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Bullying on the Australian Independent Media Network "AIM"

Michael Taylor, co-owner of The AIM Network, and his on-line associate, Kate Lee, have wrongly and publicly accused me of promoting on the AIM Network site the argument that Martin Bryant was unfairly convicted of the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre, using this to characterise me as a 'conspiracy theorist'. My commenting ability was terminated as Taylor was publicly accusing me of lying and insisting on a response. To me, this was clearly an attempt to shout down views that were against their preferred argument and, when that failed, they cut me off. Even if I had written a piece about Martin Bryant and even if it it had been proven to be rubbish, this should not come into an argument about something entirely unrelated - population numbers. For this reason I am publishing this abreviated record of our exchanges, and commenting on the behaviour others have also encountered on this so-called 'alternative media' site. I think it is important to warn people of how they may be treated on the AIM Network, because of the importance of providing respectful true alternatives to the Mainstream Media (msm). The AIM Network purports to be independent media, but many of its articles seem to mirror the propaganda attitudes of the mainstream news. The AIM site seems to be dominated by a socialist alliance brigade that has attempted to take over every indymedia site in Australia.

Other examples of the bullying behaviour include the treatment of an excellent AIM author, Sean Stinson, whose work can be read at https://theaimn.com/author/sean-stinson/. His article, "Aleppo has been liberated, so why isn’t anyone talking about it?"(December 15, 2016). This was the article that first attracted me to the site. I made comments on it, but the aggressive trolling drove me away. There were over 200 comments on that article, but Stinson's latest article, July 1st, "When Governments Lie: Humanitarian intervention from Serbia to Syria and beyond," has only 21 comments, and similar trolling. Have the trolls destroyed Stinson's readership? To one of the trolls, Sean says, "Honestly, the level of petty tribalism I see here does my head in some times." And, you will see in the extracts of comments from my own recent experience of the AIM Network, that the co-owner of the site, Michael Taylor, and his on-line-associate, Kaye Lee, blithely malign Stinson with the description of 'conspiracy theorist', which is such a gratuitous insult to this excellent writer. Taylor later says of himself: "I believe that aliens have visited Earth (and still are)."

Abbreviated record of comments exchanged relevant to my complaint

I went to the AIM site (https://theaimn.com/) a few evenings ago to read an article "Let's talk about Immigration" and attempted to respond to it, but was quite quickly trolled again. When I complained about this, I discovered that my attackers were the co-owner of the site and the author. I was responding to an article on population which very much resembled the Liberal Population Taskforce in its arguments, which called for 'regionalisation', suggested that we needed immigrants to maintain our population size and compensate for an aging population, and uncritically used the demographic transition dogma, piling on the cliches.

I commented using some counterarguments, such as, why would we want to reproduce the population numbers of today and how our population could not possibly 'plateau' if we keep pouring in immigrants and the demographic transition 'theory' simply does not take into account immigration.

Well! It seems that my contrary opinion needed to be combatted by marshalling some red herrings and personalised aspersions. The author of the article and the co-owner of the site, Michael Taylor, joined in implying that I was the author of conspiracy theories about Martin Bryant. Kaye Lee also said she would not be 'checking my website' because her 'computer’s security blocks it'. [I wish to correct any damage this remark made as well: It sounded as if her browser had hijacked her to a completely different site with a different IP address but a similar name and no SSL certificate denoting a secure site.]

This is when I identified them both as trolls, because I had experienced them attacking others and myself previously. I was unaware that Taylor was the co-owner. I had also not noticed that Kaye Lee was the author, or, I would not have bothered commenting on the article, having experienced her attitude previously. I wrote, "You and Michael Taylor have an agenda to disrupt this forum and have tried to do so several times before in my experience."

Things then degenerated:

Michael Taylor August 17, 2017
"I seem to remember you doing a lengthy expose on how Martin Bryant is innocent …"
Ah yes. Now I remember. I thought her name [mine] sounded familiar.

Michael TaylorAugust 17, 2017
And the conspiracies continue, I see.

Michael Taylor August 17, 2017 at 8:10 pm
Nah. Just another conspiracy theory. [...] The only agenda I have is to ridicule conspiracy theorists.

Sheila Newman wrote: August 17, 2017
I mean they have repeatedly attacked me with the untrue accusation that I wrote an article about Martin Bryant

Michael Taylor wrote: Please show me where I ever said that?
I have never, ever said that. I call you a liar.

Kaye LeeAugust 17, 2017 at 9:38 pm
Sheila, you DID come here and write extensively about how Port Arthur was a conspiracy and linked to articles at your site. [Sheila : No evidence for this allegation was ever given.]
It is why I remember you so it is hardly a personal attack – it’s the truth. Your faux outrage is disingenuous. You may not have written the original article but you came here and tried to convince us all about the conspiracy theory. That made me doubt your credibility. As I recall, you were inviting Sean Stinson to come and write for you because you agreed with many of his conspiracy theories.

