The despicable cruelty of the awful anti-vaccination movement

There is a reason I and others refer to the anti-vaccination movement as fundamentalists and extremists. Put simply, they do go to what we would perceive as extreme lengths to further the reach and the defense of their beliefs.

One thing I found out immediately when I discovered the Australian Vaccination Network, six years ago, was that they subsist on cruelty and hate. And the hatred appears to stem from the fact that they are in some perverse sense jealous of families who have had babies and children die from a vaccine preventable disease. These families have real stories to tell their communities, and they almost always do tell their painful story so others may be spared the same fate. These stories are not just mere anecdotes, or reckons; these children have died from real, diagnosed illnesses, from real pathogens which kill. Anti-vaccinationists hate this.  Anti-vaccinationists don’t have real stories to tell. They rely on fallacious reasoning and lies about imagined vaccine victims to bolster their beliefs. Anti-vaccinationists hate this, and they take it out on these families.

There are many ways in which the anti-vaccination movement vilifies grieving parents. They attempt to diminish the seriousness of the particular pathogen; they deny the diagnosis which caused the death; they blame vaccination given at birth (Hepatitis B); they claim the baby wasn’t breastfed; they blame vaccines the mother received during pregnancy; they blame other medication the mother may have taken; they claim the baby’s death was a mere anecdote from which no conclusions can be drawn; they privately message the parents under the guise of altruism which turns venomous; they ring the grieving parents directly and tell them their vaccine advocacy will kill children; they troll the internet where they know their comments will be seen so as to inflict hurt; and they jump onto memorial pages to abuse the parents directly. This list is not extensive.

I want to include a list of just some examples of the above. This list of screenshots is literally a fraction of what I have. Many of the screenshots are from 2009-12 unless otherwise noted. Many URLs from the original posts are gone as the comments were made by the Australian Vaccination Network troll known as Johanna Holland/Nicole Johnson. The Holland accounts have all been disabled. The Johnson accounts are very active on Facebook and on Twitter. This troll has been protected on AVN fora for many years by Meryl Dorey and her admins. So, I’m not going to link to sources of the comments. They aren’t there any more.

This first example is from a now defunct troll account on Twitter; this is the same person who is now freely posting on all AVN fora, and interacting with Meryl Dorey, AVN fans and supporters. The troll refers to the McCafferys as “media whores” and “hateful people”. From November 2014:

Holland 29 NJ tweet McCafferys media whores hateful people

In 2011 the anonymous troll calls the McCafferys “liars”:

Holland 37 McCafferys liars

And again:

Holland 38 McCafferys liars

It has some choice things to say about me, and Dana:

Holland 39 Dana wallet

The troll claims that Dana’s memorial page was set up for vengeance, by the McCafferys:

Holland 40 Dana's page  for revenge

I’m including this one to show how utterly awful this person is; and, by default, so is Meryl Dorey and her cult. This is the standard they accept:

Holland 41 Dana kit bag

The following are from YouTube comments sections. They are all now defunct. This is the same troll as all of the above. Here it claims that the McCafferys incite hatred:

Holland 43 Maccas incite hatred

It claims that the McCafferys are liars who blame the unvaccinated for Dana’s death. They have never done this:

Holland 44 McCafferry liars blaming unvaxed

The anonymous troll claims that the McCafferys have sought retribution in Dana’s name:

Holland 45 Maccas campaign of vengeance

This is one of the troll’s most insidiously despicable acts. It commented on Meryl Dorey’s blog using Dana’s name, and my surname. Who impersonates a deceased infant? Meryl Dorey steadfastly refused to remove the comment from her blog for months. It eventually disappeared:

Holland 46 Dana Tierney Dorey blog

Kerry Baker was a registered nurse who emailed the McCafferys via Dana’s website. As they do, Baker the anti-vaccine activist stated she was “contacting you as a concerned parent”. It didn’t take long for the conspiracy accusations to fly. She accused the McCafferys of being paid, and claimed that they will be responsible for more deaths:

Baker 29 email

Baker was investigated by AHPRA for her actions and had findings handed down against her. So, if you see a nurse or midwife making anti-vaccine comments online, then, report them. It will be taken seriously.

Judy Wilyman is a PhD student in public vaccination policy at the University of Wollongong. In 2012 Wilyman argued that Dana’s death was merely an anecdote which should not affect public health policy:

These programs have been promoting the whooping cough vaccine on anecdotal evidence (in particular ,Dana McCaffery’s death) and the mantra of ‘seeing sick babies gasping for air’.

Wilyman also insinuated strongly that the McCafferys were undertaking their immunisation advocacy because they were receiving rewards. From Meryl Dorey’s blog comments. The University of Wollongong never did get back to me about this set of claims from one of their students. It must have been the overwhelming pride holding them back:

Wilyman 88 accuse McCafferys of payment Dorey blog 2012

Little Kailis Smith died in 2011 from whooping cough. The Smiths were also fair game in Holland’s eyes. This comment was made whilst Kailis was in hospital fighting for his life. Note how the troll accuses the Hep B shot of being the culprit, not the pathogen. It also accuses Rosalind of blaming others. She did nothing of the sort:

Holland 42 Kailis Smith Hep B shot

In 2010 Michael Kokegei died from chicken pox. His father, Chris, went on television to warn parents of the serious possible outcomes from what the community usually believes is a benign illness. A post was made on the AVN page regarding the segment. The AVN responded with mockery. A child died. The AVN had a laugh:

Dorey 142 avn admin mocking death from varicella

But that wasn’t the end of it. As I wrote earlier, Chris received a phone call from a representative of the AVN, who had an American accent. And Chris was told of the harm he was doing by advocating for immunisation:

Dorey 143 Chris

Only recently, little Riley Hughes died from whooping cough. Riley’s Mum and Dad immediately set about on an information campaign. And they’ve had immediate success, working with the McCafferys to ensure maternal Pertussis boosters are rolled out across the country. But, where we see selflessness and altruism which is the hallmark of all of these parents, anti-vaccinationists see targets.

Cate Andrews (Uebergang) is a chiropractor who operates the manipulating business Life Chiropractic Goondiwindi. Andrews immediately got onto the AVN Facebook page to start sowing doubt about Riley’s death:

AVN 6922 Cate Uebergang baby death info

Richard Dean is another chiropractor who currently studies in France. He jumped into the comments section of the Daily Telegraph to voice his opinions about the real reason Riley died. It was breastfeeding issues and the like:

Rich 1 Riley's mum breastfeeding

Riley’s Mum replied, which only further provoked the chiropractor:

Rich 2 Cate

The AVN’s resident troll, Holland/Johnson, also attempted to whip up a frenzy on the AVN page:

AVN 6923 NJ crowing over Riley's death

This comment is from New England, US crackpot Cynthia Maurer. Maurer left this despicable, cruel comment on Riley’s memorial page the day after it started:

Maurer 2 Riley

Strong supporter of the AVN, Rixta Francis, has written a blog post which is as wrong as it is awful. The March 26 post which rounds off by calling the whooping cough immunisation “crimes against humanity”, also contains this execrable claim:

Recently a baby in Australia died from whooping cough. It probably died from lack of breast milk and too much antibiotics, but let’s not discuss those details.

Francis 1 blog post baby probably died of a lack of breast milk

Monique Grobben, of Brisbane, featured in the Sunday Telegraph today due to her extraordinary flippant callousness. Grobbin delights in carrying out precisely the same act as that horrid act perpetrated by the anti-vaccine nurse, Kerry Baker, above:

Grobben 1 PMed Riley's mum

On The Today Show Facebook page we saw the usual accusations. Here is a denial that whooping cough really kills, from alternative health therapist Lulu Langford:

Lulu supposedly

Wendy Hillier-Bull presents the offensive, repugnant dead baby competition which is their trump card:

Hillier Ian's voice

Daisy Marskell is related to AVN committee member Kaye Payne (Marskell). You can see the pride in their concern trolling. You can smell it:

Marskell 1 Riley thread

And this brings us back to Judy Wilyman. Proving the University of Wollongong has the courage to stand behind its students who belittle the deaths of babies for ideological point-scoring, Wilyman repeats the anecdote claim about Riley which she made about Dana:

Wilyman 81 baby death an anecdote

There’s a reason I decided to write up this compilation today. It’s because some courageous, anonymous troll decided to post onto Dana’s Facebook page, and onto Riley’s memorial Facebook page. The same comments were posted on both pages:

AVN 6937 McCafferys Dana's page troll comments

The troll page has been deleted. Courageous and anonymous.

