>From: Mitchel Cohen <mitchelcohen at mindspring.com>
>Reply-To: mitchelcohen at mindspring.com>To: mitchelcohen at mindspring.com>Subject: [SEAC-ANNOUNCE:173] Violence Initiative Project & Genetics
>Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 16:33:19
>>Beware The Violence Initiative Project:
>Coming Soon to an Inner City Near You
>>by Mitchel Cohen
>>"Unemployment runs in the genes just like bad teeth."
>>- Richard Herrnstein, Princeton University, co author of "The Bell Curve"
>>As late as the 1980s, a small but influential coterie of prize-winning
>scientists were trying to prove that black children were, on average, less
>intelligent than white children. Intelligence, they said, ran "in the
>genes" of racial groups.
>>Their evidence? They reviewed the infamous studies of "twins" who had been
>separated at birth and raised far from each other, to prove the validity of
>genetic determination of behavior. They also compiled results from IQ tests
>across the country and subjected them to statistical analyses, which, they
>claimed, showed a general differential between racial groups. This alleged
>differential, they went on, was due to genetic factors. These scientists --
>all of whom were white -- concluded that black people were genetically
>inferior to whites, when it came to intelligence.
>>And yet these smart scientists made a number of critical errors trying to
>squeeze their round "facts" into square holes. For one, the variation of IQ
>scores _within_ each racial group far outstripped the differential
>_between_ racial groups. So, many individual black children turned out to
>score higher on IQ tests than many individual white kids. In fact, there
>was and is no valid way of predicting how an individual child of any ethnic
>or racial background would, all other factors aside, perform on
>standardized IQ tests.
>>A second critical blow to their theory of Aryan intellectual supremacy had
>to do with the nature of standardized IQ tests themselves. What exactly did
>these tests measure? Were they culturally or racially biased? A large body
>of work was presented in the 1970s and early 1980s that left in shreds the
>notion that standardized IQ tests measured anything "objective" at all.
>Many of the test's questions showed them to be racially and sexually
>biased; they did not speak to a black child's experience, which differs
>vastly from the white "norm".
>>Lastly, Sir Cyril Burt's "twins' studies" on which many racially charged IQ
>assertions had been based turned out to have been fabricated, and the
>beknighted scientist's reputation now lies in tatters and his name
>>Although such racially based intelligence theories never fully went away
>(and, let us not forget, "race" is defined in this literature as
>"genetically based"), they were roundly discredited scientifically. (See,
>for instance, Stephen Jay Gould, "The Mismeasure of Man," W.W. Norton,
>1981.) In fact, as professor Gerald Horne writes, it became increasingly
>clear that "research is never `neutral.' Who asks the questions, what
>questions are asked and what ones ignored, who pays for the research, who
>interprets the results are all subjective decisions outside the realm of
>`pure science.' The bias is built in." (1)
>>It was not until the publication of "The Bell Curve" in the early 1990s, by
>Herrnstein and Murray, that some of the same quack theorists re-emerged
>from their crypts and, with new jargon, proceeded to offer the same white
>supremacy in the guise of new "scientific research."
>>Today, some scientists are again proposing biologically deterministic
>explanations for behavior, but instead of focussing on the genetic basis of
>"intelligence" they now substitute the more au courant "violence" -- a
>hereditary characteristic of Black and Latino people, they say. The recent
>biology-and-crime movement was kicked off by the publication in 1985 of
>"Crime and Human Nature" by James Q. Wilson and Richard Herrnstein. A major
>media campaign followed, leading in 1992 to a report by the National
>Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council, "Understanding and
>Preventing Violence," which called for more attention to "biological and
>genetic factors" in violent crime, "new pharmaceuticals that reduce violent
>behavior," and studies of "whether male or black persons have a higher
>potential for violence." Unlike the case with IQ, scientists claim they can
>control the alleged "genetic predisposition" of black children to
>committing criminal acts of violence by medicating them, before aggressive
>behavior and violence ensues.
>>And so, under the aegis of the federally funded Violence Initiative
>Project, Gail Wasserman, a professor in Child Psychiatry at Columbia
>University, and Daniel Pine, a medical doctor associated with the same
>institution, have picked up where the utterly discredited racially based
>intelligence theories of Jensen, Herrnstein, Eysenck, Shockley and Murray
>left off. They lead a team of researchers in performing numerous
>experiments, partly funded by federal tax dollars, on Black and Latino
>children young as six years of age.
