Tag Archives: free speech

Wolfgang Halbig, Alex Jones Sued For Defamation By Sandy Hook Families

FBI Agent Joins as Plaintiff

Members of six victims’ families of  the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook massacre event in addition to FBI agent Bill Aldenberg have filed a defamation lawsuit in Connecticut Superior Court naming radio host Alex Jones and well-known Sandy Hook Truth activist Wolfgang Halbig as defendants. The suit seeks damages “in excess of $15,000.”

ABC News reports:

The lawsuit accuses Jones, a staunch gun rights advocate who operates Infowars, a website that routinely propagates conspiracies, of “a years-long campaign of abusive and outrageous false statements.”

“While the nation recoiled at the terrible reality of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Alex Jones saw an opportunity,” the families’ attorney Josh Koskoff said. “He went on a sustained attack that has lasted for years, accusing shattered family members of being actors, stating as fact that the shooting itself was a hoax and inciting others to act on these malicious lies.”

The plaintiffs are the parents of four children killed at Sandy Hook — Jacqueline and Mark Barden, parents of Daniel; Nicole and Ian Hockley, parents of Dylan; Francine and David Wheeler, parents of Ben; and Jennifer Hensel and Jeremy Richman, parents of Avielle — as well as Donna Soto, Carlee Soto-Parisi, Carlos Soto and Jillian Soto, the mother and siblings of first-grade teacher Victoria Leigh Soto; and Erica Lafferty-Garbatini, the daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung. FBI agent Bill Aldenberg is also a plaintiff.

“As a result of Jones’ campaign,” the families and Aldenberg said they have been “forced to endure malicious and cruel abuse at the hands of ruthless unscrupulous people.”

Their lawsuit also names Wolfgang Halbig, a Florida man who founded the now-defunct website SandyHookJustice, his associate Cory Sklanka and Infowars itself.

The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court in Bridgeport, cites Jones’ public assertions, including one from Sept. 25, 2014, in which he said video from the day of the shooting showed that the same children were cycled in and out of the school and that no emergency helicopters were sent to the school, and were “clearly staged.”

The lawsuit quotes Jones as saying on Jan. 13, 2015, “Yeah, so, Sandy Hook is a synthetic completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured.”

The plaintiffs called such statements, among others, “outrageous, deeply painful and defamatory.”

Connecticut allows for libel and defamation actions to be brought “within two years of the date of the act complained of.” The lawsuit cites statements made by Jones in 2014 and 2015, suggesting the suit may in fact be dead on arrival. It will nevertheless generate substantial news coverage for the parties bringing the action.

Jones and his broadcast enterprises were named as defendants in another lawsuit filed by two other sets of Sandy Hook parents last month in Texas.

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South Carolina to Equate Criticism of Israel with Anti-Semitism

Concealed in State’s 2018-19 Budget

Rachel Blevins
FreeThoughtProject

The news that Israel killed more than 60 Palestinians on Monday alone, has sparked criticism from Americans who are frustrated with the United States’ failure to hold one of its closest allies accountable for the human rights violations it is committing—and individuals in one state will soon be labeled as “anti-Semitic” for openly voicing their opinion.

South Carolina will become the first state to legally define criticism of Israel as “anti-Semitism” when a new measure goes into effect on July 1, targeting public schools and universities. While politicians have tried to pass the measure as a standalone law for two years, they finally succeeded temporarily by passing it as a “proviso” that was slipped into the 2018-2019 budget.

Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir asks, “What is anti-Semitism today?” in his 2009 documentary, Defamation.

According to the text of the measure, the definition of “anti-Semitism” will now include:

  • a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities;
  • calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews; making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective; accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, the state of Israel, or even for acts committed by non-Jews;
  • accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust;
  • accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations;
  • using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis;
  • drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis;
  • blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions;
  • applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation;
  • multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations;
  • denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist, provided, however, that criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.

As can be determined by the long list of ways in which South Carolina will now define “anti-Semitism,” individuals will be forced to tiptoe around a legitimate subject, and expressing an opinion that is no longer considered politically correct can now be legally used against them.

Calling out this bill is not antisemitic, it is pro free speech. Criticizing the Israeli government as well as any other government is the right and duty of all free humanity. Just as TFTP advocates for the freedom of Americans, we advocate for the freedom of Israelis and the Palestinians. Only through discussion and peaceful criticism will peace ever be achieved.