There is one thing I really want to make clear in closing. All of these anti-vaccine trolls, and the anti-vaccine acolytes, and the anti-vaccine grunts, are all following the lead of Meryl Dorey, who has been doing this sort of thing for twenty years, and almost getting away with it until the last six years.

This is Dorey in 1997, from my earlier blog post, unrestrained by the public eye, heaping scorn at will, and barging into areas unwelcome, attempting to access details of confidential medical records:

Dorey 144 callous 1997

On April 30 2010 Dorey uttered the word “supposedly”, which would rightly come to haunt her. That simple word would be her albatross of callousness. And, as you’ve seen above, others followed her:

Dorey 141 Supposedly Yahoo list

Dorey also attempted to access details of confidential medical records when Dana died. From my earlier post:

On the day before Dana’s funeral, in March 2009, Meryl Dorey rang the Director of Public Health at the then North Coast Area Health Service, contending that Dana did not die from Pertussis. She even had the temerity to claim that the Director had lied to the McCafferys about the content of that phone conversation, and that it was in fact the Director who was the real person harassing the McCafferys.

Let’s remember that Dorey made her intent clear to her followers in 2009:

AVN 5955 Dorey Yahoo love to get a look at Dana medical records

So, when we look at all of the shocking behaviour, and the cruelty, and the callousness of the trolls, and the anti-vaccinationists, and the University of Wollongong PhD student, and the chiropractors who have attempted to hide their identities in the last fortnight; just remember who enabled them. Remember who holds the giant dog-whistle, telling them it’s okay to attack grieving families. It’s Meryl Dorey and her cabal of narcissists. And it’s anyone who treats these repugnant ghouls with respect and kid gloves.

Posted in abuse, anti-vaccination dishonesty, australian vaccination network, AVN, meryl dorey, stop the australian vaccination network | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Stephanie Messenger’s anti-vaccine SIDS charity status revoked

You would remember Stephanie Messenger as the anti-vaccination fundamentalist who wrote the awful child-hating book for children, Melanie’s Marvelous Measles. You would also remember her as the organiser of the recent anti-vaccine tour of Australia which starred Sherri Tenpenny. The tour came unstuck when it became apparent that the Australian community wanted their children alive, as opposed to the deceased condition in which Tenpenny’s extremist beliefs would otherwise have left them. All of the venues pulled out once they realised just what sort of a hate-fest was almost upon them.

One of the corollaries of the exuberant gamble played by Messenger was that she had now popped her head above the parapet, and with it her SIDS charity. As I wrote a couple of months ago:

Get Rid of SIDS is Messenger’s registered health promotion charity. It has Deductible Gift Recipient status. Along with Messenger’s other organisation, GanKinMan Foundation (more below), GRoS was listed as the organiser of the recent anti-vaccine seminars which feature anti-vaccine fundamentalist Sherri Tenpenny as the lead speaker. Read that out aloud again: a registered health promotion charity organised an anti-vaccine tour. The basis for Messenger’s GRoS charity is the promotion of the [dubious] Toxic Gas Theory, by Dr Sprott.

And Messenger was clear about her charity’s involvement in the anti-vaccine tour, including claims of “research” and “education”, as well as trading on the reputation that a “registered charity” was the organiser. In this image of the Concord Eventbrite booking page we see a “charity” being linked with the names of Sherri Tenpenny, Isaac Golden, and Norma Erickson:

Messenger 46 Concord dinner research claim

So you can see why the anti-vaccine tour garnered such outrage. Not only were they a threat to public health and safety, they displayed the ethics of a rat in carrying out their attempted ruse under the guise of charitable legitimacy.

Remember that this charity also made a list of accusations against critics. Critics were accused of being terrorists like those who carried out the Sydney and Paris atrocities, who were threatening violence upon venue owners. The only violence threatened was by one of Messenger’s and Tenpenny’s supporters, Frank Vazquez, of Adelaide: he made bomb and arson threats against two separate venues who were likely to cancel.

Messenger 52 Eventbrite GKM site terrorists Paris Sydney shootings etc

I’d like to claim that Messenger’s behaviour probably added to her forthcoming charitable regulatory woes, but, in reality, the complaints which were submitted to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission were beyond reproach. The long history Messenger laid down, linking her charity with her anti-vaccine seminars, as well as  the zany claims surrounding SIDS, and her distribution of other bizarre for-profit products, like mattress covers and negative ion sanitary pads, was enough to sink any hope she had of claiming to be doing public health any legitimate service. It was all collated. It was all submitted. She was her own undoing. For a broader outline of the above and all of Messenger’s organisations and activities see, The Church of Conscious Living – another Stephanie Messenger Anti-vaccine Enterprise.

The only saving grace Messenger had in my eyes was that in 2013 she made noises which sounded like she had back-tracked from her previous vaccines-cause-SIDS lies. But, that was obviously a long time ago. Like a dog and its vomit, an anti-vaccinationist always returns to its lies. From February 2015 (there are more, but, this will do):

Messenger 79 vaccines cause SIDS

So, ultimately, Messenger was irredeemable.

And that’s why today’s news is so welcome. An anti-vaccinationist who used the legitimacy of a charity for so many years had the charitable status and the Deductible Gift Recipient status revoked on April 1 2015. Savour the word… r e v o k e d:

Messenger 92 ACNC GROS Revoked

I want to acknowledge the work of Sam Johnston and David Metcalf for a surgical and concise approach to all of the above. And I want to give extra special thanks to Christine Bayne who operates Diluted Thinking, that repository of the results of hard work.

Most of all I want to thank Stephanie Messenger for her tireless dedication to the art of bringing down Stephanie Messenger.

Here is Channel 7 on the good news:

_________________________________________

 Update April 8 2015

Reproduced here in full is the freshly minted ACNC media release:

MEDIA RELEASE

8 April 2015                                                                    No.119   

‘Get Rid of Sids’ charity status revoked

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has made a decision to revoke the registration of Get Rid of Sids Project Inc (ABN 63 260 843 015) following a review into the organisation’s operations and activities.

The entity is an association incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (Qld) which had deductible gift recipient status as well as tax concessions since it was established in 2010.

It had its charity status revoked by the ACNC and this decision is effective from 01 April 2015. The charity has 60 days to lodge an objection to this decision.

Acting Commissioner David Locke said Australians donate millions of dollars to charity every year and the ACNC is tasked with regulating all registered charities.

“The ACNC is committed to protecting public trust and confidence in the sector, which includes revoking the charity status of organisations which are not operating in accordance with the ACNC Act and Regulations,” Mr Locke said.

“All charities have to be established for charitable purpose and for the benefit of the public. Where concerns are raised with the ACNC about a charity’s operations, we take these seriously and look into all of the circumstances. We will act firmly and quickly where we believe organisations are not entitled to ongoing charity registration.

“It is important that the public can give confidently to charities on the ACNC Charity Register.

“The ACNC has made a decision to revoke Get Rid of Sids Project’s registration as a charity under 35-10 (1) (a) of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (ACNC Act),” Mr Locke said.

The ACNC is prevented by secrecy provisions in the ACNC Act from disclosing the details of any case. Under the ACNC Act, decisions to use formal powers must usually be published on the ACNC Charity Register.

