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PreviousNextUpdates made to The Millenium Project in November 2011

November 5, 2011

A short film (5/11/2011)
This very short film was made by my friend Jasmine Marosvary.



Burzynski's bully bounces back (5/11/2011)
The person supposedly representing that peddler of fake cancer cures, Dr Stanislaw Burzynski, was not very impressed by my complete failure to collapse in the face of last week's bullying attempt. He was also not pleased that I talked about the threat on Twitter. This has resulted in nine emails this week, although it was actually only three emails because each of them was sent to three email addresses in case I wasn't paying attention.

Here is the first episode. I have interspersed some responses, although I have no intention of replying by email.

From: "MAS" <mastephens1@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 29 Oct 2011 19:58:57 -0400
Subject: Fw: Demand to Cease and Desist and Removal of Webpage/Articles

Mr. Bowditch,

Iíve noticed you rather ignore my request for you to cease and desist your libelous statements about my client. I just read your "new" posted article on your website, and twitter statements. You appear to be a person with high intelligence, so itís surprising that you would resort to childish tactics. Most people would not entertain someone that appears to be detached from reality. Unfortunately, the reality of this situation is, regardless if youíre pretending to be mentally challenged or not, you are in violation of multiple laws.

Why would I be "pretending to be mentally challenged"? Or are you making a possibly defamatory suggestion?

I sometimes have a curiosity to confront and have some dialogue with individuals with big egos, or those that are slightly insane. So let me entertain you first before I decide to take you to court.  Please note, I am fully aware that the only possible damages awarded from suing you would come from your petty cash account. So this is not about money Mr. Bowditch.

I'm glad it's not about money. I assume, therefore, that you will not mention money again.

So letís see Mr. Bowditch. What is your motive for defaming my client? Are you being paid to make libelous statements?  I honestly believe your motive is for attention, but further research could prove otherwise. You gather attention from multiple organizations that has a financial interest in cancer cures and treatments. These organizations than give you more attention if you aggressively and successfully destroy the images of licensed medical doctors that discover, or provide better treatments than conventional medicine.

Oh, the old "paid pharma shill" gambit. That is so old that museums are planning to include it in archaeological displays. By the way, as it is a criminal offence to take secret commissions in Australia you should be very careful about making allegations of criminal activity.

I have come to this conclusion because your entire website does not provide one single reference/source supporting your libelous statements which involves calling my client a quack, a fraud, etc. Because you lack a real source this means someone is either telling you what to write in return for payment, or you find it upon yourself to manipulate the truth by incorporating lies disguised as your "Opinion". Mr. Bowditch, you have a long history of lying behind disguised opinions, which legally you are still accountable for.

Did I just see you calling me a habitual liar? Is that an advisable tactic if you are accusing someone of defamation?

Since you are apparently suffering from Munchausen Syndrome, which is usually diagnosed in females, so it is interesting that your first name is Peter, I would like to give you some attention.  I hope you didnít get offended.  I am only speaking the truth, supported by a reference. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/munchausen-syndrome/DS00965

"Munchausen Syndrome is an attention-seeking personality disorder which is more common than statistics suggest. Munchausen Syndrome, named after a German soldier renowned for exaggerated tales, is a predominantly female disorder in which an emotionally immature person with narcissistic tendencies, low self-esteem and a fragile ego has an overwhelming need to draw attention to herself and to be the centre of attention."

I hope that Dr Burzynski's diagnoses of cancer are better than your attempts at psychiatry.

So here is the plan Mr. or Mrs. Bowbitch.  I read that you have no money,

Don't believe everything you read on the Internet, especially if what you are reading was written by a competitor cancer quack.

but you have a challenge looking for proof.  Correct?  So, instead of me obtaining a subpoena from the courts to obtain your personal information, by the way, itís already available online and through your web company business filing, I would like for you to do the following:

So you have been stalking me? I hope you have been looking at more credible sources than the ones which talk about my financial affairs.

1. Please confirm that 6 Caprera Road, Northmead, NSW, 2152, Australia is your home address, or provide correct address,

That is not my address, and as you claim that everything about me is "already available online and through your web company business filing" (web company?) you can just send stuff to where I live if you want to waste postage.

so that I can forward you official medical documentation showing A life-threatening form of cancer that had been diagnosed (by scientific means, not just by looking or asking questions) before treatment started, the patient had undergone some form of treatment (chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, combination), and the patient is alive and free of that cancer 5 years after the treatment had finished.

But I want to see details of people who have NOT had conventional treatment, just magic and snake oil.

2. Open up a public forum so I can upload the medical documents so the general public and your followers can view it on your websites.

Why not load all the material up onto the Burzynski Clinic site? Why should I pay to store your data? Also, this would prevent the inevitable accusations that I had somehow tampered with the data.

3. Post this request on your websites, link it to your twitter and other social networks.

Done!

