Death threats from Frank Vazquez of South Australia

This post will be of interest to quite a few readers who have been on the receiving end of death threats, threats of harm, and other abuse from supporter of the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network, Frank Vazquez of Paralowie, South Australia. More broadly, we’ll see some of the problems one might encounter when attempting to have those who send death threats held legally responsible for their actions.

Vazquez 100 August 2015 photo

Publicly available image courtesy Facebook 2015

Frank Vazquez is a well-known anti-vaccination conspiracy theorist who is infamous for making bomb, arson, and death threats against those with whom he has disagreements. He operates under several Facebook profiles which appear and disappear according to the flow of his paranoia:

Vazquez 44 known accounts

Over the previous two months I have been liaising with South Australia Police after I lodged an Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) report. From the outset I will say that the SA Police have been wonderful with this investigation, given the limitations enforced upon them.

There are two sections under the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 which would apply to most instances of online abuse and death threats:

471.11   Using a postal or similar service to make a threat

Threat to kill

(1)  A person (the first person ) is guilty of an offence if:

(a)  the first person uses a postal or similar service to make to another person (the second person ) a threat to kill the second person or a third person; and

(b)  the first person intends the second person to fear that the threat will be carried out.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 10 years.

Threat to cause serious harm

(2)  A person (the first person ) is guilty of an offence if:

(a)  the first person uses a postal or similar service to make to another person (the second person ) a threat to cause serious harm to the second person or a third person; and

(b)  the first person intends the second person to fear that the threat will be carried out.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 7 years.

Actual fear not necessary

(3)  In a prosecution for an offence against this section, it is not necessary to prove that the person receiving the threat actually feared that the threat would be carried out.


(4)  In this section:

“fear ” includes apprehension.

“threat to cause serious harm to a person includes a threat to substantially contribute to serious harm to the person.

And the second section:

474.17 Using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence

(1)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

(a)  the person uses a carriage service; and

(b)  the person does so in a way (whether by the method of use or the content of a communication, or both) that reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the circumstances, menacing, harassing or offensive.

    Penalty:  Imprisonment for 3 years.

(2)  Without limiting subsection (1), that subsection applies to menacing, harassing or causing offence to:

(a)  an employee of an NRS provider; or

(b)  an emergency call person; or

(c)  an employee of an emergency service organisation; or

(d)  an APS employee in the Attorney-General’s Department acting as a National Security Hotline call taker.

With the threats made against myself and my family the SA Police first needed to get the go-ahead from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP). The CDPP agreed that they would prosecute Vazquez’s death threats against myself and my family, should the SA Police satisfy the usual hurdles: the various profiles must belong to Vazquez; the profiles must resolve to Vazquez’s IP addresses; there must be a log of the comments made at the times shown in the evidence presented; and, the threats must pertain directly to myself and my family. The evidence against Vazquez follows.

December 2013 – October 2014:

Vazquez 34 all PMs threats and abuse

May and June 2014:

Vazquez 30 dms

I will address the above items, first, before we continue with others.

One of the limitations faced by SA Police – to which I alluded, above – was me. I left it too long to report these older threats. This is my fault. I did not address these threats earlier because of a previous demoralising, condescending experience with NSW Police, who belittled previous reports I had taken to them which pertained to sustained abuse being heaped on bereaved parents by anti-vaccine trolls. I didn’t want to go through that again.

Although we know these threats came from Vazquez we could not directly link his IP address to these messages, at the precise time they were sent, as Vazquez uses a mobile phone to administer his multiple profiles. Mobile phone data is only kept for a couple of months by Internet Service Providers. I simply left it too long.

On October 1 2015 – at the exact moment my ACORN report landed in South Australia – the anti-vaccine Facebook page, Refutations to Provax Memes – which is administered by troll Ian Hastings of No Fluoride Australia – posted a meme which was intended to incite anti-vaccination activists into action against Ken McLeod, Reasonable Hank, and Peter Tierney. Anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists believe that I (RH and PT) am Ken McLeod, Peter Bowditch, Rosalie Hilleman, Maureen Chuck, Anne Blake, Courtney McCarthy, and several other names. And, as you can see by the times in this screenshot, Hastings got the desired effect. Vazquez bit:

Vazquez 117 RTPM October 1 2015 both posts

In fact, Vazquez the internet detective thought he’d step it up a notch. I have pixelated all of these images. This is the post he made which appears in the above image:

Vazquez 116 Ken image RTVM October 1 2015 pixelated

Vazquez, who had been escalating his rhetoric again for some months, then sent me another series of private messages on Facebook, on October 4 2015. Vazquez was now including Ken McLeod and Ken’s wife in the death threats. First message:

Vazquez 114 Ken death threats pixelated 1

Second message:

Vazquez 115 Ken death threats pixelated 2

Third message:

Got us [Got youse]

U evil twisted son of a cunt enjoy looking over Your shoulder 247 cunt

Your poor wife

Vazquez 104 PM death threat re Ken Karen October 4 2015

The CDPP did not consider these threats to have been made against me, personally. Even though they were sent to me, and these conspiracy theorists believe Ken McLeod and I are the same person, these threats also fell short of the required evidentiary standards.

