‘When Psychiatry Battled the Devil’: How psychiatry promoted the SRA myth

Yesterday in our brief critique of the work of Australian criminology lecturer Dr Michael Salter, we touched upon the fact that neither he nor his students were alive during the most recent Satanic panic, which spanned the last two decades of the 20th century. This, perhaps, is what makes it easy for Dr Salter and his ilk to deny the importance, or even the existence, of that psychiatric/social epidemic—and what allows him to continue spreading the SRA myth amongst a new crop of professionals.

For those who were alive at the time, though, the picture looks quite different. Yesterday we happened upon an article by psychologist Dr Richard Noll, whose account of the last Satanic panic was published in the Psychiatry Times in December 2013, under the title “When Psychiatry Battled the Devil”.

Then it was un-published; and a few months later re-published inunder a different title, with the inclusion of statements by some of the prominent psychiatrists whose behaviour Dr Noll had described in his article.

For all that the SRA-pushers howl about the “powers that be” suppressing the “truth”, it seems passing strange that Psychiatry Times, a journal which is not known to shy away from controversy, would have suppressed Dr Noll’s essay, albeit temporarily. It demonstrates the fact that there are still people who cling to their belief in SRA, to the point where they are prepared to threaten legal action against a journal which adopts a critical stance on the issue.

‘When Psychiatry Battled the Devil’

Dr Allen Frances, another veteran of the end-of-the-century Satanic panic, sets the scene:

The time was between 20 and 25 years ago. The outrage that needed exposing was the sudden epidemic of prosecutions of daycare workers for the alleged sexual and satanic ritual abuse of the children under their care. The place was all over the U.S. — this was a nationwide craze that focused suspicion on more than 100 daycare centers. The victims were the completely innocent daycare workers who were indicted and often convicted of ridiculous charges that could not possibly have any foundation in reality. Many were pressured, threatened, and/or tortured into false confessions, and some, under great duress, were forced into making false charges implicating co-workers. Dozens have served prison sentences, and some are still in jail — an injustice of shocking proportions.

The initial accusers were usually mentally unbalanced parents harboring weird imaginings or an ax to grind, or both. The first-responder enablers were gullible police detectives who spread panic from household to household. Next came ambitious prosecutors who used the cases to make a name for themselves (one became Attorney General of the United States; another governor of North Carolina). Most inexcusable were the self-appointed “expert” therapists with their anatomically correct dolls and their leading and bullying suggestions. The children were seduced and brow beaten into confirming wild stories of horrible but totally implausible,sexual and/or satanic experiences. Parents, police, prosecutors, and therapists who theoretically were there to protect the kids from abuse instead themselves became their abusers.

The charges were farce, but the impact on those involved was tragedy. Never was there a single shred of physical evidence that any of the crimes had ever occurred. It was a modern witch hunt, no better than the Salem trials occurring 300 years before, or the Spanish Inquisition 400 years ago. In the interim, modern man has acquired remarkable knowledge but is still capable of remarkably primitive thinking and cruel action.

Dr Noll describes it as an “ugly cultural and medical disaster”, which many in his profession would prefer to forget or ignore—and which those in the current generation of mental health professionals cannot remember, or can hardly believe.

The rise of ‘dissociative disorders’

To understand how “dissociative identity disorder” (DID), previously known as “multiple personality disorder” (MPD), gained a foothold in the psychiatric lexicon, it’s important to remember that during the 1980s, formal Freudian psychoanalysis had fallen out of favour, and biological psychiatry was in the ascendant.

The advent of more sophisticated medications for various psychiatric disorders—such as Prozac, the first SSRI anti-depressant, heralded as a breakthrough in 1987—meant that those who practised psychoanalytically based therapies were looking at a rather glum future.

Coincidentally, at the same time the concept of “dissociation” was gaining ground among psychoanalytically oriented psychiatrists as a “double-duty metaphor for both a causal (defense) mechanism and a descriptive term for the splitting apart of consciousness, complexes within memory systems, and the subjective sense of a unitary self”.

(In other words, “Huzzah! There’s still something we can do! Put away that prescription pad, lads, we’re off to the races!”)

