“…..I didn’t want to get involved in this issue. I got dragged into this issue because I – the truth became undeniable to me. I was working on environmental issues from an environmental standpoint, on power plants which discharge, enormous coal-burning power plants which discharge enormous amounts of mercury.
About eight years ago, the EPA said that in nineteen states, because of mercury discharged from power plants, it is now unsafe to eat any freshwater fish in the state. In 49 states, at least some of the fish are unsafe to eat because of mercury. In fact, the only state where all the fish are still safe to eat is Wyoming, Dick Cheney’s home state, where the Republican-controlled legislature has refused to appropriate the money to test the fish.
In all the other states, at least some, most or all the fish are unsafe to eat. The Atlantic coast – every state on the Atlantic coast has fish advisories. Every state in the Gulf coast. Every fish caught in the Gulf now has – the Gulf of Mexico – now has fish advisories. If you eat tuna fish, the FDA will warn you not to eat too much of it. Swordfish. All these fish, and why? Because it causes neurological injury in children.
So the government scientists are acknowledging that even tiny, infinitesimal amounts of mercury – at parts per billion – will cause profound neurological injury in children.
And I was working on these issues, and mothers started coming up to me and said, you know, “The biggest exposure is not coming from power plants or old mining claims, as you might think. It’s coming from our own vaccines.” And they asked me to work on it and just to look into it.
They were not hysterical people. They were scientists. They were doctors. They were psychiatrists. They were pharmacists. They were people who had their feet on the ground. They had attended the conferences. They had read the scientific literature. They had calmly, and deliberately gone thru this and they had reached a conclusion. And the conclusion was that the vaccines were destroying the health, were making the sickest generation of American children in the history of our country.
I started looking into it and somebody provided me with the Simpsonwood memo, which I then published in Rolling Stone. Simpsonwood was the transcripts of a secret meeting that was held between CDC and 75 representatives of the vaccine industry in which they reviewed a report that CDC had ordered – the Verstraeten study – where, of the hundred, of the hundred thousand children in the United States vaccine safety database, and when they looked at it themselves, they said it is impossible – this is a quote – “to massage this data to make the signal go away.”
There is no denying that there is a connection between autism and thimerosal in the vaccines.
And they said – and this is what they said; I didn’t say this. This is what they and their own scientists and their own conclusion of the best doctors, the top people at CDC, the top people of the pharmaceutical industry.
And, you know, when they had this meeting, they had it not in Atlanta, which was the headquarters of the CDC, but in Simpsonwood at a private conference center because they believed that that would make them able to insulate themselves from a court request under the Freedom of Information law, and they would not have to disclose the, the transcripts of these meetings to the public….”
Now here’s an excerpt from RFK’s first (2005) story for Rolling Stone, titled “Deadly Immunity”:
“In June 2000, a group of top government scientists and health officials gathered for a meeting at the isolated Simpsonwood conference center in Norcross, Georgia. Convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the meeting was held at this Methodist retreat center, nestled in wooded farmland next to the Chattahoochee River, to ensure complete secrecy. The agency had issued no public announcement of the session — only private invitations to fifty-two attendees. There were high-level officials from the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, the top vaccine specialist from the World Health Organization in Geneva and representatives of every major vaccine manufacturer, including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Wyeth and Aventis Pasteur. All of the scientific data under discussion, CDC officials repeatedly reminded the participants, was strictly “embargoed.” There would be no making photocopies of documents, no taking papers with them when they left.
The federal officials and industry representatives had assembled to discuss a disturbing new study that raised alarming questions about the safety of a host of common childhood vaccines administered to infants and young children. According to a CDC epidemiologist named Tom Verstraeten, who had analyzed the agency’s massive database containing the medical records of 100,000 children, a mercury-based preservative in the vaccines — thimerosal — appeared to be responsible for a dramatic increase in autism and a host of other neurological disorders among children. “I was actually stunned by what I saw,” Verstraeten told those assembled at Simpsonwood, citing the staggering number of earlier studies that indicate a link between thimerosal and speech delays, attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity and autism. Since 1991, when the CDC and the FDA had recommended that three additional vaccines laced with the preservative be given to extremely young infants — in one case, within hours of birth — the estimated number of cases of autism had increased fifteenfold, from one in every 2,500 children to one in 166 children.
Even for scientists and doctors accustomed to confronting issues of life and death, the findings were frightening. “You can play with this all you want,” Dr. Bill Weil, a consultant for the American Academy of Pediatrics, told the group. The results “are statistically significant.” Dr. Richard Johnston, an immunologist and pediatrician from the University of Colorado whose grandson had been born early on the morning of the meeting’s first day, was even more alarmed. “My gut feeling?” he said. “Forgive this personal comment — I do not want my grandson to get a thimerosal-containing vaccine until we know better what is going on.”
But instead of taking immediate steps to alert the public and rid the vaccine supply of thimerosal, the officials and executives at Simpsonwood spent most of the next two days discussing how to cover up the damaging data. According to transcripts obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, many at the meeting were concerned about how the damaging revelations about thimerosal would affect the vaccine industry’s bottom line. “We are in a bad position from the standpoint of defending any lawsuits,” said Dr. Robert Brent, a pediatrician at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware. “This will be a resource to our very busy plaintiff attorneys in this country.” Dr. Bob Chen, head of vaccine safety for the CDC, expressed relief that “given the sensitivity of the information, we have been able to keep it out of the hands of, let’s say, less responsible hands.” Dr. John Clements, vaccines advisor at the World Health Organization, declared that “perhaps this study should not have been done at all.” He added that “the research results have to be handled,” warning that the study “will be taken by others and will be used in other ways beyond the control of this group.”…”
And an excerpt from Rolling Stone’s response to critics of the above story, titled “Kennedy Report Sparks Controversy“:
“…”Deadly Immunity,” our story about the link between mercury in vaccines and the dramatic rise in autism among children [RS 977/978], sparked intense reaction from the medical establishment and several leading news organizations. The story, by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — part of an ongoing collaboration with Salon.com — documented the government’s efforts to conceal alarming data about the dangers of vaccines.
