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UK Science Media Centre, RCP, and press silence on XMRV

Discussion in 'Media, Interviews, Blogs, Talks, Events about XMRV' started by Dx Revision Watch, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Suzy Chapman dxrevisionwatch.com

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    Moderator Note: This thread was spun off from the thread on Media Coverage of Dr Alter's NIH Paper:

    http://www.forums.aboutmecfs.org/sh...H-paper-post-stories-here&p=119450#post119450



    I'm a bit out of touch with this thread but if this has already been posted in this or another thread, shout and I'll delete it.

    Science Media Centre (SMC) Press Release


    23 August 2010

    http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/pages/press_releases/10-08-23_cfs_virus_pnas.htm

    Expert reaction to PNAS study on virus sequences found in blood of chronic fatigue syndrome patients

    This research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences purports to find a link between a virus and chronic fatigue syndrome, although this is not the same virus as that implicated in similar recent discoveries.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Prof Robin Weiss, Professor of Viral Oncology, University College London, said:

    "The paper by Lo and colleagues in PNAS claims an association between a retrovirus of mice and human chronic fatigue syndrome. It is based on small numbers but it will provoke discussion. Let's hope it is not another claim like MMR and autism which didn't hold up, but I am sceptical of the claim. Different primers were used for the CFS samples and the controls in Figure 1 and the analysis does not appear to have been performed using blinded samples. Remarkably, the mouse retrovirus is not the same as the one linked to CFS in a report published last year. One should also bear in mind that no less than 4 negative reports on this topic (failing to find a retrovirus link) have been published this year from reputable scientific groups in the UK, The Netherlands and at the Center for Communicable Diseases & Prevention in Atlanta, USA."

    Prof Myra McClure, Professor of Retrovirology & Honorary Consultant in GU Medicine, Imperial College London, said:

    "The paper by Lo et al, communicated by Harvey Alter, is bound to baffle both virologists and CFS patients alike. In the first place, it is important to realise that this group have not detected the virus (XMRV) that claimed media attention after the publication of Lombardi's paper in Science last year. They describe murine leukaemia virus (MLV)-related sequences that are genetically distinct from XMRV. The second mystifying aspect of this paper is that, just as in the Science paper, these new virus sequences seem very easy to detect (after only single round PCR). Several other groups, including the CDC in Atlanta, have employed the same experimental protocol, yet have consistently failed to detect any retrovirus in CFS patients. In carrying out such studies it is always important that test samples and control samples are randomised prior to analysis and that they are tested blind. It would be reassuring to know that this was the case with this study. In view of the controversy that this paper will inevitably generate, the authors are sensibly cautious about the significance of their findings with respect to CFS."

    Detection of MLV-related virus gag gene sequences in blood of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and healthy blood donors, by Lo et al., published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    To contact the above please contact the Science Media Centre on 020 7670 2980

    Note for editors


    The Science Media Centre (SMC) is an independent venture working to promote voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 50 sponsors including scientific institutions, media groups, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the running costs to preserve its independence. The team at the Centre is guided by a respected Scientific Panel and Board of Advisors. This press release contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged; which represent neither the views of the SMC nor any other organisation unless specifically stated.

    For more details see our website www.sciencemediacentre.org, please e-mail the Science Media Centre with your comments.
  2. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    To be quite clear: the above press release is the reason the story was not reported in the UK press.

    There is plenty of disinformation here to debunk, and there's also a clue to the 'thinking' of those in the UK who are sceptical. My firm impression is that there are widespread prejudices at play, based on the principles of "judging a book by its cover", "guilt by association" and "this can't be right". Also on distrust from the public-sector approach of the UK towards US private medicine. I really get the feeling from multiple sources that they simply haven't looked into this in any depth, or tried to answer their own questions (eg by contacting the WPI) because they simply don't think it's worth wasting time on. Finally, an attitude that "oh well if there's something in it the Americans can figure it out". But perhaps I'm being too kind - some of the distortions in this release are a little hard to excuse...

