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CDC Blocks Testimony by Vaccine Whistleblower in Medical Malpractice Case
Thomas Frieden, the director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), has blocked CDC whistleblower, Dr. William Thompson, from testifying on scientific fraud and destruction of evidence by senior CDC officials in critical vaccine safety studies regarding the causative relationship between childhood vaccines and autism.
The medical malpractice case seeking Dr. Thompson's testimony is on behalf of 16-year-old Yates Hazlehurst. The lawsuit alleges that Yates is autistic as a result of vaccine injuries.
Attorneys Bryan Smith and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., of Morgan & Morgan, have been seeking to have Dr. Thompson testify in a medical malpractice case to explain how the CDC committed scientific fraud in a series of studies, which found no link between vaccines and autism.
In denying the request, Dr. Frieden said, "Dr. William Thompson's deposition testimony would not substantially promote the objectives of CDC or HHS [Health and Human Services]."
Dr. Thompson, a 19-year veteran at the CDC and former senior vaccine safety scientist at the agency's Immunology Safety Office, is the co-author of four key studies that the CDC widely touts to exonerate the MMR vaccine and vaccines containing the mercury-based preservative thimerosal, from being linked to autism. Thompson is currently employed at the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.
In August 2014, Dr. Thompson revealed that the data underlying CDC's principle vaccine safety studies demonstrated a causal link between vaccines and autism or autism symptoms, despite CDC's claims to the contrary. According to Thompson, based upon interpretation of the data, "There is biologic plausibility right now to say that thimerosal causes autism-like features." Dr. Thompson invoked federal whistleblower protection in August 2014.
Dr. William Thompson is listed as author or co-author on the principal studies—Thompson, et al. 2007, Price, et al. 2010, Destefano, et al. 2004—most widely cited to "debunk" the link between autism and vaccines. Thompson said that his bosses, including the CDC's Immunization Safety Office Branch Chief Frank Destefano, specifically ordered him and three other CDC scientists to destroy data demonstrating vaccine induced autism in CDC's seminal 2004 study—Destefano, et al. 2004. The data unexpectedly showed a 250 percent increase in autism among young black males who received the vaccine on time—before their third birthday—compared to those who waited until after their third birthday. The data also showed a significant link between the vaccine and isolated autism (autism in normally developing children with no other medical problems), the kind suffered by Yates Hazlehurst, who is mentioned below. According to Thompson, Destefano called his four co-authors into a room and ordered them to dump the damning datasets into a giant garbage can. The published study omitted those data sets. That study, now cited in 91 subsequent papers on PubMed as proof of vaccine safety, is the principle foundation stone of the theology that vaccines don't cause autism.
In a series of taped statements, a deposition to Congressman William Posey of Florida and in statements issued through his personal attorney, Thompson confirmed that the data underlying the seminal 2004 Atlanta study, Destefano, et al. 2004, showed a causal association between MMR and autism for both African-American boys and for children suffering isolated autism. Thompson also asserted that CDC's leading thimerosal studies, rather than demonstrating thimerosal's safety, have consistently showed a causal relationship between thimerosal and tics, a family of grave neurological injuries that are a well-established feature of autism.
The medical malpractice case seeking Dr. Thompson's testimony is on behalf of 16-year-old Yates Hazlehurst. The lawsuit alleges that Yates is autistic as a result of vaccine injuries, which occurred when the vaccines were improperly administered in 2001. Because of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986 (VICA), Hazlehurst v. The Jackson Clinic is the only vaccine injury case that has gone to any U.S. court in 30 years.
Under the VICA and the 2009 Supreme Court decision Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, almost all vaccine injured children are barred from filing lawsuits in state or federal courts. Instead, their only legal remedy is to seek compensation under VICA in the so called "vaccine court," the popular term which refers to the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which administers a no-fault system for litigating vaccine injury claims. There is no judge, no jury and the most basic rules of law do not apply.
However, the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services subsequently admitted that during the Omnibus Autism Proceeding it secretly settled and sealed what potentially would have been one of the six test cases, Poling v. HHS after HHS conceded that the vaccines did indeed cause her autism. By conceding the Poling case and opposing the parents motion for complete transparency, HHS concealed critical evidence of how vaccines can cause autism.
Dr. Thompson wants to reveal the scientific fraud and destruction of evidence that took place in the studies that he co-authored. However, in accordance with the Whistle Blower Protection Act and other federal regulations, Dr. Thompson can not testify under oath without the permission of the director of the CDC, Dr. Thomas Frieden.
Hazlehurst's attorneys, Smith and Kennedy, sought the permission of the CDC to allow Dr. Thompson to testify. The request on behalf of Hazlehurst specifically relates to the issue of causation, i.e. the issue of whether vaccines can cause autism, which the State of Tennessee Circuit Court Judge found to be both relevant and a proper basis for seeking the deposition of Dr. Thompson.
According to Kennedy, who argued before Tennessee Senior Circuit Court Judge William Acree that Dr. Thompson's testimony was necessary, "Yates, and almost 5,000 other vaccine injured autistic children, lost their cases in vaccine court because CDC and the Justice Department submitted fraudulent science wrongly denying the vaccine-autism link."
Kennedy explained that Dr. Thompson's testimony was necessary to explain details of the fraud. "Dr. Thompson will also rebut defense experts' testimony that Yates was not damaged because vaccines do not cause autism," Kennedy said.
Accepting the logic of Kennedy's argument, Judge Acree ordered on Feb. 5 that Dr. Thompson should be deposed. Following Judge's Acree's ruling, Smith filed a formal request to CDC to make Thompson available for deposition and trial testimony.
On Sept. 22, in a letter from CDC Director Thomas Freiden, CDC denied Smith's request. Smith explained that "this denial was a disappointment but not a surprise, since the inescapable implication of Dr. Thompson's testimony is that the agency fraudulently altered the science to undermine autism cases worth potentially $1 trillion in compensation ordered by Congress."
Smith and Kennedy plan to immediately appeal the CDC's denial to federal court.
"Since that original study data is only available from Dr. Thompson," Smith explained, "We are very confident that a federal judge will order CDC to make Thompson available."
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The unanimous verdict was announced Tuesday in San Francisco in the first federal case to be brought against Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, alleging that repeated use of the company's glyphosate-containing weedkiller caused the plaintiff's cancer. Seventy-year-old Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California said he used Roundup for almost 30 years on his properties before developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"Today's verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. "As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up."
Judge Vince Chhabria has split Hardeman's trial into two phases. The first, decided Tuesday, focused exclusively on whether or not Roundup use caused the plaintiff's cancer. The second, to begin Wednesday, will assess if Bayer is liable for damages.
"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."
Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.
However, a remark made by Chhabria during the trial and reported by The Guardian was blatantly critical of the company.
"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.
Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.
Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.
"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup," they wrote in a statement reported by The Guardian.
Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.
University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.