What is most striking is the lengths to which major media outlets have gone to disparage the story and to calm public fears — even in the face of the questionable science on the subject. In a segment on World News Tonight titled “A Closer Look,” ABC pointed out that Kennedy is “not a scientist or a doctor” and dismissed his extensive evidence as nothing more than “a few scientific studies.” The network also trotted out its medical editor, Dr. Timothy Johnson, to praise the “impeccably impartial Institute of Medicine” and to again state that Kennedy is not a scientist.
The New York Times, in a front-page story on the subject, devoted only one line to Kennedy’s article, which it said accused public-health officials and drugmakers of “conspiring” to hide the data on autism — a word that our story neither used nor implied. (The Wall Street Journal, in an op-ed attacking the article, was even more misleading, using the word “conspiracy” four times.) The Times then went on, for more than a full page, to portray concerns over vaccines as nothing more than the misguided fears of parents who suffer from “scientific illiteracy,” unable to understand the medical studies that prove immunizations to be safe. It depicted studies reviewed by the Institute of Medicine as definitive without even bothering to address the host of serious questions raised about their validity: conflicting diagnoses of autism, mixed-up data from HMOs and research skewed to exclude many sick kids.
Rolling Stone and Salon fact-checked the article thoroughly before publication, insisting on primary documentation for every statement in the story, and posted links to the most significant materials online to enable readers to judge for themselves. The final article contained six errors. These ranged from inadvertently transposing a quote and confusing a drug license for a patent to relying on a figure that incorrectly calculated an infant’s exposure to mercury over six months, rather than citing the even more dangerous amount injected on a single day. (The mistakes were corrected online as soon as they were discovered and can be viewed in detail at both RollingStone.com and Salon.com.)
It is important to note, however, that none of the mistakes weaken the primary point of the story. The government’s own records show that it has failed to do the science necessary to put to rest reasonable concerns about vaccines. If the scientists had simply done their job rather than covering their tracks, there would be no controversy today. Instead, the government cannot even provide a definitive figure of the number of cases of autism among American children — a number obviously critical to any serious scientific investigation — and yet expects the public to believe that it has ruled out any link between vaccines and an illness it does not even track….”
And in 2007, RFK published “Attack on Mothers”, which also discussed the Autism – Vaccination link, on the Huffington Post website. Here’s an excerpt from that:
“The poisonous public attacks on Katie Wright this week–for revealing that her autistic son Christian (grandson of NBC Chair Bob Wright), has recovered significant function after chelation treatments to remove mercury — surprised many observers unfamiliar with the acrimonious debate over the mercury-based vaccine preservative Thimerosal. But the patronizing attacks on the mothers of autistic children who have organized to oppose this brain-killing poison is one of the most persistent tactics employed by those defending Thimerosal against the barrage of scientific evidence linking it to the epidemic of pediatric neurological disorders, including autism. Mothers of autistics are routinely dismissed as irrational, hysterical, or as a newspaper editor told me last week, “desperate to find the reason for their children’s illnesses,” and therefore, overwrought and disconnected.
But my experience with these women is inconsistent with those patronizing assessments. Over the past two years I’ve met or communicated with several hundred of these women. Instead of a desperate mob of irrational hysterics, I’ve found the anti-Thimerosal activists for the most part to be calm, grounded and extraordinarily patient. As a group, they are highly educated. Many of them are doctors, nurses, schoolteachers, pharmacists, psychologists, Ph.D.s and other professionals. Many of them approached the link skeptically and only through dispassionate and diligent investigation became convinced that Thimerosal-laced vaccines destroyed their children’s brains. As a group they have sat through hundreds of meetings and scientific conferences, and studied research papers and medical tests. They have networked with each other at meetings and on the Web. Along the way they have stoically endured the abuse routinely heaped upon them by the vaccine industry and public health authorities and casual dismissal by reporters and editors too lazy to do their jobs.
Many of these women tell a story virtually identical to Katie Wright’s — I have now heard or seen this grim chronology recounted hundreds of times in conversations, e-mails and letters from mothers: At 2-1/2 years old, Christian Wright exceeded all milestones. He had 1,000 words, was toilet-trained, and enjoyed excellent social relations with his brother and others. Then his pediatrician gave him Thimerosal-laced vaccines. He cried all night, developed a fever and, over the coming months, this smart, healthy child disappeared. Christian lost the ability to speak, to interact with family members, to make eye contact or to point a finger. He is no longer toilet trained. He engaged in stereotypical behavior–screaming, head-banging, biting and uncontrolled aggression, and suffers continuously the agonizing pain of gastrointestinal inflammation.
After hearing that story a couple dozen times, a rational person might do some more investigation. That’s when one encounters the overwhelming science — hundreds of research studies from dozens of countries showing the undeniable connection between mercury and Thimerosal and a wide range of neurological illnesses. In response to the overwhelming science, CDC and the pharmaceutical industry ginned up four European studies designed to disguise the link between autism and Thimerosal. Their purpose was to provide plausible deniability for the consequences of their awful decision to allow brain-killing mercury to be injected into our youngest children. Those deliberately deceptive and fatally flawed studies were authored by vaccine industry consultants and paid for by Thimerosal producers and published largely in compromised journals that neglected to disclose the myriad conflicts of their authors in violation of standard peer-review ethics. As I’ve shown elsewhere [see www.robertfkennedyjr.com], these studies were borderline fraud, using statistical deceptions to mislead the public and regulatory community….”