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‘Anti Vaxxer’ the new dirty word?

 

The author of this guest-blog has asked to remain anonymous due to her fear of being targeted by the Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN. She is the parent of vaccine-damaged children – some of whom are on the autistic spectrum. She found Peter Bowditch’s assaults against families of vaccine-injured children to be incredibly disturbing. As a result, she chose to write about her fears regarding where society is headed when parents who love and cherish their children can be abused because of their health choices. If you agree that nobody has the right to treat another individual in this way, please make a supportive comment on this blog page. It doesn’t matter whether you are pro-vaccine, anti-vaccine or somewhere in the middle – any decent human being would have to accept that harassment, abuse and discrimination are never justified. Oppose Peter Bowditch and the incredibly vile comments of those who support him by speaking up for the right to make our own choices on this and all health issues. If you are on Twitter, please use the hashtag #DumpBowditch on your tweets to encourage Mia Freedman of Mamamia and other venues where this man publishes his hate-speech to no longer allow him an opportunity for abuse. Feel free to drop them a line as well, telling them how you feel about this issue.

Our history is full of people using terms to incite hostility, fear and resentment against other groups, and now is the age of the ‘Anti Vaxxer’ – the title given to people who question the safety and in some cases the necessity of vaccinations.

If you look in the newspapers or on the internet, you will see that people who question vaccine safety are ridiculed, condemned and discriminated against on quite a regular basis.  You might think, “Surely this behaviour is not promoted by supposedly intelligent, rational beings in this day and age?”, but unfortunately you would be wrong.

Just look at this list of recent quotes from newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph and blogs and articles from around the world…

“Parents who dodge vaccinating their kids are pocketing thousands of dollars”[1]

“…babies die because of the antivaccination movement.”[2]

“Bill Gates Says Anti-Vaccine Autism Groups “Kill Children” — And He’s Right”[3]

“NSW paediatrician Dr Chris Ingall added this: “We’re appalled at how many kids are getting whooping cough because the chardonnay set and the alternatives don’t vaccinate their children.”[4]

When did raising your child with love, respect, a healthy diet, plenty of fresh air, sunshine and exercise, while limiting their exposure to toxins become a crime?

If you listen to what these people are saying, anyone who does not vaccinate their child is a money grabbing, disease causing, child killer.

So who are these supposed child killers’?

Many are parents who have vaccine injured/killed children; some are educated and health-conscious individuals who want a more natural approach to good health; and some are alternative practitioners, doctors or scientists. Do any of these groups sound like child killers to you? What they all have in common is something that most of us take for granted: the belief that everyone deserves the right to decide what the best health choices are for themselves and their families

I find the hostile attitude towards parents of vaccine injured children particularly astounding, as parents of children that have been killed or disabled have always been treated with an outpouring of compassion, understanding and empathy. If the death or injury have been caused by a vaccine however, they are somehow no longer worthy of these basic human emotions.

Instead, we get open hostility and contempt as seen in the case of Peter Bowditch who asks vaccine-injured parents if they get sexual pleasure from seeing dead babies!

And how does our society respond to a man who can say such vile things?  Well, apparently it is no big deal, as he still continues to write articles for the popular women’s and children’s website Mamamia!  Is this the kind of individual who should be writing about women and children’s health?

Another very disturbing aspect to come out of this portrayal of ‘anti vaxxers’ is that the media, government and medical vaccine advocates are working together in promoting an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality. These groups are actively condoning discrimination and in turn, persecution of the Australian Vaccination Network, it’s founder Meryl Dorey and anyone associated with them.  Is this what our true Aussie spirit is about now?  Be there for your mate but only if he vaccinates.

Persecute

1. To oppress or harass with ill-treatment, especially because of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or beliefs.

2. To annoy persistently; bother.

Discrimination

1. (Sociology) unfair treatment of a person, racial group, minority, etc.; action based on prejudice

Minority

a. A racial, religious, political, national, or other group thought to be different from the larger group of which it is part.

b. A group having little power or representation relative to other groups within a society.

We as a society believe that discrimination, harassment and persecution against minorities or any law-abiding citizen is unconscionable. Now however, it seems that it is acceptable if the minority or individual in question does not vaccinate to a government approved schedule.

What these harassers of ‘anti-vaxxers’ do not realise (or maybe they do) is that they are laying the foundation for persecution and repression of people that are just trying to raise their families in the healthiest way possible.

The path to repression begins with many small steps. It starts with the gradual wearing away of someone else’s rights through restriction of employment, public education, and government entitlements. Then comes ostracism whilst creating fear, hostility and resentment towards the group in question from the rest of society.  Not too soon after that, segregation comes in to the mix.

You may think that this is an unlikely scenario, but I cannot tell you how many times everyday mums and dads have told me to keep my children out of schools with vaccinated children; to stay out of public places where vaccinated people may be exposed to our disease-causing germs; some have even wished that all people who don’t vaccinate could be murdered or expressed a wish for their children to die from disease!

Countless times in history we have seen that ugliness in human nature breeds more ugliness.  Intolerance, discrimination, persecution, repression are all formed through fear and hatred.  Have we learned nothing from the past, or are we just so insecure that we always have to look for someone to oppress in order to make ourselves feel powerful and dominant?

