Yesterday was kind of busy and a long day in the operating room rather drained me. So I only had time for a quick followup to yesterday’s post on how Matt Carey obtained the entire document dump that the “CDC whistleblower” William W. Thompson gave to Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), who then gave it to Alex Jones wannabe Ben Swann, who promised a story on it over a month ago but thus far hasn’t delivered. Brian Deer, appropriately enough, pointed out some quotes that I hadn’t really elaborated on sufficiently, as did Matt Carey in a followup post.

Back in August, Rep. Posey read an excerpt from a statement by William Thompson that read thusly:

At the bottom of Table 7 it also shows that for the non-birth certificate sample, the adjusted race effect statistical significance was huge. All the authors and I met and decided sometime between August and September ’02 not to report any race effects for the paper. Sometime soon after the meeting, we decided to exclude reporting any race effects, the co-authors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study. The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room and reviewed and went through all the hard copy documents that we had thought we should discard and put them in a huge garbage can. However, because I assumed it was illegal and would violate both FOIA and DOJ requests, I kept hard copies of all documents in my office and I retained all associated computer files. I believe we intentionally withheld controversial findings from the final draft of the Pediatrics paper.


Sounds pretty damning, right? Well, we now have the complete statement by William Thompson, thanks to Matt Carey‘s having made the document dump available to all, and in context it’s not quite the smoking gun that antivaccinationists thought as they started posting various “Garbage Can” memes all over Twitter and Facebook, as though the CDC had destroyed primary evidence. Let’s take a look, as some of Thompson’s statements were cited by both Carey and Deer. Here is Thompson’s complete statement.

First, note that there was a lot of text between Thompson’s description of the “garbage can meeting” and “I believe we intentionally withheld controversial findings from the final draft of the Pediatrics paper.” Posey makes it seem as though the two descriptions were linked, and to some extent they are, but there’s a lot of additional information between the two. Information was also left out. For instance, let’s look at Thompson’s quote in context:

Sometime soon after the meeting where we decided to exclude reporting any RACE effects, also between August 2002 and September 2002, the coauthors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study. Dr. Coleen Boyle was not present at the meeting even though she was involved in scheduling that meeting. The remaining 4 coauthors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room and reviewed and went through all our hard copy documents that we thought we should discard and put them in the large garbage can. However, because I assumed this was illegal and would violate both FOIA laws and DOJ requests, I kept hard copies of all my documents in my office and I retained all the associated computer files. This included all the Word files (agendas and manuscript drafts), Excel files with analysis and results, and SAS files that I used to generate the statistical findings. I also kept all my written notes from meetings. All the associated MMR-Autism Study computer files have been retained on the Immunization Safety Office computer servers since the inception of the study and they continue to reside there today.

Emphasis added on a key segment Posey left out. Why is this important? Because it has been implied in many antivaccine sites that Thompson was not at the meeting where a bunch of documents were thrown in the garbage can. We know that’s not true. Note the key phrase: “the remaining four authors.” There were only five co-authors on DeStefano et al. If Colleen Boyle was not at the meeting, that means the “remaining four” co-authors must have included Thompson. He was there. Of course, Thompson never actually denied being at the meeting, but his wording sure was a bit ambiguous, at least to me. Colleen Boyle wasn’t there, but the “four remaining authors” were. In any case, his being at that “garbage can” or “shredder” meeting means that he must know the criteria that were used to determine which documents to dump and which documents to keep. As Matt Carey has asked, why has he never commented on this? Why didn’t he comment on this to Brian Hooker in one of his many conversations with him. Or maybe he has commented to Hooker but Hooker, knowing that it would undermine the conspiracy theory that he had concocted, never let it be included in any transcript published.

As Brian Deer also points out, no data were destroyed, because, as Thompson states, “All the associated MMR-Autism Study computer files have been retained on the Immunization Safety Office computer servers since the inception of the study and they continue to reside there today.”

There’s another part of Thompson’s statement that Posey (and Hooker and Wakefield) have never mentioned:

The fact that we found a strong statistically significant finding among black males does not mean that there was a true association between the MMR vaccine and autism-like features in this subpopulation:

The fact that we found a strong statistically significant finding among black males does not mean that there was a true association between the MMR vaccine and autism-like features in this subpopulation. This result would have probably have led to designing additional better studies if we had been willing to report the findings in the study and manuscript at the time that we found them.

This implies that even William Thompson doesn’t believe that those apparent effects in African-American males in which MMR vaccination at a certain age correlated with an increased risk of autism were real. Indeed, in his statement released by his lawyer in August 2014, Thompson said:

Reasonable scientists can and do differ in their interpretation of information. I will do everything I can to assist any unbiased and objective scientists inside or outside the CDC to analyze data collected by the CDC or other public organizations for the purpose of understanding whether vaccines are associated with an increased risk of autism.

So let me summarize what messages I take away from the CDC whistleblower story based on everything that’s come before and the most recent document dump:

  • No raw data were deleted or destroyed.
  • There was a correlation between MMR vaccination and autism in a single small subgroup in DeStefano et al that didn’t hold up to further analysis. It was not reported.
  • Even Thompson doesn’t argue that this initially detected race effect means that the MMR vaccine increases the risk of autism in African-American boys.
  • On the other hand, these are public statements. When Thompson thinks no one is listening, he does imply that these race effects are important and potentially significant, as he did in his telephone discussions with Brian Hooker.
  • Thompson clearly had problems playing well with others and likely wasn’t able to articulate his concerns well enough to convince his co-authors. He also apparently had anger management issues and difficulty dealing with stress, leading to his paid administrative leave in 2004.
  • Thompson was in contact with antivaccinationists as far back as 2004. It’s understandable why he was in contact with Sallie Bernard, given that she had been placed on the committee overseeing one of his studies. It’s less understandable why he was apparently in contact with Andrew Wakefield and Brian Hooker.
  • Honest researchers can argue whether or not it was a good idea not to report the initial race finding in the way that Thompson apparently wanted to. There are arguments on both sides. From a PR perspective, it was probably a bad idea not to include the data, although I note that at the time antivaccinationists apparently didn’t pick up on the initial race effect, even though it was mentioned in the manuscript but shown to be probably spurious with the birth certificate analysis. From a scientific perspective it was justifiable, at least in practical terms, by manuscript word count limitations. As Matt notes, however, what we’ve never received from Thompson is a good scientific rationale as to why it had to be reported.
  • If Thompson hadn’t personalized his disagreement and gone to Brian Hooker with it, helping him with his incompetent reanalysis, this PR problem wouldn’t have happened.

There’s a final lesson here. No matter how transparent scientists are, antivaccinationists will always relentlessly look for something to use to attack vaccines, some inconsistency or something not reported (or even not reported the way they think it should have been). As I’ve pointed out time and time again, to them it is all about the vaccines. It was always all about the vaccines. It always will be about the vaccines. Thompson apparently didn’t understand this and facilitated the antivaccine message, whether he intended it or not.

Comments

  1. #1 Denice Walter
    January 6, 2016

    Although Thompson’s prose is somewhat misleading ( ‘ the remaining 4 coauthors’ is an odd way to refer to a group that includes oneself), I always interpreted the edited version to mean that Thompson was there because of how he uses ‘we’ throughout it and then describes the garbage can episode as a witness.

    It’s slippery prose, isn’t it?

  2. #2 Panacea
    January 6, 2016

    Is Thompson still working for the CDC?

  3. #3 Orac
    January 6, 2016

    Yes, he is.

  4. #4 Orac
    January 6, 2016

    @Denice:

    Point taken. I never said that Thompson denied being at the meeting, just that his wording, because it was so odd, could easily lead one to believe that he wasn’t there if that’s what one wanted to believe, and certainly certain antivaccine activists interpreted it that way. I suppose it’s possible I was reading too much into this, but the language sure seemed crafted by a lawyer to be precise in a way that misleads.