The dissociative disorders, which were presumed to originate as reactions to trauma, began to gain real traction, helped along by the revision of the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-III)—basically the “bible” of the mental health care professions.

Three prominent psychiatrists were invited onto the Advisory Committee for the Dissociative Disorders section of the DSM-III-R:

  • Richard P. Kluft of the Institute of the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia
  • Frank W. Putnam of the National Institute of Mental Health
  • Bennett G. Braun of Chicago’s Rush Medical College

They were joined by committee chair Robert Spitzer, and psychiatrists Philip M. Coons and Marlene Steinberg as well as social worker Janet B.W. Williams.

According to Dr Noll,

The DSM-III-R revisions for the dissociative disorders were extensive. The sequence of the disorders in the chapter was changed, with MPD placed first because it “is in many ways both the paradigm and the most pervasive expression of the spectrum of dissociative phenomenology.” Severe physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in childhood were its predisposing factors. Described as “apparently extremely rare” in DSM-III, in the years 1984 to 1987 large numbers of cases were reported in the literature by Kluft (200 cases), Putnam (100), Coons (20), and Braun and co-authors (355).

Drs Kluft, Putnam, and Braun also founded the International Society for the Study of Multiple Personality and Dissociation (ISSMP&D), which held its first conference in 1983. By 1986, some presenters at the ISSMP&D conference were telling tales of abuse within cults, and childhood Satanic ritual abuse.

The DSM-III-R Advisory Committee on Dissociative Disorders understood the historical implications of the MPD diagnosis: MPD was basically the secularised version of Judeo-Christian “possession” by demons. In this sense, psychiatry was moving from any pretense of scientific rigour into dealing with the supernatural—and claiming diagnostic expertise in areas which would previously have been the province of exorcists.

In blurring the boundaries between mental health care and religious belief, psychiatry was being sucked into the “rip tide of Satanic panic”.

Dr Noll writes,

Bennett Braun was the first and most fervent DSM-III-R Advisory Committee member to join the crusade against Satan. His public expression of interest in cults and MPD dates at least to 1986.

But at an ISSMP&D conference in Chicago in 1988, Braun presented a workshop in which he directly linked the MPD epidemic to the abuse committed against children by devil-worshipping cults. He argued that these Satanic cults were everywhere in the U.S., internationally organized with a structure similar to communist cells, with local regional, district, national, and international councils. Braun also argued that Satanic cults were transgenerational family traditions that had been going on in secret for at least 2,000 years.

At that same conference, Sally Hill, a social worker in private practice in Chicago, and Jean Goodwin, a psychiatrist and professor of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, presented a paper which attempted to validate Braun’s claims by citing historical accounts of allegations of “the Satanic black mass” and other obscene cult behaviors going back to at least A.D. 100. Reproducing these accounts without regard to context, these clinicians read them as fundamentally true reports of actual events. Professional historians who specialize in those eras tend to interpret such material as a discourse of propaganda aimed at undesirable minority groups, whether real or imagined.

A few months later, in March 1989, this conference paper was published in Kluft and Braun’s journal, Dissociation. It quickly became a citation success in the SRA literature as evidence in favor of the historical continuity of Satanic cults and their rituals.

The message to the public and the mental health professions was clear: elite members of the American psychiatric profession seemed to be sanctioning the SRA moral panic. Satanic cults were probably real, had probably been around for almost two millennia, and were abusing children and creating the MPD epidemic. As for the other members of the DSM-III-R Advisory Committee and the leadership of the ISSMP&D, there was only one response: public silence.

Dr Noll says that the silence of the leadership within the psychiatric community could be viewed in three possible ways by those in the trenches:

  • Satanic cults were real, despite the complete lack of corroborating physical or forensic evidence;
  • The experts weren’t sure whether the cults were real, but didn’t want to risk offending their patients; or
  • Those in leadership positions had abdicated their responsibility to lead the profession, and retreated into abject cowardice.

