Tag Archives: David Kirby

Video: Dan Olmsted Brags About Supporting Kathleen Seidel

By Jake Crosby

Watch the video above to see Age of Autism editor Dan Olmsted brag about supporting Kathleen Seidel, a blogger with a track record of trying to cause trouble for people who advocate against the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal. She  generally stirs up trouble with their state’s medical board, a federal agency or their employer. As Olmsted said in the video taken at AutismOne in 2008, Seidel even tried to get him fired –  having complained about him to his old employer, UPI.

That, however, didn’t stop him and “Evidence of Harm” author David Kirby from supporting her at the request of pharma-tied “Science “Blogger David Gorski when she was subpoenaed by the attorney for Lisa Sykes – mother  of a vaccine-injured child. Sykes was suing several drug firms for harm caused by thimerosal. Olmsted and Kirby cosigned a letter of support for Seidel condemning the subpoena, citing “free speech.” Olmsted, incidentally, concealed the letter from Age of Autism’s general readership. It only ran on Gorski’s blog.

Following the appearance of the Kirby-Olmsted letter, Seidel received a free legal defense, the parents dropped their lawsuit and their lawyer was professionally sanctioned. In the video, Olmsted essentially called Seidel a  journalist by equating her blogging with what he did “as a journalist.” Olmsted says all this while sharing a panel with a Chicago Tribune reporter. The following year, the Chicago Tribune would begin a series of hit pieces against scientists and parents opposed to thimerosal – including Olmsted’s managing editor  Kim Stagliano – using Seidel’s own talking points.

For further background, please read: How Dan Olmsted and David Kirby Helped Kill a Landmark Autism Lawsuit. I also discussed the video in my talk at this year’s AutismOne conference.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. 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.

Watch Jake Crosby’s AutismOne 2014 Talk

Props to AutismOne’s Teri Arranga for her introduction.

Originally posted on AutismOne

So often, when we think of investigating autism, we think of discovering the physiological underpinnings. But what about the sociological forces that perpetuate the autism epidemic? Politics from without? Or – surprisingly – politics from within? In this startling lecture, Jacob Crosby, MPH, discusses the obstructionist forces that have hampered progress within the autism advocacy arena.

Jake Crosby, MPH

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a bachelor’s degree in both history and health and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a master’s degree in epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a PhD in epidemiology. For nearly five years, he was contributing editor to Age of Autism.

Originally posted at AutismOne

AutismOne is a non-profit charity organization 501(c)(3) started by a small group of parents of children with autism. Parents are and must remain the driving force of our community, the stakes are too high and the issues too sacred to delegate to outside interests. AUTISM IS A PREVENTABLE/TREATABLE BIOMEDICAL CONDITION. Autism is the result of environmental triggers. Autism is not caused by “bad” genes and the epidemic is not the result of “better” diagnosis. Children with autism suffer from gut bugs, allergies, heavy metal toxicity, mitochondrial disorders, antioxidant deficiencies, nutritional deficiencies and autoimmune diseases – all of which are treatable. THE KEY IS EDUCATION The AutismOne Conference, AutismOne Radio, AutismOne Outreach and Autism in Action initiatives educate more than 100,000 families every year about prevention, recovery, safety, and change.

Originally posted at AutismOne

 

Addendum: See AutismOne Slides

Mark Blaxill Didn’t Disclose Pharma Conflict at 2001 IOM Meeting

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By Jake Crosby

In 2001, self-styled autism advocate Mark Blaxill failed to disclose his conflict of interest with pharmaceutical companies at the Institute of Medicine’s 2001 meeting on thimerosal and neurodevelopmental disorders. This non-disclosure would contradict what he would claim in a podcast interview 12 years later as Canary Party Chairman:

“The only time I had a conflict was when I was helping David Kirby and contributing to the Evidence of Harm book. And it’s even in the book, Curt; I have never hid the conflict. I’ve actually been public with people and open with people about the concerns I’ve had. So it’s not as though there is any great secrets I was keeping. And whatever concern I had, it is not operative any longer.”

But at his 2001 IOM presentation – discussed in “Evidence of Harm” –  Blaxill said, after being introduced by IOM Committee  Chair Marie McCormick:

“Thank you very much, Dr. McCormick. I am very pleased at the opportunity to present to the panel.