>>Says Gail Wasserman, Ph.D., in her funding proposal to establish a
>"behavioral disorders" center at Columbia University's Department of Child
>Psychiatry: "It is proper to focus on blacks and other minorities as they
>are over represented in the courts and not well studied."
>>In one such "study" at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Wasserman
>and her cohorts took 34 healthy boys, ages six to ten, and administered to
>them the dangerous drug, fenfluramine. Fenfluramine is the primary
>ingredient in the diet drug fen phen, which has been banned by the U.S.
>government.(2) The boys were all from impoverished families; 44 percent
>were African American and 56 percent were Hispanic.
>>The boys were made to fast for twelve hours prior to the test, and during
>the test were allowed only water. An intravenous catheter was inserted and
>designed to remain in place for five and one half hours. During that
>period, a dose of the drug fenfluramine hydroxide was administered (10
>mg/kg). Blood was drawn hourly.
>>Ninety percent of _adult_ subjects experience side effects from a single
>dose of fenfluramine -- and here Wasserman and Pine are administering it to
>children! Effects of a single dose of fenfluramine on adults "frequently
>include anxiety, fatigue, headache, lightheadedness, difficulty
>concentrating, visual impairment, diarrhea, nausea, a feeling of being
>`high' and irritability.(3) Federal Drug Administration studies show that
>the drug causes severe heart valve damage in as many as thirty percent of
>the adults who take it.(4) Fenfluramine has also been shown to cause a
>fatal heart condition known as pulmonary hypertension.(5) And studies done
>on rodents and monkeys showed that a single dose of fenfluramine caused
>microscopic damage to brain cells lasting up to 18 months. Yet the NY State
>Psychiatric Institute proceeded with administering fenfluramine to children
>-- in doses 8 times higher than that causing damage in monkeys' brains --
>even after and the drug had been banned in September, 1997.
>>In using that drug, the clinicians hypothesized they could counter the
>alleged racially inherited genetic predisposition to aggressive behavior
>and violence by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Some scientists
>have correlated low serotonin levels with aggressive behavior. (Whether
>decreased serotonin levels _cause_ aggression or are manifested _effects_
>of it is a distinction all-to-often fudged in the scientists' public
>statements.) By increasing serotonin levels, the researchers hypothesized,
>they could claim that the (genetically determined) levels of serotonin are
>further reduced by socially adverse child rearing practices in Black and
>Latino familes. Through medication, they say, they could increase serotonin
>levels and thereby counter the negative effects of "adverse child rearing,"
>which would prevent the kids from committing acts of violence. This despite
>the fact that most of the children had not committed any acts of violence
>>The children were selected because they 1) were Black or Latino, and 2)
>each had older siblings who had been delinquents known to the Family Court.
>The children's names and addresses were -- and continue to be -- sorted and
>channelled by government officials on the public payroll at the Department
>of Probation and the New York City Board of Education, and passed along to
>the researchers. So much for claims of legal confidentiality! This
>insidious involvement of public officials became known thanks primarily to
>exposés in local newspapers, based on stories fed to reporters by
>>Forced to reply, the NYC Board of Education spokesperson denied that
>students had been referred for the purpose of participating in research.
>But the documents prove the Board was lying. In fact, writes NY Newsday,
>the Board's Committee on Special Education "worked closely with the
>researchers from the beginning."(7) And, as the Department of Probation
>itself has written, "We are participating in a Research Project being
>conducted by Professor Gail Wasserman, of Columbia University, regarding
>younger brothers of male offenders, in a [sic] effort to identify early
>predictors of anti social behavior."(8) The memo was leaked by Probation
>Officer Renee Jackson, who has been subjected to harassment, changed job
>assignments, and constant pressure ever since -- her payback for having the
>courage to protest the the Probation Department's complicity with the
>Violence Initiative Project.
