Bulletin N° 630
Subject: ON ‘THE EMOTIONAL PLAGUE’, OR ‘HOMO NORMALIS’ IN THE MIDST OF WAR, INEQUALITY, EXPLOITATION, EPIDEMICS, CLIMATE CHANGE, AND SADISTIC NARCISSISM.
14 October 2014
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
In his book, The Freudian Left (1969), Stanford University professor of intellectual history, Paul Robinson, attempted a critical presentation of three 20th century intellectuals who were influenced by Marxist and Freudian traditions. These thinkers were: Wilhelm Reich, MD; the anthropologist Geza Roheim, and the political philosopher Herbert Marcuse. His essay on Reich is particularly interesting, as Reich was a student of Freud’s in Vienna and whose break from the Master caused considerable scandal in international psychiatric circles. Robinson recounts the history of this scandal and offers a clear portrait of the young Dr. Reich as he developed his independence from the conservative International Psychoanalytic Association, from which he was expelled in 1934.
The Stanford professor judges the last two decades of Reich’s career in a surprisingly off-handed manner: “If Reich’s political ideas were utopian, his biological and cosmological speculations can only be called insane.” (p.59) He then goes on to qualify his statement,
Yet a strange logic underlies even his most extreme formulations, and the student who has immersed himself in Reich’s early work will find the science of Orgonomy curiously familiar. In this brief consideration of his final biological writings, I want to stress those strands of continuity which link Reich’s early psychological and sociological theories to his ultimate philosophical vision. . . .
Since the 1930’s it has become standard practice to distinguish between two major traditions within psychoanalysis: ‘biologically-oriented’ orthodox Freudianism on the one hand, and ‘culturally-oriented’ neo-Freudian revisionism on the other, with ego-psychologists straddling the fence between them. Crudely stated, the issue between these two schools has been the relative importance of cultural as opposed to instinctual factors in psychic development. The neo-Freudians have accused the orthodox of ignoring the social and economic influences of personality formation, while the orthodox have denounced the revisionists for soft-pedaling the unpleasant facts of sexuality and aggression. One of the many anomalies of Reich’s thought is that it defies classification in terms of this well-established dichotomy. As a result, Reich has remained a complete enigma to both camps. The neo-Freudians wanted very much to claim him as one of their own. After all, Reich was among the first to recognize the importance of social factors in psychic development. He broke with Freud’s narrow ‘biological’ emphasis and directed attention to ‘the whole personality,’ including its cultural environment. And yet it was Reich who pushed psychoanalysis to the utmost biological extreme, reducing all psychic life to a manifestation of bodily streaming and spasms. From the beginning he had been fascinated by Freud’s penchant for explaining psychic phenomena in terms of energy concepts derived from the natural sciences. In the final phase of his career, Reich simply pursued Freud’s hypothesis of sexual energy to its logical ‘scientific’ conclusion: to the horror of Freudians and neo-Freudians alike, he discovered the physical reality of libido.
The line separating the psychic from the somatic had never been sharply drawn in Reich’s thought. Even in Die Funktion des Orgasmus (1927) he had argued that libido stasis could lead to physical as well as mental disease. . . . If the dualism of mind and body was to be resolved at all, it would be resolved in favor of the body. Sexual energy was the very concrete product of ‘inner secretory processes.’ Thus the physical disease brought about by the damming up of libido had just as ‘real’ a cause as that resulting from infection or mechanical failure.
Although the orgasm theory of the mid-1920s already contained the seeds of Reich’s later biological preoccupations, it was only during the 1930’s that he turned his full attention to the physiological foundation of psychic life. . . .
Sexual excitation was found to be identical with an increase of electrical charge on the surface of the organism, particularly in the genitals, while anxiety and other unpleasurable emotions corresponded to a withdrawal of electrical energy into the center of the body. Freud’s concept of libido as a measure of psychic energy was ‘no longer a mere simile.’ Libido was electricity, and the orgasm a spectacular electric storm. Reich nicely summed up the results of his experiments when he wrote [in The Function of the Orgasm (1942) that], ‘We are all simply a complicated electric machine.’(pp.59-63)
Robinson observed that Reich was alienated from other political refuges of psychoanalytic persuasion, such as Erich Fromm, Theodor Adorno, and Herbert Marcuse. He no longer identified with his Jewish origins, and, since his arrival in the United States in 1939, he found a new intellectual freedom, at least during the first years of his residence.
Reich’s basic biological discoveries were made before he set foot on American soil. His intellectual activities in the new world consisted principally in a fantastic elaboration of the cosmological and, ultimately, religious implications of the discovery of the Orgone. He published book after book in which ever more extravagant claims were made for his new science. He respected non e of the traditional academic boundaries. In fact, he disregarded even the restrictions of his own definitions. Orgone energy had been defined originally as the form of energy unique to life, but in 1951 Reich announced that it was the primordial stuff out of which all reality evolved. Matter itself was created through the sexual embrace or ‘super-imposition’ of two Orgone energy streams. The galactic systems, the aurora borealis, hurricanes, and gravity were likewise various manifestations of Orgone energy. In brief, Reich propounded a unified-field theory more ambitious than even the most undisciplined physicist would have imagined. Every aspect of reality from schizophrenia to the Milky Way was encompassed within his system. Only nuclear energy retained its autonomy. In fact, Reich came to conceive the history of the cosmos as a titanic struggle between Orgone energy and atomic energy. Remarkable as it seems, the inveterate monist had arrived at a dualistic cosmology not unlike Manichaeanism. The eternal antagonism between Eros and Thanatos, of which Freud spoke so movingly in the final pages of Civilization and Its Discontents, now received its scientific confirmation. The struggle of love against hate was only the psychological manifestation of a more basic cosmic antipathy. . . .
