Tag Archives: Mark Blaxill

Was Mark Blaxill Planted at IOM in 2001?

blaxilliom

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.

Dr. Gary Kompothecras Helps Canary Party Hijack Hearings

drgaryjenmarkyacht

Addendum: Click above image to enlarge.

By Jake Crosby

Above is a photo of Canary Party Chairman Mark Blaxill and President Jennifer Larson with chiropractor Dr. Gary Kompothecras of 1-800-Ask-Gary fame on a yacht in Sarasota, Florida on April 30th, 2013 where they were meeting with congressmen, including Committee on Oversight & Government Reform (COGR) Chairman Darrell Issa. Jennifer Larson, in no ambiguous terms, made it clear whom she and Blaxill had to thank for meetings with congressmen in the above Facebook photo of her, Blaxill and Dr. Kompothecras:

“Thank you Dr. Gary Kompothecras. Dr. Gary made these meetings possible.”

Yes, thank you  Dr. Gary for making it possible for Mark Blaxill to hijack the congressional hearings. Dr. Kompothecras has considerable political influence and in recent years has given vast amounts of money to Congressman Issa’s campaign for Congress and those of other congressmen. Dr. Kompothecras’ political pull was key to having Issa commit to holding hearings on autism causation and the vaccine program in 2012.

Unfortunately, Dr. Kompothecras was also key in destroying what he helped launch. At the 2012 AutismOne conference, Kompothecras spilled the news of the upcoming congressional hearing to Mark Blaxill, who then undermined that hearing with the help of lobbyist Beth Clay, interfered with scientist Dr. Brian Hooker testifying on CDC’s research fraud and caused autism epidemic deniers Ari Ne’eman and Michael John Carley to show up instead, much to Kompothecras’ dismay. He was so angry about Ne’eman’s presence at the hearing that when Ne’eman offered to shake his hand, Kompothecras replied:

“I’m not gonna shake your hand you fucking clown!”

I cringed when Dr. Kompothecras bragged about this to me after the hearing. Yet his anger at Ari Ne’eman’s testifying did not stop him from giving Mark Blaxill a friendly pat on the shoulder at the hearing, despite Blaxill’s role in enabling Ne’eman to testify by having the hearing topic changed to the catch-all “federal response” on autism.

The disturbing details of how Blaxill hijacked the hearing did not deter Dr. Kompothecras from developing closer ties to Blaxill and Canary Party Dr. Hooker was pressured into “working with” Mark Blaxill by Dr. Kompothecras who made Hooker fear being cut off from COGR if he didn’t cooperate with Canary Party. That was when Canary Party put out an action alert that – unlike what Canary Party’s president promised to Dr. Brian Hooker – did not specifically ask Congress to investigate the CDC’s scientific misconduct.

Despite the false promise made to Dr. Hooker by Canary Party President Jennifer Larson that the Canary Party action alert would ask for an investigation specifically into CDC research fraud, Dr. Brian Hooker told me who the real architect of the action alert was:

“It was Mark’s doing. I called him on it after the action alert came out”

And in contrast to Mark Blaxill later claiming that it was Issa who wanted the next hearing to be about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP):

“He [Mark Blaxill] said that he was merely representing the consensus of the community and that the community wanted the NVICP hearing first,” said Hooker.

Also contradictory to Blaxill’s claim that the action alert represented the “consensus of the community” was the fact that the alert emphasized NVICP and led the community to ask Congressional COGR to investigate it. When asked to make a correction to the alert, Blaxill replied:

“What’s done is done.”

After Blaxill, Larson and Kompothecras’ April 30th, 2013 meeting with congressmen including COGR Chairman Issa, Jennifer Larson gave $40,000 to the Darrell Issa Victory Fund in May. This in turn was followed by Issa’s sitting on a panel at the AutismOne 2013 conference held later that same month. Mark Blaxill introduced that panel.

