Mark Blaxill Defended Thimerosal With Fraudulent Danish Research

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By Jake Crosby

Recently emerging emails from 2007 show that Canary Party Chairman Mark Blaxill has cited the fraudulent Danish research continuously used by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to argue for thimerosal‘s safety, even after autism parent and scientist Dr. Brian Hooker explained to him exactly how it is fraudulent: Thorsen and his colleagues buried data showing autism prevalence and incidence were declining after thimerosal’s removal from Danish childhood vaccines. Not only that, but Blaxill even compared Thorsen’s “research” to more recent and similarly flawed data from California to further doubt the significance of thimerosal’s role in causing the autism epidemic. He wrote:

“Brian,

There’s no one more committed to the mercury argument than me. But there’s a hard bit of evidence here regarding the thimerosal argument. The rates in California never went down and as far as I can tell are still going straight up with no deceleration at all. And you’ve seen the Denmark numbers. As I’ve said many times, this can mean only one of three things: the theory is wrong, the numbers are wrong, or the issue is more complex than everyone thought. I vote for number three, but am open to any answer that gets closer to figuring out what happened to [his daughter]. Because something did.

Personally, I have chosen not to enter into the criminal side of this and to try to engage people on the facts and the data rather than the question of justice. That’s not to say I don’t believe there may be criminal behavior in here somewhere and that justice needs to be served; it must be. It’s just that I would degrade my own particular contribution by engaging in that way.”

Years after Mark Blaxill chose “not to enter the criminal side of this,” the principal investigator of such fraudulent research from DenmarkPoul Thorsen – was indicted on fraud charges and was added to the list of DHHS Office of the Inspector General’s list of most-wanted fugitives. In the weeks leading up to the November 2012 congressional hearing, Blaxill persistently tried to play down the significance of Thorsen’s role in the fraudulent research on group email threads for SafeMinds – the group that co-opted the hearing when Blaxill was still chairing the organization’s government affairs committee. He even went so far as to assert that Thorsen probably lied about being principal investigator in email to Dr. Brian Hooker. When confronted with the archived webpages of the website for Thorsen’s now-defunct NANEA website listing him as “Principle Investigator,” Blaxill admitted that he too had access to those very same webpages despite arguing against what they said.

During his 2007 email exchanges with Dr. Hooker, Blaxill was planning to participate in an environmental autism panel held by the IOM where he similarly refused to bring up vaccines: (as with his 2012 speech before Congress nearly six years later). Just three years prior, IOM put out a report rejecting vaccines’ causal role in autism after the institute secretly decided it would never come down that autism is a true side-effect of vaccination prior to reviewing any science. Concerned about Blaxill’s reliance on data that is ecological – inherently incapable of even showing whether children who received more thimerosal had higher rates of autism – Dr. Hooker commented in email to fellow autism advocates (boldface mine):

“Mark Blaxill is NOT a scientist and should not think that he can represent the science around the issue.  I’m frankly sick of him playing “cowboy” scientist acting as if anyone can do what a lot of us trained so long and hard to do. If I see another stupid ecological study or an argument about an ecological study, I’m gonna hurl…  From my email conversations with Mark, it is apparent he is going to conceed [sic] the whole thimerosal argument because the rates in California didn’t go down.  ‘Scuse me but he’s dangerous.

Brian” 

The following year, Blaxill practically did just that when he wrote in Age of Autism regarding autism in California:

“The continued increases in autism rates provide strong evidence against the idea that early thimerosal exposure, and only thimerosal exposure, is causing the increased population rates of autism.”

He would also repeat this same statement – in the 2010 book “The Age of Autism” that he coauthored with Dan Olmsted – in a way that eerily echoed the wording of a CDC press release urging patients to receive the thimerosal-laced swine flu shot. I alerted Blaxill and Olmsted to this problem months before their book release, warning them that the California statistics were likely no better than the fraudulent Danish autism statistics, but they included it anyway. This is in spite of the continued exposure of children in California to mercury from flu shots and the fact that autism prevalence was restricted to very young children – most likely driven by downward shifts in age of diagnosis. I had written an article for Age of Autism based on these observations months before. Little did I know at that time that Blaxill had himself compared the California rates to the Danish data in email to Dr. Hooker three years prior – not to point out how the California data is uninformative as I had done, but rather to validate it on the basis of Thorsen’s fraudulent research.

Despite Blaxill’s claim that autism in California was “…still going straight up with no deceleration at all,” changes in the overall autism caseload not limited to a specific age group were decreasing. Then in 2012, Mark Blaxill refused to bring up the first CDC-reported, statewide decline in autism prevalence in children born in 2000 – a possible connection to thimerosal’s removal – when he addressed a press conference held by Canary Party on the newly released statistics. In practice, Mark Blaxill has apparently been exercising the position of IOM – ignoring evidence favorable to thimerosal’s role in causing autism and publicizing evidence which purports to go against it, while never coming to the firm conclusion that autism is a true side-effect of thimerosal. This is in spite of the fact that CDC’s own epidemiologist concluded in email to colleagues that perinatal thimerosal exposure caused autism as written in “Evidence of Harm,” by David Kirby. Yet Blaxill had reportedly convinced Kirby to insist such proof does not exist, only “evidence,” hence the book title.

