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Hacked off with Hacked Off: UK Citizens’ Support Organisation Features Brian Deer's Accomplice Evan Harris as Advisor

Story-TimelineBy John Stone 

Write today to Hacked Off asking them to explain the presence of Evan Harris as an advisor to their organisation and asking for their support over Brian Deer’s MMR investigation before the UK’s Leveson Inquiry. Write to Hacked Off founders Martin Moore (martin.moore@mediastandardstrust.org) director of Media Standards Trust and journalist Brian Cathcart (B.Cathcart@kingston.ac.uk) as well as Thais Portilho-Shrimpton the organisation’s employee at the Inquiry (thais@hackinginquiry.org).

‘Hacked Off’, the support organisation formed in the wake of the Murdoch media hacking scandal in the UK has so far failed to come up with explanation of the presence of former MP Evan Harris as an advisor. Dr Harris – who was also a member of the British Medical Association ethics committee at the time - worked closely with Brian Deer who accessed confidential medical and legal information, notoriously publishing the names of participants in the 1998 Wakefield/Lancet paper on the web. Three weeks after I first contacted Hacked Off about this matter they remain tight-lipped, and have made no public attempt to distance themselves from Harris. Nor has Harris made any attempt to distance himself from Deer’s investigation.

Harris wrote an editorial in Murdoch newspaper, the Sunday Times, accompanying Deer’s first allegations against Wakefield on 22 February 2004, led a debate against Wakefield under the cloak of privilege in the House of Commons on 15 March 2004, and took part in a Science and Technology investigation of  Wakefield on 1 March 2004 in which he failed to acknowledge that Wakefield had publicly disclosed his role as an expert in the MMR litigation in a letter published in the Lancet as early as 2 May 1998, although the impression given in media reports at the time was that he had never done so at all. Harris, himself, had a host of potential conflicts in the affair which have only ever been partially acknowledged. He also accompanied Deer to the Lancet offices on 18 February 2004 to ambush Wakefield and colleagues, and to the first day of the GMC hearing against them on 16 July 2004.

This was also agenda journalism. Deer was initially approached in 2003 by a Sunday Times news editor who told Deer he needed “something big” on “MMR”: this editor Paul Nuki, like Harris, apparently had a father who sat on the Committee on Safety in medicines during the Pluserix episode (1987-92), and who was also to leave the paper to run the UK National Health Service’s main information website (NHS Choices) in 2007. A new wave of allegations from Deer was unleashed in the Sunday Times in 2009 immediately following proprietor James Murdoch’s appointment to the board of MMR manufacturer (and former defendants) GSK.

Hacked Off popped up seemingly spontaneously in Summer 2011 to represent the public interest in the media hacking allegations, and is supposed to support members of the public acting as witnesses to the Leveson Inquiry. The position, however, may be a little more complicated as the organisation is an off shoot of the Media Standards Trust which has behind it a roster of powerful international media and science industry sponsors . All this would be fine if they were committed to fair play and did not run for cover the moment anything politically sensitive appeared on the horizon. The manifesto states: :

“Hacked Off was founded to campaign for a public inquiry into illegal information-gathering by the press and into related matters including the conduct of the police, politicians and mobile phone companies. Only a full public inquiry, we argued, could put the truth of the hacking scandal before the public and ensure that necessary lessons were learned.”

It is obviously easy for Hacked Off to lend support in a cases where the invasion of privacy is the only issue but much harder where a journalistic investigation has involved the patronage of the highest echelons of government, including the public endorsement of the Prime Minister and the Chief Medical Officer  and relates to the protection of both government policy and powerful industrial interests. In such a case it is more than ever important for such a body to express concern on behalf of members of the public whose lives have been ransacked. Deer’s investigation included the accessing of private medical and legal records, blagging (the use of a false identity to conduct interviews), and a secret agreement with the GMC not to disclose that he was the complainant against Wakefield and colleagues so that he could continue reporting as a disinterested party.

