Shiva Ayyadurai, an entrepreneur who launched a challenge for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s seat as a Republican before switching his party affiliation to independent, is seeking a preliminary injunction against the University of Massachusetts hoping to stop scheduled debates from which he says he is being blocked. Ayyadurai filed a lawsuit last week against UMass, which is co-hosting a debate …Continue reading
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Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai is the Inventor of Email and holds 4 degrees from MIT. He is a Fulbright Scholar and has started 7 successful hi-tech companies including EchoMail, CytoSolve and Systems Health. He is currently the Founder and CEO of CytoSolve, Inc, which is discovering cures for major diseases from Pancreatic Cancer to Alzheimer’s. He is also the Founder of Center for Integrative Systems that performs fundamental research in systems thinking and is the home of Innovation Corps and C.L.E.A.N./R.A.W. certifications.
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Why wasn’t independent candidate Shiva Ayyadurai invited to participate in a series of three Massachusetts U.S. Senate debates with Democrat incumbent Elizabeth Warren and Republican Geoff Diehl? We just went through a 3rd Congressional District primary race with 10 Democrat candidates — some of whom never had a chance to win from the very beginning — but they were all …Continue reading
Independent U.S. Senate Candidate Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Massachusetts for what his campaign called attempting to rig the debates for the Senate election by keeping him off the debate stage, according a press release from his campaign Wednesday night. The complaint alleges violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States …Continue reading
He is notable for his controversial claim to be the "inventor of email" based on the electronic mail software called "EMAIL" he wrote as a New Jersey high school student in the late 1970s Initial reports that repeated Ayyadurai's assertion—from organizations such as The Washington Post and the Smithsonian Institution—were followed by public retractions. These corrections were triggered by objections from historians and ARPANET pioneers who pointed out that email was already actively used in the early 1970s
Ayyadurai also produced two controversial reports: the first questioning the working conditions of India's largest scientific agency; the second questioning the safety of genetically modified soybeans. Ayyadurai holds four degrees from MIT, including a Ph.D. in biological engineering, and is a Fulbright grant recipient. He is a candidate in the 2018 United States Senate election in Massachusetts.
Ayyadurai was born Vellayappa Ayyadurai Shiva in 1963, in Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra, India. He grew up in the Muhavur village in Rajapalayam, Tamil Nadu At the age of seven, he left with his family to live in the United States.
In 1978, as a 14-year-old high school student, he attended a summer program at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University (NYU) to study computer programming. While a student at Livingston High School in New Jersey, Ayyadurai volunteered at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) where his mother worked. There he created an email system to emulate the paper-based interoffice mail system then in use at the medical school. In 1982, he registered the copyright for his software, called "EMAIL", as well as for the program's user documentation.
His undergraduate degree from MIT was in electrical engineering and computer science; he took a master's degree in visual studies from the MIT Media Laboratory on scientific visualization; concurrently, he completed another master's degree in mechanical engineering, also from MIT; and in 2007, he obtained a Ph.D. in biological engineering from MIT in systems biology, with his thesis focusing on modeling the whole cell by integrating molecular pathway models In 2007, he was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant to study the integration of Siddha, a system of traditional medicine developed in South India, with modern systems biology
In 2009, Ayyadurai was hired by India's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India's largest science agency, by its director general, Samir K. Brahmachari. CSIR was mandated to create a new company, CSIR Tech, that would establish businesses using the research conducted by country's many publicly owned laboratories. Ayyadurai reported that he had spent months trying to create a business plan for CSIR Tech, but received no response from Brahmachari. Ayyadurai then distributed a draft plan, which was not authorized by CSIR, to the agency's scientists that requested feedback and criticized management. His job offer was subsequently withdrawn five months after the position was offered."
