Ilena is interviewed and discusses the dangers of breast implants and the resulting industry backed Smear Campaign against her. Click here to read about Stephen Barrett and Christopher Grell's loss and the third plaintiff, Terry Polevoy, whose case against her is now in the Supreme Court of California.
The Humantics Foundation joins his family and the breast implant community in mourning the loss of Rodney Hayton, a fine advocate for women harmed by breast implants. Click here to read his excellent testimony at the FDA in 2003.
If you find any typos, busted links etc. and want to let me know ... I very much appreciate it! Our staff is only me, right now with all my heart and soul, wanting to keep our message in front of the public. It was 10 years last August, and I've seen so many support groups and activists in this issue die ... or get too ill to fight Goliath anymore ... and these powerful women fade underground to protect their health and family life.
Corporate America and the Plastic Surgeon's Lobbies are no match for sick and dying women. the Their combined PR campaigns are legendary, orchestrated by the PR giant, Burson Marsteller.
One longtime support group leader, with no shortage of her own serious implant related health challenges put it this way to me:
"You on the other hand, just battling a world of multi-billion dollar corps, a world of murderously insane lunatics, and prepping for Court."
The Court she is referring to is the Supreme Court of California. Click here for the Quackbusters vs me.
The newsgroup I created in the Fall of 1995 is one medium that the Junk Science Campaign can not totally control as they have all others.
They have worked hand in hand with my Plaintiffs above and Inamed's former President.. to create a Smear Campaign against me ... so vicious ... it appears they have no boundaries. Since I began the newsgroup, their twisted version of my personal life has been broadcast wide & far. That it bears no relationship to reality doesn't faze nor slow them now in their defamation against me.
Together in what they named the "SBIPrivateClub" ... this group and and former Inamed President Patrick O'leary (currently head of Eurosilicone in France) have hired a Private Investigator to hunt me down ... stalked friends of mine in their search, and attempted to access my bank accounts.
They are, in my opinion, the embodiment of the PR Plan describing the cover up of damning Dow Corning information ... and the creation of "networks."
These are typical tactics used for years by the "quackbusters" in their attempts to destroy chiropractors, holistic and alternative healers, naturopaths, fluoride activists, critics, radio show hosts, homeopaths and doctors working to uncover the mystery of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities -- to name but a few.
Check back for links and more details soon ... as this is being updated as their Campaign is spreading. Click here.
In late 2000, Stephen Barrett, Terry Polevoy, and attorney Christopher Grell launched a Public Relations and Legal War against several critics and medical professionals whose careers they attempted to destroy by all means possible.
They widened their War against Alternatives Medicine practices and practioners and several of their more outspoken critics.
They claim that this Posse is but a spoof, a satire and pooh-pooh any reference to the rag-tag group assembled.
With Doctor Sue Barrett at the helm, several SLAPP style lawsuits were filed, one being against Dr. Hulda Clark, Tim Bolen, and myself, amongst several others I've still not met to this day. They accused us of being in conspiracy to libel them.
The rest of the Plaintiffs in this lawsuit hired an excellent attorney, Carlos Negrete for their defense. He has an extensive website called Health Freedom Law and I recommend any interested in First Amendment Law Issues to visit here.
I hired Mark Goldowitz, head of the California Anti-SLAPP Project, who serentiditously was located in Oakland, CA, where this case had been filed. Mr. Goldowitz had virtually written the SLAPP laws here in California upon which several other states based their own SLAPP laws.
Their case against me was a classic SLAPP suit ... Industry vs Activist ... attempting to silence criticism, exhaust resources and funnel energies which would have been directed at my cause, raising awareness to the very real dangers of breast implants, to defending myself at enormous cost, in court, and on the internet against their The Rag-tag Posse of Snake-oil Vigilantes and their endless myriad of harassers, stalkers, in various disguises and aliases. Several of these team mates embedded themselves within the breast implant community to attack me, as well as teamed with silicone executive, Patrick O'leary, my nemesis since the first day I created alt.support.breast-implant, an internet newsgroup, part of Usenet, the bloody battleground of this case.
