When Authors Attack (Redux)

Guardian deletes article about “batty” romance/sci-fi author Candace Sams after claims someone hacked her e-mails

According to Google’s Transparency Report, the Texan author recently filed a copyright complaint for the search engine to delist a critical 2009 article published in the Guardian newspaper, “When Authors Attack” by multimedia books journalist Alison Flood.


Flood’s article said that the “wonderfully batty” Sams, using the pseudonym “Niteflyr One,” told Amazon users she’d reported them to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation because of negative reviews and comments she’d received for one of her books.

From there, things got even battier. Via the Lumen Database:

DMCA (Copyright) Complaint to Google

Candace Sams
Sent on October 02, 2016

Google Inc
Mountain View, CA, 94043, US
Received on October 02, 2016

Google Inc

Re: Unknown


Copyright claim #1

KIND OF WORK: Unspecified

Contents on the following websites/blog urls were taken from my private emails without my permission – after my email was hacked. Parts of my email can still be seen in whole or in part on both sites, in the blog narratives; neither site will respond to my requests for removal of that hacked email. Private email is protected by copyright, both sites know this but still post that material within their blogs, and without my permission.

ORIGINAL URLS: 01. https://www.candacesams.com/

ALLEGEDLY INFRINGING URLS: 01. https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2009/dec/22/when-authors-attack

Seeking to verify the authenticity of the takedown request and hoping to make sense of the bizarre hacking claims, earlier this month I e-mailed Flood and Sams.

On June 16, shortly after I sent my e-mails, the Guardian deleted Flood’s article, citing “privacy reasons.”


Did the Guardian delete the article as a result of my e-mail to Flood, and, if so, why? Did Sams ask the Guardian to delete the article, and, if so, why did it agree to her request?

I’ve asked the paper for comment.

Paramilitaries in Parliament

DUP councillor and former Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast Frank McCoubrey was a key political advisor to one of Northern Ireland’s worst paramilitary organisations

From 2002 to 2012, McCoubrey headed the Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG), an advisory body established to provide political analysis to the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

The UDA is a notorious Northern Irish loyalist paramilitary organisation believed to be responsible for the deaths of over 400 people, the majority of them Catholic.

Frank McCoubrey with DUP leader Arlene Foster (source)

Although the UDA declared ceasefires in 1994 and 2003, subsequent reports by Northern Ireland’s paramilitary watchdog, the Independent Monitoring Commission, found that the UDA continued to be involved in paramilitary activities, and that its members – including senior members – were involved in drug dealing, extortion, counterfeiting, money laundering and robbery.

Prior to his involvement with the UPRG, McCoubrey was a leading member of the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), a fringe political party established by the UDA in 1981.

In 2000 he was elected Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, working under the Democratic Unionist Party’s (DUP) Sammy Wilson. Shortly after taking office, he sat on stage with armed paramilitaries at a loyalist rally organised by then-UDA leader Johnny “mad dog” Adair.


Facing calls for his resignation and censure, McCoubrey insisted that he “did not know masked men would appear,” but that if he “had known what was going to happen,” he “wouldn’t have been on that stage.”

The UDP disbanded in 2001, paving the way for the emergence of the UPRG in 2002. McCoubrey headed the UPRG from 2002 to 2012, when he left to join the DUP.

It’s not the only time the DUP has accepted former members of the UPRG or UDA.

Another leading member of the UPRG, Tommy Kirkham, was a DUP councillor from 1989 to 1993, and was later elected Deputy Lord Mayor of Newtownabbey with support from his former DUP colleagues.

Tommy Kirkham (source)

In 2014, the party selected ex-UDA prisoner Sam “Chalky” White as candidate to run in local government elections in Belfast. The former gunman was jailed for seven years in 1980 for robbing an east Belfast taxi office, and served his time on the UDA wing of the notorious Maze prison.

Last week it was announced that the DUP is in talks with the UK’s Conservative Party over plans to form a coalition government.

