccine, cause 30% of cervical cancers.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 11,000 cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed in women this year, compared to 178,000 new cases of breast cancer. [2] The Cancer Society says, "mortality rates for cervical cancer have declined steadily over the past several decades due to prevention and early detection as a result of screening." They also note, "Importantly, HPV infections are common in healthy women and only rarely result in cervical cancer" and "fortunately, most cervical precancers develop slowly, so nearly all cases can be prevented if a woman is screened regularly."

Because HPV viruses may live on skin around the genital area, condoms are not 100% effective in prevention. However, condom use is associated with a lower rate of cervical cancer.

What about men? About 1,500 new cases of penile cancer will be diagnosed in men this year, and 1,900 cases of anal cancer, linked to HPV.

What does all this mean to me?

First, the vaccine is at best 70% effective, so you can still be infected with HPV viruses that can lead to cervical and other cancers, even after three doses of this vaccine. You can still get genital warts, but are at lower risk. You will still need yearly PAP smears to protect against cervical cancer. PAP tests are extremely effectively at preventing cervical cancer.

Second, you really should be using condoms for all sexual activity to prevent HIV infection and a number of other sexually transmitted diseases.

Don't get the wrong idea that this vaccine will allow you to safely avoid the use of condoms.

Why don't boys get this vaccine? Good question, since they transfer the HPV virus to girls, and they also can get cancer. If boys took the vaccine instead of girls, you could prevent approximately the same number of cancers.

How safe is the vaccine for me? Because it is a new vaccine and has only been used in a few thousand people during clinical trials, the side effect profile of the vaccine is still not known.

What if I get pregnant after getting Gardasil vaccine? Clinical trials showed that women who became pregnant within one month of vaccination had more birth defects than women who received placebo vaccine and became pregnant. After 30 days, this apparent risk disappeared.

What if you were vaccinated, then learned you were pregnant? It is not known if this is a problem, but it might be. Therefore, Merck, the manufacturer, maintains a pregnancy registry to track the outcomes of pregnancies during which women were vaccinated: call (800) 986-8999 to report any Gardasil vaccinations during pregnancy.

Okay, if I still need to use condoms and get yearly PAP smears, what's the point of getting this vaccine?

* Women who don't get pap smears, who have more partners, or who for other reasons are at higher risk of cervical cancer may benefit from this vaccine.

* Women who are monogamous or are not sexually active have a low risk of cervical cancer.

* Gay men are at higher than average risk of penis and anus cancers and may desire this vaccine. It is not known why the vaccine was not approved for men.

Therefore, you should be able to choose whether to receive the vaccine. However, if you get yearly PAPs, and practice safe sex, your benefit from this vaccine is greatly diminished, or nil.

Why are governors and legislatures considering forced Gardasil vaccinations for eleven-year-old girls?

Cervical cancer is not spread by casual contact. State governments are not mandating Gardasil to protect students from infectious diseases like polio or measles that can spread in schools. Instead, they are usurping the parental role of determining what is best for their children's health.

The retail cost of the 3 vaccine doses is $360, which will not be paid by the lawmakers. Why not give free PAP smears to all interested women instead, which would cost about the same amount?

Marketing is the answer. Merck developed this strategy to sell the largest amount of vaccine: making every preteen girl get the shots. Year after year, the vaccine market would be guaranteed, with Merck collecting approximately 1 Billion dollars annually from US sales alone.

"At a Wall Street briefing last month, Peter Loescher, president of global human health at Merck, said he emphasizes "speed, speed, speed" in a product launch. Already, he noted, 80 percent of cities and states - including Maryland - have ordered Gardasil to be distributed through Vaccines for Children. The federally funded program provides free vaccines to doctors who serve children with little or no insurance."[3]

Merck provides funding to the organization "Women in Government," a bipartisan group of state legislators, to sponsor its campaign for statewide vaccine mandates.[4]

Women in Government's work has included enacting legislation to require HPV vaccine for school entry, obtaining medicaid coverage for HPV testing, creating cervical cancer task forces at the state level, enacting cervical cancer prevention legislation, and obtaining compulsory insurance reimbursement for HPV testing and HPV vaccinations. Their website has a map with each state tracked as to how far along it is toward enacting the desired legislative mandates.

Bypassing the Texas Legislature altogether, the Republican Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, issued an order Friday February 2, making Texas the first state to require that schoolgirls get vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.

