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     MindNet Journal - Vol. 1, No. 29b * [Part 2 of 2 parts]
     V E R I C O M M / MindNet         "Quid veritas est?"


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Editor: Mike Coyle 

Associate Editors: Walter Bowart
                   Alex Constantine
                   Martin Cannon

Assistant Editor: Rick Lawler

Research: Darrell Bross

[Continued from part 1]

"We considered it too early to make any kind of definitive
determination about the nature or extent of the poisonings," Dr.
Gould says, "and had in no way thought to publicize our concerns
at this time." She was still collecting medical reports when the
Times came a-calling.
        A cursory treatment of the story was written up by staff
reporter Aaron Curtiss and appeared on December 1, 1992. It was
founded solely on allegations, not hard evidence. Curtiss
promised the group a follow-up story based on the medical data
they'd collected. Gould agreed to turn over the blood test
        But the Times pulled a switch. Curtiss phoned Gould to
say he'd been pulled off the story. It was instead assigned to
John Johnson, the author of an earlier biased pooh-poohing of
ritual abuse that appeared in the Times on April 23, 1992.17 Dr.
Gould was still aching with resentment at the paper for printing
Johnson's condescending denial of underground cult activity in
Los Angeles. Gould told Curtiss that she saw no purpose in
working with Johnson. Curtiss passed on Gould's concerns to his
        The next day Curtiss called to say that his editor had
agreed that Gould could give the medical reports to the Times and
expect fair treatment. He assured her that the information would
be accurately reflected in the story written by Johnson. Thus
assuaged, she turned over the medical reports.
        Quite suddenly, without explanation, Curtiss went
incommunicado. Gould phoned the Times repeatedly over the next
ten days - Curtiss refused to either take or return her calls.
Gould had a cold sensation in the pit of her stomach that the
paper would debunk the poisonings.
        "I was appalled," Gould later wrote to editors of the
Times, "when the article appeared on the front page of the
'Metro' section with none of the available data in it. The
article represents a breach of ethics on the part of John Johnson
and the Los Angeles Times, and a breach of promise made by a
staff member."
        The Times story that appeared on December 13, 1992
glossed over the medical evidence entirely, depicting the task
force as a collection of paranoiacs who "claimed they are slowly
being poisoned by those who want to silence them." The paper
noted that there were "43 reported victims of the alleged
poisoning," but "so far, there is no proof that anyone was
poisoned and skeptics abound." Johnson cited as example Dr. Paul
J. Papanek, chief of the county's toxins epidemiological program
and the most reviled public official in L.A. County - the very
"authority" who has repeatedly sanctioned malathion spraying in
Southern California despite overwhelming medical data, a
multitude of case histories and strident city hall testimony
indicating that the pesticide is harmful to humans.
        Dr. Papanek "attended a recent task force meeting and
branded as 'outrageous' the poisoning claims." He sharply faulted
the commission for not attending to "common sense rules of
evidence." On the heels of this "controversy," nameless
authorities had "begun an investigation into the activities of
therapists and an acupuncturist linked to the poisoning claims by
task force members."
        Other "skeptics" were "turning up the heat for answers.,"
Johnson reported, among them Tom O'Connor, executive director of
the Board of Psychology. "Are they diagnosing diazinon
poisoning?" O'Connor asked. "That's beyond the scope of their
license. This sounds like some sort of mass hysteria."
        Another categorical denial came from Stephanie Sheppard,
who "said she checked out the claims of pesticide poisoning and
found no facts to back up the allegations."
        The Times had only to cite the medical reports supplied
by Catherine Gould to silence these critics of the task force.
The spurning of the blood tests reduced the story to a
transparent smear, probably to discredit Gould and other
therapists treating victims of ritual abuse. The deliberate
distortions of most news reports on cult conditioning of children
blurs public perception of the issue, and contributes to the
continued vulnerability of children to a most heinous form of
        If anything is more ludicrous than the atrocities
described by victims, it is the confabulistic tales advanced by
false memory advocates in the press.

