Why are we so worried about terrorism?

Errorism

Over the last year there have been a huge amount of articles covering terrorism. Nearly all of them international coverage. Deaths from cars, trucks, stabbings. It’s awful. I was in Paris when a man shot some police. The city was chaos with road blocks and the detonation of a suspicious bag in the Metro.

This was during the elections and the Parisians were on high terror alert. The city sounded like a never ending Jason Borne car chase with all the sirens. People were deeply worried about Le Pen and feeling suspected even though they had lived in Paris for 10 years. Desperately concerned about what the election would mean for them.

But this is Paris. Smack bang in the middle of it all.

Meanwhile in New Zealand people are worried about terrorism as well. It is hard not to be when news agencies constantly post terror related articles. They do this because fear sells. They get more hits and sell more advertising through fear mongering.

The government uses fear to fulfil it’s agenda. Massive increases in defence spending, the NZIC budget, the removal of privacy protections in the GCSB Act. All these things have been justified as combating global terrorism, protecting us from the unseen threats that surround us. The shadowy evils that are waiting to pounce.

Fears don’t have to be rational and the fear of terrorism or war in New Zealand isn’t. For instance, the UK travel advice for New Zealand doesn’t even have a link for terrorism.


Why are we so worried about terrorism?


 

Defence Spending

Prime Minister John Key justified the massive increase in defence spending by pointing out the threats.

“The emergence of ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), heightened tensions in the East and South China seas, increases in military spending across South East Asia, and the rapid evolution and spread of cyber threats are just a few examples,” he said.

Yet the same defence force white paper that the spending was based on states,

“New Zealanders can remain confident that the country does not face a direct military threat in the foreseeable future. ”

And then goes on to advance possible threats that may be more likely to occur. Not much to justify spending an extra $20B over.


New Zealand's biggest threat


 

NZIC Budget

In Budget 2016, the Government announced an increased funding package for the NZIC of $178.7m over four years. In the words of the government this was,

“for the New Zealand intelligence community to ensure it can provide essential intelligence and security services and remain effective in a rapidly-evolving environment.”

Which can be roughly restated as we don’t have anything to worry about and we have made up a nice sounding sentence in the hopes you won’t ask to many questions. Or possibly, we just changed the law so we can surveil you but there are quite a few of you so we need more money.


At the end of 2014 New Zealand’s terror threat level increased from very low (unlikely) to low (possible but not expected). MFAT


 

The GCSB Act and associated legislation.

The changes to the GCSB and associated Acts gave the New Zealand government unheralded powers to protect us from terrorism. Yet the last act of terrorism was the Rainbow Warrior bombing in 1985. A full 32 years ago.And a simple search of the news for ‘GCSB threats‘ doesn’t find any reports of them to do with terrorism. Just the usual reports of how they have broken the law, been used to advance politics, and are installing their software in ISP’s in order to ‘better protect us’.


“Unlike many other countries, including our closest neighbour, New Zealand has not recently experienced terrorist attacks or serious, publicly-disclosed security threats.” – Cullen Report 2016


 

So why are we so worried about terrorism?

In the end there doesn’t appear to be any explanation for why we or our government are so worried about terrorism. It is insane that we spend so much time and energy on it.

It is justified by the use of shadowy threats to the country, people working secretly to destroy us. The problem with this is that it can’t be proven and we can’t disprove it either.

If the government says that 18 people are under watch for suspicion of terrorist links we aren’t allowed to see the reasoning. It is secret. We must trust them. They only want to protect us.

In reality New Zealanders have a greater chance of dying from just about anything else than terrorists. You have a greater chance of killing yourself than you do of being killed by outside forces.  579 people took their own lives last  year. We should be worried about that.

I think in the end it is because we aren’t afraid of things we believe we can control. It is the things that we can’t control that are easiest to fear. It is a pity. There are a lot of things wrong with this country that should gain more of our attention. There are better ways to spend our money.

 

 

The Internet Party and the curious case of the missing media.

Missing Media

It is now 39 days until the New Zealand election and the media coverage is in full swing. Policy websites are up and running. A new political party headed by a rich New Zealander is getting decent traction. The media are fawning over our preferred Prime Minister…..

It is all very 2014 if you ask me. There is just one thing missing. Where is the Internet Party? Where is the party that after all the furor of last election still got more than 30,000 votes?

