Thought Crimes


Katie Aguilera

Recently, an article entitled “Conspiracy theorist given important role in reviewing child deaths,” written by Molly Young, was published on the Oregonian’s OregonLive website.  The article discusses the social media activity and public advocacy actions of Jennifer Wynhausen, an employee of Oregon Department of Human Services.  The point of the article seems to be that Wynhausen’s behaviors make her suitability for her job questionable.

This article is a follow-up piece to another OregonLive article, also written by Young, that discussed how the Oregon Department of Human Services lacks transparency and fails to issue reports in cases of children who die as the result of abuse and neglect.  That article was certainly excellent reporting about a very important and troubling issue.  However, Young’s second article reads like a personal attack that essentially accuses Wynhausen of committing thought crimes.

In case you don’t know, thought crime is a reference from George Orwell’s book Nineteen Eighty-Four.  In that book, they are the “criminal act of holding unspoken beliefs or doubts that oppose or question Ingsoc, the ruling party.”

So what thought crimes has this “conspiracy theorist,” Jennifer Wynhausen, that Young writes about committed?  “Wynhausen expressed support for activists who questioned the [9/11] attacks and opposed the military response to them.”  She shared a video in which Jesse Ventura “criticized the federal government for spending so little on investigating the attacks.”  And, “she often questioned the political motives of both Republicans and Democrats…”

The article does describe other thought crimes Wynhausen is guilty of that most people would consider pretty far out there. For example, she liked a video that suggests a government research project caused the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, among other things.

The article offers no evidence that any beliefs Wynhausen holds about any subject matter, whacky or not, have had any effect on her job performance.   However, the article seems to imply Wynhausen’s behavior makes her unsuitable for her position with the Department of Human Services.

The Oregonian spent some time pouring through Wynhausen’s social media history.  Young concludes her article by describing a shirt Wynhausen expressed an interest in.  The shirt says, “I have a beautiful daughter.  I also have a gun, a shovel, and an alibi.”  According to Young, Wynhausen wrote, “I need one of these,” in reference to the shirt.  Young writes, “within weeks, she [Wynhausen] was managing the state’s child fatality reviews.”

When an ordinary public employee likes what is just a variation of an old joke, that’s a problem and she should lose her job.  When the president of the United States makes what is essentially the same joke, it’s hysterically funny.  (“I’ve got two words for you, Predator drones.”  Hahaha.)

The article is disturbing for all these reasons.  To think every single action taken on one’s social media accounts could be considered cause to question one’s job qualifications, mental competence, or character is alarming.  It is also concerning that expressing dissent to empirical war and questioning the 9/11 Commission’s narrative about the attacks are considered cause for public shaming by anyone in journalism.  Perhaps that is the line of reasoning that is to blame for the lack of extensive reporting on the many, many facts that have emerged about the attacks and related history since September 11, 2001.  (No, I’m not talking about holograms and controlled demolition here, see below for more resources.)

This isn’t to suggest that social media posts are never an indication of a person’s mental state or their potential to commit violent behavior.  They certainly can be, as has been seen in countless cases.  But questioning the actions of one’s government, or liking or sharing weird or unconventional theories, is far from hate speech.  It shouldn’t be considered proof of unstable mental health without more corroborating, real-world indications.

In addition to writing about Wynhausen, Young also writes about another activist, Jon Gold, in what can only be read as a disparaging way.  Young wrote, “Wynhausen met with outspoken 9/11 doubter Jon Gold…Gold runs several social media pages dedicated to Sept. 11 ‘truth’ and ‘justice’ and believes the U.S. government has withheld evidence about its role in the attacks.”  Gold posted a response in the comment section of Young’s article, but it was removed.

Gold posted his comment publicly, and also sent it to Young.  He also sent a letter to the editor.  Gold’s entire comment can be read here.  He wrote, “I’ve done my absolute best to try and be supportive of the 9/11 Families seeking truth, accountability and justice, in a court of law.  Many of the families have KSA [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] in the courts as we speak.”  He goes on to discuss his anti-war advocacy and his advocacy for 9/11 first responders.  Gold concludes with, “these are all good things in my mind.  And yet, you tried to use me in an effort to try and paint Jennifer in a bad light.  I just wanted you to know.”

Gold also attempted to post the contents of his letter to the editor on the OregonLive article comment section in which he wrote, “as for Jennifer, I don’t agree with everything she says but who does agree with everything someone has to say?  People are entitled to their beliefs.  If a person’s beliefs are skewed, use information to help someone with their beliefs, don’t try to take away someone’s job because of them.”  His second comment never posted to the site.

In response to an emailed question as to why Gold’s comments were not posted to the comment section, the Oregonian stated, “we in the newsroom are not in charge of monitoring comments on our news stories and deciding which go public. Our company hires a third-party firm that specializes in moderating comments to ensure they comply with web site terms of use.”  It is unclear what terms of use Gold’s comments may have violated.

The Oregonian also published a significantly edited version of Gold’s letter to the editor in a Sunday edition of their print newspaper.  It can be found online here.   A comment from Gold does appear in the comment section of another letter to the editor posted on OregonLive on December 1, 2018, that expresses disapproval for Young’s article.  To date, Gold says he has received no response from Young or the Oregonian and his original comment doesn’t appear on the site.

So, move along.  Don’t question anything your government does.  Or some newspaper will write a scathing report about you, calling into question your character and your suitability for your unrelated job.  You will be publicly shamed for daring to oppose the actions of those in power.  And the ease of internet censorship will ensure any defense of yourself goes unnoticed by the masses.

