Charlie Gard: Not Just The Facts – Martin Walker
7 August 2017
Unfortunately for anyone who has read it, I have made some changes to my essay about the Charlie Gard case (Sunday 6th August). Since last Thursday there has been an all out assault on those who have supported Charlie and his parents, especially on social media. I fear that this is a sign of the times and what might follow is the exclusion of this kind of discourse on social media.
Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship to restrict the art of healing to one class of Men and deny equal privileges to others.
Benjamin Rush, signatory to the US Declaration of Independence
This short essay is about the inconsistencies and omissions in the corporate media’s reporting of the Charlie Gard case. It looks at a number of questions not answered by the media, the court or the medical establishment. Charlie was born on August 4th 2016 and died on the 28th July this year. He had lived for 11 months and 24 days.
English courts have considered 10 cases involving the disputed medical treatment of children so far this year.(1) Further to this, while most corporate media failed to report the growing number of cases in which there has been disputes over medical treatment, the papers also failed to report the large and growing number, now around 150 infants, dying each year as a consequence of mitochondrial disease.
Nor did the media look with any care at the possible causes of mitochondrial disease and its links to both vaccination and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). When we look at the role of the family courts in the case of Charlie Gard we might also note that there had, in fact, been one decision in the family court relating to forced vaccination, even though there is no law imposing mandatory vaccination in the UK. In February 2017, a baby was kidnapped by social services and the mother and child taken to court after the mother refused to have the meningitis vaccination given to her child. The judge in the case ruled that the infant had to have the vaccination. (2)
Vaccination and mitochondrial disease
In October 2016, when Charlie was two months old, his parents, Chris and Connie, took him to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). From that time onward, GOSH took charge of Charlie, overseeing his organ deterioration from mitochondrial disease. When his condition worsened, GOSH went to court and after a number of hearings which looked at possibilities, asked for a ruling on withdrawing his continued life support.
When it comes to looking at the treatment of both Charlie and his parents by the media, it would seem to be reasonable to ask whether or not Charlie was vaccinated. According to the British vaccine schedule, by this time Charlie could (3) have been given one vaccination combining six viral components for diphtheria, hepatitis B, Hib for influenza type b, polio, tetanus and whooping cough. Despite an exhausted review of all the information on the internet I could not find out whether Charlie had received this vaccination. This matter appears important in only one respect. If mitochondria damage was caused by vaccination, this knowledge could have affected responsibility for the illness and perhaps compensation.
The only public information about Charlie’s condition was that he had mitochondrial disease. The only further description of this disease, echoed in all the media, was that this was rare and ‘hereditary’ disease. It was only when I read up about mitochondrial disease that I found that the condition was related to both vaccines and autism. Here is what I gathered from a number of different sources:
Mitochondria are the power houses of the cell, providing the body with over 90% of the energy it needs to sustain life. Mitochondria take in sugars and proteins from food and produce energy called ATP that our bodies use to function properly. Mitochondrial disease is a debilitating and potentially fatal disease that reduces the ability of the mitochondria to produce this energy. When the mitochondria are not working properly, cells begin to die until eventually whole organ systems fail and the patient’s life itself is compromised. One of the organs affected by mitochondrial disorder is the brain and if the course of the disease is halted, damage to the brain already sustained can present itself as autism.
Although there is such a condition as ‘hereditary’ mitochondrial disease, most critical voices suggest that the hereditary condition only applies to a small percentage of cases and that the vast majority of cases have environmental triggers. Somewhere near the top of these environmental triggers is vaccination and those who consider this a cause of mitochondrial disorder suggest that the aluminum component is to blame. (4) Hepatitis B vaccine, given to many newborn infants, contains high levels of aluminum.
Well into writing this essay, it kept occuring to me that GOSH doctors appeared to be almost paranoid about any public discourse about Charlie’s condition.(5) Then, on reading the article below by Dr. Gary G. Kohls, written way back in 2015 and published in Global Research, the label of ‘inherited Mitochondrial Disease’ fell into place. What Charlie suffered from was definitely mitochondrial disease, but was it an aspect of that 10% ’inherited’ disease, or part of the 90% environmentally triggered illness? It is worth repeating a large part of Kohls’ article here:
“Several years ago I attended a conference that was sponsored by the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF), an organization which seems to be a combination of patient advocacy group and a funding organization for mitochondrial researchers.
The conference centered entirely upon the rare congenital/inherited forms of mitochondrial disorders that are first diagnosed in infancy and which comprise about 10 – 15 % of cases of known mitochondrial disorders.
