Contaminated Blood: Government Trust emails calling victims “the great unwashed” thought destroyed have been found

Haemophiliacs and their families have been tied to government Trusts and now EIBSS as if anchored with a ball and chain (Image Wikimedia Commons)

Back in September 2018, Sue Threakal the widow of Bob, a haemophiliac given contaminated blood wrote an article for the Huffington Post highlighting a batch of e-mails containing derogatory comments regarding registrants of the Macfarlane Trust set up to provide financial support to victims infected with HIV. In addition, many haemophiliacs were also infected with hepatitis viruses B and C and exposed to variant CJD.

Haemophilia is an inherited condition where the blood does not clot properly and much of the plasma used to treat patients was imported from paid prison and “skid-row” donors in the US deemed to be “high-risk” for transmitting viruses. As Richard Titmuss highlighted in his book, The Gift Relationship: From Human Blood to Social Policy published in 1970 (which directly compared the British volunteer blood donor system to the paid blood donor system in America), the increased safety risks were known about long before the government chose NOT to become self-sufficient in our own blood products and began buying in factor concentrate treatment from overseas around 1973.

The goverment has always denied victims proper compensation but did establish an ex-gratia payment scheme for HIV positive haemophiliacs in an out of court settlement in 1991.

In 1995, the Haemophilia Society began a campaign for financial support for haemophiliacs infected with hepatitis C but initially excluded those co-infected with hepatitis C and HIV suggesting that the Society, “simply wants the terms of reference of the Macfarlane trust to be extended to include those infected with hepatitis C”. Grayson challenged the extension of the Trust itself alleging that this would be illegal and a separate Trust would have to be established. Macfarlane Trust staff upon checking at the author’s request realized this would be illegal. Several years later the Skipton Fund was estsblished following an opinion that a controversial waiver/undertaking/contract in the 1991 HIV litigation not to take further legal action for hepatitis C (in the legal case of haemophiliac Peter Longstaff) could not be “informed consent”. Skipton provided some financial relief but still failed to address the differences in payment between haemophiliacs with HIV and those with hepatitis C and their families.

In recent times in another allegedly illegal move, the Trusts were scrapped without legal representation for those who came under the 1991 HIV legal settlement and Macfarlane Trust to see how this would impact upon their rights. The Trusts were eventually replaced by EIBSS (England Infected Blood Support Scheme) and its equivilent in other parts of the UK in a move that ensured the opinions of the longest standing campaigners went unheard. Activists of three decades that had collected much important evidence were deliberately excluded from a key meeting with a government appointed mediator to discuss the proposed transfer to a different scheme. The change over to EIBSS was allegedly undemocratic, unethical and illegal.

Over the years, haemophiliacs and their families have highlighted how they have often had to go cap in hand to Trusts with a begging bowl for financial help in the form of grants. A system described by many as paternalistic and one supporting misogyny. (It was years before Grayson became the first female to sit on the Joint Partnershp Group to highlight the viewpoint of partners and the bereaved.) Monthly allowances are means tested for some registrants and in the case of the bereaved not linked to the Consumer Price Index which means year by year they are worse off.

There has even been a serious case of embezzlement by a staff member at Skipton creating numerous false profiles in order to help himself to money meant for victims, for which he was later imprisoned. (This was after he had stolen from his previous place of employment.)

Relations between victims and Trust staff have at times been fraught with victims accusing some Trust staff of allegedly “lying” comments posted on the Haemophilia Society website and on one occasion this resulted in several insulting comments directed back at registrants. Threakal elaborated on this in her following Huff Post submission as follows,

A few years ago, a group of us were sent copies of a series of emails between trustees of one of these support groups (referring to the Macfarlane Trust). We were later asked to delete them from our hard drives, which we did. This followed the CEO of the group travelling hundreds of miles to apologise in person to the family of one victim for the emails’ content.

You see, in the exchanges, we, as a community of around 1,200 co-infected haemophiliacs and their families were referred to as ‘the great unwashed’. Two individuals – brothers, both co-infected, both now deceased – were referred to as the ‘Welsh Terrorists’. The new partner of one victim, whose marriage had broken down through stress, was described as his ‘squeeze’.

Let me tell you now that this community of people, thrown together by a common scandal, are not ‘the great unwashed’. This is a group that represents a complete cross-section of our society today. They are brave, dignified and strong, and to be treated this way is unforgivable. Nor were the two brothers terrorists, though their Welshness cannot be denied! No, they were gutsy, intelligent, men who worked with us for justice up until the day they both died.  They were our friends and we loved and miss them. Nor is it acceptable to describe any new partner as a ‘squeeze’.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/contaminated-blood_uk_5bae34c6e4b0425e3c22f36d

This author was sent the body of e-mails from a senior member of the Trust however as she was not part of the Tainted Blood group involved in the incident, Grayson was never asked to delete them. As a senior staff member pointed out,

“I had made personal comments about a few of our registrants that I would not have made to their face”

This followed an incident where Trust e-mails were allegedly hacked by unknown persons and concerns were raised over breaches of security. Insulting comments were initially denied by Macfarlane Trust staff to protect one another but later admitted and the following comment appeared,

“there is, clearly, a risk that the hacker could penetrate our system further and access the database or our financial systems – there is no evidence that this has happened so far” …”Personally I do not wish to initiate police action that might involve any of our registrants;  the link between stress and damage to their health seems to be sufficiently strong that I would not recommend causing or adding to such stress.”

He goes on to say,

“I regret my part in causing this situation to arise”. 

It is hoped the Infected Blood Inquiry will investigate the past role of the Trusts, relationships with victims and how they operated as well as the considerable differences in payments across the UK. There are also concerns that in some parts of the UK that current arrangements (bar Scotland) breach freedom of movement part of Human Rights Act and restricts independence of registrants. Trust e-mails also highlighted how staff were exploring how to end the Trusts looking at the possibility of providing lump sums payments in a “buy-out” and a legal opinion was sought. They also appeared unhappy with long-standing financial arrangements for registrants?

There is a certain irony regarding referring to registrants as “the great unwashed” as in the e-mail comment below,

“Good to hear from you but sorry that you are getting so much stick from “the great unwashed”.

As Threakal points out its a unforgiveable way to treat victims. Another way of looking at it, is if Trust staff recognize that registrants are too ill and depressed to get out of bed to even wash themselves, then why are victims being constantly reassessed by the DWP for ESA and PIP payments. They should be left alone, not re-traumatized further and be passported onto these benefits without the need for further assessments. Government can’t have it both ways!

The mood in the exchange of emails was for the most part downbeat with strained relations between the Trust and Haemophilia Society. A further comment reads,

I think we also need to take a hard look at ourselves from a public relations viewpoint. M has a very different operating style to his predecessor, J equally so and the fact that A and S D have nothing to lose by bad mouthing MFT leaves us vulnerable. We are, I think, starting to be seen as getting rid of the good staff – because the users and UKHS don’t know the real story. We need a new PR policy / strategy which is even more outgoing and accentuates all the positives of what we are doing. And, even within the rules, we need to be seen to be saying ‘yes’ twice as often as we say ‘no’.

The email ends with,

I don’t know when you are up for re-election but it would scare the hell out of me if the UKHS were preparing to have you replaced by C!

You are right, lets get on with the business case for added funding – that would be a good news story, even if we didn’t ultimately get it!

I will keep you posted on any feedback etc and meanwhile “don’t let the bastards get you down”.

It is a little unclear if “the bastards” referred to were the Haemophilia Society staff (the emails show there was friction there also and difficulties in communication) or Macfarlane Trust registrants!

Back to the present. Some may well be wishing all the offending e-mails had been destroyed back in 2008 but they are very useful in showing the problems that were arising and discontent all round. It is only by exploring the mistakes of the past and improving financial arrangements for the future that those haemophiliacs still surviving and bereaved partners like Sue Threakal can move forward with whats left of their lives. There are alao serious security issues to be addressed, that a government Trust containing highly sensitive personal information on persons living with HIV and hepatitis C can be both embezzled and hacked!

As the late Martin Harvey, Chief Executive wrote to Grayson on August 7th, 2006 in a public response provided for inclusion in my dissertation,

I am quite prepared to accept that while I may think the (Macfarlane) Trust has responded well within the means available, I concur fully with the long-held view that our registrants should not have to rely upon a charitable Trust (that by its own analysis) cannot meet all the demands placed upon it and the feeling of begging for assistance flows through.

All beneficiaries, not unreasonably, believe their case to be one the Trust should support. I can do no better than quote one of our member trustees who said that, “I (he) is running out of reasons to say no” within the policy framework difficult choices have to be made.”

Lord Archer of Sandwell recognized the difficulties of Trusts hence his recommendation in the Archer report for “compensation on a parity with Eire” to be paid to those infected and affected. This was blocked by government using a false narrative as highlighted in the winning of a 2010 Judicial Review by haemophiliac Andrew March with key evidence provided by Grayson and campaign colleague Colette Wintle. Again government chose to deny compensation once again by moving the goalposts and coming up with a different reason to that originally stated. Instead, what we have now is a very similar begging bowl scheme to the original Trusts just under a different name (EIBSS) which may not even be legal for former Macfarlane Trust registrants!

Links

Comments from haemophiliacs and their families regarding their experience of both Macfarlane Trust and Skipton Fund and Martin Harvey’s complete e-mail can be read in Appendix B, Survey responses to a Questionnaire within Grayson’s 2006 dissertation sent out to haemophiliacs and their partners. See the following Haemophilia Society link,

https://haemophilia.org.uk/support/day-day-living/patient-support/contaminated-blood/dissertation-carol-grayson-contaminated-blood-products/

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 is a former Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development (Distinction). 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: History of Peter Longstaff’s legal challenge to the controversial 1991 HIV haemophilia litigation

Peter Longstaff (deceased) and wife Carol Grayson who began their legal fight to challenge the 1991 HIV haemophilia litigation and hepatitis “undertaking” in 1994

On World AIDS Day I have published an article in memory of all the members of the haemophilia community infected with HIV and hepatitis C through blood and blood products who died without ever receiving justice despite their long and hard efforts to litigate for their infections during the 1980s which ended in an inadequate out of court “ex- gratia” payment in 1991. This payment did not take into account loss and need in the legal sense as should have happened with a proper compensation claim. For over 2 decades the conditions of this settlement itself have been challenged by those who survived and their relatives after many documents were unearthed several years after the 1991 litigation showing that key evidence was never shared with litigants. This is the history of the very first legal challenge post 1991 settlement.

