Tune In To W5 On Saturday, October 19th At 7pm on CTV

A filmcrew from CTV’s long-running news magazine was at the rally in Ottawa last month.

This Saturday evening at 7pm, W5, one of Canada’s premier news magazine programs, is running a story on the legal action that hundreds of Canadian veterans are launching against the federal government.

While we were in Ottawa last month a crew from W5 filmed some background shots and conducted interviews with some people including Marj Matchee and Mike Rude, who I have been on the road with for the last week and a half.

And, in a stunning development, it was announced today that retired General Romeo Dallaire has decided to add his name to the list of plaintiffs who are taking the government to court, and to task. Having someone with a profile as high as Dallaire could most certainly prove to be a game changer.

Tune in to your CTV affilliate on Saturday night at 7PM, or download the CTV News app to watch it anytime after.

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Fentanyl: Weapon of Mass Destruction

Two members of my family are gone because of fentanyl, one of the most toxic substances on the planet.

For my little brother, who left us far too soon. I’ll miss you, Ryan.

December 21, 1975 – September 6, 2019

Loves Labor Lost

Calgary Herald September 29th, 2019

This is the first time that I have written anything since I lost my younger brother almost a month ago. He was 43 when he passed away as the result of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, sometime in the early morning hours of September 6th. Like millions of others, my little brother was addicted to drugs and had been for a long time. So great was the internal anguish that he had felt, that turned to narcotics to ease it.

I don’t want him to be defined by the way he died, but rather for the man that he was. He was not perfect, but he was one of the kindest, most generous people that I knew. He was loyal to his friends and family, and had many long-term friendships, some going back well over 30 years. He touched a lot of lives and will be profoundly missed by those of us he leaves behind.

I have learned that in the days leading up to his death he had been talking about entering a long-term rehab facility. He was so very tired of the life he was living and wanted nothing more than to get better, to heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. On the day he died, he was supposed to get together with one of his good friends and together they would look online for long-term rehab facilities located outside of town.

Last year, one of my cousins took his own life with an overdose of the fentanyl analog carfentanil, a drug 10,000 times stronger than morphine. It is so dangerous that many first responders have had to be hospitalized after coming into contact with a person having an overdose.

I wanted to know more about the poison that has claimed two members of my family, so as always, I started looking for some answers. The information I found in a very short amount of time sent a chill up my spine. Apart from the effect that fentanyl has had on my life personally, it also has significant international relations ramifications. The People’s Republic of China manufactures most, if not all, of the precursor chemicals used to synthesize fentanyl. You should also consider this; synthesized by scientists in a university laboratory in China, there is now a fentanyl analog so lethal, that one teaspoon would kill about as many people as the Great Plague did in Europe in the 14th century.

Opioid or Opiate?

To make the distinction, opiates are those drugs naturally derived from the flowering opium poppy plant (ie morphine, codeine). Opioids are a much broader category and include any substance, natural or synthetic, which binds to the brain’s opioid receptors.

Fentanyl

Fentanyl will probably be the drug most associated with the opioid crisis, even though that distinction belongs to OxyContin, the Purdue Pharma extended release formulation of oxycodone that has the dubious reputation of starting it.

Although it has gained a great deal of attention 0ver the last decade, fentanyl has been around for a lot longer than that. Dr. Paul Jannsen first synthesized it in 1958 under a patent held by his company, Jannsen Pharmaceutica. It is now owned by conglomerate Johnnson & Johnson, who have lost big dollar law suits brought by women claiming Johnson’s Baby Powder caused their ovarian cancer.

It was a powerful analgesic, some 100x more powerful than morphine, and could also be used for anaesthesia. It would hit the market in the 1960. as an IV anaesthetic with the brand name Sublimaze.

Fentanyl Analogs and Derivatives

A chemical analog is a compound that is structurally similar to another compound on a molecular level, but differs from the original compound to some degree. Not long after Sublimaze was released its popularity would lead to the development of a number of fentanyl analogs and derivatives. among which were Sufentanil, Alfentanil, Lofentanil and Remifentanil.

Sufentanil

The strongest analgesic available for human use, it is 5x the strength of fentanyl and 500x stronger than morphine. It is used in hospitals as an analgesic and as an adjunct to anaesthesia under the brand names Dsuvia and Sufenta.

Alfentanil

Alfentanil has a potency that is approximately 10-25% that of fentanyl. It’s onset of action is 4x that of fentanyl but only lasts one-third as long. It is used as a short acting anaesthetic.

Lofentanil

One of the most potent fentanyl analogs, it is most similar to carfentanil.

Remifentanil

Used in a hospital setting, remifentanil is used for sedation, as an anaesthesia adjunct, and as an analgesic, having the brand name Ultiva. It is twice the strength of fentanyl and 200x more powerful than morphine.

Carfentanil

Carfentanil is used as a sedative for large animals under the brand name Wildnil. At 100x the strength of fentanyl, it is 1000x more potent than morphine. It started to appear on the streets a few years ago with deadly results. The estimated lethal dosage in humans is 50 micrograms. By comparison, a poppy seed weighs approximately 300 micrograms.

Image result for carfentanil lethal dose
Comparison of the lethal doses of heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil.
Image result for fentanyl lethal dose comparison
A lethal dose of fentanyl for the average adult (2mg)

Ohmefentanyl – The most potent and deadly fentanyl analog

If You Think Fentanyl Is Bad…

https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/01/17/if-you-think-fentanyl-bad-10663

Ohmefentanyl was first synthesized in the early 1970’s by scientists in a lab at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Guangzhou, China. More than 6,000x stronger than morphine, it is so potent that one ounce of ohmefentanyl is enough to kill 175 MILLION people. That being said it is far more complex to synthesize ohmefentanyl than it is to synthesize fentanyl. The process involves more equipment and additional precursors and solvents and, because it is so toxic, it is extremely hazardous to manufacture and can only be handled safely using protective equipment.

Synthesis and analgesic activity of stereoisomers of cis -fluoro-ohmefentanyl

https://www.academia.edu/8863856/Synthesis_and_analgesic_activity_of_stereoisomers_of_cis-fluoro-ohmefentanyl

Fentanyl Precursor Chemicals

Image result for 4-anilinopiperidine
Pharmaceutical Grade 4-Anilinopiperidine (hydrochloride) for sale online from a Chinese manufacturer. This one is capable of producing 5,000kg of this compound every month.

DEA proposes to control three precursor chemicals used to illicitly manufacture deadly fentanyl

https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2019/09/17/dea-proposes-control-three-precursor-chemicals-used-illicitly-manufacture

Fentanyl is synthesized using ingredients known as precursors. These precursor chemicals are sold by manufacturers in China, who make tens of thousands of such compounds. These compounds include things such as food additives, veterinary products, pesticides, and the precursor chemicals used to synthesize pharmaceutical drugs, including fentanyl.

The vast majority of the precursors used in the synthesis of fentanyl are sent to Mexico, where most of the illict fentanyl in the US is made. It takes a trained chemist to synthesize fentanyl from scratch, something the Mexican cartels do not have. But, it is easier to make fentanyl using bulk supplies of the precursor chemicals, which is what the cartels do.

On September 17th of this year the DEA announced that it was putting forth a proposal to control three of the precursor chemicals needed to synthesize fentanyl. It’s difficult to say what effect if any this will have since the vast majority of illicit fentanyl is made in Mexico.

The take-home message here is that there are millions of fentanyl analogs that can be made from commercially available chemicals. It is all but certain that many of them will have fentanyl-like properties and that some of these will make even the most powerful analogs today, such as carfentanil and sufentanil, seem like cotton candy. 

Organic Chemistry Can Defeat Any Fentanyl Agreement
By Josh Bloom — December 5, 2018
https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/12/05/organic-chemistry-can-defeat-any-fentanyl-agreement-13645

It just isn’t realistic to think that treaties or international law will end the production and distribution of these precursor compounds. There is simply no easy or effective way of enforcing international agreements amongst sovereign nations. Just look at the current state of international relations.