  5. #5 Denice Walter
    January 6, 2016

    @ Orac:

    I wasn’t critiquing what you said at all but merely mentioning that I always assumed he was reporting what he saw at the meeting and garbage-fest.

    The odd, clumsy wording could have an underlying motive.

    Hey, language in the hands of writers, lawyers or psychologists should be approached with extreme caution.

  6. #6 Orac
    January 6, 2016

    It’s OK if you were, as I’ll admit that due to time constraints this post was written a bit more hastily than I usually like to do.

  7. #7 Brian Deer
    January 6, 2016

    The real wonder is what kind of ethics does Posey have if he would make such a scandalously defamatory allegation on the floor of the House of Representatives, while holding a document that makes quite clear that all documentation was held electronically?

    Mind you, he did then release the documents.

  8. #8 Matt Carey
    January 6, 2016

    Brian Deer,

    I would not be surprised if the statement Representative Posey read was prepared by someone else. One possibility: Brian Hooker.

    If memory serves, I believe AoA reported that Brian Hooker prepared the statements that Mr. Posey read at one of the congressional hearings.

  9. #9 MikeMa
    January 6, 2016

    Posey might not be astute enough to know that the documents didn’t support him. Or he could be another ethics-free congress critter.

  10. #10 Matt Carey
    January 6, 2016

    I will say that one Wakefield/Hooker supporter stated that Thompson was present, but I used the quote to argue the opposite.

    Which is to say, I was wrong, he was correct.

    On another point:

    Ironically, those calling for transparency by the CDC didn’t find any problem with Wakefield and Hooker withholding documents and only releasing snippets (sometimes edited).

  11. #11 Denice Walter
    January 6, 2016

    Interestingly, I have still heard nothing from the Anti-vax powers-that-be – only a loose comment or tweet from the underlings .
    Not one of the Big Guns has uttered a peep.

    I wonder what’s keeping them.

  12. #12 sadmar
    January 6, 2016

    As I wrote yesterday, my guess is that Thompson’s mental health issues contributed to him obsessing about his disagreements with his superiors at the CDC — the docs suggest it wasn’t just the DeStafano paper — and when they tried to use his disagreements as cause to fire him, he came to believe their ‘abuse of power’ was more important than the specific issue at hand. Something like — well, we might have to sacrifice some confidence in THIS report on the MMR to ‘save’ the institution and it’s future credibility.

    Thus, i think Thompson DID understand exactly that “antivaccinationists will always relentlessly look for something to use to attack vaccines” and intentionally facilitated that to demonstrate the kind of ‘PR problem’ withholding the race data could create. It’s not necessarily true that if Thompson hadn’t gone to Hooker, the PR problem wouldn’t have happened. Any number of other people or things could have pointed Hooker in the right direction. Thompson just jumped all in.

    But, as Brian Deer, Matt Carey, and Orac have now pointed out, in throwing “all in” with Hooker, Thompson knew all along there was no smoking gun for the AVers.

    The fact that we found a strong statistically significant finding among black males does not mean that there was a true association between the MMR vaccine and autism-like features in this subpopulation.

    That’s a double-whammy against what he knew Hooker wanted: a link between the MMR and autism. In his conversations with Hooker, he says the AVers should make “Thimerosal causes tics” their “mantra”. Since he works at CDC he knows “MMR vaccines do not and never did contain thimerosal” (CDC). And he’s scrupulous with Hooker in never going beyond that rather curious grammatical construction “autism-like features”. In normal conversation, most people interpret an assertion that something is ‘like’ something else as indicating it is NOT that something else. At the least, Thompson knew that phrasing left him an out, and I’m guessing he used it because he knew Hooker would take the bait and think ‘like’ indicated ‘is’ out of wishful thinking.

    So “autism-like features” aren’t autism, and the data doesn’t even indicate “a true association” between the MMR and this “not-autism” in the subpopulation of black males anyway.

    Now, I’m not suggesting that Thompson was out to discredit the AVers by suckering Hooker into a bogus study that would get defamed and retracted. My guess is he figured his disclosures would bolster the AV fanatics, but just didn’t care. I think he felt so aggrieved by DeStafano, Chen and others that he was willing to play with fire, perhaps assuming the flames would burn out when all the limitations and qualifications were pointed out by qualified scientists. But he certainly wasn’t much worried about damage in the interim.

    As I’m wildly speculating, here’s my thought on why he had some contact with Hooker and Wakefield back in 2004: that was when he hatched this revenge plot, amidst his pique at being placed on administrative leave. I’m guessing he thought better of it then, but it stayed in the back of his mind. As the next ten years went by, and he continued to be a pariah at CDC, his reticence slipped away. He probably thought about it often, and revised and fine-tuned his scheme. Also, by the time he finally ‘confessed’ to Hooker, adding fuel to the AV fire wasn’t the sort of political bombshell it would have been in 2004, when Wakefield had more cred. As BD’s website says “When the [Times] investigation concluded in 2011, a poll found that in the US alone nearly 145 million people knew Deer’s key finding.” So that made it easier for Thompson to justify ‘going rogue’ to himself by the time he finally contacted Hooker and spilled the not-beans.

  13. #13 Eric Lund
    January 6, 2016

    @MikeMa: Those options aren’t mutually exclusive. For politicians, Dunning-Kruger syndrome is an occupational hazard, and the temptation for Congresscritters to cut ethical corners is frequently high. Who’s going to call Posey out on this? His constituents seem to be fine with it, and nobody else has the power to deter him.

  14. #14 Orac
    January 6, 2016

    It’s not necessarily true that if Thompson hadn’t gone to Hooker, the PR problem wouldn’t have happened.

    Perhaps, but it is far, far less likely that this would have happened, given that more than a decade went by without any AVer figuring out how to latch on to this finding and use it against the CDC. It required the construct of the “CDC whistleblower” revealing a “coverup” of this result before it gained any traction at all.

  15. #15 sadmar
    January 6, 2016

    @ Orac #14.

    No doubt. I’m mainly just trying to guess what was going on in WT’s fevered head. That is, if he thinks there’s a possibility this kind of thing could ever get out, on this study or another, that gives him justification to rationalize, “if they think this isn’t a potential problem, I’ll show them how much of a problem it can be!” People do have egos, and if those get bruised badly enough, “I’ll show them I was right” can wind up trumping reasonable pragmatic cautions. It’s kind of perverse reasoning, but it’s not totally wrong.

    Sorta like a data security expert tells you your server is vulnerable, but you think you’re safe because it’s been up for ten years w/o getting hacked, so you tell the security guy to buzz off… and he breaks into your system to prove his point. (That’s actually happened… but then they usually do hire the guy…)

  16. #16 Narad
    January 6, 2016

    At the bottom of Table 7 it also shows that for the non-birth certificate sample, the adjusted race effect statistical significance was huge.

    Could someone help me out and identify which Table–7 this refers to?

  17. #17 Narad
    January 6, 2016

    ^ The ‘–’ should have been an ‘ ’ (and I will now wait to see whether WP makes it impossible to escape an ampersand).

  18. #18 Chris Preston
    January 6, 2016

    Narad, You need to go to the folder CDC2 in the dropbox, the sub-folder Results and the file describe_results_2002_0702.xls

    Then click on the tab Table 7.

    On the topic of the wording of the statement, I always assumed that Thompson was at the garbage can meeting, because 1 ) he describes saving copies of all the files thrown out and 2) and I knew that there were only five authors on the paper. I have noted how some in the anti-vax circle have trumpeted the opposite and understand that it would be pretty easy to come to such a conclusion from the statement if you didn’t read it carefully and cross-check it with other information.

    Posey read the statement because he was ‘paid’ to do so. The anti-vax groups had contributed substantially to his campaign and this was the pay-off they got. I don’t know exactly how things happen in US political circles, but if it is anything like here, Posey would not have written the speech, one of his staffers would have done so. That staffer would almost certainly have got some input from somewhere else – probably Brian Hooker. Thompson himself, other than providing the original statement, doesn’t seem to have been involved. Indeed he has gone completely to ground.