Nothing was said by the presenters about the 85 – 90 % of acquired forms of mitochondrial disorders, which could, of course, be preventable if knowledge of the root causes was transmitted to us physicians and patients.
During the Q & A, a mitochondrial research scientist in the audience got up and talked about a colleague of his who had written an academic paper which identified 72 commonly-prescribed drugs that were mitochondrial poisons. He mentioned Pfizer’s Lipitor and Zoloft as two examples.
The author had not been able to get her paper published, and I have found no evidence that it was ever published following the conference. No comments were forthcoming from the UMDF expert who was leading the conference, and the discussion went back to the rare hereditary forms of the disease.
Being naturally suspicious of ‘experts’ who may have professional or financial conflicts of interest, my curiosity was aroused; so I talked to the researcher who raised the first unwelcome question. He gave me his email address, but my several attempts to contact him by email failed to get any response. I later discovered that the researcher had at one time received research grants from Pfizer.
Ever since that suspicious episode I have maintained an interest in mitochondrial disorders, and since then I have discovered many articles in the basic science literature that have dealt with drug and vaccine-induced mitochondrial disorders, none of which ever gets published in the mainstream medical journals, at least those that take advertising money from pharmaceutical companies.
What Kohls describes here is something that many campaigners against adverse pharmaceutical reactions and ‘undiagnosed’ illnesses are very familiar with. The first move by a crisis PR management industry faced with a series of deadly adverse events, is to blame the events on anything other than their causal toxic product.
In the early days of the 1990s, this ploy was used consistently by the Campaign Against Health Fraud (later called Healthwatch). (7) During this PR play, a number of conditions were denied, most prominently, allergic responses. Prominent members of the group were determinedly adamant in their casual remarks and their ‘academic papers’ that those who claimed to be the victims of allergies had mental problems. This consistent concealment on behalf particularly of the food industry led to Britain having the highest rates of allergy among young people in the world. Those who contradicted food allergy were closely followed by the arch conspiracist Simon Wessely, who insisted that ME was a product of the sufferers’ imagination. Wessely’s bizarre anti-academic theories went much further than this, when in a paper with David about the Camelford water toxicity case, unable to say that it didn’t happen that tons of toxic metals were tipped into the water source, he and David argued that any claimed deleterious effects were legend i.e. mythical. (8)
In the 2008 Hannah Poling case, federal officials conceded that Hannah’s autism was caused by an underlying mitochondrial dysfunction that was aggravated by vaccine injections. At the time, CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding claimed that Hannah’s case was a rare incident with little relevance to the other autism cases pending in the federal ‘vaccine court.’ In fact, the Poling case completely freaked out the medical establishment when the vaccine court awarded her and her family millions of dollars.
Since the Poling case, Dr. Gerberding and other CDC officials have however been made aware of a Portuguese study reporting that 7.2 percent of children with autism had confirmed mitochondrial disorders. Some now estimate the rate of mitochondrial dysfunction in autism to be 20 percent or more, and the rate among children with the regressive sub-type of autism is likely even higher.
The court is not to be questioned
Neither ‘the court’ nor the law are abstract entities, both are driven by moral and ideological engines, both are a reflection of the State and the kind of society that the State wishes to build. For those following the legal case through the corporate media, it might have appeared that both GOSH and the Gard’s were drawn into a court case because both parties wanted to seek the courts council.
This was however far from the truth: GOSH went to court as prosecutors ultimately seeking the right to terminate the life of Charlie, while Charlie’s parents were dragged into court and depicted hopelessly as sentimentalists unable to consider, in any rational manner, the future life of a brain damaged infant.
But this was by no means a simple intellectual or moral conflict, it has a history and what the medical profession was asking for is something that they have been strategically designing for a number of years. Like everything else in a capitalist society, the arguments and decisions that individuals should be kept alive against all the odds, such as those involved in compound car crashes is almost entirely based on cost. Although it might not be the case with Charlie Gard, doctors in the developed world have been gradually eroding the sanctity of life, with the objective of making donor body organs available to the needy, more quickly.
What society is dealing with here is the most complex of moral and intellectual arguments, which one hopes might be addressed by the most brilliant and analytical minds in contemporary society. Had this been the case, the first step in the progress of the case would have been to provide Charlie’s parents with legal aid. But when they applied for legal aid, they were turned down.
