Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The Police State preys on the elderly

"75-year-old Patsy McGrath was angered by the “frighteningly wide” powers police had to intrude on her privacy."

COMMENTS -

Last Saturday as I was trying to sleep in there was a loud knock at the door by two cops saying that they wanted to “talk” to me about Exit International.

It turns out that the fascist State, which is starving just about every welfare group in the community of funds, including suicide support groups, not only wants to tell people how they should live their lives, but how to die as well.

In this case it has elderly people in its crosshairs – people who have lived and worked to build up a caring society but have now made a rational decision to end their lives peacefully without stepping off a bridge or putting their necks in a noose.

The two cops who made it to my doorstep but no further made it quite clear that they were after the person who has led the Wellington chapter of Exit International - “we are going to put S. out of action”, they said.

One would have thought they were talking about a dangerous criminal.

Their intent was to intimidate, with the transparently false line of checking after people’s “welfare” when that was clearly the very last thing they had on their mind. Their appearance would have had an intimidating effect on elderly and law-abiding people and was clearly designed to have that effect.

75-year-old Patsy McGrath was correctly angered by the “frighteningly wide” powers police had to intrude on her privacy.

It was patently clear that they have been spying on the group and have a list of all the members of the group and may well have infiltrated the group with the aim of targeting one particular member.

You just have a look at the photos below to see the latest group in New Zealand to be criminalised by the John Key regime - the elderly and the chronically-ill and dying.

Then think of Helen Kelly and her quest for help in the form of medicinal marijuana and the acts of a malign government minister, Peter Dunne to deny her of the one thing that gave her comfort as she was dying of lung cancer.

The police have always been the repressive arm of the State throughout history. Now they carry out raids on journalists and lately, on the elderly at the very time when they have been starved of funds to carry out traditional policing activity.

Speaking for myself, I refuse to be intimidated and am determined to exercise my personal sovereignty to live a life of excellence, that is ethical and harmless to others, while speaking out strongly against the increasing injustices in our society.


---SMR


This is an ethical issue that all of us are going to have to face as we move towards devastating and abrupt climate change as well as the  breakdown of civil society as we move towards the Police State.

Cops intimidate elderly in euthanasia raids in Lower Hutt
Elderly raided for suicide drugs as police conduct anti-euthanasia operation


17 October, 2016

Two elderly Wellington women with suicide drugs have been pounced on by police, who are conducting a national operation thought to be targeting a euthanasia group.

Police have confirmed a Lower Hutt woman was arrested and faces two charges of importing a class C drug as part of an "ongoing investigation".

It is understood a second elderly woman was also involved in the October 7 raid, part of what police are calling Operation Painter, and that one of the women spent the night in a police cell.

Exit International director Philip Nitschke said police raided several elderly members of his group as part of a world-first clampdown on his organisation.

"It is ludicrous to try to argue that these raids are in the best interest of the Exit members raided," he said.

Exit International director Philip Nitschke says police are cracking down on his euthanasia group's elderly members.

"They are clearly designed to intimidate and frighten, and send a message that the elderly are not to have control over their own death."

Police have repeatedly refused to say what the drug was, the age of the arrested woman, or when she would appear in court. They have also refused to comment on claims they had got hold of Exit's membership list and were working their way through it.

Nitschke said the police operation was a "proactive" attack on euthanasia on a scale not seen in any country in which Exit operated, and the Lower Hutt case was the first charge of its kind in New Zealand.

Supporters of voluntary euthanasia at the presentation of a petition to Parliament in June.
Supporters of voluntary euthanasia at the presentation of a petition to Parliament in June.

"It is a bit of a series of attacks on Exit. This is quite a unique development."

He said it appeared a police task force had "infiltrated" Exit, whose members have an average age of 75, as they cracked down on people wanting the option of dying on their own terms.

Pentobarbital, which has the trade name Nembutal and is the euthanasia drug of choice for Exit International, cannot be legally obtained in New Zealand, but can be imported from overseas.

Euthanasia advocate Lesley Martin in 2006. She claims Nitschke is a "rogue and a maverick", who is undermining the campaign to legalise euthanasia.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, it is classified as a class C drug, and the maximum penalty for importation is eight years in jail. That compares with penalties of about 10 years in jail for anyone assisting another in suicide.

Nitschke was not aware of any previous cases of New Zealanders being charged for importing Nembutal. During the past 20 years, only four Australians had been charged.

Each Australian case had resulted in a fine, but no conviction.

"STUFF THE LAW"

Euthanasia advocate Lesley Martin, who served half a 15-month jail sentence for helping her terminally ill mother to die, said Nitschke was a "rogue and a maverick", who was undermining the campaign to legalise euthanasia.

She claimed Exit operated at the fringes of the law, and said there was a divide between Exit and the Voluntary Euthanasia Society (VES).

