Leonard Coldwell (born 1958 as Bernd Klein, a.k.a. Bernd Witchner, often called Dr. C by his supporters) is a promoter of alternative medicine, "natural remedies", statin denialism and has produced many videos full of pseudoscientific piffle, evidence-bereft medical claims, and conspiracy theories.
He often claims to be the world's leading authority on cancer (amongst other medical conditions), but he has precious little understanding of medicine or human biology, and his understanding of basic science is virtually non-existent: any man who genuinely fails to understand the fact that glass and sand are not actually soluble in water is probably not best placed to offer health advice.
Coldwell has left a string of abandoned websites in his wake without having the sense to delete them when his scheme changes name or collapses. This makes it easy and entertaining to compare the woo he's peddling one year to the woo he's peddling the next.
Born in Germany in 1958, Bernd Klein (as he was known then) first discovered his God-given ability to cure people of cancer at the age of 14 (some accounts say 12… or possibly 8) when he saved his mother from the ravages of hepatitis C, cirrhosis of the liver and final stage terminal liver cancer. From that point, his healing powers became a calling, and while running his European hospitals, he treated over 35,000 cancer patients with a 92.3% cure rate.
According to the crankery-ridden American Anti-Cancer Institute, of which he serves on the advisory board, "Dr. Coldwell left general practice [in Europe after 16 years] to concentrate on his applied research in stress and stress-related diseases, with particular emphasis on cancer and other 'incurable' diseases".
There is no credible evidence whatsoever that any of this ever happened, and the chances of him ever being in general practice in Germany are somewhere between minuscule and sweet fuck all.
New world. New name
Whatever the details, it appears likely that at some point in the mid-1990s Klein decided to abandon Germany and its volk, shut up shop at his imaginary hospitals and set sail for the Land of the Free™ and sunnier climes of Florida where, with the aid of Harvey Diamond, he set up his own Fit For Life Health Resort and Spa (Slogan: Zwei Giganten, eine Idee, das Resultat… Two giants, one idea, the result). At around the same time Klein developed "The world's only integrated self-help system… The Neuro-associative Programming System®" [NAPS] (Slogan: Gesundheits – Power – Woche…
Strength through joy! Health – Power – Week… It loses a little in the translation).
Klein's NAPS offered the promise of cures for asthma, rheumatism, muscular dystrophy, and, of course, cancer to say nothing of learning the "secrets of people who are on average between 120 and 140 years old and healthy and fit". Membership of NAPS was 216DM per annum.
In 1999, Klein/Witchner legally changed his name, in the US at least, to Leonard Coldwell. Showing that the Germans actually do have a sense of humour, a court in his native land where he was conducting an ill-fated defamation suit continued referring to him as Bernd Witchner, which was the name on his passport. Given the fact that one of the legally-groundless aspects of Coldwell's whining lawsuit was that the respondent persisted in calling him Klein/Witchner. This probably pissed him off quite a bit.
The reasoning behind the change and the choice of a name so distinctly un-Teutonic can only be guessed at since Lenny has never explained the name change and is very tetchy about the whole subject. Why a man with a stratospheric cure rate and tens of thousands of happily ex-cancerous punters would choose to leave the country where he performed his medical miracles, change his name, take up motivational speaking and get arsey about being known by his former name is a mystery which may never be solved.
Coldwell claims expertise in virtually any sphere where he thinks there's a quick buck to be made and backs up his 'expertise' with a variety of phony or worthless qualifications, none of which are worth the Microsoft Paint and clip-art enhanced 80gsm they were ink-jetted on.
At various times Coldwell has laid claim to the following not-necessarily-exhaustive list of 'qualifications'.
- ND – Naturopathic Doctor.
- DNM – Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.
- LCHC – Legally Certified Healthcare Constructor
- CNHP – Certified Natural Health Professional.
- DIP.PHC – Diploma in Primary Health Care
- PhD – Doctor of Philosophy. (Four of them).
- 'Doctor Degrees' (Four of them whatever they are supposed to be).
- D.Hum – Doctor of Humanities. (Honorary).
Determining when or where this impressive hoard of qualifications was obtained is remarkably difficult largely due to the fact Coldwell is quite determinedly tight-lipped on the whole subject and the claims vary from one bullshit website to the next.