The most remarkable feature of this meta-intellectual history of Western civilization was Reich’s new-found sympathy for religion. He had begun his career as a Voltairian anticlerical. Yet in the end he concluded that religion, reactionary though it might be, was the legitimate precursor of his own science. . . . Reich abandoned his Enlightenment prejudices in favor of an interpretation of religion as psychologically and sociologically ‘functional.’ Religion was not simply an opiate, a piece of trickery with which the rich prevented the poor from claiming their just share of the wealth of the earth. On the contrary, religion represented a positive good, since it alone had preserved man’s awareness of the forces of life. (pp.67-69)
In 1954, Reich came under investigation of the Federal Food and Drug Administration for renting as a cure for cancer the Orgone Energy Accumulator across state lines. In 1956, he was brought to trial for disregarding a court order and sentenced to two years in prison. He died eight months later in the federal penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, on 3 November 1957.
One of the most moving accounts of clinical treatment for schizophrenia that I have ever read is found in the third edition of Reich’s book, Character Analysis, Chapter XVI, which is entitled “The Schizophrenic Split”. His patient, “F.” is an Irish-American female, 32 years of age, who was brought to Reich’s clinic in early 1942. After more than forty visits, she was eventually ‘cured” by a remarkable process which involved a whole series of vicissitudes and reversals. Reich’s account of these sessions and the pattern which their relationship took is a remarkable story of courage, hope and ultimately of triumph. But most important was the learning process which Reich describes step by step in each of these encounters by way of systematic observation and theoretical reflection. His record of detailed observations is supplemented by comments on the theoretical significance of his discoveries.
The patient was in constant disequilibrium between rational integration of her feelings and schizophrenic delusion. I had expected that her schizophrenic process would develop fully when her self-perception made contract with her bodily excitation in full force. My expectation proved correct.(p.478)
It is a major objective of this case history to describe the psychotic crisis in relation to the orgonotic streaming and emotions of the biosystem. It is of the utmost importance to concentrate one’s attention on this single fact, and not to be distracted by the maze of schizophrenic mechanisms and delusionary ideas. We must penetrate to the common denominator which characterizes the schizophrenic breakdown, regardless of the contents of the delusions. The center of the schizophrenic breakdown is determined by overwhelming orgonotic plasma streaming which flood a biosystem incapable of coping with the emotional storm.
Psychiatry has understood that the psychotic system is an attempt at reconstruction of the lost EGO (=WORLD). But it could not tell why this world of the EGO breaks down. The psychotic reconstruction is a result, and not a cause of the disease. This must be kept well in mind. Also, the ‘narcissistic fixation in childhood’ is not a cause of the breakdown but only one of the conditions under which the breakdown occurs. The core of the problem is the biophysical split between excitation and perception and the resulting intolerance of the biosystem of strong emotions.
The patient went through the following three distinct periods at the end and after the treatment: 1. Great well-being and sanity; 2. Sudden catatonic breakdown; 3. Full recovery, with free dome from psychosis for over 5 years after treatment.(pp.484-485)
Once the unitary function of the organism is split, the biophysical processes in the organism will be perceived as a force alien to the ego, in the form of hallucinations or delusions of various kinds. The specific mechanisms which distinguish a delusion in general paresis from a delusion in puerperal fever or a delusion in dementia praecox are not import5ant here. What is important, however, is the basic dissociation of the perceiving apparatus from the biophysical system of excitation.(p.489)
After the treatment was completed, the patient stayed in contact with Dr. Reich. On August 4, 1948, Reich received a letter from “F.” which began:
I am writing to tell you how very much I was impressed by your book, “Listen, Little Man!” I cannot write I enjoyed the book since what you wrote about the “Little Man” is too sadly true, and I find myself fitting into those shoes.
I want you to know that the antagonism and even hatred which I showed toward you and your work during therapy, stemmed from my knowledge (at times even conscious) that I was getting too close to the break-through of my body into feeling and perhaps love. This was something I could not permit –I had severely controlled my body all my life and even consciously damned it to extinction –treating my body as dirt, hating it and neglecting and torturing myself in punishment for early feelings and masturbation. This same hate I had for my body was hate which I projected onto you. Forgive me for this, Doctor, this hate has done a great deal of damage to my body and mind. I would like to tell you that in s0pite of my ‘maliciousness and pettiness’ your work with me did me tremendous good, I am aware of what harm I am doing to myself and others around me and why I am doing these things. Also, I find myself thinking and feeling that my body wants to be healthy and that my retreat into the ‘ivory tower’ of mental illness only changed the color of the picture, but not the picture itself. I might make myself mentally ill to be something ‘special’ to be certain that my body will keep far in the background, but I m gradually finding out that a healthy ‘active’ body is more pleasure –physically and mentally.
