Tuesday, July 17, 2007

eScam, The Internet Fraud Game

Badges of Dishonor

By Michael M. Edelstein
© 2003 by author

The Cast of Characters
The information highway is being used to sell fakes and defraud the public. How or why would a Canadian, from Vancouver BC, out of the blue, would start to attack me continuously for almost a decade.... a person I had never heard of?  

A PhD who had been collecting Austrian badges since the 1970's Enzo Calabresi decided to copy his collection of Austro-Hungarian badges and insignia. Many items had been purchased from Austrian firms in the 1970's that made re-strikes of rare Austro-Hungarian badges, many from the firm of C. F. Rothe in Vienna. Many of the re-strikes are displayed on the Austro-Hungarian Land Farce website that I detail in the article as real.

When the Internet exploded and then became more commercialized, Internet auctions started to take off in 1998. Calabresi used many of his collecting contacts, some prominent museum officials in Austria, and other high level collectors to create a very clever shell game to sell copies. Christian Ortner Head of Collections for the Arsenal Museum in Wein was a close friend of Calabresi and helped him act as a middle man to find friends to help sell Hungarian copies on the Internet.
Peter Czink head of the Hungarian Veterans Society in Vancouver. Czink a close friend of Calabresi is a buyer (and maker) of Hungarian copies started to harass me on-line. Czink decided to sell copies via second parties, mostly advanced dealers and their friends. Mr. Czink's latest fraud (2005) include a crude Xerox forgery of documents from the Hungarian Ministry of Culture claiming that the ministry supports his historical research, this according to the Hungarian Voice (I downloaded the article from 2005). Mr. Czink absurdly claims to be a holder of the Hungarian Order of Vitez and the French Order of St. Lazarus for his historical research.(?) Czink an avid weight lifter, now controls a so-called right wing Hungarian Veterans Group in Vancouver.

Maurice Wesolowski a close friend of Czink (he claims to be a former museum curator from Krakow, Poland). This Polish hater is quite a viscous trouble maker. Wesolowski is involved in right wing hate groups and is an anti-Semite. He is a stock broker with McNeil and apparently uses names from his client list to create user IDs for buying, selling and harassing. Each one of the listed individuals had fronts either too buy from me but only if they could purchase it cheaply on eBay and or then harass me. Some of the friendly buyers had multiple user IDs and email addresses, but were in reality one person, playing different roles: one buyer would be nice, the other, rude, hostile and abrupt. I could track this eventually by the users IP code. Others include Craig Gottlieb the creator and owner of the German Daggers forum and one of the prominent forum Nazi moderaters Robert Rogers.
One of the most interesting characters was Frank Carl Paulus who was featured on America's Most Wanted in 1993 and 1994 (a popular American real life criminal television program, featuring criminals who were on the United States FBI most wanted list). Paulus was exporting machine guns and heavy military ordnance, mostly WWII era tank and other artillery shells as well as grenades. Frank Paulus's brother Steve Pauls from Henderson, Neveda, harassed me for three years regarding my eBay auctions. Steve Paulus has a business under the name of Glenbrook Company, a Nevada Corporation. New federal charges have been filed against Paulus in 1999 for illegally shipping operational machine gun parts to the United States from Budapest, Hungary. Paulus was tried but not convicted in 1990 in United States federal court for fraudulently engraving unissued and copy American Medal of Honor's. Please see this link for partial details of Paulus's criminal past at this link:

In 1993, Paulus pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic in stolen vehicles in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and sale or receipt of stolen vehicles in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2313. Prior to sentencing, Paulus absconded and remained a fugitive until his arrest on May 31, 1994 (Royal Oak, Michigan). In July 1994, Paulus entered a new guilty plea to the same two counts. The district court sentenced Paulus to 63 months of imprisonment. Paulus did not file a direct appeal.
The federal district court's sentence complied with the terms of Paulus's second plea agreement and Paulus should not now be heard to complain that the bargain was other than what he openly and unequivocally declared in court. See Mabry v. Johnson, 467 U.S. 504, 510-11 (1984). The district court properly imposed consecutive sentences in this case. See USSG § 5G1.2(d). Lastly, as Paulus waived his right to appeal, the district court was not required to advise him of his right to appeal under Fed.R.Crim.P. 32(c)(5). United States v. DeSantiago-Martinez, 38 F.3d 394, 395-96 (9th Cir.1992), cert. denied, 115 S.Ct. 939 (1995). Accordingly, this court affirms the district court's judgment. Rule 9(b)(3), Rules of the Sixth Circuit.
The big surprise to me was Gottleib, who was helping Czink. Gottleib via his website and Nazi militaria forum was able to get many high level people to buy from me and harass me at the same time. Gottleib was able to get doctors, lawyers and high ranking military officers from America via his Nazi website. Gottlieb has many people from England front for Czink as well, he finds these fronts from his Germandagger forum. Gottlieb had the British post a negative posting on Wehrmacht.com against me. Wehrmacht is a site that specializes in Nazi insignia, I do not deal in Nazi material. The big benefit for Gottlieb was that he was able to use names and bash dealers on one particular section of the site. The Brit posted the bad news, at the same time I also received hundreds of virus mails from a user in Canada. The person who sent the mails used insulting language that Czink had used previously. The Brit buyer knew information which I had not previously published. It was obvious to me that Czink wanted the badges and was using other parties to buy from me, using Craig Gottlieb and his forum networks to buy and harass at will.

Gottlieb and several others influenced the publisher of Don Chalif's world aviation badge book, Ron Bender of San Jose, one of the largest and most prominent militaria publishers in the United States to harass me when I sent several letters of inquiry regarding a gamut of questions about how Chalif researched his book: where Chalif acquired many of the badges and information that was provided in his book. Bender also linked several websites to sell Hungarian copies and recommended them to his on-line readers. The links were to a Florida dealer and an Irish militaria website. This, from a so-called publisher who wanted to help collectors not get burned!

Further, Gottlieb influenced the MAX collecting organization to also use the same links that Bender also provided to websites selling Hungarian copies. I have sent numerous letters of complaint to these groups which were ignored. I received a terse response that they couldn't do anything even though I presented a large amount of proof, detailing the copies from the Florida dealers site. Compounding the problem is that the Florida dealer claims that he is only selling many of the copies as consignment. MAX would not pull the links to the fraudulent sites from their collecting or organization's web page.

One story seems to blend into the other as the Internet grew as an information source. My story expands into 2003 and into 2004 when I published my second collecting Internet fraud story. I found that many of the people that harassed and purchased WWI items were forum participants and were organized by the Austrian museum director to help the Hungarian and a dealer form Ohio. I also realized that the director in question was the front in 1999 supposedly from Munich selling WWI Austrian copies on eBay: receiving auction email in Wein but sending the copies to yet another front and having the product posted from Munich. Further, the director had set a series of websites to expand his slant on WWI Austro-Hungarian history and help influence the market place, by expanding his published work with copies and planting misleading or false information. To hide the true authorship of the site, he uses friends and cronies from Europe to post published work and supposedly host the site. The fact that the Hungarian and Austrian and many forum members are anti-Semitic and haters also motivates these individuals to the almost decade long harassment campaign.

The Internet Fraud Game

The Internet has become the latest in a series of fast track and highly innovative ways to buy and sell almost anything. One of the most prominent and established of these on line auctions is called eScam. Many on line auctions have literally opened the world to collectors and dealers and in the process it has become a venue that some individuals love and hate in equal measure. Many would recommend Internet auctions for its fast service and large selection of items, seemingly a buyer’s paradise. That is not to say, it is not without flaws, in fact rife with fraud and deception. Some sellers appear to be making a nice living offering an endless supply of reproductions as original items on the Internet.

