A Bibliographic History of the Health Freedom Movement
by Martin J Walker
(thanks to Louise of Zeus Information Service who forwarded this excellent essay)
Growing rapidly over the last twenty five years, the Health Freedom Movement (HFM) is essentially a movement struggling to give individuals freedom of choice in treatments and practitioners the right to practise other than allopathic therapies. At the moment both these areas are constrained by monopoly interests which deny choice by using the criteria of professionalism and profit for dispensing health care. Dominating this system and its denial of choice are the pharmaceutical companies, some of which have incomes as big as small nation states and all of which compete ruthlessly for control of the citizen's body.
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Observing the HFM over the first years of the new century, it would be easy to think that the movement is only about the defence of vitamins and food supplements. On rare occasions, it might even look like the HFM is actually only defending the commercial production and distribution of vitamins and food supplements. This is principally because the war which is being waged against vitamin and food supplement producers by the pharmaceutical companies has recently taken centre stage with the growing regulatory closeness of Codex Alimentarius, the international consultation to regulate food labelling, vitamins and food supplements. Codex most clearly affects companies which produce medicines, food and food supplements. However, beneath and beyond these companies are unattached individuals and groups with an interest in health and the more personal use of nutritional medicine and supplementation.
Those not covered by commercial interests but only by interests in health, have had a double battle over the years because despite many campaigns, they have had to eke out representation. The pharmaceutical companies and the associations of established professional medicine have made great headway, through various mechanisms, in dividing and setting against each other aspects of the HFM. Some groups of alternative therapists have for instance gained professional recognition and these groups have in the main deserted the battlefield. But while the pharmaceutical companies and the medical profession have cleverly let into the mountain castle, or at least the gatehouse, many fringe treatments such as reflexology and aromatherapy, they are still determined to turn the major natural alternatives into road kill on the way up the mountain.
If we were to summarise the complete picture of the medical monopoly, it might involve; first an attempt by professional allopathic medicine to maintain monopoly control of the diagnosis and treatment of illness. Second an attempt by the pharmaceutical companies to keep monopoly and regulatory control of allopathic medicines and high tech therapies. Third an attempt by chemical and pharmaceutical interests to deny environmental and chemically induced illness and finally an attempt to sever the link between food, vitamins and other supplements and the treatment or prevention of illness. Most everything which has happened over the last two decades has flowed from these four strategic imperatives.
In an attempt to describe the origins and the various departments of the HFM, I have written the following bibliographic history of the movement. This type of overview is important for the strength of the future movement but also for the development of a theoretical framework for the movement, something which so far has not been approached with much gusto.
A History As Long As Organised Medicine
In Britain in 1900, Robert Bell M.D., published his book The Deputy Physician, written to help people treat themselves. He opened the book with a scathing attack on the profession of doctors. Having been a doctor himself for thirty years, Bell felt able to write that the ranks of the profession were made up 'of a set of ignorant, avaricious, narrow minded, and selfish men, whose first care is to their own interests'. He then went on to quote with relish the French satirist who said, 'there are only two classes of physician - namely, those who kill their patients and those who allow them to die'.
The attacks upon doctors began in earnest in the 'modern' period during the middle of the 19th century when doctors in Europe and North America organised their professional associations. Open warfare continued apparently, in Britain at least, until the modern scientific world came into being following the first world war.
From the 1920s onwards, and coincidentally the beginnings of radium treatment for cancer, science and pharmaceutical medicine gained the upper hand and became the centre of a much lauded belief system, in which the doctor and the social concept of medicine were rarely questioned publicly. Battles still went on but now they were more covert and the casualties of this period are only now being written about because information about them was previously so thoroughly suppressed.
Then in the 1970s and 1980s, following a growing critical consciousness, the opening up of society that began in the late Sixties and the decline in State control of all aspects of government, a movement critical of allopathic medicine and in favour of alternatives began to coalesce in earnest. We might characterise the battle for health freedom which seemed to begin anew at this time and has continued to the present day, as being a period when the pharmaceutical and chemical companies in particular have tried to stamp their hegemony on the world of food and medicine. This is a time when lab technicians and Chief Executive Officers of multinational corporations have increasingly come to determine our health care.
Almost by accident, I was the author in 1993 of one of the most substantial health freedom books of the contemporary period. It was not until a year after Dirty Medicine was first published, however, that I stumbled across Morris Bealle. Bealle was an American journalist who first wrote on softball and baseball but later in his life wrote books about the health monopoly of socialised medicine. He also launched a magazine called Capsule News, which reported on the pharmaceutical industry.
Bealle published his own books from Washington D.C. under the imprint of All America House and he advertised Capsule News with the slogan 'The All American News Digest for All American people'. The book which I have of his, House of Rockefeller, describes in Bealle's words 'how a shoestring was run into 200 billion dollars in two generations'. There are chapters on all the main monopoly cartels or Trusts of the Rockefeller empire, including the Drug Trust and the Food Trust. Forty pages of original research into corporate monopoly.