So, I think you will see that I am getting there, however slowly, through your help. The process is slow since I still have a great number of tensions and sometimes blocks which I can’t seem to do anything about. Often my small courage fails and then the dark picture of hate, delusions, and suffering comes back but not permanently so, thanks for everything and I pray to God I have courage.
At the time of publication of this report in the third edition of Character Analysis (December 1948), seven years had passed since the therapeutic experiment and Reich’s patient had stayed healthy. Her continued sanity, wrote Reich at the end of 1948 depends on whether homo normalis will change his way of living and thinking. The answer is highly uncertain.
Meanwhile, Wilhelm Reich’s efforts of vulgarize his discoveries and to heighten self-perception deserves attention. Below is an excerpt of the introduction of his 1945 book :
Listen, Little Man! (1945) written by Wilhelm Reich and illustrated by William Steig
Listen, Little Man! Is a human and not a scientific document. It was written in the summer of 1945 for the Archives of the Orgone Institute without the intention of publishing it. It was the result of the inner storms and conflicts of a natural scientist and physician who watched, over decade first naively, then with amazement and finally with horror, what the Little Man in the street does to himself; how he suffers and rebels, how he esteems his enemies and murders his friends; how, wherever he gains power as a ‘representative of the people,’ he misuses this power and makes it into something more cruel than the power which previously he had to suffer at the hands of individual sadists of the upper classes.
This “Talk” to the Little Man was the quiet answer to gossip and defamation. For decades, the emotional plague has tried again and again to kill orgone research (note well: not to prove it incorrect, but to kill it by defamation). Orgone research carries a very heavy responsibility for human life and health. The fact justifies the publication of this ‘Talk’ or a historical document. It seemed necessary for the ‘man in the street’ to learn what goes on in a scientific workshop and also to learn what he looks like to an experienced psychiatrist. He must learn to know reality, which alone can counteract his disastrous craving for authority. He must be told clearly what responsibility he carries, whether he works, loves, hates or gossips. He must learn how he becomes a Fascist, be it the black or red variety. He who fights for the safeguarding of the living and the protection of our children must needs be against the red as well as the black Fascist. Not because today the red Fascist, like the black Fascist before him, has a murderous ideology, but because he turns lively and healthy children into cripples, robots and moral idiots; because with him, the state comes before right, the lie before truth, war before life; because the child, and the safeguarding of the living in the child, remains our only hope. There is only one loyalty for the educator and physician: that to the living in the child and the patient. If this loyalty is strictly adhered to, the great questions of ‘foreign politics’ also find their simple solution.
This ‘Talk’ does not imply that one should make it the pattern of one’s existence. It describes storms in the emotional life of a productive, happy individual. It does not want a, convince or win anybody. It pictures experience as a painting pictures a thunderstorm. The reader is not asked to like it. He may read it or not. It does not contain any intentions or programs. All it wants to do is to win for the researcher and thinker the right to personal reaction, which one has never denied, to the poet or philosopher. It is a protest against the secret and unrecognized intention of the emotional plague to shoot its poison arrows at the hard-working researcher, from a safe ambush. It shows what the emotional plague is, how it functions and retards progress. It also attests to the confidence in the tremendous un-mined treasures, which lie in the depth of ‘human nature,’ ready to be put in the service of fulfilling human hope.
The living, in its social and human interrelationship, is naively kindly and thus, under prevailing conditions, endangered. It assumes that the fellow human also follows the laws of the living and is kindly , helpful and giving. As long as there is the emotional plague, this natural basic attitude that of the healthy child or the primitive, becomes the greatest danger in the struggle for a rational order of life. For the plague individual also ascribes to his fellow beings the characteristics of his own thinking and acting. The kindly individual believes that all people are kindly and act accordingly. The plague individual believes that all people lie, swindle, steal and crave power. Clearly, then, the living is at a disadvantage and in danger. Where it gives to the plague individual it is sucked dry and then derided or betrayed; and where it trusts it is cheated.
That’s the way it has always been. It is time for the living a, become hard when hardness is needed in the struggle for its safeguarding and development; in doing so, it will not lose its kindness if it sticks to the truth courageously. There is hope in the fact that, among millions of industrious, decent individuals then an always only just a few pestilential individuals who cause murderous mischief by appealing to the dark nod dangerous impulses in the structure of the armored mass individual and lend them to organized political murder. There is only one antidote to the germs of the emotional plague in the mass individual: his own feeling of living life. The living dots not ask for power but for its proper role in human life. It is based on the three pillars of love, work and knowledge.
He who has to protect the living against the emotional plague has to learn to use the right to free speech as we enjoy it in America at least as well for the good as the emotional
plague misuses it for the bad. Granted equal right in the depression of opinion, the rational finally must win out. This is an important hope.(pp.9-12)
The latter-day judgments of Reich’s research in the annals of intellectual history are certainly of interest, but in my mind the jury is still out in the case of Wilhelm Reich. Any judgment of his work --his theories and his methods-- which brought him to what he thought were important empirical discoveries must take into account the social context in which he lived, which included very real political dangers.
Was he really insane? Perhaps, but were not Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Rene Descartes (1596-1650), and what about Sir Issac Newton (1642-1727)? Geniuses driven mad was a subject which Reich also analyzed. We do know, however, that he had little respect for the behavior of homo normalis, and we must presume that the ‘respectable’ professionals in today’s society usually have nothing but contempt for the work of Wilhelm Reich, the defender of schizophrenics, the convicted felon who died on the floor of a federal penitentiary prison cell after being persecuted by US federal government officials for many years.
