Saturday, August 31, 2013

PCRM's Dr. Neal Barnard howls about infecting Chinese beagles with rabies, but honors/praises my father, whose notorious experiments infected Chinese AIDS patients with malaria

Via Global Outcry Against Injecting Beagle Puppies with Rabies by Neal Barnard MD, published in today's Huffington Post:
It sounds like a scene from a horror movie: injecting rabies into beagle puppies and watching as they succumb to one of the most miserable of diseases. This isn't fiction. It's a cruel experiment that is real and imminent. The Taiwanese Council of Agriculture wants to test whether a new strain of rabies will spread from ferret-badgers to dogs. It aims to inject rabies into at least 14 puppies, and it is hoping that the world will turn a blind eye to this awful experiment.
Via Scientists linked to Heimlich investigated Experiment infects AIDS patients in China with malaria by Robert Anglen, Cincinnati Enquirer, February 16, 2003
Two prominent Los Angeles AIDS researchers are being investigated for taking part in a controversial medical experiment with Cincinnati physician Henry Heimlich to infect AIDS patients in China with malaria.Dr. Heimlich's) experiments - which seek to destroy HIV, the AIDS-causing virus, by inducing high malarial fevers- have been criticized by the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration and condemned by other health professionals and human rights advocates as a medical "atrocity.''
Via Heimlich maneuvers into AIDS therapy by Deena Beasley, CNN/Reuters, April 14, 2003:

Via Heimlich Maneuvered by Paul Teetor, LA Weekly, April 8, 2010:
In both its mission statement and its IRS filings, the Washington, D.C.–based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) says it is "strongly opposed to unethical human research."

But the group is throwing a private Hollywood Art of Compassion bash Sunday night to hand out a major award named after Dr. Henry Heimlich, who has been condemned by mainstream medical organizations around the world for his 20-year program of trying to cure cancer and AIDS by injecting people with malaria-infected blood.

...Neal Barnard founded PCRM in 1985, and still serves as president of the nonprofit organization, which has a $7.5 million annual budget and 35 paid staff. Barnard frequently appears on TV and radio as an advocate for animal rights in medical research.

Barnard declined repeated requests for comment.
My father and Dr. Barnard at PCRM's April 2010 "Art of Compassion" fundraiser in Hollywood (source)

Via a letter to the editor written by Dr. Barnard published in the September 22, 2004 Philadelphia Weekly:
I am not surprised to see that my good friend and colleague Henry J. Heimlich, M.D., is involved in medical controversy. Every scientific pioneer has to weather plenty of adversity in bringing innovations forward, and Dr. Heimlich is certainly one of the leading medical pioneers of our time.

...Dr. Heimlich demonstrates that innovative thinking remains the best tool we have in research and in healthcare generally, and I always encourage medical students and young physicians to follow his example.

PCRM's "Henry J. Heimlich Award for Innovative Medicine" (source)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Was Billboard #1 singer Luke Bryan lyin' about being saved in a dramatic choking rescue? He won't answer me, so any reporters or fans want to ask him? Here's his tour schedule and contact info

Via Luke Bryan expected to stay #1 on Billboard for second week, Nashville, November 29, 2013:
Last week, Luke Bryan sold an incredible 527,783 units of his new album "Crash My Party," placing him firmly at #1 on the Billboard 200. This week comes word that he's once again expected to be at #1.
Via The Atlantic, March 11, 2013:
On his blog, (Peter Heimlich) urges journalists to investigate potentially fraudulent stories about the maneuver being successfully used -- was country star Luke Bryan telling People Country magazine the truth about an errant piece of flatbread pizza?

People Country magazine, October 2012
My previous Sidebar items:
September 23, 2012: Who's the "mystery friend" that rescued Nashville singing star Luke Bryan from choking? His people won't tell me and the editor of People Country -- the magazine that broke the story -- isn't interested

November 8, 2012: Was country music star Luke Bryan lyin' about being rescued from choking? Not even his mother will back up the story.

 January 29, 2013: Nashville singer Luke Bryan's managers refuse to back up his "Heimlich choking rescue" story -- and an invitation to reporters to slice this baloney
If the story is fiction, I wonder if first responders or others who have participated in life or death choking incidents would be amused?

If any reporters or fans want to ask Bryan or his manager for details -- date of the incident, his friend's name, the name/location of the restaurant -- click here for his tour dates.

He's managed by Red Light Management, a powerhouse agency based in Charlottesville, VA headed by industry mogul Coran Capshaw. He's at (434)245-4900.

Per this e-mail exchange, one of Capshaw's employees promised to answer my questions, then disappeared. My guess is he checked with his client and discovered that the entire story was cooked.

