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January 17, 2019  
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January 16, 2019  

How the Corruption of Science Leads to the Collapse of Modern Civilization

How the Corruption of Science Leads to the Collapse of Modern Civilization

Richard Gale & Gary Null
Progressive Radio Network, January 15, 2019
This new year will likely mark another milestone in science and medicine. Again, Americans will spend more money on diagnostic tests, surgeries and other medical procedures, and patients will consume more drugs and receive more treatments than any other time in US history. We will continue to be inundated with television drug advertisements with the reassuring message, “you don’t have to fight this battle alone. We are with you.” There will be images of laboratories, medical research and happy patients to strengthen viewers’ faith that medical science is progressing and working on our behalf. We will be promised that new cures for life-threatening diseases are on the horizon.

The US will also spend a minimum of $3.5 trillion on healthcare, in addition to a $1.5 trillion loss in work and wages due to illness. Five trillion dollars total. Approximately 18 percent of the US GDP. And tens of millions of additional dollars will be spent to advertise Big Pharma’s message.

And herein lies the fundamental problem. There are more doctors, more hospitals, more pharmaceutical drugs and medical procedures than ever before and yet we have not conquered nor made any significant progress in curing any major disease. Instead of making efforts to fund disease prevention and educate the public, prevention has been abandoned altogether. There are volumes of excellent peer-reviewed studies documenting research and clinical experience showing a healthy diet, physical exercise and stress management regimens can either completely prevent or be incorporated into medical treatment protocols successfully. However, there is no profit to be made in prevention. Modern medicine is solely devoted to disease management.

How did we reach this threshold where trillions of dollars have been tossed into the abyss? One reason is that few voices have been able to reach the public to address the widespread corruption in corporate science, especially medicine, agriculture, and environmental issues. Honest, independent science is ignored in favor of proprietary pharmaceutical drugs and genetically modified foods. Fraudulent research has been used to justify nuclear power as a clean green energy. Political officials working on behalf of fossil fuel interests convince us with junk science that hydro-fracking poses no health risks and is environmentally friendly. A single Big Pharma corporation with thousands of employees and billions of dollars in sales and profits is deeply connected to investors, public relations firms, federal health officials and the media. All of these externally-invested parties are in turn dependent upon the corporation’s revenue stream. Money that trickles down is spent bribing medical schools to push the conventional drug agenda’s regime, or funneled to front groups and foundations to buy off so-called experts to debunk critics. Revenues received by the mainstream media networks for drug advertisements are payoffs assuring that no reporting appears that might show the company and its medical products in a bad public light.

The benefit Big Pharma receives from hijacking the federal regulators and legislators is protection from the nation’s judiciary so that when a drug like Merck’s anti-arthritic Vioxx conservatively kills over 60,000 patients and injures an additional 130,000, there is no immediate FDA recall and deaths are permitted until the crisis reaches a tipping point and health officials are forced to step in. Never is a drug executive prosecuted. Vioxx sales earned Merck $18 billion and they only had to pay a $5 billion settlement. Everyone who knew Vioxx was a defective product had engaged in malice aforethought with no deleterious consequences. The company merely paid a fine and returned to business as usual, and the media simply whitewashed the seriousness of Merck’s crimes.

Science creates artificial intelligence, geoengineering, and 5G wireless technology. These are held up as great achievements. We never hear anything about their downsides from mainstream media, and private corporations will not disclose evidence of their risks and dangers. If a scientific invention appears in the peer-reviewed literature, it has already reached a gold standard. Any controversy has been settled. However, we are now finding that the entire peer-reviewed journal system is utterly corrupt. In fact, as we will recount, it is all a fraud, and it will worsen without any efforts made to reform it. Quite simply, there is neither concerted will nor ethical standard to improve the peer-reviewed system because it generates too much profit.

Drugs are being pushed upon healthy people not because they treat a disease, but because we are told they will prevent a disease. Such is the case for new HIV prevention drugs, such as Truvada and PrEp, and statins. There is no definitive science that these drugs are effective enough for anyone to take them. Imagine being healthy and told that starting chemotherapy will prevent cancer. That would be insane.

And now we discover that the world’s largest open source site for medical information is Wikipedia. Articles about medical products and therapeutic regimes are penned by completely unqualified editors with no medical background and many who prefer to remain anonymous. Yet Wikipedia editors state with authority that there are no proven health benefits from non-conventional and natural medical therapies. After reading any Wikipedia entry about chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy, Chinese medicine, naturopathy or energy medicine, the reader will walk away believing it is all pseudoscience or fraud. However, collectively there are hundreds of thousands of studies to support these therapies’ efficacy and safety. Legitimate scientific inquiry has already shown their efficacy. Independent board-certified physicians have been using complementary and alternative medicine for a long time with excellent results, but you will not find any of these qualified physicians being invited to lead a committee at the FDA, CDC or any other national health agency or department. Nor do we find special reports about successful advances in natural health regimens appearing on Dateline, Sixty Minutes, CNN, nor in the New York Times and Washington Post.

So where exactly in the cesspool of modern medicine, food science, and the agro-chemical industry are we to find truth? No one in the scientific and federal health agencies can be trusted anymore. They are all compromised. No mainstream journalist is trustworthy, and no one can be certain whether a paper appearing in a peer-reviewed science journal is reliable. Even the clinical physicians on the front lines of healthcare work in the dark. It is only after large numbers of deaths and injuries, such as with Agent Orange, DDT, aspartame, mammography, etc, that a light goes on – and even then only for a short time before returning to the dark.

Our research shows that the majority of pharmaceutical corporations have settled lawsuits, some of which are described in this article. At the same time our analysis confirms that over 900,000 Americans die annually from iatrogenic causes. How is it that the pharmaceutical industry and medical establishment has killed more Americans than those who died in Vietnam without any serious consequences? Now wrap your mind around this: if we take a conservative figure of preventable deaths from medicine, 500,000 per year during the last four decades, that would account for approximately 20 million deaths. That is more than all those killed in wars throughout America’s history.

The reason American medicine has turned into the nation’s largest and deadliest battlefield is that for scientific corruption to succeed with impunity, everything must be interconnected. The Surgeon General, the heads of federal health agencies, drug makers, the insurance industry, medical schools and professional associations, and the media operate as a single army waging a war on health against Americans. Corporate interests control everything. Modern medicine has morphed into a religious cult which cannot contemplate the potential of its own vulnerabilities. And numerous patients have been played for fools. As we will see, medicine profits from keeping patients sick.

We understand that you may be confused about this message because it goes directly against everything the medical establishment tells us. The fact is that science is completely vulnerable to corruption, and this has always been the case. Private industry and government know this perfectly. The checks and balances separating private and public interests have collapsed. Today, a sincere person who blows the whistle on government and corporate malfeasance and crimes can find him or herself going to jail. The medical regime is now a single entity. All of its parts are consolidated and entwined into a monolithic behemoth dedicated to protecting its bottom line.

Is it not time we said “enough”?

When we consider Marx’s statement that “history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce,” it requires little effort to look back upon history and witness a long legacy of scientific horrors and tragedies. Yet today, matters have worsened. Ever since the Rockefellers privatized American healthcare back in the 1930s, science in the hands of powerful private interest groups and corrupt government agencies has spiraled downward to its current state today: a sad and virulent burlesque spectacle.

If medical corruption had been conducted with the results of vastly improved health in the nation, we might close our eyes. However, as corruption throughout the medical establishment and federal health agencies increases, so has the health of the nation substantially decreased. The monster the Carnegie Foundation unleashed in its Flexner Report to set the standard for medical education back in 1910 has since opened its jaws wider to swallow the little integrity that might remain in American medicine. The nation’s health statistics and annual rise in preventable diseases proves the case.

The US is the world’s most medicated country and yet ranks at the bottom of the pack of developed nations for quality of health. It is also the only nation in the developed world with the average lifespan in decline. A Consumer Report survey estimates that 55 percent of Americans regularly take a prescription drug, and among those, the average person takes four drugs. In 2016, over 4.5 billion prescriptions were filled, earning the pharmaceutical industry over $200 billion.[1] An earlier estimate conducted and published by the Mayo Clinic found that 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug and over 50 percent are on two. Twenty percent of patients are on five or more.[2] Over 17 percent of citizens 45 years and older take antidepressants, including one in four women.[3] A multi-year population-based survey conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago found that 32 percent of adults diagnosed with depression were taking medications with depression listed as an adverse effect! These drugs include proton pump inhibitors, analgesics, beta blockers and synthetic hormone contraceptives.[4]

For anyone who cares to take a broad, objective and panoramic view of the illnesses plaguing the American landscape, the situation will be found shocking. Clearly it needn’t be this way. Most people enter the sciences for noble reasons and because of a passion for discovery. So then why do they so often emerge out of the end of the institutionalized treadmill as proponents of products that do more harm than good?
The Dismal State of Modern Science

There have been prophetic voices in the past who have warned about the dire direction in which modern scientific advancement is headed. In his 1924 essay “Icarus or the Future of Science,” the British mathematician and moral philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote, “I am compelled to fear that science will be used to promote the power of dominant groups, rather than to make men happy. Icarus, having been taught to fly by his father Daedalus, was destroyed in his rashness. I fear that the same fate may overtake the populations whom modern men of science have taught to fly.” Later in his essay Russell continues, “whether, in the end, science will prove to have been a blessing or a curse to mankind, is to my mind still a doubtful question.”

For Russell, those who can sincerely call themselves scientists pursue their discipline out of a love for knowledge. Science is supposed to improve conditions necessary to foster our well-being and happiness, and to preserve the planet’s environment in an ethical manner. A scientist who truly pursues knowledge out of love, Russell argues, will desire the fruits of his work and craft to be expressions of kindness for the greater good. On the other hand, science is perverted when knowledge is pursued solely for power and domination over others. He warned about the trends of his day increasing whereby the holders of scientific knowledge become “evil” and science solely serves the ambitions of the powerful and those who control scientific inventions’ utility. “Scientific knowledge,” Russell wrote, “does not make men more sensible in their aims, and administrators in the future will be presumably no less stupid and no less prejudiced than they are at present.”[5]

Since the days when science broke free from religion during the European Renaissance, the blind faith in perpetual scientific progress as humanity’s best of fortunes has persisted to the present day. In fact, in the 21st century, scientific materialism has largely replaced religious beliefs and morals altogether. This is especially evident in the contemporary regressive movements of Skepticism, the New Atheism, Science- and Evidence-based Medicine, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, Randian Objectivism, and scientific positivism, which have all been chained to corporate capital and science’s bureaucracies. This myth of perpetual scientific progress, says Russell, “is one of the comfortable nineteenth-century delusions which our more disillusioned age must discard.” In the end, Russell foresaw that science may be the ultimate cause behind “the destruction of our civilization.” From our own perspective, given our governments’ and corporations’ utter disregard towards climate change, insensitive destruction of the natural world and other species, medical abuse of prescription drugs, and brushing off the lives of those in dire economic and social straits, we have to agree.
Modern Medicine: The Exemplar of Scientific Nepotism

Throughout its history, the practice of medicine has been associated with humanitarian and compassionate efforts to relieve the suffering of others. In modern times, we assume that medical science is serving us to find new miracles to save our lives. In ancient systems, medicine was perceived as a divine art and knowledge brought down to humans by the gods. A healer who lived by the ethical codes of his craft was held in high esteem by rulers and peasants alike. Although there have always been medical pretenders who took advantage of the ignorant, the medical arts themselves retained their integrity…. until our modern era. Before outlining the many ways that conventional corporate medicine has become the paragon of a science turned enemy against its essential moral code and the people it is supposed to serve, we might begin with a recent example depicting just how low the medical discipline has sunk into Hades. The state of modern American medicine was accurately summarized in April 2018 when Goldman Sachs released its financial projection report, “The Genome Revolution,” to biotechnology companies. The report doesn’t hesitate to state clearly that for future investment, corporate profits far outweigh the curing of disease.

