Wednesday, July 15, 2009

British antisemites go to jail

They would have been protected by the 1st Amendment in the USA. The BBC story below covers up the shallow grounds for the prosecution but I myself saw a lot of their material at the time it went up and it certainly denied the holocaust in no uncertain terms and was certainly extremely derogatory but it did not call for attacks on Jews. I saw no incitement to violence and none is quoted in the article below. What they said was very similar to what Muslims routinely say, except that Muslims DO sometimes incite to violence. They were convicted because they were white working class and because what they said was abusive and insulting, nothing else. White working class non-Muslims are entitled "to hold racist and extreme views" in Britain only if they tell nobody about it, apparently. It is a sad day for free speech and justice in biased Britain.
"Jurors at Leeds Crown Court decided neo-Nazis Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle were not just harmless oddballs, but dangerous propagandists dedicated to whipping up racism. On Friday, Sheppard was jailed for four years, 10 months and Whittle for two years, four months.

In a landmark case, they have become the first Britons to be convicted of inciting racial hatred via a foreign website, having printed leaflets and controlled websites in the US featuring racist material.

The court heard the investigation into the pair began when a complaint about an anti-Semitic comic book called Tales of the Holohoax was made to the police in 2004 after it was pushed through the door of a synagogue in Blackpool, Lancashire.

It was traced back to a post office box in Hull registered to Sheppard, 51, a former BNP organiser kicked out of the far-right party after he was jailed in 2000 for distributing a racially inflammatory election leaflet.

Although their vitriol was variously directed at black, Asian and other non-white people, most of the material shown to the jury was virulently anti-Semitic. The language and racial slurs used by the pair cannot be repeated here, but some of the excerpts presented to the court offered a flavour of their discourse.

Jonathan Sandiford, prosecuting, told the jury that it held up survivors of the Holocaust to "ridicule and contempt", accusing them of lying about the genocide of six million Jews. Another story was illustrated with photographs of dead Jews. Sheppard also wrote that Holocaust victim Anne Frank's diary was "evil".

Reviewing lawyer Mari Reid, of the Crown Prosecution Service's counter-terrorism division, said members of the public were entitled under the law to hold racist and extreme views. But she added: "What they are not entitled to do is to publish or distribute those opinions to the public in a threatening, abusive or insulting manner either intending to stir up racial hatred or in circumstances where it is likely racial hatred will be stirred up."


Note that the case does NOT indicate rejection of antisemitism in Britain. Antisemitism is in fact rife among the British intelligentsia (See here and here) but they express it so much more nicely in those circles. Had the men referred to above been upper middle class and used a more educated vocabulary and accent, their views could have been expressed at most good dinner parties and been regarded as a little extreme but understandable. And that antisemitism is now beginning to show officially. Britain has just blocked the export of gun parts to Israel

Note again that British police are "advised to turn a blind eye on crimes such as incitement to religious hatred" when Muslims do it. No equality before the law in Leftist Britain. It's not what you say but who says it that counts.

British government forcing up the costs of private schooling

Hundreds of independent schools could lose their charitable status unless they increase fees for middle-class parents to fund more bursaries, a landmark ruling indicates today. Two of the first five schools to be investigated by the Charity Commission have failed the tough new requirement of providing “public benefit”. The long-awaited decision has ramifications for fee-charging schools with charitable status, which make up the majority of the independent sector. The tax breaks that they receive are worth a collective £100 million.

The independent sector reacted with anger and said it could take legal action against the commission. It said that parents, already struggling in the recession, were likely to end up paying higher school fees to subsidise poorer families. The commission had focused on the financial benefits, it said, while placing little weight on whether less wealthy schools shared their facilities with the community or had forged links with state schools.

The two schools that did not pass the charitable test are relatively small prep schools. Both failed because they did not offer enough bursaries, even though they were praised for running initiatives which helped local children and organisations. One, Highfield Priory School in Fulwood, Lancashire, does not provide bursaries because it keeps fees as low as possible, and does not accrue a surplus. The other, Saint Anselm’s School in Bakewell, Derbyshire, does offer bursaries worth up to 100 per cent of fees to poorer families, but the number was not deemed sufficient by the commission.

Simon Northcott, the head teacher, said: “As a stand-alone prep school, we just don’t have the pot that other schools have. We failed only because we’re not producing enough bursaries. But nowhere in the course of this process has the commission given us a clear idea of what we need to achieve. “It’s like being told you’ve failed a maths exam but without being told what the passmark is.”

