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Company Profile: Exxon and the Ties to the Rockfellers

 

Web site: http://www.exxon.com

Public Company
Incorporated: 1882 as Standard Oil Company of New Jersey
Employees: 79,000
Sales: $117.77 billion (1998)
Stock Exchanges: New York Boston Cincinnati Midwest Philadelphia Basel Dusseldorf Frankfurt Geneva Hamburg Paris Zurich
Ticker Symbol: XON
NAIC: 211111 Crude Petroleum & Natural Gas Extraction; 324110 Petroleum Refineries; 324191 Petroleum Lubricating Oil & Grease Manufacturing; 325110 Petrochemical Manufacturing; 447100 Gasoline Stations; 486110 Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil; 486910 Pipeline Transportation of Refined Petroleum Products; 212110 Coal Mining; 212234 Copper Ore & Nickel Ore Mining; 212299 All Other Metal Ore Mining; 221112 Fossil Fuel Electric Power Generation

As the earliest example of the trend toward gigantic size and power, Exxon Corporation and its Standard Oil forebears have earned vast amounts of money in the petroleum business. The brainchild of John D. Rockefeller, Standard Oil enjoyed the blessings and handicaps of overwhelming power—on the one hand, an early control of the oil business so complete that even its creators could not deny its monopolistic status; on the other, an unending series of journalistic and legal attacks upon its business ethics, profits, and very existence. Exxon became the object of much resentment during the 1970s for the huge profits it made from the OPEC-induced oil shocks. The uproar over the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill in 1989 put the corporation once more in the position of embattled giant, as the largest U.S. oil company struggled to justify its actions before the public. At the end of the 1990s Exxon stood as the second largest of the world’s integrated petroleum powerhouses—trailing only the Royal Dutch/Shell Group. In addition to its oil and gas exploration, production, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing operations, Exxon was a leading producer and seller of petrochemicals and was involved in electric power generation and the mining of coal, copper, and other minerals. Exxon was also once again making history, through a proposed merger with Mobil Corporation, to create the largest petroleum firm in the world in one of the biggest mergers ever—and to reunite two of the offspring of the Standard Oil behemoth.
Prehistory of Standard Oil

The individual most responsible for the creation of Standard Oil, John D. Rockefeller, was born in 1839 to a family of modest means living in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. His father, William A. Rockefeller, was a sporadically successful merchant and part-time hawker of medicinal remedies. William Rockefeller moved his family to Cleveland, Ohio, when John D. Rockefeller was in his early teens, and it was there that the young man finished his schooling and began work as a bookkeeper in 1855. From a very young age John D. Rockefeller developed an interest in business. Before getting his first job with the merchant firm of Hewitt & Tuttle, Rockefeller had already demonstrated an innate affinity for business, later honed by a few months at business school.

Rockefeller worked at Hewitt & Tuttle for four years, studying large-scale trading in the United States. In 1859 the 19-year-old Rockefeller set himself up in a similar venture—Clark & Rockefeller, merchants handling the purchase and resale of grain, meat, farm implements, salt, and other basic commodities. Although still very young, Rockefeller had already impressed Maurice Clark and his other business associates as an unusually capable, cautious, and meticulous businessman. He was a reserved, undemonstrative individual, never allowing emotion to cloud his thinking. Bankers found that they could trust John D. Rockefeller, and his associates in the merchant business began looking to him for judgment and leadership.

Clark & Rockefeller’s already healthy business was given a boost by the Civil War economy, and by 1863 the firm’s two partners had put away a substantial amount of capital and were looking for new ventures. The most obvious and exciting candidate was oil. A few years before, the nation’s first oil well had been drilled at Titusville, in western Pennsylvania, and by 1863 Cleveland had become the refining and shipping center for a trail of newly opened oil fields in the so-called Oil Region. Activity in the oil fields, however, was extremely chaotic, a scene of unpredictable wildcatting, and John D. Rockefeller was a man who prized above all else the maintenance of order. He and Clark, therefore, decided to avoid drilling and instead go into the refining of oil, and in 1863 they formed Andrews, Clark & Company with an oil specialist named Samuel Andrews. Rockefeller, never given to publicity, was the “Company.”

With excellent railroad connections as well as the Great Lakes to draw upon for transportation, the city of Cleveland and the firm of Andrews, Clark & Company both did well. The discovery of oil wrought a revolution in U.S. methods of illumination. Kerosene soon replaced animal fat as the source of light across the country, and by 1865 Rockefeller was fully convinced that oil refining would be his life’s work. Unhappy with his Clark-family partners, Rockefeller bought them out for $72,000 in 1865 and created the new firm of Rockefeller & Andrews, already Cleveland’s largest oil refiners. It was a typically bold move by Rockefeller, who although innately conservative and methodical was never afraid to make difficult decisions. He thus found himself, at the age of 25, co-owner of one of the world’s leading oil concerns.

Talent, capital, and good timing combined to bless Rockefeller & Andrews. Cleveland handled the lion’s share of Pennsylvania crude and, as the demand for oil continued to explode, Rockefeller & Andrews soon dominated the Cleveland scene. By 1867, when a young man of exceptional talent named Henry Flagler became a third partner, the firm was already operating the world’s number one oil refinery; there was as yet little oil produced outside the United States. The year before, John Rockefeller’s brother, William Rockefeller, had opened a New York office to encourage the rapidly growing export of kerosene and oil byproducts, and it was not long before foreign sales became an important part of Rockefeller strength. In 1869 the young firm allocated $60,000 for plant improvements—an enormous sum of money for that day.
Creation of the Standard Oil Monopoly: 1870–92

The early years of the oil business were marked by tremendous swings in the production and price of both crude and refined oil. With a flood of newcomers entering the field every day, size and efficiency already had become critically important for survival. As the biggest refiner, Rockefeller was in a better position than anyone to weather the price storms. Rockefeller and Henry Flagler, with whom Rockefeller enjoyed a long and harmonious business relationship, decided to incorporate their firm to raise the capital needed to enlarge the company further. On January 10, 1870, the Standard Oil Company was formed, with the two Rockefellers, Flagler, and Andrews owning the great majority of stock, valued at $1 million. The new company was not only capable of refining approximately ten percent of the entire country’s oil, it also owned a barrel-making plant, dock facilities, a fleet of railroad tank cars, New York warehouses, and forest land for the cutting of lumber used to produce barrel staves. At a time when the term was yet unknown, Standard Oil had become a vertically integrated company.

One of the single advantages of Standard Oil’s size was the leverage it gave the company in railroad negotiations. Most of the oil refined at Standard made its way to New York and the Eastern Seaboard. Because of Standard’s great volume—60 carloads a day by 1869—it was able to win lucrative rebates from the warring railroads. In 1871 the various railroads concocted a plan whereby the nation’s oil refiners and railroads would agree to set and maintain prohibitively high freight rates while awarding large rebates and other special benefits to those refiners who were part of the scheme. The railroads would avoid disastrous price wars while the large refiners forced out of business those smaller companies who refused to join the cartel, known as the South Improvement Company.
Company Perspectives:

Ours is a long-term business, with today’s accomplishments a reflection of well-executed plans set in motion years ago. Likewise, Exxon’s success at building shareholder value in the future is dependent on plans we develop and implement today.

The following strategies have and will continue to guide Exxon as we strive to meet shareholder and customer expectations: identifying and implementing quality investment opportunities at a timely and appropriate pace, while maintaining a selective and disciplined approach; being the most efficient competitor in every aspect of our business; maintaining a high-quality portfolio of productive assets; developing and employing the best technology; ensuring safe, environmentally sound operations; continually improving an already high-quality work force; maintaining a strong financial position and ensuring that financial resources are employed wisely.

The plan was denounced immediately by Oil Region producers and many independent refiners, with near-riots breaking out in the oil fields. After a bitter war of words and a flood of press coverage, the oil refiners and the railroads abandoned their plan and announced the adoption of public, inflexible transport rates. In the meantime, however, Rockefeller and Flagler were already far advanced on a plan to combat the problems of excess capacity and dropping prices in the oil industry. To Rockefeller the remedy was obvious, though unprecedented: the eventual unification of all oil refiners in the United States into a single company. Rockefeller approached the Cleveland refiners and a number of important firms in New York and elsewhere with an offer of Standard Oil stock or cash in exchange for their often-ailing plants. By the end of 1872, all 34 refiners in the area had agreed to sell—some freely and for profit, and some, competitors alleged, under coercion. Because of Standard’s great size and the industry’s overbuilt capacity, Rockefeller and Flagler were in a position to make their competitors irresistible offers. All indications are that Standard regularly paid top dollar for viable companies.

By 1873 Standard Oil was refining more oil—10,000 barrels per day—than any other region of the country, employing 1,600 workers, and netting around $500,000 per year. With great confidence, Rockefeller proceeded to duplicate his Cleveland success throughout the rest of the country. By the end of 1874 he had absorbed the next three largest refiners in the nation, located in New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Rockefeller also began moving into the field of distribution with the purchase of several of the new pipelines then being laid across the country. With each new acquisition it became more difficult for Rockefeller’s next target to refuse his cash. Standard interests rapidly grew so large that the threat of monopoly was clear. The years 1875 to 1879 saw Rockefeller push through his plan to its logical conclusion. In 1878, a mere six years after beginning its annexation campaign, Standard Oil controlled $33 million of the country’s $35 million annual refining capacity, as well as a significant proportion of the nation’s pipelines and oil tankers. At the age of 39, Rockefeller was one of the five wealthiest men in the country.

Standard’s involvement in the aborted South Improvement Company, however, had earned it lasting criticism. The company’s subsequent absorption of the refining industry did not mend its image among the few remaining independents and the mass of oil producers who found in Standard a natural target for their wrath when the price of crude dropped precipitously in the late 1870s. Although the causes of producers’ tailing fortunes are unclear, it is evident that given Standard’s extraordinary position in the oil industry it was fated to become the target of dissatisfactions. In 1879 nine Standard Oil officials were indicted by a Pennsylvania grand jury for violating state antimonopoly laws. Although the case was not pursued, it indicated the depth of feeling against Standard Oil, and was only the first in a long line of legal battles waged to curb the company’s power.

In 1882 Rockefeller and his associates reorganized their dominions, creating the first “trust” in U.S. business history. This move overcame state laws restricting the activity of a corporation to its home state. Henceforth the Standard Oil Trust, domiciled in New York City, held “in trust” all assets of the various Standard Oil companies. Of the Standard Oil Trust’s nine trustees, John D. Rockefeller held the largest number of shares. Together the trust’s 30 companies controlled 80 percent of the refineries and 90 percent of the oil pipelines in the United States, constituting the leading industrial organization in the world. The trust’s first year’s combined net earnings were $11.2 million, of which some $7 million was immediately plowed back into the companies for expansion. Almost lost in the flurry of big numbers was the 1882 creation of Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, one of the many regional corporations created to handle the trust’s activities in surrounding states. Barely worth mentioning at the time, Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, or “Jersey” as it came to be called, would soon become the dominant Standard company and, much later, rename itself Exxon.
Key Dates:

1870:
John D. Rockefeller and Henry Flagler incorporate the Standard Oil Company.
1878:
Standard controls $33 million of the country’s $35 million annual refining capacity.
1882:
Rockefeller reorganizes Standard Oil into a trust, creating Standard Oil Company of New Jersey as one of many regional corporations controlled by the trust.
1888:
Standard founds its first foreign affiliate, Anglo-American Oil Company, Limited.
1890:
The Sherman Antitrust Act is passed, in large part, in response to Standard’s oil monopoly.
1891:
The trust has secured a quarter of the total oil field production in the United States.
1892:
Lawsuit leads to dissolving of the trust; the renamed Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) becomes main vessel of the Standard holdings.
1899:
Jersey becomes the sole holding company for all of the Standard interests.
1906:
Federal government files suit against Jersey under the Sherman Antitrust Act, charging it with running a monopoly.
1911:
U.S. Supreme Court upholds lower court conviction of the company and orders that it be separated into 34 unrelated companies, one of which continues to be called Standard Oil Company (New Jersey).
1926:
The Esso brand is used for the first time on the company’s refined products.
1946:
A 30 percent interest in Arabian American Oil Company, and its vast Saudi Arabian oil concessions, is acquired.
1954:
Company gains seven percent stake in Iranian oil production consortium.
1972:
Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) changes its name to Exxon Corporation.
1973:
OPEC cuts off oil supplies to the United States.
1980:
Revenues exceed $100 billion because of the rapid increase in oil prices.
1989:
The crash of the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound off the port of Valdez, Alaska, releases about 260,000 barrels of crude oil.
1990:
Headquarters are moved from Rockefeller Center in New York City to Irving, Texas.
1994:
A federal jury in an Exxon Valdez civil action finds the company guilty of “recklessness” and orders it to pay $286.8 million in compensatory damages and $5 billion in punitive damages.
1997:
Company appeals the $5 billion punitive damage award; it reports profits of $8.46 billion on revenues of $120.28 billion for the year.
1998:
Company agrees to buy Mobil in one of the largest mergers in U.S. history, which would create the largest oil company in the world, Exxon Mobil Corporation.

The 1880s were a period of exponential growth for Standard. The trust not only maintained its lock on refining and distribution but also seriously entered the field of production. By 1891 the trust had secured a quarter of the country’ s total output, most of it in the new regions of Indiana and Illinois. Standard’s overseas business was also expanding rapidly, and in 1888 it founded its first foreign affiliate, London-based Anglo-American Oil Company, Limited (later known as Esso Petroleum Company, Limited). The overseas trade in kerosene was especially important to Jersey, which derived as much as threefourths of its sales from the export trade. Jersey’s Bayonne, New Jersey refinery was soon the third largest in the Standard family, putting out 10,000 to 12,000 barrels per day by 1886. In addition to producing and refining capacity, Standard also was extending gradually its distribution system from pipelines and bulk wholesalers toward the retailer and eventual end user of kerosene, the private consumer.
Jersey at Head of Standard Oil Empire: 1892–1911

The 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act, passed in large part in response to Standard’s oil monopoly, laid the groundwork for a second major legal assault against the company, an 1892 Ohio Supreme Court order forbidding the trust to operate Standard of Ohio. As a result, the trust was promptly dissolved, but taking advantage of newly liberalized state law in New Jersey, the Standard directors made Jersey the main vessel of their holdings. Standard Oil Company of New Jersey became Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) at this time. The new Standard Oil structure now consisted of only 20 much-enlarged companies, but effective control of the interests remained in the same few hands as before. Jersey added a number of important manufacturing plants to its already impressive refining capacity and was the leading Standard unit. It was not until 1899, however, that Jersey became the sole holding company for all of the Standard interests. At that time the entire organization’s assets were valued at about $300 million and it employed 35,000 people. John D. Rockefeller continued as nominal president, but the most powerful active member of Jersey’s board was probably John D. Archbold.

