A March 2016 interview with James Tracy conducted on the popular alternative news outlet SGT Report was stricken from YouTube last week, presumably in the wake of the major video platform’s most recent campaign to rid itself of “hate speech.”
According to YouTube’s new policy, “hate speech” now effectively includes virtually any discussion or insinuation calling into question the veracity of complex public events, including mass casualty events.
“Hate speech is not allowed on YouTube,” the exhibition giant declared on June 5th. “We remove content promoting violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on any of the following attributes,” which now includes,
“Victims of a major violent event and their kin.”
Yet as SGT Report‘s host Sean points out in a recent commentary addressing the censorship, the 2016 interview wasn’t even about the Sandy Hook shooting event. Rather, the discussion centered on the anti-free speech actions taken by Tracy’s former academic employer, Florida Atlantic University, in retaliation against Tracy for his controversial online speech.
As Sean notes, “We merely discussed the First Amendment and the high cost of free speech as it pertains to discussing, investigating, and/or questioning any event at all. “Evidently now,” he adds,
if you don’t fall in line with the mainstream media version of events and parrot the official story, you will be targeted as an unhinged conspiracy theorist who spews hate speech.
In April 2016 Tracy filed a federal civil rights suit against Florida Atlantic and its chief administrators who carried out his firing. That suit is now before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
YouTube’s censorship of the interview is in lockstep with the overall news blackout of TracyvFAU by national media, the same media that focused so intently on Tracy’s personal blogging in 2013, then celebrated the academic’s termination three years later.
That’s why Americans for Responsible Technology is planning a nationwide Day of Action on May 15th, calling on wireless companies (Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile) and their sub-contractors (Crown Castle, ExteNet Systems and other antenna installers) to suspend the deployment of small cell wireless antennas in residential neighborhoods until such time as chronic, low level exposure to 5G radio-frequency (RF) microwave radiation can be proven completely safe.
The coordinated events will take place in cities and towns across the country from 12 noon to 1:30 (local time) on Wednesday, May 15th. The purpose of these events is to raise public awareness of the issue through media coverage, and to place the burden of responsibility where it belongs: on those who stand to profit from the deployment of 5G.
While we recognize that there are many troubling aspects to the wireless radiation problem, we are framing this particular event to concentrate on the impact of chronic radiation exposure on children. Children are uniquely vulnerable to environmental exposures – particularly those which can affect the developing brain and increase the risk of cancer. We believe the instinct to protect children is well understood, and this will help our message resonate with young parents and others in the community who may not yet be familiar with wireless radiation and its potential impacts on human health.
To join a group in your area, please see our groups and events map.
[Editor’s Note: The author concedes that the New York Times typically does not publish pieces in direct in response to, or complaining about, reports which appear in the paper. Still, a perspective defending school safety expert Wolfgang Halbig’s credibility has yet to appear in the Times, or for that matter any other news outlet reporting on the legal actions brought by Sandy Hook parents. Nor have such outlets honestly covered any of the ensuing controversy leading up to these most recent activities. Such one-sidedness more than suggests the increasingly propaganda-like nature of such news media’s “reportage” and commentary.]
The “Florida man” is Wolfgang Halbig, a 71-year-old school security expert and former state trooper. Mr. Halbig has been dogged—and uncompromisingly ethical—in his search for the truth about the so-called Sandy Hook shooting, a search prompted initially by horror, giving way to astonishment and disbelief at glaring inconsistencies and falsehoods in the reportage.
At no time has Halbig “harassed,” “hounded,” “pursued,” or “tormented” Sandy Hook families. He has focused, instead, on obtaining public records from state, federal, and local agencies, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency; Newtown Police Department; Newtown Public Schools; and Connecticut State Police. Most of these agencies provided no records whatsoeverin response to Wolf’s Freedom of Information requests, despite legal mandates.
For example, Wolf has tried, in vain, to obtain the log created pursuant to a sign that said “Everyone Must Check In” which shows up in photos of the fire station taken Dec. 14, 2012, as well as the transmission log of “Trooper 1,” the state police helicopter in the air that day, purporting to track a suspect in the woods. Halbig has been denied these indisputably public records. He subpoenaed witnesses who had presumptive knowledge of conditions at the school for his FOIA hearings, but Newtown’s attorney Monte Frank improperly told them to ignore the subpoenas, and Wolf was provided no relief for this misconduct. The police at last gave Wolf “dash cam videos” he had requested, which are not, in fact, dash cam videos, since they do not show the hood of the car. They also show different scenes putatively taken from the same location at the same time, so were clearly faked.