A spokesman for Highfield Priory said: “The governors of Highfield Priory are disappointed at the Charity Commission’s conclusion on public benefit. However, the continued success and sustainability of the school is not in doubt. Highfield Priory has served the local community well for nearly 70 years and our aim remains to continue to provide a high-quality education for public benefit, affording pupils many opportunities to succeed academically, creatively, artistically, musically and in a wide range of sports both at local and regional level. “The governors will now consider fully the implications of the Charity Commission report and respond to it after taking professional advice.”

The 2006 Charities Act puts a new onus on charities to prove their public benefit, and the commission has assessed a dozen organisations, including the five schools. Independent schools have been waiting with trepidation for clarification on what constitutes “public benefit”, and were assured that schools would be judged individually.

David Lyscom, head of the Independent Schools Council, said that he was deeply disappointed by the commission’s findings and its focus on the amount of means-tested bursaries provided by each school. He said: “The implication of the commission’s findings appears to be that many schools must now aim to provide a significant — but still unspecified — proportion of their turnover in full bursaries. “This will inevitably lead to fee increases for the vast majority of parents, putting the benefits of an independent education beyond the reach of a greater number of children. “We will be expressing our concerns very loudly and will have to look very carefully at the legal basis of the Charity Commission judgments, and consider whether we need to take further action.” When asked if this could include legal action, Mr Lyscom said: “It is one of a range of options we could take.”

He added that, in focusing on bursaries, the commission had played down the significance of partnerships with state schools and ignored the £3 billion a year that the independent sector saved the public purse in educating children.

Schools which were concerned that they would be judged purely on the money spent on bursaries have been assured that this will not be the case. Dame Suzi Leather, chairwoman of the commission, had previously acknowledged that bursaries may not be an option for some smaller schools. However, the findings are likely to send shivers through low-cost schools that operate near the margins and may be struggling. The recession has already taken its toll on the independent sector, with several small independent schools closing or merging in the past year. The governors of Highfield and Saitn Anselm’s have three months to confirm their intention to address the issues raised by the commission, and a further nine months to provide a plan of how this will happen.

A spokesman for the commission said: “It is not correct to state that the Charity Commission’s initial public benefit assessments of charitable independent schools focused only on the provision of means-tested bursaries. “We have been very clear throughout this process that, although fee reductions are an obvious way of making the services of a fee-charging charity more widely accessible, that is not the only means of achieving this.”


Why Britain should fear American health care reform

Tucked away in a piece about possible end runs around NICE, the health care rationing body, is something of a scary paragraph:
Pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to launch new drugs in the UK at low cost because 25% of the global market is influenced by the UK price.

No, not that one sentence, although it helps explain why this next one is scary:
It comes at a time when other countries are actively considering setting up equivalents to Nice. First among them, and most important for the pharmaceutical industry, is the US. President Obama is known to be interested in some sort of cost-effectiveness scrutiny of medicines, which is bitterly opposed by the industry.

What all too few seem to understand is that medical innovation is hugely driven by what happens in the US market. The only market that is largely free from price controls. We can see from the first sentence that price controls do indeed retard innovation but of course there is no outcry about this for we don't normally see it. Who does take note of cures that aren't invented, aren't launched, because price controls mean there is no profit in their being so?

The great release from this problem for European health care systems has been that the US market, by far the largest in the world, is not subject to such price controls. Thus 300 million of the richest people on the planet underwrite, through the prices they pay for new treatments, the developments that we get years later as prices drop.

If the US does indeed bring in some form of NICE equivalent, some form of price rationing, then medical innovation will, not cease completely, simply there will be less of it than there would otherwise have been. Thus people who could or might have been cured will not be and they will die.

Reform of the US system might still be worthwhile, something like NICE might even still make sense: but don't anyone believe that such changes will be costless, they will indeed cost lives.


NHS 'obsession with breastfeeding is putting bottle-fed babies at risk'

Thousands of mothers who bottle feed are accidentally putting their babies' health at risk, says a study. They were found to be using too much formula milk powder and timing feeds wrongly. Frequent overfeeding can put babies at risk of long-term obesity and conditions associated with it, such as heart disease.

The problem is blamed on the Health Service's obsession with breastfeeding. It is accused of failing to provide enough information to new mothers on the alternatives. Cambridge University experts reviewed studies involving more than 13,000 mothers. They found that many mothers felt guilty or thought they were a failure for bottle feeding, while many were angry about not being able to breastfeed.

