Managing Editor's Note: A lot can happen in 24 hours - sometimes even a small miracle. We were about to post this:
Today Age of Autism highlights the predicament of vaccine safety
advocate Meryl Dorey, founder and former president of the Australian
Vaccine Network (AVN). For several years now Meryl’s work has continued
against a background of bureaucratic and civil intimidation. In the
latest turn of events Meryl has been ordered to bear the costs by a
judge (magistrate) equivalent to 10,000 US dollars after she tried to
take out a civil action against members of a counter-organization (Stop
the AVN) who had advocated illegal acts against her (including a veiled
death-threat), and after the police themselves had refused to act. It is
evident in Australia that the state itself is descending into
lawlessness, and the harassment of Meryl and the AVN takes place just
because they offer well researched and reliable information about
vaccines which cannot be counter-acted by other means.
We received this happy email from Meryl in the interim: Well, I would not have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, but in less than 24 hours, you amazing, supportive people, have donated or pledged enough money to pay court costs in full! So please stop donating if you were planning on making a donation today or in the future (but if you pledged to send funds by cheque or money order, please do send them because I calculated that as part of the total). I cannot even begin to describe the feeling of knowing that so many of you cared enough to help and I tried yesterday to write personally to everyone who informed me that they donated to thank them, but I still have a backlog of emails I hope to get through today. Now, I need to ask if everyone who donated to this appeal by bank deposit or internet banking but did not send me an email to let me know could please drop me a quick note to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be getting in touch with everyone who has donated with some very important news and I want to make sure you don't miss out.Again, thank you so much! You have no idea what it means to me to both have been able to raise these funds and to know that I am not alone in this battle for freedom of choice.
We are sharing Meryl's original plea because what happened in Australia
could happen in The UK or The USA and we need to be aware of the lengths
to which skeptic/vaccine front groups will go to protect their
commerce. Meryl wrote on 8/25: A Grave Injustice Has Been Done: A Plea for Help
I grew up believing in the rule of law; knowing that might did not make right and that justice would always go to those who deserved it while those who did the wrong thing would be punished for their misdeeds.
Unfortunately, my experience with The Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN over the last few years has shown me that the opposite is actually true – those who harm, threaten and abuse others will always prevail – at least if the abusers are supporting an entrenched status quo that is funded by billions of dollars in pharmaceutical profits.
My name is Meryl Dorey. I am the mother of 4 children – one of whom was seriously injured by vaccines in 1989 and again in 1990. In 1994, I founded and until recently, was the President of the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN). Our group is dedicated to the idea that saying yes or no to any medical procedure must always remain a matter of free and informed choice. We believe that medical research must be independent of pharmaceutical influence and that the government and the medical community have an absolute duty of care to provide unbiased information and then, to allow us to make the final decision for our families. These views have seen us facing constant attacks from within the government and industry front-groups.
A Long History of Threats, Harassment and Abusive Behaviour
In the year 2009, an organisation was set up by the Australian Skeptics called Stop the Australian Vaccination Network (SAVN). SAVN’s sole reason for being is to stop our organisation from operating in any way they can. They targeted our members, our supporters and anyone who stated that they believe in informed choice. But most of all, they targeted me.
For over four years now, I have been the victim of death threats, daily harassment and abusive messages. I have been sent violent snuff pornography both online and – even worse – to my home. Dr Brian Martin of Whistleblower’s Australia has written about these attacks (see foot note), and stated that in his 35 years of experience, they are the worst he has seen against any small community group.
Extremely threatening phone calls were made in the middle of the night to my home from the home phone number of Daniel Raffaele, the founder of SAVN. This person had publicly stated that “If the demise of the AVN brings with it the demise of Meryl Dorey herself, she only has herself to blame for that.” Despite all the evidence, the police declined to charge him.
Another SAVN member, Dan Buzzard, has publicly advertised the AVN’s address on his Twitter account and asked people to send violent pornographic images through the post. Shortly thereafter, I did receive violent pornography. In addition, this person participates in a hacker’s forum and posted an intimidating letter to me which he claims he found on that forum. He even uploaded a photo of the letter to his blog along with a picture of an envelope addressed to me. A short time later, I received a frightening email from a person who was also a hacker and had corresponded with Mr Buzzard, telling me that he was ‘sharpening the knives’ for me.
As a result of this and at the suggestion of the police, I filed an AVO (Apprehended Violence Order) against this SAVN member in the local court. The application took a long time to be heard, but on August 22nd, I finally had my day in court.
Court Orders Me To Pay Costs
From the beginning, it appeared to me that the magistrate might have already made his decision before we entered the court. The first thing he said to my barrister was that the loser would have to pay costs. It is my understanding that this is not the normal procedure.
The rest of the hearing was no better and though I was able to show that this person had indeed asked people to send me pornography and had posted intimidating mail to me, the magistrate found against me.
It was hard enough to lose the protection of the courts – a protection I have had for the last 10 months via an interim AVO, during which time the defendant had been far more circumspect in his activities. But against all convention in these matters, the judge awarded full costs – over $11,000 – against me, leaving me to pay the legal fees of the person who, I feel, had abused and harassed me.
That legal bill will need to be paid before the 21st of September. As a full-time volunteer for over 20 years, I have virtually no income nor do I have any way to raise these funds. For 20 years, through my involvement with the AVN, I have worked tirelessly to support and inform those who came to me for help. Our organisation was responsible for the introduction of the Conscientious Objection clause which allows families who don’t vaccinate or who vaccinate selectively to access all government entitlements.
Now, it is my turn to ask for your assistance. If you believe in justice, support informed choice and are able to give any amount – no matter how small – to my legal fund to help pay the costs the court has required me to pay, I would be very grateful indeed.
If you would like more information about any of this, please write to me email@example.com. Otherwise, donations can be made by PayPal by sending funds to (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by direct deposit to my Westpac account:
BSB – 732591
Account – 613872
Or send a cheque or money order to Meryl Dorey, PO Box 88, BANGALOW NSW 2479.
Be sure to send me an email or a note if you make a donation at the bank so I can acknowledge and thank you. I will be able to acknowledge paypal payments without a separate email.
(1) Debating Vaccination
(2) Online onslaught: Internet-based methods for attacking and defending citizens’ organisations
(3) Public mobbing: a phenomenon and its features
Please note: Blog posts are opinion pieces which represent the views of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the AVN National Committee. The AVN is a forum, support and information organisation and outlet for discussion about the relative benefits and risks of vaccinations in particular – and medical procedures in general. We do not provide medical advice but believe that everyone has the opportunity and the obligation to do their own research before making decisions for their families. The information we provide (including your personal review of the references we cite) should be taken in conjunction with a range of other data, including that obtained from government, your health care provider and/or other medical source material to assist you in developing the knowledge required to make informed health choices.