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Parliamentary Privilege & Libel Laws


Guest Eugene B. Connolly
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Guest Eugene B. Connolly

Parliamentary Privilege & Libel / Slander Laws in this Honorable Forum

Since we are a debating chamber (aka forum) and a debating chamber on the Internet it is reasonable to accept that we, THE PARTICIPANTS, all enjoy a form of assumed or unspoken 'parliamentary privilege'. Since we are all adults and have accepted the cut and thrust of debate, comment and argument, we enjoy the unwritten but universally accepted privilege of saying and writing, during the cut and thrust of debate, comment and argument, whatever we like without fear of being sued by some over zealous litigiously inclined fellow member of this glorious debating chamber (aka forum) which we visit of our own free will.

This privilege excludes any argument, debate or comment which would have the sole aim or purpose to incite any individual to commit a criminal act such as murder, theft, kidnapping, hijacking or such like criminal acts.

Anyone guilty of incitement of such criminal acts would of course be subject to National and International Law.

In other words the laws of libel and slander do not and cannot apply in this honorable debating chamber (aka forum) and furthermore shall not and cannot be enforced.

EBC

Edited by Eugene B. Connolly
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Guest Stephen Turner

Parliamentary privilege,is the term used to describe the Laws relating to

* The privilages or immunities of the Parliament,

* The powers of the Parliament, particularly, its POWER TO HOLD INQUIRIES. and

* Punishment of contempts--ie NON PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS when requested.

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Since we are a debating chamber (aka forum) and a debating chamber on the Internet it is reasonable to accept that we, THE PARTICIPANTS, all enjoy a form of assumed or unspoken 'parliamentary privilege'. Since we are all adults and have accepted the cut and thrust of debate, comment  and argument, we enjoy the unwritten but universally accepted privilege of saying and writing, during the cut and thrust of debate, comment  and argument, whatever we  like without fear of being sued by some over zealous litigiously inclined fellow member of this glorious debating chamber (aka forum) which we visit of our own free will.

Tim is the second member this week who has threatened to sue Andy and myself for something that has been said on the Forum.

I have also been threatened with legal action by Bob Vernon several times. His complaints were about allowing other members like Tosh Plumlee and Judyth Baker posting what he claims were lies. He also threatened to tell the UK government about my activities.

We also have an individual who is threatening to sue me for $150,000 because a member posted a copyrighted article on the Forum.

This is a common tactic used by people who do not like what you saying about them. Sometimes this tactic backfires, for example, see the case of E. Howard Hunt. Not only did he have to pay substantial damages, he had the court rule that CIA agents were involved in the assassination of JFK.

I think that there is an argument that members should be banned from the Forum if they begin threatening other members with legal action.

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from an earlier post :: "... Should the Law that has failed so dismally in the murder of JFK be allowed to dictate in a largely serious attempt to do what the Law should have done in the first place? Should people on this forum be afraid to speak their mind becuse of threats of litigation? ....... Surely there is some room for common sense? This abrogation of responsibility to a Law mentality that is flawed in the first place can't help. This, after all is a murder investigation. In the kitchen sometimes it gets hot. To blame the head chef for someone turning up the temperature may in a legalistic sense be correct. I will weigh into this in support of a position that says John Simkin is not responsible for what I write on this forum. ..........

....... Anything here that isn't intended to go towards the solution of the murder of JFK will die a natural death as the debates will naturally move on and people keep on track. For future researchers, it will certainly be an instructive social document.

Please note I am not making any statement on the accusations thrown about, how could I, I don't know them. I'm not for Tim. I'm not against Tim. I'm not for Shanet. I'm not against Shanet. Whether I am or not is really irrelevant. Whether Kennedy was shot by a bullet that came from the left, right, front, or back IS relevant."

and :: "I am not a lawyer. I do think that there is an implied environment in these discussions where some people will at times say things that perhaps they shouldn't. I don't think anyone but the person saying it is responsible for it though."

further :: Eugene and Stephen has put this far more succinctly here in this topic.(I cut these bits of my posts out of the wallace topic,p2). I don't want to see this forum, censored, altered, inhibited, controlled etc.

I'm not a lawyer, but the implied nature of the forum must stand for something, likewise in an educational atmosphere the right to quote other work is there. I think people are not quoting to make money but to further debate. If it did come to it I think I would happily sign any disclaimer etc. that would absolve the people running this forum from any litigation that might arise from anything I say, write , quote, post in this forum.

In a way too this is a community of peers, albeit with onlookers. There are rules that such a community can adopt to deal with issues within the community. I think the 'rules' topic intro. is always worth referring to.

