Smoke and Mirrors at the CDC
“The CDC in general and the National Immunization Program in particular
are conflicted in their duties to monitor the safety of vaccines, while also
charged with the responsibility of purchasing vaccines for resale as well as
promoting increased immunization rates.” [Emphasis added] 
That the CDC is not capable of its vaccine-related fiduciary responsibilities because of conflicts of interest could not be news to anyone who actually sees what they do. When the money is on the side of selling vaccines and promoting vaccine uptake, the interests of money will win, not safety. The story of Dr. William W. Thompson, senior CDC researcher, serves to underscore the CDC’s slipping concern with vaccine safety — and the resultant necessity of scientific deception when the results of research go against money. Robert F. Kennedy has used the words “…a pervasive culture of corruption at the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office,” which office is bent on concealing any link between vaccines and brain damage. 
In 2004, a group of CDC scientists published a paper in the journal Pediatrics.  Its identified purpose was to compare age at first MMR vaccination in two principal groups: those with and those without autism. They planned to examine selected subgroups as well. After the commission of scientific fraud and the destruction of records, this publication was to become another of the several papers that purposefully did not implicate vaccines in neurological-developmental disruption — in this case, the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR). In fact, this paper was written with considerable unnecessary content so as, I believe, to steer readers away from linking vaccines to vaccine damage. Yet, what the paper said and what the research group found were very different. That secret discrepancy remained hidden until 2014.
William W. Thompson, PhD, was a coauthor on that 2004 paper. Thompson was anguished by undisclosed research findings. Soon after the paper’s publication he was to make a presentation concerning its findings to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). In the same month as the paper’s publication, Thompson wrote  to Julie Gerberding, Director of the CDC.  He let Gerberding know of his misgivings and that he wanted to make sure she would back her researchers when they spoke scientific truth. In that letter to his boss, Thompson included slides to be used in his upcoming IOM presentation. He specifically stated that he would show, “several problematic results relating to statistical associations between the receipt of the MMR Vaccine and autism”. Although Dr. Gerberding did not reply to Dr. Thompson’s letter, he was pulled from the duty of reporting to the IOM, and Dr. Frank DeStefano was assigned. The problematic finding did not surface at the IOM.
There was a vaccine-autism link discoverable in the original analysis; that analysis followed the agreed-upon research protocol. Black males who received their MMR vaccine at <36 months of age had an increased relative risk of 2.41 or 141%. Here (again) was a vaccination-autism link in CDC data.
William Thompson admitted, and there is other evidence that shows, the CDC had been actively hiding this link at least since the late 1990s. 
The Thompson story broke in the summer of 2014. It should have been explosive news. Such a finding could change the course of medical history! Surprisingly for its potential, the story got extremely sparse national coverage. As an example, Time Magazine  brushed off the vaccine-autism link as a statistical mirage (while showing that the Time author gravely misunderstood statistics), and placed the story improbably but squarely in the context of the “antivaccine” ideologues.
Yet there must have been something in the data. Dr. Thompson applied for Whistleblower protection, hired a top whistleblower legal firm (Frederick M. Morgan, Jr. of Morgan Verkamp) . Thompson recounts that the group of authors who wrote the suspect paper scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study. And they did destroy records. Scientists don’t destroy their records, but guilty persons do. Fortunately, Thompson (who was worried about ethics, legality and autistic children) saved copies and relevant computer files. 
As coincidence would have it, in the midst of his attack of conscience, Thompson began corresponding with and talking to Brian S. Hooker. Hooker discovered from Thompson what exactly to ask for, when using the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the data used in the published 2004 CDC Metro-Atlanta MMR study.  Hooker did a reanalysis and published a paper in Translational Neurodegeneration.  That new inquiry revealed the secret that had so distressed Thompson. Hooker’s reanalysis found a 3.36-fold increased risk for autism in African-American males who received MMR vaccination before the age of 36 months.
After publication, the journal Translational Neurodegeneration received pressure from undisclosed sources, describing said pressure as “post-publication peer-review,” and retracted Hooker’s article.  Outside the tight CDC-Pro-Pharma circle the entire affair has been characterized as a CDC cover-up and as scientific fraud committed by the CDC. Meanwhile, the validity of Hooker’s paper has been widely denied on blogs that are pro-vaccine (e.g., http://www.snopes.com/medical/disease/cdcwhistleblower.asp ).  Hooker’s findings have been explained away using misdirection and irrelevant assumptions in a highly doubtful manner, but, nonetheless, to the satisfaction of those who protect vaccines from any and all criticism. They cannot explain, and tend to ignore or deny, the actions of William W. Thompson himself.
