‘Big Pharma Johnson & Johnson guilty of opioid deaths’

This 19 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

For decades, Johnson and Johnson knew that their baby powder contained carcinogens like asbestos and didn’t warn the public, pull their product or take action to save the lives of their customers.

Instead they let people suffer and in some cases die of preventable diseases while they made money.

If a person did this they would be facing life in prison if not the death penalty, so why should a corporation get away with it?

Should corporations face the death penalty for the kind of malicious neglect Johnson and Johnson are guilty of?

By Benjamin Mateus in the USA:

Oklahoma judge finds Johnson & Johnson guilty in opioid epidemic

27 August 2019

In the first full-scale trial of an opioid manufacturer, Judge Thad Balkman of Cleveland County District Court of Oklahoma ordered the giant pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson to pay the state $572 million for its role in the opioid crisis which has killed more Americans than died in World War II.

The company was found culpable for pushing doctors through “false, misleading, and dangerous marketing campaigns” to prescribe opioid-based pain killers while downplaying the addictive risks associated with them, the judge wrote. Overprescription “caused exponentially increasing rates of addiction, overdose deaths” and other dire health consequences.

Though there was widespread media praise for the ruling as a landmark event, it is far short of the $17 billion that Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter had urged the judge to order Johnson & Johnson to pay. Balkman’s verdict provides the state only a year’s worth of the estimated costs that would be required to treat those addicted and establish long-term prevention programs.

The financial markets took the verdict in stride. In after-hours trading, Johnson & Johnson’s stock price jumped from $127.78 to $133.61. Many investors had anticipated a judgment of over $1 billion.

Earlier this year Oklahoma settled with two other giant pharmaceuticals also embroiled in the opioid crisis: Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of oxycodone, agreed to pay $270 million, and Teva Pharmaceuticals $85 million.

These cases have been closely monitored by some two dozen opioid makers that are facing more than 2,000 lawsuits throughout the country. Over 500 of these have been filed just against Johnson & Johnson, which supplied 60 percent of the ingredients used by pharmaceutical companies, including its own subsidiary Jantzen, to manufacture opioids.

Johnson & Johnson is a US-based multinational corporation that develops medical devices, pharmaceuticals and consumer packaged goods with revenues in 2018 at $81.58 billion. It has total assets worth close to $153 billion, ranked 37 on the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue. For a company that size, the Oklahoma penalty is little more than a slap on the wrist, although it would become more than that if replicated in the other 49 states.

So far, despite more than 400,000 deaths and the devastation of entire regions of the country, not one executive linked to the opioid crisis has faced criminal charges, let alone been sent to prison, for their utterly negligent behavior in pursuit of profits.

The Oklahoma Opioid Trial Decision Against Johnson & Johnson notes these facts, among others:

    • From 1994 to 2006, prescription opioid sales in the state increased fourfold.
    • From 2011-2015, more than 2,100 Oklahomans died from unintentional overdoses of prescription opioid.
    • In 2015, over 326 million opioid pills were dispensed to Oklahoma residents, enough for every adult to have 110 pills.
    • Oklahoma dispenses the most prescriptions per capita of fentanyl, an opioid far more powerful than heroin.
    • In 2017, 4.2 percent of babies born covered by SoonerCare were born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (This is a condition when a baby withdraws from certain drugs it is exposed to in the womb before birth.)

Prior to the mid-1990s opioid abuse was confined to relatively small numbers of people. But by 2017, opioids have been responsible for 47,600 of the 70,200 drug overdoses reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Presently, the leading cause of death in Americans under the age of 50 relates to drug overdose. This has caused life expectancy in the United States to decline.

The opioid epidemic is now becoming a global phenomenon. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 27 million people suffered from opioid use disorder in 2016. Roughly 450,000 people have died with overdose deaths, accounting to nearly half of all drug-related deaths.

Additional information obtained from the trial notes that from 2000 to 2011, Johnson & Johnson’s sales representatives made more than 150,000 visits to Oklahoma physicians known for being high-volume prescribers.