Peter Longstaff who died in 2005 was the first HIV positive haemophiliac to begin a legal fight challenging the original 1991 HIV settlement from the Department of Health as far back as 1994 alleging key evidence was withheld from haemophiliacs and their families including by their own lawyers. Haemophiliacs who suffer from an inherited bleeding disorder where the blood does not clot properly became infected with HIV and hepatitis viruses following treatment with factor concentrates often made from plasma sourced from US prisoners and “skid-row” donors who unlike volunteer donors in the UK were paid for their blood.

Grayson and Longstaff set up their Campaign group Haemophilia North in 1994 later changed to Haemophilia Action UK to reflect the ever wider remit as haemophiliacs from all over the UK approached them for support and advice.

Longstaff was also the first to obtain legal aid to challenge a controversial hepatitis “undertaking” (sometimes known as the waiver or contract) in the 1991 HIV settlement which meant haemophiliacs were unable to litigate for infection with an additional virus, hepatitis C. Haemophiliacs were made to sign away their rights not knowing they were already infected and did not know at the time of signing that many had been secretly tested for hepatitis C and positive test results withheld sometimes for years. The undertaking read,

This DEED of undertaking is made the xxxxxxxxx day of xxxxxxx
1991 by xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx of xxxxxxxxxxxxxX.

In expectation of receiving from the Macfarlane (Special
payments) (No.2) Trust the sum of Exxxxx I undertake with the
Secretary of State for Health that I will not at any time
hereafter bring any proceedings against the Department of
Health, the Welsh office, the Licensing Authority under the
Medicines act 1968, the Committee on Safety of Medicines, any
district or regional health authority or any other Government
body involving any allegations concerning the spread of the
Human immuno-deficiency virus or hepatitis viruses through
Factor VIII or Factor IX whether cryoprecipitate or
Factor 9 concentrate administered before 13th December 1990.

(Then the signature of the person and a witness)

A copy of this appears in the Appendix of my 2006 dissertation on page 55

https://haemophilia.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/ANNEX-A-CHRONOLOGY-OF-EVENTS.pdf

In a reply to a letter sent to the Department of Health by Longstaff’s wife Carol Grayson questioning the hepatitis undertaking in 1996, a Department of Health minister John Horam writes, “I enclose as requested, a copy of the reply sent to Mrs Grayson by an official on behalf of the Secretary of State. That reply sets out the Government’s position  which has also been explained in recent debates in the House.” The letter goes on to say,

“although it is correct that more information on the natural history of hepatitis C is becoming available at the time of the HIV haemophilia settlement it was known that in some cases non-A non-B hepatitis, as hepatitis C was then known, could lead to serious liver disease and some deaths had already occurred in UK haemophilia patients.

It is true that haemophilia patients infected with HIV, who accepted payment  under the Government’s scheme, were required to give an undertaking not to bring any proceedings at any time against the Health Departments, health authorities or any other body involving any allegations about matters of policy or operational concerns concerning the spread of HIV or hepatitis viruses through blood or blood products.”

The letter also discussed trials of first and second generation “anti-hepatitis C tests” from 1989 and advice given at the time not to introduce a test until 1991 due to too many false positive results. Grayson and Longstaff also repeatedly challenged this decision as other European countries used the earlier test introducing it in 1989 preferring to “err on the side of caution” with regard to safety in testing donor blood even if it meant destroying some blood which had given a false positive result. There is evidence however that some haemophiliacs were used to test out the first tests from 1989 and in some cases results may have been withheld.

There was a delay in replying to Grayson as Horam claimed he had not received her original letter so the couple’s MP Jim Cousins submitted it for a second time. This was the first of many letters sent by Grayson which were “lost” by the Department of Health. This included numerous correspondence on the undertaking over 2 decades.

In 2000, in a letter published in the British Medical Journal, Grayson wrote,

  1. We are NOW aware of the reason why a hepatitis waiver was included in an HIV ex-gratia payment, an attempt to silence haemophiliacs and prevent future litigation should a haemophiliac survive Aids.
  2. We are aware that many haemophiliacs were misinformed both by the Department Of Health and haematologists with regard to the hepatitis C virus in 1991 being told “it was nothing to worry about” and “less of a problem than hepatitis A or B,” despite hundreds of articles /research papers, books, stating a very different picture.
  3. We are aware that many haemophiliacs were not even tested for the hepatitis C virus until 1994 despite accurate tests being available at a much earlier date.
  4. We are aware that haemophiliacs are frequently told by haematologists that the “benefits of treatment outweighed the risks.” In Newcastle alone out of 105 patients tested for HIV, 95 tested positive, 77 are now dead, 95% of those surviving haemophiliacs have hepatitis C usually in addition to hepatitis B. Very successful treatment!!!

https://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/28/tainted-blood

One of the lawyers acting for haemophiliacs in the 1991 HIV litigation told the Newcastle Journal that the undertaking had been included so government could avoid paying out for a second virus but didn’t explain why legal firms had not discussed hepatitis C infection with their clients at the time and the implications of signing this agreement.

Grayson and Longstaff went on to obtain both a legal opinion on the undertaking from a former Head of the Bar Association and an opinion on the knowledge of hepatitis C at the time of signing from a top Professor studying blood coagulation and hepatitis in haemophiliacs. These opinions were based on documents from the 1991 HIV litigation which Grayson and Longstaff discovered and accessed in later years.

Once government was informed that the hepatitis undertaking would not stand and could not be “informed consent” the Department of Health swiftly devised the woefully inadequate Skipton fund financial scheme aided by a Hepatitis Working Group who submitted their proposals to government. That group included the couples own QC who only told them AFTER this was established and that he was working with the Haemophilia Society. This was hugely problematic as Grayson and Longstaff had already pointed out that the Society at that time was receiving money both from US pharmaceutical companies named in litigation and government and was perceived as having a “conflict of interest”. In the US their equivilent of the Haemophilia Society was actually named as the 5th defendent in legal cases along with the pharma companies supplying factor concentrates.

Haemophiliacs rebelled against the Society and had to campaign on their own for an entire year on hepatitis C before the Society finally launched its weak campaign for justice in 1995…. but only for haemophiliacs with hepatitis C and not haemophiliacs with HIV who also had hepatitis C. This created huge divisions within the haemophilia community tearing families apart in some cases, families that to this day do not speak to each other. The Society had also played down the dangers of hepatitis C in their own minutes in the early 90s telling a designated group that was set to investigate hepatitis C to step down as it was “nothing to worry about” and those infected were often termed the “worried well”.

The Haemophilia Society finally released an unreserved apology in 2017 through Jeff Courtney a new member of staff not implicated in past mistakes. He did so after being approached by Grayson and her campaign colleague Colette Wintle who talked him through the background history so he was able to do this. He later e-mailed thanking them for their help. This move was an attempt to separate the past action or inaction of the Society from the present. The apology can be read here,

https://haemophilia.org.uk/2017/03/28/statement-board-trustees-haemophilia-society-contaminated-blood/

The astonishing move by the couple’s legal representative to work on a financial proposal for hepatitis C (which became the Skipton Fund) had the effect of blocking haemophiliacs going to court for compensation for Hepatitis C, a move strongly criticized by Grayson and Longstaff who raised the issue of “conflict of interest” directly with their QC at the time.

The whole reason for challenging the undertaking and seeking legal and medical opinions in the first place was to get to court to challenge the original 1991 settlement and undertaking to fight for proper compensation which to this day has been denied to haemophiliacs for both HIV and hepatitis C. Grayson and Longstaff were informed at that time that it would cost more for haemophiliacs to launch a legal challenge than they would win quoting “cost benefits analysis”. This would be an obstacle that any further challenge by haemophiliacs would have to overcome and if that happened then serious questions would be raised over the original advice given to Grayson and Longstaff in their much earlier attempt at litigation. Cost benefits analysis was based on amounts haemophiliacs received for HIV through the ex-gratia payment scheme.

It must be noted that the government were weeks away from having to go to court with all their documents when they decided to make an out of court “ex-gratia” payment to haemophiliacs for HIV in 1991. By lawyers for haemophiliacs agreeing to this settlement it quashed any opportunity for haemophiliacs to show alleged negligence and failures in duty of care leading to infection. What haemophiliacs were never told at the time was that the very last opinion the night before signing the undertaking was that all the evidence had not been considered by all the lawyers who were only just realizing the implications of some of the documents and that haemophiliacs chances on winning related to imported treatment had “significantly increased”. A solicitor’s note seen by the couple and their (then) legal representative Denis Whalley read, “I can no longer lie to my clients” a copy of which was submitted to the Archer Inquiry. (Whalley was later struck off by a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal after being found guilty of conduct unbefitting a solicitor) see following article,

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/local-news/dennis-whalley-blundellsands-who-siphoned-6973420

We do not know what has happened to many of the documents that witnesses submitted to the Archer Inquiry despite repeated efforts to locate them through Vijay Mehan, the Secretary to the Inquiry. Had haemophiliacs been given key information pertaining to the original HIV settlement and the dangers of hepatitis C at the time of the signing of the Undertaking they would have had to seriously consider whether or not to take the ex-gratia payments. Litigants were under great pressure to sign being told most did not have long to live and if all did not sign, no-one would receive a payment.

The hepatitis waiver appeared to also have the additional impact of preventing haemophiliacs with hepatitis C but without HIV getting to court. One haemophiliac with hepatitis C named Peter Mossman had a legal case going for many years but finally had his legal aid withdrawn. Grayson assisted him and his lawyers but both grew concerned after the case appeared to be blocked. Mossman has now been told several years later in writing he now has a good chance of winning his case after another group of solicitors took over from the a previous firm and reviewed the evidence with fresh eyes. So why were 6 firms of solicitors previously unable to progress Mossman’s case?

In 2006 Grayson wrote her research dissertation on contaminated blood challenging government’s so called “definitive” report on contaminated blood entitled, DOH Self-Sufficiency in Blood Products in England and Wales: A Chronology from 1973 to 1991. Grayson was awarded the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Michael Young award. The dissertation included reference to their challenge on the hepatitis undertaking which was also highlighted in the British Medical Journal and the award winning Newcastle Journal “Bad Blood” campaign and other media as well as witness testimony to the Archer Inquiry. In her 2006 dissertation Grayson wrote,

In 1991 Justice Ognal the presiding judge in the HIV litigation had advised that the Government must submit all their blood policy documents to be viewed in court. On hearing this opinion and after years of legal wrangle the Government decided to settle claims out of court providing haemophiliacs with an “ex-gratia” payment and avoided any embarrassment of having potentially damaging documents revealed to the general public. Much of this evidence which was excluded from the SSR (Self Sufficency Report) and went unseen by haemophiliacs for many.years was recalled by the Government in recent months and they have now decided which papers to release to the public and which documents they wish to withhold on commercial grounds under the FOI Act. This goes against the Government statement that all the evidence pertaining to the infection of haemophiliacs is already inthe public domain.