>>Nor are the experiments limited to Pine, Wasserman and other researchers
>from the New York State Psychiatric Institute, who have been experimenting
>on young minority children since 1992. Similar experiments have been going
>on at Queens College and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and at
>facilities throughout the United States, under the rubric of the National
>Violence Initiative Project, supervised and funded through the National
>Institute of Mental Health.
>>And the money is pouring in. By claiming genetic predisposition,
>psychiatrists are able to tap into the hundreds of millions of dollars
>available for genetics research -- the latest fad. That's the new claim for
>why people do anything: commit violent crimes, engage in homosexual or
>heterosexual behavior (with the latter still, illogically, seen as the
>norm), come down with certain cancers, even commit murder -- it's in the
>genes. The money, in turn, has fueled all sorts of similar "projects,"
>including new methods for genetically frisking prisoners for "bad DNA" --
>that is, obtaining samples of prisoners' DNA, computerizing its sequence
>and storing it for future use.
>>Far less in public resources is spent on researching the effects of toxic
>by-products of industrial production and chemicalized agriculture in
>causing cancer, lead poisoning and other immune compromising "diseases."
>Instead, funding -- and thus, blame -- is shifted to an individual's (or
>ethnic/racial grouping's) biological makeup, their "genetic predisposition"
>to, for instance, breast cancer (even though the "gene that causes breast
>cancer" panic of the last few years is utterly fraudulent). In such a
>framework, the widespread social and environmental causes are ignored and
>the victim becomes targetted as the culprit. "It's their own fault." Or, if
>not their "fault," the more liberal version goes, it's still "in their
>genes, poor soul."
>>Thus, we see, today, psycho-surgery, lobotomies, and electro-shock making a
>comeback, as well as medicalization of what are fundamentally socially or
>environmentally caused ailments and behaviors. New and dangerous
>genetically engineered drugs are being tested on prisoners, soldiers and
>mental patients institutionalized in asylums or warehoused in impoverished
>inner city slums, Indian reservations, and Third World countries. To the
>giant pharmaceutical corporations, as well as to the government, these
>areas provide human guinea pigs. The Violence Initiative Project is the new
>face of what can best be described as Nazi "science" with an American
>accent. And it has been flourishing under the Clinton/Gore administration
>as much as it had under the Republicans -- perhaps more so.
>>Holistic thinking is, to say the least, not one of Western science's strong
>points. Here in the U.S. we tend to think in terms of cause and effect,
>every effect being determined by its singular cause, every trait being
>determined by and an expression of its singular gene, and remedied in a
>similar manner. But scientists can no more predict the full effects of
>altering a single gene on an individual organism -- let alone on larger
>eco-systems in which plants, animals and micro-organisms evolve in
>precarious balance and symbiotic relation to each other -- than they could
>track a particular electron through a single atom, let alone through the
>course of a nuclear bomb blast or the evolution of the universe. Recent
>experiments in gene therapy have even caused the deaths of relatively
>healthy patients, and the Food and Drug Administration has ordered shut
>down human gene therapy experiments at the University of Pennsylvania and a
>review of such experiments throughout the US, after an inspection uncovered
>"numerous serious deficiencies" in ensuring patient safety during a
>clinical trial that cost an 18-year-old Arizona man his life.(9)
>>The static and reductionistic thinking emblematic of genetic explanations
>for behavior leaves out, among other things, _process,_ the way in which
>interactions between things synergistically create complex environments
>which feed back into and reshape the very items said to have "caused" them,
>transforming the entire relationship. From the earliest models of how our
>cells work, reductionism provided the basic (and wrong) framework: DNA,
>most scientists said, determines genes, genes determine chromosomes, which
>determine cells, which determine tissues, which determine organs, which
>determine organisms, which (for some) determine behavior, and on out into
>the multi-layered cosmos. According to the genetic model of the 1960s --
>which still dominates most collegiate texts and certainly the public
>mindset -- the genetic information of a segment of DNA -- a gene -- is
>transcribed into messenger RNA that in turn is translated into a protein,
>one to one to one.
>>But, back in the 1970s, a donkey upset the neatly piled applecart.