    What is fascinating me in this whole charade is the behaviour of Thompson. It is almost like he wants to be anti-vaccine. He wants the adulation that the stars like Wakefield and Hooker get, but seems to know that to do so he has to lie. He only seems to be unwilling to go the whole hog, so you get these fibs about the timeline of events, about the behaviour of others in the CDC, but not about the important stuff.

  19. #19 Chris Preston
    January 6, 2016

    There is a stray ‘only’ in the last sentence there caused by some slack copy editing of the sentence.

  20. #20 Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
    January 6, 2016

    I have a question; but first a couple of points. If I am wrong about anything, please please let me know.

    In the DeStefano article they do include an analysis by race:

    “Results According to Race, Birth Weight, and Maternal
    Characteristics. We further examined associations according to selected
    maternal and birth characteristics that were available from the birth certificate files. For vaccination before 18 months or 24 months of age, all of the
    ORs according to different categories of race, birthweight, maternal age, and maternal education were 1.0 (Table 5). For the 36-month cutoff, there were
    suggestions of possible associations within the subgroups of children whose mothers were older or had more years of education, but the CIs were very wide
    and included 1.0. (DeStefano, p. 262)”

    “TABLE 5.
    Race Black Cases = 137 (ibid, p. 263)”

    The results weren’t significant; but they did analyze race.

    In Hooker’s reanalysis, he writes:

    “When accounting for cases in the cohort that excluded low birth weight (<2500 g) African American children, it was necessary to report results at 31 months rather than 36 months in order to avoid reporting data from age categories or“ cells” that possessed less than 5 individuals. (Hooker, page 5)”

    If Hooker had the complete original data set, why did he have to change the age categories to manage at least 5 in one of the cells? I think it highly unlikely that DeStefano et al, if they even did an analysis on the subgroup of Afro-American boys would have changed the age range of one analysis. Since it would have been a “post-hoc” analysis of a sub-group, something usually done to develop future hypotheses and not for any possible results, I doubt they would have changed the range. However, if they had changed the range, then Thompson should have informed Hooker and Hooker should have explained that he was doing the exact same analysis as the alleged discarded one and not just manipulate the data set as he did.

    So my question: Mainly on antivaccinationist websites and now the quotes from the transcripts of Thompson that you have produced, we are told that a subgroup analysis of Afro-American boys was discarded. Is there any independent verification for this? From the transcripts you have studied, from DeStefano, from anyone besides Thompson. Several antivaccinationists directed me to Sharyl Attkisson’s interview of DeStefano. (https://sharylattkisson.com/cdc-possibility-that-vaccines-rarely-trigger-autism/#audio) I listened to the audio and carefully read the transcripts and NADA. So, I am getting old and maybe missed something. In any case, I would greatly appreciate it if there are independent sources if you would give me the names and URLs to each one.

    DeStefano F, Bhasin T, Thompson WW et al. (2004 Feb) – Age at First MMR Vaccination in Children with Autism & School-Matched Control Subjects: A Population-Based Study in Metropolitan Atlanta. Pediatrics; 113(2): 259-266.

    Hooker BS (2014. Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination timing and
    autism among young african american boys: a reanalysis of CDC data. Translational Neurodegeneration; 3: 16

  21. #21 brian
    January 6, 2016

    Interestingly, I have still heard nothing from the Anti-vax powers-that-be. . . . Not one of the Big Guns has uttered a peep.

    Regarding the “CDC Whistleblower” manufactroversy, AoA stalwart John Stone wrote “The whole thing has reached impasse, no doubt.”

    Note that Stone is a true believer. For example, he routinely claims that Dr. Paul Offit believes that a child can simultaneously be injected with 10,000 (or 100,000) vaccines (with the associated liters of fluid) rather than, as Offit wrote, that a child has the theoretical immune capacity to respond to [the number of antigens present in] about 10 000 vaccines at any one time. If even Stone thinks the “Whistleblower” issue is at an impasse, that’s a bad sign for anti-vaxxers..

  22. #22 Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
    January 7, 2016

    I have a question; but first a couple of points. If I am wrong about anything, please please let me know.

    In the DeStefano article they do include an analysis by race:

    “Results According to Race, Birth Weight, and Maternal
    Characteristics. We further examined associations according to selected maternal and birth characteristics that were available from the birth certificate files. For vaccination before 18 months or 24 months of age, all of the ORs according to different categories of race, birthweight, maternal age, and maternal education were 1.0 (Table 5). For the 36-month cutoff, there were suggestions of possible associations within the subgroups of children whose mothers were older or had more years of education, but the CIs were very wide
    and included 1.0. (DeStefano, p. 262)”

    “TABLE 5.
    Race Black Cases = 137 (ibid, p. 263)”

    The results weren’t significant; but they did analyze race.

    In Hooker’s reanalysis, he writes:

    “When accounting for cases in the cohort that excluded low birth weight (<2500 g) African American children, it was necessary to report results at 31 months rather than 36 months in order to avoid reporting data from age categories or“ cells” that possessed less than 5 individuals. (Hooker, page 5)”

    If Hooker had the complete original data set, why did he have to change the age categories to manage at least 5 in one of the cells? I think it highly unlikely that DeStefano et al, if they even did an analysis on the subgroup of Afro-American boys would have changed the age range of one analysis. Since it would have been a “post-hoc” analysis of a sub-group, something usually done to develop future hypotheses and not for any possible results, I doubt they would have changed the range. However, if they had changed the range, then Thompson should have informed Hooker and Hooker should have explained that he was doing the exact same analysis as the alleged discarded one and not just manipulate the data set as he did.

    So my question: Mainly on antivaccinationist websites and now the quotes from the transcripts of Thompson that you have produced, we are told that a subgroup analysis of Afro-American boys was discarded. Is there any independent verification for this? From the transcripts you have studied, from DeStefano, from anyone besides Thompson. Several antivaccinationists directed me to Sharyl Attkisson’s interview of DeStefano. (https://sharylattkisson.com/cdc-possibility-that-vaccines-rarely-trigger-autism/#audio) I listened to the audio and carefully read the transcripts and NADA. So, I am getting old and maybe missed something. In any case, I would greatly appreciate it if there are independent sources if you would give me the names and URLs to each one.

    DeStefano F, Bhasin T, Thompson WW et al. (2004 Feb) – Age at First MMR Vaccination in Children with Autism & School-Matched Control Subjects: A Population-Based Study in Metropolitan Atlanta. Pediatrics; 113(2): 259-266.

    Hooker BS (2014. Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination timing and autism among young african american boys: a reanalysis of CDC data. Translational Neurodegeneration; 3: 16

  23. #23 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    January 7, 2016

    Interestingly, I have still heard nothing from the Anti-vax powers-that-be – only a loose comment or tweet from the underlings .
    Not one of the Big Guns has uttered a peep.

    I wonder what’s keeping them.

    How in Hades do you spin this with all of the alleged garbaged-documents in the public domain? That and explaining why their bought-off politician Posey gave the document dump to “shills”.

  24. #24 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    January 7, 2016

    @ Joel Harrison, read this and the link to his previous post at the beginning and that should answer at least part of your question:
    http://blog.minitab.com/blog/adventures-in-statistics/analysis-and-reanalysis3a-the-controversy-behind-mmr-vaccinations-and-autism2c-part-2

  25. #25 Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
    January 7, 2016

    @Science Mom

    Ah, MINITAB. Brings back memories. I used the absolute first version of Minitab for PCs where one had to insert one floppy disk, then take it out and insert the next just to do some simple statistics; but it beat paying for time on the main frame, writing Job Control Language (which cylinder, how much, etc) and then SAS code. With that said, I did read the Miniab blob, part 1 and part 2. Nicely done; but didn’t answer my questions.

