Those who followed the link we gave out recently to the "eastpenrest"
website to read the on-line diary may have seen a reference to Professor
Anderson's role in the FMD "modelling" - in case you didn't, here it is:
"......... but ask yourself how he managed to become such a dominant figure
with respect to FMD cull policy.
The evidence suggests he had 'help' from Sir Robert May (President of the
Royal Society and previous Govt Chief Scientist), Sir John Krebs (Head of
the Food Standards Agency and well know enthusiast for GM) and Prof David
King (Chief Scientist).
All 4 are Fellows of the Royal Society - which appears to operate as a kind
of scientific Freemasonry - and May, Krebs and Anderson were all Profs in
the same Dept and Oxford University prior to the Anderson scandals that led
Anderson and large numbers of 'hangers on' to decamp to Imperial College
last year. May and Krebs receive(d) Royal Society Research Professorships.
Anderson and Krebs are widely 'seen' as May's protegees, and King almost
certainly owes his position as Chief Scientist to May, as does Krebs with
his appointment as Head of the Food Standards Agency.
Begin to get the 'picture'?
Intrigued by this, we clicked the "link" relating to this item to read more
details. These follow shortly, but to make sure that you bother to read all
this stuff, here's a brief summary from us:
Professor Anderson, discredited by two different scandals at Oxford
University, can't be appointed to the post awaiting him of Chief Scientific
Officer to the government, so King, another member of the "inner circle", is
appointed instead. Anderson decamps to Imperial College while the fuss dies
down. When FMD breaks he sees an opportunity to regain status and image.
Though not invited to "model" the outbreak, he does so and worms his way
into the process. With help from the "inner circle" he quickly sidelines
the opposition and emerges as the leading exponent. He has no specialist
knowledge of FMD and makes significant errors in the original assumptions
for his computer modelling team, hence the divergence of his predictions
from the real epidemic - but these are consistently covered up by the "inner
circle". Result - fame and favour for Anderson, the previous scandals
buried in the past. The mass slaughter policy was actually a "career move"
for Anderson, orchestrated by an elite clique at the very top of the
Sounds far-fetched? Or only too plausible? Look at the detail now from the
"eastpenrest" link before you make up your mind. Here it is:
Here's documentary evidence of the Krebs connection - there's a lot more
circumstantial evidence too:
The Ministry of Agriculture and the Food Standards Agency held a joint
meeting on 21 March to receive urgent advice from independent expert
epidemiologists. Jim Scudamore (Chief Veterinary Officer), Sir John Krebs
(Chairman FSA) and Professor David King (Chief Scientific Adviser) heard
reports from Neil Ferguson and colleagues (Imperial College) Mark Woolhouse
(University of Edinburgh) and opinions from experts at the Institute of
Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency. The models and analysis
use data recorded by MAFF up to 19 March 2001. A brief summary of the
available findings is attached; Imperial plan to publish
What you might ask was Krebs/FSA doing at such a meeting? Does FMD
modelling have anything to do with food safety?
No of course not - he was there to ensure things went 'OK' for Anderson and
to ensure that the CVO stayed 'onside'.
By the way do you see any evidence of the supposed modelling team from
University - mentioned several times by King? Nor do I.
But I do see evidence of a CVL/VLA (Veterinary Laboratories Agency)
modelling team that we've not heard of
since - this team headed by Prof John Wilesmith - Head of the CVL/VLA
Epidemiology Unit - was using a well regarded well established FMD model
(InterSpread) from Massey University's Epicentre in New Zealand
(http://epicentre.massey.ac.nz/). The Massey group sent two people over I
understand to help with the modelling work.
The Anderson et al and Wilesmith/CVL-VLA 'groups' have little love lost
between them, dating back to a big row in the 'heydays' of BSE.
I'm reliably informed that when MAFF commissioned FMD modelling studies
they did NOT commission work from Anderson's team at Imperial - but
Anderson et al did their own FMD modelling studies independently funded
(partly by the Royal Society and also by the Wellcome Trust) which they
then 'brought to the attention of' Prof King - 'aided' by May and Krebs? -
who was 'impressed' and invited then onto his Science Group.
