Note: This is the final installment of Anne Dachel's Thirty Years series. We're in our 17th year of publication. Many of our readers have adult children with autism in, or approaching, their 30s. Some even older. We must continue to speak our truth - our kids' truth.
By Anne Dachel
'We have put our trust in people who don't deserve it and who fail to earn it'
There would be no end to this series if I were to focus on the people in positions of authority who have lied to us about autism over the years. I have written hundreds of stories about the officials and experts whose job it is to protect the health of our children.
In truth, they have used their positions to promote the interests of the pharmaceutical industry—the entity they’re supported to regulate. Very often, after a certain number of years at the CDC or NIH, they’re rewarded with a lucrative position in some branch of pharma for a job well done.
Their names are familiar to all of us because of the public positions they’ve taken, reassuring concerned parents that vaccines didn’t cause their child’s autism. They get the mainstream news coverage over and over.
They have their studies that show no link, and no one is ever willing challenge their findings. Their science is the final word. We just have to believe it and make sure everyone else believes it too.
All the names of the vaccine defenders are carefully cataloged, and someday in the near future, when the lies about better diagnosing, expanded definition, greater awareness and studies show no link are finally exposed, all the experts who lied to us about every aspect of the autism epidemic will be remembered. Eventually the world will have to recognize the reality of the autism epidemic and the permanent changes we will all have to make to deal with it.
To understand how well things have been covered up, we have to look at Washington and what our elected officials have done about autism.
I’ve already talked about the thousands of parents who’ve gone to D.C. over the years to talk to their representatives and about the dozens of hearings that have looked into autism. All this was really meaningless. Congress isn’t interested in autism or what it’s doing to America’s children.
I can say that from personal experience. Back in 2007 I wrote a piece called, Autism: An Epidemic of Fairly Recent Origin that was published on Counterpunch.
In the story, I talked about the stunning increase in autism, which at that time was one in every 166 children. I wrote about how officials were addressing this:
…Someone sent me a copy of a letter written last November by the Attorney General of Wisconsin, who at the time was Peggy Lautenschlager. The letter was addressed to U.S. Senator Herb Kohl from Wisconsin. It seems the Attorney General had been reading the newspapers and hearing about the statistics on autism.
Newspapers have occasionally covered the exploding numbers. Several months ago, the Green Bay Press Gazette reported, “Fourteen years ago, Wisconsin school districts identified 200 children in their ranks with autism. Today, there are at least 200 students in the Green Bay School District alone. In December 2005 (the most recent numbers available), DPI identified 5,085 students in the state with an autism spectrum disorder.”
Those figures have got to be getting notice, especially if those numbers are multiplied by the estimates of lifetime care.
In her letter to Senator Kohl, Lautenschlager addressed the autism epidemic as an epidemic. “Although some dispute the characterization, in my view it is appropriate to describe the dramatic rise of those diagnosed with autism as an epidemic of fairly recent origin. How else can one explain its prevalence among our children and comparative absence in our adult population?”
Calling autism ‘an epidemic of fairly recent origin’ is a clear sign that Lautenschlager was not swayed by the “better diagnosing” claim of federal health officials. In addition, she urged Kohl to vote for the Combating Autism Act, then under consideration in the Senate.
The Wisconsin Attorney General further told Kohl, “Despite efforts being made in our schools, communities and through private sector and non-profit organizations dedicated to improving the lives of autistic children and their families, as a state and a nation we have failed to address comprehensively the most obvious question this epidemic presents: its cause.”
Lautenschalger pointed to the need to support H.R. 5940, a bill that would require the NIH to conduct a comprehensive study regarding the relationship between vaccines or vaccine components and autism. She was concerned because “that bill also was referred to committee, and has seen no further action.” She wrote, “Action is needed.”
The controversy over vaccines, especially ones with mercury, was definitely a critical factor for Lautenschalger in addressing autism. She wrote, “As Attorney General of Wisconsin, I have sought approval from the Governor to gain the assistance of needed experts and outside counsel to explore legal means of forcing the federal government to undertake the type of testing needed to explain the cause or causes of autism. My request was denied.” Evidently, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle didn’t share the Attorney General’s concern over the number of disabled children overwhelming state schools.
Although the U.S. Senate passed the Combating Autism Act by unanimous consent last December, the funding still hasn’t been provided. H.R. 5940 was never acted on and nothing is known concerning how or if Senator Kohl personally responded to Lautenschlager’s letter.
Senator Kohl, who recently passed away at age 88, was my U.S. Senator and when I was in D.C. in 2005 and 2006 I talked to his staff. On one occasion, talking with a staff member about the inaction of Congress to deal with the vaccine-autism controversy, I was given the curt response: “Pharma does not come in here,” referring to the fact that Kohl was among the richest members to ever sit in Congress and didn’t need to go after pharma money.
I replied, “Pharma doesn’t have to. They’re in every other office.”
I went to the offices of every representative from Wisconsin. One trip I had a doctor with me along with all kinds of research information. In the office of my now-retired representative, Dave Obey, his chief of staff told me and the physician with me, “What do you want Mr. Obey to do? Congressmen don’t like problems without solutions.”