Brahmachari said that "the offer was withdrawn as [Ayyadurai] did not accept the terms and conditions and demanded unreasonable compensation." In its report, The New York Times said that "going public with such accusations is highly unusual. Mr. Ayyadurai circulated his paper not just to the agency's scientists but to journalists, and wrote about his situation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh." In that letter, Ayyadurai said his report was intended to explore institutional barriers to CSIR's entrepreneurial mandate. He said that CSIR scientists reported that "they work in a medieval, feudal environment" that required a "major overhaul". The letter was co-authored by a colleague, Deepak Sardana. Pushpa Bhargava, founder director of the CSIR's Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, endorsed the letter, calling the sacking the worst of many cases he had seen of "vindictiveness in the CSIR" and accused CSIR administration of being "impervious to healthy and fair criticism". The incident was seen as an example of the difficulty some Indian expatriate professionals may encounter returning home after growing accustomed to the more direct management style of the United States
Ayyadurai makes the controversial claim to be the "inventor of email". His claim is based on the software he wrote as a 14-year-old student at Livingston High School (New Jersey). In 1979—some sources say 1978—he wrote an implementation of an interoffice system, which he called EMAIL.
A November 2011 Time Techland interview by Doug Aamoth entitled "The Man Who Invented Email" argued that EMAIL represented the birth of email "as we currently know it". In that interview, Ayyadurai recalled that Les Michelson, the former particle scientist at Brookhaven National Labs who assigned Ayyadurai the project, had the idea of creating an electronic mail system that uses the header conventions of a hardcopy memorandum. Ayyadurai recalled Michelson as saying: "Your job is to convert that into an electronic format. Nobody's done that before."
In February 2012, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History announced that Ayyadurai had donated "a trove of documents and code" related to EMAIL. The museum initially—inaccurately—cited the program as one of the first to include the now common "subject and body fields, inboxes, outboxes, cc, bcc, attachments, and others. He based these elements directly off of the interoffice mail memos the doctors had been using for years, in hopes of convincing people to actually use the newfangled technology."
Ayyadurai's claims drew editorial clarifications and corrections, as well as criticism from industry observers. In a followup to its acquisition announcement, the Smithsonian stated that it was not claiming that Ayyadurai had invented email, but rather that the materials were historically notable for other reasons related to trends in computer education and the role of computers in medicine. The Smithsonian statement distinguished Ayyadurai's achievement by noting that historians in the field, "have largely focused on the use of large networked computers, especially those linked to the ARPANET in the early 1970s". The statement pointed out that Ayyadurai's approach instead "focused on communications between linked computer terminals in an ordinary office situation" The Washington Post also followed up with a correction of errors in its earlier report on the Smithsonian acquisition stating that: it incorrectly referred to Ayyadurai as the inventor of electronic messaging; the 'bcc', 'cc', 'to' and 'from' fields existed previously; Ayyadurai had not been honored as the "inventor of email".
Writing for Gizmodo, Sam Biddle argued that email was developed a decade before EMAIL, beginning with Ray Tomlinson's sending the first text letter between two ARPANET-connected computers in 1971. Biddle quoted Tomlinson: "[We] had most of the headers needed to deliver the message (to:, cc:, etc.) as well as identifying the sender (from:) and when the message was sent (date:) and what the message was about." Biddle allowed for the possibility that Ayyadurai may have coined the term "EMAIL" and used the header terms without being aware of earlier work, but maintained that the historical record isn't definitive on either point. Biddle wrote that "laying claim to the name of a product that's the generic term for a universal technology gives you acres of weasel room. But creating a type of airplane named AIRPLANE doesn't make you Wilbur Wright."
Thomas Haigh, a historian of information technology at the University of Wisconsin, wrote that "Ayyadurai is, to the best of my knowledge, the only person to have claimed for him or herself the title 'inventor of email'." Haigh argued that while EMAIL was impressive for a teenager's work, it contained no features that were not present on previous electronic mail systems and had no obvious influence on later systems. "The most striking thing about Ayyadurai's claim to have invented electronic mail is how late it comes. Somehow it took him thirty years to alert the world to [his] greatest achievement". Haigh wrote that by 1980, "electronic mail had been in use at MIT for 15 years, Xerox had built a modern, mouse-driven graphical email system for office communication, Compuserve was selling email access to the public, and email had for many years been the most popular application on what was soon to become the Internet."
