Saturday, October 30, 2010

“Dr. Mary’s Monkey”

by Mary Wenworth
09/20/10 HERE...

Lee Harvey Oswald, the JFK assassination are part of this chronicle

In "Dr. Mary's Monkey," Edward T. Haslam weaves a tale of intrigue involving polio vaccines, secret laboratories, a gruesome death, romance, and, yes, monkeys.

Would you believe that Lee Harvey Oswald and the assassination of JFK are also part of this chronicle? Set in New Orleans in the fifties and early sixties, it demonstrates that truth is way stranger than fiction.

Haslam set out to discover what his father, a former Commander in the U.S. Navy and a Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Tulane, had come across in the New Orleans medical community that not only offended his sense of medical ethics, but also frightened him into silence.

Interview With Edward T. Haslam

When a small child Haslam had sat in Dr. Mary Sherman's lap during one of her visits to the Haslam home. It was to be expected then that her murder, which remains unsolved to this day, would have been a painful event for the whole family. Nevertheless, the senior Haslam, just before his death, would not reveal to his son what he had learned. Only that very powerful people were involved and his son should think twice about "crossing swords" with them.

Haslam's search goes back to 1952 when Dr. Alton Ochsner persuaded Sherman, a well-known and respected cancer researcher and faculty member at the University of Chicago, to come to New Orleans. Ochsner was a prominent surgeon, an influential figure in New Orleans political circles, president of the American Cancer Society, and a staunch anti-communist. He promised Sherman a partnership in his clinic, her own cancer laboratory that would never want for funds because of Ochsner's connections, and an associate professorship at Tulane Medical School.

What were the events over the next fourteen years that led to Dr. Sherman's murder in July 1964- eight months after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy?

The answer to this question begins with the 33,000 Americans a year who had contracted polio during the early fifties. Parental fear that their child would be the next victim of this crippling, and often deadly, disease put enormous pressure on American medical researchers.

A significant step forward occurred when researchers found they could use the kidneys of rhesus monkeys as the culture for growing a vaccine. In early 1955, Dr. Jonas Salk announced that his vaccine would prevent polio. Following his instructions, five commercial laboratories began producing it in preparation for mass inoculations set to begin in April of that year.

As a precaution, Dr. Bernice Eddy, a researcher who worked for the National Institute of Health (NIH) in New Orleans, was ordered at the last minute to safe-test the Salk vaccine. Her finding was shocking: the vaccine itself could cause paralysis.

It heralded the biggest fiasco, to date, in the history of American medicine: unbelievably, the top dogs in the medical community decided to go ahead, anyway. [It is possible that this decision was based on a trade-off: some children would be paralyzed and some of them would die but many more would be protected from the disease.]

In a display of unimaginable arrogance, Ochsner, who had holdings in one of the five laboratories, inoculated his own grandchildren to demonstrate that the vaccine was safe. Both contracted polio. His granddaughter recovered from her paralysis but tragically his grandson died.

Estimates vary, but a significant number of other children also died or had permanent paralysis. Later on, in 1960, Dr. Albert Sabin was believed to have saved the day because his oral vaccine used a weakened virus rather than the dead virus used by Salk. Moreover, it had already been tested extensively in other countries. It began to be distributed here almost five years to the day that Americans had begun receiving the Salk inoculations.

About this time, another unsung heroine of American medicine, Dr. Sarah Stewart proved that a virus caused cancer. NIH officials, in an attempt to muzzle their whistleblower, had shifted Eddy, a close friend of Stewart's, from working on polio vaccine to doing research on influenza. Nevertheless, Eddy began to quietly perform more tests on polio vaccines.

At an October 1961 meeting in Manhattan of the New York Cancer Society, Eddy made a career-ending move. Without the consent of her superiors, she revealed an even more alarming discovery than her first: both polio vaccines were contaminated with a cancer-causing virus!

Another fiasco even bigger than the first! And one with far-reaching consequences. Between 1955 and 1963, millions of Americans had been injected with, or had swallowed, a substance that caused cancer.
How could this have happened? The answer is that little thought had been given to the possibility that life-threatening viruses could be extracted from kidney cultures along with the polio vaccine.

What was done about it? Not much. Both Salk and Sabin resisted informing the American people of this development. A few heads rolled - but not many. The media paid little attention to this catastrophe. [Since Eddy had predicted that it would take thirty years for the cancers to develop, one might surmise that the medical community felt shielded by the prospect that a connection between the vaccine and a cancer would be difficult to prove.]

Haslam drew up charts from statistics obtained from the National Cancer Institute that show that the epidemic began in the 1985 (1955+30) when cancers of five of the body's soft tissues - the skin, breast, prostate, lymphoma and lung - began a dramatic increase.