    I think this is worth debunking, expanding on, exploring, responding to.

    Who is Weiss and does he have an axe to grind? UCL, ICL and Wessely - just explained by them chatting to each other and forming an overall impression under his influence?

    Will comment on details of the release in a moment...
  3. bullybeef

    bullybeef Senior Member

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    Without meaning to repeat myself, the Science Media Centre is run by a former member of the Communist Revolutionary Party!

    In fact SW was a former member too. There are probably many people involved in the SMC whom have come from communistic ideologies.

    Also, why was this press release not printed by the press? Odd that they would post it on their website, and it not even be sourced. My guess is the press are now worried about trusting the SMC.

    Their director, Fiona Fox, used to write for the UK magazine, Living Marxism. They had some legal rows with the UK news outlet, ITN in the past. I would therefore trust ITN, before I would trust the BBC.

    I just think if the SMC are run by a bunch of commies, then the media most know. I also think the media are aware of XMRV, the PNAS paper and the recent discoveries, the problem is, whom do they get unbiased info from if they're loosing confidence in the SMC?

    XMRV has opened a can of worms, why else would Prof Robin Weiss mention the MMR/autism link? The SMC are obviously protecting its experts whom have the own agenda; they have falsified information for years, and are probably crapping their pants as we speak.
  4. fred

    fred The game is afoot

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    The Science Media Centre is a charity registered with the Charities Commission as The Royal Institution of Great Britain (charity number 227938).

    http://www.charity-commission.gov.u...steredCharityNumber=227938&SubsidiaryNumber=0

    Complaints can be made to the Charities Commission about a charity as follows.

    http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk.../Reporting_issues/General_public/default.aspx

    http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/About_us/Complaining/issues_we_want_to_know_about.aspx

  5. fred

    fred The game is afoot

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    Here are the SMC's funders. My emphasis.

    http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/pages/about/funding.htm

  6. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    How to beFUDdle the British Press

    FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt

    Prof Robin Weiss, Professor of Viral Oncology, University College London, said:


    Straight in there emphasising the small numbers (but not noticing things like the full gene sequencing of every positive - the sample size may have been small but the analysis was extremely detailed) and "it will provoke discussion" implying "wait for the outcome of the discussion".

    Now this is extraordinary! A quite ludicrous comparison - what on earth is the basis for bringing MMR-autism into it, right from the word go? How can he possibly justify indirectly comparing all these multiple eminent researchers to Andrew Wakefield??!!! It's a quite bizarre and suspicious thing to say.

    Already this demonstrates the line being taken. By drawing this sort of connection, all they have achieved as far as I'm personally concerned is leading me to suspect that there may be something in MMR-autism after all, which I had previously not considered likely at all. It's more of a hint to me that "we will have to debunk this as we did MMR-autism" and further suggests there may be connections between these bits of research at a technical level - that the MLVr science illuminates something that Wakefield was seeing.

    I sense a blinkered and beleaguered attitude from such reactions - the principle of "guilt by association" and a black-and-white view that sees anyone "outside the walls" who hangs out in similar circles as part of a big network of "alternative" science that is all automatically worthy of an extra level of distrust. And that this instinctive scepticism is blinding and unworthy of the dispassionate objectivity to which a scientist should aspire.

    How can it be that all this science has attracted the interest and support of such a large number of eminent and senior scientific figures in the US (notably Coffin and Alter, not to mention Silverman, Lo, Ruscetti, et al et al et al) if it is as dodgy as they make out? Quite insulting to those people really.

    Is it really the case that they used different primers for the CFS samples and controls?! Throughout? Or just in one part of the paper (and explained by detail, as I would presume)? This surely can't be right - it would be an obvious flaw if the CFS samples and controls were tested using different methodology - I simply can't imagine that this is the case in such a major study.