    1. If Hooker, with Thompson advising, was trying to recreate the alleged discarded analysis, then why didn’t he explain that the CDC had also changed the age range, which he was duplicating? Because it is highly unlikely that the CDC would have changed the age range for one subset analysis just to get a minimum of five in one cell. In other words, Hooker was NOT showing a result that was discarded by the CDC but was torturing the data to get it to confess to what he wanted.
    2. Besides claims by Thompson and antivaccinationist blogs that the CDC discarded a subgroup analysis on a very small sample of Afro-American boys, I haven’t found any independent confirmation that this even happened, that they ran such an analysis. Matt and David Gorski have looked through the 1000 pages or so of the documents, so, maybe, they found confirmation there. In any case, if anyone can supply me with confirmation, the more sources the better, I would greatly appreciate it.

    And, as I mentioned in my comment, even if they had done such an analysis on such a small subset, it would have been at best exploratory, that is, to generate hypotheses for future research, not confirmatory, that is, nothing to write home about.

    In any case, your webpage is great! Keep up the good work.

  26. #26 Denice Walter
    January 7, 2016

    @ Science Mom and brian:

    I still haven’t seen anything yet.
    BUT I do think that these people could spin anything after all, they turned a research cheat and lawyers’ tool into a sainted martyr fights _the Children_
    -btw- ((shudder))

  27. #27 Denice Walter
    January 7, 2016

    WHO fights FOR _the Children_

    He only takes blood from children for money

  28. #28 Chris Preston
    January 7, 2016

    1. If Hooker, with Thompson advising, was trying to recreate the alleged discarded analysis, then why didn’t he explain that the CDC had also changed the age range, which he was duplicating? Because it is highly unlikely that the CDC would have changed the age range for one subset analysis just to get a minimum of five in one cell. In other words, Hooker was NOT showing a result that was discarded by the CDC but was torturing the data to get it to confess to what he wanted.

    Joel, the main problem with this question is that it is the wrong question. I will try to explain and hope I don’t get it too wrong through simplifying.

    The basic problem is that DeStefano et al. conducted a case-control study and analysed it through conditional regression analysis. What this means is that they identified a group of cases (autistic children in this case) and then matched them to a group of controls. They then conducted a regression analysis where all individuals were in the same test and all the factors could be included all at once. Factors that came up significant could be further analysed without the non-significant factors.

    Hooker to the same data set and analysed it as a cohort study, where he broke the population up into discrete cohorts and analysed each on their own. This introduced several problems 1) the data set was not a cohort study data set; 2) it introduced the problem of multiple comparisons that Hooker failed to correct for*; and 3) one of the cohorts was too small, so Hooker had to change the boundaries of the set to make it bigger.

    So DeStefano et al. didn’t need to change the age range, because they didn’t analyse the data in a way where this would become a problem.

    2. Besides claims by Thompson and antivaccinationist blogs that the CDC discarded a subgroup analysis on a very small sample of Afro-American boys, I haven’t found any independent confirmation that this even happened, that they ran such an analysis. Matt and David Gorski have looked through the 1000 pages or so of the documents, so, maybe, they found confirmation there. In any case, if anyone can supply me with confirmation, the more sources the better, I would greatly appreciate it.

    There are in fact sub-group analyses in the documents and some of these are producing significant effects. However, these only occur in the analyses that have not been adjusted for known confounders or in analyses where information on the confounders was not known – such as the non-birth certificate group. Once adjustment of the model for known confounders was undertaken, then the effect disappeared. This did mean excluding all those without birth certificates from the analysis.

    Now there is some argument that they should have included the results from the unadjusted analyses in the paper. Epidemiology is not my field, but in my field we would almost never do this. We wouldn’t publish the statistical results from analyses of skewed data, because they are not useful.

    *This is something that I am increasingly seeing researchers do with data sets in order to create statistically significant results where none would really occur. It is wrong and its wrongness should always be pointed out. Sometimes it is simply ignorance, but in some cases (Seralini and possibly Hooker) it is done deliberately to drive an agenda.

  29. #29 Chris Preston
    January 7, 2016

    Joel, I wrote a response, which seemed to post, but has now disappeared. I will see if I can re-create it.

    1. If Hooker, with Thompson advising, was trying to recreate the alleged discarded analysis, then why didn’t he explain that the CDC had also changed the age range, which he was duplicating? Because it is highly unlikely that the CDC would have changed the age range for one subset analysis just to get a minimum of five in one cell. In other words, Hooker was NOT showing a result that was discarded by the CDC but was torturing the data to get it to confess to what he wanted.

    The problem here is that you are asking the wrong question. To understand why, you need to understand how the original study was done. DeStefano et al. conducted a case-control study. So what they did was develop a list of cases (in this case children with autism) and matched them to a larger group of controls. They then conducted a conditional regression analysis, which contained all of the subjects and all the possible factors. From this they can separate out factors that may be significant and do further analyses.

    Hooker took the data and analysed it as a cohort analysis. That is, he divided the cases and controls up into groups and compared cases and controls within each group. This introduced 3 problems: 1) the data was not set up as a cohort study and so the results were unlikely to be informative, 2) he ran into the problem of multiple comparisons and didn’t try to correct for that by conducting an omnibus test*, and 3) he ran into a problem of having too few individuals in one of the cohorts, so had to alter the boundaries of the set.

    DeStefano et al. didn’t have to change the age range, because the way they did the analysis meant they wouldn’t have an analysis involving small numbers of individuals.

    2. Besides claims by Thompson and antivaccinationist blogs that the CDC discarded a subgroup analysis on a very small sample of Afro-American boys, I haven’t found any independent confirmation that this even happened, that they ran such an analysis. Matt and David Gorski have looked through the 1000 pages or so of the documents, so, maybe, they found confirmation there. In any case, if anyone can supply me with confirmation, the more sources the better, I would greatly appreciate it.

    There are certainly subgroup analyses within the documents released that did not appear in the paper. Some of these had statistically-significant outcomes, but these were only for analyses where known confounders were not adjusted for. In the adjusted analyses, these statistical significant results were absent. This did mean that all individuals without information about known confounders had to be discarded including all those without birth certificate data.

    There has certainly been some argument that DeStafano et al. should have included the unadjusted analyses in their paper. I am not an epidemiologist, but in my field we would rarely report on the raw statistical analyses where we knew the data was skewed, you correct for the skew and report on the analysis of the adjusted data. This is because the former result is not likely to be real. So I don’t give this argument much credence. Even if DeStefano et al. had reported these analyses, they would have then had to say the results were unlikely to be real.

    *I am increasingly seeing multiple statistical analyses being reported in research without correction for multiple comparisons. It seems to me that this is a device for finding a statistically significant result from any data set. It is wrong and its wrongness should be pointed out wherever it occurs. Sometimes, this is just ignorance, but at other times (Seralini for example and probably Hooker) it seems to have been done deliberately to push an agenda.

  30. #30 Chris Preston
    January 7, 2016

    OK so that seems to be why my comment didn’t appear.

    For some reason my comments are going into a moderation queue.

  31. #31 capnkrunch
    January 7, 2016

    Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH@25

    If Hooker, with Thompson advising, was trying to recreate the alleged discarded analysis, then why didn’t he explain that the CDC had also changed the age range, which he was duplicating?

    The problem is that you seem to be operating under the assumption that Hooker has integrity. Simpliest explanation would be that Hooker is dishonest. His consistent failure to disclose financial COIs lends credence to this theory and would be motivation for him to be dishonest

  32. #32 capnkrunch
    January 7, 2016

    …and I reread Joel’s comment and see he already reached that conclusion.

  33. #33 Narad
    January 7, 2016

    OK so that seems to be why my comment didn’t appear.

    What that?

  34. #34 JP
    January 7, 2016

    PS:

    Go to the new Patreon page of “Yoru Teruhiko” if you want to be a “patron.” It could be fun!

    Wheeeeee!

    😉

    -The Mutineeeeeer!

  35. #35 Chris
    January 7, 2016

    Chris Preston, both of your comments have posted. It seems you hit a size limit.

