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The Fox Owns the Henhouse—When Public Safety is Governed by Private Profit

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    This article was written by By José Solís, Ph.D. Posted here with permission.

  • Reflect On:

    Do our federal health regulatory agencies and pharmaceutical companies really put health before profit? Judging by the evidence, profit comes first.

 

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“There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.”

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― Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451

A couple of days ago I stumbled upon a radio interview where the topic was safety and government oversight. I had tuned in at the exact moment when the interviewee said the following:

Well, my experience of 30 years in Washington, D.C. is the same Ronald Reagan had – you know, trust but verify. And when bad things happen, you need to verify if what he is saying is correct. I certainly question that there’s not a cozy relationship. All anyone has to do is look at the revolving door in Washington, D.C., and this agency and the industry to realize that there is a cozy relationship. Now the question is, is that cozy relationship having an adverse impact on the safety decisions being made?

The American public would be surprised, and maybe even concerned, if they knew how widespread the practice of self-regulation was.

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Before I could ascertain what they were discussing in the interview, my mind began to race. Could it be clean water, Round Up pesticide lawsuits, climate change, vaccine safety, the opioid crisis? My question was quickly answered. The forum was an interview on National Public Radio(NPR) with former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairman, James Hall, on the investigation into the recent tragedy of two Boeing 737 MAX airline crashes.  Upon a rewind of the interview, I kept hearing references to “revolving doors” and “cozy relationships.”

David Greene, host of the show, asked,

But are you saying there are documents that Boeing has showing that they’re – that the company and, potentially the FAA, knew that there were some problems, some of the very problems that may have caused these accidents, and that they certified the aircraft anyway?

Mr. Hall responded,

…the process that we presently have is a self-certification process by the manufacturer of the safety of the aircraft… what has happened is that these decisions have been made in commissions and rulemakings dominated by the industry in Washington, D.C.

As reported by NPR, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) left the safety testing of the plane to the manufacturing company (Boeing) and that this practice could be found “a lot” in the federal government. James Goodwin of the Center for Progressive Reform stated, “The American public would be surprised, and maybe even concerned, if they knew how widespread the practice of self-regulation was.” I wondered what implications this example might carry for aviation safety, agriculture, vaccine safety, and generally for the future of government oversight and scientific inquiry.

Toward the end of the interview, Mr. Greene from NPR stated that recently he had asked FAA head, Dan Elwell, some of the same questions. In one answer, Mr. Elwell responded, “the FAA is an agency that is based on data, and they very much make their decisions, including keeping those planes in the air, based on data.” Dan Elwell, is a former Vice President of the Aerospace Industries Association, representing the most powerful aerospace industry companies. There remain some very tough questions to be answered by the manufacturers of the airline industry, like Boeing, and the “cozy relationship” it and other industry members enjoy with the government agencies responsible for regulating its operations and overseeing its compliance with public safety. But, let’s move on from that thread of public air safety and pause for an overview of the opioid crisis facing the United States.

Public air safety to the opioid crisis

Earlier in March, the 13th to be precise, I saved a copy of the transcript from an interview between David Greene and Brian Mann, an NPR associate, who has been following developments in some of the lawsuits around the nation’s opioid crisis. In its introduction to the interview NPR reported,

The opioid epidemic claimed 70,000 lives in 2017. To put that in perspective, that is more than the number of people who died annually at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. And the pharmaceutical industry is going to spend much of this year answering some hard questions. Many blame pharma for our country’s opioid crisis. And this year, big drug makers, as well as pharmacy chains, are facing more than 1,500 lawsuits filed by state and local governments. Billions of dollars are at stake, and so are reputations. Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma, CVS – those are just some of the companies targeted in these lawsuits.

The following are excerpts from the interview:

Greene: I mean that there are internal company documents that are being made public, and some of them have been controversial, you’ve been finding.

Mann: Purdue executives, for example, can be seen secretly acknowledging that their prescription opioids were far more addictive and dangerous than they were telling doctors. At the same time, company directives kept pushing sales, pushing the salespeople incredibly hard to get more opioids into the hands of vulnerable people, including seniors and military veterans….We’ve also learned that Purdue Pharma executives developed a secret plan they called Project Tango, which they allegedly hoped might help them profit again from the growing wave of opioid addiction. The idea here was to sell addiction treatment services to some of the same people addicted to products like their own OxyContin… Which means for more than a decade, no one in the wider public knew how serious the allegations against Purdue and these other drug companies were. But this time, states and cities suing these companies seem eager to sort of pull back the curtain… the drug industry has fought these disclosures at every turn. They describe the information in these documents as proprietary, basically arguing its corporate property. But as more and more information comes out, it’s making people angry.

On a related topic, Mr. Mann expressed:

But according to the drug company’s own documents, firms including Johnson & Johnson pushed unscientific theories about drug addiction. They did so allegedly to convince doctors to prescribe even more opioids after patients showed signs of dependency. David Armstrong, the reporter with ProPublica, says this kind of disclosure is making it harder for the industry to protect its image.

… ‘tobacco science;’ i.e. Science done on behalf of an interest defending its profits, like the science conducted by a cigarette company showing that cigarettes are safe.