One way or another these chemicals will continue to be manufactured, the genie cannot be put back into the bottle. The fact also remains that scientists, primarily in The People’s Republic of China, will continue to attempt to synthesize something even stronger.

“NPP is a sensitive products. Why you buy it?” one Yuancheng saleswoman asked me on Skype, before the product was scheduled in China. “I know many people buy it. But I don’t know what it is used for.”

I explained that it was used to make fentanyl.

“I know fentanyl,” she continued, “but why people use it? We Chinese don’t use it.”

It’s highly addictive, I said.

“Yes, I know it is a bad products to person,” the saleswoman admitted, “but I still sell it, so sometimes I feel guilt. NPP is not forbidden in China, so we can sell. I sell it, because I want earn money, earn a living.”

The Brazen Way a Chinese Company Pumped Fentanyl Ingredients Into the U.S. BEN WESTHOFF
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/08/chinese-company-helping-fuel-opioid-epidemic/596254/

While the DEA proposed making regulatory changes in their announcement of September 17th, similar regulatory changes in Canada came in to effect on May 6th, 2019, when they were registered in the Canada Gazette.

Government of Canada changes regulations to help prevent illegal production and trafficking of controlled substances

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/news/2019/05/government-of-canada-changes-regulations-to-help-prevent-illegal-production-and-trafficking-of-controlled-substances.html

Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 153, Number 10

http://gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2019/2019-05-15/html/sor-dors120-eng.html

Weaponizing Fentanyl

Image result for chemical weapons symbols
The international symbols for radiological, biological, and chemical hazards.

With such an extremely high potency, compounds like ohmefentanyl are simply not practical, or safe, for use as an analgesic in human beings. The only logical reason for synthesizing ohmefentanyl would be to use it as a weapon of mass destruction. Granted it would take a huge effort to weaponize it and come up with an effective delivery system, but it is still a distinct possibility.

In May of 2018, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a fact sheet for Federal EPA On Scene Coordinators who respond to any incidents of environmental contamination by fentanyl or its analogs. It is a comprehensive 11 page document, and some of the information contained in it caught my attention. It includes a list of the possible exposure pathways, in other words, the ways that fentanyl could be spread to a population. These include open areas, water/water systems, indoor facilities, and food.

Fact Sheet for OSCs: Version 1.0 05/22/2018 Fentanyl and Fentanyl Analogs

Open Areas: While fentanyl is a solid powder at room temperature, it poses an inhalation or incidental ingestion exposure threat if sufficient powder becomes airborne. Fentanyl can also be dissolved in solvents and fentanyl citrate is soluble in water, which allows exposure in aerosol form. The literature indicates that police officers showed symptoms of opiate exposure after police activities created fentanyl dust/aerosol or when they worked in dusty areas.

Water/Water Systems: Fentanyl in liquid solution creates a possible dermal exposure pathway and is commonly used in many medicinal forms of fentanyl. Literature reviews indicate that aqueous fentanyl may be found as an illicit drug in intravenous form, nasal sprays, eye drops, and vape pen liquids. While fentanyl could enter natural waters or a water system, neither is a likely exposure pathway.

Indoor Facility: Fentanyl could potentially be dispersed as solid particulates or liquid spray (aerosol) inside a building or facility; HVAC systems may be affected. Fentanyl particulates are heavier (less buoyant) than air and will accumulate on lower levels and in utility corridors and/or deposit on surfaces inside a building.

Food: While food is an unlikely exposure pathway, fentanyl can be released as a fine dust or aerosol that may contaminate food.

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-07/documents/fentanyl_fact_sheet_ver_7-26-18.pdf

Before anyone accuses me of giving terrorists and lunatics a great new idea, it is more than likely that someone has already come up with the idea and so have the security agencies that protect us. At least they should have anyway.

It now clearer than ever to me that the only way to eliminate the threat posed by fentanyl and its analogs, aside from banning its production, would be to have it classified as a chemical weapon, and heavily restrict its production and distribution as well as the production and distribution of its precursor chemicals.

The Startling Numbers

This will never happen, it simply isn’t a realistic expectation for a number of reasons. In the meantime, until someone can come up with a workable solution to counter this plague, the number of people killed by fentanyl will continue to rise.

Deaths

Here in Alberta the statistics are alarming to say the least. In 2016 out of 803 drug and alcohol poisoning deaths 43% (347) were attributed to fentanyl or its analogs. In 2017 it had increased to 59% (565/951) and in 2018 fentanyl constituted 63% of overdose deaths (622/985).

Of these overdoses 80% involved fentanyl mixed other drugs. 50% involved methamphetamine, 25% cocaine, and 5% heroin. Drug dealers will add fentanyl to other drugs in order to increase their profitability, and as a means of attracting and retaining customers. What usually results however is that their customers wind up dead.

https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/f4b74c38-88cb-41ed-aa6f-32db93c7c391/resource/c23b895d-1922-4d73-86dc-ce170d0a07b3/download/health-alberta-opioid-response-surveillance-report-2019-q2.pdf

Nationally the number is even higher. In 2016 total number of overdose deaths in Canada was 3023, of which 50% were from fentanyl or its analogs. In 2017 it rose to 67% (4120) and was 73% in 2018 (4588). In the first three months of 2019 it was 79%.

The number of overdose deaths increased sharply as well, up 36% from 2016 to 2017 and up 11% from 2017 to 2018.

https://health-infobase.canada.ca/datalab/national-surveillance-opioid-mortality.html#fentanyl

Dollars

Trafficking in fentanyl is a very lucrative business. In fact, it is the most lucrative illicit narcotic currently sold. In 2017, 1 KG of pure fentanyl could be purchased for $4,150. That 1 KG could potentially generate $1,600,000 in revenue for the trafficker, a profit of over 38,000%

By comparison, traffickers will only realize a 1,300% profit off of heroin, or $80,000 in revenue from 1KG of heroin purchased for $6,000.

Fentanyl profitability in the US compared to heroin.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/777882/fentanyl-profitability-in-us-compared-to-heroin/

No Easy Fix

It has been more than a decade since media articles began reporting on what was then called an opioid epidemic, and is now referred to as the “opioid crisis”. In North America, fentanyl has become a threat to public safety unlike any illicit drug before, more than heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. It is the most potent and most addictive narcotic there is which also makes it the most dangerous.

Putting an end to this crisis will require action on the part of several governments. There is an ever growing population of opioid addicts who require immediate intervention, but there is currently a critical shortage of treatment facilities. Adding the extra capacity would require taxpayer funding, which would then make it a political issue, and politicians are loathe to spend money on projects from which they will recieve no benefit.

There also needs to be the political will to implement a different strategy to combat the problem. At the moment, efforts are geared more towards harm reduction for addicts. Some jurisdictions have opened safe injection sites, where addicts can do their drugs in a sterile environment and with medical intervention available in the event of an overdose.

There is also a segment of the population who believes that the legalization and regulation of all illicit narcotics is the solution. Many will cite Portugal as an example of success.

Portugal

Portugal in the late 1990’s was dealing with a drug crisis of its own. One percent of its population, 100,000 people, were heroin users and on average more than 350 people a year were dying from a drug overdose. In the early 2000’s, Portugal overhauled its drug laws, decriminalizing small amounts of narcotics for personal use.

The number of overdose deaths has since plummeted, though this is not as a direct result of decriminalization. The Portuguese also recognized that it wasn’t enough to simply decriminalize illicit drugs, they also provided the means for addicts to access treatment, and assisted them as they reintegrated back into society.

If police find you with illicit drugs, you’ll be arrested and taken to a police station where the drugs will be weighed. If the amount is above the strictly enforced threshold limits — designed to be a 10-day supply for personal use, or 25 grams of cannabis, five grams of cannabis resin, two grams of cocaine, or one gram each of ecstasy or heroin — you can be charged as a trafficker. If convicted, jail terms range from one year to 14 years.