The abysmal ethics of the Times in its handling of the task
force poisonings extended to the paper's reports on a related
story, the logic-defying "Mystery Fumes" case in Riverside,
California. The half-dozen accounts of the case published by
the newspaper were the exclusive domain of staff writer Tom
        In February, 1994 six emergency room attendants at
Riverside Hospital fainted after inhaling an "ammonia-like" odor
discharged by the blood of Gloria Ramirez after drawing a sample
with a syringe. "In the ensuing confusion," Gorman reported, "two
people unaffected by the fumes tended to her as she went into
full cardiac arrest. Within minutes, the 31-year-old woman -
suffering from cervical cancer and weakened by nausea - died."
State health officials and toxic specialists had no idea what
prompted the incident, and Gorman reported that the Riverside
Fire Department's hazardous materials squad found nothing
peculiar in air samples taken from the emergency room.18 (Five
months later, however, Gorman reversed himself and reported that
a chemical compound derived from ammonia had been found in the
air samples.19)
        Dr. Huberto Ochoa, director of the emergency room staff,
noticed white crystal spikes in the syringe used to draw blood
from the dying Gloria Ramirez. "I'd never seen anything like it,"
he said. OSHA technicians detected an unidentified derivative of
ammonia in Ramirez's body bag.20 Nevertheless, one state
hygienist blamed "stress" or "anxiety." This explanation,
however, failed to account for the profound memory loss of
Maureen Welch, a respiratory therapist. The strain of overwork
seemed a lame explanation for the gangrenous knees of nurse Julie
Gorchynski after her blood had been contaminated, killing the
supply of oxygen to her bones. She also suffered from breathing
difficulties, muscle spasms and other symptoms reported two years
earlier by members of the task force. In fact, the New York Times
noted, medical professionals held that 'the toxic substance that
felled the emergency room workers may have been an
organophosphate, a chemical used in pesticides and military nerve
gas."21 (On the West Coast, the heirs of General Otis Chandler
never once raised the possibility that Gloria Ramirez may have
been exposed to organophosphates, quite possibly to avoid linking
Dr. Gould's task force with the mystery fumes case in the minds
of readers.)
        "I had chemical burns in my throat and nose," Gorchynski
told reporters, "lungs working at half capacity, biopsies showing
dead knees, a drop of enzyme levels and crystals in my blood as
well. It's all medically documented."22 But the Los Angeles Times
- which had ignored medical data in its reporting on the
poisonings of ritual abuse task force members - also neglected to
discuss Julie Gorchynski's medical examinations. The hospital's
own blood tests detected organophosphates, but the local press
refused to report this critical fact for many months.
        The Times wasn't the only local news outlet to spin a
cloud of disinformation around the mystery fumes case. Dean
Adell, a local talk show doctor for KFI, an AM radio station in
Los Angeles, dismissed the incident as "mass hysteria."23
        This diagnosis outraged Dr. Ross Kussman, Gorchynski's
physician, who called the radio station to explain that the
hospital personnel displayed symptoms of toxicity.
        "It doesn't fit the grounds for mass hysteria," Kussman
said. "Julie became very ill from the toxin, developed
pancreatitis and hepatitis, which are known to kill bone tissue."
Dr. Adell scoffed, as though this diagnosis was the most
preposterous abuse of medical science he'd ever heard. What
poison could possibly account for Gorchynski's litany of
symptoms? he asked.
        "Organophosphates are well known to cause pancreatitis,"
Dr. Kussman offered. He explained that pancreatitis, in turn, is
a known precursor of bone necrosis, the condition afflicting Dr.
Gorchynski's knees. Adell asked why health authorities hadn't
arrived at the same conclusion.
        "Because," Kussman returned, "the County was
uncooperative in helping us find out where it came from."
(Gorchynski also claimed that county authorities were
"stonewalling" her.)
        "Trust me," Dr. Adell, an optometrist, snorted with
psychic confidence, "there ain't no fumes!"
        This appeared to be the official position of the Times as