Goldman Sachs is one of Wall Street’s largest investors in high-growth technologies, particularly pharmaceuticals, medical devices and healthcare services. The report presents the frightening question, “Is curing patients a sustainable business model?” Even for the most hardened proponents of natural medicine and opponents of Big Pharma, there are times when a drug developer hits the nail on the head. Such is the case with Gilead Sciences’ drugs Harvoni and Epclusa, which have achieved over a 90 percent cure rate for hepatitis C. This is an extraordinary cure rate. But for Goldman, this is a bad sign for investors and shareholders. The drugs’ success has steadily drained the pool of patients requiring treatment. At their peak in 2015, these drugs earned $12.5 billion. Three years later, they are expected to earn under $4 billion, and revenues will continue to decline. Goldman writes, “In the case of infectious diseases such as hepatitis C, curing existing patients also decreases the number of carriers able to transmit the virus to new patients, thus the incident pool also declines … Where an incident pool remains stable (eg, in cancer) the potential for a cure poses less risk to the sustainability of a franchise.”[6]

Goldman’s report confirms an observation that we have been voicing for many years. That is, modern medicine is no longer about treating disease; rather, it is all about disease management to keep patients on drugs for life. How did this trend of an amoral medical philosophy and a betrayal of Hippocratic principles come about, since billions of dollars are spent annually to discover cures for disease?

Before the arrival of the Reagan era, most scientific pursuits remained relatively free of commercial efforts to deceive and corrupt. Although federal health agencies have in the past funded witch hunts to squash non-conventional medical theories and practices, such as Chiropractic and more recent homeopathy, overall ethical standards were upheld to approve drugs’ efficacy and safety to the best of their capabilities. Certainly there were serious oversights and failures costing many lives, such as Quaalude-300, PTZ for convulsive therapy, thalidomide and the acellular pertussis vaccine. There were also cases of gross conspiracy and scandal that destroyed numerous lives, such as the 1932-1972 Tuskegee experiment to secretly withhold penicillin from untreated African American males with syphilis. However, it was only during the past three decades that private corporations were able to successfully and rapidly subdue the nation’s health agencies in order to control their executive functions and administrations.

Before the collapse of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day in 1991, governance was dictated in a bipolar world between two military giants. The governments of the US and the Soviets, and their respective allies, were the sole stakeholders moving the pawns on the world’s chessboard. On the global scene, private industry and civil society would have to wait to grab a seat at the table of governance until American global hegemony was established. Therefore, the collapse of the Soviet bloc opened the floodgates for commercial interests. Large corporations serving primarily domestic interests went international. New markets increased exponentially and private corporations and investment banks took advantage of the openings in these markets. Exploitation of these opportunities commenced unimpeded. Once-national corporations morphed overnight into transnational behemoths, with values competing with national economies, resulting in widespread commercial influence over practically all of our institutions in government, higher education, professional associations and the media. In addition, science became embedded in private economic interests and the governments of the developed nations, notably the US and Britain, were eager to throw in their support to assure unlimited corporate growth could continue. The emerging corporate aristocracy were not perceived so much as uncontrollable rogue entrepreneurs necessitating strict government oversight and regulation to stay in line; rather they became partners as their agendas melted into one and the same.

Ronald Reagan, the first Deregulator-in-Chief, opened a pathway for private interests to gain greater control over the sciences. According to Leslie Janka, a former White House deputy press secretary under Reagan, his entire presidency “was PR.” “This was a PR outfit,” stated Janka, “that became president and took over the country. And to the degree then which the Constitution forced them to do things like make a budget, run a foreign policy and all that, they sort of did. But their first, last and overarching activity was public relations.”[7] Reagan, who consulted astrologers for decision-making, was a scientific illiterate who favored private economic growth over altruism and consumer safety. This meant gutting the Environmental Protection Agency, stripping it of its ability to combat industries’ propensity to evade regulatory hurdles and pollute the environment.

It was also during the Reagan era that pharmaceutical firms infiltrated the halls of the federal government. Through concerted lobbying and persuasion, Reagan signed the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act to protect vaccine makers from financial liability due to vaccines’ adverse effects. Before this bill, only a few firms continued to manufacture vaccines; the financial risks and compensation burden from vaccine injuries were too high for most drug companies. Reagan is therefore credited for launching the current vaccine boom, estimated to be worth $60 billion by 2020, with no legal liability placed upon companies for pushing unsafe and minimally effective vaccines. This trend entered hyperdrive under President Clinton, who perceived himself as the first “biotech president” and invited more corporate executives with conflicts of interest into his administration than any previous president. If the proliferation of GMOs is regarded as a contagion and curse on human and environmental health, then Clinton is ultimately to be blamed.

There are three primary avenues by which science becomes corrupted and thereby damages the public’s health and the environment. These include: 1) corporate influence over scientific discoveries that are developed into products for public consumption; 2) corruption within the scientific community itself; and 3) the emergence of a positive philosophy towards science that displays to all of the dogmatic trimmings of fundamentalist religious faith and seeks full protection from government to become the reigning ideology of the state.

This latter trend has been termed “scientism,” an incoherent ideology that identifies rationality and reason with science itself. Scientism embraces the premise that science can explain everything. One of the more common criticisms against scientism is its “claims that science has already resolved questions that are inherently beyond its ability to answer.”[8] This scientific hubris particularly plagues the biological disciplines such as mental health, immunology, drug-based conventional medical therapies, neurobiology, the genetic etiology of disease, nanomedicine and genetic modification of plants for industrial agriculture.

One unrecognized consequence of scientism is that it plays directly into corporate hands to advance its financial interests and commercial control over a population. By tossing aside philosophical and ethical considerations over natural scientific discoveries and findings, scientific truths stand alone as sterile and amoral tools that can be used as economic weapons of destruction. This is most evident in the pharmaceutical industry that pushes questionably effective and unsafe drugs to treat physical and mental disorders, or the agro-chemical corporations poisoning the public with carcinogenic pesticides and environment-damaging genetically modified crops.

According to a report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists, “Corporations attempt to exert influence at every step of the scientific and policy-making process, often to shape decisions in their favor or avoid regulation and monitoring of their products and by-products at the public expense.”[9] In order to achieve their goals, private interests make every attempt to win over the White House, Congressional legislators, senior federal agency officials and even the judicial courts. One of science-generated industry’s greatest threats is independent evaluation of the scientific research supporting their products. Winning over or buying the allegiance of the heads of congressional committees and the executive tiers of federal agency regulators is therefore a high priority in order to ensure the gears of bureaucracy remain oiled, the licensing channels for product approval stay wide open, and regulatory due diligence and scientific scrutiny don’t intrude on profits.

There are several ways that private corporations succeed in influencing the government to do their bidding, ensuring the judicial terrain is safe for corporations to perpetrate scientific malfeasance and fraud. This includes manipulating and fudging scientific data, preserving and exerting control over scientists, and taking control of peer-reviewed scientific literature. Although these tactics are found in many industries, it is the medical and food sectors that are today the most corrupt, acting with blatant criminality.

Charles Seife and his students at New York University sought to determine to what extent the FDA covers up evidence of fraud and corruption in medical drug trials. They reviewed FDA documents for about 600 clinical trials. How often do federal health officials discover flagrant and intentional misconduct and subsequently decide to bury the evidence out of sight of the medical community? Seife discovered such actions were an official pattern within the agency. Given the high rate of content deleted or blacked out from the documents the FDA provided, the investigators could only determine which pharmaceutical company or drug was involved in 1 of 6 of the reviewed trials. For one trial alone, where FDA inspectors found significant fraud and misconduct, 78 different medical publications printed articles based upon that single study. In an article for Slate, Seife writes,

“Nobody ever finds out which data is bogus, which experiments are tainted, and which drugs might be on the market under false pretenses. The FDA has repeatedly hidden evidence of scientific fraud not just from the public, but also from its most trusted scientific advisers, even as they were deciding whether or not a new drug should be allowed on the market. Even a congressional panel investigating a case of fraud regarding a dangerous drug couldn’t get forthright answers.”[10]

In one case, a new anti-blood clotting drug, rivaroxaban, was tested in four large trials, which recruited thousands of patients in clinical sites in over a dozen countries. According to Seife, one of the trials “was a fiasco.” In half of the sixteen clinical sites, the FDA discovered “misconduct, fraud, fishy behavior or other practices so objectionable that the data had to be thrown out.” One Colorado site falsified data. In the Mexican site, there was “systematic discarding of medical records.” Despite these overwhelming problems, the drug trial was published favorably in the prestigious British journal The Lancet. The FDA found similar problems in the three other trials; in one the data was ruled “worthless.” The FDA advisory committee of “expert” reviewers were only informed that inspectors discovered “significant issues” at two sites in one of the trials. Rivaroxaban was nevertheless approved in 2011. Since then, lawsuits for wrongful death from rivaroxaban have piled up.[11]

In another case from 2010, Cetero, a private research company that contracts to Big Pharma, faked data for over 1,400 drug safety and effectiveness trials conducted for roughly 100 drugs, mostly generic knockoffs, that were being considered for the US market. Although the FDA uncovered this fraud, it has refused to make these 100 drugs known to the professional medical community and public.[12]

A possible reason some federal health agencies have been squeezed into an administrative straitjacket pulled ever tighter by private industry is the excessive downsizing and withdrawal of funds during the current and past two presidencies. A decade ago, Jessica Washburn reported on the dire situation at the NIH’s Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction for Discover Magazine. The Center is responsible for the evaluation of chemicals and their impact on reproductive health. With continual deregulation following the Koch Brothers agenda to permit private industries to flood the environment with toxic substances, this is an enormously important department tasked with assuring the health of pregnant women and protecting their fetuses. Yet the Center only employed three people, one of whom was part-time. The vast majority of the workload was outsourced to a private consulting firm, Sciences International. For almost ten years, this firm, which had been receiving funding from over forty chemical companies, was the primary evaluator of the environmental toxins mothers-to-be were being exposed to.[13] Publication Prejudice, Fraud and Deceptive Favoritism

During the past decade, scientific prejudice, bias, and outright deceit have been endemic to peer-reviewed scientific literature, especially in the medical and psychiatric fields. Medical journals have been thoroughly hijacked by the pharmaceutical industry, as have university departments and research institutions that are principally funded by private interests. It is no longer a secret that industry-funded studies inordinately convey positive results. Positive research is published; negative research is suppressed and buried. Consequently, the reality of robust and honest medical research is skewed and distorted. Physicians and medical clinics thus get only a peek into the actual safety, efficacy and contraindications of the drugs later peddled to them by pharmaceutical sales reps.