Government agency collusion

Government agency collusion with different industries, to me, represented nothing short of corruption. I was reminded of the tobacco industry and how the Phillip Morris tobacco company organized its Boca Raton Action Plan in 1988, in an effort to “diffuse and re-orient” the voices and initiatives of those fighting tobacco in favor of public health. Also, how the World Health Organization (WHO) itself colluded with legal experts and doctors in the United States in favor of the tobacco industry and against public health. From this fiasco was coined the expression “tobacco science;” i.e. “Science” done on behalf of an interest defending its profits, like the science conducted by a cigarette company showing that cigarettes are safe.

And speaking of the WHO, I was also reminded of the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) “pandemic.” In the spring of 2010, the Council of Europe was investigating the role of the WHO in declaring the H1N1 pandemic. Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg, an epidemiologist who at one time was head of the Health Committee of the Council of Europe, expressed concerns that the contracts for the vaccine were mostly confidential arrangements between the WHO, individual member states and the companies producing the vaccine. In fact, numerous countries, including Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain, entered into contracts with the vaccine manufacturing companies prior to the WHO’s declaration of an H1N1 pandemic. The contracts obligated these countries to purchase swine flu vaccinations under one condition: that the WHO issue a pandemic flu alert.

…undermined by the transformation of the relationship between scientists at universities, private industries with their scientists and the ‘cozy relationships’ that exist between the two

Transformed relationships

In his farewell speech to the citizenry, U. S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower poignantly expressed his concern regarding the future of science and its partnership with government, and government with industry, when he said:

…the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research…The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

I kept wondering about the revolving doors, the collusion, industrial interests, and the science that was supposed to provide a foundation upon which to rest our confidence, our trust. How did we get here? The short answer, and quite possibly the simplest, might be the privatization of knowledge, or as some have called it, the “selling of science.” Or, maybe it’s the troubled matrimony of science and technology, where an applied and economic gain becomes the foundational rationale for present and future scientific endeavor. Such an environment raises serious questions as to the future of knowledge, the advancement of the sciences, and potential impacts on our economic, social, and public health.

Aristotle reminded us that “knowledge is virtue.” It has a value unto itself; a purpose that serves no particular master other than the rational development of inquiry and respective methods for the development of that knowledge. Here resided the principles of the classic universities, places where questions were explored, answered, and questioned again. This was the meaning of science – never settled – but forever moving toward a better, safer, healthier, and more advanced state of human affairs. But what happens to science when the scientist is tied to private industry, where the principle objective of private industry is defined by its stockholders interests, investments, and profits, where the same industry that manufactures the product for profit is also the industry responsible for generating the science determining the efficacy, effectiveness, and safety of its product?

In his book, Science in the Private Interest, Dr. Sheldon Krimsky writes,

The responsibility of the scientist begins with discovery and ends with commercial applications. Universities exist mainly to provide labor for industry and to help industry turn knowledge into technology; technology into productivity; and productivity into profits.

What Dr. Krimsky refers to as “public interest science as a model of knowledge for human welfare,” has been redefined, or more crudely speaking, undermined by the transformation of the relationship between scientists at universities, private industries with their scientists, and the “cozy relationships” that exist between the two. In the book To Profit or Not To Profit, authors Walter Powell and Jason Owens-Smith state,

The changes underway at universities are the result of multiple forces: a transformation in of the nature policymakers and key constituents. These trends are so potent that there is little chance for reversing them-nor necessarily a rationale for doing so.

These changes have been referred to as characteristic of the scientist as entrepreneur, or parts of what Sheila Slaughter and Larry Leslie explore in their book Academic Capitalism. In it, they write:

We would expect that faculty as professionals participating in academic capitalism would begin to move away from values such as altruism and public service, toward market values.

Under he current science-to-market model, government oversight of any number of products, from airplanes, to drugs, to tobacco, and more, continues to demonstrate a complacency that favors market-driven profits over public safety.

The transformation of science and scientists

The transformation of science and scientists that are lured into and seek financial support from private industry for any number of research-to-market projects has become an all too familiar scenario with potentially devastating consequences.

Most recently, the parents of one of the victims of the Egyptian Boeing airline, filed suit against Boeing and the Rosemont airline parts manufacturing industry. Reuters report states that:

Thursday’s complaint accuses Boeing of putting “profits over safety” and said the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration must also be held accountable for certifying the 737 MAX.

However, reports Reuters: “Legal experts say these cases face high hurdles since government officials and agencies are generally immune from civil lawsuits.”

Under the current science-to-market model, government oversight of any number of products, from airplanes, to drugs, to tobacco, and more, continues to demonstrate a complacency that favors market-driven profits over public safety. This reality should alarm anyone and all. What if, as some of the legal experts above claim, a U.S. citizen has no right to hold industry responsible for assurances of safety because those industries are tied to government agencies, or because those agencies derive profits or “benefits” from the “cozy relationships?” If you believe that the FAA and the FDA need to come clean regarding the “revolving door” and “cozy relationships” that experts have indicated exist between both agencies and private industry, why would we not consider the same for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)?

