publication date: Nov 27, 2023
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Germany Has Placed Skeleton
Formations in Wide Area and
Barracks Are Lacking.


Meanwhile, Across the Border
in France, 50,000 Troops
March to the Frontier.


COLOGNE, Germany, March 8.—
Although it had been common
knowledge for some time that Ger-
many’s military authorities had
completed in detail all plans for the
eventual reoccupation of the de-
militarized zone in the Rhineland
by the new German Army so that
it needed only a high command to
make the figures move, the main
impression gained by your corre-
spondent in the course of a rushed
journey down the Rhine as far as
Cologne yesterday afternoon and
today is that the Rhinelanders have
been stunned by the suddenness of
the event.

At the same time it would be a
fallacy to imagine that anything
like a substantial part of Ger-
many’s fighting forces has been set
in motion toward the Rhine and
‘Germany's western frontier dis-
tricts or that for the last few days
the whole territory has been re-
verberating with the tramping of
marching columns and the rum-
bling noise of an endless chain of
military by rail and road.

Merely the First Stage.

Thus far Germany has merely un-
dertaken a demonstrative and sym-
bolic action of no exceptional mili-
tary value and has only completed
what will probably be the first
stage of the occupation.

An announcement made by the
official German news agency to the
effect that by this evening nine-
teen battalions of infantry and
thirteen artillery sections will have
occupied their new garrisons would
appear roughly to correspond with
what the writer has seen and
heard yesterday and today in the
three largest Rhine garrison cities
—Cologne, Coblenz and Mainz. A
doubtful factor in all estimates and
calculations is the size of the artil-
lery sections.

The present strength of the three
largest garrisons can be estimated
at about 3,000 officers and men
each, while the towns of Offen-
bach, Hanau, Worms, Ludwigs-
hafen, Mannheim, Speyer, Karls-
ruhe and Offenburg should have
about one or two battalions, rough-
ly 600 men to each battalion and
three battalions to one regiment.
Places like Frankfurt-am-Main,
Saarbruecken and Trier have only
one or two companies.

The total number of troops now
in the former demilitarized zone
should scarcely be more than 25,-
000. That is the size of an average
soccer crowd in a big German city
and it is spread over an area ex-


Continued From Page One.

tending from the lower Rhine and
the Rhineland proper to South-
western Germany and the upper
Rhine Valley, adjoining the Black

Garrisons to Increase Later.

The term regiment cannot be ap-
plied as a measure of the size of
garrisons at all as the garrisons
thus far consist of a number of
small skeleton formations that have
been drawn from garrisons in other
parts of Germany and that will
gradually be developed and organ-
ized to the size of the pre-war gar-
risons by enlistments from the vari-
ous classes of recruits called up in
the future.

The main obstacle in the way of
a rapid increase for the present
seems to be a lack of adequate bar-
racks and other quarters as the
old barracks had partly been de-
molished, partly converted into
flats and partly put to various other
uses in recent years.

The skeleton forces represent a
whole variety of military categories
—infantry, engineer, army service
corps, light and heavy machine-
gun, flame-thrower, light and heavy
artillery and radio units. Many of
these have been arriving through-
out the day. Squadrons of the air
force have been stationed at Co-
logne, Frankfurt-am-Main and

The troops had begun to move in
the early hours of yesterday morn-
ing. The first units quietly reached
the neighborhood of the garrison
towns on the Rhine before midday
and crossed the Rhine bridges.
Other garrisons were occupied later.
It was the sudden appearance of
air squadrons over Cologne and
Duesseldorf before noon which
marked the first sign for the Rhine-
land populace that the historic
hour had come. The inhabitants
were taken completely unawares
and before they had time to recover
from their stupefaction the advance
guards of the entering troops began
to appear.

Scenes the Same Everywhere.

The scenes that followed were
everywhere the same. No sooner
had the news spread and been con-
firmed over the radio than every
house and other building in the gar-
‘rison town was covered with flags
within a few minutes. :

At Cologne the people rushed out
of their homes, offices and fac-
tories to meet their district’s first
German troops in eighteen years.
The whole Cologne police force had
difficulty in holding back the
crowds and keeping the way open
for the troops.