The principal reason that Rockefeller enterprises were to become so important to the development of first the medical monopoly and then the HFM was that Rockefeller, his allied entrepreneurs and scientists linked up their 70% ownership of all US pharmaceutical production with interests in medical research, medical education, processed food and media. It was this cultural nexus recognised by Bealle which played an important part in ensuring, to paraphrase Henry Ford, that the people could have any kind of medicine they wanted, as long as it was chemical and allopathic.
Books published in England, during the 1950s, such as The Citizens versus the Doctors, and the work, for example, of The Food Education Society, which battled orthodoxy on nutrition, give a clear indication that following the Second World War there was opposition to the monopolistic role of the medical profession. This opposition was less marked than in North America where both the philosophy of individualism and opposition to the State expending private personally earned money on 'what is best for the citizen' were deeply embedded.
Apart from and much better known than Bealle, were a number of books and writers covering the period from the end of World War II until the mid-1980s. These books, however subliminally, laid the foundations for and influenced the emergence of the contemporary HFM.
The Literary Foundations of Health Feedom
Despite what quackbusters are always parroting, the health freedom movement is not anti-scientific and definitely not anti-intellectual or irrational. Its foundations we might claim, are among those who question the uses of science, criticise its linkage with industry and, in the field of health care, rage against the bastard motivation it finds in profit. Supporters of the movement for health against allopathic medicine, are amongst the greatest humanist writers of the twentieth century.
Ivan Illich, was born in 1926 and after studying philosophy, religion and then history in Italy and Germany, went to live in North America in 1951. He became a Pastor in an Irish Puerto Rican parish of New York City, before eventually moving to Mexico. Although in the Sixties Illich was to be involved in a number of Universities and well regarded intellectual projects and despite writing for numerous well known journals and newspapers, as well as writing the founding book of Health Freedom, Medical Nemesis, his voice has always remained that of an intellectual on the fringe.
Always treated with respect because of his immense and charismatic intellectual imagination and scholarship, his ideas were so utterly at variance with capitalist consumer society that his stature remains ghost like. Illich is to social criticism what Kafka was to European literature, a strange figure of unquestionable integrity and infinite gravitas lobbing pointed criticism into bourgeoise society from the Steppes.
Illich might be considered the founder of any movement against iatrogenic illness and he did more to publicise the term than any other writer. The first sentence of his introduction to Medical Nemesis; The Expropriation of Health, reads: 'The medical establishment has become a major threat to health'. Although his work is in parts highly intellectual, like many great thinkers it is also full of pithy truths which lead you to the very heart of the matter. Published in 1975, in the aftermath of the revolts in the late Sixties, Medical Nemesis was the first work to draw attention to the changing role of the doctor and his descent from empirically minded healer to pimp for the pharmaceutical companies.
In Medical Nemesis, Illich outlines the fundamental personal and social arguments for knowing your own body and treating yourself rather than sacrificing yourself to the religion of medicine. His later work on the incapacitating nature of the medical and other professions could still direct our sense of strategy today twenty five years after it was written.
In describing the struggle in North America between alternative medicine and the emerging medical profession from the middle of the nineteenth century, nothing can compare with the third volume of Harris L. Coulter's life-time work, Divided Legacy (Science and Ethics in American Medicine 1800-1914 - the battle between homeopaths and the AMA). Coulter's history of the schisms in medical thought which he began in 1973, was finished in 1995, with the fourth volume, an account of Medicine in the Bacteriological Era 1800 to 1911.
Volume III of Divided Legacy gives a definitive account of attempts by the AMA to force homeopaths out of the medical profession and criminalise their practice. This is perhaps the ultimate quackbusting text which spares no detail in describing how the AMA organised their classic turf war. Divided Legacy and Coulter's other books such as Shot in the Dark, his classic work on vaccination written with Barbara Loe Fisher, show an erudition and scholarship rarely found in this day and age.
Hans Ruesch is another towering figure, whose three major books lay bare the rotten heart of allopathic medicine. Ruesch was a very successful author whose best book had been made into a Hollywood film, before he declared in the late Seventies that he would never write any form of literature until vivisection had been stopped. His three great anti-vivisection books heralded the modern uncompromising anti-vivisection movement. Slaughter of the Innocent, The Naked Empress and 1000 Doctors (and more) Against Vivisection, all draw attention to the damage which vivisection and the animal testing of drugs ultimately do to humans. In his examination of the Rockefeller control of both the drug companies and medical research, Ruesch was one of the first to draw on Bealle's writing.
Another writer who looked closely at the Rockefeller empire and IG Farben, while chronicling the suppression of a cancer cure was Edward G. Griffin in his extensive book, World without Cancer - the story of Vitamin B17. B17, also called Laetrile was developed by Dr. Ernst T. Krebs, Jr. in the 1950s and was one of the first compounds to fall serious victim to the quackbusters in the early Seventies. Griffin charts in detail the scare stories about laetrile-related deaths and the attempted criminalisation of practitioners.
