More Threats to the Quackometer

Another page or two goes missing.

You can read more about this here:

I’m not sure that’s ethical

and here:
Legal threats and extortion to suppress the truth

Orac is on the case. Bless him.

The BadScience Forum has more details and discussion as does the Randi Forum

A few more people looking at the issues raised by this:

Science and Progress
Rich Speaks…
No Nonsense!
Ambri-guous
Thinking is Dangerous
Rich Scopie
Brain Duck
Soberish
Skeptico
A day at the pharmacy
Fooeey
jdc325
FlammableFlower
Sunclipse
NeuroLogica I am not worthy
Paholaisen Asianajaja
Shpalman

One or two very big US bloggers picking up on this now…

***********************************************************************************
Here is the ‘lawyers’ letter that my web hosts received…

Dear Sirs,

Re Defamation

We advise Professor Dr Obi and the Royal College of Alternative Medicine. We are informed that you host the Quackometer`s website (copy evidence enclosed). Our clients hereby give you formal notice that they are determined to sue you directly for the highly defamatory contents contained on the website should you fail to immediately shut down the website and delete all of the defamatory material relating to the Royal College of Alternative Medicine, Professor Dr Obi and our clients` lawfully registered Trademarks.

In case the defamation continues beyond 12 noon on Monday the 21st of January 2008, we are instructed to hold you fully liable to the tune of £1 Million (One Million Pounds) per day [hooks little finger to mouth], together with additional punitive damages relating to the many months during which the defamatory material had and has been globally accessible via your server.

Kindly note that Google has already blocked the highly defamatory material from appearing on its search engines in the Republic of Ireland, and is currently in the process of extending the ban to other countries.

Please find enclosed photocopies of the two RCAM Trademarks and a copy letter of Good Standing from the Company Registration Office in Ireland, as well as copies of these highly defamatory articles. Please provide an undertaking that no further reference concerning Professor Dr Obi and/or the Royal College of Alternative Medicine is going to appear anywhere within the Quackometer`s website.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Tanja Suessenbach LLB, LLM

I have now written to Ms Suessenbach asking her to detail her clients concerns as a blanket attempt to close down this site and not give reasons is unacceptable. Ms Suessenbach has yet to respond.

9pm 23rd Jan

I have just received confirmation that a researcher within the University of San Francisco Law School is now annotating the above letter as part of the chillingeffects.org project. That should be interesting.

10pm 23rd

A few more

Holford Watch
UK-Skeptics
Mugs and Money twice
Chemo Brain

jaycueaitch adds some commentary on the affair.

24th January

Apathy Sketchpad dissects the issues.
Overscope

And now Joseph Hewitt’s marvelous Ataraxia Theatre is in on it too with
The Insolence of Pigeons

Science Punk catches up.

************************************************************************************
I think I can safely say that this matter is now closed. I did a bit more digging on Prof Obi, and I must say I am quite pleased with myself…

Joseph and Andrew Obi: International Men of Mystery

Posts are restored. Obi now has a Google profile like a pig farmer’s timberlands.

************************************************************************************

*

24 comments for “More Threats to the Quackometer

  1. Skeptico
    January 23, 2008 at 5:27 am

    Mr Duck, you really need to change your ISP.

  2. a
    January 23, 2008 at 10:18 am

    The lawyer’s letter says that google has banned the material from appearing in the ROI is true! If you search ‘quackometer dr obi’ in google.ie, your 12 October piece is about 7 links down but it you click the hyperlink to your September piece, you get a ‘page cannot be found’ message. Disgraceful.
    kmann

  3. a
    January 23, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Apologies for bad grammer & typing in the above.
    kmann

  4. jdc324
    January 23, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Solidarity, brother. This Alt-Med bullying is getting ridiculous – Walker v Colquhoun, SoH v Quackometer, Obi v Quackometer and Holford v Everybody…

  5. Dr* T
    January 23, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Joseph Chikelue Obi really is not an nice chap at all. Fancy him bandying a word like ‘ethical’ around.

  6. HB
    January 23, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    I’d second Skeptico
    leave your ISP.
    Bullies need to be stood up to and have daylight shone on their nasty activities. Your ISP is spineless.

  7. Bing
    January 23, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    I totally support you!

  8. NJ
    January 23, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    All the bloggers writing about this should make sure they link to each others sites as well as Quackometer to try and boost each others google rankings. With any luck this action will backfire spectacularly and the whole first page of a google search of Joseph Chikelue Obi will consist of blog entries.

