Lisa Blakemore-Brown from Autism Rights has provided a comprehensive transcript of her talk at the Convention in the ‘Child’s Play’ session, including further discussion around topic and a comprehensive appendix.
Distortion, Denial and Destruction: New Labour Legacy for Children with Disabilities and their Families
I welcomed the opportunity to represent the Autism Rights group at this important event. Much of what I had to tell those who attended the Children’s Session, Chaired by Sabina Frediani of Liberty was probably new to them. In effect, my short talk was my own witness statement to violations of Human Rights and Civil Liberties in relation to families, especially families with children who are autistic or suffer from other disabilities; and unremitting retaliation by the Government to prevent such violations being proven. The end result being ongoing damage to families and their disabled children which one could never imagine would happen in our so called advanced age.
Speakers had only 10 minutes and I am grateful for being allowed a bit more time, but there is so much to say that I have added some information to this write up on topics which I could not elaborate on. Where this has been done the added information is in italics or mentioned as new. This is not therefore a transcript or a predetermined speech.
Various documents were taken to the event and copied for interested parties to read. These included articles written by me and others over the course of the last 11 years – since this Government came to power – representing various efforts to make the public aware of what has been happening and to trigger policy changes to limit the damage and ensure these atrocities never happened again. Other documents were provided to delegates at the Convention to support what may be seen as controversial assertions. (See Appendix)
Gross Miscarriages Of Government
Back in 1996 I was an Expert Witness in a Court case involving autistic spectrum hyperactive identical twin girls who had been born at 26 weeks gestation in 1984. The behaviour of the twins, one in particular, was so difficult for the mother to manage especially with two other younger children, that she threatened to sue the authorities if they had missed the nature of the twins’ problem. This triggered an allegation of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP) – that she was fabricating or inducing the children’s behaviours/illnesses. What became clear to me was that Social workers, the Court and other professionals were being groomed by perverted logic to see real disorders and symptoms of real illness as child abuse. Henry Porter has just written an example of exactly what I saw starting to happen all those years ago and was unable to stop. See Lyndsey Craig case in Persecuting the Innocent, February 2009.
Another Expert Witness in the twins’ case in 1996 was Dr David Southall who claimed that they were “perfectly normal”. This was patently not the case and I became increasingly troubled by this view and the distorted thinking behind MSBP which spread like wild fire through the whole system blaming the mother, resulting in the removal of four children in the UK. It’s potential to do the same to just about anyone was palpably obvious, through cognitive distortion and the influence of high powered medics.
The two youngest children were indeed perfectly normal, as they had been born at the expected time and did not suffer from the health problems experienced by their very premature older sisters. The Social Worker response to this was that the young ones would turn out the same as the older ones if they stayed with their mother! This was of course impossible. These children were rapidly put up for adoption. When I mentioned my deepening concerns about all this to someone in the new Labour Government I was told “You need to know Tony’s position on adoption”. As we were to discover, Tony Blair was very keen to increase the number of adoptions of children in care and to help achieve this goal, social work departments were paid bonuses depending on how many adoptions they could deliver. Such speedy fast tracking for desperate children in appalling homes previously stuck for many years in care is of course commendable, but what if the parents were innocent and the children wrongly taken? They would never go home again. How would this affect those children for the rest of their lives? The more I saw within the Social Services and Court system, even the educational system caught up in the hysteria, and the more shocked and sickened I became. It felt like fascism. My colleague, Charles Pragnell, Independent Consultant Social Worker, saw the same thing developing. He said to me one day “Lisa, this is you and me”.
Our fears and concerns and those of others were proven right time and time again. The more obvious this became, the more we were proven right and the more punitive and defensive were the actions of this Government. Refusing to ever accept fault, as if that were not bad enough, it took the cynical opportunity with every criticism and exposure of error, to twist criticism in order to develop distorted policies and Guidance. This was then further embedded deeper and deeper into the system as the Government sought out increasingly more creative ways of preventing such exposures and criticisms from happening again. The methods are pathological. Gross miscarriages of justice have occurred time and time again and tens of thousands of children with disabilities and their families have been affected. The brainwashing has been honed to the point that, yes, as Charles said “it’s you and me”. Anyone can now accuse anyone of abuse and the system will roll out its well practised methods to rush in to blame innocent families and deny the disabled child not only of its family in the worse case scenarios but of its right to acceptance of its disability and the treatments and educational support which should follow. The Convention on Modern Liberty has emerged through similar fears as the same kind of atrocities have been increasingly seen across the UK in a multitude of forms.
