Random Analytica

Random thoughts, charts, infographics & analysis. Not in that order

54. Mefloquine Dispatches: Mefloquine kills Penguins, 13th March 2023 (Final)

The Quinism Foundation puts out a Newsletter. The stories usually featured are a mixture of military and legal write-ups but April’s edition had a medical study that stuck out. I’ve gone to the abstract via BioOne Complete. Suspected Mefloquine Toxicity in a Colony of Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti). Abstract:

Avian malaria is an important cause of mortality in captive penguins housed in outdoor exhibits. Mefloquine was used as a prophylaxis to treat a colony of 19 Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) for avian malaria. A target dose of 30 mg/kg was obtained from anecdotal literature for sphenisciforms that was not based on pharmacokinetic or toxicity studies. For this reason, preliminary plasma concentrations of mefloquine were acquired after the first dose in some penguins to ensure that plasma concentrations reached human malaria prophylactic concentrations. Afterward, each penguin in the entire colony received mefloquine (26–31 mg/kg [125 mg in toto] PO q7d). Regurgitation was frequently observed starting after the fourth weekly administration. Plasma concentrations of mefloquine after the seventh dose showed elevated concentrations, and the treatment was immediately terminated. Eight penguins died during and after the treatment period. The first fatality occurred after the fifth weekly administration, and 7 birds died within 7–52 days after the seventh weekly administration. Three penguins were found dead without previous symptoms. The other five presented with marked lethargy, dyspnea, poor appetite, and vomiting, and all died despite medical care. The remaining 11 penguins of the colony survived without any supportive care; 5 did not exhibit any clinical disease signs, while the other 6 showed a mild apathy and decreased appetite. Mefloquine toxicity was highly suspected on the basis of clinical signs, the elevated mefloquine plasma concentrations, and no other underlying pathologic disease conditions identified through postmortem examinations. Nonspecific lesions, including pulmonary congestion and edema and hepatic perivascular hematopoiesis, were noted in the birds that died. Additionally, 1 case presented with myocarditis, and mycobacteria were observed within granulomas in the respiratory tract of 2 penguins. Caution is advised, and further studies are encouraged before administering mefloquine to penguins.

Half the weekly recommended dose for humans. Case Fatality Rate of 42.1%.

53. Mefloquine Dispatches: Psychiatrists don’t get Quinism, 24th March 2023 (Final)

Posted without commentary…

52. Mefloquine Dispatches: Queensland Police Service, 11th October 2006

G*, ever forgetful, left her company phone (a Nokia E50 I believe) somewhere on the way to work. When she realised her mistake, she called her number from work. Unfortunately, a meth-head had picked it up and was demanding $50 for it’s return. The Grub is lucky. J* was G* on-again/off-again boyfriend and highly protective of her. He was on the road at the time and if had of got involved who knows what might have happened. Hell, I just wanted to kill the Grub just for being a meth-head but G* decided that we should ring the police instead and get some professional advice.

They had a plan. I had 15-minutes to put it together.

I’ll let the Statement tell the story and I’ll add a couple of notes at the end.



Just a bit more detail on the witness statement.

Point 1: The sentence about my address sounds a bit ominous, but it is just a protection for witnesses giving evidence.

Point 5: I cannot remember who was my sidekick here, but I suspect it was AV* or AS*? I’ll follow-up but after the swap went down, he would have taken G* back to the office as she was quite shaken.

Point 6: The Grub. Target acquired.

Point 7: The Grub. Stand over merchant.

Point 10: This is where it becomes personal for me. When he drops the “Where’s my fucken thank you” he is right in G*s face, sneering at her. He doesn’t just walk away; he does an immediate 180-degree turn around and is walking away fast. I check on G*. She is shaken but ok and my colleague starts to take her back to the office. I go hunting.

Point 12: I’ve had training. The Grub is a zero. He takes some rudimentary precautions but doesn’t see the threat. I’m not a copper though. I blend in.

Point 13: Funny little detail here. The QPS should have arrested the Grub at the swap but were running late. I’m tailing the Grub. The QPS are tailing me, and we are now in contact via mobile phone, but they get caught by a red light. They were actually asking if I was in danger which would allow them, legally, to run the red-light. I think I laughed at that. Not my first rodeo.

Point 15: I have been following the Grub for 30-minutes at this stage. He doesn’t even know. The two QPS officers finally catch up with me.

Point 16: I identify the target as he enters a white building. The QPS officer are right on his hammer and I reckon he got arrested just out of my line of vision. I laugh. Jobs done.

Point 19: Terrible sentence structure. My bad.

