Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen
Google, the owner of the famous search engine, also runs a series of Discussion Groups, called “Google Groups.” For as long as anyone can remember there has been a Discussion Group called “misc.health.alternative.” But no longer. Yesterday, Google shut it down, claiming the group violated Google’s Terms Of Service.”
It was never known who started the group, nor who managed it. But it was always clear that it was a forum for bashing cutting edge health care, for the most part by posters using a fake name, and more often than not, those posters viciously attacked, using the most offensive language and suggestions of odd sexual preferences.
Some of the internet’s nastiest posters got their start here. “Orac the Nipple Ripper,” for instance, reveled here, belittling his betters until, of course, his identity was revealed, and the attack on him was reversed. Avoiding the sting, he ran for his own Blog, where he could control the posted comments about his writings.
But Google shut it down, quite ceremoniously…
“Ratbags,” Peter Bowditch, a man of no particular importance, but a nasty mouth, wallowed here Bowditch is the head of the so-called “Australian Skeptics, and clearly VERY CLOSE to James Randi, the Skeptic’ s originator. Keep this in mind for future articles about the quackbuster organization.
I always strongly suspected that it was here, on this Discussion Group, that the quackbusters (and there are not that many of them) perfected their technique of adopting multiple fake identities to bolster their crude arguments against cutting-edge health care. Bowditch, who, I believe, has the easily recognized writing skills of an over-sugared fourth-grader, appears to have used up to thirty different identities.
More, it was here that Ilena Rosenthal challenged this nasty operation, and got sued for her efforts by Stephen Barrett and Terry Polevoy. As you know Ilena Rosenthal cleaned their clocks in the California Courts, and at least one of the group still owes her over $450,000 in attorney fees awarded by the California Court.
For years the so-called misc.health.alternative Discussion Group was a dueling ground between the clearly-of- lesser-intelligence quackbuster/skeptics, and supporters of cutting-edge health care. You could always tell when, and this always happened quickly, the quackbuster/skeptics became mentally overwhelmed, for they would resort to the multiple identities, sometimes cross-gendering, and the over-the-top sexual innuendos.
What Could Have Happened…
It is very possible that Barrett’s support network, through whomever was actually running it as a bashing service, petitioned to shut it down, for it contained about fifteen years of evidence of quackbuster online activity. A few years ago, I recall, Barrett erased all the archived back years of the so-called “Healthfraud Discussion Group,” I suspect, as soon as they realized that, there too, was a repository of evidence that could be used against them.
Of course, the people over at Doctor’s Data v Stephen Barrett Federal Court case, are EAGER to get into Discovery – and, it is also obvious, that Barrett and company are desperate to keep evidence away from them.
And, no matter what, of course Google keeps a copy of the archive…
I love it.
Tim Bolen – Consumer Advocate