On March 25, 2015 I received the following e-mail from Kevin O’Malley of the Commonwealth Club of California regarding a scheduled appearance on April 9, 2015 by myself, Dr. Judy Mikovits, and Dr. Brian Hooker for a presentation entitled “American Whistleblowers”.
Kent and Judy,
Unfortunately it seems that Kent's blog two days ago set up a chain reaction that is causing some challenges with the Commonwealth Club, and we have come under a lot of fire from outside the Club directed at us.
Given the timing, and the challenging environment right now, the conversation has become a much different one than our program intended, and not one that will support getting the word out about your book, or any of our positive messages. As such, I am going to have to postpone the program and revisit how to best present this all at a later date.
This is a very tricky issue in a Public Affairs Forum, and it appears the Kent's warning about drawing attention was correct. There is also concern about how we are framing the discussion, and the focus on whistle-blowers seems to have back-fired, and taken us away from our primary intent.
Please let folks know that we are postponing the program -- and PLEASE DO NOT include any editorial comments about this in anything further you make public. Just let them know that we need to postpone due to a scheduling challenge. Any further editorial input around any of this will just make things worse; we need to let any outside attention fade away from what we tried to do here.
It’s probably worth backing up a little bit to recount how all of this came to pass. On February 18, 2015 the wonderful documentary Trace Amounts, detailing the history of mercury in vaccines, was showing at the Opera Plaza Cinemas in San Francisco. I was the master of ceremonies for the event. Prior to the showing of the movie, I met Christie Dames and her husband, Kevin O’Malley. Christie was enthusiastic about the book I had just co-written with Dr. Judy Mikovits, PLAGUE: One Scientist’s Intrepid Search for the Truth About Human Retroviruses, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Autism, and Other Diseases.
Dr. Mikovits is a government scientist of more than twenty years’ experience and was Director of the Lab of Antiviral Drugs Mechanisms at the National Cancer Institute. Her research indicated a possible retroviral cause to chronic fatigue syndrome and autism, making it similar in many ways to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, although without the fatal consequences. I am a public school science teacher and an attorney. Christie wanted to get us to speak at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.
Her husband Kevin, is Chairman of the Business and Leadership forum at the Commonwealth Club agreed and we quickly made plans for an appearance. Christie thought we should broaden the scope from just our book, and include Dr. Brian Hooker, a biology professor from Simpson University, who had recently burst onto the public stage with revelations of a whistleblower for the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. William Thompson. The allegations of Dr. Thompson were that that public health officials had covered up a link between the MMR vaccine and autism in African-American males.
Here is the text of the program we developed for the April 9, 2015 event: American Whistleblowers: The Perils and Promise of Science: Whistleblowers from Daniel Ellsberg in the 70s to Edward Snowden in recent years, have always received pointed public attention for exposing the internal dealings of our powerful political and military institutions. But who shines a light on the convoluted realm of health care, a massive industry that brought in over 1.6 trillion dollars in revenue over the past year? With health care choice at the nexus of our constitutional rights, and scares like Ebola and measles grabbing international headlines, how do we know we’re getting information that is truthful? Come hear about scientists, lauded by some and maligned by others, who decide to go public with information that many in the industry don’t want us to see.
I was excited about the Commonwealth Club invitation as it bills itself as “the nation’s oldest and largest public affairs forum” with a mission to be “the leading national forum open to all for the impartial discussion of public issues important to the membership, community and nation.” There was also discussion that Daniel Ellsberg, whose revelation of massive fraud and dishonesty in the prosecution of the Vietnam War would introduce us. Kevin and his wife, Christie seemed to be good people who were concerned about these issues.
Ticket sales were a little slow so I suggested writing an article for the web-site Age of Autism. I told Kevin and Christie that there were some individuals who were very critical of the parent community of Age of Autism and if I did publish an article about the talk they might get some calls. Kevin assured me that would not be a problem. As you know, dear reader, that did not turn out to be the case.
In the four months since the cancellation of our talk I have to confess to a sense of deep disappointment at the profound silence from the Commonwealth Club and its representatives. To their credit, Robert Kennedy, Jr. did appear at the Commonwealth Club on April 7, 2015 for a talk on mercury and vaccines and I reported on that event and gave credit to the club for not knuckling under to pressure to cancel his talk.
But I always thought there was something fundamental in the DNA of my fellow countrymen which would not allow us to be forever kept off the stage at the Commonwealth Club. I wonder why it is that the Commonwealth Club does not live up to their own principles of free and open discussion? How can my speech be prohibited by the club before I even speak? Is censorship the new method of operation in the United States? If we say anything wrong, the answer in our country for more than two hundred years is for people with differing opinions to speak and try to convince the public that they are correct.
I have reached out on several occasions to Kevin O’Malley and Christie Dames about rescheduling our talk, but they have given me no reason to believe we will ever be allowed to speak. It’s difficult when those who claim to be your friends treat you no different than your enemies. I never thought it would be necessary in my lifetime to defend free speech. I thought the right to freely express our ideas without fear of reprisal or censorship was something every American would defend to their very last breath. Sometimes it seems even our friends can forget these principles.
If you feel so motivated, please call the President of the Commonwealth Club, Gloria Duffy at (415) 597-6721 and politely ask that the American Whistleblowers talk from April 9, 2015 be immediately rescheduled. You can also e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org