Pakistan: Human rights campaigners successful in fighting for PHC to nullify ‘action in aid of civil power’ ordinance

Amina Masood Janua one of the signatories on the letter who campaigns on human rights in Pakistan

(Image Amnesty USA)

Several campaign groups in Pakistan have been successful in their fight to have  the provincial government’s “Action in Aid of Civil Power Regulation Ordinance” struck down by a high court on Thursday by deeming it unconstitutional as reported by the Express Tribune today. The paper stated,

“the court ruled to nullify the ordinance terming it, illegal, unlawful and conrary to the consitution

It further directed the IGP to over internment centres in the province and share a list of the people there.”

In a letter to supporters, human rights activist, Amina Masood Janjua (Defence of Human Rights, Pakistan) wrote explaining the concerns regarding the ordinance, todays’s decision and why it had been overturned as follows,

Greetings from Pakistan!!

I hope this email finds you all well. DHR as always, is not just involved in campaign and street protests but also actively indulges into policy making , and law consultancy mechanisms so as to make better and victim friendly laws for the citizens of Pakistan and make a tough resistance against those unfriendly, anti -human rights and unconstitutional laws and ordinances promulgated by the Government.

During the last few months the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has promulgated an ordinance extending certain powers of the armed forces, known as Action in Aid of Civil Power Ordinance,  which was implemented in the former Fata and Pata earlier on to be extended to the entire province this time.

The KP Actions (in aid of civil power) Ordinance, 2019, which was issued by the provincial governor on Aug 5th 2019, is almost a reproduction of two regulations promulgated by the president in 2011 for Fata and Pata through which legal cover was given to, Disappearances, Target killing, Illegal Arrests , use of Torture and unchecked powers of Detention to several detention centers set up during the military operations in different regions.

The ordinance assigns wide-ranging powers to the authorized officers and armed forces besides giving an interning authority to detain a suspect on a mere pointing of any army person , until the continuation of action in aid of civil power by the armed forces.

Therefore  Defense of Human Rights joined hands with legal fraternity and human rights community to resist the implementation of this ordinance. Here Defence of Human Rights along with Foundation for Fundamental Rights, Law and Policy Chamber and other law firms releases a joint statement so that grave human rights violations feared through this anti- human rights ordinance can be avoided.

Today we also heard some good news in view of the ordinance that High Court Peshawar  has declared it unconstitutional, striking it down in the hearing on Thursday 17th October 2019. The two member bench  comprised of  Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed seth and Justice Mussarrat Hilali which heard the writ petition , further directed the Provincial governments to share a list of internees with the Police and Inspector General of Police of the province should take over the control of all Illegal Internment centers KPK.

Lets hope and struggle that tables are turned on this highly notorious ordinance and the citizens of KPK and Pakistan in general could take a sigh of relief.

Best regards,

Amina Masood Janjua

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2081969/1-phc-scraps-action-aid-civil-power-ordinance/

Below is the original letter challenging the ordinance as follows…

Joint statement on “Actions (In Aid to Civil Power) ordinance 2019” (Pakistan)

Law and Policy Chambers           Defence of Human Rights

Foundation of Fundamental Rights

                                                 Faraz,Haider, Moazzam & Co.

Alongside the Defence of Human Rights, organizations and law firms dedicated to upholding fundamental human rights throughout the federation of Pakistan condemn the enactment of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Actions (in aid of civil power) Ordinance, 2019. Flying in the face of all democratic norms, on 5th August 2019, the Governor of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa enacted this egregious law and made it operational throughout the province the Province. We demand that the law be revoked with immediate effect and that the residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa be restored to the status of full and equal citizens of Pakistan.

By this law the oppressive and rights-violative practices of the 2009 Actions in Civil Powers Regulation Act, limited in application till becoming defunct in 2018, to the former FATA and PATA,  have been extended to apply to the whole population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Against constitutional guarantees of equality, life, liberty, protection against torture, and other fundamental human rights, the  KPK Actions in aid of civil powers Ordinances empowers members of the armed forces to detain people without charge on a number of vaguely defined grounds (Section 9);  to arrest and detain any persons in KPK without having to produce them before a magistrate within 24 hours (Section 9 & 10) ; denies detainees the right to legal counsel (Section 9 & 10): enables military personnel to enter and search any premises they wish on the basis of mere suspicion ( Section 6)

The promulgation of the KPK Actions in Aid of Civil Powers Ordinance thus awakens the troubling possibility that an increasing number of people will be relegated to the operations of a lawless internment regime. This internment regime is already a dark blot on the nation’s conscience and we implore the government to seek to dismantle it rather than intensify and expand its operations.

We thus draw specific attention to the following guarantees that citizens of Pakistan and all persons resident in the country possess:

  • No person shall be deprived of life or liberty saves in accordance with law. (Article 9)
  • No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest, nor shall he be denied the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice. & Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before a magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest, excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the nearest magistrate, and no such person shall be detained in:custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate. (Article 10)
  • For the determination of his civil rights and obligations or in any criminal charge against him a person shall be entitled to a fair trial and due process. (Article 10 – A)
●       All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law. (Article 25)

With the amendment of Article 247 of the Constitution of Pakistan through the 25th amendment, the population of an erstwhile FATA and PATA were finally formally conferred the guarantees of an equal law. Unfortunately though such liberation was only illusory and the government has in fact robbed not only the people of the former tribal areas but also the larger citizenry of KPK province of their fundamental rights. This is clearly violative of Article 25 of the Constitution which does not allow for arbitrary distinctions to be drawn rendering any portion of the populace less protected under the law.

While hearing a petition challenging the validity of this law the Honorable Chief Justice of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa High Court, Mr. Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, noted that the provincial government has imposed a state of emergency by vacating the province of constitutional protections for its citizens. Importantly though, a lawful emergency as per Article 232 can only be announced by the President of Pakistan and only to counter circumstances such as threat of war or external aggression. Even under such an emergency, the Constitution does not allow for the suspension of any of the rights quoted above.

We urge the Hon’ble constitutional courts of Pakistan to immediately strike down this law for the protection of the constitutional rights of the citizens of KPK. We also urge the Government of Pakistan to immediately revoke the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Actions (in Aid of Civil Power) Ordinance 2019  and to review all national security legislation to ensure it is fully compatible with our constitution and with the international human rights law and standards which Pakistan must adhere to.

Signed by

Amina Masood Janjua (Chairperson DHR)

Ch. Omer Malik (Advocate High Court Islamabad)

Umer Gilani (Advocate High Court Islamabad)

Omer Imran Malik (Advocate, Islamabad)

Haider Imtaiz (Advocate High Court Islamabad)

Zunera Shahid (Deputy Director FFR)

Marrium Rauf (Advocate High Court, FFR)

Aishah Masood (Campaign Country Staff AFAD)

END

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She was a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

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Contaminated Blood: UK authorities ignored warnings of higher hepatitis risk in US factor concentrates PRIOR to importation

“Hepatitis was allowed, and I want to underline the word allowed, to exist in the American blood supply unaddressed for 4 decades, really 5”

US haemophilia campaign the late Corey Dubin (Image via Vimeo)

Thousands of UK haemophiliacs born with an inherited blood clotting disorder were infected with HIV and hepatitis B and C in the 1970s and 1980s from imported US factor concentrates and some from British manufactured blood products. This is now the subject of a UK-wide public inquiry. The US treatment made from pooled plasma often came from “high-risk” sources such as prisoners and “skid-row” donors including drug addicts and alcoholics who sold their blood, donors that would have been excluded immediately in the UK where blood was well-screened and donated for free.

Sky News and other media outlets ran a story yesterday (October 7th 2019) claiming that,

“Health officials in 1974 allowed people to be infected with contaminated blood despite knowing it was making people ill, according to meeting minutes released under the Freedom of Information Act.”

see following link.

https://news.sky.com/story/contaminated-blood-new-papers-show-senior-medics-allowed-scandal-to-continue-11829778

Jason Evans, son of a haemophiliac and founder of Factor 8 Campaign Group, stated, “the fact that there could be this idea to keep known hepatitis-infected Factor VIII in circulation, as early as 1974, will be deeply upsetting to victims and families.

