A jailed activist named Martin Gottesfeld has decided to run for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. Before the interview portion of this piece, some background is necessary.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, in April 2014, the website for Boston Children’s Hospital was hit with a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack. The DDoS was carried out in response to the alleged “medical kidnapping” of Justina Pelletier, and it kneecapped BCH’s website.
In February 2013, then-14-year-old Justina Pelletier, who was being treated for mitochondrial disease after a diagnosis by professionals at Tufts Medical Center, was rushed to Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) after she began to feel seriously ill. ABC News reports that Justina had seemingly contracted the flu. While a regular flu may not seem particularly serious, it can take a heavier toll on the body of individuals with mitochondrial disease, according to MitoAction.
After an examination, the doctors at BCH concluded that Justina wasn’t suffering from mitochondrial disease at all, but from a psychological disorder, reports Neil Swidey and Patricia Wen of The Boston Globe.
Shortly after being given her new diagnosis, Justina was removed from her parents’ custody under suspicion of "medical child abuse." She was eventually placed in Bader 5, a psychiatric ward. Justina remained in state custody for approximately 16 months.
During a March 2014 interview with WGBH, Lou Pelletier, Justina’s father, spoke about how his daughter was apparently taken off her mitochondrial disease medications for more than a year while in state custody:
When you’re a mitochondrial patient, you’re more sensitive to your nerves – kind of like somebody with fibromyalgia. So, she was taking Lyrica to deaden the nerve pain. So she’s been in severe pain, non-stop, twenty-four hours a day for 13 months.
Approximately two months after the DDoS campaign, which was launched in defense of Justina Pelletier, the young girl was released back into her parents’ custody.
Then in February 2016, Martin Gottesfeld was arrested. Officials believe he was the leader of the DDoS campaign against BCH, and he currently faces charges of "conspiracy and intentional damage to a protected computer under the CFAA," according to Rolling Stone.
For a much more detailed account of this incredibly complicated case, click here.
Gottesfeld has been detained for two years. Rather than focus entirely on his upcoming trial, the jailed hacktivist has decided to launch a campaign for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. If he were to win the Republican primary, Gottesfeld’s opponent in November would be Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Warren.
The following is an exclusive interview with Martin Gottesfeld.
"There were several reasons why I wanted to run against Elizabeth Warren," Gottesfeld tells me. "One, she really didn’t do anything for Aaron Swartz, who was the last activist in the kind of similar position that I’m in. She didn’t do anything for the Pelletiers either when they were going through what they were going through."
Elizabeth Warren wouldn’t "give us the time of day," according to Gottesfeld, despite he and his wife, Dana, making multiple calls to her Senate office.
What do you do when the government’s misbehaving and coming after you like this? You reach out to the people who you expect to help you, and they’re not going to help you. I don’t want that to happen to anyone else.
Gottesfeld notes that while there are several other Republicans in the primary field, none have been able to match Warren’s $14 million "war chest."
Because it’s Massachusetts, "money alone will not carry the day," Gottesfeld says. One needs "something really special" in order to unseat an incumbent Democrat in a blue state. "My story is powerful and compelling, and I’ve demonstrated through my actions to an extent that no one else in the field in either party has demonstrated that I will stand up for the Constitution, and I will stand up for families of Massachusetts."
When I ask Gottesfeld if he believes his time in the Plymouth County Correctional Facility will impact his campaign, and if so, would such an impact be negative or positive, he replied:
It’s gonna be some of both. On the negative side, it would be nice to go out and do campaign events, go out and meet people. It’s going to be somewhat restrictive. On the other hand, it gives me a unique and compelling platform, especially when people understand why I’m in here.
Gottesfeld says he hopes to be able to run a "novel but successful" campaign with the help of his wife, who is "a tremendous fighter," and "one of the most courageous ladies you could ever hope to meet."
"I think if you’re going to unseat Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, you’ve got to be unorthodox," Gottesfeld insists.
While the jailed hacktivist doesn’t yet have a fully-formed victory strategy, he sees the patterns:
You have a state where there’s a lot of Democratic complacency. A lot of people don’t show up and vote, and many who do show up to vote are Republicans. We have a Republican governor in the state of Massachusetts right now with a 74% approval rating.
