By Guy Somerset
There is a very good novel by Agatha Christie titled Murder on the Orient Express. Hopefully it gives nothing away for the reader to impart that, as in much of the Christie canon, a death most foul occurs.
Yet the fulcrum in this particular story is not only the means and method but the motive. For as the tale progresses it becomes evident the deceased most certainly had it coming, setting up a contentious moral quandary for the protagonist with dubious consequences for those involved.
Indeed, as with all great literature its themes are a constant even unto our own time.
A Trek Along The Tracks of Treason
Two weeks ago in a Federal Court of the United States an international drug dealer by the name "El Chapo" was convicted of numerous offenses. These verdicts were hailed by the Mass Media and Public Prosecutors as a major victory for law and order.
Yet at the same time a far more nefarious international cohort of apparent criminals walks free with nary a peep from Media or Prosecutors. These assiduously unnamed individuals should be regarded as equally immoral, to say nothing of being far more corrupt. This is the Sackler Family, which has murdered more individuals by willful neglect and intentional disinformation than El Chapo ever dreamed of harming.
As with any tour of villainy, the first necessary step is to assess the adversaries...
Ethnicity and Nationality:
El Chapo -Mexican by Nationality.
The Sacklers - Mostly American by Nationality.
El Chapo - Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was born 1957 (or 1954, official sources do not agree) in La Tuna, Mexico. He stands 5'6" which accounts for his nickname, "Shorty" in Spanish. Given his notoriety it may be surprising to learn Guzman is but semi-literate with no more than a Third Grade formal education.
His timeline, generally speaking, begins in the 1960s planting Marijuana with his brothers. By the 1970s he was running drugs to major Mexican cities as well as the American border. In the 1980s Guzman joined the Guadalajara Cartel, later leading a faction that became the Sinaloa Cartel itself.
Throughout the 1990s El Chapo consolidated power by murdering competitors and subordinates who threatened his control. Guzman evidently led a charmed life, escaping multiple assassination attempts unharmed while even a Mexican Cardinal Archbishop was mistakenly gunned down by his enemies.
In the 2000s America placed a $5 Million bounty on El Chapo. By the late 2010s he was captured and extradited to the United States, later convicted on multiple charges and facing life in prison.
The Sacklers - Three brothers, Arthur, Mortimer and Raymond were the modern representatives of this progeny. (Arthur died in 1987 apparently without a sense of irony stating, "Leave the world a better place than when you entered it.")
All three were children of immigrants from Europe raised in Brooklyn, New York who became physicians, Arthur being the most prominent. He was trained under a Dutch psychoanalyst described as "Freud's favorite disciple." (Which, in itself, ought to tell one a great deal about the "humanity" of this refuse.)
Each worked at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center where they evidently honed their skills at public distortion and national subversion. Arthur eventually purchased a small advertising agency with which he undermined honorable medical ethics and was among the pioneering filth to weaponize marketing in selling unneeded pills and potions. He enlisted prominent physicians to peddle his wares by touting worthless "clinical studies" often underwritten by drug manufacturers themselves.
As example, Sackler placed business cards of physicians in an ad for a drug he was pushing in the 1950s. When a reporter for The Saturday Review became suspicious and went to conduct interviews the sleuth discovered the physicians did not even exist - simply psychological trickery from a worthless huckster.
By the 1960s Arthur was promoting the "Drug Culture" and sought to enmesh students and other youngsters in the scourge. He advertised tranquilizers such as Valium to impressionable college attendees. Later he would encourage physicians to prescribe drugs even to those with no symptoms. An associate of Sackler would later state, "It kind of made junkies...but that drug worked!"
The Sackler Syndicate purchased Purdue Pharma in 1952. Although each of the three brothers would retain one-third ownership, Raymond and Mortimer were co-Directors. (They passed away in 2010 and 2017, respectively.)
In 1995 the Sacklers loosed their product OxyContin upon the world. It is a durable narcotic incredibly addictive and for decades was liberally over-prescribed by physicians globally. The result was misery for the world and $35 Billion in revenues for Purdue Pharma.