    Regarding the blinding, Alter has of course explained that they were tested side by side but the differential bandings are clearly visible to all in the printed results, so the blinding is a bit of a non-issue, although blinding is a very fundamental point to the sceptical UK scientists and the lack of it makes them very suspicious. Alter also explained that the positives were all sequenced to confirm the positives - so there's no real dispute that the sequences found by the tests represent something that is actually there.

    This is McClure's line (and by the way, the origin of some of the political controversy on this forum recently). "not the same virus" is the take-home message that McClure and others are keen to promote. As such, they are dishonest in not drawing attention to the extremely strong connection between the viruses, the fact that they are related and from the same family, and that the WPI are also finding the same family of viruses. They haven't dug deeper to find out why Dr Alter points out so strongly that his results are confirmatory, and why this divergence is typical and actually strengthens the retroviral association, in Alter's opinion. This pattern is typical of retroviral infection, he says.

    "reputable" is an interesting word here, since 3 of these 4 groups certainly do have a "reputation" in the field of ME/CFS research...to put it very mildly...

    It's a dishonest representation of these results to cite that they have "failed to find a link" when they have in fact all failed to demonstrate any capability whatsoever of being able to find the virus in vivo. Also I find it ironic that he carefully expands the CDC here into its very reputable-sounding full name - to emphasise its credibility. Sadly no explanation of who the FDA and NIH are and where they fit into US health policy.



    So in sum: Dr Weiss' analysis is highly selective and biased, picking out the headline aspects of fear, uncertainty and doubt in order to point the press away from the study - most especially, warning them not to risk anther Wakefield. What he has also succeeded in doing is turning the eyes of myself and others on to him personally - who is he and what interest does he have in downplaying this, I start to wonder? What function/role does he perform in the field of oncology, I start to ask myself...



    And so to our old friend and Wessely's, Prof. McClure...famous already for running wildly ahead of her own published research in her speculation about its meaning in the press, and for a certain notable swiftly-executed "failure to detect"...

    Prof Myra McClure, Professor of Retrovirology & Honorary Consultant in GU Medicine, Imperial College London, said:

    Let's start right in with the word "baffle" eh? Doubtless the journalists reading this don't want to be baffled...

    But hold on..."by Lo et al" and "communicated" by Dr Alter? I thought this was both Dr Alter's and Dr Lo's research? I thought there were two separate teams (FDA and NIH) involved in this work, one led by each of these two researchers? Has Dr Alter really done no more than communicate it, and is this an attempt to disassociate the eminent Dr Alter from the paper?

    True - but not very genetically distinct. Members of the same newly-discovered family of gammaretroviruses in fact. When emphasising this point of divergence between the viruses, it would seem only honest, fair and balanced to also explain the connections between the family of viruses, and the characteristics of retroviral infection that they represent.

    Following up "baffle" with "mystify". Hmm...who is the true mystifier here, I ask? FUD = Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt.

    Why is it mystifying that these brand new sequences "seem" easy to detect? Has anybody else looked for these new sequences yet? No.
    So why is it mystifying if they were easy to detect through single round PCR? And anyway - were they easy to detect? Can scientists on this board and elsewhere answer this question? Is this a dead easy operation, or might primers and sample preparation and other methodology be significant?

    I'm forced to concede that the absence of explicit randomisation and blinding procedures in both studies is a weakness. This omission is a significant issue that does sensibly provoke a degree of caution - the absence of blinding is indeed not reassuring. Whether it is always an important requirement for such studies, I'm not so sure, but I have to admit there is a valid point made here. (At long last). Since this comes at the end of the critique, my textual analysis suggests to me that this is the one valid question they have come up with - start with "baffle" and "mystify", proceed with various of your weakest counter-argments, and build up to the one reasonable point you have to make.

    Alter and Lo respond, regarding blinding, thus:

    What they are saying here I think is: pairs of samples side by side (donor and CFS) were studied by PCR, which I guess is actually a means of ensuring that for each pair of samples they both get the same treatment (barring a bias of the technician to systematically treat the two samples differently - admittedly a potential issue from the point of view of the outside observer).

