Print Friendly and PDF

Busted: Co-Author of Flawed Stanford Organic Study Has Deep Ties to Big Tobacco’s Anti-Science Propaganda

Anthony Gucciardi
by
September 7th, 2012
Updated 11/18/2012 at 2:09 am
Pin It

By: Mike Adams & Anthony Gucciardi

bigtobacco 235x147 Busted: Co Author of Flawed Stanford Organic Study Has Deep Ties to Big Tobaccos Anti Science PropagandaOver the last several days, the mainstream media has fallen for an elaborate scientific hoax that sought to destroy the credibility of organic foods by claiming they are “no healthier” than conventional foods (grown with pesticides and GMOs). NaturalNews and NaturalSociety have learned one of the key co-authors of the study, Dr. Ingram Olkin, has a deep history as an “anti-science” propagandist working for Big Tobacco. Stanford University has also been found to have deep financial ties to Cargill, a powerful proponent of genetically engineered foods and an enemy of GMO labeling Proposition 37.

The New York Times, BBC and all the other publications that printed stories based on this Stanford study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine  have been victims of an elaborate scientific hoax carried out by corporate propagandists posing as “scientists.”

The evidence we show here (see below) demonstrates how this study was crafted under the influence of known anti-science fraudsters pushing a corporate agenda. Just as Big Tobacco sought to silence the emerging scientific evidence of the dangers of cigarette smoke, the biotech industry today is desperately seeking to silence calls for GMO labeling and honest, chemical-free food. The era is different, but the anti-science tactics are the same (and many of the quack science players are the same!).

Flawed organic food study author Ingram Olkin chief statistical ‘liar’ for Big Tobacco

Here’s a document from 1976 which shows financial ties between Philip Morris and Ingram Olkin, co-author of the recent organic foods study.

The so-called “research project” was proposed by Olkin, who was also at one time the chairman of Stanford’s Department of Statistics.

Olkin worked with Stanford University to develop a “multivariate” statistical algorithm, which is essentially a way to lie with statistics (or to confuse people with junk science). As this page describes on the use of these statistical models: “Obviously, if one chooses convenient mathematical functions, the result may not conform to reality.”

This research ultimately became known as the “Dr. Ingram Olkin multivariate Logistic Risk Function” and it was a key component in Big Tobacco’s use of anti-science to attack whistleblowers and attempt to claim cigarettes are perfectly safe.

This research originated at Stanford, where Ingram headed the Department of Statistics, and ultimately supported the quack science front to reject any notion that cigarettes might harm human health. Thanks to efforts of people like Ingram, articles like this one were published: “The Case against Tobacco Is Not Closed: Why Smoking May Not Be Dangerous to Your Health!” (http://andrewgelman.com/2012/09/cigarettes/)

By the way, if today’s “skeptics” and “science bloggers” were around in the 1950′s and 60′s, they would all be promoters of cigarette smoking because that was the corporate-funded scientific mythology being pushed at the time. Back then it was tobacco, today it’s vaccines and pesticides. New century, new poisons, same old quack science.

The evil Council of Tobacco Research

As the evidence clearly shows, Ingram Olkin has a history of collaboration with tobacco industry giants who sought to silence the physicians speaking out regarding the dangers of cigarettes. One such entity known as the Council of Tobacco Research (CTR) has been openly exposed as paying off publication companies and journalists with more than $500,000 (about $3,000,000 today after adjusting for inflation) as far back as 1968 in order to generate pro-smoking propaganda. The kind of “dark propaganda” serves only to deceive and confuse consumers with phony, fabricated “scientific evidence.”

It all seems eerily similar to the organics-bashing story that just recently appeared in the New York Times, written by proven liar Roger Cohen .

CTR was part of the massive Tobacco Institute, which was essentially a colossal group of cigarette corporations using quack science to attempt to hide the true effects of cigarettes from the public. CTR was a key player in attempting to defeat the monumental case known as the Framingham Heart Study (http://www.framinghamheartstudy.org/) — a historical research project that linked cigarette smoking to heart disease. It was during this time that Olkin applied to the CTR in order to oversee and conduct a project smearing and ‘disproving’ the Framingham study.

This can be proven simply by examining the words of the cigarette manufacturer lawyers who were desperate to defeat the potentially devastating heart study. In their own documents, they state:

“I met with Dr. Olkin and Dr. Marvin Kastenbaum [Tobacco Institute Statistics Director] on December 17, 1975, at which time we discussed Dr. Olkin’s interest in multivariate analysis statistical models. Dr. Olkin is well qualified and is very articulate. I learned, in visiting with Dr. Olkin, that he would like to examine the theoretical structure of the “multivariate logistic risk function.”