Rockefeller had retired from daily participation in Standard Oil in 1896 at the age of 56. Once Standard’s consolidation was complete Rockefeller spent his time reversing the process of accumulation, seeing to it that his staggering fortune—estimated at $900 million in 1913—was redistributed as efficiently as it had been made.

The general public was only dimly aware of Rockefeller’s philanthropy, however. More obvious were the frankly monopolistic policies of the company he had built. With its immense size and complete vertical integration, Standard Oil piled up huge profits ($830 million in the 12 years from 1899 to 1911). In relative terms, however, its domination of the U.S. industry was steadily decreasing. By 1911 its percentage of total refining was down to 66 percent from the 90 percent of a generation before, but in absolute terms Standard Oil had grown to monstrous proportions. Therefore, it was not surprising that in 1905 a U.S. congressman from Kansas launched an investigation of Standard Oil’s role in the falling price of crude in his state. The commissioner of the Bureau of Corporations, James R. Garfield, decided to widen the investigation into a study of the national oil industry—in effect, Standard Oil.

Garfield’s critical report prompted a barrage of state lawsuits against Standard Oil (New Jersey) and, in November 1906, a federal suit was filed charging the company, John D. Rockefeller, and others with running a monopoly. In 1911, after years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s conviction of Standard Oil for monopoly and restraint of trade under the Sherman Antitrust Act. The Court ordered the separation from Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) of 33 of the major Standard Oil subsidiaries, including those that subsequently kept the Standard name.
Independent Growth into a “Major”: 1911–72

Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) retained an equal number of smaller companies spread around the United States and overseas, representing $285 million of the former Jersey’s net value of $600 million. Notable among the remaining holdings were a group of large refineries, four medium-sized producing companies, and extensive foreign marketing affiliates. Absent were the pipelines needed to move oil from well to refinery, much of the former tanker fleet, and access to a number of important foreign markets, including Great Britain and the Far East.

John D. Archbold, a longtime intimate of the elder Rockefeller and whose Standard service had begun in 1879, remained president of Standard Oil (New Jersey). Archbold’s first problem was to secure sufficient supplies of crude oil for Jersey’s extensive refining and marketing capacity. Jersey’s former subsidiaries were more than happy to continue selling crude to Jersey; the dissolution decree had little immediate effect on the coordinated workings of the former Standard Oil group, but Jersey set about finding its own sources of crude. The company’s first halting steps toward foreign production met with little success; ventures in Romania, Peru, Mexico, and Canada suffered political or geological setbacks and were of no help. In 1919, however, Jersey made a domestic purchase that would prove to be of great long-term value. For $17 million Jersey acquired 50 percent of the Humble Oil & Refining Company of Houston, Texas, a young but rapidly growing network of Texas producers that immediately assumed first place among Jersey’s domestic suppliers. Although only the fifth leading producer in Texas at the time of its purchase, Humble would soon become the dominant drilling company in the United States and eventually was wholly purchased by Jersey. Humble, later known as Exxon Company U.S.A., remained one of the leading U.S. producers of crude oil and natural gas through the end of the century.

Despite initial disappointments in overseas production, Jersey remained a company oriented to foreign markets and supply sources. On the supply side, Jersey secured a number of valuable Latin American producing companies in the 1920s, especially several Venezuelan interests consolidated in 1943 into Creole Petroleum Corporation. By that time Creole was the largest and most profitable crude producer in the Jersey group. In 1946 Creole produced an average of 451,000 barrels per day, far more than the 309,000 by Humble and almost equal to all other Jersey drilling companies combined. Four years later, Creole generated $157 million of the Jersey group’s total net income of $408 million and did so on sales of only $517 million. Also in 1950, Jersey’s British affiliates showed sales of $283 million but a bottom line of about $2 million. In contrast to the industry’s early days, oil profits now lay in the production of crude, and the bulk of Jersey’s crude came from Latin America. The company’s growing Middle Eastern affiliates did not become significant resources until the early 1950s. Jersey’s Far East holdings, from 1933 to 1961 owned jointly with Socony-Vacuum Oil Company—formerly Standard Oil Company of New York and now Mobil Corporation—never provided sizable amounts of crude oil.

In marketing, Jersey’s income showed a similar preponderance of foreign sales. Jersey’s domestic market had been limited by the dissolution decree to a handful of mid-Atlantic states, whereas the company’s overseas affiliates were well entrenched and highly profitable. Jersey’s Canadian affiliate, Imperial Oil Ltd., had a monopolistic hold on that country’s market, while in Latin America and the Caribbean the West India Oil Company performed superbly during the second and third decades of the 20th century. Jersey had also incorporated eight major marketing companies in Europe by 1927, and these, too, sold a significant amount of refined products—most of them under the Esso brand name introduced the previous year (the name was derived from the initials for Standard Oil). Esso became Jersey’s best known and most widely used retail name both at home and abroad.

Jersey’s mix of refined products changed considerably over the years. As the use of kerosene for illumination gave way to electricity and the automobile continued to grow in popularity, Jersey’s sales reflected a shift away from kerosene and toward gasoline. Even as late as 1950, however, gasoline had not yet become the leading seller among Jersey products. That honor went to the group of residual fuel oils used as a substitute for coal to power ships and industrial plants. Distillates used for home heating and diesel engines were also strong performers. Even in 1991, when Exxon distributed its gasoline through a network of 12,000 U.S. and 26,000 international service stations, the earnings of all marketing and refining activities were barely one-third of those derived from the production of crude. In 1950 that proportion was about the same, indicating that regardless of the end products into which oil was refined, it was the production of crude that yielded the big profits.

Indeed, by mid-century the international oil business had become, in large part, a question of controlling crude oil at its source. With Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) and its multinational competitors having built fully vertically integrated organizations, the only leverage remained control of the oil as it came out of the ground. Although it was not yet widely known in the United States, production of crude was shifting rapidly from the United States and Latin America to the Middle East. As early as 1908 oil had been verified in present-day Iran, but it was not until 1928 that Jersey and Socony-Vacuum, prodded by chronic shortages of crude, joined three European companies in forming Iraq Petroleum Company. Also in 1928, Jersey, Shell, and Anglo-Persian secretly agreed to limit each company’s share of world production to their present relative amounts, attempting, by means of this “As Is” agreement, to limit competition and keep prices at comfortably high levels. As with Rockefeller’s similar tactics 50 years before, it was not clear in 1928 that the agreement was illegal, because its participants were located in a number of different countries each with its own set of trade laws. Already in 1928, Jersey and the other oil giants were stretching the very concept of nationality beyond any simple application.

Following World War II, Jersey was again in need of crude to supply the resurgent economies of Europe. Already the world’s largest producer, the company became interested in the vast oil concessions in Saudi Arabia recently won by Texaco and Socal. The latter companies, in need of both capital for expansion and world markets for exploitation, sold 30 percent of the newly formed Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco) to Jersey and ten percent to Socony-Vacuum in 1946. Eight years later, after Iran’s nationalization of Anglo-Persian’s holdings was squelched by a combination of CIA assistance and an effective worldwide boycott of Iranian oil by competitors, Jersey was able to take seven percent of the consortium formed to drill in that oil-rich country. With a number of significant tax advantages attached to foreign crude production, Jersey drew an increasing percentage of its oil from its holdings in all three of the major Middle Eastern fields—Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia—and helped propel the 20-year postwar economic boom in the West. With oil prices exceptionally low, the United States and Europe busily shifted their economies to complete dependence on the automobile and on oil as the primary industrial fuel.
Exxon, Oil Shocks, and Diversification: 1972–89

Despite the growing strength of newcomers to the international market, such as Getty and Conoco, the big companies continued to exercise decisive control over the world oil supply and thus over the destinies of the Middle East producing countries. Growing nationalism and an increased awareness of the extraordinary power of the large oil companies led to the 1960 formation of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Later, a series of increasingly bitter confrontations erupted between countries and companies concerned about control over the oil upon which the world had come to depend. The growing power of OPEC and the concomitant nationalization of oil assets by various producing countries prompted Jersey to seek alternative sources of crude. Exploration resulted in discoveries in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay and the North Sea in the late 1960s. The Middle Eastern sources remained paramount, however, and when OPEC cut off oil supplies to the United States in 1973—in response to U.S. sponsorship of Israel—the resulting 400 percent price increase induced a prolonged recession and permanently changed the industrial world’s attitude to oil. Control of oil was, in large part, taken out of the hands of the oil companies, who began exploring new sources of energy and business opportunities in other fields.

For Standard Oil Company (New Jersey), which had changed its name to Exxon in 1972, the oil embargo had several major effects. Most obviously it increased corporate sales; the expensive oil allowed Exxon to double its 1972 revenue of $20 billion in only two years and then pushed that figure over the $100 billion mark by 1980. After a year of windfall profits made possible by the sale of inventoried oil bought at much lower prices, Exxon was able to make use of its extensive North Sea and Alaskan holdings to keep profits at a steady level. The company had suffered a strong blow to its confidence, however, and soon was investigating a number of diversification measures that eventually included office equipment, a purchase of Reliance Electric Company (the fifth largest holdings of coal in the United States), and an early 1980s venture into shale oil. With the partial exception of coal, all of these were expensive failures, costing Exxon approximately $6 billion to $7 billion.

By the early 1980s the world oil picture had eased considerably and Exxon felt less urgency about diversification. With the price of oil peaking around 1981 and then tumbling for most of the decade, Exxon’s sales dropped sharply. The company’s confidence rose, however, as OPEC’s grip on the marketplace proved to be weaker than advertised. Having abandoned its forays into other areas, Exxon refocused on the oil and gas business, cutting its assets and workforce substantially to accommodate the drop in revenue without losing profitability. In 1986 the company consolidated its oil and gas operations outside North America, which had been handled by several separate subsidiaries, into a new division called Exxon Company, International, with headquarters in New Jersey. Exxon Company, U.S.A. and Imperial Oil Ltd. continued to handle the company’s oil and gas operations in the United States and Canada, respectively.

Exxon also bought back a sizable number of its own shares to bolster per-share earnings, which reached excellent levels and won the approval of Wall Street. The stock buyback was partially in response to Exxon’s embarrassing failure to invest its excess billions profitably—the company was somewhat at a loss as to what to do with its money. It could not expand further into the oil business without running into antitrust difficulties at home, and investments outside of oil would have had to be mammoth to warrant the time and energy required.
The Exxon Valdez: 1989–98

In 1989 Exxon was no longer the world’s largest company, and soon it would not even be the largest oil group (Royal Dutch/Shell would take over that position in 1990), but with the help of the March 24, 1989, Exxon Valdez disaster the company heightened its notoriety. The crash of the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound off the port of Valdez, Alaska, released about 260,000 barrels, or 11.2 million gallons, of crude oil. The disaster cost Exxon $1.7 billion in 1989 alone, and the company and its subsidiaries were faced with more than 170 civil and criminal lawsuits brought by state and federal governments and individuals.

By late 1991 Exxon had paid $2.2 billion to clean up Prince William Sound and had reached a tentative settlement of civil and criminal charges that levied a $125 million criminal fine against the oil conglomerate. Fully $100 million of the fine was forgiven and the remaining amount was split between the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund (which received $12 million) and the U.S. Treasury (which received $13 million). Exxon and a subsidiary, Exxon Shipping Co., also were required to pay an additional $1 billion to restore the spill area.

Although the Valdez disaster was a costly public relations nightmare—a nightmare made worse by the company’s slow response to the disaster and by CEO Lawrence G. Rawl’s failure to visit the site in person—Exxon’s financial performance actually improved in the opening years of the last decade in the 20th century. The company enjoyed record profits in 1991, netting $5.6 billion and earning a special place in the Fortune 500. Of the annual list’s top ten companies, Exxon was the only one to post a profit increase over 1990. Business Week’s ranking of companies according to market value also found Exxon at the top of the list.

The company’s performance was especially dramatic when compared with the rest of the fuel industry: as a group the 44 fuel companies covered by Business Week’s survey lost $35 billion in value, or 11 percent, in 1991. That year, Exxon also scrambled to the top of the profits heap, according to Forbes magazine. With a profit increase of 12 percent over 1990, Exxon’s $5.6 billion in net income enabled the company to unseat IBM as the United States’ most profitable company. At 16.5 percent, Exxon’s return on equity was also higher than any other oil company. The company also significantly boosted the value of its stock through its long-term and massive stock buyback program, through which it spent about $15.5 billion to repurchase 518 million shares—or 30 percent of its outstanding shares—between 1983 and 1991.

Like many of its competitors, Exxon was forced to trim expenses to maintain such outstanding profitability. One of the favorite methods was to cut jobs. Citing the globally depressed economy and the need to streamline operations, Exxon eliminated 5,000 employees from its payrolls between 1990 and 1992. With oil prices in a decade-long slide, Exxon also cut spending on exploration from $1.7 billion in 1985 to $900 million in 1992. The company’s exploration budget constituted less than one percent of revenues and played a large part in Exxon’s good financial performance. Meantime, Exxon in 1990 abandoned its fancy headquarters at Rockefeller Center in New York City to reestablish its base in the heart of oil territory, in the Dallas suburb of Irving, Texas. In 1991 the company established a new Houston-based division, Exxon Exploration Company, to handle the company’s exploration operations everywhere in the world except for Canada.

At the end of 1993 Lee R. Raymond took over as CEO from the retiring Rawl. Raymond continued Exxon’s focus on cost-cutting, with the workforce falling to 79,000 employees by 1996, the lowest level since the breakup of Standard Oil in 1911. Other savings were wrung out by reengineering production, transportation, and marketing processes. Over a five-year period ending in 1996, Exxon had managed to reduce its operating costs by $1.3 billion annually. The result was increasing levels of profits. In 1996 the company reported net income of $7.51 billion, more than any other company on the Fortune 500. The following year it made $8.46 billion on revenues of $120.28 billion, a seven percent profit margin. The huge profits enabled Exxon in the middle to late 1990s to take some gambles, and it risked tens of billion of dollars on massive new oil and gas fields in Russia, Indonesia, and Africa. In addition, Exxon and Royal Dutch/Shell joined forces in a worldwide petroleum additives joint venture in 1996.