After Danish research was just recently published showing autism prevalence declining in years corresponding to thimerosal’s removal from vaccines, Age of Autism ran the following action alert: 2003 Danish Study on Mercury Fabricated? New Study Completely Different Results.” What the post did not say was that documents obtained by Dr. Brian Hooker through FOIA have already answered that question affirmatively. Moreover, Age of Autism only drew attention to Mark Blaxill’s public criticism of Thorsen’s work, but not Blaxill’s clandestine endorsement of it while ignoring Dr. Hooker’s email telling him exactly how it was fraudulent. AoA’s action alert also made no mention of the fact that Mark Blaxill’s Canary Party falsely promised Dr. Hooker that it would ask Congress to make the next hearing specifically about research fraud like that committed by Thorsen, but instead asked Congress to make the hearing be about something else.

No matter how much the evidence for the government’s thimerosal cover-up mounts, Mark Blaxill works to prevent that evidence from being exposed in the congressional hearings as much as possible in favor of his rhetorical and eternal question about the autism epidemic: “What’s going on?”

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 Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

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Mark Blaxill Admits COI When His Undermining Began

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By Jake Crosby

Mark Blaxill appeared on Linderman Unleashed Thursday to “rebut” my interview with Linderman last week (both interviews embedded below). Unfortunately, Blaxill avoided much of what I said despite admitting he’d had a conflict of interest with vaccine manufacturers while David Kirby was writing the book “Evidence of Harm.” Mark Blaxill also made tacit reference to my autism – and not in a positive way – near the end of the interview.

In Kirby’s book, Blaxill was quoted as threatening to resign from SafeMinds‘ board should the organization speak out against drug companies poisoning children – companies that he admitted at the time were clients of his then-employer, Boston Consulting Group. The period when Evidence of Harm was still being written also corresponds with when Blaxill and others from SafeMinds were secretly advising the Vaccine Injured Petitioners’ Steering Committee for the autism omnibus, where he trashed petitioners’ expert witnesses Dr. Mark and David Geier and said Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s work was “not well-supported by the epi data.” Blaxill did all this despite his connections to the vaccine industry. He claimed on the show that “no one worked harder” than he did in showing how CDC cheated with numbers using the Vaccine Safety Datalink, and yet, it was David Geier not Mark Blaxill who discovered the CDC’s early results showing thimerosal caused harm including autism.

It should  be stated that while on Linderman, Blaxill also denied possessing a conflict of interest any longer – claiming to not have one since 2006. Nonetheless, the troubling trend of his undermining advocacy against vaccines causing autism began during his employment with the Boston Consulting Group, which has vaccine manufacturers for clients.

The latest example of this trend can be seen in the congressional autism hearings in which Mark Blaxill has been consistently working to prevent CDC malfeasance from being exposed both before Congress and on national television via dishonest lobbying practices. While Mark Blaxill chaired SafeMinds’ Government Affairs Committee, SafeMinds succeeded in changing the topic of last November’s hearing so it would no longer be about CDC malfeasance as originally planned and organized by autism parent and scientist Dr. Brian Hooker. Blaxill and SafeMinds’ actions prevented Dr. Hooker from testifying.*

In a more recent example of such undermining, Mark Blaxill’s Canary Party released an action alert asking Congress to investigate the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program last April – a complete betrayal of trust to Dr. Brian Hooker. Just two weeks prior, Canary Party President Jennifer Larson had promised Dr. Hooker that the alert would ask Congress to hold the next hearing specifically on CDC malfeasance, which the last hearing would have been about had SafeMinds not changed the topic. Age of Autism – both sponsored and edited by Blaxill – covered up such revelations about the alert by refusing to publish my critical comment on the pretense it was “picayune.”

Yet in spite of these activities – SafeMinds’ lobbying, Canary Party’s action alert and most recently Canary Party President Jennifer Larson’s $40,000 contribution the PAC of Congressional Committee Chair Darrell Issa – Mark Blaxill insists any involvement of his in sabotaging the hearing is “a lie” and that he has “no power” over how the hearing topics are chosen or who is invited to testify. While Issa, other congressmen and their staffers have the final say, Mark Blaxill consistently avoids discussing his ongoing role in attempting to influence their decisions to keep exposure of the vaccine-autism cover-up out of the hearings.