4. After you notice that you are wrong about Dr. Burzynski, and that you are breaking the law with your libelous statements, I will request, and you will agree, that you immediately cease and desist from making any further unsupported, defamatory, libelous or harmful statements relating to my clients through any medium, including the Internet. You are remove existing and are not to post, host, or make available any libelous, false or defamatory statements against my clients via the Internet, television, radio, print or any other forms of media. You shall not create any new alias, nor use any old alias, to post, host, or make available any statement regarding my client via the Internet, television, radio, print or any other forms of media. You will provide a public apology to Dr. Burzynski and his patients and post it on your websites, and social media sites.

Here's an apology: "I'm sorry, I can't do that".

On your website, under Philosophy, you state the following: http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/files/about.htm

"This web site was created in March 1999 when I discovered that one of the most offensive (to me) sites on the Web had been reborn with a new domain name. I felt that there was a need to be rude to some people. The constant misspelling of the word "millennium" with only one "n" inspired me to create a millenium - that is, a collection of a thousand arseholes.

When I say that I am going to list offensive sites, that does not mean "adult" sites or even many of the more dim-witted hate sites. What really offends me is people telling lies to support a political agenda, or to exploit other people's ignorance, or to hurt and damage people with no good reason. Expect to see links to medical frauds".

Exploiting people's ignorance. That sounds familiar. It's one of the classic tactics of people peddling fake cancer cures.

1. Its great to know you created your website to be "rude", and that you are inspired by mispelled words. Rude means, Lacking education or knowledge; unlearned. So its shocking you are giving medical advice on your website.

If you had bothered to read further down the "About this site" page you would have seen that I don't offer medical advice. Perhaps I should remind you:

I am not a medical doctor, and there is no medical advice on this site. If you are sick or think you are sick, you should see a doctor. That means a real doctor, not someone who pretends to be a doctor. The only advice of a medical nature here is in the form of warnings against liars, charlatans, quacks, thieves and other vermin who claim to have cures for things for which there is no cure, treatments for non-existent ailments, or medical advice, products and treatments which have no scientific (or in many cases logical) validity.

You should also check your dictionary for other definitions of "rude", and I am sure that you will find the obvious use to which I put the word.

2. You are calling my client a Fraud. The proof, but not limited to, is the link to his clinic on your website.

I believe I also mentioned his ludicrous "clinical trials" that he was pretending to do for many years.

3. If you truly are offended by people telling lies to support a political agenda than please sign below in agreement to review the medical records that I provide, and afterwards you will cease and desist all libelous statements about my client. So let your followers see that you are truly against lies, scams, frauds, and political agendas.

I, Peter Bowditch of Ratbags.com, agree to the above.

 Peter Bowditch, Owner of Ratbags.com 10/29/11

My lawyer advises me to never sign anything unless I understand it completely. I need more than you have offered here before I would agree to anything.

Sincerely,
Marc Stephens
Burzynski Clinic
9432 Katy Freeway
Houston, Texas 77055

Round two. Note that this was sent about 20 hours after the first message and I'm in a different time zone to Houston, so even if I had wanted to reply I would not have had sufficient time.

From: "MAS" <mastephens1@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 2011 15:20:11 -0400
Subject: Fw: Demand to Cease and Desist and Removal of Webpage/Articles

Mr. Bowditch,

WOW, donít tell me you are afraid of me? That is impossible! Iíve watched you take pills basically committing suicide on television. So you cant be afraid of me. Why are you running from the challenge? It obvious you are receiving my emails, as seen below.

Yes, I posted that message to Twitter. I don't see where any fear is suggested.

John Lennon once said "Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see". Why are you living with your eyes closed to Dr. Burzynski when I am willing to show you the 100% truth? Or do you already know the truth, but have a political agenda against the truth? I AM HERE TO CHALLENGE YOU MR. BOWDITCH. This is the FIRST TIME someone backed you into a corner and you are AFRAID. I know this is a fact based on your website you brag about it... http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/lawyersahoy.htm.

The first time I've been "backed into a corner", the first time I'm afraid, or both? Actually, it's neither, because neither has ever happened. That is what that page is about - vacuous legal threats.

Sign the agreement and the challenge is on. Lets go buddy. If you refuse I will make this public so all of your followers on twitter, youtube, etc will see that you are a fraud, a scam, afraid, a liar, and living with your eyes closed misunderstanding all you see. I represent Dr. Burzynski, the Burzynski Clinic, and the Burzynski Research Institute. I have full authorization to show you all documents. Post this on your website please.

Posted.

Thank you Mr. Bowditch.   Hey, if you do not want to fulfill the challenge than please remove the webpage. I am asking you with all due respect. As you mentioned, your webpage ranks fourth under "Burzynski". The webpage is false and affecting cancer patients around the world. You calling Dr. Burzynski a quack emotionally affect patients and in some cases their local doctors do not want to assist them.