In 2000, Kenny Ausubel, wrote the book which is presently the major work on the suppression of a single cancer cure in America. Ausubel's book, When Healing becomes a Crime, although focussing on Harry Hoxsey who formulated a herbal cure for cancer, covers in interesting detail the role of the AMA, the FDA and the US medical establishment in suppressing the cure. Ausubel, an award-winning investigative journalist and film maker wrote the book at the same time as making a television documentary about Hoxsey. Despite the fact that there was little in the way of historical precedent for his book, Ausubel covers in a novel literary style the most important period of post war suppression of medical choice in considerable detail.
Anyone who wants academic reflections on the power struggle between scientific medicine and alternative therapies, might look at the series of papers and articles which Howard S. Berliner wrote following his PhD thesis, between 1977 and 1988. Berliner writes at length about the funding of scientific medicine and the Rockefeller Foundation. He writes in an easily accessible manner and his insights into the connections between knowledge, science and finance are important ingredients in understanding the monopoly power of the drugs industry.
Thalidomide very pointedly and cruelly drew attention to both the unregulated power of the drug companies and the non-science of scientific medicine. In the mid-Sixties, the Kefauver hearings were held in America. Begun by Senator Estes Kefauver, the hearings were intended to expose and then break the monopoly power of the drug companies. In 1966, Kefauver published his own book entitled in the English edition, In a Few Hands: Monopoly Power in America. A few years later this was followed by perhaps the best book on Thalidomide, Thalidomide and the Power of the Drug Companies by Henning and Robert Nilsson Sjostrom. Despite the fact that the book focuses in detail on thalidomide, it gives one of the best general views of the corrupt philosophy and bankrupt practices of the large pharmaceutical companies. The authors describe how, even in the face of mounting evidence, the companies responsible for thalidomide kept dodging the recall of the drug.
In the 1960s and 70s there was already a growing sense of resistance against the FDA and the drug companies, following frequent regulatory attacks on alternatives. In 1970, Omar Garrison wrote his trail blazing book, The Dictocrats' attack on Health Foods and Vitamins. If any one book could be called the founding book of resistance to Codex it is this one. The head-on approach against the regulatory agencies was echoed twenty six years later in Elaine Feuer's brilliant and academically useful book, Innocent Casualties: The FDA's war against humanity. Like Garrison, Feuer shows how the FDA turns the idea of a 'health protection agency' on it head, working only in favour of vested interests.
At almost the same time as Garrison published his book, Morton Mintz's book, The Therapeutic Nightmare, later published as By Prescription Only was published in America. It was perhaps one of the first books to give an account of the iatrogenic outcome of many modern medicines.
Although popular books about alternatives and health became really prominent in the late Eighties and Nineties, one British writer, a highly regarded Irish journalist, Brian Inglis, began writing popular historical accounts of alternative medicine in the late seventies. Throughout the Eighties, Inglis published three books, The Alternative Health Guide, The Case for Unorthodox Medicine and Natural Medicine, each of which, in part, traced the development of alternative therapies and their battles with orthodoxy.
Inglis also had an interest in the paranormal and as a consequence, he wrote one of the best books to look historically at the struggle between science and 'irrational' ideas. In his book The Hidden Power published in 1986, he writes with insight about the role of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) in the ongoing battle between science and industrial science. CSICOP was to become the fountain head of the international skeptics movement which in turn helped to set up the european health fraud organisations in the late 1980s.
The Contemporary Period
In the late 1980s and early 90s there was a sudden rush of books and articles about the growing Health Fraud movement in Britain and North America. This was because a major push was begun in the mid-80s by the pharmaceutical companies and it was these beginnings which have led to the present drive for global regulation. As most of these books made clear, especially Dirty Medicine, the forces coalesced from three areas, all of which had a power base to defend: organised professional allopathic medicine, the pharmaceutical industry and the multinational food corporations.
The principal targets of this assembling army were inexpensive, non-invasive, low technology, medical practices - herbal, homeopathic and other 'alternative' treatments, vitamin and food supplements and small companies which produced these as well as 'health' and organic foods. From the mid-1980s the movements against these targets have gathered velocity and impacted with increasing damage.
Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin, writing for the Vegetarian Times in August 1991, was one of the very first to write the critical truth about the American National Council Against Health Fraud. In her intelligent, even heroic article, The Health Fraud Cops - Are the Quackbusters Consumer Advocates or Medical MacCarthyites? she told the full story of the US health fraud group. Both she and Vegetarian Times paid the price when the NCAHF immediately filed suit against them. Perhaps in those early days it was too much to hope that people came running to support Bloyd-Peshkin and Vegetarian Times but today, in the wake of the quackbusters' frequent legal humiliations, as a matter of honour everyone should get hold of a copy of this article and put it up anywhere visible. Sharon, who now runs a parent/child health organisation, would rather forget the article and the suit that followed and modestly claims no accolades for her far sighted article.
One of the most effective and well researched books which came out in the early 1990s was written by researcher and activist P. J. Lisa and called Are You a Target for Elimination? Like myself, Lisa had joined up with a group which had come under attack - in his case a company which produced herbs. His first book began to describe the attacks which were taking place out of public view. In Are you a Target, Lisa focused on the continuing attempts by quackbusters to destroy chiropractors. This book was followed up in 1988 with a more complete analysis in The Great Medical Monopoly Wars. Both these books by Lisa and his more recent ones, bear all the hallmarks of good investigative writing and critical scholarship in this difficult area. In them he begins to define the Health Fraud movement in America, to give body to its motivation and to root out and to expose its funding. It is principally due to Lisa that we are able to say that pharmaceutical companies bankrolled the health fraud movement in America.
