Entries in Anti-Vaccination Network (88)

Wednesday
Jan282015

Tenpenny tour finished before it began.

Anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny has just announced that her tour in Australia is cancelled.

It's interesting the Tenpenny should cite threats of violence as a reason for the cancellation. Especially as all the death threats and abuse during this campaign have come from her own supporters.

See: Venue cancels after anti-vaxxers threaten to bomb it.

There are other examples of Tenpenny supporters acting in this way which can't be disclosed for legal reasons. However Tenpenny will conveniently omit the fact that the only known threats have come from her own supporters.

I suspect the real reason for her cancellation is that no venue will have her. The false victim card is a favorite amongst anti-vaxxers, rather than just admitting that no one wants them. So until Tenpenny can provide anything to substantiate her claims to have been threatened it remains just as dubious as anything else she says.

Hopefully this cancellation will put anti-vaxxers on notice that they are not welcome in Australia and we will continue to stop them. Go spread your pseudo-science fear mongering elsewhere. #StopAVN FTW.

Tuesday
Jan272015

Dodgy Tenpenny Ticket Sales

The speaking tour by US anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny no longer has any venues willing to host it. Every single venue that was set to host her talks has since cancelled her events, including the well respected Rydges Hotel.

A high-profile anti-vaccination campaigner's tour of Australia is in jeopardy after every venue booked to host her controversial seminars pulled out.

Sherri Tenpenny, an American osteopath who says vaccines are not safe and effective for children and that they are linked to conditions including autism, was booked to speak at 11 venues in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide in February and March.

According to the organisers of her "Birth Baby and Beyond" and "Raising Healthy Children Naturally" talks, hundreds of tickets have been sold for up to $200 each.

But after a pro-vaccination group's campaign to stop the tour, all of the venues have cancelled.

-Sydney Morning Herald

But anti-vaccination campaigners have never been quick to hand back refunds, and it looks like the Tenpenny Tour is no exception. Despite all 11 events no longer having a venue the GanKinMan Foundation; a fake organisation set up by Stephanie Messenger continues to sell tickets.

The tickets are now being sold as "Venue to be decided" and are non-refundable. So anyone who cannot make it to the unknown venue will not be given their money back. This also applies to people who already purchased tickets before the venues pulled out. This runs contrary to Australian Consumer Protection Law which entitles existing ticket holders to a refund since the product/service has been changed without their prior consent.

So I sent an email to the ticket broker Eventbrite to ask these questions.

Hello Eventbrite,

I am writing to express my concern about an event with tickets being sold via Eventbrite.

The event in question is promoted by the GanKinMan Foundation & Get Rid of SIDS Project, Inc

http://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/gankinman-foundation-amp-get-rid-of-sids-project-inc-7720649867

All venues that were originally set to host these events have since cancelled the venue bookings due to the controversial nature of the planned event. One such venue to cancel an event is the highly reputable Rydges Southpark Hotel, Adelade, Australia. As covered by the main stream media here: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jan/19/anti-vaccination-seminar-venues-all-pull-out-but-tour-will-go-ahead

I am concerned about the fact that Non-refundable tickets are still being sold by the event organisers despite having no planned venue available. Should the organiser find a new venue, will Eventbrite issue refunds to ticket holders who cannot make it to the new venues?

Another concern I have is that the “GanKinMan Foundation” does not appear to be a registered organisation and its “official” website gankinman.com is using a whois privacy service to conceal its ownership information. It should go without saying that a fake organisation anonymously selling non-refundable tickets to events without venues is a significant redflag for possible fraudulent activity.

I ask that your Trust & Safety Team look into the legitimacy of these events.

Thank You,

Sincerely,

~Dan Buzzard

I received the following response from Eventbrite.

Hello,

Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. To clarify, Eventbrite is a self service online ticketing and registration tool, so all content is provided by the event page creator.

After reviewing the events specified, we can confirm the event pages currently comply with Eventbrite terms of service.

You can review our terms of service at http://eventbrite.com/tosEventbrite has a robust Trust and Safety team, If an event listed on Eventbirite takes place significantly not as described or is cancelled without attendee communication, our processes, in conjunction with any dispute processes the payment processor has in place means that attendees always have a recourse for refunds. -EventBrite

Unfortunately Eventbrite wouldn't cancel the event because it doesn't currently violate their terms of service. However this is not all bad news because although the tickets are still on sale Eventbrite can still force a refund even if the event organisers would prefer to keep the money (After all what is a fake foundation for?).

An event without a venue or with a venue that is to far away from the original when the tickets were sold will likely count as "significantly not as described" and it will also be extremely hard to find a venues of comparable quality to those which cancelled. As it stands a full cancellation voluntary or otherwise is looking more and more likely by the day.

Thursday
Jan152015

Venue cancels after anti-vaxxers threaten to bomb it.

Sherri Tenpenny is an anti-vaccination campaigner based in the United States. She is currently planning a speaking tour in Australia where she plans to lie to parents and convince them to forgo life saving vaccinations for their children. Her tour is being organised by Stephanie Messenger, a woman who openly advocates measles for children. In my opinion Messenger is openly advocating child abuse by suggesting the measles in beneficial for children.

So it should come as no surprise that there is a big push by public health advocates to stop these health menaces from endangering the community. One way to do this is to contact venues and ask them to cancel, most are happy to oblige once they understand that their venue is to be used to spread lies and fear mongering with the aim of increasing the infant mortality rate.

But the anti-vaccination movement has started to fight back with the only tactic they understand. Violence and threats. Already two of the venues have been threatened by notorious anti-vaxxer Frankie Vazquez, who has suggested blowing up a restaurant under the alias Dolmio Joseph Vazques and burning a golf club.

