Has the CDC censored VaXxed at another film festival? The Houston Worldfest Film Festival has announced that they too have been forced to remove VaXxed from their festival’s line up.
To answer this question, we must review what we reported earlier this week.
On Tuesday, we asked if the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention – an agency of the United States Government – directed the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), a not-for-profit organization to activate a panel of scientists, known as the Listserv, to pressure Robert De Niro and the Tribeca Film Festival to remove VaXxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe from the film festival’s 2016 line up.
We asked if the CDC sought to have VaXxed censored because the film detailed research fraud within the CDC Vaccine Safety Division on the 2004 MMR study published in Pediatrics. This study by Frank DeStefano, Tanya Karapurkar Bhasin, William W. Thompson, Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp and Coleen Boyle is the vital research that the government claims shows no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
On 3/25/16, Robert De Niro indicated that he and the Tribeca Film Festival team decided to pull VaXxed because of pressure from the scientific community.
“My intent in screening this film was to provide an opportunity for conversation around an issue that is deeply personal to me and my family. But after reviewing it over the past few days with the Tribeca Film Festival team and others from the scientific community, we do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for.”
Statements made by Alison Singer in a 3/29/16 article in the Guardian are absolutely clear that the IAC supplied the pressure De Niro was feeling:
“Four or five years ago we weren’t as well organized and people didn’t realize the importance of responding quickly and strongly,” said Alison Singer, the president of the Autism Science Foundation and a member of the IAC listserv.
“Today, we know that we have to respond to every incident however large or small, because if you leave any of these discredited theories unchallenged, it allows people to think that there’s something still to be discussed,” she said.
At the center of the network was a listserv group of more than 100 prominent individuals and science research bodies run out of the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) based in St Paul, Minnesota. According to the Guardian article, the “listserv acts as an early warning system that sounds the alarm whenever the potent conspiracy theory that autism can be caused by vaccination surfaces.”
The Guardian states “Through the listserv, conference calls were quickly organized among top scientists across the country to discuss how to respond to the news that what was seen as a scurrilous and misleading film was to be given a high-profile airing. Leading figures in the documentary world were also enlisted to add their objections to the showing of Vaxxed, the film directed by the disgraced former British doctor Andrew Wakefield.”
While Wakefield directed it, VaXxed is not about the retraction of his 1998 Lancet article. VaXxed is about the disclosures of CDC scientist Dr. William Thompson – one of the co-authors of the 2004 Pediatrics MMR article - alleging that the agency manipulated and destroyed data which showed that the MMR vaccine is linked to autism in African-American male children and another subset of children that the authors described as Isolated Autism (autism without other co-morbid conditions).
While Wakefield’s controversial 1998 Lancet paper on gastrointestinal illness in several children with autism was a factor in the CDC decision to study the MMR vaccine, the pressing issue for the CDC was not the Wakefield controversy.
The pressing issue was that their boss was being sued.
The Secretary of Health and Human Services was facing billions of dollars in compensation claims from families filing thousands of petitions in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) in the Omnibus Autism Proceedings (OAP) alleging MMR vaccine induced autism.
The 2004 research that Thompson says was fraudulent was critical to the families with claims in the OAP. VaXxed makes the point that the CDC’s fraud amounted to obstruction of justice of federal judicial proceedings.
William Thompson issued this statement through his attorney Rick Morgan on 8/27/14 about the 2004 MMR study:. Morgan-Verkamp is a well-regarded legal firm specializing in Whistleblower litigation.
“I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.”
Omitting statistically significant information and altering the design of the study to bury the elevated risk of autism for African-American boys and those with “isolated autism” due to the MMR vaccine is research fraud.
VaXxed details information Thompson gave to Dr. Brian Hooker, a scientist and father of a child with autism. VaXxed is constructed around excerpts of legally taped conversations between the two men where other serious allegations of misconduct within the CDC are disclosed.
In our first report we noted that Alison Singer, the Director of the Autism Science Foundation (ASF) and the apparent spokesperson for the IAC Listserv, is the mother of a child with autism and not a scientist. She held a leadership position at Autism Speaks before starting the ASF.
Dr. Paul Offit, who often acts a spokesman for vaccines, is on the ASF board. In other words, Offit is Singer’s boss.
Singer serves on the external advisory board of the CDC’s Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
Regarding IAC, we noted that the not-for-profit receives significant money from pharmaceutical companies – AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Sharp & Dohme Corp., Pfizer, Inc., Sanofi Pasteur and Seqirus. However, the CDC - listed at the top of the page - is the biggest donor to the IAC. This relationship is on-going as this spreadsheet details. And a 2011 IAC press release details a CDC grant award of 1.4 million dollars in 2011. Alison Singer indicates in the Guardian article that the IAC Listserv was initiated at approximately that time.
