The vaccination policy and the Code of Practice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI): are they at odds? Pages 25 through 45 by Lucija Tomljenovic, PhD

(5.d. Comments on Professor Stewart’s letter)
“The meeting then considered Professor Stewart’s paper on deaths from whooping cough in Great Britain (JCVI(81)12). Dr Williams, referring to page 5 of the paper, said that deaths from whooping cough tended to be under-notified…On the other hand, at times of outbreaks of whooping cough the disease tended to be over-notified; this had the effect of lowering fatality ratio.”

In the ensuing discussion:

“The Chairman concluded that it would probably not be wise for the Committee to make a formal reply to this paper. (Members also thought that controversial replies to correspondence to the medical journals might not add support to the whooping cough vaccination campaign.)”
In the following years, the members of ARVI continued to “express anxieties” over eroding confidence of the public in pertussis and other vaccines. In a Joint Sub-Committee ARVI meeting on 8th March 1988, the members recommended that a monitoring system for vaccine reactions should be set up, which would cope with any vaccine related “adverse publicity” (item 7, Adverse Reactions Surveillance;
FreedomOfInformation/Freedomofinformationpublicationschemefeedback/FOIreleases/DH_4135306; note that this meeting was incorrectly noted as March 1998 rather than March 1988).
While the public appeared to have lost the confidence in the safety of the pertussis vaccine by the mid 80s, in 1989, the JCVI was still debating on whether or not the pertussis vaccine caused permanent brain damage. Referring to the NCES report it was generally accepted by the JCVI that if the vaccine led to severe neurological outcomes, it did so very rarely (JCVI meeting on 3rd November 1989; Finally, it was agreed that the statistical data of attributable risk should be removed from the Memorandum since, according to Dr Salisbury:
“If the public was given a risk ratio — any ratio — they would still see it as a scientifically proven risk. It was therefore preferable not to use insecure figures if possible but to stress the benefits from vaccination.” (12.1 Whooping cough – article by Dr A H Griffith in Vaccine etc JCVI (89)32)

Regarding the alleged overall “benefits from vaccination”, it is worth mentioning that in a
discussion about Diphtheria outbreaks in immunised populations on 22nd April 1988 (, the JCVI acknowledged that these do in fact:

“occur in well-immunised populations…”

In addition, the decision to include mumps in the routine vaccination schedule with the
introduction of the MMR in 1988 goes against JCVI’s own past advice, as evidenced by a discussion about the usefulness of the mumps vaccine in the JCVI meeting on 11th December 1974 (

“The Committee agreed that there was no need to introduce routine vaccination against


“complications from the disease were rare.”

Granted, opinions can change with time as new scientific evidence becomes available. Even so, the arguments are against routine mumps vaccination. Mumps in adults but not in children can cause mumps orchitis, a serious condition which may result in male sterility. Mumps outbreaks in older individuals increased in frequency since the introduction of the MMR into the routine schedule, most likely because of the poor effectiveness of the mumps component of the vaccine.

In a comprehensive assessment on mumps orchitis in the post-vaccine era, which included epidemiologic, clinical, therapeutic, and follow-up studies and outcomes of 609 patients, Ternavasio-de la Vega et al. [15] reported:

“Mumps orchitis is the most common complication of mumps infection in young postpubertal males. Testicular compromise is characterized by an abrupt onset of unilateral or bilateral marked scrotal swelling and pain, accompanied by constitutional symptoms and fever. Immunization programs against mumps have reduced the number of reported cases and influenced their age distribution. Since the introduction of mumps vaccine in 1967 (the year the first mumps vaccine was licensed in the United States), a shift in the age of peak incidence of mumps from children aged 5-9 years, in the prevaccine era, to children and young adults aged 10-24 years has been observed. Serious complications have appeared as a consequence because of the higher rate of sequelae among the older age-group. The principal complication of acute mumps orchitis is the atrophy of germinal epithelium with spermatogenesis arrest, which in turns leads to male sterility.”

The evidence for the poor effectiveness of the mumps vaccine has recently been reported by Castilla et al. [16]:

“This study adds to the literature showing moderate effectiveness of the mumps vaccine containing the Jeryl Lynn strain, which seems to be related with early and progressive waning immunity. This effect, seen in children vaccinated with both one and two doses, makes it difficult to control the disease even when high vaccination coverage is achieved, and leaves open the possibility that outbreaks will occur when the infection is reintroduced.”
“Our results indicate that this effect of waning immunity begins early, as seen in the fact that 3 or more years after the second dose of MMR vaccine, the risk of mumps was 10 times higher. This increased risk does not appear to be linear, but rather is accentuated over time.”

Hence, routine mumps vaccination has shifted a childhood disease to adolescents and young adults, groups with a higher incidence of adverse long-term complications and sequelae. By contrast, the benefits of naturally acquired immunity against mumps in early childhood are life-long protection against mumps and its serious complications later in life.
Curiously, at the meeting held on 17th September 1990 (
DH_095294), the JCVI also acknowledged the consequences of shifting mumps infections to older age groups:

“It was noted that the introduction of mumps immunisation could in theory shift the age specific infection rates to the older age groups in whom the complications were greater;”

However, the Committee concluded:

“…nevertheless, the gains from the progressive reduction in mumps illnesses outweigh such concerns.”

It would appear that in following the JCVI’s line of reasoning, one must conclude that the alleged benefit of eradicating mumps in young males where the illness is mild and “complications are rare”, outweighs the risk of male sterility.

Similar to mumps, the complications from rubella early in childhood are minimal, hence it may be argued that vaccination against both rubella and mumps are of little clinical benefit to a child.  Serious complications from rubella may occur in a developing foetus of a pregnant woman who has contracted rubella during her first trimester. In such cases a child may be born with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), involving multiple congenital abnormalities. The risk of CRS can be reduced either by making sure all women have caught rubella as children or by vaccinating those who have not prior to puberty. Hence, the current JCVI’s policy of vaccinating every child, male and female, against rubella does not appear to be justified.

Finally, apart from “no need to introduce routine vaccination against mumps” , the decision to introduce the MMR into a routine schedule was in conflict with the JCVI’s past concerns about risks associated with simultaneous administration of multiple live vaccines. Curiously, the MMR vaccine developed by MSD was first licensed in the UK in 1972, but not marketed until 1988. An indication as to why it took 16 years to introduce it in to a schedule may be found in the same meeting which discussed the usefulness of the mumps vaccine (JCVI meeting, 11th December 1974;

(11 Simultaneous administration of live vaccines (CHCS(VI)14))
“The Chairman refereed to the 3 vaccines which had been licensed for Merck Sharp and Dohme and asked for comments on the company’s claim that these could be administered simultaneously with live poliovirus vaccine. This use of the vaccine appeared to conflict with the Committee’s published advice and they had to consider (a) whether this advice should be changed and (b) if the vaccine concerned viz MMR, Biavax and Measles and Rubella virus vaccine and live MSD could be given with live poliovirus vaccine. Professor Dick and Dr Warin pointed out that an interval in the administration of live vaccines had been advocated in view of the probability of adverse reactions and because of the recent publicity surrounding adverse reactions. The Committee agreed that it would be inopportune to change the guidance that an interval of at least 3 weeks should be allowed to elapse between the administration of any 2 live vaccines whichever came first.”

Perhaps unknown to most lay people as well as medical professionals is the issue of vaccine contaminants which is somewhat inherent to the vaccine production process. In this regard, one particular item discussed under the section 3.4. Ruminant and Human Materials used in Vaccine Manufacture, at the JCVI meeting on 4th May 2001 (, deserves special emphasis:

“This report was provided for information. The Committee asked by which date the vaccines already distributed would no longer include any whose production process may have involved the use of potentially BSE [Bovine spongiform encephalopathy] infected Category 1 or 2 material. The Committee was told that Category 1 material was only used at the master seed/working seed stage of the manufacture of a very few vaccines, not in routine vaccine production itself. Many vaccines are produced from master seeds which were manufactured many years ago…Master seed material often antedated the BSE epidemic in the UK, and was diluted many fold to the extent that any exposure to infected material, if ever present, would be remote.”

How many people would feel comfortable with taking medicinal products derived from potentially BSE-contaminated material? As to why such vaccines continued to be used:

“There is reluctance to establish new master seeds for vaccines which have long history of use because such a change could possibly change the vaccine characteristics which may adversely impact safety and efficacy.”

Indeed, removing sources of possible BSE contamination from vaccine manufacture would have no doubt “impacted safety”; it would have made vaccines safer.

Curiously, when asked by the JCVI:

“…to consider whether it would be possible to put the information it had summarised on vaccine manufacturing and excipients in vaccines into the public domain; the MCA would consult their lawyers on this point.”

If there was no risk of contracting BSE from a vaccine, then why did the MCA have to consult their lawyers “on this point”?

At the same meeting, on 4th May 2001 (, the Committee discussed:

“… suspected adverse reactions categorised as serious to DTP/Hib, polio, BCG, hepatitis A and B vaccines over the last three years. The data was based on Yellow Card reports received by the MCA.”

and it showed the following:

“i. DTP/Hib – the overall pattern and type of suspected reactions in 2000 were similar to previous years, with the exception of an increase in the number of respiratory reactions.  Most of the increase appeared to be due to an increase in number of SIDS (5) and apnoea type reactions (14) being reported.
ii. Polio – The types of suspected reactions reported in 2000 were on the whole similar to previous years. The only differences appeared to be an increase in the number of cardiovascular, eye and respiratory reactions reported.
iii. BCG – Overall the types of suspected reactions reported were similar with the exception of an increase in number of cardiovascular reactions in 1999 and musculo-skeletal reactions in 2000.
iv. Hepatitis B – The types of suspected reactions reported on the whole had been similar, with a notable decrease in the number of serious cardiovascular, eye, immune system, musculo-skeletal and neurological reactions being reported.
v. Hepatitis A – The types of suspected reactions being reported were on the whole fairly similar. However, there were three notable differences: a significant increase in the number of cardiovascular and musculo-skeletal reactions reported in 2000, and a significant increase in the number of immune system disorder reactions reported in 1999. All these type of reactions were recognised side effects of this vaccine.”


“Overall, there were no new safety issues identified.”

Perhaps these were not new issues, just old persisting ones. Nonetheless, in all but one case (Hepatitis B), the number of serious adverse reactions appeared to have increased and in some cases this was not only significant but also a “recognised side effect of this vaccine” (Hepatitis A).  In spite of this:

“The Committee was not persuaded given all the inherent uncertainties of spontaneous reporting that there were significant problems developing.”

If anything, the Committee previously appeared to have acknowledged that there were problems with underreporting of adverse reactions to vaccines. In a Report of North Herts Immunogenicity Study on the 1st May 1992 meeting (, it was noted that “the report of a cluster of CSF mumps virus positive cases in Nottingham had caused concern that national surveillance may have been underreporting the incidence of cases…”
As noted in the following Section (6), the Yellow Cards are a passive surveillance system, not routinely used by the GPs and hence, data on adverse reactions obtained through Yellow Card reports are likely to be an underestimate of the true rate of these events.
Finally, since the principal rationale for shaping vaccine recommendations and policies according to the JCVI was to keep vaccination rates as high as possible so that presumably, “herd immunity” would be achieved, it would seem fair at this point to question exactly how well has this concept been established? The theory behind vaccine-mediated “herd immunity” appears sound, it maintains that vaccination of a significant portion of a population (herd), will provide a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity. Obviously, transmission of a disease to the point where it would reach an epidemic is expected to be countered in a population where most individuals are thought to be immune. However, the concept of vaccine-mediated “herd immunity” is based on the assumption that vaccines are effective in conferring immunity to the individual. If this were so, then how does one explain outbreaks of infectious diseases in populations where over 95% of individuals have been vaccinated?

Gustafson et al. [17] “An outbreak of measles occurred among adolescents in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the spring of 1985, even though vaccination requirements for school attendance had been thoroughly enforced. Serum samples from 1806 students at two secondary schools were obtained eight days after the onset of the first case. Only 4.1 % of these students (74 of 1806) lacked detectable antibody to measles according to enzyme linked immunosorbent assay, and more than 99 % had records of vaccination with live measles vaccine…After the survey, none of the 1732 seropositive students contracted measles. Fourteen of 74 seronegative students, all of whom had been vaccinated, contracted measles. In addition, three seronegative students seroconverted without experiencing any symptoms. We conclude that outbreaks of measles can occur in secondary schools, even when more than 99 percent of the students have been vaccinated and more than 95 percent are immune”

(Note that if the measles vaccine was effective in providing herd-protection, then the <5% of children in this study who did not seroconvert would still have had protection from contracting measles. The whole premise on achieving high vaccination rates rest on the assumption that the herd will protect those vulnerable individuals who have not been vaccinated, or do not seroconvert.)

Hersh et al. [18] “In early 1988 an outbreak of 84 measles cases occurred at a college in Colorado in which over 98 percent of students had documentation of adequate measles immunity (physician diagnosed measles, receipt of live measles vaccine on or after the first birthday, or serologic evidence of immunity) due to an immunization requirement effect since 1986.”
Tugwell et al. [19] “A chickenpox outbreak occurred in a school in which 97% of students without a prior history of chickenpox were vaccinated. Students vaccinated >5 years before the outbreak were at risk for breakthrough disease.”

It would thus appear that these vaccines only provide waning immunity, not herd immunity, as already well established in the case of the mumps vaccine by Castilla et al. [16] This often has the effect of shifting a relatively mild childhood disease to older age groups of children or young adults, in whom complications and sequelae from the disease are much more severe [15].
6) Promoted and elaborated a plan for introducing new vaccines of questionable
efficacy and safety into the routine paediatric schedule, on the assumption that
the licenses would eventually be granted.

On 7th May1999 (, the JCVI met to discuss the use of the new conjugate Group C meningococcal vaccines. At the beginning of the meeting, Professor Hull, the Chairman:
“…reminded members that the minutes and proceedings of the JCVI were confidential.  Politically and clinically sensitive material was dealt with by the Committee…”
It was further emphasised:
(8. Meningococcal meningitis, i.)


“This was the main agenda item for the meeting. Much information had been made available and important decisions were required of the Committee, particularly about the introduction of meningococcal Group C conjugate vaccine, of which three brands would soon become available. Any decision would be dependent on the granting of product licenses and the wording of those licenses and, during the discussion, the Committee had to act on the assumption that licenses would be granted. The MCA was responsible for the safety, efficacy and quality of vaccines. The question for consideration by the Committee was how it would recommend that the vaccine should be introduced.”

The Committee members were also once again:

“…reminded that this issue, and the papers presented, was extremely sensitive, commercially and politically. It was requested that confidentiality be maintained.”

The Chairman had then asked for any declarations of interest:

“Professor Cartwright was involved in manufacturers’ studies on the vaccines, including health trials. Dr Goldblatt was involved in one company-sponsored study and had provided a clinical expert report to the MCA for one manufacturer. Dr Jones was involved in trials for two of the companies involved. Dr Schild said that NIBSC was evaluating the vaccines.”

In spite of these substantial conflicts of interests:

“There were no objections to these members continuing to take part in the meeting and it
was agreed that they would be able to provide a valuable input to the discussion in
common interest.”
We are only left to speculate as to what such “common interest” might have been,
between the JCVI and the pharmaceutical industry, bearing in mind several past instances
where the Chairman of the JCVI met with the Association of British Pharmaceutical
Industries to discuss:
“…the availability of scarce vaccines and the introduction of new vaccines into more
regular use. The question of financial support for training members of the health service in
immunisation was also discussed.” (18. Meeting of the Chairman of the JCVI and the
Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries, JCVI meeting on 23rd October 1987; http://

or where:

“The Chairman said that Departmental officials had recently met vaccine manufacturers who were keen to be informed, in confidence, of the outcome of JCVI discussions which might affect their own plans.” (2.iv. JCVI meeting on 4th May 1990 (
The apparent close ties between the pharmaceutical industry, JCVI and the DH perhaps explain why the DH funded studies were not adequately designed to detect long-term vaccine-related adverse outcomes. In discussing 8.4.1 Meningococcal C Conjugate (MCC) Vaccine Evaluation Programme, at the 7th May1999 JCVI meeting (, Dr Elizabeth Miller reported:
“Papers providing data on the new vaccines’ safety and efficacy and data from the Department of Health funded studies were looked at; no other country had conducted similar studies. The Medicines Control Agency had also gathered lots of information and NIBSC was evaluating the vaccines. The data provided to the Committee related to the Wyeth product, which would be the first to become available. All available ADR [adverse reactions] data was included; the follow-up of ADRs had been up to the end of 4 to 6 weeks.”
It should be obvious that long-term adverse reactions cannot be identified if a study is not designed to detect them (and quite predictably there were none, since the DH funded studies showed that the MCC vaccines were well tolerated, section 8.4.1. vii., 7th May1999 JCVI meeting; The reason for such omissions in study design are bewildering, given the past safety issues with the measles vaccine, where several children “were left one year later with severe handicap.” (7. Suspected adverse reactions to measles vaccine: recent reports to the CSM, JCVI meeting on 17th of June 1983;


Not only did the safety of the new, soon-to-be introduced MCC vaccine remain questionable, but also:

“There was no good evidence for the efficacy of the meningococcal Group C conjugate vaccine, only the surrogate of antibodies compared with those known to be protective against invasive disease. To actually test the efficacy on the conjugate vaccine it would be necessary to introduce the vaccine and then conduct a Phase III or Phase IV study to test efficacy; this would be very difficult to do and would delay introduction by 3-5 years.”

In the ensuing discussion we are told that the JCVI:

“…felt that it was important to plan the programme now and confirmation that the vaccines were equally effective could follow.”

In other words, the JCVI and the DH were actively working on a plan to introduce a vaccine with no demonstrable safety or efficacy into a routine paediatric schedule. Apparently, those responsible for sound safe and effective immunisation policies concluded that it was “very difficult” to conduct the necessary trials and they felt that this would unnecessarily delay the introduction of the MCC vaccine into a routine immunisation schedule.
What should have been considered by the JCVI is that vaccines represent a special category of drugs, generally given to healthy individuals and often to prevent a disease to which an individual may never be exposed [1]. Because of this, according to the US FDA, significant emphasis should be placed on vaccine safety [1]. Thus, If there are uncertain benefits from a vaccine, only a small level of risk of adverse effects may be acceptable. If the benefits are certain, then a greater risk of side effects may be tolerated. However, neither of these two points would have applied in the case of the MCC introduction programme, since there is absolutely no clinical benefit to a child from a vaccine that has neither been proven to be safe nor effective. The only “benefit” from such a programme would have been more in line with certain “common interests” rather than public health.

What followed at the 7th May 1999 meeting (, was a discussion on priority groups to whom the MCC vaccine should be offered, in which Dr Smithson made a following remark:
“…there was very little to chose between the priority age groups but suggested that
infants were easier to target.”

Finally, the Committee concluded that:

“…if sufficient vaccine was available, all children should have it…”

In the following meeting, held on 21st January 2000 (, in section 6.4 Meningococcal C Conjugate (MCC) Vaccine Evaluation Programme, Dr Elizabeth Miller reported that several safety studies indicated that the new vaccine was not a cause for concern. Although,

“… headache, particularly if it was associated with muscle stiffness inevitably raised fears of actual meningitis, although the vaccine could not cause this.”


“The Committee noted that this information would not have been available without the cooperation of the manufacturers. This had given everyone much more confidence in the vaccine programme and was a unique co-operation.”

In the following meeting, on 9th October 2000 (, the Committee was given an update on the safety profile of the MCC vaccine:

“The Working Party had received data available and had concluded that an association between MenC vaccine and seizures had not been proven. There had been 14 deaths reported. (2 further deaths had since been reported: 7 of the deaths were SIDS, 2 were meningitis B, 3 were in children with underlying conditions 1 was pneumococcal septicaemia, 1 was infantile encephalitis, 1 bronchiolitis and 1 child collapsed one month after immunisation with no cause of death being found).The Working Party believed that the deaths were all explained by other causes and that the vaccine was most unlikely to be implicated. By 21 September 2000, there had been 8.300 reports of 17,000 ADRs (1 ADR per 2,000 doses). The profiles were the same for each brand of vaccine.”

Note that the Working Party “believed” that the vaccine was not implicated. An even firmer
belief in MCC vaccine safety was held by the JCVI:

“The Committee did feel that the MCA statement that there was “no evidence that the vaccine caused meningitis” was far too light: the vaccine categorically did not cause meningitis. The MCA Meningitis Working Party would consider this issue further…”

How the JCVI could claim with such definite certainty that the newly introduced and poorly tested MCC vaccine could not cause meningitis is not clear from the transcript. Amongst those who did not share similar views with regards to vaccine safety are Alexander Harris Injury and Accident Solicitors and their clients, families whose children appear to have suffered severe long-term health problems following MCC vaccination. From their website (, we learn that safety concerns about MCC vaccine were first raised by the media (and not the UK health authorities) and that:

“Some 16,527 adverse reactions from 7,742 patients had been reported by GPs to the Medicines Control Agency through the Yellow Card reporting system. As well as reactions at the site of the injection such as swelling and soreness were other long-term reports which included seizures and 12 deaths.”

This appears to be consistent with the data reported at the JCVI 9th October 2000 meeting. Further, the Solicitors made an important observation:

“The Yellow card reporting system is not routinely used by most GPs and healthcare professionals and as such the figures for adverse reactions are likely to be an underestimate. Despite the known under-reporting, the number of adverse reactions reported for Meningitis C vaccine is the highest for any vaccine within the UK immunisation programme.”


8) Actively discouraged research on vaccine safety issues.
On 14th October 1985 a letter was issued to Dr Derek Zutshi (DHSS), from a member affiliated with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at the University of London, whose name was erased from the copy of the letter prior its FOI release (

“Dear Derek
Enclosed are comments on the estimates of vaccination-associated SIDS as presented at the recent ARVI meeting. I hope they prove helpful.
Let me add that this is a complicated problem, but one that I would be interested to pursue
in the future.”

In three pages, the author of the letter made several comments on “Tabled Paper 1, (Appendix to ARVI/85/34)”, titled “Note on the estimation of sudden infant deaths expected to occur by chance after immunization”, authored by Paul EM Fine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. A balanced critical overview was given on three key points relevant to Paul EM Fine’s estimation of SIDS: “method used”, “data used” and “assumptions made”, outlining both strengths and limitations. In a final note, the author concluded:

“These brief comments indicate a number of problems which arise in estimating the number of SIDS deaths expected to arise by chance, within 24 hours of vaccination, if there were no causal association between them. Some of these problems favour overestimation and others favour underestimation by the methods used in the DHSS note. Given the nature and direction of the biases, it is probable that the estimates presented in the DHSS note are of the correct order of magnitude. On the other hand, given the importance of the subject, a more thorough examination of the subject seems appropriate.”

Copies of this letter appear to have been forwarded to Dr M Graveney (DHSS) and Professor RW Gilliatt (JCVI).

Two months later, on 13th December 1985, on the University of Nottingham, Department of Child Health’s letterhead, a member whose name was erased from the copy of the letter released under FOI (, also wrote to Dr Derek Zutshi, to express his grave concerns about potential further investigations into the relation between vaccination and SIDS:

“Dear Derek
I showed the Tabled Paper 1, (Appendix to ARVI/85/34) to Richard Madeley [Department of Community Medicine and Epidemiology, University of Nottingham Medical School] and he kindly prepared the enclosed observations. I agree with everything that he has said. As you know, at the meeting I had grave misgivings about the exercise and of the assumptions that were made.”

In the following section, “Re: Note on the estimation of sudden infant deaths expected to occur by chance after immunisation”, apparently from the author of the “enclosed observations”, Richard Madeley, several reasons are given for his own misgivings “about the exercise”, some of which appear to be sound, such as:

(3. The hypothesis that immunisation may cause SIDS)
“c. Most deaths from SIDS occur before the age of four months2, when first immunisation takes place.”

(note, this still does not exclude the possibility that some cases of SIDS may be vaccine-related)
while others appear not as sound:

“d. There is no foolproof method of discrediting the hypothesis by statistical or epidemiological methods. On the contrary, there is a danger of getting drawn into a lengthy argument about numbers which neither side could win, thus giving more credibility to the hypothesis than it deserves.”

(it ought to be noted that in the realm of science, a hypothesis can only be proven or disproven by experimental evidence and not by personal opinions)

In his “Final Comments and Conclusions” the author stated:

“For those reasons, I think it would be extremely unwise for the DHSS to get involved in any type of epidemiological work on this hypothesis. The hypothesis seems most unlikely on grounds of basic scientific reasoning, and such evidence as already exists points in the opposite direction.”
“To go ahead in these circumstances would endow upon the hypothesis a respectability which it does not deserve. It is impossible to disprove through numbers. To try to do so, using flawed assumptions, as in the memorandum of the DHSS Statistics Division, weakens the position.”


Indeed, epidemiological work would not be the most appropriate way to address the possibility that SIDS could be causally related to vaccination given that epidemiological studies only test for “association” and not “causation”. However, case control studies as well as post-mortem lab analysis should have been considered as viable alternatives to further research. Such as:

Ottaviani et al. [20] “Herein we report the case of a 3-month-old female infant dying suddenly and unexpectedly shortly after being given a hexavalent vaccination. Examination of the brainstem on serial sections revealed bilateral hypoplasia of the arcuate nucleus.  The cardiac conduction system presented persistent fetal dispersion and resorptive degeneration. This case offers a unique insight into the possible role of hexavalent vaccine in triggering a lethal outcome in a vulnerable baby. Any case of sudden unexpected death occurring perinatally and in infancy, especially soon after a vaccination, should always undergo a full necropsy study according to our guidelines.”
“The identification of a possible pathological basis of reflexogenic mechanisms in sudden, unexpected infant death necessarily requires examination of the brainstem nuclei and of the cardiac conduction system on serial sections.”

The senior author of this study, Professor Luigi Matturri is a member of the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) Pathologists Panel for evaluation of SUD (sudden unexpected death) cases reported for hexavalent vaccines. In a review by EMEA cited in the Introduction of the study, of five reports of unexplained deaths in children which occurred within 24 hours of vaccination with a hexavalent vaccine, panels of experts (including pathologists with the experience in the field of vaccines and SIDS), investigated whether there might have been a link between the vaccines and the deaths observed:

“The EMEA’s conclusions were that the causes of death remained unexplained. SIDS, viral infection, metabolic disorders, allergic reactions or airway obstruction were plausible but were not definitely proven to have been the cause of death [4]. However, to the best of our knowledge, during the mentioned post-mortem investigations, little, if any, attention was paid to examination of the brainstem and the cardiac conduction systems on serial sections, nor was the possibility of a triggering role of the vaccine in the lethal outcome considered.”

In addition, in responding to numerous criticisms of their study Unexplained cases of sudden infant death shortly after hexavalent vaccination [21] Zinka et al. noted [22]:

“(ad 6) The main problem is that vaccination specialists have failed for decades to establish any tests or other criteria to find out if adverse events are linked to vaccinations or not. To our knowledge they did not even try hard—why?!”
“(1) A precise description of the mechanism leading to serious adverse events after hexavalent vaccination is not the task of forensic pathology. This would be the job of vaccination specialists, and actually this job should have been done before phase 1 and phase 2 studies in order to get valid data on the drug safety.”

In summary, it may be inferred from here that the real reason why causality is rarely (if ever) established by scientific investigations into vaccine-related serious adverse outcomes is because it is assumed that: a) they don’t happen and b) the study is not designed to detect them. This may further suggest that vaccines are not proven to be safe but are only assumed to be safe. Indeed, according to the US FDA “Historically, the non-clinical safety assessment for preventive vaccines has often not included toxicity studies in animal models. This is because vaccines have not been viewed as inherently toxic” [1].

