In July 2020, Imran Ahmed, a member of the Steering Committee on Countering Extremism Pilot Task Force under the British government’s Commission for Countering Extremism and the chief executive of the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), told The Independent he considers anti-vaxxers “an extremist group that pose a national security risk,” because “once someone has been exposed to one type of conspiracy it’s easy to lead them down a path where they embrace more radical world views that can lead to violent extremism.”
In other words, Ahmed implies that people who question the safety and necessity of a COVID-19 vaccine might be prone to violent extremism — a defamatory statement that has no basis in reality.
In its report, “The Anti-Vaxx Playbook,” CCDH identifies six leading online “anti-vaxxers” — Barbara Loe Fisher, Joseph Mercola, Del Bigtree, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Sherri Tenpenny and Andrew Wakefield — and outlined an alleged anti-vaxxer “plan to attack a forthcoming COVID vaccine” based on remarks made by speakers during the Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination, sponsored by the non-profit, Nacional Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) and held online October 16 through 18, 2020.
According to The Washington Post, the report quotes “leaked audio” from the conference. Similarly, in a December 22, 2020, Twitter post, the CCDH states that “Anti-vaxxers have been meeting secretly to plan how to stop the COVID vaccine. We were there. Today we’re exposing their playbook.”
It’s rather laughable. Just who is the conspiracy theorist here? There was no audio to be “leaked” since it was a PUBLIC conference, open to absolutely anyone and everyone, just like the previous four conferences on vaccination that NVIC has held beginning in 1997. It was openly promoted by NVIC, this website, as well as many other groups and was about as far from a “secret meeting” as you could possibly get.
Since the CCDH admitted “being there,” they must have paid the nominal registration attendance fee of $80, as did more than 3,000 other registered attendees from the U.S, Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa. The NVIC conference, which was originally scheduled to be held in a hotel, was produced online for the first time after COVID-19 social distancing and travel restrictions were instituted in March, 2020.
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