However Evans is somewhat behind in his knowledge. The far bigger scandal is that UK authorities were warned of the high hepatitis risks from imported factor concentrates made from commercially sourced pooled plasma much earlier by British and US hepatitis experts. Concerns were clearly voiced in public letters, medical journals and meetings PRIOR to the licensing of factor concentrates and PRIOR to importation in 1973 but the UK government chose to ignore the risks.

Back in 1968, British hepatitis expert Professor Arie Zuckerman warned,

“Serum hepatitis and infectious hepatitis now constitute the main hazard of the transfusion of blood and certain blood products”

He referred back to J. W. Mosley who had “classified human blood and blood derivatives according to the risk of post-transfusion hepatitis” in the American Journal of Medical Association in 1965 highlighting that, ‘high-risk’ derivatives included “pooled plasma”. In addition to this, Zuckerman wrote of of the safety concerns when blood was collected from paid blood donors. In a letter published in the British Medical Journal dated April 20th 1968, Zuckerman strongly criticised M. H. Cooper and A. J. Culyer at the University of Exeter, England that had written a lengthy paper setting out their arguement in the BMJ for the purchase of blood for transfusion. He stated that the authors had,

“completely ignored the outstanding hazard of commercially supplied blood – namely the risk of post-transfusion hepatitis. Thus while it is easy to dismiss emotional and altruistic motives for blood donation for healthy adults, it would be a mistake to accept that purchased blood would achieve the same criteria as probable low infectivity as far as the virus of hepatitis is concerned.” 

He went on to say,

“Payment for blood has been known to attract sometimes an undesirable section of the population noticeably narcotic addicts (whose risk of serum hepatitis is notoriously high) chronic alcoholics and others. Furthermore experience has shown that when potential donors were turned down by some blood banks on health grounds, they were able to sell their blood elsewhere. Consequently as long as the blood bank must rely upon accurate medical history and the truthfulness of the potential donor this risk must be taken into consideration.” 

Hepatitis experts such as J Garrot Allen warned of the dangers of hepatitis in pooled plasma PRIOR to the introduction of factor concentrates for US haemophiliacs in the 1960s several years BEFORE UK haemophiliacs received this same treatment. Scientists that had been researching ways to virally inactivate hepatitis in plasma found their funds suddenly cut or stopped altogether in the rush to introduce this “miracle” treatment.

As soon as US concentrates hit the market there were outbreaks of hepatitis in the American haemophilia population. Jessica H Lewis wrote in Vox Sanguinus in 1970,

“The widespread therapeutic use of fractions prepared from large pools of plasma has increased the risk of exposure to SH (serum hepatitis) and has produced an apparent sharp increase in the incidence of jaundice (table 1 shown) in a group of 300 haemophiliacs seen in this clinic….”

In 1970, “The Gift Relationship” by Richard Titmuss was published. Titmuss was a pioneering British researcher and Professor of Social Administration at the London School of Economics from 1953 until his death in 1973. His book provided a direct comparison between the US paid donor system of blood and the volunteer donor system within the UK. It was recognized as one of the classic texts on social policy and well known to haemotologists who often debated the content including safety aspects of paid versus unpaid donors. Titmus stated,

“In the United States in 1970, blood group identification cards are loaned at a price to other sellers; blood is illegally mislabelled and updated; and other devices are adopted which make it very difficult to screen and exclude as donors drug addicts, alcoholics, and carriers of hepatitis, malaria and other diseases.”

In the same year as the Titmus book was published, UK authorities were discussing safety of blood in its various forms prior to importation of US factor concentrates, recorded in, Notes of a meeting held at Alexander Fleming House on July 20th 1970 to discuss the problems of the Hepatitis Associated Antigen in relation to Blood Transfusion and Associated Matters, where it was stated,

“The problem of haemophilia patients was also considered, but in view of  the vast amount of material which was required for their treatment (in terms of numbers of donations) it was agreed that their inclusion as a priority category was impossible at the present time.”

This decision did not bode well for the introduction of imported factor concentrates into the UK in 1973, just 3 years later.

In 1972, Kasper and Kipnes discussed their findings regarding US haemophiliacs and their newly introduced treatment in the Journal of the American Medical Association in a letter entitled Hepatitis and Clotting Factor Concentrates, stating,

“Recent reports (listed 1-3 and referenced from 1970 and 1971) have aroused alarm about the danger of hepatitis after the infusion of clotting factor concentrates prepared from the pooled plasma of many donors. We have therefore reviewed the incidence of clinical hepatitis among 482 haemophiliacs treated here in the last 10 years (Reference to Table 1 in the article). The peak incidence occurred in 1968 in Haemophilia A and 1971 in Haemophilia B. Concentrate became the predominate mode of therapy in Haemophilia A in late 1967 and in haemophilia B in late 1969.”

They also warn later in the letter,

“We conclude that older children and adults who have had little exposure to blood products are at a high risk of developing clinical hepatitis after introduction of clotting factor concentrates. In such patients especially those with mild haemophilia, single donor products are preferable. On the other hand patients with severe haemophilia who have had many blood and plasma infusions have no increased risk of hepatitis if concentrates are used.”

It is is important to state that whilst the case for haemophiliacs that have had little exposure to blood products is a fair arguement, Kasper and Kipnes fail to address the impact of the US using paid donors and the far higher hepatitis risk compared to non -remunerated donors. This is very relevant in the comparison of severe haemophiliacs in the UK (that were NOT exposed to the same level of “high-risk” paid donors PRIOR to importation from US) to severe haemophiliacs in America. Many UK severe haemophiliacs only became infected with hepatitis showing clinical signs immediately AFTER their first dose of imported factor concentrates.

Further concerns about paid donors were raised by Martel Dailey MD (1972) in a letter to an American medical journal. He began by quoting personal communication from respected surgeon Dr J Garrott Allen,

To the editor- The probability of a recipient developing serum hepatitis (SH) is 10 to 50 times greater when the blood donor is a commercial donor. (JAMA, 24 th July, 1972, Vol 221. No 4)

As the late Corey Dubin, a US haemophilia campaigner at the Committtee of Ten Thousand (COTT) and also a journalist, infected with HIV and hepatitis viruses testified in his opening statement to the United States Congress Investigative Committee,

“hepatitis was allowed, and I want to underline the word allowed, to exist in the American blood supply unaddressed for 4 decades, really 5, and that starts in World War II when the first units of plasma were sent to Iwo Jima, Saipan, single units but OK, the first time they pooled donors, combined donors, they start seeing jaundice. The Army publishes a study in ’49 and the study disappears til we honor it in ’91 at the Library of Congress. The study is very clear that jaundice is transmissable by blood and passed when you pool donors.”

Dubin was patient 001 in the US, the first person to be infused with factor concentrates. He also highlighted that plasma pools which he initially thought consisted of 30,000 donors, in some cases reached as high as 300,000 donors.

As Dr J Craske discovered, the UK experience of hepatitis outbreaks following introduction of factor concentrates echoed the earlier US outbreaks. His studies, (copies of which are held by Grayson  and are largely unredacted) investigated the infection rates of hepatitis in haemophiliacs from 1973 following first use of US factor concentrates. Craske was able to identify “suspect” batch numbers of treatment and even analyse which named products caused the most cases of hepatitis. Yet there is no mention of treatment batch recalls. Family members that administered treatment were also being investigated too for hepatitis infection.

