Let’s turn our attention back to fraud, again. Poul Thorsen is a Danish researcher, and he has been charged with wire fraud and money laundering by the US Government. It’s believed he stole over $1,000,000 from the CDC between 2004-2010. The money he allegedly stole from the CDC was supposed to be used on specific scientific research he was conducting.
According to his Most Wanted Fugitive Profile, provided by the US Office of the Inspector General:
CDC awarded the grant to fund studies of the relationship between autism and the exposure to vaccines, the relationship between cerebral palsy and infection during pregnancy, and the relationship between developmental outcomes and fetal alcohol exposure.
Thorsen’s fugitive profile states that in 2011 he was indicted on 22 counts of wire fraud and money laundering. Thorsen is currently living in Denmark. He awaits extradition to the US to face his charges. If convicted, he faces up to 260 years in prison, and 22.5 million dollars in fines.
Though I disagree with much written in a Forbes article which I quote from next, the conclusion of this article states exactly what I and many others believe. The article says:
If the charges are true, Thorsen bilked the US government, specifically the CDC, out of millions and used it to buy himself things. How that translates into a willingness to engage in a conspiracy with the CDC remains elusive.
But if he is guilty, living and working comfortably and continuing scientific research in Denmark isn't the consequence he deserves. Indeed, I would find it egregious that anyone could just merrily continue engaging in science and finding colleagues who seem happy to work with him after he skirted justice, ripped off the taxpayers of my country, and opened up legitimate scientific work to accusations of fraud by association.
Since Thorsen’s indictment in April 2011, he has been named as co-author on at least 18 new scientific papers listed on PubMed. PubMed is a US Government medical research database. Thorsen recently collaborated on a study, published in 2015. The most shocking thing about this 2015 study, is that it was actually FUNDED by the CDC, the Government agency that he has been accused of stealing over a million dollars from. A 2014 study that he co-authored, was funded by another US Government agency - the NIH. It’s interesting that the US Government lists Thorsen as one of their most wanted fugitive's, and yet US Federal Agencies continue to employ him. Thorsen is obviously NOT a man in hiding.
So, we have a researcher who has been involved in vaccine/autism studies, and he’s been charged with fraud. Though you likely have never heard Thorsen’s name mentioned before by media, I imagine this story sounds vaguely familiar to you. Of course a few years back, journalist Brian Deer accused former British medical doctor Andrew Wakefield of fraud. We all know that Wakefield conducted fraudulent vaccine/autism research, which was published in 1998, and later that paper was retracted because, well, it was fraudulent. But wait. The British Government has never charged Andrew Wakefield with fraud. Despite that, the media has made Wakefield’s name synonymous with fraud. If vaccines are making headlines, you can be guaranteed the media will use the opportunity to attack Wakefield to use the situation to again mention his shameful behaviour and his fraudulent actions - fraud that he has never charged with. So why hasn’t Wakefield been charged with fraud? As far as the the various Government Health Authority and media groups state, Wakefield's fraudulent actions have threatened and endangered the entire global population – if true, that’s a crime definitely worthy of a criminal charge, and a criminal trial, AT MINIMUM. Recognizing that he’s NEVER been indicted, despite the accusations and global hatred, might it be possible that he didn’t actually commit fraud? Impossible! you say, because why would we hear so much about him, if he didn’t actually commit fraud? Well, ponder this. Why on earth do we hear absolutely NOTHING about Thorsen, despite the fact that the US Government continues to employ him to conduct scientific research, even though they are the ones who actually CHARGED him with FRAUD for stealing over a million dollars from US taxpayers, money that was supposed to be used in the research he was working on? Though we never hear anything about Thorsen specifically, through media, his scientific expertise or fraudulent actions, media does like to provide plenty of spotlight on the important and enlightening vaccine/autism research that he contributed to.
