of Dirty Medicine: The Handbook.
Perilous Journey The work, circumstances and
influences of an activist writer in his own and other people’s words by Dirty Medicine The Handbook on Sunday, 25 September
2011 at 15:47
biographical article is almost solely about my writing, its context and its
continuity. I realised while I was working on it, just how much is missing
about the steps in my life that underlie the writing. Only a much deeper look
at my life could account for my campaign involvements, my writing work and my
personal life over forty years; this article is, however, a start.
by Rose Shepherd
first met Martin Walker in 2004, when he was in London for a conference on
childhood leukaemia. I had come across his seminal Dirty Medicine while
researching a piece for the Observer on the threat to health freedom, and
approached him. I found him – like much of his prose – wryly funny, a little
challenging, something of an enigma.
have wondered since we met, how he keeps going – flogging himself through
project after project, facing down the taunts and provocation of the
opposition, endlessly probing, churning up material, never stinting, never
claiming ‘writer’s block’, and meanwhile barely subsisting. Why does he do it?
I think, because he has to. It is what he is!
This is why he travelled to London to attend the 217 days of the General
Medical Council (GMC) ‘fitness to practise’ hearing between 2007 and 2010,
which destroyed the career of Dr Andrew Wakefield and Professor John
Walker-Smith. Throughout the hearing, the majority of British journalists
informed their readers with supreme confidence that the MMR vaccine was
perfectly safe. How did they know? Well, they read it in the papers. Andrew
Wakefield’s research was, as Wikipedia states, ‘fraudulent’ – QED.
the only member of the press to attend the drawn-out proceedings was Brian Deer
a free lance writer for The Sunday Times and the main complainant against the
three doctors. The newspapers were otherwise unrepresented within the hallowed
GMC. Nor did journalists apparently feel the need to talk to the parents of the
‘Lancet 12’, children who contracted Inflammatory Bowel Disease and then
regressed into autism after being vaccinated and who were the basis of the
ill-fated case series review in the medical journal.
of the parents, bar one — who had thought that she was speaking in defence of
Wakefield when called by the prosecution — were called by the prosecution (which
they did not support), or by the defence (which lacked confidence in their
ability to give testimony in such stressful circumstances). On the
prosecution’s part, Walker feels, this was a dereliction; on the part of the
defence, probably a mistake.
Walker attended mainly at his own expense, having spent a couple of years
gaining the confidence and trust of the embattled protagonists, who saw their
struggle as a matter for medical professionals and lawyers, not diehard
political activists. He also heard the families’ stories, edited and published
their personal accounts in two volumes of Silenced Witnesses, (Walker (ed)
2008, 2009) believing that participants should themselves write about their
struggles, and that the parents’ voices must be heard.
high quality of the parents’ writing, and their commitment to the two Silenced
Witnesses books surpassed even Walker’s expectations. With the second volume he
also published a DVD of Alan Golding’s hour long film, Selective Hearing,
(Golding 2010) in which a blustering Brian Deer is confronted by parents
outside the GMC, with banners proclaiming ‘We’re with Wakefield’.
is something darkly comical about the idea of the cynical, irascible Deer
attending the hearing alongside the dogged, idealistic Walker as the hearing
played out to its foregone conclusion; The Odd Couple, indeed. While Deer used
the platform and power of The Sunday Times to give his version of the
proceedings, Walker turned his hand to reporting the daily hearings on the
parents’ CryShame web site, reports that are shot through with satirical humour
– a device which allowed him to get to the heart of the issues, while
entertaining both himself and his readers and escaping the leaden reality of a
long three years.
later, Walker says, did he come across the works of the acerbic American writer
HL Mencken (sample: ‘A judge is a law student who marks his own examination
papers’), and his accounts of hearings and court cases. (They impressed him
greatly, but he was glad that he had not discovered them sooner and been
influenced by them. Was the satirical tone a mistake? Some people thought so, but
most got the point. Anyway, over the period of the GMC hearing, Walker didn't
forsake the more serious writing of eight long essays on MMR and related
subjects, referenced, peer-reviewed, and published in Medical Veritas. 
the Wakefield debacle, Walker's projects had piled up, he got back to more
sedentary work to finish his commitments. Overthrowing the Temple came first, a
book about the hounding of the brilliant, larger-than-life French forensic
scientist Loïc Le Ribault, Walker’s homage to a friend. Unhampered by
academic constraints, with this very personal work the writer felt he had
produced some of his best writing. He had been close to Loïc, appreciating his
creativity, humour and scientific understanding, and has brought the late genius
weeks of publishing Overthrowing the Temple, Walker also published Dirty
Medicine: The Handbook, a distillation of 20 years of painstaking
investigation and research. At the same time as he was writing these two books,
Walker completed a four-year project editing another, Secret Ties that Bind,
which looks through the eyes of 15 epidemiologists, researchers, investigators
and writers, at the distortion of information on environmental causes of
cancer. One way or another, this disease touches all of our lives, and Secret
Ties should be required reading when it is published. 
many aspects, Walker’s career has been thankless, he is unable to call himself
'an award winning writer' as most journalists appear to do today. His books are
well regarded by a loyal readership, but are not widely reviewed or well known.
He has enemies, of course; he has detractors. Brian Deer – who describes him to
camera in Selective Hearing as a ‘drivelling idiot’ – produced a vitriolic
piece titled ‘Liar for Hire’, which sometimes reaches the top of Google
searches and can be read on his self-aggrandising website. In this he
characterises Walker as a ‘sad smearmaster’ a 'parasite', a writer of no
consequence, a fantasist, and so on.
he would, wouldn’t he? Or maybe not — Deer is very personal and out of step
with Walker's more persistent and organised detractors. Since the publication
of Dirty Medicine: Science, big business and the assault on natural health
care (Walker 1993) the pro-pharmaceutical lobby groups together with the
corporate media appear to have adopted a strategy of ignoring Walker’s work,
while spreading rumours that, for instance, he is a fascist, and even, equally
ludicrously, that he works for pharmaceutical companies.
tactics are to be expected. What confounds Walker is the way he is being
cold-shouldered by some of those he thought on the same side, for whose work he
has had considerable respect. In the course of the parents’ campaign in support
of Wakefield, Walker approached a campaigner in another field – someone whose
work he admired – to ask why he never cited his work or addressed the issues of
power growing out of pharmaceutical corporations, ‘We have enough trouble
ourselves,’ came the jokey put-down, ‘without reproducing your unproven
allegations.’ The implication was that Walker’s work is made up or simply
repeated from unreferenced sources.
idea seems to have gained legs some years ago, and has been on the march ever
since. Never mind that the original Dirty Medicine, the new handbook, indeed
all of Walker’s books are copiously referenced; the misapprehension – or
misrepresentation – persists. Walker rang a writer and campaigner earlier this
year to ‘sort out the matter’. In a tense phone conversation he was told that
the campaigner and her organisation wanted nothing to do with him – ‘because
your work is unreferenced ... we prefer to deal with those who reference their
he has no problem with perceiving that pro-corporate doctors, scientists,
researcher MPs and journalists might be frauds, delusional, self-promoting or
on the take, Walker cannot somehow come to terms with the hard truth that there
might exist a prima donna tendency among the ‘good guys’, that people are
jealous of their fiefdoms, of the campaigning niches they carve out for
themselves. And yet, sadly, the health freedom movement, the environmental
movement, the anti vivisection movement and the anti-corporate science movement
are all shot through with rivalries and disagreements, so it becomes hard to
know who your friends are.
course, Walker should realise this by now. Way back, after the miners’ strike,
working with the Yorkshire miners, while the security services spread a rumour
that he had stolen money from the IRA, an ostensibly left-wing group cited him
as a ‘thief and splitter’ who had stolen money from the miners. So it went –
and so it goes on.
is touching in a way that Walker, now in his mid sixties, still has the
capacity for hurt and disappointment; that he remains keen to share
information, to exchange ideas, and will reach out to an author, emailing them
or writing to them when he has been impressed by a book. ‘As far as detractors
go, I much prefer the rabid onslaught of a Brian Deer to the mealy-mouthed,
self-protective competitiveness of the middle-class and NGO-oriented
campaigners, who don’t know where the street is and who are now jealously
trying to make me invisible. In the course of being involved in a large number
of campaigns and writing around twelve books. I have always believed that the
best way to mend any problems with my writing was to discuss mistakes with
those who felt aggrieved; mistakes can always be rectified. I have adhered to a
strict practice throughout my writing life, of showing any draft manuscript, to
those I have written about, discussing and changing any of the things they
disagreed with. However, those involved in this present 'friendly fire'
campaign, have shown not the slightest interest in discussing errors, missing
references or any other aspect of my work.
of Deer’s jibes against this ‘failed graphic artist’ (that would be the failed
artist with 80 posters in the Victorian and Albert Museum) is that the man who
‘calls himself’ Martin J Walker ‘lives penniless abroad’ and beguiles people,
befriends them, tries to palm off his self-published books on them, and ask
them for money (yes, italics).
sure he’s penniless; all his friends know that. There is something particularly
odious about a well healed Murdoch journalist presenting this as a character
flaw. But, as Deer also says, 'Walker is 64' and he's entering a reflective
period, asking himself where he goes from here and if it has all been worth it.