After emails turned up in September of that year revealing Mark Blaxill’s role in sabotaging the omnibus autism proceeding – that both Drs. Hooker and Kompothecras are petitioners in – Kompothecras dismissed Blaxill’s actions as being from years prior. Yet the following month, Mark Blaxill said in a podcast interview that he was unapologetic about anything he has done. Small wonder that Dr. Hooker said that October, “I feel very betrayed by Dr. Gary” and has not heard much from him in the past year.

Then the congressional committee cancelled the December-scheduled NVICP hearing, noting the topic picked by Canary Party was overly divisive. Yet even after that, as well as revelations about Blaxill’s role in throwing the omnibus and his concealed pharmaceutical connections, Dr. Kompothecras still supports him and Canary Party.

According to a reliable source, the NVICP hearing is tentatively scheduled for July 15th, 2014; with Dr. Kompothecras’ help, the Canary Party is still undermining the congressional hearings that were meant to be about CDC research misconduct. In the mean time, Kompothocras has been having some legal troubles that range from him being investigated by the Florida Bar, to being sued by State Farm Insurance, and he  is suing Allstate Insurance and Bloomberg News.

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.

American Citizens for Health Choice: Canary Party’s Fundraising Arm?

healthchoicecan

By Jake Crosby

There is supposedly a new group on the horizon that calls itself the American Citizens for Health Choice (ACHC). However, it appears to be a new incarnation of a political organization founded in 2011 that effectively caused the collapse of the congressional autism hearings: Canary Party.

All four board members listed on the ACHC website are either former or current heads of Canary Party, although only two mention their affiliations. Jennifer Larson lists her position as president and co-founder of Canary Party and Patti Carroll says she is executive director of Canary Party. Despite also being co-founder as well as chairman of Canary Party, however, Mark Blaxill lists no affiliation with Canary Party in his bio on the ACHC website, simply saying he is editor-at-large for the (Canary Party-sponsored) blog Age of Autism as well as a director of SafeMinds, although he publicly stepped down from the latter organization’s board of directors last year. Meanwhile, the fourth board member of ACHC, Ginger Taylor, lists no past affiliation with Canary Party despite having been its previous executive director and then its vice president before announcing her departure from the latter position and autism advocacy in general on New Year’s Day.

ACHC may try to make itself look like a unique organization but appears to be nothing more than Canary Party’s fundraising arm. An anonymous source informed me that several Canary Party parents got together to start this new fundraising organization founded on the same premises as the Canary Party’s –  fighting chronic disease and promoting individual choice. The mission statements on the homepage of each group’s website are also similar.

Here is the  Canary Party homepage description:

“The Canary Party is a movement created to stand up for the victims of medical injury, environmental toxins and industrial foods by restoring balance to our free and civil society and empowering consumers to make health and nutrition decisions that promote wellness.”

And here is the ACHC homepage description:

“Our group was formed in response to a study published in Academic Pediatrics that represented 43% of children (32 million) in the US suffers from a chronic health condition. It is our belief that these rates will continue to increase if parents are not aware of the unhealthy choices in their lifestyle such as industrial processed foods, side effects of vaccine choices, and other environmental and lifestyle factors.”

Although the premise as well as the leaders of the two organizations are the same, it is obvious from their websites that they are trying to look like independent organizations when they are anything but. Since Canary Party is not a non-profit and ACHC is, it would appear that the purpose of the latter organization is to act as a fundraising arm of the former organization. With only $687.12 in the bank by the end of 2013, Canary Party is in need of some new cash. Apparently, ACHC’s purpose is to fulfill that need. ACHC first started filing 990 forms in 2012, but it has yet to publicly announce its existence.

Addendum: As of the date of this post, the link to americancitizensforhealthchoice.org now re-directs to a website with the URL that simply reads healthchoice.org along with the following notification: “This site is down for maintenance. Please check back again soon.” However, the americancitizensforhealthchoice.org homepage can still be found archived.

