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How Do You Measure Progress in Autism?

An Elaborate Fraud, Part 6: In Which “Blagging” is Discredited as a Journalistic Tactic, Unless the British Medical Journal Publishes It

Blanket Lancet

By Dan Olmsted

Memo to Brian Lawrence: You’re fired!

The deceptive tactic of “blagging” – which includes using a false identity to gain information – has been banned by The Sunday Times of London, the newspaper Brian Deer was working for when he passed himself off as “Brian Lawrence” to get interviews with parents of severely disabled children.

“The Sunday Times has quietly banned its reporters from employing subterfuge in the pursuit of stories,” the Guardian reported August 5.

Deer, who in response to earlier articles in this series recently described himself as “immensely proud of the subterfuge,” said the interviews were crucial to making the case that Dr. Andrew Wakefield committed fraud in the controversial Early Report about developmental regression and bowel disease after the MMR shot. The British Medical Journal made use of information Deer obtained by masquerading as “Lawrence” – complete with a bogus Sunday Times e-mail address in that name -- to allege in January that Wakefield committed fraud.

The parents Deer tricked have stood by Wakefield and the integrity of the Early Report about a dozen children, including theirs, prompting Deer to claim they are “conspiring” with Wakefield to make money. But now even the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times has forbidden the tactic Deer employed, leaving the British Medical Journal holding the blag, so to speak.

In the 1998 Early Report by Wakefield and 12 co-authors at London’s Royal Free Hospital, published in the Lancet, parents of eight of the 12 children linked their children’s symptoms to the MMR, but the authors wrote that further research was needed to determine if a connection existed. Wakefield subsequently urged that the three vaccines be administered separately pending that research, triggering a huge controversy. An investigation of the Early Report sparked by Deer led the Lancet to retract it in 2010, and the General Medical Council pulled Wakefield’s license to practice medicine the same year.

This series of articles examines the basis for the BMJ’s claim that Wakefield, and Wakefield alone, perpetrated “an elaborate fraud,” a claim the BMJ and subsequently mainstream media have adopted as fact. Even though all but one of the parents has stood by Wakefield’s research – and that one parent’s comments were grossly mischaracterized in the BMJ -- Wakefield is now widely described as discredited and any link between vaccines and autism as debunked.

“Blagging” is a “shadowy technique,” in the words of the BBC, expressly prohibited by Britain’s Data Protection Act of 1996. The act forbids “knowingly or recklessly obtaining or disclosing personal data or information without the consent of the data controller.” The Act makes an exception for information clearly in the public interest, but that would appear to apply to criminals, wayward public officials and corrupt corporate executives, not parents of the disabled. The Sunday Times did acknowledge Deer’s use of a pseudonym, but said it was because pharmaceutical companies sought to block his inquiries. Drugmakers would presumably have been delighted with Deer’s crusade against parents who claimed their products permanently disabled their children.

Regardless, the Sunday Times appears to have washed its hands of the practice altogether, although they had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the soap and water.

“The ban is understood is understood to have ‘come from the very top’ of News International according to insiders,” the Guardian reported, “and to have been ordered in the past month following the outcry over revelations that the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was hacked and messages deleted.

“As a result, it is understood that the paper's editor, John Witherow, told his reporting staff not to use pseudonyms or alter egos despite the fact that such practices are allowed under law and in the Press Complaints Commission editors' code of practice for stories that are in the public interest. ‘We have been forced to do it,’ a source said.”

Ironically, the ban followed by three weeks a defense of the practice – and of Deer in particular – by Witherow. He wrote a column – subtitled “As the storm over phone hacking rages on, the editor of The Sunday Times says deception can sometimes be the only path to the truth” -- in which he defended the paper’s hardball tactics and singled out important investigations by the newspaper including “Brian Deer’s outstanding work on exposing the doctor behind the false MMR scare.” He rejected any criticism of the newspaper’s past conduct, citing the public interest.

“In other words,” he said in reference to another high-profile Sunday Times investigation, “the ends justified the means.”