Powerful members of the vaccinology community – Dr. Stephen Cochi, Dr. Bruce Gellin, Dr. Neal A. Halsey, Dr. Samuel L. Katz, Elyse Olshen Kharbanda, Dr. Paul Offit, and Dr. Walter Orenstein, Dr. William Schafner, Dr. Anne Schuchat, Dr. Stanley A. Plotkin and Dr. Gregory A. Poland, among others – pack the IAC Advisory Board. Many are past or present employees of the CDC or have received grants from the CDC. Many have served on CDC boards. Virtually all of the members have regular business and professional relationships with the CDC.
The 10/25/11 press release states: “This cooperative agreement will support three key current IAC functions: (1) creation and distribution of weekly editions of IAC Express to IAC's email subscribers; (2) publication of the feature "Ask the Experts," in which CDC and IAC immunization experts answer questions from vaccine providers; and (3) creation of new immunization education materials designed to respond to the needs of immunization providers, parents, and patients…”
The Listserv is described by Singer as a sort of vaccinology rapid response team which is at the ready when “anti-vaccine groups” publicly link autism to vaccine injury.
Did the IAC Listserv Strike Again?
On Wednesday, Anne Dachel received a forwarded email from a Mr. Hunter Todd,
The Chairman and Founding Director of Team Worldfest – the group responsible for the 49th Annual Houston Worldfest Film and Video Festival.
From Mr. Todd:
Hola! from WorldFest...
We are happy to hear from you... we are also very sorry that we were forced to cancel this special premiere due to threats and pressure...
It was out of our hands, as we would lose more than $50,000 in support if we showed the film!
No worries, this will only make it more popular... and it will show in a regular theater in Houston very soon! On the Internet also...
God's Blessings on you and yours...
My Thanks and Best regards,
Hunter Hunter Todd Chairman & Founding Director TEAM WORLDFEST The 49th Annual WorldFest-Houston!
We called Hunter Todd later Wednesday afternoon and spoke at length:
"The powers that be told me we would lose all our grants," Todd said. “City and County officials called.” We asked if he knew who called the local government leaders, and he indicated that state health authorities seemed to be making calls along with federal government officials. “My sponsors were called. I called them to give them a heads up but they had already been spoken to.”
“No one’s called me like this in the forty-nine years that I’ve been doing this.” And the calls were not pleasant. "It was amazing the force they used."
Todd then noted that he has an employee with a 15 year old grandson who regressed after vaccination. "I felt it was important to show this film. The movie was really well done."
"This is the power of big pharma,” Todd said. “They have the power to suppress and censor…People don't like censorship in Texas and this is censorship....I tried to defend the film and they attacked the doctor (Wakefield)...Maybe he lost his license because pharma attacked him."
Mr. Todd stated that he was concerned that his funding will be cut if he is identified - he has employees who could lose their jobs if funding is cut.
However, by Wednesday evening, Mr. Todd’s name - and the second incident of censorship of VaXxed - was all over the internet and social media. Todd’s letter to Phillipe Diaz, Chairman of Cinema Libre, the film’s distributor was reported by Celia Farber on the Truth Barrier.
Unanswered Questions Continue
It is absolutely clear that the Immunization Action Coalition receives financial support from the CDC. This not-for-profit assembled a panel of unnamed scientists who called for the censorship of a film that exposed alleged research fraud corruption in the CDC.
Is the IAC Listserv also behind the censorship of VaXxed at the Houston Worldfest Film Festival? We know that Alison Singer took credit on behalf of the IAC for VaXxed being removed from the Tribeca Film Festival.
We ask again, who are these scientists? Are they employees of the CDC? Were they acting on behalf of the CDC? Who called Houston’s mayor? Who were the state officials acting on behalf of?
Is the CDC – through the Immunization Action Coalition and its affliates – engaged in a continuing pattern of conduct to censor VaXxed to protect itself?
Our phone calls to the IAC have not been answered. We will continue to reach out to the IAC and others to resolve some of these questions.
Hunter Todd has run a successful film festival for the City of Houston for forty-nine years. He went to bed Wednesday night wondering if he had made the right choice: opting for the freedom to show a film he believed in and allowing people the freedom to consider that film -- or seeing his film festival and his employees’ jobs threatened.
What would you do?
VaXxed is about corruption in the CDC and its role in the autism epidemic. Artists and film makers and people who show films are receiving threatening phone calls from people acting on behalf of others who remain unidentified.
This is the deeply troubling state of affairs in the United States of America on April 8, 2016.
Louis Conte, author of The Autism War and co-author of Vaccine Injuries
Wayne Rohde, author of The Vaccine Court – Dark Truth of America’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
All books published by Skyhorse Publishing – New York City