When You Know You Are Being Lied To…My Initial Thoughts on the CDC Whistleblower News
By Beth Clay August 27, 2014
While mainstream media have ignored the flurry the past two weeks after the Focus Autism Press Release, the Peer Reviewed Research paper by Brian Hooker, PhD, and the Autism Media Video, several online media outlets and social media have been a blaze with the news of a CDC employee reaching out to Dr. Hooker and coming clean about what I consider a well-orchestrated cover up of information about increased risks associated with vaccines. Specifically the timing of certain vaccines, the use of thimerosal in vaccines, and what is known about risks of brain injury from vaccines in general. Those who led this activity showed significant malfeasance and disregard for the health and well-being of children. They have violated the public trust and have dragged this entire controversy out for 15 years rather than address with integrity and openness the issue and move forward with solutions that improve the safety of vaccines and respect the individual person’s unique medical condition and rights to personal medical choice.
I am not part of this conversation because I have a child that was vaccine injured and became autistic. I was the staff lead on the original House Oversight Committee’s investigation looking into concerns about vaccine injuries. The year was 1999. Two of our Subcommittees has been looking at different topics. Chairman Shays had taken on the reports of anthrax vaccine injures in the military and Chairman Mica had taken on a review of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) and as part of that looked a bit into the Hepatitis B vaccine. I well remember meeting Mrs. Betty Fluke from Indiana who testified before the subcommittee about her experience both in the VICP and in getting access to the only treatments that might offer her relief. She had prior to the vaccine been a vibrant healthy woman – wife and mother- who when I met her wore leg braces and walked with crutches.
When we talk about the VICP, we typically think and talk about babies being injured, however; like more than half of the individuals who file claims in the VICP program, she was an injured adult.
Chairman Dan Burton elevated the issues up to the full committee and expanded the investigation. We initially were not looking at autism. Chairman Burton often times paraphrased a quote from Abraham Lincoln: “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”
In all of our work on the Committee, we were looking for the truth. When it came to vaccines, while we were accused of being ‘anti-vaccine’, which was an absurd claim. We – both Chairman Burton and myself in truth were and are ‘pro vaccine-safety’.
We worked from the knowledge that vaccines hold a unique place in medicine in this country. They are the only drugs that are mandated by a government (states) as a condition of participation in schools, day cares, and some jobs (health care, school personnel, first responder, etc.) based on recommendations of the federal government (CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Because the government is abridging the freedom of Americans with these vaccine mandates, I anticipated that because it was a group of drugs that almost every American would receive, that the bar on approval -the safety requirements for approval would be elevated. Imagine my surprise and disgust to find just the opposite. There seemed to be a rush to get something approved and in the market place so that manufacturers could make their investment back. (Yes that was a discussion in one of the advisory meetings!) Both the FDA and the CDC Advisory committee membership were replete with conflicts of interest that were either ignored or waived – meaning that individuals participating in the approval process of drugs or their recommendations for inclusion on the recommended schedule (to be mandated by the states), had financial ties to the makers of vaccines. The CDC was so lax in its management of their advisory committee that they simply granted everyone a waiver ‘whether they needed it or not’.
After one of our first hearings, Barbara Loe Fischer, one of the founders of the National Vaccine Information Center, (NVIC) asked for a meeting. I scheduled our meeting for a day when Congress was out of session and Chairman Burton working back in the district. I usually took meetings in one of the Committee conference spaces, but this time I took Barbara down to my office and sat down at my desk. She and I had a great conversation and she urged me to shift our inquiry into the increased incidence of autism spectrum disorders. I listened and found her observations credible and worthy of taking to the Chairman. Anyone that has ever had a conversation with Barbara, or watched her in an interview will recognize that she is a wealth of knowledge and has an amazing recall. At the time, I thought she was unique. I would learn over the next few years that parents of children who are medically injured – who are vaccine injured – become experts and come to understand research and science to graduate degree levels.