If the amount is below the limit, you’ll be sent the following day to the Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction — even if you’re a tourist. There, you will be interviewed by a psychologist or social worker before appearing before a three-person panel that will offer suggestions aimed at stopping your drug use.

From there, you’re fast-tracked to whatever services you’re willing to accept. If you refuse help, you can be asked to do community service or even, eventually, facing a fine, perhaps even having possessions confiscated and sold to pay the fine.

It’s why Goulão is so quick to point out that Portugal’s success isn’t because of decriminalization. It’s because, in 2001, his country made a commitment to providing whatever its citizens need to be as healthy and as fully engaged in society as possible.

“Decriminalization is not a silver bullet,” he said. “If you decriminalize and do nothing else, things will get worse.

“The most important part was making treatment available to everybody who needed it for free. This was our first goal.”

DAPHNE BRAMHAM 
Daphne Bramham: Decriminalization is no silver bullet, says Portugal’s drug czar
https://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/daphne-bramham-decriminalization-is-no-silver-bullet-says-portugals-drug-czar

China: Point of Origin

The precursor chemicals used to synthesize fentanyl and its analogs are manufactured in The People’s Republic of China, and the government places no restrictions on their production or shipping. For the manufacturers the only concern is that they sell their product and make a profit on it, without regard for its end use or the ensuing consequences it may bring. There is also very little likelihood that the Chinese will place any restrictions on the manufacture and distribution of these chemicals, and very little that anyone can do about it. In and of themselves they are not dangerous and do not pose a threat

When I analyze this through the lens of International Relations, I come to some conclusions that many will no doubt disagree with. I may even be labeled as paranoid or a conspiracy theorist, but I will leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

Strategically speaking it is to China’s benefit that these chemicals be used to synthesize fentanyl. The economic benefit to China is relatively small compared to the strategic benefit. A rapid and dramatic increase in the number of drug addicts within a society will act as a destabilizing force within it, draining resources that could be better used elsewhere.

The Chinese have also lead the way in the synthesis of the most potent and deadly fentanyl analogs, with the potential ability to kill tens of millions of people. There are no conventions banning the research and development of synthetic opioid drugs like there are for chemical weapons or other WMD. Yes, I know that it would be very difficult, and that it would need the proper vehicle for delivery in order to be effective. How are we to know that one hasn’t already been developed, or is being worked on now? Theoretically, they could have already produced enough ohmefentanyl to wipe out half the population of the continental United States. This has the potential to weigh heavily on the global balance of power.

Share This Information

There are no quick and easy fixes to be found here, and people are going to continue dying in ever growing numbers. Individually there isn’t much that any of us can do either, it is something that must be dealt with on a governmental level and frankly, this gives me little hope that a solution will be found any time soon.

A lot of people will die that didn’t have to, people like my brother, and my heart breaks for the families and loved ones that will be left behind. Share this information with the people you know so that as many people as possible are aware of just how very bad the situation is. It is possible that it might one day save a life, perhaps the life of some one you know and love.

Why Andrew Scheer’s Promises To Veterans Are Important

For Canadian mefloquine veterans, it’s at long last some recognition.

Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was in Prince Edward Island on Sunday, making a promise to clear the benefits backlog for veterans. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Prses (sic))

The Conservatives would also beef up transition services for discharged and retiring Forces members, provide more service dogs, kick-start more commemoration projects and launch an independent inquiry to investigate the cases of members who were given mefloquine. 
Several Forces members have launched a lawsuit against the government because of traumatic side effects from the anti-malaria drug.
They allege they are still suffering from psychosis, paranoia and insomnia.
That investigation would cost $20 million over two years, according to the PBO. Service dog costs are pegged at $4.5 million over three years. 

Scheer promises to clear veterans benefits backlog if elected
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/scheer-promises-to-clear-veterans-benefits-backlog-if-elected-1.5293109?__vfz=medium%3Dsharebar&fbclid=IwAR0JijRbbFkzwtj-sjEVXcKB3Ic-zpwoMeDkBGZvvc7RsdttSFEjaninDPo

Today’s announcement by Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer was quite significant. To the casual observer it was just another in a series of cynical campaign promises that get trotted out during election season. Funding is pledged for this program and that initiative in ridings across the country.

The most significant part of this particular promise was the pledge to have an independent inquiry called to look into investigate cases of CF members who were given mefloquine. I will take Mr. Scheer at his word on this promise, but I will also applaud him for going where no party leader has heretofore gone. He has acknowledged the fact that mefloquine is a serious issue in the veterans community that warrants investigating.

For the very first time, and due to the tireless efforts of advocates like Marj Matchee and Val Reyes-santiesteban, mefloquine has become an election issue. Marj had the opportunity to meet with Scheer, who is her MP, over the summer at a bar-b-que in his home riding. With her usual determination, she made her way to talk to him, and made an empassioned plea to him. She tells me he held her gaze, and listened intently to her as she made her case to him. He made a promise to her that he would not let our veterans down.

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing and indoor

Today, he followed through on his pledge to her, and I suspect that he will indeed honour his promise should he win the Prime Minister’s office. Regardless, it was incredible news for mefloquine advocacy in Canada. The hard work of Marj Matchee and the many other dedicated advocates inspired by her is starting to bear fruit.

Many of us gathered in Ottawa last Thursday, to hold the Third Annual Veteran’s Mefloquine Rally on Parliament Hill. There, on the lawn in front of the iconic bell tower, I had the great honour and pleasure of opening the rally by introducing Marj, and also had the chance to finally meet with some of the many veterans and advocates whom I have talked to over the past several months.

Val Reyes-santiesteban has also been fighting this battle for a very long time. Her son, Scott Smith, was a member of the Canadian Airborne Regiment and was deployed to Rwanda in 1994 as part of a multinational humanitarian effort. On Christmas Day, 1994, she received a call from Scott. Shortly after he hung up, Scott Smith took his own life.

Since then she has dedicated herself to this advocacy, so that no more mothers ever have to endure what she has had to. No mother should ever have to bury her child.

For the many veterans and advocates who have worked so hard for over two decades to reach this point, this will be a momentous occasion. But, the battle is still far from over for them. There is still the matter of having the government own up to what it did, and to have it provide funding for research to find a treatment or cure for mefloquine toxicity, or quinism.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, shoes and indoor

It also needs to do the right thing and ban mefloquine, as well as beginning a widespread awareness campaign which would provide information to the public about the dangers posed by mefloquine.

But for right now, this moment belongs to all those who have toiled and struggled for over two decades. It belongs to the thousands of Canadian veterans who were effected directly by mefloquine, and their loved ones and caregivers, but, most especially,it belongs to Marj and Val. It’s a small victory, but at long last, it’s a victory.

The Road to The Rally. The Week In Pictures.

Sunday, September 15th – Friday, September 20th.

I am dedicating this to those who made it possible for me to make this journey. To Claude Lalancette, Marj Matchee, Kentrina Jenkins, and the many others who paid for this excursion, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. To my family, who have been an incredible support to me since I started down this road seven months ago, I give my everlasting gratitude and love. None of this would have been possible without you.

It’ll be a few days before I write anything of substance about the last six days. I still have a lot to process, and my emotions are still raw from the events of the past couple of weeks. Before I do that though, I thought I’d share with you some of the pictures I took throughout this adventure.

Day 1, Sunday 15 September

I was up hours before dawn and had a couple quick cups of coffee and a cigarette before double checking to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. My parents drove me to the airport, and I arrived at the departure level two hours before my scheduled 8 am flight. WestJet flight 658 to Toronto was a wide-body 787, equipped with screens at every seat which allowed you to pick from among a variety of ways to occupy your mind. Movies and TV shows were available, as was detailed flight information, available by Flight Tracker.

I got my nerd on and monitored the flight from the time it left the gate in Calgary until it reached the gate in Toronto.