In an even more telling statement, Olvin’s “sidekick” Dr. Kastenbaum, was revealed to be highly knowledgeable “tobacco industry’s participation in the public disinformation regarding the health hazards of tobacco use, the manipulation of nicotine in tobacco products and the marketing of tobacco products to children.” In other words, these scientists were part of a massive deception campaign intended to smear any real information over the serious dangers of cigarette smoking using ‘black ops’ disinformation techniques.

This deception campaign is being paralleled once again, in 2012, with the quack science assault on organics (and a simultaneous defense of GMOs). Biotech = Big Tobacco. “GMOs are safe” is the same as “cigarettes are safe.” Both can be propagandized with fraudulent science funded by corporate donations to universities.

Dr. Kastenbaum, by the way, went on to become the Director of Statistics for the Tobacco Institute intermittently from 1973 to 1987. Another name for his job role is “corporate science whore.”

Organics study co-author was hired to perform scientific “hatchet jobs”

Further documents (http://tobaccodocuments.org/bliley_bw/521028845-8850.html) go on to state that Olkin then received a grant from the CTR for his work alongside disinformation specialist Dr. Katenbaum in an effort to perform “deliberate hatchet jobs” on the heart study as described by author Robert N. Proctor Golden in his book entitled Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition. Golden explains how Olkin was paid off along with others to falsely testify in Congress that cigarette smoking did not harm the heart:

George L. Saiger from Columbia University received CTR Special Project funds ‘to seek to reduce the correlation of smoking and disease by introduction of additional variables’; he also was paid $10,873 in 1966 to testify before Congress, denying the cigarette-cancer link…”

This was the same organization that paid what amounts after inflation to over one million dollars to journalists and major publications to disseminate phony information supporting their claims. It’s also important to note that during this time Olkin was still prominently placed within Stanford, remaining so even after openly concealing the truth about the cigarette heart disease link from the public.

Now, Olkin’s newest research fails to address any real factors in the difference between conventional GMO-loaded food and organic. At the same time, it absolutely reeks of the similar ‘black ops’ disinformation campaigns from the 1960′s and 70′s in which he was heavily involved.

Make no mistake: The Stanford organics study is a fraud. Its authors are front-men for the biotech industry which has donated millions of dollars to Stanford. The New York Times and other publications that published articles based on this research got hoaxed by Big Tobacco scientists who are documented, known liars and science fudgers.

Stanford secrecy, plus ties to Monsanto and Cargill

Stanford receives more secret donations than any other university in the U.S. In 2009 alone, these donations totaled well over half a billion dollars.

There’s little doubt that many of these donations come from wealthy corporations who seek to influence Stanford’s research, bending the will of the science departments to come into alignment with corporate interests (GMOs, pesticides, etc.).

Who is George H Poste?

• Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
• Member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
• Served on the Monsanto board since February 2003.
• Former member of the Defense Science Board of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Stanford University has also accepted $5 million in donations from food giant Cargill (a big supporter of the biotech industry) in order to expand Stanford’s Center on Food Security and the Environment (FSE). “Food security” is a euphemism for genetically engineered crops. Much of the research conducted there is done to try to advocate GMOs.

Cargill has also donated big dollars to try to defeat Proposition 37 in California.

The “scientific” Hall of Shame – a list of scientists funded by the Tobacco industry to fake scientific results

The CRT is the Council of Tobacco Research — essentially a scientific front group that was set up to attempt to invoke “science” to “prove” that cigarettes were not bad for your health.

This list just proves how easily scientists sell out to corporate interests when given grant money. Remember: What Big Tobacco pulled off with fake science in the 20th century, Big Biotech is pulling off yet again today.