Others thought midwives were more interested in helping breastfeeding mothers than those who used bottles. Ministers are keen to get more mothers to breastfeed because of mounting evidence that it improves children's immunity to disease and helps brain development. It is also thought to reduce a mother's chance of heart attack.

The research, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal, involved 23 studies. The authors found that some NHS midwives mistakenly thought they were forbidden from giving advice to bottle-feeding mothers, even after the baby was born. 'When women do not get information from healthcare professionals, they are reliant on friends and family, and incorrect practices are likely to be handed down from one generation to the next,' the researchers said.

They found that many mothers mistakenly put too much formula powder with the water. 'In addition to the short-term issues of hygiene and safety, it is possible that errors in the measurement and over concentration of bottle feeds may contribute to overfeeding, rapid infancy weight gain and later obesity,' they said.

The World Health Organisation code on infant feeding says only limited information on bottle feeding should be given before the baby is born - and after birth, instruction on bottle feeding should be given only after the mother has decided against breastfeeding. The study also noted that parents often changed the brand of formula they used if their baby was regurgitating it, in the belief the child might have a food intolerance. However 'it was possible that the reason for this symptom may not have been intolerance but overfeeding', the researchers said. 'There was a risk that infants would wrongly be labelled as having an intrinsic abnormality with longterm consequences to their health.'

An Infant Feeding Survey from 2005 showed that while 78 per cent of mothers in England initiate breastfeeding, only 45 per cent of babies were exclusively breastfed aged one week, dropping to less than 1 per cent when they were six months. The authors said that while it was known that breast milk is best for baby, mothers who choose to bottle-feed or who have failed with breastfeeding should be supported. They added: 'Inadequate information and support for mothers who decide to bottle feed may put the health of their babies at risk.'


Creeping Fascism

Below is an excerpt from an article in a Scottish Leftist magazine which points out large similarities between historic Fascism and society today. I have also written to that effect

It is the subtle aspects of Fascist ideology that remain standing and develop their forms and continue their onward march despite all the military defeats suffered by Fascism’s historic regimes.

The corporate monopolisation of markets is the symptom and outcome of this onward march, but not the cause, which is the monopolisation of public reason. For Benito Mussolini this depended on stealthily “plucking the chicken one feather at a time.”2 His preferred name for the system was corporativism and a fuller understanding of this so-called ‘friendly Fascism’ and its pre-history provides a vital means to oppose the whole Fascist phenomenon.

Fascism ought to be understood as an ideologically sophisticated and creeping set of political relations that undermine free contest and the full expression of different material and class interests within society at large. From this perspective, the general geopolitical failure of Fascism only marks the end of various formally authoritarian States and certainly not the end of authoritarian State politics at a number of levels. Fascism’s more subtle progress is the true ‘clear and present danger’ to the development of democratic society or to whatever integrity democracy might still possess. The danger arises partly because one of the historical preconditions of Fascism, as theorised by Mussolini, has now been achieved thanks to the adventurism of the U.S. empire. The war on terror has given us the state of permanent, unbounded war originally dreamt up by the Italian dictator to bring about a specific economic and ideological order at home and military expansionism abroad.

That the Italian Republic, supposedly founded on the defeat of Fascism, has re-embraced the ideology under the guise of “Post-Fascism” within a parliamentary democracy is alarming. But, perhaps more alarming is that elsewhere, with no mention of any sort of Fascism, we also see the triangulation of policy towards “single purpose government”, as it is now called in Scotland. This widespread and neo-totalitarian sense of purpose favours corporations by gearing all policies towards existing markets or their creation where they do not already exist. In return, States are blessed with various stamps of approval from big business and the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Despite their reputation for imposing deadly market orthodoxies across the world, the power of these controversial institutions appears to be unassailable.3 These developments are connected to the progress of Fascist ideas and opposition to them is a matter of great urgency.

