Autism hater Kerri Rivera raided?

Kerri Rivera is the disgusting peddler of MMS (Miracle Mineral Solution) as a cure for Autism. I’ve known about her for a number of years and have pressed in the past for MMS to be banned in Australia. The present state of play is that the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) put out a safety advisory about confirmed that it had not been approved by the TGA back in May 2020 – in response to Rivera’s claims that it treated and cured COVID-19. It doesn’t. Nor does it cure Autism. It doesn’t cure anything.

To quote the TGA advisory;

MMS is often marketed as water purification drops and may be offered under different names, including Miracle Mineral Supplement. It contains a high concentration of sodium chlorite, which is a chemical used as a textile bleaching agent and disinfectant. Products containing high concentrations of sodium chlorite pose a serious health risk if consumed by humans and should be labelled with the appropriate warnings.

TGA Safety Advisory – May 8, 2020

I got an email this morning as part of the Quackwatch mailing list, providing details of a story that Rivera had been raided by German police. Apparently she had moved from Belize, a small country that borders Mexico and Guatemala, to Bremerhaven, a city slightly larger than Ballarat and Bendigo and on the north coast of Germany between Denmark and the Netherlands in 2019.

From what I can tell from what I read on Quackwatch (attributed to an article that derived content from Rivera’s Telegram group), Rivera posted a three minute video in January 2020 – around the time COVID-19 first started becoming an issue causing the World Health Organisation to put out it’s first advisory on it. This was where her claim that MMS treated COVID first came up. Now apparently someone took the advice and as a direct result, a child was harmed. This has happened before – in instances of children being “treated” for Autism. But nothing was done or Rivera bailed to avoid prosecution – as she did when she fled originally to Mexico and then to Belize. In Germany there was a government investigation that she admitted to, but she also intimated that five weeks prior (in June 2021 presumably) that the government wasn’t proceeding. Then on July 13, 2021, she was apparently raided.

The government might not have been proceeding, because it switched to a criminal matter. Rivera’s electronic equipment and her medical supplies were taken apparently, and the police did have a search warrant. Rivera called this (through another person on the group as she couldn’t access it herself directly) a restraint on freedom of speech.

No.

This has been a long time coming. This woman is a harm merchant and she doesn’t care. One hopes that the computers carry everything German police need to press serious charges against her. Her claims that she never saw anyone in person is irrelevant, particularly now in COVID-19 restricted jurisdictions where online communication has became as important as face to face. This is a victory (so far) for common sense medicine. There is no cure for Autism and there is no cure for COVID-19 yet. The vaccine is a preventative, not a curative. Rivera should be in jail and hopefully that will finally be happening.

Side note – the email I read also noted that Fiona O’Leary was in trouble for pursuing an ultra-conservative religious group in Ireland for anti-Semitic conduct. Key word – pursue. She always went too far in those things and karma is about to hit her. She should have just reported it and left it at that. She’s a liability to the Autism Rights movement.

Middle Ground for Guardianship

I came across the following link this morning (which I haven’t added to the news page because it isn’t about Autism);

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/britney-spears-jenny-hatch-guardianship/2021/07/14/72d3182a-e4aa-11eb-b722-89ea0dde7771_story.html

The reason I am posting this entry on my Autism blog is because it brings up an issue that had me at loggerheads from the start with the National Council on Severe Autism in the US, and the main reason Amy Lutz joined. They are pressing that guardianship is a requirement for Autistics. Or as some states in the US call it – a conservatorship.

The article makes a very valid point about the need for middle ground – something that the NCSA opposes. They are focussed on total guardianship for Autistics at the lower end of the Spectrum, but make the error of applying it to all Autistics. This is plainly wrong.

Jenny Hatch is a hero for those with Downs Syndrome. She set the precedent for the middle ground – the same middle ground Britney Spears is seeking and gaining a huge amount of publicity and public support. And Britney should get it – and thank Jenny for the precedent. Britney has issues. She admits to that. Jenny has issues as well. There are many things a person with Downs Syndrome has to cope with. Both deserve the chance to adjust and a middle ground guardianship/conservatorship achieves this.

Adjust.

This is such a key word in everything, and it certainly applies within the Autistic community. Adjustment is crucial. I know. I have adjusted – and I continue to adjust. There are things in this world that one just can’t control, and are not done just because one is Autistic. The obvious example right now is COVID-19, and adjusting to lockdowns and restrictions and what not. We all have to do it, and it’s why I get really angry at those who refuse to adjust and put everyone else in danger.

