625 - Andrew Wiseman's Television Room
Invasion of the
Web Snatcher!

Or "Learning Netiquette - The Hard Way"

Main Content Last Revised  Tu 19-Jan-99
Links Updated We 27-Dec-00

This is the remarkable story of DR VAN STAVEREN and his web site devoted to the "Best in British Television", which turned out to be nothing more than a concoction of pages borrowed from other web sites. When the victims of this blatant plagiarism spoke out, they were threatened first with legal action and then violence. Van Staveren told whopping lies. He invented whole companies and sent e-mail from their invented personnel. This story has been called the funniest thing that's happened to the Net in a long time. Judge for yourself...

DR Van Staveren first got on my tits when he started spamming usenet newsgroups about how great his new TV web site was. Interestingly, in each article the name of the poster was different (e.g. PENTAGON 5 Productions, Admintsration [sic] Dept, NEWSWIRE.COM) and yet the e-mail address was the same. And so were the spelling mistakes. It seemd all of Pentagon 5's people and departments used the same cheap dictionary, as you'll see.

One of the messages posted proudly proclaimed that the BIBTV site had recently added 110 pages devoted to every single British comedy. This turned out to be an exact copy of The Definitive UK Sitcom List, compiled and maintained by Dave Budd and over two hundred others since 1990. Dave posted a follow-up asking for witnesses to prove that his copyrighted work had been stolen. In response, Staveren gave Dave a mention on BIBTV's Credits page.

This was in stark contrast to the response that Hiran Perera received. When Hiran complained that his Mr Benn site had been ripped off, after I'd tipped him off, he received the following e-mail, apparently from Pentagon 5's Office of Legal Affairs...
Good morning,

You have mentioned that there are pictures not of ours that have taken away. Andrew Wiseman is being sued by Pentagon 5 for Defamation of Charecter.


Christine Mquinn
Office of Legal Affairs

Hiran writes:

I think it`s getting beyond a joke, apparently HE's accusing me of nicking HIS site. It appears this entire site is just a collection of plagiarised sites with no credit given.

This guy mentions professional contacts, legal depts etc, etc, but I have the feeling he's just one lonely bastard with time on his hands. (I like the legal dept that can't spell :-))

The email on the right confirms that I am to be sued for Defamation of "Charecter". Kinberly Strickland obviously worked from the same law book with the same misprint as Christine Mquinn! Either that or all of Staveren's employees shared his wank-handed, can't-spell, can't-write keyboard technique. All of these (made-up ?) people posted with the same e-mail address.

So it's a stretch in state prison for me, if the UK ever becomes the 51st state of the USA. :-)

I replied:

You'll need to forward me your full name, address and company details so that I can take the necessary action against you. Please don't delay. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.
Dear Mr. Wiseman,

Paul Walker contacted me this morning stating that you are mailing the addresses of our television links page defaming the name of our President and CEO, DR. Van Staveren.

This is called Defamation of Charecter and is punishable by up to 3 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.

Please supply us with the name and address of your attorneys as we will now be seeking restitution.

Yours truly,

Kinberly Strickland
Legal Affairs Department

Good morning,

I have no idea who Mr Wiseman is and I think you would not have a leg to stand on in a court of law due to the fact that he never said anything to me because I have never been in contact with him.

This is getting silly

But, going back to the letter threatening to sue: who is Paul Walker? Why did he claim I had been defaming Staveren's charecter? (And what is a charecter?) Well, Paul did no such thing. You can see the e-mail he sent to Staveren on the left. In reality, Paul is just another poor soul who's had his web site snatched by the evil DR Staveren!
Paul has obviously upset Staveren as the next email shows. I think the letter reveals more about Staveren's immaturity than anything else. Looks like the President and CEO of Pentagon 5 isn't immune to a bit of a temper tantrum!

I can definitely see a foot stamping session in progress as the spiteful e-mail was written. I imagine he was still fuming when his daddy translated the crayon scribble and typed it into the computer for him!

Run along now little boy mummy is calling!

Beefy graphics page! what a laugh I have never in all my professional career have seen such a joke of a name or web page, you must be a very jealous little boy!

Porkie Pies! we all had a good old laugh at the office over that one!

P.S. Just out of curiosity by the nature of your letters you cant be any older that lets say 9 or 10! Got to hand it to you though you did try.

The crew at Pentagon 5

Jeremy Rogers writes:

There is something very odd about this site. A person with a Tomorrow People site which had been plundered for its pictures complained and has been receiving e-mail from the same address from (supposedly) five different people in different tones telling her that her pictures violate copyright and threatening all sorts of legal action.

Looking though the site I know many of the sources; much are old and inaccurate.

The Tomorrow People site is run by Marla Kendal...

Our mutual friend had promised to send me "rare" photos. When I checked it out, his rare items were taken directly off my site. He didn't even bother to change the file names! No credit was there, of course. He did credit me, after I complained. Then Jeremy forwarded me the Dave Budd info. I then asked Staveren to take my stuff down. Instantly I started getting letters, all from the same address, etc. I now have a virutal LOVE FEST of letters from our good pal, Dave Staveren. (All have been forwarded, verbatim, to his internet provider).

Sean Hughes had also been in touch with Pentagon 5's many departments:

I e-mailed Van Staveren last night "requiring" that the images he copied from my website be immediately removed. I got 3 replies (blatantly obviously all from him pretending he was somebody else), threatening legal action (like the one you received) one of which was from the 'man himself' and was personally insulting.

Good morning,

I do hope that Mr. Wiseman has an explanation as to where he got his "TEST CARD" scan from?

Did you ask us for written permission? If so I suggest you forward us the letter.

Yours truly,

Christine Mquinn
Office of Legal Affairs

As you can see, Staveren's "Office of Legal Affairs" also wrote to me. It would seem that I need permission from Pentagon 5 to use the Test Card F bitmap, which as most people know is freely available from the BBC's public FTP site. So presumably they "nicked" the Test Card, too!

The Michael Bentine Tie-in

As Paul Walker said, it is all rather silly. But the next part of the story shows that is can also be very sad. Michael Bentine, one of the Goons and presenter of Potty Time, a classic Children's show, died at the end of November 1996. No sooner had he breathed his last when Staveren posted this in the newsgroups and to various individuals:

Subject: The Michael Bentine Tribute Page opens!
Date: Sat, 30 Nov 1996 13:06:52 +0000
From: Best of British Television

The Michael Bentine Tribute Page opened today at
This loving tribute by Richard Bentine and Dr. Van Staveren is the
beginning of a 6 part series on The Best of British Television.