Exxon was unable—some said unwilling—to shake itself free of its Exxon Valdez legacy. Having already spent some $1.1 billion to settle state and federal criminal charges related to the spill, Exxon faced a civil trial in which the plaintiffs sought compensatory and punitive damages amounting to $16.5 billion. The 14,000 plaintiffs in the civil suit included fishermen, Alaskan natives, and others claiming harm from the spill. In June 1994 a federal jury found that the huge oil spill had been caused by “recklessness” on the part of Exxon. Two months later the same jury ruled that the company should pay $286.8 million in compensatory damages; then in August the panel ordered Exxon to pay $5 billion in punitive damages. Although Wall Street reacted positively to what could have been much larger damage amounts and Exxon’s huge profits placed it in a position to reach a final settlement and perhaps put the Exxon Valdez nightmare in its past, the company chose to continue to take a hard line. It vowed to exhaust all its legal avenues to having the verdict overturned—including seeking a mistrial and a new trial and filing appeals. In June 1997, in fact, Exxon formally appealed the $5 billion verdict. Exxon seemed to make another PR gaffe in the late 1990s when it attempted to reverse a federal ban on the return to Alaskan waters of the Exxon Valdez, which had by then been renamed the Sea-River Mediterranean. Environmentalists continued to berate the company for its refusal to operate double-hulled tankers, a ship design that may have prevented the oil spill in the first place. In addition, in an unrelated but equally embarrassing development, Exxon in 1997 reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in which it agreed to run advertisements that refuted earlier ads claiming that its high-octane gasoline reduced automobile maintenance costs.
Nearing the Turn of the Century: Exxon Mobil

In December 1998 Exxon agreed to buy Mobil for about $75 billion in what promised to be one of the largest takeovers ever. The megamerger was one of a spate of petroleum industry deals brought about by an oil glut that forced down the price of a barrel of crude by late 1998 to about $11—the cheapest price in history with inflation factored in. Just one year earlier, the price had been about $23. The oil glut was caused by a number of factors, principally the Asian economic crisis and the sharp decline in oil consumption engendered by it, and the virtual collapse of OPEC, which was unable to curb production by its own members. In such an environment, pressure to cut costs was again exerted, and Exxon and Mobil cited projected savings of $2.8 billion per year as a prime factor behind the merger.

Based on 1998 results, the proposed Exxon Mobil Corporation would have combined revenues of $168.8 billion, making it the largest oil company in the world, and $8.1 billion in profits. Raymond would serve as chairman, CEO, and president of the Irving, Texas-based goliath, with the head of Mobil, Lucio A. Noto, acting as vice-chairman. Shareholders of both Exxon and Mobil approved the merger in May 1999. In September of that year the European Commission granted antitrust approval to the deal with the only major stipulation being that Mobil divest its share of a joint venture with BP Amoco p.l.c. in European refining and marketing. Approval from the Federal Trade Commission proved more difficult to come by, as the agency was concerned about major overlap between the two companies’ operations in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. The FTC was likely to force the companies to sell more than 1,000 gas stations in those regions as well as accede to other changes to gain U.S. antitrust approval.
Principal Subsidiaries

Ancon Insurance Company, Inc.; Esso Australia Resources Ltd.; Esso Eastern Inc.; Esso Hong Kong Limited; Esso Malaysia Berhad (65%); Esso Production Malaysia Inc.; Esso Sekiyu Kabushiki Kaisha (Japan); Esso Singapore Private Limited; Esso (Thailand) Public Company Limited (87.5%); Exxon Energy Limited (Hong Kong); Exxon Yemen Inc.; General Sekiyu K.K. (Japan; 50.1%); Esso Exploration and Production Chad Inc.; Esso Italiana S.p.A. (Italy); Esso Standard (Inter-America) Inc.; Esso Standard Oil S.A. Limited (Bahamas); Exxon Asset Management Company (75.5%); Exxon Capital Holdings Corporation; Exxon Chemical Asset Management Partnership; Exxon Chemical Eastern Inc.; Exxon Chemical HDPE Inc.; Exxon Chemical Interamerica Inc.; Exxon Credit Corporation; Exxon Holding Latin America Limited (Bahamas); Exxon International Holdings, Inc.; Esso Aktiengesellschaft (Germany); Esso Austria Aktiengesellschaft; Esso Exploration and Production Norway AS; Esso Holding Company Holland Inc.; Exxon Chemical Antwerp Ethylene N.V. (Belgium); Esso Nederland B.V. (Netherlands); Exxon Chemical Holland Inc.; Exxon Funding B.V. (Netherlands); Esso Holding Company U.K. Inc.; Esso UK pic; Esso Exploration and Production UK Limited; Esso Petroleum Company, Limited (U.K.); Exxon Chemical Limited (U.K.); Exxon Chemical Olefins Inc.; Esso Norge AS (Norway); Esso Sociedad Anonima Petrolera Argentina; Esso Societe Anonyme Francaise (France; 81.54%); Esso (Switzerland); Exxon Minerals International Inc.; Compania Minera Disputada de Las Condes Limitada (Chile); Exxon Overseas Corporation; Exxon Chemical Arabia Inc.; Exxon Equity Holding Company; Exxon Overseas Investment Corporation; Exxon Financial Services Company Limited (Bahamas); Exxon Ventures Inc.; Exxon Azerbaijan Limited (Bahamas); Mediterranean Standard Oil Co.; Esso Trading Company of Abu Dhabi; Exxon Pipeline Holdings, Inc.; Exxon Pipeline Company; Exxon Rio Holding Inc.; Esso Brasileira de Petroleo Limitada (Brazil); Exxon Sao Paulo Holding Inc.; Exxon Worldwide Trading Company; Imperial Oil Limited (Canada; 69.6%); International Colombia Resources Corporation; SeaRiver Maritime Financial Holdings, Inc.; SeaRiver Maritime, Inc.; Societe Francaise EXXON CHEMICAL (France; 99.35%); Exxon Chemical France; Exxon Chemical Poly meres SNC (France).
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Using Al-Qaeda in Syria like sending Gitmo inmates to fight – Putin

 

In an RT global exclusive premiere, President Putin gives his first post-inauguration interview, speaking in depth with RT’s Kevin Owen ahead of the APEC summit in Vladivostok.

VIDEO LINK

Touching upon a range of issues, he discusses topics from the Pussy Riot trial to the Julian Assange case, from the upcoming US elections to the situation in Syria.

RT: What I want to talk about first of all is the ongoing at the moment APEC summit. You’ll be going there very shortly – in Vladivostok because it’s the first time that Russia has held it, a prestigious event. But it always begs the question – what’s actually achieved at these events, events like that, like the G8, G20?

Now, though APEC is primarily an economic vessel, there’s a lot of politics involved as well. And of course a lot of the key players including you, including America, a lot of key players disagree on some very key issues. I’m thinking about Syria, I’m thinking about missile defense, I’m thinking about Iran. Is there a danger that the politics may stifle, get in the way of the big economic deals that the very same key players are hoping to sign at this summit or at least talk about signing?

President Putin: That is true. But in fact – and you’ve just said it yourself – APEC was originally conceived as a forum for discussing economic issues. And as this year’s host country, we also intend to focus on economic and socio-economic challenges.

APEC was originally established with the overall objective of liberalizing the global economy. And we intend to make this a key issue on the agenda in Vladivostok.

When I invited our counterparts, five years ago, to meet for this forum particularly in the Russian Federation, my rationale was to acknowledge the importance of this area for Russia, given that two-thirds of Russia’s territory are located in Asia, and yet the bulk of our foreign trade – more than 50 percent – is with Europe, whereas Asia only accounts for 24 percent. Meanwhile, Asia is developing rapidly and intensively. You and I know it, and everybody knows it. Therefore, we are planning to focus primarily on economic challenges, transport, global food security and the task of liberalizing the global economy. It’s a well-known fact that the past year has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people affected by starvation, which has grown by 200 million. This means that 1 billion people worldwide are currently suffering from food shortages or famine. I believe this is the kind of issue that will be the focus of attention, along with a number of other challenges that are highly sensitive and significant for millions of people.

As far as Syria and other hot spots are concerned – issues that are currently in the limelight – we will certainly address them in our deliberations at the forum, in bilateral discussions or otherwise. They won’t be overlooked.
Now Russia is full WTO member, APEC summit affects millions of people

RT: Do you think there should be more practical outcomes though? Is it too much of a talking show – events like APEC?

Putin: You know, I attended the G20 meeting in Mexico just recently. As a rule, such meetings are pre-arranged and pre-discussed by our aides and ministers and high-ranking experts, and still there are certain issues that eventually come into focus for the heads of states attending. And in fact, that’s how it was in Mexico. I was very interested to follow discussions and look at conflicting opinions, and I participated in some of those discussions. I think the coming forum will see just as many debates. But it’s only through this kind of meticulous, hard work – year after year and quarter after quarter, if not day-by-day, if you excuse my officialeese – that we can eventually arrive at acceptable solutions to sensitive issues such as, say, liberalizing trade. Because this is an issue that affects millions of people. You know the issues debated within the framework of the World Trade Organization, and the coming APEC summit are so immensely important for us, partly because Russia is now a full member of the WTO. We have also established a Customs Union and a Common Economic Space in the post-Soviet territory jointly with Belarus and Kazakhstan. And dialogue is very important for us, so that we can explain to our partners and help them realize how this kind of association in the post-Soviet area could be beneficial and helpful. Especially since the vehicles I’ve mentioned have been established based on WTO principles.
Concerned by Syrian hostilities, but also by consequences of certain decisions

RT: Ok, thanks for explaining that. We’re going to come back to APEC a little bit later if we may, but you touched on another big subject in headlines, the horrendous events that have been unfolding in Syria over the last 18 months now. Russia’ position has been steadfast all the way along the line. Here you’ve said there should be no foreign intervention and it should be the Syrian people who do the deciding and it should be done through diplomacy. However, that’s a great idea, but day in day out innocent lives are being lost on both sides. Is it time for something more than talking? Should Russia be reassessing its position maybe now?

Putin: How come Russia is the only one who’s expected to revise its stance? Don’t you think our counterparts in negotiations ought to revise theirs as well? Because if we look back at the events in the past few years, we’ll see that quite a few of our counterparts’ initiatives have not played out the way they were intended to.

Take the examples of the numerous countries ridden by escalating internal conflict. The US and its allies went into Afghanistan, and now they’re all thinking about how to get out of there. If there’s anything on the table, it’s the issue of assisting them in withdrawing their troops and hardware from Afghanistan through our transit routes.

Now, are you sure that the situation there will be stable for decades to come? So far, no one is confident about it.

And look at what’s going on in Arab countries. There have been notable developments in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, etc. Would you say that order and prosperity have been totally ensured for these nations? And what’s going on in Iraq?

In Libya, there are armed clashes still raging among the country’s various tribes. I won’t even mention the way the country had its regime changed: this is a separate topic. What concerns us, and I want to emphasize this once again, is the current hostilities in Syria. But at the same time, we are just as concerned about the possible consequences of certain decisions, should they be taken.

In our opinion, the most important task today is, ending the violence. We must urge all the warring parties, including the government and the so-called rebels, the armed opposition, to sit down at the negotiating table and decide on a future that would guarantee security for all stakeholders in Syria. Only then should they get down to any practical measures regarding the country’s future governance system. We realize that this country needs a change, but this doesn’t mean that change should come with bloodshed.
We should stop trying to impose unacceptable, dead-end solutions to Syrian crisis

RT: OK, well, given the facts regarding Syria that you see on the table now, what is the next step? What do you realistically think is going to happen next?

Putin: We told our partners we would like to sit down together at the negotiating table in Geneva. And when we did, together we charted a roadmap for further action that would help bring peace to Syria and channel developments down a more constructive path. We received almost unanimous support and shared the talks’ results with the Syrian government. But then the rebels actually refused to recognize those decisions; and many of the negotiating parties have also quietly backed down.

I believe that the first thing to do is to stop shipping arms into the warzone, which is still going on. We should stop trying to impose unacceptable solutions on either side, because it is a dead-end. That’s what we should do. It is that simple.

Luckily, we generally enjoy friendly relations with the Arab world, but we would like to stay away from Islamic sectarian conflict, or interfere in a showdown involving the Sunnis, the Shia, theAlawis and so on. We treat everyone with equal respect. We also get on well with Saudi Arabia and other countries; I have cultivated a warm personal relationship with the custodian of two Islamic shrines. The only underlying motive behind our stance is the desire to create a favorable environment for the situation to develop positively in years to come.

RT: What are your thoughts about the United Nations and the way the United Nations has reacted particularly in Syria. There’s been criticism that it’s failed to deliver a unified front if you like and has become more of a figurehead organization. Do you share that view?

Putin: Quite the contrary, I would say. My take on the issue is the absolute opposite of what you have just said. If the United Nations and the Security Council had indeed turned into a mere rubberstamping tool for any one of the member states, it would have ceased to exist, just like the League of Nations did. But the reality is that the Security Council and the UN are meant to be a tool for compromise. Seeking to achieve it is a long and complex process, but only hard work can yield us fruit.

Using Al-Qaeda to fight in Syria perilous, one may as well give guns to Gitmo inmates

RT: Understood. Mr. President, another question I’d like to ask you – a number of Western and Arab nations have been covertly … with supporting the FSA, the Free Syrian Army – indeed, some of them are doing it openly now. Of course the catch here is that the FSA is suspected of hiring known Al-Qaeda fighters amongst their ranks. So the twist in this tale is that a lot of those countries are actually sponsoring terrorism, if you like, in Syria, countries that have suffered from terrible terrorism themselves. Is that a fair assessment?

Putin: You know, when someone aspires to attain an end they see as optimal, any means will do. As a rule, they will try and do that by hook or by crook – and hardly ever think of the consequences. That was the case during the war in Afghanistan, when the Soviet Union invaded in 1979. At that time, our present partners supported a rebel movement there and basically gave rise to Al Qaeda, which later backfired on the United States itself.

Today some want to use militants from Al Qaeda or some other organizations with equally radical views to accomplish their goals in Syria. This policy is dangerous and very short-sighted. In that case, one should unlock Guantanamo, arm all of its inmates and bring them to Syria to do the fighting – it’s practically the same kind of people. But what we should bear in mind is that one day these people will get back at their former captors. On the other hand, these same people should bear in mind that they will eventually end up in a new prison, very much like the one off the Cuban shore.

I would like to emphasize that this policy is very short-sighted and is fraught with dire consequences.

Too early to say if Arab Spring is a blessing or a curse

RT: I’d like to broaden that a little bit now, a little bit wider from Syria. You touched upon Syria. Syria is in the middle of a civil war, we’re seeing conflicts in Bahrain and in Saudi Arabia. Ok, things are a bit calmer in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, you mentioned it just now. But standing back from it overall, all the troubles that we’ve seen in the Middle East, all the turmoil there – has it been at all for the good or for the bad, where does it put that region now?

Putin: You know, we can discuss this into the small hours and still run out of time. For me, it’s a clear that these events have a historic logic. The leaders of these countries have obviously overlooked the need for change and missed ongoing trends at home and abroad, so they failed to produce the reforms which would have saved the day. All these events simply logically stem from this background. Whether this is a blessing or a curse with many negative implications, is now too early to say. In any case, the lack of a civilized approach, the high level of violence has so far stood in the way of any sustainable political structures which would help solve economic and social problems in societies hit by those events. This is what causes a lot of concern for the future. Because the people in these countries, who have had enough of their previous regimes, clearly expect the new governments to begin with tackling their social and economic problems in a competent way. But with no political stability, these problems cannot be solved.

Russia, US reliable partners and allies for each other

RT: Let’s turn now to the United States, the upcoming election there, which we are all looking forward to very much. Of course now the re-set button with Russia was firmly pushed by Barack Obama over the last 4 years, but its saw its ups and downs, and there’s still that missile defense shield that’s a headache for Russia in the East of Europe. If Obama does win a second term, what’s going to define the next chapter of Russia and America’s relations and is it chapter you can do business with?