He writes, "Remember the dreaded polio epidemic of the 1950s with its 33,000 cases of polio each year. Compare that to these numbers from 1994: 182,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed; 200,000 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed; 500,000 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed. The increase in any one of these diseases in the years since 1985 was greater than the entire polio epidemic at its peak!"

It is a significant part of this exposé that these key discoveries were made in national institutions like the NIH based in one particular city. New Orleans was the gateway to the United States for South American countries. Many came to the city for medical treatment. Dr. Ochsner's Clinic, in particular, with its posh accommodations became a destination for Latin America's elite. Ochsner's rabid anti-communism grew out of his personal friendships with dictators like Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua, Juan Peron of Argentina, and Tomas Gabriel Duque of Panama.

Ochsner was incensed by Fidel Castro's successful 1959 rebellion in Cuba against the US-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista. Many anti-Castro Cubans and their allies felt that either the 1961 disastrous Bay of Pigs assault or the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis should have occasioned a full-scale invasion of Cuba to "free the Cuban people from the Castro dictatorship." [Of course, none of these people had expressed any concern for the Cuban people when Batista, a real dictator, had been in power.]

A 1976 report from Senator Frank Church's Select Committee on Assassinations showed that the CIA had been busy for more than a decade with inventing new ways to murder Castro. Was using the cancer-causing polio vaccine one of these ideas?

[Douglas's research combined with Haslam's gives us a fairly complete picture that Oswald's activities in New Orleans that portrayed him as a friend of Cuba was part of a plan for Oswald to be involved in carrying out this mission. It also helped set him up to be the "patsy" for President Kennedy's assassination.]

Ochsner had recruited Judyth Vary, a young woman not yet twenty, to work in one of his labs. Almost immediately upon her arrival in New Orleans in May 1963, a bit ahead of her employment date, she became the protégé of Lee Harvey Oswald who had recently returned to his native city. He helped Vary get settled and find work. During this period, Vary married her fiancé, Robert Baker, who came to the city for the ceremony but left immediately for a summer job in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oswald worked with Ochsner, David Ferrie and the local Mafia boss, Carlos Marcello, as well as the CIA and FBI. Vary noted that the Oswald family had apparently had a long relationship with Marcello. David Ferrie had had a rather checkered career as a seminary student, a pilot for Eastern Airlines, and an operative for the CIA. By the time Vary came to know him, he was wearing a homemade orange wig and painting his eyebrows with a black greasy substance. An unforgettable looking character.

Both Vary and Oswald eventually received cover jobs in the Reily Coffee Company where they could come and go in order to do their undercover work. No questions asked. Even though Oswald was also married, had a small child and another on the way, it was not long before the two began an affair that ended with Lee's murder in November of that year.

Ferrie did experiments on mice in his own apartment, but he also rented another that housed an underground lab. It was here that Vary was soon put to work, inspecting new batches of mice that were brought into the secret lab by one or another of the anti-Castro Cubans who came and went from an upstairs apartment. After destroying the mice with the most advanced tumors, Judyth would remove the tumors, grind them up in a blender and take the mixture to Dr. Sherman's home a few blocks away.

Dr. Sherman's work In New Orleans included teaching at Tulane Medical School, doing operations at Charity Hospital, staffing at several children's hospitals and working in Ochsner's Clinic. It appears that another secret lab was at the US Public Health Hospital. Perhaps Sherman started out to develop a vaccine to cure cancer. But ended up dedicating herself to perfecting a biological weapon from the cancer-causing monkey virus.
According to Vary-Baker, Dr. Sherman, herself, helped convince her that it was their patriotic duty to develop a biological weapon that could kill Castro before he unleashed "nukes" on the United States.

When the virus became fast-acting at killing not only mice but also monkeys, it was determined that it needed to be tried on a human. An inmate at Angola State Prison who volunteered for the experiment was brought to the Jackson State Mental Hospital not far from New Orleans where he died from an injection.

Judyth wrote a letter to Dr. Ochsner, complaining that the inmate did not know the possible consequences of the experiment. An angry Ochsner terminated Judyth as well as Oswald from any further connection to the project. In the fall she went back to Florida to a lab job in Gainesville that Ferrie had found for her. In mid-October, Oswald was transferred to Dallas. The two kept in touch by using Mafia safe lines through an arrangement that Ferrie had worked out.

Oswald told Judyth of the plans to assassinate Kennedy and that he hoped to be able to prevent it. If he came out of it alive he promised that they could carry out their plans to elope to Mexico, get quickie divorces, and get married. Their last conversation was on Wednesday, November 21st, two days before the assassination. Instead, Oswald ended up at the age of twenty-four being the scapegoat for the president's murder and being murdered himself. [James Douglas covers this in his book, JFK and The Unspeakable, that has been the subject of an earlier posting on this blog.]

Ferrie called Judyth to tell her that her life would be in danger if she ever told anyone what she knew. [Silent for more than thirty-five years, her book, Me and Lee, is about to be released by Trine Day Books.] (Editor: It is now available through Amazon).

