Contaminated Blood: How a “journalist” conning the haemophilia community led to an International Emmy for documentary “In Cold Blood”

ORIGINAL WINNERS

Carol Grayson and Peter Longstaff (deceased) who received 2 awards in 2009, for their research, campaigning and document discoveries, the ESRC Michael Young Prize and the COTT Action =Life Award on Capitol Hill, Washington DC

(Image, taken by Grayson)

Jason Evans, the son of a UK haemophiliac who died after being given Contaminated Blood learnt this week that the documentary “In Cold Blood” in which he was featured discussing the scandal had won an International Emmy award for Current Affairs. Evans posted a “publicity” photo of himself taking centre stage advertising the accolade on social media. The image was shared multiple times by haemophilia activists accessing the open Factor 8 group campaign page set up by him and also on Twitter. Evans regularly encourages and gives permission for his posts and photos to be utilized in the fight to hold those that harmed haemophiliacs and their families to account. Indeed, that is the very essence of his page and website.

Haemophiliacs have an inherited condition where their blood does not clot properly. During the 1970s and 1980s, they were treated with a new so called “miracle” treatment called factor concentrates made from large pool plasma often collected from “high-risk” donors including US prisoners who sold their blood for cash and drugs. Former Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham described the events surrounding the infection of haemophiliacs with deadly viruses and the subsequent government response as “a criminal cover -up on an industrial scale.”

Perversely however, since 2017, Evans who claims to represent haemophiliacs and their families has lied, cheated and conned his way through the Infected Blood Inquiry, set up to investigate the infection of around 4,700 haemophiliacs with HIV and hepatitis viruses (and others infected through whole blood transfusions) by presenting research carried out by long standing campaigners as if it were his own work.

Evans, who refers to himself as an “investigative journalist” set up the campaign group Factor 8 in 2017 which features prominently on social media. He admitted to “following” multi awarded researcher Carol Grayson closely for 2 years, prior to the start of his own campaigning though he did not make himself known to her at the time. This (presumably) online and somewhat sinister “stalking” has clearly paid off as Evans is regularly applauded when he appears on TV and radio using Grayson’s work though always without reference. Grayson set up her own campaign group Haemophilia North, later Haemophilia Action UK way back in the 1990s. Tragically many of her original supporters are now dead.

Grayson lost both her husband Peter Longstaff and brother in law Stephen Longstaff after they received infected factor concentrate treatment. She always intended for her research and documents to be used by others providing they were properly referenced. Evans is having none of that and appears to lap up the media attention and glowing comments from his followers who are oblivious to the fact that they are being conned. One even suggested he should receive a knighthood.

What is also disturbing is Evan’s regular appeals for money for his “research” when much of the time he is simply regurgitating the work carried out by Grayson over a 30 year period. Grayson and her late husband never asked for a penny from vulnerable victims and instead funded their campaign out of their own pockets, often going short of basics to keep their investigations going.

Evan’s “star -struck” followers, often the children of infected haemophiliacs are easy prey. Most only recently actively joined the campaign scene and are naive to the fact that much of the evidence that Evans falsely claims he “discovered” was in fact documents researched and discovered by Grayson and Longstaff over many years. Grayson used this evidence in her Economic and Research Social Council (ERSC) Michael Young Prize dissertation on Contaminated Blood written in 2005/6. Michael Young (Baron Young of Dartington) was a British sociologist, social activist and politician, he lived from 9th August 1915 and died on the 4th January 2002.

The award ceremony was attended by Chris James then CEO of the Haemophilia Society, the late Martin Harvey, CEO of the now defunct Macfarlane Trust set up to provide financial support to haemophiliacs infected with HIV and their families, Sue Watts, former presenter of BBC Newsnight and independent haemophilia campaigner Colette Wintle. Sir Peter Bottomley presented the award in his role with the ESRC. So Grayson has plenty of witnesses regarding the utilization of the documents she discovered.

These papers were sent to the Department of Health (that had systematically destroyed their own copies) with accompanying legal letters on the instructions of Grayson soon after publication of her thesis and were later transferred to the National Archives at Kew. There, other campaigners including Evans have been able to access them through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. Much of this evidence formed part of the 1991 HIV litigation, documents exchanged between government lawyers and solicitors for haemophiliacs during the “discovery” phase. Solicitors were meant to destroy the documents within 8 weeks of the conclusion of the litigation but for some unknown reason Longstaff’s solicitors did not trash their files.

Despite a commitment given by government to maintain the papers regarding the written letters of transfer of the documents discovered by Grayson back to Department of Health lawyers, they recently admitted in writing to destroying these papers… fortunately Grayson kept her own copies. The failure of NA Kew to reference Grayson as the provider of many documents with an accompanying history page on how they had been used and the awards received has also colluded in helping others to use this evidence without crediting them to her name. Her lawyer Ben Harrison of Milners of Leeds and Sam Stein QC, a top criminal barrister are working hard to ensure the government do not get away with this this and that she is properly accredited.

Grayson also saved several large tranches of additional government documents from being trashed over the years including many on hepatitis and government blood policies including v CJD, these too are kept at the National Archives and can be accessed via FOI.

Evans is represented by Collins Law solicitors whose clients are now deserting the firm in droves for other lawyers due to allegations that they are not receiving a good or adequate service. Victims complain they are hardly hearing from their representatives who are too busy focused on Evans and garnering publicity for themselves to pay attention to those infected and affected. One former client of Collins (who did not wish to be named) expressed his dismay that confidential legal files were allegedly left piled up unattended in a room where other visitors to Collins offices could easily access the contents.

Bell Yard Public Relations company can be seen championing both Collins and Evans on Twitter but blocked Grayson when she highlighted her concern over their collective failing to reference her work. A letter from Grayson’s legal representative on the matter to Collins remains unanswered.

In recognition of the “conflict of interest” that Grayson has with those who plagiarise her work, the Chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff allowed Grayson to be represented separately by Milners solicitors as opposed to the original 4 law firms appointed to the Inquiry. Grayson and her lawyers received the decision in writing not long after the Inquiry began. This was also applied to Grayson’s campaign colleague of many years, Colette Wintle who is an infected female haemophiliac that has long championed the cause of women with a bleeding disorder and the specific difficulties they face. Wintle is a witness to Grayson’s documents as they were often shared with her at the time of release, many years before Evans began his campaign. Both women have been subjected to repeated verbal abuse and misogyny during their years of activism from government and other authorities, the medical profession, some male campaigners and the media.

Evans has been involved in several documentaries now spouting the discoveries of Grayson, subject by subject, minus any acknowledgement, the latest being as part of “In Cold Blood”. A several times awarded documentary maker, that has worked with Grayson over many years, reacted to the news of the Emmy saying she was “gutted”. She e-mailed Grayson stating,

“you must be totally pissed off that that lying git who claimed to find all that info himself when actually the film you made, already released that evidence years before, because you actually found it doing the work.”

She added,

“They (the documentary team) just let him act as though he did the work…. So annoying… Makes me sick.”

The film-maker then highlighted her own experience of misogyny saying that if she complained directly to the relevant media bodies,

“they will simply say its me being jealous of the Emmy. Also I am treated like shit as a female director.”

She then advised Grayson to make official complaints herself to International Emmy Awards, ITV and Head of ITV stating,

“the director lied in the film making it look as though Jason had discovered all the files which suited the narrative but that was false information.”

The director in this case is Grierson award winning and BAFTA nominated documentary maker Marcus Plowright. He clearly has no interest in showing an accurate Timeline of events as evidence was actually discovered and giving credit to a widow whose work exposing the scandal and highlighting themes (now echoed by the film years later) led to several previous awards for Grayson. Female haemophiliacs have been written out of the documentary narrative, where is the representation that women have been at the forefront of haemophilia campaigning over decades and historically led the way on exposing what has been covered -up and in getting increased payments for those infected and affected?

Appalled by the arrogant, abusive and misogynistic behaviour of Evans and Plowright, who think they have the right to steal the work of others, Grayson has approached the national Haemophilia Society for support with regard to the misuse of her research. She stated that, “although there were numerous difficulties in the past with the Society, Colette and I draw a distinction between past history and the current organization manned by new staff.” The women worked with staff member, Jeff Courtney to produce the first written apology from the charity for past failings and describe recent interactions with current CEO Kate Burt and trustee Clive Smith as “positive”. All recognize that it is vital that a true and accurate Timeline of events, discoveries and research is utilized so infected and affected members of the haemophilia community can achieve the truth, justice and the substantial compensation they deserve. Evans appears oblivious to the harm he is causing those that have suffered so much.

Grayson said,

“a false Timeline such as Evans claiming he discovered key documents in 2017 when they were in fact discovered by myself 20 years ago and presented in face to face meetings with ministers only serves to undermine the campaign and allows people to get away with murder. Listening to Evans on camera, as well as my documents, he stole my language, my terminology, the very essence of who I am. I am hearing my words and discoveries coming out of a male mouth. I want to highlight that women are abused all the time in this way in their day to day lives as researchers, activists and campaigners. We want men to stand with us…not take over our identities but if they are too weak and cowardly to do so, and can only cheat us to satisfy their own egos, then we will make sure we stand up for ourselves!”

She added,

“if Collins and their client threaten to take legal action against me, they can go ahead. Its an ideal opportunity to show my documents and when they were first discovered and placed in the public domain, and how stories initially appeared in the press and most importantly its a chance to educate new haemophilia campaigners that have never learnt the real history.”

As part of Grayson’s research, she traced the treatment used by her late husband who died back in 2005 to an HIV infected Arkansas prison donor through US lawyers and American documentary film maker Kelly Duda whose documentary, “Factor 8: The Arkansas Prison scandal” and accompanying documents are with the Inquiry. The depositions collected by American legal teams were accessed via Leiff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein on the instructions of Grayson and are currently appearing as evidence on the livestream channel at what is now the UK’s biggest ever public inquiry and expected to report next year.

The “In Cold Blood” documentary team have been able to get away with conning the haemophilia community as many of the original media links where key stories on Contaminated Blood were FIRST broken by Grayson and Longstaff (long before Evans arrived on the scene) no longer exist online as websites change and new ones take their place. However Grayson has produced a detailed document of historic media links of some 136 pages and growing for the Infected Blood Inquiry and that is just listing the headings and dates. In addition she has sent scanned articles in old hardcopy newspapers from their awarded Newcastle Journal “Bad Blood” campaign set up jointly with journalist Louella Houldcroft to Inquiry investigators along with other media.

To summarise, there must be zero tolerance of misogynists that abuse women in any form. It starts off with a sexist comment at the office, failing to promote women to key jobs, men claiming women’s research as their own, groping female employees at Christmas parties… then before you know it has progressed to something far more terrible, a respected member of the community, a policeman thinking he has to right to kidnap, rape and murder a bright, articulate and much loved young woman.

Meanwhile, the Infected Blood Inquiry focuses this week on the international pharmaceutical companies that produced factor concentrates with proof now being seen by the public of the allegations made by Grayson over decades as her documents are shown on the Inquiry livestream link. It is to be expected that Evans will appear again on TV screens before long claiming the next bunch of documents highlighted by Grayson were also found by him. One wonders if Mr Evans is now so far lost in cloud cuckoo land he has begun to believe his own string of lies. He has certainly invested a great deal in recent years in the art of deceiving the haemophilia community and conning journalists too lazy to carry out their own checking before publication and releasing their somewhat flawed Contaminated Blood documentaries!

