By Louis Conte and Wayne Rohde
Has the CDC censored VaXxed at another film festival? The Houston Worldfest Film Festival has announced that they too have been forced to remove VaXxed from their festival’s line up.
To answer this question, we must review what we reported earlier this week.
On Tuesday, we asked if the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention – an agency of the United States Government – directed the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), a not-for-profit organization to activate a panel of scientists, known as the Listserv, to pressure Robert De Niro and the Tribeca Film Festival to remove VaXxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe from the film festival’s 2016 line up.
We asked if the CDC sought to have VaXxed censored because the film detailed research fraud within the CDC Vaccine Safety Division on the 2004 MMR study published in Pediatrics. This study by Frank DeStefano, Tanya Karapurkar Bhasin, William W. Thompson, Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp and Coleen Boyle is the vital research that the government claims shows no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
On 3/25/16, Robert De Niro indicated that he and the Tribeca Film Festival team decided to pull VaXxed because of pressure from the scientific community.
“My intent in screening this film was to provide an opportunity for conversation around an issue that is deeply personal to me and my family. But after reviewing it over the past few days with the Tribeca Film Festival team and others from the scientific community, we do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for.”
Statements made by Alison Singer in a 3/29/16 article in the Guardian are absolutely clear that the IAC supplied the pressure De Niro was feeling:
“Four or five years ago we weren’t as well organized and people didn’t realize the importance of responding quickly and strongly,” said Alison Singer, the president of the Autism Science Foundation and a member of the IAC listserv.
“Today, we know that we have to respond to every incident however large or small, because if you leave any of these discredited theories unchallenged, it allows people to think that there’s something still to be discussed,” she said.
At the center of the network was a listserv group of more than 100 prominent individuals and science research bodies run out of the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) based in St Paul, Minnesota. According to the Guardian article, the “listserv acts as an early warning system that sounds the alarm whenever the potent conspiracy theory that autism can be caused by vaccination surfaces.”
The Guardian states “Through the listserv, conference calls were quickly organized among top scientists across the country to discuss how to respond to the news that what was seen as a scurrilous and misleading film was to be given a high-profile airing. Leading figures in the documentary world were also enlisted to add their objections to the showing of Vaxxed, the film directed by the disgraced former British doctor Andrew Wakefield.”
While Wakefield directed it, VaXxed is not about the retraction of his 1998 Lancet article. VaXxed is about the disclosures of CDC scientist Dr. William Thompson – one of the co-authors of the 2004 Pediatrics MMR article - alleging that the agency manipulated and destroyed data which showed that the MMR vaccine is linked to autism in African-American male children and another subset of children that the authors described as Isolated Autism (autism without other co-morbid conditions).
While Wakefield’s controversial 1998 Lancet paper on gastrointestinal illness in several children with autism was a factor in the CDC decision to study the MMR vaccine, the pressing issue for the CDC was not the Wakefield controversy.
The pressing issue was that their boss was being sued.
The Secretary of Health and Human Services was facing billions of dollars in compensation claims from families filing thousands of petitions in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) in the Omnibus Autism Proceedings (OAP) alleging MMR vaccine induced autism.
The 2004 research that Thompson says was fraudulent was critical to the families with claims in the OAP. VaXxed makes the point that the CDC’s fraud amounted to obstruction of justice of federal judicial proceedings.
William Thompson issued this statement through his attorney Rick Morgan on 8/27/14 about the 2004 MMR study:. Morgan-Verkamp is a well-regarded legal firm specializing in Whistleblower litigation.
“I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.”
Omitting statistically significant information and altering the design of the study to bury the elevated risk of autism for African-American boys and those with “isolated autism” due to the MMR vaccine is research fraud.
VaXxed details information Thompson gave to Dr. Brian Hooker, a scientist and father of a child with autism. VaXxed is constructed around excerpts of legally taped conversations between the two men where other serious allegations of misconduct within the CDC are disclosed.
In our first report we noted that Alison Singer, the Director of the Autism Science Foundation (ASF) and the apparent spokesperson for the IAC Listserv, is the mother of a child with autism and not a scientist. She held a leadership position at Autism Speaks before starting the ASF.
Dr. Paul Offit, who often acts a spokesman for vaccines, is on the ASF board. In other words, Offit is Singer’s boss.