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’s Thimerosal Backtrack: An Act To Throw The Omnibus?

actIIthecurtainpostomnibus

By Jake Crosby

Following the disclosure of emails on Autism Investigated in which Mark Blaxill responded to the lead omnibus attorney in vaccine court with attacks on expert witnesses Dr. Mark and David Geier, Autism Investigated reader John Best made an astute observation about the attorney’s email. Within that email, the attorney wrote:

“…we realize that we have to  deal with the fact that the increase has continued beyond the removal of thimerosal, but we have to convince the Special Masters that something in the environment, perhaps several somethings, is triggering symptoms of ASD in many kids.”

To which John Best responded in a comment:

“The lawyers claimed they had to account for the increase [in autism] after thimerosal was all gone and that they had to blame something in the environment. So, the lawyers admitted right there that they were throwing the case intentionally. Too bad the statute of limitations for legal malpractice has passed. Those words are all that are needed to hang them.
Did they think the whole world was too stupid to know that shooting 25 mcg of thimerosal into pregnant women equated to 200 times the alleged “safe” dose of mercury?
Jake, you should have entitled this: Lawyers Admit Throwing Case.”

To which I responded:

“That was almost certainly Mark Blaxill’s doing:
http://www.autisminvestigated.com/mark-blaxill-danish-fraudulent/

He claimed to change his views in a 2007 email to Dr. Brian Hooker based on the premature conclusion that reported autism prevalence still going up in California was evidence against thimerosal’s role in the autism epidemic, yet also cited the very Danish numbers Blaxill once called “uninformative and potentially misleading” to defend thimerosal right after being informed of their fraudulent nature by Dr. Hooker. What this would suggest is that Blaxill’s representation of himself as a leading proponent of thimerosal’s significance in causing the autism epidemic only to backtrack from his position later was all just an act to sink the omnibus and strike a PR victory for pharma.”

The latest component of this act that I did not mention in the above comment, however, is Blaxill’s downplaying of harm from thimerosal and vaccines in general. Neither was mentioned in Mark Blaxill’s speech before Congress, nor are they in the mission statement of the Canary Party that he chairs and founded. Such minimization of thimerosal’s harm helps prevent some of the worst perpetrators of the thimerosal cover-up from facing justice for burying evidence of its role in causing the autism epidemic. And the lead actor pretends to have no ties to the pharmaceutical industry when he still does.

It is about time someone drew the curtain on his act.

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 Remains Connected To BCG – A Pharma-Tied Consulting Firm

boston_consulting_group

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 to Omnibus Attorneys: “how deeply f*cked up the world is when the Geiers are considered credible analysts and I am not.”

blaxillongeiers

By Jake Crosby

Click the above screenshot to enlarge the July 2007 email where then-Vice President of SafeMinds Mark Blaxill stated in email to omnibus autism proceeding attorneys Mike Williams and Tom Powers concerning petitioners’ expert witnesses Dr. Mark and David Geier:

“I hope you understand how deeply fucked up the world is when the Geiers are considered credible analysts and I am not.”

Blaxill succeeded in turning Williams against his own expert witnesses, as Williams responded: “I do understand”.

Autism Investigated has acquired this latest installment of troubling emails about the Geiers between Blaxill and Williams from a source that wishes to remain anonymous. Last October, Autism Investigated posted emails dated 2003-2004 in which Mark Blaxill disparaged expert witnesses Dr. Mark and David Geier to Mike Williams – saying the Geiers “can do our cause more harm than good,” calling their work “sloppy” and claiming he could “rip [their work] to shreds.” Those emails were also obtained from a confidential source. (See mercury toxicity expert Dr. Boyd Haley’s response to Blaxill’s claim.)

The long email from Mike Williams to which Blaxill was responding can be seen in the following screenshot and was addressed to Lyn Redwood, President of SafeMinds (now Vice President of SafeMinds). Copied on the email in addition to Blaxill were Tom Powers and SafeMinds’ then-Executive Director (now President) Sallie Bernard. Note also that Williams described pursuit of “experts other than Mark Geier” before lamenting, “if only Mark Blaxill had an MPH or equivalent.” (screenshot 1, click to enlarge)
fdup2