Using someone's death to promote your own web site is going too far. I wrote to Staveren and sarcastly told him that it was touching that Richard Bentine had sat down with him to co-write this tribute in his time of grief. What had actually happened was Staveren had lifted Richard Bentine's Potty Time article in its entirety from the official site. I told Staveren that his BIBTV site was not so much a website but more like a parasite.

Staveren replied that my "unkind words" had been forwarded to Richard Bentine's publicist Guy Ferrer who would write to me personally to tell me Staveren had sought permission before Mr. Bentine died to have a page on "THE POTTY TIME" show...

Guy wrote to me the day after his father died asking if we would post the news of his death to newsgroups and hence go ahead put a copy of Richards kind words about his father on our site. You see Andrew jealousy will get you no where in life! their is room for all of us in this world to get along together its "parasites" as you mentioned like you who give British people a bad name.

Its too bad that you had to write that.

Wait a minute, he just called me a parasite, in writing! That's defamation of "charecter", isn't it? Nearly twelve months after this incident, in November 1997, I finally heard from Guy de Ferrer by chance ...

I stumbled across your page today, through doing a search on Richard Bentine in Altavista and was rather staggered by the story and then the reference to me (missing the 'de' in my surname - but you should see some of the variants I get).

The man is completely barking. When Richard's father died, I looked after his office for a few weeks and dealt with a mass of e-mails that came in. I replied on behalf of the Bentine family's to all the e-mails. I did not give permission for the site to be reproduced but some people did ask if they could put a link from their sites to Michael's (not a problem). I certainly did not ask anyone to post to newsgroups. What a sad little life this man must have...

This e-mail was followed by messages of support from Michael Bentine's son, Richard, and daughter, Serena. Richard Bentine wrote:

I've read with growing horror and disgust the antics of "DR" (should we call him 'D'ave 'R'ichard?) Staveren. For the Record, i would like to state the following:

1) I have never heard of "Dr Staveren". To my knowledge he has never contacted any member of my family - nor spoken to any member of my company.

2) The Michael Bentine Web Pages were written by myself and designed and produced by Guy de Ferrer when he was working at my company. The pages were originally devised as a unique and different birthday present for my father.

3) I have never felt so physically revolted as when I read the copy of the press release "STAVEREN" put out just days after my Father's death ...

What produces a sick individual like this? Why would someone wish to use someone else's misery to further their own selfish (pointless?!) ends. In case i haven't made my point strongly enough, allow me to reiterate that I have NEVER encountered Van Staveren until your excellent WEB SNATCHER page brought this whole issue to my attention! ...

...if I may be so bold, I would like to make the following observation about Van Staveren's "Charecter"...

In the words of my Father (much loved - and much missed):

"The Man is a cuLt - or my name is not BeLtine!"

BStavB ?

Back in 1996, undeterred by the growing controversy about his web site, Dave Staveren continued to plug the "Best of British Televison" in the newsgroups ...

We are now adding new shows daily! The response from the viewers is overwhelming, requests are streaming in every day for additional shows!

But in case there was anyone left not in awe, the following amazing post would surely have changed their mind...

From: Admintsration Office
Date: 1996/12/01
Newsgroups: rec.arts.tv.uk.misc

Pentagon 5© Productions announced today that they will be the first
Web Site on the Internet to broadcast "LIVE" video feed of British
Television shows. The contract signed last week with two unnamed
British Television Networks will be unveiled in early March of 1997.

"This will take the media world by storm" said Dr. David Van Staveren
of Pentagon 5©, "We anticipate a 24 hour satellite link broadcasting
shows from the 1970s to current shows being broadcast in Great
The Best of British Television web page is expanding daily to rave
reviews from the media world and can be seen at the following


Charles Kalish

Van Staveren on Copyright

So how did Stav justify stealing from other people? In a letter to Paul Walker he claimed he had permission. He even claimed Pentagon 5 is an affiliate of the US Television Network, ABC! In another letter he explained how he legally aquired the rights to use the stolen material.
Dear Paul,

Dr. Van Staveren has asked me to write to you in response to your questions.

Absolutley, you can do one of two things to legaly secure rights to other copyrighted material.

1). Write an email to the Web Sites from where you gather the material.

2). Write to us and we will secure the rights for you.

Please keep in mind a fee is usually set for any of the above. It cost Pentagon 5 close to $10,000 to secure all the rights to legal usage. This far outweighs the fact of illegal copyright infringement and can cost any illegal usage up to a fine of $25,000 per copyright law broken and up to 10 years in state prison under federal law. The United States government now has a legal body in association with the Leauge of European Nations to crack down on any and all infringment base copyright violation.

This is very serious now as to lets say just a year ago when no one really cared about what they put up and where they got it from. We as a part of that legal body are required by state law to submit all copyright transactions and approvals.

Dont take the risk of illegal infringement its just not worth it.

Yours Truly,

Kimberly Strickland
Office of legal affairs
Pentagon 5 Productions

Be very careful with taking pictures from this site! I have recieved all of my pictures through legal channels. We at Pentagon 5 do not "steal" anything from anyone without prior permission. I had a letter from the sites owner asking me where I got mine and of course we have three very good connections in the U.K. at BBC, ITV, AND SKY television. So as a freind please dont take those picts without asking the owners permission or you might find yourself in some hot water.

Remember be careful and if you want to tap our archive you must write to us at this address: PENTAGON 5 PRODUCTIONS P.O. BOX 2754 NOVATO, CA 94948

Our attorneys are very strict about copyright infringment as it is a felony and punishible by up to ten years in federal prison.



This was the original copright notice on Stav's web site. The contents herein were obtained through legitimate resources and by no means are its contents infringed upon by the original copyright holder. Written permission must be adhered to on this site, no one individual has the right to borrow or use without sole permission from the original legal holder. Copyrights must be respected.

Many thanks to you all


After Tuesday 3rd December the message was changed, possibly to protect his site from thieves such as himself.

Let it be known herin that the following pages were bought and paid for through legal channels.

No one individual has the right without written consent from Pentagon 5 Productions to take it upon his or herself to remove any graphic and or image, or text area.