>"Researchers made the surprising discovery that, in the cells of higher
>organisms, messenger RNA is altered by enzymes _before_ its information is
>translated into protein (Chambon, 1981). In the language of genetics,
>pieces of RNA are excised from the molecule and the remaining pieces are
>fused to make the functional RNA that then serves as the template for
>protein synthesis. There is no one to one correspondence between DNA
>sequence and proteins."(10)
>>Cellular Biologist Stuart Newman took the implicit critique of strict
>genetic determinism a step further and explicitly laid out multi-tiered and
>interactive mechanisms of development, cell morphogenesis and pattern
>formation that relied on such non-reductionist factors as the position of a
>cell with respect to other cells; how position affects its internal
>chemistry, which in turn impacts on salt levels and other nutrients, which
>in turn affects the development of the body's organs.(11) The whole, in
>other words, shapes the parts as much as the parts generate the whole.
>According to Newman, the interaction between living cells and their
>environment makes possible a vast number of pathways development of the
>organism could take. Genes should be seen more as repositories of
>development that has already happened, winnowing down the possibilities
>rather than actively determining what is _going to_ happen.
>>Newman's approach removes biology from the reductionist framework holding
>it back, and brings to it a powerful dialectical approach. Summing up one
>of his many investigations, Newman writes:
>>"Both cells and ecosystems can thus be analyzed as highly complex networks
>of large numbers of components undergoing mutually dependent changes in
>their relative abundances. But while this way of thinking is common among
>ecologists, it is not well suited to making precise predictions, and has
>failed to take hold to any significant extent in cell biology. Instead, the
>most common intellectual framework of cell and molecular biologists is a
>reductionist approach. The preferred objects of study are detailed
>interrelations among small numbers of relatively isolated components. In
>this paradigm, an understanding of the qualitative properties of the system
>as a whole, such as the conditions for stable, periodic, and chaotic
>behaviors, is sacrificed in favor of exact knowledge of a more limited set
>>"Undoubtedly many scientists, working in this reductionist tradition, were
>surprised to learn from recent studies of so called "oncogenes" or cancer
>associated DNA, that the introduction into cells of the capability of
>making a normal cellular protein in slightly greater amounts, or in a
>slightly altered form than usual, could render that cell cancerous, with
>all the multifarious behavioral changes implied by that term. In spite of
>this, many molecular biologists, when asked to consider the impact of
>introducing new components into complex _ecological_ systems, have remained
>within their reductionist framework and have dismissed the potential for
>ecological harm from the release of what they consider to be
>>The scientists working on the Violence Initiative Project are among those
>trapped in the reductionist framework. They start where the book "The Bell
>Curve" leaves off -- the search for the gene or biological configuration
>that "causes" criminal behavior and the assumption that intelligence,
>poverty, and criminal behavior is the result of "deficient" genes. (The
>researchers involved do concede, when pressed, that environmental factors
>do play some part, but that environment mostly serves to bring out
>inherited traits that are already present.) The Violence Initiative is a
>well funded attempt to assert a genetic predisposition to committing a
>violent crime, and to paint it with a racial brush. Young white males are
>seen as "less violent", and thus not genetically predisposed to aggressive
>behavior. Why? Because criminal records show that a much greater percentage
>of Black people and Latinos are involved in the criminal justice system,
>from which the siblings are drawn. The Violence Initiative Project seeks to
>provide scientific cover for such circular reasoning, and for the police
>and government repression that has led to the criminalization of more than
>1/3rd of all Black males in the United States.
>>The race based "biological theory of aggression" is neither new nor
>scientific. One champion of the Violence Initiative, Dr. Frederick Goodwin,
>defended the "theory" before the National Health Advisory Council in
>>"If you look, for example, at male monkeys, especially in the wild, roughly
>half of them survive to adulthood. The other half die by violence. That is
>the natural way of it for males, to knock each other off and, in fact,
>there are some interesting evolutionary implications of that because the
>same hyperaggressive monkeys who kill each other are also hypersexual, so
>they copulate more and therefore they reproduce more to offset the fact
>that half of them are dying. Now, one could say that if some of the loss of
>social structure in this society, and particularly within the high impact
>inner city areas, has removed some of the civilizing evolutionary things
>that we have built up and that maybe it isn't just the careless use of the
>word when people call certain areas of certain cities jungles, that we may
>have gone back to what might be more natural, without all of the social
>controls that we have imposed upon ourselves as a civilization over
>thousands of years in our own evolution." (13)
>>Goodwin follows in a long line of proponents of racial supremacy who have
>traded in the Klan's white sheets for white lab coats. They argue that
>social problems are caused by biologically defective members of oppressed
>classes; society can be improved by identifying and eliminating the
>propagation of these "defectives." In the 1850s, Louisiana physcician
>Samuel Cartwright described a mental disease of slaves called
>"drapetomania," which caused its victims to run away from their masters. A
>century later, American physicians Vernon Mark, Frank Ervin and William
>Sweet proposed that urban rebellions were caused by brain damaged
>individuals who could be cured by psychosurgery (lobotomy). They received
>almost $1 million in federal funding.(14)
>>In the 1970s, O.J. Andy, director of Neurosurgery at the University of
>Mississippi, published reports on invasive surgeries he had performed on
>children who were said to be developmentally disabled. (All were Black.)