Finally in an attempt to silence Grayson, Evans made a complaint to WordPress about her using the very “publicity” shot for “In Cold Blood” that he posted on an open Facebook page where so many regularly share his photos and posts (including this one) as part of campaigning on their own Facebook pages. To Grayson’s knowledge, no other objections have ever been raised to this on the page since it began. Grayson credited Jason, part of the documentary team, with putting the photo of “In Cold Blood” on his Facebook site, ironically most other campaigners did not. So it will be interesting to see if dozens of other activists will now be subject to Evan’s complaints also? Grayson, one of the UK’s most outspoken activists on Contaminated Blood over several decades said,

“those who think that bullying me will stop me from standing up for truth and justice, should think again, after decades of campaigning this only serves to make me fight even harder!”

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

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Contaminated Blood: Biological terrorism… what is a haemophiliac’s life worth? A comparison with victims of 9/11

More UK haemophiliacs have died from Contaminated Blood than the number of victims that died on 9/11

There is much discussion in the media this week about the film “Worth” which can currently be viewed on Netflix. The movie deals with the very real issue of how do you value and calculate a life in financial terms after an individual and their family are seriously harmed? In this case the harm comes as a result of the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks in the US. Worth features Michael Keaton as a lawyer and Stanley Tucci who has lost his wife and their collective dilemma over the ethics involved in putting a figure on what a person is worth… hence the title of the drama. 

See trailer below…

and read,

“A Film About the Impossible Job of Valuating Lives” (The Atlantic, September 4th 2021)

Worth, a Netflix movie about the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, reminds us that tragedies can’t be neatly quantified.

https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2021/09/netflix-worth-how-to-value-life-september-11/619979/

Here, I will look at some facts and figures comparing UK haemophiliacs in the Contaminated Blood scandal that were often treated with US plasma products for an inherited bleeding disorder where their blood does not clot properly to the victims of 9/11.

On August 29th, CNN reported that,

“a total of 2,996 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks, including the 19 terrorist hijackers aboard the four airplanes. Citizens of 78 countries died in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania” ( cited in, September 11 Victim Aid and Compensation Fast Facts)

(This does not include First Responders after 9/11 that became ill as a result of participating in clean up operations.)

NOTE:- The number of deceased in the 9/11 attacks is actually LESS than the now over 3,000 Contaminated Blood haemophilia deaths in the UK alone that all belong to what the British government terms “a unique patient group” who were infected with HIV and hepatitis viruses during the 1970s and 80s by the very treatment meant to improve their lives.

What is particularly tragic, is that haemophiliacs often knew each other “from the cradle to the grave”, through familial links with haemophilia running through families, by attending special schools together such as Lord Mayor Treloar College, holidaying with each other through Haemophilia Society ventures, going to AGMs and conferences to learn more about their condition and treatment, spending time on the same hospital wards and attending each others weddings and funerals. The impact on the haemophilia community has been and continues to be devastating!

This disaster was called “the worst medical treatment disaster in the history of the NHS” by Lord Winston (in his role as vice chairman of the Haemophilia Society) and is a phrase which does not include those infected through whole blood transfusions whose death figures are entirely separate.

This destruction of life was truly a “Haemophilia Holocaust” (the term used by US lawyers) where another 10,000 American haemophiliacs were infected through bad blood, plasma collected from the highest risk donors in society, drug addicts, gay men, prisoners and prostitutes who sold their blood. Many more haemophiliacs were infected in Canada. The plasma from each person went to make up donor pools of up to 300,000 donors which was then manufactured into factor concentrates by US pharmaceutical companies. The lack of care in the collection of plasma often compromised donor safety as well as recipients of this so called “miracle” treatment. There was cross contamination, over bleeding and poor standards of care especially in the prison environment. If there any miracles that could be argued throughout this whole tragedy, it was that some haemophiliacs managed to survive against all odds, living through their contamination with multiple deadly viruses.

The UK also produced its own treatment products but with with much tighter collection guidelines using unpaid, volunteer donors and much smaller plasma pools. However, after the government failed to invest adequately to achieve self-sufficiency in producing factor concentrates, the government then relied heavily on importation.

As well as dealing with the actual infections, haemophiliacs have had to face the fact that key evidence on the safety of factor concentrates was kept from them. They discovered long afterwards that they were subjected to years of often unethical experimentation and treatment trials without their knowledge and informed consent. In addition, they learnt that many were tested for HIV and hepatitis viruses again without informed consent and positive test results were often withheld (sometimes for years) leading to infection of some partners and even children. In a nutshell, haemophiliacs were betrayed over and over again by many of those who were meant to protect them from harm and in some cases were failed even by their own lawyers, though all now have new legal teams working hard for justice.

As with 9/11, the global Contaminated Blood scandal included victims from many countries. In the case of haemophilia victims, this was wherever the pharmaceutical companies exported to and “dumped” their dangerous products. US lawyers have represented victims from around the world including victims from the UK.

One haemophilia lawsuit filed in the US which appeared on the Centre for Disease Control information network, highlighted the following in 2003:-

According to the lawsuit:

  • The contaminated blood products had infected at least 5,000 hemophiliacs in Europe with HIV by 1992.
  • Nearly all infections of hemophiliacs in Japan have been traced to contaminated U.S. blood products.
  • At least 700 HIV cases in Latin America are linked to the use of contaminated blood products by hemophiliacs.

The case is Domenico Gullone et al. v. Bayer Corp. et al., C032572.

https://www.thebodypro.com/article/lawsuit-alleges-companies-sold-contaminated-blood-overseas

However, all UK cases were then returned to the UK for British courts to deliver justice on the grounds of “forum non conveniens” (not the right venue) and UK authorities were deemed to be the first line of “duty of care” for UK haemophiliacs. There was some progress in that for those that traced back infected treatment batch numbers to source, the US pharmaceutical companies did go as far as officially recognising these victims as a token gesture and a miniscule payment that wouldn’t in many cases have reached the equivalent of an average salary for one single year. Then then promptly sealed the case with a silence clause. It was only through the determination of Hartlepool born haemophiliac Peter Longstaff in initiating the US litigation for UK haemophiliacs through finding and approaching San Francisco law firm Leiff, Cabraser, Heimann and Bernstein with the support of US and Canadian campaigners that this small result was achieved.

The number of the 10,000 American haemophiliacs infected does not include their affected family members and is without taking into consideration the thousands of haemophiliacs that received infected US factor concentrates throughout the rest of the world, again these are figures far beyond those killed in 9/11 even adding in first responders harmed after that date. This damage on a colossal scale was attributed largely to the deeply flawed blood policies of governments combined with the actions (or inaction) of international pharmaceutical companies that often put profit before safety. This was followed by dubious decisions on the part of some treating doctors and ineffectiveness of national haemophilia organizations meant to be representing the interests of those with bleeding disorders.

In the UK, haemophiliacs were given a “Special Status” by government that recognized in parliament and documented in Hansard, that they were ALREADY disadvantaged from birth through their hereditary condition and as a result suffered in education, employment and denial of life insurance. In addition, there could be several haemophiliacs living within the same family, each infected with multiple viruses. This was their situation before considering the need for compensation for viral infections. Government stated,

“haemophiliacs were an exceptional and specific group who merited exceptional treatment. The Government remain convinced that their case is exceptional.”

In the US, “the average compensation award to a victim of 9/11 was $2, 082,128 and went as high as $7.1 million”. The victims of 9/11 were visible and in contrast to haemophiliacs had a huge amount of very public support from the beginning of their fight for justice whereas haemophiliacs had decades of extreme discrimination and abuse now being documented as part of the Infected Blood Inquiry chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff. The Inquiry is the largest ever held in the UK and commenced in 2017.

Unlike 9/11, no war was launched against those that killed the world’s haemophiliacs. It has been a huge uphill battle for victims themselves to get any recognition of the damage done by the state. To date, UK haemophiliacs and their families have only ever received “ex -gratia” payments and have yet to receive a penny in actual compensation..

The 9/11 attacks were visual and graphic on our TV screens and had a huge impact on the public conscience, whereas, Contaminated Blood victims were largely hidden, unheard and died in pain and distress often unseen except by loved ones, traumatized by what they experienced. The victims of 9/11 from different countries were attacked on US soil in full view of the world making it impossible to wriggle out of seriously addressing their damages, losses and needs. UK haemophiliacs were infected with US products but on their own home soil so lawyers acting for pharma companies were able to shift the blame onto the UK due to the fact that it was argued that UK authorities were aware of the risks and sourcing (as highlighted in documents campaigners researched and discovered) but failed to take action or alert the haemophilia community to dangers.

In the UK there was the problem of “conflict of interest” including regarding the national Haemophilia Society (haemophiliacs’ representative body) that received most of its funding from government and pharmaceutical companies. This translated to an unwillingness to upset both and a continuation of importation no matter what the safety risks. This resulted in a great deal of tension between campaigners and the Society.

By the time haemophiliacs and families attended a meeting in 2001 with the Haemophilia Society in London on the very day of the 9/11 attacks to discuss what needed to be done to improve relations, find mutual ground and what tactics to try next to achieve a public inquiry and long awaited truth and justice, they had ALREADY been campaigning for almost 2 decades. For years, victims infected and affected had been suffering and dying from a wide range of symptoms and physical damage from multiple viruses, experiencing ill health due to the impact of long term caring 24/7 and were living with psychological damage as a result of depression, anxiety, grief and PTSD. As with 9/11 victims, there is not an area of haemophiliacs’ lives that are not affected!

On 23rd August 2011, ABC News reported developments for 9/11 victims in the US as follows,

“The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, created by Congress, distributed $7 billion to survivors and victims’ families. There have been 2,983 families of those who died and received an average of just over $2 million tax-free per claim, according to Kenneth Feinberg, former pro bono administrator of the fund.”

On July 29th, 2019, after much delay, Vox reported that 9/11 first responders would finally have a permanent victim compensation fund. The publication stated,

“A day after, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to pass the Never Forget the Heroes Act, which would extend the fund through 2090. The entire House of Representatives passed the bill 402-12 on July 12, putting the pressure on Senate Republicans. Despite some protest from Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) due to budget concerns, the Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill 97-2 last week.

With the bill now signed into law, the financial pressures on the fund will be alleviated, and first responders and their families won’t have to worry about slashed benefits or whether they’d be compensated for the harm they suffered while serving the country.”

Twenty years after 9/11 and the meeting of haemophiliacs and the Haemophilia Society in London on that fateful day, they. unlike 9/11 victims have STILL not been compensated. For those that survived and bereaved families, their treatment by the state, post infection, has been almost as distressing as living (and dying) with multiple deadly viruses and relatives adjusting to their loss and grief.