If this type of hostility continues towards people who just want the right to make choices for their own families, what do we have to look forward to in the future?

 

 

 

 


[1] http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sydney-news/vaccine-dodgers-win-big/story-e6freuzi-1226426099974

[2] http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/category/antiscience/page/78/

[3] http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/02/bill-gates-says-anti-vaccine-autism-groups-kill-children-hes-right/

[4] http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/doctors-warn-parents-to-keep-newborns-at-home-as-whooping-cough-epidemic-escalates/story-e6freuy9-1226055946293

 

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Medical Vilification and Bigotry in Australia

Society likes to think that it’s come a long way. We no longer call black people ‘niggers’, gay people ‘poofters’ or Asian people ‘slit eyes’. We’ve gotten beyond all that now. We’re so proud of how advanced we’ve become. But scratch the surface of many people and you can expose their inner bigot. And when it comes to medical bigotry, this behaviour is not only openly accepted by the media and most mainstream institutions – it’s government approved!

Quick explanation for those who have always thought the word ‘bigotry’ was synonymous with ‘racism’, in actuality, a bigot is anyone who is intolerant of those who hold differing opinions. So you could say that everyone who is a member of Stop the AVN – by definition – is a bigot. As are the media, the government and most mainstream medical organisations.

Just look at how the Minister For Health’s office has acted to withhold information on parent’s rights to become conscientious or medical objectors to vaccination in order to claim all of their entitlements? Or how representatives of mainstream medical organisations and government bodies continually try to blame outbreaks of infectious diseases on the healthy unvaccinated members of society when most of those contracting the illnesses are fully vaccinated but not protected. It’s bad enough that they are pointing the finger of blame directly away from the obvious culprit – vaccines that are not working as promised – but they are also vilifying innocent families who have made a conscious informed choice not to vaccinate or those who have already suffered due to vaccine reactions.

Bad behaviour continues

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post about Pseudo-Skeptics Behaving Badly and as expected, most of the people who support freedom of health choice were appalled and disgusted by the sort of behaviour evidenced by Peter Bowditch who has had a long connection with both the Australian Skeptics (acting as their President at one time) and the splinter group that was set up with the express purpose of annihilating our organisation – Stop the AVN. I didn’t expect him to cop a lot of criticism from those groups. No, I thought they would just ignore my blog and pretend it had never happened.

What occurred has shocked even me – and I thought I was past being shocked!

Not only did these groups and the individuals supporting them not criticise Bowditch’s abusive bullying behaviour – they applauded it!

And last night and today, Bowditch compounded his shocking assaults against innocent supporters of the AVN as you can see below:

So once again, he implies – to the mother of a vaccine-injured child – that she gets sexual pleasure from dead babies! As if that were not bad enough, he then sends a graphic and violent message to this same mother:

Just to make sure that parents of vaccine-injured children know where his heart is on this issue however – so there can be no doubt or confusion – he posts this juvenile image under the heading of – a message for all anti-vaccination liars – to express his feelings about the people he has hurt:

 

Civil society works because there are certain lines that we don’t normally cross. Bowditch crosses those lines on a regular basis and the fact that Mia Freedman and members of Stop the AVN and the Australian Skeptics cannot seem to see that is a disturbing insight into their worldview and bears examination. If people from the Australian Skeptics and SAVN can look up to or admire a man like Bowditch, how low do they have to be? I feel that people who cannot see what is inherently vile and disturbing about Bowditch’s rhetoric could be capable of anything.

Let me repeat – this man has a regular blog on Mia Freedman’s Mamamia page; he writes on various news websites and makes himself out to be an expert on many health issues which, by all available evidence, he knows nothing about. And he regularly abuses, assaults and bullies those who disagree with him!

Should this be allowed to continue? Should this person be allowed to keep his position with organisations like the Australian Skeptics, Stop the AVN, Mamamia, etc?

I say no. And I say that these groups should immediately and publicly come out to distance themselves from him and repudiate his brutal way of dealing with those whose opinions he disagrees with. Vilification and bigotry have no place in Australia.

Pseudo-Skeptics Behaving Badly

You already know my opinion about the group that calls itself the Australian Skeptics. It is a misnomer for people who belong to the Australian Skeptics and their splinter group, Stop the AVN to call themselves sceptical. They are the least sceptical people on the planet since they only question anything that isn’t mainstream (they are to real scepticism as matter is to anti-matter).

You also know that many people who belong to both of these groups are abusive foul-mouths who can’t seem to complete a sentence or even string 2 words together without a liberal sprinkling of profanity. Many of these people will attack anyone they disagree with and regularly harass AVN members and anyone who has not vaccinated simply because of their belief that everyone should be vaccinated – end of story.

This sort of behaviour comes right down from the very top. From one of the ‘leaders’ of this movement –  a person by the name of Peter Bowditch. I first came across this self-professed ratbag over 15 years ago. At that time, the AVN was active in trying to help a gentleman by the name of Alan Yurko get out of prison in the United States.

Alan had received a sentence of life plus 10 years for the death of his infant child from Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) and his story was one that touched many  hearts both here in Australia and overseas.