If anyone follows through, I'd be interesting in learning the results.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Actor David Hasselhoff says claims published in three Chicago Tribune articles are lies, but the paper refuses to publish a correction [UPDATED]

11/25/13 UPDATE ARTICLE BASED ON NEWLY-AVAILABLE DOCUMENTS: Why did actor David Hasselhoff lie to me about his role with a shady nonprofit now under investigation for "possible $9m misappropriation"? Based on this information, I've retracted my corrections request to The Tribune.


Margaret Holt (source)

Via How news organizations are preparing to handle corrections today by Andrew Beaujon, Poynter Institute, November 6, 2012:
In an email, (the Chicago) Tribune standards editor Margaret Holt says, “our commitment to accuracy transcends publishing platform. Practically speaking, we believe it is important to fix an error promptly, whether it’s in print or online...In our guidelines, we say: If the error is straightforward, we want to fix it fast....
But last week when I brought to her attention that three articles on the Tribune's website include claims about actor David Hasselhoff that he says are lies, she refused to publish a correction.

Per my item last month, for almost a decade, the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF) claimed that the Baywatch star endorsed their organization and served on their board as "Honorary Chairman."

As Sidebar readers know, SALF was a high-profile Chicago nonprofit now reportedly under investigation by the Illinois Attorney General. Via the June 26, 2013 Dubuque Telegraph Herald:
Since its establishment in 1993, the foundation pledged to teach school children first aid and emergency response practices. Despite receiving nearly $9 million to fund the program, however, very few records of students being taught have been found.
Since 2006, SALF and its founder/president, Carol J. Spizzirri -- reportedly a twice-convicted shoplifter who claimed nonexistent nursing credentials and awarded herself a college degree -- have been the subject of dozens of media exposes

Spizzirri's organization claimed the Hasselhoff affiliation in media reports, in fundraising materials, and in applications for a $200,000 state grant.

As I reported, the genesis of the claims appears to be when Spizzirri's teenage daughter Ciprina appeared as an extra on an episode of Baywatch in the early 1990s.

Mama Spizzirri's outfit apparently inflated that flimsy connection into fabrications about The Hoff that were used to gin up press coverage and soak taxpayers.

The Tribune, which for years published error-ridden, rah-rah articles about Spizzirri and her politically-connected nonprofit, served as a major spreader for SALF's misrepresentations about Hasselhoff.

For example:

Surf's Up For Cpr Crusade As `Baywatch' Star Signs On by Christi Parsons, Chicago Tribune, December 30, 1993

Mother On A Mission -- First Aid Might Have Saved Her Daughter, Now, Carol Spizzirri Is A Relentless Crusader by Julie Dearforff, Chicago Tribune, January 16, 1995

Save-A-Life Foundation in limbo -- Charity dogged by critics, economy is 'in hibernation' by Lisa Black, Chicago Tribune, October 11, 2009

When I recently submitted a corrections request re: the above, a Tribune staffer responded with this Orwellian gem:
It appears the information was correct at the time the article [sic] was written.
I don't know what that means, but as I informed the Tribune, here's what David Hasselhoff's press agent wrote me last month. (Click here for the complete e-mail, including her contact info.)
I was able to reach Mr. Hasselhoff  over the weekend...He was never SALF's Honorary Chairman.  He never had any financial relationship with SALF.  He never had any personal contact with SALF. 
When I moved my request upstream to managing editor Jane Hirt, here's what came back:
Subject: RE: Tribune articles
Date: 8/15/2013 1:43 PM
Mr. Heimlich:

On behalf of Jane Hirt, I’m following up on your email on which she was copied. We have reviewed the email and do not plan a correction on the original article(s).


Margaret Holt
Standards Editor
In other words, "Suck on it, Hasselhoff. Despite your denial, we say you helped promote an organization that may have ripped-off millions of tax dollars."

Per the correspondence below, I also repeatedly asked Ms. Holt for a copy of the Tribune's vaunted - - at least according to what she told Poynter -- corrections policy.

I haven't received a reply.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Saint Louis University's medical research veep defends partnership with doctor who conducted medical "atrocity" on Chinese prisoners with AIDS

Raymond Tait PhD (source)

According to a letter I received yesterday from from Raymond Tait PhD, Vice President of Research at Saint Louis University's medical school, the college has no problem partnering with a doctor who conducted notorious offshore human experiments in which AIDS patients were infected with malaria.

Among the patients were prisoners overseen by hired security guards.

Lawrence Biondi S.J. (source)

Dr. Tait's letter was in response to my June 20 letter to college president Lawrence Biondi.

My letter informed Father Biondi that since 2011, SLU's Center for World Health and Medicine has partnered with Xiao Ping Chen (aka Chen Xiao Ping), the Guangzhou doctor who led the Heimlich Institute's notorious "malariotherapy" experiments in the 1990s.