The reality is that you will find a similar state of affairs in all venues, some better and others much worst - other auctions, gun and militaria shows, and direct sales from dealers. eScam is not the worst of venues, it is simply the most visible and so too are its flaws. eScam has grown immensely and so has its censorship and violations of user’s nominal rights, ever increasing fee schedule and decreasing, deteriorating service.

The eScam Internet collectibles auctions that I have encountered are controlled by several groups that are deliberately operating to defraud the public. Their premiere site is on eScam, why you may ask - it has the major buyer market share on the Internet and to the world. One American, who lives in Budapest with a lengthy criminal record for fraud, is responsible for making and distributing well over 25% of the copies that are currently being sold on the Internet and other auctions today. According to a federal law enforcement official in Budapest, the American copy king who is currently operating in Hungary was convicted of the following criminal charges in the United States: "larceny from interstate shipment, conspiracy & traffic in stolen vehicles for an interstate auto theft ring.” This series of events were spot lighted on the television program, America’s Most Wanted. He was captured on May 31, 1994, in Royal Oak, Michigan (this means he was on the FBI’s ten most wanted list in 1994). The American has a lengthy list of prior arrests and he is an experienced con man. The embassy official claims that most of the crimes that he had committed were regarding fraud involving militaria, military medals, and transport of stolen cars.

According to the public record the Hungarian National Police have already investigated the copy king, a search warrant was obtained and he was arrested in Hungary and briefly detained for selling and shipping military ordnance (machine gun parts). The items in question were investigated at his home in Buda but nothing was ever done and he was released without being charged. Tragically theirs a loop hole in Hungarian law as long as the ammunition is inert, even though it has all the working parts, functional fuse, primer, shell, and projectile are intact, it’s not illegal in to own or posses those items in Hungary.

The provider of many of the military ordnance items that Nevada Smith sells on the Internet are from a Dutch dealer. He supposedly sells his wares in the USA in the state of Virginia and then in the UK. He actually sells and lists his items from Holland and an advanced Austro-Hungarian collector with strong Italian connections fronts his payments in the state of Virginia. The Dutchman actually stores ordnance items at certain drop points in Belgium and the UK, where it is legal to hold such items. He then ships the items from these locations when he receives his payments from his Virginia drop point in the USA.

This copy ring is apparently making "supposedly" large profits on the Internet from this very clever scam with copies and ordnance materials sometimes $1,000.00 or up to $4,000.00 a week on his on line eScam auction site. My research convinced me that many of his sales where spurious and the seller had operated under many different Internet auction IDs and in doing so he had purchased from this own account and posted feedback for many transactions.

The shilling of prices plays a very important role in the eScam selling operation. It could work one of three ways; first you bid the price up against genuine bidders to see just how far they will go. After the auction the seller mails the low bidders to see if they are interested in buying at his inflated price as the top bidder has declined and can not pay or complete the auction.

The second tactic that is employed is to have a friend email the loser of the auction and says, "I've got one of those, I was watching the auction and saw the price, and I’ll sell you mine for less". The seller gets his auction fee’s back, as the top bidder did not complete the transaction. The seller gains feedback points and a high sales track record.

Third, you sell privately. You advertise the item for sale and use the old, "the last one sold on the Internet for routine." I only want XX for mine, that way; they could sell the same item to everyone who replies. The buyers aren't likely to get together to compare the privately offered item, no problems with the auction authorities and no recourse for the buyer, if he is dissatisfied. It's an old con, working on someone’s greed: getting something rare and valuable for half the price.

The Austro-Hungarian Connection
I was contacted in late 1999 by an advanced insignia collector from the east coast of the USA who claimed he found my eScam auctions by mistake but requested information on copies from Hungary. This advanced collector’s main focus is airborne insignia and he influenced me to start investigating the Internet. It seems that many advanced collectors are behind the scenes supplying original and rare Austro-Hungarian medals, orders, and badges to be copied in Hungary. One lives in Italy, one in Wein, several in Virginia, and another in Ohio. One Hungarian authority claims, "both of the Hungarian collections comprise the largest and most impressive array of Austro-Hungarian military badges in Europe and America.” Another advanced Hungarian military collector is a Canadian and makes regular trips to Budapest to buy bags of copies to sell on the Internet. The Hungarian distributes copies internationally via second and third parties, who sell on Internet auctions and various web sites. The main organizer of this large copy network is the head of collections of an Austrian military museum and acts as a middle man setting up deals between various parties to sell and distribute fakes and to also buy legitimate collectables.

According to a reputable source in Vancouver BC, who owns a collector reproduction business states, "he has his fingers into everything and used to run a militaria collectors store, he now owns a movie prop business and also sells knock off CD’s made in Hungary, even steroids and Marijuana. He has two or three cell phones and is always trying to make or put together a deal involving items that he has imported from Hungary.”

Several sources of harassment had a PO box in Falls Church Virginia at the same post office. The Virginian had an Italian name and was connected to the navy, he was also connected to a large ordnance collection of WWI weapons and to one of the most advanced and respected collectors in Italy. All these forces help create copies from their collections, set up hundreds of selling and buying shills on the Internet and used this same system to harass me.

Is eScam Safe

eScam assures the public with their feedback program and safe harbor (now called simply the Security Center) team the user will be treated fairly and action will be taken against any offender of the auction guidelines. This was not the case in my situation. I had observed over several months, a seller supposedly from Munich (a friend of the museum director who acts as a middleman to trade in fakes) auctioning a gamut of Hungarian copies. I emailed the German sellers and asked directly if they knew the maker of the copy items, further whether they had purchased these items in Hungary. I never received a response from the German’s, however I did receive several emails from a Canadian, ten days after contacting the German sellers. The Canadian claimed, “I was selling very creative items on eScam.”

Shortly after The Canadian’s mail I started to receive on line harassment against my Internet auctions. The harassment began with numerous bid interference operations via the eScam mail system, using their open email address and user IDs. One scheme was to place bids on my auctions and leave negative feedback, another involved a supposed "Antique Traders Guild" that emailed all my bidders stating I was guilty of mail fraud and under investigation by the FBI. Several spurious buyers who placed bids on my auctions then contacted all my prior bidders stating, "that I was a crook and ripping people off on the Internet."

Two of my buyers who were harassed reported the bid interference to the auction management directly. I also forwarded complaints from my buyers and demanded action, including a follow up complaint. eScam never responded regarding my complaints or any of my buyer’s complaints. eScam never took any action against the offenders of this constant on line harassment over a three year period. After I received threats of bodily injury and even death threats from this group, eScam claimed, "that this was private mail, if you feel threatened go to local law enforcement in your area." As far as eScam was concerned, this gang of Internet trouble makers could act with virtual impunity.

As soon as I listed an item to be auctioned that interfered with or competed with the copy group’s material, usually German decorations, or any kind of ordnance item, immediate hate mail and aggressive bidding activity against my auctions took place. Then the copy group would list an item similar to mine or a copy item and knock my item in their auction description. The copy group would have their auctioned item bid up usually over double retail value of the auctioned item.

