Horrifying article in Sunday Times

Sasha

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The cover is one of several photos of 'created' facsimiles of threat notes and as you can see from the reproduction of the one on this thread, they're visually rather attractive, with an artistic eye to the choice of the different typefaces and the clever placing of the patches of vibrant colour, as though the brief was given to someone who usually works on the Times's fashion or interior design pages. Again, the cluelessness about tone tells its own story about the Times's carelessness about what it prints.
 

SilverbladeTE

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Wessely will go down in history as another Lysenko, and his supporters names will be mud

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism
Lysenkoism is used metaphorically to describe the manipulation or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion as dictated by an ideological bias, often related to social or political objectives
and it's NOT just M.E. patients who hate his guts, far from it, whole bunch of folk loathe him.
 

Bob

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Prof Stephen Holgate must have put an enormous amount of effort into setting up the new UK research collaborative, which is designed to encourage new biomedical research into ME. Holgate specifically stated that he wants new researchers, from other fields (e.g. immunology, virology, genetics etc), to enter the field of ME. The timing and nature of this article must surely be seen as profoundly unhelpful in terms of bringing in new talent. It must be deeply demoralising and antagonistic for people like Prof Stephen Holgate. Holgate seems to be influential, and has absolutely transformed the MRC's funding approach to ME over the past couple of years. I suspect that Holgate, and his colleagues, are not very happy about this article, and I hope that they see it for what it is. I can't help feeling that this article is so desperate, and so unbalanced, that people in authority will now begin to see the psychiatric lobby from the ME patients' point of view (i.e. that they are more interested in their own power base than anything else.)
 

Hip

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The cover is one of several photos of 'created' facsimiles of threat notes and as you can see from the reproduction of the one on this thread, they're visually rather attractive, with an artistic eye to the choice of the different typefaces and the clever placing of the patches of vibrant colour, as though the brief was given to someone who usually works on the Times's fashion or interior design pages. Again, the cluelessness about tone tells its own story about the Times's carelessness about what it prints.
I can't see that there is a major problem in creating a visually attractive facsimiles of the original threat notes, provided the wording is accurate. Everything is stylized in magazines these days. For me it was interesting to read the wording, just to get an idea of what type of threats Wessely and Co have received.

It would have been interesting to see the list of names of the ME/CFS activists mentioned in the article, that Hanlon was privy to. Hanlon said these activists appear on various ME/CFS forums, and on Facebook, and said activists are divided into three categories: militant, radical and active.
 

sianrecovery

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I think its worth writing in myself. I also think its worth trying to get the Times to do an 'other side of the coin' article, and if I can get access to someone in their chair of command (long shot) I am tempted to ask them. And who would be willing to speak to them? And which organisations would you involve?
 

Esther12

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I can't see that there is a major problem in creating a visually attractive facsimiles of the original threat notes, provided the wording is accurate. Everything is stylized in magazines these days. For me it was interesting to read the wording, just to get an idea of what type of threats Wessely and Co have received.
I expect that anyone could take the most aggressive things that have been said to them over the years, remove the context, and then illustrate them with ransom-note cut-out letters to create a visceral image of harassment.

The context for Crawley's death threat makes it seem pretty timid by internet standards.

"To those of you who are responsible for preventing us
sick ME sufferers from getting the help we need, wasting £5m on flawed
bullshit and trying to discredit the real scientists who are trying to
help us, you will all pay."
The only other threat we've had evidence of was a Wessely e-mail that included that lyrics of an angry Bob Dylan song. When moments of social discomfort are being presented as signs of how serious the harassment is, it does make me think that they're making a fuss about nothing:


"I was at a party with someone who did not know me and we got talking - it dawned
on me it was time to back off."

I wonder if there's a class/social status thing at play here. If one were to spend time in certain pubs, or with certain people, death threats are a normal part of conversation. On the internet, death threats are routinely made against reality TV stars for being a bit irritating. On this forum I got some very aggressive and weird PMs from someone who thought I was an under-cover psychiatrist. On a music forum I remember a very brutal and over-the-top death threat for not liking a particular (rubbish) album. It's just a normal and uninteresting part of life that can be used by those hungry for publicity or sympathy (reality TV stars).

