By Anne Dachel
What do you do after spending two and a half years investigating the federal government's shadowy Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, having discovered that health officials, who adamantly deny that vaccines cause autism, had been quietly compensating children for vaccine induced brain damage with autism?
This is the question that faced Louis Conte. He and a number of others looked into the claims of vaccine injury that had been recognized by the U.S. government, but never publicized. These investigators reviewed 196 compensated claims and uncovered the fact that 83 of them involved autism. Louis and the rest of the investigators went public with their findings in a paper called Unanswered Questions. They also called on Congress to hold hearings. There was some brief press coverage, but for the most part the media wasn't willing to admit the official claim of no link was directly contradicted by the government's own actions. Louis wanted to make all this public, but he also needed to respect the privacy of the 83 families. His solution: write a novel about what he found out. His brainchild is the book, The Autism War.
Louis has had several opportunities to talk about it, including two times in July. The videos were only recently made available online.
On July 10, 2014, Pleasantville (NY) Community Television presented the broadcast, Louis Conte's "The Autism War." Here Louis said that the controversy over vaccines and autism "is really the central issue within this book."
Louis went on to talk about what led him to write The Autism War, namely the fact that two of his fourteen year old triplet boys have autism. He also described his 30 years working in law enforcement.
Louis noted that it was the announcement of the case of Child Doe 77, the young Georgia girl who became autistic due to vaccination in 2008 that really started him on the journey to write this book. He explained that children like this suffer an encephalopathy, or brain injury when they are vaccinated. This brain injury results in the behaviors we call autism. In this girl's case, the federal government (specifically medical experts at Health and Human Services) recognized that her injuries--including her autism--were caused by her vaccines. Louis explained what vaccine injured victims are up against when they take on the government. Then he talked his unique investigation into cases of vaccine injuries that included autism, resulting in the Unanswered Questions paper published by the Pace University Law Review. That paper described the uncovering of 83 cases where the government compensated children who became autistic as a result of being vaccinated.
Next Louis brought up the duplicity on the part of federal officials who publicly deny any link between vaccines and autism, and secretly recognize that for some children, vaccines do cause autism.
Louis asked the questions:
"What's really going on here? Why would the government act this way? What is this about?"
"It is now three years ago that this paper comes out and I think that this is reasonably astonishing news that the government does actually acknowledge that ...vaccines can result in brain damage that can result in autism, but no one wants to say that out loud. So what do you do?..."
What Louis and other investigators were able to find out about the secret history of government officials recognizing and compensating children with vaccine-induced autism became the book, The Autism War. He explained how he turned an investigation of a real government cover-up into a novel.
How can something like this happen?
Louis quoted directly from The Autism War:
"Imagine having a produce line where you influence the approval process, set the price and get the government to mandate it. And you have no liability. What would you do to protect that kind of business? What would corporations do with unlimited resources, powerful and influence do to protect it?"
"You might run a proceeding to determine if vaccines cause autism when all the time you knew that vaccines cause autism. And that is the essence of the book."
Louis had strong words about the conflicts of interest of those charged with approving vaccines for the mandated schedule. "The only people really doing vaccine safety studies are the producers of vaccines. This is an entire breakdown of the way in which an industry should be regulated."
Then on July 16, 2014, Louis was interviewed by Martin Wilbur on Examiner News Talk.
Louis had a frank talk with Wilbur, who is the editor of the local newspaper. He explained his investigation of the court records of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program led to his book. "Ultimately I found, along with a team of other investigators and some lawyers, that the federal government had been compensating cases of vaccine-induced brain damage that also included autism--although they didn't say that out loud. The federal government was quietly acknowledging, despite all the public statements otherwise, that vaccine injury often does include autism."
"It's very clear, autism is being looked at in the wrong way. We're looking for genes for autism. We're looking for a disease called autism, and it's a behavioral diagnosis that flows frankly, from brain damage. With two children myself [with] autism, I don't like saying that, but nonetheless, that is really what these cases tell us."
"We asked the federal government to release information to us--we filed a FOIA--and they told us we'd get redacted information in five years, if we gave them three quarters of a million dollars."