The ACNC’s regulatory approach, clearly sets out how the ACNC’s use its powers to regulate. Any charity which has its entitlement to registration under review and facing potential revocation is served with a notice to show cause of why they should not be revoked and given 28 days to respond. When a decision to revoke is made, charities are informed and provided with the reasons for revocation via both phone and mail. The charities then have 60 days to lodge an objection to this decision.

-ends-

ACNC Media Contact:
media@acnc.gov.au

Posted in anti-vaccination dishonesty, Immunisation, skeptic, stop the australian vaccination network | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

The bizarre, extraordinary, acceptable excuses of the Chiropractic Board of Australia

Right off the bat I feel I have a conflict of interest – of sorts – to declare. I am writing this post as the author of the same AHPRA notification on which it is based. I don’t usually like lodging complaints. I do have three others in the system. They are also as bad as this one, so much so that I didn’t really have a choice but to lodge notifications about them.

Anyway, I received a final report from AHPRA of the determinations of the Chiropractic Board of Australia into the investigation of Mr Koe Davidson, who featured in the extensive post, Anti-vaccine chiropractors redux 1. It might be worth your while to reacquaint yourselves with him, and just how bad he was.

Basically, the CBA have allotted my complaint into four sections:

1. Davidson had published testimonials on his professional Facebook page. He admitted this. He was caught cold.

2. Davidson had published anti-vaccine information, between 2011-2013, on his two professional Facebook page, and on his professional Twitter page. He admitted this. He was caught cold, again.

3. On January 4 2014 Davidson made several anti-vaccine comments, including anti-vaccine memes, on the Channel 9 Facebook page, The following are two pertinent examples. Take special note of the anti-vaccine memes he posts:

Davidson 21 Ch 9 thread

And:

Davidson 22 Ch 9 thread

In pointing out Davidson’s activity on the Channel 9 page to the CBA I was extremely careful to make special mention that the profile commenting above led straight to Davidson’s personal profile, which led in turn to two of his professional chiropractic pages. The pages were awash with anti-vaccine and other misinformation. Among the anti-vaccine posts were these two. Look familiar?

Davidson 34 fluvax post also posted on Ch 9 thread

And:

Davidson 35 vaccines safty studies post also posted on Ch 9 thread

So, we’re pretty clear that the Koe Davidson private Facebook profile which is posting anti-vaccine memes is posting precisely the same anti-vaccine memes and other arguments as the Koe Davidson – Chiropractor professional Facebook page. And, just so we’re even clearer, here is the Koe Davidson private Facebook profile, in 2012, posting the precise same meme later posted on Channel 9 in 2014:

Davidson 44 shared fluvax antivax meme on another's wall in 2012

Okay. We’ll come back to the above. Just so we’re clear that the Koe Davidson profiles and pages have been consistent in both their messaging and the exact memes they post for that period of two years (at least).

4.  I argued that Davidson misrepresented himself as a lawyer in posting a legal threat to the comments section of my original blog post pertaining to his activities. Of course it is nigh on impossible to prove that Davidson was the author of the threat. A US associate kindly traced the email address used and found that it was brand new. An Australian friend carried out a trace route on the IP address and found that it resolved to the general vicinity of Davidson’s location in Melbourne. Still, it’s not enough, and without the author having the courage of his/her convictions the source will never be known. It’s not a huge deal anyway:

Davidson 33 Steve Strickland Lawyer message

So, what happened? Davidson denied he made the above comment, which impersonated a legal practitioner, and that’s all that can be done there.

So, back to 1. and 2. above. The CBA found:

…Dr Davidson’s conduct may be considered to have been unsatisfactory as he failed to maintain his knowledge of and comply with his professional responsibilities with regard to advertising.

…Dr Davidson failed to comply with his professional responsibilities to promote the health of the community through disease prevention and control, education and, where relevant, screening as set out in the Code of Conduct for Chiropractors.

And on searching the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Victoria) Act 2009 under which the investigation and sanctions are undertaken we find the sanctions handed down to Davidson, section 178(2)(a) are…

Davidson 53 178 2 A caution National Law

A caution.

That’s it. A caution, which will be handed down in private, and will not be recorded on the AHPRA registration page of Mr Davidson (chiropractor).

So what happened to 3. I hear you ask? All of those various Davidson pages and profiles saying and sharing all of the same things over at least a two-year period? Well, on the day in question in which the Davidson private profile made all of those consistent comments and posted those consistent anti-vaccine memes on the Channel 9 Facebook page, this is what happened:

Davidson 54 CBA hacked

He. Was. Hacked.

He was hacked.

And the Chiropractic Board of Australia believed it.

And the Chiropractic Board of Australia accepted it.

But, it’s not the first time the CBA have accepted the word of someone who denied his own actions to save his own skin. I have a vast repository of all of the comments made by Mr Rob Hutchings, a chiropractor now based at Body Brilliant in Queensland, made on the Australian Vaccination Network Facebook page.

From 2010 on Mr Hutchings made a huge contribution to the page of the rabid anti-vaccination lobby group, the Australian Vaccination Network. You have met him before pretending to be a doctor, and stating that he can sign conscientious objector forms via fax. And here is Hutchings telling his chiropractic mates, on August 16 2013, exactly how to get out of trouble for expressing their own beliefs:

Hutchings 7 I waz hacked August 16 2013

I mean, why tell the truth when you can make dishonest accusations against a group of innocent people knowing full well that you yourself made all of the comments? The Chiropractic Board of Australia won’t hold you to account.

The bravery and the courage of these guys…I am without speech.

Posted in anti-vaccination dishonesty, australian vaccination network, chiropractic, skeptic, stop the australian vaccination network | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Anti-vaccine chiropractors redux 10 – the callousness of ignorance

Cate Andrews (Uebergang) is a chiropractor in the Queensland town of Goondiwindi, where she operates Life Chiropractic Goondiwindi. Andrews is a member of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia.

Andrews’ Facebook profile notes her profession and place of business:

Uebergang 1 profile

Her Facebook likes include three extreme anti-vaccination pages, including the discredited, fundamentalist, anti-vaccination group, the Australian Vaccination Network:

Uebergang 7 likes antivax pages

Andrews deals in the sale of essential oils, for which she makes therapeutic claims, from her chiropractic business:

Uebergang 6 essential oils

Andrews also facilitates hair tissue mineral analysis, an extremely dubious diagnostic test, via her chiropractic business:

Uebergang 4 hair mineral analysis

On her website’s “chiropractic” page we find that Andrews is a vitalistic chiropractor who believes that “spinal misalignments (or subluxations) are playing a role in your discomfort or symptoms and affecting your quality of life.” Remember, these claims surrounding subluxations all happen with the imprimatur of the CAA and the Chiropractic Board of Australia. There is nothing in the Code of Conduct for Chiropractors or the Guidelines for advertising regulated health services which precludes the use of magic as a sales pitch. Nothing. The words are in there, but, they mean nothing. This is because the invisible, immeasurable subluxation still holds sway in the minds and practices of many senior Australian chiropractors.

And, when chiropractors are allowed to trade on magic, that’s when we see them treating babies, and making claims like this:

Uebergang 3 asthma ear infections colic etc website

And when magic reigns, we see the fantastical get a run in the name of business:

The root cause of every single disease is lack or improper movement

Uebergang 2 cause of disease website

But I didn’t come here to spend too much time attempting to parse all of the above. There is a more sinister reason why Andrews came to my attention.

As most of us would now be aware we lost another little baby, very recently. Four-week old Riley Hughes lost his fight with whooping cough. Cath and Greg – Riley’s Mum and Dad – have been putting aside their own shattering pain – intermittently – to warn the community of the dangers of Pertussis; Toni and Dave McCaffery have been right by their side, knowing only too painfully what the Hughes are going through. This is heartbreaking stuff. It leaves a wretched feeling in all.

