Saturday, April 5, 2008

Kathleen Slapped-Blogs Slap Back



photo credit-azrainman
creative commons license


I had heard of SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) before in the context of lawsuits against environmental groups, but had never really paid much attention to them. Evidently the whole purpose of them is to harass people who are speaking out by costing them great deals of money to defend themselves.

I'm sure that most everyone has heard about the ridiculous subpoena that Kathleen Seidel has been served with. While it appears that she has not been sued, this subpoena is pretty much an all encompassing fishing expedition meant to pursue one purpose, and one alone-silencing Kathleen Seidel.

No one could reasonably believe that there was some grand conspiracy that involved paying off Kathleen to write her blog on neurodiversity.com. I do not know Kathleen personally, but there is absolutely no indication that she is being put up to write the things she does. How do I know this? Because there is no way anyone could ever write so elegantly, so powerfully, and so honestly if they were being paid.

Paid product pushers and plants on blogs make themselves known over time. They can't help themselves. They post obviously false things that support certain products or positions, in contradiction to all the evidence that there is to be found.

Kathleen is the polar opposite of someone who is paid to write from a certain perspective. When I found out that there was a name for why my son was having so much difficulty with peers and at home, and that that name was autism, I went searching for information on the web. I first found a local listserve where parents had an ongoing pity party, and most were in search of a holy grail cure. I continued to search, and rapidly came across three different sites on the web that greatly influenced me. These were Kristina Chew's AutismVox, The Autism Hub, and Neurodiversity.com. I loved these sites for different reasons. Kristina for her personal touch, The Hub for its diversity of opinions, and neurodiversity.com for its obviously well researched list of resources and readings on autism. I spent days delving through the articles and resources linked from the site. I felt like I had discovered a cave full of jewels, and I marveled how each one of them sparkled as it was held up to the light. Such sites are not put together by those who are paid to push a certain viewpoint (If she were being paid, there would be much less content, and a lot more "splash" to the site). The beauty of neurodiversity.com is in the layers upon layers of painstaking research that went into putting it all together.

Kathleen's blog has always been top notch. She doesn't push vague conspiracy theories with no facts behind them. Instead she publishes extremely well researched, well annotated (a rarity on the web), and well written treatises on subjects related to autism. A victim of her own success, the existence of this precedent setting subpoena speaks to how well Kathleen's voice is being heard. Evidently she must be silenced.

Many bloggers have stepped up to symbolically link arms with Kathleen. In whatever small way I can, I am proud to join them. Kathleen's voice is one that we cannot allow to be silenced.

Many (including probably myself) would have been intimidated by such harassment. To her credit, Kathleen didn't even flinch, and has fired back a motion to quash the subpoena. You go, girl. They've SLAPPED the wrong woman.

13 comments:

Liz Ditz said...

Hi Club 166!.

Like you, I am one of the 100+ bloggers mentioned in item 5 of the subpoena.

I am keeping a running list of responses to the Seidel subpoena at I Speak of Dreams. I've added your blog.

You are in the Friday list because it is still Friday where I live.

Best to you and yours.

isles said...

I'm so glad to see the outpouring of support for Kathleen. She does a great service for so many, and should not bear the brunt of others' ill intentions by herself, even though, as her response to the subpoena shows, she is more than capable of her own defense!

kristina said...

Mine is coming----comparing Kathleen to the woman in your previous post: Well, it's not really a fair comparison (to Kathleen).

dkmnow said...

"They've SLAPPED the wrong woman."

No kidding. By extension -- especially via the listing of "usual suspects" in the subpoena -- they've SLAPPed the wrong segment of society!

Within just a week or two, Shoemaker and Harold "Ransom Notes" Koplewicz will be able to swap horror stories about being nearly eaten by the Evil Blogosaurus Rex.

Foresam said...

If she's not being paid, it must be brain damage. Either way, she's hazardous to the health of children with autism.

Sharon said...

Brilliantly put Joe. I once wrote (before all this) that the woman is a ruby, and yes, her contribution to the access of great information on the web, is like a cave of jewels.

Kathleen Seidel said...

Wow. I am stunned. Thank you all.

Steve D said...

"I felt like I had discovered a cave full of jewels, and I marveled how each one of them sparkled as it was held up to the light."
Ditto, Joe. A comment to remember. I am enjoying the solidarity created by this unfortunate situation.

Alyric said...

This is a really interesting phenomena - the Streisand Effect - and thanks to Joe and Steve and DKM and Bev and Ms Clark and Orac and practically the rest of the Hub and heaps of blogs I've never heard of:) for putting it into motion so to speak.

Emily, as some know me said...

Oh. My. God. That subpoena is like nothing I've ever seen before. I'm really really confused. What is the dog in this hunt? I can't believe all of the Websites listed there. MOM-NOS?OASIS? WTF? I have to say that it is likely that no subpoena has ever included the words, "meow meow meow...blah blah blah." Did McCarthy--the commie hunter from the '50s, not Empress Airhead--write this or what?

Anonymous said...

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Liz Ditz said...

I thought you'd like to hear why Shoemaker wanted to silence Seidel: her latest posts on Shoemaker

Billing the Adversary


Numerous decisions issued over the twenty year history of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) document the extent to which the limits on attorney compensation have been tested by practitioners seeking remuneration from its taxpayer-financed coffers. The following review summarizes decisions involving the recently-sanctioned VICP specialist Clifford Shoemaker, Esq. -- a central instigator of the campaign to convince the public of the speculative, scientifically unsupported hypothesis that a significant number of cases of autism result from vaccine injury, co-founder of the Institute for Chronic Illnesses, and a founding member its Institutional Review Board, which sponsors and provides ethical oversight of medical research and experimentation on autistic children and adolescents conducted by his long-time colleague Dr. Mark Geier.


Inspecting the Outstretched Palm>

The potential for procedural and billing improprieties by Vaccine Injury Compensation Program petitioners’ attorneys — especially those representing numerous clients with similar, speculative claims — is made painfully evident in Special Master Denise Vowell’s recent fee and cost decision in Carrington v. HHS, Case 99-495V (Fed.Cl.Spec.Mstr., June 18, 2008) (unpublished), posted to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims website three days ago.

Numerous decisions issued over the twenty year history of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) document the extent to which the limits on attorney compensation have been tested by practitioners seeking remuneration from its taxpayer-financed coffers. The following review summarizes decisions involving the recently-sanctioned VICP specialist Clifford Shoemaker, Esq. -- a central instigator of the campaign to convince the public of the speculative, scientifically unsupported hypothesis that a significant number of cases of autism result from vaccine injury, co-founder of the Institute for Chronic Illnesses, and a founding member its Institutional Review Board, which sponsors and provides ethical oversight of medical research and experimentation on autistic children and adolescents conducted by his long-time colleague Dr. Mark Geier.

Sports Picks said...

I'm so glad to see the outpouring of support for Kathleen. She does a great service for so many, and should not bear the brunt of others' ill intentions by herself, even though, as her response to the subpoena shows, she is more than capable of her own defense!