The active ingredient is Oxycodone, a powerful substance similar to Heroin and two times as potent as Morphine. Oxycodone itself had been developed in Germany in 1916. It was inexpensive to produce and by 1995 widely available in other products. Purdue Pharma merely refined this substance into a pure form with a time release formula ("Contin" stands for "continuous release").
Rather than act in the public welfare with this dangerous drug, the Sacklers embarked on a full-scale propaganda campaign which, in conjunction with legalized bribery (otherwise known as campaign contributions and physician perks) managed to have guidelines and regulations rewritten in their favor.
The pill was approved that year by the Food and Drug Administration absent any studies by Purdue Pharma on long-term addictive properties. The F.D.A. examiner in charge, Dr. Curtis Wright, soon resigned to take a job with Purdue Pharma itself.
In the interest of full disclosure, this author was one of those bamboozled by the relentless propagation of the late-1990s which studiously reported to lawmakers OxyContin was absolutely non-addictive.
El Chapo - In the year 2009 Forbes Magazine estimated El Chapo's net worth at approximately $1 Billion dollars. By 2017 estimates had grown to a doubtful $14 Billion. Meanwhile, Bruce M. Bagley at the University of Miami states this is vastly overrated and El Chapo has $2-$4 Billion "at most."
The Sacklers - Although difficult to ascertain given the diffusion of assets by the secretive cabal, according to Forbes Magazine in 2015 the publication stated the Sackler fortune at $14 Billion. The most recent figure was cited as $13 Billion spread among 20 relations. Even so, this sum puts them Billions above both the Rockefeller and Mellon dynasties.
El Chapo - The Kingpin is reported to have been wed three times, most recently in 2007 to Emma Coronel Aispuro. He has had numerous romantic assignations, notably with at least one female Mexican Legislator. His children are reputed to number from twelve to thirteen.
The Sacklers - More than one dozen Second Generation Sacklers infest the globe. Importantly, none of the descendants of Arthur Sackler have any association with Purdue Pharma or OxyContin, their branch of the family having sold the company to the other two. Even so, their fortune rests almost entirely on the malpractice and public abuses of Arthur Sackler evidenced above - such as with Valium and others.
Regarding the most prominent current heirs, a daughter of Arthur serves on the board of the Brooklyn Museum with a Sackler Center for "Feminist Art." Sons of Raymond established a professorship at Yale. (Evidently, these locusts intend to migrate to other illnesses.) Another daughter of Richard supports such entities as the Malala Fund and considers herself a "social entrepreneur."
El Chapo - Importantly, the Sinaloa Cartel is only one of six major drug organizations in Mexico today. Despite this it is purportedly among the most powerful trafficking "billions upon billions" of dollars in Marijuana, Heroin, Cocaine and Methamphetamines. The Sinaloa Cartel is estimated to control between 40% and 60% of the Mexican Drug Trade, earning around $3 Billion each year.
The Sacklers - Purdue Pharma is a completely family-owned business (much like The Mafia). Today eight members of the Sacklers from three generations sit on its Board of Directors. Even so, the Sackler reach extends into every state of the Union through their network of compromised physician dealers.
El Chapo - Given the secretive nature of the Sinaloa Cartel, it is difficult to accurately provide figures for membership. According to experts in a 2018 Congressional Research Service Report, the total stands at about 150,000 with operations in 52 nations. During an interview with Sean Penn, which later ran in Rolling Stone magazine, Guzman boasted, "I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats."
The Sacklers - Purdue Pharma, entirely family-owned by the Sacklers, has over 5,000 employees worldwide with revenue of $3 Billion every year. Yet this is only a fraction of their fellow-travelers and fifth-columnists. In other countries the nefarious organization operates Mundipharma which has a presence in over 120 nations with 8,600 employees generating another $3.4 Billion annually.
According to the American Medical Association in 2010 there were more than 246,000 primary care physicians in the United States. Likewise, in 2015 there were over 1.1 million doctors of all types in the country. A sizeable proportion have readily recommended OxyContin to patients over the years. They are, in essence, the foot soldiers of the Sackler Army of over-prescription.
During the initial phase of marketing OxyContin, several physicians were given expense-paid trips to exotic locales to hear "information seminars" about the drug. It was later discovered these physicians were generally two times as likely to prescribe the medication to users.