But, with any information campaign involving vaccines always comes the anti-vaccination lobby. It is an unfortunate aspect of social media, and it was only a matter of time before the fog of venom descended. Toni and Dave are only too aware of the fangs of the anti-vaccine lobby, but, at least they could prepare Cath and Greg for what was to come. Some of the usual tropes trotted out against the McCafferys were: Dana was sickly anyway; Dana only “supposedly” died from whooping cough; Dana’s Hep B vaccine at birth damaged her immune system; Dana must not have been breastfed; Dana’s death was merely an anecdote; throw images of another dead baby into the mix, like this is some macabre competition. Repugnant. Just repugnant. Meryl Dorey has been doing this sort of thing since 1997.

Andrews commented on the AVN Facebook page:

AVN 6922 Cate Uebergang baby death info

What Andrews is doing is textbook anti-vaccine: sow uncertainty around the events so as to diminish the real impact of whooping cough on a four-week old infant; allocate blame on any agent other than the agent which kills – whooping cough – and it doesn’t matter if grieving parents get in the way. Anything to belittle the need for a vaccine. They did the same to Dana, and now they’re doing it to Riley. But, this is worse; this person is a registered health professional. So…

Here’s the rub, assholes:

1. Whooping cough kills babies. Period.

2. Stop denigrating wounded parents for your own ideological gains.

3. Shut the f**k up for a few weeks.

4. Repeat 3.

There are so many more examples to choose from, but, I’ll include a few to show the calibre of people with whom Andrews can sympathise. These are from The Today Show Facebook page. “Supposedly”. There’s that word:

Lulu supposedly

Here’s the grotesque competition website as has been used before:

Hillier Ian's voice

Here’s a relative of an AVN committee member concern trolling to push their ideology:

Marskell 1 Riley thread

Here is the University of Wollongong’s PhD student, Judy Wilyman, again claiming that the death of an infant from whooping cough is just an anecdote. Just the same as she did with Dana. Vaccination Choice is Wilyman’s anti-vaccination campaign page:

Wilyman 81 baby death an anecdote

On this Daily Telegraph article we find Rich, just asking questions; or JAQing off:

Rich 1 Riley's mum breastfeeding

When he gets an answer from Cath he still doesn’t stop. Why? Because we know he’s not interested in answers:

Rich 2 Cate

And because Rich doesn’t understand the point of the third trimester boosters, for each pregnancy, to confer some protection during the first six weeks of the baby’s life, he continues: making an invalid point is more important than answers, especially when you’re out to inflict hurt:

Rich 3 cont

If Rich’s argument looks familiar you need only compare it to the AVN’s number 1 troll, a thing which has been going after the McCafferys for over five years:

AVN 6923 NJ crowing over Riley's death

To Cath and Greg – and to Toni and Dave – I am so, so sorry that you have been introduced to the anti-vaccine movement through no fault of your own. As time goes by their barbs will be blunted by your own resilience. You will see them for what they are. Know that you have thousands of people upon whom you can lean and ask for support and guidance. You have our love and support.

__________________________________

Thank you to Wallace, again, for the tips and links.

Update March 24 2015

Having searched the profile image used in Rich’s comments on the Daily Telegraph article I can confirm that the disreputable individual is indeed a chiropractor by the name of Richard Dean. It appears he is currently studying in France. We’ll certainly keep an eye out for his return, given his treatment of grieving parents:

Rich 4 Fb profile chiropractor

Update March 25 2015

I forgot to add this comment from New England, US crackpot Cynthia Maurer. Maurer left this despicable, cruel comment on Riley’s memorial page the day after it started. It really is a different class of grub who  thinks that this is okay:

Maurer 2 Riley

Update March 30 2015

Strong supporter of the AVN, Rixta Francis, has written a blog post which is as wrong as it is awful. The March 26 post which rounds off by calling the whooping cough immunisation “crimes against humanity”, also contains this execrable claim:

Recently a baby in Australia died from whooping cough. It probably died from lack of breast milk and too much antibiotics, but let’s not discuss those details.

Francis 1 blog post baby probably died of a lack of breast milk

Anti-vaccinationists are terrible people.

Update April 12 2015

I’ve been sitting on this one for a couple of weeks. Monique Grobbin, of Brisbane, featured in the Sunday Telegraph today due to her extraordinary flippant callousness:

Grobben 1 PMed Riley's mum

 

Posted in anti-vaccination dishonesty, australian vaccination network, AVN, chiropractic, meryl dorey, skeptic, stop the australian vaccination network | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Australian chiropractors promote anti-vaccine, conspiracy theory, chiro event

It’s almost that time of year again. In three weeks wingnuts from across the world will converge on California for the chiropractic event, California Jam – a name stolen from a 1970s rock festival. CalJam is the creation of anti-vaccine, chiropractic conspiracy theorist Billy DeMoss, the Casper Jonquil of global health care. It may assist the reader to use Casper’s voice when reading all future DeMoss posts:


I have seen several boasts of attendance figures of “a few thousand” for this thing (I can’t find them now). I find this event to be equal parts terrifying and amusing. Serious chiropractors across the world should be terrified if these people are gathering in such numbers to drag their profession through the sewer.

A couple of weeks ago chiropractor Jennifer Barham-Floreani wrote a Facebook post, on her professional Facebook page, speaking on behalf of herself and her husband, Simon Floreani. Barham-Floreani was gushing in her enthusiasm for the event; an event she spoke at last year, having her photo taken with her husband, DeMoss, and Andrew Wakefield:

To hear health experts proudly speaking their truth (yes outside Australia they are actually allowed too…Cal Jam is the BEST “health event” we have ever been too.

JBF 38 promoting CalJam Wakefield DeMoss etc
I’ll get back to that list of speakers shortly.

While it is obviously professionally unwise for the Floreanis to be spruiking an anti-vaccine event, filled with anti-vaccine names, and other crackpots, on their professional Facebook page, it is clear that they are no risk of censure given the inability of the regulator, the Chiropractic Board of Australia – who have thumped their chest about this sort of thing in public – to regulate. The CBA is so ineffectual that maybe it will take a ministerial or even a Senate inquiry to prod the Board into deregistering recalcitrant chiropractors.

We have already seen Australian Vaccination Network member Simon Floreani cautioned by the CBA due to his anti-vaccinationism in this post – and how AVN member Jennifer Barham-Floreani has escaped censure for her anti-vaccine book, also contained in the preceding link, I am bemused. One of the names listed as a speaker at CalJam is Tim Shakespeare, himself under pressure from many regulatory sides. Nothing will happen to him either. It is to be expected.

None of this is a surprise. Immediately following the CBA’s chest-thumping of August 2013 Barham-Floreani took to the ABC and declared that the CBA’s warnings meant nothing for her and her like-minded anti-vaccinationists:

After pressure from medical authorities, the Chiropractic Board has decided to crack down on unscientific practices.

Chiropractors are blamed by doctors for spreading too much misinformation on the inoculation debate.

But high-profile chiropractors say they will continue providing information about both sides of the vaccination argument.

Chiropractor and author Jennifer Bahram-Floriani says it will not stop her colleagues from giving patients advice.

“Chiropractors will certainly be working towards making sure that the information that they convey to parents is the latest, up-to-date information that presents both sides of the vaccination debate,” she said.

“I think it would be very rare that there would be chiropractors giving only one side of the argument.”

It is adorable that Barham-Floreani claims she provides “both sides of the vaccination argument”. Her book’s vaccination chapter does nothing of the sort. Maybe she is the rarity to whom she refers?

Back to the list of speakers. I did some quick – and some not so quick – searches to see how these people think. You owe me big time. I’ll use the list as provided and promoted by Barham-Floreani. Quick descriptions in bold are mine:

ANDREW WAKEFIELD – obviously the king of the modern anti-vaccination movement, known to have a “callous disregard” for his underage targets.