This is a list of links that have already been provided to Hacked Off:

James Murdoch Still Supported by GlaxoSmithKline

MMR, the Murdochs, and BMJ Questions Unanswered as Godlee Plans Washington Visit

Are Your Patient Records Safe with Evan Harris

MP Who Breached Patient Confidentiality Failed to Disclose Competing Interest in MMR Debate

Evan Harris's father at vaccine damage committee 1990

These matters deserve rigorous investigation and exposure. The hearing has already heard evidence from Tony Blair’s Director of Communications Alastair Campbell and the industry funded Science Media Centre advocating media repression on issues like MMR. No one from the other side of this issue has so far been called, nor can anyone under present conditions expect any help from the self-appointed guardian of the public interest. The question arises whether they are there to see fair play, or to obstruct it.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.

Comments

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victor pavlovic

Here is my question and response from hacked off.

I am quite interested in your reasoning behind Evan Harris being an advisor for Hacked-OFF, and and even more interested in your intentions, since they don't strike me as genuine. Thanks, Victor Pavlovic


Dear Mr Pavlovic,
Thank you for getting in touch. John Stone has already been in contact with us a number of times with regard to Dr Evan Harris. As we said to Mr Stone, we are looking into the matter.
To date, we have found no evidence to support Mr Stone’s assertions that Dr Harris’ previous activities compromise his role as an advisor to the Hacked Off campaign
As to your other concerns, where you question the intentions of Hacked Off, I’m unable to respond to these without some sort of further explanation.

With best regards,

Martin Moore

John Stone

Elizabeth

Accessing and using confidential medical and legal documents is quite bad enough on its own. The remit of the Leveson Inquiry extends well beyond phone hacking. Whether it is prepared to give us a hearing is another question.

John

AussieMum

Thanks for the article John.

I had completely forgotten about Evan Harris and his involvement.

Perhaps this year we may see Brian Deer (or is that Brian Lawrence) questioned about phone hacking!

Elizabeth Gillespie

Mark Struthers

John Stone has uncovered a nest of poisonous spiders in the joint sub-committee on adverse reactions to vaccination and immunisation, and eloquently - and transparently - exposed the tangled web of deceit ...

And today I've revisited a revealing Channel 4 news interview with Evan Harris MP and Dr Richard Halvorsen, GP and author of 'The Truth about Vaccines: making the right decision for your child.'

http://bit.ly/zYf5dU

The apparent concern for the welfare of children, autistic or otherwise, does not ring true, but the spiteful jibes and eye-popping venom aimed at a medical colleague are most revealing of the man, his conflicts and the vile web he's spun.


Jenny Allan

Isabella says:-
"I have a very good idea why they (UCL) do not want an enquiry. Watch this space."

No need to wait for the space folks!! In November 2011, BMJ Editor-in chief Fiona Godlee wrote to the UK Government Science and Technology Select Committee Chairman. He replied, right away telling Godlee that this was 'not within his remit' and suggested that Godlee refer the matter to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), which is responsible for ensuring academic standards in publicly funded bodies.(Mr Millar MP also stated that the S&T Committee should not be seen to be influenced by public lobbying-a VERY definite Godlee put down!)

The HEFCE took rather longer to respond to Godlee's insistence on them investigating 'institutional misconduct' by a number of Andrew Wakefield's former colleagues and some 'high up' personnel at UCL. Godlee's 'smears' by implication also included newly knighted Professor Mark Pepys, UCL Medical Director, who 'promised' Godlee an investigation into Dr Wakefield's other Royal Free research papers, during that BBC Radio 4 'Science Betrayed' programme last April 2011. On the same programme Pepys also admitted asking Dr Wakefield to leave his research position at the Royal Free. What neither Pepys nor Godlee admitted to on THAT programme were the BMJ's and UCL's huge financial and other deals with MMR manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline.