Doomsday Coalition

Leading DUP politician Sammy Wilson once endorsed a proposal by terrorist paramilitaries to ethnically cleanse Northern Irish Catholics

Speaking for the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in 1994, the East Antrim MP said a formal proposal by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) to murder and expel Catholics from Northern Ireland was a “very valuable return to reality,” and that it showed that “some loyalists are looking ahead and contemplating what needs to be done to maintain our separate Ulster identity.”

DUP MP Sammy Wilson (source)

The UDA is a notorious Northern Irish terrorist paramilitary organisation said to be responsible for the deaths of over 400 people, the vast majority of them Catholic.

Wilson’s comments were in response to the UDA’s so-called “Doomsday” plan which called for the establishment of “an ethnic Protestant Homeland” through the expulsion, murder and internment of Northern Ireland’s Catholic population.

It’s not the only time Wilson has publicly endorsed ethnically divisive views; in 2016 he was filmed appearing to agree with the comment “get the ethnics out” while taking part in a BBC documentary.

Earlier this week it was announced that the DUP is in talks with the UK’s Conservative Party over plans to form a coalition government.

Prevent This

Why did British counter-extremism authorities tell a London primary school that “it would be best to ignore” my freedom of information request? I’ve asked local council

Earlier this year I blogged about Bevington Primary School, whose head teacher sent a letter that appeared to threaten to report a Muslim father to counter-extremism authorities because he asked that his child be removed from Christmas assembly, and because he was allegedly “rude and aggressive” towards staff at the school.


The school refused my request for comment, so in January I filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for correspondence between head teacher Karen Matthews and local counter-extremism authorities.

E-mails obtained via my request show that Matthews contacted Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s Prevent education officer Jake Butterworth for advice after a redacted version of the letter was published on the Islam21c website in late December 2016.


Under the UK government’s controversial Prevent strategy, schools are legally required to “protect children from the risk of radicalisation” and “to report suspicious behaviour.”

During their correspondence, Matthews asked Butterworth about how to respond to my request. In his response, Butterworth told Matthews that “ideally it would be best to ignore this request so this unpleasant and incorrect story goes away,” but that he didn’t want the school “in trouble with the ICO [Information Commissioner’s Office].”

When asked why he would’ve preferred had Matthews ignored my request, Butterworth said his e-mail to Matthews “clearly states that the FOI request should be responded to,” and that “the information has subsequently been released by the school.

When I again asked Butterworth to clarify what he meant by “ideally it would be best to ignore” my request, I didn’t receive a reply.

I’ve asked Hammersmith and Fulham Council if it subscribes to the view that “ideally it would be best” for schools and other public bodies to ignore FOI requests, but for the legal requirements enforced by the ICO; and if, given the lack of transparency around Prevent, the council believes that Butterworth’s advice about this matter was good advice.

PR Battle of Brittain

PR rep for Arizona ridesharing company Dryvyng flips out when asked if revenge pornster CEO Craig R. Brittain sent “profanity-laced” messages to Facebook users

I recently blogged about Craig R. Brittain, founder and CEO of Scottsdale, AZ ridesharing company Dryvyng.

Craig R. Brittain (source)

Brittain previously ran the revenge porn site, IsAnybodyDown.comThe controversial site encouraged users to submit non-consensual nude photos along with identifying information about the persons in the photos – including their full name, home address, and Facebook screenshots.

In 2013, the site shut down after an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission determined Brittain had hosted fake lawyer advertisements on the site in order to trick victims into paying hundreds of dollars to have their photos removed.

Last week I was contacted by communications expert/social media strategist Brian O’Neal, who sent me a copy of a “profanity-laced” Facebook message he claimed he received from Brittain after O’Neal unfriended Brittain on Facebook.

