The Brett Kimberlin Saga:

Follow this link to my BLOCKBUSTER STORY of how Brett Kimberlin, a convicted terrorist and perjurer, attempted to frame me for a crime, and then got me arrested for blogging when I exposed that misconduct to the world. That sounds like an incredible claim, but I provide primary documents and video evidence proving that he did this. And if you are moved by this story to provide a little help to myself and other victims of Mr. Kimberlin’s intimidation, such as Robert Stacy McCain, you can donate at the PayPal buttons on the right. And I thank everyone who has done so, and will do so.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mona Eltahawy Wonders Why She Was Arrested: Let Me Clue Her In (Updated X2 With More Footage and Her Stupid Tweets)

Offending message: This anti-jihad poster is currently in 10 stations across Manhattan after a court victory by conservative commentator Pamela Geller
So via @Rightcoastgirl I learned of MSNBC and CNN contributor Mona Eltahawy being arrested for, well... let’s talk about that shall we?  It started when Pamela Geller and the American Freedom Defense Initiative won a court battle to put posters like this in the New York subway system (see left):

It says: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.  Support Israel.  Defeat Jihad.”  So this was deemed to be bigoted toward all Muslims, even though the language is plainly aimed only at those carrying out “holy war” against Isreal.  I thought it was liberal dogma that most Muslims wanted peace.  What gives?

By the way, you can read the court decision that cleared the way for it, here:

So then that led to this scene with Mona Eltahawy (in pink):

Update: Even more footage below.

She asks why she is being arrested and complains that this is a violation of her right to free expression.  Well, frankly, Ms. Eltahawy, yer doin’ it wrong.

Of course any person with more than two brain cells to rub together would realize the first potential charge: graffiti.  And indeed, I checked over at the New York State courts database, and she is indeed being charged with three counts: Criminal Mischief, Making Graffiti, and Possession of Graffiti Instruments.

This link appears to contain current versions of the relevant statutes, although one should be careful for the possibility of updates.  More than likely they are charging her with Criminal Mischief in the fourth degree because any higher degree requires additional elements not likely to be there (such as destruction of a car, or damage equally more than $15,000).  It states in relevant part:

§ 145.00 Criminal mischief in the fourth degree.

A  person  is  guilty  of criminal mischief in the fourth degree when, having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he or she has such right, he or she:

1. Intentionally damages property of another person; or...

And we can skip ahead, because obviously she did exactly that.  This is listed as a Class A Misdemeanor and the same site has this information on how those are treated:

A sentence of imprisonment for a class A misdemeanor shall be a definite sentence. When such a sentence is imposed the term shall be fixed by the court, and shall not exceed one year;

It goes on, talking about if there is a weapon involved, but that doesn’t appear to be relevant.  So up to a year in prison, probably less than that.

Next up we have another Class A Misdimeanor, Making Graffiti:

1. For purposes of this section, the term "graffiti" shall mean the etching, painting, covering, drawing upon or otherwise placing of a mark upon public or private property with intent to damage such property.

2. No person shall make graffiti of any type on any building, public or private, or any other property real or personal owned by any person, firm or corporation or any public agency or instrumentality, without the express permission of the owner or operator of said property.

And of course a more worrying charge is Possession of Graffiti Instruments, because you get concerned that a guy innocently carrying a can of spray paint can be pinched for that.  But the law has a limitation in it:

A person is guilty of possession of graffiti instruments when he possesses any tool, instrument, article, substance, solution or other compound designed or commonly used to etch, paint, cover, draw upon or otherwise place a mark upon a piece of property which that person has no permission or authority to etch, paint, cover, draw upon or otherwise mark, under circumstances evincing an intent to use same in order to damage such property.

Please note that in the law, the male includes the female, so “he” covers both men and women.  Chalk it up to sexism, but there you go.  And notice that you still have to at least "evince an intent" to graffiti up someone else's property.

This is a Class B Misdimeanor, which can only be a sentence of up to three months.

But what is interesting is that there what they are not talking about: the way this woman attacked Pamela Hall, the other reporter in the video.  In most states this would be a battery or an assault, but I looked up the assault statutes in New York, and again trusting my source it would appear that such laws require physical injury.  Merely being painted on and being touched a little probably doesn’t count.