Putin: I believe that over the last four years Presidents Obama and Medvedev have made a lot of progress in strengthening Russia-US relations. We have signed the new START treaty. Backed by the US, Russia has become a full-fledged member of the World Trade Organization. There have been more reasons to be optimistic about our bilateral relations: our strengthened cooperation in combating terrorism and organized crime, in the non-proliferation of weapons of mass-destruction and others. In other words, we have accumulated quite a lot of positive experience.

But the issue you mentioned – the US missile defense system – is surely one of the key issues on today’s agenda because it involves Russia’s vital interests. Scholars and experts understand that a unilateral solution will not enhance global stability. In essence, the intention is to upset the strategic balance, which is a very dangerous thing to do, as any involved party will always strive to maintain its defensive capabilities, and the entire thing could simply trigger off an arms race. Is it possible to find a solution to the problem, if president Obama is re-elected for a second term? In principle, yes, it is. But this isn’t just about president Obama. For all I know, his desire to work out a solution is quite sincere.

I met him recently on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico where we had a chance to talk. And though we talked mostly about Syria, I had the chance to feel the mood of my counterpart. My feeling is that he is a sincere man and that he sincerely wants to implement positive change. But can he do it, will they let him do it? I mean that there is also the military lobby, and the Department of State, which is quite conservative. By the way it is fairly similar to Russia’s Foreign Ministry. They are run by a number of professional clans who have been working there for decades. The thing is that in order to solve the missile defense issue, we both need to accept as an axiom that ‘yes, we are reliable partners and allies for each other’. Let’s imagine for a second we have the solution – that means that from now on we jointly assess missile threats and control this defense system together. This is a highly sensitive area of national defense. I am not sure that our partners are ready for this kind of cooperation.

RT: Is there anything that Russia can do to try and meet in the middle, to give a better ground?

Putin: We did what we could. We said, let’s do it together. Our partners are so far refusing to go along. What else can we do? We can maintain dialogue. That’s exactly what we will be doing, but naturally, as our American partners proceed with developing their own missile defense we shall have to think of how we can defend ourselves and preserve the strategic balance. By the way, America’s European allies (who also happen to be Russia’s partners) have nothing to do with it. I believe that as a European national, you should understand it. This is a purely American missile defense system, and a strategic one at that, with its European elements pushed to the periphery. You see, Europe, just like Russia, is not allowed to take part in either assessing missile threats or controlling the system. Our original proposal was to develop it as a three-party solution, but our partners have not agreed to it.

Romney effectively aiming US missile shield at Russia already

RT: Ok. So, we think you can work with Barack Obama if he gets in. What about if Mitt Romney gets in? Look, I’ve got some quotes here from just a month or two ago. This is the man that if he makes it to the White House said, “Russia is without question our number one geopolitical foe. They fight every cause for the world’s worst” and he went on to say “Russia is not a friendly character on the world stage.” Could you work with him, sir?

Putin: Yes, we can. We’ll work with whichever president is elected by the American people. But our effort will only be as efficient as our partners will want it to be.

As for Mr. Romney’s position, we understand that this is to a certain extent motivated by election campaign rhetoric, but I also think that he was obviously wrong, because such behavior on the international arena is the same as using nationalism and segregation as tools of US domestic policy. Its effect on the international arena is the same, when a politician, a person who aspires to lead a nation, especially a great country like the U.S., declares someone to be an enemy a priori. And by the way, this brings something else to mind.

When we talk about the missile defense system, our American partners keep telling us, “This is not directed against you.” But what happens if Mr. Romney, who believes us to be America’s number one foe, is elected as president of the United States? In that case, the missile defence system will definitely be directed against Russia as it is technologically configured exactly for this purpose.

And you also have to think about its strategic character, it’s built not for a year or even a decade, and the chances that a man with Romney’s views could come to power are quite high. So what are we supposed to do to ensure our security?

Magnitsky death used by some to make an enemy of Russia

RT: I’d like to talk about the latest developments in the Magnitsky case for a moment now, both the US and Britain, Britain most recently are working on this list of Russian officials, Russian citizens that they say are responsible for his death. He was a high ranking finance lawyer who died in a Russian jail, I’ll just explain for our viewers. Why is there still such a perception abroad that this wasn’t dealt with here in Russia, that the people responsible hadn’t been dealt with properly. Why does this keep rumbling on?

Putin: You see… there are people who need an enemy, they are looking for an opponent to fight against. Do you know how many people die while in prison in those countries which have condemned Russia? The numbers are huge! Look at the U.S. that came up with the so-called Magnitsky list. As you know, there is no death penalty in Russia while the U.S. still keeps it on the books. Anyone, including women can be executed. At the same time, all civilized societies know that judicial errors can occur in capital punishment cases, even when people plead guilty. It turns out later on that the convict did not commit the crime.

But that’s one thing. More importantly, I think only God has the right to take life away. But I don’t want to go too much into it right now – there’s a lot of philosophy in it. But with that in mind, we could have come up with our own black list, and more than one, of people who use the death penalty in other countries. But we choose not to do it.

As for Mr. Magnitsky, it is certainly a great tragedy that he died in prison. And there certainly must be a thorough investigation. If someone is guilty, they must be punished. But what I want to emphasize is that there is absolutely no political context to this case. It is a tragedy, but it only has to do with crime and legal procedure, not politics. No more than that.

Still, someone’s looking to spoil relations with Russia. They have banned some Russian officials that are allegedly involved in the death of Mr. Magnitsky from entering their country. Of course, I do regret his death and offer my condolences to his family.

But what should Russia do in such cases? Take appropriate steps and similarly list officials of the country that introduces such measures against Russia. Like that…

RT:And to make it perfectly clear, this case won’t be re-examined by Russia?

Putin: Which case? What needs to be re-tried? We must only find out whether someone’s guilty of his death or not. And if someone’s guilty and responsible for the death in some way, that person should be held accountable. That’s it. Again, there is no politics behind it. It’s the job of the law enforcement professionals to look into it.

And of course, the Russian authorities are going to do that. The Prosecutor’s Office is working on it now.

I try to stay as far away from PussyRiot case as possible

RT: Ok and now I’d like to talk about the trial and jailing of Pussy Riot, that punk group band. There’s been much criticism that the sentence handed down was too strong, too much and that the whole case was too big a deal off and that it actually back fired and has brought more people to their cause with the publicity. With hind sight , always a beautiful thing, but with hindsight do you think the case could have been handled differently?

Putin: You’ve been working in Russia for a while now and maybe know some Russian. Could you please translate the name of the band into Russian?

RT: Pussy Riot the punk band,I don’t know what you would call them in Russian Sir, but may be you could tell me!

Putin: Can you translate the first word into Russian? Or maybe it would sound too obscene? Yes, I think you wouldn’t do it because it sounds too obscene, even in English.

RT: I actually thought it was referring to a cat, but I’m getting your point here. Do you think the case was handled wrongly in any way, could some lesson have been learned?

Putin: I know you understand it perfectly well, you don’t need to pretend you don’t get it. It’s just because these people made everyone say their band’s name too many times. It’s obscene – but forget it.

Here’s what I would like to say. I have always felt that punishment should be proportionate to the offence. I am not in a position now and would not like, anyway, to comment on the decision of a Russian court, but I would rather talk about the moral side of the story.

First, in case you never heard of it, a couple of years ago one of the band’s members put up three effigies in one of Moscow’s big supermarkets, with a sign saying that Jews, gays and migrant workers should be driven out of Moscow. I think the authorities should have looked into their activities back then. After that, they staged an orgy in a public place. Of course, people are allowed to do whatever they want to do, as long as it’s legal, but this kind of conduct in a public place should not go unnoticed by the authorities. Then they uploaded the video of that orgy on the internet. You know some fans of group sex say it’s better than one-on-one because, like in any team, you don’t need to hit the ball all the time.

Again, it’s okay if you do what you like privately, but I wouldn’t be that certain about uploading your acts on the internet. It could be the subject of legal assessment, too.

Then they turned up at Yelokhovo Cathedral, here in Moscow, causing unholy mayhem, and went to another cathedral and caused mayhem there, too.

You know, Russians still have painful memories of the early years of Soviet rule, when thousands of Orthodox, Muslim, as well as clergy of other religions were persecuted. Soviet authorities brutally repressed the clergy. Many churches were destroyed. The attacks had a devastating effect on all our traditional religions. And so in general I think the state has to protect the feelings of believers.

I will not comment on whether the verdict is well-grounded and the sentence proportionate to the offence. These girls must have lawyers who defend their interests in court. They have the right to file an appeal and demand a new hearing. But it’s up to them, it’s just a legal issue.

RT: Is it realistic at all they will get some sort of early release?

Putin: I don’t know whether their lawyers have filed an appeal or not. I don’t follow the case that closely. If they appeal, a higher court is empowered to take any decision. To be honest, I try to stay as far away from the case as possible. I know the details but I do not want to get into it.

RT: There’s concern here and abroad that Russia has been suffering a clamp down on the opposition since you returned as President. There’s tighter defamation law, upping the fines for defamation, internet censorship laws brought into protect children. All these introduced under your watch. What’s the balance do you think between a healthy opposition and maintaining law and order? what’s your view?

Putin: So is it true then that other countries don’t have laws that ban child pornography, including online?

RT: Indeed they do.

Putin: So they do? Well, we didn’t, until recently. And if we began to protect our society and our children from these offences…

I just do what I think is right for Russia and Russians

RT: May be it was the timing of the introduction? It may have seemed a bit heavy handed as you came back to power again.

Putin: You know, I try not to think about it. I just do what I think is right for this country and for its people. And that’s how I will work in the future. Of course, I am aware of how my steps resonate globally, but this cannot dictate my policies. Any steps we take are in the interests of the Russian people, and our children need this kind of protection. No-one is going to use this as a tool to restrict the Internet or online freedoms, but we have the right to protect our children.

If we talk of what some call a clamp-down … We should clarify what we’re talking about. If we understand it as a simple requirement that everyone, including the opposition, complies with Russian law, then this requirement will be consistently enforced.

You might also remember the mass riots that shocked the UK some year ago. A lot of people were injured and lot of property damaged. Is it better to let things deteriorate to that state and then spend a year tracking down people and locking them up? I think it’s best not to let things go this far? That’s my first point.

Now to my second point. Let me now get down to the hard facts. You must know that a year ago I backed reform that will see Russian governors elected, and not appointed, as previously, through secret ballot. But I also took the next step. After taking office, I introduced a new bill on elections to the Upper Chamber of the Russian Parliament. These specific steps will pave the way for a more democratic Russia, and it’s true both for its people and its state. There have been other proposals initiated too, including changes in the law-making process.

The State Duma is now considering using public initiatives on major national issues submitted via the Internet as a source of new legislation. If a draft bill is supported by 100,000 web votes, it will then be discussed in the State Duma. Right now we are looking into how to put this idea into practice. There are other major proposals as well. We seek to make our society more advanced and more democratic and we intend to be consistent in following this path.

RT: We started off our talk by talking about the forthcoming APEC summit which you are off to very shortly. When you are there you’ll be meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao. You won’t be meeting Barak Obama because he’s not there, Hilary Clinton will be. Is that a sign of how he regards APEC? We know he’s busy but is it a sign of how he regards it? And is it a sign that China is increasingly becoming a bigger geopolitical and commercial partner for you?

Putin: China is indeed becoming a global economic and political hub. This is part of a global trend, with new centers emerging on the political and economic landscape. This is an obvious fact for everyone; the question is the pace of change. China has taken up this new leading role not only in Russia’s eyes, but also in the eyes of the whole world. What makes us rather special, however, is that Russia and China are neighbors, and our special relations took thousands of years to evolve to where we are now. We have been through times of sunshine which were very beneficial for both countries. We have also been through periods of gloom and conflict. Presently, Russia-China relations are at an unprecedented high, and we share mutual trust both in politically and economically. Over the coming years we are bound to achieve a 100 bln dollar turnover rate. To put this in perspective, currently Europe makes up 51% of Russia’s foreign trade, which amounts to over 200 bln dollars. That will be a serious push forward.

Our American partners told us long ago that Barack Obama will not attend the summit. The reason is the election race in the U.S., we think it’s okay. The U.S. will still be represented at a high level. So, yes, we’ve known that for several months now, and we fully understand the reasons. Anyway, this will be a great summit, with top officials coming from twenty countries – heads of states and governments. Of course, it’s a pity that the U.S. president cannot come this time, but nothing doing. I think if he really had the opportunity, he would not miss it, because it’s a good event for the U.S. to talk not only with us but also with other Asia-Pacific partners.

Anyway, I met Barack Obama earlier, as I said, in Mexico, and had a chance to discuss our bilateral ties and exchange opinions on the major global issues. So we do continue our dialogue.

Fight against corruption complicated, but we carry on

RT:Domestically again I’d like to talk about corruption. It’s a word that comes up time and time again here in Russia. You have talked about it before but most notably the previous president was really putting it at the top of his list of thing to sort out. However when Dmitry Medvedev left office as president he reported modest success at tackling it. How serious a problem do you think corruption is here in Russia in 2012 and what are you going to do about it?

Putin: Corruption is a problem for any country. And by the way you will find it in any country, be it in Europe or in the United States. They have legalized many things. Let’s take the private corporate lobby – what is it, is it corruption or not? It’s legalized and so formally is okay, within the law. But that depends on how you look at it. Therefore I will repeat that this problem is an issue for many countries.

More important is the level and scope of corruption. In our case, they are quite high. But this is typical of transition economies. The reason is that while new economic models are evolving many things are not yet adjusted or aligned, and the state is not always in control. There are also value issues, especially when we move from a socialist mindset and planned economy values to eternal values. This is a complicated process, especially if the new market facilitates rapid wealth acquisition for some particular circles or groups of people. This is something that is perceived painfully and with reprehension. The average person then starts thinking: if it is okay for those people to earn billions in a couple of years, why is it not okay for me to do this or that even if it isn’t exactly in sync with the law and moral values?

All this undermines the very foundation of the campaign against corruption. This is a very difficult process. But undoubtedly this is an essential part of our agenda, and we shall continue our efforts in this area.

RT: There are a big list of causes you have cited where do you begin to go about tackling it, and when is there going to be some sort of sea change, when will it get better if you like?

Putin: What we need to start with is to make our entire society detest the very notion of corruption. Corruption is a two-way process, with two sides to it, the bribe-giver and the bribe-taker, and it often happens that bribe-givers are even more active than the bribe-takers. Therefore it is a matter of supporting moral values; it is also a matter of making our law enforcement agencies more efficient and developing a legal framework that minimizes opportunities for corruption. This is a multi-dimensional task, very sensitive and difficult. And we shall work on every aspect of it.

RT: One of the practical ways you are going about it is the new draft law that prevents government officials from opening bank accounts and holding property abroad. I don’t know what you think about that law, but isn’t it possible for someone to use someone else’s account. How are you going to enforce it?