Is his work sustainable? What hope of an agent or publisher, at this time in
his life, in a world with no place in the mainstream for writers with such
an outsider himself, Walker loves to read the biographies of misfits, of people
who live or lived lives of ‘unmitigated disaster’. He is attracted to the likes
of Alex Higgins, and Malcolm Lowry, the troubled author of Under the Volcano -
characters perhaps better met within the pages of a book than in the real
world. He expresses a fondness for such creative figures as Michael Cimino, the
director of Heaven’s Gate, one of the biggest box-office bombs in history that
broke a studio. He respects people who jump from one creative stream to another
and is always pointing out individuals who have taken risks in turning from
film star to photographer, from playwright to ceramicist. ‘It is easy to be
safe, but difficult to be even slightly mad, a risk taker and be productive.’
Walker mad? Not even slightly. Is he broke? Completely. Is he to be pitied? Not
remotely! He can look back on a life of principal and comradeship, stretching
from the fountainhead of contemporary radicalism in 1968 to the present, on
struggles shared and a contemporary rich creative and intellectual life.
Competing Reviews Friday, 9 September
back cover of Dirty Medicine: The Handbook, describes the book
as; 'Martin Walker's twenty year follow up to his book, Dirty Medicine:
Science, big business and the assault on natural health care. In this new book
Walker gives a full and detailed picture of the vested interests, their
personalities, organisations and ideas that have shaped the present attack on
alternatives in the field of health'.
When the book first appeared in May 2011, it seemed to attracted no attention
at all from the corporate media, partly due perhaps to the fact that
those involved in lobbying for pharmaceutical medicine and against natural
health care, together with some whom you would expect to be on Walker's side,
completely ignored this and all his previous writing. It must also be the case
that independent writers and publishers have difficulty in accessing the
powerful caravans that bring contemporary books to the marketplace.
Walker had similar but not identical problems with his first edition
of Dirty Medicinein 1993, that book entailed a production cost of £20,000.
Lobby groups tried to censure the book by threatening retailers and
pressurising the Finnish printers into dropping a reprint of the book. At that
time, the revelations about the lobby group Campaign Against Health Fraud,
(Later to become HealthWatch and even later join up with Sense About Science)
were novel and so provoked considerable interest, the revelation coincided with
the marketing of AZT considered by many to be a fundamental point of change
between science and industry. Consequently, despite the hidden journey of the
book to the public, and the strategy of lobbyists, there were just after publication
a handful of long and considered reviews; the best and most analytical of these
in the Marxist journal Capital & Class (1996), by the respected
academic John Abrahams,
(http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3780/is_199610/ai_n8751139) who wrote;
'Walker's account draws a disturbing picture of how the interests of the food
and drug companies and the orthodox medical profession combined with crusaders
against 'quackery' can deter and destroy alternative approaches to medicine
while simultaneously distracting attention from the toxic effects of food
processing chemicals and pharmaceuticals.' Another by the late Christopher Bird
in Explore More! called the book, '... A masterpiece of investigative
journalism and attentive scholarship, elegantly written. Finally, while The
Townsend Letter for Doctors also carried a long review and the books cover on
It is inevitable, however, that lobby organisations, food and pharmaceutical
corporation defenders, have less to fear today from books like Dirty
Medicine than they did 20 years ago. Cynicism is now deeply rooted in our
society, and the pharmaceutical and food corporations have all their players,
covert and overt on the pitch with a well thought out structured strategy.
In an attempt to protect both his considerable investment in the books writing
and publishing, Walker set up a competition inviting readers to submit reviews
of Dirty Medicine: The Handbook, those that appeared without entering the
competition were entered by Slingshot Publications. The competition elicited
many first-rate contributions that are published on this site. In all 14
reviews entered or were entered into the competition, ranging in length from a
couple of paragraphs to a few thousand words. The reviews were assessed and
judged by a long standing British journalist.
Results of the Competition
reviewers were impressed by Martin Walker’s meticulous research – although not
all appeared wholly aware that the handbook is a distillation of two decades of
painstaking authorship, investigation and enquiry, which began in 1993 with
Walker’s seminal Dirty Medicine – Science, Big Business and the Assault on
Natural Health Care. The best reviews were by those familiar with the author’s
body of work, the complex background to the handbook. Almost all reviewers
remarked on Walker’s ‘wry wit’, which leavens a narrative that could otherwise
at times be heavy-going. This will have pleased Walker, who has sometimes been
penalised for his satirical approach, adopted he say to tell higher truths and
top add levity to a dour and often moribund creative area.
Some contributors departed from conventional reviewing, using the book rather
as a point of departure for essays of their own. These were, without exception,
well written and illuminating, they broadened the discussion, but as reviews
they were inevitably off-centre.
As was to be expected, reviews were overwhelmingly positive. This was, after
all, a competition, and no thoroughgoing demolition job was ever going to win
prizes; not that the 'other side' has paid the slightest attention to Walker's
work anyway, perhaps understanding that ignoring him is in itself the most
powerfull slight. But, more significantly, the contributors were people
close to, intellectually exercised or very personally affected by, the issues
that Walker raises – among them beleaguered CAM practitioners, who can only
wonder at the sustained assault on their integrity and their livelihoods. In Walker's
writing they find someone speaking out for them and they are naturally and
A few of the more balanced reviewers added caveats. William Alderson, in his
critique, titled ‘Poisonous Lies and their Antidotes’, remarked on the
‘frequent minor but irritating lapses in editing and proof-reading’, although
judging the book an ‘essential resource’. Walker is happy to accept such a
criticism, although he draws attention to fact that when you are without
institutions and funding, working separately from the 'professional'
campaigning organisations of the various 'Watch' groups, writing, editing and
publishing to exacting standards is not always possible. There was further
constructive criticism in Majella Horan's review, who found the indexing – by
chapter, rather than as a whole – frustrating; worse, she said, was the way that
so many excellent references were strewn throughout the text and nowhere
indexed. Again Walker says that to present work to the exacting standards of,
for instance science journals is rarely possible when one is working alone
independently and without funding. Although he does anyway wonder whether he
would have indexed references.
Sandra Goodman, a former molecular biologist, now editor and co-owner of PH
Online (Positive Health) and a victim of the first late 1980s generation
of Quackbusters, reflected that, while she might not entirely agree with
Walker’s political analysis (‘my left-wing political days are in the distant
past’), the handbook had given her deeper insight into why her own work had
been sidelined. About this, Walker said that he felt this was a genuine
critical observation from Sandra, but he was also quite sure that while groups
like the SAS and Science Media Centre had been integrated into the corporate
establishment despite apparently previously belonging to Marxist groups, his
Marxist background was one of the things feeding criticism of him from
the other side.
For several reviewers the coincidence of the phone-hacking revelations and the
scandal surrounding Rupert and James Murdoch, following hot upon the publication
of the handbook, was peculiarly timely — an ill wind, indeed, that blows nobody
the end there was little to choose between three of the entries, by reviewers
who have clearly followed Walker’s writings and who clearly understand what we
are up against. ButAdam Smith, science and communications officer
for the Alliance for Natural Health, (ANC) was ahead of the field. He produced
a veritable call to arms, a model of clarity, angry and incision. ‘Buy copies
for your friends and family,’ he exhorted, ‘get ’em fired up, and let’s start
taking back our rights.’
William Alderson, submitting ‘Poisonous
Lies and their Antidotes’, which was published in the political paper
Counter Fire, for which he had written two other articles about the defence of
alternative medicine. Declaring an interest Alderson writes that he is
mentioned in the handbook for his authorship of Halloween Science a
critique of EdzardErst and Simon Singh’s Trick or Treatment: Alternative
Medicine on Trial. He is also a founding trustee of the homeopathic defence
group H:MCC21. His comprehension of both the book and the general situation
shone through his review.
Majella Horan wrote with similar
clarity and comprehension. She found the handbook both honest and brave: ‘a
practical and timely addition to every CAM researcher’s library’.
Jonathan Lawrence who wrote one of
the first reviews which appeared independently on the internet and then in
Sandra Goodman's magazine, gave a succinct summary of the handbook and his
perceptions as someone working in the field of complementary healthcare. He
made the heartening assertion that ‘the sceptic movement… is bound to fail’,
and deemed DM: The Handbook ‘our most valuable resource’ in knowing
and understanding the opposition. ‘For those of us in complementary medicine
who tend to work individually or in small groups and thus tend to be
politically weak, this book will be of immense value in defining the threat and
suggesting the cure.’
Carol Boyce, a homeopath and film
maker was one of those who produced a very interesting, discursive essay,
touching on Dirty Medicine: The Handbook, and concluding with a plea to
‘get Martin’s book’, ‘go to Martin’s website… We need to support him.’ If only
all natural health care practitioners were so behind him or aware of him!
Patrick Holford's Newsletter carried a medium
length review of the book; a review that stares the opposition in the eye.