In 2009, Harvard’s Dr. Marcia Angell, a former editor for the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, wrote,

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor.”[14]

Later, the editor of The Lancet, Dr. Richard Horton stated, “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.” A large percentage of published studies and trials have either not been reproduced or failed to be reproduced. For example, in 2012, a scientist and his team at Amgen attempted to reproduce 53 published cancer studies and only succeeded in reproducing six. In another project published in Nature, only 39 of 100 psychology studies could be replicated.[15] Although Horton is optimistic that the proverbial cat is out of the bag and the medical community has been warned, he despairs that “the bad news is that nobody is ready to take the first step to clean up the system.”[16]

Doctors at Children’s Hospital Boston undertook the task of reviewing 546 drug trials listed in the government’s Clinical Trials database. They found that industry-funded trials showing positive results were 70 percent more likely to be published than research funded by federal health agencies.[17]

In 2010, a multi-institutional review of studies for twelve antidepressant drugs that cumulatively enrolled over 12,500 patients was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The group, representing researchers from Oregon Health and Science University, Harvard, the University of California Riverside and others, identified a deeply biased and deceptive trend in publication of these drugs’ respective trials that was highly selective. Thirty-six of the 37 favorable studies were published. On the other hand, only 3 of 36 unfavorable trials found their way into print.[18] The consequences are obvious. By giving the false impression that over 90 percent of studies confirm the value of antidepressant drugs while burying almost the same number of adverse trials, the entire risk-benefit ratio of these drugs is skewed.

There’s also the matter of private corporations reaching out to public relations firms and independent technical writers to ghostwrite articles on behalf of their research and commercial products, which first came to light about a decade ago. Despite growing awareness, the practice continues and in fact has become more common during the last several years. Ghostwriting has become a global cottage industry. Although ghostwriting is generally regarded as improper, it is not illegal. Parallel to the alarming revelations that scientific journals were publishing increasing amounts of junk science, there was the problem of scientific authors’ personal biases due to their financial ties to private interests (and hence the very research and products they were positively writing about). For many decades, this was not considered a serious problem, but increasingly authors would hide their financial conflicts of interest. Consequently, the most respected science journals require authors to reveal their associations and conflicts of interest with private companies and private for-profit institutions that may compromise the objectivity of their articles. To get around this requirement, companies reach out to ghostwriters who can paint themselves as independent and conflict-free to submit favorable articles.

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, stated, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Unfortunately this millennium-old tenet was forgotten long ago. Enter the agro-chemical giant Monsanto, which has its fingers in the majority of food products consumed in the US. Monsanto has become notorious for relying upon a wide network of ghostwriting resources to intentionally undermine governments’ regulatory agencies and deceive the public. The company has made a habit of contracting public relations firms and wooing compromised writers for over a decade. Following a California court ruling in favor of a plaintiff who developed cancer, the company’s flagship weed-killing chemical glyphosate, trade name Roundup, is under growing international scrutiny as a carcinogen. Monsanto again is relying upon its army of ghostwriter goons to conduct damage control.

Journalist Carey Gillam has been tracking Monsanto’s shenanigans for many years. In 2016, the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology published a “special series” of science articles reviewing glyphosate’s carcinogenic potential. The World Health Organization had already ruled the chemical might cause cancer, and European health officials were seriously deliberating on banning the herbicide from the continent. “Four independent panels” from the journal declared, “Neither any Monsanto company employee nor any attorneys reviewed any of the Expert Panel’s manuscripts prior to submission to the journal.” However, Gilliam’s investigation into manuscripts released during the litigation found this was a complete lie. One of Monsanto’s leading scientists not only reviewed the manuscripts, but also edited them. In one internal email within the company, the Chief of Regulatory Science had admitted he reviewed an entire document with suggestions for omissions and a few edits of his own. Other internal documents identify ghostwriters and strategies for recruiting outside scientists to compose articles giving the weed-killer credibility. Attempts to have the papers retracted from the journal have yet to be heeded.[19]

Besides ghostwriters, corporations hide behind shadowy non-profit organizations, front groups and shill think tanks that project the public image of being legitimate and expert scientific institutions. This strategy has been a means to covertly get corporate messages out under the illusion of being generated by independent scientists. For example, a flurry of studies have appeared in recent years proving that sugar-loaded sodas and beverages are substantially contributing to the nation’s obesity and Type 2 diabetes crises. This message is reaching the public. Soda consumption has dropped by 25 percent. To counter the scientific assault on its revenues, Coca-Cola — the world’s largest manufacturer of junk sugary beverages — teamed up with a corporate sponsored non-profit, the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN), to promulgate the message that “weight-conscious Americans are overly fixated on how much they eat and drink while not paying enough attention to exercise.” GEBN, which has recruited many prominent scientists and health professors, swears by its independence from Coke’s influence. However, Coke started the non-profit initiative with a $1.5 million startup donation. Since its founding, the partnership has unleashed a media blitz across medical journals, professional conferences, mainstream media and social networks to get Coke’s message out. New York University professor of nutrition and food science Marion Nestle has labeled the GEBN as “nothing but a front group for Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola’s agenda is very clear: Get these researchers to confuse the science and deflect attention from dietary intake.”[20]

While it is easy to blame private industry for producing the junk science appearing in peer-reviewed journals, we mustn’t lose sight of the corruption within the publications and among senior editors as well. The reason is simple: There is far too much financial incentive for professional journals to approve and publish corporate funded research. An article confirming the therapeutic value of a new drug, for example, can go a long way to bring enormous revenues to publishers. Pharmaceutical firms will order thousands of copies of the article to be disseminated throughout their sales force and sent to physicians, medical schools, clinics and hospitals. The Lancet receives 41 percent of its income from reprints purchased by drug makers. The American Medical Association’s journal gets a whopping 53 percent.

Finally, Big Pharma engages in a form of bribery to get journal editors to ensure their research gets into print. Jessica Liu at the University of Toronto’s Medical School conducted an analysis of payments US drug makers made to 713 editors employed by 52 high impact medical journals. Fifty percent of editors were identified as playing this corporate game and received payments for services that included preferential treatment towards article submissions and appointing peer reviewers. Liu and her colleagues estimated that the mean payment for general articles was $28,100; for research submissions, $37,900.[21] The worst example is the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, with all of its 35 editors on the take. Cumulatively, the journal’s editors received almost $15 million in “bribes” from Big Pharma.[22] Corporate Control of Scientific Information

Private corporations have full and complete control over the proprietary research and trial data in their possession. This means they have the discretion to decide what data to release. In the case of the pharmaceutical industry, the US government makes no demands for a company to release all its clinical trial data and results for any given drug or vaccine submitted to the FDA or CDC respectively for approval and licensure. This is also true for “selective publication” of studies in medical journals. In 2008, the French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi completed 92 studies on drugs in their pipeline. Only 14 were submitted and approved for publication. What should we think about the remaining 78 trials that were withheld?[23] Clearly it would be foolish for financial reasons alone that Sanofi would want its negative trial results to appear in peer-reviewed literature. The professional medical community and institutions rely heavily on the scientific publications to keep abreast of the latest studies and news. Nevertheless, federal authorities would not require Sanofi nor any pharmaceutical firm to submit research data that might jeopardize its approval on issues of safety, serious adverse effects and clinical efficacy. Consequently, federal reviewers are only being provided with trials and data favorable to Big Pharma’s bottom line.

Dr. Steven Nissen is a highly respected cardiologist at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic who worries about the demise of independent research outside of pharmaceutical control. Among the targets he has investigated is Glaxo’s blockbuster diabetes drug Avandia. Unable to acquire original patient information from the drug maker, Nissen turned to the internet and “stumbled upon a cache of data belonging to Glaxo,” which had been submitted during a lawsuit filed by former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.[24] In addition to discovering that only 15 of 42 clinical trials for Avantia had been published, the company had been suppressing the data that the drug increased risks of heart attack by 43 percent. Nissen published his findings in the New England Journal of Medicine; two days later the FDA slapped a “black box” warning on the drug.

Nissen also uncovered a story about Glaxo’s antidepressant drug Paxil that was equally disturbing. The company’s research had shown that children on Praxil were twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts than kids taking a placebo. Nevertheless Glaxo had withheld this information from health officials and the medical community.

However, Nissen’s challenges did not end there. Among the deplorable tactics corporations adopt to protect their commercial interests, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, is “scientific coercion.” This includes harassing scientists and institutions that bring to light corporate misconduct or raise obstacles to their revenue flow. Companies will go a long way to silence their opponents in the scientific community, including litigation threats and putting pressure upon institutions and universities to impose demotions, loss of tenure, or blatant censorship. In retaliation, Glaxo let lose its attack dogs to defame and discredit Nissen. The hitmen included Dr. Valentin Fuster (Chairman of Glaxo’s educational foundation), Peter Pitts (senior vice president at the Manning Selvage and Lee public relations firm that represents Glaxo), and Douglas Arbesfeld (and FDA communications consultant). Scathing articles against Nissen appeared in the Washington Times, Nature and Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine. A caustic email was also sent out to the wider media deriding Nissen’s credibility.[25]

Others stories include direct covert bribing of countries’ health officials to get sympathetic support for a drug approval. This was the case when Eli Lilly bribed Swedish officials to get its antidepressant drug Prozac approved. Dr. John Virapen, a former Eli Lilly executive in sales, blew the whistle after personally bribing the Swedes.[26] In 2012 the US SEC slapped the company with a $29 million settlement for bribing government officials in Russia, Brazil, China and Poland through offshore accounts to push its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa and antidepressant drug Cymbalta.[27] The corporation later in 2013 repeated a similar crime, bribing Chinese physicians to start prescribing Prozac.[28]

These are only a few examples among many that have been reported upon extensively by sincere investigative journalists and alarmed scientists. We mustn’t take lightly the extreme measures private corporations will descend to in order to silence critics and remove barriers to maximizing their economic bottom line.
Manipulation of the Media

Turning to any major television network, we inevitably find advertisements for pharmaceutical drugs. Even the drugs that are being promoted tell us something about the networks’ viewing audience: middle years and older who are aging and at a higher disease risk are more receptive to the drugs being shilled to their eyes and ears. There is no law that prevents the mainstream media from taking fees to advertise products from the pharmaceutical industry. What we are less clear about are the contractual conditions between the private advertisers and the networks over journalists reporting health news or negative findings about the specific drugs being plugged in the ads. Only the US and New Zealand governments actually permit drug advertisements on television networks, so this is once again an example of the special relationship that exists between federal agencies and the drug companies. Big Pharma had to first succeed in seducing federal FCC officials to win access to America’s airwaves.

