The “conspiracy” to kill alternative medicine practitioners continues apace

Ever since late June, I’ve been intermittently taking note of a new conspiracy theory in the alternative medicine world. It began when notorious autism quack Jeff Bradstreet, one of the longest practicing, most prominent purveyors of the scientifically discredited notion that vaccines cause autism, was found dead in a North Carolina river on June 19. The police rapidly concluded that he had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. It was impossible not to note that the FDA had raided his clinic a few days before, and it later came out that it was due to his use of and unproven biological, GcMAF, as a treatment for autism. It didn’t take long for conspiracy theories about his death to bubble up, with antivaccine advocates concocting all sorts of bizarre conspiracies about either the feds or a pharma hit squad having executed Bradstreet to prevent him from revealing…well, exactly what he was going to reveal wasn’t exactly clear, but obviously it must have been bad, bad enough that the evil forces of big pharma and the CDC wanted him dead, dead, dead.

A month later, another prominent alternative medicine practitioner, Nicholas Gonzalez, died suddenly of what sounded like an apparent heart attack. As you might recall, Gonzalez “pioneered” (if you can call it that) a variant of the Gerson protocol (complete with juicing and coffee enemas) known as the Gonzalez protocol that, when finally tested, proved tto produce worse resuls than As I pointed out at the time, it is not at all unusual for a man in his mid-60s to die suddenly of a heart attack, but alternative medicine fans didn’t see it that way. They immediately saw him as another victim of the same conspiracy, claiming that his heart attack wasn’t really a heart attack at all but rather due to the use of surreptitiously administered succinylcholine or some other nefarious method designed to make murder look like natural causes. In the interim between Bradstreet’s suicide and Gonzalez’s unexpected death from what almost certainly were natural causes, intrepid “investigators,” spearheaded by Erin Elizabeth (Joe Mercola’s girlfriend) at, started linking seemingly any unexpected death of a quack to the conspiracy.

That was two months ago. What’s been happening since?

A couple of weeks ago, right around the time I was heading to London for my vacation (plus a day of presenting at a scientific conference at Imperial Collage London), there appeared a story that I never got around to blogging about because, well, I was on vacation. By the time I got back it seemed to be old news, particularly since there didn’t appear to be any new news about it. The story did, however, apparently provide quite a bit of amusement for skeptics while I was gone, involving as it did, apparent overdoses of amphetamines at a German homeopathic conference:

Authorities say emergency workers called to a conference centre in northern Germany found some 30 people staggering and suffering from cramps, apparently as a result of amphetamine poisoning.

The local government said 15 ambulances and a helicopter were sent to the scene Friday in the small town of Handeloh, south of Hamburg, the dpa news agency reported.

Fire service spokesman Matthias Koehlbrandt told broadcaster NDR the group was aged between 25 and 55. NDR reported they were alternative and homeopathic practitioners, and that they were taken to the hospital.

Authorities said their preliminary finding was that the group was poisoned with amphetamines, but Koehlbrandt said they didn’t knowingly take the substance.

At the time, Sharon Hill noted that no one was seriously ill (fortunately) and speculated that the homeopaths and other alternative medicine practitioners may have knowingly taken a drug referred to as “Aqua Rust” or “2C-E“, which is a psychedelic drug that apparently produces LSD-type reactions. But no one outside of the conference appears to know what really happened, and the people at the conference apparently aren’t talking.

Leave it to Mike Adams (well, in this case one of his minions named Jonathan Benson) to link the German incident to the deaths of Jeff Bradstreet, Nicholas Gonzalez, and the other dead or missing alt-med practitioners added to the “conspiracy” by Erin Elizabeth:

Investigators are looking into a case of what appears to be intentional poisoning or possibly even attempted homicide that affected nearly three dozen holistic doctors attending a recent conference in Hamburg, Germany. Reports indicate that the 29 healers fell ill after being exposed to a dangerous and illegal amphetamine drug known as 2C-E, or “Aquarust.”

Initial reports of the incident implied that the 29 naturopathic doctors, who had been attending a homeopathic health conference, might have voluntarily taken the drug as part of an “experiment.” However, follow-up reports reveal that none of the healers had willingly taken anything and that someone might have intentionally poisoned and/or tried to murder them.