One eScam power seller who is one of the copy rings main organizers, engaged in direct bid interference with one of my buyers on several auctions. The buyer had previously purchased a $500.00 item from the copy seller. He told my buyer, "he was keeping his money and sending the buyer nothing, because he was bidding on my auctions.” We both reported the auction interference to eScam. No response was ever received regarding our complaints from eScam and no action taken was ever taken against this seller.

Out of frustration with the eScam process and with no results with the auction management. I set out to obtain whatever satisfaction I could get. I decided to investigate this group and their dealings on and off the Internet. I spent hours going through all of the seller's feedback and checking every transaction they had completed. I sent several messages to the bidders of the main instigator of the harassment campaign and the main copy distributor in the US. I was convinced further that these bidders were shills and or friends of the seller.

I copied the supposed buyers on my entire research report. In less then 24 hours after writing the mail to the seller and his supposed buyers, eScam finally responded to me, but not regarding the hundreds of complaints that I had filed regarding harassment that was directed against my auctions. The auction authorities claimed they were banning me permanently from eScam for bid interference and scaring buyers off.

I learned five things from this experience: first, eScam will suspend members for violating its procedural rules (e.g., bid interference or non payment of fee’s) and then only in certain circumstances. Many decisions are made arbitrarily or seemingly on the whim or mood of the safeharbor team, eScam began to change their polices and replaced there grass roots do it yourself program with a corporate mentality. Many auctions guidelines are to protect their corporation from even the slightest hint of a conflict or a law suit. However, not for fraud or harassment - feedback, eScam believes, will take care of this problem.

Second: I learned that I the victim had to do all of the detective work.

Third: If the reported parties are "power sellers" and generating a lot of income via the ever increasing eScam fee system, they are not likely to take action and in my case, even suspend the victim who is not a big earner. Even if you can prove fraud or bid interference, they hesitate in taking action. eScam claims you have no proof. However, eScam still collects the fees! This corporate greed mentality became an ever increasing issue. eScam since the publication of this article in 2003 has increased there fee's annually 300 percent over a four year period. Further, added new fee's to existing selling options i.e. "Buy It Now" which used to be free is now charged as a selling option, the fee's go up depending on the price etc.

Fourth: The feedback system works towards the corporation’s goal of higher revenue by providing a point system. Both buyers and sellers are entranced with gaining points and lose sight of the objective of any auction, to gain a fair market value or higher on the auctioned item. If an auctioned item sells at the start price, even if the seller loses money on the auctioned item, the seller is still obligated to go through with the sale. The incentive is gaining positive feedback and another point from the buyer. Just like in the casino, where the odds are heavily in the casino’s favor. People who gamble are only losing or gaining chips not money. The occasional winner inspires even more people to lose.

Fifth: I learned how misleading feedback can be........ In fact almost all of the leading figures in this Internet fraud game, have almost perfect feedback.

Feedback: Not Worthless - But Almost
eScam places great faith in its feedback system as a means of protecting its users, both buyers and sellers. I find this faith naive and self-serving. It is naive because while the feedback system may work well to alert bidders and sellers to individuals who renege on bids or on delivery of winnings, it fails miserably in those cases where copies and fakes are misrepresented as genuine. The reason for this is simple: individuals withhold feedback until receipt of payment or the item. If payment or item is not received, then feedback is available as a recourse. If the bidder is unhappy with what he has received, and if the seller allows him to return the item, then rarely will the bidder post any feedback, let alone negative feedback, even if the item was obviously misrepresented. If, on the other hand, the item meets the bidder's expectations, positive feedback is usually posted soon after receipt of the auctioned item.

It is clear from the many bogus and misrepresented items that bidders are buying that many bidders are not knowledgeable (else they would not have bid), and it may be weeks or months - perhaps years - long after they have posted glowingly positive feedback, before they learn that what they purchased is a copy, fake or forgery. By then feedback is no longer a recourse, because once feedback is posted, it is chiseled in stone: it may not be changed. It is for this reason that there are eScam sellers who, in my opinion, routinely misrepresent the items they sell whose feedback fails utterly to reflect this fact. This is why positive feedback can be misleading.

However, negative feedback can also be misleading. The harassment group deliberately bid on my auctions with shill bidders and then placed negative feedback. They left the negative comments the day after the auction closed, the comments were not true and intentionally damaging. Some admitted in several open and hostile emails, that it was done to annoy, hinder and harass, in complete violation of eScam’s rules. I proceeded to the auctions safeharbor team, who never responded regarding my complaints. Many of the negative comments made on the feedback profile are merely retaliatory, mostly for non-payment of auctioned goods.

eScam's faith in the effectiveness of the feedback system is self-serving because it relieves eScam of having to deal with the problems it purports the feedback system to address. eScam, ignores its stated guidelines as long as they can make a profit and from what I know, wants no part of disputes involving authenticity. While I can understand the auctions view to a degree - it would cost time and money (adding expert staff) to adjudicate such transactional disputes - I cannot agree with it because the feedback system as it now is structured leaves bidders with no effective recourse.

The First Amendment Protects Opinions; Whether eScam Does Is Another Story

As the British statesman Edmund Burke once said, "All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing...."

When I first became aware of Internet auctions in 1999 eScam and their policies were fairly liberal and they were responsive to the general user in dealing with most situations. As eScam grew however and the French law suit against Yahoo Internet Auctions deepened to the US courts in early 2000, eScam began to change their polices. eScam decided to add and then change many rules and guidelines to suit. This limited what one could sell and say on eScam auctions. The "ME" page was set up to share your experiences on the auction web site, it included your most recent ten feedback comments. I told my story with great gusto, as I always wanted to be self employed. I decided to document some of the events of the harassment on my "ME" page, no contact or user ID’s were to published.

I felt I could make my case via the auction system with the “ME“ page, in particular recent negative feedback that the harassment gang had left for me. I documented the abuse a Canadian buyer had created with my eScam experience and mocked his user ID. After weeks of fighting with the auction administration, they agreed to remove the multiple negative feedbacks and suspended the buyer who posted the remarks. I then promptly withdrew my comments regarding the harassment from my "ME" page and resumed selling. eScam’s ever growing censorship will no longer allow this to happen. A new auction selling policy was established in May 2000, it began with a mandatory disclaimer, that you can’t sell any W.W.II German items to certain countries, and an Internet block to countries in western Europe.

eScam made more drastic changes to what kind of military collectibles could be sold on their auction site. Starting in May 2001, no more Nazi related items could be listed on eScam. All Nazi related items were to be banned from the auction and the offending auctioned item would be removed immediately. At this same time eScam initiated a new privacy policy for users, seemingly to protect the dishonest.

In May 2002, I updated my "ME" page and added a small paragraph regarding a group that created and made copies. Several weeks later, I added a sentence that mocked the copy kings name. At no time did I publish contact information or a real user ID. I added a disclaimer in parenthesizes, “the listed names or user IDs, weren’t their real names.”

An immediate email arrived from eScam that stated, “immediate action is required, my comments had been noted and that they have recently become aware of a violation of the auction user agreement. I had to take down my comments about the copy group and the harassment, you need to change your ME page within 48 hours or eScam would take action on my account. Listing further that I had to edify my own account, and I was publicly publishing contact information and I must change my auction ME page due to privacy issues.” eScam then sent me another brief note and a link regarding a suggestion box for their auction site, that didn’t address any of my issues and seemed to be a pre-programmed, canned response. eScam threatened further action against my account, regarding the auction privacy guidelines.

