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The Situation Room: Autism, Vaccines, and Agent Orange

Dan Burns and BenManaging Editor's Note: We're proud to welcome Dan Burns as our newest Age of Autism Contributing Editor.  Dan has an adult son with autism named Ben, and his perspective and writing style are a great addition to our content. Welcome, Dan.

By Dan E. Burns 

Project Draft 13

 I will show you fear in a handful of dust

(T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land).

We stared at it, my Public Relations colleagues and I, perhaps a little too long. Projected on the wall of the Situation Room stood the Agent Orange distillation column, a 50-foot tall steel vessel reigning over a graveyard of oil drums labeled “Diamond Shamrock Corporation” and “Hazardous Waste.”

Agent Orange is not an ingredient in vaccines. But what happened – or didn’t happen – in the Situation Room has a lesson for us, the parents of vaccine-injured children.

In 1983, Vietnam vets from Operation Ranch Hand were suffering from neural and blood disorders, miscarriages, leukemia, and cancers of the prostate, lung, and liver. They were marching, waving signs, and pointing fingers. At us. Allegedly, the damage came not from Agent Orange per se, but from 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin, a contaminant produced during the “cooking” or fractionation process when the temperature in the tower rose a little too high for a little too long. As it did in the Diamond Shamrock Ironbound plant. If the EPA is right – the claim is disputed HERE – dioxin is one of the most potent carcinogens known to human kind.

Diamond Shamrock mounted a vigorous defense. “We can’t cure anyone’s cancer,” said the General Counsel. “What’s done is done. If we move one shovelful of dirt more than required, we open ourselves up to additional liability. That would just spread the mess.”

My colleagues in the Situation Room were decent, caring people. “Chipper,” to my right, recruited and went to bat for minorities. “Lou,” to my left, our one-man brain trust, played the blues guitar and wrote protest songs light with whimsy and humor. I was Executive Speechwriter, raising two college-bound children. After an underpaid career in academia, I needed this job.

Lou had researched the issue for years. “In jungle warfare,” he said, “G.I.s were exposed to a host of tropical pathogens, fungi, protozoa, unknown viruses, and biological agents coming at them through novel vectors on all sides. We don’t know what caused their chronic fatigue, birth defects, and cancers. Diamond Shamrock operated under mandate from the government, and our actions were safe, proper, and legal.”

‘That’s right,” chimed in the General Counsel. “We have a fiduciary responsibility to our shareholders. That’s why we’re here today.”

Chipper opened her briefcase. “Here’s how Monsanto handled it,” she said. She passed out a press release, which read, "We are sympathetic with people who believe they have been injured and understand their concern to find the cause, but reliable scientific evidence indicates that Agent Orange is not the cause of serious long-term health effects."

Of course Agent Orange wasn’t the cause.  The issue was the contaminant.  Management had acknowledged that the fractionation tower on the wall in front of us had been defective.  But Monsanto, through verbal sleight-of-hand, had made the dioxin issue disappear. Though the discussion went around the table, our strategy was a foregone conclusion: the PR team recommended that Diamond Shamrock simply second the Monsanto press release.

Can there be any doubt that recent similar conversations occurred in the Situation Rooms of Merck and GlaxoSmithKline? Not in my mind. As an experiment, substitute “vaccines” for Agent Orange. There you have Pharma’s denial in a nutshell: “Reliable scientific evidence indicates that vaccines are not the cause of autism."

The lesson is this. We should not expect our colleagues in pharmaceuticals, media, and government to repent or fall on their swords. Some believe their denials. Others silently doubt.  In the case of Agent Orange, I wasn’t buying their denials.  To my eyes, the defective tower in front of us radiated death.  Why didn’t I raise my hand? Group think. Fear of losing the esteem of my colleagues, risking my job.

Late last year, in Dallas, Texas, a vet named Jim rolled up his sleeve. I traced, with the tip of my finger, the tattooed outline of his dead 6-year-old son’s face. Brain cancer.  Jim didn’t hold Agent Orange responsible.  But my mind flashed back three decades to the tower.  And I thought, as it was for the Operation Ranch Hand vets, so for parent of vaccine-injured children: the evidence of harm is in plain sight, tattooed on our children’s anguished faces and on our hearts.