US corporate news media have provided inordinate coverage highlighting specific outtakes of the recent AlexJones deposition in Texas state court. It is perhaps notable how throughout its hullabaloo coverage of the Jones trial same news media have carefully excluded any mention of Professor James Tracy’s pending action against Florida Atlantic University, an arguably more significant free speech case now before the US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
As some may recall, this appeal followed an eleven day trial in December 2017 before Obama-appointed US District Judge Robin Rosenberg, whose numerous pre and in-trial motions grossly favored the FAU defendants by stripping Tracy of his right to assert First Amendment claims and keeping vital evidence from the jury.
Despite wall-to-wall, front page trial coverage by the The Palm Beach Post and the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the event was almost completely blacked out by national news media–the same media that widely broadcast the case’s commencement in April 2016 and the circus-like antics of Jones’ deposition.* In fact, the Sun Sentinel has yet to even report to its readership the fact that the case has been appealed.
Tracy’s attorneys are still awaiting the court’ decision on the their request to present oral argument before a panel of three appellate judges hearing the case. FAU has argued against the court entertaining oral argument.
*In any self-respecting court proceeding, why is the Jones deposition being so selectively broadcast in the first place. It may well be to try the defendant in the court of public opinion, before his case can reach a jury.
Some Reflections on the Long Lost Chum I Barely Know
By James F. Tracy
I recently noted that an unknown party was linking somewhat inflammatory and misleading articles focusing on this author to my Facebook profile. After doing some modest investigation I came to find that the individual behind the posts was none other than Michael Koretzky, the self-appointed press advisor to FAU’s student newspaper, University Press (UP).
This was not the first time Mr. Koretzky’s blog posts came to our attention. In 2015 a colleague remarked that Koretzky was attacking me on his various social media sites, sometimes camouflaging the diatribes under various nom de plumes. After being the focus of so many broadsides by major media outlets, however, I dismissed the commentaries out-of-hand as likely ill-informed, amateurish, perhaps even dishonest. Only time would prove me correct.
The Press Advisor Who Came to Dinner
A fitting narrative to describe Koretzky’s two-decade long affair with FAU is Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s 1939 Broadway play, The Man Who Came to Dinner. The story centers on an obnoxious showbiz personality invited to sup with a prominent midwestern family as a publicity stunt.
Upon his arrival he injures himself on the family’s icy front steps and insists on taking up residence in both their both home and lives to recuperate. As the story goes, the radio host never leaves, soon threatening the family with litigation for his fall, or should they dare seek an outright eviction.
For two decades Koretzky has been the self-appointed press advisor to FAU’s UP, run out of Florida Atlantic’s student union and funded by student government fees. A self-proclaimed proponent of the First Amendment and press freedom, Koretzky worked as a freelancer, founded a handful of publications, and presently operates a personal finance website, Debt.com. In 2004 Koretzky was accused by FAU’s student government of ethical violations stemming from his involvement with the UP, and fined several thousand dollars.
Undeterred, he returned to the student paper shortly thereafter. An active member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Koretzky, 53, has become an undeniable presence in the national student press community, further honing his persona as news industry businessman masquerading in Che Guevara chic among student journalists.
From this perch he descends upon various college press conventions to fire off self-deprecating one liners while levying savage critiques of fledgling journalists and their newspapers, a practice comparable to shooting half-dead fish in a barrel.
President Donald Trump has announced at this week’s CPAC conference that he will soon issue a Presidential Executive Order requiring universities across the US to uphold free speech on their campuses or be prepared to lose federal funding.
“Today I am proud to announce that I will be very soon signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research dollars,” Trump said.
Yet in early February the Republican-controlled US Senate passed legislation allowing state governments to refuse to do business with companies that boycott Israel. The bill passed, 77-23, with 22 Democrats and Republican Rand Paul dissenting; Paul rightly argued that the legislation threatens free-speech rights.
The most controversial part of the bill by far is the “Combating BDS Act of 2019,” which would authorize state and local governments to retaliate commercially against entities that support BDS, such as by halting business with or refusing to contract or hire companies or individual citizens who either actively participate in or support the movement. A previous version of the bill included possible jail time as punishment for supporting a boycott of Israel or Israeli settlements, their violation of international law notwithstanding.
The legislation, which attests to the power of Israeli’s lobbying prowess, has yet to be voted on by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
Along these lines, in 2011 former Georgia Representative Cynthia McKinney explained that US lawmakers must swear allegiance to Israel or face inevitable expulsion from public office.
Minnesota Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar incurred the wrath of the American Israeli Political Affairs Committee in February when she similarly suggested how the US Congress is beholden to the Israeli lobby. AIPAC used the incident to embark on a mini-fundraising venture.
Since 2004 the US Department of State includes a “Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.” If taken literally, the State Department’s definition of anti-semitism effectively bars any public criticism of Israeli foreign policy toward the Muslim world and occupied territories. This definition is applicable to the speech and activities of the BDS movement on US college campuses.
Boycotts of certain businesses and even countries is part of a long tradition of nonviolent political protest in the United States, contributing to, for example, the demise of South African apartheid in the 1980s.