Copyright infringment is a serious violation and is punishble by up to 3 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.

It's interesting that Stav reckons the maximum penalties for copyright violation are three years in state prison and a $10 000 fine. Kimberly Strickland at his own Office of Legal Affairs (above) reckons on ten years in state prison and a $25 000 fine per infringement. Mmm.

Let's sort him out!

Adrian Petford, Webmaster of Kaleidoscope, the classic British TV web site, had a warning for Staveren:

I'm all for supporting the many other fine UKTV sites, as the more of them there are, the better it is for us all in terms of content, but this goes beyond the pale...

He contacted me last week asking for a link, and, as I give everyone a fair chance, I added one even though he was obviously something of an idiot. "I'd like you to add a link to my site, as you'd find it interesting", indeed! How about saying please? Since his appalling rip-off of Dave Budd's fine sitcom list, I've now deleted it of course, as well as beefing up the copyright notice on Kaleidoscope just to make sure.

If he dares steal anything from us, we'll have our lawyers down on him faster than a pack of ravenous Rottweilers to red meat!

Adrian wrote to Newsbytes telling them of Staveren's activities.

Rebecca Ulph is from the BBC. Now, Van, you really, really, don't want the BBC on your case, and I should know! (Nice to be on the same side for a change.) Rebecca wrote (in uk.media.tv.misc):

His Blue Peter text is copied directly from the BBC site.
Appropriate authorities will be informed.
Dave Budd suggested we might band together and take out a class action! Chris A Reece had a somewhat more radical solution:
Why waste money on lawyers? Why not just get a planeload over there and kick the shit out of him? Sounds like plenty of people are up for a rumble. Do you reckon he'll turn up with five or six heavies, all of whom happen to be him with a different hat on?

Dr Van Rip-Off Gets Desperate

According Patrick Buskirk USAF ret., we have made a terrible mistake. Apparently there is someone out there pretending to be Van Staveren, who is actually a highly honoured veteran of the Vietnam war. Patrick made it clear he would therefore like to see this page removed!

In his post to Usenet below he threatened to report me. My reply is shown on the right

Below that, you can see that his threats became more outrageous.

First off, Patrick, please understand that I find it hard to believe a word that anyone says in support of Van Stavaren, because usually the letters are from Van Stavaren himself pretending to be other people. Your letter is especially suspicious coming as it does from a GeoCities email account. As you know anyone can apply for a free email account at GeoCities. We have no way of knowing you are who you say you are.

Second, what has you and Van Stavaren being African American got to do with anything? This is not a race issue. There is no mention of Van Stavaren's skin colour on the Web Snatcher page. Indeed we didn't even know he was African American. After all, he claims to be British and proud.

>"If you know anything about the war in Vietnam you will find that Major Van Staveren was a highly decorated and well respected officer in the United States Air Force, he was one of the most honored African American serviceman of the war."

So what? Patrick. How do we know whether Van Staveren was a Vietnam Veteran? He makes many claims, they all seem to be bogus. If indeed his is a Vietnam Veteran, then I suggest it is you he is shaming.

He claims to be working for NASA on the Mars mission, Patrick. If he has Alzheimer's and has retired then here is a prime example of Van Staveren's bogus claims.

I'm not a doctor, but I don't recognise any of the symptoms of Alzheimer's here, Patrick. Perhaps you couldn't spell Schizophrenia? :-)

It sounds as though you are making excuses for him and perhaps trying to make people feel sorry for him. Let me assure you there is no excuse for his behaviour and he won't get any sympathy from me, nor the people he steals from, nor the people he threatens with legal action.

>"I think you will find that your news group of ³hate² will be flooded with complaints."

I think not. The newsgroup has been flooded, as has my mail box, but all the messages have been ones of support.

I find it especially ironic that as an American who is proud of his country you are trying to remove the Web Snatcher page. Do you not believe in the freedom of speech?

I don't consider that the page is a news group of *hate*, but rather of fun. It certainly makes *me* laugh.

If you want the Web Snatcher site removed then simply ask your friend to remove himself and his material from the internet forever. Until that time, I shall continue to keep an eye on Van Stavaren and expose him for the thief and fraud that he is. It's as simple as that.


I am not too sure if I am reaching the correct news group but if I am please read:

As an African American and a veteran of the Vietnam war your friend Andrew Wiseman has insulted the American people and that of all Vietnam Veterans across this great country. A friend of mine showed me Mr. Wisemanıs insulting and ridiculous ³HATE² page of Dr. Van Staveren.

If you know anything about the war in Vietnam you will find that Major Van Staveren was a highly decorated and well respected officer in the United States Air Force, he was one of the most honored African American serviceman of the war.

After the war he received an honorary degree in Astro Physics and is highly regarded among the space program. He is now retired and in his 70s and lives peacefully with his wife in San Diego, CA. Unfortunately he suffers from Alzheimers disease of which may be accountable for this childish web page scenario.

I have forwarded this letter to the Vietnam Veterans Association of America along with Mr. Wisemans hurtful and demeaning comments. I think you will find that your news group of ³hate² will be flooded with complaints.

Thank you,

Patrick Buskirk
USAF ret.

Dear Mr. Wiseman,

In receipt of your letter on the 7th, of December 1996, I have forwarded the mail to the co-chairman of the NAACP and the Vice Chairman of the VVAA.

I do not know Dr. Van Staveren personally nor his family. As veteran of the Vietnam War however I do know of him by name as he is a hero in the eyes of many Americans. You have attempted to slander this good mans name and I really would suggest you have the correct Web Master who is responsible for your little escapade of ³HATE² and ³RACISM².

As it turns out a returned phone call to me this morning finds that Dr. Van Staveren does not even own a computer and does not recognize his many friends and family. This due to the demoralizing disease caused Alzheimers that ravages the brain, not ³Schizophrenia² as you have so claimed.

It seems as though you have fingered the wrong man, and who ever is responsible for taking his name and causing this uproar will not live to to see the light of day, I assure you that. We will find out who is responsible. Do you have his e-mail and street address? if so forward them to me please.

In the mean time please at least do us the favor in removing his name, we donıt care about the content of the rest of your trash. I am no means at the age to go running around chasing after hooligans such as yourself but when the color of my skin and that of hero is defamed upon I will start taking action.

