Posted on | June 26, 2012 | 29 Comments
Neal Rauhauser at the ‘Netroots Nation’ Conference
FROM AN UNDISCLOSED LOCATION
How stupid does “Qritiq” think we are, huh? The day after Aaron Walker is SWATted, why would Qritiq (who, several people claim, is actually a New York City schoolteacher named Lane Lipton) decide to publish contact information clearly aimed at getting complaints lodged against Patrick “Patterico” Frey?
Do I even need to cite all the evidence that indicates Qritiq is someone who has been doing the bidding of Neal Rauhauser? Is it necessary for me once again to reference those posts from August 2010 in which Neal Rauhauser explained his entire strategy?
- Aug. 29, 2010: Organized Intimidation? Ambush Time.
- Aug. 31, 2010: Social Media’s Neighborhood Watch
What Rauhauser has been aiming to do, for nearly two years, is to gather (or perhaps we should say, manufacture) “evidence” of a right-wing conspiracy, so that he and his allies, by claiming they are targets of “harassment,” can file civil lawsuits or criminal complaints. Then, as Neal has quite explicitly explained, he expects to use the discovery process (in civil action) or subpoena authority (in criminal cases) to acquire information that can be used to continue this strategy.
Rauhauser is, in essence, attempting to use the legal process to engage in the same kind of “hacking” that LulzSec perpetrated against HBGary (a crime with which Neal was obsessively interested). Apparently now in cooperation with Brett Kimberlin’s 501(c) Velvet Revolution, Rauhauser wants to pursue a fishing expedition that will have the result of putting vast caches of e-mails — private, personal, business, politics, government — into Neal’s hands.
This was, for example, the strategy we saw in action when Rauhauser boasted of hand-delivering a subpoena for James O’Keefe’s e-mails, from the New Hampshire attorney general’s office, to a New Jersey courtroom where there was a case between O’Keefe and Nadia Naffe.
By publishing the contact information for Patterico’s employer, Qritiq is doing her part to advance Rauhauser’s strategy, generating a new wave of complaints and attempting to prompt some kind of investigation that might ultimately make Patterico’s e-mails legal “fair game.”
Anyone who will take the time to research Neal Rauhauser’s conspiracy theories (and his own descriptions of his motives and methods) will understand how everything fits together. Are Rauhauser’s claims of a right-wing conspiracy so ludicrous and implausible as to suggest that Neal is quite literally insane? Yes, but . . .
Despite all that, if Rauhauser can ever get courts and law enforcement agencies to buy into any of his claims, so that Neal gets hold of private information he can use against his enemies, the kookiness of his theories will ultimately be irrelevant: Neal wins.
Having spent 40 days reporting this story — and I was on the phone with four different sources this morning — I am just now beginning to see clearly what is actually happening. The “accuse the accusers” strategy, whereby Rauhauser and Kimberlin introduce zany conspiracy claims via criminal complaints and civil actions, strikes most rational people as lunacy. Yet it is actually much shrewder than it looks, because this tactic steadily creates a sort of bread-crumb trail of legal “evidence” for the existence of the (alleged and entirely imaginary) right-wing conspiracy that would be the premise of a RICO claim.
Google “RICO + Rauhauser,” and you find that Patterico understands exactly what Rauhauser & Co. have been up to, the evidence of which has been piling up on the Internet for months. Why do you think, dear reader, that Rauhauser has been so wildly obsessed with “Zapem”? Because going back to the TwitterGate episode in 2010, Zapem and her friends have been witnesses to how Rauhauser operates, and have been monitoring Neal’s operations ever since — and Neal damned well knows it. Here are a few points to keep in mind:
- It’s impossible to know everything that people are doing behind the scenes to manipulate this situation. Rauhauser claims to have frequent (friendly) contacts with law enforcement, and may be using those contacts to spread disinformation. But of course, Rauhauser lies so routinely that even when we have e-mails or “scrubbed” online documents in which Neal says he’s done something, these statements might be just more lies and crazytalk. (The possibility that Rauhauser’s trying to prepare an insanity defense is something I can’t rule out.)
- Law enforcement’s reluctance to take action against what I’ve come to think of as the Kimberlin-Rauhauser Axis may be the result of honest confusion. Neal and Brett seem to think they’re crafty enough to fool the FBI, which I don’t think they are. But they’ve managed to spread enough confusing nonsense — the “Christian Infowars Militia” cell! — that it might be difficult for agents to make a clear-cut case of criminal wrongdoing that they can take to a federal grand jury.
- We don’t know the extent of cooperation among Kimberlin, Rauhauser and others, including the people behind various “sockpuppet” accounts. For all we know, Rauhauser’s been pushing his nutty schemes independently, without telling Kimberlin what he’s doing, even though we have clear evidence of a client-consultant relationship between them. So pointing the finger of blame at Kimberlin may be a mistake, at least until there is genuine proof that Rauhauser did X, Y, Z at the direction and with the approval of Kimberlin. “Plausible deniability,” you see.
- The SWATtings are the tip of the iceberg, and we do not yet have clear proof that Rauhauser or Kimberlin were in any way responsible for or complicit in these dangerous hoaxes. There is, of course, evidence that seems to suggest that Rauhauser had early knowledge of the SWATtings, but publicly engaging in speculation beyond the basic facts of this limited evidence is extremely unwise.
A lot of people are working behind the scenes to gather and sort through the evidence. There are ongoing private investigations and, I have been told by multiple sources, the FBI is carrying out its own investigation. Citizen-journalists trying to move the story forward must be careful to stick to the facts, and avoid making any false accusations or jumping to premature conclusions.
Finally, to any law enforcement personnel who may read this: The “accuse the accusers” strategy is aimed most directly and intensively at those who pose the greatest threat to Rauhauser’s operation. Patrick “Patterico” Frey has published vast amounts of facts regarding this case, and is prepared to publish much more, and there is every reason to believe that Qritiq’s post is part of an effort to silence Patterico.
UPDATE: Patterico examines some very interesting evidence. Read that and ask yourself, “Why are Kimberlin and Rauhauser acting worried?”
– Robert Stacy McCain, Whereabouts Unknown