Holy frijoles.

I waited by the baggage carousel at Pearson for over half an hour before my suitcase finally appeared. I didn’t have to wait long before I spotted the man who had come to pick me up, and soon we were on the freeway for the trip to his home about 90 minutes away. Claude and Marcella were very gracious and generous hosts and made me feel very much at home along with their boys.

The highlight of the day was the dinner that Marcella had waiting for us. I could smell it as soon as I walked into the house. Done in a slow cooker, Marcella hade made us some traditional Colombian home cooking; frijoles. Kidney beans, cooked low and slow with some stewing beef, vegetables, spices, and plantains, which I hadn’t tried yet to that point. Served on a bed of rice and with a fried egg on top it was an incredibly delicious, authentic meal, and a glass or two of Corona with a little lime juice and salt added made a perfect pairing.

I consulted the Weather Network app and saw that we could look forward to a beautiful week in Ottawa, and the day of the rally was going to be sunny and 24 degrees C.

Day 2, Monday 16 September

We were up early, 5 am, and after a quick cup of Colombian coffee we were off to catch the GoTrain to Toronto. The commuter train runs between Toronto’s Union Station and Hamilton, Milton, Kitchener, Barrie, Richmond Hill, Linconville, Oshawa, and – seasonally – Niagara Falls.

Union Station, Toronto

Made the train to Ottawa with 10 minutes to spare.

The obligatory shot out the back of a moving train.

Ottawa

Our hotel was only a couple blocks away from Parliament Hill, so that was the first place I headed after checking in. For me, the first stop was the National War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was an emotional moment for me.

The East Block restoration and modernization.

The iconic Center Block.

After I took this shot, I looked up to the bell tower. It’s something I’ve seen thousands of times in photographs or on video, but it wasn’t until I saw it in person that I noticed the gargoyles beneath the clock.

The statue of Robert Borden.

The eternal flame, seen from in front of the shield of the Province of Alberta.

Fenced off due to construction. Because of this the rally was unable to be held on the steps as it previously had been.

The area around the eternal flame is a hotspot for tourists as well as protesters. While we were there checking things out that first day there we saw these two gentlemen carrying sandwich boards. One side was in French, the other English.

They were from the town of Shannon, Quebec, located near Canadian Forces Base Valcartier. Beginning in the 1940’s a number of toxic chemicals were dumped into local waterways. Among these chemicals was the industrial solvent trichloroethylene (TCE), which can result in harmful effects on the nervous system, liver, respiratory system, kidneys, blood, immune system, heart, and body weight.

Many of the town’s residents have been locked in a legal battle for years, claiming cancer rates in the area are more than twice the national average. I will be looking further into the situation in Shannon at a later date.

The day ends with a plate of mussels and a beer at Big Daddy’s in the hotel.

Day 3, Tuesday 17 September

Back to the Hill in the afternoon with Marj and Trina. On the way to our destination we pass by the Office of the Prime Minister. In a little under a month there should be a new occupant.

We were off to the Confederation Building, which houses the offices of Members of Parliament. We are off to the office of Marj’s MP, Cathay Wagantall, who had graciously let us use her office to do some printing and photocopying for the rally.

The visitors ID badge I was given.

The view out Cathay Wagantall’s office window.

I hate selfies, but there are times when you have to take them. Here I am in an MP’s empty office. Normally this building would by a beehive of activity, but with the place in election mode it’s like a morgue. Everyone is hitting the hustings in their home ridings.

Okay I just had to know what the bathrooms looked like. Apparently, just like any other bathroom in an old office building, complete with signs from management asking the tenants to use a little common sense. There you have it ladies and gentlemen, your parliamentary representatives are also slobs.

Welcome to the parliamentary biffy, where MP stands for Making Poop.

Or, in this case, Men’s Pisser.

I saw this place downtown but didn’t go in. It would have been quite appropriate.

Day 4, Wednesday 18 September

The Quinism Foundation held its annual Canadian Educational Meeting in Kanata. I attended the afternoon session, where afterwards we all congregated in the parking lot before heading over to Montana’s for dinner.

It was then that I took this picture of Val Reyes-santiesteban standing next to Mike Rude’s truck. The picture on the door is of her son, Scott Smith, who took his own life on Christmas Day 1994 while on a peacekeeping mission in Kigali, Rwanda. His suicide is one of many that resulted from the brain damage caused by mefloquine, the neurotoxic anti-malarial the government KNEW could cause extreme psychiatric side effects, yet gave it to highly trained and heavily armed soldiers in a high stress situation.

She is one of the grande dames of mefloquine advocacy in Canada, along with Marj Matchee.

Sgt. (ret.) Mike Rude has been driving all over Canada since early April spreading awareness about mefloquine to as many veterans as he possibly can. Up to this point, he had driven over 52,000 km’s on the Rude Awakening Tour, and saw all three of Canada’s coasts.

We were both at a healing circle later that evening. As we talked before things began, he asked if I would be interested in going up to Tuktoyaktuk with him in October. This is an opportunity that doesn’t exactly come up every day, at least not for me anyways, so it didn’t take me very long to accept the invitation.

I’ll be starting out my 50th year on Earth with a roadtrip adventure to Canada’s Arctic, and I’m pretty pumped about it.

Dr. Remington Nevin checks out the truck with Mike and his service dog Spark.

Mike Rude also has a mission to bring Afghan interpreter Niaz Husseini to Canada. Although he is in the United States and in a safe third country, it would be better for Niaz if he were here.

You see, he was seriously wounded in an IED explosion, losing both legs below the knee. As a result of his experiences, Niaz has PTSD. For many people, it is therapeutic to be near those with whom those traumatic experiences are shared. The Canadian government wouldn’t let him come to live here, and Mike would like very much to bring Niaz to Canada.

I have been telling Niaz’ story, and will be following it as this moves along.

Mike had something for Trina in the back of the truck.

A little while later a group of us headed to Montana’s for dinner. I ducked out for a cigarette, and who should I see but Dr. Nevin, on the phone with a veteran.

To say that the man is committed to his work would be an understatement. He was a doctor in the US Army, and his work on mefloquine at the time was, shall we say, controversial. He was starting to ring the alarm bell about mefloquine, and in doing so very nearly got himself court martialled, the military being very keen on its prized anti-malarial. Brain damage be damned.

Without his groundbreaking body of work on mefloquine, tens of thousands of people would be dead or living a nightmare.

Shortly after taking this photo, I was back inside and had engaged in a conversation with Capt. (ret.) Philip Brooks. We were standing a short distance from where we were seated, a beer in my hand and a glass of water in his. As he was talking to me, something began to happen. His was having difficulty speaking and suddenly he just stood there, staring blankly into space while he held his glass of water.

I looked over at the table, unsure about what exactly was happening, hoping that I could attract someones attention without creating a panic. His companion, Odessa, looked at him and said that he was having a seizure. I took the glass out of his hand and was quickly joined by Dave Bona, who jumped into action and guided Philip back to his seat. We were told that this happens all the time.

It was one of the more poignant moments of the trip, as I experienced first hand what it’s like to be around someone with quinism. I had seen the photophobia, the “Supermarket Syndrome”, and some of the other symptoms of quinism in many of the vets I had met up to that point, but a seizure is slightly more dramatic and it can really hammer home the realities of what this disease is like.

Day 5, Thursday 19 September

I arrived at the starting point near the War Memorial just before noon. I managed to get in a few pics and a video before the march to the Hill began, but not many. I have more pics and video on my Facebook page.

The crowd assembling on the lawn following the march, and before the rally began.

They called for nice weather, and we got it. In fact, it was hot as balls.

The resilient Philip Brooks addresses the crowd the day after his seizure. At his side is his companion the lovely Odessa, who survived the deadliest form of brain cancer, glioblastoma, and was able to be with him in Ottawa.

After the rally, it was over to D’arcy McGee’s for a couple cold beers. This is right out front.