Sherman's grotesquely disfigured body was found in her apartment early in the morning of July 21, 1964. Her right arm had been entirely burned away, leaving only a bone extending from her shoulder. Her right rib cage was gone and her insides lay exposed from her shoulder to her waist. Her face was unrecognizable.

Investigators determined that her body had been taken from another location and placed in her apartment. Incredibly, an autopsy showed that she was still alive after the burn and that the fatal wound had been a stabbing that penetrated her heart. Subsequently, she was stabbed and slashed several times after death and a fire was set in her apartment to make her death look like a random murder or a burglary gone wrong.

The most likely instrument for the hideous incineration of one side of her body was the linear particle accelerator that was secretly installed in the US Public Health Hospital where US Marines guarded it. Sherman would have had access to it and undoubtedly used it in her experiments because the accelerator can be depended upon to weaken a virus with great precision while being relied upon to not kill it.

Was Dr. Mary Sherman killed in July 1964 on the eve of hearings that Warren Commission investigators held in New Orleans because she couldn't be relied on to keep quiet? Neither the motive for her murder nor those responsible for it have ever been identified. In fact, the investigation of her murder was abruptly terminated at the end of two weeks. Who would have had the power to shut it down? [Could the fact that Allen Dulles, a former Director of the CIA, served on the Warren Commission have anything to do with it?]

The story does not end here. Was any use made of this cancer-causing virus? Haslam points out that this virus was labeled SV-40. What about the other 39 viruses found in the vaccine? Was one of them the AIDS virus? If so, how did it get out into the world? Was HIV-1 an undesirable mutation that resulted from using radiation on SV-40? Haslam discusses the ways in which this virus could have gotten into the blood stream of the world's population.

To learn more, go to to order the book.

[One of the earliest uses of a biological weapon happened in this country at the end of the French and Indian Wars that the British won. The British commander, Jeffrey Amherst, agreed to his lieutenant's request to give smallpox infected blankets to the Native Americans who had fought on the side of the French and were conducting a guerrilla war against Amherst and his troops.]

Friday, October 29, 2010

Update on Judyth Vary Baker's Book: Ed Haslam Interviewed by Professor Jim Fetzer

Famed Surgeon and Former Head of American Cancer Society Engaged in Crimes Against Humanity if Judyth Vary Baker's Allegations are True!

Since my previous post, noted JFK Assasination researcher and author Professor James H. Fetzer has completed a fascinating radio interview with Ed Haslam the author of Dr. Mary's Monkey (Waterville, Oregon, Trine Day LLC, 2007) regarding Judyth Vary Baker's new book; Me and Lee (Waterville, Oregon, Trine Day LLC, 2010).
Ed Haslam has provided an incredible radio summary of Judyth's book which has further improved my understanding of the material covered in Me and Lee. I wholeheartedly recommend the radio interview to readers. At this point I have only a few additional questions I would appreciate obtaining the answers to.

One of the most egregious and unethical things ever to have been done to an impressionable young and burgeoning medical scientist is what Dr. Alton Ochsner allegedly did to Judyth Vary Baker after she objected on moral grounds to the testing of their bioweapon on unsuspecting prisoner's. He purportedly not only ended her career in Medicine but threatened to do physical harm to her if she did not complete her part of the project at the Prison and remain quiet about what she had been involved in.

If Judyth Vary Baker's testimony is true, Ochsner violated international humanitarian as well as US law by directing that prisoners be injected with the weaponized cancer causing virus in the absense of their consent and violated the Hippocratic oath he undoubtedly took as a physician to first "do no harm." 

The actions ostensibly undertaken by David Ferrie in clandestinely injecting prisoner's with the cancer-causing virus at Dr. Alton Ochsner's request was a crime against humanity, one which is comparable to the Nazi human experiments so forcefully  repudiated at the Nazi War Crimes Tribunal after World War II.

It bears repeating, It is always and everywhere morally wrong to intentionally harm a patient irrespective of the circumstances. The alleged prisoners in question  were utilized as human test animals the result of which was their death(s). In this case, a successful human experiment would of necessity demand the death of the subject--a situation which is beyond the pale for any  medical doctor to have been involved in let alone one of such fame and professional reputation.  It is truly unfortunate that this case was not brought to the Hague or other international criminal court of justice. Presumably, Dr. Alton Ochsner could be tried in absentia even at this late date.

Haslam who edited and wrote the forward to Judyth's book firmly believes in the truthfulness of her claims as does Professor Fetzer, and acclaimed JFK Assassination author Jim Marrs.

To listen to the interview, proceed HERE...

Needless to say, Judyth's story would make an excellent sequel to Oliver Stone's movie JFK as would the material which Ed Haslam presented in his book Dr. Mary's Monkey.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert, MD FACS

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Judyth Vary Baker's Long Awaited Book Now Available

Me & Lee: How I came to know love and lose Lee Harvey Oswald (Waterville, Oregon: Trine Day LLC, 2010) by Judyth Vary Baker is now publicly available and can be purchased through HERE...

