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Poor skeptics – and their right to be cyberbullies

Time and time again, I am contacted by people who belong to Stop the Australian Vaccination Network (SAVN) and / or the Australian Skeptics asking why they are not allowed to post on our Facebook page, email discussion list, etc. They seem to be genuinely hurt and go on and on about how I am ‘censoring them’ (the irony of that seems to go right over their heads when their entire reason for being is to censor the AVN!) and denying them the right to free speech (again – a major irony fail since the original complaint against the AVN by Ken McLeod stated quite clearly that the AVN has no access to freedom of speech in Australia).

It really makes me wonder if they believe that I don’t see what they say on their own Facebook page / blogs / Twitter sites or if they think that this sort of abusive language is OK and really just part of modern life on the internet? If so, I can tell them that it is neither OK nor is it normal in any way.

I have not done one of these posts for some time but thought it might be time to share a few more screen shots and twitter posts from the other side of the fence to show you the type of people who oppose informed vaccination choice and who regularly attack both myself and the AVN as well as anyone who believes that vaccinations are not necessarily right for everyone. These people cannot debate the issues – instead, they attack the person.

I apologise in advance for the language used in these posts, but it is necessary to leave that in to demonstrate the truly vile and abusive attitude of these people. They really should be ashamed of themselves. Sadly, they don’t seem to know the meaning of the words shame, compassion, understanding…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Dan Buzzard This is good because it gives Meryl time to dig her grave a little deeper.
Wednesday at 10:56pm ·
Michael Fitzpatrick Meh. All this means is the blade of the ( hypothetical, non death threatening) guillotine will take longer to arrive.
It is still on it’s way.
Yesterday at 10:26am ·
Bill Bibb It may even be a larger blade (not a death threat)

Daniel Raffaele
Might be a timely warning for AVN acolytes (not a death threat)
1000 ways to die Booby Trapped
www.youtube.com
Unintented SPIKE. 1000 Ways to Die

The above comment is from the same Daniel Raffaele who very recently posted on the SAVN page, his justification for not engaging in debate but rather, for being abusive and belligerant towards those whose research into the science of vaccination has led them to draw a different conclusion then he has:

 

 

 

 

It is very hard to argue with that ‘logic’. I’m right – you’re wrong – end of story. And of course, Daniel Raffaele is the person who started the SAVN Facebook page and who puts down as the goal of that organisation to close down the AVN. I wonder what Mr Raffaele studied in school and if the words democracy or freedom were ever mentioned within his hearing in class?

Or that SAVN stalwart, Maureen Chuck who, when talking about why doctors refuse to sign Conscientious Objector forms when parents ask them to says:

Maureen Chuck Me too. A doctor who says fuck you – I have sick people to see I’m not here to sign fucking forms

And there are the general SAVN members who show their ‘intelligence’ when discussing this issue:

Kirstie Shaw: Anyone who does not vaccinate their children should be up on child abuse charges. Organisations like the Australian Vaccination Network should be outlawed and stopped in their tracks, they are dangerous and are killing children through misinformation and uneducation. Murderers!

Sarah Norris I’d like to expose her to hendra virus

Luci Baldwin Meryl deserves much worse – eg. suffering from an excruciatingly painful vaccine-preventable disease and realising that her homeopathic remedies (A.K.A plain water) cannot cure it.

Let’s not forget Peter Bowditch, the head ratbag over at the Skeptics, who said:

RatbagsDotCom
A polite message to Viera Scheibner and Bronwyn Hancock, following your appearance on 60 Minutes – fuck you to hell #StopAVN

RatbagsDotCom
What do you have when an anti-vaccination liar is burnt at the stake? A good start.

Their attitude towards religion is every bit as intolerant as it is towards those who want to make informed vaccination choices. From Dan Buzzard in WA who has a web page entitled Everybody Draw Mohammed  which features pictures of the prophet Mohammed doing obscene things and totally denigrating Islam to stating the following about the Catholic church:

Daniel Buzzard 27.3.11 – Fuck the Catholic Church. Who dares me to walk into the Church service with these?

This is not the worst of the comments posted by these people. There are posts that are even worse and these are coming on a daily basis. All anyone has to do is look at their page to see what I mean. Those who cannot debate with respect and intelligence do not deserve to be listened to at all.

The fact is that people who believe that a scientific disagreement somehow gives them the right to abuse, bully and threaten others need some serious psychological help. I feel very sorry for them and in my kinder moments, I hope they will soon get the help they so obviously need.

The HCCC – don’t confuse them with logic #1 – Health Education

Many of our members have asked me to analyse what the HCCC findings against the AVN were all about. I have gathered together almost all of the correspondence between both Ken McLeod and the HCCC into one location on Scribd which you can access by clicking here, but since this is composed of hundreds of pages of information, I have decided to try and summarise (summarisation is NOT my strong point as many of you would know :-)) the basic points and how it is possible that, though complete, referenced and logical answers were provided to the HCCC, they chose to ignore this information.