Day 6, Friday 20 September

Once again I’m up early and headed to the airport. My flight leaves at 8 am, and I’ll be on a 737 with no entertainment system. At least I have a window seat. I’m able to see Dave, Teresa, and Marj before they board their plane to Saskatchewan. Trina’s plane doesn’t leave until 11.

Wheels up at 0804 EDT. Until next time Ottawa.

Touchdown in Calgary exactly 4 hours later at 1004 MDT.

Rejecting Afghanistan’s Gift – Part One

Niaz Mohammad Hussaini worked for the Canadian Forces as an interpreter during the war, at great risk to himself and his family. When he needed Canada the most, he was turned away.

Afghan interpreter for Canada during Afghanistan war denied entry into Canada

https://www.cheknews.ca/afghan-interpreter-for-canada-during-afghanistan-war-denied-entry-into-canada-565594/?fbclid=IwAR0IO3Ung8K3Q9Qg9DBIR-Qpa9EkyADSlhuM5m4RBUu1Ft8bvbKtvyVpok8

On June 7th, Niaz Hussaini landed in Victoria, British Columbia aboard a flight from his home in California. He was coming to visit his friend Canadian veteran Sgt.(ret.) Mike Rude. Once inside the airport however he was informed that he would not be allowed into the country. The reason: last minute arrangements and a lack of time to process his paperwork.

This was not this first time Canada had refused entry to Niaz. In 2011 Niaz was working as an interpreter for the Canadian Forces in Kandahar, Afghanistan when he applied to come to Canada under a program that began in late 2009. In February, 2011, one month before the Canadian mission in Afghanistan came to an end, Niaz was fired, being told he was a danger to the mission.

Afghan interpreters have high hopes for relocation plan

https://www.ctvnews.ca/afghan-interpreters-have-high-hopes-for-relocation-plan-1.436244

This is the story of Niaz Hussaini, an interpreter from Afghanistan who lost both legs below the knee in an explosion while working for the Canadian military in Kandahar. It gives us a glimpse into the life of the “average” Afghani family, and shows how people and families everywhere are all very much alike.

In order to give this piece some context, I will provide you with a brief overview of the history and politics af Afghanistan. Like every TV sports color analyst has said at least once, you don’t know who the players are without a program.

Afghanistan

Image result for afghanistan 1986 public domain image

The story of today’s Afghanistan goes back to 1955 when the Soviet Union granted a request from the prime minister, Prince Mohammad Daoud. for military aid. This would come shortly after the United States had rejected a similar request from Daoud.

Close ties developed between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union, and in 1956 Soviet influence became evident when women began to enter to workforce and the government. In 1965 the Afghan Communist Party was formed and in 1973 Daoud Khan and the Afghan Communist Party head up a successful military coup. The Republic of Afghanistan is established after Khan abolishes the monarchy and declares himself president.

Khan would himself be killed in a coup in 1978, the victim of a plot within the Communist Party itself. The new president, Babrak Karmal, then signed a treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union. Shortly after this came the birth of the mujahideen (plural of “those at jihad”), the resistance movement that would go on to face the Soviets after they invaded Afghanistan in 1979, in an effort to keep the communist regime propped up.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

During the time of the Cold War, the Soviets were enemy number one in the eyes of the United States. They were the only enemy really, so stopping them wherever they ventured in the world was a key concern for the U.S., in order to keep the communist threat at bay.

This would lead to a number of proxy wars between the two superpowers over the years,with the war in Afghanistan being the final one. It would come to be known as “Russia’s Vietnam”, as the Soviets began to suffer heavy losses against the guerilla army, and would contribute to the ultimate downfall of the U.S.S.R..

The mujahideen were fighters that came from all over Afghanistan, drawn together in jihad to remove the infidel communists from the country once and for all. Men from different tribal areas would fight together with a single purpose in mind. Although passionate, these fighters were poorly trained, lightly equipped, had no combat experience, and had no leadership.

The United States would support the mujahideen by providing weapons and training through the CIA, with the Stinger anti-aircraft missile becoming valuable asset in their arsenal much to the dismay of Soviet pilots.

The CIA was also funding a program called “Operation Cyclone”, which began to train a group of mujahideen in neighbouring Peshawar, Pakistan. One of the men involved was a young Saudi who was the heir to his family’s construction empire, Osama bin Laden. After the Soviets had left Afghanistan for good, he would go on to form the terrorist organization Al Qaeda, which is Arabic for “The Base”.

Map of Afghanistan

Niaz Mohammad Hussaini

Niaz Mohammad Hussaini was born in 1986, in a village near Lashkargah in Helmand province to a police officer father and a mother who was a full-time homemaker. His father, Mohammad Hussain Andiwal, is a retired police officer with 45 years of proud and honourable service to his country.

His father is a man not unlike many you will find in countries around the world, a man who does what he does for the betterment of the society he lives in. He wasn’t driven by ideology or creed, but instead by the universal notion of justice and the rule of law and order within a society. He was just an average guy who wanted to live his life and raise a family, things that men from countries around the world can relate to.

He wouldn’t be allowed this however. When Niaz was about a year old, the mujahideen attempted to assassinate his father by planting a bomb at their front door. Instead of killing Andiwal, the blast took the life of his firstborn (Niaz’ older brother), and severely injured his second child (Niaz’ older sister).

For Niaz’ mother, the blast would prove to be devastating psychologically, and its impact would become apparent. Not so for Niaz’ father, as Mohammad Andiwal would do what his culture demanded of him by not openly expressing his feelings.

After the Soviets Pulled Out

The last Soviet troops in Afghanistan pulled out in early 1989 and the country was in the control of a group of mujahideen. It wasn’t long before fighting had started to break out among the various factions, and Afghanistan would descend into a chaotic free for all between competing warlords.

Going into the early ’90’s, Niaz and his family were able to live comfortably by Afghani standards because of his father’s position within the government of the day. This would essentially mean having enough food to eat and water to drink for the entire family. It was by no means lavish, but their essential needs were met, which could not be said of all Afghanis.

The civil war would eventually make its way into Helmand, and the invading mujahideen ransacked the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah. All the schools were shut down, they killed every government employee within sight, and set alight every piece of government property that would catch fire.

Nimruz province.

Shortly after the mujahideen took control of Helmand, the family moved west to neighboring Nimruz province. There, Niaz’ father would open a grocery store and once again be able to provide a comfortable life for his family. They would be there for three years when malaria, which had been on the rise in Nimruz, would force the family to separate. While Niaz and his father stayed in Nimruz to earn money, the rest of the family moved back to Helmand where they would have greater access to a physician and adequate medications to treat malaria, things that were not available in Nimruz.

Hated by everyone.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bb/US_Army_ethnolinguistic_map_of_Afghanistan_–_circa_2001-09.jpg

A number of different ethnic groups live in Afghanistan, speaking a number of different languages. The 2004 Afghanistan constitution recognizes fourteen different ethnic groups that speak ten different languages.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/af.html

The largest of these groups is Pashtun, who are “ethnic” Afghani’s. The country gets its name from the Persian for “Place of the Pashtuns”. According to estimates, the Pashtun make up approximately 48% of the population of Afghanistan, which is thought to be about 38 million by the U.N.

http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/afghanistan-population/

Things in Nimruz had become difficult for Mohammad Hussain Andiwal after his family returned to Helmand. By this time the Taliban had taken control of most of the country, including Nimruz. The Taliban hated him because he had worked under the former communist government at the time the Soviets invaded, and so they viewed him as a communist and a kafir (an infidel). The mujahideen (who were fighting the Taliban) also wanted him dead for the same reasons, on top of the fact that Mohammad Andiwal was Pashtun, and the majority of mujahideen in Nimruz were not Pashtun. There were very few places that were safe for him, and so eventually father and son also went back to Helmand province.

