Blind Eye: Getting Away with Murder

Tom Keske tkeske at
Fri Sep 24 21:06:31 EST 1999


In these times, we have little surprise when we hear of a crazed
mass killer.  However, we most typically expect these killers to be
among life's worst losers.  We are not as accustomed to seeing
intelligent professionals, in positions of authority and trust,
engaged in such activities.

This is a psychological barrier that prevents us from investigating
as seriously as we should, for evidence of foul play, when we
hear allegations of contaminated vaccines, sparking an epidemic
of AIDS in black Africans and gay Americans.

To help beat down that barrier, I will document an indisputable,
proven case of a trusted doctor doing exactly that: abusing his
position to murder scores of trusting black Africans,
most ruthlessly.

This particular case is not related in any literal way to the
AIDS epidemic.  However, it is very fitting as a warning lesson
and a metaphor for larger events that may have taken
place in Africa.

The complete story can be read in a new book called
"Blind Eye: How the Medical Establishment Let a Doctor
Get Away With Murder."  It is written by the Pulitzer Prize
winning  James B. Stewart, a former editor of Wall Street

The book chronicles the life of a self-confessed mass killer,
Dr. Michael Swango, from medical school at Southern
Illinois University, to a residency in neurosurgery at
Ohio State University, to a job as a missionary doctor

Trouble seemed to follow the blond, clean-cut Dr. Swango
everywhere.  Patients died suddenly after his visits.
Hospital administrators and supervising physicians
had plenty of evidence to suspect something amiss,
yet they turned a blind eye.  They assumed that the
sequences of events were mere innocent coincidences,
merely correlation, not causation.  Perhaps, this was
not a superior, philosophical wisdom about
correlation and causation, but merely an indifference
and an unwillingness to believe something profoundly

The tally was grim.  In America, Dr. Swango killed about
15 patients.  In Africa, however, Dr. Swango found his
most fertile ground, killing as many as 60 patients.

Paramedics remembered how he once brought a box
of Honey Maid doughnuts for the crew.  As they
ate, Dr. Swango's colleagues became violently ill.
"What did you do, Mike, poison us?" one joked
at the time.

Dr. Swango's murders were not "mercy" killings.  What
might possess a man in such an incomprehensible
campaign of madness can only be imagined.

Perhaps it is worth the effort, to try to imagine what
factors might shape such a man.   From the perspectives
of the bland, workaday lives of most Americans, it is
probably difficult to imagine the more extreme
experiences that sometimes affect persons
in positions of authority, especially in the
military and in the intelligence organizations.

It leads to an unhealthy, blind trust, when it is
assumed that the psychology of a military
official or intelligence operative, will
necessarily be the same as that of the
average businessman.  It would be wise to
have a better appreciation of life's warping
powers, to cause inner disease that does not
always show so obviously on the surface.

There is a common thread in Dr. Swango's
youth that was seen in the recent Colorado
school killings.  His father was a Vietnam veteran.
The mental scars of the father apparently passed
on to the son, in a fascination with violent death.
Both kept morbid files of newspaper clippings about
car accidents.

Sometimes, it is abundantly obvious when veterans
have psychological scars.  Sometimes, the effects
of extreme trauma might be lingering less visibly
under an outward facade of normalcy.

When a person has been traumatized by experiences
of routine, extensive killing and butchery all around
them, it is probably natural to become less sensitive to
death and killing, less impressed by the burdens of law
and notions of "responsibility".

All the more reason to worry about the chances
for warped minds hidden in the Pentagon or CIA,
deciding to carry on a covert, private war, to purge
their country an imagined enemy group.

It is well known how children who are sexually
abused, have a stronger tendency to become
abusers as adults.

Could it be that persons who suffer other
types of abuses, such as to have their families
slaughtered as victims of genocide, also to share
a tendency to develop the same sickness as their
former tormentors?

It is a way for the former, helpless victim,
to take control.  "Now I am in the driver's
seat.  I am the one who is hardened, powerful
and dangerous, so I can be sure that I am no
longer the victim.  By doing the same to someone
else, I get revenge for what happened to me"

Dr. Wolf Smuzness, who headed the experimental
vaccine trials on gay men in New York, was
someone sharing this former-victim status.
His family had been killed.  Could any man
live through such a thing, and have no psychological

Such was the case of Henry Kissinger, the cynical,
supporter of murderous dictators like Augusto Pinochet,
while under Richard Nixon, and who also had an interest
for biological warfare.

In the case of the murderous Dr. Swango, there is no
doubt what happened: he pled guilty to murder charges.
The meticulously researched book of a Pulitzer
Prize winner gives a damning indictment also
of an arrogant and hermetically sealed medical
professional, that let a killer in a white coat
get away literally with unrestrained mass-murder,
right under their noses.

Are you one of the readers who might imagine that
organizations like the Pentagon and CIA would be
more protected against deranged men like Dr. Swango?
That their internal screening would detect such
individuals?  That such madmen could never work
themselves into high, commanding positions?  Would
you imagine that because there are many individuals
working for the same organization, that someone
would surely notice, blow a whistle, put a stop to
any outrageous behavior?

These are the types of innocent delusions that shall
be the next target for demolition.   Please stay tuned
for the next chapter, "Real-life Dr. Strangeloves".

Tom Keske
Boston, Mass.

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