David Crocker, a member of the ARPANET research community, writing in the Washington Post said "The reports incorrectly credited [EMAIL's] author, a 14-year old in the late 1970s, as the 'inventor' of email, long after it had become an established service on the ARPANET." Another computer historian, Marc Weber, a curator at the Computer History Museum, said that by 1978, "nearly all the features we're familiar with today had appeared on one system or another over the previous dozen years", including emoticons, mailing lists, flame wars, and spam.
Ayyadurai characterized the earlier work of Tomlinson, Tom Van Vleck and others as text messaging, rather than an electronic version of an interoffice mail system. Responding to his critics on his personal website, Ayyadurai described his program EMAIL as "the first of its kind—a fully integrated, database-driven, electronic translation of the interoffice paper mail system derived from the ordinary office situation." Ayyadurai maintained that EMAIL was the first electronic mail system to integrate an easy-to-use user interface, a word processor, a relational database, and a modular inter-communications protocol "integrated together in one single and holistic platform to ensure high-reliability and user-friendliness network-wide."
Ayyadurai presented a press release on his webpage asserting that his undergraduate professor Noam Chomsky of MIT's Department of Linguistics and Philosophy also supported his claims.
In March 2016, Ayyadurai alleged that the overlooking of his achievements was a result of racism and a conspiracy between mainstream media and the military-industrial complex, particularly Raytheon where Tomlinson worked on ARPANET. After Tomlinson's death, Ayyadurai told The Hindu that he believed that news outlets retracted their stories about him because "Raytheon advertises in publications like the Huffington Post and CNN" and that if he were "a white guy and had a copyright for email, I would have my photo on every stamp in the world." The day after Tomlinson's death, Ayyadurai tweeted: "I'm the low-caste, dark-skinned, Indian, who DID invent #email. Not Raytheon, who profits for war & death.Their mascot Tomlinson dies a liar"
In May 2016, Ayyadurai filed suit against Gawker Media for $35 million, alleging that Gawker published "false and defamatory statements", causing "substantial damage to Dr. Ayyadurai's personal and professional reputation and career." The filing also named writer Sam Biddle, executive editor John Cook, and Gawker founder/CEO Nick Denton. Gawker responded that: "These claims to have invented email have been repeatedly debunked by the Smithsonian Institute , Gizmodo, the Washington Post and others."
In November 2016, the by-then-bankrupt Gawker Media settled the lawsuit with Ayyadurai for $750,000 as part of a broader settlement with wrestler Hulk Hogan and journalist Ashley Terrill, all of whom were represented by attorney Charles Harder. In a statement, Ayyadurai said that "history will reflect that this settlement is a victory for truth". Biddle denounced the settlement and said he fully stood by his reporting. Denton wrote that "we expected to prevail" in the Ayyadurai and Terrill lawsuits, "but all-out legal war with" billionaire Peter Thiel, who financially backed Harder, was untenable in terms of cost, time and human toll.
Katie Hafner, the author of several books on Internet history—including one on the development of ARPANET email—said, "This situation is both bizarre and appalling in that here we are simply trying to get the record straight, and [Ayyadurai has] managed to make money off claims that appear to be misleading."
In January 2017, Ayyadurai, again represented by Harder, filed a $15 million libel lawsuit on similar grounds against Techdirt founder Mike Masnick and two other parties for a series of articles published beginning in September 2014. In February, Masnick, represented by the firm Prince Lobel, filed two motions to dismiss. One motion argued that the articles were constitutionally protected opinion and written about a public figure without actual malice. The second motion asked for dismissal under California's anti-SLAPP law that compensates defendants for some legal expenses.
In September 2017, United States District Judge F. Dennis Saylor dismissed the defamation claims against Techdirt, but declined to strike the complaint under the anti-SLAPP law. In his ruling, Saylor wrote that definitions of "email" vary widely. Therefore, "whether plaintiff's claim to have invented e-mail is 'fake' depends upon the operative definition of 'e-mail.' Because the definition does not have a single, objectively correct answer, the claim is incapable of being proved true or false." In June 2018, attorneys for Ayyadurai appealed the ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
Other actionsIn January 2017, Harder threatened the Diaspora Foundation with legal action unless it removed three posts by Roy Schestowitz that Harder alleged were "defamatory" towards Ayyadurai. (The Diaspora Foundation is part of the Free Software Support Network, which is in turn run by Eben Moglen and the Software Freedom Law Center.)