We both replied, “We need to stop it,” referring to the damage from the current childhood vaccine schedule.
The meeting thus ended.
My point here is, they all know.
Our elected officials are fully aware of what’s happening and they can’t or won’t do anything about it. There are more lobbyists from the pharmaceutical industry on Capitol Hill than members of Congress. They’ve used their time well.
Other members simply are powerless. A few lone voices calling attention to autism and to the controversy over vaccines could hardly stand up to the power brokers who run things in Washington.
Finally here is one more example of why Congress is not there for our children.
One of the courageous doctors I’m privileged to know is Ken Stoller, an expert in the use of hyperbaric oxygen to treat brain-injured people.
Dr. Ken Stoller
Here is his account of what happened when he testified at a congressional hearing on autism in 2004. I interviewed Dr. Stoller in 2013.
In 2004, he was invited to Washington to testify about autism treatments before the House Government Reform Committee Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness, chaired by Rep Dan Burton of Indiana. The invitation he received asked him to speak about "hyperbaric treatment for brain injured children."
The title of the hearing was, "Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Update of Federal Government Initiatives and Revolutionary New Treatment of Neuro-Development Diseases."
Rep Burton opened the meeting saying:
During my tenure as chairman of the full Committee on Government Reform, and as the current Chair of this subcommittee, I have convened 20 hearings on the topics of autism, vaccine safety, and the detrimental health effects of mercury-containing medical products.
We've been successful in getting mercury out of almost all children's vaccines except, I think--what--three. The problem is that, still on the shelves, are vaccines that are being given to children that contain mercury that are no longer being produced. We need to have a recall on those, but so far HHS and CDC has not chosen to do that. But we're working on them.
During these investigations, numerous scientists from around the globe have testified before the committee and have presented credible peer-reviewed research studies that indicated a direct link between the exposure of mercury, a widely known neurotoxin, and the increasing instances of autism.
Because autistic individuals typically have a high concentration of mercury stored in their bodies, many doctors are concerned with how exactly they can safely remove these toxins from their patients without exposing them to greater medical risks....
Dr. Paul Harch, president of the International Hyperbaric Medical Association, will discuss how the use of hyperbarics may be a viable therapy to administer to persons afflicted with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In addition, Dr. Ken Stoller has been invited to further supplement the testimony of Dr. Harch and discuss additional uses for hyperbaric treatments for patients afflicted with other neurodevelopmental diseases and injuries. As I stated before, autism is an epidemic, and I sure hope our health agencies are paying attention, because it really is, and it directly affects millions of Americans, including every single taxpayer in the United States and will for decades to come.
Dan Burton and Maxine Waters were the only committee members present. (Rep Dave Weldon was also there, although not a member of the committee.) No video recording was allowed during the hearing and when Dr. Stoller asked why it wasn't being taped, he was told that Rep. Henry Waxman "forbid it."
A year later, during another trip to Washington, Dr. Stoller talked with a senior health staffer in one congressional office about the possibility of legislation that would encourage biomedical interventions for affected children. He was adamant. "I said that this is a medical problem and children with medical problems deserve to have those problems cared for instead of just getting the standard response, 'Oh, that's just part of autism."
To his surprise, he was told that there would never be any legislation that had the words "autism" and "treatment" in the bill.
The staff member said that talking about treatment would point anyone in direction of causality and in this case also responsibility. These are topics that Congress is not willing deal with.
Stoller was stunned. He said, "I couldn't imagine how we would get around this. The government was planning to do nothing to help these kids." They may have sounded interested in his treatment of "brain injured children," but they didn't want to talk about what caused the injury in the first place. I also had this question for Dr. Stoller: Why does the government refuse to address autism as a national health crisis?
Stoller feels there is no doubt in the minds of top officials what's causing autism, so there is little point in trying to convince them of what they already know but have chosen to obfuscate about.
According to Stoller, "The autism epidemic is a neuroenvirnomental disaster that has lasted more than a decade beyond when it should have been resolved because the perpetrators have too many friends in places of control and power."
Stoller would also be the first to say that this is not just about autism. The poisons that have damaged a generation of children are taking their toll on each and every one of us. For some, that is increased cancer rates, endocrine disruption, autoimmune disorders and even mental illness.
Stoller feels that we can no longer rely on civil servants who revolve between corporation and state. The FDA is broken. The CDC is hopelessly tied to industry.
"We have put our trust in people who don't deserve it and who fail to earn it."
What is undeniable is the fact that Washington is very willing to go along with all the lies and the cover-up. It is so well-established in the minds of Americans that autism is a puzzling condition we really don’t understands, but we have all the time in the world to figure out. It’s always been around, we just woke up to it in recent decades.
What is never at issue any longer is a possible link to vaccines. All efforts have gone into officially crushing that claim.
That has to be the truth. We will hold on to that claim regardless of the increases and despite what autism is costing us. Autism can never be a crisis. Once we make the whole world “Autism Friendly,” everything will be fine.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.
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