Throughout most of 1990 no American psychiatrist, and certainly no other member of the DSM-III-R Advisory Committee for the Dissociative Disorders, made any formal public or published statement explicitly rejecting Braun’s Satanic cult conspiracy. No one objected to Kluft’s “hidden holocaust” analogy. These were the true plague years as the moral panic continued to rage in day care centers and the courts, destroying reputations and lives.

Dr Noll describes his own experience at the seventh annual ISSMP&D conference, at which Dr Frank Putnam “decided to break his skeptical silence”, arranging a special plenary panel which would present “alternative” views of the interpretation of SRA claims.

The plenary session was held in a large hotel ballroom filled with most of the more than 700 conference attendees. Television crews were on hand to witness the event. So was Gloria Steinem. So was I.

The four members of the plenary session panel were Putnam, George Ganaway, anthropologist Sherrill Mulhern, and me. Putnam had read my Dissociation critique and wanted me to present my argument in person. Putnam and Ganaway presented carefully balanced arguments that did not directly reject the reality of SRA. Instead they expressed concerns about the linkage of MPD to such controversial claims, noting it would hurt future research on child abuse and trauma.

Mulhern and I were strident in our outright rejection of the veracity of SRA claims. She cited anthropological and sociological research while I hammered home the view of historians that ancient accounts of bizarre cult practices had to be read in context.

Along with my fellow panelists, I too mentioned the October 1989 preliminary report of an investigation by Supervisory Special Agent Ken Lanning from the FBI Behavioral Science Unit at Quantico which found no corroborating evidence of the existence of Satanic cults engaged in any criminal activity, let alone kidnapping and ritually sacrificing thousands of American babies. Lanning’s findings had emboldened Putnam to organize the special plenary session and go public with his private skepticism. The full FBI report appeared three years later.

Dr Noll describes the reaction to his presentation:

Several persons—all licensed mental health professionals—approached me and let me know I wasn’t fooling them. They knew I was a witch or a member of a Satanic cult who was there to spread disinformation.

Yes. Licensed mental health professionals, whose clientele relied upon them for psychiatric care, accused a fellow professional of being a witch or Satanic cult member—because he dared to contradict their firmly held belief in SRA.

Dr Noll writes that as people like Dr Putnam and Dr Ganaway distanced themselves from SRA, Dr Braun “and others who shared his beliefs continued to exploit the medical literature to bolster the construct validity of SRA”.

In the years that followed, the pages of Dissociation kept possession and exorcism alive as relevant psychiatric issues in diagnosis and treatment. Psychiatry could not abandon its jurisdictional claim on the supernatural.

When working groups were formed to create the DSM-IV, which was released in 1994, none of those who’d worked on the DSM-III-R were invited to participate.

Renamed and revised as dissociative identity disorder (DID), [MPD] also had been dethroned from first place in the sequence of dissociative disorders. “I don’t want it to be seen as some sort of circus sideshow,” said the chair of the new DSM-IV work group. DSM-IV reinstated the order of DSM-III. The new guards at the APA were doing their best to quarantine the profession from not only the men who had enabled the MPD epidemic but also from any lingering connection to the moral panic.

While Dr Noll notes that after about 1994, both MPD/DID and the Satanic panic had essentially died down, we think it’s safe to say that while the epidemic was quelled, the disease itself never really disappeared, but only went underground. As we’ve discussed on this blog, belief in SRA and DID has persisted among certain practitioners, who continue to pass it along to their naïve and unsuspecting patients without a second thought.

The belief remains essentially unchanged, despite decades of debunking, and the Hampstead SRA hoax is only one of its many manifestations. The question remains: what are we going to do about it?

Goya-Exorcism

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65 thoughts on “‘When Psychiatry Battled the Devil’: How psychiatry promoted the SRA myth

      • Hmmmmm? Lot’s of thoughts on that subject, Sheva. The APA should be ashamed of itself for dropping the ball on this B.S. AND the Cult of $ciloontology. The tactics described above sound very similar to “Hubbard Tech”. The Psych profession was his mortal enemy, remember. Old 70’s-80’s radio has Call-in shows trolled on this issue by self-ID’d $cylons. Ex. Aquino, Process, Manson and Satanic Panic. Hubbard was also linked to Jack Parsons and via him(not in person) Crowley. Just food for thought! Thanks for all the great links, everyone! What to do? I believe some litigation is in order, or/and legislation. These delusions seem to be a public health epidemic. The whole Russian thing has me looking at Abrella a bit closer. Why have these despicable stupid criminals not been apprehended?