In 1992, James P. Carter, a doctor from New Orleans, wrote another in the series of exposes against the cabal which was now being identified as behind the various attacks, Racketeering in Medicine. Being a doctor, Carter was keen on exposing the suppression of non-invasive medical techniques - particularly chelation therapy, a chemical and vitamin treatment which helps to clear blocked arteries and is said by some to be an alternative to heart bypass surgery. Carter's book was also groundbreaking in a way because rather than report on the individuals and organisations who were launching the attacks, he talked about the therapies which were being suppressed. On publication, Carter and Hampton Road the book's publishers, were immediately sued by Stephen Barrett the most prominent 'quackbuster' in North America. The case, however, was thrown out of court and according to Tim Bolen, this case began the demise of Barrett and the NCAHF.
In 1995 and 1996, over the period of a year, the medical license of Guylaine Lanctot MD was challenged by the Quebec College of Physicians. During the time that she was brought before the hearings, she published The Medical Mafia which recorded all the varying objections she had to allopathic medicine. The book is a novel mixture of writing and diagramatic pictures. Lanctot seemes to have been braver than most of us, willing to use a novel presentation with her novel thoughts. Part of the book deals with the political role of the World Health Organisation.
The 54 year old mother of four was accused by the Quebec College of Physicians of, 'misleading the public in her capacity as a doctor by communicating false, misleading, inciting information which contravenes scientific medical thinking, without also informing the general population of opinions which are generally accepted by the medical community'. Five of the eight charges brought against her referred to her opposition to childhood vaccination. By her opposition to vaccination, she was supposed to have endangered the health of the population, promoted fear of vaccination and advocated a view not recognised by the medical profession.
Following a 'guilty' verdict at her long drawn out trial, Lanctot was barred from practising medicine for the rest of her life and the tribunal who found her guilty awarded costs to themselves, asking that she paid the full cost of the hearings against her. 'Over my dead body!', she apparently said to one newspaper. Another book was written about Lanctot's trial, by Joachim Schafer, in The Trial of The Medical Mafia. Schafer sifted through the thousands of pages of the hearing to analyse the case brought against Lanctot.
The Cancer Strand
One main target for attack at the heart of the Health Fraud movement has always been alternative cancer treatments. It is abundantly clear why this should be so because cancer research is a booming multi-million dollar industry and environmental illnesses such as chemical sensitivity have to be denied to the last, in the face of large claims from sufferers. A small number of writers have pieced together the ways in which the cancer establishment maintains its censorship over alternative treatments and stymies preventative work.
Ralph Moss and Professor Samuel Epstein came at the problem of censorship from two different perspectives. While Epstein has tried valiantly to bring the manufacturers of environmental carcinogens to book, Moss has drawn attention to alternative treatments which have been censored. Ralph W. Moss, has spent more than twenty years investigating and writing about cancer issues. Formerly the assistant director of public affairs at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Moss was a founding advisor to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Alternative Medicine, and is presently scientific advisor to the Rosenthal Center of Columbia University and the University of Texas School of Public Health. In 1997, Moss was chosen as scientific advisor and honorary member of the German Oncology Society, the first American so honoured in over 20 years.
In both cases, their first significant books, Moss's The Cancer Industry and Epstein's The Politics of Cancer, produced shock waves which tutored a whole generation. Sam Epstein has carried the torch lit by individuals like Rachel Carsons and the well known sociologist Edwin H. Sutherland, in writing unambiguously about the corruption of science in corporations and the corrupt reach and influence of the chemical and pharmaceutical companies. Epstein has been exceptional amongst his generation of public health academics in his constant willingness to name names and write the reality of corporate liability. He has been father to a whole contemporary younger generation of investigative writers who have followed him in naming both corporations and individuals.
The writer who best reflects the Health Freedom Movement's focus on consumer choice in the area of cancer, is however, Barry Lyon. Lyon who has written consistently about the suppression of cancer treatments since the 1970s has ploughed a lonely but straight furrow. His books which tell it like it is, are far from academic texts, written with activists and sufferers in mind. Lyon became interested in suppressed cancer cures after studying Royal Rife. His first book, The Cancer Cure that Worked has become a best seller and looks at the life and times of Rife. In 1990, aware of the lack of individual choice in the area of cancer care, Lyon wrote Helping the Cancer Victim: Patient Rights, Medical Freedom & the Need for New Laws. This short book, is a handbook for those affected by cancer and those seeing the need for campaigning for legal changes.
Christopher Bird, well known for his book about the secret life of plants, also got involved in questioning the cancer establishment when he was the first person to recover one of Rife's microscopes. In 1996, Bird wrote the superb Trials of Gaston Naessens. The book is excellent, on the spot reportage, enhanced by his description of arriving in town for the trial with his typewriter and returning to his hotel room every evening after the hearing to bash out his notes which formed the basis of the book. Naessens was an experienced laboratory scientist and doctor who built a microscope similar to Rife's. Over a long period of scientific investigation he discovered the life cycle of a micro organism which was present in people who contracted cancer. He developed a treatment which damaged the organism and began to prescribe it, hence his prosecution by the Canadian medical profession.