In written evidence for an ill-fated 1999 German defamation case (see below), Coldwell uncharacteristically and probably unwisely let slip a few details about his credentials. He claimed to have a doctorate in psychology from Columbia State University which sounds impressive enough until you discover Columbia State University is, or rather was, a diploma mill operated by stage hypnotist Ronald "Dr Dante" Pellar. Columbia State University was closed by court order in 1998 when "Dr Dante" got 67 months in the big house on a string of dishonesty charges.
At the same time, Coldwell was also claiming to be a professor at the Virginia Health University of Delaware. While absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence in cases like this, an internet search for the exact term "Virginia Health University of Delaware" almost entirely produces hits that relate solely to Leonard Coldwell. Make of that what you will.
Coldwell is the proud holder of an honorary Doctor of Humanities award from the "Non Accredited, but very prestigious, Louisiana Baptist University." which is probably the nearest thing he actually has to a genuine qualification as honorary degrees do not actually require any academic work.
Where Not-A-Doctor Coldwell obtained his other three PhDs and his 'doctor degrees' from is anybody's guess.
It is also interesting to note that despite the degrees reasonably having been attained at various points in time all photos attached to his 'certificates' are identical.
Coldwell vs Paetow-Frose
In 1999, Coldwell launched an ill-fated and ill-advised lawsuit in Germany against Karin Paetow-Frose for defamation and damage to business, seeking 50,000DM damages. His case was based on the fact that Paetoe-Frose, an anti-cult activist, had described his NAPS psychobabble self-improvement system as having some of the characteristics of a Scientology-like cult and, bizarrely, her continuing to refer to him in the present tense as "Bernd Klein" had in some way damaged his business.
Initially, the case was rejected by the court as it refused to deal with Coldwell using a US mail-drop address. Eventually, the court accepted the case when Coldwell used a German 'Care of Momma Coldwell' address but bumped the claim down from 50,000DM to 5,000DM which deprived him not only of the possibility of those extra 45,000DM but also the chance to be heard in a high-level court. In effect, his claim was kicked down to a small-claims court where nobody really gave a toss.
In a spectacularly whiney and delusional submission to the court, Coldwell used his "professional point of view as a professor of psychology" to claim Ms Paetow-Frose was "in dire need of psychiatric evaluation", was a schizophrenic, a "danger to the community" and a chain-smoker. Quite what being a chain-smoker has to do with a defamation suit can only be guessed at as can the reaction of the court to such a bizarre stream of nonsense.
In a submission to the court in support of Paetow-Frose, a genuine German behavioural scientist and cults expert Hansjorg Hemmingher described Coldwell's "only integrated self-help system" (NAPS) as being essentially the same as Neuro-linguistic programming and not much more than positive thinking.
Hemmingher went on to describe Coldwell's letter to the court stating his case against Paetow-Frose as "irrational" and "bewildering" and also comments on his inexplicable citing of irrelevant product liability law. He then went on to describe Coldwell himself as having an "irrationally ideal self-image", being an "illusory self-publicist" and a man who "reacts highly aggressively to any form of criticism and questioning".
He also described Coldwell's professional qualification as a psychologist as being "in doubt", which is putting it mildly. In Germany, his diploma-mill psychology doctorate would be utterly worthless (as indeed it is elsewhere) and without a genuine degree and years of therapeutic work, he would have no right to describe himself as a psychologist. The Germans are sticklers for formalities like actually having the qualifications you claim to have, particularly when you are claiming to be a physician.
As a part of his claim, Coldwell produced a self-penned puff piece to the court based on claims made on his NAPS website that he had acted as a consultant to IBM, Lufthansa, and other top-ranking companies. When a German TV channel did an item on him and checked, his claims turned out to be untrue, and he nuked his website post haste.
In the end, Coldwell's case was thrown out by the court as being baseless, and he achieved nothing more than making himself look like a petulant child and totally unhinged bullshit merchant.
It is worth noting at this point that in his submission to the court he was laying claim to being a psychologist, a university professor, an author, a publisher, a management consultant and a music producer. References to his 16 years in general practice, his hospitals, his 35,000 cured patients and his 92.3% cure rate are conspicuously absent. Perhaps he forgot or, perhaps, these claims only first appeared many years after he had fled the country and he thinks people can't put two and two together and make four… Who can say?
Kevin Trudeau and the Global Information Network pyramid scheme
For many years, Coldwell and convicted felon Kevin Trudeau were loving partners in a mutual
masturbation admiration relationship making Hallmark Moment infomercials interviewing each other and telling the world how wonderful they each were.
