from the world's big
Osama Bin Laden Is Not in Pakistan's Tribal Regions
Jere Van Dyk: The Taliban are Pashtuns, Pashtuns being \r\nthe largest ethnic group in Afghanistan and across the border in \r\nPakistan. The members of al Qaeda who first came to Afghanistan in the \r\nearly 1980's are foreigners. They are primarily Arabs, mostly \r\nEgyptians. Some from Chechnya, different countries. We certainly don't\r\n know today where they all come from. Their goal, the Taliban told me, \r\nis international. The Taliban's goal is what we'll call regional, or \r\ndomestic.
When I was in prison I had to listen to Taliban \r\nrecruitment tapes, Taliban suicide recruitment tapes. And in those \r\ntapes, which we listened to for hours, they spoke of Pashtun history, \r\nPashtun geography, Pashtun nationalism. So the Taliban have a \r\ncombination of Islam and Pushtun nationalism deep inside of them, and \r\ntheir goals are to create a deeply pure Islamic culture in Afghanistan \r\nas well as in Pakistan. And al Qaeda's goals are worldwide.
Once,\r\n in Kunar Province, the first time I met with the Taliban, November \r\n2007, long before I was kidnapped, I was with it looked to be about \r\neight members of the Taliban. The commander was Pashtun; however, in \r\nthe corner I saw one man with Palestinian headdress. He was about 5'8”,\r\n looked to be about 21, carried a rifle, he seemed to weight about 130 \r\npounds. He was al Qaeda. The Taliban were in charge.
There \r\nwere many reports during the 1990's how al Qaeda led the fight against \r\nthe Northern Alliance, that al Qaeda was the strike force of the \r\nPashtun's – or the Taliban – against the Northern Alliance. They were \r\nthe strongest fighting force. Today, it's completely different. The \r\nTaliban are in charge. They said to me that they sometimes brought in \r\nal Qaeda when things got really tough, that al Qaeda is subservient to \r\nthe Taliban in Afghanistan. In Pakistan, apparently—and I can't prove \r\nthis, but they told me—the money comes from abroad, that al Qaeda brings\r\n money. But still, al Qaeda is subservient to the Taliban.
Many \r\nmembers of al Qaeda have intermarried with Pashtuns. They say they \r\nunderstand Pashto. I don't know if this is true because most, of \r\ncourse, al Qaeda members would speak Arabic or their native \r\nlanguage—certainly not Pashto. But there is a tie together among them, \r\nand it's no longer just al Qaeda and the Taliban. What you have now is a\r\n specter of what we'll call the Punjabi Taliban. These are these \r\ngroups: Lashker Tiber, Josh Mohammed; most famous attack was against \r\nIndia in Mumbai in Thanksgiving 2009. These people are also in the \r\ntribal areas. They are Punjabis. So you have the Taliban, the Pashtun \r\nTaliban, the Punjabi Taliban, and al Qaeda.
Question: Is Osama bin Laden still in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan?
Jere Van Dyk: No. I don't believe for a minute that the\r\n al Qaeda leadership is in the tribal areas. Just last week the \r\ndirector Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, said on ABC when asked \r\nwhere Osama Bin Laden is, he said, “He's hiding or he's in the tribal \r\nareas of Pakistan, the most difficult terrain in the world.” It is not \r\nthe most difficult terrain in the world. I've had long experience \r\nworking for National Geographic hiking the Himalayas and the Andes—it's a\r\n lot tougher mountains than where I was in the tribal areas.
I \r\ndon't believe that the United States in some way—I know you wouldn't get\r\n into all this—is leveling with us. But, not one single al Qaeda leader\r\n has ever been captured or killed in the tribal areas of Pakistan. The \r\nUnited States and NATO with it's high technology and all its skills has \r\nbeen able to pinpoint and target successfully a number of Taliban \r\nleaders. They have never hit Ayman al Zawahari, nor have they hit Osama\r\n Bin Laden.
