Censoring the Internet

The Cornwell/Sachs Dispute

General information:
Patricia Cornwell
Leslie R. Sachs
Patricia Cornwell Leslie R. Sachs
Patricia Cornwell Eugene Bennett
Patricia Cornwell Margo Bennett
Patricia Cornwell Eugene Bennett Margo Bennett (The happy three.)

[This is just to provide background on Ms. Cornwell
which the American media, in its coverage of Cornwell’s 2007 Federal law suit,
seems curiously unwilling to provide.
A key example of that coverage of the 2007 Cornwell-Sachs case appears below.]

Patricia Cornwell: The paranoid detective

She’s been anorexic, bulimic, drunk at the wheel and out of control.
She’s difficult, obsessive, driven.
Her head is full of fear,
her books full of the serial killers and gruesome autopsies
that have earned her a £100m fortune.

By Mike Bygrave
The Independent (UK), 2002-10-20

[An excerpt from the article (emphasis is added):]

Described as “difficult”, “paranoid”, “driven” and “obsessive”,
she lives in high-security houses,
travels with a phalanx of assistants and bodyguards,
and owns a small arsenal of guns.

In her life as well as in her novels,
Cornwell seems convinced there are Rippers everywhere.


The father who deserted her, the mentally unstable mother,
an unhappy spell with a foster family, and a reported sexual assault
combined to create an abiding terror in Cornwell.
“My biggest battle has always been about fear,”
she has said.


Cornwell had found her formula: roughly,
Hannibal Lecter meets Silent Witness –
monstrous serial killers
whose Grand Guignol violence is offset and eventually contained
by detailed descriptions of autopsy techniques, forensic science
and computer technology.

But behind the formula lies the fear.
In the opinion of British journalist and fellow thriller writer Sarah Dunant,
“For her first five or six books, she's a cracking writer,
a great writer of adrenalin.
She winds you up and scares the shit out of you.
However many locks and bolts I have on my door,
she persuades me of the ability of violence and evil
to break through at any moment.”

According to another crime novelist,
“In [Cornwell’s] view,
bad people fill the world, and not just bad people –
twisted, ultra-violent, evil psychos.

It’s a paranoid view of an America where there are a few decent people
and marauding groups of evildoers.”

Though not a believer,
Cornwell’s world-view closely follows US Christian fundamentalism
with its Manichean split between good and evil.
She endorses the death penalty, dismisses social explanations for crime
and seems to believe that serial killers – an extremely rare phenomenon –
are the norm.
While clearly the product of her traumatic childhood
rather than a developed political philosophy,
Cornwell’s views fitted the mood of Reagan’s America when she had her first success.
She was also part of the “new wave” of feminist crime writers
alongside Sara Paretsky, and Sue Grafton.
In Cornwell’s work, though,
women are both the ultimate victims and the ultimate action heroines
or – uniquely with Kay Scarpetta – both at the same time.

Cornwell seems to see her own life in much the same terms.
Even more than most authors, she identifies with her character,
wearing a wedding ring bought in Verona, Italy (Scarpetta’s supposed birthplace)
and giving Scarpetta her tastes for Colt revolvers, Mercedes cars
and helicopter rides –
Cornwell is a qualified pilot and owns a Bell ‘copter –
along with a passion for cooking Italian dishes.
The richer and more secure Cornwell has become,
the more she feels under threat by “crazies” in general.


For Cornwell, it seems, her life will always imitate her art.

Cornwell’s killer instinct
Telegraph (UK), 2002-12-04

[More background on Cornwell.]

Crime writer seeks to halt posting of accusations on Net
By Zinie Chen Sampson (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Washington Times, 2007-05-23

[The full article;
paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

Best-selling crime writer Patricia Cornwell appeared in court yesterday
to ask a federal judge
to permanently bar another author
from posting defamatory messages about her on the Internet.

Miss Cornwell denied Leslie R. Sachs’ accusations that she is
a “Jew-hater,”
a felon under federal investigation and
a “neo-Nazi”
and said the accusations have caused her anxiety, fear and sleeplessness.
She said the escalation of the postings against her
was the main reason she moved from Richmond to Massachusetts in 2001.

“I said, you know, you can accuse me of a lot of things
but hating a group of people or being a felon” is beyond the pale,
said Miss Cornwell of postings and e-mails by Mr. Sachs,
whose last U.S. residence is listed in court documents as Woodbridge, Va.,
but called himself a “political refugee” who moved to Europe in 2004
to escape Miss Cornwell’s legal actions.

The hearing was part of a libel lawsuit Miss Cornwell filed against Mr. Sachs,
who didn’t have legal representation present.
Mr. Sachs did not return an e-mail seeking comment.

The judge did not say when he would decide on Miss Cornwell’s request.

Miss Cornwell, who said Mr. Sachs’ rants were
a “huge distraction from the creative process,”
also told U.S. District Judge Norman K. Moon that
she has had to hire two full-time bodyguards
and “massively increase” her security measures,
which has prohibited her from doing in-person appearances
to promote her last two novels.