Johnson & Johnson’s opioid drugs originate in Tasmania. The small island south of mainland Australia has emerged as the world’s leading supplier of opioids. In 1994, chemists made adjustments that allowed Tasmanian poppy plants to produce a higher yield of thebaine, a precursor drug for making oxycodone.

The agreements on the flow of powerful and illicit drugs like heroin did not apply to thebaine. This lack of regulatory control was a “necessary precondition for the explosive growth of opioid production and oversupply in the last 25 years,” according to one expert.

Johnson & Johnson attorneys have set their sights on appellate courts. According to the New York Times, “Indeed whether Judge Balkman’s verdict will survive scrutiny is uncertain: State and possibly federal appeals judges may take a skeptical view on the state’s legal theory and the extent of the company’s liability.”

As the WSWS has recently written, “there is no doubt that the top drug manufacturers and distributors are guilty a thousand times over for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.” But the complicity of the political establishment has accounted for the paltry settlements and legal inertia that prevents any serious consequences for these criminal activities.

Only the mobilization of the international working class to put an end to the profit system and place the pharmaceutical industry on socialist foundations—producing what is needed for human welfare, not corporate profit—can resolve the crisis which has taken such a devastating toll in impoverished working-class areas.

Wall Street celebrated the real victor, Johnson & Johnson, in after-hours trading on the stock market. The company’s stock price surged more than four percent in response to the ruling. Shares of other drug makers also surged, including Mallinckrodt, Teva Pharmaceutical and Endo International, three of the largest drug makers in the world, all implicated in the opioid epidemic. The toothless ruling follows a well-worn pattern in which giant corporations, after committing horrific social crimes, get off with a relatively small fine: here.

JOHNSON & JOHNSON SETTLES WITH OHIO COUNTIES Johnson & Johnson said it will pay $20.4 million to settle claims by two Ohio counties in a lawsuit that accused the drugmaker of contributing to the U.S. opioid addiction epidemic. [Reuters]

Major distributors and manufacturers of opioids avert trial by reaching $260 million wrist-slap settlement in Ohio: here.

SACKLERS IN MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR SETTLEMENT TALKS State attorneys general and lawyers representing local governments are in active settlement negotiations with the Sackler family’s Purdue Pharma, the maker of the prescription painkiller OxyContin that is facing billions of dollars in potential liability for its role in the nation’s opioid crisis. [AP]

PURDUE FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy protection Sunday night, succumbing to pressure from more than 2,600 lawsuits alleging the company helped fuel the deadly U.S. opioid epidemic. [Reuters]

Purdue Pharma, the producer of OxyContin, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Sunday. The move is part of an effort to settle litigation with dozens of states and other plaintiffs who charge the company deliberately fueled the opioid crisis while pocketing tens of billions of dollars: here.

An annual report by the Pennington Institute, released in August, revealed that the number of drug overdose deaths in Australia has increased by 28 percent in a decade, while the number of accidental drug overdose deaths rose by nearly 40 percent: here.

MELANIA TRUMP THUNDEROUSLY BOOED AT YOUTH OPIOID AWARENESS EVENT Loud boos greeted first lady Melania Trump as she took the stage at a youth opioid awareness event held at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. The audience of mostly middle and high school students reportedly booed Trump for about a minute before loudly talking over the first part of her speech. “I cannot recall another event where she was more negatively received,” CNN’s Kate Bennett reported from the event. [HuffPost]

Dogs that are smaller, younger, non-neutered, or live in U.S. counties with high opioid prescription rates are at higher risk of being the subjects of phone calls about accidental opioid poisoning to a poison control center. Mohammad Howard-Azzeh and colleagues at the University of Guelph, Ontario, present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on January 29, 2020: here.

Opioid-related deaths in Columbus, Ohio area up 45 percent from last year: here.

JP Morgan bank’s $1 billion cocaine smuggling

This 10 July 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

A cargo ship owned by JPMorgan Asset Management has been seized by officials during an investigation into $1 billion worth of cocaine discovered on the vessel. Veuer’s Justin Kircher has more.

From Forbes magazine in the USA:

July 11, 2019, 08:44pm

U.S. Authorities Seize 20 Tons Of Cocaine From Ship Owned By JP Morgan

By Rachel Sandler

In one of the largest drug busts in U.S. history, federal authorities in Philadelphia seized nearly 20 tons of cocaine—worth about $1 billion— last month from a ship owned by JP Morgan‘s asset management arm.

