Another antimasker rally in London, this one marketed as “medic-focussed with expert speakers”. But who exactly are these so-called experts, and what is their agenda? If you are genuinely concerned simply with civil liberties and the way the pandemic is being handled, please think again before giving your support — and your money — to these people.
Once again the rally was MC’d by suspended nurse Kate Shemirani. I wrote about her previously and you can read that here. Since then she’s drawn more notice for her views on 5G and describing the NHS as having a “terrorist agenda to commit genocide” and more offensively, “the NHS is the new Auschwitz”.
Headlining the protest was Andrew Wakefield, the ex-doctor who was struck off after promoting wholly fraudulent ‘research’ that claimed to link the MMR inoculation to autism. He’s made a career off this in the US and the anti-vaxxer movement, despite his research having absolutely no basis in science, and the subsequent drop in vaccinations leading to life threatening outbreaks across the world.
Next on the bill, Andrew Kaufman, a forensic psychiatrist & ‘natural healing consultant’ who believes that vaccines would be used to implant ‘genes’ into cells to ‘genetically modify humans’. Though entirely unqualified in this area, he also claims that the COVID-19 virus isn’t a virus.
Sherri Tenpenny MD is perhaps the most famous anti-vaxxer in the US and this is practically her entire career. She is a doctor, though has no clinical specialisation and has never published any peer-reviewed research in the fields of immunology or vaccinology.
Carrie Madej, an osteopath antivaxxer who claims nanotechnology in vaccines will genetically modify people to create ‘Human 2.0’, implanting chips that will connect people to a secret computer network… The link to satanism can be seen, she infers, as a ‘luciferase’ is being used in one of the vaccines in development, a patent 060606 (yes, really) to be used by the Gates Foundation to enslave humanity. (Luciferase is the generic term for enzymes that cause bio-luminescence, was coined in the 19th Century and are used in all kinds of scientific tests as indicators.)
Kevin Corbett was a nurse and nurse trainer, now doing the antivax anti masker circuit, now is also an artist, with a website where some of the views are literally so sickening and disturbing I won’t repeat or link them here, but you get a flavour of them from this link. His views about the NHS are somewhat similar to those expoused by Ms Shemirani.
Rashid Buttar is another osteopath who shares the idea that Bill Gates will be using chips in the vaccine, claims that there hasn’t been a single death from COVID-19, that the condition is related to chemtrails and 5G towers, with links to QAnon. He’s previously been sanctioned for injecting cancer patients with hydrogen peroxide (yes, you read that right) and selling home made treatments as drugs.
Mikael Nordfors, an alternative medicine practitioner and recording artist, who had his license to practice revoked after a patient nearly died. He believes in Vitamin D and hydroxychloroquine as treatments and that COVID-19 was bio-engineered and released on purpose, to benefit ‘big pharma’.
Niall McCrae, a lecturer is psychiatric nursing, a brexit campaigner who writes for several right-wing outlets, has written a paper that mixes his political ideology with the belief that the virus was created in China.
It seems somehow counter-intuitive that the protest would be marketed saying that the contributors were medical or scientific experts, when all except one (Prof Dolores Cahill, secretary of the right-wing nationalist Irish Freedom Party, who has been disavowed by her university for her opinions on COVID-19) have no specialisation in any relevant branch of those disciplines, or in fact have already had their licenses to practice revoked for the actual and potential damage that they could do to the health of their patients or society as a whole.
The anti maskers claim to pride themselves that they aren’t ‘sheeple’, that they are enlightened and informed, finding the truth for themselves. But the actual truth is very far away from what they are being fed by politically or profit-motivated snake oil salesmen. If they claim to be able to think critically, then the same level of scrutiny should be applied to all these people. When the the NHS, local doctors and nurses and the medical profession across the world is united and fighting tirelessly for their patients, many even giving their lives, why would such a small number of non-specialists (some not even medical doctors) have the truth? Why would their opinions or in some cases disproven theories stand against the increasing amount of peer-reviewed expert medical research?
There we fall into the ‘magical thinking’. Watching Carrie Madej’s speech from yesterday you can see this logic being applied. Why would these things happen? Why would governments and scientists want to do this? Answer — conspiracy theories and science fiction. Why the jump to the incredible? Because the premise is so preposterous, so unbelievable, that only magical thinking will explain it. The premise is this: every nurse, every doctor, clinician, every researcher in the NHS and in private medicine, in the UK and across the world, is a part of a global conspiracy to impose a ‘New World Order’ and enslave humanity. This is unquestionably ludicrous and absurd. But rather than believe that the world is in the grip of a random act of nature, something that just happened (perhaps with demonstrable links too climate change) they grasp onto the nonsensical, because that is something that implies design and so therefore we can control.
On the top of this are the right and far right, both established and fringe, from the right wing of the Conservative and Republican parties to QAnon. This is a situation that they can exploit, when they can draw people in, people who are being radicalised by their own social media algorithms. After researching this piece, Facebook and Twitter listed right and far right groups and anti maskers as suggestions for me, and no doubt as I continued, the Google algorithm was working in the background to make my task easier, ‘knowing what I wanted to see’. Once you go down the rabbit hole, to use an analogy popular with the QAnon, it gets harder and harder to get back out of that bubble, as everything you see will seem to confirm what you just read.
This piece was originally tweeted in response to a tweet from the protest organisers, who retweeted my previous article thinking that I was a supporter. Since however I’ve had a few responses from supporters and attendees (again, nowhere near what I expected to be honest) who claimed that they had nothing to do with the far right, but in most cases all you have to do is scroll down their timelines to see their posts on cultural marxism, what to do if your school teachers are ‘woke’, MAGA, Biden, and a slew of racism, islamophobia or anti-semitism, or a blend of both. Posting innocuous or perfectly innocent material, videos or memes, that most people would find entertaining or topics that they would also support is an acknowledged radicalisation technique. Once the targets hit that ‘follow’ button, they can be reeled in, the level of the content being slowly turned up. The advantage of exploiting the anti-masker and antivax communities is that people who would have never previously had anything to do with the far right can be influenced and brought into the fellowship. Followers of holistic medicine and new age thinking rubbing shoulders with Tommy Robinson’s boot boys, fighting with the police.
If someone in your family or one or your friends is being radicalised in this way, be supportive of them, bring them back slowly and don’t directly challenge their belief system. Loading them with facts and counter evidence won’t help, as they simply won’t accept it to be true. Challenge them to apply their own reasoning to these beliefs, remind them of the help that accepted medical science and technology has given them and the personal stories that we all share of the good the NHS has done, of the real benefits of vaccination here and throughout the world. Rebuild that sense of identity within the community that they may have lost. I’m not saying have an ‘intervention’, but deal with this with sensitivity. After all, we are all vulnerable to ‘magical thinking’, a desire to put agency into cause and effect even in random events, because that’s the way we’re wired. If you ‘curse the fates’ when you stub your toe or drop your toast jam-side down, this is magical thinking. But we shouldn’t apply that lack of reasoning to something as serious as our shared responsibility to others in the middle of a deadly global pandemic.