In 2012, Coldwell was given the bum's rush from the very lucrative Global Information Network pyramid scheme by his erstwhile BFF and has spent the time since their messy divorce telling everybody who will listen what a con artist Trudeau is, how G.I.N. is a big scam, how it was absolutely nothing to do with him in the first place, and even if it was he was trying to bring it down from the inside.
In a stunning tribute to Coldwell's incompetence and inability to keep his story straight, many of their declarations of love for each other can still be found on his own websites, often on the same page as his bitchiness and back-stabbing. What is it they say about a good liar and a good memory?
“”That [GIN] will make you become a millionaire or rich beyond your wildest dreams. This is the only answer to success
|—Leonard Coldwell — The Kevin Trudeau Radio Show 2010|
“”He lied and lied and lied.
Coldwell was supposedly Trudeau's "personal physician in Europe".
Not being willing to let a lucrative scam get away from him Coldwell, in conjunction with fellow ex-GIN leading-light Peter Wink, has developed his own personal enhancement plan (no, not that you naughty boy) called the Instinct Based
Money Medicine System which is based very closely on The Global Information Network's razzmatazz with a small dose of his invaluable health advice. According to Lenny the IBMS is "endorsed by every significant physician and healer" and has "seen almost 65,000 patients".
Described as "a private, exclusive, members-only US-based secret society. It is a society created by achievers for achievers" membership of The Instinct Based Medicine System is available for a very reasonable (to him) $499 joining fee and $89.95 per month. Be assured that you will not be billed if your membership application is rejected. This awesome deal does of course only give you access to level one of the 'secret society'. Promotion to higher levels will inevitably result in further non-refundable charges.
What exactly you get for your $499 plus $1079.40 per annum is not entirely clear but given the fact it's a secret society, it would probably be unreasonable to enquire whether $499 plus $1079.40 per annum will be money well spent or just another way to flush large quantities of banknotes down the toilet.
Membership of IBMS is not necessary to avail yourself of such bargains as twenty-minute CDs of relaxing tweets, warbles, and whale farts at $99 for a set of three to a complete 'Curing Life' (is life a disease?) set of 13 CDs for a mere $454.87.
Coldwell's IBMS has no connection to the Institute of Biomedical Science which is a respectable UK professional body which has nothing in common with Coldwell's scam.
Swanson health products
Coldwell is a regular feature of cringe-inducing contrived interviews on the YouTube channel 'ihealthtube' which belongs to IhealthTube.com which, in turn, belongs to Swanson Health Products of Fargo, North Dakota. It should come as no surprise that Swanson Health Products sell an extensive range of 'natural' healthcare products for the discerning hypochondriac with more money than sense.
Not content with all of the usual 'Big Pharma' conspiracies, Coldwell is an equal-opportunities wingnut pushing all of the usual conspiracy theory twaddle which shows he understands his target audience if nothing else.
Coldwell claims to have had his car bombed, to have been 'shot at' and to have received 'about twenty' death threats per day, presumably from Big Pharma whom he claims spent "42 million dollars just last year to destroy [his] reputation" that they "shot at me 4 times in my car".
In early 2014, Coldwell created a new biography website to highlight his accreditation (or “Accredation” as he spells it) featuring a somewhat comical collection of scans of his 'credentials'. He took this opportunity to launch into a series of utterly scurrilous defamations of his critics accusing them of being paedophiles, former prostitutes and dog poisoners amongst other things.
Coldwell initially blamed the outage on hackers who were either his critics or acting for them. He subsequently went on a quite-impressive antisemitic rant accusing the Jews of starting WW1 and WW2 and attempting to start WW3.
Coldwell claims to have reported urban myth-debunking website Snopes to the US Justice Department for "Not telling the truth about aspartame". Quite why he thinks they would even be interested (let alone have any jurisdiction) has never been disclosed.
The irony of reporting Snopes to a government agency for something which would almost certainly be First Amendment-protected free speech while at the same time carrying a disclaimer on his own website full of rambling declarations of First Amendment immunity and incoherent sovereign citizen "you can't touch me" bullshit seems to have become lost somewhere along the line.
Some of his barely intelligible gripes include being funded by "uber-Leftist (Marxist) Billionaires", being owned by "a flaming liberal", that they are "a hoax" and "they have no formal background or experience". There goes that irony again.
