2006-04-07 : GOSA Press release : MRC fraud

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2006-04-07 : GOSA Press release : MRC fraud

Postby GOSA » Thu, 2008-12-18 11:58

Date: Fri, 07 Apr 2006 16:35:48 +0200

Subject: GOSA Press release regarding the Victim disarmament group (Gun
Control Alliance) advert in the Argus dated 04 April 2006

This information is released to dispell the untruths as uttered by the victim disarmament group Gun Control Alliance. Please note that the quoted information by GCA is and was disputed previously and proven as inaccurate on many occasions. The creatively application and misquoted statistics are deemed deceitful to the tax paying public and must be challenged.

April 4 2006

Dear Editors,

At the outset, we wish to beg your indulgence for directing such a lengthy complaint to you.

It is possible that the learned members of the MRC's Ethics Committee did not see the articles in the media containing the academic fraud complained of. It is imperative that the MRC's Ethics Committee has access to the articles complained of, which is why those articles are contained herein in an abridged form.

Editors in whose publications the articles below were published have been Bcc:'ed as a courtesy.

On March 31 2006 the article posted below appeared in The Mercury. The article raises many questions:

As a question of fact, did The Mercury knowingly publish matter the publication knew to be false, or was the journalist responsible duped or influenced by the credentials of the medical professionals concerned, and their association with the Medical Research Council which has a world-wide reputation for academic excellence?

Is the close relationship between MRC researchers and Gun Free SA not completely unacceptable and unethical, and the naked bias the MRC shows in favour of Gun Free SA not a disgrace, especially when it influences research?

Are not Doctor Sebastian van As' remarks embarrassing to all of us who have conducted research? Naive, ill-considered, uninformed, perhaps even intellectually dishonest?

The Firearms Control Act van As refers to was enacted in 2000 but only promulgated by Government Gazette with effect from 1 July 2004. That is common cause.

The FCA was not yet law during the period van As distinguishes as coinciding with a decrease in child gunshot injuries.

What is noteworthy about the period of decreasing gunshot injuries to children noted by van As is that it coincides with more than a million new gunowners - mostly from previously disadvantaged communities -- being granted gun licences.

Over the same period there was a massive drop in the overall homicide rate.

According to the latest edition of the Institute of Security Studies's (their graph) SA Crime Quarterly this downward trend has been happening over the past decade:


in the RSA for the period January to December 1994-2002

Ratio per 100 000 of the population

RSA Total
Jan to Dec 1994 69.5

Jan to Dec 1995 67.5

Jan to Dec 1996 63.9

Jan to Dec 1997 59.6

Jan to Dec 1998 59.0

Jan to Dec 1999 55.3

Jan to Dec 2000 49.6

Jan to Dec 2001 47.5

Jan to Dec 2002 47.8

(Editors and our distinguished academics are requested to keep these figures in mind when examining the fraudulent research project Naeema Abrahams refers to in The Mercury article, and the attempt by Gun Free and their MRC researchers to prove a positive correlation between gun ownership and intimate femicide.)

We have to consider the relationship between medical professional and research institution, and ask ourselves to what extent Dr van As' judgement has been clouded by his association with Naeema Abrahams, who is clearly identified in this Mercury article not only as a 'public health representative' but also as being "from the Medical Research Council".

The Mercury article:
Changes to gun laws criticised

March 31, 2006

By Leanne Raymond (abridged)

Cape Town: Gun Free South Africa and public health representatives have slammed a draft amendment Bill to ease the stringent gun laws imposed by the Firearms Control Act.

Instead, these organisations have called for changes to the Act to make it even stronger.

Gun Free SA's Margy Keagen said the amendment Bill, which was being discussed at the Safety and Security Department, proposed to drop the system of licence renewals with updated background checks, and drop controls over how many guns existing gun owners might own.

The head of Trauma at the Red Cross Children's Hospital, Sebastian van As, also representing the Child Accident Prevention Programme, said there had been a marked decrease in children killed and wounded by guns since the new law had been introduced.

He said the number of children under 12 treated for gunshot wounds at his hospital had increased steadily from 32 in 1995 to 43 in 2000. Since the law had been introduced in 2000, the number had dropped to 10 in 2004. Since 1998, the number of children killed by guns nationally had fallen to 700 from 800.

Naeemah Abrahams, from the Medical Research Council, said 1 147 women had been murdered with guns in 1999, representing 33% of all women murdered that year.

"Guns are particularly dangerous in South African homes and their
availability is extensively entwined with violence against women," she said.