The 11 items below offer CEIMSA readers a chance to evaluate their own reactions to events which have been precipitated by ‘normal’ people living in our world today.
Item A., from Counter Punch, is a article by Ben Norton revealing a recent poll which indicates that almost half of the population in Israel wish Obama death on his 53rd Birthday (after all that he has done for them!).
Item B., from Information Clearing House, is a short video exposé of The Carlyle Group’s power to bring Washington lawmakers to their knees.
Item C., from the Real News Network, is the first part of a video discussion on “liberal Islamophobia” in the US, with Dr. Deepa Kumar speaking with Paul Jay.
Item D., from NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller, founder of News from the Underground, is an article first published by The Institute of Science in Society describing the massive contamination of Tokyo after the Fukushima catastrophe.
Item E., from Jim O’Brien of Historians Against War, is a series of recommended recent articles.
Item F., from Information Clearing House, is an article where Fidel Castro criticizes the New NATO Chief, Jens Stoltenberg.
Item G., from Democracy Now!, is a return to Gary Webb’s historic report “Inside The Dark Alliance” (1996), covering the CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion + a TRNN critique of the new Hollywood film on Webb’s career, "Kill the Messenger".
Item H., from Mark Crispin Miller, is an article first published by The National Association for Children and Safe Technology on WiFi sickness in American public schools.
Item I., from Truth Out, is an article by John Pilger on the truth history of US bombing missions from Pol Pot in Cambodia to ISIS in Iraq.
Item J., from Mark Crispin Miller, is an article by Andrew Emett analyzing employee health benefits cuts by the mercantile giant, Wal-Mart, as part of a larger pattern of corporate profit-hunting across the United States.
Item K., from Reader Supported News, is an article first published in Rolling Stone magazine by Molly Knefel, answering the question: “Why Are Police Using Military-Grade Weapons in (US) High Schools?”
And finally, we invite CEIMSA readers to view the classic film by Paddy Joe Shannon,
"Capitalism & Other Kids' Stuff"
Professor of American Studies
University of Grenoble-3
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
From Counter Punch :
Subject: Live by the Sword; Die by the Sword.
According to a recent poll, 46% of Israelis “said they wanted to give Barack Obama an envelope containing the Ebola virus as a present for his 53rd birthday.”
Happy Birthday Mr. President!
Israelis: Send Obama Ebola
by Ben Norton
From Information Clearing House :
Date: 16 September 2014
Subject: The Carlyle Group.
I defy you to watch this 48 minute documentary and not be outraged about the depth of corruption and deceit within the highest ranks of our government.
Exposed: The Carlyle Group
Shocking documentary uncovers the subversion of Americas democracy
From The Real News Network :
Date: 10 October 2014
Subject: Liberal Islamophobia.
If neoliberal globalization characterizes the economic logic of our age, the "war on terror" has come to define its political logic. Kumar began her research into the politics of empire shortly after the tumultuous events of 9/11.
Her second book titled Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire (Haymarket Books, 2012), looks at how the "Muslim enemy" has historically been mobilized to suit the goals of empire.
Islamophobia and a Challenge to Bill Maher –
Deepa Kumar on Reality Asserts Itself (1/3)
From Mark Crispin Miller :
Dates: 12 October 2014
Subject: Tokyo "not fit for habitation," doctor says, charging cover-up by WHO, IAEA, Japanese government.
Tokyo Contaminated & Not Fit for Habitation, Doctor Says
Posted by The Institute of Science in Society
All 23 districts of Tokyo contaminated with radiation, worse than at Chernobyl after the accident, and blood cells of children under ten are showing worrying changes; the WHO, the IAEA & the Japanese government cannot be trusted.
by Susie Greaves
In July 2014 Dr Shigeru Mita wrote a letter to his fellow doctors to explain his decision to move his practice from Tokyo to Okayama city in the West of Japan . In it, he appeals to their sense of duty to answer the anxieties of parents in Japan who do not believe the information coming from the authorities. He says “I must state that the policies of the WHO, the IAEA or the Japanese government cannot be trusted.” and “if the power to save our citizens and future generations exists somewhere, it does not lie within the government or any academic association, but in the hands of individual clinical doctors ourselves.”
Mita claims that all 23 districts of Tokyo are contaminated, with the eastern area worst affected — up to 4 000 Bq/kg. (The becquerel is a unit of radioactivity. One Bq is the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second.) These findings confirm what the nuclear physicist Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Nuclear Education found in 2012, when he picked up five random soil samples in Tokyo from between paving stones, in parks and playgrounds. The levels of contamination were up to 7 000 Bq/kg; in the US, anything registering these levels would be considered nuclear waste .
While practising in Tokyo, Mita also discovered changes in the white blood cells of children under 10.
Independent science & independent reporting in Japan outlawed
In December 2013, the Japanese parliament passed a bill whereby public officials and private citizens could face ten years in prison for divulging “special state secrets”, and journalists, five years, for seeking to obtain classified information. The bill is widely interpreted as a way of preventing sensitive information about Fukushima (among other topics) reaching the Japanese public and by extension the rest of the world .
