Suspicions have been circling for a long time that there was more than just coincidence to the timing of writing and publication of Kirby’s Evidence of Harm. Those suspicions were enhanced for me when it became clear that a lot of Kirby’s associations with certain autism/anti-vaccine groups such as the National Autism Association were on a financial footing.
The ‘official’ story regarding the writing of Evidence of Harm, as reported by Kirby himself, was that Kirby was casting about for something to write about of book length and had been approached by several autism parents who wanted to share their beliefs that vaccines had made their kids autistic. According to Kirby, he was skeptical and unsure about whether to proceed with it or not. What made up his mind apparently was seeing a news report that a politician had managed to attach a no fault rider to a bill passing through Congress, absolving vaccine makers of any legal responsibility.
However, I don’t believe him. Up until recently, that belief was simply a belief. Rumours circulated that Sallie Bernard of Safe Minds was listed as the domain controller (i.e. she’d bought and paid for) the domain evidenceofharm.com. I emailed her to ask her one way or the other. She refused to answer that question. Kathleen Seidel has asked David Kirby that question. He refused to answer.
Why does it matter? Because Kirby claims to be impartial in this debate. His reviewers claim he ‘walks the middle line’ in his book. that his account is ‘even handed’. I would like to know how someone who has an established financial relationship to one major autism/anti-vax group can possibly be impartial. Would the NAA continue to fund Kirby’s website if he said he didn’t think thiomersal caused autism? I doubt it.
Turning our attention to Safe Minds, we can look at their records – records they must supply be law as they’re a non-profit organisation – and see exactly what they have financed. You can access these records via the orgs IRS Form 990:
Form 990 is an annual reporting return that certain federally tax-exempt organizations must file with the IRS. It provides information on the filing organization’s mission, programs, and finances.
Attached is Safe Minds 990 for 2005. It has some interesting details in it.
If we look at line 43, it has a listing amount of $99,196 for ‘Professional Fees’ expenses placed under the ‘Program Services’ Category.
This means that they paid people they considered professionals almost $100k to provide services to their programs. On page 15 of this same document they go into detail about what these services are.
…..THE BOOK “EVIDENCE OF HARM, MERCURY IN VACCINES AND THE AUSTISM EPIDEMIC: A MEDICAL CONTROVERSY” WAS RELEASED IN 2004 AND SAFEMINDS PRESIDENT, LYN REDWOOD, WAS FEATURED ON THE MONTEL WILLIAMS SHOW ALONG WITH AUTHOR, DAVID KIRBY. THIS IMPORTANT BOOK EXAMINES BOTH THE PERSONAL STORIES OF FAMILIES AND THE UNFOLDING DRAMA IN THE COURTS AND HALLS OF CONGRESS.
This is listed as a ‘Program Service Accomplishment’.
So what can we conclude? To me, this is pretty damning evidence that David Kirby was paid by Safe Minds to write Evidence of Harm. It certainly ties in with Kirby’s other financial benefits from the NAA. So much for impartiality.
I have some questions for Safe Minds and David Kirby.
1) Did David Kirby receive any kind of financial incentive from Safe Minds or NAA or any of their boards prior to writing Evidence of Harm?
2) If so, how much?
3) If not, please explain the 990 form from 2005 above and tell us exactly what the information in it means.