Eye Witness Report from the UK GMC Wakefield, Walker-Smith, Murch Hearing
By Martin Walker
The expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer
of the Survival of the Most Corrupt
is more accurate, and is sometimes
With apologies to Darwin and Mr Herbert Spencer
And so it came to be that Dr Kumar, the Chairman of the GMC Fitness to Practice Panel trying Dr Andrew Wakefield, Professor Simon Murch and Professor Walker-Smith sat without the flicker of a smile on his face, leaning on the long plastic topped table and read out the verdicts to the many charges. The Panel found that; most of the children in the Lancet paper had been experimented upon outside the inclusion dates of research ethical committee approval 172/96. That a number of the children had been subjected to aggressive procedures not sanctioned by any research ethics committee. That in most cases parental approval had not been lodged in the case files and that Dr Wakefield had "treated children with a 'callous disregard' for the distress and pain that he knew or ought to have known the children involved might suffer. This latter aside, although repeated by the media incessantly throughout Thursday night, actually referred to the taking of a small quantity of blood by a trained professional from 5 healthy children, whose parents were friends of the Wakefield's; a control sample for a study. This had nothing to do with the experimental procedures that were supposedly carried out by Dr Wakefield on the 12 children reviewed in the Lancet paper.
As the recitation of the crimes of Dr Wakefield came to an end, it appeared as if Dr Wakefield, had in the mid nineties, been some kind of inhuman Nazi experimenter practicing on children in the heart of England; an overlooked human vivisector who stalked a large North London hospital committing serious crimes with the two other criminals in his firm, invisible to his colleagues and unseen by the hospital administration.
Kumar didn't have an easy read of the verdict. Feelings ran high. The GMC were unable to keep order. Muttering began as Kumar's message became clear while he dodged through the verdict; the microphones working with loud clarity for the first time in two and a half years. Suddenly one parent exploded in a clutter of bags and clothing, a scarf and a jacket, she stood up, twisted round a blur of mustard, shouting as she made her way out of the hearing room. She evaded the GMC security as they tried to manhandling her. After a short quiet with Kumar continuing, another parent, dressed attractively in purples, fury on her face, raged against him, repeating 'the children' over and again. GMC security did catch up with this diminutive parent and held her bruisingly in the lift on the way to expelling her from the premises.
The public gallery began to empty. Then after another five minutes of Kumar's sucrose voice, a freewheeling free-for-all pushed its way to the door. It was headed by a straighter than straight parent, one who usually appeared unable to be aggressive, he remonstrated with the Hearing, like a radical haranguing a rabble, every word in place, beautifully composed. He informed the panel that they were the only ones who had behaved unethically, not the doctors who had tried to care for their children.
Outside again, the parents drew together and began chanting their message or catching up with reporters, trying to squeeze the last juice from the media. Jim Moody, Dr Wakefield's friend and a lawyer a frequent visitor from the US during the hearing had that day delivered to the GMC an indictment of the prosecution's central witnesses in the hearing. I thought as I listened to him, he was far too articulate for a media able only to understand cacophony. Nevertheless they pretended to listen intently, pointing 57 varieties of recording technology in his direction. That night I could find not even rubble of his speech in the broadcast media.
At the end of the afternoon, in the gathering dusk of the Euston Road, a real treat, the presence of Andy and Carmel, this time completely in control, without the press snapping at their heals, walking fast like an escaping Bonny and Clyde but standing calmly saying exactly what needed to be said but answering no questions. Of course the media had their own way of portraying even this. Dr Wakefield became 'an unrepentant doctor', a man who wouldn't take his medicine! I personally was so pleased that neither Dr Wakefield or Professor Walker-Smith graced the hearing room with their presence showed proper contempt for the hearing.
* * *
It is 10.30 am on the morning of Thursday 28th January, I'm sitting in the student canteen inside the University of London on Gower Street. This University is now and has been for the last hundred years, the hub of science research. The body of Jeremy Bentham, resides sitting in a glass and wood exhibition box. The library of the Wellcome Institute is just round the corner and because of its closeness to the Wellcome Trust, the University has been the recipient of funds from that body and its original pharmaceutical counterpart, The Wellcome Foundation, for a century. The university was used for the filming of Silent Witnesses one of the most popular forensic science detective programmes on British TV. The University College London, has centuries of science ground into it's very bricks; it was here that Francis Crick studied on the way to discovering the double helix of DNA.
Ten minutes’ walk up the Euston Road stands the big glass building of the GMC where later in the day, the panel in the Wakefield, Murch and Walker-Smith case will announce its verdicts or 'findings on fact' as they fancifully call them. Here in the glass panelled hearing room, a different kind of science has been practiced for the last two and a half years; the science of deception.
We already know, and some of us have known for a long time, that all the defendants will be found guilty on almost all the charges. Although the hearing does not begin until 2.00pm, the cameras are already there in the early morning, like vultures on rocks. The camera men and reporters, hands stuffed in windcheaters talking in low voices, with constant nods of the head and shuffling of the feet, looking determinedly at the pavement. It's very cold in London and especially so on this part of the Euston Road that is like a canyon down which the wind whistles.
I was the first of Dr Wakefield's contingent to arrive. I got to the GMC building early because I always have a need to sink into the situation to feel that I can get the measure of atmosphere, to mull it over, long before the proceedings begin. I am here after following Dr Wakefield's case over five years and attending the hearing at every sitting over the last two and a half years.