When I attempted to verify the authenticity of the vituperative message with Brittain’s company via Facebook, here’s what happened:

3.4K people like this
Transportation Service

THU 7:04AM

Dean: Hi, my name’s Dean, I’m a blogger. Recently I got an e-mail from a communications executive named Brian O’Neal who said you sent him a “profanity-laced” Facebook message because he unfollowed your Dryvyng page. For an item on my blog, could you comment on O’Neal’s claim? Cheers – Dean

Dryvyng Thanks for contacting Dryvyng. Someone will be with you shortly! Thank you!
Dryvyng No one at Dryvyng has ever spoken to or heard of him. Best regards.

Dean: He sent me a screenshot.
Dean: I’ll send in a minute.

Dryvyng Screenshots can easily be faked. People have agendas. We have never heard of or spoken to that person.
Dryvyng Lots of people recently have fabricated conversations involving supposed members of our company. It is a common trend.


Dryvyng Looks like an impostor. Many people impersonate our CEO and send random messages. The only official accounts that represent our brand are this one and Craig’s verified account. Unverified accounts are impostors.

Dean: It appears to have been sent from this group account managed by Craig Brittain: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1634585306815040/admins/?ref=group_cover

Dryvyng Groups cannot send messages.
Dryvyng Only pages and users can send messages. Any user account/page without a verified tag is not one of ours.

Dean: Apologies, I’m not up to scratch with Facebook’s messaging system, but it’s my understanding that you can reply to direct messages as admin.

Dryvyng Groups cannot send or reply to messages.

Dean: Cheers, thanks for answering my questions.

Dryvyng Thank you.

Dean: Also, mind if I ask who I’m talking to?

Dryvyng This is Doug Childs, PR rep for Dryvyng.

Dean: Rechecked and apparently the message was sent from Craig R Brittain’s account, not the group account. Did you ask Craig if he sent this?

Dryvyng Any account that does not have the verification checkmark is not one of our accounts.

Dean: Just to clarify, this account does not belong to Craig R Brittain: https://www.facebook.com/craigbrittainbackup?ref=br_rs

Dryvyng It is not one of our accounts.

Dean: Do you have any idea why people might be creating fake accounts for Craig?

Dryvyng There are many people with political agendas and many fake news websites that want to generate clicks.
Dryvyng As a top 3 company in a competitive field we face a lot of media adversity from the fake news which is why we haven’t received more positive coverage.

Dean: Pivot Foods founder Charles Peralo has also accused Craig of sending abusive messages via his verified account: https://www.facebook.com/charlesperalo/posts/1133303780024154

Dryvyng Lots of political opponents make all kinds of false accusations about us based on the actions of political opponents and/or their own motivations for attention.
Dryvyng They know the fake news will print whatever they want people to believe, so they fabricate stories and/or engage with unverified accounts and report it as fact.

Dean: Again, thanks for answering my questions. One last thing: do you have a link to a website or online profile for your PR services?

Dryvyng I work specifically for Dryvyng. Dryvyng is my only client.

Dean: Do you have any online presence at all that I can link to?

Dryvyng No, intentionally.

Dean: Okay, thanks.

Dryvyng Charles Peralo is a known hoaxer and scammer who is also a legitimate political opponent of our CEO.

Dean: Do you have any evidence for these claims and could you provide links please?

Dryvyng Craig Brittain is currently the frontrunner to become the Libertarian Party Presidential nominee in 2020.

Dean: I didn’t know he was part of the libertarian party.

Dryvyng There is no need to prove Peralo is uncredible. He has failed to prove that he is credible.
Dryvyng No one has ever seen anything Peralo has done or even verified that any of his work exists. We are verified and thus credible via verification.
Dryvyng Peralo has 35 twitter followers.
Dryvyng Not 35k, not 35m, 35.
Dryvyng Not a credible or notable source. A fake.
Dryvyng Lots of these fake experts hoax in order to get attention.
Dryvyng They make up conversations that never happened, or alter conversations that did to benefit themselves.
Dryvyng That is how fake news works. The mainstream media does it in almost every story and the bloggers copy the formula.
Dryvyng 99% of all news is fake and can be dismissed as such
Dryvyng Made up to keep people believing whatever they want to believe.
Dryvyng It is easy to understand why Mr. Peralo is jealous of Mr. Brittain’s success.