Further down in that email, Williams reveals how influenced he was by Blaxill, saying: “On the genetics issue, we need someone other than Mark Geier to say what Mark Blaxill and you all proved…” (screenshot 2, click to enlarge) Incredibly, Williams was persuaded that Dr. Geier, a geneticist, was incapable of speaking on the genetics issue even though his genetic research had won him presidential recognition. What’s more, his son David actually discovered results from CDC researcher Dr. Thomas Verstraeten’s epidemiological analyses of thimerosal exposure showing vastly increased risks for neurodevelopmental disorders including autism compared to those who weren’t exposed to thimerosal during the first month of life. That a seasoned attorney was so manipulated by Mark Blaxill should serve as a cautionary tale in light of current events.

fdup3
fdup4

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.

Autism Investigated Announces Awards for 2013

dreamstime_s_34849450

On New Year’s Eve, Autism Investigated announces its awards for 2013 looking back on the highlights of the year and the lessons learned – an award for each of five categories listed below. As I told one reader:

“2012 was a year of blissful ignorance whereas 2013 was a year of hard lessons – they were not easy to learn, but I think we will all be better off because of them. Here’s to an enlightened new year.”

I feel this sentiment is very strongly reflected in Autism Investigated’s awards for this year – a year when Autism Investigated only existed for the second half, but an eventful year nonetheless.

So here they are: Autism Investigated’s Awards for 2013!

Scientist of the Year: Dr. Brian Hooker

A researcher, professor, parent and advocate, Dr. Brian Hooker exemplifies scientific integrity, courage and persistence. Having organized the congressional hearing in 2012, Dr. Hooker works tirelessly to expose the scientific corruption of CDC and related groups that are implicated in the government cover-up of vaccines’ role in causing autism in children, especially vaccines containing the mercury-based, neurotoxic preservative thimerosal. He has made tremendous inroads with Congress despite overwhelming adversity, even from groups that claim to agree with his activities. Nonetheless, he remains unyielding in his pursuit of justice for countless vaccine-injured children, including his own son.

Thank you, Dr. Hooker!

Scoop of the Year: Mark Blaxill’s Early Interference in Autism Omnibus

blaxillwilliams

(Click to enlarge.)

Last October, Autism Investigated was sent email exchanges from 2003 and 2004 between members of SafeMinds and the lead petitioners’ attorney  in the autism omnibus proceeding for 4,900 children who developed autism after vaccination and were seeking federal compensation. The emails reveal that members of SafeMinds were being retained as consultants in the litigation. The email exchanges also reveal some troubling remarks by Mark Blaxill, then-board member of SafeMinds. Below are statements he has made in those emails to the attorney against petitioners’ expert witnesses Dr. Mark and David Geier as well as against suing in general. Also disturbing is his reference to his employer’s pharmaceutical clients.

Direct quotes from Mark Blaxill’s emails:

“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.”

“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.”

I have not been a big fan of the Geiers. I worry they do not represent our side well. They often do sloppy work.”

In response to the last quote by Blaxill, the attorney replied:

“Thanks, Mark, very helpful.”

The autism omnibus eventually collapsed and thousands of children were denied justice. In a podcast interview last October, Mark Blaxill said he was not apologetic about anything he has done.

Quote of the Year: Dr. Boyd Haley on Mark Blaxill and the Geiers

After the above email passages were posted on Autism Investigated, emeritus chemistry professor, scientist and leading authority on mercury toxicity Dr. Boyd Haley responded in the below email:

I know both Mark Blaxill and Mark & David Geier fairly well. Mr. Blaxill does not have the biological science and medical training of the Geier’s and most of their articles address issues on the biological level. I have critically read most of the publications by the Geier’s and I seriously doubt that Mr. Blaxill could shred this research even though he may think he could.

Boyd E. Haley, PhD
President
CTI Science, Inc.

Irony of the Year: Tina Brown runs bogus autism-and-pedophilia-linking article, despite having son with autism.