The Sunday Times has denied charges made this month by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown that the paper “blagged” him, with Sunday Times personnel posing as Brown to gain access to his bank account. The real Gordon Brown referred the matter to police and said those who gathered the data are “known criminals” tied to the “criminal underworld.”

As I’ve reported, regardless of whether the Sunday Times approved of Deer’s methods at the time – he says they did – the publication of quotes from parents who didn’t give their approval would seem to violate the British Medical Journal’s standards, which require written consent from anyone whose medical information is disclosed. No such consent was asked for in this case.

--

Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism. He is the co-author, with Mark Blaxill, of The Age of Autism – Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic, to be published in paperback in September by Thomas Dunne Books.

Comments

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Eirescott

This is good to know; BUT...it is now 2016 and Brian Deer is still at large - why!?

Why is Wakefield still attacked vehemently; especially recently in light of the brilliant "Vaxxed" Documentary.

Can no-one hunt down these murderous crooks (Deer, Thorsen et al)

Wow...what a let down - written in 2011....still nothing positive...the power of money is disgusting.

fire blanket

Let me get this right rich / powerful people doing morally questionable things when unregulated ?

Media Scholar

I think we need to hear the unedited tapes.
-------------------------
I have a better idea...I think we need to see all the secret phone conversations of Brian Deer. Mmmmmm, that's what I want.

We need to see all the secret E-mails of Brian Deer.

We need to see every single byte of information between him and the British spy agencies.

We need an explanation of what Brian Deer was doing camped out less than five miles away from US Centers For Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta way back in 2000.

We need to see all the secret E-mails between Brian Deer and US Department of Justice trial lawyers.

We need to see Brian Deer's tax records. All of them for the past twelve years.

We need to see how much money he's gotten and where it's come from.

Let's have that now that the media has created their monster.

Come on science writers. Just do it. I dare you to. Fink out one of your own for being a Commander Ham for pharma, who parlayed thousands of children suffering Autism damage as a result of vaccines for his cozy retirement fund.

This isn't about Andrew Wakefield.

Wanna see some science writers?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SESI19h4wDo

Katie Wright

Thank you Dan for these incredible pieces of reporting.
I have read each post 2x.
It is wonderful that these families so maligned and manipulated by "Brian Lawrence" finally
have their side of the story told.

Media Scholar

Uh, there's a few things that need to be resolved.

Initially, the UK media did the right thing. They served the public interest in fairly reporting Wakefield's work. It is what it is.

The UK get all zeroes for Bird Flu and Swine Flu scamdemic reporting. Both scamdemics were completely fabricated frauds and every one in the UK media knows full well the billions and billions of US tax dollars stolen by drug company swindlers and media extortionists trickles down.

The UK media gets a fat zero for NOT treating the 2004 news of the lung-bacteria contamination problems within the Liverpool vaccine plant as monumental serious.

The biggest thing that needs to be resolved is how on earth with all his undivided attention on the vaccine industry did Brian Deer miss writing the block-buster article about the insane and quite deadly UK combination of germ experts, who instigated the Swine Flu II fisaco?

Spy this really hard:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBeKB7aKzOs

Oh, that's right...Brian Deer is too busy taking the million dollar drug company featured speaker tour.

Angus Files

Thanks Jenny Allan ..chalk and cheese..

How can a "Journo of the year" write for a paper that is haemorrhaging sales?what a joke !!

"The Times, which is also part of the News International stable, suffered the biggest losses among broadsheet titles. Its circulation for July was down 12.21pc year on year, although this is likely to reflect the impact of its paywall as well as the impact of the phone hacking scandal."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/media/8697861/Phone-hacking-scandal-hits-The-Suns-circulation.html

AussieMum

Australia

If anyone wants a break from reality there is a classic BBC series called "Hustle."

In series 3 the show opens with a young woman driven to despair after a newspaper printed 'lies' about her charity drive. The paper did print a retraction however the damage had already been done.

The editor (a vicious & determined individual)would send his 'top journalist' (a slimy weasel) out to cover (or make-up) a story at any cost.

So in comes the infamous 'Mickey' and his 'grifters' and the 'con' is on to discredit the editor and his journalist.

And the 'con' is - "the queen's mum is not really the queen's mum!" The 'con' is elaborate and clever, sucking-in both editor and journalist.

