by Martin Walker on Sunday, August 7, 2011:
When it comes to Simon Wessely, I feel that we all have to grown up. He was a member of the UKs first pharmaceutical lobby group, The Campaign Against Health Fraud set up in 1988. He has for a number of years been a member of the US, American Council on Science and Health perhaps the most influential corporate lobby group acting in defence of chemical and pharmaceutical interests, in the world, more recently he was given a position on the Radiation, Risk and Society Advisory Group the most powerful Health Protection Agency group in the UK which spins all adverse information about environmental risk. He is close to the UK and US Departments of Defence.
Wessely is no slouch, he might be sly, two faced, capable of propagandizing with a smile, detailing the most gigantic distortions, personally unattractive and seemingly lacking in moral fibre, but it is clear that he is tutored in everything he says by very capable PR lobbyists. Wessely is a master of disguise, a linguistic escape artist, an agent of states and a PR wizard. And lets face it ...
And lets face it he and his erstwhile colleagues who are legion, have run rings round us for 20 years now. Why do we always throw up our hands in horror and shake about like the Marx Brothers, in a closing scene, whenever these people play their master cards?
I have been following Wessely and writing about him for the last twenty years and there are parts of my original book Dirty Medicine: Science, big business and the assault on natural health care (1993), which deal specifically with this issue of 'truth reversal' not only designed by Wessely but with other pharmaceutical corporation lobby groupies, and there is specific reference and some pages to this strategy in SKEWED my book about psychiatric hegemony, ME and Gulf War syndrome etc. In my latest book Dirty Medicine: The Handbook book there are 4 pages 224 - 233 (2003), and a number of references (page 86 and others).
To my mind our most important task, is to frame some kind of model that shows 'truth reversal' of this kind to be a strategy of corporate PR especially in the field of medicine — if only we could get a whistle blower to attest to it. A strategy that consistently tries to make out that followers of CAM, critics of allopathy and for example unsafe vaccination are threatening corporate interests — when in fact, as we all know these interests are continuously threatening the victims of undiagnosed but serious illnesses.
The most renowned use of this tactic that I know of was against the Bristol Cancer Help Centre, when quackbuster film producer David Henshaw — the maker of two biased films about the Centre, which attacked women with breast cancer — claimed in an Observer newspaper supplement on censorship that he had received more frightening threats against himself from women with cancer attending BCHC than he had even received from Columbian drugs barons (page 86, Dirty Medicine: The Handbook) about whom he had made films. Wessley echoes this lying trickery in his Times interview saying that he feels safer in Afghanistan than at home in his London hospital. Another example I wrote about in my book SKEWED came from Elaine Showalter a ten year 'pupil' of Wessely's. While suggesting in her book, Hystories that people who claim to have ME are the same as those with who claim to have been abducted by aliens, she later suggested that ME assassins were waiting round many corners to bump her off — in fact, of course, no one had read her lamentable tract.
The most recent and glaring example of this strategy, was the campaign run by Sense About Science — A drug company funded bogus charity to which Wessely is an advisor — last year, to change the British libel law because they said that unscrupulous, powerful people in alt med were attacking science based lobby groups using the libel law. In fact, the pharmaceutical company backed lobby groups, needed a change in the UK libel law so that they could libel alt med practitioners without evidence and with impunity. This whole model strategy is obviously a PR product.
We have to ask ourselves where this is all heading — in my mind the pharmaceutical corporations are, via this strategy, trying to eliminate any kind of public criticism in the media of their allopathic and psychological treatments, this with the elimination of legal aid, in the UK, — to fight for claims of adverse reactions — is going to put an end to all democratic discussion about the dangers of allopathic medicine and the safety and efficacy of alternatives. Not only this but critics of allopathic medicine will become labeled as subversives and even terrorists.
There are more examples of this strategy in the three books of mine cited above and we have to stop being surprised when Wessely trowels on these fantastic lies, not as a way of getting sympathy (being a cry baby) but with a hard edged strategy of turning us into apparently unfeeling thugs so softening us up for the next repressive move against us. We also have to stop thinking that the media, especially Murdoch's media is not involved in this warfare from the beginning; mistakes are not being made here, but strategies and advances taken forward. We can only fight them with exact research which undermines their lies and gets us onto the high moral ground.