When Dr. Rima Laibow first suddenly appeared on the anti-Codex landscape as leader of the newly-formed Natural Solutions Foundation, I began to wonder where she was coming from. Although she seemed to have a straightforward, hands-on approach to internet activism, something seemed to be amiss.
Long-term anti-Codex activist John Hammell had clearly identified the transnational treaties such as WTO, FTAA and CAFTA as integrating Codex language, placing jurisdiction outside of U.S. lawmakers. Yet Dr. Laibow not only ignored this connection, but actively dissuaded her growing community of online supporters from paying any attention to it, especially at the time when CAFTA was being debated in Congress and there was a real possibility of defeating it. (More on this discussion below.)
Then I learned that Dr. Laibow was suing Kevin Miller, allegedly for her having provided some funding for his brilliant and powerful video on Codex called “We Become Silent” but, apparently against her wishes, his including the connection to the above-mentioned treaties.
Since then she has engaged her online community in what appears to be a good cause - writing and calling Congress to stop BioShield 2, a truly horrific proposed law. But all discussion of Codex appears to be directing people into a useless diversion, writing and sending letters of “support” for an “alternative” to the Codex vitamin guidelines. We as ordinary people have zero impact on this process, since it is being drawn up by bureaucrats in the Codex delegations whose allegiance is primarily to the pharmaceutical industry. So getting people involved in this process is a wholesale waste of time.
Then I looked carefully at a message she sent to her supporters about Codex several months ago. In it I found the use of carefully-chosen psychologically-charged words, a technique used in psychological warfare tracts developed at U.S. Army Intelligence by a man named Edward G. Lansdale. This technique, called the Semantic Differential, has been used by our intelligence services widely, as part of programs to subvert “enemy” countries and other targets. (I first read about the Semantic Differential in a tract in Covert Intelligence Information Bulletin about psychological warfare used against Grenada, Chile, and Nicaragua.)
The Semantic Differential is a technique which uses culturally important psychologically-charged words to promote a particular point of view or, in the case of psychological warfare, to discredit an enemy. Here Dr. Laibow’s audience is middle-class, health-conscious, intelligent (and somewhat intellectual) Americans.
Here’s the example from Dr. Laibow’s message:
“If you think that your understanding of Codex is being manipulated by words (such as “risk assessment” as a scientific approach of toxicology appropriate to nutrients which are, by definition, non-toxic, for example), distortion (”CAFTA and FTAA have CODEX language in them so they are the same as the CODEX problem”) and distraction (who is a Druid?, who is a witch?, who is “Controlled Opposition”?, who is a CIA Agent?, who is a good person?, who is a bad person?, etc.”) you are right.”
The psychologically-charged words here are “manipulation,” “distortion,” and “distraction.” John Hammell had made the clear connection between CAFTA and Codex, and had accused the Natural Solutions Foundation (Dr. Laibow’s group) and several other organizations of being “controlled opposition groups” – groups taken over by, or owned by, people who appear to be opposed to Codex but who promote useless activism or tell people that there is nothing to worry about. In the above message, Dr. Laibow psychologically marginalizes Hammell’s position, not by refuting it, but by merely using words that do so by their psychological power in our culture among her audience.
Here is another even more dramatic example, from the next paragraph in her message:
“So the infighting and turf wars which have provided this distortion and distraction (and which the Natural Solutions Foundation will not dignify by entering since there is plenty of turf to go around in the world of health freedom) fulfill the role of the bloated and meaningless “news” that keeps us disconnected both from reality and from its meaning.”
Note the lead-in, using the psychologically-charged words “infighting” and “turf wars” before repeating the words “distortion” and “distraction.” She goes on to say that *her* (that is, her follower’s) organization stands above all this (“will not dignify by entering”). Then she goes in for the psychological kill: “bloated and meaningless news” that keeps us “disconnected both from reality and its meaning.” At this point, most readers would be subconsciously and consciously convinced that John Hammell is involving us in “turf wars,” “keeping us disconnected” from reality by distorting the facts and distracting everyone with “bloated and meaningless” news.
Finally, here is the psychological lead-out that puts people into their “comfort zone” knowing that what she has stated above is right and just:
“Read, study, follow the links and make sure that you are comfortable with both what is presented and what is concluded from that. Above all, question your sources and evaluate the answers carefully. I know that I do.
“You won’t always be correct, but you can always be informed. If you are an American, Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers gave you that opportunity and obligation.”
If people were feeling at all uncomfortable with her subtle attack on Hammell, this puts their minds at ease. Acting as if she had presented unbiased information, she uses the psychologically-charged words and phrases “comfortable,” “question your sources,” and “evaluate the answers carefully.” Then confirming that her audience is intelligent, she reminds them that they “won’t always be correct” but can “always be informed.” Last but not least, she invokes Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers giving us the “opportunity and obligation” to be informed.
In a similar article using similar psychological techniques, Dr. Laibow convinces readers, using psychologically-charged words such as “forces,” “intentional disinformation,” “misleading,” and “irrelevant” to convince her readers that attempting to stop the multinational treaty process is a waste of time, that instead they need to focus on changing the Codex regulations. Here’s are some excerpts:
“FTAA and CAFTA are really bad ideas for US interests. But all the recent focus in them as related to the CODEX issue because they contain CODEX language is either an error in the understanding of the real nature of the CODEX problem or, worse yet, intentional disinformation to drain off energy and political force from opposition to CODEX ALIMENTARIUS. FTAA and CAFTA are totally irrelevant to the CODEX issue.”
“Some people in the CODEX arena are now focusing on FTAA and CAFTA and saying that it is a waste of time to focus in CODEX because FTAA and CAFTA contain CODEX language in their text. These forces are either using mis- or dis- information by misleading people to think that because these trade agreements contain CODEX language they somehow are a significant part of the Codex problem.”
Dr. Laibow does not reveal that the many Codex committees are all controlled by the multinational agricultural and pharmaceutical companies, so that it is precisely what she is telling people to do – trying to change the Codex regulations – is fruitless. She does not reveal that the Codex regulations themselves, without multinational agreements such as FTAA and CAFTA in place, are just pieces of paper that lack any power.
These are masterful uses of Semantic Differential. Many orators and politicians have mastered this kind of psychological use of words without learning it from Army Intelligence, but one can only wonder where a naturopathic doctor such as Dr. Laibow might have learned to write in this fashion. Perhaps it was from working with her husband, General Albert Stubblebine, former head of the US Army Intelligence & Security Command (INSCOM) 1981-84. Anyone in that position would be steeped in knowledge about psychological warfare techniques and especially about the use of Semantic Differential.
While Dr. Laibow’s activism against the extreme excesses of the pharmaceutical industry appear to be genuine, one can only wonder why she is so intent on marginalizing those who want people to make the connection between Codex and the efforts by these same multinational corporations to enforce the Codex regulations and to place jurisdiction for that enforcement outside of Congress through multinational agreements such as WTO, CAFTA, and FTAA.
November 4, 2005
Reference on Albert Stubblebine: