Joy-Ann Reid and Jonathan Nichols: My Take
by Susan Basko, Esq.
Everyone is weighing in on the Joy-Ann Reid and Jonathan Nichols debacle regarding someone who dug up possible old blog posts from many years ago possibly written by Joy-Ann Reid or possibly placed onto her old blog by someone else. Everyone's weighing in, so I will, too. I'm breaking this into several distinct segments. I have included my own personal experiences with Jonathan Nichols, the person hired by Joy Reid to determine whether her blog was hacked.
Joy-Ann Reid's Blog Posts. If the blog posts in question are in fact written by Joy-Ann Reid, I suggest it would be helpful for people to actually read the full posts in question, and come to your own conclusions. The experiences and culture of an educated Black woman are different from the experiences and culture of any White person. Maybe there are things to learn by reading the old blogs, but if you insist on jumping in to condemn, you won't learn them. It especially pains me when I see White men picking apart this Black woman.
"Hacking a Blog." I have a whole lot of blogs. I also have graduate education in making websites. There are a few points that anyone should know if they are trying to decide if Ms. Reid's blog was accessed or "hacked":
1. Blogs are signed into from an email.
2. If multiple people have the password to that email, they can all post, edit, delete, etc. They are given no notice of the actions of the other people. More than one person can be logged into a blog at a time, working on things, and no notice is given to the others. The blog treats simultaneous multiple log-ins from the same email account as being one person.
3. In addition, Blog posting rights can be given to multiple people from multiple emails. If one person is accessing the blog, the others get no notice of this.
4. Blog posts can be made directly from email accounts, without going to the blog.
5. Blog posts can be given any date and they will fall into place automatically. For example, a blog post can be made in 2018 and given a date years earlier, and it will fall into the correct place on the blog. For example, today, I could create a blog post and have it post up on a date in 2015, and it would fall right into place.
6. What is happening on a blog is not noticeable to the blog owner. For example, I sometimes go over old blog posts and find that spacing has somehow changed on them over the years. Sometimes the fonts and sizes have changed, too. I also find youtube video embeds that are no longer valid because the video has been removed. I have also found pictures that have disappeared. As for the idea of someone hacking to make fake posts -- If fake new posts suddenly appeared deep down on one of my blogs, I would not notice. How would I notice? I'd only notice if someone emailed me pointing it out to me.
Fake Blogs. I have been a target of a massive amount of harassment, including (but for sure not limited to): fake twitter accounts made in my name; clone twitter accounts made to look just like my accounts; antisemitic and harassment accounts made in my name (including by people who would now vehemently deny being involved in such things, though they "followed" these accounts and "liked" what they did; fake Facebook accounts using my name; email accounts created using my name; forum posting done using my name; whole websites and blogs set up using my name and used to post crap I would never post -- this is a favorite harassment technique of stalkers; domains in my name purchased by cyberstalkers, in my case, by Jay Leiderman and James McGibney and used to create smear websites against me, and even bizarre, wildly false court cases and filings made against me by those same two men, on and on and on.
BECAUSE of my experiences, I am certain that someone wanting to harass or discredit Joy-Ann Reid would use, as part of their arsenal, the creation of blog posts in her name. Further, it has been my experience that the person "noticing" it or calling attention to it is often the one that created it. That's been my experience several times, but not always. The kind of people who create damaging fake stuff online want to make sure that their efforts do not go to waste. "He who smelt it, dealt it," is a rather apropos aphorism regarding online smear campaigns.
Jonathan Nichols aka @wvualphasoldier. In about 2012, I was set upon online by a whole crowd of hackers, cyberstalkers, defamation and smear artists, people looking for e-fame, and a whole lot of obnoxious idiots. Almost all of these people have finally stopped -- except for the max-weirdo cyberstalker of soccer moms and friendly grandmas, James McGibney. But for years, day and night, I was attacked by the antisemitic hate group, Rustle League, and lots of people who were intrigued by their whole swastika-Nazi-harassment style. The extent and horrors of the harassment and stalking are a story for another day. This evolved into being harassed by ISIS members who were associated with the group through past hacking connections. The level to which these people have (and McGibney still does) harassed, lied about, smeared, stalked, cyberstalked, and terrorized me has harmed me tremendously. One point that must be made is that I did not engage with these people, did not interact, and did nothing to them. What's more, I am a very non-interesting person who tweets and facebooks such things as pictures of drinks I've made of fresh fruit.