>Dr. Peter Breggin describes Andy's surgical achievements: JM was a nine
>year old boy said to be "hyperactive, aggressive, combative, explosive,
>destructive and sadistic" -- a prime candidate, in 1966, for O.J. Andy's
>psychosurgery. Over a three year period, Andy operated on the child on four
>different occasions. He implanted electrodes in his brain. Andy concluded,
>in a 1970 article, that JM was no longer combative or aggressive. In
>actuality, Andy had mashed the child's brain, suppressing intellect and
>emotion, and disabled the child by turning him into a vegetable.(15) Dr.
>Andy revealed that "the kind of brain damage that could necessitate such
>radical surgery might be manifested by participation in the Watts Uprising.
>Such people, he diagnosed, `could have abnormal pathological brains.' "
>>The Coalition Against the Violence Initiative is leading the attack against
>such misuses of science. CAVI claims that aggressive, violent or criminal
>behavior is no more determined by genes than is the desire to study "the
>inheritance of violence" or "the predisposition" to become a corporate
>lawyer (which often runs in the family). One could argue that cops,
>generals, football players and many others have inherited a violence gene
>that predisposes them to committing acts of violence -- not to mention
>corporate executives and politicans who murder with their pens. Capitalism
>itself is inherently violent; the removal of the products of labor from
>those who produce it -- the underlying basis of the system -- requires an
>enormous level of violence and the system selects for those kinds of
>personalities capable of ministering to capital's needs. The society we
>live in validates that violence; but because it becomes part of the social
>substrate most don't see it as abnormal -- or, for that matter, as violent.
>Nonetheless, people shape, and are primarily shaped by, social -- not
>genetic -- conditions which strongly influence their activities.
>>The reductionist and biodeterminist approach exemplified by the Violence
>Initiave Project is rampant in the scientific establishment's approach to
>social ills. In November, 1998, researchers distributed a memo to staff at
>George Washington High School in Upper Manhattan announcing a survey to be
>done on freshmen "at risk for" "negative behaviors." By now, we should all
>have an idea of what "at risk for" means. Youngsters so designated are to
>be sent to the clinic run by Columbia Presbyterian and the Columbia School
>of Public Health, for "assessment."
>>The Coalition Against the Violence Initiative (CAVI) sent a strongly worded
>letter to the principal outlining its concerns and calling for cancellation
>of the survey. Members passed out leaflets to students and parents alerting
>them to the dangers and advising them not to sign consent forms. Members of
>Lawyers for the Public Interest also called the school, as did a number of
>individual teachers whom the Coalition had contacted. As we go to press, we
>have just learned of a victory for the Coalition -- the principal canceled
>>But despite occasional victories for those resisting genetic manipulation,
>the Violence Initiative Project, along with the biotech industry, is
>charging ahead full speed, knocking aside all who dare to question both the
>Project's and the industry's apparent willingness to sacrifice our lives
>and environment in their rush for profits and social control of
>>In a brilliant article scathing the project, Gerald Horne wrote:
>>"Under the Initiative, researchers will use alleged genetic and biochemical
>markers to identify potentially violent minority children as young as five
>for biological and behavioral interventions -- including drug therapy and
>possibly psychosurgery [electro shock and lobotomies] -- purportedly aimed
>at preventing later adult violence.