As Margaret Unwin of the Haemophilia Society is keen to point out,

“The Government has already admitted that it has shredded many of the documents that refer to the time period in question, but that still doesn’t explain the strange assortment of references they have made in the report- ranging from clinical journals to the Sun Newspaper. (She goes on to say) This document is greatly flawed and has, I believe been produced to deflect the call for a wide-ranging public inquiry into the whole issue. The report has been produced internally, informally and very poorly by the Department of Health. It is not public, not an inquiry and merely reflects the
views of the Department itself.” (Haemophilia Society Website, 26″h Feb, 2006)

In my dissertation I also highlighted the following,

In 2002 as part of a legal challenge to Government I requested a chronology of the history of NANB hepatitis from a medical expert in order that my husband Peter Longstaff could challenge a “hepatitis waiver” that appeared in the 1991 HIV litigation (see section Testing For HIV And Hepatitis C: Delays, Devious Deals And Dangerous Practice). Professor Eric Preston a specialist in liver disease who is well respected for his research into hepatitis in haemophilia patients provided a report for Queens Council
(QC). When the SSR (Self-Sufficiency Report) was published in 2006 1 was able to compare Preston’s findings to those in the SSR and discovered several discrepancies. The Government report fails to recognize the seriousness of NANB hepatitis until 1982/83 yet Preston reported for
Queens Council that back in 1978,

“Even at that time, our patients exhibited a wide spectrum of chronic liver disease, including hepatic cirrhosis. We expressed the view that the chronic liver disease was attributable to non-A, non-B hepatitis. We concluded that histological liver disease is common in haemophiliac patients and is probably related to clotting factor concentrate replacement therapy.”

Since then I have discovered evidence that pre-dates Preston’s findings.

Copies of key government documents that Grayson discovered and accessed for her dissertation (and which the government claimed to have destroyed) were eventually returned to the Dept of Health in 2006 on Grayson’s instruction to solicitor Paul Saxon of Blackett, Hart and Pratt (documented in Hansard) and released in batches on the DOH website. During changes to the website, these documents were transferred to the National Archives at Kew for access by the public and are now widely used by other campaigners though often unreferenced. Grayson has returned several batches of documents over the years (which will come under different reference categories) in addition to those in 2006.

On 24th February 2009 the Newcastle Journal stated,

“THE Bad Blood campaign was launched by The Journal in 2000.

We teamed up with Haemophilia Action UK, to demand a public inquiry into how and why contaminated blood products were allowed into Britain, a mistake which led to the deaths of 78 haemophiliacs in the North-East.

Peter Longstaff, of Jesmond, Newcastle, won legal aid to fight a controversial waiver from the Department of Health which he signed in 1991”

 http://www.thejournal.co.uk/news/north-east-news/journals-bad-blood-campaign-praised-4488562

The DOH report was finally disgraced and withdrawn in 2017 using Grayson’s evidence. Government used this extremely flawed report as a tool to both deny compensation to haemophiliacs and support recent scrapping of Trusts and transfer of payments to haemophiliacs over to English Infected Blood Support Scheme (EIBBS). Grayson has written to the Department of Health asking for reconsideration of all decisions made using the withdrawn report but so far government have declined to act.

Grayson will give evidence and produce the relevant documents regarding this episode in contaminated blood history at the Infected Blood Inquiry into how haemophiliacs became infected with HIV and hepatitis viruses following treatment with factor concentrates. Some haemophiliacs also infected other family members before knowing their positive test results.

Collins Law solicitors and client Jason Evans (son of a haemophiliac) are attempting to make a further legal challenge launched in July 2017 (24 years after the first challenge) using the same legal arguments as their predecessors Grayson and Longstaff according to press releases and recent media. Collins repeat the arguement stating, “at the time of the settlement, the Government effectively decided not to be transparent and it withheld documents that could (and should) have been made available to the victims”. Yes this happened and new evidence is still coming to light as government release documents under the 30 year rule that were previously withheld. However Collins Law fails to also highlight that lawyers FOR haemophiliacs received many key documents from government during “disclosure” which THEY failed to discuss with their clients and were not seen until years AFTER the 1991 settlement.

Government again withheld key documents from the 2006 DOH Self Sufficiency Report as Grayson showed clearly in her dissertation and Lord Warner championed a misleading narrative to block the recommendations of Lord Archer including “compensation on a parity with Eire” by falsely claiming Eire paid out on legal liability. This was not true as Grayson showed using documents obtained from Ireland in 2004 by Grayson and  her colleague Colette Wintle. Eire paid on on the grounds of “loss and need” at court compensation levels for “extraordinary suffering” BUT without going to court or admitting legal liability. These documents were later used to win a Judicial Review by Andrew March in 2010 but the government still failed to compensate changing the goalposts yet again.

The Collins Law case was “stayed” this week until more evidence can be heard from those infected and affected at the Infected Blood Inquiry. Collins Law reported that “as part of the stay, the deadline for registration to join the Contaminated Blood Products Legal Action has been extended to 31st May 2019.”

Confusion arose with some media incorrectly reporting this action as if it was the first challenge to the 1991 HIV litigation and failing to provide balanced articles detailing the long history of Longstaff and Grayson’s challenge to this controversial settlement.

Sophie Borland of the Daily Mail rehashed a story much of which is 24 years old incorrectly portraying it in a headline as “New Tainted Blood Scandal”. She refers to the hepatitis undertaking writing about the contract stating,

“Victims of the contaminated blood scandal were persuaded to sign away their legal rights without knowing they had a second deadly condition, the Daily Mail can reveal.

More than 1,200 patients who had been infected with HIV were forced to sign a contract with government officials promising to drop all legal action.

After they signed, they were told they had also been infected with hepatitis C.

The contracts were signed in 1991 and victims were each paid a cash sum of about £24,000, depending on their age, marital status and whether they had children.

The Department of Health was aware in 1989 that the patients had hepatitis C – which causes severe liver damage – but didn’t tell them until after the contracts had been signed. Patients with both HIV and hepatitis C tend to die much more quickly than those with just one of the viruses.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6300933/Patients-infected-HIV-paid-24-000-sign-away-rights-sue.html

Borland visited Grayson recently in the presence of her lawyer Ben Harrison of Milners Law firm in Leeds and admitted this was clearly not new and was shown the 1996 John Horam letter (one of many on the undertaking) and told the history of the legal challenge but the Daily Mail has yet to issue an apology and correction. Government lawyer and lawyers for haemophiliacs were aware from documents in the 1991 litigation that some UK haemophiliacs had died from non- A, non -B (hepatitis C) as far back as the 1970s (not only 1989 as Borland states) but did not tell them. At that time if a haemophiliac tested negative for hepatitis A and B then the hepatitis deaths were put down to non-A, non- B hepatitis. Borland refers only to the single person’s payment of £24,000 and not the married person’s payment. She also includes reference to the undertaking.

Over the years Grayson has repeated alleged that her research, ideas and work are constantly being plagiarized without reference to original documents such as her dissertation and other writing of which she has copyright. The following P.org article looks at the definition of “plagiarism”.

Quote,

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, to “plagiarize” means:

  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own
  • to use (another’s production) without crediting the source
  • to commit literary theft
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

See following link,

https://www.plagiarism.org/article/what-is-plagiarism

This is not only disrespectful to a person that has campaigned for justice for many years for the haemophilia community and to the deceased who fought so hard for justice but can have serious legal consequences when Timelines are changed and old evidence is passed off as “new” or  “newly discovered” as it colludes with those that abused the haemophilia community and aids them in denying wrongdoing.

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 is a former Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development (Distinction). 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 prisons that carried out bio-experimentation on inmates were used to source plasma for UK haemophiliacs

Photo of Bud an Arkansas paid prison plasma donor with sister Linda a campaigner for the rights of prisoners and on the prison blood scandal. Bud, a known drug user, was infected with hepatitis C and died of liver disease

In 2003, UK haemophiliacs that had obtained their medical treatment records launched a legal case in the US against four international plasma companies for infection with HIV and hepatitis C through products known as factor concentrates. This was initiated by my husband, haemophiliac Peter Longstaff, (now deceased) a case which he and his lawyers opened up to other victims.

Haemophilia is an hereditary condition where the blood does not clot properly and throughout the 1970s and 80s those affected received injections of freeze dried plasma mixed with sterile water (factor concentrates) taken from blood donors who did have an effective clotting mechanism to help prevent bleeding episodes and stop bleeds when they occured.

Unfortunately the British government failed to invest adequately in our own UK Blood Product Laboratory (BPL) that supplied treatment to haemophiliacs. Instead of working to achieve self-sufficiency in blood products with a commitment by Lord David Owen in 1974 and recommended by the World Health Organization in 1975, the UK relied heavily on imported plasma products sourced from the blood of “high-risk” donors such as prisoners and “skid-row” donors. Unlike British volunteer donors, US prisoners were paid for their blood. Lord Owen only found out years later (much to his horror) that what he had put in place when in the Department of Health was not continued by others once he departed for the Foreign Office.

Separate to haemophilia treatment, the British government have always denied importing whole blood from the US. Whole blood cases were for many years treated as separate legal cases and an entirely different product to that used by haemophiliacs and other persons with clotting disorders. Former Solicitor-General, Lord Archer of Sandwell recognized this difference in setting up the Archer Inquiry in 2007 which was specifically to investigate what happened to haemophiliacs and their families and did not include whole blood cases who deserve their own specialists specific to the whole blood which was given to them.

US prisons, experimentation and the plasma trade

Throughout the 1960s international medical journals highlighted the dangers of using prisoners as paid donors. Sam Stein QC instructed by Milners solicitors and acting for this author and other haemophilia victims highlighted the dangers of pooled plasma and the hepatitis risk from long before this date during the opening sessions of the Infected Blood Inquiry now commenced under Justice Langstaff. Many  prisoners were known drug addicts infected with hepatitis viruses before being incarcerated or if uninfected when admitted to jail, were at risk once inside through needle sharing and unprotected sex (including anal) with multiple partners.

In addition to this for many years US prisons relied on inmates for bio-experimentation, testing out new drugs, vaccines, and other viral experiments.