Louis wanted to make sure the stories of the compensated families got told, without revealing their identities. What he came up with was writing a novel that could include stories inspired by what he learned in his investigation.
"That's what I wanted to do with this book--through the lives of people who've experienced this phenomenon, tell their stories so that people begin to care about it and ask questions."
Louis was asked about the stigma surrounding the issue of vaccines and autism. This was his answer: "There are public health folks who believe that vaccines are sacred. Challenging this issue, is standing up to a sacred cow. Behind all that, right now there is the fact that, right now, it is impossible to sue a vaccine manufacturer for a defective vaccine. You cannot sue Merck if you receive a bad vaccine. You have to sue the Secretary of Health and Human Services. They have no direct liability for their products anymore. That's what established the vaccine compensation program.
So what you've now got is an industry that, when it comes out with a product, has people placed on government commissions to approve the product, to set the price, to mandate those products on the country, and has no liabilty. This is a huge income producer. Vaccines produce billions of dollars of income for pharmaceutical companies around the world."
Louis went on to explain the shoddy vaccine testing by the companies themselves and the establishment of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program back in 1988. He cited a vaccine injury case that was from just 18 months ago, "published on the website, no one picked up on it. ...What they call an MMR table encephalopathy, with features of autism. It's crystal clear. When you read the cases, it's crystal clear, you can't ignore it."
Next Louis discussed how VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Recording System) works. He pointed out that most people have never heard of it. "And hardly anyone knows about this program. Hardly any money is used to publicize this program. We're constantly given the message that vaccines are safe and effective." He also described the secretive nature of the whole vaccine compensation program.
The interviewer asked Louis a very important question at one point. "How much of the novel is driven by personal experience?"
Louis said, "A good chunk of it is," although he said he was "very difference from the lead character, Tony Colletti." Many of the experiences of autism parents have been incorporated into his book. Louis emphasized that we have to study the children who regressed into autism to figure out what made them sick. He added, "If you want to cut back on autism, you have to cut back on the things that induce brain damage in children. It's really that simple."
Finally Louis quoted what journalist Sharyl Attkisson, a 20 year veteran of CBS News, said about his book: "Compelling and controversial. You know that saying about truth being stranger than fiction? This is the truth. I couldn't put it down."
When I talked to Louis about The Autism War, I had to ask how the revelations of Dr. William Thompson, the whistleblower at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that MMR study results had been falsified related to what happened in his book. He said there were similarities.
"I've received lots of emails and Facebook comments where people mention how the recent events around the CDC whistleblower, Dr. William Thompson, mirror events in The Autism War. There are similarities. One of the characters is indeed tormented and conflicted by his knowledge of the truth about vaccine induced encephalopathy and how it often includes the behavioral diagnosis of autism. This character has a choice to make. I encourage people to read the book to see what happens.
"But what we must remember is that The Autism War is similar to what happened in the infamous mercury poisoning incident in Minimata, Japan. I wrote a commentary about Minimata for Age of Autism earlier this year.
The autism epidemic is America's Minimata. Just like us, simple fisherman had to overcome a lie that allowed a corporation to protect profits with government backing. They saw their lives and their families destroyed by a corporation that dumped mercury into Minimata Bay and poisoned their food supply.
"Then one scientist who worked for the company finally revealed the truth.
"This is what is happening now - the truth is coming out. It has emboldened people to speak out because they've had enough of having to silently live under the lie that vaccines don't cause autism. Look at all of those Hear This Well videos. Look at these amazing people speaking out! What the Thompson revelations have unleashed will lead to change. People shouldn't be discouraged that main stream media hasn't picked up on the story yet. They will. Keep in mind that major political scandals always take time to unfold. Nixon would have been fine if Watergate had been one bad week. The longer things play out, the better.
"In Minimata, the fishermen won and their country was ultimately better for it. Japan's democracy was strengthened by what the country learned from the tragedy. We are walking a similar path. We will win too."
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism and author of The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public, which goes on sale this Fall from Skyhorse Publishing.