Why did Merck emphasize speed in this product launch? They wanted to get the vaccine mandates in place before the bad publicity started.

The Associated Press reports that one of Merck's three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry's former chief of staff. His current chief of staff's mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government. The governor also received $6,000 from Merck's political action committee during his re-election campaign.

Instead of trying to prevent cancer, it is starting to look more and more like the HPV vaccine really stands for "Help Pay for Vioxx" - Merck's failed arthritis pain pill that is costing the company several billion in settlements for adverse effects and deaths. Merck's strong-arm tactics for marketing Gardasil are a "Do or Die" attempt to get the company back on a secure financial footing. American preteen girls are to pay the price.

Yet it is not at all clear how long the vaccine will work. Boosters will probably be needed after several years. Will new diseases crop up at higher rates in those who were vaccinated?

The FDA is requiring Merck to gather more safety information: on autoimmune conditions, cancer and possible birth defects.[5] FDA wants to find out how long protection lasts, and whether non-vaccine strains of HPV will "take over" from the vaccine strains, in effect nullifying vaccine benefit.

Unless an eleven year old will begin sexual experimentation in the next couple of years, there is plenty of time to wait and see how this vaccine pans out, once it has been used in larger populations for longer periods of time. Then an informed decision can be made regarding its value for you.

Meryl Nass, MD

References: 1. CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/STD/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm#Whatis 2. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2007.20 http://www.cancer.org/docroot/STT/stt_0_2006.asp?sitearea=STT&level=1 3. Laura Smitherman. Drug firm pushes vaccine mandate. Baltimore Sun, January 29, 2007. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/politics/bal-te.md.cervical29jan29,0, 2725203.story?page=2&coll=bal-mdpolitics-headlines 4. Women in Government's legislative toolkit: http://www.womeningovernment.org/prevention/legislative_toolkit.asp 5. http://www.fda.gov/cber/approvltr/hpvmer060806L.htm

Continued: Disturbing!!! The banner headline news story in today's New York Post (below) reports that New York City's "Department of Education has turned thousands of public school students into "guinea pigs" --allowing researchers to use kids in lucrative and racially explosive studies, critics charge."

The Post reports that City education officials "last year quietly approved more than 50 research projects related to health, psychology, race, ethnicity, gender and religion - mostly on kids in the poorest neighborhoods, a Post investigation has found."

In all, the Post discovered that nearly 200 dubious racially charged, "research projects" are being conducted on NYC public school children. Some of these studies are financed by multimillion-dollar government grants. None of the studies have any component to help children improve their education.

New York University and Columbia University are vying for psychological / sociological research grants fixated on prying children's privacy and innocence. Inasmuch as "prejudice" is being considered as a "mental disorder"--it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out this is heading toward expanding "mental health" services.

Equally important: If we do not permit religious intrusion into our publicly financed schools-- why is the Board of Education allowing academically-trained snoopers --with their own set of prejudices and preconceived religious and ethnic bias gain access to school children?

Not everything that packages itself as "research" deserves to be funded by taxpayers.

The Post reports that parents, children and teachers*** are being paid cash incentives--surely the public can see through this for what it is--pork!

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav veracare@ahrp.orgThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ http://www.nypost.com/news/news.htm NEW YORK POST 'GUINEA PIG' KIDS STIR FUROR CITY ALLOWS RACIAL STUDIES IN SCHOOLS

By CARL CAMPANILE

SAYING NO: Granville Leo Stevens refused to let his daughter, Savanna, be part of a New York University study at MS 104 in Manhattan.

November 13, 2006 -- The city's Department of Education has turned thousands of public-school students into "guinea pigs" - allowing researchers to use kids in lucrative and racially explosive studies, critics charge.

City education officials last year quietly approved more than 50 research projects related to health, psychology, race, ethnicity, gender and religion - mostly on kids in the poorest neighborhoods, a Post investigation has found.

Nearly 200 studies - some of them financed by multimillion-dollar grants -were OK'd.

All of the studies were conducted with parental consent. But as an incentive, parents and kids often were compensated. The city allows "modest cash payments" to parents and teachers and gift certificates for kids, education officials said.

"We have a laboratory of guinea pigs," said Granville Leo Stevens, a parent activist who refused to allow his daughter, Savanna, to participate in an NYU study at MS 104 in Manhattan last year.

"The Department of Education markets our kids like they're a piece of meat," said Stevens.

Some of the studies target students by race and ethnicity.