More…

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Facebook Intensifies Censorship of User Content

“Hate Speech” Difficult to Police

Social media behemoth Facebook, with over two billion users worldwide, has issued a censorship report for the first quarter of 2018. The document states that its recently-deployed artificial intelligence censor-bots flag or eliminate over 85% of images posted containing “graphic violence.”

The same techniques have been successful in addressing 1.9 million in the same period posts promoting “terrorist propaganda,” the company said.

Facebook’s automated censors have much greater difficulty detecting “racist or homophobic hate speech,” because it “racist is often quoted on posts by their targets or activists,” AFP reports.

“It may take a human to understand and accurately interpret nuances like… self-referential comments or sarcasm,” the report said, noting that Facebook aims to “protect and respect both expression and personal safety”.

Facebook took action against 2.5 million pieces of hate speech content during the period, a 56 increase over October-December. But only 38 percent had been detected through Facebook’s efforts — the rest flagged up by users.

The posts that keep the Facebook reviewers the busiest are those showing adult nudity or sexual activity — quite apart from child pornography, which is not covered by the report.

Some 21 million such posts were handled in the period, a similar number to October-December 2017.

That was less than 0.1 percent of viewed content — which includes text, images, videos, links, live videos or comments on posts — Facebook said, adding it had dealt with nearly 96 percent of the cases before being alerted to them.

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Corporate Media Promote “World Press Freedom Day”

“Read and Watch” Mainstream Peers

Several corporate news media recognized the “World Press Freedom Day” on May 3 with promotional messages in the pages of their respective publications and via social media.

The occasion is in fact sponsored by the United Nations Environmental, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a vital arm of the UN that has overseen a multitude of social engineering projects since its founding in 1948 by individuals including eugenicist Julian Huxley.

From UNESCO’s site,

In 2018, UNESCO will lead the 25th celebration of World Press Freedom Day. The main event, jointly organized by UNESCO and the Government of the Republic of Ghana, will take place in Accra, Ghana on 2 – 3 May. This year’s global theme is ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law’, and will cover issues of media and the transparency of the political process, the independence and media literacy of the judicial system, and the accountability of state institutions towards the public. The Day will also examine contemporary challenges of ensuring press freedom online. (Emphases retained)

In celebration of UNESCO’s observation the New York Times, which has had a historic information-sharing and censorial relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency instructs its audience on examples of the vaunted Western “free press.”

The fact that such entities are promoting “Press Freedom” is especially noteworthy in the wake of the recent court decision that legally codifies the CIA practice of selectively disclosing select information to journalists and news outlets of its choosing.

IMG_3623.jpg

"Don’t just read The New York Times." Look at the front page of NYT today! #WorldPressFreedomDay from Journalism

The event is also recognized by US Senator Diane Feinstein, who encourages her followers to “fight fake news” by reading quality journalism. In 2013 Feinstein proposed legislation that would effectively define “journalism” as being only something practiced by individuals drawing a salary, thus eliminating a broad array of independent, citizen journalists from the information gathering, sharing, and analyzing equation.

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Director of Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab Witch-Hunts Temple Journalism Prof

Takes Issue With “Fringe and Debunked Views”

(Updated May 10, 9:50AM EST)

Joshua Benton is a former Dallas Morning News reporter and Director of Harvard’s Niamey Journalism Lab. Image Credit: YouTube

Joshua Benton, the Director of Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation-funded Journalism Lab disagreed with some views a commenter left on the organization’s blog, so he did a bit of research, found out who the commenter was, and on May 4 decided to reveal the person’s name and identity in a series of Tweets. The “doxxing,” or “outing” of the commenter has resulted in an ongoing investigation by her academic employer.

Fransesca Viola is an attorney and professor of journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia. She set up a Disqus account called “truthseeker” using her Temple email address. The Disqus service allows users to freely comment across a range of websites.

The Nieman Lab’s director identified Viola by seeing the email address attached to her Disqus account. “Ms. Viola voluntarily logged into a commenting service and left a comment on our site using her Temple email address,” Benton said. “All I did was click one link to see all the other comments she had posted using her Temple email address.”

But instead of seeking to personally contact Viola and discuss her views via email, Benton used his personal Twitter account to publicly ridicule several of the comments she left at the Niemen Lab and other sites under her nom de plume. It’s almost beyond question that Benton did this with the intent to create tension between Viola, her academic employer, and the pious liberal sect that require strict adherence to its doctrinal requisites at most every US university.

