From the November 2006 Idaho Observer:

The legacy of Donald Rumsfeld: Diseases bearing his name, millions of people sick and dying from them—and Diane Fleming

With his resignation as Defense Secretary, the 74-year-old Donald Rumsfeld’s 46-year career in "public service" is likely over. And what legacy will this man leave behind? "Collaterally-damaged" innocent Arabic men, women and children and millions of people suffering the ravages of one or more variations of "Rumsfeld’s disease." Type A—aspartame; Type B—biological weapons; Type C—chemical weapons; Type D—depleted uranium. Not the least of which is Type P— Diane Fleming is serving 50 years in prison because she was wrongfully convicted of fatally poisoning her aspartame-consuming husband.

by Dr. Betty Martini and Don Harkins


As recently as Nov. 4, 2006, President Bush was publicly praising 74-year-old Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for his service to the nation, his wartime leadership and expressed his "sincere" desire that the increasingly unpopular Rumsfeld would continue as secretary of defense until his term is over in 2008. But the president was not sincere; he was lying.

The day after the election, "Rummy" announced he was stepping down from the top spot in the Pentagon. As President Bush was explaining why he lied to America about Rumsfeld’s pending resignation at a day-after-election press conference, he was still praising Rumsfeld’s "accomplishments."

The president failed to mention, for instance, that Rumsfeld’s Pentagon couldn’t account for "misplacing" nearly $3 trillion.

Chicago Tribune columnist Stephen J. Hedges more accurately summed up Rummy’s "accomplishments" in his Nov. 12, 2006 editorial, "Winter Comes for a Beltway Lion: Rumsfeld rose and fell with his conviction intact." Hedges noted Rumsfeld’s "accomplishments" are the result of his bet that ill-equipped Arabs defending their homes were no match for the technologically-superior professional military under his direction. He was wrong and history will remember him as the defense secretary who failed in Iraq.

Though the end of the Rumsfeld story has yet to be written, we can state with certainty that the thousands of American soldiers and (at least) 700,000 Iraqi and Afghani men, women and children non-combatants who have been killed under his authority since Sept. 11, 2001, are merely the most recent examples of the murder and misery this ruthless beltway bureaucrat has been inflicting on our world since the late 70s.

On the way up

At age 29, Princeton educated wrestling champion, navy pilot, presidential aid and Republican, Donald Rumsfeld, was elected by Illinois to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1962. Rummy began accumulating political contacts—and power—for the next 14 years.

After leaving the House, he held several high-level executive posts during the Nixon era and became the youngest defense secretary in U.S. history under Gerald Ford.

When Ford lost the White House to Jimmy Carter in 1976, Rummy was unemployed in D.C. for the first time since 1962. In 1978 Rummy’s career as a public poisoner-for-profit began when he became CEO of G.D. Searle, a small pharmaceutical company. When Rummy took the helm, Searle was being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for attempting to defraud the FDA into approving artificial aspartame as a safe artificial sweetener when lab tests proved it was a neurotoxic, carcinogenic drug. He was able to pull political strings to get Searle out of legal trouble and influenced President Reagan’s appointment of Arthur Hull Hayes as FDA Commissioner to politically approve the sale of aspartame in 1981—over the objections of FDA scientists, independent researchers and consumer safety advocates.

Monsanto bought Searle for $2.7 billion in 1985, and the Searle family walked away with about $1 billion. Rumsfeld’s take was about $12 million.

Let him hear their cries

Since Rumsfeld "called in his markers" to achieve aspartame approval in the 80s, millions of cases of aspartame poisoning have been reported whereever aspartame is found in foods, beverages and medical preparations. According to FDA records, adverse reactions to aspartame comprise about 80 percent of consumer complaints. The agency has published a list of 92 symptoms of aspartame poisoning which includes blindness, joint pain, chronic fatigue, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, mental illness and death. Its use is linked to chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease—illnesses that have become globally pandemic since aspartame was approved.

During the 1980s when congressional hearings were being held on the dangers of aspartame, Dr. H.J. Roberts predicted that, if aspartame approval was not reversed at that time, in five or 10 years "aspartame disease" would be a global plague. By 2001, Dr. Roberts had published the 1,038-page textbook "Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic" proving his dire prediction had come to pass.