Today I know will be one of those times that signify a dark night of the soul, for defendants, parents and campaigners alike. This afternoon the defendants will be knocked from their horses by rib smashing lance blows, on the ground they will lie dazed and have to figure whether it is right or even possible to remount and continue the battle. Parents will contemplate the bleak landscape of their children's illness without any treatment and with open skepticism from medical practitioners from whom they seek help. Activists and campaigners like myself will have to face the melancholic prospect of either continuing the campaign or slipping away to support apparently more equitable battles.
This particular battle is a post-modern struggle, one in which the most powerful forces, multinational companies, reshape the world hand in hand with governments. This is a struggle from which parents and citizens have been expunged. A blind struggle, in an age where all the ties between governments and citizens have been severed, where it is no longer possible for citizens to have any real effect on either the processes of industrial science or of national politics. At the same time that Dr Kumar is pulling his verdict out of the hat this afternoon, a quarter of a mile away near Parliament Square ex-prime minister Tony Blair will be excusing his role in the killing of 100,000 civilians in Iraq. Huge and the little crimes are spoken away with 'the people' unable even to dent the facade of apparent fairness.
Today at the GMC we all will have to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous and organised fortune, the defendant will have to bend with the wind like trees on the beach cliffs and smart from the ignorance of the news media. Parents will have to pretend that they can cope, make themselves strong and hope that help will come from somewhere for their children; the prospect of no further clinical help is impossible to contemplate. Activists, scientists, politicos and campaigners - supporters of truth and science will have to steel themselves to the phlegm spat from the PCs of snakes like Brian Deer, stand still and take the belittling mountain of toxic words that he and his blancmange brained associates will heap belittlingly upon us.
Before I become too maudlin, however, I have to say that about one thing we can rest assured, history will prove us right, will turn in our favour. In fact this is a rule cast in iron, scorned as our truths are now, they will undoubtedly be recognised in the future; when the science is resurrected, and when the politics go through sea changes.
* * *
It's now Friday morning and I have just gathered enough strength to begin my post for Age of Autism. Sometimes it's hard to write in the face of such an emotional maelstrom. Yesterday, the Chairman of the GMC Fitness to Practice Panel, Dr Kumar, a man who during the hearing refused to answer questions about his shareholding in GlaxoSmithKline, pronounced on behalf of the multinational drug companies and the British government that there was no such thing as vaccine damage and that any parents who claimed that their children had suffered such, would be treated with scorn and contempt.
Dr Kumar had been selected as Fitness to Practice Panel Chairman following the outing by campaigners of the GMC first choice, Professor Dennis McDevitt who had been a member of the original adverse reactions sub-committee of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunology (JCVI) that had manipulated and disguised the reported adverse reactions of the unsafe MMR. In 1988, McDevitt had declared funding for a Research fellowship from Glaxo and Smith Kline and French (as the present day vaccine manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline were then named).
Dr Kumar, also, thought obviously not in so many words, proclaimed the complete confidence of the GMC in the medical authority of Brian Deer, the only man in the world to make a formal complaint against three of Europe's leading gastroenterologists. Brian Deer has carried out his campaign against Dr Wakefield from the pages of the Sunday Times, a paper managed and owned by James Murdoch a man who sits on the board of GlaxoSmithKline. Deer researched his case with the help of Medico-Legal Investigations a private enquiry company funded solely by The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.
The panel gave their verdict after two and a half years partial scrutiny of the case, after legal aid for the parents claims to be heard in a real court, against vaccine manufacturers, was denied by High Court judge Sir Nigel Davis, whose brother, an executive board member of Elsevier the publishers, was on the Board of GlaxoSmithKline. During the hearing, some of the apparently most authoritative evidence, not about science, but about conflict of interest, was given by Dr Richard Horton the editor of the Lancet one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. The Lancet is owned by Elsevier and Sir Crispin Davis is Dr Horton's line manager.
Since the beginning of this GMC charade, I have though that anyone who even entertained a verdict other than one of guilty for the three defendants, was setting themselves up for a fall.
* * *
From 2.00 o'clock onwards, right into the late media evening, the last two and a half years of conflict over the MMR combined vaccine, was reduced to simplicity itself. So simple did it all become that I found it almost impossible to believe that I was hearing about the same hearing in which the prosecution had produced two and a half years of evidence.
In his announcement of the verdict Kumar, reduced the whole of the panel's verdict to an assessment on Wakefield's 'care' for the twelve children written up in the 1998 case review study published in the Lancet. In order to introduce this paper and the resultant verdict to you in this post, I have to simplify the hearing and the evidence given during its two and a half years, I ask your forgiveness for this.
In 2004, six years after the Lancet paper was published and nine years after the children cited in the paper had been seen by clinicians, Brian Deer, the British government, the GMC and all their drug industry connected supporters made this case:
Dr Wakefield and colleagues had applied to the research ethics committee at the Royal Free Hospital to carry out research programme 172/96, this programme was to study children who had inflammatory bowel disease. Dr Wakefield had also agreed to a Legal Aid Board funded study of two groups of five children. Dr Wakefield had published the results of his research into 12 autistic children, under programme 172/96, in the Lancet in 1998. The paper showed clearly that Dr Wakefield and his colleagues had included children in this research for whom they did not have ethical committee approval. That children were given aggressive procedures for which the doctors did not have ethical committee approval. That experimental research had been carried out on these 'autistic' but otherwise healthy children, that did not have bowel disease, without ethical committee approval, nor even in some cases parental consent. The prosecution frequently tried to show that children who attended at the RFH, had been garnered by Dr Wakefield in an illicit manner. Taken the children to the RFH had, the prosecution said, been a way of parents hoping to rid themselves of the guilt at having autistic children. The objective of the 'research' upon which the paper was based, was to show that the MMR vaccination had created 'regressive' autism and the motive of Dr Wakefield who had engineered the paper and the involvement of the other 11 authors, was to aid the claim of the parents against the three pharmaceutical companies being sued.
