Fraudulent Posting on Seattle Times Spurs Investigation
Highlights Navy Jet Noise Controversy
A public interest organization opposing Naval warfare training activities on Whidbey Island and over the Olympic National Forest has called for an investigation into a fraudulent and libelous letter published in the Seattle Times. The letter was falsely attributed to the organization’s president and has resulted in hate mail and threats of violence.
The fraudulent letter, written by someone posing as Ken Pickard, President of Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER), describes Navy personnel as “leeches,” their spouses as “inflated,” and their children as “bratty little simpletons.”
The letter’s publication has resulted in threats and intimations of violence against Pickard. One such posting suggested he should be “beaten in the head with a steel pipe.” Another suggested he should have his “teeth polished with a pistol.”
Pickard is a retired attorney, a founder of COER and largely responsible for the establishment of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve (U.S. National Park Service). He and COER have been vocal critics of the Navy’s low-level flights over the Reserve and over homes, schools and parks where noise from the Navy ‘Growler’ jets exceed 100 decibels.
Those levels exceed standards for communities established by state, federal agencies and the World Health Organization. According to one health expert, the Navy jet noise has created a “public health emergency.”
“We are used to hate mail, bullying and intimations of violence by some who support the Navy’s expanded operations,” said COER member Maryon Attwood. “However, this fraudulent letter is more than another ‘dirty trick.’ It is aimed at inciting violence and it needs to be investigated as a hate crime and criminal fraud,” she said.
The timing of this fraudulent letter coincides with COER’s successful efforts to secure an investigation by the State Health officials into noise related health complaints. It also coincides with COER’s renewed efforts to oppose the Navy’s plans to drastically increase Growler operations. “This is clearly is an attempt to discredit Mr. Pickard and damage COER’s influence in these matters of major political importance,” said COER member Bob Wilbur.
Although removed by the Seattle Times, the fraudulent letter continues to be widely circulated and re-posted on other sites. The Seattle Times published the November 13 letter before checking with Pickard.
After learning that Pickard did not write the letter, the newspaper claims to have initiated an investigation to determine its source. Pickard is requesting an investigation by local, state, and federal authorities.