Putin: Of course you could. This bill has not been passed yet, it’s being reviewed by the State Duma. This naturally implies certain limitations for officials, because current legislation allows any Russian citizen to have a foreign bank account or property. Yet, limitations may be introduced for some officials, especially at a high-level. I don’t see anything extraordinary about this, especially in view of today’s realities. But the State Duma will have to present the rationale for their proposal and develop it into a detailed draft law. Overall, I believe this law has value and would assist the fight against corruption to a certain extent. Of course it will, because those people who are willing to commit themselves to serving their country and their people should be willing to agree to such terms – that if they want to have a bank account, it’ll have to be a Russian bank account, or a Russian branch of a bank. Why not? Many overseas banks have branches in Russia. One can keep their accounts here. Why go to Austria or the United States to open an account? If you connect your fate to this country be so kind as to make public your interests here, including financial interests, do not hide your money anywhere.

Assange case a definite example of double standards

RT: While we’ve got you with us sir.. I’d like to get your thoughts on the ongoing Julian Assange case in Britain, his legal battle with Britain and with a number of other countries as well but equally his attempts to get asylum in Equador which he’s now got and he’s holed-up in the Ecuadorean embassy. What’s your opinion on Britain’s stance, at one point they were talking about revoking the embassies diplomatic immunity so they could actually go in and get him. That sounds a bit odd when you think that Russia has a number of suspects it would like to talk to there, it’s a kind of topsy turvy situation, but they are given safe harbor in Britain.

Putin: This certainly is an unsettling factor in our relations with the UK. I used to tell my previous counterparts and friends in the British government – not those holding office at the moment – that Britain happens to be harboring certain individuals who have blood on their hands, having waged a real war on Russian territory and slaughtered people. I told them, “Just imagine what it would be like if Russia were to harbour militants from, say, the Irish Republican Army – not those negotiating and pursuing a compromise with the government these days (those are perfectly sane and sensible people), but those with a radical agenda.” You know what I was told in response? “But that’s exactly what the Soviet Union used to do, aiding people like that.”

First of all, I’m a former Soviet secret service operative myself. I don’t know whether the USSR used to aid this sort of people or not, simply because I never had anything to do with it. But even if we assume that it did, that was back in the Cold War era. There has been a cardinal change in the settings, the Soviet Union is history, and what we have today is a new Russia. How can we allow ourselves to be dominated by our old phobias and outdated perceptions of international relations and the kind of relations between our nations? Let them go at last.

We are constantly lectured on how independent Britain’s judiciary is. It makes its own decisions, and no one can influence that. What about Julian Assange? They have ruled to have him extradited. What is it if not an evident example of a double standard? I won’t make a definitive statement, but as far as I know, Ecuador has requested guarantees from the Swedish government that Sweden wouldn’t hand over Assange to the United States. No guarantees have so far been provided. At the very least, this suggests that we are looking at a politically motivated trial.

RT: Ok we’ll be following the developments there…We talked about some of the problems Russia faces, one of the long term problems Russia has been facing is the drugs trade, the import of drugs from Afghanistan. It’s increased many fold since NATO went in a decade ago, now the troops are due out in 2014 what then. Does Russia have any hope you can curb this huge drugs problem?

Putin: So far, it is not being solved. We are constantly engaged in dialogue with our partners, including those nations who have troops deployed in Afghanistan. And yet the situation has not improved – instead, it has deteriorated. The amount of drugs produced in Afghanistan has increased by 60 percent in the past year. By the way, I’m not sure about the exact figures, but some 90 percent of heroin peddled in the UK comes from Afghanistan. This is a common challenge and a common threat for us. For Russia, this is a very serious threat to our national security that cannot be overstated. More than 20 percent of the overall drug traffic coming from Afghanistan is marketed inside Russia. That makes up 70 tons of heroin and roughly 56 tons of crude opium as of last year, which is an immense amount, and it definitely qualifies as a threat to our national security.

RT: Could you explain to our viewers what the correlation was, why did this problem increase when NATO troops were there? Was there any connection? Why was that happening?

Putin: There is an apparent link. I won’t bring up any criminal schemes right now, but none of the nations who are currently committing their troops to Afghanistan want to make matters worse for themselves by combatting drugs in Afghanistan, because drugs are Afghanistan’s way of making a living. Nine percent of that country’s GDP comes from drug trafficking. If you want to replace this 9 percent, you’ll have to pay – but no one wants to. And you cannot get anywhere with mere statements about how you are planning to make up for those drug revenues with some other kinds of income. Talk is not enough – what you need is substantive economic policies and financial assistance. Nobody seems willing to provide that, to begin with. And no one wants to complicate matters for themselves by taking on drug trafficking, because if you take away drug revenues from those people, you effectively compel them to starvation, and that means making even more enemies in Afghanistan: if you go after drugs, people will go after you. That’s all there is to it. Drugs are closely related to terrorism and organized crime, but that is something everybody is aware of already. Everyone knows that drug revenues are partly used to finance terrorism. But even this awareness and the realization that Europe is being flooded with Afghan-made drugs are not enough to encourage our partners to seriously tackle this issue. And this is very sad.

Russia better prepared for second wave of global economic crisis

RT: A final thought from you Mr President. While you’ll be talking money and finances at the forthcoming APEC summit that you are going to. Looking at the world economy from where you are generally. Do you think we are heading for a second global slump and if we do is Russia as well prepared to bat it off as it did last time. It did pretty well last time but is it as well prepared this time?

Putin: I believe we are even better prepared because we’ve already experienced the first wave of the crisis, and we have an understanding of what’s to be done about it and how we should do it. And we have the instruments for crisis management. Moreover, I tasked Russia’s previous Cabinet as early as last year with upgrading the already tried and tested instruments, drafting new laws and adjusting our regulations. We requested parliament to assign 200 bln rubles to a government reserve fund – and parliament agreed. Therefore, we are generally equipped for managing a crisis. On top of that, as you know, we have enjoyed fairly strong economic growth, a rate of 4.2 percent, which is highest among the world’s largest economies next to China and India. The euro zone’s average growth rate has been 3.9 percent, while ours was 4.2. By the way, both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are predicting negative growth at minus 0.3 percent for the euro zone next year. This year, we are still counting on positive growth ranging between 4 and 5 percent. That’s precisely why, even if Russia should face economic difficulties, it will have plenty of instruments at hand to deal with the challenge.

We have reinforced our gold and currency reserves, almost bringing them back up to pre-crisis levels. We presently rate third worldwide next to China and Japan with upwards of $500 bln in gold and currency reserves. Parallel to that, the government is rebuilding its own reserves. We have two government reserve funds: the $80-billion National Wealth Fund, and the Reserve Fund with roughly $60 bln, to finance a budget deficit, should we suffer one. But so far, we don’t have a deficit: next year’s budget registers a surplus, slight as it may be. Our unemployment rates are the lowest possible. While unemployment averages 11.2 percent in the euro zone and reaches 25—26 percent in economies such as Spain, topping 70 percent among youth, we maintain an unemployment rate of 5.1 percent, which is even below pre-crisis indices. But this doesn’t make us careless and complacent. We are fully aware that the tricky aspect of the global economy is unpredictability, and you can almost never be sure as to where the greatest challenges and threats will emerge from next. That is why we closely follow everything that’s going on in neighboring economies and our partner economies.

We wish them success, and we are honestly willing to assist them as good partners. Because any kind of economic mishap in the euro zone, for instance, is bound to have painful ramifications for us. The euro zone is our major sales market. Should it shrink, our own production will immediately decrease. Therefore, our interest is in seeing the euro zone survive and our main partner-economies get back on track. We need Europe’s leading economies such as Germany, France and Britain to be in good shape. This is something that we’ll always keep an eye on. And this will be a primary topic for discussion at the Vladivostok APEC Summit.

RT: Well we wish you all the very best. President Vladimir Putin, thank you for talking to RT.

Putin: Thank you very much.

Source: http://rt.com/news/vladimir-putin-exclusive-interview-481/

 


How Corrupt Governments Make a Killing on Human Organs

 

By Bruce Watson

In December, the Council of Europe released a report alleging that Hashim Thaçi, the prime minister of Kosovo, is the leader of a criminal ring that smuggles contraband — including human organs — throughout Eastern Europe. While organ-trafficking stories are hardly new, Thaçi’s has a bizarre twist: According to the COE, the prime minister used money generated from human organ sales to cement his political power in Kosovo, and he continues to profit from the traffic, along with many members of his Cabinet.

Thaçi’s ring traces its roots to the Kosovo war of 1998-1999. At that time, NATO forces shelled the region in an attempt to expel Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic, whose Serbian forces were committing acts of genocide. At the same time, the Kosovo Liberation Army was fighting against the Serbians on the ground. Thaçi rose to power as leader of the “Drenica Group,” a prominent part of the KLA.

Consolidation Through Coercion

According to the COE report, while Thaçi owed much of his power to his relationship with the U.S. and other Western powers, he also controlled illegal trade throughout the region. In addition to human trafficking and the sex trade, the Drenica Group sold weapons, narcotics, stolen motor vehicles, cigarettes and other contraband, according to the COE.

As it expanded its smuggling operations into Western Europe, the group consolidated power through assassinations, beatings and other forms of coercion. By mid-1999, the Drenica Group was in charge of Kosovo’s construction and fuel industries, and Thaçi had appointed himself prime minister.

At the same time, the COE report asserts, Shaip Muja, a high-level Drenica official, set up a series of detention facilities that were designed to transport captives from the Serbian war front to Tirana, the capital of Albania. In addition to Serbian prisoners of war, the KLA also gathered alleged traitors, including “large numbers of ethnic Albanians, as well as Roma and other minorities.”

A Wartime Atrocity, a Peacetime Business

While most of the detention facilities were repurposed farmhouses, at least one was built for the specific purpose of organ trafficking. Located near Tirana, it included what the report describes as “A state-of-the-art reception centre. . . . It was styled as a makeshift operating clinic, and it was the site at which some of the captives held by the KLA members and affiliates had their kidneys removed against their will.” These kidneys were then sold “to private overseas clinics as part of the international ‘black market’ of organ trafficking for transplantation.” Many of these allegedly went to Istanbul, where they were used by Yusuf Ercin Sonmez, a Turkish doctor.

After the war, the organ extraction program gained a level of respectability through the development of the Medicus clinic, a hospital located near Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. Dr. Sonmez, who had been barred from practicing medicine in Turkey’s public health sector, went to work at the clinic, performing transplants for wealthy German, Polish, Canadian and Israeli patients. Donors came from Russia, Moldova, Kazakhstan and Turkey, where they were solicited with promises of huge payoffs.

In 2008, EULEX, the European Union’s legal mission in Kosovo, began an investigation into the clinic for its role in the organ trade. Recently, five doctors were indicted for “trafficking in human organs, organized crime, unlawful exercise of medical activities and abusing official authority.” In addition to claims that Medicus was illegally transplanting organs, it also was accused of cheating its donors: After removing their organs, the clinic allegedly refused to pay the donors, transporting them to the airport before they had fully recovered from their surgeries.

In China, Turning Political Prisoners into Profit

Kosovo isn’t the only country with an extensive, state-sponsored transplantation program. In China, organs are routinely harvested from condemned political prisoners and are often sold to foreigners for prices far below the transplantation costs in other countries. While China’s program doesn’t have Kosovo’s genocidal component, it is still used as a revenue generator and a means of disposing of enemies of the state.

China has been performing organ transplants since the 1960s, but the roots of its organ trade trace back to the early 1980s. As part of its move away from socialism, the country began slashing health care expenditures. In 1980, China covered 36% of health care costs for the country. By 2005, that number had dropped to 17%. Over the same period, the percentage of health care costs covered out-of-pocket by patients almost tripled, from 20% to 59%.

To make up the difference, hospitals began searching for high-profit operations that could shore up their bottom lines. The military, which is permitted to engage in commerce, also was searching for ways to improve its finances. What resulted was a military/medical collaboration: Many of China’s leading transplantation centers were either owned or extensively staffed by the military.

A Prime Source of Healthy Organs

Having developed an extensive transplantation infrastructure, China needed a steady source of organs. It is illegal to transplant organs without a donor’s consent in China, but a 1984 law allowed the state to harvest organs from condemned prisoners who agreed to the operation. In the following decades, China developed an extensive prisoner organ harvest industry, offering low-price transplants to both domestic and international patients. In the face of international condemnation, it has developed a more traditional postmortem organ donation program, but the bulk of China’s transplanted organs still come from condemned prisoners.

While Chinese authorities emphasize that prisoner organ donation is voluntary, there is evidence to suggest otherwise. Dr. Wang Guoqi, a Chinese physician who was closely involved with the organ trade, alleged that it was “rife with corruption” and that prisoners often didn’t give consent for harvesting. Moreover, he also described brutal transplant conditions, including one incident in which he and several fellow doctors harvested organs from a prisoner who was still alive.

There have also been allegations that China’s organ harvesting system is being used as a weapon in its war against Falun Gong, a political and religious group that opposes the Communist government. Falun Gong exhorts its members to refrain from smoking, drinking, premarital sex, homosexuality and drug use, policies that make them prime candidates to be organ donors.

Following mass arrests, many members of Falun Gong refused to identify themselves to captors, fearing that their families would face retribution. Many of these prisoners subsequently “disappeared.” According to a report by David Matas, a human rights lawyer, and David Kilgour, a former member of the Canadian parliament, some transplant coordinators have openly admitted that their organs come from Falun Gong prisoners.

State Trade in Human Organs

Like any valuable commodity, the high price of organs has fueled a trade that is often shady and exploitative. Some pundits have argued that the problem could be solved through a program of voluntary organ donation and sale. The libertarian Cato Institute, for example, theorized that if 0.06% of healthy people aged 18 to 65 sold one of their kidneys, there would no longer be a waiting list for the organs.

Outside of China and Kosovo, where the definition of “voluntary donation” is highly questionable, other countries have experimented with organ sales. Some, like India and the Philippines, outlawed the market in legal organ sales after discovering that it was subject to rampant abuse and that many “voluntary donors” were being coerced into selling their organs. Other countries, including Iran, continue to operate legal organ-selling markets, not only allowing citizens to sell organs but flying in donors from other countries such as Jordan.

Unfortunately, the organ donation problem has no clear solution. China’s program is morally repugnant, while those of Iran and India are subject to serious corruption. For that matter, even the U.S. system of organ procurement is susceptible to manipulation by extremely wealthy patients, as Steve Jobs’s 2009 liver transplant demonstrated.

Ultimately, only one thing about this is certain: State-run organ-transplant programs are a prescription for human rights disasters.

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Improved nanoparticles deliver drugs into brain

 

SOURCE

The brain is a notoriously difficult organ to treat, but Johns Hopkins researchers report they are one step closer to having a drug-delivery system flexible enough to overcome some key challenges posed by brain cancer and perhaps other maladies affecting that organ.