That’s always worked out so well throughout history.


Update: 12/11/2018 8:59 a.m.  This has been updated to note that Gold’s edited letter to the editor has been published on OregonLive.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am acquainted with Jon Gold, I consider him a friend, and I have previously written about his book, We Were Lied to About 9/11.

*If you want to know more about why I question the official narrative of the September 11, 2001 attacks and related history, I recommend the following books and websites, for a start.

Informative bonus episode of Michael Isikoff’s podcast Conspiracyland, Khashoggi and the 9/11 Lawsuit.

The Watchdogs Didn’t Bark by John Duffy and Ray Nowosielsksi

Who Is Rich Blee?, Duffy and Nowosielski’s interview with former counter-terrorism czar, Richard Clarke.

9/11 Press For Truth, documentary film by Nowosielski and Duffy

Disconnecting the Dots:  How 9/11 Was Allowed to Happen by Kevin Fenton

Triple Cross:  How Bin Laden’s Master Spy Penetrated the CIA, The Green Berets, and the FBI and Cover Up:  What the Government is Still Hiding About the War on Terror by Peter Lance.

The Commission:  the Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation by Philip Shenon

We Were Lied to About 9/11:  the Interviews by Jon Gold.  The interviews are also available to listen to on YouTube.  The first one can be found here.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

3 thoughts on “Thought Crimes

  1. Jennifer Wynhausen is a Holocaust denier and part of the right libertarian pro-militia alt-white/lite. This is not very hard to find online thanks to Wynhausen’s misguided activities. She spent years helping her boyfriend Craig Lazo spread lies about Valencia McClatchey, as well as abusing her government access to dig up private information about people to be targeted by internet mobs(her friend James Fetzer is being sued by Sandy Hook families for similar activities). Activities Wynhausen and Lazo were involved with include elaborate long cons to convince “truthers” agents were “out there”, plus a series of sleazy videos produced by Wynhausen’s friends, with information she or Lazo acquired, often with with softcore pornography and suspected pedophilia. Much of this information, and the sleazy lies mixed with them, has never been removed by Wynhausen or Lazo.

    For instance this blog was written by Wynhausen and is a platform to both spread lies and pretend to be suspicious of her long time associates from Lazo’s defunct forum. It was published from an ISP Wynhausen paid for and possibly set up when Lazo’s forum was disabled; if so it would prove Wynhausen lied about ending her association with Lazo( isp traffic shows they continued to be in contact, long after he returned to California):

    Of course anyone familiar with the “troofer” scene, knows where to find Craig Lazo’s blogs.

    However the most glaring evidence Wynhausen is a lying, conniving, grifter, is her continued employment, at a government agency, to the tune of $90,000+(and apparently not even doing her job??), whilst spreading propaganda about government conspiracies(it also proves Lazo was a fraud, since he lived under her roof for almost 3 years, knowing she worked for the government). Mr. Gold is over-trusting to a delusional degree to continue defending this Nazi Trash who is obviously lying about believing in conspiracies, and being the target of “disinfo” or disinfo “agents”. That the author has dismissed the article’s concerns of grifting alt-right propagandist, with access to vulnerable children’s information as “thought crimes”, shows she is equally gullible. Evidence of Wynhausen’s activities exist in private archives, so the author might want to tread very carefully to avoid getting out of her depth.

    Maybe, just maybe, if someone had been less permissive of Wynhausen’s activities–like a friend like Gold?— say, told her she needed to delete all the lies, etc— the Oregonian wouldn’t have have been tipped off. There are consequences for being Nazi trash , no matter how cute and photogenic: a Nazi is a Nazi.

    1. I appreciate the information in this comment and I understand the motivation to urge that I “tread lightly.” I did find rumors and blog posts regarding Wynhausen’s behaviors (holocaust denialism, alt-right, etc) scattered about the internet when writing this post but whatever Wynhausen believes is not my point.

      My issue with this OregonLive article is that it reads like a smear piece based on a person’s social media activity and public activism. The article suggests she is unfit for her job, based on her personal beliefs, while giving no proof she isn’t performing her job satisfactorily. Also, the wording normalizes denigrating and marginalizing anyone who questions US wars of aggression or questions the US government sanctioned narrative for militarism around the world.

      Had the reporter verified and written about these things mentioned in the comment…
      “as well as abusing her government access to dig up private information about people to be targeted by internet mobs…”
      “a series of sleazy videos produced by Wynhausen’s friends, with information she or Lazo acquired, often with with softcore pornography and suspected pedophilia…”
      it would be an entirely different discussion. This is the sort of information, that if verified and true, would justify an article such as the one published by the Oregonian. If Wynhausen is using her position to access and share private information about people, that would certainly be newsworthy and grounds for further investigation by the Oregon DHS. As would any proven involvement in production of child pornography, obviously. Anyone with facts about such things can certainly pass the information on to the Oregon DHS.

      However, that is not what the article is about. It’s about suggesting someone is unfit for their job based on their beliefs and activism without giving evidence for that claim. And as the DHS spokeswoman quoted in the article points out: “employees have a Constitutional right to free speech. ‘Employees are held accountable for their job performance’.”

      Additionally, I have not been dismissive of the “…article’s concerns for grifting alt-right propagandist…” as the article doesn’t mention any ‘grifting’ by Wynhausen, and I am not personally aware of any grifting by her.

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