  • 19.76 tons of cocaine (that’s an estimated street value of $1.3 billion, according to Business Insider) were seized from the ship when it arrived at Packer Marine Terminal in Philadelphia on June 17.
  • The ship, named MSC Gayane, is operated by Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company, but it was financed by a transportation strategy fund run by JP Morgan‘s asset management arm. The ship is leased out to MSC.
  • Six crew members aboard MSC Gayane have been arrested and charged with knowingly and intentionally conspiring to possess more than five kilograms of cocaine, the Justice Department said in a statement.
  • The ship was flying under the flag of Liberia, a country in West Africa, according to online vessel tracking website MarineTraffic.

JP Morgan declined to comment. …

Very probably, JP Morgan fat cat Tony Blair also did not comment.

From Richard Nixon to Donald Trump, United States administrations wage a bloody ‘war on drugs’. A war often against poor peasants, homeless hippies, African Americans. But: a war against JP Morgan or other big banks, like HSBC? No sir. They are ‘too big to jail‘.

Though maybe a few ordinary seamen of this cocaine ship will be used as scapegoats. But no bankster fat cats.

This isn’t the first time MSC has experienced problems with drug trafficking aboard its ships. Earlier this year, authorities in Philadelphia found 13 large black duffel bags with a combined 450 bricks of cocaine being shipped in one of MSC’s shipping containers.

British Conservative politicians on drugs

This 8 June 2019 musical parody video from Britain says about itself:

Gove on Coke (to the tune of “Girls on Film“)

Michael Gove on cocaine.

British teachers march against Gove when he was Education Minister

From daily News Line in Britain:

GOVE ADMITS DRUG LAW-BREAKING! – as do six Tory leadership contenders

10th June 2019

TORY leadership candidate Michael Gove admitted on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday that he had acted illegally in relation to using cocaine.

The former Justice Secretary said that he was ‘fortunate’ that he hadn’t been imprisoned, but still boasted that he is the best candidate for the post of unelected prime minister.

He said: ‘Of course, the decisions we made in the past we should be held accountable for. But for this election, what we are reflecting on is who has the ideas, the vision, the experience in office, to be able to lead in the future, and I’m ready to lead on day one.’

Marr said: ‘You’ve talked about your use of cocaine, do you accept that it was a crime?’

Gove said: ‘Yes, it was a crime.’

‘Should you have gone to prison?’ asked Marr.

Gove said: ‘I was fortunate in that I didn’t.’

‘How many times did you take cocaine?’

He replied: ‘I took it on several occasions, on social occasions more than 20 years ago when I was working as a journalist.’

‘Was it a habit?’

‘No, I don’t believe it was.’

Marr continued: ‘Looking at the dates, you were about 30 at the time, you weren’t a young man, you weren’t a teenager. Did you have any sense then of the damage that this was doing to other kids on the streets of London, many of whom could be in prison right now?’

He replied: ‘I do have a profound sense of regret about it all and I am very, very aware of the damage that drugs do.’

Marr said: ‘The crime that you committed, the maximum sentence for it is seven years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. And again, right now there are people who did what you did who are in prison and there are lots of kids, basically, who supplied cocaine to people like yourself, who have either been stabbed or are dead.’

Marr asked Gove if he has blood on his hands.

He replied: ‘It is a mistake which I profoundly regret, absolutely … Look I’m very conscious of the fact that I was fortunate.’

Marr said: ‘When you became a minister did you tell the government that you had taken Class A drugs?’

Gove replied: ‘No-one asked. I don’t think the question was ever raised.’

‘Not on the vetting form?’

‘I don’t ever remember being asked in any way about it.

‘Including on the ESTA form for travel to the United States? They do ask that question, “have you used Class A drugs?”’

Gove replied: ‘I don’t believe that I’ve on any occasion failed to tell the truth about this when asked directly.’

‘But it would be on the form and you would have to say yes or no and if you’d said yes you could have been banned for life from entering the United States,’ said Marr.

