Blog Post

Judge: Ron Paul Can’t Force Twitter, YouTube To Identify ‘Impostors’

Ron Paul’s campaign suffered a setback this week in its effort to identify who uploaded videos that appear to show the presidential candidate bashing a former rival’s ties to China.

A federal judge yesterday refused the campaign’s request for an order that would have forced YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG) and Twitter to disclose details about “NHLiberty4Paul.” That name is associated with a Twitter and YouTube handle, likely from New Hampshire, that issued messages suggesting former Republican candidate Jon Huntsman is a Chinese agent.

The Paul campaign, which has disavowed the allegations, responded with a lawsuit earlier this month. Here is an excerpt:

The Video also questions Mr. Huntsman’s religious faith, refers to Mr. Huntsman as “China Jon” and asks whether his daughters are “even adopted.” The Video ends with a fictitious depiction of Mr. Huntsman in a Mao Zedong uniform and the text “American Values and Liberty – Vote Ron Paul,” thereby falsely implying that Plaintiff created, endorsed or is affiliated in some way with the Video and its content.

The people associated with NHLiberty4Paul also issued a series of tweets that insult Huntsman and claim Paul is the only real conservative in the GOP race.

In a recent filing, the Paul campaign asked US Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James to grant an order that would have forced Twitter, YouTube and other third parties to provide information about NHLiberty4Paul.

In a two-page order (shown below), James stated that the Paul campaign had not met the “good cause” criteria necessary to obtain the order.

This means that the campaign can’t for now obtain the identities of the defendants who are listed in the lawsuit as “John Doe.”

Jerrold Abeles, an attorney for the Paul campaign, said in a phone interview that the order is not the end of the road for the Paul campaign. Abeles said the campaign still has the option to file an amended request seeking to unmask the John Does.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of false advertising, trademark infringement and libel. The suit is unusual because free speech principles of American law make it nearly impossible for a national political figure like Paul to win a defamation case.

Ron Paul is a libertarian whose followers rabidly support his philosophy of small government and a non-interventionist foreign policy.

Ron Paul 2012 v. Does, C 12-0240 (N.D. Cal.; Jan 25 2012)(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

69 Responses to “Judge: Ron Paul Can’t Force Twitter, YouTube To Identify ‘Impostors’”

  1. Two new and extremely detailed reports from The End Run (http://www.theendrun.com). They’re right on the front page.

    “Twitter Trail Confirms ‘China Jon’ Video as “False Flag”, Points To Huntsman Campaign”

    and

    “The ‘China Jon’ Fraud Deconstructed”

    The following three paragraphs are from the end of the second article:

    With regard to the lawsuit that has now been filed by the Paul campaign over this video, some people seem to be trying to argue that the person(s) behind the “China Jon” video were not trying to portray the video as being connected to the Paul campaign.  Not so. Besides everything that’s already been mentioned, here is what the Huffington Post wrote on January 6th, just as the story was beginning to explode in the press, and within hours of Huntsman’s “magic moment” in Concord:

    “When The Huffington Post contacted the poster of the video through YouTube to ask why they created the video and whether they had any formal association with the Paul campaign, NHLiberty4Paul replied: “Sorry, campaign has asked me not to speak to reporters.”

    Got that?  This was a malicious attempt to frame the Paul campaign, and constitutes fraudulent and almost certainly criminal electioneering of the worst kind.

  2. As to the source of the video:  This article walks step-by-step through what happened:  http://www.theendrun.com/the-china-jon-huntsman-fraud-deconstructed  and the Twitter trail is here: http://www.theendrun.com/breaking-twitter-trail-confirms-china-jon-video-as-false-flag-points-to-huntsman-campaign

    The first Tweet linking the video referenced #fitn  (First in the Nation, title of HuffPo article by Huntsman’s daughters) and Jon2012girls (a reference used many times by his daughters in previous tweets). 