9) Deliberately took advantage of parent’s trust and lack of relevant knowledge on
vaccinations in order to promote a scientifically unsupported immunisation
program which could put certain children at risk of severe long-term neurological

Recently the DH announced that there would be a significant change in the current UK
immunisation schedule, following the October 2010 meeting at which the JCVI recommended that children be vaccinated against six diseases at the same time. This would be through receiving three vaccines (Hib/MenC, MMR and pneumococcal) in one visit rather than getting the first vaccine at 12 months of age and the second two at 13 months of age. According to a letter sent by the Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies to local GPs (
Publicationsandstatistics/Lettersandcirculars/Professionalletters/Chiefmedicalofficerletters/DH_121748), this new “simplified” immunisation policy is to be implemented “as soon as
practicable”. Furthermore, according to a BBC news report on 22nd November 2010 (, the purpose for vaccinating against 6 diseases at one single appointment is “to boost vaccine uptake”, which has apparently been low ever since safety concerns regarding the MMR vaccine had been raised in public following the study of Wakefield et al. in 1998 [3]. Despite continued public concerns on the overall safety of the MMR and its possible link to autistic regression and other severe neurological outcomes, the DH spokesperson stated (

“Independent scientific research has shown that providing these vaccines at the same time is safe, effective and more convenient for parents.”

I have requested from the UK DH to show me these independent data. The request was granted, and much more than that. First to the independent data: they are not independent.

The study by Miller et al. [23], referenced by the DH states in the acknowledgments:

“This is an independent report funded by the Policy Research Programme in the Department of Health, UK, grant 039/031.”

As for the safety assessment:

“For safety, proportions of children with erythema, swelling or tenderness at site of injection, or fever or other systemic symptoms for 7 days after immunization were compared between regimens. No adverse consequences for either safety or immunogenicity were demonstrated when MCC/Hib was given concomitantly with PCV and MMR at 12 months of age or separately at 12 and 13 months of age.”

Thus the vaccine was “demonstrated safe” based on a 7 day follow-up and monitoring for largely local reactions. Not only is this an appalling example of a vaccine safety study, it is the only study quoted by the DH and JCVI in support of their decision to implement a new vaccine schedule. This is evident from a Possible simplification of the childhood vaccination schedule report (, issued by the JCVI Secretariat in October 2010, which states:

“In June 2009, JCVI considered a pre-publication clinical trial paper from Miller et. al. that showed that co-administration did not adversely affect the immune response elicited by the vaccines. In addition, no safety concerns around co-administration were identified.”

The JCVI report further states:

(Annex A, Background)
“In June 2009 the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation concluded that there is no scientific reason to keep the combined Hib and Meningitis C vaccine (currently given at 12 months) and the MMR and pneumococcal vaccines (given at 13 months) separate.”

The “no scientific reason” is grossly misleading. Once again, it should be obvious that safety concerns cannot be identified if the study is not designed to detect them. Autistic regression is known to occur gradually over periods of weeks to many months. In spite of this, the vast majority of studies which are presumed to provide conclusive evidence on the safety of vaccines, have short follow ups and focus almost exclusively upon acute near-immediate events [23-29].

In addition, the fact that in 2008 The US federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to withdraw their initial recommendation for the use of measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccine (MMRV, marketed by Merck & Co., Inc. as ProQuad) as the vaccine of choice for vaccination of infants, because it was associated with double the risk of febrile seizures when compared to the MMR, shows that there is indeed solid reason for concern over simultaneous administration of multiple vaccines. Proquad contains only four vaccines in combination, not six. The research from The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), considered by the ACIP, evaluated the incidence of febrile seizures in 43,000 children between the ages of 12 and 23 months who had been vaccinated with ProQuad and 315,000 who had received two separate MMR and varicella vaccines. Within 7 to 10 days after vaccination, those given ProQuad suffered twice as many seizures (

“The preliminary results indicated a rate of febrile seizure of nine per 10,000 vaccinations among MMRV vaccine recipients compared with four per 10,000 vaccinations among MMR vaccine and varicella vaccine recipients.”

The multivalent vaccine Hexavac was also recently withdrawn following a recommendation from the EMEA ( “as a precautionary measure“, due to its poor effectiveness. Safety concerns have also been raised over administration of hexavalent vaccines by Ottaviani et al. [20] and Zinka et al. [21] the latter, following five cases of infant deaths in Germany in 2005 (all occurring within 48 hrs of vaccination). The post-mortem analysis of six children aged 4-17 months (5 of whom were vaccinated with Hexavac and one with another hexavalent vaccine, Infanrix Hexa) reported by Zinka et al. [21], revealed abnormal pathologic findings particularly affecting the nervous system.  Although there is no conclusive proof that these deaths were directly caused by vaccination, the authors felt it was:

“…important to inform vaccinating physicians and pediatricians as well as parents about such possibly fatal complications after application of hexavalent vaccines.”

In spite of these relevant findings, no mention of these two studies is found in the DH and the JCVI reports regarding the introduction of the new “simplified” and “improved” schedule.

Other than the paper by Miller et al. [23], the DH also provided me with the official report on their research on parents’ attitudes to the possibility of administering the Hib/MenC, PCV and MMR vaccines on a single occasion. Following their initial consideration of the draft paper by Miller et al., in 2009, the JCVI did recognize the need to seek parent’s opinion on the proposed “6 in 1” program before making any changes to the current schedule. In February 2010, the DH initiated this research and subsequently published it in a document Childhood immunisation programme:  Attitudinal research into combining 12 and 13 month immunisations which is now available on the DH website at:

What the Attitudinal research found was that parent’s knowledge on childhood’s current
immunisation timetable, particularly around 12 and 13 months, was generally low and apparently, the DH and the JCVI are content with keeping it that way, in order to preserve the national vaccination program. The DH and the JCVI concluded that informing parents of the changes would be “unwise” because it would create unnecessary panic. In order to prevent this, the health officials need to be instructed on how to “reassure” parents in the safety of vaccines, especially the MMR.

According to the Attitudinal research report, parents generally trusted the schedule and the NHS, however, some had reservations about the MMR, particularly if it was to be combined with other vaccines. Specifically, the Research Management Summary on Behalf of the DH from a Possible simplification of the childhood vaccination schedule report (, issued by the JCVI Secretariat, states that:

“While the principle of combining vaccinations and/or giving more than one at the same time appeared largely to be accepted, if one of these is MMR, views can change.” (Conclusions and Recommendations: 2.)

In light of this explicit concern, the DH report noted:

“The combined schedule at 12 and 13 months was regarded with mixed feelings; if it is introduced, the way in which it is communicated will have a significant impact on how it is received. Given low awareness of the immunisation schedule, parents are unlikely to notice the change until informed about it.” [their emphasis added-italicised] (Conclusions and Recommendations: 3.)

They further elaborated on this particular finding:

“When the combined schedule was presented to parents first (before seeing the current schedule), very few identified the appointment at a year of age as different or worthy of comment. Parents’ problems and worries only came to the surface when the combined option was explicitly presented as a change to the schedule. Those in areas where the combined schedule is apparently already being given accepted it without question. When parents were told that the new schedule involves giving MMR and PCV at the same time as another vaccine, some changed their views, including some of those who were otherwise accepting of MMR.” (Conclusions and Recommendations: 4.)

On the basis of the above observations the DH concluded that it is best to keep parents ignorant of the proposed changes, in order to avoid what they deemed as “unwarranted anxiety”, as this would most likely lead to reduced immunisation rates:

“Offering parents a choice between the two schedules could generate more questions than answers, and seems unwise. It might also risk compromising current understanding of the vaccination schedule as ‘just what happens’, and reframing it as optional, which could reduce vaccine uptake.” (Conclusions and Recommendations: 5.)
Consistent with their past legacy that apparently puts priority on the preservation of the vaccination program rather than the safety of an individual, the British Health Authorities consider it “unwise” that parents should have a choice as to how immunisations are to be carried out. So much so that special action is needed to assure that their efforts in promoting vaccination are not hampered. In particular, to the DH it “seems sensible” to, somehow, camouflage the change in the vaccination schedule in order to prevent what they deem as “unwarranted anxiety”.
“It is also clear that offering parents detailed information, and flagging up changes, can generate anxiety where it is not warranted. In light of this, it seems sensible to introduce the combined schedule as far as possible without announcing it explicitly as a change.” (Conclusions and Recommendations: 6.)

Indeed, the DH offers an elaborate strategy for addressing parental concerns about the “improved” and “simplified” vaccination program:

“If the combined immunisation is introduced, some parents will have questions about it, and health professionals, especially health visitors and practice nurses, will be their first port of call for information. Health professionals will have an important part to play in informing and reassuring parents, and they will need to provide consistent answers; any variation between what they say is likely to create a sense of unease among parents.” (Conclusions and Recommendations: 7.)

In revealing further details on how the health staff should approach those parents who may have concerns over the safety of the MMR vaccine, the DH advises:

“Health professionals will need to be ready to reassure parents that…
• combining vaccinations into one appointment and giving three at a time is entirely safe
• the fact that MMR is one of these makes no difference, because MMR is safe
• there is a good reason for the change: though the current system is effective and safe, changing it will be an improvement
• there are significant benefits to baby and parent in having one fewer appointment and reduced distress”

It should be obvious that any a priori exclusion of possible adverse effects from vaccines which is not based on valid scientific evidence but rather, a belief system is not by definition scientific.  Rather, it reflects a disturbing trend to view anything associated with vaccines and vaccine policy as sacred and beyond scientific scrutiny. The need to protect the UK government-mandated vaccination program against any reasonable doubt, in the absence of any truly independent scientific evidence and despite a) CSM/JCVI/ARVI’s own records discussed under Sections 1)-3) & 5) which show that vaccines, including measles and the MMR are not “entirely safe” and b) the government’s own concession that the MMR can in fact cause permanent brain damage (in the case of Robert Fletcher who in August 2010 received £90,000 payout for epilepsy and severe mental retardation that he suffered following the MMR jab;, is even more disturbing.

If vaccines are indeed entirely safe as the DH and the JCVI claim, why do they feel they need to hide information from parents and health professionals?

Perhaps “combining vaccinations into one appointment and giving three at a time is” not “entirely safe”.

As a reminder (JCVI meeting, 11th December 1974;

(11 Simultaneous administration of live vaccines (CHCS(VI)14))
“Professor Dick and Dr Warin pointed out that an interval in the administration of live vaccines had been advocated in view of the probability of adverse reactions and because of the recent publicity surrounding adverse reactions. The Committee agreed that it would be inopportune to change the guidance that an interval of at least 3 weeks should be allowed to elapse between the administration of any 2 live vaccines whichever came first.”

The above would explain the need to censor certain information as well as why the JCVI went to great lengths in devising a special strategy with which such a task would be achieved:

“Given continued sensitivity about MMR, any negative news coverage will have a significant impact. Health professionals will be the front line in combating this, and will need to be kept fully informed on the latest information from JCVI and DH to prevent any contradictions or confusion, and to ensure that they are equipped to reassure parents.” (Conclusions and Recommendations: 9.)

The choice of words is rather peculiar here, it appears as if the DH and the JCVI are preparing for war. Their choice of weapons includes “educating” health professionals with what appears to be highly censored information, since numerous truly independent studies which raised safety concerns in the scientific community (particularly about the MMR vaccine), were simply dismissed by the JCVI (see Section 4). Both the JCVI and the DH opted instead for the methodologically dubious study by Miller et al. [23] as their only evidence to promote the new “improved” and “simplified” immunisation program. This obvious information bias is to be promulgated by the JCVI/DH to the health profession.

Furthermore, according to the DH, it is not only important to censor information given to both parents and health professionals, the way in which this information is to be communicated is also very important.

“It is important that the information given by health professionals is pitched at the right level. The JCVI information prompted questions among many respondents, but was useful for reassuring some, particularly those with a more pragmatic view of immunisation.  Information at this level needs to be carefully tailored by health professionals according to the attitudes of individual parents.”

The corresponding section from the Attitudinal research report (
prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_122329.pdf) adds:

“If in doubt, we would suggest keeping it simple, as outlined above.” (D Conclusions; 3.  Dealing with questions about the change to a combined schedule)

Since some disclosure to the parents on adverse events associated with the combined schedule is necessary, it is further regarded that in spite of some:

“…diverging views on when the sheet should be given to parents; on balance it seems wise to hand it out immediately before vaccination, so that parents feel they have been given advance warning, but do not dwell on the content to the extent that they begin to worry.” (D Conclusions; 4. The tear-off sheet on side effects)

The idea of “keeping it simple” was also welcomed by the health professionals. Indeed, as already discussed in Section 5), the public may not understand correctly the significance of febrile convulsions. Nor would anyone want the public to dwell extensively on associations between the words “vaccine” and “death” or “permanent brain damage”.

One has to wonder whether parents who to this day continue to trust the British Health Authorities on matters of immunisation, would still have the same opinion if crucial facts on vaccine-associated adverse events discussed in “commercial” and “in confidence” CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI meetings were fully disclosed to them:

From the Attitudinal research report (pg 22):

“To my eyes these things have all been tried and tested, the
medical people studied for years, they tried all of this stuff. They obviously know getting these things correctly so my trust is in their hands really at the end of the day.”

From a discussion on a proposal for the surveillance of severe neurological disorders in infancy and their relationship to pertussis vaccine, 7th February 1986, CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI ( h t t p : / / w w w . d h . g o v . u k / e n / F r e e d o m O f I n f o r m a t i o n /Freedomofinformationpublicationschemefeedback/FOIreleases/DH_4135306):

“It was considered unreasonable to ask paediatricians to report for a period of six years.”
“No attempt would be made to study serious neurological disease arising from pertussis and other infectious diseases.”

From Miller et al. [23]

“For safety, proportions of children with erythema, swelling or tenderness at site of injection, or fever or other systemic symptoms for 7 days after immunization were compared between regimens.”

From the JCVI meeting held on 3rd November 1981 (

(5.d. Comments on Professor Stewart’s letter)
“Professor Gilliatt observed that in the Meade Panel Study one-third of children with brain damage were not admitted to hospital. In both the Meade and Dudgeon studies there were examples of children who had a fit soon after vaccination which was followed by a fit at a later time and then followed by cessation of development. It was very difficult to assess this as a random event…The Chairman concluded that much was not known about the natural history of brain damage in the young.”

From the Attitudinal research report (pg 22):

“…the diseases must be serious and pose a risk – ‘the NHS wouldn’t put children through it [so young] if it wasn’t necessary.”

From the JCVI meeting on 11th December 1974 (

“…mumps vaccine was unnecessary because complications from the disease were rare.  The Committee agreed that there was no need to introduce routine vaccination against mumps.”

From a discussion on a proposal for the surveillance of severe neurological disorders in infancy and their relationship to pertussis vaccine, 7th February 1986, CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI ( h t t p : / / w w w . d h . g o v . u k / e n / F r e e d o m O f I n f o r m a t i o n /Freedomofinformationpublicationschemefeedback/FOIreleases/DH_4135306):

“No attempt would be made to study serious neurological disease arising from pertussis and other infectious diseases.”

From the Attitudinal research report (pg 23):

“They’re in the book and they say you should do them, I think if I don’t do them then that’s wrong. They know what they’re doing.”

From the “commercial in confidence” CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI meeting, held
on 5th October 1984 (

“Fetal damage after accidental polio vaccination of an immune mother. Barton AE et al.
Journal of the RCGP 1984: 34: p. 390-394
Dr Smith observed that the termination of the pregnancy at 20 weeks in this case report was not related to the administration of oral poliovaccine (OPV).”

Note: how such conclusion could be reached remains unclear since:

“However, the foetus was reported to have signs of infection with poliovirus in the nervous system although no similar event had been previously seen after vaccination.”

From the Attitudinal research report (pg 23):

“I don’t think they would put something into a child that is not good for them.”


“I put my hands in the medical profession and they do a good enough job for me and I trust them.”
“Surely they wouldn’t give these injections if they felt they would harm?”
“I do think it’s a good thing. You want to try and protect your children so if that’s what they’re suggesting they have to have done you should trust your health professionals.”
“Because they’re recommended you kind of trust the doctors to guide you.”

From the “commercial in confidence” CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI meeting, held
on 6th July 1987 (

(6.1 Whooping cough)
“He explained that in February the CSM had called for ARVI’s advice about updating the statement made in the 1981 report on Whooping Cough (HMSO) about a possible link between DTP immunisation and serious neurological illness. It had been hoped that by this means ‘discovery’ of all the relevant JCVI, CSM and ARVI documentation on whooping cough vaccine could be avoided.”

From the JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI “commercial in confidence” meeting on 6th
February 1987,

section “7.1 Whooping cough vaccine –CSM advice” (contents of the statement that CSM wished to modify; Information/
“No scientifically unassailable link has been established between DTP immunisation and serious neurological illness but we have come to conclusion, on the basis of all present evidence, that there is a prima facie case that such a link may exist. We would also agree that the evidence suggests that the vaccine causes convulsions in some children.”

From the CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI “commercial in confidence meeting on 3rd October 1986 (

“From the above there is reason to believe that the increased relative risk of prolonged convulsions after DTP was a real one.”

From the JCVI meeting on 3rd November 1989 (

(9. ARVI Committee – Minutes of meeting 6 October 1989 (JCVI (89)25)
“Dr Schild reported that NIBSC was now able to distinguish clearly the wild strains from each of the two vaccines, and isolates from CSF clearly showed Urabe in all three cases believed to be associated with vaccine-although it should not be assumed that Jeryl-Lynn is not capable of the same result.”

From the JCVI meeting on 7th May 1999 (

(8. Meningococcal meningitis, i.)
“Committee members were reminded that this issue, and the papers presented, was extremely sensitive, commercially and politically. It was requested that confidentiality be maintained. The Chairman asked for any declarations of interest. Professor Cartwright was involved in manufacturers’ studies on the vaccines, including health trials. Dr Goldblatt was involved in one company-sponsored study and had provided a clinical expert report to the
MCA for one manufacturer. Dr Jones was involved in trials for two of the companies involved. Dr Schild said that NIBSC was evaluating the vaccines.
“There were no objections to these members continuing to take part in the meeting and it was agreed that they would be able to provide a valuable input to the discussion in
common interest.”

From a discussion of the 8.4.1 Meningococcal C Conjugate (MCC) Vaccine Evaluation
Programme, at the 7th May1999 JCVI meeting (

“There was no good evidence for the efficacy of the meningococcal Group C conjugate vaccine, only the surrogate of antibodies compared with those known to be protective against invasive disease. To actually test the efficacy on the conjugate vaccine it would be necessary to introduce the vaccine and then conduct a Phase III or Phase IV study to test efficacy; this would be very difficult to do and would delay introduction by 3-5 years.”
“It was felt that it was important to plan the programme now and confirmation that the vaccines were equally effective could follow.”


Standards of Conduct

Finally, a reader may wish to assess the presented data on JCVI vaccination policies against the JCVI’s own Code of Practice ( which states:

(Responsibilities of Committee and Sub-committee members):
(30)“All members of the Committee and its Sub-committees (‘members’) must demonstrate high standards of conduct.”
(31)“In exercising their duties, members must observe the ‘Seven Principles of Public Life’ set out by the Committee on Standards in Public Life (the Nolan Committee):
Selflessness: Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends
Integrity: Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.
Objectivity: In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
Accountability: Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
Openness: Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.


Honesty: Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
Leadership: Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.”
(Conflicts of Interests)
(39) Personal pecuniary8 interest
“If a member has in the last 12 months received, or plans to receive a financial payment or other benefit from a business or representative body relating to vaccines or any other product or service that could be under consideration by JCVI or a Sub-committee including:
• holding a directorship, or other paid position
• carrying out consultancy or fee paid work
• having shareholdings or other beneficial interests
• receiving expenses (e.g. travel to, or registration for, conferences) and hospitality the member must declare this interest.
If this interest is specific to an agenda item and the payment or other benefit is connected specifically with the product under consideration, the member will be required to absent
him/herself from the discussion and any subsequent vote.”



[1] Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Workshop on Non-clinical Safety Evaluation of Preventative Vaccines: Recent Advances and Regulatory Considerations. 2002.
ucm054459.pdf, last accessed May 30 2011.

[2] World Medical Association (WMA). WMA Declaration of Helsinki – Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects. 2011., last accessed June 4 2011.

[3] Wakefield AJ, Murch SH, Anthony A, Linnell J, Casson DM, Malik M, et al. Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Lancet 1998; 351(9103): 637-41.

[4] Sugiura A, Yamada A. Aseptic meningitis as a complication of mumps vaccination. Pediatr Infect Dis J 1991; 10(3): 209-13.

[5] Fombonne E, Chakrabarti S. No evidence for a new variant of measles-mumps-rubella-induced autism.
Pediatrics 2001; 108(4): E58.

[6] Singh VK, Jensen RL. Elevated levels of measles antibodies in children with autism. Pediatr Neurol 2003;
28(4): 292-4.

[7] Godlee F, Smith J, Marcovitch H. Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent.
BMJ 2011; 342: c7452.

[8] Balzola F, Barbon V, Repici A, Rizzetto M, Clauser D, Gandione M, et al. Panenteric IBD-like disease in a patient with regressive autism shown for the first time by the wireless capsule enteroscopy: another piece in the jigsaw of this gut-brain syndrome?Am J Gastroenterol 2005; 100(4): 979-81.

[9] Balzola F., et al. Beneficial behavioural effects of IBD therapy and gluten/casein-free diet in an Italian cohort of patients with autistic enterocolitis followed over one year. Gastroenterology 2006; 130 (Suppl.2): S1364 A-21.

[10] Balzola F., et al. Autistic enterocolitis: confirmation of a new inflammatory bowel disease in an Italiancohort of patients. Gastroenterology 2005; 128 (suppl.2): A-303.

[11] Chen B, Girgis S, El-Matary W. Childhood autism and eosinophilic colitis. Digestion 2010; 81(2): 127-9.

[12] Krigsman A, Boris M, Goldblatt A, Stott C. Clinical Presentation and Histologic Findings at Ileocolonoscopy in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Chronic Gastrointestinal Symptoms.
Autism Insights 2010; 2: 1-11.

[13] Quigley EM, Hurley D. Autism and the gastrointestinal tract. Am J Gastroenterol 2000; 95(9): 2154-6.

[14] Shoenfeld Y, Agmon-Levin N. ‘ASIA’ – Autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants. J
Autoimmun. 2011; 36(1): 4-8.

[15] Ternavasio-de la Vega HG, Boronat M, Ojeda A, Garcia-Delgado Y, Angel-Moreno A, Carranza-RodriguezC, et al. Mumps orchitis in the post-vaccine era (1967-2009): a single-center series of 67 patients and review of clinical outcome and trends. Medicine (Baltimore) 2010; 89(2): 96-116.

[16] Castilla J, Garcia Cenoz M, Arriazu M, Fernandez-Alonso M, Martinez-Artola V, Etxeberria J, et al.
Effectiveness of Jeryl Lynn-containing vaccine in Spanish children. Vaccine 2009; 27(15): 2089-93.

[17] Gustafson TL, Lievens AW, Brunell PA, Moellenberg RG, Buttery CM, Sehulster LM. Measles outbreak in a fully immunized secondary-school population. N Engl J Med 1987; 316(13): 771-4.

[18] Hersh BS, Markowitz LE, Hoffman RE, Hoff DR, Doran MJ, Fleishman JC, et al. A Measles Outbreak at a College with a Prematriculation Immunization Requirement. American Joumal of Public Health 1991; 81(3): 360-4.

[19] Tugwell BD, Lee LE, Gillette H, Lorber EM, Hedberg K, Cieslak PR. Chickenpox outbreak in a highly vaccinated school population. Pediatrics 2004; 113(3 Pt 1): 455-9.

[20] Ottaviani G, Lavezzi AM, Matturri L. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) shortly after hexavalent vaccination: another pathology in suspected SIDS? Virchows Arch 2006; 448(1): 100-4.

[21] Zinka B, Rauch E, Buettner A, Rueff F, Penning R. Unexplained cases of sudden infant death shortly after hexavalent vaccination. Vaccine 2006; 24(31-32): 5779-80.

[22] Zinka B, Penning R. Unexplained cases of sudden infant death shortly after hexavalent vaccination.
Letter to Editor. Response to the comment by H.J. Schmitt et al. Vaccine 2006; 24: 5785–6.

[23] Miller E, Andrews N, Waight P, Findlow H, Ashton L, England A, et al. Safety and immunogenicity of coadministering a combined meningococcal serogroup C and Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccine with 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at 12 months of age. Clin Vaccine Immunol 2011; 18(3): 367–72.

[24] Kaplan SL, Lauer BA, Ward MA, Wiedermann BL, Boyer KM, Dukes CM, et al. Immunogenicity and safety of Haemophilus influenzae type b-tetanus protein conjugate vaccine alone or mixed with diphtheriatetanus-pertussis vaccine in infants. J Pediatr 1994; 124(2): 323-7.

[25] Plennevaux E, Blatter M, Cornish MJ, Go K, Kirby D, Wali M, et al. Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 two-dose immunization of US children: an observer-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Vaccine 2011; 29(8): 1569-75.

[26] Li G, Zhang H, Zhou W, Ye Q, Li F, Wang H, et al. Safety and immunogenicity of a diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis and Haemophilus influenzae Type b combination vaccine compared with separate administration of licensed equivalent vaccines in Chinese infants and toddlers for primary and booster immunization. Vaccine 2010; 28(25): 4215-23.

[27] Marchant CD, Miller JM, Marshall GS, Blatter M, Aris E, Friedland LR, et al. Randomized trial to assess immunogenicity and safety of Haemophilus influenzae type b and Neisseria meningitidis serogroups C and Y-tetanus toxoid conjugate vaccine in infants. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2009; 29(1): 48-52.

[28] Kanra G, Viviani S, Yurdakok K, Ozmert E, Yalcin S, Baldini A, et al. Safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of a Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine containing aluminum phosphate adjuvant administered at 2, 3 and 4 months of age. Turk J Pediatr 1999; 41(4): 421-7.

[29] Kim KH, Lee H, Chung EH, Kang JH, Kim JH, Kim JS, et al. Immunogenicity and safety of two different Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccines in Korean infants. J Korean Med Sci 2008; 23(6): 929-36.



The vaccination policy and the Code of Practice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI): are they at odds? Pages 1 through 25 by Lucija Tomljenovic, PhD

BSEM March 2011
The Health Hazards of Disease Prevention

The vaccination policy and the Code of Practice of the Joint Committee on
Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI): are they at odds?
Lucija Tomljenovic, PhD
Neural Dynamics Research Group, Dept. of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British
Columbia, 828 W. 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1L8,

No pharmaceutical drug is devoid of risks from adverse reactions and vaccines are no exception.  According to the world’s leading drug regulatory authority, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), vaccines represent a special category of drugs in that they are generally given to healthy individuals and often to prevent a disease to which an individual may never be exposed [1]. This, according to the FDA, places extra emphasis on vaccine safety. Universally, regulatory authorities are responsible for ensuring that new vaccines go through proper scientific evaluation before they are approved. An equal responsibility rests on the medical profession to promote vaccinations but only with those vaccines whose safety and efficacy has been demonstrated to be statistically significant. Furthermore, vaccination is a medical intervention and as such, it should be carried out with the full consent of those who are being subjected to it. This necessitates an objective
disclosure of the known or foreseeable risks and benefits and, where applicable, a description of alternative courses of treatment. In cases where children and infants are involved, full consent with regards to vaccination should be given by the parents.
Deliberately concealing information from the parents for the sole purpose of getting them to comply with an “official” vaccination schedule could thus be considered as a form of ethical violation or misconduct. Official documents obtained from the UK Department of Health (DH) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) reveal that the British health authorities have been engaging in such practice for the last 30 years, apparently for the sole purpose of protecting the national vaccination program.