Please provide me with your direct telephone number and the name of your attorney. These will be forwarded to the appropriate people come Monday morning if his name is not removed.

Thank you,

Patrick Buskirk
USAF ret.

Dear Mr. Wiseman,

We have contacted the University at Bath in hopes of locating you, but as you can imagine the administrative office was rather reluctant to provide us with any records as to your current home address and telephone number.

You do have family I presume, so we will start with locating them first.

I am confident that the search for you will be swift.

Their are two associates of mine who would like to meet with you very much next Saturday the 14th of December. Let me know if this can be arranged, a location of your choice of course. Are you still working in Cambridge? if so maybe we can arrange a meeting at your place of employment if you prefer, I am sure that you are not a hard man to track down.

And finally Mr. Wiseman, I must point out that you show either a condition of supreme bravery or severe stupidity as I have recently read your updated ³HATE² page of African Americans and you seem quite happy in taunting the African American Veterans of the Vietnam war in the United States. I for one cannot be held accountable for what happens after Monday the 9th of December. Please reconsider your entry of the man you have mistakenly blamed for this atrocity you so claim, as previously pointed out you have either fingered the wrong man or this is a very sick joke of yours.

Your reluctance in assisting to locate the man or woman who is posing as Dr. Van Staveren tells me that you must be a man who is filled with hatred and racism for the African American community.

You have enraged many people in this country, I feel sorry for you.

Thank you,

Patrick Buskirk
USAF ret.


Looks as though we've found him...

Would you get Garry and Paul over their tomorrow, tail him home, make sure he doesnıt see you though.

I will call you with the address and telephone number of his family members a.m. tomorrow morning, take it easy please until Chuck arrives Wednesday.



Why I was sent e-mail addressed to James, I don't know. But you might have noticed something familiar about the way Patrick writes. Could it be that Patrick is in fact yet another alias for Van Staveren. I think it could!

On the Tuesday, I received the email below from Buskirk, to help me make up my mind: (I have no idea who Chris Walker is.)

Mr. Wiseman,

I will ask you one more time to take that "SNATCHER" page down. If you have not heard it looks as though our young little problem child; Chris Walker of Hunstville, Alabama met with an unfortunate accident last night...

How sad for all of us,

Well, that Wednesday they stopped messing about and sent in "Chuck". But I didn't see him. Nor did I see Garry, Paul or James...

Now you see him - Now you don't

The Good News is that Pentagon 5 Productions is no more. Although it probably never existed in the first place, of course. Van Staveren's site at http://www.cris.com/~woodlane disappeared on Wednesday 4th December 1996.

His sister site (just a link back to his original site) remained for a short while. (Stav's sister is of course Stav himself, in a dress.)

But just when you thought it was safe to go back into the sea (because all the turds had been cleared out of it), Van reappeared, like the bad smell that he is. This time as the President and CEO of a new company, ProSlick Communications, at http://www.cris.com/~proslick.

The new site boldly proclaimed:




Happily the resurrection was shortlived and, on Sunday 8th December, following complaints to his ISP, Concentric Corp., Staveren removed his TV site from Proslick. BIBTV hasn't been seen on the net since. Who says the internet can't police itself?

The UFO Connection - Who is Van Staveren?

Marla Kendal tried to track down Van Staveren...

...according to the AMA he does not exist. I also checked with phone information in the 415 area code, and Pentagon 5 does not exist. I checked that area since one letter he gave me had a 415#. Another, to a site owner (he found it linked to mine) had a Novato CA PO box (incomplete of course). The phone number is alternately busy or rings off the hook. I am assuming it is his data/fax line and does not have a phone on it.

Adrian Petford checked out Deja News:

If you do a Dejanews search on Van Staveren, he's been spamming many newsgroups for months with his overblown drivel.

But who is he? Is he really a Doctor? He told Paul Walker:

...I survive on very little sleep, this all due in part to my years in the Air Force getting up at all odd hours, and yes I am British and proud of it!

In answer to your question as to being a doctor, yes I am a doctor of Astro Physics at NASA in Mountain View, California. I am currently working on the proposed mission to mars in the year 2003.

I guess he was an obvious candidate for the job, having lived most of his life on another planet. Sean Hughes wrote:

A Dejanews search reveals that a D.R. Van Staveren has posted to Usenet before, with the e-mail address "regiment@cris.com". He claimed to be a retired US Airforce major who had had some contact with UFOs. Strangely enough, I find that more believable than the current crap he's spouting out. :-)

Subject: Re: RUSTY
Date: 1996/10/08
Organization: PENTAGON 5
Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy.area51

Funny thing all this back and forth and up and down about who believes
who, I myself with 23 very proud years in the USAF and having flown
over 283 sorties in Vietnam and Korea can  honestly state that over
half of my flying hours in high altitude jets have proven me wrong
every time that UFOs don't exist, oh my are they out there and don't
you even think for one second that because I am a senior I am a senial
senior, I have and can claim true to the account that those discs or
whatever you want to call them are not and I do vehemently state are
not of this man made earth. I am not affraid at my age to speak out,
what does it matter, to serve our quench for curiosity is all it
really is.

D.R. Van Staveren

Van Staveren also posted to the Area 51 mailing list. Another subscriber to the list, Glenn Campbell, mocked Van Staveren:

I served proudly in Vietnam, Korea & WWII, worked security at '51 and other bases YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW ABOUT. I am a tae kwondo 8th degree black belt master, ran missions for the CIA into Cambodia and Nicaragua and was once licensed to kill by Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Glenn doesn't think Van Staveren is for real:

In response to the message posted by "D.R. VAN STAVEREN USAF MJR. Ret.", a real Air Force Captain writes:

"It's unlikely that Mr Staveren was in the Air Force since no one in the Air Force uses Mjr. as an abbreviation. MAJ is the actual abbreviation. Since, as a Major he would have certainly used this abbreviation many times in correspondance and so on, I can't believe he'd start using Mjr after retiring. And not to be too picky, but he got this wrong too: His title should read: MAJ, USAF (ret.)"

Van Staveren Visits the BBC!

We finally got nearer to learning to the truth about the Web Snatcher saga after a man claiming to be David Staveren turned up at the BBC and apologised for his behaviour.

