VICE AND VICTORY: The Story of a Sustained Right Wing Smear Job - Part IV
Bill Looman, the tin-plated dictator of a "militia" leader who commandeered a North Georgia housing association to turn it into his own private racist military fiefdom? He liked it when the media portrayed him as the plucky little businessman standing firm in the face of what he called the restrictive policies of President Obama. He didn't like it nearly as much when he was shown to be a cowardly bully, using the power given to him by a fellow right wing land owner to terrorize other homeowners into either complying with his power grab or being pushed out of the development, losing their homes and property.
My coverage of the Looman story led to a tip about another gang of right wing cowards who were pretending to be engaged in what they called an effort to disrupt an effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. What seemed to be a more-or-less innocent (and juvenile) attempt to troll liberals in Wisconsin turned out to be an attempt to siphon donation money from a legitimate "Occupy Madison" website, as shown in this Dec. 31, 2011 story.
Connecting the Dots, from the Phony Occupy Madison Site, to Knot My Wisconsin, to Operation Burn Notice
BUT FIRST, THIS LATE UPDATE:
The poor, harried knuckleheads who operate the faux Occupy Madison site you will read about below are going to sue me, Daily Kos, BlueHose (my private server) because I took images of the copyrighted images they stole to use in this story. And they are also going to sue me for copying portions of their website. I invited them to look up the words “Fair Use” — which is the term their lawyer (as if they could afford one) will be saying as he laughs them out of his office. And they have a new “Copyright Compliance” page. Picture black words on white background.
BILL SCHMALFELDT WINS!
The master of the world connected all the dots and got a web site NOBODY EVER LOOKS AT taken down.
Well. I take that as an admission of guilt. I’m sure a court would as well. But if they added the “nobody looks at” thinking that Getty Images is just gonna take their WORD for it that “nobody looks at” their website? Nuh-uh. That’s why Getty Images has lawyers, to subpoena server records to see how many visits there have been to the site, when the picture was posted, etc. and etc.
I did enjoy the lecture about “stealing images” from someone who stole a whole website and used it for illegal profit.
And at 6:48pm, ET on Dec. 30, 2011 — the faux Occupy Madison page is gone!
So, back to the original storyline!
WHO FINANCED IT? WHO MANAGED IT? WHO GOT A SMALL PACK OF KNUCKLEHEADS TO MARCH AGAINST THEIR OWN SELF INTERESTS IN MADISON WHILE BEING OUTNUMBERED AND BOOED BY WISCONSIN’S REAL PATRIOTS?
WE IDENTIFY THE PUPPET MASTERS FROM OKLAHOMA WHO PAID A PROFESSIONAL WEBMASTER IN ARIZONA TO STIR THE POT AND PULL THE STRINGS WHILE TRYING TO MAKE A FEW BUCKS OFF THE WEAK AND PROFANE EFFORTS OF SOME INCREDIBLY STUPID, UNSOPHISTICATED, FOUL-MOUTHED DUPES IN WISCONSIN.
Time to connect some dots. But first, step into the Way Back Machine with me. Sherman? Set the dial to Dec. 4, 2011. Good.
Now, let’s log on to the wonderful progressive website, AlterNet. We’re looking for this story: “Bullies, Liars and Impostors: How Facebook and Go Daddy Shield Scott Walker’s Online Guerillas.” It’s a story about how one website copied another website and one Facebook site was trying to interfere with a legal election process. Both websites were attempts to stall the petition drive in the attempt to recall Governor Scott Walker. And both were protected by their web hosts. Go Daddy was the registered host of the website that was known as Occupy Madison.com. Here’s what the story says about that site.
On a Sunday night, AlterNet learned from a tipster of a Web site, posing as the online presence of Occupy Madison, that featured a headline claiming that all of the 540,000 signatures required by petitioners for a special recall election of the governor had been collected. This, of course, was a lie.While the number of signatures activists claim to have gathered in the course of the last two weeks has indeed been impressive, they still need to get at least 200,000 more people to sign onto the effort.Using the URL, www.occupy-madison.com, the site featured a rotating banner of provocative images: a cop against a fiery background, a young couple kissing on the ground in the middle of a protest, a group of nearly naked young people holding protest signs. Except for the sensational images, the design of the site completely mimicked that of the legitimate Occupy Madison site, www.occupy-madison.org.
A plucky little independent, citizen journalist called Segway Jeremy Ryan (full disclosure: the author of the story you are reading is a colleague of Mr. Ryan on the website AddictingInfo.org) dished the dirt and buried this cute little scam.
From the AlterNet story.
Blogger Segway Jeremy Ryan wrote that while visiting the fake Occupy Madison site, he clicked on a “Donate” button that took him to an entity called “Occupy Inc.,” a non-profit registered to John C. Ward of Edmond, Oklahoma. A post on the of the recall group, Defending Wisconsin, claims that Ward denies having anything to do with the fake Occupy Madison site.For a time, the www.occupy-madison.com URL directed the user to the login page for Facebook; when last we checked, it took the viewer to a blank page on bing.com.