According to The New Yorker in 2017, "American clinicians have issued a quarter of a Billion opioid prescriptions annually" with around one-third being for OxyContin. The same article notes in Ohio, with 2.3 Million residents, one in five had received a prescription for opioids in 2016, the previous year.
Indeed, in 2015 Purdue Pharma received approval from the F.D.A. to market OxyContin to children as young as eleven years old.
Notorious Escapes from the Law:
El Chapo - On June 9, 1993, Guzman was arrested in Guadalajara, Mexico on charges of drug trafficking, kidnapping and murder. He was later sentenced to 20 years in Puente Grande, a maximum security prison. By January 19, 2001, El Chapo had escaped by means of a laundry cart though it is alleged he also employed bribery upwards of $2.5 Million to affect the incident.
On February 22, 2014, Guzman was again detained by law enforcement in Mazatlán, Mexico. Yet by July 11, 2015, El Chapo had once more evaded captors at Altiplano Federal Prison, another supposedly maximum security institution, this time by crawling through a mile-long tunnel crafted by his associates.
As of January 8, 2016, Guzman was taken in by authorities at Los Mochis, Mexico. On January 19, 2017 El Chapo was turned over to the United States where he is still being held.
The Sacklers - In 1959 it emerged a company Arthur Sackler owned, MD Publications, had paid Henry Welch, Chief of the Antibiotics Division of the Food and Drug Administration, almost $300,000 to secure his assistance in promoting certain products. (Welch was not indicted for Fraud and Sackler was not executed for Treason.)
By 2002 ordinary citizens and relatives of deceased users began to organize against Purdue Pharma. During one such seminar Purdue Pharma Communication Specialist Robin Hogen allegedly confronted bereaved relations and supposedly threatened news reporters, "We'll be watching them." (Hogen was not arrested for Intimidation or Making Terroristic Threats.)
Eventually in 2003 the Drug Enforcement Administration concluded Purdue engaged "aggressive methods" and "very much exacerbated OxyContin's abuse." (Even so, the Sacklers were not arrested for Intentional Malpractice or Mass Murder.)
In innumerable cases physicians running "pill mills" providing tens of thousands of over-prescriptions have been indicted by authorities. One such example is Dr. Richard Paolino in Pennsylvania who was sentenced to the minimum thirty years in prison for liberally providing Sackler Family drugs. (Yet, the Sackler Scum themselves have faced no charges at all, let alone years in confinement.)
Purdue Pharma has settled some Class Action lawsuits for monetary damages, one set at $75 Million, a sum far less than the Billions generated for the Sackler Syndicate. Company Executives have been criminally prosecuted for "misbranding" the drug and received the comparatively light punishment of Probation and $35 Million in fines while Purdue Pharma agreed to another $600 Million in fines.
El Chapo - One of the reasons El Chapo has been notoriously difficult to capture is the protection by his community, partly stemming from his largesse to the extreme impoverished of Sinaloa. Guzman purportedly paved roads in rural areas, built schools and offered protection from other drug cartels.
When arrested in 2014 hundreds protested his detention. He has been feted with numerous "Narcocorridos" which are "Drug Ballads" somewhat similar to Medieval Troubadour songs about the heroism and bravery of knights.
The Sacklers - The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has a Sackler Wing which was bestowed in 1978. Likewise, contributions to alieve themselves of their shame have been made to Harvard University, the Louvre in Paris, Oxford in Britain and dozens of other educational institutions.
Moreover, there is a Sackler Center for Arts Education at the Guggenheim Museum. Recently, protestors occupied the space at the latter and distributed flyers with the names of tens of thousands of those whom the Sacklers have wantonly killed with their prescription death.
Repercussions for Extrication:
El Chapo - None. El Chapo was a businessman who sold drugs to those choosing to take them recreationally. Absolutely every person who used his Heroin was well aware of the dangers to their body and health. To the extent a user "got clean," went into Rehab or otherwise kicked their habit El Chapo had no more use for them. Once his customers discontinued his product they were left in peace.
