Kissinger deserves vigorous prosecution for war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offenses against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture.
A good liar must have a good memory: Kissinger is a stupendous liar with a remarkable memory.
– Christopher Hitchens in The Trial of Henry Kissinger
I first heard of Theranos, Inc. in the fall of 2013, when the Wall Street Journalpublished a piece titled, Elizabeth Holmes: The Breakthrough of Instant Diagnosis. However, it wasn’t just me. It was the first time pretty much anyone on earth had heard of the company, because despite having been founded a decade earlier in 2003, it maintained a level of secrecy more characteristic of classified military operations.
Here are some excerpts from that original article:
Ms. Holmes, a 29-year-old chemical and electrical engineer and entrepreneur, dropped out of Stanford as an undergraduate after founding a life sciences company called Theranos in 2003. Her inventions, which she is discussing in detail here for the first time, could upend the industry of laboratory testing and might change the way we detect and treat disease.
Ten years ago, Ms. Holmes was working out of the basement of a group college house, a world away from her current headquarters at a rambling industrial building in a research park just off campus. The company’s real estate was one of the few Theranos facts known to Silicon Valley, but one suggestive of the closely held business’s potential: The space was once home to Facebook, and before that Hewlett-Packard.
The secret that hundreds of employees are now refining involves devices that automate and miniaturize more than 1,000 laboratory tests, from routine blood work to advanced genetic analyses. Theranos’s processes are faster, cheaper and more accurate than the conventional methods and require only microscopic blood volumes, not vial after vial of the stuff. The experience will be revelatory to anyone familiar with current practices, which often seem like medicine by Bram Stoker.
A Theranos technician first increases blood flow to your hand by applying a wrap similar to one of those skiing pocket warmers, then uses a fingerstick to draw a few droplets of blood from the capillaries at the end of your hand. The blood wicks into a tube in a cartridge that Ms. Holmes calls a “nanotainer,” which holds microliters of a sample, or about the amount of a raindrop. The nanotainer is then run through the analyzers in a Theranos laboratory. Results are usually sent back to a physician, but a full blood work-up—metabolic and immune markers, cell count, etc.—was in my inbox by the time I walked out the door. (Phew: all clear.)It’s the kind of modern, painless service that consumers rarely receive in U.S. health care, though Ms. Holmes makes the point the other way around: “We’re here in Silicon Valley inside the consumer technology world . . . and what we think we’re building is the first consumer health-care technology company.Patients are empowered by having better access to their own health information, and then by owning their own data.”
Will patients really “own their own data?” We certainly don’t seem to in any other aspect of life any longer. Why will it be different in this instance?
And a Theranos clinic may be coming soon to a pharmacy near you. On Monday the company is launching a partnership with Walgreens for in-store sample-collection centers, with the first one in Palo Alto and expanding throughout California and beyond. Ms. Holmes’s long-term goal is to provide Theranos services “within five miles of virtually every American home.”
So who could argue with that story right? A bright young prodigy emerges from Silicon Valley, drops out of Stanford and ten years later develops a product that could disrupt the healthcare industry for the better. So what’s the catch? Well, as the Wall Street Journal itself noted later on in that very same article:
Ms. Holmes declines to discuss Theranos’s future plans, though one may speculate. There could be military applications in the battlefield, especially given the numerous framed American flags across the Theranos office and the presence on its corporate board of retired Gens. Jim Mattis and Gary Roughead, former Defense Secretary Bill Perry and former Secretary of State George Shultz.
It was this paragraph that raised a red flag for me back then, but I more or less brushed it off and forgot about the story. Until today, when I came across an article by Robert Wenzel titled, What is Henry Kissinger and Gang Up To Now? It was here that I realized there are far more shady members of the board that was initially reported. We can now add to the list:
- Henry Kissinger
- Richard Kovacevich– who served as the Chief Executive Officer of Wells Fargo & Company from 1998–2007 and Chairman of the Board from 2001-2009.
- William Perry– Former Secretary of Defense
- Riley P. Bechtel -Chairman of the Board and a Director of Bechtel Group, Inc
- Bill Frist- Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader
- Samuel Nunn– Served as a United States Senator from Georgia for twenty-four years and as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee
Yes, this whole thing becomes very creepy, very quickly. You can accuse Henry Kissinger of many things, but being a humanitarian isn’t one of them. Furthermore, you’d think there’d be more healthcare professionals or businesspeople on the board, but it’s almost all military men and politicians.
Even worse, in a USA Today story earlier this month titled, Change Agents:Elizabeth Holmes Wants Your Blood, Kissinger seems downright giddy:
“Elizabeth’s iron determination and great intellectual ability turned me from a mild skeptic to an enthusiast,” says Kissinger, adding that he was introduced to Holmes by his friend Shultz.
“We aren’t exactly a group of people who give away our time lightly,” Kissinger says with a laugh. “But we are impressed with her commitment to lowering health costs and bring this advance to developing nations. Elizabeth may make a lot of money, but that is not her motivation.”
I have no idea what these military men and war criminals are up to, but it probably isn’t good. When there’s smoke, there’s fire. And there’s a lot of smoke here.