I had an easy time on the conflict of interest question. I am a parent, and I can guarantee you that the research that you will see has received no funding from anybody whatsoever. I also have an MBA, so I recognize that places me at something of a presumptive intellectual disadvantage. So be it.”

Other than identify himself as a parent, Blaxill revealed no conflict of interest whatsoever. He only stated that his research was not supported by any funding source as IOM requested that he disclose. What he did not reveal was that he was still in the employ of Boston Consulting Group, which still had vaccine manufacturers as clients. He would admit this in email to SafeMinds’ board of directors the following year and to omnibus attorney Mike Williams the year after that. Blaxill even consulted for Merck.

There is no evidence that his email to SafeMinds‘ board of directors in 2002 was made public prior to the 2005 publication of David Kirby’s book “Evidence of Harm”, in which the email’s contents were discussed. Blaxill’s email to Williams was not public until it was revealed last year on Autism Investigated. So prior to publication of “Evidence of Harm,” the only known public record of discussion concerning Blaxill’s potential conflicts was his non-disclosure of any such conflicts when he first presented to IOM in 2001.

Not disclosing his conflict of interest enabled him to win the trust of other parents present in the audience at that meeting. The following year, he would join SafeMinds‘ board of directors, enabling him to influence that organization’s agenda. When the rider to shield Eli Lilly and other thimerosal manufacturers was slipped into the Homeland Security Bill, Blaxill sent an email threatening to resign should SafeMinds slam the company for poisoning children. That was when he cited his own employer’s ties to pharmaceutical companies as his reason for threatening to resign from SafeMinds’ board . Remarkably, SafeMinds capitulated to Blaxill and he remained on SafeMinds’ board for another decade. His position further enabled him to do irreparable harm to the omnibus autism cases – denying justice to 4,900 vaccine injured children – and hijack the agenda of the 2012 congressional autism hearing as well as a tentatively scheduled 2014 congressional hearing.

Following public revelations of his 2012 hijacking, he left SafeMinds in 2013 but remains chairman of his own organization Canary Party that he founded in 2011. He continuously works to shield the scientific misconduct of CDC and its collaborators from exposure in a congressional hearing. Meanwhile, the evidence mounts that he was planted at the 2001 IOM meeting, as does the evidence for his “advocacy” being nothing more than carefully orchestrated infiltration by a man so unqualified to speak at the IOM, he even acknowledged that fact in his presentation.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. 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.

Was Mark Blaxill Planted at IOM in 2001?

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By Jake Crosby

On July 16th, 2001, Mark Blaxill gave a presentation to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) titled “The Rising Incidence of Autism: Associations with Thimerosal” despite his lack of scientific credentials, publication record or official title within any major autism organization – unlike any of the other speakers. His presentation elevated public perception of him to that of a chief proponent of thimerosal’s role in causing autism, especially concerning its epidemiological correlation. Ironically, he would later publicly backtrack on his position on thimerosal, purportedly based on statistics from the same database he presented on in his 2001 presentation – an apparent act to throw the omnibus autism cases and deny justice to 4,900 vaccine-injured children. Yet it all began with his invited IOM presentation in 2001 where he lacked the qualifications of the other invited presenters. What he did not lack, however, was employment with a consulting firm with a large number of pharmaceutical clients.

David Kirby‘s book “Evidence of Harm” misrepresents Blaxill as having presented to IOM on SafeMinds‘ behalf, but in fact Blaxill would not join SafeMinds for another year. A search for his name on PubMed does not return any hits prior to 2002. His only advanced degree was an MBA. Although his board membership with SafeMinds would not begin for another year at the time of his IOM presentation, his then-employment with the extensively pharma-tied firm Boston Consulting Group had already lasted two decades. He also used his work email address in his autism advocacy and consulted for Merck, having visited the company’s headquarters in New Jersey.

Mark Blaxill’s autism-related activities before his IOM presentation appeared limited to writing the occasional emailed newsletter for a group called Families for Early Autism Treatment (FEAT). He did not yet hold any official position within SafeMinds.