Grayson’s husband’s Peter Longstaff was one of the haemophiliacs studied for several years whilst attending Lord Mayor Treloar College, Hampshire, for children with disabilities. During this period, Longstaff was prescribed a named US factor concentrate treatment Hemophil identified by Craske as having a higher risk for transmitting hepatitis viruses than other products. The parents of Longstaff were originally contacted in April 1973 to participate in a trial by Longstaff’s Consultant in Newcastle who wrote,

“You will have received a letter from Lord Mayor Treloar asking for your permission to participate in a special trial of regular factor 8 injections. DY’s parents have also been asked for their permission. I saw the ……. last week and explained I was in complete agreement with the trial and that it could do nothing but good for the boys and for other patients. It has been most carefully worked out, was discussed at the last meeting of the Haemophilia Director’s in Oxford, and has the support of the Medical Research Council of the United Kingdom.” 

Who could resist such a recommendation? The family were given an opportunity to ask questions but in the 1970s the authority and advice of the doctor was rarely questioned. Longtaff and his parents only realized the risks involved in taking US treatment when they watched the 1975 World In Action documentary where Zuckerman accompanied a film crew to the US and observed the type of “high-risk” donors used in American plasma clinics. Longstaff raised their concerns returning his factor concentrates at one point (also recalled by his mother) but were reassured that treatment was no longer coming from these high-risk sources.

The Craske studies have been highlighted to the Inquiry and are being scanned for Inquiry investigators, some Craske documents already submitted from Grayson’s archive. She has also submitted articles she researched relating to the 1960s highlighting outbreaks of hepatitis in US haemophiliacs. These articles should have signalled a red light to ban imported factor concentrates in the UK but it appears safety was largely put on hold.

Under a Freedom of Information request Grayson asked for any government documents showing that a comprehensive risk analysis had been carried out by the Department of Health or any other government agency on the risks of importing US factor concentrates PRIOR to importation. None could be found.

As Grayson argued in her dissertation on Contaminated Blood (2006) the UK government had a “duty of care ” to haemophiliacs regarding providing the safest treatment and the key question must be asked,

“Why were factor concentrates ever allowed onto the market in the 1960s in the first place BEFORE finding a way to virally inactivate hepatitis a known high risk to haemophiliacs?”

The risk of transmitting hepatitis was so high in early trials of factor concentrates it allegedly violated the Nuremberg Code, a set of research ethics principles for human experimentation created as a result of the Nuremberg trials at the end of the Second World War. Also in many cases the consent to treatment was not informed consent as patients were not informed of the sourcing of plasma from high-risk donors.

To return to Professor Arie Zuckerman, the Infected Blood Inquiry now set up to investigate the scandal under Sir Brian Langstaff as Chairperson should make full use of Zuckerman’s evidence given that he wrote to Carol Grayson (Haemophilia Campaigner and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) awarded researcher on Contaminated Blood) on January 25th 2002 stating,

“I have argued for many years against the use of paid blood donations,as you know, and I have served as an expert witness on behalf of patients with haemophilia in the USA in the class litigation against commercial plasma manufacturers, which was successful.

I am member of the Department of Health’s Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Blood and Tissues for Transplantation (MSBT) and the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Virus Diseases, and I have served both organizations continuously over 30 years. 

I have advised and continue to advise both international and national Health Authorities against the use of paid donors and blood products.”

As contaminated blood campaigners highlight on Twitter and Facebook, haemophiliacs continue to die at a rate of one every 4 days. Compensation from government is still no-where in sight for those infected through factor concentrate treatment and affected families, many of whom are now bereaved having lost their loved to HIV and hepatitis C.

Links

CSPO presents Infectious Diseases Safety of Blood Supply and the future of Public Health: Past failures and prospects for public policy reform

The late Corey Dubin, Contaminated Blood campaigner gives a talk on his experience of living with haemophilia and treatment in the US

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She was a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

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Contaminated Blood: Carol Grayson’s response to Jason Evans Podcast 3 on searching for documents through FOI

Lord Patrick Jenkin of Rodin, a Conservative Peer was assisting me to locate government files related to contaminated blood in 2005 with my MP Jim Cousins writing to try to ensure they weren’t destroyed

(Image via the Independent)

Last night I watched and listened to Podcast 3 from campaign Jason Evans, the son of a haemophiliac who died after receiving contaminated blood. Many haemophiliacs became infected with HIV and hepatitis C (also known as Non-A, non-B) after taking a treatment called factor concentrates (derived from pooled plasma) for an inherited bleeding disorder. Factor concentres were manufactured  in the UK and also imported from the US where paid donors were used with plasma taken from “high-risk” sources such as prisons, “skid-row” and gay men who were targeted for their “hepatitis rich” blood in the 1970s and 80s.

Evans who runs Factor 8 Campaign Group has clearly spent a lot of time and effort during his 3 years of campaigning, tracking down the names of files relevant to his personal legal case and the Infected Blood Inquiry under Freedom of Information but is without the lived experience of decades of campaigning which some infected persons and their partners have aquired.

Evans quite rightly highlights the documents which are already in the public domain, from myself, supported in doing so by my former MP Jim Cousins and past legal firms. These are the documents I fought to have released that were used to inform the Self-Sufficiency in Blood Products in England and Wales: A Chronology from 1973 to 1991 (2006) which I critiqued for my research dissertation written in the same year. I also organized to have copies of other government documents returned (which the Department of Health claimed to have destroyed) and were part of the 1991 HIV litigation. This process was delivered on my instructions via solicitor Paul Saxon of Blackett, Hart and Pratt once the dissertation was finished and I maintain a series of legal letters detailing their return. The returned documents were initially available for viewing on the Department of Health website and were later transferred to the National Archives at Kew. A legal letter from Milners solicitors acting for me has been sent to Kew recently requesting that they reference appropriately and correctly with a short history of discovery attached which they have so far failed to do.

Evans has made great use of the documents I discovered in his interviews with the media though they have all been used before to assist journalists locally and nationally when they were first discovered by myself as opposed to being accessed through FOI many years later.

In Podcast 3, Evans points out that there are additional files held by governmental departments that are now subject to a government audit which he maintains have never been seen by anyone… but here I beg to differ. On freezing the screen I recognized titles of documents which I hold that are from the 1991 HIV litigation. These are papers that were not part of the return of documents to Kew as I had aquired them from a number of different stakeholders over the years. Therefore they did not come under the earlier instructions which pertained only to documents still held by a Newcastle solicitor’s office and other legal offices and not those obtained separately and kept elsewhere.

Jason Evan’s Podcast 3 can be heard here,

https://www.factor8scandal.uk/podcasts/2019/9/27/episode-3-infected-blood-inquiry-hearings-amp-the-foi-file-hunt

I continued to seek out documents that might help the contaminated blood campaign and back in 2005, I enlisted the help of Sir Patrick Jenkin, who wrote to me on April 14th, 2005 as follows,

Dear Miss Grayson

On the morning of Wednesday 13th April, I met the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health, Sir Nigel Crisp. This proved to be reasonably satisfactory.

I wanted to raise 2 matters, the first of which is of direct concern to you. Sir Nigel had with him, the senior official that looks after the records for the Blood Policy Team at the Department of Health, Miss Zubeda Seedat. She produced a long list of files covering several pages of papers relating to the blood products policy over several years. These are files which exist in the Public Records Office, but so far nobody has begun to go through them to find out which of them might be relevant to the issue of contaminated blood leading to either HIV or hepatitis C. It is already clear that most of the files are not relevant to this, but somebody is going to have to go through them to be able to isolate those which are relevant. This may take a little time but they have promised to get in touch with me as soon as this work has been done. I will then be able to examine the relevant files in order to refresh my memory about papers that went across my desk when I was Secretary of State for Health 1979-81.

Sir Nigel went on to make the point that the initial use of the files was about HIV, but when compensation was paid to those who contracted HIV through contaminated blood products, it appears that most of the relevant files were then scrapped.

(Note, Jenkin is mistaken here, no compensation was ever paid to haemophiliacs in the HIV litigation only an “ex-gratia payment”.) He goes on to say,

At that time Hepatitis C had not been identified as a another potential risk. It may be therefore, that some of the files I want to see no longer exist.

