According to his company profile, Bill Nickless is “a senior research scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, with over 20 years of experience in experimental systems engineering and cyber security research.” PNNL is a Department of Energy National Laboratory managed by their Office of Science, but operated by the Battelle Memorial Institute, a private nonprofit science and technology firm. What sort of sci/tech does Nickless do for them? His specialty, according to his profile, is cooperative research on “cyber security issues — particularly those that revolve around managing the adversarial relationships endemic to cyberspace.”
What does that mean? First, it means that Nickless works for a very high-level part of the national security state with enormous contracts, immense power, and access to federal resources, so there are in fact potential abuses here. Second, what he does should not be confused with ‘persona management,’ but it may involve aspects of ‘social engineering.’ In the world of social media, there are countless ‘adversarial relationships’ to study, because whole communities can get into competition: Reddit hates 9gag, rival Minecraft guilds scorch and destroy entire virtual worlds, and fake anti-bullying websites engage in petty conflicts with Kate Gosselin critics. “Managing” these relationships could mean anything from experimenting on their environment to see what happens to actively pushing an agenda to affect the outcome of an online ‘scene.’
Yet as near as I can tell from his public activities, Nickless must study how to argue with people on the internet. Specifically, Nickless ‘maintains adversarial relationships’ on behalf of the Kimberlin Kooks through his Twitter account and blog, pushing their agenda. My question is whether he uses his position at a government laboratory to boost that message by harassing private citizens.
A brief history of kooks with keyboards
For those of you just joining us at BU, a sidebar: Brett Kimberlin is a nonprofit activist and former federal prisoner whose efforts to call attention to the shady, rapetastic shenanigans of right wing douchenozzle James O’Keefe attracted the attention of Mandy Nagy, lately of Breitbart.com, who found and cribbed some crazy-obsessive blog posts written about him by a schizophrenic man named Seth Allen. Kimberlin sued Allen in 2011 to get Google to remove his libelous screeds, whereupon a Breitbart groupie named Aaron Walker inserted himself in matters, eventually assaulting Kimberlin in a Maryland courthouse. Walker, who had been trying to get other people killed by jihadis through his blog, lost his job when his real name was revealed in the wake of his assault. A few weeks later, the hate finally seized up Saint Andrew Breitbart’s heart and killed him, whereupon many of his bereaved followers adopted Walker’s deranged cause against Kimberlin to assuage their grief with a campaign of hate. The result was an endless parade of ridiculous conspiracy theories, failed lawsuits against this website as well as Kimberlin, a complex provocateur campaign, and any number of tea party internet detectives making total fools of themselves. Kimberlin is currently suing the whole kit and caboodle for turning his family into a Benghazi-level fake scandal across the wingnutosphere.
That is an extremely condensed version of a very tangled, extremely silly, and incredibly stupid story about people convincing themselves of things that aren’t true to rationalize the kind of behavior they would ordinarily condemn. For instance, uber-kook William Hoge is still trying to get a former BU blogger named Bill Schmalfeldt — currently declining from terminal Stage V Parkinson’s Disease — put in jail for the “crime” of tweeting at him by using a Maryland law meant to protect victims of domestic violence. Hoge remains convinced that Schmalfeldt blogged here on Kimberlin’s behalf, but in fact the two men never spoke or met until Hoge and Walker tried to sue them together. (The case was laughed out of court.)
‘Watching the Felon’
How did Nickless find these kooks? He may have hooked up with Hoge through ham radio, as both of them are licensed amateur operators. Or he might have met SPLC-listed hater Robert Stacy McCain through church, as he and his wife are also Seventh Day Adventists. According to his LinkedIn page, Nickless has built at least one website for an SDA church in Washington state, where he lives and works. Or perhaps he discovered the saga of Kimberlin when he logged onto a right wing site somewhere to mutter about his guns. Whatever the story, Nickless’s Twitter account is a study in Kimberlin-obsession: he follows, and is followed by, just about every Kimberlin Kook who is still on Twitter.