I read Edward Haslam's related book, Dr. Mary's Monkey  (Waterville, Oregon: Trine Day LLC, 2007) a while back and had been eagerly anticipating my copy of Baker's book. It arrived roughly 10 days ago and I have now finished a careful methodical review. I found it to be well written, extremely englightening, full of complexity and overall a fascinating read. Judyth Baker's story is both inspiring and tragic.

Needless to say the assertions that Judtyh Vary Baker makes with regard to Lee Harvey Oswald's character, his involvement in concert with Baker, Dr. Alton Ochsner, Dr. Mary Sherman, David Ferrie and others in the clandestine project to develop a bioweapon in the summer of 1963 with which to kill Fidel Castro, Oswald's infiltration of the plot to kill President Kennedy and his alleged attempts to stop the assassination of JFK are earthshaking if true as they will  alter the JFK Assassination research community  landscape and US political history permanently.

I am currently in the process of writing a detailed review of Me and Lee which I will publish upon completion. I wholeheartedly recommend purchasing a copy of Baker's book to anyone who is interested in finding the truth about what happened to the 35th President of the United States and the American Republic thereafter. Given the deplorable state of affairs in contemporary America. Ms. Baker's book is fortuitous and timely.

To view multiple video interviews of Judyth Vary Baker see THIS...

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

See also the following Dr. Jim Fetzer interview of author Dean Hartwell who supports the veracity of Judyth's claims:

It's the Occupation, Stupid

Extensive research into the causes of suicide terrorism proves Islam isn't to blame -- the root of the problem is foreign military occupations.


October 22, 2010 "Foreign Policy" -- -Although no one wants to talk about it, 9/11 is still hurting America. That terrible day inflicted a wound of public fear that easily reopens with the smallest provocation, and it continues to bleed the United States of money, lives, and goodwill around the world. Indeed, America's response to its fear has, in turn, made Americans less safe and has inspired more threats and attacks.

In the decade since 9/11, the United States has conquered and occupied two large Muslim countries (Afghanistan and Iraq), compelled a huge Muslim army to root out a terrorist sanctuary (Pakistan), deployed thousands of Special Forces troops to numerous Muslim countries (Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, etc.), imprisoned hundreds of Muslims without recourse, and waged a massive war of ideas involving Muslim clerics to denounce violence and new institutions to bring Western norms to Muslim countries. Yet Americans still seem strangely mystified as to why some Muslims might be angry about this situation.

In a narrow sense, America is safer today than on 9/11. There has not been another attack on the same scale. U.S. defenses regarding immigration controls, airport security, and the disruption of potentially devastating domestic plots have all improved.

But in a broader sense, America has become perilously unsafe. Each month, there are more suicide terrorists trying to kill Americans and their allies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other Muslim countries than in all the years before 2001 combined. From 1980 to 2003, there were 343 suicide attacks around the world, and at most 10 percent were anti-American inspired. Since 2004, there have been more than 2,000, over 91 percent against U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries.

Yes, these attacks are overseas and mostly focused on military and diplomatic targets. So too, however, were the anti-American suicide attacks before 2001. It is important to remember that the 1995 and 1996 bombings of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen were the crucial dots that showed the threat was rising prior to 9/11. Today, such dots are occurring by the dozens every month. So why is nobody connecting them?

U.S. military policies have not stopped the rising wave of extremism in the Muslim world. The reason has not been lack of effort, or lack of bipartisan support for aggressive military policies, or lack of funding, or lack of genuine patriotism.

No. Something else is creating the mismatch between America's effort and the results.

For nearly a decade, Americans have been waging a long war against terrorism without much serious public debate about what is truly motivating terrorists to kill them. In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, this was perfectly explicable -- the need to destroy al Qaeda's camps in Afghanistan was too urgent to await sober analyses of root causes.

But, the absence of public debate did not stop the great need to know or, perhaps better to say, to "understand" the events of that terrible day. In the years before 9/11, few Americans gave much thought to what drives terrorism -- a subject long relegated to the fringes of the media, government, and universities. And few were willing to wait for new studies, the collection of facts, and the dispassionate assessment of alternative causes. Terrorism produces fear and anger, and these emotions are not patient.

A simple narrative was readily available, and a powerful conventional wisdom began to exert its grip. Because the 9/11 hijackers were all Muslims, it was easy to presume that Islamic fundamentalism was the central motivating force driving the 19 hijackers to kill themselves in order to kill Americans. Within weeks after the 9/11 attacks, surveys of American attitudes show that this presumption was fast congealing into a hard reality in the public mind. Americans immediately wondered, "Why do they hate us?" and almost as immediately came to the conclusion that it was because of "who we are, not what we do." As President George W. Bush said in his first address to Congress after the 9/11 attacks: "They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other."