    They are also saying: because the positive samples were then all sequenced, and not considered positive unless the sequencing confirmed that, this does mean that the samples found to be positive really were positive. Of course this doesn't rule out the possibility that the "negative" samples may also have contained undetected MLVs. But in comparison to those "reputable" groups who found nothing whatsoever anywhere...well, Alter and Lo's methods, blinded or not, confirm that there is clearly something in their samples, which they have sequenced.

    And to conclude this excellent piece of FUD, we have what may be the only realistic clue as to what is going on.

    Translation: Because the conclusions of this research are so extremely far-reaching and will generate huge "controversy", this is the reason for extreme caution. Actually, here they are saying that the paper's authors are being sensibly cautious for this reason - now, while that may be true, we have no way of interpreting what those authors' reasons for being sensibly cautious were, but personally I would say that surely all research papers should be and generally are sensibly cautious about extrapolating conclusions from their findings. Alter and Lo's caution does indeed point out carefully what has been and has not been shown. Their caution is appropriate and sensible - and one conclusion they reach is that they have "strongly confirmed" the WPI's findings of an association with retroviral infection in CFS patients.

    I would submit that the real persons who are being especially cautious - indeed being especially extra-cautious in their interpretation in view of the controversial implications of the research - are McClure and Weiss. Theirs is the bias, towards caution: they will demand unusually high standards of this research, because its implications are so significant and far-reaching. An extra burden of proof is imposed before the media should take up this story. In just the same fashion, in fact, that exceptional measures were already imposed on this study before its publication: a block on the paper just as it was about to go to press in order that Dr Alter may conduct specified extra experiments in order to be more certain that his results were valid.

    It's especially noteworthy that amongst those far-reaching conclusions are some very negative consequences for the reputation of McClure herself, and especially for the reputation and indeed career of her research collaborator Prof Simon Wessely. It is at least conceivable that these factors may be at least as "blinding" to true scientific objectivity as the methodology employed by the eminent Drs Alter and Lo in their work this year.

    The real question that this press release raises in the mind of an intelligent and sceptical observer is: "Just what have these people got to hide?"

    And it is extremely disappointing that while the rest of the world seems comfortable to release this news to the press and discuss and scrutinise it in the open light of public debate, in the UK, an "independent" body is able to dominate the agenda for the press using the analysis of researchers who themselves are very far from independent as to the truth or otherwise of the scientific findings.
  7. fred

    fred The game is afoot

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    Put this to the Charities Commission. Details in post #214.
  8. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I've just said something similar, but less detailed than this Mark.

    I quite agree that the MMR comparison is very interesting.
  9. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    I don't know where to start with this really - I hope somebody out there has access to the expertise to do this effectively?

    When doesnt the Commission get involved?

    Many of the complaints we receive are not for us and should be raised directly with the charity or with other bodies. The most common of these are:

    • Internal disagreements and disputes;
    • Services provided by the charity;
    • Fundraising methods;
    • Employment and unfair dismissal;
    • Disagreements with decisions;
    • Contracts and legal action against the charity;
    • Concerns about policies or actions taken by the trustees which are within their powers
    Would these be a reason that a complaint about a specific press release might not be considered? I would imagine that these press releases are their services.

    So a complaint to the commission would have to cover the SMC as a whole, no?

    An in depth investigation of the history of the SMC is certainly indicated, and the marxist philosophy and university connections of the key players here do indeed seem highly suspicious. But whether I personally can dedicate time just now to following up this issue of control of the media via the SMC, is another matter. I do hope that somebody reading this can do so.

    Don't believe what you read in the news, Great Britain...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDYPa-ioWCE
  10. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Suzy Chapman dxrevisionwatch.com

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    You have a reliable reference source for this, I take it, bullybeef?


    http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/pages/about/sap.htm

    science advisory panel

    Our science advisory panel is a prestigious group of scientists widely acknowledged as being at the top of their field, and who are committed to communicating science in the media. Their job is to advise the SMC when their area of science hits the headlines.