Thompson, a senior scientist at the CDC, was agonizing for years over something undisclosed in the data; he was shamed by his role in the publication of the CDC study. He stated (to Hooker) about the data:
“It’s all there. This is the lowest point in my career; that I went along with that paper. I have great shame now when I meet families of kids with autism, because I have been part of the problem.” 
It is more probable that Thompson was deeply disturbed about something, than it is that he was disturbed about nothing — as vaccine champions would have us believe. This was not some sham invented by antivaccinists. Thompson clearly implies his unease has to do with the 2004 study and with autism.
Thompson accordingly released a statement through his lawyers on his lawyers’ website. It reads in part:
“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.” 
Above, in very neutral language, he describes the source of his regret as the omission of publically valuable information, but his most damning (if invisible to most people) statement is that the team did not follow the final protocol for the study. They thus were able to make that regretful omission. Once written, the final protocol becomes as if Holy Scripture. It is meant to prevent scientists from doing whatever they like to the analysis, adding to and omitting from the data whatever complements their values and (financial) interests.
Two further points are worthy of noting. The first has to do with Frank DeStefano. The second point concerns a possible, additional finding of a vaccine-autism link; this involves, apparently, the 2004 paper again, and something labeled “Isolated Autism.”
Frank DeStefano – Deceit
There is a long history of involvement by Frank DeStefano with active attempts to cover-up vaccine involvement with childhood neurological disruption. DeStefano is lead author of the suspect 2004 study, with William Thompson and others. He is a long-time CDC employee. His official status is Director of Immunization Safety. He was an active participant in the secret  Simpsonwood Conference (June 7-8, 2000).
The closed meeting at Simpsonwood Conference Center was called because a CDC researcher named Thomas Verstraeten, using the best available data, had discovered an alarming dose-response link between thimerosal and various neurological disruptions, including autism. As total thimerosal exposure increased, the relative risk of autism increased. The analyses reported at Simpsonwood were principally accomplished between November 1999 and February 2000, but adjustments were ongoing at least up to the time of the conference. More analytic tinkering went on up to 2003.
In an official email to Tom Davis (with the now infamous subject line: “It just won’t go away” — referring to the autism signal in the analysis), Verstraeten describes his findings as strong and robust (despite his considerable efforts to make the autism signal disappear), and that he cannot see any alternative to the implication of vaccine causality. The body of the email makes clear that the issue has been discussed with DeStefano.  The participants of the Simpsonwood meeting were certain that the results were undeniably real, not flukes, though some did not like to contemplate that reality.  One participant stated the following:
“Forgive this personal comment, but I got called out at eight o’clock for an emergency call and my daughter-in-law delivered a son by C-section. Our first male in the line of the next generation and I do not want that grandson to get a Thimerosal containing vaccine until we know better what is going on. It will probably take a long time. In the meantime, and I know there are probably implications for this internationally, but in the meanwhile I think I want that grandson to only be given Thimerosal-free vaccines.”  [Emphasis added] – Dr. Robert Johnson, pp. 199-200, Simpsonwood transcript.
Another participant says:
“And I really want to risk offending everyone in the room by saying that perhaps this study should not have been done at all, because the outcome of it could have, to some extent, been predicted…”
-Dr. John Clements, pp. 247-248, Simpsonwood transcript.
“The number of dose-related relationships are [sic] linear and statistically significant. You can play with this all you want. They are linear. They are statistically significant.”
-Dr. Bill Weil, p. 207, Simsonwood transcript.
“The medical/legal findings in this study, causal or not, are horrendous and therefore it is important that the suggested epidemiological, pharmacokinetic and animal studies be performed. If an allegation was made that a child’s neurobehavioral findings were caused by Thimerosal containing vaccines, you could readily find a junk scientist who would support the claim with ‘a reasonable degree of certainty.’ But you will not find a scientist with any integrity who would say the reverse with the data that is [sic] available. And that is true. So we are in a bad position from the standpoint of defending any lawsuits if they were initiated and I am concerned.”
-Dr. Robert Brent, p. 229, Simpsonwood transcript
For children in the NCK and GHC Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO)  with cumulative exposure to thimerosal doses of 62.5 micrograms by three months, Verstraeten found the relative risk of autism was 2.48 (or 148% higher than those who did not receive vaccines).  For all four HMOs the relative risk was 1.71 or 71% higher. 