Good.

Including patients at Westmead hospital, which you claim you support.

Patients from Westmead Hospital are wasting their money and lives going across the Pacific to a quack like Burzynski? I find this hard to believe, but I will advise the oncology department there of the claim. I'm sure they will want to provide warnings to patients that there are creatures out there who will prey on their fears.

This is all documented, patients talking about your webpage. Do the respectable thing Mr. Bowditch and remove the page. Thank you.

Thanks,
Marc

Round three, twelve minutes later.

From: "MAS" <mastephens1@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 2011 15:32:05 -0400
Subject: Fw: Demand to Cease and Desist and Removal of Webpage/Articles

Mr. Bowditch,

Please be respectable and remove the misunderstanding about Dr. Burzynski being a quack, a fraud, etc. on your webpage. I have shown many people the truth, as seen below. They respectfully removed their comments. http://www.labspaces.net/view_blog.php?blogID=304

Yes, but I like the way they said "Pending further legal advice we will be directing you to the Wikipedia Entry on antineoplasons which essentially says the same thing that this post did".

And for those who wonder about the "Arkell and Pressdram" I mentioned in the Twitter message, it refers to a dispute between a Mr Arkell and the publishers of Private Eye magazine, and is usually referenced as "an Arkell v. Pressdram response". You can see the exchange of correspondence between the parties here.



See more Jesus and Mo here


What's that smell of decay? (5/11/2011)
ApparentlyA white feather for Mr O'Neill. it was a slow day in the Canadian cancer quackery business, so Mr William P O'Neill of the Canadian Cancer Research Group put on his Gutless Anonymous Liar mask and launched the following noisome piece of flatulence into the world of Usenet. What is amusing is that Burzynski is a competitor for Mr O'Neill in the cancer quackery business, and if Burzynski is 1% right (which he is not of course), then Mr O'Neill's cancer "cure" is 100% wrong. But since when has such an inconsistency bothered anyone who is in the business of stealing money from desperate people?

As usual, he was too cowardly to put his name to it and had to use a remailer which hid his identity. Cowards are like that. They say things but make sure that nobody can talk back. I replied to the newsgroup even though I know his broad yellow stripe hangs over his eyes, but my reply is meant for other people who might come across the message in the various places that archive newsgroups.

From: Nomen Nescio <nobody@dizum.com>
Newsgroups: misc.health.alternative
Subject: Peter Bowditch: Convicted Felon to be sued by Burzynski
Message-ID: <02816b35ddf41e0304762dcd8d03d3a4@dizum.com>
Date: Sun, No truth! No courage! No value!30 Oct 2011 19:58:08 +0100 (CET)

Welcome back, Mr William P O'Neill of the Canadian Cancer Research Group.

For those who came in late, you can read Mr O'Neill's acknowledged correspondence with me at http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/onews/onews.htm

and him trying to hide at http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/onews/gal.htm

No surprise that convicted felon ('80's charge, conviction and incarceration for aggravated assault) Peter Bowditch of Australia

Oh, I love this, and it makes me smile every time Mr O'Neill brings it up.

http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/history/2006/05may.htm#6ntfootball

is soon be in front of the courts again. Bowditch has been noticed with a "Cease & Desist" order by in-house legal counsel for

There has been no "Cease and desist order".

the Burzynski Clinic in Houston, Texas. In an unusual act of bravery (stupidity), Bowditch has boldy published the "Cease & Desist" demand letter on his hate site.

Of course I published it. The policy relating to publication of such emails has been there since 1999.

Seems he's following the good example of Stephen Barrett who is currently being sued by Doctors Data Laboratory for $10M US. Bowditch, like Barrett believe they are omnipotent in all matters of science and medicine, immune from recourse, and above the law. They are both about to find otherwise.

What was the first time you threatened me with legal action, Mr O'Neill?

Oh, that's right - February 17, 2000, when I was being dragged into the "World Court". The first of 111 such accusations.

http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/onews/statscriminal.htm

With Barrett on the ropes and near death, Terry Polevoy bankrupt and missing, there is only Bowditch left. And no doubt Bowditch has the cash flow and reserves from his "ethical investments" of the recently defunct "dead organ" The Australian Council Against Health Fraud". But maybe not? Apparently Bowditch couldn't afford the annual upkeep of his pretend council...internet fees, filing tax returns....But then there's "Gebesse Computer Consultants"....Bowditch's pretend "employer". Certainly there are enough resources there defend the Burzynski action?

As there will be no action there will be nothing to defend.

For further information concerning development in this case see the facebook group "Burzynski vs Peter Bowditch"

It almost goes without saying that no such group or page exists at Facebook. After all, Mr O'Neill has never told the truth about anything else in all the time he has been pursuing his risible campaign against me so why should he start now?