Instead, he denies having any explanation for all the failures that have occurred concerning the hearings and similar initiatives – many of which he contributed to – and essentially blames his followers for not being rich and powerful enough to defeat DHHS or big pharma rather than his own largely self-styled and unwanted leadership. He told Linderman:

“To be honest, you know we’re fighting with pop guns, man, and the other side has tanks…but you go to war with the army that you got, not the one that you wish for. And the fact is, we’re not making enough change, and I don’t know what to do about it to be honest, other than to keep fighting and to keep fighting the best way that we can.”

And that would be, according to Mark Blaxill, with the analogous equivalent of pop guns fighting tanks while he thwarts yet another hearing and his vice president Ginger Taylor tells people my judgement is compromised by my autism. At the end of the interview (which began with my name being stated by Curt Linderman as the very reason for the interview), Blaxill clearly made another derogatory reference to my autism without naming me:

I think we need to love our kids whether they’re  low-functioning or high-functioning, and when they’re high-functioning and they’re not functioning the way we hope they would, we love them anyway. 

Yet just days after my first article on how SafeMinds hijacked the last congressional hearing went online, he unfriended me on Facebook. I guess I really must not be functioning the way Mark Blaxill hoped.

Interviews:

Mark Blaxill’s response

My interview on Linderman

*Linderman mistakenly asked Blaxill to verify if the Canary Party influenced the November hearing when it was actually SafeMinds’ involvement in that hearing that I had taken issue with during my interview. I had also noted that Blaxill’s base of operations later shifted from SafeMinds to Canary Party in his efforts to influence Congress.

 

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 Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

 

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Listen to Jake Crosby on Linderman Unleashed

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Addendum: Press the play button below to hear the full interview.  

Interview with Jake Crosby of Autism Investigated

Today’s interview will be eye opening for all of my listeners whether you are affected by autism or not. It is a story of corruption that is found in so many organizations. Jake Crosby is an investigative journalist and a respected member of the autism community who has in recent months been opening the eyes of many in the community to some corruption and shenanigans that I feel people need to know about. The vaccine/autism link is true…it’s real…it needs to be heard. This interview is about why the truth isn’t getting out. Join us at 2 PM EST at Natural News Radio.com and check out the links for this show at our LU FB page or at www.lindermanunleashed.com

www.autisminvestigated.com 

For relevant articles on Autism Investigated, see below links beginning with most recent:

Mark Blaxill’s Early Interference in Autism Omnibus Revealed

Canary Party VP: “your judgement is compromised on this because of your autism”

How Dan Olmsted and David Kirby Helped Kill Landmark Autism Lawsuit 

No More Federal Research Fraud – OPPOSE HR1757!

Age of Autism Condemned For Banishing Autism Investigated’s Editor

Mark Blaxill Publicly Attacks Critics

Outbound Links to other relevant articles:

SafeMinds Ignores Major Allegations While Replying Dishonestly to Other Charges – Age of Autism

SafeMinds Steals the Show, Literally… – Bolen Report

 

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Mark Blaxill’s Early Interference In Autism Omnibus Revealed

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The following are excerpts from and links to 2003 and 2004 email exchanges between members of SafeMinds and Mike Williams – lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the Autism Omnibus Proceedings of vaccine court – disclosed to Autism Investigated from a confidential source that gave permission to publish these correspondences. Particularly telling are the exchanges between Williams and now-former SafeMinds director Mark Blaxill. Click the hyperlinks below to see the email exchanges in full.

 

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10-6-03 Email from Mike Williams to SafeMinds Stating that He Considers Them Consultants & Thus Their Discussions Are Legally Protected

** This email is important because it establishes that SafeMinds folks are being considered consultants in the Vaccine Court autism litigation, and establishes that Mike Williams and the SafeMinds folks thought that all of their communications would be confidential. The email states, “One other thing: when I consult with you folks at Safeminds, the communications should be treated the same as if you were retained expert consultants. That way all of our communications between each other that I am on will almost certainly be privileged and never subject to non voluntary disclosure. Lawyers and parties to lawsuits are always allowed free and confidential consultation with experts of all types, and never have to disclose to the court or other side that such consultants exist, and have no obligation to disclose communications with them, until and unless that expert consultant agrees to become a testifying expert witness, which is extremely unlikely in this case. Such an understanding does not prevent you from expressing your ideas in any forum, so long as you don’t express mine.”

10-6-03 Email from Mark Blaxill to Safeminds Members & Mike Williams Stating, “Please recognize, though, that my firm has clients on the other side…”

** This email from Mark Blaxill to Mike Williams, Esq of the PSC states, “Unfortunately, since the activist side has so many possible divides…and so much passion, we have a very hard time bringing things together…

-genes vs environment
-penetrate the science vs. reject the scientists
-compromise on legislation vs hold out
-support litigation vs stay away from it
-anti-corporate vs shaping corporate
-focus on biomedical vs focus on therapy
-“sue the bastards” vs ask the bastards for research money
-alternative medicine vs drug therapy and “by the book” treatments
-etc. etc…

The issue I will confess to the most difficulty with is the “sue the bastards” model…Please recognize, though, that my firm has clients on the other side and so I cannot–in fairness to my partners–get directly involved in the quest for money. I only am interested in the quest for the truth….I would say there are a few lawyers I’ve run into that make my discomfort really sharp.”

