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OT) Confession of a paid basher, read below:

By Tom Martin
aka “Steve Tracy”
aka “Firebird_1965”

Today I want to come clean about something I feel very badly about. I
cannot undo some of the things I have done, but hopefully this message
will prevent other such occurrences in the future.

I am a paid basher.

Yes, it is true. Today is my last day at this company; I'm moving on
to a new job. But before I go, I want to explain a few things because
this just isn't right and I won't feel good about myself until I
expose this sham. It's hurt too many people and I don't want it on my
conscience anymore. I can no longer live with a lie.

I work for a company called Franklin, Andrews, Kramer & Edelstein in
Stamford, CT. Basically, it's a Boiler Room much like the one in the
movie of the same name. The idea behind my group is to bash the price
of a company's stock down low enough to where the group of investors
who retained our company's services can buy the stock
really cheap and perhaps even take it over all together.

There are approximately 70 people at the company divided into several
groups. My group, consisting of 5 people, is responsible for BIFS.
While I probably shouldn't give any names of anyone working here now,
what the heck, I'm leaving here, so what can they do – sue me? Ha! I
can tell you that GUTTWRENCH was part of my group until he left last
week, as was Richardphx. Others who have been part of this include
bashers like Epiphonics and Simontaz. You may be interested to know
that some hypsters, such as Amato7 and BIFWATCHER, have also been part
of the scam (more on that later).

There are several companies engaged in the bashing business – ours is
not the only one. However, I can tell you that not every basher in
here is a paid basher. Having done this for two years, I can usually
tell who is a paid basher and who is merely someone having a little
fun. While unpaid bashers have a different motive than someone like
me, they can be unwilling accomplices to helping me achieve my
ultimate goal and they also spread rumor and confusion throughout a
room, which also helps me.

What is that goal? Well, I am merely a cog in a much larger machine,
so my bosses never really explained the big picture to me, but I'd say
essentially, GUTTWRENCH was right. There are several companies who are
quite familiar with SWOMI and who are deathly afraid of it.

There are three types of bashers here at Franklin, Andrews, Kramer &
Advanced, Intermediate and Beginner. An Advanced-level basher (also
known as a Silver Tongued Devil) would spread false or misleading
information about the company. They would deal in facts, countering
every longs post with articles, news reports and opinion surveys that
gave a negative impression about the company.

An Intermediate-level basher (also known as a Serpent) would try to
weasel their way into the confidence of longs and create doubt using
rumor or innuendo.

Finally, a Beginner-level basher (also known as a Pitchfork) would
attempt to create confusion in the room by distracting other posters
with satire, name calling and pointless arguments. The idea was to
make sure no serious discussion of the stock could take place. A
Pitchfork was usually a basher, but not always. Sometimes, we
would throw in a hypster Pitchfork such as Amato7 or BIFSWATCHER to
create the illusion of an argument going on. What was really funny (in
a perverse way, I guess) was that Amato7 and I sat next to each other,
laughing the whole time.

I was a Pitchfork. I was paid a base wage of $12 an hour for my
services. I was given a $1 bonus for every post over 100 per day as
well as a monthly bonus of $100 for every penny the stock had dropped
from the previous month. I was also paid a bonus for bashing on
weekends. While this may not sound like much, I made a decent, though

dishonorable, paycheck.

Each of us sat in a small half-cubicle in a cluster with our
teammates. Each group
(usually five people) was made of three beginners (two who would bash
and one who would hype), one intermediate and one advanced level
basher. Occasionally for some of the hotter stocks, one of the
beginners would be replaced by an intermediate depending on how much
the stock was rising. BIFS was a low-level stock, meaning it
got the 3-1-1 configuration. Somehow, I get the feeling that JPACK2
may have worked for a basher company or knows someone who does because
the “Basher Handbook” he occasionally posts is
eerily similar to the one we actually use. While not a word-for-word
match, I'd say it is about 90 percent the same. We do have certain
rules that we follow.

First, we have to develop a character and stay within that character
in order to build a
“following.” My character, “Firebird_1965,” was a sarcastic, obnoxious
supporter of free speech, but only when it came to bashers.

Next, we had to follow certain guidelines on what we could say. We
were urged to have an “answer” to every long's question, but we were
to frame that answer in a way that ridiculed the questioner for asking
such a question. However, we were never to use profanity or vulgarity
because that would cause people to ignore us. We were to make fun of
people, but in a civil way. The idea was to get “play,” i.e. –
reaction from other posters. The more play we got, the more the room
would be disrupted. Ignored posters get no play. One exception would
be the hypster – since they were “defending” the stock against our
onslaught, they got a little more leeway. People would side with the
hypster because they thought he was real since he appeared to be on
their side, but was really on ours, setting us up to disrupt the room.
Padelcars is quite good at this and gets paid very well.

I've worked on BIFS for about three months now. In addition to the
Firebird_1965 alias, I've used a few others on the BIFS and several
other boards as well. I stuck with Firebird_1965 because it was the
one that got the most play from other posters.

In closing, I feel absolutely terrible about this. It's just awful how
I've been part of a scam designed to cheat honest, hard-working people
out of their investments all for the
benefit of a few wealthy people who already have enough money to last
a lifetime. These greedy people MUST be stopped. That's why I'm
posting this before I leave. I want to make up for some of the damage
I've done. I can't live with this lie anymore. You can't imagine how
hard it is to look at myself in the mirror each morning knowing my job
is to cheat and lie.

I have to go now, I'm too broken up to continue. I hope this
confession can make up for my sordid deeds; I would urge everyone who
reads this to copy and repost it as many times as you can. Only by
shining the light of truth can we drive these rats back into the
darkness from whence they came. Believe me, they don't want publicity.

With fervent remorse,

Tom Martin
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