Did I suggest that Mr William P O'Neill of the Canadian Cancer Research Group does not tell the truth? I hope I did.



See more by Nick Anderson here


Darryl and the dodo - both dead (5/11/2011)
Cancer "curing" liar Darryl Jones has finally been expunged from the memory of the web. His web site has looked like this since early last year, but now it has gone forever.

Unlike his victims, he will not be missed.


He writes things (5/11/2011)
Part of this week was spent writing a rather longish article for Issues magazine on the topic of how badly people assess and react to risk. You will just have to wait until the edition comes out to read it, but there will be lots of other good stuff in the magazine as well. It might even be worth the money to subscribe to this excellent publication, which comes from the same stable as Australasian Science where my thoughts appear each month.

Issues magazine

November 12, 2011

How mad can it get? (12/11/2011)
I've been dealing with anti-vaccination liars for a long time so you would think that I couldn't be surprised by how disgusting they could be, but this week I had to revise my opinion. First, there were the books by New Zealander Hilary Butler (see below), but that wasn't enough. I have to thank Meryl Dorey, erstwhile (yet perhaps current) president of the Australian Vaccination Network, for reminding me of what I had considered up to now to be the craziest anti-vaccination liar that hadn't actually been officially declared insane (ex-Dr Rebecca Carley is insane, but it's official). This is Mark Sircus, and this is a sample of his latest work:

String the Bastards Up

Posted by Mark Sircus - Director on 12 November 2011 | Filed under World Affairs

In general I am against the death penalty as I am against killing of any kind. Though the Bible sanctions death and killing, it is clearly against murder and the taking of innocent life. We could argue all day about what some people clearly seem to deserve and we could argue about the legitimacy of many things from the Old Testament or anything else written that the elites of the world have had their dirty fingers in.

For all those who are for the death penalty, my message will be clear. I am calling for the conviction and the worst possible punishment under the law for certain people in government who are in the medical field. There seems to be no limit to what our present society will accept. We are letting the bankers and the shysters on Wall Street destroy western civilization, allowing them the fattest paychecks on earth as a reward. And we are letting doctors in white coats inject poisonous heavy metals into babies and paying them well for it.

They say there is a sucker born every minute but I think things have gotten out of hand. Before I go into detail about what has been clear to many of us for years I want to bring the image of the case of a monster who commits mass murder and torments children and their parents. In this case we have a group of them who deserve to be lynched and they work for the federal government at the Centers of Disease Control (CDC).

Most people would have no contention with lining up mass tormentors of children against a wall with the punishment of life imprisonment in solitary confinement. It certainly looks like we have solid evidence that there are people who have conspired to mislead doctors so they continue to inject highly dangerous chemicals into children.

So here we have someone making death threats against government officials. This is supposed to be rational discussion of medical issues but wouldn't sound out of place at a Klan lynch party. Mr Sircus then went on to cite a woman who exploited the SIDS death of her child to try to blackmail a large amount of money out of a pharmaceutical company. I know she didn't succeed because if she had we would never have heard the end of it.

Mrs Dorey apparently supports Mr Sircus's calls for the deaths of doctors and scientists, because she linked to his ravings on her blog.

The other lunatic introduced to the sane world by Ms Dorey is Indian presidential candidate Leo Rebello. She showed her support for him by retweeting his messages to Twitter. Here are some examples:

I'm not surprised that Ms Dorey agrees with Mr Rebello, because in January she also made the rape analogy when talking about vaccinations. I can only assume she also supports his call for the deaths of doctors.

There is an old saying that you are known by the company you keep. Ms Dorey seems quite happy to be in the company of and offer full support to people who lie about hospital births, who want to kill doctors and scientists and who trivialise rape by equating it with vaccination.

Contempt is not a strong enough word.



See more from Randy Glasbergen here


A new book (12/11/2011)
I went to the launch of a new book during the week and I cannot recommend it more highly. It's The Best Australian Science Writing 2011 and contains a collection of excellent articles from a wide variety of writers, all of whom can write for a non-technical audience. It would make an ideal Christmas present and you can get your copy direct from the publishers if you can't find it in a bookshop near you. (And no, despite the title there is nothing by me in it. I hope to fix this oversight in future year editions.) Here is what the jacket blurb says:

From the elemental forces that drive our expanding universe to the delicate hairs on the back of your neck, science offers talented writers the kind of scope that other subjects simply canít match. This dynamic genre of Australian writing has never, until now, been showcased in an anthology. With a foreword by Nobel Prize winner Peter Doherty, The Best Australian Science Writing 2011 is a landmark book. Showcasing selections from the work of renowned communicators such as Tim Flannery, Germaine Greer, Anna Funder and Paul Davies, this book is an inspiring exploration of the most exciting, elegant, powerful, and important writing about science and nature published in Australia and by Australians.