Benson appears to have gotten most of his information from—who else?—Erin Elizabeth, who’s been flogging this story almost since it happened. For instance, in one incredibly disjointed article, Elizabeth goes on and on about conflicting reports over whether the naturopaths took the substance voluntarily or not or whether they didn’t know what they were taking. More recently, Elizabeth updated her story with a translation of what represents as a story from a local German newspaper that looks like it came from Google Translate rather than anyone who actually speaks both English and German:

Regarding exactly what transpired most of the patients were silent when asked by doctors, even when they were again back to their right minds–with the exception of several high participants that were transported to the hospital in Winsen. The “Abendblatt” was informed by circles in the clinic that the men and women initially could recall absolutely nothing, but a few reported flashbacks, wherein they took a compound during a communal relaxation exercise, designed to reach a meditative state of deepest relaxation. Where the substance came from? What they believed they consumed? This they could not recall.

The affected have a good reason for their silence, as the police have cited all 29 seminar participants for violation of anesthesia laws. Urine and blood samples ordered by police are being tested at the UKE Institute. At this point the police are working under the assumption that the group messed around with a psychadelic named 2C-E, also known as “Aquarust” in the scene. “We are expecting results in the upcoming days,” said Lars Nickelsen, spokesperson of the Harburg police department. The accused could be giving statements to the police regarding the course of events.

If the suspicions prove themselves correct, the naturopaths won’t only be criminally liable but could be responsible for the costly emergency mission. Their career futures could also be in danger; the higher administrative court of Saarbrücken has already revoked the licenses of naturopaths consuming marijuana (Az: 3 A 271/10).

So the bottom line appears to be that a bunch of naturopaths participated in some sort of group exercise during which they consumed something in order to reach a deep meditative state. It’s still not clear whether most of them knew what they were consuming or not or who did know what was being consumed. Reading between the badly translated lines of the story, I rather suspect that the organizers, at least, knew what was being consumed but might have miscalculated the dose. Elizabeth characterizes the news coverage as “biased,” but Benson, no doubt at the behest of Mike Adams, goes way farther:

By all appearances, it would seem as though these 29 enemies of the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical cartel were victims of an attempted mass slaughter simply because their work involves healing people naturally rather than making them lifelong slaves to the medical-industrial complex and its high-profit “treatments” that never heal.

“It is no secret anymore that Big Pharma is (and has been) at war with alternative medicine,” adds natural health enthusiast David Wolfe. “Its modus operandi is to generate profit by selling drugs that perpetuate a cycle of addiction and dependency, rather than liberation and empowerment.”

David Wolfe? That David Avocado Wolfe? Yes, that David Wolfe. In any case, this incident, whatever really happened (which is not yet clear given that the investigation is not yet complete), has been rapidly incorporated into a conspiratorial world view in which an apparent accidental mass poisoning in Europe is somehow tied to the suicide—apparent suicide in the conspiracy—of an Georgia autism quack in North Carolina and the unexpected death of a cancer quack in New York. In fact, it’s even gotten to the point where a local news station did a story on it:

CBS46 News

The story is interesting to me because it shows the site where Bradstreet’s body was found and it is also provides an update on the investigation. Sure, it indulges in a bit of the false balance trope, in which Bradstreet is presented as a savior to patients who believe in him, while “some” accused him of outright quackery. That’s par for the course for most news stories. Particularly irritating is how at the end the anchor presenting the story refers to “legions of skeptics” who believe that pharma had it in for Bradstreet. These people aren’t skeptics. They’re believers in quackery, specifically Bradstreet’s quackery.

Part II of the story continues the “conspiracy”:

CBS46 News

Ouch. That last part, where the officer investigating the murder expresses the concern that, if Bradstreet had made it to the hotel he either would have killed himself there or might have even killed his wife in a murder-suicide, is going to piss off a lot of quacks and Bradstreet admirers. Throughout both stories, he was also very clear about how this was an “open-and-shut” case of suicide.

Of course, that’s just what his pharma and government masters want him to say, no doubt.

Meanwhile, another “holistic” doctor, Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, committed suicide, and it’s part of the conspiracy. Of course. So is a murder-suicide of Brian Short. Never mind that he doesn’t appear to have had anything to do with alternative medicine.

It appears that anyone associated with any sort of “alternative” or “holistic” medicine who dies under any but the most obvious and easily verified cause will become a victim of the conspiracy. That’s the beauty of the conspiracy. Anyone can be part of it.