Under threat of being banned for life, I took down the mocking names. I wonder what privacy issues eScam was really worried about, was it the privacy to organize an international scam or to harass and hinder my every auction? I think it is more accurate to say, privacy for the auction to collect their ever growing fees that were being generated by the offended party. Their privacy rules favor the dishonest to continue operating dishonestly. Sure you can have a "ME" page on eScam and speak your mind, but only if it conforms to their ever changing rules, your comments are positive, agree with eScam’s thinking, and no one complains. In August 2002, eScam took down my “ME” page and claimed that I was misusing their system.

eScam could care less about my rights or the barrage of harassment and abuse from the sellers of these fakes who used the Internet like a battering ram of psychological warfare against me. eScam is only concerned with their profit margin, it was easier and much more profitable to keep me quiet and then ban me, then respect their own rules or my rights.

A Conspiracy of Elders

One was a well known author of Polish pilot’s in the PAF during the Second World War. One is an advanced Hungarian collector in the USA, he is held in high esteem by many collectors and has one of the largest Hungarian militaria collections in the world. This Hungarian’s name is featured in many prominent books on collecting militaria. A Captain in the National Guard was so forceful in his threats of abuse and bodily injury that I went to the police, his full time occupation? He was a history teacher at a Military School in Indiana. Another was a full Commander in the US Navy, an Annapolis graduate no less! Another is a high ranking member of a Ohio collecting society and is noted for his supposed honesty. Several are owners and creators of well known websites on German WWII awards and daggers. In fact I have come to learn that the creators are the people who are responsible in large part to have moderators and other high level people who participate on their forums to harass me. One was a well known publisher in San Jose.

Several advanced collectors who are involved in the copy trade are hosting Internet militaria forums. One is a W.W.I Austro-Hungarian forum; the creator is an authority on Austrian militaria and has written a series of books on the subject of Austrian awards, decorations, and aviation badges. Many who tune into militaria forums are working with the copy network to keep tabs on what people are saying about fakes and their distribution on the Internet. Many who make and distribute copies are friends of the forum creators who control these forums and what is written and published on-line. Any deep disclosure on the copy network is crushed with criticism or simply deleted. I was personally blocked from two forums for going public about what I know about several large scale copy groups operation.

One example of an advanced militaria collector participating in the Internet fraud game and who is a leading authority on military dagger collecting lives in Tacoma, Washington. One of a hand full that is noted in his field for knowledge and expertise, in fact a well known moderator of an on line militaria forum. Daggerman is also a leading expert at the Internet auction shell game and was fundamental in creating this on line scheme.

Daggerman knew how to work the system early on and registered to eScam in 1996 under various names. His many buying and selling aliases all seem to lead to the same Tacoma, WA, PO Box or addresses that are in the upper Washington state area. One supposed mail order firm has a free web page advertisement, supplied by "Net Scape." When I repeatedly clicked on the link it wouldn’t function and a pop message read, "the server had been re-set and that the link was not working.” I was able to pull this information from his Net Scape ad:

"This company possesses over forty years of direct experience in the antique field. Our specific knowledge of W.W.I and W.W.II militartia, steiff stuffed animals and Lladro figures. Our company holds two (2) Federal Firearms Licenses to assist in resolving any related client shipping/shipping difficulties. To inquire about any specific sales item, or to receive a no charge estimate of the value of an items you are wishing to sell, please contact us." Their is no web page, just an email address.

I sent several emails to the firm and after six weeks I received a strange and vague response from the sales manager of the company regarding their business. The response claimed that, "they are only involved in selling smoking related items, pipes, tabacco etc., and that they only buy the occasional Nazi related item for their collection."

Several auction sellers have sent items directly to Daggerman to this business address, in the Burlington, Washington area. I felt that the mail was generated from Daggerman himself and not from the supposed mail order company. I also discovered that Burlington, WA, is a short drive to Vancouver, BC.

Daggerman regularly sells copies of all descriptions on the Internet under a host of different user ID’s, both buying and selling. He specializes in Iron Crosses and copy military daggers. One auction that I had observed listed a copy Hungarian naval dagger; he first lists the dagger as a rare Romanian River Forces dagger. The supposed Internet selling location is from Liechtenstein, the seller had a zero rated feedback profile. The sole bidder was Daggerman, the auction was closed by eScam and the seller banned within 24 hours of the start of the auction.

Two days later, another dagger auction is up with yet another zero feedback rated profile seller. This time the seller is listed from the US. The auctioned item is the same dagger with the same description and the same bidder, Daggerman as the prior closed auction. The dagger is obviously a copy with molded parts with casting marks and bad workmanship. Why would someone who is so experienced be biding on such an item?

The eScam Video Game: A Poor Man's Paradise

Does eScam create false expectations for sellers, are sellers getting value for their money? Are their serious buyers willing to axially follow through with purchasing the item after the auction is over? When you list an item to be auctioned on eScam, the seller has the “expectation” that it will be bid up or at least bid on. Most sellers start their auctions considerably below market value to inspire and encourage interest and ultimately have the auction bid up by buyers. However, most buyers deliberately don’t bid when they see an item that interests them on eScam, hoping to get the auctioned item for next to nothing after the auction closes. Many times when I have refused post auction offers the buyers have become angry, rude or even threatening in their comments.

It works like a video game, instead of money, its feedback points, or how many bids the auction is generating, even if the auctioned item is selling far below market value. It is like gambling, you hope to break the bank, and instead you go home with nothing. Most sellers make a token profit or lose money. A perfect example of this is Nevada Smith shilling his own auctions to extremely high levels.

Unsolicited Advice
Do your homework before bidding. I suspect that I was typical of many auction members in that there have been numerous occasions when I have stumbled upon an intriguing item, one that caught my fancy but that was outside my expertise. Often I have queried the seller about the item, and his response seemed entirely satisfactory, even knowledgeable. Then I have turned to the network of contacts that I have developed during twenty years of collecting insignia and related artifacts, and I have sought an expert's opinion. It is amazing, and frightening, how many times I have learned that what I found so attractive was misrepresented, a reproduction, or over-priced. What I have learned time and time again is that, invariably, one is at risk when one ventures beyond one's expertise.

Learn what is a reasonable value for the item. Whenever I see a book on an Internet auction that interests me, I go to one of the web sites for used booksellers, and I check the book's availability and prevailing price. I recall once having seen on eScam a book sell for more than $90 which I found offered by a used bookseller, same edition in equivalent condition, for $20. More and more dealers are using the Internet to move their wares.

Know the seller. Examine his feedback. If there is negative or neutral feedback, contact the person who posted it and ask for details. Look also at the way such feedback is expressed: sellers and bidders who are jerks tend to advertise the fact. Do not interpret feedback that is all positive as a clean bill of health! Pull up the seller's offerings for the past 30 days and go through them one by one. By examining what he sells, you will get a feel for the quality of his offerings and, often, for his honesty. If the return policy is vague, contact the seller and ask for a clear statement of it. If aspects of the item are not clear in the description or image, pin down the specifics by email before bidding.

eScam won’t protect you, so protect yourself! eScam has become completely out of touch with the average user, the initial grass roots Internet auction concept is merely a profitable illusion for both buyers and sellers. The values that were supposed to counter corporate culture and restrictions on what you could say, buy, or sell on line, instead have become another outlet for corporate greed and profits. eScam’s ever present corporate code and restrictive policies and fee’s are increasing, but their service and initial grass roots on line auction values are vastly decreasing.
When I has published this article in 2003 eScam, "The Internet Fraud Game" eBay was already increasing auction fee's, now they charge for everything: buy it now, reserve auctions, and a host of other auction options which until 2004 were free to sellers as an option. Keep in mind the way eBay makes the majority of it's profits is the listing fee's. The listing fee is charged to open an auction, and is also charged whether the item sells or not. IT appears that eBay is now covering that loop hole with a new series of fee's to be added to the final value fee, when an auctioned item sells.