For that matter, where is the Conservative Party? They got almost 100, 000 votes.

Where are the Missing Media? –  Is it money?

If I go to Google News search ‘Conservative Party NZ’ I get nothing. There has been no coverage of them at all even though they had roughly half the support of NZ First in the last election.

If I search ‘Internet Party NZ’ I get three results. Two of which are a press release for their #Antispybill event. The last is a piece in Computer World. This is the sole piece of semi-journalism between two parties that accounted for more than 5% of the electorate vote last election.

Part of the problem is money. The media run on money. They support that which makes them rich. It is how their business works. The Conservative Party no longer have Colin Craig backing them financially. The Internet Party no longer have Kim Dotcom backing them financially.

You can be absolutely sure than if either party was to intimate they had a $1,000,000 to spend then there would be coverage all over the show as the media flirted and wooed their wallets. Money wins elections.

Missing Media

Where are the Missing Media? – Not just money

It’s not just money though. Money would be bad enough but in this case it is starting to look like a media blackout for the Internet Party at least. If you search ‘Kim Dotcom’ you will find pages of recent news items, but out of the first page of results only one mentions the Internet Party still exists.

“Speaking in an Internet Party live stream this evening, Mr Dotcom continued to slam the GCSB for allegedly hacking into his phone before raiding his Auckland mansion.”

That’s it. I know for a fact that Suzie Dawson, the Internet Party’s leader, has been doing dozens of media interviews from all over the world. The Party has launched in the U.S., and across Europe. The unmentioned guests, from the only news to reference the Party existing, included some of the most famous internet activists and visionaries from all over the world plus commentary on other FVEY member states.

To make it worse the GCSB has admitted it doesn’t control its own spying network and Greenpeace have caught Thompson and Clark surveilling them. Yet no comment has been requested from the Internet Party, in the middle of an election campaign, about front page news stories on topics they were created to deal with. That isn’t just negligence. It’s willful.

If Gareth Morgan can be asked for comment about boot camps then I think the Internet Party should, at least, be asked about our Government Communications Security Bureau systems being run by a foreign power.

 

Who are Thompson and Clark?

Thompson and Clark Homepage

Thompson and Clark are in the news again so I thought I would put together a brief primer on who they are. This is by no means a thorough look at them, but more of a brief history of their sins (and ineptitude).

Probably the main thing to take from this is that they have been targeting activists for a long time, sometimes work for the government, and seem unable to learn.

If you have more then send me the links and I will add them on.


I was paid to betray protestors, 27 May 2007

“An Auckland private investigation firm is paying agents to infiltrate and spy on environmental, peace and anti-vivisection groups for its clients, including state-owned enterprise Solid Energy.”

Link to backup article as the original no longer exists.


Solid Energy denies spying on activists, April 20, 2008

“State-owned Enterprises Minister Trevor Mallard says he has sought, and received, an assurance that state-owned coal company Solid Energy has not breached a no-spying directive.”

Link to original article


Taxpayers pay $1m for spies’ sarcasm, Jan 31, 2009

“STATE COAL company Solid Energy is reconsidering its use of the controversial private investigators Thompson and Clark (TCIL) after they were caught out for a second time trying to use paid informers to spy on community groups.”

Link to original article.


Spies target animal rights campaigners, 1st August 2010

“An Auckland private investigation firm has been caught out after it attached a sophisticated tracking device to a political campaigner’s car – but left the device visible from outside the vehicle.”

Link to original article.


Thompson and Clark Investigations, 3rd August 2010

“KEITH LOCKE (Green) to the Minister of Agriculture: Will he ask the Pork Industry Board if they were aware that Thompson and Clark Investigations was collecting information for them on animal rights campaigner Rochelle Rees by means of a tracking device planted under her car; if not, why not?”

Hansard.


Aotearoa Independent Media Centre, 26 August 2012

“Christchurch Police have been accused of corruption by deliberately obstructing a recent investigation into a complaint about ex police detective and co-director of Provision Security Ltd and Thompson & Clark Investigations Ltd, Nick Thompson.”

Link to backup of article.


Greenpeace says it has caught spies in the act, 10 August 2017

“Greenpeace claims it has caught spies in the act of tracking its staff and supporters and compiling detailed dossiers.”

Original article.

 

Metiria Turei and state surveillance

Metiria Turei

Let them who are without sin cast the first stone…..

