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Don Tate Fraud Liar Wannabe Closet Paedophile and Closet Gay
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Author Topic: We Answer Why We Operate Anonymously  (Read 35722 times)
Ethelred
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« Reply #33 on: Friday09October2009 »

There are many many organizations and Government agencies which encourage anonymous whistle blowing. Here tis another one.

Fraud Reporting Hotline

The National Archives’ toll-free Fraud Reporting Hotline allows employees and members of the public to report suspected fraud that may involve the National Archives of Australia.

You can report suspected fraud in various ways:

phone 1800 235 917 and leave a message
email fraud@naa.gov.au
post a letter to:

Fraud Control Officer
Governance, Risk & Compliance Section
National Archives of Australia
PO Box 7425
Canberra Business Centre ACT 2610
Please provide as much information as you can about any suspicious incident, behaviour, person or company.

Your report will be confidential. You can also choose to remain anonymous.

If you choose to include contact details in your message, the National Archives Fraud Control Officer will phone, email or write to you to acknowledge receipt of your report, and to clarify any ambiguities.

The Archives has a policy of zero tolerance in relation to fraud.

All reports of suspected fraud will be investigated.
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forgotten1
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« Reply #32 on: Monday05October2009 »

Thanks Les for clearing up laws pertaining to defamation, its something I've always been confused about. As to remaining anonymous - I wouldn't feel safe in expressing my opinions on these matters if it weren't anonymous. I've had a personal experience with one of the Mad Galahs and have been threatened by him on several occasions. While in the main, the MGs are a bunch of lazy lunatics, as all lunatics are, they are unpredictable.

I'd also like to add, I have found Fergus' writing to be succinct and to the point, without any of the confusing legalese and inflammatory rambling often found in Mad Galah writings.
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Fergus Fairfax
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« Reply #31 on: Monday05October2009 »

Goodness there are some conspiracies doing the rounds as to who owns and operates avm. I don't care who owns it I just care what is said.

The latest conspiracy theory is from that McKenzie who took down the VVAA. He reckons he has used some super sleuthing you beaut language detecting software which has nailed people. Give me a break McKenzie. Why does AVM bother you so much? Frightened of the truth are we.

He now names Keith Tennent as part of avm. All based on analysing language!! Stuff me.

Then we have seen many guesses about who Fergus is. He they say is anything from a NZ Navy Officer to an Aussie army officer. Then of course Bob Buick is supposed to be a head cherang.

Tate reckons Clive Mitchell Taylor is an avm operative too. Then I think he says Barry Billing is an operative. I have lost count of who they accuse without proof.

Why does avm bother these people so much it must get under their skin and prick their conscience.

Mad galahs give us all names with proof, give us evidence which will stand up in court and get the police into action.

I will now get on reading what the various contributors have to say including avm owners.

If the truth hurts too bad.

Oh  just thought of some others who have been accused without proof.
Ron King
Senior Military officers
Senior ESO members
AWM
Members of the Capricornia RSL sub branch
The Aust Defence Assoc
Some politicians

PPS I just remembered I saw a thing the other day where Tate reckons he knows who d371 is in here. Do you remember d371 made a post about Tate and school. AVM did the right thing and removed this when no proof was provided. Tate has made all sorts of scandalous defamatory comments now about this bloke and well I suppose it is up to d371 to see his legal people. Whoever d371 may be. Can't fault avm though because as usual they wanted proof and when none was provided they removed the post and  politely made a post asking tate to respond.
« Last Edit: Monday05October2009 by Shadow » Logged
les
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« Reply #30 on: Thursday23April2009 »

Only a few on the SMC striving to go forward.
Well the association appears to be losing its way. See the problem is far to many show ponies throw themselves onto these various positions of an association for there own personal grandeur. Its the look at me syndrome im so important and i want an OAM for my good deeds to the veteran community.
When in actual fact they were unable to see past their noses let alone make a genuine contribution for the benefit of their fellow veterans.
Best of luck Peter in sorting out the shit fight.
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Cav
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« Reply #29 on: Wednesday22April2009 »

Best of luck in your endeavours Pete.
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Peter Gregory
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« Reply #28 on: Wednesday22April2009 »

Can't deny the Asociation seems to be going backwards but there are a few of us on the State Management Committee who are trying to go forward but it doesn't help when other some members are too wrapped up in personality issues with a previous member.  I don't blame the membership for getting pissed off and going away. I'm also the president of the Caboolture sub-branch and have seen the membership there drop away because of clowns stirring garbage.  Why they do it is beyond me.