"[Exit] just say stuff the law, we will provide the method and means for people to do it themselves ...

"It's just the same old, same old – he's still not helping the overall situation of legitimising and legalising euthanasia."

VES spokesman Dave Barber was at pains to distance the society from Exit, but was surprised at the police raids.

"A parliamentary committee is currently holding a public inquiry into the whole issue of assisted dying," he said.

Surveys consistently showed between 60 and 70 per cent of New Zealanders favoured a change in the law, and he believed police would "perhaps be better advised to await the outcome of the inquiry".

On the same day as the Wellington raids, Nelson police turned up at the door of 76-year-old voluntary euthanasia advocate Patsy McGrath with a warrant to seize her store-bought helium balloon kit, which could be used for suicide.

She handed over the kit, but said later she was angered by the "frighteningly wide" powers police had to intrude on her privacy.


Customs does not have specific figures for Nembutal seizures. In 2015 it made 1458 seizures of class C drugs, which included Nembutal.
Euthanasia advocate Patsy McGrath had her store-bought helium balloon kit seized by Nelson police on the same day as a ...


"I think they were embarrassed actually. I didn't bother to make them tell me. I knew more about it than they did.

"I nearly asked them if they wanted my fireworks as well."

What's more, the equipment, which she kept as an "insurance policy", could be easily replaced. The policemen agreed, she said.

However, she later felt angry about the "frighteningly wide" powers police had to intrude on her privacy.

"I thought what an infringement of my rights. They would actually have had the right to pull my house to bits."

A police spokesperson, who refused to be named, said via email that the warrant was served as part of "ongoing police enquiries".

"We are not able to get into specifics at this time," the email read.

Another spokeswoman corroborated what McGrath understood from the visiting officers; She herself was not under scrutiny but rather held evidence relevant to a wider investigation.

McGrath was told the warrant to confiscate her helium tank was the only one issued in Nelson. Police would not say whether similar seizures are underway elsewhere.

She was also given a letter suggesting support services for depression and offering contact details for the "Operation Painter investigation team" at Wellington Central Police Station.

When contacted, police said they were unaware of the operation.

"I think the law should should stay out of my house," McGrath said, adding that she is not causing anyone harm and owning such "toys" is not illegal.

"I just think it's my body, my choice and my responsibility if something goes wrong.

"I've felt it about homosexual law reform, gay marriage and abortion. This battle, voluntary euthanasia, is the one I've chosen for the end of my life."

Not afraid of making herself heard, McGrath has campaigned for choice in many of the social revolutions that shaped modern day New Zealand.

She attended so many rallies and marches in her younger days that she had a generic "virtues" sign to suit all occasions, she said.

But it was her sister's slow death from multiple sclerosis that convinced her she didn't want a life of dependence.

An author and university lecturer in the UK, Daphne was "incredibly courageous" in the face of her diminishing mobility.

"She could blow a straw, moving it up and down, to call a nurse to call a helper to get her to change the channel on the radio to get the music she liked. In the end she had eye movement.

"It was incredibly heartbreaking for everyone else around her," McGrath said. "I just knew I didn't want to live like that."

She said husband Patrick's losing battle with Alzheimer's disease in recent years has been equally hard to bear. He was also a member of Exit International.

"Even though it would be better for my husband to die, I did not think it would be right to help him."

Like more than 21,000 other Kiwis, McGrath has submitted to the current parliamentary inquiry into euthanasia.


She said the freedom to have the right to die would improve society

Not that I'm particularly worried about what "mainstream New Zealand" thinks, but it is interesting that according to this poll 82 percent of New Zealanders agree with me (and disagree with the government and the police)
Here is some previous publicity on the issue.
Thousands of older people exploring 'rational suicide': Nitschke

Pat and Peter Shaw took their own lives together in their home when they were both aged 87.

Thousands of older people are investigating peaceful methods to end their own lives because they want to control the nature and timing of their death, says controversial euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke.

The former doctor said there was a developing trend of baby boomers and people over 70 wanting to avoid "end of life medical nightmares" in which they are seriously ill and or feel trapped in a hospital or nursing home where it can be difficult to take your own life.

The head of Exit International said these people were "used to getting their own way and less likely to accept the 'doctor knows best' approach to issues as fundamental as one's death", and were sourcing a reliable lethal drug to stash in case they wanted to use it in the future.


Most of these people were putting themselves at legal risk to import and possess that drug, Nitschke said, and some were getting caught up in blackmail scams where supposed suppliers threaten to report people to the police if they do not pay large sums of money online.

While customs are frequently intercepting the drug, Nitschke said he knew of only three people in 10 years to be charged with importing it after customs tracked the order to them. All three received fines and were not convicted of a criminal offence.