Tinabrownson

Last August, The Daily Beast ran an article by Eustacia Cutler – mother of internationally famous autistic advocate and animal scientist Dr. Temple Grandin – falsely claiming autistic men have an affinity for pedophilia. Dr. Grandin distanced herself after the article was written following an inquiry by Autism Investigated. The major irony to emerge from this is that Tina Brown – editor of The Daily Beast – has an adult son with Asperger Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. She did not respond when confronted about the story on Twitter. The following month, Tina Brown stepped down as editor of The Daily Beast.

Event of the Year: NVICP Congressional Hearing Cancellation

Cancelled

The event of the year – or rather non-event of the year – goes to the cancellation of the congressional hearing on the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP). By asking Congress to investigate NVICP, Canary Party was able to prevent the CDC cover-up of vaccine dangers from gaining exposure in a congressional hearing despite the organization’s false promises to Dr. Brian Hooker that it would ask specifically for an investigation into the malfeasance. Then at a Canary Party Briefing held the month before the anticipated NVICP hearing, the case of vaccine-injured child Hannah Poling was misrepresented. After her mother Terry Poling protested in the comments of Age of Autism – the blog sponsored by Canary Party and edited by its chairman Mark Blaxill – Age of Autism took down the video of the briefing without explanation. After the incident was written about on Autism Investigated, Age of Autism claimed technical failure before finally re-uploading the video three days after its removal. That night, Autism Investigated received word that the December-scheduled NVICP congressional hearing that Canary Party was instrumental in lobbying for was cancelled. The reason, according to one reliable legal source, was that NVICP is an “overly divisive issue.”

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.

Dr. Boyd Haley: “I seriously doubt Mr. Blaxill could shred [the Geiers’] research”

boyd haley

By Jake Crosby

Following a post on Autism Investigated in which then-board member of SafeMinds Mark Blaxill was quoted as having called Dr. Mark and David Geier’s work “sloppy,” Dr. Boyd Haley contacted Autism Investigated and weighed in on the matter. Blaxill also claimed in a 2003 email of the Geiers’ work, “…I could rip it to shreds.”

The Geiers – father and son scientists – have repeatedly published studies implicating the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal in causing autism. Dr. Haley, whose email is below, is president of CTI Science, professor emeritus of chemistry from the University of Kentucky as well as a world-renowned expert on mercury toxicity.

This is what Dr. Haley had to say about Mark Blaxill’s remarks concerning the Geiers:

I know both Mark Blaxill and Mark & David Geier fairly well. Mr. Blaxill does not have the biological science and medical training of the Geier’s and most of their articles address issues on the biological level. I have critically read most of the publications by the Geier’s and I seriously doubt that Mr. Blaxill could shred this research even though he may think he could.

Boyd E. Haley, PhD
President

CTI Science, Inc.

Dr. Haley gave his permission to post the above email on Autism Investigated.

Mark Blaxill made these remarks in email to Attorney Mike Williams, lead petitioners’ attorney in the autism omnibus proceeding where Dr. Mark and David Geier were both expert witnesses for the petitioners. Eventually, the omnibus collapsed and 4,900 children were denied justice. Years after disparaging the Geiers’ work to Attorney Williams, Blaxill cited the fraudulent Danish research of international fugitive Poul Thorsen to defend thimerosal in email to omnibus petitioner and scientist Dr. Brian Hooker.

Today, history is repeating itself as Mark Blaxill continuously works to keep research fraud like Thorsen’s from being exposed before Congress and undermines the advocacy of Dr. Hooker. The Canary Party (founded and chaired by Blaxill) falsely led Dr. Hooker to believe that the organization would ask Congress to specifically pursue research misconduct like that committed by Thorsen. Canary Party’s apparent deception ultimately culminated in the indefinite collapse of the congressional autism hearings altogether.

Nonetheless, it is encouraging to learn that Mark Blaxill’s earlier attacks on Dr. Mark and David Geier are not sitting well with Dr. Boyd Haley.

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.

NVICP Congressional Hearing Cancelled

Cancelled

By Jake Crosby

Unconfirmed reports by several reliable sources including an attorney have been brought to the attention of Autism Investigated. According to these reports, the congressional hearing on the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has been cancelled by the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform chaired by Congressman Darrell Issa. This information comes after a vaccine-injured child’s case was misrepresented at a congressional briefing by Canary Party, video footage of which was removed along with an entire post from the Canary Party-sponsored Age of Autism blog.

