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Mass Shootings: The New Manifestation of an Ancient Phenomenon & Their Link to Psychiatric Drugs

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This article has been posted here with the permission of Greenmedinfo.com. For ore information from then, you can sign up for their newsletter HERE.  You can find the author’s bio at the bottom of the article.

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Individuals perpetrating unspeakable acts of violence is not a new phenomenon. What’s new, rather, are the altered states of consciousness induced by antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs well-documented to promote homicidal and suicidal behavior in susceptible individuals.

Although semi-automatic weapons have enabled the infliction of mass casualties at an unprecedented scale, massacres perpetrated by lone individuals are not new phenomena. Rather, these tragic and inexplicable events may represent an incarnation of a more ancient phenomena called “running amok,” formerly believed to be a culture-bound syndrome isolated to certain societies.

The Resemblance of Mass Shootings to Running Amok

Used in colloquial verbiage to indicate an irrational individual wreaking havoc, the linguistic origins of “running amok” stem from the description of a mentally perturbed individual that engages in unprovoked, homicidal and subsequently suicidal behavior, oftentimes involving an average of ten victims (1).

Although it was not classified as a psychological condition until 1849, amok was first described anthropologically two hundred years ago in isolated, tribal island populations such as Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Laos, where geographic seclusion and indigenous spirituality were hypothesized to be cultural factors implicated in this culture-bound syndrome. In his eighteenth century voyages, for example, Captain Cook recorded Malay tribesman randomly maiming or executing animals and villagers in a seemingly unprovoked, frenzied attack (1).

Culturally-encapsulated explanations localized blame to spirit possession by the “hantu belian” or evil tiger spirit of Malay mythology, which was believed to have been the source of the involuntary, indiscriminate violence that characterizes amok. In native cultures, sacred healers of the folk sector operated under cultural ideologies where illness was believed to be of supernatural origin, so amok was tolerated as an inevitable element of the cultural experience and offenders were brought to trial (1).

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As Western expansion encroached on remote cultures, incidence of amok decreased, reinforcing the biased view that so-called primitive cultural ideas were responsible for its pathogenesis. Meanwhile, episodes of violence in Western civilizations began to escalate, culminating in the unparalleled modern statistics where shootings have become so frequent that those unaffected become numb and desensitized to their devastating effects, and all live with the threat of an impending shooting as an everyday reality. Formerly considered a rare psychiatric culture-bound syndrome, researcher Dr. Manuel Saint Martin (1999) argues that amok is also prevalent in contemporary industrialized societies (1).

Resurgence of this Ancient Construct in Modern Shootings

Saint Martin postulates that the escalating frequency of mass homicides in industrial cultures in the past quarter century represents amok, citing that attackers often have a history of mental disturbance and that modern-day episodes involve similar numbers of victims (1).

He likewise disputes classification of amok as a culture-bound syndrome, since it seems to appear cross-culturally, and argues instead that culture is the mediating mechanism that determines how the violence manifests (1). For example, Jin-Inn Teoh (1972) claimed that amok appears universally but that its mode of expression in terms of weapons and methods used are culture-specific (2). Furthermore, John Cooper (1934) postulated that its affiliation with suicide, a practice transcending arbitrary cultural boundaries, disproves the classification of amok as a culture-bound syndrome (3). Cooper further highlights that amok may be an indirect expression of suicide, induced by the same psychosocial stressors that produced suicide in contemporary cultures (3) In essence, the author contends that amok is a product of mental illness, which has similar etiology and psychosocial precipitants worldwide (3).

In his comparison of amok to modern-day shootings, Saint Martin advocates prevention by identification of individuals with risk factors and treatment of underlying psychological conditions (1). In addition to coworker, neighbor, friend, and family observations of susceptible individuals, Saint Martin states that physicians are uniquely positioned to collect data regarding those vulnerable to amok, since, “Many of these patients preferentially consult general and family practitioners instead of psychiatrists owing to the perceived stigma attached to consulting a psychiatrist, denial of their mental illness, or fear of validating their suspicion that they have a mental disorder” (1). However, the arsenal of tools wielded by the conventional allopathic doctor, with their magic bullet remedies and treatment algorithms, often falls short.

Addressing the Root Cause: Psychiatric Drugs Engender Violence

Although amok explains the deep-seated human tendency to engage in acts of violence, it does nothing to explain the recent increase in frequency. While many argue that access to semiautomatic weapons explains the explosion in mass shootings, one long-neglected element of the conversation is that the recent rise in mass homicides coincides with the greatest use of cognition-altering psychiatric drugs ever observed in human history.

Oftentimes, shooters are branded as bad apples, a narrative that allows for the rationalization of such heinous crimes and marginalizes assailants as social deviants and mentally deranged anomalies. However convenient this rhetoric is for imparting meaning to the unfathomable, it does nothing to prevent future incidents or to understand the trajectory of events or the biological and psychological variables that enabled individuals to perpetrate these tragic acts of terrorism. It enables the system and society to wash their hands of any culpability and critical analysis of how people can commit unspeakable violence.