And the ending is:- the editor resigns after publishing false claims about the queen's mum and the journalist ends up in the underground sewers of London up-to-his neck in s**t!

Justice!!


Elizabeth-AussieMum

The Analysist

The attack on Brian Deer on Mrs Kessick follows a similar attack on a mother of a disabled boy that Brian Deer wrote and was subsequently published in the Sunday Times in November 1998.

http://briandeer.com/dtp-dpt-vaccine.htm

The mothers testimony was subsequently upheld by the UK High Court. In other words again just another attack on parents.

If the British Medical Journal feels that those sorts of 'point scoring' are either ethical or moral positions to be be undertaken by a very professional body of people then she and they are obviously out of touch with what counts.... that is the patient.

Fiona Godlee has just written a piece on 'conflicts of interests' perhaps now is the time to remind her of the following....


* Undisclosed conflict of interests re pharamaceutical sponsorship

* Undisclosed conflicts of interests - Mark Pepys University College London / GlaxoSmithKline

* Non ethical approval of publishing material related to patients.

* Complaints by parents in the accessing and reporting of private and confidential medical information.

Apparently "So here’s a question: should the BMJ repeat the NEJM’s experiment and ban editorials and clinical reviews from authors with ties to industry? I’d welcome your views in rapid responses. " Fiona Godlee

http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d5147.full

Seems to me a matter of convenience when the BMJ wishes to disclose ....

Carol

Did the fact checkers at BMJ listen to Deer's tapes of his conversation with Mrs. Kessick? The conversation as it appears in the BMJ seems cobbled together. If her son is screaming all night and banging his head, her hair's going to be on fire. Whatever happened after a couple of months (or a few months) seems to be somewhat less horrendous than that.

"But she told me the boy’s troubles began after his vaccination, which he received at 15 months. 'He’d scream all night, and he started head banging, which he’d never done before,' she explained.

'When did that begin, do you think?' I asked.

'That began after a couple of months, a few months afterward, but it was still, it was concerning me enough, I remember going back . . .'

'Sorry. I don’t want to be, like, massively pernickety, but was it a few months, or a couple of months?'

'It was more like a few months because he’d had this, kind of, you know, slide down. He wasn’t right. He wasn’t right. Before he started.'

'Not quicker than two months, but not longer than how many months? What are we talking about here?'

'From memory, about six months, I think.'”

Jenny Allan

Angus Files -This article was written by 'Georgeous George Galloway' NOT George Younger!! I am sure BOTH these gentlemen would not want to be mistaken for the other!!

George G on the Murdoch empire:-
"A mafia at the top of our society - suborning, running protection rackets, making offers you can't refuse and occasionally rubbing out those who fall out of line.

I was one of those they tried to rub out. But I'm still standing up to them. So should all decent people. Don't buy the Murdoch press. Don't sell it. Don't advertise in it. Treat it with the contempt it oh so richly deserves."

Angus Files

For a taste of the firm Deer worked for read George Younger..see the familiar modus with Deers dark arts..

"Here is a rag which took genuine public grief at horrific crimes against children, manipulated it into dangerous and cynical campaigns to sell more papers, and all the while spied on the parents of the very murdered child in whose name it said it was acting.

Who hacked into the telephone of a missing girl - a murdered girl - listened to her family's griefstricken messages to her and then deleted them to make way for more - causing her family to believe she must still be alive.

Here is a sewer which gushes forth filthy smears that disabled people and single parents are scroungers who refuse to take responsibility, while its gilded executives - the son placed in the top job by daddy - sack others to save their own skins.

No-one should be surprised."


http://blogs.dailyrecord.co.uk/georgegalloway/2011/07/for-40-years-murdoch-has-waged-war-on-the-people-of-this-country-it-cant-go-on.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheDailyRecord%2FGeorgeGalloway+%28The+Daily+Record+-+George+Galloway%29

Benedetta

So, Murdock (Count Dracula) finds Brian Deer (Egor) and Egor singles out Dr. Wakefield (fearless hero), now the hero is gone, and all the other doctors (chickens and not heros, but not villians either - but something just as bad) oust Jenny Allan's grandchild and many like him (helpless, fragile, victims).