The information I provided to Father Biondi included a 2003 Cincinnati Enquirer front page article that reported:
(The) experiments - which seek to destroy HIV, the AIDS-causing virus, by inducing high malarial fevers- have been criticized by the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration and condemned by other health professionals and human rights advocates as a medical "atrocity.''
My letter also included the following information along with a pdf consisting of hundreds of pages of supporting documents. Click here to download those -- the parenthetical numbers correspond to the page numbers.

The Heimlich/Chen project was so radioactive that, as a result of an anonymous letter I sent ten years ago, UCLA investigated faculty members who were involved. That story was reported by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, ABC 20/20, and elsewhere.

I thought a prominent Jesuit university like SLU would be concerned about working with a doctor with Chen's background. (According to this, Washington University of St. Louis is also involved.)


In fact, according to Dr. Tait, the university is apparently proud to be partnering with Dr. Chen.

Although his letter -- click here to download a copy -- completely ignored the concerns I presented to Father Biondi, he did provide what I presume to be this intended reassurance.

Dr. Chen is using mice, not human beings, as research subjects.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My inquiry today to Barbados hospital chief re: Heimlich/Rotary "mystery study" allegedly conducted on dozens of kids

From Mystery Study by Shawn Cumberbatch, Barbados Today, August 7, 2013 (my emphasis):
The Ministry of Health is officially probing the existence of a controversial asthma study purportedly done in Barbados and involving a famous American physician.
But amid continued external queries about whether the research “followed legal and ethical guidelines”, Acting Permanent Secretary Tennyson Springer said initial investigations had found no evidence of its existence.
For the past several months Peter Heimlich, son of Henry Heimlich who is widely credited with developing the “choking rescue treatment” called the Heimlich Manoeuvre, has been requesting information from the Ministry of Health on the study.
...Last month Springer responded on the Ministry of Health’s behalf and told the younger Heimlich that there was no knowledge of the study which was said to have involved 67 minors.
..."(I) wish to acknowledge receipt of your correspondence and inform you that the matter is being investigated..."So far, there has been no institutional memory or documentation of this research. However, the Ministry of Health will continue to probe into this alleged project."

Click here for a 156-page pdf file that documents the "alleged project," which was funded by Cincinnati's Heimlich Institute and the Rotary Foundation of Cincinnati.


From the organization's website:
Rotary is an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world.
So why did they fund an experiment on dozens of children in Barbados after the project was refused by a hospital in their home town, Deaconess of Cincinnati?

And, given their interest in "high ethical standards," did Cincy Rotary do any monitoring of the experiment or follow-up, such as checking on the condition of the dozens of children who were used as research subjects?

Hey, don't ask me -- ask them:

More questions via the following e-mail I sent this morning to Dr. Dexter James, CEO of Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where the "mystery study" was supposed to have been conducted.

Click here to download a copy.

Click here for my web page documenting all this.

Dr. Dexter James and Bishop of Barbados, the Right Reverend Dr. John Holder (source)

Friday, August 9, 2013

After David Hasselhoff throws her claims under the bus, ex-honcho of tainted nonprofit uploads photo of her posing with The Hoff [UPDATED]

11/25/13 UPDATE ARTICLE BASED ON NEWLY-AVAILABLE DOCUMENTS: Why did actor David Hasselhoff lie to me about his role with a shady nonprofit now under investigation for "possible $9m misappropriation"?

Screenshot from grant applications signed by Carol Spizzirri for $200,000 awarded by the IL Dept. of Commerce and Community Affairs to buy SALF an office building in Springfield, IL. Click here for a related 3/14/13 WCIA-TV  investigative report.

Is Carol Spizzirri a Sidebar reader?

Based on the following, it sure looks like it.

Spizzirri's the founder/president of the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF), the ethically-challenged Chicago nonprofit that's been the subject of dozens of media exposes and is reportedly under investigation by the Illinois Attorney General for the "possible misappropriation" of $9 million in federal and state tax dollars.

On July 23, I reported that actor David Hasselhoff denied claims made for years by Spizzirri's organization that he supported SALF and served on the organization's board as "Honorary Chairman."

For years SALF made the claim in grant applications, fundraising materials, and in the media -- including three Chicago Tribune articles published between 1993-2009.

For example:

But via a recent e-mail I received from The Hoff's press agent:
He was never SALF's Honorary Chairman. He never had any financial relationship with SALF. He never had any personal contact with SALF.
About two weeks after my item about Hasselhoff's denial, look what turned up on Spizzirri's FB:

I'm not sure what to make of her posting what I'm guessing is a 20-year-old snapshot.

Did Spizzirri -- reportedly a serial embellisher with a sordid past -- spin her daughter's puny role as an extra in a Baywatch episode into claims that for years David Hasselhoff was closely involved with her organization?

I dunno, but, Ms. Spizzirri, if you're reading this and want to respond to Hasselhoff's assertions that your organization lied about him, please feel free to e-mail me and I'll publish your response.