The tragedy here is that eBay was one of the few Internet success stories to come out of the dot-com boom of the late 1990's, this is no longer true. It is now just another corporate money machine. It appears that many others have joined the anti-eBay band wagon as it is just to expensive to operate with the ever increasing fee's and lack of any integrity of the on-line auction. eBay is just a website, if you wish to sell cost effectively on-line, build your own site! When eBay raised their fee structure in 2004, the stock price decreased to $34.00 a share, from a high of $117.00 a share. eBay's stock price per share has decreased over the years to an all time low of $27.00. The stock price is the value of the company that is sold to the public. The CEO Meg Whitman sold off her shares in 2001, and 2002, becoming enormously wealthy. I find it interesting that Ms. Whitman is now resigning as CEO of eBay as of June 2007.
See this link for current details:


I have contacted many individuals and several organizations that are involved in this story by email and in writing to include the president and CEO of the Internet auction in question and Bender Publishing (who harassed me on instructions from the creator of the leading German awards and dagger sites.) Several prominent on-line militaria forums were contacted regarding this article, all refused to comment, except for one. The one response I did receive from the forums creator was rude and did not address any of my issues.

Authors Note: The French Anti-Nazi League sued Yahoo in the French courts in 1999 and won the case in Paris. The League then tried to enforce the French legal victory in the US courts on Yahoo USA. The League lost the case and appealed the verdict all the way to the US Supreme Court in 2001. The US Supreme Court ruled that French law and legal rulings have no legal standing in the USA and have no bearing on the running of US based companies. The problem is that the internet is world wide, what may be legal in one country may be illegal in another. This makes an Internet auction law suit difficult to enforce. It's estimated that this court case cost Yahoo something in the region of twenty million dollars. eScam took the easy way out and banned all the "Nazi" items, amazingly after the League lost both court cases in the US Supreme Court and the French High Court. eScam also blocks any WWII militaria item from view in western Europe.

However, the international law suit against Yahoo and the Nazi collectibles issue doesn't stop eScam from cheating its partners. According to the public record at least five law suits against eScam have been filed for not paying their partners royalties or other payments due them in the last three years. As long as eScam can benefit or profit they are willing to take the risk of legal action but won't risk it for the sake of the seller’s rights or the first amendment.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

The Faustian Bargain

Since its inception in the sixteenth century, the story of Faust and his pact with the devil entailed more than self-interest. Faust made his deal with the devil in return for acclaim and the pursuit of knowledge. The figures in this study were not simply corrupt or self-promoting. The vast majority of the people involved in this Internet shell game of fakes, fraud, and harassment are at the top of their respective fields. In this case the director of a national museum and all the resources of his inventory are in play. Many advanced collectors, dealers, authors, and historians who are involved in the copy trade are hosting Internet Militaria forums. The Austrian creator of the Land Farce forum is an authority on Austrian militaria, and has written a series of books on the subject of Austrian military history, awards, badges, and decorations.

The Internet

There exists today what appears to me to be a loose network of individuals in Austria, Hungary, the United States, and western Canada, as well as a number of independent operators, who make and sell reproductions of rare Austro-Hungarian and Hungarian badges. In fact, a full-time copy manufacturer exists in Budapest, that produces nothing but well made copies for the collecting market. The Internet which provides access to an international market, is the most visible of the venues these individuals exploit. That same visibility reveals the nature of these individuals' activities to the knowledgeable collector. Complicating matters is the fact that the Internet historical and collecting web page provides numerous sources of information on badges for collectors, information that runs the gamut from accurate to false and self-serving, information the quality of which can be difficult to assess. As much as I despise those who earn their living duping collectors, I must acknowledge my indebtedness to them for providing, in part, the motivation to write this article and publish several books.

Web pages or on line forums that cover a broad topic, end up relying on the expertise of others when the topic is too broad for any one person to know it all. The accuracy of the product usually reflects their judgment in choosing their collaborators. I have seen a large amount of erroneous information regarding badges of Germany, Austria and Hungary from both World Wars printed and then repeated elsewhere - once it makes its way into print, erroneous information takes on a life of its own.

There are a million stories out their, on television, the print media or the Internet. Web pages have found a new place among information sources. On line publishing is the latest trend in exchanging ideas and information. In this case, an entire web site was used not only to qualify the authors view on Austrian military history but to qualify a series of Austro-Hungarian copy badges, that are currently being manufactured in Hungary. This web page employs clever deception to qualify both copies and expert knowledge. The web sites creator is well hidden as the co-founder of the page and fronted from another country. The Land Farce web site that was supposedly created to detail the history of the Austrian Empire, appears to rise above many other web pages in terms of creative inventiveness or pure chutzpah.

According to the Merriam Webster unabridged dictionary:

Main Entry: van·i·ty
Pronunciation: 'va-n&-tE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
Etymology: Middle English vanite, from Old French vanité, from Latin vanitat-, vanitas quality of being empty or vain, from vanus empty, vain.
Date: 13th century
1 : something that is vain, empty, or valueless
2 : the quality or fact of being vain
3 : inflated pride in oneself or one's appearance :conceit
4 : a fashionable trifle or knicknack

Red Flag

While surfing the Internet I found what was described as a Austro-Hungarian military web site. A large home page appeared featuring Austro-Hungarian leaders, decorations and a links section. I was initially attracted to the sites many listed articles, and the information that the comprehensive page seem to provide. The web site even featured a discussion forum. The site seemed to provide a wealth of information on the very subject I was looking for. I moved to Central Europe years ago and I become interested in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and it’s turbulent history, in particular the actions of the k.u.k. army in the First World War. Looking closely at the home page, I was surprised to learn that the web site was based in the UK and not in Austria.

Being intrigued by the web page I decided to take a closer look. I was impressed by the page design but not it’s content. All the information on the site had no authors or photo credits. The exception was one photo diary page with several listed individuals as providing photographs, several decorations on the home page had a listed photo credit and a listed sources link.

The only published story on the web site that had a listed author, detailed WWI Austro-Hungarian Strom Troop badges. As I scrolled down the Strumtruppen badge display page some printed illustrations appeared, then a gamut of storm badges in white metal, enamel, and zinc were displayed on the page. Many of the badges had weak details, in particular the skull section of the badge had dimples, holes, and rough metal. Many of the badges that were displayed demonstrated a "bluish/purplish" hue to the skull and other areas. This appeared to me to be a modern silver wash anodizing agent. The first two displayed badges had a dull gray wreath, dark with age, yet both featured a bright finish to the skull and flying eagle, they appeared artificially aged. The badge on the right, had Storm Batl. 13 motto. I saw what was described as another storm troop badge variant. This badge had a green enamel wreath, a bronzed soaring eagle with two small grenades in it’s talons and to the bottom of the wreath, and again the motto, Strum Batl. 13. I have seen dozens of these identical badges being sold in Central Europe and on the Internet, many badges on this page had been identified as copies.

UPDATE: Damage Control!