This was my original declaration in defense of the Quackbusters SLAPP suit against me.
In a 27 page decision, the Superior Court in Oakland, CA sided with me on everything and declared the entire suit to be a SLAPP suit ... a common industry technique to stifle critics and activists such as myself.
Here is Judge Richmond's Opinion of July 25, 2001.
Based on the above, the Court concludes that Section 425.16 applies to Plaintiffs' Complaint, and that no Plaintiff has established by competent evidence a probability that he will prevail on his claim. Accordingly, Rosenthal's motion will be granted, and Rosenthal will be awarded reasonable attorney's fees and costs according to proof.
Almost immediately thereafter, late Summer, 2001, Barrett & Polevoy augmented their "Rag-tag Posse" of Usenet terrorists to harass, stalk and attempt to intimidate me and others named in this lawsuit.
To this day, there are 3 of their "Posse" members who have embedded themselves amongst the breast implant support system and have stalked me, attempted to access my bank accounts, and attempted to intimidate and frighten and defame many, many, many friends and associates of mine.
Here Polevoy, affecting a disguise as "Vera" obsesses over his belief that I am in Costa Rica ... and ultimately his Clubmates, Jeffcoat and Penley-Ayers, go there to hunt me down.
California Anti-SLAPP Project
Special Counsel for Defendant
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF ALAMEDA
Stephen J. Barrett, M.D., TERRY POLEVOY, M.D., CHRISTOPHER E. GRELL,
HULDA CLARK, TIM BOLEN, JAN BOLEN, JURIMED, DR. CLARK RESEARCH ASSOCIATION, DAVID P. AMREIN, ILENA ROSENTHAL, AND DOES 1 TO 100,
Case No. 833021-5
DECLARATION OF ILENA ROSENTHAL IN SUPPORT OF HER SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT AS A SLAPP
Date: May 30, 2001
Time: 2 p.m.
I, ILENA ROSENTHAL, hereby declare:
I am a defendant in this action. I have personal knowledge of the facts set forth in this declaration, except as to those facts stated upon information and belief, and, as to those matters, I believe them to be true. If called to testify, I could and would competently testify to the matters contained herein. The documents attached hereto are true copies of the documents they purport to be.
I was raised in Dallas, Texas, and received my Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado in 1970. My degree is in Psychology, with minors in Sociology and Anthropology. For some years I traveled extensively, studying several other languages and cultures, and I settled in California in 1976. From the mid-1970s, I was a successful businesswoman. I have lived and worked in San Diego since 1988.
I have actively participated in numerous womens issues during my studies and throughout my adult life. In 1975, I worked with a small team of women to create the first Womens Crisis Center in our county and one of the first in the nation. In the 1990s, I also did end-of-life hospice volunteer counseling for several years.
In 1995, I spoke with several different women who have had devastating health problems with their breast implants. A friend with breast implants shared with me the severe health problems she experienced as a result of the silicone from her breast implants having migrated to her lymph nodes and other organs, that necessitated several surgeries. Another woman I spoke with had tumors surrounding her 20-year-old breast implants and many systemic health problems. Plastic surgeons had told her not to believe the "crazies" who warned her that her conditions could worsen if she did not remove her then-ruptured implants. She asked me to assist her in researching the issue and I agreed.
Beginning in August of 1995, I took on the task of thoroughly researching the issue of breast implants. I first read Informed Consent (McGraw-Hill, 1996), the true story of a former Dow Corning Ethics Director whose wife, Colleen, suffered a myriad of serious health problems for years without any connection being made between her ill health and the Dow breast implants. Written by John Byrne of Business Week, this exposé revealed the cover-up of early Dow studies indicating the company knew silicone gel migrated and created systemic immune disorders in implanted women, and yet continued to market the implants anyway.
For several months, I read every published study, article, and book on the topic of breast implants that I could find. I also interviewed dozens of doctors, women with implants, support group leaders, and anyone else I found with knowledge of this issue.