Over the past month I think we have been shown a great example of why state surveillance is a bad idea.

On the 16 of July Metiria Turei revealed she had lied to stop her benefit being cut while raising her daughter.

This led to a media frenzy and relentless pressure on not only her but her family, investigation by WINZ, admitting she had used a false address, and finally her resignation on the 9th of August.

It looks like she is a horrible fraudster, until you start putting things in perspective.

This is a woman who has served the people of New Zealand as a Member of Parliament with distinction and honor for 15 years. The most recent ‘dodgy’ thing that she has done was 22 years ago. The false address was so she could support a friend in an election. The most she could have benefited from this was $6000.

There have been accusations that the ensuing media and social bloodbath was because she is female and Maori and there is some evidence of this. If you look at the way the media and law treated John Key  Bill English and compare the situations it is disturbing. Even more so for it being recent history, not 25 years ago.

Metiria Turei

Metiria Turei

Perhaps one of the better quotes was this from 1 NEWS Maori Affairs Reporter Yvonne Tahana;

“I have nothing more to add to the screeds of vitriolic, smug and know-it-all epithets that have already been penned by journalists, bloggers and Twitter-ites on that issue.

But, in my opinion, her resignation as co-leader of the Green Party sends a clear message to Māori.

People who’ve done dumb things in their past, or who have struggled, are in no way suitable to make a contribution at a government level.”

And it is with the end of that quote in mind that I want to turn to mass surveillance.

Give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest…

In New Zealand nearly everything is being recorded sold,  bought and stored around the world. I am not just talking about the GCSB and NSA, but also Google, Facebook, and Vodafone.

Everything this generation says and does, where they go, what they do, who they talk to, their drunk txts, fights, the things they thought were normal that will turn out to be social no-no’s in the future. All these things will be on record and available to the government of the day for political gain. We know this. We have seen it before.

So in the future there will be no-one in opposition to the government of the day who is not ‘squeaky clean’….or very, very powerful, or working for the powerful.

But let’s not be paranoid. Let’s stick with ‘squeaky clean’, never broken the law, nothing to hide at all, no texts, never said a word out of place, looked at the wrong things……

The problem with this is that just about everybody does break the law. It is estimated that 70% of Americans have done something that could put them in jail. A survey on the Telegraph found the average Briton broke the law once every day. The ‘squeaky clean’ are such a small number that in terms of the majority they are abnormal.

A world in which we are run by the incredibly small amount of people who are somehow ‘squeaky clean’ will be an incredibly abnormal world.  And any who speak against it must either be part of it, or they will be removed like Metiria.

 

How New Zealand should annex Australia

Annexation of Australia

It struck me with some humour the other day that the same laws causing the resignation of Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam from the Australian Parliament could be used to paralyse the country in a time of crisis.

The law in this case is Section 44 of the Australian Constitution which disqualifies anyone from representing the country who

“is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power”

In this case. Both these MPs found out they were citizens of other countries as well as Australia.

What would happen? I don’t know really but to be a state according to the 1933 Montevideo Convention,

  • You must have a defined territory.
  • You must have a permanent population.
  • You must have a government.
  • Your government must be capable of interacting with other states.

I imagine that they would instantly come under the control of the Queen again since hers was the previous government. Perhaps step three should be get along really well with the Queen.

So next time Australia gets on our nerves, why don’t we just make them all dual citizens and then sit back with a beer to watch them trying to get their heads around how to change the law when nobody  is able to be an MP.  🙂

Updating Australia’s national anthem

New Zealander all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts Of beauty rich and rare;
In history’s page, let every stage Advance New Zealand Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance New Zealand Fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross,
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours,
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas,
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine To Advance New Zealand Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance New Zealand Fair.

 

GCSB – Who watches the watchers?

One of the main problems with our surveillance system, especially with the GCSB,  in New Zealand is oversight. Who watches the watchers, in a system where the information cannot be revealed to the general public?

Is there a problem?

We don’t know. But we do know that people with access to others information use it for un-intentioned purposes.

An example of this can be found in recent events with the prosecution of Jeremy Malifa in the Auckland District Court. Mr Malfila pleaded guilty to 21 counts of accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose “where he viewed the victims’ personal information, including contact details and their interactions with police, in order to establish sexual relationships with the women.”

And this is with oversight. If he had of been an employee of the GCSB then it is likely that no prosecution would have followed. The public would never have known.