“I don’t meet my fans anymore,” said Miss Cornwell,
who was accompanied by three security guards
posted inside and outside the courtroom.

“That’s been a great source of sadness and loss.
It’s dehumanizing my career.”

She also denied Mr. Sachs’ claim that she plagiarized from his self-published book “The Virginia Ghost Murders” in her 2000 novel “The Last Precinct,”
and said
all of Mr. Sachs’ voluminous accusations
have caused immeasurable harm to her reputation.

When asked by her lawyer, Joan A. Lukey, whether she hated Jews,
Miss Cornwell responded that she was outraged by the accusation
and said that she had Jewish friends, agents and lawyers.
[For example?]

“I’m married to somebody Jewish,” she also said.

Miss Cornwell said her biggest concern is about
possible damage to her reputation,
which could harm her ability to gain access to sources
that can help her do research for subsequent books.
She also testified that large donations that she’s made to charitable groups
have been listed as “anonymous.”

“My reputation is all I’ve got,” she said.

A University of South Carolina psychiatrist testified by teleconference that
Mr. Sachs’ behavior can be classified as cyberstalking.

Dr. Donna Marie Schwartz-Watts reviewed Mr. Sachs’ postings and said
she couldn’t directly gauge his intent, but thought
he presents a potential risk to Miss Cornwell in that
his “emotionally loaded remarks could incite
people who share his views.”

[Look, people are called Nazis and Jew-haters all the time,
both on the Internet (where Sachs posted his pieces)
and wherever political debate occurs,
for example, on university campuses.
If these terms are so “emotionally loaded,”
where are the dead bodies that resulted from such name-calling?
And as to being (presumably falsely) called a felon,
is a federal judge going to validate
the assertion that merely being called a felon
puts one at risk for physical harm?]

Miss Cornwell wants the court
to enforce an injunction issued in 2000 against Mr. Sachs
and seeks a broader ban
to prevent him from further writing negatively about her on Web sites
or allowing such statements to remain on the sites.

She also seeks unspecified financial compensation
for defamatory postings since Aug. 14, 2000,
when another federal judge issued the injunction against Mr. Sachs.

Miss Cornwell said after the hearing
limits should be made on what can be posted on the Internet.

She also said no price can be put on the damage, but
Mr. Sachs should be held accountable for his actions.

“Someone should not be able to run away from
the consequences of their despicable behavior,”
Miss Cornwell said.
“How that is remedied, I don’t know, but
someone should not be granted asylum in one country
because they are violating injunctions and damaging people in another.”

Miss Cornwell plans to pay her own security bill
for a publicity tour to promote her next novel, “Book of the Dead,”
scheduled to be released in the fall.


First, let me try and put this story into the context in which I believe it fits.

Jews, since their bitter and tragic experience with the Holocaust,
have naturally made every effort to see that such an event never happens again.
They make no bones about that.
What is unfortunate, from my point of view, is that
they (rather obviously) believe that
it is absolutely necessary to place limits on what can be said about them
by the gentile community
(within their own community, however, rather fierce criticism is allowed;
just don’t let the horses hear it).
That, of course, is what the ADL is all about:
its efforts to limit free speech are notorious.
But it has many allies within the larger Jewish community in general,
and the mainstream media in particular.
The U.S. MSM again rather obviously practices strict controls over
what can be said about Jews
(for one example of its effort to control speech, see this).

However, now with the growth of the Internet,
citizen’s voices are being heard, speaking about issues that concern them,
without the tight speech controls the Jews would like.
Criticism is mounting, and who knows where it will lead?
Jewish leaders and the MSM have begun indicating concern.

But how to suppress the views that are being expressed?
Simply making accusations of “anti-Semitism”
is no longer as effective as it used to be,
now that everyone from Jimmy Carter to Stephen Walt
to such Jews as Norman Finkelstein has been accused of it.
Further, the First Amendment is a powerful protector of free speech.
But one exception to that free speech right exists:
if the speech incites to violence.
So the name of the game, if you want censorship,
is to link the kind of speech that you want to censor to violence.

Now we come to the Cornwell/Sachs dispute.
There are several things very, very strange
with this story and the situation that it describes.
  1. Why is Sachs making such an issue out of Cornwell?
    Why is he criticizing her so vigorously?

  2. Even given that Sachs is criticizing her so vigorously,
    why is Cornwell making such an issue out of his attacks?
    Most prominently,
    why does she think his statements put her in physical jeopardy?
    From the table below we see that, for example,
    both Norman Finkelstein and Kevin MacDonald
    have been called all the epithets that she cites
    many more times than she has.
    They are both very well-known
    to all the groups that are worried about “neo-Nazis” and “Jew-haters.”
    So if being called “neo-Nazi” and “Jew-hater” puts one at risk,
    why haven’t they been harmed, or even threatened, so far as we know,
    nor felt the need to rush to the federal courts
    to stop people from saying all those terrible things about them.
    Both are just professors, with none of the security setup that she has,
    as described in the UK news articles above.
    Again, where’s the threat?
    In fact,
    where or when has anyone ever been harmed
    for being called one of those names?

