Outing The Washingtonian and the Criminalization of Medicine
By Jim Fetzer
“You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time”–Abraham Lincoln
The War on Drugs is as phony as the War on Terror. Congress, the CDC and the DEA have criminalized adolescent experimentation with marijuana at enormous cost to society, where, behind the scenes, “Big Pharma” controls the use of drugs in medicine and rips off the public with mark-ups that spiral the cost of medical care upward, while physicians are now pawns in the criminalization of medicine.
While it used to be the practice of the DEA to sell drugs in schools, it has now adopted the far more sophisticated strategy of targeting a special class of persons, those who are in need of psychiatric care. Since their drug prescriptions are recorded electronically–as well as the names of their physicians–tracking those who possess them–no matter that they are from prescriptions–is effortless and turns them into “sitting ducks”.
Then the DEA can track them and arrange for car stops, for example, by local law enforcement, which then leads to their arrest and the prosecution of their physicians for alleged offenses. The cops get credit for a “bust”, the drugs are “taken off the street” and the DEA builds it statistics to sustain the “War on Drugs”.
This creates inflated numbers supporting a “drug epidemic”. Imagine my astonishment at discovering that The Washingtonian–a more sophisticated version of The National Enquirer, which, in this case, specializes in high-end gossip about people and politics in Washington, D.C.–had done a hit piece on my good friend, Alen J. Salerian, M.D., the former top shrink for the FBI, which exemplifies this new strategy.
Alen and I go back many years, where I have previously published, “Is the War on Drugs as phony as the War on Terror?” about the disgraceful and unwarranted raid on his home by more than a dozen heavily-armed agents of the ATF, who terrorized his wife and his daughter, took his computers and his cars and froze his bank accounts based upon false information from an incompetent source.
As a psychiatrist, of course, he does prescribe drugs for his patients, which is the key difference between psychologists and psychiatrists, but the raid was absurd. It turns out that his problems appear to have arisen from someone with no understanding of psycho-pharmachology attempting to second guess one of the world’s leading experts. This article looked to me like a op, which would be confirmed by a surprising development in the course of posting my comments in The Washingtonian.
The article, “The Spectacular Unraveling of Washington’s Favorite Shrink”, by one Ariel Sabar, appeared with the subtitle, “Heiresses, politicians, and the FBI used to have Alen Salerian on speed dial. Not anymore.” But from reading the article, no one would have had any idea why in the world he would have been “Washington’s favorite shrink”. More importantly, it represents another instance of what Ronald Libby calls “The Criminalization of Medicine”, where a physician can face criminal penalties for the proper practice of his profession.
The Signs of a Disinfo Op
There are characteristic indications that something isn’t right when an article like this has such a lop-sided and irrational slant. After all, if Alen Salerian once was “Washington’s favorite shrink”, then surely there must have been good reasons for that; but if you read this article carefully, you will find they are essentially non-existent. And the claims being made about the death of two of his “patients” did not sound right, especially when there is evidence that contradicts those claims.
The two cases that are held against him here concern a patient by the name of “Paul”, who turns out to have died from an undiagnosed intestinal ulcer TWO YEARS AFTER HE HAD LEFT ALEN’S CARE. And the other, Paddy Kennedy, appears to have died from a rare congenital corinary disease, which was only detected after two nationally recognized medical authorities–one a cardiologist, the other a toxicologist–had taken a closer look at the case. But you would not know this from the article authored by Ariel Sabar.
You don’t have to have taught logic, critical thinking and scientific reasoning for 35 years to perceive that this article commits the informal fallacy known as “special pleading”, by citing only the evidence favorable to your side and ignoring the rest. In this case, moreover, I knew up-close-and-personal that it had happened in this case, because Ariel Sabar had contacted me about Alen Salerian in doing research for this article, where I had praised Alen’s genius as a pioneer in the responsible use of narcotics to help patients cope with chronic pain.
Not only did I know he had information from me that cast an entirely different light on Alen’s contributions, but I had directed him to the article I had published about the raid on his home, explaining that he was causing trouble for the CDC and the DEA by exposing statistics that show the alleged “epidemic of narcotics abuse” has no foundation in fact, which means that the “War on Drugs” IS as phony as the “War on Terror”, where we know that domestic terrorist threats are virtually non-existent.
Alen, alas, has been a severe critic that the CDC and DEA want to silence. But the tendency that Libby has noticed is that, increasingly, physicians are being treated as though they were criminals when they are engaged in the proper practice of their professions. Alen now faces a criminal trial in Abingdon, VA, for the alleged distribution of drugs (for being “a drug dealer”, in the vernacular), even though the prescriptions he has issued for his patients have proven effective in alleviating their pain and enabling them to regain control over their lives. If he has done something wrong, surely other professionals are the ones to make that determination, not a jury selected from the general population at random.
So what’s going on here?
The content and the timing of this article appear to be intended to poison the public in anticipation of the trial to be held ten days hence (this coming week). It not only reeks of special pleading but employs “straw man” arguments by exaggerating his alleged offenses and minimizing the contributions that his work has brought in alleviating the suffering of hundreds of patients. The claim is that he has “over-prescribed” prescription drugs, where,
The real reasons, however, appear to be much different, where Dr. Salerian has been doing everything he can to expose the fact that, over the past 10 years, 2,000 doctors have lost their licenses and were forced to exile or jail. Sadly, DEA’s dirty campaign is based upon false CDC statistics.
And, in collaboration with other dedicated physicians, he has been promoting awareness of more effective ways to cope with pain, which would have the consequence of promoting the legalization of drugs, once the treatment of pain using drugs is properly viewed as a medical problem rather than a criminal offense.