  36. #36 Militant Agnostic
    January 7, 2016

    Chris Preston – I think it is because you used The Name that Shall not be Mentioned Here.

  37. #37 herr doktor bimler
    January 7, 2016

    a size limit
    This is RI. Is there such a thing?

  38. #38 Chris
    January 7, 2016

    I think I have encountered a size limit. But MA may be closer to the truth, I kind of forgotten about who should be nameless…. if only to provide an informal intelligence test.

  39. #39 Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
    January 7, 2016

    @Chris Preston

    I am quite aware that the DeStefano study used a conditional logistic regression. The point is, even in a case control study one would have to have a minimum of case, so I really doubt, given that Hooker could not get even 5 cases using the interval used for all the other analyses in the DeStefano study that DeStefano actually even performed the subgroup analysis on Afro-American boys. With that said, as I wrote, given that Thompson was advising Hooker, and Hooker was claiming to recreate the alleged data discarded by DeStefano, he still would have had to explain why he needed to change the interval range. I also remind you that when one does a conditional logistic, one often does a set of preliminary Chi-Squares which DeStefano did. You are preaching to the choir; but I find it also insulting that you assume I didn’t understand what they did even though I actually quoted from their article.

  40. #40 Chris Preston
    January 8, 2016

    Joel, I am sorry if I have offended you.

    Your comment about whether the CDC would have changed the age structure of the group led me to think that you didn’t understand the difference between a conditional regression model and the chi-squared tests that Hooker used. It would be unnecessary to do such a thing with a regression analysis.

    Of course Hooker was not recreating the analysis done by DeStafano et al. He lied when he said he was.

    Thompson did run an analysis where he reported the results of the models by race and time of MMR in the documents released See Table 5 here for example even though some of the groups had as few as 11 cases. He also produced results for other analyses where some groups had no cases. These were also not used in the paper for obvious reasons.

    I am sure he must have run an analysis with boys separated from girls as well, but I haven’t been able to find it yet – it may not be in the documents that Thompson passed on to Posey. This is where he told Hooker to look, so he must have known it would come up with a significant statistic.

  41. #41 Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
    January 8, 2016

    @Chris

    Let me know if you find the analysis of boys separated from girls. Also, if you find it, let me know if you find anything that mentions the planned analyses and if it was part of them or it was a post-hoc analysis. I have worked on several projects where there was a set of planned analyses; but then after they were completed we started to look at subgroups, not as hypothesis testing; but, at best, as hypothesis generating. I suspect that if you find the analysis of just Afro-American boys that it was such and, thus, would not usually be included in a paper. If it was a post-hoc analysis, then we have the problem of multiple comparisons and the level of significance would have to be accordingly adjusted and with such a small n the confidence interval would be quite wide.

    You might be interested in what I wrote about it in a paper I wrote for Every Child By Two at:

    http://www.ecbt.org/images/articles/A_Review_of_John_Stones_DeStefano_Rides_Again.pdf

    Go to section “Did Frank DeStefano and CDC Colleagues Destroy MMR/Autism Data” beginning on page 7. I finished it a while ago and would probably make some changes. You might actually find the entire paper an interesting read.

  42. #42 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    January 8, 2016

    a size limit

    This is RI. Is there such a thing?

    If there was, friend sadmar would be S.O.L.

  43. #43 Chris
    January 8, 2016

    Ow, wow, that is so true. I am truly corrected

  44. #44 Narad
    January 8, 2016

    This is RI. Is there such a thing?

    There’s an auto-mod WP length trigger, IIRC, but I don’t know what its criteria are.

  45. #45 Chris Preston
    January 8, 2016

    Joel, thanks for that. It brought back memories of that epic comment thread where John Stone was vigorously defending his post from n davis and others who were pointing out the paper specifically stated that it only covered US cases.

    We used to call Stone “The Pope of JABS” due to his activities on the JABS Forum before he became the UK editor of AoA. The relevance of this is that JABS was the recruiting ground for the Wakefield 12. John Stone’s friend Clifford G. Miller (who runs the blog childhealthsafety and refers to himself in the plural including in a series of strange emails to me) acted as Andrew Wakefield ‘s UK attorney during Wakefield’s recent failed defamation suit.

    Back to topic. The analysis plan for the DeStefano et al is available and did not contain an intention to analyse explicitly as Thompson claimed. There was always the intention to use birth certificate data to correct for known confounders.

  46. #46 Rebecca Fisher
    That London
    January 8, 2016

    I had a completely different, and, I like to think, far more accurate name for John Stone.

  47. #47 Denice Walter
    January 8, 2016

    Rebecca is correct.

    Whilst we’re on the topics of loons…
    Jake shows up at LBRB saying that the documents we’re reading are *forged*.

  48. #48 capnkrunch
    January 8, 2016

    Denice Walter@47

    Jake shows up at LBRB saying that the documents we’re reading are *forged*.

    Called it. If they’re so worried they could always ask Posey or Swann or Hooker or Wakefield but then they would lose their convenient excuse so the chances of that happening is nil. Or if they did those documents would also be forged and whoever provided them branded a turncoat (as Posey already has been).

  49. #49 Brian Deer
    January 8, 2016

    Chris Preston @35

    I’m interested if you have anything about Miller. That ludicrous crank spent about a decade plotting with Stone, Wakefield and others to try to destroy my career.

    They devoted thousands of hours concocting allegations – including in a “secret report” running to dozens of versions, claiming that I was paid by drug companies, stole documents, “perverted the course of justice” and just everything they could think of.

    They were even filing countless freedom of information requests to anyone they learnt I’d filed one with, to try to find out what I’d got and then filing complaints that I’d supposedly failed to dislose what I’ve got. And he also totally screwed a deposition hearing that Wakefield’s lawyer did with me, with hour after hour consumed with his malignant conspiracy theories which, of course, yielded nothing. I should think it cost a few parents of disabled children quite a few bucks.

    I was too busy sorting out the Wakefield stuff, which was of obvious public interest, to deal with Miller. But that such a foul buffoon hides behind the pretence of child health safety is truly disturbing.

  50. #50 Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
    January 8, 2016

    @Chris Preston

    You wrote: “Back to topic. The analysis plan for the DeStefano et al is available and did not contain an intention to analyse explicitly as Thompson claimed. There was always the intention to use birth certificate data to correct for known confounders.”

    If I read you correctly, then I was right, the DeStefano analysis plan DID NOT include a subgroup analysis of Afro-American boys alone. If this is correct, then I still would like to know if they did it as a post-hoc analysis, a fishing expedition for possible future hypotheses for research. I realize that even if this is true that antivaccinationists won’t understand; but I would still like to know. What’s more, if you can, somehow, copy the text to the plan that includes the above and post it and, if they did the subgroup analysis, that would be great (if you do, please give detailed reference where it came from, e.g. document name, date, page number, whatever. I try to never sign up for anything and when I went to look at the Posey supplied documents it required some sign-up. In addition, I am getting old and really don’t want to go through about 1,000 pages to find or not find things. If you or someone else is already checking it out, that would be great.

    As for Wakefield, if you check out my other articles on ECBT, you will see I wrote a review of his book “Callous Disregard”. You can find ALL my ECBT articles at:
    http://www.ecbt.org/index.php/facts_and_issues/article/expert_commentary

    And directly, my review of Wakefield’s book at: http://benthamopen.com/contents/pdf/TOVACJ/TOVACJ-6-9.pdf

    I am well-aware that Wakefield actively recruited and used kids from either Dawburn lawsuit or JABS who were supporting the lawsuit. It is fascinating the hypocrisy of the antivaccinationist when criticizing any possible financial conflicts of interest. Wakefield earned about $750,000 over his research salary for a couple years of part-time advice to Dawburn and then, totally unsubstantiated by his garbage article, suggested safer to use monovalent vaccines, and, yes, he had applied for a patent for a monovalent measles vaccine. Not one that would have worked; but what else would you expect from Wakefield?

