Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Burzynski Clinic Responds... Sort Of

Based upon my previous blog post about Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, Lowell Hubbs thought it was his duty to ensure the Burzynski Clinic knew about it.  Thus, like the good little CAM foot soldier that he is, he took it upon himself to send an email to Burzynski (and sent me a copy just for kicks). It reads as follows:

To: corporate@burzynskiclinic.com  
From: editor@vacfacts.info (Lowell Hubbs)

Subject: Information on a blog trashing and slandering Burzynski Clinic, as Quackery.

This blog is as well [sic] has been an ongoing and endless and slanderous personal attack on me. Quack of the Day: Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski http://lowellhubbs.blogspot.com/2012/01/quack-of-day-dr-stanislaw-burzynski.html This is my counter blog: […] I have followed Dr Burzynski’s work for quite some time, and I am obviously a strong supporter of his work and treatment, in the ways that I can. This blog I above referenced to [sic] has a clear pattern of slandering and bashed [sic] any alternative information and/or truth promoting doctor on the planet. This is my site: Dr. Burzynski […]
Obviously I removed the references to Mr. Hubbs own blogs/websites because I'm not about to steer traffic his direction and I have an unwritten rule about only linking to scientifically credible websites (with exceptions given for comedic and shock value).  However the remainder of the email is posted as written... broken English and all (the URL referenced in Mr. Hubbs' email has since changed so it no longer functions).

Let me translate Mr. Hubbs' comment into what it really means. Basically it says “Oh this big mean person is picking on me and I don’t like it, so I’m going to tell the Burzynski Clinic about it in the hopes that if I massage their ego enough and tell them how great they are, they will think I’m special and go after him to shut down his blog once and for all”.

Mr. Hubbs also decided to add to his email when he forwarded a copy of it to me - that text is as follows:
"And as far as your again twisted and slanderous claims as to how Burzynski handed the blogging and other unwarranted attacks on his practice; when you actually read what is there, it is not even close to what you claim it is at all. He handled those situations professionally and in the legal manner they should be. If informing a person to cease and desist their slanderous behavior in print, is classified as threat in your mind, so be it. Wow." ~Lowell Hubbs
Sadly for Mr. Hubbs, his childish antics won’t work.

First of all Mr. Hubbs doesn't appear to understand the difference between slander and libel (even though it has been explained to him numerous times), and since this blog is in written form what he is really looking for is the term libel. Since Hubbs can’t seem to distinguish between the two, perhaps it would be best if he would consider using the more generic term of defamation.

Either way, my statements about Burzynski are far from libelous. First of all I doubt anything on this blog is honestly defamatory to Burzynski’s reputation since his reputation has already taken a significant hit, and either way the truth can't be defamatory. When I refer to the facts about his legal troubles, the facts that his associates have went after random bloggers, or the facts about how he has been working with antineoplastons for more than 30 years and yet he has been unable to publish any reputable peer-reviewed studies validating their usage… those are not libelous statements as they are true.

I am also not incorrect that Burzynski has been performing never-ending clinical studies or how he has yet to perform any phase III randomized, controlled trials of antineoplastons as a treatment for cancer. These are not opinions – these are facts. So what exactly does Hubbs consider to be defamatory in nature when I’m either stating facts, or I’m stating an opinion? Have I stated anything I don’t believe to be true? No. Have I presented information as fact with reckless disregard on whether the information is true or not? Clearly not as I have even sourced the majority of my statements.

If Hubbs is going to toss out the claim of slander (libel), he might want to take a few minutes out of his hectic day to educate himself. I would suggest he start with Underwager v Salter 22 F.3d 730 and New York Times Co. v. Sullivan 376 U.S. 254.  What he would find is in order to claim defamation, the public figure (in this case Burzynski) would need to prove actual malice (aka "ill will").  This means they would need to prove that I did not believe the statements I wrote (which is impossible since I believe them), or they would need to prove that I published these statements without any concern whether they were true or not (I care, which is why I didn't even bother to mention numerous accusations about Burzynski that I was unable to verify or that I felt did not have sufficient supporting evidence to ensure they were factual).