Arguably, a profoundly vivid parallel is seen in the policies and practices of mandatory vaccination and informed consent. Over the many years studying vaccination theory and practice, I discovered a disturbing similar pattern – the “revolving door” between the CDC and private pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, the conflicts of interest where different committees and their members are given waivers protecting conflicts of interest, payoffs to doctors for administering vaccines, fast-tracking of vaccines and safety studies with no use of double-blind placebo studies, and the very “cozy relationship” between members of Congress, “big pharma,” the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

If you believe that the FAA and the FDA need to come clean regarding the “revolving door” and “cozy relationships” that experts have indicated exists between both agencies and private industry, why would we not consider the same for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)?

In 1986, Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA). For years families had been suing vaccine manufacturers for injuries their children suffered at the hands of vaccines. Threatening to discontinue vaccine production, the vaccine manufacturers asked for government assurances that their products would go forward unhindered. The 1986 law took all liability away from the manufacturers of vaccines, making it impossible to sue the industry. The same law stipulated that every two years the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would submit a report to Congress on the state of vaccine safety. It was during this time that the numbers and doses of vaccines began a dramatic increase.

In 2017 Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Del Bigtree of the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) filed a suit before the U.S. Federal Court for the Southern District of New York. On July 27, 2018, HHS admitted the following before the court:

The [Department]’s searches for records did not locate any records responsive to your request. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Immediate Office of the Secretary (IOS) conducted a thorough search of its document tracking systems. The department also conducted a comprehensive review of all relevant indexes of HHS secretarial correspondence records maintained at Federal record centers that remain in the custody of HHS. These searches did not locate records responsive to your request, or indications that records responsive to your request and in the custody of HHS are located at Federal record centers.

Today in the United States, political, medical, and mass media leadership, infused by the interests of vaccine manufacturers, are currently engaged in a massive campaign to silence dialogue, ban books and websites, avoid debates, and impose that vaccines become mandatory for all with no respect to informed consent, religious beliefs, medical conditions, or personal conscience. Writing on a recent measles outbreak in Rockland County, New York, Celeste McGovern remarks,

People, like those in Rockland County, don’t avoid vaccines because they are misled by “fake” news and Facebook – but because of the real stories of corporate greed and political cover-up and vaccine-injured children that are shared on those platforms. The data bears them out. There are millions of them.

How is it possible that censorship becomes a principal upon which public policy and social interaction are defined in a democracy? Will the violation of the right to informed consent become the new paradigm applied to air travel, medications, vaccination, food and more?

The very thought that censorship would become an instrument of intimidation, humiliation, a threat, and a practice violating human rights, should make anyone shiver. But maybe more importantly, the unbridled and crass censorship we are witnessing today on the topic of mandatory vaccination, its effectiveness and safety, should leave us asking: How is it possible that censorship becomes a principal upon which public policy and social interaction are defined in a democracy? Will the violation of the right to informed consent become the new paradigm applied to air travel, medications, vaccination, food, and more?

Personally, and professionally, I see nothing edifying and positive coming from the censorship of those that question. Boeing has explaining to do, as does the FAA. Furthermore, Johnson & JohnsonPurdueCVS and the FDA, owe the people an explanation. Likewise, the HHS, CDC, and pharma owe the people many explanations about the safety of vaccines.


Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured. Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Alternative News

Edward Snowden On Big Tech Companies, Like Facebook, Censoring & Controlling Information

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Glenn Greenwald interviews NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden about Big Tech censorship of information, and the muzzling of journalists who go against the grain.

  • Reflect On:

    f your perception is built by mainstream media, do you truly know what is going on in the world if they are often working to hide or censor stories that would dramatically change your perception?

Glenn Greenwald is no stranger to censorship, he’s the journalist who worked with Edward Snowden (NSA mass surveillance whistleblower)  to put together his story and release it to the world while working for the Guardian. He eventually left the Guardian and co-founded his own media company, The Intercept, an organization that would be free from censorship and free to report on government corruption and wrong-doings of powerful people and corporations. He recently resigned from The Intercept as well due to the fact that they’ve now censored him, and is now completely independent. You can find his work here.

Anybody who reports on or sheds a bright light onto immoral and unethical actions taken by governments and the powerful corporations they work with has been subjected to extreme censorship. In the case of Edward Snowden, he’s been exiled, and Julian Assange of Wikileaks is currently clinging to his life for exposing war crimes and other unethical actions by multiple governments and corporations. There are many other examples. What does it say about our civilization when we prosecute those who expose harm, corruption, immoral/unethical actions by governments and war crimes?

Greenwald recently interviewed Snowden about internet censorship and the role big tech companies and governments are playing. Greenwald explains that in one of his earliest meetings with Snowden, he (Snowden) explained that he was driven in large part by the vital role the early internet played in his life, “one that was free of corporate and state control, that permitted anonymity and exploration free of monitoring, and, most of all, fostered unrestrained communication and dissemination of information by and among citizens of the world without corporate and state overlords regulating and controlling what they were saying.

This is what he and Snowden go into in the interview posted below. Prior to that I provide a brief summary of Snowden’s key thoughts.

Snowden starts off by mentioning government surveillance programs and the companies they contracted to do this work and compares them to modern day Big Tech giants censoring information on a wide range of topics. We see this today with elections/politics, to medical information dealing with coronavirus and vaccines, for example.