This forum isn't the place for me - you're correct in that - but is it really the place for anybody?  Hanging crap on a supposed fake isn't my idea of a fair trial but I still have a look at other threads which are important and in some cases, give me ammo to shoot at politicians.  If you've got anything you'd like me to raise you've got my  contact number.  I can only try - I can't guarantee anything.

For those who are Qld TPI Assoc members - Come along to the next meeting at Southport RSL on Monday 11th May - it's a meeting that you'll kick yourself for not attending and hopefully it may be the start of getting control back to the members.

I'm off my soapbox now.

Pete
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80s
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« Reply #27 on: Wednesday22April2009 »

Even the TPI QLD is fractured, the Townsville mob has broken away years ago and are trying to do their own thing.

80's
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les
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« Reply #26 on: Tuesday21April2009 »

Well then Peter a forum like this obviously isnt the place for you.

Yes, the QLD TPI Associations SMC still piss - farting around chassing its tail. Place your thinking cap back on now Peter and dive back in amoungst the SMC to come up with some command decisions as to the future of the association.
Presently the finances are dwindling away into never never land.
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Zion
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« Reply #25 on: Tuesday21April2009 »

Now now Peter, settle down. No need to act all honnery. We know who you are and a lot about you. So just settle down and be nice.
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Peter Gregory
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« Reply #24 on: Tuesday21April2009 »

In reply to Les re the real Peter Gregory

Pretty easy to check - the phone number is (07) 5495 2778 - check it in the white pages.  II'm also the Vice President of the Qld TPI Assoc if you'd like to take that route.

I still don't trust those who won't put their names to what they write.

Peter Gregory (the real one)
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Mowgli
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« Reply #23 on: Sunday19April2009 »

"Life is too short to be fighting amongst ourselves, use your investigative skills to take on the real enemy of veterans... DVA"
As we pause to ponder the evils visited on us by DVA, spare one moment for the DVA office that saved a veteran's life three weeks ago. They organised emergency assistance for a vet living in Asia who had to have treatment right there and then or kark it.

Mowgli
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Cav
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« Reply #22 on: Sunday19April2009 »

WTF?

Where did that come from Mowgli?

I expressed an opinion on Casius' free speech thread - that's it!

I started a thread to get some debate going about veterans issues by detailing a case where the Federal Court confirms that the AAT does not have to give reasons for its decisions.  This seemed to be lost on the other members who seemed more concerned that the veteran did not have war service and that's why the widow missed out - rather than the ramifications of this decision which IS NOW LAW!

I'll say it again, it is law now that the AAT does not have to give reasons for its decisions.  Are the alarm bells ringing now?

You think you are safe with your TPI?  Are you aware that DVA can institute a review on anyone at anytime?  The minister has affirmed that there is no policy to review TPIs.  But they have the mechanism, all they need is the will.  Did you know that Obama considered war veterans should use their medical insurance to treat war injuries? 

I raise these issues so that we are informed and must be on guard as to what's happening with veterans' rights.

And so by now you must be wondering what I'm on about? 

Well a review of TPIs will happen gentlemen.  It's only a matter of time.  Think about it.  All the government has to do is say that in the current bleak economic conditions they will check on TPIs to ensure any that fraud in the veteran community is weeded out.  After all it is the veterans themselves that have raised this. 

Are you safe? 

Did you know that a review will ensure that entitlements meet current Statement of Principles (SOPs)?  SOPs are continually being updated.  There were massive changes in January 2008 to the SOPs concerning PTSD, Depression, Anxiety etc.  Many veterans would no longer be eligible for their accepted conditions and their pension would be adjusted accordingly.