In fact, his entire social media trail seems to be kook-connected. Nickless is one of just ten people with Aaron Walker in their G+ circles, for instance: the others include blogging lawyer Ken White, aka Popehat, and infamous con artist and felon Paul Lemmen. Only eleven living people have the “Watching the Felon” G+ account in their circles; Nickless is one of them. The account is exclusively used to repost material from the “BK Watch” blog, a perpetuation of previous fabricated narratives (‘Brett Kimberlin has gotten away with nuclear proliferation, unicorn-exploitation, and chupacabra-ranching for too long! We must end his international reign of terror!’) which appears to be run by an Indianapolis-area freelance writer named Leslie Lynnton Fuller. Dianna Deeley, grants administrator for the William G. Irwin Charity Foundation, may be another
sucker financial backer for the defendants in Kimberlin’s federal lawsuit.
Given a chance, Nickless can regurgitate every single thing he’s heard about Brett Kimberlin from this vicious little cult — and then swear that it’s all true, especially the dumbest parts. These are the friends for whom Nickless maintains his ‘adversarial relationships’ in cyberspace: creepy stalkers and sadists, weirdos, fraudsters, fake military contractors, and the
suckers right wing funders who love them. So let us now examine his ‘adversarial’ behavior.
How dare you anonymously disagree with Bill Nickless!
This is what Nickless recently said in his odd little blog at nonick.org, which I do not recommend you visit:
Anonymous coward thug puppets are not human. Treat them like mosquitoes carrying malaria, rats carrying the plague, and worms devouring a corpse. You can’t burn anonymous cowardly puppets with real fire, but you should feel nausea, revulsion and disgust with every online interaction.
How else would you deal with a creature that, upon contact, injects you with a poison that makes you depressed and stupid?
Personally, I deal with such creatures by using the “mute” and “block” functions provided by Twitter. It’s how I ignore the lunatics he calls friends — but what do I know? I’m not a “scientist” like Nickless:
Identifying anonymous cowardly puppets can be tricky. Not all anonymous online identities are cowardly puppets; good people sometimes need varying degrees of anonymity to usefully contribute online.
Fortunately it’s much easier to pick out the anonymous thug puppet. Simply look for online behaviors that would be socially unacceptable in real life; say, the grocery store, workplace, or public park.
In which @BillNickless starts following me, I notice I cannot read his page, and I block him back. What a fucking weirdo.
— Matt Janovic (@MJanovic) January 19, 2015
The way this works out in practical terms is that Nickless supports the anonymity of kooks who tweet deranged nonsense about Brett Kimberlin, but not the anonymity of Twitter users who dare to question the bizarre, strained narratives of Kimberlin Kooks. Nickless accuses the latter group of “gaslighting” the public on behalf of the evil Kimberlin.
Aww, @WhoIsNumberNone, no need to be coy. It’s got your anonymous cowardice, third grade humor, and potty mouth stench all over it. — Bill Nickless (@BillNickless) January 19, 2015
Above is an example of Nickless regurgitating a major theme of Hoge, whose most ridiculous legal filings have all whiningly accused his enemies of leaving hurtful anonymous comments in his blog, waaaaaahhh!
@WhoIsNumberNone is also a longtime reader of this website, underscoring how the community here at BU has always been a primary target of this childish behavior. Another recipient of Nickless’s attention is @Xcitizen10, a conservative who objected to the steady stream of falsehoods and kookery in 2012, eventually defecting from the Kooks over their efforts to get Kimberlin arrested by the FBI (yes, that has happened, and more than once). Xcitizen has since become a high-value target for the kooks, on whose behalf Nickless categorizes him as an “anonymous cowardly puppet.”
Lately, both of these persons have received special attention from Nickless, some of whose tweets to them are time-stamped during work hours. One of his targets tells me they have evidence that Nickless has been trying to identify them for professional and/or legal harassment. Which finally brings us to the most important question in all of this:
Is Bill Nickless trying to get fired?
While reading his fourteen year-old post about becoming a concealed carry weapon (CCW) holder, it occurred to me that Nickless may be suffering from depression.
It’s no longer safe for me to get truly angry with people. When you have weapons readily available—and know how to use them—you need to realize that your unchecked emotions might have serious, permanent consequences! Also, when people know that I own and carry weapons, they may be more easily frightened of any (seemingly) erratic or out-of-control behavior.
Being a teetotaler already is good. Consuming alcohol while carrying a weapon is very much a bad idea.
If I ever start feeling depressed, it’s important for me to see a doctor or counselor. That’s obviously the right thing to do anyway, but a depressive episode could be fatal to someone with weapons around.
