As noted in the previous post on this unfolding story, I'm posting some additional news on it here. What was bad enough, a story of the children of unwed mothers subjected to systematic institutional abuse and neglect by the Catholic Church, is now tied to Big Pharma. It's not enough the children suffered outrageous mortality at the hands of those who were supposed to care for them; they were also used as medical guinea pigs.
Much more below the Orange Omnilepticon.
There's an update in the Irish Times in which Corless, who triggered the investigations with her work, has a video explaining more of the story. (video at http://bcove.me/...) The print story at the Irish Times also has some more context about the story.
There are some must-read opinion pieces as well: This time, the issue of mother and baby homes must be addressed - Even the story of Philomena Lee, as recounted in the film starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, did not stir the national conscience to action; Death devoid of dignity at Bon Secours home - Opinion: Every effort must be made to make proper burial arrangements for the children; If you don’t approve of the church then don’t take part in its rituals - Opinion: Each spring, thousands of non-believers allow their pre-pubescent daughters to don wedding dresses for their first communion.
A search of the Daily Mail has additional information and photos (albeit in tabloid style). Here's a June 2 report: Mass septic tank grave 'containing the skeletons of 800 babies' at site of Irish home for unmarried mothers.
CHILDREN AS GUINEA PIGS
The latest is staggering. Here's another report which adds an extra dimension of horror: Thousands of children in Irish care homes at centre of 'baby graves scandal' were used in secret vaccine trials in the 1930s.
Scientists secretly vaccinated more than 2,000 children in religious-run homes in suspected illegal drug trials, it emerged today.The road to Hell is paved with good intentions - and profits.
Old medical records show that 2,051 children and babies in Irish care homes were given a one-shot diphtheria vaccine for international drugs giant Burroughs Wellcome between 1930 and 1936.
There is no evidence that consent was ever sought, nor any records of how many may have died or suffered debilitating side-effects as a result.
The scandal was revealed as Irish premier, Enda Kenny, ordered ministers to see whether there are more mass baby graves after the discovery that 800 infants may be buried in a septic tank outside a former mother and baby home in Tuam, Co. Galway.
Doubtless the people involved told themselves this would be for that 'greater good' and it would save more lives than would be put at risk. But…
Michael Dwyer, of Cork University’s School of History, found the child vaccination data by trawling through tens of thousands of medical journal articles and archive files.There's a great deal more at the Daily Mail on this; read the whole thing.
He discovered that the trials were carried out before the vaccine was made available for commercial use in the UK.
Homes where children were secretly tested included Bessborough, in Co. Cork and Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, both of which are at the centre of the mass baby graves scandal.
Other institutions where children may also have been vaccinated include Cork orphanages St Joseph’s Industrial School for Boys, run by the Presentation Brothers, and St Finbarr’s Industrial School for Girls, run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.
In Dublin, it is believed that children for the trials came from St Vincent’s Industrial School, Goldenbridge, St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys, Cabra, and St Saviours’s Dominican Orphanage.
But Mr Dwyer said: 'What I have found is just the tip of a very large and submerged iceberg.
'The fact that no record of these trials can be found in the files relating to the Department of Local Government and Public Health, the Municipal Health Reports relating to Cork and Dublin, or the Wellcome Archives in London, suggests that vaccine trials would not have been acceptable to government, municipal authorities, or the general public.
'However, the fact that reports of these trials were published in the most prestigious medical journals suggests that this type of human experimentation was largely accepted by medical practitioners and facilitated by authorities in charge of children’s residential institutions.'
And be sure to read this as well. The tip of the iceberg began to show recently; this report from Patricia McDonagh at the Belfast Daily Telegraph came out in 2010.
A woman subjected to a controversial vaccine trial as a baby without her mother's consent broke her silence last night to reveal her traumatic decades-long fight for justice.But, there were hints of it back in the 1990s.
Mari Steed (50) was effectively used as a guinea pig during the 'four-in-one' vaccine trials carried out on her between December 1960 and October 1961 when she was between nine and 18 months old.
She was given up for adoption to a couple in the US shortly afterwards and is now preparing a class action in the US courts against the multinational drugs giant responsible for the medical tests, an Irish Independent investigation reveals.
Suspicions that vaccine trials had taken place on vulnerable Irish children -- many of whom were in state care -- first surfaced in the early 1990s.Note the dates here. The vaccine trials were going on as late as the 1960s; what's new is the revelation that they began in the 1930s. What Catherine Corless has begun has pulled back the curtain on a far larger horror show involving criminal conduct that touches on the Catholic Church, the government, and Big Pharma. We've hit the trifecta. (Never underestimate the power of a historian - or a determined woman.)
As the current decade dawned, former residents of children's homes began to publicly raise concerns that they had been the subject of experimental trials.
However, it was not until 1997 that the State gave an assurance that it would formally inquire into the issue.
This story has hit a lot of nerves and it's not done yet. It's part of the War on Women, in that these children who have been so victimized were born of unwed mothers who were themselves victimized and dehumanized. It touches on the separation of Church and State, because it shows what happens when government delegates moral authority and power to an organization without oversight or accountability to those whom it is to serve. It touches on the Catholic Church and the latest revelation out of centuries of bad behavior. It touches on the private sector and the willingness of those to profit from the misery of the powerless. It demonstrates the problem of increasing inequality and increasingly brutal class warfare. It emphasizes the importance of the "When Women Succeed, America Succeeds" agenda, which could go a long way in preventing these horrors.
Chances are this is not going to get the coverage in the U.S. media it deserves - we have too many fake scandals to obsess over, too many places where pulling back the curtain would show America what it does not want to see, too many people in positions of power who embody the worst qualities of humanity being revealed here. (Consider this post from virally suppressed looking at the horrible conditions persisting in West Virginia months after the Freedom Industries chemical spill.) The world is what it is however, and if we would envision it as a better place, we have to start by seeing it as it is - and do something about it.