These are the things that I would like to discuss and debate with other veterans, if they are interested.  I thought this forum would give it a run.  But alas I was wrong.

You want a debate about Don Tate Mowgli?  I've said I don't know the man, never met him, never had an email or any contact with him, never read his book.  Most of the stuff I know I got from what you wrote.

You now challenge me to a debate whether Don Tate should be honoured for his Vietnam service?

You want me to take the affirmative.

Shit!

What have I done deserve this crap Mowgli?

A little comment about free speech and anonymity and suddenly I am now the bad boy of the forum being challenged by one of the gurus who has studied Don Tate I guess for a number of years and I am now supposed to defend him and judged by everyone else on this forum.

Is this not bullying in the extreme?  Is this not group think?

It seems if you have an opinion (and not even about Don bloody Tate) on this forum, and it does not accord with the gurus here you will be attacked, vilified and challenged to put up or shut up.

Geez!

I have not ranted so much since I had the same run in with ANZMI a few years ago and I find they are all here, hiding behind their false names and are openly hostile to anyone who challenges their opinions.

I am not Cav 2RAR.  That was NEARLY 40 YEARS AGO!

I use my energies and my spare time to be an advocate for war veterans and their widows. I haven't time to go on with mindless crap and defend myself against other veterans who want to fight anyone except the real enemy.

Lighten up boys.

Life is too short to be fighting amongst ourselves, use your investigative skills to take on the real enemy of veterans... DVA
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Mowgli
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« Reply #21 on: Sunday19April2009 »

Hi Mowgli
Well I meant what I said about your writings, and Fergus'.
Bully boys?
If you look at the posts after I expressed an opinion I'm sure you'll work it out..........
Hear this Cav 2RAR. I'm not here to play silly searching games with you, if you've got something to say, say it quick.

How about a debate Cav2RAR?
"Don Tate should be honoured for his Vietnam service"
You take the affirmative, i.e. you agree and I'll take the negative position. All other forum members to comment as we go along.
How game are you Cav2RAR? Do you think you can defend the dolt? I think this is the track you were going to go down soon enough. Game or not?

Mowgli.
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Cav
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« Reply #20 on: Sunday19April2009 »

Hi Mowgli

Well I meant what I said about your writings, and Fergus'.

Bully boys?

If you look at the posts after I expressed an opinion I'm sure you'll work it out..........
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Mowgli
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« Reply #19 on: Sunday19April2009 »


That's why I'm here to find out a bit more, but I dunno about some of the bully boys though - they cling to 'group think' - you know, if they don't agree with you they attack you. 


Thanks for your kind words Cav.
You're "here to find out a bit more" Let's hope that's in progress. There'll be some more info on Tate for you to digest very shortly.

"bully boys" Now that's where you lost me so the rest of your sentence doesn't make sense.
Please explain.

Mowgli.
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Cav
Guest
« Reply #18 on: Sunday19April2009 »

I tend to agree with you 80s.
But there has to be a basis for any allegation.  Whether it supports an hypothesis as you say, is up to the courts, not the court of public opinion.

Having said that, I am really impressed with the writings of Fergus and Mowgli.
They espress themselves very well; and the evidence they put forward to support their case, seems pretty good to me.

That's why I'm here to find out a bit more, but I dunno about some of the bully boys though - they cling to 'group think' - you know, if they don't agree with you they attack you.  That's how some people deal with vigorous debate.

And they call me names. Cry

I live not far from Tate.  I haven't met him but I have certainly heard a lot about him.
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80s
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« Reply #17 on: Sunday19April2009 »

"I also believe that if you cannot prove what you claim then don't even make the claim."

I think this is going a bit far, so in a legal sense a case would never get to trial as there has to be a losing side that puts forward an unprovable premise? Either the prosecutors or the defence. I guess our courts would be less busy.

And what about the scientific community, I guess introducing a new theory or concept would never happen, as part of the scientific process requires that you first try to disprove your own theory? We wouldnt need theories at all as every scientist would only introduce that which was proven fact already.