“In secret, these companies had all agreed to work with the U.S. Government far beyond what the law required of them, and that’s what we’re seeing with this new censorship push is really a new direction in the same dynamic. These companies are not obligated by the law to do almost any of what they’re actually doing but they’re going above and beyond, to, in many cases, to increase the depth of their relationship (with the government) and the government’s willingness to avoid trying to regulate them in the context of their desired activities, which is ultimately to dominate the conversation and information space of global society in different ways…They’re trying to make you change your behaviour… – Snowden

So basically, these Big Tech companies have become slaves, if you will, to the governments will, or at least powerful people situated in high places within the government. Snowden brings up the fact that many of these companies are hiring people from the CIA, who come from the Pentagon, who come from the NSA, who have top secret clearances…The government is a customer of all the major cloud service providers. They are also a major regulator of these companies, which gives these companies the incentive to do whatever they want.

This is quite clear if you look at Facebook, Google and Amazon employees. There are many who have come from very high positions within the Department of Defense.

In no case is this more clear than Amazon – Snowden

Amazon appointed Keith Alexander, director of the NSA under Barack Obama.

He was one of the senior architects of the mass surveillance program that courts have repeatedly now declared to be unlawful and unconstitutional….When you have this kind of incentive from a private industry to maintain the warmest possible relationship with the people in government, who not just buy from you but also have the possibility to end your business or change the way you do business…You now see this kind of soft corruption that happens in a constant way. – Snowden

Snowden goes on to explain how people get upset when government, especially the Trump government, tries to set the boundaries of what appropriate speech is by attempting to stop big tech censorship, he then says,

If you’re not comfortable letting the government determine the boundaries of appropriate political speech, why are you begging Mark Zuckerberg to do it?

I think the reality here is…it’s not really about freedom of speech, and it’s not really about protecting people from harm…I think what you see is the internet has become the de facto means of mass communication. That represents influence which represents power, and what we see is we see a whole number of different tribes basically squabbling to try to gain control over this instrument of power.

What we see is an increasing tendency to silence journalists who say things that are in the minority.

You can watch the full conversation between Greenwald and Snowden below, the conversation is about 40 minutes long.

 

Closing Comments: This kind of information almost begs the question, are we ready as a society to truly create and disseminate journalism that is honest, integral and bi-partisan? Why is it that these types of organizations fail or struggle? How do some media companies fail? Well, they no longer stay true to their mission. They fall to the pressure of politics and fall into ideology. How many other times did ideology change what media outlets reported? Yes, it’s almost impossible to have zero bias, but how close can we get to zero? How can we achieve this when media outlets who do not fit within the accepted framework and disseminate information that challenges the popular opinion are constantly being punished for simply putting out information?

As Snowden mentioned above, these Big Tech companies in collusion with governments are literally attempting to not only censor information, but change the behaviour of people as well, especially journalists. When you take away one’s business or livelihood as a result of non-compliance, you are in a way forcing them to comply and do/say things you they way you want them done/said. We’ve experienced massive amounts of censorship and demonetization here at Collective Evolution, but we haven’t changed as a results of it. We simply created CETV, a platform that helps support our work as a result of censorship.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Awareness

COVID-19 Has A 99.95% Survival Rate For People Under 70 – Stanford Professor of Medicine

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD, from the Stanford University School of Medicine recently shared that the survival rate for people under 70 years of age is about 99.95 percent. He also said that COVID is less dangerous than the flu for children.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is there such a large divide between so many doctors and scientists with regards to the response to the pandemic? Why is one side constantly ridiculed and censored by Big Tech companies? Should governments have the authority to mandate lockdowns?

What Happened: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD, from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California recently appeared on a JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) Network conversation alongside Mark Lipsitch, DPhil and Dr. Howard Bauchner, who interviews leading researchers and thinkers in health care about their JAMA articles.

During the conversation, Dr. Bhattacharya said that the survival rate from COVID-19, based on approximately 50 studies that’ve been published providing seroprevalence data, for people over 70 years of age is 95 percent. For people under the age of 70, the survival rate of COVID-19 is 99.95 percent. He went on to state that the flu is more dangerous than COVID-19 for children, and that we’ve (America) had more flu deaths in children this year than COVID deaths.

Obviously, his comments are open to interpretation and similar comments floating around the internet have been refuted by Facebook ‘fact-checkers.’

Bhattacharya has cited this study, published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization to come to his conclusion, along with, as mentioned above, many more.

These facts and many others are what inspired Bhattacharya, along with Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist, and Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology to create The Great Barrington Declaration.

The declaration strongly opposes lockdown measures that are being and have been put in place by various governments around the globe. The declaration has an impressive list of co-signers from renowned doctors and professors in the field from around the world, and now has nearly 50,000 signatures from doctors and scientists. The declaration also has approximately 660,000 signatures from concerned citizens.

The Declaration states,

The Declaration was written from a global public health and humanitarian perspective, with special concerns about how the current COVID-19 strategies are forcing our children, the working class and the poor to carry the heaviest burden.  The response to the pandemic in many countries around the world, focused on lockdowns, contact tracing and isolation, imposes enormous unnecessary health costs on people. In the long run, it will lead to higher COVID and non-COVID mortality than the focused protection plan we call for in the Declaration.