Gove responded: ‘I think it is the case that if I were elected Prime Minister of this country then of course it would be the case that I could go to the United States and I think it’s foolish to suggest otherwise.’

‘Let’s look at another job that you did, as Education Secretary. On your watch, as I understand it, any teacher caught with Class A drugs could be suspended as teacher for life. Is that true?’

Gove replied: ‘We would be talking here about people who were using it in the course of their professional life.’

Referring to a newspaper article that Gove wrote at the time of his admitted use of cocaine 20 years ago, in which he condemned the use of Class A drugs, Marr said: ‘You have been accused on the front pages of the newspapers today of hypocrisy about this and when one reads the article that you wrote at the time, that’s a fair charge is it not?’

Gove replied: ‘No. I think anyone can read the article and make their own minds up.’

Six out of the 11 candidates for the Tory leadership have admitted to the illegal use of drugs.

Trump wants death penalty for drugs

This 15 February 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Advocates Death Penalty For Drugs

Trump just advocated the death penalty for drug dealers because…China? John Iadarola breaks it down on The Damage Report.

So, after Trump’s Saudi cronies … Trump’s Filipino crony Duterte … the president of Sri Lanka … and Trump himself in 2018 … President Trump of the USA advocates a really bloody war on drugs.

CALIFORNIA GOV. TO ISSUE DEATH PENALTY MORATORIUM The 737 inmates on America’s largest death row are getting a reprieve from Gov. Gavin Newsom, who plans to sign an executive order Wednesday placing a moratorium on executions. The Democratic governor called the death penalty “a failure” that “has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can’t afford expensive legal representation.” [AP]

US Attorney General William Barr has directed the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to reinstate the death penalty for federal inmates, setting the stage for the execution of inmates on federal death row for the first time in 16 years. Barr’s directive reverses what has been an essential moratorium on the federal death penalty: here.

Trump’s war on drugs, with Duterte-style death penalty

This 12 March 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

President Trump has reiterated his calls for the U.S. to impose the death penalty on drug dealers, praising countries like the Philippines, China and Singapore that apply capital punishment to drug traffickers.

During a speech on Saturday, Trump recounted conversations with Chinese and Singaporean leaders who, he said, solved their countries’ drug problems by executing drug traffickers.

Trump has also repeatedly expressed admiration for Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and said he’s done an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.” Last month, the International Criminal Court opened a preliminary investigation into accusations that Duterte had committed crimes against humanity by overseeing the killing of up to 8,000 people in his so-called war on drugs.

We speak to Widney Brown, the managing director of policy at the Drug Policy Alliance.

By Niles Niemuth in the USA:

Trump demands death penalty for drug dealers as answer to opioid overdose crisis

20 March 2018

Speaking at an event in Manchester, New Hampshire Monday, President Donald Trump announced his administration’s law-and-order initiative in response to the US overdose epidemic, the centerpiece of which is his push for the death penalty for convicted drug dealers.

The reactionary proposal opens the gruesome prospect of thousands of Americans being marched to the nation’s death chambers, as many addicts often sell drugs in order to fund their habit or out of desperate need for money.

More than 64,000 people nationwide died of a drug overdose in 2016, triple the number in 1999 and higher than the number of deaths at the peak of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Reports indicate that the numbers will be even higher for 2017 and 2018. At least 65 percent of overdoses involve an opioid.

The introduction of fentanyl and other more powerful synthetic opioids into the drug supply in recent years has pushed overdoses and deaths through the roof in most states. The CDC reports that emergency room visits for opioid overdoses increased 30 percent between July and September last year.

“We can have all the blue-ribbon committees we want, but if we don’t get tough on the drug dealers we are wasting our time and that toughness includes the death penalty”, Trump declared. “Toughness is the thing that they most fear.”

However, Andrew Bremberg, of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, contradicted the president’s fulminations, telling reporters last week that the Trump administration would seek the death penalty for large-scale drug traffickers, rather than drug dealers.

This was reiterated by an official White House fact sheet released on Monday, which announced that the “[Department of Justice] will seek the death penalty against drug traffickers when it’s appropriate under current law.” That would limit the death penalty to drug-related homicides that already carry a possible death sentence.