Dean: I’ll certainly ask him about this. Cheers

Dryvyng Brittain’s verified Facebook page gets up to 1m impressions and tens of thousands of engagements per day
Dryvyng Dont ask him, he isnt credible.
Dryvyng Why would you ask a noncredible person what they think? Ask someone with credibility
Dryvyng A long list of credible people and celebrities support Brittain. They have affirmed his greatness.
Dryvyng Dont print fake news about randos that nobody cares about, print real news about all the great people that support us.
Dryvyng You havent even asked about our company at all so it is clear you aim to print fake news.

Dean: His Twitter account only has thirty plus followers but his Being Libertarian account has almost 5k. I simply got a tip from Brian O’Neal and I’m following up.
Dean: Thanks for answering my questions.

Dryvyng You didn’t get a tip from anyone. You have a personal connection to Brian O’Neal and you are acting on his behalf to print fake news.
Dryvyng Get a real job.

Dean: That’s incorrect.

Dryvyng False, it’s correct, fake news.

Dean: Cheers again. Thanks

Techdirt Skewers Turkey

Techdirt publishes article based on my blog post re: Erdoğan’s takedown demand of “humiliating” news reports comparing him to Hitler


Via “Turkish President Demands Google Delist a Bunch of Websites Comparing Him to Hitler” by Tim Cushing, Techdirt, May 24, 2017:

from the ‘Hitler-was-an-amateur-authoritarian,’-the-president-complained dept

The world’s most thin-skinned “leader” is at it again. Perpetually-insulted Turkish super-villain Recip Erdogan is still firing off court orders to Google, expecting the immediate banishment of anything he finds offensive. Dean Jones of the invaluable Shooting the Messenger has more details:

The Turkish tyrant ordered Google
[Note: actually, Google only dealt with three Blogspot URLs; the rest is addressed to the Internet in general, I guess.] to delist over 40 URLs including a critical report by The Washington Times, plus an AOL image search for “Adolf Erdoğan,” because they allegedly link to “hurtful, humiliating” images and memes.


The targeted sites had reported about Erdoğan’s recent crackdown on journalists and other critics of the Turkish government, comparing him to Hitler.

Not helping these comparisons is Erdogan’s similar facial structure and his endless vindictive actions against anyone who’s hurt his feelings.

Turkish law gives him considerable leeway to do this. Unfortunately, a small handful of countries have extended helping hands rather than middle fingers in response to censorship and/or prosecution demands. It’s unknown why the Turkish government thought Google could help it out with an AOL image search, but it’s equally unclear why it didn’t ask for the delisting of Google’s image search, which shows virtually-identical results.

The more someone humors this tyrant, the worse he’s going to get. And it certainly doesn’t help that Jones’ report comes on the heels of the Erdogan’s US visit, during which his personal bodyguards beat up American protesters. This prompted a tepid display of disappointment from the US State Department and a much more hot-blooded demand for an apology from the Turkish government US law enforcement daring to interrupt Erdogan’s bodyguards while they were beating up US citizens.

Read the full article by clicking here.

Adolf Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan orders takedown of “humiliating” news reports comparing him to Hitler

The Turkish tyrant ordered Google to delist over 40 URLs including a critical report by The Washington Times, plus an AOL image search for “Adolf Erdoğan,” because they allegedly link to “hurtful, humiliating” images and memes.

The Washington Times, January 5, 2016 (source)

Via the Lumen Database, the March 30, 2017 court order says that “freedom of the press is not unlimited” and that “criticism is against the law.”

The targeted sites had reported about Erdoğan’s recent crackdown on journalists and other critics of the Turkish government, comparing him to Hitler.


During his visit to the White House last week, Erdoğan’s bodyguards brutally attacked a group of anti-Erdoğan protesters. Turkey has demanded that the U.S. apologise for its “aggressive and unprofessional actions” in allowing the protests to continue.