Mussolini envisioned the corporative nation in biological terms as a body of non-competing and co-operative functions. In 1934, Fascists from different European countries agreed that this was the defining element of their international movement. As Francis Mulhern notes in ‘Culture/Metaculture’, the functions of corporativism, or corporatism as it is now known, are all imagined to make “their necessary, mutually non-exchangeable contributions to the health of the whole. It is accordingly anti-individualist in temper (the notion of competition between parts of the body is absurd) and also anti-socialist (the notion of a struggle between the hands and the head is equally absurd – as are democracy and equality).”4 While this mythic idea of the nation as the body coincided with the racial policies pursued by the Nazis, the bodily doctrine cannot be reduced to its most murderous convulsions. In Nazi Germany, Gleichschaltung also aimed for the co-ordination of the life of the nation and it is the deep-seated ideology of enforced co-operation and managed national solidarity which provided the underlying logic of Fascism.

Although independent trade unions were politically disabled and outlawed in Italy, top-down organised labour and welfare policies were reborn in the image of Fascist corporatism, which, if nothing else, adhered to the aristocratic ideal of noblesse oblige. According to Gaetano Salvemini, an exile from the Italian system and one of its most sensitive critics, the impact of this policy to disorganise and manipulate the autonomy of labour was to effectively nationalise it, making labour into the State’s bargaining chip in its dealings with capitalists. Imagine being threatened by your boss for using the word “ballot” in communicating with fellow trade unionists because that word alone was an incitement to industrial action. Sadly this is not an example of legalised bullying under 1930s Fascism but the experience of a member of the Public and Commercial Services Union in Britain today. One only has to think for a few moments about nation-States with their normalised anti-labour laws and activities and see these policies in the context of international capitalism to begin to see the triangular outlines of the renewed repression.

In Fascist Italy of the 1930s, public institutions called corporations were to support co-operation and consultation between different interest groups, between labour and capital and between various economic sectors. In reality they were unrepresentative talking shops, the real function of which was to dignify a range of coercive policies. Followers of the Marxist, Antonio Gramsci would call this passive revolution, whereby “in lieu of attaining support for what it is doing, a government instead decides to act as if it alone were the origin of social change.”5 Yet the rhetorical element of co-operation and consultation remained central to Fascist practice. So attractive was the ideal of corporatist State to its proponents that they wrote admiringly of its company-like functions before the public corporations were even brought into dubious existence. Perhaps the reality is best summed up by Salvemini in his 1936 book ‘Under the Axe of Fascism’. For Salvemini, to find real co-operation and genuine consultation taking place through corporatist institutions was like “looking in a dark room for a black cat which is not there.”6

With this history in mind the obvious question for trades unions and other pressure groups in civil society today is how far has advanced capitalism adapted itself to the same logic of disempowered, disabled yet highly symbolic communication? There is a growing body of research on international development which suggests that the outcomes of participatory processes and public deliberation about policy are in fact preordained by the wisdom of the international financial institutions such as the World Bank.7 It should be asked, therefore, how far do citizens become institutionally formed and incorporated by processes that allow us the pleasure of expressing our views, and sometimes taking action, but only in return for the finally demoralising experience of being overcome by the carefully structured imbalance of actual power?

But if such a bleak perspective is valid, it is too easy to lay the blame on big business or some overly abstract notion of “the system” when corporatism is a particular rot that can set in almost anywhere. It can be seen in the paternalistic ethos of politicians, and in the dealings of “sweetheart” trade unions that function more like an arm of management, or in any number of individuals and ad hoc groups that grasp opportunities to represent or to lead the course of policy without examining the issue of meaningful democratic accountability.8 However compelling one may find Naomi Klein’s account of the ‘Shock Doctrine’9, shock tactics are not necessarily required to ignite the slow burning processes of corporatism. Trying to address these difficult issues here leads gradually towards a key distinction between freedoms of expression, on the one hand, and how the terms of communication may or may not be defined by the public interest, on the other. We live in an era that rather robotically celebrates individuals: individuals as spokespeople for the ‘voiceless’; inspired, creative and visionary individuals; individuals as over-achievers, enlightened benefactors, and celebrity of all kinds. But has an actual individualism, of the kind that historians and sociologists have found at the heart of Bourgeois revolutions against feudalism, been subtly replaced by mere persona in consumerist society? Are the beneficiaries and descendents of social and political flux in the 1960s now at one with an entrepreneurial ideology which downplays the new ‘feudalism’ perpetrated by a remarkably like-minded corporate power elite?