As of this writing the identity disclosure and attack remain posted on Benton’s Twitter feed and have been archived here.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Viola rightly took issue with Benton and the Nieman Foundation’s decision to publicly identify her. “I dispute the incorrect attributions and specious allegations posted by Joshua Benton on his Twitter feed at Harvard’s Nieman journalism think tank,” she wrote.

I am appalled by his improper ‘doxxing’ and by his flagrant violation of the Twitter, Disqus, Nieman and Harvard’s terms of service, the apparent violation of the Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act — as well as the ethical and legal standards of journalism. I consider this a personal defamatory attack as well as an attempt to silence academic freedom and people everywhere. Most importantly, as an investigation is now underway, I would ask the community not to assume I am the author of some or all of those comments.

Benton replied in a statement that “no one was doxxed.” This is laughable considering it’s uttered from a man whose professional career is devoted to understanding “online journalism.” For example, here’s the Harvard journalism expert commenting on the industry in 2012.

While none of Viola’s personal information was released, Benton’s actions fit within the very essence of “doxxing,” which involves successful attempts “to tie an anonymous online profile to the true identity of the person behind it and then publicly reveal that person’s real name.”

Viola established her “truthseeker” identity to post comments anonymously and with the belief that webmasters would respect her privacy. Benton exposed her, and the content of his “Tweets” suggest that he did so with great relish.

“I was shocked to see that these comments…were coming from a journalism professor, posting with her Temple email address,” Benton declared in a missive to Temple’s student newspaper.

Everyone is entitled to their political opinions, but I think students and staff should be able to know when someone charged with teaching young people journalism holds these sorts of fringe and debunked views.

In other words, Benton is seeking to convince Viola’s colleagues and students that she is a “conspiracy theorist.” The Harvard staffer’s bio indicates that “he has reported from 10 foreign countries,” suggesting a possible intelligence background.

While it’s improbable that even a reporter with numerous accolades will move in a straight line from the Dallas Morning News to Harvard, Benton has no doubt executed the Agency’s 1035-960 technique against Viola with aplomb.

Viola’s boss, David Boardman, whose Twitter handle Benton included in his Viola Tweetstorm, oversees both Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication and the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, which owns the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com.

“Professor Viola has admitted to writing some but not all of these posts and specifically denies writing the post that is derogatory of Muslim protesters, a comment we find particularly abhorrent,” Boardman remarked in a public statement. “We are troubled by the content of some of the other cited posts but acknowledge that those in the Temple community are entitled to exercise free speech within constitutional parameters.”

Boardman refers to an anti-Muslim comment from “truthseeker” below, which may very well make the author a prime candidate for an officer’s spot in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Recognizing the violation of Viola’s privacy, on May 9 Benton issued an apology of sorts via Twitter for his failure to “adhere to rigorous reporting standards.”

Yet Benton’s actions overall really have nothing to do with journalism or adhering to any set of standards. The Harvard journalism expert saw red when he encountered political views that he didn’t agree with and turned to what are effectively methods of online intimidation (“bullying”) by threatening the individual’s livelihood.

The fear of being called a “conspiracy theorist” or the equivalent has, after all, been the main technique used to keep academics, journalists, and other salaried intellectuals in line for the past half-century.

 

 

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Professor Faces Discipline For Joke in Crowded Elevator

Given May 15 Deadline to Issue Apology

Editor’s Note: One must be careful what they say as the walls have ears and the political correctness Stazi are ubiquitous. Given this the appropriate agencies will have to further scrutinize Professor Lebow’s political allegiances, social media activities, sexual proclivities, financials, and of course whether or not he still beats his wife. 

Simona Sharoni, left, filed a complaint against Richard Ned Lebow, right, for a joke he made in a crowded elevator at an academic conference. (Merrimack College/King’s College London)

Caleb Park of FoxNews reports:

A male professor who made a joke in a crowded elevator at an academic conference is now facing disciplinary charges after a female professor who was there filed a formal complaint.

Richard Ned Lebow, professor of international political theory at King’s College in London, was in a jammed elevator when someone asked him what floor he needed to get off on, according to a Washington Post opinion piece.

“Ladies’ lingerie,” he joked.

He was attending the International Studies Association conference in San Francisco at the time. Simona Sharoni, professor or women’s and gender studies at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, also present in the elevator, took offense and several hours after the incident, she filed a complaint with the association, which found that Lebow violated the group’s code of conduct.

After Lebow was made aware of the complaint, he sent Sharoni an email telling her “I certainly had no desire to insult women or to make you feel uncomfortable.” He also suggested she may have “interpreted my remark out of context.”

