"Adolescents are not monsters. They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves." ~Virginia Satir.
To be a teenager in today's world is often a daunting and formidabble fate. Historically, the teenage years have always been the time that our children have chosen to establish their independence and their freedoms from any and all perceived shackling that has been perpetrated by adult society. Reconciling this new-found rebellion with the mores and edicts set forth by that same society is often a monumental task. Hence, those of us who are older often cut them some slack and recognize the growing pains that we all had at that age.
Perhaps the one thing that concerns most of modern society when it comes to our youth is the dangers that they face simply because of that youth and their lack of experiences. Predators are everywhere and if you don't believe that spend a week listening to the evening news. The sophistication of current technology, the popularity of the internet, and the global shrinking that has ensued may have enriched our lives but it has also provided a new vehicle for those whose purpose is self-serving and esoteric.
Recently a group of young people who avail themselves of the endless entertainment on the internet, came across just such a person - Hal Turner. This group loves to laugh and they enjoy pulling pranks - especially on adults. Little did they realize that they would be threatened with beatings, maimings, and death.
Hal Turner is a racist radio shock-jock who has been the focus of many anti-racist and media people for a number of years now largely because of the vicious message that he dissmenates both from his website and his internet radio show. Turner has long considered himself "untouchable" as far as law-enforcement is concerned and it has often been opined that he may be working with the authorities, however, his rhetoric is way beyond the pale of what is considered protected speech by most rational and sane individuals.
When, in 2005, Federal Judge Joan Lefkow's mother and father were brutally killed in their home, Turner not only took credit for the killings, but went on to post names and personal information about other Judges he deemed worthy of death. He has repeatedly called for the assassination of public officials and even conjured up a fantasy of how he personally overcame five Mexican men, killed them, and threw their bodies in the river.
Just a few days before Christmas, this group of young people who identify themselves only as "Anonymous," chose to prank call Hal Turner's radio show. They thought that it would pay off in lots of laughs if they jammed the phone lines and his regular callers could not be accomodated. It was a prank - nothing more. They have done it in many places before but didn't bargain for the reaction from Mr. Turner.
Generally speaking, most of us have been on the receiving end of a prank phone call or two. Yes, they can be annoying, and they can interfere with our normal routine. Sometimes they may even anger us and result in a threat to turn them into the phone company or to alert their parents as to their actions. Again, generally speaking, we hang up and move on. Not Hal Turner.
Hal Turner's world is considerably different than most of ours, however. Hal Turner thrives on chaos and misery and Hal Turner depends on "his listeners" to pay his bills as he has no other source of income. Many of us were getting a kick out of this because it seemed like precisely what Hal had been looking for - someone he could intimidate. The problem is, for Hal, he picked the wrong fight.
Turner went into the call logs attempting to find out who the callers were who had interrupted his show. Finding precious few numbers, since most were masked by using various anononymizers available, he decided to post the numbers of those he could find, along with any other personal information he could garner, on his website and hope that some of his "people" would teach them a lesson. The plan backfired as the information posted led directly to minors. This didn't sit very well with the Anonymous group. After some research and digging, the group located all sorts of personal information on Hal Turner including his criminal background, bankruptcy, and, of course, his telephone number.
In what they considered fairness, a member of the group then made a phone call to Hal's home. After being interrogated and cussed out by Hal's wife, Hal got on the phone. The caller explained what information they were in possession of and promised not to make it public if Hal would remove the information that he had on his site about those who were underage. Hal said nothing...it was the first, and maybe the last time, that any of us had ever heard Hal speechless (the phone call was recorded and placed online later). There was no response. Later that day, however, the information was removed - only to be reposted the next morning - so was Hal's "Full Disclosure."
While the anonymous group had provided Hal Turner with an opportunity to, in essence, hang up and move on - Hal Turner couldn't do that. Hal Turner saw another opportunity to elicit attention and sympathy from his "supporters" which has always equated to dollars for his pockets. Mistake. Big Mistake, Hal.