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11-23-03 Email from Mark Blaxill to Mike Williams – “…[the Geiers] can do our cause more harm than good.” – “I could rip [the Geiers’ Work] to shreds.”

** This email is from Mark Blaxill of Safeminds to Mike Williams, Esq of the PSC and other members of Safeminds. Mark Blaxill states, “As to the Geiers, I may be a bit of a minority voice here, but I worry very much that they can do our cause more harm than good. They are not very good scientists, write bad papers (both writing badly and reporting in sloppy fashion) and attract too much attention to themselves as individuals. In this last regard, they don’t show nearly as well as Andy Wakefield but they’re trying to play the same role. Frankly, if I were on the other side and were asked to critique their work, I could rip it to shreds. I’m surprised they haven’t been hit harder. So I think you are wise to diversify.”

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2-24-04 Mike Williams Responds to Mark Blaxill’s Previous Email That Stated He is Not a Fan of the Geiers’ Work & of the Geiers’ Not Representing our Side Well & Sloppy Work by Thanking Him

** This is an email exchange between Mark Blaxill of Safeminds to Mike Williams, Esq of the PSC and other members of SafeMinds. Mark Blaxill states, despite the many peer-reviewed papers published by Dr. Mark and David Geier, “I have not been a big fan of the Geiers. I worry they do not represent our side well. They often do sloppy work.” Mike Williams responds to everyone by stating, “Thanks, Mark, very helpful.”

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Canary Party VP: “your judgement is compromised on this because of your autism”

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By Jake Crosby

After repeated denials of reports that she made discriminatory statements about me, Vice President of Canary Party Ginger Taylor has finally admitted that she believes my criticism of her superior, Canary Party Chairman Mark Blaxill, is because of my autism and not because of his continued role in hijacking and undermining the congressional autism hearings. In a Facebook message to me, she wrote (boldface mine):

Jake… I am tell [sic] you this because I have respect you [sic] and I believe that you are better than all this.

You are making poor choices.

You are slashing and burning people who care about you.

I WANT to believe that being this cruel, that making these poor choices are because of your autism, because you do not see the extent of the damage that you are doing to good people doing good work, and NOT because you actually realize how much harm you are doing.

So yes… I beileve [sic] that your judgement is compromised on this because of your autism, because the alternative is that you mean to tear our friends apart and hurt them. And I just don’t want to believe that you are that cruel of a man.

If I have misjudged you, and you are hurting people on purpose, then please let me know and I will be happy to retract my belief. But until you tell me that you truly see how much damage you are doing, and that you don’t care, I will continue to believe that you are not doing this out of spite, but out of not being able to see the impact of your actions.

Previously, Ginger Taylor denied telling people in the autism community that my autism was the explanation for my criticisms of her former employer, Mark Blaxill, but now she has expressed her bigotry directly to me, in a Facebook message that defies logic. She offers only two explanations for my criticisms: 1) “spite” and 2) my autism – while never actually addressing any of the issues I have raised with her or others in Canary Party.

Since my first article on how the Coalition for SafeMinds‘ hijacking of the congressional hearing was published last February, Mark Blaxill waited five months to publicly address any of the revelations about his role in undermining the hearings, and only then in response to similar concerns raised by philanthropist Barry Segal on Age of Autism – the website Blaxill both edits and sponsors. In his comments, he gave contradictory information about his relationship with the lobbyist working under him prior to the last hearing and then called my reporting about his role “delusional overall.” He also said he refused to address any such criticism of him again.

Now added to the long and growing list of reasons Canary Party should be shut out of the congressional autism hearings permanently is Vice President Ginger Taylor’s admitted bigotry against people with autism. Her willingness to dismiss them for their views is characteristic of the dismissals by Canary Party and affiliated groups pertaining to criticism of their activities within the months since the November hearing. Such bigotry compromises Canary Party’s entire leadership.

Over the years, Mark Blaxill has directly accused at least one other critic (Jonathan Mitchell, via email), of irrational thinking due to his autism. Last spring, I learned that both Mark Blaxill and Ginger Taylor were using my autism to discredit me. It now seems that Blaxill is letting his subordinate do his dirty work for him.

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 Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

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Editor of Autism Investigated Earns MPH in Epidemiology

Dear Readers,

It is now official; I have earned a Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my readers for their continued support and insight – those who have followed my work and continue to follow my work even after I began my own website. You have contributed to an interactive and lively discussion here at Autism Investigated that is badly needed, but sadly not possible at other blogs.