This raises the interesting question of where Anderson et al got the data
to drive their moedel - I just don't belive that given past history that
Wilesmith/CVL-VLA (who collated the data) would have given it to Anderson
et al unless the Imperial team had been officially commissioned to do FMD
modelling studies - which they were not. Two possibilities come to mind a)
they initially used data from the 67/68 epidemic and not the 2001 epidemeic
and/or b) Prof Mark Woolhouse - another non-vet biomathematician - who led
the 'independent' Edinburgh modelling team gave (leaked) the 2001 epidemic
data to Anderson et al for their unofficial modelling studies. This is
quite possible since Woollhouse used to work with Anderson at Oxford, and
is known to be something of a 'fan', and Woolhouse still defends the 12/48
culling policies. I've also been told that Woolhouse did not have an
independent prediction model of his own but used The Anderson (Imperial)
team's model. if true this makes a mockery of King's claim of having 3 (or
sometimes 4) independent modelling teams - it could well be that there were
only ever 2 truly independent modelling teams - the
Wilesmith/CVL-VLA/Massey team and the (initially unofficial) Anderson et al
Anderson et al still had a problem - to become predominant they needed to
get rid of the Wilesmith/CVL-VLA/NZ modelling team, and to 'sideline'
Donaldson and Kitching from the IAH Pirbright (who would have naturally
'sided' with Wilesmith/CVL-VLA/NZ team) and who as we know have been very
critical of the Anderson modelling work and the cull policies that arose
I have been informed that at some point - after the meeting mentioned
above? - the CVL/VLA/Massey team was instructed (by MAFF/Govt?) to stop
their modelling work. I believe the NZ folk then went home. If one goes to
the Epicentre web site - http://epicentre.massey.ac.nz/ - there's a link to
a 'Links' page - on this 'Links' page there's a link to 'UK FMD Outbreak
2001 - Interspread Predictions ' -
http://epicentre.massey.ac.nz/AHE/economics_exercises/html/Fmd.htm - guess
what? It's 'dead'.
So there's my 'story' of how Anderson et al 'engineered' or 'leveraged'
their way to become the predominant advisors with respect to cull policies.
Stinks doesn't it - of course completely undermines any claim that
Govt/MAFF acted on 'the best scientific advice', and rather demolishes
Govt/MAFF/King claims that all the scientists were unanimous about need for
12/48 hour cull policies (which of course has already been denied by
Donaldson and Kitching).
Of course Prof Anderson et al (Ferguson and Donnelly), Prof King, Blair,
Nick Brown continue shamelessly to peddle various lies:
1. There was no alternative.
2. Had there been any other way we'd have taken it.
3. Any other policy would have prolonged the epidemic.
4. Any other policy would have resulted in more animals being killed in the
5. The scientists were unanimous about the need for the 12/48 hour cull
6. Dr Donaldson's and Dr Paul Kitching's (IAH Pirbright) comments and
criticisms were fully accounted for in the Anderson et al model.
7. CVL-VLA had no experience of or expertise in modelling.
The Ferguson, Donnelly, Anderson (Imperial College Modelling team headed by
Anderson) paper that describes their deeply flawed' model - that resulted
in the 12/48 cull policies - is' entitled The foot-and-mouth epidemic in
Great Britain: pattern of spread and impact of interventions.It was
published on line by Science Express 12th April. In the References and
Notes section one finds the following in item (20):
"We thank Sir Robert May for valuable advice and discussions, and 3
anonymous referees for comments."
Now guess what? Prof Sir Robert May - President of the Royal Society,
previous Chief scientist, mentor of Anderson and Krebs, close associate of
King, and newly appointed 'People's Peer' - is to 'head the Royal Society
inquiry into the science behind the policy decisions on FMD' - how very
Andrew Stephens BVetMed MRCVS
36 Falstaff Avenue, Earley, Reading, RG6 5TQ, UK
Tel: +44-(0)118-9756574 Fax: +44-(0)870-1337217
>If my memory serves me well, Krebs was chief exec of one of the
>conservation/environment bodies, before doing a report on TB in cattle and
>badgers for MAFF that was so fudged and vague that another academic
>luminary had to dig him out. The reward for Krebs - a knighthood
>and chief exec of the newly formed Food Standards Agency. So he continues
>his career of fudging!
Guess what - Anderson was on the Krebbs Committee which produced the TB and
badgers report. He's also on SEAC which is now jointly 'adminstered' by the
Dept of Health and the FSA - small world ain't it.
Also Dr Christl Donnelly - of Anderson, Ferguson and Donnelly 'fame' - is
on the independent TB science group set up on recommendation of Krebs
committee to oversee further research and the badger culling trials -
incestuous ain't it. (That's how they work the 'system').
Do you remember who the 'academic luminary had to dig him - Krebs' -out was?