Mr Vazques is no stranger to threats of violence. He sent the following to a critic of the Australian Vaccination Network.

He also had the following to say about vaccination researcher Dr Paul Offit.

Both venues that were threatened by Vazques have since cancelled the anti-vaxxers events. Bringing the total number of cancelled venues upto 10 out of 11. There are few better examples of Foot Bullets than this.

Thursday
Jan082015

Meryl Dorey likens health advocates to Charlie Hebdo gunmen.

Today Meryl Dorey, the founder of the nations most discredited sham organisation; The Australian Vaccination Network spoke on public radio the accuse her critics of being terrorists.

From 2 Minutes and 25 seconds the following exchange takes place on public radio.

Meryl Dorey: Now the organisation that is headlining, or pushing… um… this censorship that's all I can call it. Um They are a hate group called Stop the Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network and they are very much like the group in France that has been carrying out these actions .

Sally Cockburn (interrupting): No that's unfair Meryl they're not threatening to kill anyone.

Meryl Dorey: Well members of this group have actually gone on Twitter and said "I will contribute to a fund to hire a hitman to get this person" and they have done that. 

 This is a audio recording only, that's why the video is blank.

While I'm disappointed to see Dorey being given air time on 3AW Drive it did at least give her the opportunity to remind the public that she's a complete lunatic.

If you're an anti-vaxxer reading this you can report SAVN, and myself to the national security hotline at the following numbers.

Call: 1800 1234 00 
From outside Australia: (+61) 1300 1234 01
Email: hotline@nationalsecurity.gov.au 

MMS: 0429 771 822
TTY: 1800 234 889

Because promoting public health is the same as shooting up a building?

Thursday
Nov202014

The promotion of false and misleading health-related information and practices

The NSW Parliament has just released it's final report into: The promotion of false and misleading health-related information and practices.

The terms of reference were:

That the Committee on the Health Care Complaints Commission inquire into and report on possible measures to address the promotion of unscientific health-related information or practices which may be detrimental to individual or public health. The Inquiry will focus on individuals who are not recognised health practitioners, and organisations that are not recognised health service providers.

The Committee will have particular regard to:

(a) the publication and/or dissemination of false or misleading health-related information that may cause general community mistrust of, or anxiety toward, accepted medical practice;

(b) the publication and/or dissemination of information that encourages individuals or the public to unsafely refuse preventative health measures, medical treatments, or cures;

(c) the promotion of health-related activities and/or provision of treatment that departs from accepted medical practice which may be harmful to individual or public health;

(d) the adequacy of the powers of the Health Care Complaints Commission to investigate such organisations or individuals;

(e) the capacity, appropriateness, and effectiveness of the Health Care Complaints Commission to take enforcement action against such organisations or individuals; and

(f) any other related matter.

-Terms of Reference, Page 5, Section 1.6

This is political speak for "How can we stop these frauds and crimminals from harming the community". It should come as no surprise that the usual suspects have come out spitting venom. Here is one such example:

The Australian constitution and High Court precedents already protect the right to speech provided it is not defamatory,slanderous or inciting hatred (there are several government ministers who would fall foul of these laws were they to speak in public the way they do under parliamentary privilege!) so the Committee should be forewarned that any attempt to take away rights protected by these legal precedents will be swiftly followed by legal action by those who fight to protect freedoms which are considered to be inalienable.

....

It seems that the HCCC isn’t so much lacking in power as they are lacking in the will to perform the job Parliament set them. Giving them yet more power over private citizens and their ability to speak and communicate as they see fit would be an act of bastardry which no democratically elected government should ever consider.

-Meryl Dorey, Australian Vaccination Network

I find it laughable that a person who spend nearly a year in court trying to silence he critics should resort to the Free Speech defense when being investigated by government regulators. See: Dorey vs Buzzard and Dorey vs Bowditch

The Australian Vaccination Network sent two submissions in total. The submission from Greg Beattie also tries to play the Free Speech card:

We are deeply concerned that the proposal may give the HCCC powers to regulate free speech. Australians enjoy freedom of assembly, speech and expression, and this includes the freedom to discuss any health-related issues wherever, whenever, and with whomever they choose. The right to these freedoms is internationally recognised and guaranteed. That the Committee is considering curtailing them suggests a disrespect of this core value of democracy.

-Greg Beattie, Australian Vaccination Network

Greg continues to make a fool of himself by trying to address terms e and f:

(e) the capacity, appropriateness, and effectiveness of the Health Care Complaints Commission to take enforcement action against such organisations or individuals;

Capacity: The HCCC has sufficient powers to perform the role for which it was created. We strongly oppose granting powers which extend this role in the direction of censorship. 

Appropriateness: It is not appropriate to dictate what members of the community may think and express. It is further inappropriate to allow one industry group (albeit a powerful group) to define which views are worthy of expression and which are not. It is not appropriate for government to intervene preferentially in an arena where competing viewpoints are currently supported by the community.

Effectiveness: The HCCC was not created to censor free speech and therefore is not currently effective in this pursuit. That is as it should be. No such powers should be given to any government agency for the purpose of censoring free speech.

(f) any other related matter.

The AVN is itself the subject of ongoing HCCC investigation and attempted suppression, and has been for several years. The HCCC's initial investigation of the AVN was ruled unlawful by the NSW Supreme Court in February 2012. The scope of the Act was subsequently changed by Parliament for the express purpose of continuing the pursuit of our organisation.

-Greg Beattie, Australian Vaccination Network

I'm not an expert on Parliament Submissions, but common sense would tell most people to leave out the part where they are constantly running afoul of the existing regulations. It's like a career criminal arguing that the police should not have power of arrest and then basing the argument on the fact that they haven't caught him yet, despite a lengthy pursuit.