(Note, this information about hepatitis C is also incorrect as we now know there were concerns with regard to a 1978 3- year retrospective study, found within the HIV litigation, over the dangers of Non-A, non-B hepatitis. Detailed studies were carried out on haemophiliacs and Dr Craske who led the way, noted,

“Complications… The main complication of factor VIII and IX associated hepatitis is chronic hepatitis. Between 20 to 40% of haemophiliacs on long term factor concentrate treatment had abnormal aminotransferase levels”. There is as yet no precise information regarding the likely risk of serious chronic hepatitis disease but a recent collaborative study (10) where liver biopsies and post-mortem material was investigated showed while nearly all the livers examined had histological changes, about 15% had changes that may be indicative of serious complications in future. Some children with cirrhosis had received concentrate for 6 to 7 years” it seems likely that most of the cases of chronic hepatitis are associated with Non-A, Non-B hepatitis, which is known to produce a chronic carrier state, like that of hepatitis B.”)

Jenkins went on to say,

Sir Nigel apologised profusely for the discourtesy of the Department in sending me the first of the Lord Warner letters dated 27th January 2005 making necessary the second Warner letter dated 10th March 2005, which gave a good deal more information about the files. He was kind enough to recognize that the Department had conspicuously failed to respond properly to my initial approach.

Finaly I have given him a copies of the Report of the All-Party Group on Hepatitis C and I am sure it will do no harm to have fed that in at the highest level.

The meeting was satisfactory as far as it went, but much will depend on the search through the long list of files to find the relevant material.

Yours Ever 

Patrick Jenkin

Although the government had historically maintained for many years that “all the information was in the public domain” (their reason for repeatedly refusing a public inquiry) fellow campaigners and I were cynical and had continued to quietly carry out our own checking for additional files that we believed were still hidden from view with some retained under “commercial interest”. There was no doubt also there was concern from government of having to deal with further litigation particularly for hepatitis C.

During the 1991 HIV litigation, there was a process called “discovery” which is described in law by Isaacs and Isaacs as,

“the exchange of legal information and known facts of a case. Think of discovery as obtaining and disclosing the evidence and position of each side of a case so that all parties involved can decide what their best options are – move forward toward trial or negotiate an early settlement.

Parties in a case are required to participate in the discovery process, meaning they must hand over information and evidence about a claim so all participants can know what they are facing at trial.”

Though disclosure and exchange of documents did occur in the 1991 HIV litigation unfortunately in those days the litigants (haemophiliacs) were not given the opportunity to look at these documents while the case was ongoing though many years later  my late husband Peter, an infected haemophiliac and I did get to view some of these documents. In fact the government was 5 weeks away from having to disclose all their documents in court where they would have likely been made public when government decided to award an out of court settlement emphasising strongly in writing that this was NOT “compensation” but in fact an “ex-gratia” payment.

Once the settlement was reached, both sides were under instructions to destroy the documents within 8 weeks though that may have been extended slightly. However as a document I discovered shows from December 1991, our own solicitors as a lead firm appear to have been exempted as ironically they wanted to use the hepatitis evidence in the HIV litigation NOT for HIV haemophiliacs where around 99% also had hepatitis C but for other hepatitis cases. One such case has been highlighted to the Inquiry with the name of the litigant who has since died along with the document on retention, disposal and use of the 1991 HIV litigation papers. I am also in the process of scanning the most important documents myself to the Inquiry investigation team which are being submitted daily with copious notes so they have as full a historical picture as possible and can cross-match relevant papers. The rest will be scanned by the Inquiry.

After the letter to me from Jenkin, I asked my then MP Jim Cousins on June 8th 2005 to write to the Department of Health ensuring that all documents relating to the HIV litigation and to contaminated blood were maintained, which he did. This was BEFORE the return of the documents to Kew in 2006 organized by myself.

In a letter I wrote to Jim Cousins MP dated June 8th 2005, I became concerned to hear of the possible destruction of HIV litigation documents and state,

I have enclosed 3 letters from your (details included)……. and the third from the DOH (Department of Health) with regard to my request for Freedom of Information. I am disturbed to learn that the DOH appear to have destoyed/information/evidence from the original HIV litigation, especially as you wrote  yourself some time ago (at my request) asking that these documents be retained in case of a public Inquiry. I would be grateful if you could establish when these documents were destroyed and on whose orders. 

As it happens all may not be lost, I would be grateful if you could support me in obtaining the government documents which have been sent in the past to one of the solicitors representing HIV positive haemophiliacs and recall seeing a box specifically marked “government files” within the last 3 years. I will now go back to the DOH and ask that they grant me written permission to view and copy any government documents sent as generic evidence in relation to the contamination of haemophiliacs with blood borne viruses, maintained at the offices of solicitors that represented HIV positive haemophiliacs.

I had already aquired some of the HIV litigation documents as detailed in an e-mail to Colette Wintle and her husband Steve dated March 15th 2001 as I was able to access government documents not only from solicitors in Newcastle but another 2 firms that represented my husband in other parts of the country. In the e-mail, I describe finding some files with our solicitor, stating,

“What a shock! The original HIV case was based on the fact that several professional bodies in this country were negligent with regard to ignoring safety issues on hepatitis viruses, this included hepatitis C” 

I then continue in further detail to explain the arguement.

On 1st December 2005, Sir Nigel Crisp wrote back to Lord Jenkin with more information on the destroyed papers from the HIV litigation, the letter can be read on Tainted Blood website as follows:-

http://www.taintedblood.info/tb/files/Lord%20Jenkins%20Letter.pdf

However more HIV litigation documents will no doubt emerge from another source aside from those I hold and those remaining with the government that my MP Jim Cousins and Lord Jenkin managed to help locate and save.

Our current lawyers Milners were instructed by Colette Wintle and I to access and obtain key documents belonging to and following discussion with our long- standing campaign colleague Peter Mossman with his full agreement. Mossman had access to some of the HIV litigation documents during his case for hepatitis C but not HIV. These have now been transferred to Milners and were viewed along with others he had obtained over the years and collected by the Inquiry investigator Kevin Dupree who visited the offices to go through them with our lawyers at their Leeds office last week. Colette and I will have full access to these documents unredacted as instructed by Mossman. It was seemingly a useful trip with new documents emerging.

So in conclusion to return to Evan’s Podcast 3, it remains to be seen what will ultimately emerge from the audit of documents detailed in his Podcast though clearly some documents aren’t new and have already been viewed and utilized as they were part of the discovery documents we aquired years after the HIV litigation ended. The documents were not only government documents but evidence, information, guidance on dealing with viruses and studies they had aquired from all kinds of other agencies and experts to inform their thinking on the use of blood and blood products and to respond to the subsequent infection of patients with multiple viruses.

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She was a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

 

 

 

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Afghan doctor challenges Gallup Poll claiming “nearly half of Afghan women would like to leave the country”

An Afghan woman in a burqa near Salang Tunnel, Hindu Kush mountains.
(Photo by Paula Bronstein/ for the Wall Street Journal)

Dr Khaula Bint e Abdul Aziz, who resides in Afghanistan, was not happy on reading an article by Julie Ray entitled, Inside Afghanistan: Nearly Half of Afghan Women want to leave, which she feels needs challenging. Ray highlights the findings of a recent Gallup poll stating the following,

  • A record-high 41% of all Afghans say they would like to leave
  • Women account for rising numbers who would like to migrate
  • 47% of Afghan women would leave if they could

See link below,

https://news.gallup.com/poll/266897/inside-afghanistan-nearly-half-afghan-women-leave.aspx

On the morning of election day, strongly opposed by the Taliban, Dr Khaula Bint e Abdul Aziz (who does not intend to vote) provides an opposing view of life for women in Afghanistan. She has spent time in the west but states she has no desire to relocate and writes as follows:-

“Nearly half of Afghan women want to leave the country”: A Big Fat Lie!