The corporate media claimed that austerity and the fluctuating nature of legal aid funds was at the base of this. I have another view: this was the State bringing a case against an individual, the resolution of which would lead to the empowerment of the State in various circumstances to shorten life while divesting the individual of the right to maintain it. And there was another factor involved, though not explained, and that was any relationship between vaccination and mitochondrial disease.
Consequently, the Gard family were denied legal aid and had to source private funding for their case, (8A) so turning the legal case into more of a ‘right’ versus ‘wrong’ battle than it need have been. The denial of legal aid was however not mentioned by those commentators who maintain an abstract faith in courts and judges. The whole matter became a little like defending the political course of the first world war without discussing the death toll.
The two most reasoned, more intellectual, articles I have read about Charlie Gard are both in defense of the medical profession and those legal persons who made decisions which the writers clearly consider ‘legal, truthful and objective’. (9) On a number of counts, I would agree with some of the points made by Charles Arthur, a past Guardian technology editor, in ‘Charlie Gard: The Facts.’ Arthur tackles the runaway story of Charlie, making it clear how quickly and easily information becomes abused when it serenades the public. However, Arthur approaches the history and the content of the Charlie Gard affair as if there were only facts and that these told the whole unquestionable story.
It is however on the matters which he leaves out that one is forced to jump on with both feet. His reasoned account utterly misses issues to do with conflict of interest, and his basic idea that doctors work from a position of objectivity is naive and allows him to avoid the most difficult questions.
As with the Guardian article by Sir Ian Kennedy, (10) at the end of the day, both articles are fantasies in the sense that they patently refuse to deal with reality, assuming a basically uncritical view of medical power and the family courts. As if doctors, medicine and medical policy itself did not have any ideology and their decisions and practices were value free.
This process depends of course on acceptance of the supremacy of reasoned argument over passion and the acceptance of the independence and authority of the courts. Campaigns against the courts, whether led by tabloid newspapers, organised through social media or exploited by sectional and religious groups, are increasingly a feature of modern discourse. It is one thing to comment on or criticise a particular decision, but a very different thing to attack the institution of the courts. Here, in Charlie Gard’s case, the call has been to keep the courts out; they don’t understand. Only the parents should decide: let passion prevail. Those behind such calls should reflect on what they wish for in case they get it. A whole system designed to address dispassionately the rights and interests of children would be pushed aside.
This paragraph could be almost described as rubbish or even ‘profoundly out of touch with reality.’ On the other hand it’s approach could be seen as simply conservative in that it bolsters the construct of a charitable medical profession and learned judges who like the wise have only the people’s – infants’ – welfare at heart. On another hand it signifies a complete lack of understanding of those who find themselves in a medical or ethical maze of which they have no comprehension.
Either way it is by no means a real or proper description of the critical reasoning so many have about the Family courts. Of course, Kennedy is an academic and so seems to have next to no contact with real people who find themselves gagged and tied by these courts, while Charles Arthur is a liberal journalist. Even the lawyers familiar with the family courts recognise them for the
proto-fascist institutions they have become. (11)
And why should we not question the authority of the courts when they patently do not serve the interests of ‘the people’? After all, industry, government and the middle class, constantly challenge the courts and replace them with more flexible institutions which will do their bidding, with everything from industrial tribunals to Vaccine Damage Payment hearings. One has only to look at the complete decline of civil actions for damages in death and adverse reaction to drugs cases, to understand who it is that has contempt for courts.
In September 2013, the head of the family courts, Sir James Munby, one of Britain’s most senior judges, was moved to try and break the log jam of discrediting secrecy that had built up in the courts. Munby struck a blow for free speech, as part of a ruling against secrecy in the family courts, declaring: ‘Freedom of speech is not something to be awarded to those who are thought deserving and denied to those who are thought undeserving.’
In his judgement, Mumby also said, (there was) a ‘pressing need’ for the workings of the family courts to be opened to public view and the arguments for scrutiny and public accountability were compelling. Parents must be given the freedom to criticise judges, the courts and social workers, and the Press must be free to report what has happened without the interference of judges. The break-up of families by the state must no longer happen in secret, on the pretext of protecting the children involved. (12)
Perhaps just as serious as the gagging of defendants and the torturous repercussion of bringing court action against a parent or a putative parent, is the fiction of allotting someone to speak for the child.
As many young infants and even young children are unable to articulate their needs, the courts choose someone who is supposed independently to speak for them. Inevitably this is a nonsense and it often turns out to be the case that those chosen are utterly ill equipped to make the case for the child. In fact, those chosen to guard and represent the infants are often people completely opposed to the views of the parents and with an ideological agenda of their own.