When you review the statistics Alen has emphasized (which I have featured in the earlier article), it should be obvious that the facts are on his side and that the claims of a “narcotics epidemic” in this country are not well founded. The efforts he and his colleagues have exerted to bring about a transformation of understanding in the public mind–such as the “Pain/Brain Festival” he and his colleagues had organized–have either been sabotaged or worse, where two of his closest associates were killed in a plane crash the timing of which looks extremely suspicious to me.
It appears to me that this assault on Alen Salerian is motivated by the desire to suppress accurate information about drugs and their potential to relieve pain and suffering to keep the supply limited and prices high. I am ashamed to observe that the CIA has become the biggest drug dealer in the world, where the DEA appears to be its enforcement arm, which has come down hard on Alen Salerian for not buckling under. To appreciate what’s going on and Ariel Sabel’s role in this op, read on.
The initial commentaries
The first to comment on this article were several patients of Alen, who knew how much they had benefitted from his treatment and how devastated they were that he was being barred from practicing medicine. Not long thereafter, someone using the name “Doctor Gatito” showed up, which I strongly suspect was because the author, Ariel Sabar, felt that he needed reinforcements. But “Doctor Gatito” demonstrated that he was completely out of his league and had no apparent knowledge of psycho-pharmacology, where cutting off Alen from his patients has led to serious degrees of loss of their coping ability by his patients as well as several suicides.
“Doctor Gatito” enters the frey
As I observe in response to the appearance of “Doctor Gatito”, his description of himself as a “Palliative Medicine Consultant” could mean that he dispenses medicine at a long-term care facility or that he assists at a hospice. Even when I asked if he had any background with regard to psychiatry or psycho-pharmacology, he did not respond to the question but offered irrelevant attacks on my research into the assassination of JFK, which displayed his willingness to leap to conclusions without considering the relevant evidence, precisely the offense he appears to me to have committed based upon his very limited encounter with one of Alen’s patients.
The stunning confirmation
You probably missed the remark by Mike Chaney, “You lost the argument here, if you were wondering”. While I wasn’t “wondering”, it seemed to me that Mike, once again, had no idea what he was talking about, so I posted a response suggesting that he ought to study “Reasoning about Assassinations”, which I had presented at Cambridge and subsequently published in an international, peer-reviewed journal. Because, as Michael Baden, M.D., has observed, if the “magic bullet” theory is false, then there were at least six shots from three directions:
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my response to Mike Chaney had somehow disappeared. I reposted it and it disappeared again. So I took the step of adding a new paragraph to the comment, explaining that it had “disappeared” and requesting that it remain in place because–as I explained in the new, expanded comment–it had to do with my credentials and qualifications as a student of JFK. It included the original two paragraph plus the first paragraph you can read here:
Why did it not surprise me that this comment, too, would be deleted. It was obvious that a response I had considered to be no more important than any other had assumed a significance far beyond my expectations, no doubt because, by demonstrating that the “magic bullet” theory is not only false but provably false and not even anatomically possible, I had proven that there have to have been at least six shots from three directions.
Ask yourself, what possible reason could there be for deleting this post–not just once, but several times–when it offers proof that at least six shots were fired at JFK from three directions? Only an op intended to suppress research on the death of our 35th president would do something like that. So while I began by recognizing that the appeals to special pleading, straw men and ad hominem arguments indicated that this was some kind of disinformation op, here I had a simple but stunning confirmation.
Back to the discussion thread
It was at this point in the development of the discussion threat that I began to figure out what had happened to cause this catastrophe, where I made inquiries of “Doctor Gatito” about the strength of his background and qualifications to be rendering judgments about the treatment of patients by one of the world’s leading experts in psycho-pharmacology. And it was then that I realized he had simply “rushed to judgment” in a complex area of psychiatry where he actually possessed no discernible credentials, yet displayed apodictic confidence in his right and ability to judge:
The Sean Dix Summary
I now believed I understood what had taken place. An individual of great arrogance who considered himself to be qualified to render judgments about a patient under the care of an acknowledge expert in psycho-pharmacology had taken it upon himself to affect the treatment, not just of one patient in Northern California, but the whole practice of the former head of the FBI’s Psychiatric Response Unit. I was therefore extremely please to see that Sean Dix, whom I also know personally and have written about in Veterans Today, published a very thorough and detail summary of the case:
The case of Alen Salerian, like that of Sean Dix himself, demonstrates that we as a nation have completely lost our way, that we have told ourselves so many lies that we can no longer separate truth from fiction. Under these circumstances, it is no surprise that we cannot distinguish right from wrong or even begin to discriminate between those making constructive contributions to society and those whose ignorance is equalled only by their arrogance.
Some 2,000 doctors have been driven into bankruptcy or worse because of the criminalization of medicine, where let us hope that the trial in Abingdon will result in a just decision for Alen Salerian, M.D., which would be a form of vindication for the sacrifice they have made. The “War on Drugs” really is as phony as the “War on Terror” and the criminalization of medicine is a catastrophe for the nation, because physicians are among our most precious human resources.
What is truly “criminal” is that so many who have sacrificed so much for the benefit of the public have been treated like common criminals by agencies that have political agendas of their own, which are far removed from promoting the welfare of the people. But you are not going to learn that from the DEA, the CDC, the CIA or Ariel Sabar. We have to get a grip on the limited resources available to the population at large lest we find ourselves incapable of treating our own maladies, no matter whether physical or mental. This nation must do better.
Jim Fetzer, a former Marine Corps officer, is McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Short URL: http://www.veteranstoday.com/?p=286534