In the meantime, I am a Ph.D. student concentrating in epidemiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health. It is regrettable that posts have been quite sparse over the past month – the reasons being largely due to travel and becoming adjusted to my new program. However, rest assured that Autism Investigated is still alive and well and will continue to deliver independent investigations uncovering the who, what, when, where and why of the autism epidemic.

Sincerely,

Jake Crosby, MPH

Editor of Autism Investigated

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How Dan Olmsted and David Kirby Helped Kill A Landmark Autism Lawsuit

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By Jake Crosby

It may sound bizarre, but that is exactly what happened when journalists Dan Olmsted and David Kirby interfered with Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs’ Reverend Lisa Sykes’ 2008 personal injury lawsuit against drug companies Bayer, Wyeth and GlaxoSmithKline. Incredibly, Olmsted and Kirby were persuaded to co-write a letter that took the side of the drug companies against Sykes’ case. Even more bizarre was who successfully appealed to Olmsted and Kirby to support Bayer: vaccine industry mainstay blogger Dr. David Gorski, via an open letter on “Science”Blogs. (He would later accept direct funding from Bayer: a 30,000-euro grant according to Gorski himself.)

It all began when “neurodiversity” blogger Kathleen Seidel of the now-defunct neurodiversity.com website was subpoenaed by attorney Cliff Shoemaker, who was representing Reverend Sykes in her case against Bayer and other pharmaceutical companies for injuries her son sustained from mercury exposure through vaccination and Rh-immunoglobulins. Seidel had quite a track record of pro-pharma activities. She had complained against scientists to their state medical board and to the FDA, and had also written in support of the CDC freezing outside researchers from accessing a federal database. These complaints by her would eventually culminate in a scientist being coerced by FDA into voluntarily withdrawing a product from the market, even though it met FDA’s safety standards. Seidel’s complaints would also lead to a scientist losing his medical license and his son being fined $10,000 by a medical board known for flouting fairness statutes meant to protect doctors. According to millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit, Seidel falsely claimed to him that Generation Rescue co-founder JB Handley threatened her with a lawsuit which in turn led to Handley being libeled in Offit’s 2008 book. He would be forced to change the text in his book. Not surprisingly, Seidel had also attacked Rev. Sykes’ case.

So what is wrong with Sykes’ lawyer, Clifford Shoemaker, subpoenaing Kathleen Seidel in order to try and find out possible connections she may have to pharma? Well, according to the vaccine industry blogger David Gorski’s letter to Kirby and Olmsted: ”freedom of speech” and the “First Amendment.” Gorski also insisted Seidel was not connected to the pharmaceutical industry (as if he would admit that she was if he was privy to this information) and noted that she is not a defendant in the case, despite her persistence in helping those defendants by targeting their critics. Gorski did make one point to Olmsted and Kirby that was correct, however:

If both of you, who so strongly disagree with Kathleen’s conclusions, were to speak out, it would shame Shoemaker and his clients, the Sykes, beyond any condemnation that I or the rest of the blogosphere can provide.

Indeed, Olmsted and Kirby were in a unique position to undermine Reverend Sykes’ case against Bayer and other pharmaceutical companies given that both journalists are well known to be on the same side of the debate as Sykes. That is the real reason Gorski wrote them his letter as he stated himself. He even hilariously tried to make them feel sympathetic towards Seidel by saying that they wouldn’t like being subpoenaed by vaccine manufacturers, and ended his email with the following plea:

If a lawyer representing a plaintiff suing vaccine companies can get away with this, just imagine what abuses lawyer [sic] with the resources of a big pharmaceutical company or the government could perpetrate to silence blogospheric critics. Imagine what mischief they could cause by demanding the correspondence, e-mails, financial records, and contacts with religious groups from their critics. That would be you, Mr. Kirby and Mr. Olmsted.

Just think about it.

Sincerely,

Orac

And yet, Orac, (blogging pseudonym for Dr. David Gorski) supports that very “mischief.” After Dr. Andrew Wakefield sued Brian Deer, Dr. Fiona Godlee and the British Medical Journal for libel in 2012, Gorski wrote Dr. Wakefield’s lawsuit:

…would allow them [Deer and Godlee’s lawyers] to subpoena all sorts of information…It might also, as I’ve pointed out, allow the defendants’ lawyers to depose all manner of Wakefield’s connections relevant to this libel suit, possibly even some of Generation Rescue’s luminaries and bloggers at AoA, given that it appears very much to me as though GR (Generation Rescue) and AoA coordinate their attacks on Deer and Godlee with Wakefield.

When Dr. Wakefield first filed his lawsuit, Gorski wrote that:

Communications between Wakefield and any AoA blogger might be subject to discovery.