Please keep in mind that the entire ‘investigation’ of the AVN took place on our website and in particular, in one page of our website – the page that lists Ten Reasons Why Parents Question Vaccination. Despite the fact that our organisation publishes a magazine, a newsletter books, information packs and writes articles for other publications; despite the fact that we have provided telephone support and hands-on support to parents for 17 years; and despite the fact that we have lobbied both State and Federal governments in regards to these issues, the HCCC neither visited our office (though they were invited to several times) nor did they interview either myself or anyone else involved with our organisation before reaching their conclusions. This bears all the hallmarks of a kangaroo court of the first order.

Because of the number of points covered and the length of the information, this explanation will, of necessity, extend over several days and most likely, several weeks. I will title each section in the same way and just number them so you can go back to any that you are interested in reading again. Please feel free to forward links to these pages to friends and family who also have questions about the AVN’s stance on this issue and our refusal to abide by the demands of this organisation which, at the end of the day, has neither the jurisdiction or the power to make demands of the AVN.

Does the AVN provide a ‘health education’ service?

In order to investigate our organisation, the HCCC needed to prove they had jurisdiction over us as described by the Health Care Complaints Act which they were formed to uphold. This Act limits their jurisdiction to healthcare providers (described as those whose activities affect the care and treatment of an individual person – and obviously the AVN does not fall into this category though originally, the HCCC had tried to put us into this category.) or health educators which has a definition that clearly does not apply to the activities the AVN carries out. Two barristers and two solicitors have composed letters which were sent to the HCCC questioning their jurisdiction. They have either ignored this advice and these questions or, in their final response after making their decision, they simply stated that they disagree with our reading of the Act.

In their final request for information which we responded to in July of this year, the HCCC stated several indicators they had used to prove that the AVN is, indeed, a health educator. I hope you will agree with me that their ‘logic’ is ridiculous in the extreme and only a government body that must ‘support government policy which is pro-vaccination’ would ever use such reasoning.

The Commission examined the AVN website in detail and noted that the provision of ‘health education’ was evident in the following pages on the website:

1- A ‘news’ page, that summarises and provides links to a number of recent media stories and articles about the risks of vaccination.

My answer to this statement, that the AVN can be considered as a health education service or health educator was that:

I am perplexed at this statement. If I am reading what the HCCC has said correctly, the provision of pages on a website that summarise news articles and give links to media stories constitutes health education.

Toni and David McCaffery started a Facebook site in memory of their daughter, Dana. This page, in its discussion area, gives multiple links to news articles and media stories about the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations. Does this mean that the McCafferys are health educators as well?

Peter Bowditch from the Australian Skeptics, has several websites, one of which is dedicated exclusively to vaccination. On this site, not only does Bowditch link to many media stories and articles about vaccination, but he specifically gives medical advice to all who come to view his page. His advice is that everyone MUST vaccinate in no uncertain terms and his lack of information on either the necessity of vaccination for every person and his refusal to inform about any potential side effects is in opposition to the NH&MRC’s rules governing the responsibility to allow for fully informed choice regarding this issue.

Australia’s broadcaster, the ABC, has an extensive website on health. This site maintains numerous links to articles and media stories about vaccination. In fact, an entire page is devoted to the subject of vaccination which you can find here – http://www.abc.net.au/health/tag/vaccines-and-immunity/

Are the ABC, Peter Bowditch and Toni and David McCaffery also health education service providers? If this is the basis for the HCCC’s decision, I believe there would be few who enter public life in any small way who would not fall under the jurisdiction of the HCCC as a result.

Further, if the HCCC believes that linking to vaccination stories in the public media is tantamount to a breach of either statute, common law or statutory regulations in Australia, we would like to ask if it intends in the future to pursue the writers of these stories or to censure journalists who could also be termed as health educators under the Act. Or does it intend to force every web site based in Australia to quote balancing, contrary views – including the websites of government health departments and the medical community?

The HCCC then goes further to state that another indication of our status as a health education service or health educator is that the AVN maintains:

2- A ‘weblog’ page, containing a series of discussions about articles and publications on the risk of vaccination.

My response to this absurdity is that:

Technorati lists 11,113 blogs which are exclusively about health. With the single exception of a blog post by American TV medico, Dr Sanjay Gupta, not one of the 50 top posts on vaccination was blogged by a medical professional. Should all of these people who were passing on information – both for and against vaccines – be considered health education providers under the Act according to the HCCC? If they were in Australia, would they be governed by these same regulations due to the fact that they have published ‘weblog’ pages that contain a series of discussions about articles and publications on either the risks or the safety of vaccination? If so, where does the HCCC propose to draw the line? Do all Australians who mention vaccination in a public forum come under your jurisdiction?

These two points formed the extent of the HCCC’s ‘proof’ that the AVN is either a health education service or a health educator. I hope you will agree that with evidence like this, if we were in a court of law rather than involved with a commission whose stated goal is to uphold the government’s pro vaccination policy, the case would have been thrown out for lack of evidence.

Tomorrow:

Did the AVN mislead the ABC?