I don't wish to get into a conversation about US tort law, but the bottom line is Hubbs has no idea what he is talking about, and I'm quite certain that Burzynski's PR team is well aware of US law surrounding libel which is why Burzynski staffers chased after bloggers in the UK rather than the US.  However, even that wasn’t sufficient and you will note out of the individuals whom I listed in the original blog as having been chased after by Burzynski’s staff they all still have their blogs up and running.

Hubbs seems to think Burzynski's team handled those situations professionally when in fact they ended up sending out an apology for Mr. Stephens’ behavior and they were backpedaling faster than watching the Tour de France in reverse. They even ended their relationship with Stephens (according to their own press release) and they apologized for the incidents.

Apparently Hubbs didn’t bother to actually read all of the emails sent from Mr. Stephens to Rhys Morgan where Mr. Stephens actually threatened to contact Mr. Morgan’s school and where he even went so far as to send him a Google satellite image of his house in some type of veiled threat. Hubbs obviously also appears to have overlooked the other few dozen emails Mr. Stephens sent on behalf of Burzynski, or even the responses left by Mr. Stephens (aka "MAS") over at Yahoo Answers where he attempted to post personal information about people he disagreed with, where he made veiled threats against others, and where he even stooped to calling people "ugly" and "senile".  Mind you his tactics didn't work and his responses were incredibly childish, but it just goes to show how low these people will stoop in order to silence their critics.

Thus if Hubbs honestly believes threatening 17-year olds via email equates to acting “professionally”, or chasing people around on Yahoo Answers is appropriate, then so be it. Apparently we will have to agree to disagree on that one, however I find it incredibly telling that Burzynski had to issue an apology for the very actions Hubbs claims were professional.

Perhaps it would be best if Hubbs took the time to actually read the material I cite before commenting. This just doesn’t seem to be working out for him, but then again... nothing ever does.  So what was the response to Hubbs' email to the Burzynski Clinic?  Read on:
From: Azad Rastegar
To: Lowell Hubbs

Good evening, Thank you for your e-mail. We did see the “Quack of the Day” blog. It’s sad and unfortunate that some individuals can be so cruel, evil, and closed minded in their behavior even with the facts clearly in front of them. We will focus on doing what is right and that is treating our patients and giving them the attention they need. Thank you again for your support.

Best regards,
Azad Rastegar
Director of Business Development
Director of Admissions Department
Company Spokesperson
Burzynski Clinic
9432 Katy Freeway, Suite 150
Houston, TX 77055
I find it interesting that the Burzynski Clinic seems to have already reviewed my blog even before Hubbs had sent them a message, which must mean I'm doing something right to get noticed.  Well OK they probably just have a Google Alert set up for key search terms like "Burzynski" and "Quack"... but it makes me feel special either way.

I also find the humor in how they describe my blog as "cruel" and "evil" yet they are unable to cite any specific statements which are untrue.  Newflash for Azad... the truth can sometimes be cruel, but you have your employer to blame for that. 

Either way you can see they really don't seem to care about my blog, just as they likely don't care about the few dozen other blogs that have been written about Burzynski.  Perhaps that lack of concern stems from the fact that they know the content of these blogs is actually true.  Or perhaps the lack of concern is because they know the more they try to silence their critics, the more critics will appear (a variation of the Streisand effect).  Although either of these reasons could be legitimate, I'm guessing it likely has to do with them not wanting to focus upon random bloggers while they are preparing for Dr. Burzynski's appearance in front of the Texas Medical Board, which is scheduled for April of this year.
Needless to say, I fully expect to be writing more about Dr. Burzynski in the future - especially after a decision has been rendered after the April hearing.  Until then, Mr. Hubbs will need to continue to proclaim how Burzynski is the brave maverick doctor who is worthy of respect and who should never be challenged. 

Let's see how that works out for him.

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