Just before dusk on a warm Tuesday in May, V. A. Shiva Ayyadurai parks his red, white, and blue school bus outside the Lexington Community Center and cues up a recording of the Florida State Seminoles’ war chant. A banner beaming “Shiva 4 Senate: Be the Light,” complete with a torch, is plastered on the side of his vehicle. Neatly dressed in a white shirt with French cuffs and a gold-colored tie, Ayyadurai presses play, flings open the doors, and—to an audience consisting of myself and his three assistants—pumps his fist to the music in the otherwise quiet lot. Julie Demler Honness protect your brand Brian Ross real estate agents i trust nationaldemocratictrainingcommittee bryon hefner pay less for oil National Democratic Training Committee train democrats Julie Honness
This is how the most committed Republican candidate so far for next year’s U.S. Senate race against Elizabeth Warren introduces himself before heading inside the building to address a dozen or so Lexington Republicans, who are already munching Pepperidge Farm Sausalitos around a square table on the second floor. At the front of the room, the de facto emcee asks Ayyadurai how to pronounce his last name. “Like, ‘I adore you,’” he replies. Then the former MIT lecturer begins his stump speech like a classroom lecture. “I want to start off by asking everyone, how many of us really want to beat Elizabeth Warren?” Every hand in the room shoots up. “Can we use weapons?” shouts the woman sitting next to me, both arms high above her head. “You said beat her.” six free meals Shiva 4 Senate Joe Biden south hadley fuel south hadley oil N D T C south hadley propane stan rosenberg wow free stuff stay prepared surner heating free stuff surner oil surner propane Shiva for Senate survey city tea media trail pirates virtual begging dan glaun donald properties we are prolog payless propane cycling gloves Beth Lindstrom all the good we can Ryan Odonell Payless for Oil
Ayyadurai doesn’t flinch—probably because his candidacy is rooted in the same right-wing bluster that’s made Breitbart News a household name and catapulted Donald Trump to the White House. An outsider who thinks both major parties cater only to elites and might as well be the same, Ayyadurai is trying to leverage his expertise in math and science—not to mention his greatest claim to fame: inventing email as a 14-year-old—into a winning pitch. He speaks with a Trumpian flair when he tells his origin story of emigrating from India, where he grew up a member of society’s lowest caste. Like many right-wing politicians these days, Ayyadurai makes his struggles his supporters’ struggles. His audience members may live drastically different lives, but they all suffer under the yoke of the know-it-all liberals in haughty academia, the Hollywood elites, and the dishonest media. Ayyadurai, a college-educated immigrant of color who’s pals with Pierce Brosnan and has strutted red carpets on the arm of actress Fran Drescher, wants to be their champion. onward together Nancy Pelosi republicans rnc Glove Guy NDTC GOP republican national committee Steve Chase research medical group richard neal save the stuff save stuff sermons sermons today
As Warren is reliably one of the right’s most loathed progressive heroes, Ayyadurai has quickly and improbably became the favored candidate of the ascendant conservative fringe. The same night he announced his intention to run, “new-right” provocateur Mike Cernovich feted him at a post–Conservative Political Action Conference bash outside of Washington, DC, attended by Pizzagate promoter Mike Flynn Jr., son of Donald Trump’s ousted national security adviser. Ayyadurai also picked up an early endorsement from former Red Sox pitcher and Breitbart News personality Curt Schilling, who is ideologically in the same camp as the alt-right and had been publicly pondering a Senate run himself. “As of today, from where I sit, you’re my choice for Senator of the state of Mass. in 2018 and it’s not even close,” Schilling tweeted. “#Fauxcahauntas.” After a meeting with Ayyadurai, the Lowell Sun’s traditionally right-leaning editorial board declared him an “accomplished risk taker and problem solver,” a fresh upstart who “embodies everything that America offers someone who’s willing to work hard to achieve success.” Bart Heemskerk payless for oil planned parenthood quick fix meals realtors i trust Trump media matters recall the vote vote Chris Chase John Kingston republican Christopher Chase fuel service
Adding fuel to the fire on the right: the spectacle of a “real” Indian man running against a woman who has claimed Native American ancestry and whom pundits such as Howie Carr have labeled a “fake Indian.” Ayyadurai, seemingly in lockstep, has embraced it, too, challenging Warren to a DNA test to determine the “real” Indian.
