TABLE OF CONTENTS
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
New York Times
Pat Oliphant, Universal Press
US Senate Votes to
Keep Vaccine Language in Homeland Security Bill
By Julie Rovner
WASHINGTON, DC (Reuters Health) Nov 19 - The US Senate
on Tuesday turned back efforts to strike provisions from
the homeland security bill that Democrats said benefited
special interests, including one that would apparently
block lawsuits against the drugmaker Eli Lilly for a
preservative it used to include in its vaccines.
The 52-47 vote to defeat the amendment to remove the
contentious provisions came only after House and Senate
Republican leaders promised to revisit the vaccine
provision and two other provisions immediately after
Congress returns in January.
Maine Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan
Collins flatly refused to vote down the amendment -- which
would have struck a half dozen different sections of the
bill -- until they received that assurance not only from
their own leaders, but also from House Speaker Dennis
Hastert, R-Ill., who was finally reached by phone while
traveling in Turkey.
The House last week completed its work and tentatively
adjourned for the year. House leaders had said that if the
Senate changed the Homeland Security Bill, House members
would not be able to return to consider the changes until
December. The bill is designed to create a Department of
A spokesman for Snowe said his boss was assured that
when Congress considers an omnibus spending bill in early
January, the vaccine language will be changed to clarify
that it would not block lawsuits already filed against
Lilly charging that the mercury-based preservative
Thimerosal caused autism in some children.
"I was deeply concerned about the egregious,
eleventh-hour addition of special interest provisions to
the Homeland Security legislation, and spoke against
inclusion of these provisions during a meeting of Senators
before the vote, because I didn't believe we could afford
to let them stand," said Snowe.
Added Collins, "I am pleased that my Senate
colleagues and I were able to ensure that a bill creating
the department will reach the President's desk this year
[and] at the same time, that three troubling provisions
hastily added to the bill without the benefit of debate or
committee review will be corrected as soon as
The language in question redefines "vaccine"
to include any ingredient listed on the label approved by
the US Food and Drug Administration, thus apparently
requiring families of children allegedly injured by
Thimerosal to submit claims through the Vaccine Injury
Compensation Trust Fund.
But aides to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max
Baucus, D-Mont., said the language in the bill would
actually preclude families from collecting compensation
from that fund, because it does not change the Internal
Revenue Code to allow the fund to pay for such injuries.
"It appears that the effect of the provision is to
preclude court lawsuits over vaccine ingredients or
components, but it also precludes compensation from the
Fund, because the bill does not change the disbursement
purposes for the Fund," the aides wrote in a memo.
Toles, Washington Post
November 29, 2002
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
Nov. 28 — Lobbyists for Eli Lilly & Company, the
pharmaceutical giant, did not have much luck when they
made the rounds on Capitol Hill earlier this year, seeking
protection from lawsuits over a preservative in vaccines.
Senator Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee, tucked a
provision into a bill that went nowhere. When lawmakers
rebuffed a request to slip language into domestic security
legislation, a Lilly spokesman said, the company gave up.
Now, in a Washington whodunit worthy of Agatha
Christie, the provision has been resurrected and become
law, as part of the domestic security legislation signed
on Monday by President Bush. Yet in a city where
politicians have perfected the art of claiming credit for
deeds large and small, not a single member of Congress —
or the Bush administration — will admit to being the
author of the Lilly rider.
"It's turning into one of Washington's most
interesting parlor games," said Dave Lemmon,
spokesman for Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of
Michigan, who has promised to introduce legislation to
repeal the provision. "There's a lot of guessing, a
lot of speculation as to who did this."
The provision forces lawsuits over the preservative,
developed by Eli Lilly and called thimerosal, into a
special "vaccine court." It may result in the
dismissal of thousands of cases filed by parents who
contend that mercury in thimerosal has poisoned their
children, causing autism and other neurological ailments.
Among them are Joseph and Theresa Counter of Plano, Tex.,
devoted Republicans whose party allegiance has run smack
into family ties.
The Counters' 6-year-old son, Joseph Alexander, was
normal and healthy until he was 2, they say. Then he took
an unexplained downward slide. Today, the boy struggles
with words. He cannot zip his pants, snap buttons or tie
his shoes. His parents say tests eventually showed that he
had mercury poisoning, which they attribute to vaccines.
They sued last year.
"I know that our legislative system can be very,
very messy at times," said Mr. Counter, a political
consultant, who with his wife has spent many thousands of
dollars on medical care and therapy for their son.
"But for them to attempt this, in the dead of night?
It disgusts me. This morning, I am ashamed to be a
With lawmakers now scattered across the country,
Washington is rife with speculation about who is
responsible for aiding Lilly, a major Republican donor.