The Sacklers - No respite. The Sacklers knowingly propagandized the public with the assistance of the government to misinform and maliciously deceive the citizenry their narcotics were not addictive or habit-forming. They did this with the complicity of tens of thousands of physicians who received "kickbacks" and other perks in the form of vacations, luxury dinners or other inducements.
To the degree users were able to detoxify themselves from the vile product of the Sackler vermin they were still not free of the clawing grip of their inhuman tormentors. The degenerate Sackler Family patented those very pharmaceuticals used in the weening of addicted patients off the very Sackler-produced OxyContin itself.
Rather than remorse for their Blood Libel against the American nation, the Sacklers did not make the cure for their poison readily available free of charge to those whose lives they willingly destroyed but instead designed to make another fortune by withholding the antidote for the vast suffering masses they themselves had so ruthlessly abused.
El Chapo - According to Time magazine in 2015 El Chapo was directly responsible for around 34,000 deaths. El Chapo himself claims a far lower total of "two or three thousand." Even so, the Sinaloa Cartel of which El Chapo was the leader has a record of extreme violence and brutality.
To the extent it is possible to ascertain, the organization may be credited with up to 50,000 of the roughly 250,000 deaths or disappearances in Mexico since 2006 though of necessity these are only estimates. Given these generalities, it is plausible that over the course of twenty years El Chapo may himself account for under 5,000 deaths while his larger group may be responsible for 50,000 in total.
The Sacklers - Drug overdoses in 1999 alone were 16,849 while by 2017 they had reached 70,200 annually. Since 1999 over 200,000 Americans have died from overdoses related to OxyContin and prescribed opiates. This does not take into account the millions who have been addicted to prescription drugs by the Sacklers and when their health insurance has run out been forced to resort to using illegal street substances such as Heroin, which is far cheaper.
According to the American Society for Addition, four out of five who try Heroin do so after having been hooked on prescriptions. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborate, as quoted in The New Yorker article above, Purdue Pharma bears "the lion's share" for the global crisis.
Thus in a very real sense the market for the illegal drugs of El Chapo was generated by The Sacklers.
Proposals for Justice:
El Chapo - The "Drug Lord" has been found guilty of numerous charges and will likely serve the remainder of his life in a maximum security prison in the United States of America.
The Sacklers - The "Kings of Opiates" have never been prosecuted and it is unlikely they will ever be so. To the extent possible a legally recognized court should be duly empaneled to hear the cases of these degenerates and upon lawful conviction each and every one charged from men, women and children of mature age ought to be publicly punished for their crimes in the most extreme fashion.
All Roads Lead to Railroading
Needless to say, The Sacklers will never be rebuked for their actions. They are Billionaires and their millions of victims are poor or middle-class at best. Given the realities of the governmental system of the United States there is no chance whatsoever the laws will be changed to hold the guilty to account.
Yet, if this be the spirit of the Law then it is the duty of American citizens to act within the letter of the Law themselves. To wit, until the Sackler Scum are judged by the courts then no one else should be punished either.
There is no drug dealer, no drug pusher, no drug distributer, no drug user who has maimed or harmed or killed near so many as The Sacklers by even a magnitude of deaths.
That being the case any person empaneled on a Jury should use their Constitutional Right to Jury Nullification and refuse under any circumstances to convict any suspect for any drug charge. In many if not most courtrooms it only takes a single Juror to refuse to vote for conviction for a Mistrial to result.
By drawing a line and refusing to imprison even the most obviously guilty until the most notoriously culpable are prosecuted a message may be sent about what level of corruption citizens will tolerate.
Perhaps when hundreds or thousands of cases are thrown into disarray to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars some Prosecutor or Attorney General with integrity (a doubtful proposition itself) will find the gumption to act in the interest of his constituents rather than at the command of his mega-donors.
No more low-level, impoverished, ignorant suspects with few if any recourse can be railroaded into prison while the Sackler Filth walks free with impunity concerning their American Blood Libel.
This should be done in every condition in every case in every courtroom throughout the land until the Sacklers - each and every one - have been brought to trial for their far more pervasive and vastly greater detrimental crimes against the citizenry of the United States and residents of this Earth.
In other words, no one goes to jail until the worst of the worst go to jail - Herein Lies The Path To Justice.
Guy Somerset writes from somewhere in America.
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