In 2007, an attempt was made by Lord Archer of Sandwell to hold an inquiry into how haemophiliacs came to be given Contaminated Blood. Although well meaning, the Inquiry was privately funded and had no legal clout. Archer did however deliver very positive recommendations in 2009 including “compensation on a parity with Eire” that had the best compensation deal for haemophiliacs announced way back in 1996. This was however blocked on lies told by the British government falsely claiming Eire had paid out on the grounds of liability. This was completely false and letters already obtained by long standing campaigners Carol Grayson and Colette Wintle in 2004 when the lies began, showed that the Eire settlement was in fact a “no liability” scheme paid out on the grounds of “extraordinary suffering”. It was paid out at court levels without haemophiliacs having to go to court as the Eire government decided it would be wrong to retraumatise people who were suffering so much.

The letters which were written from the Eire government, Irish lawyers, Malcomson Law and the the Irish haemophilia Society were later used to win a Judicial Review in the name of haemophiliac Andrew March in 2010 and backed the fact that the governments decision not to compensate and the arguement used was “infected with error” due to the lies told to victims and in parliament to avoid paying out compensation.

The UK government also tried to say that no liability was found by Archer when they should have emphasised this was due to the fact that establishing liability was not in the Terms of Reference and any evidence showing this had to be returned to witnesses. Had the TORs been able to include this, many would argue, Archer would indeed have concluded that there was alleged negligence in many directions.

In 2021, decades after haemophiliacs and some of their partners and children became infected through Contaminated Blood, Sir Robert Francis QC has now been appointed by the Paymaster General and “has launched a consultation on the terms of reference for his independent study looking at options for a framework for compensation for the victims of the infected blood tragedy”.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/infected-blood-compensation-framework-study-consultation-on-terms-of-reference

This runs at the same time as the work of Sir Brian Langstaff who is looking at amongst other things, the day to day impact on victims and will come up with his own recommendations in his final report.

Haemophiliacs have lost their physical and psychological health and sometimes their partners and children through infection. In many cases, they also lost their livelihood, hard fought for educational opportunities at universities and colleges, wages, pensions, insurance, ability to obtain a mortgage and life insurance if they could get it in the first place. Many lost the right to a family life being unable to find a partner due to the stigma of HIV and hepatitis C and being exposed to new variant CJD. They also had to come to terms with not having children if they did marry, in case of passing on infection. Partners and sometimes other family members have had to give up good careers to become full time carers and also suffered physical and psychological trauma. In addition the treatment given to haemophiliacs often violated the Nuremberg Code set up in 1949 as a set of good guidelines for practise and clinical trials. They were used as guinea pigs in unethical trials and on top of all this, were subjected to extreme prejudice and discrimination and even had their organs stolen after death.

It is important to note that in addition to HIV and hepatitis viruses, haemophiliacs were also exposed to new variant CJD (this time through UK plasma) with a longer potential incubation period than first thought. Lord Archer who presided over a privately funded inquiry into Contaminated Blood that reported in 2009 said haemophilia victims must be compensated for each virus and in this case exposure to a prion disease in addition.

One widow of a man who developed CJD through growth hormone treatment was paid out £1.4 million in compensation and this did not include any additional viruses. On the 9th September 1999, the Guardian reported,

“Neil Kreibich contracted Creutzfeld- Jacob disease as a youngster with human growth hormone taken from the pituitary glands of contaminated corpses. He died in July 1997 at the age of 37. Mr Justice Morland said the department of Health should pay the record figure to his widow Elizabeth, 37, from Newcastle upon Tyne, and the couple’s three children all under seven.”

Back to 9/11, as the film Worth highlights, it is important that those calculating compensation claims of victims, “step out of the boardroom and meet people face to face” so that they can “understand each individual loss”.

Lawyers representing haemophiliacs have admitted to their clients that they have not dealt with a situation previously that reflects the same extent of damage as that caused to haemophiliacs and their families and that the current system of compensation within the UK would not adequately address harm on such an extensive scale.

To sum up, the impact of Contaminated Blood although hidden and played down for years as government went into “damage limitation” mode amounts to “extraordinary suffering” on a whole new level and remedies must fully acknowledge this fact. The lives of haemophiliacs and their families are worth no less than the victims of 9/11 and their tragedy, loss and suffering has in fact gone on for far longer. Haemophiliacs now wait to finally receive the “substantial compensation” that the UK government has committed to awarding the infected and affected whose lives have been damaged forever! It is also important that attitudes change and the practice of leaving the longest standing haemophilia campaigners out of key meetings to discuss compensation because they know their subject too well and will no longer be fobbed off with a pittance of a payment by government must end now.

It is important to note that the word “inadvertent” infection was quietly removed by government following a meeting of campaigners Carol Grayson and Colette Wintle with health minister Anne Milton in 2010. She rightly concluded the word was inappropriate and offensive to victims.

Since its launch in 2017, those attending the Infected Blood Inquiry in London or watching the proceedings livestream has been listening to harrowing stories from witnesses and it would be almost impossible not to conclude that what happened to them was as a result of alleged negligence. It is time therefore that government deliver the long awaited justice that so many have not lived to see and the level of compensation must adequately reflect the extraordinary level of harm, loss and financial need.

Anne Milton highlighted back in 2010 that a unique patient group required a unique solution and its time for government and lawyers to think “outside the box”. They may even need to include some legislative changes to expand financial help, protect benefits wherever a UK victim is living in the world (as not everyone wants to reside in the UK) and to avoid further double and triple punishment that has already been experienced by haemophiliacs. The infection of those with bleeding disorders has had a knock on effect in many areas of day to day life and the resulting consequences can affect benefits (depending on location) pensions and even family inheritance as victims become too ill to work and are forced to rely on the state. It is not only compensation that needs addressing but ensuring wider issues are not ignored. We know that any legislative changes can be pushed through very quickly when government so desires and improving the circumstances of haemophiliacs must include goodwill and be without delay.

The UK is very good at following the lead of the US (even when disastrous). As the US government has now demonstrated in extraordinary, and exceptional circumstances with a unique group of people such as 9/11 victims, if the law is not adequate to cover victims and there is fear of bankrupting companies (as was stated to haemophiliacs with the US plasma companies)… then change the law.

In the UK, government has finally agreed to compensate but it must be at the right level and changes may be needed to the law as in America. Exposing haemophiliacs to an almost 100% risk of hepatitis infection without FIRST researching a way to virally inactivate against the very high risks of using large plasma pools from paid donors could be argued as an act of “biological terrorism” against haemophiliacs in violation of the Nuremberg Code. This was set up in 1949 with guidelines to avoid unethical treatment trials such as those conducted by the Nazis at Auschwitz concentration camp. Haemophilia trials violated ever point of this code. According to UKHCDO records, Peter Longstaff was being studied by the now infamous Dr Craske from his first years at Treloar College as a boy on the first UK factor concentrate treatment trials right up until 1990 and was completely unaware of this fact.

No money will ever compensate for what has been inflicted on the haemophilia community which has devastated lives but it can help to make those lives a little easier by at least removing financial worries and reflecting the damage and apology (though very late in the day) given by the UK government to those infected and affected through Contaminated Blood. .

END

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

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Contaminated Blood: Widow has still not received years of back payment owed following government Trust “cock-up”

Widow and campaigner Carol Grayson still fighting for back pay pictured with late husband Peter Longstaff who died after receiving contaminated blood products as part of his NHS treatment (Image, Newcastle Chronicle)

Open letter from Carol Grayson to Brian Williams at the Cabinet Office

Dear Brian,

Money owed through the Macfarlane Trust wrongly assessing me for years has still not been paid

I would be most grateful if you could raise the following issue as a matter of urgency with the Cabinet Office.

Earlier this year I received a back payment of several thousand pounds related to my monthly payments as a widow registered with EIBBS (English Infected Blood Support Scheme) as the new scheme had inherited my claim as a registrant of the Macfarlane Trust. The back payment was made due to a serious mistake in means testing the disability part of my ESA Support Rate payment which was WRONG, NOT ALLOWED and should never have happened in the first place. This left me in an extremely vulnerable position and because I was mistakenly paid thousands of pounds less a year than I should have been, I could not afford to make ends meet and ended up having to use a credit card for basic necessities because those assessing me had not assessed me correctly. This caused enormous upset and unnecessary distress.

I was happy that EIBBS listened to my complaint, realized the mistake and that back pay plus interest was sorted out at least back to April 2018 when they took over from the disbanded Macfarlane Trust.

HOWEVER…. the mistake was originally made by the Macfarlane Trust at the time when I was transferred over to ESA around 2011 and over the years I REPEATEDLY wrote to the Trust (and even a Trustee also at one point) stating I believed I was being wrongly assessed (which turned out to be correct) and asking them to look again at my claim but it was never sorted or put right by the Trust.

Fortunately once the Infected Blood Inquiry started I then had a legal team to help me work out what had gone wrong.

EIBBS apologised to me and identified that the mistake occurred long before they took over and paid me back to when they first set up as mentioned in 2018. My lawyer and I now need to know who is liable for paying me back to 2011 with interest now that the Macfarlane Trust no longer exists, shut down by excluding the longest standing campaigners from a key meeting to discuss this move.

Can you clarify very simply to me, who my lawyer and I must approach for this back money (from 2011 to 2018) to be paid. Is it the Terrence Higgins Trust that took over the Macfarlane monies? I am STILL suffering financial losses of thousands of pounds due to the incompetence of certain person(s) who did not do their job properly regarding assessing me. I am prepared to forgive that gross error and not take the matter further PROVIDING the rest of my back money to 2011 is sorted!

I am copying this to the Infected Blood Inquiry who are aware of my long and ongoing struggle for justice in the matter of back pay and of course my legal team.

Thanks for your assistance.

Please confirm receipt of this email and I look forward to your prompt reply.

Kind Regards

Carol 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 was a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

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Contaminated Blood: Victims are being denied the promised backdated “parity” payments from government

Independent campaigner Colette Wintle challenges the government on back pay (Image, Ham and High)

Open letter from Colette Wintle to Brian Williams at the Cabinet Office

Dear Brian

It has been a considerable period of time since we met when I attended a meeting with 27 other campaigners in January 2019 to meet with the then Cabinet Minister Oliver Dowden, Nadine Dorries Minister for Suicide and Mental Health, and other senior civil servants at the Cabinet Office. As you will recall , one of the main topics of discussion and a contentious one, was the appalling disparity of  ex gratia support payments across the devolved nations of the UK. The background history was that the contaminated blood disaster took place over decades under a Westminster government, well in advance of the subsequent devolvement of Scotland and Wales. Key to this, is the fact that people registered with the schemes which were set up from the late 1980’s and 2004 ( Skipton Fund) were being unfairly treated in the amounts they were receiving and further disparities occurred with individual nations paying differing and divisive amounts for the same infections.