Coldwell seems to be in awe of the 'several years research' done to 'reveal' that Snopes was owned and run by a 'husband and wife team' David and Barbara Mikkelson… which was never a secret since back when they were posting to alt.folklore.urban on Usenet.
In September 2012, Coldwell took umbrage at a less-than-complimentary article on the saltydroid.info blog and used Facebook to put a price on the author's head offering “$500 reward for the first one that gives me the real full name and address of this Salty Droid loser. Plus $100 dollars extra for a recent recognizable picture of that guy.” The information was, in fact, already available on saltydroid.info itself as was a picture of the offending blogger, but research not being one of Coldwell's strong points he hadn't actually bothered looking. Jason Jones AKA Salty Droid attempted to claim the $600 reward for himself. So far, the reward has not been paid. Well, there's a surprise.
In February 2014, Coldwell finally made good on his threat to sue Jones for defamation. Unfortunately, Coldwell was working under the misapprehension that Jones and another Coldwell critic from Israel, Omri Shabat, were one and the same person so he was, in effect, attempting to sue one man for the words of another. Jones is, in fact, a fully-qualified (but non-practising) lawyer who immediately filed a motion to dismiss and a motion to sanction Coldwell and his lawyer who had by this point already thrown his client under the bus.
On 17 April 2014, the case was dismissed for want of prosecution when Coldwell failed to turn up for the hearing.
Around mid-2012, a former GIN member (Bernie O'Mahony) called out Coldwell on his false degrees and information and started a blog site - https://www.gintruth.com - to reveal the lies, fakery, and deceit behind the GIN club. Bernie received countless emails from former members around the world stating their disappointment in the club and especially in the deceit from Kevin Trudeau and Leonard Coldwell. After calling out Coldwell on social media, Bernie was bombarded by Coldwell's lies in an effort to defame him and prevent him from writing any further. Allegations of child abuse and sexual misconduct were used against Bernie, by Coldwell and his followers, to discredit the blog and the information it contained. Unperturbed Bernie continued to reveal the falsehoods coming from Trudeau and Coldwell, all backed up by evidence, and often in conjunction with other bloggers such as SaltyDroid, Omri Shabbat, and Cosmic Connie. To date, GINTruth.com has received acknowledgment from many businesses and former GIN members, with emails of thanks for having the guts to stand up to fraudsters. All posts related to Coldwell are still on the blog site and will remain there for as long as possible. GINTruth.com more recently focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming the vaccines are "poisonous goop". Yikes. At its height, GINTruth.com ranked within the top 25,000 websites in the world and was featured on national TV.
In 2013 Coldwell made a series of utterly reprehensible comments regarding actress Angelina Jolie who had recently undergone a preventative double mastectomy (Genetic factors had made breast cancer for Ms. Jolie very likely at 89%. Post-operation odds were 5%).
Coldwell called Ms Jolie "One of the dumbest, stupidest living human beings on earth." and claimed she had her "breasts [were] sliced off just to get richer." and that she had received hundreds of millions of dollars for "This big hoax and scam".
Books, CDs and DVDs
- The only answer to surviving your illness and your doctor.
- The only answer to becoming a sales champion.
- Power for sales.
- The only answer to stress anxiety and depression.
- The only answer to cancer.
- The only answer to success.
- Secret. (I kid you not. A secret book for $99)
- Dr Coldwell Live 2007: Stress – The root cause of all illness.
- Dr Coldwell Live 2009: The only answer to cancer.
- Dr Coldwell Live 2010: Eliminate and Uncover the root cause of Cancer and terminal Illness.
- Dr Coldwell Live 2011: The Only Answer To Cancer Defeating the root cause of all Diseases.
- Dr Coldwell Live 2012: The Only Answer To Defeating the Root Cause of All Disease
- Dr Coldwell Live 2013: How to turn lead in to gold.... OK... I made that one up but give him time.
- IBMS Bring out the champion.
- IBMS Life's solutions.
- IBMS Take charge of your life.
- IBMS Trauma ease (Sob)
- Power for sales.
- Youthful beautiful you (He should listen to that one himself).
- N. (SPLASH!)
- Pain relief (Ouch!)
- Successful relationships (That's a smashing blouse you're wearing).
- Muscle power (He should listen to that one himself).
- Woods retreat (IS THAT A F**CKING BEAR?)
- Test anxiety.
