Tag Archives: First Amendment

Litigation Against Alex Jones on Sandy Hook is Abuse of Process

Editor’s Note: This is one among a series of memoranda directed to President Donald Trump solicited from notable experts and Sandy Hook researchers by former CIA officer and author Robert David Steele. Those that have been heretofore published are available at Mr. Steele’s PhiBetaIota website here.

John Remington Graham, Esq.: In Solidarity with Alex Jones

Mr. President,

The litigation against Alex Jones in state courts of Connecticut is plainly an abuse of process, impossible to institute and press in an uncorrupt and honest manner, and designed to intimidate any and all journalists who dare to contend that the alleged shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 was a staged event, meant to shape public opinion in favor of gun control legislation, but so poorly orchestrated by public authority and major news media that many eminent observers have seen through the official story and understood something closer to the truth.  The idea that damages for defamation could be lawfully granted against Jones is patently absurd in light of seminal authority long ago established in New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U. S.254 (1964), and Garrison v. Louisiana, 379 U. S.64 (1974).

The episode at Sandy Hook can be and has been studied in various degrees of depth, but we can know that Sandy Hook was a hoax, as surely we can know that the intelligence of the American people was insulted by the news media reports and the Warren Commission concerning the murder of John F. Kennedy which led to the tragedy of the Vietnam War.  As was once observed by Lord Acton, “Historic responsibility has to make up for want of legal responsibility.”   And there is our consolation. Death has intervened to prevent temporal justice against those who plotted the death of Kennedy, but we know who they were, and we are beginning to learn lessons from their crimes for the good of our country.

Continue reading Litigation Against Alex Jones on Sandy Hook is Abuse of Process

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Do Millennials Know What’s In The First Amendment?

Many Columbia University students can’t name the Five Freedoms

Campus Reform
(August 6, 2018)

Campus Reform Media Director Cabot Phillips went to Columbia University to see what young people knew about the First Amendment and what they thought the line was between hate speech and free speech.

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Palm Beach Post ‘Spins’ TracyvFAU Appeal

Ignores How FAU is Imposing an Unconstitutional Prior Restraint on Its Faculty

Editor’s Note: As we have noted (e.g. here, here, and here), the Palm Beach Post and South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s TracyvFAU coverage suggests how their editorial boards live in a parallel universe when it comes to accurately reporting on such a significant First Amendment case. One exhibit is the excerpted August 6 article below, the spin of which denigrates Tracy while defending major media’s dubious narrative of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre event.  

In this instance we acknowledge that court reporter Jane Musgrave must have in fact read the entire appellate brief (or larger portions thereof) than a previous story suggests since she accurately references the name of its principal author.

However, the report fundamentally misses the crux of the case itself. The TracyvFAU appeal does not simply involve “former Florida Atlantic University professor James Tracy[‘s] … right to call Sandy Hook a hoax,” or his “ongoing quest to get his job back,” as Musgrave’s simplistic storyline suggests. 

Rather, the case and appeal encompass the guaranteed free speech rights of every university faculty member at FAU and throughout the United States. In fact, the newspaper disregards what we make perfectly clear in last week’s public statement on the appeal:

Here’s what the Post’s overall coverage of TracyvFAU (perhaps intentionally) overlooksFAU is using a policy derived from Florida State Statute as a prior restraint that intimidates with the threat of formal discipline all FAU faculty and staff members from commenting on matters of public concern, or making practically any public remark that could potentially displease FAU administrators and/or trustees, State University System of Florida officials, or the Governor of Florida himself.

Academic freedom and free speech at American universities should not resemble that of Communist China’s. Yet it would be difficult to conceive of a policy that is more openly hostile to the fundamental academic freedom and free speech tenets of any self-respecting US university.