If it was not true, this would make a good fiction novel.

Angus Files

For all you need to know about Rupert Murdoch, look at his lawyers

As Nixon's counsel during Watergate, I can tell from the cost of News Corp's legal team the scandal will not be contained long

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/12/rupert-murdoch-lawyers-watergate-news-corp?INTCMP=SRCH

Angus Files

I posted earlier must be caught in the filters heres another..

Mr Deer will not be able to practice his dark arts at this paper either..

Phone hacking: Daily Mirror publisher gets written guarantees from journalists

"The publisher of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror has obtained written guarantees from senior editorial executives that they have not been involved in so-called "black arts" – such as phone hacking and paying police – over the past 11 years.

However, Trinity Mirror has not sought guarantees from former executives, such as ex-Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, who has faced a series of phone-hacking allegations in recent weeks."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/aug/12/phone-hacking-daily-mirror-written-guarantees?INTCMP=SRCH

Jenny Allan

Benedetta and anyone else interested.
The following is quoted verbatim from my grandson's Royal Free discharge letter. The consultant who wrote and signed this was NOT Professor Simon Murch, my grandson's main consultant. The rest of the letter STRESSES the 'mildness' of the bowel inflammation, (It wasn't!!), and seems to imply the bowel inflammation was caused by the constipation;(it was almost certainly the other way round). Make up your own minds. My daughter was told my grandson would 'grow out of it'. We wish!! The date on the letter is October 2001.

"Xxxx was discharged on standard therapy used for older children with intractable constipation. Many of the medicines used in paediatrics are in fact not licensed for children, but are given on the understanding that the health professionals have sufficient experience in their use. Docusate at adult doses have proved useful in children intolerant to other laxatives and is frequently used by us in the more treatment resistant cases.

As reported above xxxxx's diagnosis remains unchanged,(terminal ileal lymphonodular hyperplasia on this letter-it WAS changed to chronic constipation later during my grandson's follow up treatment elsewhere). What is more important than this LABEL however, is the symptoms that he may have as a result of this. In the vast majority of cases it is intractable constipation that leads to the child being symptomatic. Therefore, our focus in management is directed at dealing with the management of this. There is still no evidence of any long term benefit of Mesalazine (an anti inflammatory), in the MINIMAL chronic inflammation of children with autistic spectrum disorder."

Carol

Deer acknowledges that Rosemary Kessick's son has regressive autism. But according to Deer, Mrs. Kessick told him that her son's head banging began six months after MMR, not the 2 weeks she told the Royal Free. The only way to resolve this "he said she said" is for Deer to release the tapes he made of the interview. From Deer's BMJ article:

"But she told me the boy’s troubles began after his vaccination, which he received at 15 months. 'He’d scream all night, and he started head banging, which he’d never done before,' she explained.

'When did that begin, do you think?' I asked.

'That began after a couple of months, a few months afterward, but it was still, it was concerning me enough, I remember going back . . .'

'Sorry. I don’t want to be, like, massively pernickety, but was it a few months, or a couple of months?'

'It was more like a few months because he’d had this, kind of, you know, slide down. He wasn’t right. He wasn’t right. Before he started.'

'Not quicker than two months, but not longer than how many months? What are we talking about here?'

'From memory, about six months, I think.'”


It seems likely to me that Mrs. Kessick is talking about something else. If your kid starts banging his head and screaming all night, it's going to set off fire alarms in your head. What Mrs. Kessick is talking about happening months after MMR merely concerned her "enough." I think we need to hear the unedited tapes.

Benedetta

What in the heck is a dignosis of chronic constipation???
Does that mean he is not eating enough fiber?
At the very least they could have changed it to Chrons disease and that way he could have his anti-inflammtory gut drugs.

Looks like big pharma would like to sell this stuff, or is it your grandson's punishment for being even a little connected to the intial 12 that threatened the MMR vaccine industry?

Mindano Iha

It was registered that at the very same time that the media spread false accusations about Dr. Wakefield, radio stations across the world on all continents in several languages promoted the MMR vaccine. The same wording was used, the same questions posed to "experts" and exactly the same answers were presented.