At 1 P. M. the soldiers came
across the Hohenzollern Bridge,
presenting a perfect picture of
physical fitness and military eap-
pearance. With smiling faces and
decorated with flowers, they con-
stantly exchanged greetings with
the populace, rousing the people,
who were packed in the Domplatz
and at all the windows of adjoining
hotels and buildings, to frantic en-
thusiasm when they goosestepped
past General von Kluge, comman-
der of the Sixth German Army
Corps, who took the salute.

At 12:50 the first German war
flag had been hoisted on the old
government building opposite the
railway station of Deutz, across the
Rhine from Cologne.

Public rejoicing continued through-
out yesterday, ending with torch-
light processions in several places.
Today the towns where the main
contingents of the new garrisons
had arrived yesterday had a more
normal appearance, there being lit-
tle evidence of the military with
the exception of small rear guard
detachments that continued to
come in.

Everywhere, however—in trains,
in the streets and in the restaurants
and cafés, which were crowded—
the public gave expression to its
satisfaction that at last its long-
cherished dream had materialized.

This was not only because of its
national and patriotic aspirations
but because of the fact that busi-
ness and commercial circles in the
Rhineland towns and the western
frontier provinces, which are re-
garded as emergency and distressed
areas, have for a long time been
clamoring for the return of the
garrisons, which for centuries had
supplied a large section of the popu-
lace with a livelihood.

The radiant and complacent faces
of many people seemed to reflect
pleasant recollections of their mili-
tary service and of garrison life in
peace-time, but in the minds of some
the sudden appearance of military
forces in the Rhineland undoubtedly
also conjured up thoughts of all the
horrors they had gone through dur-
ing the World War.

The animated discussions among
people of all classes on the whole
did not reveal any real fear of a
serious international conflict, but
one question on the lips of every
one was, ‘What will the others do

Every one here was convinced of
the righteousness of Germany's
cause and the Fuehrer was show-
ered with words of the highest
praise and admiration for his latest
"diplomatic masterpiece," although
the opinion could also be heard that
in making his conciliatory offers to
the western powers he might to
some extent have been influenced
by Germany’s difficult economic
and financial condition.

Thus far, however, the dramatic
events of the last two days are con-
sidered to have enhanced Ger-
many’s national prestige. Once
again they have made the whole
German nation forget for a time its
domestic troubles and complaints,
‘and there appears to be little doubt
as to what the result of the plebes-
cite March 29 will be.

The New York Times

Published: March 9, 1936


Einstein School Denounced for
Trying to Impose a ‘Meas-
ure of All Things.’


His Attack on ‘Jewish’ Science
Seized Upon as Material for
Anti-Semitic Campaign.


BERLIN, March 8.—Six German
professors, all winners of the Nobel
Prize for physics, are now engaged
in a public controversy on the is-
sue, “German Physics vs. Jewish

This controversy which, signifi-
cantly enough, is being fought out
mainly in the Voelkische Beobach-
ter, Chancellor Adolf Hitler's own
newspaper, is part of great activity
in all lines of “Kultur” stimulated
by the highest authority. Nazi
leaders, including Dr. Joseph Goeb-
bels, Alfred Rosenberg and Bern-
hard Rust, have been addressing
mass meetings, such as only Nazis
can organize, on the general topic
of the National Socialist *Weltan-
schauung’’ and “Kultur.”

Vast sums have been spent on the
production of classic drama in su-
perlative style. Germany's best
talents, even those formerly out-
lawed, such as Paul Hindemith and
Wilhelm Furtwaengler, have been
mobilized to restore the pre-emi-
nence of German music and opera,
And since nothing interests the
German public more than a fight,
a whole series of politically in-
noctlous controversies has been
launched to demonstrate that hon-
est minds can still clash in the
Third Reich despite regimentation.

Debates Cover Wide Range.

One such controversy deals with
the merits of modern German
adaptation of Shakespeare's plays,
with respect to which Dr. Goebbels
has reserved for himself the réle of
supreme arbiter. But the most in-
teresting controversy is that of the
physics professors, illustrating the
extent of the confusion wrought,
even in eminent minds, when sci-
ence is combined with politics and
racial’ mysticism.

The exponents of ‘“German’’ phys-
ics in this controversy are Pro-
fessor Philipp Lenard, discoverer
of “Lenard’s rays,” Nobel Prize
winner in 1805 and now head of the
Philipp Lenard Institute of Physics
at Heidelberg, and Professor Jo-
hannes Stark, discoverer of ‘the
Stark effect,”” Nobel Prize winner
in 1919 and president of the Ger-
man Physics Institute and the Ger-
man Research Association.