Museum copies anyone? The Land Farce website has changed history yet again! They have totally changed and revamped the kuk Storm Batl. page. This was done after several recent visits to an Austrian museum. It appears that a certian person who "works" at a museum uses a pen name for various reasons. It confirms my worst fears that the someone from a national museum is really in charge of the website and using original materials to make copies from their inventory. They have added over thirty assault badges, many appear to be from the museum inventory. Other photos appear to be rare kuk storm troop photos from the archives. Again, luckily I have down loaded the old page for comparison. It seems they have pixilated one of the remaining enamel copy Storm Batl. 13 badges.

The Information Game

After viewing the storm troop presentation I sent several emails to the two listed creators, one was located in the UK and the other in Austria. I complimented both parties on the web page. I waited over a week and finally the UK creator responded and thanked me. I wondered why the creator had taken so long to respond.

The supposed UK creator claimed to be an English militaria enthusiast, he told me that he was the original creator of the web site. He claimed he had brought the Austrian on board a year after he started the page in October 2001. Looking at the many articles and other information posted on the site, it appeared that the author used broken English in areas with many incomplete and broken sentences, misspelled words, and incorrect syntax. Some areas of the text appeared with a third person narrative style which seemed strange. I asked the creator who was the author of the published work on his site? The creator failed to explain who was writing the articles or providing the photographs. The web page also displayed the Austrian’s complete roll of published works: books, collecting articles, and other biographical details of the author. The site did not display or publish any of the supposed original creators own work. Seeing the Austrian’s large selection of militaria collecting books, I sent several emails to him regarding purchasing some of his material. The Austrian responded and claimed that all the listed books on the web page were out of print except for one and were published ten years previously by him. When I asked, if the books are out of print, why did he display them on the web page for sale? The Austrian never responded. It appeared to me that the creator was in reality managing the site for the Austrian half of the team in particular the forum. While the Austrian supplied information and published work, scans on Austrian military history, badges and medals.

I informed the creator that I was in the process of writing a book on Austro-Hungarian aviation badges, he assured me that he would offer all the assistance that his site could offer to aid my efforts in completing my book. I wanted to publish several articles on militaria collecting, to include copies of rare Austrian decorations and Hungarian military officers. I asked the UK creator if he could post some of my articles to their “What’s New" section. The creator never responded. I emailed the creator several times a week, and in the course of our conversations, I sent several scans of Austrian military officers. I asked several questions regarding decorations that were displayed on the photos, noting the many articles on Austrian awards and decorations that were published on his web site. I received no response.

Several days later, the creator admitted that a majority of the writing for the page was sent by the Austrian to him via email and that he simply loaded the stories to the web site. The creator also admitted having little knowledge regarding Austrian awards and decorations and told me to view their page on Austrian military decorations or contact the Austrian who was an “expert“ on Austrian awards. The UK creator also told me that, “it would be very difficult if not impossible to track any officer by his awards or decorations on a photo.” However, the creator claimed that he had just loaded a great story on the 1915 Austro-Hungarian Naval Pilot’s badge. The creator told me that a collecting magazine had previously published the Austrian's work, and did not do it justice. The creator was going to edit and present the Austrian's slant on military history accurately and correctly for the web site.

When I saw the latest addition to the site, I was stunned. This was not the original work of the Austrian or the UK creator but information that had been previously published on an Austrian k.u.k. Kreigsmarine web site. I had used part of this sites information as a research tool over the past year for several projects regarding A-H naval aviation. The Austrian naval web site email does not work, so I contacted a well known Austrian publisher that sells many books with Austrian military themes. The publisher told me that a majority of the material for the Austrian site was already published in several comprehensive naval books. I also noticed that some of the naval aviation photographs were also previously published in some of my Hungarian military aviation books as well.

The Land Farce site creator had used much of the Austrian’s naval web sites information and simply loaded it onto his web page, even the photo of the naval officer displaying his Naval Pilot’s badge was lifted from the Austrian site. The only unique addition to the story was the co-creators insertion of naval training conditions and the published order on the creation of the naval pilot‘s badge, information that is part of the public record. Their was no listed author and no listed photo credits for any of the published military histories.

I was also surprised to see a supposed k.u.k. Kreigsmarine 1915 Naval Pilot’s badge displayed for the story, apparently from the Austrian’s previously published W.W.I Austrian pilots badge book. The 1915 Austro-Hungarian Naval Pilot's badge is so rare that I have only seen two that I believe to be genuine and they appear to be post war produced by Rothe. Excellent craftsmanship but no maker stamp or silver content number. The example of the badge, presented as genuine and displayed on the Land Farce website has soft, round edges with weak details to the Albatross, and appears to have been molded. The displayed badge has no rivets and is flat. I have seen numerous other examples of the Austrian naval pilot's badge displayed on at least a dozen different web sites featuring aviation or flight badges, and none conformed to the criteria for an original badge. The Austrian 1915 Naval Pilot's badge is a small convex badge and a work of art. The naval pilots badge on the Land Farce website is a complete fake! The author of the piece does a very clever job of qualifying the fake as original though.

UPDATE: to Copy is the most sincere form of flattery

More weird. It appears that the Austrian connection and others that I have been viewing are looking at my written work. I have noticed this for months, via ISP numbers and other stat programs. Since I have contacted a certain Austrian museum recently many changes have occurred. All this after I sent this e-mail to the director of the museum:

(5. I have seen this K.u.K Kriegsmarine web site http://www.kuk-k.at/. This Austrian historical Internet web site includes a roll of names and dates of k.u.k. naval officers who received flight training. Also listed are a roll of officers who received the naval pilot's badge in 1915. Amazingly! This is the identical information that is posted on Jörge website to include scans of some of the naval officers. Is the http://www.kuk-k.at/. written by Jörge? The email does not work and I have no way of checking, there is no listed author, creator, nor is their any photo credits. STRANGE.)

Hang on! I just checked the kuk navy website. The kuk navy website has changed their entire navy story which is exceedingly similar kuk naval history to what I have written, in fact almost word for word. The website has updated and completely changed their lay out and one page uses a number of Austrian museum logos and displays many museum and archive photos. The changed kuk naval history format has been entirely changed into two seperate pages, one with the correct pilot listing and another with a embellished naval history. The previous story had several distinctive mistakes, one: the old kuk naval website claimed the naval service was created in 1912 and not 1910 and two: that a famous Austrian army pilot, noted ace (Fernburg) and war hero was a naval pilot. This was all mixed in with the Gazette publication of the naval pilots on one page. I down loaded the Land Farce navy story as well as the OLD kuk site navy story. I have down loaded the old aviation stories of Land Farce as well. It looks like the power of information and a little investigation is going a long way to solving this problem and a big mystery.

Nightmare On Line

Several weeks later, I sent scans of the latest copy from Hungary to the UK creator and forum moderator. I made a follow up email regarding an article on the Hungarian Saint Stefan Order copy. The creator then suggested that I post it to the forum. This created much turmoil amongst the ranks in the forum crowd. In the following six weeks I posted three stories on copies: the copy Hungarian St. Stefan Order which I had seen at the flea market, one on the Austrian Order of the Golden Fleece, from an Internet Auction, and another on the Stefan Order with diamonds and rubies from a web site. The Austrian knocked the first piece and then set about a campaign of harassment with his "followers," several were located in Poland. The Austrian attacked many of my forum postings regarding Russia and Serbia on the eastern front.