In November 2011, Godlee wrote to HEFCE’s chair, Tim Melville-Ross, and chief executive, Alan Langlands, demanding that THEY take up her increasingly more frantic demands for an investigation into UCL's 'institutional misconduct' Alan Langlands replied stating the HEFCE'S current arrangements for handling research misconduct are “sufficient and proportionate.”

I think we can all assume that so called UCL 'investigation' will be quietly abandoned. It was fine for Pepys when it was just Dr Wakefield's research to be vilified and discredited (yet again!!), but Godlee's vile smears, attacking the entire UCL research and clinical personnel was an attack too far!!
http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d7890

Angus Files

I have one from Bill Mc Intosh HMRC ,under FOI ..for Brian Deer.Anything with his name on it to be released ... Justice Keith at the time was F.O.I Officer..Soooo!!! lets say if he Keith,said,it got done as he was FOI officer ....to this end I got an e-mail from Deer, which we all know about (circulated far and wide) ..to this end it still stands ...nothing to take me on....

Bring it on Brian your an arse..

Angus

Isabella Thomas

Also curious how the UCL Inquiry seems to have disappeared. They insisted in November that the head would be appointed and the terms announced before the end of the year (last). Oh dear!

I have a very good idea why they do not want an enquiry. Watch this space.

Isabella Thomas

Very interesting point. Of course, in 2004 the Freedom of Information Act had also not yet come into force, so they weren't FOIs.

I was given a copy of a letter Brian Deer sent to the Royal Free asking for everything related to the Lancet study under the FOI.

Glax Britannicus

Also curious how the UCL Inquiry seems to have disappeared. They insisted in November that the head would be appointed and the terms announced before the end of the year (last). Oh dear!

Isabella Thomas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSt5W8h67hE

You can see Evan Harris having a laugh with Brian Deer in the background in this video link above.

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

Above link you will see Evan Harris in the background outside the GMC

http://events.ucl.ac.uk/event/event:l5m-g5l6oxfb-tgs0kn/

Interesting how the UCL had Brian Deer as a speaker and yet they had evidence that someone gave him medical information on the children from there?

John Stone

Isabella,

Very interesting point. Of course, in 2004 the Freedom of Information Act had also not yet come into force, so they weren't FOIs.

John

Isabella Thomas

http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c7001.full

"Meanwhile, elsewhere other events were unfolding that would shortly shine light on Horton’s mindset. The day before our meeting, I had visited Evan Harris, at the time member of parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon. He was a doctor and member of the British Medical Association’s ethics committee, and had an interest in the MMR controversy. He then turned up to observe my presentation to the Lancet, and afterwards requested copies of my documents".

Does this mean that Evan Harris has confidential medical information on the Lancet children also? What about Data protection?

Martin Hewitt

It is most likely that Dr Harris is aware of Deer's access to and use of the Lancet (and other) children's confidential medical records, but that he supports Deer's actions in the public interest . However, as with many examples of press use of confidential data disclosed to the Leveson Inquiry these last two months, it is doubtful that the UK Data Protection Act would allow such access (see s55 of the DPA concerning the unlawful obtaining of personal data). Repeatedly the Inquiry's examining QC, Mr Jay, has pointed out the illegality of such access to confidential data. If the Act had permitted Deer to access and publish children's confidential medical data, Deer would be the first to say. But to date, his actions remain untested by the Act. However the press' use of the public interest defence has become a priority for the Inquiry's attention.

In the interest of its campaign and broad public support, Hacked off should clarify its position on Dr Harris' support for Deer's investigation and whether his support stops short of Deer's journalistic practices described above.