After Autism Investigated reported on the deletion of the video, Age of Autism restored the post without the video, claiming technical difficulties. Then, after Autism Investigated posted a link to the video and an Age of Autism reader requested AoA also provide a link, the video was fully restored with the technical excuses scrubbed. Below is the NVICP hearing cancellation message from the attorney who gives insight into the reasons behind the cancellation:

“I was just informed by the Counsel for Chairman Issa that due to ‘great deal of reluctance about participating or being drawn into what they, in their private candid discussions with us, say they see as an overly divisive issue’ they are canceling the hearing.”

Autism Investigated will provide updates as this story develops. If confirmed, it will be a tragedy that direct interference by Canary Party and specifically Mark Blaxill led to the collapse of the hearing. Blaxill said on Linderman last month that Canary Party asked for hearings on NVICP instead of CDC malfeasance (as was falsely promised to autism parent and scientist Dr. Brian Hooker) because that was the topic Issa wanted. Yet now Issa is cancelling the hearing because of the divisiveness of the topic itself – the very topic Blaxill claimed Issa wanted to hold the hearing about.

This is not the first hearing Mark Blaxill hijacked. After news of last year’s hearing was leaked at the 2012 AutismOne conference, Blaxill and SafeMinds – the organization whose government affairs committee he had chaired – hired a lobbyist who misrepresented Dr. Brian Hooker to congressional staffers. Dr. Hooker originally organized the November hearing and succeeded in having Issa commit to holding hearings on autism causation and the vaccine program.

Yet through questionable lobbying activities, SafeMinds and Mark Blaxill effectively changed the topic of the hearing to the “federal response” enabling autism epidemic deniers to be invited to give testimony. Blaxill testified instead of Dr. Hooker and refused to discuss the fraudulent research defending thimerosal that Dr. Hooker had planned to testify about. But what can one expect when Blaxill cited Thorsen’s fraud to defend thimerosal in email to none other than Dr. Hooker? Blaxill’s excuse for not mentioning vaccines in his testimony was that he pulled a few punches to ensure another hearing was in the works, yet Issa had already committed to holding multiple hearings. And now Issa won’t hold the scheduled Dec. 4th hearing thanks to the topic Canary Party requested of Congress.

Rather than paving the way for a second congressional hearing, Mark Blaxill prevented a second congressional hearing altogether. At the first hearing, he told me:

“I don’t have a whole lot of hope.”

Blaxill’s prediction was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For relevant posts on this sad saga, see below links beginning with most recent:

Age of Autism Deletes Canary Party Briefing Video

Mark Blaxill Defended Thimerosal With Fraudulent Danish Research

Mark Blaxill Admits COI When His Undermining Began

Listen to Jake Crosby on Linderman Unleashed

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

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.

Age of Autism Deletes Canary Party Briefing Video

By Jake Crosby

On November 7th, Canary Party organized a congressional briefing in Washington, DC on the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) and then posted video footage from the event on the organization’s sponsored blog, Age of Autism. Barely a week had passed before that footage as well as 40 reader comments were suddenly taken down without explanation from the editors.* The video can no longer be found on YouTube either.

The video footage from Canary Party’s briefing was of a speech given by Rolf Hazlehurst (center in below photo), an assistant district attorney from Tennessee whose son represented one of the test cases in the omnibus autism proceeding. Hazlehurst alleged that one expert witness gave two conflicting opinions – one for vaccines causing autism on behalf of Hannah Poling and one against vaccines causing autism in his own son’s case. The problem is – that expert, Johns Hopkins neurologist Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, did not give his opinion in favor of vaccines causing Hannah Poling’s autism until AFTER the government conceded her autism was caused by her vaccinations. In fact, Poling’s case was never even litigated. This was pointed out in the comments on Age of Autism by Hannah Poling’s mother.**

CanaryBriefing

Perhaps most disturbing of all however are the possible ramifications of incorrect statements about Hannah Poling’s case being made under oath in a hearing before Congress. Should Rolf Hazlehurst repeat these statements in congressional testimony, he could put himself in jeopardy of facing perjury charges. As an assistant DA from Tennessee, he could also face disbarment. This would undoubtedly hurt the congressional hearings as well as any chance of reviving the omnibus cases, both sabotaged already by Canary Party Chairman Mark Blaxill (far left).