Due to media distortion, the story line disseminated in public spheres diverges dramatically from the conversations played out in the academic sector and these questions remain largely absent from the mainstream dialogue. A perusal of the academic research, however, reveals that psychotropic drugs may be contributing to the epidemic of mass shootings. In 2011, 26.8 million adults in the United States used pharmaceutical drugs for mental illness (4). Two years later, the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) found that nearly 17 percent of American adults filled at least one prescription for a psychiatric drug.

Psychiatric drugs, many of which are based upon the flawed serotonin theory of depression, send almost 90,000 people to the emergency room yearly as a result of medication side effects ranging from delirium to head injuries to movement disorders, and one in five of these visits culminates in hospitalization (4). This figure is an underestimate, as it excludes visits to the emergency department secondary to drug abuse, self-injurious behavior, or suicide attempts (4).

Preliminary reports from the Las Vegas shooting that left at least 58 people dead indicate that the alleged killer was prescribed Valium, a sedative-hypnotic drug classified as a benzodiazepine (5). Relevant to this insight is a meta-analysis of 46 studies published in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, which illuminated that, “An association between benzodiazepine use and subsequent aggressive behaviour was found in the majority of the more rigorous studies,” especially in those individuals with an underlying propensity toward anxiety and hostility (6). In addition, a prospective cohort study of nearly one thousand Finnish subjects published in the journal World Psychiatry demonstrated that current use of benzodiazepines elevated risk of homicide by 45% compared to controls (7).

Data compiled from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adverse event reporting system similarly highlights that use of some antidepressant medications is disproportionately related to an increased number of violent events (8). The authors report that, “Varenicline, which increases the availability of dopamine, and antidepressants with serotonergic effects were the most strongly and consistently implicated drugs” in case reports of “homicide, homicidal ideation, physical assault, physical abuse or violence related symptoms” (8).

Psychotropic Drugs and The Absence of Informed Consent

At the epitome of this discussion is that deleterious side effects of psychotropic drugs are ill-publicized and patient do not receive sufficient information about the devastating sequelae that can result from their use. Little of the public knows that in 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a black-box warning for antidepressants, advertising that they are associated with suicidal ideation and behavior in two to three children out of every hundred who are administered these drugs (9, 10). In fact, a meta-analysis of 372 randomized clinical trials entailing nearly 100,000 subjects elucidated that the rate of suicidal thoughts and action was double in those patients assigned to receive an antidepressant compared to placebo (11).

Notwithstanding the tendency of psychotropic drugs to predispose individuals to homicidal and suicidal ideation is the evidence that antidepressants elevate risk of death and cardiovascular disease, which is often not shared when a physician dispenses a slip from their prescription pad. A meta-analysis of 17 studies published in the journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that in the general population, antidepressant medications increase all-cause mortality (death from any cause) by 33% and the risk of cardiovascular incidents (heart attacks and strokes, for example) by 13% (12). According to researchers, “The results support the hypothesis that ADs [antidepressants] are harmful in the general population” (12).

Also rarely discussed with patients is the potential of psychotropic drugs to distort emotional affect. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have mind-numbing effects, as demonstrated by their ability to blunt emotions and produce apathy, disinhibition, and amotivation similar to a frontal lobe lobotomy, all of which would be consistent with a mindset that might predispose an individual to homicidal behavior (13). As a corollary, SSRIs are known to induce serious movement disorders, including akathisia, dyskinesia, tardive dyskinesia, dystonia, and parkinsonism (14). Pertinent to this discussion is akathisia, a form of severe agitation also induced by antipsychotic drugs, which can cause suicide and violence (15). Further, almost one in ten admissions to hospital psychiatric units have been attributed to antidepressant-induced mania or psychosis (16).

Moreover, it is often not disclosed that antidepressant therapy can exacerbate the severity and chronic nature of depression and lead to poorer outcomes. For instance, one retrospective study of nearly 12,000 patients in the Netherlands revealed that 72 to 79 percent of those who were treated with antidepressants during their first depressive episode experienced relapses (17). It is telling that despite record high rates of antidepressant use, prevalence of depression continues to soar.

Lastly, meta-analyses, which compile data from placebo-controlled trials, indicate that the differences in levels of symptoms resulting from SSRI use “were so small that the effects were deemed unlikely to be clinically important” (18). Further, a meta-analysis involving 6,944 patients participating in 38 studies underwritten by drug manufacturers found that “Antidepressants demonstrated a clinically negligible advantage over inert placebo” (19). This is all the more shocking, since the efficacy of the drug was likely artificially inflated. Researchers state, “This analysis probably overestimates the antidepressant effect because placebo washout strategies, penetration of the blind, reliance on clinician ratings, use of sedative medication, and replacement of nonresponders may penalize the placebo condition or boost the drug condition” (19).

It is incumbent upon physicians to provide patients with true informed consent as to the potential disastrous consequences of consuming mind-altering psychotropic drugs, to identify at-risk individuals and mobilize support, and to provide alternatives where applicable. For instance, luminary Dr. Kelly Brogan, who has been a pioneer in debunking mythologies of conventional psychiatry, recently published the success of her holistic protocol incorporating mind-body techniques, dietary and lifestyle interventions, detoxification modalities, and targeted supplementation in producing dramatic clinical remission in a patient with bipolar disorder with psychotic features, panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (20).

