Sunday, May 5, 2013

Defamation Terrorism is Alive and Well in Australia

How the Defamation Terrorists win in Australian is through our legal system's blind eye to defending truth and its farcical fascination with preserving the beauty of its own navel forever to be kept in stasis so that one day, it may be reconnected to the umbilicus of the Great and Mighty British Mother Land. Gives you chills and goose-bumps at the thought doesn't it? Or, like me, does all the aping of Her transposed pomp and nonsense ceremony, bowing and scraping to bewigged puffed up buffoonery dismay you too? How can we take this seriously? Why is it that the Australian legal system (industry) cannot see that what it desires and apes for itself is not what the people of Australia want? Defamation laws or wigs, their acceptance as the way things are meant to be are formed from the same illogic. If it is from the Mother Land it is to be emulated as it is good.
Justice Generic Bewigged - incognito © Lee-Anne Raymond 2013

Well, Your (bewigged) Worship, you and your ilk, who would determine my fate, are asses and peculiar ones to boot. How are we to take you seriously? No, seriously why should we not laugh and point at your clown like bewigged appearance - which according to NSW Court of Appeal Court Spokeswoman Sonya Zadel is because a wig affords judges in particular a sort of protective shield:
“In criminal matters a wig gives a judge some anonymity … it’s an issue of safety and security,” lawyersweekly-2007-judges-ditch-wigs  
Nonsense Sonya.
The wearing of wigs though not enforced in law grew in tradition from the 17th century on as a type of "fashion statement" alternative to bad hair and into hierarchical symbolism (though in my view the original aims were based upon establishing hierarchy and elevated difference). The wigs and gowns suggest a uniform of sorts a bit like a religious order, shocked as some in the legal industry may be to have such an association made. The wigs and robes represent within the industry and to the public the status of the wearer. The garments separate and elevate the lawyers from the public to create a hierarchical authority over the client and identify their level or status within and to the order.  Other elements of significance come into play such as the age the wig looks to be being relevant to how important you are, its style and length etc along with the types of robes worn are all very important markers of elevation and status. History-of-wigs

But I digress. Of course with the title of my post I am adapting the label of "Libel Terrorism" which applies to offended plaintiffs (wealthy ones) dragging defendants into UK courts in order to seek damages outside of unfavourable jurisdictions like for instance the USA which protects the right to free speech. Libel terrorism developed out of the legal phenomena known as libel tourism (coined by Geoffrey Robinson). Even the UN finally noticed enough in 2008 to point out the flaws in British Libel legislation allowed for serious human rights implications as they 
"served to discourage critical media reporting on matters of serious public interest, adversely affecting the ability of scholars and journalists to publish their work, including through the phenomenon known as libel tourism." 
I am labelling ALL Defamation Law as being a way to threaten, attack and wipe out criticism in order to censor and/or extract monetary gain. The mere threat of the damaging effects of defamation law are enough in many cases to silence the right to impart and receive information which is a human rights violation. Why would we want to allow free speech which might lead to robust criticism and to more free and open society/s? Yeah crazy talk, isn't it?

Following political and public agitation in 2010 the US "Committee on the Judiciary" and President Obama concluded the use of the UK's "Militant Libel Laws" threatened the freedom of speech and was effectively a "chilling" of the fifth amendment rights of US writers and journalists. So they have now passed protective laws called The Libel Terrorism Protection Act to block supply to the libel terrorists/tourists. Hell, there was even an episode of "The Good Wife" (which I have blogged on earlier) that seemed to pick up on some elements from a known case - Funding Evil where author Dr Rachel Ehrenfeld was sued for libel in the UK (by a non-resident plaintiff) as 23 copies of the publication in question had been purchased through UK online bookstores. 

Anyway with such decisive action by the US courts...take that you British scoundrels...loud applause and hoorays from all...came the backlash. Backlash? you ask, who'd protect such ludicrous laws? The libel terrorism industry protectors and benefactors (the lawyers and judges specifically) in the UK of course. Sure the odd individual beneficiary might have been paid out bazillions of nefariously acquired libel terrorism bucks too but these sensitive malcontents are the least of the issue. Where the real interest lay in keeping the backdoor open is in the legal industry that had built up around the demand. Where the legal industry, like any industry, sees a market it fills it, justifies it and cultivates it. And, now their beautifully fattened up law and their ability to continually suckle at its ever ballooning teat had been taken away.

Does this mean that a potentially never ending source of financial resources and source of social aggrandisement would be affected? Well, shit yeah! But, not without tantrums being thrown from within The House of Lords (the most bewigged and robed attired of them all) it wouldn't. Loud cries of "You shall not pass!" were heard...okay apologies to J.R. R. Tolkien and Gandalf, but you get the gist. Quite right too, how on earth will they ever afford their rented castles and wig makers now?

Rachel Ehrenfeld at the time noted...
"A recent speech by a former senior judge of the appellate committee of the House of Lords, Lord Leonard Hoffmann, expressed strong opposition to the US legislation. He also attacked the UN human rights committee's finding in July 2008 that British libel laws, especially those that facilitate libel tourism, are chilling free speech worldwide. Libel tourism is a phenomenon in which foreign claimants exploit plaintiff-friendly defamation laws to sue authors and publishers in countries in which they have not worked or published." 
All defamation laws and jurisdictions are flawed, expensive and shamefully tawdry in intent, some more so than others. Even the US version has problems, though it at least limits defamation significantly by clearly declaring the truth cannot defame. And it does so without the security of protective wigs.

Defamation/Libel Laws in their current forms do nothing to sufficiently defend the so called defamed and are anti human rights. No one has the human right to
- not ever be offended
- subvert the truth to achieve censorship
- conceal a lie in order to achieve censorship
- elevate reputation above the right to receive and impart information
- utilise laws, poorly framed or not, for a collateral purpose

Truth may offend but it cannot harm a reputation by being known. If true then that is the reputation revealed as it exists. If you don't want others to know you expose your dangly bits to unfortunate school children, defraud, lie, burn, bomb, rape or pillage, then don't be that sort of person/company. Be better, be good and deal with the truth when it comes out by facing it and its consequences honestly. Expose a lie when it is a lie, but don't develop out of such an aim an industry which in reality has the goal to eliminate truth and all knowledge of it. There's a good world citizen.

What is needed?
Reform ** (view the petition and please sign to support Australian defamation law reform)

One follower of our case "couldn't" sign our petition as it doesn't "go far enough", the law should be completely abolished in his view. I can't disagree but I can't see how we might get such an outcome in reality. That said there could be a framework which upholds the right inform on truth and informed opinion.  Wait, isn't that the US Constitution's 5th Amendment? I know but stay with me. Where in addition such a framework channelled complaints through an Administrative Tribunal. One providing democratic access to ones own representation to prove truth or demonstrate a lie. Complete with severely capped potential payouts thus blunting the current windfall component of defamation law that encourages litigation for collateral purpose and authorises censorship which in turn encourages an industry to be built up around it in order to service the litigious and censorial.

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About Leeanneart

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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
We are first and foremost human with a responsibility to the humanity within us and not to any faith, political, apolitical, social or societal group, union or faction. We are responsible for our own reputation, and for what deeds we do and what achievements or otherwise in life we enjoy. The rest is nonsense.