Fired FAU professor declares it’s his right to call Sandy Hook a hoax

Jane Musgrave
Palm Beach Post
(August 6, 2018)

Lashing out at his former bosses and a federal judge, former Florida Atlantic University professor James Tracy is back in court, again claiming he was wrongfully fired for publicly and repeatedly proclaiming that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax.

In his ongoing quest to get his job back, Tracy insists a federal jury got it wrong in December when it decided the university fired him for insubordination, rather than for his conspiracy theories about the 2012 Connecticut school shootingthat left 26 children and teachers dead.

“FAU fired Tracy in retaliation for controversial posts he made on his personal blog regarding the legitimacy of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre,” attorney Richard Ovelmen wrote in a 63-page appeal filed last week with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal.

The university’s claims that it fired Tracy because he failed to report his work on his controversial blog, Memory Hole, are nothing more than a ruse, Ovelmen told the Atlanta-based appeals court.

As proof, Ovelmen points out that at least 20 other FAU professors regularly post their views on social media. None has been required to report their activity to school officials, much less been disciplined, he wrote.

FAU administrators targeted Tracy after news of his blog ignited a firestorm of protest with scores of letters and phone calls streaming into the Boca Raton-based school, demanding his ouster.

More…

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Federal Appeal Filed Challenging Florida Atlantic University’s Unconstitutional “Outside Activities” Policy

Miami, Florida – Attorneys for James Tracy filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit of the summary judgment rulings granted by the District Court in favor of Florida Atlantic University (“FAU”) and various public university officials. Tracy’s lawyers also argue that the jury verdict should be reversed and the Court should grant judgment in Tracy’s favor as a matter of law.

James Tracy was a distinguished tenured faculty member in FAU’s School of Communications who taught journalism history, communication theory, and courses on the media’s coverage of conspiracy theories. Tracy received awards for his work, regularly earned excellent reviews, and was a former president of the FAU faculty union.

Despite Tracy’s outstanding academic record, FAU fired Tracy in retaliation for controversial posts he made on his personal blog questioning the legitimacy of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. In January 2016, FAU terminated Tracy’s tenured professorship, falsely claiming he had been “insubordinate” for failing to disclose his blogging activity under its conflict of interest outside activity Policy.

On appeal, it is argued that summary judgment should have been granted in Tracy’s favor by the District Court, since the Policy FAU used to terminate his professorship is unconstitutionally vague “because blogging is not mentioned as a potential conflict of interest, key terms used within the Policy are undefined, and FAU does not have a policy on blogging.

Over twenty professors have blogs or other online speech activities, and Tracy is the only one to have ever been required to report, much less disciplined, for failing to report under the Policy. This is all the more compelling given that Tracy’s blog was publically available and well known to FAU, and his speech was widely reported and highly controversial.”

The record demonstrates FAU’s Policy violates the First Amendment “because it fails to provide employees with a reasonable opportunity to understand what blogging it prohibits and authorizes” and the Policy “did not provide sufficient guidance as to what blogging had to be reported, it could not be enforced without reference to the content of an employee’s speech, thereby facilitating viewpoint discrimination targeting disfavored speech. Indeed, FAU found Tracy’s posting violated the Policy despite having no policy at all on blogging while it fully protected expression that it favored.”

Additionally, Tracy’s lawyers argue that the jury verdict (that Tracy’s speech was not a motivating factor in his termination) is contrary to overwhelming evidence, and no reasonable jury could have determined that Tracy’s speech was not a motivating factor in his termination because:

  • Tracy’s blogging was obviously not a conflict of interest;
  • FAU’s reason for firing Tracy was legally insufficient;
  • FAU’s history of disciplining and monitoring Tracy’s blog;
  • FAU’s selective enforcement of a vague Policy;
  • Evidence of complaints and negative publicity;
  • FAU’s termination letter citing the blog; and
  • FAU emails celebrating Tracy’s termination.

Moreover, the District Court wrongfully excluded evidence that directly impacted Tracy’s ability to enforce his rights at trial.