In 1969, Walter Rugaber of the New York Times wrote a damning report, Prison drug and plasma projects leave fatal trail which began,

The Federal Government has watched without interference while many people sickened and some died in an extended series of drug tests and blood plasma projects. The profits generated by these activities have gone to an enterprising contractor for the nation’s biggest pharmaceutical manufacturers. The immediate damage has been done in the penitentiary systems of three states. Hundreds of inmates in voluntary programs have been stricken with illness and serious disease. An undetermined number of the victims have died. 

and

An executive of Cutter Laboratories once acknowledged, for instance, that gross contamination was apparent in the areas where the largest blood plasma operations were conducted. The rooms were “sloppy,” he observed. When a Government doctor asked why Cutter continued to reward such an enterprise with hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of business, the executive explained that the Stough group enjoyed crucial “contacts” with well placed officials. 

http://hcvets.com/data/bloodmanagement/articles/1969new_york_times.htm

An Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments ACHRE report also highlighted,

It should be noted that the use of prisoners as research subjects seems to have been a uniquely American practice in the years following World War II. The large-scale successes of prison experimentation during World War II–and the authoritative pronouncement of the Ivy Committee that prison research could be conducted in an ethical fashion–seem to have given the practice a kind of momentum in this country that it did not have elsewhere. In other countries it seems that the first clause of the Nuremberg Code was interpreted to preclude the use of prisoners in experimentation.[61] This clause begins with the assertion that the only acceptable experimental subjects are those who are “so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice.”

It is difficult to overemphasize just how common the practice became in the United States during the postwar years. Researchers employed prisoners as subjects in a multitude of experiments that ranged in purpose from a desire to understand the cause of cancer to a need to test the effects of a new cosmetic. After the Food and Drug Administration’s restructuring of drug-testing regulations in 1962, prisoners became almost the exclusive subjects in nonfederally funded Phase I pharmaceutical trials designed to test the toxicity of new drugs. By 1972, FDA officials estimated that more than 90 percent of all investigational drugs were first tested on prisoners.

https://ehss.energy.gov/ohre/roadmap/achre/chap9_4.html

By 1972, US haemophiliacs were already several years into taking factor concentrate treatment made of pooled plasma from up to 60,000 donors which in itself was regarded by some hepatitis experts such as J Garrott Allen as a highly dangerous treatment as it was launched onto the market without first finding a way to eliminate hepatitis viruses.

Haemophiliacs were repeatedly exposed to hepatitis from multiple donors from the first injection of this controversial treatment which was labelled a “miracle” treatment by many doctors as patients could inject it at home without having to go to hospital each time a bleed occured. It was not only sourced from some of the highest risk donors in society, US prisoners but with the added safety concerns in relation to inmates being the subject of bio-experimentation, a recipe for disaster.

In the UK, blood donors were not paid and were subjected to strict screening procedures under a blood collection system which in the 1970s was considered one of the safest in the world.

One of those to take advantage of the US prison system (which housed many black prisoners already treated as second-class citizens) was Dr Austin R. Stough who was said to have netted “millions of dollars” from his experiments. In those prisons where he operated amid concerns over “poorly trained staff” and “shoddy operations” it was noted that the incidence of viral hepatitis was “rising sharply” with prisoners “dropping like flies” as stated by Alan Hornbum in his book, Acres of Skin: Human Experiments at Holmesburg Prison. 

Michael Byrd and Linda A Clayton in their book, An American Health Dilemma: Race, Medicine and Health Care in the United States 1900 to 2000 state,

Despite federal investigations concluding that both the technique and aparatus utilized by Dr Stough were at fault, there is no evidence that a single pharmaceutical company severed relations with him. By 1969 when the institutional, corporate, scientific, medical and ethical malfeasance became public, despite the secretive nature of events, occuring behind prison walls and sloppy record keeping, at least 544 illnesses could be fixed and attributed to the experimental operations – the CDC estimated 800. Oklahoma took over Stough’s prisoner and drug operations. Alabama halted the plasma program but continued his drug testing experiments and Arkansas authorities permitted him to continue the plasma operation without interuption.   

It was against this background, that the British government chose to import blood from US prisons. Several hundred haemophiliacs eventually joined a class action lawsuit with US lawyers where their treatment batch numbers were traced back to a number of US prisons including Arkansas State Penitentiary. Judge Grady however ruled “forum non conveniens” that these cases must be heard in a British court. The plasma companies had accepted a finite number of haemophilia cases and the case was closed in the US with no more persons allowed to join. An agreement was reached and a silence clause added. It was clear from the plasma companies that British authorities were aware of the dangers from importing US plasma as highlighted in medical journals, documentaries, letters from US experts to British officials and in the media but government appeared to simply turn a blind eye. The first line of “duty of care” for UK haemophiliacs was placed by Grady back at at the feet of UK authorities. However the excercise had proved very useful in both tracing, US treatment, verifying this and acceptance of batch numbers by 4 pharma companies for this specific group of haemophiliacs.

To return to the prisons… As I wrote in my dissertation research in 2006, a study by Cohen and Dougherty (1968) study concluded that “the risk of it (hepatitis) developing in recipients of blood known to have been donated by convicted or suspected narcotics addicts was 70 times that in the controls” (JAMA, Feb 5″‘, 1968: Vol 203, No 6).

Back in 1975, J Garrot Allen (US) wrote to Sir William Maycock (UK) describing one US product as “extremely hazardous with a 50 to 90 per cent rate of icteric hepatitis developing from it.” He writes of his concerns related to an emerging strain of hepatitis which is not hepatitis A or B, which appeared in “high-risk” donors. Garrott Allen stated that,

Whatever this agent may be, it still seems to be more frequently encountered in the
lower socio-economic groups of paid and prison donors…. (and) until we understand
this problem better, I would hope Great Britain would give some thought to what the
purchase of Factor VIII and IX from the United States tends to do to our attempts to
secure a volunteer program. (Garrott Allen letter, 1975)

Victims who produced evidence of being treated with US prison blood and whose cases were accepted by US lawyers are still waiting for their cases to be heard in the UK courts. This is an entirely separate case to that launched by a UK legal firm in 2017 that were granted a Group Litigation Order on “new evidence” described in media articles and claim to have been discovered by one of their clients. This is strongly disputed as not new but in fact earlier evidence discovered by this author in 2006 and part of her awarded dissertation. I have since had one of the journalists involved visit me to see the original documents and she admitted that the documents could not be “new” in 2017. Others have withdrawn the word “new”. These key documents were repeatedly ignored by government bodies, the Haemophilia Society and some lawyers for years which helped to prevent victims getting to court and obtaining justice.

Questions submitted to the UK Department of Health and Social Care

Today (November 21st 2018) the following questions were submitted to the Department of Health and Social Care under Freedom of Information regarding the use of US prison plasma and a reply should be forthcoming within 20 days. Government has a duty of care to protect both blood donors and blood recipients and neither exploit, nor overbleed nor experiment on either.

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

1) To ask the Department of Health and Social Care under FOI, what assessment was made of the risks and dangers from factor concentrates manufactured from the blood of US prisoners prior to importation in 1973?

 

2) To ask the DHSC, what consideration was taken of the fact that US prisoners were being used for bio-experimentation, were often serving life sentences, moving between prisons and could be infective with viruses for life, and that “at least 544 illnesses and deaths (to US prisoners) could be fixed and attributed to the experimental operations- the CDC estimated 800”?

 

3) Please release any documents regarding assessment of the above risks under FOI.

 

I look forward to your response.

 

Your sincerely

 

Carol Grayson

Experimentation on prisoners did not stop despite the many safety concerns raised. As Jonathan Steele wrote in the Washington Post in 1977,

The Carter administration has decided to continue the practice of authorizing drug companies to use prisoners as human guinea pigs. The United States is the only nation that still officially approves of such experiments, including behavior control and the testing of potentially lethal drugs and vaccines on a prison population.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1977/08/27/us-to-keep-testing-drugs-on-prisoners/c153d63f-ebae-414d-a936-1a603edb3ba8/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ffe5d6f46195

Hepatitis outbreaks in UK haemophiliacs

UK Haemophiliacs were at this time (1970s) regularly injecting US factor concentrates sourced from a number of prisons across the US and British doctors were dealing with the subsequent hepatitis outbreaks linked to imported treatment documented in government papers and in studies in medical journals. This was highlighted in chapter 4 of my 2006 dissertation on contaminated blood and the global blood trade which can be read on the following link,

https://haemophilia.org.uk/support/day-day-living/patient-support/contaminated-blood/dissertation-carol-grayson-contaminated-blood-products/

There were many ways for unsuitable prison plasma donors to bypass safety checks according to prison campaigner Linda Miller with whom I had contact such as allegedly using a name from the local Arkansas telephone directory instead of their own. Prisoners were also alleged to be directly involved in the administration side of the programme which made such actions easy to carry out. As Linda discovered, one prisoners’s job was to resharpen needles with sandpaper for re-use, a health and safety nightmare.

Even if there was informed consent for experimentation on some prisoners, there was not informed consent in relation to haemophiliacs receiving blood from prisoners used as guinea pigs as haemophiliacs only found about the dangers years later when they were infected themselves and had not known of these earlier experiments on US inmates.

Safety of prison plasma did not improve in the 1980s, journalist Mara Leverett wrote,

in the summer of 1983, the FDA had learned that HMA had sold 38 units of plasma drawn from inmates who were known to have tested positive for hepatitis. The products were recalled, but not quickly enough.

Almost four thousand vials of product made from the unsafe plasma were sent around the world, many for use by hemophiliacs.

This was also the time of AIDS emerging with US haemophilia cases coming to light a year earlier in 1982 and concerns raised by American epidemiologist Don Francis (former Center for Disease Control) whom I met in Washington DC several years ago and US scientist and AIDS researcher Harold Jaffe who also worked at CDC, see following links,

Don Francis Pillars of Democracy, Tainted Blood video

CPAC October 19th, 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTV333zzV1Y

Harold Jaffe interview video

David J. Sencer CDC Museum, Global Health Chronicles
Dr. Bess Miller, Interviewer | 2016.500.1
The Early Years of AIDS: CDC’s Response to a Historic Epidemic |

https://globalhealthchronicles.org/items/show/5385

Our lawyers have recommended both be interviewed as expert witnesses by the Infected Blood Inquiry team.

A UK journalist Christine Doyle writing in the Observer from the US also warned of risks to UK haemophiliacs in January 1983 see following article,

“Widow claims contaminated blood warnings were missed” (March 14th, 2018)

https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/16085290.Widow_claims_contaminated_blood_warnings_were_missed/

Susan Douglas another British journalist also wrote an article warning of the risks to UK haemophiliacs from imported prison blood in the Mail on Sunday on May 1st 1983 but as I highlighted in my dissertation,

The Government reacted to the article by stating that the evidence presented by
Douglas was “too slight for immediate action.” The Press Counsel went on to censor the
Douglas report as “extravagant” and “alarmist” (Douglas, 1984). This had the effect of
temporarily closing down some news stories on AIDS but haemophiliacs had begun to
question the risks associated with their treatment and once again were met with the
repeated response “not to worry.” 