Finally, the prosecution had said that Dr Wakefield played a part in the clinical treatment of the children despite the fact that his contract as a researcher forbade him to do so. Further the prosecution claimed that while Legal Aid Board money had been used to fund Dr Wakefield's work he had made no declaration of this conflict of interest in the publication of the study.
It was in light of this prosecution evidence that the panel made its findings on Thursday. The verdict re-iterated the charges originally framed by Brian Deer in the Sunday Times as if no defence evidence had been presented, in fact, as if neither the defendants nor their counsel had never been involved in the case.
The defence case had been straightforward and unlike the prosecution case, had seemed more or less unarguable. Around 1994, various parents whose children suffered from terrible bowel problems, and regressive autism, sometimes immediately after their MMR vaccination, began to approach the Royal Free Hospital, wishing the country’s gastrointestinal experts to examine them and give a diagnostic opinion. Throughout 1994 to 2002, such parents were always passed by Dr Wakefield to Professor Walker-Smith who involved Dr Simon Murch, in clinically reviewing these cases. Dr Wakefield's involvement in these cases had deepened when it began to become evident that many of the children were suffering from a new, or novel bowel illness. Dr Wakefield was, after all, the head of the Experimental Gastrointestinal Unit at the Royal Free Hospital.
In 1997, before any formal research trials were begun or carried out, Dr Wakefield with a number of other colleagues, began to assemble ‘a case review paper', which involved recording the cases of 12 children who had arrived at the Royal Free consecutively in the preceding few years. Such a paper serves two purposes, it advertises the work of the department and can be used to argue for new funding, and it gives an early warning to other clinicians who might well come across similar cases. The resultant paper, was not the report of 'a trial' or 'a research project' of any kind, it was simply an account of the presentation of twelve children. Although Professor Walker-Smith did have ethical committee approval for the extraction of histological samples from child patients, research ethical committee approval is not needed for such a paper unless the children have been examined with such a paper in mind. No money was used or received from outside the National Health Service, for either the clinically necessary evaluation of the children or for the case review study. All twelve children were examined by clinicians and not Dr Wakefield who had nothing at all to do with their clinical examination, review, or agreed treatment. Most importantly, no research of any kind was carried out on the condition of these children prior to their clinical review by clinicians at the Royal Free Hospital. All the children were examined on the understanding that it was the clinicians duty to find a cause and to understand the painful and exceptional bowel trauma experienced by these children.
Claims by the prosecution that the clinical care of the children had been in the hands of Dr Wakefield, proved to be so 'off the wall', that the prosecution had to change the wording of some charges to read, 'Dr Wakefield caused procedures to take place'. How one causes a colonoscopy, as if it were an act of God, remains a mystery to me.
This case review paper, made absolutely no attempt to prove that vaccination caused autism. MMR vaccination was mentioned at one point in the paper, when the authors made it clear that some parents had drawn attention to the coincidence of MMR and their child's illness. The authors suggested that more research might be useful in this area. Nor was there any mention that MMR or any other vaccination caused autism, rather the paper described a possible link between Inflammatory Bowel Disease possibly affected by an unidentified environmental trigger and regressive autism in some children.
It became clear part way through the hearing that the prosecution had got everything wrong. They had rested their case entirely upon a study, for which ethical approval had been sought but which by the time of the publication of the Lancet case review study, had not actually taken place. Clearly, the GMC prosecution and the panel did not want to hear or admit to this huge error, contained originally in Brian Deer's toxic writing for the Sunday Times. Unable to concede to clarity of the defence case, the prosecution continued head-banging as if it were a national sport. The false description of a research trial paid for by the Legal Aid Board that proved MMR created autism continued to be used to stir up great clouds of dust, misapprehension and confusion.
* * *
It is perhaps important that we understand what really happened on Thursday, that we understand the language that was used and it's meaning. Following the verdict, most of the lay public will be thinking that the professional behaviour of the three doctors had been seriously scrutinised at great length and considerable cost, using significant analytical, intellectual energy.
However, this is not true description of what had happened. A truthful reflection on yesterday would go as follows. Towards the middle of the 1990s Dr Andrew Wakefield wrote to the Senior Medical functionaries in the National Health Service, warning that a public health crisis might occur if the government continued with it's MMR triple vaccine programme. This communication came roughly two years after the UK Chief Medical officer had withdrawn two MMR vaccines which contained Urabe mumps strain. Over the previous decade, in various countries this vaccine had been found to create serious adverse reactions in children. With the British government left holding only one brand of 'safe' MMR and having caused already perhaps thousands of diverse adverse reactions in the children who had received the vaccine, the government and the pharmaceutical industry was not about to listen to Dr Wakefield or anyone else who mentioned the words adverse reaction.
In 1998, Dr Wakefield along with eleven other authors published 'a case review' paper in the Lancet. The paper charted the details of 12 children who had sequentially arrived at the Royal Free Hospital in search of clinical treatment for serious bowel conditions. Dr Richard Horton of the Lancet, even today, maintains that the science of this paper was beyond reproach, although he gave evidence to the hearing that Dr Wakefield's non-declaration a conflict of interest in the journal of which he is editor was unforgivable.