Gottesfeld contends that despite Republican criticism of the governor, his generally high approval rating will lead many Democrats to stay home on election day. He also makes sure to mention that there are a fair number of elected Republicans in Massachusetts, so, while a win may not be probable, it certainly isn’t impossible.
"There are a lot of people and organizations that have been disenfranchised in Massachusetts in various ways, and I think they both deserve and want a champion," Gottesfeld says as he begins to speak about political issues he would focus on if he were to win the election.
He speaks about a taxation case in Attleboro, Massachusetts, between city tax assessors and a Catholic shrine, Our Lady of La Salette:
They’re being taxed right now by Attleboro for land on which a battered women’s shelter is housed. All the churches in Massachusetts were watching this case to see if this taxation would be upheld because they are a religious organization. Initially, Attleboro was trying to tax them for the whole campus, and in the end, they only ended up taxing them for this battered women’s shelter and a wildlife preserve.
Gottesfeld believes that they shouldn’t be taxed at all, "especially for land that’s being used for a good service," and he says that if he should win in 2018, he would introduce legislation that would "end that practice," directly or indirectly.
"Hopefully churches are going to recognize that they have a champion, and from my record, they’re going to see that I’m going to follow through," he says. "When I promise I’m going to do something, I do it. I don’t walk away when things get tough, or when it might be more expedient for me to do so. I stick to something when I know it’s right."
Gottesfeld claims that Elizabeth Warren, a "Harvard swamp creature," is in the pocket of the Ivy League University. "It’s like Harvard has their own Senator."
Warren taught at Harvard for nearly two decades before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012. According to Harvard’s official website: "In 1992-93, Senator Warren served as the Robert Braucher Visiting Professor of Commercial Law at Harvard Law School; in 1995, she accepted a permanent appointment as the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law."
Gottesfeld tells me that if he’s elected, he will fight for equitable funding for all colleges, rather than catering to Harvard:
Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), a teaching affiliate of Harvard, receives more federal funding than any other pediatric institution in the country. I believe now it’s over $300 million. Meanwhile, Tufts University Medical Center has actually had to shutter clinics.
There are those who will claim that Gottesfeld is using this election as a vehicle to raise public awareness of his case, or that he’s running to take revenge on BCH. He says such accusations would be absolutely false:
Regarding the Harvard point, I think it’s about restoring, ironically, the rule of law. These Harvard institutions, look at what they did to the Pelletier family. They want an unconstitutional gag order? They get it. They want to curtail Justina’s religious rights to practice her faith? They do it.
Noting that Harvard’s own Alan Dershowitz said that the law was on the side of the Pelletiers, Gottesfeld states, "It’s not about revenge, it’s about restoring the rule of law."
When it comes to raising awareness of his legal case, Gottesfeld says he’s done enough to get noticed. "Now it’s about leveraging that awareness to do some good, and to make sure that what happened to the Pelletiers or what happened to me never happens to anyone else again."
As the interview begins to wind down, Martin Gottesfeld outlines the pillars of his campaign that we haven’t touched on previously:
One of the other cornerstones of the campaign is going to be Second Amendment rights in Massachusetts. The state is one of the worst in terms of compliance with the Second Amendment. So, at a federal level, I would like to see some kind of civil rights action out of the DOJ against the local government in Massachusetts to force it to adhere to the Second Amendment as generally interpreted elsewhere in the nation.
Another cornerstone of sorts, which Gottesfeld says might prove controversial among Republicans, is federal marijuana reform:
I would like to see the issue truly in the hands of the states. I would like to see the Democrats no longer able to use this issue as a political football to score points against conservatives. So, federal legalization of cannabis is going to be another cornerstone of my campaign — as a state’s rights issue, as a individual liberty issue, and also because this is something Republicans keep getting beaten up on.
Summing up his position on legalizing marijuana, Gottesfeld states, "Republicans being against the federal legalization of cannabis is more useful to Democrats than it is beneficial to anybody else."
Martin Gottesfeld officially launched his campaign for the Republican nomination in Massachusetts on Tuesday. His slogan? "Vote for a real Massachusetts native." For more information, you can visit VoteMartyG.com.
This will surely be one of the races to watch in 2018.