The independent organisation Reporters without Borders has downgraded Japan in its world press freedom index from 22nd place in 2012, to 53rd in 2013 and to 59th in 2014, following the passing of the state secrets bill. Reporters without Borders say that Japan“has been affected by a lack of transparency and almost zero respect for access to information on subjects directly or indirectly related to Fukushima” .
Nuclear lobby put in charge
Back in December 2012, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) whose mission is to promote the peaceful uses of the atom, signed agreements with Fukushima Prefecture, Fukushima Medical University and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. These “Practical Arrangements” have in effect, handed over the management of the post-accident situation at Fukushima and its health consequences to the nuclear lobby. Among other clauses regarding cooperation and funding, we read that “The Parties will ensure the confidentiality of information classified by the other Party as restricted or confidential” .
But this should come as no surprise. Anyone who doubts the heavy hand of the nuclear lobby in the “management” (i.e. minimisation) of nuclear accidents should read the account by the physicist Bella Belbéoch entitled “Western responsibility regarding the health consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe in Belarus, the Ukraine and Russia” . The initial Soviet cover up of the accident is well known. Less well known are the “stages of submission” in which the IAEA forced the Soviets to accede to their demands to minimise estimates of the health effects of the accident. In a series of manipulations and bullying tactics, they forced the Soviet officials to divide their estimates of the health effects by a factor of 10. One Soviet delegate, Legassov, committed suicide, a few days after he capitulated to the IAEA demands, on the 26th April 1988, the second anniversary of the Chernobyl accident.
A travesty of reporting on risks and cancers
How has the nuclear lobby reacted to Fukushima? A preliminary assessment published in 2012 by the World Health Organisation (but actually emanating from the IAEA) managed to draw optimistic conclusions, while ignoring two critical groups, the workers at the TEPCO plant, and the people who were evacuated from the immediate area (See  WHO Report on Fukushima a Travesty SiS 55). Then in 2013, the UNSCEAR report  described the risks of people developing thyroid cancer, leukaemia and breast cancer as barely discernible, even though the rates of childhood thyroid cancer in Fukushima prefecture are already 40 times what would be expected . The UNSCEAR report has been criticised by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War because it consistently underestimates the radiation dose received, underestimates internal radiation, ignores the vulnerability of the human embryo to radiation, ignores hereditary effects, ignores the unreliability of the dose received by workers at the stricken plant, and only considers some cancers as potential health effects, whereas the experience of Chernobyl shows that every vital organ and system of the body is affected .
Raising the ‘safe’ limit of radiation
The Japanese people are faced with a government whose response to the dangers of the radiation was to increase the acceptable limit from 1 mSv/year to 20 mSv/year and who are now encouraging people to move back into areas that had previously been evacuated. (The millisievert is a unit of radiation dose. Before the Fukushima accident, Japan, like the rest of the world, respected the limit of 1 mSv/year recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP).) Meanwhile, the nuclear lobby wants to see the resumption of nuclear power in Japan as quickly as possible. This is not an atmosphere in which doctors are encouraged to report health effects that could be the result of radiation, and certainly not in Tokyo, whose residents have been led to believe that they have nothing to fear.
Changes in white blood cells in children
Mita began work as a general practitioner in Tokyo in the 1990s. In the letter to his colleagues explaining his decision to move his practice from Tokyo to Okayama City, he claims that contamination in the eastern part of Tokyo is 1000-4000 Bq/kg and in the western part, 300-1000Bq/kg. He compares these levels with Kiev, in Ukraine, after the accident at Chernobyl, of 500 Bq/kg, and with measurements taken before the 2011 Fukushima accident at Shinjuku, the site of the Tokyo municipal government of 0.5 – 1.5 Bq/kg. He says that
Tokyo should no longer be inhabited, and that those who insist on living in Tokyo must take regular breaks in safer areas.
Mita conducts thyroid ultrasound tests for parents who are concerned about the health of their children but he is now concerned about the results of another test on children under 10, the differential white blood cell count. This test is undergone routinely by workers in the nuclear industry who are exposed to radiation. Blood is produced in bone marrow, which is one of the organs most vulnerable to radiation. The white blood cells consist of five different kinds of cells, neutrophils, lymphocytes, eosinocytes, basophils and monocytes, and it is the relative numbers of these five cell types that is examined. Mita has found a decline in neutrophils in children under 10, in areas that are not considered to be highly contaminated or even contaminated at all. His patients come from Northern Kanto, the area around Tokyo and including Tokyo itself .
"The pediatricians’ general textbook says that the reference value of neutrophils for healthy children (6-12 years old) is between 3000 and 5000. 3000 is considered as the threshold value.” Mita says. “But the mean value of neutrophils of the children who have visited our clinics since the accident has decreased to 2500. … It is lower than the threshold value of 3000. I think this points at a serious problem."
Mita explains that although the decrease in neutrophil does not directly cause lowered immunity, it is “the last bastion of the immunity system” and could play a role in fatal illnesses such as septicaemia in the case of aggressive colds. “In the summer of 2011, there were many children with bloodshot eyes; and what we saw most were children with dark circles under the eyes. We also had increased occurrence of sinusitis. Previously, these patients got better soon after they were given proper treatment; however, we are seeing more cases of sinusitis accompanied with mild case of asthma continuing for longer periods. And when these children spend some time in the West, they get better. If at all possible, I would like them to move away from East Japan.”
