Mercury, Vaccines and the CDC's Worst Nightmare
RS: Is that even a legitimate moral calculation?
RFK, JR: You mean to kill one child in order to save fifty? Ethicists and theologians could argue the point. But that isn't Offit's real moral dilemma. Offit's moral Donnybrook is his absolutist defense of the industry position that all vaccines are always safe for all people and that the safety of thimerosal is unassailable. That approach has unnecessarily damaged vulnerable subgroups that could easily have been protected and sacrificed millions of kids, not for the greater good but for the bottom line. As the vaccine industry's lead pitchman for thimerosal, Offit's been extraordinarily successful at crafting a persuasive alternative to fact-based reality and selling it like a carnival barker. He has made himself the high priest of the weird dogma that it's somehow safe to inject mercury into babies.
RS: You once described the autism epidemic as a holocaust. That characterization made many parents feel that someone finally understood their experience.
RFK, JR: Yeah. I later apologized because the press turned my use of that word into a distraction. My apology was heartfelt. There is a legitimate argument that that term is proprietary to the victims of Hitler. Hitler's campaign to purposefully exterminate an entire race with industrial efficiency. I had appropriated the term to describe the autism epidemic after searching vainly for some other analogies with the power to capture the magnitude and monstrosity of this global tragedy. Just spend some time with a child who has severe autism. Life for these children is an endless agonizing progression of twilight and terror. The tormenting gut aches, excruciating sensory sensitivities, the serial head banging and screaming, the isolation and perpetual joylessness. The entire family is permanently devastated. Now multiply that by ten million. I felt we owed it to the injured children and their families to be courageous in describing their tragedy in language that expressed the horror of their suffering and the willfulness of its architects. Offit is the primary engineer and pivotal figure for a system that has injured millions of children. Rabbi William Handler regularly characterizes the epidemic as a holocaust, which, I suppose, he has a right to do since he is a holocaust survivor.
RS: Then do you think this is just about the money for Offit?
RFK, JR: I don't know. I've seen these characters over my career—these industry hired guns. Murray Walker of the Tobacco Institute, who was the inspiration for the scoundrel, Nick Naylor, in Thank You for Smoking, Donna Farmer from Monsanto, Fred Singer for the carbon industry, Brooke Alexander for the American Petroleum Institute, Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Offit has probably made more money from pharma than all of them put together. From my vantage, all of these shills seem to have some driving impulse beyond raw greed.
RS: You mean like a sociopath or a sadist?
RFK, JR: I'm not sure. I know that, to parents of injured children, it seems like it all has to be purposeful malevolence. But it might be as simple as arrogance. They take on this awesome power to make these life or death decisions over large populations and even to take parenting decisions away from mothers and fathers. It must make a person feel like God. Consider the corrupting effect of this God-like power. Offit has hinted publicly, he believes it's OK to lie; it's OK for doctors and scientists to lie to protect the vaccine program. He gets indignant when people discuss vaccine safety who are not doctors or scientists. He becomes enraged when people question him. Last month, he told the parent of an injured child to "F*** off." He later said he didn't realize he was being taped. That's the original sin, isn't it— pride? The desire to make oneself a deity. That was the pitfall at Eden and then at Babel.
RS: So that conversation with Offit was a turning point for you?
RFK, JR: Yes, and then, the thing that pushed me over the edge was when Lyn Redwood gave me a copy of the Simpsonwood transcripts. I published excerpts simultaneously in Rolling Stone and Salon in 2005. As I mentioned earlier, Simpsonwood was a secretive convocation of America's leading public health officials, from the CDC, FDA, WHO, AAP and all the pharmaceutical companies who gathered to discuss strategies for dealing with Tom Verstraeten's damning revelations. It's still unclear whether the participants knew that someone was tape recording their conference. And, as you read this transcript, you can feel the fear and horror as these public health bureaucrats realize what they have done. And then, you can watch as they all begin conspiring frantically about how to hide their mistake! It was astonishing! I couldn't believe what I was reading.
RS: I was really excited to hear about the World Mercury Project. Can you tell our readers how the organization came to be?
RFK, JR: The World Mercury Project emerged from the promotion we were doing for the film Trace Amounts. I had travelled to a dozen cities, with Director Eric Gladen, to screen the show, speak, and fight the wave of vaccine mandates in 2015, when the pharmaceutical industry tried to leverage a Disneyland measles outbreak into a new California gold rush. When our work with the film came to a close, I recognized that even a committed movement of extraordinarily talented activists would never move the needle on this issue. The forces arrayed against us were just too powerful. We needed a paid professional staff who awaken every morning thinking of nothing except how to solve this problem. How to force a national debate and expose the phony science and CDC corruption. How to use the most sophisticated social media, and internet marketing and what Martin Luther King called the "tools of advocacy": agitation, legislation, litigation, education, and media and grass roots activism.
Following the United Nations screening of Trace Amounts, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. explains to guests how Riverkeeper helped restore the health of the Hudson River.Kevin Barry