It’s time to end the silence.  Children’s lives will continue to be blighted by industrial and biological toxins, including an inadequately tested, unsafe, government-mandated vaccine schedule, until we raise our hands. As father of a 24-year-old son with ASD, I have my truth to tell. So, perhaps, do you.  I’m raising my hand today, for Jim’s son and for mine.

Dan E. Burns, Ph.D., is the father of a 24-year-old son on the autism spectrum and the author of Saving Ben: A Father’s Story of Autism. Dr. Burns is Adult Issues Liaison for AutismOne and is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.  He chairs The Autism Trust USA, (www.theautismtrustusa.org), a 501(c)3 charity focused on empowering parents to organize communities where their ASD children and others can live and work, enjoy life, continue to heal, and give back to society.

 

Comments

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I am not familiar with autism as I do not know anyone with it. I follow A of A for the technical stuff.
This article is of interest to me as I did not know how agent orange was so successfully (?) finessed.
Marv

Thank you, Dan. You've written another beautiful piece. Your years of wisdom and dedication are appreciated.

Welcome Dan! I always liked your short comments and any of the few articles you have written. I look forward to more of your articles.

Great article. Thank you so much. Thanks also for the links to your book and to The Autism Trust. Our son is 15 too. It's articles like this that are the key to freedom from autism.

I first heard Dan Burns speak at an Autism One conference, and I was so impressed by his dedication to his son and especially by the high expectations he had for him that resulted in the young man being a swimmer, hiker, biker, rock climber and runner. What an inspiration!! (Great for detox - Dan says.)

Very glad to see Dan Burns a contributing editor.

It seems captain Pug Wash is still at sea with the internet.....long live Sesame Street..

Angus

Thank you, Dan, for pulling back the veil to reveal the type of covert conversation that autism parents suspect and imagine. Today the National Whistleblowers Center publicized this WashPost report about the FDA spying on its own doctors and researchers:

FDA staffers sue agency over surveillance of personal e-mail

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fda-staffers-sue-agency-over-surveillance-of-personal-e-mail/2012/01/23/gIQAj34DbQ_story.html?sub=AR

Totally on the side, I've occasionally seen or heard dioxin, agent orange, and DDT linked in discussion. Is DDT, one of the possible villains behind paralytic polio, the same chemically, or similar to, agent orange?

Thank you for honestly documenting your experience. I think our experience in often seeing our children positively respond to therapy that actually addresses their physical condition perhaps should held up as an anecdote to the fatalism: "we can't cure anyone's cancer," "what's done is done." Knowing the source of injury may accelerate finding a cure or therapy and also prevents harmful scientific detours, i.e. "refrigerator mothers," or millions spent on genetics research. Covering up what is known should be seen, I believe, as akin to withholding or prevent treatment and costly to all.

Of course I think this sentence demonstrates the heart of many ills we bear today: "We have a fiduciary responsibility to our shareholders." I've briefly worked for an organization that provided a group retirement investment IRA--something that now I would probably would choose to opt out of even if that just meant less salary and I'm not sure I really had that option. The sole focus of these investment firms is to make a good return for their customers, and individual ethical considerations can't come in to play, but now the thought that I might have made a few $$$ letting someone else invest for me in some of the companies that have contributed to the scale of harm my family and so many bear is repugnant. I could say that I had no idea I was actually supporting anything immoral and expected that "the rules" prevented companies from putting shareholders profits above the actual rights of our children, when in actuality "the rules" punish those wanting to "vote" with their $ and pull out. I've done my best to pull out anyway, but did that act do any good? We have a system that puts up collectivist walls between ethics and profits and makes us all participants when possible.