John Fletcher is web master of the Clangers web site, another of the many web sites assimilated into Van Staveren's "Best of British Television" pages. When John complained, he received an e-mail requesting a meeting in which he would be asked to prove copyright ownership. Van Staveren wrote:

"The Web page was created as a sentimental journey for many UK citizens living overseas. There was no money involved, there was no subscription or payment asked of any kind. It was just a fun thing to do that brought pleasure to a lot of people. It had a lot of rave reviews and I can only assume that there is some jealousy on your part and a certain Andrew Wiseman who decided to embark on a hate campaign for what ever motive who knows."

John works as a consultant at the BBC and arranged to meet Van Staveren there on Monday 16th December 1996. To everyone's surprise, he actually kept his appointment.

In a friendly meeting, David Van Staveren said he'd come to sort out the misunderstanding that had arisen over his internet activites. He had been particularly upset at the amount of "hate" e-mail that had apparently been sent to him. He and his son, who set up the web site together upon discovering they had some free web space from their ISP, hadn't realised that what they had done would cause so much controversy.

David Van Staveren told John that the Staverens were new to the Internet and hadn't understood that they were in breach of accepted netiquette and copyright law.

Van Staveren works for an engineering company in California and is often in the UK working at his London office. He's a short man who appears to be somewhere in his fifties. Although Patrick Buskirk claims his friend is the victim of racism against African Americans, David Van Staveren is white.

From the 15-minute meeting it transpired that any threatening or abusive e-mail that had David's name on it actually came from his son. In a bid to resolve the situation, David is considering e-mailing an apology to all those his son has written to.

John Fletcher hopes that now this issue can be resolved peacefully and that it's useful aspects are appreciated:

"It takes only seconds to call the original copyright holders of material you wish to use. Small film makers are usually delighted that someone wishes to publicise their work and are more than helpful. They can grant you the right to use images of their work over the phone giving you considerably more recourse in cases of blatant image copying and reuse."

If only the BBC were as friendly as the small film makers! :-)

Staveren's "Death Threat" Phone Calls

Despite the fact that the Best of British Television site has been off the web for some time and the apology in person, the Web Snatcher story doesn't end there. At the start of 1997, a man claiming to be calling from the US and identifying himself as David Staveren began phoning my place of work.

On Thursday 2nd January 1997, he claimed that I had been repeatedly calling his home and being abusive to his wife. The next day he claimed that I'd issued "death threats" to his family by phone and over the internet. The phone calls had been traced to my office, apparently! I don't even know Staveren's number, and oddly he wouldn't leave his contact details when he called.

Even odder is that the man who called doesn't seem to be the same man who visited John Fletcher at the BBC - their accents appear to be different. Worse, it appeared that despite their friendly meeting, John Fletcher was threatened with legal action.

Perhaps Son of Staveren is out of control?

Who's Sorry Now?

On Thursday 20th February, I received this apology from Dave in which he says he enjoys my page and admits that he made a stupid mistake. The apology also extends to everyone else he may have offended. (You may need some violins playing sad music in the background as you read this. Alternatively, keep a bucket near you.)

  Dear Andrew,

I am sure that Marla sent you this letter if not here it is below. Andrew I am trying to understand exactly what you want from me and are trying to gain by your Snatcher page. It doesn't really bother me any more except that I need you to know that I am truly sorry about what happened with the British TV page, it was a stupid mistake. I was new to the net and excited by all the hype. I admire your writing abilities and wish I could have the same qualities, I do enjoy your page.

I want this to be over and the hatred to end, I am not a bad person by any means, I just got a bit carried away.

Lets be freinds okay,

Heres the letter,

Take care,


  Dear Marla,

I think itıs about time I owed you and a few other good people a sincere apology for my behavior several months ago in regards to the British Television web page.

Let me try to explain what happened and feel free to pass this letter to the others involved if you do so desire.

When I first started using the Internet as a tool to look into my past I was thrilled because there in front of me was all the great old TV shows of years gone by and I was swept away with grand memories. When I started learning html naturally I wanted a web page dealing with something I was truly fond of and British TV shows seemed to fit perfectly, at the time.

What I didnıt realize at the time and initially refused to accept was what you see and enjoy is great to look at but you cannot take it away. And when after I had spammed half the globe about this glorious web page of doom did it hit me like a two ton truck that there maybe a few people who need to tell me that I am not exactly doing this right. And yes they had the right too!

I must say honestly that after it was up and receiving great comments from people and a lot of hits I found it impossible to accept that people like yourself would be upset because I used your material. I just thought everyone was jealous and playing a game. It had gotten way out of hand and I am really sorry for my childish behaviour.

Please donıt think I am an evil and horrible person because this is not the case and I do hope that you especially Marla will take my apology sincerely. I have no intentions in the future of ever re-submitting a British TV page. I think I am quite content with the memories of yesteryear.

All the best to you and everyone else,

Take care,

Dave Van Staveren


Needless to say, Marla never received Dave's apology.

This was my reply.

Dave Van Staveren wrote:
> Andrew I am trying to understand exactly what you want from me and are trying to gain by your Snatcher page.

Well you know that the Snatcher page was designed to bring your antics to people's attention in a witty and amusing way. You didn't seem to be taking any notice of requests by individuals to remove the material you pinched, and so the web page was also designed to put pressure on you to cease your actions.

I don't particularly want anything from you except to know the truth about what really happened. Your explanations so far haven't begun to explain the e-mail that I and many others received from you.

> It doesn't really bother me any more except that I need you to know that I am truly sorry about what happened with the British TV page, it was a stupid mistake. I was new to the net and excited by all the hype.

That doesn't explain the threats to me and my family. It doesn't explain why a Dave Staveren with an English accent turned up at the BBC to apologise and then following that threatened legal action by e-mail. Or why a Dave Staveren with an American accent phoned my office demanding I stop abusing his wife!

> I want this to be over and the hatred to end,

There's no hatred. The web snatcher page is meant to be funny: there's no malice intended.

> I am not a bad person by any means, I just got a bit carried away.

A bit?!!! You invent companies and their personnel and assume the identities of these made up folk in order to threaten innocent people with legal action and violence against them and their families and you reckon you got "a bit" carried away?

I will include your apology on the next update of the page so that others can make up their own minds.

Thanks for writing.


Meet The Family

It didn't take long for Spam Staveren to change (lose?) his mind again. He phoned me at work and complained again that I'd been phoning his house and that again the calls had been traced to my office. Then a lawyer, Jeffrey Knowles called to discuss the matter.