Source: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-dcd-1_99-cv-02496/pdf/USCOURTS-dcd-1_99-cv-02496-4.pdf

Documents reflect that, at a minimum, the following individuals and organizations received funding through Special Account No. 4 beginning in the 1960s and ending in the 1990s:

Able-Lands, Inc.; Lauren Ackerman; ACVA Atlantic Inc.; George Albee; Aleph Foundation; Arthur D. Little, Inc.; Aspen Conference; Atmospheric Health Sciences; Domingo Aviado; James Ballenger; Alvan L. Barach; Walter Barker; Broda 0. Barnes; Battelle Columbus Laboratories; Battelle Memorial Institute; Walter Becker; Peter Berger; Rodger L. Bick; Billings & Gussman, Inc.; Richard Bing; BioResearch Laboratories; Theodore Blau; Irvin Blose; Walter Booker; Evelyn J. Bowers; Thomas H. Brem; Lyman A. Brewer, III; Brigham Young University; Oliver Brooke; Richard Brotman; Barbara B. Brown; K. Alexander Brownlee; Katherine Bryant; Victor B. Buhler; Thomas Burford; J. Harold Burn; Marie Burnett; Maurice Campbell; Carney Enterprises, Inc.; Duane Carr; Rune Cederlof; Domenic V. Cicchetti; Martin Cline; Code Consultants Inc.; Cohen, Coleghety Foundation, Inc.; Colucci, & Associates, Inc.; Computerland; W. Clark Cooper; A. Cosentino; Daniel Cox; Gertrude Cox; CTR; Geza De Takato; Bertram D. Dimmens; Charles Dunlap; Henry W. Elliott; Engineered Energy Mgt. Inc.; Environmental Policy Institute; J. Earle Estes; Frederick J. Evans; William Evans; Expenses related to Congressional Hearings in Washington D.C.; Hans J. Eysenck; Eysenck Institute of Psychiatry; Jack M. Farris; Sherwin J. Feinhandler; Alvan R. Feinstein; Herman Feldman; Edward Fickes; T. Finley; Melvin First; Edwin Fisher; R. Fisher; Merritt W. Foster; Richard Freedman; Herbert Freudenberger; Fudenberg; Arthur Furst; Nicholas Gerber; Menard M. Gertler; Jean Gibbons; Carl Glasser; Donald Goodwin; B. Greenberg; Alan Griffen; F. Gyntelberg; Harvard Medical School; Hearings-Kennedy-Hart Bill; William Heavlin; Norman Heimstra; Joseph Herkson; Richard J. Hickey; Carlos Hilado; Charles H. Hine; Hine, Inc.; Harold C. Hodge; Gary Huber; Wilhelm C. Hueper; Darrell Huff; Duncan Hutcheon; Industry Research Liaison Committee; Information Intersciences, Inc.; International Consultancy; International Technology Corporation; International Information Institute, Inc.; J.B. Spalding Statistical Service; J.F. Smith Research Account; Jacob, Medinger & Finnegan; Joseph Janis; Roger Jenkins; Marvin Kastenbaum; Leo Katz; Marti Kirschbaum; Kravetz Levine & Spotnitz; Lawrence L. Kuper; Mariano La Via; H. Langston; William G. Leaman; Michael Lebowitz; Samuel B. Lehrer; William Lerner; Edward Raynar Levine; G.J. Lieberman; S.C. Littlechild; Eleanor Macdonald; Thomas Mancuso; Nathan Mantel; R. McFarland; Meckler Engineering Group; Milton Meckler; Nancy Mello; Jack Mendelson; Michigan State University; Marc Micozzi; Irvin Miller; K. Moser; Albert Niden; Judith O’Fallon; John O’Lane; William Ober; J.H. Ogura; Ronald Okun; Ingram Olkin; Thomas Osdene (Philip Morris); Peat, Marwick Main & Co.; Thomas L. Petty; Pitney, Hardin & Kipp; Leslie Preger; Walter J. Priest; R. Proctor; Terrence P. Pshler; Public Smoking Research Group; R.W. Andersohn & Assoc.; L.G.S. Rao; Herbert L. Ratcliffe; Attilio Renzetti; Response Analysis Project; Response Analysis Consultation; R.H. Rigdon; Jay Roberts; Milton B. Rosenblatt; John Rosencrans; Walter Rosenkrantz; Ray H. Rosenman; Linda Russek; Henry Russek; Ragnar Rylander; George L. Saiger; D.E. Sailagyi; I. Richard Savage; Richard S. Schilling; Schirmer Engineering Corp.; S. Schor; G.N. Schrauzer; Charles Schultz; John Schwab; Carl L. Seltzer; Murray Senkus (Reynolds); Paul Shalmy; R. Shilling; Shook, Hardy & Bacon; Henry Shotwell; Allen Silberberg; N. Skolnik; JF Smith; Louis A. Soloff; Sheldon C. Sommers (CTR); JB Spalding; Charles Spielberg; Charles Spielberger; Lawrence Spielvogel; St. George Hospital & Medical School; Stanford Research Institution Project; Russell Stedman; Arthur Stein; Elia Sterling; Theodor Sterling; Thomas Szasz; The Foundation for Research in Bronchial Asthma and Related Diseases; The Futures Group; Paul Toannidis; Trenton, New Jersey Hearings; Chris P. Tsokos; University of South Florida; Helmut Valentin; Richard Wagner; Norman Wall; Wayne State University; Weinberg Consulting Group; Roger Wilson; Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; Jack Wiseman; George Wright; John P. Wyatt; J. Yerushalmy; and Irving Zeidman.