My thanks to Dan Burns for re-stating the injunction never to stop talking about our vaccine damaged children. Even now in the face of a wall of pharmaceutical dollars some children will be saved by their parents' unwillingness to accept vaccination for their kids. They won't trade medical science data with each other they are more likely to discuss the math. Medical research is now pointing to nine autistic people in a thousand. How many autistic people in a thousand unvaccinated people please?

Tony Bateson, Cheltenham, UK.

@Jenny: "Victims of the Urabe MMR vaccine scandal in the UK 1988-1992, were recently contacted by the lawyers involved in the original MMR litigation with a view to reopening their litigation cases, now that the UK Government's involvement has been admitted and made public under the 20 year rule.

It seems, from the troll comments recently posted on AoA and other internet blogs and comment threads, that the 'Urabe' MMR damage has now been 'tacitly' admitted and the 'establishment' propaganda is now attempting, (without much success), to separate this issue from the Wakefield et al MMR autism issues.

I am watching with interest!!"

Me too. I finally understand the timing of these renewed attempts to smear Dr Wakefield.

fyi:

"The Food and Drug Administration secretly monitored the personal e-mail of a group of its own scientists and doctors after they warned Congress that the agency was approving medical devices that they believed posed unacceptable risks to patients, government documents show....

Information garnered this way eventually contributed to the harassment or dismissal of all six of the FDA employees, the suit alleges. All had worked in an office responsible for reviewing devices for cancer screening and other purposes....

'The FDA has a huge responsibility to protect public health and safety,' Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement last week. 'It’s hard to see how managers apparently thought it was a good use of time to shadow agency scientists and monitor their e-mail accounts for legally protected communications with Congress.'"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fda-staffers-sue-agency-over-surveillance-of-personal-e-mail/2012/01/23/gIQAj34DbQ_story_1.html

Welcome, Dan!

Last year I stumbled upon this article describing the great lengths to which the US has gone in denying Agent Orange's damage to Vietnamese citizens:

http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2010/05/22/4330667-vietnam-us-still-in-conflict-over-agent-orange

Here again, substitute "vaccines" for Agent Orange and you'll get a very good idea of what exactly we are up against when we expect the CDC, the AAP, Pharma, mainstream media and medicine, etc. to ever admit to the actual damage that they've done to our children. Fifty years after Agent Orange was dumped on Vietnam, we are still today reading statements like this:
"But while the U.S. has provided assistance to Vietnamese with disabilities — regardless of their cause — it maintains that there is no clear link between Agent Orange and health problems."
Sound familiar?

'They' know what they've done and are still doing. No doubt about it. This is a battle which will be - and actually already is being - won on the ground, parent talking to parent talking to parent, in checkout lines, at playgrounds, in parking lots and at family gatherings. Like Dan says, raise your hand and speak up...and don't ever stop telling your stories, folks. It matters. It really, really matters.

Thank you for this piece Dan. There is one topic that is NEVER talked about in news stories on autism--and I mean NEVER. You'll never hear any reporter speculate on the possibility that many people have lots of reasons to cover up what vaccine are doing to kids. It would sound something like, "The U.S. government mandates the vaccine program so of course they would be held responsible if a link is clearly recognized." To many people this is the unthinkable.

To any thinking person this is obvious but we never seem to bring up the topic. Instead we pretend that this is just about the science and that officials have left no stone unturned in their pursuit of the cause. We desperately want to believe STUDIES SHOW NO LINK.

Anne Dachel, Media

Correction. Dr. Gary Null details about the Gulf War Syndrome damage (not Agent Orange damage). The catastrophes can get mixed up!

Dan, I'm fully in support and fully understand the pressure of 'group think' that causes self-censorship.

This Utube piece was Nov. 2009 with Dr. Gary Null testifying before the New York State Assembly on the dangers of vaccines, the H1N1 forced on NY nurses. He also specifically cites the extreme damage to Gulf War Vets that had vaccines forced on them (analogous to Viet Nam's Agent Orange toxic carnage).