Other Risk Factors for Amok and Mass Shootings

Compounding the effect of skyrocketing prescription rates for violence-promoting psychotropic drugs is the unprecedented social isolation that accompanies the digital age. The common thread uniting amok and contemporary mass shootings is what is branded mental illness, which is often inextricably intertwined with social alienation in a chicken-or-egg scenario.

In the anthropological curiosity known as amok, dimensions such as grief, acute loss, and interpersonal stress are intimated to be contributing factors (1). For instance, an 1846 Malay incident was concluded to be caused by an elderly mans bereavement of his wife and child, while the offender in a 1998 Los Angeles incident suffered financial bankruptcy (21). Furthermore, individual characteristics, such as predilection to aggression, and recurring cognitive themes such as persecution and revenge are speculated to constitute instigating elements (1).

Undoubtedly at play in mental illness is that we are divorced from our nuclear families, proverbial islands adrift from the quintessential tribe and support system to which we are evolutionarily adapted. Social ostracism was historically the ultimate ancestral punishment, as an individual was ill-equipped to survive when banished from a community. Moreover, admissions of psychiatric disorders are met with derision and social stigmatization, and the mobilization of social and professional support needed to contend with mental illness is radically deficient. Therefore, many individuals are deterred from seeking professional help.

Initial narratives by amok witnesses chronicled two forms characterized by differential causative factors: “The more common form, beramok, was associated with a personal loss and preceded by a period of depressed mood and brooding; while the infrequent form, amok, was associated with rage, a perceived insult, or vendetta preceding the attack” (1). Many of these traits can be reconciled with the diagnostic criteria for modern psychiatric disorders such as depressive, mood, psychotic, dissociative and personality disorders, as well as paranoid schizophrenia (1). Some argue that psychiatric classifications are not reproducible or diagnosable with objective biomarkers, and therefore do not constitute objectively delineated and non-overlapping categories, but they do have utility in their ability to describe and operationalize behavior in recognizable terms.

According to Saint Martin, “Viewing amok from this new perspective dispels the commonly held perception that episodes of mass violence are random and unpredictable, and thus not preventable” (1). However, the modern medical infrastructure has failed to support these individuals with anything other than pill-for-an-ill psychotropic cocktails and psychotherapy, rather than undertaking a holistic, root-cause resolution approach consistent with the precepts of personalized medicine. Instead of deferring to this standard of care, which has proven inadequate, we would be wise to use these societal tragedies as impetus for revolutionary reform and the heralding of evidence-based natural approaches that address the underlying causes of mental illness rather than applying symptom-suppressive chemical band-aids.

Going Forward: Making Sense of Devastation

In summary, the behavior exhibited in modern mass shootings bears uncanny resemblance to amok, indicating that indiscriminate violence has long been intrinsic to the human psyche. It is fundamental to recognize, when drawing parallels between the two constructs, the role that social isolation, collective disillusionment, violent proclivities, and mental instability play in precipitating this behavior in order to generate effective solutions. More recently, the widespread use of psychotropic drugs no doubt contributes to the rising incidence of mass shootings, yet it is a topic mainstream media outlets fail to broach.

However, the prescribing of these pharmaceuticals is only symptomatic of more upstream causes of psychological imbalance, many of which remain to be elucidated. Fundamental, though, is the profound disparity between the circumstances to which we are evolutionarily accustomed and the modern-day stressors we encounter, such as micronutrient deficiency, toxicant burdens, a genetically engineered and irradiated food supply, and a deeply-entrenched sense of dissatisfaction and loss of social connection.

This is not meant to catalogue excuses for such egregious and monstrous behavior, or to rationalize the very worst in humanity. Nor is it meant to represent an exhaustive survey of all the multifaceted socioeconomic, psychosocial, and geopolitical variables that contribute to acts of mass violence. But rather, this article serves as a commentary on some of those little-discussed instigating variables and the pharmaceutical industry-promulgated predecessors to such tragic events. It also attempts to paint a portrait of how massacres are not isolated to the modern era, and that by using critical analysis of the historical patterns of amok we can garner insight into shared risk factors such as detachment of an individual from the fabric of society and lack of supportive resources or constructive coping mechanisms.

By finding common psychological threads, and exploring their physiological origins, as well as unearthing novel variables such as psychotropic drugs which contribute to the never-before-witnessed frequency of fatal massacres, we can take productive action to prevent their recurrence. We can transform our righteous indignation into meaningful change. Although it is tempting to abdicate all blame and to employ the bad apple narrative, this does nothing to prevent the recurrence of these home-grown acts of terrorism, but rather, represents a society-wide coping mechanism and means of distancing oneself from some of the sources of these ultimate acts of unimaginable aggression.


References

1. Saint Martin, M.L. (1999) “Running Amok: A Modern Perspective on a Culture-Bound Syndrome”. Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 1(3), 66-70. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181064/?tool=pmcentrez

2. Teoh, J-I. (1972). “The changing psychopathology of amok”. Psychiatry, 35, 345–351.

3. Cooper, J. (1934). Mental disease situations in certain cultures: a new field for research. Journal of Abnormal Sociology and Psychology, 29, 10–17.