'Walker’s book does talk about how we need to get organised and fight back
against corporate-pharmaceutical control of medicine. Knowing the enemy is a
good place to start. Those fighting for the right to practice and sell
nutritional, herbal and homeopathic medicine would do well to expose the conflicts
of interests of their anti-social denigrators and call a spade a spade. There’s
a lot of people in favour of natural medicine, but we need to work together,
stand up and fight for our rights. Patrick's contribution contained a
Declaration of Conflict of Interest, telling the reader that he was 'a
formulator of nutritional supplements that bear my name, and earn royalties on
Greg Crowhurst who often writes
about ME and CFS sufferers on his blog, wrote an independent blogreview.
Crowhursts review was valuable because it was written with experience,
especially of his wife's ME, and placed in a context. ' Incredible how the
BMJ's glowing endorsement of '"poor" Simon Wessely, safer in Iraq and
Afganistan apparently, than here among the UK ME Community, coincides with my
reading of Martin Walker's new book : "Dirty Medicine The
review draws out some of the most important arguments scattered throughout the
book. As a number of other reviews did, he draws attention to the opening
chapters. And cites this sentence in summing up the story of the book. "On
an endless number of fronts," Walker states, "covert
warfare has broken out between the people who have other ways of seeing and the
increasingly powerful scientific apparatchiks of the post-industrial
Sandra Goodman of Positive
Health, like Carol Boyce, mixed a critique of the handbook with an element of
her own dissertation, sharing her insights and experiences.
Jenny Allan, the lay grandmother of
an autistic child, who has kept abreast of Andrew Wakefield's work and many
other developments in the battle for survival of CAM, wrote a scrupulous and
intelligent précis of Walker’s main arguments.
… And for reviews in brief
John Stone on Age of Autism
wrote one of the best short revues, a few years working with Walker on behalf
of the parents of vaccine damaged children has obviously given Stone perceptive
insights into Walker's style and contemporary anti-corporate politics:
is Martin Walker at his best: an indispensible, witty, idiosyncratic
guide to the dirty world of the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, and an
anatomy of how their tentacles reach into every aspect of public and private
life in the UK and beyond. His perspective derives from two decades of
observation, research, and deep cynicism about the motives of the
powerful.' Stone too added an exortation to putative readers with;
'buy the book'.
The British Holistic Medical Association, in a brief reflection,
wrote that Dirty Medicine came highly recommended by one of the BHMA trustees,
David Balen. Balen 'was very enthusiastic about it at our last trustees
meeting and felt it ‘a must read’ for all practitioners.'
OTTS (UK), one of a couple of
the reviewers who wandered on to the Amazon site where the book has been on
sale for four months, suggested the book was very informative and listed -
'Names for writing Thank-You-Notes' to. 'Now' he said, he was able, to 'put a
face and a name to specifics.’ OTTS's review was encouraging, off the beaten
track of the tooing and frooing of lobby groups and their critics it seemed
very fresh: 'It is simple, names, events and how they are all connected. 'You
wondered what labour and US corporations have in common, or how Lord Sainsbury
and the Science Media Centre are connected, or do certain professors and
doctors profit from their statements... The data, and it is all documented,
reveals a bottomless pit of big corporates, certain educated professionals and
certain politicians all enjoying their lifestyles at our expenses; not to leave
out media professionals ... What in particular impressed me was the fact of
actually it being so few people who are responsible for the sheer gigantic
proportions of damage caused and being caused as you read this.'
D&D Another Amazon reviewer, summed up
the book in a very literary manner. The handbook was: ‘a frightening overview
of the history of the abuse of money and power by the corporate kleptocracy
bullying the powerless.'
Marco Mamone one of the most
important critics of science and it's relationship to capitalism and the
organiser of the bi-annual conference on Science and Democracy held
in Naples (http://www.dmi.unipg.it/~mamone/sci-dem/sci&dem.htm) wrote a
very succinct review describing the book as 'A very rich book which will be
re-read and consulted again and again. The gripping introductory chapter 'A
Personal Declaration' (pp. 1-16) should be read by anyone interested in
contemporary medicine and its actual practice.'
Adam Smith, 1st Prize of 3 books.
William Alderson, Joint 2nd Prize, 2
Majella Horan, Joint 2nd Prize, 2
Jonathan Lawrence, Joint 2nd Prize, 2
Carol Boyce, Joint 3rd Prize, 1
Patrick Holford's, Joint 3rd Prize, 1
Greg Crowhurst, Joint 3rd Prize, 1
Sandra Goodman, Joint 3rd Prize, 1 book
Jenny Allan, Joint 3rd Prize,1 book
John Stone Joint 3rd Prize, 1
OTTS (UK), Joint 3rd Prize,1
reviewers cited in this article are: William Alderson: writer of Trick or
Treatment: Alternative Medicine on Trial. Jenny Allan : Grandparent of vaccine
damaged child. Carol Boyce : Homeopath and film maker. Sandra Goodman : Founder
and editor of Positive Health. MajellaHoran : Scientist writing for Jonathan
Lawrence: osteopath and lecturer. Adam Smith : Communications officer of
the Association of Natural Medicine. Patrick Holford: Nutritionist and writer.
Greg Crowhurst: Blogger and blog reviewer, especially on ME. John Stone: Member
of Cry Shame and writer for Age of Autism. The British Holistic Medical
Association. OTTS (UK): Reviewer on Amazon.
Reviewer on Amnazon. Marco MamoneCapria: Matghematician and Organiser of the
Science and Democracy web site and conference.
An Anti-Homeopathy Campaign? Dirty Medicine: The
13, 2011 by Carol Boyce
HpathyEzine, August, 2011
wrote an article for hpathy in February 2010 titled First They Came For The
Homeopaths…. As healers we have a tendency to believe that it is an innate
human quality to want to help others and certainly my own definition of health
includes that aspect (altruism, cooperation and the ability to adapt to
change). When we witness people, groups or governments behaving in ways that
harm others, directly or indirectly, we can’t help but imagine the
constitutional prescription they need. Indeed I’ve had many ‘fun’ times as a
teacher analyzing the case of Hitler or GWB and contemplating how history might
have been different if they had had some good constitutional prescribing. As a
teacher I suggest that knowing material medica makes us more tolerant. I ask
students faced with difficult people or situations to rise above their
immediate emotional kneejerk and see the deeper picture of the other’s pain.
this point in our homeopathic history though, we need to recognize the reality
of what is going on in the world and how it affects us and our future.
brings me to investigative reporter Martin Walker’s latest book Dirty Medicine:
The Handbook (DMTH). It’s the follow up to Martin’s seminal work Dirty
Medicine: Science big business and the assault on natural health care, first
published in 1993. In his first book Martin exposed the pharmaceutical industry as the hydra headed monster it was, more than a decade before most of the CAM
community started waking up.
the years since that book, a whole new layer has been pasted carefully over the
cracks by slick PR companies, practicing the new profession of ‘risk
management’. PR companies are paid a high price to package unpalatable facts
for public consumption under the banner of “protecting the public.”
the recent EU directives on nutritional supplements and herbal medicines,
already gutting the shelves of health stores in the name of protecting the
public. Only the pharmaceutical industry will be allowed to manufacture
standardized (read synthetic) products. Only they will be able to afford the
costly licenses per product to bring them to market. Witness the Food Safety
Bill passed last year in the US Congress, with language so vague it allows the
widest of interpretations by the FDA’s enforcing officers. That legislation is
already being used to target raw food sales and promoting the ‘safety’ of
processed food. (Cargill’s recent recall of 39 million pounds of ground turkey
contaminated with Salmonella is only one example of the irony of this
erosion of individual freedom to choose our food (organic, Non-GMO) how we
prefer to take care of health (all CAMs and CAM products) and many other
aspects of our lives are being handed over to industry.
may recognize the ‘protecting the public’ line in the many tentacles of the
anti-homeopathy campaign running in the UK and reaching out now to embrace the
EU, the US and Canada, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. “Protection of the
gullible public from the delusional homeopaths”. These anti-homeopathy
campaigners are smart. They use official bodies to give them authority, they
are well organized and they plan far ahead. The farce of the UK Parliamentary
Science and Technology committee investigation into homeopathy is now being
used as the “most recent investigation into whether homeopathy works or not”.
The fact that only ONE MP who attended the hearings voted to ratify the report
does not deter other officials from citing it as an example of the “scientific
consensus”. (If you want to see the machinations of the UK government in
action, this blog is a good read: www.vonsyhomeopathy.wordpress.com)
that bastion of British culture, the publicly funded BBC chose a moment during
the recent Murdoch madness, to issue a statement about an ‘independent’ report
they had commissioned last year. Professor Steve Jones concluded that on issues
of impartiality it was important on matters of science to present the
“consensus” view. He suggested there was no longer any need to present
“minority opinions” on a particular issue in order to “avoid confusing the
public” and advocated that this should be written into the BBC guidelines for
program makers. In effect he suggested writing directly into the guidelines the
NEED to be PARTIAL about science on matters such as GMO, MMR, organic food,
nutritional supplements, herbal medicine and other CAMs and of course
homeopathy – despite it still being (at least for now) an integral part of the
don’t we feel reassured knowing all these factions are busy protecting us!?
brings me back to Martin Walker’s book – DMTH. It’s a superb analysis of the
situation in the UK – it shows just how orchestrated the anti-homeopathy
campaign is and who is involved. It goes right to the heart of government, the
media, the educational system. It names the players, the committees, the
organizations, the networks, the back room people and the front men and women
who provide a distraction and tie up resources while the bricks are put in the
of the names will be new to you. Don’t be fooled into thinking small players
like Tracy Brown (Managing Director of Sense About Science) or the Amazing
Randi are anything more than a sideshow.