In the case of Charlie Gard, the woman chosen to represent Charlie’s interests was diametrically opposed to Charlie’s parents, being a member of two ‘right to die’ groups. The family courts are a disgrace, as is the level of collective baby farming which is harvested in them. If children are not owned by their parents, they clearly are not owned by ‘right to die’ barristers, who might or might not have children of their own, or on the other hand, owned by GlaxoSmithKline, or the corporate State.
By January 2017, when Charlie had seizures, the hope of experimental treatment which both the parents and the GOSH doctors had been committed to, was abandoned. Apparently ethical committee approval had not been granted, nor was the US surgeon readily available from that time on. Despite a series of appearances in the family court and an offer from the US President for Charlie to be treated for free and the parents provided with anything they needed for a stay, in the US, no curative or remedial action was embarked upon. And after a series of court appearances, Charlie was sent to a hospice to die, despite his parents last plea before the court that he should be allowed to die at home. He was transferred to a specialist children’s hospice, mechanical ventilation was withdrawn and he died the next day at the age of 11 months and 24 days.
The very worst commentator on the Gard ‘incident’ appears to be an anonymous member of the ‘care team’ at GOSH who wrote this utterly infantile piece in the Guardian. This person, failed to understand that the argument over Charlie Guard’s death was not simply a medical or hospital argument, but was of concern to the whole of the citizenry and if the citizens didn’t understand what was happening and offered alternative view, the only people to blamed for this were the doctors at GOSH.
This anonymous person is after all saying, that whether people live or die, whatever their condition, is to be decided by the medical profession and no other arguments are to be supported, not even those of a child’s parents. This is the ultimate of abstract reasoning, of law cut asunder from society, of medicine abstracted from love. What reasoning there is in this piece of sub-journalism, shows Mr Anonymous to be, as many citizens are in our present society, devoid of politics or any sense of democracy.
So next time you feel like commenting on social media about how awful we are, please try to remember how hard we work to stop children from dying every day; please try to remember that Charlie’s parents read those comments; please try to remember Charlie, who chose none of this.You have contributed to the family’s pain, you have been fighting a cause you know nothing about. It’s not been helpful to anyone. You will forget about Charlie, you’ll carry on with your life. His parents will live with this for ever. They will go over and over whether they made the right choices for their beautiful baby, whether they were strong enough to make those choices amid the fury of you watching a drama unfold from behind your screen. The parents’ pain will be unimaginable, their loss immeasurable and incomparable. But we will live with this for ever, too. (14)
As the State grows more corporatist, the argument that parents don’t ‘own’ (13) their children is getting more deeply entrenched in British legalese. In his article Sir Ian Kennedy wrote in the Guardian:
“These are the steps. The first is to recognise that children do not belong to their parents. Second, when a claim is made that parents have rights over their children, it is important to step back and examine the language used. We need to remind ourselves that parents do not have rights regarding their children, they only have duties, the principal duty being to act in their children’s best interests. This has been part of the fabric of our law and our society for a long time. Third, if we are concerned with the language of rights, it is, of course, children who have rights; any rights that parents have exist only to protect their children’s rights.”
Of course, the parents of Charlie, never to my knowledge, suggested that they ‘owned’ him or suggest that they might act in anything but Charlie’s best interests. They did ask that they be given good advice and helped along the right path by those professionals, medical and legal, who they thought should help them resolve what was probably to be the worst most difficult circumstance of their lives.
They didn’t, however, get this advice, nor was it even considered that they had any rights to their parental opinions – they were simply pushed into a dark cupboard by the medical and corporate State as it rolled past them. Not only Charlie was deprived of his rights, but they also lost theirs. Those whose rights were headed in the case were anonymous doctors and scientists who saw Charlie’s predicament in entirely rational terms.
On the matter of medical treatments, family and individual rights, the family court is increasingly the very worst place to arbitrate such matters. This is the case, simply because the matters are not yet matters of law. Whether or not a child should have a vaccination is not presently a matter of law and any judge who rules on this, is ruling with a personal opinion. In fact, not only is the judge’s decision not underpinned by law, it is simply based on prejudice and personal opinion.
Quite clearly the family courts are not the correct venue to hear cases involving medical practice and children. We might, in fact, go further than this and say that doctors are not the right people to take an action against patients and it should always be patients who access the mediation process. Whatever that mediation process should be, it should be discursive and it must take into account the reason and feelings of those most affected by any procedures,, or lack of them.