Post Note (1): Even though Nokia’s were pretty basic back in the day, replacing company phones was a tiresome chore and expensive. G* would have gladly given anyone $20 – $50 just to find it and return it. As a gift. The Grub was a meth-head zero on the grift.

Post Note (2): I never appeared. My witness statement was enough to convince him to plead. He had a very long rap-sheet. Not sure of the sentence. Don’t care.

Post Note (3): I believe G* & J* are happily married and living in Melbourne now. Another fact-check but a pleasant one.


  1. Witness Statement. Shane Granger on behalf of the Queensland Police Service. [14.11.2006]

51. Mefloquine Dispatches: CTC Employment & Training Services, 2011 – 2012 (Final)

It all started with a signature.

My Employment Pathway Plan was signed just one-week before ANZAC Day in 2011. It would end in disaster like most things in my life. I made the mistake of believing that an Employment agency was about, well, employment.

It is a grift. Here is one example.

I cannot blame CTC Employment & Training Services, who were bought out by Intowork in 2015, alone for costing me my last $100,000+ job in 2012. I was struggling with my disease, Quinism. I was also drinking quite heavily, probably due to my undiagnosed PTSD. As much as I love Utopia my first experience of being a consultant to the APS had not lived up to expectations. I’d been in the Army but most of my post university work was for corporations or businesses. The APS works differently.

I was employed at CASA as the Workforce Planning specialist reporting to HR. When the call came in, I was quietly told by a colleague that I might have a problem. My employment service provider, CTC had rung HR enquiring if I “really” worked at the Authority. When I heard it, I went cold immediately. Then I got angry. I remember staggering down the stairs in a rage. I steer myself outside to a quiet area, and I scream down the phone at JL* on my mobile. I can see my breath. Even though it was February it was an unusually cool summer.

JL* is contrite. She tries to explain. The new girl was unaware of my situation. Didn’t believe my job role. Thought it a bit of a joke. AEF* was her handle. She might even enjoy the job. HR departments and job agencies employ similar profiles.

“She just cost me my fucking job. They are all fucking sharks down here”. I’m not sure if I disconnected the phone before I rage or after. Doesn’t matter. I need to cage my shit. People are looking. I breathe. I gather myself. I go back to work. I might have even gone out for lunch.

When I get back to my desk, I get this cheery email from JL*



CTC must have been worried that I might complain. Part of the “employment services” grift is that they get payments for “milestones”. I must have triggered the three-month in employment milestone. AEF* notices my title or something and thinks it is a joke or that I am a drug dealer? AEF* job that day was to call employers, to double check people so CTC can get paid a bonus payment. I’m not an expert in social security legislation or contracts but in the Finance Industry it is called a ‘clip the ticket’ business.

Approximately one month later I get an email from AEF*. She asks how work is going. It is not cold outside anymore. I have returned from Canberra and am already back in Gympie trying to work out what to do next. CASA has fired me.

In my final interview , the beautiful HR lady, told me that the Authority and I were not the ‘right fit’. My Separation date is the 29th of February, and I am paid approx. $5,000 clear.

My last drinks in Canberra were on a Thursday afternoon on the 1st of March. That weekend my eldest son, aged just six, flew down for a weekend before we returned to Queensland together.


I lied to AEF* because if I walked into that office I might rage.

Not saying that CTC Employment & Training Services got me fired from my $100,000+ job directly.

They just fired the coup-de-grâce.


  1. CTC Employment (Email). JL* on behalf of CTC Employment & Training Services. [9.02.2012]
  2. Employment Pathway Plan (Contract). CTC Employment & Training Services. [18.04.2011]
  3. Hi Shane (Email). AEF* on behalf of CTC Employment & Training Services. [12.03.2012]
  4. Offer of Specified-Term Employment (Letter). BK*on behalf of CASA. [5.03.2011]
  5. Separation Letter. Corporate Services on behalf of CASA. [29.02.2012]
  6. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinism [Accessed 19.03.23]

50. Mefloquine Dispatches: STFU, 24th February 2023 (Final)

Let it go, Boyz. No one cares.

To the Lost.

Review: The Answer to the Riddle Is Me. A Tale of Amnesia (David Stuart MacLean, 2014)

With information moving at the pace it does these days, picking up a book that is almost a decade old on a subject I thought I understood seemed a reasonable next step on my journey. I’ve only just started reading after a ten-year hiatus, so I have my learning wheels on at the moment. Mefloquine cannot be as bad as my first book? I’ve just finished The Tattooist of Auschwitz which goes into a firsthand account of Josef Mengele.

So, I’m reading about David’s journey, and I get sucker punched with the following paragraph.