JohnD

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John wrote:

This is a common tactic used by people who do not like what you saying about them. Sometimes this tactic backfires, for example, see the case of E. Howard Hunt. Not only did he have to pay substantial damages, he had the court rule that CIA agents were involved in the assassination of JFK.

John I am quite sure there was no "court rule[ing] that CIA agents were involved in the assassination of JFK."

Hunt sued for libel and he lost. If I recall, he was ordered to pay the defendants' legal expenses.

The jury may have very well believed there was a CIA conspiracy. But I do not believe there was ever a court judgment to that effect.

In the states, juries render "verdicts". In one sense, verdicts are meaningless. What counts is the judgment. Only courts make "judgments". In most cases the judgments are based on the verdict. A court does have the power to enter a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. In a criminal case a judge cannot hold a defendant guilty if the verdict is innocent. a judge could however refuse a verdict holding a person guilty if the judge thought there was insufficient evidence to support a guilty verdict.

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John wrote:

We also have an individual who is threatening to sue me for $150,000 because a member posted a copyrighted article on the Forum.

John, can you advise the mebers of the rules as they relate to posting copyrighted material (so now one gets you inadvertently in trouble)?

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The jury may have very well believed there was a CIA conspiracy.  But I do not believe there was ever a court judgment to that effect.

These are Mark Lane's words. It was based on the media interviews that took place with the jury after the case. (The interviews never appeared on the television networks). As Lane points out, the original cort decision when Hunt won his case was headline news. When Hunt lost the vast majority of media outlets did not carry the story. Operation Mockingbird is alive and well in America.

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John, if you state those were Mark Lane's words, can you please provide an actual quote from Lane that there was a court judgment to that effect? Because Lane is a good attorney, I am quite confident he never said that.

A court judgment, of course, is not based on media interviews. I respectfully suggest you are confusing a verdict and a judgment. But I am also certain the jury was never asked in the verdict if the CIA did it. It was probably asked quite simply if the publication had defamed or libeled Hunt. Now one or more of the jury members could very well have stated that they believed it was a CIA plot. But I do not think there is any court document that so states that.

Someone can correct me if I am mistaken about this.

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John wrote:

I think that there is an argument that members should be banned from the Forum if they begin threatening other members with legal action.

And I think an even better argument can be made that a member who deliberately posts a defamatory statement of fact against another member, which the posting member knows to be false, should be banned.

In fact, making such a false statement does violate several rules of the Forum:

(iv) Members should not make personal attacks on other members.

(v) Members should take care over the accuracy of their postings.

Note there is an important distinction to be made between the expression of an opinion and the expression of an alleged fact known to be false.

What started this imbriglio was Shanet's post that clearly implied that he knew people in Wisconsin who had information linking me to Arthur Bremer. It was when I threatened legal action that he admitted that he had made that up.

Do members really think it permissible for a member to post a knowingly false and derogotary statement against another member, but wrong for the aggrieved member to consider exercising his legal right to redress that grievance?

Edited by Tim Gratz
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Clearly the rules of privilege applied to members of a legislative (or judicuary) body during their deliberations do not apply to private citizens making posts on internet foums.

Nor do those rules of privilege apply to legislators when they are not on the floor of the legislative body.

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Here is an interesting case "on point":

Stephen J. Barrett, et al. v. Ilena Rosenthal

A096451 (Cal. App. Crt., 1st App. Dist., October 15, 2003)

Rejecting Zeran v. America Online, (4th Cir. 1997) and its progeny, an intermediate California Appellate court holds that the Communications Decency Act ("CDA") does not immunize a user of interactive computer services from a defamation claim arising out of her republication of statements authored by a third party, when the user knew or had reason to know of the falsity of those statements. As a result, the Appellate Court reversed to much of the decision of the trial court below which had dismissed a defamation claim brought against defendant Ilena Rosenthal as a result of her republication in Usenet postings of a statement authored by a third party (defendant Timothy Bolen) which accused plaintiff Polevoy of criminal conduct.

See also the cases cited at thia addreess:

http://www.legalday.co.uk/current/cyberlibel.htm

Like it or not, the laws of defamation cleary do apply to Internet postings.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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...............

Do members really think it permissible for a member to post a knowingly false and derogotary statement against another member, but wrong for the aggrieved member to consider exercising his legal right to redress that grievance?