The full brief is available here:

See also:

Legalizing Pretext: How an American Public University Conspired to Beat the First Amendment

The Death of Academic Freedom: Professor James Tracy Denied First Amendment Rights By Federal Court

TracyvFAU: A Very Dangerous Precedent

Through Jaundiced Eyes: Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinal’s Hardcore Bias in TracyvFAU Coverage

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Strange Allies in the Fight to End Free Speech

“Performance Artists” versus The First Amendment

By James F. Tracy

Inflammatory radio host Alex Jones is besieged with lawsuits brought by Sandy Hook parents who claim to be “defamed” by the content of his broadcasts. America’s loudest rant monger appears to be fulfilling a central role in a broader play that could seriously undermine the First Amendment.

Most recently Jones, who maintain via his counsel that the Newtown massacre itself was genuine, has agreed to defray the plaintiffs’ court costs for bringing suit in Texas should the judge find it frivolous. Concurrently media platforms including YouTube, Facebook and Spotify are now censoring “Infowars” for purported “hateful” content.

Jones’ ex-wife and conflict-of-interest show boater Kelly Jones is allying with parents of the children who are reported to have died in the 2012 school shooting by picketing an August 1st Texas court hearing with a sign reading, “Texans For Sandy Hook Justice,” NBC News reports.

Image Credit: Eric Gay/AP

Ms. Jones won a vicious child custody battle with the radio personality in July 2018. Jones asserts that she was present during the creation of InfoWars, “and I’m trying to make that right.”

These people not only lost their children in the most horrible way that you can imagine – I mean, unspeakable – but they’ve been harassed by his audience. They’ve had to move houses. They had people come up to them and say that their children didn’t even exist.

As this storyline goes, while the Sandy Hook parents lost their children in December 2012 Kelly Jones saved hers from America’s most prominent career “conspiracy theorist.”

A deeper dimension to this unfolding scenario is the fact that both Kelly Jones, Jones’ children, and the parent-plaintiffs squaring off against Alex in Texas are Jewish.

This aspect of the saga would not be worth noting at least in passing if not for the fact that certain Jewish-led “civil right groups,” including as the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center, have long-sought to topple the American ideal of free speech ensconced in the First Amendment.

These interests and the powerful forces they represent would much rather have the United States temper free speech rights by taking away the rights of those expressing “hate speech,” which in reality translates to any political speech the deep-pocketed sponsors of such groups deem undesirable.

One way to seriously cripple if not eliminate free speech is via a “Trojan horse” like Alex Jones. Despite the swaggering Texan’s professed expertise in conspiracy investigation Jones cannot seem to make heads nor tails of the Sandy Hook massacre.

But that’s not all. Jones has been caught censoring actual research addressing the event, and through this ham-fisted performance has set himself up to take the fall that will likewise bring down US free speech rights.

As we’ve recently stated,

the broadcaster has waffled so much on Sandy Hook that it’s difficult not to believe that he isn’t a pre-designated foil in a broader play to defeat what’s left of speech freedoms in the United States.

There is a well-known theory that 1980s comedian Bill Hicks faked his unusual death from pancreatic cancer at the age of 32 (pseudocide) and has ever since been playing the character Alex Jones since the mid-1990s. Although the idea seems far-fetched, the fact is that celebrities with substantial means have “faked their deaths” for many years to assume a new life and identity.

“Some people fake their death to avoid jail or get away with a crime” according to Psychology Today. “[O]thers want to escape debt, a stalker, or a burdensome relationship.”

“’If you want to disappear and do it right,’” writes author Elizabeth Greenwood,

“the planning is not for the faint of heart, or the careless.” She proves this throughout her book. The question for those who want to reinvent themselves is whether they can ever completely leave their lives behind. Many think they can do it for a period of time, but expect to pick it back up at some point. To really be successful at pseudocide, though, it seems one must be able to walk away—and stay away—from everything. This includes family, medical records, bank accounts, social media, cars, and your reputation as an honest person.