But there was one other statute that might apply: harassment.  Of course I have talked at length about the requirements under the law in Maryland, but I was curious what New York law said on the subject.  The conduct I saw would appear to be at least be Harassment in the Second Degree:

A person is guilty of harassment in the second degree when, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person:
1. He or she strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects such other person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same; or
2. He or she follows a person in or about a public place or places; or
3. He or she engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which alarm or seriously annoy such other person and which serve no legitimate purpose.

As indicated by my added italics, it would seem that this conduct fits with subdivision 3.  And notice of course mere words wouldn’t seem to apply: it has to be action.  Now there is some room for interpretation.  For instance, how long does the course of conduct have to go on?  But in all bluntness if a man did that to another men, the response would usually be a fist to the jaw.  The purpose of such statutes is to keep the peace, and thus actions that tend to lead to fistfights are more likely to be covered.

That kind of act is termed a “violation” which in the same code on sentencing says that the sentence can run up to fifteen days, which suggests why they are not even bothering to charge her—it’s kind of not worth it.

But of course she is also ready with a defense: this is free speech!

Indeed, her attorney has made precisely that argument:

A lawyer for an Egyptian-American columnist charged with spray-painting over a pro-Israel subway ad used an odd hypothetical example to argue his client was merely exercising her right to free speech.

“My client decided to take a stand based on principle,” Stanley Cohen said of Mona Eltahawy, who was arraigned on misdemeanor charges, including criminal mischief, in Manhattan Wednesday. The ad she defaced implies Muslims are savages.

“I wonder how New Yorkers would react to a poster with an oven that said, ‘Not enough Jews,’ ” Cohen reasoned.

This is, in all bluntness, an idiotic argument.

The fact that virtually all graffiti is expressive to some degree tells you that this is a dubious theory.  What it really comes down to is this: your freedom of speech does not trump my right to my property.  In other words, you have a right to purchase and burn your own flag (provided it is not in violation of any content-neutral anti-burning ordinances), but you do not have a right to steal my flag and burn it.  And that is the problem here.

This woman is defacing, at the very least, the property of another.  I can’t tell if there is any kind of plastic protecting the poster—it appears not—but the frame is almost certainly city property, so she is defacing city property, and its only a question of fact whether the poster is also being defaced.  And then there is the whole matter of spray painting Ms. Hall, which amazingly is treated less seriously than spray-painting the property.

And in fact what she is doing is suppression of speech.  The correct answer to speech you don’t like is not to tear it down or otherwise silence it.  The correct answer is counter-speech.

Finally, she might face liability, from the city for the cleanup costs, from the owner of the poster, and to the reporter she spray painted.  It all depends on how litigious the various parties are.  To be blunt, her attorney is being an idiot.  He should plead that she was impassioned due to her anger about the issues, but was ultimately wrong and sorry.  When your client is caught dead to rights as she is, contrition is in my opinion the best course of action.

She appears to have been released on recognizance.  Her next court appearance is on November 29.

Update: I was just finishing this up when via @Corrcomm I learned that Ms. Hall was considering suing Eltahawy for spray painting her.  Should she?  Well, I am skeptical that there is any great monetary award at the end of this, but if Ms. Hall merely wants to make a point of it, well... that’s her prerogative.

This is again solidifying my view that contrition is very likely the best policy.  But some people, even when there is video evidence absolutely proving their misconduct, don’t have enough sense to cut their losses, admit they did wrong and apologize and maybe pay a few bucks in recompense.  A jury might be tempted to teach that person a severe lesson.

Also at the same link you can see this video comprising of footage shot by Ms. Hall herself.

That would be Exhibit B.

Update (II): Exhibit C against her is likely to be her twitter feed.  Some lovely samples.

From apparently right before the incident:

So that proves that this was wholly pre-meditated.  She didn’t suddenly decide to do this and happen to have the spray paint on hand.  She planned this.  In fact, I am willing to bet this is how the camera crew knew to be there: they were following her twitter feed.

And of course endless demonstrations of a lack of contrition:

Also, by the way, she is also tweeting a lot of this before being released.  Which seems like a dubious practice, but oh well.

Praising others for committing the same crime:

Retweeting someone else’s plan to commit the same crime:

Retweeting the support of a celebrity:

Feeling the love and support for her crime:

Quoting a story praising her conduct:

Declaring her intent to do it again:

I wonder if the video shows you how to run from the cops when they come?

Seriously, if I was a judge reading this (if properly admitted into evidence), I would start thinking she should rot in jail for a while, after I explain to her some principles of freedom of expression and its limits.  As you will see in a bit, I tweeted back to her trying to clue her into how she is going wrong.