I was not aware of this at all. I immediately check Wikipedia and the testing on prisoners was confirmed but no mention of Lariam. Oh, the ‘testing’ mentioned in the Wikipedia page was in relation to prisoners drinking faeces laden milkshakes so they could study hepatitis A. Charming stuff.

I reach out to #miltwitter and ask the question. Yes, I am told, we are aware of this one as Andrew Marriot mentions in it in his book. David responds.

We both agree the history of Lariam is fucked.

So, a book which should be as dead as the Mefloquine Action link in the Acknowledgements (interestingly that now points to a dentists!) is suddenly teaching me things about a disease I thought I knew all about.

This is how the book progresses. Almost in two parts.

One is David’s story of amnesia and how his life unravelled after losing his memory. At first, he thinks he is a drug addict, he likes the mental asylum he finds himself in and he takes up smoking. Different journey but I also see a lot of similarities too. I was struggling in the first few pages but when David describes meeting his dad my attention was arrested.

Because I do the same thing. If you have never had amnesia, I’m not sure you could really follow it all. Yet, David’s amnesia is different from mine. Like total.

Lariam doesn’t get a mention for what seems like ages. Then there it is. The second story. You may have had a reaction to one of your medications. Then Lariam comes into the frame. Then out of the blue Joliet. The story of amnesia interwoven with the horrors of Lariam. David likes movies. I’d point him to The Odd Angry Shot, an Australian Vietnam war movie. Instead of bullets or landmines David hits you with the odd Lariam fact.

Matchee gets a mention of course. A story I became very familiar with very early on. When I shared that with my co-parent in 2019 she emailed me our divorce papers. I have kept that email in my in-tray ever since as a reminder to myself about dealing with dark days. More military stuff. Then ‘out of the blue’, a suicide I was unaware of.

I reach out to #miltwitter again and I get a different response. I don’t think they have heard about this case. If Andrew Marriot hasn’t covered that one, I will.

Of course, there is more but enough spoilers.

David Stuart MacLean delivers a pretty good read if you want a primer on amnesia. Even if you haven’t experienced amnesia, you must get a sense of the disassociation involved. His stories are quite detailed and very personal, and his book shares a lot that would make any person uncomfortable.

If I have a criticism at all is that at the end, he think he goes too soft on Roche. Not quite off the hook but at peace with it all. I understand that too. We all must find our peace with this. Also, in fairness, David wrote this book back in 2012 and in the last decade a lot more has come to light.

It’s not the best book to read. In fact, it can be a bit confusing (and I have amnesia) but I think that is kind of the point. He sums it up for us all when he writes:

As I write this in September 2012, I am still afraid of lingering chemical instabilities; afraid of what might still be stuck in the wrinkles and folds of my gray (sic) matter; afraid of what might get dislodged, disrupting who knows what electrical signals; afraid of where I’ll wake up next.

The dread is always there, like some unseen Damocles sword forever in the wings. When he talks about sitting on the building wanting to throw himself off to his death, I got it straight away. I had a similar moment 15-years after Lariam. Except all I had to do was step into the current of Elliot Island and drift away to Fiji. Just letting go.

Suddenly, an old, tired book should deserve a second look. Especially if you are a veteran who has been exposed to Lariam or another anti-quinoline. It’s the Lariam story without the usual military triggers (there are some but if you are reading this book you would be aware of them).

I also think when the Lariam story fully unfolds, this book will be a crucial part of the history as well as not only one was it one of the first ‘lived experience’ stories fully documented but it also reminded us of where it all started.

In dank cells in a prison Illinois where prisoners were given shit laden milkshakes and we thought this was alright.



  1. The Answer to the Riddle is Me. A Tale of Amnesia. David Stuart MacLean. Short Books (2014).
  2. Joliet Correctional Center. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joliet_Correctional_Center (Accessed 30.01.23).
  3. If You Wake at Midnight. The Lariam Wonder Drug Scandal. Andrew Marriot. Austin Macauley (2022).
  4. The Odd Angry Shot. See: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079652/ (1979).
  5. Kyle Brown (Canadian soldier). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyle_Brown_(Canadian_soldier) (Accessed 30.01.23).

49. Mefloquine Dispatches: Peacetime in PNG, 11th January 2023 (Final)

Reflecting the frustration at the treatment of veterans exposed to mefloquine my psychologist reached out to Richard Marles, the recently appointed Minister for Defence and Deputy PM and asked a question about Operation Baritone (March 1997).