What we now know also is that warnings given by Dr Spence Galbraith (Public Health Laboratory Service, UK) to Ian Field (Department of Health and Social Security) on 9th May 1983 to withdraw US treatment off the shelves due to concerns over AIDs were ignored and the treatment remained in use. US lawyers were able to confirm years later that at least one of the prison plasma batches my husband Peter received contained an HIV positive donor. He also received plasma from Arkansas State Penitentiary during a period when the prison system was deemed “unconstitutional” but no treatment was recalled in the UK. As Kelly Duda highlighted in a letter to Peter’s former QC, Stephen Grime for the High Court,

John Andervont, 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 (my late husband) infused Cutter Lot NC 8196, stated: “They didn’t care. If you could crawl to get there you were able to give blood.” 

Peter was also infected with hepatitis B and C having received his first factor concentrates in 1973.

When my husband did discover more about the history of prison blood, he promptly went on treatment strike refusing human plasma until he died. He took a legal case to the High Court to fight for synthetic Recombinant treatment in 2003 that did not use human plasma but was denied this on the grounds of cost. (He was then exposed to variant CJD through British blood which could have been avoided had he been given Recombinant when he first wrote asking the local health trust for this in the Spring of 1996, months BEFORE his first exposure to v CJD.)

However although the High Court judge did not dispute evidence of past safety failures in relation to imported US treatment, the ruling stated that each UK Health Authority could chose how to spend its funding in relation to treatment products (known as post-code lottery) and to change this would have costing implications far beyond haemophilia patients.

Campaigning on contaminated blood is always revealing new information. Some years ago I received several e-mails from a former prisoner who claimed he had been injected in a prison experiment by Dr Stough as a young man and had been friends with his son. He alleged Stough had encouraged him to participate in experimentation offering a reduction in his prison sentence. The man believed from the conversation with Stough that he had been injected with some strain of hepatitis virus and recalled being told not to worry as it would be years before he experienced any symptoms though his stomach might “blow up” in the future. On reflection he thought this may have been a reference to ascites and the heavy fluid retention associated with advanced liver disease. As many years had now passed he was currently concerned about experiencing extreme fatigue and debating whether to get tested for hepatitis viruses.

Torture of prisoners

Alongside prison experiments there is also the alleged torture of US prisoners to consider. Torture is illegal, so where would that leave a government that bought in blood from prisoners subjected to abuse and torture? These allegations going back decades continued throughout the 1980s and 90s.

Back in 2001, I handed in a letter at number 10 Downing Street to then Prime Minister Tony Blair accompanied by the late Lord Morris of Manchester first minister for disabled persons and other haemophilia campaigners. The letter was from Linda Miller, the sister of an Arkansas prisoner who had been a plasma donor, a known drug user who was infected with hepatitis C and alleged both human rights abuses and gross safety violations in the plasma programme. Government failed to address any of the issues raised!

There are also concerns regarding treatment of prisoners that have spoken publicly about the prison plasma programme such as the case of Rolf Kaestel who was transferred from Arkansas to another prison after being interviewed by Kelly Duda for his documentary on prison blood, Factor 8: The Arkansas Prison Blood Scandal. As Duda confirmed in 2014, “I spoke with an assistant attorney general in Arkansas who confirmed for me at the time that the transfer was indeed a retaliatory action against Rolf for speaking out.”

More on his story can be read here,

“Free Rolf Kaestel: The prisoner who blew the whistle on a prison blood scandal linked to Bill Clinton”

https://activist1.blog/2014/02/10/free-rolf-kaestel-the-prisoner-who-blew-the-whistle-on-a-prison-blood-scandal-linked-to-bill-clinton/

Arkansas has a long history of alleged abuses including torture highlighted by Thomas Murton who discovered 3 skeletons at Cummins prison farm in early 1968 and published his Accomplices to the Crime in 1969 after attempting to reform the prison system against much opposition. His real life experience was turned into a Hollywood dramatization, a film named “Brubaker” featuring Robert Redford in the role of the prison governor. Little did I imagine when I first saw the film in 1980 that I would have my own connection to Arkansas State Penitentiary in later life through my husband!

I have always stated that had the abuses in the main US prison system been investigated then the US might not have got away with the abuses in Guantanamo and elsewhere. US torture instrument the Tucker Telephone (developed in Arkansas State Penitentiary, named after the Tucker Unit) was used to supply electricity to the genital area of prisoners. A modification of the Tucker Telephone was allegedly exported abroad to other prisons such as Abu Ghraib and Bagram.

As American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) showed recently (November 13th, 2018) the CIA also had a vested interest in experimenting on prisoners. ACLU recently tweeted,

 “thanks to a victory in our lawsuit against the CIA, we obtained secret documents on the torture program. They include a detailed, first-person account of the top CIA medical professional responsible for torturing prisoners.”

Now more than ever it is important to ensure that this dreadful episode in both US and UK blood history and experimentation is not forgotten. Documentary maker Kelly Duda who is from Arkansas (and knows the political climate there well) was invited to give evidence to the Archer Inquiry in 2007 regarding his film focusing on the plasma programme. I recommended Duda a long standing contact of 20 plus years who had interviwed inmates to Lord Archer. Duda claims to have been threated during the making of his documentary. He has assisted other countries in their search for the truth on the prison blood trade and it is hoped he will also be called upon to discuss his findings at the current Infected Blood Inquiry.

To quote ACLU as to why there must be investigations into past prisoner experimentation and torture,

The truth is that CIA torture left a legacy of broken bodies and traumatized minds. Today, with a president who has vocally supported torture and a new CIA director who was deeply complicit in torturing prisoners, it’s more important than ever to expose the crimes of the past. Recognizing the roles played by the lawyers, doctors, and psychologists who enabled torture is critical to making sure it never happens again.”

https://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/torture/secret-cia-document-shows-plan-test-drugs-prisoners

A multitude of people failed to protect both US prisoners and haemophiliacs receiving their blood, safety violations and serious abuses occurred. Arkansas State Penitentiary has selectively obliterated part of its history on the prison website. As part of the healing process it is essential that this episode in history is no longer swept under the carpet by governments but discussed openly in order that such atrocities never happen again. Those infected and affected need to finally find some peace to continue what is left of their already shattered lives.

Links

They were cheap and available: prisoners as research subjects in twentieth century America (British Medical Journal: 1997;315:1437)

https://www.bmj.com/content/315/7120/1437

Poison from the prisons (March 11th 1999)

https://www.economist.com/united-states/1999/03/11/poison-from-the-prisons

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

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

Bloody Awful: How money and politics contaminated Arkansas’s prison plasma programme (Arkansas Times, August 16th 2007)

https://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/bloody-awful/Content?oid=863387

Arkansas Bloodsuckers: The Clintons, Prisoners and the Blood Trade (Counterpunch, September 4th 2015)

https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/04/arkansas-bloodsuckers-the-clintons-prisoners-and-the-blood-trade/

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 is a former Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development (Distinction). 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 concerning creation of ethnic militias by the Kabul administration

Post via Islamic Emirate November 15th 2018

During his most recent travels to some provinces, the head of the Kabul administration (Ashraf Ghani) tried to push idea to locals that the Mujahideen are waging a discriminatory war against a particular race or sect and there is an imminent threat against their lives and property. And under this same justification, he approved the creation of ethnic militias and military battalions and authorized the creation of a 500-man local militia in Bamiyan.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers such foreign and anti-national actions of the Kabul administration as repeat of the last gasp efforts of the former communist regime that founded Gelum Jum, Kehan, Jabbar and other militias, created military regiments based on race and paved the way for great atrocities, chaos, barbarity and slaughter. But despite birthing all this savagery, it harmed the communist regime more than assisting it or healing any of her wounds.

As the stooge Kabul regime finds itself at the end of its rope and is misleading the public in an attempt to salvage itself, it should understand that such anti-national moves that violate all accepted norms will not be of any benefit.

The Islamic Emirate once again makes it unequivocally clear that our operations around the country including in Malistan, Jaghuri and Khas Uruzgan are solely against enemy military formations. The local civilians are our fellow countrymen, the protection of their lives and wealth is the responsibility of every Mujahid of the Islamic Emirate. No harm has been inflicted on any civilian, home or area in these operations and neither are Mujahideen permitted to do such acts.

However, the circles that are trying to deceive the locals by stoking ethnic, sectarian or other discriminatory tensions, are promoting processes of raising racially-charged armies for the survival of the crumbling Kabul administration or are portraying Mujahideen operations and actions as targeting civilians, then we sternly warn them that the intelligence officials of the Islamic Emirate will monitor them closely for their treason and will answer them at an opportune time.

Through this statement, we want to assure our Hazara countrymen that no harm shall touch their lives, property and honor during these operations. If anyone has sons or relatives working in the military of the Kabul administration, their lives will be secured once taken out of the enemy ranks.

If any individual or institution tries to sow seeds of hatred among Afghans following the publication of this warning, then they will have no right of complaint.

The Islamic Emirate has ordered its Mujahideen to monitor all violators of this notification, detain them wherever found and hand them over to the courts of Islamic Emirate.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

07/03/1440 Hijri Lunar

24/08/1397 Hijri Solar                   15/11/2018 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 is a former Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development (Distinction). 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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Islamic Emirate: Transcript of speech delivered by delegation of Islamic Emirate at Moscow Conference

Post via Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (November 9th 2018)

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful

Praise be to Allah, and may peace and blessings of Allah be upon his messenger, his family and all his companions. And thereafter:
First of all, I thank all participants, the ladies and gentlemen, who have gathered here for discussing and sharing their views regarding the solution of the problems of our beloved country, Afghanistan, and oppressed Afghan nation. I especially thank the Russian Federation for facilitating this important meeting in the country.

Now I would like to share information and position of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, with the participants, regarding the current situation of my beloved country.

The causes of the ongoing miseries and conflicts in Afghanistan in the past four decades:

Our beloved country, Muslim and Mujahid nation have been burning in the flames of fire for the past four decades. Their spiritual and material assets have been robbed and looted; they have been prevented from progress and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. Poverty and destitution are another main misfortune that the Afghan people are faced with due to war. The fundamental cause of all these disasters is interferences and invasions of foreigners.

It is worth mentioning that throughout the history Afghan Mujahid Nation has resorted to its legitimate right of defense against each invasion, which is still going on under the leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan against the current invasion for the last 17 years.
Unfortunately, when the United States of America invaded the Afghan oppressed nation by lame excuses to topple an Islamic system, this turned the peaceful life and security of the Afghans into disorder; occupied the country; martyred hundreds of thousands of Afghans; displaced similar number and destroyed their villages and houses. They fomented geographical, ethnical, racial, religious and linguistic prejudices among the nation.

By eliminating Islamic and National values, they paved the way for corruption of morality and other administrative, social and intellectual corruption. By using prohibited chemical weapons, they not only threatened the life of humans, but by polluting the environment they threatened the life of animals as well. They polluted the country’s clean air and made its fertile land barren. They, once again, turned the country into the drug center, which unfortunately left more than 10 % of the population addicted to it, while the number of addicts during the reign of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was only few thousands country wide.