Two other therapeutic approaches which have come under constant attack over the last decade, are those of Dr. Hulda Clark and Dr. Max Gerson. Max Gerson was a German Doctor who fled to North America in the 1930s. Having worked on diabetes, mainly from a nutritional perspective, he turned his nutritional ideas to cancer. Like Rife and a number of other highly qualified practitioners who developed treatments for cancer, Gerson consistently wrote up his cases as well as presenting cases and trials of his work to sceptical allopathic doctors. Unfortunately these attempts at bridge building got nowhere simply because his treatments did not involve chemical drugs which could be bought and patented by the pharmaceutical companies.
Gerson set up an Institute to perpetuate his work and the publication of his writings. In 1958, he published A Cancer Therapy, Results of Fifty cases. Since his death a number of people have written books based on their own cures using his treatment, most particularly Beata Bishop in A Time to Heal: Triumph over Cancer, the Therapy of the Future.
Gerson's work has re-emerged in the last thirty years in Britain. Aspects of the treatment were at the heart of the philosophy adopted by the Bristol Cancer Help Centre which was mercilessly attacked by the cancer research charities and aligned quackbusters in 1991. Then in 2002, Michael Gearin-Tosh, a lecturer at Oxford University wrote his exceptional book, Living Proof: A Medical Mutiny. This book emerges in a very modest but self assured manner as one of the best pieces of literature on a self cancer cure and it stressed with great power the necessity and the problems of being free to make one's own treatment choices. Gearin-Tosh waited almost seven years after curing himself of cancer, to validate his cure before publishing his story. His cure, which depended in large part on Gerson's therapy, stirred considerable controversy in the British media, with members of the British 'quackbusters' crawling out from the woodwork and throwing epithets at Gearin-Tosh and those who have taken his side, including Prince Charles. Gearin-Tosh died in July 2005.
In America, the NCAHF and other quackbusters, have until recently been much more energetic, making continuous attempts to shut down the clinics of Dr. Hulda Clark. Clark has suffered a series of depredations, beginning with her arrest in 1999. This was followed by attempts to shut down her clinics and actions brought against people using her treatments or technology. Clark has written a number of best selling books in which she outlines her case for cancer being cured with detoxification and electromagnetic fields. Quackbusters' lack of success and even humiliation in courts, has not stopped these particular 'quackbusting' activities crossing the Channel, where naturopath Roy MacKinnon stood trial in Wales earlier this year for selling Clark's therapies to a cancer patient. At MacKinnon's trial the judge who threw the case out, expressed surprise that anyone could be brought to court having made a claim to cure cancer, when the prosecution did not have a shred of evidence to support the charge.
By the mid-1990s, attacks upon cancer therapists, were well reflected in the writings of activists and advocates, people who did not see it as their sole purpose to write. The attacks on Hulda Clark have been defended by Tim Bolen, now America's foremost anti-quackbuster. Bolen provides intelligence and legal advice for defendants and puts up to the minute news about the increasingly failing court actions against alternative therapists on his Quackwatch website.
Dissidents break the AIDS Monopoly
The critique of the whole phenomena of AIDS, by gay men and others, could be said to represent the first wholesale grass roots addition to the Health Freedom Movement. In that this movement came immediately into collision with doctors, governments and the pharmaceutical companies over the concept of freedom of treatment choices, it represented quite an unusual aspect of Health Freedom because it was, in the main, organised by those on the ground who were threatened by illness. From the early setting up of treatment groups in America, which brought in and dispensed unlicensed treatments, to the activists in London who attacked the Wellcome Foundation and organised against AZT, there developed a substantial critique of suppression, containment and forced treatment.
Information about this aspect of the Health Freedom Movement can be found on the website AIDS MYTH, which presents critical texts, analysis and ongoing discussion for both scientists and lay people of all the aspects of the AIDS phenomena. The London organisation Continuum which produced a magazine of the same name ran for almost ten years, consistently reporting on pharmaceutical company spin and the suppression of science in this area. A number of books look at the medical and scientific conflicts in this area, include those by John Laurence, Neville Hodgkinson, Joan Shenton, Gary Null and Serge Lang.
Journalists and Activists as Good Writers
In the contemporary period, more and more is being written both about the activities of the pharmaceutical companies and Quackbuster activists, the suppression of alternative therapies and the terrible cost of iatrogenesis. There has yet to be any kind of overall view of the Health Freedom movement in a book. One of the principal reasons for this is that there is now the involvement of a large number of journalists and activists who write short texts and not books.