Now, the video of Rolf Hazlehurst’s speech is gone from the internet, but what is not is Age of Autism editor Dan Olmsted’s article quoting excerpts from the briefing that erroneously describe Hannah Poling’s case albeit without naming her.

With the hearing only weeks away, Canary Party is left in an awkward position for which the choices are either to risk committing perjury or abandon its primary but false example of malfeasance within the NVICP.

When Hannah Poling’s mother Terry Poling pointed Rolf Hazlehurst’s error out in a lengthy and critical comment on the Canary Party-sponsored Age of Autism blog stating that release of the document in which Dr. Zimmerman gave his opinion would constitute a violation of her family’s privacy, she was attacked relentlessly in comments from anonymous readers and known supporters of Canary Party. Ironically, Canary Party opposes “infighting.” One of the most hostile comments*** came from a key organizer of the Canary Party briefing, Dawn Loughborough (pictured far right). Commenting as “MotherofPossibility,” Loughborough wrote:

 Terry Poling – Do you believe your daughter is the only one who had this experience? What about justice for all the other families? Vaccines cause autism. Why aren’t you making this public to help support Rolf. Why did Zimmerman only help a Hopkins physician’s  [Dr. Jon Poling’s] family? Many families in the autism community feel you got a fair deal and no one else will, as a result of the records being sealed and Zimmerman changing his opinion. That is what stinks, not Rolf mentioning the name of your daughter. I wish you well but please stop getting on Rolf. It just makes you look bad to continue to be unsupportive of anyone else’s child who is in the same situation as your daughter. You are compensated.

What’s so remarkable is that perhaps no one has done more to help the autism omnibus by exposing the hypocrisy of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program than the Polings, who opened themselves up to considerable public scorn by doing so. Ken Reibel, a blogger whose wife formerly worked for the well-known pharma PR firm Edelman, was removed from AutismOne in 2008 for harassing the Polings about releasing their daughter’s private medical records. And yet, similar harassment of Terry Poling on Age of Autism is not only deemed acceptable, but appeared to be a coordinated effort. By harassing the Polings to release their daughter’s private medical information, Dawn Loughborough put herself in the same category as  Ken Reibel as well as Brian Deer – the conflicted reporter who obtained confidential records of children whose medical histories of regressing into autism after vaccination were reported in Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s paper published in the Lancet. Deer has bragged about making the Polings concerned about the possibility that he obtained their daughter’s private medical information in the weeks leading up to his Johns Hopkins lecture.

Meanwhile, emails have recently surfaced showing that if anyone had a hand in undermining the omnibus it would be Dawn Loughborough’s superior Mark Blaxill. He advised the lead omnibus attorney despite his own admitted COI with vaccine manufacturers while trashing expert witnesses Dr. Mark and David Geier and saying Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s work is not supported by the epidemiological data. Now with Age of Autism readers turning against the Polings, including a key organizer of Canary Party’s briefing, Blaxill appears quite adept at exploiting the divide-and-conquer strategy to his advantage, despite claiming in a podcast interview last month in response to revelations about his ongoing role in hijacking the congressional hearings:

Friendly fire is a waste of time!

Added to the irony is that in his blog post about the interview, Age of Autism editor Dan Olmsted wrote of Canary Party Chairman Mark Blaxill:

Mark says fighting amongst ourselves is misguided, and makes the useful distinction between standing up for oneself against untrue allegations (which he does) and infighting (which he doesn’t, we don’t, and nobody should).