At this secret, closed Simsonwood meeting, there was no remorse for sickened children. There was no shame. There was no “We’ve got to fix this!” There was no moral concern whatsoever. There was the openly expressed necessity that the damning results had to be “handled”  and made to disappear. This need was discussed at some considerable length. They discussed statistical manipulation and exclusion of various groups to hide the results. It was further mentioned that other studies had to be done that would show no relationship between vaccination and autism. That is, they discussed fraudulent research to be done from scratch for the stated purpose of bolstering the official claim that vaccines did not cause autism.
An abstract written by Thomas Verstraten, R. Davis, D. Gu, and Frank DeStefano was released in 2014 by the CDC to a Congressional oversight committee.  The abstract was for a paper presentation in April 2000 to the fellows of the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) during its annual meeting. The abstract makes a crucial statement: “Within this group [the highest exposure group at one month of age] we also found an elevated [relative] risk for the following disorders: autism (RR 7.6, 95% Cl = 1.8-31.5)…” We are unavoidably aware that the CDC has known about the autism connection to vaccines yet tells us through every statement and website that it does not exist. We cannot now avoid the conclusion that when a paper is published by CDC employees and the results say vaccines have no connection to autism, scientific fraud has occurred.
All of this is to say that deception and chicanery have been a part of CDC vaccine ideology and practice for some time. Additionally, Frank DeStefano has been a knowing participant in scientific dishonesty for over a decade and a half. When a paper using the Verstraeten data was finally published in 2003, DeStefano was third author (a total of five of the authors were Simpsonwood delegates and CDC employees).  About that paper, DeStefano severely misled the public by implying that the authors of the 2003 paper had sought a prepublication, good faith review from the Safe Minds organization. That assertion was completely untrue.  Safe Minds did perform a post-publication, thorough, detailed, and unflattering review of the 2003 Pediatrics paper.  If such a pre-publication peer reviews had occurred, the 2003 paper would never have been published.
Because of fraud, the 2003 Pediatrics paper found no relationships between vaccine-thimerosal and autism or with attention-deficit disorder. By that time, new data had been added to the pool. It derived from an additional questionable, now closed, HMO.
Additionally, the Geiers state “…there are also significant issues about the methods used to determine the mercury dose” inasmuch as a third of included children took the thimerosal-free vaccines that had become available.  Another crushing evaluation of the published study was issued, best read in its fullness. 
It is therefore no stretch to believe that a 2004 paper on which DeStefano was first author would be subjected to unscientific manipulation of findings to preserve a false CDC position on vaccine safety. If such reviews had been part of the original peer review process, this paper would never have been published; further, I believe that if the CDC had not been, in effect, the author of this worked-over Verstraeten paper, a successful demand for retraction would long ago have removed it from Pediatrics.
Isolated Autism – A Second Vaccine-Autism Link
Isolated autism appears to be an ad hoc research category comprised of autistics without comorbid conditions (e.g., without autism plus cerebral palsy, mental retardation, visual impairment, hearing impairment, or birth defects). A second link between vaccination and autism has been apparently uncovered from Thompson’s papers. This group is based on MMR vaccine exposure and autism diagnosis, without respect to race. For the entire category, those who received their MMR shot at <36 months, the odds ratio for autism is 2.48; the odds ratio for those whose MMR shot occurred between 24 – 36 months was 3.09. These are statistically significant and strong odds for a causal link.
The importance of this group is that they have no apparent constitutional or confounding markers. As a result, this group could be the basis for the discovery of some condition (e.g., mitochondrial disease) or pattern of characteristics that would be predictive of autism when a child is exposed to vaccination. But admitting such children exist creates an indubitable link between vaccination and severe neurological disruption. That is forbidden.
In the great wash of assurances that vaccines are safe, we are not reminded of recognized danger. Even the quite cautious National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program with its “Vaccine Court” has paid out over $3 billion in damages to plaintiffs. That court (legally) recognizes that the DTP, the DTaP and MMR vaccines are associated with encephalopathy and death.  We should know, however, that while the autism epidemic goes unexplained and untreated by the medical profession, fraudulent papers such as the 2003 and 2004 publications discussed above continue to put our children at great, continuing risk and prevent the “Vaccine Court” from compensating injured children who need very expensive care.
