Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen
Do not, for even a second, think that the US “Quackbuster” operation, a plot to stop anyone, and everyone, from changing the broken US health care system, is run, or even maintained, by delicensed MD Stephen Barrett out of his 2421 West Greenleaf Street, Allentown, Pennsylvania address, or his condo at 287 Stoneview, Pittsboro, North Carolina. It would be foolish to assume that this bitter, nasty, old man, who stumbles through life, tripping from one professional failure to another, is running a cleverly set up plot. He’s just the “front man.” The one they want you to focus on. He’s ill. He’ll die soon, and someone else will take his place as the frontispiece.
So, who really is running it? And why? And, how is it being done? Keep reading, and all will be revealed.
The 2008 Quackbuster operation is involved in “info wars” on the internet. It is a public relations “black-ops,” run out of a New York misinformation agency. It has six components designed to do two things: (1) provide false and misleading negative healthcare information, primarily through the internet, to (a) the general public, and (b) employees of health insurance companies, medical malpractice insurance companies, health agencies, County, State, and Federal enforcement agencies about those trying to fix/change the health care system, and people, therapies, products, etc., that compete with the current status quo, and (2) block, or diminish sources of substantial information about positive aspects of those people, therapies, products, etc, that compete with the status quo.
The plot is pervasive, well funded, and well run. And, it’s time to break it up. This article will give you the information on how it works, and tips on how to stop it from affecting YOU and your interests.
The New York agency’s intent is to not just defame, but to make that defamation, through organization, appear at the top of the search engines like Google. Below, I’ll show you how they do that. They have organized to manipulate the online encyclopedia Wikipedia information about health care. They also, through people trained in disruption, troll Usenet (google) discussion groups, badmouthing advanced health care, regularly.
I emphasize that all of this attack is “organized”… and can be traced back to the same people – about five, or six, of them.
In other words, it is not just about Quackwatch. Worldwide, there are four major “quackbuster” centers: the US, Denmark, Canada, and Australia. In the US we are familiar with Barrett, Baratz, etc. In Australia we have “ratbags,” Peter Bowditch. In Canada we have Terry Polevoy. In Denmark we have Paul Lee PT (quackfiles).
The up-and-comer in all this is Paul Lee PT from Denmark, for it is he who manages both the Wikipedia information manipulation system, and the search engine top ranking system I’ll describe below. Although, the TWO systems, in place, give the quackbuster operation “info wars” advantage they also, because of how, and where, they did it, bring Lee, Polevoy and Bowditch, and all of the foreign operations under the jurisdiction of the US Court system. In other words – they made a big mistake, in their eagerness to corrupt.
Why? Because Wikipedia is based in Florida. The search engine placement system they use, called “webring” is based in Ashland, Oregon. Since they do business with these US companies, they are subject to be sued for their activities in this country.
(1) The Quackbuster Communication Network has five parts:
(a) The Consumer Health Digest is a newsletter with mailing list of over twelve thousand names. The newsletter is sent out weekly to the mailing list. The list is made up of lower and middle level employees of county, state, and federal health administration and enforcement agencies, and employees of health insurance and medical malpractice insurance company employees. The so-called “Digest” is a simple tool to do two things: (1) propagandize those lower level employees into believing that the targets of the so-called articles are “bad people,” criminals, doubtfuls, etc., and (2) convince those employees that they should devote time to investigating, prosecuting, or, at the very least, watching, the targets constantly.
If you, or yours, are the subject of any article on this newsletter – beware, for the readers of these articles are not the brightest people in the world, and would tend to believe what they read.
(b) The Health Fraud Discussion Group has two functions: (1) People making inquiries of information on “quackwatch.org” are “invited” to ask questions on this discussion group where, supposedly, “experts” will give the inquirer more information. Those “experts” are just more quackbuster operatives relaying more of the same lies and misinformation. (2) The discussion group provides a format for the quackbusters to showcase subjects, or people they want to defame or deride.
(c) The Skeptics Discussion Group is simply a means for the quackbuster propaganda system to tie into the worldwide “Skeptic” organization by trying to interest the Skeptic movement in being super-critical of the issues the quackbusters promote. Frankly, I don’t know how well this works, or doesn’t work, for them, because the involved so-called “skeptics” I see publicly are, for the most part, dolts – pseudo-skeptics operating in a pseudo-intellectual mode, trying to impress others with their claims to Mensa status – and not doing very well at it.