A recent Gallup surveys show that ‘’nearly half of Afghan women would like to leave the country.”

The media dishes out what they are dictated. With America on its knees now and letting out its frustration by bombing weddings, of course such Gallup polls would be a good distraction.

Afghans love Afghanistan, they are proud to be Afghanis. Their emotions are not only driven by strong feeling of patriotism but also because they consider Afghanistan as a citadel of Islam. Decades ago this dream did come into realization with Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan establishing sharia law/Islamic doctrine throughout the country. That was a glorious era. The country was full of peace and Afghan men and women enjoyed complete freedom within the limits set by Allah. Muslims from all over the world were pouring into this fresh, new born Emirate with an enthusiasm to help rebuild. Even finance companies of non-Muslims were interested in investing in this fertile country full of minerals and other resources. I wish a Gallup survey had been done then, I am sure it would read along the lines of ‘”nearly half of the Muslim world wants to reside in Afghanistan.”

You might be wondering who am I to challenge this ‘’un-biased survey’’? Well, I belong to an Afghan family residing in the heart of Afghanistan. I have been around the country and have met hundreds if not thousands of rural and urban Afghan women. I live with them, eat with them and they freely express their inner thoughts to me. Afghan women love their country and they love Islam. They are proud of their culture and they are loyal to the warriors of Islam who are the saviours of Afghanistan. So I decided to ask Afghan women from various parts of Afghanistan, would they like to leave this war torn country? Unlike the above Gallup survey which must be funded by international powers in order to get their desired results, my survey is self-initiated with a desire to state the truth because as a Muslim I stand for truth and never ‘’take crap from anyone’’.

Here are the results summarised:-

Afghan women residing in remote, rural and urban areas unanimously state that they would like to stay in this land of their forefathers, although they would love to visit Pakistan more often to see family members also located there. Most are residing in the Taliban controlled areas. I further inquired of them, would they like to see Taliban rule replaced by some kind of Kabul style government? They strongly rejected this, instead they expressed a desire to rekindle the glorious era of Emirates. Let me quote here their words as follows,

‘’We are Afghanis and this is our land. We have the right to live here the way we wish, similarly as Americans live freely in their country. The right of freedom of our grandparents was taken away by Russians and now our rights are being snatched away by Americans. Why they don’t leave us alone? If we have a problem in our country then let us solve it, why did you invade our country and for the last 18 years or so you are trying to ‘’teach us’’ how to live by bombing our homes and killing our children, women and men.’’

The Gallup survey further stated, ‘’a fight for the rights and dignity of women’’, they claimed that Afghan women were the least satisfied women in the world with regarding the freedom to choose what they do with their lives. So, I asked a group of Afghan women, whose spokesperson said,

‘’We don’t know what they mean when they talk about freedom. We are slaves of Allah. We offer complete submission to Allah and His laws. We are free to worship Allah and in this we are not restricted by our men, instead they encourage us. Our homes are our kingdom and we are the queens of this kingdom and we are treated like queens by our men. We don’t have to go out like other women to make a living, All Praise to Allah our respected men have kept us away from such ordeal. However, if needed we do work in fields beside our men, fetch water and perform small jobs outside our four walls without any fear. We are free to visit friends and family, we enjoy family gatherings. We feel at ease in our own village. People of same village are like one big family and we have very strong family system where men and women respect each other and try to execute their duties fearing Allah only. So I am surprised when they say Afghanis would prefer to live in America, Turkey or any other country. We don’t even feel comfortable when we go to any nearby village and wish to return to our own village as soon as possible. We are encouraged to learn Islam and many of us have opened madrassas for girls at home to spread the light of Islam. Some of us are involved in small businesses run at home and we make our own money and our men don’t ask us for money but encourage us to spend it the way we wish. If we get sick our men try their best to provide us with health care. So, why would we wish to leave this blessed land? What else is freedom?’’

Another false claim by this Gallup survey was that Afghan women are fearful that they would lose what freedoms they do have as the Taliban continues to take more control over their country. So here is what Afghan women have to say,

’With invaders came bloodshed and crimes. We are dying to see a peaceful moment in this land. Americans are barbaric. They bomb our children, women and elders. We are living under continuous fear day and night. Our men cannot come home to us. However, when we hear the good news that Taliban by help of Allah have taken control of more areas, a ray of hope rekindles in our hearts that if Allah wills soon our heroes will force oppressors out of this country forever.’’

An old lady raised a good point. She said that if this was true that Afghan women are living an oppressed life under Taliban control as claimed by media then why would their women stay loyal to them and look after their children, cattle and property when Taliban are gone for months fighting enemies of Allah. They have a chance to run away to these NGO’s and shelter homes opened and publicised as ‘’freedom homes for Afghan women’’. But the truth is that they wait anxiously for their men, they pray to Allah to give victory to Taliban, and they ask Allah’s punishment and wrath on enemies of Islam.

END

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She was a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

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Contaminated Blood: Carol Grayson’s response to Jason Evan’s podcasts on destruction of documents and knowledge of hepatitis C

His Honour Michael Brooke QC who wrote an opinion for haemophiliac Peter Mossman on hepatitis C infection through factor concentrates in April 1989

(Image courtesy of The Times)

Jason Evans (Factor 8 Campaign group) has recently released 2 Podcasts on Youtube entitled, “Dr Rejman and ACVSB Parts 1 and 2” which stands for Advisory Committee On The Virological Safety Of Blood.

In the Podcasts Evan’s discusses how they relate to the Contaminated Blood scandal in which thousands of UK haemophiliacs became infected with HIV and hepatitis B and hepatitis C through plasma treatment named factor concentrates taken for an inherited bleeding disorder. He discusses the destruction of ACVSB documents with the relevant dates and attempts to relate this to events in and outside of the UK that occurred during the same time period. The Podcasts can be heard here,

https://www.factor8scandal.uk/podcasts/2019/9/13/episode-1-dr-rejman-amp-acvsb-part-1

https://www.factor8scandal.uk/podcasts/2019/9/20/episode-1-dr-rejman-amp-acvsb-part-2 

Evans states on the group’s Facebook page that, “we would really welcome all feedback on this” so this is my response with particular focus on Podcast 2.

My response to First Podcast

The main point I want to make on the first podcast is that long before the Dr Rejman and Dr Pickles documents from the late 1980s to which Evans refers regarding knowledge of hepatitis C (also referred to as hepatitis Non-A, Non-B), haemophiliacs were being studied in some details from the 1970s regarding their exposure to hepatitis viruses through factor concentrates. Fortunately I aquired some of these studies unredacted many years ago which are now being submitted to the Infected Blood Inquiry. Often what was published with regard to haemophiliacs including on hepatitis C tended to play down the dangers and severity whereas the unpublished minutes of United Kingdom Haemophilia Centre Doctors Organization (UKHCDO) and raw data documentation and research is more explicit in the concerns and describes how patients (and sometimes their relatives) were being studied in a series of investigations that attracted significant funding. So I would argue although interesting their comments are, they form part of a long line in the chronology of written statements regarding concerns over the dangers and impact of this virus which were often not fully relayed to patients or public bodies.

My response to Second Podcast

Firstly throughout the second podcast Evans uses my terminology regarding the inclusion of a hepatitis “Undertaking” in the 1991 HIV litigation which I nicknamed “the waiver” back in 1994. The government and solicitors acting for haemophiliacs usually refer to the official name which is the Undertaking and was a legal means of ensuring that those infected with hepatitis C (who were also infected with HIV) could not take further legal action for any hepatitis infection.

Although as Evan’s highlights the comments of Dr Rejman support the push NOT to inform some parties including the Haemophilia Society about concerns over hepatitis C infection (which we have highlighted repeatedly over many years, as it happened repeatedly during the 1991 HIV litigation)… a lot of Jason’s comments re destruction of documents are assumptions. Evan’s focuses much of his attention on legal and criminal actions that were happening outside the UK in France and Canada. However, he appears to have total disregard or ignorance of what was actually happening legally and campaign wise during the same time period by the haemophilia community in the late 1980s to mid 1990s WITHIN the UK which may also have affected whether documents were maintained or destroyed.