Soldiers in the War Against Disease
A soldier does not need to believe in killing generally, only that they ought to do so when the opportunity presents itself. It is plainly obvious that such killing may save his life and the lives of his fellow soldiers. Killing can be, practically speaking, inescapable, self-preserving or merely self-serving. Having the weight of authority behind a soldier’s actions stiffens his resolve to survive; believing that a greater good may be achieved by the lesser evils of individual deaths that legitimate and legalize what he must do.
Similarly, many “soldiers” in the war against disease may not have moral qualms about vaccine injuries and deaths because of the authority behind what they do. They may honestly believe in the greater good of vaccines. They may even become true believers so that contrary evidence creates a moral and emotional distance between their actions and the inevitable vaccine damage. Personal responsibility for damage is allocated away from the front lines of medical action. They may even be personally damaged by what they do, but absorb that damage within the total context of their actions — and continue harming children.
It is undeniable that protecting vaccine-uptake becomes a personal matter for these vaccine “soldiers.”  But someone sends these soldiers out to do their work. At that level of causality, the precise motives of their “soldiers” are not important, only that they do as told, and are given the support and incentives (negative and positive) to maintain their resolve. At a certain level of authority, what passes for motive might be power and money in their various intermingled forms. This derives neither from scientifically tested vaccine field effectiveness nor vaccine safety.
1. Representative U.S. Congress, and Chair Dan Burton. “A Report Prepared by the Staff of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness Committee on Government Reform United States House of Representatives”, May 2003, p. 7.
2. See: http://ringoffireradio.com/2015/02/cdc-scientist-still-maintains-agency-forced-researchers-lie-safety-mercury-based-vaccines/, February 12, 2015
3. Frank DeStefano, Tanya Karapurkar Bhasin, William W. Thompson, Marshalyn Yeargin-Alsopp and Coleen Boyle. “Age at First Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination in Children With Autism and School-Matched Subjects: A Population-Based Study in Metropolitan Atlanta”, Pediatrics, Vol. 113, No. 2, February 2004.
4. Thompson’s letter to Gerberding, see: http://www.naturalnews.com/images/CDC-Gerberding-Warning-Vaccines-Autism.jpg, and see Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. at http://ringoffireradio.com/2015/02/cdc-scientist-still-maintains-agency-forced-researchers-lie-safety-mercury-based-vaccines/, February 12, 2015.
5. Dr. Julie Gerberding was in charge of the CDC from 2002 until 2009 when she left to become president of Merck’s Vaccine Division. She recently (2015) sold about half of her Merck stock holdings for $2.3 million. Conflict of interest?
6. See the FOIA-obtained, 259 page “Simpsonwood” transcript of a secret meeting convened specifically to create a plan to hide a vaccination-autism link found by a CDC researcher in CDC data. For a summary of this meeting’s activity see Chapter Four, this book, and see: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2887572/Simpsonwood-Transcript-20Searchable; http://www.safeminds.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Verstraeten-emails-1999-2000-regarding-VSD-data.pdf.
7. http://time.com/3208886/whistleblower-claims-cdc-covered-up-data-showing-vaccine-autism-link/ of August 28, 2014, viewed 9/9/2015.
8. See Thompson’s official statement issued by him through the legal firm Morgan Verkamp, LLC at http://www.morganverkamp.com/august-27-2014-press-release-statement-of-william-w-thompson-ph-d-regarding-the-2004-article-examining-the-possibility-of-a-relationship-between-mmr-vaccine-and-autism/.
9. Whistleblower statement given to Rep. Bill Posey, R-Florida, and read into the congressional record, July 29, 2015. See http://www.c-span.org/video/?327309-1/us-house-morning-hour&live, at time 1:30:11. Viewed 9/9/2015.
10. Unbeknownst to Thompson, Hooker also recorded these calls.
11. Brian S. Hooker. “Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination timing and autism among young African American boys: a reanalysis of CDC data”, Translational Neurodegeneration, 3:18, August 2014.
12. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4128611/.
13. Under pressure, the peer reviewed paper by Hooker was retracted by the journal as a result of an unprecedented post-publication peer review: The editors say: “The Editor and Publisher regretfully retract the article as there were undeclared competing interests on the part of the author which compromised the peer review process. Furthermore, a nearly unprecedented post-publication peer review raised concerns about the validity of the methods and statistical analysis, therefore the Editors no longer have confidence in the soundness of the findings. We apologize to all affected parties for the inconvenience caused”; see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4183946/. Brian S. Hooker has a PhD in chemical engineering, is co-inventor on five patents, a father of a vaccine-damaged child, and a board member at Focus Autism. His paper was criticized for its statistical technique, yet was better analyzed (see his choice of chi-square) than the CDC paper which Hooker attempted to replicate by reanalysis of the original data.