I learned that over two million women have had implants and another 200,000 women were being implanted each year here in the United States. Breast implants are an extremely controversial and emotional issue that affect every aspect of a womans life. The silicone manufacturers and plastic surgeons were defending themselves in lawsuits involving nearly 500,000 women as plaintiffs. I am informed and believe that efforts were made to achieve a global settlement in the Lindsey v. Dow Corning Corp. class action lawsuit (In re Silicone Gel Breast Implant Prods. Liab. Litig.), No. CV 92-P-10000-S, Civ. A. No. CV94-P-11558-S, 1994 WL 578353, at *1 (N.D. Ala., Sept. 1, 1994), that led to a proposed $4.2 billion global settlement approved by Judge Pointer in 1994, but that the case is still not resolved as of April 2001. And Dow is but one of several silicone manufacturers.
I also learned that then over 100,000 (now over 200,000) women had reported serious adverse medical complications from breast implants to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and that no breast implant had ever been approved by the FDA. Saline implants were finally given the "safe enough" FDA approval in March of 2000, after having been on the market and widely used since the 1960s.
My research revealed that thousands of women have undergone repeated surgeries because of their ruptured implants, lost breast tissue, suffered from a myriad of infections, and developed painful and debilitating autoimmune diseases linked to their implants. Women who have received breast implants after mastectomy fared even worse, and over a third of them needed additional surgery because of rupture, infections, and implant dislocation in just the first five years. An FDA study concluded that two out of three women with breast implants would have at least one breast implant rupture.
I discovered that an aggressive PR campaign was being waged by silicone manufacturers, and that as a result women were receiving misinformation and that the true nature of their illnesses and injuries that were caused by their breast implants was being denied in the media. In my investigation I learned that Dow, a major manufacturer of breast implants, hired Burson Marsteller (a large public relations firm) in the early 1990s to change the publics perception on the true dangers of implants as shown in Dows internal memos from 1992. (See Exhibit A.) I came to understand and firmly believe that women were being duped by a multi-million dollar public relations campaign into believing that getting breast implants was a safe, minor procedure with virtually no major health risks.
My research propelled me to want to do as much as I could to help educate and empower women to make an informed decision regarding breast implant surgery, because mainstream medical information appeared to present just one very positive view of this medical procedure. I was determined to distribute the information that I had learned to the women who needed to know. I also wanted them to be able to connect with each other and network to find solutions to the myriad of problems many were experiencing as a result of their implants.
In November 1995, I created what has become the worlds largest support group for people harmed by breast implants and other silicone products. To do this, I set up the only Internet newsgroup on the topic (alt.support.breast-implant) and created an email support list which currently has several thousand readers, with more joining daily. In January 1996, I self-published the first edition of a booklet entitled "Breast Implants: The Myths, The Facts, The Women." (Exhibit B.) Several thousand copies are in circulation.
In 1996, I took over as Director of a small non-profit foundation, the Humantics Foundation for Women, and ran it out of my home. I network and research alternate medical ways for those affected by breast implant surgery to improve their health. I also give these women a way to connect, share and learn from each other. The Foundation has also provided funds for implant removal for those with no resources for their surgery. My work has been funded, for the most part, out of my personal savings, investments, and small inheritance, at a cost of well over $100,000 to me over the last five years. I receive no income from working for this cause.
I have published many articles critical of breast implants, and I am interviewed regularly for radio, television and magazines. I write and speak about the high rupture rates, the autoimmune illnesses, and also the enormity of the disinformation spread by public relations operations to hide the true risks of breast implant surgery. I wrote "Breast Implants: Americas Silent Epidemic," published in the January 2001 edition of Total Health Magazine. (Exhibit C.) I was also quoted in the November 2000 issue of Glamour Magazine as an expert in the field. (Exhibit D, p. 249.) My "How manufacturers created a Silicone Smokescreen," was published in the San Diego Business Journal, August 18, 1997. (Exhibit E.) I was interviewed on the issue of breast implant safety for and quoted in the December 6, 1999, issue of Chemical & Engineering News. (Exhibit F.) My non-profit organization, the Humantics Foundation, is listed as a consumer group resource on the FDA website, and in its information booklet on the subject.