The declaration also states that as herd immunity builds, the risk of infection to all, including the most vulnerable, falls. Bhattacharya has explained that he and his colleagues don’t see herd immunity as a strategy but as a simple “biological fact,” adding, “It will eventually happen. That’s how epidemics end. So, the only question is how you get there with the least amount of human misery, death, and harm.” The best way, he said, is to “acknowledge who actually is in danger and devote enormous creativity, resources, and energy to protect them.”

The Declaration recommends implementing measures that protect the vulnerable without locking down the entire population, shutting down businesses and limiting people’s access to health-care.

Stefan Baral, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, said he supported adaptive interventions to protect at-risk people rather than broad lockdowns of entire populations. He said his mother lives in Sweden and “there’s nowhere else I would have wanted my mom to be. I love my mom and I feel she’s safe there.”

A report published in the British Medical Journal  titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″  has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom as a result of the new coronavirus may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the months of April and May . According to the data, Covid-19 only accounts for 10,000 of the 30,000 excess deaths that have been recorded in senior care facilities during the height of the pandemic. The article suggests and also quotes British Health officials stating that these unexplained deaths may have occurred because Quarantine measures have prevented seniors from accessing the health care that they need.

Bhattacharya has also cited an estimate from the United Nations World Food Program indicating that pandemic lockdowns causing breaks in the food chain are expected to push 135 million people into severe hunger and starvation by the end of this year.

These are just a few  many examples and concerns the declaration is referring to.

Another perspective on these survival rates? According to  Professor Robyn Lucas, head of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University,

Survival rates and the percentage of the population who have not died are two very different numbers, “They are using the whole population, rather than the number who have diagnosed infection. So this is not really ‘survival’ – to survive a disease you have to have the disease in the first place,” Prof Lucas told AAP FactCheck in an email. (source)

Why This Is Important: Never before have we seen so many renowned doctors, scientists, and experts in the field oppose the recommendations and actions taken by the World Health Organization and multiple governments to combat a health crises. The fact that there is a great divide among the scientific and medical community makes one ponder how governments can have the mandatory authority to lockdown our planet when there isn’t really a scientific consensus to do so.

What’s also quite concerning is the fact that big tech companies, like Facebook, have been actively censoring and flagging information and opinions that oppose those of the WHO and government health authorities. Unpopular opinions and recommendations aren’t really given any attention by mainstream media either, and they’re often ridiculed by them. The Great Barrington Declaration is a great example.

Because of all the discrepancy, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for governments to simply present the science and make strong recommendations and leave the citizenry to do what they’d like to do. To each is own, that’s just my opinion. I believe we are more than capable enough, and intelligent enough to determine the right course of action for ourselves. A lot of people have lost trust in their government and this is because actions taken by them have simply called into question whether or not they make decisions with humanities best interests at heart.

Are they really executing the will of the people?

When it comes to COVID-19, we’ve seen that this may not be the case. Kamran Abbas is a doctor, executive editor of the British Medical Journal, and the editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization. He has published an article about COVID-19, the suppression of science and the politicization of medicine in the British Medical Journal.

It it, he states the following:

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science.

When we allow governments and give them the power to use force when so many people disagree with their recommendations, it makes one question just how much power do thee entities have? And why? Why do we choose to be governed in such a way? Why aren’t we free to make our own decisions?

More important than facts is our ability to get along with one another and see from the perspective of another. We must understand why those who disagree with us feel the way they do, and they must try to understand us. Constantly arguing and disagreeing with each other and always being in a state of constant separation doesn’t solve anything. Now more than ever we need to respect one another and try see from a perspective that’s not our own. Can’t we find some middle ground and all get along? It’s ok to ask questions and challenge our governments, in fact, it should be encouraged.

Many of us are feeling the loss of freedoms, and even with new measures like that which is presented in this article, we are now seeing how our reality may become limited should we choose not to participate in certain measures we don’t agree with. The trouble we seem to be having is determining how to communicate about COVID, the fears we have around it, and how to come together as a community to ‘draw a line’ as to where we may be taking things too far.

Can we truly accept that controlling everyone’s lives and what they can and can’t do is the best thing to do with an extremely low mortality virus? Does this indicate the level of fear we have towards life? The issues with our general health? If the worry is straining health care systems, are we seeing the limitations of how our rigid social infrastructures can’t be flexible and maybe it’s time to look at a new way of living within society? Perhaps a new way built on a completely different worldview?

No, I’m not talking about no Great Reset here, I’m talking about something much deeper. I’m talking about re-examining the deep questions of who we are, why we are here and what type of future we truly want to create. Questions that we may have forgotten about as we have gone on chasing what our current worldview and system dangles in front of us. Perhaps it’s time to take a breath and see the crisis’ in front of us as a call to ask some much deeper questions than common conversation invites us to ask.