Hamer’s House of Horror

Celebrity doctors Dean Ornish, David Katz, and Caldwell Esselstyn to headline “cult-like” pseudoscience event next month

They are set to speak at the upcoming Lifestyle Medicine Summit alongside prominent anti-vaxxers and other proponents of “natural medicine.”


The event is organised by the Lifestyle Prescriptions Foundation, whose website promotes anti-vax conspiracies, and states that cancer sufferers “are solely responsible for their own illness.” The website also lists outspoken flat earth conspiracy theorist David “Avocado” Wolfe as one of its “partner affiliates.”

The Lifestyle Prescriptions Foundation was founded in 2016 by Munich native Johannes Fisslinger, inventor of the “Aura Video Station.”

Johannes Fisslinger (source)

Fisslinger previously ran the “cult-like” International Meta-Medicine Association (IMMA).

A 2009 report by a Norwegian television station said that three cancer sufferers died after being advised by members of IMMA’s Advisory Council to stop conventional treatments.

TV 2, April 17, 2009 (source)

Both IMMA and the Lifestyle Prescriptions Foundation teach “the art and science of self-healing,” a highly speculative model of disease based on the discredited theories of criminal ex-doctor and virulent anti-Semite Ryke Geerd Hamer, who lost his medical licence in 1986 after a number of patients in his care died.

Ryke Geerd Hamer (source)

According to Hamer, specific traumatic experiences cause specific physical symptoms. For example, a child raised by conservative, or “inflexible,” parents might develop rigid joints.

Medical authorities have widely denounced Hamer for his theories and illegal treatment of cancer patients, most famously in the case of six-year-old Olivia Pilhar.

Headline: A Dangerous Saviour – Once again, the judiciary has to deal with the controversial “cancer healer” Ryke Geerd Hamer, who is no longer allowed to work as a doctor or a naturopath. Nevertheless his followers trust him blindly.

Der Spiegel, August 9, 1997 (source)

The Lifestyle Prescriptions Foundation itself recently attracted criticism when it held an event at Regent’s University London, a prestigious British university.

BuzzFeed, March 15, 2017 (source)

Speaking to BuzzFeed UK, British MP Matt Warman (of the UK parliament’s Science and Technology Select Committee), said that the Lifestyle Prescriptions Foundation promotes “unproven quack cures.”

In a separate comment, British pharmacologist David Colquhoun was even less sparing, calling Fisslinger’s ideas about disease “utter bollocks.”


I asked Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, the famed American physician and one of 14 “visionary speakers” set to speak at the Lifestyle Medicine Summit, for his opinion.

In his reply to me, Dr. Esselstyn dismissed the criticism.

“A number of highly respected colleagues of mine have been on this program and like myself are eager that people should become acquainted with the hard science of proven research and evidence based scientific strategies,” said Dr. Esselstyn, adding: “I am simply not familiar with the observations you have sited [sic].”

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn (source)

Someone who ought to be familiar with the macabre origins of the Lifestyle Prescriptions Foundation is Dr. Dean Ornish, best-selling author and White House policy adviser during the Clinton and Obama administrations.

In 2007, Dr. Ornish was awarded the distinction of “Excellence in Integrative Medicine” from IMMA’s defunct breast cancer research charity, the Heal Breast Cancer FoundationHe later appeared in Fisslinger’s 2010 film, Titans of Yoga, and was at one time slated to host the 2013 “Be Meta-Healthy Online World Summit.”

Last year I informed Dr. Ornish about IMMA’s association with Hamer, and asked him about his own decade-long association with Fisslinger, which he denied.

Dr. Ornish said his appearance at the Lifestyle Medicine Summit is not an endorsement of the views expressed by Fisslinger or the notorious Hamer.

Dr. Dean Ornish (source)

“I often speak at conferences – including prestigious scientific meetings – where I do not always agree with what other speakers, organizers, or affiliates may be presenting or with their views on other subjects,” said Dr. Ornish.