Here I present the documentation which appears to show that the JCVI made continuous efforts to withhold critical data on severe adverse reactions and contraindications to vaccinations to both parents and health practitioners in order to reach overall vaccination rates which they deemed were necessary for “herd immunity”, a concept which with regards to vaccination, and contrary to prevalent beliefs, does not rest on solid scientific evidence as will be explained. As a result of such vaccination policy promoted by the JCVI and the DH, many children have been vaccinated without their parents being disclosed the critical information about demonstrated risks of serious adverse reactions, one that the JCVI appeared to have been fully aware of. It would also appear that, by withholding this information, the JCVI/DH neglected the right of individuals to make an informed consent concerning vaccination. By doing so, the JCVI/DH may have violated not only International
Guidelines for Medical Ethics (i.e., Helsinki Declaration and the International Code of Medical Ethics) [2] but also, their own Code of Practice (

The transcripts of the JCVI meetings also show that some of the Committee members had extensive ties to pharmaceutical companies and that the JCVI frequently co-operated with vaccine manufacturers on strategies aimed at boosting vaccine uptake. Some of the meetings at which such controversial items were discussed were not intended to be publicly available, as the transcripts were only released later, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOI). These particular meetings are denoted in the transcripts as “commercial in confidence”, and reveal a clear and disturbing lack of transparency, as some of the information was removed from the text (i.e., the names of the participants) prior to transcript release under the FOI section at the JCVI website (for example,
JCVI CSM/DH (Committee on the Safety of Medicines/Department of Health) Joint Committee on Adverse Reactions Minutes 1986-1992;

In summary, the transcripts of the JCVI/DH meetings from the period from 1983 to 2010 appear to show that:

1) Instead of reacting appropriately by re-examining existing vaccination policies when safety concerns over specific vaccines were identified by their own investigations, the JCVI either a) took no action, b) skewed or selectively removed unfavourable safety data from public reports and c) made intensive efforts to reassure both the public and the authorities in the safety of respective vaccines;

2) Significantly restricted contraindication to vaccination criteria in order to increase
vaccination rates despite outstanding and unresolved safety issues;

3) On multiple occasions requested from vaccine manufacturers to make specific amendments to their data sheets, when these were in conflict with JCVI’s official advices on immunisations;

4) Persistently relied on methodologically dubious studies, while dismissing independent
research, to promote vaccine policies;

5) Persistently and categorically downplayed safety concerns while over-inflating vaccine

6) Promoted and elaborated a plan for introducing new vaccines of questionable efficacy and safety into the routine paediatric schedule, on the assumption that the licenses would
eventually be granted;

7) Actively discouraged research on vaccine safety issues;

8) Deliberately took advantage of parents’ trust and lack of relevant knowledge on
vaccinations in order to promote a scientifically unsupported immunisation program which
could put certain children at risk of severe long-term neurological damage;
Notably, all of these actions appear to violate the JCVI’s own Code of Practice (http://

I here provide the evidence in support of each of the above assertions. (Note: emphasis added throughout the text as underlined are by the author unless otherwise indicated)

1) Instead of reacting appropriately by re-examining existing vaccination policies
when safety concerns over specific vaccines were identified by their own
investigations, the JCVI either a) took no action, b) skewed or selectively removed
unfavourable safety data from public reports and/or c) made intensive efforts to
reassure both the public and the authorities in the safety of respective vaccines.
As early as 1981, the JCVI had substantial documentation which associated the measles
vaccine with serious adverse reactions including death and long-term adverse neurological outcomes. At the JCVI meeting held on 9th April 1981 (, in discussing a paper that summarised all the reports of adverse reactions to the CSM, the following was noted:

(5.b.) Adverse Reactions to measles vaccine
“All reports since 1970 of encephalitis, encephalopathy or sudden death shortly after vaccination had been reviewed; 60 patients were involved of whom 8 had died, 36 had made an apparent complete recovery and 16 were left with permanent sequelae. The high proportion of deaths and patients with sequelae was surprising in comparison with the findings of the NCES [National Childhood Encephalopathy Study].”(5.b. Adverse Reactions to measles vaccine)

By 1983, the JCVI appeared to have had more evidence that the measles vaccine could
cause encephalitis associated with “severe handicap” in a subset of vulnerable children. At
the JCVI meeting on 17th of June 1983 (, the
Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) received 66 reports of suspected adverse reactions to measles vaccines over the period January 1982 to April 1983. According to the transcript of the meeting:

(7. Suspected adverse reactions to measles vaccine: recent reports to the CSM)
“These included three cases of encephalitis; on follow-up, two of these patients were left one year later with severe handicap and the third patient, after a year, appeared to be developmentally normal.”

By the end of 1981 serious safety concerns have also been raised with regards to another
routine paediatric vaccine, the whooping cough vaccine. At the meeting held on 3rd
November 1981 ( in section 5 on Whooping Cough:
(5.d. Comments on Professor Stewart’s letter)

“Professor Gilliatt observed that in the Meade Panel Study one-third of children with brain damage were not admitted to hospital. In both the Meade and Dudgeon studies there were examples of children who had a fit soon after vaccination which was followed by a fit at a later time and then followed by cessation of development. It was very difficult to assess this as a random event.”


“The Chairman concluded that much was not known about the natural history of brain damage in the young.”

In spite of this, three years later, at the meeting on 25th of April 1986 (, the JCVI concluded their discussion on suspected adverse reactions for the period 19th September 1985 to 15th of January 1986 with the following

“The Committee agreed to a suggestion from the Chairman that in future it would accept reports on adverse reactions as “for information” only.”[their emphasis added-quotation

It is somewhat perplexing why the JCVI adopted what appears to be a rather passive
approach to vaccine safety, in light of the severe adverse reactions that were reported at
that meeting. These included cot deaths, convulsions and anaphylaxis (11.4).
The JCVI appeared to have had other solutions for dealing with vaccine safety concerns. In a “commercial in confidence” CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee on Adverse Reactions to Vaccination and Immunisation (ARVI) meeting on 7th February 1986 (, in a discussion about a surveillance study on adverse reactions to two measles vaccines, the members noted that:

“…results showed that 70 per cent of children were well after receiving Attenuvax and 61 per cent after receiving Rimevax. If children with mild general reactions were added to those who were apparently well then the numbers associated with Attenuvax were 85 per cent and those with Rimevax 80 per cent.” (7.1 PHLS [Public Health Laboratory Service] surveillance of adverse reactions to two measles vaccine (Rimevax and Attenuvax))

In other words, even skewing the data by adding cases of mild reactions to those who were “apparently” well, did far from producing a reassuring statistic in favour of the safety of the measles vaccines, as it still implied a rate of 15-20% of vaccine-associated serious adverse reactions (as opposed to 30-39% of mild-to-serious adverse reactions in total). After further discussion on this topic:

“…it was agreed there was now enough information to stop the study.”

While at the same time, there appeared to be no incentive to reconsider the current immunisation policy, in fact, it seemed more reasonable to conclude that some of the suspected adverse reactions to measles vaccine:

“…were unlikely to be associated with the use of measles vaccine and were more likely to be temper tantrums.” (7.2 Suspected adverse reactions to measles vaccine: a summary of recent reports to the CS, June 1983 to September 1985)

The summary of suspected adverse reactions to DTP vaccine administered alone or with oral polio (OPV) during the period 19th September 1985 to 15th January 1986, presented at the same “confidential” meeting (CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI, 7th February 1986) were more difficult to ascribe to “temper tantrums”:

“Ninety such adverse reactions have been registered. These included six patients with
convulsions, one a patient with abnormal fever following vaccination and one patient with
apparent cerebral irritability; in addition two cot deaths were reported. (i) Case No.
154043 A three-month old boy who after his first dose of Trivax AD and OPV on 17
September 1985 was found dead 18 hours after immunisation….(ii) Case No. 154080 A
three-month old girl who received her first dose of Trivax and OPV on the 19 September
1985 and was found dead on the night of 21/22 September 1985. No initial adverse reaction to vaccination was reported and the cause of death was stated as SIDS.” [sudden infant death syndrome]

By mid to the late 1980s, the JCVI had become increasingly concerned about publicly associating the terms “death” and/or “brain damage” with the word “vaccine”, because of the negative repercussions they perceived this would have on vaccination policy (CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI meetings on 7th February 1986; 3rd October 1986;
DH_4135306). Such concerns were also exacerbated by the increasing burden of litigations about pertussis vaccine-suspected injuries (JCVI meeting on 22nd April 1988; 20th October 1988;, and the possibility that vaccination could be linked to some cases of SIDS, as evident from the Reports on Yellow Cards quoted above.
At the meeting on 22nd April 1988 (, in an ongoing discussion about the Loveday v Renton litigation, the Chairman:

“…reminded members that they had asked for a list of documents disclosed. JCVI (88)1 provided such a list, but it should not be made public. Dr Salisbury said that the Department’s solicitors had advised that a part of the section on whooping cough in the revised Memorandum was in conflict with the judgement in the above-mentioned case.  They had recommended that any statement on the risk of neurological reaction should avoid any estimate of the size of the risk of death or permanent brain damage. Dr Salisbury said that paragraph 3.4.1c of the section on whooping cough in the Memorandum had been modified accordingly and this modification was tabled. Professor Miller observed that the conclusion to be reached from the judgment of the Court and from the assessment of the scientific evidence of risk of neurological reactions and their consequences, were not necessarily the same. The legal judgement was that there is insufficient evidence, on the balance of probabilities that the vaccine causes permanent damage to allow any claim for damages to succeed. The JCVI was concerned with the implications of scientific assessment of the evidence for vaccine policy purposes. On this basis he was content to quote the figure for attributable risk of serious neurological illness without giving a figure for the risk of permanent damage, which was consistent with the conclusion of the NCES quoted in the Whooping Cough Report 1981.”(Item 5, page 4 – Loveday v Renton)

The extent of the JCVI’s concerns with the implications of scientific assessment of vaccine safety on vaccine policy explains why they were opposed to any long-term surveillance for severe neurological disorders following vaccination. In fact, as it will be shown below in greater detail, the CSM/JCVI/ARVI considered such studies “unreasonable” and paradoxically, ARVI even “deprecated the use of the term ‘brain damage’” (CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI meeting held on 7th February 1986;
h t t p : / / w w w . d h . g o v . u k / e n / F r e e d o m O f I n f o r m a t i o n /

In 1989, 10 years prior to the “controversial” Lancet report by Wakefield et al. [3], the JCVI
appeared to have been fully aware of the outcomes of the investigation carried out by the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), which unequivocally established a link between the mumps component of the MMR vaccine (the Urabe-9 strain) and cases of vaccine induced meningitis/encephalitis. In response to this, the JCVI appeared to have actively engaged in skewing and censoring data available to the public, continued to use the Urabe-9 containing MMR vaccines and made intensive efforts to reassure both the public and the authorities of the safety of all MMR vaccines.

According to the transcript of the JCVI meeting on 3rd November 1989 (, the causal agent of vaccine-induced meningitis/encephalitis was unequivocally identified:

(9. ARVI Committee – Minutes of meeting 6 October 1989 (JCVI (89)25)
“Prof Collee expressed gratitude to the NIBSC for the progress it achieved in developing techniques to identify wild and vaccine virus strains. Dr Schild reported that NIBSC was now able to distinguish clearly the wild strains from each of the two vaccines, and isolates from CSF clearly showed Urabe in all three cases believed to be associated with vaccine-although it should not be assumed that Jeryl-Lynn is not capable of the same result. Professor Collee added that no mumps vaccine could be said to be void of risk. Dr Schild said NIBSC would be happy to continue analysing samples.”

In the following meeting on 17th September 1990, the JCVI CSM/DH Joint Sub-Committee on Adverse Reactions (, on reviewing the adverse reactions to the MMR vaccine reported on Yellow Cards, applied the following criteria to the assessments:

“Definite=Virus isolated from CSF [cerebrospinal fluid], time course of 14-28 days;
Possible/probable=Cells isolated from CSF, no virus in CSF, acceptable time course” [their emphasis added-underlined]

The transcript then states:
“It was noted that there were 10 definite cases of meningitis/encephalitis.”

Both definite and probable cases were then discussed in some detail:
“It was noted that the mumps viruses obtained from two out of three cases from Nottingham were sequenced and shown to be vaccine related. The patients had all been vaccinated from different batches and did not live close to each other.”

At the 17th September 1990 meeting (, the JCVI
CSM/DH Joint Sub-Committee on Adverse Reactions did recognize the need to do a followup analyses for long-term neurological outcomes in all cases of meningitis/encephalitis associated with the MMR vaccine. It was also recognized that the current avenues for adverse reactions reporting (via the Yellow Card, the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit (BPSU) scheme, directly to Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (CDSC) and through Laboratory reports) were inadequate for detailed epidemiological evaluations. The JCVI CSM/DH Joint Sub-Committee then stated that:
“In order to further validate vaccine related illnesses, fuller studies would be required.”

Despite these unresolved safety issues, the conclusion reached at the meeting was that:

“There should be no change in the present recommendations or supply of MMR vaccine on
the evidence available to us at the present time.”

Thus, instead of re-evaluating the vaccination policy, at least until safety concerns were fully evaluated, the JCVI choose to support the existing policy based on incomplete evidence that was available at that time.

Furthermore, at the 17th September 1990 meeting (, the JCVI appeared to have been fully aware of increasing numbers of cases of mumps vaccine-associated aseptic meningitis occurring in Japan, since at the time of the meeting, they had been presented with a draft of a study by Sugiura et al. [4]. The Japanese study found that among 630,157 recipients of the MMR vaccine containing the Urabe-9 mumps vaccine, there were at least 311 meningitis cases suspected to be vaccine related.  In 96 of these 311 cases, mumps virus related to the vaccine was isolated from the CSF. Sugiura et al. [4] noted that this was an unusually high incidence of vaccine-related adverse outcomes, which they had attributed in part to “adverse media publicity”.  Nonetheless, the fact that in almost one third of the cases, the vaccine strain had been isolated from the CSF of children, suggests that safety concerns over the MMR were warranted. Indeed, in 1993 the Japanese suspended the use of the MMR vaccines containing the Urabe strain due to it causing a high incidence of aseptic meningitis, and reverted to the use of monovalent measles, mumps and rubella vaccines. According to Japanese Health Authorities, the withdrawal of the MMR had not caused an increase in deaths from wild measles infection. Noteworthy, in a BBC news report (
1808316.stm), a spokesperson for the Japan’s Health Ministry stated that:

“…more children had died from the disease during the period when MMR was being used.”

In reference to the Japanese study, the JCVI transcript specifically states:
“The paper confirmed information from Japan previously disclosed to ARVI.”

This suggests that the JCVI knew for some time that the Urabe-9 vaccine was causing problems and yet, did not consider the possibility to temporarily suspend its use.

Furthermore, four months prior to the 17th September 1990 meeting, at the JCVI 4th May 1990 meeting (, ARVI expressed concerns regarding the reports from Japan. The major reason for these concerns was not that the JCVI/ARVI were in favour of using the Urabe-9 vaccine which was now associated with increased risk of meningitis/encephalitis in children, but rather:

“Professor Banatvala was concerned about the possibility of the Japanese experience being published widely in the UK, and urged the gathering of information on the various episodes from all MMR manufacturers.”

ARVI also reached a rather surprising conclusion that:

“The Japanese experience may be due to different reporting/investigating criteria or other local factors.”

However, if this were the case, “the Japanese experience” would have been an isolated event.  That this was not the case can be clearly seen from further readings of the JCVI 4th May 1990 meeting transcript (

“Dr Thores spoke to the letter, JCVI/90/10, from Dr McIntyre. He highlighted SHHD [Scottish Home and Health Department] concern about the Canadian decision not to use Urabe strain vaccine, the cases of neurological complications in Japan, the seeming bias of the UK adverse reactions towards Scotland, and the continued use of vaccine distribution figures as the denominator when calculating adverse reaction rates.”

In spite of this, instead of re-evaluating or suspending the existing MMR vaccination policy due to safety concerns, the JCVI called for a specific and concentrated effort aimed at counteracting the growing public and health authorities’ concern over the safety of the Urabe-9 MMR vaccines.

“Professor Peckham told the Committee that she was aware of three districts changing from use of Urabe to Jeryl Lynn vaccine, and therefore the Committee needed to reassure authorities of the safety of all MMR vaccines.”

Hence, it appears that the JCVI’s solution to the growing problem regarding the MMR vaccine safety issues was to provide as little information as possible to health practitioners, in order to preserve the JCVI’s vaccination policy. If this assumption is correct, does it suggest that the JCVI was more concerned about boosting vaccine uptake than child safety?

“The Chairman asked the Committee if it thought necessary to draw up a statement about MMR.”

“Professor Hull suggested a simple sheet with ARVI’s evaluation of the vaccines. This would let doctors know that an expert committee had looked at the situation and perhaps reassure them.”

What appears to be a rather inadequate handling of the MMR safety concerns on behalf of the JCVI did not make the problem go away. Only a year later, at 1st November 1991 meeting (, unable to resolve the continuing MMR safety issues the JCVI turned to vaccine manufacturers for help:

(7.1 Report on MMR)
“On adverse reactions to the vaccine, the most worrying reports had been studies which showed problems with the Urabe vaccine, particularly Mumps Meningitis. Reports had also come from overseas countries, Canada being the most helpful….of 67 reported cases between October 1988 and August 1990, 38 children had definite or probable Aseptic Meningitis and one Encephalitis. Ten of these were definitely caused by the vaccine, and a further 29 were probably caused by the vaccine. Of these 39 children, 37 were followed up at 12 months. 33 (or 89%) were neuro-developmentally normal. Of the remaining four, two had neuro-developmental problems before being given MMR, one had behaviour problems and one had a cerebral astrocytoma. There had been eight reports of nerve deafness although one was pre-MMR; six needed further investigation. The over-all picture was that there were 3.7 cases per 100,000 doses of Urabe vaccine and no cases reported with the Jeryl Lynn vaccine. However, the MSD [Merck Sharp and Dohme] vaccine was generally not well accepted because of pain at the injection site. Urabe is the most reactogenic vaccine but some data suggested that it may also be the most immunogenic. It was impossible to make a firm decision about this until all information had been collected.”

(Note: it ought to be asked why the UK health authorities thought it was appropriate to vaccinate children with neurodevelopmental problems and cerebral astrocytoma with a vaccine that had caused substantial worries to them over its association with adverse reactions affecting the brain).

(7.2 Discussions with Manufacturers)
“Dr Salisbury reported on his recent meetings with Merieux, MSD and SKB [Smithkline Beecham]. Information was shared and details of adverse events discussed. The manufacturers felt that the Department’s line-that is, surveying adverse events and checking immunogenicity-was correct.”

Again, the JCVI appeared to have adopted a passive approach to the problem and made no apparent efforts to identify specific sub-groups of children who may have been more prone to adverse reactions to the MMR. At the meeting that followed on 1st May 1992 (, the same conclusions were reiterated in light of the continuing MMR crisis, with an additional concern that the actual number of vaccine associated aseptic meningitis cases might have been higher, due to suspected underreporting:

(7.4 Report of North Herts Immunogenicity Study (Dr Elizabeth Miller))
“The report of a cluster of CSF mumps virus positive cases in Nottingham had caused concern that national surveillance may have been underreporting the incidence of cases; a meeting had been held to discuss the Nottingham situation and the national data….In Nottingham all children with febrile convulsions were lumbar punctured, unlike some other areas from where reports had been received (Preston and Ashford).  The Committee agreed that no conclusion could be reached until the full immunogenicity results were available as well as the full analysis of the Nottingham and other data.”

In the meantime, no changes were made to the immunisation policies. Would a seemingly passive approach to child health and safety, suggest that the JCVI in essence agreed to the fact that during the surveillance for the purposes of “for information only”, some cases of suspected vaccine-induced convulsions, meningitis/encephalitis and deaths in children would just have to be tolerated?

Note also that for using the same technique of lumbar puncture, 18 years later, Dr Andrew
Wakefield who investigated a consecutive series of children with chronic enterocolitis and
regressive developmental disorder which appeared to have been linked to MMR vaccination, was charged and found unfit to practice medicine by the UK General Medical Council (GMC). According to the GMC hearing, lumbar puncture in children with MMR-suspected adverse neurological outcome was apparently ”not clinically indicated” (

In July 1992, the data from Nottingham became available, nonetheless, it took another two months before the JCVI and the DH finally decided to take action, apparently not so much because of safety concerns but more so because of the legal advice given to the manufacturers by their lawyers in response to which the manufacturers decided to stop producing the Urabe-9 containing MMR vaccines. According to the transcript of the JCVI meeting on 6th November 1992 (

(8.1 Report to Sub-Committee on SEAR/CSM: Dr David Salisbury)
“In August, Department of Health officials met with MCA [Medicines Control Agency] and the manufacturers. At the end of August SKB, acting on the advice of their lawyers, decided to stop producing vaccine and advise licensing authorities world wide accordingly; the Department had, therefore, to act quickly.”

Thus, only when the alarm was sounded by the manufacturers’ lawyers did the DH sense that the matters regarding the safety of the MMR vaccine required some urgency. In addition, it appears that the principal preoccupation of the European Authorities was how to preserve global vaccine policies in face of the Urabe-9 scandal.

“On the 3 and 4 September the Chief Medical Officers of European Community countries were advised in confidence of the situation at a routine meeting. ARGOS/SEAR [Sub-Committee on Safety, Efficiency (SEAR) and the Adverse Reaction Group of SEAR (ARGOS)] agreed on 4 September that no action would be taken to revoke the manufacturer’s license as a change of purchasing policy was to be made by the Department; revoking the license would have caused a world-wide vaccine crisis.”

The actual rate of aseptic meningitis after the MMR vaccination was discussed later on the JCVI 6th November 1992 meeting agenda (

(8.7 Risk of aseptic meningitis after MMR vaccination in UK children: Dr Elizabeth Miller)
“The overall risk of this complication in the UK was 1 per 10,000 immunised children but, in Nottingham, this had increased to 1 in 4,000. Tests in Canada in 1989 had associated the Urabe vaccine with meningitis. The linking of laboratory records of CSE samples with district computer databases on immunisation had been very effective. The Committee was told that all the countries which had had a choice had switched from the Urabe to Jeryl Lynn;”

What is rather astonishing is that the four-year old Canadian concerns over the safety profile of the MMR vaccine (which had been confirmed in 1989), were apparently ignored by the JCVI or at least, not given much credence. While the Canadian Health Authorities suspended the use of the Urabe-9 MMR in 1988, the UK introduced it along with a vigorous promotional campaign. In a confidential meeting of the JCVI Working Party on the introduction of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine on 11th February 1988 (

(5. MMR vaccination in Canada)
“Members read a report of cases of mumps encephalitis which had been associated with MMR vaccine containing the URABE strain of the mumps virus. The Canadian authorities had suspended the licences of MMR vaccines containing the URABE strain, but Dr Salisbury considered that the data on which the decision had been based was slender.”

The JCVI also had a specific plan to combat any adverse publicity in case any of this “confidential” information was to reach the public:

“A statement would be prepared in anticipation of any adverse publicity which might arise.”

(7. Publicity)
“A paper prepared by the MMR Publicity Group was presented, by Mr Flaherty and Mr Reid, for the Group to discuss and to approve the general approach it contained. Dr Ross considered that the priority was to get the message across to doctors, health visitors and nurses.”

Finally, the JCVI also had a number of funding strategies in place to promote the introduction of the MMR:

(9. Funding situation)
“£800,000 had been set aside for publicity and £1.4 million had been set aside to cover the period October 1988 – March 1989 to assist health authorities with increased vaccine costs, the education of professionals and for the re-programming of child computers. Members noted that the Statement of Fees and Allowances would need altering to include item of service payment for MMR.”

This latter strategy was further refined on the JCVI Working Party on the introduction of MMR vaccine following meeting, on 17th May 1988 (

(3. Matters Arising)
“Dr McGuiness suggested that instead of an item of service payment GPs might be paid according to their immunization rates.”

In spite of carefully elaborated advertising and substantial investments, the JCVI did not entirely succeed in countering public concerns over vaccine safety, as on 6th October 1989 (

“The meeting’s further sadness was expressed over the press reports, which could have harmful implications and unnecessarily damage public confidence in vaccines.”

Regrettably, similar sadness was apparently not expressed by the JCVI members over a report of a vaccine-suspected death of a 16 month old child, which was discussed at the same meeting.  Rather:

“This was a fiscal case and as such was highly confidential. Doubts were expressed about the cause of death, and while it was not possible to give clear judgement, it was felt that there was unlikely to have been a causal relationship with the vaccine and that this was an unusual case.”

Science should be based on facts and experimental evidence, not feelings.

As for the alleged “slender” Canadian data on safety hazards of the SKF (Smith Kline and French) Urabe MMR vaccine, in a confidential JCVI CSM/DH Joint Sub-committee on Adverse Reactions meeting on 7th March 1990 ( the following was disclosed:

(6. Adverse reactions to MMR vaccine)
“In Canada, the MSD vaccine had been used exclusively [Jeryl Lynn strain-containing MMR].  Following the introduction of SKF product, the cases of meningoencephalitis had been reported. When distribution of the SKF vaccine was halted, no further cases of
meningoencephalitis were reported.”

Yet, from this clear evidence, the JCVI derived a conclusion that somewhat seems to defy logic:

“It was suggested that, due to different reaction criteria and methods of data collection, reporting in different countries should not be compared.”

In summary, the JCVI endorsed and promoted a policy of vaccinating every child in the UK with the Urabe-9 MMR vaccine, in spite of the evidence that this would have caused a greater risk of encephalitis in children, when compared to the alternative Jeryl Lynn version of the MMR. It was only under pressure from a potential legal action that the JCVI and DH decided that it was due time “to act quickly” and withdraw the Urabe MMR from use in routine vaccinations.

2) Significantly restricted contraindication to vaccination criteria in order to increase
vaccination rates despite outstanding and unresolved safety issues.

Already in the early 1980s, the public confidence in the safety of the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine has been eroded and since the uptake of the vaccine was relatively low, the JCVI sought ways to improve immunisation rates. According to Sir Charles Stuart-Harris, at the JCVI meeting on 3rd November 1981 ( in section 5 on Whooping Cough:

(5.c. Whooping Cough Vaccination Campaign)
“…a 40% uptake of the vaccine ensured continuance of the disease; the uptake rate had to be improved.”

The transcripts of the JCVI meetings from 1981 to 1986 indicate that the Committee did not know what was the risk/benefit balance of whooping cough vaccination in children who were potentially more at risk of vaccine associated-adverse outcomes. In spite of this, the JCVI went on with restricting contraindication criteria so that more children could be vaccinated. The JCVI also seemed to have been more preoccupied with protecting the “reputation of the vaccine” rather than protecting potentially vulnerable individuals, as the former served a basis for defining certain contraindication criteria.

In 1981, a Working Group on Contra-indications to Whooping Cough Vaccination had been set up because ARVI, which had been asked by the JCVI to consider contraindication to whooping cough vaccine, had not been able to reach an appropriate agreement on this issue. At a beginning of the meeting of this Working Group on 1st May 1981 (, it was noted that:

“It was extremely important that the present meeting should reach an agreed conclusion because the reports on whooping cough were to be published on the 12 May, and it was desirable for any new contra-indications to be ready as soon as possible after this date.”


“When considering the question of contraindications, the general principle to be borne in mind was that the right balance had to be struck between the need to keep acceptance rates for vaccination as high as possible and the need to protect groups of children who had an increased risk of adverse reaction to vaccination.”

Assuming that the whooping cough vaccine is effective in preventing whooping cough, this principle indeed appears to be sound. Curiously however, one of the first items to be discussed under this agenda was that of respiratory illnesses and whether these should be regarded as a contraindication to whooping cough vaccination. Some members thought that respiratory illnesses ought to be deleted from the list of contraindications. Others however:

“…thought that the reference to respiratory disease was not really a contra-indication; rather it was a move to protect the reputation of whooping cough vaccination by avoiding an association between vaccination and SIDS.”

Since apparently:

“Respiratory illness was often associated with SIDS, and therefore the reference to respiratory disease was a wise precaution to prevent SIDS and whooping cough vaccination being associated.”


“Professor Miller stressed the need to maintain public confidence in the vaccine and said there was a need to prevent children with epilepsy being vaccinated in order to avoid an apparent association between vaccination and fits.”

In addition:

“The Chairman asked members to consider “History of seizures, convulsions, or cerebral irritation in the neonatal period”. Professor Hull said that this contra-indication would include children with disguised brain damage; this was good for the reputation of the vaccine in that it prevented an apparent association between vaccination and the discovery of brain damage.”

It is somewhat perplexing why in discussing contraindication to whooping cough vaccination, the Working Group members entrusted with an “extremely important” task to reach a prompt agreement on this issue, appeared to have been more concerned about the reputation of the whooping cough vaccine, rather than the risk/benefit balance of whooping cough vaccination in children who were potentially more at risk of vaccine associated-adverse outcomes, especially since:

“It was agreed that the risk/benefit balance in this group of children was not known.”

Nonetheless, Dr Griffiths in referring to a paper from the US, in which children with a history of convulsions were immunised against whooping cough and then followed up noted that:

“…this data did show a slightly increased risk of convulsions following vaccination in children with a previous history of convulsions.”