“Like you, I am strongly opposed to the exploitation, coercion or humiliation of women,” Lebow wrote, according to the Post. “As such evils continue, it seems to me to make sense to direct our attention to real offenses, not those that are imagined or marginal. By making a complaint to ISA that I consider frivolous — and I expect, will be judged this way by the ethics committee — you may be directing time and effort away from the real offenses that trouble us both.”

The ISA committee found fault with Lebow characterizing Sharoni’s complaint as “frivolous.” It instructed him to issue an “unequivocal apology,” which he refused to do.

Lebow told colleagues this is “a horrifying and chilling example of political correctness” that “encourages others to censor their remarks for fear of retribution.”

“For decades, women and other marginalized groups in the academy had to put up with white men who decided what counts as a violation and what is ‘frivolous,’” Sharoni told The Chronicle.

Lebow faces appropriate sanctions from ISA if he doesn’t write an apology by May 15.

ISA did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #88

In a significant April 2018 freedom of information decision in favor of government censorship Judge Colleen McMahon of the Southern District of New York ruled that the CIA has full discretion to provide classified information to journalists and news organizations of its choosing while withholding the identical information from other reporters or the broader public when the same information is requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

In 2017 free lance journalist Adam Johnson filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the CIA, citing a 2012 FOIA request to the Agency by Gawker journalist John Cook for exchanges between the CIA and several prominent journalists. In many of the documents CIA produced the responses to journalists were redacted. Johnson was concerned with the preferential treatment meted out by the Agency while the same information was granted to others.

All of the journalists in question had strong rapports with the CIA and worked for corporate-controlled news media: Jo Becker and Scott Shane of the New York Times; David Ignatius of the Washington Post; Ken Dilanian and Brian Bennett of the Los Angeles Times; Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman of the Associated Press; and Siobhan Gorman and Evan Perez of the Wall Street Journal.

One example from Johnson’s suit cites the Wall Street Journal’s Gorman, who inquired of the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs,

I’m told that on runs, Director Petraeus’s security detail hands him bottles of water, relay-style, so as not to slow him down. And you mentioned the director’s running a 6-minute mile, but I was told that the agency-wide invitation was that if you could run a 7-minute mile, you can come run with the director. I wanted to make sure both are is [sic] accurate. On the chart, it’s accurate to say that the congressional gym and the Pentagon gym ranked high, right? And I was just told that the facilities at the black sites were better than the ones at CIA. Don’t know whether that’s something you want to weigh in on, but I thought I’d see if you did.

The CIA’s response came just hours later: “Siobhan …” The body of the response is redacted. The CIA’s closing reads, “We can chat more on Monday, hope this helps.” That’s it. The entire response was regarded as too sensitive for the FOIA requester and broader public, but permissible for Siobhan Gorman, who replied, “Thanks for the help. I hope I wasn’t the cause of your dental appointment delay. This is very helpful as I try to tie up loose ends on this story. Sometimes ‘fun’ stories take as much work as their ‘less fun’ brethren. Sorry for all the qus [sic].”

Citing the National Security Act of 1947, the CIA contended that “limited, selective disclosures of classified information to journalists are perfectly legal,” CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou observes. “The National Security Act of 1947, they said, only requires protection of intelligence sources and methods from “unauthorized” disclosure, not from authorized disclosure. And because the disclosures at issue were actually intended to protect intelligence sources and methods, they were fully authorized.”

John Kiriakou, “Why Does the CIA Prefer Corporate Media?” Reader Supported News, February 23, 2018.

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South Florida Cop Suspended for Facebook Posts may be Sanest Cop in America

Editor’s Note: As of this writing North Miami Beach police officer Ericson Harrell remains suspended with pay pending an internal investigation centering on his social media activity. Harrell’s case is similar to that of James Tracy in that his employer has taken issue with the policeman’s extracurricular commentary on the American police state and mass casualty events principally because of its content.

Now Florida public employers within the purview of the Southern District of Florida may very well be using the TracyvFAU decision as precedent to discipline workers based on speech-related “thought crime” offenses. There is no dispute that such employers and their legal advisors are aware of the court’s decision, and that the State of Florida fought vigorously to establish such a legal precedent. Please see our previous discussion of Officer Harrell’s situation here.

Carlos Miller
TheMaven.net
(May 6, 2018)

A South Florida cop suspended for comments he made on his personal Facebook page explains his views in detail.

The media had a field day mocking North Miami Beach police officer Ericson Harrell last month for suggesting on his personal Facebook page that the victims of the Parkland school shooting were “paid actors.”