I believed that after several years of battling to correct this unfair system, and that after what was unnecessary prevarication on governments part, the announcement made in March this year by Penny Morduant, laid out clearly governments intention to rectify but not totally level up the payments across the UK. I would like to point out this announcement does still not offer parity as Teresa May stated should happen in parliament prior to leaving office as Prime Minister. Parity should be backdated to 2016 when Scotland were paying at higher levels, rather than 2019. As a reminder of what Penny Morduant confirmed government would do see below and in particular paragraph two under the heading Parity.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-03-25/hcws895

I write as a matter of urgency to draw your attention to the information I was given yesterday by one of the administrators of the English Infected Blood Support Scheme. I telephoned EIBSS to inquire as to when I could expect to receive the backdated monies I am due from the annual payments which were backdated to 2019. To my utter disbelief, and despite the clear intent of the announcement Penny Morduant made, I was told categorically that the DHSC had not instructed EIBSS to pay this money, but focus purely on the four categories of uplift listed further down in the announcement! This is an absolute disgrace because it is not what the Minister instructed and is in direct conflict to what was written under the heading PARITY. “I am pleased to confirm that the following changes are planned to the four separate schemes to bring them into broader parity. Increases in annual payments will be backdated to April 2019.”

Perhaps you could look in to this as a matter of urgency because there is clearly a communication problem between the Cabinet Office and DHSC. As a female Haemophiliac and long standing campaigner with severe health problems, I am disgusted that I have had to discover this latest skullguggery from the Department of Health who frankly have behaved with contempt over many years towards the haemophilia community. I should know as I have met with several Ministers and civil servants since 2001! The cabinet office Minister is well aware of how ill victims of the contaminated blood disaster are, so it is pretty disgraceful to let down people harmed by the state who are dependent on this money. Can you confirm receipt of this email and investigate this as a matter of urgency? I look forward to hearing from you. I will also be in touch with the Chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry of this latest situation, as well as contacting the DOH.

Yours Sincerely

Colette Wintle

Independent campaigner for The Haemophilia Community

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

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Contaminated Blood: Ken Clarke week at the Infected Blood Inquiry, saved documents, and who may come under “alleged liability”?

Ken Clarke who was Minister of State for Health as AIDS emerged and Health Secretary between 1988 and 1990 (Image via Yorkshire Post)

A long awaited week at the Infected Blood Inquiry finally arrives this Tuesday regarding the questioning of witness Kenneth Harry Clarke, Baron Clarke of Nottingham CH, PC, QC better known to many simply as (Conservative politician) Ken Clarke who served as Minister of State for Health (5th March 1982- 2nd September 1985) as AIDS was emerging and was Health Secretary between 25th July 1988 and 2nd November 1990. The advising forces behind ministers, the civil servants, must also come under closer scrutiny as well as the known “face at the front”.

The Inquiry is an independent public statutory inquiry set up under Chair Sir Brian Langstaff “into the use of infected blood”. Haemophiliacs (the focus of this article) are a distinct patient group with a hereditary bleeding disorder which affects clotting. Many were infected with HIV and hepatitis viruses in the 1970s and 80s through their use of factor concentrate blood product treatment (often imported from the US) given to help their blood clot. Plasma was collected from the highest risk donors for viral infections including paid prisoners, gay men, sex workers, drug addicts, also from skid-row clinics in Central America and Haiti. Some plasma was even reported to come from South Africa. Haemophiliacs were later exposed to new variant CJD through UK blood products.

The 1991 HIV Haemophilia litigation solicitors recorded the following details which occurred just a few months AFTER Clarke became Minister of State for Health, though other non haemophilia AIDS cases preceded this:-

July 6th 1982, American reports of pneumocystis pneumonia in a haemophiliac: evidence of cellular immune deficiency: possible transference through blood: public health service advisory committee formed (First haemophiliac victim of AIDS.)

December 1982, Report of an occurrence with AIDS after a blood transfusion

January 13th 1983, A number of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine on Haemophiliac and AIDS. Lederman reports widespread immunity abnormalities, possibly linked to AIDS. Menitova states that AIDS has a 40% mortality and reports widespread cell abnormalities. Desforges recommends cryoprecipitate rather than concentrates because of the risks of AIDS.

Jan 15th 1983 Dr Jones (UK) reports in the Lancet common cell immunity in haemophiliacs, which is possibly linked to AIDS

March 23rd 1983 FDA requirements on blood donation introduced

July 13th Biological Subcommittee of CSM recommends very little is done about the threat of AIDS to haemophiliacs.

August 1983 First UK haemophiliac dies of AIDS from US factor VIII concentrate administered in December 1981.

September 1st 1983 DHSS publish first blood donor leaflet

The key points on which the UK government are allegedly liable with regard to AIDS including dates are included in the document. In terms of alleged liability the litigation papers also highlight the serious failings by government to act on hepatitis infection known about many years before HIV arrived on the scene. The importance of tracing back of haemophiliacs treatment batch numbers to source was expressed as a key tool to assist in establishing liability.

On the 14th November 1983 Hansard records the following question from Edwina Currie:-

Mrs. Currie

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what advice has been given to hospitals concerning the use of imported factor VIII in the light of recent concern about its possible contamination with the causative agent of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

“There is no conclusive evidence that acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is transmitted by blood products. The use of factor VIII concentrates is confined almost exclusively to designated haemophilia centres whose directors and staff are expert in this field. Professional advice has been made available to all such centres in relation to the possible risks of AIDS from this material.”

On January 17th 1984 Ken Clarke states as recorded in Hansard,

“Three cases (of AIDS) have occurred in patients with haemophilia who had been treated with blood products. No cases have resulted from blood transfusion itself.”

What most victims want from a public inquiry is “truth and justice” and there should be no compromise on that. In order to achieve this, ALL relevant evidence on what was highlighted BY CAMPAIGNERS in the 1980s to be a “unique tragedy” for haemophiliacs and their families must be considered as opposed to being “cherry picked” to suit certain agendas or to carry out “damage limitation” and protect involved parties. It was this campaigning on the unique circumstances of haemophiliacs, later accepted by government, that led to the granting of the Special Status on which an ex-gratia payment was made in 1991. I pray this Inquiry will do its job thoroughly and leave no stone unturned. Haemophiliacs have been let down so badly on so many occasions, by so many people, they no longer know who to trust!

Much of the focus from the Inquiry and from campaigners has been on what government and other official bodies knew about the dangers of blood products and what they did or didn’t do about it. It is certainly crucial to look at Treasury and Department of Health documents from relevant time periods when action could and should have been taken and also the later government legal opinions on liability surrounding the 1991 HIV haemophilia litigation which ended in an out of court “ex-gratia” payment. Compensation based on “loss and need” was NEVER awarded.

HOWEVER in terms of the ensuing litigation, these historical government documents cannot be viewed in isolation from what government evidence was also exchanged and held BY solicitors in the legal “discovery” process that were acting FOR haemophiliacs, what legal teams knew and how they acted on this key material to assist their clients in achieving truth and justice (or not). To date, very little attention has been paid to this aspect by the Inquiry and hopefully this will change as the months go by.

I am one of the few haemophilia campaigners that has had the advantage of reading many government documents through large amounts of the “discovery” material exchanged between government and haemophiliacs legal representatives during the HIV litigation. This was some years AFTER my late husband Pete, a severe haemophilia signed a controversial Undertaking (which I called the “waiver”) which was part of the HIV settlement that ended in 1991. The waiver was a clause ensuring haemophiliacs could not take legal action for a further virus, hepatitis C, previously known as non- A, non- B hepatitis. Pete signed this without knowing he was infected with hepatitis C and as a later legal opinion highlighted, without “informed consent” as he was not told of the risks from this infection, nor were haemophiliacs shown key government documents at the time of the litigation showing alleged government negligence. I set up the campaign group Haemophilia North in 1994 which later became Haemophilia Action UK to fight for a public inquiry so all relevant documents could be considered. My husband was the first haemophiliac to obtain legal aid to challenge the hepatitis waiver legally.

It is important to note that solicitor Anthony Mallen of Deas, Mallen, Souter, Newcastle wrote a letter dated 29th June 1989 within the context of the HIV litigation to another solicitor attaching extracts from articles in which he highlighted that he “enclosed a list of 570 articles which deal with hepatitis as a consequence of blood products, particularly factor VIII being used”.

He goes on to say,

“The articles clearly show the risks in any of the hepatitis viruses being passed by Factor VIII. Obviously my own researches, which had a different slant, are reflected in the extracts. However examination of the articles simply by title may assist you with the assessment of the consequences of liver damage.

The list of articles was extracted from Index Medicus, a publication which lists virtually all medical articles throughout the world. I cannot, frankly, remember the number of articles that there were published regarding the hepatitis risk but I am not exaggerating in saying that it literally runs into thousands. The initial examination (which also covered such subjects as AIDS) totalled about 80,000 articles and an initial scan of the titles reduced that to about 1,500 which were of importance to me. From that 1,500 articles a more detailed trawl was made so as to exclude various foreign publications of which it could possibly be said that an averahe haematologist would not be familiar with.”

Over the years I have managed to save both solicitors documents and large tranches of government documents during several different time periods and fought for the government papers to be released into the public domain. Some were then published onto a Department of Health website and when this was taken down were later transferred to the National Archives at Kew following my writing of an awarded dissertation on Contaminated blood in 2006 referring to these papers. They are now available to the Infected Blood Inquiry, and through Freedom of Information Requests (FOIs) to all campaigners and other interested parties, though the failure to correctly reference to myself in terms of discovery and how they came to be saved may turn into yet another legal battle and forms part of the continuing “cover-up” where I am (conveniently for many) written out of Contaminated Blood history. A forthcoming documentary will address these concerns.

Over the past years since the Inquiry was set up in 2017, many of these saved documents have been used by the Inquiry QC’s to question witnesses and by haemophiliacs using FOI and their lawyers appointed to represent them at the Inquiry. It is important to note that government admitted on numerous occasions over the years in writing to myself and others to destroying many of these important documents but are now able to produce so many for the Inquiry only because I saved and returned them back to government, some directly to their legal department. However, government then went against the commitment given to my solicitor and I not to trash further papers by destroyed the accompanying letters from solicitor Paul Saxon where I had instructed him in relation to the return of certain papers. Fortunately I maintained copies of the letters for my own records. Other large tranches of paper evidence only survived because I fought for release of these documents from the 1990s including those that were used in the writing of the “Department of Health, Self Sufficiency in Blood Products in England and Wales Report: A Chronology from 1973 to 1991”. Other tranches were saved over the years with the help of the late Sir Patrick Jenkin who fought alongside myself for no further government documents pertaining to blood and blood products to be “inadvertently” destroyed. The surviving papers were later used in both the Archer and Penrose Inquiry Reports.

These saved documents have been well utilized by other haemophilia campaign groups including Tainted Blood to produce their Timeline as highlighted by the late Haydn Lewis who was quite open with me about acquiring this evidence through FOI after I had returned the papers to government. However since his death, all acknowledgement to Pete and I for our work to release these documents (which we ourselves had previously used for some years) into the public domain to help others has mysteriously disappeared and information about the TB Timeline has been retrospectively changed for the new updated website.

It is one thing for a document only to be available to a minority behind closed doors or under confidentiality arrangements and quite another for them to be freely available to anyone who applies under FOI. Where the Inquiry is at a disadvantage, is that it may not necessarily know when documents were FIRST available for public viewing which is very important. This knowledge is of course well known to campaigners like myself who were responsible for many of these documents first being released into the public domain. Also, when the Inquiry shows key documents on screen to witnesses during questioning there is no connection being made so far as to which of these documents were held by our lawyers in the 1991 litigation which is so important. Again this is often known to myself having viewed and copied key evidence from the officers of solicitors to inform the writing of my dissertation research and releasing them as highlighted in our BBC Newsnight film which was transmitted on April 17th 2007. Documentary film maker Mags Gavan (who worked on Newsnight alongside Sue Watts and I) continues to film my journey with the documents for a future film production examining the ongoing cover-up and continued attempts to block my evidence and rewrite history.