Apparently, Stav had spent over $100 hiring an attorney, despite the fact the he now claims he doesn't think I made the calls, but his "wife" does! He also contacted the police about the phone calls who offered to tap his phone for $1000. It's not his phone that needs a tap.

All of the calls came in while I was on holiday in Stav's home country. He followed up the calls with e-mail to my employers. On Friday 21st March he wrote:

... I am to say the least a little sick and tired of this young man attempting to destroy my name and that of my family via the Internet and through threatening telephone calls to my house.

Yes, it was back to the old story that I'd been phoning his house again and abusing his wife. The next day there was another e-mail, this time purporting to be from wifey, Amy Van Staveren.

Maybe you don't think that we exist! but we do, we are real people with real feelings and though my husband Dave asked your employee many times to remove his Web Snatcher page I can only come to the conclusion that you just don't care about people.

Well then when I take a few days off next week and make some phone calls to your customers about Andrew Wiseman and his evil hate campaign you might change your mind.

Anyway here we are:

And yes, wifey had indeed produced a web page in response to this one, extracts of which are reproduced below.

My Family & the man who is trying to destroy us...

By Amy Van Staveren

My name is Amy Van Staveren, I am 32 years old and live in the golden hills of Northern California with my husband Dave and our two children. We live a peaceful life with outdoor BBQs & outings with the kids. Though my husband Dave has asked me not post this page I feel that people should know about this evil and horrible animal calling himself Andrew Wiseman.

But our normal life has been shattered by a demented and evil man calling himself Andrew Wiseman.

This horrible man makes no apologies for his evil deeds, namely calling our house in the middle of the night and making threats against me and my husband. Or writing mean and nasty letters via e-mail over the Internet under assumed names.

And all this started because of Andrew Wiseman's jealousy over a British Television Web Page that my husband and our friend Patrick created that was just a bit better than his.

And this swine of a man has had the nerve and audacity to write a web page of hate and lies called the The Web Snatcher, he even invented so called friends to back him up and then threaten to physically hurt my husband and children. We have contacted the local police and they are investigating this bastard who is trying to destroy our life.

So if you know of this horrible little bastard have him STOP his "HATE" campaign and tell him to grow up leave my husband and family in peace!


Amy Van Staveren

The web page also included photos of the children, of hubby and of our friend Patrick Buskirk. I understand Patrick even house sat for the Van Staverens. Interesting, then, that in his e-mail to me he claims not to know the family personally. Both he and Dave look remarkably young to be Vietnam veterans.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that Davey-boy himself wrote the web page. But oh no, he knew nothing about it. In fact he even announced his intentions to delete the page (see his newsgroup posting, below).

Subject: Re: Wiseman page will be deleted
From: Dave Van Staveren
Date: 1997/03/24
Newsgroups: rec.arts.tv.uk.misc

Good evening,

Upon returning from a trip abroad I have found that my wife has taken it
upon herself to write a few letters and post a few web pages about
Andrew Wiseman. these pages will be deleted by myself this
afternoon. These postings do not help our position in try to calm
Andrew down and to stop his ongoing rampage. My apologies to you all in
regards to the TV page last year, we now just want Andrew to stop
calling our house and writing to us.

All the best to you and take care,

Dave Van Staveren

And indeed the web page did disappear from Geocities, only to re-appear again (in true Van-Stav Style) at http://members.tripod.com/~KIMMB/index.html.

Glenn Campbell decided to preserve a copy of wifey's page at www.ufomind.com before it disappeared forever. On 3rd April, he got a call from Amy's irate husband.

Van Staveren called me tonight and said, "I strongly advise you to remove this page." I declined this request. I explained to him that a web index is created when someone becomes the subject of controversy on the net, and that it cannot be removed. I told him he was free, however, to post his own links and respond to any material he feels is false. Our conversation ended with some acrimony.

Adrian Petford pointed out that the e-mail address that Mrs Web Snatcher used (<niiven@geocites.com>) is logged on DejaNews as actually belonging to one Melvin Niven; other posts from that address relate to (you guessed it) the space programme. Darren Meldrum investigated the account used for the second location and found it was registered to Kim Van Staveren.

Who the hell is Kim Van Staveren? Remember the Mr Men?

# Pom Pom...
What a lot of Van Staverens there are...
I wonder which one we'll be meeting next?

First Name:Kim
Last Name:Van Staveren
Member since:03/22/1997
Country:United States
Homepage URL:
Brief description:My husband and kids...

The Staveren Family Tree
The Family Tree?
Spot the sap!
So, some of this is beginning to make sense: there would seem to be two Dave Staverens. Dave Senior visited the BBC to apologize for his son, Dave Junior. Junior is married to Amy and they have two daughters. But who is Kim?

Adrian Petford received an e-mail from <woodlane@cris.com> back in November which began:

Good evening,

My name is DR. Richard Van Staveren and I am the President and CEO of Pentagon 5 Productions©.

So unless there's also a DR Richard, we can now guess that Junior's second name is Richard. And in Junior's world, if your Christian names are David Richard, you are automatically a Doctor and can sign yourself DR Dave Van Staveren, DR Richard Van Staveren or simply Dave Staveren.

Have You Seen This Man?
According to Amy Van Staveren's web page, this is a picture of Patrick Buskirk. But is it?

Gary Self e-mailed to me to express his astonishment at seeing the same face staring back at him in a photograph at his local computer shop. The shop, in Newcastle- Upon-Tyne, was using the picture to advertise a range of Epson colour printers. So is this picture on some CD of photographs somewhere or has it been downloaded from elsewhere on the web? Let me know if you see this photograph anywhere or if, indeed, this is you!

Amy: Our friend Patrick Buskirk

Summary - The Truth Is Out There
So there you have it. The truth is out there! We've exposed David Richard Van Staveren as the thief and fraud he is.
  • Stav uses "DR" and "Dr." in front of his name to imply that he's a doctor, when DR are simply his initials.

  • Or when it suits him he claims to be a retired Major in the US Air Force who flew over 283 missions in Vietnam.

  • He has a degree in Astro Physics, which he didn't study for.

  • He's British and proud, as well as being American.

  • He's 76 and 79 and has dentures, which fall out when he laughs. He looks much younger in his pictures.

  • He has a friend, Patrick Buskirk, also a Vietnam Vet, who he's never met, but who housesits for the family.