As, increasingly, the pharmaceutical companies join with the state, the family courts gradually cease to be places where individuals and families are awarded any human rights or individual freedoms. That is not to say, of course, that pseudo courts or tribunals should be set up which simply disguise the vested interests involved. Clearly, however, there are many kinds of tribunals involving lay people, mothers and fathers, doctors and those who believe in alternative medicine, which could make a more transparent system to which those involved could give evidence.
Finally, it has to be borne in mind that the medical profession is steeped in ideology. For this reason all the aspects of what doctors ask for in courts or tribunals have to be questioned in detail. Surely it was essential in this case that the matter of vaccination and mitochondrial dysfunction was brought up. It appears to me that despite the spectacular media drama on the Charlie Gard case, the emotional threads of it, some of which were built on a solid foundation of fact, should have run second to the release of as much information as possible about Charlie’s illness and the way in which the court case was handled.
If Charlie Gard’s case was in any way linked to vaccination, for the sake of other infants we have to demand among other safeguards that all children are initially tested for mitochondrial dysfunction.
Footnotes and References.
(1)Jamie Doward and Harry Robertson. Saturday 29 July 2017 20.01 BST
(2) Judge rules for baby vaccination to avoid meningitis despite mother’s opposition.
A baby should be vaccinated against infections which can lead to meningitis despite his mother’s opposition, a High Court judge has ruled. PUBLISHED: 09:53, Fri, Feb 3, 2017
(3) I have used the word ‘could’ here because there was no information in the corporate media about the vaccinations Charlie received.
(4) 2011 study published in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, led by Dr. Lucija Tomljenovic at the University of British Columbia.
The authors also noted: “the increase in exposure to Al [aluminum] adjuvants significantly correlates with the increase in ASD [autism spectrum disorder] prevalence in the United States observed over the last two decades.”
“Autism Explained: Synergistic Poisoning from Aluminum and Glyphosate”. Stephanie Seneff, May 24, 2014, http://people.csail.mit.edu/…/gly…/Seneff_AutismOne_2014.pdf
(5) During the spread of Spanish so called Toxic Oil Syndrome, the medical profession and the government censured anyone who had an alternative view of the deaths and illnesses. Civil sevants were sacked, doctors were relieved of their work in hospitals. Corporate Ties That Bind: An Examination of Corporate Manipulation and Vested Interest in Public Health (ed) Martin J Walker.
(6) Mitochondrial “Collateral Damage” Thanks to Big Pharma – Iatrogenic Drug and Vaccine-induced Mitochondrial Disorders
Dr. Gary G. Kohls, retired physician who practiced holistic mental health care, dealing extensively with the totally preventable and difficult to treat reality known as posttraumatic stress disorder, which is always a consequence of violence.
Dr. Gary G. Kohls is a retired physician who practiced holistic mental health care, dealing extensively with the totally preventable and difficult to treat reality known as posttraumatic stress disorder, which is always a consequence of violence.
(7) Eventually taken under the wing of Sense About Science and headed up by the dick Taverne.
(8) J Psychosom Res. 1995 Jan;39(1):1-9.The legend of Camelford: medical consequences of a water pollution accident. David AS, Wessely SC.
(8A) This is not of course to suggest that the deprivation of legal aid meant that the Garde’s case was argued cheaply, shoddily or badly, it is just to say that they were already at a disadvantage in the family court and at a double disadvantage having been denied funding.
(9) Charlie Gard: The Facts BY CHARLES ARTHUR / 28 JULY 2017. Charles Arthur is a leading technology journalist, and was the Guardian’s Technology Editor between 2009 and 2014.
(10) Despite Charlie Gard’s tragic story, we must respect the process of our courts. Ian Kennedy Monday 24 July 2017 17.19 BST
Last modified on Monday 24 July 2017 22.00 BST.
(11) Children screaming to be heard http://www.childrenscreamingtobeheard.com/
12) Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2413373/Top-judges-war-secret-courts-Family-hearings-exposed-glare-publicity.html 404 Not Found
(13) ’Own’ is the word used by the State thinkers. I don’t really want to use it, however, it is difficult to find another word that has the same depth of meaning.
(14) My Great Ormond Street colleagues and I did what we believed to be in Charlie’s best interests. We do not deserve abuse. Anonymous. Friday 4 August 2017