  9. Rob
    January 23, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    I’ll put up mirrors of the pages soonest. I also suggest improving Joseph Chikelue Obi‘s google profile by linking Joseph Chikelue Obi‘s name to newspaper articles about Joseph Chikelue Obi‘s various enterprises and activities.

  10. D-Notice
    January 23, 2008 at 10:04 pm
  11. afterforty
    January 23, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Ms Tanja Suessenbach is just a nice bright kid straight out of uni, trying to make a living by operating a website/one person business out of her living room.

    She is as much a victim of friend Obi as you and so many other people are.
    I doubt if she will be able to deal with the web-storm that the letter she signed and sent to your ISP is bringing.

  12. PhD scientist
    January 23, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    A bit of Internet digging suggests that the journalist who wrote about the non-existent “RCAM” for the Irish Independent a couple of years back, one Tom Lyons, now writes for the Sunday Times.

    I expect you already have some national media types sniffing around this, LCN – any chance Nick Cohen at the Observer would fancy a go at “legal bluster and craven ISPs protect fraudsters from exposure”? – but if not, I wonder whether the ex-Irish Indy man would be interested in a follow-up? Looks like a hell of a story to me.

  13. le canard noir
    January 23, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    My first press interview contact was today. And I think a few more will not hurt. The internet freedom thing is the main thing to discuss.

    Have been unearthing some bizarre things tonight on Obi. Need to sleep on it…

  14. pv
    January 24, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Pity they can’t bring themselves to say exactly what is defamatory about any of the content. Could it be because the content is all true?
    Do we have a word to describe people who make false claims? Beginning with “L”?
    And shame on Google – a bunch of money grubbers with a complete disregard for truth and freedom.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4647398.stm

  15. pvandck
    January 24, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Ms Tanja Suessenbach is just a nice bright kid straight out of uni, trying to make a living by operating a website/one person business.

    Yes. I think we might have some sympathy for her if she has been duped by Mr Obi – which is quite likely.

  16. wandering primate
    January 24, 2008 at 6:11 am
  17. quacknet
    January 24, 2008 at 8:50 am

    I’m not sure whether Obi Wan’s crude attempts to suppress open debate are really linked to other recent CAM actions (Colquhoun etc); he just seems like a cheap crook to me, although I guess he could be delusional as well. Either way, this sort of thing needs to be stopped. I will be publicising your story (in the UniVite newsletter); but is there anything else we can do to help?
    paul c

  18. PhD scientist
    January 24, 2008 at 10:14 am

    “My first press interview contact was today. And I think a few more will not hurt. The internet freedom thing is the main thing to discuss.”.

    I think it is wider than that, in the sense that it is another example of “legal chill” used to suppress truths which con-men and liars find inconvenient. Of course British public life has a long and rather abject tradition of this, personified in recent years by the late Robert Maxwell.

    The particular problem with the internet is that the ISPs take this business-based (not to say craven) view that “any objection to a page / blog is potentially problematic, no matter how ridiculous the objection, so we’ll just take the page down” – laughable in this case as the plaintiff did not have a shred of credibility, as a quick Google reveals.

    At least with David Colquhoun and UCL there was an organisation / entity behind the server with some kind of moral compass, even it took a lot of public humiliation to get them to remember it.

    With the ISPs, which are in business strictly to make money, it is hard to know what one can do. But “name and shame” is a start. So perhaps you are right about the line to use – but I still think “Legal filibuster and craven ISPs protect con-artists and crooks from exposure” makes a good “hook”.

  19. le canard noir
    January 24, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Thanks Paul and all,

    but is there anything else we can do to help?

    I think all we need do now is sit back and wait for the punchline.

  20. le canard noir
    January 24, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Actually, one thing that would be good is if all reposters would include a few links to other posters. Neurologica has the most google juice, so that is a good place to start.

  21. Ian Hobson
    January 24, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    This is truly scary.
    I’ve posted something in support on my own (mainly unread) blog, and provided a few links.
    I second the suggestions to give up Netcetera, but the bigger issue is this prick, Obi Wan.
    Quackometer, I support you wholeheartedly!

  22. John
    January 25, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    I’ve posted as well.

  23. BSM
    January 28, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Googling;

    Professor Dr. Joseph Chikelue Obi (5/10)
    Dr. Joseph Chikelue Obi (4/10)
    Joseph Chikelue Obi (7/10)

    is getting more duckophilic links on the first page, though with the variations shown above in their proportion of that page.

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