This site deals only with the corporate corruption of science, and makes no inference about the motives or activities of individuals involved.
There are many reasons why individuals become embroiled in corporate corruption activities - from political zealotry to over-enthusiastic activism; from gullibility to greed.
Please read the OVERVIEW carefully, and make up your own mind.
[Temporary: while site is under construction]
Seymour V Pollack
Seymour Pollack was an associate of Theodor Sterling when Sterling was working for the tobacco industry out of Washington University in St Louis. Pollack was a statistician and mathematician. The initial project was to attack E Cuyler Hammond, the statistician at the American Cancer Institute, who's studies became the basis for much of the early 1960s attacks on tobacco.
PRELIMINARY MATERIAL ONLY
The Seymour Pollack who was a close associate of both J Edgar Hoover and various mob bosses from the underworld, is probably not related to the Washington University Professor of Statistics. [1980 Dec Appeal over sentence] despite the fact that he was an associate of Theodor Sterling.
1966: June, This report by Theodor Sterling (Dated October 1968) note that the the failure of consensus (PHS v tobacco industry) on smoking & heatlh provides the industry with an opening to create a seemingly independent committee of scientists:
Where the well-being of an industry and, with it, a large section of the population may be affected by claims made through traditional Public Health channels, the basis of these claims ought to be very carefully and meticulously reviewed.
This is even more true when these claims are questioned by reputable members of the scientific community. Unfortunately, there does not exist a creative mechanism by which conflicting claims between an industry and the Public Health Service are judged with authority.
The Council for Tobacco Research and members of the tobacco industry asked Washington University to evaluate the problem of how such a mechanism could best be established and furnish justification for its need in the present instance.
The project was to proceed along two related avenues. The aims of this project were to establish within a broad context:
- Document the existence of the need to evaluate the quality of data and suitability.of analyses of claims concerning the health hazards of smoking, specifically the quality of data and their analyses linking smoking to disabilities ; and
- Suggest possible mechanisms to best evaluate and review such data and the analyses performed on them now and in the future.
Dr Theodor Sterling, Professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics
and Computer Scienec, was to act as principal investigator on the project .
They recommended setting up a committee jointly funded by government and industry.
The Report: "Report and Recommendations of the Advisory Panel to the Feasibility Study" [looking at Smoking and Health and public health effects.]
The report was written by Theodor Sterling , Professor, Dept of Applied Maths and Computer Science, Washington University, St Louis Missouri.
One member of the 8-man panel ('a cross section of the scientific research community') was Professor Seymour V Pollack, M.Ch,R Associate Professor of Computer Science, Washington University, St Louis, Missouri
Another member (Bering) withdrew. Eckhardt was there to offer expert advise from dealings with the petroleum industry. The report said:
Eckardt pointed out that to some extent the opinion exists that the tobacco industry has not operated in good faith in the past. There was some discussion on this point. There was agreement that many errors in judgement have occurred but not only on the part of the tobacco industry but also on the part of other organizations.
The National Center for Health Statistics which had once been suggested as a possible participant, had also declined to be involved.
1968 Jul 11: The record of the first meeting of this advisory group with Sterling, Eckardt (Esso), Hickson (Radiologist) and Roland (Editor of JAMA) only. Sterling (the only one with tobacco experience) outlined the problem — which he said was created by the first Surgeon General's report.
He pointed out that Sir Roland Fischer, Berkson, Jerzy Heyman of Berkeley and Brownlee were all critical of the report.
1968 October 26: Second meeting of the advisory group with Cooper, Lucas, Hickson, Pollack, Roland, Wehrle and Theodore Sterling .
By using the cover of this ad hoc organisation and the prestige of Washington University, Sterling had requested copies of the data used to compile the National Health Survey on Cigarette Smoking and Health Characteristics. He "stressed that the purpose of his investigation was not to dispute or to support the claims which appeared in the report."
However Sterling circulated a draft which claimed that the "data appeared to be subject to extremeley large errors" and criticised the analytical methods. He promoted the idea that, on this basis, they were justified in advising the industry to seek some accommodation with the PHS through the establishment of a properly-composed commission to review the data and analyse the claims....
However Cooper, Hickson and Wehrle felt that his final report looked like an attack on the NHS study. Lucas and Roland also appeared to be wary about issuing the report.