    The 2nd tweet (less than 12 hours later) is directed to three “rabid” anti-Paul folks: Dan Gainor, Dan Brodigan (a Huntsman supporter) and Michelle Malkin. Now why would a “Ron Paul supporter” send a video like this to anti-Paul people?

    Many other things point to the source being someone close to Jon Huntsman, but those tweets make it pretty clear.  

  3. “rabidly support” – Jeff Roberts

    Last time I checked I was not a RABID supporter, I do however make informed decisions based on research and facts, feel free to call me a RABID researcher if you wish but keep in mind my support of Ron Paul is not RABID in itself, it is based on research of the facts and therefore my support is based on knowledge of the facts. Your connotation and use of “rabidly support” has no justification on the facts, instead you “rabidly” penned it based on your “rabid”  assertions , without a full and deep understanding of the Ron Paul supporters. What you also fail to see is that the idea/message of LIBERTY is bigger than Ron Paul, Ron Paul knows this and HUMBLY spreads the message to all who take the time to honestly look at LIBERTY. So when you pen “rabidly support” …. you go against those of us who believe in LIBERTY , I’m not sure how you can do that with a straight face?

  4. I don’t think pursuing this lawsuit is a bad idea at all.
    Why? Because I believe, I think similarly to the Paul campaign, that this was done by a relative to Huntsman with some involvement in the campaign. I believe they did it maliciously with the intention to actually show strengths of Huntsman’s (his knowledge of Chinese language/culture and that he has adoptive children) while making Paul look bad through association with a bigoted supporter – pundits even tried to say, “With this and “the Newsletters”, do you have any control over your own campaign?” Implying that his own campaign released this idiotic ad, and even further implying that the Newsletter issue was some sort of epidemic, rather than the very few lines over many years that it was.

    The video was immediately mailed to activist Huntsman supporters, not Paul supporters. It was spread by Huntsman supporters. All of this points to Huntsman’s campaign being dishonest, and ousting the dishonest is a good thing. Whether the lawsuit is successful or not, if they can uncover who did it that’s enough to validate pursuing it.

    By uncovering the identity of the people who did it, Paul could be perceived in a number of ways…
    I think most of them positive. How big of a story would it be for example if it were Huntsman’s close relatives who made and distributed the video?

    Concerning the accuracy of your article, in the following-
    “The people associated with NHLiberty4Paul also issued a series of tweets that insult Huntsman and claim Paul is the only real conservative in the GOP race.”
    Yet while what you linked does contain insults of Huntsman and support of Paul, it is done by NHLiberty4Paul themselves, not any associate. Quite obviously, this is done so that the person will believe that NHLiberty4Paul is actually a Paul supporter, and not just some fake. What’s important to note is that the account was made that same day anonymously.

  5. I don’t think pursuing this lawsuit is a bad idea at all.
    Why? Because I believe, I think similarly to the Paul campaign, that this was done by a relative to Huntsman with some involvement in the campaign. I believe they did it maliciously with the intention to actually show strengths of Huntsman’s (his knowledge of Chinese language/culture and that he has adoptive children) while making Paul look bad through association with a bigoted supporter – pundits even tried to say, “With this and “the Newsletters”, do you have any control over your own campaign?” Implying that his own campaign released this idiotic ad, and even further implying that the Newsletter issue was some sort of epidemic, rather than the very few lines over many years that it was.

    The video was immediately mailed to activist Huntsman supporters, not Paul supporters. It was spread by Huntsman supporters. All of this points to Huntsman’s campaign being dishonest, and ousting the dishonest is a good thing. Whether the lawsuit is successful or not, if they can uncover who did it that’s enough to validate pursuing it.

    By uncovering the identity of the people who did it, Paul could be perceived in a number of ways…
    I think most of them positive. How big of a story would it be for example if it were Huntsman’s close relatives who made and distributed the video?

    Concerning the accuracy of your article, in the following-
    “The people associated with NHLiberty4Paul also issued a series of tweets that insult Huntsman and claim Paul is the only real conservative in the GOP race.”
    Yet while what you linked does contain insults of Huntsman and support of Paul, it is done by NHLiberty4Paul themselves, not any associate. Quite obviously, this is done so that the person will believe that NHLiberty4Paul is actually a Paul supporter, and not just some fake. What’s important to note is that the account was made that same day anonymously.

