By Jake Crosby
On the 4th of July, Canary Party Chairman Mark Blaxill made his first public statement responding to revelations of his role in hijacking November’s congressional autism hearing. He descended into a litany of ad hominem attacks against his critics, including myself.
The catalyst for his statement was a critical comment in a discussion thread on Age of Autism – the blog Mark Blaxill both sponsors and edits – from philanthropist and Focus Autism founder Barry Segal, who summed up some of what I had already written online about Blaxill’s involvement in hijacking the hearings. I wrote how he had prevented autism parent and Ph.D. biochemical engineer Dr. Brian Hooker from testifying on the government’s vaccine-autism cover-up through the deceitful actions of a hired lobbyist who pretended to represent Dr. Hooker. It was Dr. Hooker who originally succeeded in having Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chair Darrell Issa commit to holding hearings on autism causation and the vaccine program with other congressmen and congressional staff present. After Dr. Hooker’s co-organizer Dr. Gary Kompothecras – a wealthy chiropractor and autism parent of 1-800-Ask-Gary fame – spilled the beans about the hearing to Mark Blaxill at AutismOne, trouble ensued.
A lobbyist named Beth Clay was working on behalf of the Coalition for SafeMinds (Sensible action for ending Mercury-induced neurological disorders), where Mark Blaxill was Government Affairs Committee Chair at that time. It was Blaxill who ended up testifying instead, completely leaving any mention of vaccines out of his speech. SafeMinds also changed the topic of the hearing from the vaccine-autism cover-up to the “federal response,” enabling autism epidemic deniers to show up and give testimony. I had previously tried to leave comments raising these concerns on Age of Autism, only for them to be censored. Segal’s, in contrast, was allowed through.
Barry Segal formerly funded autism advocacy activities led by Mark Blaxill via an umbrella organization known as Facing Autism, which Blaxill chaired. Unhappy with the way his money was being spent, however, Segal withdrew financial support, culminating in Facing Autism’s dissolution. Immediately after saying he was opposed to “more friendly fire” Blaxill fired a barrage of insults at Segal including the following: “One way to be effective is never to ask for a nickel from Barry, I made that mistake once and don’t plan to repeat it.”
Blaxill did verify Tim Bolen’s claim that he had introduced him to Dr. Gary Kompothecras, who revealed plans of the hearing to Blaxill. He then claimed that he already heard about the hearing “through the grapevine” before receiving verification of it from Dr. Kompothecras at AutismOne. But as Blaxill admitted to me before his encounter with Dr. Kompothecras, Blaxill’s knowledge of the hearing was in the form of “rumors.” In any case, he did not hear about the hearing through SafeMinds.
Mark Blaxill continued by trying to deny having anything to do with oversight of SafeMinds‘ lobbyist, Beth Clay, only to later contradict himself. First he claimed he had nothing to do with her hiring or oversight, but later admitted to working on the SafeMinds‘ Government Affairs Committee with her.
Not only does Mark Blaxill contradict himself in terms of his professional relationship with Clay, but conveniently leaves out the fact that he was in fact Chair of SafeMinds’ Government Affairs Committee and therefore had to have worked with the lobbyist. Clay assisted him in writing his testimony, and he corresponded often with her on email threads.
“Lobbyists work behind the scenes always and since Beth is a lobbyist and SafeMinds was Beth’s client, I don’t doubt she worked to get SafeMinds placed on the panel.”
That does not explain the fact that Clay’s “behind the scenes” work to have SafeMinds placed on the witness panel effectively changed the topic of the hearing and prevented Dr. Hooker from being invited by the congressional committee to testify. Blaxill did, however, try to throw the following bone to Age of Autism readers:
“Brian’s exclusion was a highly unfortunate outcome, one I hope we can fix soon by getting him in front of Congress to represent his important work.”
But will he fix it soon? Blaxill’s Canary Party asked for the next hearing to be about reforming the VICP rather than focusing on the government malfeasance Dr. Hooker had been working to uncover. Blaxill then defended his speech that he gave before Congress that was totally devoid of the word “vaccines,” by admitting he “pulled a few punches.” That’s putting it lightly. His excuse, ironically, was to build momentum for the next congressional hearings. Never mind that his continuous interference is helping to lose that momentum and completely derail the hearings.
Mark Blaxill directs his final paragraph at me, calling my reporting “delusional.” He then flip-flops by stating I have “so much potential to do good work.” He also talks about wanting to “heal the rift between us” five months after unfriending me on Facebook.
Now, he plans to continue shutting off contact with critics like myself on the excuse that, “I have no intention of getting into any flame wars on this subject.”
Perhaps it’s time for Mark Blaxill to practice what he preaches.
Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated and is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a BA in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy. He currently attends The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services where he is completing his candidacy for an MPH in epidemiology.