[…] Many stories I read about people who have engaged in combat with the government have gone out of their way to attract the attention of law enforcement and the criminal justice system, and/or have fallen prey to sting operations. Objectively speaking, these people may have the truth and right on their side. But the actions that got these people into their situations are often on the hairy edge of legality, and their speech can be nothing short of incendiary. Again, I want to be a person who is unambiguously responsible and law-abiding. At this time I see no need to gamble with my life, liberty, or property to prove a point about my natural or constitutional rights.
“At this time” he sees no need to gamble on proving points about his rights?
In all likelihood, PNNL is paying Nickless to research passwords and other cybersecurity issues, not to play internet detective. His name is on published papers dealing with network traffic and dataflows, the integrity of systems, and bulk analysis. Yet PNNL is in the business of developing security technologies for government agencies — “high-impact, science-based, practical solutions to our clients to prevent and counter acts of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” to quote their website — and that potentially makes them just the latest high-level national security firm to get embroiled in Kimberlin kookery. NC4 founder Aubrey Chernick reportedly gave Breitbart millions of dollars, for example, while Kimberlin’s name came up along with Glenn Greenwald’s on the list of people that ‘security firms’ HBGary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (known collectively as Team Themis) set out to destroy on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce.
In an exchange on Twitter Tuesday night, Nickless (sort of) denied using his access to federal or corporate resources to empower his weird hobby and seemed to want me to contact his employer for comment concerning this story. That’s normal journalistic practice, but the Kimberlin Kooks are a special bunch of people. Witness Aaron Walker, another CCW holder who turned his office into a Brett Kimberlin hater’s shrine and ignored the work he was paid to do, then spent the following three years climbing on a cross and fundraising over his martyrdom after his employer fired him.
So instead of taking any action that might tend to foster an ‘adversarial relationship,’ I’m finishing this informational post with a sincere attempt at persuasion: get help, Mr. Nickless. You’re running with a bad crowd and you don’t look happy.
Unbelievable. Where do these morons come from? Hope his supervisors get him to the doctor or kick him out the door. This dude is dangerous.
I’ll try to keep this short, Matt, but I wanted to add a couple of details that only I picked up as Bill directed about a third of his blog post to dehumanizing me.
1.) Bill claims that when I searched for him (by name) on google (ummm, because he insists he is the real deal not a subhuman sock puppet) his very disturbing image is the one that pops up SECOND after clicking over the search hotspot. When you click the image to see where that horrendously ugly person’s face is posted, the sub human and anonymous search tool google will happily tell you it came from LinkedIn and offer to whisk you over to Bill’s LinkedIn profile (which he built himself to host his expertise).
Now, after reading his very frightening screeds about gun ownership it makes perfect sense that Bill injected about 300 paranoid words into the chasm between “searched his name in google to make sure he wasn’t a sock puppet too” and “see, he posted this picture as a veiled threat to me because he pulled it off of linked in.”
2.) I’d like to point out that Bill’s alleged mental issues come right to the forefront with each explanation of both why he is obsessed with anonymous people online and what he instructs himself and others as to treatment of said people (or sub humans, if we are to coin bill’s phrases). Does it strike anyone else here a little bit odd that Bill obsesses over a few anonymous Twitter accounts so much that he registers a blog site and writes an entire library surrounding them; yet he insists that he is so aloof to their presence that they are merely objects to be recorded and discarded. Right!
Bill struck me as a very, VERY deeply disturbed man after that blog post he wrote. Serial killers and sociopaths are often on record saying that they can cope with murdering people often times because they dehumanize their victims. They strip their victims of humanity in order to do the most heinous things that, to the normal human, would make someone’s stomach turn. And here we see Bill deciding that he is judge, jury, and executioner on some people who have chosen to be anonymous on Twitter and associated them with things/ideas that he doesn’t like in an effort to dehumanize them and detach himself from human empathy towards what one can only think Bill has rationalized as “targets.”
In fact, the very theme of Bill’s post is “I’m very VERY mad at you for not telling me who you are, so I am going to punish you, you dirty birdie!” in the same way that a guy tucks his wife into bed and then cruises for a nameless runaway to beat and sexually abuse because “hey, that’s my wife and she’s a nameless whore”. As you read his very disturbed thought process to the end, you get a very distinct sense that Bill is trying to tell you “this can all be over if you give me your name!” and before I am accused of projection remember Bill’s blog post targets 3 accounts; @whoisnumberone, @Xcitizen10, and @liberaluniverse.