Evans ignores the work of a core group of long standing and committed UK haemophiliacs and their families and MPs that were actively campaigning as though the campaign groups, Birchgrove, Manor House Group, Haemophilia Action UK and Colette Wintle (independent campaigner) didn’t exist back then. Colette was not only raising concerns over hepatitis C infection in females with a bleeding disorder in the UK but was an early guest speaker on this issue at an international haemophilia conference in the Netherlands highlighting her case.

My campaign colleague, haemophliac Peter Mossman began his LEGAL challenge for hepatitis C infection in 1989 and was supported publicly by his MP who happened to be Lord Morris of Manchester (First Minister for Disabled Persons) who raised some of the first questions in parliament on behalf of his constituent and also my late husband Peter Longstaff and I and Colette.

The launch of Mossman’s legal case PRECEDED the 1991 waiver in the HIV litigation and would have alerted government to the potential of further litigation which they were concerned about ALREADY as documents show that were part of the HIV litigation. Mossman had aquired his first legal opinion on April 25th 1989 from his then QC Michael Brooke who also advised in the HIV litigation. What is deeply disturbing is that Brooke was part of a legal team which failed to notify HIV litigants of the dangers of Non-A, Non-B (hepatitis C) despite the fact that many of the documents in the HIV litigation referred to studies already carried out on haemophiliacs. This was the same legal team that encouraged haemophiliacs to sign a hepatits waiver and failed to study and include all the relevant documentation on HIV according to a solicitor’s note in December 1990 which can be read on the following link,

https://activist1.blog/2019/09/20/contaminated-blood-us-legal-depositions-from-expert-witnesses-used-to-help-win-haemophilia-cases-released-to-uk-infected-blood-inquiry/

I supported Mossman’s case that was passed from pillar to post through several firms of solicitors and accompanied him to visit their offices and later to visit his QCs during which I presented supporting evidence on hepatitis C from the HIV litigation. Time after time we stopped the case from being closed down with addition documents. Eventually Mossman’s solicitors did not want me present as it appeared they were determined to shut down the case and as soon as I was absent that is exactly what happened much to Mossman’s distress. Yet a recent opinion of solicitors reviewing his case highlighted that Mossman had a good chance of winning his case! Mossman has given me full permission to use his documents as required. The legal papers and evidence are now passed to Milner’s solicitors allowing Colette Wintle and I full and unredacted access.

Brooke QC states the following in his April 1989 opinion to Mossman, which is part of a longer opinion:-

3) At least prior to 1985, a lot of the factor VIII prescribed here was from the U.S.A and had been manufactured from blood collected there or, possibly, other places such as Central America. The pool of blood donors in the U.S.A includes homosexuals and drug abusers and the method of collection by purchase tends to encourage at least the latter group to offer their blood. Drug abusers are a high-risk group in terms of blood contamination.

4) From the mid-1970s governments expressed the intention of making the U.K. self-sufficient in home-produced Factor VIII. This would involve substantial expenditure on the blood transfusion service. As I understand it, the U.K. is still not self-sufficient in home produced Factor VIII.

5) As I understand the position from my work on cases of AIDS-contaminated haemophiliacs, the risk of factor VIII being contaminated by hepatitis and the consequent danger to users of being infected with Hepatitis were known in the 1970s and it was known soon after that heat treatment of factor VIII removed this risk.

6) It seems to me that the heads of possible complaints we have have identified in the AIDs cases may equally arise in a hepatitis case. Those heads are as follows.

i. Delay in achieving self sufficiency in Factor VIII

ii. Failure to screen donors

iii. Using bought blood as opposed to donated blood

iv. Delay in heat-treating Factor VIII

v. Inadequacy of warnings in data sheets

vi. Delay in providing heat-treated Factor VIII

vii. Providing non-heat treated Factor VIII, after heat-treated was obtainable, available

viii. Failing in mild cases to avoid Factor VII and use DDAVP or cryprecipitate

ix. Failing in serious cases to stop using Factor VIII or to let the patient make a choice

x. Failing to warn haemophiliacs of the risks inherent in using non heat treated Factor VIII and to give appropriate social and sexual warnings

xi. Failing to blood test haemophiliacs more frequently

A Hepatitis case should be stronger than an AIDS case because the risk of hepatitis contamination was known some years earlier.

Mossman’s 1989 case was followed by further legal cases being initiated by hepatitis C positive haemophiliacs without HIV and the setting up of the Manor House Group (MHG) in 1994.

Years later in 2011, Mossman told the Wythenshawe Reporter,

“Our bodies are constantly being battered by different viruses,” says Peter.”Hepatitis is a really debilitating problem. I have pains all the time with this and I have also been told I am at risk from the human form of mad cow disease. I also have fybro myalgia which really saps your energy. It attacks your immunity and your body feels as though it’s been kicked and it is linked to hepatitis c.

 “What angers me most of all is that in 1985 I should not have been given the products that caused this. There were warnings galore. If I was given the choice of taking these things knowing the risks or living with haemophilia, which I had done for 30-odd years, it’s obvious what I would. But we weren’t given a choice. I was medically raped.”

My late husband, Peter Longstaff and I also set up our campaign group Haemophilia Action UK at the same time as MHG in 1994. At that time we were the first to highlight the hepatitis “waiver” and its implications, had also applied for LEGAL AID to overturn this, highlighted testing without permission and withholding of positive test results to government and were questioning the delay in HCV testing of blood compared to other parts of Europe. We were already fighting for a Public Inquiry into both HIV and hepatitis C infection and also highlighting the criminal cases in France as they occurred and the progress in Canada and the Krever investigation and subsequent report in meetings with our MP Jim Cousins and letters to the British government with demonstrations in London. I have a hard copy of the Krever report which was sent to me many years ago from Canadian campaign associates.

We know from government responses in writing at that time they were fully aware of our fury at the waiver and that campaigners were determined to highlight how the dangers of hepatitis C infection was kept from HIV litigants. Therefore it came as no surprise to discover early on that during this same time period government documents including those from ACVSB were destroyed “inadvertently” or otherwise!

Later in 1996 Haemophilia Action UK initiated our call for “compensation on a parity with Eire” a scheme which paid out on the grounds of “extraordinary suffering” WITHOUT admitting legal liability on the grounds of “loss and need”. This challenged the limited “ex-gratia” payment and begging bowl Macfarlane Trust scheme which was the UK response to the Contaminated Blood scandal.

Evans, who uses documents from his campaign colleague Andrew March (who failed to reference my research work and documents used to help him and his lawyers win a Judicial Review in his name in 2010) are totally ignoring the big legal push on hepatitis C IN this country from the late 1980s onwards and seem determined to write early campaigners out of the history books!

Neither March nor Evans were active campaigners at this time and appear in ignorance of what was happening during this period. They don’t appear to have an extensive back catalogue of campaign work from the 1990s so instead work on assumption with little consultation with those that did and prefer to work from fact.

The Birchgrove Group also produced newsletters and ran support week-ends for those infected with HIV from the late 1980s and were also just discovering in the 1990s (post HIV litigation) that the vast majority of their haemophilia members were co-infected with hepatitis C.

Referring to a government produced report of the year 2000 where Evans mentions the review of documents in relation to whole blood cases…  my late husband and I were also continuing to apply for access to legal and government documents and had been doing so for several years BEFORE 2000 and had acquired some documents by this time. Indeed Government highlighted the 2000 review in letters to us due to our repeated questioning in writing from the 1990s regarding missing and destroyed documents.