  6. Most already know the video was by Huntsman daughters and the content and the media reaction to also smear Ron Paul went well beyond free speech, it was defamation and more easily. I’ll bet Huntsman daughters are chitting a brick right now. I also doubt anybody is looking for $$ in the defamation, it’s more like here ya go Huntsman daughters and media, here is a poke right back in your eye, with backing documents. I support free speech 110% , I don’t support what Huntsman daughters and the corrupt media has done to Ron Paul though, KARMA is coming friends!

  7. classicliberalseth

    It’s not unreasonable for Paul to want to know the identity of NHLiberty. The judge makes the assumption that NHLiberty is not affiliated with another campaign. This is a political race and that wasn’t a cheap video. I’m sure whomever produced this will keep their free speech, but maybe not as an anonymous. It’s not a whistleblower protection scenario.  

  8. Hastings RH

    Freedom means you can do what ever you want as long as you don’t hurt anybody. This clearly hurt Dr Paul and was intended to do so. Huntman should just apologize and be done with it but I guess he has the money to buy the judge? The Judge is either and idiot or the filing failed to cross all the t’s

    • Ignacious

      Look, I am with you and a fellow Paul supporter but the judge is right. He is a public figure and it has been historically difficult for public figures to win these cases. How did it hurt Paul, seriously? The media used it to smear him unjustly but it did not hurt Paul as a congressman. It might be argued that it hurt him as a candidate for another job, but even proving that will be difficult since his polling numbers did not significantly diminish. He did his symbolic duty, he disavowed them and sought to expose them. That’s the best you’re going to be able to hope for until Huntsman fesses up. And Huntsman has no reason to now that he’s gone. Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you.

  9. Though I disagree with the use of the word “rabid” in connection to Ron Paul via supporters, I thank the relatively neutral voice in this article. You stated facts, even posting the entire district court order.

    Ron Paul is a public figure of impeccable character, and the media used this one video to try and destroy him. I applaud the Ron Paul campaign in not trying to sue the media for slander, or youtube for being an innocent provider, nor going after the Huntsman campaign specifically with nothing but circumstantial evidence, but strictly trying to discover the creator of that fraudulent video so that that person could be held responsible for what they had done to destroy his reputation in time to affect the outcome of votes in NH.

  10. brianmiddleton

    Whoever wrote the article is a moron. The judge did NOT refuse anything.  Read the damn order.

    Federal Courts do NOT allow discovery until after the Schedule Conference. Which generally means 120 days after complaint has been filed. Paul’s attorney filed an ex parte application to begin EARLIER. But failed to establish why they should be given the right to begin discovery early.The judge ruled they can RE-file and if they can establish the legal and factual basis for being allowed to start before the regularly schedule discovery process, the judge will consider.You guys really gotta stop with all the conspiracy nonsense. Go read the damn order instead of assuming a bunch of untrue stuff. The Paul campaign won’t get special treatment in court, and when they don’t it is NOT a conspiracy. I rad the ex parte application and Benton’s declaration and it was kinda weak and overly broad and way to conclusory.They MUST establish that the complain would not be dismissed by motion, that the party sought to be discovered can be sued in Federal court, and that they have taken steps to try to obtain and locate the defendant, and finally, that Plaintiff will reasonably be able to identify defendant (DOES) through discovery.Courts just don’t issue order because you ask them to.Stop with the ignorance.

    • Jeff Roberts

      Brianmiddleton, I’m not sure what to say. If you read the story, it’s clear that the judge DID REFUSE the ex parte application. Yes, the application was dismissed without prejudice, meaning Paul’s attorneys can try again with a more detailed application. The third to last paragraph states this too.

      I’ve also embedded the order to be transparent.

      Our site provides news for a general audience. Our goal is to be accurate, not to provide detailed treatises of civil evidence.