Not anymore, it doesn’t. More on that later.
But Jeremy dug further. His story on AddictingInfo gives more information.
The phone number and address are correct. But the number is listed as belonging to Ward’s wife.It started a few days ago when a new site went live. This site was http://occupy-madison.com/ (on a side note the right seems to love creating sites, they created a hate site for me personally with a music video and video game at www.segwayboy.com). The official site for Occupy Madison is http://occupy-madison.org. But this teaches us all a valuable lesson. When registering occupy web pages be sure to register the .org, .com, and .net. It is not very expensive and you only need to host one of them, you can forward the rest. If you follow the donation button on the original site, it takes you to a donation page for an organization called Occupy, Inc, a fake right-wing company run by John C. Ward and located at 7725 NW 192nd Street in Edmond Oklahoma. This is registered as a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt organization with a listed phone number of 405-341-9086. So why is this so important? Because today this web site made a post with the direct intent on interfering with the recalls. The post said that the DPW (Democratic Party of Wisconsin) and United Wisconsin, two of the many recall organizations, announced we had enough signatures to recall both Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch. It said that no more petitions would be collected and people should just dispose of any remaining petitions. This would seem like wonderful news, but it’s fake.
A call made Thursday afternoon, Dec. 29, 201, to that number is answered by a recorded message by one identifying himself as John C. Ward, who merely invites the caller to leave a message when hearing the tone. There has been no response yet to a request for information about Mr. or Mrs. Ward’s connection or lack thereof to the phony website or the illegal 501(c)3 organization Jeffrey alleges.
As for the page itself, it was registered through GoDaddy, a domain registration and website hosting company. When AlterNet contacted them, here’s the response GoDaddy gave.
AlterNet’s investigation revealed that the URL for the fake Occupy Web site was registered with Domains By Proxy, a service of the domain registration and Web-hosting company, Go Daddy, which shields the identities of site owners from public view.Ben Butler, Go Daddy’s director of network abuse, said he could not reveal the name of the site’s proprietor, but he could assure us that it was not Go Daddy that removed the site. AlterNet’s request for comment was the first he had heard of the site, he said.
Mr. Butler told AlterNet that this was the first he had ever heard about the site and that there had been no complaints about it. He refused to identify the owner, even thought the web site seemed on its face to be a violation of Wisconsin Election law, which states, “No person may knowingly make or publish, or cause to be made or published, a false representation pertaining to a candidate or referendum which is intended or tends to affect voting at an election.”
The violation is a Class 1 felony, carrying a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a jail term of up to six months.
“Having had no complaints, we can’t say that the Web site was violating our terms of service,” Butler said. “I can say to you right now, it’s not, obviously, because there’s no content there.”
Right! When AlterNet contacted GoDaddy, the site had been taken down.
Ah! Just like before! However, if any law enforcement wanted to investigate for any potential wrongdoing, according to the AlterNet story, that “Domains by Proxy” would provide as much protection to the actual owner as a cardboard box in a hurricane.
“(Butler) explained that Go Daddy “work[s] with law enforcement all the time,” but that the company received no requests from law enforcement regarding the site. And until they receive complaints from the general public, they won’t launch an investigation of their own. However, if they were to launch an investigation and found the site to be in violation of the Go Daddy terms of service, the identity shield provided by the company’s Domains By Proxy Service would no longer hold.”
So, let’s see if any laws are being broken. This is at the top of the phony Occupy Madison site.
If you are looking for evidence of a crime, stop looking at *parody web sites* and look no further than the official web site of the DEMOCRAT PARTY OF WISCONSIN! They had a page up, for over a day, and had over 30 people actually sign up to commit the crime the page suggested. Wisconsin Dems Head to Cemetery to Recall Walker
Well, other than murdering the definition of “parody,” no crimes here. Even the link provided takes one to noted Internet fabricator Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government site where even THEY suggest the story was not an actual Democratic Party site, but a hack. But it had the saving grace of at least being humorous. Imagine, volunteers gathering to get names from headstones. It is to laugh.
Parody needs an element of humor. And there is no humor to be found on the phony Occupy Madison page.
Oh, there's more. Much more. But nothing that you would call "illegal." Nothing that you would call actual "parody" either, since it all misses that key ingredient -- "the funny." But there is a certain, "familiarity." The writing. It reminds one of something. Let's check the "About" page.
Things Occupy Madison DOT NET Wants You To Know:#1 if you can’t tell parody from real news, you are a fucking idiot and are probably looking for the “.ORG”#2 PARODY IS PROTECTED FREE SPEECHThe Onion: I guess this means children over 6 can now vote and sign a recall.#3 if you believe these stories then you are a fucking idiot.#4 There are 19 states with a city named Madison, they are: AL,AR,CT,FL,GA,IL,IN,KS,ME,MN,MS,MO,NE,NJ,NC,OH,SD,WV,WI If you are in one of the above 19 cities and are so egotistical that you think everyone in the world is talking about you, just get off your high horse and get over yourself! You do not own the name “Occupy” and you do not own the name “Madison”!Contact Us Online: firstname.lastname@example.org (we will not reply but will likely post your letter in the “hate mail” section)
Didn't we just SEE a website like that, something with whining about people not getting the fact that it was all just in fun, a satire, just a spoof, and only liberals seem to get freedom of speech?