Thus was unleashed the "war on terror."

The narrative of Islamic fundamentalism did more than explain why America was attacked and encourage war against Iraq. It also pointed toward a simple, grand solution. If Islamic fundamentalism was driving the threat and if its roots grew from the culture of the Arab world, then America had a clear mission: To transform Arab societies -- with Western political institutions and social norms as the ultimate antidote to the virus of Islamic extremism.

This narrative had a powerful effect on support for the invasion of Iraq. Opinion polls show that for years before the invasion, more than 90 percent of the U.S. public believed that Saddam Hussein was harboring weapons of mass destruction (WMD). But this belief alone was not enough to push significant numbers to support war.

What really changed after 9/11 was the fear that anti-American Muslims desperately wanted to kill Americans and so any risk that such extremists would get weapons of mass destruction suddenly seemed too great. Although few Americans feared Islam before 9/11, by the spring of 2003, a near majority -- 49 percent -- strongly perceived that half or more of the world's 1.4 billion Muslims were deeply anti-American, and a similar fraction also believed that Islam itself promoted violence. No wonder there was little demand by congressional committees or the public at large for a detailed review of intelligence on Iraq's WMD prior to the invasion.

The goal of transforming Arab societies into true Western democracies had powerful effects on U.S. commitments to Afghanistan and Iraq. Constitutions had to be written; elections held; national armies built; entire economies restructured. Traditional barriers against women had to be torn down. Most important, all these changes also required domestic security, which meant maintaining approximately 150,000 U.S. and coalition ground troops in Iraq for many years and increasing the number of U.S. and Western troops in Afghanistan each year from 2003 on.

Put differently, adopting the goal of transforming Muslim countries is what created the long-term military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes, the United States would almost surely have sought to create a stable order after toppling the regimes in these countries in any case. However, in both, America's plans quickly went far beyond merely changing leaders or ruling parties; only by creating Western-style democracies in the Muslim world could Americans defeat terrorism once and for all.

There's just one problem: We now know that this narrative is not true.

New research provides strong evidence that suicide terrorism such as that of 9/11 is particularly sensitive to foreign military occupation, and not Islamic fundamentalism or any ideology independent of this crucial circumstance. Although this pattern began to emerge in the 1980s and 1990s, a wealth of new data presents a powerful picture.

More than 95 percent of all suicide attacks are in response to foreign occupation, according to extensive research that we conducted at the University of Chicago's Project on Security and Terrorism, where we examined every one of the over 2,200 suicide attacks across the world from 1980 to the present day. As the United States has occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, which have a combined population of about 60 million, total suicide attacks worldwide have risen dramatically -- from about 300 from 1980 to 2003, to 1,800 from 2004 to 2009. Further, over 90 percent of suicide attacks worldwide are now anti-American. The vast majority of suicide terrorists hail from the local region threatened by foreign troops, which is why 90 percent of suicide attackers in Afghanistan are Afghans.

Israelis have their own narrative about terrorism, which holds that Arab fanatics seek to destroy the Jewish state because of what it is, not what it does. But since Israel withdrew its army from Lebanon in May 2000, there has not been a single Lebanese suicide attack. Similarly, since Israel withdrew from Gaza and large parts of the West Bank, Palestinian suicide attacks are down over 90 percent.

Some have disputed the causal link between foreign occupation and suicide terrorism, pointing out that some occupations by foreign powers have not resulted in suicide bombings -- for example, critics often cite post-World War II Japan and Germany. Our research provides sufficient evidence to address these criticisms by outlining the two factors that determine the likelihood of suicide terrorism being employed against an occupying force.

The first factor is social distance between the occupier and occupied. The wider the social distance, the more the occupied community may fear losing its way of life. Although other differences may matter, research shows that resistance to occupations is especially likely to escalate to suicide terrorism when there is a difference between the predominant religion of the occupier and the predominant religion of the occupied.

Religious difference matters not because some religions are predisposed to suicide attacks. Indeed, there are religious differences even in purely secular suicide attack campaigns, such as the LTTE (Hindu) against the Sinhalese (Buddhists).

Rather, religious difference matters because it enables terrorist leaders to claim that the occupier is motivated by a religious agenda that can scare both secular and religious members of a local community -- this is why Osama bin Laden never misses an opportunity to describe U.S. occupiers as "crusaders" motivated by a Christian agenda to convert Muslims, steal their resources, and change the local population's way of life.

The second factor is prior rebellion. Suicide terrorism is typically a strategy of last resort, often used by weak actors when other, non-suicidal methods of resistance to occupation fail. This is why we see suicide attack campaigns so often evolve from ordinary terrorist or guerrilla campaigns, as in the cases of Israel and Palestine, the Kurdish rebellion in Turkey, or the LTTE in Sri Lanka.

