Alex Spourdalakis and The Future
Dachel Media Update: Changing Face of Autism, Beating

Wakefield vs. Brian Deer, Fiona Godlee and the BMJ: Dispatches from the Front

AustinBy Dan E. Burns

This is Chapter One in a series of occasional dispatches from An Independent Me, a charity for ASD adults on the front of the autism epidemic. Read the PROLOGUE HERE.

Zero and I stomped down the parking garage stairs near the Travis County Courthouse, footsteps ricocheting through the concrete ramps.  Above us, the courthouse stood like a stone sentinel, caressed by shadows of summer foliage, live oaks and panicles of crepe myrtle, this July day in 2012.

The hearing was about jurisdiction. Dr. Wakefield was suing BMJ – the British Medical Journal – for libel. Hack writer Brian Deer, commissioned by the Sunday Times of London, had called Dr. Wakefield a fraud; and Fiona Godlee, editor of the BMJ, reprinted the libelous Times article, embellished it, and profited from it in promotions throughout the United States, including Dr. Wakefield’s home state of Texas. Would the lawsuit play out in a Texas courtroom, or would the proceedings be remanded to England, home base for the libelers? “Mr. Wakefield has been found unfit to practice,” the BMJ team argued. “Why should a Texas court decide what has already been litigated in England?” Beyond that today rumbled the larger question: Who is the fraud, Wakefield or Deer?

I remembered a scenario Dr. Wakefield had created for me, first time we met. “Imagine a village,” he said, “where young adults with autism could live and work, enjoy life, continue to heal, and give back to society. Imagine the residences, the clinic, restaurant, gift store, microenterprise center, the gardens, the wellness center for conventions and outreach. Hang a sign on the gate that says ‘Autism Village.’ Now come back in thirty years. The village is abandoned and the sign is rusty, swinging in the wind, because the epidemic has ceased to exist. That’s the future I’d like to see. Let’s make it happen.”

Zero and I tunneled through courthouse security to reception. The staffers were kids in T-shirts and scruffy jeans. They could have been taken for juvenile delinquents if they’d been on the other side of the desk. “We’re looking for Dr. Andrew J. Wakefield vs. BMJ, Godlee, and Deer,” I said.

“Fifth floor,” said the JD. I turned around, and there was Dr. Andy Wakefield and his family behind us, outfitted for the opera and boarding an antiquated elevator. “Thanks for coming,” said Andy through the closing door. “See you up there.”

The compact courtroom was crowded with black-suited attorneys and legal aides. Marc Fuller, the short guy with glasses, was lead attorney for the BMJ. William M. Parrish, the tall guy in cowboy boots, led for our team.

The Wakefield family took their seats. Corin, their handsome young teen, entered the row first, followed by Andy’s wife Carmel, ethereal and pale from her body-shattering head-on collision with a truck, but walking upright and unassisted. Was that a rosary in her hand? Andy, blue blazered, took the middle position, holding a pen. To his left their sequined daughter Imogen, a high-school activist who together with her British counterpart Bella raised money to support ASD kids by staging “Give Autism a Chance” events. Imogen’s braided hair framed her forehead like a crown. I imagined her mother, carefully and painfully crossing each regal braid with her broken, mending fingers.

Enter the judge, Amy Meachum, blonde, a bit too cheery, clutching a massive binder full of documentation. “Sit down,” she breezed, with the feigned informality of someone who held a position larger than herself. “Y’all kept me up late reading,” she said, holding up the binder, yellow post-it notes sticking out like frizzy hair. “Can cut to the core of this? Or we’ll be here all day.”

There was no cutting. The first two hours turned on legal terms: special vs. general appearance, specific jurisdiction, Chapter 27, anti-Slapp, purposeful availment, incantations projected as PowerPoint slides on dueling monitors. The BMJ attorneys dominated the dialogue. By midmorning I was bored, exhausted, and needed to pee. It seemed that nothing had been accomplished. “Bottom line, the British government has an overriding interest in this case,” said the short guy, “and it should be settled in Britain.”

“What are you hearing?” I asked Zero. He claimed to have auditory perception up to 40,000 hertz, twice the normal human range. Back at the ranch, afternoons, when the hens had disappeared into the woods seeking bugs and shade, he gave us the Daily Chicken Report: “They’re OK.” Zero also claimed he could tell when someone was lying by perturbations in the vocal track. “There’s a couple of flaws in the short guy’s case,” he said. “His voice says so.”

The court recessed for a ten-minute biology break. The distinguished William M. Parrish, Big Tex with a silver fox haircut, was in the men’s room washing his hands. “Go get ‘em, cowboy,” I said.

“I will.”

Back in the courtroom, it was our turn. Parrish planted his boots on the floor, unfolded his flagpole frame, and stood up. “Your honor,” he said, “This is a story about suffering children and their mothers and families, and a doctor’s decision to listen to them.” The room stirred. Here at last was the argument we had come to hear.

“On January 6, 2011,” he continued, “Anderson Cooper interviewed Brian Deer. ‘If Andrew Wakefield can prove he didn’t falsify his data,’ Deer said, ‘he could file a libel action against myself, the Sunday Times of London, and against the BMJ. If not guilty, he would be the richest man in America. So why doesn’t he sue me?’”

“Objection,” said the BMJ guy.

“Hold on a second,” said Judge Amy. I stole a glance at Andy. Now we were at the core of it. “Your honor,” continued Parrish, “Brian Deer came here with a chip on his shoulder. If you pick a fight in Texas, you settle it in Texas. That’s why we’re in this courtroom today.”