In the course of my research and work on this very controversial health issue, I became aware of plaintiff Barrett. He heads "Quackwatch," an Internet website whose self-proclaimed purpose is to expose and eliminate what Barrett considers to be "Quackery" and "Health Fraud." (Exhibit G, p. 1.) Its Mission Statement says, "Quackwatch, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to combat health-related frauds, myths, fads, and fallacies. Its primary focus is on quackery-related information that is difficult or impossible to get elsewhere." (Exhibit H, p. 1.) Barretts "Quackwatch" website claims to have had 1.7 million visitors since 1997. (Exhibit G, p. 9).
My viewpoint on the topic of breast implant safety is 180 degrees from the highly publicized viewpoint of Barrett and the American Council of Science & Health (ACSH), an organization with which Barrett is aligned. Barrett is listed on ACSHs website, www.acsh.org, as a "Scientific and Political Advisor" for ACSH. He has written for and been quoted in ACSH publications. (See, e.g., Exhibit I, Barrett, "ACSH Editorial: MCS: Mis-Concern Serious, Parts 1& 2.")
In "Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Spurious Diagnosis," Barrett writes: "The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a proposal to recognize MCS as a disease and to promote special accommodations for people who claim to have it. This proposal flies in the face of scientific knowledge and can have serious legal and economic consequences. . . . Multiple chemical sensitivity is not a legitimate diagnosis." (Exhibit J, p. 6.)
I read the information on Barretts website regarding MCS and found Barretts conclusions totally contrary to current research. In, "Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A 1999 Consensus," published in the Archives of Environmental Health (Vol. 54, No. 3, pp. 147149), 35 medical doctors and scientists concurred that with MCS: (Exhibit K, p. 3.)
The symptoms are reproducible with [repeated chemical] exposure."
"The condition is chronic."
Low levels of exposure [lower than previously or commonly tolerated]
result in manifestations of the syndrome."
"The symptoms improve or resolve when the incitants are removed."
"Responses occur to multiple chemically unrelated substances."
[Added in 1999]: Symptoms involve multiple organ systems.
Barrett is also vice-president, webmaster and a board member of the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF), whose Mission Statement claims that, "NCAHF is a nonprofit, tax-exempt voluntary health agency that focuses its attention upon health fraud, misinformation, and quackery as public health problems." (Exhibit L.) Barrett also heads the "Healthfraud" Internet discussion list. (Exhibit L.) I am informed and believe that plaintiff Polevoy is also an active participant in that discussion group.
I believe that Quackwatch and NCAHF have given misleading and derogatory labels to many health professionals, including respected and honored medical professionals such as Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Natural Health, Natural Medicine and scores of other alternative healing books, and twice-honored Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling.
I would describe Barrettt as being on a crusade against alternative medicine, which includes his so-called "quackbusting" of respected medical practitioners who have personally helped women I know. For instance, Dr. James Privitera had spoken at several breast implant conferences and is the author of Silent Clots, Lifes Biggest Killer (The Catacombs Press, 1997). Barretts website criticizes Dr. Priviteras theories. Barrett sued Dr. Privitera for defamation over critical comments about Barrett in Dr. Privteras book. Eventually, Dr. Privitera won a summary judgment against Barrett and the case was dismissed.
I do not share Barretts opinion on what constitutes a "quack" and do not believe that his "Quackbusters" have dominion over who can, and who can not, be called a "quack." I am an outspoken critic of the plaintiffs high profile "Quackbuster" campaigns, which I see as a dominant threat to medical freedom. I know from my investigations, research and networking that the so called alternative medical therapies have helped women with serious medical problems that were not relieved through conventional medicine.
I am informed and believe that the freedom to choose alternate or conventional health care is a multi-billion dollar a year issue of great public significance. Dr. Stephen E. Straus, a virologist, and director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) states: "The American people are spending billions of dollars a year on CAM, so this clearly is a major public health concern." (Exhibit M, p. 3.)
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has even begun to endorse alternative therapies for chronic pain and insomnia. Meditation, hypnosis, and biofeedback were among the alternative treatments endorsed by an independent 12-member panel convened October 16-18, 1995, to encourage wider acceptance of behavioral and relaxation therapies for treating chronic pain and insomnia. (Exhibit N.)
