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Ex-Congressman Allen West Sued for Defamation Over Charlottesville Conspiracies
Photo by Michael McElroy

Ex-Congressman Allen West Sued for Defamation Over Charlottesville Conspiracies

After Allen West wrapped up two years of representing Broward County in Washington by disparaging Muslim people and proposing terrible laws, he set up a massive right-wing clickbait empire that flooded Facebook with articles designed to gin up fear among terrified conservatives. One of those pieces has now landed the ex-congressman in federal court.

Yesterday West was sued over a piece blaming an innocent man for "staging" the deadly Nazi terror attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year. The article, published August 19, 2017, alleged Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros and the so-called deep state orchestrated a false-flag attack at the Unite the Right rally. Along with Alex Jones of InfoWars and Jim Hoft of the Gateway Pundit, West noticed that a U.S. Foreign Service officer named Brennan Gilmore had filmed a clip of the Dodge Charger ramming into a crowd of anti-racism protesters and killing Heather Heyer. Gilmore posted a link to the video on Twitter.

Instead of accepting the sane truth that Gilmore was in the right place at the right time to accidentally catch a neo-Nazi attack on video, West and his fellow crew of conspiratorial demagogues instead took a different tack: They accused Gilmore of helping secret government forces stage the assault.

West's post said that Gilmore had "a long history of involvement in psy-ops" and that the incident "points directly to the reality of the 'deep state' and more importantly to the lengths that the Soros/Clinton/Obama one-world government cabal will go in order to realize their desires for 'fundamental transformation.'"

In reality, Gilmore says that although he indeed works for the State Department in the Central African Republic, he is on unpaid leave and attended the Unite the Right rally last year because he lives in Virginia and wanted to protest white supremacy and neo-Nazism.

Gilmore is now suing West, Jones, Hoft, and others for defamation and says he will refuse to settle with any of them. Gilmore is demanding his day in court, and the case could become a pivotal moment in the bizarre information war in which America is embroiled under President Trump.

"He attended the protest against the 'Unite the Right' rally because he opposes racism and bigotry, not because he was sent there by the State Department or any other 'deep state' or covert operation," the lawsuit reads. Gilmore says that after the websites accused him of being a deep-state shill, he was harassed by waves of people on social media, and someone tried to hack into his personal accounts.

As New Times reported last year, West, who now lives in Dallas, has turned his career as a failed Tea Party congressman into a lucrative web empire: He contracted with the company Liberty Alliance to turn his social media pages into clickbait-generating websites for old people and Fox News viewers. The company works only with people who have large social media followings, and West used the followers he earned as a congressman to begin pumping nonsense into the American psyche. He now boasts more than 727,000 Twitter followers, 2.7 million Facebook fans, and a website that, as of 2016, rivaled the Miami Herald's in terms of homepage visits, according to the web-traffic-tracking site Alexa.com.

In the past two years, Facebook's algorithm has changed and West's website has dropped significantly in the global traffic rankings. He also appears to have changed domain names. Regardless, for one former politician and a skeleton publishing staff, that's quite a hustle.

Of course, West has succeeded as a viral-news publisher because his website is as predictably insane as his political career. Reading his site is akin to scrolling through Breitbart after waking up from general anesthesia: West seems to live in a surreal world where immigrants are coming to kill us and need to be deported, Muslims want to behead our daughters, Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott is a gun-grabbing liberal, George Soros controls everything you disagree with, and any person who doesn't own an AR-15 is a fascist. West himself does not write every one of his posts (though he does contribute some), but whoever is writing the stories does not seem to have a basic grasp of English grammar. Every post is written in nearly incomprehensible prose that sounds like it's been run through Google Translate three times.

Check out these paragraphs from a recent story, "While Trump Literally Made History With North Korea, Check Out What Obama Was Off Doing." The spelling and grammar have not been altered — try reading those last two sentences aloud:

But while Trump is making this historic move, what has former President Barack Obama been doing. Remember, it’s the Clinton White House that made a ‘deal’ that was supposed to make sure North Korea would never get nukes. Of course, that was a deal with no teeth.

And it was Barack Obama when information came in that North Korea was working on miniaturizing nukes to put on ballistic missiles, did nothing to address it. He was “strategically patient” while they worked toward this point to be a real threat.

Some other recent headlines include:

  • "This One Fact Should Absolutely Shame Everyone Attacking the NRA"
  • "Student Says ‘There Are Only 2 Genders’ in Class, the School’s Reaction Spells DOOM for America"
  • "Something Is Not Right: Throughout the Course of 15 Minute Speech, Nancy Pelosi Suffers 16 ‘Brain Freezes’"

But West now faces a legal battle over a piece he published by writer Derrick Wilburn asserting the deep state staged the Charlottesville attack. Gilmore has teamed up with Georgetown Law's Civil Rights Clinic to file the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

In several previous libel cases, InfoWars' Jones has settled out of court and apologized for clearly making stuff up about random people, but Gilmore and the Civil Rights Clinic say they don't plan to offer any of the defendants in the case an option to pay some cash and run away. Gilmore says he wants to prove these people are liars.

West has not yet responded publicly to the suit and doesn't have an attorney listed in the federal case. But Infowars and the Gateway Pundit (two sites that also shared Parkland shooting "crisis actor" conspiracies last month) have gone on the offensive. In one of his trademark video screeds yesterday, Jones claimed the lawsuits were, yet again, the tactics of an evil coterie of New World Order agents trying to prevent him from speaking the truth. The suits, he said, are "run by Hillary lawyers or people that work for Hillary and the State Department and the CIA."

Gilmore says it's exactly those kinds of baseless accusations that have seriously affected his life since the "false flag" stories were first published on the far-right sites.

"Defendants West and Wilburn’s statements were designed to injure Mr. Gilmore’s reputation, subject Mr. Gilmore to contempt and disgrace, and incite harassment and threats directed at Mr. Gilmore; indeed,  defendants West and Wilburn’s statements had their intended effect," the suit says.

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