(d) The James Randi Discussion Group is an odd thing. James Randi, who bills himself as “The Amazing Randi,” is, it appears, a fifth-rate magician who seems to play the Motel-6 Lounge Circuit in the US. He gets himself on television promoting various “doubts” about various things. Randi is not very impressive, and when you batch that together with his gargantuan ego, and his pompous presentations, you get just about what you would expect.
(e) SSR.com is the lair of Scott Ballantyne and the ScottSoft Research group out of New York City. SSR.com is the HOST for all of the above.Ballantyne is a relative unknown, and there is no obvious reason apparent why Ballantyne provides expertise, time, and labor to host, and manage, the four activities above. I suspect he is funded directly out of the New York misinformation agency.
Note – for those of you who wish to subpoena information (and you should) from SSR.com (Ballantyne), about the activities of these entities above in regards to individual clients, contact me, and I’ll provide the data you need for subpoenas – and more. Ballantyne, I think, is in a panic (and he should be), lately, for he destroyed all of the archives of the Health Fraud Discussion Group, as he says, “for legal reasons.”
(2) The Quackbuster manipulation of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia:
Wikipedia is an odd thing. It is made up of a so-called “volunteer system.” Several years ago, a team of quackbusters infiltrated various levels of the Wikipedia operation, and are now entrenched in the middle, and lower, level volunteer management system. If you try and put any positive information about advanced medicine, or the problems of US health care, on Wikipedia, or change false or misleading information the quackbusters have installed, you will fail. You will be blocked from further “editing” and the pages of Wikipedia will now carry information about what a “terrible person you are.” The only way to have ANY influence over what Wikipedia says about subject is to approach them with a legal threat letter at the highest levels. Nothing else works. Even that has problems, for Wikipedia management operates on a financial shoestring, and apparently has no ability to police its own encyclopedia. Unfortunately, people use the encyclopedia – and they get very bad information about health care.
Below is a paragraph from the editor’s section of Wikipedia. The editor, here, is discussing the problem of the quackbuster slime, acting to control the information flow on Wikipedia – and what to do about it. so you understand the abbreviation POV stand for Point of View, and NPOV stands for No Point of View, which Wikipedia wants. The part in red is for emphasis. Read this:
I guess it depends on what purpose the External Links section serves. Do the links have to serve the NPOV interests of the article or can the links section be a place where specific points-of-view can have a chance to be expressed? As it is now, the chiropractic link section is broken down into Advocacy and Critiques. I think that this warns the researcher that they are leaving the NPOV environment that Wikipedia tries to provide and will be entering a POV external site.
If these links are truly just linking to the page for marketing reasons and don’t serve a primary function of adding to the knowledge-base, I would then say to axe them. I haven’t checked every critical link, but they do seem to link to essays or research on pages that don’t directly try to sell you anything (other than their POV). If they are all offering the same POV with no really distinguishing differences, then they should be reduced in number.
The soapbox point is interesting. These are external links so it would seem that Wikipedia is not being directly exploited as a soapbox. However, the abundance of critical links could be seen as an attempt to present bias… using the amount of negative criticisms to invoke a negative POV about chiropractic. My solution up until now has been to add to the advocacy links to balance out the criticism. You can certainly try to delete the critical links and claim NPOV but I can almost guarantee you that you be quickly (and improperly) accused of “vandalism” by one of three specific chiroskeptics who police the chiropractic page all day long as far as I can tell. They love to throw “vandalism” accusations around – and usually are vastly overstating the matter. That being said, I have suggested a “disarming” strategy, where both sides would remove links in a balanced way, but my suggestion was met with silence.