At the time of his 2001 IOM presentation of autism prevalence (how common autism is) in California’s developmental services system which he conflated with incidence (how frequently new cases occur) in his title slide, IOM’s sponsor, CDC, was already looking at that same data to see how it may be used to absolve thimerosal. Two years later, CDC then published a graph from Blaxill’s presentation in a paper aiming to clear thimerosal that also included data from international fugitive Poul Thorsen’s fraudulent research while it was still in press at the journal Pediatrics.

As the graph was merely correlative, it was hardly a threat to CDC, which had no problem publishing it in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM). Living up to public expectation of Blaxill being not only a chief proponent but also a chief defender of thimerosal’s role in causing autism, he then wrote a scathing letter to AJPM accusing the authors of misrepresenting his work. He would later call Thorsen’s paper “uninformative and potentially misleading” following its publication.

But only a few years later, he would publicly backtrack on his position on thimerosal’s role in causing the autism epidemic. His pretense was the continued increases in California developmental services department’s autism caseload among younger children, despite the admitted prematurity of such data based according to the state’s own health department. This was the very database from which Blaxill used statistics in his 2001 IOM presentation to elevate his position as a thimerosal-autism-link proponent in the first place.

In 2007, Mark Blaxill unwittingly revealed his earlier change in position to be more likely an act than anything else, when he cited Thorsen’s own fraudulent research in an email to an omnibus petitioner to defend thimerosal – the very research Blaxill dubbed “uninformative and potentially misleading” years prior. This led to the throwing of 4,900 omnibus cases, for which he acted as a consultant to the lead attorneys. Later that same year and long after IOM was found to have secretly decided it would never say autism is a true side-effect of vaccination, Mark Blaxill participated in an “Autism and the Environment” IOM meeting heavily sponsored by pharmaceutical interests and which never mentioned vaccines. Although by 2007 he left his job with the pharma-tied Boston Consulting Group (BCG), he maintains connections to the firm through his ongoing board membership of a non-profit both directed and funded by BCG.

With his changing the topic of the 2012 congressional hearing from CDC autism research fraud to the federal response, his deliberately avoiding mention of “vaccines” in his congressional speech and his continued undermining of any congressional investigation into the fraud committed by Thorsen and other researchers used by CDC and IOM to justify thimerosal’s use, Mark Blaxill’s activities over the years are consistent with those of an infiltrator. Similarly, his sudden rise to prominence as a perceived advocate against thimerosal with his 2001 presentation at IOM is consistent with the actions of a person who had been planted there.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. 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.

Mark Blaxill Remains Connected To BCG – A Pharma-Tied Consulting Firm

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By Jake Crosby

Revelations about Mark Blaxill’s ties to his former employer the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and its pharmaceutical clients – in contradiction to what he said in a recently recorded interview on Linderman Unleashed – have now come to the attention of Autism Investigated. These discoveries were made on the heels of even more troubling evidence coming to light: see the previous post about Mark Blaxill turning the lead omnibus attorneys against expert witnesses Dr. Mark and David Geier with baseless and profane attacks against them.

In spite of Mark Blaxill claiming on Linderman Unleashed that he was fired from the BCG – suggesting his autism advocacy played a role – he appears to have voluntarily left the firm for the purpose of starting his own company and for reasons wholly unrelated to autism. In fact, Blaxill still maintains ties to BCG despite no longer being employed with the firm as Senior Vice President and despite claiming he no longer has a conflict of interest “of any kind.” Blaxill also falsely claimed to have always consulted for non-pharmaceutical clients while a BCG executive, merely admitting the firm had pharmaceutical clients but he in fact concealed from Linderman’s audience that he had consulted for Merck during his BCG employment.

Here’s the story he gave on his podcast interview with Curt Linderman, dated October 24, 2013, regarding his BCG departure:

“And then in 2006 – early in 2006 not very long after Evidence of Harm came out – all of a sudden I found myself without a job, and I was no longer at the Boston Consulting Group…I did have issues that concerned me, and it actually didn’t stop me from speaking out, Curt, but it did worry me a little, and who knows? Maybe my worries were founded because I’m not working there anymore, and that was not my choice.”

However, the book Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World by Walter Kiechel tells a story about Mark Blaxill’s departure from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) that totally contradicts what Blaxill told Linderman. According to Kiechel:

“Blaxill wanted to push on to the issue of motivation, of why people worked on Linux for free, even into issues of creativity, but couldn’t find the time or support within the firm for exploring those dimensions. “The antibodies resisted that,” he says. In 2006, Blaxill left BCG to set up his own firm, 3LP Advisors, to concentrate on the intersection of strategy, intellectual property, and innovation.”  

In his interview on Linderman, Blaxill said 3LP Advisors was founded as a result of his firing from Boston Consulting Group, claiming the termination of his employment “was not my choice.” Yet not only was it his choice according to Kiechel, but in fact Blaxill left Boston Consulting Group so that he could found 3LP Advisors to practice his own business strategy the way he liked – nothing to do with autism.

Linderman then further questioned Blaxill specifically about his conflict of interest with Boston Consulting Group since 2006:

“To me it would seem as if you were still with this company and you still had this conflict of interest, and that is not the case since 2006?”

To which Blaxill replied by emphatically denying possession of any conflict of interest:

“Curt, I don’t have a conflict of interest of any kind now, and I have not had one for years. I haven’t had a conflict since I started the Age of Autism with JB Handley and Dan Olmsted and Kim Stagliano back in 2007. I haven’t had a conflict since I wrote the book The Age of Autism. I haven’t had a conflict since starting the Canary Party. The only time I had a conflict was when I was helping David Kirby and contributing to the Evidence of Harm book. And it’s even in the book, Curt; I have never hid the conflict. I’ve actually been public with people and open with people about the concerns I’ve had. So it’s not as though there is any great secrets I was keeping. And whatever concern I had, it is not operative any longer.”

However, Blaxill remains a board member of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), which has received over $25,000 annually from Boston Consulting Group. Serving on the board with him is none other than Boston Consulting Group’s Chairman of the Board Carl Stern.

ICIC’s chairman and founder as well as Harvard Business School Prof. Michael Porter was thanked in no uncertain terms in the acknowledgements section of the book Blaxill coauthored in 2009 with his business partner Ralph Eckardt, “The Invisible Edge: Taking Your Strategy to the Next Level Using Intellectual Property:

“[The Boston Consulting Group Founder’s] ideas have been extended and enriched by the academic and consulting community in Boston, most notably by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, on one hand, and our former colleagues at BCG on another.”

Blaxill and Eckardt then summed up their relationship with Prof. Porter as follows:

“Michael Porter has been a teacher, a collaborator, a client, and a friend.” 

It seems Blaxill and Eckardt are not the only ones with high praise for Prof. Porter. When Porter was awarded a prestigious University Professorship at Harvard, Merck’s then-chairman, president and CEO Raymond Gilmartin (who later resigned over the Vioxx scandal and became a Harvard Business School Professor himself) told the Harvard Gazette:

“Through his research, teaching, and writing, Mike Porter has made an indelible mark on businesses and markets everywhere. His leading-edge research has directly influenced the strategies and competitiveness of individual firms and the nation. More recently, he has helped to identify the key drivers of innovation, which has now become the basis of global competition. His insights are directly relevant to understanding the vital ingredients for success in a host of industries, including pharmaceuticals.”

Clearly Blaxill has much to gain by serving on ICIC’s board of directors with his former employer BCG’s Chairman of the Board while under Prof. Porter’s chairmanship. ICIC’s website boasts that the organization’s partners “gain as well as give.” It’s hard to fathom how Blaxill could honestly claim on Linderman to not possess a conflict of interest “of any kind.”

But Blaxill was not even honest in the Linderman interview about what he did during his past employment for BCG. He claimed:

“…I always worked with industrial companies, automotive, forest products, computers-type companies, but they also had pharmaceutical clients.”

But he did not solely work with those companies, because Blaxill consulted for Merck directly as a BCG employee himself. In 2010, he told me he had visited Merck’s headquarters in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Later at a 2011 gathering in Waltham, Massachusetts, where Blaxill announced his preliminary plans to found the Canary Party – I overheard him telling someone about his experience consulting for Merck, describing his former clients as “not that smart.”

