Sowing Doubt, Reaping Profit

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The ‘Product Defense Industry’ at Work

As David Michaels’ revealing book, Doubt is Their Product – How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health makes clear, manufacturing uncertainty and confusion is one of the main tools in the corporate playbook. The pattern holds whether it applies to chemicals, pesticides, tobacco, asbestos, climate change or…wireless technologies. The following two pieces illustrate that beautifully.

[Credit – Annie Tritt for The New York Times:
Deborah Tavares, with a sign protesting smart-meter installations, in Sebastopol, Calif.]

First, this pathetically brainwashed/brainwashing piece from the great “newspaper of record, the New York Times:”

Are We Hard-Wired to Doubt Science?

In researching Monday’s article about opposition to smart meters, I found myself once again facing a dilemma built into environmental reporting: how to evaluate whether claims of health effects caused by some environmental contaminant — chemicals, noise, radiation, whatever — are potentially valid? I turned, as usual, to the peer-reviewed science.

But some very intelligent people I interviewed had little use for the existing (if sparse) science. How, in a rational society, does one understand those who reject science, a common touchstone of what is real and verifiable? [ Good Question for this brainwashed or complicit reporter to answer by looking at what follows…]

Now, check this out from UK activist Eileen O’Connor of

Attempt to Destroy Scientific Mobile Telecommunication Data at the Medical University of Vienna Failed

Berlin, 31 January 2011 – Mid-2007 Prof. Alexander Lerchl, a biologist at the private Jacobs University Bremen and a member of the German Commission on Radiological Protection at the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, informs the rector of the Medical University of Vienna, Prof. Wolfgang Schütz, about a serious suspicion: the findings described in two publications from the Division of Occupational Medicine of his university are most likely fraudulent. This news is picked up by numerous national and international media, with the German newsmagazine

Der Spiegel leading the way, and broadcasted to the whole world. The documentation provided on our website ( reports on the strenuous attempts to remove the Vienna research findings, which indicate that cell phone radiation has a cancer-causing potential, from the scientific literature. Two scientists in important social positions, who certainly can be sure of the mobile phone industry’s appreciation, were in front of the line. That they disregard the information of the general public in favour of the cell phone industry do both – as it seems – approvingly accept.

The documentation published by Pandora – Foundation for Independent Research reveals the strategies used by the Viennese rector, which he, of course, would like to be understood as his personal commitment to truth in science. A further documentation will report on Prof. Lerchl’s activities that exceed even the rector’s schemes. As shown in the documentation, the Council for Scientific Ethics at the Medical University of Vienna and later in addition the Austrian Agency for Research Integrity – both mandated to clarify the case – had a hard time deciding as to whether they should fully honour the truth in science or not. In order to forestall uncomfortable decisions with far-reaching consequences, which would have been inevitable, they agreed on a compromise. Independently of each other, both commissions stated that there is no evidence that the suspected team manipulated its data. Both commissions also left no doubt that they consider the scientific quality of the Viennese research findings as being poor. In this way, they not only overstepped their mandate and competence, but at the same time also ensured that the two masterminds of this scandal and the academic facilities they head did not completely lose their reputation.

Even if the cell phone industry with its “war gaming” strategy, which it has been using with success in the US in the 90s of the past century, should have succeeded in discrediting and devaluing the Viennese research findings in the eyes of many people, this victory has meanwhile become meaningless. Because in the meantime – as shown in the documentation – several publications have been released whose findings agree with those obtained in Vienna.

Furthermore, epidemiological research provides more and more findings that the damage to the genome of human cells, as has been observed in Vienna and elsewhere, can certainly contribute to the development of malignant tumours. Still to come, in January 2011 research findings of an epidemiological study from Israel will be published showing that the incidence of tumours of the parotid gland, which belongs to the sites of the highest exposure to cell phone radiation, has quadrupled since 1970, with the highest increase occurring after 2001. That the human brain will be more resistant to cell phone radiation is highly unlikely in regard of already available epidemiological research data. It remains to be seen how the cell phone industry and its friends in the scientific community will respond to that.

Prof. Dr. Franz Adlkofer & Prof. Dr. Karl Richter
Board of Pandora – Foundation for Independent Research

Trustee: Andreas Kaffka
Birkenwerderstrasse 27b
OT Bergfelde
D-16562 Hohen Neuendorf

For more details on this, please see:

About the Handling of Scientific Findings Regarding Mobile Phone Research at the Medical University of Vienna
Franz Adlkofer and Karl Richter

Mid-2007 Prof. Alexander Lerchl, biologist at the private Jacobs University in Bremen and member of the German Commission on Radiological Protection (SSK) of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), informs the rector of the Medical University of Vienna (MUV), Prof. Wolfgang Schütz, about a serious suspicion: the findings of research carried out at the Division of Occupational Medicine of his university and published in Mutation Research in 2005 (Diem et al.) are most likely fraudulent. Shortly thereafter, he makes the same accusation against another study from the same laboratory, which was published in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health (IAOEH) at the beginning of 2008 (Schwarz et al.). In spring 2008, the rector mandates the newly appointed Council for Scientific Ethics of MUV, which consists of three persons he trusts, to clarify the expressed suspicion. Without thoroughly examining the allegations, this Council confirms the accusation of data fabrication already after its first meeting on May 16, 2008. As a result, the rector demands of the authors to immediately retract their publications from Mutation Research and the International Archives. He also demands of the editors – just like Prof. Lerchl did before – to remove the publications from their scientific journals because of a suspected serious scientific fraud. A first press release by the rector and a first report in the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel written by the journalist Manfred Dworschak immediately broadcast the allegedly confirmed fraud scandal to the whole world.
However, a few days after the meeting of the Council for Scientific Ethics it is accidentally revealed that the rector-appointed Council chair has been a lawyer employed by the Austrian mobile phone industry. Because of suspicion of partiality, Prof. Hugo Rüdiger, the former director of the Clinical Division of Occupational Medicine and corresponding author of both publications, requests the immediate removal of this Council chair who, according to the Council’s statutes, should never have been appointed to this position. He also withdraws the signatures he gave to letters presented to him and addressed to the editors of the two journals, in which he had declared his willingness to retract the publications. The team member accused of data fabrication follows his example. Thus, they both join the decision of the two co-authors Prof. Franz Adlkofer (Munich) and Prof. Niels Kuster (Zurich) who are independent of the MUV rector and who strictly refused from very beginning to withdraw the publications as requested by Prof. Schütz and Prof. Lerchl. Due to the pressure created by the events, the rector sees himself finally forced to replace the industry employee suspected of partiality with a new chair. The successor is a former lawyer in public administration who indeed is independent. In the meetings on June 19, July 24, September 25, and November 13, 2008, under his chair the Council for Scientific Ethics comes to the conclusion that the suspicion of fraud cannot be proven. [Read more… ]