YEAH! That's the one. The Facebook Page "Knot My Wisconsin" went into bitching and mourning when their sister page, "Operation Burn Notice" got temporarily taken down. See, "Knot My Wisconsin" is a gang of trolls kicked out of the legitimate "Not My Wisconsin" Facebook page. As some sort of "gang signal" one supposes, they would use the word "knot" when they meant "not." This group spun off into another group, "Operation Burn Notice," which posted a Facebook page calling for the destruction of signed petitions in the effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. It's all in the AlterNet story linked above.
But, good lord, how they whined and complained for nearly 24 hours until they got put back up again after removing all material mentioned in a DMCA and Copyright Infringement complaint filed with Facebook.
And where else have we seen this kind of writing? This kind of taunting, never let your victim reply kind of third grade playground bullying?
For instance when charter "Knot My Wisconsin" and "Operation Burn Notice" Roy Innis wrote to a reporter:
Hi billie! How they hanging today? Pretty low I guess. You attacked me with absolutely zero proof of anything. As I have commented before, I did KNOT create this page. I did KNOT create KNOT my Wisconsin. I did choose my friends and allies wisely. I also choose to only ask questions or make comments that I know the answer too already. You opened up knot a can of w.a. but a whole pallet of it when your buddy Vin got you to believe his fantastic tale of woe. So you know, your very libelous and slanderous comments towards me did knot go unnoticed by some friends of mine that are members of the bar. you pretty much handed me a slam dunk case against you for your slander of me. I tell you what Billie, make your self 100 % disappear from facebook and the public eye towards me AFTER you write a retraction AND apology to me on all of your various outlets and I will let you be. Choose Knot to do this and I can assure you that a lawsuit will be heading your way. I have always wanted a home on the east coast. I wonder what it will fetch on the open market? Last chance to go away Billie, you picked the wrong man to slander!
That was right before the mother of his first child informed us that he washed out of boot camp and did knot serve in Grenada or Panama like he bragged.
We haven't heard anything from him since. But he has since posted an envelope from the federal government as his avatar on his current Facebook page. No idea if it was a DD-214 (the military's official document of separation from service), and whether or not the DD-214 (if there was one) claimed he had served in two wars as Innis suggested, or if he had indeed washed out of boot camp like the mother of his child suggested. I might have even been a letter saying, "Who are you, we don't know you, leave us alone!" Who knows? Innis won't publish the content of the envelope. Apparently doubters are supposed to accept the fact that he got an envelope from the federal government as proof. And why not. The Oconomowoc Legion Post accepted his word that he was a veteran with no physical evidence.
Well, dancing around the issue, issuing vague denials is all well and good. You can say you didn't set up a 501(c)3 organization with your name and phone number as the contact and point of donation. You can say you had nothing to do with it, even though the donation button on the old website points directly to a donation page for "Occupy, Inc." and its address and phone number and who gets the money. You might not feel the need to explain why someone else would go through the effort to set up a donation spot for you on the "Just Give" website that lists you as being the one behind the "Occupy, Inc." But if such a thing were to happen to you, if someone else was raking in money using your name, if someone else was implicating you as being part of an illegal 501(c)3, wouldn't you want to get to the bottom of it?
As far as we can see, Jeremy only made one mistake in his investigation. He didn't get a link or screen caps. Like this.
From all appearances, John C. and Patricia E. Ward raising money through the donation button on the old Occupy Madison website and may have been funding the efforts of the false Occupy Madison page, which went away for a few hours when Segway Jeremy Ryan and AlterNet exposed them, only to return in its new form, which resembles the kind of writing and imagery used on the Knot My Wisconsin and Operation Burn Notice Facebook Pages, which seem to be administrated by someone calling himself “Aaron Burr” (Robin Wesley Causey) who has a Chino Valley, AZ, address and claims he is just a “hired gun” being “paid by some guy who liked his writing” to stir things up in Wisconsin from Chino Valley, which is 17 miles from Prescott, AZ, the home of someone who may in fact be another sock puppet calling himself Howard Earl, who had a Prescott, Arizona address. I would gladly tell you more about these folks.
Except for the fact that Operation Burn Notice has been extinguished… by Facebook or cowardice, it would seem.
And Knot My Wisconsin has been untied.
Pity. They left such nice tracks on the Internet!
As Operation Burn Notice faded into obscurity, some of its players attached themselves to a fraudulent attempt to soak unwitting conservatives to separate them from their money. See how OBN tied into the seedy, seamy, slimy world of Ali Akbar, Aaron Walker, Lee Stranahan and WJJ Hoge III as we delve into their Andrew Breitbart-inspired effort to silence an ex-con turned social justice advocate. That's next.