See more XKCD here


It's finally here (12/11/2011)
The first episode of the Radio Ratbags podcast has been released. It was done quietly so that I could get feedback about the system and the quality. I received only one critical response and that was a bit obscure about what the real problem was, but I suspect it had something to do with the fact that I had a stuffy nose when I did much of the recording. I've still got some experimenting to do with different microphones and recording locations, but I'm confident enough now to tell everyone it's there. The next episode will come out on Wednesday, November 16, and episodes will follow every two weeks after that. It's not available through the iTunes store yet because I have to go through Apple's qualification process, but the podcast web page has links for collecting the episodes using iTunes or other MP3 players and you can listen directly from the web page.

The first few episodes will be just me talking, but other voices will be heard as soon as am really confident about the recording and editing process. I suffer from years in the software development business so I don't expect things that work perfectly in testing to keep working perfectly after they are thrown over the wall to the real world. I expect some fine tuning and learning to go on for a short while. All of this is a request for feedback - listen to it and email me with comments. The downside of the new podcast is that I will have less time to work on writing stuff for the site while I'm bringing the podcast up to speed, but it will all be worth it one day.

Go there and listen. You know you want to.


More books! (12/11/2011)
A few years ago New Zealand's favourite anti-vaccination liar, Hilary Butler, called me an "emotive lunatic" in a letter to the British Medical Journal's web site. She was defending someone who had beaten a ten-week-old baby to death at the time and my emotive lunacy was to suggest that murderers should not be treated with too much respect. The murderer in question had had a letter published without bothering to mention that his current residential address was a prison so I had pointed out some facts to the BMJ's readers.

Ms Butler has written, with her husband, two books about the evils of vaccination and they are available for free from her web site. I can't resist a bargain so I wrote off for my copies and you can imagine my excitement when over a thousand pages of "information" turned up. The two books are Just A Little Prick and From One Prick To Another. I am not sure if Ms Butler is aware of the colloquial use of the word "prick" and is trying to make some sort of heavy-handed and juvenile joke or if she, like many of her ilk, is unaware of the zeitgeist and popular culture and just thought the tiles were catchy.

I tossed a coin and decided to read Just A Little Prick first. The book starts off with the life stories of the authors. (Peter Butler said that he married Hilary in June, 1980. That means he must have been courting her while the enquiry was proceeding into the air crash that killed his first wife, as the enquiry findings were not announced until June 1980 and the results of the subsequent Royal Commission until April 1981. He probably went through an appropriate period of grieving, though, as he had only been married to the first wife for 22 years. He didn't say what her name was. Perhaps he has forgotten.)

Once the personal details are out of the way Hilary starts describing what went on when she had her first baby. At 32 weeks into her pregnancy she started leaking, but an unnamed obstetrician from Holland told her that this was "no big deal" and advised her "not to stick anything up there". She took this latter piece of advice to heart when at 37 weeks her GP wanted to do an internal examination. When she refused and explained the Dutch quack's idiocy to him he insisted that she go to a hospital. When she finally got into somewhere where she might get good care she brought in a midwife (who was so committed that she went home before the baby was born). She then describes, in hysterical terms, a difficult birth experience not unlike one that occurred to a member of my family, except that my family member realises that the drama resulted in saving the lives of both baby and mother. Ms Butler, on the other hand, creates a fictional account of some sort of mad attempt to do everything wrong that it is possible to do wrong. Did I say "fictional"? Why, yes I did, because what she says went on is only imaginable in the mind of someone who hates doctors and medicine. Based on what little truth can be extracted from the story, however, it is obvious that had Ms Butler opted for a home birth with a midwife there would have been no book to read. Dead women can't write books. When she announced that she would be calling for lawyers if "so much as a teaspoon of formula" got into her baby I decided that I didn't need to read the remaining 450 pages of this emotive lunacy. If Ms Butler applied the same standard of truth and reason to her discussion of vaccinations as she did to her birth experience then I could only imagine that the remainder of the book would have had even David Icke's publisher scratching her head and saying "WTF?"

Remember how I said that the books are available for free from Ms Butler's web site? You can also get them from Amazon. As her books are directed at people who will believe anything I was not surprised to see that there were people taking advantage of this. In fact I had to laugh. Out loud.



See more Tree Lobsters here


The ongoing AVN court saga (12/11/2011)
In July 2010 the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission made the following recommendations about the Australian Vaccination Network:

The Australian Vaccination Network should include an appropriate statement in a prominent place on its website which states:

  1. the Australian Vaccination Network's purpose is to provide information against vaccination in order to balance what it believes is the substantial amount of pro-vaccination information available elsewhere;
  2. the information should not be read as medical advice; and
  3. the decision about whether or not to vaccinate should be made in consultation with a health care provider.