4. Hampton, L.M. et al. (2016). Emergency Department Visits by Adults for Psychiatric Medication Adverse Events. Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, 71(9), 1006-1014. doi:  10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.436

5. Harasim, P. (2017). Las Vegas Strip shooter prescribed anti-anxiety drug in June. Retrieved from https://www.reviewjournal.com/local/the-strip/las-vegas-strip-shooter-prescribed-anti-anxiety-drug-in-june/

6. Albrecht, B. et al. (2014). Benzodiazepine use and aggressive behaviour: a systematic review. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 48(12), 1096-1114. doi: 10.1177/0004867414548902

7. Tilhonen, J. et al. (2015). Psychotropic drugs and homicide: A prospective cohort study from Finland. World Psychiatry, 14(2), 245-247. doi: 10.1002/wps.20220

8. Moore, T.J., Glenmullen, J., & Furberg, C.D. (2010). Prescription drugs associated with reports of violence towards others. PLoS One, 5, e15337.

9. Friedman, R.A. (2014). Antidepressants’ Black-Box Warning — 10 Years Later. The New England Journal of Medicine, 371, 1666-1668.

10. Harris, G. (2004). F.D.A. Links Drugs to Being Suicidal. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/14/health/fda-links-drugs-to-being-suicidal.html

11. Hamad, T., & Racoosin, J. (2004). Relationship between psychotropic drugs and pediatric suicidality: review and evaluation of clinical data. Silver Spring, MD: Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/04/briefing/2004-4065b1-10-TAB08-Hammads-Review.pdf

12. Maslej, M.M. et al. (2017). The Mortality and Myocardial Effects of Antidepressants Are Moderated by Preexisting Cardiovascular Disease: A Meta-Analysis. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 86, 268-282.

13. Garland, E.J., & Baerg, E.A. (2004). Amotivational Syndrome Associated with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors in Children and Adolescents.  Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 11(2), 181-186.

14. Gerber, P.E., & Lynd, L.D. (1998). Selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor-induced movement disorders. Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 32(6), 692-698.

15. Shear, M.K., Frances, A., & Weiden, P. (1983). Suicide associated with akathisia and depot fluphenazine treatment. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 3, 235–236.

16. Preda, A. et al. (2001). Antidepressant-associated mania and psychosis resulting in psychiatric admissions. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 62(1), 30-33.

17. van Weel-Baumgarten, M. et al. (2000). Treatment of depression related to recurrence:10-year follow-up in general practice. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 25, 61-66.

18. Moncrieff, J., & Kirsch, I. (2005). Efficacy of antidepressants in adults. British Medical Journal, 331 (155). doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7509.155

19. Antonuccio, D.O., Burns, D.D., & Danton, W.G. (2002). Antidepressants: A Triumph of Marketing Over Science? Prevention & Treatment, Volume 5(25).

20. Brogan, K. (2017). Resolution of Refractory Bipolar Disorder With Psychotic Features and Suicidality Through Lifestyle Interventions: A Case Report. Advances in Mind Body Medicine, 31(2), 4-11.

21. Burton-Bradely, B.G. (1968). The amok syndrome in Papua and New Guinea. Medical Journal of Australia, 55, 252–256.

About the Author

Ali Le Vere holds dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Human Biology and Psychology, minors in Health Promotion and in Bioethics, Humanities, and Society, and is a Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine candidate. Having contended with chronic illness, her mission is to educate the public about the transformative potential of therapeutic nutrition and to disseminate information on evidence-based, empirically rooted holistic healing modalities. Read more at @empoweredautoimmune on Instagram and at www.EmpoweredAutoimmune.com: Science-based natural remedies for autoimmune disease, dysautonomia, Lyme disease, and other chronic, inflammatory illnesses.

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NSA Whistleblower Speaks About Julian Assange & The ‘Shadow Government’

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Longtime high-ranking NSA employee William Binney shares his thoughts on the arrest of Julian Assange and who is really in control.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do we continue to believe that a president can make changes? Why do we continue to elect and vote without addressing the real issue behind decisions made in politics? Why not address the secret government and its stranglehold on politics?

Even to this day, if you tell people there is an ‘invisible government,’ or a shadow government that’s international in scope, they may call you a conspiracy theorist or give you a funny look. This is in large part due to the lack of education, particularly self education, of a population who is trained to go to school, get a job and ‘enjoy’ life. Sure, that’s all fine and dandy, but to deny and condemn a thought or an idea without any investigation is definitely the height of ignorance. Not only is it the height of ignorance, it also prevents humanity from moving forward. In order for us to move forward, we must properly identify our problems, and it doesn’t help when the most important problems that need to be identified are not even believed as a result of mass brainwashing and lack of education. No one is thinking for themselves, instead they simply rely on establishment media, which has been nothing but a massive propaganda machine since its inception.

The idea of a shadow government doesn’t only come from statements made by a number of global politicians and ‘world leaders,’ it’s been proven by policy changes and decisions that are not in favour of the people or the planet, which expose how our federal regulatory agencies are run by rogue interests. The CDC and the “Spider Papers” are one of many great examples, along with multiple whistleblowers from multiple agencies.

Political parties no longer support the people, and it’s hard to say if they ever really did. Government and politics are now simply, as president Theodore Roosevelt emphasized, “tools of corrupt interests which use them in martialling [sic] to serve their selfish purposes.” He flat out stated that “Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”

This is the unseen power that exists today. Roosevelt wasn’t the only one, in his farewell speech President Eisenhower warned about the rise of misplaced power that “exists” and will “persist” within the military industrial complex.