15. August 27, 2014 Press Release, “Statement of William W. Thompson, Ph.D., Regarding the 2004 Article Examining the Possibility of a Relationship Between MMR Vaccine and Autism” see: http://www.morganverkamp.com/august-27-2014-press-release-statement-of-william-w-thompson-ph-d-regarding-the-2004-article-examining-the-possibility-of-a-relationship-between-mmr-vaccine-and-autism/
16. Participants were warned verbally at the opening that the contents of the meeting were embargoed and ancillary documents were stamped with the words CONFIDENTIAL and DO NOT COPY OR RELEASE.
17. See: http://www.safeminds.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Verstraeten-emails-1999-2000-regarding-VSD-data.pdf, viewed 9/11/2015.
18. Of course, one study is never enough proof. Replication is the key factor in scientific knowledge. If nothing else, the suspect 2004 study provided confirming replication. Any doubts about causality at Simpsonwood appeared mostly attached to two very strong medical assumptions floating about the meeting. One, autism was genetic. Two, if there was regressive autism, it was either very rare or it meant that the signs of autism simply had been overlooked until a later point of development. One still hears these genetic explanations today. It is the case that anything the medical profession does not understand and cannot treat either “does not exist” or is assumed to be genetic.
19. See Simpsonwood transcript, cited above, pp. 199-200.
20. These are the HMOs with the most accurate patient records.
21. “The reference category in this calculation is the zero microgram category. In other words, the children that didn’t receive vaccines.” Dr. Thomas Verstraeten, p. 41, Simsonwood transcript. Thimerosal-free vaccines were available and a goodly number of children received them. I don’t know if Verstraeten misspoke or if he did not account for that important factor which lowers the risk of autism. The Geiers (father and son team) indicate mercury dose calculation error. See footnote on Geiers below.
22. After much work manipulating the data with the purpose of lowering the reported dangers, this iteration of relative risks is much lower that what is now called Generation Zero and Generation One iterations. In fact, the risk reported at Simsonwood is 887% lower than the Generation Zero calculation. The Freedom of Information Act allowed the public to access otherwise secret emails and findings that discuss and demonstrate these reprehensible efforts. See http://www.safeminds.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/GenerationZeroNotes.pdf and then see http://a2a.blogsport.de/images/GenerationZeroPowerPoint.pdf .
23. See Dr. John Clements, p. 248, “handled”. Also, an issue other than remorse: “My mandate as I sit here in this group is to make sure at the end of the day that 100,000,000 are immunized with DTP, Hepatitis B and if possible Hib, this year, next year and for many years to come…”, p. 248, Simpsonwood transcript.
24. For abstract see: http://mercury-freedrugs.org/docs/00mmdd_EISAbstractSubmission_IncreasedRiskOfDevelopmentalNeurologicImpairmentAfterHighExposureToThimerosal-containingVaccine_.pdf. The title of the submission is “Increased risk of developmental neurologic impairment after high exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines in the first month of life.”
25. Thomas Verstraeten, et al. “Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintenance Organization Databases”. Pediatrics, Vol. 112 No.5 November 1, 2003, pp. 1039-1048.
26. See Lyn H. Redwood, President of Safe Minds at Letter to the Pediatrics Editor, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/112/5/1039.short/reply#pediatrics_el_729, published March 31, 2004.
27. See: http://www.safeminds.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Analysis-and-Critique-of-the-CDCs-Handling-of-the-Thimerosal-Exposure-Assessment-Based-on-VSD-Information.pdf.
28. Mark R. Geier (geneticist and vaccinologist) and David A. Geier (Medcon, Inc.), Letter to the Editor at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/112/5/1039.short/reply#pediatrics_el_729.
29. Neal A. Halsey, Daniel A. Salmon and Laurence H. Moulton, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health – Institute of Vaccine Safety; see URL in previous footnote.
30. For your information, a member of the “Vaccine Court” was present for the secret, closed meeting at Simsonwood: Dr. Vito Caserta, the Chief Medical Officer for the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
31. Kelly W. Crader and William M. Wentworth. “A Structural Reinterpretation of Responsibility, Risk and Helping”, American Sociological Review, Vol. 49 No. 5, October 1984, pp. 611-619.