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Wife, mother wrongfully convicted of murder; aspartame not even indicted (yet)
From the June 2003 Idaho Observer:
by Don Harkins
We live in a time when money rules: products that maim and kill are approved by the government and the injuries and deaths they cause are blamed on something or someone else. When infants die from an adverse reaction to vaccines, innocent parents are routinely sentenced to life in prison for shaking their babies to death. Today, a fine innocent woman and widowed mother of three sits in a Virginia prison, sentenced to serve 20 years and 30 years concurrently for poisoning her husband with methanol. As you are about to see, her husband was murdered, but Diane Fleming was not the killer.
Shortly after New Years, 2000, Chuck Fleming, 37, an athletic man who had been into body building for years added to his dietary regimen Gatorade and Creatine. Six months later he was dead. The autopsy shows he died of chronic methanol poisoning. He had been using Ripped Fuel, an ephedra-containing product which interacts with aspartame, Met-Rex containing aspartame, and now Gatorade mixed with Creatine to help build muscle mass.
On the way home from church on a Sunday afternoon in June, 2000 the Flemings stopped to buy a case of Gatorade and a carton of Creatine. Chuck Fleming mixed a bottle of warm Gatorade with triple the amount of Creatine recommended. He misread the directions calling for a teaspoon, instead of a tablespoon. Diane recalls her husband didn't like the taste, but put the bottle in the refrigerator and took off to play basketball, as was his custom 2-3 times a week.
For about a month prior to his death, Fleming had complained to his wife about shortness of breath and intermittent nausea. For years Fleming drank ten or more 12-ounce cans of diet soft drinks each day and each evening had 2-4 mixed drinks of bourbon and Diet Sprite. He drank very little water and never tea or coffee. while on his fitness regimen, he ate various protein health bars and took several pharmaceutical preparations including Prevacid, digestive antacid, Tetracycline (antibiotic), Naproxed (digestive anti-inflammatory ), a multivitamin with iron and Vancenase AQ, a nasal inhaler for allergies.
ANATOMY OF MASS MURDER
The process whereby the G. D. Searle Corporation, then led by current Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, secured aspartame's FDA approval is beyond the scope of this article. However, comments by Arthur Evangelista, a former Food and Drug Administration Inspector, put the government approval of the chemical sweetener into proper perspective. "Regardless of how I initially felt about aspartame, the evidence is factual. It's a poison. Now we have to do something about it because aspartame in our food supply is MASS MURDER." (EMPHASIS ORIGINAL).
Aspartame is now used as a sweetener in thousands of products consumed by millions of Americans daily. The FDA lists 92 symptoms of aspartame poisoning. Sudden death is one of them. Unprecedented numbers of Americans are dropping dead. The Atlanta Journal Constitution some months ago reported 450,000 people have dropped dead for no apparent reason. James Bowen, M.D., himself a case study in aspartame poisoning, believes the excitoxin is responsible for the nation's epidemic of sudden deaths. "My articles at www.dorway.com and my book 'Billions of Victims' are essential reading for a full understanding of the sudden death issue relative to aspartame." commented Dr. Bowen.
MURDER BY METHANOL
Returning from basketball, Fleming ate a bowl of ice cream, then mixed Creatine into three remaining three bottles of Gatorade and went to bed early. Next morning he woke up feeling ill, but went to work. He took three of the four bottles of Gatorade with him to work, but drank only a third of one bottle before returning home nauseated, thinking he just had a flu bug. Chuck's condition kept deteriorating. By late afternoon the following day, Diane called 911 and her husband was rushed to the hospital. He lapsed into a coma and was removed from life support three days later and soon pronounced dead. An autopsy confirmed methanol poisoning as the cause of death but the report was delayed for several months. Investigative authorities questioned the family about Fleming and his habits and had the Gatorade tested. The bottles of Gatorade each contained measurable amounts of methanol.
This was to be a special week for the Fleming family. Their son Jeff was graduating from High School and Diane's parents had arrived from another state to join the occasion. If you were going to poison your spouse would you select such a time and deliberately destroy the celebration? Ridiculous!!!
Diane was not initially suspected of murdering Chuck, but thirteen months later she was arrested and indicted. At trial it was decided, purely as an unsupported assumption that the source of the methanol that led to Fleming's death was from a gallon of windshield washer fluid found in the Fleming garage. The jury was persuaded to believe that Diane added it to the Gatorade/Creatine mixture. Curiously, of the four bottles of Gatorade found to contain methanol in concentrations that ranged from 3.3 percent to 4.07 per cent (by weight) only half of one bottle had been consumed. A toxicologist at the trial testified there wasn't enough methanol in all four bottles to kill Fleming. One-third of one bottle at the concentrations determined could not have been the cause of the man's death, yet Fleming had methanol poisoning.
