Dirty Little Secrets = A Touchy Issue
Blogger Shuts Down Site After Search Warrant
"I've Got Nothing to Lose" Motto Put to Test
Free Media Supporters Set to Defend Rights
Well, this one woke us up out of hibernation...
John "That Blogger' Tighe heard a knock on his door Thursday morning. Upon answering, he was handed a piece of paper. From there, all we need to do is reprise that famous line from The Dead's classic song Truckin':
"If you got a warrant, I guess you're gonna come in."
Instead, Mr Tighe has a different problem -- and one that just might be even more of a long-playing headache for him than any of those above-mentioned infractions. It's called NXIVM.
Cue the actors and let's refresh ourselves on this "you couldn't make this shit up" script:
- A Boy Wonder type, claiming to be the smartest guy in the world, starts a multi-level marketing / buyer's club firm in the Capital Region
- Said firm is shut down by consent decrees (and a hefty fine) after various AGs deem it to be an illegal pyramid scheme.
- Boy Wonder, not to be discouraged, meets up with a nurse who shares his big ideas infatuation with human potential motivation, cooks up a buffet of various West Coast psycho-fads, adds a touch of Ayn Rand superior beast pepper and (oh yes) sprinkles in that good old MLM math model to create a learning system / philosophy / curriculum / seminar series called Executive Success Programs. Its promise: empower individuals to unshackle the ties that bind and proceed to rule the world. Or something like that.
- From here, it gets weird -- REAL weird. Our hero adopts the moniker of Vanguard and seminar attendees are convinced to ante-up into a hush-hush, secret-secret handshake club/family (called NXIVM) lead by an all-knowing, top-down leadership structure deeply suspicious of outsiders and ever-protective of its inner workings. But it somehow worked, as the organization built up a reputed membership roll (called Espians) of thousands.
- What followed in the years proceeding years was a slow motion wave of accusations that NXIVM was something more than its self-claimed shiny happy people fairy tale. From the initial "I just got out of this strange meeting" chit chat at Albany area business mixers to full blown exposes in international news publications, its all been put out there: accusations of everything from NXIVM being one big sex orgy to murderers to a political plot to a freaky mind-bending cult to a child-kidnapping ring to it being the second coming of Jonestown or Waco. Meanwhile, others observers think it's just a simple (yet creative) rip-off of wealthy, slim, brown-haired women with self-confidence issues (you'd really have to look into the back story to figure that part out).
Enter Mr Tighe and his Decline of Saratoga (aka Saratoga Politics) blog. Following in the trailblazing footsteps of several local blogs preceding his own version (all of who also took on NXIVM), this born & bred Saratogian continued that noble fight. In fact, he took it the the Nth degree.
Despite private warnings and ample evidence that this was an opponent that would counter any attacks with a full-fledged war room mentality. Need proof? Just ask the mighty Vanguard's former paramour how this all worked out for her. Or better yet for you Saratoga folks: ask former Man About Town (and one-time NXIVM director of its dirty tricks department) Joe O'Hara where exactly he's been hiding for the past few years since he started asking 'WTF is going on around here?". Or countless others. A clue: it ain't pretty.
But Tighe persisted -- and that hasn't been pretty either. His reporting style is in your face and sloppy (as in: not always accurate). It's first person: you're getting his take on issues and not necessarily the take of others. While I have had my issues with him -- specifically his insistence of unleashing vitriolic and completely personal attacks on local election candidates -- I also appreciate the role he played in opposing the queendom of former Mayor Val Keehn and in his long running effort of exposing the soft white underbelly of this alternate universe called NXIVM. My recommendation to anyone not familiar with the tale: read thru the back pages of the blog. Warning: buckle the seat belts.
The guess here is that this is related to Mr Tighe's publishing the NXIVM membership (Espians) list, which took place right about that time. A good public service, in my view -- but I digress.
The questions become:
1) Are they seeking evidence that Mr Tighe's computer trails can lead them to the individual who fed him that list OR are they seeking evidence that he was the actual hacker? We shall see.
2) But the more problematic question is this: if Saratoga In Decline's name were The Saratogian (or Saratoga Today or Saratoga Wire or some other so-called mainstream media outlet), would the same warrant have been signed? If not, are we witnessing the inability of a judge to realize that the media world has changed, that these new-fangled outlets such as Saratoga In Decline have arisen because of the failure of those old school titles to provide anything more to the local community than high school field hockey scores, police logs and helpful summer gardening tips? Maybe, just maybe....
Most of the cafe-hanging yahoos don't quite get this as the pressing issue here. "He deserves it, the crazy bastard" seems to be the chorus. They then bury their heads back into one of the local rags to read about how lucky they are to have a new national chain store opening up on Broadway or what Michelle Riggi is up to.
As said; we here at Nanoburgh haven't been real happy with Mr Tighe's election coverage as of late (Disclaimer: the author of this essay is part of mayoral candidate Joanne Yepsen's circle). But we might soon be leading the call to circle the wagons around this guy, if our Freedom of the Press limitations and fears are realized.
We'll certainly stay on top of this as more facts are brought to the open. But yes; we are again awake.