Also, since you're apparently a Sidebar reader, you already know this, but supporting documents are always welcome.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Rep. Rob Woodall asks CDC about investigation of million$ awarded to tainted Chicago nonprofit, CDC exec who moonlighted as the group's treasurer

Two and a half years ago, the office of Health and Human Services Inspector General Dan Levinson instructed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate what happened to millions of tax dollars the agency awarded to a tainted Chicago nonprofit and the role of a career CDC employee who moonlighted as the group's Corporate Treasurer.

As Sidebar readers know, the nonprofit was the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF), a politically-connected, high-profile, now-defunct FEMA member organization that since November 2006 has been the subject of dozens of exposes and reportedly is under investigation by the Illinois Attorney General for the possible misappropriation of $9 million in federal and state funds.

And the Dubuque Telegraph Herald recently reported that in June 2007, SALF was anticipating $10 million in funding sponsored by a former U.S. Senator named Barack Obama. 

So what kind of investigation did the CDC conduct?

The agency ignored my questions, but thanks to my congressman Rob Woodall, the public may get an answer to that question.

Per an October 11, 2010 article in The Hill, Levinson was asked to investigate $3.3 million the CDC handed SALF -- click here for the breakdown -- and "the relationship between the nonprofit and CDC Deputy Director Douglas Browne, who served as the nonprofit's corporate treasurer from 2004 to 2009."

Via the minutes of the January 26, 2007 meeting of SALF's corporate board -- note that the meeting took place after ABC7 Chicago had aired three scorching I-Team exposes of SALF:


"Mullins" is Rita Mullins, former mayor of Palatine, IL and SALF's second-in-command. "Spizzirri" is SALF founder/president Carol J. Spizzirri, reportedly now living in a trailer park near Carlsbad, CA. (Click here for a bunch of photos of the two SALF gals hanging out with prominent public officials.)

In a November 8, 2010 letter, Levinson's office punted the SALF mess "to CDC for further review, and appropriate administrative action as this matter appears to be more appropriately addressed through CDC's administrative review process."

A couple of years later, I tried to find out what kind of "administrative review" the CDC had conducted.

Sherri A. Berger MPHS (via her CDC bio)
In a June 5, 2012 one-paragraph letter, here's what CDC Chief Operating Officer Sherri A. Berger wrote me:
At this time, the agency has completed its review of this matter and intends no further action.
I wrote back and asked for specifics, but never received a reply.

In recent years, my congressman Rob Woodall (GA-7th District) has helped me to obtain related information from CDC director Thomas Frieden MD, who, like Ms. Berger, has expressed zero interest in what happened to the millions of tax dollars his agency awarded to SALF and Browne's role as the group's treasurer -- click here and here.

So last month I asked legislative aide Chase Murray in Rep. Woodall's office if the congressman would ask Ms. Berger to provide details about the alleged investigation.

Here's the result, including copies of the correspondence discussed above -- click here to download a pdf.

So will the CDC give straight answers to a member of Congress? To find out, keep reading The Sidebar.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Barbados Ministry of Health confirms ongoing investigation of "Heimlich for asthma" study conducted on dozens of children -- "no institutional memory or documentation" located yet for the "alleged project"

The Barbados Ministry of Health (MOH) just confirmed to me that they're investigating a medical research study conducted on dozens of children about a decade ago.

From the abstract of the unpublished study:
The study population consisted of 67 patients aged 6–16 years with a control group of 34 patients and a study group of 33 patients...This study has provided data to support the potential benefits of the modified Heimlich Manoeuvre as adjunctive therapy for asthma....
According to recently-available documents from my father's archives (maintained by the University of Cincinnati medical library), the study was rejected by Cincinnati's Deaconess Hospital, then offshored to Barbados after funding was obtained from  the Heimlich Institute and the Rotary Club of Cincinnati.

According to correspondence exchanged by my father, Anne St. John MD of Barbados's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (lead investigator), and Charles H. Pierce MD PhD of Cincinnati (who helped arrange the project) the experiment was:

1) Approved by the Ministry of Health's Ethics Board;
2) Overseen by an Institutional Review Board.

I simply wanted to verify those two claims, so in February I wrote to the Ministry of Health, the agency responsible for overseeing medical research conducted in Barbados.

Tennyson Springer (source)

Per the July 10 letter (which I received today) from MOH Permanent Secretary Tennyson Springer: 
(I) wish to acknowledge receipt of your correspondence and inform you that the matter is being investigated. So far, there has been no institutional memory or documentation of this research. However, the Ministry of Health will continue the probe into this alleged project.
Click here for my web page about the Barbados study, including links to articles published in the University of Cincinnati News Record and the Barbados Sunday Sun newspapers, and in Barbados Underground, a lively Bajan blog.