    Professor Chris Leaver FRS
    Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford

    Professor Mike Brady
    Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford

    Professor Sir George Alberti
    Department of Diabetes and Metabolism, University of Newcastle

    Professor Peter Atkins DSc
    Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford

    Professor Brian Johnson
    Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge

    Professor Sir John Krebs FRS
    Food Standards Agency and Department of Zoology, University of Oxford

    Professor Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE
    Director of The Royal Institution of Great Britain
    and Professor of Pharmacology, University of Oxford

    Professor Richard Catlow FRS
    Director of the Davy Faraday Research Laboratory and Department of Chemistry, University College, London

    Professor Steve Jones
    Department of Biology, University College, London

    Professor Simon Wessely
    Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London

    Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn-Smith FRS
    Former Provost and President of University College, London, and former Director General of CERN

    Professor Lord Robert Winston
    Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, and Hammersmith Hospital NHS Trust

    Professor Sir David King ScD FRS
    Chief Scientific Advisor to H. M. Government; Head of the Office of Science and Technology

    Professor Bill McGuire
    Benfield Hazard Research Centre, University College, London

    Professor Lord Julian Hunt FRS
    Department of Space and Climate Physics, University College, London

    Sir Richard Sykes DSc FRS*
    Rector of Imperial College of Science, Technology and
    Medicine, London


    Ed: Note, not the Dr Richard Sykes former Director of Westcare who had been the co-ordinator of the CISSD Project.

    In addition to this core panel, we have contacts with over 1200 media friendly scientists, all experts in their fields and keen to do media work.

    We also work closely with more then 500 UK science press officers to ensure that whenever science hits the headlines, we can offer some of the best scientists in the country to journalists needing an interview.



    http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/pages/about/smc_board.htm

    The SMC is governed by our board, which combines a range of experience in science and the media.

    Kenny Campbell
    Editor, Metro

    Dr Philip Campbell
    Editor-in-Chief, Nature

    Clive Cookson
    Science Editor, Financial Times

    Dr Peter Cotgreave
    Director of Public Affairs, Royal Society

    Carolan Davidge
    Director of Press & PR, Cancer Research UK

    Mike Granatt CB FIPR
    Partner, Luther Pendragon and former Director General of Goverment Information and Communication Service

    Philip Greenish
    Chief Executive, Royal Academy of Engineering

    Professor Robin Lovell-Badge FRS
    Head of Developmental Genetics, MRC National Institute for Medical Research

    Tom Miller
    Director of Communications, Imperial College London and STEMPRA committee member

    Rebecca Morelle
    Science and Nature reporter, BBC News Online

    Vivienne Parry
    Writer, broadcaster and journalist

    Simon Pearson
    Night Editor, The Times

    Dr Simon Singh
    Science writer and broadcaster

    Ceri Thomas
    Editor, Today, BBC Radio 4

    Bob Ward
    Policy and Communications Director, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science

    ---------

    Ed: Vivienne Parry is a Patron to ME Solutions.

    http://www.mesolutions.org.uk/who-we-are/

    ME Solutions were collaborators with Invest in ME in the fundraising exercise to raise money for a proposed XMRV study by Dr Jonathan Kerr and Dr Amolak Bansal.

    The fund raising exercise was abandoned when Dr Kerr pulled out of XMRV research. It is not known whether Dr Bansal (who is listed on the ME Solutions website as "Chief Scientific Advisor") is planning to continue with any form of XMRV research.
  11. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Suzy Chapman dxrevisionwatch.com

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  12. fluffyspit

    fluffyspit

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    How come the charity 'THE ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN' charity number 227938 covers the Science Media Centre and the SMC declare themselves a charity using the same number yet in their 2009 accounts there is absolutely no mention of the SMC?

    http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/ScannedAccounts/Ends38/0000227938_ac_20090930_e_c.pdf

    and

    The SMC declare themselves charity number 227938 yet the RI claim the SMC is an independent sister organisation to the RI

    http://www.rigb.org/contentControl?action=displayContent&id=00000001044

    and

    http://www.rigb.org/contentControl?action=displayEvent&id=1033

    I wonder if this' panel of experts' who are giving this talk can answer why XMRV has been neglected in the news?
  13. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Suzy Chapman dxrevisionwatch.com

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    http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?p=41301551

    [...]