In 2016, the FDA had a major announcement and selected a small group of media firms, including National Public Radio, to release the news. But there were conditions, known as close-hold embargoes, that demanded journalists could only interview and ask questions to sources that were officially sanctioned by the federal agency. Seeking outside comments was forbidden. The FDA’s intention is clear: to control the flow of information and assure that press reports are stamped with the agency’s seal of approval. Upon hearing of the FDA’s repression of journalistic integrity in the science media, the journal Scientific American filed a Freedom of Information Act request. The publication uncovered the FDA’s attempt to mislead the media and public by creating “a coterie of journalists” who would do the FDA’s bidding. These journalists are given the privilege of receiving advance notice about science news before anyone else. Reliable independent journalism relies on pursuing outside sources to receive comments and verification for accuracy. Although the FDA claims it has ceased close-hold embargoes on reporters, the practice has continued unabated and is now embedded in the FDA’s media strategy. Many of the medical and health stories coming out of the FDA have followed this principle, and as a result, all of the media outlets parrot the same FDA directive. Journalist watchdogs, according to the article’s author, become the FDA’s “lapdogs.” Reporters are then reduced to “stenographers.”[29]

Shortly after the release of the controversial documentary Vaxxed, co-directed by the discredited British physician and GI specialist Dr. Andrew Wakefield, we undertook and published our investigation into the shadowy forces pulling mainstream media’s strings to demonize the film. The film was not intended be an anti-vaccine diatribe. Rather, it told the true story about a senior vaccine scientist at the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. William Thompson, whose guilty conscience motivated him to turn whistleblower. Dr. Thompson released thousands of pages of classified documents to an independent professor and House Representative Bill Posey that contained unquestionable evidence that the CDC had intentionally covered up data showing a direct correlation between the MMR vaccine and rising autism rates among African American boys – as much as a 240 percent increase. In fact, Rep. Posey spent years trying to get Thompson to testify under oath before a House subcommittee and was consistently blocked by CDC pressure on his colleagues. The CDC had committed an enormous crime against the African American community. If Thompson were permitted to give testimony to the American people, the entire vaccine industry would have been jeopardized. The industry’s profits and survival are far more important than the lives of small Black children. And the media was equally criminal in whitewashing this story.

The question we asked ourselves was: how can a film that had not been released for public viewing become the target of such vicious attacks by numerous news outlets within a 72-hour period? In addition, beneath all of the media’s criticisms, we identified a single suspicious written template that all the journalists had been relying upon for their reports. What might account for this anomaly? Clearly, there was no independent journalism being permitted within ABC, CNN, MSNBC, the UK’s Guardian, Time Magazine, the Washington Post and LA Times, New York Times, Forbes, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone and many others. Nor did any of the journalists ever view the film. The entire case was noxious.

Many federal agencies have sophisticated public relations departments. In the case of the CDC, its media activities have more in common with an intelligence operation. Seeking an explanation for why so many mainstream journalists could pen identical screeds to denigrate the film Vaxxed, as well as vaccine safety and vaccine-autism associations in general, we identified a joint program between the agency and the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ). Scores of health editors and reporters through the nation’s leading mainstream media corporations have passed through the CDC’s Atlanta campus through this alliance to be indoctrinated in national public health policies. Journalists who complete the program receive special privileges, including access and instructions to the CDC’s surveillance database and publications to assist in their investigative reporting. In addition, these journalists join the CDC’s exclusive club and receive advanced notices about stories to report and prepared scripts to work from. An example of a CDC script disseminated to these journalists instructs what and how to report collective fear during the influenza season in such a way that people will rush with their kids to their local pharmacies to get their flu shots.[30]

Fear-mongering is one of the more successful strategies to seduce the public into adhering to a specific message that benefits the fearmonger. Monsanto succeeded in this emotional scheme to persuade California’s electorate away from voting in favor of GMO labeling. By shifting the debate away from GMO’s health issues to an economic threat that would increase families’ food bills if labeling were to be approved, people voted on their financial rather than health fears. Political candidates from both parties engage in this practice consistently. Yet perhaps the largest dose of propaganda to generate fear ritually takes place during every annual flu season. The media barrage warning the public of their pending death from a flu infection is completely orchestrated out of the CDC, its advisers and consultants, and its broad network healthcare affiliates.

Ironically, on its website, the CDC vows “to base all public health decisions on the highest quality of scientific data.” Yet as Dr. Peter Doshi at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine points out, when it concerns the flu vaccine, the CDC’s motto couldn’t be further from the truth. Among all public health policies, flu vaccination programs are not only the most aggressively forced upon the public, but also the most scientifically deceitful. Doshi notes that upon close examination of the CDC’s flu vaccine policies, “although proponents employ the rhetoric of science, the studies underlying the policy are often of low quality and do not substantiate official claims. The vaccine might be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and the threat of influenza appears overstated.” In his evaluation published in the British Medical Journal, the flu vaccine is an example of government “disease mongering.”[31] During the 2016-2017 flu season, the government purchased as many as 168 million doses of the vaccine; that is a lot of doses of an ineffective drug to dispense.

In the early 1990s, there was a glimmer of hope that safe and effective drug development might get on the right track. The emergence of a movement within the medical establishment known as Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) has been touted as one of the great medical advances of the twentieth century. EBM has become a dominant paradigm in the modern medicine and all medical research institutions and medical schools adhere to it. It is most prevalent theory in use today to determine the accuracy of peer-reviewed journal articles, clinical trials and medical claims to improve healthcare decisions.[32]

One of EBM’s early and greatest achievements was the creation of the world renowned Cochrane Database Collaboration, a network of 37,000 professors, doctors and researchers from over 130 countries that performs meta-analyses on existing scientific literature for pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines, medical devices and supplemental products to determine the veracity of their health claims. As we have detailed, the journals increasingly fail to maintain high standards for the research they publish and are riddled with authorship violations with author conflict-of-interests and ghostwriting that have threatened the integrity of reliable medical literature reaching those who daily diagnose and treat patients. Although many excellent Cochrane meta-analysis reports were released to show that drugs and medical procedures were in fact ineffective, unnecessary and even dangerous, the citadels of medical bureaucracy and national health ministries paid little heed. This was the case for reports on human papillomavirus (HPV) and influenza vaccines, many antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs, and statins, which fell on deaf ears.

However, today the Cochrane project, once an optimistic international and independent grassroots effort to bring sanity back to clinical medical practice and national health drug policies and regulatory processes, has fallen to the same level of corruption that now infects the entire Big Pharma-controlled medical establishment. A recent scandal indicating that the organization has been hijacked by private pharmaceutical interests is the removal of Cochrane’s internationally recognized co-founder, Dr. Peter Gotzsche of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Dr. Gotzsche is the author of Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare, a devastating and meticulously-documented condemnation about our broken healthcare system which earned the British Medical Association’s first prize book award in 2014.

His ouster from Cochrane’s Governing Board this year, and the subsequent termination of his job at the Rigshospitalet medical facility, are indications that dissent based on sound medical science is no longer tolerated. Witnessing a trend that Cochrane was progressively becoming less independent, less transparent, and compromised by a growing faction of pro-Big Pharma and its allies in government health ministries, Dr. Gotzsche made efforts to restore the organization back to its founding principles. The “power struggle between two factions,” as he explains, was waged between himself and “Cochrane’s CEO Mark Wilson [who] opposes open scientific debates on the quality and reliability of Cochrane reviews and emphasizes ‘brand’ and ‘business’ rather than getting the science right.” After receiving email correspondence acquired through the Freedom of Information Act, it was Wilson who orchestrated Gotzsche’s firing in retaliation.[33]

Thus comes to an end the single ray of hope within that has persisted within the corporate and state-mandated medical regime.

When the Roman Catholic Church ruled over Europe, its mission was to grab and sustain absolute control over kings and queens and the masses. Dissent resulted in excommunication and even death under threats of eternal damnation in the infernos beneath the earth. This kept the population in line until brave souls, Russell’s lovers of knowledge, staked their lives to publicly expose the delusional world the Church lived within. Has that much really changed over the past thousand years now that science has replaced the Church?

Rachel Carson was labeled “hysterical” by the chemical industry for bringing attention to the documented health risks of DDT in her 1962 book Silent Spring. An editorial campaign was launched to persuade the public that the book was deceitful and filled with fallacies. Dr. Andrew Wakefield exposed an association between the gastrointestinal inflammation found in autistic children with the MMR vaccine. He never stated the vaccine actually caused autism; nevertheless he was pilloried, tried in a kangaroo court, and banished by the Glaxo-controlled British health ministry. And now there is Dr. Peter Gotzsche, and there are hundreds more whom the church of medical science has demonized and destroyed for speaking up about scientific errors and against power and corruption among medicine’s priesthood and its corporate lords.

The average person is hypnotized by the images science projects through newspapers, television news, serials and mainstream media health stories. Repeatedly science and medical news begins with “Experts say,” or “Scientists have confirmed,” or “All doctors agree…” Who are these experts, doctors and medical authorities? And why should any of us believe them? Wearing a white coat has become a sign of authority because these people are glorified and idolized to create the impression that they possess an esoteric scientific knowledge beyond the masses’ comprehension. And with mainstream media incessantly bombarding us with this fallacious image, we come to believe in their message. This is the medical Matrix in which most Americans find themselves, and the only pill worth taking is the red one offered by Morpheus to free us from the medical fascism that is ruling our lives.

At the conclusion of his essay, Bertrand Russell writes, “Science is no substitute for virtue; the heart is as necessary for a good life as the head.” If Russell were to witness the rotten state of medicine today, he would undoubtedly conclude that medical science had surgically removed its heart years ago. This has led to the “collective passions” of our medical aristocracy being “mainly evil” giving rise to “hatred and rivalry directed towards other groups [eg., scientific and medical dissenters].” He would also acknowledge that our situation now threatens “the destruction of our civilization” as he predicted.

Russell might also opt for his second option to this regime of scientific power and control; that is, he writes, “the collapse of our civilization would in the end be preferable to this alternative.”[34] NOTES

5 Russell, Bertrand. “Icarus or the Future of Science,”
7 Mark Hersgaard On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency
8 Hughes, Austin. “The Folly of Scientism,” The New Atlantis.
11 Ibid.
30 Gale R, Null G, “Why is the CDC Petrified of the Film Vaxxed?” Progressive Radio Network, April 3, 2016
32 Gale R, Null G. “Wikipedia: Our New Technological McCarthyism, Part Two,” Progressive Radio Network, May 10, 2018
34 Russell, Bertrand. “Icarus or the Future of Science,”

January 15, 2019  
Voicemail Line 862-800-6805
This new feature will allow listeners to call in and leave a voicemail question to all their favorite shows. All you have to do is call the number, Say your name, what show and what your question is. This will allow your voice to be heard on your favorite PRN shows and will allow a better host/listener connection.  
In this episode Gary set a lot of time aside to answer your voicemails! 
January 14, 2019  

Wikipedia: the New Inquisition

By Helen Buyniski


Consider: you are given a serious diagnosis – cancer, dementia, multiple sclerosis – and your doctor runs you through the standard treatment protocol. It fails to reverse or cure the condition, leaving you hundreds of thousands of dollars poorer and sicker. It’s time to explore your options, you decide, and seek out others who’ve recovered or improved from your condition. Your doctor tells you you’re already receiving the gold standard of medical treatment – there’s nothing more to do now but try the protocol again, shell out for another round of chemotherapy or do crossword puzzles to “exercise” your brain as you gradually forget the names of your loved ones – but then you read about some natural therapy, administered by board-certified physicians, that seems to show promising results. Surely all doctors read the same literature, so you ask yours. Humoring you – and probably unfamiliar with the therapy, but unwilling to admit anything less than omniscience – your doctor tells you to do some research, certain there’s nothing out there that could possibly be superior to what he learned in medical school. You type the name of the therapy into Wikipedia, which everyone knows contains the sum total of medical knowledge and science, distilled by the experts and perfected through millions of edits. Surely, if there’s something to this therapy, Wikipedia will know.