There were so many things wrong with the case against Alan including the fact that his son actually died in hospital following a serious reaction to vaccination but, as still happens today, it was more convenient to blame the father than to examine medical procedures or health professionals so Alan got the blame and was thrown into prison for the rest of his life – plus 10 years (I could never work that out myself – would they really imprison a dead man?).

From prison, this extraordinary man started to research exactly what had happened to his baby and why his trial had gone so wrong. Within a relatively short period of time, he had amassed a huge support base from amongst the vaccination information groups and within the medial community. Everyone from pathologists to paediatricians to toxicologists to coroners looked over the court documents and said that the way in which his trial had been conducted was nothing short of fraudulent. His son’s internal organs had been replaced with those of another baby, the coroner had made many errors on his report and the child had been overdosed with Warfarin whilst in hospital, leading to internal bleeding which was then blamed on Alan Yurko.

In one of our very early newsletters, I asked our members to write letters of support to Alan who, at that time, was in solitary confinement in prison and really appreciated that little bit of kindness – especially from people living so far away.

I had only just gotten my first computer at about this time and email was still a new and exciting mystery to me. So when I received a very politely-written email from someone named Peter Bowditch asking me why the Vaccination Awareness Network (as we were called at the time when we were only operating in the area of Northern NSW) was supporting a child-killer, I took his email seriously and answered with the information I had about Yurko’s case.

In reply, I received an incredibly vile email (from memory) telling me that our organisation was supporting people who killed children so we must all be child killers too. Not only that, but he wrote to the warden of the gaol where Alan was imprisoned (and sent me a copy of that letter) stating that a letter-writing campaign was starting from Australia and asking if the warden could please stop any letters addressed to Alan from our country

I could not believe the cruelty involved in that sort of action and even though Alan Yurko was eventually cleared of all charges several years later, Bowditch still claims that he killed his son. Why? The answer to that question is only known to Bowditch who obviously feels that he knows more about this case then the authorities in the United States. To this day, he continues to call Alan Yurko a child killer and, as you will see, that judgement applies to anyone who questions vaccination or mainstream medical procedures as well according to Bowditch.

From that time in the mid to late 1990s to today, though Bowditch has written to me over the years, I have never responded to him. I did not want to have anything to do with an individual who would behave in this way so I simply ignored him and got on with what I needed to do. He has not done the same, having set up entire web pages to abuse me and anyone associated with the AVN.

Earlier this week, Bowditch wrote an article on the Mamamia website called The Anti-vaxxers reach a shocking new low.

In this article, he makes accuses me of doing certain things of which I am innocent and demands that the AVN change its name because he does not agree with us calling ourselves the Australian Vaccination Network since he considers us to be anti-vaccination despite all the available evidence to the contrary.

A day after the article appeared, I received a call from Howard Sattler’s producer at radio station 6PR in Perth asking if I would agree to be interviewed by Howard about this article and stating that Peter Bowditch would also be speaking. I agreed and wondered how the interview would proceed since I have heard how incredibly abusive Bowditch can be in this sort of situation. The only reason I agreed to participate in this show was because I know that Howard Sattler is a very fair-minded  individual who is in no way opposed to vaccination but has – what is a very rare trait in Australian media – a strong commitment to freedom of speech and transparency in all issues.

I will put a copy of this interview below so you can download and listen to it and I strongly urge you to both do this and to share this interview with others.

bowditchdorey_260712_drive

Tomorrow, I will be writing a second blog highlighting all of the inaccuracies and incorrect statements spouted by this man (unlike Bowditch’s attitude towards myself and others he disagrees with, I will call them inaccuracies and errors – not lies) but today, I would like to ask you to read through a Twitter thread of a conversation Bowditch had with one of the AVN’s Facebook page members – a woman who has been seriously bullied by members of Stop the AVN.

In this thread, Bowditch (RatbagsDotCom) asks SAVNGodComplex (a woman whose sister was badly injured by medicine and whose child is vaccine-injured) about the sexual pleasure she and others who question vaccination get from dead babies.

 

 

 

 

I’m sure you will agree with me that this is an incredibly inappropriate conversation for a grown man to have with a woman whose only ‘sin’ is questioning a medical procedure.

During the interview linked above, Howard Sattler asked Bowditch about this Twitter conversation:

HS: Talking about abuse, (because Bowditch made the ridiculous claim that the AVN abuses those who vaccinate!) is your Twitter account RatbagsDotCom?

To which Bowditch replied, “It certainly is.”

HS- You’ve sent tweets off to people saying things like this: “How many dead children in a pile do you need to trigger a spontaneous orgasm?” Is that right?

PB – That’s right, yes. I’m waiting for them to answer that question. For some reason or other, they don’t.

Howard then went on to read through several of the other Twitter comments from this man (shown above). At no time, did Bowditch express the least regret or embarrassment about having spoken like this about caring parents.

Peter Bowditch has, for many years, held an esteemed and respected position with the Australian Skeptics. He has been a past President of the organisation and a regular guest at all sorts of events hosted by this group. He has had regular blog spots on, not only the Mamamia website (which deals, for the most part, with women’s issues, raising families and young children) but on other news sites where people have the right to know that the person who is setting himself up as an authority on an issue actually has a history of dealing with innocent people in this way.

Does Bowditch deserve respect? Does anyone who treats others in this way deserve anything but their disgust and ostracism? Should he be allowed to set himself up on blogs (especially blogs where women with young children will come across his rants) as an expert or social commentator on any issue at all?