For anyone who has been subjected to mind-numbing processes of fake consultation – in the workplace or in civic deliberation on matters like housing, health, urban planning or culture – Salvemini’s metaphor of the darkened empty room minus cat has a certain poetic resonance in relation to the way the appearance of consensus is constructed in a political and ideological vacuum. Often, this is done with the aid of key unelected personnel who, we are endlessly told, have expertise although they often appear to have descended upon us from another lifeworld where everyone gets along and power goes unquestioned. Nevertheless, it would be misleading to immediately draw a line from the original Fascist ideology of co-operation to the dispiriting operations of technocrats and today’s neo-corporatism. Moreover, the Fascist-spawned British National Party knows only too well how to exploit the void opened up by the legitimate and widespread public contempt for what passes for democratic process in Britain. The response from mainstream parties has been to co-ordinate their campaigning to exclude the BNP. If taken in good faith, this response from mainstream politicians, would be more convincing if they were able to demonstrate a genuine commitment to unfettered public reasoning.

Undoubtedly, public discussion has been substantially dumbed down by the adherence to neoliberal ideology by all the main parties and their favourite ‘opinion-formers’. The truth is that far-right populists have arguments that cannot be properly answered without raising the ghost of anti-capitalist counter arguments which, however unpopular they have become in consumer societies, remain extremely relevant. In the face of the ongoing financial crisis, witness the media silence about the continent-wide reforms to the financial system underway in Latin America.

Part of the problem of restricting public discussion along narrow ideological lines is the way that primitive xenophobia gets branded as Fascist and racist, sometimes as if those were quite simply one and the same. We should remember that Italian Fascism became officially racist, it did not start out that way. Moreover, Fascist identity politics were not quite as exclusivist as often painted. In keeping with the history of liberal imperialism they were, and remain, all about reinforcing a variegated, and historically variable, racial pecking-order.

More blindly xenophobic voices today are rather too hastily ostracised for their proto-Fascist tendencies when the crucial Fascist lineage is far more likely to be the ongoing development of coercive rationalism, certainly not confined to matters of ‘race’. Paradoxically, when brought to public discourse it is this branch of rationalism that would coercively exclude the BNP. And in doing so it implicitly reduces Fascism to its most primitive party-political manifestation and therefore misrepresents or ignores its true philosophical scope. It is also this branch of rationalism that can be seen adapting centrist politics to totalitarian-like policies such as torture, the derogation of key laws, support for undue or unaccountable police powers, and the attack on civil liberties in general. If all this is not enough to demand that we take the philosophical basis of coercive rationalism seriously, then polling evidence, suggesting that a majority of Britons agree with far-right policies when they are not known to be those of the BNP, should make us pause for thought.11

The coercive branch of rationalism celebrates the power of the mind and self-will. It neglects the social and historic complexity of the development of modern societies along with the most troubling aspects of everyday life in them. This ideological vanishing trick draws us back to the key philosophical split of the European Enlightenment: “on the one hand [there is] the Enlightenment’s association of progress with autonomous and critical self-reflection within a society based on the principles of equality, liberty and the participation of independent and rational individuals, and on the other, the identification of progress with the development of scientific/technical reason and the subordination of society to the requirements of this process.”12 This is no abstract philosophical matter. As Val Plumwood argues in her book, Environmental Culture, “reason has been captured by power and made an instrument of oppression, it must be remade as a tool for liberation.”


Episcopal bishop wants to have her cake and eat it too

You would never guess from her words that HER Bible-scorning church is the driving force behind the developing schism

The presiding bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church warned the Church of England not to foment schism in America, responding to a threat made over the possibility that the U.S. church will start ordaining actively gay bishops.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said Sunday, in response to questions from The Washington Times, that calls by conservatives in the Church of England for recognition of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) over gay-related issues would wound her church, already split by the secession of conservative dioceses and congregations to form the ACNA.

She urged Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to remember the "pain of many Episcopalians in several places of being shut out of their traditional worship spaces, and the broken relationships, the damaged relationships between people who have gone and people who have stayed." "Recognition of something like ACNA is unfortunately likely only to encourage" further secessions, she said, reminding the Church of England that "schism is not a Christian act."

Bishop Jefferts Schori's remarks come amid a fight at the triennial meeting of the General Convention, the Episcopal Church's top legislative body, which began moves over the weekend to overturn the church's 2006 ban on gay bishops. On Saturday night, the church's World Missions Committee consolidated 13 resolutions into a single bill that opens the door for gays "like any other baptized members, to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church."

The General Convention has a bicameral structure - divided into a House of Deputies and a House of Bishops - and resolutions require approval by both houses. The committee vote, however, was divided, with the panel's deputies - the clergy and lay members of the General Convention - voting 24-2 in favor of the bill, while the panel's bishops voted 3-2 to reject it.