During the 2002 election cycle, the company gave more
money to political candidates, $1.6 million, than any
other pharmaceutical company, with 79 percent of it going
to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive
Politics, a nonprofit research group that monitors
Critics of the provision, mainly Democrats and trial
lawyers, are quick to point out that the White House has
close ties to Lilly. The first president Bush sat on the
Lilly board in the late 1970's. The White House budget
director, Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., is a former Lilly
executive. The company's chairman and chief executive,
Sidney Taurel, was appointed in June by President Bush to
serve on a presidential council that will advise Mr. Bush
on domestic security.
The White House, however, has said that it did not ask
Congress for the provision. Rob Smith, a spokesman for
Lilly, said that the company's lobbyists "made
absolutely no contact with Mitch or anyone in his office
about this," and that Mr. Taurel "did not at any
time ask" for any favors.
"It's a mystery to us how it got in there,"
Mr. Smith said of the provision.
Senator Frist has said it is a mystery to him as well.
As the Senate's only doctor, he sought to include the
provision in legislation that would promote the
availability of vaccines. But the vaccine bill is stalled;
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who
is chairman of the Senate health committee, opposes it.
Mr. Frist's spokesman said he did not seek to have the
provision included in the domestic security bill.
On Capitol Hill, Congressional aides-turned-detectives
have traced the emergence of the provision to the Veterans
Day weekend. Flush from their party's victories on
Election Day, and with a mandate from President Bush to
pass a domestic security bill, Republican negotiators in
the House and Senate holed up for three days in the
Capitol to hammer out the details, said Richard Diamond,
spokesman for the retiring House majority leader,
Representative Dick Armey of Texas.
One aide said the language mysteriously appeared in the
House version of the bill in entirely different type than
the rest of the measure, as though someone had clipped it
out of Mr. Frist's legislation and simply pasted it in.
Mr. Diamond said all the negotiators supported the move,
but would not say who was responsible.
"If you want to give somebody credit for it,"
he said, "Mr. Armey takes ultimate credit. It's his
bill. We are happy to wrap ourselves around it, but Mr.
Armey is not a doctor, like Senator Frist. He's the source
of the language."
Whether thimerosal is truly harmful is the subject of
intense scientific controversy. Earlier this year, the
National Academy of Sciences issued a report saying there
was no scientific evidence either to prove or disprove a
link between thimerosal and brain disorders like autism.
But the academy did find that such a link was
"biologically plausible," and so it urged
pharmaceutical companies to eliminate thimerosal, which
has already been removed from many vaccines, as quickly as
The Lilly rider closes a loophole in a 1986 law that
requires victims to file claims with the vaccine court,
which awards payments from a taxpayer-financed
compensation fund, before going to civil court. But the
law covered only vaccines themselves, not their
ingredients, which meant people like the Counters could
sue ingredient manufacturers like Lilly directly.
While Washington debates the origins of the provision,
families are fuming. Some say the government fund will do
them no good, because they have missed the statute of
limitations — three years from the date symptoms first
appear — for filing claims. Scott and Laura Bono of
Durham, N.C., say that while their son Jackson, now 13,
showed symptoms similar to autism six or seven years ago,
it was not until August 2000 that they learned he had
mercury poisoning. They filed suit just the other day.
Aware of the controversy, lawmakers in both parties
have pledged to alter the thimerosal rider, but are
arguing about how to do so. While many Democrats want it
repealed, Republicans have suggested that they may simply
alter the language to apply to future cases only.
"I'll believe it when I see it," said Mr.
Waters, the Counters' lawyer.
In the meantime, Mr. Smith, the Lilly spokesman, said
his company would soon go to court to seek dismissal of
That news made Theresa Counter cry.
"It just makes me sick," she said. "I
cannot tell you how devastating it is to think that we
might have to start all over."
The Answer To Washington's Hottest Whodunit
Filed December 4, 2002
1158 26th Street, P.O. Box 428
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Quick, somebody call Sherlock Holmes. Or at least the
Hardy Boys. Or maybe even newly-designated Homeland
Security Secretary Tom Ridge. There's a Washington mystery
that needs solving.
Everyone in D.C., it seems, is utterly baffled as to
how an ugly little provision shielding pharmaceutical
behemoth Eli Lilly from billions in lawsuits filed by the
parents of autistic children made its way, in the 12th
hour, into, of all things, the 475-page Homeland Security
"It's a mystery to us," shrugged Eli Lilly
spokesman Rob Smith.
It's a mystery to us, too, echoed spokesmen for the
White House, the Department of Health and Human Services,
Bill Frist, who had originally penned the Lilly-friendly
provision for a different bill.
The haphazard lawmaking also proved baffling for
pharmaceutical industry lobbyists, and for White House
budget director Mitch Daniels, a former Lilly executive,
who made a very public show of disavowing any knowledge of
the amendment's mystifying genesis. Gosh, maybe the little
provision just flew down from heaven. Or was immaculately
conceived. Or maybe Osama bin Laden snuck over and planted
the little public policy bomb himself.
