Doctor or nurse filling a syringe with COVID-19 vaccine

Melbourne law firm Advocate Me has released a blog post regarding COVID-19 vaccines, lockdowns, government censorship and more which contains a number of inaccuracies despite the firm engaging in what it claims has been a “complete immersion into the facts”.

In a blog post entitled “Forces of Nature” published on July 26, Advocate Me’s Sandy Barrett compares the experience of watching a thunderstorm roll towards you on a beach to what his law firm has been doing watching the COVID-19 “storm” from the beginning.

The post itself claims to make a series of scientific facts about COVID-19 and the resultant vaccines while proclaiming censorship and saying that governments have stifled debate in the field. This episode of KangaWoo Watch is intended to be a rebuttal to some of the claims in the blog, in the spirit of the debate the authors say is now lacking in society

In one of his opening paragraphs, Barrett prides himself in Advocate Me’s position (see the following extract below) and says that the government narrative about the virus and vaccines will “unravel spectacularly” as it is examined.

Advocate Me has been following the storm from day one; looking deep into all sides of the science of lockdowns, virus isolation, gain-of-function research, interpretation and classification of PCR test results, vaccination and the ultimate path to vaccine passports. Delving into the government narrative, it is easy to pick it apart; however their willingness to enter into a debate about it is non-existent. However, it is their rigidity that will be their ultimate undoing, as their narrative unravels spectacularly before us.

Let’s see whether Barrett’s own claims in the blog live up to the same level of scrutiny or whether they too will unravel.

The law of requisite variety

Before we delve into COVID-19 statistics, Barrett takes a detour into what’s known as the Law of Requisite Variety. In trying to describe the law, he says, “it is the part of the system that is the most flexible that will control the system”. How this ties in with the pandemic storm is that Advocate Me sees itself as the palm tree bending in the storm and surviving as can be seen in his extract below:

In Nature, it is the part of the system that is the most flexible that will control the system. This is known as the Law of Requisite Variety. A perfect example is the ability of the palm tree to withstand cyclonic winds. Its flexibility is its ultimate strength. Nature is adaptive in and of itself. If our system fails to adapt and be self-learning, then it will die by the hand of its own ego. This is what destroyed many Empires preceding us.

Unfortunately, Barrett has misunderstood what the Law of Requisite Variety is actually about. While the law does have something to do with flexibility, it actually states that a system needs a variety of response mechanisms to ensure the final state of that system doesn’t vary. If you’re confused, so was I when I first read up on this, so let’s back up a bit.

The Law of Requisite Variety was created by British cybernetician Ross Ashby in the 1950s. He defined ‘variety’ as the number of possible states of a system, so for instance a light switch has a variety of two states, on and off.

His Law of Requisite Variety stated that in order to have a stable system, i.e. a system which does not change too much outside a given range, the ‘variety’ of the system’s responses has to be greater than or equal to the ‘variety’ of the disturbing system.

One example of this is a heated home where an automated sensor maintains the temperature in a certain range and outside conditions disturb this interior temperature. For instance, if the outside is colder than the inside, it will bring the interior temperature down and the sensor will have to increase the heat inside. The opposite is true if the outside temperature makes the interiors hotter.

So the law says that the sensor will need to have a greater number of possible states than that found in the external weather system so that it can then react properly to those disturbances. This means if the sensor has a way to combat an outside disturbance, it can maintain the same stable temperature range inside the home.

So Barrett’s claim that the Law of Requisite Variety is about the “most flexible” part of the system controlling the entire system is not technically correct. In fact ANY part of the system can be used to control the entirety of the system regardless of whether it is the most flexible or not. All that’s needed is that the number of possible states of that part of the system is greater than the number of states of whatever is doing the disturbing.

Funnily enough, the law is about what’s needed to maintain a stable system. It’s a little ironic that measures like lockdowns, masks, vaccines and other things that Advocate Me seems to be against are actually designed to also maintain a stable system here within Australia. These measures are actually the Law of Requisite Variety in action because they are the added states of variety we as a country need to cope with the outside disturbance of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Issues interpreting the Australia’s COVID-19 data

Now, let’s move onto the real meat of Barrett’s article where he compares the number of COVID-19 infections with what he claims are injuries caused by the COVID-19 vaccines.

Without quoting a source for these figures (which is often a red flag on articles like these), he writes that there have been 32,297 COVID-19 cases between 19 Jan 2020 and 18 July 2021 and that there have been 41,406 “vaccine injuries” between 22 Feb 2021 and 18 July 2021. I’ve put the graph below for your perusal.

The first figure matches the COVID-19 figures from the Australian Government Department of Health’s website, although they were a little higher at the time of writing, sitting at 33,732 mostly because of the Sydney outbreak. So that’s all well and good so far.

We hit difficulties with the “vaccine injuries” figure which appears to come from the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report from 22 July 2021. While indeed this report has the 41,406 statistic, the TGA website clearly states that this does not describe actual vaccine injuries caused by the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines in Australia. The TGA (in a quote copied below) explicitly states that the figures here are merely the reports of side effects that people have experienced AFTER the vaccines but that they haven’t been shown to be causally linked TO the vaccine. They may be linked, they may not be, but at the moment we just don’t know.

Interpreting information on vaccine adverse event reports

We are aware that false claims are circulating based on misinterpretation of adverse event information published by the TGA and medicine regulators overseas. To improve transparency, the TGA makes adverse event reports publicly available 90 days after they are received in the Database of Adverse Event Notifications (DAEN). When interpreting this information, it is important to understand that many of these events may not be caused by the vaccine.

Basically, the TGA has allowed anyone who thinks that their symptoms were caused by the vaccine, but can’t be sure, to file a report, collating data which can then be used for further research to examine what the actual side effects are and what aren’t. This is merely a collation tool and no definitive conclusions can be drawn from it.