well. Gorman parroted the statements of state health officials
when, two weeks later, they too attributed the swooning at
Riverside Hospital to "mass hysteria" (failing to point out that
this is formally considered to be a "diagnosis-by-exclusion" -
meaning that if no other cause is detectable, mass hysterics
could account for a spread of physical symptoms.24)
        At any rate, this explanation didn't wash well in the
public print. But before the sighs died down, another diagnosis
was offered by Riverside County Coroner Scotty Hill. The coroner
released a report from Lawrence Livermore labs - a few days
before ballots were cast in Hill's run for re-election -
concluding that the noxious fumes discharged by Gloria Ramirez
were created internally from the bodily absorption of the pain
remedy DMSO chemically transformed by her unique biochemistry
into dimethyl sulfate, a lethal chemical warfare agent.25
        But the DMSO theory had as many gaping holes in it as
"mass hysteria."
        "DMSO is commonly used," Dr. Kussman says, "and they're
saying now that everyone who uses it emits a nerve gas?"
        The Ramirez family fervently denied that the patient had
ever used DMSO. Besides, said Ron Schwartz, an attorney in the
case, "the coroner's office is still saying that she died of
cervical cancer, but now they're saying she created a chemical
warfare agent that didn't hurt her. That doesn't make sense to
        The Los Angeles Times neglected to report a second
outbreak of mystery fumes that further decimated the DMSO
hypothesis. After initial treatment at Riverside Hospital, two of
the poisoned hospital employees were transferred to Parkview
Hospital, according to a local television news report.26 "What
few people know," an excited reporter announced from Parkview,
"is that four of the workers who treated them here were ill
themselves. A poison expert examined the four new patients - he
said the same symptoms at two different hospitals argues against
a DMSO reaction, and points to an entirely different poison."
        Lawrence Livermore chemists may have also overlooked an
outbreak of mystery fumes in Bakersfield a week after the
Riverside poisonings. The emergency room at Mercy Hospital was
evacuated after doctors inserted a breathing tube in the trachea
of a 44-year-old woman struggling with shortness of breath. As at
Riverside, emergency room personnel noticed a gaseous cloud
rising from the patient. They complained that a potent chemical
odor originating with the patient's blood left them with burning
eyes, nausea and headaches.27
        The growing list of tenuous explanations contributed to
suspicions of a cover-up. These were augmented by the
announcement that the syringe used to draw blood from Gloria
Ramirez had been thrown away.28 And in the course of lawsuits
filed by the Ramirez family, Dr. Gorchynski, nurse Sally Balderas
and attorneys for Riverside County filed a court motion to
destroy all of the evidence gathered from the contaminated
emergency room.
        As it was, entire barrels of evidence had been kept
secret from the Ramirez family. They and others filing suit had
no chance to have the contents of the barrels examined by
        An attorney for Sally Balderas complained that he had not
been notified that the county wanted to destroy the evidence, or
even that a hearing had been scheduled. Judge Richard Van Frank
refused to give the county its way, ruling that interested
parties work out a plan for the evidence before the hearing
        Coverage of the mystery fumes case by the Los Angeles
Times did not extend to the evidentiary hearing. The residents of
L.A. were not told that the very "stonewalling" officials charged
with investigating a case of mass poisoning wanted to burn every
scrap of evidence to minimize "storage costs."
        By suppressing significant details (medical evidence
documenting a toxic assault on the ritual abuse task force, or
symptoms of organophosphate poisoning in the mystery fumes case)
the Times plays an insidious game. The newspaper has clearly
distorted the chemo-terrorism of cults in the southern California
with a disinformation gambit that shields the culprits and
defames victims (Gloria Ramirez?) for breaking out, talking to
reporters, striking back or otherwise interfering with domestic
intelligence cult operations.