Not only this, rather they changed the country into the nest of international intelligence agencies. They created mistrust and unreliability among the people. These are just a few examples, otherwise the problems and miseries that have resulted from the invasion which the Afghan nation is facing are many more.

Now we would come to see how to take out the oppressed people of Afghanistan from this disaster.

Peace:

• Need for Peace:

Peace is the first need of every society; especially it is the most important demand of all oppressed Afghans. Without peace, restful life, economical, educational, cultural, social and political progress is impossible. Only in peace, countries and nations have developed. However, peace comes not only by words and slogans, as in the past 15 years it has been used as a project; rather it needs strong will and clear action. Wherever the right to freedom is taken from nations, it is obvious that peace will be eliminated there and replaced by conflicts and wars.
War has been imposed on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the Afghan nation, because their country has been occupied and the occupiers have removed an independent Islamic System. Thus, before everything, all those factors should be removed that have caused elimination of peace and continuation of war.

• Preliminary steps for Peace:

Before the beginning of the peace talks, some preliminary steps must be taken that are essential for peace and are parts of confidence building measures. Such as:

1 – Removal of Sanctions List:

Peace negotiations and sanctions list are two contradictory concepts and can’t go side by side. It is therefore required that these baseless sanctions and reward lists, that are used as a pressure tool for their interests, should be finished; so that representatives of the Islamic Emirate are able to participate in peace talks in different places without any hurdle.
It is also necessary that both sides should, as is their natural right, and without any pressure and in free atmosphere take forward the peace process. Not that one side is in the sanctions list and other side has freedom. This imbalanced process can neither go forward nor can give desired outcome.

2 – Release of Detainees:

Arrest and detention of Mujahidin and innocent Afghans are actions that are against peace. America and its protectorate regime have detained tens of thousands of Afghans and Mujahidin in their secret and open prisons and are ill treating them against all the laws. How is it possible that from one side one raises slogans of peace and from other side commits these malicious and illegal actions? This in itself is an obstacle to peace. For bringing real peace and reducing distance, other side must release all Mujahidin and ordinary innocent Afghans who are in prisons on mere accusations of having links with Mujahidin.

3 – Formally opening of the Office:

Venue for negotiations and a communication site in the shape of an office is necessary for peace. At present, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has no open and formal address as a venue for negotiations which is a preliminary requirement. It may be said that regular peace meetings could only be held in a state of availability of an office. The office is also required to issue peace related press releases, respond to questions of people as a responsible entity and remove national and international concerns. Likewise, anti peace elements could not use this pretext that the official address of the Islamic Emirate is not known.

4 – Stopping poisonous propaganda against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan:

It is clear to all that with the support of the occupiers, wide poisonous propaganda is carried out against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Utterly unfounded accusations are leveled against Islamic Emirate which in itself becomes hurdle towards progress for peace. Some intelligence circles resort to some terrible incidents, such as: blowing bridges, spraying acid on school students, making explosions on road side civilian vehicles, abducting people and committing other crimes and then blindly use these incidents against the Islamic Emirate as raw material for propaganda, and then when investigated, the results of those investigations are also not disclosed. This proves that these abuses are not work of the Mujahidin of the Islamic Emirate but rather of intelligence circles. It is because they think that by doing this, they would isolate the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from its nation and the world. Thus, for the sake of peace, this poisonous and baseless propaganda should be stopped, because truth and peace both are sacrificed at the altar of this negative propaganda.

Obstacles to Peace:

• Occupation:

For real peace, the will of the people should be adhered to; occupation should be ended, because history has proved that Afghan nation has never surrendered to occupation. Occupation is mother of all the miseries. Peace in Afghanistan and withdrawal of foreign troops are tied with each other, because withdrawal of foreign troops practically paves the way for peace. But unfortunately, until now, peace has been used as a tactic in Afghanistan, and this is tantamount to throwing dust in the eyes of the people.

We see that the United States and some of its friends, instead of real peace, try to compel the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to surrender. They think that at first they would weaken the Islamic Emirate in the battle field and then will compel them to peace by having upper hand. But this is self-deception which is not in conformity with ground realities. Afghan Mujahid nation firmly stand behind the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The invaders and their friends should know that no aggressive power of the world can eliminate national power. Likewise, the problem could not be solved by irresponsible actions and unrealistic strategies. The main thing is that strong intention and strategy based on realities are needed for peace in which end of occupation is a crucial part.

• Lack of an independent Islamic System:

For peace and stability in Afghanistan, there should be agreement on the establishment of an Afghan inclusive independent Islamic System that is acceptable to Afghans and reflects Islamic and Afghan values, as Islam is the religion of the Afghan people and guarantor of the country’s economic prosperity, social justice and national unity.

• Lack of guarantee for peace agreements:

Peace process needs guarantees, as without this, the provisions of the peace agreements could not be properly implemented. Therefore, the United Nations, major powers, members of the Islamic Conference and facilitating countries must guarantee implementations of the agreements.

• The Current Constitution:

Constitution is a dire need for every state; since development of the country and the nation without it faces many problems and disorders. Through the constitution, personnel, civil, and political rights of every citizen of Afghanistan is organized. It explains the relationship between the government and the people; puts light on checks and balances among the three branches of the government; structures and determines the power and generally determines the strategy regarding Afghanistan’s domestic and foreign politics.

The current constitution of Kabul Administration is not reliable, because it has been copied from the West and has been imposed on Afghanistan’s Muslim society under the shadow of occupation. It can neither respond to the desires of the Afghans nor can be implemented, as its provisions are vague and contradictory with each other. It is constantly being violated by the high ranking officials of the Kabul Administration; rather the current administration itself is contrary to the constitution. So, the current constitution in its present version is a major obstacle to peace.

Therefore, for the development of the beloved country and honor-loving people, their prosperous life and welfare, Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers it necessary that constitution must be based on principles of Islamic religion, national interests, historical achievements and social justice. It should be committed to human dignity, national values and human rights, and could guarantee territorial integrity of the country and all rights of all the citizens. The draft of such constitution should be prepared by Afghan scholars and intellectuals in an atmosphere of freedom.

• Continuation of War policy instead of Peace from the American side:

Peace talks and peace are those words that are repeated often by the occupiers. But practically, and constantly instead of peace negotiations hundreds of aerial and ground attacks are carried out. And for this, the latest policy of Americans is good and clear evidence. Instead of taking practical steps for peace, submitting to the will of the Afghan nation and ending the occupation, contrarily, they deployed more soldiers and gave them unrestricted abusive power of all kind of harassments and killings of the Afghan people. They resumed night raids on the houses of the people and increased airstrikes which resulted in the augmentation of civilian casualties. By creating and implementing other new projects, they further made the situation of Afghanistan and the region deteriorating and heightened the worries and concerns of regional and world countries. It all shows that they do not have intention for peace; rather they seek their interests in killing the Afghan people and destroying the country. Unfortunately, they do all these with the support of the Kabul Administration.

It is in a time that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has quite explicitly stated from time to time that the problem of Afghanistan could not be solved with wars, conflicts, force and money; the only way that could overcome the problems is ending the occupation and letting the Afghan people to determine their fate.

It is worth mentioning that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has said it before and now once again explicitly announces to the entire world that in order to end the occupation, we are ready for face to face negotiations with the Americans and to discuss relevant issues with them. We want them that instead of conflicts and use of force they should turn to wisdom and logic and refrain from further destroying our country, killing our citizens, and likewise from meaninglessly killing their own sons. They should respect the will of the Afghan people and allow them to determine their fate.

The Islamic Emirate has left the doors of understanding and negotiations open. the Political Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is the only venue of the Emirate to reach peaceful settlement of the issue of Afghanistan.

Status of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan regarding some key issues:

• Three days Ceasefire on the occasion of Eid ul Fitr of this year:

The three days ceasefire by the Islamic Emirate on the occasion of Eid ul Fitr revealed that there is a unified power in the shape of the Islamic Emirate against the invasion across Afghanistan, and there is complete discipline in its military and civil ranks. They are all under one command and strongly obey orders of their leaders. Existence of 20 groups in Afghanistan was a mere propaganda.

Likewise, it was also proved, against the claim of the enemies of peace, that the ongoing war is not a war between Afghans but is military resistance of Afghan nation against the invasion. Afghans do not have problem among themselves. Foreign occupation is the main problem. This war will continue until and unless foreign soldiers exist in Afghanistan. Hence, withdrawal of foreign soldiers is necessary for peace in Afghanistan.

• No interference in the internal affairs of other countries:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan makes legitimate efforts for independence of its country which is natural and human right of Afghan Muslim nation. Seeking independence of one’s country and establishing an Islamic system in conformity with the faith of its people cannot be considered terrorism. We would like to say that we don’t have agenda of destructive actions in other countries. In the past 17 years we have practically proved that we have not interfered in any way in other countries. Similarly, we do not allow anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan against other countries including neighboring countries. Our priority is to resolve the issue of Afghanistan through peaceful means. The United States must end the occupation and submit to the legitimate rights of the Afghans, including forming their government in conformity with their faith. After independence, we want to have positive and constructive relations with other countries including neighbors, and we welcome their assistance in reconstruction and development of the country. Similarly, we want to have positive role in peace and stability of the region and the world.

• Prevention of drug trafficking and cultivation:

During the overt reign of the Islamic Emirate, poppy cultivation had been reduced to zero and the number of heroin addicts among the Afghans was absolutely equal to none. However, after the US invasion in Afghanistan, poppy cultivated land area has reached 328 thousand hectares, and now under the shadow of 17 years of the occupation, the number of addicts has increased to three million people.

According to the UN Counter-Narcotics Organization report, the production of narcotics has increased by 87% and its cultivation by 63% in 2017, by which the scale of produced narcotics has reached 9000 metric tons. The policy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is to prevent poppy cultivation and drug trafficking. If the war ends in Afghanistan, then the Islamic Emirate is determined to reduce poppy cultivation and drug trafficking to zero throughout the country, and in this regard it is ready to provide support and to coordinate with the neighboring countries and international organizations.

• Prevention of Civilian Casualties:

We see that the scale of civilian casualties is increasing lately due to the ongoing imposed war. This state of our people not only hurts us but every Afghan with free conscious feels the pain. Afghan nation is our own soul and body and by its damage our own self is harmed.

Even our Esteemed leader, Amir-ul-Momineen Sheikh Hibatullah Akhondzada (May Allah protect him) has made strong instructions in his Eid messages to the Mujahidin to refrain from operations in places where there is risk of civilian casualties. Moreover, the Islamic Emirate has embedded an independent Commission in its structure by the name of prevention of civilian casualties that works for the prevention of civilian casualties and has representatives in every province who closely and precisely investigates incidents. It publishes credible reports about civilian casualties several times throughout the year.