One of the best writers in the field, who manages to pull together contemporary politics and the denial of freedom, is Eve Hillary an American health activist and writer living in Australia. Hillary's populist but still academically sound style, is reminiscent of the great Janet Malcolm. Journalists who show a commitment to the Health Freedom Movement are thin on the ground in Britain, partially because of the British Journalists' forced commitment to 'balance' and 'fair play'. This commitment ensures that the pharmaceutical companies and doctors who pimp their drugs always have to be given equal, if not greater space, than the victims of iatrogenesis or those denied treatment choices. One journalist who has linked up with the Alliance for Natural Health is Rose Shepherd - a long piece by her can be read on their site. More recently she has had a cover story in the July 31, Sunday Times Magazine, entitled Death of the Magic Bullet. This long article set to become a classic, looks exclusively at adverse reactions to drugs. Shepherd is a committed anti-vivisectionist and has also written a number of novels.
In France, Sylvie Simon brings a lifetime's experience to her philosophical writing about the power and mystique of the Medical profession. Sylvie Simon is a novelist and journalist. She has written books on the paranormal and esotericism. For the last eight years, she has been fighting disinformation in the fields of health care and ecology. She has published many essays about the latest scandals in France, including blood contamination, mad cow disease, asbestos poisoning, growth hormones and vaccination.
Articulation within the area of health freedom is made slightly easier for French writers because they at least have a tradition of philosophical writing. Their major writers, like Foucault, Satre have been activists as well. Michel Foucault wrote extensively about the balance of historical power inside closed institutions like mental asylums, prisons and hospitals. In The Birth of the Clinic he traces the development of a place where people are treated which is separate from the home and which becomes the breeding ground for all kinds of professionals who assume power over the individual's health.
Another French person, who has recently loudly declaimed his birthright following his treatment at the hands of the French State and the Order of Doctors, is Loic Le Ribault. Loic is one of those rare stars of the Health Freedom movement, a brilliant scientist and a consistent activist who has served terms of imprisonment in France and Switzerland, after manufacturing and selling organic silica as a treatment for a number of conditions. Le Ribault's talents are prodigious and over the last six years he has produced some three books about his experiences as well as a novel. His most impressive work is The Cost of a Discovery, a self published account of his cases, campaigns and fight to the death with the French judiciary.
In Britain, a prolific writer who has made full use of the internet and speaking tours, is Philip Day. Day also has a constant output of books about medicine and the suppression of alternatives. His crusading is similar to that of Vernon Coleman who has been self publicising his battle against vivisection and medical misrule in Britain for the last twenty years.
America has produced a large number of writers and journalists who have been aligned with the major Health Freedom Organisations over the years. One of the most prolific of these was Michael Culbert who died in October 2004. Culbert was a founder-President of the International Council for Health Freedom and was before he died, Chairman of the Committee for Freedom of Choice in Medicine, Inc. and Editor of its newsletter. As a long time health freedom activist, he was the former award-winning California newspaper Editor of the Berkeley Daily Gazette and was co-author of more than 20 books, in the areas of Alternative Medicine, medical politics and economics.
Culbert had a plainly political approach to Health Freedom questions, as is witnessed by the following quote: 'The solution to all this, of course, is not scientific. It is political. If people have to take to the streets to secure what should be their birthright - freedom of choice in medicine, against the tyrannical concentration of economic and vested interests, then they will.'
As was bound to happen perhaps the main locale of contemporary Health Freedom activists is the internet and an ongoing selection of reflections and exhortations on all the issues to do with Health Freedom can now be found on a number of sites. One of the best of these sites is that of John Hammell, a larger than life, truly radical activist who has also put up on the net amongst his prolific work on Codex, an engaging essay Why I am a Health Freedom Activist. In the novelistic essay, Hammell talks about his 'cuckoo's nest' experiences in a long stay mental hospital.
Sepp Hasslberger who with a daughter also runs a small publishing company producing alternative health titles, has a site which is always up to the minute in reporting different Health Freedom Issues. His writing about complex issues on the site is, like the very best journalism, lucid, clear and easy to read. Emma Holister, a brilliant artist, and occasional writer, attached to the British based Alliance for Natural Health has recently updated her Health Freedom site at Candida International to include her paintings and references to other Health Freedom writers.
The Rath Foundation site carries the campaign of Professor Rath, a German scientist. In 1987, when he was 32, Rath discovered the connection between vitamin C deficiency and a new risk factor for heart disease. After publication of his research findings, Rath accepted an invitation to join two-time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling and in 1990 he went to the United States to become the first Director of Cardiovascular Research at the Linus Pauling Institute in Palo Alto, California. Today Dr. Rath heads a research and development institute in nutritional and Cellular Medicine. He spends much of his time fighting against EU regulations and Codex. Rath is perhaps one of the dynamos of the Health Freedom Movement, combining information with the massive organization of protests.
Philosophical approaches to Health Freedom
There is clearly a difference in the British, if not the 'European' mind (if such an animal exists) and that of most North Americans. While North Americans tend to see the usurption of healing by the pharmaceutical companies and the professional physician entirely in terms of market forces, the European mind raises a more complex spectre of the integrated professional power of doctors, their organizations and the drift towards high technology science.
Conservative Libertarians, like Bealle, in both Britain and North America have probably been able to see the philosophical picture more clearly than left-leaning libertarians like myself. This is because the individualist tradition has played a considerable part in conservative thinking. While those who lean to the left, especially in England, have had first to dismantle the idea of socialised medicine. This later, of course is only half the battle because we all have an obligation to formulate a detailed and contemporary system which can take its place, something which few Health Freedom Activists, European or American have done.