BILLY DEMOSS – there isn’t a conspiracy theory he won’t jump on. Chemtrails, Sandy Hook hoax, anti-vaccine, anti-fluoride, Agenda 21, anti-GMO, 9/11 Truther and more. Remember your Casper Jonquil voice:

DeMoss 145 conspiracy bingo CalJam 8
And there isn’t a doctor he won’t misrepresent and defame. Here he calls Dr Paul Offit – a man whose work has saved hundreds of thousands of lives – “satan”:

DeMoss 258 Dr Paul Offit satan

EDWARD GROUP – anti-vaccine chiropractor; conspiracy theorist; regular on Infowars; supplements seller.

CATHY WENDLAND-COLBY – anti-vaccine chiropractor.

BRAD GLOWAKI – anti-vaccine chiropractor; practice-building entrepreneur.

DANE DONOHUE – anti-vaccine chiropractor.

JAMES CHESTNUT – anti-vaccine chiropractor.

DANNY CONSTABLE – anti-medicine subluxationist (from what I can gather all chiros here are subluxationists).

DANE WIGINGTON – chemtrails specialist:

DeMoss 251 chemtrails at CalJam Dane Wigington

TIM YOUNG – anti-vaccine chiropractor.

JJ VIRGIN – promoter of fad diets and supplements; promoter of Mark Hyman (MMR/autism alternative doctor).

DEED HARRISON – anti-vaccine chiropractor.

TIM O’SHEA – anti-vaccine chiropractor.

JEANNE OHM – anti-vaccine chiropractor.

DAN MURPHY – anti-vaccine chiropractor.

FULLYRAW KRISTINA – anti-vaccine raw food advocate.

ADJUSTASAURUS REX (YEHAR our very own flesh and blood!!!) – anti-vaccine chiropractor Tim Shakespeare, who really refers to himself as this.

PATRICK GENTEMPO – anti-vaccine chiropractor; practice-building entrepreneur; appears on Infowars.

ANTHONY GUCCIARDI – claims to have treated his Lyme Disease with colloidal silver; natural health empire; regular on Infowars.

ALEX JONES – Big Daddy enraged conspiracy nutbag; Prison Planet; Infowars; lives whole life only 10 seconds from several catastrophic health events.

JEN FRANCO – nutritionist who often talks at DeMoss’ chiropractic business.

CAROL ANN MALIZIA – chiropractor who offers dubious treatments in her business, including breast thermography.

ROBERT SCOTT BELL – anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist; podcast on Natural News site.

JOHN MINARDI – makes a living teaching about the vertebral subluxation complex.

BARRY ANDERSON – anti-vaccine chiropractor.

I am really happy that many moderate chiropractors are standing up to these people. And it’s now happening all over the world. Because, if the resistance to the utter crackpottery such as CalJam doesn’t grow, your profession is doomed. In Australia we’re a little luckier in that we have legislation and regulation in place to hold these people to account. In the US this seems to be sorely lacking.

Still, in Australia, there appears to be little which can be done when the minority of the profession – the subluxationists and anti-vaccinationists – hold the sway on the boards of many representative associations around the country. For goodness sake the largest peak research organisation – the Australian Spinal Research Foundation – has a board which is 89% anti-vaccine, which is founded on the study of that which does not exist!

The regulator, the Chiropractic Board of Australia, promised a crack down over 18 months ago, along with random audits. How can anyone have any faith in them when this sort of thing is easily staring them in the face? Time to bring on an inquiry:

JBF 40 chiro for ADHD

Posted in anti-vaccination dishonesty, chiropractic, Immunisation, skeptic, stop the australian vaccination network | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Chiropractor Simon Floreani issued an official wrist-slap for anti-vaccinationism

Eighteen months ago the Chiropractic Board of Australia, reacting to a string of examples of chronic anti-vaccinationism from its members, issued a press release stating that it was finally taking a stand. On August 8 2013 the CBA stated this:

The Chiropractic Board of Australia is cracking down on chiropractors who step outside their primary role as healthcare practitioners and provide treatment that puts the public at risk.

To protect public safety, the Board has:

  • ordered practitioners to remove all anti-vaccination material from their websites and clinics
  • removed several courses from the list of approved CPD programs, and
  • introduced random audits of practitioner compliance with the Board’s registration standards.

Three months later, after it became quite obvious that many chiropractors weren’t taking the strong advice of the CBA, the President of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia, Laurie Tassell, opened up on the recalcitrants in his presidential address, posted in the November 2013 issue of The Australian Chiropractor. Enough was enough. This was really starting to look…well…even worse than before:

Tassell CAA TACThere is one line in there which always gives me cause to stroke my chin. You see, one chiropractor, Tim Shakespeare, has already been booted from the CAA NSW board (yes, he was a board member), for “posting photos with well known speakers openly critical of vaccination”. Complaints were lodged and “disciplinary action” was taken by the CAA NSW. Shakespeare and the business for whom he manipulates were also forced, by the NSW HCCC and the NSW Chiropractic Council, to remove an entire mural containing false claims of the effectiveness of chiropractic and its effect on immunity. There is, however, always a cloak of secrecy surrounding what actions are taken against whom and for what. This brings me to Simon Floreani.

Simon Floreani is the husband of the uber-star of Australian chiropractic, Jennifer Barham-Floreani. Floreani is also the immediate past-president of the CAA National, finishing up his role in 2011 (Laurie Tassel took over in 2012). Here are the Floreanis in 2014 posing with what the CAA president would term a “well known speaker openly critical of vaccination”, Andrew Wakefield:

JBF 12 WakefieldSeriously, you don’t get much higher in the academy of anti-vaccination than the summit of Mount Wakefield. Does it make it worse that the above event was CalJam, run by the delusional Billy DeMoss, a man who claims the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre of innocent children was a “hoax”? Yes. Yes it does.

And here are the Floreanis flicking the bird to the CAA and the CBA, duck-facing with Billy DeMoss on September 20 2014, at Chirofest, in Seattle:

JBF 26 Chirofest photos with Simon Floreani and DeMoss

As a reminder of the esteem with which Floreani is still held, in 2013 he won an award for outstanding service, presented by the CAA Victoria:

Floreani 4 oustanding service award CAA VICSo this guy is still at the top of the chiropractic game. He is receiving awards from the professional association of Victoria, and he is the immediate past-president of the National professional association.

Indeed, so untouchable was President Floreani and his CAA at that stage that Floreani – the professional member, with his wife, of the anti-vaccine fundamentalist group, the Australian Vaccination Network – thought it appropriate to present a video with discredited anti-vaccine homeopath, Isaac Golden, detailing how homeopathic immunisation is “safer” and just as “effective” as immunisation. I kid you not. Paul Gallagher’s post here is mandatory reading for this example in the recent history of the CAA’s anti-vaccinationism. Floreani and Golden kick in at about 3:00 in this video, also created by Paul:


So, what has brought us to Floreani, again? Well, for the sake of brevity – and in the public interest and in the interests of public health and safety – Floreani’s business, called Vitality, in Melbourne, was visited by someone who went for a genuine chiropractic visit. The person noticed several examples of anti-vaccine literature, including AVN paraphernalia, laying around intended for clients, and was rightly concerned enough to lodge a complaint with AHPRA, who investigates on behalf of the CBA. What makes it even worse is that it seems to have been the same anti-vaccination paraphernalia which was seen in July 2013’s ABC Catalyst investigation; an investigation which prodded the CBA into making its August 2013 vaccine/evidence declaration. How we come full circle:

Floreani 16 Catalyst AVN pamphlet on Hep B in waiting room

Also seen on Catalyst, in the Floreani business, was Jennifer Barham-Floreani’s book Well Adjusted Babies, which contains a 40-page anti-vaccine chapter so rife with misinformation it would almost make Meryl Dorey blush (almost). Notable citations in the chapter are ex-Dr Rebecca Carley, Not-a-doctor Viera Scheibner, the NVIC, Jim Carrey, “British vaccine expert Andrew Wakefield” (I’m serious), and homeopath Isaac Golden. Golden is cited, of course, as an authority on the effectiveness of homeoprophylaxis. We now know Golden’s reputation was officially trashed in the recent Federal Court case in which the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission succeeded against Homeopathy Plus!, the court finding that Homeopathy Plus! “engaged in misleading conduct and made false or misleading representations regarding the effectiveness of the whooping cough vaccine and homeopathic remedies as an alternative”. I would argue strongly that Barham-Floreani is doing precisely the same thing.