Despite suggesting his departure from Boston Consulting Group was some sort of martyrdom for his autism advocacy and that he no longer has any ties to the firm, it appears that Mark Blaxill was not fired, but left on his own terms wholly unrelated to autism and even remains connected to his former employer who continues to serve pharmaceutical clients.

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.

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.

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.

 

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

Justice-Denied-IPI

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.

Seth Mnookin Claims My Handshake Was Jab in His Chest

abc_besser_mnookin_110105_wg

By Jake Crosby

This fallacious and bizarre new allegation of Seth Mnookin’s came in his first and only blog post about me in which he wrote (boldface mine):

“Jake, as I told you the first time you accosted me at a talk, in New York City in June 2011 — you remember that, right? It was the time you refused to shake my hand and instead jabbed me in the chest in front of dozens of people…”

And yet, in my article about our June 2011 encounter which he did not dispute, I wrote (boldface added for emphasis):

“He [Seth Mnookin] continued about how I’m not going to convince him of my views and he won’t convince me of his, then he put out his hand, which I felt was merely the pinnacle of his suck-up ploy.

“So you aren’t gonna shake my hand, now? C’mon!”

Despite my hesitation, I shook his hand.”

What’s so remarkable is that not only does Seth Mnookin’s claim that I jabbed him in the chest instead of shaking his hand contradict what actually happened, but what actually happened was chronicled by me in my article that ran online one week after our exchange. His account of my jabbing him in the chest, among other fallacies of his about our encounters, came in a July 25th, 2013 blog post about me ironically titled:

“Crosby’s labyrinth, or why I couldn’t stop myself from replying to the vaccine conspiracy theorist to end all conspiracy theorists.”

That’s right – according to Mnookin, I’m not just the vaccine conspiracy theorist to end vaccine conspiracy theorists, but “to end all conspiracy theorists.” He responded to a comment I left on one of his blog posts slamming Jenny McCarthy for her views on vaccines after she was confirmed by ABC to co-host “The View” this fall.

His response was basically fictitious accounts of our past encounters that are directly contradicted by actual, verifiable facts that I detailed shortly thereafter. His description of our handshake as a jab in the chest was only the beginning.

Seth’s fiction
I accost him.
He asks me to shake his hand.
I refuse.
I jab him in the chest.

What really happened
He slanders Dr. Andrew Wakefield.
I defend Dr. Wakefield.
Mnookin shouts at me.
He verifies who I am.
He tells me who he is (even though I already know who he is).
I apologize for not introducing myself initially.
He asks me to shake his hand.
I shake his hand.

Not only does he give a false account of what happened during my first encounter with him, but also my second encounter with him where he booted me out of the room starting with his claim that the event I attended was “invitation-only.”

In summary, the contrast between what Seth Mnookin said happened and what actually happened goes like this:

Seth’s fiction
I crash his invitation-only event.
I introduce myself to his televised image and begin my “monologue.”
In the middle of my “monologue,” he disconnects.
While he’s disconnected, I’m asked to leave (presumably because I was not invited).
His connection comes back on.
By the time it does, I’ve already left.
The first thing he says after his connection is up is that I shouldn’t have been removed.

What really happened
I try to sign up for his event online.
I’m put on a waitlist.
I’m let into his event off the waitlist.
I introduce myself to his televised image and begin asking my question.
Suddenly he disconnects.
He returns and repeats the last words he heard me say.
I continue my question.
He cuts me off and accuses me of disrupting past events of his.
I’m ejected.
As I’m being ejected, he proceeds to answer my question unchallenged.
He’s still rambling even as I’m walking out the door.

After giving a heavily fabricated account of what happened at his event where I was ejected, he then attempted to address my very first article about him: “Seth Mnookin, Bob’s Your Uncle!”

He tried to play down his uncle Robert Mnookin’s connections to the mother-in-law of vaccine industry front group/“autism charity” president and founder Alison Singer, as well as to a board member of her organization.

Seth’s fiction
His uncle is presumably just a professor specializing in negotiation and mediation at Harvard Law School.
Alison Singer’s mother-in-law only taught mediation there “at various times.”
Her colleague, an Autism Science Foundation board member, has no direct connection to Harvard Law School.
To have known of Seth Mnookin, Singer’s mother-in-law and her colleague would have had to have looked “into the backgrounds of everyone they’ve ever worked with, served on a board with, or had professional dealings with.”
Seth Mnookin took a huge professional risk by parroting the talking points of a front group for a highly profitable and partially taxpayer-funded branch of the pharmaceutical industry.