We were wrapping up our meeting when the front desk of the Committee buzzed me with a call from the Chairman. Congressman Burton explained to me that both of his grandchildren had experienced serious adverse events from their immunizations and that he grandson had regressed into autism after his series of vaccines. He asked me to investigate and find out if this was an isolated reaction or if there were others whose children had regressed into autism as the result of vaccines. I turned back to Barbara and let her know we would be looking into autism. After Barbara left I took a moment to reflect on this ‘coincidence’.
I felt God’s presence in this moment and a clear message – “Listen up Beth – this is a big deal – you are going to be peeling the layers off a major public health controversy.”
“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” Winston Churchill
I’m not going to go through all the steps of our investigation at this time. We gathered tens of thousands of pages of documents, conducted numerous hearings, prepared reports, etc. We were thorough in our attempt to gather information and speak to experts. We were repeatedly frustrated and often had the impression that officials from our health agencies were less than forth coming. (Which is a polite way of saying, I felt like they were lying, but were masterful at it.) It was obvious that witnesses had been well rehearsed by agency lawyers in how to respond to questions and not really answer them. (You may recall the November 2012 comment of Dr. Colleen Boyle from the CDC who in response to the question about thimerosal still being in vaccines responded that it remained ‘only in multi-dose’ vials. She should have been more forthcoming and explained to the members of Congress (and the listening public) that most of the flu shots given each year are in ‘multi-dose’ vials and contain the mercury containing preservative thimerosal.)
We did bipartisan interviews under oath and in hearings. We were already in the investigation when the Simpsonwood meeting took place. We were not invited to the meeting or given a transcript voluntarily.
I was at that Boston IOM meeting when Dr. Tom Verstaeten issued his opening statement that he had ‘just that morning accepted a job with Glaxo’ and I realized that he had violated ethical standards of the department. Ethically, the moment he began discussions of a job offer with a vaccine manufacturer he should have recused himself from involvement with the study. His access to the data should have been immediately terminated. There has never been a mention of such a recusal, and he continued to be involved in the study after starting at Glaxo. When we began looking into the changes in the study design, and concerns about data manipulation, we wanted him to come back to the United States and be questioned under oath. He declined, and through Glaxo’s attorney’s agreed to have one telephone interview with us. We had a lot of “I do not recall’ type answers in that call. This is not an old man and it had not been so many years that his memory would have faded. I felt like the lawyers likely had written out messages on index cards and held them up to him to repeat in response to our questions to keep him from sharing too much.
Not only did I feel that we were not getting the whole truth (and I was not alone in that feeling), but I watched scientists from NIH, CDC, and FDA promote weak, poorly designed scientific studies on a host of topics as if they were solid, conclusion drawing research. Nowhere to my knowledge, except in this discussion, has population based epidemiology been used to answer toxicological questions. Always, the more ‘hard’ science of laboratory work and animal studies would be top priority.
How absurd is it that government doctors are saying it is okay to inject mercury of any kind into babies or pregnant women? Mercury of every kind has inherent risks and vulnerable populations should avoid it.
I had always held the National Academy of Science and the Institute of Medicine in fairly high regard. They are touted to be an independent scientific body. I would learn in truth they are an elite members club of the scientific community that contracts with the government and industry to conduct reviews. With the vaccine injury inquiry, we watched them take direction from the CDC and shortchange the independent review process. They proved unable to separate their desire to protect vaccine policies from the process and conduct a truly independent and rigorous review of the evidence of possible vaccine injury.
At every stage were obvious irregularities in process, from the manipulation of the thimerosal data to wash out links to autism; to changing the instructions to the IOM; to data from Denmark from studies that were fatally flawed from the outset being touted as reasons to end the debate. I heard scientists quoted in the media say that it was ‘settled science’ and that no other funds should be devoted to asking the question. Science is never ‘settled’. And yet, this notion was put forward and adopted because it was convenient for those who wanted this uncomfortable topic to fade out.
