“Joseph C Newton”: liar & agent provocateur — Chapter 2 of Jekyll-Kalichman-Hyde-Newton
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/04/12
I had the Jekyll-Kalichman-Hyde-Newton saga ready a little while ago, drafted on WordPress so that I could post the chapters at intervals of a few days during my absence from home the next two weeks.
It feels rather like descending from the sublime to the utterly ridiculous, to follow a post that mentions Jack Good with a post about sleazy, unethical conduct that would have astonished him. But Jack was himself a non-stop worker, and he would approve that I return to my work even as I continue to grieve over losing him.
And I do grieve. One of my earliest professional mentors insisted that grieving the dead is just self-pity. Well, I do feel sorry for myself that I won’t be able to talk with Jack Good again.
It’s not entirely inappropriate, though, to have blogs that contrast Jack Good, who never lied, with “Joseph C Newton” who does nothing but lie, and who compounds that by trying out as an agent provocateur.
“Joseph C Newton” is an habitual liar, representing himself variously as an “HIV-positive” person, or having an “HIV-positive” friend, or as a medical professional dismayed at the use of toxic medications, or as an enthusiastic supporter of Rethinking. For example, when Rethinking AIDS was revivifying itself and its mailing list,
“From: Joseph Newton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: “Rethinking AIDS” <Signatories@rethinkingaids.com>
Date: Monday, November 26, 2007, 11:03:42 PM
Subject: Dear Rethinking AIDS Signatory
I am very happy to see things moving along!! Will look forward to more
. . .
Joseph C. Newton, Student of Public Health, Connecticut”
Most often, though, “Newton” was a student just interested in HIV/AIDS matters:
“On Oct 29, 2007, at 10:09 AM, Joseph Newton wrote:
…. I hope I am not being too forward, just trying to understand.”
repeated a little later:
“On Oct 29, 2007, at 12:20 PM, Joseph Newton wrote:
I am just trying to understand”
and again, since his protestations were correctly perceived as so hollow:
“On Oct 29, 2007, at 4:17 PM, Joseph Newton wrote:
First and foremost I am someone who cares about AIDS.
I am an HIV- person who is trying to understand both sides of the issue.
I have freind who are positive and I know taking treatments can be hard going.
I am personally motivated, I do not have a political agenda. Just trying to understand.”
and a little later,
“See Tony, I am a student of public health and I am interested in dissidents from a that perspective.”
Like Dickens’ Uriah Heep, “Newton” evidently believes that flattery and obsequiousness can disarm those at whom they are directed, because his e-mails are lavishly larded with that sort of stuff, from as mild as “it would still be great to meet some day” (Oct 29, 2007, at 10:09 AM to Lance) to over-the-top like “I am reading your book and I am just glued to it!” or “It would be great to hear you speak!” (to Bauer, see “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll-Kalichman and Mr. Hyde-Newton — Chapter 1”, 4 April 2009).
It would obviously be useful to Kalichman-Newton to ferret out discord among “denialists”, so (to David Crowe):
“On Oct 3, 2007, at 10:45 AM, Joseph Newton wrote:
Did you know the Perth Group ‘scientists’ were recently not accepted as AIDS experts by an Australian court because they did not every work with HIV or HIV infected people?
And I know Peter Duesberg says HIV is harmless, but I also know he has been discredited by AIDS scientists who work with HIV — he has not.”
and later that day,
“Seems like you dismiss Duesberg more than you suggest? No?”
“Newton” tempted me, as he had Lance, into making recommendations about medical treatment for an imaginary HIV-positive friend:
“On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 10:11:53 -0400, Joseph Newton <email@example.com> wrote:
I have a friend who has recently tested HIV positive. Mr. Crowe suggested that in the US where people have good nutrition diet supplements may not even be necessary to avoid AIDS. My friend is thinking about taking HIV medications but I am trying to teach him that they are toxic. You do not really get into this in your book much, although Dr. Culshaw does. Do you think I should really try to get him to avoid the drugs or just leave him to decide on his own?”
I replied safely with the truth:
“I believe in giving people info and then letting them make their own decision–especially when there are so many unknowns. A positive HIV test *MIGHT* indicate some sort of potential illness (but not immunedeficiency or AIDS!!) so I suggest to HIV-positive poeple that they have a thorough physical exam from a doctor who is not dogmatic about HIV, HIV tests, and antiretrovirals.
As far as toxicity of the antiretrovirals, someone recently pointed me to the latest revision, October 2006, of the OFFICIAL NIH STATEMENT:
‘the use of antiretroviral therapy is now associated with a series of serious side effects and long-term complications that may have a negative impact on mortality rates. More deaths occurring from liver failure, kidney disease, and cardiovascular complications are being observed in this patient population’
National Institutes of Health. HIV/AIDS Fact Sheet, updated October 2006; http://www.nih.gov/about/researchresultsforthepublic/HIV-AIDS.pdf, accessed 26 September 2007.