Their opponents are Professor
Max Planck, Germany's most emi-
nent physicist, creator of the quan-
tum theory, on which modern phys-
ics is based, Nobel Prize winner
in 1918 and director of the Insti-
tute for Theoretical Physics of the
University of Berlin; Professor
Max von Laue, Nobel Prize winner
in 1914, and Professors Erwin
Schroedinger and Werner Heisen-
berg, Nobel Prize winners in 1933.

The controversy started when a
student of physics, Willi Menzel,
whose scientific attainments are
still to be revealed to the world,
but whose party orthodoxy appar-'
ently is unchallenged, published a
violent attack in the Beobachter:
against Professor Albert Einstein
and against all theoretical physi-
cists as Jews or products of the
Jewish spirit.

No Nazi Physics, He Admits.

He modestly admitted there was
no National Socialist physics, but
maintained that there was a ‘Ger-
man’’ physics, which he defined as
"experimental research into reality
in inorganic nature caused by the
joy of observing its forms of reac-
tion. "Jewish" physics, as he de-
fined it, "aims to make physics a
purely mathematical thought con-
struction, propagated in a charac-
teristically Jewish manner.”

The idea of using the purely
scientific contrast between theoreti-
cal and experimental physics for a
National Socialist campaign against
the Jews, however, is not original
with Willl Menzel. It ig based on |
the violent diatribes in the same!
direction uttered repeatedly by Pro-
fessor Lenard, who maintaing that
science “is conditioned by race and
blood," and by Professor Stark,
who denies that theoretical science
has any merit whatever and de-
nounces "the Jewish propaganda
that makéds Einstein the biggest
scientist of all times and seeks to
impose Jewish views as a measure
of all things."

Mr. Menzel's attack was an-
swered by Professor Heisenberg,
who declined to follow hia opponent
into the field of political anti-Sem-
itism, but confined himself purely
to the defense of theoretical phys-
ics, citing in particular Professor
Planck as an authority, demon-
| strating how through it new ex-
periments had been stimulated, and
above all their results had been co-
ordinated and explained.

This answer, however, was fol-
lowed by a statement from Profes-
sor Stark, commending Mr, Men-
zel, expanding the attacks on Dr.
Einstein to all those who support
the Einstein ideas or methods, and
concluding with a demand that
their influence be excluded in de-.
ciding future unlversity appoint-

In this controversy the weight of
numbers and authority seems to be
on the side of the theoretical physi-
cists, but the “German’’ physicists
are winning out because they have
greater party orthodoxy on their

The New York Times

Published: March 9, 1936


Russia claims to have taken full
control of Mariupol

POKROVSK, Ukraine (AP) — Russia
claimed to have captured Mariupol
on Friday in what would be its
biggest victory yet in its war with
Ukraine, after a nearly three-
month siege that reduced
much of the strategic port city
to a smoking ruin, with
over 20,000 civilians feared dead.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei
Shoigu reported to President
Vladimir Putin the “complete liberation”
of the Azovstal steel plant in
Mariupol — the last stronghold
of Ukrainian resistance —
and the city as a whole, spokesman
Igor Konashenkov said.

There was no immediate confirmation
from Ukraine.

Russia’s state news agency RIA
Novosti quoted the ministry as
saying a total of 2,439 Ukrainian
fighters who had been holed up at
the steelworks had surrendered
since Monday, including over
500 on Friday.

As they surrendered, the troops
were taken prisoner by the Russians,
and at least some were taken
to a former penal colony.
Others were said to be hospitalized.

The defense of the steel mill
had been led by Ukraine’s
Azov Regiment, whose far-right
origins have been seized on by
the Kremlin as part of an effort
to cast its invasion as a battle
against Nazi influence in Ukraine.
Russia said the Azov commander
was taken away from the plant
in an armored vehicle.

Russian authorities have threatened
to investigate some of the steel
mill’s defenders for war crimes
and put them on trial, branding
them “Nazis” and criminals.
That has stirred international
fears about their fate.

