Is any blogger safe? The “I Am Kathleen” Campaign

Posted on 9 April 2008. Filed under: Advocacy | Tags: , |

As it happens, the victim in this case is autistic and, presumably, hearing. But who’s not to say that some Deaf (or deaf or hard of hearing) blogger couldn’t be next? Maybe even you, or the favorite Deaf bloggers and vloggers who you read every day. Read on.

It has come to my attention in recent days that one blogger has been hit up with a subpoenae. Now, by themselves, subpoenaes are not universally bad. They’re simply legal documents that call people to court to deliver what could in some cases be valuable witness testimony. They can be a way to bring to light information that can help judges or juries in court cases arrive at the truth with greater confidence.

But in this case, several lawyers on the web have weighed in saying that this subpoenae seems to be more targeted at intimidating and silencing the blogger, Kathleen, so she will stop speaking out on topics that matter to her. Seems that some quacks out there are trying to claim that mercury in vaccinations are a cause of autism–so, therefore, shouldn’t you pay these obscene fees to chelate or otherwise treat your autistic child? And Kathleen has pointed out several times that the scientific evidence for this is non-existent. Certain parties don’t like this. So they slapped her with the subpoenae, supposedly to find out what she knows or to investigate whether this ordinary person is being funded by big pharmacy organizations or some such silliness.

Kathleen has claimed she knows nothing that would even help shed any sort of light in the court case at hand. Everything she knows is stuff that any ordinary person could look up through ordinary means. Surely rich lawyers could look up the same information much more easily on their own without needing to disturb her.

It doesn’t take a lawyer to see that the documents Kathleen has been asked to deliver are absurdly wide in scope. For one thing, they’ve copied her entire blog roll — which has more than 100 web sites on it — and asked that Kathleen turn over each and every single email or verbal conversation (?!) she has ever had with each and every single person on that blog roll. How many of YOU even KEEP all your emails? … And if you keep them, could you actually FIND all of them again, in organized fashion? And all that is just the start–some of the other things in her subpoenae are about as impossible to deliver.

Kathleen got into this apparently because she said some things that were controversial in the autistic community–or, more precisely, among a certain specific sub-group of parents of autistic children, and the people who sell them expensive fad treatments. But who else could be next? Perhaps a blogger who criticizes cochlear implants could get slapped with an impossible-to-meet subpoenae. Or someone who speaks out for bi-lingual education. If any blogger could be targeted with a nuisance subpoenae whose only purpose seems to be to intimidate and silence, then ALL bloggers, Deaf or hearing, could be vulnerable just for having opinions and daring to share them with others.

So let’s all stand up and say, “Enough.” Subpoenaes should be reserved for cases when actual information is likely to be uncovered. They should not be used as tactics of intimidation to squash people who say things that people with lawyers don’t like to hear. Lawyers need to know that bloggers–whether autistic or neurotypical, whether Deaf or hearing–will not stand still when one of our own fellow bloggers is attacked. Let’s all stand up and say, “I am Kathleen, come and get me.”

Go read the subpoenae itself at:

http://www.neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/150

Read what one fellow blogger says about the case; this should give a reasonably good overview:

http://qw88nb88.wordpress.com/2008/04/09/one-in-the-crowd/

Read what one lawyer says about the case at:

http://www.pointoflaw.com/archives/2008/04/vaccine-lawyer-subpoenas-kathl.php

And if you really want to read up on what bloggers are saying about the case, check out the running list at:

http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2008/04/kathleen-seidel.html

Then go and blog about the case. Show the world that bloggers refuse to be stifled. Tell the world, “I am Kathleen.”

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7 Responses to “Is any blogger safe? The “I Am Kathleen” Campaign”

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[...] – Good afternoon, everybody! I hope your week is going well! I caught an article on DeafRead that interested me, and in doing a little extra web-crawling, I found out lots more. [...]

[...] that Seidel’s work is good quality advocacy journalism Andrea Shettle of Reunify Gally Is any blogger safe? The “I Am Kathleen” Campaign SL of Stop.Think.Autism Giving Credit Where Credit Is [...]

Thanks for this post, and linking to my little list.

Also see How Long Until Kirby and Olmstead Speak on the Seidel Subpoena?

Whoa! Really? Sheesh! Some people always will find the way to silence others or to intimidate others into subnmission.

Heck with that! Freedom of the speech and expression always will prevails.

Robert L. Mason (RLM)

[...] Hat Tip to Andrea Shetle  of Reunify Gally:  Is any blogger safe? The “I Am Kathleen” Campaign « ReunifyGally [...]

[...] want to thank Paotie over at Paotie’s Green Couch and Reunify Gally for bringing this to Deaf Read’s [...]


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