Not long ago, President Vladimir Putin explained how, after a president in the United States is elected, “men in dark suits” come in and basically run the show. (source)

According to President Woodrow Wilson:

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Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men’s views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it. (The New Freedom, A Call For The Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People, Written in 1913)

It seems that  John F. Hylan, Mayor of New York City from 1918-1925 was correct in saying that “the real menace of our Republic is the invisible government, which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities, states and nation.”

At the end of the day, if you follow the money, it’s not hard to see who this “invisible government” that so many have referred to is. One thing is quite clear, it doesn’t seem like they have too much concern for humanity or planet Earth. There is so much evidence showing that the global financial elite (various members of big politics, corporations, Hollywood, Royal Families, people in positions of great power, the Vatican, etc.) are engaged in some very psychopathic behaviour. But are you really surprised? Look at the world and its systems and all aspects that surround humanity… it’s truly a reflection of psychopathic ‘leaders.’ And it’s a reflection of us being totally oblivious to it as a result of mass brainwashing. Still, in many cases, we support and stand up for these systems, and accept no other way… We refuse to acknowledge things that any fairly intelligent person should be able to see with a bit of investigation.

This is why I felt the need to share the interview below of William Binney. Binney is a former high ranking intelligence official with the National Security Agency who turned whistleblower after more than 30 years with the agency. He blew the whistle, like Edward Snowden did, after 9/11 on the agency’s mass data collection and surveillance programs, along with J. Kirk Wiebe and Edward Loomis, two other employees at the agency.

Since then, he has been quite outspoken and has helped shed light on several other matters. He’s also stated that the NSA surveillance programs have nothing to do with keeping the population safe, but are rather means to further continue “total population control.” (source)

This would make sense, and it also corroborates with all of the evidence proving the connections between terrorist organizations and the government/military industrial complex, including evidence proving their involvement in the funding, support, and creation of these organizations. Despite all of this, they still claim to be “going after” the same terrorists they’re supporting in the name of democracy.

In the interview below, Binney also references the shadow government in regards to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, specifically regarding his recent arrest and detainment.

Below is a quote from the interview:

To me, this is simply a continuation of the takeover of the world by the shadow governments of the world and their relationships internationally. They’re always there, they don’t get voted in and out. They control all the information that gets fed to the president, for example, to make decisions. They can tailor what they want him him to do by focusing certain information to him and and keeping others away like shadow blocking. You don’t allow other opinions to get to him so that he doesn’t have the opportunity to see another view. They have most of the mainstream media under wraps and doing what they want them to do now, but it’s kind of like the nail in the coffin that says, ‘if you ever do something that exposes all the crimes we’re committing or any of the criminality that we’re doing behind the scenes, if you ever do that, we’ll get to you.’

In the interview he also mentions how they use “national security” as an excuse to do everything in secret, and how it’s become a name used to justify secrets that are very unethical and wrong.

And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. – JFK (source)

There is a lot of good food for thought, so be sure to check out the interview.

“The message is to everybody else in the world, either you conform to what we tell you to do, or we’ll do this to you.”

The Takeaway

The influence from the ‘secret government’ is exactly why we see so many Presidents speaking out against certain things during their campaigns, and then all of a sudden they do a one hundred eighty degree flip on their promises once they’re in office. Presidents, along with other politicians, are most likely blackmailed, extorted, brainwashed, or kept away from certain narratives and perspectives. Most of them have been nothing but puppets for the global elite. Some do this willingly, and others unknowingly. If one thing is true about global politics, it’s that what we are presented with is far from the truth with regards to what’s really going on behind the scenes.

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The Anatomy of Conspiracy Theories

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Whether you believe in conspiracy theories or not, we can all agree that the use of the term has exploded in media and in conversation. The question is, why? Are we now using the term “Conspiracy Theory” more indiscriminately and on more platforms than previously? Are we, as a society, simply becoming unhinged and absurd? Are seemingly nonsensical stories, for some unknown reason, starting to resonate with people? Or are some conventional narratives getting challenged because some of these “alternative” explanations are in fact accurate, despite the fact that conventional sources refuse to acknowledge them as even potentially valid? Notice that the last two possibilities are different sides of the same coin. If you think  “conspiracy theorists” are unhinged, it is highly likely that they are suspicious of your sanity as well. Both sides insist that they are right and that the other has been hoodwinked. Note that if you choose to not pick a side, you are, by default, allowing the conventional narrative to perpetuate. That is how convention works. 

Merriam-Webster defines the term conspiracy theory as “a theory that explains an event or situation as the result of a secret plan by usually powerful people or groups”. The key elements of this definition remain consistent across all authoritative lexicons: the group responsible for an event must be powerful and covert. However, if we refer to the Wikipedia definition as of 11/2018 a new element emerges: “A conspiracy theory is an explanation of an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy—generally one involving an illegal or harmful act supposedly carried out by government or other powerful actors—without credible evidence.”