The member of Richard Marles staff who responded might be unaware of the Company Group (3/97) that redeployed from Shoalwater Bay to Townsville at short notice. He wouldn’t know about the late-night review of your will and the death photo taken in the old hospital block. Nor blood pressure checks and the RMO signing off on your trip to war on the soldiers back in front of you. Picking up your seven magazines. Loading a pouch full of M26s. Inoculations in front of the Hercules. Lariam tablets being passed man-to-man. Briefings which talk about the rioting, the PNGDF in mutiny, South African mercenaries, Rascals, and the possibility of heavy casualties. The smell of excitement and fear as the clock moves from 24hrs Notice-To-Move (NTM) to 12hrs NTM. It would have been better than the Wild Bunch.

This message shouldn’t be coming from me. You should have been contacted as part of the Use of the Quinoline anti-malarial drugs Mefloquine and Tafenoquine in the Australian Defence Force investigation in 2018. In fact, members from 3 RAR were initially contacted by the Department of Veterans Affairs in relation to a 1996 deployment to Vanuatu. It was quickly shut down and muffled.

If you are reading the bad news here, I’m sorry if you are getting the message from me.

The Butchers Bill – Company Group 3/97

If you redeployed with the Company Group from Shoalwater Bay at the end of Exercise Tasman Thrust 97 and ended up waiting for the Hercules at Garbutt while we were staging, then you were given a Mefloquine Loading Dose (MLD). Don’t bother checking your medical records as it wasn’t written down. I had to prove my exposure via Red Cross records (I basically caught a lucky break).

Here is how you can check if you were given a Mefloquine Loading Dose as part of Company Group 3/97. If you got typhoid on the 22nd of March 1997 then you got an MLD as well. I distinctly remember getting 3-4 injections behind those planes. Check your vaccination records. Here is a personal example.

Battalion Group – 1 RAR

I was at Garbutt and had no visibility of this. However, the Australian Government decided to activate the Battalion Group. Once activated it is very likely the RMOs started the vaccination process including anti-malarial treatments. I’d be checking your medical records as well.

For confirmation here is Tony Wright’s 20th anniversary write up of the Sandline Affair. Via the Sydney Morning Herald (circa 2019). From the Archives: Gunpoint in PNG; mercenaries evacuated. Excerpt:

The Federal Government placed a crack Army battalion on heightened alert in a contingency plan to evacuate 12,000 Australian citizens from Papua New Guinea as rebel troops bundled the remaining mercenaries out of the country.

Late last night, 55 mercenaries were put on a chartered Air Niugini jet to Hong Kong.

The confrontation between PNG’s rebellious defence force and the Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan, over his aborted plan to use the mercenaries in the Bougainville conflict moved towards a showdown yesterday.

A Battalion Group is not just made up of Grunts. Things were moving very quickly. Some thoughts. Signals and medics were on the first two planes (so you would also be exposed). Airforce personnel assigned would all be exposed. Possibly a 3 RAR company? Certainly SF. Apparently four naval ships were assigned to the initial deployment. If in doubt, double check your medical records.

To the Lost.

Random Analytica: Russian Troop Losses in Ukraine (to 8th December 2022)

So, the long winter begins.


Quieter? The Ukrainians claimed a further 340 Russian troops killed in the past 24-hours. After the Battle of Kherson there was a steep decline in losses, but this seems to have picked up with the 7-day average sitting above 500 for the past eight straight days. At this rate the Russians will have 100,000 dead a few days before Christmas?

Slava Ukraini.

Random Analytica: Russian Cruise Missiles Destroyed by Ukraine (to 28th November 2022)

The Kyiv Independent was reporting another 75 cruise missiles shot down yesterday (which was a huge number). Anyway, it was a typo, but it got me looking at the amount of cruise missiles which Ukraine have claimed they have shot down.

Couple of things jump out at me.

  • Since the 11th of October the Ukrainians have destroyed 282/531 missiles, or approx. 53% of the total in just 49-days.
  • The ‘Big-Day’ was the 16th of November when 75 cruise missiles were destroyed, or approx. 14% in one day.
  • The average has escalated from roughly one shoot down per day to two per day over the course of recent months. The Russians are firing more missiles and the Ukrainians are shooting more down.

Tough days.

Slava Ukraini.

Random Analytica: Russian Troop Losses in Ukraine (to 23rd November 2022)

The Battle of Kherson is over. The Russians are bombarding their former city. Looks like it’s going to be a long winter of attrition.

According to the Ukrainians the Russians lost 410-troops today. During the height of the Battle of Kherson as Russian troops abandoned their positions the 7-day average hit a high of 704.3. That number has almost halved and today was 385.7.

A very tough month for Russian Defence Forces.

Slava Ukraini.