In the ensuing discussion, members also considered whether a family history of epilepsy or other diseases of the central nervous system should be regarded as a contraindication to whooping cough vaccination and:

“There was general agreement that including other diseases of the central nervous system was unnecessarily restrictive, and that this particular contra-indication should be deleted.”

Whether such contraindications were indeed “unnecessarily restrictive” and whether the need to rush an agreement on this issue was justified in the light of the data available at that time, remains questionable following the observations made by Professor Gilliatt at the subsequent meeting held on 3rd November 1981 (

(5.d. Comments on Professor Stewart’s letter)
“In both the Meade and Dudgeon studies there were examples of children who had a fit soon after vaccination which was followed by a fit at a later time and then followed by cessation of development. It was very difficult to assess this as a random event…The Chairman concluded that much was not known about the natural history of brain damage in the young.”

On 30th January 1986 at the Joint Working Party of the British Paediatric Association (BPA) and the JCVI Liaison group meeting (, concerns in whom whooping cough vaccination is not absolutely contraindicated but who require special consideration as to its advisability (item 4.8):

“Professor Gillliatt said that there had been a paper published recently in America, History of convulsions and the use of pertussis vaccine. Harrison C Stetler et al. Journal of Pediatrics 1985; vol 107; pages 175-179 which indicated that there was a quite high incidence of a family history of convulsions among the first degree relatives of children who had febrile convulsions. Members observed that changing this recommendation might decrease the number of children available for vaccination against whooping cough.”

By November 1986, the JCVI had a quite remarkable solution to deal with the “problem” of reduced uptake of the pertussis vaccine: the suggestion was to alter the advice on contraindication criteria.

According to the transcript of the 7th November 1986 JCVI meeting (section 3.5.2a;, the groups of children in whom the advisability of Whooping Cough vaccination required special consideration included:

i) Children with a documented history of cerebral damage in the neonatal period.
ii) Children with a personal history of convulsions.
iii) Children whose parents or siblings have a history of idiopathic epilepsy.
iv) Children with developmental delay thought to be due to a neurological defect.
v) Children with neurological disease.

It is further noted in the same transcript that:

“There was considerable discussion on 3.5.2(a)”

the details of which had not been given but:

“it was finally agreed that for (iii), it should be stressed that the risk was very slight and that (iv) and (v) should be combined under “children with neurological conditions which are stable” and “not a contraindication”, ie in 3.5.4.” [their emphasis added-underlined]

Based on no apparent scientific evidence the JCVI claimed that neurodevelopmental delays or neurological disorders were in fact stable conditions and as such, unlikely to be exacerbated by vaccinations. It would appear that the sole purpose of this potentially misleading claim was to reassure parents, who otherwise might have been deterred from vaccinating their child against pertussis, of the safety of pertussis vaccination. The same would apply to the JCVI statement regarding the alleged “very slight” risk of adverse reactions in children with family history of idiopathic epilepsy.

One has to wonder whether the notes of the “commercial in confidence” CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI meeting on 3rd October 1986, later obtained through FOI (which discussed among other “not be disclosed” items, suspected adverse reactions to DTP vaccines given alone or with O P V ; h t t p : / / w w w. d h . g o v. u k / e n / F r e e d o m O f I n f o r m a t i o n /
Freedomofinformationpublicationschemefeedback/FOIreleases/DH_4135306), would have had the same “reassuring” effect on parents had they been made publicly available at that time, or promoted with the same vigour as the vaccination campaigns:

“During the current period [13th May 1986 to the 11th September 1986] 95 suspected adverse reactions were reported. These included:

i)Death 151828. A 16 month old girl who two days after her first dose of DTP in mid-July 1985 was found to have a fever and a possible respiratory tract infection. Two days later she had a major fit and was admitted to hospital where further convulsions occurred.  Further fits occurred at the end of July 1985 and she died on the 1st of August probably from pneumococcal septicaemia. This patient had a family history of idiopathic epilepsy.“  This case has been reported to previous meetings of ARVI.

ii)There were 8 reports of convulsions following vaccination including 165236, a patient who was in status epilepticus within hours of receiving her third dose of triple vaccine.” (7.  Summary of Suspected Adverse Reactions to Vaccines, a.)

It should be noted that the adverse reactions from OPV alone were no less severe and in fact more easily specifically attributed to the polio vaccine:

“A six month old girl who developed recipient vaccine-associated poliomyelitis 30 days after receiving her first dose of oral polio vaccine.” (7. Summary of Suspected Adverse Reactions to Vaccines, c.)

At the same meeting, the CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI discussed the results of a National Childhood Encephalopathy Study (NCES) as these were the subject of court proceedings on pertussis vaccine-related injury that were ongoing at that time:

“The working party had established that the final number of cases in the NCES was 1,167. 39 cases had received triple vaccine in the week prior to the onset of their neurological illness (9 with infantile spasms, 18 with convulsions, and 12 with encephalopathies). These vaccine-associated cases included 5 patients (4 with convulsions and 1 with infantile spasms) who had a history of neurological events before immunisation which indicates possible prior abnormality.”

Again, one has to wonder whether these five patients also fitted in the JCVI’s criteria of “stable” neurological conditions. The apparently lenient attitude with regards to vaccine safety on behalf of the JCVI is perplexing, particularly in light of their admission which followed the brief discussion about the significance of the NCES findings the CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI:

“From the above there is reason to believe that the increased relative risk of prolonged convulsions after DTP was a real one.”

Is this supposed to be a reassuring statement for all those children with prior family history of epilepsy or those suffering from “stable” neurological disorders, who as a result of the JCVI’s decision to shrink the contraindication criteria, no longer had a choice to opt out from pertussis vaccination? In further “reassurance”, the following was noted in the transcript of the CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI meeting on 3rd October 1986 (

“Queries had been raised with regard to long-term sequelae after vaccine-associated encephalopathy…Among 12 children with encephalopathy there were 2 deaths, and 5 children with impairment of varying severity at 1 year. The relative risk for an acute vaccine-associated illness (convulsions or encephalopathy) was 3.3, and was similar irrespective of degree of impairment.”

Thus, according to the JCVI’s own admission, not only was the risk of DTP-associated neurological complications a real one, it also appeared to be a relatively high risk.

A somewhat lenient approach to contraindication criteria was also used with vaccines other than DTP in order to boost vaccination rates.

(12. BPA/JCVI Working Group)

“In the matter of alleged egg allergy and measles vaccine, it was noted that although it was possible to amend the advice contained in the Memorandum ‘Immunisation against Infectious Disease’, it was also desirable to encourage manufacturers to change the advice in their data sheets.” (Meeting on 25 April 1986;

In other words, the JCVI appeared to be rather unwilling to change their own advice in the Memorandum and instead suggested that manufacturers should be “encouraged” to do so.  The following Section (3) indicates that the JCVI elaborated a very simple solution for boosting vaccine uptake in face of impediments posed by contraindication criteria: restrict the contraindication criteria, rewrite information in the Memorandum and ask the pharmaceutical companies to change their data sheets as to “avoid confusion” and possible legal action.

3) On multiple occasions requested from vaccine manufacturers to make specific
amendments to their data sheets, when these were in conflict with the JCVI’s
official advice on immunisations.

That boosting vaccine uptake appeared to be the major force driving the JCVI’s decision process, can be inferred from their request to the manufacturer of the MMR vaccine Merieux to modify the data sheet information related to contraindication to adverse effects, at the 1st May 1987 meeting ( Apparently, it was not sufficient to amend existing information on immunisation in their Memorandum to Infectious Diseases, it was also necessary to make that information concordant with the advices stated on manufacturer’s data sheets:

(7.2 Report of the meeting of the Working Party held on 25 February 1987)
“It was also noted that the data sheet for the Merieux MMR vaccine contra-indicated the use of the vaccine in children with a past or family history of convulsions. Medicines Division would be asked to approach Merieux to ascertain whether they would be willing to adopt appropriate modification to this data sheet.”

At a later meeting on 23rd October 1987 (, the JCVI also pressed for a change in the pertussis vaccine licensing details from the manufacturers, in spite of a pertussis vaccine-suspected injury litigation that was ongoing at that time. The Chairman of the JCVI approached the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries to resolve this issue. The notes on this meeting state that:

“The meeting considered revised contra-indications to pertussis vaccine in parallel with those at present published; ARVI was aware of the potential difficulties in relaxing the contra-indications to pertussis vaccine and suggested that the papers be sent to the CSM and also to the manufacturers. The latter, in a written response, replied that it was not possible at present to change the product license details whilst litigation was in progress.”

The “potential difficulties” that ARVI was concerned about were related to the ongoing pertussis litigation (this becomes more evident from the notes of a confidential meeting on 6th July 1987 cited further below). Unable to get the manufacturers to comply with their request, the JCVI turned to the Solicitors Branch in the Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS), to seek advice over:

“…the difficulty of reconciling revised contra-indications to pertussis vaccine with advice issued by the manufacturers.”(18. Meeting of the Chairman of the JCVI and the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries; JCVI meeting 23rd October 1987;

The advice from the Solicitors was that:

…such a discrepancy was not a problem for the JCVI whose function was to give advice to medical profession in the light of the best available knowledge.”(19. Memorandum “Immunisation Against Infectious Disease; JCVI meeting 23rd October 1987;

Notably, the “difficulty of reconciling revised contra-indications to pertussis vaccine” had been previously discussed by the CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI, on 6th July 1987, in yet another meeting that was noted as “commercial” and “in confidence”.

According to this transcript which has been obtained through FOI (

“The Chairman reminded members that the proceedings, papers, and information before them were confidential and should not be disclosed.”

The same transcript also reveals the reason why the JCVI made great efforts to obtain the manufacturers’ compliance to their request to amend the data sheets on the pertussis vaccine and why, failing that, they sought help from the DHSS Solicitors. It was not necessarily because their policy was ethically and scientifically sound, but possibly because they were anxious about potential legal repercussions.

(Note that the names of the participants have been redacted from the transcript prior to its release under the FOI section at the JCVI website, so that the comments made are unattributable to particular members):

(6.4 JCVI’s revised contra-indications to pertussis vaccine)
“The Chairman stated that JCVI had produced more permissive guidance on contraindications to pertussis immunisation and that the revised contra-indications, shortly to appear in the next version of the Memorandum ‘Immunisation against Infectious Disease’ would not conform with the manufacturers data sheet. This might lead to confusion for general practitioners and other vaccinators and there might be legal problems. ________ commented that both the JCVI and the JCVI/BPA Working Party had tried to improve guidelines to give specific contra-indications but an attempt should be made to reconcile these with data sheets and product licenses. Delay in the new Memorandum might be worthwhile in order to obtain manufacturers agreement to changes in data sheets and also to give the BNF [British National Formulary] the opportunity to change its advice.  _________ agreed with _______ and welcomed the clearer advice from JCVI on pertussis contraindications which he endorsed.”

The discussion that followed seems to indicate that ARVI was indeed nervous about potential legal implications, as apparently, they tried to evade having any responsibility on this matter:

“________ commented there was no need for JCVI advice to change but there should be awareness of the implications of change. _________ suggested a meeting with the manufacturers to discuss the changes in an attempt to seek common ground. __________ commented that it was not ARVI’s responsibility to dismantle other groups instructions.  ________ noted that ARVI had responsibilities to both JCVI and CSM and asked that pertussis section of the revised Memorandum should be submitted to the CSM for endorsement and then to the Licensing Authority to discuss with manufacturers so that the data sheets and the Memorandum would be compatible. __________ suggested that advice should be followed and that members should submit their comments in writing to the Chairman.  _________ hoped that there could be informal discussion with the manufacturers of areas of agreement or debate and __________ noted that the new pertussis guidelines would be produced at a time of a continuing pertussis litigation._________ asked if there was likely to be a change in pertussis vaccine in the near future as this might promote difficulties if the contra-indications were also to change._______ agreed that the pertussis section should be sent to CSM….”

The following “commercial in confidence” CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI meeting held on 2nd October 1987 (
Freedomofinformationpublicationschemefeedback/FOIreleases/DH_4135306), reveals how the CSM dealt with the burden of responsibility over the revised pertussis contraindications issue:

(6.4 JCVI’s Revised Contra-indications to Pertussis Vaccine)
“_________reported that the discrepancy between JCVI recommendations and manufacturers product licenses had been discussed at CSM who had upheld JCVI’s right to issue advice to the profession.”

“_________reported that a meeting was shortly to be held with the Pharmaceutical Industry to find common ground on issues such as this. _________stated that DHSS Solicitors views of this discrepancy had been sought and had been advised that there was no obligation on JCVI’s views to conform with the manufacturers product licenses when those views represented the advice of expert medical opinion.”

We see here that unlike the manufacturers, the CSM had endorsed the proposed revisions of contraindications to pertussis vaccine and their view was held by the DHSS Solicitors as superior to that of the vaccine Licensing Authority. This indeed is the case, since in the UK licensing process when applying for a licence, the pharmaceutical company will first submit a file to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the CSM within the MHRA will then review the application and produce an independent assessment. Following that, the CSM will issue a recommendation to the Licensing Authority that a licence is granted (

The CSM’s competence as a body of medical experts and the reliability of their advice can be assessed from the notes of the preceding “commercial in confidence” CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI meeting, held on 6th July 1987 (

(6.1 Whooping cough)
“In conjunction with Tabled Paper 1 and an unnumbered agenda paper the Secretary summarised the present position regarding the Loveday litigation for the benefit of new members. He explained that in February the CSM had called for ARVI’s advice about updating the statement made in the 1981 report on Whooping Cough (HMSO) about a possible link between DTP immunisation and serious neurological illness. It had been hoped that by this means ‘discovery’ of all the relevant JCVI, CSM and ARVI documentation on whooping cough vaccine could be avoided. However, by the time ___________ could report a revised statement to CSM (see minutes of February 1987 meeting) it was already clear that nothing could be done to avoid ‘discovery’.  Subsequently, the Chairman of CSM asked ARVI to keep a watching brief on the situation, and to let the Main Committee know if at any time it was thought possible to modify further the statement.”

The contents of the controversial statement that the CSM appeared to be eager to modify, in order to avoid potential legal consequences, have been disclosed to the JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI members on “commercial in confidence” meeting on 6th February 1987 obtained through FOI (

The notes of that meeting in the section “7.1 Whooping cough vaccine –CSM advice” read:

“No scientifically unassailable link has been established between DTP immunisation and serious neurological illness but we have come to conclusion, on the basis of all present evidence, that there is a prima facie case that such a link may exist. We would also agree that the evidence suggests that the vaccine causes convulsions in some children.”

Thus, the “best available knowledge” on which the CSM “upheld the JCVI’s right to issue advice to the profession on restricting contraindication to pertussis vaccination can be summarized as follows:

Both the CSM and the JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI seemed to have been fully aware of the fact that the pertussis vaccine could cause convulsions and adverse serious neurological outcomes in a sub-set of children. Apparently, the CSM and the JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI have then attempted to avoid “‘discovery’ of all the relevant JCVI, CSM and ARVI documentation”. Does this suggest that the top UK authorities responsible for sound vaccination policies were not as much concerned about putting certain children at risk of serious vaccine-induced neurological harm, as they were of legal repercussions that might have followed in the event that any of the “relevant” documents were to reach the public?

Finally, rather than being in line with public health interests, those responsible for the safety of medicines and sound vaccination practices appeared to have been more aligned with the interests of vaccine manufacturers. This is implied by the following discussion from the transcript of the “commercial in confidence” CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI meeting held on 6th June 1986 (
Freedomofinformationpublicationschemefeedback/FOIreleases/DH_4135306), at which members of the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) were also present. In discussing the significance of the NCES report on pertussis vaccine injury it was noted:

(6. Litigation and pertussis vaccination)
“6.1_______ referred to the June issue of the American Journal of Diseases of Childhood.  He said that between 18 and 22 million doses of DPT were manufactured annually in the United States prior to the difficulties concerning whooping cough vaccine and litigation… Since 1985, the price of the vaccine has risen from 40 cents per dose to $ [unreadable] per dose in 1986 and it is expected to rise to $11 per dose. Litigation claims per year have risen from virtually nil in 1978/79 to over 219 in 1985, claiming [unreadable] billion US dollars, and litigation suits follow a similar pattern. The total amount claimed has likewise increased greatly.”

“6.2_______said that out of court settlements had not been included in these figures. It
was difficult to protect manufacturers against such heavy compensation claims. The situation had been aggravated by an organisation called ‘Dissatisfied Parents Together’. The Hawkins Congressional Commission suggested that claimants might go into a system with a Panel and if accepted would be given an award of $1 million or alternatively accept court settlement. There was also a Bill before the American Government which suggested that punitive damage be done away with and that damages for pain and suffering only be awarded.”

Over the subsequent years the trend of restricting contraindications criteria by the JCVI in order to increase vaccination rates continued. On 20th October 1988 (http://

(6.2 Health Education Authority (HEA) publications on MMR)
“Members pointed out that the Data Sheet for MMR vaccine suggested that it should not be given before the age of 15 months and also that the vaccine should be given subcutaneously (and not by deep subcutaneous or intramuscular injection as suggested in the Memorandum). The difficulties of changing the Data Sheets to agree with the advice in the Memorandum “Immunisation Against Infectious Disease” were discussed.”

What also continued is the JCVI’s confidential meetings with vaccine manufacturers, which appeared to be focused on vaccine policy and business rather than child health and safety.  In reference to the meeting of the Chairman of the JCVI and the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries, the transcript of the JCVI meeting on 23rd October 1987 (http:// states:

“Also discussed was the availability of scarce vaccines and the introduction of new vaccines into more regular use. The question of financial support for training members of the health service in immunisation was also discussed.” (18. Meeting of the Chairman of the JCVI and the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries)

It ought to be asked why the Chairman of the JCVI deemed as appropriate for members of health services to be financially supported by the vaccine manufacturers.

On further relations between the JCVI and vaccine manufacturers, the transcript of the JCVI meeting on 4th May 1990 ( reveals that:

(2. iv.)
“The Chairman said that Departmental officials had recently met vaccine manufacturers who were keen to be informed, in confidence, of the outcome of JCVI discussions which might affect their own plans. Agreement was sought from the committee on the appropriateness of a summary of such discussions, cleared by the Chairman, being provided to manufacturers. The Committee agreed to this. In connection with this Professor Hull brought to the Committee’s attention a recent letter he had received from a GP, the contents of which indicated, and the Chairman and committee agreed, a continuing communication problem on the relationship between JCVI advice and manufacturer’s data sheets. Dr Salisbury said he was aware of this particular correspondence.”

Incidentally, this is the same Professor Hull who, 8 years later, on 6th July 1998, was prompted to write to Professor Zuckerman at the Royal Free Hospital in London, to express his concern about the work of Dr Andrew Wakefield, who investigated the histories of 12 children with regressive autism and gastrointestinal symptoms that appeared to be linked to the MMR vaccine (

In summary, by making persistent efforts in restricting vaccination contraindication criteria, so that more children could be vaccinated, the JCVI appeared to have prioritized vaccination policy over vaccine safety. In doing so, both the JCVI and the CSM (which actively supported the JCVI’s amendments) may have shown a disregard for the safety of children. Furthermore, together with ARVI and the CSM, the JCVI attempted to avoid “’discovery’ of all the relevant documentation” and thus perhaps evade potential legal repercussions. By seemingly siding with vaccine manufacturers rather than public health interests, the CSM/JCVI appear to have signally failed their fiduciary duty to protect individuals from vaccines of questionable safety and thus possibly shown incompetence in their role in the public health service.

4) Persistently relied on methodologically dubious studies, while dismissing
independent research, to promote vaccine policies.

Over the years, the JCVI has consistently promoted the MMR vaccine as safe, based on studies that have proven to be either irrelevant, inconclusive, or methodologically questionable. There was also a marked tendency by the JCVI to rely on epidemiological work to support the MMR policy. For example, in a discussion of a population-based study by Fombonne and Chakrabarti [5], which found no link between the MMR vaccine and autism, at the JCVI meeting on 2nd November 2001 (

“The Committee agreed that this data from Dr Fombonne was persuasive and indicated that the frequency of regressive autism appeared not to have increased.”

The problem with epidemiological studies is that they only test for “association” and not
“causation”, thus providing unreliable estimates of true risks. Regarding the alleged safety of the MMR vaccine, the most comprehensive independent evaluation done on this subject, by the Cochrane Review (October 2005,, is hardly reassuring.

Although the Cochrane Review found no significant evidence of an involvement of the MMR with either autism or Crohn’s disease, none of the 31 studies included in the review met the Cochrane Collaboration’s methodological criteria.

In fact, one of the major conclusions from the Cochrane’s 2005 MMR review was:

“The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMvaccine studies, both pre- and postmarketing, are largely inadequate.”

More specifically, referring to the 2001 Fombonne and Chakrabarti study which the JCVI regarded as “persuasive” in disproving the link between the MMR vaccine and autism, the Cochrane review made the following remark:

“The number and possible impact of biases in this study was so high that interpretation of the results is impossible.”

While historically, the JCVI tended to be quick in accepting those studies which dismissed safety concerns over the MMR or other vaccines, it was inert in accepting those which indicated that concerns were warranted. At the JCVI meeting on 1st November 2002 (, the members discussed recent scientific research on the MMR where:

particular the link with inflammatory bowel disease and autism. The following papers had undergone review by experts:
1. “Neuro-immunopathogenesis in Autism” V Singh. New Foundation of Biology 2001, 447-458.
2. Abnormal measles-mumps-rubella antibodies and CNS auto-immunity in children with autism. V Singh et al. Biomedical Science 2002; 9; 359-364
3. Small intestinal enteropathy with epithelial IgG and complement deposition in children with regressive autism. Torrente et al. Molecular Psychiatry 2002; 7(4);375-382
4. Development of an “allelic discrimination” type assay to differentiate between the strain origin of measles virus detected in intestinal tissue of children with ileocolonic lymphonodular hyperplasia and concomitant development disorder. O Sheils et al. Abstract presented at the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland in July 2002.
5. Review article: the concept of entero-colonic encephalopathy, autism and opioid receptor ligand. A Wakefield et al. Alimentary Pharmacology and Theraputics 2002; 16:663-674.” (10.2 Recent scientific research)

The conclusions were:

“that this new evidence did not alter the CSM view: there was no evidence to support a causal link between MMR vaccine and autism and bowel disease. JCVI found the papers helpful and expressed its strong support for the conclusion reached by the CSM.”

As it will be evident from Section 8), the JCVI attitude towards vaccine safety, particularly the MMR, has not changed and to this day, the Committee still regards it as safe. On the other hand, independent research is accumulating to suggest otherwise. Only a year after the 1st November 2002 JCVI meeting, Singh and Jensen found more evidence to support an aetiological role of the measles virus component of the MMR vaccine in autism [6]. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, Singh and Jensen found that children with autism, unlike their siblings or normal children, had significantly elevated levels of measles antibodies in their sera. Antibodies against rubella and mumps did not significantly differ between these groups of children, however, immunoblotting screen against measles vaccine virus (source Merck&Co) showed that 43 out of 52 (83%) autistic children, but none of the 30 normal children or 15 siblings of autistic children, had antibodies against the measles vaccine virus. Since none of the children in Singh and Jensen study had any prior history of measles rash or wild type measles infection, but they all have had their immunisation with the MMR, the authors concluded [6]:

“This vaccine in a small population of genetically predisposed children may perhaps manifest an atypical measles infection that does not yield a clinical rash but produces neurologic symptoms similar to those seen in children with autism.”


“Although more research is necessary to uncover the etiology of autism, the hyperimmune response to measles virus might indicate virus reactivation that triggers a misguided humoral immune response in children with the disorder.”

Finally, far from being “discredited” and “flawed” as suggested in latest editorials published in the BMJ [7], the “Wakefield’s hypothesis”, which indicates that there is “a pattern of colitis and ileallymphoidnodular hyperplasia in children with developmental disorders” [3], is now supported by more independent research [8-12]. Notably, several respectable publications suggest that the principal findings of the Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet study should not be discarded nor ignored. For example:

Quigley and Hurley [13]:

“Wakefield et al. are to be congratulated on opening yet another window onto the everbroadening spectrum of gut/brain interactions. Their findings raise many challenging questions that should provoke further much-needed research in this area, research that may provide true grounds for optimism for affected patients and their families.”

Most recently, at the meeting on 2nd February 2011 (, the JCVI dismissed the relevance of a paper by world-renowned autoimmunologists Professor Yehuda Shoenfeld and Nancy Agmon-Levin [14], which raised serious concerns about the role of vaccine adjuvants in vaccine-related autoimmune conditions.

(XII. Papers for information and any other business, 61.)
“The committee discussed a review paper by Shoenfeld and Agmon-Levin (2010) 3 on autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants, in particular on the role of adjuvants in the pathogenesis of four conditions: siliconosis, the Gulf war syndrome (GWS), the macrophagic myofasciitis syndrome (MMF) and post-vaccination phenomena. The committee considered that the paper did not provide convincing data on the role of adjuvants in these four ‘enigmatic’ medical conditions and that the review did not raise safety concerns about the use of adjuvants.”

5) Persistently and categorically downplayed safety concerns while overinflating
vaccine benefits.
The sharp increase in litigation claims over pertussis vaccine injury between 1978/79-1985, presented an additional challenge for the CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI, as increased efforts were now needed to reassure the public in the safety of the pertussis vaccine.

In the transcript of the “commercial in confidence” CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI meeting held on 7th February 1986 (
Freedomofinformationpublicationschemefeedback/FOIreleases/DH_4135306), ARVI made the following comments on a confidential paper:

(Item 5.1 ARVI’s comments on ________ paper “Whooping cough disease, vaccination, vaccine damage”) “________ deprecated the use of the term ‘brain damage’ which the public might consider as a permanent entity. The public may not also understand the significance of febrile convulsions.”

Are we to assume that ARVI had not been aware of a certain controversial statement made by the CSM in the 1981 in a report on Whooping Cough about a possible link between DTP immunisation and serious neurological illness?:

“No scientifically unassailable link has been established between DTP immunisation and serious neurological illness but we have come to conclusion, on the basis of all present evidence, that there is a prima facie case that such a link may exist.” (JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI “commercial in confidence” meeting on 6th February 1987, section “7.1 Whooping cough vaccine –CSM advice”;

Perhaps the reason why ARVI “deprecated the use of brain damage” is because of their firm belief that vaccines could not be associated with such events. Apparently, the possibility that vaccination could cause permanent brain damage must have been considered as an outrageous assertion, so much so that it did not even deserve scientific scrutiny. In fact, following a discussion on a proposal for the surveillance of severe neurological disorders in infancy and their relationship to pertussis vaccine on 7th February 1986 (
Freedomofinformationpublicationschemefeedback/FOIreleases/DH_4135306), CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI jointly concluded that:

“It was considered unreasonable to ask paediatricians to report for a period of six years.”

Under the same agenda, the CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI also decided that:

“No attempt would be made to study serious neurological disease arising from pertussis and other infectious diseases.”

Obviously without such a standard, it would have been quite impossible to assess whether
vaccination against pertussis caused more severe brain damage than natural pertussis infection. If concerns about pertussis vaccination were indeed unsupported and only a product of an inexpert “perception of the public” as ARVI’s statements would led us to believe, then surely such a study would have just reinforced the notion that vaccines are safe. However, it appears that according to the CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI’s problem-solving rationale, instead of encouraging further research, it seemed more acceptable to downplay safety concerns over possible vaccine-injury, which then justified their decision to take no further investigation into the matter. Unwillingness to carry out this specific research is perplexing indeed, in light of what was noted at the 3rd November 1981 meeting ( in section 5 on Whooping Cough:

(5.d. Comments on Professor Stewart’s letter)
“Professor Gilliatt observed that in the Meade Panel Study one-third of children with brain damage were not admitted to hospital. In both the Meade and Dudgeon studies there were examples of children who had a fit soon after vaccination which was followed by a fit at a later time and then followed by cessation of development. It was very difficult to assess this as a random event…The Chairman concluded that much was not known about the natural history of brain damage in the young.”

Are we meant to believe that “cessation of development” following episodes of vaccine-associated fits does not fit into the category of “permanent entity” and/or “brain damage”?