That would include “Mr. Kirby and Mr. Olmsted,” not to mention me and potentially anyone else who has ever contributed to Age of Autism and corresponded with Dr. Wakefield. Obviously, Gorski would support the Merck and GSK-funded British Medical Journal, its editor Fiona Godlee and writer-for-hire Brian Deer serving Olmsted and Kirby with a subpoena. Gorski’s ploy is not surprising at all, given his complicity in the CDC’s thimerosal-autism cover-up and IOM’s subsequent whitewash.

What is devastatingly surprising, however, is Kirby and Olmsted’s response that came just three days after Gorski’s letter that blatantly stated: “I am appealing to both of you to use your influence and position in the autism biomedical movement to protest this shameless action by Mr. Shoemaker.”

In a complete betrayal to the autism community, Olmsted and Kirby did use their influence to protest Shoemaker’s subpoena, but they only sent their letter of protest to David Gorski. It appeared on his blog and nowhere else:

We both take this matter very seriously, and strongly oppose any effort to subpoena the records of Ms. Kathleen Seidel. We have also clearly expressed our feelings to Mr. Shoemaker. While we may not agree with her opinions, we consider Ms. Seidel to be a colleague. Rights to privacy, and to free speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment, must be upheld for all. We urge Mr. Shoemaker to reconsider, and drop this action against Ms. Seidel.

David Kirby

Dan Olmsted

Perhaps the most shocking part of the letter is their reference to Seidel as their “colleague” – a colleague who has no journalism credentials, who complains against scientists to their state’s medical board, the FDA and medical journals while advocating for outside researchers to be frozen out of accessing a taxpayer-funded, federal database. That is the “colleague” Kirby and Olmsted profess to support on the basis of “free speech” – a “colleague” whom by Gorski’s own standards as applied to Dr. Wakefield’s case – would be more than appropriate to subpoena.

It gets worse, however, much worse.

Less than two weeks after Kirby and Olmsted’s signed letter of support for their “colleague” Kathleen Seidel invoking the first amendment, Seidel gained free legal support from a Washington, DC-based consumer advocacy group called “Public Citizen.” More specifically, she was receiving support from Public Citizen’s “First Amendment Team.”

Dan Olmsted is connected to Public Citizen through its Health Research Center director/cofounder Dr. Sidney Wolfe. Dr. Wolfe’s involvement in Public Citizen spanned nearly four decades. Did Dan Olmsted provide Kathleen Seidel with free legal support? Whether directly or indirectly, the letter of support for Seidel he cosigned with Kirby could have only helped.

Within a day of David Gorski boasting about Public Citizen’s support for Seidel on “Science”Blogs, Shoemaker’s motion to subpoena was quashed. Less than two weeks after that, the Sykes dropped their case against Bayer and other pharmaceutical companies. The following month, the Sykes’ lawyer Clifford Shoemaker was professionally sanctioned.

As this was all happening, Olmsted and Kirby’s support for Seidel drew the ire of one notoriously cantankerous Age of Autism reader – autism father and Hating Autism blogger John Best. He tried to complain about Olmsted and Kirby’s support for Seidel – and by extension Bayer – in the comments of Age of Autism, only to be censored. Eventually, Best was banned from commenting on Age of Autism altogether. Apparently, Seidel’s right to free speech is more important to Age of Autism than that of its own readers as well as the scientists whose reputations she worked to destroy and whose research she worked to stifle.

John Best is not the only person who did not receive a satisfactory explanation from Kirby and Olmsted regarding their support of Seidel. David Kirby did not respond to my inquiry for this article. (I merely asked him if anyone other than Gorski had pressured him to write the letter.) Age of Autism editor Dan Olmsted has informed me that he refuses to communicate with me altogether. When we were still communicating, however, he figuratively claimed:

John Best wants to shoot me, and I’m a good guy!”

At that time, I had no idea that this “good guy” helped quash a thimerosal lawsuit against Bayer – much less that that was what Best had been complaining about and been censored from Age of Autism over. Then in 2011, David Gorski disclosed taking research funds directly from Bayer. I would love to know what role Olmsted and Kirby’s letter invoking “free speech” may have played in helping secure direct pharmaceutical funding to Gorski – a blogger who ironically considers them worthy of subpoena by vaccine industry-backed litigants.

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 is completing his candidacy for an MPH in epidemiology from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.

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Gardiner Harris Infects Forbes With Herper Virus

Matt Herper
Matt Herper, Senior Editor of Forbes

By Jake Crosby

Forbes Magazine has shamelessly given a platform to vaccine industry talking heads such as Emily Willingham and “Science”Blogger Peter Lispon. Its senior editor – Matt Herper – routinely writes articles pushing pharma talking points, while censoring the science CDC has tried to bury that utterly contradicts its party line. Ironically, when Herper first entered the debate, he seemed to hold promise as an inquisitive reporter. That, however, did not last long. So what influenced him? The probable answer: The New York Times’ ethically bankrupt reporter Gardiner Harris.