But Wikipedia claims this therapy doesn’t work. Worse, it condemns it as quackery, calling its practitioners charlatans and frauds preying on sick people. Not just this therapy, but other holistic modalities are methodically trashed, one by one. Wikipedia says your doctor was right. There’s his way, or the highway. Bewildered, you realize that all the people who think they’ve been healed or helped by these therapies must be delusional – it’s no more than a mass placebo effect. These quacks should all have their licenses revoked! And what a hoax, to perpetrate for so long – the entirety of naturopathy, chiropractic, Ayurveda, even Traditional Chinese Medicine – a fraud that has somehow persisted for hundreds, even thousands of years, on what amounts to billions of people! Even lifestyle adjustments and a plant-based diet have no therapeutic value, Wikipedia says, and you believe – after all, if it was wrong, someone would have changed it by now.

Wikipedia’s bias extends far beyond the realms of health and medicine, through the hard sciences, into politics, disparaging political views to the right and left of the neoliberal establishment. Every day, people visit Wikipedia to be informed and inspired, trusting in the validity and objectivity of the information they’re receiving, yet our two-year in-depth investigation has shown that pretty much everything about Wikipedia is wrong. Editors presenting themselves as experts are not experts at all, lacking any background in the fields they edit; some are anonymous “Skeptics” who reveal nothing of themselves but take pleasure in slandering and destroying the reputations of others, knowing they will not be punished; others take money to alter the perception of reality on behalf of moneyed interests, sanitizing political reputations, whitewashing corporate misdeeds, and altering the outcome of elections. Wikipedia’s impenetrable forest of regulations, embraced by the entrenched editorial elite who use them to discount the contributions of newcomers, are unevenly applied, always in favor of establishment interests. Whistleblowers, nutritionists, biologists, philosophers – anyone advocating a radical departure from the status quo is lined up for the reputational firing squad. There are no exceptions. Wikipedia has only one fate in store for heretics.

We have confirmed all our information with sources inside Wikipedia – editors, employees, whistleblowers, and people close to co-founder Jimmy Wales spoke to us about the problems that are destroying the site from the inside. It is appalling to think that Wikipedia has been able to set the parameters of truth and reality for so long, but only by acknowledging and grasping the extent of the fraud can we begin to remedy the situation. As a few examples, our research has shown that:

  • Wikipedia (and its parent company the Wikimedia Foundation) has repeatedly violated IRS regulations governing nonprofit corporations, supporting certain politicians while denigrating others
  • Wikipedia has lent its institutional support to repressive regimes all over the world, and has allowed itself to be used as a propaganda tool by such governments
  • Wikipedia has selectively permitted pay-to-play editing and institutional conflicts of interest, particularly where generous donors are concerned
  • Wikipedia has applied its rules unevenly to favor political and corporate establishment entities while libeling those it dislikes, in violation of its own policies
  • Wikipedia has censored user-generated content, violating section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

…and much, much more.

We are asking the Justice Department, Congress, the IRS, and other authorities to investigate the Wikimedia Foundation and Jimmy Wales for these violations. There is enough here to begin major legal action against this company.

It is frightening to consider that one of history’s worst atrocities committed against innocent people – the Inquisition, which lasted from 1231 to 1826 – has been reimagined for the internet era by Jimmy Wales and his band of Skeptics and anonymous shills. The Inquisition revolutionized enforcement of the Church’s rigid orthodoxy by applying a bureaucratic method to what had previously been a haphazard and piecemeal process – it was marked by an unprecedented degree of organization in its gathering of information on heretics, and as a result was brutally effective. We see a similar outcome today in Wikipedia’s stamping out of dissent.

Day of Reckoning

Big Tech has gotten away with acting as the official censor and scribe of the ruling power structure for many years – quashing inconvenient speech where the government’s hands were tied by the First Amendment, deplatforming users who threatened the status quo, and pushing the establishment narrative even while presenting itself as the digital version of the public square – a free and open marketplace of ideas. At last, Facebook and Google are being unmasked as the tools of oppression they are – data-mining operations for the surveillance state and Pavlovian behavioral laboratories, shortcuts to the levers of power that have rendered much of the mainstream media’s expensive propaganda apparatus obsolete.

Responsible individuals in government – there are a few – are finally awakening to the need to rein in these powerful corporations. First Mark Zuckerberg, then Sundar Pichai have been hauled before Congress to answer questions about the nature and extent of their control over the flow of online information. There is talk of antitrust action and of reevaluating these sites’ Section 230 protections. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes neutral content platforms against libel prosecutions based on users’ speech, so long as the platforms merely host that speech and exercise no editorial control over its content. Users can sue, but they must sue the user who posted the defamatory content – not the site that hosted it. Section 230 allowed the internet to flourish as a free expression zone, with sites unafraid of legal repercussions from permitting visitors to speak freely.

When sites like Google and Facebook begin exercising control over what speech is and is not allowed, however, section 230 no longer applies. As the boundaries for what is considered acceptable discourse narrow further, it’s impossible not to see the work of Facebook’s tens of thousands of content moderators as they (somewhat arbitrarily, a recent investigation has revealed1) pick and choose what posts are banned political speech and what are harmless memes. Disillusioned Facebook users are jumping ship by the millions, with as many as 42 percent of Facebook’s US users taking a lengthy hiatus from the site over the past year and a full 44 percent of US users ages 18 to 29 actually deleting the Facebook app from their phones.2 Wikipedia, too, has been losing editors for many years – its core of “active” editors decreased 40% from 2007 to 20153 – but many casual users still treat the site’s pronouncements as gospel truth, their critical capabilities muted by the reassuring “encyclopedia” format.

But even as Facebook and Google face their long-awaited reckoning, Wikipedia has largely escaped regulatory scrutiny. Because it measures its profits in the millions, rather than billions, it flies under the radar of any economic analysis of the Big Tech playing field, even though it is the fifth-most popular website on the internet. A British poll revealed users actually trust Wikipedia more than the BBC4 – perhaps unsurprising given the record-low level of trust most people have in the mainstream media these days, but still shocking considering that no qualifications are necessary to edit the “free” encyclopedia. While it has a reputation as an open-source utopia of knowledge, a one-stop shop for answers on all topics, Wikipedia is as much an oligarchy as the society that has embraced it. To paraphrase George Orwell, all Wikipedia editors are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Wales himself has effectively admitted Wikipedia is not merely a neutral platform of the sort protected by section 230. “People get frustrated when they thought it was all about voting. But we’re writing an encyclopedia here; it’s not an open democratic experiment.”5 Like the US government, Wikipedia offers its users the illusion of participation in a democratic system, but when they stray beyond the accepted behavioral parameters, enforcers are waiting to restore order. Touting this system as the best of all possible worlds, he explains that formerly neutral platforms actually have a duty to “build better software to give communities better control, so that your best voices come to the front, and the people who aren’t there for constructive reasons are marginalized and asked to leave.”

Pervasive bias maintained by editorial fiat

All of which sounds fine until we remember what Wales and his coterie of fawning admins consider “constructive.” Wikipedia’s political slant toward neoliberal centrism has so alienated conservatives that, launched in 2006 to counter a perceived bias against Christianity on Wikipedia, experienced massive growth in its userbase in 2016 as voters, confused and put off by the biased election coverage available on supposedly-neutral Wikipedia, sought balance elsewhere. It’s easy to see why on perusing some of the personal essays of Wikipedia’s top editors. User BullRangifer writes that anyone who does not believe that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election “lack[s] the competence needed to edit American political subjects” because they are victims of “fake news.” The “fake news” link, of course, points to a Wikipedia page authored in part by the user who wrote the essay,6 but circular logic does not seem to bother him. BullRangifer’s views are squarely in the mainstream of Wikipedia’s political editors, and he frequently speaks in the voice of Wikipedia, offering lists of “reliable sources” to users he feels are confused.

Wikipedia editors claim to have democratically chosen to blackball the Daily Mail and now Breitbart as sources based on their alleged proclivity for publishing “fake news,” but no sitewide vote was taken. Indeed, only a few dozen editors weighed in at all, and the Daily Mail measure was passed without the knowledge of much of Wikipedia’s userbase.7 There have been multiple attempts to reverse it since, all unsuccessful.8 Wales’ presence on the board of Mail competitor The Guardian, a British paper with a known center-left slant, is no coincidence – nor is that paper’s continued inclusion on Wikipedia’s list of reliable sources, despite revelations it published a fake story about a meeting between former Trump campaign director Paul Manafort and imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange – a scandal WikiLeaks called “one of the most infamous news disasters since Stern published the ‘Hitler Diaries’.”9

Wales was forced to step down from the Guardian’s board when he launched WikiTribune, a hybrid of Wikipedia and “normal” journalism that has since fired all its employees and switched to a more “community-based” model essentially indistinguishable from Wikimedia subsidiary Wikinews, promising to reinvent itself as a more traditional media platform at some nebulous future date.10 It is also worth asking what will happen to subscribers’ donations now that WikiTribune is switching to a volunteer-based model. Now that readers are not paying writers’ salaries, they cannot expect to have any say in what topics are covered, even though this was an initial selling point in attracting investors to WikiTribune’s subscription-based business model11 - though Wales never planned to offer subscribers real input into the site’s editorial process anyway, according to a Reddit Ask Me Anything he held in 2017: “if 10,000 advocates of Pizzagate sign up to have us investigate Pizzagate, they might be disappointed with the results.”12

WikiTribune’s founding was essentially choreographed by the Minassian Group, which set out a media strategy for the Wikimedia Foundation to follow that Wales promptly cannibalized for his personal pet project. Run by Clinton Foundation chief communications officer Craig Minassian, the Minassian Group was paid over $1 million over the course of two years13 14 to train Wikimedia’s C-level staff in media strategy and conduct a “communications audit” that recommended the Foundation position itself as an island of neutrality in a roiling sea of bias. Wikimedia was told to discuss “getting back to facts again” after the 2016 election and to solidify alliances with “friendly” journalists at reputable sources.15 A Wikimedia employee who had worked closely with Minassian was immediately placed on the task, giving a chummy interview to Vice about how Wikipedia deals with “fake news” to assuage users’ uncertainties over the site’s vulnerability to political manipulation,16 while the foundation itself published a sanctimonious defense of “facts” in its year-end newsletter and accompanying report (titled, in a cosmic irony, “Facts Matter”).17