“I am not endorsing the conference or other speakers; I’m just presenting a summary of 40 years of research that I’ve directed, published in the leading peer-reviewed medical journals, in hopes that this may be helpful. I am responsible only for my own comments.”

Co-headlining the event is Dr. David L. Katz, founding director of the CDC-funded Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Centre and a vocal critic of the anti-vax movement.

Dr. David Katz (source)

In 2013, Dr. Katz gave a talk via Skype at the “Be Meta-Healthy Online World Summit,” videos of which later appeared on the Lifestyle Prescriptions Foundation website.


Last year I asked Dr. Katz about his relationship with Fisslinger, IMMA, and the Lifestyle Prescriptions Foundation. Dr. Katz said he had “no relationship with any of these people,” insisting that he’d “never endorsed any program or product of theirs.”

This time when I asked him about Fisslinger, he said he “didn’t know this was the same person” I’d asked about previously.

“A Skype interview sets a pretty low bar- I do not conduct a background check,” said Dr. Katz. “I can only ever take responsibility for what I say – and that I do.”

He continued: “I have heard questionable commentary at almost every conference I’ve ever attended- but I have never felt that speaking at the same conference implied my endorsement of commentary by others. That said, I do tend to know far better those with whom I interact in person. This was merely an interview, and I do several a week. Sometimes I know the interviewers fairly well, but more often I do not.”


In my follow-up questions to Dr. Katz, I asked if he’d ever refused to speak at an event because of a disagreement with the scientific views of the organiser; and for his response to the argument that by speaking at a pseudoscience event he lends credibility to the organisers they wouldn’t otherwise have.

Here is Dr. Katz’s reply:

My only additional response to you at this point, Sterling, is that I have no better idea who you are, than who Johannes is. For all I know, you are his personal stalker.

He has only ever asked me about things in which I have a genuine interest, and invited me to discuss them unimpeded- whereas you have only ever asked me about him. Of the two of you, your behavior has been the more concerning to me.

I’ve asked Dr. Katz if he intends to ask Fisslinger about the issues raised in this post, but haven’t received a reply.

The Lifestyle Medicine Summit will take place between June 1–7, 2017. Speakers include retired surgeon and Quackwatch regular Dr. Bernie Siegel, prominent anti-vaxxer Sayer Ji, and Dr. Stephane Provencer, who practices “holistic child health care.”


The BBC says “no further action will be taken” after news presenter Ben Brown physically pushed a woman during a live television broadcast

BBC News presenter Ben Brown physically pushed the female passer-by during a live television broadcast Tuesday.

Brown was in Bradford speaking about the new Labour Party manifesto with his colleague, assistant political editor Norman Smith, when the unnamed woman walked between the two men and said “absolutely fantastic,” giving a thumbs-up. But she was quickly pushed aside by Brown, who appeared to grab her breast. The woman then slapped the presenter on the arm before walking off camera.

Later that day, Brown tweeted: “Unfortunate interruption of broadcast in Bradford – just tried to minimise disruption but v tricky live on air – completely unintentional”.


Yesterday I asked the BBC if it was appropriate that Brown physically pushed a woman who interrupted his conversation; if the BBC agrees the woman had the right to stand on a public street in Bradford, regardless of whether or not her presence inconvenienced Brown and/or BBC News; and if Brown could clarify what he was referring to in his tweet as being “completely unintentional,” as it was clear he intended to push the woman.

Today BBC News replied that Brown’s actions were “clearly unintentional and an accident” and that “no further action will be taken.”

Dear Mr. Jones

We appreciate you were concerned by an incident in which our presenter Ben Brown accidently made contact with a member of the public who had interrupted a live broadcast on the BBC News Channel.

Ben explained what had happened in a tweet soon afterwards, which you can see below:

“Unfortunate interruption of broadcast in Bradford – just tried to minimise disruption but v tricky live on air – completely unintentional”

As Ben said, this was clearly unintentional and an accident, and no further action will be taken.

Thank you for contacting us.

Kind Regards

BBC Complaints Team