Often, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has postponed its military operations due to the risk of civilian causalities, but the Americans and their friends carry out night raids on civilian houses, make blind bombardments and use heavy weapons in civilian places, even they arrest people from cities on the basis of suspicion and then kill them under punishment and torture. Now, with the new American policy, bombardment and night raids have further increased which in turn has increased the graph of civilian casualties as well; albeit most of the media do not publish these reports and these incidents remain nonregistered. Some media outlets and some directions attempt to hide the original perpetrators of civilian casualties which further embolden the perpetrators to continue their crimes.

The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction or SIGAR says that their investigations have found that in 2018, American forces’ bombardments in Afghanistan have exceptionally increased, and they have dropped 1200 bombs only in the first three months of this year. On the second day of April 2018, as a result of a brutal aerial attack on a Madrasa in Dasht-e-Archi district of Kunduz province, they martyred 100 young memorizers of the Holy Quran and injured another 100. It is an iceberg of gruesome incidents. During the past 17 years, hundreds of similar incidents have taken place in which houses and educational institutions have been targeted.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has taken the following practical measures for the prevention of civilian casualties:

1. In order to prevent civilian casualties, Mujahidin are provided with guidelines by scholars on regular basis and independent seminars are held in this regard.

2. Delegations pay visit to Mujahidin circles from time to time in order to investigate incidents of civilian casualties and prosecute the perpetrators.

It must also be said that for the sake of the country and prosperous life of our people, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers building and maintaining of places of public utility as a dire need. It considers bridges, tunnels, dams, electric power stations, electric supply centers, mineral extraction and oil refining centers and its equipments, educational institutions, Madrasas, mosques, schools, universities, health centers, clinics, hospitals, and other public utility places as national asset and public property of the Afghan nation and considers their safety its responsibility. We consider religious and modern education necessary for the success of all Afghans and Afghan society.

Humanitarian Assistance:

On one hand, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is engaged in fighting for the independence of the country; on the other hand has taken drastic steps for the security, safety and prosperity of the citizens in the areas under its control.

With a view to the current situation, Afghan nation is in need of humanitarian assistance more than ever. For completing this need, the Islamic Emirate not only considers itself committed to the security of entities from humanitarian assistance providing countries, the United Nations, International Organizations, national businessmen and other humanitarian NGOs to deliver humanitarian assistance, meanwhile calls on them to provide, on the basis of humanitarian sympathy, humanitarian assistance to those needy people living in areas under the control of the Islamic Emirate.

The Islamic Emirate has provided ground for their humanitarian activities in the areas under its control. The best proof in this regard is that the esteemed leader of the Islamic Emirate urged the NGO’s in its last year’s Eid message to come to areas under the control of the Emirate, and we guarantee your security.

Women Rights:

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers woman as the builders of a Muslim society and is committed to all rights of women that have been given to them by the sacred religion of Islam.

Islam has given women all fundamental rights, such as business and ownership, inheritance, education, work, choosing one’s husband, security, health, and right to good life. Likewise, the Holy prophet (peace be upon him) advised good attitude with women in the last moment of his life. These are all those instances that took the woman out of the horrific pits of traditions of ignorance to the highest levels of knowledge, morality and dignity.

There is no doubt that in Afghanistan, due to occupation, there are many challenges against women rights. Women are faced with a lot of disasters. The so called women rights activists stayed in Afghanistan for 17 years, in this period billions of dollars came to Afghanistan, but still Afghanistan is at the top of the countries where many women die during delivery due to lack of health facilities. Still deformed and disabled children are begotten in our country more than any other place (in the world) due to the use of chemical weapons. Afghanistan is still among the top countries of the world where the average life expectancy rate of women is only 45. It is among the top countries of the world where there are more than one million widows. Due to corruption, the expenses brought and spent under the title of women rights have gone to the pockets of those who raise slogans of women rights.

Under the name of women rights, there has been work for immorality, indecency and circulation of non-Islamic cultures. Dissemination of western and non-Afghan and non-Islamic drama serials, paving way for immoral crimes, and encouraging women for violating Afghan customs are other instances that have been imposed on Afghan society under the name of women rights.

From the beginning, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has a very comprehensive and clear approach towards the rights of women. As Islam and then Afghan tradition is two major values of the Afghan Mujahid nation, so Islamic Emirate is also committed to all rights of women within this framework. The policy of the Islamic Emirate is to protect the rights of women in a way that neither their legitimate rights are violated nor their human dignity and Afghan values are threatened. Similarly, the Islamic Emirate is committed to eliminate all those evil customs and traditions that violate women rights and do not comply with Islamic principles, and provide them safe environment.

• Health:

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has a distinctive health commission functioning all over the country. This commission has its representatives in every province and every district, who from one side conduct internal health affairs of the Emirate and on the other side cooperate with and provide security to healthcare-providing associations and organizations.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has conveyed this message to the world during face to face meetings and through media outlets that it considers health personnel as being neutral. Injured persons of the parties to the conflict as well as injured civilians should be brought to hospitals and treated without any discrimination. In this regard the Islamic Emirate has agreements with international health organizations, such as ICRC, Emergency and Doctors without Borders. The Islamic Emirate Afghanistan has always urged the humanitarian assistance organizations and human rights organizations to make Kabul Administration and foreign forces to treat the wounded and detainees in the same way as the Islamic Emirate does.

The Islamic Emirate has made vast efforts to build clinics and hospitals in its areas and prepare and train health personnel for it, but unfortunately the occupiers consider it a legitimate target for themselves and always resort to bombing it. Due to this, several times our hospitals have been raided and bombed, even the clinics and hospitals that were running by the support of other NGOs in our areas have also been bombed. The bombing carried out against the hospital of Doctors without Borders (MSF) in Kunduz and the raid on a hospital in Wardak province are clear examples.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has published statements regarding security of health and education personnel of all sides and has advised Mujahidin not to target these people, but ensure their security so that they could do their work in the best way they can.

Unfortunately, the occupiers target our hospitals and ambulances; take out our wounded persons being transported in ambulances of other health organizations, arrest those wounded persons who are under treatment in hospitals and despite applying different methods of torture on our members, they do not even treat their common diseases.

The Islamic Emirate, once again, announce from this forum that in health sector the Emirate always considers itself committed to all the rights of the citizens and tries its best to deliver them all health services in the best way it can. It calls on human rights organizations to urge Kabul Administration and occupiers to respect human rights and not target hospitals that are in areas under the control of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. We expect foreign organizations to consider all Afghans as equal and as such deliver their services, particularly we expect them to pay attention to the areas that are under the control of the Islamic Emirate, because compared to urban areas, needs of people in rural areas are dire and greater.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has full cooperation with the United Nations, World Health Organization and other health organizations and this cooperation has provided ground for them to carry on their works in the best way in all parts of Afghanistan. In this regard, Polio and other vaccinations programs in many parts of the country that are carried out by relevant organizations by direct support of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan are worth mentioning.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, once again, fully assures health related organizations about its cooperation.

Thanks to all participants for listening attentively to our position and views regarding the current miseries of Afghanistan. Thank you.

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 is a former Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development (Distinction). 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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David Lidington “compensation” cock-up insults Contaminated Blood victims

David Lidington confused over “compensation”

(Image via Scottish Infected Blood Forum)

David Lidington (Minister of State, Cabinet Office) insulted contaminated blood victims this week (November 14th 2018) by using the word “compensation” in an answer to a question from Jeff Smith (Opposition Whip) when the reality is haemophiliacs have NEVER been compensated.

Jeff Smith asked the following question,

Last month, the chair of the inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff, said that many victims of the infected blood scandal are still living on the breadline today. The inquiry is not due to look at financial support until 2020, so what more now can the Government do to help the people affected?

David Lidington replied,

As the hon. Gentleman knows, different compensation packages have been agreed by the Department of Health and Social Care in the different parts of the United Kingdom. Sir Brian did ask the Government to look at the case for some additional measures, which are being considered by the Secretary of State for Health and his ministerial team, and the Minister responsible for mental health, my hon. Friend Jackie Doyle-Price, is very willing to talk to the inquiry team about that.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2018-11-14a.296.10#g296.11

Lidington repeated the word “compensation” again in a reply to Diana Johnson MP (Labour).

This statement by Lidington is incorrect and distressing to haemophiliacs and their families who have been waiting over 3 decades for the government to compensate victims. To date government has paid out only miserly “ex-gratia” payments and victims must go cap in hand to the English Infected Blood Support Scheme (EIBSS) or their counterparts in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to apply for monthly allowances and grants. The amount varies considerably depending where a person is located with Scottish payments much higher than in other parts of the UK.

Payments received by infected persons in England are linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), however this is not the case for affected bereaved partners who become worse off year by year and are means tested with state benefits taken into account. Since the financial changes to the Scottish scheme, I am informed by Haemophilia Scotland that the payments of infected there are no longer linked to CPI. This seems to have been dropped with the movement away from Trusts that previously administered payments and the transfer over to the current system.

Jeremy Hunt former Secretary of State for Health previously made the same mistake as Lidington wrongly referring to financial payments for haemophilics and their partners as “compensation” and provided a written apology after this author pulled him up on the matter. In a letter dated, December 15th 2016, Hunt wrote,

“Legal liability (on behalf of government and its suppliers) has not been established in the majority of cases of infection with HIV or hepatitis C following the use of NHS supplied blood or blood products and our position remains that it is not appropriate to refer to the system of ex-gratia payments as “compensation”. I apologise for any confusion this has caused.”

Lidington is once again adding insult to injury. The British government has always denied haemophiliacs compensation unlike Eire. The Eire government, lawyers for haemophiliacs and the Irish Haemophilia Society wrote 3 letters to Colette Wintle and I in 2004 confirming that Eire had taken a very different approach and compensated years ago.

We obtained these letters to quash the false narrative of Lord Warner who wrongly and repeatedly said Eire had paid out due to accepting legal liability. This was challenged in a Judicial Review in 2010 which was won against the then Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson by haemophiliac Andrew March and his lawyers using our documents. The Labour government had refused to follow the recommendation of Lord Archer of Sandwell who wrote in his 2009 report that haemophiliacs should be compensated “on a parity with Eire”. I first initiated this arguement in 1996 and Lord Archer echoed my recommendation after studying the evidence. Justice Holman ruled that the government’s thinking was infected with error and they were told to relook at their decision not to compensate. Labour then moved the goalposts and decided not to compensate because Eire was a different country so they didn’t have to follow their example!

Eire paid out compensation for “extraordinary suffering” on the grounds of “loss and need” at the same levels as if the case had gone to court but WITHOUT putting victims through the stress of actually going to court and WITHOUT admitting legal liability.