      • brianmiddleton

        Jeff,I respectfully disagree.  Your headline is misleading: “Judge: Ron Paul Can’t Force Twitter, YouTube To Identify ‘Impostors’”The judge did not “refuse” anything.  She clearly wrote what Plaintiff had failed to establish and dismissed the application without prejudice, even stating: 

        “Plaintiff’s ex parte application fails to address the above legal issues that this Court evaluates when considering whether to grant expedited discovery. Accordingly, the ex parte application is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to Plaintiff refiling another request for expedited discovery that addresses the applicable legal standards and includes the proper evidentiary support.”

        If you are an attorney you know what that means.  It means they submitted a piss poor application without the necessary elements that would grant such application.  They can refile and establish the require elements pretty easy.  Your headline infers that Ron Paul cannot get youtube/twitter to give them the information, which is just not true.   It would be true if they had filed a proper application and the judge then ruled against them, but I highly doubt that will happen, especially in DOE cases.  But they need to establish that the court even has juridiction over Defendant etc.
        The application is just to begin discovery early.I thought it was poorly done and agreed with the judge.  But I can write the necessary elements in my sleep.  Attorneys are lazy sometimes…

  11. When the NHLiberty4Paul video came out, the MSM quickly attacked Ron Paul’s alleged supporter and indirectly attacked Ron Paul. What this lawsuit did was that it immediately stopped the unjustified attack against Ron Paul by MSM. Secondly, the request for identity of this Youtube & Twitter handle is to keep the pressure on who ever that is behind this convoluted slander against Ron Paul.  If a commercial company attempts similiar  type of slanderous campaign against their competitor and if exposed can be liable for millions of dollar of punitive damage. So who ever that are behind this slander, watch out! When exposed, they could be made to pay millions of dollar in civil damages. These damages when collected could possibly be used by Ron Paul to fund his campaign to Restore America Now.

  12. RobertFallin

    Simple solution.  Sue YouTube and Twitter for libel.  During the discovery phase the source would be identified. Or, is there an attorney out there who can tell me why this would not be so?

  13. James Anthony

    The most telling, yet not surprising, conclusion we can draw from this entire debacle with Huntsman and Paul is this – when the youtube China Jon story broke, within 48 hours over 700 news media organizations tied the video to Ron Paul’s supporters and blasted the video all over the place as headline news and painted Dr. Paul in the poorest light possible.
    Compare that to this news that we are commenting on regarding the Paul campaign lawsuit in Federal court. Barely an utterance. If you had any doubt about the media manipulation against Ron Paul this should dispel your last shred of skepticism.

    •  I agree with you, Joe. If this was a true Ron Paul supporter who wanted the man to win and realized that RP’s reputation was on the line by being associated with this via the MSM propaganda, this person (or persons) would have taken it down. That it continues to be a thorn in the side of RP convinces me that it was done deliberately by someone opposed to RP getting the nomination. Mittens or Grinch could probably “pull some strings” to have this sorted out if it was them being attacked as in the MSM eyes, they’d be the victims. The MSM is despicable.

  14. Justin Raimondo

    “Jeff Roberts is a journalist whose fans, friends, and family RABIDLY support his philosophy of biased reporting.”

    Go back to journalism school, you dolt.

      • Justin Raimondo

        Why? Because I took the time to read your article all the way through, and also took the time to comment? If that is “rabid,” then you have a very low opinion of the average American.

        • Jeff Roberts

          Fair point.. I wasn’t trying to belittle Ron Paul or his supporters.. I respect Paul and agree with a number of his ideas.. My comment was just an observation that his base appears to have more fervor than the other candidates.. But, yes, I concede ‘rabid’ may not have been the best word choice.. (Although I do maintain this lawsuit is a stupid idea)

            • I disagree. Lawsuit was necessary after the fact that the
              author of the clip was asked to remove it and he/she did not. That alone makes
              a case for premeditative action and should not be tolerated. Everybody can
              voice its opinion but at the same time should be responsible for it.