The sheer volume of Wikipedia editing surrounding the term “fake news” that took place around the time of the 2016 election should give any politically-astute observer pause – a single editor “Sagecandor” clocked 904 edits to an article on “fake news websites,” 631 edits on “Russian interference in the 2016 election,” and 275 edits to “murder of Seth Rich” in the months immediately following Trump’s victory, logging hundreds more edits to other terms related to the “Russiagate” narrative – “Comey memos,” “kompromat,” and “efforts to impeach Donald Trump” – and creating several articles for anti-Trump books during that period.18 The user essentially laid the groundwork for the Russiagate conspiracy theory through their nonstop editing, ensuring the curious browser would come away from Wikipedia with a more fully-(mis)informed idea of precisely which propaganda techniques the Russian bogeymen were using to influence our malleable American minds. They even misrepresented a common rhetorical device (the “tu quoque” argument, which they referred to as “whataboutism”) as a Soviet propaganda technique despite a lack of contemporary sources supporting their conclusions19 in an effort to buttress the Russiagate scenario, a form of “original research” not allowed on Wikipedia. When other users objected, they merely outlasted them in hostile, stubborn arguments that stretched on for hundreds of responses – arguments often cross-posted to the talk pages of similar articles where they were pushing the same agenda. Another user became suspicious of Sagecandor’s writing style and “POV-pushing,” as well as their habit of dragging other users before Wikipedia’s disciplinary proceedings over minor infractions and flattering users with admin powers in order to curry favor, behaviors they recognized from a user who had lost his administrative privileges for his inability to check his political bias at the door when editing. This user voiced their suspicions, methodically laying out proof that Sagecandor was the defrocked admin Cirt, but instead of heeding the warning, admins promoted Sagecandor, giving them auto-patrolling and page moving powers that allowed them to edit protected entries without another user signing off on the edits. Sagecandor accused their accuser of being a Kremlin operative and reported them for “wikihounding” – essentially, stalking and badgering20 – and the user was banned while Sagecandor continued to antagonize editors who didn’t toe the party line. Last year, it was finally proven that Sagecandor was, in fact, Cirt, but the person who had come forward with the original evidence had to wait several more months before their ban was lifted. None of the admins who supported the ban ever apologized, and several have threatened to ban the user for his posts since then, posts which frequently question the Russiagate conspiracy theory and other neoliberal orthodoxy.21

In his previous incarnation, Cirt was integral to expanding and linking to the article for the neologism “santorum” – columnist Dan Savage’s retaliation against then-Senator Rick Santorum’s comments comparing gay marriage to bestiality which repurposed his last name as a nauseating bodily fluid concoction. Other editors suspected his activities were designed to force the Wikipedia entry to appear higher in Google’s search rankings for his name than the Senator’s own website.22 Santorum himself attempted to have the most egregious results for term delisted from Google in 2011 only to be told Google doesn’t do that23 (but try searching for “Hillary Clinton health”). Cirt was eventually topic-banned from editing politically-sensitive biographies of living people due to his inability to maintain Wikipedia’s requisite neutrality. Editors involved in the action agreed that he was incapable of restraining his distaste for conservative politicians.24 But this was in 2011, before Wikipedia was paying the Clinton Foundation’s official consulting firm to train its employees – at some point, being an incorrigible ideologue changed from a bug into a feature.

We know that individuals from the government edit Wikipedia on a regular basis – there’s an entire Twitter account devoted to publicizing the edits of congresspeople and their staffers, and one of the earliest conflict-of-interest scandals to hit the site involved revelations that the CIA and FBI were attempting to rewrite history on the Iraq war and other politicized events. When the news first broke that congressional staffers were editing their politicians’ bios in February 2006, Wikipedia actually banned all congressional IP addresses before coming up with the Twitter feed, which served as an official disclaimer that it did not condone such behavior.25 A blanket ban may seem like an overreaction, but as a non-profit organization, Wikipedia parent company Wikimedia Foundation is expressly forbidden under the IRS code from “voter education activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates.”26 The congressional edits were flagrant electioneering on the part of staffers, and Wikipedia would have been guilty by proxy. It isn’t bias that they fear, but the appearance of bias, which in this case would jeopardize their non-profit status.

Such awareness of the danger of crossing the line into political campaigning seems to have dissipated with time, however. In 2011, the Stanton Foundation donated $3.6 million to Wikimedia, then the largest one-time gift in the foundation’s history. Wikimedia then used $53,000 of that donation to hire Tim Sandole as a Wikipedian-in-Residence at Harvard University’s Belfer Center. Not only did Sandole punch a hole in the firewall that is supposed to separate the two by taking money from Wikimedia to edit Wikipedia, but he appeared in his official Wikimedia-funded Belfer Center capacity at a campus event promoting Barack Obama over Mitt Romney in the 2012 election.27 Nonprofits are forbidden from campaigning for political candidates. But political bias is woven so far into the fabric of Wikipedia at this point that to eliminate it would be nigh on impossible.

Anti-Trump sentiment has remained at a fever pitch on Wikipedia since the 2016 election. Even now, the article on Trump gives ample space to discussions of the “Russiagate” investigation and even “Impeachment efforts,” though no impeachment proceedings have passed the introduction stage; the Hillary Clinton article glosses over most of the scandals that have dogged her political career, offering a sanitized account of the “email controversy” while entirely omitting the revelations from the WikiLeaks DNC and Podesta email document dumps (perhaps because the Podesta emails include a reference to Minassian inserting favorable references to the Clinton Foundation in an episode of the Colbert Report,28 and certain editors were worried users might put two and two together). “Some commentators” are given space to air their speculation on how Trump might be impeached without a vote, yet no voices are quoted taking Clinton to task for her role in rigging the Democratic primary. Nor do we find references to her role in plunging the once-progressive nation of Libya into violent chaos, or in appropriating billions of dollars’ worth of donations meant for Haitian hurricane victims. Trump is taken to task for “comments and actions [that] have been perceived as racially charged” – an accusation with no citation – but Clinton’s racially-charged “super predators” comment is missing from her page. There is clearly a double standard at work.29 30

Nor is it only Trump that is the recipient of the Wikipedia cognoscenti’s venom. When Google search results returned “Nazism” as the ideology of the California Republican Party just a week before that state’s primaries in 2018, Google was quick to blame Wikipedia vandalism, explaining that the Google “knowledge box” that contained the offending term is often populated with Wikipedia text.31 The “vandalism” had remained on the party’s Wikipedia page for six days before it was corrected, hidden in a “piped link” where the link text and “alt text” read differently; meanwhile, other edits were reverted within a few minutes, suggesting this one was allowed to persist, deliberately hidden so it would only appear in Google search results.32 Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) mentioned during the Google congressional hearings that his office’s efforts to remove smears from his biography were always reverted the same day,33 something that would be unthinkable on the biography of a Chuck Schumer or a Nancy Pelosi. Gohmert is accused on Wikipedia of being a liar and a defamer for voicing his opinions on financial speculator George Soros during a Fox Business appearance.34 Soros has been a major Wikimedia benefactor for years, and it is no surprise that Gohmert is forced to wear the scarlet letter for daring to speak out against him. Wikipedia’s hostility toward the political Right is well-known and long-established, hence the rise of Conservapedia, and while most biased edits aren’t quite as obvious, they are notable for their ubiquity.

Conservative commentators like Sean Hannity and Alex Jones get notations in their lead biography sections claiming they spread falsehoods and conspiracy theories, while popular liberal hosts like Rachel Maddow and Amy Goodman who have also spread false stories do not carry such disclaimers in their bios. Even, the most-trafficked news site on the internet, is targeted for a smear for spreading “conspiracy theories” Wikipedia claims site operator Matt Drudge knows to be untrue. For years, editors added and re-added unsourced quotes to the Wikipedia and Wikiquote pages of Rush Limbaugh despite no record of his ever having said the inflammatory words.35 Conservative politicians get swollen “controversy” sections that dwarf their liberal counterparts’, which may be relegated to a separate page entirely (as editors have done with Hillary Clinton’s myriad “controversies” – though even on the dedicated page, they’re sanitized and whitewashed almost beyond recognition).

While official Wikipedia policy mandates editors declare their conflicts of interest if they are being paid for their work, this is rarely done in practice, and it is impossible to tell how much of this political manipulation comes from volunteer ideologues with too much time on their hands and how much comes from paid political operatives. There is evidence that Wikipedia is heavily infiltrated with Democratic insiders, including an editor who somehow knew Clinton’s vice presidential pick would be Tim Kaine before anyone else did.36 We know that David Brock’s superPAC Correct the Record paid a veritable army of trolls to infiltrate various social media platforms during the 2016 election to “push back” at anti-Clinton comments. The Barrier Breakers program, according to a whistleblower who claims to have worked for Brock, spent millions of dollars to arm its footsoldiers with established accounts that blended seamlessly into the conversation at Twitter, Reddit, and other social media platforms and sicced them on anyone discussing the Clintons or their Foundation unfavorably.37 Yet these problems have never been addressed at Wikipedia, as the ideological drift mirrors Wales’ own neoliberal political tendencies – he’s friends with the Clintons, whom he calls “Bill and Hillary,” and once personally involved himself in massaging Hillary’s Wikipedia entry during an argument over whether her official name should be “Hillary Clinton” or “Hillary Rodham Clinton.”38 Meanwhile, those opposed to centrist-authoritarian politics are increasingly made to feel unwelcome. Such uneven enforcement of policy is not just unfair – it’s illegal.

This isn’t to say Wales is an ideologue. He’s more dangerous than any ideologue. Ideologues are biased and we can recognize their bias in everything they publish, discounting their views accordingly as being mere opinion. Even Jill Abramson, former editor of the New York Times, recognizes how her old paper has become an ideological mouthpiece for anti-Trump sentiment – a political view she agrees with, but which she sees as detrimental to the outlet’s status as the Paper of Record. But when Wikipedia, an ostensibly neutral resource used by millions of students, researchers, and casual browsers, is weaponized in service of an ideology, many users are none the wiser.

Adventures in foreign policy

Wales actively takes advantage of this “halo effect” and even sells it to repressive governments around the world while claiming to stand for transparency and a free press. His “Wikipedian of the Year” awards regularly go to editors who collaborate with their repressive home governments to turn Wikipedia into another arm of the state, as in the example of the first recipient of the award in 2011, Rauan Kenzhekanuly of Kazakhstan. While Wales insisted Kenzhekanuly was an independent editor who just wanted to improve Kazakh Wikipedia, he was in reality a former government official (who has since taken up a new government post, perhaps a reward for forging the alliance with Wikipedia) whose organization, WikiBilim, was funded by the Kazakh sovereign wealth fund. WikiBilim arranged with Wikipedia admins to have the entire government-backed Kazakh encyclopedia uploaded to Wikipedia’s servers. By the end of 2011, WikiBilim was described in Creative Commons documents as “a non-profit organization which also operates as the local representative of Wikimedia. Wikibilim in turn is supported by the Government of Kazakhstan and personally by the Prime-Minister Mr. Karim Masimov.”39 Yet Wales was still claiming WikiBilim was apolitical in December 2012, when he closed a discussion on his talk page after he was confronted with incontrovertible evidence of WikiBilim’s links to the regime.40  In 2014, Kenzhekanuly was named deputy governor of the Kyzylorda region of Kazakhstan, and in an April 2015 Reddit “Ask Me Anything,” Wales lamented his lack of foresight in naming him Wikipedian of the Year, saying he wouldn’t do it again. He even seemed to turn on his former mentor Blair: “Tony Blair absolutely should be slammed for taking money from Kazakhstan. I condemn it without reservation.”41