So regarding these documents, there are 2 key areas that are very important:-

  1. Who knew what and when of the risks of factor concentrate treatment in government and what was done by government and other bodies to protect haemophiliacs prior to their infection, what warnings were given and if infected to prevent further reinfection and what was done to educate and support haemophiliacs post infection. In addition, what evidence was shared by government with lawyers of haemophiliacs during the discovery process of the HIV litigation.
  2. What government evidence was held by lawyers for haemophiliacs regarding their infection in the process of discovery during the HIV litigation and what did legal teams do to bring forward ALL the key evidence and inform haemophiliacs of the FINAL legal opinion stating their chances of winning and what key evidence was WITHHELD from litigants (as I later discovered).

Some solicitors representing haemophiliacs in this Inquiry may be at a significant disadvantage having never fully seen ALL the evidence, that is from both government and that held by the HIV litigation lawyers. After the 1991 HIV litigation concluded, both sides agreed to destroy key documents within 8 weeks and the hepatitis waiver was put in place to prevent further litigation for HCV. One firm (for whatever reason) did not follow these instructions which led to my discovery that these documents STILL existed in that firm’s offices at least! So when I am watching evidence live streamed by video directly from the Inquiry, time after time I am confronted with documents that I KNOW were held by lawyers for haemophiliacs in 1991 and should have gone to court at that time. This connection is not yet being discussed by the Inquiry.

The very last legal opinion I saw before haemophiliac signed the controversial hepatitis waiver was an opinion that haemophiliacs’ chances of winning for those that had received US blood products had “significantly increased” and that crucial evidence highlighting the risks (known to be held by government, indeed ADMITTED BY GOVERNMENT in the discovery phase) had not been seen and considered by all lawyers acting for haemophiliacs and that basically it was now too late to legally address this issue. This was never shared with clients. A very concerning note from one lawyer read, “I can no longer lie to my clients”.

Truth can be inconvenient and disturbing. It may not always be as we imagine. Liability has to be carefully considered depending on what an individual or bodies may be liable for and during different time periods. Liability may sometimes be shared and include some unlikely partners.

So I would urge caution in jumping to conclusions as to alleged liability, who is responsible and over what and in which particular time period. I have for many years as a campaigner alleged government negligence but I believe there is a shared negligence in some areas. Going to court now may not be quite so straightforward as some legal firms might believe in terms of the currently “stayed” case in the High Court however other potential litigation on Contaminated Blood is a different story as it is separate to the original HIV litigation as new evidence from the US came to light through further litigation initiated by my husband in the following years.

Regarding the stayed case, I ask 2 key questions…

1) Have solicitors viewed and presented ALL evidence to the High Court, including what evidence was known and held by solicitors FOR haemophiliacs who litigated against government in 1991?

2) Have these lawyers been honest about actual FIRST dates of discovery of evidence and when evidence was FIRST put into the public domain as opposed to rehashed stories being put into the media by some irresponsible persons years AFTER the original discovery dates?

To come to evidence for this week, I note the campaign group Factor 8 has released some documents pertaining to discussions over the HIV litigation in the late 1980s/early 1990s which Jason Evans a new campaigner obtained through FOI. For me, there is nothing particularly startling there regarding government discussions/advice over means testing of victims, chances of haemophiliacs winning their case, and the hepatitis waiver but that is because I have also read our lawyers responses to these very same issues during the same time period and have known what documents they held for years!

I will be viewing Ken Clarke’s evidence with great interest this week, it will also be considered by myself in relation to what evidence our own lawyers acquired from and about government decisions and actions which they held and pondered over at the time of the HIV litigation which I understand began around 1987. In August 1990, New Scientist reported the following,

There are, according to the Haemophilia Society, about 5000 haemophiliacs
in Britain. Of these, 1200 are now contaminated with HIV, after being treated
with the clotting agent Factor VIII which was subsequently found to be infected
with the virus. At the end of July, 207 of these had developed full-blown
AIDS, and 137 had died.

In May, Margaret Thatcher rejected an appeal from the Labour MP Alf
Morris that compensation should be decided through a negotiated settlement.
Last week, it was reported that the same request had been made by Sir Donald
Acheson, the government’s chief medical officer, but was being opposed by
the Treasury – and health secretary Kenneth Clarke – on the grounds that
the government might escape legal liability.

The 1991 litigation concluded in a far from satisfactory result for my husband and the estate of his brother Stephen who died of AIDS in 1986 even before litigation began.

Years later on the 3rd March 2018 the Guardian reported,

In 2007, after a freedom of information request, Tainted Blood received hundreds of documents relating to the scandal. In one, dated 22 January 1985, Clarke had written: “Before we all panic further, it is presumably the case that the ending of the collection of blood from homosexuals greatly reduces the risk from blood collected in this country. Also, as only haemophiliacs have died and they may have had factor VIII from American blood, is it the case that we have not had one Aids fatality from blood donated in this country yet? Do we need this and heat treatment of the blood?” The suggestion seemed to be that heat treatment may be one expensive precaution too many. Not surprisingly, the discovery of this letter many years later caused great hurt in the haemophilia community. Gorman spits out the phrase: “Only haemophiliacs.”

Between 1988 and 1990, Clarke was secretary of state for health. In 1990, he was advised by the then chief medical officer, Sir Donald Acheson, to settle claims with those affected out of court, to prevent the government being forced to hand over sensitive documents. It was reported at the time that Clarke was reluctant to settle, insisting haemophiliacs had to prove their case in court.

These were part of the same documents I had saved, following the writing of my dissertation and released into the public domain, making them available through FOI.

In this Inquiry, we need the truth, the whole truth (as far as it is available after all these years)… and nothing but the truth however strange and concerning that truth may turn out to be! Alleged liability may not only lay with government and related bodies but with lawyers representing haemophiliacs who sat on the very documents showing alleged liability that they failed to consider and act upon, (some of which I submitted and are now being used by the Inquiry) failing to obtain “informed consent” in relation to the hepatitis waiver and on their own admission, lying to their clients! When government settled with an ex gratia payment, haemophiliacs were only weeks away from hearing these allegedly incriminating documents being produced to a court, some very damning indeed. Much delayed and “SUBSTANTIAL” compensation must now be paid to haemophiliacs and their loved ones although this comes decades too late for many haemophiliacs already deceased. As Health Minister Anne Milton stated to fellow campaigner Colette Wintle and I during a meeting at Westminster in 2010, “haemophiliacs are a unique patient group requiring a unique solution.” We wait to see what is finally delivered!

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

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Notice by Health Commission of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan concerning dereliction by some health contract NGOs

Post via Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan March 20th 2021

Our people are facing a host of difficulties in the country, and health related problems is an issue that has constantly plagued our compatriots and which requires the special efforts and extra attention and coordination among staff members. But despite such immense challenges, we must unfortunately say that some contract NGOs that have assured all health-related organs and acquired adequate funding by assuming full responsibility for certain proposals, have still failed in discharging their obligations as required, are neglectful in their duties and when summoned to a meeting, conjure various excuses to evade responsibility. This dereliction and evasion of duty then becomes a source and lays the groundwork for embezzlement and administrative corruption, which in turn is an even greater tragedy that destroys all values of a society. Therefore, the Health Commission cannot remain silent any longer and will not allow anyone to lay the groundwork for embezzlement or administrative corruption, hence it notifies all NGOs to take into account the following shortcomings and continue their activities only after addressing them:

1 – To fully staff all health and service personnel as per the contract and proposal.

2 – To deliver medicine, medical kits and necessary equipment to all relevant clinics on time for which it has taken on responsibility and received funds as per the contract and proposal.

3 – The quality and quantity of medicine has not met the standards stipulated in the proposal therefore it is necessary they accept responsibility and meet the quality and quantity standards of medicine because the use of substandard medicine exposes patients to high risks and worsens their condition.

4 – Commitments in referring patients have not been met, hence referral systems must be activated and patients that meet criteria must be referred to clinics where treatment is possible.

5 – Salaries have not been paid to doctors, nurses, caterers and other staff employed in clinics and health centers on time which has resulted in these workers not executing their jobs properly and clinics facing paralysis.

6 – Responsibilities outlined in contracts related to repair work of clinics and health centers have not been properly met as repair work has been delayed for protracted periods. If proper inspection and care is not taken, majority clinics will face serious deterioration issues in which case they will need to be completely rebuilt from the ground up.

7 – In conclusion, the allotted budgets have not been used on the specified objectives despite the fact that they have taken on commitments at the top of the contract and have gained permission on the basis of these commitments to operate in areas under the control of the Islamic Emirate.

 8 – As multiple meetings have taken place with some contract NGOs with regards to addressing the above shortcomings and they have still failed to meet their obligations despite repeated promises to do so, therefore the Health Commission of the Islamic Emirate will wait for all contract NGOs to honor their commitments and address their shortcomings until mid-April 2021.

If they realize their responsibilities by the deadline, change their attitudes, act on their commitments and discern problems faced by people in health sector, then they may continue their activities and we shall cooperate with them in every aspect. But if they do not alter their attitudes and persist in infractions and negligence, then the Health Commission will make a final decision regarding such NGOs after thorough investigation and comprehensive evaluation. And if God forbid, any NGO fails in accountability, then it is possible their activities will be suspended and their chiefs introduced to judicial organs of the Islamic Emirate.

Health Commission of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

06/08/1442 Hijri Lunar

30/12/1399 Hijri Solar       20/03/2021 Gregorian

END

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

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Contaminated Blood: Amnesty International film hypocrisy after failing victims for over 3 decades

Amnesty International failed founding member Lord Archer whose report on Contaminated Blood was published in 2009 as well as campaigners who fought for justice for over 3 decades

Longstanding contaminated blood campaigners first wrote to the so called human rights group Amnesty International asking staff to take up their cause and investigate abuses against haemophiliacs in 2000 but to no avail. Carol Grayson was left astounded when she was told that there weren’t any human rights violations in the UK and their focus was on cases abroad.

Year later in 2015 she wrote again alongside fellow campaigner Colette Wintle who sent a separate e-mail detailing her concerns but Amnesty refused to engage on this issue despite Lord Archer of Sandwell, a founding member of Amnesty, residing over the privately funded Archer Inquiry to investigate the infection of haemophiliacs with HIV and hepatitis C and the impact on them and their families. Finally after years of cover-up, the Infected Blood Inquiry (the UK’s biggest ever Inquiry) was set up in 2017 and is presided over by Sir Brian Langstaff.

On the 15th June 2012, Amnesty published an obituary to Lord Archer containing the following words:-

Amnesty International paid tribute today to Labour politician and barrister Lord Archer of Sandwell QC, who died on 14 June 2012 aged 85. He was one of the human rights organization’s founding members.