And this problem isn’t new. In 2013 Darren Ian Hodgetts was one of two non-sworn staff arrested for making unauthorised National Intelligence Application checks relating to the drug-ring probe.

Between 2011 and 2015 there were 113 Police Officers and employees of the Police that were caught accessing information without authorisation.

So who watches the GCSB?

The GCSB is given external oversight by both the Intelligence and Security Committee and the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

Unfortunately the ‘Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996’ states that,

The functions of the Committee do not include—
(a) inquiring into any matter within the jurisdiction of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security appointed under section 5 of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996; or
(b) inquiring into any matter that is operationally sensitive, including any matter that relates to intelligence collection and production methods or sources of information; or
(c) originating or conducting inquiries into complaints by individuals concerning the activities of an intelligence and security agency that are capable of being resolved under any other enactment.

Leaving it solely the jurisdiction of the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security,

to inquire into any complaint by—
(i) a New Zealand person; or
(ii) a person who is an employee or former employee of an intelligence and security agency,— that that person has or may have been adversely affected by any act, omission, practice, policy, or procedure of an intelligence and security agency:

So the oversight is now in the hands of one person but there is a catch.

(4) Except to the extent strictly necessary for the performance of his or her functions under subsection (1), the Inspector-General shall not inquire into any matter that is operationally sensitive, including any matter that relates to intelligence collection and production methods or sources of information.

No oversight at all?

So, unless you know that you have been adversely affected, the oversight of the GCSB has no power to see if anybody has been unfairly targeted unless it is at the request of the Prime Minister or the Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence  services.

That is a giant hole in the system. I guess you could say there is internal oversight like the one that caught 133 people in the Police but I am not aware of anybody in the security services ever being disciplined for misconduct.

Even when they were found to have breached NZ law 85 times in the Kitteridge Report no-one was charged or disciplined. Perhaps because the Prime Minister (John Key) was also the Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence  services?

When they were found to have illegally used mass surveillance in New Zealand, nothing happened.

There is no internal oversight apparent to any of the levels which should be required by a government organisation.

Any illegal doings of the GCSB are a black hole that can only be pierced by knowing that you are under surveillance by an organisation that does that surveillance in secret.

That isn’t oversight.

So, who watches the watchers?

Nobody…

Waihopai Spy base - GCSB
Schutz. Media released under the terms of the Cc-by-sa-3.0 and GFDL licences

Addition: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/335324/police-officer-revealed-as-stalker

A rewrite of ‘Denial’ by Pencilsword.

Denial - Worldwide NSA signals intelligence

This has been taken and re-written from,”The Pencilsword: Denial” by Toby Morris. You should read the original first before reading this.  Actually, read all of his stuff. It’s great.

I am unsure if this breaches copyright in New Zealand. I have send the Wireless an email. Their decision.

I remember when we used to laugh at the guys with the tinfoil hats so this is for them 🙂 It works both ways, you know?

A denial

Hey, you wanna hear something crazy? The government is spying on us.

It isn’t.

Every year the government spends tens of millions of dollars on the GCSB in the name of protecting us from terrorism. Do you realise we haven’t had a terrorism incident in NZ for 30 years. They’re using that money to listen to us and sending the information to foreign intelligence operators.

Correlation is not causation. Cherry picking statistics is just one way we trick ourselves into all kinds of ideas. Our brains are weird.

I’ve got a friend. A peace activist, and he gets harassed by the Police where ever he goes. They stand at protests and take photos of him and then lock him up. And you know what. The judge says it is illegal but then does nothing about it.

Humans value anecdotal evidence over scientific research. We react to stories more than facts and figures.

Just look at what they did to Kim Dot Com and those other 80 people. It makes me sick to think about it.

Our brains give more weight to the times things go wrong than when they go right.It’s called negative bias. We don’t give much thought to the millions of times our cars worked, or planes didn’t crash, or vaccines worked fine, but we obsess over the times they don’t.

And all those experts in suits try to tell us what to think. It’s for the terrorists, they say. We aren’t watching you. It requires a warrant. Can’t they see sit makes no sense when there isn’t any terrorism in New Zealand? Do they think I am dumb?

The Dunner-Kruger Effect is where the limits of our own intelligence mean we mistakenly overestimate our own brain power. In short, most of us aren’t smart enough to judge how smart others are. Scientists spend their lives researching climate change or vaccines and we still think we know better.