More dueling monitors, but the drama had peaked. The judge promised a quick resolution. “I’ll be in contact soon,” she said.

As we walked back to the parking garage, Zero and I caught up with the Wakefield family. Andy looked pleased. He felt that our points had been well received. “Now I can go home and get out of this hot blazer.”

But the resolution was not “soon,” as promised. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday went by with no word from Judge Amy. “Look on the bright side,” said Zero. “If everything was going right, there’d be nothing to look forward to.” But when the order finally came, it was a disappointment. Motion denied. Oddly, the original typewritten date, July 31, a Tuesday, had been scratched out. Inked in longhand was August 3, 2012, a Friday. Why the delay?

“Don’t give up hope,” said Andy.

Contribute to the Dr. Wakefield Justice Fund at

We await the appeal.

Dan E. Burns, Ph.D., is the father of a 25-year-old son on the autism spectrum and the author of Saving Ben: A Father’s Story of Autism. Dr. Burns is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism and is Adult Issues Liaison for AutismOne. He facilitates planning, vocational programming, and funding for An Independent Me, a charity in the Austin, Texas area for teens and young adults on the Autism Spectrum. Dr. Burns is focused on empowering parents to organize communities where their adult ASD children and friends can live, work, play, and heal.




Hormone pill is not natural - that is for sure and it is hormones and the endocrine system that is messing up in this mess.

My daughter has something wrong with her pitiutary gland and has constant menstration-- she has to take a pill or she would bleed to death.

Speaking of pituatary glands - they did find that those young people with bipolar -- MIR showed enlarged pituatary glands. My daughter also has bipolar.


Dr. Grant;
Your information made me have to stop and think back on my situation and see if it fit.

I did take hormone pills before my first child, and then never too any more -- 6 years late I had my second child --that reacted to it's vaccine shots more quickly and violently than the first child. Are you saying that the birth control pill will last a life time?

Then I think about the statement that a Congressman said this past Novemeber in the Congressional hearing on autism -- that Africa had increasing numbers.

I know that vaccines have been increased in that area -- Bill Gates and WHO.
Is horomone pills being given to Africans too?

Dr Ellen CG Grant

At a meeting of the British Society for Ecological Medicine in London on 11th March 2011 my lecture "The Autism Epidemic and the Pill" was described by Dr Andy Wakefield as showing the causes of ASD were complicated. Longer hormonal contraceptive use before a first pregnancy matches increases in young age breast cancer in mothers and increases in autism in children over the past decades. Dr John McLaren-Howard found more toxic DNA adducts with oxidation products or toxic metals such as cadmium, mercury, aluminium or nickel in hormone takers, cancer patients and autistic children.

The lecture slides are at

Truth should prevail, hopefully sooner than later, as careful chelation and monitored supplementation of essential nutrients may help.


I think Judge Amy's decision was long decided before she entered the court room, as Dan states

..........Enter the judge, Amy Meachum, blonde, a bit too cheery, clutching a massive binder full of documentation. “Sit down,” she breezed, with the feigned informality of someone who held a position larger than herself........

As long as we parents with vaccine injured children stand firm, we will prevail.

Elizabeth Gillespie

Angus Files

It certainly isn`t finished yet..the best is yet to come the V day for Autism...2013...13 unlucky for some looks like for pharma also Deer et-al have floated the boat on scuttle mission...


The system has been firmly in place for a long, long time. Rarely will truth and justice reign in a world in which power and money can buy its imitation. We are winning this one mind at a time, via independent studies, articles, blogs, social media, seminars and one-on-one interactions. I am not suggesting that we not continue to champion truth in every arena - just that we maintain proper expectations, so that we are not crushed every time power wins.

The marvelous thing about truth is that, ultimately, it always prevails. It shines ever brighter, no matter how often it is knocked down, sullied and dragged through the mud. We must seek it diligently, defend it valiantly and believe in it even when that makes us a target as well.

If there is a silver lining in this travesty, it is perhaps that the appalling number of people affected by autism and other vaccine induced health issues can no longer be denied, thus more and more eyes are opening. The 'er's' (anti-vaccers, deniers, truthers, etc.) are gaining momentum as the many lies perpetrated in the name of science and politics are being revealed.

Get ready folks - perhaps truth is about to make a comeback.

Angus Files

Only so many times evryone can keep pulling Deer Brians Irons out of the day his ass will hit the many times has stuffed up for Pharma with his outbursts ...


Bob Moffitt

As Richard Gere said in a movie: "If you want justice, go to a prostitute. If you want to get screwed, go to court".

Personally, I find great comfort in knowing there are two courts .. the Texas court Dan describes .. and .. the other .. which is the only one that really counts .. the court of public opinion.

Indeed, testimony in the Court of Public Opinion is being heard every day .. and .. THAT "public" testimony .. such as .. Dr. Wakefield's interview of Dr. Krigsman's latest research .. adds to an already widespread and growing body of scientific evidence .. that will eventually prevail in the court of public opinion.

Remember, the Berlin Wall was not torn down by order of an all powerful East German court .. it was a decision made in the court of public opinion .. of the people, by the people and for the people .. that tore that damn wall down.

Think of a looming "Arab Spring" .. where the people finally have access to information (internet, social media, texts, etc) in "real time" .. not delayed to be released at the convenience and benefit of poweful vested interests .. such as .. late on a sleepy Friday afternoon in July.

It WILL happen .. the only question is WHEN.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)