Anderson of course sought to 'leverage' his way into becoming predominant
in the FMD science/modelling/policy 'scene' in this epidemic - with a
little help from his friends -once it was clear that the FMD epidemic would
be a 'big thing' , because he saw it as a golden opportunity to
'rehabilitate' himself after the Oxford scandals, enhance his
'fame/status', and to get the knighthood he is said to crave - he may yet
get one! Pity he and his team - Ferguson and Donnelly - so messed up
the FMD modelling.
An email from Val:
Andrew - I have been doing a little digging for the past few weeks on your
unholy alliance -
what I did find was:
I was not able to pull out on the web a listing of any of the academic works
or a proper academic CV for any of these people
(king, anderson) - only newspaper listings and 'political' type committees
whereas - I typed in the names of a few of the people I went to university
with, who continued with 'proper academic careers' when I left - without
exception for the 6 I tried ( just who I could think of off the top of my
head - not ones Ive contacted in the meantime) - every single one of them
had about 100 academic papers, committees, and listings (and often
Pictures) - these guys were not your 'ivory tower academics' - 3 were head
of Department at major american universities (ones we would have heard of) a
4th is head of department at Kings College London (Philosophy), one an
emeritus professor at Imperial and the 6th a senior professors in Canada
whose outside interests were legion (and extremely well documented.)
What I am saying is: in the 'true' academic world, one still has to 'publish
or perish' - you don't survive otherwise - and your academic provenance is
extremely well documented
- anyone else is purely a politician in academic circles
(I did find a bit more academic provenance for Christl Donnelly and the
other fellow on the modelling team - not much for Mark Woolhouse (a more
famous woolhouse is a philosopher!) - but not as much as for my friends -
but perhaps they are a bit younger!)
There's one more snippet about Anderson on "eastpenrest" as follows:
More about Professor Anderson in Private Eye this week: "...Blair's
favourite academic, Prof Roy Anderson.., who created the computer model used
by MAFF to claim that the number of foot and mouth cases would fall to zero
by 7 June, thus allowing the PM to call an electionfor that very
date........Back in 1987 Anderson was invited by norway's PM, Brundtland, to
help produce an "independent assessment" of how many minke whales Norwegians
could sustainably kill every year......The IWC had introduced a
moratorium.....Brundtland feared would lose her support... Surprise,
surprise...Anderson etc came up with exactly the figure - 200 whales - which
the whalers thought thye needed to make a profit. ....... A mathematical
biologist on the IWC's scientific committee went through the algebra and
discovered "fundamental flaws in the methodology": Anderson and his chums
had achieved the result Brundtland wanted, ie a "safe" catch of 200, only by
creating wholly unreal (indeed "impossible") parameters........." I've left
some gaps, but that is the gist of it. The more I hear of that man, the more
unpleasant he seems.
Our comment: We read all this carefully and several things that had been
puzzling us suddenly fell into place. For instance, do you remember Jim
Scudamore being so prominent in the media for the first few weeks of the
outbreak, then disappearing overnight to be replaced by King? We knew King
was not qualified in veterinary science and wondered about this at the time.
Then there were the rumblings of discontent coming out from Pirbright via
Paul Kitching/Alex Donaldson which finally culminated in Kitching leaving
his post for Canada (at the peak of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in his
FMD speciality, for heaven's sake) and Donaldson's outburst in the
Veterinary Record of May 12th that was clearly as far as he could go whilst
keeping his job. On top of this have been the strange and unfounded
statements being made by King that are at variance with the facts of the
epidemic, in contrast to what we would expect of an impartial scientist.
Intrigued by all this, we rang Andrew Stephens, the author of most of the
above, to find out more. Andrew is trained in veterinary science and has
worked for the last ten years or so in epidemiology. We spoke at length on
the 'phone and he explained many further intricacies of the situation. Some
of the evidence linking these men is circumstantial but much of it is in the
public domain and can be found on websites or in the archives of newspapers
and scientific journals. Andrew also has access to "insider" information
through his own work to supplement these sources.
We asked him about the "Oxford scandals" that temporarily halted Anderson's
career. Anderson received financial backing from the Welcome Foundation
alongside his university post at the centre for zoology. There were
breaches of financial rules involving transfer of funds that were
investigated by a university inquiry and by a firm of city accountants. The
reports were supressed and the impression floated that lax accounting
procedures were to blame rather than personal wrongdoing. But at the same
time there were allegations concerning a female employee in Anderson's
department. He tried to prevent her appointment, obstructed her work and
circulated false rumours about her relationship with another member of
staff. Eventually he was forced to "resign" his chair and leave Oxford.