From 1998 onwards, the government and the pharmaceutical companies organised a merciless campaign against Dr Wakefield. Brian Deer wrote a number of stories in the Sunday Times with the intention of discrediting expert witnesses in previous vaccine damage cases in the 1970s and 1980s. In 2003, legal aid was withdrawn from the claim being prepared by parents against three vaccine manufacturers. In 2004 the appeal on behalf of the parents was turned down. Immediately after this, Brian Deer published in the Sunday Times his first major attack on Dr Wakefield, a complete character assassination written with the help of the private enquiry agency Medico-legal Investigations, solely funded by The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries. With the help of various people including the then Secretary of State for Health John Reid, Deer tendered his paperwork upon which he had based his skittish article, to the GMC and from then on it formed the basis of the developing Fitness to Practice Hearing against Dr Wakefield, Professor Murch and Professor Walker-Smith.
In 2007, the GMC began their trial of the three doctors that has continued over two and a half years and is yet to finish with the sentencing of the doctor in the period between April and July of this year. In the time between Brian Deer lodging his complaint with the GMC in 2004 and the verdict on fact on Thursday, a period of six years, the government has continued to introduce new and unsafe vaccinations damaging hundreds if not thousands of young people and children. This programme has culminated with the International fraud over swine flue vaccination, with which major pharmaceutical companies conned governments out of billions of pounds.
So, yesterday's verdict was not what it might appear, a reasonable judgement of a wise and considered tribunal. Rather the verdict was what the pharmaceutical companies hope would be a death blow, an end to the battle with a troublesome doctor. When Big Pharma and the corrupt New Labour government asked the question 'Who will rid me of this troublesome doctor', the GMC was the first to put its hand in the air.
* * *
It’s11.30 pm on Thursday night, I have watched a number of news broadcasts, I think in the believe that sense would prevail on one channel and the truth would break through the screen. It didn't happen. Watching the news was a little like taking a bath in Walt Disney animations. Relentlessly, Wakefield was portrayed as a scaremonger, and worse as a criminal, a man who carried out damaging experiments on autistic children.
Even the parents tended to come across in news extracts as a confused entity because the media does not have time to explain that these people are parents of vaccine damaged children who have supported Dr Wakefield and his colleagues in their attempt to find a diagnosis for their children's illness. The media simplifies and distorts everything making it eminently clear who are the good guys and who are the bad guys yet brings you no evidence as to how they arrived at these opinions.
There is a peculiar sense in which all messages are broken, or twisted; nothing is continuous, deep or simply expressed; all statements are based on false premises.
* * *
It seems important to say something about the media in Britain - at least as far as medicine is concerned, though it could easily be stretched to the invasion of Iraq - in the throws of corporate totalitarianism.
Having sat through the two and a half years of the hearing, I know that the media generally have only been ghosts in the machine, never present, never making a clear or analytical record of the proceedings. Turning up as they did like cattle on the day of the verdict what could they report apart from the panel's corrupt verdict? But, inevitably the situation is far worse than this lapse in concentration as the headlines last night and this mornings papers testified.
Yesterday, early outside the GMC, I watched Brian Deer being interviewed by Sky News, he said things about the hearing which seemed to me to be a product of his own fevered imagination, things that bore not the slightest relation to any reality I had observed. After the interview was over, I approached the Sky journalist who had carried out the interview and asked him politely whether or not, when the interview was run that evening, an announcement would be made of the place of James Murdoch, one of the family owners of Sky, on the board of GlaxoSmith Kline the vaccine manufacturer.
'No', the journalist said, already turning away from me. 'We give a balanced account and there is no need for that kind of declaration'.
Obviously I had expected nothing more than this, but even so, I couldn't help but be astounded again, at how crooked the contemporary world is and at what shysters these people who call themselves journalists are.
I think that it is time that we turned 'secret ties to industry', from conflict of interest into corporate crime and made it a clearly defined criminal offence for any person to hold a position of authority or to be quoted on any material matter without citing either personal or organisational, contemporary or historical, links with corporations involved in the area under discussion.
I will end this report with a clear example of the criminal misinformation indulged in by the British press. Not having lived in the US, I have no idea of how the media deals with the matter of vaccines, but I fear that most North Americans can have no understanding of the unmitigated rottenness of the British Media, and without such an understanding they might find it hard to grasp how this tidal wave has crashed down upon Dr Wakefield.
A report appeared this morning in the Mirror newspaper, a vaguely Labour leading tabloid, quoting Dr Miriam Stoppard who is a septuagenarian columnist in the paper. Stoppard has campaigned against alternative medicine, in favour of Hormone Replacement Therapy and in favour of MMR, in everything from the most immature teen girl's magazines to the Mirror newspaper.
On Friday morning, previous writing of hers was repeated in the Mirror newspaper. Stoppard is just one of the many medical hacks that keep the wheels of vested interest turning inside the UK pharma-soaked media, but I think for reader world wide a brief look at the inanity on the morrow of the verdict against Andrew Wakefield, Professor Murch and Professor Walker-Smith might help readers outside the UK understand how the GMC is presently getting away with its lamentable corruption.