The testimonies of people who have suffered the consequences of aspartame poisoning, a cluster of symptoms most appropriately called "Rumsfeld’s disease," are as varied as they are numerous.

Aspartame is a multipotential carcinogen linked to a variety of cancers; a teratogen linked to birth defects; an abortifacient implicated in untold numbers of pregnancies ending unexpectedly and without explanation; a neurotoxin associated with neurodevelopmental and behavioral disorders in children and the development of central nervous system complications in adults—a list that includes MS, fibromyalgia and various forms of dementia; it reacts with other chemicals to increase chemical sensitivity and; it reacts with pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines to produce a full spectrum of off-label reactions and adverse events.

It would take several volumes to memorialize the stories of those whose lives have been adversely affected by aspartame. The fact that all the components and end products of aspartame are toxic to humans and the fact that Rumsfeld is absolutely responsible for aspartame’s 25-year reign of medical misery, demands our action.

Rumsfeld should be compelled to publicly defend his decision to poison the world with aspartame while in the court-ordered presence of those whose lives have been destroyed by his chemical weapon of mass misery.


Aspartame triggers an irregular heart rhythm, interacts with cardiac medication, damages the cardiac conduction system and causes sudden death. A lot of aspartame-associated deaths are found in athletes whose running depletes magnesium reserves—magnesium protects the brain and heart from excitotoxins such as aspartame and monosodium glutamate. Neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D., author of "Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills," wrote the Athlete Alert on Sudden Cardiac Death, an article that explains the biochemical processes involved.

Poison our troops

Aspartame is made up of three components: 1) Aspartic acid (an excitotoxin); 2) a methyl ester which immediately becomes methanol, then converts to formaldehyde and formic acid and; 3) phenylalanine, (a neurotoxin as an isolate) The molecule breaks down to diketopiperazine, a brain tumor agent. Aspartame breaks down at 86 degrees or moderate temperature. During the first Gulf War, soldiers were drinking Rumsfeld’s poison by the pallet load in diet sodas sitting in the 120 degree Arabian son. As stated previously, aspartame (and its toxic byproducts) interacts with all drugs and vaccines. Corporate-neutral, non-government researchers believe that consumption of aspartame/ formaldehyde cocktails is likely a factor in the epidemic of "Gulf War Illness" tragically affecting hundreds of thousands of Desert Storm veterans and their families. A Gulf War veteran named Geoffrey recently reported that what they had to drink were aspartame diet sodas and confirmed again the pallets were piled one on top of the other in the hot sun for weeks.

Geoffrey is young but his hair was gray due to aspartame-induced mitochondrial damage that helps you age. Aspartame is addictive due to the liberation of free methyl alcohol, also causing chronic methanol poisoning. This affects the dopamine system of the brain and causes the addiction. He was still using it. His vision was affected, as expected, because the methanol converts to formaldehyde and formic acid in the retina of the eye and destroys the optic nerve.

Prior to aspartame use he had not worn glasses. From headaches and blood pressure elevation to weight gain he is the typical aspartame victim. He is dizzy most of the time, and dizziness is #2 on the FDA list of 92 symptoms. He had no idea aspartame triggers these problems. His son is in Iraq and he planned to immediately warn him to abandon diet pop and Wrigley’s gum. His best friend, a diet pop addict, was just found dead in a chair. He said, "I was fighting for my country, and I try to help people, and my health has been destroyed."

This case is just one of millions of cases of Rumsfeld disease.

Who murdered Chuck Fleming?

Diane Fleming, a mother of three and a Sunday school teacher with no criminal history, was convicted of murdering husband Chuck Fleming and sentenced to spend 30 and 20 years concurrently in a Virginia prison. The autopsy shows Chuck died of acute methanol poisoning after experiencing chronic methanol poisoning for years. The jury convicted Diane of poisoning her husband with an unopened jug of methanol-containing windshield cleaner, even though it was analyzed and they found none to be missing.

Chuck was a body builder who played basketball about four times a week and used a lot of aspartame-containing products. Several physicians including Dr. H. J. Roberts reviewed Chuck’s lifestyle, aspartame intake, and studied his autopsy report. Dr. Roberts stated, "On the basis of the prodigious amounts of aspartame products he [Chuck] consumed and the finding of a severe fatal metabolic acidosis, coupled with a high concentration of methanol in the blood and no other reasonable explanation, I concur with the cause of death as methanol poisoning - in this case due to considerable methanol consumption in the form of aspartame products… If the facts about this case that have been reviewed are correct, it is my firm opinion that Diane Fleming should be immediately freed from wrongful imprisonment to rejoin her family…Furthermore, the FDA should be so advised by the court, and recommend that aspartame products be labeled as an imminent health threat, and either so labeled or removed from the market."