The later report Review of Documentation Relating to the Safety of Blood and Blood Products 1970 to 1985 (Non A, Non B hepatitis) May 2007 is a direct written response regarding copies of government documents I had returned to the Department of Health in 2006 giving instructions to Newcastle solicitor Paul Saxon of Blackett, Hart and Pratt. The report states this very clearly but disturbingly omits my name which I am instructing my current lawyers to take up with government. There is mention of the ACVSB files and their destruction in the 2007 report which states “relate to a period post 1985, after the introduction of heat-treated factor VIII and are therefore outside the scope of this review.” This report and many of my letters are now being submitted to the Infected Blood Inquiry chaired by Justice Langstaff and a team have been assigned to examine these documents.

LINKS

Pete Mossman interview with Unilad 2016

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She was a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

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Contaminated Blood: US legal depositions from expert witnesses used to help win haemophilia cases released to UK Infected Blood Inquiry

In the 1980s and 1990s, Arkansas prisons were working toward national standardization. In the 80s, it was discovered that the Arkansas Department of Corrections had been selling contaminated plasma from prisoners to other countries in order to make money. This practice was stopped in Like most prisons in the country, overcrowding became a problem in the 90s. Image: Arkansas prisoner giving blood. Retrieved from “Prison Reform In Arkansas”

A zipped file containing many key US legal depositions from expert witnesses and other documents used to help win haemophilia contaminated blood cases in America has been submitted to the UK Infected Blood Inquiry chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff. This was instigated on the instructions of UK litigant Carol Grayson to her lawyers, Leeds based solicitors’ firm, Milners.

Grayson and her (late) husband Peter Longstaff who was infected with HIV, hepatitis B and C and exposed to variant CJD through factor concentrate treatment initiated the UK legal case in America in 2003 by making contact with San Francisco law firm LCHB (Leif, Cabraser, Heimann and Bernstein) after consulting with US haemophilia campaigners.

Longstaff, a severe haemophiliac with less than 1% clotting factor was given imported US factor concentrates to treat his blood clotting disorder from the early 1970s after the UK failed to become self-sufficient in its own blood products and has never achieved that goal to this day. Plasma for factor concentrates was sourced from “high-risk” donors. This included prisoners from Arkansas and Louisiana state penitentiaries who were known to be beaten and tortured, “skid-row” donors, those from Central American countries such as Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and including the island of Haiti. Gay donors were also targeted for their “hepatitis rich” blood which was used in research and to develop the hepatitis B vaccine… Incredibly any surplus plasma from the gay donors exposed to hepatis B was used to top up the plasma pools which could be as high as 60,000 donors.

Documents retrieved years later showed that Longstaff was part of controversial treatment trials which included US factor concentrates in 1973 at Treloar College, a school set up in Hampshire, England, to educate children with disabilities. His younger brother Stephen, also a haemophiliac that attended Treloar died of AIDS in 1986. As well as being guinea pigs in treatment trials, a number of former pupils alleged physical and sexual abuse at the college. Many haemophiliacs are now dead from HIV and hepatitis C related health problems after being infected through their American treatment.

Simon Birch, currently Data Protection Officer at Treloar wrote to Grayson after she applied for treatment records stating,

We wish you all the very best as you endeavour to uncover the truth about the causes of your husband’s and brother-in-law’s contamination. Our heart goes out to all the families of all the 72 young haemophiliacs treated at the centre who died as a result of this scandal and I genuinely hope that all who were involved in the catastrophic decision making that was undoubtedly the cause are called to account.

In order to pursue a legal case in the US, a meeting for haemophilia clients and relatives was set up by LCHB at Claridges in London back in 2003. The firm agreed to take on further cases highlighted by Grayson and Longstaff with additional meetings held in Manchester and Edinburgh.

In 2003, the BBC reported,

“Thousands of haemophiliacs have filed a lawsuit in the US against four companies for allegedly exposing them to the HIV virus by selling products made with contaminated blood.

The lawsuit alleges the companies continued distributing the blood-clotting products in Asia and Latin America in the 1980s, despite having stopped selling them in the US because of the known risk of passing on HIV and hepatitis C.

The four companies named are: Bayer Corporation, Baxter Healthcare Corporation, Armour Pharmaceutical Company and Alpha Therapeutic Corporation.

The lawsuit alleges that they purchased plasma from “the highest-risk populations, including prisoners, intravenous drug users and blood centres targeting promiscuous urban gays” and that they failed to exclude donors with a history of viral hepatitis

The lawsuit was filed less than two weeks after the New York Times accused Bayer of selling old stock of the medicine abroad, while marketing a newer, safer product in the United States.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2960294.stm

Longstaff also received US treatment that should have been subject to a product recall as it included donors from the prison plasma centre at Arkansas during a period when it was closed down on the grounds of safety.

In order to esure as many haemophiliacs and their families as possible could participate in the litigation (providing they could produce the relevant treatment batch numbers and medical records) Grayson and Longtaff organized through their then lawyers Anderson Eden for a notice to be put in the press. They also had articles published via the UK Haemophilia Society Bulletin, took part in radio and TV interviews and released information via the Macfarlane Trust newsletter. The Trust was set up to provide financial assistance to haemophiliacs infected with HIV and their families and was supposedly established for life as part of the 1991 HIV haemophilia litigation under Justice Ognal. Recently however, the Trust was allegedly scrapped illegally and replaced by the English Infected Blood Support Scheme (EIBBS) without consulting with the longest standing campaigners as promised.

The case for haemophiliacs given US blood products was always deemed the strongest due to the high-risk, sourcing of plasma and the dumping of dangerous treatment on UK haemophiliacs. The case for those infected through UK plasma was put at only a 5% chance of winning by lawyers in legal documents in 199o.

However in a bizarre twist specifically related to those that had received US factor concentrates, a lawyer admitted in writing in 1990 to his colleagues that he was concerned that they had not sufficiently examined some crucial evidence pertaining to imported American treatment. This was essential in order to give claimants the best possible chance of winning their cases against UK authorities deemed as the first line of protection regarding a duty of care. The lawyer acknowledged solicitors were running out of time and wrote the following in December 1990,

This note evidences a radical change in my perception of the plaintiff’s prospect of success on establising breach of duty in negligence and, in so far as it is relevant Wednesbury unreasonableness. At the consultation held at 10th October 1990, I assessed the Plaintiff’s prospects of establishing common law breach of duty at no higher than the litigation risk which I put at 25%. I also advised that in terms of Wednesbury unreasonableness the plaintiffs prospects of success were so small as to defy sensible quantification.The purpose of this note is to explain why I am now of the view that the plaintiffs prospects of success have SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVED both on breach of duty in negligence and Wednesbury unreasonableness and the consequential and favourable implications for causation.

He went on to say,

I am alive to what will be discussed in the course of the Consultation later today having had a telephone call from Michael at 00.45 this morning. Given the work that has been put into the preparation of the plaintiffs case by all counsel and the Steering Group I hesitate to inflict yet another note not least because there is rarely sufficient time to properly consider any note circulated immediately prior to or in the course of a Consultation. That said for reasons, which will become obvious, it is my duty to do so.

The solicitor then outlined in a document of numerous pages, the key evidence that had been omitted. This escalation in the prospect of winning and grounds for the change of opinion were never relayed to clients at that time.

A further solicitors’s note was discovered by Grayson years later in legal offices in Newcastle which stated, “I can no longer lie to my clients”!

Since that time period campaigners have themselves accessed a lot more evidence with regard to safety violations in the collection of US plasma which ought to have been sought at the time of the UK litigation.

In an e-mail to solicitor Ben Harrison dated September 4th 2019 Grayson wrote regarding the US depositions obtained from her former American lawyers LCHB,

Please send the US LCHB documents off today to the Inquiry in my name (as Pete’s living representative who inherited his case as his widow) a case we initiated with US lawyers LCHB many years ago on the back of Pete’s legal aid funding which we then opened up to several hundred other haemophiliacs who then joined our solicitor Denis Whalley (who was later struck off).

The Inquiry has now received the zipped file of relevant documents.

Fellow campaigner Colette Wintle, a female with a bleeding disorder infected with hepatitis C also instructed Milners to contact LCHB regarding her own case.