Joan Campbell

Dear Mr Moore

I am one of the many thousand litigation friends who over the past 17 years have been involved with the MMR/MR Group litigation. I went through all the channels from the Funding Review Committee, Court of Appeal to a Judicial Review regarding my son’s legal aid been taken away from him. I was involved with other parents namely called the MMR10 Group and we put a case to the European Court of Human Rights.
“I am compiling a list of children who were adversely affected by any vaccine. Please if you could say in about 4-6 sentences what that vaccine was, how they reacted, how they are today and what city the vaccine was administered.”
The list that follows is the response. To date there are over 1200 comments here. There are additional comments found elsewhere at the bottom of this page (linked, and relating to autism), reports on a Vaccine damage reports database (mixed) and some reports regarding the HPV, Gardasil vaccine, totalling to more than 2,200 voices.
http://followingvaccinations.com/

My complaint now is about Dr Evan Harris.
Dr Harris wrote an editorial in Murdoch newspaper, the Sunday Times, accompanying Deer’s first allegations against Wakefield on 22 February 2004, led a debate against Wakefield under the cloak of privilege in the House of Commons on 15 March 2004, and took part in a Science and Technology investigation of Wakefield on 1 March 2004 in which he failed to acknowledge that Wakefield had publicly disclosed his role as an expert in the MMR litigation in a letter published in the Lancet as early as 2 May 1998, although the impression given in media reports at the time was that he had never done so at all. Harris, himself, had a host of potential conflicts in the affair which have only ever been partially acknowledged. He also accompanied Deer to the Lancet offices on 18 February 2004 to ambush Wakefield and colleagues, and to the first day of the GMC hearing against them on 16 July 2004.
This was also agenda journalism. Deer was initially approached in 2003 by a Sunday Times news editor who told Deer he needed “something big” on “MMR”: this editor Paul Nuki, like Harris, apparently had a father who sat on the Committee on Safety in medicines during the Pluserix episode (1987-92), and who was also to leave the paper to run the UK National Health Service’s main information website (NHS Choices) in 2007. A new wave of allegations from Deer was unleashed in the Sunday Times in 2009 immediately following proprietor James Murdoch’s appointment to the board of MMR manufacturer (and former defendants) GSK.

Joan Campbell

Yes thanks again John I have sent off my e e-mails of complaint.

Lisa Blakemore-Brown

It really is intriguing that Evan Harris' father was on the sub committee on Adverse Reactions of the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation - a commercial meeting which convenes about three times a year - and so was Sir Roy Meadow. MSBP was certainly an excellent way to knock vaccine reactions into the long grass. Looking at John's article, the link provided on Evan Harris' father in the committee shows he was there in 1990 and Sir Roy Meadow sat on that same committee in 1989. Maybe Sir Roy was too busy proving his point in Court after that and that in itself would have helped the vested interests of that committee. Where is he by the way??

http://www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/jcvi/foi2006-adv-minutesoct1989.pdf

I have written to Mr Moore at the Media Standards Trust involved with Hacked Off to inform him about these tangled webs and unless he knows all about them, which means his group is corrupt, his group has been infiltrated, which means its corrupted.

I hope the blatant connections will lead to honourable actions - but I'm not holding my breath.

Polly Tommey

It really is astonishing that the director of Media Standards Centre could indulge in sweeping dismissal without addressing any of the points. I hope he will go back and examine them in detail because at the moment it just looks as if he is dodging.
Thank you John Stone for constantly fighting for the truth, we are indebted to you.

ANGUS FILES

My response which might seem a bit to the point but how do you deal with people who are in command where conflicts and corruption is,just fine...FINE?


Thanks to AOA for giving us this chance,people from the UK to voice ,without this I feel none is available

Thanks to John

Angus


From: A Files
Date: 03/01/2012 16:46:06
To: martin.moore@mediastandardstrust.org
Cc: thais@hackinginquiry.org
Subject: RE: Evan Harris

Dear Mr Moore,

Many thanks for your reply.Without me looking silly what evidence would be required for you to re-consider Dr Harris`s position .I am not aware fully of what Mr Stone has supplied to you .

Could you supply me with the code of conduct that Hacked Off must abide by for instance?

Or is it just another "Old Boys"Club synonymous with the Murdoch era..?at the same time protecting the corruption of Murdoch.

