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FoI request regarding an 'activist list' in the Sunday Times Magazine in May 2013

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS news' started by AR68, May 9, 2018.

  1. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    4,263
    I think that quote can be unclear for people when presented like on the Health Rising site. In context, Wessely is just talking about ME as a diagnosis, not the symptoms which can lead to patients being diagnosed with ME. It's not about patients' symptoms being 'all in the mind', or simply a result of a belief.

    His lecture notes are available here: https://web.archive.org/web/20031214151305/http://www.meactionuk.org.uk:80/wessely_speech_120594.htm
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
    adambeyoncelowe likes this.
  2. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    1,678
    It's an assumption based on how the police deal with activists who are annoying to authorities but not engaged in serious criminal activity.

    I also base my assumption on the link with Wessely and the Science Media Center, and Medical Research Council, how they tried to deal with animal rights activists, and the mentioning of this in the ME Research Collaborative transcripts early on. Remember the focus on harassment there. We know for a fact that both the SMC and MRC worked with the police against animal rights campaigners in the past. This involved surveilling campaigners and infiltration of groups by the police. I would deduce that information being available to 'the authorities' means as part of the Prevent program which has recently been disclosed to consider anti-fracking activity as 'extremism'. (See Netpol linked above for site for full details)
     
  3. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    4,523
    Was it entirely coincidental that the person interviewed to support the claims was Colin Blakemore, who must be the person with the greatest experience of genuine harassment?
     
  4. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    4,666
    Location:
    Australia
    I remain deeply skeptical about the true nature of the alleged intimidation and threats faced by Wessely & co.

    There needs to be a high level, transparent, independent, and rigorous formal public inquiry into the facts.

    I do not believe Wessely & co will come out of it looking good, but that patients will.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
  5. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    2,978

    The lyrics of the last verse of a Bob Dylan song were not sent to Wessely in an email, as the text under an image within the BMJ article had implied. The Bob Dylan lyrics were posted on a website at the end of a blog post. The owner of that website died two years ago.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2021
  6. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    2,978
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/evidence_of_threats_to_staff_mem?

    FOI Jane Clout 14 November 2012

    Dear King’s College London,

    Professor Simon Wessely, your Vice Dean and Head of Department of Psychological Medicine and Director, King’s Centre for Military Health Research, has access to mainstream media where he has stated many times that he has received 'death threats' and other intimidation from a small group of Myalgic Encelphalomyelitis campaigners.

    He told the BBC "It's direct intimidation in the sense of letters, emails, occasional phone calls and threats," says Professor Simon Wessely, of King's College London, who has received a series of death threats and threatening phone calls, and now has his mail routinely scanned for suspect devices.

    "But more often indirect intimidation through my employer or the GMC. All of it intended to denigrate and try and make you into a leper." [1]

    My FOI request is: please tell me of any illegal threats that you have on file, have had sight of, or are aware of in other ways, from activists working on behalf of M.E. patients or the M.E. patients themselves. Please also tell me whether each threat has been seen in the original or is on file in your office in the original or as a copy, or is something you have merely been informed of.

    Please also tell me if you are aware if Professor Simon Wessely has taken any legal action with regard to this alleged intimidation.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jane Clout

    [1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14326514

    ---------------------------

    Response: 12 December 2012

    Dear Ms Clout

    Please find attached the College’s response to your request for information.

    Kind regards

    Legal Compliance Team
    Governance and Legal Affairs Management
    King's College London
    Room G37
    James Clerk Maxwell Building
    57 Waterloo Road
    London SE1 8WA

    T: 020 7848 4260
    E: [King’s College London request email]

    Attachment: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/138299/response/341512/attach/2/Response Letter.pdf
     

    Attached Files:

  7. EzzieD

    EzzieD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    427
    Location:
    UK
    Yes, on a 'skeptics' web forum I used to read about 8 years ago, some members were talking about how terrible 'CFS people' were and how they were all dangerous militants, sending death threats to Wessely. I asked them for documented proof of said death threats. Long silence, then all they could produce was a screenshot from another forum, probably the one you mention, in which someone had made a post about being disgruntled with the way Wessely treated ME patients, concluding their post with what I was old enough to recognise as a verse from a song from my youth.

    I told them 'That's not a death threat, it's the last verse of a Bob Dylan song, Masters of War', and gave a link to a page with the song's lyrics. They were actually stunned, saying they'd never heard of the song and had always believed that this was some self-composed death threat by whoever the poster was. When I explained that it looked like this was simply a case of someone expressing their anger by quoting from a famous singer's song, they didn't know what to say. But looks like Wessely picked it up and ran with it.
     
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  8. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Canada
    LMAO. They GLOMARed, basically the CIA's token response: "we can neither confirm nor deny". They are basically saying that his claims are his opinions and that falls outside their remit, so let your imagination run wild.

    The man who lies a lot has secret evidence about his opinions, you just have to trust this institution saying they either confirm nor deny it. Hey, it's not as if those claims were abused and distorted to create very real outcomes in real life, or anything like that. People are allowed to lie, it's just their opinion.
     
    rainy, Sean, Invisible Woman and 2 others like this.
  9. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    2,978

    To clarify, I have not mentioned a forum in my post. The screenshot of the lines from the Bob Dylan song used to illustrate the 25 June 2011 BMJ article by Nigel Hawkes (for which the caption reads: "Simon Wessely and an example of one of the many offensive emails he has received") had been screenshot from the blog section of a website. I knew the owner of this website well and he had never had any email contact with Simon Wessely. Following his death, in 2019, both his websites were taken off-line.
     
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  10. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    Location:
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    I guess it's possible someone else picked up the idea from that website and sent it in an email to Wessely.
     
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  11. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    2,978

    A screenshot of the website, itself, was used for the article illustration - not an extract from an email sent personally to Wessely. So whoever was responsible for selecting the images to accompany the BMJ article had not dug very deeply into their source.
     
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  12. EzzieD

    EzzieD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    427
    Location:
    UK
    Oh that's interesting, the screenshot I was shown looked like it was taken from a web forum, not a blog. The person who posted the screenshot said it was from a 'CFS' forum (a 'militant' one, no less). Maybe it was re-posted elsewhere as well?
     
  13. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Possibly it had been reposted on a forum, I can't remember now whether it was re-posted on PR or on a breakaway forum which no longer exists. But the original text and the formatting of the text as seen in the BMJ article is from a blog page on the website and the text would have been published there first.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2021
  14. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    2,978
    Interestingly, neither SW, himself, or any representative approached the website owner with a take-down notice.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2021
    Mithriel, EzzieD, Sean and 3 others like this.
  15. BruceInOz

    BruceInOz Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Location:
    Tasmania
    I think the full lyrics of that song are important here. What is being wished for is the death of the "Masters of War", which makes the song about a call for the end of war and the institutions that perpetuate it, not the death of an individual. When attached to the end of a blog post as indicated I'd say that sounds like a call for the end of the institutionalized abuse of ME patients.
     
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  16. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    2,978

    If a link for the blog post had been sent to SW by email or if an extract or screenshot from the blog had been sent to SW by email then that would have had to have been sent by an unknown third party, since the late owner of the blog, from which a screenshot was used to illustrate the 2011 BMJ article, had never had any contact with SW by email or by any other means. So either someone else sent the text to SW by email, or the text had come to the attention of SW, or to the attention of the journalist or picture editor, directly from the website blog.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021

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