When I responded or commented on the Austrians incompetence or abrasive behavior on line, my comments were merely deleted by the UK creator. It appeared to me that the Austrian is connected to a Canadian copy crowd. This same group, had previously had driven me off the Internet auction circuit. The Canadians started to post on the Land Farce forum and deliberately tried to get me to expose certain fraudsters who the Austrian was working with. One Internet auction seller in particular was targeted from the Vancouver area who distributes W.W.I cap badge copies on the Internet. I was convinced that this Vancouver seller had his entire cap badge collection copied in Hungary. When I declined to comment and posted advice on the Internet: many of the Austrian’s shills, friends, and followers immediately posted hostile comments on my published work.

The Canadian copy crowd then set about a childish campaign of posting inflammatory and idiot postings on the Land Farce forum, using my first name in several postings and implying in other postings that it was me using different names. Finally the copy king came on line and posted under the name that, mocked the Austrian’s Internet auction user ID, the forum participant made a number of personnel negative attacks against me on a collecting thread. The creator wouldn't take the posting down, nor would he let me respond. Twenty-four hours after the Canadian’s hostile posting, the UK creator finally took down the Canadians comments. He then deleted all my collecting stories and also deleted my scans from other postings. It was obvious to me that this was a planned event.

I had observed previously the UK creators playing information games on the forum. It appeared to me and others that the Austrian would email a friend to pose a question, a question that he already had the answer too. Then the English partner would respond on the forum and claim he would check his information. After twenty minutes or so, he would say eureka, I have got it! The so called creator would then give a long list of details about the given subject. Some times the scam back fired, when the Austrian was away from his computer and the creator was stuck, when someone would pose a question on the forum requesting information. The creator would hem and haw but couldn’t give an answer. The creator would get frustrated after several hours or days, as at one point the Austrian was in the hospital and then tell the person to get a book.

I had posted several A-H pilot photos for identification on the forum. Weeks later........ a person supposedly from the USA, posted an 8x10 studio portrait of an Austrian, mountain troop colonel, circa 1930. Minutes after he posted his photo, the creator was hard at it, trying to figure out who the colonel was. I guess the wunderkind remembered my forum photo ID attempts as well as the mailed scans that I had sent months earlier, with my questions, asking about the decorations on the officers and could he ID the officer by his decorations, I had no luck. Strangely enough within forty minutes, the lucky contestant had his answer with full details on his alpine colonel from the forum creator. He claimed he could track the officer by his awards and decorations. Amazing.

It appeared to me that the same person who posted the Austrian alpine colonel on the forum was also posting under different user IDs to embellish the page or knock or bait me on line. I had noticed over a period of months that an American every three to five weeks would post the same message, “I have been observing this great web site for several months now, the information is very interesting, so I thought I would start posting here etc.” After posting this advertisement, I never saw the guy posting on the forum again. It was obvious to me because of his writing style, which was like a signature, that this was the same American who had posted several inflammatory messages on the previously mentioned Internet thread, he had also started a thread regarding making copy A-H kepi’s. This same person had been responsible for a lot of harassment on my Internet auctions and was another familiar voice. A voice that employed many user IDs and different names on Internet auctions and now Internet forums.

The Block

After five months on line with the Land Farce forum, the creators decided to block me from the web page. The final event was a response to a Internet auction buyer who complained of being cheated. I listed a brief paragraph on using caution on the Internet, information that I had listed previously. Within two days I got a DNS error message page when I hit the Land Farce link. I sent a letter to the creators voicing my concerns and asking why he had blocked me from their web site and to address my other issues regarding his supposed web site. The creators claimed that, “they owed me no explanation on how they managed their web site. I was starting a war on his bandwidth with certain collectors and that he wasn't getting in the middle of my campaign.” The creator further stated that, “I was not blocked from his web site and I could post on the forum, as long as my comments fitted his guidelines, however no one was asking me to stick around.” The creators of the Land Farce forum never addressed any of my listed issues or answered any of my questions.

The Supposed Expert: The Museum Director

Many who tune into militaria forums are working with the copy network to keep tabs on what people are saying about fakes and their distribution on the Internet. Many are friends of the forum creators, who control these forums and what is written and published on line. Any deep disclosure on the copy network is crushed with criticism or simply deleted. I was personally blocked from two forums for going public about what I know about several large scale copy groups operations.

The old Sherlock Holmes theory. When you've ruled out the obvious, whatever remains, however unlikely must be the answer.

Several emails were obtained detailing the Austrians tactics from Internet auctions. The Austrian claimed that the potential Internet buyer was being cheated with fakes and that the buyer should not buy from the listed Internet auction seller. The Austrian claimed via email, “do you want an expert opinion, come to us and check out his web site for detailed information regarding Austrian militaria.” The same Austrian who purports not to speak English that well on the Land Farce forum, spoke perfect English in his email. In England they have an old saying regarding anyone who calls himself an expert: "the word can be split in two, ex and pert, ex meaning has been and pert meaning stiff." An Austrian source claims he knows the Vienna web master, "he gets very angry when I am getting the items he is interested in." Reading between the lines on that, there are three possibilities: One, is he getting angry because it's something he wants for himself or the museum? Or two, is it because it's something that the copy crowd wants? They can then say, I've just bought a better one, the one in my collection is for sale, check my web site, this will qualify the item (the copy), as original with their comprehensive web page article on the badge in question. Or three, they can use an original to make the copies.

Why copies? He can keep the original item and then make money by selling the copies. If he is smart and as long as these collectors are so far apart, they can never compare what they have bought. If the Austrian sells copies privately, he could say to A, B,C,D have all been after this. Please don’t tell them that I let you have it. He repeats this to B, C, D. They all think that they are getting a good deal over everyone else. Simple logic.

Another advantage regarding the web page forum, when someone registers with the group, they will have to give their email address, you can use the email to check who's buying and selling on the Internet. That gives them the chance to sell more copies. This is also why the web page is fronted from the UK, it gives the forum credibility with a published author but the Austrian can distance himself from the heat and let the manger take over as front person, then sell copies off line. The Canadian copy crowd can use the web site to qualify their copies using the sites information, and claim that the site author and his friends are “experts” a noted authority on Austrian militaria.

Most authors write a piece and use a gamut of reference sources, books, articles, web pages, all provide valid information to the researcher, writer or journalist. Most publish, acknowledge, and credit that source. Many so called experts that are web page creators all claim for the most part to be noted authorities in their fields. They like people to think that they know everything. The experts use other peoples work and claim that it is their own. However, in this case, the author appears to be using a pseudonym and then re-writing his work not only in print but on at least a half dozen different websites. The director denies being himself and is employing a wide gamut of fronts and individuals who supposedly have a created a website or written an article when in fact it is the director himself. Other sites have no listed creator but the written work is the same. Perhaps all the cloak and dagger is for legal reasons as he is using museum resources, or trying to qualify a gamut of copies that he knows are fakes as the genuine item? If he uses his real name and with his position as a museum director, he would lose credibility. What’s the importance about someone who writes books or articles on militaria subjects, a so called expert? He writes the articles, he's in a position to "verify" the authenticity of whatever medal or badge, the author is just the sort that the copy crowd would want on their side. He's the one who can give some sort of legitimacy to a wide gamut of copies.

The White Feather

"Tell a Big Lie Long Enough And People Will Begin To Believe It....." Josef Goebels


I take great exception to the tone of this email. I do not owe you any explanations for the way I manage my site or forum!