Adjusting as an Autistic to anything and everything one can’t control is critical. Public spaces change their arrangements for everyone. It’s called progress. It’s called jobs. It’s called a number of other things. There is always a reason. And if there is a negative effect – there is middle ground. The world is not black and white. It is multicoloured. In a way – those who discriminate against the Autistic community are engaging in Autistic behaviour to get their way. They don’t want to be flexible, when they actually can be and should be. But at the same time one can’t go too far the other way. Hence the middle ground.

This is why I see reverse discrimination as just as much of a threat as discrimination itself. It’s black and white. It’s even dark grey and off white. The perfect result is grey. Smack in the middle between black and white. That is where we all need to be. Jenny Hatch got it and good for her. Hopefully Britney Spears gets it. I for one in the case of the Autistic community wants to see it there too. And I’ll get it – by doing what I’m doing behind closed doors (for now) in order to achieve the balance we need, and shut down both the haters who want us cured and wrecked, and those who seek everything beyond what is reasonable and fair to all. The NCSA is dark grey. Neurodiversity 2.0 is off white. We are all in this together and we need to meet in the middle.

Who’s in?

Self identification is not a diagnosis

I kept my mouth shut a month ago – until now – when Facebook identity NeuroDivergent Rebel (AKA Lyric – formerly Christa – Holmans) originally delivered this statement;

https://neurodivergentrebel.com/2021/06/04/the-need-to-self-identify-as-neurodivergent/

“I am formally diagnosed but will always advocate for Autistic People to be able to self identify, because I understand how much privilege and luck was involved in discovering I was Autistic at the age of 29.”

“In addition, poor and multiply marginalized Autistic People (a large percentage of Autistics) face more barriers to diagnosis. Just another reason that, despite having a formal diagnosis, I support self identified Autistic People. I want that for all Autistics. Gatekeeping helps no one.”

No.

Sorry, but that devalues the diagnosis and in the process gives the haters within the Autistic community their way. They insist on dividing the Spectrum up (reverting to the DSM-IV criteria except totally separating each identity) so as to put 100 percent focus on those at the lower end of the Spectrum and totally ignore those at the higher end of the Spectrum as relevant. In effect – our diagnosis would be taken from us by our enemies, wrecking all the research on Autism that has been done as a result. Not only that, services that are needed will not be covered by the insurance system in America as an example and would be denied. A similar thing would happen with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) here in Australia.

That can not be allowed to happen, and that is why gatekeeping – as Lyric put it – is essential.

Haters within the community will always demand to see an Autistic’s formal diagnosis and until they see it they will deny the Autistic’s identification. This is anti diversity and it hurts the targeted person. I’ve seen it. Well known hater Jonathan Mitchell did this to IACC member Samantha Crane (who has a formal diagnosis). There are also those who self identify in order to use it as the proverbial “get out of jail free” card. The recent entry I re-published on this blog about Don Burke is a perfect fit for that.

Now Lyric does make a valid point about “privilege” – however this is talk from an American point of view. I have always said that the mental health system in the US is a joke and an insult. The solution is not self identification being allowed. The solution is to free up options and the ability to get a formal diagnosis. One has that right and it should be pursued for validity. Lyric got it. Back in 1997 I got it. In Australia getting a diagnosis is easier than it is in America. I’m not going to sit here and say there aren’t issues of course, but it is possible thanks in part to our public health sector – a factor that slaughters the US.

A diagnosis on the Autistic Spectrum is not a privilege. It is a right. A right that can and should be pursued. Bailing to a self identification devalues the diagnostic process and therefore the identity itself, and provides avenues for further anti diversity behaviour and anti equality nonsense. Those avenues have to be closed – and it requires a gatekeeper to supervise it.

Other Material from Spectrum Labor

I have finished the upload of the appropriate material from the now defunct Spectrum Labor. I’ll just refer to the other material from the website.

Autistic Lives Matter

I was always uncomfortable with this one, because it was riding the coat tails of Black Lives Matter. In hindsight it was a reverse ableist move which we should have stayed out of. The Black Lives Matter protests were the latest activity in a battle that has gone on for a lot longer than ours and in the cold hard light of day needed to take priority over us certainly at the time in the wake of the death of George Floyd. It was driven by an Autism death in Palestine at the hands of Israeli police two days after the Queensland incident (see the “Jail time for child support workers” entry). I wasn’t quoted in this one, and that’s why. It was also an attempt to push the issue of Palestine v Israel, which was equally inappropriate under the circumstances. Using that as a political platform in the fight for respect for Autism is wrong. Autism rights can and should stand on it’s own.