To quote the Barham-Floreani gibberish which no longer even borders on reckless endangerment; it is a stark example of it, fit for inclusion in any dictionary :

Homeopathic vaccinations are an effective and safe alternative to conventional innoculations and warrant your investigation. [p380]

Floreani 15 Well Adjusted Babies in Catalyst as antivax example

One can only hope the Chiropractic Board of Australia has read the Barham-Floreani chapter on immunisation. I’ll even send them a copy. I am imagining they will need it.

Anyway, after an investigation, findings were laid down by the CBA against all four chiropractors at the Vitality business, and all four chiropractors were issued with a formal caution, in private. The other chiropractors named and cautioned by the CBA were Ian Northeast, Mark Stafford, and Michelle Ronan. Most notably, Michelle Ronan has recently gained a spot on the board of the CAA Victoria.

It would be more appropriate that someone with as much form as Floreani should have such findings attached to his name publicly, and permanently, so as to “protect public safety”, as the CBA claims. A private caution – such as this is – is just not enough. It’s not enough, given his history of recalcitrant anti-vaccinationism practised at the peak of the profession. I mean, compare the slap on the wrist given – in private – to Floreani with the chest-thumping pronouncements of the CBA just over one year ago. One would think at least an undertaking should have been accepted by the board. At least that would have shown up on Floreani’s AHPRA registration page, so as to, as the CBA claims, “protect public safety”. The provision of anti-vaccination misinformation should even warrant that conditions be placed on a practitioner so as to, as the AHPRA glossary states, “protect the public”. All that aside, it appears that the CBA does indeed have an avenue to make a caution public. It would be nice if they would investigate it:

a National Board can require a caution to be recorded on the register of practitioners.

I am always left with a hollow feeling when I reminisce the warnings of President Tassell. What disciplinary action is being taken against chiropractors who hob-knob with the likes of Wakefield and DeMoss? It’s not just the Floreanis. There are also lesser lights like Laurence Tham and Tim Shakespeare – Shakespeare is appearing at CalJam again, soon, along with a cavalcade of anti-vaccinationists like DeMoss, Wakefield, Jeanne Ohm and, this is not a joke, Alex Jones of Prison Planet – and, as already noted above, recently Australian Spinal Research Foundation President Martin Harvey and Jennifer Barham-Floreani also shared the bill with Wakefield at Chirofest, in Seattle:

JBF 19 chirofest Harvey Wakefield

Why is it left to members of the public to do anything about these outliers to reason and evidence? We’ll certainly know what internal action is being taken when it is consistently made available for the public, to whom the CBA owes the greatest duty of  that aforementioned safety.

In general, if the public doesn’t know which chiropractors are practising non-evidence based malarkey and worse, such as anti-vaccinationism, then, how can the public make an informed decision about their choice of chiropractor?

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The Drs. Wolfson – Incomprehensibly Cruel

I’ll let this husband and wife team of anti-vaccinationists introduce themselves. From their Facebook page:

My name is Dr. Jack Wolfson and I am a board certified cardiologist…I received my D.O. degree from Midwestern University in Chicago, and completed a 3 year residency in Internal Medicine and a 3 year fellowship in Cardiology.

My name is Dr. Heather Wolfson D.C. and I am a healer, a mom, a wife, and a friend.

Wolfson himself has been getting a lot of media attention of late. I’m not going to cover it, but, I highly recommend these two pieces from Orac, and Jeff Kluger respectively:

Antivaccine cardiologist Jack Wolfson and the resurrection of false balance about vaccines Respectful Insolence.

Meet the Latest Driver of the Anti-Vaccine Clown Car (Who Thinks You’re a ‘Bad Mother’) – Time.

I want to include this section also cited by Orac as a teaser to the type of person we are dealing with. Here Wolfson goes postal at immunising parents who dare criticise him:

Finally, be angry with yourself for not opening your eyes to the snow job and brainwashing which have taken over your mind. You NEVER asked the doctor any questions. You NEVER asked what is in the vaccines. You NEVER learned about these benign infections.

Let’s face it, you don’t really give a crap what your children eat. You don’t care about chemicals in their life. You don’t care if they sit around all day watching the TV or playing video games.

All you care about is drinking your Starbuck’s, your next plastic surgery, your next cocktail, your next affair, and your next sugar fix!

This post was created with love and with the idea of creating a better world for our children and future generations. Anger increases your risk of suffering a heart attack. Be careful.

Before I get to the post at hand I want to travel back almost six years in time to when a family who had lost a baby to whooping cough tried to put aside their pain for the benefit of our community; they went public about the existence of a whooping cough epidemic in order to protect other families. This was selfless. This was altruism in its purest form.

This family was set upon by the fundamentalist anti-vaccine group, the Australian Vaccination Network, and its then president, Meryl Dorey, who went about blaming this family for the death of their own baby. This evil act brought about the creation of Stop the Australian Vaccination Network, which I’m proud to say has changed the way in which callous anti-vaccine liars are now treated. Ultimately, Dorey brought about her own demise, by her own cruelty. She had been lying about deceased babies for quite some time, regardless of the impact on grieving parents. She and her husband even defended a baby-killer, for their grubby cause.

Anyway, back to now.

On April 18 2014 Wolfson and his wife posted an anti-vaccine screed to their website. Here is what it looks like, now:

Wolfson 3 page not found anti-vaccine postIt had remained on his site right up until January 31 2015, when having come under appropriate scrutiny by normal people who objected to the callousness they witnessed, Wolfson removed it. A copy has been kept, here. Another image is located, here, courtesy of the swift work of Narad at Respectful Insolence.

The post was written in response to a mother whose child had died from chicken pox. Remember this: this is directed at a grieving mother whose only provocation was to attempt to warn other parents of the need to immunise their kids, because she lost a child.

MOTHER ON A PRO-VACCINE CRUSADE

Jack Wolfson:

Recently, a child died from complications of the chicken pox and now her mother wants to make sure everyone gets injected. While the death of any child is a travesty, this one could have been prevented, not with injecting more chemicals into this young girl, but with good nutrition and chemical avoidance. She was likely fed GMO, sugar, gluten, soy, corn, and other items that led to her demise. Her mother sadly blames the doctor (who advised her against the vaccine) and the rest of us who demand the freedom to choose whether or not to inject chemicals into our children.

Heather Wolfson:

First of all, the little girl was born without a spleen therefore she was immunocompromised since birth. The lack of this vital organ was probably caused by some drug the mother took while pregnant! Immunocompromised individuals are not supposed to receive vaccines. Kudos to the pediatrician who steered the mom and child away from the chicken pox shot. I’d like to shake his hand. He probably saved the girls life given she may have died due to complications of vaccines based on her poor immune status. i Maybe the mother got an extra five years of life from her daughter by not participating in vaccine schedule folly. She should be thankful to the doctor.  

Secondly, the mother probably gave fever reducers such as Tylenol. This depletes glutathione and is a sure fire way to allow your child to succumb to such a benign childhood illness. In this country, one in 30,000 of those with chicken pox died every year, for a grand total of 100 per annum. Those were usually adults. Please don’t pass a law forcing us to vaccinate and inject chemicals into our children because 100 people died per year. What was the health status of those 100 prior to chicken pox? Probably not good. Your healthy, breast fed, organic child will not suffer the same fate. If this mother would have sought out chiropractic care, gave just two simple vitamins A and C, she would have never developed pneumonia. Also, mom fed her garbage food and exposed her to thousands of chemicals. This little girl is dead, not from chicken pox, but from chemicals and poor nutrition. Additionally, she probably had at least one vaccine, hepatitis B, when she was first born in the hospital which would have destroyed her immune and nervous system from the start. The mother is ignorant, uneducated, and a danger to all other parents and children. She should spend her time learning how the human body works instead of spreading her deadly advice to the rest of the world. 