Months after the case ended I developed Grade 3 breast cancer and often wondered if it was the shock of what happened in that case which triggered the cancer. It made me all the more determined to see justice done and I took part in a New Zealand documentary and travelled to New Zealand to try to avert further disasters happening over there, after the mother and new husband tried to start a new life. Social Workers travelled to New Zealand and ultimately the mother lost two more children and her life was destroyed. See Hidden David Southall MSBP Film Internet Released
At the time I was also Chair of a group of Psychologists, all Members of The British Psychological Society, advising Jack Straw on Parenting issues. I wrote to him, to Norman Warner, now Lord Warner ex Director of Kent Social Services to alert them to what was going on. I informed them that the mother in question was planning to go to Strasbourg to the European Courts as her Human Rights and those of her children had been profoundly violated. Jack Straw said he was interested in what New Zealand did and that there was no need to go to Europe as he was planning to bring in Human Rights legislation to this country. He was also not shocked, as he should have been. I felt very uneasy.
I was a witness in the Griffiths Inquiry, which was examining various aspects of Dr Southall’s work, my evidence specifically on MSBP. The result of which was that the Government should set up a Working Party to ensure the correct identification of MSBP. The outcome was a gross distortion of this recommendation leading to Guidelines rolled out across the country to thousands of workers. See The Consensus Report, Family Law Reform.
Years passed and over that time I wrote to many civil servants and other Ministers, including Jacqui Smith who was Health Minister when the appalling MSBP Guidelines were being brought in and in which Autism symptoms were being re-defined as child abuse. I wrote a book and what happened to that is a story in itself. See Reweaving the Autistic Tapestry: Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD and a number of articles. Examples were taken to the Convention on Modern Liberty.
I spoke at the first conference to question the use of MSBP thinking in Sydney, Australia in 2004 and on the television and radio, and to MP’s and Members of the House of Lords, all to no avail. See The Pseudo-Science Of MSBP, Malice In Wonderland, Lisa Blakemore Brown, University Of Western Sydney February 4th and 5th 2004. What began to happen, instead of a Government listening to a former adviser, was that I began to face allegations through the British Psychological Society. This went on for years and I had to sell my home to pay for the legal fees.
The British Psychological Society, in its desperation after I won against it in 2002, started to accuse me of being paranoid and was able to bring in a helpful Psychiatrist who had never met me to agree. Fascism indeed. I ultimately won against that allegation too, but all of this took up many years and nine Hearing days and has caused irreversible damage.
Others who do their duty by attempting to alert the public to miscarriages of justice have also faced attack. Jane Bryant of the One Click health advocacy pressure group website faced the Police entering her home and threats to take her into custody and her son into care if she did not allow them to take her computer and sign a waiver form. Since the talk at the Convention of Modern Liberty she has received a legal letter from Dr David Salisbury for daring to publish a complaint to the GMC about him and an essay about the vaccine scandal. See UK Government Vaccines Director Threatens Legal Action Against One Click.
Basic Support For Disabled Children Denied
Over time vastly increased numbers of children have been recognised as having autism and related immune system disorders/ME etc and the incidence has grown rapidly. Parents have to fight Local Education Authorities for basic support and treatment has been denied to the majority who claim their children reacted to vaccines, even when they can prove that biomedical methods have worked. Other professionals have been so appalled by the terrible struggle for parents even to get basic special educational needs met, vaccine damaged or not, that they have left the system and some have left the country in disgust. See US child expert quits Britain over ‘hidden crisis’ in special needs, The Observer.
In the worst case scenarios these reactions are called abuse and children could then easily be removed from the family in secret family courts where cognitive distortions and miscarriages of justice can go unchecked. This has led to persistent calls for changes in Family Law. Jack Straw has announced that there will be changes but a journalist at the Independent, Matthew Bell, spotted a fatal flaw – at the same time as announcing changes to allow the Press into these courts Jack Straw also announced that he would be reversing Clayton versus Clayton – thereby preventing anyone from being named by telling their story to a journalist, thus making a criminal of every child or family (and the journalist) who is named in a story about their experiences in the Family Courts. See Justice Ministry to bar parents from telling their own stories, Matthew Bell, The Independent, 15 February 2009. Mr Straw was giving freedom with one hand and taking it away with the other.