As for the public’s alleged misunderstanding on the significance of febrile convulsions, the transcript notes of the “commercial in confidence” CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI meeting held on 6th June 1986 (
Freedomofinformationpublicationschemefeedback/FOIreleases/DH_4135306) are particularly enlightening:

In discussing the significance of the NCES report on pertussis vaccine injury:
(5.2 Encephalopathy)

“The report used the NCES estimation of relative risk of 3:1, it was estimated that one third of such cases have permanent handicap one year from their onset (as derived from the NCES).”

(5.3 Complex Febrile Convulsions)
“These were defined as being of more than 10 minutes in duration, or repetitive over 24 hours…Vaccine could cause such seizures and it was believed that 10 per cent of such
complex seizures could result in permanent handicap…”

Perhaps the public would have been better acquainted with the significance of febrile convulsions and the fact that pertussis vaccine could cause them, had not:

“The Chairman reminded members that the proceedings, papers and information before them [were] confidential and should not be disclosed.”

Paradoxically, at the prior meeting on 7th February 1986 (
DH_4135306), at which ARVI stated it “deprecated the use of the term brain damage”, the CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI acknowledged:

“that the NCES may have missed cases of severe neurological disease which progressed to handicap among children who were not admitted to hospital.”

Going back to the meeting that followed, on 6th June 1986 (

“In the general discussion which followed, some members of the Committee felt that the report [referring to the American Medical Association (AMA) panel report on Pertussis Vaccine Injury, published in JAMA 1985; vol 254, pages 3083-3084] not only accepted the fact that vaccine damage was a real phenomenon but implied (by the way it was written) that it was commoner than was believed to be the case in the UK.”

Notably, according to the notes of the “commercial in confidence” CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI meeting on 3rd October 1986 (
FreedomOfInformation/Freedomofinformationpublicationschemefeedback/FOIreleases/DH_4135306), the AMA panel report had been prepared:

“…with the particular intention of providing information for legislators as to what type of vaccine-associated event might require compensation, if Federal compensation for presumed vaccine injury were to be introduced.”

Perhaps it is because of this that the CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI:

“…agreed that the document contained a number of assertions which could not be accepted.”

One has to wonder whether such assertions unacceptable to the CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI include:

“…the fact that vaccine damage was real a phenomenon” and “commoner than was believed to be the case in the UK.” (CSM/JCVI/Joint Sub-Committee ARVI meeting on 6th
June 1986; item 5.7;

Other than perceiving health hazards associated with certain vaccines as a danger to overall routine immunisations, the JCVI felt that certain health professionals were also negatively affecting the vaccination policy by exercising more caution with regards to contraindication criteria than the JCVI deemed appropriate (for a remainder of the JCVI’s position with regards to contraindication criteria refer back to Sections 2) and 3)). In a Summary Report on an investigation of failure to reach a measles immunisation uptake in the Maidstone Health Authority, at the Joint Working Party of the BPA and the JCVI Liaison group meeting on 30th September 1986 (FOI release, 86/3rd meeting; http://w w w . d h . g o v . u k / e n / F r e e d o m O f I n f o r m a t i o n /
Freedomofinformationpublicationschemefeedback/FOIreleases/DH_4140335), the member whose name was erased from the transcript commented that:

“…the paper described a position which was still bedevilled by false contra-indications to measles vaccination.”


“________ commented that often parents wanted the vaccine given but were dissuaded by health service staff. ________ stressed the need for training of health professionals and the Chairman considered that the ‘responsible person’ in each district (quoted in previous circulars) should organise such a training.” (7. Measles vaccination: Summary Report on an investigation of failure to reach a measles immunisation uptake in the Maidstone Health Authority)

In a later meeting (JCVI 7th November 1986;

(9. BPA/JCVI Working Group)
“Members agreed that the most disturbing feature was that a minority of health professionals could exert a disproportionally bad effect on a campaign.”

What the JCVI’s perception of a “responsible person” might be, is perhaps best understood in the light of their bewildering leniency towards vaccine safety and a seeming tendency to align with the manufacturers’ interests more than those of public health.

By 18th November, the JCVI had an elaborate strategy to improve measles vaccine uptake (as documented in the transcript of the JCVI meeting on 1st May 1987;, which included:
(discussion about a PHLS meeting on 18th November on the uptake of measles vaccine)

“GP clinics where immunisations were given should be more attractive and use every opportunity of attendance at clinics to offer immunisation; this is especially important for deprived families.”

It was also recommended that:

“Regional and District Health Authorities (DHAs) should be accountable for their vaccination performance.”


“All the members agreed that accountability with regard to immunisation was most important. The Chairman is summing up said that immunisation was a most important NHS Policy and that recommendation before them, after editing, should be put to the NHS Management Board and then promulgated to the NHS with a separate copy to the nominated persons in the districts.”

That “immunisation was a most important NHS Policy” is also implied in a discussion on whooping cough at the JCVI meeting on 3rd November 1981 (

The Government Shutdown of October 2013

Capital Building taken in April 2013.

Capital Building taken in April 2013.

Have you seen this Page blame one side more than the other for the insanity in DC this month? It was a carefully orchestrated event–to make Obamacare no longer opposable, to frighten those who are dependent on the government, to create donor lists for various politicians, to make lots of money on Wall Street for those betting that it wouldn’t default this time.

It has also heightened the divisions in this country, making it easier to control the population at large.

The Left was coming to many of the same conclusions that the Libertarians had arrived at a few years ago–this has renewed the revulsion that the Left has for Tea Party types. So that process of uniting against Fascism has been delayed.

The Left is circulating a petition to have signers of “blueprint to defunding Obamacare” charged with sedition under The Sedition Act of 1798.  From the petition:

Seditious Conspiracy as it pertains to the current shutdown of the United States federal government is defined in  18 USC § 2384 of the Criminal Code as:

“[T]wo or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspir[ing] to . . . by force . . . prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.”

The Code further defines the punishment:

“[T]hey shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

The Petition goes on to name all the public signers of the Blueprint as conspirators.  I agree–under the Law, this was and is sedition.  But so have been a lot of activities by both the Left and the Right over the years.

So what does this Blueprint have to say that is so Seditious?  (This posting documenting the Blueprint is dated February 14, 2013.  )


  • Conservatives cannot support a CR that is above the sequester level of $974 billion annually.  While many conservatives would prefer reprogramming defense cuts to other areas of discretionary spending (dollar for dollar cuts in the same year), the current sequester savings are better than none at all.
  • Conservatives should not approve a CR unless it defunds Obamacare.  This includes Obamacare’s unworkable exchanges, unsustainable Medicaid expansion, and attack on life and religious liberty.

A mere “date-change CR” is unacceptable.  Although the Obama administration and others will argue the CR is not the appropriate legislative vehicle to defund Obamacare, it is easily done through a series of appropriation riders.  Because the CR represents one of the best vehicles possible to delay the implementation of Obamacare, it must not be used to bargain on the upcoming sequester.

So, they are saying that Continuing Resolutions to keep government running cannot be funded above the Sequestration levels.  So why haven’t they agreed on a Budget during the time Mr. Obama has been President?  That would have resolved the issues of Continuing Resolutions, and given the Nation some sort of confidence that it’s leaders actually know what they’re doing.  Because the Republicans decided right from his initial inauguration that they were going to make his a failed Presidency.  They even announced it after they rewon the majority in the House.  And for those who think there hasn’t been a National Budget, they are available at the website of the Government Printing Office.

During the government shutdown, Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics testified before Joint Economic Committee.  He had some reasonable advice for Congress.

The impasse in Washington over funding the federal government and increasing theTreasury debt ceiling is significantly damaging the economy. Stock prices are grinding lower and consumer confidence is weakening. The economic harm will mount significantly each day the government remains shut and the debt ceiling is not raised. If policymakers are unable to reach agreement on these issues by the end of October, the economy will face another severe recession.
To resolve the budget impasse, policymakers should not add to the significant fiscal austerity already in place, which is set to last through mid-decade. Tax increases and government spending cuts over the past three years have put a substantial drag on economic growth. In 2013,this fiscal drag is as large as it has been since the defense drawdown after World War II.
Moreover, because of fiscal austerity and the economic recovery, the federal government’s fiscal situation has improved markedly. The budget deficit in just-ended fiscal 2013 was less than half its size at the recession’s deepest point in 2009. Under current law and using reasonable economic assumptions, the deficit will continue to narrow through mid-decade, causing the debt-to-GDP ratio to stabilize.
As part of any budget deal, lawmakers should reverse the sequester. The second year of budget sequestration will likely have greater consequences than the first, affecting many government programs in ways that nearly all agree are not desirable. A sizable share of the sequestration cuts to date has involved one-off adjustments, but future cuts will have to come from lasting reductions in operational budgets.
It would of course also be desirable for lawmakers to address the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges. Although the fiscal situation should be stable through the end of this decade, the long-term outlook remains disconcerting. If Congress does not make significant changes to the entitlement programs and tax code, rising healthcare costs and an aging population will swamp the budget in the 2020s and 2030s. Both cuts in government spending and increases in tax revenues will be necessary to reasonably solve these long-term fiscal problems.

Were the Democrats entirely innocent in this shutdown?

FULL Press Conference ▶ President Obama news Press conference statement on Government Shutdown: Day 8 10/8/2013

And I’ve continued to believe that Citizens United contributed to some of the problems we’re having in Washington right now. You know, you have some ideological extremist who has a big bankroll, and they can entirely skew our politics.

And there are a whole bunch of members of Congress right now who privately will tell you, I know our positions are unreasonable, but we’re scared that if we don’t go along with the tea party agenda, or the — some particularly extremist agenda, that we’ll be challenged from the right. And the threats are very explicit. And so they toe the line. And that’s part of why we’ve seen a breakdown of just normal routine business done here in Washington on behalf of the American people.

So perhaps, the government shutdown is the fault of those who signed the Blueprint.  And continue to harass GOP Congressmen into going along with their agenda.  But why is this such a big deal to the GOP that they are willing to shutdown the government and risk their re-election prospects?

This is not in dispute. What is being disputed is whether the punishments to the losers in the market system should include, in addition to these other things, a denial of access to non-emergency medical treatment. The Republican position is that it should. They may not want a woman to have to suffer an untreated broken ankle for lack of affordable treatment. Likewise, I don’t want people to be denied nice televisions or other luxuries. I just don’t think high-definition television or nice clothing are goods that society owes to one and all. That is how Republicans think about health care.

This is why it’s vital to bring yourself face-to-face with the implications of mass uninsurance — not as emotional manipulation, but to force you to decide what forms of material deprivation ought to be morally acceptable. This question has become, at least at the moment, the primary philosophical divide between the parties. Democrats will confine the unfortunate to many forms of deprivation, but not deprivation of basic medical care. Republicans will. The GOP is the only mainstream political party in the advanced world to hold this stance.

The maddening thing is that Republicans refuse to advocate the position openly. The more ideologically stringent ones couch their belief in euphemisms, like describing health care as a matter of “personal responsibility.” But even such glancing defenses are too straightforward for most Republican leaders. Instead they simply rail against the specifics of Obamacare and promise to “replace” it, without committing themselves to an alternative path to universal coverage.

This is the legacy of Ayn Rand.  Personal responsibility equated with the hatred of those “takers” who also have human needs.  The same idea that previous nations have held towards “useless eaters”.  It has infested the GOP and Libertarian Parties to the point that they experience cognitive dissonance when confronted with the very real human impacts of their policies.

The Democrats also need to understand that the common man identifies with the concept of “personal responsibility” because the combined effects of higher taxes, underemployment, and the Fed’s constant expansion of the money supply is that there is less and less real value for the money that man/woman and his/her own family is left to survive on.

We have reached a point in the USA where the Corporations and their ultimate owners actually de facto own our government.  Until the Corporations are reigned in and forced to pay their fair share and hire American workers at living wages, the common man/woman will continue to be impoverished.  Neither Party is addressing this–both have their hands out to get what they can from the Corporations.

Mr. Obama admitted this–that the people behind the Tea Party were making threats.  He also admitted that the Democrats are not innocent of this as well.  He did not come right out and name the Koch brothers–but the petition at the beginning of this article did.  The Koch brothers were the driving force behind Citizen’s United–the SCOTUS decision that has increased corruption to dizzying heights.

This information from The Center for Responsive Politics should shed some light on part of the issue:

Insurance: Top Contributors, 2013-2014

Contributor Amount
New York Life Insurance   $637,729
AFLAC Inc   $497,850
Indep Insurance Agents & Brokers/America   $422,000
National Assn of Insurance & Financial Advisors   $419,400
USAA   $350,106
Metlife Inc   $276,700
Liberty Mutual   $259,789
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance   $259,150
Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers   $249,667
National Assn of Health Underwriters   $205,850
Blue Cross/Blue Shield   $205,501
American Council Of Life Insurers   $188,000
Travelers Companies   $182,000
National Assn/Mutual Insurance Companies   $150,500
Property Casualty Insurers Assn/America   $147,600
Cigna Corp   $133,790
Unum Group   $132,450
Nationwide   $128,550
Loews Corp   $124,200
Allstate Insurance   $119,200

Contributions to Democrats  Republicans  Outside Spending Groups

Insurance: Top Recipients


Top 20 Recipients

1 Hensarling, Jeb (R-TX) House $99,750
2 McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) Senate $99,500
3 Camp, Dave (R-MI) House $96,800
4 Cornyn, John (R-TX) Senate $89,800
5 Scott, Tim (R-SC) Senate $89,200
6 Boehner, John (R-OH) House $87,130
7 Tiberi, Patrick J (R-OH) House $83,200
8 Baucus, Max (D-MT) Senate $82,500
9 Kingston, Jack (R-GA) House $82,350
10 Booker, Cory (D-NJ) $79,650
11 Cantor, Eric (R-VA) House $78,000
12 McCarthy, Kevin (R-CA) House $75,500
13 Hagan, Kay R (D-NC) Senate $74,800
14 Royce, Ed (R-CA) House $69,250
15 Schock, Aaron (R-IL) House $67,450
16 Toomey, Pat (R-PA) Senate $67,250
17 Peters, Gary (D-MI) House $65,700
18 Roskam, Peter (R-IL) House $65,500
19 Warner, Mark (D-VA) Senate $64,450
20 Paulsen, Erik (R-MN) House $64,100

We are talking a lot of money to mostly GOP leaders. Is this a coincidence? Hardly. Until we the People do something about bribery and corruption in Washington, DC–this will be business as usual.

Who Is A Journalist?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment to the US Constitution, ratified 12/15/1791.

The Press is the only occupation protected in the US Constitution.  The freedom to gather information and publish it to the people is that important to the operation of a Republic.  But this country has seen outrageous efforts to control, prosecute, even assassinate journalists.  And it’s getting a lot worse very quickly.

In a major ruling on press freedoms, a divided federal appeals court on Friday ruled that James Risen, an author and a reporter for The New York Times, must testify in the criminal trial of a former Central Intelligence Agency official charged with providing him with classified information.

In a 118-page set of opinions, two members of a three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., ruled that the First Amendment does not protect reporters who receive unauthorized leaks from being forced to testify against the people suspected of leaking to them. A district court judge who had ruled in Mr. Risen’s case had said that it did.

“Clearly, Risen’s direct, firsthand account of the criminal conduct indicted by the grand jury cannot be obtained by alternative means, as Risen is without dispute the only witness who can offer this critical testimony,” wrote Chief Judge William Byrd Traxler Jr., who was joined by Judge Albert Diaz in Friday’s ruling.

Mr. Risen has vowed to go to prison rather than testify about his sources and to carry any appeal as far as the Supreme Court.

In my youth, reporters regularly refused to even name their sources, much less testify against them.  This is a new demand from government.  But not inconsistent with other things the government is doing:

The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.

The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.

In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown, but more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.

The surveillance powers that the government has appropriated since 9/11 have been extended to spying on the Press.  This has become known to us through the actions of whistleblowers, who are themselves under attack.  The surveillance of the Press is so bad that there was a letter sent to Mr. Eric Holder:

On Friday, Free Press and more than 60 civil liberties, digital rights, press freedom and public interest groups sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding a full, transparent account of the Justice Department’s targeting of journalists and whistleblowers.

Representing millions of Americans, the groups include the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Library Association, the Communications Workers of America, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Sunlight Foundation and the Writers Guild of America East. (The full list of signers can be found below.) In addition, Free Press delivered more than 16,000 petition signatures urging the Justice Department to protect press freedom.

Read the full text of the letter and the list of signers below:

May 24, 2013

Attorney General Eric Holder
Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole

U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Sirs:

More than 50 journalism and press organizations recently wrote you to voice grave concerns about the Justice Department’s subpoena of telephone records belonging to Associated Press reporters and editors. We write today as a coalition of civil rights, public interest, transparency and media reform groups to express similar concerns.

Your actions have threatened press freedom — and endangered the health of our democracy. As groups working to strengthen democratic institutions and foster more open government, we are deeply concerned that your agency’s actions will hinder efforts to make government more transparent and accountable to the public.

Following years of aggressive leak investigations, the Justice Department’s overreaching subpoena of AP phone records sets a dangerous precedent. Furthermore, it appears to violate the Department’s own rules and guidelines. The impact of the Justice Department’s actions is already being felt. AP CEO Gary Pruitt reports that sources are now less willing to talk to reporters. And journalists from newsrooms large and small have noted the chilling effects on their coverage of the government.

The latest news suggests that the subpoenas were even broader than initially reported. In addition, details are emerging about a case in which the Justice Department also seized phone records from reporters at Fox News and labeled one of its journalists a “co-conspirator” for simply doing his job.

These troubling developments raise real questions about the scope of the Department’s surveillance of journalists. At a recent congressional hearing, Mr. Holder, you couldn’t recall how many times the Justice Department has subpoenaed journalists’ records. We need to know the full extent of your Department’s crackdown against journalists.

In the digital age, reporting is no longer confined to America’s traditional newsrooms. As such, threats to press freedom threaten anyone who seeks to share information about official actions using a cellphone, social media service or website. The Obama administration promised a new era of openness and transparency. Your actions, which expand secrecy and intimidate those trying to shed more light on our government, run counter to that promise.

We demand a full accounting of the Justice Department’s targeting of journalists and whistleblowers. We need this information so that we can advocate for appropriate action to protect everyone’s constitutional rights and push for stronger legal standards to protect all types of information gathering and sharing.

The Justice Department must explain its overreach in this matter. Furthermore, we call on the Department to stop violating its existing rules and cease targeting of individuals and organizations reporting on government activity.


What has been the response of Congress to this obvious disregard of the Constitution?

  1. Senate Bill S.987, Free Flow of Information Act of 2013.  Currently stalled in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, where it is opposed by Diane Feinstein of California.
  2. House Resolution HR1962, Free Flow of Information Act of 2013.  Also Referred to Committee, pending what the Senate Judiciary Committee does with theirs.

The bill defines a journalist as a person who has a “primary intent to investigate events and procure material” in order to inform the public by regularly gathering information through interviews and observations. The person also must intend to report on the news at the start of obtaining any protected information and must plan to publish that news.

That definition would include people like me, for instance.

And Ms. Feinstein has offered an amendment to S.987 that would seem aimed at excluding bloggers, self publishers, in fact anyone not working for Corporately owned Main Stream Media.  This is what Electronic Frontier Foundation said about her amendment:

Feinstein’s amendment effectively advances a traditional vision of journalism through the three definitions of journalist that it provides, each of which requires that a person be affiliated with a journalistic “entity” or institution (including news websites and other digital news services, and other periodicals distributed digitally).

Specifically, the amendment requires that a journalist meet one of the following definitions:

  1. working as a “salaried employee, independent contractor, or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information;”
  2. either (a) meeting the prior definition “for any continuous three-month period within the two years prior to the relevant date” or (b) having “substantially contributed, as an author, editor, photographer, or producer, to a significantnumber of articles, stories, programs, or publications by an entity . . . within two years prior to the relevant date;” or
  3. working as a student journalist “participating in a journalistic publication at an institution of higher education.” (emphases added)1

There are problems with each of these three definitions. First, as we pointed out in our critique of the House’s bill, requiring that an individual is “salaried” is problematic because many people do journalism but do not do it as their primary source of income. Further, it is entirely unclear who or what an “agent” or “entity” is.

Second, for an individual to fall under the second, seemingly looser criteria, that individual must have distributed the news “by means of an entity.” (emphasis added)2 While this definition may cover freelancers, it is again unclear what it means to have “substantially contributed” to a “significant” amount of work of an “entity.” Indeed, for both the first and second definitions, essential terms are not defined—vagueness that, as we’ll see later, ultimately hurts independent bloggers and citizen journalists.

While the amendment’s inclusion of student journalists is laudable, it does nothing for those students who do not work for a “journalistic publication” at their college or university—or for those students the moment they graduate.

Still Requiring that Journalists “Regularly” Engage in Journalism

Additionally, Sen. Feinstein’s amendment retains the original Senate shield bill’s problematic requirement that individuals “regularly” do journalism to count as a journalist. Specifically, the amendment requires either:

  1. that individuals “engage[] in . . . the regular gathering, preparation, collection, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting or publishing on” matters of public interest; or
  2. that individuals “regularly conducted interviews, reviewed documents, captured images of events, or directly observed events.” (emphases added)3

As in the original Senate bill, the amendment fails to define what “regularly” means, vagueness that cuts against non-institutional journalists.

The effect of Ms. Feinstein’s amendment is to muddy the waters, eliminating free lancers, bloggers and others who do not work for the Corporate Media.  She has expressly said she does not want Wikileaks employees to be covered.

Feinstein suggested that the definition comprise only journalists who make salaries, saying it should be applied just to “real reporters.” The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., was against that idea, since there are bloggers and others in the Internet age who don’t necessarily receive salaries.

“The world has changed. We’re very careful in this bill to distinguish journalists from those who shouldn’t be protected, WikiLeaks and all those, and we’ve ensured that,” Schumer said. “But there are people who write and do real journalism, in different ways than we’re used to. They should not be excluded from this bill.”

What happens to people who don’t rate being considered a “journalist” by the law–like bloggers?  Take the case of Crystal Cox, for example.

She considered herself to be a journalist and should therefore be entitled to protection under media shield laws that allow journalists not to identify their sources.

But Oregon’s shield law doesn’t explicitly include bloggers in its list.

The judge’s opinion is fascinating because it suggests there is one law for journalists and another for citizens. He said:

“Although [the] defendant is a self-proclaimed ‘investigative blogger’ and defines herself as ‘media,’ the record fails to show that she is affiliated with any newspaper, magazine, periodical, book, pamphlet, news service, wire service, news or feature syndicate, broadcast station or network, or cable television system. Thus, she is not entitled to the protections of the law.”

That sounds like it’s going to require a supreme court hearing at some stage. Cox, who runs several sites, including one called, plans to appeal, rightly saying: “This should matter to everyone who writes on the internet.”

Though Obsidian sued over several postings, the judge found against Cox on only one item, ruling that it was defamatory precisely because it was more factual in tone than her other posts.

And what of those who write for Non-profits?  Those NGOs [Non Government Organizations] that keep an eye on what government is doing, and may or may not have the money to pay their staffs?

Feinstein is not the only member of Congress seeking to limit the definition of journalists.  Last week, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., sent letters to a number of organizations – including the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which runs – seeking information about the legitimacy of nonprofit investigative reporters.

A spokesman for Durbin later told the senator was not targeting any specific individual or group.

Just be aware that this pair of bills, even if they do manage to become Law, will not guarantee the safety of those gathering the news.  William Cooper, Andrew Breitbart and Michael Hastings come to mind.  As does Barrett Brown.

Internet Privacy: Why We Just Don’t Have it.

An optical prism.

There has been a lot of chatter on the Internet since the leak that Prism allowed the NSA to intercept and store everything on the Internet, every where, through the phone companies. Some are shocked. Some have never assumed they had privacy. Some feel violated.

We have been generally lead to believe that if it was behind encryption or a passcode system, that we had the assumption of privacy. But that has not been true for a very long time.

The evidence also shows that the government did not act alone. EFF has obtained whistleblower evidence [PDF] from former AT&T technician Mark Klein showing that AT&T is cooperating with the illegal surveillance. The undisputed documents show that AT&T installed a fiber optic splitter at its facility at 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco that makes copies of all emails web browsing and other Internet traffic to and from AT&T customers and provides those copies to the NSA. This copying includes both domestic and international Internet activities of AT&T customers. As one expert observed “this isn’t a wiretap, it’s a country-tap.”

There are several ongoing Court cases being pursued by Electronic Frontier Foundation concerning the total disregard of privacy rights by internet service providers [ISP]:

Currently, EFF is representing victims of the illegal surveillance program in Jewel v. NSA, a lawsuit filed in September 2008 seeking to stop the warrantless wiretapping and hold the government and government officials officials behind the program accountable.

Previously, in Hepting v. AT&T, EFF filed the first case against a cooperating telecom for violating its customers’ privacy. After Congress expressly intervened in the FISA Amendments Act to allow the Executive to require dismissal of the case, the case was ultimately dismissed by the US Supreme Court.

Other ongoing cases arising from the warrantless wiretapping are:

Al Haramain v. Obama

Amnesty International v. Clapper

Center for Constitutional Rights v. Bush

Shubert v. Obama

And in light of the leaks on 5 June 2013:

In light of the confirmation of NSA surveillance of millions of Americans’ communications records, and especially the decision by the government to declassify and publicly release descriptions of the program, the government today asked the courts handling two EFF surveillance cases for some additional time to consider their options.

The first notice comes in EFF’s Jewel v. NSA case (along with a companion case called Shubert v. Obama), which seeks to stop the spying and obtain an injunction prohibiting the mass collection of communications records by the government. While the Guardian importantly confirmed this with government documents on Wednesday and Thursday, we’ve been arguing for seven years in court that the NSA has been conducting the same type of dragnet surveillance. In the government’s motion, they ask the court to hold the case in abeyance and that the parties file a status report by July 12, 2013.

The second notice comes in EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case seeking the DOJ’s secret legal interpretations of Section 215 of the Patriot Act (50 U.S.C. section 1861), which was the statute cited in the leaked secret court order aimed at Verizon. Sen. Wyden and Sen. Udall have long said publicly that the American public would be “shocked” to know how the government is interpreting this statute. The leaked court order gives us an idea of what they were talking about. The government seeks a status report within 30 days of today, June 7, 2013.

In both of these cases, the government has long claimed broad secrecy.

Electronic Freedom Foundation went as far as calling for a new Church Committee:

[The National Security Agency’s] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.” —Senator Frank Church, 1975

Following on the heels of the Guardian reporting that the NSA is collecting all US call data records of Verizon customers, the Guardian and Washington Post yesterday reported that nine of the biggest Internet companies, including Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, are also working with the government in a vast spying program, where a massive amount of online data flows to the NSA, all in secret.

While I agree that Congressional oversight is clearly lacking, this current Congress has shown an overwhelming desire to throw Civil Rights under the bus–approving Indefinite Detention of American Citizens on American soil being the most flagrant.  Since 9/11, Congress has been a rubber stamp for the Administration when it comes to the War on Terror.  And it didn’t matter whether it was George W. Bush or Barack Obama.  We have the separation of powers for a reason–Congress in 2 Houses is meant to be a brake on the power of the Administration.

We keep going back to the Patriot Act as the source of our loss of privacy, our loss of rights, our loss of freedom.  There was only one Senator who voted against it in 2001:  Russ Feingold.  And here is his speech via CSPAN:

Russ Feingold’s speech against the Patriot Act in 2001.

We do have to make choices. But Feingold understood back then that the choice isn’t that simple:

Some have said rather cavalierly that in these difficult times we must accept some reduction in our civil liberties in order to be secure.

Of course, there is no doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be easier to catch terrorists. If we lived in a country that allowed the police to search your home at any time for any reason; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to open your mail, eavesdrop on your phone conversations, or intercept your email communications; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to hold people in jail indefinitely based on what they write or think, or based on mere suspicion that they are up to no good, then the government would no doubt discover and arrest more terrorists.

But that probably would not be a country in which we would want to live. And that would not be a country for which we could, in good conscience, ask our young people to fight and die. In short, that would not be America.

Preserving our freedom is one of the main reasons that we are now engaged in this new war on terrorism. We will lose that war without firing a shot if we sacrifice the liberties of the American people.