I believe that it is extremely important that women who are considering breast implant surgery for any reason, cosmetic or reconstruction, have access to reliable and unbiased information on the pros and cons of such a surgery. Their long-term health is at stake. Information from ACSH, funded by silicone manufacturers, is not and can not be considered "unbiased."
The safety of breast implants is another multi-billion dollar controversy of enormous concern for all sides. Dow Corning Corporation (DCC) C.E.O. Dan Hayes admitted in a now famous 1991 internal memo uncovered during discovery in the breast implant litigation, "The issue of cover-up is going well [T]he establishment of networks. . . is the largest single issue on our platter because it affects not only the next 2-3 years profitability but also ultimately has a big impact on the long-term ethics and believability issues. . . ." (Exhibit A, p. 3.)
Plaintiffs have sued me because I have posted to the Internet Usenet newsgroups, alt.support.breast-implant, misc.health.alternative, and talk.politics.medicine, that are fora in which persons who have an interest in breast implants, alternative health issues, and the politics of medicine, can share opinions, ideas and information. Usenet, a collection of over 50,000 newsgroups, is the wild west of the Internet. Basically, a newsgroup is a computer bulletin board that anyone with Internet access can post to or read. There are no administrators and no one to enforce rules of conduct. Because of these characteristics, discussions are often heated and fiery rhetoric is not uncommon. The tone and context of newsgroup posts makes clear that they are generally individual opinions, not assertions of provable fact, and readers understand that. Any who wish to participate can defend their positions and opinions at will. In reading many newsgroup posts, I came to believe that it has become a popular new media for public relations professionals to frequent and publicize opinions of their sponsors. It is free speech in its purest form, and the plaintiffs and anyone else can post messages to promote and defend their own opinions.
A newsgroup is an "interactive computer service," within the meaning of the Communications Decency Act, 47 USC § 230(f)(2), which defines it as "any information service, system or access software provider that enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server." This is the precise way Usenet, a series of newsgroups, operates. Usenet and each newsgroup act as an information service or system that allows multiple users to gain access to the computer server that receives and stores the messages posted by the users to each newsgroup. Anyone anywhere in the world, with Internet access, has equal and uncensorable access to that information. In addition to being an information service or system, a newsgroup is also an "access software provider," which is defined in 47 USC § 230(f)(4) of the Communications Decency Act as "a provider of software (including client or server software), or enabling tools that do any one or more of the following: (A) filter, screen, allow, or disallow content; (B) pick, choose, analyze, or digest content; or (C) transmit, receive, display, forward, cache, search, subset, organize, reorganize, or translate content." In addition to Usesnet itself, Google.com archives billions of retrievable, searchable messages which have been posted to newsgroups.
As publisher of several email lists, newsletters, and frequent poster of (over 50,000) individual messages on Usenet since 1995, I frequently post the works, studies, and opinions of others. Although sometimes I have posted messages critical of Barrett and Polevoy, at no time have I ever knowingly made any statements about any of the plaintiffs that I knew to be untrue. Prior to having been named in this lawsuit, I had no malice, hatred, or ill will toward any of the plaintiffs. Admittedly, my feelings have deteriorated about them, as I must now defend myself against this frivolous lawsuit at enormous expense.
I had no knowledge of the name or person of plaintiff Christopher Grell until receiving a copy of this lawsuit, and had never read, spoken or written his name prior to that event.
As to the other defendants, I have never met Dr. Hulda Clark, anyone from the Dr. Clark Research Association, or David P. Amrein, nor have I had any communications with any of them. In no way have I ever conspired with any of the other defendants.
I have given speeches at expos and health fairs where defendants Tim and Jan Bolen have been present and I have conversed with them. I believe that the Bolens and I share concerns about Barretts and Polevoys "Quackbuster" campaigns against alternative and complementary practices and practitioners and that these campaigns obstruct medical and health freedom.
Except for the statements discussed below in paragraphs 34-48, I have never made or posted on the Internet any of the statements alleged in plaintiffs Complaint.