This is also used as a pretense for moderating out comments, including one I had left not long before I was banished from contributing to Age of Autism. Yet Age of Autism has no problem allowing a flood of comments bullying the parents of a vaccine-injured child into releasing confidential medical information after the child’s own mother said that doing so would be a violation of her family’s privacy while yielding no apparent benefit. The sudden influx of comments after hers mirrors a similar pattern that followed another critical comment in the thread of Olmsted’s post about Mark Blaxill’s podcast interview. That commenter – a reader of Autism Investigated who has complained of having comments censored by Age of Autism – said:

I too have listened to both the Lindemans [sic] radio shows.
Jake appears to me to have uncovered something solid. Mark appears compromised by those recordings and with this issue there is no compromise.

I cant in earnest support Mark any further I dont believe he is on message with me and many other parents.

Even though this comment was left three days after Olmsted’s post ran, comments from Age of Autism editors, Canary Party supporters and anonymous posters suddenly poured in lauding Mark Blaxill, including those from Dan Olmsted and managing editor Kim Stagliano. Apparently, and as I observed shortly after my banishment from Age of Autism, Blaxill and his followers systematically load down the threads underneath AoA posts with supportive comments to counter the rarely allowed dissenting comment. That combined with Mark Blaxill’s history of turning advocates against each other for his benefit strongly suggests this to be the case, especially since Dawn Loughborough is one of Poling’s anonymous attackers and was a key organizer of Canary Party’s briefing.

Though Blaxill deflects criticism by discouraging “infighting,” the comments on the Age of Autism video from the Canary Party’s recent briefing were dominated by infighting against Hannah Poling’s mother. The angry comments continued to pour in even four days after Terry Poling’s criticism. As recently as November 15th, someone commenting on Age of Autism as “Mama Grizzly” wrote:

Forgive me, I’m confused. Although Mrs. Poling says she has not allowed the release of Hannah’s records, an article in the Atlanta Constitution on 3/6/2008 states: “Cliff Shoemaker, the Polings’ attorney, said the family has filed a petition with the vaccine court to unseal all of Hannah’s records and allow both the family and the government to fully discuss the case.”(
http://adventuresinautism.blogspot.com/2008/03/meet-hanna-poling.html) Mr. Hazelhurst is only requesting something the Polings’ attorney said the family wanted.

The URL was a link to the blog of Canary Party VP Ginger Taylor, who had copied and pasted the article [UPDATE: The blog post has since been removed****]. Another quote in that article the commenter had neglected to post was this:

Shoemaker said the government’s November concession in the case is public, but the government’s reasons aren’t.

Dr. Zimmerman’s information about Hannah Poling wouldn’t count, as it was not produced until after the government conceded Poling’s case.

There is, however, still the issue of Mark Blaxill’s interference in the omnibus cases in which he trashed expert witnesses and doubted a key scientist’s research to the lead attorney while working for a firm with pharma clients. The problem, of course, is that Mark Blaxill runs Canary Party.

*Google listing for deleted post (click to enlarge):

hazlehurstpost

**Terry Poling comment, first half (click to enlarge):

polingcomment1

Terry Poling’s comment, second half (click to enlarge):

polingcomment2

 

***Dawn Loughborough’s comment to Terry Poling as “MotherofPossibility” (click to enlarge):

dawncommenttoterry

****The blog post has not been removed as previously reported here; the commenter posted the URL incorrectly, then correctly posted it in the following comment.

Addendum, November 18, 2013: The text of the post has now been restored along with all 40 (not 38 as Autism Investigated first reported) of the comments previously removed, but the video has not. Age of Autism claims to have trouble embedding the video, although it remains down from the entire internet. Additionally, Dawn Loughborough has since apologized in the comments for her harsh words to Terry Poling.

Addendum, November 19, 2013: Despite Age of Autism removing the video, it remains online after all. A commenter here has posted the link. It has not been posted on Age of Autism.

Addendum, November 19, 2013, 8:31pm CST: After Autism Investigated posted the link to the video and a reader requested Age of Autism do the same in the site’s comments, Age of Autism has now embedded the video again while deleting all their technical excuses for its removal (click below screenshot to enlarge).

aoatechnicalexcuses

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.