The media attention resulted in Harrell placed on paid suspension while his agency “investigates” his comments.

But it’s been more than a month now and the only thing to investigate is whether or not Harrell made those comments while on duty, which may be a violation of department policy.

After all, Harrell never made those comments in his capacity as a police officer.

Instead, he made them on his personal Facebook page to his friends and followers, whom he says consists more of police accountability activists than police officers, including myself, who met him in person years ago.

In fact, he makes no mention of being a police officer on the About section of his Facebook page, not that he makes it a secret either as he frequently speaks out against police abuse on his page.

That being said, I believe some of his views about mass school shootings are far-fetched and irrational; based more on speculation than substance; a conspiracy-laden dogma arising from a complete lack of trust in the government.

But I also believe he is one of the sanest cops in the United States, which may help you understand my view of cops in this country.

This, after all, is a cop who is fully aware of the growing police state in this country, especially for those who stand up for their Constitutional rights; a cop who runs a YouTube channel called “The Penitent Cop” where he tries to educate people about their rights when dealing with police.

But I’ve been told my views are also radical, so I am posting the entire interview above to allow you to judge for yourself. Please let us know what you think in the comments section.

Joining us in the interview was First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza, a longtime PINAC reader who also asked Harrell some questions.

From left to right, Marc Randazza, Carlos Miller and Ericson Harrell

Harrell, a 19-year veteran of the North Miami Beach Police Department, said he had a red pill awakening a few years ago while looking into the conspiracy theories behind 9/11.

That led him to question the government about everything, especially about mass shootings, many which he describes as being hoaxes, including the Sandy Hook school shooting and the Las Vegas massacre.

And while it’s understandable such comments may offend the family and friends of the victims slain in those shootings, it’s not like he tagged them in his post.

As mentioned before, the only thing his department can discipline him for is if he was making those posts during work hours, which he says he does not remember if he did or not.

But even if he did make those comments during work hours, that is much more preferable to me as a taxpaying citizen than having him spend those hours destroying the lives of innocent citizens, which takes place daily in cities throughout the United States.

But then again, I am considered a radical for my views, so maybe I’m failing to see what the big deal is here.

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Eric Holder Contemplates Run for Presidency

First Attorney General Held in Contempt of Congress

“Could maybe unify the country”

President Barack Obama’s Attorney General Eric “Fast and Furious” Holder has intimated that he may be considering a 2020 presidential run. The nation’s former top law enforcer thinks he can unify the country after having served close to eight years dividing it along racial lines.

Holder presided over one of the most corrupt US Justice Departments in the country’s history.  Further, a host of mass casualty events occurred under his watch, ranging from the dubious to the wholly fraudulent, These included Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Boston Marathon, Umqua College, Charlotte, San Bernardino, and Orlando.

Following many of these events Holder’s DOJ curiously paid out millions of dollars to those directly involved in the incidents and/or residents of the communities. In fact, Holder does not keep secret his contempt for the Second Amendment.

And for all the ballyhoo about Holder being the “First African-American Attorney General,” he proceeded to let all of the criminal bankers go unpunished while leaving black-on-black crime entirely unaddressed.

What about Freedom of the Press? Eric Holder served under an ostensibly “liberal Democrat.” Plus he once sported a “black power” afro the size of Billy Preston’s. Surely he upholds the right to free speech.

In fact, Holder’s DOJ prosecuted more journalists under the archaic Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined. Holder also used aggressive search-and-seizure tactics against individual news organizations for alleged leaks that would have made the Nixon administration blush.

Eric Holder in March 2018. Image Credit: Facebook/New York Times

Below are a few of the remarks from a March 2018 conversation Holder had with the New York Times, highlighted in USA Today.

“If I were gonna [run], I would do it because I think- I would have concluded that I could maybe unify the country,” he said. “Help unify the country, because it’s bigger than one person… That I could repair and then advance the nation in a variety of contexts.”

But after serving under both the Obama and Clinton administrations, Holder’s not so sure that he wants to jump back into public life.

“I remember some unpleasant hearings with some congressmen who are now leaving,” he said. “I’m gonna miss them.”

While he thinks could personally withstand any criticism thrown his way, he’s not sure he would want to subject his family to that.

“I read about, ‘Holder’s corrupt,’ ‘Holder’s whatever,'” he said. “It’s all politics, and I just dismiss it. But I saw the impact that it had on my family.”

“‘Holder’s corrupt. Holder’s whatever'”? (Not this again.) The facts speak for themselves.

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