Martin focuses on natural medicine in the UK and on homeopathy in particular,
the same process is going on within the European Union and in the US, Canada
and now it’s gaining steam in Australia.
UK anti-homeopathy campaign provides the validity and gravitas to the argument.
Shang “proved” that homeopathy is nothing more than placebo, and since his
views were published in The Lancet, they must be true. The UK parliamentary
Science and Technology Committee report is actively being used to persuade
other governments to get rid of homeopathy.
the Nightingale Collaboration, an offshoot of Sense About Science, is using the
Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to go after homeopathic websites and the
ASA cites the Science and Technology Committee report as the “most recent
investigation into the evidence for homeopathy” and concurs with their
tactic applies equally well to other issues: nutritional supplements, herbal
medicines, GM food, organic food and so on. The players may be slightly
different, but the process is the same and involves your government, which is
now nothing more than a lobbyist for the corporations who got them elected, the media that is owned by the corporations, the scientific journals controlled by
the pharmaceutical industry and so on.
we still live in a democracy? It’s hard to say yes, when you see just how deep
the corporations are embedded in the very fabric of our society. There is
virtually no independent scientific research anymore. Indeed, what is
considered ‘science’ has itself been redefined.
Walker is one of CAMs best investigative journalists. He works tirelessly and
mostly unpaid for the things he believes in. On his own expense he attended
every session of the General Medical Council’s three year trial of Dr. Andrew
Wakefield and edited the Silent Witness series of books – stories written by
the parents of children with autism. You can see his work in this area on
is essential reading. Every homeopath and CAM practitioner needs to read it and
understand the truth behind the spin. It will enable you to read between the
lines of what is done in your name and wake you up to proposed changes before
they become law. It will enable you to begin to formulate a strategy to protect
what you hold dear, at its most fundamental, the freedom to make decisions
about how you take care of your own health and that of your family.
is not some futuristic possibility, it’s already happening today, right where
you are. Without a major shift in global power structure, this is already on
its way to your doorstep courtesy of Codex Alimentarius and the World Trade
Organization. Resist at all cost.
Martin’s book so you are already informed. Go to Martin’s website and check out
his other fully referenced works. Many of his smaller publications are free.
Make a small donation in return. We need to support him so he can continue his
work. In these days of spin, investigative journalists who do their job as it’s
meant to be done are priceless. Facebook it, Twitter it, pass it on.The Website
A Review of Dirty
Medicine - The Handbook by Martin J Walker ~ Sandra Goodman in Positive Health
22 August 2011 at 18:36
For those of us involved in complementary healthcare the strident
and often vicious campaign against what we do is unsettling and unnerving. Why
should an activity which is ostensibly gentle and caring be subjected to such
vilification? I can understand how some of our theories and models of reality
may seem unlikely or alien to those brought up in a rigidly western paradigm
but the response of some of the sceptics is more akin to religious
fundamentalism than objective criticism.In this book Walker reveals the
'skeptic' movement to be a complex web of interconnected interests involving
scientists, doctors, journalists, corporations and MPs. Using the tools of PR
and spin they maintain a steady opposition to the growing popularity of
Complementary medicine. He charts the rise of this phenomenon from the
formation of the American NCHF (National Council against Health Fraud) in the
mid 80s and similar organisations here including the charity SAS (Sense About
Science) who on closer scrutiny appears to be a PR organisation for big
business with a track record supporting GM as well as being pro pharma and anti
CAM.Perhaps their major area of success is dominating news output.
The much criticised Shang meta analysis of homeopathic research for example was
published in the Lancet with the headline "The End of Homeopathy",
whereas previous similar work supporting homeopathy was given very little
airing. This selectiveness was reinforced for me very recently when listening
to a presentation of research regarding a complex homeopathic product which had
been tested in vitro, in vivo and been subjected to placebo controlled clinical
trials and passed all of these. A doctor in the audience obviously very
frustrated and angry wanted to know why this information was not in all the
newspapers and television news!Walker starts with a personal story detailing
the help he has received from holistic medicine and continues with the
history of the 'skeptic' movement, looking at individuals and organizations that
comprise the movement or are involved with them.
He then reviews the controversies of recent history from the notorious
Bristol Cancer Help Centre Study, the Bienveniste affair to more recent
scandals such as Dr Wakefield and DrMyhill. Finally he looks at the heroes and
heroines who have and are resisting the 'skeptics' and gives pointers as to how
to organize against them.
Altogether there is huge amount of detail here and many names, some of whom are
familiar to me and many who aren't. It seems Walker has included those at the
centre of the argument against CAM as well as those who are more
peripheral. Walker writes with a wry humour making the dryness of the content much more readable.In my view the skeptic movement, although destructive
is bound to fail. Despite the propaganda large numbers of patients are voting
with their feet and seeking CAM help rather than availing themselves of the
heavily pharmaceutically influenced free health care system.In order for us to
facilitate the process of change from a reductionist world-view to a more
holistic one in which more patients can be helped in this way, we need to be
armed with the knowledge of the arguments. Knowing who the opposition is and
what motivates them is an important part of this process. This book can be one
of our most valuable resources in achieving this.
Rupert Murdoch News of the World / News International phone voicemail
interception / hacking scandal which has riveted much of the UK, and to some
extent the USA, has revealed murky, entangled webs enveloping politics, print
media, broadcasting and which has spread to the police, involving corruption
among many previously respected professionals. The sums of money involved, the
wining and dining, the political patronage and how social networking sites can
overturn super injunctions protecting rich sports people and celebrities have
all created a firestorm revealing the public’s insatiable thirst for gossip and
the no-limit means to satisfy it used by journalists and proprietors.
the majority of hard-working and very modestly paid complementary health
practitioners struggle to keep their courses, clinics and themselves solvent,
we have discovered how large newspapers including the Times and the Sunday Times
have been losing £40million+ per year. As a co-owner of Positive Health PH
Online who has had to plunder everything built up over 20+ years – home,
savings, even pension to maintain PH Online – the survival of PH Online after
17 years doesn’t seem that bad. We haven’t earned £40million, let alone lost
that amount every year!
The above is mentioned in conjunction with Martin Walker’s latest book Dirty
Medicine The Handbook which I have now finished reading. Talk about scandals,
tangled webs, political cronies and corporate funds to destroy – this book is a
revelation of the nastiest suspicions that have never occurred to you. As one
of many victims of campaigns by the Establishment, and fully engaged with
Natural Health and Medicine with Positive Health PH Online, I have known and
have seen attacks in the newspapers, broadcast media and through the courts
against a multitude of individual practitioners, schools and organizations. You
too will have witnessed many a documentary against homeopathy, theta healing,
nutrition for cancer and observed reputations destroyed. However, until I read
this book, I did not know the identity nor power or influence of the many
individuals, organizations, website ranged and funded against natural medicine.
Martin Walker, in his latest book has forensically researched, with voluminous
footnotes, the individual Health Corporatists as they are called, with an A to
Z of names, with whom they went to school, of which organizations and political
parties they were members, their corporate alliances and the funds of these
organizations. Be prepared for a complete alphabet soup of organization names –
you will be amazed at how many government, health and media names are listed.
only are the individuals named – and these go far beyond the most obvious
individuals you might suspect, but also organizations, groups and political
organizations linked to government. A bit like the Rupert Murdoch web discussed
above, but also with funds and monies paid to whom. Even more sinister are the
attack websites set up to target, harass and ultimately finish off individuals,
therapies and professions. We may have heard the term 'quackwatch', but Walker
presents an entire A-Z chapter, annotated with his comments of a myriad of websites
with a mission www.badscience.net
One of the most serious issues in Martin Walker’s book concerns the frankly
alarming situation of Homeopathy: the step-by-step saga of how the Royal London
Homeopathic Hospital (RLHH) was taken over and engulfed by University College
London Hospital (UCLH), and re-named Royal London Hospital for Integrated
Medicine (RLHIM), neatly removing the word homeopathy. And read Martin Walker’s analysis of how the rational tactics of Dr Peter Fischer, who honestly believed
that presenting the medical professional establishment with the evidence
regarding the efficacy of homeopathy, would convince the skeptics proved wrong.
Other dramatic battles are also discussed, including vaccinations, nutritional
supplements, environmentally sensitive individuals, cfs / me. Hear the flip
side of everything that has been published in PH Online, but from the other
I also sadly discovered in the reading of this book that several stalwart
fighters for natural medicine have since died, including Isla Bourke (Bristol
Cancer Help Centre), DrHulda Clarke and Mark Purdy.
may not agree entirely with Martin Walker’s political analysis; my left-wing
political days are in the distant past; I spent much of my professional career
as a molecular biology scientist attempting to belong to the organizations
Walker describes. Perhaps I now have a greater insight into why my work appears
to have been sidelined. However there is nobody else apart from Martin Walker
of whom I am aware who has dug up the intricate dirt and colluding trails which
point to why such negative stories are broadcast and printed in newspapers such
as the Guardian and on Newsnight. Read it to find out for yourself.