He transferred to Imperial College along with 20 or more of his entourage,
all of whom were also funded by Welcome so could move without any problem.
A new department was set up around Anderson to accomodate these new faces.
All this happened only last year.
Krebs and May both hold Royal Society professorships at Oxford (as did
Anderson before his disgrace). May was previously Chief Scientific Officer
and it was widely thought that Anderson would succeed him, but when the
scandal made this impossible, King got the job instead. May is regarded as
a "fixer" and is thought to have "placed" Krebs into the FSA top job.
Where did King appear from? Once upon a time he was Prof. of chemistry at
Liverpool university (a backwater) but then he joined the Royal Society. To
join, you have to be invited by 6 nominees, so it is a "closed" society
unless your face fits, and it operates along "freemason" lines. Lo and
behold, in 1998 King becomes head of chemistry at Cambridge university and
Master of a college - quite a step up - and in no time at all, Chief
Scientific Officer. He is (obviously) a chemist and has no veterinary
We also asked about the BSE disagreement touched on above. To cut a long
story short, Wilesmith and his team were "discredited" by Anderson et al who
got hold of the data uninvited and dug around until they "discovered" the
answer - sound familiar? He did a similar thing on HIV/Aids. He looks
around for the main chance then tries to undermine the established ideas.
Wilesmith's team worked closely with Pirbright staff and Anderson had made
enemies of these over his antics with BSE.
Back to FMD and the advisory group chaired by King. Anderson was "invited"
to the meeting on 21st March as minuted above, without official access at
this stage to MAFF data remember, yet within two days his "model" was
announced as official policy! While he undoubtedly has expertise in
computer modelling and epidemiology, he lacked the necessary knowledge of
FMD to describe the parameters of his model, and it is most unlikely that he
had any input from the Wilesmith team (with Donaldson/Kitching etc) because
of the BSE hangover. His basic assumptions were flawed, with the result
that his model over-estimated the size of the epidemic. Put rubbish in, get
There was broad agreement across the committee that more needed to be done,
at that stage, to control the epidemic. It was well-established that
movement restrictions, and that killing infected animals as quickly as
possible, were the two most important factors by far, so the 24 hour cull
was not contentious. What was new - entirely new - was the idea of the 48
hour contiguous culls and the firebreak culls. These had never been used
before, but the modellers put these into their computers and came up with
predictions. No data existed to validate these forecasts. And even
Anderson's flawed model did not justify a 3 km firebreak cull, his
predictions showing no difference between 2 km and 3 km distances - although
of course 55% more animals would be slaughtered at the 3 km distance. The
politicians must have decided to take no chances anyway.
We now know from Donaldson that Anderson's team modelled a hypothetical
"species" with assumed levels of susceptibility to airborne transmission,
neither of which had any basis in veterinary science.
King constantly assures us that the decline in the epidemic is the result of
the control measures applied, quoting the ratio of new cases arising from
each disease outbreak (which needs to be less than one for the epidemic to
decline). In fact, retrospective analysis of data shows that the ratio had
dropped below one before the new 24/48 hour policy was even applied, just as
many others had argued that it would. The movement ban/24 hour killing of
infected animals has produced this result many times before in previous
epidemics. The additional new measures were just tinkering at the edges,
making negligible impact on the course of the epidemic but resulting in the
additional slaughter of huge numbers of animals.
We also asked Andrew about the role of sheep in the current epidemic and
their supposed virus-shedding/re-infection of cattle. He said that there is
no evidence so far from the serological test results of any widespread
infection in sheep, even in the Settle area where this is claimed to be the
cause of the "cluster". The evidence is that movements of animals,
personnel and equipment have caused the spread from an initial source, which
is the usual pattern for FMD.
Andrew came across as someone who does not make such claims lightly. He has
looked into these matters carefully over a period of time and cross-checked
with "insiders". He has doubted his own conclusions until very recently but
is now convinced that they are broadly correct. But as he put it, why
should anyone believe him - an "unknown" - against the might of the
We would answer that in this way. Anyone who has worked in industry,
academia or indeed any employment with a hierarchical structure will
recognise all too well the human failings, favouritism and corruption that
he describes. It pervades all organised human society and becomes more
concentrated the higher up the ladder that you look.
It fits the known facts and seems perfectly believable to us.
from Alan & Rosie