Miriam Stoppard writes an agony aunt column for the Daily Mirror Newspaper. She has a company, Miriam Stoppard Lifetime through which she sells her books and health products. After training as a doctor she began working for the drug company Syntex and eventually becoming one of the companies a managing directors. In 1997, she married Sir Christopher Hogg, who until 2004 had been Chairman of GlaxoSmith Kline, the vaccine manufacturer.
Here are Miriam Stoppard's remarks on Dr Wakefield's work, read on Friday morning by thousands of Mirror readers.
Knowing the MMR was probably one of the most highly tested vaccinations ever, I was shocked by Andrew Wakefield's words in 1998. I looked at his paper and I found it was very badly researched with lots of holes. It certainly didn't constitute any kind of cause or relationship between the MMR vaccine and the appearance of autism. I was astonished it was even published. Shortly after, I wrote a big piece for the Mirror about how it was flawed and irresponsible. I tried to reassure parents it didn't show a connection between MMR and autism, the jab was safe and they should vaccinate their kids. However, a lot of the media came out and emphasised the autism connection and my attempts at reassurance were ineffective. Parents were driven towards single vaccines. But single vaccinations aren't licensed in this country so we don't even know if they're safe or effective. And while you're giving children single vaccinations, they're not protected against the other illnesses. So there is absolutely no reason, science or logic in using them. And the argument that the MMR overloads a baby's immune system is rubbish. It can take more than 10,000 doses of the MMR vaccination and not turn a hair. Wakefield and his bad research have an awful lot to answer for'.
Although it is hardly necessary, here is a brief rebuttal
MMR was probably one of the most highly tested vaccinations ever - not true.
I was shocked by Andrew Wakefield's words in 1998 - which words?
I looked at his paper and I found it was very badly researched with lots of holes - evidence?
It certainly didn't constitute any kind of cause or relationship between the MMR vaccine and the appearance of autism - the paper didn't claim to show any causal link between MMR and autism - how did you read it and miss this?
I was astonished it was even published - Thank God you're not the editor of a medical journal.
Shortly after, I wrote a big piece for the Mirror about how it was flawed and irresponsible - How much were you paid for this article. Did you declare any conflict of interest?
I tried to reassure parents it didn't show a connection between MMR and autism, the jab was safe and they should vaccinate their kids - The paper didn't claim to show any connection between MMR and autism, however to assure parents without any evidence to the contrary is a disgusting abdication of medical responsibility, do you still have your doctors practice certificate?
Single vaccinations aren't licensed in this country, so we don't even know if they're safe or effective. And while you're giving children single vaccinations, they're not protected against the other illnesses. So there is absolutely no reason, science or logic in using them - How is possible to pack so many mistakes into 3 sentences? Single vaccines were licensed at the time of the publication of the Lancet paper. We do know that they are safe and effective because in the case of measles they were used from 1976 onwards. In the case of mumps, the NHS advised against vaccination and in the case of Rubella, vaccination was suggested only for women likely to become pregnant. Interesting that you say that we shouldn't be using single vaccines. Is this the case for say, malaria, I mean if it doesn't also protect people against measles I think you must clearly be right!
* * *
At the end of the day, we have to keep the parents at the forefront of our mind and we have to consider that everything that can be done, should be done to find some kind of safe haven for them. All our battles, whether they be political, scientific or cultural have to be directed towards getting diagnosis and treatment for the children, while at the same time mercilessly pursuing the criminals within the pharmaceutical industry and the government who now profess the new creed of vaccine damage denial.
Martin J Walker is an investigative writer who has written several books about aspects of the medical industrial complex. He started focusing on conflict of interest, intervention by pharmaceutical companies in government and patient groups in 1993. Over the last three years, he has been a campaign writer for the parents of MMR vaccine damaged children covering every day of the now two year hearing of the General Medical Council that has tried Dr Wakefield and two other doctors. His GMC accounts can be found at www.cryshame.com , and his own website is, www.slingshotpublications.com .
The situation depicted is completely outrageous. I am inclined to forward the URL to several people I know, and the only reason I don't is that I expect that they would dismiss the substance of the article because they would be so irritated by the poor quality of the prose.
I strongly suggest that the article be rewritten with a more professional tone, because what's up here now reflects badly on the cause.
Posted by: Morris Philbin | March 10, 2010 at 07:58 AM
Martin I am writing as an interested observer of this whole sorry and shameful MMR and Wakefield affair. I am now a grandmother to three healthy children thanks be to God, none of whom had the triple MMR but only single jabs, paid for by their enlightened parents!
I know and love the Royal Free Hospital as I once was a near neighbour in Hampstead (I now reside in Spain) and I came to the scene of this whole sad story only very recently and initially out of "local" interest. I have been appalled to read of the injustices that have taken place at this GNC trial and have consequently spent the last weeks glued to my PC, attempting to understand the intricate history of it all, which is of course very hard to follow for a non medical lay observer.
However, what shouts out from your own website and your own witness accounts of the GMC trial, plus following the antics of what has patently become a malevolent personal vendetta against Andrew Wakefield by the "award winning" (???)journalist Brian Deer (the least said about him the better or I shall be accused of defamation and libel)- what is patently clear is that the law has to be changed as you suggest re conflict of interest within the medical profession when it comes to reporting for the media or taking part in assessments of malpractice suits.
My question to you Martin is where is the public outcry over this now revealed information about all these connections to Glaxo etc and the MMR trial? Why isn´t the general public demanding a public investigation? I am not screaming "conspiracy" or "cover up". I am asking for a public report and transparency and a change in the law.