According to the fact sheet, the administration is also seeking legislation from Congress which would lower the threshold for mandatory minimum sentences for the possession of opioids that are lethal in small amounts, such as fentanyl.

The Death Penalty Information Center notes that US law currently allows for the death penalty in drug-related cases only in limited instances where drug use or distribution can be related to a murder. Otherwise there are no provisions which allow for prosecutors to seek the death penalty merely for distribution or trafficking.

While the president paid lip service to the giving addicts access to treatment options and public health initiatives during his remarks Monday—including praise for companies which have donated small supplies of drugs like Narcan, which can quickly reverse an opioid overdose—Trump presented the problem as a law enforcement issue.

He claimed that individual drug dealers are responsible for “thousands” of deaths and should not be allowed to serve limited prison sentences if they are convicted, but rather should face the prospect of life in prison or execution.

Trump blamed the ongoing crisis on America’s supposedly lax drug laws, contrasting this situation to countries that have “zero tolerance” policies which provide for the death penalty for dealers and traffickers. While he didn’t mention him by name Monday, Trump has previously lauded Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who has directed the police and vigilantes to murder alleged drug dealers and addicts.

Not surprisingly the president took the time to praise the police and federal immigration agents who are carrying out his administration’s crackdown on immigrants, to promote the construction a border wall along the US-Mexico border, and to blame the drug crisis on so-called sanctuary cities as well as Mexico and China. Trump declared that it was necessary to “build the wall to keep the damn drugs out!”

New Hampshire was picked for Trump’s address because it is one of the states hardest hit by the opioid crisis, with an overdose death rate which is nearly double the national figure, having risen more than 340 percent over the last decade. The president repeated remarks he had made earlier this month at a rally in Pennsylvania, a state which has also been ravaged by the opioid crisis.

The highest death rate from opioid overdoses has been concentrated in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and New England: West Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, District of Columbia, Massachusetts and Maryland. The largest increases in opioid overdose deaths between 2006 and 2016 were seen in Ohio and Pennsylvania, rising more than 400 percent. These two states were key to Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

Drug overdose has quickly become the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 years old. So many people have died in the overdose epidemic that US life expectancy fell in 2015 and 2016, a decline unprecedented in modern history.

Last year Trump declared the epidemic a “public health emergency”, a public relations maneuver which did not provide any new federal funding to the crisis, instead redirecting money from other federal programs.

The federal government distributed just $1 billion to states in 2017 to assist in efforts to confront the crisis, and Congress recently approved another $2 billion in funding over two years. This pales in comparison to the $32 billion in federal funds for HIV/AIDS research and prevention last year. Only a public health effort on that scale could make serious inroads into the opioid crisis.

At the same time, federal and state agencies have turned a blind eye as pharmaceutical companies flooded communities across America with cheap and easy to obtain prescription opioids, while cracking down on small time distributors and imprisoning a growing number of addicts who often find limited treatment options in prison.

Trump’s pick to head the Office of National Drug Policy (the “drug czar”), Representative Tom Marino, was forced to withdraw last year when it was revealed that he played a key role in limiting the ability of the Drug Enforcement Administration to block the pharmaceutical industry’s flooding of low income rural areas with prescription opioids.

A new review has compiled the best, most up-to-date source of information on alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use and the burden of death and disease. It shows that in 2015 alcohol and tobacco use between them cost the human population more than a quarter of a billion disability-adjusted life years, with illicit drugs costing a further tens of millions: here.

POPE SHIFTS CHURCH ON DEATH PENALTY The catechism has been revised by Pope Francis to call the death penalty “inadmissible.” Here’s what that means for Catholic politicians. [CNN]

128 years after the first US electrocution. Tennessee revives “Old Smokey,” the electric chair, for an execution: here.

Berlin atrocity, drugs and secret service

This 22 December 2016 video is called Berlin attack suspect Anis Amri was under surveillance for months.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

‘Assault perpetrator of Berlin was a drug user and dealer’

Today, 11:09

Anis Amri, the terrorist who committed the attack in Berlin on 19 December, used XTC and cocaine and was a drugs dealer. This writes the newspaper Welt am Sonntag on the basis of an interim report on the investigation that will be discussed in the Bundestag [parliament] tomorrow.