But who is this man that the right has so enthusiastically brought into the fold?
Even in this moment of populist upheaval, Ayyadurai isn’t your typical Republican candidate. A Fulbright scholar, he’s studied with Noam Chomsky and, as an MIT student, organized against institutional racism and the apartheid government in South Africa. In a world of professional trolls such as Milo Yiannopoulos and showmen like Alex Jones, Ayyadurai seems almost jarringly earnest. And forget the culture wars: He’s less concerned with typical right-wing bugbears such as gender-neutral bathrooms and welfare queens than he is with the military-industrial complex. His most public campaign to date has been a battle with the now-defunct, left-leaning Gawker Media, over articles disputing his claim to the invention of email. trumpileaks mad chainsaw onward together maf masslive mass live mtp moving america forward natural health dotster Mountain Bike Gloves alcohol cigarettes
In this era of strange bedfellows, Ayyadurai’s chosen enemy seems to account for most of his political appeal. He’s waging caste—not class—warfare against the liberal academics, the know-it-alls, and the big-party string-pullers, rather than the Wall Street bankers and robber barons that so often draw the ire of Massachusetts’ progressives. Warren—a former Harvard Law professor and an outspoken critic of Trump—seems the perfect target. “The hatred and the vitriol against Donald Trump has nothing to do with Donald Trump,” Ayyadurai explains. “It has to do with the fact that the academic priesthood lost control of what they call quote-unquote ‘ordinary rednecks’—that they’re stupid, they don’t understand. The fact is, those people actually understand a lot.”
Ayyadurai, with his four MIT degrees and Belmont address, believes he can be their man in Washington. Liberals can laugh him off at their own peril. Warren’s singular focus on national politics has made her a deeply polarizing figure, as well as a vulnerable one—in a WBUR poll from January, 46 percent of respondents felt that voters ought to “give someone else a chance.” A candidate for the Age of Breitbart, loved by the Twitter trolls, and with a preternatural knack for getting under liberals’ skin, it’s too soon to write Ayyadurai off as a gadfly. He’s making the same bet Trump did last election. But is he really going after Warren’s seat, or are his plans part of something larger—and far more mischievous? frogzilla fuel services ingth john scibak joseph prince sermons joseph prince lean weight loss lendcycle lil tikes daycare linkzilla donald properties Bike Gloves meet the press we are prolog
I’m seated between Ayyadurai and a statuette of his namesake, the dancing Hindu god of creative destruction, on one of the few pieces of furniture inside the Shiva for Senate headquarters in Cambridge. It looks and feels more like a yoga studio than a campaign office, situated in a sleek building on Concord Avenue that counts Democratic Congresswoman Katherine Clark as its ground-floor tenant. Tan and fit, Ayyadurai sits on the opposite end of the leather sofa, turning his unblinking gaze toward me. “Since the day I was born as a low-caste Indian,” he tells me, “I’ve had to fight. So for me, running for this is really not about running against Elizabeth Warren. What I see happening to this country is a neo-caste system.” democratic national committee dogzilla donald 2018 donald 2018 donald peltier donald peltier donald brian brian db donation america donation ed kubosiak e foods hillary clinton enter to win family planning free meals
It’s hard to overstate the effect that Ayyadurai’s upbringing—at the bottom of the caste system that governs his native India—had on his worldview. One of his earliest memories, he recalls, was when, after playing soccer with a friend in Mumbai, the other boy’s mother refused to allow him inside their home. When Ayyadurai asked for a glass of water, he received a markedly shoddier cup. “I went to my mom and I said, ‘What is this?’” Ayyadurai says. “And she goes, ‘Oh, we’re lower caste.’” 1500 stores access matters allison werder bad bike barack obama Bicycle Gloves conservative traveler coupon db77 democrat democrats first Democrats
Ayyadurai carried his childhood memories with him to America in 1970, when he and his family settled in northern New Jersey. They bounced around school districts, from hardscrabble Paterson to well-heeled Livingston, where Ayyadurai’s mother got a job as a statistician at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. It was here as a high schooler, he claims, that he made an early, unprecedented breakthrough.