The Rev. Charlie Holt, a conservative deputy from the Diocese of Central Florida, predicted the deputies would endorse the committee report, noting the numbers were not there to hold the ban. Passing the other hurdle may prove harder. Washington Bishop John B. Chane, though a longtime supporter of pro-gay causes in the church, told The Times on Sunday that rescinding the ban "will not be helpful," adding that he did not think the "effort to overturn it will be successful." Bishop Chane said he hoped the Convention would be "respectful of our differences, and that we don't leave" with the degree of rancor the church experienced in 2006 when the ban was enacted.

But pressure to block the bill has come from the church's overseas partners. On Thursday, Archbishop Williams urged the Convention not to rescind the ban, saying "I hope and pray that there won't be decisions in the coming days that could push us further apart." Archbishop Williams declined to tell the Episcopal Church what the consequences might be if it repudiated the gay ban. But other leaders of the Church of England indicated that possible consequences would be a break with the Episcopal Church or the recognition of its rival, the ACNA.

On Friday, Bishop N.T. Wright of Durham told members of the Church of England's General Synod that their House of Bishops' Theological Committee would study the organizing documents of the ACNA. A resolution has also been proposed for debate in the next session of synod that would recognize the ACNA.


Britain penalizes Israel for retaliating against incessant Arab attacks

The British antisemitism genie is half out of the bottle now

In a move that threatens to strain diplomatic ties, Britain has blocked the sale of spare parts for Israel’s fleet of missile gunships because they were used in the recent campaign in Gaza.

The first country to revoke an arms licence in response to the war in Gaza six months ago, Britain told the Israeli Embassy in London that five of the export requests for parts for the Sa’ar 4.5 gunships had been rejected because the vessels had fired on Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s controversial 23-day campaign against the militant group Hamas. The spare parts were intended for the ships’ guns.

An Israeli defence official said that Britain’s decision to revoke five of the 182 licences reviewed by the Government would not impair the navy’s operational abilities — but admitted that there was concern within the military that other countries might follow suit.

Officials in the Israeli Prime Minister’s office said the British ban was a “dangerous step for Israeli diplomatic relations”.


A wonderful and instructive heart transplant story

A BRITISH girl who had a donor heart grafted onto her own after suffering cardiac failure as a baby has had the transplant removed and is living a healthy life with her own heart. The case of Hannah Clark is thought to be the only one in the world where a child's failing heart recovered enough for the donor organ to be removed, the British surgeons told reporters ahead of their report in The Lancet journal.

"The possibility of recovery of the heart is just like magic,'' Professor Magdi Yacoub of Imperial College London, said. Prof Yacoub treated Hannah from the beginning and co-authored the journal paper.

Hannah, now 16, suffered as a baby from severe heart failure due to cardiomyopathy, a problem with the muscle of the heart, and in July 1995, when she was two years old, doctors transplanted a donor heart next to hers. The new organ soon took over much of the functioning of her own heart and Hannah began to recover.

However, she suffered from a type of cancer known as EBV PTLD, a common side-effect of the drugs given to transplant patients to stop their immune systems rejecting new organs. She was treated with chemotherapy and other drugs but the cancer kept returning. Doctors reduced her dosage of immunosuppression drugs to stem the disease, but as a result, her transplanted heart began to fail. In contrast however, her own heart recovered and began functioning normally.

In February 2006, the team decided to remove the donor organ so the immunosuppression could be stopped - something that had never been done before. Just over three years later, Hannah has completely recovered from the cancer and her heart is functioning normally.

Prof Yacoub and the team responsible for her remarkable treatment said her case offered vital clues to the study of transplantation, heart recovery and malignant disease. The report's co-author Victor Tsang said the research was also useful in the development of temporary artificial hearts for children suffering from cardiomyopathy. "This is an important piece of knowledge as we are now gaining more experience with mechanical support for the failing heart in children,'' he said.

Hannah had to take about seven tablets morning and night for the immunosuppression treatment, went through several rounds of cancer treatment, suffered kidney failure and at one point was left barely able to breathe. At one point her family were told she would not survive the next 12 hours.

Prof Yacoub praised her courage and that of her family, saying: "The lesson is don't give up.'' Hannah's mother Liz thanked the donor family whose five-month-old baby daughter provided the transplant heart, saying: "They lost a child, we've gained our child - how can I ever thank them?''


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