>>"The Initiative specifically rejects any examination of social, economic,
>or political questions, such as racism, poverty, or unemployment. Instead,
>this bio medical approach focuses heavily on the alleged role of the brain
>neurotransmitter, serotonin, in violence. Not coincidentally, this approach
>is favored by many in the medical industry."(17)
>>Dr. Peter Breggin, a leading analyst in the field, has observed, "This
>[approach] corresponds with the current financial interests of the
>pharmaceutical industry, since several drugs affecting serotonin
>neurotransmission have been submitted for approval to the Food and Drug
>Administration. ... The controversial antidepressant, Prozac, is the first
>of these serotonergic drugs, and it has become the largest moneymaker in
>the pharmaceutical industry."(18)
>>Against this backdrop, NIH provided a hefty $100,000 grant for a conference
>entitled "Genetic Factors in Crime: Findings, Uses and Implications." It
>was to be sponsored by the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at
>the University of Maryland and slated for October 1992. The promotional
>brochure promised that "genetic research holds out the prospect of
>identifying individuals who may be predisposed to certain kinds of criminal
>conduct, of isolating environmental features which trigger those
>predispositions, and of treating some predispositions with drugs and
>unintrusive therapies."(19) Genetic research also gains impetus from the
>shortcomings of liberal "environmental" approaches to crime -- deterrence,
>diversion and rehabilitation.(20) Thus, the failure of the liberal paradigm
>(as opposed to the many radical models developed by social movements in
>conjunction with truly engaged scientists which, of course, has never been
>tried in the U.S.), has now allowed focus to shift to exclusively genetic
>and medical "solutions."
>>Radicals, however, _have_ succeeded in leaving our mark. In the 1970s we
>managed to beat back attempts by William Shockley and others to lay a
>pseudo scientific basis for the racial inheritance of intelligence, and the
>disastrous policy implications being pursued at the time, by refuting each
>and every "scientific" assertion they made, as well as by exposing their
>funding sources. So too with the Violence Initiative Project, at least
>initially. "The ensuing protest caused NIH to freeze conference funding --
>temporarily. The objections were led by enraged African Americans concerned
>that, in these dangerous times, such a project could easily be transformed
>into directed genocide. Their concern was not assuaged when it was revealed
>that Reagan appointee Marianne Mele Hall proclaimed that black and brown
>people are culturally or even genetically inferior. They have been
>conditioned, she said, `by 10,000 years of selective breeding for personal
>combat and the anti work ethic of jungle freedoms' and were therefore unfit
>for civic life. Great Society programs just `spoiled' them, she argued,
>encouraging a sense of entitlements that led to laziness, drug use, and
>crime, particularly crime against whites.' " (21)
>>Which brings us back to Goodwin. When we last left him, he was being
>chastised for making similar reference to jungles, comparing Black people
>with monkeys. Dr. Horne writes: "By associating African Americans with
>monkeys and `hypersexuality,' Goodwin tapped into a wellspring of racist
>sentiment." Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Louis Sullivan joined
>many others and criticized Goodwin's remarks. But Goodwin's disfavor
>lasted, oh, around a week. Shortly thereafter, Sullivan in effect rewarded
>Goodwin by appointing him head of the influential National Institute of
>Mental Health -- a post not requiring Senate approval.
>>Since leaving the federal government, Sullivan has gone on to his latest
>crusade: testifying alongside former President Jimmy Carter on behalf of
>Monsanto and the wonders of genetically engineered agriculture.
>>As for Goodwin, his first project as head of the National Institute of
>Mental Health: Approval of funding for the National Violence
>>THE RESULTS ARE IN
>>The long awaited results of the "studies" on young children are now in.
>They are exactly the reverse of what had been expected! The children,
>genetically and hormonally "predisposed" to aggression and violence due to
>low serotonin levels and bad parenting, turn out to have normal or elevated
>serotonin levels! (Remember: the researchers hypothesized that _low_
>serotonin levels led to aggression and violence).