Last week, the story of Peter and Pat Shaw was published in Australia – Exit members who took their own lives together in their home when they were both aged 87. Before their deaths, they told their family they were rational, had lived full lives, and did not want to run the risk of further ill health and institutionalisation.

In response to their story, Nitschke called for the decriminalisation of people aged over 70 who import or possess the drug he promotes for a peaceful death. He said while many doctors "peddle" a line that you cannot be rational and take your own life, he believed otherwise and that the Shaws were a good example.

Professor Ian Hickie​, a psychiatrist and mental health campaigner, said he thought it was tragic that people wanted to "check out" of life because of myths and negative stereotypes about ageing, pain relief, hospitals and how the health system treats elderly people.


He said while some people may not have a mental illness when they end their own life, Exit International's approach to teaching people about suicide was reaching vulnerable people who could, with further assistance, live a longer, enjoyable life.

Here is what the police are giving out to people, treating them as if they were vulnerable teenagers rather than people who have thought long and hard and come to a rational decision.

No doubt some of these organisations will be fighting for their continued existance in the face of government funding cuts.

For what it is worth the people who I have met are some of the people I have met are some of the least-depressed and most considerate and thoughtful people I have encountered.

The Mental Health Foundation's free Resource and Information Service (09 623 4812) will refer callers to some of the helplines below:

Lifeline - 0800 543 354 
Depression Helpline (8 am to 12 midnight) - 0800 111 757 
Healthline - 0800 611 116
Samaritans - 0800 726 666 (for callers from the Lower North Island, Christchurch and West Coast) or 0800 211 211 / (04) 473 9739 (for callers from all other regions)
Suicide Crisis Helpline (aimed at those in distress, or those who are concerned about the wellbeing of someone else) - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) 
Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz


Three people smuggled lethal drugs into Australian hospitals last year so their loved ones could secretly take their own lives when nobody was watching, euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke claims.

The head of Exit International said all three patients were elderly people with serious illnesses when they took a lethal drug in their hospital beds. They were being cared for at the Royal Prince Alfred and Concord hospitals in Sydney and the Austin hospital in Melbourne.

In each case, a partner or adult child took the lethal drug to them in hospital, Nitschke - known as "Dr Death" - said. The patients had previously acquired the drug in case they wanted to take their own lives one day.

Nitschke, a former medical practitioner, said the three people took their drug overnight while no hospital staff were watching. The next morning, their deaths were recorded with no suspicion about how they died.

"In each one of those three cases, there have been no questions asked. It's not surprising because they were very sick. The assumption was that they just died," he said.

The cases are now being used by Nitschke in his workshops on assisted death. He said while many people fear they will not be able to take their own lives in hospitals or other institutions such as nursing homes, these recent stories show it can be done.

However, he warned that if the relatives were caught smuggling a lethal drug into a hospital, they could be charged with criminal offences including assisting a suicide.

Nitschke recently tore up his medical licence after the Medical Board of Australia demanded he stop discussing suicide if he wanted to keep his medical registration. He has since continued his work with Exit International.

Dr Rodney Syme, of Dying with Dignity Victoria, said he had never heard of families assisting people to die in hospitals in such a fashion. However, he said the reports added to the case for assisted dying laws in Australia. If there were more options for people to end their lives when the time was right for them, he said clandestine suicides in hospitals would not happen.

Margaret Tighe​, of Right to Life Australia, said it was appalling that Nitschke was promoting these deaths. She said the hospitals should investigate them and boost their security.

While spokespeople for the hospitals said they did not know anything about the deaths, a spokesman for NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said: "Any matter of this nature should be referred to the appropriate agency, the police, and accompanied by details and evidence of the illegal activity."

A spokesperson for federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said she was "disturbed by any serious breach of accepted or ethical medical standards and this certainly falls into that category".

"Obviously our department will need to obtain more information from the relevant health offices in both states before we could comment in any detail," her spokesperson said.

A spokeswoman for Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy would not comment on the reported deaths, but said the Victorian government was introducing laws this year to give people more choice about the kind of medical care they want or do not want in the event of future illnesses such as cancer or dementia.

The Australian Medical Association would not comment on the report, but Secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Lee Thomas, said: "It is unfortunate that any person needs to resort to drastic measures to relieve their pain."

"Overwhelmingly ANMF members support the right to die with dignity and many have been engaged in the dying with dignity movement," her statement said.

POSTSCRIPT

For those who want guidance they can find it by just a short search on the internet although, now, thanks to the actions of police without the support of others.


For anyone interested in the ethical and moral aspects of voluntary euthanasia I can recommend Every Cradle Is a Grave: Rethinking the Ethics of Birth and Suicide by Sarah Perry who was interviewed last year by Guy McPherson.
 


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