Even Vice News calls pseudocide “a timeworn tradition” among the laity. Is this also the case with the victims of mass casualty events … and perhaps the successful radio persona whose attorney admits is “a performance artist playing a character”? If by chance Alex Jones is Hicks’ invention he could not have pulled this stunt off for two decades without certain lettered agencies’ complicity. And for this he is indebted to them.

If one is going to file a civil claim that someone’s speech is actionable then it is tremendously helpful to have a “friendly” defendant. Just ask German-born  journalist Richard Gutjahr, who is closely allied with the Sandy Hook parents bringing suit against Alex Jones in Texas. Gutjahr says he was encouraged by “Sandy Hook parent” Lenny Pozner and supports the lawsuit against Jones. Gutjahr is of the litigious sort, of which more below.

As some may recall, Richard Gutjahr is so anxious for a scoop that he was present to document both the July 14, 2016 “Nice truck attack” and  the July 22, 2016 “Munich shooting.”

Richard Gutjahr “accidentally” deleted the photos and tweets about Munich.

Gutjahr’s wife, Israeli-born Einat Wilf, is an outspoken Harvard and Cambridge-educated foreign policy advisor to former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Wilf’s additional credentials include serving as a lieutenant in the Israeli Defense Forces’ intelligence division and fulfilling a partial term in the Knesset.

Thus it is perhaps ironic that both Gutjahr and Pozner have wives capable of potentially operating under intelligence cover and likely even diplomatic immunity if necessary. We have been apprised, for example, by parties with considerable investigative capacity that it is close to impossible to ascertain the actual background of one “Veronique De La Rosa.”

Along these lines, more than a few individuals have preferred the compelling and plausible notion that Jones is in fact an imposter, and thus a double agent of sorts.

Thin-skinned writer Richard Gutjahr borrows an image from television program “Better Call Saul” Image Credit: YouTube

In the 2017 presentation below Gutjahr’ (at 13:19) discusses his would-be persecution at the hands of “hoaxers”and a strategy of waging legal battles in order to stifle anyone who might question the “on-air talent” in dubious public events.

Lenny [Pozner] and I, we talked many, many times online, and he told me about the so-called “truthers,” the so called “hoaxers.” People who get a kick out of it, to have that power over other people. And who actually also get paid for their ‘work’ by YouTube.

Now Lenny told me, “Look, Richard, you can either continue whining, or you start to get back on your feet and start fighting [sic]. It’s gonna be hard, it’s gonna be long, it’s gonna be painful, but you can actually do something against them. And so I did. [Applause.]

Not on-only I took one lawyer, I took two lawyers [sic], and from that day on they took care of Facebook and of Google. We keep on, like, telling them, “This is wrong, this is wrong. We have this court order, this court order. So we’re really a pain in the neck. And you know what? It feels really good to have somebody speaking up for you-finally.

Despite the fact that Gutjahr is “lawyered up,” he can’t seem to prevail in court. Earlier this year the ubiquitous journalist suffered a stinging defeat after suing independent German investigative journalist Gerhard Wisnewski in the district court of Cologne. The reason? Wisnewski pondered whether Guthahr’s presence at both the Nice truck attack and Munich shooting was coincidental, or may have involved some type of foreknowledge.

Gutjahr’s extravagant complaint suggested that Wisnewski’s reporting on possible prior knowledge involved omission, thus defaming Gutjahr’s by generating suspicion that his motives were for professional advancement. As the defendant explains,

In the eyes of Gutjahr and his lawyer, [I] suspected him of a crime under § 138 penal code (Strafgesetzbuch; “non-disclosure of planned crime”). “A far-fetched assertion. This was never the subject of my reporting, It was all about the abstract possibility of prior knowledge, so only about a cognitive process and the question of how the reporter could have been in two alleged terror locations or in the immediate vicinity within a week.”