This is the issue which has shocked and appalled me almost as much as the agony of these damaged children and their long suffering dignified parents. Three Doctors of equal dignity and integrity, Wakefield in particular - have been "devoured" by one callous and morally bankrupt newspaper owner (with vested interests) and his paid lackey.
Can Andrew Wakefield, who has just this weekend resigned from Thoughtful, afford to go on with any further litigation? Where does this travesty end?
You say you believe it will all come right in the end. But I do not feel so hopeful.
I feel nothing but anger, disgust and despair.
Posted by: patricia pratt | February 21, 2010 at 01:07 PM
Martin - Thank you for all your hard work and stirring descriptions over the past months and months of testimony. They have been a lifeline for me to what was happening with the Wakefield trio. One day soon I hope to read a different story from you. One where Brian Deer-In-The-Headlights gets his just desserts. Don't Quit. Don't Ever Quit.
Posted by: Jill Fenech | February 02, 2010 at 09:36 AM
The damage,the pain, the suffering,the loss,
the mistakes they'd made is so huge and horrific
that the only thing they can do is to deny it.
Medical doctors must split up to two branches.We need true healers,real scientist,
honest and hard working Doctors who look at the patient's best interests,like Dr.Wakefield. The other side can work for these toxin producing companies like GSK and the others.
We, the parents need to get up from the floor and keep going STRONGER than ever.
Posted by: just a Mother | February 02, 2010 at 08:13 AM
Benismyson, I agree the movie Insider is sooo close to describing what is going on in vaccine and autism worlds. It is amazing the lengths they went to to silence the man who blew the whistle on cover-ups within tobacco companies (what was his name again? he is apparently teaching in college somewhere now?). Right down to literally trying to assassinate him and his family!!
What they did to Dr Wakefield is child's play compared to that. I guess this was because Wakefield "only" raised concerns, and didn't have an absolute proof on the direct damage in the name of profits, like the guy from Insider story did. I dare not think what would have happened to Wakefield or anyone if his research had shown direct causative effects of vaccines in autism.
That is why imo we won't get whistleblowers to come out regarding massive-scale vaccine injury. As Vioxx story has shown, whistleblowers would be literally risking their lives, and lives of their family members.
(the only way the leaks could happen is if someone published incriminating evidence through Wikileaks - the website is currently down due to lack of funds, but hopefully will be back on at some point).
Posted by: Natasa | February 02, 2010 at 05:34 AM
Since "they" were evil enough to let this happen to our children (I can't believe the people in charge of national health didn't know mercury was harmful) then "they" are evil enough to do anything to cover it up.
Posted by: Amanda Blinn | February 01, 2010 at 07:34 PM
Jake-- I'm afraid that the folks over at Science Blog are going to find the frenzy curiously unsatisfying, like raping an effigy (pardon the analogy). They'll emerge from their sweaty gloat orgy feeling inexplicably let down, wondering why things haven't changed more than they have, why Wakefield didn't miss a beat in returning to his ongoing research.
Posted by: Gatogorra | February 01, 2010 at 12:18 PM
I just wanted to tell you sir, God bless you!! And God bless Dr. Wakefield and his family!! I know the road is dark and hard, but watching you stand tall is an inspiration to us all. YOur integrity speaks far louder than any news outlet! You are a light, one that has lit so many other lights around the world, and I believe with all my heart that someday the world will acknowledge your gift to the world. I only hope it happens before more generations of children must suffer as I have, or far, far worse! And Mr. Martin, your light in journalism and integrity in reporting the truth surpasses my dreams sir! When I thought honest reporting was dead, I found you. May others take flame from you, and a new day of truth shall come!
Posted by: Darian (nickname) | February 01, 2010 at 07:57 AM
The events leading up Thursday's outrageous injustice should be seen as the equivalent of "Kristallnacht".
One which can be traced back to the highest echelons of the GestapoGMC, Media/PharmaSS, and GSK Fuhrer's leadership. From the beginning, there was an intention to carry out a genuine and dramatic pogrom against the Dr's Wakefield, Professor Simon Murch and Professor Walker-Smith, and the thousands of parents caring for vaccine injured children.
There will be Nuremberg trials again.
Posted by: michael framson | February 01, 2010 at 02:08 AM
"Science"Blogs weighs in, as expected they are drooling with joy all over the GSK Hearing's verdict against the three doctors for implying their drug was unsafe in their research. It's yet another repository of the sham journalism by Brian Deer. Of course, "Science"Blogs is sponsored by GSK, so that's no surprise.
Posted by: Jake Crosby | February 01, 2010 at 12:52 AM
Anyone else watch the Insider this afternoon? I couldnt help but compare the tobacco story in the movie to vaccines. The tobacco industry was sued by the government after the insider blew the whistle, he got ripped to shreds in the press (at first).
In 1998, 46 U.S. states settled a lawsuit against the tobacco industry for $206 billion.
As if money isnt enough of a reason to cover this up, you have people who honestly believe we are at war with "vaccine preventable" diseases, millions saved by vaccines and at worst our kids are simply viewed as a necessary evil, collateral damage.
Its going to take a miracle to ever hear a story on 60 Minutes about how vaccines cause autism. We could have had a video recording the entire Simpsonwood meeting and it would be treated like some alien autopsy video.
My guess is soon some parent gone mad over all this shoots someone of notoriety in church one Sunday morning, or worse little Sally Celeb-Whitebred "gets" the measles or something from Johnny Novax that kills her slowly on TV in some Nancy Grace-ish tearful bedside marathon coverage and all of us "anti-vaxers" will be labeled a terror group and we will be as popular as an angry Arab in an airport.