Bowditch can claim that he cares about children and about the health of the community, but those claims become nothing more then hot air when you look at his actions which, to use a cliché, certainly do speak louder than any of his words.

Respect has to be earned and Bowditch has done nothing to earn the honours which he so obviously feels he is entitled to.

If I were involved with the organisations he is so active with – the Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN – I would be kicking up a stink to ensure that the group disassociated itself from anyone who acts in such a shameful manner. Especially when there is no effort to apologise or make amends for this sort of abuse. Anyone can make a mistake, but when faced with the knowledge of how badly someone has acted, a person who has any conscience, any feelings of kindness for their fellow man, any remorse whatsoever, would unreservedly apologise for their actions. Bowditch has done none of this. Indeed, he seemed to be proud of his actions which is inexcusable!

Oh, and one last thing. For the first time since my initial email to Bowditch all those many years ago, I jumped in to the Twitter thread quoted above. I did not respond to Bowditch – but I did reply to the woman who I saw being abused and bullied so badly.

It was an ill-advised action on my part, but here is what I said:

 

I just could not believe any man treating a woman in this way – perhaps I was raised in a time when all people were expected to treat others with respect – whether they were male or female.

Bowditch’s response to me (though I did not address him at all – nor would I ever have contacted his wife and children though I hope he is kinder to them then he is to total strangers) was typical:

Memo to Meryl Dorey at the Australian Vaccination Network (28/4/2012)

Do not even suggest that anyone contacts my family. I realise that you have in the past harassed the family of at least one child who died of a vaccine preventable disease. But don’t start on me.

You might think you can get away with continual defamation of Australian Skeptics. You might think you can get away with continual lies about the activities of the members of Stop the AVN. What you will not get away with is involving my family in your insane campaign to harm children. If you don’t like me asking tasteless questions about dead babies then stop spending your days trying to increase the number of dead babies.

If you or any of your followers come near my family I will react and it will not end well for you. Don’t even suggest it in a joke. And if you think that’s a threat, think again. It’s a promise.

This behaviour is typical of the man and the abuse continues. Come on, Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN! Do the right thing and get rid of any association you have with Bowditch and anyone else who behaves in this dreadful manner lest you be rightly tarred with the same brush.

V is for Vendetta

Please note – there is an action alert at the end of this posting.

Since being vindicated by the NSW Supreme Court on the 24th of February and subsequently having our authority to fundraise reinstated on the 18th of April this year, the AVN has been the subject of no less then four separate government investigations.

1- The Health Care Complaints Commission received a 90-page complaint by Ken McLeod – member of Stop the AVN and a man whose obsession with me seems to border on the psychotic. McLeod filed the original complaint, resulting in a 12-month ‘investigation’ by the HCCC and a public warning – both of which were later deemed to be illegal by the NSW Supreme Court. It appears that McLeod must spend hours every day trying to prove that I am a liar and that the AVN is responsible for global warming, the current financial crisis and the death of every child from infectious disease no matter where in the world it occurs (this is only slightly tongue in cheek). I will be uploading McLeod’s full complaint and the HCCC’s response next week – I am just waiting to receive the last 67 pages which were sent to me by post.To their credit, the HCCC told McLeod that they had no jurisdiction to investigate either myself or the AVN (we were both named as respondents in the paperwork) based upon his evidence – some of which was gleaned by searching the archives of our email discussion list going back as far as 1998!

Despite the HCCC’s rejection, it is obvious that McLeod will continue to try and get me charged with some sort of crime and will not stop trying to shut down the AVN until one of us is imprisoned or he is finally provided with the psychiatric support he seemingly needs.
2- The Department of Fair Trading which originally investigated the AVN back in 2009 due to another complaint from McLeod and others involved with the Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN, has come back again due to yet another complaint, involving what appears to be dubious technicalities.

(a) Our old website did not include the name Australian Vaccination Network, Inc. It said Australian Vaccination Network and underneath that, the words “AVN, Inc.” appeared. Apparently, because the name of the organisation is legally Australian Vaccination Network, Inc, the word “Inc.” or “Incorporated” must appear on the banner of the page – a requirement we were unaware of. In researching this issue, I did a random search of 15 other incorporated associations in NSW and out of that 15 (some of which are very large and well-funded organisations), 14 of them did not include either “Inc.” or “Incorporated” in their banner or even on their home page! When I brought this to the attention of the investigating officer at the Dept of Fair Trading, I was told that no organisation had previously been cited for this reason and they only cite groups when this lapse is brought to their attention. Thanks Ken – aren’t we special?

(b) The department wants us to provide them with a breakdown of product sales we have made to members as opposed to sales to non-members because they seem to feel that we don’t deserve to be registered as an incorporated association and instead, should be classed as a commercial enterprise. If we are a commercial enterprise, we need to go and write a better business plan because it’s only donations and memberships that have kept us afloat since our inception! In any case, the information they are asking for is not information we are required to keep track of and this has been confirmed by the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing – the government department that administers charities and their requirements.

I have informed the Dept of Fair trading that I cannot break down our income from sales of products to members and non-members because we are not required to keep track of this and therefore, we have not done so. This doesn’t seem to be satisfactory to them and they are continuing to ask me to provide them with this information or they may have to consider their ‘options’ in regards to our registration.