Michael TaylorAugust 17, 2017
She might not be here for a while, Kaye. My guess is she’s searching through all my comments to see what I didn’t say.

Sheila NewmanAugust 17, 2017
Would you please show me where I ‘came here and wrote extensively about how Port Arthur was a conspiracy and linked to articles at candobetter.net.’

Sheila NewmanAugust 17, 2017
Michael, No, haven’t gone searching.

SHEILA: I don’t appreciate being insulted …

Michael Taylor August 17, 2017
And I don’t appreciate being lied about.
And I’m still waiting for you to provide the evidence to back up your claim.

Kaye Lee wrote“You may not have written the original article…”

Sheila Newman wrote: Thank you for admitting it. [Note that I also did not argue the theory on their website, or any other to my knowledge.]

Michael Taylor wrote: “As I recall, you were inviting Sean Stinson to come and write for you because you agreed with many of his conspiracy theories.”

Sheila wrote: Stinson is a damned good writer. Do you and Michael attack everyone that disagrees with the mainstream as a conspiracy theorist?

Michael TaylorAugust 17, 2017 at 11:06 pm
Not me. I prefer to “attack” people who lie about me. And guess what? You have lied about me.
And yes, Sean is a very good writer. I disagree with 99% of what he writes but I have never attacked him for it.
It was me, after all, who invited him to write for The AIMN.
I have met Sean and he’s a likeable young man.

Michael TaylorAugust 17, 2017 at 11:12 pm
And for the record – as far as conspiracies go – I believe the CIA killed Kennedy. I believe that there are a few unanswered questions over 9/11. I believe that aliens have visited Earth (and still are). I believe that the US is not run by a government, but a government “within” the government.

So tell me again … where do I attack people who write about conspiracy theories.
But as far as Port Arthur goes, that one is just weird.
Now, I’m bored with you. If you can’t produce the evidence I asked for, I will forever think you’re a liar.
Let me put it bluntly: you’re not welcome here.

My attempt to respond to the last two insulting comments from Michael was defeated by being locked out of the comment function. But I am going to publish my comment here:

Twice I have attempted to reply to your intemperate remarks, but the comment has not registered. I cited your remark implying that I was a 'conspiracy theorist'. You wrote: I seem to remember you doing a lengthy expose on how Martin Bryant is innocent..." and your remark, "The only agenda I have is to ridicule conspiracy theorists." I find that you have raised untrue irrelevancies and have trolled me. You have failed to provide any evidence that I have argued about Martin Bryant on this forum (or any other). Bullying me by calling me a liar and telling me I am unwelcome on this site because you cannot deal with another point of view is sad and pathetic. I am only responding to you because someone needs to stand up to you.

Although there is nothing that shows me regarding me arguing about Martin Bryant on the AIM site, I did find them and a few others bullying a commenter called Charlie, who did argue that the case against Martin Bryant was questionable, here: https://theaimn.com/dissolve-fog-lies-try-truth/comment-page-1/#comments. He never said anything irrational, unreasonable, or immoderate, but finished up responding to this remark:

“I have more facts in my thumb nail than you do in a lifetime.”

with,

"and yet you cant post a single fact that proves the official account of the Port Arthur Massacre, or the official account of 9/11, true, beyond all reasonable doubt..
I doubt you know the meaning of the word fact."

To which the lordly Michael Taylor said,

Michael TaylorDecember 7, 2016 at 9:23 pm
Is anybody else growing tiresome of this irritant?"

and Charlie disappeared.

With regard to the case of Martin Bryant, among the more than 6000 articles on https://candobetter.net, are articles on Martin Bryant in the section called "Heresies" on this site, but I did not write any of them and I have not pushed them on any site.

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Comments

Hi Sheila,

Sorry you experienced this on that site. I have encountered some vitriol and intolerance on that site also (not by the people you mention), but fortunately that has been occasionally offset by some very sympathetic and supportive statements from others - a shame that didn't happen in your case. It has stuck me that are some very strident, aggressive outspoken people commenting there that seemed to have cowed out those prepared to have a broader and more tolerant conversation which is a shame, as it could be a good forum for discussion. I am glad that candobetter is so supportive of discussion a wide range of ideas. Even if some of them are ones you or others don't agree with - the comments fortunately have always been extremely civil to authors. For that I thank you and all candobetter readers! It is a really rare thing to see forums where people are not attacked in a rabid manner these days - even The Age and the The Guardian have a somewhat feral audience (not all of course, but enough to make the comments unpleasant to read).