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Another secret file on ME/CFS comes to light

Discussion in 'Action Alerts and Advocacy' started by Daisymay, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. Yogi

    Yogi

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    The link above states the file should be open on 10 April 2012 - ie. yesterday
  2. lnester7

    lnester7 Seven

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    So how does it work. Does one just request the document? how do you let somebody know is due to open it for the public???
  3. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Some can be downloaded online, but in this case you have to go down to the records office and view it personally; as the link says, you have to order it in advance so they can dig it out in preparation for your arranged visit to view it. I gather you get photographed and ID'd very carefully before getting in to see it. And as I understand it, you are bound by law not to reveal any details of what you see there. Eventually it can become available to view online, and I'm not sure but I think the decision to do that is at least partly based on the degree of interest in the document concerned; if enough people want to see it, they may eventually make it available online.
  4. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    So, some people have already seen it in person at Kew?

    If so then i figure that it cant be that bad. Else someone would have said something.

    If no one has seen it though then its a really interesting point. I would figure that the only way to get it sooner would be via the courts. So unless anyone has a stack of cash to burn on this then i dont think its likely to get out there.
    All very concerning though. The fact its 70 odd years suggests to me that they are looking at life expenctancy here. i.e. something in those documents contains something that would result in potential payout to people (probably us) and therefore they want it hidden until we are all DEAD.
  5. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    My comments apply to records in this status generally; I don't know whether anybody has viewed this one yet.
  6. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    Wow..that is weird.. so it will change to become a public document but those who see it, arent allowed to go and talk about it.
  7. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member

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    Before jumping to conclusions, is this typical of files on other diseases as well?
  8. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

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    Absolutely WRONG! (in terms of someone "speaking up")

    All such personnel in the UK, and indeed for tens of thousands of folk who shouldn't have been and were forced to sign to help hush crap up, signed the "Official Secrets Act"
    basically, you open your mouth, you go to jail, you do not get the luxury of an open fair trial, it is held "in camera" because its supposed to be "national security"
    Government will FUBAR you.

    90% of it's was complete bullcrap, as I've said, UK was the 3rd most secretive state in the World during Cold War, after Albania and North Korea, and I kid you not
    Such abuses of "national security" were used to hush up vast amounts of corruption, harm even murders, and just plain stupid crap

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Official_Secrets_Act

    Hence, such whistleblowers in UK have working-life expectancy of doughnut in a police convention :p
  9. Yogi

    Yogi

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    Is anyone in contact with DaisyMay or Margaret Williams so that they could be informed of the bringing forward of the date from 2072 to 2012??? Perhaps they could obtain this document?
  10. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Yes Snow Leopard, my understanding is that this is normal practice for declassified files in general (not just on diseases and medical matters, which the MRC's S Files deal with). Some are first declassified in the sense of being viewable in person by arrangement at Kew; sometimes portions of files are declassified; some are released and viewable online.

    When I reviewed the names of all the files in the S files (there are 5000 or so) my intention was to assess whether there was anything unusual about the ME files or whether there are similar files for every kind of disease, as one would expect if it is true that the files are classified simply because they contain confidential personal data from studies (ie. identifying specific individuals).

    My conclusion from reading through those 5000 or so titles was that there are many, many subjects covered, and many diseases or conditions, so there is nothing unique about ME in there - there are plenty of files relating to cancer for example - but it is abundantly clear from the titles that all the files in the S Files refer to matters that are genuinely 'sensitive' in the sense of containing inconvenient or dangerous information. Perhaps the major theme, if I were to sum it up, would seem to be 'potential and known harms to humans that we don't want to reveal'.

    There is a lot about radiation leaks, there is lots about industrial diseases of various kinds (eg effects of dust on mine workers' health, analysis of steel foundry workers health, effects of vibrations at certain frequencies on human health, etc etc), lots about vaccines, and a big section on research into residents of Tristan de Cunha (famous for immunity problems in the population including a flu outbreak, which have generally been attributed to the geographical isolation of the population before they were exposed to the outside world when evacuated).

    The titles are well worth reading through IMO, to get a sense of what the 'S Files' section, that these ME files are in, is all about. One could not reasonably conclude from such a reading that the contents of the ME file are likely to be confidential merely because they happen to mention patients' names from studies (as implied by parliamentary answers). Clearly this section is not simply a database of all studies that contain patient data, so there is clearly something more than just that in the files to explain their classified status, but the ME files are a drop in the ocean in the files in general, and do not seem to be treated in any way that is particularly different from the rest of this classified archive. It is the contents of the archive as a whole that are interesting.

    Some analysis and re-indexing of these titles of classified files would be a very worthwhile exercise, I think. One can only page through 20 files at a time, as I recall, so it takes ages and ages to get to files in the middle of the 5000 - but they do have dedicated links, so these links could be indexed by someone else in a much more user-friendly way, I think. And some of the titles are intriguing and even revealing. For example one is titled something along the lines of "effects of an accidental radiation leak at an address in central london" some time in the 50s or 60s and the title even gives the address. Other files are dated and mention testing of radiation levels in wales and elsewhere; some clearly seem to relate to known radiation leaks from nuclear power stations which were kept quiet, for a period of time at least. Comparison of the dates of such files with known incidents could be interesting.

    My personal feeling is that analysis of the files as a whole, and pursuit of specific files, and then analysis of the relative responses to declassifying them, would at least enable some tentative conclusions to be drawn as to the likely contents, and would perhaps be a more likely way of figuring out just what kind of information has been locked up until 2071 than an attempt to get the specific files declassified - any earth-shattering information simply won't be declassified, but the patterns of the documents should point at what kind of information is probably contained there. There is a large and very worthwhile project there to analyse, investigate, and publicise the nature of the existence of the files in this archive. It would be a good web site...but a full time job...

    As an(other) aside, I also think it could plausibly be useful to use selected links to this archive to point out, to any scientist who demands an 'evidence-based' approach and rejects any comment which lacks evidence or which sounds to him like a conspiracy theory, that not all of the scientific evidence is available even to scientists. A very great deal of relevant evidence is selectively controlled and kept secret from scientists (by both the state and by private industrial interests) and therefore the mere existence of these secret documents proves that the evidence available to scientists is and always has been very tightly controlled. This being the case, then science itself, and the state of our scientific knowledge, is in turn very much controlled, and it has been for a very long time. It seems to me that this fact completely undermines the notion that it is reasonable to consider the publicly available scientific information to be the sole body of evidence which a reasonable person should use as their objective and impartial reference in the search for truth. Instead, one is obliged to go beyond that, and explore the question of what is kept hidden from us, by whom, and why - otherwise, science is reduced to little more than a tool for the manipulation of 'truth' by the powerful.

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