Maybe most egregious of all was Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sibelius’ bragging in a Reader’s Digest interview that she had instructed her press office to get the media to stop covering the parent led organizations that were questioning HHS on these issues. She the Secretary, like every federal official raised her hand and swore and oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, and yet she admits to suppressing free speech and controlling the media!
“In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.” Albert Einstein
Keep in mind, all of the irregularities and substandard research occurred before we knew about Poul Thorsen’s criminal activity. All of our concerns occurred before the latest news this month that the CDC had covered up data showing African American boys at an increased risk of autism if given the MMR vaccine before 36 months.
“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.” Elvis Presley
Whatever Dr. Thompson’s intention were in reaching out to Dr. Hooker, and whatever does or does not happen in the future on this, the CDC has now admitted they left data out of the paper they published. Their partial admission is an admission that Dr. Thompson was telling the truth. How they choose to spin it doesn’t matter, because they chose not to share this data a decade ago with the public. They chose not to look at why African American boys had an increased risk of autism when getting the MMR before 36 months. They failed in their jobs and by all appearances committed scientific fraud.
Will the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al Sharpton get involved in this? Will Dr. Ben Carson, the Congressional Black Caucus and President Obama speak up about this and seek justice?
Is anyone going to stand up for the tens of thousands of boys who have suffered preventable injury over the last ten years as a result of this travesty?
Over the last 15 years, I have watched parents be attacked and ridiculed by medical professionals and government officials for reporting their own personal experience with a child who was vaccine injured. I have watched a group of Special Masters express distain for petitioners in the VICP and issue rulings with such bias that I am shocked when they are not rejected by the judges who review them on appeal.
I have watched the orchestrated opposition take aim at all who dare speak out about vaccine injury. Does anyone recall what happened to Representative Bachmann during the presidential election cycle when she dared discuss vaccine injury? While members of Congress have not expressed fear of that type of retaliation, I have had Congressional staff express real concern that their bosses will be so attacked. There is a real fear to engage on this issue because of the risks of retaliation.
These truths are simple – some people have no problem with vaccines, while others have serious adverse reactions. Some children are born completely healthy and suffer serious adverse reactions to vaccines, or vaccine ingredients, and regress into the condition known as Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some children born with genetic or environmental factors that leave them susceptible for vaccine injury and regress into autism after one or more vaccines. Not all autism is vaccine related, but some cases are. How large a percentage is not known. (However I stood in the back of a room and when Dr. Bernie Rimland asked parents to raise their hands if their child regressed into autism after immunization most hands when up.)
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
I have said all along that the Public Health community’s response to the autism-vaccine issue has undermined the public’s trust. Today, with the knowledge that the agency knowingly covered up an increased risk in a specific population underscores this, they are contributing to an infection of distrust that is spreading through the public. Only by opening up this issue, and shining the light of day on the issue, and truly holding those individuals accountable who have participated in this corruption and cover up can we begin the healing process. “Anything short of this is simply continuing the problem. A simple I’m sorry might be helpful to some, but there is justice to be meted out. Eventually, I have to believe it will be.
It’s been 11 years since I resigned my Congressional position and entered the private sector. I have however remained involved in the issues. I feel a moral obligation to do so. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to travel to the beautiful country of Jordan and while there was privileged to visit holy sites. At the beginning of this, I had another one of those ‘coincidences’, when God was present and said “Pay attention Beth”…..a few hours later, sitting in a lovely restaurant the first family I saw enjoying their meal was a family with a young boy with autism. Autism is not simply an American issue, it is a global epidemic. Furthermore, the violation of the public trust by the CDC in this study has global repercussions. What of African boys? Are they at the same level of risk with MMR timing? Has the CDC quietly done such a study and simply not shared the results? Are we going to see Presidents of small African countries suspend vaccine programs because of this controversy? If so, it is not the fault of anyone who has spoken out about it, rather it will squarely be the fault of the CDC employees who participated in this conspiracy. I pray this does not happen, but have concerns that it may.
Dr. Thompson today issued a statement saying his will not answer any questions. I wonder if there are others ready to become full blown whistleblowers. Time will surely tell.