The steelworks, which sprawled
across 11 square kilometers (4 square
miles), had been the site of fierce
fighting for weeks. The dwindling
group of outgunned fighters had
held out, drawing Russian airstrikes,
artillery and tank fire, before their
government ordered them to
abandon the plant’s defense and
save themselves.

The complete takeover of Mariupol
gives Putin a badly needed victory
in the war he began on Feb. 24 —
a conflict that was supposed to
have been a lightning conquest
for the Kremlin but instead has
seen the failure to take the capital
of Kyiv, a pullback of forces to refocus
on eastern Ukraine, and the sinking
of the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea

Military analysts said Mariupol’s
capture at this point is of mostly
symbolic importance, since the city
was already effectively under
Moscow’s control and most of the
Russian forces that were tied
down by the fighting there
had already left.

In other developments Friday,
the West moved to pour billions
more in aid into Ukraine and
fighting raged in the Donbas,
the industrial heartland in eastern
Ukraine that Putin is bent on capturing.

Russian forces shelled a vital
highway and kept up attacks on
a key city in the Luhansk region,
hitting a school among other
sites, Ukrainian authorities said.
Luhansk is part of the Donbas.

The Kremlin had sought control
of Mariupol to complete a land
corridor between Russia and
the Crimean Peninsula, which
it seized from Ukraine in 2014,
and free up troops to join the
larger battle for the Donbas.
The city’s loss also deprives
Ukraine of a vital seaport.

Mariupol endured some of the
worst suffering
of the war and
became a worldwide symbol of
defiance. An estimated 100,000
people remained out a prewar
population of 450,000, many
trapped without food, water,
heat or electricity. Relentless
bombardment left rows upon
rows of shattered or hollowed-
out buildings.

A maternity hospital was hit
with a lethal Russian airstrike
on March 9, producing searing
images of pregnant women being
evacuated from the place.
A week later, about 300 people
were reported killed in a bombing
of a theater where civilians were
taking shelter, although the
real death toll could be closer to

Satellite images in April showed
what appeared to be mass graves
just outside Mariupol, where local
officials accused Russia of concealing
the slaughter by burying up to
9,000 civilians.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr
Zelenskyy said Monday the evacuation
of his forces from the miles of
tunnels and bunkers beneath
Azovstal was done to save the
lives of the fighters.

Earlier this month, hundreds of
civilians were evacuated from the
plant during humanitarian cease-
fires and spoke of the terror of
ceaseless bombardment, the dank
conditions underground and the
fear that they wouldn’t make
it out alive.

As the end drew near at Azovstal,
wives of fighters who held out
at the steelworks told of what
they feared would be their last
contact with their husbands.

Olga Boiko, wife of a marine, wiped
away tears as she said that her
husband had written her on Thursday:
“Hello. We surrender, I don’t know
when I will get in touch with
you and if I will at all. Love you.
Kiss you. Bye.”

Natalia Zaritskaya, wife of another
fighter at Azovstal, said that based
on the messages she had seen
over the past two days, “Now
they are on the path from hell
to hell. Every inch of this path is deadly.”

She said that two days ago, her
husband reported that of the
32 soldiers with whom he had
served, only eight survived,
most of them seriously wounded.

While Russia described the troops
leaving the steel plant as a mass
surrender, the Ukrainians called
it a mission fulfilled. They said
the fighters had tied down Moscow’s
forces and hindered their bid to
seize the east.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser
to Zelenskyy, described the
defense of Mariupol as “the
Thermopylae of the 21st century”
— a reference to one of history’s
most glorious defeats, in which
300 Spartans held off a much
larger Persian force in 480 B.C.
before finally succumbing.

In other developments Friday:

— Zelenskyy said Russia should
be made to pay for every home,
school, hospital and business it
destroys. He called on Ukraine’s
partners to seize Russian funds
and property under their
jurisdiction and use them
to create a fund to compensate
those who suffered.

Russia “would feel the true
weight of every missile, every bomb,
every shell that it has fired at us,”
he said in his nightly video address.

— The Group of Seven major
economies and global financial
institutions agreed to provide
more money to bolster Ukraine’s
finances, bringing the total to
$19.8 billion. In the U.S., President
Joe Biden was expected to sign a
$40 billion package of military
and economic aid to Ukraine and its allies.