  51. #51 Annie
    January 8, 2016

    So is there really still not a single anti-vaccine website talking about these documents? This is nuts!

  52. #52 Denice Walter
    January 8, 2016

    @ Annie:

    So far I haven’t seen anything except a few comments and tweets from the lesser beings** ( AoA, LBRB, @ tannersdad etc) despite our friends’ best efforts to inform them.. I also follow altie horrors like prn.fm and NaturalNews.

    Perhaps they’re far too busy monitoring and providing astute commentary about the economic situation in China.
    That last line was a joke.

    ** oh wait, they’re all lesser beings

  53. #53 herr doktor bimler
    January 8, 2016

    Jake shows up at LBRB saying that the documents we’re reading are *forged*.

    At what point along the chain of provenance?
    Naturally I assume that Jake has copies of the original unforged documents, and is making them available. Otherwise he’s just making stuff up.

  54. #54 Brian Deer
    January 8, 2016

    @ Denice #52

    Never fear, they will simply carry on as if nothing has happened. They will learn nothing, evaluate nothing, reconsider nothing.

  55. #55 Denice Walter
    January 8, 2016

    @ Brian Deer:

    There is definitely a diagnosis/ diagnoses for what you describe but I’m not at liberty to disclose what it is.

    I’m sure that you and others can guess quite accurately.

  56. #56 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    January 8, 2016

    Jake did put a smiley face after saying the docs were forged, so I’m willing to accept that he was joking. I am also willing to accept that the kid doesn’t have the guts to admit that the whole whistleblower mess was a lot lies and bad science.

  57. #57 Alain
    January 8, 2016

    Hey Team,

    Sadmar Posts are a marvel of briefness compared to some of the 25>75 PgDwn-key scroll[1] post of some raving lunatics who has been banned here.

    [1] == understatement of the year…

    Alain

  58. #58 Alain
    January 8, 2016

    correction: “s/’post’/’cryptic punctuation-less Wall\’o\’text competing Orac for absolute length’/

    Al

  59. #59 Jane Ostentatious
    Canada
    January 8, 2016

    Brian Deer – I didn’t realize until last summer that you were THE journalist that stood up against Wakefield and his minions. I’ve been procrastinating – just one more person saying “Thank you!” You have my admiration for not letting those lying slimeballs intimidate you and give up exposing the truth.

  60. #60 Denice Walter
    January 9, 2016

    And in other ( non) news,,,

    Dan’s Weekly Wrap ( AoA) doesn’t mention anything at all about the availability of the documents although commenters- including one we know- have informed readers about it.

    Dan does tell us about his ‘adventures” as an ‘investigative reporter’ and what Greg** has to say.

    If his work at AoA is investigative reporting I am a large white cat what can type well.

    ** well known to Orac’s minions as one of the few to have been sent off unceremoniously via the ban hammer.

  61. #61 Brian Deer
    January 9, 2016

    Denice: Not that I was terribly prescient yesterday when I said they’d ignore it, but what other choice would Olmsted has. Like his buddy Wakefield, they are skimming money off the lives of distraught parents of children with developmental disorders. There’s no way that the veil can be allowed to slip.

    I had it with him once before when one (of several) parents accused Wakefield of fraud in his Lancet paper. The guy wrote to Olmsted telling him this, and the actual data was produced proving it. So Olmsted lied to the readers of that site pretending that the father attacked me.

    They may eventually say something about the Thompson documents – particularly his statement – but you can be absolutely sure they won’t say: “Hang on, how did we get that wrong?”

    It wouldn’t occur to Olmsted that his “daily newspaper of the autism epidemic” ought to report news, or tell the truth, or anything like that.

    It’s all about skimming the money. “Investigate journalist?” Pass the sick bucket.

  62. #62 Narad
    January 9, 2016

    Dan’s Weekly Wrap ( AoA) doesn’t mention anything at all about the availability of the documents although commenters- including one we know- have informed readers about it.

    Gerg’s in midseason form already:

    “Rouler, we are discussing Thompson’s confession. We are not talking about Wakfield, or Hooker, or Kennedy, or even Olmstead! Why is it always so hard for you guys to stay on topic?!”

    The only person there who has mentioned Wakefraud, Hooker, and Kennedy is… Gerg.

  63. #63 Orac
    January 9, 2016

    Heh. I’ve been Tweeting under the #CDCwhistleblower hashtag the link to the Dropbox folder that contains the documents. No bites from antivaxers yet, but I encourage everyone here with a Twitter account to do the same.

  64. #64 Denice Walter
    January 9, 2016

    This is terribly funny:
    what they had expected to be their greatest revelation/ coup de grace is merely another set of misquotes, malapropisms, slipshod observation and sundry lies tarted up and sent to congress.

    Dan illustrates his abilities in journalism once again.
    Greg proves that he can’t correctly copy a general English spelling pattern in a name which he’s probably seen on hundreds of occasions.
    The Faithful display that they can’t take hints from Orac, Dorit, Matt, Boris et al even when they are pounded into their heads virtually many times via blogs, twitter etc.

    I’m on my way to a ridiculously hip event throughout which I shall certainly keep laughing all evening. People will wonder what substances I’ve ingested I suppose making me even more fashionable than usual.

  65. #65 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    January 9, 2016

    Jane Ostentatious write (#59),

    Brian Deer – I didn’t realize until last summer that you were THE journalist that stood up against Wakefield and his minions.

    MJD says,

    Brian Deer is a great read and RI is fortunate to have his participation and full disclosure..

    Moving forward, maybe Brian Deer could write an article about Orac’s herculean efforts (10+ years) to criticize anti-vaxxers?

    I’d like to read that article, Orac deserves it.

    .

  66. #66 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    January 9, 2016

    This is terribly funny:
    what they had expected to be their greatest revelation/ coup de grace is merely another set of misquotes, malapropisms, slipshod observation and sundry lies tarted up and sent to congress.

    Oh and to have their paid-for Congress Critter send the Garbage-gate documents to “the enemy” is sending them into collective apoplexy. I have to speculate that Posey figured out who he got in bed with, got fed up with the AV-ers relentless hounding to get a hearing and welcomed the request by Matt and Prof. Reiss as a way to slither from the AV grasp. Now if poor Ben Swann could only figure out how to parse those documents, we can continue to point and laugh.

  67. #67 Lawrence
    January 9, 2016

    I can only imagine the mental gymnastics that the folks over at AoA are going through trying to figure out how to spin this….the docs have been available for days now & not a single official article has been posted….

    I’m even curious to see what the “Boy” has to say about this – officially.

  68. #68 Denice Walter
    January 9, 2016

    I was laughing about this all evening- a few glasses of wine didn’t hurt either- it’s enough to make me forget about the Market ( yiiii) and the price of airfare.

    At any rate, can we take wagers on which anti-vax thought leader will be the first to discuss this imbroglio?
    I was hoping for Dan but he missed his opportunity today.

    Who is the one to unite them together and keep their minds off the obvious inconsistencies in the tale being told thus far?

  69. #69 capnkrunch
    January 10, 2016

    Denice Walter@68

    At any rate, can we take wagers on which anti-vax thought leader will be the first to discuss this imbroglio?

    My money is on Mikey. He will some claim about forged documents, conspiracy, Big Pharma, something, something! However, it won’t unify the movement because it will be too crazy. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dan eventually posts what becomes the consensus among the rest.

  70. #70 Brian Deer
    January 10, 2016

    The conspiracy must get bigger. Rep Posey is in on it. He may be the richest congressman in the House, but they’ll start going through his campaign contributions looking for fifty grand from Pfizer, or looking for whether he has a brother who ever bought a pack of Advil.

  71. #71 Dorit Reiss
    January 10, 2016

    @Brian Deer: Hey, if Mark Zuckerberg is a shill and can be bought, Posey is small fries.