Organising and Fighting Back
Monday, 22 August
Chapter 7, Dirty Medicine: The Handbook.
cases of Dr Sarah Myhill in Britain and Meryl Dorey in Australia have many
things in common. The objective of the cases from the perspective of those who
attacked them are, in Sarah Myhill’s case, to force vaccine and therapeutic
hegemony on Britain’s doctors, and in Meryl Dorey’s case to enforce the use of
vaccination on Australia’s parents. They have both been the subjects of
originally anonymous complaints by Skeptics, and after bogus investigations,
they were both ordered to take down or alter parts of their websites.
The censoring of health information about medicine on the Internet is something
that corporations have been very concerned about over recent years. Both the
complaints against DrMyhill and Meryl Dorey were made by Skeptic fellow
travellers, citing material, in DrMyhill’s case, which alluded to vaccination
and the treatment of ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) and chronic fatigue
syndrome (CFS), (END NOTE 52) and on the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN)
site about the problems and adverse reactions to vaccination.
The Skeptical complainants in both cases, however, manifest a different
reaction from the complaints they had made, in England to the GMC and in
Australia first to the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC). The Australian
complainant appeared publicly with the over–aggressive emphasis used by
quackbusters to protect themselves on film and on the Internet. In England, the
medical research worker who complained about the content of DrMyhill’s site
wanted to remain anonymous — as they often do. When, however, Stuart Jones’s
name entered the public domain, he suddenly became contrite in a thoroughly
Stuart Jones explained on the BadScience site how he came to make the complaint
almost be accident; presenting himself in the most reasonable of lights:
so I finally bit the bullet and complained (anonymously for reasons that will
become clear) to the GMC about uber–quack, (54) Dr Sarah Myhill, and to my
surprise they have decided to launch a Fitness to Practise investigation.
response has been quite interesting so I thought I would share it with the
Badscience community. It will be interesting to see how the GMC proceed as I
believe she has been in the same situation on numerous occasions in the past
with similar public campaigns resulting in the GMC dropping charges for
maintained that he had complained anonymously ‘for reasons that will become
clear’, but all that became clear was that Jones wished to shield himself from
criticism from DrMyhill, her supporters, her patients and any other concerned
citizen. There was a good deal of discussion on the Bad Science site about
whether or not complainants’ anonymity should be respected.
In private the real reasons that Jones struck out for anonymity became clear
when he emailed DrMyhill, miserably complaining that he hoped the matter of his
identity could be tucked away. In this communication he showed that he was now
considerably embarrassed and slightly fearful of being criticised for behaving
like a common informer.
He shouldn’t, of course, have been emailing DrMyhill personally under any
circumstances. His first worry was for that angel of medicine Ben Goldacre. It
was important, Jones said, that no one identified Goldacre with him and his
complaint, as this would have been terribly unfair:
I have just been notified that somebody has posted a message on yahoo answers
calling for Ben Goldacre to be struck–off by the GMC for instigating a
‘campaign’ against you. This is really quite disturbing, especially as the
person adding the message appears to want to make it look as though you yourself posted it. Regardless of any opinion you may have of me, I do hope you
share my concerns on this. Regards, Stuart. (55)
Jones is a man of considerable feeling and sensitivity. His next email to
‘Sarah’ gave a hint that he himself might be concerned that people would think
badly of him and others.
Sarah, I think this particular conspiracy theory now needs to be laid to rest
to save everybody concerned a lot of time/effort. As my details are now
becoming publically available (thanks largely to GMC’s incompetence) it should
be quite clear that I am not working in some kind of witch–hunt coalition with
Badscience members/Ben Goldacre/Simon Wessely in a ‘campaign’ against you. This
is clearly nonsense as I have never had any contact with any of these people
and have acted entirely on my own initiative in bringing this complaint, which
in any case can hardly be considered a ‘campaign’. My only link with Badscience
is that I happen to enjoy discussing topical issues from time to time on the
forum there. You have my word that I am not conspiring with any other
dr’s/health professionals in making this complaint and that I am not acting on
anyone else’s behalf. I think my reasons for choosing anonymity following
submission of the complaint (remember the GMC have my full details so the
actual complaint itself was not anonymous) have become quite clear. You are
obviously highly regarded by the various support groups who have bought into
this particular theory, perhaps it would be wise to calm the waters before this
particular situation gets out of hand? I think it would also be wise to keep
any details we share by email private. (56)
attacks on Dr Sarah Myhill began in 2001 and since then she has faced the
prospect of six GMC Fitness to Practise Hearings. No complaint ever came from a
patient; all came instead from other doctors or from the GMC itself. During
those investigations, her website was extensively examined by the GMC,
including the use of a commissioned expert witness report; it was not found
wanting. All allegations over a decade were dropped with no case to answer, and
no sanctions were placed on her practice.
On 8 April 2010, Sarah received a letter from Rebecca Townsley, assistant
registrar at the GMC, stating that there had been two complaints about her
medical practice received by the GMC. The GMC considered that these complaints
brought her fitness to practise into question and so instigated an Interim
Orders Panel Hearing.
complaint that was termed the ‘B12 Complaint’ came from a practice of eight
GPs, Dr H L Moss and Partners, who complained about Sarah’s advice that they
should prescribe vitamin B12 and magnesium sulphate injections to a patient at
their practice who suffered from Batten’s disease.
The ‘Website Complaint’ concerned a complainant, described as a clinical
scientist, who considered that DrMyhill’s website represented a risk to public
safety. As far as Sarah Myhill was concerned, the complainant was effectively
anonymous, although he quickly became known as Stuart Jones.
These complaints were heard at an IOP Hearing held on 29th April 2010. Despite
the fact that the GMC has frequently claimed that it does not control the
practice of doctors, a major content of the complaint against DrMyhill was
evidently aimed at stopping her from taking various treatment courses. The
complaints against Myhill arise from the belief that her treatments do not
conform to National Guidelines, in the case of the website complaint, and that
Sarah Myhill’s recommended treatments in the case of the B12 were off licence
and therefore in some way not generally recommended. Both NeilJinks, GMC
assistant registrar in 2006, and the gynaecologist Wendy Savage in her book A
Savage Enquiry (about her own struggle with the GMC, which became a cause
célèbre), make the point that the GMC cannot get involved in treatment
modalities, stating that:
is not the place of the GMC to take a position on the correctness or otherwise
of generally recommended or of possible ‘cutting edge’ treatment… One of the
most important principles of the practice of medicine is that of clinical
autonomy, which allows a fully trained doctor the responsibility for deciding
which mode of treatment is best for his or her patients… Clinical autonomy
means that consultants and GPs are responsible for their own clinical decisions
and should not be criticised by their colleagues as long as those decisions are
within the ‘broad limits of acceptable medical practice’.
me the most important aspects of criticism of any GMC hearing are to do with
procedure. Due process is to my mind the most important part of law; without
due process the law becomes a confusing area where vested interests compete
with each other to serve their own ends. The GMC has made common practice out
of processes that the Metropolitan Police at it most corrupt in the 1970s only
of the first principles of British, European and even world law has always been
that the accused is allowed to face their accuser in the court, not simply so
that the accuser’s demeanour and physical presence can be seen by a jury, but
also, and most importantly, so that the accused can cross–examine the accuser.
This process has only recently been forfeited in some terrorist trials or those
involving informers to whom harm might later fall. Even then, in such
cases, the witness has to arrive at the court and, though their voice might be
disguised and though they may sit behind a screen, they are bound to answer
questions from the defence that go to the heart of their accusation.
The GMC, in line with organisations like the RSPCA and RSPCC and other lower
tribunals, now allow complainants to keep their anonymity. In the 1990s, when
the pharmaceutical companies desired to bring their own cases before the GMC
against doctors who worked against their interests, the Association of the
British Pharmaceutical Industry’s (ABPI) own private investigation agency
Medico–Legal Investigations (MLI) worked with the journalists to bring a number
of cases before the GMC. (57) It seems to have been the case that, at that
time, the GMC was unprepared to act unethically bringing charges without
complainants to the hearings.
decade and a half later, however, in the case of Dr Andrew Wakefield, the GMC
appeared happy to ditch all pretence of due process. Brian Deer, a journalist
for The Sunday Times, ‘uncovered’ the story of Dr Wakefield’s wrongdoings and
then, after consorting with MLI and its appearance in The Sunday Times, sent
his ‘evidence’ to the GMC, who caught it and ran with it. The prosecution case
never reached further than Deer’s improbable ‘exposé’. Deer was never asked to
give evidence and it seems more than likely that the GMC felt Deer would have
been a poor and perhaps volatile witness, unable to cope under
In the case of DrMyhill, the GMC excelled itself, flying in the face of
hundreds of years of jurisprudence. Despite there being two sets of original
complainants, the GMC refused to bring any of them to give evidence or be
cross–examined. Just how, a person would be able to prove their innocence
without tackling the accuser is beyond reason. However, the GMC seems to
sidestep such minor issues.
None of the partners of one complaint including Dr Y, a partner from the
practice who had complained against DrMyhill, was brought to any hearings.