The message is clear according to the newspaper that Amri had also been guilty of drug offenses in his native Tunisia. The researchers are now wondering whether, at the time that he had used a truck against visitors to a Christmas market he also had used drugs. …

The Bundestag group of [left party] Die Linke wants clarification on whether Amri worked as an informant for intelligence agencies. “There are many indications that something is not right”, said the deputy party leader to Bild am Sonntag. “We need to know whether the services had information previously.”

Last week, the Berliner Morgenpost and Radio Berlin Brandenburg (RBB) reported that the perpetrator of the Berlin Christmas Market attack, Anis Amri, may have been incited by an undercover agent for the North Rhine-Westphalia State Criminal Bureau (LKA). The agent, “VP 01,” with the cover name “Murat,” who had close contact with Amri, is said to have sought support for attacks, including one using a truck: here.

Was the 2016 terrorist attack on the Berlin Christmas market an “intelligence operation with deadly collateral damage?” Here.

French secret police knew ISIS would attack church, did nothing to prevent it, and covered that up.

Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan, more and more opium

This video from the USA says about itself:

Karzai Brother on CIA Payroll

28 October 2009

The New York Times reports that the brother of Afghanistan’s President Karzai, an alleged opium smuggler and war profiteer, has been taking money from the CIA.

According to United Nations research, over 2,000 square kilometer in Afghanistan is now used for growing opium poppies.

The harvest for 2016 is estimated to be 4800 tonnes, nearly 50% more than last year.

Even though the George W Bush-imposed president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is no longer president. And though Hamid Karzai’s brother, drug kingpin Ahmed Wali Karzai, has been killed by a rival.

US air strikes kill scores of civilians in Afghanistan: here.

Social services and foster care programs across the United States are overwhelmed by the influx of children from families shattered by the opioid epidemic. In West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and other states, thousands of children have been orphaned and placed into foster care or living arrangements with relatives who struggle to make ends meet with inadequate compensation: here.

British children abused as drugs guinea pigs

This video from the USA says about itself:

23 February 2012

GUINEA PIG KIDS – A BBC documentary exposes how the city of New York has forced “HIV” positive children under its supervision to be used as human guinea pigs in tests for experimental Antiretroviral drug trials.

All of the children in the program were under the legal guidance of the city’s child welfare department, the Administration for Children’s Services. Most live in foster care or independent homes run on behalf of the local authorities and almost all the children are believed to be African-American or Latino.

The BBC identified pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline as one of the companies that provided the experimental drugs for the tests. In the documentary, parents or guardians who refused to consent to the trials claim that children were removed by ACS and placed in foster families or children’s homes. Then, acting over their objections, ACS authorized the life-ending Antiretroviral drug trials.


A video from Britain used to say about itself:

Schoolchildren given experimental drugs without their parents’ consent in 1960s Home Office experiment

22 August 2016

Disruptive boys at Richmond Hill Approved School in North Yorkshire were given an anticonvulsant drug in a trial backed by Home Office doctors.

Children at an approved school were given experimental drugs in a 1960s trial backed by the Home Office, it is reported.

Disruptive boys at Richmond Hill Approved School in North Yorkshire allegedly participated in the trial without their parents’ consent.

They were given the anticonvulsant drug Beclamide for six months in a bid to control their behaviour, National Archive files show.

Home Office doctors also approved a similar trial of the powerful sedative Haloperidol on girls at Springhead Park Approved School in Rothwell near Leeds.

However, it reportedly did not go ahead.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Children used in 60s drugs trials

Tuesday 23rd August 2016

NATIONAL ARCHIVES: Children at a young offenders’ school in the 1960s became unwitting guinea pigs in an experimental drug trial that was approved by Home Office doctors.

National Archive files released yesterday show that disruptive boys at Richmond Hill Approved School in North Yorkshire were given the anticonvulsant drug beclamide, which is no longer widely used, for six months. Dizziness, memory loss and fatigue are some of its common side effects.