              Lawsuit is a right path for a dispute.  The deeper side effect of the clip was that
              all the media associated that clip with Ron Paul’s campaign without even
              thinking twice. And this is not right. A potential win of this case would make
              those who picked the “news” that quickly think twice before they say
              something unconfirmed or untrue next time. This would be a great lesson in my
              opinion.

            • tanks2bb _

              No way. It forced Huntsman out of the race to avoid embarrassment and it sheds light on how the msm is a dishonest, unorganized, grab-asstic piece of amphibian sht doing all they can to discredit the Doc. Even if the suit fails, it did its job.

            • Not really.  The idea of Liberty is that people should be free to live their lives as they want and do what they please – SO LONG AS they don’t harm others or interfere with the rights of others.

              In this case, they “harmed” Ron Paul’s reputation.  In a truly Free society, people who are harmed have the right for redress & to hold responsible the party causing the harm.  (some may argue, as well, that there may even be a “duty” to pursue this in order to stop this kind of behavior from harming others)

          • I disagree that the lawsuit is a stupid idea. It should be
            done and it should set a precedence for the future. People should be
            responsible for their actions. It is even bigger if Huntsman’s campaign (or
            family) was involved. I absolutely think that this type of action is necessary.
            That is what the judicial system is created for. Don’t you think?

            • Obviously, if they haven’t taken it down, they pretty much believe they are untouchable. How many people get sued for slander every year in this country? This is something that seems to be aimed at derailing Dr. Paul’s candidacy and I think it is right to try and find out who is behind it, who has cost you votes, and time to deal with it, etc. Strange thing is that I bet Grinch or Mittens especially would have no trouble twisting someone’s arm to find out who it was… and the MSM would be in a righteous uproar over this treatment of their chosen puppet. 

          • WalkerWire

            You’re right, the word “rabid” clearly has a strong negative connotation and was definitely “not the best” choice, unless your point was to bash Ron Paul and his supporters.

            I strongly suspect this in fact was your point, but — like a true dolt — you quickly backed down when called out by a writer of greater stature (and talent…and integrity) than yourself.

            I would nonetheless thank you for the apology, except what you offered wasn’t quite an apology…just a dubious denial (“my comment was just an observation…”) and a tepid concession that *maybe* you didn’t use “the best” word.

            • correction

              Actually, one definition of “rabid” as given by dictionary dot com states aspects of being uncontrollable (which many Paul supporters I’ve seen are quite proud of,) while another is “extremely zealous or enthusiastic.” I have described myself as rabid about things in the past. 

              I do find it interesting how big government is ok when it benefits Ron Paul, it seems. And while I think anyone who takes Ayn Rand seriously is too socially dangerous to gain my trust, I acknowledge that he does have a small number of ideas I agree with.

            • Me again. I had not meant to post as “correction,” that sounds arrogant, I has used that to correct an earlier post of mine and forgot that it kept the name. Apologies.

            • I don’t see how “big govt” has anything to do with uncovering the guilty party in this case. If anything, the media that ran with the story is part of the big govt establishment that obviously does not want a Ron Paul victory.

      • ZeroHedges

        Passion in defense of liberty. Jeff Roberts, you think we are motivated because we like the way that 76 year old bag of bones looks and talks? Its the idea of liberty, not some old Doctor from Texas, that drives us.

  15. I just watched the video and I don’t see how Ron Paul could win access to subpoena the person’s information.  The only references to Paul are the NHLiberty4Paul username and “Vote Ron Paul” at the end of the video.  Nowhere does it say it was created by the Paul campaign or endorsed by him.  It just looks like a video created by a Paul supporter, a private citizen voicing their support for him.

    And even if it was created by Huntsman or a supporter, that’s not illegal either.  I don’t see a case for libel or trademark infringement at all.