I just had this feeling so I started studying and listening to other people. Once you get past the constant social pressure to conform and start looking at what they get out of it. It’s real. It blows my mind.

Confirmation bias is where our brains preference information that supports our existing views. Whatever you are worried or frustrated about you’ll likely find a community of people worried about the same things reinforcing their beliefs together online.

And you wanna know the truth? The government spies on us to stay in power, to control us. Same as always.

Occams razor is a philosophical principle that basically states the least complicated explanation is usually the right one. We get drawn into the drama of convoluted conspiracies, but the truth is usually mundane. Vaccines work. Cliamte change is real. The Earth is not flat. Tupac is dead. Sorry.

And after I found out, man I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t just remain a sheep and let them control everyone. But no one would join me.

Were wired to believe that doing something and it turning out to be the wrong choice is worse than not doing anything and having an identically bad result. It’s called omission bias and it’s why people often choose inaction when they are under pressure.

So I’m out. I’m a hard core encryption advocate now. I’ll decide who I want to be and when I want to be happy. When they come for me they won’t have any leverage because they won’t know anything about me.

Humans are terrible at risk perception. We over inflate perceived dangers, and ignore less visible ones, even if they are much more dangerous. We massively underestimate how bad polio or measles or rising sea levels are because we have never lived through them.

And to be honest, there is part of me that’s like…f*&^ you man. You don’t control me.

Sometimes denial is convenient. Identity protective cognition is how our brains are wired to selectively accept or dismiss information in order to preserve socio-economic structures that are of benefit to us. That’s why wealthy conservatives deny climate change, men won’t see the pay gap and racism is so hard to discuss.

But speaking of racism, why in this age of supposed cultural tolerance are deniers so demonised. And isn’t it healthy to question authority and social conventions? To varying degrees these biases and logical traps affect us all right?

I think you have to ask yourself if your denial puts others lives at risk. Rejecting vaccines threatens the lives of kids who can’t immunise and ignoring climate change threatens us all.

Look, in the end I just have to do what’s right for me, you know?

Sigh……..Night then little brother.

How Etihad Guest tarnished a good airline experience.

This is a story of how Etihad Guest tarnished my good experience flying with Etihad.

My Etihad Experience

In March I booked a return flight to Paris on the website of Etihad and on the 4th of April I travelled to France with Etihad and returned on the 17th of May.

It was my first flight overseas for a while and they made it easy with reminder emails and an app I installed on my phone to keep me up to date. The staff were nice, the aircraft was clean and well maintained and the food was good. I was happy and would have favoured them in future travels (of which it looks like I am going to be doing quite a few).

At this point I had received three emails from Etihad.

  1. Electronic ticket receipt, April 04 Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris, France for …
  2. Your Etihad Airways Travel Reminder (going to Paris)
  3. Your Etihad Airways Travel Reminder (returning from Paris)

My Etihad Guest Experience

On the 20th of June I received my first email from Ethihad Guest.

Partial Etihad Guest email screenshot

OK. That’s great I thought. I am going to be travelling again so I can use the miles to get a cheaper ticket or upgrade or something. So I clicked on “Claim My Miles”. This took to a place I could register (remembering that they know I don’t have a Etihad Guest account yet) and again repeated the promised 500 bonus miles. So I registered.

It Starts To Go Wrong

At this point it should have all been done. I have registered on the link they gave me and my name matches my ticket etc…. I should have my miles. And for a minute I though I had. Until I realised that at the top it said,“0 Miles Etihad Guest”.

Where are my miles? Oh, OK. I have to apply for them now. But didn’t you just tell me that,

“To claim your miles, simply enrol in the Etihad Guest programme before 28th of June 2017. “

Oh look, there was fine print in the Email.

“Terms & Conditions: To receive Etihad Guest Miles for flight(s) taken with Etihad Airways in April 2017, you need to enrol in the Etihad Guest programme and activate your new account before 28th of June 2017. Etihad Guest Miles will be awarded to your new account by 30th June 2017 as long as the first name and last name of your Etihad Guest membership account match the first name and last name on your Etihad Airways ticket and passport.”

But I had done that. So I went to use their Claim missing miles page.