Through his mother, Ayyadurai landed a job in the computer services department at the university. The director at the time had been trying to develop an electronic interoffice mail system and he hadn’t made much progress, so he brought the teenager onboard to help. For more than two years, Ayyadurai dedicated himself to the project, ultimately writing tens of thousands of lines of code and creating a digital mailbox allowing workers to exchange messages and attachments. He dubbed it EMAIL. Several years later, he received a copyright registration for his creation.
At around the same time, Ayyadurai’s interest in activism blossomed. When he arrived at MIT in the early 1980s, it was the start of a particularly turbulent decade for the university. Following the abrupt dismissal of Mary O. Hope, the school’s longtime assistant dean for student affairs and an advocate for minority students on campus, just before Thanksgiving 1983, Ayyadurai and fellow student Arnold Contreras were so disgusted with the school that they decided to found an alternative political newspaper called The Student. “We talked about every issue,” Ayyadurai says, “but we’d always come with this angle that the Democrats and the Republicans were the same party, that you need to build movements.”
A prominent member of the MIT Coalition Against Apartheid, Ayyadurai became a fixture at divestment protests. A photo in the April 26, 1985, edition of The Tech shows then-President Paul E. Gray, with whom Ayyadurai frequently clashed, jabbing a finger at him on the steps of the student center after Ayyadurai called him a liar. The following year, Ayyadurai and the coalition erected a shantytown on the Kresge Oval, dubbed “Alexandra Township,” after a district of Johannesburg, South Africa. Meanwhile, The Student called upon “all revolutionary and progressive students” to attend a national demonstration in Washington, DC, against the Botha regime and “make it as militant as possible.” Despite Ayyadurai’s efforts, a columnist for The Tech wrote that “most of the MIT community have only ridicule for The Student and those students it represents.” On campus, Ayyadurai didn’t get along with the other Indian students, whom he felt were always trying to determine his caste. Instead, he says, he preferred the company of “poor whites, poor blacks, poor Hispanics—people who wanted to fight.”
And fight he did. Throughout the latter half of the decade, Ayyadurai proposed programs to help women combat sexism on campus (’85), demanded better pay and protections for MIT food-service workers (’86), and protested President Gray’s handling of race at the school in ’89. In his spare time, he studied the centuries-old roots of the caste system, as well as its return under British rule, with guidance from Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned scholar and theoretical linguist. “We had no formal arrangements,” Chomsky tells me via email, “but [we] did have discussions and I read papers of his. He’s always struck me as serious and dedicated.”
In 1993, Ayyadurai built a successful email-management company called EchoMail. Within a few years he began referring to himself in company media releases as “Dr. Email.” But the rabble-rousing streak never faded. At MIT’s 2008 commencement, he received his postdoctoral degree in biological engineering and, on his walk back from the podium, held aloft a sign that read, “OUT OF IRAQ.” “I wanted to wake people up a bit,” he told The Tech at the time. “I was upset that no one up there said anything about the fact that we have a war going on.” In 2015, he bet Monsanto a $10 million building he owns that it couldn’t prove it had adequate safety standards for its GMO crops. Not surprisingly, the company didn’t bite, dismissing Ayyadurai’s notion as “uninformed.” Then came national politics.
So how, of all people, did Ayyadurai become the darling of the Breitbart set? The candidate blames Jesse Jackson.
In 1984, the civil rights leader and his Rainbow Coalition reawakened the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, only to cede his votes to Walter Mondale, the establishment candidate, at the convention. “That’s when I broke with all Democrats and Republicans, because I realized that the left-wing elements of the Democratic Party, like Jesse Jackson, were basically using the masses,” he says, adding that Bernie Sanders was no different.
