In the hubbub which followed Andrew Wakefield’s threat to sue Emily Willingham and Forbes Magazine Brian Deer thought he would take a bow in its on-line pages . As ever what immediately strikes is the lack of integrity of a scientific establishment which rests its case on the allegations of this unfortunate figure. As usual confronted by criticism all Deer can do is duck and weave and call his critics “malignant cranks” (of course there a few other things he’s called us over the years, but this is not a gentleman with much finesse). This is the man who makes a meal of the fact that his vastly more qualified critic Dr David Lewis, as a leading scientist in the Environmental Protection Agency had worked on issues of the safety of sewage disposal. In what should be a serious exchange of views in supposedly august scientific journals like Nature and the British Medical Journal Deer is allowed to use this fact to disparage him: the Nature letter was removed last year after further complaints, the BMJ one stands with the title ‘MMR and human waste disposal’, but did it not used to read ‘MMR and Human Waste’ ? The man is protected by very powerful people. He is a pharmaceutical VIP .
Last week I called upon him – under his nose - to justify certain things and as usual he just ran leaving the lesser surrogates of the government pharmaceutical complex to cover his back. People like Matt Carey, Dorit Reiss and Este Banes (the new version of fraudulent Prof Reuben Gaines). Hadn’t Deer, the editor of BMJ, Fiona Godlee, and their advisor Prof Ingvar Bjarnason already been forced to admit in Nature that there no basis in the claim of fraud over the biopsies for the children in the Lancet paper ?
“But he (Bjarnason) says that the forms don’t clearly support charges that Wakefield deliberately misinterpreted the records. “The data are subjective. It’s different to say it’s deliberate falsification,” he says.
“Deer notes that he never accused Wakefield of fraud over his interpretation of pathology records…
“Fiona Godlee, the editor of the BMJ, says that the journal’s conclusion of fraud was not based on the pathology but on a number of discrepancies between the children’s records and the claims in the Lancet paper…”
Was not the claim (made by Deer in his first letter of complaint against Wakefield, Walker-Smith) that the Wakefield Lancet paper was commissioned by the Legal Aid Board and based on their protocol in itself fraudulent, and disproven the High Court appeal of Walker-Smith?
Had he not made three formal complaints to the GMC against the three doctors and come to a mutually beneficial agreement that he not be named as complainant, thus enabling to continue reporting without the public knowing about his conflict?
The Texas court have now been deliberating on Andrew Wakefield’s appeal over the court’s jurisdiction in his defamation case against Deer, Godlee and the BMJ for a year. Who knows what is holding the court which originally said it would report back within six months ? What is certain is that if this crew wriggle away it will not serve justice (we have seen their ridiculous pretexts that the BMJ do not do business in the US’s second largest state and they did not realise that Wakefield lived there ). To the best of my knowledge there is still no date named.
Meanwhile, with somewhat greater certainty we look forward to the publication of David Lewis’s new book ‘Science for Sale: How the US Government Uses Powerful Corporations and Leading Universities to Support Government Policies, Silence Top Scientists, Jeopardize Our Health, and Protect Corporate Profits’ on May 27. Be the first to get a copy.
Jon Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.