You have seen fit to conduct your own war against other collectors and in particular ebay using my web space and bandwidth as a platform. In retrospect I regret allowing this. I refuse to be put in the middle of your campaign. (Authors Note: I posted 75 times on this forum, only 3 postings dealt with copies on line, hardly a war or campaign. I also used the term Internet auctions, it was the Austrian who brought up and stated "eBay." When he used the term eBay I then pasted several comments and links from CNBC on Internet fraud, most notably on eBay. I have down loaded 21 pages to support this regarding this thread and what followed. I did privately send the creator my published story "eScam", again noting privately that it concerned eBay but NOT publicaly on his forum. I would also note that this web page creators rudness and arrogance.)

For what it is worth you are not "blocked" from the forum and as far as I am concerned you are more than welcome to continue posting there as long as the content is relevant and you post under your own name.

I can not speak for JS and he is not a moderator on the forum. You have his email address and if you have problems in that respect I suggest you mail him yourself.

If you don't like the site or the forum no one is asking you to stick around. Perhaps as you find my ego "bloated" you will not be asking me for information to further your ebay sales in future?
Glenn Jewison

-----Original Message-----From: Michael M. van Lauesen [] Sent: 09 April 2003 08:58To: Subject: Problems.
Dear Mr. J,

I seem to be blocked from your W.W.I A-H forum, is this something that you are deliberately doing? I can get into the home page and other areas of your web site, so I know this is NOT a local provider issue. Over one month ago I have received a DNS message every time I tried to access your forum, other times I can get into the forum page but can't post anything or even see the page, is their a reason for this?

Also I am wondering just prior to this why you have removed all my scans from certain forum threads that I had posted on. Several people had mailed regarding a mourning band thread and I had listed regs. for a mourning period in the kuk armed forces. I had scanned a leaflet about this, their were several others postings. All other scans were present from other threads, posted by other people posting on your forum. This is really an insulting gesture to me, I would like an explanation as to why this is happening?

I had also noticed that you have removed other threads that I had written on regarding copies on the Internet, why have you removed all this, please explain? This is stupid, as the crooks win every time you do this, in my opinion also exceedingly cowardly move on your behalf.

How the wheel turns. I have been contacted by a friend from eBay, apparently Mr. S your colleague who can't speak or read English, is sending out warning mail on eBay about copies and directing people to your site with perfect English, two points on this:

1. After your forum moderator Mr. S absolutely ripped me to shreds on your forum in a very arrogant and condescending manner, along with his friends on this very subject, copies being sold on line and my other expose of the copy trade in Hungary. Why is S sending out warning mail on eBay directing people to your web page? Why have you taken my postings down on this very subject and now apparently blocked me form your forum?

2. I think this is an exceedingly cowardly and two faced series of actions on your supposed colleagues behalf, can you please explain all this to me? It seems that your so called forum moderator has personnel issues. I think instead attacking someone on line constantly with no valid reason and completely missing the point of the posting, maybe he should use email for personnel issues instead of making a fool of himself. Please see Mr. S mail with complete header to the bottom of this mail.

I am aware that a Mr. AK a good friend of Mr. PC and Mr. ZK, who are involved in manufacturing and distributing many of the copies on the Internet. I know that Mr. K has done many postings on various subjects on your forum, that is until Mr. S refused to allow anyone to use the forum unless it was an Austrian issue of the stated time period. K has sent me a mail admitting that he is friends with these two individuals and I know for a fact that he is the one who informed both parties that I was posting on your forum. This is how Mr. C knew I was participating on your W.W.I A-H forum.

I know for a fact that Bobo (Peter C) who posted on your forum on a collecting thread deliberately to wreck it and stated, "I was the one who was, exposing my own copy organization and I was suspended from eBay for shilling, illegal practices and spreading lies." I think you realize this was total rubbish, I am wondering and I have been for some time why you didn't edit his comments and let the "collecting thread" continue, instead of taking the entire thread off and then taking all of my other copy postings down? I realize that many run from controversy but you seemed to panic, after your supposed claims of support and acceptance, this behavior seemed very surprising for a professional soldier and in my opinion cowardly.

I have also been wondering why you have completely edited MY VALID comments regarding Mr. S and his incompetence on line, after criticizing and harassing me on your forum for months. I am asking that you apply your rules fairly. If Mr. S doesn't understand the language or know what is going on, I would suggest as you have informed me, that he provides you with much information that you use him as a research assistant and not a moderator.

Mr. S seems to have on line temper tantrum almost every week regarding something and then reverses himself, can you explain your policy regarding this behavior? Apparently Mr. S can act with impunity. I have to ask myself is this a free and valid forum of discussion or something else.

However, if I even try and bring relevant issues regarding his postings or others that have criticized my work, why do you simply delete my comments, why can't Mr. S address my issues and why do you seem to step in and defend S, without addressing any of my issues and just cut me off? Mr. S in his Internet email also advises the W.W.I A-H forum is his creation and that it is his web site, is this true? I thought you were the creator and organizer of the W.W.I A-H web site and brought Mr. S on board at a later time period. Can you explain his comments? S uses the ID Yogi, C uses Bobo, like the cartoon bears, coincidence? It seems to me in this authors opinion that you are running a vanity page with a couple of bloated egos and not much else. Who only post what and when you want and censor anyone else's view. That sir is not a discussion forum but an a question and answer ego page for the moderator. I think sir, that you will find a little courtesy goes a long, long way. I think that you will find that a little discourtesy goes even further. I thought before I go public with some of my issues I would bring them to your attention.


From: j [Save Address] [Block Sender] To: o Cc: Subject: Question from eBay Member Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2003 05:36:25 PST Return-Path: <> Received: (qmail 18628 invoked from network); 21 Mar 2003 13:36:28 -0000 Received: from unknown (HELO spf11.us4.outblaze.com) ( by 205-158-62-64.outblaze.com with SMTP; 21 Mar 2003 13:36:28 -0000 Received: from spf3.us4.outblaze.com (205-158-62-25.outblaze.com[]) by spf11.us4.outblaze.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id4248C16886F for <>; Fri, 21 Mar 2003 13:34:52 +0000(GMT) Received: from mx22.sjc.ebay.com (mxpool11.ebay.com []) by spf3.us4.outblaze.com (8.12.8/8.12.7) with ESMTP id h2LDaSwf064404 for <>; Fri, 21 Mar 2003 13:36:28 GMT Received: from walkietalkie.sjc.ebay.com (walkietalkie.sjc.ebay.com []) by mx22.sjc.ebay.com (8.12.3/8.12.3) with SMTP idh2LDaPjE017760 for <>; Fri, 21 Mar 2003 05:36:25 -0800 Message-Id: <http://us.f366.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=200303211336.h2LDaPjE017760@mx22.sjc.ebay.com> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1"
An Mitglied: Von Mitglied:
Hi fellow-ebayer,

I saw that you are bidding on presumed Austro-Hungarian AviationBadges - perhaps you are interested in some expert opinion:

Badge 1: looks like a WW1 Germany observers badge - could not say ifgenuine or not.
Badge 2: looks like a aviation badge of the Austrian Army 1934-38 but is surely a modern copy, using a modern pilots badge as basic - easy to identify because the contoure of the shield do not fitt if you look on obverse and reverse!

Badge 3: seems to the modern pilots badge of the Austrian armyintroduced in the early 1960s and still in use today.

Badge 4: seems to be the same modern fake as badge number 2!

If you are furtherly interested in more information (at the moment only) about the Austro-Hungarian aviation badges please have a lookat my web-site:

http://www/. Look there at section "Badges&Uniforms" and there under"Qualification Badges".

Best wishes from Vienna