  72. #72 Dangerous Bacon
    January 10, 2016

    Hah, it’s obvious from his campaign contribution record that Posey is a puppet of Big Medicine. Just look at which industry has funded him the most, according to opensecrets.com:

    Health Professionals $404,800: $163,300 (individuals) $241,500 (PAC money)

    The following two groups are among his top sources of campaign cash:

    American Society of Anesthesiologists $45,000
    Medical Assoc of Brevard $41,450

    https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00029662&cycle=Career

    As they say, follow the money.

  73. #73 Brian Deer
    January 10, 2016

    I’m confused now. I thought he was supposed to be on the anti-vaxxer side, and now you’re telling me he’s a shill for the Medico-Surgical Complex (MSC).

  74. #74 Denice Walter
    January 10, 2016

    Which scoundrels would benefit from GENERATIONS of English-speaking boys/ men becoming autistic or having Asperger’s Syndrome?

    I have a few guesses:

    – manufacturers of computers, computer games and software
    – pharma and the medico-psychological establishment
    – the French
    – the worldwide feminist/ lesbian consortium
    – manufacturers/ sellers of cheap housing units
    – manufacturers / sellers of highly unfashionable clothing

    And there you have it: my list includes Mssrs Gates, Zuckerberg, Murdock. Mme Clinton and many many more.
    Dare I say ‘us’.

  75. #75 Brian Deer
    January 10, 2016

    Ah, the England hypothesis! Anyone who hasn’t seen this video is in for a treat. This is as good as it gets:

  76. #76 Sarah A
    January 10, 2016

    At any rate, can we take wagers on which anti-vax thought leader will be the first to discuss this imbroglio?

    I don’t know if he qualifies as a “thought leader,” but when this first went down I would have put my money on Jake Crosby, since he’s not exactly a friend of AoA. He did leave a comment on the Left Brain Right Brain blog, but its rather confusing – he says that the documents were forged, but adds a winky face and a link to an old article of his (Jake’s) criticizing Kevin Leitch (?) for a LBRB post accusing AoA of forging some document(s) related to Paul Thorsen. I don’t know the backstory but it appears that Jake is just trying to get in a pot-shot at LBRB, not seriously alleging that the docs are forged. Given that Jake appear to be a genuine True Believer, its possible that he’s actually reading the documents prior to posting his opinion.

    Obviously that reasoning doesn’t apply to Wakefield and Hooker, who’ve had the documents this entire time. Honestly, I’m not sure what to make of the whole debacle. It’s not like antivaxxers have ever been constrained by reality before – why not just make something up? Under normal circumstances, I’d say it’s because they know whatever story they come up with is going to be met with demands that they produce the documents themselves, but this is AoA we’re talking about – anyone with two neurons left to rub together abandoned ship a long time ago. The ones that are left would likely believe anything that allows them to maintain their cherished fantasy that they are Warrior Mommies striking back at Big Bad Pharma on behalf of their victimized children. etc. I have two (not necessarily mutually exclusive) theories on the delay:

    1) They are waiting to see which way the wind is blowing among the AoA commentariat. Whatever story they come up with is going to challenge even antivaxxer levels of willingness to suspend disbelief, so it would be smart to let the peons come up with their own story and then confirm it ex cathedra. However, such a course would conflict with Wakefield’s narcisistic need to control the narrative for his own self-aggrandizement, so the more likely scenario is:

    2) Wakefield and/or Hooker are making another video. May God have mercy on our souls.

  77. #77 Reality
    January 10, 2016

    Sarah A (#76) said, “2) Wakefield and/or Hooker are making another video. May God have mercy on our souls.”

    Wakefraud has already announced he is deep into his next video propaganda and fund raising effort:
    ageofautism(dot)com/2015/12/leadership-longevity-2015-dr-andrew-wakefield.html#more
    Quoting Dachel quoting Wakefraud –
    “”The story we’re making now is about William Thompson, and we’re very very close to going into post production. This is the greatest medical fraud in the history of the world, and we have some extraordinary characters that you will meet.”

    Wakefield said the documentary would be out in April 2016, right in time to affect the election.

    This, I believe, is from early December 2015 long before Posey released the “whistleblower documents” to Matt and Dorit which reveal the level of lying and dishonesty Wakefraud & Co. have gone to create this hoax.
    I predict a late release as there will necessarily be an extended editing of the original to cover up and deflect the damning information revealed in the Posey released documents.

    Will the anti-vaccine cultists use Wakefraud’s dishonest spin or a variant of it to alleviate their cognitive dissonance?
    Probably. They are ignorant followers, not independent thinkers.

  78. #78 Brian Deer
    January 10, 2016

    He will doubtless continue to do to Thompson what he did to a British (in fact Scottish) doctor who gave him information in confidence.

    Firstly, he sabotaged the doctor’s information (since it undercut Wakefield’s own moneymaking plans)

    Then he publicly betrayed the doctor’s confidence, abused him, threatened him, and ultimately pretended that he, Wakefield, was somehow responsible for the disclosures,

    I put together a little clip about this. Maybe Dr Thompson hasn’t seen it yet.

    http://briandeer.com/solved/whistleblower-betrayed.htm

  79. #79 Denice Walter
    January 10, 2016

    Interestingly, anti-vaxxers and alt med folk endlessly rant about complicated plots hatched by pharma-government-media in order to control people and make mountains of money**

    BUT if you looked really closely you’d notice that we have much more fertile material if any of us were to write at length about their MO and hidden motives.

    ** in fact, two of them, Conte and Stagliano, have written mystery novels along these lines

  80. #80 capnkrunch
    January 10, 2016

    Denice Walter@74

    Which scoundrels would benefit from GENERATIONS of English-speaking boys/ men becoming autistic or having Asperger’s Syndrome?

    The Spanish Inquisition?

    @79

    BUT if you looked really closely you’d notice that we have much more fertile material if any of us were to write at length about their MO and hidden motives.

    Why is Wakefield who is demonstrably an acutal shill a martyr in their eyes? Why is Hooker’s consistent failure to disclose his ongoing NVICP petition acceptable but every legitimate researcher has imagined COI’s?

    Heck, just looking at blogs nearly all the AV blogs either do affiliate advertising or sell their own crap. That alone provides much more financial incentive than the ad networks like Google’s Adsense that most skeptic sites use. Talk about wearing blinders.

    Brian Deer@78

    I put together a little clip about this. Maybe Dr Thompson hasn’t seen it yet.

    Stand up guy, that Wakefield.

  81. #81 Brian Deer
    January 11, 2016

    Denice: In my case, they ran an overt conspiracy, complete with secret reports between themselves and directions from Wakefield, involving woman called Carol Stott, Clifford Miller, Stone and sundry others, to try to destroy my career.

    They were even in negotiations with a publicist called Max Clifford to place a false story in a newspaper. Ulimately, it fell apart when a journalist they got involved found there was no truth in any of their allegations, and Max Clifford was jailed for sexually assaulting women. He’s still there.

    The nature of their conspiracies is very, very overt. And that’s why it’s so important to them to believe that “big pharma” etc do likewise.

  82. #82 Matt Carey
    January 11, 2016

    Sarah,

    The article that Jake Crosby wrote about and linked to in that column was written by someone who was a contributor to LBRB. He did a few articles and out that particular article up without clearing it. It was not a good article. We pulled it, stated that it wasn’t correct and Kev personally apologized to Dan Olmsted for it.

    In the 10 year history of LBRB I believe that is the only time something of that nature happened.

    Kev deserves credit for apologizing. That takes courage.

    Ever see an apology from AoA or Jake Crosby? Or even an admission of a mistake?

    They lack backbone. Courage. Integrity. Guts.

    Consider this: JB Handley accused Bonnie Offit (Paul Offit’s wife) of running a blog (LBRB) and impersonating an autism parent.

    Handley did not have the guts to even email Paul Offit to fulfil his commitment (to hand over a domain name to Paul Offit). That’s what people recall. On, that and Handley word that he would not write or talk about Paul Offit again (his word wasn’t worth anything)

    That’s what most people think about.

    Did Handley ever apologize to Bonnie Offit? No.