The significance of the article above, is that once again researchers from the Medical Research Council are knowingly citing a study about which serious questions have been raised, and knowingly stating conclusions of that study as being true, when those researchers are aware that their conclusions about their study are non-sequitors which have been disproven, and that their methodology has been questioned.

In other words, the MRC researchers, in misrepresenting the veracity of a disproven study, are committing academic fraud!

Gun Free SA has been at pains to try and prove a causative relationship between gun ownership and homicide rates. Now, they have ruined the reputation of the MRC to try and prove that faulty hypothesis. Of course, the relationship between gun ownership and homicide rates is an inverse one. Rather than belabour the point letters written to the Citizen have been pasted below . Mr Williams can attest to publication, in order that Mathews and Abrahams not contend that they were unaware of the publication of serious questions casting doubt on the methodology and conclusions in the MRC study.

"In Citizen letters May 29 2005

THE CITIZEN reported that a new study shows a woman is killed every six hours by her intimate partner. The Reuters report is factually incorrect, writes B NORTJE

THE study was published by the Medical Research Council more than a year ago, as "MRC POLICY BRIEF No. 5, June 2004".
The study is merely being rehashed by Gun Free SA along with the flawed conclusions they draw from the data sets, and presented to the gullible media as "new".
There are useful lessons to be drawn from the study.
Although half of all white families own guns, with whites constituting
only 10% of the population, the rate at which white women who are the victims of intimate femicide are about a quarter of the national
Thus, there would seem to be a strong negative correlation between rates of firearms ownership and femicide. One could say that communities where half the families kept firearms in the house were between three and four times less likely to become the victims - and perpetrators - of intimate femicide than the national average.
There is a positive correlation between alcohol and intimate femicide.
There is a strong positive correlation between cohabitation and intimate femicide.
There is usually a prior history of intimate partner abuse.
Men employed in the security industry comprised 10% of the perpetrators of intimate femicide. Many perpetrators were unemployed.
White perpetrators were most likely to be caught and convicted and those perpetrators who used licensed guns to commit intimate femicide got harsher sentences.
There is a curious lack of precision in the language and conclusions
about the use of licensed guns in intimate femicide which indicates the data sets should be subjected to rigorous peer review.
The study admits that it was more difficult to get a conviction if the
cause of death was a gunshot, while at the same time pointing out that 20% of the perpetrators "had a licensed gun", instead of "used a licensed gun" to commit femicide.

Isn't it strange that different sets of researchers can come to
different conclusions about the same data sets?"

"SA men love you to death", by Deborah Graham,
The Citizen 27 May 2005, refers:

Deborah Graham reports on the Medical Research Council's discredited study that shows that a woman is killed every six hours by her intimate partner. The MRC's Shanaaz Mathews is quoted in Graham's report as saying that "the study highlighted the tragic impact of legal gunownership".

Mathews' conclusion is a non-sequitor. There is a glaring hole in the
MRC study. Gun Free SA has often stated that half of all white families own guns. The intimate femicide rate among whites is 2,8 per 100 000, a fraction of the overall intimate femicide rate of 8,8 per 100 000.

Contrary to Mathews' assertion, that shows pretty conclusively that
there is an inverse correlation between gun ownership and intimate
femicide. Thus, the higher the rate of gun ownership in a community, the lower the prevalence of intimate femicide.

Of course, this simple piece of logic turns the MRC report on its head.
The taxpayers of this country have the right to know who was refereeing/monitoring this research project. Was the glaringly obvious ignored because of the ideological bias of the researchers? Why did red lights not go on when the research project was vetted prior to publication?

Bias is pretty apparent from the fact that Mathews has no qualms about riding roughshod over the liberty of 2 500 000 gunowners thanks to the murder/suicides of 100 security guards in 1999.

There is a bigger problem though: If Mathews and Co persist in stating the discredited conclusions of the MRC study as fact is this not certain to reflect on the credibility and integrity of the Medical Research Council as an academic institution?

B Nortje"

Well, Mathews and Co did persist in stating the discredited conclusions of the MRC study as fact and that does reflect on the credibility and integrity of the Medical Research Council as an academic institution.
This dishonesty is not a random occurrence. It is part of a serial and systematic abuse of statistics and misrepresentation of information gleaned from research paid for by the taxpayer.