Some persons in the UK receiving infected whole blood transfusions were able to take cases under the Consumer Protection Act (if they were infected since 1988) looking at Product Liability and did receive compensation but that did not include haemophiliacs who have always had an entirely separate legal case and arguement.

To date despite recent calls for haemophiliacs to be compensated including my own letter of October 11th 2018 to Matt Hancock (Secretary of State for Health), there is no sign to think that this current Tory government has changed its chance regarding compensation for UK haemophiliacs. The reply I received from the DOH on the 25th October once again showed confusion over the Irish compensation scheme. The person who replied (not Hancock) sent me what appeared to be a cut n paste job from old government answers which was done so badly it seemed to stop in mid-sentence!

Many haemophiliacs have already died due to their infections since the start of the Infected Blood Inquiry. Those who remain and their loved ones live a hand to mouth existance, with government’s lack of empathy, muddled thinking and tight-fisted approach to their suffering, those infected and affected could well be be waiting yet another thirty years for compensation!

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 is a former Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development (Distinction). 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: Compensation to haemophiliacs was rejected using a false government narrative and a now disgraced Department of Health report

Haemophiliac Peter Longstaff shows blood records traced back to Arkansas State Penitentiary, Peter died in 2005 without ever having received compensation from the government

Today the Infected Blood Inquiry which is investigating how patients including Peter Longstaff and his younger brother Stephen both haemophiliacs with an inherited bleeding isorder came to be given contaminated blood on the NHS, has released the following letter,

Sir Brian Langstaff calls on government to take “decisive action” over financial support for infected and affected

Letter from Chair of the Inquiry asks for prompt action to address concerns about financial support

The Chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff, has written to the Cabinet Office drawing attention to the current financial support schemes that see infected and affected people across the UK paid widely varying amounts of financial assistance or having difficulty in accessing funds.

In his letter to the Minister for the Cabinet Office, David Lidington MP, Sir Brian acknowledges the level of sentiment and anger expressed to him at the preliminary hearings in September from those infected and affected.

In his letter Sir Brian says:

“Throughout the hearings there were repeated calls for financial assistance that fully recompenses individuals and families for the losses they have suffered…decisive action should be taken at the earliest opportunity.”

The letter also notes the lack of desire among core participants for the Minister to appoint panel members alongside the Chair and asks the Cabinet Office to confirm that he does not intend to appoint them. It reiterates the Inquiry’s intention that the Inquiry’s expert groups will provide transparent and open advice to Sir Brian across a range of expert opinion.

The full text of the letter can be found on the following link,

https://www.infectedbloodinquiry.org.uk/news/sir-brian-langstaff-calls-government-take-decisive-action-over-financial-support-infected-and

Here is my response as the widow of Peter Longstaff and his brother Stephen both now dead after receiving contaminated blood

I welcome the fact that Sir Brian Langstaff recognizes the suffering of haemophiliacs infected and affected families through NHS Contaminated Blood products and the need for government to compensate now and not wait until the end of the Inquiry. (Note haemophiliacs have always been viewed as a separate legal case to whole blood victims that have their own support network)

The government has NEVER compensated haemophiliacs and their families.

Government has however repeatedly DENIED compensation to the haemophilia community using 3 key statements,

1) For decades government stated they didn’t need to compensate haemophiliacs as “all the information is in the public domain”. This is FALSE, I myself discovered many key government documents that weren’t in the public domain which I included in my awarded dissertation (2006) and returned to government in batches over the years from the 1990s via my MP, jointly with the Newcastle Journal and via my lawyers including documents in 2006 which are now in the National Archives at Kew for the public to access.

2) A FALSE narrative was created by government to deny paying “compensation on a parity with Eire” (a phrase I coined in 1996 and which I requested over 2 decades ago). This false narrative was proven during a Judicial Review won in 2010 by haemophiliac Andrew March whose lawyers used my evidence from 2004, key letters from the Irish government, Irish lawyers and Irish haemophilia Society.

The documents showed that Eire paid out on the grounds of “loss and need” without accepting legal liability on the grounds of “extraordinary suffering” at court levels of compensation payment but without forcing sick and dying people to go to court which would further impact on their physical and mental health.

British government falsely stated that the situation was different in Eire and that Eire accepted liability. Letters sent to me in 2004 from the Irish Haemophilia Society, Irish lawyers and Irish government backed me in writing.

The British government were WRONG… Eire DID NOT accept legal liability.

3) Government used their so called “definitive report” to reject “compensation on a parity with Eire” as recommended by (the late) Lord Archer of Sandwell, former Solicitor General in the Archer Inquiry report (2009) into how haemophiliacs came to be contaminated with HIV/hepatitis C through blood products. The Dept of Health Self Sufficiency Report in Blood Products in England and Wales: 1973 to 1991 published in 2006 was critiqued by me for which my research was awarded the ESRC Michael Young award.

The DOH report was finally disgraced and withdrawn in December 2017 using evidence from my dissertation which was blocked for a decade. I showed what was important wasn’t so much as to what was included in the report… but what was left out! This included documents showing alleged liability.

This is the link to the DOH Self-Sufficiency in blood products in England and Wales (report): A chronology from 1973 to 1991

https://haemophilia.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Self-sufficiency-in-blood-products-in-England-and-Wales-A-chronology-from-1973-to-1991.pdf

and an article from BBC on this report being quietly withdrawn in December 2017

“Contaminated Blood report full of lies”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42410301

This charade from the British government denying compensation which has gone on for 30 years must now stop and proper compensation must be awarded as a matter of urgency. Many have died since the Inquiry began and many others are in such poor health, they do not have the time to wait any longer!

The following is a letter I sent to Matt Hancock Secretary of State for Health on October 11th 2018

Dear Mr Hancock,

Contaminated blood compensation rejected using DOH report now withdrawn

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock if he will now award haemophiliacs infected with HIV and hepatitis B, C and exposed to v CJD and their families proper compensation on a parity with Eire as recommended by Lord Archer in his Inquiry report?

I ask on the following 2 grounds…

1) A Judicial Review in 2010- WON against the then Secretary of State for Health highlighted a false narrative on Eire. As written documents sent to me in 2004 from the Eire government, Irish lawyers and Irish Haemophilia Society and used to argue the legal case for haemophiliacs and their families proved, Eire paid out on “loss and need” on the grounds of “extraordinary suffering”. Eire DID NOT accept legal liability and paid out IN ADVANCE of a public inquiry.

Eire government confirmed they did not want to cause further distress to the Haemophilia Community by forcing a court case as this would be immoral under the circumstances. UK haemophiliacs have had an additional 20 years of “extraordinary suffering” and financial hardship since Eire paid out.

The British government has still not officially apologised specifically for putting out a false narrative on Eire used to deny compensation nor put the record straight in writing on the Eire settlement paid out at court levels, without accepting liability and without the need to go to court.

2) The DOH 2006 “Self Sufficiency in Blood Products in England and Wales: A chronology from 1973 to 1991” has now been disgraced and withdrawn from use in 2017 using evidence from my ESRC Michael Young awarded 2006 dissertation. This is several years after the 2010 JR so the withdrawal was NOT part of that legal case.

My research which critiqued this report used key government documents obtained by myself as government claimed to have destroyed their own copies showing alleged liability which were OMMITTED from the report. This whitewash of a report was also used as a tool in writing to deny haemophiliacs and their families the compensation on a parity with Eire recommended by Lord Archer.

This terrible injustice could be rectified now for the haemophilia community which have always been treated as a separate legal case to whole blood. Archer, former Solicitor-General recognized the Special Case of Haemophiliacs accepted by Virginia Bottomley on which the 1991 ex-gratia payment was paid out as highlighted in legal letters, Hansard and written responses from government.

Haemophiliacs with hepatitis C also fit the Special Status criteria which is not applicable to whole blood victims. The Archer Inquiry was specifically for haemophilia victims and their families due to recognition of the Special Status .I worked very closely to assist Lord Archer who used many of my documents and names me in the report as I submitted documents on Eire and many other issues and he echoed my own recommendations once he had independently looked at the evidence.

I should add Lord Archer did not have it in his remit to find liability so I know from my own submissions to the Inquiry where I testified twice as both widow and researcher that documents showing alleged liability could not be included and were returned to me.

In case you are not aware the Self Sufficiency report was written as a DIRECT RESPONSE to a dossier of documents submitted by the Newcastle Journal and my late husband Peter and I. We set up the Bad Blood campaign jointly with the Journal in 2000 which received awards and broke many of the key stories on what we allege a long -standing cover-up. With the help of US lawyers I was able to trace infected plasma treatment batch numbers given to my husband directly back to Arkansas State Penitentiary, the first in the UK to do so. His brother also a haemophiliac died of AIDS in 1987.

Since the Inquiry was announced many more haemophiliacs have died and bereaved families have been shackled through reliance on Trusts and now EIBBS unable to move on with their lives. Also those not under the Scottish scheme suffer alleged discrimination as they do not have the yearly “pension” as it is referred to in Scottish documents confirmed in writing to me  by Haemophilia Scotland  which gives haemophiliacs and their families freedom of movement to live outside the UK as it is paid IN ADDITION to benefits wherever they reside.

This freedom of movement which all haemophiliacs and their families should be entitled to under the Human Rights Act is prevented in other parts of the UK as haemophiliacs and families are entirely reliant on EIBBS and the benefit system if too ill to work and would lose benefits if they moved outside the EU. This in itself could present a further legal challenge.

I ask you to also financially match the annual “pension” paid out in Scotland and pay this to all other haemophiliacs and their bereaved partners across the UK in addition to state benefits.

How can 2 people one in Edinburgh, one in Newcastle that signed up to the same HIV legal agreement in 1991 under Justice Ognal for example now receive such shockingly different financial payments. It is grossly unfair and causes friction within haemophilia families living in different parts of the UK. This is divisive and extremely cruel.

Sick and dying people have been waiting for justice for 30 years so please don’t fob me off by saying wait another few years for recommendations of the Infected Blood Inquiry. As in Eire this can be settled right now in advance of waiting for the Inquiry to produce a report and is the right and just action to take.

All the government would have to do is accept a compensation submission by a person’s legal representative based on loss and need and supported by a health professional with solicitor’s costs as Tribunals have caused unnecessary delays in Eire.

If the governments puts right this terrible wrong now using Archer’s recommendations already set up, this would allow more time to seek solutions to helping whole blood victims that did not come under Archer Inquiry as they were not part of the Special Case. This would go a long way to establishing goodwill and would be viewed in the spirit of truth and reconciliation, so all could move forward.

I look forward to your prompt response.

With thanks

Yours sincerely

Carol Anne Grayson

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 is a former Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development (Distinction). 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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