Gilmore Lawsuit: A SLAPP in the Face of Democracy

by Scott Creighton

SLAPP = Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation

SLAPPs are Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.  These damaging suits chill free speech and healthy debate by targeting those who communicate with their government or speak out on issues of public interest.

SLAPPs are used to silence and harass critics by forcing them to spend money to defend these baseless suits.  SLAPP filers don’t go to court to seek justice.  Rather, SLAPPS are intended to intimidate those who disagree with them or their activities by draining the target’s financial resources.

SLAPPs are effective because even a meritless lawsuit can take years and many thousands of dollars to defend.  To end or prevent a SLAPP, those who speak out on issues of public interest frequently agree to muzzle themselves, apologize, or “correct” statements.” anti-SLAPP.org

Why should one believe this new lawsuit filed against this website and others deemed “conspiracy theorists” or “fake news” is a Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP)? Because the ones bringing it have essentially said so:

The motivation . . . is the broader implications of the new era of the saturation of these fake news outlets,” Brennan Gilmore

If my case makes these conspiracy theorists think twice about just outright attacking someone without any type of journalistic review, then good.” Brennan Gilmore

We’re really trying to set a new paradigm for how people like Alex Jones and Infowars operate, to inject some consequences, legal consequences into that world and hold them accountable for the terror they cause. We don’t think the First Amendment protects blatantly defamatory speech that inspires violence and hatred of victims of terrorist attacks and mass shootings.” Andrew Mendrala

“The suit filed today by Georgetown Law’s Civil Rights Clinic seeks damages to compensate Mr. Gilmore for his reputational injuries and emotional distress, as well as punitive damages to deter the defendants, and others like them, from visiting such harm on other private citizens in the future.” Georgetown.edu

SLAPPs can be brought by businesses or the state and there is an interesting article recently published that is WELL WORTH the read (thank you Nancy for the link) which exposes the long history of using SLAPPs to silence growing dissent against our government or the establishment leaders:

Because they target speech, SLAPPs often take the form of defamation lawsuits. The modern tort of defamation — false speech that harms another person’s reputation — has its roots in historical efforts by the powerful to insulate themselves from the destabilizing influence of bad PR. In 1275, a formative British defamation statute forbade anyone to “be so hardy to tell or publish any false news or tales whereby discord or occasion of discord or slander may grow between the king and his people, or the great men of the realm.” No fake news, in other words, that hurts the king’s ratings…” Ian MacDougall  from Harpers Mar. 2018

Fake news that hurt the Queen’s ratings perhaps? Could that be part of what is behind this particular SLAPP?

In this day and age SLAPPs are typically brought by business interests against activists but what if there were another thread that linked participants together, something that bound them to one another and served as an underlying motivation which made them more than mere random citizens filing a lawsuit?

The election of Donald Trump changed a great number of things at the U.S. State Department and consequently it had a direct effect on the personal lives of at least two people involved in this lawsuit. Not only that but the State Department is a major funder of the University of Georgetown, where the lawsuit itself was created.

So what is the connection between anger directed at “conspiracy theorists” and spreaders of “fake news” and the rather conspicuous connections between the State Department and this lawsuit?

Belief in these fake news stories is very strongly linked to defection from the Democratic ticket by 2012 Obama voters. Among respondents who didn’t believe any of the fake news stories, 89 percent cast ballots for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Sixty-one percent of those who believed one fake news item voted for Clinton. But only 17 percent of those who believed two or all three of these false assertions voted for Clinton…

Though our evidence does not “prove” that belief in fake news “caused” these former Obama voters to defect from the Democratic candidate in 2016, our study results suggest that it is highly likely that the pernicious pollution of our political discourse by fake news was sufficient to influence the outcome of what was a very close election.” The Conversation, Feb. 15 2018

What happened at the State Department after Trump took office has been reported on by “respected” news organizations since the first week of his presidency when he fired several long-standing career State Department heads from what is called the 7th Floor Group. And his purge of the department didn’t end with just those at the top but then continued to trickle-down to civilian employees across the board with the greatest number of lay-offs coming from the ranks of the foreign-affairs specialists.

Is it possible that people with links to the State Department, people who’s careers were on a certain upward trajectory, bear a certain malice toward “conspiracy theorists” and spreaders of “fake news” for Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016 and it is THAT which ultimately motivates their actions?

 

This website is the only one mentioned in the Gilmore lawsuit that comes at the political divide from the left. The real left. And, as is easily provable, during the election I took it upon myself to expose just how horrible a candidate Hillary Clinton was writing and saying quite often that she was, by far, the most corrupt, war-mongering presidential candidate in modern history regardless of political party. The others (Infowars and Gateway Pundit) represent so-called “alt-right” view points and likely had little to no effect on dissuading former Obama voters from coming out to support Hillary in 2016.