THE BIOCHEMISTRY OF A MURDER
If Diane did not poison her husband where did the methanol in his body come from? In his article, Aspartame and Methanol Revisited, Dr. Bowen explains the aspartame decomposition process: in the body it metabolizes to methanol (wood alcohol), then to formaldehyde, next to formic acid (fire ant poison) next to carbon monoxide. Outside of the body, aspartame decomposes at room temperature, but the body accelerates with higher temperatures. Lab tests show aspartame in soda diminishes with time, and methanol and formaldehyde, not present initially, accumulate in measurable quantities as breakdown proceeds.
It should also be noted that the methanol found in the unopened, sealed container of windshield wiper fluid was not matched forensically to the methanol found in the Gatorade/Creatine mixture. The wiper fluid theory, an assumption the prosecutor used to convict Diane Fleming of killing her husband, is pure conjuncture and imaginzation. Let's call it "Uncircumstantial Evidence!"
Aspartame is a cumulative poison, explains Betty Martini of Mission Possible, a worldwide network of activists working to remove aspartame from our foods and drinks: "I believe Chuck's addiction of aspartame-laced diet drinks accumulated the methyl alcohol in his body and finally overcame him. Many recent reports of sudden death of professional athletes mirror Chuck Fleming's case. Fleming's diet soda habit is not questioned. We can state with certainty that he had elevated levels of aspartame decomposition toxins in his system. Also, on that fatal day he mixed too much Creatine into his Gatorades and did not drink any water as the manufacturer recommends.
The toxic properties of aspartame are well documented, and several books about this poison have been written by highly credentialed medical doctors. It is an effective rat and ant killer. Aspartame responds synergistically to transform other substances such as ephedra, MSG and pharmaceutical drugs into toxic compounds. "During the last year I had been researching Creatine and Ephedra and never thought the culprit was aspartame", said Diane's friend Betty Rickmond.
Rickmond has never doubted her friend's innocence and is absolutely certain the evidence proves. Diane did not murder her husband. She even passed a polygraph with flying colors which is, sadly, not admissible in court." The evidence says Fleming died from his addiction to aspartame-sweetened beverages.
At the time of the trial, the defense didn't know aspartame converts into methanol. A subsequent appeal was denied. An appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court is pending. Martini, who has thousands of cases histories of aspartame poisoning, believes that Diane's tragic case can raise public awareness and lead to banning this poison. Diane Fleming's life has been destroyed. She lost her loved husband, her three children, her home, her freedom, and her dignity and good name. In short, Diane lost her life! Will she evermore be called a murderess?
The National Soft Drink Association strenuously protested against aspartame approval "Aspartame is inherently, markedly and uniquely unstable." Their long protest is recorded in the May 7, l985 Senate Congressional Record S5507-11. When it was approved thanks to Mr. Rumsfeld's talents, they forgot their protests because they save 75% over sugar when they substitute this poison. FDA has received more complaints about this sweetener. FDA has received more complaints about this toxic substance then all other food additives combined, but 11 FDA officials switched to take positions in the aspartame industry.
Urgent Plea for Help
Please Help Mission Possible Free Diane Fleming!
ASPARTAME: DIANE FLEMING STORY UPDATE
June 6, 2006: DULUTH, GEORGIA
Once upon a time a mother of three and Sunday school teacher had a husband, a family and home, and many friends. Her husband was a body builder who played lots of basketball, and drank lots of aspartame laced pop, kept piled high in a garage, and other products like Metrex with aspartame.
Aspartame damages the cardiac conduction system causing sudden death. You've seen the reports of many athletes who have simply dropped dead. In fact, we have an Athlete Alert for sudden death by neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D.
In the case of Charles Fleming it wasn't sudden death, he lingered a couple of days, but this article explains the damage of aspartame to an athlete.
Charles had been using diet drinks for years. How did he even survive this long? His autopsy showed the chronic methanol poisoning, the fatty liver and cardiomegaly or enlarged heart for no apparent reason, and metabolic acidosis. Diane Fleming took a lie detector test, and in fact, called the police at the request of the physician and even helped the police in attempting to find the origin of the methyl alcohol. Diane herself used aspartame with no idea it contains methanol. While the manufacturer is quick to say its but a small amount of methanol, 10% by weight, experts know in molecular chemistry its one molecule of aspartic acid (an excitotoxin) to one molecule of methanol (a neurotoxin) to one molecule of phenylalanine (a neurotoxin). That's 33% free methyl alcohol. No wonder the FDA refuses to answer any questions about it.