One of the most important findings from our research is that empowering local groups can reduce suicide terrorism. In Iraq, the surge's success was not the result of increased U.S. military control of Anbar province, but the empowerment of Sunni tribes, commonly called the Anbar Awakening, which enabled Iraqis to provide for their own security. On the other hand, taking power away from local groups can escalate suicide terrorism. In Afghanistan, U.S. and Western forces began to exert more control over the country's Pashtun regions starting in early 2006, and suicide attacks dramatically escalated from this point on.

The research suggests that U.S. interests would be better served through a policy of offshore balancing. Some scholars have taken issue with this approach, arguing that keeping boots on the ground in South Asia is essential for U.S. national security. Proponents of this strategy fail to realize how U.S. ground forces often inadvertently produce more anti-American terrorists than they kill. In 2000, before the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, there were 20 suicide attacks around the world, and only one (against the USS Cole) was directed against Americans. In the last 12 months, by comparison, 300 suicide attacks have occurred, and over 270 were anti-American. We simply must face the reality that, no matter how well-intentioned, the current war on terror is not serving U.S. interests.

The United States has been great in large part because it respects understanding and discussion of important ideas and concepts, and because it is free to change course. Intelligent decisions require putting all the facts before us and considering new approaches. The first step is recognizing that occupations in the Muslim world don't make Americans any safer -- in fact, they are at the heart of the problem.

Robert A. Pape teaches at the University of Chicago and is co-author, with James K. Feldman, of Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Oral Sex Linked to Rise in Men's Throat Cancer

Studies Show Epidemic That Could Be Stemmed by Cervical Cancer Vaccine Gardasil


Oct. 20, 2010
ABC News HERE...

For years now, doctors have urged young women to be vaccinated against the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is believed to cause cervical cancer.

But now, growing research in Europe and the United States is implicating HPV in a rising number of cases of head and neck cancers in men, and many doctors are recommending that all boys be vaccinated as well.
Doctors say that changing sexual behaviors -- earlier sex, more partners and especially oral sex -- are contributing to a new epidemic of orpharyngeal squamous cell cancers, those of the throat, tonsils and base of the tongue.

These cancers can be deadly, and are striking men at a younger age and in increasing numbers.
"There's a lag in information," said Dr. John Deeken, a medical oncologist at Georgetown University. "We physicians have done a poor job of advertising the fact that boys and girls should have the vaccine."

"This kind of cancer traditionally affects males who have been smoking and drinking all their life, and now in their mid-60s they are getting head and neck cancer," he said. "However, HPV cancer we are seeing in younger patients who have never smoked."

Two decades ago, about 20 percent of all oral cancers were HPV-related, but today that number is more than 50 percent, according to studies published by the American Association for Cancer Research.

Similarly high rates have also been seen in Europe, where a new Swedish study has shown a strong correlation between oral cancers and oral sex. Oddly, the rising rates have not been seen yet in the Southern Hemisphere in Australia and New Zealand.

Each year, more than 30,000 new cases of cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx are diagnosed, and more than 8,000 people die from oral cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Cure rates are higher than for smoking-related throat cancers, but still only 50 percent.
Today, men are more likely to get oral cancer than are women, but as the epidemic grows, that could soon change.

"We expect in head and neck cancers that 85 percent are men and 15 percent are women," said Deeken. "But over the coming years that could become equal."

"It's going to take a couple of decades to see the trend turning around," he said. "The epidemiological risk factors are past sexual partners as well as marijuana exposure, not just oral sex."

Human Papilloma Virus Affecting More Men

HPV is the most common sexually-transmitted infection. Those who are infected often have no symptoms and pass it on to their partners through genital contact during vaginal and anal sex. It can also be transmitted during oral sex and, more rarely, during deep kissing through saliva.

Research increasingly shows that Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), believed to cause cervical cancer in...

Research increasingly shows that Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), believed to cause cervical cancer in women, may also be causing head and neck cancers in men, perhaps because of an increase in oral sex. Women can be vaccinated against HPV. Many doctors are recommending that boys be vaccinated as well.

(Digital Vision/Getty Images)There are more than 100 strains of the virus. Some cause genital warts, but others can result in cell changes that decades later can become cancerous. Each strain is identified by a number; oral and cervical cancers are caused by HPV sub-types 16 and 18.

HPV can also cause cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis and anus, and there is some evidence it is associated with esophageal and lung cancers.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Gardasil for girls in 2006 and for boys for treatment of genital and anal warts in 2009. The vaccine can be given at any age, though it is most effective given young people before any sexual exposure.

Doctors say it could prevent 10,000 more cases of oral cancer a year.

Several deaths associated with the vaccine led doctors to advise caution in the rush to promote widespread use of the vaccine, and doctors say there is a lack of public awareness of its role in preventing cancer.
"With any new vaccine, you have to err on the side of caution, but every year we know more about it," said Deeken. "But we have to ask the question: What do we do for the spouses and kids of our patients? I don't see any downside to vaccination at this time. My son and daughter will get it."