Its a damn shame what they have done to our kids, next they will come for us parents.
Posted by: bensmyson | January 31, 2010 at 10:47 PM
With all the immense amount of "rediculousness" coming out of governmental regulatory agencies in recent years, don't you think it's time to fight back? There is an obvious need to hold medical boards accountable. In the U.S., complaints to Attorney Generals are one option. I would like to see some court options, such as suing governmental agencies when they act in "rediculous" manners which can be easily traced to conflicts-of-interest. I really think these types of lawsuits can be easily won and may be the only option.
Posted by: Heidi N | January 31, 2010 at 10:03 PM
Thank you for your detailed report. You showed considerable restraint.
This verdict has changed nothing, other than giving witness to the Medical Mafia stating for the public record that its loyalty lies with pharmaceutical companies rather than with sick children who desperately need medical treatment.
Posted by: nhokkanen | January 31, 2010 at 06:26 PM
Mr. Walker-- many heartfelt thanks for the years of your life you've spent attending to this trial-- and of course having to stomach the revolting hypocrisy at close range. Many of us would not be so up to date on the proceedings if not for your coverage (and your strong constitution). Thank you for being a witness-- and not a silent one, thank God. You have friends around the world and so do the parents in the UK.
Posted by: Gatogorra | January 31, 2010 at 05:28 PM
You are right Martin, IMO: the media is in the throws of corporate totalitarianism. Is this what they dreamed of when they went to journalism school?
Posted by: AnaB | January 31, 2010 at 03:14 PM
I know that there was no reason to expect any other outcome, but it just disgusts me to no end that witch hunts, like this can continue to happen in 2010!
My baby girl turned 2 on Jan 28th. She is obviously neurotypical, because I will never let her get a vaccine. Her 4 year old brother is a victim of the MMR. I live with the guilt that I allowed this to happen. I didn't spend much time celebrating my daughter's birthday, because so much of my thoughts were with the Wakefields and others who were unjustly condemned in this witch hunt.
I believe the autism community will not give up, due to this set back. It will only make us stronger and more educated.
I do hope that in my lifetime, we will see the government issuing apologizes to the millions of people who they damaged. But more so, that they condemn themselves for getting so corrupted by big pharma and vow never to allow this to happen again.
Posted by: Judith | January 31, 2010 at 03:05 PM
A P.S. to my previous posting (as I can't locate your email address, Martin):
First of all, let me say that I have already ordered the 'Silenced Witnesses' books; well done for bringing that important project together. (He needs support for this project, folks. Pile in.)
Besides appreciating you for all that you have done in the service of holistic medicine & families unjustly treated by the Establishment, I just wanted to point out an ongoing error in your writings that I have noticed. (I refer to this GMC report to Age of Autism today as an example.) The word-form * it's* is ALWAYS a contraction, standing for either *it is* or *it has*; it is NEVER the possessive form. The possessive form for this word, as the exception to the rule about apostrophes, is ALWAYS *its*.
It detracts a little from your writing. And your writing is so valuable that I would hate to see some people being put off by this sort of clanger.
Anyway, bottom line: Keep up the excellent work. Between you and John Stone, the public is going to get the WHOLE lowdown on the real 'conflicts of interest' involved in this sorry story, of the coverup of the dangers of vaccines that has been going on for far too long now, & has allowed the mfgrs to continue arrogantly on their merry way, untouchable, because of the 'medical industrial complex' that you refer to, which includes the government. What an atrocious racket. They deserve everything they get some day, by a public finally awakened to their misdeeds, and properly appalled; as well, by their misplaced trust.
No more free pass, Whitecoats.
Posted by: Stan | January 31, 2010 at 01:22 PM
Thank you so much for your excellent piece. I know it takes a lot of courage to stand up for what you are concerned about and especially putting it in print, we can all talk till the cows come home, but as a parent of a MMR vaccine damaged son who attended the kangaroo hearing of Dr Andrew Wakefield and Professors Murch and Walker Smith it was a pleasure to read your brilliant article.
I am a parent and a part of the Cryshame Group who fully supports Dr Wakefield and Professors Murch and Walker Smith. These 3 wise men did nothing wrong, they investigated the Lancet 12 and hundreds of other children after that. My son being one of them, The GMC have behaved like puppets for the pharmaceutical companies and the medical cartel. I'ts all about money and reputation and keeping ones job no matter what the outcome is to the stupid decisions they have made for mankind. I will never give up making people aware of MMR vaccine damage, this is my right as a citizen and the sooner people wake up to the fact that yes thousands of children have been brain/gut damaged the better, and I have no doubt about that.
Vaccine damage is recognised all over the world so what is the UK coming to or what are they hiding. We know what they are hiding but we never got a voice at the GMC. Luckily for us parents we have a very strong support group and parents that attended the hearing by God let the panel know their strong feelings on the matter. Tons of support from America and it was great to hear Jim Moody from NAA in America have his say. Another man who know what he is talking about and is not afraid to have his say. No children were failed by the doctors and no parents. People who are too afraid to speak out , well shame on the people who believe the lies of Dr Evan Harris and Brian Deer.
Posted by: Joan Campbell | January 31, 2010 at 01:21 PM
Thanks, Martin, for this article, and for how well you have kept the autism community alerted to this issue and similar others over the years.