        Liked by 3 people

    • The Vatican has been challenged as never before…..by genuine survivors from across the world….no thanks to those who tried to nick from the Ballarat Survivors. Eh ? John Taylor, UKAnon, Wesley Hall Opdeatheater, Opdeatheaters NSW, pedohunters or pedosdownunder (more apt name now ?) they certainly have been found to threaten and blackmail anyone who dares refute the claims of either Fiona Barnett, that Ahole or any of the various attached scams or scammers……like all in the Perps list here and the linked groups..
      Someone was asking about Judicial Reviews the other day, Thanks to Badda Bing, he’s been exposing the White Dragon (where were they the other day ? not a flag or t shirt in site in Hyde Park, scared of the spotlight?) the leader conned 3 x £700 for Judicial Reviews that never happened and anyone asking for a refund or even a quierie are blocked banned and called all the usual vile names, from troll, shill to the P word, of course…….They also meet up with some really bad paedohunters on a channel called Mass Debate…… you couldn’t make it up…. exposed also to have been shown by the police, not themselves to have some convicted and listed perps, I havn’t seen everything, but some caught have been from hunter group, to 2 or 3 others, before being stopped …. ??????

      I know and respect that this blog is against all such groups………. I think if people really care and want to continue, they must work with or for the police or a security company, maybe that’s why it could be a good thing that security companies are gaining powers to arrest. Maybe. I think there are recruiting signs and the need has been fully and openly admitted and hunters discussed too, by IICSA in the Internet Satety week, available on their YouTube Channel.

      Liked by 2 people

      • We hear today another 100,000 UK kids have slipped into poverty. Abuse of children in any form is abhorrent but the problem with those so fixated on sexual abuse (which of course must be addressed) is that they are sucking the oxygen out of the public’s concern for the majority of child abuse cases which are mental, physical (non-sexual) abuse and by neglect.
        There is no reason why activists cannot agitate on behalf of all children now in need of help but those who seem so obsessed with pedophilia to the point where they create imaginary cases (like Hampstead) are not aiding children, they are in fact helping to harm children by diverting attention from real cases.

        Liked by 4 people

        • That’s a brilliant comment, Sam, and I agree 100%.

          Emotional abuse is woefully underrated in terms of the devastating, long-lasting effect it can have on a child.

          On a vaguely related point, I’m glad to see that drunk driving is finally being treated with the contempt it deserves (see Ant McPartlin), as it kills a darn sight more children every year than paedophiles do.

          Liked by 4 people

          • “On a vaguely related point, I’m glad to see that drunk driving is finally being treated with the contempt it deserves (see Ant McPartlin), as it kills a darn sight more children every year than paedophiles do.”

            I find this a really odd juxtaposition. Surely most functioning human beings are capable of seeing that both drink driving and child abuse are wrong?

            Like

          • Actually, TDF, that is simply not the case but feel free to hook me up with any posts or videos by the Hampstead witch-hunter fruitloops in which they rant about drink driving. Thanks in advance

            Like

  1. That was great, thank you! 🙂
    Your discussion about the development of psychiatric obsession with dissociation & MPD, and how that relates to satanic cult panic raging through their profession – when they all ought to have been in the front ranks of publicly confronting and debunking it – was particularly insightful and clear. More easily understood, as you have presented it here, than I have seen it before.