1970 Mar 3: Theodor Sterling now has a proposal to the CTR for a "sequence of steps leading to an Evaluation of Epidemiology and Statistical Work of Cuyler Hammond
This has been filed under Hammond-Auerback Study, It appears to follow up the original idea of the evaluation committee which had been rejected and abandoned after suffering from a lack of consensus.
Sterling now believes that there is enough disputable in the statistics used in Hammond's studies for the American Cancer Society, that he can mount an effective attack on the findings by using a committee/commission of statisticians. He poses the question:
Even if it is possible to challenge the veracity or justification of Hammond's assertions, is the credibility gap between what Hammond says and what his data say enough to make an impression on the scientific community?
He answers his own question by pointing out the cost and delays of mounting such a frontal attack on the study. Then says:
I would suggest, therefore, that rather than immediately setting up a mechanism to obtain data, a feasibility study be undertaken first. I would propose to implement such a feasibility study through Washington University.
He also has, as a secondary aim, the creation of a consortium of scientists working for the tobacco industry.
(One additional aim of the feasibility study would be to develop a working arrangement between Dr. Lucas, Dr. Mancuso, and ourselves, with the hope that we can form a consortium for the eventual implementation of a research proposal.)
This document lists a number of possible scientists he plans to recruit, and points out that Washington University staff would be central to this attack. Sterling writes:
In addition, a number of staff members would be needed whose major job it would be to obtain, prepare, and preanalyze certain items of information and serve as consultants. I would suggest for this:
- Dr. Jim Maag, Department of Statistics, San Francisco University ;
- Professor Seymour Pollack, Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Washington University;
- one individual from the area of public health (I have a number of individuals in mind but will have to do some more exploratory work) ; and
- Dr. Kurt Enslein. [statistics and computer work — who got $30,000 p.a. grants from the CRT]
I would estimate that the work on this project, including final report for the development of a proposal, will take approximately one year. The cost of such a feasibility study I would estimate to lie between $45,000 and $50,000.
This became a Sterling Special Project (secretly funded via lawyers)
1971 July 13: Washington University is charging the CTR for consulting fees of James Weinkam ($362), Seymour Pollack ($650), and Hilda Kettering ($320) plus travel and accomodation.
1971 Sep: Sterling has been preparing another report using the Washington University staff and facilities. This one is called "A Critical Reassessment of the Evidence Bearing on Smoking as the Cause of Lung Cancer".
He holds this out to be an extension of the early 'feasibility study' and claims his scientific high-ground with the statement:
In order to maintain a nonpartisan perspective, I asked a number of experienced etatisticians and scientists to criticise and review earlier drafts of this report. I take this occasion to thank Professors Alexander Brownlee, Robert Ferber, Ian Higgins, Frank Masssy, and Tom Mancuso for their sharp and incisive reviews. Most of their criticisms and suggestions have been incorporated in this report.
- Dr. Milton Rosenblatt for his review of the section, "The Statistics of Pathology Investigation." [Long term tobacco 'helper" and witness]
I am grateful also for many comments and suggestions from colleagues and friends, especiallv
- Drs Eleanor Macdonald [Long-term tobacco scientist/lobbyist/witness],
- Robert Hockett [Associate Director of the Tobacco Industry Research Council], and
- Marvin Kaustenbaum [Head of Statistics at the Tobacco Institute] and
- Professor Seymour Pollack [His associate at Washington Uni].
The thrust of Sterling's report is to discount the role tobacco plays in lung cancer, and exaggerate the role of othe chemicals and pollutants in the environment. He also attacked the epidemiology used by the Surgeon General's Advisory Commitee and countered their determinations with:
In investigating the feasibility of such a project [a population survey], Washington University sought the assistance of an advisory panel consisting of ten leading scientists and statisticians from as many universities and laboratories. [Note, this is a 10-man committee, not the original group]
This then led to an attack on the Hammond population study done through the American Cancer Society and another 100-odd pages of charts and statistical arguments. He concludes that it is far to simple to just blame cigarettes alone for lung cancer [which no one does!]
When the Washington University Project investigated these studies in depth, it became obvious that it was not at all clear how population surveys and micro- and macro-statistical studies can contribute to our understanding of the possible complex causes of lung cancer or, in fact, of any other cancer.