In a report published online on August 29 in Science Translational Medicine, the Johns Hopkins team says its bioengineers have designed nanoparticles that can safely and predictably infiltrate deep into the brain when tested in rodent and human tissue.

“We are pleased to have found a way to prevent drug-embedded particles from sticking to their surroundings so that they can spread once they are in the brain,” says Justin Hanes, Ph.D., Lewis J. Ort Professor of Ophthalmology, with secondary appointments in chemical and biomolecular engineering, biomedical engineering, oncology, neurological surgery and environmental health sciences, and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Nanomedicine.

After surgery to remove a brain tumor, standard treatment protocols include the application of chemotherapy directly to the surgical site to kill any cells left behind that could not be surgically removed. To date, this method of preventing tumor recurrence is only moderately successful, in part, because it is hard to administer a dose of chemotherapy high enough to sufficiently penetrate the tissue to be effective and low enough to be safe for the patient and healthy tissue.

To overcome this dosage challenge, engineers designed nanoparticles – about one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair – that deliver the drug in small, steady quantities over a period of time. Conventional drug-delivery nanoparticles are made by entrapping drug molecules together with microscopic, string-like molecules in a tight ball, which slowly breaks down when it comes in contact with water.

According to Charles Eberhart, M.D., a Johns Hopkins pathologist and contributor to this work, these nanoparticles historically have not worked very well because they stick to cells at the application site and tend to not migrate deeper into the tissue.

Elizabeth Nance, a graduate student in chemical and biomolecular engineering at Hopkins, and Hopkins neurosurgeon Graeme Woodworth, M.D., suspected that drug penetration might be improved if drug-delivery nanoparticles interacted minimally with their surroundings.

Nance first coated nano-sized plastic beads of various sizes with a clinically tested molecule called PEG, or poly(ethylene glycol), that had been shown by others to protect nanoparticles from the body’s defense mechanisms. The team reasoned that a dense layer of PEG might also make the beads more slippery.

The team then injected the coated beads into slices of rodent and human brain tissue. They first labeled the beads with glowing tags that enabled them to see the beads as they moved through the tissue.

Compared to non-PEG-coated beads, or beads with a less dense PEG coating, they found that a dense coating of PEG allowed larger beads to penetrate the tissue, even those beads that were nearly twice the size previously thought to be the maximum possible for penetration within the brain. They then tested these beads in live rodent brains and found the same results.

The researchers then took biodegradable nanoparticles carrying the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel and coated them with PEG. As expected, in rat brain tissue, nanoparticles without the PEG coating moved very little, while PEG-covered nanoparticles distributed themselves quite well.

“It’s really exciting that we now have particles that can carry five times more drug, release it for three times as long and penetrate farther into the brain than before,” says Nance.

“The next step is to see if we can slow tumor growth or recurrence in rodents.” Woodworth added that the team “also wants to optimize the particles and pair them with drugs to treat other brain diseases, like multiple sclerosis, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.” Another goal for the team is to be able to administer their nanoparticles intravenously, which is research they have already begun.

Authors on the paper include Elizabeth Nance, Graeme Woodworth, Kurt Sailor, Ting-Yu Shih, Qingguo Xu, Ganesh Swaminathan, Dennis Xiang, Charles Eberhart and Justin Hanes, all from The Johns Hopkins University.

 


Big Pharma: Sneezing Viruses From the FluMist Nasal Vaccine-Controlling the Military With Drugs

 

Experimental Vaccines

SOURCE

The United Kingdom is set to be the first country to offer the seasonal flu vaccination to all children enrolled in the public education system. The nasal flu vaccine being offered to over 9 million children is sold under the brand name Fluenz in Europe and FluMist in the United States, and is made by AstraZeneca’s MedImmune unit and has been available for the past decade in the United States.This is the largest contract the company has received outside of the U.S., taking its first steps into the global dissemination of inhalable poisons.

The FluMist vaccine contains a live virus and is squirted up the nose where the virus can live and breed for up to 28 days while it damages your immune system. Could the sneeze be the new WMD Weaponized Mucus Device a way to infect and spread diseases through the populations? Having been cooked up in a label run by the new world order’s pharmaceutical psychopaths you can only assume there is a hidden agenda and, as always, it includes reducing the global population. Read the rest on my website link HERE

Blog: http://experimentalvaccines.blogspot.com/
A warning to all psychiatric drug users

Thursday, August 23, 2012 by: Jonathan Landsman

drug(NaturalNews) Antidepressants are the most prescribed (often overprescribed) medication in the United States. But, contrary to popular belief – taking Zoloft, Prozac and Lexapro (to name a few) can be very dangerous to your health. These selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) can cause physical pain, involuntary movement, sexual dysfunction and life-threatening drug interactions. Clearly, most people have NOT been told the entire story. (keep reading)

Generally speaking, the consumption of psychiatric drugs will interfere with normal human emotions and mental activities – making a person less able to successfully handle personal problems or life challenges. If you know someone addicted to these harmful medications – ask them to join us on the next NaturalNews Talk Hour.

Visit: http://www.naturalhealth365.com and enter your email for FREE show details + a FREE 7-day juice cleanse!

The problem – you’ve never been told – about psychiatric drugs

Make no mistake – antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs severely alter brain chemistry. Did you know that taking psychiatric drugs can lead to drug-induced mental disabilities? Just check out some of the many health problems associated with psychiatric medications:

Antidepressants cause emotional “numbness” – often providing an artificial relief from emotional suffering.

Antipsychotic drugs disturb frontal lobe activity – causing a chemical lobotomy – making emotionally distressed people more submissive and less able to feel.

Mood stabilizers slow down overall brain function – dampening emotions and vitality.

Benzodiazepines suppress overall brain function with temporary relief of tension or anxiety – at the cost of reduced mental function.

Stimulants blunt spontaneity and enforce obsessive behaviors in children, making them less energetic, less social, less creative and more obedient.

A warning to all psychiatric drug users

Thursday, August 23, 2012 by: Jonathan Landsman

drug(NaturalNews) Antidepressants are the most prescribed (often overprescribed) medication in the United States. But, contrary to popular belief – taking Zoloft, Prozac and Lexapro (to name a few) can be very dangerous to your health. These selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) can cause physical pain, involuntary movement, sexual dysfunction and life-threatening drug interactions. Clearly, most people have NOT been told the entire story. (keep reading)

Generally speaking, the consumption of psychiatric drugs will interfere with normal human emotions and mental activities – making a person less able to successfully handle personal problems or life challenges. If you know someone addicted to these harmful medications – ask them to join us on the next NaturalNews Talk Hour.

Visit: http://www.naturalhealth365.com and enter your email for FREE show details + a FREE 7-day juice cleanse!

The problem – you’ve never been told – about psychiatric drugs

Make no mistake – antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs severely alter brain chemistry. Did you know that taking psychiatric drugs can lead to drug-induced mental disabilities? Just check out some of the many health problems associated with psychiatric medications:

Antidepressants cause emotional “numbness” – often providing an artificial relief from emotional suffering.

Antipsychotic drugs disturb frontal lobe activity – causing a chemical lobotomy – making emotionally distressed people more submissive and less able to feel.

Mood stabilizers slow down overall brain function – dampening emotions and vitality.

Benzodiazepines suppress overall brain function with temporary relief of tension or anxiety – at the cost of reduced mental function.

Stimulants blunt spontaneity and enforce obsessive behaviors in children, making them less energetic, less social, less creative and more obedient.

“Rapid Progress”: Controlling the Military With Drugs

Big Pharma uses drug patent settlements as payoffs to generic rivals to delay competitive drugs

Thursday, August 23, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes

drug(NaturalNews) Once again, Big Pharma seems to be putting profits over patients, this time in a scheme to prevent cheaper generic drug alternatives from hitting the market sooner. Only this time, the Leviathan is on the side of we, the people.

In a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief, the Federal Trade Commission said makers of name-brand medications that settle challenges to patents by agreeing not to introduce their own generic alternatives are actually using those promises to delay generic competition, Reuters has reported.

In the amicus brief the FTC – a regulatory agency – said such patent settlements, in which drug manufacturers promise not to introduce their own authorized generic drug versions are really just a way of paying a generic rival to keep their products off the market longer.

Conspiracy to delay generic entry into the market

The FTC’s assertions came as a federal court in New Jersey – one that oversees a number of suits against Big Pharma – considers a private antitrust challenge to one such agreement between Pfizer, Inc.’s Wyeth unit and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world’s biggest manufacturer of drugs.

“Empirical evidence confirms what the pharmaceutical industry has long understood: that a no-(authorized generic) commitment provides a convenient method for branded drug firms to pay generic patent challengers for agreeing to delay entry,” the FTC said in the proposed brief.

A court should “carefully consider the economic realities of no-AG commitments and their impact on consumers,” the agency added.

The regulatory agency filed its brief in support of antitrust litigation filed by chain drugstores CVS Caremark Corp., and Rite Aid Corp., both of which accused Pfizer and Teva of a conspiracy to prevent generic versions of a popular antidepressant, Effexor XR, off store shelves.

In a statement, Pfizers Wyeth subsidiary refuted such allegations, saying its settlement agreement with Teva was correct and proper, and would allow a generic of Effexor XR onto the market a full seven years before its original patent expired.

The company went on to say that the FTC did not voice concerns about the settlement when officials with the agency originally reviewed it.

A spokeswoman from Teva told Reuters the company believes the suit has no merit and as such has filed a motion for dismissal.

But the two drugstore chains aren’t the only retailers who believe something fishy is going on. Walgreen Co., Kroger Co., Safeway Inc., Supervalu Inc. and HEB Grocery Co., had similar misgivings about the settlement in a suit those companies filed in the same court in December.

The presiding judge in the Effexor case sought amicus briefs to assess how the case might be affected by a recent 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that said payments by a branded drugmanufacturer to a potential rival generic drug maker can be “evidence of an unreasonable restraint of trade” if they prevented generic medications – which, of course, are generally much cheaper – out of the hands of patients.
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Antibiotics May Lead to Lifelong Obesity

Lisa Garber
NaturalSociety
August 23, 2012

pillantibiotics 235×147 Antibiotics May Lead to Lifelong ObesityAntibiotics have been associated with weight gain before, but new research indicates it may have the same effect on infants, too. Given that childhood obesity is linked to obesity later in life, prescribing antibiotics for children presents more problems for a nation already in the throes of an epidemic.

“We typically consider obesity an epidemic grounded in unhealthy diet and [lack of] exercise, yet increasingly studies suggest it’s more complicated,” says Dr. Leonardo Trasande from the New York School of Medicine.

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Early Antibiotic Use Linked to Childhood Obesity
Thu, 08/23/2012 – 11:59am
NYU School of Medicine
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Researchers at NYU School of Medicine have made a novel discovery that could have widespread clinical implications, potentially affecting everything from nutrient metabolism to obesity in children.

Since the 1950’s, low dose antibiotics have been widely used as growth promoters in the agricultural industry. For decades, livestock growers have employed subtherapeutic antibiotic therapy (STAT), not to fight infection or disease, but to increase weight gain in cattle, swine, sheep, chickens, turkeys and other farm animals.

First author Ilseung Cho and colleagues set out to reveal how antibiotics were acting on the body to create this effect, hypothesizing that low doses of the drugs may alter the composition and function of the bacteria in the gut. The resulting study, appearing online ahead of print in Nature, confirmed their theory about the gut microbiome, the term used to refer to the community of bacteria that lives in the stomach, and raises new questions about how manipulating it can impact metabolism and disease in the body.

The researchers administered STAT to normal mice and observed that the mice receiving antibiotics developed increased fat mass and percent body fat. After about six weeks, the mice that received antibiotics had gained about 10 to 15 percent more fat mass than the mice that did not receive antibiotics. The researchers also note that bone density was significantly increased in STAT mice early in development and that particular hormones related to metabolism were affected by antibiotic exposure.

“By using antibiotics, we found we can actually manipulate the population of bacteria and alter how they metabolize certain nutrients,” says Cho, assistant professor of medicine and associate program director for the Division of Gastroenterology at the School of Medicine. “Ultimately, we were able to affect body composition and development in young mice by changing their gut microbiome through this exposure.”

Cho adds that the scientific community is only now beginning to understand just how complex the microbiome is and how it affects health and disease. With a better understanding about the interactions between the microbiome and hosts and how these interactions can be manipulated, he and his colleagues believe the finding has the potential to affect a wide array of conditions ranging from childhood obesity to metabolic syndrome in adults.

Discovered in the early 20th century, antibiotics came into widespread use after World War II with substantial public health benefits. Use of these antibacterial agents has increased dramatically in the years since, now approximating one antibiotic course per year in the average child in the U.S. However, there is increasing concern that antibiotic exposure may have long-term consequences, prompting a surge in recent research focused on the effects of antibiotics on development.

“This work shows the importance of the early life microbiome in conditions like obesity,” says lead investigator Martin Blaser, a professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. “The rise of obesity around the world is coincident with widespread antibiotic use, and our studies provide an experimental linkage. It is possible that early exposure to antibiotics primes children for obesity later in life.”

Blaser advises that more research is needed to confirm this theory, but that manipulation of the gut microbiome may have implications for other conditions affected by the functions of bacteria in the gut. “We’re still learning how far the impact of the microbiome reaches and the costs of perturbing it,” he says.

The study was funded, in part, by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases.
Painkillers Could ‘Increase Risk 16-fold’ of Male Reproductive Disorder

Elizabeth Renter
NaturalSociety
August 20, 2012

pillmedicationbottles 235×147 Painkillers Could Increase Risk 16 fold of Male Reproductive DisorderPreviously, the male reproductive disorder of crytochidism, or undescended testicles, was blamed on environmental pollution and endocrine disruptors like phthalates. Now, scientists say it could have more to do with the use of painkillers by a pregnant mother.
Male Reproductive Disorder Linked to Painkiller Use by Pregnant Moms

Undescended testicles occur when the male reproductive organs are actually inside of the body rather than descended. Often the condition is handled with surgery and can affect male fertility in adulthood.
The Guardian reports scientists in France, Finland, and Denmark have determined that taking more than one “mild painkiller” at a time during pregnancy could increase the risk of undescended testicles in a male infant by 7 times. Mild painkillers include ibuprofen, aspirin, and paracetamol.

According to researchers, the risk was greatest when the painkillers were taken in the second trimester where the use of any painkiller more than doubled the risk. Ibuprofen and aspirin quadrupled the risk, and taking more than one type of painkiller in the second trimester “increased the risk 16-fold.”

The issue was previously only linked to endocrine disrupters in the environment. Now, experts are saying that “a single paracetamol tablet [500 mg] contains more endocrine disruptor potency than the combined exposure to the 10 most prevalent of the currently known environmental endocrine disruptors during the whole pregnancy.”

Many women use these mild painkillers during pregnancy, unaware of the risks. They reason that the drugs are used by nearly everyone for nearly any ache or twinge of pain, so how on earth could they be harmful? But, evidence from the scientists work reveals something interesting: that pregnant women were reluctant to admit to using the painkillers, perhaps revealing that they were aware there was at least some risk involved, or that they undervalued the effects of the medicine.