Because humans are the only reservoir for HPV, "it could be eliminated like smallpox," he said.
The research isn't new, but it has not received wide attention, perhaps because of taboos associated with oral sex.

Oral sex has become more commonplace; people have more sex partners and have sex earlier in life -- all behaviors linked to HPV-related oral cancers, according to a study in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Emerging Infectious Diseases report.

A study at the Swedish Karolinska Institutet showed the risk of developing oral HPV infection increased with a rise in lifetime oral or vaginal sex partners. It also cited "open mouth kissing."

The study included 542 American students, and noted similar increases in such cancers in Britain, Finland and The Netherlands.

But Dr. Kevin Cullen, director of University of Maryland's Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center, is not sure only oral sex is to blame.

"It's hard for me to believe sexual behaviors have changed that much in 15 to 20 years," he said. "It may be that as happens, epidemics get enough people infected and an infection begins to take off, and that may have happened with HPV at some point."

A study Cullen did last year found that HPV-related oral cancer in African Americans were less common than whites, perhaps because of negative cultural attitudes about oral sex.

"But it looks like blacks are beginning to catch up with whites," said Cullen.

Scientists also don't know why women tend to develop cervical cancer while men have more throat cancer. "Maybe women are better able to transmit to a man than a man to the oral mucosa of a woman," said Cullen.
Doctors also think that cancer is likely to develop in the first area of exposure ? in women, usually the vagina. The woman may then develop later immunity in the throat.

But with more oral sex, often before vaginal sex, female throat cancers could increase, they say.
Very little HPV was seen until the 1980s. "It was very rare in our archives," said Cullen. "But each year we looked, it was more prevalent. Why, no one is really sure."

And doctors say those numbers have not yet peaked.

"There is increasing evidence that boys as well as girls should be vaccinated," said Cullen. "Men and women are increasingly going to face the burden of cancer, and we have a tool to prevent it."

Why the medical community has not fully embraced vaccination is not clear.

"The lead time for development of oral cancer is in decades, so to do definitive studies would take decades to do," he said. "[The FDA] picked the simpler task of preventing HPV warts in the short time frame."

Resistance has also come from safety concerns, as well as the fear by some groups that vaccination for a sexually transmitted disease will promote sexual behavior.

Cervical cancer just may just be "sexier" than throat cancer, said Dr. Ranit Mishori, a family physician in the Georgetown University School of Medicine.

"We don't think about oral cancer except in smokers," she said. "There is no question HPV is the cause of most oral cancers, but it's partly an awareness issue relating to our kids' sex life, and who wants to talk about oral sex?"

Convincing parents to vaccinate their sons as well as their daughters is a "hard sell," said Mishori.
"Oftentimes it's the moms who take the kids to the doctor, and we tell them we have this great vaccine that can prevent their daughter from getting cervical cancer," she said. "Moms can easily relate."

But it's harder to tell her "to give her son three painful shots so that he won't transmit it to his girlfriend in the future and might not transmit cancer or have oral cancer himself," said Mishori.

As for potential side effects with the vaccine, Mishori said those concerns are "pretty minor compared to the potential."

"It hasn't been around too long, but it's been tested on thousands of women," she said. "The fact that the vaccine prevents cancer is astounding in itself."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Gulf Between Us

Stories of terror and beauty from the world's largest accidental offshore oil disaster

by Terry Tempest Williams

Published in the November/December 2010 issue of Orion magazine HERE...