Many North Americans seem to shy away from criticising certain aspects of capitalism, a sport which has (Soviet communism aside) a long and reputable history in Europe. And while many Americans have recently looked to Europe as the breeding ground for intolerance and Nationalist authority, they often forget that no country in the world has had more oppressive regulatory or professional medical bodies than the AMA and the FDA. The very heart of the intolerant quackbuster body is quintessentially American, having grown from the seed laid down by the American Council Against Health Fraud and its friends in CSICOP, the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.
While much American writing about Health Freedom speaks on behalf of 'real Americans' against controlling bureaucracies, some Americans are adept at dodging the issue of what being a real American implies. While many Europeans see the Rockefeller spectre with its rampant accumulation of wealth as primarily American phenomena, Health Freedom Americans seem to think of something closer to the pioneering spirit of libertarian cooperation as the source of an American identity.
British commentators often make class an issue, suggesting that while we are all British, some wield more power and have more deeply hidden agendas. The North American psyche, even that which belongs to Health Freedom activists, often seems unable to come to terms with the fact that their society is divided along lines inscribed by corporate power.
This lack of introspection on behalf of many Americans has come to the fore dramatically during the development of Codex. Seemingly unable to blame fellow Americans as well as Europeans for the campaign against vitamins, supplements and alternative therapies, some US writers blame the 'European Nazi mind frame'. Historically, this association between German scientists, pharmaceutical companies and Codex is accurate and needs researching. However, any observer can see that American hierarchies of power have been deeply involved in the same agenda for decades. An agenda which is now and has been in the past ambitious to rob the citizens of all the Americas, and more recently of debilitated ex-communist countries like Poland, of their individual health choices.
It is obviously tempting for all writers to look beyond the straightforward facts of the battles to regulate alternative therapists, vitamin supplements and food. Once people enter the world of the censorship and suppression of inexpensive and non invasive treatments and cures, there is clearly a need for them to consider the origins and motivations of individuals and organisations involved. We live in a time of conspiracy theories, principally because there are so many conspiracies but also because the opening of the contemporary world of information has led to greater record and speculation about what is, and has, actually gone on in the world.
Expressing a completely personal opinion, I have to say that I have the same approach to Health Freedom activists writing about conspiracies as I have to footballers talking about their football - great players are sometimes shown to be hopelessly stupid the minute they open their mouths. The problem with many of the overarching theories that circulate in the Health Freedom Movement, is that they suffer from a poverty of real or thorough research. Consequently, even such well documented issues as IG Farben, the part Rockefeller owned German based chemical cartel, becomes the subject of esoteric speculation.
In the midst of this confusion of ideas it is suggested that the Nazis are behind the European Union, that the CIA is actually responsible for it, that the English still run America, that the Americans run Britain. The Health Freedom Movement is in fact populated by the most diverse political thinkers and this is one of the great strengths of the movement - as long as it focuses on Health Freedom and not on the secret post war history of the world. After all there are enough conspiracies within medicine itself still to be properly documented to keep many a conspiracy theorist happy.
Personally, I feel that it would augur better for the movement in the long run to stick to a well researched economic analysis in which powerful corporations, government agencies, world trade blocs and individuals, work to gain control of production, exchange and distribution of healthcare in its various forms. Such basic economic argument gives adequate room for accounts of dirty tricks and the involvement of groups like the Bilderberg and the Trilateral. This work has to be done with exacting research not runaway or unevidenced theories. To play out conspiracy theories beyond your immediate national community and its economic plots, can be debilitating for potential activists, who see a battle with the totality of the New World Order as clearly beyond their capabilities.
The movement also needs to spend much more time on considering its plan for the future, it has to develop an overall social philosophy for health care. I for one, am not in the Health Freedom Movement only to protect the economic designs of small supplement producing companies. If we really do want a healthier world where health is generated by the individual and then by community organisation, we have to work through our ideas for this world. The Health Freedom Movement must develop both a theoretical model and an active campaign with realisable objectives based in the community.
Postscript: Writers and their writing
Morris Bealle House of Rockefeller (1959). The Drugs Story (1949 -1976). Medical Mussolini (1939)
Howard S. Berliner The Holistic Alternative to Scientific Medicine: History and Analysis. International Journal of Health Services, 10(2) 1980. Scientific Medicine Since Flexner. In Salmon, J. Warren (ed) Alternative medicine: Popular and policy perspectives. Tavistock (1985). Philanthropic Foundations and Scientific Medicine. Unpublished doctoral thesis, Baltimore: John Hopkins University (1977)
Christopher Bird The Persecution and trial of Gaston Naessans (1991)
Beata Bishop A Time to Heal: Triumph over Cancer
Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin The Health Fraud Cops: Are the quackbusters consumer advocates or medical MacCarthyites? Vegetarian Times August 1991.