A Forbes’ article, by Emily Willingham, concludes that Thorsen’s autism research, namely the papers which the Health Authorities use to declare no connection between vaccines and autism, must be legitimate scientific work, free from corruption despite Thorsen’s participation, because Thorsen was merely the fourth co-author of seven. In her opinion, if he was first or senior author, maybe he could have corrupted those studies, but recognizing his position as fourth, that's unlikely. And with that said, she concludes her article by expressing her shock and disbelief, that today, he continues to find people that are willing to work with him, in spite of his 2011 indictment. Again to compare, Wakefield was the first and senior author on his paper, co-authored by 12 others, and therefore he did have the position and “power” to conduct fraudulent work, if he wanted to. But wait.
In the documentary titled, "The Pathological Optimist," Carmel Wakefield, Andrew's wife, provides a little background. She states:
There’s a sort of hierarchy when you publish a paper in a journal. And you have the most senior doctor tends to be the first author, and the last author is the person who’s kind of collated all the work. So those are the two key figures. There were thirteen people on this paper. Professor John Walker-Smith was the lead author, he was the senior clinician. And Andy was the last author because he collated the work. He wasn’t the person investigating the children, ordering investigations, reviewing investigations, or any of the above.
So it seems that although Andrew Wakefield was listed first on that paper, he didn't have wasn't actually the one ordering and conducting the tests. That man was Prof. John Walker-Smith, the world’s then leading pediatric gastroenterologis. Walker-Smith's name is listed last, with the notation that he was the senior clinical. So if Wakefield really did commit this fraud, would he have been able to conceal his fraud so completely, from Walker-Smith, a seasoned and highly knowledgeable doctor and professor who was ordering and conducting the tests? How did Walker-Smith not catch the fraud? Or, did Walker-Smith participate in the fraud too? And why would Walker-Smith, a highly distinguished and respected professor, stand behind that fraudulent paper, even after ten of their fellow co-authors retracted their support?
I’ll answer those questions on another day, until then, you can read this BBC article which explains how Walker-Smith was also stripped of his medical license at the same time as Andrew Wakefield by the British General Medical Council (GMC) in the same disciplinary hearing conducted, because of their "professional misconduct." This article provides coverage about why the British High Court then overturned the GMC’s professional misconduct ruling, completely exonerating Walker-Smith and re-instating his medical license (years after his license had been revoked). The High Court concluded that the GMC had "inadequate and superficial reasoning and, in a number of instances, a wrong conclusion." You can read the article HERE. It also should be noted at this point that Walker-Smith's (million dollar) appeal to the High Court was paid for by his medical insurance, whereas Wakefield's medical insurance did not cover his appeal. Because of that and other reasons, Wakefield decided to not proceed with appealing the GMC decision. When Walker-Smith was exonerated of all wrong-doing, their retracted and "fraudulent" medical paper should have been re-instated, but it wasn't.
Let’s reflect on the conclusions of both "Wakefield's" and Thorsen’s research papers.
"Wakefield’s fraudulent” and retracted paper states the following (emphasis mine):
WE DID NOT PROVE an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described [bowel disease associated with autism]. Virological studies are underway that may help to resolve this issue…
We have identified a chronic enterocolitis [bowel disease] in children that may be related to neuropsychiatric dysfunction [autism]. In most cases, onset of symptoms was after measles, mumps, and rubella immunisation. Further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome [bowel disease associated with autism] and its POSSIBLE relation to this vaccine.
It’s interesting that a medical research paper can be retracted, because it merely questioned whether or not there might be a possibility of something. How do you retract a possibility? Were you surprised to read that the medical paper was about a potential new bowel disease found in autistic children, and that the paper wasn't at all saying that the MMR vaccine causes autism? The media usually reports the conclusion of this paper much much differently.
On the other hand, two of Thorsen’s research contributions (one looking at MMR and the other looking at the vaccine ingredient thimerosal) have been used by leading health officials all around the world use to support vaccination regularly. The conclusions of these two papers state:
This study provides strong evidence against the hypothesis that MMR vaccination causes autism.
Our ecological data do not support a correlation between thimerosal-containing vaccines and the incidence of autism.