But all of that is ridiculous. “Fake news” sites did not cost the unDemocratic Party the election in 2016, “alt-right” ones or “alt-left” ones… their horrible candidate that STOLE the nomination from Bernie Sanders did that all by herself.

This is a reason more Dems voted for Barack Obama than Hillary Clinton… he was a better candidate and somewhat less of a proven criminal when he ran.

Same holds true for any comparison between Hillary and Trump.

But Trump Derangement Syndrome keeps folks on the left from admitting that. Their hatred of the “deplorables” their hatred of spreaders of “fake news” and their disdain for those who believe “conspiracy theories” can be easily understood if you look at it through that prism… they did it to themselves by running and backing such a corrupt candidate whom no one could get behind… and they can’t face the reality of the situation they find themselves in. Of course they hate people of principle who stayed away from the polls in Nov. of 2016 rather than vote for Hillary.

People of principle are often despised by those with none.

Since the unDemocratic Party has chosen to ignore the lessons of 2016 and move even farther to the centrist right (the neocon right) for 2018, it is understandable that some people fear a repeat of 2016 if certain steps aren’t taken to remove what they consider, in their fevered minds, to be the cause of their current situations. The Party is actually running a record-setting number of candidates who are either former CIA assets or former State Department employees.

Having “conspiracy theorists” and spreaders of “fake news” out here writing about their various backgrounds certainly might look a little like 2016, would it not?

Thus the SLAPP.

“To succeed, SLAPPs don’t need to have much legal merit, and as a rule they don’t. “SLAPPs are losers in the courthouse but winners in the real world,” Pring told me. By capitalizing on the uncertainty and the cost — in time, energy, and money — of the litigation process itself, Pring and Canan observed in their 1996 book SLAPPs: Getting Sued for Speaking Out, the suits “encourage the active to return to the vast ranks of uninvolved and apathetic Americans.”…” Ian MacDougall  from Harpers Mar. 2018

This case also has little merit. And consider the fact that they gave advanced copies of the lawsuit to various news organizations prior to filing it in court. Why would they do that?

They did that because they wanted to maximize the effectiveness of the SLAPP. To use the complicit media as a weapon to COMPOUND the pressure on not only the institutions and individuals named in the suit, but also on all the others Gilmore and Mendrala spoke about in their recent interviews.

Terrorizing the public into silencing themselves.

What is that definition I am looking for?

“the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”

Yeah, that’s the one.

These frivolous lawsuits rarely hold up in court. And the reason is because… well because we still have a constitution and a LONG history of rulings in favor of FREE SPEECH and FREEDOM OF THE PRESS.

“In October, after three and a half months, a magistrate judge in Mobile recommended that the lawsuit be dismissed. Most of Black Belt Citizens’ statements “were protected by the First Amendment as opinion and/or rhetorical hyperbole concerning a matter of public interest,” she wrote…” Ian MacDougall  from Harpers Mar. 2018

That said, the purpose of the SLAPP is not to ultimately win in court but rather to bludgeon that segment of the public who dare to participate in our democratic process if they don’t toe the line they are told to toe… like all those “conspiracy theorists” and spreaders of “fake news” who cost Hillary Clinton her coronation… and certain interested parties their chosen career paths.

Many on the left will not understand this for what it is. That’s because most of the coverage of this SLAPP revolves around organizations they have been conditioned to hate (Infowars and Gateway Pundit)

But I am here to tell you that Alex and Mr. Hoft are not the real targets of this assault. I am and you are.

First they came for the socialist…

5 Responses

  1. Fine article…. seriously true.

  2. Just FYI, while Anti-Slapp laws are intended to protect the little guy from the big bad guys, sometimes the scumbags can use them in the other direction. Are you familiar with Ted Rall and his case against the LA Times? In short, he was fired by the times as a favor to the police chief who didn’t like Rall’s cartoons of him. The LAPD union owned an interest in the Times. Rall sued to have his job restored, and they hit him with an Anti-Slapp. The case is ongoing. http://rall.com/tag/anti-slapp

  3. Admirably level-headed thinking in the midst of this ugly Fascistic assault, Scott. You are correct re “the target(s)”.

  4. Thanks for pointing out the SLAPP issue, as it may well become a hot issue for many soon. In that respect I think you will beat this easily. I’m more concerned a trap may be set specifically for you so beware. In particular, be wary of anyone who approaches later with an attitude of “we may have made a mistake adding you to this case so we’d prefer to pursue the bigger fish at this time. Here’s a little something for your time as well….”

    That “little something” may be a nice lump of money that gets you disqualified from SS. Research special needs trusts to make sure any money unexpectedly heading your way is shunted off in the proper manner to avoid disqualification. That may be the real goal if you’re truly in someone’s crosshairs and your addition to the case, where you don’t seem to fit, with the other defendants could just be a way to get you to take the bait.

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