    The iatrogenic, or therapeutic practitioner induced, creation of mental health patients convinced that they had been raised by or exposed to satanic abuse cults – and suffered horrific sexual, physical and traumatic torments, resulting in their becoming a multiplicity of personalities in one body – is a thoroughly documented fact. Even Dr Colin Ross admits this.
    Likewise, “recovered memory therapy” was and still is widely used – and misused – by therapists with a wide variety of credentials, from highly trained psychologist hypno-therapists to your Aunt Sally the Reiki and EMDR practitioner. The danger that “false memories” can be developed through such therapies is also a documented fact, regardless of how strenuously this may be debated by critics.
    Many of the most vocal and virulent critics of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation and false memory theory, have been psychiatric, psychologist and social worker “therapists” who lost their lucrative SRA-MPD victim creation and treatment practices, after FMSF backed malpractice lawsuits from iatrogenic SRA-MPD patients whose lives were utterly destroyed by those falsehoods. Allied with academics whose promising careers analyzing & promoting SRA-RA-MC or MPD-DID mythology went down the toilet as a result of all this, these critic represent a ‘sour grapes’ anti-FMSF movement whose slander campaigns in academic guise were primarily motivated by personal grudge.

    But Ross Cheit is not wrong when he says that the social dynamics at play in all of this are more complex than either ‘side’ of SRA victimization, false memory and MPD-DID reality debates allow, in their rhetoric.
    Colin Ross is not just covering his own ass, when he claims that some (early 1980’s) psychiatric patients professed satanic cult victim narratives to therapists who knew nothing about SRA mythology at that time. SOME psychiatric-psychologist therapists learned SRA mythology from a patient, became believers, and experienced satanic cult panic. They consulted colleagues, and in the process of their discussions the colleagues learned SRA mythology from them and started to “see the signs” of satanic cult victimization in some of their own patients. Intrigued, they attempted “recovery” of SRA memories with these patients and in a process of mutual reinforcement – the therapist’s satanic themed probing suggests to the patient that they were victimized by satanists, the patient fantasizes about this and then tells the therapist they think they might be an SRA victim – the therapist concludes they have successfully uncovered SRA memories in the patient and shares those fantasy-memories with other colleagues, and so on. Meanwhile, the original therapists’s patient has been teaching SRA mythology, as their own life narrative, to other patients by disclosures during group therapy. Some of those other patients end up in therapy with other therapists, who are now “recovering memories” of SRA – they imagine – and say:, “when I was in therapy before, another patient was talking about cults. I’m wondering if I…” and the therapist says: “Ah, yes, I’ve seen this before!”
    And on & on & on.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am often accused of being too cynical because I don’t go to mediums, spiritual meetings, etc and I have been known to laugh loudly at what my nearest & dearest have been told to their disgust but as they know, I deal in scientific facts and not someone charging £30 – £50 for a half hour of them leading me on to verify their readings.

      With your information Justin & EC, I take from it, that people who have this obsession with satanic cults, etc., are much the same as these mediums who take money from people, albeit on a grander scale.

      They don’t show any logic or any facts. They don’t break anything down to find explanations for anything, they seem to think of something and just run with it, never mind verifying it and showing proof.

      What angers me about them is that a lot of them are highly educated, I simply don’t understand how can they suddenly get this urge to go down a dark path that will bring disrepute to them and lose the respect of a lot of colleagues & friends. Also the fact that the excellent education they get is now wasted, when it was more than likely paid for by their parents working hard & saving for their education most of their lives & doing without themselves. If I was speaking to any of these highly educated twats, I would ask them to think about that and cop on. Simple words really that they might listen to although they probably feel so entitled they might not listen. 😒😒

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think belief in this stuff runs very deep in some people, to the point where it’s a matter of “religious” faith—I don’t mean, necessarily, that belief in SRA must stem from religious belief, but that belief in it is deeply ingrained in people’s psyches.

        After I wrote last night’s post, I was reading through some of the footnoted articles in Dr Noll’s article. Some of what I found shocked me—for example, an article by a senior psychiatrist at a Canadian hospital, discussing the merits and possible pitfalls of exorcism on patients who’d developed DID as a result of their SRA experiences. Why is this even a question?! And yet this person addresses it quite seriously, as though it’s something which all practitioners should consider.