She has been in prison for four years, an innocent woman. The detective on the case said to me: "No way Diane is guilty, but I couldn't stop the indictment because I was promoted just at that time. I couldn't have slept at night if I had been responsible for sending an innocent woman to prison."
See the story written by Don Harkins of the Idaho Observer: Wife and
Mother Wrongfully convicted of Murder:
Her habeas was turned down and now an attorney has appealed to the
Supreme Court. He is Attorney David B. Hargett at the address below:
Please contribute any amount that you can and send it to:
Diane Fleming Defense Fund
David B. Hargett, Esq.
Hargett & Watson, PLC
11545 Nuckols Road, Suite C
Glen Allen, VA 23059
If you wish to write Diane Fleming or can help free this woman her address is:
Diane Fleming #311655
FCCW 30 207A
Troy, Virginia 22974
I'm sure it would help to receive letters, and know caring people are working to free her from this nightmare and return her to her children. She is only allowed to receive what can be sent with a 37 cent stamp, not over 5 pages regardless.
Look for more about the atrocity that destroyed Diane Fleming's life.
The War and the New York Times
By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
The war in Iraq, one of the most disastrous military enterprises in the history of the Republic, has the New York Times' fingerprints all over it. The role the newspaper played in fomenting the 2003 attack is now one of the best known sagas in journalistic history, as embodied in the reports of Judy Miller, working in collusion with Iraqi exiles and US spooks to concoct Saddam's imaginary arsenal of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
But so fixated have many Times critics been on the WMD/ Miller saga, that they have failed to notice that across the past sixth months the Times has been waging an equally disingenuous campaign to escalate American troop levels in this doomed enterprises.
The prime journalistic promoter of the escalation - it is time to retire the adroitly chosen word "surge" -- now being proposed by the White House is Michael Gordon, the Times' military correspondent, a man of fabled arrogance and self esteem.
Gordon's has been the mouthpiece for the faction -led by Gen. David H. Petraeus -- inside the U.S. military in Iraq that has been promoting the escalation. As Gordon himself triumphantly announced in the New York Times this weekend, Gen. Petraeus has been picked by Bush to lead the open-ended escalation of the war that Petraeus has long campaigned for.
Throughout his time in Iraq Gen. Petraeus himself has been very adroit at fostering good relations with carefully selected reporters, like Gordon. That strategy has been vindicated by the steady stream of stories in the Times--not just by Gordon--reflecting his views.
On the face of it, the idea that the addition of some 25,000 to 30,000 troops will do anything more than add to the cumulative disaster is exactly the sort of crackpot realism "Crackpot realism" defined by the great Texan sociologist, C. Wright Mills in 1958, when he published The Causes of World War Three, also the year that Dwight Eisenhower sent the Marines into Lebanon to bolster its local factotum, Lebanese President Camille Chamoun.
"In crackpot realism," Mills wrote, " a high-flying moral rhetoric is joined with an opportunist crawling among a great scatter of unfocused fears and demands. .. The expectation of war solves many problems of the crackpot realists; ... instead of the unknown fear, the anxiety without end, some men of the higher circles prefer the simplification of known catastrophe....They know of no solutions to the paradoxes of the Middle East and Europe, the Far East and Africa except the landing of Marines. ... they prefer the bright, clear problems of war-as they used to be. For they still believe that 'winning' means something, although they never tell us what..."
Just as it seemed beyond the realm of possibility a month ago that the US could contrive a situation in which Saddam Hussein would be resurrected as a martyr, so now it still seems incredible that two months after an election on November 7 in which the voters punished Bush for the Iraq disaster by giving Congress back to the Democrats , Bush should be pressing for an escalation, backed by almost daily doses of crackpot realism in the New York Times.
A realistic appraisal of the situation in Iraq instructs us that the Shi'a control most of the country, with the exception of the Kurdish areas and the Sunni enclaves. Insofar as Iraq has a government, it is a Shi'a government. The country is already effectively divided. The option of a non-sectarian national army has long gone. So the idea of lengthening US tours of duty, to up the US military presence in Baghdad is the essence of crackpot realism. Of the 30,000 maybe a sixth will actually be combat troops. This little force is supposed to make a long-term difference in a savagely divided, vast city--an urban theater ideal for a guerilla insurgency.
On New Year's Day the Times ran a piece by John Burns and Mark Santora clearly dictated by US officials in Baghdad trying to recoup from the PR disaster of Saddam's hanging. It was a comical essay in Pilate-like handwashing, filled with self-serving accounts of how the Americans had vainly counseled the Maliki puppet regime to observe a more dignified schedule, in accordance with legal proprieties. Of course, the United States controlled the trial and outcome from start to finish, even postponing the announcement of the guilty verdict to November 5, right before election day. The rush to execution was intended to produce headlines overshadowing the 3,000th American death of the war.