Maria Kromidas of Columbia Teachers College is doing a project about "Children and Race in New York City" by observing kids in a Queens elementary school with a largely immigrant student base. She wants to find out how children of different races get along.

A previous study Kromidas conducted with fourth-graders at PS 214 in Brooklyn following 9/11 found South Asian immigrants were subjected to vicious racism by Latino and black classmates.

Kromidas, a former teacher at the school, found that kids linked people from Bangladesh with terror.

"The bulk of the responses from the non-Muslim students were frightening to me," Kromidas wrote in the study.

She questions students during "everyday activities" and lets them "take the conversation wherever they wish to go."

Critics say racially targeted behavioral studies of kids as young as age 9 are intrusive.

"Schools are not laboratories to use children as free experimental subjects," said Vera Sharav, of the Alliance for Human Research Protection.

Another explosive Columbia Teachers College study specifically examines whether Muslim students' religion helps or hurts them in school.

A Columbia University study - funded by a $2.5 million federal grant - provides group psychotherapy and analyses its effectiveness in schools in poor, minority neighborhoods.

Sharav charges that mental-health trials are "junk" science and often wrongly diagnose teens and inflict psychological harm.

They're also an invitation for kids to be referred to private clinics to receive "psychotropic" drugs, she said. No drugs are dispensed by researchers in the schools.

Meanwhile, five years after 9/11, numerous researchers are still looking into the effect of the attacks on city students.

Columbia gives parents involved in 9/11 mental-health counseling sessions at schools $20 to $25 per session, and students are given $10 gift certificates.

And the NYU Child Study Center is studying the effectiveness of "classroom-based psycho- educational workshops" in reducing anxiety and anger in teens after 9/11. Schools covered include Murry Bergtraum HS.

City education officials and researchers defend the studies as advancing students' academic interests and health.

"Our children are not guinea pigs. The research is carefully vetted," said Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger, the DOE's director of assessment and accountability.

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FAIR USE NOTICE: This may contain copyrighted (C ) material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Continued: More Disturbing!!!

Yale-Lilly Experiment: Adolescents Rx Toxic Drug for Presumed Mental Illness They Do Not Have

When the Times refers to an experiment as "bold and controversial" the reporter is sanitizing the fact that the experiment is UNETHICAL—it violates medicine's cardinal rule "First, do no harm." The New York Times reports: "In recent years, psychiatric researchers have been experimenting with a bold and controversial treatment strategy: they are prescribing drugs to young people at risk for schizophrenia who have not yet developed the full-blown disorder."

The article goes on to describe an experiment reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP) in which adolescents were treated with a toxic drug for a mental disorder that they did not actually have. [1]

This experiment is akin to performing mastectomies on women who are at risk of—but do not have—breast cancer. Because the treatment involves risk, great care must be taken to ensure the risk of the disease exceeds the risk of treatment. The risk of breast cancer in women has been quantified, and patients are able to weigh this risk against the risks and benefits of surgery.

Despite the fact that antipsychotic drugs entail serious risks of irreversible harm, no such assessment is offered for this trial. The experiment, sponsored by Eli Lilly, was conducted at Yale University (and 3 added sites, 1997-2003). Sixty adolescents who did not meet any criteria for a diagnosis of mental illness, were prescribed the antipsychotic drug, Zyprexa (olanzapine), raising serious ethical concerns. The speculative premise underlying this experiment is not supported by ANY scientific evidence.

The principle investigators, led by Dr. Thomas McGlashan of Yale, speculated—without evidence and without a validated tool for detecting schizophrenia in unsymptomatic individuals--that Zyprexa would be effective in delaying or preventing presumed psychosis and symptoms of schizophrenia. Indeed, the authors of this belated report obliquely acknowledge this limitation: “the study addressed an essentially new clinical entity, which required designing new “prodromal” assessment instruments and a new definition of psychosis onset.” [1, p.797]

However, the authors neglect to inform readers what their “new definition of psychosis onset” is. They acknowledge recruitment problems compounded by “the variable fraction of patients with true versus false positive prodromes.” In other words, many adolescents were falsely assessed as at risk of psychosis. The investigators don’t disclose what the inclusion / exclusion criteria were. We would venture to guess that no journal other than in psychiatry would publish a clinical trial report that failed to provide such fundamental information.