Etihad - Claim missing miles

Claim Missing Miles Doesn’t Work

All very simple except the “From” form is mandatory and won’t accept the Airport I flew from. So I emailed them and they replied with an unhelpful email stating,

“To help us to process your claim for missing miles, we kindly request you to email a copy of the boarding pass and e-ticket number to RetroClaims@etihadguest.com.”

Which boarding pass? I received six during the entire journey and I don’t keep them. Why would I keep them. For that matter why would they need them? They sent me the initial email, they know I have flown with them, they know I am me. They have my passport number, they registered me on the flights. So why exactly do they need the extra information?

Remember, they have already told me, ” You’ve earned 2217 miles from your recent Etihad flight” and that there would be,“500 bonus miles – on top of the miles you’ll receive for your flight”.

Are they a scam? Why are they lying? Why do they want information they obviously already have otherwise they couldn’t have sent me the initial email?

Why would they screw up a perfectly satisfactory customer relationship for no reason?

The Result

Etihad Guest put me off Etihad. They spoiled a good customer relationship and they flat out lied in order to get me to sign up. Thank you, Etihad Guest.

 

Internet Party

So, the Internet Party is back again. Well, not really back. It never really left, but after the drubbing it got in the last election it appears to be making serious progress once more.

And drubbing it was. Approaching the last election  the Internet party was the darling of the media but the shine started to go of it in the week leading up to the “Moment of Truth” and post that…..well, all the media concentrated on Kim Dotcoms failure to to provide a smoking gun instead of concentrating on the New Zealand government spying on it’s citizens and being complicit in the deaths of civilians in Iraq.

It was after the last election I joined the party. The day after in fact. It didn’t matter to me that the media was attacking it. It didn’t matter that the general population thought they looked like a bunch of idiots. What mattered was that they were right.

The GCSB was spying on New Zealanders. Why? Well, you tell me. There have been five so called terrorist attacks in New Zealand. The Huntly rail bridge bombing (1951), the Vietnam War protests (1969-70), the Wanganui Computer Centre bombing (1982), the Wellington Trades Hall bombing (1984) and the Rainbow Warrior bombing (1985).

There had been no attacks worthy of the label ‘terrorist’ in New Zealand for almost 30 years and yet now, in the interests of security, the GCSB is able to spy on New Zealanders legally. No charges for the illegal surveillance of at least 85 people during the period of 2003 to 2012. No comeback on the department or the Prime Minister (At that point the Minister Responsible for the GCSB) over lying to New Zealand people from 2012 till 2013 as he said that the agency, “isn’t and will never be wholesale spying on New Zealanders,”

But I rant…..

That was only one reason to vote for the Internet Party. Their support of Education and Health care. Their rejection of the TPPA (Ratified by our cabinet and now being resurrected by them) being forced through. One of the few parties that rejected the destruction of democracy after the Christchurch Earthquake. They had a host of decent policies from saving the Maui dolphin to updating the health system. Policies that were based on fact where possible, hope where needed, and aspiration where applicable.

And now they are back. Some policies have stayed, some have been updated. New policy has yet to be announced. Some policies appear to have been dropped. I hope, however, that they will continue to stand for what is right and true instead of what is politically feasible. We need to stop being #labnats and stand up for what we are, and what we want to be.

 

Vaccination

vaccination

At 7:56 am on the 17th of May 2016 RNZ reported on Concerns that people are being coerced into being vaccinated by the ‘No Forced Vaccines’ group. All well and fine, but shortly afterwards (8:54 am on 17 May 2016) there was a rebuttal interview with Nikki Turner of the Immunisation Advisory Centre. Still all well and fine, but then up popped a rebuttal of the rebuttal not on RNZ but instead on social media and Youtube where the spokesperson of the ‘No Forced Vaccines’ group showed evidence via a series of slides while the interview played over the top.

It is this rebuttal that this post is about. According to the slides she was misquoted, Nikki Turner either ignorantly or wilfully mislead the public, and everything she had said had a sound reasoned basis to it. It turns out that isn’t true. 75% of the references lead back to one website run by James Mercola. An American who is, in his own words, running “The World’s #1 Natural Health Website” and in the words of his critics “Mercola publishes daily risk-based attacks by heavily syndicated “news” blogs which are frequently afterwards tied to his choice “safe” product alternatives to possibly heal a ill or risk promoted in his explanation articles.”

Vaccination Video

And here is my ten cents on the videos slides.