For those who have been wrongly taken into care with real illness or disorders morphed into child abuse, we can only guess at how their lives progress without the understanding and support they need, but I was able to see both sides in the first case as I met the most damaged child when she turned 17. As she had been regarded as abused and perfectly normal, her bizarre behaviours, learning difficulties and poor co-ordination were seen as a result of the “abuse”. No-one could change that by putting her in a “good home” because that wasn’t the reason for her problems. So extraordinary methods were put in place to rid her of her “demons”. These included real abuse such as swinging her from trees, throwing her downstairs and smashing her fingers in a door. Other forms of abuse were suspected and eventually the child was placed with another foster parent – but only after she ran away many times. The Police were never informed by Social Workers about this abuse in care. When l informed them they did nothing.
In 2005 I also provided information to a Cross Party Parliamentary project (Consensus) to encourage the Government to look again at its MSBP methods – now spreading wildly as its name was changed to FII (Factitious and Induced Illness) and it became clear that even that name was no longer needed as children could be regarded as emotionally abused with ease thanks to Government policy and training. The lengthy and highly well referenced document sets out clearly how Social Policy had been misdirected. Even this initiative, sent throughout Whitehall in 2005 was thwarted. See The Consensus Report, Family Law Reform.
Meanwhile other information came to light. I was informed that the twins in that first case had been in a Dr Southall study and from other sources knew that Dr Southall was involved with vaccination population studies with Cot Death charities. Of course identical twins would be very useful in any study as one would be used as the experimental twin and the other the control. This would also explain the difference in the children’s neurological status, which I knew all about as I had assessed them. It could also throw light on why the mother had to be so brutally silenced and hounded across the world.
Vaccines – Adverse Reactions
Then came the astonishing revelation through a Freedom of Information request that Professor Sir Roy Meadow had been on the JCVI Joint Sub Committee on Adverse Reactions to Vaccines and Immunisation alongside Dr Elizabeth Miller and Dr David Salisbury from the then named DHSS. See Professor Roy Meadow and Professor David Salisbury at the Joint Sub-Committee On Adverse Reactions To Vaccines And Immunisation held on 6 July 1987 at lO.30am in Room 1611/12 Market Towers. The meeting notes were headed as ‘commercial’ and ‘in confidence’. MMR and DTP adverse reactions were discussed.
Of course Drs David Southall and Meadow are well known for promoting MSBP with Professor Sir Roy Meadow being the architect of the distorted theory. To find him in a Committee in which adverse reactions to vaccinations were openly discussed with specific case details – especially as many of the so called symptoms of child abuse could be adverse reactions to vaccines – was shocking.
The profoundly worrying implications are that powerful medics have been aware of adverse reactions and have ensured, through Government crossing of boundaries, that public health, social work , legal and education policy and training has distorted thinking and put in place draconian measures to blame parents and deny many children’s illnesses, and in some cases children’s deaths. In the Sally Clark case, questions have been raised as to why all the lawyers were told not to raise vaccine issues even though one of the children had been vaccinated just hours earlier. I recall in that very first MSBP case wondering why a “cot death” specialist (Dr Southall) was swimming in my sea – ASD and hyperactivity. Of course if children react to a vaccine but survive, it is not surprising that gradually over time other problems could emerge linked to that adverse reaction. See What killed Sally Clark’s child? Neville Hodgkinson asks why the jury in the Sally Clark trial was told to discount the DTP jab given to her second child, Harry, just five hours before he was found dead. Neville Hodgkinson, The Spectator 16th May 2007,
I am aware of a number of parents whose children reacted to vaccine who were subsequently wrongly blamed for the adverse reaction instead of admitting that this was iatrogenic abuse not child abuse. Professors Sir Roy Meadow and David Southall were involved with a number of them.
The meetings of the JCVI are commercial and not published and there are known links to the pharmaceutical industry. New legislation coming into force very soon will have people on these committees dictating to the Government on vaccines. Copies of the announcement of this legislation were taken to the Modern Liberty Convention.
At the time of the conference the following article had not been written: Jab Makers Linked To Vaccine Programme, Lucy Johnston, Sunday Express, 8 March 2009.
There are so many cases of children who have reacted to vaccines who have never been able to get recognition of their illness whether in the form of compensation or support and in some cases they have found themselves in the prison system and on psychotropic drugs separated from their family. A case mentioned in the reading of the Cheryl Gillan Bill in Parliament just the day before the conference was that of Piers Bolduc. He reacted to a booster vaccination as a teenager and developed Asperger Syndrome. Without appropriate understanding or support he ended up in Broadmoor on psychotropic medications and his parents were prevented from seeing him for 12 years. Finally, it looks as if he has been placed in the appropriate placement after all these years. (See What can be done with people with Aspergers? We hear the story of Piers Bolduc – a man with Aspergers who’s been in Broadmoor for 13 years after being misdiagnosed with schizophrenia, You and Yours, Radio 4, 13/09/07.)