The point is that "Proof" is in the eye of the beholder, each draws his or her own conclusions from the known data. Thats why no two opinions are ever the same.

That said there is obviously (to me anyway) plenty of information presented in these pages (AVM) to warrant thinking perhaps Tate's and the Mad Galahs claims are not factual.

80's
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CA
Guest
« Reply #16 on: Sunday19April2009 »

Cav 2RAR wrote.
"AHA!
Curt!
My old sparing mate
Read this and you'll realise why Curt hates me so much:"

He flatters himself. He filled out an application saying he wanted to enter into vigorous discussion and assist in the organizing of the new ANZMI, CPMH having recently folded up.
I knew of him before and went looking for fresh info. He came up smelling even worse than he had before.
I don't remember my exact words in my single email reply but they could have been something like "We don't "enter into "vigorous discussion", we are not a knitting circle" I more than likely told him to shove his organisational ability up his arse too. End of story. He then began his crusade, leading with the "ANZMI Thugs Bash Woman"
Sparring mates?  No, we were not, you tragic soul. Go and find a new friend somewhere else Cav 2RAR. Sign up with Allen Petersen petersaj@bigpond.net.au

CA
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CA
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« Reply #15 on: Saturday18April2009 »

Well boys - I guess you told me.

So much for free speech eh?

You can't help yourself, can you Cav!  Twist a little here, turn a little there, add, subtract, and black becomes something else. He'll have written to someone or other today to whinge about how AVM denies free speech.
No one has denied you anything Cav.  Admin has not and will not disconnect you.
Cav wanders around the internet forums generally creating havoc and finishes up getting the boot, leaving a mess behind him that must be cleaned up.
The only out-of-ordinary thing that has happened here is that AVM forum members can, if they wish, form their own view of Cav based on an early heads-up.

CA

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les
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« Reply #14 on: Saturday18April2009 »

Thankyou Peter Gregory for using the concept " Freedom Of Speech "

Using the KISS principle, how do i know you are the genuine Peter Gregory ? This is a forum where individuals post their point of view, and just because a name is written at the bottom of their post does not entirely mean they are infact that individual.

As you stated use the KISS principle.
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Cav
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« Reply #13 on: Saturday18April2009 »

"Ian Cavanough"

Well, well, well, it's been a while since I saw that name on my screen.
"Cav" Cavanough is a sly prick who operates along the same lines as TJ Wiltshire.

I knocked him back for ANZMI membership because he was nothing but a big-noter. I could see it in him, all yap, no substance, never to be trusted.
He later claimed he was only trying to infiltrate the group but that doesn't gel with what he wrote in his application. Add liar to the list of his failings.

In search of revenge he took on ANZMI single handed while operating for and under the auspices of his entire 2 RAR COY or PL, I forget which it was now. He has something to prove to his former platoon mates, something to do with rectifying or making up for a certain indiscreet moment.

He charged ANZMI with physically assaulting and injuring a female member of his "Group" one ANZAC Day around 2005. The ANZMI attackers numbered three (3), all males.

He flogged this story around via his blog and vet's chat lists. Not getting much reaction from members on a WA based list, he asked if other members were interested in what he had to say about ANZMI. Resounding NOs saw him tossed off the list.
Not one other 2 RAR soul has ever mentioned that ANZAC Day "bashing" They were not complicit in what Cavanough did.

Have you ever seen an ANZMI member?

CA

AHA!
Curt! 
My old sparing mate
Read this and you'll realise why Curt hates me so much:

http://cav.bigblog.com.au/post.do?id=150256


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Peter Gregory
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« Reply #12 on: Saturday18April2009 »

Well - what can one say?  I agree with Ian Cavanough's concept.  If you don't have the intestinal fortitude to put your name on what you write then as far as I'm concerned you then fall into the same category as those you are accusing.  I don't wish to get into a war of words about this - it is simply my belief.  I also believe that if you cannot prove what you claim then don't even make the claim.  Anonymity is the friend of those who cannot prove their theories and also evades defamation suits.  While I agree that there are people out there who blatantly embellish their military service, not much can be done unless one has provable evidence of the facts. If you really wish to find out the truth behind these wannabees than issue a writ of mandamus upon the Minister for Veterans' Affairs and it is then his responsibility to find out the real story - just a thought.