Hal railed against the group. He screamed and ranted and raved. He went onto various hate forums soliciting support - both moral and monetary - while the Anonymous group waged a cyberwar against his website unlike anything most of us have ever witnessed. His website was down more than it was up and his radio shows have been interrupted continuously. Throughout all of these attacks on Turner, his threats of bodily harm against the group have served no other purpose but to assure that the next attack would be even more memorable.
Turner claims that the group harassed his mother and his wife and made threats against his son. None of these statements have been verified. He did bring someone he claimed to be his mother onto his radio show one evening, however, there are many who believed she sounded an awful lot like Phyllis, his wife. That is one of the drawbacks of radio and the internet - anyone can be anyone. Throughout all of his claims, the one that stood out the most was his plea for contributions to help him with legal fees and with the cost of bandwidth charges that he estimated to be in the thousands. For all of his whining and begging, he was eliciting very little sympathy from the VNN crowd as most of them already realize that Hal is not the "Voice of the Common Man," as he refers to himself, but the "Voice of the Con Man," as we refer to him. Hal "Show Me The Money" Turner was not having a very happy New Year.
True to form, Hal continued his bid at intimidation and braggadocio on his webstite, on his radio show, and in his emails to the Anonymous members. Let's look at some of what he had to say:
-------------- Hal Turner warns:
The ONLY thing any of you are accomplishing is raising the level ofbrutality I intend to use when I take revenge.
Here is how I will mete out justice according to the action committed:
1) Some of you are going to get the shit beaten out of you.
2) Others are going to be beaten to death, and finally;
3) Others are going to have firebombs thrown through the windowsof their houses WHILE THEY ARE HOME and when they - and their familiescome out, their throats will be cut.
This is the price I will exact for :
1) Harassing my wife (who has nothing to do with my radio show)2) Recording the harassment of my wife and putting it on the net and3) Harassing my senior citizen mother.
I am so motivated to to physical violence to these people that Idon't even care to state my intentions publicly. Neither cops, norProsecutors, nor Judges will be able to stop me.
When the Anonymous group threatened to turn him in to the appropriate internet authorites, Hal did nothing but scoff and say:
The AOL Police? Big fucking deal.
THe U.S. Secret Service has been "monitoring" me since the year 2000because of the things I say about the President and VP
The U.S. Marshal Service has been watching me since 1997 when Istarted make life uncomforatble for federal judges.
The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force has had me in their sights formore than three years as have the New Jersey State Police (Office ofCounter Terrorism).
Do you REALLY think I give a shit about AOL?
Do you know why those law enforcement agencies watch me so closely? Because they KNOW I hurt people; they just can;t prove it.
THey KNOW homes and businesses have been fire bombed becuase of me;they just can;t prove it.
They KNOW a federal judges family was killed in Chicago because of me;they just can't prove it.
So you and your pals just keep fucking around. YOU TOO can becomejust another part of a long string of people I have "dealt" with.
When one of the Anonymous group called into his crippled radio show Hal told him, "I'm gonna send some of my Nazi Skinheads over there and they're gonna beat the shit out of you. And they're even gonna tell you why...they're gonna tell ya Hal Turner sent them."
Now, we, at Citizens Against Hate, have been monitoring hate groups for a lot of years and we are pretty well acquainted with most of the organized movement racists who are active - and we, for the life of us, cannot even begin to imagine what skinhead wants to be one of Hal's skinheads. Hal Turner is this little man who features himself as some sort of Don Corleone who can, with a nod of his head, command a hit on anyone and an army of skinheads are just waiting to do his bidding. That's an interesting point of view since the vast majority of the movement racists, including skinheads, view Hal as an embarrassment and a joke. To even hint that he commands that much respect among them is totally disingenuous.
Hal Turner knows that his popularity among the racists is non-existent, but he has to keep up appearances. His web presence has been much the same as well...and there aren't too many who seem to care.