There are also many groups, HEAL in various cities, Alive & Well, of HIV-positive people who refuse or avoid antiretrovirals, and your friend might do well to get in touch with one or more of them.”
So “Newton” never did harvest anything from Rethinkers that we would not have cheerfully responded openly to Kalichman or to anyone else. We were not swayed by “Newton’s” trademark Uriah-Heep-like obsequiousness:
“ . . . you are so right . . . . My best of luck to you and may you always be and feel healthy!” (to Lance)
and a bit later,
“I have been giving what you have said a lot of thought. I understand that you care feeling well and it would be nuts to mess with that! But do you see an ID doc who monitors the usual? Or do you go by how you feel? Do you figure the meds are toxic beyond any benefit and just figure you wont take em, or if you have a doc who says start you will start? God Forbid you should ever stop feeling well…but hypothetically, what happens then?”
I suppose “Newton” had to persist with lots of typos and lack of syntax, given that he had presented himself like that originally, but it certainly becomes tiresome very quickly; and if you’re trying to suck information for someone, you really don’t want them to get irritated by your style of inquiry. As previously noted (“How not to create a persona: Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #4”, 29 March 2009), you don’t want to arouse attention when you’re masquerading as someone else, and irritation is likely to stimulate attention. So why on Earth would “Newton” go to the not only absurd and annoying, but also insulting length of even mis-typing the name of the person he’s writing to?
”Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 08:32:20 -0500
From: “Joseph Newton” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: “David Crowe” <David.Crowe@aras.ab.ca>
Subject: Re: Update from Alberta Reappraising AIDS Society
Hello Mr. Crow!!
Cool update! The website looks great! If you still have that email form he Body with the numbered list of devotions I would love to see that!”
“On Sat, Mar 1, 2008 at 5:01 AM, Joseph Newton >email@example.com< wrote:
Thank you Mr. Cowe…very much!”
At any rate, “Newton” tried to trap David Crowe, too, into potentially damaging remarks (February 2008):
“Thanks Mr. Crowe
You once told me that Dr. Bialy has serious mental health problems”
“Mr. Crowe. I find it concerning to me personally that Dr. Bialy, who wrote Dr. Duesberg’s biography, wrote so much influential thought on AIDS, and recently wrote the forward to Dr. Culshaw’s book is so disturbed that he cannot even explain himself and laces such emphasis on silly labels. How can those like youself ho are serious about AIDS be taken seriously by others when we ave Dr. Bialy and other emotionally unstable voices out there. Any way, I am sure you have dealt with these same concerns.”
Concerning The Body’s attempt to have AIDS Rethinkers ask to be removed from the list (e-mails signed by : Rebecca Erenrich, Editorial Assistant, http://body.com):
“Thank you Mr. Crowe…really amazing stuff!!
Did they really create a list of people who were intimidated and asked to be removed the directory of Rethinkers??”
It probably deserves more comment, but for the moment let me just emphasize that none of these “cordial and inquisitive” exchanges with “denialists”, as Kalichman-Newton describes them (xiv), brought him more or better information than could have been gained by an open, honest, straightforward approach to “denialists” by Professor Seth Kalichman, clinical-social psychologist, enquiring into why some people don’t accept the mainstream view as to HIV/AIDS. We AIDS Rethinkers and HIV Skeptics have persistently called for substantive exchanges with HIV/AIDS believers, and we would have welcomed an opportunity for civil discourse with someone who is actually interested in our views and why we hold them. That Kalichman believed from the outset that he couldn’t get authentic information by direct enquiry reveals that his mind was made up about us before he started.
He did, however, record what he viewed apparently as a noteworthy discovery: “the denialists who interacted with me did not seem evil” (xiv).
That this seemed to Kalichman worthy of attention says quite a lot about him.
On the other hand, this revelation applied only to those “denialists” about whom Kalichman actually knows something:
“Of course, those I have come to see as malevolent — the vitamin pushers, con men, and angry academics are the ones who did not respond to may [sic] attempts to contact them.”
It’s not clear, however, that “malevolence” would be a reason why “denialists” would fail to respond to sympathetic-with-Rethinkers graduate-student Joseph C Newton. Evidently they remain malevolent in Kalichman’s opinion just because he knows nothing about them. If he did, he might not be able to maintain his preconceived judgment.
This entry was posted on 2009/04/12 at 9:21 pm and is filed under HIV absurdities, HIV skepticism, Legal aspects, prejudice. Tagged: Hyde-Newton as agent provocateur, Hyde-Newton as liar, Kalichman "Denying AIDS", Kalichman practices deception, Rebecca Erenrich. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.