The management of the AVN decided that this was too hard to do and has spent a lot of time this year taking the HCCC to court. It almost doesn't need saying that whenever the AVN appears in court there are interested people like me in the public gallery. On the first day we all went, July 28, the judge was tied up on another more urgent matter for most of the day so the court session didn't start until late in the afternoon. (See the report here.) Everything was adjourned and we met again on September 1 only to have proceedings terminated after about 20 minutes, leaving people (some of whom had travelled a long way) with nothing to do except have the locals take the visitors to a museum and some nice coffee shops. The next scheduled date was November 9, supposedly for a full day's hearing, but this was cancelled at the last minute and the date moved to November 22. We were told that this was again going to be a short 15-minute directions hearing but several of us were still planning to attend just to show that we haven't forgotten Meryl Dorey and her court action. The latest news is that it will be a full hearing. We have the champagne in the fridge and we could be drinking it soon.

November 26, 2011

Burzynski bastardry continues (26/11/2011)
Things must be in a real panic at the Burzynski (can't cure) Cancer Clinic. Threats are now being sent to a wide range of people who have been commenting on the disgusting story that an appeal is being run in Britain to raise £200,000 to send a very sick child to Texas so that the money can be stolen by a quack pretending to cure the child's illness. In one particularly nasty attack, Andy Lewis who runs the excellent Quackometer blog had veiled threats made against his family. This has resulted in an explosion of the Streisand Effect, where bloggers all over the place have been commenting on both the harassment and also Dr Burzynski and his inability to produce evidence that the large amounts of money going his way have ever resulted in anyone being cured of cancer. I'll provide links to some of these blogs and web sites next week when things have settled down a little.

I received my first threat back in October, but now it seems that I am not going to be sued, just accused of being a fraud. That is a wonderful accusation, coming as it does from someone pretending to be a lawyer acting for Burzynski but actually being some sort of PR person working for a patient group. Traditionally the Burzynski Patient Group has ruin the web sites touting miracle cures, thus distancing Dr Burzynski himself from these outrageous claims. He just banks the money.

Here is the latest, sent to me twice in case I didn't understand it the first time.

From: "MAS" <mastephens1@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2011 14:50:40 -0800
Subject: Re: Demand to Cease and Desist and Removal of Webpage/Articles

I still have not received your response to your own challenge. I am sure I will never receive it because you are a fraud. Wuss with a website.

What Mr Stephens wants me to do is sign an agreement to stop talking about the outrageous quackery and theft of money going on at the Burzynski Clinic in exchange for him sending me some patient reports showing miracle cures. For some reason he doesn't seem to understand that I will do no more than what I have been promising since March 2000 - to assist Dr Burzynski (or any other person with a guaranteed cure for cancer) to win their richly-deserved Nobel Prize. I know that Mr Stephens is aware of this because he keeps including the following screen shot in his emails.

I do, however, have a question for Mr Stephens. I have been posting this question to the Twitter user @BurzynskiClinic for some days now but for some reason they are too busy to answer.

In Dr Burzynski's CV posted on his company web site it lists the following qualifications and work experience:

You will notice that Dr Burzynski gained a PhD in a single year while being employed full-time at the Medical University of Lublin in Poland. This university does not have a doctoral program, so I wondered where Dr Burzynski did his studying, thesis research and writing, and his dissertation. The obvious place to look was University Microfilms, who have been documenting dissertations for 130 years. Here is what I found:

Do you see a Stanislaw R. Burzynski there? Neither do I. I thought I would check the qualifications of a couple of authors of books handy in my office.

Yes, that's Michael Shermer, President of the Skeptic Society and author of a whole shelf of books.

And there's Bob Park, author of Voodoo Science and Superstition and producer of the weekly What's New? newsletter.

Perhaps the records don't go back as far as 1968, so I looked for someone who I knew received a PhD earlier than that.

Yes, that's the infamous and late Hulda Clark, who had that best-selling book The Cure For All Cancers. What is interesting about this is that Dr Clark was also in the cancer quackery business as a direct competitor to Dr Burzynski. Unfortunately we can't ask her what she thinks of Dr Burzynski getting hs "PhD" by simply saying he has one instead of doing all the work that she would have had to do. We can't ask her because she died. Of cancer.

So, my question is "Where did Dr Burzynski get his PhD from?" Failing a verifiable answer I will just have to assume that he is lying about his qualifications. Or, put another way, being just as truthful as he is in his claims of having cured people of cancer.