Best Regards

Angus

Angus Files


Here is my letter and reply from Mr Moore..the web is awash with the agenda of Harris,Abortion to support the endless supply for pharma of babies to put into vaccines for one,despite reames supplied by John and people on here and elsewhere..Moore`s eyes are obvioulsy shut when they should be open ...

Could go on

Angus

Dear Mr Files,

Thank you for getting in touch. John Stone has already been in contact with us a number of times with regard to Dr Evan Harris. As we said to Mr Stone, we are looking into the matter.

To date, we have not found evidence to support Mr Stone’s assertions that Dr Harris’ previous activities compromise his role as an advisor to the Hacked Off campaign.

With best regards,

Martin Moore

From: A Files [mailto:angusfiles@btopenworld.com]
Sent: 03 January 2012 09:12
To: Martin Moore
Cc: Martin Moore; thais@hackinginquiry.org
Subject: Evan Harris

Dear All,

I have always pondered the involvement of Dr Evan Harris in the Hacked Off Campaign.I cannot possibly see how he could ever be impartial to sit on such a board purportedly representing people who have been hacked via phone , computer or other means.How convenient to have someone in such a frontline position where he could quiet easily tip off the main suspects as to what is arriving on the desks of Hacked Off.

His involvement with the dark Pharma world is well documented but yet we find him here representing Hacked Off .The hacking scandal main suspects James and Rupert Murdoch are heavily involved in the Pharma world ,James no less a non executive director of GSK?

I request that Evan is removed from the board of Hacked Off without delay.

I was going to write earlier in the year but spurred on by John Stone` great article in AOA and supplying e-mails I hereby issue my complaint and await a reply.

Many thanks

Regards

Angus Files

John Stone

I have had the following exchange with Martin Moore, director of Media Standards Centre:-

On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 11:53 AM, Martin Moore wrote:

'Dear Mr Stone,

'Following your previous email regarding the role of Dr Evan Harris in the Hacked Off campaign, we have been examining your concerns.

'To date we have not found evidence that Dr Harris’ previous activities compromise his role as an advisor to the Hacked Off campaign.

'We will continue to look into your allegations and do our best to respond to the others you have encouraged to write to us via your article in the Age of Autism.

'Thank you for alerting us to your concerns.

'With best regards,
Martin Moore'

I responded ( Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 12:50 PM):

'Dear Mr Moore,

'I have sent you lots of meticulously documented information about Brian Deer's investigation, to which Dr Harris was closely attached. I have sent, for example, links to web pages in which Deer published the names of children in the Wakefield 1998 paper. This cannot be in dispute. Deer has stated also that he has read legal documents relating to the MMR litigation belonging to families which are not in the public domain. This cannot be in dispute. Deer conducted interviews under a false name. This cannot be in dispute. Deer had a confidential arrangement with the GMC lawyers not to be named as complainant enabling him to continue reporting. This cannot be in dispute. Deer stated that he was put on the investigation by an editor with an agenda. This is not in dispute.

'I should also point out - without going into further detail - that submissions have gone to the Inquiry regarding these matters which ought to expect your support.

'Now, whatever you think about the MMR business - and a lot of what happened seems to be very prejudicial - I am not sure how you can put your hand on your heart and say this (is) all fine: that there is nothing there to (be) concerned about, and that no boundaries have been broken.

'Please go back and check the links provided in previous emails, because all this is there.

'Yours sincerely,

John Stone'

I added at 3.11pm:

'PS If there are grounds for discounting the points I have raised below can you please say what they are, in each case. Otherwise we are in the realms of vague and blanket dismissal.'

Lisa Blakemore-Brown

I am left wondering if I have fallen down the rabbit hole like Alice. How can it be acceptable that the most blatant corruption is accepted when we visit the strange world of vaccines and vaccine reactions?

In 1995 I had the misfortune of being an Expert Witness in a trial against a woman accused of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. What was being said about her was provably wrong - yet Dr David Southall's views were accepted. I then began to look into MSBP to try to find out what was really going on.