I have discussed here more than once the strenuous efforts over the past few months of the Times' military correspondent, Michael Gordon, to promote a hike in US forces in Iraq. A long piece on January 2, under the byline of Gordon, John Burns and David Sanger, made these promotion efforts particularly clear. The piece was a prolonged attack on Gen. George Casey, top military commander in Baghdad, depicted in harsh terms as espousing a defeatist plan of orderly withdrawal.
Finding favor in the reporters' eyes was the military/policy-making faction urging the escalation ceaselessly promoted by their tool, Gordon,
Gordon managed to dodge the fall-out from the WMD debacle he played a major part in contriving. For example, he co-wrote with Miller the infamous aluminum tubes-for-nukes story of September 8, 2002, that mightily assisted the administration in its push to war, In the latter part of 2006 he became the prime journalistic agitator for escalation in troop strength.
On September 11, 2006, the Times ran a Gordon story under the headline, "Grim Outlook Seen in West Iraq Without More Troops and Aid". Gordon cited a senior officer in Iraq saying more American troops were necessary to stabilize Anbar. A story on October 22 emphasized that "the sectarian violence [in Baghdad] would be far worse if not for the American efforts" There were of course plenty of Iraqis and some Americans Gordon could also have found, eager to say the exact opposite.
When John Murtha -- advocate of immediate withdrawal -- was running for the post of House majority leader in the new Democratic-controlled Congress, Gordon rushed out two stories, both front-paged by the New York Times. In "Get Out Now? Not So Fast, Some Experts Say" (11/14/06) Gordon sought out the now retired General Anthony Zinni and others, who "say the situation in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq is too precarious to start thinning out the number of American troops," while "some military experts said that while the American military is stretched thin, the number of American troops in Iraq could be increased temporarily"
The next day, November 15, 2006, a second Gordon story was headlined "General Warns of Risks in Iraq if GIs Are Cut" Gordon cited Gen. Abizaid's warnings that phased withdrawal of troops would lead to an increase of sectarian violence, and that more troops might be necessary temporarily.
At the start of December, the infighting in Washington rose to feverish intensity. With Baker and Hamilton about to issue thneir bipartisan Iraq Study Group report, the White House--as the New York Times' Jan 1 story acknowledged--was desperate to have a "victory" strategy ready to counter the gloomy assessment of Baker and Hamilton. This is what Gordon and the Times had helped provide.
On December 4, with the Iraq Study Group about to issue its report, Gordon returned to General Zinni. In a story headlined, "Blurring Political Lines in the Military Debate" Gordon gave warm, supportive coverage to Gen. Zinni's plan for temporary increase of troops on the grounds that they are needed to offset Iranian influence. The story promoted the line that any precipitate withdrawal would destabilize Middle East and leave Iraq in chaos.
On December 7, Pearl Harbor Day, Gordon was at it again, flailing away at Baker and Hamilton's Report. Headline: "Will it Work on the Battlefield?" Lead: "The military recommendations issued yesterday by the Iraq Study Group are based more on hope than history and run counter to assessments made by some of its own military advisors." Precipitous withdrawal, Gordon charged, would leave Iraqi armed forces unprepared to take over security burden.
Reporter with a propaganda mission can always find the mouthpieces to say what they want. Gordon's "troop surge" campaign has been politically much more influential than the mad-dog ravings of the right-wing broadcasters.
One of the most famous lines in the history of journalism is William Randolph Hearst's 1897 cable to his artist, Frederic Remington, in Cuba, who was complaining there no war for him to draw pictures of. "You furnish the pictures," Hearst cabled his man." I'll furnish the war."
The Times helped furnish the 2003 U.S. attack on Iraq. Now it has played a major role in furnishing a likely escalation. There is blood on its hands, and grieving mothers like Cindy Sheehan have as much cause to demonstrate outside its offices as outside Bush's ranch in Crawford.
In his syndicated column published January 2, Robert Novak reported that barely more than a dozen Republican senators favor escalation. The rest remain impressed by the November 7 verdict of the electorate and fearful of worse in 2008. the Democrats' leaders in Congress--Reid and Pelosi--waver. One day they profess to oppose any escalation. The next, they refuse to countenance any effort to cut off funds for the war. They need 20,000 Cindy Sheehans in their faces, day after day, reminding them forcefully that they have one prime mandate: to bring the troops home.