Though not directly involved in the actual launch of Amnesty International in May 1961, Peter Archer was a founding member of the original Amnesty International Committee along with Peter Benenson, Louis Blom-Cooper, Eric James and Peggy Crane, and was the movement’s Chair for a period in the early 60’s.

He remained a steadfast supporter of Amnesty International for the rest of his life.

Kate Allen, UK Director of Amnesty International, who met and spoke with Peter Archer on several occasions, said:

“Peter Archer supported Amnesty throughout our 50 years of existence and always made time to give me and my colleagues the advice and support we needed. He worked hard supporting our Capital Appeal for the creation of the first ever Human Rights Action Centre, which opened in Shoreditch early in 2005.

“Peter’s commitment to human rights and to Amnesty International over such a long period are something the Amnesty movement will miss and for which we will always be grateful.”

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/obituary-lord-archer-sandwell

Amnesty was so grateful, they couldn’t even be bothered to support Lord Archer to bring justice to the haemophilia community, failing him at every turn.

Recently Amnesty International was sent a Rule 9 request asking staff to account for their actions (or lack of them) in relation to Contaminated Blood when they have spoken out and written statements in support of the following causes, prisoners with hepatitis C in Egypt, HIV/AIDS globally (except where UK haemophiliacs were concerned) Windrush, Grenfell, Hillsbrough, Coronavirus and LGBTI rights. It seems everyone but the haemophilia community had rights

It is up to the Inquiry Chair whether he makes the Rule 9 response public but campaigners already know Amnesty took no action whatsover.

Campaigners wanted Amnesty to be asked the following:-

  1. What written representation did Amnesty International receive over the past 20 years from Carol Grayson and Colette Wintle on alleged human rights abuses regarding Contaminated Blood and the Haemophilia Community.
  1. What has Amnesty International actively done to investigate alleged human rights abuses on Contaminated Blood regarding the haemophilia community and support sick and dying victims in the UK.  

Now in an act of extraordinary hypocrisy, Amnesty International has suddenly nominated a documentary “In Cold Blood” on the Contaminated Blood scandal for one of its own media awards. Ironically, the film itself is under scrutiny and has attracted criticism due to new campaigners rehashing old evidence presenting this as if newly found and the failure to reference the correct timeline of discovery. This does the campaign no favours when documents featured in the film were in fact presented in face to face meetings with government ministers years earlier who chose to ignore evidence and block research to avoid accountability.

Today, (March 21st 2021, the Sunday Times has run an article titled,

“Compensation at last for lives ruined by NHS contaminated blood scandal”

After four decades the government accepts liability for the worst treatment disaster in the health service’s history

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/compensation-at-last-for-lives-ruined-by-nhs-contaminated-blood-scandal-27gb6fjmx

The Times contains the usual frustrating inaccuracies by journalist Caroline Wheeler. Campaigners will wait to see more before making further comment… as the saying goes, “the devil is in the details”!

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

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Contaminated Blood: Gross double standards by police in relation to two poisoning cases

Poison: Any substance that can cause severe organ damage or death if ingested, breathed in, injected into the body or absorbed through the skin. Many substances that normally cause no problems, including water and most vitamins, can be poisonous if taken in excessive quantity. Poison treatment depends on the ‘substance.

Medicine.net

In 2010 it was reported in the media that a number of police officers that had eaten contaminated chicken and tuna sandwiches ordered from a café in Birmingham, England became very ill with food poisoning. There was a criminal investigation immediately though the poisoning is described as being “inadvertent”.

Some officers end up in hospital though “none was admitted overnight” according to the Express newspaper. The police were described as “mentally scarred and even feared they would die” through this incident which was judged to have been “avoidable”. Fortunately, no-one does die, HOWEVER the pensioner who made the sandwiches which the police ate, faced 4 charges of breaching food hygiene regulations and received a 4 month suspended sentence, a fine (which she could not pay) so instead was electronically tagged with an overnight curfew. The woman was also ordered to pay costs. The point being, this incident was taken seriously, was investigated by the police and there were consequences for the woman’s actions! (See following link)

Police were ‘poisoned’ by food from filthy café (Express, Dec 8th 2010)

“A CAFE owner inadvertently poisoned 47 police”

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/216110/Police-were-poisoned-by-food-from-filthy-cafe

In an incident years earlier, around 4,500 UK haemophiliacs were given contaminated blood in the 1970s and 80s in the form of factor concentrates made from pooled plasma to treat a condition where their blood does not clot properly. This so called “miracle” treatment allegedly violated all kinds of safety rules, breached by both governments and pharmaceutical companies. The blood of haemophiliacs became poisoned with HIV and hepatitis viruses plus they were later exposed to new variant CJD.

Over 3,000 haemophiliacs died in the most horrific way, the rest survive but remain extremely traumatized and in very poor health which affects them not only for a few days but for the rest of their lives and has a long-term impact on their families also. HOWEVER with this incident, unlike the later police poisoning case, despite haemophiliacs and their families going to the police to report an alleged crime, there are no proper criminal investigations, no prosecutions of any kind and not even suspended sentences!

The UK Contaminated Blood scandal was initially seen as an “inadvertent” infection by government HOWEVER Health Minister, Anne Milton, later removed this word admitting it was incorrect and agreed it could no longer be used. In fact, Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt had to apologize to the widow of a haemophiliac for using the word in a letter to her written on this tragedy.

The question is….Did the first incident only get investigated because it affected the police? Don’t the lives of disabled persons matter? The complacency over what happened to the haemophilia community is deeply disturbing. How can two cases be treated so differently? It smacks of gross double standards and a complete lack of accountability regarding the devastation inflicted upon a vulnerable population through a case of mass poisoning which affected a large percentage of a distinct and now severely depleted patient group. Ironically this could have been largely prevented had the plasma companies and governments here and abroad adhered to strict safety measures regarding the collection of blood and held off introducing factor concentrates onto the market until a way could be found to virally inactivate hepatitis!

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

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Invaluable speech by the Deputy leader of the Islamic Emirate, Khalifa Sahib Sirajuddin Haqqani (HA), at a great assembly of Mujahidin

Post via Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

Dear respected Mujahidin brothers,

Honorable Mashaikh and esteemed scholars,

Assalam-u-alaikum,

May Allah Almighty accept all your sacrifices, difficulties and hardships.

I congratulate you on your Jihadi victories and successes in the path of freedom of our country.

Yes! In this way, many of our dear friends have been martyred, I wish all of them a high place in Paradise from Allah the Almighty and patience and blessings for their families. Believe me! Whenever I speak in front of scholars and elders, I find myself weak.

However, due to the need of the hour and our related work, I consider it a great pleasure for myself to meet you. Believe me, I had this wish since a long time that the Almighty grant me a chance to participate in gatherings with my colleagues, so that I may share with them both joys and sorrows.

Praise be to Allah, this meeting today (although not in the most assuring circumstances), is because of the sacrifices of friends which has provided an atmosphere and opportunity in which we and you can meet and sit together with confidence, which itself is a great achievement.

Brothers!  The leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is proud of how diligently you are carrying out the responsibilities that we and you are responsible for and may Allah bless you with the acceptance of all your sacrifices and efforts. We are satisfied with your performance, may Allah be pleased with you.

Dear brothers! You are well aware that the responsibilities of jihadi affairs are very delicate and sensitive. The damage is visible. If a person commits disobedience, laziness and unlawful acts against it than he will be disgraced by Allah Almighty after a while, may Allah protect all of us from such situations.

I believe that you will be aware that today the entire world recognizes the political, jihadi and cultural unity, relentless sacrifices and iron clad perseverance of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Friends and foes alike acknowledge it, so we must not lose our unity and courage. Look!  Do not let the fear of Allah, both overt and covert, leave your heart and follow and obey Allah and His Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and all his commands, because with the passage of time as the workload and service lengthens, man naturally develops a tendency towards materialism. Beware!  If you show such inclination, success will turn into failure and degradation.

Praise be to Allah.  Now you are at the forefront of conquests, rewards and progress.  Twenty years ago today, when the jihad began, we were faced with extreme poverty, hardships and difficulties. No Mujahid ever thought that one day we would face such an improved state? Or that we will crush the arrogance of the rebellious emperors of the world and force them to admit their defeat at our hands? Fortunately, today we and you are experiencing better circumstances. It is the result of your sacrifices and the gratitude of those, and no one gave it as a grant to us.

Friends! As you know, the beginning of the ongoing jihad was done with sincerity and pure intentions because at that time there were no material incentives, responsibilities or positions of power.  There was no province, there was no district, there was no faction, there was no position, no state and no management. Everyone considered jihad a divine responsibility regardless of what would happen next, success or failure. There was only a wave of passion that we would do our Islamic duty (jihad) before considering anything else. On the other hand, friends and foes alike were saying that you are facing mountains and fires, it is impossible, don’t get yourselves tired and don’t waste your lives unnecessarily. There is no power in the world who will support you and do not think that you will win again because such is not possible. But Allah’s promise of victory to Muslims is predestined, our faith is firm in the word of Allah and in the guidance of the Holy Prophet (SAW), and it was and is our belief whether we are present or not. In both cases, we are satisfied with Allah’s judgments and decisions, and we will strive for the supremacy of Allah’s religion, although we will not show our weakness.

So, it is important that we not forget the situation or time in which the aim was not for position, for material gains or fame, but all deeds were done due to sympathy for the oppressed and suffering Muslims and Afghans. Therefore, at that time no one even imagined ideological differences and issues. Of course, after the expansion of responsibilities and positions, some issues naturally came to forefront. These issues arose because I think there was a difference in intentions.

So, we need to read and revisit the belief, the jihad and the passion that we had at the beginning of the jihad, never attribute the jihadi service to responsibility, never consider it to be materialistic, but I observe it sometimes.  They are good, strong and sincere Mujahideen, but they do not consider themselves obligated until they are given responsibility. However, jihad is a great act of worship, which is obligatory on both men and women.

Brothers!  We will take part in jihad with the intention of worship, and we must keep in mind that we will be held by Allah Almighty accountable for our Jihadi tools and equipment.

As time went on and our structures expanded, more commissions were formed, institutions were created.  Initially there were several commissions, all the work would be concentrated in them, later when more commissions were formed according to needs, naturally, regulations and procedures were made for each and every commission, all of which were passed and evaluated by the sheikhs and scholars.  And after consensus was reached, it was handed over to the concerned department for implementation.

But unfortunately, I have to say that sometimes I feel that the spirit of coordination and mutual understanding between our commissions is fading, or in other words, sometimes one commission considers itself against another commission as one state against another, or as one party is at a distance from the other. All our commissions should work together in coordination, unity and cooperation and lend a helping hand to each other. Every responsible person should consider it his responsibility to coordinate between the commissions because all commissions have one house, one entity, one honor and one dignity.  Allah Almighty forbid, if a defect is found in a branch, it will hurt our honor and dignity, and our status it will be like betrayal. If we see harm anywhere, instead of promoting it, airing it, spreading it, confusing people’s minds and turning it into a point of discord, we need to research and find answers.

If you do not agree with and understanding something, we shall send it to the responsible authority to find out if it is compliant with Shariah? If yes, it will convince you and if not, we will thank you and will correct the mistake for future. “Instead of propagating against each other and conspiring.”  We must keep all the departments of the Emirate united and support them in every possible way as we consider ourselves servants in the service of the colleagues of each department. The service rendered to us must be performed in accordance with the procedural rules in such a way that not a single collision occurs and we are supported.