                                        - Alex Constantine


        1 Teresa Watanabe and Carol J. Williams, "Japan Sect Uses
Pain to Impel Faith," Los Angeles Times, March 25, 1995, p.

        2 Jonathan Annells, "Temple of Doom," London Times, March
26, 1995, p. 1.

        3 B. Boskovitch and R. Kusic, abstract to "Long-Term
Effect of Acute Exposure to Nerve Gases Upon Human Health," in
Mass Mind Control of the American People, compiled and edited by
Elizabeth Russell-Manning, published by Russell-Manning, San
Francisco, 1992, p. 90.

        4 There have been scores of military gassing incidents.
In 1969, for instance, the accidental release of nerve gas in
Okinawa hospitalized 25 Americans (see Sterling Seagrave. Yellow
Rain, M. Evans, New York, 1981, p. 260-61). Non-military
accidents are not all that uncommon either: In 1976, the
explosion of a factory owned by a subsidiary of Hoffman-LaRoche
discharged a cloud of fumes that sickened and disfigured children
of Seveso, Italy for life (see John G. Fuller, The Poison that
Fell from the Sky, Random House, New York, 1977).

        5 Annells.

        6 Ben Hills, "Police, Scientists Still Baffled by Japan
Nerve Gas Deaths," The Age (Australia), August 20, 1994.

        7 John Johnson, "County Panel Scrutinized for Satanic
Claims," Los Angeles Times, December 13, 1992, p. B-1.
        8 Catherine Gould, letter with medical verification to
the Los Angeles Times, December 17, 1992. Copies are available
from the L.A. County Commission for Women's Ritual Abuse Task
Force office.

        9 Randy Noblitt, "Multiple Choice: Which of the Following
is Most False: (A) The Memory, (B) The Syndrome, (C) The
Foundation?" Newsletter of the Society for the Investiga-tion,
Treatment and Prevention of Ritual and Cult Abuse, vol. 1, no. 3,
Fall/Winter 1993-94, pp. 3-5. The percentage of psychologists who
believe recovered memory therapy to be effective is about 88%.
The proportion is the same in Great Britain, according to one
survey released last year. On January 1, 1995, the Sunday London
Times reported that "the first expert investigation into
'recovered memory syndrome' in Britain reveals that nine out of
ten psychologists believe the technique of searching for buried
sexual trauma can produce accurate memories."

        10 Jonathan Vankin, in Conspiracies, Cover-Ups and Crimes
(1992), cites a lecture by Joe Holsinger, an aide to late
Congressman Leo Ryan, at a psychology conference in Berkeley,
noting: "the possibility is that Jonestown was a mass mind
control experiment by the CIA." Holsinger offered as evidence
"The Penal Colony," an essay written by a U.C. Berkeley
psychologist. "The Berkeley author of the article ... believes
that rather than terminating MKULTRA (the Agency's mind control
program), the CIA shifted its programs from public institutions
to private cult groups, including the Peoples' Temple" (p. 176).

        11 Shirley Briggs, Chemical Classes of Pesticides,
Hemisphere Publishing Co., 1972, Washington, D.C., p. 213.
Immediate effects of organophosphate poisoning include behavioral
disturbances, muscle twitching, headaches, nausea, dizziness,
anxiety, memory loss, weakness, tremor, abdominal cramps, blurred
vision, slowed heartbeat and incontinence.

        12 Anonymous attachment, Dr. Gould's letter to the L.A.

        13 Letter to Myra Riddel of the L.A. County Commission
for Women's Ritual Abuse Task Force, December 15, 1992. On file
in the task force archives.

        14 Dr. David W. Neswald, letter to Dr. Myra Riddell, task
force chairwoman, December 10, 1992. Neswald found Ms. Sheppard's
behavior "rather suspect."

        15 N.R. in a letter to the task force, November 30, 1992.

        16 Piers Brendon, The Life and Death of the Press Barons,
Atheneum, New York, 1983, p. 232.

        17 John Johnson, "Satanism: Skeptics Abound," Los Angeles
Times, April 23, 1992, P. A-1.

        18 Tom Gorman, "Family Claims Woman was Victim, Not
Cause, of Fumes," Los Angeles Times, March 3, 1994, p. A-3.

        19 Tom Gorman, "6-Month Probe Fails to Solve Mystery of
Hospital Fumes," Los Angeles Times, August 16, 1994, p. A-21.

        20 Tom Gorman, "Victims of Fumes Still Ill, and Still
Seeking Answers," Los Angeles Times, April 14, 1994, p. A-1.

        21 B. Drummond Ayres Jr., "Elaborate Precautions Taken
for Autopsy in Mystery Fumes Case," New York Times, February 25,
1994, p. A-17.

        22 Tom Gorman, "'Mystery Fumes' Doctor to File $6-Million
Claim," Los Angeles Times, August 7, 1994, p. A-1.

        23 Dean Adell program, KFI-AM (Los Angeles), August 8,

        24 Kussman.

        25 Tom Gorman, "Lab Suggests Mystery Fumes Answer," Los
Angeles Times, November 4, 1994, p. A-1.

        26 Mystery fumes update, late evening news broadcast,
KNBC-TV, Los Angeles, November 26, 1994.

        27 "Fumes Again Sicken People," Los Angeles Times,
February 28, 1994, p. A-3.

        28 Tom Gorman, "Syringe Used in Fumes Case Lost," Los
Angeles Times, April 22, 1994, p. A-3.

        29 Pat Murkland, "Bid to Destroy Fumes Evidence Lost,"
Corona (Calif.) Press-Enterprise, January 12, 1995, p. B-1.

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