    • Have you forgotten the non-stop coverage the media gave this stupid video for 3-4 days prior to the NH primary election? Paul was bad-mouthed that entire time by every mainstream/cable television station, and hundreds of popular internet news sources. They immediately placed blame on “Ron Paul supporters” despite the obvious fact that anyone could’ve opened that youtube account to upload this single video. Many trusted news sources even reported that this video was actually from Ron Paul’s campaign! Meanwhile, Jon Huntsman and family were interviewed constantly, receiving sympathy and more free publicity in those 3-4 days, than he’d received during his entire career.

    • The case isn’t about prosecuting something illegal, but embarassing someone who did something unethical and in poor taste by creating it (especially if it was a Huntsman insider.) There are many details that make it look like an insider posted it to make Ron look bad. It would make huntsman look really bad if he did it. If they did, I hope they get the disgrace and backlash they deserve.

    • The media had reported many times that the video was uploaded by a Ron Paul supporter and in some cases insinuated the Paul campaign was responsible. Can you not see that this shed bad light on Paul at an important time during the NH primary?

  16. slider123456

    He hopes to show it was dirty campaign tactics by the Huntsman camp and that NH4Liberty
    is not a Ron Paul supporter. If this was done by some unassociated individual then there is very little to gain but if it is dirty campaign tactics by a competitor it will shine a light on shady campaign
    practices that are probably not that uncommon.

  17. biasedone

    I’m no legal expert, plus I’m a “rabid” (per the article) Ron Paul supporter so my reasoning is suspect. But this general area of law – the intersection of defamation and hacking – is very much a current topic given what’s going on in the UK and USA over the alleged News Corp phone hacking. Of course like everything else related to Paul the MSM will portray it as out-of-the-mainstream even though – like war, deficits, and crony capitalism – it’s an issue on the minds of many Americans.

    • jack frost

      biasdomehead Your guy has claimed there  is an absolute freedom of speech . yet he seeks to censor it. Like you little  fools have been doing for three years now.
       You’ve been censoring any talk about the racist newsletters from NPR website for three years.
       any mention of his gold investments in mines that are big polluters.
       you  WronG bots have been censoring in force, and then ou bitch about SOPA. LOL What’s the worry? the competition.

  18. Huntsman’s drop-out was kind odd, but I also think this lawsuit is kind of odd.  What does the Paul campaign have to gain from finding out who posted the video?  

      • exactly right, and hunstman dropped out the same day paul received endorsements from 4 SC state senators which the MSM ignored anyhow, and instead talked about this stupid video, and how it was from paul supporters. the stop paul by any means campaign is evil and insidious.

    • Dr. Paul has every right to protect his reputation from this type of fraud… The video does clearly imply that Dr. Paul’s campaign created, endorsed or is affiliated in some way with the Video and its content.  That is not an opinion, but rather a matter of public record as we saw when numerous media sources wrongfully accused Dr. Paul’s campaign of creating, endorsing or being affiliated in some way with the Video and its content.  Dr. Paul is the great defender of our constitution, including free speech.  However, false advertising, trademark infringement and libel are not part of free speech, as free speech does NOT violate the rights of others…

    • ZachariahWiedeman

      I think what they are trying to gain is deniability. This pretty much puts the kibosh on any accusations of Paul’s involvement, complacency, or behind-the-scenes endorsement of this ad.

    • What does the Paul campaign have to gain?  Proof that the videos came from a Huntsman supporter, possibly one of his own daughters.  Then Keith Olbermann would have to eat crow.

    • NHLiberty4soot

      Well soot… You don’t know me, right? Reveal your personal information (full name, home address and phone) and I promise you’ll have a different opinion by tomorrow morning.

    • Now that anonymity has been assured, dirty tricks can abound freely.  But watch out – someone could identify themselves as “Citizens4Romney” and then do a video of Ron Paul – “Ron Paul hates Jews! Ron Paul hates blacks! Ron Paul hates Italians! Ron Paul hates everyone! Paid for by Citizens4Romney.”  

      Goes to show that when opponents of liberty have no rationale argument, they just lash out with invective and disdain (cough-Levin), without desiring to engage in the argument itself (cough-Gingrich).