3- The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) which on the 18th of April reinstated our authority to fundraise without any extra conditions since there was never any valid reason to revoke it in the first place (the sole reason was the illegal warning published by the HCCC), has stated (please see the information at the end of this article on Dr Andrew McDonald, Shadow Minister for Health in NSW and Mr George Souris, Minister for Gaming and Racing) that we will be watched very closely and that it will only be a matter of time – sooner rather than later – that we will again be subject to another audit. I have no problem with this because any errors or technical breaches that were found in the OLGR’’s last audit have been corrected, but honestly, when there are organisations out there suspected of committing fraud, why is so much attention being paid to our small, volunteer-run group? The only reason is that SAVN and the Australian Skeptics continue to file vexatious complaints on an almost daily basis and the government, by their own requirements, are forced to investigate these complaints.

4- Earlier in the week, I received a call from a representative of the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) Advertising Codes Council who informed me that they had received a complaint about us (gee, I wonder who would have made such a complaint? I just can’t imagine!) and I would be hearing from them in the next few days in regards to a matter I will have to respond to.

I don’t know at this point what the complaint is about, but having several friends in the natural therapies field who have received correspondence from this same department, I think I can guess.

Suppression of information and trade

I’d like to share with you what is going on with natural therapies in Australia. To put things into context, please remember that between 18,000 and 54,000 Australians are dying every year as a result of adverse reactions to properly prescribed medications [1] and medical error while there are virtually NO deaths from natural therapies which 60% of Australians use on a regular basis. Despite this evidence of safety, the government seems to spend an inordinate amount of time investigating natural therapists and – for all intents and purposes – almost no time investigating the medical profession.

Even when they finally DO investigate something – such as the recent case of doctors negligently giving infants and children a banned flu vaccine, leading to at least one child being placed in intensive care, the government stated that no doctor would be held responsible.

Is it just me or does this smack of a serious double standard?

The friends I know who have been contacted by the TGA’s Advertising Codes Council have been ordered to remove information from their websites.

Why? Because the TGA has the power to treat information as though it were advertising.

How can this be? Basically, if you inform someone of something that touches on health and that might be capable of convincing the reader to take a certain course of action – which might involve buying something at some point somewhere from someone in the future – it’s advertising. Even if the people providing the information weren’t selling anything relating to that information  – or linking or referring to anyone who may have been selling it (which they can also rule against) the TGA considers it to be advertising and can order it to removed from the internet.

I have another friend who was selling a product which stated that it was ‘paraben-free’. The product linked through to an unrelated website in the USA where there were scientific studies listing the potential problems caused by paraben exposure. The TGA, responding to a complaint from a pharmaceutical company which sold a competing product that just happened to contain paraben, came in and told this person that she had to remove the words ‘paraben-free’ from her website, change the packaging of her product and remove the links between her website and the website in the US. The thought police strike again! Not only are we not allowed to give out information on health issues – we aren’t allowed to link to other people who are giving out information on health issues – even if those other people are outside of Australia.

Skeptic fraud costs precious resources

You can’t blame the TGA completely however.They are stuck between a rock and a hard place because once a complaint has been filed, they are required to investigate it. They probably don’t like doing it any more than the person or business being investigated – but they have no choice.

The real villains here are those members of the Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN who – though they themselves have not been harmed by any of these products, by any of this information or by any of these remedies – intentionally waste the public’s time, money and expertise by pursuing vexatious and absolutely ridiculous complaints. The Skeptics have worked out a way to rort the system by using current legislation to victimise those who they disagree with. And the ones who lose out when this sort of fraud is perpetrated by a group that opposes freedom of choice and speech are the Australian taxpayers.

How much does this government persecution cost?

Two months – four investigations. How much have the last three years worth of AVN persecution cost the government? I don’t know yet, but I wouldn’t think there would be much change out of a couple of million dollars – especially since the HCCC has had to pay their own court costs as well as our own. How much money has the government spent over this period on testing the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations? From what I can tell – absolutely nothing. Perhaps they need a lesson in priorities?

The latest event

Last night, I was contacted by a journalist who informed me that Dr Andrew McDonald, the NSW Shadow Minister for Health, would be calling on the Minister for Gaming and Racing, Mr George Souris, to act to revoke the fundraising license of the Australian Vaccination Network and investigate our operations.

McDonald said our organisation was not a charity (despite being licensed as one since 1996) but a lobby group and it should not be allowed to continue to enjoy the kind of tax breaks that ‘real charities’ which undertake work for the public enjoy.

This demonstrates the almost unbelievable ignorance of Dr McDonald. Does he really believe that being a charity gives a group tax breaks? Does he not understand the difference between a charity and a deductible gift recipient? Is he completely unaware of the fact that being a charity does not give a group tax breaks – it simply entitles them to do fund-raising and sell raffle tickets?

Being a charity can be considered fairly onerous because charities need to be audited at great cost (thousands of dollars a year) and have other strict regulatory requirements whilst other groups that do not ‘pursue a charitable purpose’ – groups such as the Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN – have none of these requirements and none of this oversight.