What really happened
Seth Mnookin’s uncle chairs Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation.
The mother-in-law of the founder of Autism Science Foundation, a vaccine industry front group that poses as an autism charity, taught mediation in the program for 25 years according to her professional bio.
One of the mother-in-law’s colleagues co-taught mediation with her for that same time period.
That colleague also serves on the board of the Autism Science Foundation.
Seth Mnookin writes a book that echos the pharma talking points of the Autism Science Foundation.
In exchange, he gets rewarded with two years of media appearances, speaking engagements, book awards, a forum at PLoS blogs and even an MIT professorship.

Seth Mnookin’s accuracy at reporting events is truly dismal, as his own blog post about me shows. His year-and-a-half to two-year-after-the-fact accounts of what happened during our encounters are not only contradicted by what actually happened, but by what I wrote actually happened within a week of those encounters. Not surprisingly, his denial in his blog post that he specifically called my question to him at Harvard four months ago “insigificant minutia” that is “devoid of facts” is blatently false.

Of all his fictitious accounts in his blog post about our encounters, however, his suddenly claiming two years after the fact that our handshake was me jabbing him in the chest takes the cake. In fact, it takes the whole bakery.

Addendum, July 30, 2013: Seth Mnookin has now further embellished his sham account of what he falsely claims was my refusal to shake his hand and instead jab him in the chest in New York City. He said he stuck out his hand offering me to shake it when I first approached him, saying I refused to shake it. Not only did I shake his hand, but our handshake did not happen until well into our conversation. This was after he told me he agreed with me that there weren’t enough services for people with autism, in contrast to his claiming I disagreed with him on that point. At no point in our encounter did I discuss any “proof” of him being on the take, nor did I jab him in the chest as he repeatedly claims. Details of our encounter can be found in the article I had written one week later: “My Conversation with Seth Mnookin.”

Seth Mnookin
then discusses my ouster from Age of Autism, insinuating I was banished for claiming Age of Autism is conspiring with government officials to cover up vaccine injury. The latest article stemming from my ongoing investigation into the congressional activities of Age of Autism sponsors can be found in the following post: “Mark Blaxill Publicly Attacks Critics.” Nowhere in this article or in any article of mine written prior do I allege that those who hijacked the congressional autism hearings conspired to do so with those who have covered up vaccines’ role in causing the autism epidemic in the first place.

Addendum, August 2, 2013: 
Age of Autism’s UK Editor John Stone took Seth Mnookin to task in the comments of his blog over his fictitious accounts of our past encounters, specifically Mnookin’s bogus claim that I jabbed him in the chest.

It is appalling that a serious scientific publisher would give houseroom to such a column, which has nothing to do with scientific argument. I have had one or two disagreements with Jake but I don’t believe that he jabbed you “in front of witnesses”, and why mention it now instead of taking action at the time? A slight matter of character assassination aside it is a non-sequitur and ad hominem.

Whatever, Jake made a material point about how the Institute of Medicine selected its evidence – he did not even get into how they pre-arranged it (IOM closed meeting 12 Jan 2001) –

http://www.putchildrenfirst.org/chapter6.html

before we also note the fundamental problem that IOM preferred highly flawed statistical analysis to case studies of injured children (some of whom have received awards quietly from the VICP as they admitted to Sharyl Attkisson).

“The government has never compensated, nor has it ever been ordered to compensate, any case based on a determination that autism was actually caused by vaccines. We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20016356-10391695.html

An identical statement was given to David Kirby, reported in Huffington Post.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr-and-david-kirby/vaccine-court-autism-deba_b_169673.html

What we are really dealing with here is journalist led science. Anyone who steps out of line has to be taken out: Wakefield, McCarthy, Crosby…If I may say so it seems me that with all the hatchet work across the media on Jenny McCarthy the real issue is that she is a parent who stood up and called a spade a spade. And the things that she described happen: they’ve even been compensated on the quiet.

 

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.