>>Case closed? Guess again. Since Wasserman, Pine, et al. had determined in
>advance what their conclusions were to be, and since their golden egg
>laying goose needed to be coaxed yet again for further funding, they
>"explained" these results by inventing, out of thin air, the conclusion
>that _serotonin has the opposite effect in children as in adults._ Perhaps,
>they continued, high serotonin in childhood _leads_ to low serotonin in
>adults. Thus, they took a group of Black and Latino kids with no history of
>trouble, in whom no expected abnormalities were found, whose serotonin
>levels were basically normal or slightly higher than expected and waved
>their magic wand, to draw more funds for their Nazi research.
>>But similar projects are underway throughout the city and, indeed,
>throughout the country, as is resistance to them. CAVI has targeted the NY
>Psychiatric Institute on a number of occasions. Last year, a small group
>from the Coalition decided to take their protests directly to the source.
>They picketed the "Mood & Anxiety Disorders in Children" conference at the
>Hotel Pennsylvania (New York City), where Daniel Pine was a featured
>speaker (topic: "Psychobiology and Pharmacotherapy of Anxiety Disorders in
>Youth"). In incestuous arrangements that are growing increasingly common,
>the "scientific" program was supported in part by a grant from Solvay
>Pharmaceuticals. Two CAVI activists were arrested and dragged out of the
>proceedings after attempting to hang a banner from the balcony. They were
>strip-searched by guards while awaiting arraignment, and now face criminal
>>The Coalition fears that those most affected by Wasserman, Pine, et al. --
>the parents and children -- remain largely uninformed about the nature and
>outlook of the studies being conducted on them. CAVI remains as skeptical
>as ever about the labeling of a large number of children,
>disproportionately minority and poor children, as having mental illness,
>and about the role of genetic explanations in legitimizing racial
>supremacist ideas and behavior -- in the name of "science". Those honestly
>concerned with children's mental health should take action to heal their
>environment, in the familial as well as broader sense, rather than looking
>for genetic, hormonal and other causes of children's distress within the
>kids' biological makeup.
>>It is sad day in the gulag, indeed, when the death of a patient, as in the
>University of Pennsylvania genetic treatment experiment, goes unreported
>because it is considered "proprietary business information." The interface
>between funding and research has always been an awkward match in the U.S.
>The Violence Initiative Project is another way of deploying new levels of
>repression, using the rhetoric of "science" as a smokescreen for white
>supremacist ideology -- and control.
>>For more information, please contact: The Coalition Against the Violence
>Initiative, c/o Social Justice Ministries, The Riverside Church, 490
>Riverside Drive, NYC 10027. Also: Carol Cage, (212) 330 8677 or (212) 927
>>1. Gerald Horne, "Race Backwards: Genes, Violence, Race and Genocide,"
>CovertAction Quarterly, Winter 1992-93, p.34.
>>2. Daniel S. Pine et al., "Neuroendocrine Response to Fenfluramine
>Challenge in Boys," 54 Arch. Gen. Psych. 839, 840 (September 1997). Also,
>see Daniel S. Pine et al., "Platelet Serotonin 2A (5 HT 2A) Receptor
>Characteristics and Parenting Factors for Boys at Risk for Delinquency: A
>Preliminary Report," American Journal of Psychiatry, 1996, 538, 539, which
>describes a second experiment conducted on the same 34 boys. (Note that the
>earlier study was published last.)
>>3. Matthew F. Muldoon et al., "D. L Fenfluramine Challenge Test: Experience
>in Nonpatient Sample," 39 Biological Psych. 761, 765 (1996).
>>4. "Questions and Answers Concerning the Department of Health and
>Fenfluramine," Food & Drug Administration, Nov. 13, 1997.
>http://www.fda.gov/cder/news/fenqal11397.htm.; also, Gina Kolata, "Two
>Popular Diet Pills Are Withdrawn from Market," The NY Times, Sept. 16,
>>5. Cliff Zucker, Disability Advocates, Inc., and Ruth Lowenkron, Disability
>Law Center, NY Lawyers for the Public Interest, Inc., December 23, 1997
>letter to Clifford C. Sharke, Chief, Assurance Branch, Division of Human
>Subject Protections, Office of Protection from Research Risks, Rockville
>>6. "Half Truths and Consequences: Did Doctors Mislead the Parents of Kids
>they Experimented On?," Village Voice, May 5, 1998; "Kid drug test foes
>picket new hosp site," NY Post, May 9, 1998; "Thugs in Bassinets: Teen age
>violence, studies suggest, begins in the first three years of life," NY
>Times, May 17, 1998; "Drug tst kids bay have been forced: Kin hoped other
>sibs might benefit," NY Post, June 12, 1998; "Ed. Board referred kids for
>drug study, NY Post, July 28, 1998; "Students Ended Up In Study: Psych
>referrals became part of drug research," Newsday, July 28, 1998.)