Of course, I’m not advocating against either black rights or Palestinian rights as separate issues. I’m all for them. Mixing them up however is wrong and unhelpful.

Religious Discrimination Bill will hurt Autistics

I could have done an entry about this, but it was directly political with no external stuff and the submission to the government was driven by the other co-founder.

For awhile now, the Federal Coalition government has been pushed by it’s extreme right elements to provide protections for religious belief – protections that they erroneously believe are being restricted. The result at the end of 2019 was a disgusting piece of legislation which attracted the following from me;

If your child has a diagnosis on the Autistic spectrum, this new law would allow religious workmates, bosses or doctors to tell you that your child’s Autism is a sin. It’s bad enough that people who do not understand what Autism truly is have over the decades treated Autism as a pathology, most recently by the anti vaccine community, as well as a burden, not genetic in origin and DNA damage. This Religious Discrimination Bill is going to legitimise a whole new level of anti-Autism bigotry that may well borrow from the depths of contempt of centuries ago. The Victorian Autism Plan states that Autistic people are more likely to be trans or gender diverse than the general population, and we fear for the welfare of these vulnerable individuals. Autistics within the LGBTI Spectrum could legally be told that they are sinners. They could be denied jobs and services by church run schools, hospitals and charities.

Philip Gluyas in a Spectrum Labor press release on December 16, 2019

I am an atheist and proudly so. The church needs to adjust to the 21st century. They don’t need any more protection than anyone else. Beliefs that rightly offend should be gagged in public. That’s a fact. Ask Israel Folau!

Autistic tutor offers Christian principal a lesson on climate change

This was another one I wasn’t quoted in, even though my name was mentioned. This direct attempt to approach the principal of Coffs Harbour Christian Community School, Rodney Lynn, was never going to work and was a waste of time. That was the focus of the press release when it should have been about protecting Greta Thunberg and focusing more on Autism than climate change. That was why I wasn’t quoted.

Spectrum Labor condemns Professor Jeremy Nicholson

This was the only press release from Spectrum Labor that wasn’t driven by either co-founder. It was driven by another member who as it turned out was also a part of the problem (albeit in a minor way) that led to the demise of it, revealing himself after the fact.

That’s not to say that this wasn’t a release worth doing, unlike Autistic Lives Matter or the Rodney Lynn issue. Nicholson was out of line claiming Autism was “a silently growing monster” and “the most expensive disease in the Western world.” As we know, it is not a disease and it is not growing. Thankfully it would appear that while Nicholson is still at Murdoch University, he is no longer involved with the Autism aspect. He has been concentrating on COVID – a true disease.

Same sex marriage

The very first press release should never have been issued. Not because it was wrong (heck no) but because like Autistic Lives Matter above it was riding the coat tails of an unrelated issue. It was issued in the wake of the plebiscite result in favour of same sex marriage. I supported it then and I continue to support it. But there was no need for Spectrum Labor to say anything substantive.

And that’s everything from the Spectrum Labor part of my personal history. Now to move on.

Barry O’Sullivan’s act of hate

The first press release that actually meant something was released in November 2017, in response to the reckless remark made by Queensland Senator Barry O’Sullivan.

He was appearing on the ABC’s RN Breakfast presentation and was being quizzed about the pressure at the time on the government to call for a Royal Commission on the Banking Sector. O’Sullivan, a member of Queensland’s Liberal National Party on the Nationals side, was criticising the banks when he said the banks “show an almost autistic disregard for prudential regulation and law and it’s time for these people to have their day in court”.

This anti-Autistic slur was highly offensive to the Autistic community, and spread stigma and misinformation about Autism. Nicole Rogerson was brilliant in reply and this should have been quoted in the press release but it wasn’t.

It was just appalling and offensive. He clearly thought this was a very clever thing to say. The target was clearly the banks, not people with autism, but people with autism just got thrown under the bus. Imagine you’re a young person with autism, and you’re in the car, and you heard that. He was explaining how ruthless the banks are, they don’t have any empathy for human beings, they are inhuman – that was just equated to who you are. When you say things flippantly for a soundbite, somebody is behind that soundbite and words really matter.