That's not to say that I think that there's nothing wrong with anything that CFS patients do, just that any large group of people who has been mistreated is going to have some who react less well than others, and that this is not terribly interesting. With CFS advocacy, I think that there has been a problem with people being too trusting, and not putting in enough effort in to taking the time to look critically at the evidence - but this seems to be a pretty common problem too.

It would have been interesting to see the list of names of the ME/CFS activists mentioned in the article, that Hanlon was privy to. Hanlon said these activists appear on various ME/CFS forums, and on Facebook, and said activists are divided into three categories: militant, radical and active.
That did seem very weird. Especially the classifications, which make it clear that they are following people who have not done anything wrong. I wonder if publicising the keeping of lists of people is intended to put anyone off from becoming 'active'? I wonder what other activists have lists like these kept about them.
 

user9876

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I can't see that there is a major problem in creating a visually attractive facsimiles of the original threat notes, provided the wording is accurate. Everything is stylized in magazines these days. For me it was interesting to read the wording, just to get an idea of what type of threats Wessely and Co have received.
My impression was that the cover quote was a mix of the various quotes within the article rather than one in its own right - in which case it is very misleading. Also depending on the form of the threats take laying it out as a ransom note makes it look more sinister.

It would have been interesting to see the list of names of the ME/CFS activists mentioned in the article, that Hanlon was privy to. Hanlon said these activists appear on various ME/CFS forums, and on Facebook, and said activists are divided into three categories: militant, radical and active.
He doesn't say who maintains the list. If Wessely does as part of his job at kings then persumably it fits under the catagory of crime prevention within the register of data controllers. But given the lack of prosecutions I think it would be hard to argue that a list of activists really forms any part of a crime prevention strategy. I would have also thought it was a breach of individuals privacy rights to have that information disclosed to a journalist. Information does of course have to be accurate and since names aren't given on forums this could be quite hard.


The worrying thing is what other things they might use a list for. For example, if it is distributed to doctors treating people with ME does that affect their treatment. A few years ago the construction industry got into trouble for maintaining blacklists.

http://www.ico.org.uk/ESDWebPages/DoSearch.asp?reg=5871745
Purpose 9

Crime Prevention and Prosecution of Offenders​
Purpose Description:
Crime prevention and detection and the apprehension and prosecution of offenders.​
Data Controllers further description of Purpose:
INCLUDES USE OF CCTV (THE USE OF CLOSED-CIRCUIT TELEVISION FOR THE
MONITORING AND COLLECTION OF SOUND AND/OR VISUAL IMAGES FOR THE PURPOSE OF
MAINTAINING THE SECURITY OF PREMISES, FOR PREVENTING CRIME AND FOR
INVESTIGATING CRIME)​
Data subjects are:
Customers and clients
Offenders and suspected offenders​
MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC.
THOSE INSIDE, ENTERING OR IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF THE AREA UNDER
SURVEILLANCE;
Data classes are:
Personal Details
Goods or Services Provided
Offences (Including Alleged Offences)
Criminal Proceedings, Outcomes And Sentences.​
SOUND AND/OR VISUAL IMAGES;
PERSONAL APPEARANCE AND BEHAVIOUR.​
Sources (S) and Disclosures (D)(1984 Act). Recipients (1998 Act):
SECURITY ORGANISATIONS​
Data subjects themselves
Business associates and other professional advisers
Employees and agents of the data controller
Suppliers, providers of goods or services
Persons making an enquiry or complaint
Police forces​
Transfers:
None outside the European Economic Area
 

Hip

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That did seem very weird. Especially the classifications, which make it clear that they are following people who have not done anything wrong. I wonder if publicising the keeping of lists of people is intended to put anyone off from becoming 'active'? I wonder what other activists have lists like these kept about them.
I imagine that the police would have complied such a list. This is just modern police work, which these days has a high emphasis on surveillance and information gathering, even before any illegal activity has taken place. It's an intelligent and effective approach, no doubt.

Anyone ever watch the BBC TV series "Life on Mars", which was a great cop drama, but also a wonderful study on the way policing methods (and society in general) have changed over the decades.
 