  3. Why is the news article so one-sided?
    It only presents her side of the story;
    it might as well have been written by her attorney.
    We are always told how she feels, about her reaction to Sachs’s statements.
    The whole thing is taking place in her mind.
    Is her mind normal?
    Certainly not, based on the information in the 2002 UK article above.
    Why wasn’t that information reported?
    Wasn’t it both relevant and interesting?
    Of course it was.
    The fact that the reporter (and not only this one)
    have not covered that aspect of Cornwell’s background
    is proof positive of how she/they want to bias this story,
    and the case.

To be continued....

Name-calling on the Internet
Patricia Cornwell1.3M15020K50K500400250Sachs
Norman Finkelstein1M80100K150K23K50K600D, J
Kevin MacDonald700K*10*120K200K18K30K600SPLC
George Bush150M40K1.3M1.5M300K

The numbers are roundings of those for 2007-05-27;
they are really just something to click on to get current status.

The plot thickens as crime writer Patricia Cornwell takes ‘cyberstalker’ to court
· Best-selling novelist fears for safety over web jibes
· Libel case defendant accused of ‘jew hating’
by Dan Glaister
The Guardian, 2007-05-24

General Articles

E.U. Ministers Agree on Rules Against Hate Crimes, Racism
By Molly Moore
Washington Post, 2007-04-20

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

PARIS, April 19 --
European Union officials agreed Thursday to new regulations
for combating hate crimes and racism
at a time when xenophobia and concern over immigration
have been increasing across the 27-country bloc.


The proposed regulations would require E.U. governments
to impose criminal sanctions against
people or groups publicly inciting violence or hatred . . .
directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group
defined by reference to
race, color, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.”

Under the recommendations,
conviction on those charges would carry jail terms of up to one year.

Norman Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah

A related concern of those combating the new anti-Semitism is the Internet—
an understandable worry, since it is not (yet) controlled
by the likes of those who could be counted on
for responsible, balanced coverage of the Middle East such as
Izzy Asper, Silvio Berlusconi, Conrad Black, Rupert Murdoch,
and Mortimer Zuckerman.
[Finkelstein’s tongue is firmly in his cheek in that last prepositional phrase.]
Having plainly learned the lessons of totalitarianism
and the importance of unfettered speech,
the authors of Manifestations of Anti-Semitism in the European Union
(2003; summary, full report)
recommend that
  • “private and state organizations
    should exert continuing pressure on large Internet providers
    to remove racist and anti-Semitic content from the net”;

  • “it is essential to extend the jurisdiction of European courts
    to include detailed provisions
    on the responsibility of Internet service providers”;

  • “a particularly intensive monitoring is required,
    one which in the first instance must be undertaken by state authorities”;

  • “cases of police prosecution and information from state security authorities” should be publicized.

To judge by their definition
[as an example of how broad their definition of anti-Semitism was,
they included Gretta Duisenberg’s hanging of a Palestinian flag over her balcony]
if every Internet user guilty of “anti-Semitism” is to be prosecuted,
they should also be calling for mass internment camps.

Miscellaneous Articles


Blog Takes Failed Marriage Into Fight Over Free Speech
New York Times, 2008-01-10

Normally, Garrido v. Krasnansky,
a divorce case playing out in Vermont family court,
would be of little interest to anyone but the couple involved.
But the court has ordered the husband
to stop posting blog items about his wife and their crumbled marriage,
possibly turning an ordinary divorce into
a much broader battle over free speech on the Internet.

The husband, William Krasnansky,
posted what he calls a fictionalized account of the marriage
on his blog late last year.
His wife, Maria Garrido, complained to the judge overseeing their divorce,
who ordered Mr. Krasnansky to take down “any and all Internet postings”
about his wife and their marriage pending a hearing next month.

Mr. Krasnansky, 51, says the order amounts to a prior restraint,
a rare restriction of speech before publication,
and a violation of his constitutional right to free speech.
His lawyer, Debra R. Schoenberg of Burlington, Vt.,
has asked Judge Thomas Devine of Washington County Family Court
to vacate the order and dismiss Ms. Garrido’s motion for immediate relief.

The order has surprised some experts in First Amendment law,
who say it constitutes a prior restraint and
appears too broad to be constitutional,
especially since no hearing or trial has been held.

The dispute also highlights
some still-murky questions about free speech in the Internet era,
particularly the extent to which
someone can use a so-called gripe site to air grievances,
even if they are labeled fiction.



"Lieberman Introduces Bill Targeting Internet Freedom"
by Patrick Lang
Sic Semper Tyrannis, 2010-06-20

Kill the ‘Kill Switch’
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2010-06-21

Joe Lieberman: China can shut down the Internet, why can't we?