Write to Hacked Off about Brian Deer and Evan Harris in Wakefield British Medical Journal Affair
Managing Editor's Note: From the Hacked Off site:
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. The summer revelations relating to Milly Dowler and others convinced the public and the political world of the need for such an inquiry and we did all we could to ensure that it was given powers to tackle all the issues effectively.
Now the inquiry is established and the terms of reference are fixed, Hacked Off will campaign for a new independent system that:
• Makes news outlets, editors and journalists properly accountable for what they publish
• Has the powers and the remit to do investigations into issues of public concern
• Has adequate, meaningful and proportionate sanctions and redress
• Is transparent about its process, funding and decisions
• Prevents the dominance of over-powerful media organisations
• Ensures transparency in dealings between politicians, the police, public servants and the media
• Provides adequate and accessible privacy protection
• Protects journalism that is in the public interest
We have asked them to investigate whether similar "hacking" has taken place in the Dr. Andrew Wakefield MMR British Medical Journal story that has lead to a lawsuit by Dr. Wakefield. To date, no response.
Write today to Hacked Off asking them to explain the presence of former Liberal-Democrat Member of Parliament 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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please use the form letter below.
Martin Moore, Director Media Standards Trust and Hacked Off
Dear Mr Moore,
Following John Stone's series of articles in Age of Autism (http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/01/contagion-and-cnn-dr-sanjay-guptas-pretend-interviews-in-hollywood-and-real-life.html , http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/01/media-standards-trust-and-hacked-off-director-martin-moore-stonewalls-over-evan-harris-and-brian-dee.html & http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/01/evan-harris-distances-himself-from-brian-deer-position-remains-untenable.html ) we are concerned about Hacked Off's public role. Hacked Off was purportedly started to support ordinary citizens in the UK who had become the victims of unethical and invasive journalism particularly at the hands of the Murdoch owned press, and to support them at the Leveson Inquiry, set up to investigate these matters by British Prime Minister, David Cameron.
It is troubling therefore after many representations that Hacked Off has failed to express concern about the ethical breaches of Brian Deer's MMR investigation detailed in the second of Stone's articles, and has accepted demonstrably false assurances by Hacked Off advisor Evan Harris that he was not involved in that investigation (Stone's third article).
Hacked Off have been provided with evidence that as recently as last year Harris regarded himself as participant in Deer's investigation stating in a BMJ article in relation to the events of February 2004:
“Within a week [after receiving a telephone call from Deer] we were in the Lancet offices explaining to a stunned editorial team what lay behind that fateful 1998 paper.”
Harris wrote an editorial in the Sunday Times supporting Deer's initial allegations against Wakefield (http://www.bmj.com/content/328/7438/528.full ) and on 15 March 2004 led a debate on MMR and autism referencing material "released to the Sunday Times by the strategic health authority" (http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/2004/mar/15/mmr-vaccinations-and-autism ).
It therefore appears that Harris was deeply involved in the investigation, and we look forward to your explanation of why Hacked Off still accepts his word now that he was not.
As to the Deer's investigation itself Hacked Off has been provided with webpages in which Deer published the names of children participant in the Lancet paper in 2004-6. It has been provided with evidence that Deer's own words that his editor at the Sunday Times had an agenda (http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c672.extract ). It has been provided with corroboration Deer himself that he indulged in the practice known as blagging (using a false identity when conducting interviews) in the course of the investigation (http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2011/07/another-manufactured-controversy/#comment-187655 ). It has seen statements from Deer indicating he had accessed confidential documents in the MMR litigation belonging to litigant families (http://briandeer.com/wakefield/jabs-cruelty.htm & http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2011/07/another-manufactured-controversy/#comment-187655 ) , and that he came to a secret arrangement with General Medical Council not to be named in the proceedings against Dr Wakefield and colleagues (http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/3362116/a-deer-in-the-headlights.thtml ).