A great place to start with these questions, and something I deeply urge people to consider doing, is doing something like a media/news fast that includes important questions and reflections designed to re-imagine and examine your worldview. I have just released a new short course on CETV called How To Do An Effective Media Detox. Check out CETV and this course as a great place to start. – Joe Martino

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Alternative News

Savant Syndrome: Extraordinary Cognitive Skills In Autistic Children, Including Telepathy

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell, MD, Neuroscientist and Psychotherapist published a paper in EdgeScience, a publication put out by the Journal Scientific exploration, detailing examples of "savants" demonstrating extraordinary abilities, like telepathy.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are abilities like telepathy completely unacknowledged within mainstream academia? Why are these abilities always presented as trivial when there is clear evidence of their existence?

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is referred to today as a wide range of conditions that are characterized and diagnosed by challenges with social skills, behaviours, and nonverbal communication.

I’ve studied Autism for many years and there are many questions still to be asked, and many to be answered. I’ve realized that, in many cases, children can receive an ASD diagnosis despite appearing to be completely normal but display a few social characteristics that are simply different from most children. Sometimes this is referred to as high functioning autism, but I believe most children and people are high functioning in their own way. This doesn’t mean they have a “disorder.” On the other hand, some children with autism can be extremely impaired with regards to their ability to communicate and express themselves. Some children who have an ASD diagnoses may not have the same biological issue, or perhaps brain structure as others who have the diagnosis. In large part, I believe what we know as autism has also been capitalized on by big pharmaceutical companies to sell medication that in many cases is not only unnecessary, but harmful as well. In some cases I believe there are some “abnormalities” in behaviour and biology, and in some cases with some children, I don’t believe these are abnormalities, they could very well be advancements or even enhancements. In other cases, there could be clear indication of brain damage, for example.

Autism rates are climbing worldwide, According, to the Centers for Disease Control in the United States, autism affects approximately 1 in 54 children.

Culprits of autism include genetics, but a wide range of information that’s been published over many years suggests multiple environmental factors are playing a big role. These include environmental and agricultural pesticides, unnatural sources of electromagnetic radiation, prescription drug use during presidency, substances like, lead, aluminum, and mercury. One recent study even concluded that there is sufficient evidence to now list mercury as a cause of autism.

But what about the perspective of the some of these children and people with the diagnosis? For a very long time, many were not able to express themselves, but technology has changed that and in turn, has drastically changed our perception of autism.

Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell, MD, Neuroscientist and Psychotherapist published a paper in EdgeScience, a publication put out by the Journal of Scientific Exploration. The article is titled Autistics, Savants, and Psi: A Radical Theory of Mind and provides multiple examples of autistic savants.

She’s the one in the picture above with Ramses,  as savant mentioned later on in the article.

In it she provides several examples of savants, as well as examples of savants she’s directly worked with and studied.

Below are parts selected from her paper about the autistic savants and what they are capable of. In her full paper she goes into more explanation and theory behind the phenomenon, so be sure to read the whole thing if you’re interested.

The inner world of autistics was a complete mystery until 1992, when Donna Williams published Nobody Nowhere: The Extraordinary Autobiography of an Autistic Girl. Donna had sent her diary to a psychiatrist, requesting a diagnosis. I heard her on NPR shortly after reading this book and stayed in my car to listen. What intrigued me the most was Donna’s inability to answer the interviewer’s questions, unless she typed her answers into her computer first. Then she could read them.

Since the 1990s, computers and the media have enabled many other high functioning autistics to dramatically change our understanding of autism, like Temple Grandin, best-selling author and professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. Some of their stories are heartbreaking, because of how much these children are misunderstood. Others are inspirational, because of the power of unconditional love and perseverance. Autism is independent of IQ. Autistics are frequently gifted, but an inability to communicate often causes them to be labeled “mentally retarded.” Many people mistakenly assume autistics don’t understand language, when some just aren’t able to coordinate their facial muscles. Their frustration leads to many outbursts. They aren’t aloof just because they don’t look at you. In fact, they are often strongly empathic and withdraw because they can’t handle the emotional and/ or sensory overload. – Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell, MD, Neuroscientist

“Savant Syndrome”

Another characteristic associated with an autism diagnosis is what’s known as “savant syndrome,” where autistic children and people display unimaginable talents and abilities that are incomprehensible and completely unexplainable.

Savant syndrome is the presence of extraordinary cognitive skills without the usual building blocks underlying them. It is rare in the general population but occurs in approximately 10% of autistics – Powell

Oliver Sacks (1998) investigated two famous savants, John and Michael, who were identical autistic twins. They took great pleasure in tossing consecutive six digit prime numbers back and forth, without consciously deriving them, or even knowing how to do simple math. Sacks met them in the 1960s and joined their game by looking up tables of primes; he challenged them to go up to 8, 10, 12, and even 20 digits. He was only able to verify their accuracy up to 12 digits, the computing capacity at the time. There is no algorithm for calculating consecutive primes, so this would be remarkable even if they could do math. The twins said they saw the answers, which just appeared. John and Michael could also tell you the day of the week for any date spanning 80,000 years, as well as the dates Easter would have fallen on. When a box of matches accidentally spilled onto the floor, Sacks (1998) heard them spontaneously say the number “111,” in unison, the exact count. After repeatedly demonstrating their abilities in front of audiences, they were separated. Their obsession with each other and their number games interfered with the development of real life skills, so they were forced to live independently “for their own good.” Their extraordinary abilities disappeared.