- Fear of flying. (BRACE BRACE BRACE)
- Play to win.
- Stop smoking. (Got a light?)
- Weight loss (He should listen to that one.)
- The ultimate motivation CD.
- IBMS Stress reduction package.
- Curing life (Being cured of life seems an odd ambition but at $454.87 it cures wear and tear on the wallet as well so a two-for-one bargain).
- IBMS Stress reduction for Christians – Quiet time.
- The champion package
- Special The Champion Package + Book.
- Special Price! The power of creation GIN CD Package $297.00.
Coldwell's Cancer Causes and Cures Compendium
- Mental stress
- Emotional stress
- Lack of self-esteem
- Lack of hope
- Water (tap)
- Mobile phones
- Microwave ovens
- Having an 'acid body'
- Conventional medicine
- Root canal work
- The polio vaccine
- Vaccines in general
- Overhead power lines
- Herbal medicines
- Artificial sweeteners
- Corn syrup
- Medical imaging
- Monosodium Glutamate
- Food colouring
- Your couch
- Processed meat
- Baby shampoo
- Being Angelina Jolie
- Baking soda
- Water (reverse osmosis)
- Pink salt
- Having an alkali diet
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C injections
- Vitamin C in general
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Raw food
- Hemp seeds
- Tree nuts
- Grape seeds
- Sea cucumber
- Aloe vera
- Smiling :-)
- Herbal medicine
- Balsamic vinegar
- Everything that's green
- Homoeopathy (of course)
- Smurf juice
RocketFood grade hydrogen peroxide
- Apricot kernels
- Bee pollen
- Cherry pie
- Not being Angelina Jolie
- Dr Bob Barefoot – Peddler of coral calcium woo. Not a doctor of anything.
- Les Brown – 'Motivational' speaker.
- Dr Holger Crone - Naturopath and quack.
- Dr Carolyn Dean – Peddler of magnesium woo, naturopath, herbalist, acupuncturist, quack.
- Ben Gazzara – Hollywood star. Has rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. Bereft of life he rests in peace etc.
- Dr Thomas Hohn – Probably doesn't exist.
- Dr. Rima Laibow – Conspiracy theory kook and quack.
- Joseph Pagano – Not a Nobel Prize winner
- Dave and Barb Pitcock – Rodeo bull rider and beautician respectively.
- Albert "Bert" Newton Stubblebine III – Former Army General, Chemical engineer, psychic warrior, 911 troofer.
- Fred VanLiew – Peddler of water woo and fellow traveller in the G.I.N scam. Either Lenny's best buddy or Lenny's mortal foe. It's hard to tell.
- Joel Wallach – Veterinarian, naturopath, peddler of mineral woo, quack and 'Nobel Prize nominee'
- Statin Denialism. Skeptical Inquirer.
- Although Coldwell claims to have cured his mother of hepatitis C somewhere around 1970 the virus was not actually isolated and identified until 1988.
- Perhaps the butler did it.
- Or rather it would be remarkably difficult if he were a genuine doctor. For a fake it's about par for the course
- The Google search
- There is a rather amusing picture of Coldwell receiving his D.Hum in an untidy basement whilst wearing an academic gown back-to-front here 
- Mr Coldwell's "accreditation" page
- If you really must, you can read a google translate account of Coldwell's failed legal whining here and here
- HOW F**KING MUCH?
- A fine selection of his cut-and-paste CT gibberish can be found here. WARNING: link to rense.com may cause feelings of depression and despair.
- Coldwell is still flogging this GIN package while simultaneously denouncing Kevin Trudeau and GIN as a fraud that was absolutely nothing to do with him in the first place. Obviously he has a few left in stock but can't stand the thought of chucking them in the skip if he can make three hundred bucks a go.
- Jackie Treehorn in The Big Lebowski no less.
- Coldwell claims that Pagano is a Nobel Prize winner. He isn't. He is actually the winner of the North Carolina Award which, according to Wikipedia is "Sometimes referred to as the Nobel Prize of North Carolina". It bears about as much relationship to a real Nobel Prize as canaries do to road-drills
- If you're thinking “Sounds like the guy from "The Men Who Stare at Goats" you're right… Him
- Still listed as a friend in spite of messy break-up 
- It is actually true that he was nominated for a Nobel Prize, but he was nominated by The Association of Eclectic Physicians which is about as significant as being nominated by the Muppets.