Telephone interviews found that women significantly under-reported their use of painkillers in written questionnaires. Among 298 Danish mothers, 30.9% said they used painkillers when they filled in a questionnaire, but 57.2% reported using them when asked in a telephone interview. They explained that they had not considered the tablets to be “medication”.

Of course this isn’t the only issue with OTC painkillers. Taking just a little ‘too much’ Tylenol over the course of days or weeks can be even more deadly than massive overdose. Taking even slightly higher doses than recommended can cause liver damage that is potentially fatal. In fact, Tylenol overdose is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S., creating 26,000 hospitalizations and around 500 deaths each year.

The solution? As always—look for natural pain management alternatives before turning to a pill.

Additional Sources:

Guardian.co.uk
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Trading chickenpox for shingles

Saturday, August 25, 2012 by: Craig Stellpflug
shingles(NaturalNews) It’s another case of the cure is worse than the disease. The shingles vaccine temporarily “protects” about half of those vaccinated (CDC, 2011). No one knows how long the “benefits” of the vaccine will last, and each Zostavax shingle vaccination contains a litany of additives including MSG and aborted fetal cells and DNA, among things. Shingles cases result in three times as many deaths and five times the number of hospitalizations as chicken pox (Goldman, 2006).Both chickenpox and shingles are caused by the herpes zoster virus. Shingles mainly affects people who have received a chickenpox vaccine (which contains a live attenuated form of the virus), do NOT have contact with children who are breaking out with chicken pox, and whose immune system weakens with age and constant Big Pharma drugs and bad diets.

The first sign of Shingles is usually a pain, tingling, or itchy feeling on the skin. This sensation lasts about three days and then a painful rash typically appears at the same location and almost always on a single side of the body. The rash begins as fluid-filled blisters similar to chickenpox, in a band or a cluster following a nerve.
Why do we get shingles?

The common assumption in the medical community is that occurrence of shingles increases as the individuals’ immune systems are declining. The latest research, however, shows the real reason is because of vaccinated populations are not expressing chickenpox, coupled to the fact that older people receive fewer natural boosts to natural shingles immunity as their contacts with young children goes down (NVIC, 2012).

The medical community’s answer? More vaccines… Medical folly has caused the shingles by giving a chicken pox vaccine, so now they want to give yet another toxic vaccine in the hopes that in doing so a patient can maybe avoid a shingles outbreak. In the International Journal of Toxicology is piece by Gary S. Goldman, Ph.D., revealing high rates of shingles since the government’s 1995 push for the chicken pox vaccine. Goldman shows that shingles is naturally suppressed in the adult by occasional contact with actual chicken pox. (Goldman, 2006)

Adults receive natural immunity boosts against shingles by coming into contact with children infected with chicken pox.
Natural solutions:

• Find a chickenpox party and get re-exposed! This will boost natural immunity and help prevent shingles outbreaks.

• Support your body’s natural immune function by taking probiotics.

• Support normal thyroid function. The immune system depends upon optimal thyroid function to battle disease.

• Take methylcobalamin B-12 as a daily supplement. In a body undergoing oxidative stress from shingles methyl B12 production is impaired and needs extra support. Intramuscular methylcobalamin injections are a wonderful source of shingles relief.

• Vitamin C is a potent virus fighter and is highly effective at stopping a shingles outbreak. Intravenous vitamin C is much more effective than oral vitamin C to treat an outbreak of shingles.

• Take Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). Start with 1 tablespoon in 4 ounces of water imbibed 3 times a day. Using a cotton ball, dab some ACV directly to lesions (it will burn at first) several times a day.

• Manuka honey is more effective at treating secondary shingle bacterial infections than popular antibiotics.

Don’t be a patsy for Big Pharma. There are natural solutions to almost any health dilemma if you invest the time to make informed decisions and choose to invest your hard earned money in your health rather than lining the pockets of Big Pharma and its cronies.

Sources for this article include:

CDC. (2011). Shingles Vaccination: What You Need to Know. Retrieved from Center for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/shingles/vacc-need-know.htm
Goldman, Gary S. (2006). The Case against Universal Varicella Vaccination. International Journal of Toxicology, 25(5):313-317.
Merck. (2011). ZOSTAVAXR Zoster Vaccine Live. Retrieved from http://www.merck.com
NVIC. (2012). Herpes Zoster (Shingles) & Shingles Vaccine. Retrieved from National Vaccine Information Center: http://www.nvic.org/vaccines-and-diseases/Shingles.aspx
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A Parent’s Guide: What to do if your child dies after vaccination
Guidelines to Autopsy Medical Tests: Parents Immediately Should Require an Autopsy That Includes Certain Tests

image source

Catherine J. Frompovich
Activist Post

Introduction

Over the years various medical doctors, attorneys, and parents have contacted the authors of this Guide seeking information about medical tests that could indicate a causal relationship between vaccines and their ingredients and the severe reactions in previously healthy infants, toddlers, or teenagers, many of whom succumbed after either: 1) receiving vaccination(s), or 2) experiencing protracted adverse events due to vaccines.

Since these requests are coming more frequently, apparently there is a need for such information. This Guide was vetted for accuracy, including omission of relevant information needed in the attempt to determine whether a child died as a result of neurotoxins and/or hazardous chemicals in vaccines. Some are listed in Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary / Excipients Included in US Licensed Vaccines: E-1 thru E-5; Vaccine-Production Media: E-6 & E-7 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’ website here: (Source)

Another source of vaccine chemical ingredients is each vaccine’s package insert, which can be accessed at U.S. FDA Vaccines, Blood & Biologics website here: (Source)

With the current practice of injecting several multi-valent vaccines (often as many as 9 separate vaccines) into an infant or toddler during the same office visit, some recipients’ central nervous systems (CNS) apparently become overloaded and/or the brain suffers dramatic injury from multiple neurotoxins and other toxic chemicals crossing the blood-brain barrier (BBB); others experience severe allergic reactions to one or more of the vaccine components. Encephalopathy or anaphylaxis can occur with fatal results.

Conventional ‘wisdom’ claims vaccines are not harmful. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent this is not the case for all recipients. The information and tests discussed in this Guide can potentially help document vaccine damage, if parents and their attorneys secure pathologists who will perform those tests.

Parents’ Information

Parents should realize their gut instincts most often are correct, especially about their child whom they have been taking care of since birth. No one knows a child better than his/her mother. Ideally, parents will have documented any new health conditions their child experienced after receiving vaccinations, e.g., screaming fits, seizures, fevers, etc. That documentation will be most helpful later on.

There is nothing a parent can experience that is more traumatic than the death of a child. But, when a death tragically occurs shortly after vaccination, time is of the essence. Usually, the coroner is appointed by government authorities. Parents need to know they have every right to request the pathologist perform post-mortem blood and tissue assays/analyses, and to preserve the samples and data they reveal. Parents may need an attorney’s legal help and/or intervention to get the proper tests performed. Nevertheless, parents have every legal right to request an autopsy be performed, including certain tests looking for toxins, similar to what is done in drug overdose deaths. Parents also have the right to request storage of samples for future tests that are developed as new scientific discoveries are made.

Grieving parents must remember this is a time to rely on loving family and friends to help provide support in their quest to ascertain the child’s cause of death, which can be determined in most cases via proper post-mortem examination.

Parents must remember physicians and emergency room personnel are typically not trained to recognize adverse reactions from vaccines. Therefore, it is common practice for child abuse/neglect, or Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) legal charges to be filed against parents of children who die from vaccine damage to the brain, especially if there are no visible trauma marks on the child’s body. That’s when certain blood tests can be most helpful disproving such allegations. This Guide tells which tests should be performed as soon as possible after death to disprove SBS.

Attorney Information

Attorneys are not prepared, in most cases, to deal with vaccine damage cases. Tort law does not apply to vaccine damages. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-660) created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program under which claims must be filed. However, the more medical documentation, e.g., post-mortem test results, attorneys can present with their client’s claim, the more likely the case you file will get attention from the Special Masters of the United States Court of Federal Claims. Various post-mortem tests can disprove SBS, SIDS, etc., which this Guide discusses later. Attorneys should report the death by filing a VAERS report to the HHS at http://vaers.hhs.gov/helpinstructions

Coroner / Pathologist Information

As every pathologist knows, it is important to ascertain cause of death. Chemicals, either legal drugs/medications (prescription drugs and their amounts in the body) or street drugs commonly are assayed. Since there are numerous neurotoxins, heavy metals (Hg, Al in 4 formulations), even recombinant DNA (rDNA), and industrial use chemicals in the formulation of vaccines, it should be incumbent upon the pathologist to perform extensive panels/assays of both post-mortem blood and key organ tissue samples, e.g., brain, liver, spleen, heart, and small intestine.

PLOS (“public library of science”) online published the Ken Tsumiyama, Yumi Miyazaki, Shunichi Shiozawa paper “Self-Organized Criticality Theory of Autoimmunity” [1] wherein their

Conclusions [indicate]

Systemic autoimmunity appears to be the inevitable consequence of over-stimulating the host’s immune ‘system’ by repeated immunization with antigen, to the levels that surpass system’s self-organized criticality.

The Tsumiyama, et al. paper contains information pathologists may find helpful.

[1] http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0008382

Qiagen’s Sample & Assay Technology is available at http://www.qiagen.com with ordering information, Fax numbers, and technical support phone numbers for the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA.

Qiagen offers Gentra® Puregene® Handbook Second Ed. 2007–For purification of archive-quality DNA from: human whole blood, bone marrow, buffy coat, buccal cells, body fluids, cultured cells, tissue, mouse tail, yeast, bacteria

Infant/Toddler Vaccines Autopsy Tests

Test for CRP (C-reactive protein: if inflammation is high, that would indicate vaccines were to blame as a small infant or toddler could not generate such results) This would indicate severe brain inflammation.
Test for liver enzymes
Test for heavy metals, especially Hg and Al in blood and brain tissue
Test for formaldehyde and Formalin–in particular–which would come from vaccines. Even though the body manufactures a little formaldehyde, large amounts would implicate formaldehyde, or Formalin, especially in vaccines.
If brain tissue is taken, check for Hg and Al, which would indicate those metals crossed the blood brain barrier and may have been the precipitating factor in the child’s demise, as they are potent neurotoxins and can cause encephalopathy.

Run a cytokine panel:

Interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) – IL-1beta is one of the key mediators of the inflammatory response to physical stress.
Interleukin-6 (IL-6)
Interleukin-8 (IL-8)
Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) TNF-α is a growth factor for immune cells and osteoclasts, the cells that break down bone.
Fibrinogen
Vitamin C assay
Titer levels on all the vaccines. If they are sky high, that could make a case for molecular mimicry causing death.

Brain Tissue Samples Preserved as Paraffin Blocks

Brainstem: Pons, Medulla, Midbrain
Hippocampus
Cerebellum

HPV Gardasil® Vaccines for Teenage Girls and Boys

Each of the 3 injections contains 225 ug of aluminium hydroxyphosphate sulfate, plus sodium borate (a pesticide), andpolysorbate 80, an emulsifier linked with anaphylaxis, convulsions, collapse. Post-mortem blood and tissue findings should prevail in court if these substances were in the system at the time of death, since vaccines are one of the primary sources.

Additional Information

Parents should construct a retrospective timeline of the child’s last week before vaccination, e.g., did child have a fever, cold, asthma, allergy incident, influenza, or other health anomaly, plus a timeline of events occurring after vaccination.
Were those events reported to the MD/pediatrician who administered the vaccine and what was the advice given?
Before administering the vaccinations to the child, did the MD inquire as to the child’s general health at the time of the vaccination?
Parents need to obtain a complete copy of their child’s medical records as soon as possible and keep it for their records.
Parents need to make sure a report is filed with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.
When a vaccine is administered to your child, make sure the doctor/nurse records the vaccine lot number and expiration date on your child’s medical records.

Note: Children should not be given vaccinations if there is any immune response manifesting, e.g., seasonal allergies, food allergies, common cold, flu symptoms, etc.

Shaken Baby Syndrome

Were parents questioned about or charged with Shaken Baby Syndrome? If so, a Bone Density Test can prove/disprove SBS. See this very well documented paper regarding that.

Matthew B. Seeley, JD, paper “Unexplained Fractures in Infants and Child Abuse: The Case for Requiring Bone-Density Testing Before Convicting Caretakers,” published in the Brigham Young University Law Review Dec. 20, 2011.

Part 1:
http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2012/02/05/bone-density-test-can-disprove-shaken-baby-syndrome-by-catherine-frompovich/

Part 2:
http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2012/02/09/bone-density-shaken-baby-syndrome-part-2-by-catherine-j-frompovich/

This Guide will be updated periodically as pathologists and MDs report back to us what they feel is necessary to ascertain cause of death revolving around vaccine issues.

Norma Erickson is the President of SaneVax Inc., promoting Safe, Affordable, Necessary & Effective vaccines and vaccination practices through education and information.

Catherine J. Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies.

Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

Catherine’s latest book, A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com.

Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008).

 


Alleged PANDEMICS: Big Pharma Promotes Illegal “Off-Label” Drug Uses

SOURCE

When Drug Makers’ Profits Outweigh Penalties

By David Evans

Washington Post

Originally Published in Bloomberg News

Sunday, March 21, 2010; G01

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/19/AR2010031905578.html

On the morning of Sept. 2, 2009, another Pfizer unit, Pharmacia & Upjohn, agreed to plead guilty to the same crime. This time, Pfizer executives had been instructing more than 100 salespeople to promote Bextra — a drug approved only for the relief of arthritis and menstrual discomfort — for treatment of acute pain of all kinds.

For this new felony, Pfizer paid the largest criminal fine in U.S. history: $1.19 billion. On the same day, it paid $1 billion to settle civil cases involving the off-label promotion of Bextra and three other drugs with the United States and 49 states.

“At the very same time Pfizer was in our office negotiating and resolving the allegations of criminal conduct in 2004, Pfizer was itself in its other operations violating those very same laws,” Loucks, 54, says. “They’ve repeatedly marketed drugs for things they knew they couldn’t demonstrate efficacy for. That’s clearly criminal.”

The penalties Pfizer paid for promoting Bextra off-label were the latest chapter in the drug’s benighted history. The FDA found Bextra to be so dangerous that Pfizer took it off the market for all uses in 2005.

Across the United States, pharmaceutical companies have pleaded guilty to criminal charges or paid penalties in civil cases when the Justice Department finds that they deceptively marketed drugs for unapproved uses, putting millions of people at risk of chest infections, heart attacks, suicidal impulses or death.

It used to be legal for companies to promote drugs in the United States for any use. Congress banned the practice in 1962, requiring pharmaceutical companies to first prove their drugs were safe and effective for specific uses.

If the law is clear, why do drug companies keep breaking it? The answer lies in economics. Pharmaceutical companies spend about $1 billion to develop and test a new drug. To recoup their investment, the companies want doctors to prescribe their drugs as widely as possible.