    Because he’s a gutless loudmouth.

    He founded AoA and AoA follows his example to this day.

  83. #83 Murmur
    UK-ia
    January 11, 2016

    Brian #81: They were using Clifford? Really? That alone is an indication of their level of integrity.

    For non-UK-ians: even before the sexual assault allegations and subsequent conviction which Brian mentions, Max Clifford was pretty much a byword for sleaze and dodgy dealings…

  84. #84 Brian Deer
    January 11, 2016

    Carol Stott brought Max Clifford to Wakefield’s GMC hearing. When I found out that Clifford’s agency was preparing a big cover-up campaign for Wakefield, I wrote a story about it, Clifford phoned the Sunday Times deputy editor and denied it, then he went ahead and tried to mount the campaign, but was then arrested and jailed for sexual assaults.

    Maybe when he gets out of jail they can set up in business together.

  85. #85 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    January 11, 2016

    @Matt Carey

    Indeed, JB Handley is definitely not a man of his word. After his inability to keep his word in such a simple matter as the Offit nonsense, I wouldn’t trust him in anything else. He can’t keep up his end of a simple contract.

  86. #86 Denice Walter
    January 11, 2016

    @ Brian Deer:

    Many of us here at RI know about- and have read- the truly horrendous campaigns which AJW’s supporters have mounted against you. HOWEVER, finally, as the dust settled and the deadly biofilm retreated back into its native putrefied marsh, it has become quite clear to most literate people who exactly is fabricating defence and who has done an important service for public health.

    Wakefield, because of your efforts, has been relegated to the darkest, dustiest corners of cyberspace where only accomplished cranks, frauds and charlatans manage to attract an adoring audience who will willingly waste their money on meaningless- and sometimes dangerous- nonsense.

    He used to be mainstream but he ain’t now!

    Unfortunately, he has a lot of company there – that’s why Orac and his minions are on high alert most of the time.

  87. #87 Dangerous Bacon
    January 11, 2016

    “The nature of their conspiracies is very, very overt.”

    Seeing that an essential component of any conspiracy is secrecy, I sense a massive fail here. 🙂

  88. #88 Denice Walter
    January 11, 2016

    @ Dangerous Bacon:

    I’ve always thought that successful charlatans actually seek out customers who can’t see into their rather obvious COIs- e.g. a quack discusses in detail how psychiatric meds are POISON!!! and pharma’s history of malfeasance
    and then sells supplements or foods to address exactly the same set of symptoms.

    Their spiel mimics a test for social cognition or person perception so only he least gifted in these departments need apply- those are the ones they want.

  89. #89 Sarah A
    January 11, 2016

    @Reality #77 – Ugh, I should have known. So maybe they’re just hoping to lay low until their new video is out – I imagine that film is a better medium for emotionally manipulating people than text.

    @Matt Carey – thanks for clearing that up, but there’s really no need to explain: the simple fact that an article was written by Jake is enough for me to know not to take it at face value. To the extent I thought about it at all, I thought perhaps there was a time when you blogged anonymously and “Kevin Leitch” was a figment of Jake’s over-active imagination.

  90. #90 Dorit Reiss
    January 11, 2016

    @Brian Deer #78 Andrew Wakefield has an interesting definition of spontaneity.

    Of course, in this case Thompson’s main interlocutor was Dr. Hooker. I wonder when and how Wakefield got involved.

  91. #91 Alain
    January 12, 2016

    Somehow, I read the exchange between Brian Deer and Carol Stott (linky here: http://briandeer.com/mmr/carol-stott.htm) and it left me pondering what kind of messy business she got involved with Max Clifford…

    Al

  92. #92 brian
    January 19, 2016

    Ben Swann’s on the case:

    On Tuesday, January 26, 2016 Swann will release a Truth in Media documentary which details a study of CDC cover-up and suppression of medical findings.

    http://truthinmedia.com/truth-in-media-to-release-documentary-cdc-documents/

    I wonder if Swann will feature the Nazi themes that are likely to dominate Wakefield’s upcoming video that covers the same material.

  93. […] has revealed that the MMR vaccine causes autism in black, male preschoolers. (Spoiler alert: he didn’t and it doesn’t.) Considering this accusation, you would think that when talking about their CDC Whistleblower […]

  94. #94 The Big Picture
    January 22, 2016

    So it seems the central theme of your analysis is that this omission of data was ‘justified’ to your standards. The lead author is quoted in an interview with Sharyl Attkisson as saying he does not believe this statistically significant relationship to be biologically plausible. If they don’t think it is biologically plausible for vaccines to lead to autism then they would feel ‘justified’ in omitting data, restructuring the age brackets, or excluding study participants from certain analysis in ANY study.

  95. #95 madder
    Not over there, over here
    January 22, 2016

    @The Big Picture:

    Yes, that publication decision was justified. It is not biologically plausible that a particular vaccination (out of the entire schedule) would lead to a neurological condition that begins manifesting itself well before the shot in question is administered, and only in males of a particular demographic group, and only when administered later than usual (if I remember correctly).

    If you accept that subgroup analysis, why do you reject the other subgroup analyses showing that vaccination is preventive for autism?

    Are you aware that exercising appropriate statistical controls doesn’t involve excluding data?

  96. #96 Narad
    January 23, 2016

    Ben Swann’s on the case

    I’m inordinately amused by the fact that he’s sporting a pocket square.

  97. #97 Rouleur
    January 26, 2016

    Swann’s report is posted and not surprisingly is more a regurgitation than an investigation. It’s all Hooker, all the time, the same tired conspiracy-mongering all dressed up as fact. Swann calls for transparency but fails to identity any of the team of independent scientists and researchers he relied on to analyze the documents. Perhaps because that team consists of the same group of anti-vax and “health choice” activists who paid for and promoted his report. Mr. Fiercely Independent Journalist is silent on the fact that his “report” was simply a PR product bought and paid for by people with a direct stake in the outcome.

    Oh, and his analysis is just Hooker warmed over and dressed up, failing to mention or explain Thompson’s own statements about reasonable scientists disagreeing about the findings, the lack of proof of causation, the fact that data was in fact never destroyed, or that Hookers published reanalysis was retracted.

    Weak sauce.

  98. […] In any case, it wasn’t long before Thompson lawyered up and claimed whistleblower status. Around the same time, he gave a number of documents to Representative Bill Posey (R-FL), who made a pointless speech on the House floor a few days before summer recess about them when few were listening and otherwise did basically nothing with them. Meanwhile, as more and more of Thompson’s statements were made public, it was hard not to get the impression that he had turned antivaccine. In any case, Ben Swann swallowed the CDC whistleblower story that claimed those documents held a “smoking gun” in which Thompson’s colleagues had altered the research plan for DeStefano et al after the study was underway in order to “hide” the result in African-American boys and had destroyed a bunch of data in order to prevent that from becoming known. Two months ago, we learned that Swann had obtained all the CDC whistleblower documents from Rep. Posey’s office and was planning on doing a report on it. Unfortunately for Swann, Matt Carey beat him to the punch, obtaining all the documents himself and doing an excellent analysis that shows that there was no coverup. For your edification, he even provided a link to download all the files yourself if you wish. It’s right here. I myself also reviewed the CDC whistleblower documents and agreed with Matt that there’s a whole lot of nothing going on there, noting from the documents’ contents that even William Thompson doesn’t appear to believe that the result in African-American boys was real. […]

  99. […] for their study. Of course, we all know now that nothing of the sort happened and that Thompson never accused his co-authors of fraud, at least not explicitly, although he sure did make it sound as though there was something not […]

  100. […] to let through a film like Wakefield’s Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe, which tells the conspiracy theory of the so-called “CDC whistleblower.” I was happy to see major websites and news […]

  101. […] of the antivaccine movement, had accused the CDC of scientific fraud. He had not. Promoted by Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), it’s a lie that Wakefield repeats constantly and that Wakefield and Bigtree had to use […]

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