The report lags three years behind completion of this (admittedly) underpowered, small trial, most likely because the sponsor was reluctant to publish the negative finding: the experiment failed to demonstrate a significant benefit of Zyprexa, and 54.8% of adolescents prescribed Zyprexa compared to 34.5% on placebo refused to complete the study (the 20% difference indicating substantial intolerable safety problems with the drug). [1]

The investigators fail to report the adverse events. Disclosing only that adolescents on Zyprexa had acute weight gain—averaging 13% increase in body weight in one year—which they acknowledge may pose a long-term risk for “metabolic syndrome.” (See below American Heart Association) Another highly significant reported finding: “It is striking that all of the olanzapine patients whose symptoms converted to psychosis did so within the first weeks of the clinical trial. These patients were among the most symptomatic.” [1, p. 798]

But the authors demonstrate feats of mental acrobatics when they offer implausible explanations for this disturbing finding in an effort to deny the possibility that the drug is to blame:

“It is possible that some patients were already psychotic but unable to communicate this until, paradoxically, they received sufficient olanzapine to convey effectively their state of mind….some of these patients may have been on the cusp of psychosis and were not medicated rapidly or sufficiently enough to forestall conversion.”

[1] The plausible alternative hypothesis is that the drug itself may have pushed them into psychosis.

The drug’s severe adverse effects were well-known to Eli Lilly and were (or should have been) known to the investigators. Zyprexa’s action blocks multiple brain receptors causing a laundry list of adverse effects—some of which are lethal. At the time of the drug’s approval, the FDA noted that the pre-marketing clinical trials of Zyprexa were “fundamentally flawed,” test design was biased, as was the patient pool.

[2] Zyprexa’s safety profile in pre-marketing trials (lasting 6-weeks) showed the drug caused severe adverse effects in 22% of patients.

During the 6-week trials, adverse effects included: Cardiac & Hypotension - 10% to 15%; Serious weight gain - 50% had gained 7% of their body weight; Parkinson-like motor dysfunction - 11.7%; Akathisia - 7.3%; FDA data reveals that the drop-out rate was 65%. There were 22 deaths of which 12 were suicides. The number of attempted suicides has yet to be disclosed.

Indeed, internationally acknowledged expert psychopharmacologist, Dr. David Healy, has pointed out that the rate of suicide, death, and suicide attempts linked to Zyprexa in pre-marketing clinical trials was “greater than any other psychotropic drugs in history.”

[3] In fact, FDA’s summation of the safety data submitted by Eli Lilly warned, that, given olanzapine’s broad action on multiple receptor types, “no one should be surprised if, upon marketing, events of all kinds and severity not previously identified are reported in association with olanzapine’s use.” [2, p. 281] That dire prediction is being corroborated by the drug's casualties. Since its marketing, Zyprexa has been shown to significantly increase the lethal risk of metabolic syndrome which is manifested in obesity, hyperglycemia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and pancreatitis. Patients are dying.

In fact, Eli Lilly settled a lawsuit filed by 8,000 consumers of Zyprexa who developed diabetes for $700 million, rather than risk public disclosure of the documented evidence showing the magnitude of this drug’s severe hazards in open court.

This dubious drug experiment was sponsored by Eli Lilly and several Lilly employees are listed as authors. It is the worst example of unethical market expansion through "disease mongering." Subjects were recruited through advertisements for an experiment designed to expand the market for the drug beyond severely ill patients disabled by schizophrenia or manic-depression (bipolar) for whom it was approved—no matter how harmful the consequences might be.

In April 2000, we filed a complaint with the federal Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP), about the ethics of this dubious experiment citing:

1. the shaky basis for the psychiatrists' conjecture that the children would develop schizophrenia because one of their siblings has the disorder when the scientific evidence does not support it. "The risk of schizophrenia for the general population is 1%, for siblings the risk increases to 8% to 15% - in other words there is a 90% likelihood that these children will not develop schizophrenia. Even for those who already exhibit early signs ("prodromal symptoms"), the estimated risk for developing schizophrenia is highly variable (25% to 50%), given the absence of scientifically accurate tools for interpreting psychiatric "symptoms."

2. FDA data showing evidence of the severe effects of Zyprexa. [See: http://www.ahrp.org/Initiatives/YaleComplaint.php ]

Our complaint led to an investigation by OHRP whose letter of determination (December 12, 2000, addressed to Yale’s Provost) states that the informed consent documents reviewed and approved by the Yale institutional review board (IRB): “seriously breached federal regulations.”

OHRP indicates that in its response the Yale IRB claimed “some confusion regarding informed consent documents that were misplaced or not signed.”