As alleged in paragraph 37 of the Complaint, on June 28, 2000, I posted a message about Barrett to the misc.health.alternative newsgroup. My post stated that "there are bunches of $$$$ coming to him to run that pro-ama anti alt.med website. PR pays well, and surely he [Barrett] takes in more than $25K per year."
For the reasons discussed in this and the following three paragraphs, I believe that the statements in my 6/28/00 post about Barrett were reasonable and made in good faith. My post was in response to a confusing email from Barrett regarding my questions to him on the tax status of Quackwatch. In it, he claimed "no net income" and indicated any earnings he had were merely from "book sales." However, his biography on his website claims he "operates six websites; edits Consumer Health Digest (a weekly electronic newsletter); writes weekly columns for Canoe.ca and Health Scout; is medical editor of Prometheus Books; and is a peer-review panelist for several top medical journals;" and has written "48 books." He also claims responsibility for six editions of a college textbook on consumer health. (Exhibit O.)
A university website discussing medical writers salaries states: "In 1994, beginning salaries for writers and editorial assistants averaged $18,000 annually, according to the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund. Those who had at least 5 years experience averaged more than $30,000 and senior editors at the largest newspapers earned over $60,000 a year." (Exhibit P, p. 5.) I believe that, surely, someone as prolific a writer as Barrett, with 20 years of experience, and an editor of several publications, would be at least as well compensated today as someone with 5 years of experience was in 1994.
I have compiled a chart based on the information on the website for ACSH, Quackwatch, and NCAHF (all groups that Barrett is active and involved in). This chart clearly illustrates that ACSH, Quackwatch, and NCAHF have many key members in common, with at least 16 of them, including Barrett, who participate on all three Boards. These groups disseminate by various media the same viewpoints on health matters under different names. Neither Quackwatch nor NCAHF make public any funding information. In my investigations of the public relations industry for years, I know that millions of dollars are paid to disseminate the viewpoints of the corporate sponsors of ACSH. Quackwatch and the NCAHF are so closely aligned to the ACSH, it is almost impossible to see where one ends and other begins, with so many of their spokesmen being the same people. (See Exhibit Q.) I also believe and clearly understand that invisibility of the funders is the key to good public relations.
On July 2, 2000, I received another email message from Barrett claiming, "We have no financial connection with the AMA and never have had one." Although I did not write that Barrett had a financial connection to the AMA, Barrett is an author of the AMAs Readers Guide to "Alternative" Health Methods. Surely he was remunerated by the AMA for this work.
My introduction to plaintiff Polevoy was reading Tim Bolens opinion piece which I had received by email. On August 14, 2000, I posted Bolens opinion piece on two relevant newsgroups (misc.health.alternative and talk.politics.medicine) as a 3-part message that was clearly labelled as the "Opinion" of Tim Bolen. (Exhibit 11 to Complaint.) Bolens piece claimed that the alternative medicine radio show of Christine McPhee in Canada was abruptly cancelled as a result of a campaign lead by Polevoy in which he claimed to radio industry executives that McPhee and her "alternative medicine" guests represented a serious danger to the Canadian listening public. In this writing, Bolen urged readers to express their opinions to Canadian government agencies on this cancellation and gave background to the accounts leading to the loss of McPhees voice on Canadian radio.
I called McPhee in Canada and spoke with her at length on the telephone. She told me that the information in Tim Bolens post was accurate and spoke of how terrorized she felt and how she had called the police for protection. McPhee said she did feel stalked, did call the police, and a police report was written, as Bolen stated in his opinion piece.
After my discussion with McPhee, I began to investigate who Polevoy was and why he would go to such lengths to get her alternative radio show cancelled. I was also curious as to the relationship between Polevoy and Barrett, as Barretts initial threat to me was on behalf of Polevoy.
I found out that Polevoy was an American pediatrician who had moved to Canada. Polevoy, according to his own on-line signature, has four websites: www.healthwatcher.net, www.chirowatch.com, www.acnecareclinics.com, and www.dietfraud.com. It appears that Polevoys main website, www.healthwatcher.net, is the sister group to Barretts www.Quackwatch.com; Polevoy calls his site "Canadian QuackeryWatch." Both Polevoy and Barrett were very active contributors on the "Healthfraud" email list, which could be accessed by both Polevoys and Barretts webpages.