The outrageous rider stuck onto the end of the Homeland
Security bill provides security for Lilly from suits filed
by the families of autistic children who believe that
their kids' condition is linked to Thimerosal, a
mercury-based preservative made by Lilly that used to be a
common ingredient in childhood vaccines.
But in a town where knowledge is power, and where there
is no shortage of people willing to take credit for even
the most minute accomplishment, there has been a sudden
outbreak of people playing dumb. Official Washington is
observing a code of omerta that makes the Sopranos look
like the loose-lipped gals on "The View." In
other words: nobody's seen nothin'.
Here are the clues we have to work with: over the
Veteran’s Day weekend, GOP negotiators from the House
and Senate hunkered down to finalize the details of the
elephantine security bill. At some point -- no one is
willing to say when -- someone -- no one is willing to say
who -- inserted the Lilly provision -- though no one is
willing to say why.
It's vital that we solve the mystery -- even if you
believe that the custom-made legislation is justified. We
need to find out because this kind of behind-closed-doors
monkey business is an affront to our democracy -- the very
democracy this bill was theoretically designed to protect.
Perhaps it should have been called "The Homeland and
Lilly Protection Act."
"The ability," Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio,
told me "of a special interest group to secretly
insert provisions into law for its own narrow benefit and
to the detriment of the public interest raises fundamental
questions about the integrity of our government."
Kucinich has vowed to lead a challenge to congressional
rules that permit our representatives to do the bidding of
their deep-pocket donors away from the prying eyes of the
public. At the most crucial part of the bill-drafting
process -- when the language of the law is being finalized
-- Washington’s corporate alchemists work their black
magic to turn legislative gold into self-preserving lead.
"It's a defect in the system," explains
Kucinich. "When a bill goes into a conference
committee, it gets yanked out of the sunlight and into the
shadows. The conference process is a closed one, so you
can go into a conference committee and basically add
anything or take out anything you want and no one really
knows. It transforms the legislature into a secret
So this fight is about a lot more than pushing for the
repeal of the Lilly provision, something Sens. Debbie
Stabenow, D-Mich., and John McCain, R-Ariz., have promised
to do when the 108th Congress convenes in January. It's
about putting an end to the gaming of the system that is
turning the legislative process into a prize-a-minute
carnival for big contributors. “Inserting such favors
for special interests in a bill is a directive that can
only come from some very high places,” Stabenow told me.
Intriguingly, Stabenow, McCain, and Kucinich may have
found an unlikely ally in their battle -- one with a very
personal stake in the issue. It turns out that Rep. Dan
Burton, R-Ind., the chairman of the Government Reform and
Oversight Committee, has a grandson who first began
showing symptoms of autism within days of receiving
vaccinations containing Thimerosal. "He became
radically different," says Burton, "banging his
head against the wall, running around flapping his arms.
Twenty years ago we had one in 10,000 children that they
thought was autistic. Now, it's more than one out of
This is clearly not a left-right issue. Any politician
who has waxed lyrical about "accountability" and
"transparency" -- that includes you, Mr.
President -- owes it to the public to demand that Congress
get to the bottom of just whose directive it was to insert
into the homeland security bill a provision that has
absolutely nothing to do with homeland security. And to
find out whether the $1.6 million that Lilly contributed
in the last election cycle -- 79 percent of which went to
Republicans -- had anything to do with the inclusion of
this designer provision. And, come to think of it, whether
these donations had anything to do with the Bush
administration asking a federal claims court to block
public access to documents unearthed in over a thousand
For anyone remotely familiar with the ways of
Washington -- and Sherlock Holmes -- the answer should be
We're used to having pounds of fatty pork stirred into
almost every recipe Congress dishes up. But the abuse of a
bill about homeland security is especially distasteful.
Washington's greedy corporate masters may finally have
overreached. Their continued influence constitutes a clear
and present danger to our security and if the president is
serious about protecting the homeland, he should speak up.
Stephen Marshall, November 20, 2002
what is shaping up to be one of the most draconian weeks since the Bush
Administration took power, Tuesday’s Senate ratification of the Homeland
Security Act leaves little doubt that corporate interests have a major
stake in the post-9/11 re-engineering of American law.
Just one day after the super-secret Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Court’s decision to expand
the Justice Department’s power of surveillance over U.S. citizens,
Republican lawmakers squeezed the controversial bill through the Senate with
a last-minute promise to moderates that it would later be gutted of
“special interest” provisions, one of which shields pharmaceutical
companies from liability in vaccine-related injury suits. As it stands, the
American public will now be subject to forced immunization,
under the penalty of fine and imprisonment, without the potential of legal
recourse against the companies that manufacture them. And, while Republicans
were quick to spin the liability protection as necessary for the bolstering
of unfettered bio-technological research (growth factor plus guide)(in an era of potentially
nation—crippling bio-terrorism), one need only read the fine print that retroactively
limits the liability of corporations in major class action suits to see that
this is one of the most overtly cynical cases of the government’s
exploitation of the public panic over terrorism to further its political
goals and pay back blue chip corporate donors.