Tim Bolen http://www.quackpotwatch.org
Penny Brohn Gentle Giants: The powerful story of one woman's unconventional struggle against breast cancer. (1986)
James P. Carter Racketeering in Medicine: The suppression of alternatives (1992)
Dr. Hulda Clark The Prevention of All Cancers (2004) The Cure For All Cancers
Harris L. Coulter With Barbara Loe Fisher, Shot in the Dark : Vaccination, Social Violence and Criminality. 19th Century Influences in Allopathic Therapeutics. Homeopathic Science and Modern Medicine . Divided Legacy: A History of the Schism in Medical Thought Volume I - IV
Michael Culbert Freedom from Cancer, The Amazing Story of Laetrile. AIDS: Hope, Hoax & Hoopla (1989) Medical Armageddon
Samuel Epstein The Politics of Cancer (1978) The Politics of Cancer Revisited (1998)
Elaine Feuer Innocent Casualties: The FDA's War against Humanity (1996)
Michel Foucault Discipline and Punish: The birth of the prison (1975) The birth of the clinic (1973)
Omar V. Garrison The Dictocrats' attack on Health Foods and Vitamins (1970)
Michael Gearin-Tosh Living Proof: A Medical Mutiny (2002)
Max Gerson A Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases (1958 - )
Edward G. Griffin World Without Cancer: The story of vitamin B17 (1974)
John Hammell http://www.iahf.com
Josef Hasslberger Health Supreme. http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/sepp
Henning and Robert Nilsson Sjostrom Thalidomide and the Power of the Drug Companies (1972)
Eve Hillary Health Betrayal - Staying away from the Sickness Industry (2003) Children of a Toxic Harvest (1997)
Neville Hodgkinson AIDS: The Failure of Contemporary Science (1996)
Emma Hollister http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/emma_holister
Ivan Illich Limits to Medicine. Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health (1976) Estes Kefauver In a Few Hands: Monopoly power in America (1966)
Guylaine Lanctot The Medical Mafia: How to get out of it alive and take back our health and wealth (1995)
Serge Lang Challenges (1998)
P. J. Lisa Are You a Target for Elimination? An inside look at the AMA conspiracy against chiropractic and the wholistic healing arts (1984). The Great Medical Monopoly Wars (1986)
Barry Lyon The Cancer Cure that worked: Fifty years of suppression (1987) Helping the Cancer Victim (1990) The Cancer Conspiracy: Betrayal, collusion and the suppression of alternative cancer treatments (2000)
Morton Mintz By Prescription Only (1967) Originally published as The Therapeutic Nightmare (1965)
Ralph Moss The Cancer Industry (1980)
Gary Null AIDS: A Second Opinion (2002)
Mathias Rath http://WWW.DR-RATH-FOUNDATION.ORG Heart (2001)
Hans Ruesch Slaughter of the Innocent (1978) Naked Empress (1982) 1000 Doctors (and many more) Against Vivisection (1989)
Loic Le Ribault The Cost of a Discovery (2003) Le Prix d'une decouverte: lettre a mon juge (1998)
Joachim Schafer The Trial of The Medical Mafia (1998)
Joan Shenton Positively False: Exposing the myths around HIV and AIDS (1998)
Sylvie Simon La Dictature Médico-scientifique, The Medical and Scientific Dictatorship (1997) Vaccination, l'Overdose. Vaccines, Already at Overdose, (1999) Exercice Illegal de la guerison. Healing, An Illegal Practice, Ed. Marco Pietteur (2002).
Edwin H. Sutherland White Collar Crime: The Uncut Version (1983)
Martin J Walker Dirty Medicine: Science, big business and the assault on natural health care (1993). Loic le Ribault's Resistance: The creation of a treatment for arthritis and the persecution of its author France's foremost forensic scientist (1998). SKEWED: Psychiatric hegemony and the manufacture of mental illness in multiple chemical sensitivity, Gulf war syndrome, myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome (2003).
 Another book entitled The Therapeutic Nightmare: the battle over the world's most controversial sleeping pill, was published in 1999 by John Abraham and Julie Sheppard.
 I actually dont agree with the appellation Quackbusters because it seems to reduce the whole phenomena to a cartoon representation.
 In Dirty Medicine I show how the ACAHF is related to both CSICOP (The Committee for the Scientific Claims of the Paranormal) and the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). This later organisation is very important because its defence of the chemical companies slots neatly into ACAHF arguments, denying the cause of environmental illness.
 Slightly off the Health Freedom Movement beaten track but in the same vein, is John Braithwaite's book, Corporate Crime in the Pharmaceutical Industry. Routledge & Kegan Paul, England. 1984.
 The Centre was started by Penny Brohnn and others. Penny wrote two books about making free choices in cancer therapies. Gentle Giants and The Bristol Experience
 Although this attack almost destroyed the Bristol Cancer Help Centre, it led to the first patients' campaigning group which campaigned entirely against the bogus research which was published to try and destroy Bristol. The women who organised their campaign wrote up the experience in Fighting Spirit.
 In his book Medicine for the New Man, the Greek homeopathic doctor, Dr. George Vithoulkas, suggests a token system which gives every consumer the right to draw on therapies of their own choice up to the value of their tokens.
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