When I began to read Polevoys website, I found it full of hatred and hostility to those whose opinions he did not share. I discovered that Polevoy has also led a hostile campaign to personally and professionally discredit Dr. Leonard Horowitz, a personal friend of mine. Horowitz is a Harvard-educated dentist with a Masters in Public Health. Horowitz has authored several books, including Aids, Ebola and Emerging Viruses, and is a vocal opponent several controversial medical practices. In an Internet media campaign that runs for several pages, Polevoy writes about "The Trials and Apocalyptic Revelations of the Divine Dental Surgeon," calling him an "an evangelical crackpot," and even attempts to confuse readers by taking Horowitzs name and using it in an email directed to Polevoy.
After this Complaint was filed against me, I read in it a reference to Polevoy being called a "pimple doctor. " In a newsgroup post, I then publicly asked Polevoy, "are you not a pimple doctor and why does this term offend you?" Indeed, Polevoy, a pediatrician, runs the Acne Care Clinic. (See Exhibit R.)
Regarding paragraph 38 of the Complaint, on August 18, 2000, I added a comment to a letter (which was critical of Quackwatch) sent to the Minister of Health in Canada which had been posted on a newsgroup. My comment was, in full, "Thank you for posting this." I was not the author, nor the original poster. The author of the letter was Patricia Nail; the poster was "JDrew 63929." (See Exhibit 11 to Complaint, pp. 7-8.) As is the practice on newsgroups, my post re-posted the post to which I was responding.
I have never referred to plaintiffs as "Quackpots," as alleged in paragraph 24 of the Complaint, although I responded to posts which had that phrase in the title. I posted an opinion piece by Tim Bolen that had allegations discussed in paragraph 25 of the Complaint.
As alleged in paragraph 21(a) of the Complaint, I have expressed my opinion that Barrett is "arrogant," a "quack," and a "bully." As discussed in this declaration, I believe that his behavior justifies those epithets. When he threatened to sue me for what I had posted, I responded by posting that he was attempting to "extort" from me, first $500 (in an email from him on August 23, 2000) and then $2,000 (in an email from him on August 25, 2000), when he demanded such payments from me. Obviously, I was using the word "extort" in a rhetorical sense, and was not accusing him of committing a criminal act.
As alleged in paragraphs 21(a), 21(b), and 39 of the Complaint, I have expressed my opinion that Polevoy and Barrett are "quacks" themselves. Polevoys writings and campaigns are not in the field of his medical training. Barrett, formerly a psychiatrist, is also prolific in publicly discussing and campaigning against matters totally unrelated to his training. Both plaintiffs opinions mirror the negative opinions of ASCH, the AMA, and other mainstream organizations on alternative medicine and other health issues of public concern. I, too, have strong feelings about health care and the necessity of individuals having freedom of choice in healthcare. I wish to be able to enjoy my First Amendment right to discuss topics of public concern without censorship or fear of lawsuits designed to silence me.
I find it ironic and hypocritical that Barrett and Polevoy, who profusely throw around the term "quack" in the media and use it in ad hominem attacks against others, have sued me and others for using the same subjective term.
I believe that "quackery" is an opinion which is in the eyes of the beholder. Barrett defines it this way: "quackery could be broadly defined as anything involving overpromotion in the field of health." (Exhibit S.) From Polevoys own writings, it is apparent that he considers natural medicine to be "quackery." (Exhibit T.) The word "quack" is clearly very subjective. To me, the billions spent on advertising by various medical device and pharmaceutical corporations, and the intricate marketing and advertising of breast implants, nicely fits Barretts definition of "quackery."
The debate I have engaged in and been sued for by the plaintiffs concerns the publics right to free access to information regarding what is commonly known as the "alternative" versus "conventional" medicine controversy. Using the "Google" web search engine on the Internet brings up 308,000 different mentions of "alternative medicine" and another 113,000 mentions of "quack." These are obviously topics of great public concern and all sides deserve to be heard on these controversial topics. Plaintiffs calling someone a "quack" or a "junk scientist" in order to discredit their theories is clearly an opinion -- nothing more and I am entitled to my opinion of plaintiffs statements.