But, in order to fully understand the reasons for
and implications of this new legislation, we must trace the more
recent history of vaccinations and the culture of tacit federal complicity
that has, since the 9/11 attacks, sought to further entrench the
pharmaceutical interests with those of the Bush Administration and, more
specifically, in the domestic fight against terror. What emerges is the
troubling scenario of a federal government which has deliberately and
callously chosen to propel the interests of a potentially criminally
negligent corporate sector onto the very people it has been elected to
protect. Leaving us, it seems, with the now ubiquitous question: for whose
interests are they securing the homeland and at what cost to the freedom of
Stepping back to a decade before the specter of forced
vaccinations was even conceivable, evidence began to surface that pediatric
vaccinations may have some causal relationship to the staggering
rise in autism among American and Western European children. What
researchers discovered was that Thimerosal, a commonly used
vaccine preservative, contained toxic levels of mercury which could have
devastating effects on the neural tissue of young children. Alarmed by the
geometrically increasing cases of child autism in the United States (the
number tripled in the 90’s alone), a national coalition of concerned
parents and medical practitioners sought to expose the government to
scientific data proving the correlation between infant brain injury and
mercury-laden vaccine formulas. But it wasn’t until 1997, when a totally
unrelated FDA study into federal guidelines on mercury toxicity uncovered
evidence that essentially corroborated the coalition’s allegations, that
the medical establishment began to seriously question the safety of
thimerosal-laced vaccinations. Quoting from a recent New York Times
Magazine article, illuminatively titled The
Not-So-Crackpot Autism Theory:
The F.D.A. team's
conclusions were frightening. Vaccines added [from 1995 – 1999] had
tripled the dose of mercury that infants got in their first few months of
life. As many as 30 million American children may have been exposed to
mercury in excess of Environmental Protection Agency guidelines -- levels
of mercury that, in theory, could have killed enough brain cells to
scramble thinking or hex behavior.
Incredibly, despite a 1999 FDA conclusion that children
who received the recommended number of vaccinations were being exposed to
unsafe levels of mercury, the core medical establishment elevated its collective
denial to nearly psychotic heights. While some doctors preferred to
blame the environment or offer other, equally untenable, theories for the
tragic rise in autism, others simply wrote off the oversight as a clinical
error without ever turning it back to the pharmaceutical companies who had
manufactured the vaccines for public use. Dr. Neal Halsey,
chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on infectious
diseases from 1995 to 1999 (the period in which the mercury levels reached
their peak) was quoted in the same Times Magazine article:
''My first reaction was
simply disbelief, which was the reaction of almost everybody involved in
vaccines,'' Halsey says. ''In most vaccine containers, thimerosal is
listed as a mercury derivative, a hundredth of a percent. And what I
believed, and what everybody else believed, was that it was truly a trace,
a biologically insignificant amount. My honest belief is that if the
labels had had the mercury content in micrograms, this would have been
uncovered years ago. But the fact is, no one did the calculation.''
It was not until the 1999 FDA recommendation that vaccine
manufacturers “voluntarily” drop Thimerosal from their formulas that
anti-vaccine coalitions gained some political traction and public support
for their claims against the major pharmaceutical companies. But, for
hundreds of thousands of behaviorally impaired children, this realization
may have come too late. In what could well be one of the most potentially
tragic stories of the last half century, the medical establishment has acted
about as expediently as the Catholic Church in dealing with pedophiliac
abuse by its priesthood. In fact, many doctors continued to
administer Thimerosal-laced vaccinations right up until the last dosages
left the manufacturer plants. A practice that seems, at the least,
professionally negligent when you consider the volume of anecdotal evidence
and public outcry that was being leveled at the practice of giving children
"It's outrageous to
think that injecting a child with all that toxicity is an acceptable
risk," said Bernard Rimland, director of the Autism Research
Institute in San Diego. "It's also outrageous that despite such
compelling evidence of harm, the medical community would subject children
And so it is under this climate of intense scrutiny and
potentially devastating class action litigation that the Senate passed the
Homeland Security bill, with its future and retroactive liability protection
for the vaccine-manufacturing pharmaceutical sector. Just at a time when
mainstream news publications have finally begun to publicly air and
corroborate long-standing accusations of a major cover-up
by pharmaceutical companies of their guilt in producing mercury-poisoned
vaccines to a generation of child immunization patients, many of whom have
developed autism and other forms of neural damage as a result. And it may
not end there. In a radio interview broadcast after the Senate vote, Dr.