When an explanation is labeled a “Conspiracy Theory,” by today’s definition, it has no evidence to support it. An explanation with no supporting evidence is a hypothesis, not a “theory.” “Conspiracy Theory,” as it is used today, is thus an oxymoron. These “Conspiracy Theories” we seem to hear about everyday should really be called “Conspiracy Hypotheses.” More concerning is that the “Conspiracy Theory” label identifies an explanation as inherently baseless. Given this linguistic construct, where is there room for a conspiracy that is in fact true?

There is also something troubling about using the term “credible” in the definition of conspiracy theory. Legally, evidence that is credible is that which a reasonable person would consider to be true in light of the surrounding circumstances. If evidence suggests an explanation that seems at the surface to be unreasonable, how does a reasonable person avoid automatically labeling the evidence not credible? If we are not careful, the credibility of the explanation and resultant conclusions would then determine the credibility of the evidence that supports it. Is this really so important? Perhaps you are quick to see that with this approach, our understanding of what is true and real can never evolve. If any evidence arose that radically disproved our understanding or eroded our faith in trusted institutions we would automatically discard it as “not credible” and remain entrenched in our accepted paradigm. “Credible” evidence cannot be a necessary requirement of a theory that challenges what is credible to begin with.

To better illustrate this, let us consider an old but very real “conspiracy theory.” About 400 years ago, European civilization was emerging from centuries of scientific and philosophical stagnation known as the dark ages. What more befitting a place for such a renaissance to occur than the center of the universe? You see, the idea that the Earth was one of eight planets revolving around a star that is orbiting the center of one of hundreds of billions of galaxies would have been absurd in Europe in the sixteenth century. Any sane person could see that the Sun and the Moon and every celestial body rises in the East and sets in the West. At that time, if someone went about proposing the idea that everything rises and falls because the Earth was spinning, they would have been laughed out of the tavern. Would that person be a conspiracy theorist? They are not proposing that “powerful actors are carrying out a harmful act,” they are merely suggesting an alternative explanation for what is observed. However, the implication of their suggestion seems to incriminate the authority on such matters as ignorant of the truth or, possibly, the perpetrators of a lie. The possibility of a conspiracy has now been introduced.

Now, let us say that this person claims to have proof of their absurd theory. Would you have taken the time to examine the evidence or would you have been more likely to dismiss them without further consideration? The very idea that they could be right would have been not just silly or heretical, but inconceivable to many, if not all. How could the evidence be credible if it implied something inconceivable? Dismissing their idea would have seemingly been the most logical and, therefore, the smartest thing to do.

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When Galileo Galilei appeared in 1610 armed with a rudimentary “telescope,” few would peer into it. He claimed that the refractive properties of the pair of “lenses” would allow you to see things at great distances very clearly. With it one could see Jupiter and its moons revolving around the giant planet just as our moon revolves around Earth. How enchanting! The difficulty would arise when you put the telescope down: your feet would no longer be planted on the previously immovable center of creation. Would you have looked into his telescope? What would have been the harm in taking a peek? Certainly the fear of being proven more gullible than most would have been on your mind. What about the fear that he might be right?

Imagine what must have been going through Galileo’s mind after his monumental discovery. He saw irrefutably that the entire model of the universe had been completely misconceived. One just has to look. Most did not. I can only imagine how hard he must have tried to convince anyone to simply stop, look and listen to what he had discovered. At the time, Galileo was the Chair of Mathematics at the University of Padua and had previously held the same post at the University of Pisa. Despite his bonafides and reputation as a solid contributor to the Italian renaissance, his discovery would likely have died in obscurity if it weren’t for the support of an influential family, the Medicis, who offered Galileo a platform from which he could spread his theory. It was only through allying himself with political power that he was able to slowly generate interest in his heliocentric model of the solar system. His proposition eventually caught the attention of the Catholic church, who initially warned him to desist. Eventually, he was brought to trial in the Roman Inquisition 23 years after his discovery. At the age of 70, the intrepid mathematician and astronomer was allowed to return home if he agreed to recant his story. Instead Galileo chose to spend the rest of his years in prison because he believed that that would be the only way to get people to open their eyes.

Did it work? It did not. Galileo died incarcerated while Europe continued to slumber under stars that moved around them. By today’s standards, Galileo would have been labeled a Conspiracy Theorist from the day he announced his findings until he was proven right fifty years after his death.  When the Principle of Gravitational Attraction eventually became widely accepted as true, the church had to retract their position because the motions of the stars and planets could not be explained under Newton’s laws. 

On the other hand, Galileo is credited with being the father of not only observational astronomy, but of the scientific method as well. The scientific method demands that one tests an explanation without bias towards an outcome. All data is considered before deductions are made. When all other explanations have been proven wrong, the only explanation remaining becomes a theory. The theory persists as long as all subsequent experiments continue to uphold it. This is how we ultimately know what we know and have an inkling of what we don’t. If I had to choose a posthumous title for myself, “The Father of the Scientific Method” is one I could die with. Galileo is credited with this honorific not only because he valued it more than his freedom, but because he had the discipline to regard evidence objectively despite how unimaginable the implications were. This is how a body of knowledge expands. By considering the validity of the evidence first, we then can accept what was previously unimaginable, otherwise what we know tomorrow will be no different than what we know today.