In adults, he has found increased nosebleeds, hair loss, lack of energy, subcutaneous bleeding, visible urinary haemorrhage, skin inflammation, and coughs. He has found an increase in infectious diseases such as influenza, hand, foot and mouth diseases and shingles. “We also see more patients with diseases that had been rare before; for example, polymyalgia rheumatica is a disease common among those above age 50 and contracted by 1.7 people out of every 100,000. Before 3.11, [the date of the accident at Fukushima] we had one or less patient per year. Now, we treat more than 10 patients at the same time.” Dr Mita wonders “Could these be the same symptoms of muscle rheumatism that were recorded in Chernobyl?”
Finally, Mita says that the radioactive contamination of Tokyo is increasing because of the Japanese government’s policy of transporting radioactive waste from the Fukushima zone all over Japan for incineration or burial. The Japanese government and the nuclear authorities claimed that filters on the stacks of the incineration plants would remove most of the radioactivity, but this is not the case, and in the opinion of many, it is adding to the contamination. Arnie Gundersen, for instance says, “They are creating 100 to 1000 times more radioactive material by burning debris than keeping it in concentrated form” .
Mita is talking about his perceptions of the changes in health of a population living in an area that is not considered contaminated. It will be all too easy to dismiss his findings. He himself is not optimistic. He acknowledges that to prove any of his suspicions would require teams of doctors, and expensive research projects to compare groups of people, their radioactive contamination and the illnesses from which they suffer. That’s something simply beyond the reach of any single physician. In other words, “it’s impossible under the present state to collect the kind of data that would be printed in a prestigious science magazine. Still, as long as I know that something strange is clearly happening, I can’t just sit here doing nothing.”
And here is Professor Yablokov talking about the difficulties that doctors and scientists experienced in the Chernobyl territories, to prove a correlation between radiation and illness : “The demand by IAEA and WHO experts to require “significant correlation” between the imprecisely calculated levels of individual radiation […] and precisely diagnosed illnesses […] is not, in our view, scientifically valid. […] We believe it is scientifically incorrect to reject data generated by many thousands of scientists, doctors and other experts who directly observed the suffering of millions affected by radioactive fallout in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, as “mismatching scientific protocols.” It is scientifically valid to find ways to abstract the valuable information from these data.” Yablokov goes on to list the ways in which this could be done.
But it was not done in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, and, in this way, the true health consequences of the Chernobyl accident remain hidden. The 2 million people, including 500,000 children still living in the worst contaminated areas around Chernobyl suffer a myriad of illnesses. (According to the Ministry of Health and Sciences in Belarus in 2000, 85% of the children in the contaminated areas were ill, whereas that figure was 15% before the accident in 1986 .)
Mita has made a brave decision. The pressure on health professionals and other citizens in Japan to remain silent about the health consequences of Fukushima, will lead to a health catastrophe there — not now, but in the decades to come.
1. World Network for Saving Children from Radiation (2014). A Tokyo doctor who has moved to western Japan urges fellow doctors to promote radiation protection: A message from Dr Mita to his colleagues in Kodaira, Tokyo. Accessed 25 August 2014, http://www.save-children-from-radiation.org/2014/07/16/a-tokyo-doctor-who-has-moved-to-western-japan-urges-fellow-doctors-to-promote-radiation-protection-a-message-from-dr-mita-to-his-colleagues-in-kodaira-city-t/
2. ENENews (2012). Gunderson: Tokyo soil so hot it should be sent to nuclear waste dump – Really severe releases hit city. Accessed 25 August 2014, http://enenews.com/gundersen-tokyo-soil-hot-be-shipped-radioactive-dump).
3. “Japan whistleblowers face crackdown under proposed state secrets law.” Justin McMurray, Guardian, 5 December 2013. Accessed 25 August 2014,http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/05/whistleblowers-japan-crackdown-state-secrets
4. Reporters without Borders (2013). Press freedom index 2013: Dashed hopes after spring. Accessed 25 August 2014, http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2013,1054.html
5. Practical Arrangements between Fukushima Medical University and the International Atomic Energy Agency on Cooperation in the Area of Human Health. Accessed 25 August 2014,http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/energy/fukushima_2012/pdfs/fukushima_iaea_en_06.pdf
6. Belbéoch B. Responsabilités occidentales dans les conséquences sanitaires de la catastrophe de Tchernobyl, en Bélorussie, Ukraine et Russie. In Radioprotection et Droit nucléaire (eds. I Rens, J Jakubec, E George). Collection SEBES, 1998. English translation: Western responsibility regarding the health consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe in Belarus, the Ukraine and Russia. http://www.dissident-media.org/infonucleaire/western_responsability.html 25/8/14
7. Greaves S. WHO report on Fukushima a travesty. Science in Society 55 2012, 38-39.
8. United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. Sources, Effects and Risks of Ionizing Radiation. United Nations, New York, 2014. Accessed 25 August 2014,http://www.unscear.org/docs/reports/2013/13-85418_Report_2013_Annex_A.pdf
9. Wasserman H. Fukushima, the continuing catastrophe. The Ecologist, June 2014.http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2433355/fukushima_the_continuing_catastrophe.html
10. Physicians for Social Responsibility USA et al. Critical Analysis of the UNSCEAR Report “Levels and effects of radiation exposure due to the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East-Japan Earthquake and tsunami.” International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). Berlin, 2014. Accessed 25 August 2014, http://ippnw-students.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/UNSCEAR-Critique.pdf
11. World Network for Saving Children from Radiation. Dr Shigeru Mita addresses the need of blood examination among children in the Kanto area. 2013. Accessed 25 August 2014, http://www.save-children-from-radiation.org/2013/11/11/title-dr-shigeru-mita-addresses-the-need-of-blood-examination-among-children-in-the-kanto-area/
12. “Radioactive rubble reaction to haven in Japan.” Arnie Gundersen, Youtube. Accessed 25 August 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIr-QcsjKxE)
13. Yablokov AV, Nesterenko VB and Nesterenko AV. Consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe for public health and the environment 23 years later. Proceedings of the New York Academy of Sciences 1181, 2009, 318-326.