Esther12

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I imagine that the police would have complied such a list. This is just modern police work, which these days has a high emphasis on surveillance and information gathering, even before any illegal activity has taken place. It's an intelligent and effective approach, no doubt.
Possibly. I'd be pretty surprised if the police spent their time compiling lists of people who are active on forums linked to militants who might send an angry letter. That level of surveillance would seem to require lists being kept of just about anyone who uses the internet. It would also seem pretty dodgy for them to then be sending these lists of names to Wessely to share with a reporter!

If gay-rights 'activists' were being treated in this way I think that people would be concerned.
 
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Hanlon gives the impression that the list of activists was drawn up by the Met, but it clearly wasn't otherwise why write "it is at the disposal of the authorities" if it was the authorities themselves who compiled it?

This is from the minutes of the PACE Trial Steering Committee 27/09/2004:

""""
...
The question was asked as to how to deal with any emails or hateful correspondence received. It was agreed that these should not be directly responded to, but should be retained as evidence for the future should it be needed. Chris Clark urged a note of caution that nothing negative should be written or emailed about the lobbyists as this could be libellous.
...

ACTION 45: Any lobbyist mail to be forwarded to Julia DeCesare for storage.

"""" (Emphasis NOT added!)
 

Hip

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Hanlon gives the impression that the list of activists was drawn up by the Met, but it clearly wasn't otherwise why write "it is at the disposal of the authorities" if it was the authorities themselves who compiled it?
Good point. So perhaps it is the people who received the threats who compiled the list.
 
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I have not read through the entire thread, but simultanously there was a similar articles with similar words here in Norway, here about a LP coach, self-tilted as ME therapeut.
 

biophile

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Keeping an unofficial list of identities and aliases who send clearly harassing or threatening emails is understandable. However, the wording in Hanlon's article would suggest that we should not be surprised if this list expands beyond that scope and includes anyone who is involved in strongly criticizing the flawed biopsychosocial research into ME and CFS.

It also sounds like patient forums are being monitored (how closely?), although maybe if Hanlon kept an eye on the threads himself he could still learn a thing or two. According to the Phoenix Rising statistics, the most popular thread in the last 3 months (i.e. determined by the largest number of contributors) which was related to ME or CFS directly was the "Recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome after treatments given in the PACE trial" thread with 41 contributors who posted there. Would the list be so ridiculous as to include anyone who posts frustrated but legitimate concerns on such threads?
 

SilverbladeTE

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and hey mad as I am :p I have NEVER sent anything to any of those lot
If I have called them goat scroggling bastards, and wished them to suffer defenestration while copulating with a quisinart, etc well, hey! :p

As said, what I really want is to see them utterly ruined, legitimately and legally. To see their names become mud, their books and theories confined to the "pseudo science and scientific embarrasments" shelf.

Bad days, yah I do wish 'em fubared, to suffer and be damned as we have, hey I'm only Human!
They are sly, conniving, SOB bullies, I have REAL issues with that kind of gobshyte and always have.
Vicious in yer face sucmbags are bad enough, but the skulking weasel backstabber type, GAH!! Lower than a snake's hemorrhoids!

IMHO some of what they are spouting is what folk have said online, as opposed to personal communication, and by that standard...go read Facebook etc...

Love Shylock's speech, and it is very apropos for many reasons especially in this scenario.
I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands,
organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same
food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases,
heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter
and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If
you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?
And if you wrong us, do we not revenge? If we are like you in the
rest, we will resemble you in that
I wonder if Wessely has ever considered that his family's trauma had affected him, personally: epigenetics.
Sure as hell occurs to me and about MY family and self, too.
and I hope no one is dumb enough to think that's "anti-Semitic" cause it sure as hell isn't! sigh. Shylock's pointing out the universal truism, that we are ALL the same under the skin. He's the only honest character in the play!

I'm nuts but at least I know I'm nuts ;)
it still did NOT cause my M.E., no more than it would cancer or rabies or whatever
psychological problems can lead to bad "life choices", addictions etc and thus, health problems, they do not directly cause gross health issues however. (gross = specific meaning, not "grotty" :p)
But, personal issues that cause stress do cause issues as M.E. reacts badly to stress as do many other illnesses.
IIRC Didn't wessely ? or was it Reeves? had to change tack after research showed their pet theory that "M.E is caused by childhood abuse" didn't pan out with the actual statistics, hm?