Another point of obedience:

Do not consider yourself unaware of things apart from affairs of your own group, faction, district, province, constituency, military commission and beyond. Officials should try to get the regulations of other commissions, study them carefully and familiarize themselves with them so that they do not clash with other departments.

Whenever a problem arose and we investigated, the fault was in violation of the rules.  If we follow the rules and regulations of all institutions, there will be no problems or conflicts. Certainly, with the passage of time, there will be changes in a person during jihad, from a nobody to a man, from an anonymous figure to a famous individual, from an unarmed peasant to a chief, from a poor man to a rich man, from a person without position a person of power.

If we avoid self-gratification and indulgence and only aim for the pleasure of Allah and to raise the word of Allah, then Allah will be pleased with us and we will be on the path of Jihad. But if we go the other way, the end will be like some of the former jihadi leaders who are now standing by the side of the disbelievers, destroying both this world and the Hereafter.

Dear brothers, be extremely careful for the greater the benefits of jihad, the greater the promises and dangers associated with it.

Brothers! There are many great men but they do not accept responsibilities and do not hope for positions because they are afraid that they will commit a mistake and Allah will punish them, putting their end in jeopardy. May Allah grant us and all of you steadfastness and perseverance in following Shariah.

The source of success and defeat has been made known to us by the Holy Prophet who ordered the his companions in the battle of Uhud to hold their position on Mount Al-Rama, and to not leave whether victory or failure. However, some of the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) disobeyed these instructions which caused great hardship and pain to all Muslims, especially the army of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

This was the case in the superior times of past, but in this age of ours, when we look at our actions, we will see how many violations are being committed. Then, on the basis of these violations, the entire army and system of jihad experiences harm.

Yes!  Martyrdom is a great blessing and honor. We all ask for martyrdom but we must also pay attention to our deeds. In Mujahideen, when differences of opinion increase, their sincerity will decrease and their malice will increase, resulting in an increase of inefficacious martyrdoms that boost the morale of the enemy and negatively impact that of the Mujahideen.

Yes!  The only reason for this misfortune is pessimism, discord and verbal disputes. Allah the Exalted says:

‎«وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَا تَنَازَعُوا فَتَفْشَلُوا وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْ». الآية.

You should try — even if the leader of the group, the district governor, the head of the governor’s commission is not palatable to your nature — to obey Allah and His Messenger for the sake of elevating the religion of Allah. Each one of you should think that I am doing this service in obedience to this leader for the sake of Allah and His Messenger, regardless if the status of the leader increases with it, even if not liked by us. Everyone shall think that I will not diminish my sincerity but will give strength and honor to the divine religion and the Islamic Emirate.

The Islamic Emirate is the home of our faith and our religion, in which we are all united in a sacred bond.

The Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate do not have salaries, wages and privileges as opposed to world governments that operate in a way where everyone seeks privileges and rewards in return for every service. But we will consider this as a hadith of blessing, like the Prophets (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them) who were sent as messengers and when they began preaching among their people, they would exclaim that they do not seek any reward from them, rather it is Allah that rewards them.

It show my salutation to the faith and honor of all our Mujahideen who have spent five-six months in military service and that they did not tell us that there is a problem and need in my house therefore I cannot do this service. Even though I am aware that you have driven rickshaws in the bazaar for domestic necessities, you have done manual labor, but you have not reached out to others and you have not refused to do jihad, may Allah bless you and bestow upon you happiness and success in this world and in the hereafter. Satisfied with your sincerity, I would also like to urge you to be sincerer and cooperate with your elders in matters of Shariah. This sincerity and selflessness is the secret of your success.

As you know, the Americans themselves declared that not a single American has been killed in a year, which means that they are surprised that the Taliban are so obedient to their leaders that when ordered, they implemented in unison under one command and under one leadership, from Badakhshan to Kunduz, Kandahar, Paktia, Nangarhar and everywhere.

Always try to lend a helping hand to each other and keep yourself away from each other’s frustrations. Many of our colleagues are upset with others when they are alive, but when they are martyred, all begin praising and shedding tears. Respect each other in life, be patient with each other, and be merciful with each other. The elders should have compassion upon those younger, and the younger should respect their elders.  Whoever respects the other, Allah willing, our ranks will become stronger.

We have defeated the enemy with the help of Allah not with physical tools, but broken the enemies with our unity and harmony. The blessing of this alliance is that the enemy has now failed and knows that they have employed all kinds of machinations against the Mujahideen, yet they have not defeated their determination, their intentions, and they have not backed down from their thinking and position. Now the only tactic they continually use again and again is how to create rifts between them, and how to create discord?

They are trying to do so because they have thwarted countless Islamic movements with this tactic and that is through creating discord and disunity in their ranks.

If you look and see that a person doing wrong, and although you are not responsible for it, you should thorough investigate the matter and then tell them privately that such actions are for bad yourself and for the entire system. There are losses and they shall focus on self-improvement. And if you are aware that they are insisting upon it on purpose, then you are obliged to take the complaint to a person of authority.

Always try to be ones whom enjoin good and forbid evil among themselves because those who genuinly possesses this attribute, no one can sow hypocrisy and division among them.

The rights of the oppressed and the weak:

There are many widows and orphans among you, and all of you are aware of the situation. When I meet you, it is mostly either the second or third leader of the group, or first or second brother has been martyred, his second or third brother has joined the jihad, or other family members.

But look!  No house and group is free from martyrs, … we have thousands of martyrs in every province, so look after their widows and orphans!  Allah’s help depends on the cries and pleas of the weak, so try not to lose their rights, because Allah Almighty helps those who are oppressed, the widows, orphans, the disabled, prisoners and refugees.  If we take care of them and consider ourselves below them, then Allah will help us all circumstances.

The Islamic Emirate has established a very small order for this purpose but it is necessary to constantly inquire about such people and cooperate with them, and this should be done by the leader of the group, the head of the group and the family. Do not leave their pleas for someone else. So far every petition that has come to us by families of martyrs, and all praise belong to Allah, we have not sent them empty handed. But you must pay more attention to it because if someone has seen it for himself, then they will look at this in the same as their own.

In our own home, there are orphans. When we enter the house, we cannot open our arms to our sons. The orphans are there and we feel ashamed of it. No matter how well we take care of them, we see signs of sadness on their faces and because of them, we have seemingly also orphaned our children, so that there will be no grief in their hearts. And may Allah not count it in hypocrisy, we have provided them with every convenience of life, but rest assured that I have not seen any joy in their faces even in the occassion of Eid.

And every one of you will be left with an orphan, but because the fathers of these orphans have made great sacrifices and shed so much pure blood, we need to respect and honor them. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came into a dream of someone and he saw that his blessed clothes was completely stained with blood. Someone asked him: What is this blood? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied: This is the blood of the martyrs of Afghanistan. This is very honorable and precious blood that shall not fall to the ground.

I am saying that we have defeated an arrogant power at the cost and blessing of the blood of these martyrs. We are walking with our heads high because of the sacrifices of the blood of these martyrs. Thanks to the blood of these martyrs, we have wealth and opportunities. So you have to tread carefully and take great care of these oppressed people!  Even though begging is in not allowed, I will do it but I will stand firm with you in it, Allah willing, and not upset the families of the martyrs, the widows, the orphans and the disabled brothers.

I often receive information about the situation of widows. The condition in which some of the widows are living is very bad. With due respect as they are the widows of our Mujahideen, I want to say that some of them have been treated badly by their relatives. We have heard that the widow of the martyr has been kicked out of the house by the brother of the martyr and she is forced to beg in the bazaar, and they also send messages to us that the situation is bad but they still pray for us in their messages, that May Allah Almighty protect our leadership despite the hardships we face. Not one or two, dozens of widows have reported this situation and you are responsible, my friends and you shall be concerned.

Attention! My friends.

Widows are such a part of our nation whose prayers bring Allah’s help, but with its sighs of sorrow, we all will be harmed.

About the current political situation:

Most of the comrades have concerns about the political situation. I would like to clarify a little bit about it, even if it is not related to this assembly, but because the fruits of jihad also depend on our political office as well and we look forward to it. Praise be to Allah, as you have given a steady and positive momentum in the military arena and have succeeded in your goals, now the burden and pressure on our shoulders is all on the political office. Our colleugues are working hard, so do not fall into misunderstandings, do not be influenced by the biased propaganda of the enemy.

Brothers!  During the signing of the agreement, the esteemed Sheikh Sahib Amir al-Mu’minin was very careful. I swear by Allah, I have never him so busy in military affairs as in political affairs. In a simple detail, which is superficial, he refers it to the leadership council and after the leadership council he refers it to the sheikhs, and after complete satisfaction, he sends it the office in Qatar. Praise be to Allah, the agreement went well, and in the first phase, 5,000 prisoners were released.

It was written that they would withdraw and end the occupation completely. Praise be to Allah, in all resolutions, the Islamic Emirate successfully reached its goal in the first round. Now the question arises as to what mistakes are being made by the Americans, NATO allies who are violating the agreement, for example with a raid in one place, bombing in another place … This is not acceptable for the pride of our Mujahideen. But the esteemed Sheikh Sahib (may Allah protect him) says: We have adhered to Shari’a, we have the sacred religion of Islam. In the history of Islam, the Muslims have not broken a treaty, rather it has been the infidels who have violated it. Even if we are going to abrogate the treaty, it will not be based on treachery and deceit.

Our leader instructs Mujahiddin not commit any violations. If the agreement is going to be abrogated, we will clearly inform the international community regarding any development. However, despite these violations by the other side, our honorable Sheikh instructs and commands all officials and commanders to take full care of the agreement. If we deceitfully conquer ten provinces, it is not a victory for us which  displeases Allah and tarnishes the glorious history of Islam and Muslims.

We have never broken any agreement in history, but the enemy has always committed treachery. Despite violations, our agreement will not be based on deception. The pride and honor of our Mujahidin cannot tolerate continued violations of the agreement by the other side. Since the US administration has changed, NATO & US are bluffing. Don’t be affected by these bluffs. 15 years ago,we fought them with faith & with weaker military strength. Today we have both. We have the technology to use drones, we have our own missiles. This time if the Mujahideen resume fighting, it would be something they have never seen before. They will wish the battlefield was like in the past.

I was guiding the Mujahideen so that the agreement is not violated by us. The Mujahideen were hit by eight drones that day. They had prepared to retaliate, but I told them to be patient. In the Hudaybiyyah treaty that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) signed, the Companions drew their swords, but they were patient. Then it was the blessing of the peace agreement that the disbelievers were compelled to send a message to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to call back his companions. Abu Jandal and Abu Baseer (may Allah be pleased with them). Allah willing, another empire of the world will be defeated thanks to your sacrifices, and we will be witness that day when it happens. Keeping the treaty is not our degradation and weakness, but we record it in the history of compliance with the Shariah.