14. UN Human Rights Council. Seventh session. Point 3. A/HRC/7/NGO/33 22 February 2008.
15. Ho MW. Truth about Fukushima. Science in Society 55 2012,18-23.
16. Ho MW. Fukushima crisis goes global. Science in Society 61 2014, 4-9.
From Historians against War :
Date: 9 October 2014
Subject : Notes 10/9/14: Links to recent articles of interest.
Links to Recent Articles of Interest
By William Pfaff, TruthDig.org, posted October 7
By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com, posted October 7
By Paul R. Pillar, The National Interest blog, posted October 6
The author spent 28 years with the CIA and now teaches at Georgetown University in security studies.
Interview with Daniel Ellsberg by Barbara Koeppel, CommonDreams.org, posted October 6
By Philip J. Cunningham, Informed Comment blog, posted October 6
By Andrew J. Bacevich, Washington Post, posted October 3
The author, retired from teaching history at Boston Univesity, is now a fellow at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.
By Scott McConnell, The American Conservative, posted October 1
Subtitle is "Netanyahu tries a terrorist bait and switch, like the one that worked against Saddam."
By the National Security Archive, posted October 1
Includes links to the relevant documents
By Robert F. Worth, New York Review of Books, posted September 16
Review essay on books by Juan Cole and Shadi Hamid
This list was edited by Steve Gosch and Jim O'Brien, with thanks to Frank Brodhead, Mim Jackson, Rosalyn Baxandall, and an anonymous reader for suggesting articles that are included above.
Subject : Israel, the deadly myth.
Castro accused the U.S.-led Western alliance of promoting a “war of extermination” against the Russian Federation.
From Democracy Now! :
Date: 18 September 2014
Subject: The People’s Climate March in New York City.
Jeff Cohen, from Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, says Webb exposed how the CIA supported the right-wing Contras in Nicaragua by trafficking cocaine, leading to an epidemic of crack use in major US cities. See:
Journalist Gary Webb Gets the Last Word in the new Hollywood film, "Kill the Messenger"
Inside the Dark Alliance: Gary Webb on the CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion
From Mark Crispin Miller :
Dates: 11 October 2014
Subject: WiFi sickens teacher, students in Los Angeles (school permits no incident reports).
Los Angeles Unified School District Accommodates Teacher Who Fell Ill After Wireless Installation
were bleeding from the ears and nose and no incident reports were allowed by
the school states the teacher who required medical intervention.
The National Association for Children and Safe Technology, Oct 10, 2014
YouTube video: http://bit.ly/1vXgwAY (3 minutes)
PRLog - Oct. 10, 2014
- In the Fall of 2014, LAUSD, the second largest public school district in
the US, officially accommodated teacher Ms. Anura
Lawson by approving her request to have the Wi-Fi turned off in her classroom
during the 2014-2015 school year and alternatively approving a reassignment to
a different school site where Wi-Fi has yet to be installed.
The Middle School teacher reported that she fell seriously ill after a wireless system upgrade in her school in Spring 2014. She described her cardiac symptoms during a May 28, LAUSD Common Core Tech Project meeting. Ms. Lawson also stated, “The students are having nosebleeds and the main offices are refusing to do incident reports. I have had two seventh grade students bleeding out of their ears.” See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wghaMbzRnb4&feature=youtu.be
This is the first accommodation in a US public school system for microwave sickness.
Microwave sickness, also known as electro hypersensitivity (EHS), is not widely recognized in the US. However, physicians in many other countries are familiar with this medical condition and the diagnosis is more common. EHS symptoms include: headaches, dizziness, anxiety, rapid heart beat (tachycardia) and irregular heart beat (arrhythmia), ear and nose bleeds, tinnitus, red and irritated eyes, increased mucous and upper airway congestion, itchy skin rashes, abdominal pain, poor focus and attention, memory and sleep problems.
In March 2012, the Austrian Medical Association recognized and developed EHS treatment guidelines. In the United States, adverse effects were identified before 1988 when a US Air Force Review stated that "Experimental evidence has shown that exposure to low intensity radiation can have a profound effect on biological processes."
The LAUSD Board of Education went ahead with a wireless technology plan in February 2013, even after they were presented with numerous letters from many noted medical doctors and researchers, including the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, imploring them to use wired technology in the classroom because of the health impacts from wireless radiation. See http://wifiinschools.com/lausd-testimony.html
Wireless LAUSD classrooms typically employ 30+ devices (iPads) in addition to an industrial-sized router. These devices all emit microwave radiation and represent an unprecedented level of exposure to children.