Of course, their continued reference to the conclusions of the study - that gun ownership posed a significant threat of intimate femicide - after the publication of the letter in The Citizen is completely unethical. Red lights should have started flickering - to the researchers, and their supervisors - when it became known that white women (part of the methodology of the study was to distinguish between intimate femicide rates in the white, black, Indian and Coloured communities) were the victims of intimate femicide at a rate of a quarter of the national average per 100 000 while the rates of gun ownership in white families was 50%. The study also shows that white perpetrators of femicide murder at a quarter of the national average rate!

Immediately the MRC researchers saw this, they should have known that they had just disproved their own hypothesis.

Yet, Dr. Naeema Abrahams and Shanaaz Mathews continue flaunting the conclusions of their flawed study on national platforms (with Gun Free SA) and passing those conclusions off as fact.
In Die Burger of 18 October 2005, by Elsabe Britz (abridged)

KAAPSTAD - Vroue wie se mans 'n vuurwapen besit, het 'n tien
keer groter kans om deur hul mans met daardie vuurwapen
vermoor te word as vroue wie se mans nie 'n vuurwapen besit

Vuurwapens, waarvan die meerderheid wettig is, word in 'n derde
van alle voorvalle gebruik waar vroue sterf. In die helfte van
dié sterfgevalle word vroue deur hulle intieme lewensmaat vermoor.

Dr. Naeema Abrahams van die gender- en gesondheidsnavorsingseenheid van die Mediese Navorsingsraad het gister by die derde Suid-Afrikaanse konferensie oor gendergeweld en gesondheid by Spier gepraat.

Sy het gesê vuurwapens word in Suid-Afrika nie vir beskerming
gebruik nie, maar deur mans teen hul intieme lewensmaats en baie
keer teen die kinders ook.

Dit word ook gebruik on lewensmaats, wat vroue, vriendinne en
voormalige lewensmaats insluit, te dreig en te manipuleer.

"Die vuurwapenkultuur is deel van die manlike kultuur in die land.
Dit word geassosieer met mans se status. Vroue kan nie voor
koeëls vlug nie," het sy gesê.

Navorsing wat onder andere deur haar gedoen is, het getoon in 20% van alle gevalle waar vroue sterf aan die hand van hul intieme lewensmaats, het die man 'n gelisensieerde vuurwapen gehad. In meer as 11% van dié gevalle was die man in die een of ander sekerheidsdiens, soos 'n sekerheidsbeampte, polisiebeampte of persoon uit die weermag.

Volgens Abrahams is die kanse vir vroueslagting tien keer groter indien die man 'n vuurwapen besit vergeleke met wanneer die man nie 'n vuurwapen besit nie.

Me. Shanaaz Mathews, ook van die Mediese Navorsingsraad, het gesê 20% van alle mans wat hul intieme lewensmaats vermoor, pleeg binne 'n week ná die voorval selfmoord.

Sy het gesê 80% van die sterftes sou voorkom gewees her as die man nie in besit was van 'n vuurwapen nie.

"'n Dubbele moord sou ook voorkom gewees het. Vuurwapeneienaarskap is 'n aansienlike risiko vir vroueslagting," het sy gesê.

The Daily News was also the victim of a deliberate fraud.

SA 'intimate femicide' rated world's highest

By Robbie Brown (abridged)

South African women are the most likely in the world to be murdered by their partners - one dies every 12 hours according to a study released by the Medical Research Council's Gender and Health Unit.

The nation suffers an "intimate femicide" rate six times as high as those in America or Canada.

"The most common place for a woman to die is in her own home," said Shanaaz Mathews, a researcher at the Gender and Health Unit.

'The material released at the seminar shows exactly why we need the Firearms Control Act'
The Gender and Health Unit held a recent seminar with the Commission on Gender and Equality to discuss ways of reducing South Africa's high household murder rate.

"The gun is bought theoretically to protect the household members. In fact, it is being used against them," said Margy Keegan, the national advocacy manager for Gun Free South Africa.

GFSA responded to the seminar by calling for the government to maintain its enforcement of the Firearms Control Act, despite efforts by the gun lobby to dismantle the legislation.

"The material released at the seminar shows exactly why we need the Firearms Control Act," Keegan said.

The Medical Research Council also reported that only 24 percent of cases involving intimate femicide resulted in convictions of the partner. And the average sentence in these cases was less than 10 years.

The council based its findings on data from 1999, the most recent year available because of the confidentiality of crime material.

Researchers said they could not access more recent domestic violence statistics because of the poor condition of police records.
This article was originally published on page 5 of The Daily News on June 06, 2005
When is this abuse by the MRC of the owners of registered guns going to end?

Do gunowners have to approach the MRC's peers and every medical school across the world to show them how lamentable the standards of research ethics at the MRC are?

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