And geez - some of you people can waffle - how about the KISS principle when replying

Cheers,

Peter Gregory
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80s
Guest
« Reply #11 on: Saturday18April2009 »

"So much for free speech"

Far from it Cav the fact that you have been able to air your opinion on it is proof enough that you too have free speech. Our disagreeing with you does not in any way construe us as anything but agreeing with free speech, yours and ours.

Dont forget to ring up and let crime stoppers know that they get tip offs and info about murderers, rapists and pedophiles from the anonymous cowardly citizens who use their program. Does the ends justify the means?

80's
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Cav
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« Reply #10 on: Saturday18April2009 »

Well boys - I guess you told me.

So much for free speech eh?
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Zion
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« Reply #9 on: Saturday18April2009 »

CA so we have another unhappy and bitter sleuth who never made it into the ANZMI group. Your revelations mean all Cavanough said in this thread and other places is meaningless and hypocritical. His integrity has just been shot to pieces.

That's now Wiltshire and Cavanough who hide their real lives while crowing about being open and transparent, while painting themselves as pure as the driven snow. You have been very silly Cav, we gave you the option to remain anonymous and you just had to fluff your feathers and strut and grandstand. Chickens/ roost come to mind.

Wiltshire has publicly been confronted several times about his former membership of ANZMI and about being thrown out for being stupid, and he has never ever responded.

For the public record AVM supports the work ANZMI does. However we do not work with them in any capacity. We offer just another place where frauds, wannabes and liars can be exposed.

Let us say we don't take kindly to spies and hypocrites on our systems.

It may well be of course CA that Cavanough was sent in here by Wiltshire. Cavs behaviour is certainly as sly and unprincipled as Wiltshires.

It's amazing how these mad galahs paint themselves as pure as the driven snow yet all the while have very very large skeletons in the cupboard.

We make the point that "anonymity" in AVM is your choice. We don't force anybody to remain anonymous, though we recommend anonymity and we give members that option on very secure systems.

Given a fair, just and ideal world and given rational people to confront we at AVM would have no compunction about revealing our names, but we don't live in a rose coloured world and we are not dealing with rational, reasoned and sane human beings.

We are dealing with liars, frauds, wannabes, vicious abusers and those who would have no pangs of conscience in hounding innocent people and their families to distraction.
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CA
Guest
« Reply #8 on: Saturday18April2009 »

"Ian Cavanough"

Well, well, well, it's been a while since I saw that name on my screen.
"Cav" Cavanough is a sly prick who operates along the same lines as TJ Wiltshire.

I knocked him back for ANZMI membership because he was nothing but a big-noter. I could see it in him, all yap, no substance, never to be trusted.
He later claimed he was only trying to infiltrate the group but that doesn't gel with what he wrote in his application. Add liar to the list of his failings.

In search of revenge he took on ANZMI single handed while operating for and under the auspices of his entire 2 RAR COY or PL, I forget which it was now. He has something to prove to his former platoon mates, something to do with rectifying or making up for a certain indiscreet moment.

He charged ANZMI with physically assaulting and injuring a female member of his "Group" one ANZAC Day around 2005. The ANZMI attackers numbered three (3), all males.

He flogged this story around via his blog and vet's chat lists. Not getting much reaction from members on a WA based list, he asked if other members were interested in what he had to say about ANZMI. Resounding NOs saw him tossed off the list.
Not one other 2 RAR soul has ever mentioned that ANZAC Day "bashing" They were not complicit in what Cavanough did.

Have you ever seen an ANZMI member?

CA
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les
Guest
« Reply #7 on: Friday17April2009 »

No confusions here mate.

I think the following just about clarifys everything.