Repeated attempts to intervene on Diane’s behalf have not been able to secure her release from prison. A Motion for Reconsideration before the Virginia State Supreme Court was rejected. Diane’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus was earlier turned down.

Not even the press could believe a person could be convicted when there was no evidence. Alan Cooper of the Richmond Times-Dispatch stated, "It was a most unusual case, the first poisoning homicide trial I’ve covered in almost 30 years and hundreds of cases as a reporter. I thought the evidence showed that Ms. Fleming probably was the one in the best position to poison her husband, but there was nothing about a motive or even where the methanol, the poisoning agent, might have come from."

Dr. Fierro

Virginia State Medical Examiner (ME) Dr. Marcella Fierro has the authority to recommend that Diane be released immediately based upon the forensic facts revealed in the autopsy report as supported by innumerable pieces of circumstantial evidence. After making repeated promises to talk with Dr. Roberts to discuss the possibility that Diane was wrongfully convicted of murdering her husband, Dr. Fierro kept canceling. She was sent a copy of the peer reviewed journal article by Dr. Woodrow Monte: "Aspartame: Methanol and the Public Health." Finally she shows up for the meeting with Fleming’s attorney at the time, Craig Cooley, Dr. Pearson (forensic toxicologist), Dr. Pearson’s colleague from toxicology, William Davenport and Warren Von Schuch in March, 2004. Again, she was given Dr. Monte’s paper. When it was time for the conference call with Dr. Roberts for which the meeting was set up in the first place, she refused. He had spent hours preparing irrefutable evidence Fleming died from aspartame poisoning.

Dr. Fierro said she had done her own independent research and there was no legitimate scientific basis to conclude aspartame ingestion played any role in Chuck’s methanol poisoning. She advised that no "referred" (peer reviewed) scientific or medical journal had ever substantiated the position Dr. Roberts and other citations provided were taking. Yet she was holding a scientific peer reviewed paper on the subject. Even in the 1985 congressional record, reporting the protest of the National Soft Drink Assn., now American Beverage, they admitted aspartame violated federal adulteration statutes. Aspartame liberates free methyl alcohol, making approval illegal.

If Dr. Fierro had found some evidence to dispute overwhelming evidence of methanol poisoning by aspartame it would be reasonable that she would have looked forward to talking to Dr. Roberts to explain and put the issue to rest. But she was afraid of talking to this world expert. Why?

Dr. Woodrow Monte said "Every molecule of aspartame produces a molecule of methanol." The chronic methanol poisoning was documented on the autopsy proving the fact. He was highly addicted to it, stockpiling it in the garage and getting upset if the fridge wasn’t always stocked with diet pop laced with aspartame.

At the meeting Dr. Fierro commented that Charles had ingested methanol on two previous occasions, but that his physicians had not picked it up because they weren’t looking for acute methanol poisoning. This is ludicrous. He would have been dead the first time. And how could she say on two occasions when she didn’t know Fleming? This was an obvious coverup of the evidence of the chronic methanol poisoning on the autopsy. This leads to death, as in Chuck’s case, building up over time from repeated non-lethal levels of ingestion, such as those that science has proven to occur with aspartame consumption. The autopsy also showed pulmonary edema seen on other autopsies of aspartame victims as well as a fatty liver, as expected. And because aspartame damages the cardiac conduction system and his autopsy showed cardiomegaly or an enlarged heart of unknown origin, this probably was the immediate cause of death.

Rather than expose aspartame and recommend Diane’s conviction for murder be vacated, based upon a scientifically-supported review of her husband’s autopsy report, Dr. Fierro has chosen to let an innocent woman sit in prison.

Dr. Fierro has a history of using her capacity as an ME to influence the outcome of investigations for political reasons. She was the ME who authorized a revised autopsy report in the death of Vince Foster in 1993. Foster was President Clinton’s Chief of Counsel. Dr. Fierro’s alteration allowed Foster’s apparent murder to appear as a suicide.