That is exactly the argument civil libertarians need to be making.

And a Police State has been the result of the Patriot Act.  An overwhelming militarization of the local police, some locales even have tanks nowCitizens are murdered by the police for totally unknown reasons, with impunityNew York State just made it a felony to bother a police officer.  We have the highest incarceration rates in our history, since 2002 the highest in the world, and for-profit-private prisons require 90% occupancy as part of their contracts with the individual States.

Dealing With ‘Root Causes’ To Tackle Incarceration Rates — March 02, 2013

So, we have found the root cause of the Police State to be the Patriot Act.  How did the Federal government take control of the Internet?

Dates when PRISM collection began by each provider. Via:

Does that mean we were all safe before 2007?  Hardly.  FaceBook was developed using funding from DARPA–a CIA investment fund.  In fact, the CIA through DARPA actually developed the Arpanet, the precurser to today’s Internet.  Which actually supports those who view privacy on the Internet as non-existent from the beginning.  But the CIA doesn’t like to share with the NSA, Patriot Act or not.

The tiny $20 million program budget listed in the leaked documents speaks to just how unstoppable PRISM-like programs are; judging from the limited evidence we have, this was neither a major technological undertaking for the government ($20 million would get the NSA nowhere on a true mass-monitoring project unless it had help from the companies it’s monitoring) nor a public fight. Google has raised a vague stink; Twitter, which was not listed but hasn’t responded to the reports yet, has made a point of fighting the government in a few high profile cases. But if the tech giants wanted to put up an all-or-nothing fight, it would be in their interest to make it a public one. In other words, we would know.

The companies that have responded to requests for comment have so far offered varied, incomplete and very carefully worded denials, denying specific details about PRISM rather than offering full-throated denunciations of secret government cooperation. Even the most adamant denials suggest greater cooperation with the government than most people are aware of.

And a couple of them have done denials:

Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘back door’ into our systems, but Google does not have a ‘back door’ for the government to access private user data.”

[FYI — ” back door” is done without the company’s knowledge.  PRISM was the law, such as it was.  So technically, this may be the absolute letter-of-the-law truth.]

Chiefsecurity officer Joe Sullivan told Forbes :

“Protecting the privacy of our users and their data is a top priority for Facebook. We do not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers. When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law.”

Here, again “only to the extent required by law.”  And if there was a gag order on the request, as is common practice?

First, it turns out Facebook and Google weren’t lying. The government does not have “direct access” to their servers. But they did make something special for the NSA to make obtaining the specially requested information as easy as a ransom hand-off. Per Miller:

In at least two cases, at Google and Facebook, one of the plans discussed was to build separate, secure portals, like a digital version of the secure physical rooms that have long existed for classified information, in some instances on company servers. Through these online rooms, the government would request data, companies would deposit it and the government would retrieve it, people briefed on the discussions said.

. . . How other tech companies linked to PRISM ended up cooperating is unclear at this time. Twitter is only one who bristled at the government’s request to make the handing-over of information easier.

. . . These tech companies have no choice but to fork over the information when the NSA came calling. “The companies were legally required to share the data under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,” Miller reminds us. But building the special secure server used for dumping information for the NSA was going above and beyond the legal call of duty.

And the Director of National Intelligence also felt he had to make a statement:

The highest priority of the Intelligence Community is to work within the constraints of law to collect, analyze and understand information related to potential threats to our national security.

The unauthorized disclosure of a top secret U.S. court document threatens potentially long-lasting and irreversible harm to our ability to identify and respond to the many threats facing our nation.

The article omits key information regarding how a classified intelligence collection program is used to prevent terrorist attacks and the numerous safeguards that protect privacy and civil liberties.

I believe it is important for the American people to understand the limits of this targeted counterterrorism program and the principles that govern its use. In order to provide a more thorough understanding of the program, I have directed that certain information related to the “business records” provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act be declassified and immediately released to the public.

It must BE really important for the Head Spook to direct releases.  But he doesn’t say that he’s sharing the information further abroad.

London’s Guardian newspaper reported Friday that GCHQ, Britain’s equivalent of the NSA, also has been secretly gathering intelligence from the same internet companies through an operation set up by the NSA.

. . . PRISM was launched from the ashes of President George W. Bush’s secret program of warrantless domestic surveillance in 2007, after news media disclosures, lawsuits and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court forced the president to look for new authority.

Congress obliged with the Protect America Act in 2007 and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which immunized private companies that cooperated voluntarily with U.S. intelligence collection. PRISM recruited its first partner, Microsoft, and began six years of rapidly growing data collection beneath the surface of a roiling national debate on surveillance and privacy. Late last year, when critics in Congress sought changes in the FISA Amendments Act, the only lawmakers who knew about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues.

The court-approved program is focused on foreign communications traffic, which often flows through U.S. servers even when sent from one overseas location to another. Between 2004 and 2007, Bush administration lawyers persuaded federal FISA judges to issue surveillance orders in a fundamentally new form. Until then the government had to show probable cause that a particular “target” and “facility” were both connected to terrorism or espionage.

In four new orders, which remain classified, the court defined massive data sets as “facilities” and agreed to certify periodically that the government had reasonable procedures in place to minimize collection of “U.S. persons” data without a warrant.

And where does the NSA store all this data?

Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.

. . .Given the facility’s scale and the fact that a terabyte of data can now be stored on a flash drive the size of a man’s pinky, the potential amount of information that could be housed in Bluffdale is truly staggering. But so is the exponential growth in the amount of intelligence data being produced every day by the eavesdropping sensors of the NSA and other intelligence agencies. As a result of this “expanding array of theater airborne and other sensor networks,” as a 2007 Department of Defense report puts it, the Pentagon is attempting to expand its worldwide communications network, known as the Global Information Grid, to handle yottabytes (1024 bytes) of data. (A yottabyte is a septillion bytes—so large that no one has yet coined a term for the next higher magnitude.)

It needs that capacity because, according to a recent report by Cisco, global Internet traffic will quadruple from 2010 to 2015, reaching 966 exabytes per year. (A million exabytes equal a yottabyte.) In terms of scale, Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO, once estimated that the total of all human knowledge created from the dawn of man to 2003 totaled 5 exabytes. And the data flow shows no sign of slowing. In 2011 more than 2 billion of the world’s 6.9 billion people were connected to the Internet. By 2015, market research firm IDC estimates, there will be 2.7 billion users. Thus, the NSA’s need for a 1-million-square-foot data storehouse. Should the agency ever fill the Utah center with a yottabyte of information, it would be equal to about 500 quintillion (500,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text.

Apparently, these people never listened to the moral of the film “Colossus, the Forbin Project“.   But this is more data that those nine tech companies and assorted phone companies could come up with.  Where are they getting the rest of the data?  TrapWire is one place.

The genesis of our company started with a project initiated in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks,” TrapWire said. “The objective of that project was to develop a capability that would prevent such attacks from occurring in the future. This project evolved into our flagship product, TrapWire, and its related methodologies and supporting capabilities.”

The released emails, however, were surprising in that they discuss a far-reaching surveillance effort about which many Americans are likely unaware. said Trap Wire was developed by Abraxas, whose founder, Richard Helms, told The Entrepreneur Center in 2005 that his company’s technology “can collect information about people and vehicles that is more accurate than facial recognition, draw patterns, and do threat assessments of areas that may be under observation from terrorists.”

Sophos analyst Carole Theriault said in a Monday blog post that she didn’t “think anyone is really surprised that the governments and authorities are quietly using the latest technology to monitor the activities of its people, saying that they are doing this for our general safety.”

“The question we all need to ask ourselves is this: What do we value more – privacy or state security?” Theriault wrote. “Sadly, it seems that we cannot get both.”

And what has happened to the young man who brought us the knowledge of TrapWire?

Jeremy Hammond on Tuesday pleaded guilty to hacking intelligence firm Stratfor to expose millions of emails, with some of the more revealing ones later published by WikiLeaks.

The Illinois native faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 6. As part of his plea deal, Hammond, who was involved with Anonymous and offshoot LulzSec, accepted responsibility for infiltrating a number of other intelligence-related sites, including including equipment suppliers and police agencies. He had been publicly accused of illegally accessing the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

In a Tuesday statement posted on his support website,, Hammond said that by pleading guilty, he is protected from being prosecuted for the other offenses. Hammond has been held without bail in a New York jail since March 2012, often placed in solitary confinement and denied visitors.

“[E]ven if I was found not guilty at trial [in New York], the government claimed that there were eight other outstanding indictments against me from jurisdictions scattered throughout the country” he wrote. “If I had won this trial, I would likely have been shipped across the country to face new but similar charges in a different district. The process might have repeated indefinitely.”

Hammond also stated that he was proud he shed light on the secret dealings of Stratfor, which serves major corporate and government agency clients. According to a Rolling Stone article published in December, the emails referenced “nefarious and clandestine activities – from the U.S. government’s monitoring of the Occupy movement to Stratfor’s own role in compiling data on a variety of activist movements, including PETA, Wikileaks and even Anonymous itself.”


Earlier this week, The Associated Press stunningly revealed that the U.S. Department of Justice secretly obtained “records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to the AP and its journalists” covering “a full two-month period in early 2012.” Presumably the feds were interested in finding out who had leaked to the AP information about a foiled al-Qaeda plot in Yemen, and Attorney General Eric Holder justified the snooping in the name of national security, an argument that, as the days pass, is growing increasingly dubious.

. . . The AP probe and LulzSec punishments may not, on the surface, appear connected. But they are, especially when one considers the case of Jeremy Hammond, the accused Anonymous and LulzSec-linked hacktivist who is charged with looting the computer systems belonging to the Arizona Department of Public Safety (allegedly done to protest tough immigration laws) and at HBGary Federal and global intelligence firm Stratfor (allegedly done to expose the inner workings of the so-called intelligence industrial complex). The Stratfor hack resulted in millions of emails being unearthed and, according to Rolling Stone, “focused worldwide attention on the murky world of private intelligence after Anonymous provided the firm’s emails to WikiLeaks, which has been posting them ever since.”

. . . It’s clear that the United States wants to make an example of Hammond, and by throwing the proverbial book at him and essentially declaring him an enemy of the state, even before he stands trial, federal prosecutors are fully aware that this will discourage other people from engaging in similar acts that seek to expose government or corporate corruption and impropriety. The same applies to what the DoJ has done to the AP. In many ways, Hammond really is no different than the person or persons who tipped off the news agency about the counter-terrorism operation in Yemen. Or any whistleblower or press leaker for that matter. Hence, they all face similar treatment.

Although President Obama pledged to maintain the “most transparent administration” in history, his actions have proven otherwise. The events of this week is further proof that the U.S government — and the corporations for which it looks out — is more interested than ever in preserving its cloak of national security secrecy. And if that means instituting press or source intimidation, or waging aggressive prosecutions against activists…well, you might want to get used to it.

What do I think of it all?  I think the Patriot Act should be repealed.  I think FISA should be repealed.  I think the entire subject of what is, or is not, acceptable invasion of privacy vis-a-vis national security should be a matter of national, even international, public debate.

And in the meantime, assume Big Brother is watching and listening.  Welcome to 1984.

Easter Thoughts

Then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina washes and kisses the feet of patients of the Hogar de Cristo shelter for drug users, during a Holy Thursday mass in the Parque Patricios neighborhood of Buenos Aires, March 20, 2008. 

I am not a Roman Catholic.  My affiliation is with ECUSA [Episcopal Church USA] although I haven’t attended in nearly a decade.  I am still a person of deep faith, and still have awareness of the religious calendar.  My personal beliefs also include elements of New Age, Hinduism and Tao.  My friends run the gamut from total atheists, to those who have become celibate for their faith, to practitioners of Tantra.  Each of us is on our own path, and each of us has to find answers that work for ourselves for the deep questions of life.  As Y’shua said “The Kingdom of God is within you.”

It is from this background of general goodwill towards the faith of others that I look at Resurrection Sunday [aka Easter, Ishtar, etc.].  As festival of Spring — the world reborn and a pagan fertility celebration, co-opted by the Roman Catholic Church because it coincided with the Passover crucifixion of Yehushua Bin Yosef for running the corrupt bankers out of the Temple.

And all of these threads seem quite relevant today.

We have a new leader of the Roman Catholic Church, who has chosen to honor St. Francis Xavier by taking his first name.  And he has already garnered criticism for walking among the laity, paying his own bills, even for the traditional priestly service of washing feet on Maundy Thursday.  For which I laud him.  These are the things appropriate for a true believer, which I hope he is.  But if he really is a believer, he may go the route of John Paul I, for deep is the treachery in the Vatican.  And the whole world is aware of the problems he faces there.  For the sake of the believing Laity, I hope he gets a handle on their corruption.

A Japanese depiction of Francis Xavier, dated to the 17th century. From the Kobe City Museum collection. Date 17th century

The Bankers are again in the news here in the USA.

The U.S. Justice Department is examining the role financial institutions play in fraud schemes perpetrated by bank customers offering deceptive products, a department official said on Wednesday.

Attorneys and investigators in the DOJ’s Civil Division are examining banks’ possible role in assisting scammers who offer questionable payday loans, false offers of debt relief, fraudulent health care discount cards, and phony government grants, according to Michael Bresnick, who heads the department’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

That task force has been focused on pursuing misconduct that fueled the financial crisis, but the new priorities suggest investigators are looking beyond those cases and at other types of financial misconduct that extends to different industries, from payday lending to auto loans.

And also:

Yeah. I mean, that’s what he [Lanny Breuer, who’s head of the Criminal Justice Division at the Justice Department] made a statement in September of last year in a speech, saying that he was kind of up nights worrying about what would happen to these massive institutions if he indicted some of these senior executives criminally. I think a lot of outsiders would say that’s nonsense, that, you know, you could clearly just put some of the executives in jail—and I think that’s what they were actually expecting—without jeopardizing the institutions themselves.

Maybe some of these institutions deserve to be corporately indicted and made examples of, and maybe the entire—you know, kind of the salutary effect on the banking system would be great enough to justify putting one of them out of its misery because of the effect it would have on all the others.

So I think there’s at least a strong argument that this Justice Department, when it came to large financial institutions, was asleep at the switch. And we have no indictments or prosecutions of any individual senior Wall Street executive in the last four years.

And Occupy Wall Street has come out with “Occupy Debt”.  Seeing that the debt load of the common person is what is enslaving him, Occupy is now collecting money to purchase — and forgive — what is called “zombie debt.  I quote from my friend Jerry Ashton’s article about it:

First, we need to understand the definition of “Zombie Debt” in the collections industry. These are accounts which are extremely aged and likely have been in the hands of agencies and collection attorneys for years but still remain uncollected.

Agencies will buy these accounts from each other and debt sellers for pennies on the dollar, take their best shot at collecting it at full-face value, along with add-on collection fees and interests that bloat the original amount owed. Accounts remaining uncollected are then packaged up and sold off to the next agency or debt buy for even fewer pennies on the dollar.

It becomes debt that only grows, and never dies.

Occupy’s entry into this market and the approach it is taking will evoke a yet unknown degree of shape-shifting in third-party collections… one that is long overdue. At its best, its entry may even bring about corrections that many within their own ranks long have wished for — to rid themselves of “bad apple” debt buyers and agencies whose practices have led to public outrage and increased governmental oversight.

Occupy itself will gain renewed respect, and rightfully so. A major, appreciative article has appeared in The New York Times. A Forbes contributor called it “An Occupy Wall Street Idea We Can All Get Behind.” Thom Hartmann called it “a truly incredible show of mutual aid, by thousands of participants. The Guardian’s Charles Eisenstein termed it “a genius move.”

Somehow, I think Y’shua would have approved.

And of Passover?  The American President visited Israel just before Passover.  And gave a fine speech, in which he told Israel that “America has your back”.  To which Bibi responded with glee.  And how many noticed that Mr. Obama also de facto declared war on the Assad regime in Syria at the same time?

How do most Americans celebrate Easter?  A ham dinner, egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, some go to Church, others to drum circles.  Where do we get the other elements?

Babylon – Ihstar Gate *photo CM, Iraq Summer 2004

Ishtar was the goddess of love and war, above all associated with sexuality: her cult involved sacred prostitution;[2][3] her holy city Uruk was called the “town of the sacred courtesans”; and she herself was the “courtesan of the gods”.[4] Ishtar had many lovers; however, as Guirand notes,
“Woe to him whom Ishtar had honoured! The fickle goddess treated her passing lovers cruelly, and the unhappy wretches usually paid dearly for the favours heaped on them. Animals, enslaved by love, lost their native vigour: they fell into traps laid by men or were domesticated by them. ‘Thou has loved the lion, mighty in strength’, says the hero Gilgamesh to Ishtar, ‘and thou hast dug for him seven and seven pits! Thou hast loved the steed, proud in battle, and destined him for the halter, the goad and the whip.’ Even for the gods Ishtar’s love was fatal. In her youth the goddess had loved Tammuz, god of the harvest, and—if one is to believe Gilgamesh —this love caused the death of Tammuz.

[The ancient connection between sex and violence is told here.]

Modern Wiccans explain it thus:

Easter gets its name from the Teutonic goddess of spring and the dawn, whose name is spelled Oestre or Eastre (the origin of the word “east” comes from various Germanic, Austro-Hungarian words for dawn that share the root for the word “aurora” which means ” to shine”). Modern pagans have generally accepted the spelling “Ostara” which honors this goddess as our word for the Vernal Equinox. The 1974 edition of Webster’s New World Dictionary defines Easter thus: “orig., name of pagan vernal festival almost coincident in date with paschal festival of the church; Eastre, dawn goddess; 1. An annual Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, held on the first Sunday after the date of the first full moon that occurs on or after March 21.” The Vernal Equinox usually falls somewhere between March 19th and 22nd (note that the dictionary only mentions March 21st, as opposed to the date of the actual Equinox), and depending upon when the first full moon on or after the Equinox occurs, Easter falls sometime between late-March and mid-April.

This article goes on to explain the connections to the symbols.  This is part of the explanation for the eggs:

Try this sometime with your children or a young niece, nephew or cousin: on the day of the Vernal or Autumnal Equinox, just a few moments before the exact moment of the equinox, go outside with a raw egg. Find a reasonably level place on the sidewalk or driveway. For a few moments just before and just after the equinox, you can balance the egg upright (wider end down) by simply setting it down on the ground. No kidding! It will stand up all by itself. Kids love this, and most adults are amazed and delighted, too.

This little “trick” brings together two of the most potent aspects of this holiday: the balancing of the earth’s gravity midway between the extremes of light and dark at Winter and Summer Solstice; and the symbolism of the egg.

I personally think of Easter as the usual end of winter.  A time to bask in the newly restored sunshine and warmth.  Time to reflect on “spring cleaning” and rebirth–and clearing away things that are no longer useful.  To think of the sacrifices of others, and my effect on those around me.

May you have a happy Easter season.

The Pedophilia Epidemic

Pope Benedict XVI with Children

21 December 2010

Victims of clerical sex abuse have reacted furiously to Pope Benedict’s claim yesterday that paedophilia wasn’t considered an “absolute evil” as recently as the 1970s.

In his traditional Christmas address yesterday to cardinals and officials working in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI also claimed that child pornography was increasingly considered “normal” by society.

“In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” the Pope said.

“It was maintained — even within the realm of Catholic theology — that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a ‘better than’ and a ‘worse than’. Nothing is good or bad in itself.”

The Pope said abuse revelations in 2010 reached “an unimaginable dimension” which brought “humiliation” on the Church.

Asking how abuse exploded within the Church, the Pontiff called on senior clerics “to repair as much as possible the injustices that occurred” and to help victims heal through a better presentation of the Christian message.

And was Pope Benedict just discovering the depths of this depravity?  Hardly.

The office led by Cardinal Ratzinger, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had actually been given authority over sexual abuse cases nearly 80 years earlier, in 1922, documents show and canon lawyers confirm. But for the two decades he was in charge of that office, the future pope never asserted that authority, failing to act even as the cases undermined the church’s credibility in the United States, Australia, Ireland and elsewhere.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, an outspoken auxiliary bishop emeritus from Sydney, Australia, who attended the secret meeting in 2000, said that despite numerous warnings, top Vatican officials, including Benedict, took far longer to wake up to the abuse problems than many local bishops did.

And even after Pope Francis was elected, The Catholic Archbishop of Durban, Wilfrid Fox Napier, has described paedophilia as a psychological “illness, not a criminal condition”.

Is it just the Roman Catholic Church with this idea?  Sadly, no.

The abuse continued for more than a decade, said Ms. Mackert, and all the while she was convinced it was her fault after years of being “indoctrinated” that women must submit to men.

“So from the onset of the sexual abuse from my father, it was very clear to me that I was a bad, evil person and I’d done something to cause my priestly father to do those things,” she said in the video, one of four broadcast in court on Wednesday. The rest will be presented as the hearings continue over the next two months.

“We were taught that a woman’s responsible for a man’s behaviour, sexually. If you dress in a way, tight clothing, clothing that shows your skin, and a man thinks evil thoughts, it’s the woman’s fault.”

Ms. Mackert was born into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS. The FLDS is a breakaway sect of the mainstream Mormon church, which renounced polygamy more than a century ago, and it is the sect linked to the isolated community of Bountiful, B.C.

It was the failed prosecution of two religious leaders of Bountiful that prompted the B.C. government to ask the court to examine whether Canada’s ban on multiple marriage is in accordance with guarantee of religious freedom in the Charter of Rights.

Outside court, Ms. Mackert said her experience wasn’t unusual among the polygamous families she knew, where women and children had no rights.

And another group, Children of God (COG):

The group’s liberal sexuality led to concerns and investigations regarding child abuse. The High Court of Justice, Family Division, in the UK found there to be “widespread sexual abuse of young children and teenagers by adult members of The Family”.[5] However, information provided by former members casts doubts as to whether these investigations actually uncovered the truth.[6] TFI leadership have repeatedly apologized for cases where children were abused before 1986, when policies were set in place prohibiting excessive discipline or any sexual contact between adults and minors. Those found to have abused children since 1986 have been excommunicated from TFI membership. Again, it is unclear to what extent these policies and excommunications have actually been implemented.[6]

This last group even inspired a book, “Not Without My Sister”.

But are other “mainstream” Churches immune?  Nope.  Check out this Baptist minister.

A disgraced Indiana megachurch leader [Jack Shaap, 55] who seduced his teenage parishioner evidently told her Jesus wanted them to have sex.

As part of the government’s sentencing memorandum, federal prosecutors this week released incriminating letters between Jack Schaap, the former pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Ind., and his teen victim.

“In our ‘fantasy talk,’ you have affectionately spoken of being ‘my wife,’” Schaap wrote in one letter, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “That is exactly what Christ desires for us. He wants to marry us + become eternal lovers!”

And he’s not alone.

Nine of the offenders, from top left: (first row) A. V. Ballenger, Christopher Settlemoir, Chester Mulligan; (second row) William Beith, Jack Schaap, Tedd Butler; (third row) Joseph Combs, Craig Sisson, Russell Overla

As many as 12 men affiliated with this church have been accused of sexual crimes all over the USA.  And Baptist denominations are not acknowledging the problem any better than the Roman Catholic Church is.  Here is an organization devoted to keeping track of Baptist predatory issues.

Other Christian denominations have similar problems, although many do try to weed the bad apples out.

Anglican theologian N. T. Wright states in Simply Christian that every society has one unforgiveable sin. Many would argue that the unforgiveable sin today is the sexual abuse of children.

Craig accepted God’s pardon for his unforgiveable sin through Christ. He has been living under grace since then, but he still struggles with the consequences of what he did. “No one ever grows up thinking they’re going to become a sex offender,” he says. “One of God’s greatest gifts is a child’s innocence. I live with the knowledge that I destroyed this in these girls’ lives.”

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Sex Offender Registry includes the names and locations of 549,000 persons convicted of or charged with sex crimes. The odds are that if you are reading this article, you have come into contact with a sex offender or a victim, whether you know it or not. This in itself may account for the emotionally charged responses to sex offenders.

“549,000 persons convicted of or charged with sex crimes.”  And that’s only the ones who got caught.  How high a number are out there?

Lama al-Ghamdi, who was tortured and murdered after her own father raped her. Credits:

What about Islamic clerics?

In Saudi Arabia an Islamic cleric who admits to raping, torturing and killing his daughter received a fine but no jail time for his heinous crime. Saudi media reports that the father paid 200,000 riyals ($50,000 US) in “blood money” for his crime, but will not be required to serve any time in prison.

. . . .

Fayhan al-Ghamdi, the victims father and a popular Islamic preacher who has made numerous television appearances promoting Islam, confessed to the heinous crime. Ghamdi told Saudi officials he used cables and a cane on his five-year-old daughter, leaving her with multiple injuries, including a crushed skull, broken ribs and left arm, extensive bruising and burns. In addition, one of Lama’s fingernails had been torn off. Hospital staff reports the child’s rectum had been torn open and the abuser had attempted to burn it closed.

Reports indicate the father had doubted his five-year old daughter’s virginity.

And another fatwa was announced “to prevent molestation”:

A Saudi cleric has issued a fatwa calling for all female infants to wear the burka, a full body cloak covering the face and body that is required to be worn by women in ultra-conservative Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia.

In issuing the fatwa, Sheikh Abdullah Daoud,claimed that wearing the burka will protect baby girls from being sexually molested. Daoud issued his fatwa while appearing in a TV interview on the Islamic Al-Majd TV.

Currently, according to conservative interpretations of Islamic law, girls are required to wear burkas once they reach puberty.

And Islam practices female genital mutilation.  It used to be done on girls at puberty, now girls in infancy are victimized by it.

Key facts

  • Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
  • The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
  • Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth increased risk of newborn deaths.
  • About 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.
  • FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.
  • In Africa an estimated 101 million girls 10 years old and above have undergone FGM.
  • FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

Why is this practiced?

The supporters, promoters, guardians and practitioners of FGM broaden their defence by claiming that FGM enhances fertility; controls and prevents waywardness of girls; makes a women faithful wife; excessive growth of clitoris (hypertrophy); clitoris is dangerous and hinders intercourse, creates impotency and kills baby at delivery; the normal genitalia of a women are ugly and disgusting and must be removed (Tahara).  Socially, an uncircumcised women cannot be accepted as a serious and responsible adult unless she is operated. Their list is much longer.

And what happens to older girls who are raped?

According to the Qur’an, the penalty for fornication is 100 lashes:

Qur’an 24:2—The woman and the man guilty of illegal sexual intercourse, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment.

A rape victim, in theory, will not be punished for being raped. However, under Sharia, it is almost impossible for a girl to prove that she has been raped. The Qur’an declares that a woman’s testimony is half as reliable as a man’s testimony (2:282), and accusations of sexual sin must be backed by four male witnesses (24:4, 13). Hence, the vast majority of rape victims won’t bother to report the rapes, as those who do are often charged with fornication or adultery. Moreover, those who do not report the rape sometimes become pregnant. Since Sharia won’t allow them to prove that they have been raped, the victims are then found guilty of fornication and sentenced to 100 lashes.

Keep in mind that 40 lashes will kill.  This is 2 1/2 times that.

A 15-year-old rape victim has been sentenced to 100 lashes for engaging in premarital sex, court officials said.

The charges against the girl were brought against her last year after police investigated accusations that her stepfather had raped her and killed their baby. He is still to face trial.

Since Islam considers non-believers to be less than human, we find criminal rings in formerly Christian lands.

A teenager has told the Old Bailey a man carried out a brutal sexual assault to “prepare” her to be gang-raped.

The girl, who was 12 at the time, said Mohammed Karrar used sex toys and numbing cream used by dentists during the incident at an Oxford flat.

Sobbing during her evidence, she said five or six men then came to the flat and all raped her on the kitchen table.

Mr Karrar is one of nine men who deny a total of 51 offences including rape and trafficking from 2004 to 2012.

“The nine men, from Berkshire and Oxfordshire, are accused of sexually exploiting six girls, aged between 11 and 15.”

And then there are the boys.  “Bacha bereesh” is the term, “play boys” for parties.

According to the report, headed Slaves to the Rhythm:

The bacha dancers are often abused children whose families have rejected them. Their ‘owners’ or ‘masters’ can be single or married men, who keep them in a form of sexual slavery, as concubines.