Bernard R imland (1978) was a psychologist whose autistic son inspired him to study over 5,400 other autistic children, 119 of whom were savants. Four reportedly exhibited ESP, which Rimland listed as a savant skill. These children routinely predicted events in advance, especially concerning their caregivers, and provided specific information that only these caregivers could have known (Rimland, 1978, Treffert, 1989).

In January 2013, I evaluated several savants in India. One was a six-year-old boy with an encyclopedic knowledge of science, reportedly without having studied. Another was a girl who always knew exactly how many potato chips her father had reserved for later. One boy had accurately predicted several of his teachers’ promotions and transfers. I also learned of a boy who may have saved a life. He had a history of touching people, but only if and where they had physical problems. One day he tapped a woman’s breast. As a result, his psychiatrist recommended she get a mammogram, and it revealed breast cancer. None of these Indian children could be used for formal experiments at the time. The most promising of them used facilitated communication (FC), involving physical touch to support the autistic child’s movements while they type. That doesn’t necessarily mean the typed words aren’t their own. Some learn to type independently, demonstrating intact language skills. Skeptics regard all writings obtained from FC as tainted—wishful thinking on the part of parents who desperately want to communicate with a child—and are concerned about unconscious cueing.

Months later psychiatrist Darold Treffert referred a nine-yearold mute autistic girl nicknamed Hayley for my evaluation. She is an American child who doesn’t use FC. Hayley communicates by either pointing at letters and numbers on thick plastic stencils, or typing into a device called a “talker” that converts text to speech. Hayley’s parents and therapists hadn’t believed telepathy was real until Hayley exhibited it.

They want to keep their identity hidden to protect Hayley from attention by the media. Her father is a medical doctor, which is why he immediately realized how significant this would be to science. Everything I learned about her indicates a very low likelihood of fraud. Hayley’s family initially thought she was a mathematical savant. She could give answers to increasingly complex problems involving several digit numbers, but she couldn’t do simple math. One day she typed her answer in an exponential format for the first time. She hadn’t been asked to, but the therapist’s calculator had just accidentally been switched to displaying results in that notation. The shocked therapist asked how she knew.

Hayley typed, “I see the numerators and denominators in your head.” Hayley then accurately answered questions for her therapist that she shouldn’t have known the answers to, such as her landlord’s name, “Helmut.” Hayley also could type the exact words her therapist was thinking to describe pictures hidden from view. She even typed prose, word-for-word, including several foreign languages, but only when her therapist knows or reads it. In August 2013, Hayley’s family sent me three videos demonstrating telepathy. Filmed with a smartphone by her father in August 2012, they showed a young woman with a ponytail (Therapist A), looking at pictures, sentences, and numbers. A much younger girl in pigtails typed into a device with an electronic voice, giving answers exactly matching what the therapist had shown to the camera.

These videos were intriguing but scientifically unacceptable. Experimental protocol requires randomized stimuli, so that answers can be compared to chance. Also, the therapist was in the same room as Hayley with no divider between them. Although there didn’t appear to be any cueing, it cannot be ruled out because these videos don’t show the entire room. After learning about Hayley’s “telepathy,” her parents kept it a secret. They didn’t know how people would react. They let a few teachers know because they saw potential for Hayley to fool them into thinking she was learning her subjects when, like the math, she might be using telepathy to give the answers. A new therapist (B) was among those who were not told, but she began to have suspicions. Hayley’s answers were always correct, and when they weren’t, they were exact replicas of the therapist’s mistakes. She jokingly tested Hayley’s “telepathy” by asking her to translate “I love you” into German, a language the therapist knew and Hayley had never seen. Her jaw dropped when Hayley typed, “Ich liebe dich.”

Hayley started practicing telepathy with therapists A and B, taking pride in her ability and squealing with glee when she heard the “talker” speak the correct answers. Hayley became so excited during testing, her therapists started touching her shoulder to calm her down. By 2013, Hayley had become psychologically dependent upon being touched during testing. This was a problem for research. My experiments were delayed while Hayley was weaned from this contact. I also needed the therapists to work with a divider between Hayley and themselves. Autism makes any change challenging and, as anticipated, Hayley’s behavior regressed. There was no way to predict what form it would take. It could have been anything from soiling her pants to refusing to enter the room. Instead, she stopped typing her answers. Therapists have to think on the fly and will try a variety of techniques to get a client back on track.

When they returned to her initial method of communication, Hayley started participating again. She selected her answers from cut-out letters or numbers on stencils by pointing to them with a pencil in her right hand, then typing them with her left. Another complication arose. Hayley was undergoing intensive speech therapy and began to vocalize some letters, numbers, and simple words. Rather than wait until Hayley and her therapists could work in separate rooms, my videographer Kent Romney and I scheduled testing for May 2014. Speech development has been reported to interfere with savant skills, and we couldn’t take that chance. Nadia (Selfe, 1977) was an autistic savant who lost her remarkable artistic talent after acquiring language at age 12. Puberty might also diminish telepathic abilities and has according to parents of some autistics. Hayley started having menses at age 9. Upon meeting Hayley, I saw that she exhibits all of the clinical signs of autism. She was diagnosed months before turning three, a typical age. Her social and language development were delayed and aberrant. She has repetitive behaviors, such as hand-flapping, and makes little eye contact with anyone, including family. When I asked her mother if she makes eye contact, she said, “occasionally she stares at my forehead.