It's a 10 minute view, every second well worth it and pertinent to your Post. A little past the 4 minute mark Null details about Agent Orange damage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbm9BbYwWXA&feature=related

thanks for your efforts, david burd

With virtually ALL legal compensation claims for environmental and medical negligence damage, the onus is on the plaintiff to not only prove the cause of the damage, but to also prove the damage was caused as result of negligence on the part of a person or corporation.

With Agent Orange, it is necessary for the veterans to first prove this chemical caused their health problems, and THEN prove the harmful consequences caused by Agent Orange should have been foreseen. In practice this is impossible!!
In the UK it was 50 years before the UK Government 'caved in' and compensated Thalidomide victims.

With vaccines, already indemnified against lawsuits, obtaining compensation is only possible via government vaccine damage compensation boards. In practice, these are an unregulated lottery, as seen by the 18 years it took Jackie Fletcher to obtain compensation for her badly MMR vaccine damaged son Robert. Even then, inflation had almost rendered the award useless, in terms of ensuring Robert's continuing care after the death of his parents.

Victims of the Urabe MMR vaccine scandal in the UK 1988-1992, were recently contacted by the lawyers involved in the original MMR litigation with a view to reopening their litigation cases, now that the UK Government's involvement has been admitted and made public under the 20 year rule.

It seems, from the troll comments recently posted on AoA and other internet blogs and comment threads, that the 'Urabe' MMR damage has now been 'tacitly' admitted and the 'establishment' propaganda is now attempting, (without much success), to separate this issue from the Wakefield et al MMR autism issues.

I am watching with interest!!

Dan

Beautifully stated. How can we allow this well established game of elevating a bureaucratic postion in defence of an industry to the status of objective science to go on? How many more lives have to be trashed? Indeed, we are not talking about science, we are talking about cynical legal defences dressed up as science, and often accompanied by the crudest deceit and slipperiest language.

Our children may be the collateral damage of "the war on disease" but how often are wars not really about certain people lining their pockets?

John

Thanks Dan may thanks for putting pen to paper .Here in the UK the lab rats in the Forces were at Porton Down

http://www.infowars.com/articles/ps/porton_down_human_experiments.htm

Angus

Yes indeed!! It is now generally acknowledged that there is NO safe level for dioxins ANYWHERE. As Dan Burns correctly points out these compounds are a by product of the incineration/burning of PCBs, and because these compounds have a very srong molecular structure, including double carbon (phenyl) rings, they are almost impossible to destroy and so persist in the environment. In the UK PCBs have been banned for some time, but the contamination persists. Dioxins are known to cause cancer and other health problems, similar to those suffered by those veteran GI's who were exposed to 'Agent Orange' .

http://website.lineone.net/~mwarhurst/pcb.html
PCBs, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs)
From above:-
'Uses
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been used since 1929 in a variety of applications, including as heat transfer fluids in large transformers and as dielectric fluids in capacitors. Though their use has now ceased, they are still present in many older electrical installations. A typical PCB is made up from a mixture of congeners, each having different numbers and positions of the chlorine substituents:'

The following is a more positive medical 'spin' on dioxins, but it is still very frightening:-

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/18412.php
'Can dioxins and PCBs be removed from food?

There is very little scope for removal of dioxins and PCBs from foods once they have entered the food chain. It is generally agreed that the best method of preventing dioxins and PCBs from entering the food chain is to control releases of these chemicals to the environment.

How can I avoid eating foods containing dioxins and PCBs?

Dioxins and PCBs are found at low levels in all foods, including foods that are important sources of nutrients. The Agency's advice is that the benefits of a healthy, balanced diet, outweigh any risks from dioxins and PCBs. Can dioxins and PCBs be removed from food?

There is very little scope for removal of dioxins and PCBs from foods once they have entered the food chain. It is generally agreed that the best method of preventing dioxins and PCBs from entering the food chain is to control releases of these chemicals to the environment.

How can I avoid eating foods containing dioxins and PCBs?

Dioxins and PCBs are found at low levels in all foods, including foods that are important sources of nutrients. The Agency's advice is that the benefits of a healthy, balanced diet, outweigh any risks from dioxins and PCBs.'

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