Neither was Professor Bouloux, the expert witness who tendered a flawed expert
witness report. Of course, in relation to the second set of charges, Stuart
Jones was not present for cross–examination. Keen to cross–examine all these
parties, the defence asked to subpoena the practice partner, only to be told
that only the GMC could subpoena witnesses. How does the GMC get away with
The website complaint against DrMyhill was perhaps far more complex than either
she or her lawyers understood. For the past 10 years, the FDA especially, but
also all the corporate interest organisations and the UK regulatory agencies
have tried hard to bring ‘health freedom’ websites under control. It’s the same
old story: while pharmaceutical companies sell off their produce to agents who
sell them over the Internet with no care about buyers’ medical status or full
explanations of adverse reactions, alternative medicine practitioners or
campaigners are increasingly coming under attack for explaining their therapies
or criticising pharmaceutical medicine.
DrMyhill’s case, the website complaint from Stuart Jones was based on a
personal belief system, which bore little relation to any objective reality.
The complainant seemed to believe that NICE guidelines were in some way
mandatory, and that doctors who do not abide by them should be investigated for
malpractice. This is not the case. (58)
The website complaint brought up the issues of due process, perhaps more than
any complaints made in DrMyhill’s case. The GMC seems to have reassured the
complaining medical research worker of his anonymity and the lack of need for
him to attend the hearing. How, then, was his completely unreferenced complaint
to be pursued? He had, for instance, objected to a claim on DrMyhill’s website
that women should not always attend for breast screening. And yet, the concept
of regular mass breast screening it is now often criticised, as this reference
in the Belfast Telegraph makes clear:
The UK’s national breast screening programme is harming almost as many women as
it helps and must be urgently re–evaluated, a review in England has
The benefits of breast screening — early detection of cancer followed by rapid
treatment — are finely balanced against the harms of over–diagnosis followed by
unnecessary treatment and suffering, the review says.
screening has divided the medical establishment for more than 20 years. The
central drawback of screening is that in some cases the cancer (or other
disease) detected does not need treating, either because it is a false alarm,
because it resolves naturally or because it is very slow growing (so you die of
something else) ... Critics of screening suggest for every woman
saved, as many as 10 undergo unnecessary treatment. (59)
2009, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a paper on breast screening
in Denmark, which showed that deaths had fallen faster in areas without
screening than those with. Researchers were accused of ‘undermining trust’.
In this account, I can only skate over the worst iniquities of the GMC abuse of
process and false charges, but the outcome of the complaint against DrMyhill,
heard at the GMC in April 2010, was that she was found guilty without any
evidence, in the face of completely manufactured charges, of advising some
things on her website that some doctors and most pharmaceutical companies would
disagree with. Her practice was restricted for nine months and her advice to
patients had to be supervised, but perhaps most importantly, a number of
statements and information alluding to vaccination were ordered to be taken down from her website.
In October 2010, DrMyhill was called before another hearing the outcome of
which was that she was banned from acting as a doctor for a period of six
for the moment at least, on 6th January 2011 the Interim Orders Panel, GMC,
made the decision to lift the suspension of her GMC registration and to restore
her licence to practise medicine. The Panel again placed a small number of
procedural conditions on DrMyhill’sregistration, reversing its fitness to practice order while substituting a whole list of conditions. Supporters of
DrMyhill promote this change as a win and suggest that the prescribed
conditions are largely cosmetic and procedural. DrMyhill herself suggests that
this climb–down will enable her ‘to carry out about 95% of her normal work’.
However, reading the new terms and condition of practice, one is struck by just
how arrogant and partisan the GMC is as they continue to protect their backs,
principally concerned about being taken to a real court.
In the book there is a section about Meryl Doray that
you will have to buy the book to read. It then continues ...
objective of the Myhill and Dorey cases from the perspective of those who
attacked them, are, in Sarah Myhill’s case, to force therapeutic hegemony on
Britain’s doctors, and, in Meryl Dorey’s case, to enforce the use of allopathic
pharmaceuticals, specifically vaccines on Australia’s parents. To these ends,
they were both the subjects of originally anonymous complaints by those
sympathetic to the Skeptics, and they were both ordered, after a bogus
investigation, to take down or alter parts of their websites.
The censuring of health information about medicine on the Internet is something
that corporations have been very concerned about and committed to over recent
years. This is interesting when one considers that these same people and these
same organisations get hysterical about China and other countries interfering
with the communications laws and regulations of other countries.
The complaints against DrMyhill and Meryl Dorey were made by Skeptic fellow
travellers, citing material, in DrMyhill’s case, that alluded to vaccination
and the treatment of ME (chronic fatigue syndrome) (64) and on the Australian
Vaccination Network about the problems with adverse reactions to vaccination.
This has involved concerted attacks on those who put forward such views. The
contemporary vaccine wars have been waged at an escalating rate in Britain
since the sixties and industry–protective organisations have worked hard to
censor alternative views to mass vaccination and herd immunity.
The Skeptical complainants in both cases, however, manifest a different
reaction to the complaints they had made, in England to the GMC and in
Australia to the HCCC. The Australian complainant appeared publicly, with the
over–aggressive emphasis used by quackbusters to protect themselves, on film and on the Internet. Collegiate organisations, and tipped–off regulatory
organisations, rounded on Meryl, upping the stakes as days went by,
name–calling and using vile threats on Twitters and other email facilities,
while using every conceivable form of complaint to regulatory and oversight
In both cases the complaints were made by men against women; in both cases, the
victims have fought back in a collective and exemplary manner. Both victims
sought advice from radical academics and campaigners, and placed this advice on
a similar parallel to the advice from lawyers. (65)
The way in which both organisations fought back and clearly survived, without
massive public success but with an enhanced reputation amongst those who
believe in freedom and democracy, shows that people are learning clear lessons
about resistance. The lessons can be summarised in this way:
Both groups framed their fight–back in political terms, with an emphasis on
freedom of speech and civil and constitutional rights.
In varying degrees, each organisation and both of the individuals involved
understood from the beginning that they were being attacked, and that those who
were attacking them were out to destroy their work and their published views.
Both groups immediately publicised a message that answered and rebutted the
accusations. There were no apologies, nor linguistic compromise.
Both groups published contemporary information telling all their supporters
what was going on.
Both groups developed their websites, rather than curtailed them.
The British group was immediately supported by patients who demonstrated
outside the GMC.
When Skeptics and their fellow travellers became involved in violent Internet
threats against Meryl Dorey, she and her colleagues went straight to the
police, publicised the threats, and demanded they record the incidents.
Both groups learned very quickly that, on the whole, journalists are a waste of
space because their newspapers and other media outlets are deeply tied to
both these cases the whole point of the complaints was to censor the voices of
pharmaceutical and chemical victims. It is very important that we understand
the simple message exposed by both these complaints. In the Brave New World of
science dictocrats, there is to be only one medical view, the official view,
the pharmaceutical view. Anyone, whether a doctor or a layperson, who expresses
any other view is first to be censored and then punished. Parents, for example,
will not be allowed access to information about vaccination that is contrary in
any respect to the orthodox view. Only one view is allowed: ‘four legs good,
two legs bad’. Medically, politically and socially, this is totalitarianism
engineered and provoked by powerful governments and corporations.
But perhaps even more frightening in this new world is the fact that it will
ultimately not be intelligent four–legged animals making the decisions, but
corporate science groupies, individuals whose cultural and intellectual acumen
often ranks lower than a snake’s belly.
(Cont.) is now in the parliamentary record, questioning the remit based on the
people who had been invited to give oral submissions to the hearing. She also
petitioned her MP and wrote a further two emails that were circulated to
members accusing the Committee of obvious bias. She addressed the homeopathic
community asking them to petition their MPs about this bias. However, there was
no official statement on the issue and it proved impossible to get one on the
There has been a thirty–year campaign by psychiatric interests to prove that
there are no environmental factors involved in ME.
Bad Science, posted on Thursday April 15th at 2.20.
Uber: an outstanding or supreme example of a particular kind of person or
thing. He accuses DrMyhill of being a supreme quack!
03 May 2010 10:12 to Sarah Myhill and subject titled: False accusations at
Mon, May 3, 2010 at 6:04 PM Jones to Myhill.
In the mid 1990s they worked with Duncan Campbell, the New Statesman’s
journalist who joined the Campaign Against Health Fraud.
DrMyhill’s legal brief.
Belfast Telegraph on 4 August 2010:
An understanding of this organisation gives us a clear indication of what
herbalists, homeopaths and nutritionists will be faced with when complaints are
brought to the Health Professions Council (HPC), in the new regulatory system
outlined at the beginning of this chapter.
previous page) Walker, J Martin. SKEWED: Psychiatric hegemony and the
manufacture of mental illness, in Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Gulf War
Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Slingshot
Publications. London 2003.
Jayne Bryant and One Click helped organise support for Dr Sarah Myhill, while
Brian Martin, the exceptional Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at
the University of Wollongong, and I both helped Meryl Dorey, although with
nothing she wasn’t capable of organising herself!