Finally reunited the family once again began to work their farm, earning money from the milk, yogurt, and butter their livestock provided to help care for one of Niaz’s younger sisters who was recovering from malaria. She had required surgery as a result of it and was left with intestinal problems. At around that time Niaz started working as a tailor’s apprentice to earn money to buy bread for his family.

Arrested By The Taliban.

Image result for mullah mohammed omar
Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, believed to have died from TB in 2013

There were few places in Afghanistan that Mohammad Andiwal would be safe, including Helmand, and the Taliban would ultimately get their hands on him, arresting him for the usual reasons. He was accused of being a communist and an infidel and was thrown into prison where he was beaten and tortured on a daily basis and frequently deprived of food and water. This went on for a month until Niaz was able to sell their farm, livestock, and most of their possessions to secure his father’s release from his cruel captors.

Andiwal was in bad shape, but his family feared that he might disappear if he was taken to a hospital. So, he was treated at home, and Niaz became the sole breadwinner for his family. He attended school for a couple hours in the morning, skipping many days, then headed to the tailor shop to work until sunset. After sunset he worked at a construction job that a friend of his father’s got him. For the next 2 years, he would get whatever work he could find, seasonal, day labour, tailoring, pretty much anything that would allow him to earn a wage to support his family, and give him a sense of honor and pride.

The Taliban Are Forced Out

Niaz had graduated high school around the time the Taliban regime was being removed by the U.S. in the wake of September 11th. He began working for the Helmand province Directorate of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation, and his father had once again joined the ranks of the police force, serving as the education officer at police headquarters. Andiwal would later work for the Interior Ministry in the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team (KPRT) and it was then that he was able to convince his son to become a police officer.

In 2004, impressed by his command of English, members of the PRT approached Niaz as he went to attend the police academy in Kandahar and not long after, he was extended an invitation to work as a translator by the PRT commander. Later that year he would go to Kandahar to apply for a job as a translator with the Provincial Reconstruction Team and would soon after be working for them.

In 2005 Canada took over the PRT and requested that the translators stay behind instead of moving on with the American troops. Niaz and the rest accepted the offers and they all signed contracts with the Canadian forces.

For Niaz Hussaini, life would never be the same.

To be continued……

Exclusive: International Fraud, Corruption Scandal Brewing

Current, former ADF members implicated.

Pharmaceutical concerns on two continents involved. Fraudulent studies used to obtain regulatory approvals.

Hundreds of millions of dollars, tens of thousands of lives at stake.

An investigation has revealed that a massive fraud and corruption scandal could soon erupt in Australia and North America. At issue is the recently approved anti-malarial drug tafenoquine, as evidence shows that regulatory processes were obfuscated and the drug was approved under fraudulent circumstances. Many of the people involved are current or former members of the Australian Defense Forces as well as at least one former member of the United States Army. The people implicated have had or currently occupy senior positions in the ADF, and could go even higher yet.

The Caligari Brief

I received a copy of a brief to Lt.Gen. (ret.) John Caligari of the Australian Defence Forces that is dated December 20th, 2017. It is in relation to his capacity as the head of the Operation COMPASS Steering Committee in Townsville, a group committed to preventing suicide among ADF veterans. Its contents are explosive and the author wished to remain anonymous, however this person is a former senior officer in the ADF with direct knowledge of the situation.

https://www.opcompass.org.au/

Purpose 1. This brief requests your assistance for Australian veterans who have been adversely affected by drugs given to them as part of the Army Malaria Institute (AMI) drug trials conducted in Bougainville and East Timor during the period 1998-200 1. Your help is now urgently needed as recent developments internationally have brought one of these drugs, the antimalarial drug ‘tafenoquine’, a step closer to registration.

Importance 2. Why is this so important? Tafenoquine has caused serious long-term adverse health effects in a proportion of veterans who were exposed to this drug as part of military and pharmaceutical industry-funded clinical trials in the United States and Australia. These veterans have not been properly compensated or had their health conditions accepted by the Commonwealth, yet senior Defence of ficials have already stated that they will adopt tafenoquine as a key antimalarial drug for ADF personnel once the drug is registered in Australia. This is despite poor evidence of safety and appears only due to the involvement of the ADF in bringing this drug to market.

The Present Danger 3. The developers of tafenoquine have recently applied to United States and Australian health authorities for regulatory approval. The results of the AMI tafenoquine trials, particularly the East Timor 1 RAR trial in 2001 (“Study 033”), are being cited in support of these applications to justify tafenoquine as a safe and effective antimalarial drug, despite strong evidence to the contrary. Evidence of ill-effects that have been presented to the drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) by our group have been submitted to the FDA as part of the GSK registration package, acknowledging that long-term health effects have been caused by exposure to tafenoquine for those involved in the AMI trials. Despite this acknowledgement by the drug manufacturer, the Departments of Defence and Veterans Affairs continue to deny a causal relationship.

Brief for Lieutenant General (ret.) John Caligari AO, DSC Safety and Efficacy Concerns Regarding the Experimental Antimalarial Drug Tafenoquine

The bottom line here is that faulty and inaccurate data was presented to the FDA in an effort to get tafenoquine approved. An effort had even been put forth to have the approval granted expeditiously. The FDA was not informed of the numerous reports of adverse rections to the drug, which would have likely at the very least delayed approval but more likely would have resulted in a rejected application.

Institutional Denials Both Defence and DVA leaders have been informed of the serious health issues experienced by the Bougainville and East Timor drug trial veterans. They have failed to fund any investigation into these cases, despite proposals being submitted to them on a number of occasions, and after their requests for us to make those proposals. Worse, in late 2016, senior Defence leaders prevented any retrospective investigation occurring into the health outcomes for these veterans by placing restrictions on data access which deny researchers access to any past trial data for these and other ADF trial cohorts . The ethical and intellectual ramifications of this action are still in dispute with senior Defence officials by the key Defence and DVA research providers, with no acceptable outcome to date despite Ministerial intervention. Senior Defence officials have ‘shut down’ research into this question.
This is simply unethical.

Brief for Lieutenant General (ret.) John Caligari AO, DSC
Safety and Efficacy Concerns Regarding the Experimental Antimalarial Drug
Tafenoquine

This is fairly self-explanatory.

The Risk Should tafenoquine be approved by drug regulators, there is a likelihood this drug will cause extensive harm to ADF members, including loss of life. This has already occurred with its counterpart mefloquine over the past three decades. We do not want to see the same situation repeated. A clear statement of support is needed now, to prevent further harm to ADF members and their families in future.

Brief for Lieutenant General (ret.) John Caligari AO, DSC
Safety and Efficacy Concerns Regarding the Experimental Antimalarial Drug
Tafenoquine

There is clear and convincing evidence that tafenoquine has harmed a number of ADF personnel, even contributing to a number of deaths, and that it is more neurotoxic than mefloquine.

Detailed Background Tafenoquine is an experimental quinoline drug which was initially developed by the US Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) and is manufactured by GSK. The AMI trials were conducted in close cooperation with WRAIR and GSK, involving a total of 1,540 ADF tafenoquine subjects (including 492 personnel from the 1 RAR BG in Study 033), to investigate the safety and efficacy of tafenoquine for prevention and treatment of malaria. A large proportion of those subjects have since suffered serious, chronic symptoms consistent with adverse neurotoxic effects common to a number of similar quinoline antimalarial drugs.

Despite continued development of tafenoquine since the AMI trials, and despite our repeated requests, there have been no follow up studies on this large cohort (comprising more than a third of the total number of individuals administered
tafenoquine worldwide to date) to assess the long term health risks of exposure to
this drug.

In 2009, laboratory studies co-authored by WRAIR scientists found that
tafenoquine was “the only [antimalarial] drug more neurotoxic than mefloquine”. Mefloquine is known to be able to cause “lasting or permanent” brain damage at standard malaria prevention dosages comparable to the tafenoquine dosages used in Study 033. The symptoms of this brain damage are commonly mistaken for PTSD and other neuropsychiatric disorders.