Wales and Blair have been something of a tag-team in crisscrossing Eastern Europe and the Middle East offering the blessing of western capitalism in exchange for cold hard cash. While Blair takes home the lion’s share of the money, Wales gets photo ops and PR nightmares, as when Wikipedia users rebelled after he was awarded the $500,000 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award by the ruler of Dubai in December 2014. While Wikipedians insisted he should refuse the award, given the UAE’s abysmal human rights record, Wales figured he could have his cake and eat it too, opting to start a ‘human rights foundation’ which, despite its stated mission of fighting for freedom of expression in repressive regimes, has done nothing since hiring Israeli human rights lawyer Orit Kopel to repost articles condemning a selection of repressive regimes.42 Not a single article denounces the appalling state of press freedom in the UAE. Nor does the Foundation call out Israel, whose snipers deliberately shot journalists covering the Palestinian March of Return this summer. Palestinian journalists, activists, and ordinary social media users are increasingly prosecuted for “incitement” for merely “liking” Facebook posts that may be entirely devoid of political content. Since October 2015, over 280 social media users have been arrested for “online incitement to violence,” and many influential Palestinian journalists’ accounts have been unilaterally shut down.43 Such repression would seem like a situation tailor-made for Wales’ Foundation – yet he and Kopel are silent. Wales received the $1 million Dan David prize from Israel in 2015, but his loyalty was purchased long before that, as evidence of his turning a blind eye to Wikipedia manipulation by Israeli state interests dates back to at least 2008. Perhaps he sees the closeness of the relationship between Wikipedia and the Israeli government as something to emulate – the chairman and spokesman of Wikimedia Israel, Itzik Edri, who for two years also sat on the global WMF’s funds dissemination committee, also manages PR for former Israeli president Shimon Peres (who was interviewed by WikiNews in 2004). Lest his propaganda efforts be in any doubt, Edri received the 2014 Roaring Lion Award from the Israeli Public Relations Association for his work on Wikipedia’s tenth anniversary campaign while working directly with the current Knesset opposition leader in a role that involved “crisis management.”44

Israel was on the cutting edge of Wikipolitics, having burrowed into the editorial ranks of the site long before tin-pot dictators like Nazarbayev and his Azerbaijani counterpart Aliyev (who sponsored a “WikiDays” initiative in 2014 to “protect interests of Azerbaijan in Wikipedia and prevent distortion of information about Azerbaijan”45) thought of using it for state propaganda purposes. An April 2008 exposé revealed that the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) had been teaching agents how to rewrite history on Wikipedia for years, instructing them to avoid alerting other editors to their mission by sticking to neutral content for a few months before getting to work on Israel-related articles. They were taught how to game Wikipedia’s ever-growing system of rules to get unfriendly edits reverted and unfriendly editors banned, told to form alliances with non-affiliated Wikipedians, and encouraged to work towards admin status in order to help their fellow agents. All collaboration occurred offline in a private Google group called “Isra-pedia.”46 When the scandal came to light, it was duly written up in CAMERA’s Wikipedia entry, only to be erased by a user working from the offices of the US Department of Justice. An admin blocked all DoJ IP addresses for several days while other users implicated in the CAMERA edits were topic-banned from editing articles relating to Arab-Israeli conflict, and one user was banned entirely,47 but such obstacles are easily overcome on a site where anonymity is paramount. Any users patient enough to make hundreds of neutral edits to gain the community’s trust before embarking on a Zionist crusade to rewrite history are patient enough to repeat the process. In 2010, after two more groups publicly offering classes in “Zionist editing” were brought to his attention, Wales merely slapped token protection on the “Israel” article, claiming the three groups’ work had amounted to essentially nothing,48 even as the character of Wikipedia’s coverage of Israel has irreversibly slanted in favor of the Jewish state and packs of roving admins vote en bloc to keep it that way. He regularly tweets in support of the Israeli Defense Forces as they lay waste to Palestinian villages. Other governments – and factions that would like to become governments, like the Iranian exile death-cult Mujahedin e-Khalq – have taken their cue from the Israelis, trying to edit their way into the people’s hearts by whitewashing a history of terrorism and murder one edit at a time.

One rule for me, another for thee

Wikipedia’s rules insist editors “assume good faith,” but this does not apply to heretics. Those who question both political orthodoxy and “accepted wisdom” in other areas – health and medicine, for example – are mercilessly targeted by Wikipedia’s shock troops, who as often as not seem to enjoy inflicting reputational damage because they derive satisfaction from their victims’ suffering. A prolific group of so-called Skeptics has made it their mission in life to stamp out what they call “woo” – anything not immediately explained by the laws of Newtonian physics, or deviating from the mainstream of pharmaceutical-based western medicine. They target not only alternative medical practitioners but entire disciplines with an Inquisitional zeal, while Wales sits above them, an internet Torquemada, cheering them on as they apply the thumbscrews and ensuring none of Wikipedia’s rules that theoretically protect living persons from libel get in the way of administering a proper character assassination. Skeptic editors collaborate to declare a person or a topic “Fringe,” after which the standards for verifiability and neutrality decrease substantially, allowing editors to add false and defamatory content without worry another editor will come along and revert their libel. “Fringe” articles are fair game for these internet inquisitors to test out their finest torments. It’s normal to see counsellors who have helped thousands of people denigrated as “quacks,” and the problem is so widespread that over 11,000 users actually submitted a presentation to Wales urging him to address the problem. He effectively laughed in their face, responding that Wikipedia would not consider the work of “lunatic charlatans” - classifying all holistic healers as such and inspiring the Skeptics on to greater heights of defamation.49 Meanwhile, any smears against the Skeptics’ heroes are immediately removed – former stage magician and Skeptic icon James Randi’s bio is an example of the shameless flattery these editors offer their idols. Were it merely a case of both sides flinging mud, Wikipedia would at least be fair. But permitting one side to break all rules in pursuit of ideological conquest while the other side is trapped in an impenetrable thicket of rules destroys the myth of Wikipedia as a neutral platform.

Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger himself dismissed the notion of neutrality on Wikipedia as laughable. “I’ve been reading Wikipedia articles for years, and from the evidence I would not have thought such a thing exists, or, if it does, the name is somewhat misleading, because the policy would read something like: ‘On all matters cultural and political, Wikipedia will endeavor to crush conservative viewpoints. Neutrality will not be tolerated.’ Just read the post on, for example, intelligent design theory. It is written by the theory’s antagonists, and all efforts to correct the post to reflect the real theory, as opposed to the straw man caricature presented by its opponents, are ruthlessly suppressed.”50 Wikipedia’s mandate to “assume good faith” is even flimsier in light of Wales’ Objectivist beliefs. A disciple of Ayn Rand, Wales eschews altruism and reveres selfishness; even putting his personal philosophy aside, five minutes on any internet discussion board would disabuse one of the notion that “good faith” is the operating principle of most posters, and for Wales to insist that others assume the essential goodness of humanity while reserving a healthy cynicism for himself and his henchmen is absurd.

Wales has personally involved himself in applying the rules unevenly – even making them up as he goes along, as in the case of Wikimedia’s open-source education subsidiary Wikiversity. When a group of users attempted to start a project called “The Ethics of Breaching Experiments” in early 2010 – essentially an experiment meant to test Wikipedia’s defenses against vandalism and other rule violations – Wales used his site-wide moderating powers to delete the project entirely and ban the associated users. Wales, who had never before shown any interest in Wikiversity, was thrown off guard by the backlash to his actions – unlike Wikipedia, where he is only semi-ironically revered as the “god-king,” Wikiversity harbored several users banned from the main encyclopedia for “ethical breaches” like those described in the project, none of whom appreciated his barging into their virtual classroom. When users protested his unilateral suppression of free inquiry – the ostensible mission of the Wikimedia Foundation itself – Wales threatened to shut down Wikiversity entirely. Hundreds of users in return voted to strip Wales of his founding privileges, condemning him for betraying the stated mission of the project. He finally backed down, unbanning the wrongthinkers and self-limiting his admin powers,51 but not before telling them that he had “the full support of the Wikimedia Foundation” and could shut them down whenever he liked. When the self-styled “benevolent dictator” of Wikipedia shuts down a semi-autonomous project for doing what it was supposed to do – Wikiversity was launched to encourage the kind of “original research” barred from Wikipedia pages – and then bullies the the site is broken beyond repair. Wales’ behavior on both Wikicommons and Wikiversity violates section 230 as well, since it represents deliberate curation of content on Wales’ part.

Moral relativism is no way to run an encyclopedia

Wales’ morals are not like most people’s. When the user Essjay, a member of Wikipedia’s mediation committee who claimed to be a tenured religion professor with a PhD, was exposed as a community college dropout in March 2007, Wales first said he “didn’t really have a problem with it,” only calling for Essjay to resign after users demanded action. Wales, who publicly “forgave” Essjay while grudgingly administering his public punishment, had already hired him at Wikipedia’s for-profit sister company Wikia and clearly didn’t mind the identity fraud. Indeed, it was that hire that tipped off an alert reader to Essjay’s real identity. The reader contacted the New Yorker, which had just run a glowing profile of Essjay and Wikipedia without fact-checking a single biographical detail, and the whole edifice of lies collapsed. Not a problem for Wales – Essjay was “an excellent editor with an exemplary track record,” never mind how his lying might damage Wikipedia’s credibility or the ability of other editors to “assume good faith.”52 Wales’ sympathy for Essjay’s autodidacticism (the 20,000 edits he logged on mostly religion-related entries were cribbed from books like “Catholicism for Dummies”) may stem from his own failure to finish his doctorate at the University of Indiana – while he claims academia merely “got boring” when the subject comes up in interviews, it is certainly puzzling that he would wait until he had put in all the work on a PhD dissertation to become bored, and there are rumors that some greater infraction was involved. Essjay was fired from Wikia as well, but only when ZDnet started making noises about contacting its investors, including Amazon and the Omidyar Network, to ask how they felt about Wales’ hire of a known fraud.53 Wales even briefly talked about requiring credentials for editors who presented themselves as credentialed experts – an idea which quickly fell by the wayside when the public had moved on to the next scandal.54

Qualifications clearly mean little to Wales and the Wikipedia community. Sanger has accused Wikipedia of overt hostility toward credentialed experts, and he is far from the only academic to be turned off by the mob mentality of the site’s editors, who tend disproportionately young and overwhelmingly male. Because Wikipedia editing can become a time-consuming hobby, the top editors tend to be un- or underemployed, though this is by no means the case for all. Surely, Wales would have no objection if a group of these unemployed editors opened a storefront medical clinic? After all, expertise is overrated, and it’s important to assume good faith. If these guys want to help people, who are we to stand in their way? Maybe the person clumsily wielding the scalpel to begin your appendectomy (where’s the appendix, again?) just couldn’t afford to finish medical school – they’ve certainly spent enough time editing medical articles on Wikipedia to know all about health. What’s the harm, Jimmy?

Clearly this is reductio ad absurdum, but it underlines the utter ludicrousness of allowing anonymous trolls to essentially rewrite medical reality. No matter how many facts an expert editor has on their side, there will always be dozens of trolls with more time on their hands – or more corporate or political funding to pay for their time – willing to revert the expert’s edits. On Wikipedia, might makes right. The ends justify the means.  All the faux-altruism and assumptions of good faith are just window dressing, a velvet glove for the iron fist Wales wants to use to gain control over the world’s information channels. Wales only develops morals when community outrage – from users, from investors, from the media – demands he display them. It is public perception of the crime, not the crime itself, that mandates action in Wales’ world. This is a person with more respect for narrative than truth, and not the kind of person who should be running a crowd-sourced repository of knowledge.