  • In his photograph Dave has white skin. However, according to Patrick, this page is racist, because Dave's black. If true, this makes Michael Jackson look normal.

  • Dave's working on the NASA mission to Mars and he's a believer in UFOs.

Perhaps Dave was abducted by aliens and they told him to carry out their evil work for them? Invasion of the Web Snatchers today. Invasion of the Body Snatchers tomorrow?
Amy: My Husband

This picture
of Dave
was used
in wife Amy's
web page.

In January 1998 I received an e-mail from someone calling themselves Marsha Spader.

Marsha told me she was co-writing a new on-line "Freak Guide to the Internet" called Super Freaks which was to include an article on the Web Snatcher.

Also I have his new email address....want it? OK I tell ya what I will give you this little teaser and then when Gene and I complete ³Super Freaks² we will tell you about where his new home/castle/fortress/mansion/whatever is located exactly and with some interesting details on his so-called family (yeah right) and what he really does with all his money/denaro/quid/pesos/whatever (like just purchasing his own server)

A subsequent message enlarged on this...

Also our "freaky" little investigation which you will read more about in "Super Freaks" has led us to believe that Van Stav has more money/pesos/denaro/quid/whatever! than brains. My sister who who lives on the island of Molokai says that "Snatcher" lives in a fortress style house atop a damn mountain! next to (like 10,000 yards) the governor of the island. How does she know this well if I keep on I am going to bore you to tears and you probably would like to wait until "Super Freaks" has launched so I won't carry on unless you want me too! Try doing a bit of research on the Democratic National Convention and see who the threw in a few dollars to help Bill "FREAKY" Clinton win the last election! you guessed it our very own Web Snatcher! I told you this guy has more dollars than brains :) If you check the list of "dollar donors" there towards the bottom of the page is David Van Staveren with more very interesting details about what he "owns". I will fill you in more later if your interested? or just check in and read: "SUPER FREAKS" your super duper freaky guide to fruits and nuts on the net!

The Super Freaks guide was to appear on the 24th January at http://www.banzai-net.com/tridot/superfreaks.htm, but it didn't materialise.

Marsha also made an astonishing personal attack on Glenn Campbell (see the UFO Connection above). Viewers of BBC Two may remember seeing Glenn in an edition of Louis Theroux' Weird Weekends. Glenn runs a UFO centre in the Nevada desert and lives near to a bar which he was barred from. We didn't get to find out why.

The UFOmind web site (link below) that is keeping tabs on Dave also has a page on Marsha Spader. Glenn believes she doesn't exist.

The Eurovision Copycat Snatcher?
Eurovision - Birmingham 98 In February 1998 I received the following message from Liam Duke Nahemean Pennington via Hotmail.
Someone called Richard Saverton, later Richard Van Serverton, has for many months being bugging us Eurovision Webpeople with bogus news and obviously flase claims. Below is a quick resume of his antics:

December 1996: Richard Severton e-mails all eurovision sites to tell us that he has had a private meeting with RTE boss Kelly Brian about the 1997 Dublin Eurovision Song Contest. The boss of RTE is not called Kelly Brian.

Feburary 1997: A UFO fan called Amy Van Semerton writes in a guestbook that she loves eurovision and that she hopes the 1997 show is good. She later claims in another guestbook, using the address a37@hotmail.com ( which does not exist), that she is a fan of writing and that she has written a song for the Great British Song Contest and is waiting for news. This is impossible, as the deadline for songs was November 96, and songs were already on TV.

April 1997: A web site run by Richard Saverton and David Robert McQuinn on Eurovision and cult tv claims to have exclusive information about the ESC show on May 3rd. The info is stolen from the RTE web site, as is the interview with presenter Ronan Keating. The web site www.geocities.com/Vienna/4083 closes in June

May 1997: Alison Von Serteran e-mails me to tell me that she has a web site at www.eurofan.com. Another eurofan has this news from David Robert Sanermann. The site does not exist.

August 1997: Another web site, www.geocities.com/Paris/Metero/5486/euro.htm is set up by Alison Von Serteran. All info is either stolen, false or grossley incorrect. The BBC ask her to take off her site an interview with Jonathan King.

September 1997: Richard Davies claims he has the draw for the 1998 ESC. The draw is wrong, contains 3 incorect countries and the draw is not made until November. Later, DR Richard Stanley ( OBE no less) e-mails a guestbook claming to be an UFO loving ESC fan. The guestbook is closed soon after.

December 1997: Richard Davies claims that he wrote one of the GBSC songs. Later on, we find this is false. You can see this at www.kidney.demon.co.uk/sf98.htm ( the address may now be 1998.htm)

The last we heard is from Alison Von Serteran whose web site is a TV fan web site, but I have no address. This could be the same man/woman/child who has been causing you problems.


"In life there are the good things, the bad things and inbetween The Doors"

At first I thought someone had read this page and decided to use it to wind up Eurovision Song Contest fans. But since I haven't been able to verify any of the claims in the above message, it looks as if the victim is meant to be me!

Red Faces at CNN
In July 1998 I heard from Gary Taylor who had read an interesting article in the Electronic Telegraph. The TV news organisation CNN had apologised over a broadcast in which claims were made that US Forces had used nerve gas on defectors in the Vietnam war. According to the article, CNN's main source claims that his memory of "Operation Tailwind", in which sarin nerve gas was said to have been used, was repressed until CNN questioned him about it. But recovered-memory was not mentioned in the documentary. So what has this got to do with the price of bread, you ask? Well, the source is named as Lt Robert Van Buskirk. If the words Vietnam, Van and Buskirk don't ring a bell, then you haven't been reading very carefully!

So is this just an amazing co-incidence? Possibly. After reading about this on 625's main page, Dave sent me an e-mail...

Very good Andrew your getting "HOTTER" ;-)


>> More on this story at CNN's web site

Van Staveren's Net History

All of these URLs and email addresses are believed to belong to Van Staveren.

  • <regiment@cris.com> - When sending email from here, he would sign himself D.R. VAN STAVEREN USAF MJR. Ret..

  • <DVansta479@aol.com> - Van Stav's defunct AOL account.

  • <71023.651@compuserve.com> - Yes, he's on Compuserve too. Registered to David Staveren, Novato, California. Status of this account: unknown.