If we have waged jihad, we have continued it according to Shari’ah, and if we have continued the talks, we have continued it according to Shari’ah. We have submitted ourselves to Sharia, and not to our innerdesires. You see how many movements were there? But they aren’t there today, why? Because they didn’t follow Shariah. If we hold fast to faith and Shariah, I assure you of success in this world and the hereafter.

Mujahideen brothers!  I do not even consider myself equal to the dust of your feet. I, who has gone out with the Mujahideen, felt that I can’t carry a single bag with me. Sometimes my shawl would be wrapped around me and it would be a burden for me. I was surprised and would say to myself : Subhan Allah, how can the Mujahideen walk for 12 hours. They carry Rockets, bullets and be with them, they go hungry and thirsty, they fight and fight in such situations, they take martyrs and take the wounded with them …

When our brother Nasiruddin was martyred, and especially after the demise of the late Mullah Sahib, I used to sit in meetings a lot. There I saw the position of the Sheikh and of the Leadership Council, who were so steadfast and firm on Shari’a, my belief became so strong that even if everyone else changed their position, personalities in the leadership council will not sell Islam and the homeland.

The late Mullah Sahib did not leave us a legacy on which someone can put us to shame and give us bad name. The only reason that Allah Almighty has given such a high position to the Emirate is because the scholars of truth are at the forefront of it.

Today you are sitting in the form of disciples to these sheikhs, this is your success and perfection. As long as we value scholars and leaders in our hearts, Allah will keep you successful. These sheikhs gave you precious time, and you gave your precious time to them, may Allah reward you all. Do not limit yourself to these lessons, but apply them to yourself.

This year, twice I visited different provinces of the country and I noticed two things. One was that our nation has given unspeakable sacrifices with us, yet this nation is in fear of us. Because the propaganda of the world that the Taliban kill people, spreads extremism and terror, the people also keep this in mind and then not a single good word can be given to you for good and wellbeing because of the suspicion on their mind.

Treat this nation in a way that exalts itself! This nation has gone through unprecented pain and suffering with us, and is continues enduring it! So take this step and humble yourselves in front of this afflicted nation. Don’t drive your car in way that frightens the people or hurts this nation, don’t do things that make you look unaccountable. Make a solemn promise not to hurt the people!

If it there are land disputes and other legal issues … the Islamic Emirate has set up its own organs for everything. There are courts, there is a military commission, there is invitation, there is intelligence, there are civilian casualties and there are complaints … everything is there.  But keep and respect the people’s opinion on every issue.

One evening, I saw Mujahideen vehicles speeding so fast that people would avoid them. There is a place for strength. Allah says:

‎«مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَي الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ». الآية

And Allah says:

‎«أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَي المُؤمِنينَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَي الكافِرينَ». الآية

Pride shall be directed towards the invaders, do not practice arrogance over these Muslims, the poor and the needy. Although the situation is not normal and we are facing extraordinary challenges, do not make the people feel that the Taliban are oppressing them. Encourage, respect and protect the people everywhere.

The second thing I noticed: you have become weak in your routines and worships. Your five daily prayers are not in congregation. The prayer timings are known. For the importance of prayers in congregation considers this that even in times of war, the Shari’ah has shown us the method of congregational prayers in the form of prayer of fear. We have been told by the people that the Mujahideen sleep in the mosques at night, and are not getting up for morning prayers, and they shout at us and get angry when we ask them to pray. With this, you should follow the recitation of the holy Qur’an after prayers, and do not forget its importance. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) continued to pray until dawn, despite the news of victory came for him.

If our spiritual connection with Allah is broken and the importance of remembrance, prayer and recitation is not a matter of concern, then dear brothers, where shall victory come from? Whoever prays to Allah, remembers, worships and does good deeds, the angels also know the voice in the heavens, but whoever does not recite the prayers and worships, the angels do not know the voice of who it is. So keep in touch with Allah Almighty, seek His pleasure, make your morals, nature, soul, yourself the character in adherence to Shariah.  Don’t think that I am the leader of the group, the district governor, the governor, the head of the commission … Don’t be misguided by having responsibility.

In the time of the Prophets and Companions, when they were relieved of their responsibilities, they would give thanks to Allah and would ask Allah that I don’t want to be rewarded for this service and responsibility, rather don’t hold me accountable. Nowadays, when we are relieved of our responsibilities, we start imploring for the responsibilities on our own, we are directly and indirectly proposing one way or another that so-and-so deserves and so-and-so deserves.

Yes!  I will respect you, I will give you responsibility and position, but will it be in the true sense of the word? Will it be fully fulfilling of your responsibility? We don’t want anything else, we have given you a guideline, just follow that.

No matter how many officials have changed, in my time it has not come into my notice that someone has been removed because of treachery, but we have removed them for incompetence and carelessness, and If we find that a person does not abide by the procedural rules, we compare it with another, and say that he is not fit for the job because he doesn’t have the tolerance to implement the principles of the Islamic Emirate.

If your leaders are not to your liking, do not like or dislike them because of your favoritism and choice, but consider Shari’ah and the fact that this system will be harmed If I object. Just say to yourself, that I will keep my mouth shut, I will continue this service with courage and sincerity. I will give and I will obey. So if you obey, others will do the same. In this regard, Allah will bless you.

I would like to make a note: we are aware of the weaknesses and mistakes of many colleuges, but we still do not decide to dismiss them because we respect your personality and status, we know that you have sacrificed in Jihad.  Along the way you have endure fatigue and are exposed to the enemy, but you must also correct yourself.

We have set up a Da’wah Guidance Commission for reforms, so do not expel people from Jihad and do not rebuke them so much that Muslims become suspicious of them. Give them an opportunity to wage jihad and provide service, create an atmosphere of love and brotherhood with it. Look!  If you do not take these people among yourself, the door of enemy is always open for them.

We are a handful of Mujahideen, when someone gets upset with a Mujahid, they do not let him go until they deviate him from this path. Try to correct whatever it is, do not cut someone off, but show compassion and mercy. Why do we call people to Islam and then expel them from Jihad?! Look! The days and nights of jihad are limited, then we will hope and wish that we can find the sweetness and pleasure of this worship.

Now, for example, in Nangarhar, we need Mujahideen formations to come to us from Wardak, Ghazni, other provinces, so when we say to the Mujahideen that they are needed there then sometimes they say: We have passed our turn, it is winter, we will go in the spring … So what if it is winter or if it is spring, isn’t the duty obligatory, because you have pledged that we will obey in both hardships and ease.  You knew that people would come to you for help from anywhere, you try, when you are finished from your job here, don’t spend extra time, go to them, help them, Allah will reward you.

You know the story of the time of the Companions. You know the story of the battle of Tabuk in the books of hadith. The three Companions whom failed go our to jihad and how much they suffered and how much trials and tribulations were faced by them. One of the companions said, “I will offer the Friday prayer in congregation after the Messenger of Allah, may Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and then I will join him.” The Messenger of Allah, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said to him: Why did you stay? He replied:”I had these virtues in mind,”. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

‎«لَغَدْوَةٌ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَوْ رَوْحَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا فِيهَا».

A day in the path of Allah is better than the world and all that it contains.

Nowadays we have forgotten this concept of Jihad!  So we should go to the aid of our comrades wherever they are in need, whether in Kunduz or in Badakhshan … Now the enemy is trying to divide the Mujahideen on basis of ethnicity, region and language. But to prevent this, we will go to the aid of our brethern everywhere.

Brothers! Man is very neglectful, and maybe we have violated each others rights, so forgive me, and we forgive you. And may Allah be pleased with you.  The Commander of the Faithful is very kind to you and prays for you. May Allah bring better times in the future.

I entrust the rest to Allah, may Allah bless you with happiness in this world and in the Hereafter

‎و آخر دعوانا أَن الْحَمْد للَّه رَب الْعالَمِين

5th Rajab ul Murajab 1442 Hijri

END

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

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Statement of Islamic Emirate on first anniversary of Doha Agreement

Doha Qatar 29th February 2020
(Post via Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan)

On the 5th of Rajab 1441 Hijri Lunar corresponding with 10th Hoot 1338 Hijri Solar, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the United States of America signed a historic deal in the presence of international observers along with the foreign ministers and representatives of multiple countries.

This agreement is a historic accord between the people of Afghanistan and the people of America because it is aimed at ending the twenty-year imposed war.

We congratulate everyone specifically our beloved compatriots and valiant Mujahideen on the first anniversary of this momentous agreement.

The United States of America has committed itself in the agreement that in fourteen months following this date, they will withdraw all their military personnel along with those of their allies and coalition as well as all non-diplomatic civilian personnel, private contractors, trainers, advisors and service providers.

On the other side, the Islamic Emirate committed itself to not allow anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States of America and its allies.

On the basis of this historic agreement, five thousand prisoners of the Islamic Emirate and one thousand of the other side were released and the intra-Afghan talks subsequently launched. Even though this process was unfortunately delayed for six months, this delay was not on part of the Islamic Emirate.

But in spite of this, the release of prisoners and launch of intra-Afghan dialogue served as positive momentum towards finding a resolution to the Afghan issue and for bringing peace and prosperity to the people.

The release of six thousand prisoners was in reality a cause for joy and celebration for six thousand Afghan families.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan would like to communicate its stance on the first anniversary of this agreement as following:

1 – The Islamic Emirate is committed on its part to all contents of the agreement and views its implementation the sole effective tool for resolving the Afghan issue and establishing peace, that shall be realized under the shade of an Islamic system.

2 – The Islamic Emirate also calls on the other party to the agreement (United States of America) to honor its own commitments towards security and stability in Afghanistan by implementing all parts of the agreement.

3 – The release of remaining prisoners and end of blacklists are part of the agreement that have yet to be implemented. Practical steps must by undertaken to expedite the ongoing intra-Afghan dialogue process. The implementation of the agreement must be utilized to improve the situation and pushing it in the wrong direction must be avoided.

4 – The Doha agreement has created a practical framework for bringing peace and security to Afghanistan. If any other pathway is pursued as a replacement, then it is already doomed to failure.

5 – The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has significantly reduced the level of operations in line with the Doha agreement. No operations have targeted major military and intelligence centers, martyrdom operations have seized, provinces have not been overrun, provincial capitals have not been attacked, district centers have not been targeted, and this is known and clear to everyone.

However, the other side has not fulfilled its obligations in this regard as bombardments, drone strikes, raids and offensive operations that were all prohibit on the basis of the agreement are still continuing, which is mostly causing civilian harm and increasing the levels of violence.

Moreover, some circles with their interests tied to foreign actors have recently launched a wave of targeted attacks especially against civilians with the aim of showing the situation as teetering on the brink of a crisis, and to create excuses for the continuation of occupation and war.

6 – But despite these shortcomings, the agreement is still moving in a positive direction, the results of which shall be beneficial for all parties. In line with this agreement, a large part of foreign forces specifically American forces have withdrawn from our country, while the rest must also withdraw within the specified date. Similarly, the Islamic Emirate has also shown complete adherence to its commitments and continues to honor them.

7 – The State of Qatar, Security Council along with all other countries and international observers that participated in the signing ceremony have an obligation in the complete implementation of the agreement that must be fulfilled.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

16/07/1442 Hijri Lunar

10/12/1399 Hijri Solar                  28/02/2021 Gregorian

END

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

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