I will list the slides on the video by time.

0:44 Vitamin C proven to cure over 30 major diseases
The slide is of the Natural News website. A blog that well…read the wiki entry. The “Vitamin C proven to cure over 30 major diseases” entry is based on the clinical papers of Dr Klenner which were published in between 1949 and 1970. The scientific consensus is that while vitamin C dificiency will harm a sick patient there appears to be no papers I can find that regard vitamin C as a cure for measles. However, vitamin A is used in the treatment of measles. Vitamin C isn’t toxic though so it probably won’t hurt to try, but you should probably read this first.

0:48 Vitamin C the miracle treatment that cured man on the brink of death
An unnamed website. So I have googled it and found that it is a mercola.com. A website and company run by James Mercola. He is also listed on Quackwatch.

1:10 Unnamed website
After a quick search it turns out to be the Mercola website again. See above.

1:20 Do you need to be afraid of measles?

1:22 This is not true. Katherine Smith did not talk about herbal medicine.
Yes she did. She recommended people see a Doctor or a Naturopath. A naturopath is,”a form of alternative medicine employing a wide array of “natural” modalities, including homoeopathy, herbalism, and acupuncture, as well as diet and lifestyle counselling.” She also identified herself as a herbalist and stated that she had looked into it professionally.

1:30 Unnamed website
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.

1:34 The voice of Nikki Turner of the Immunisation Advisory Centre

2:07 Measles vaccine more dangerous than measles itself
Another screenshot from the Mercola website. See 0:48. I would suggest you read this. Especially this bit,”But in endemic areas in sub-Saharan Africa, the measles case fatality ratio often ranges from 5%–10%.”

2:28 Unnamed website
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.

2:36 Studies show measles vax spreads virus
The website is The Healthy Economist, there are links to the studies at the bottom of the page. It also says this at the bottom of the page.

“The number of measles deaths declined from 7575 in 1920 (10,000 per year in many years in the 1910s) to an average of 432 each year from 1958-1962.17 The vaccine was introduced in 1963. Between 2005 and 2014, there have been no deaths from measles in the U.S. and 108 deaths from the MMR vaccine.”

Which would suggest the vaccine is far safer with 1.8 deaths per annum vs 432 in the unvaccinated population in America.

2:49 Measles vaccine likely caused the death of four infants in Nepal, say authorities.
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.

2:56 Twins die minutes after measles vaccination
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.

3:04 Unnamed website
Probably this page on a website that advises,”*The information we provide access to is not intended, nor designed to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.” Further reading on the website founder can be found here.

3:30 Alert recently vaccinated in individuals can spread disease
I was unable to find this slide anywhere.

3:41 Measles vaccine undeniably linked to autism
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.

4:04 Most pro-vaxxers have never even looked at a vaccine package insert
Suggested reading.

4:08 CDC whistleblower statement
He has also released another statement,”I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race. Vaccines prevent serious diseases, and the risks associated with their administration are vastly outweighed by their individual and societal benefits.” and the paper has not been retracted. Full statement is on here (sorry, I can’t find the original) and a wider discussion is here.

4:41 unamed website
Mercola again. See 0:48.

5:08 Inflammatory staged vaccine photo

5:16 The voice of Nikki Turner of the Immunisation Advisory Centre

In conclusion

My impression of this rebuttal is not good. Basically it is repeats the views of four websites; Natural News (1 time), Mercola (9 times), Greenmedinfo(1 time) and The Healthy Home Economist (1 time). The views of Mercola are reapeated 9/12 times or 75% as proof that Katherine Smith’s assertions (rebutal as least) are correct. To quote wikipedia,”In 2005, 2006, and 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Mercola and his company to stop making illegal claims regarding his products’ ability to detect, prevent, and treat disease.” Further referenced reading on Mercola can be found here and here.

I mean really. If you want to back your views, this is not the way to do it and Mercola.com is not the company you should be referencing. All the anti vaccination lobby, that is really what the ‘No Forced Vaccinations’ group is a front for, need to do is to use their funding (which they get a lot of) to do some actual scientific air tight studies and when the study is criticised to take that critique on board and do an even better study instead of being the mouth piece of a company that appears to prey on peoples fears in order to make money.


It took me a long time to write the above. About three hours for a 6 minute clip is too long. The last paragraph still holds true though and you can go here to see a crowd funded anti vaccination group proposal.