Len Horowitz, one of the leading voices for increased public scrutiny of
the pharmaceutical sector, warned:
"This legislation not
only impacts the victims of mercury poisoning, but equally guarantees that
other ongoing class action lawsuits, such as those waged on behalf of
polio vaccine recipients who developed cancer from monkey virus
contaminations, will have no legal recourse.
Nor will those affected by Gulf War Syndrome as a
result of drug and vaccine side effects, military personnel recently
inoculated who became ill from anthrax vaccinations, and claimants who
cite recent studies increasingly proving early hepatitis B vaccines
triggered the international AIDS pandemic."
Putting this all into perspective, Big Tobacco could have
learned a lot from the pharmaceutical giants.
One of the chief beneficiaries of the Homeland Security
provisions is Eli Lilly, a former
Thimerosal producer who has become the poster
child for mercury poisoning class action law suits. When executives of
Eli Lilly were interviewed about the last minute provision for a November 16
article in the St. Petersburg Times, they said they were “pleased
with the amendment but [had] no idea how it wound up being attached to the
homeland security bill.” And, while the paper did allude to the fact that
Lilly had contributed $1.6 million to congressional candidates before the
November 5 election, the most of any pharmaceutical corporation, it did not
report that Sydney
Taurel the firm’s Chairman, President and CEO was
"....appointed in June
2002 to the President’s Homeland Security Advisory Council, a select
group whose members were chosen to provide George W. Bush with advice on
homeland security matters."
Nor did it recount the particularly troublesome fact
that, in 1977, George Bush Sr. was made a director of Eli
Lilly, a position that was offered to him by former Vice President Dan
Quayle’s father, who then owned a controlling interest in the company. The
legacy of the Bush family’s ties to U.S. pharmaceutical interests and,
Lilly, is an exhaustive subject of research itself. Suffice it to say,
there is ample evidence for us to understand the current Bush
Administration’s desire to provide sanctuary for the company from its ever
increasing number of alleged victims. What is, perhaps, more alarming than
this blatant level of political cronyism is the little known MEHPA
legislation and the direct implications it holds for citizens and doctors
who refuse to trust the vaccines forced upon them by this government and its
allegedly, criminally, negligent pharmaceutical backers.
To backtrack, the Model
State Emergency Health Powers Act was first drafted in December, 2001.
Four days before Christmas, actually, so we can safely assume that it was
not something that was encountered with the most reassuring degree of public
scrutiny. But, as with much of the post-9/11 legislation, the Act came into
being and was swiftly endorsed by one of the Bush Adminstration's seemingly
endless entourage of white knights. In this case, Dept.
of Health and Human Services Secretary, Tommy
Thompson. In describing the new legislation, even the typically bland USA
Today Health and Science reporter Mimi Hall could not veil its ominous
A model law developed for
the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and provided to
state legislatures last year would give authorities the right to enforce
quarantines, vaccinate people, seize and destroy property without
compensation, and ration medical supplies, food and fuel in a
In other words, the worst-case-scenario interpretation of
the legislation is that U.S. citizens living in MEHPA adopting states will:
* have a mandatory
vaccination or be charged with a crime,
* get a mandatory medical exam, or be charged with a
* doctors in those states
will give the exam or be charged with a crime
* property can be seized if there is "reasonable
cause to believe" that it may pose a public health hazard... it
can be burned or destroyed and you will not have recourse or compensation.
Now, as far as the powers granted to the State Governor
under the provisions of the Act, they are what you would expect. The
Governor is granted unrestricted power to declare an emergency at his own
discretion. The legislature can not interfere for at least 60 days and, even
after that deadline, a two-thirds vote of both chambers would be needed to
block the dictatorial powers.
Since the latest reports regarding the number of states
that had passed the law were from last summer, we cannot confirm their
accuracy. But, as of late July, USA Today reported that "16
states and the District of Columbia have passed all or parts of the model
law. It has been rejected or stalled in 22 states." One of the first
states to pass it was Secretary Thompson's own Wisconsin (he was formerly
the Governor). And, as Barbara Flynn, founder of CHERUBS reported, the
criminalization of vaccine-resistors is hardly symbolic:
On February 27, 2002, the
Wisconsin Legislature passed a Mandated Vaccination/ Emergency Health
Powers Act which calls for a $10,000 fine and /or nine months in prison
for those who refuse vaccinations.
In describing the way that Federal agencies are using
monetary incentives to fuel pro-MEHPA legislation, Flynn cited this case
from her home state of New Jersey:
In an article in New
Jersey’s Daily Record on January 20, 2002, District 21 Assemblyman Dr.
Eric Munoz promised to spearhead a Rapid Mass Smallpox Immunization Plan
for New Jersey. And in the February 1, 2002 edition of the Star-Ledger we
find that the CDC (Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention) has offered New Jersey $26.8
million to "come up with a plan" by April 15, 2002.