With Wakefield, his non-existent fraud charges have been deemed proven and irrefutable. Why? Because he wanted to pursue an area of research, examining a new bowel disease identified in autistic children, with targeted critical scrutiny, and that research was also going to look further at whether or not the MMR vaccine contributed somehow? Your guess is as good as mine, but whatever the true reason is, HE’S GUILTY, until proven innocent. An indictment, a criminal trial, a conviction, those things are all unnecessary. On the other hand, Thorsen’s actual indictment of fraud is obviously unimportant and can be ignored completely. Why? Because his research states there’s strong evidence that vaccines do not cause autism? Again, guess away. Whatever the true reason is, guilt or innocence has no relevance for him because his legitimate charges have been forgotten or ignored by Government and media. Better yet, the US Government actually chooses to continue employing him, allowing him to conduct further research for them, even though they believe he stole more than a million dollars of research funds from US taxpayers.
The purpose of this post is not to prove innocence or guilt, it’s simply to point out the usual contradictions and double standards which have become completely acceptable and standard in vaccine reporting. Truthfully, it isn’t for us to decide guilt or innocence, that’s a decision that needs to be left to a judge or jury in a court of law. And recognizing that, it would be appreciated if the media would direct their focus back to actually doing their job, which is to report the facts. If they are confused about what that looks like, I’d like to give them some facts to begin reporting on:
Fact 1) Wakefield has never been convicted of fraud, let alone been indicted on any criminal charges, so until that changes, they need to stop stating his actions were fraudulent.
Fact 2) The US Government continues to employ a researcher who they’ve actually charged with fraud - it would be appreciated if the media would inform the public of this inappropriate working relationship and investigate the situation further.
Fact 3) The mumps whistleblower lawsuit is ongoing - it would be useful and helpful if the media would actually inform the public of the details related to this ongoing trial.
Fact 4) Dr. William Thompson, a senior scientist at the CDC and the CDC Whistleblower, has accused the CDC of fraudulently manipulating research – it would be appropriate for the media to inform the public of this situation, and put pressure on US Government to hold a hearing and subpoena Thompson so that they can sort through the evidence to conclude whether Thompson's data is valid, and whether or not the CDC did in fact commit scientific fraud.
Fact 5) A group of scientists (they refer to themselves as SPIDER: Scientists Preserving Integrity, Diligence and Ethics in Research), who work for the CDC, have expressed their deep concern about the state of ethics within the CDC – considerable media coverage on this issue is warranted, to investigate and report on the allegations of unethical actions.
Recognizing that many of the allegations are of fraud and unethical actions, in some cases involving Government agencies, and recognizing that mainstream media is not likely to provide coverage of these stories in the near future and that media will probably continue reporting these stories inaccurately, this situation creates a very serious safety issue for the public. It’s time for people to stop depending on mainstream media solely for their news coverage on this topic. At the very least, you should seek out alternative sources of news coverage in addition to mainstream sources, for balance, so that you can investigate things further for yourself.
To conclude, I’d like to address an incorrect assumption made by Forbes’ Emily Willingham, about me and other pro-choicers. If Poul Thorsen is found guilty of wire fraud and money laundering, then I personally think that ALL of the research Thorsen has participated in, whether he was first author, senior, or co-author, and regardless of what the research subject matter encompassed, ALL OF IT needs to be heavily scrutinized.
Lecture by Dr. Suzanne Humphries Here - discussion of Poul Thorsen begins at the 24:15
John Walker-Smith – British High Court Ruling Here
Statement by SPIDER about the CDC's Unethical Actions Here
Poul Thorsen's contribution in autism research Here and Here
Two key research papers which Poul Thorsen contributed to since his 2011 indictment:
A List of Thorsen’s Published Research on PubMed, much of which has been published after his April 2011 Indictment Here
Fugitive Profiles – Office of Inspector General US Department of Health & Human Services (Poul Thorsen Profile is the 17th Profile Down the Page) Here
Forbes Article attacking Anti-vaxxer motives related to the Poul Thorsen Issue Here
Documentary about Andrew Wakefield - The Pathological Optimist Here
Wakefield’s Retracted Paper Here
CONTINUE to the next post here: Safety & Efficacy - Part 18