>>7. Indeed, the original proposal submitted to the National Institute of
>Mental Health, refers to the special education committee as "one
>particularly productive referral source," and noted that researchers had
>made "successful liaisons with a number of schools and agencies throughout
>the New York metropolitan area."
>>8. Robert Stone, Branch Chief, Department of Probation, to: Manhattan
>Family Intake and Investigation Probation Officer, August 30, 1991.
>>9. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, NY Times, Jan. 22, 2000, "Gene Therapy Ordered
>Halted at University". "The decision to place the entire program -- eight
>experiments, including five active clinical trials in diseases ranging from
>cystic fibrosis to breast cancer -- on "clinical hold" is highly unusual.
>The hold is indefinite, agency officials said, and will not be lifted until
>the agency is convinced that the university's Institute for Human Gene
>Therapy can follow federal rules designed to protect study volunteers from
>harm. The agency's action comes two days after its investigators completed
>a detailed inspection of patient records and laboratory data from the
>experiment that killed the Tucson man, Jesse Gelsinger, on Sept. 17. Mr.
>Gelsinger died of multiple organ failure caused by a severe immune reaction
>to an infusion of corrective genes and is the first person to have died as
>a direct result of gene therapy."
>>10. Craig Holderedge, "Genetics and the Manipulation of Life: The Forgotten
>Factor of Consequences," Lindisdale Press.
>>11. Stuart Newman, "Generic physical mechanisms of morphogenesis and
>pattern formation as determinants in the evolution of multicellular
>organization," J. Biosci., 17, 3, Sept. 1992, pp.193 215.
>>12. Stuart Newman, "Dynamic Balance in Living Systems," GeneWATCH, Nov.
>Dec. 1985, reprinted in Mitchel Cohen, "Biotechnology & the New World
>Order, Red Balloon Publications, 1998.
>>13. Warren Leary, "Struggle Continues Over Remarks by Mental Health
>Official," New York Times, March 8, 1992, p. 34.
>>14. Mark, Ervin & Sweet, "Violence and the Brain," discuss the case of a
>young white male, Thomas K., who had undergone brain surgery to cure his
>epilepsy and propensity for violent behavior. They claimed that he was
>saved by psychosurgery (lobotomy). His mother claimed, on the other hand,
>that the doctors had turned him into a vegetable. (See Mehler, Barry, "In
>Genes We Trust: Where Science Bows to Racism," Reform Judaism, Winter,
>>15. Peter Breggin, "Campaign Against Racist Federal Programs by the Center
>for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology," Journal of African American
>Men, Winter 1995/6.
>>16. B.J. Mason, "Brains Surgery to Control Behavior: Conroversial Options
>Are Coming Back as Violence Curbs," Ebony, February 1973, p.68.
>>17. Gerald Horne, "Race Backwards: Genes, Violence, Race, and Genocide,"
>CovertAction #29, Winter 1992 93.
>>18. Peter Breggin, "The Violence Initiative -- a Racist Biomedical Program
>for Social Control," The Rights Tenet, (Center for the Study of Psychiatry)
>>19. Christopher Anderson, "NIH Under Fire ...," Nature, July 30, 1992,
>>20. Vince Bielski, "Hunting the Crime Gene," San Francisco Weekly, June 15,
>>21. Horne, op cit., citing Micaela di Leonardo, "White Lies: Rape, Race and
>the Myth of the Black Underclass," Village Voice, September 22, 1992.
>>22. cf., Mitchel Cohen, "The U.S. Government's Secret Experimentation with
>Biological & Chemical Warfare," Red Balloon, 1995.
>>>Mitchel Cohen organizes with the Brooklyn Greens / Green Party of NY State,
>the Red Balloon Collective, and the Direct Action Network to Free Mumia Abu
>Jamal and Leonard Peltier.
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