So, as you can see, there was a very strong movement
coming from the Administration's core clinical assets for the passage of
this Act. And, as history proves, this is not the first time that the
American citizenry has faced this kind of authoritarian directive from the
medical establishment. Here is a quote from Jamie Murphy's seminal book on
Every Parent Should Know about Childhood Immunization:
In 1902, Cambridge
Massachusetts Board of Health passed an ordinance that required everyone
to get smallpox vaccinations every 5 years or pay a $5 fine. Henning
Jacobsen and his son who had both suffered severe and prolonged reactions
to the vaccine refused both the vaccine and the fine. Both were found
guilty by the Massachusetts Supreme Court and Jacobsen vs. Massachusetts
became the first and only vaccination case to reach the highest court. The
Supreme Court ignored compelling evidence that the vaccines did not work
and were dangerous.
"While we do not decide and cannot decide that
vaccination is a preventative of smallpox, we take judicial notice of the
fact that this is the common belief of the people of the State, and
with this fact as a foundation we hold that the statute in question is a
health law, enacted as a reasonable and proper exercise of police power."
Incredibly, the Supreme Court was basing its decision on
the widely held, public conception of vaccines instead of any empirical,
scientific evidence. Which can be a dangerous thing. Especially, as we have
seen, when it comes to vaccination. The new Homeland Security bill has now,
once again, pushed the debate over vaccines and their potentially harmful
effects outside of the public realm. Reacting to the news of the Senate
vote, National Vaccine Information Center president Barbara Loe Fisher
summed it up thusly:
"Several years ago the
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) commissioned the creation of the Model
State Emergency Health Powers Act which would give sweeping new powers to
public health officials. They have tried to get that law passed in every
state but have failed so far. So now they are going to go federal and get
the power they have wanted for years. This bill is a violation of freedom
in the name of protecting freedom. At the very least there should be informed
consent protections in the bill to allow exemptions to
vaccination and medical treatment for conscientious and religious beliefs
as well as quarantine protections for those who exercise them.”
In his remarks following the Senate vote, President Bush
called the new Homeland Security legislation “the most extensive
reorganization of the federal government since the 1940s.” And while there
is no doubt about the fact that he is at the helm of a verifiable
dismantling of the American socio-political super-structure – a process
upon which the citizenry seems to have very little impact - we must not lose
sight of the one physical realm that we should, at all costs, remain
If this Administration is allowed to progress,
unchallenged, with this new assault on the human right to consensual medical
treatment, we will have fallen to the status of guinea pigs... defenseless
before the poking and prodding by State practitioners with all manner of
biological technologies. If ever there was an issue that should congeal the
masses around the protestation of this ever-advancing incursion on our civil
liberties, it should form as the last barrier to that final border.
And perhaps we should begin by demanding answers to the
most basic of questions. Namely, if the vaccines are so effective, then why
are those who opt out of them considered such a risk to the immunized
populace? Especially to the extent that they are going to be criminalized
and fined? And, furthermore, if such drastic measures are being contemplated
in respect to the collective health and welfare of the U.S. population, why
can't more scrutiny and funding be allocated for an investigation into the
rise in autism among child immunization clients, as well as an entire
generation's sudden affliction of "attention deficit disorders"?
Otherwise, we may just wake a little too late from our
collective political somnambulism... but just in time to hear the benevolent
is co-founder and
Creative/Strategic director of GNN.
To discuss this Article and other issues please visit the Guerrilla
Behind The Vaccine Mystery
WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2002
Armey, R-Texas, says he's behind a provision in the
homeland security bill that protects Eli Lilly and Co. (CBS/AP)
"It's a matter of national
security. We need their vaccines if the country is
attacked with germ weapons."
House Majority Leader Dick Armey
(CBS) It's been a mystery in Washington for
weeks. Just before President Bush signed the homeland
security bill into law an unknown member of Congress
inserted a provision into the legislation that blocks
lawsuits against the maker of a controversial vaccine
preservative called "thimerosal," used in
vaccines that are given to children.
Drug giant Eli Lilly and Company makes thimerosal. It's
the mercury in the preservative that many parents say
causes autism in thousands of children – like Mary Kate
Asked if she thinks her daughter is a victim of
thimerosal, Mary Kate's mother, Kathy Kilpatrick, says,
"I think autism is mercury poisoning."
But nobody in Congress would admit to adding the
provision, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Acosta
– until now.
House Majority Leader Dick Armey tells CBS News
he did it to keep vaccine-makers from going out of
business under the weight of mounting lawsuits.
"I did it and I'm proud of it," says Armey,
"It's a matter of national security," Armey
says. "We need their vaccines if the country is
attacked with germ weapons."
Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., isn't buying it. The
grandfather of an autistic child, Burton says Armey
slipped the provision in at the last minute, too late for
"And I said, 'Who told you to put it in?'" He
said, 'No, they asked me to do it at the White
Critics say the Bush family and the administration have
too many ties to Eli Lilly. There's President Bush's
father, who sat on the company's board in the 1970's;
White House budget director Mitch Daniels, once an Eli
Lilly executive; and Eli Lilly CEO Sidney Taurel, who
serves on the president's homeland security advisory
Officials at the drug giant insist they did nothing
wrong. "No one, not our CEO, not myself, not anyone
who works with me asked the White House to insert this
legislation," said Eli Lilly spokeswoman Debra
But Kathy Kilpatrick and her husband Michael argue that
the thimerosal provision is not designed to protect the
nation, but rather to protect Eli Lilly.
Asked what he'd say to a congressman who came forward
and admitted he was responsible for inserting the
provision, Michael Kilpatrick says, "I would ask him
if he knew he was protecting mercury being shot into our
Kathy Kilpatrick asks, "Why would anyone want to
save Eli Lilly on our children's backs?"
Because Armey is retiring at the end of the year, some
say the outgoing majority leader is the perfect fall guy
to take the heat and shield the White House from
It's a claim both the White house and Armey deny.
Limits Smallpox Vaccine
Injured by Smallpox Vaccine Won't Qualify for
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON Dec. 15
Some people who may be injured by the smallpox vaccine
will not qualify for compensation under current law,
health officials said Saturday.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said
he is open to discussing a compensation fund like the one
that aids people hurt by other vaccines, but he said there
is no legislation drafted and none is imminent.
The smallpox vaccine, which is being recommended for
some 10 million Americans, is more dangerous than any
other given in this country. It has rare but serious side
effects, and history suggests that one or two people out
of every million being vaccinated for the first time will
A provision in the Homeland Security Act bars most
lawsuits related to smallpox vaccinations. People who are
injured may sue in federal court, but they would have to
prove negligence. Given that the vaccine is inherently
dangerous, that would be very difficult.
People who get the shot through their jobs could make
claims through workers' compensation and get reimbursed
for health expenses and time lost from work, officials
But people who get sick by coming into contact with
someone who was inoculated have no real option, officials
The vaccine is made of a live virus that can cause
infections until the injection site scabs over. A
vaccinated person can spread the virus by touching the
injection site, then touching someone else. That person
would not qualify for workers' compensation.
"We do recognize that there may be gaps in the
compensation," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We
are going to identify those gaps and look at options for
December 11, 2002--US Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and
Patrick Leahy (D-VT), along with Congressman Dan Burton
(R-IN) held a press conference at the US Capital today to
condemn the last minute "Eli Lily rider"
attached to the Homeland Security Bill and to announce
their support for eliminating the special interest rider.
Also participating in the press conference were Lyn
Redwood, President of Safe Minds, Janell Duncan of
Consumers Union, and Michael Bender of the Mercury Policy
Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Debbie
Stabenow (D-MI)and Herb Kohl (D-WI) sent a letter
to Attorney General Ashcroft And Secretary Thompson
questioning the Bush Administration's attempt to hide
information pertinent to the Omnibus Autism Proceeding
story appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on
the Homeland bill's impacts on injured childen, their
families and the lawsuits filed on their behalf against
pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly for intentionally adding
mercury to infant vaccines.
Minds and the Mercury Policy Project are hailing a statement
by the US House and Senate leadership that they
will work to repeal a corporate special-interest provision
in the Homeland Security Act (read the joint
press release). The provision wipes out all legal
remedies for thousands of autistic children harmed by
mercury in infant vaccines and must be eliminated, the two
groups working to prevent mercury-related injuries said
today. The Act only allows the families to re-file their
claims in a special administrative court for
vaccine-related injury cases where it takes years for
cases to be heard and 87% of the claims filed are denied.
And claims can only be made by parents if their child's
first symptom of neurological damage occurred within the
last three years, which effectively bars many families
from going to court to hold Lilly accountable for their
children's injuries, the groups said."We strongly
support Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and House
Democratic Leader-Elect Nancy Pelosi's vow to remove
egregious special interest provisions, including the
thimerosal liability shield for Eli Lilly," said
Michael Bender, Director of the Mercury Policy Project.
Read the statement
by US Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) to
reporters concerning the thimerosal liability shield
provision in the 2002 Homeland Security Act.
The Mercury Policy Project and Safemind's released
a joint statement expressing outrage over a US
Senate vote providing Eli Lilly and other drug makers with
a blanket thimerosal liability shield in the 2002 Homeland
Security Act. "I was enraged to hear the
misinformation and half truths stated on the US senate
floor over the past few days related to these last minute
additions," said Lyn Redwood, President of Safe Minds
and parent of a child with numerous disabilities
associated with mercury toxicity after receiving 125 times
the Environmental Protection Agency's allowable exposure
to mercury. "It's a sad day in America when injured
children are denied their due process and day in
court," said Redwood, who in the attached document
rebutts statements made by US Senators Frist and Gramm on
the Senate floor. Also see the statement
from Sen. Leahy (D-VT) on thimerosal.
Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN) sent all the members of the
US Senate a "Dear Colleague" letter concerning
and Fictions About Thimerosal in Vaccines.
A thimerosal liability shield rider tacked on to the
Homeland Security Bill at the last minute and passed by
the US House last week is being opposed by lawmakers,
activists and parents of children with autism as unfair
and irresponsible. The rider would effectively end
lawsuits for damages caused to children after multiple
mercury exposures from thimerosal in infant vaccines. An
amendment introduced into the US Senate by Senators Joe
Lieberman (D-CT) and Tom Daschle (D-SD) to remove this and
other riders unrelated to bioterrorism is scheduled to be
voted on this Monday, November 18th. "The Mercury
Policy Project and Safe Minds hope the entire Senate will
support this amendment and not let a small number of
corporations exploit a national threat to America to
further their own private agendas," said Michael
Bender, Director of the Mercury Policy Project.
"While no one now wants to take credit for it, this
rider smacks of payback, smells of blackmail, has no
relation to homeland security and should be
defeated." Read the MPP
For a timeline of information related
to thimerosal, please see the March
17, 2002 press release from the Dallas-based law
firm of Waters & Kraus, who is leading a coalition of
firms in litigating a growing number of individual cases
across the country involving infants that sustained
serious neurological injuries from the thimerosal
contained in their pediatric vaccines.
On November 15, US Rep. Henry Waxman
(D-CA) sent a letter to White House Budget Director
Mitchell E. Daniels requesting information on the Bush
Administration's involvement in the amendment (see
the letter). Daniels was previously employed by
Eli Lilly as a top executive. Also, for more information
relate to the thimerosal liability shielding rider, see
the briefing document entitled The
Homeland Security Bill Fiasco, prepared by an
anonomous congressional staff source.
lawmakers against curbs
on suing vaccine firms
December 11, 2002 07:22 PM ET
By Maggie Fox and Joanne Kenen
WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Members of both the U.S.
House of Representatives and Senate vowed on Wednesday to
get rid of controversial provisions, slipped quietly into
the Homeland Security Act, that they say benefit vaccine
makers at the expense of children with autism and other
But one of the authors of the provisions said they were
meant to ensure the country will have vaccines to give
Vaccine critics say they can cause autism, and many
have filed lawsuits. Studies have found no link between
vaccines and autism but vaccine makers say they have spent
hundreds of millions of dollars defending against these
suits. Companies say it is one big reason that so many of
them have stopped making vaccines.
A huge outcry followed the news that provisions making
it harder to sue vaccine makers had been added to the bill
creating the federal Department of Homeland Security last
month. Groups advocating safer vaccines immediately
decried the move as being aimed at protecting rich
Several members of Congress, both Democrats and
Republicans, took up the call, and on Wednesday several
vowed to remove the provisions when Congress reconvenes in
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, called the
provision an "outrage." "It is really
government at its worst," she told a news conference.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, called it a
"huge gift to drug companies ... at the expense of
But Tennessee Republican Sen. Bill Frist said the
provisions came from a bill he was sponsoring that was
aimed at encouraging more companies to make vaccines.
"The threat of liability has become a barrier to
our ability to protect the American people," he said.
"Three provisions from my bill were put into the
Homeland Security Bill," he added. "It's a big
mystery who did this."
Only four companies now make the vaccines routinely
given to children to protect them against measles, mumps,
whooping cough, polio, hepatitis, diphtheria, tetanus,
chickenpox, meningitis and pneumococcal disease.
They are Merck and Co. Inc. MRK.N
, GlaxoSmithKline Plc GSK.L
, Wyeth WYE.N
and Aventis-Pasteur AVEP.PA
. Just two of those companies -- Merck and Wyeth -- are
The country had a severe shortage of vaccines this past
year that left thousands of children under-vaccinated. The
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is
tracking reports of disease outbreaks to see if there have
been any extra cases of childhood disease because of the
LAWYERS FIND LAWSUIT LOOPHOLE
Frist said trial lawyers found a loophole around the
Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986, which was
designed to provide a pool of money to take care of
children who have side-effects from vaccines.
Frist said that trial lawyers had begun suing the
makers of thimerosol, a mercury-based preservative
recently removed from childhood vaccines. Eli Lilly and
has been a primary target.
"Trial lawyers don't like it because manufacturers
are the huge pockets," he said. Studies have found no
link between thimerosol and autism.
The 1986 act is aimed at preventing multiple lawsuits
against vaccine makers, hospitals, nurses and others who
give vaccines to people, with the idea being that vaccines
provide for the greater good of society, and thus society
should bear the burden of any side-effects.
"It was supposed to be no-fault," Dr. Robert
Chen, chief of vaccine safety and development for the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a