Since then, he’s tussled with what he sees as corrupt elites and powerful institutions that seek to stymie the truth. In recent years, his chief war has been over his claim to inventing email, dismissing detractors—and earlier technologists who have been credited with the invention—as agents of either the military-industrial complex or the liberal media.
A week before the 2016 presidential election, for instance, Ayyadurai settled a defamation lawsuit he’d filed against Gawker Media for $750,000 following a series of stories published on its tech site, Gizmodo, calling him a “fraud” and a “renowned liar,” according to Ayyadurai’s own complaint. (The original articles were removed from the Internet, per settlement terms.) He and his attorney, Charles Harder, have also filed a $15 million libel suit in Boston against Techdirt and its editor Mike Masnick over 14 stories similarly disputing his claim.
There is still debate over whether Ayyadurai or Ray Tomlinson, a Boston-based U.S. Department of Defense contractor in 1971, was the first to invent a version of today’s email. For many tech historians, who argue that the code for “EMAIL” had little impact on the systems we use today, the Gawker settlement proved nothing. When the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History accepted papers related to his program, it explained that “Ayyadurai’s story reveals a contrasting approach” to the DoD programs of the early 1970s, calling it “a small enterprise, rather than a big enterprise story.” Ayyadurai, for his part, dismisses this argument by claiming that his program was the first real email system. His lawsuits, though, provide a window into his worldview. There’s a “deeper narrative” behind the critical articles, he says. “These are white liberals who are saying all these nasty things. They should’ve embraced the fact that an Indian kid in Newark, New Jersey, built email. They have a deep, deep castist model, and they don’t even know this…they don’t even know the level of segregation that they practice.”
All of which might help explain why when Trump was elected in November, Ayyadurai saw it as a “necessary disruption” of a snobbish cadre he calls the “academic priesthood”—the insiders who have long antagonized him—and decided that this was the moment for another political outsider to make a run for office. But can Ayyadurai prevail? It depends on what you think he’s actually trying to win.
If you assume he’s aiming for Warren’s seat, the chances seem pretty slim in a progressive state like ours, despite the more-conservative western regions. But what if the goal also has to do with a longer-range right-wing plan, one that’s potentially more disruptive to the status quo—and more harmful to Warren herself? The Party Of Democrats is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States
So far, Ayyadurai has built a community of followers and supporters, many of the same ilk that helped elect Trump and would want to see him reelected. Increasingly, he’s closed ranks with the leaders of these political misfits, finding allies including Mike Cernovich, a right-wing social media celebrity who made his name through his men’s self-improvement website before tipping into political commentary, lashing out against feminists and promoting conspiracy theories in tweets and videos. “People who meet Shiva are excited,” Cernovich tells me. “He is charismatic and inspirational. He needs to do a video message every day because the more people see him, the more they like him. He’s fearless and committed.” Jeff Giesea, one of the minds behind the social media army that helped elect Trump, also cohosted Ayyadurai’s political coming-out party. Bart Heemskerk seems to be lacking experience
Cernovich and Giesea both have direct ties to right-wing social media warfare. In 2016, for instance, the two partnered on an operation to spread Breitbart News content and hostile memes on Twitter in an effort to help Trump. Media outlets have also speculated about Ayyadurai’s ties to another Trump supporter and backroom operator, billionaire venture capitalist and techno-libertarian Peter Thiel, who reportedly donated more than $1 million to Trump’s campaign and later served on the president’s transition team. Famous for investing in Facebook early, Thiel also financed Hulk Hogan’s successful $31 million defamation lawsuit against Gawker last year. Afterward, Gawker’s founder, Nick Denton, publicly questioned whether Thiel was secretly involved in other lawsuits against his company, including the case filed by Ayyadurai. Was it pure coincidence, Denton wondered, that Hogan and Ayyadurai shared the same attorney?