— Russia will cut off natural gas
to Finland on Saturday, the
Finnish state energy company
said, just days after Finland applied to
join NATO. Finland had refused
Moscow’s demand that it pay for
gas in rubles. The cutoff is not
expected to have any major
immediate effect. Natural gas
accounted for just 6% of Finland’s
total energy consumption in 2020,
Finnish broadcaster YLE said.

— A captured Russian soldier
accused of killing a civilian awaited
his fate in Ukraine’s first war crimes
trial. Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin,
21, could get life in prison.

— Russian lawmakers proposed a
bill to lift the age limit of 40 for
Russians volunteering for military
service. Currently, all Russian
men 18 to 27 must undergo
a year of service, though many
get college deferments and
other exemptions.

Heavy fighting was reported
Friday in the Donbas, a mostly
Russian-speaking expanse of
coal mines and factories.

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of
Luhansk, said Russian forces
shelled the Lysychansk-
Bakhmut highway from
multiple directions, taking
aim at the only road for evacuating
people and delivering humanitarian

“The Russians are trying to cut
us off from it, to encircle the
Luhansk region,” he said via email.

Moscow’s troops have also been
trying for weeks to seize Severodonetsk,
a key city in the Donbas, and at least
12 people were killed there on Friday,
Haidai said. A school that was
sheltering more than 200 people,
many of them children, was hit,
and more than 60 houses were
destroyed across the region, he added.

But he said the Russians took losses
in the attack on Severodonetsk
and were forced to retreat. His
account could not be independently

Another city, Rubizhne, has been
“completely destroyed,” Haidai said.
“Its fate can be compared to that of Mariupol.”


McQuillan reported from Lviv. Stashevskyi
reported from Kyiv. Associated Press
journalists Yuras Karmanau in Lviv,
Andrea Rosa in Kharkiv, Jamey Keaten
in Geneva and other AP staffers
around the world contributed.

Associated Press
Published: May 20, 2022


“Even in Hitler’s Germany, you
could cross the Alps to Switzerland,”
he told a crowd of flag-waving
anti-vaccine enthusiasts at a
“Defeat the Mandates” rally.
“You could hide in an attic like
Anne Frank did.”

Mr. Kennedy later apologized,
though it was not the first time he
had invoked the Holocaust. Over the
past two decades, as he has pursued
what he calls “safe vaccine activism,”
Mr. Kennedy has evolved from an
environmental lawyer concerned
about mercury poisoning into a
crusader for individual liberty —
a path that has landed him, a scion
of a storied Democratic clan, in
the unlikely embrace of the
American political right.

On Wednesday, Mr. Kennedy
plans to formally announce that
he is challenging President Biden
for the Democratic nomination
for president. His vaccine
skepticism gives him something
in common with another candidate:
former President Donald J. Trump,
who like Mr. Kennedy has blamed
childhood vaccines for autism —
a discredited theory that has been
by more than a dozen
peer-reviewed scientific studies
in multiple countries.

“Robert F. Kennedy could jump
into the Republican primary for president
and only DeSantis and Trump,
I think, would do better,” Stephen
K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former
chief strategist, said recently
on his podcast, referring to
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.
Mr. Bannon said Mr. Kennedy
had a “massive following”
with his audience. “People
love this guy,” he said.

Vaccination is a singular public
health success that has saved
untold millions of lives. Vaccines
have eradicated smallpox,
averted millions of deaths from
measles and sent naturally
occurring polio cases plummeting,
from an estimated 350,000
in 1988 to six reported cases
worldwide in 2021, according
to the World Health Organization

Mr. Kennedy has insisted that he
is not opposed to vaccines and
that his sole interest is in
making them safer. “I’m not
anti-vaccine, although I’m
kind of the poster child for the
anti-vax movement,” he said
during a recent speech at Hillsdale
College, a conservative Christian
college in Michigan.

But through his nonprofit, Children’s
Health Defense, and his movies,
speeches and books — including
one that portrays Dr. Anthony S.
Fauci as in the pocket of the
pharmaceutical industry —
Mr. Kennedy has used his platform
and his family’s star power to
sow doubts about vaccine safety,
spreading misinformation by
twisting facts out of context.

In 2021, the Center for
Countering Digital Hate named
him one of its “Disinformation Dozen”
— the 12 people whom the
organization found to have
been responsible for roughly
three-quarters of anti-vaccine
content on Facebook.