About Anthony Gucciardi:
1.thumbnail Busted: Co Author of Flawed Stanford Organic Study Has Deep Ties to Big Tobaccos Anti Science PropagandaGoogle Plus ProfileAnthony is the Editor of NaturalSociety whose work has been read by millions worldwide and is routinely featured on major alternative and mainstream news website alike, including the powerful Drudge Report, NaturalNews, Daily Mail, and many others. Anthony has appeared on programs like Russia Today (RT), Savage Nation, The Alex Jones Show, Coast to Coast AM, and many others. Anthony is also dedicated to aiding various non-profit organizations focused around health and rehabilitation as well as the creator of the independent political website Storyleak

From around the web:

  • Angie

    I greatly enjoy your articles, however this one makes me question your understanding of the scientific method and statistics in general. You have misrepresented the statements in the article you referenced, which by the way was nothing more than an opinion paper based on 45 year old outdated statistical techniques. You quoted: “Obviously, if one chooses convenient mathematical functions, the result may not conform to reality." This statement is taken put of context and actually supports the use of multivariate analysis. What the author was saying is that univariate techniques fail to account for the fact that science does not happen in a vacuum. Research that focuses on a single factor fails to recognize that other factors are also influencing the results. As for the Stanford study on organics, I have not read it and although I disagree with how you misrepresented the facts, I do not disagree with the fact that it is very easy for a statistician twist results, and very easy to get the media to jump on the band wagon of junk science. Kudos to you for asking the tough questions, but shame on you for misrepresenting how sound multivariate statistical techniques function.

  • waxing philosophical

    Just goes to show, the "evidence-based" model of medicine is flawed. – See:

    Steve Hickey & Hilary Robert ‘s book: “Tarnished Gold: The Sickness of Evidence-based Medicine.”

    Also see:

    Article: Science for Sale….
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/dange

  • Anne

    Seriously?? You're going to slander a company for supporting research on issues of food security and how to sustainably raise more food on less land to feed a growing population?? You're going to dismiss the "idea" of food security?? Have you ever stepped food in a developing country??? Where there are real poor people?? These issues are complicated, and I think they warrant deeper thought than just slinging uneducated opinions from one side to the other. We are such egotistical, self-righteous developed country snobs.

    • Deborah Cady

      Always look at the money trail for the agenda of the idea for the research, and the results. It seemed so obvious that shoddy information gathering took place for this research paper. If you read critiques of the research itself, the method of compiling the information has been questioned from the beginning.

      Keep in mind that research needs to be funded. Ask yourself: who has deep pockets today and who would want to steer the consumer in the direction that this research paper has endeavored to do.

    • Deborah Cady

      Stanford and commercial agri-business is not interested in sustainable farming and the article did not address such. Agri- business is concerned only with cheap farming practices and food production. Their concern is the BOTTOM-LINE.

      The article did not address food security.

      Real sustainable farming by peoples of Africa have had their sustainable practices squashed by big American agri-business who demand they use pesticides and buy new seed every season. Ass a result, some African countries no longer welcome American chemical and agri-businesses.

  • Anonymous

    "…a “multivariate” statistical algorithm, which is essentially a way to lie with statistics (or to confuse people with junk science)."

    So, multivariate statistics = lying? Ummm…that sounds pretty anti-science to me.

  • Anonymous

    “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

    http://ethicalnag.org/2009/11/09/nejm-editor/

  • Anonymous

    http://ethicalnag.org/2009/11/09/nejm-editor/

    “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

  • RT

    Strange… why is it that probably 50% of the individual names listed at the bottom of the page are Jewish? Is is simply a $$ vs. integrity issue?

    • Toy Boat

      What in the name of Jebus does people's ethnicity have to do with ANYTHING??

  • Brian

    I am disappointed to see the ad hominem arguments and other logical fallacies to discredit the research at Standford, which if you paid attention is actually a study of other studies called a meta-analysis. In the hierarchy of scientific research this type of analysis holds a lot of wieght.