Where I was kept, they said, was in a village \r\ncalled...near a village called Damadola. In January 2006, the CIA \r\npublicly announced, it was in all the newspapers, a drone missile attack\r\n at Damadola where a number of children were killed in order to hit \r\nAyman al Zawahari, who they said was going to be there. Different \r\ntribal leaders also heard, they told me along the border, “Yes, al \r\nZawahari is going to be there.” However, as time passed, more and more \r\nsaid, "Under Pashtunwali, panah, which is the tenet in Pashtunwali which\r\n means “I will protect to the death a guest.” Which is why Mullah Omar \r\nprotected Bin Laden in the 1990s, which is one reason why I was not \r\nkilled was under Pashtunwali. To a man along the border there was not \r\none single tribal or peasant who said that Osama Bin Laden can be kept \r\nalong the border. He is too big to hide. Tribal law no longer counts.
Another\r\n thing was, a very small example, is that where we were we had—we \r\nwere—because we were – when we were washing for prayers and bathing we \r\nhad to pour water over ourselves. Some of that water was seeping \r\noutside and damaged a neighbor's wall. Everything is made of mud, and \r\nthe water was making it disintegrate. We had to stop this because we \r\nknew – would find out that more men than normal were in this house. How\r\n could Bin Laden hide in a Pashtun village where we could not hide for \r\nmore than six weeks and had to watch how much water we kept?
Another\r\n part of Pashtun Wali is called Taberwali, and that is cousin warfare. \r\nCousins fight over land, money, women, to be the most powerful person in\r\n the clan. When my jailer's family came to visit us, he was armed to \r\nthe teeth. He had more weapons on him when his family came than when he\r\n came into the cell to feed us. Your cousin will go against you. How \r\ncan Bin Laden hide in a village made up of a clan where cousins are \r\nafter one another when you have a 50-million-dollar bounty over your \r\nhead?
There are many, many reasons I feel that, I no longer \r\nbelieve that Osama Bin Laden is hiding along the border. The Taliban \r\nwho had me and others said he is being kept elsewhere, and I don't think\r\n they're wrong.
Recorded June 29. 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller
Van Dyk’s captors insisted that bin Laden is no longer in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and, for various reasons, he believes them.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Vaccines find more success in development than any other kind of drug, but have been relatively neglected in recent decades.
Vaccines are more likely to get through clinical trials than any other type of drug — but have been given relatively little pharmaceutical industry support during the last two decades, according to a new study by MIT scholars.
An article in Journal of Bioethical Inquiry raises questions about the goal of these advocacy groups.
- Two-thirds of American consumer advocacy groups are funded by pharmaceutical companies.
- The authors of an article in Journal of Bioethical Inquiry say this compromises their advocacy.
- Groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness act more like lobbyists than patient advocates.
The Corruption That Brought Prozac to Market — Robert Whitaker, Journalist<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bea9cff2b25efc18b663a011a679ba16"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UyaJExxFPAE?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Consumer-oriented groups gained steam over the ensuing decades. Their efforts helped inspire the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act after over 100 people (mostly children) died from a sanctioned drug, Sulfanilamide. If not for the hard work of these advocates, this case might have been overlooked.</p><p>Early efforts also focused on the food industry, which was increasingly using chemical preservatives. The origin of Consumer Reports can be found in the consumer advocacy movement. Both the food and drug industries were getting a free pass to experiment on citizens with few repercussions.</p><p>These movements provided a social foundation for important advocacy work in the second half of the century. Female-led groups evolved to focus on women's reproductive rights, AIDS, and mental health. As the authors write, these groups struck a balance between working <em>with</em> and <em>against</em> current trends. Sometimes you need to craft legislation with officials; at other times, you have to rage against the machine with everything you've got. </p><p>Advocacy marked an important turning point in public health (and culture in general). These groups were tired of placating to a medical model that treated the male body as the standard. This wasn't limited to anatomy. As I <a href="https://bigthink.com/coronavirus/pandemic-warnings-rp-eddy" target="_self">wrote about last week</a>, a high-profile 1970s-era conference about the role of women on Wall St featured no women on stage. You can imagine what reproductive health looked like during that time. </p><p>Advocacy groups made real impact in public health. Then the money began pouring in. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"These groups were funded largely by individual donations with some foundation support, but in the late 1980s, newer women's health groups moved to professionalize, effectively splitting the women's health movement."</p><p>A number of groups resist corporate ties to this day, such as the National Women's Heath Network and Breast Cancer Action. Too often, however, groups argue that their existence depends on corporate funding. This can lead to uncomfortable compromises. </p><p>An estimated two-thirds of patient advocacy groups in America accept funds from the pharmaceutical industry. Pharma companies gave <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s11673-019-09956-8.pdf" target="_blank">at least $116 million</a> to such groups in 2015 alone.</p><p>For example, over a three-year period, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which was founded by two mothers whose sons suffered from schizophrenia, received nearly $12 million from 18 pharmaceutical companies. The largest donor was Prozac manufacturer, Eli Lilly. By 2008, three-quarters of NAMI's budget was funded by the pharmaceutical industry. It gets worse:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"An Eli Lilly executive was even 'on loan' to NAMI, paid by Eli Lilly, while he worked out of the NAMI office on 'strategic planning.'"</p>
A customer waiting for his medication at the Headache Bar in a pharmacy in Sydney, Australia. Among the items on sale are 'Paigees with Chlorophyll' and Alka Seltzer on tap.
Photo by Dennis Rowe/BIPs/Getty Images<p>This influx of cash skews public understanding of drugs. It also influences advocates to overlook real problems caused by pharmaceutical interventions, especially when it comes to mental health.<br></p><p>For a real-world example, consider how Xanax came to market. As journalist Robert Whitaker <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2e829xdb4AA" target="_blank">explains</a>, an <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1463502/?page=1" target="_blank">initial study</a> was conducted to determine efficacy in treating panic attacks. After four weeks, Xanax was outperforming placebo, which is common with benzodiazepines over short-term usage. But it wasn't a four-week study; it was a 14-week study.</p><p>At the end of eight weeks, there was no difference in efficacy between Xanax and placebo.</p><p>At the conclusion of the study after 14 weeks, the placebo outperformed Xanax. By a lot.</p><p>Why is Xanax still prescribed for panic attacks? Because the pharmaceutical company, Upjohn, only published the four-week data. The 14-week data was not in its favor. Nearly forty years later, over <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/781816/alprazolam-sodium-prescriptions-number-in-the-us/" target="_blank">25 million</a> Americans receive a prescription despite its <a href="https://drugabuse.com/xanax/effects-use/" target="_blank">long list</a> of side effects and addictive profile. </p><p>As the authors note, many consumers are not aware of how advocacy groups are funded.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"An international study of groups in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and South Africa found that the extent of relationships with industry was inadequately disclosed in websites that addressed ten health conditions: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, cystic fibrosis, epilepsy, depression, Parkinson's disease, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis."</p><p>That's a tangled web of relationships. Pharmaceutical industry funding negatively impacts the work advocacy groups should be focused on: protecting us. NAMI, for example, claims that as a "natural ally" to the pharmaceutical industry, it helps consumers access "all scientifically proven treatments." When the industry ignores evidence of long-term damage caused by its treatments, you have to wonder what's being advocated. </p><p>Although, as the authors conclude, that question is easy to answer. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Instead of drawing insights from patient experience to set organizational agendas and challenge industry agendas, today's groups are silent on high prices and drug harms, oppose efforts to regulate these basic rights, and demand access to drugs that challenge the safety and effectiveness."</p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
Want help raising your kids? Spend more time at church, says new study.
- Religious people tend to have more children than secular people, but why remains unknown.
- A new study suggests that the social circles provided by regular church going make raising kids easier.
- Conversely, having a large secular social group made women less likely to have children.