The US cases for UK haemophiliacs initiated by Grayson and Longstaff were sucessfully AUDITED by US lawyers as legal letters show and ACCEPTED by the US pharmaceutical companies with a token settlement which included a silence clause. The cases was finally closed to all UK haemophiliacs in 2009 however it kept open the possibility to sue UK authorities who by their own documents highlighted that they were well aware of both the high–risk sourcing of US plasma and the increased risks from imported treatment. Safety warnings to recall the US treatment and take it off the shelves were repeatedly ignored.

The cases filed by UK haemophiliacs in America were referred back to the UK courts (to fight for full compensation) on the grounds of “forum non conveniens” (not the right venue) and preceded by many years the recent contaminated blood cases filed by Collins Law solicitors of Watford now in the High Court. The cases back from the US are a continuation of the case started by LCHB and this is a separate case to the Collins Law litigation which is currently stayed during the course of the Infected Blood Inquiry.

The former LCHB cases are not dependent on the outcome of the Inquiry, depositions which we now possess have been used already to WIN cases in the US. The case here is even more serious due to the dumping of dirty treatment on the UK after it was deemed too dangerous to use in the US.

In Longstaff’s case he received US prison blood (some containing an HIV infected donor) after a plasma programme was closed down regarding gross safety violations. As documentary film-maker Kelly Duda (Factor 8: The Arkansas Prison Blood scandal) highlighted to Longstaff’s then QC, Stephen Grimes,

“The prison system remained unconstitutional in May 1980 when for 3 days Peter Longstaff infused several vials of Koate, the brand name of Cutter’s factor concentrate to stop a bleeding episode. He had no idea when he took his medicine from Lot no …. (stated) that it was made with the plasma of 297 inmates from Arkansas and an undetermined number of convicts from Avon Park, Florida.”

John Adervont a former inspector, a former Inspector and retired Director of Blood Center Licensing for the FDA remembered catching inmates performing phlebotomies at the Arkansas prison. Bill Douglas a former Arkansas inmate infected with hepatitis C, who sold plasma regularly at the time Longstaff infused Cutter …. stated, “They didn’t care. If you could crawl to get there you were able to give blood.”

“In July 1982, operators were forced to pay a $250,000 settlement after products made from tainted plasma were shipped to Europe. Two international recalls of contaminated plasma in the US, Canada, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Japan were unsuccessful. The following year, the FDA shut down the operation and revoked its license when it was discovered that an inmate clerk had allowed diseased prisoners to donate. But after a six-month suspension, the center was up and running again with the full approval of federal regulators and the Clinton state leadership”.  

“Given the above information, and the fact that even before AIDS, the hepatitis rate among prisoners was estimated to be 30 to 60 percent higher than that of the outside population, it becomes clear that Peter Longstaff ard others like him should not have been advised to take medication made from sources like this.”

On February 9th 2006, Lord Alf Morris of Manchester then Minister for Disabilities followed up on the Arkansas prison blood evidence after Longstaff’s batch numbers were verified by US lawyers and the plasma companies. The following is taken from Hansard,

HIV: Contaminated Blood Products

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What representations they have received from Ms Carol Grayson concerning the death of her husband, a haemophilia patient, from HIV infection by contaminated National Health Service blood donors at Arkansas State Penitentiary; and what response they propose to make to these representations. [HL3584]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): We have received several recent communications from Ms Carol Grayson about the import of plasma from the United States. We will be responding shortly. I will insure that a copy of the letter from Ms Grayson dated 14 January is sent to my noble friend.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldhansrd/vo060209/text/60209w02.htm

Lord Warner had earlier been highlighted by Grayson, Longstaff and Wintle for misleading parliament on the Eire settlement. Lord Archer who held a private Inquiry in 2007 in the UK into how haemophiliacs came to be infected with Contaminated Blood had recommended that the British government echo Grayson’s initiative from 1996 for “compensation on a parity with Eire.” In order to deny haemophiliacs the same level of compensation Warner falsely claimed the case in Eore was different suggesting Ireland had admitted legal liability with regard to haemophilia cases when it hadn’t. This was challenged in a Judicial Review won in 2010 by haemophiliac Andrew March using Grayson and Wintle’s evidence first sourced in 2004.

Going back to 2006, Warner failed to address both why Longstaff received US prison blood in the first place and secondly why this treatment wasn’t recalled in the UK when the Arkansas prison plasma programme was closed down on the grounds of gross safety violations.

Now with the US legal depositions from international experts that helped win American cases regarding the same treatment and batch numbers used on UK haemophiliacs and knowledge that key evidence was omitted from the 1991 litigation it is imperative that the former LCHB cases are now settled by the British government as a matter of urgency. As Liliana Segura highlighted in her 2017 article looking at the history of Arkansas State Penitentiary where Longstaff’s treatment originated,

In the 1969 expose, “Accomplices to the Crime: The Arkansas Prison Scandal,” former prison superintendent Tom Murton described the system as one of modern-day slavery, built upon “an ancient philosophy of retribution, corruption, exploitation, sadism and brutality.” Rather than pay civilian guards, the state relied on armed “trusties,” who violently enforced the state-ordered regimen of hard labor on fellow prisoners. Men were towed to the fields like cattle, harvesting crops under close supervision. Many compared it to a Nazi concentration camp.

Whippings were routine and legal in those years – and torture was an open secret. Especially notorious was an instrument called the “Tucker Telephone,” facilitated by so-called prison doctors at a penitentiary of the same name. As Murton described it, “An undressed inmate was strapped to the treatment table at Tucker Hospital while electrodes were attached to his big toe and to his penis. The crank was then turned, sending an electrical charge into his body. In ‘long distance calls,’ several charges were inflicted – of a duration designed to stop just short of the inmate’s fainting.”

and 

In 1970, a federal judge declared the whole Arkansas prison system unconstitutional, deeming it a “dark and evil world.

The problems within Arkansas State Penitentiary were made public in the media and the horrors of the system even inspired a film “Brubaker” starring Robert Redford based on Thomas Murton. Arkansas prison continues to this day to be regarded as problematic  and was hardly a safe and ethical place for British authorities to source treatment for the haemophilia community.

In the UK, victims continue to die every few days. Although the Infected Blood Inquiry is a step in the right direction giving victims some hope it will expose a long and complicated history of wrongdoing, bereaved relatives continue to exist on the breadline with surviving haemophiliacs and their families still denied the full and proper compensation they truly deserve.

Links

Law suit for infected blood 2003 (Guardian, June 4th 2003)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/jun/04/aids

Haemophilia patients launch action against Bayer over contaminated blood products (BMJ 2003 326(7402) :1286

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1151015/

Bloody awful

How money and politics contaminated Arkansas’s prison plasma program.

Bloody awful

ARKANSAS JUSTICE: RACISM, TORTURE, AND A BOTCHED EXECUTION

https://theintercept.com/2017/11/12/arkansas-death-row-executions-kenneth-williams/

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She was a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

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Statement of Islamic Emirate regarding resumption of activities by ICRC in Afghanistan

Post via Islamic Emirate September 15th 2019

The Islamic Emirate had a number of issues with the quality and quantity of activities being carried out by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan which forced the Islamic Emirate to suspend their activities and scrap the security guarantees which the Islamic Emirate has given to all committed NGOs in Afghanistan.

Following continuous contacts and discussions between officials of the Islamic Emirate and heads of ICRC in the capital of Qatar, Doha, both parties consented to following the old agreement on top of new promises in humanitarian aid leading to the Islamic Emirate granting ICRC permission of resuming their activities.

With publication of this statement, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan restores the former security guarantees to ICRC in Afghanistan and instructs all Mujahideen to pave the way for ICRC activities and be mindful of security to this committee’s workers and equipment.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

17/01/1441 Hijri Lunar

24/06/1398 Hijri Solar                 15/09/2019 Gregorian

End

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She was a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

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