We would have gotten rid of the charity authority if we were able to. In fact, we tried before simply because we could not afford it. Unfortunately, the OLGR says that according to our constitution and the work we do, it is obvious that we do indeed ‘pursue a charitable purpose’ and therefore, we are a ‘charity’.

Without the written authority from the OLGR, we would have the worst of both worlds (as we’ve had for the last 18 months from the time of our revocation to our reinstatement) – the cost of accountability combined with the inability to take on new members (strangely, new memberships are classed as fundraising while renewals and donations from current members are not) or donations from the general public. So we were happy to have our charity authority reinstated – especially with the notification that the only reason it had been revoked was the illegal public warning issued by the HCCC.

Perhaps Dr McDonald might do better to learn a bit about these issues before making public statements about them?

In any case, despite the fact that Dr McDonald has not yet asked his question in Parliament, Mr Souris has issued a response to the journalist who contacted me:

I have been advised by my department that it received legal advice that the revocation of the Australian Vaccination Network’s charitable fundraising authority under the former government could not be sustained.

The revocation was based substantially on a public warning issued by the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC), however, the Supreme Court has since ruled the Commission’s actions invalid.

I have been advised by the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing that it has considered a fresh application on its merits from the AVN and that it met all legal requirements for a new charitable fundraising authority.

OLGR has assured me that it will continue to monitor AVN’s compliance with charity laws and if breaches are detected appropriate action will be taken.

Any charity committing serious breaches of the law could face revocation of its licence and if this is the case then my department can make a recommendation to me for this to occur.

As I said before, the continued monitoring – the singling out of our organization for no other reason than that we are critical of a medical procedure supported by the government, seems to hint at discrimination, persecution and bastardry, but we will do our best to ensure that we strictly adhere to all government requirements. In the meantime, we will deal with all future and present complaints as they arise and keep our membership and the Australian public advised of any new complaints as well in the interest of transparency and fairness.

I sincerely hope that the government will find a way to prevent themselves from continuing to be used by SAVN and the Australian Skeptics as if they were their own personal tools for a vendetta against the vaccine injured children of Australia and their families.

Please take action

If you have an opinion on this issue to share with Dr McDonald and Mr Souris, please feel free to email them by clicking on their names. You can copy the same letter to both and if possible, send a copy to me as well at meryl@avn.org.au.

If you can include the following information in your letter, that would be great:

1- The AVN’s charity status does not give it any special tax advantages. Those advantages are only available to deductible gift recipients.

2- Even while our charity authority had been revoked, the OLGR said that we pursued a charitable purpose. Many charities lobby on behalf of their membership. It’s part of what we do and does not preclude our charitable purpose.

3- The NSW government is being used by members of a lobby group whose stated aim is to force our organisation to close in any way they can. They have publicly said that they intend to use these constant complaints to prevent us from doing our job through the time required in responding to issues with government departments. The cost for the assessment, investigation and responses to these vexatious complaints and the ensuing harassment are being borne by the taxpayers of NSW.

Of course, put in any of your own information as well and be sure to let the Minister and Shadow Minister know if you feel you have been helped in some way by the AVN or if your child has been affected by vaccines.


[1] http://www.medicalerroraustralia.com/

Going Underground

During World War II, in the occupied territories of France, the Netherlands and many other countries that had been taken over by the Nazis, an underground movement grew which opposed the dictators and fought to bring back their elected governments. Working from the shadows, they found ways to circumvent the fascist dictatorship that ruled their countries. In the end, their efforts were an instrumental part of assisting the allied forces to claim victory in Europe.

Over it’s almost 225 year history, many Australians have fought and died in wars which were supposedly to protect freedom – whether the freedom of Australians or of our allies. Yet, I believe our government today is guilty of taking away or abridging many of the essential freedoms our fathers and grandfathers lived and died to preserve.

Though Australia is nominally a democracy, as I have explained in past blogs and articles, its law-enforcement and government bodies have chosen to turn a blind eye and ignore tort law in regards to the obvious bullying and interference with commerce and contractual relationships which have been perpetrated so openly by members of the Australian Skeptics and their splinter organisation, Stop the AVN. These organisations, science’s Brownshirts, are blatant in their opposition to freedom of speech and freedom of communication.

They want to take away our voice, burn our books and destroy our right to choose.  Just as the original Brownshirts wanted to blame the Jews for the institutional failures of Nazi Germany, these organisations want to blame complementary medicine and the unvaccinated for their own failure to promote health or prevent disease. As a result, they are losing the faith of Western society as evidenced by the fact that, though their treatments are free while others are costly, people are refusing to ‘drink their kool-aid’ because they know more about the risks and ineffectiveness then ever before.

Many of the members of these organisations are working hard to ensure that our right to choose natural therapies (see the activities of Friends of Science in Medicine for one example of these efforts) or to say no to vaccines or dangerous and potentially unnecessary medical treatments for our children is taken away.

As anyone who has been reading this list for any time at all would be aware, these bullies have also targeted the venues and locations where the AVN and other health freedom activists have been scheduled to hold seminars or public talks by:

1-    Contacting the venues and telling them lies about the organisation and people involved in an effort to get the venue to cancel contracts.

2-    Putting ads in local papers in opposition to these seminars or appearances.