Facebook and Instagram have
removed the accounts of Children’s
Health Defense, and Mr. Kennedy
has accused them of censorship.
He is also suing the Biden
administration and Dr. Fauci,
who for decades led the
National Institute of Allergy
and Infectious Diseases, accusing
them of pressuring social media
companies to censor free speech.

Mr. Kennedy declined to be
interviewed. In an email message,
he said Children’s Health Defense
had “an extremely robust fact-
checking operation.” He also
pointed to a response by Meta,
Facebook’s parent company,
disputing the “Disinformation Dozen”
report. Meta critiqued the study’s
design, saying that focusing on
just 12 people “misses the
forest for the trees.”

Mr. Kennedy, 69, is the third-
eldest child of Robert and Ethel
Kennedy and a nephew of President
John F. Kennedy, who urged
to take the Salk polio
vaccine and signed the Vaccination
Assistance Act of 1962 to help
states and cities carry out
childhood immunization programs.

His activism, and now his political
aspirations, have been wrenching
for his family. Some of his family
members have publicly rebuked him.
His sister Rory Kennedy told CNN
she was backing Mr. Biden, while
his sister Kerry Kennedy
said in a statement, “I love my
brother Bobby, but I do not share
or endorse his opinions on many

Ahead of his White House
bid, Mr. Kennedy is playing up
his family history. He lives in
California but plans to make
his announcement in Boston,
a city closely identified with
the Kennedys. He recently
tweeted a photo of himself
in a vintage “Kennedy for
President” T-shirt.

His name and family reputation
have opened doors for him.
Dr. Fauci said he had met with
Mr. Kennedy several times and
had told him “that I believe that
his intentions are not evil, but
his information is incorrect,
and he’s misguided and can
inadvertently cause significant
harm.” Dr. Fauci said that
when Mr. Kennedy’s book
about him, titled “The Real
Anthony Fauci,” came out in
2021, he was “really shocked.”

The Children’s Health Defense
website also states that certain
vaccines are not tested against
placebos in clinical trials, citing
polio, hepatitis and meningitis
vaccines as examples. That is
misleading. Brand-new vaccines
— from polio to measles to Covid-19
— are tested in large clinical
trials that include placebo
groups. But scientists agree
it would be unethical to
withhold lifesaving vaccines
from study participants. For
that reason, when older
vaccines are reformulated or
updated, studies do not include a
placebo group.

“Vaccine injuries can and do
happen,” the website declares.
That is true as well, but the
federal government has an
aggressive system to track
and detect side effects so
they can be addressed.

The measles vaccine, for instance,
lowers the platelet count in
about one in every 25,000 to
30,000 people. That can cause
red spots from bleeding under
the skin — a problem that is
usually “short-lived and self-
resolving,” said Dr. Paul A.
Offit, the director of the
Vaccine Education Center at
Children’s Hospital of
Philadelphia. But measles
causes that problem in one
in 3,000 children — roughly
10 times as many as the
vaccine, he said.

“There are no risk-free choices,
just choices to take different
risks,” said Dr. Offit, who has
been a vocal critic of Mr. Kennedy.
“You could argue the greatest risk
of vaccines is driving to the office
to get them.”

By his own account, Mr. Kennedy
was at first a reluctant critic of
vaccination. He got involved in
2005, when he was an environmental
lawyer suing coal-fired power
plants to force them to reduce
emissions of mercury and other
toxic chemicals.

The anti-vaccine movement in
the United States had been growing
amid debate over a rise in cases
of autism. In 1998, a British doctor
named Andrew Wakefield published
a study of 12 children in The Lancet,
a prestigious medical journal, that
suggested a link between the
measles, mumps and rubella
vaccine and autism.

The article was retracted in 2010,
and Mr. Wakefield was later barred
from practicing medicine. But in
the years after its publication,
another theory began to take
hold: that thimerosal, a mercury-
based preservative
that had
been used for decades to
prevent bacteria from growing
in multiple-dose vials of
vaccines, caused autism.

The measles, mumps and rubella
vaccine never contained
thimerosal, but other vaccines
given to infants did. The Centers
for Disease Control and
Prevention says there is
“no evidence”
that the low
doses of thimerosal in vaccines c
ause harm, “except for minor
reactions like redness and
swelling at the injection site.”