It took some years, given the secrecy and corruption, but it then became clear that the mother of any child who had reacted to a vaccine or who had been part of a population vaccine trial could be accused of causing the side affects through MSBP.

I spoke at various conferences but one memorable one was in the Houses of Parliament in Portcullis House in a day conference run by the All Party Parliamentary Group concerned with False Allegations of Abuse. The morning was spent discussing False Memory Syndrome and the afternoon on MSBP.

To my amazement, Dr Evan Harris turned up to keep an eye on things.

Why? He had no portfolio on the issue of child abuse.

Well its now obvious. His raison d'etre is to protect the commercial interests of the pharmaceutical industry in relation to vaccines, just like James Murdoch's is on the Board of Glaxo Smith Kline. Hence his support of Mr Deer and his sneaky visit to that MSBP conference to check out what was being said - and who was saying it.

So HOW did he get asked to be an advisor to Hacked Off???

Ed Yazbak

Happy New Year Age of Autism and thank you for all what you do.

Thank you also John Stone for your tireless contributions and for informing the US readers about yet another strange happening “over there”. I sure hope and pray that the deafening silence at “Hacked Off” was only due to a New Year slump and not to some systematic attempt at cover-up or collusion.

I think this may be one of those situations where a massive American response could be helpful.

Let me beg some of our younger energetic people to start a petition and rattle some cages.

Angus Files

Brian Deer and hacking has yet to surface as many people who have come under the spotlight of Brian Deer know he has access to detail that hasn`t been obtained with permission from the people involved.Its fair to say that Evan has also been involved in this circus of hacking via Deer and the Times.

Nothing like having a man /arse on the insided batting for you when realy he has Pharma interests at heart via Murdoch Senior and Bay Murdoch non Exec of GSK..


Angus

Jenny Allan

From the BMJ article reported above (4th link below John's report)
"But by the time of the MSC meeting (17 September) many members had still received no information. The department has advised doctors to return their stocks of Pluserix-MMR and Immravix [sic] and order extra supplies of MMR II."

I think it is also important to point out to 'Hacked Off' that Immravix MMR vaccine was manufactured by Merioux UK and Pluserix MMR vaccine was manufactured by Smith Kline Beecham now incorporated into GlaxoSmithKline. These dangerous vaccines were withdrawn by the manufacturers NOT the UK Government, which went into overdrive to cover up the extensive damage they caused. This surfaced recently under the 20 year rule in Scotland, reported by two Scottish newspapers, but NOT the UK national press. (The article below was subsequently edited on the internet copy, presumably after government pressure was applied. Glasgow baby Ryan Mason was just one of several infant deaths following MMR vaccine administration, all of which were put down to other causes).
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/health/side-effect-concerns-about-mmr-vaccine-date-back-to-its-introduction-1.1029370
The Scottish Daily Mail 21-05-10, stated ‘NHS bosses were warned about fears over certain strains of MMR vaccines three years before they were banned.’ The Scottish editions of the Daily Mail are not fully published on the internet. This was the official comment edited out of The Herald internet copy (but presumably still survives in published archive copies).

As AoA regular John Stone readers will know, Brian Deer recently presided over a Vaccine Marketing Conference in France, sponsored by Fondation Merioux. I think this confirms that Brian Deer has been bought and paid for by the pharma industry, something he has always been at pains to deny. Please point this out to the Hacked Off 'movers and shakers' too.
http://www.fondation-merieux.org/documents/en/conferences/2011/re-invigorating-immunization-policy-implementation-and-success-21-23-november-2011-programme.pdf
Deers French Conference
http://www.fondation-merieux.org/photo-gallery
http://www.vaccinestoday.eu/vaccines/social-media-shifting-vaccines-conversation/
Brian Deer at the conference

Thank you John. I know that you are very active 'behind the scenes' and it is important to keep up the information trail. We should all support this initiative.

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