The OHRP letter further states that the Yale IRB-approved informed consent forms: “failed to include a complete description of the procedures followed and identification of any procedures which were experimental;” and misrepresented the risk “of worsening symptoms due to olanzapine side effects” by falsely stating “it is possible that you will feel worse. This is a risk of your clinical condition, not a risk of being in the study.” See: http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/detrm_letrs/dec00e.pdf

The negative results of the experiment and the high drop out rate were predictable inasmuch as evidence of the drug’s intolerable effects and hazards had been noted by FDA reviewers at the time of the drug’s approval for adult schizophrenia—not for presumed “prodromal” symptoms in adolescents.

Given the absence of a diagnosable illness; the uncertainty surrounding an ill-defined, “prodromal” assessment which often results in “false-positives,” should have precluded its approval. All the more so, given the documented evidence of immediate and long-term risks posed by the drug. Yet, the Yale University IRB, one of the most prestigious institutions in the U.S. approved it. The Yale IRB was chaired (between1979-2000) by one of the most influential authoritative bioethicists, Dr. Robert Levine. See: http://cira.med.yale.edu/about_us/bios.asp?PID=1003

This experiment encapsulates the prevailing utilitarian culture and ethical relativism that engulfs academic medicine demonstrating how the symbiotic relationship between academia and the drug industry has resulted in institutional betrayal of moral, professional, scientific integrity, and public trust.

The published report lists the individual authors, as well as the departments of psychiatry of the following institutions: Yale University; University of Toronto; University of No. Carolina (Chapel Hill); University of Calgary; Dallas VA Medical Center and University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center; Lilly Research Laboratories; McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical.

In 1998, a clinical trial of Zyprexa was conducted at UCLA in which the drug was tested in five hospitalized children (age 6 to 11. All children suffered adverse events: "treatment was discontinued in all five children within the first 6 weeks of treatment because of adverse effects or lack of clinically significant therapeutic response." Chasened by the drug's adverse effect on the children, the authors cautioned clinicians: "Until more encouraging data are available, clinicians should be cautious and conservative in their predictions about the potential value of olanzapine in treating preadolescent psychiatric disorders."

[4] Notwithstanding the fact that there is still no evidence of this drug's safety or clinical efficacy to support the use of Zyprexa or any other antipsychotic drug for children, psychiatrists are encouraged to prescribe these drugs anyway. Indeed, two and a half million children are prescribed antipsychotics for ill defined conditions. USA Today documents prescription drug abuse by American doctors who are harming children by prescribing these drugs irresponsibly. (A companion Infomail will be follow).

AHRP has obtained a copy of a direct to consumer advertisement by Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, which is recruiting young children for antipsychotic drug experiments. The ad suggestis children's behavior may be an indication they are bipolar. Harvard psychiatrists have subjected preschool toddlers--whose mean age is 4 years old— to the hazardous effects of Zyprexa and Risperdal (risperidone).

[5] Who will protect America’s children from institutionally sanctioned market expansion masquerading as medicine or science? Who will enforce informed consent requirements ensuring that parents are (at least) fully informed about the risks of treatment? If children are at all valued, then Congress must pass a law requiring ALL research documents involving children to be publicly posted for independent review. These should include: protocols, informed consent forms, ALL efficacy and safety data in support of claimed findings--including ALL adverse event reports.

References: 1. Thomas McGlashan, et al. Randomized, Double-Blind Trial of Olanzapine Versus Placebo in Patients Prodromally Symptomatic for Psychosis, American J of Psychiatry, May 5, 2006, 163:790–799.

2. Robert Whitaker, Mad in America, Perseus Books, 2002.

3. David Healy,Randomized Controlled Trials: Evidence Biased Psychiatry, http://www.ahrp.org/COI/healy0802.php

4. Krishnamoorthy J, King BH J. Open-label olanzapine treatment in five preadolescent children, Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol 1998; 8(2):107-13=20

5. Mick E, Biederman J, Aleardi M, Dougherty M . Open trial of atypical antipsychotics in pre-schoolers with bipolar disorder [abstract]. Acta Psychiatr Scand, (2004) 110: 29

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav veracare@ahrp.orgThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/01/health/01psych.html?ex=1147147200&en=1a9efa6f722d3bf9&ei=5070&emc=eta1 THE NEW YORK TIMES Mixed Result in Treating Schizophrenia Pre-Diagnosis

By BENEDICT CAREY May 1, 2006

In recent years, psychiatric researchers have been experimenting with a bold and controversial treatment strategy: they are prescribing drugs to young people at risk for schizophrenia who have not yet developed the full-blown disorder.