Oh, and for bonus points, she has decided that she is the victim, here:

Even as someone tries to straighten her out she continues to tell herself and the world she is the victim:

Retweeting someone else calling her the victim:

And let’s note a little probable hypocrisy, here:

Okay, she supported the Ground Zero Mosque.  I opposed it on the grounds that we cannot give our enemies the sense of victory that such a mosque might grant them.  I say that granting that the people who wanted to build the mosque there might not have had that intent, but I believed it still might be the effect and thus halting it was justified for that reason.

But okay, she feels that it is their right to build a mosque near Ground Zero, and except for the exceptional circumstances of September 11 itself, I would agree.  A person should be able to build a mosque anywhere that they can purchase the land and so on.

So what happens when they get that Mosque burnt and someone decides to deface it with graffiti?  Maybe they would say something bigoted against Muslims.  Or maybe something less objectionable.  Maybe it would simply be the names of all the people who died on 9-11.  Or maybe it would be “The Sharks Rule and the Jets Drool.”

(Recognizing that no real life gang was ever as lame as they were in West Side Story.  Oy!)

The point is that if that happened more than likely she would scream “hate crime.”  And hate or not,  it certainly would be a crime deserving of punishment a point I made in my own tweet to her:

And I talked back to both Assif Madvi and Ms. Eltahawy as follows:

After I wrote it I wondered where that metaphor sprung from.  I mean, it was a good metaphor, but it seemed so familiar...


My wife and I have lost our jobs due to the harassment of convicted terrorist Brett Kimberlin, including an attempt to get us killed and to frame me for a crime carrying a sentence of up to ten years.  I know that claim sounds fantastic, but if you read starting here, you will see absolute proof of these claims using documentary and video evidence.  If you would like to help in the fight to hold Mr. Kimberlin accountable, please hit the Blogger’s Defense Team button on the right.  And thank you.

Follow me at Twitter @aaronworthing, mostly for snark and site updates.  And you can purchase my book (or borrow it for free if you have Amazon Prime), Archangel: A Novel of Alternate, Recent History here.  And you can read a little more about my novel, here.



I have accused some people, particularly Brett Kimberlin, of reprehensible conduct.  In some cases, the conduct is even criminal.  In all cases, the only justice I want is through the appropriate legal process—such as the criminal justice system.  I do not want to see vigilante violence against any person or any threat of such violence.  This kind of conduct is not only morally wrong, but it is counter-productive.

In the particular case of Brett Kimberlin, I do not want you to even contact him.  Do not call him.  Do not write him a letter.  Do not write him an email.  Do not text-message him.  Do not engage in any kind of directed communication.  I say this in part because under Maryland law, that can quickly become harassment and I don’t want that to happen to him.

And for that matter, don’t go on his property.  Don’t sneak around and try to photograph him.  Frankly try not to even be within his field of vision.  Your behavior could quickly cross the line into harassment in that way too (not to mention trespass and other concerns).

And do not contact his organizations, either.  And most of all, leave his family alone.

The only exception to all that is that if you are reporting on this, there is of course nothing wrong with contacting him for things like his official response to any stories you might report.  And even then if he tells you to stop contacting him, obey that request.  That this is a key element in making out a harassment claim under Maryland law—that a person asks you to stop and you refuse.

And let me say something else.  In my heart of hearts, I don’t believe that any person supporting me has done any of the above.  But if any of you have, stop it, and if you haven’t don’t start.


  1. I was dumbfounded when I watched this earlier, first at Daily Caller.

    She really thought she had the right to destroy property that belongs to someone else because she didn't agree with what was written on the poster.

    She couldn't believe that SHE was being placed under arrest. What did she think was going to happen, she was going to get a cookie?

    I doubt she will actually spend any time in jail for this though. She will probably get some sort of fine, and MAYBE a suspended sentence and probation of some sort.

    IANAL, but that seems to be what I see when similar types of crime are committed.

    Too bad. I think she SHOULD have to spend some time in jail. Just maybe she might learn that she did something wrong and learn how to protest correctly in the future.

  2. Mona was assaulted in Tahrir Square, like Lara Logan. Her arm was broken and her breasts and crotch were groped by many men. The cognitive dissidence required to experience that and yet get so bent out of shape over a poster that condemns that kind of behavior (and much worse) as "savage" is mind blowing.

  3. Vandalism and destruction of private property. End of story.