So far Hacked Off has failed to respond to any of these issues and is just blanking enquiries.
It therefore seems that Hacked Off are operating double standards and there are some breaches of journalistic ethics and citizens' rights that it does not wish to be brought to light. Nor is it possible to understand the MMR affair unless these buried matters are finally addressed. Please will you address them now and make a statement.
I am so sorry!
The boss has no compassion at all?
What a jerk.
There are a lot of doctors that have been caught up in this mess too because they too believe vaccines were so very safe and there was a conspiracy of silence - just as you described.
Take heart, you know the truth - and you are not alone..
Posted by: Benedetta | February 05, 2012 at 01:50 PM
It is my most heart felt wish that the people spreding lies about what his really happened to the innocent children who have suffered so much at the hands of those who poisoned them with vaccines will be held accountable. They must face up to the fact that they have caused unbelieveable harm to these kids and their families. There are so many teenagers now who are totally disabled because of this. I have worked nonstop for 16 and a half years trying to give my desparately ill son some kind of quality of life. I understand that I will die trying to help him all I can with no help from anyone due to the collusion of the US government, pharmaceutical companies, my insurance, The AMA, and even my employer who frequently takes my into the office to yell at me and keep me terrified that if I say anything about my son at my hospital job I will be fired. If you have this power over your employee you can shut them up. I am afraid that my son and I are forgotten and left alone to face our difficult lives. I look forward to the day our lives are over and we can finally rest in peace.
Posted by: Loraine Fishel | February 05, 2012 at 08:33 AM
John ,along with winning the lottery, then you know you have it all, never mind your face on the cover of "Rolling Stones Album"...I also aspire to be on the top line of Goldacre`s hate list... Deer hate list these days will do....
Posted by: Angus Files | January 14, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Thanks John! Ben Goldacre's cloying tribute did not prevent Evan Harris's constituents in 2010, voting him off his previous position as Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon. Amongst other things, Dr Harris used his privileged position as an MP to attempt to have Dr Wakefield prosecuted (on what grounds I have no idea since there weren't any). Evan Harris was also on the 2006 panel of judges which awarded Ben Goldacre the prize for best feature article during 2005.
Posted by: Jenny Allan | January 14, 2012 at 01:17 PM
It is an interesting interview but there are other sources for the sheer extent of Harris's involvement in Deer's investigation, which went way beyond mere advice. It is altogether comical that he is now saying he wasn't involved (a politician through and through) but he was, up to his ears.
I have just been looking up Ben Goldacre's attempt to rescue Harris's re-election campaign in 2010:
"It’s the election tomorrow and I want to ask your help to get one MP re-elected for the good of science in the UK. In an era when so many of our elected politicians have acted out of self-interest, dipping their fingers in the till, Evan Harris has stood out by being smart, hard-working and informed, but more than that, by being genuinely brave in taking on causes in science and human rights that many believe in, but few would have the guts to stand up for.Recently we were comparing hate mail, and it occurred to me that you could only really pay tribute to the vital contribution Evan has made by listing all the groups who despise him, and the vicious hate campaigns they have mounted. The antivaccination conspiracy theorists hate him, because he drove for more and better evidence on the MMR and autism hoax, and helped expose it through the GMC..."
Mind you, it is Goldacre that expresses himself in terms of hate (which is pretty much how the "science" business works these days).
PS Quite an honour to be at the head of Goldacre's hate list - the reference being to my two articles during the campaign on AoA. But we certainly were not on the streets of Oxford East and Abingdon like the other campaigners mentioned in the article.
Posted by: John Stone | January 14, 2012 at 09:27 AM
Evan Harris LIVE!!
Dr Harris is discussing Brian Deer and the Wakefield MMR issues with then fellow MP 'gorgeous' George Galloway!! This was recorded in February 2010. Anyone in any doubt about Dr Harris's involvement with Brian Deer should listen to this. Harris tells it himself!!