The trial went ahead with neither children and parents being consulted. Nor is there any record of outcomes.

Philippines death squads, paid by United States tax payers

This video about the Philippines says about itself:

Amnesty International Concerned Over Duterte‘s Human Rights Record

8 December 2015

The human rights watchdog raised alarm over the presidential candidate [meanwhile: president]’s alleged links to the Davao Death Squad.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Philippines: Activists demand to end police killings

Thursday 4th August 2016

OVER 300 human rights groups have written to condemn what they see as trigger-happy attitudes by Philippine police towards drug gang suspects.

Their joint letter to the International Narcotics Control Board and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which was published yesterday, urges them to condemn police killings and to demand that they end.

“International drug control agencies need to make clear to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that the surge in killings of suspected drug dealers and users is not acceptable ‘crime control’ but instead a government failure to protect people’s most fundamental human rights,” said Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phelim Kine.

A clash yesterday between commandos and armed bodyguards of a town mayor linked to illegal drugs killed six suspects and brought the running total of suspected drug criminals shot dead since Mr Duterte took office on June 30 to 402.

Senator Leila M De Lima decried on Tuesday what she called the “do-it-yourself justice” system under the Duterte presidency.

“We must call for the accountability of state actors responsible for this terrifying trend in law enforcement and the investigation of killings perpetrated by the vigilante assassins,” she said.

Regional police chief Elmer Beltejar said that police had been patrolling near the house of Mayor Rolando Espinosa in the town of Albuera when they were fired upon by his bodyguards.Police fired back, killing six of their attackers.

Mr Espinosa surrendered to national police chief Ronald de la Rosa on Tuesday after being warned to do so or risk being shot on sight.

This video says about itself:

Death toll rises as Philippines intensifies war on drugs

31 July 2016

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to rid his country of crime and corruption within his first six months in office.

But a harsh crackdown has seen more than 400 suspected drug criminals killed in less than two months.

Al Jazeera’s Jamela Alindogan reports from Manila.

By Joseph Santolan in the Philippines:

Kerry backs Duterte’s murderous anti-drug campaign: “Placing a cheapness on the lives of Orientals”

4 August 2016

US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte July 30 in Manila and pledged $32 million to fund Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, an operation that involves death squads, police murders and concentration camps. Since Duterte took office at the end of June, more than 500 alleged criminals have been killed by police and vigilante groups.

Kerry has come a long way since he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971 and denounced the conduct of the US military in Vietnam in terms of moral outrage. He told the committee that “we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of Orientals.”

Kerry has long since overcome any such moral compunctions, integrating himself into the Democratic party apparatus, running unsuccessfully as the party’s presidential candidate, and finally becoming the top diplomatic face of US imperialism. He is now the one who hangs Washington’s price tag on the cheapness of human lives.

The $32 million he dispensed to fund the murder of impoverished Filipinos is meant to secure Manila’s support for Washington’s anti-Chinese “pivot to Asia.”

For US imperialism, “the lives of Orientals” have always been cheap. William McKinley bought the colony of the Philippines from Spain for $20 million in 1898. The bill of sale was written in the blood of over a million Filipinos who were killed in the war of conquest that marked the entry of the United States onto the world stage as an imperialist power.

From the installation to the presidency of Ramon Magsaysay, hand-picked in 1953 by the “quiet American” CIA operative Edward Lansdale, to the full support it gave the martial law regime of Ferdinand Marcos, Washington has ruled its former colony with near total control, preserving it as a foothold in the Asia Pacific region.

The United States is seeking to maintain its global hegemonic dominance through military means, encircling Russia and China and escalating tensions to the threshold of a new world war. Under the previous Philippine administration, headed by Benigno Aquino, Manila played a key role in spearheading the US pivot in the South China Sea, filing a legal claim against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague and signing a deal to allow the unlimited basing of US forces in the country.

The newly installed Duterte administration has been more hesitant in provoking China, hoping to forge expanded economic ties with Beijing.

Duterte is a fascistic figure, openly contemptuous of human life. He has granted impunity to the police and military and called upon them to exterminate “criminals.” He declared in a speech that he would leave office as the Idi Amin of the Philippines, a reference to the Ugandan dictator and mass murderer.