. . . . Large halls known as ‘qush-khana’ provide the venues for bacha bazi parties where the boys’ ‘owners’ or ‘kaatah’ invite their friends to watch them dancing. Late in the night, when the dancing is over, the boys are often shared with close friends, for sexual abuse.

Allah Daad explained how the boys are enticed into the arrangement:

First we select boys in the village and later on we try to trick them into coming with us. Some of them stay with us for money; they get a monthly allowance, and in return we can have them any time we want. They don’t stay with us all the time – they can do their own jobs and then just come to parties with us.

Allah Dad’s current bacha, who is 16, refused to be interviewed. But another owner forced his 14-year-old boy to speak, although he would not give his name.

I was dancing last night. I have been doing this for the past year. I have no choice – I’m poor. My father is dead, and this is the only source of income for me and my family. I try to dance well, especially at huge parties. The men throw money at me, and then I gather it up. Sometimes they take me to the market and buy me nice clothes.

Said Baz Gul, a resident of Kunduz:

Bacha bazi has increased tremendously lately and is still on the rise. In the past, people were ashamed of it, and tried to hide it. Now nobody is shy about it, and they participate openly in these parties.

He explained that there were several reasons why the practice had become more common, one of which was the growing influence of local strongmen, who regard bacha baazi as status symbols.

It used to be that only a few people had boys. Now everyone owns one and the authorities don’t care about it at all. It’s got to the point where almost no party takes place without dancing boys. It’s seen as a disgrace if you don’t have dancing boys at your wedding. This has led to a rise in immoral behaviour among boys, and if nothing is done about it, this trend will continue.

For some, a bacha bereesh is a status symbol. Militia commanders and other men of substance buy and sell good-looking boys, using the bacha baazi parties as marketplaces.

And if this is going on, how much “traditional” sexual abuse is also happening?  It seems to be fully as rampant in Islam as in the West.

And areas of the world where the State was the faith have also seen their share of problems.  There is a group of young women survivors of sexual abuse and trafficking in Ukraine who have reverted to the Scythian Amazon model to regain a sense of security.

As long as women and children are considered “less than”;  As long as women have no voice in their own lives;  As long as men are “in charge”, this will continue to happen.

This is from the Muslim Brotherhood, in response to the United Nations, but it could just as easily come from the Roman Catholic Church, The Baptist Church, The Orthodox Jewish leaders or any other conservative religious group.  These were their objections to the “Declaration to End Violence Against Women”:

A closer look at these articles reveals what decadence awaits our world, if we sign this document:

1. Granting girls full sexual freedom, as well as the freedom to decide their own gender and the gender of their partners (ie, choose to have normal or homo- sexual relationships), while raising the age of marriage.

2. Providing contraceptives for adolescent girls and training them to use those, while legalizing abortion to get rid of unwanted pregnancies, in the name of sexual and reproductive rights.

3. Granting equal rights to adulterous wives and illegitimate sons resulting from adulterous relationships.

4. Granting equal rights to homosexuals, and providing protection and respect for prostitutes.

5. Giving wives full rights to file legal complaints against husbands accusing them of rape or sexual harassment, obliging competent authorities to deal husbands punishments similar to those prescribed for raping or sexually harassing a stranger.

6. Equal inheritance (between men and women).

7. Replacing guardianship with partnership, and full sharing of roles within the family between men and women such as: spending, child care and home chores.

8. Full equality in marriage legislation such as: allowing Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men, and abolition of polygamy, dowry, men taking charge of family spending, etc.

9. Removing the authority of divorce from husbands and placing it in the hands of judges, and sharing all property after divorce.

10. Cancelling the need for a husband’s consent in matters like: travel, work, or use of contraception.

He is correct.  Giving women protection under the Law will remove any controls that they will have over us.  Giving women protection under the Law will remove his right to abuse us, even kill us at his whim.  And with protection for women comes protection for children of both genders.

And it’s about damn time.

The Vatican Bank

Le dôme peut être visité à apprécier la vue magnifique de la Place Saint-Pierre, le Vatican et Rome, mais ils doivent s’habiller modestement (par exemple interdit shorts …). La Basilique Saint-Pierre est la plus grande église de la chrétienté à travers l’histoire. The dome can be visited to enjoy the magnificent view of St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City and Rome, but they should dress modestly (eg not shorts …). The St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in Christendom throughout history.

 It’s a place where angels fear to tread; where criminals, frauds and mysterious corpses turn up as regularly as rats in the metro. The Institute for Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican bank, was set up in 1942 by Pope Pius XII to manage the vast Vatican finances. Often referred to as the world’s most secret bank, the operation is run by a CEO and overseen by five cardinals who report directly to the Pope.
The bank’s official role is to safeguard and administer property intended for works of religion or charity. The actual activities of the bank are somewhat different. They include money laundering for narcotics traffickers, bribery, skimming charitable funds to enrich priests, and tax evasion for wealthy Italians.
So starts off an article about the current woes of the Vatican Bank.  The Roman Catholic Church has been known for it’s greed for centuries;  that was one behind several of Martin Luther’s objections in the 1500s that lead directly to the Reformation.
The first known use of plenary indulgences was in 1095 when Pope Urban II remitted all penance of persons who participated in the crusades and who confessed their sins.  Later, the indulgences were also offered to those who couldn’t go on the Crusades but offered cash contributions to the effort instead.  In the early 1200s, the Church began claiming that it had a “treasury” of indulgences (consisting of the merits of Christ and the saints) that it could dispense in ways that promoted the Church and its mission.  In a decretal issued in 1343, Pope Clement VI declared, “The merits of Christ are a treasure of indulgences.”

A photo I made from a picture from Madre Pascalina Lehnert, who owned it and gave me copyright rights. She writes that Pope Pius XII, who disliked most paintings of himself, saw this picture in a much larger version and said, “this is actually me”. ~~ r Ambrosius007 (talk)

This ancient history comes more modern:

Peter’s Pence was revived in 1859 and was linked to appeals for military support. These donations had begun in the seventh or eighth century in England and were a type of tribute collected from the laity for the pope as their monarch. The new Peter’s Pence came from “both clergy and laity, the rich and powerful, including the pretender to the French throne, Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, Austrian archdukes, and Roman princes, as well as the poor.”2 In addition, Catholics from all over the world volunteered to fight in the pope’s army.

Being dependent on the generosity of others did not sit well with the popes and their curia (the bureaucracy running the Vatican) during this period. So when Benito Mussolini’s offer of $1 billion (in 2006 dollars 3) and independent sovereignty for the Vatican City State in return for the Church’s support of his dictatorship was made in 1929, the deal was accepted. Besides, since there were no more European monarchies with power, communism was atheistic and the Vatican abhorred democracy as the form of government through which it had lost its land and as a bad influence on a subservient laity, Catholic officials supported fascism anyway, so much so that every European fascist country, save Germany, was Catholic.

The Church and the pro-Catholic press have always insisted that the money provided by the 1929 Lateran Treaty was reparations for the Papal States, but that makes as much sense as the colonies compensating King George III after winning American independence.

Pope Pius XI hired a layman, financial genius Bernardino Nogara, to handle the windfall. Historian, John Pollard quotes 4 author, J. Gollin, stating that Nogara agreed to take the position on two conditions:
1.    That he not be restricted by religious or doctrinal considerations in his investment-making.
2.    That he be free to invest funds anywhere in the world.

“The papacy was now financially secure. It would never be poor again,” is the oft-quoted statement by Pollard.5 “From June 1929 onwards, the investments of the Vatican, following the strategy of Bernardino Nogara, moved into the financial markets of the world.”6 The Vatican was now also allied with the 1%, men with no allegiance to any nation, cause, or group save themselves.

Bernardinonogara.jpg ‎(228 × 294 pixels, file size: 15 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Source. Image taken circa 1912.

And the Vatican proceeded to invest these monies in it’s usual way — completely secretly.

Research in old archives, however, reveals more of the truth. Companies House files disclose that British Grolux Investments inherited its entire property portfolio after a reorganisation in 1999 from two predecessor companies called British Grolux Ltd and Cheylesmore Estates. The shares of those firms were in turn held by a company based at the address of the JP Morgan bank in New York. Ultimate control is recorded as being exercised by a Swiss company, Profima SA.

British wartime records from the National Archives in Kew complete the picture. They confirm Profima SA as the Vatican’s own holding company, accused at the time of “engaging in activities contrary to Allied interests”. Files from officials at Britain’s Ministry of Economic Warfare at the end of the war criticised the pope’s financier, Bernardino Nogara, who controlled the investment of more than £50m cash from the Mussolini windfall.

Nogara’s “shady activities” were detailed in intercepted 1945 cable traffic from the Vatican to a contact in Geneva, according to the British, who discussed whether to blacklist Profima as a result. “Nogara, a Roman lawyer, is the Vatican financial agent and Profima SA in Lausanne is the Swiss holding company for certain Vatican interests.” They believed Nogara was trying to transfer shares of two Vatican-owned French property firms to the Swiss company, to prevent the French government blacklisting them as enemy assets.

In the 1970s and 1980s, there were some bad investments made with Mafia funds:

The IOR or Institute for Religious Works (snickering is allowed) commonly referred to as the Vatican Bank, was reorganized into its current form by Pope Pius XII in 1942. Since almost every mainstream media report about the IOR refers to the Banco Ambrosiano scandal, most are already aware that in the late 1970s and early 80s the IOR had a criminal partnership with the Ambrosiano and that its president, Roberto Calvi, was hanged from Blackfriar’s Bridge in London. Although no one was ever convicted, the Italian government tried several members of the Mafia for Calvi’s murder so the motive is generally understood that out of the 1.3 billion investor dollars which were lost, a lot of that was mob money.

Innocent people also were murdered:
Jan. 29, 1979 – Judge Emilio Alessandrini, Milanese magistrate investigating the Ambrosiano.
Mar. 20, 1979 – Mino Picorelli, journalist who had named Vatican officials involved.
July 1979 – Milanese lawyer Giorgio Ambrosoli investigating Michele Sindona.
Oct 1979 – Rome investigating security agent Lt. Col. Antonio Varisco and his driver.
Apr. 27, 1982 – Roberto Rosone, manager of Banco Ambrosiano, survived being gunned down.
Jun 16, 1982 – Calvi’s secretary, Graziella Corrocher, “suicided” from a 4th floor window.
Oct. 2, 1982 – Giuseppe Dellachia, Ambrosiano bank executive also “suicided” from upper story window.

This same article continues:

In the 2002 RICO suit filed by five state insurance commissioners against the Holy See for money laundering,   statements showed two lawyers, three priests, two monsignors, one bishop, one archbishop and four cardinals – in fact every single Vatican employee or person with close ties to the Vatican approached by Frankel [Martin Frankel wanted to launder money he had defrauded from American insurance companies through the IOR]or his agents – were willing to launder a convicted swindler’s money without hesitation or moral reservation.


Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, an Italian economist, banker and member of Opus Dei, was appointed in April 2009 as president of the IOR “with a mandate to turn the troubled bank around and help ‘facilitate transparency‘ with an eye toward quashing rumors that the bank was a den of iniquity. The Vatican hoped that through Gotti Tedeschi’s guidance, the tiny city-state could finally earn a coveted spot on the global Financial Action Task Force ‘white list’ of states whose financial practices can be trusted.”

Pope Benedict XVI signed a Monetary Agreement with the European Union dated December 17, 2009. Under its provisions, the Vatican is required to implement EU “legal acts and rules” as regards “prevention of money laundering, prevention of fraud and counterfeiting of cash and non-cash means of payment, medals and tokens and statistical reporting requirements” as covered by Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament. The deadline for implementation was December 31, 2010.

Then last year, in May 2012, a book came out that exposed the ongoing fraud, money laundering: “His Holiness” by by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.  He used the information from Vatileaks along with information gleaned from other sources to expose the whole hot mess to the world.  Of course, the Vatican denounced it as criminal privacy invasion.

Pope Benedict XVI has already appointed a commission of cardinals to investigate the “Vatileaks” scandal, which erupted earlier this year with the publication of leaked memos alleging corruption and mismanagement in Holy See affairs and internal squabbles over its efforts to comply with international anti-money laundering norms.

I write this in March, 2013, and the Vatican Bank is in serious trouble.  And has been for at least a year.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone

The pope’s bankers faced another bitter setback early this year when JPMorgen closed the IOR’s transfer account in Milan. In explaining its decision, the American bank wrote to Rome in mid-February that strict anti-money-laundering regulations no longer permit “additional deposits or withdrawals via account No. 1365.”

Meanwhile, the situation back at IOR headquarters was becoming increasingly unchristian. While Gotti Tedeschi lost support from above, Cardinal Secretary of State Bertone took care to see that Benedict’s decree was watered down. In the new version, it says that monitoring of the Vatican bank is only permissible with the consent of Bertone himself. Cardinal Nicora, the man originally assigned to become the Vatican’s new financial watchdog, was not pleased. In a letter to Bertone written soon after the change, Nicora complained that, with it, “we are taking a step back and remaining a tax haven.”

Pope Benedykt XVI (2010-10-17) born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on 16 April 1927

Is this what brought Benedict to resign?  It might have been enough on it’s own.  But there are other issues that he failed to deal with as well.  But they will be another blog entry.

What’s the Deal With Israel?

This discussion has nothing to do with the ethnic or religious Jews throughout the world.  It is restricted to the actions of the government of the nation of Israel.

[For the record:  I have partial ethnic Jewish ancestry.  My Jewish ancestors were slaves on an estate in Alsace.  They were the “engines” for the canal boats on the property.  They came to America during the Napoleonic purges, hiding among the Mennonites.  One of the 3 brothers who escaped ended up in Algiers instead of America. Their surname was “Fournier” which means “ferryman” in English.]

In the Bible, Genesis 12:3, God tells Abraham:

And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

And during my lifetime, American Evangelical Christianity has interpreted that to mean that anything the nation of Israel does has the rubber stamp of approval from God.  [I don’t believe this.  I believe that if they commit wrongful acts, they will be in trouble with both God and Karma.]  But this is the undercurrent for the frantic support of Israel in the USA by the people.

Yesterday, this article found it’s way into my line of sight:

An Israeli bus company is launching new bus lines that will effectively separate Jews and Arabs traveling from the West Bank into central Israel. Although the official word is that the new bus lines are only meant to help decrease overcrowding, Ynet News talked to several drivers who said that if Palestinians try to board the “Israeli lines” they’ll be asked to leave. And although the bus lines are supposed to be for everyone, their existence was only advertised in Palestinian villages in the West Bank through flyers in Arabic.

The new bus lines come after reports last year that Israel’s transportation ministry was looking into setting up new bus lines after complaints from settlement residents that Palestinians on their buses constituted a security risk, notes Haaretz.  The new buses will not go into the settlements, which Palestinians are not allowed to enter.

“Obviously, everyone will start screaming ‘apartheid’ and ‘racism’ now,” one driver told Ynet. “This really doesn’t feel right, and maybe [the ministry] should find a different solution, but the situation right now is impossible.”

I agree — it IS ‘apartheid’ and another solution should be found.  But it won’t be.  The national agenda is to take over all of the area that was designated “Palestine” by the British after they destroyed the Ottoman Empire.  Just looking at the maps proves that.

Just what rights do the two competing groups have?  According to the League of Nations Charter:

Paragraph 3 of the Preamble would then conclude as follows (vide the words italicised in the Draft-;

” and whereas recognition lias thereby (i.e., by the Treaty of Sevres) been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine, and to the grounds for reconstituting their National Home in that country.”

Simultaneously the Zionists pressed for the concession of preferential rights for themselves in respect of public works, &c, in Article 11.

It was felt unanimously, and was agreed by Mr. Balfour, that there was no ground for making this concession, which ought to be refused. . .

During the last few hours a telegram has been received from Sir H. Samuel, urging that, in order to facilitate the raising of loans by the Palestine Administration, which will otherwise be impossible, words should be added to Article 27, providing that on the termination of the Mandate, the future Government of Palestine shall fully honour the financial obligations incurred by the Palestinian Administration during the period of the Mandate. This appears to be a quite reasonable demand, and I have accordingly added words (italicised at the end of Article 27) in order to meet it. With this explanation, therefore, I hope that the Mandates in the form now submitted may be formally passed and forwarded to the Council of the League.

C. OF K. November 30, 1920.

But that is not the final word on the subject, such things never are.  This is from the Declaration of Establishment of State of Israel:

WE DECLARE that, with effect from the moment of the termination of the Mandate being tonight, the eve of Sabbath, the 6th Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948), until the establishment of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948, the People’s Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People’s Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called “Israel”.

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

“It will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex” has been the problem.  It hasn’t happened that way.  Palestinians have been treated as second-class members of society.  Palestinian women are treated worse than the men.  Palestinian property and lives are for the taking.  To the point of building ghetto walls around Jewish cities and Palestinian settlements, turning Gaza into a prison State, and now, separate bus lines.  And Jewish refugees from Africa are treated as badly as the Palestinians.

And the Nation of Israel is extremely paranoid and warmongering.  Admittedly they have reason to be, they are surrounded by countries who have vowed to never accept them.  But they create more problems with their paranoia than they solve.

Israeli PM Binyamin “Chicken Little” Netanyahu tried to scaremonger about Iraq in 2002, as his contribution to the Anglo-American war of aggression on that country. “there is no question whatsoever,” Netanyahu said, “that Saddam” was seeking nuclear weapons. He said that Israeli intelligence reported to him that Russian scientists and North Korea were on site and actively aiding this phantom nuclear weapons program.

There was no Iraqi nuclear weapons program in 2002; it was dismantled in the early 1990s by United Nations inspectors. There were none of the chemical or biological weapons Netanyahu spoke of. No Russians. No North Koreans. Bupkes.

And now he’s pushing WWIII on us by claiming that Iran has nukes.  Should the USA believe him?  Millions do.  And are clamoring for the blood of the Iranian people, based solely on Mr. Netanyahu’s say-so.

Then there is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.  It is a super PAC that protects Israel’s interests.  Right now they are pushing for Israel to get special status, so if they go to war with Iran, to be exempt from our American budget sequester.  Which is totally NOT in American interests.

How are they getting this done?  Well, as of 2012, 13 Senators and 27 Congressmen are joint American/Israeli citizens.  


Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Former state attorney general who defeated Republican Linda E. McMahon for the seat vacated by Chris Dodd. Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue, Boies Schiller & Flexner, Cablevision Systems, Belfer Management, Tudor Investment. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: Lawyers/Law Firms, Securities and Investment, retirees, real estate, leadership PACs. Committee Assignments: none yet.

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Reelected against the well-funded Carly Fiorina; in the Senate since 1992. Top 5 Contributors: EMILY’s List, Girardi & Keese, University of California, Time Warner, Cotchett, Pitre &McCarthy. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: lawyers/law firms, retirees, TV/music/movies, womens issues, Democrats/liberals. Committee Assignments: Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Environment and Public Works (chair); Foreign Relations

Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)

Formerly a member of the House, Cardin was first elected to the Senate in 2006. Top 5 Contributors: Johns Hopkins University, DLA Piper, Constellation Energy, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Goldman Sachs. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: lawyers/law firms, real estate, retirees, health professionals, “pro-Israel.” Committee Assignments: Budget; Environment and Public works; Foreign relations; Judiciary, Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

In the Senate since 1992. Top 5 Contributors: PG&E corp, DeBartolo Development, Northrop Grumman, Walt Disney Co, Gallo Winery. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: lawyers/law firms, retirees, real estate, TV/movies/music, securities & investment. Committee Assignments: Appropriations; Judiciary; Rules and Administration.

Al Franken (D-MN)

First elected to the Senate in 2008. Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue (Democratic PAC), General Electric, University of Minnesota, Time Warner, Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: lawyers/law firms, TV/movies/music, Democrats/liberals, Retirees, securities and investment. Committee Assignments: Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Herb Kohl (D-WI)

Elected to the Senate in 1988. A multimillionaire, owner of the Milwaukee Bucks (basketball). Top 5 Contributors: Herb Kohl for U.S. Senate, RE Loewenberg Capital Management, SC Johnson & Son, Safety-Kleen Systems, Tudor Investment. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: Democrats/liberal, finance, chemical and related manufacturing, waste management, securities and investment. Committee Assignments: Appropriations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Judiciary

Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)

Oldest serving senator, in his fifth non-consecutive term. Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue (Democratic PAC), Vector Group, Carella, Byrne et al, Cantor Fitzgerald LP, Apollo Advisors. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: lawyers/law firms, real estate, securities & investment, Democrats/iberals, retirees. Committee Assignments: Appropriations; Commerce, Science and Transportation; Environment and Public Works

Joseph Lieberman (Independent-CT)

In the Senate since 1988, Lieberman became an independent after his defeat in 2006 primary at the hands of anti-war candidate (and IT millionaire) Ned Lamont. Top 5 Contributors: United Technologies, Sempra Energy, Purdue Pharma, UBS AG, Lehman Brothers. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: securities & investment, real estate, “pro-Israel,” lawyers/law firms, retirees. Committee Assignments: Armed Services; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (chair); Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Carl Levin (D-MI)

In the Senate since 1979. Top 5 Contributors: Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Ford Motor Co, General Motors, Cerberus Capital Management, Guardsmark LLC. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: lawyers/law firms, retirees, “pro-Israel,” real estate, Democrats/liberals. Committee Assignments: Armed Services (chair); Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Bernard Sanders (Independent-VT)

Genuine independent, self-proclaimed socialist, and one-man filibuster, Sanders has been in the Senate since 2006, following 16 years in the House. Top 5 Contributors: eScription Inc, Baron and Budd, Plumbers/Pipefitters Union, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Communications Workers of America. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: retirees, Democrats/liberals, lawyers/law firms, building trade unions, transportation unions. Committee Assignments: Budget, Energy and Natural Resources; Environment and Public Works; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Veterans’ affairs

Charles Schumer (D-NY)

Schumer was first elected in 1998 after serving for 18 years in the House. Top 5 Contributors: Paulson & Co, Paul, Weiss et al, Weitz &Luxenberg, Credit Suisse Group, Ernst & Young. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: securities & investment, lawyers/law firms, real estate, finance, TV/music/movies. Committee Assignments: Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Finance; Judiciary; Rules and Administration (chair)

Ron Wyden (D-OR)

In the Senate since 1996. Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue (Democratic PAC), Nike, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Berkshire Hathaway, Foxkiser. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: lawyers/law firms, securities & investment, health professionals, real estate, hospitals/nursing homes. Committee Assignments: Budget, Energy and Natural Resources; Finance; Judiciary

Michael Bennet (D-CO)

Bennet’s mother is Jewish, and a Holocaust survivor. Appointed to the Senate in January 2009 to fill the seat left vacant by Ken Salazar when he joined the Obama administration, Bennet won first full term in 2010. Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue (Democratic PAC), Brownstein, Hyatt et al, Blackstone Group, Comcast Corp, Union Pacific Corp. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: Democrats/liberals, lawyers/law firms, securities & investment, retirees, real estate. Committee Assignments: Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


Gary Ackerman (D-NY)

Top 5 Contributors: Castagna Realty, Associated Capital, Crystal Window and Door Systems, Tilles Investment, Abrams, Fensterman et al. Top 5 Industries: Real estate, lawyers/law firms, securities and investment, public sector unions, retirees. Committee Assignments: Financial Services, Foreign Affairs

Shelley Berkley (D-NV)

Top 5 Contributors: MGM Resorts, Bergman Walls & Assoc, Wynn Resorts, Harrah’s Entertainment, Apollo Advisors. Top 5 Industries: health professionals, casinos/gambling, lawyers/law firms, “pro-Israel,” real estate. Committee Assignments: Foreign Affairs, Ways and Means

Howard Berman (D-CA)

Top 5 Contributors: Walt Disney, News Corp, Time Warner, National Amusements Inc, Sony. Top 5 Industries: TV/movies/music, lawyers/law firms, “pro-Israel,” retirees, computers/Internet. Committee Assignments: Foreign Affairs (Chairman), Judiciary

Eric Cantor (R-VA)

Minority Whip for the House’s new Republican majority. Top 5 Contributors: Altria Group, Comcast Corp, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Goldman Sachs, KKR & Co. Top 5 Industries: securities & investment, insurance, real estate, health professionals, pharmaceuticals/health products. Committee Assignments: Ways and Means

David Cicilline (D-RI)

Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue (Democratic PAC), Waterson Terminal Services, B&D Holding, Di Marco Drago e C Sapa, Gilbane Inc, Edwards, Angell et al. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, retirees, real estate, Democrats/liberals, Construction services. Committee Assignments: None yet.

Stephen Cohen (D-TN)

Top 5 Contributors: FedEx, American Crystal Sugar, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Machinists/Aerospace Workers, UNITE HERE. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, labor unions, health professionals, air transport, retirees. Committee Assignments: Judiciary, Transportation and Infrastructure.

Susan Davis (D-CA)

Top 5 Contributors: Qualcomm Inc, American Federation of Teachers, General Dynamics, National Assn of Realtors, SAIC Inc. Top 5 Industries: public sector unions, women’s issues, defense electronics, lawyers/law firms, health professionals. Committee Assignments: none yet

Ted Deutch (D-FL)

Top 5 Contributors: Flo-Sun Inc, Lipman law firm, Marc Bell Capital Partners, Sun Capital partners, Akin, Gump et al. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, real estate, “pro-Israel,” retired, securities & investment. Committee Assignments: None yet.