The TGA encourages reporting of adverse events even if people are uncertain or only suspicious that it is related to a vaccine or medicine. This supports our scientists and health professionals to use the data to look for new safety signals. Reporting of adverse events, such as the death of anyone who has received a vaccine, is mandatory for health professionals in some states. It is therefore important to remember that the number of adverse events and deaths is not an indicator of the safety of the vaccines. Detailed investigation and expert review of individual case reports and the data are required to assess whether there is a link between an event and the vaccine. 

A video included in Advocate Me’s blog by the an organisation called the ‘People for Safe Vaccines’ has the same issues with its claimed statistics as they appear to be using data from the TGA which again hasn’t been causally linked to the vaccines. Barrett claims the video was taken down from YouTube for misinformation and an appeal ignored “with no explanation or recourse”. I hope this blog article has given Barrett and Advocate Me some explanation as to why the video’s figures are just incorrect and the reasons why the video was removed.

A problematic extrapolation of statistics

Barrett then goes on to compare the deaths he claims came from vaccines to those from COVID-19 and runs into the same problems he did above, misinterpreting the TGA’s data on side effects reported after people got the jab.

Again, the 399 figure comes from the TGA’s weekly report and hits the same problem that these are deaths reported by medical professionals which occurred AFTER a person took the vaccine but which have not been shown to be linked TO the vaccine.

I’m assuming the figure of 915 deaths from COVID-19 again came from the Australian Government’s website but, as of the time of writing, this had increased to 922.

To compare the two figures, Barrett also makes the problematic move of extrapolating the claimed vaccine deaths over the same time period as the pandemic which stretches way back to January last year when COVID-19 first emerged in Australia.

So not only has he taken statistics which haven’t been causally linked to deaths after the vaccine but he’s extrapolated them over a period which includes a vast swathe of time when the vaccines hadn’t even been developed yet.

Risk 45,000 times greater from COVID-19 than the vaccine

To put this all in context, it’s helpful to remember that the raw numbers provided by the government and the TGA don’t actually help us determine the scale of their spread. To do that, we need to look at percentages to get a real grasp of what’s happening. Since Barrett doesn’t do this in his blog article, I’ve crunched the numbers for him.

As of the time of writing, we have 922 deaths from COVID-19 out of 33,909 known cases in Australia. This means that if you are one of those unfortunate enough to catch COVID-19, there seems to be a 2.7 per cent chance from our current figures that you will die as a result. Of course, this is a simplification as exact mortality rates depend on hospitals being overwhelmed, treatments available, etc but the figure will do for current purposes.

Regarding the vaccines, over 12 million doses have been administered with around 8.24 million Australians having already had at least one dose of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca shot, according to Australian government figures released on July 30.

Currently, the number of causally linked cases of deaths after COVID-19 vaccines in Australia has been five, according to the latest TGA report. This means that for those who get the vaccine, there’s a 0.00006 per cent chance you’ll experience a fatal side effect (and this isn’t even splitting the statistics between Pfizer and AstraZeneca).

Even in the very worst case scenario — being that researchers examine Barrett’s 399 deaths reported to the TGA and determine they were all linked to the vaccines — there’s a 0.005 per cent chance of death from getting the shot. In other words, in the highly improbable scenario that ALL of these 399 deaths are causally linked to the vaccine, you’re still 540 times more likely to die if you get infected with COVID-19 than if you receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

And for the current official statistics of only five deaths from COVID-19, you’re 45,000 times more likely to die if you catch COVID-19 than if you get the vaccine.

A final remark on grand conspiracies

I’d like to wrap this up by saying a bit about the general themes flowing through the article itself. I won’t say anything about mentions of Michael Yeadon, former Pfizer vice-president and outspoken COVID-19 vaccine critic, as plenty has already been written about him elsewhere and my article here is already getting quite long as it is.

Rather, I wanted to briefly discuss the conspiratorial flavour found throughout the piece with references to a “time of censorship” by the Establishment (capital E and all) which has been issued to fulfil some hidden agenda. Even Barrett himself admits he does not know what the final goal of this alleged conspiracy is (see the extract below).

We can only hazard a guess at the intent behind their agenda; only time will tell. Clearly there has been the largest transfer of wealth in history, as small business suffer lockdown after lockdown; only the Big End of Town might survive it. And with Big Pharma making billions by the bucket-load and the media gluttons fed with our tax-payer money advertising the vaccines, money clearly plays a large part, because the Money has control.

First, it’s useful to look at the players claimed to be part of this agenda. Not only do we have the different levels of government but we also have “Big Pharma”, the tech industry which is “censoring” discordant opinions, and “media gluttons” pushing the Establishment’s views. That’s a very large number of people apparently in on this whole thing.

As I’ve written about previously, the larger the number of people claimed to be part of a conspiracy, the lower the probability that the whole thing could actually last any period of time before it unravels. Simply put, small conspiracies between a handful of people are absolutely possible. Grand conspiracies where you have governments, media organisations, big business, etc pushing the same coordinated agenda are highly unlikely to actually exist in reality.

And as an aside, given Barrett’s comment about money having control, for full disclosure I haven’t received any money to write this article from Big Pharma, the government or any other organisation. I’m sitting here on a Saturday in the middle of a COVID-19 lockdown motivated to work on this thanks to my small handful of Patrons (none of which work for the government or a pharmaceutical firm).

So now that our deep dive into the scientific misconceptions found within the Advocate Me blog is complete, I’d like to leave our readers with a quote from Barrett himself to ponder.

“How hard does the truth have to hit you before you accept it?”

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Featured image: Doctor or nurse filling a syringe with Covid-19 Vaccine. Picture by Marco Verch Professional Photographer. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) licence.

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