But wait, there's more! (26/11/2011)
Just as I was about to upload this week's edition an absolutely wonderful email came in from Marc Stephens, spokesmouth for the Burzynski Clinic. It was addressed to a large number of people, some of whom had never heard of Dr Burzynski, and included some bizarre images (plus a YouTube video of my friend Darryl) with lots of red arrows. One of the people attacked in the email, Dr Saul Green, can't defend himself because he died in 2007, but since when has recognition of facts ever bothered anyone associated with Burzynski. It's a bit long for the front page, so I will just give the introduction here and put the full glory of the thing on a separate page. (Note: One of the recipients had been talking to lawyers about Mr Stephens' threats and had requested anonymity for the time being, so all mentions of him were originally redacted. His name is back in, and his web site is back on the air.)

LolWut?From: "MAS" <mastephens1@gmail.com>
To: "Andy Lewis" <andy@scali-lewis.net>,
<IPETITIONS.COM@monikerprivacy.net>,
<editor@doubtfulnews.com>,
<egjo.brodie@gmail.com>,
<milproj2@ratbags.com>,
<newbloggers@scienceblogs.com>,
<editorial@scienceblogs.com>,
<mshermer@skeptic.com>,
<orac@scienceblogs.com>
Cc: "Azad Rastegar" <ar@Burzynskiclinic.com>,
"Renee Trimble" <reneetrimble@burzynskiclinic.com>
Subject: Fw: Cease and Desist
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2011 15:14:10 -0800

Andy Lewis,

Just so you know that I am very serious. I copied Renee Trimble the Director of Public Relations, and Azad Rastegar the spokesperson for the Burzynski Clinic. You and your supporters can stop asking if I am an attorney. Again, I represent the Burzynski Clinic, Burzynski Research Institute, and Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski. If your articles remain online I will pursue you in court to the highest extent of the law.

Threats to your family? You mentioned to me that you just had a child. I advised you to spend more time with your child instead of lying to the public. I also advised that you will be affected financially once a lawsuit is filed against you. Why would you be so selfish and inconsiderate to your family to go through the stressful and financial burden of multiple court proceedings knowing that you are posting lies and propaganda?

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

Go on, read it. You will see what the Internet memes LULZ and LOLWUT were invented for.


And even more ... (26/11/2011)
I had just finished formatting Mr Stephens' crazy email above when this came in. At this rate I will have to update this site every five minutes.

From: "MAS" <mastephens1@gmail.com>
To: "Andy Lewis" <andy@scali-lewis.net>,
<IPETITIONS.COM@monikerprivacy.net>,
<editor@doubtfulnews.com>,
<egjo.brodie@gmail.com>,
<milproj2@ratbags.com>,
<newbloggers@scienceblogs.com>,
<editorial@scienceblogs.com>,
<mshermer@skeptic.com>,
<orac@scienceblogs.com>
Subject: Re: Cease and Desist
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2011 18:20:00 -0800

Andy,

Are you afraid to post the images? You REDACTED the images exposing all of you weirdo guys. That is a sign of weakness, and a fraudulent cowardly move. You must make my email FULLY PUBLIC including the images. I can actually imagine you as a nervous wreck in the court room without a lawyer..or with your public defender who will file a template Motion.

---------------------

Ratbag Peter Bowditch....you seem to be more competent with posting images. Can you please post my last email including the IMAGES..or are you afraid I exposed you all too much?

Done. See it here.

Its beyond defamation. You have a question for me? "I do, however, have a question for Mr Stephens. I have been posting this question to the Twitter user @BurzynskiClinic for some days now but for some reason they are too busy to answer"

So, are you going to answer the question? I didn't think so.

Ratman.....SIGN THE AGREEMENT. Iíve been asking you for WEEKS now.  If you are so sure my client is a quack, fraud, and a criminal sign. I also reduced the legal language so you would not put your rat tale between your cowardly skinny legs, and hide behind your mouse by clicking on the X to close my email request.

I didn't click on the X. I published the email here in its entirety. That's the way things are done here.

My agreement is posted on your website you forgot?? Instead of signing a burzynski petition sign my agreement to disclose all Burzynski information to you, which by the way is already available to the public and you know it.

If it is available to the public why don't you simply provide a link? Why do I have to sign anything?

That is why you are not signing. Skeptics are afraid of the truth, which is why you are a skeptic in the first place. A Skeptic is someone who habitually doubts accepted beliefs. Your network even had to create your own dictionary to hide from the true meaning..hilarious. The FDA, NCI all agreed my client and his treatment works, and is non-toxic. Sign the agreement and I will show you this in writing. Hint: Just look in court orders and you will find the answer.

 PLEASE POST MY IMAGES.

Regards,
Marc

You can see and sign the petition that Mr Stephens is talking about here.

We the undersigned wish to encourage the Burzynski clinic, which claims to have developed a radical new treatment for cancer, to release and make public all the trial data it has collected over the past thirty years into Antineoplastons. The failure of the clinic to publish the results of trials is nothing less than scandalous. If the clinic truly believes this shows the efficacy of the treatment than it is their moral and ethical duty to provide the evidence that this is the case. We would also like the clinic to make the trial protocols publicly available so the scientific community working to treat and cure cancer can truly critically appraise it's work.