Defamation law and free speech
 

The law of defamation is supposed to protect people's reputations from unfair attack. In practice its main effect is to hinder free speech and protect powerful people from scrutiny. This leaflet provides information about legal rights and options for action for people who may be threatened by a legal action or who are worried about something they want to say or publish.
What it is

The basic idea of defamation law is simple. It is an attempt to balance the private right to protect one's reputation with the public right to freedom of speech. Defamation law allows people to sue those who say or publish false and malicious comments.

There are two types of defamation.

* Oral defamation -- called slander -- for example comments or stories told at a meeting or party.

* Published defamation -- called libel -- for example a newspaper article or television broadcast. Pictures as well as words can be libellous.

Anything that injures a person's reputation can be defamatory. If a comment brings a person into contempt, disrepute or ridicule, it is likely to be defamatory.

* You tell your friends that the boss is unfair. That's slander of the boss.

* You write a letter to the newspaper saying a politician is corrupt. That's libel of the politician, even if it's not published.

* You say on television that a building was badly designed. That's libel due to the imputation that the architect is professionally incompetent, even if you didn't mention any names.

* You sell a book that contains defamatory material. That's spreading of a defamation.

The fact is, nearly everyone makes defamatory statements almost every day. Only very rarely does someone use the law of defamation against such statements.

 

Defences
When threatened with a defamation suit, most people focus on whether or not something is defamatory. But there is another, more useful way to look at it. The important question is whether you have a right to say it. If you do, you have a legal defence.

If someone sues you because you made a defamatory statement, you can defend your speech or writing on various grounds. There are three main types of defence:

* what you said was true;

* you had a duty to provide information;

* you were expressing an opinion.

For example:

* You can defend yourself on the grounds that what you said is true.

* If you have a duty to make a statement, you may be protected under the defence of "qualified privilege." For example, if you are a teacher and make a comment about a student to the student's parents -- for example, that the student has been naughty -- a defamation action can only succeed if they can prove you were malicious. You are not protected if you comment about the student in the media.

* If you are expressing an opinion, for example on a film or restaurant, then you may be protected by the defence of "comment" or "fair comment," if the facts in your statement were reasonably accurate.

* There is an extra defence if you are a parliamentarian and speak under parliamentary privilege, in which case your speech is protected by "absolute privilege," which is a complete defence in law. The same defence applies to anything you say in court.

The same basic defences apply throughout Australia, although the things you have to prove to apply them may differ. For example, in some Australian states, truth alone is an adequate defence. In other states, a statement has to be true and in the public interest -- if what you said was true but not considered by the court to be in the public interest, you can be successfully sued for defamation.

 

What can happen
* You can be threatened with a defamation suit. You might receive a letter saying that unless you retract a statement, you will be sued. There are numerous threats of defamation. Most of them are just bluffs; nothing happens. Even so, often a threat is enough to deter someone from speaking out, or enough to make them publish a retraction.

* Proceedings for defamation may be commenced against you. This is the first step in beginning a defamation action. Statements of claim, writs or summons shouldn't be ignored. If you receive one, you should seek legal advice.

* The defamation case can go to court, with a hearing before a judge or jury. However, the majority of cases are abandoned or settled. Settlements sometimes include a published apology, sometimes no apology, sometimes a payment, sometimes no payment. Only a small fraction of cases goes to court.[1]

 
 
The problems
There are several fundamental flaws in the legal system, including cost, selective application and complexity. The result is that defamation law doesn't do much to protect most people, but it does operate to inhibit free speech.

* Cost. If you are sued for defamation, you could end up paying tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, even if you win. If you lose, you could face a massive pay-out on top of the fees.

The large costs, due especially to the cost of legal advice, mean that most people never sue for defamation. If you don't have much money, you don't have much chance against a rich opponent, whether you are suing them or they are suing you. Cases can go on for years. Judgements can be appealed. The costs become enormous. Only those with deep pockets can pursue such cases to the end.

The result is that defamation law is often used by the rich and powerful to deter criticisms. It is seldom helpful to ordinary people whose reputations are attacked unfairly.