    The director of the SMC is one Fiona Fox. If you do a quick search on her, she was a former leading member of the Marxist Revolutionary Communist Party. As was Prof. Simon Wessely. The question is, how many other people in a position of power belonged to this group. The Independent did a very rough editorial of the CDC vs. NIH/FDA study story. If you do a quick Google search for the science editor whom wrote the story, one Steve Conner and Simon Wessely, it seems they have worked together before. ​



    No reference source.
  14. fluffyspit

    fluffyspit

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    Fiona Fox, also known as Fiona Foster, is head of the Science Media Centre and member of the Sense about Science Working party on peer review.
    Previously senior Press Officer for the Equal Opportunities Commission, head of media relations for the National Council for One Parent Families, and Head of Media at the aid agency Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD). [[1]
    Member of the LM group and contributor to Living Marxism, through which she was associated with controversial views regarding the Rwandan genocide. [2]
    She is sister of Claire Fox, head of the Institute of Ideas.
    During 2002, she took part in a Workshop on Communication of Science Policy to the Media for the Department of Trade and Industry, along with Rebecca Bowden of the Royal Society, shortly before the SMC was created.


    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Fiona_Fox
  15. fluffyspit

    fluffyspit

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    SCIENCE MEDIA CENTRE DIRECTOR IS LIVING MARXISM GENOCIDE APOLOGIST

    Among the items below are some startling revelations about Fiona Fox, the director of the Science Media Centre, and her connections with the LM brigade - a bizarre pro-corporate Marxist clique which fanatically supports GM.

    When BBC TV's Fields of Gold was under fire from the Science Media Centre, Times' columnist Mick Hume waded in to support their attack. Hume is the former editor of Living Marxism aka LM until the magazine was sued out of existence as a result of its campaign of denial of Serbian war crimes.

    Also out of the LM stable are the GM supporting website 'spiked online' - www.spiked.org - and the Institute of Ideas -www.instituteofideas.com - directed by Claire Fox.

    As with their denials of Serbian genocide, LM supporters are none too particular how they support their ideological positions - see the link below for articles on LM by George Monbiot.

    LM supporting TV director Martin Durkin, for instance, was condemned by the Independent Television Commission for having "misled" contributors to his anti-environmentalist 'Against Nature' TV series and for having distorted their views via selective editing.

    The SMC appears equally unscrupulous, claiming to represent a broad spectrum of scientific opinion and to be "an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views of the scientific community to the news media", when in reality it's a Lord-Sainsbury-backed project which has such well known GM proponents as Prof Chris Leaver, Prof Sir John Krebs, The Baroness Greenfield and Lord Robert Winston on its board. In short, quite apart from taking money from biotech companies, it represents one very narrow part of the science community - and, it now seems, their bizarre fellow travellers!

    for more on the Science Media Centre: http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/020602c.htm

    taken from http://ngin.tripod.com/210602c.htm
  16. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Suzy Chapman dxrevisionwatch.com

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    bullybeef wrote:


    A poster on digitalspy had written:

    http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/s...php?p=41301551


    bullybeef, I publish on my site and on other platforms under my own name. So I have to take care that any claims I make can be backed up with evidence.

    If your statement,

    "In fact SW was a former member [of the Communist Revolutionary Party] too.."

    relies on the claim made about Simon Wessely on digitalspy forum, why are you comfortable repeating unreferenced claims?

    And if your statement does not rely on that claim, where are you getting your information from?

    Because I can bet that within a day or two, your assertion will be reiterated on several PR threads and will have hopped over to Facebook and very few will stop to consider whether this statement can be backed up or not.