Dr Sarah Myhill
Dirty Medicine - The Handbook by Martin J Walker
Monday, 8 August 2011
Science and Communications Officer, ANH-Intl.
activist author, Martin J Walker, follows up his classic 1993 book Dirty
Medicine with a revised and updated version, entitled Dirty Medicine: The
new book provides key information on individuals and organisations involved in
the attacks on natural healthcare in the UK.
also covers 'The Antidote' - details of the activists and authors who have been
or are involved in the resistance.
recommends the book unreservedly to all our followers, and to anyone with an
interest in the topic. In fact, everyone should read this book!
faux intellectual lobby groups are running one of the greatest scams ever
practised, yet they manage to keep their smug self-satisfied cynical demeanor
as they destroy people's choice of health care therapies...Treatments and
remedies should be as natural as possible...and all treatments should be chosen
in cooperation with patients, rather than imposed by doctors or 'scientists'.
It is also clear that the long-term development towards a science-based,
high-tech, robotic society, has to be questioned and discussed by 'the people',
now, in the widest public forums."
J Walker, Dirty Medicine: The Handbook
We need more books like this. For many reasons, natural healthcare finds itself
on the back foot in 2011, and in a big way. Make no mistake: we are in a
titanic struggle for the preservation of all healthcare modalities that don't
fit the mainstream view. Nowadays, that view amounts to a straitjacket borne of
ideology, commerce and a desire for control both of the individual and society
by a narrow group of vested interests. Like the Hydra, or maybe more
appropriately like the various forms of skin rash that can accompany a single
infection, the anti-natural healthcare lobby presents itself in so many forms
that it's difficult to keep track - and even more difficult to organise
against. This is where Martin Walker's brilliant Dirty Medicine: The Handbook
Dirty Medicine for the 21st century
in 1993, a book appeared that traced the battles between orthodox medicine and
natural healthcare from a specifically UK perspective. Other authors, including
Harris L Coulter, Morris Beale and Eustace Mullins, had done a similar service
to US history, but this book was among the first, if not the first, to take
such a wide-ranging, historical and forensic approach to the subject in the UK.
The book was Dirty Medicine by Martin J Walker. So popular was the book among
the 'alternativista', once it went out of print, it became much sought after on
the second-hand market.
Twenty years on, Walker rightly conceded it was time for a major update. In
2011, things have changed and a new approach is needed. In Dirty Medicine: The
Handbook, Walker rejects the narrative style of his earlier book in favour of a
reference work, containing brief but essential information on the key players
arrayed against natural healthcare.
A bit of history
explaining how he came to be such a committed activist on behalf of natural
healthcare, Walker offers a potted history of the attacks on natural healthcare
over the past 20 or so years. Walker's thesis is that science, once a noble
pursuit dedicated to the advancement of humankind and its understanding of the
world around us, has been subverted by industrial notions of profit, commerce
and technology. 'Real' scientists, that is, scientists who are unconnected to
vested interests and who pursue the truth in an objective manner, are
increasingly rare, while corporate science has stopped being a method to
explore the universe and become an ideology - that many now refer to as
'scientism'. Now that science has stopped working to benefit humanity and merely
works to enrich industry, says Walker, people are realising that many of its
technological goodies do not - despite all the breathless propaganda - make
their lives better; in fact, often just the opposite happens. This pits the
people against the corporate scientists and, by default, our governments, whose
policies, beliefs and even personnel are often indistinguishable from those of
the corporations. And so the corporate science Frankenstein employs every trick
in the book to persuade the public that its greedy, dishonest and often plain
harmful actions are the best thing since comfy chairs...which is where the
propagandists, in all their guises, come in. Nowhere is this more true than in
Marching toward monopoly
an attractive theory, and one that works in the context of orthodox medicine's
relentless quest for a healthcare monopoly that stretches back to the time of
Henry VIII, the apothecaries and the Herbalists' Charter. It's easy to see why
Walker defines the threat as coming from a "tripartite construct [made up
of] 'the medical establishment', 'the pharmaceutical industry' and a section of
'the scientific community'", which has been working to counteract
"the rise of alternative and complementary medicine, the advent of the
environmental health movement and the privatisation in part of the [UK National
Health Service]". In 2011 in Europe, it's more of a four-way threat with
the European Commission (EC) involved; five if one considers Member State
regulators separately from the EC; and six if the wider threat from Codex
Alimentarius is included.
Luckily, like Mr Walker, we relish a challenge here at ANH-Intl! A broad-based
community backlash to what is being thrown at us by governments and
corporations could be regarded as nothing other than a natural response; one
that hopefully serves to bring us back on course, living at one with ourselves
and the natural world around us.
To whet the appetite
meat of the book for researchers and activists are the chapters giving brief
details, histories and juicy tidbits on the spectrum of the anti-natural
healthcare operators, from individuals, through organisations, to skeptic
websites. Reading these from A to Z is highly worthwhile, and very
entertaining, for anyone with even a vague interest in the topic. To quote a
few choice entries:
On Lord Dick Taverne, chairman of skeptic charity Sense About Science: "A
great friend and colleague of David Sainsbury, who became Minister of Science
under New Labour in 1997, he and Taverne were partially responsible for the New
Labour victory. After 1997 the two of them designed and put into practice the
whole lobby structure intended to defend pharmaceutical corporations and
corporate GM [genetically modified] science. In the early 2000s, Taverne set up
the Science Media Centre and Sense About Science, with his newfound ex-RCP
[Revolutionary Communist Party] colleagues". The role of ex-RCPers is a
fascinating thread running through the fabric of the anti-natural healthcare
campaign in the UK.
On Simon Singh: "Throughout 2009 and the first part of 2010, the corporate
science lobby ran a campaign to change the libel laws headed up by
Singh...after Singh wrote a deprecating article in the Guardian about chiropractors....the
science lobby...needed to be free of the constraints of libel law so as to be
able to attack in the most outrageous manner anyone who had different beliefs
from them...Sense About Science...became the organiser of the Keep Libel Laws
Out Of Science campaign.". In 2011, we have Professor Edzard Ernst
salivating at the prospect of his retirement, when he can be "Outspoken
about quackery and charlatans. I look forward to that. Hopefully,
UK libel law has changed again by then."
The entry on 'Skeptics' reads thus: "Their proliferation followed a
classic post-war CIA template of contacting an academic or a scientist in a
University or other organisation and then establishing a cell that gathers in
believers or followers who are unaware of the overall plan...they...usually
present themselves as aggressive male dogmatists who argue blindly in favour of
corporate science...leading...Skeptics think curtailing freedom of choice in
medicine and supporting corporate denial of iatrogenic [i.e. physician-caused]
damage is great fun".
Time to get busy!
stating the problem, Walker looks to the future while acknowledging the past.
His chapter on 'The Antidote' highlights writers and activists both historical
and present-day who have dived into the thick of the struggle to maintain our
rights to self-determination in healthcare. It's particularly refreshing to
find a book list that will enable anyone to gain an historical perspective on
the modern situation. Finally, for all the budding activists out there, the
chapter on 'Organising and Fighting Back' offers a crash course in getting
involved, with Walker's 20-odd years of experience illuminating his advice.
It's vital to remember how often resistance actually works, and Walker gives
some case studies to show how it's done.
If the struggle to maintain access to natural healthcare methods is to prevail
against the seemingly overwhelming forces ranged against us, people have to
realise that the issues are universal: they affect everyone, whether patient,
practitioner, product distributor or manufacturer, old or young, sick or
healthy. The days of sitting on the fence and hoping things will sort
themselves out - a very British attitude - are over. As Walker states in the closing
paragraphs of this rousing, amusing, vitally important book, "Developing
global corporatism is a massive threat to modern democracy...the days of
getting by without an interest in politics and the arrangements of power in
society have come to an end and unless we fight for what we believe in, in the
field of natural medicine especially, we will enter a new era of serfdom in
which we will all be enslaved to global corporatism...part of your day should
be spent educating, agitating and organising against those who seek to
dismantle our beliefs, our cultures and our very identities."
Buy copies for your friends and family, get 'em fired up, and let's start
taking back our rights. Our children will thank us. Dirty Medicine: The
Handbook by Martin J Walker can be purchased from Slingshot Publications (£15
plus postage and packing, bulk discounts apply).
Martin J Walker's other books and essays can also be obtained from Slingshot
Mullins: Murder By Injection_Harris L Coulter: Divided Legacy Vols. I-IV. Omar
Garrison: The Dictocrats' Attack on Health Food and Vitamins. _PJ Lisa: Are You
A Target For Elimination? and The Great Medical Monopoly Wars. Richard Milton:
Forbidden Science: Exposing the Secrets of Suppressed Research and Alternative
Science: Challenging the Myths of the Scientific Establishment. Rupert
Sheldrake: A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Formative Causation.
Patrick Holford and Jerome Burne: Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs. For many
more, books and references, see the chapter entitled 'The Antidote' in Dirty
Medicine: The Handbook.
A Review of Dirty Medicine - The Handbook by Martin J
Walker ~ Jenny Allan
Sunday, 7 August
As the title ‘Dirty Medicine’ implies,
this book exposes the malign influences and practices within the pharmaceutical
industries, which produce and market conventional medicines and vaccines. But
Martin Walker’s book also demonstrates the way these powerful corporations, are
inextricably linked with our food, drink, chemical and agricultural industries,
all of which have significant political lobbying power and influence. The huge
advertising revenues generated by these industries, also ensures press and media
compliance, regarding information released to the public. Walker uses the
umbrella term ‘corporate science’ to describe these industries. This is a
deliberate contradiction in terms, since these industries are principally about
the pursuit and protection of profits and this, more often than not, actually
involves the subversion of science.