        I think when one has predicated one’s professional career on being “the expert” in the field of SRA and dissociative disorders, one must have suspended disbelief for so long that eventually it just packed its bags and left for good. I looked up the psychiatrist mentioned above, and discovered that eventually, about 10 years ago, he’d gone from treating DID to treating post-traumatic stress disorder in returning military personnel…using the discredited technique of eye movement desensitisation and re-processing, aka EMDR. Sometimes I despair.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Complex, as Cheit has observed. Many possible factors for educated people investing belief in SRA would probably all be valid, in one case or another, and still not be a complete picture.
        One thing that I personally think was and is important, and rarely gets mentioned, is that ‘learning about’ SRA incorporates the idea of uncovering & exposing something SECRET.
        Just like the widespread obsession with that idea today, all these internet conspiracy theorists so proud and excited to ‘uncover’ a conspiracy ‘secret’ and then obsessively “whistleblower” it – not realizing that its only secret to them, because they hadn’t heard about it before, but it’s actually a decades or centuries old theory.
        We know that the psych community quickly became obsessed with “getting to the bottom of the SRA mystery”, so much so that many of them became criminally negligent of their duty to patient care.

        Liked by 1 person

    • …“recovered memory therapy” was and still is widely used – and misused – by therapists with a wide variety of credentials, from highly trained psychologist hypno-therapists to your Aunt Sally the Reiki and EMDR practitioner. The danger that “false memories” can be developed through such therapies is also a documented fact, regardless of how strenuously this may be debated by critics.

      This perspective is one which I’ve been delving into with help from some of our readers. The “energy therapies” seem to be the current torch-bearers for “recovered memory” belief, and we’ll be looking at them in the not-too-distant future.

      As for patients “teaching” their therapists that their SRA memories are real, why does this make me think of someone with delusions or hallucinations “teaching” his or her therapist that giant man-eating dragons send them messages from Mars? Neither can be empirically verified or disproven; neither leaves physical or forensic evidence.

      So why are some therapists inclined to offer unconditional belief to their SRA/DID patients, and anti-psychotic medication to their man-eating-dragons-from-Mars patients?

      Liked by 2 people

    • He’s as crap at lying as her too, if his embarrassing attempt to defame one of us yesterday is anything to go by. Tip for next time, Weaselly: if you must tell porkies, don’t then prove yourself wrong with your own links. D’oh!

      Liked by 3 people

    • LMAO! That was ‘he who must be not be named here’ who first mentioned an “Order” being after him, Omni picked up on that and made some hilarious videos about it too.

      The weasel has taken it to a whole new ludicrous angle! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

    • Wikipedia basically says Nine Angles is a “Neo-Nazi Satanist group”.
      Doesn’t The Weasel know Hampstead is the home of upper class latte drinking Lefties?. I think poor old Weasel is new to this politicking and has only just discovered the Antifa movement.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Re: Order of Nine Angles.
      It is all good if Wesley Hall and other Satan Hunters want to live in a fantasy world of make-believe cults and baby eating, but I advise them very strongly not to bring in the Order of Nine Angles into their games. The ONA are real, they hurt people, and some of them have killed people. Don’t mess with them unless you want to be seriously hurt, keep well away.

      I totally hate the ONA, and I take them on because I know how to deal with them, but Satan Hunters are playing with fire. The ONA are their own religion, however, they infiltrate other religions and movements, both Antifa and Nazis. The ONA are an ongoing problem in my own religion of Satanism, and I work hard to kick them out.

      The ONA have nothing to do with Hoaxtead, if the ONA had been involved with Hampstead, all the Satan Hunters would be running to the police for protection, some of you would be badly injured, some might die in mysterious circumstances. Grow up and don’t mess with those who don’t give a damn about the law, morality or human life.

      There is currently a major crisis going on in neo-nazi ranks about the ONA links to them:
      https://www.thedailybeast.com/satanism-drama-is-tearing-apart-the-murderous-neo-nazi-group-atomwaffen

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thanks for this, SV. I confess I wasn’t really sure who the ONA were, other than what I read on Wikipedia. I suspect Weaselly got his idea from Kristie Sue Costa, who in turn got it from another American nutjob who shall go unnamed here, but who apparently (and quite unjustifiably) considers himself some sort of expert in the field.

        Liked by 2 people

    • If this individual got their way, innocent people will be swinging from lamposts based upon an accusation, which is why it is useful that society has police, lawyers and judges who can provide an objective justice system than one based upon trial by opinion and Facebook.