  • April 20, 2010: the Macondo well blowout occurred approximately five thousand feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, causing the BP-Transocean drilling platform Deepwater Horizon to explode, killing eleven workers and injuring seventeen others.
  • 5 million barrels of crude oil were released into the sea from the BP blowout. On average, sixty thousand barrels a day were escaping from the well before the gusher was capped on July 15, 2010.
  • 632 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline have been oiled: 365 miles in Louisiana; 110 miles in Mississippi; 69 miles in Alabama; and 88 miles in Florida.
  • There have been 411 controlled burns on the surface of the sea, killing hundreds of sea turtles and untold numbers of dolphins. The number of deaths has been greatly underreported.
  • Four hundred species of wildlife are threatened by the spill, including marine life from plankton to whales, dolphins, sea turtles, tuna, and shrimp; dozens of species of birds, including brown pelicans and piping plovers; land animals such as the gray fox and white-tailed deer; and amphibians, the alligator, and the snapping turtle.
  • 8 million feet of absorbent boom have been used to contain the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; 3 million feet of containment boom have also been set around islands and shorelines for protection.
  • 2 million gallons of a dispersant called Corexit have been applied on and beneath the surface of the sea to break up the oil. It is produced by Nalco Holding Company, which has corporate ties to BP and ExxonMobil. The EPA, on May 20, 2010, gave BP twenty-four hours to find a less toxic alternative. Corexit’s known toxicity, acknowledged following its use in the Exxon Valdez oil spill, was denied by BP. The EPA’s request was ignored.
  • On May 25, the EPA gave BP a directive to scale back their spraying of the sea with dispersants. The Coast Guard overlooked the EPA’s edict and granted BP seventy-four exemptions in forty-eight days, essentially rubber-stamping their continued routine use of Corexit.
  • Defense Secretary Robert Gates authorized 17,500 National Guard troops “to fight the massive oil spill,” alongside an army of 42,500 individuals paid by BP to protect and clean up vital shorelines in the Gulf of Mexico. Over 5,300 “vessels of opportunity” have registered with BP, captains with their own boats being paid to look for oil.
  • August 5, 2010: BP officials reported a permanent stop to the spill. Crews used a “static well kill” to plug the gusher with drilling mud and then concrete. Two relief wells at depths of 17,864 feet and 15,963 feet are being drilled to ensure a secure and final closure of the well.
  • Amid reports of the oil in the Gulf being nearly gone, an article in the August 19 issue of Science describes the presence of a plume of hydrocarbons at least twenty-two miles long and more than three thousand feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, residue from the Macondo well blowout. The plume was said to be moving in a southwesterly direction at a rate of about 6.5 kilometers a day.
I AM ANGRY. I AM OUTRAGED. And I am in love with this beautiful, blue planet we call home.

  • This story in the Gulf of Mexico is not a new story. Living in the American West, I understand the oil and gas industry, both its political power in a state like Wyoming and its lack of regard for the safety of workers. Broken necks and backs are commonplace injuries. So are lost fingers. Occasional blowouts occur on land as well, resulting in fatalities. Production is paramount at the expense of almost everything else.
  • And I have seen the environmental degradation that is left in the wake of collusion between government agencies and oil companies. Federal regulations are relaxed or ignored, putting the integrity of our public lands at risk. Ecological health is sacrificed for financial gain. This sense of entitlement among oil companies is supported by the U.S. Congress. It has direct results on the ground: burning slag pools; ozone warnings; contaminated water wells flushed with benzene; and loss of habitat for sage grouse, prairie dogs, and pronghorn antelope. The scars on the fragile desert of southeastern Utah, from endless road cuts to the sheared oil patches themselves, will take decades to heal. These are self-inflicted wounds made by a lethal economic system running in overdrive.
  • After months of watching the news coverage on the blowout and subsequent oil spill, I had to see for myself what I felt from afar: this catastrophic moment belongs to all of us.
  • On July 28, 2010, I traveled to the Gulf Coast with two friends: Avery Resor, a recent environmental science graduate from Duke University, and Bill Weaver, a seasoned filmmaker from Montgomery, Alabama, who now lives in British Columbia. Avery grew up on her family’s cattle ranch in Wilson, Wyoming, where she continues to live in a log cabin without running water or electricity. She is twenty-four years old and bikes wherever and whenever she can. Her name ties her to a deep family history rooted in Louisiana: Avery Island, famous for Tabasco Sauce made from hot peppers, vinegar, and salt. Bill has dedicated his life to making films that illuminate issues of environmental and social justice. He facilitates Media that Matters, a yearly conference committed to more transparent journalism. He is more cat than human, quiet and nimble. When he rolls his camera, you don’t know it. He has learned how to disappear so the authentic story can be told.
  • We arrived on the hundredth day of the oil spill and stayed until the “static kill” was complete. We sniffed out stories and followed them. We listened and we engaged. I took notes. Avery took pictures. Bill filmed.
  • The oil is not gone. This story is not over. We smelled it in the air. We felt it in the water. People along the Gulf Coast are getting sick and sicker. Marshes are burned. Oysters are scarce and shrimp are tainted. Jobs are gone and stress is high. What is now hidden will surface over time.
  • Meanwhile, 1 billion birds are migrating through the Gulf of Mexico this fall, resting, feeding, and finding sanctuary as they have always done, generation after generation. The endangered piping plover will be among them. Seventy percent of all waterfowl in North America fly through the Mississippi Delta. Their energy will be compromised, with food not as plentiful. Their health will be vulnerable to the toxic traces of oil and dispersants lingering in the marshes.
  • The blowout from the Macondo well has created a terminal condition: denial. We don’t want to own, much less accept, the cost of our actions. We don’t want to see, much less feel, the results of our inactions. And so, as Americans, we continue to live as though these 5 million barrels of oil spilled in the Gulf have nothing to do with us. The only skill I know how to employ in the magnitude of this political, ecological, and spiritual crisis is to share the stories that were shared with me by the people who live here. I simply wish to bear witness to the places we traveled and the people we met, and give voice to the beauty and devastation of both.
To bear witness is not a passive act.