Now as far as the link farming goes. Yes, virtually all of the critical sites are linked together through the SkepticRing, Anti-Quackery Ring, Chiropractic Subluxated Ring and other ways fashioned specifically for the purpose of boosting Search Engine ranking. A lot of those sites are operated by Stephen Barrett and his buddy Sammy Homola – Chirobase.org, Quackwatch.org, and NCAHF. They’re three organizations all saying the same thing. What’s really slimy is that they state opinions then reference their sister-sites support to that opinion. A lot of the links are operated or moderated by Fyslee (one of the three chiroskepics users who regularly accuse people of vandalism for removing links to his sites). Check out his userpage to see which sites he operates and moderates for. These chiroskepitics are working together to actively employ search engine tricks such as artifically boosting Google ranking by adding external links to their sites all over Wikipedia. I have documented this. Their goal is for a researcher curious about chiropractic to encounter their anti-chiropractic sites first on a Google search. Given these organizations’ objective, I can certainly understand why they would want to do this. Unfortunately, the tactics that they employ are objectionable to both Google and Wikipedia. Hopefully these organizations will get wise to the chiroskeptic ring and ban their sites.
I’m not sure what to do in the meantime. One thing that I would like to suggest is that a website is linked to only once in the external links section. As it is now, they are linking to Chirobase and NCAHF several times throughout the article and in the external links section. Talk about boosting external link popularity!
I think that if you showed that some of these links are not providing anything new and are just marketing tools, you should be able to justify deleting them on the discussion page… just prepare yourself for an attack and false accusations. If you can handle all of that with a cool head, I say, “Be bold with your edits!”
I welcome your continued participation on the Chirorpactic and chiropractic-related articles. I think that you have a lot of great insight to offer Wikipedia and you seem to have a vary good graspe on Wikipedia’s guidelines. I look forward to your future edits and discussions.
As a side note, I think the reason the chiroskeptics are “shouting” so loud is that they are realizing that nobody is listening to them. Chiropractic is growing faster than ever and more and more patients are receiving the benefits everyday. Levine2112 00:41, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Note – for those of you who wish to subpoena information (and you should) from Wikipedia, about the activities of these entities above in regards to individual clients, contact me, and I’ll provide the data you need for lawsuits, subpoenas, cease and desist letters – and more. Wikipedia is already on notice about the problem. Frankly, their system is goofy, and I can see how they got manipulated. The articles in the media criticizing Wikipedia are on target, and there needs to be more of them. Wikipedia deserves the criticism.
(3) The Quackbuster manipulation of internet search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.):
Ever wonder how the crap quackbusters spew about people, therapies, or products they don’t like appears FIRST on the internet search engines? I’m about to tell you how they do that, how to stop it, and how to sue them individually, and together, for having done it. You’re going to love this.
There is, on the internet, a whole industry surrounding the idea of getting YOUR information on the first page of search engines like Google. The quackbuster operation uses a company to get their defamation, and false and misleading information on the first page, and the first several pages, of a search engine. If you are a target of theirs, you need to know this, and how it works.
How do they manipulate search engine placement? They use the services of a company called Webring which, for a fee, ties their webring together in such a way as to give each and every of theirr websites top google placement. The Anti-Quackery webring has 85 websites banded together. Their Skeptic webring has 150 websites. Their Chiropractic Subluxation webring has about five websites. They all work together.
Here is how the company Webring explains their service:
WebRing offers a unique and effective means of searching, locating and navigating between web sites with similar themes. WebRing allows web site owners to group their sites together into ring communities, and provides a navigation tool that links web sites together called a NavBar. Linked sites not only eliminate the necessity of repetitive searches, but the NavBar also accumulates hits from all of the sites so that a hit to one site is a hit to all sites. Additionally, the NavBar acts as a link so your web site is linked to every other site in the community. So now your site is benefiting from higher search engine results because it has more hits and more links.
I’m going to give you a short tour of how it works by having you click on a URL. This will take you to a page on the Webring website reserved for the “Anti-quackery webring” manipulated by Paul Lee PT. When you scroll down to see the list of the 85 members, you will notice that there are but a few major websites. Most of them are one-page “made up” stuff. Go here: http://g.webring.com/hub?ring=antiquackerysite
Note – for those of you who wish to subpoena information (and you should) from webring.com about the activities of these entities above in regards to individual clients, contact me, and I’ll provide the data you need for subpoenas – and more. But, for sure, subpoena all personal, and business, information gathered by Webring for each and every member, and ringmaster, of the “Anti-quackery webring,” the “Skeptic webring,” the “Anti-quackery links,” and the “Chiropractic is Subluxated” webring.