Below is a video of one of the experiments with Haley.

Former head of the Department of Psychology at Kent State, Raleigh Drake, (1938) investigated “Bo,” an 11-year-old boy whose brain injury at birth left him with an IQ of 55. Bo’s mother said he “would spontaneously tell her words or numbers which she had not overtly expressed.” Like Hayley, Bo initially was “thought to be a lightning calculator because no matter what the row of figures given he would immediately give the answer, provided it was in his mother’s mind, but he could do absolutely nothing if left alone.” Drake’s description of Bo is very consistent with autism: “When he was to leave home for a few days to stay in my home he showed no emotion at leaving his parents or any homesickness or anxiety to return. Even at the moment of seeing his parents after an absence of two days the meeting was no more than casual on his part. He is an active observer of the activities of other boys, usually younger than he, but he makes little effort to participate cooperatively in their games… His comments are, however, frequently of the perseverative type with verbal repetition and fixation of ideas constantly recurring.” Visual cues were eliminated by blindfolding and/or placing Bo on the other side of the room from his mother with his back towards her. Drake tested them with ESP cards. Each run had 25 answers. Once Bo scored an average of 84 percent on each of 14 runs. Drake did not observe any evidence of auditory cueing, and Bo’s performance actually improved when blindfolded.

Recordon’s paper referenced telepathy research done in the 1930s with children who would be diagnosed as autistic savants today, but autism didn’t exist as a diagnosis until 1938. Ilga K. was a 10-year-old Latvian girl with an IQ of 48 (Bender, 1938). At age eight, Ilga spoke at the level of a two year-old. She struggled to read simple text, but when another person silently read beside her, she could verbalize the written content, including foreign languages, in her mother’s pronunciation. Like Hayley, Ilga responded best when given verbal prompts of encouragement such as “Ilga, think!” She was investigated by Ferdinand von Neureiter, director of the Institute of Forensic Medicine of the University of Riga, a commission from the Psychological Institute of Bonn University, and a commission led by Paul Dahle of the Institute of Psychology of the University of Riga. They made dictaphone and film recordings, because of concern that auditory cues could be hidden in her mother’s verbal prompts. Some potential auditory cueing by the mother was noted, but Ilga often knew the correct answer without any cueing detected, even under high amplification. When her mother’s prompts were recorded to create an “artificial mother,” replacing her mother’s live voice as prompts, Ilga still answered accurately. She demonstrated telepathy in an experiment done with her six-year-old brother, and with von Neureiter, who wrote, “I happened to glance at the word ‘Bruhte’… At the same moment the child in the next room cried: ‘Bruhte.’” (Bender, 1938)

Earlier this year I started research with Ramses, a 5-year-old boy with mild autism who could read seven languages out loud by the time he was two, and has solved algebra problems since age four. He is reportedly telepathic with his mother, a brilliant surrealist artist who claims to have been telepathic with him even before his birth. So far, I have tested him briefly on five occasions. He is too young to focus for sessions longer than five minutes but speaks the answers instead of typing them. His overall accuracy has been above 90%. There will be more to explore as he matures. Some autistic children appear to have the ability to access the thoughts of others. How can we reconcile this data with an impaired Theory of Mind? Our representation of others’ beliefs, and ToM, are believed to involve our temporoparietal junctions (TPJ), where our temporal and parietal lobes join (Samson et al, 2004, Lombardo et al 2011). Our left TPJ is usually larger than the right, and a lesion to the left TPJ is associated with language deficits. In autism, the right TPJ is often as large or larger than on the left, and may play a role in telepathy (Powell, 2012).

Remarkable ‘paranormal Abilities are Not Limited To Autistic Savants

There are a number of examples of documented ‘paranormal’ abilities.  Here’s an article I published referencing a study/document from the CIA showing gifted people and children in China being able to transport objects, in sealed containers, from one location to another without touching them or opening the container. This is known “as breaking through spatial barriers.”

I also recently wrote about a study from China, translated and archived in the CIA’s electronic reading room, demonstrating the ability of a gifted girl to physically write on a piece of paper inside a closed container using nothing but her mind.

The latest example I wrote about was about person with gifted abilities who was able to break/bend a needle, and then put it back together again without even touching it.

The Takeaway

I find it odd that these capacities have been and are documented and studied within the highest level of government, yet shunned and unacknowledged by the mainstream academic community. These incidents and examples push the boundaries of our beliefs and what we think we know about ourselves and the nature of reality. This, in a way, expands human consciousness tremendously, and perhaps with more research and investigation we could find ways of teaching these abilities. That being said, is humanity ready for such things? A large part of our human experience operates from a lower level of consciousness, one filled with ego, greed, fear and selfishness. We can have all of the game changing technology in the world, for example, but what matters is what will we use it for? What’s important is the consciousness behind developments and new discoveries, not the developments and discoveries themselves. Do we have leadership that truly has the best interests of humanity and our planet at heart? These are important questions to ask.

 

 

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading
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