I don’t usually bother debunking these vile creatures any more – it has been done to death – but, just so everyone knows, immunisation with most vaccines is recommended for Persons with functional or anatomical asplenia.

Remember what Heather Wolfson said above: “I am a healer…and a friend”.

Okay, I got nothing. I hope the media takes note of what these health professionals say to people who are in pain.

Wolfson 4 cover photo Facebook publicImage courtesy Facebook: publicly available.

I’ve just found out that Orac has covered this at Respectful Insolence as well:  Antivaccine cardiologist Jack Wolfson and the resurrection of false balance about vaccines…again!

Posted in anti-vaccination dishonesty, australian vaccination network, AVN, skeptic, stop the australian vaccination network | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The Church of Conscious Living – another Stephanie Messenger Anti-vaccine Enterprise

Stephanie Messenger is in the business of anti-vaccinationism. She’s an old hand.

Messenger is one of the founders of the Queensland anti-vaccination group, the Vaccination Awareness and Information Service. She ran the group with anti-vaccine stalwart Susan Lindberg and Roxanne Iwinski, the latter leaving later to gain a conscience. Messenger and Lindberg even wrote an anti-vaccine manual with Meryl Dorey, called Vaccination Roulette, which was published by the hideous anti-vaccine pressure group, the Australian Vaccination Network. Messenger’s husband, Leslie Bailey – remember that name – is the business name holder for Vaccination Awareness and Information Service.

Healthy Lifestyles Naturally is another business run by Messenger which seems to be a portal into which the pouring of money is partaken: other people’s money. HLN is the business entity to whom marks part themselves from their cash to pay for such things as the recent series of seminars which are no longer occurring where they were going to occur, past seminars (below), and that grotesque book intended for children – a boys’ and girls’ death and disfigurement manual – Melanie’s Marvelous Measles:

Messenger 36 MMM cover

The main website for HLN is Nature Matters, from where many Messenger-related purchases can be made. HLN has been the business underpinning Messenger’s seminars throughout the years. All of her seminars are anti-vaccine, and tied in with them is one of her other organisations, Get Rid of SIDS (more below). Another of her clever business opportunities is taking a piece out of the feminine hygiene market. Peter Bowditch was able to get hold of a sample when he took one for the team a few years ago:

These things emit negative ions which can cure a range of medical and physical conditions. It almost goes without saying that they cure PMS, but it is the other things they work on that make them worth every cent of the price. They came with an A4 page covered on both sides with testimonials in very small type. The first one of these is from “Garry”, who put them in his underpants to take away the pain and discomfort of diverticulitis. Not only that, but Garry had a PSA reading of 14.2 (doubled in a year!) and the pads took away the incontinence and “irritating pain” caused by his enlarged prostate.

Messenger 37 ion padsPhoto courtesy Peter Bowditch.

What is much more disturbing is the advertising claims Messenger uses – more sinister than the testimonials noted above – so as to terrorise her marks into buying her pads by claiming that normal pads and tampons cause cancer. From Working Women magazine, Spring 2011:

Messenger 35 pads tampons causing cervical cancer Spring 2011 Working Women magazineThere isn’t a cesspit these people won’t swim through.

Of course, the business name holder of HLN is – you guessed it – Leslie Bailey.

Get Rid of SIDS is Messenger’s registered health promotion charity. It has Deductible Gift Recipient status. Along with Messenger’s other organisation, GanKinMan Foundation (more below), GRoS was listed as the organiser of the recent anti-vaccine seminars which feature anti-vaccine fundamentalist Sherri Tenpenny as the lead speaker. Read that out aloud again: a registered health promotion charity organised an anti-vaccine tour. The basis for Messenger’s GRoS charity is the promotion of the Toxic Gas Theory, by Dr Sprott. SIDS and Kids, a real SIDS organisation, states:

Rigorously conducted, scientifically based research has concluded that there is no evidence to support the link between wrapping mattresses and the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

and:

Dr Sprott’s hypothesis has received vigorous criticism from major SUDI researchers and Paediatric experts. They consider that there is insufficient scientific evidence to support the theory. Dr Sprott’s book is said to contain “factual errors and presents an unproven hypothesis as scientific fact”

So, the foundation stone of Messenger’s charity is false.  And she uses the legitimacy of the word “charity” to organise and plug an anti-vaccine series of seminars, tricking venues into accepting her booking by conveniently refusing to disclose that she and the lead speaker are anti-vaccine fundamentalists.

So, we know Messenger is the treasurer, and the founder of GRoS. But who was the trademark holder for GRoS? Indeed it is: Leslie Bailey.

This leads us to the next organisation, the GanKinMan Foundation. Born of an ugly union between greed and deceit the fake foundation is not registered anywhere. So, it isn’t a “foundation”. It got its name from exploiting the names and images of three of the world’s best ever human beings: Mandela, King, and Gandhi. Hopefully the lawyers of the Nelson Mandela Foundation are still chasing the hideous Messenger for this brazen desecration of Madiba’s memory.

The foundation was created for the purpose of organising the Tenpenny tour, alongside and using the reputation of the Get Rid of SIDS charity, whilst at the same time deliberately hiding the identities of those pulling the levers. Diluted Thinking notes, of the confusing payment delivery:

Payments for seminar tickets go directly to Stephanie Messenger and NOT the advertised organisers and please note that both advertised organisers are controlled by Stephanie Messenger…

Payments for goods (including the seminars) on behalf of Messenger’s “Healthy Lifestyles Naturally” and “Vaccination Awareness & Information Service” are to be deposited into a bank account in the name of “GanKinMan Foundation”.

In addition to this, an email received from the domain name of gankinman.com originated in Brisbane (QLD), a From: field in the header shows the term “StephaniePC” and its attached pdf document shows the author as “Stephanie” in the document properties.

I must stress that no published information from GanKinMan Foundation – its website, seminar advertising or emails – provides the name of any individual.

So, having gone to so much trouble in de-identifying those who run the fake foundation – Messenger would never give a straight answer to journalists, saying only that she was “involved” – who else is behind this non-foundation? I’ll let the wonderful Diluted Thinking tell you, again:

Its website http://www.gankinman.com/ provides no contact names but the contact phone number listed belongs to Les Bailey, Eclectic Services (QLD) Pty Ltd, according to WHOIS data for a different domain name. The gankinman.com domain was first registered on 3 November 2014 using an anonymising service.

That’s right. Leslie Bailey, registered using an anonymiser. And the contact number for GanKinMan is the business phone number of Bailey’s business.

Now we get to the main story, and I apologise for the necessary delay.

Many of us have heard of the Church of Conscious Living. It gained some notoriety in the press a couple of years ago, with Jane Hansen writing in the Daily Telegraph, in May 2013:

The Church of Conscious Living was founded by Jane Leonforte and Adriano Regano in Queensland in 2008, with the express purpose of creating a front for vaccination exemptions. In a letter sent by the “church” to their followers, Ms Leonforte and Mr Regano admit “we have decided to create a ‘religion’, so, amongst other things, we can claim ‘religious exemption’, if the need ever arises, for ourselves and our children.”

And in June 2013, Jane Hansen again writes in the Daily Telegraph:

Anti-vaccine activists have created a sham ‘Church of Conscious Living’ to exploit a loophole in federal and State vaccination laws, which allow parents to claim childcare rebates and access daycare centres if they have a religious objection.