So, anyway, you piss off a large group of people, who are being abused by their own healthsystems/governments, who are suffering an illness that makes them irritable, depressed etc, well what do you expect? roses?
No! You'll get frikkin' TURDS thrown at ya! :alien:


and this has taken me some time to write, due to typos, not being able to remember words etc etc.
I resent wasting it on crap like that when if he had any guts AND compassion/remorse he'd publicly apologize AND explain himself.
 

Esther12

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I have not read through the entire thread, but simultanously there was a similar articles with similar words here in Norway, here about a LP coach, self-tilted as ME therapeut.
How much more quacky can people get before patients are allowed to be angry with them?

I bet that if it were 'sceptics' angry about LP quackery, that would be fine. ME patients angry about LP quackery? Militant anti-psychiatry.

Keeping an unofficial list of identities and aliases who send clearly harassing or threatening emails is understandable. However, the wording in Hanlon's article would suggest that we should not be surprised if this list expands beyond that scope and includes anyone who is involved in strongly criticizing the flawed biopsychosocial research into ME and CFS.

It also sounds like patient forums are being monitored (how closely?), although maybe if Hanlon kept an eye on the threads himself he could still learn a thing or two. According to the Phoenix Rising statistics, the most popular thread in the last 3 months (i.e. determined by the largest number of contributors) which was related to ME or CFS directly was the "Recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome after treatments given in the PACE trial" thread with 41 contributors who posted there. Would the list be so ridiculous as to include anyone who posts frustrated but legitimate concerns on such threads?
Pointing out how serious the deviations from their protocol were? Recognising that the paper was classing people as having moved from 'abnormal' to fatigue and disability at the start of the trial to 'normal' fatigue and disability at the end even if their scores stayed the same, by adopting new population norms half-way through the trial? It's a co-ordinated attack upon science going on in that thread.

Given the few poor examples of threats they seem to have and keep using, there can't be many names who actually got classed as 'militant'. That leaves 'radical' and 'active'. If those threatening and harassing messages are already classed as militant, we're already on to pretty minor offences for being classed a 'radical'. Disagreeing with Wessely? Thinking he's a quack?

My guess...

Radical: goes through papers, pointing out when they misrepresent the evidence.

Active: visits a forum where people point out papers that have misrepresented the evidence.

This post of mine is surely hovering on the edge of militancy:

http://forums.phoenixrising.me/inde...o-educational-intervention-to-aid-reco.13326/

lol at them compiling a list of 'active' activists to pass around, and ominously show to journalists. Of course Hanlon judges this to be entirely understandable given the scale and nature of the threat.
 

Sean

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Esther, the wild-eyed word-flinging revolutionary (when she feels up to it, of course).

My kind of gal. ;) :p
 

ukxmrv

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I do take some consolation from what happened to the last quack "ME" doctor that the Sunday Times championed. Dr Nixon (Charing X Hospital London).

Front page of the main newspaper "Yuppie Flu is all in the mind says doctors"

<snip from a commentary on this article>

This characterisation of ME personality and lifestyle is also apparent in the theory that ME is an effect of hyperventilation, or overbreathing. In this version of the 'yuppie flu' construction, sympathy for the sufferer morphs into contempt. The theory, based on the claim that a change in breathing lowers the level of carbon dioxide in the blood, inducing malfunction in muscles and other organs, was publicised in an article on the front page of the Sunday Times (Hodgkinson, 1988); the title, predictably maddening to sufferers, was ' ‘Yuppie flu’ is all in the mind, say doctors'. The doctors concerned were cardiologists Peter Nixon and Stuart Rosen, who expounded their views in the same issue of the Sunday Times, and whose proposed method of treatment was a period of sleep induced by heavy sedation, followed by breathing retraining.