Few if any of the AMI trial subjects adversely affected by tafenoquine (or mefloquine) have been provided with appropriate or effective specialist health care. Typically, those seeking help have been diagnosed and treated for PTSD or other psychiatric disorders, then subjected to ineffective and/or harmful treatments including antipsychotic drugs and electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). Unemployment, self-harm and family breakdown have been common, as well as cases of homelessness and suicide.

Brief for Lieutenant General (ret.) John Caligari AO, DSC
Safety and Efficacy Concerns Regarding the Experimental Antimalarial Drug
Tafenoquine

Not only has it made ADF personnel sick, but those personnel are not receiving the proper treatment, which can have fatal results.

In 2014, WRAIR found that tafenoquine needs to be metabolised by the CYP2D6 enzyme in order for it to work against the malaria parasite, i.e. it does not work against malaria for individuals who have reduced CYP2D6 function, which is very common (e.g. in the range of 12-23% of Caucasians). A number of the AMI tafenoquine trial subjects who contracted vivax malaria despite supervised, documented compliance have since paid for their own CYP2D6 tests to find that they have reduced CYP2D6 function. Individual variation in CYP2D6 metabolism is also one of the possible explanations as to why only a certain proportion of individuals are susceptible to quinoline neurotoxicity.

Our own research has found that ALL individuals who report significant
long-term health issues that can be causally linked to being administered
tafenoquine during the AMI trials are of a CYP2D6 metabolism type which makes
this drug both ineffective as an antimalarial and potentially toxic at normal treatment levels. This information has been passed to both the ADF and GSK. The ADF has ignored the potential ramifications of these findings. GSK acknowledged that they are aware of the risks for CYP2D6 poor metabolisers and were ‘surprised’ we had come to the same conclusion.

Brief for Lieutenant General (ret.) John Caligari AO, DSC
Safety and Efficacy Concerns Regarding the Experimental Antimalarial Drug
Tafenoquine

Put simply, about 25% of the people who take tafenoquine will NOT be protected against malaria and will get it regardless. Not only that, but the chances are greater that you will end up with brain damage as a result of taking this drug than if your took mefloquine, which already carries an unacceptable risk of brain damage.

Since the AMI trials at the turn of the century, the development of tafenoquine
has continued as follows:
a. GSK has continued to develop tafenoquine for the single dose treatment (aka
“radical cure”) of vivax malaria, in collaboration with the Medicines for Malaria
Venture (MMV). The current AMI Director, Professor Dennis Shanks, is a
member of the MMV scientific advisory committee.
GSK recently announced that it has applied to both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for regulatory approval.
b. 60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals (60P), a company established by former US
Army employee Dr Geoff Dow in 2010, has continued to develop tafenoquine for malaria prevention in collaboration with the US Army and individuals from AMI (specifically, Professor Shanks).
60P recently announced that it has applied to the FDA for regulatory approval and we anticipate that it will soon (if not already) make a similar application to the TGA.

Brief for Lieutenant General (ret.) John Caligari AO, DSC
Safety and Efficacy Concerns Regarding the Experimental Antimalarial Drug
Tafenoquine

This is where the confusing and convoluted conflicts of interest begin. Be forewarned, you are about to enter a nightmarish set of interconnected relationships that will leave you with a headache at the end of it. That being said, it will all make sense.

60P is attempting to downplay the importance of CYP450 phenotyping for
tafenoquine use as this would make an application for prophylaxis commercially
unviable.

Brief for Lieutenant General (ret.) John Caligari AO, DSC
Safety and Efficacy Concerns Regarding the Experimental Antimalarial Drug
Tafenoquine

If I could give someone considering taking tafenoquine any advice it would be this, don’t take it, but if you absolutely insist upon taking it, then when you go to your doctor for the Rx, ask for a blood test to check the levels of the CYP450 enzyme in your blood. If they are below a certain level you shouldn’t take it anyway, it will be dangerous to your health.

While we are concerned about the development of tafenoquine in general, we
are particularly concerned about the activities of 60P:
a. 60P was founded by Dr Dow while he was a contracted employee of the US
Army. Dow had previously been employed at WRAIR on antimalarial drug
research, then founded 60P while working on the development of tafenoquine
as a contractor for the US Army Medical Materiel Development Activity
(USAMMDA). Dow’s supervisor at USAMMDA was Colonel Bryan Smith, who
has since retired from the US Army and is now employed by Dow as the 60P
Chief Medical Officer. During this period, Dow/60P was awarded the US Army license for tafenoquine.

b. In 2014, 60P was awarded a US Army contract to “assist in the development of
tafenoquine as a malaria prophylactic drug for FDA-TGA (Food and Drug
Administration-Therapeutic Goods Administration) approval first in Australia
and then in the United States.” Dow’s most recent tafenoquine paper indicates
that 60P continues to receive funding from the US Army for this purpose

c. In 2014, Smith was requested in writing to undertake follow up research on
the AMI tafenoquine subjects, involving a senior US military specialist doctor,
to investigate the drug’s long term adverse effects. Smith acknowledged this
request but declined to undertake the follow up research.

d. In 2015, Dow stated in an interview that his motivation in registering tafenoquine was to obtain a US FDA “priority review voucher” (PRV), valued at up to several hundred million dollars. In a 60P media release of 18 December 2017, Dow states “It is our belief our dossier will receive priority review, expediting the review of tafenoquine, and 60P may qualify for a priority review voucher.”

e. Having previously declined to undertake follow up investigation of the long term adverse health effects of tafenoquine on the AMI trial subjects when
they were employed by the US Army, 60P employees continue to cite the
original AMI Study 033 findings in a 2017 “integrated safety analysis” paper
which provides the basis of their regulatory applications.

f. The above situation reflects these comments by Professor Aaron Kesselheim
(of Harvard University) when he said of the FDA PRV system last year: “I think
it’s problematic and potentially dangerous to use this crucial process as a
lever to try to artificially create value for a for-profit company, even for an
area like neglected diseases that desperately needs more attention.”

Brief for Lieutenant General (ret.) John Caligari AO, DSC
Safety and Efficacy Concerns Regarding the Experimental Antimalarial Drug
Tafenoquine

I don’t know how many more ways this can all stink, and it’s also all about the money.

Since 2015 we have made repeated efforts to raise our concerns about the
safety and efficacy of tafenoquine in Australia and internationally, including but not limited to:
a. A Townsville health forum attended by senior ADF health of ficials, medical
experts and a number of the original AMI tafenoquine trial subjects.
b. Numerous meetings with Ministers and senior of ficials from the Departments
of Defence and Veterans Affairs.
c. A written proposal to the Minister for Veterans Affairs to fund a dedicated
program of outreach, rehabilitation and research for ADF veterans adversely
affected by tafenoquine and mefloquine.
d. Meetings with GSK representatives in Australia and the UK.
e. Written complaints to the TGA and the Minister for Health

f. Written complaints to the Australian Federal Police.

Brief for Lieutenant General (ret.) John Caligari AO, DSC
Safety and Efficacy Concerns Regarding the Experimental Antimalarial Drug
Tafenoquine

The matter has been taken to the federal police. What else can be said?

Despite these efforts, there has been no follow up investigation into the long term adverse health impacts of tafenoquine among the 1,540 AMI trial subjects and
our requests for a dedicated outreach and research program have been repeatedly rejected. During this period, senior ADF medical officials hav repeatedly misled Ministers, Parliamentary committees, the media and the ex service community. We believe that this misinformation has been intended in part to facilitate the successful registration of tafenoquine for the financial gain of 60P.

In the event that tafenoquine is granted regulatory approval, we are also
deeply concerned about the serious distress among the AMI tafenoquine trial
subjects when they learn of the substantial financial gain to 60P after our requests for follow up research and medical have been repeatedly declined. In essence, many of these veterans and their families are begging to charity for health care while 60P stands to profit up to several hundred million dollars from the tafenoquine trials which caused so much harm.