Walker has meticulously researched his handbook, fearlessly naming and
carefully explaining the roles played by corporate sponsored individuals and
groups, and how these have evolved into huge global networks, enmeshing us all
within a web of corporate and political lies and misinformation. This
propaganda is carefully fed to the public through powerful, often unscrupulous
press and media outlets, and reinforced, via extensive Internet websites and
blogs. These corporate ‘protection rackets’ are coordinated by self proclaimed
‘Skeptics’ and ‘quackbusters’. Any unfortunate scientist or doctor who
unwittingly dares to question the safety of any medicine, or discovers any
adverse side effects which might result in a loss of public confidence, thus
threatening to dent those big corporation profits, is ruthlessly dealt with;
these people operate like hyenas, first targeting then circling their prey,
before finally moving in for the kill.
There are numerous examples of such corporate professional and character
assassinations in the handbook, including the ongoing vilification of medical
research scientist, Dr Andrew Wakefield, whose published 1998 Lancet paper
tentatively suggested a link between the MMR vaccine and autism in children. Dr
Wakefield was eventually struck off the medical register after a hugely
expensive three year General Medical Council ‘show trial’, instigated by a
complaint from the same investigative journalist, whose commissioned Sunday
Times articles in 2004, originally accused Dr Wakefield of falsifying his
research findings. Dr Wakefield was hounded out of his job and his country, his
reputation in tatters, the Lancet paper totally discredited, then finally
retracted. Walker laments the fact that Wakefield’s victimisation ‘disguised
the effective disappearance of over one and a half thousand children who had
suffered appalling damage.’ The suffering continues, as does the official
vaccine damage denials.
Corporate harassment is also practised against those persons and groups,
attempting to publicly defend doctors and scientists, or who highlight grass
roots concerns about medicines and vaccines. Two such persons, whose
experiences are included in the book, are Dr Sarah Myhill in the UK, and Meryl
Dorey, who set up the Australian Vaccine Network. These persons provide health
information on the Internet, facilitating personal informed health choices,
including parental choices regarding vaccinations for their children. Both
DrMyhill and MsDorey have been subjected to sustained campaigns of spurious
complaints and corporate harassment, and both were eventually forced to remove
certain information from their websites. DrMyhill has been dragged before the
GMC on numerous occasions; these ‘Fitness to Practise’ allegations have mostly
come to nothing, but recently the GMC used 5 Interim Orders Panel Hearings to
first suspend, then reinstate DrMyhill with practice sanctions. During this
protracted process, a new GMC charge was added to the list. Dr. Myhill was
accused of assisting at the birth of Rosemary Hogg’s babies, this happy event
having occurred during a period of GMC suspension. Rosemary is DrMyhill’s pet
pig!! The GMC snoops apparently accessed this information from a spoof article
on DrMyhill’s website, but failed to link to the accompanying photographs of
the proud mum and her eight piglets. At the time of writing this the ‘Hogg’ GMC
charges are still active, pending a planned DrMyhill Fitness to Practice full
hearing in November 2011. Walker is particularly scathing about the GMC, which
he says ‘has made common practice out of processes that the Metropolitan Police
at its most corrupt in the 1970’s only dreamed about.’ ’Nuff said!'
Walker reveals the way the ‘Skeptics’ are presently scheming to achieve the
annihilation of all alternative medicines and therapies. Their collective
malevolence, even ‘homes in’ on those two highly respected therapies, acupuncture
and homeopathy; the latter actually having as devotees, The Queen and several
other Royal Family members. Interestingly, Professor Edzard Ernst, listed in
the book as ‘the first and so far the only Professor of Complementary Medicine
in Britain’, was recently the subject of several newspaper reports, after he
branded Prince Charles a ‘snake oil salesman’ at a London conference. The
Prince’s legendary and enthusiastic promotion of homeopathic and other
alternative medicines had previously been the subject of several vicious
attacks by Professor Ernst. Walker’s bio on Professor Ernst occupies a page and
a quarter of the book, ending with this homily. ‘What a deceptive thesbian of a
man; you would be a fool to believe a word he says.’ Professor Ernst has
now been forced to retire early from his Exeter University post. It’s perfectly
OK to publicly vilify eminent doctors and scientists, but only fools dare to
‘tangle’ with Royalty, 'Off with his head' should reasonably have been the
A huge public demand in the UK actually resulted in homeopathy and acupuncture
being briefly available on the NHS. Walker’s book reveals how vested interests
in conventional medicines systematically succeeded in dismantling free public
access to these and other alternative therapies, although the Skeptics are also
fiercely determined to eliminate private access to alternative therapies,
including the availability of herbal remedies and vitamins sold by health
stores and other retail outlets. Some of these po-faced public comments about
such off the shelf products are quite ridiculous. Back in the 1950’s I lined up
with my brothers and sisters for a daily spoonful of ‘welfare’ cod liver oil,
provided free or at minimal cost by a post war UK government, determined to
improve the health of the nation’s children. Walker quotes from a rather more
recent Thames Action TV interview with a hospital medical professor, who cited
a case where he claimed an ‘overdose’ of fish liver oil capsules, had resulted
in severe kidney damage, the female patient having swallowed large numbers of
the capsules, in the mistaken belief that fish oil contained beauty enhancing
properties. The programme failed to mention that overdoses of almost any
substance can be harmful, including those easily obtained remedies, aspirin and
paracetamol, and that this particular professor was an active member of
HealthWatch, one of the anti alternative medicine groups named in this
book. There are many other examples of this kind of targeted misinformation
about all kinds of complementary medicines and therapies.
Overall, I found Dirty Medicine: The Handbook, to be very logically researched
and presented, with chapters alphabetically naming and detailing the
individuals, organisations, ad hoc groups and websites associated with what
Walker calls ‘health corporatists’. Although this book has been written
and is titled as a handbook, and is indeed an excellent source of reference
material, there is a great deal more to it than a ‘who’s who’ of
protagonists. Walker has also included detailed chapters giving his
personal views and a concise history, revealing how our health services and
associated medicines and therapies have become hopelessly corrupted by powerful
corporate vested interests. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the prose. Walker has
an ironic ‘tongue in cheek’ style which often had me chuckling. I also enjoyed
the cartoons, strategically placed at the end of several chapters. The
penultimate chapter, ‘The antidote’, is all about past and present personal and
group resistance against harmful, misleading corporate propaganda. The final
chapter ‘Organising and fighting back’ was of particular interest to me as a
campaigner against corruption in public services. Thanks Martin Walker. I found
this advice particularly helpful.
Whilst Walker was busy compiling and writing this damning treatise, he could
not have foreseen that his publication date would ultimately coincide with the
sudden escalation of the phone hacking scandal presently engulfing the Murdoch
News Corporation press and media empire. This was pure serendipity. For years
the Murdoch empire spin doctors and propaganda machines, have been allowed to
dictate so much of the information fed to the public. Rupert Murdoch’s son
James is presently both chief executive and chairman of News Corporation,
(Europe and Asia), and is also a non executive chairman of BSkyB. whilst also
being a non executive director of GlaxoSmithKline, manufacturers of the
controversial MMR vaccine, and a large portfolio of other pharmaceuticals, some
of which have ultimately proven harmful to patients in the past. The initial
unlawful News Corporation phone hacking revelations have now spread to corrupt
practices involving the police, and some very senior UK Government politicians
and advisers. The ripples emanating from this are still very active as I write
It remains to be seen, whether or not the Murdoch scandals will prove to be a
‘watershed’, heralding a new era of better moral
standards and integrity within our public and corporate institutions. Walker’s
book actually made me feel very guilty, because it is we, members of the
public, who are ultimately responsible for the kind of society we inhabit. As
long as we buy the newspapers, subscribe to satellite television programmes and
use Internet service providers, we are unwittingly adding to the powers of such
magnates, whose moral and ethical standards are often questionable. As
for politicians, they exist to serve US, not themselves. We MUST complain, and
keep complaining to our MPs about every single abuse of corporate and political
power. In just two days a UK ‘Stop Murdoch Campaign’ petition attracted 160,000
signatures and generated 100,000 letters to MPs. It was ‘people power’ NOT
political power that curtailed the Murdochs. Walker’s final chapter on
‘fighting back’ advocates both of the above actions and contains lots more
excellent advice about active campaigning. As I see it, we no longer have any
choice. We now desperately need people power to dominate, not corporate power,
and we must somehow make our collective voices heard and heeded in the
‘corridors of power’.
This review has included a couple of events which, like the Murdoch scandals,
involve persons or corporations mentioned in the book, but post date Walker’s
final publication copy. These events endorse the viewpoints expressed in the
book, without in any way detracting from his text. I included them both as
‘grist to the mill’ and a reminder that we all live in a dynamic world. I
believe in the power of knowledge, and now feel a little more enthused and
empowered after reading this book. You will too.