A verdict favoring Gutjahr’s in Cologne was thrown out on appeal, with the higher court reminding Gutjahr that he must “accept critical illumination of his activities by his peers.” In Wisnewski’s view, “the case developed toward a judicial disaster for Gutjahr.”

While their approaches differ, Gutjahr’s case and the defamation actions of the numerous Sandy Hook parents share the same target, namely the free speech that prompts the public to question the sometimes unlikely narratives of government and its corporate media allies. If a verdict against America’s biggest carnival barker can be secured everything beyond the pale of government and corporate news pronouncements becomes fair game.

Who benefits? Is it those who have something to hide? Who would rather cry, “Hate speech!” and thereby attack the messenger instead of having a fair debate where such speech, if it is truly without foundation might be confronted and dismantled once and for all?

In the case of Sandy Hook especially the petitioners employ an entirely different method, imploring the general public to viscerally identify with their persecution and suffering–with, as Kelly Jones puts it, those who “lost their children in the most horrible way,” and who must thereafter be “harassed by [Alex Jones’] audience.”

This dramatic plea combined with Jones’ over-the-top “performance art” distracts everyday spectators from considering the events in question and, moreover, the “hoaxers” and “conspiracy theorists” who’ve raised the very questions that most salaried journalists have either long abandoned or must consciously dismiss for fear of losing their own livelihoods.

One thing is certain: Richard Gutjahr might have won his court case, if only the defendant was as eager to forfeit his free speech rights as Alex Jones appears to be.

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‘Breaking Bad Wolf’

Why American cop and whistleblower Mark Dougan turned to Russia for sanctuary

Editor’s Note: This new documentary from RT features Palm Beach Sheriff Deputy Mark Dougan, a whistleblower-turned-political emigre. It illustrates the corruption of a local law enforcement agency and the very real dangers of running a blog critical of one’s publicly-elected employer. If the United States had a truly free press Dougan’s story wouldn’t be suppressed. Note that RT is, of course, a “Kremlin-funded” news outlet.

RT Documentary Channel
(July 13, 2018)

While flying close to a small airstrip just over the US border with Canada, the passenger aboard a small Cessna seemed to have a heart attack. After an emergency landing, he miraculously recovered, jumped out of the plane, threw some money at the pilot and ran away. A few days later, he resurfaced in Russia. It may sound like a spy novel plot, but it’s just one episode in the true story of real-life American cop-turned-whistleblower, Mark Dougan. After exposing endemic corruption in the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, he had to fled the United States and found refuge in Russia.

After leaving the US Marine Corp in, Dougan wanted something more adventurous than an office job and became a police officer. After six years, he left the PBSO, appalled by the blatant criminal activity that he saw within the force. He later started a blog, giving honest cops a forum where they could anonymously discuss and expose illegal conduct by senior law enforcers, who predictably, hated it! After being hounded, harassed, and placed under surveillance for six years, The FBI raided John’s home and seized all his digital equipment; they even gave him his own code name; Bad Wolf.
That was when the whistleblower realised he had to flee and escaped to Russia, leaving behind his wife and young children. RTD’s new and exclusive film, Breaking Bad Wolf, tells his incredible story.
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Alex Jones’ Actual Malice

How a Talk Show Host Can Help Defeat the First Amendment

By James F. Tracy

Beginning in April the parents of children said to have perished in the December 2012 Sandy Hook School massacre have filed defamation lawsuits against Alex Jones (e.g. here, here and here) and others claiming the radio talk show host defamed them by repeatedly stating to his audience that the incident was staged. The plaintiffs are requesting an unspecified monetary sum from the defendant, claiming he caused them to be harassed and threatened by parties who share Jones belief that the event was a hoax.

In the event these actions are tried they will in all probability not function as a venue where the veracity of the Sandy Hook event itself can be verified or disproven. Nor will the plaintiffs likely have to provide much if any evidence of harassment or pain and suffering.