Catherine Cusack MLC also covered the topic in her op-ed for the Daily Telegraph, in May 2013:

We don’t need a “religious exemption” as there are no recognised religions opposed to immunisation. Most of the world’s religions are united in the fight to save children from disease and death, which is why we have reached the remarkable point where, thanks to vaccination, polio can be wiped from the face of the Earth.

So, we’ve known about the CoCL for some years. After all, it has been around since 2008. But we were always under the impression that the fake church was run by Jane Leonforte. How wrong we were. Leonforte ceased officially running the church in early 2010. And, in a mea culpa, I and others hadn’t checked behind the scenes of this fake church. Well, we have now. Again, I’ll pass to Diluted Thinking, to whom all of the glory must be bestowed:

It appears that Stephanie Messenger and her husband, Leslie Bailey, have been running this church for some time now.

Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) records show that the business name “Church of Conscious Living” was registered by Leslie Bailey on 29 Dec 2009.

The WHOIS record for the Church of Conscious Living domain, churchofcl.com, shows all registrant and contact details as Les Bailey, Eclectic Services (QLD) Pty Ltd;

The postal address for the church is the same postal address as Eclectic Services (QLD) Pty Ltd and the church has been using that address from at least July 2013;

A membership form’s document properties shows author “LesLapTop” with creation date June 2013;

A membership form’s document properties shows author “Eclectic” with creation date of February 2010.

SING IT WITH ME SISTERS AND BROTHERS OF THE FAITH: IT’S THE LES AND STEPH DONATION FOUNDATION SENSATION. YEEEEEEAAAH.

And it’s not like they’ve only been involved since after the fake church was founded.  No. They were there for the opening ceremony:

Messenger 28 present at first COCL meeting 2008 with Lindberg and Iwinski VAIS

Indeed, Messenger was present at first COCL meeting in 2008, with Lindberg and Iwinski of VAIS. She gave a talk. She was there for the inaugural cutting of the watermelon!

And not only was Messenger at the cutting of the watermelon, she was involved in actively promoting the fear required surrounding the creation of the new church – along with the church’s creators – before the inaugural cutting of the watermelon. This is from the December 2007 AVN Doing the Rounds newsletter:

COCL 4 Messenger create a religion

Before we go there is another item we want to keep an eye on. I know of several substantial complaints which have been lodged with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission regarding the many regulatory anomalies surrounding Messenger’s and Bailey’s various organisations. Only today there have been many changes on their ACNC Charity Register Summary:

Messenger 38 ACNCMessenger 39 ACNCWe can see a lot of detail has been removed, and it also notes an annual report was received today.  It was nine months late. This is something to watch. If this despicable organisation is stripped of its charity licence and DGR, it can’t come soon enough.

For a magnificent summary of this extremely confusing collection of businesses, organisations, non-entities, and the charity, see Diluted Thinking’s new page, here.

Thanks.

Update January 28 2015

Purely for ease of access I thought I should include this post from the Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network, posted to their official Facebook page, on May 29 2013. This post is the one to which various media outlets are referring when they cite the AVN’s promotion of the sham church. The AVN have only ever promoted the church. They have never been involved in the operation nor the set-up of the church:

COCL 5 AVN May 29 2013 promo

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Seven of seven venues now cancelled for Tenpenny anti-vaccine seminars

Venue number seven has cancelled.

Stephanie Messenger is now busy finding new venues which are appropriately ethically corrupt enough to host her, her fake foundation, and anti-vaccine fundamentalist Sherri Tenpenny. This is now seven venues out of seven who have cancelled. Good. Some of them even confirmed they were misled by Messenger, which I have always assumed went without saying.

Whilst we are still waiting for a statement (which I will add, if it happens), from Rydges South Park Hotel Adelaide, the Eventbrite page currently gives this pro-forma oppressed health freedom warrior shtick from Messenger, stating that the “venue has cancelled our booking”:

Messenger 34 Adelaide cancelled freedom bullies censor etcWe will keep you informed of any statements forthcoming, and any new venues advertised by Messenger.

A big thank you goes out to anyone who has been involved in this campaign (so far). It is only by standing up and declaring that “this will not do” that venues can adjudicate what is and is not acceptable in the interests of public health. Venue owners can’t be expected to know everything, and most of them act swiftly when made aware of the intent of those who would attempt to mislead them. So, kudos to them.

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Another venue cancels Tenpenny anti-vaccine seminar

Confirmation has just come in that Michael’s Oriental Restaurant, in Brisbane, has cancelled the upcoming seminar and dinner events booked by Stephanie Messenger and her fake anti-vaccine foundation, GanKinMan. Anti-vaccine activist Sherri Tenpenny has been ejected from yet another venue. This is proper. Owner Michael Nee has confirmed in private:

Both Functions have been cancelled.

The cancellation was also noted on Facebook at 1820 hours:

we act based on our courtesy, which we appreciate that the actual organiser have given great consideration to cancel the event at our venue.

Tenpenny 47 Michael's cancel

On behalf of babies, children, adults, and especially public health: thank you Michael.

Of the seven venues booked by Messenger, six have now cancelled. Of those six cancellations, three have stated they were misled into accepting the booking by Messenger, being told only that they were booking a child health or SIDS charity event.

This is the list of my posts regarding the Tenpenny seminars, so far:

The original post contains all of the venues and their contact emails, with cancellations noted in retrospect. The post also contains an important section on Stephanie Messenger, her fake foundation, and the alleged financial shenanigans going on behind the scenes:

2015 anti-vaccine tour of Australia – the Tenpenny caravan of hurt

The second post contains a list of all media items – around 50 links, so far – regarding the Tenpenny tour. There is also an extensive collection of screenshots which show why the callous Tenpenny is a direct threat to public health to whom facts mean nothing, as do ethics:

Getting to know Sherri Tenpenny – a guide

The third post is an update of the venue cancellations, also containing evidence to show that at least three venues were misled into accepting bookings from Messenger. There is also information contained regarding Rydges South Park Hotel Adelaide and their insistence on maintaining the Messenger booking regardless of a similar, previous decision they took to the contrary:

Venues confirm being misled by anti-vaccine Messenger – Tenpenny tour

The fourth post is a letter which was written to Michael’s Oriental Restaurant, and Rydges South Park Hotel Adelaide, two nights ago. The letter contains clear examples of the threat posed to public health by Tenpenny, as well as Australian evidence rebutting the claims of free speech which have been made in defence of Tenpenny’s right to misinform wherever she likes:

Tenpenny: Letter to Rydges South Park Hotel Adelaide, and Michael’s Oriental Restaurant Brisbane

This leaves one venue still willing to support hosting Messenger and Tenpenny.

Rydges South Park Hotel Adelaide is now well aware just how much of a threat Tenpenny poses to public health. They are aware that they are not obliged to provide Tenpenny a forum. They are aware that they denied Julien Blanc a forum in which to conduct his vile seminars. And, as of last night, Rydges is aware that their own Code of Ethics and Business Conduct  states this (AHL is the parent company of Rydges):

AHL and the Community:

As individuals and as a Group, we contribute significant time and resources to promoting the health, welfare, and economic stability of the communities in which the Group operates.

Rydges 1 AHL code of conduct health of the communityThe AHL Code of Ethics also says this:

Employee Health and Safety

All employees have a responsibility to ensure that the Group’s products, services and operations, meet applicable government health and safety standards, and AHL standards.

Rydges 4 AHL workplace health governemnt standards

And if that isn’t enough of a reminder for them, AHL is a Silver Partner of the Starlight Foundation:

Rydges 3 AHL silver partner StarlightI’m quite sure all of you know what the Starlight Foundation does.

Spoiler: they do the opposite of what anti-vaccinationists do:

Rydges 5 Starlight helps sick kids

Please consider sending them a polite, yet, firm email:

Adelaide: Rydges South Park Hotel [CANCELLED] 

Emails:

reservations_southpark@rydges.com;

stam_archontoulis@rydges.com;

info@ahl.com.au;

media@ahl.com.au

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