Eliot Engel (D-NY)

Top 5 Contributors: Verizon, Monroe College, St. Georges University, Passion Growers, American Assn for Justice. Top 5 Industries: health professionals, “pro-Israel,” education, lawyers/law firms, telephone utilities. Committee Assignments: Energy and Commerce, Foreign Affairs

Bob Filner (D-CA)

Top 5 Contributors: Machinists/Aerospace Workers Union, Plumbers/Pipefitters Union, Accurate Engineering, Duty Free Americas, Anakam. Top 5 Industries: health professionals, building trade unions, transportation unions, public sector unions, real estate. Committee Assignments: Transportation and Infrastructure; Veterans’ Affairs (former chair)

Barney Frank (D-MA)

Top 5 Contributors: FMR corp, ActBlue (Democratic PAC), New York Life Insurance, Weiss Capital, Promontory Financial Group. Top 5 Industries: securites & investment, insurance, real estate, lawyers/law firms, retirees. Committee Assignments: Financial Services (former chair)

Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ)

Top 5 Contributors: University of Arizona, EMILY’S List, Lewis & Roca, Grant & Eisenhofer, Boeing Co. Top 5 Industries: retirees, lawyers/law firms, leadership PAC’s, women’s issues, candidate committees. Committee Assignments: Armed Services; Foreign Affairs; Science

Jane Harman (D-CA)

Top 5 Contributors: Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Co, SpaceX, Physical Optics Corp, Blue Dog PAC. Top 5 Industries: “pro-Israel,” lawyers/law firms, retirees, securities & investment, TV/movies/music. Committee Assignments: Energy and Commerce; Homeland Security

Steve Israel (D-NY)

Top 5 Contributors: Rosen Partners, Cablevision Systems, Stidd Systems, Virtu Financial, Estee Lauder Companies. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, real estate, securities & investment, manufacturing and distributing, health professionals. Committee Assignments: Appropriations

Sander Levin (D-MI)

Top 5 Contributors: Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Honeywell International, American Fed of State/County/Municipal Employees, Northwestern Mutual, Comcast Corp. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, insurance, health professionals, real estate, hospitals/nursing homes. Committee Assignments: Armed Services (former chair); Homeland Security; Business and Entrepreneurship

Nita Lowey (D-NY)

Top 5 Contributors: JPMorgan Chase, Weiler Arnow Management, Goldman Sachs, American Assn for Justice, American Federation of Teachers. Top 5 Industries: securities & investment, retireees, lawyers/law firms, real estate, “pro-Israel.” Committee Assignments: Appropriations

Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)

Top 5 Contributors: Glenwood Management, Newmark Knight Frank, New York Eye & Ear Infirmary, American Assn for Justice, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, real estate, securities & investment, construction services, transportation unions. Committee Assignments: Judiciary; Transportation and Infrastructure

Jared Polis (D-CO)

Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue (Democratic PAC), Sandler Family Supporting Foundation, Intensity Ventures, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Del Mar Partnership. Top 5 Industries: Democrats/liberals, securities & investment, retirees, real estate, lawyers/law firms. Committee Assignments: Education and Labor; Rules

Steve Rothman (D-NJ)

Top 5 Contributors: Inserra Supermarkets, BAE Systems, Laborers Union, Teamsters Union, Lockheed Martin. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, health professionals, defense/aerospace, pharmaceuticals/health products, transportation unions. Committee Assignments: Appropriations, Science

Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

Top 5 Contributors: American Assn for Justice, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, American Fed of State/County/Municipal Employees, American Optometric Assn, OB-GYN PAC. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, health professionals, labor unions, retirees, “pro-Israel.” Committee Assignments: Energy and Commerce

Allyson Schwartz (D-PA)

Top 5 contributors: New York Life Insurance, New Democrat Coalition, Berger and Montague, Hankin Management, Investment Co Insurance. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, health professionals, securities & investment, women’s issues, pharmaceuticals/health products. Committee Assignments: Budget; Ways and Means

Adam Schiff (D-CA)

Top 5 Contributors: Blue Dog PAC, Honeywell International, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Operating Engineers Union, Parsons Corp. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, health professionals, retirees, TV/movies/music, building trade unions. Committee Assignments: Appropriations; Judiciary

Brad Sherman (D-CA)

Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue (Democratic PAC), National Assn of Realtors, Specialty Merchandise Corp, Credit Union National Assn, Carpenters & Joiners Union. Top 5 Industries: real estate, TV/movies/music, lawyers/law firms, building trade unions, retirees. Committee Assignments: Financial services; Foreign Affairs; Judiciary

Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)

Top 5 Contributors: Flo-Sun Inc, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, National Air Traffic Controllers ASsn, American Fed of State/County/Municipal Employees, American Assn for Justice. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, health professionals, public sector unions, building trade unions, transportation unions. Committee Assignments: Appropriations; Judiciary

Henry Waxman (D-CA)

Top 5 Contributors: Vivendi, News Corp, Gilead Sciences, American Fed of State/County/Municipal Employees, LHC group. Top 5 Industries: TV/movies/music, health professionals, hospitals/nursing homes, health services/HMOs, lawyers/law firms. Committee Assignments: Energy and Commerce (former chair)

Anthony Weiner (D-NY)

Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue (Democratic PAC), M&R management, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Mason Tenders District Council of NY, National Community Pharmacists Assn. Top 5 Industries: real estate, lawyers/law firms, securities & investment, Democrats/liberals, TV/movies/movies. Committee Assignments: Energy and Commerce; Judiciary

John Yarmuth (D-KY)

Top 5 Contributors: Kindred Healthcare, Brown-Forman Group, General Electric, National Thoroughbred Racing Assn, Lazard Ltd. Top 5 Industries: retirees, health professionals, lawyers/law firms, public sector unions, hospitals/nursing homes. Committee Assignments: Budget; Ways and Means

Here is a list compiled by Dan Eden and posted in FB:

So, you might ask, are there any other dual Israel-American citizens who hold US government positions that could compromise American security? Yes. Consider the following list that I obtained on the web:

Michael Mukasey

Recently appointed as US Attorney General. Mukasey also was the judge in the litigation between developer Larry Silverstein and several insurance companies arising from the destruction of the World Trade Center.

Michael Chertoff

Former Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, at the Justice Department; now head of Homeland Security.

Richard Perle

One of Bush’s foreign policy advisors, he is the chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board. A very likely Israeli government agent, Perle was expelled from Senator Henry Jackson’s office in the 1970’s after the National Security Agency (NSA) caught him passing Highly-Classified (National Security) documents to the Israeli Embassy. He later worked for the Israeli weapons firm, Soltam. Perle came from one the above mentioned pro-Israel thinktanks, the AEI. Perle is one of the leading pro-Israeli fanatics leading this Iraq war mongering within the administration and now in the media.

Paul Wolfowitz

Former Deputy Defense Secretary, and member of Perle’s Defense Policy Board, in the Pentagon. Wolfowitz is a close associate of Perle, and reportedly has close ties to the Israeli military. His sister lives in Israel. Wolfowitz came from the above mentioned Jewish thinktank, JINSA. Wolfowitz was the number two leader within the administration behind this Iraq war mongering. He later was appointed head of the World Bank but resigned under pressure from World Bank members over a scandal involving his misuse of power.

Douglas Feith

Under Secretary of Defense and Policy Advisor at the Pentagon. He is a close associate of Perle and served as his Special Counsel. Like Perle and the others, Feith is a pro-Israel extremist, who has advocated anti-Arab policies in the past. He is closely associated with the extremist group, the Zionist Organization of America, which even attacks Jews that don’t agree with its extremist views. Feith frequently speaks at ZOA conferences. Feith runs a small law firm, Feith and Zell, which only has one International office, in Israel. The majority of their legal work is representing Israeli interests. His firm’s own website stated, prior to his appointment, that Feith “represents Israeli Armaments Manufacturer.” Feith basically represents the Israeli War Machine. Feith also came from the Jewish thinktank JINSA. Feith, like Perle and Wolfowitz, are campaigning hard for this Israeli proxy war against Iraq.

Lawrence (Larry) Franklin

The former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst with expertise in Iranian policy issues who worked in the office of Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith and reported directly to Feith’s deputy, William Luti, was sentenced January 20, 2006, “to more than 12 years in prison for giving classified information to an Israeli diplomat” and members of the pro-Israel lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Franklin will “remain free while the government continues with the wider case” and his “prison time could be sharply reduced in return for his help in prosecuting” former AIPAC members Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, [who] are scheduled to go on trial in April [2006]. Franklin admitted that he met periodically with Rosen and Weissman between 2002 and 2004 and discussed classified information, including information about potential attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq. Rosen and Weissman would later share what they learned with reporters and Israeli officials.” (source:

Edward Luttwak

Member of the National Security Study Group of the Department of Defence at the Pentagon. Luttwak is reportedly an Israeli citizen and has taught in Israel. He frequently writes for Israeli and pro-Israeli newspapers and journals. Luttwak is an Israeli extremist whose main theme in many of his articles is the necessity of the U.S. waging war against Iraq and Iran.

Henry Kissinger

One of many Pentagon Advisors, Kissinger sits on the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board under Perle. For detailed information about Kissinger’s evil past, read Seymour Hersch’s book (Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House). Kissinger likely had a part in the Watergate crimes, Southeast Asia mass murders (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos), Installing Chilean mass murdering dictator Pinochet, Operation Condor’s mass killings in South America, and more recently served as Serbia’s Ex-Dictator Slobodan Milosevic’s Advisor. He consistently advocated going to war against Iraq. Kissinger is the Ariel Sharon of the U.S. Unfortunately, President Bush nominated Kissinger as chairman of the September 11 investigating commission. It’s like picking a bank robber to investigate a fraud scandal. He later declined this job under enormous protests.

Dov Zakheim

Dov Zakheim is an ordained rabbi and reportedly holds Israeli citizenship. Zakheim attended Jew’s College in London and became an ordained Orthodox Jewish Rabbi in 1973. He was adjunct professor at New York’s Jewish Yeshiva University. Zakheim is close to the Israeli lobby.

Dov Zakheim is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and in 2000 a co-author of the Project for the New American Century’s position paper, Rebuilding America’s Defenses, advocating the necessity for a Pearl-Harbor-like incident to mobilize the country into war with its enemies, mostly Middle Eastern Muslim nations.

He was appointed by Bush as Pentagon Comptroller from May 4, 2001 to March 10, 2004. At that time he was unable to explain the disappearance of $1 trillion dollars. Actually, nearly three years earlier, Donald Rumsfeld announced on September 10, 2001 that an audit discovered $2.3 trillion was also missing from the Pentagon books. That story, as mentioned, was buried under 9-11’s rubble. The two sums disappeared on Zakheim’s watch. We can only guess where that cash went.

Despite these suspicions, on May 6, 2004, Zakheim took a lucrative position at Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the most prestigious strategy consulting firms in the world. One of its clients then was Blessed Relief, a charity said to be a front for Osama bin Laden. Booz, Allen & Hamilton then also worked closely with DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is the research arm of the Department of Defense.

Judicial Inc’s bio of Dov tells us Zakheim is a dual Israeli/American citizen and has been tracking the halls of US government for 25 years, casting defense policy and influence on Presidents Reagan, Clinton, Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. Judicial Inc points out that most of Israel’s armaments were gotten thanks to him. Squads of US F-16 and F-15 were classified military surplus and sold to Israel at a fraction of their value.

Kenneth Adelman

One of many Pentagon Advisors, Adelman also sits on the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board under Perle, and is another extremist pro-Israel advisor, who supported going to war against Iraq. Adelman frequently is a guest on Fox News, and often expresses extremist and often ridiculus anti-Arab and anti-Muslim views. Through his racism or ignorance, he actually called Arabs “anti-Semitic” on Fox News (11/28/2001), when he could have looked it up in the dictionary to find out that Arabs by definition are Semites.

I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby

Vice President Dick Cheney’s ex-Chief of Staff. As chief pro-Israel Jewish advisor to Cheney, it helps explains why Cheney is so gun-ho to invade Iran. Libby is longtime associate of Wolfowitz. Libby was also a lawyer for convicted felon and Israeli spy Marc Rich, whom Clinton pardoned, in his last days as president. Libby was recently found guilty of lying to Federal investigators in the Valerie Plame affair, in which Plame, a covert CIA agent, was exposed for political revenge by the Bush administration following her husband’s revelations about the lies leading to the Iraq War.

Robert Satloff

U.S. National Security Council Advisor, Satloff was the executive director of the Israeli lobby’s “think tank,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Many of the Israeli lobby’s “experts” come from this front group, like Martin Indyk.

Elliott Abrams

National Security Council Advisor. He previously worked at Washington-based “Think Tank” Ethics and Public Policy Center. During the Reagan Adminstration, Abrams was the Assistant Secretary of State, handling, for the most part, Latin American affairs. He played an important role in the Iran-Contra Scandal, which involved illegally selling U.S. weapons to Iran to fight Iraq, and illegally funding the contra rebels fighting to overthrow Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. He also actively deceived three congressional committees about his involvement and thereby faced felony charges based on his testimony. Abrams pled guilty in 1991 to two misdemeanors and was sentenced to a year’s probation and 100 hours of community service. A year later, former President Bush (Senior) granted Abrams a full pardon. He was one of the more hawkish pro-Israel Jews in the Reagan Administration’s State Department.

Marc Grossman

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. He was Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources at the Department of State. Grossman is one of many of the pro-Israel Jewish officials from the Clinton Administration that Bush has promoted to higher posts.

Richard Haass

Director of Policy Planning at the State Department and Ambassador at large. He is also Director of National Security Programs and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He was one of the more hawkish pro-Israel Jews in the first Bush (Sr) Administration who sat on the National Security Council, and who consistently advocated going to war against Iraq. Haass is also a member of the Defense Department’s National Security Study Group, at the Pentagon.

Robert Zoellick

U.S. Trade Representative, a cabinet-level position. He is also one of the more hawkish pro-Israel Jews in the Bush (Jr) Administration who advocated invading Iraq and occupying a portion of the country in order to set up a Vichy-style puppet government. He consistently advocates going to war against Iran.

Ari Fleischer

Ex- White House Spokesman for the Bush (Jr) Administration. Prominent in the Jewish community, some reports state that he holds Israeli citizenship. Fleischer is closely connected to the extremist Jewish group called the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidics, who follow the Qabala, and hold very extremist and insulting views of non-Jews. Fleischer was the co-president of Chabad’s Capitol Jewish Forum. He received the Young Leadership Award from the American Friends of Lubavitch in October, 2001.

James Schlesinger

One of many Pentagon Advisors, Schlesinger also sits on the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board under Perle and is another extremist pro-Israel advisor, who supported going to war against Iraq. Schlesinger is also a commissioner of the Defense Department’s National Security Study Group, at the Pentagon.

David Frum

White House speechwriter behind the “Axis of Evil” label. He lumped together all the lies and accusations against Iraq for Bush to justify the war.

Joshua Bolten

White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Bolten was previously a banker, former legislative aide, and prominent in the Jewish community.

John Bolton

Former UN Representative and Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Bolton is also a Senior Advisor to President Bush. Prior to this position, Bolton was Senior Vice President of the above mentioned pro-Israel thinktank, AEI. He recently (October 2002) accused Syria of having a nuclear program, so that they can attack Syria after Iraq. He must have forgotten that Israel has 400 nuclear warheads, some of which are thermonuclear weapons (according to a recent U.S. Air Force report).

David Wurmser

Special Assistant to John Bolton (above), the under-secretary for arms control and international security. Wurmser also worked at the AEI with Perle and Bolton. His wife, Meyrav Wurmser, along with Colonel Yigal Carmon, formerly of Israeli military intelligence, co-founded the Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri),a Washington-based Israeli outfit which distributes articles translated from Arabic newspapers portraying Arabs in a bad light.

Eliot Cohen

Member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board under Perle and is another extremist pro-Israel advisor. Like Adelman, he often expresses extremist and often ridiculus anti-Arab and anti-Muslim views. More recently, he wrote an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal openly admitting his rascist hatred of Islam claiming that Islam should be the enemy, not terrorism.

Mel Sembler

President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. A Prominent Jewish Republican and Former National Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee. The Export-Import Bank facilitates trade relationships between U.S. businesses and foreign countries, specifically those with financial problems.

Steve Goldsmith

Senior Advisor to the President, and Bush’s Jewish domestic policy advisor. He also served as liaison in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (White House OFBCI) within the Executive Office of the President. He was the former mayor of Indianapolis. He is also friends with Israeli Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert and often visits Israel to coach mayors on privatization initiatives.

Adam Goldman

White House’s Special Liaison to the Jewish Community.

Joseph Gildenhorn

Bush Campaign’s Special Liaison to the Jewish Community. He was the DC finance chairman for the Bush campaign, as well as campaign coordinator, and former ambassador to Switzerland.

Christopher Gersten

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families at HHS. Gersten was the former Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Husband of Labor Secretary.

Mark Weinberger

Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for Public Affairs.

Samuel Bodman

Deputy Secretary of Commerce. He was the Chairman and CEO of Cabot Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts.

Bonnie Cohen

Under Secretary of State for Management.

Ruth Davis

Director of Foreign Service Institute, who reports to the Office of Under Secretary for Management. This Office is responsible for training all Department of State staff (including ambassadors).

Daniel Kurtzer

Ambassador to Israel.

Cliff Sobel

Ambassador to the Netherlands.

Stuart Bernstein

Ambassador to Denmark.

Nancy Brinker

Ambassador to Hungary

Frank Lavin

Ambassador to Singapore.

Ron Weiser

Ambassador to Slovakia.

Mel Sembler

Ambassador to Italy.

Martin Silverstein

Ambassador to Uruguay.

Lincoln Bloomfield

Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs.

Jay Lefkowitz

Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Ken Melman

White House Political Director.

Brad Blakeman

White House Director of Scheduling.

America has defended Israel, had their back for a very long time.  We have gone into war for and with them.  Should we be letting them drag us into war with Iran?  With our trashed economy paying for it?

How is this happening?  At the very least, these individuals should recuse themselves from anything having to do with Israel.  It is a huge potential conflict-of-interest.   Things are fine as long as the interests of American and Israel coincide — but what happens when they don’t?  I think it’s time to require our public servants in high office to be American citizens ONLY.  If these individuals wish to continue to serve in high office in the USA, let them renounce their Israeli citizenship.

Just How Many Countries Are Being Bombed by the USA Now?

[A troll came by my political Page on FaceBook today.  He was rather in-my-face about his jingoism, and in total denial that our interventions do much more harm than good.  He challenged me on several issues.  The one I took up had to do with drone warfare and carpet bombing in several African/ Middle Eastern countries.]

Countries attacked by bombing, sabotage or attempted government overthrow since World War Two.

How many countries is the USA at war with, or occupying post-war?  Or using drones to combat “Al Qaeda”?  Or “Islamists”?  Or whoever today’s Bogeyman is?

___ Political Map of North Africa, the Middle East, and the Arabian Peninsula

Let’s start at the west coast of Africa and work East:


THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: The potential for terrorist violence against U.S. interests and citizens remains high in Morocco. Moroccan authorities continue to disrupt groups seeking to attack U.S. or Western-affiliated and Moroccan government targets, arresting numerous individuals associated with international terrorist groups. With indications that such groups still seek to carry out attacks in Morocco, it is important for U.S. citizens to be keenly aware of their surroundings and adhere to prudent security practices such as avoiding predictable travel patterns and maintaining a low profile.

But apparently no active warfare.

Western Sahara:

Western Sahara has been ruled by Morocco since 1975 when, after Franco’s death, the Spanish left and allowed Morocco and Mauritania to enter. An International Court of Justice advisory opinion issued at the time did not find “any tie of territorial sovereignty” between Western Sahara, Morocco, and Mauritania, though it also noted the “difficulty of disentangling the various relationships existing in the Western Sahara region at the time of colonisation”.

Resistance warfare, but not directly aimed at the USA.


The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Mauritania, and urges extreme caution for those who choose to travel to Mauritania, because of activities by terrorist groups in the region, including al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). AQIM continues to demonstrate its intent and ability to conduct attacks against foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens. This replaces the Travel Warning for Mauritania, issued May 24, 2012, to update information on security incidents and remind travelers of security concerns.

We are not actively at war there, yet.


THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: Public demonstrations, political gatherings, and student protests are relatively common in Senegal, both in Dakar and in outlying regions, particularly on Friday afternoons. In the past, these events have sometimes turned violent. . Due to the potential for violence, U.S. citizens should avoid political gatherings and street demonstrations, and maintain security awareness at all times.

While the threat of terrorism in Senegal is minimal, it should be noted that Senegal shares porous borders in the north and east with both Mauritania and Mali. Terrorist attacks involving members of Al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have occurred in Mauritania and Mali in recent years. In June 2012, AQIM made a public statement indicating that they regard Senegal as a hostile country for planning to send troops to Mali as part of a regional stabilization force supporting the ECOWAS mission in Mali (MICEMA). Thus far, Senegal has been spared any direct terrorist attacks, but does remain vulnerable due to porous borders, increased regional instability, and the increased terror activities of AQIM. In December 2010, two members of AQIM were confronted along the border with Senegal as they were attempting to flee Mauritania and one member detonated his suicide vest prior to capture. U.S. citizens planning to visit the border regions of Senegal are encourage to exercise additional caution and to maintain situational awareness at all times.

Also not at war, yet.


Islamic extremists carved out a large portion of the north last year after a chaotic military coup.

They banned music, smoking, drinking and watching sports on television, and destroyed historic tombs and shrines in the region. World leaders feared that the al Qaeda-linked militants would turn the area into a terrorist haven.

France says it has 4,000 soldiers in Mali. Its troops are fighting alongside nearly 3,800 African soldiers, it said, a number expected to go up.


The Department of State urges U.S. citizens who travel to Algeria to evaluate carefully the risks posed to their personal safety. There is a high threat of terrorism and kidnappings in Algeria. This kidnapping threat was noted in the Department of State’s Worldwide Caution dated July 18, 2012. Although the major cities are heavily policed, attacks could still potentially take place. The majority of terrorist attacks, including bombings, false roadblocks, kidnappings, and ambushes occur in areas of the country east and south of Algiers.

Al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is active and operates throughout Algeria. In February 2011, AQIM claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of an Italian citizen and her Algerian driver; and also the suicide bomb attack at the Algerian Military Academy in Cherchell, 48 miles west of Algiers in August 2011. The Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) is also active in Algeria. In October 2011, they kidnapped two Spanish nationals and an Italian national from a refugee camp 1,088 miles southwest of Algiers in Tindouf. In March 2012, MUJAO claimed responsibility for the car bomb attack at an Algerian military base 1,196 miles south of Algiers in Tamanrasset and a similar car bomb attack at another base 478 miles south/southeast of Algiers in Ouargla. In January 2013, an AQIM-linked organization: “Those Who Sign in Blood”, led by Moktar Belmoktar, attacked a gas production facility near In Amenas, Algeria. The group held dozens of western and Algerian hostages for four days that resulted in the deaths of dozens of hostages, including three U.S. citizens. Mokhtar Belmokhtar remains a threat and is at large in the region.

No active war with the USA.  But the situation in Mali is spilling into Algeria.


On September 14, 2012 the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Tunisia, following the attack on the U.S. Embassy and the American Cooperative School in Tunis. While the Consular Section is open for public services, the Embassy’s ability to respond to emergencies involving U.S. citizens throughout Tunisia is limited.

They attacked our Embassy and we are not at war with them?  They must no have anything our government wants.


More than seven months after the U.N. Security Council authorized NATO forces to protect demonstrators in Libya, the aerial bombing campaign operation that helped depose longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi ended here Monday at midnight.

“I think what has happened in Libya sends a very clear signal to autocratic regimes all over the world,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters earlier in the day after arriving in Tripoli from Brussels, Belgium.

It has been destroyed by the carpet bombing during the NATO invasion.  And it had nothing to do with Mr. Qaddafi being autocratic.  It was because he was building an African Central Bank with debt-free gold currency-the gold dinar– and was going to switch from Petrodollars to gold dinars to sell oil.


The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Niger, and urges extreme caution due to the military conflict in neighboring Mali and continued kidnapping threats against Westerners in Niger. . . .

On January 11, the Malian military launched military operations against terrorist groups that have been in control of northern Mali. As a result, terrorist groups have stepped up their rhetoric calling for additional attacks or kidnappings against Westerners, particularly those whose countries are linked to support for international military intervention in Mali. We encourage U.S. citizens to exercise caution, remain vigilant, maintain situational awareness at all times, and take appropriate security precautions to ensure personal safety.

Not at war, yet.


The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Chad and recommends citizens avoid all travel to eastern Chad and border regions. Because of security concerns the U.S. Embassy in Chad reviews all proposed travel by official U.S. government personnel to areas outside the capital, N’Djamena, and its immediate surroundings before approving such arrangements. U.S. citizens affiliated with humanitarian relief efforts similarly should review security precautions and consider measures to mitigate exposure to violent crime and other threats. U.S. citizens residing in Chad should exercise caution throughout the country.

Not at war, yet.

Sudan/ South Sudan:

Successive political crises have been the hallmark of the interim period that followed the conclusion of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Sudan Government, represented by the National Congress Party (NCP), and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in January 2005. Since the end of the interim period and the secession of the South, Sudan has been witnessing a tense political climate and a perpetual crisis(es) on an unprecedented scale. Now, there is sharp “vertical” polarization separating the government, on the one hand, and both the political and armed opposition, civil society organizations, and clusters of young citizens, on the other hand. As well, there are “horizontal” rifts and divisions within political parties. This includes the ruling party and the Islamic Movement (IM), (which, ironically, was responsible for bringing this very party to power), and the armed movements, the reported grumbling and restlessness within the military, with the escalation of tribal and ethnic loyalty feuds, and the rise of Jihadists and Muslim extremist groups. This acute political polarization is manifested in the raging armed conflict and escalating deterioration of the security situation in Darfur, the ongoing war in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile, the declining economy and rampant corruption, the strained relationship with the South, and with the looming specter of war between the two Sudans. In addition, there is the lingering issue of how to deal with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Both sections of this country have every appearance of a failed State.  It is totally involved in its own civil war.  Not safe, but not at war with the USA.  [Although the United Nations is involved.]


The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens traveling to or living in Egypt to the continuing possibility of political and social unrest, incidents of which have led to recent violence. U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security. This Travel Alert expires on May 4, 2013.

Political unrest, which intensified prior to the constitutional referendum in December 2012 and the anniversary in 2013 of Egypt’s 25th January Revolution, is likely to continue in the near future. Additionally, violent protests followed the January 2013 sentencing of persons involved in deaths and injuries at a February 2012 soccer match in Port Said. These demonstrations have, on occasion, degenerated into violent clashes between police and protesters, resulting in deaths, injuries, and extensive property damage. Participants have thrown rocks and Molotov cocktails and security forces have used tear gas and other crowd control measures against demonstrators. There are numerous reports of the use of firearms as well. In at least three cities, curfews have been imposed. While violent protests have occurred in major metropolitan areas, including downtown Cairo, Alexandria, and Port Said, the security situation in most tourist centers, including Luxor, Aswan, and Red Sea resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh, continues to be calm.

There have been no direct attacks on U.S. citizens; however, in isolated instances, Westerners and U.S. citizens have been caught in the middle of clashes and demonstrations.

President Hosni Mubarak was sacrificed by his NATO allies, including the USA, during the Arab Spring.  Egypt had been as secular a State as any Islamic country in the region.  The Military took control during the uprising.  When the uprisings renewed, elections were held, and President Muhammad Mursi won, along with the Muslim Brotherhood.  The native Coptics and Jews have been either killed or sent packing.  The country is no longer secular.  The people are again rising up to gain democracy.

While the USA watches closely, we are not at war.

Israel is America’s ally.  We defend their interests before our own.  And that will be another day’s blog.

Lebanon: “Since 1973, Lebanon has been in a state of war with Israel.”  The ally of the USA in the Middle East.

On October 24, 2012, five days after the deadly car bombing in Beirut that killed Lebanese chief of intelligence Wissam Al-Hassan, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland announced that the American government will back the Lebanese political opposition coalition’s call for a new cabinet free of Syrian influence as well as assist Lebanon in the investigation of the bombing.

Palestine/ Gaza:

The United States has halted payment of the roughly $420 million per year it gave to the Palestinians, most of it channeled through USAID to Palestinian NGOs. This figure included:

  • $160 million in current or planned projects;
  • $130 in infrastructure projects, including road and building construction;
  • $45 million in direct assistance to the PA;
  • $20 million for private enterprise development;
  • $17 million in political support programs;
  • $13 in civil society development;
  • $10 million in judicial reform programs;
  • $7 million in vocational training; and
  • $4 million for community policing.

Between 1994 and 2005, the United States gave 17 percent of the PA’s total foreign aid. Now, however, in addition to cutting off aid, the U.S. Treasury Department has banned U.S. nationals from doing business with the Hamas-led PA.

That sounds like “sanctions” to me.


One day after the Syrian Foreign Minister offered to talk with rebels, the fighting goes on. Video posted online Monday and Tuesday purports to show heavy shelling in Damascus and around Syria’s second city, Aleppo.

The fighting in Syria is spilling over into Iraq.

Inside the room, two casually dressed Americans were rolling up maps from the previous meeting. The Americans introduced themselves as CIA officers and said they were there to help with the overthrow of Syria’s authoritarian president, Bashar al-Assad.

This has turned into a proxy war, with Putin in Russia supporting Assad, and Obama in America supporting the rebels.  While a secular Middle Eastern nation and it’s people are destroyed.  Oh yeah, the USA is at war there.


Twelve years after the USA invaded Iraq to stop Saddam Husein from selling oil in Euros, Iraq is destroyed.  Most areas still are without basic utilities:  water, sewage, electricity.  American coalition troops kill and rape at will.  Monsanto owns the agriculture.  Radioactivity from “depleted uranium casings” – uranium 238 – has caused such extreme rates of birth defects that women in some areas are being told to not have children.

The USA is still actively occupying Iraq.


Iran is being “sanctioned” for atomic weapons it doesn’t have.  When Japan offered to enrich elements to create medical isotopes for Iran, Fukushima Daiitchi blew up.  What is the real reason Iran is in trouble with the USA?  It is selling it’s oil in every currency EXCEPT US Dollars.  The Petrodollar is the world’s reserve currency.  And the Western elite are willing to take us into WWIII to keep it there.


Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of heroin.  It is also rich in minerals, including uranium, lithium, gold and oil.  And there is an oil pipeline going through it, the TAPI.

The USA had control of Afghanistan, gave it over to the Muhajadin, who quickly morphed into the Taliban.  The Taliban declared the poppy to be anti-Islam.  There was 1 year with no crop — so suddenly the CIA asset Al Qaeda became our enemy, to justify returning the poppy.

Afghanistan opium poppy cultivation, 1994-2010 (hectares). Information from Afghanistan Opium Survey 2010.

We have treated Afghanistan the way we did Iraq.  Only more so.


Pakistan is supposed to be our ally.  But we are constantly bombing them.  This one I haven’t figured out.

There are a couple of other countries that we are constantly bombing as well, for no apparent reason.  Bahrain, Somalia, Yemen.