The parents’ attorneys assert in one suit that “overwhelming–and indisputable–evidence exists showing what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.” This claim is unanimously (though erroneously) supported by Connecticut State authorities and national news media, and has been accepted as settled fact by a federal judge in Lucyv.Richards.

Alex Jones faces new defamation lawsuit, hires attorney

An open question remains whether the suing parties would need to suppress any countervailing evidence. This is largely because over five years after the Sandy Hook massacre event Jones still routinely exhibits uncertainty on whether or not the shooting was real. It is with this suggestion of “actual malice” that he is setting himself up for an untenable position before a jury.

Sullivanv.NewYorkTimes defined actual malice as a primary requisite for a plaintiff to prevail in bringing a defamation suit. In that famous episode the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an advertisement with factual inaccuracies produced by 1960s civil rights advocates and carried in the Times had not been published with actual malice. The court ruled that under the given circumstances the newspaper’s staff did not run the ad either 1) knowing it was false, or 2) with reckless disregard for the truth.

In the cases at hand Jones’ would-be confusion about Sandy Hook began just hours after the alleged shooting itself, when Jones, perhaps anticipating the mixed orientation of his audience toward the incident, expressed confusion over exactly what took place in Newtown. At the same time, and without any real evidence, he used anonymous callers’ observations to label the event a probable “false flag.” This ambiguity would continue for more than five years.

In the months and years thereafter substantial evidence emerged suggesting the “massacre” was probably a FEMA drill overseen by the Obama administration and presented as an actual attack to lay the groundwork for strengthening gun control legislation. Some of this data was compiled in the book edited by Professor Jim Fetzer, Nobody Died at Sandy Hook.

Instead of inviting Fetzer on to his radio program following the book’s publication and subsequent censorship by Amazon.com in late 2015, Jones ran in the other direction, actually deleting a story by Infowars writer Adan Salazar from his website and thus in effect joining forces with Amazon to suppress that title’s revelations.

Jones conflicted stance toward Sandy Hook is now even mirrored in his attorney Marc Randazza’s public remarks. “We are going to be mounting a strong First Amendment defense and look forward to this being resolved in a civil and collegial manner,” Jones’ counsel Randazza explained to the New York Times, where he continues to note “that Mr. Jones has ‘a great deal of compassion for these parents.'”

Such a statement suggests how the Sandy Hook official narrative as  defined by the media (and in the minds of any potential jury member) is shared by the defendant himself and his own legal team.

University of Texas law professor David Anderson contends that Jones’ repeated waffling on Sandy Hook makes him especially vulnerable.

What I understand is that he’ll say these things at one point, and then later on, he’ll say, “Of course I know that wasn’t true.” If he says things, and then says he knows it wasn’t true, he’s in trouble. If he consistently says, “I never claimed that to be true,” then he’s probably on more solid ground.

Because Jones’ confusing array of broadcast utterances on Sandy Hook are all a matter of public record it will not be difficult for the “prosecution” to demonstrate Jones’ confusion amounts to a “reckless disregard for truth.”

Further, since Jones’ public persona precedes him and given the fact that jurors are often impressionable and will surely not be avid “Infowarriors,” plaintiffs’ counsel will likely find it easy to depict Jones as a devious and malicious actor. Unfortunately, these are all a jury needs to be fed to affirm the parents’ claims.

Jones’ uncertainty on the Sandy Hook massacre is especially unusual for a figure who is the self-proclaimed “founding father of the 9/11 truth movement,” and who for over two decades been the country’s most prominent “conspiracy theorist.”

Moreover, Jones strongly-voiced political opinions in many areas is what his fans find most appealing. In light of this the broadcaster has waffled so much on Sandy Hook that it’s difficult not to believe that he isn’t a pre-designated foil in a broader play to defeat what’s left of speech freedoms in the United States. It’s at least for certain that Jones is not any truth movement’s most desirable ally.

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