Nicole Rogerson in the SBS article on November 21, 2017

Spectrum Labor in fact supported the Royal Commission. The suggestion that Autism somehow makes us disregard prudential regulation and law is out of line and ignorant. In fact the opposite is the case – Autistics are renowned for our honesty and respect for rules and fairness, and indeed our sense of justice (as indeed my successful prosecutions of defamation matters in court is a testament to). O’Sullivan was totally out of line conflating Autism’s social issues with the banking sector’s moral issues and an unreserved apology from the senator should have been issued – and wasn’t.

This woeful ignorance is sadly reflected throughout society. At the time Spectrum Labor called for a nationwide community education campaign, led by Autistic self advocates, to highlight the strengths of Autism and promote equality and acceptance. That was in fact a sign of the reverse ableism, because such a campaign should be taking into account all aspects of the Autistic community, not just self advocates. We need to be a team.

Victoria’s commitment to the Autistic community

About the same time as the Burke press release, the Victorian government gave it’s initial response to the Autism inquiry report that was handed down in June 2017 – four months before the formation of Spectrum Labor.

The response, consisting of just 12 pages compared to the 396 pages in the original report, made a number of commitments. Within these commitments there was the formation of an advisory group that included peak bodies in Victoria that are heavily involved with the Autistic community. This included Amaze, the Autism Families Support Association and Aspergers Victoria. There was also an associated commitment to continued communication with the Autistic community at large. The most important commitment was a more comprehensive response to the inquiry report leading to possibly the eventual adoption of all 101 recommendations in a far more comprehensive Autism Plan than the previous one from 2009.

Urgent issues were recognised such as a broad public education campaign, co-ordination with the NDIS, more support for younger children and those in the school system, a more responsive work force, sport and recreation opportunities and more support in regional and rural Victoria as well as for women and girls. It looked promising.

Since then, it took two years for the full response to be presented. I had heard there was pushback from elements that I have referred to in the “Can there be a truce in the Autism War” article, seeking to only assist low functioning Autistics and leave the rest out to dry – hence the delay.

When it was released I took notes. It was a five year plan that I had listed a few follow ups on, but the lockdown then got in the way. I also had some other concerns. In general though it was pretty good but there will be some work done as soon as possible.

Don Burke using Autism as a shield

This press release was delayed a bit and was only released just before Christmas 2017 as I struggled to establish matters properly thanks in part to another online issue that had blown up at around the same time.

In late November 2017, media personality and former host of Burke’s Backyard, Don Burke was accused of sexual harassment as a result of an investigation piece jointly written by the ABC and the Sydney Morning Herald arising out of the work of Tracey Spicer. When this news broke, comments came from former Channel Nine executives David Leckie, Sam Chisholm and Peter Meakin criticising not just the specified sexual harassment allegations, but also more general conduct including “inappropriate language”, “incredibly demanding” and this conduct prevented Burke from becoming a major star. The media reported that Burke had even been warned by the late Kerry Packer. My mother recalled that the late Graham Kennedy also described Burke as demanding and “not a nice person to work with” while on air co-hosting Coast to Coast in the early 1990’s. I used that in the press release.

However, Burke responded with a statement and a media interview on A Current Affair where he claimed to be “suffering” from Asperger’s syndrome, using it as an excuse for his conduct in general while denying the sexual harassment allegations. He included in this a description of his condition as a “genetic failing”.

Autism Awareness Australia responded to this claim calling it “beyond appalling” and describing their reaction as “gobsmacked”.

I made it plain on behalf of all ALP members on the Autism Spectrum. His statement was not accepted. Asperger’s syndrome was a diagnosis that was removed in the DSM-5 in May 2013 in order to cover the whole spectrum. Being on the Spectrum is not an excuse for this behaviour. He was hiding behind a self diagnosis in order to avoid responsibility for his actions. It was not acceptable and reflected a negativity towards the Autism Spectrum that is tantamount to a slur against the community. It is roundly condemned and I called on Burke to revoke his claims, seek treatment for his issues and most importantly admit that what he has done in general was unacceptable in all circumstances.

The interview on A Current Affair gave rise to one of the women who had made a complaint to file a defamation lawsuit, which was decided on in 2019 in Burke’s favour. However, in the decision the judge questioned Burke’s credibility while noting that the case had not been properly made. This goes in part to his self diagnosis and this is a perfect example of why self diagnosis is a bad thing.