Last week, Hal Turner filed a lawsuit against the anonymous group. He also requested a restraining order which was quickly denied. The suit itself has been reduced as a copyright infringement case and promises to go nowhere. But then, Hal Turner doesn't really care about that - what he wanted was subpoena power. He wanted the ability to have subpoenas served on the "1000 John Doe's" that are listed within the suit. Why? Because that will give him access to their names and locations. You see, Hal's web presence isn't the only thing that has been damaged. Hal's ego has been crushed. He has been ridiculed and humiliated in front of a huge internet crowd - and he really thinks he has to rectify that situation. He has finally reached that point of no return where push has come to shove and it is time to put up or shut up. Like most junkies, Hal had to reach bottom before anyone could get his attention - and he is but a stones throw away from the dregs.
There are dangers inherent in all of this, and while Citizens Against Hate and Eye On Hate is happy to see Hal Turner's web presence nullified, if only for a little while, we cannot help but be more than a little concerned over the end-around that Turner is trying to negotiate. Throughout all of this it has become apparent that Turner is, in fact, sociopathic by nature and really cares nothing about the harm that might befall others - even minors. For this reason, we have now reached out to those in the Anonymous group with a promise to assist them in any way possible in their battle to maintain their anonymity and to remain safe. Since our archives are replete with information and evidence on many people in the movement, and our associates include people like Mr. Floyd Cochran, who has long been considered an expert on hate groups, and since Hal Turner's lawsuit and his request for subpoena power for the sole purpose of finding those he believe wronged him, threatens to set a dangerous precedent for all people we feel compelled to take a stand.
All legal issues aside Citizens Against Hate and Eye On Hate believe that Mr. Turner has already demonstrated his propensity for the advocation of violence and that he has done so to an egregious degree over a period of years. We believe that any suggestion that Mr. Turner be provided with the names and addresses of those he wishes to exact his "street justice" upon as stated by him, should not only be viewed with an arched eyebrow but with a swift stroke of the judicial pen that denies him that access.
Providing Mr. Turner with this type of information would serve no purpose other than to further his hateful agenda and would put any and all of our population at risk. It has long been said that a person can sue anyone for anything. Suing doesn't mean you will win. Consequently, anyone could sue another for the sole purpose of disclosure of personal information to fulfill a violent agenda.
In essence, the actions engaged in by the Anonymous group had nothing - absolutely nothing - to do with Mr. Turner's ideology. As stated previously it was a prank that had been pulled on many others before reaching Turner. Since many of the group members were teens and not at the age of majority, the granting of any such request to the Plaintiff would place those minors and their families in peril.
It is for these reasons that we will attempt to assist those members in quashing any actions that would provide Mr. Turner and his "marauders" with such information.Last week, Mr. Cochran and I sent a strong message to Hal Turner. We let him know that he cannot clean up his tracks, as he was attempting to do, he cannot hide his past calls to violence and his deplorable hate speech by erasing it from the internet. We advised Mr. Turner that between all of the people working together to warn others about him, we have pretty well documented, chronicled and archived his internet life. Any attempt on his part to appear mainstream or even tolerable to the court will be met with more humiliation as he will then be proven the charlatan that he is. For those who often wonder what we do besides report - this is but one example of our endeavors.
It should be noted that neither Citizens Against Hate nor Eye On Hate advocate violence or anything that is illegal or immoral. We are taking this stand because we believe that should Mr. Turner be allowed to view the personal information that would generated with those subpoenas there is a real and present danger and that the potential for violence against the named witnesses would be far too great for the Court to ignore. While the Court is bound by the body of jurisprudence that dictates its' actions it is not bound by any commandment that places others in harms way. There is a huge body of irrefutable evidence which demonstrates the violent and vengeful nature of Mr. Turner, and that evidence will be made available to the Court for the presiding Judge to do with as he sees fit. Hopefully, this issue will be resolved without anyone's safety being compromised.