Had the original entry location of the bullet stood, the suicide conclusion would have been hard to explain since people committing suicide do not ordinarily shoot themselves in the back of the head.

Dr. Roberts wrote the Grievance Committee of the Virginia Medical Board: "I have seen the letter sent to you by Betty Martini, and concur with her concern about Diane Fleming whom I believe has been falsely incarcerated. My reasons were stated in two affidavits. As noted, I have been actively interested in methanol poisoning from aspartame products for more than two decades, and have written extensively on the subject.

"This is a pro bono volunteer effort intended to help an apparently innocent person. I do not know Mrs. Fleming, but her plight deserves more interest and consideration from this medical examiner. I repeatedly made myself available to Dr. Fierro for an interview/consultation, but she refused to speak to me. Under the circumstances, I also must question her indifference or bias."

The continued investigation of Dr. Fierro keeps showing a link to Senator Orrin Hatch.

Even in Commonwealth Currents, Sept. 1999, there was an article about Governor Jim Gilmore announcing the establishment of the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine. In the list of its Board of Directors there they were again, Marcella F. Fierro and Senator Orrin Hatch. Senator Hatch knows exactly how deadly aspartame is. In a press release dated February 11, l986 titled: "Hatch Says No To Committee Hearings on Aspartame", it states: "Senator Orrin Hatch said that he is not alarmed over the artificial sweetener aspartame, that an initial reading of documents recently delivered to him reveal no pre-approval issue that has not been thoroughly aired before, and consequently ‘it would serve no useful purpose to commit Committee resources to this issue at this time.’"

Yet Hatch knew the FDA wanted the manufacturer indicted and both U.S. Prosecutors were hired by the defense team. He also knew Rumsfeld called in his markers to get it approved when the FDA said no. Why is Senator Hatch from Utah on this Virginia Board? Since he has been trying to protect the aspartame industry for years, did he confer with Fierro on this case? Is this the real reason Dr. Fierro refused to talk with Dr. Roberts? Investigative reporters should probe further. There are too many unanswered questions.

An ironic twist to the

Rumsfeld legacy

A "jury" just found Saddam Hussein "guilty" of crimes for which the punishment will be death by hanging. His death will be delayed indefinitely, however, as there will be an appeals process and he will likely be tried for numerous other crimes, including the alleged mass murder of some 30,000 Kurds in northern Iraq in the 80s. There are photos and documents proving that, during the Reagan era, Rumsfeld brokered the sales of chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein—the chemicals Saddam allegedly used on the Kurds.

Is it not bizarre that Saddam’s downfall came with Rumsfeld as his adversary and that Rumsfeld’s failure to "win" in Iraq will be the final blot on his public service career? Is it not our job to deepen the poetry of this strange twist by using Rummy’s final fall from grace as a platform upon which to seek justice for all those ravaged, in one way or another, by the weapon of mass misery this man unleashed on the world 25 years ago?


For reasons that have yet to be fully understood, Dr. Fierro and the Virginia Supreme Court have not relented in the persecution of Diane Fleming who, the evidence plainly shows, is innocent of the crime of murdering her husband. She even passed a lie detector test and the detective on the case, Bob Skowron, said: "Diane Fleming did not poison her husband. I’ve sent a lot of people to prison but no way could I sleep at night if I was responsible for an innocent woman being convicted. I would have stopped the indictment but right at that time I got promoted and taken off the case."

Absent a favorable ruling from the court ordering Diane’s release, with apologies, Rumsfeld will be getting away with another murder. This time, instead of soldiers being paid to wage Rummy’s private war on humanity, a sweet, charitable Sunday school-teaching mother of three will pay by spending perhaps the rest of her life in a Virginia prison.

To help with Diane’s legal defense, send donations to:

David Hargett, Attorney

11545 Nuckols Road, Suite C

Glen Allen, Virginia 23059

To the media:

Diane is becoming very ill and has a lump in her leg. Medical neglect is the rule in prison. We have to get this innocent woman out. We implore you to follow the links below, do whatever additional research you feel is necessary and help us help Diane get back home where she belongs. Call us anytime.

Dr. Betty Martini, Mission Possible Intl

(770) 242-2599

Don Harkins, The Idaho Observer

(208) 255-2307

Additional evidence in support of Rumsfeld’s treachery available online at and

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