    And that bothers me a great deal. Because if this was not the case, once again, our credibility is undermined.

    So as you have said this is a "fact" could we please have a reference source in order that this assertion can be safely repeated?

    Suzy
  17. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Suspicious Ties

    Wikipedia:
    You are not kidding that XMRV has opened a can of worms!!! :eek: Question is, how deep does the rabbit hole go? And where's that blue pill gone? :eek:

    I feel I should note straight away that I'm not advocating any wild conspiracy theory here - as I always note, and honestly too, I am simply investigating evidence and exploring where the facts lead me, with an open mind. But I certainly wouldn't trust any of the major media outlets implicitly, and note that Channel 4 is also ultimately 'publicly' owned.

    Anyway, so far I have on my list Simon Wessely, Ben Goldacre, Evan Harris, and now Fiona Fox, as alleged "former"(?) revolutionary communists with strong mutual ties and some university connections (worth exploring further) who have risen rapidly - despite entirely undistinguished scientific careers and a notable lack of hard practical scientific achievements - to hold positions of extraordinary influence over matters of medical science. They hold a fierce line in defence of their own version of what is valid (authorised) science - on the grounds of their supposed right to guardianship of rationalist scientific principles which are in fact not in the least disputed by those they select for persecution. Yet everything I see of their scientific credentials and work suggests only a notable intellectual mediocrity with respect to scientific matters - to put it kindly. I see no groundbreaking discoveries or contributions to human knowledge to compare with the discovery of XMRV or Hepatitis C amongst this group - only considerable expertise in manipulating information and an evident interest in power and influence.

    As a student I had some interest in Living Marxism and Marxist Today myself, I recall reading Fiona Fox's writing, and I'm not personally especially inclined to be suspicious of former communists in positions of influence. Many people were communists at university back in the days of their youth, and went on to forge distinguished political careers after changing their views considerably - "any man who is not a communist by the age of 18 has no heart, any man who is still a communist by the age of 30 has no brain", or so it is said. Indeed it's personally quite challenging for me to find my gaze focused on these people because the large bulk of their current political affiliations and stated beliefs - especially those of Evan Harris - are very much in accord with my own.

    What does concern me is this apparent existence of a small but highly significant network of such people having huge influence over government, the media, research and health bodies, and a clear focus on areas of medical science where the status quo and obvious state and corporate interests are powerfully aligned against the interests of human health. There are obvious powerful conflicts of interest at play in assessing whether ME/CFS, MCS, vaccine-mediated harm, etc etc are real phenomena constituting injuries for which industrial giants are likely to be responsible, and where the state would also be responsible for dealing with the consequences.

    The revolutionary left philosophy explicitly includes an infiltrationist strategy - Entryism - aimed at subverting organisations and gaining control over the levers of power, and whether these individuals still hold to a revolutionary communist agenda or not, they are clearly well-versed in the tactics of subverting democracy - which is to say, they are trained enemies of the people.

    Here's an interesting article about some of them:

    http://quackbengoldacre.wordpress.com/the_placement/
  18. fluffyspit

    fluffyspit

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  19. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Suzy Chapman dxrevisionwatch.com

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    Could we have a source for the information on Simon Wessely, please, Mark?

    Suzy
  20. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Sorry Suzy but I don't recall what my source was for that info, and you're absolutely 100% right on the vital importance of working from solid ground - thanks for continuing to remind everybody of that. I'm wondering now how much of the assertions in my previous post can be sourced - the info all comes from posters whose reliability I tend to trust, but I must admit I haven't always been rigorous in following up those details and confirming the evidence.

    Fiona Fox checks out though:

    Fiona Fox, SourceWatch:
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Fiona_Fox

    Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiona_Fox_(UK_press_officer)

    Not to be confused with the Sonic the Hedgehog character Fiona Fox... :D

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_characters_in_Sonic_the_Hedgehog_%28comic_book%29#Fiona_Fox


    ...although the Sonic character seems to have some similar interests, interestingly enough: :eek:

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