But in 1999, after Congress
directed the Food and Drug
Administration to look at
mercury in all products, the
American Academy of
Pediatrics, federal health
agencies and vaccine manufacturers
agreed that thimerosal
should be removed from
childhood vaccines. The decision
was made “out of an abundance of
caution,” said Daniel Salmon,
the director of the Institute for
Vaccine Safety at the Johns
Hopkins Bloomberg School of
Public Health.

But the move alarmed parents. As
Mr. Kennedy traveled the country
giving speeches, he has said,
mothers of intellectually disabled
children began buttonholing
him, pressing him to investigate

“They would say to me in a
very respectful but also kind of
vaguely scolding way, ‘If you’re really
interested in mercury exposures
to children, you need to look
at vaccines,’” he told the
Hillsdale College audience.

In 2005, Rolling Stone and
Salon copublished an article
by Mr. Kennedy, headlined “Deadly
Immunity,” that blamed
thimerosal in vaccines for
fueling the rise in autism.
Salon later retracted the article.
Mr. Kennedy insisted Salon
caved to pressure from
government regulators
and the pharmaceutical industry.

Thimerosal is still used in
flu vaccines. In 2015,
shortly after Mr. Kennedy
published a book about
the preservative, he met
Eric Gladen, an engineer
who believes he was sickened
by thimerosal in a tetanus
vaccine and who made a
film about his experience.
The two joined forces.
Mr. Gladen’s advocacy group,
World Mercury Project, was later
rebranded as Children’s Health Defense.

“We had two huge tools to raise
funds; we had my film, which is
about 10 years of research put
into 90 minutes, and his book,”
Mr. Gladen said in an interview,
adding, “Between him being a
Kennedy, the film and his book,
it compelled a lot of people
to get involved.”

The anti-vaccine movement
was, at the time, largely the
province of the political left.
Mr. Kennedy found allies in
Hollywood celebrities like
Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy.
In California, he waged an
unsuccessful fight against
a bill to eliminate the “personal belief”
that allowed
parents to opt out of
vaccinating their children.

Mr. Kennedy has been a vocal
opponent of the Vaccine Injury
Compensation Act, a 1986
federal law intended to
promote the development of
vaccines by shielding
manufacturers from lawsuits.
In 2003, at the height of
the thimerosal controversy,
a bipartisan measure to
update the law by offering
immunity to vaccine
additive manufacturers
collapsed in Congress.

Mr. Kennedy points to such
efforts as evidence that
lawmakers and federal
regulators are conspiring
to protect drug companies,
which he says lack incentives
to focus on safety. During
the fight over the California
legislation, he invoked those
arguments, said Dr. Richard
Pan, a former state senator
who was an author of the
bill and met with Mr. Kennedy
at the time.

“He mainly focused on the
F.D.A. being corrupt and in
cahoots with the pharmaceutical
companies to hide the
danger of vaccines,” Dr. Pan said.

The commission never came to
pass, but the coronavirus pandemic
gave Mr. Kennedy an even bigger
platform. As the country grew
ever more polarized, with many
of Mr. Trump’s followers shunning
the vaccines and Dr. Fauci becoming
a lightning rod, Mr. Kennedy’s book
about Dr. Fauci became a best seller.

Another book by Mr. Kennedy is due
out in June, this time focusing
on the controversy over the
origins of the coronavirus.
Titled “The Wuhan Cover-Up,”
it claims that federal health
officials “conspired with the
Chinese military” to hide the
pandemic’s origins — an assertion
that appears to conflate
experiments by the Chinese
military at the Wuhan
Institute of Virology with
other work there funded by
the U.S. government.

How much Mr. Kennedy
will talk about vaccine safety
during his presidential campaign
remains unclear. As he did
during the rally at the Lincoln
Memorial, he used his talk at
Hillsdale College to cloak his
activism in a broader point —
that the government, the
press and social media companies
are trying to silence him, pushing
the United States toward tyranny.

“The founders, specifically
Hamilton, Madison, Adams,
said, ‘We put freedom of
expression in the First Amendment
because all the other amendments
are dependent on it,’” Mr. Kennedy
said. “Because if you give a
government the right to silence
their opponents, they now have
a license for any atrocity.”

The New York Times

Published: April 17, 2023

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