Tim, given the nature of this forum, with both speculative and historically precise data, plus the fact that ego's and emotions etc invariably get mixed up in the discussions, I think that that is the question that should have been pursued by yourself at the outset. I believe that in this forum, a gathering of peers if you will, it is possible to reach an answer to that question. As it is, one thing I do know is that you are risking establishing a precedent that may, should the time come for an individual to be named in the future for serious consideration, any consequent investigation may be stymied. This is closer to an international parliament than an american courtroom. I certainly sympathise with your distress in this matter. A number of members have not choosen to attack you personally but tried to maintain an atmosphere of information exchange, following their lead combined with reviewing forum rules is probably more constructive. I'd like to get back to discussing who killed JFK. JohnD

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John,

I could not agree with you more that we should get back to discussing who killed JFK. That is the reason most members joined this part of the Education Forum.

Even before the latest brouhaha started, I had made a post about "misdirection agents". I do not want to imply that Shanet was a misdirection agent, or that any other member of this forum is. But the investigation of the assassination can be frustrated not only by the planting or publication of false evidence relating to the assassination (disinformation) but also by leading researchers down primrose paths that consume their time and energy and nothing to advance the search for the truth of who killed JFK.

But I disagree with you that by joining the Forum you are giving other members the right to defame your name and reputation. Nor does the Forum or its members have the right to defame other living people. I do not want to publicy name them less they sue but I believe there are at least one or two people that could sue the Forum now should they so desire, for postings stating or implying that they were probably conspirators. (And they would probably win.)

That being said, I understand your point (and the point of others, I am sure) that to advance the investigation there must necessarily be speculative postings from time to time. But those postings can be done in a way that avoids libel. Certain members are very good at understanding those "rules" and opening discussions of players in the sixties without directly accusing them of being assassiins.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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John,

I could not agree with you more that we should get back to discussing who killed JFK.  That is the reason most members joined this part of the Education Forum.

Even before the latest brouhaha started, I had made a post about "misdirection agents".  I do not want to imply that Shanet was a misdirection agent, or that any other member of this forum is.  But the investigation of the assassination can be frustrated not only by the planting or publication of false evidence relating to the assassination (disinformation) but also by leading researchers down primrose paths that consume their time and energy and nothing to advance the search for the truth of who killed JFK.

But I disagree with you that by joining the Forum you are giving other members the right to defame your name and reputation.  Nor does the Forum or its members have the right to defame other living people.  I do not want to publicy name them less they sue but I believe there are at least one or two people that could sue the Forum now should they so desire, for postings stating or implying that they were probably conspirators. (And they would probably win.)

That being said, I understand your point (and the point of others, I am sure) that to advance the investigation there must necessarily be speculative postings from time to time.  But those postings can be done in a way that avoids libel.  Certain members are very good at understanding those "rules" and opening discussions of players in the sixties without directly accusing them of being assassiins.

to restate my statement that may seem like 'a disagreement'.

Tim, I agree that defamation is deplorable. (please note, I don't participate in the discussion that precipitated this problem in this instance) I believe that in this forum, a gathering of peers if you will, it is possible to reach an answer to that question.I certainly sympathise with your distress in this matter. A number of members have not choosen to attack you personally but tried to maintain an atmosphere of information exchange, following their lead combined with reviewing forum rules is probably more constructive. JohnD

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John, if you state those were Mark Lane's words, can you please provide an actual quote from Lane that there was a court judgment to that effect?  Because Lane is a good attorney, I am quite confident he never said that.

A court judgment, of course, is not based on media interviews.  I respectfully suggest you are confusing a verdict and a judgment.  But I am also certain the jury was never asked in the verdict if the CIA did it.  It was probably asked quite simply if the publication had defamed or libeled Hunt.  Now one or more of the jury members could very well have stated that they believed it was a CIA plot.  But I do not think there is any court document that so states that.

Someone can correct me if I am mistaken about this.

Lane referred to media interviews with the Hunt/Spotlight jury fore[wo]man, who stated bluntly that the jury found sufficient evidence to determine that E. Howard Hunt had been in Dallas that day.  Moreover, the jury also became convinced that the CIA had been involved in killing the President. 

The latter comment may have been superfluous to the legal proceedings, but it was an unvarnished report of what had been concluded by a jury of Hunt's peers.  Which is precisely what kept it out of the newspapers and off the airwaves.  How does one effectively dismiss such a jury's unanimous view as paranoid conspiracy theory when this consensus was reached by a dozen average people who had been exposed to nothing more than the pertinent and legally allowable facts?

If the Hunt trial proved anything that might benefit certain Forum members, it is that truth is a defense, if it can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the judge or jury.  As it turned out, E. Howard Hunt wasn't half the clever dick he thought himself to be.  Others with similar ego-inflation issues, and equally problematic skeletons in their own closets, might take note.

 

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