Decide for yourself - visit the VAXXED site to learn more about the movie and to purchase tickets.
By Louis Conte and Wayne Rohde
Did the Centers For Disease Control – an agency of the United States Government – direct the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), a not-for-profit organization to activate a panel of scientists, known as the Listserv, to pressure Robert Di Niro and the Tribeca Film Festival to remove VaXxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe from the film festival’s 2016 line up?
Did the CDC seek to have VaXxed censored because the film details research fraud within the CDC Vaccine Safety Division to alter results of the foundational research used by the government to deny the link between the MMR Vaccine and autism?
On 3/25/16, Robert Di 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 Di 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 email list 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.”
Having viewed VaXxed, the film is not about Andrew Wakefield or the retraction of his 1998 Lancet article describing a bowel syndrome in children with autism. While Wakefield directed it, VaXxed is about the disclosures of CDC scientist, Dr. William Thompson, alleging that the agency manipulated and destroyed data in the seminal research cited by the US government as proof that the MMR vaccine is not linked to autism. While Wakefield’s controversy was likely a factor in the CDC decision to study the MMR vaccine, a bigger factor was the filing of thousands of petitions in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) alleging MMR vaccine induced autism. In what would eventually become known as the Omnibus Autism Proceedings (OAP), the Secretary of Health and Human Services was facing billions of dollars in compensation claims.
The 2004 research that Thompson says was fraudulent, might have been critical to the families with claims in the OAP. VaXxed makes the point that the CDC’s fraud amounted to obstruction of justice.
William Thompson’s 8/27/14 statement on his concerns about his employer’s conduct in the 2004 MMR study is on the website of the attorneys he retained - Morgan-Verkamp (). 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 African-American boys developing 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. The film also features legally taped conversations between the two men where other serious allegations of misconduct within the CDC are disclosed.
Who is Alison Singer and what is her relationship to IAC and the CDC?
Alison Singer is mother of a child with autism and held a leadership position at Autism Speaks before starting the Autism Science Foundation (ASF). Dr. Paul Offit, who often acts a spokesman for vaccines, is on the ASF board. Essentially, Paul Offit is Singer’s boss. According to Inside Philanthropy, Singer is the Director of the ASF and serves on the external advisory board of the CDC’s Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
Although serving as the spokesperson for the IAC listserv and a proponent of science, Singer is not a scientist. As Inside Philanthropy notes, she holds degrees in Economics and Business. While her directorship has placed her on prestigious boards and apparently christened her as spokesperson for the IAC Listserv, the Autism Science Foundation is a rather small organization: click here for recent IRS tax filing
Is Singer compensated for her activities by IAC?
Immunization Action Coalitions ties to the CDC?
While the IAC receives significant money from pharmaceutical companies – AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Sharp & Dohme Corp., Pfizer, Inc., Sanofi Pasteur and Seqirus, the CDC - listed at the top of the page - is the biggest source of revenue for the IAC. This relationship is on-going as this spread sheet details.
This press release details a CDC grant award of 1.4 million dollars in 2011 – exactly the time frame that Alison Singer points to in the Guardian article for the beginning of the IAC Listserv.
The 10/25/11 IAC 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. Importantly, the new agreement also makes IAC the nation's central clearinghouse for Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) in languages other than English.”
Did the “Ask the Experts” panel become the IAC Listserv that pressured Di Niro to pull VaXxed from the Tribeca Film Festival? In other words, were CDC grant dollars diverted to promoting censorship of a film that was critical of the CDC?
If not, where did the resources for the IAC Listserv come from?
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. This would seem to explain the consistent use of key phrases that are commonly deployed by representatives of mainstream science in attacking those who question vaccine safety. The same phrases – “anti-vaccine”, “vaccine caused autism has been debunked”, “Andy Wakefield has been discredited”, etc. - the same parlance and the media endlessly repeats it.
These are the talking points of an organized group – the IAC Listserv.
The IAC Advisory Board is packed with high-power 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.
The majority of the members of the Advisory Board 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.
Is it possible that members of the Advisory Board doubled as members of the Listserv? Did CDC employees or people receiving funding from the CDC pressure Di Niro to pull VaXxed?
Succeeding in pressuring artists to pull a film from a film festival is unprecedented. The Tribeca Film Festival features many controversial films this year and has done so in past years. That a panel of scientists – now known to be the IAC Listserv – actively sought to censor a film about scientific fraud is alarming.
It is absolutely clear that the Immunization Action Coalition receives financial support from the CDC. This not-for-profit ran a panel of unknown scientists who called for the censorship of a film that exposed alleged research fraud corruption in the CDC.
Did the 2011 CDC grant to establish a panel of experts evolve into the IAC Listserv? If not, where did the money to fund the Listserv’s activities come from?
Who are these scientists? Are they employees of the CDC? Were they acting on behalf of the CDC?
Did the CDC authorize the Immunization Action Coalition to censor VaXxed to protect itself? We will reach out to the IAC and others over the next few days to resolve some of these questions.
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