But perhaps we shouldn’t hold Wales responsible. He has simply been born into the wrong era. He’d be far more at home in the Middle Ages, wearing the robes of Torquemada and stacking firewood around some hapless wretch who made the mistake of trying to heal a village child with an herbal preparation. Or perhaps he’d be better suited to the wintry climes of Stalingrad, presiding over a show trial where the defendant is convicted before he enters the room. An internet community – even one with hundreds of thousands of users – bears the indelible influence of its creator, and this is not a man with the qualities suited to running an open-source repository of knowledge.


1 Fisher, Max. “Inside Facebook’s Secret Rulebook for Global Political Speech.” New York Times. 27 Dec 2018.

2 Perrin, Andrew. “Americans are changing their relationship with Facebook.” Pew Research Center. 5 Sep 2018.

3 Oberhaus, Daniel. “Nearly All of Wikipedia Is Written By Just 1 Percent of Its Editors.” Vice. 7 Nov 2017.

4 Jordan, William. “British people trust Wikipedia more than the news.” YouGov. 9 Aug 2014.

5 Dredge, Stuart. “Wikipedia founder backs site’s systems after extortion scam.” The Guardian. 6 Sep 2015.

6 BullRangifer. “Political ideology and sourcing.” Wikipedia. Accessed 23 Aug 2018.

7 Leetaru, Kalev. “What Wikipedia’s Daily Mail ‘Ban’ Tells Us About The Future of Online Censorship.” Forbes. 10 Feb 2017.

8 2nd RfC: The Daily Mail. Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard. Retrieved 4 Jan 2019.

9 Hoft, Jim. “Wikileaks REFUTES Fake News from Guardian - Bets $1 Million and Editor’s Head Their Manafort Report is Complete Rubbish.” Gateway Pundit. 27 Nov 2018.

10 Wales, Jimmy and Orit Kopel. “Letter from Jimmy and Orit: What we have learned so far.” WikiTribune. 21 Oct 2018.

11 Owen, Laura Hazard. “Jimmy Wales on Wikitribune’s business model and why it might cover not just politics but also dog breeding.” 4 May 2017.

12 Bell, Emily. “Wikitribune venture will not address journalism’s underlying issues.” The Guardian. 30 Apr 2017.

13 IRS Form 990. Financial Reports. Wikimedia Foundation. 2015. Accessed 23 Aug 2018.

13 IRS Form 990. Financial Reports. Wikimedia Foundation. 2016. Accessed 23 Aug 2018.

15 Wikimedia Foundation messaging strategy/2014-16 audit. Communications. Wikimedia Meta-Wiki. Accessed 23 Aug 2018.

16 Pearl, Mike. “A Wikipedian Explains How Wikipedia Stays Reliable in the Fake News Era.” Vice. 25 Nov 2016.

17 Grigas, Victor. “No, we’re not in a post-fact world. On Wikipedia, facts matter.” Wikimedia Foundation Blog. 27 Dec 2016.

18 Manek, Sashi. “An Open Letter to ArbCom.” Creolista. Accessed 23 Aug 2018.

19 Larkusix. “Some thoughts about this article.” Talk:Whataboutism/Archive 1. Wikipedia. Accessed 4 Jan 2019.

20 Sagecandor. “Concerns about potential influx of Russian propaganda users .” Neutral point of view (Noticeboard). Wikipedia. 2 Dec 2016.

21 “Unblock Appeal by SashiRolls.” Administrators’ Noticeboard. Wikipedia. Retrieved 4 Jan 2019.

22 Talk:Campaign for the neologism “santorum.” Wikipedia. Retrieved 4 Jan 2019.

23 Bingham, Amy. “Rick Santorum Fights His Google Problem.” ABC News. 22 Sep 2011.

24 Case:Cirt and Jayen466/Evidence. Arbitration (noticeboard). Wikipedia. Retrieved 4 Jan 2019.

25 “United States Congressional staff edits to Wikipedia.” Wikipedia. Accessed 23 Aug 2018.

26 “Requirements – 501(c)(3) Organizations.” Accessed 23 Aug 2018.

27 Russavia. “Belfer report – analysis from Russavia.” Wikimedia-l (mailing list). 21 Mar 2014.

28 Minassian, Craig. “CGI U – The Colbert Report Special Episodes.” WikiLeaks. 10 Apr 2013.

29 “Donald Trump.” Wikipedia. Accessed 23 Aug 2018.

30 “Hillary Clinton.” Wikipedia. Accessed 23 Aug 2018.

31 Thompson, Alex. “Google listed ‘Nazism’ as the ideology of the California Republican Party.” Vice News. 31 May 2018.  

32 “Google apologizes for spreading Wikipedia vandalism.” Wikipedia Talk: California Republican Party. Accessed 23 Aug 2018.

33 “Gohmert Questions Google CEO, Sundar Pichai.” GohmertTX01 11 Dec 2018.

34  “Louie Gohmert.” Wikipedia. Accessed 4 Jan 2019.

35 Alter, Ralph. “The Search for the Wikipedia Libelist (important update).” American Thinker. 16 Oct 2009.

36 Meyer, Robinson “Is Wikipedia Foreshadowing Clinton’s Vice-Presidential Pick?” The Atlantic. 22 Jul 2016.

37 “Drawing the Public Eye: The Unintentional Consequence of “Astroturfing” by Political Organizations.” Web of Slime. 10 Nov 2016.

38 Tani, Maxwell. “Meet the guy who has protected Hillary Clinton’s Wikipedia page for almost a decade.” Business Insider. 15 May 2015.

39 “Jimmy Wales, Kazakhstan, Tony Blair and Wikipedia: A Timeline.” Wikipediocracy. 2 Jan 2013.

40 Smith, Myles G. “Kazakhstan Wikipedia Controversy Raises Questions About the Crowd.” Eurasianet. 27 Dec 2012.

41 Michel, Casey. “Wikipedia Founder Distances Himself from Kazakhstan PR Machine.” Eurasianet. 2 Apr 2015.

42 “Jimmy Wales Foundation.” Wikipedia. Accessed 5 Nov 2018

43 “Israel arrests 280 Palestinians for Facebook posts.” Middle East Monitor. 27 Nov 2017.

44 Edri, Itzik (profile). LinkedIn. Accessed 1 Nov 2018.

45 Kolbe, Andreas. “Wikipedia – the new ministry of truth.” Wikipediocracy. 26 Jan 2014.

46 “EI exclusive: a pro-Israel group’s plan to rewrite history on Wikipedia.” Electronic Intifada. 21 Apr 2008.

47 Metz, Cade. “US Department of Justice banned from Wikipedia.” The Register. 29 Apr 2008.

48 Sales, Ben. “Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales likes Israel but stays neutral.” Times of Israel. 19 May 2015.

49 Wales, Jimmy. “Jimmy Wales’s response.” 23 Mar 2014. Retrieved 18 Aug 2018.

50 Arrington, Barry. “Larry Sanger, Co-Founder of Wikipedia, Agrees That It Does Not Follow Its Own Neutrality Policy.” Uncommon Descent. 1 Dec 2016.

51 Requests for comment/Remove Founder flag. Wikimedia Meta-Wiki. Accessed 1 Nov 2018.

52 Cohen, Noam. “A Contributor to Wikipedia Has His Fictional Side.” New York Times. 5 Mar 2007.

53 Ratcliffe, Mitch. “Wikipedia: Why does Essjay need to ‘protect himself’?” ZDNet. 5 Mar 2007.

54 Bergstein, Brian. “Wikipedia to seek proof of credentials.” NBC News. 7 Mar 2007.

January 11, 2019  


Forgetting our spiritual and philosophical ancestors and the demise of spiritual and ethical discourse

Andrew Harvey is an internationally renowned religious scholar, writer, teacher, and author of over thirty books.  He is the founder of the Institute of Sacred Activism, an international organization dedicated to inspiring people to become more involved in challenging our global crises and commit themselves to peace and sustainability. Andrew was born in India, studied at Oxford University, and has taught at Oxford, Cornell, the California Institute for Integral Studies and other institutions over the years.  He is perhaps best known for having explored all the different religions in depth, particularly Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sufism, and interpreting them in a passionate manner that preserves their meaning and significance for our postmodern times. He has received many awards for his writings including the Benjamin Franklin Award. His most recent book is "Turn Me To Gold: 108 Translations of Kabir."  His website is

January 10, 2019  
Voicemail Line 862-800-6805
This new feature will allow listeners to call in and leave a voicemail question to all their favorite shows. All you have to do is call the number, Say your name, what show and what your question is. This will allow your voice to be heard on your favorite PRN shows and will allow a better host/listener connection.  
In this episode Gary set a lot of time aside to answer your voicemails! 
January 9, 2019  
Voicemail Line 862-800-6805
This new feature will allow listeners to call in and leave a voicemail question to all their favorite shows. All you have to do is call the number, Say your name, what show and what your question is. This will allow your voice to be heard on your favorite PRN shows and will allow a better host/listener connection.  


Sam Husseini is an American journalist and political activist who serves as the communications director of the Institute for Public Accuracy - a non profit organization that promotes progressive experts as alternatives to mainstream media. Earlier Sam worked with FAIR and the American Arab Antidiscrimination Committee. He is also the founder of  Vote Pact, which brings voters from both parties together to agree on progressive causes. Sam's articles appear regularly on Counterpunch, the Nation, Salon and other news outlets  His website is and


January 8, 2019  

Today is January 8th and like always The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment. Voicemail Line 862-800-6805, This new feature will allow listeners to call in and leave a voicemail question to all their favorite shows. All you have to do is call the number, Say your name, what show and what your question is. This will allow your voice to be heard on your favorite PRN shows and will allow a better host/listener connection.  

January 7, 2019  

End of Year Trends Review -- A Look at 2019

Gerald Celente is one of today’s pioneers in trend strategy and identifying the developments of change occurring in our world. He founded the Trends Research Institute in Kingston NY and is the publisher of the Trends Journal that has been in publication since 1980. Gerald has since become one of the nation’s most sought after diagnosticians and forecasters.   He is also the host of the weekly show "Trends This Week," heard every Wednesday at 11 am Eastern Time on the Progressive Radio Network. More information can be found on the Institute's website



RADIO SHOW "Trends This Week," every Wednesday at 11 am Eastern Time on PRN.



January 4, 2019  

The demonization of Gaddafi, the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie and the US's motivation  for regime change in Libya 

Susan Lindauer is currently an American antiwar activist, a former Congressional staffer and a former US Intelligence Asset who covered anti-terrorism at the Iraqi Embassy in New York from 1996 until the invasion.  She was responsible for giving advanced warning about the attacks on 911, and was later the first non-Arab American arrested on the Patriot Act as an "Iraqi agent" based upon having warned her cousin and White House Chief of staff Andrew Card and then Secretary of State Colin Powell that the invasion would have catastrophic consequences. She was sent to prison at Fort Worth without a trial or hearing, as well as threats of indefinite detention and forced drugging.  After five ears of indictment, without conviction, she was dismissed of all charges days before Obama's inauguration. Earlier Susan was also responsible for the intergovernmental talks for the Lockerbie Trial with Libyan diplomats. She is the author of "Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 911 and Iraq."

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