3. Lastly, Bill is intentionally (I believe) ambiguous about what of these theories are his professional opinion and which are simply his paranoid, definitely in need of a doctor’s opinion, chemically imbalanced conspiracy theories. He makes no remark on his twitter bio that what he’s tweeting are his personal thoughts and not his professional capacity. He also, as you pointed out, has some very curious time stamps on his tweets.
I’m not someone that really cares if he’s tweeting out between online gaming on someone’s dime, more power to him. However, (and this is going to be the long winded point here) remember how this all started: Bill Nickless wrote a blog post, implied I was associated with Brett Kimberlin, tweeted it to me and one other people (including defendants in the case he is obsessing over) while including an attorney involved in the Kimberlin case…. and he sent it over in the mid afternoon west coast time on a Monday.
What was his message? What could he possibly hope to glean out of that exchange other than angering other people? And when I start clicking around there seems to be this ambiguous implication that it is his thinly veiled professional opinion, and “oh, by the way Ron Coleman, here’s a little expert opinion for you, wink wink.”
4.) his “splitting” remark is hilarious. I really do think it’s noble to both rescue animals and train them to have better symbiotic relationships with mankind. For that reason, I think that Bill is noble for helping to foster service dogs. I said so. I also think Bill was being an asshole in that exchange and didn’t want to make a human connection with me on any level so I called him out for being an asshole. After reading his blog post I was proven 100 percent victorious in my theory as Bill leaves no ambiguity in his message that he was only communicating with me to “play to the crowd” and was restraining himself from seeing any of us targets as compassionate human beings.
Bill, I adopt Boxers that were previously fighting dogs. I do it because typically people will not adopt them because they require extra work and love to break the training that they need to hurt other animals to please their owners. I have worked on my current dog for two years, slowly introducing him to dog parks and carefully/methodically teaching I’m that new master likes is affection, not when he’s ripping the throat of another dog out. I also volunteer at a dog shelter and run with working breeds like boxers to keep them from getting depressed in their kennels.
I’d have offered all that up during our conversation and more but, you are such a demented and deranged cyber thug you did not even care to know who it was you were assaulting online, did you? Better to just assume none of the people that you target are human beings who put their pants on one leg at a time.
Oh, and when it comes to accusations, they cut both ways under Bill’s loose criteria for hurling them. I will point that out a little later.
Here is another issue from his past postings in 2001. This is the strange part where he talks about stopping for gas and then going into the trunk of the car to stroke his gun and then load it and placing it in his fanny pack and getting back into the car.
It’s 10:00 PM. My wife and I are stopped at a gas station along I-65 between Chicago and Indianapolis. While she goes in to use the restroom I walk to the back of the hatchback and open it. Nervously looking around, I’m reassured that nobody is looking at me. I quietly open the gun case and remove my Makarov .380 pistol and slide in a clip of ammunition, all the while keeping my hands below the level of the car windows. Trying to control my breath, I slide the now-loaded handgun into my Bianchi Top Secret fanny pack holster. Strapping it around my waist I sense everything around me in great detail—the slight breeze, the sound of traffic on the Interstate, and the sweet/pungent smell of gasoline vapor. I walk quickly back to my car and sit in the drivers seat, waiting for my wife to return, all the while shaking from the adrenaline rush of the past three minutes.
And he got a woody from that experience. An adrenaline rush from just that one thing. Very weird, and this was in 2001 mind you.
Wow. An ammosexual if ever there was one.
Or how about this quote about how he sees depression and gun ownership.
If I ever start feeling depressed, it’s important for me to see a doctor or counselor. That’s obviously the right thing to do anyway, but a depressive episode could be fatal to someone with weapons around.
So the implication here is that he has felt depressed before, and knows exactly what he needs to do while being depressed and carrying around weapons?
On the subject of “gaslighting”- It’s a psychological technique I’ve read about several years ago; The idea being to get someone stressed out and questioning their own sanity by moving their office supplies around when they’re not looking. Yes Dickless- I’ve read those dime store revenge books too. I just never ran into anyone who found the information contained within them to be enlightening.
Dickless has been using updated versions of these techniques against Bill Schmalfeldt and his friends. The exchange between Dickless and myself in the article was part of a longer thread in which he claimed I had written a series of rude comments on WJJ Hoge’s blog, which Hoggy had found offensive enough to post on Scribd for the world to see. On reading them, it was clear to me why Dickless was trying to get me in to this- Everybody over at the Hoggyblog was blaming Bill, when at least a couple of these comments were clearly meant to sound like me.