I believe that with billions of medical and health dollars annually at stake, and with virtually every human as a potential consumer, the public must have access to all controversial opinions. Plaintiffs have a very visible point of view and are extremely well connected in distributing this information, via radio, TV, newsgroups, books, magazines, newspapers, and hundreds of websites. As an editor of The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine and author of the American Medical Associations Readers Guide to Alternative Health Methods, Barrett makes no secret of his disdain for and disregard for the convictions of those, like myself, who believe the public deserves the freedom of choice in medicine, including methods which he opines are not "science." Plaintiffs viewpoints are just that -- viewpoints.
All of my statements about plaintiffs were made on newsgroups. This is in direct contrast to listserves (such as Barretts "Healthfraud" listserve) with administrators who censor posts and posters whose ideas they do not support.
Barrett and Polevoy are clearly both "public figures" they have voluntarily and aggressively thrust themselves into the forefront of the controversies over complementary and alternative medicine, smoking, mandatory vaccinations, and many other issues of public concern. They have both actively sought and received substantial publicity.
Barrett has written 48 books and writes weekly columns. (Exhibit O.) On February 23, 2001, he was interviewed on NBCs Today show. He authored an article on "How to Spot a Quack" for the March 5, 2001, issue of Times monthly magazine On.(Exhibit U.)
Time Magazine published an article on Barrett in its April 20, 2001, issue, entitled "The Man Who Loves To Bust Quacks," which states that "he has become one of Americas premier debunkers of what he likes to call quackery." Barrett himself is quoted in this article as saying: "Twenty years ago, I had trouble getting my ideas through to the media. Today I am the media." (Exhibit V.)
Last year, both Polevoy and Barrett were interviewed on a two-part PBS television program about defendant Hulda Clark, entitled, "HULDA CLARK REBUTTAL: PART I and II," which aired 6/16-6/22/00 and 6/23-6/29/00, with Tony Brown, described on Browns website as follows:
In this two-part discussion, Dr. Terry Polevoy, Dr. Stephen Barrett, chairman of Quackwatch, and Dr. Leslie Bernstein, a professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, challenge Dr. Hulda Clarks theories and methods of identifying and eliminating the causes of disease.
I believe that I have been named in this lawsuit to silence my critical opinions of plaintiffs Barrett and Polevoy. This lawsuit has required that I, a health advocate working with no funding, on controversial issues on public concern, must divert my scarce resources, time and energy to this defense.
I have had to neglect drastically my support group for those harmed by breast implants since this suit was filed. This lawsuit has diverted my time and attention from writing, speaking, and handling my daily communications, which often include 250 email and 15-20 phone calls. I have had to neglect my cause to defend myself against these frivolous allegations.
Defending myself in this lawsuit has seriously interfered with my new marriage, which includes half-time custody of my new husbands 7-year-old son. My intention was to devote far more of my time to my family, and this is being thwarted because of this lawsuit. We had planned on taking a honeymoon this Spring, but have had to postpone it to defend myself in this lawsuit. This lawsuit has diverted my attention from taking care of my family and has added enormous stress to our lives.
I hereby declare that the above statements are true and correct. Signed under the penalty of perjury under the laws of the State on California, on the date set forth below, in San Diego, California.
Dated: May 7, 2001
EXHIBITS TO THIS DECLARATION: (all links were active in 2001)
This expose carefully details how the corporations (via their vast publicity teams of lobbyists and those paid to do "public outreach" etc. etc. etc. ) embed themselves into their 'marks' (in our case, the breast implant support system) and "educate" a type of activists by brainwashing them into believing it is for the good of the cause. In 1991, Dow Corning's PR Team admitted in a private memo that their "cover-up is going well" and spoke of setting up their "networks." I firmly believe that the Junk Science / ACSH / 'Quackbuster' enormous network is their proud culmination.