All conspiracy theorists are not Galileos. Neither are all conspiracy theories true. However, can we be certain that all of them are false? At their very core, all conspiracy theories directly or indirectly point at a central authority acting covertly and simultaneously at the media for either missing it or looking the other way. This, of course, is unimaginable, as we all know the government can make mistakes but would never do anything intentionally harmful to its citizens and then hide it. Even if they did, somebody would come forward and the media would let us know about it. This is why such a deception could never occur. The idea that your lover could be in bed with your best friend is inconceivable. Evidence of such a thing would not be credible. Dismissing all conspiracy theories seems logical and therefore seems like the smartest thing to do. 

In “Sapiens”, Yuval Harari proposes an explanation for why our species, Sapiens, out fought, out thought and out survived all other Homo species on the planet. He suggests that it was our unique ability to describe and communicate situations and events that had no basis in reality which set us apart. In other words, we could tell stories and they could not. By uniting under a common idea, story or even myth, thousands (and now thousands of millions) of Sapiens could come together with a shared purpose, identity or belief system to disband our cousins who were as individuals more sturdy and just as cunning but not nearly as good at cooperating as we were. This advantage, Harari proposes, has not only led our species to eventual supremacy over all others, but has also allowed us to form communities, governments and global alliances. 

Siding with the majority has served us well–until it hasn’t. One only needs to revisit the history of Galileo and basic astronomy to understand this. In actuality, the first observant minds woke up to the fact that the Earth went around the sun and not the other way round nineteen centuries before Galileo did. The Greek mathematician, Aristarcus, is thought to be the first Western person to place the Sun in the middle of a “solar system” in 270 BC. A human being traveled to the moon just 360 years after Galileo “discovered” what Aristarcus had shown nearly two millennia before. How many centuries was this journey delayed because an alternative explanation in ancient Greece became a “conspiracy theory” against authority and convention?

This poses an intriguing question. Is there something hardwired in our behavioral patterns that push us towards conformist narratives and away from alternative ones at a precognitive level? Is it this tendency that gave rise to our enhanced ability to unite that keeps us in “group-think” more than we should be? How do we know we are looking at the world objectively and rejecting alternative belief systems from a purely rational basis? How does one know whether one is biased or not?

One way is to apply the scientific method. The scientific method demands that every possibility, no matter how outlandish, is tested for its veracity and dismissed only when it can be proven wrong. Without this objective pursuit of truth, misconceptions can persist indefinitely, just as the geocentric model of the universe did. Interestingly, Aristarcus was allowed to retain his theory because he lived at a time and place where philosophers, mathematicians and scientists were revered, protected and free to pursue their notions. The freedom ancient Greek society afforded its scientists only endured for a few centuries after Aristarcus lived. In Galileo’s day, the Roman Catholic church had been presiding over such things as facts for well over a thousand years. His incontrovertible proof was suppressed by the power that had the most to lose.

These days, establishing the facts of the matter may not be as easy as we presume. Conspiracy theorists claim to have proof just like the debunkers do. How do we know that the proof offered on either side is valid? Who has the time to apply the scientific method? It certainly seems safer to go with the conventional narrative because surely there are more rational minds in a larger group. Though it seems a reasonable approach, it may be in fact where we misstep. By deferring to others, we assume the majority will arrive at the truth eventually. The problem is that those in the majority who are trained to examine evidence objectively often must take a potentially career-ending risk to even investigate an alternative explanation. Why would an organization be willing to invest the resources to redirect their scientific staff to chase down and evaluate evidence that will likely endanger their reputation with the public without any upside? Thus, conventional narratives survive for another day, or in the case of an Earth-centered universe, for a couple of thousand years.

Whether or not you are not a “conspiracy theorist” we can all agree that there is a possibility, however slight, that some conventional narratives could be wrong. How would we know? Is there a source that we can trust 100%? Must we rely on our own wits? A short inquiry into this question can be disquieting. Most of us must admit that our understanding of history, science and geopolitics are merely stories that we have been told by people, institutions or media that we trust explicitly or implicitly. Because most of us are not authorities on anything, it would be impossible to overturn any conventional narrative with an evidentiary argument. Challenging these paradigms is necessarily left to others. Generally speaking, there is no real reason to argue with convention if everything is seemingly unfolding acceptably. But what if you wanted to know for yourself ? Is there any way to ever really know the truth without having to have faith in someone or something else?

There may not be. However, it is also naive to believe that if someone, scientist or not, was in possession of evidence that challenged our deepest held beliefs that it would take root in the ethos on its own. Galileo enjoyed unsurpassed credibility as one of Italy’s foremost mathematicians. He also possessed irrefutable, verifiable and reproducible evidence for his revolutionary theory, yet the convention he was challenging did not crumble through his discoveries. History has shown us that it makes no difference how valid a point is; truth emerges only when someone is listening

So, rather than seeking to independently validate or refute what we are being told, it becomes more productive to ask a different question: How biased is our society by historical standards? How does our society regard alternative theories? Do we let them co-exist with convention as the ancient Greeks did? Do we collectively invest resources to investigate them openly? Or do we dismiss, attack and vilify them as was done in the papal states in Galileo’s time? Which kind of society is more likely to get it right? Which runs the greater risk of being hoodwinked in the long run? Which is more free?