Since May 2004, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb and four other drug companies have paid a total of $7 billion in fines and penalties. Six of the companies admitted in court that they marketed medicines for unapproved uses. In September 2007, New York-based Bristol-Myers paid $515 million — without admitting or denying wrongdoing — to federal and state governments in a civil lawsuit brought by the Justice Department. The six other companies pleaded guilty in criminal cases.

In January 2009, Indianapolis-based Lilly, the largest U.S. psychiatric drugmaker, pleaded guilty and paid $1.42 billion in fines and penalties to settle charges that it had for at least four years illegally marketed Zyprexa, a drug approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, as a remedy for dementia in elderly patients.

In five company-sponsored clinical trials, 31 people out of 1,184 participants died after taking the drug for dementia — twice the death rate for those taking a placebo, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Marketing departments of many drug companies don’t respect any boundaries of professionalism or the law,” says Jerry Avorn, a professor at Harvard Medical School. “The Pfizer and Lilly cases involved the illegal promotion of drugs that have been shown to cause substantial harm and death to patients.”

The widespread off-label promotion of drugs is yet another manifestation of a health-care system that has become dysfunctional.

“It’s an unbearable cost to a system that’s going broke,” Avorn says. “We can’t even afford to pay for effective, safe therapies.”

About 15 percent of all U.S. drug sales are for unapproved uses without adequate evidence the medicines work, according to a study by Randall Stafford, a medical professor at Stanford University.

As large as the penalties are for drug companies caught breaking the off-label law, the fines are tiny compared with the firms’ annual revenue.

The $2.3 billion in fines and penalties Pfizer paid for marketing Bextra and three other drugs cited in the Sept. 2 plea agreement for off-label uses amount to just 14 percent of its $16.8 billion in revenue from selling those medicines from 2001 to 2008.

The total of $2.75 billion Pfizer has paid in off-label penalties since 2004 is a little more than 1 percent of the company’s revenue of $245 billion from 2004 to 2008.

Lilly already had a criminal conviction for misbranding a drug when it broke the law again in promoting schizophrenia drug Zyprexa for off-label uses beginning in 1999. The medication provided Lilly with $36 billion in revenue from 2000 to 2008. That’s more than 25 times as much as the total penalties Lilly paid in January.

Companies regard the risk of multimillion-dollar penalties as just another cost of doing business, says Lon Schneider, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles. In 2006, he led a study for the National Institute of Mental Health of off-label use of drugs, including Zyprexa.

“There’s an unwritten business plan,” he says. “They’re drivers that knowingly speed. If stopped, they pay the fine, and then they do it again.”

Paying the doctors

In pushing off-label use of drugs, companies find ready and willing partners in physicians. Under the fragmented system of U.S. medical regulation, it’s legal for doctors to prescribe FDA-approved drugs for any use. The FDA has no authority over doctors, only over drug companies, regarding off-label practices. It’s up to the states to oversee physicians.

“I think the physician community has to take some ownership responsibility and do their own due diligence beyond the sales and marketing person,” says Boston’s former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan.

Doctors generally don’t tell people they’re prescribing drugs pitched to them by pharmaceutical salespeople for unapproved treatments, says Peter Lurie, former deputy medical director of Public Citizen, a Washington-based public interest group. Most doctors don’t keep track of FDA-approved uses of drugs, he says.

“The great majority of doctors have no idea; they don’t even understand the distinction between on- and off-labeling,” he says.

Pfizer’s marketing program offered doctors up to $1,000 a day to allow a Pfizer salesperson to spend time with the physician and his patients, according to a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by John Kopchinski, who worked as a salesman at Pfizer from 1992 to 2003.

“By ‘pairing up’ with a physician, the sales representative was able to promote over a period of many hours, without the usual problems of gaining access to prescribing physicians,” Kopchinski says. “In essence, this amounted to Pfizer buying access to physicians.”

Pfizer spokesman Chris Loder says the company stopped what it calls “mentorships” in 2005. He says Pfizer paid doctors $250 a visit. The goal was clear: Get doctors to prescribe a new drug as widely as possible.

Pfizer’s Neurontin is a case in point. The FDA approved the drug as a supplemental medication to treat epilepsy in 1993. Pfizer took in $2.27 billion from sales of Neurontin in 2002. A full 94 percent — $2.12 billion — of that revenue came from off-label use, according to the prosecutors’ 2004 Pfizer sentencing memo.

Since 2004, companies that are now Pfizer divisions have pleaded guilty to off-label marketing of two drugs. Pfizer continued off-label promotions for these medications after buying the firms, according to documents.

Pfizer first stepped into an off-label scheme in 1999, when it offered to buy Warner-Lambert, based in New Jersey. Prosecutors charged that Warner-Lambert marketed Neurontin off-label between 1995 and 1999.

Warner-Lambert admitted doing so for one year in a May 2004 guilty plea for which Pfizer paid $430 million in fines and penalties.

When the FDA approved Neurontin in 1993 to be used only along with other epilepsy drugs, the agency wrote that as a side effect, the drug can induce depression and suicidal thoughts in patients.
The whistle-blower

Much of what prosecutors learned about Warner-Lambert’s marketing of Neurontin comes from a former employee, David Franklin, who holds a Ph.D. in microbiology.

Franklin, 48, whose title at Warner-Lambert was medical liaison, says his job involved more salesmanship than science. He told doctors that Neurontin was the best drug for a dozen off-label uses, including pain relief, bipolar disease and depression.

“Technically, I had responsibility for answering physician questions about all of Parke-Davis’s drugs,” Franklin says. “In practice, my real job was to promote Neurontin for off-label indications heavily — to the exclusion of just about everything else.”

Franklin says he knew such uses of the drug had no scientific support for effectiveness and safety.

“I was actually undermining their ability to fulfill the Hippocratic oath,” Franklin says, referring to a physician’s pledge to “First, do no harm.”

After working for Warner-Lambert for three months, Franklin quit and filed a whistle-blower lawsuit on behalf of taxpayers to recover money the government paid for illegally promoted drugs. He stood to collect as much as 30 percent of any settlement the company made with the government.

Franklin had to wait four years — until 2000 — before the Justice Department began a criminal investigation. In November 1999, Pfizer made its public offer to buy Warner-Lambert. In January 2000, a federal grand jury in Boston issued subpoenas to Warner-Lambert employees to testify about the marketing of Neurontin.

That March, Warner-Lambert’s annual report disclosed that prosecutors were building a criminal case. Undeterred, Pfizer bought Warner-Lambert in June for $87 billion — the third-largest merger in U.S. history.
More sales than Viagra

A year after the acquisition, the FDA discovered that Neurontin was still being marketed off-label. In a June, 2001 letter to the company, the agency wrote that Pfizer’s promotion of the drug “is misleading and in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act.”

Pfizer marketed Neurontin off-label after receiving that letter, agency records show. For 2001, Pfizer reported revenue of $1.75 billion from Neurontin sales, making it the company’s fourth-largest-selling drug that year, ahead of impotence pill Viagra, which Neurontin topped for four years.

As Neurontin sales soared to $2.27 billion in 2002, the FDA found that Pfizer was improperly claiming that the drug was useful for a broader range of brain disorders than scientific evidence had established.

The agency sent a letter dated July 1, 2002, that said the company’s marketing practices were in violation of FDA rules. It asked Pfizer to stop using misleading promotions. Pfizer reported $2.7 billion in revenue from Neurontin in 2003. Overall, the drug has provided Pfizer with $12 billion in revenue.

Pfizer spokesman Chris Loder says, “Regarding the 2001 and 2002 FDA letters, we do not believe that they were suggestive of any continuing off-label promotion.”

For blowing the whistle on his employer, Franklin collected $24.6 million under the False Claims Act.

Prosecutors Loucks and Sullivan got involved in the case after Franklin filed his suit, relying on information from Franklin and their own investigation. Before 2004, prosecutions for off-label marketing were rare.

“Until a couple of these cases became public, companies were probably saying, ‘Everybody does it this way,’ ” Sullivan says.

Loucks had a track record in off-label prosecutions. In 1994, he negotiated a $61 million settlement with C.R. Bard of New Jersey, which pleaded guilty to promoting off-label use of a heart catheter that led to patient deaths.

The off-label campaign

In the January 2004 settlement negotiations with Loucks, Sullivan and two other prosecutors, Pfizer’s lawyers assured the U.S. Attorney’s Office that the company wouldn’t market drugs off-label.

“They asserted that the company understood the rules and had taken steps to assure corporate compliance with the law,” Loucks says. “We remember those promises.”

What Pfizer’s lawyers didn’t tell the prosecutors was that Pfizer was at that moment running an off-label marketing promotion using more than 100 salespeople who were pitching Bextra, according to a Pfizer sales manager who pleaded guilty to misbranding a drug in March 2009.

Pharmacia & Upjohn developed Bextra, which was approved by the FDA in 2001 for only the treatment of arthritis and menstrual discomfort.

P&U and Pfizer had by then crafted a joint marketing agreement to sell the drug. In November 2001, Mary Holloway, a Pfizer Northeast regional manager, began illegally training and directing her sales team to market Bextra for the relief of acute pain, Holloway admitted in the plea.

On Dec. 4, 2001, Pfizer executives sent Holloway a copy of a nonpublic FDA letter to the company. The agency had denied Pfizer’s application to market Bextra for acute pain. Clinical trials had shown Bextra could cause heart damage and death.

Pfizer bought Pharmacia & Upjohn in April 2003. From 2001 through 2003, P&U, first as an independent company and then as a unit of Pfizer, paid doctors more than $5 million in cash to lure them to resorts, where salespeople illegally pitched off-label uses for Bextra, P&U admitted.

In her guilty plea, Holloway said her team had solicited hospitals to create protocols to buy Bextra for the unapproved purpose of acute pain relief. Her representatives didn’t mention the increased risk of heart attacks in their marketing.

They told doctors that side effects were no worse than those of a sugar pill, Holloway said.

In 2003, Holloway reported her unit’s off-label promotions of Bextra up the corporate ladder at Pfizer, according to a presentencing memo to the judge written by Robert Ullmann, Holloway’s attorney. Top managers didn’t attempt to halt the illegal conduct, the memo said.

By late 2004, Bextra reached blockbuster status, with annual sales of $1.29 billion. Holloway promoted Bextra until the FDA asked Pfizer in April 2005 to pull it from the market for all uses.

The agency concluded that the drug increased the risk of heart attacks, chest infections and strokes in cardiac surgery patients. In June 2009, Holloway, 47, was sentenced to two years on probation and fined $75,000. She didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.

‘We regret . . . ‘

By 2007, the criminal and civil cases against Pfizer, its employees and its subsidiaries had begun to mount. The tally of drugs cited by federal prosecutors for off-label promotion reached six by 2009. In April 2007, P&U pleaded guilty to a felony charge of offering a $12 million kickback to a pharmacy benefit manager. Pfizer paid a criminal fine of $19.7 million. In September 2009, Pfizer agreed to pay $2.2 billion in fines and penalties. P&U pleaded guilty to a felony charge of misbranding Bextra with the intent to defraud. After the settlement, Pfizer general counsel Amy Schulman said the company had learned its lesson.

“We regret certain actions we’ve taken in the past,” she said. “Corporate integrity is an absolute priority for Pfizer.”

One reason drug companies keep breaking the law may be because prosecutors and judges have been unwilling to use the ultimate sanction — a felony conviction that would exclude a company from selling its drugs for reimbursement by state health programs and federal Medicare.

At Pfizer’s Pharmacia sentencing in October, U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock said companies don’t appear to take the law seriously. “It has become something of a cost of doing business for some of these corporations, to shed their skin like certain animals and leave the skin and move on,” he said.

As prosecutors continue to uncover patterns of deceit in off-label marketing, millions of patients across the nation remain in the dark. Doctors often choose the medications based on dishonest marketing by drug company salesmen.

Loucks says that putting an end to the criminal off-label schemes will be difficult. As drugmakers repeatedly plead guilty, they’ve shown they’re willing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fines as a cost of generating billions in revenue.

The best hope, Loucks says, is that drug companies actually honor the promises they keep making — and keep breaking — to obey the law of the land.

As much as $100 million for health-care fraud enforcement is tied up in the stalled reform legislation, according to Loucks.

“It will be increasingly hard for the threat of exclusion to seem credible and thus serve as a deterrent to bad corporate behavior,” he says, “unless Congress supports health-care fraud prosecutions with more money.”

A version of this story originally appeared in Bloomberg Markets Magazine. It was awarded a 2010 Society of American Business Editors and Writers award for enterprise reporting and general excellence.


Big Pharma 2012-WHO engineer Birdflu Pandemic dictating inter-national CDC-s dangerous mass vaccinations

Jane Burgermeister – pandemic update 25 June 2012 – Be sure to download video file from You-tube!
Hundreds of reports have appeared in the mainstream media in the past couple of days hyping the danger of a new bio-engineered bird flu virus which is transmissible between humans as the Globalists try to condition humanity to accept a new pandemic emergency and a mass vaccination campaign with a toxic pandemic jab.

Yet again, the people of the world are facing the monolithic threat of a mass vaccination campaign with a pandemic vaccine now proven beyond a doubt to cause harm.

Jane Bürgermeister’s blog: http://birdflu666.wordpress.com
Hundreds of reports have appeared in the mainstream media in the past couple of days hyping the danger of a new bioengineered bird flu virus which is transmissible between humans as the Globalists try to condition humanity to accept a new pandemic emergency and a mass vaccination campaign with a toxic pandemic jab.

Yet again, the people of the world are facing the monolithic threat of a mass vaccination campaign with a pandemic vaccine now proven beyond a doubt to cause harm.
In 2011, the danger of a new pandemic emergency declaration was increased when Big Pharma was allowed to get significant control of the WHO pandemic virus warning system.
http://www.gsk.com/media/pressreleases/2011/2011-pressrelease-404323.htm
In a clear conflict of interest, Big Pharma is now in a perfect position to hype a new virus and also call for speedy vaccinations which the drugs companies also stand to profit the most from.
In 2009, Baxter created a similar type of deadly bioweapon when it contaminated 72 kilos of the transmissible seasonal flu with the deadly bird flu virus in its biosecurity level 3 facilities in Orth an der Donau and sent it to 16 labs in four countries. A police investigation was halted in September 2009 just before a mass pandemic vaccination campaign with a vaccine now confirmed by the governments of Ireland, Sweden, Finland and Norway to have caused narcolepsy.
The way Big Pharma used its financial clout to influence WHO to declare a pandemic emergency level 6 in 2009 has been well documented.
In spite of the scandal, the world is facing the same national pandemic plans. Once more we are facing forced vaccination with the same toxic jab and quarantine.
The mainstream media and the false flag alternative media led by Alex Jones are once more hyping the new super virus as a killer and downplaying the vaccine danger.
The new bird flu virus is no killer.
The whole story: http://birdflu666.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/emergency-update-signs-globalists-…


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