Jodie Marchant, 17 years old, was featured in the Mail on Sunday during the week of the Convention. See NHS blunders are behind a spate of ‘vaccine overloads’, Beezy Marsh and Jo Macfarlane, Daily Mail, 21st February 2009. Jodie had been given a cocktail of 7 vaccinations at once and was left brain damaged and with a gut disorder. Parents could not complain to the GMC about the GP who ordered the vaccine as they said there was not enough research into the vaccine – if there was not enough research then the vaccine should never have been given. Jodie’s parents have been thwarted at every turn legally despite a portfolio of evidence that the vaccination caused the damage to their daughter. Jodie’s tragic case has raised awareness of the frightening possibility of multiple thousands of children reacting badly to being given the wrong vaccines quite apart from those who react to the “right” ones. The JCVI has been able to keep the lid on adverse reactions for more than two full decades – at what terrible cost to the children and their families? Jodie’s parents email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Blaming Parents Government Policy
With the sterling efforts of this Government, distorted policy affecting these and other disabled children has damaged them all the more, in many cases by falsely blaming innocent parents and also by denying the real problems suffered by the children, therefore blocking the way to any services, compensation and support they should be given.
If the system fails to admit why children are ill/suffer from disorders, or even that they have the illnesses and disorders, these children will not be supported through appropriate health and educational support and can so easily become those on the streets with the ASBO’S, the knives and getting hit by Tasers etc. Any workers involved with children in trouble need to establish if they have an ASD condition.
Autism Rights has recognised these creeping violations over many years and produced briefing papers and I would like to say thank you to them for wanting me to represent them in London. Thank you also to Sabina Frediani at Liberty and the Convention for the opportunity to speak and for giving the children and their families a voice.
1. Innocence is no protection against the Government’s laws, February 2009, Number One, Modern Liberty Convention.
2. Hidden David Southall MSBP Film Internet Released. This is the Award winning film of disgraced paediatrician David Southall and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy recently uploaded to YouTube that the British Establishment has not wanted you to see for the last ten years.
3. The Consensus Report, Family Law Reform. Mismanagement: Social and Family Policy.
4. Reweaving the Autistic Tapestry: Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD, Lisa Blakemore Brown, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, ISBN NO. 1853027480.
5. The Pseudo-Science Of MSBP, Malice In Wonderland, Lisa Blakemore Brown, University Of Western Sydney, Australia February 4th and 5th 2004.
6. Sydney Talk, Charles Pragnell. A Paper presented to an International Conference in Sydney, Australia on 4/5 February 2004 to examine problems in child protection systems and procedures internationally, and to discuss the need for reforms.
7. Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, Lisa Blakemore Brown, The Psychologist, September 1997.
8. False illness in children – or simply false accusations?, Lisa Blakemore Brown, The Therapist, Volume 5, No 2 – Spring 1998.
9. UK Government Vaccines Director Threatens Legal Action Against One Click , Jane Bryant, The One Click Group, 4 March 2009.
10. US child expert quits Britain over ‘hidden crisis’ in special needs, Anushka Asthana, 30 July 2006, The Observer.
11. Justice Ministry to bar parents from telling their own stories, Matthew Bell, The Independent, 15 February 2009.
12. Professor Roy Meadow and Professor David Salisbury at the Joint Sub-Committee On Adverse Reactions To Vaccines And Immunisation held on 6 July 1987 at lO.30am in Room 1611/12 Market Towers.
13. What killed Sally Clark’s child?, Neville Hodgkinson, The Spectator 16th May 2007.
14. Jab Makers Linked To Vaccine Programme, Lucy Johnston, Sunday Express, 8 March 2009.
15. What can be done with people with Aspergers? We hear the story of Piers Bolduc – a man with Aspergers who’s been in Broadmoor for 13 years after being misdiagnosed with schizophrenia, You and Yours, Radio 4, 13/09/07.
16. NHS blunders are behind a spate of ‘vaccine overloads’, Beezy Marsh and Jo Macfarlane Daily Mail, 21st February 2009.
17. Ministers told child harm theory was flawed, Jamie Doward, The Observer
18. Summary Of Glasgow Modern Liberty Convention Event, Across Britain 28 February 2009, Fiona Sinclair, Autism Rights.