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US House of Representatives Investigating if the Government Created Lyme Disease As A Bioweapon

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A New Jersey lawmaker suggests the government turned ticks and insects into bioweapons to spread disease, and possibly released them. He is not the only one who believes so.

  • Reflect On:

    This is not the only example of supposed human experimentation on mass populations by the government

There are a number of subjects that were once considered ‘conspiracy theories,’ which are now no longer in that realm. ‘Conspiracy theories’ usually, in my opinion, arise from credible evidence. The implications, however, are so grand and so mind-altering that many may experience some sort of cognitive dissonance as a result. One of the topics often deemed a ‘conspiracy theory’ is weaponized diseases, and the latest example comes from an approved amendment that was proposed by a Republican congressman from New Jersey. His name is Chris Smith, and he instructed the Department of Defence’s Inspector General to conduct a review on whether or not the US “experimented with ticks and insects regarding use as a biological weapon between the years of 1950 and 1975” and “whether any ticks or insects used in such experiment were released outside of any laboratory by accident or experiment design.”

The fact that Smith brought this up shows that any intelligent person who actually looks into this has reason to believe it’s a possibility, yet mainstream media outlets are ridiculing the idea, calling it a conspiracy instead of actually bringing up the points that caused Smith to demand the review.

The fact that the amendment was approved by a vote in the House speaks volumes. Smith said that the amendment was inspired by “a number of books and articles suggesting that significant research had been done at US government facilities including Fort Detrick, Maryland, and Plum Island, New York, to turn ticks and insects into bioweapons”.

Most people don’t know that the US government has experimented on its own citizens a number of times. All of this is justified for “national security” purposes. National security has always been a term used as an excuse to prolong secrecy, justify the government’s lack of transparency, and create black budget programs that have absolutely no oversight from Congress.

For example, on September 20, 1950, a US Navy ship just off the coast of San Francisco used a giant hose to spray a cloud of microbes into the air and into the city’s famous fog. The military was apparently testing how a biological weapon attack would affect the 800,000 residents of the city.The people of San Francisco had absolutely no idea. The Navy continued the tests for seven days, and multiple people died as a result. It was apparently one of the first large-scale biological weapon trials that would be conducted under a “germ warfare testing program” that went on for 20 years from 1949 to 1969. The goal “was to deter [the use of biological weapons] against the United States and its allies and to retaliate if deterrence failed,” the government later explained. Then again, that’s if you trust the explanation coming from the government.

This could fall under the category of human subject research. It’s still happening! A dozen classified programs that involved research on human subjects were underway last year at the Department of Energy. Human subject research refers broadly to the collection of scientific data from human subjects. This could involve performing physical procedures on the subjects or simply conducting interviews and having other forms of interaction with them. It could even involve procedures performed on entire populations, apparently without their consent.

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Human subjects research erupted into national controversy 25 years ago with reporting by Eileen Welsome of the Albuquerque Tribune on human radiation experiments that had been conducted by the Atomic Energy Commission, many of which were performed without the consent of the subjects. A presidential advisory committee was convened to document the record and to recommend appropriate policy responses.

When it comes to Lyme disease, the Guardian points out that:

A new book published in May by a Stanford University science writer and former Lyme sufferer, Kris Newby, has raised questions about the origins of the disease, which affects 400,000 Americans each year.

Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons, cites the Swiss-born discoverer of the Lyme pathogen, Willy Burgdorfer, as saying that the Lyme epidemic was a military experiment that had gone wrong.

Burgdorfer, who died in 2014, worked as a bioweapons researcher for the US military and said he was tasked with breeding fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects, and infecting them with pathogens that cause human diseases.

According to the book, there were programs to drop “weaponised” ticks and other bugs from the air, and that uninfected bugs were released in residential areas in the US to trace how they spread. It suggests that such a scheme could have gone awry and led to the eruption of Lyme disease in the US in the 1960s.

This is concerning. It’s a story that, for some reason, instantly reminded me of the MK ultra program, where human subjects were used for mind control research.

If things like this occurred in the past, it’s hard to understand why someone would deem the possibility of this happening again a ‘conspiracy theory.’ What makes one think this wouldn’t be happening again, especially given the fact that there is sufficient evidence suggesting it is?

Lyme disease is also very strange. If you did get it, you probably wouldn’t know immediately – unless you’re one of the chronic sufferers that have had to visit over 30 doctors to get a proper diagnosis. Lyme disease tests are highly inaccurateoften inconclusive or indicating false negatives.

Why? Because this clever bacteria has found a way to dumb down the immune system and white blood cells so that it’s not detectable until treatment is initiated. To diagnose Lyme disease properly you must see a “Lyme Literate MD (LLMD).” However, more and more doctors are turning their backs on patients due to sheer fear of losing their practices! Insurance companies and the CDC will do whatever it takes to stop Chronic Lyme Disease from being diagnosed, treated, or widely recognized as an increasingly common issue.

You can read more about that here.

The Takeaway

It’s becoming more apparent that our government as well as our federal health regulatory agencies are extremely corrupt. There are a number of examples to choose from throughout history proving this. The fact that something like this doesn’t seem believable to the public is ridiculous and further enhances and prolongs the ability for the powerful elite and the government to continue conducting these activities. Awareness is key.

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