  • http://www.cris.com/~woodlane/BIBTV/BIBTV1.shtml - Run by CEO and President of Pentagon 5 Productions, DR VAN STAVEREN who also signed himself DR. Richard Van Staveren. Email: <woodlane@cris.com>. Other aliases include Kim, Kimberly and Kinberly Strickland, Christine Mquinn, and a "friend", David Jacobs. This account no longer exists.

  • http://www.cris.com/~Proslick/BIBTV/BIBTV1.shtml - Proslick Communications. BIBTV's second home. Email: <proslick@cris.com>. Again this account no longer exists.

  • http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Hills/7412/ - was registered to <buskirk@geocities.com> who signed his email as Patrick Buskirk USAF ret. He was so convinced we'd fingered the wrong man, and so desperate to have this page removed that he threatened physical violence. Could this be another of Van Staveren's aliases? Of course it is! This email address is now defunct and someone else has moved in to Hollywood/Hill/7412.

  • http://www.geocities.com/Broadway/3195/ - There was a link from here to the defunct Proslick site, and then there was nothing. Now someone else is using this account. It was registered to <neou@geocities.com> who wrote email as both Benjamin (Benji) Neou, from Chicago, an "11-year-old" who's into gay sex (I know this because he offered me some), and "his father" Jeremiah Neou, who said he wasn't exactly chuffed. Interestingly, on his list of Credits, (which also seemed to have been made up) there's a Leonard Neou of Film Press Associates.

  • http://www.britelevision.holowww.com/ - Yet another site which contained a link to the defunct Proslick site. Then there were links to his new site about NASA and the space program (see below). Now there's the rather satisfying message Error 403, Forbidden -- Service for this site has been suspended indefinitely.

  • http://www.concentric.net/~Holonet/NEBULA/HTML/INTRO.shtml - Van Staveren's comeback site. Having given up on TV sites, he went on spamming newsgroups about his new NASA/Space site. His new name was Dave Crocker <holonet@concentric.net>. He also has a new company - MULTISCOPE Iİ.

  • http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Hills/7306/AndrewWiseman.html - Posing as his own wife, Amy Van Staveren, Dave posted a web page about how I'm trying to ruin their lives. (See extracts above.) The e-mail address that goes with this GeoCities account is <niiven@geocites.com> which belongs to a Melvin Niven, who used it to post to Usenet about the space programme.

  • http://members.tripod.com/~KIMMB/index.html - this was where Mrs Web Snatcher's page ended up next. The page was registered to a Kim Van Staveren using Dave's current e-mail address, <holonet@cris.com>.

  • <vsgraphics@msn.com> - E-mail has been sent from this address signed David Staveren and Arthur Crocker, who alludes to be a laywer. The address is registered to a D. Staveren of Novato, California.

  • His other alias is Charles Kalish, supposedly from newswire.com.

  • http://www.concentric.net/~Holonet/ - Dave's Holonet site has now gone. But recently he used it to display a picture of a huge house along with the announcement that his whole family is moving to Hawaii. They were due to take up residence in the new "House of Idiot" in November 1997.

  • The Mysterious Marsha Spader allegedly searched and found that the Van Staveren couple were claiming to be at these two e-mail addresses: <dave@aloha.net> and <amy@aloha.net>.

  • http://www.ufomind.com/people/v/vanstaveren/ - The people at ufomind are also keeping tabs on the Web Snatcher (the UFO connection is explained above). There you will also find preserved a copy of Amy Van Staveren's web page.

  • http://www.concentric.net/~Holonet/THEWHO/THE_WHO_LIVE.shtml - Dave's grasp of the copyright laws took on a new dimension when he began using his Holonet account to produce a site devoted to The Who where he's blatantly bootlegging Who concerts. "I record concerts onto Maxell XLIIs or Maxell XLII 90 min. tapes only." "No money is made from this service, this is a free trading program." He gives his address as Dave Van Staveren, P.O. Box 2754, Novato, CA 94948.

  • http://www.thewho.net/thewholive/ (Not to be confused with the offical site at http://www.thewholive.com) - Dave's new home for his Who pages. He can be contacted there at <dave@thewho.net>. There's a similar site, http://www.thewho.net/live/, which, at the time of writing, bears this message: "This site is now defunct... After almost four glorious years of activity I have decided to bring this web site down. God bless you all, Dave Van Staveren".

  • http://www.rogerdaltrey.net is a spin-off from The Who site, described elsewhere as the Offical Roger Daltrey site. Dave has an e-mail address here too: <dave@rogerdaltrey.net>.

  • http://www.petetownshend.net is another spin-off from The Who site. (Not to be confused with the offical site at http://www.petetownshend.com.) There's an About The Authors page at the site, which tells how Dave was born in London in the 1960s and moved to the USA in the 1970s. "My day is not complete unless I listen to at least a good solid two hours of Pete Townshend," says Dave.

  • http://www.quadrophenia.net is yet another spin-off from The Who site. (Not to be confused with another unoffical site http://www.quadrophenia.com.) You can read Dave's press release for the site at JamesCampion.com's Sound Off page, in which Dave describes himself as a "veteran multimedia developer" with over 10 years of experience. Apparently, Dave has been a fan of The Who for over 25 years and currently lives in California. Yahoo made the site a Pick Of The Week in August 2000.

The Genuine Article

Here are links to some of the original sites that Van Staveren stole.

>> Mr Benn's dressing-up games are covered at this site from Hiran Perera.

>> Paul M Walker's Children's TV site (now under new management) covers (or has links to other sites which cover) the following: Pipkins, The Magic Roundabout, Ivor The Engine, Bagbuss, Trumpton - Chigley - Camberwick Green etc, Battle of the Planets, Rentaghost, DangerMouse, Mr Men, Rainbow, Metal Mickey, Monkey, Grange Hill, Basil Brush and The Wombles.

>> Marla Kendal's Tomorrow People site tells you all about the kid telepaths who could "jaunt" from one place to another without the aid of a Star Trek transporter.

>> At last the Clangers are on the internet! This web site was produced with the permission of the company who made the show and put together by John S. Fletcher.

>> The original Michael Bentine page is here, put together by Michael's son.

Your Views

Web Snatcher - Feedback Special I've been inundated with email expressing support for this Web Snatcher page. You can read a selection of the stuff folk have written in the Web Snatcher - Feedback Special.

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