I have hypothesized in the past that the rude comments Hoggy complains about and attributes to Bill Schmalfeldt could very well be coming from the same troll who sends equally vile comments to Bill. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we one day find out that troll was Dickless.
He also tried rather hard to get me to click a link to the ‘thug puppet’ article on his blog, in which I am apparently mentioned. A rather transparent attempt to capture my IP address- I hope nobody else has fallen for anything similar. This guy may be an idiot, but he’s a dangerous idiot because he has a degree of technical knowledge, and access to the right networks, plus he’s a true believer. I can also feel the insecurity over his personal inadequacies just radiating out of him. He’s really desperate for some name recognition.
Well if you feel insecure, just look at his insecurities about wearing t shorts in public or having a gun nut label on his laptop.
It has taken me quite a while to get up the courage to let people know that I’m a gun owner and enthusiast. The first time I put a Sturm, Ruger & Company sticker on my laptop computer, or wore a gun logo shirt in public, was very scary. I was afraid that even these low-key statements would cost me professional credibility.
So here is he questioning the potential professional credibility over a tshirt and a laptop bumper sticker, yet, he publicly sends money to convicted debit card felons and offers moral support to Paul Lemmen who was convicted of ripping off the US Military in a contracting fraud scheme. And for some reason he isn’t afraid of losing credibility for that? My god this guy is very questionable.
By his own logic, he should be going after just about every one of Hoge’s readers. Howard Earl (whom I suspect as the shit stirrer for both sides, but that’s just an uneducated guess) has several socks, so why isn’t Nickless going after him? While I can admire Nickless, just as I do Bill Schmalfeldt, for using his real name and putting himself out into an unruly environment, I can’t admire his justification of one type of anonymous account over another. Don’t be a hypocrite, Nickless.
That’s just the thing, Mark. Mentally Ill people like Bill Nickless is alleged to be cannot discern consistent logic, they need to bucket things into right and wrong. Like Dorner before him, Bill Nickless’s manifesto of hatred reads of someone who has identified injustice in his mind and has taken the leap of most morally rigid folks that he has appointed himself the arbiter of true justice.
In reality, Bill strikes me as a very weak man who writes these tough guy blurbs on gun ownership as a way to deter people from thinking he’d piss his pants at his own shadow. So he writes erotic gun fantasies and laments on what life is like being a contrarian in his environment.
Someone else here mentioned it’s attention seeking and it’s spot on. Billy is probably every bit the frail weakling he appears to be physically. He also seems like he would have the classic “deer in headlights” reaction to any dangerous situation in his life and whatever gun he possesses would likely be misused by an attacker due to his inability to control his flight instincts. Bill is a feigning goat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we9_CdNPuJg He would likely freeze and piss himself at any sign of real danger.
But billy wants us all to believe he isn’t an impotent fat body so he made his persona into something of a Steppin’ Razor. A little more “Billy Bad Ass” is what he wants to read like, a cunt hair away from being a gun toting psycho. Yeah, that’ll make ’em think he’s not just some neutered eunuch paper pushing in a mid century closet up in Washington.
Has BU asked PNNL to comment on this potentially dangerous employee with emotional and mental issues that carries a weapon?
I have friends who work in the intelligence realm and I asked them about this Nickless guy, going off the rails, jeopardizing his employer and his name, creating a security risk, and having mental health issues. Here is what one of them said in a nutshell. “Once a guy is flagged for creating a security risk like this, they have to go. This guy probably has security clearances and those will be pulled first. And then they will conduct a review and demand access to emails, posts etc. If the guy does not comply he will be fired for cause. If he does comply, they will see that he is nuts. Then it comes down to how to ease him out. Will it be abrupt or will be go willingly as long as he gets a pension.”
Nickless is a mental case because he has committed career suicide by going off the rails and getting into something not sanctioned by his job description. No company involved with high level intel like PNNL is going to risk keeping him around. He will disappear, probably even off the net, in order to try to salvage any pieces of his life that still have a pulse. Once he gets cut loose, he will have great difficulty getting another job. This article will be the first thing any employer sees when they do a backgrounder on this kook.
My intel friend had this advice: “That guy should take an immediate leave from his work and check into an in-patient mental health center for six months or so. The only thing that can give him any hope of recovery is the mental health card. But the problem is that the intel community does not want loose cannons and crazies having access to high level data. He is in a real pickle.”