3-    Targeting the event even if the vaccine safety group is not the organiser but simply the participant to try to get them to cancel the appearance (as evidenced by the recent Woodfordia Festival kerfuffle).

4-    Spending massive amounts of money (from where?) setting up stunts such as hiring an airplane to circle the venue towing banners.

5-    Intimidating attendees in advance by stating they will be there to ‘set the record straight’, implying a confrontation between themselves and the people who are coming to hear the speaker.

None of this should be allowed in a democracy but of course, when it comes to the issue of vaccination choice, government authorities and regulators seem more than willing to not only turn a blind eye towards these breaches of our laws, but in fact, can often be seen openly participating in them.

Another activist in the area of vaccination has also been copping flack from these abusive bullies at the Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN. She is a woman who lost a child to vaccination. After close to 30 years of research and participation in the health freedom movement, she is now sharing her knowledge and experiences locally at small seminars she has set up herself.

Being aware of the targeting of these events, she has worked out a way to counter these pseudo-skeptical abusers – she has gone underground. At her latest talk yesterday, where 60 people were in attendance, she was able to exclude the trouble-makers by taking the following steps:

1. There were no tickets sales at the door.

2. All tickets were sold on-line or by credit card prior to the event.

3. No location was revealed until the night before the seminar – the only details were that it was held within a certain number of kilometers of a central location.

3. Mobile phone-numbers were required at the time of booking.

4. The venue location was notified by SMS the night prior to event.

In this way, she was able to keep not only herself, but those who came along to hear her speak, safe from the threats posed by these two groups.

Going underground is a valid and intelligent way to deal with those who break the law with the full cooperation of those who are meant to uphold it.

If we can’t rely on the police or the government to protect us from persecution, we have to take matters into our own hands and find ways to work around the institutional abuse apparently approved at the highest levels of our society.

SAVN’s Trouble With The Truth

There are many things that go on behind the scenes here at the AVN in regards to the attacks against our organisation and me personally which I don’t share or discuss with anyone outside of our committee. I am an inherently positive person and I don’t like to dwell on negativity or anger and Stop the AVN (SAVN), by its very nature, is both negative and angry all the time. In addition, there are many more important things I need to spend my time on so I choose to just go with the flow and ignore the ‘opposition’ as much as I can.

Something has come up in the last few days however which I felt I would like to share with you all. It has been a bit confusing and more than a little bit silly, but it is also indicative of how some individuals in this group can behave in a very immature manner when dealing with information and individuals they disagree with. The question being asked of me is – “Was I ever a stockbroker?” The question I ask in return is, “Why should SAVN care?”

One of the ‘movers and shakers’ of SAVN is a man by the name of Ken McLeod. He  has a long history of filing vexatious complaints against the AVN with government organisations, media outlets and anyone else he can possibly think of.

Over the last 2 years, McLeod has penned a 3-part series called Meryl Dorey’s Trouble with the Truth in which he lists all of the alleged lies I have told and why he considers them to be lies. For the most part, the ‘lies’ are simply statements I have made about vaccination or health that he disagrees with. This is because, to McLeod, those who say things he disagrees with must be lying. In his world, there are no shades of grey – everything he believes is white – everything he disagrees with are dirty black lies.

Ken McLeod has a daily tweet, sometimes more than 1 – sometimes 5 or 10 – called ‘Today’s lie from Meryl Dorey:’ In 140 characters or less, he takes something I’ve said and calls it a lie. That’s it. No proof – not even any sense. For instance, here are some of my alleged lies from the last week:

Today’s lie from Meryl Dorey: she’s “trying to amend legislation to support informed vaccination” (I’m assuming he ran out of room to put the word ‘choice’ at the end).

Today[‘]s Meryl Dorey lie: “majority getting whooping cough are fully vaccinated” This information came directly from the Department of Health and you can read it by clicking here.

Today[‘]s lie from Meryl Dorey: health authorities around the world trying to destroy an ethical doctor. This was in response to a blog post I had written supporting Dr Andrew Wakefield. Again, McLeod disagrees with this therefore, he calls it a lie.

The Great Share market Caper

One of the most striking examples of McLeod’s attempts to paint me a liar involves my previous history on Wall Street. There is one thing that I have heard him say over and over again during this period that would make me laugh at its ridiculousness. If it weren’t so defamatory and just plain wrong, it could almost be funny.

You see, Ken McLeod, a man who does not know me at all, a person I have never met or spoken with, has told everyone who will listen to his rantings, that I lied when I said I was a stockbroker on Wall Street.

His evidence for this alleged lie?

Well, he went to the FINRA Brokercheck website and searched for what he thought was my maiden name – Sokolovsky – and couldn’t find me there so he concluded I was lying.

Oh, he did try to write to me first to ask if I had been a stockbroker, but I did not respond so there was proof positive that I was lying, as far as he was concerned! (Please see email below)

From: “Ken McLeod” <email address removed as a courtesy>

Subject: WALL ST STOCKBROKER

Date: 27 March 2011 7:58:57 PM AEDT

To: “Meryl Dorey” <meryl@avn.org.au>

Dear Mrs. Dorey

In the Lismore Northern Star Weekend edition, September 18 2010, page 39, you describe your “career as a Wall Street broker that ended with the loss of her job in the 1987 stock market crash.”  I checked with  the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States.  They have no record of you having held a stockbroker’s licence, in your maiden name Sokolovsky.