Matt Herper first came to this debate in 2007 when the CDC released a heavily biased study that sought to absolve thimerosal of causing neurological harm, using information from the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink Project (VSD). Its lead author, William Thompson, is a former Merck employee and its senior author Frank DeStefano was already caught trying to bury proof that thimerosal was causing neurological damage. In spite of the fact that the 2007 study cut 70% of its participants, it replicated earlier research by DeStefano and colleagues associating thimerosal exposure with tic disorders and speech delays. Furthermore, the 2007 study never examined autism as an outcome. In fact, it never studied unvaccinated children.

As a result, Dan Olmsted, formerly of rescuepost.com, asked CDC why the lack of study of unvaccinated children. After receiving many long, circuitous answers, Olmsted tried to ask a follow-up question but was cut-off. Fortunately, there was another reporter who shared his concerns, and whom Olmsted quoted as asking:

“So I was just wondering in a follow up question about why not compare to unvaccinated kids. And you – if I understand right, you included all children from several managed care organizations in order to enroll?”

Olmsted thanked Matt Herper for asking the question, but did not follow up on how Herper actually covered the CDC’s study. That was a whole different matter.

The title of Herper’s article speaks for itself: “Fear Factor.” Herper coauthored the article with Forbes’ then-senior editor Robert Langreth. The third sentence speaks volumes:

The overwhelming consensus among scientists that vaccines don’t cause autism or learning problems is getting a boost today from a government study of 1,000 children that showed no evidence at all that receiving vaccines containing a mercury-containing preservative, thimerosal, caused any problems for children at all.”

Neglecting special populations such as unvaccinated Amish, Herper and Langreth simply cited CDC’s simplistic excuse as to why no unvaccinated children were studied:

Researchers couldn’t compare kids who got vaccines with those who didn’t, because almost all children are vaccinated. Only three kids out of every thousand in the United States don’t get at least some vaccinations.

Forbes was not the only mainstream publication that covered this study in such a deceptive way, however. Over at The New York Times, the conflicted “journalist” Gardiner Harris wrote an article that predictably began:

Yet another study has found that a controversial vaccine preservative appears to be harmless.”

However, if the preservative appeared to be “harmless,” then the CDC wouldn’t have replicated past research associating it with speech delays and tic disorders. The CDC study would have also included autism among its outcomes, but did not. Harris did not even address the fact that no unvaccinated children were studied, as Herper and Langreth did.

Why would different reporters from different publications report on this story from the same dishonest perspective? Perhaps because Robert Langreth and Gardiner Harris were old colleagues who cowrote articles for The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) – a newspaper whose editorial bias predates both Forbes Magazine and The New York Times. WSJ has published unsigned editorials supporting the rider in the Homeland Security Bill that sought to shield Eli Lilly from thimerosal litigation. After Langreth left Forbes for Bloomberg News, Herper became senior editor. In other words, Herper took over Langreth’s job, but still manages Forbes’ content on the vaccine-autism issue exactly like Gardiner Harris’ former colleague Langreth did – by backing the government’s cover-up of vaccine injury through censorship and propaganda.

We can almost certainly thank Gardiner Harris for infecting Forbes Magazine with the Herper Virus. Veteran public health reporter Harris is now in India where he came down with travelers’ diarrhea for not washing his own mango.

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 is completing his candidacy for an MPH in epidemiology from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.

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Ask Tina Brown to Condemn Linking Autism to Child Porn

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Editor’s Note: Above is a photo of Tina Brown and son, Photo Credit: Patrick McMullan Company

By Jake Crosby

With Temple Grandin now disassociating herself from her mother Eustacia Cutler’s fallacious article in The Daily Beast linking autism to child porn, attention now shifts to The Daily Beast itself, particularly site’s editor Tina Brown. In an article for the now-defunct Newsweek Magazine of which she was editor, Brown referred to her “adored” adult son with Asperger’s. It is then especially odd, given that she has a son with Asperger’s whom she adores, that she would allow a totally baseless article claiming autistic men are more likely to be pederasts. She remains silent on the topic even after being asked on Twitter how she could have published such a piece.

Tina Brown is responsible for articles published on The Daily Beast website. That means she should vet everything The Daily Beast runs, and it is possible she could have simply missed Cutler’s article. Nonetheless, it seems highly unlikely that the mother of a son with Asperger’s would have completely missed such a sensationalist and bigoted story by the mother of perhaps the most famous autistic person alive today and who ever lived.

In Brown’s piece where she discusses her son’s disability, she talks about the attempt of parents like her to “patch together a tolerably happy existence” for their offspring. Among the hopes she has for her son is “a safe sex life,” according to that article. Now everybody should have a safe sex life. However, the common complaint I’ve heard from other autistic men is simply the lack of a sex life – nothing about concerns for safety. Obviously, a sex life involving something illegal would not be safe.