One other death threat which I sent to SA Police – which was made against Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the anti-vaccination group, Anti-Vaccination Australia, on December 2 2015 – is, I believe, still under investigation by a separate authority having been reported by others:

Vazquez 111 Turnbull getting assassinated AVA Dec 2 2015

Only the previous day, in the same anti-vaccination group, on December 1 2015, Vazquez made these threats against Bill Gates:

Vazquez 110 Bill Gates dead child killing monster walking

I’ll include more of Vazquez’s threats against others at the end of this post.

So, that is the end of my current episode with Frank Vazquez. I couldn’t publicise this until now.

So, what do we do if confronted with death threats and abuse from this point on? Report it immediately to ACORN. It really doesn’t take that long to lodge a report. It will be taken more seriously than my previous disheartening experience with NSW Police. The longer you leave it, the more likely the required data will no longer be available when demanded under warrants.

And, remember, there are now precedents set for prosecution under the sections of the Criminal Code Act 1995 noted above. In a notable case, lawyer Mariam Veiszadeh took the brave step of standing up to online abusers with a successful prosecution against one of them, in 2015.

Vazquez’s collection of threats.

June 18 2013: local council officials

Vazquez 9 fucking dead council officials walking

September 6 2013: No Fluoride Australia in agreement with Ian Hastings

NFA 25 Vazquez dead politicians walking

January 9 2014: AVN Facebook page

Vazquez 119 Jan 9 2014 AVN page

March 31 2014: death threat against Dr Paul Offit and family on the Facebook page of the National Vaccine Information Center

Vazquez 28 Paul Offit

July 2014: threats against Tanya Plibersek Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs

Vazquez 124 July 2014 Tanya Plibersek

July 30 2014: death threat via private message to Martin

Vazquez 118 death threat PM to Martin

January 2015: various death and bomb threats, and accusations of paedophilia, against many people on Michael’s Restaurant Facebook page

Vazquez 52 Michael's comments death threats 1

Vazquez 53 Michael's comments death threats 2

Vazquez 54 Michael's comments death threats 3 bomb threat

January 2015: arson threat against Kareela Golf Club

Vazquez 45 Kareela Golf Club burns down

January 2015: death threats against then-PM Tony Abbott at the time of the Sydney terrorism siege, on the Lindt Cafe Sydney Facebook page

Vazquez 37 death threats Tony Abbott

January 2015: threats against Katrina

Vazquez 125 Jan 2015 KatrinaVazquez 126 Jan 2015 Katrina

Vazquez 127 Jan 2015 Katrina

Vazquez 128 Jan 2015 Katrina

January 2015: threat against Alec

Vazquez 120 January 2015 Alec death threat

January 2015: threat against Brian

Vazquez 121 January 2015 death threat Brian

January 2015: threat against Xandy

Vazquez 122 Xandy threat Jan 2015

January 2015: threat against Natalie

Vazquez 129 Jan 2015 Natalie

January 2015: against Allison

Vazquez 148 PM to Allison January 2015

January 2016: threat against Allison

Vazquez 147 PM to Allison January 13 2016

February 2016: threat against Ken McLeod, sent to Graeme for some reason

Vazquez 150 PM to Graeme

September 2016: threats against Rob, made in a paralegal group

Vazquez 165 death threats against Rob Paralegal group September 2 2016

I will add to this list as images come in.

For more on the incitement of violence and the escalating violent rhetoric of the anti-vaccination and anti-fluoridation movements please see Beware the violent antis – Lismore Mayor physically assaulted – updated, which features an abridged history of the sustained campaign of abuse and vilification of health activists, journalists, and politicians, by people such as Ian Hastings, Meryl Dorey, Barbara Loe Fisher, and Sherri Tenpenny.

See also Tristan Wells of the AVN calls for the execution of vaccine workers.

About reasonable hank

I'm reasonable, mostly.
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