The hope is that while exposing some to drugs unnecessarily, preemptive treatment may help others ward off or even prevent psychosis, sparing them the agonizing flights of paranoia and confusion that torment the three million American who suffer schizophrenia.

Yet the findings from the first long-term trial of early drug treatment, appearing today in The American Journal of Psychiatry, suggest that this preventive approach is more difficult to put into effect — and more treacherous — than scientists had hoped.

Daily doses of the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa, from Eli Lilly, blunted symptoms in many patients and lowered their risk of experiencing a psychotic episode in the first year of treatment, the study found. But the drug also caused significant weight gain, and so many participants dropped out of the study that investigators could not draw firm conclusions about drug benefits, if any.

The long-awaited study, which was financed by Eli Lilly and the National Institute of Mental Health, raised more questions than it answered, experts said.

"The positive result was only marginally significant, and the negative result was clear," said Dr. Thomas McGlashan, a professor of psychiatry at Yale and the study's lead author. "This might discourage people, and legitimately so, from using this drug for prevention because of the weight gain, but hopefully it won't discourage study" of other drugs.

Critics have charged that treating people for a disorder that has not yet been diagnosed is not only premature but stigmatizing, especially for adolescents. The new study was intended in part to clarify the trade-off between the risks and the potential benefits of preemptive treatment.

"Unfortunately, the study's numbers are so small that it cannot be decisive on the key issue, which is whether it's prudent to treat people early when there are uncertainties about the diagnosis and given the effect of stigma and adverse effects," said Dr. William Carpenter, director of the Psychiatric Research Center at the University of Maryland, who was not involved in the study.

The study was plagued by recruitment problems from the beginning, in 1997. Mild, psychosis-like symptoms are rare in adolescents, and families often wait until symptoms are pronounced before seeking treatment, Dr. McGlashan said. Good candidates trickled in slowly; and the researchers added several recruitment sites along the way to increase the numbers of people in the study.

They eventually enrolled 60 people, most of them adolescents, who scored highly on a scale that assesses risk for psychosis. The scale rates severity of more than a dozen symptoms, including suspiciousness, grandiosity and bizarre thoughts. From 20 to 45 percent of people who score high on the scale go on to develop full-blown psychosis, in which these symptoms become extreme, researchers have found.

The researchers split the participants into two groups, one that received drug treatment and one that took placebo pills. In the first year of a two-year trial, 5 of the 31 of those on medication developed full-blown psychosis, compared with 11 of 29 of those who were taking dummy pills.

But by then, more than two-thirds of the young people in both groups had dropped out, making it difficult to interpret differences between them. Some left the study without explaining why; others moved; and 10 of those on medication quit the study because they felt the drug was not working, could not make the appointments or did not like the side effects, among other reasons.

Those on medication gained an average of 20 pounds during the study. Weight gain is a common side effect of Zyprexa.

"It's a pessimistic trade-off, the weight gain and other side effects for what looks like a modest delay in the acute psychotic episode," said Dr. Steven Hyman, a professor of neurobiology at Harvard . "It's clear we need more efficacious drugs with milder side effects."

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

http://www.americanheart.org/images/interface/spacer.gif American Heart Association

What is the metabolic syndrome?

The metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors in one person. They include:

* Abdominal obesity (excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen) * Atherogenic dyslipidemia (blood fat disorders — high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol — that foster plaque buildups in artery walls) * Elevated blood pressure * Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (the body can’t properly use insulin or blood sugar) * Prothrombotic state (e.g., high fibrinogen or plasminogen activator inhibitor–1 in the blood) * Proinflammatory state (e.g., elevated C-reactive protein in the blood)

People with the metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of coronary heart disease and other diseases related to plaque buildups in artery walls (e.g., stroke and peripheral vascular disease) and type 2 diabetes. The metabolic syndrome has become increasingly common in the United States. It’s estimated that over 50 million Americans have it.

The dominant underlying risk factors for this syndrome appear to be abdominal obesity and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a generalized metabolic disorder, in which the body can’t use insulin efficiently. This is why the metabolic syndrome is also called the insulin resistance syndrome.

Other conditions associated with the syndrome include physical inactivity, aging, hormonal imbalance and genetic predisposition.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This may contain copyrighted (© ) material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

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