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Letter to Jim Moody: Halt libels against GMC witness!

Posted Feb 06 2010 3:43pm

In my fiction, I have come up with the following line as a motto for a group of elite, heavily armored soldiers:  “The best way to stop a bullet is to shoot the other man first.”  It is more or less in this spirit that I am seeking to refute swiftly a publicized “complaint” by Wakefield to the GMC alleging “false testimony” in the trial which lead to multiple findings of serious misconduct.  While there is no chance of this wretched, overlong document being taken seriously by the GMC, and good reason to doubt whether it was even intended as such, it offers a very convenient vehicle for pro-Wakefield and anti-vaccine propaganda.  (Though so far, it seems to have received attention only from AoA.) I have covered this in two essays at my own blog, one of which deals solely with claims about Michael Rutter.  Building on the latter, I composed this email to Jim Moody, a Washington attorney holding high positions in SafeMinds and NAA, about an AoA post and videotaped press release publicizing the “complaint”, outlining the extent to which his actions toward Rutter alone constitute outright misconduct.  I await his response with great interest!

I am very concerned at Andrew Wakefield’s “complaint” against the GMC, and am posting these concerns.  On examining just the “counts” against Michael Rutter, I have easily established that multiple statements are either unproven or provably false:

1.  The allegation that Rutter has served “ as a paid expert witness for the vaccine industry” cannot be supported even from the text of the complaint, which  mentions only ”UK MMR litigation funded by the Legal Aid Board… and for the U.S. Government “.

2.  A claim from Jake Crosby at AoA that “LAB funding was petitioned to Rutter by lawyers for pharma” is supported by no apparent evidence, and counterintuitive given that Rutter’s publications were repeatedly cited by Wakefield and others arguing FOR an MMR/autism link.  Even if Crosby’s allegation can be verified, which will require a document from a pharmaceutical representative which requests him by name, the fact can still be established that Rutter’s involvement was approved by the LAB, the same agency which paid Wakefield for services, and that he was never directly paid by or eligible for payment from a vaccine manufacturer. 

3.  A list of “experts’ fees and expenses” for the LAB MMR litigation does not include Rutter, thus there is no evidence that he was paid for his involvement in MMR litigation (by his own account consisting of an imcomplete report).

4.  In at least one of the papers in which it is claimed COI was undisclosed,  “No Effect of MMR Withdrawal on the Incidence of Autism: A Total Population study”, the allegation is supported by no evidence that has been made available.  Since no statement either reporting or denying COI is present in the published paper, it must have been present only in “page 1 of the submitted manuscript”, which the complaint neither offers as evidence nor even claims first-hand knowledge of.

By supporting this complaint, you are guilty of LIBEL against Dr. Rutter (among others).  If you do not voluntarily retract your statements, two lines of recourse are at the disposal of Rutter and other concerned parties.  One (barring a problem of jurisdiction) is a lawsuit.  The other is to file a complaint against you with the Washington Bar Association.  You have fair warning.

David N. Brown

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