At a later date, I hope to write extensively about how online cyberstalker gangs form, the factors of mental illness and substance abuse that seem to be attracting these people to each other online, how they trust and follow people they have never met, and how avidly they go along with such things as antisemitism, racism, use of hate symbolism, obscenity, and foolish mockery and idiocy. But that is for another day. Today, I am writing about my experience with Jon Nichols.
Around 2013 and 2014, @wvualphasoldier / Jon Nichols jumped into this fray of harassing me on Twitter. His Twitter profile was a picture of himself dressed in an Army uniform. He gathered around himself a group of hacker wannabes who, it seemed to me, were listening to him and were convinced that the things he did were legal and acceptable because he was this big Army computer guy -- or so he said. I have no idea why Jon Nichols was harassing me in this way, since I did not know who he was and had never interacted with him in any way. It seemed to me like he was trying to get his moment of e-fame.
Finally, I tweeted a Do Not Contact notice to @wvualphasoldier. I had done this to several people and they all mocked it, but with most of them, it seemed to work, more or less. They called it a Cease and Desist (C&D), which it was not. It had different legal implications. With a Do Not Contact, I was putting these people on notice that I did not want them to make contact to or about me, to simply leave me alone, which for most of them, seemed like an insurmountable task. The legal point is that if they persisted, then if I made a criminal complaint, they could not claim that they did not know or were unaware that their contact was unwanted. This made their trespassing of my social space "knowing." That gives "mens rea" to their actions of harassing me. "Serving" the Do Not Contact notice via Twitter made sense since these were all people about whom I knew nothing, and had no way to reach them other than on Twitter. I could also tell when they received it and read it, because they would instantly begin making fun of it, tweeting about what an idiot I was, etc. Then, I would delete the notice since it had done its job of giving notice.
At the time, I was writing answers to legal questions sent in by the public on a website called Law Q&A. There, I answered literally hundreds of legal questions. It was a great useful site, but it is now closed. Anyway, Jon (or someone acting just like him) sent in a question to Law Q&A asking if this notice sent via Twitter was valid. The question was answered by a Criminal lawyer in New York State. His answer, posted on Law Q&A, was that the notice was valid and that the person who sent in the question seemed to be harassing. Then, the same person sent in a variant on the same question, and the New York Criminal lawyer told the person again, the notice is valid and it seems like the question sender is the one doing the harassing and they should stop.
By that time, I was fed up. I was being harassed by this @wvualphasoldier Twitter account, who was using a photo of himself in an Army uniform to gain legitimacy with young Twitter followers, who were now also harassing me. Reports to Twitter had no effect, of course.
Then, I thought about this situation. How is it that a man in the Army has all day to sit on Twitter, harassing people? I wondered: Doesn't he have to be out doing a job or running around singing marching songs, or whatever it is that people in the Army do? Granted, my knowledge of the military comes mainly from comedy movies, such as the old Bill Murray movie, "Stripes." Despite my limited knowledge on the topic, it seemed implausible to me that the Army would assign a man to spend all day on Twitter coaching youngsters on how to harass others.
I decided to report this situation to the Army and to ask if it was a misuse of the Army uniform that @wvualphasoldier was using a photo of himself in his military uniform to gain legitimacy and lead others to harass me. I thought contacting the Army might be a complicated process, but it turned out to be very easy. Online, I found a website for the Army CID (Criminal Investigation Command) with an email for reports. I sent them an email with a link to the @wvulalphasoldier Twitter account, which showed a photo of Jon Nichols in an Army uniform. I sent them links to some of the tweets where he was harassing me. I asked if this was okay by the Army that this man was using the influence of his Army uniform to gather young people into harassing strangers online. The Army CID responded to me quickly.
The reply from the Army CID stunned me. They told me Jon Nichols / @wvualphasoldier was not in the Army. They also told me that no one by that name had worked with computers in the army. I asked if maybe his name was spelled differently, and they wrote back to me and said they tried different spellings.
Immediately after my contact with the Army CID, the profile picture on @wvualphasoldier was changed. The photo in the Army uniform was removed. Jon put up a picture of himself in civilian clothes. He also stopped harassing me.
I don't know what Jon Nichols' story is. I have some working theories, but mostly I do not care since he is no longer harassing me. That is all I've ever asked of any of the people cyberstalking and harassing me -- just please, leave me alone.
If you are reading this, Jon, and you want to explain, please do. I will be happy to post what you send to me.
I have once again written to the Army CID to ask those same questions I asked several years ago, to see if there was some mistake on their part. I have not heard back yet. If and when I do, I will share what they say, if appropriate.