FINRA have also informed me that a stockbroker is required to pass the FINRA  General Securities Representative Exam, (commonly referred to as the Series 7 Exam), to become a Registered Representative of a broker-dealer in the United States.  Would you mind informing me if you sat for that exam and the result please.

I would appreciate you providing me with any documentary evidence supporting your claim to have been a stockbroker, more properly called a “Securities Representative” in the USA.

yours sincerely

Ken McLeod

There are several problems with both his methods and conclusions:

1-        I do not respond to any emails from McLeod. In fact, I have told him this in the past and asked him to stop emailing me. He has refused to do so and I consider this to be harassment.

2-        The name Sokolovsky, though it was my father’s last name, was not mine. McLeod probably got the name from my father’s obituary because it lists me as one of my father’s daughters (Meryl Dorey of Australia), but I was born Meryl Sokole. My mother had shortened the name before I was born but they had never legally changed it so my dad was Sokolovsky and my sisters and I were Sokole.

3-        The FINRA Brokercheck website which McLeod used to deduce that I was lying about being a licensed stockbroker, specifically states that it will only provide information on brokers who were registered within the previous 10 years. I have been in Australia for 23 years. I lost my job in the 1987 crash and my registration expired 2 years after I left Wall Street – in 1989. So FINRA would not have provided any information on my registration status after 1999 – 13 years ago.

What has made me bring this up now?

Well, about two weeks ago, one of my friends jokingly put a note up on Twitter saying that the reason they couldn’t find any record of me on Wall Street was because they had the wrong last name. She said that if the research SAVN did on vaccination were as poor as the research they did on me, it’s no wonder they got everything wrong all the time!

The consternation was palpable. At first, they thought she was lying but when she persisted, the search was on! Finally, after about 3 days of relentless Googling, one of them came up with the right name. Instead of admitting they had been wrong and apologising or even being sheepish, they immediately said all of this was my fault because I hadn’t responded to Ken McLeod when he’d first asked me. As if I owe him an answer! Their sense of entitlement seems to be bottomless.

I thought that was all and the issue was settled, but 2 days ago, I started to get a slow but steady stream of emails. Please read below:

From: “Ken McLeod” <email address removed as a courtesy>

Subject: WALL ST STOCKBROKER

Date: 7 February 2012 7:27:17 AM AEDT

To: “Meryl Dorey” <meryl@avn.org.au>

Good morning Meryl

have you ever told anyone that you were a Wall St stockbroker?

regards

Ken

From: “Phil Kent” <email address removed as a courtesy>

Subject: fact check

Date: 7 February 2012 8:06:08 AM AEDT

To: <meryl@avn.org.au>

Good morning Meryl,

I would like to check something with you. I have heard that you were once a Wall St stockbroker. Is this true? Did you work on Wall St in any capacity; or as a stock broker elsewhere?

Thankyou for your time.

Regards,

Phil Kent.

From: Linda Hilton <email address removed as a courtesy>

Subject: A Question

Date: 7 February 2012 11:49:50 AM AEDT

To: Meryl Dorey <meryl@avn.org.au>

Good Morning Meryl

I would just like to trouble you with a quick question if I may.  Have you ever told anybody that you were once a Wall Street Stockbroker?

I appreciate your time.

Regards

Linda Hilton

From: Lola Thompson <email address removed as a courtesy>

Date: 9 February 2012 9:40:12 AM AEDT

To: “meryl@avn.org.au” <meryl@avn.org.au>

Reply-To: Lola Thompson <email address removed as a courtesy>

Meryl, I’m curious.

Did you ever tell anyone you were a Wall Street stockbroker?

From: Heidi White <email address removed as a courtesy>

Subject: Concerning rumors

Date: 9 February 2012 9:55:39 AM AEDT

To: meryl@avn.org.au

Dear Ms Dorey,

I am emailing you with concerns I have about some rumors doing the rounds. The claim is that you were once a wall street stockbroker. Have you ever told anyone you used to be a stockbroker? I know you’ve mentioned living in New York, so is this claim could indeed be fact. What would be concerning is if this has been fabricated. I know we disagree on a number of health issues, but this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be concerned with gossip which is potentially mis-representing you. Do you know where these whispers could have come from?

With regards

Heidi White

I don’t know any of these people personally and have never corresponded with any of them. In fact, I have never even heard of Lola Thompson! Yet, as you can see, all of these letters are very similar.

For those who care, I obtained my Series 7 Stockbroking license in late 1978 – early 1979 (I don’t remember exactly, but it was Winter). A year later, I sat for and passed the Series 63 ‘Blue Sky’ license as well. I started on Wall Street as a receptionist at a brokerage firm where I worked whilst attending College at night. From there, I moved to listed sales (shares that traded on the New York and American Stock Exchanges) and eventually, to the Over the Counter (OTC) trading desk at 2 firms where I worked until the market crashed in 1987 when I and tens of thousands of other brokers and traders were thrown out of work.

I came to Australia in 1988 with my new husband and my licenses expired in 1989.

As a courtesy to those who wrote to me (please see emails above), I am removing the email addresses from this blog post. Perhaps SAVN would consider giving AVN supporters the same courtesy.

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.