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John Thomas, JD

John Thomas, JD

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On February 12, 2009, the US Court of Federal Claims issued a trio of long-awaited decisions in its Omnibus Autism Proceeding.1 The 3 were representative cases chosen from more than 5500 pending MMR/autism cases by the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. Each presented the theory that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine in combination with thimerosal, a mercury-based ingredient contained in some diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP), diphtheria-tetanus–acellular pertussis (DTaP), hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccines, causes autism. In nearly 700 combined pages that reviewed the scientific and epidemiological evidence, all 3 opinions determined that the plaintiffs had not demonstrated a link between these vaccines and autism.

On October 19, 2009, the Office of the Deputy US Attorney General issued a memorandum, “Investigations and Prosecutions in States Authorizing the Medical Use of Marijuana.”1 The memo announced a federal policy to abstain from investigating or prosecuting “individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.” The memo made clear, however, that it did not “legalize marijuana or provide a legal defense to a violation of federal law.” Rather, it was “intended solely as a guide to the exercise of investigative and prosecutorial discretion.”

On Monday, August 24, 2009, in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released a “Top Secret,” highly redacted May 7, 2004, report, Counterterrorism Detention and Interrogation Activities (September 2001 – October 2003).1 The report’s opening pages concede that the activity it divulges “diverges sharply from previous Agency policy and rules that govern interrogation.”

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