Northcote High School attack

This was disgusting. A little over two weeks before the ALP State Conference, the story broke the story where a 14 year old Autistic boy was attacked by a gang of young males armed with spanners. I wasted no time with a press release.

I condemned the thugs who sank to using weapons to attack a boy who was simply different. I said that being different is not a crime, and I said that without condoning such an attack even if a crime had been committed. Such criminal conduct has no excuse. What made it worse is that the target was a boy who is legally classified as a disabled person. For that reason, I labelled it a hate crime. The boy spoke publicly about the incident mentioning homophobic slurs aimed at him, appearing to mean that the thugs were associating Autism with homosexuality. This could not be further from the truth. I have been a victim of such a sliur myself.

Amaze (Autism Victoria) CEO Fiona Sharkie was quoted on the Amaze website at the time as stating in relation to this;

From the principal to the students to the parents to the tuck shop ladies, we need people to understand the challenges autistic kids face but also their great potential.

Fiona Sharkie on the Amaze website on May 11, 2018

I agreed and I added the importance of educating fellow students not to bully Autistics in particular and sink to such negative connotations based in hate that is born out of a lack of understanding. Such hate should be recognised in the same terms as all the other hate that is recognised based in race, gender preference, religion and culture. Autism is after all a human difference and nothing more than that.

I called on governments to commit to seeking legislative change to recognise such hate as such and bring it into line with hate crimes of other human beings. This was the seed of the effort that led to the petition in late 2019.

Contempt for the NDIS

One of the first highlights in the life of Spectrum Labor was the first market stall at the 2018 ALP State Conference. Not just the stall itself but getting on the right side of the then Health Minister Jill Hennessy. A picture from this meeting stood as my Facebook profile picture from that point until today. The timing was sublime – as this story broke the previous weekend, originally in the Weekend Australian and reprinted on the A4 website. I drove the press release quickly, and had signs on the back board of the stall complaining about it.

When the former Labor government introduced the National Disability Insurance Scheme in 2012, it promised much. It included people with intellectual, physical, sensory and psycho-social disabilities. At the time it appeared the then Coalition opposition supported the scheme and after the test roll out the full scheme started to be implemented in mid 2016.

However the agency running the NDIS, the NDIA, carelessly let slip the fact that the Scheme will only support low functioning Autistics, not middle functioning Autistics as it stood then. They said to the Productivity Commission that “The NDIA has noted that autism spectrum disorders may represent a difficulty for List A, and there is evidence to suggest that use of the diagnosis process for autism may differ from the process’s intent, resulting in access to the scheme where eligibility requirements would not otherwise be met.”

I condemned that attitude through the press release, as it was an attempt to cut back the scheme in order for the $22 billion budget to be maintained by the then Turnbull government. I have always said that the NDIS is underfunded considerably and have always called on it to be funded to the value of $40 billion at least to cover not just the low and mid functioning Autistics, but high functioning Autistics with certain issues as well on top of all the other disabilities that should be funded.

There is no room for any form of cuts to the NDIS, and it reflected on the then Turnbull government’s general attitude towards the health of Australians. Since then the Morrison government has trimmed it back overall and then restored what was taken before adding a measly $3 billion in the most recent budget. It remains an act of contempt for all disabilities and not just Autism.

Australian National Review’s hate speech

Another press release that I drove solo was the one calling out Jamie McIntyre’s fake news website the Australian National Review. I knew about the site before the formation of Spectrum Labor and there are entries about it and McIntyre on my All About Anti Vaxxers blog.

There were no quotes in this one because they were not needed. All it needed was a reflection on the issue of misrepresentations of the origins of Autism, the trivialising of it and focusing on the bogus claim that vaccines cause it. On September 11, 2018, the Review published a story titled “MORE studies confirm the link between childhood vaccines and autism”. It was allegedly written by a reporter named Vicki Batts but it derived from Natural News, and also called on Robert F Kennedy Junior’s World Mercury Project. It was typically insulting and I knew about the website from well before Spectrum Labor was formed.

McIntyre has been suspended from Facebook more than once (more recently for publishing COVID-19 rubbish) and his most recent Autism related article was a brief comment claiming that Suramin helps with Autism symptoms. Suramin is designed for African sleeping sickness and river blindness. That has no possible real use for Autism.

McIntyre also has on the table an offer on one million dollars for anyone who can show him proof that vaccines do not cause Autism. He welched on it when someone owned him on the subject.

One of my targets going forward will be this website. It has to go. It is a hate site against Autism.