      Liked by 5 people

    • The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications want to hunt down and publicly hang paedophiles? I would have thought that was a bit outside their remit.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Or maybe he means Canadian singer Marie-Andrée Bergeron? She seemed like such a nice girl, I didn’t think she had a bloodthirsty streak.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I believe the one on the left is Ian Huntley, the Soham murderer. I don’t know who the other guy is. Someone who once looked at Malcolm in a funny way, probably.

        Liked by 2 people

        • He was a young girls step Grandfather who murdered her and sexually assaulted her, and hid her body in the loft

          Like

  2. More on the Cambridge Analytica fall out.
    I’ve worked closely with someone going through the mind-bending and emotionally exhausting process of legally trying to get defamatory content removed from the web (or more accurately- links to that material which is almost as good). They succeeded but it’s taken nearly 10 years with an exhaustive & dispiriting campaign. Financial compensation pales into comparison to the money they may have earned in that time in a job but a job became almost impossible after libelous statements were placed on the net. Legal costs (to be paid by Google dwarf the compo.

    In Australia the courts have now decided that Google is a publisher which is the most important aspect and thus the search engines like Google, Yahoo will eventually remove those links but they make you jump through endless hoops.
    # why having links removed is important is because malicious defamers simply create new websites if a link is removed and the process must start again but Google are currently facing 2 cases of lawsuits against them re: renewed links from individuals who have already won a case against them. Google haven’t taken seriously the potential of endless financial claims.

    The Cambridge Analytica matter may be the “Perfect Storm” that kicks them into action. (all this applies to Facebook & Youtube etc as the linked article will show). Google, Facebook etc happily throw multi $Millions to defeat or exhaust a litigant as it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the multi $Billions they make in non-taxed profits.
    Where this eventually leads will be decided by whether politicians are smart, brave or clever enough to take on the tech giants. An ambitious politician would surely receive over-whelming public support if they became the champion of the defamed and harassed.

    In the UK a court decided far too early with the advent of the internet that Google etc were not publishers (no doubt swayed by the brilliant QCs and lawyers Google have been able to hire seeing they pay a smidgen of tax and can throw $Millions at a small case to win). That set a precedent but Parliament can easily overturn a precedent or a court can but it takes an intense case and yet again heaps of cash.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/how-facebook-australia-doesn-t-operate-facebook-in-australia-20180323-p4z5ym.html

    “How Facebook Australia doesn’t operate Facebook in Australia”

    # This is fascinating because Facebook is “based” in Ireland and comes under their laws. We have at least 2 serial Facebook defamers in the Hampstead matter living in Ireland.
    You usually find these fanatics feel emboldened because they rarely think they would be sued for defamation as they are generally pot-less although one apparently lives in a former council house they purchased. After offering emotional support in the successful Oz case I aided in I would have no hesitation in being utterly ruthless and bankrupting a defamer even if it meant making them homeless. In our case the litigant had to eventually take a loan for legal fees from her parents who used their house as collateral and there was a real risk at one stage of them losing everything.

    ## Keep an eye out for anything legal concerning Arch Defamer US radio host Alex Jones – Donald Trump said he was a fan ( a hero to these fanatics with his despicable promotion of “false flags” & “crisis actors” whereby the parents of murdered children are told their kids never existed) who has incurred the wrath of his ex-wife. She is planning extensive legal action against him and says she will be exposing all his dirty secrets.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Agreed GoS and congrats on that tedious and frustrating case! NOW is the time to step up awareness of defamation, ect. on line and educate people what to do about it. Problem is, as you stated, most of the perps are not worth pursuing for cash, however, Injunctive Relief and Declaratory Rulings are obtainable far easier and quicker, then the defamed person can build on that to have things removed. Google/YT has a duty to remove this crap. We need a clear law, narrowly tailored, to address the problem. They are failing policing themselves and will probably turn out to be bigger Traitors than FaceBook’s
      Suckerberg! He belongs in a prison cell with Jones and Bannon and Stone, to name a few. These platforms wittingly aided Trump’s Rigged Win.

      Liked by 3 people

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