Anonymous cretins, beware: George is coming after you

Coda • GREG BEAN

T he righteous jihad against the anonymous cockroaches who hide in the darkness — slavering and mumbling to themselves like Gollum in a Tolkien pageturner — to post libelous and defamatory comments about their fellow human beings on the Internet is moving more rapidly than I could have predicted.

Last week, if you’ll remember, I

Last week, if you’ll remember, I wrote about Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Joan Madden, who ordered Google to turn over the IP address of a person who had posted disgusting things about a model on a blog site.

When I wrote that column, I thought the order would certainly be appealed and might be in litigation for a long time. The fact is, Google got the judge’s order, turned over the name, and now the model knows the identity of her tormenter. Google says it will turn over the addresses of anonymous posters in the future, as long as there’s a subpoena or judge’s order.

That, folks, is what we call a precedent.

And in the last week, the issue has gotten a lot of national press. Maureen Dowd, writing for her column in The New York Times, asked the question I’ve been asking for years: “Who are these people prepared to tell you what they think, but not who they are? What is the mentality that lets them get in your face while wearing a mask? Shredding somebody’s character before the entire world and not being held accountable seems like the perfect sting.” She printed the name of the formerly anonymous poster, by the way.

When they read stuff like that in the national press, the disgusting phantoms who post on local sites like da Truth Squad ought to start barring their doors and putting tinfoil on the windows, because it’s one more clear sign that their victims are coming for them.

Take a story in the New York Post last week that the paper printed as a follow-up to the model story and featured one of the many Manalapan victims of the Squad and postings on NJ.com. I read the posts about former Manalapan Mayor George Spodak and they were disgusting. As he told the Post, he’d been called a pedophile, an alcoholic, a wife beater and a criminal by anonymous posters on the sites. He sued and has subpoenaed NJ.com for the identities of the people who defamed him. NJ.com gave him some e-mail addresses, so Spodak is trying to force Google, AOL and Yahoo to provide the IP addresses. If he subpoenas Google, it looks like they’ll give them up. And because of the precedent, AOL and Yahoo won’t be far behind. And once he gets those identifications, he’ll start gettin’ it on.

Here’s my prediction of how that’s gonna shake down: None of these slime-puppies is going to have insurance against this kind of thing. And once Spodak files a suit, the meter starts ticking. The posters have no idea how financially draining litigation like this can be. It can go on for years, and the attorney fees could run $100,000 or more before it ever gets to court.

And once it gets to court, since Spodak will be suing them personally, he’ll be going after every cent they have. He’ll be looking at their bank accounts, their retirement accounts, their cars, their furniture and the equity in their houses.

And I hope he won’t be the only one going after them, either. Their victims are legion. Just ask Michelle Roth.

Take Fred Stone, for example. A Manalapan resident who served on the Zoning Board, ran for Township Committee, and works as a managing director for a Wall Street hedge fund, Stone has often been a target of these vicious anonymous bullies.

“I began posting on NJ.com in reaction to horrid statements I saw there by anonymous posters accusing my former Zoning Board Colleague (and former Manalapan mayor) Michelle Roth of ‘hating Italians’ and otherwise being a ‘bigot’ and ‘racist,’ ” he told me.

“As a result of my speaking out in my own name, one or more anonymous posters who were political opponents of Michelle turned on me and began a stream of sickening, totally fabricated lies, both on NJ.com and over at da Truth Squad about a kid who I supposedly molested in 1984, about my wife — whose career as a teacher in Manalapan was distinguished and exemplary — and about how someone who signed himself The Grim Reaper would see to my death on Aug. 10.”

I wrote about the disgusting attacks on Roth and her husband a few years back and wound up on the Squad’s list as a result, where I was called everything from a “former food critic” (untrue, but wow, what a stinger!) to a “Palestinian sympathizer.”

But they never accused me of being a child molester, and none of their anonymous Gollums ever threatened to end my life.

I’ve never met Fred Stone in person although I’d like to, and suggested he should come over to my house if things got too weird, where we could let the bodyguards Smith & Wesson watch over us while we enjoyed cigars (he demurred).

But we communicate by email on a fairly regular basis — and I have been constant in my advice that he take the fight to his attackers and clean their miserable clocks in a court of law. So far, he hasn’t done that and shows no inclination at present to do so, although I wish he would.

George Spodak, however, is spoiling for a fight, and the anonymous cockroaches have got to be quaking in their pointy little booties.

In a short while, I predict they’ll no longer be able to hide behind the First Amendment, which was guaranteed with blood by more patriotic men and women than they. And they won’t be able to spout the disingenuous argument that some of the founding fathers wrote anonymously, so it’s OK for them, too. There’s a big difference there, you idiots. The founding fathers faced death by hanging if their identities were discovered. The dung beetles at the Squad, who make a mockery of that patriotism, thought they had no risk.

But now it looks like everything they own may be at risk.

We’ll see how brave and mouthy they are when they’re living in tents, cooking with Sterno and pushing the belongings they have left around in a stolen shopping cart.

Gregory Bean is the former executive editor of Greater Media Newspapers. You can reach him at gbean@gmnews.com.