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Research as a Weapon: Manipulating, Falsifying and Repressing

by Spiegel Online Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2003 at 4:53 AM
mbatko@lycos.com

"The American oil economy which the Bush administration represents also profits from scientific falsification. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton declared that Arctic oil drilling would not endanger cariboo."Trans fr German

Research as a Weapon: Manipulating, Falsifying and Repressing

By Spiegel Online

The US government doesn’t only bend the truth to justify wars. A congressional committee is now investigating how (p)resident George W. Bush and his own manipulated science and came to scandalous conclusions.

[This article is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,

http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/mensch/0,1518,260859,00.html.]

The congressional report reads like an amalgam of manipulation, open falsification and repression of unpopular research results. “The political interference of the government led to misleading statements of the (p)resident, vague information to Congress, changed webvsites, repressed institute reports and gagging of scientists”, it says in the 40-page paper of the government reform committee of the House of Representatives led by democrat Henry Waxman. The manipulations have one thing in common though they occur in many areas: “The beneficiaries of the distortions are important assistants of the (p)resident, other conservatives and powerful industrial groups.”

The bizarre developments around se3xual morality show that interventions serve ideological and economic interests. There is obviously only one acceptable contraception method: not having sex. To undergird this scientifically, the government according to the report dressed up, hyped up or cooked the books on statistics on their “abstinence only” campaign.

Information on Contraception Repressed

Youths who want to learn something about the functionality of a condom will not find anything on the offical websites. The Bush administration erased the information about the concerns of Parisians from the website of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a governmental organization.

Whoever cannot be abstinent and becomes pregnant should not consider an abortion accordinfg to the will of Washington. Fear works wonders. Bush’s helpersd understood this and manipulated the Internet page of another governmental organization, the National Cancer Institute. On that site, an abortion was said to trigger breast cancer – an absurd assertion that contradicts the consensus among researchers and was denounced as an “enormous distortion of the evidentiary situation”.

The Internet portal of the Department of Education was not spared from Bush’s disinformation campaign according to the congressional report. In a circular letter, the co-workers at the department were urged to rfemove allo materials from the website that “do not agree with the philosophy of the administration”. National education organizations complained directly and unsuccessfully about censorship.

Fantastic Predictions on Missile Defense

In March 2003, Undersecretary for Defense Edward Aldridge claimed before the Senate committee that a missile defvense system would be ready by the end of 2004 that could strike missiles launched from Korea with ninety percent accuracy. In contrast, the most optimistic independent scientists see such a defense system atf least ten years in the future. Some regard it as technically impossible.

The American oil economy which the Bush administration represents should also profit from scientific falsification. Thus Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton declared to senators and representatives that Arctic oil drilling would not endanger the cariboo although scientists in their own authority previously said the cariboo would be threatened.

Selective Members of Scientific Groups

In agriculture, the Bush administration regards the interests of industry as more important than environmental care according to the report. The Department of Agriculture issued strict rules hindering publically employed researchers from publishing studies that could damage industry. In one concrete case, a microbiologist was prohibited from announcing research results pointing to the dangers in the Midwest through antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The Bush administration filled scientific committees with political ideologists who were scientifically ignorant. Jerry Thacker, a marketing expert who described homosexuality as a “variety of death” and Aids as a “gay plague” was appointed in the Combating Aids group.

“Rightwing Conservative Infiltration”

The committee for government reform in the US House of Representatives isn’t one of the first critics of Bush’s manipulation of science. Displeasure over Washington’s incursions has long stirred in the researcher community (cf. renowned magazines like “Science”, “Nature” or the “New England Journal of Medicine”).

The professional medical journal “The Lancer” denounced the seloective composition of inflouential scientific groups and warned of “rightwing conservative infiltration”. “Science” summarized the praxis of the Bush administration with surgical precision: Politics is sometimes injedcted in areas of science that “were earlier immune against this kind of manipulation”.



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