I have to think that the good that will come out of this affair will be the alerting of the public to the TRUE 'conflict of interest' involved:
that of the likes of the chairman of the hearings, the London Times editor who commissioned B Deer in the first place, the role of owner J Murdoch in his relationship with GSK, the line mgr of the editor of The Lancet, and on and on - a veritable rogues' gallery. Hopefully, the truth - the whole truth - will come out; about this affair, and the role of vaccines in general, and the MMR in particular, in the creation of huge amounts of chronic illness in our children, as side effects to their good intentions. Side effects conveniently brushed aside, by a corrupt Establishment, who have given the science, and art, of Medicine a bad name.
Posted by: Stan | January 31, 2010 at 12:50 PM
Martin, this is another excellent piece, I particularly enjoyed your section on Dr Miriam Stoppard who always 'gets my goat' by pretending to be concerned about our children whilst pushing the MMR. Her hubby must be pleased how she helps pay the mortgage promoting his old company and keeps up those share prices on the up and up. TV doctors with undeclared vaccine company ties abound in the UK, the morning sofas are cluttered with oozy GP's who push their own agenda with GSK sponsored obesity campaigns. Frankly it's an insult to viewers, and most of all, to parents of vaccine damaged children and those who died after a jab, jeered at by these medics for reporting what they saw happen to their child.
Posted by: Alli Edwards UK | January 31, 2010 at 12:26 PM
Thank you for your hard work on behalf of children and families that suffer from vaccine injuries.
Regarding the “criminal misinformation” in the UK, this does not bode well for the US either.
The US Supreme Court recent campaign finance decision gives corporations the rights of ‘people’ under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
“This decision means that when you walk past a sign that says Goldman Sachs or Ford, that, what that represents has the same rights that you do to speak about politics, to spend as much money as you want on a political campaign. They are basically equal, and treated as equal entities, even though you're the citizen. That's why there's a really deep grassroots response, is there's a sense that power, political power, is being taken away from the citizen, which is really a core idea of this country… “
“Where Justice Kennedy says ‘Government cannot stop people from speaking. And anyone who it stops.’ I'm not quoting exactly, but there's pronoun switches that put ‘who’ and ‘those’ and ‘they’ switching people and corporations in and out. And it seems like, you know, if you almost read it as a literary text, he does have this respect for these legal creations as individuals whose political interests we ought respect.”
Zephyr Teachout, faculty member at Fordham University's School of Law at http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01292010/transcript4.html
Posted by: Jim Thompson | January 31, 2010 at 11:06 AM
Well written Martin as ever and so precise like an exocet missile at the doors of the GSK/GMC building before exploding...
Hope you keep writting for us all ..
Posted by: ANGUS FILES | January 31, 2010 at 10:17 AM
It seriously troubles me the influences that mainstream media conglomerates have upon the less than health focused public. Especially when we look at the financial ties these media companies have to the pharmaceutical industry.
I have known the Times UK publisher, Rupert Murdoch's son James serves on the Board of Glaxo. Knew that the head of Reuters serves on the Board of Merck, had no idea that this Miriam Stoppard who writes for the Daily Mirror Newspaper is married to Sir Christopher Hogg, who until 2004 had been Chairman of GlaxoSmith Kline, the vaccine manufacturer.
I didn't know that Dr Kumar, the Chairman of the GMC Fitness to Practice Panel trying Dr Andrew Wakefield, refused to answer questions about his shareholding in GlaxoSmithKline, pronounced on behalf of the multinational drug companies and the British government that there was no such thing as vaccine damage and that any parents who claimed that their children had suffered such, would be treated with scorn and contempt.
Dr Kumar had been selected as Fitness to Practice Panel Chairman following the outing by campaigners of the GMC first choice, Professor Dennis McDevitt who had been a member of the original adverse reactions sub-committee of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunology (JCVI) that had manipulated and disguised the reported adverse reactions of the unsafe MMR.
I pray the victims of these injuries will one day have their justice and see these people facing judgment for crimes against humanity.
I suppose it's in God's hands now.
Posted by: bensmyson | January 31, 2010 at 08:57 AM
I had the opportunity to read article twice , to make sure I caught all the nuances .
I beleive this your best article on the GMC hearing .
In regards to the media , and what we are seing on this side of the pond in Canada and the United States.
It is interesting to note that in the last 4 days , there has been minimal coverage if any in North American news media.
This represent a major change from three years ago when , the charges where originally laid against Dr.Wakefield .
At that time the news whent around the world 5 times.
This time somebody is clearly trying to hold back the info .
I suspect that our friends at big pharma are very afraid of a backlash from the autism community and potential journalist from abrod start taking a closer look at the GMC and the Wakefield hearing.
This situation for the most part is due to you !!
"The Montreal Terrier"
PS : This nickname " Montreal Terrier" was
given to me by your friend Paul S in
England, I found it so trully
appropriate that I now use it
Posted by: Pierre Morin | January 31, 2010 at 06:40 AM
I'm with Ginger! GSK punished these three doctors and scientists for uncovering the dangers of their drug!
This verdict echos the Royal Society of London symposium in 2000, where the link between the CHAT polio vaccine and the origin of AIDS virus was shamelessly shunned by those who facilitated the administration of the drug to 1 million Africans.
Posted by: Jake Crosby | January 31, 2010 at 03:43 AM
Why have we been referring to these proceedings as the "GMC Hearings" and not the "GSK Hearings"?
The later is more apt, don't you think?
Posted by: Ginger Taylor | January 31, 2010 at 02:35 AM