The notion that the symptoms of ME result from hyperventilation produced by anxiety originates in the writings of McEvedy and Beard (1970b: 13). The essentials of this new version of an old idea emerge from the press report just mentioned. 'All the (ME patients) we have seen here,' explains Rosen, 'have four-star abilities with five-star ambitions. They have above-average intelligence, high levels of drive, lots of enthusiasm; but they are not quite the superman or superwoman they need to be to achieve their ambition.' A severe viral infection, he believes, can trigger the health crisis, but it is not the root cause. With the disregard for logic and coherence that characterises so many pronouncements about ME, Rosen adds that his patients have ranged from an old lady whose illness began when she was pushed out of a bus queue, to a woman who survived torture in a South American prison, but became ill when she learned that her daughter had married a fascist. How either of these cases fits the specification of five-star ambitions hampered by four-star abilities is not clear.

Rosen's colleague, Peter Nixon, adds more soberly that 'overbreathing is a symptom of fear or panic, that can be experienced when people who demand a lot of themselves are falling short in their achievements'. A subsequent paper in the medical press, of which Rosen and Nixon are amongst the co-authors, draws analogies between alleged stages of ME and those of battle-weariness, and speculates as to whether hyperventilation due to anxiety and effort may be the natural penalty for violating the boundaries of physiological tolerance (Rosen et al. 1990: 763-764).

In a later television interview, Hodgkinson (Frontline, Channel 4, 25 July,1993) defended his use of the term 'yuppie flu' in his Sunday Times report. He explained that yuppies in the 1980s went all out for material success, becoming ill when their goals were frustrated; they had 'one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the brake', and suffered a crisis leading to deep exhaustion and despair. As suggested above, there is an implication, albeit unstated, that ME sufferers are unpleasant, pushy people, who have got their just deserts. The preponderance of female sufferers appears to be forgotten here: it is not plausible that most of the high-powered people to whom Hodgkinson refers were women.

<end of snip>

and what happened to Dr Nixon. Well he was exposed for the fraud he was. But not for a long time and he damaged unknown numbers of ME patients. He tried to do this to me


http://www.duncancampbell.org/content/preying-hope

<snip>

Dr Nixon has gained a high profile for his theory that a list of diseases including Aids, Gulf War Syndrome, ME and premenstrual tension are attributable to hyperventilation.

However Channel 4 found that Dr Nixon rigged his patients' breathing tests by asking them to "breathe as if they were angry". He told lan Hughes, an Aids patient who died last summer, that his fatigue was caused by over breathing. Dr Nixon who had a turnover of more than £100,000 a year, recommends a course of Valium or diazepam and "two weeks of sleeping" as a cure for hyperventilation.

and

In a comprehensive climbdown, he also agreed to the disclosure of all documents in the case to the General Medical Council -unless he voluntarily retires from practice in the meantime - and agreed not to take legal action if the allegations are repeated by Channel Four, the producer and journalist Duncan Campbell, or his production company.

END
 

Hip

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To see their names become mud, their books and theories confined to the "pseudo science and scientific embarrasments" shelf.
The somatization / somatoform theories that Wessely and friends have dedicated their careers to are so clearly and obviously pseudoscience. For the life of me, I cannot understand why other medical professionals don't see it, the logical foundations of these theories are so patently flawed. They are an embarrassment to science, and one giant leap backward for mankind.

This critique of somatization / somatoform theories that someone wrote nicely sums it up:
The American Psychiatric Association DSM-IV-TR (p. 485) reads:

The common feature of the Somatoform Disorders is the presence of physical symptoms that suggest a general medical condition... and are not fully explained by a general medical condition....

In an infectious disease textbook, you would never find a passage of the form: "Test the patient for various mental disorders, and if all tests come back negative, diagnose him with this infectious disease." But that form of definition is what the APA uses to define Somatoform Disorder.

So this perverted DSM-passage claims that doctors' failures [to identify a disease] signify mental disorder in patients. This perverted DSM-passage advocates that doctors project their own failures onto patients.

As a result of this biased way of defining diseases, doctors have misdiagnosed millions of patients as mentally disordered, when in hindsight the patients have turned out to be suffering from organic illness.
The amazing thing is that our intrepid journalist Michael Hanlon, who presents himself as an advocate and defender of science, has been duped by Wessely School pseudoscience. Hanlon has not yet realized that Wessely School theories are just the emperor's new clothes. The fact that these various Wessely School academics have published dozens and dozens of peer-review papers gives them apparent credence; but anyone with a decent scientific mind would will see right through their somatization / somatoform psychobabble mumbo-jumbo straight away.