Meanwhile, over in anti-vaccination land (26/11/2011)
It's Who is this Textafezzed man?been an exciting week at the Australian Vaccination Network. The first alarum was when it was revealed that pamphlets handed out in Western Australia during a recent tour by (maybe) president Meryl Dorey contained an invitation to join the AVN or to donate money to it, both things currently being prohibited by the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing due to previous questionable behaviour. Claims were made that perhaps NSW law didn't apply in WA (it does if you are a NSW-registered charity), but the best was an excuse by Ms Dorey that she had blocked out this information on the fliers using a Texta marker but must have missed some. The immediate response to this could best be described as "ridicule", and included such wittiness as a certain person changing his Twitter and Facebook avatars to show him wearing a fez made of Textas.

Then there came a blow from the government when it was announced that benefits paid to parents were being revamped and it it would soon be harder for parents who refuse to vaccinate their children to get benefit payments and tax concessions which are contingent on full vaccination. That's right - all you had to do to get a vaccinated child payment was say "I want it but I'm not going to meet the qualifying conditions". The idiotic loophole of conscientious objection will remain, although I can't imagine who would comply except perhaps Jehovah's Witnesses and Christian Scientists. The rest will just have to tell lies and get a form signed by a doctor. By the way, my wife receives a government benefit because of a medical condition and if she told the relevant department that she had a conscientious objection to any of the paperwork she has to supply the response would be swift and certain. The payments would stop until the forms were filled in and audited.

Response from the AVN and its members caused people nearby to move to higher ground lest they drown in the mouth foam. The policy was compared to life in Nazi Germany, a march on Canberra in the style of the Occupy movement was suggested, the removal of a benefit from people not entitled to it was called a "fine", and lies were told to any radio announcer naÔve enough to have a spokesperson from the AVN on the air. All we are asking for is that people don't get paid for what they don't do. As one of my friends said, he would be happy for a non-vaccinator to get the payment if they agreed to pay him not to mow their lawn.

And the great court case - nothing at all. The entire court appearance set down for November 22 was cancelled because the judge was called on to hear two murder trials. No date has been set for the next attempt, but given that the annual Christmas break for the courts is coming up it could be next year before we have to get the champagne out of the cellar and put it in the fridge.

Just to keep the amusement up, here are a couple of historical comments from Ms Dorey.

Here she is in 2001 encouraging anti-vaccinators to support child-killers by denying the reality of Shaken Baby Syndrome. "Shaken Maybe" indeed.

Shaken Maybe Syndrome

The next one, from 2009, is far less likely to cause you to vomit, just to laugh out loud.

Crossover vaccination trial?

She is speaking the truth when she says that "No vaccine has ever undergone a true double-blind crossover placebo study". For those who don't understand the jargon of medical research, a "crossover study" involves swapping the treatment and control groups at some stage of the trial, giving the treatment to the previous control (or placebo) group and withdrawing treatment from the previous treatment group. There are good reasons for doing this in certain sorts of research, but vaccination isn't one of them. To run a crossover vaccine trial would require that half of the subjects start out vaccinated and then have the vaccination reversed later in the trial. This is clearly impossible, and should be obvious even to Ms Dorey, who claims to be one of "Australia's leading vaccine experts". By relying on the general public's ignorance of the terms used in research she can tell the truth while still promoting fear. The shorthand term for this is "Economy with the truth", or, to make it even shorter, "lying".


What else has been going on (26/11/2011)
I haven't just been in the thrall of Burzynski and the AVN this week. Here are some other things that happened.

The latest edition of Australasian Science magazine is in the newsstands and subscribers' letterboxes, complete with my regular Naked Skeptic column. This one was about the rather large amount of patience I have to show when confronted with people who politely listen when their incorrect information is corrected and then wait a few seconds before repeating it, thus demonstrating that some do not even have the poor memory generally attributed to goldfish. You can read the article here, or, better still, buy a copy or subscribe to the magazine.

As well as that, I have written a rather long piece for the Australian Skeptics' magazine, The Skeptic, about the bizarre attempt to corrupt the practice of pharmaceutical prescription in Australia by linking certain prescriptions to recommendations for supplemental snake oil. A shorter version of the same article will appear in Australasian Science in the new year. You will be able to read them here once they have been in print for awhile.

Radio RatbagsThe second edition of the Radio Ratbags podcast has gone out, and the schedule of one every two weeks should run smoothly from now on, with the next episode being available on Wednesday, November 30. The podcast will be submitted to iTunes for approval this week so it will soon be available to people who might not ever visit here. I'm still experimenting with the infrastructure and I will be trying out a couple of different microphones over the next few weeks. The new computer and the new audio manipulation software from Adobe will either make things easier or harder or both, but there will be progress.




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