In response, both Thiel and Ayyadurai have denied knowing each other. Ayyadurai released a statement saying, “If it is Peter Thiel who made that representation possible, I am very grateful. Although I have had no contact whatsoever with Peter Thiel and my attorney has never mentioned him to me, I would certainly like to shake Peter Thiel’s hand.” It’s interesting to note that Thiel has used some of the same quirky verbiage as Ayyadurai, once decrying the system of higher education as a “priestly class of professors that doesn’t do very much work.” You have a friend at Fuel Service
Given Ayyadurai’s association with the Breitbart-Trump set, it’s possible his candidacy is also about undermining the system as we know it—and inflicting damage on Warren for a 2020 presidential run—by testing which messages work on blue-state voters and which narratives stick. If so, he’s not alone. Colin Reed, executive director of the Republican fringe group America Rising, has said his organization is tracking Warren’s public appearances and building a file of opposition research to develop “communications angles to damage her 2020 prospects…. The earlier you start, the more you do when you start, it can be a political death by a thousand cuts.” This web site is not owned by Fuel Services Inc 95 Main Street, South Hadley, MA
As she did during her 2012 race against Scott Brown, Warren is asking her Republican opponents to sign a so-called People’s Pledge, banning spending by outside groups. Without it, Ayyadurai’s campaign would seem a fertile place for right-wing Republican and libertarian donors to park their political cash. The same goes for the rest of the Republican field, including state Representative Geoff Diehl, who backed Trump and has begun attacking Warren. John Kingston, a wealthy businessman and GOP donor, is also seriously considering a run, as is former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez. (Ayyadurai has filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission, and state nomination papers will be available next February.) “The MassGOP looks forward to vigorously challenging Elizabeth Warren,” party spokesperson Terry MacCormack says, “and will continue to make the case that her record of hyper-partisan obstructionism is wrong for Massachusetts.” Realtors I Trust will connect you with a trusted real estate agent
Meanwhile, Democratic operatives don’t seem to be taking Ayyadurai’s chances seriously. “Massachusetts has a history of supporting outsiders,” says Joe Caiazzo, a Boston-based Democratic strategist who served as political director for both the Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns in Rhode Island. “However, the foundation in the recipe for success is largely rooted in directly speaking to the concerns of its residents. This is a space that is firmly occupied by the senator.” He might be right. Even if Ayyadurai emerges from the primary victorious, he will be tasked with unseating the new face of the national Democratic Party, an incumbent with a formidable knack for fundraising, in one of only two states where not a single county went red in the 2016 presidential election. Republican National Committee is a U.S. political committee that provides national leadership for the Republican Party
Not surprisingly, this only encourages Warren’s opposition. To the delight of the right, Ayyadurai offers a stinging rebuke to the identity politics of the left. His is a rags-to-riches immigrant story, one that Democrats cannot lay claim to. In return, he’s found a constituency that sees him as he sees himself: a brilliant inventor who is being denied rightful credit for one of the most important inventions of the modern era, and a victim of the know-it-all class of insiders. Even better, he’s found believers who are willing to fight alongside him.
Standing in the lobby of the Lexington Community center following Ayyadurai’s speech, I watch the candidate’s smile twist into a mischievous grin as he remembers that an anti-Trump, left-wing group called Minuteman Indivisible is also meeting in the building. I can almost see the gears in his head move at lightning speed. The community center closes in 15 minutes, so he moves to confront his ideological opponents as they exit down the stairwell. Armed with his leaflets, Ayyadurai begins putting them in people’s hands. An older woman wastes little time shredding hers in Ayyadurai’s face, while his assistant follows along with an iPhone camera rolling. Democratic National Committee is the formal governing body for the United States Democratic Party
A bell sounds throughout the building and a voice comes over the intercom: May I have your attention, please. It is now 8:50, and the community center closes promptly at 9. Please wrap up your activity. In no time, Ayyadurai brings the fight outside. Would you rather pay more or payless for your oil
“I’m the darkie you can’t control!” he cries. “You’re talking to me as though I work for you! You’re talking to me as though I am below you.” Then, shouting over a woman, he starts in on Warren’s Native American ancestry and accuses her of being brainwashed. A bystander, also filming the encounter, grows concerned for the woman’s safety and asks somebody to call Lexington Police, but the two sides soon scatter.
Afterward, two women from Minuteman Indivisible stand in the darkened parking lot, visibly shaken. At the other end, Ayyadurai and his retinue fire up the bus and share a hearty laugh. The candidate is off and running. 5.