    • Anonymous

      You're hilarious. It's not an ad hominem but showing how CORRUPT the author is.

      • Steve

        But that's exactly what an ad hominem attack is. An ad hominem attack is one which focuses on the person making an argument and not the argument itself. And this entire article attacks the author and Stanford as corrupt, without any actual meaty argument against the scientific article itself. It is the very definition of an ad hominem attack. As such, it's never going to be as compelling (nor should it be) as a detailed criticism of the actual work that was published. It may very well be the case that the science in the article is garbage spewed by virtual GMO spokesmen. It wouldn't particularly surprise me, especially given my experiences with the works of the climate change "skeptics". But without some discussion of the actual methodology or other aspects of the paper, this criticism just ends up being an extended genetic fallacy, which is disappointing.

    • RFM

      All universities are often deeply involved with corporations and depend partly on them. In the areas where it doesn't harm the hand that feeds them they try, unsuccessfully, to build some credit.

      It is so obvious.

  • Jen

    The timing of the study was just a little too perfect, wasn't it? Did any of the "journalists" of mainstream corporate media, who repeated what they were told, bother looking into who the authors of the study were? I know, silly question.

    Thank you!!!

  • Anonymous

    Great report

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for this report

  • John Walter

    Quaint. Scrubbing comments that don't fully back your position, eh? Not a big surprise. Real science can withstand scrutiny. The claims posted above cannot.

    • Anonymous

      John, try checking your facts again on this worthless study. The again you would never do that as you're just here to cause problems and are potentially paid to do so. Moron.

  • John Walter

    So this is really the best you can do? Days of digging and you come up with a personal attack against one man at Stanford and the fact that the school takes corporate donations? Do you have any idea how crazy this comes off? An you still ignore the hundreds of underlying peer-reviewed studies that went into this research? Ha! Nice try, organic food big money! Oh wait? Follow the money doesn't work both ways, huh?

  • http://www.drdingle.com peter dingle

    Unfortunately, this goes on to some degree in all universities. Academics who are independent of the vested interests and who stand up for public benefit issues are removed from universities. As universities seek more money from outside sources (rich companies with strong vested interests)there independence becomes more compromised.

  • squodgy

    Well done. As always follow the money…who benefits from the propaganda….somehow the GMO cartel will always be there.

    Brilliant sleuthing, but I wonder if the gullible BBC, Daily Mail and other Mainstream Media sheep will admit their error and pick up the torch for the cause? Of course not, they need the advertising revenue, or, in the case of the BBC, they are just a lost cause.

  • Jeffrey Miller

    Isn't KWMU funded in large part by Monsanto? Hmmm?

    http://naturalsociety.com/stanford-organic-study-

  • Buffmuffin

    Mmm Hmm… Scientists getting paid obscene amounts of money by corp interests to tell you that grown food X is no better for you than grown food Y = bad thing…

    Yet Scientists getting paid obscene amounts of money by corp interests to tell you humans cause global warming = good thing…

    Same deal, you call one 'junk science' and the other 'settled science' (oxymoron).

    Well, which is it?

    • Anonymous

      Exactly WHAT corporate interests are trying to prove Climate Change (Global Warming is inaccurate… But… The Earth IS getting warmer very quickly))?

      Bad analogy… weak argument.

    • RFM

      Who said that?? The global warming/greenhouse effect, humans cause it story has been identified as a lie long ago. And as a solution tax co2 emissions and at the same time slow clean alternatives.

      Earth has had cooler and warmer periods in the recent history.

  • Anonymous

    Scammers are behind most studies like these. Great job.

  • Anonymous

    This needs to get out to everyone.

  • Eliot W. Collins

    Dr. Ingram Olkin was born on July 23, 1924. He is 88! That is three years older than the Pope! Perhaps he should retire.

  • http://www.ourchurch.com/member/c/cwm Jeff

    I work at a Cargill plant. Thanks for bringing me up to speed.

  • http://www.ourchurch.com/member/c/cwm Jeff Oliver

    I really appreciate this article. Cargill bought the company where I work. I didn't know where they stood on food. Now I know. Keep telling the truth!

  • Jayce

    Amazing… you called it guys.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for this article

  • Anonymous

    Ingram Olkin needs to REMOVED from Stanford and revoked access to performing any studies.

    • Anonymous

      Yes. We must only allow academic freedom for those with which we agree…all others must be silenced, right?