The Obama administration has established a pattern of funding and support for far-right and fascistic forces around the world in pursuit of US imperialist interests. In 2013, it backed the military coup by the Egyptian butcher General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. In 2014, it supported a fascist-led coup in Ukraine as part of its campaign against Moscow. It armed the al-Nusra Front, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, as a proxy in its campaign to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

The Obama administration has no qualms about funding the murderous Duterte government if it will facilitate the economic, political and military isolation and destabilization of China.

Duterte is putting Washington’s funds to good use. The number reported killed by police and vigilantes ranges from fifteen to twenty a day. Those murdered come from the most impoverished layers of the population, the shantytown dwellers and the informally employed, who dwell, in their millions, on the margins and in the interstices of Philippine cities, particularly Manila.

According to the New York Times, over 114,000 people, fearful of being killed in the anti-drug drive, have surrendered to the police. They have been crammed into the country’s barbaric prison system.

The British Independent published a photo essay on July 31 revealing the conditions in these jails. The fetid cells, as well as the open courts and stairwells of the prisons, are so densely packed that there is no room to breathe. Industrial livestock have far better conditions than these human beings.

Duterte proposes to relieve the overcrowding by constructing concentration camps. He is calling for the building of high-wire-enclosed facilities in the center of military bases throughout the country to house those he claims are “no longer of service to humanity.” The initial funding Duterte will use for these concentration camps was supplied by John Kerry.

The New York Times on August 2 claimed that Duterte’s crackdown was “hugely popular” with Filipinos. As evidence, it cited an opinion poll on the new president’s trustworthiness conducted before he even took office, as well as his “overwhelming victory” at the polls. In truth, Duterte won the presidency by a plurality, receiving a mere 38 percent of the vote. The base of support for Duterte comes overwhelmingly from the petty-bourgeoisie and big business.

The new president has announced that he supports the basing of US forces in the country, and since Kerry’s visit, he has begun to escalate his rhetoric against China. Washington will happily continue funding Duterte’s death squads and concentration camps as long as he toes its line against China.

In the 2016 US elections, the Democratic Party is presenting itself as the premiere party of US imperialism, in the interests of which it will continue to promote far-right governments and political forces internationally. The danger represented by the fascistic Donald Trump cannot be opposed through support for the party that is funding the death squads of Rodrigo Duterte. Only the independent struggle of the working class in the United States, the Philippines and around the world in the fight for socialism can put an end to war and the growing threat of fascism.

Ronald de la Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) testified Monday before a Senate investigation into the extra-judicial killings since President Rodrigo Duterte took office on June 1. He said the official police count of those who were killed by either police or vigilantes for the first six weeks of the Duterte administration was 1,789: here.

White House praises Duterte’s drug crackdown: here.

Nixon’s ‘war on drugs’, racism and militarism

This video from the USA says about itself:

Nixon Invented War On Drugs To Attack Black People And Leftists

9 April 2016

John Ehrlichman was one of the henchmen for Richard Nixon. He was sent to prison for his role in the Watergate conspiracy. He was also part of a much broader conspiracy, which has only recently come to light. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“Former aides to President Richard Nixon disavowed a recently published, provocative quote from a colleague about the racial motivation behind the war on drugs, and suggested that the colleague was being sarcastic.

The statement — attributed to Nixon’s chief domestic adviser, John Ehrlichman — alleged that the administration’s drug war was meant to cripple black communities and the “antiwar left.”

Journalist Dan Baum wrote in the April cover story for Harper’s that Ehrlichman told him in 1994 that the Nixon campaign and Nixon White House considered those two groups to be their enemies. “We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman reportedly said.

But three former Nixon aides say the quote just doesn’t sound like Ehrlichman, and if he did say it, he was mistaken.”

Read more here.

NIXON TRIED TO DELAY VIETNAM PEACE FOR CAMPAIGN POINTS Richard M. Nixon told an aide that they should find a way to secretly ‘monkey wrench’ peace talks in Vietnam in the waning days of the 1968 campaign for fear that progress toward ending the war would hurt his chances for the presidency, according to newly discovered notes.” [NYT]