Decades of accumulated research show wireless radiation damages neurological, immune, and reproductive systems in addition to increasing cancer risk. Professor Olle Johansson, Karolinksa Institute, Stockholm Sweeden, has stated that wireless radiation exposure studies have indicated “irreversible sterility within five generations.” As this damage is cumulative, the longer the radiation exposure, the greater the health impact over time.
"We are getting reports of headaches and cardiac issues from across the country. The time to act is now," stated a spokesperson for the National Association for Children and Safe Technology (NACST).
NACST is an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the health impacts of wireless radiation on children. They are calling for schools to use wired Internet only. Their website details both the accumulated research showing wireless radiation’s acute as well as long term health impacts.
The National Association for Children and Safe Technology
Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
Electromagnetic Radiation Safety
News Releases: http://pressroom.prlog.org/jmm716/
From Truth Out :
Dates: 12 October 2014
Subject: A Brief History of US Military Bombings.
From Pol Pot to ISIS: US Bombing Puts "Anything That Flies on Everything That Moves"
by John Pilger
From Mark Crispin Miller :
Dates: 12 October 2014
Subject: Wal-Mart cuts health benefits for 30,000 workers as its profits rise while also buying tons of shrimp linked to international slave labor (as does Costco).
Home Depot, Target, Trader Joe's and Walgreens have likewise cut health benefits for their workers while their profits rise.
Wal-Mart Cuts Health Benefits for 30,000 Employees
as Profits Continue to Rise
by Andrew Emett
[Starting in January 1, 2015, employees who work less than 30 hours per week will no longer be offered health benefits. Meanwhile, Walmart is showing a growth of 2.8% from last year’s $116.1 billion in net sales.]
Starting in January 1, 2015, employees who work less than 30 hours per week will no longer be offered health benefits. Meanwhile, Walmart is showing a growth of 2.8% from last year’s $116.1 billion in net sales.
Despite rising income and sales figures, Wal-Mart announced plans on Tuesday to terminate health benefits for 30,000 part-time employees at the end of the year. Majority shareholders and heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune, the Walton family refuses to provide a living wage to their workforce who requires public assistance in order to survive. Endorsing international slave labor, Wal-Mart purchases inventory from a food conglomerate that routinely commits human rights violations against unpaid and abused workers.
In a blog ironically titled “Providing Quality Health Benefits for Our Associates,” Wal-Mart Senior Vice President Sally Welborn declared America’s largest retailer will no longer provide health benefits to part-time employees working less than 30 hours per week. In 2011, Wal-Mart cut benefits for new associates working less than 24 hours per week. And in 2012, the corporation ceased offering coverage to new employees working less than 30 hours per week. But starting on January 1, 2015, all associates working less than 30 hours will be affected.
Wal-Mart joins Home Depot, Target, Trader Joe’s, and Walgreens in dropping health benefits for part-time employees despite increases in net income and sales. In Wal-Mart’s most recent quarterly filing, the company reported $4.09 billion in net income and $119.3 billion in net sales. That is a growth of 2.8% from last year’s $116.1 billion in net sales.
In February, Wal-Mart estimated health care costs to be approximately $330 million for the fiscal year. Due to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Wal-Mart now expects an increase of $170 million in health care costs. Currently, Wal-Mart’s cheapest plan costs employees as low as $18.40 per paycheck, but next year the cost will rise to $21.90. Employees losing their Wal-Mart coverage will now be eligible for government subsidies on Obamacare exchanges.
Wal-Mart’s low-wage employees cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing. A single Wal-Mart Supercenter costs taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.75 million per year. Capturing 18% of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) market, Wal-Mart admittedly accounts for $13.5 billion out of the $76 billion in food stamp sales last year.
Adding insult to injury, the Walton family boasts a net worth of $144.7 billion. Exploiting multiple legal loopholes to avoid estate tax, the Waltons have retained their fortune by adroitly evading social responsibility.
“The whole tax structure since I came to Congress actually has gotten more and more unfair,” admitted Rep. James McDermott who has sponsored unsuccessful bills attempting to close estate-tax loopholes.
While business tycoons like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have given 36.2% and 26.9% of their respective wealth to charitable causes, the Waltons have merely donated 0.04% of their fortune. In contrast to America’s richest family, the average middle class person earning a salary between $50,000 and $99,000 contributes 6% of their discretionary income to charity.
As Wal-Mart continues to exploit its own employees, the giant retailer also purchases massive amounts of shrimp linked to international slave labor. Both Wal-Mart and Costco purchase shrimp from Charoen Pokphand (CP) Foods, the world’s largest shrimp farmer. CP Foods feeds its farmed shrimp with fishmeal purchased from suppliers that own or operate fishing boats manned with slaves. Against their will, slaves endure 20-hour shifts, regular beatings, torture, and execution-style killings aboard these boats.
“I thought I was going to die,” said Vuthy, a former monk from Cambodia who had been sold from captain to captain. “They kept me chained up, they didn’t care about me or give me any food… They sold us like animals, but we are not animals – we are human beings.”
From Reader Supported News :
Dates: 11 October 2014
Subject: Police Using Military-Grade Weapons in US High Schools.
A police officer patrols the hallways at a Virginia high school. (photo: Jahi Chikwendiu/Getty Images)
Why Are Police Using Military-Grade Weapons in High Schools?
by Molly Knefel