If Tina Brown was aware of the article, does she relate to Eustacia Cutler’s article in some way? Perhaps she knows of somebody in the autism community who fits Cutler’s profile of an autistic male pederast? The only person I know of who might fit that profile is the psychologist mentioned in autistic blogger Jonathan Mitchell’s response to Cutler’s article, and that psychologist’s claim of an autism diagnosis is dubious according to Mitchell. Whether Brown does know of an autistic man who looks at child porn or not, it is still no excuse for painting the entire male autistic population with such a denigrating association.

While Tina Brown may be able to deny ever knowing about this article before publication – however unlikely that may be – she cannot deny having any responsibility for running Eustacia Cutler’s piece. Brown has an obligation to speak out against the bogus allegations Cutler raised.

Tina Brown owes it both to her profession as a journalist, and even more importantly, to the entire autism community. Send an email to editorial@thedailybeast.com, put “Attn: Tina Brown” in the subject line and ask that she condemn Eustacia Cutler’s article.

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.

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Protest Daily Beast’s Bogus Autism-Child Porn Connection

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Update, August 8, 2013: In response to an inquiry by Autism Investigated concerning Dr. Temple Grandin’s possible role in her mother’s article that associated autistic men with child pornography, a liaison of Dr. Grandin’s replied: “Dr. Grandin was not consulted on the article and was not aware of it’s publication until she saw it on the internet.” However, there is still no response from Tina Brown or anyone else at The Daily Beast.

Editor’s Note: It is appalling that The Daily Beast would run a damaging, unsubstantiated and offensive article falsely alleging that autistic men are more likely to look at child pornography than the rest of the population. The story was written by Temple Grandin’s mother of all people, who does not even have an autistic son – only an autistic daughter. She applies her false logic to autistic men but not to autistic women. Jonathan Mitchell, autistic author of the Autism’s Gadfly blog, wrote a great response re-posted below. However, I have removed the hyperlink to the article from his blog post because I do not want to publicize the Daily Beast story. Anyone who wishes to find it can do so. To make matters even worse, IACC member John Elder Robison publicized the article in the first sentance of his Psychology Today blog. I echo Jonathan Mitchell’s call to write the editors of The Daily Beast to protest this story at editorial@thedailybeast.com and also urge readers to protest this story to Temple Grandin herself from her personal website’s contact page:  http://templegrandin.com/ask.html Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown has written in Newsweek that she has a son with Asperger Syndrome. She can be reached on Twitter @TheTinaBeast.

Are autistic men pedophiles? Bizarre stuff from Temple Grandin’s mom

I’ve just read a very offensive, at least to me, article written on the Daily Beast allegedly by Temple Grandin’s mother who implies that many autistic men are pedophiles who spend their time looking at child pornography and end up being registered sex offenders.  Nearly three years ago, I wrote about Nick Dubin, a neurodiversity activist who as a matter of public record was arrested by the FBI for downloading and looking at child porn.  Dubin, a licensed clinical psychologist and one-time director of a school for special needs children, has made the somewhat dubious (at least to me) claim that he himself is on the autism spectrum.  I’m not sure what happened to his case, whether he plea bargained, was convicted or acquitted.  Other than this I don’t know of a single documented example of an autistic pedarest (or wannabe child molester).  I wish Ms. Cutler would provide one but she does not.    

Ms. Cutler makes the entirely alleged (with the emphasis on alleged) claim that an autistic man brought his computer into a repair shop and the technicians found child porn on his hard drive.  No name is given, no link or documentation whatsoever is provided as to the veracity of this story.  

She goes on to make the bizarre and bigoted claims (with no evidence) that autistic men as a general rule have abnormal sex drives and need children to teach them to have sex and this somehow drives them to download child pornography yet does not give a single example (other than her alleged one) of this phenomenon in practice.  She claims to quote University of North Carolina professor Gary Mesibov who seems to somehow concur that as a rule many autistic men are pedarests and pedophiles.  She provides no documentation of where Mesibov has said this.  

I wish she’d give some sort of documentation of this or some sort of published study that claims that autistics have a tendency toward pedophilia.  Or if anyone else reads this blog and wishes to comment on an example I’d be interested in hearing about this.  

I hope people can understand why I find this most offensive.  I wonder if ASAN will get involved with this, since they seem to take offense at something like the Ransom notes campaign which would seem to be considerably trivial compared to this.  I’ve written an email to the Daily Beast urging them to retract this article or at least apologize for it.  editorial@thedailybeast.com  I hope other people will do so also.  Somehow I think this is more offensive than some deragatory song lyrics or other (at least to me) lesser or more trivial matters that petitions have been started over. 

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