It was also stated word for word on the radio stations that by declining to vaccinate, people were guilty of spreading disease, a fact that is known to be untrue.

Dr Wakefield has been singled out as a culprit in connection with a gigantic strategy to promote the MMR vaccine, and indeed other vaccines.

The dubious networks between the pharmaceutical industry and the media are well known.

There should be a thorough and unbiased criminal investigation regarding Brian Deer´s, the media´s, BMJ´s and the pharmaceutical industry´s involvement concerning the whole "MMR vaccine issue".

Jenny Allan

Jenny
Is your grandson not even getting those anti inflammatory gut drugs then????

Benedetta- My grandson WAS initially prescribed anti inflammatory medications by Professor Walker-Smith and they helped, but they were stopped when his diagnosis was deliberately changed to chronic constipation by 'hatchetmen' in the Royal Free post Wakefield and Prof Walker-Smith. Now as then the poor lad just gets kilos and litres of constipation powders and bottles. They do NOTHING to alleviate the pain.

That 'GSK Pharma superstar' Professor Pepys, admitted 'telling Dr Wakefield to leave' his research post at the Royal Free, during that same BBC Radio 4 'Science Betrayed' programme. UCL Medical Director, Prof Pepys, now has some kind of deal with MMR manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline, to develop medications for amyloid plaques and Alzheimers Disease in the elderly. The researchers, (mostly funded by UK taxpayers) find the cures and GSK gets to develop them commercially!! Nice cosy deal eh??

Benedetta

Jenny
Is your grandson not even getting those anti inflammatory gut drugs then????

Oh gosh, Jenny Allen has really pointed out what Brian Deer "a really simpleton hired as a mouth piece" really has done.

A little man with big backers - but what they have "ALL" done was something that Jesus warned about very strongly "You don't hurt little children, because there are bad things waiting for you".
I am hoping it don't mean we have to wait till death to see it happen, society on a whole hates those that make children suffer and I hope our society turns on them.
It will be interesting to see them sweat as they say but, but “the ends justified the means.” and "it is for the greater good".

Jenny Allan

I think it is important to point out here that the Lancet twelve children whose cases were highlighted in the 1998 Wakefield et al study, represented only a small fraction of the total number of children who were referred by their GPs to Professor Walker Smith's department at the Royal Free Hospital in London. ALL of these children were primarily referred for investigation and treatment for bowel disorders and NOT for autism.

As Dan Olmstead quite correctly pointed out in a previous article in this series, the Lancet 12 children were properly referred to neurologists and psychiatrists for their neurological investigations and it was their reports which were included in that Lancet paper, NOT the gastroenterologists'. I say this because the incredibly ignorant Brian Deer, on a recent UK BBC Radio 4 Programme based on the Deer BMJ articles, stated that Dr Wakefield 'was not an autism specialist'. On the same programme, Deer also accused UK health visitors of ignorance about autism. Dr Wakefield has never claimed to be an autism specialist, but all UK health visitors are trained to recognise early indications of autism in young children.

My grandson was NOT one of the Lancet 12 children, but he WAS referred to that same Royal Free clinic by his GP, and was investigated and treated between 1998 and 2002, after which he was effectively 'cast adrift'. By that time Dr Wakefield had been driven out and Professor Walker-Smith had retired. My grandson's diagnosis was exactly the same as for the Lancet 12 children, namely Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia; we were told he was 'the same as all the rest'. His autism presentation was also similar, involving marked regression after receiving the MMR vaccine at 12 months. He is 18 now and still suffers terribly with his guts.

We have just given up even trying to get proper treatment for my grandson's gut problems. The gastroenterologists just take one look at his medical history and when they see the names Walker-Smith, Murch and Wakefield, they run a mile!! It's not helped by the fact that, thanks to Brian Deer, my grandson's bowel disorder does not officially exist and NEVER existed. He was discharged from the Royal Free with 'chronic constipation' and that was that!!

Goodness only knows how many other children and now young adults are suffering like my grandson. What a terrible indictment of a very sick society!!

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