Brief for Lieutenant General (ret.) John Caligari AO, DSC
Safety and Efficacy Concerns Regarding the Experimental Antimalarial Drug
Tafenoquine

Nothing needs to be said here.

Conclusion Given that the above concerns about the safety and efficacy of tafenoquine have thus far been ignored, and health authorities are now considering applications for registration, we are now requesting you to publicly support our calls for a dedicated outreach, research and rehabilitation program those affected. This would ensure not only that the Commonwealth fulfils it’s duty of care to the drug trial veterans and their families, but would also reduce the risk of unnecessary harm to ADF personnel who may be given tafenoquine in future.

Brief for Lieutenant General (ret.) John Caligari AO, DSC
Safety and Efficacy Concerns Regarding the Experimental Antimalarial Drug
Tafenoquine

The man in charge of overseeing the drug trials, Brig. Gen Leonard “Dr. Death” Brennan, once told someone that their efforts to see such a program put into place would end in frustration. This then raises the question of his involvement in this scandal, and now raises the possibility that Brennan could also have some conflicts of interest of his own going on here.

Image result for leonard brennan

60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals

The lie printed in a news release.

60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals Fast Tracked For Malaria Drug

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — 60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals (60P) has received Fast Track designation from the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for the investigation of Tafenoquine for prevention of malaria in adults.

60P entered into a cooperative research and development agreement with the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity (USAMMDA) in 2014 to develop Tafenoquine as a weekly prophylactic drug for the prevention of malaria. Since malaria is the top infectious disease threat to U.S. Military service members overseas, the military maintains a robust anti-malarial drug development effort through internal research and commercial partnerships.
The NDA submission is a culmination of over 30 years of research and development with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, from the discovery of Tafenoquine at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research through the current collaboration between 60P and USAMMDA.
A recent analysis of five clinical trials to assess the safety and tolerability of Tafenoquine has been published in Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, a peer reviewed journal. The authors concluded that Tafenoquine appeared to be safe and well tolerated when the anticipated clinical regimen (ACR) was administered.
In all five studies, the majority of adverse events (AEs) were mild or considered unrelated to the study drug.
For the full article, “Tafenoquine for malaria prophylaxis in adults: An integrated safety analysis,” by Moreno et al., 2017, please go to: http://www.travelmedicinejournal.com/article/S1477-8939(17)30079-0/fulltext   

NEWS PROVIDED BY
60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals Jan 04, 2018, 09:45 ET

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/60-degrees-pharmaceuticals-fast-tracked-for-malaria-drug-300577651.html

There are some serious questions as to the ethics and legalities of the trials performed in Bougaineville and Timor Leste, study 033 in particular. It it this data that was used on the application to the FDA for fast track approval last year, which it received on July 20th, 2018 under the brand name Krinfantel. No mention was ever made of any of the adverse events that were reported, and the drug was made out to be reasonably safe.

A Letter to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee

This letter was sent by Karl Herz, Managing Director of a company called Biocelect Pty Ltd.

Image result for karl herz biocelect

About Biocelect

Biocelect is a Sydney-based company that sources, in-licences and commercialises biopharmaceutical products for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific that address unmet medical needs of patients. In Australia, Biocelect has just registered its first specialty prescription product, KODATEF (tafenoquine), the first new drug molecule for malaria prevention in 20 years. Biocelect launched KODATEF (tafenoquine) in early 2019. 

Thank you for the opportunity to provide evidence to the committee on 8 November 2018. I would like to provide some additional information to further clarify one area of my evidence on page 17 of the transcript and the sentence is highlighted below: Mr Herz: Biocelect would like to thank the committee for the opportunity to appear before you today. As an individual I feel and as an organisation we feel for the plight of the veterans and what they are experiencing and hope that they receive all the help that they need. During the hearings, I have observed the overwhelming amount of information presented to the committee from various sources. Whilst the veterans’ stories are harrowing, we believe that we need to respect the findings of the various regulators and their experts. We have been working with 60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals since 2013 on the commercialisation of tafenoquine, and we made a decision to license tafenoquine for malaria prevention for Australia and other countries in the region, the first new product in 20 years for malaria prevention in Australia.

Karl Herz, B. App. Sc. (Biomedicine) Managing Director Biocelect Pty Ltd

http://www.biointelect.com/our-people/

Knight Therapeutics

Canadian connection.

Image result for knight therapeutics jonathan goodman
Jonathan Goodman

https://60degreespharma.com/investors/

HISTORY

2010: 60P established

2012: Secured $2 million in initial funding

2013: Established an Australian subsidiary to support global research projects

2014: Commercialization of tafenoquine for malaria prophylaxis initiated with U.S. Army

2016: Knight Pharmaceuticals provided $4 million in financing to support the 60P tafenoquine program

2017: 60P filed IND for tafenoquine with a target indication for the prevention of malaria

Overview Knight Therapeutics Inc. (TSX:GUD) is a publicly-traded, specialty pharmaceutical company focused on acquiring, in-licensing, out-licensing, marketing and distributing innovative prescription pharmaceuticals, consumer health products and medical devices in Canada and select international markets. In addition, Knight invests in or finances other life sciences companies with the goal of securing product distribution rights. Knight has acquired or in-licensed a portfolio of over 20 products that are marketed, under regulatory review or in various stages of development. Knight is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and has over 45 employees.

https://www.gud-knight.com/overview/

Knight Therapeutics CEO: I made a mistake in selecting my partner

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/knight-therapeutics-ceo-i-made-a-mistake-in-selecting-my-partner~1652451

Jonathan Goodman, well known player in the Canadian pharmaceutical industry, has had a rocky last couple of quarters, and this news may not improve the overall outlook.

If tafenoquine is pulled from the market, Goodman and his company could be out $4 million. Ironically enough, the trouble Goodman seemed to be having stemmed from the fact that he wasn’t being enough of a risk-taker. Goodman may have risked it all on tafenoquine.

Investigation only just begun.

There is still a lot of investigating to be done, but one thing is abundantly clear to me, I’m not the only one that should be doing this. At this point there should be enough to warrant a commission of inquiry as well as investigations and hearings by the senate, the judiciary, and law enforcement.

Let me also be clear that all of the people implicated in this affair who were ADF personnel are senior or general officers. There is no evidence of complicity on knowingly doing wrong on the part of any junior officers or NCO’s of any rank. It is a pervsive cancer that appears to have run rampant through the upper echelons of the ADF, and as the investigations move forward the true scale of this scandal will become overwhelmingly apparent.

For now though, the investigation goes on.

Australian Media Continues To Miss Mark In Whistleblower Case

Is it that they just can’t see the big picture, or have they become a part of it?

https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/whistleblower-mcbride-says-he-would-do-it-all-again/video/7ea77bb7d67b9ad88f9dad368c279fae?fbclid=IwAR0HDIeZjP8Xd0TTRbz228pjAJ7EscQcQ_Oab4zBFb1DwHSL6Ta6YvTk9B8

In a video Thursday on the website of the Daily Telegraph, former army lawyer Maj. David McBride defiantly stated that given the opportunity to do it over again he would, speaking of the actions which now have him facing the possibility of 60 years in prison.

He is accused of passing secret documents to the media, documents that he says show that the Australian government engaged in illegal activities which resulted in the deaths of ADF personnel in Afghanistan.

But, once again, the media have completely missed the point, and mischaracterized Major McBride’s actions and intent. They are instead characterizing it thusly: “August 22, 2019. Military lawyer David McBride who blew the whistle on alleged war crimes by Australian troops in Afghan…”. If this continues it will only serve to obscure the truth from the Australian public at large.

A man’s life is at stake for God’s sake, you at least owe it to him to report the story accurately. The media’s place in a democratic society is to unbiasedly report the news, not to become the news.

Do better Daily Telegraph, do better all of you, mainstream journalists. This is democracy you are dealing with, and the people deserve nothing less than your best.