From the recording:-
Harris - " I was consulted by that journalist (Brian Deer) and gave him advice on some of the ethical issues and some of the scientific matters and I was pleased to see that the case went to the GMC because its another chance to make clear that this was FORESIGHT at best and unfortunate science at worst and the ethics of the research were terrible."
Yes Dr Harris. If ONLY our UK Government, of which you were a part, had acknowledged Dr Wakefield's FORESIGHT, instead of vilifying him, his colleagues and his research. Dr Harris also refers to what he calls 'unethical' experimentation on human beings, jumping to conclusions, (There were NO conclusions in the 1998 Lancet paper; this myth has been perpetrated by the paper's detractors including Evan Harris),and the dangers of people rejecting vaccines and resorting to 'quack' treatments. (Again it was the UK Government which withdrew the single vaccine choice from the British people).
Posted by: Jenny Allan | January 14, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Reading Deer's article in Nature - does that not count as prejudicing the upcoming legal hearings?
Posted by: GH | January 13, 2012 at 09:23 AM
Brian Deer responds to Dr. Lewes.
I have made a comment
Posted by: Isabella Thomas | January 13, 2012 at 07:11 AM
"And let's face it who can stop us parents from demanding the truth?"
Thank God for parents like you Isabella, and for internet sites like Age of Autism.
Justice and truth ALWAYS prevail in the end.
Posted by: Jenny Allan | January 13, 2012 at 06:22 AM
I hope 'Hacked-off' are inundated with letters which they will have to answer. They must be worried now as Professor Walker-Smith's court hearing is coming up in February and Dr. Wakefield is suing in the USA. There will be a lot of disclosures then which will shock the world!
And let's face it who can stop us parents from demanding the truth? There are too many of us now who have very sick children and young adults struggling to cope in this hard world without any help after being sacrificed for the 'greater good'.
Posted by: Isabella Thomas | January 13, 2012 at 05:46 AM
Terrific thank you John. Have emailed them.
Posted by: Seonaid | January 13, 2012 at 05:45 AM
Done ,thanks for the draft
Dear Mr Moore,
Martin Moore, Director Media Standards Trust and Hacked Off
I wrote to you previously and have still to receive a satisfactory response to date only a cursory reply.Failure to reply is a blatant double standard precisely what Hacked Off are meant to be investigating others for. I have exactly the same concerns detailed below by AOA.
I look forward to your reply.
Following John Stone's series of articles in Age of Autism
Posted by: Angus Files | January 13, 2012 at 04:01 AM
Cut, copied, pasted and e-mailed to all three above addresses. It took me about three minutes. Terrific letter John. Moore & co have ignored my previous e-mails. Let's give 'em an avalanche!!
In the UK we are ALL 'hacked off' by the ridiculous amount of influence that these sinister autonomous organisations like the Media Standards Trust and the Science Media Group have over our UK press and media coverage.
Fiona Fox CEO of the Science Media Centre since 2002 has only a mediocre degree in journalism and absolutely NO medical or scientific qualifications whatsoever. She is a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and her colourful journalistic past includes pieces denying the massacres in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia. Her own honesty and ethics are extremely questionable; she was recently caught out attempting to introduce false evidence into an industrial tribunal which found in favour of a person employed by a UK Member of Parliament:-
"EXTRACT: Fox's own journalism might suggest that she is none too fussy about either truth or openness when it comes to pushing her agenda. It is perhaps revealing that someone whose own journalism has been called 'shoddy' and 'an affront to the truth', and who has proved enormously controversial, has been selected as the director of an organisation which claims the role of making sure that controversial scientific issues like GM crops are reported accurately in the media."
This ghastly woman was recently in Canada promoting the formation of similar organisations elsewhere in the world. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!
"The success of the U.K. Science Media Centre under the leadership of Fiona Fox, has inspired other SMCs – in Australia, New Zealand and, now, in Canada."
Posted by: Jenny Allan | January 13, 2012 at 03:15 AM