(4) The Quackbuster infiltration of (Usenet) Internet AltMed Discussion Groups:
Ilena Rosenthal, the head of the anti silicone breast implant Humantics Foundation has been a victim of the New York agency’s campaign for years. How has she been victimized? Two ways. (1) First, she’s a target by an organized group that seeks to deride her, personally, so as to nullify her efforts to show the severe health problems of silicone breast implants. The New York agency’s tactic is to attack her in the internet discussion groups. Their favorite internet tactic is claim that this happily married woman has constant sex with huge numbers of men, and animals. They get away with this, for the most part, because they use “fake” internet IDs, difficult to trace, and because those who are known live outside the US, and they know Rosenthal does not have the money to sue them in several different foreign countries simultaneously. (2) Stephen Barrett of quackwatch.com, and Terry Polevoy from Canada filed a false lawsuit against her – and, even though the lawsuit rebounded against them, and they had to pay her attorney fees of over $500,000, the fight took its toll.
The New York based group invades every internet discussion group it can find, and using similar tactics to those used against Rosenthal, derides and defames those trying to upgrade the health system. There are not that many of them, and we can now identify who most of them are, and who they work for.
Note – for those of you who wish to subpoena information (and you should) from discussion group files, and hosting companies, about the activities of these entities above in regards to individual clients, contact me, and I’ll provide the data you need for subpoenas – and more.
(5) Blacklisting certain health practitioners:
In the early 1990s, now deceased John Renner MD, then president of the infamous National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) had put together a “blacklist” of health professionals which he was distributing to Health Insurance companies and State licensing Boards. There were about 2500 names on that list at the time. The idea of the secret list was to, obviously, damage these health professionals behind the scenes without those professionals knowing about the attack. Renner, I think, was trying for secrecy so he wouldn’t get his ass sued off. The list did make an appearance, though, and Renner, and his minions began to have trouble.
Then, a second list appeared, this time assembled, and marketed, by an attorney named Grace Powers Monaco who had started a company called Emprise, which received some of its funding from a $500k annual grant from the National Institute for Health (NIH). Emprise was killed after two things happened – (1) a group called “Act UP” went after their funding, and (2) Emprise got named in a RICO suit in Texas. NIH, among other things, pulled their funding.
So, what happened to the secret list? Do you think the New York agency just dropped that idea? Of course not.
I know where the list is, and how its being used today, and who’s doing it. There are over 40,000 names on that list now, probably the names of health professionals who have side-stepped away from the drugs, drugs, and more drugs paradigm, and use successful methods on their patients.
The list is part of a “clearing house” operation used by insurance companies to make decisions about payment. When either a practitioner, or a patient, files a claim for insurance benefits, the data is fed into a computer which then checks the name of the practitioner involved in the transaction. If the name of the practitioner is on the 40,000 list, the claim is re-routed through the “fraud unit” of the insurance billing system, who then handles the claim as though it were fraudulent. From there, it gets bundled with other claims having gone the same route, and goes to a special unit that has connections to the Federal Health Fraud Task Force. Soon, the practitioner gets a visit, not just from a Federal Investigator, but a State Licensing Board Investigator. Why? What has the practitioner done wrong? Nothing, of course. Someone just put him or her on the secret list so that they would be the subject of intense suspicion and scrutiny, constantly.
As I said above, I know how its being done, and by whom. But, I don’t have enough information to, yet, prove it in Court. What I need is a related Federal Court case with subpoena power available. If someone has that, I can provide the information on who, what, where, and why, certain things need to be subpoenaed. Why “Federal?” Because the operation is spread over several States.
(6) Blocking health information from the internet
Having trouble finding legitimate research papers that back up the science of advanced health care? Of course you are. There is a systematic attempt to make those kinds of scientific research NOT available on the internet. I’m not going into detail here, for the investigation of how this works, AND WHO, SPECIFICALLY, is behind it is ongoing. But, it is happening.
There is an awful lot of money and power playing in the US healthcare system stakes. The system is badly broken, and there are those who want to keep it that way because, simply, the money flow is tremendous, and a healthy American public is not in the interests of big pharma, and other multi-national groups. Alert, healthy people tend to make reasonable demands of their government.
Our US health care system is broken, and there is a misinformation group, based in New York City, that for a price, will attack anyone, or any company, or group that exist. Just write the checks, and they’ll begin. Their customer list is impressive.
Tim Bolen – Consumer Advocate