* Unpredictability. People say and write defamatory things all the time, but only a very few are threatened with defamation. Sometimes gross libels pass unchallenged while comparatively innocuous comments lead to major court actions. This unpredictability has a chilling effect on free speech. Writers, worried about defamation, cut out anything that might offend. Publishers, knowing how much it can cost to lose a case, have lawyers go through articles to cut out anything that might lead to a legal action. The result is a tremendous inhibition of free speech.

* Complexity. Defamation law is so complex that most writers and publishers prefer to be safe than sorry, and do not publish things that are quite safe because they're not sure. Judges and lawyers have excessive power because outsiders cannot understand how the law will be applied. Those who might desire to defend against a defamation suit without a lawyer are deterred by the complexities.

* Slowness. Sometimes defamation cases are launched years after the statement in question. Cases often take years to resolve. This causes anxiety, especially for those sued, and deters free speech in the meantime. As the old saying goes, "Justice delayed is justice denied."

In Australia, a common sort of defamation case brought to silence critics is political figures suing, or threatening to sue, media organisations. The main purpose of these threats and suits is to prevent further discussion of material damaging to the politicians. Other keen suers are police and company directors. People with little money find it most difficult to sue.

In the United States, there are hundreds of cases where companies sue individuals who oppose them. For example, citizens who write letters to government bodies opposing a real estate development may be sued by the developer. Also sued are citizens who sign petitions or speak at public meetings. Defamation is the most common law used against citizen protest, but others are used such as business torts, conspiracy and judicial process abuse. These uses of the law have been dubbed "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation" or SLAPPs. Companies have little chance of success in these suits, but that doesn't matter. The main object in a SLAPP is to intimidate citizens, discouraging them from speaking out. SLAPPs are increasingly common in Australia too.

 

Media power and defamation
One of the best responses to defamatory comments is a careful rebuttal. If people who make defamatory comments are shown to have gotten their facts wrong, they will lose credibility. But this only works if people have roughly the same capacity to broadcast their views.

Only a few people own or manage a newspaper or television station. Therefore it is difficult to rebut prominent defamatory statements made in the mass media. Free speech is not much use in the face of media power. There are cases where people's reputations have been destroyed by media attacks. Defamation law doesn't provide a satisfactory remedy. Apologies are usually too late and too little to restore reputation, and monetary pay-outs do little for reputation.

Most media organisations avoid making retractions. Sometimes they will defend a defamation case and pay out lots of money rather than openly admit being wrong. Media owners have resisted law reforms that would require retractions of equal prominence to defamatory stories.

By contrast, if you are defamed on an electronic discussion group, it is quite easy to write a detailed refutation and send it to all concerned the next hour, day or week. Use of defamation law is ponderous and ineffectual compared to the ability to respond promptly. This suggests that promoting interactive systems of communication as an alternative to the mass media would help to overcome some of the problems associated with defamation.

 

Examples
* Physicist Alan Roberts wrote a review of a book by Lennard Bickel entitled The Deadly Element: The Men and Women Behind the Story of Uranium. The review was published in the National Times in 1980. Bickel sued the publishers. He was particularly upset by Roberts' statement that "I object to the author's lack of moral concern." There was a trial, an appeal, a second trial, a second appeal and a settlement. Bickel won $180,000 in the second trial but received a somewhat smaller amount in the settlement.[2]

* Sir Robert Askin was Premier of the state of New South Wales for a decade beginning in 1965. It was widely rumoured that he was involved with corrupt police and organised crime, collecting vast amounts of money through bribes. But this was never dealt with openly because media outlets knew he would sue for defamation. Immediately after Askin died in 1981, the National Times ran a front-page story entitled "Askin: friend to organised crime."[3] It was safe to publish the story because, in Australia, dead people cannot sue. (In some countries families of the dead can sue.)

* In 1992, students in a law class at the Australian National University made a formal complaint about lecturer Peter Waight's use of hypothetical examples concerning sexual assault. Waight threatened to sue 24 students for defamation. Six of them apologised. Waight then sued the remaining 18 for $50,000 for sending their letter to three authorised officials of the university. He later withdrew his suit. Subsequently the students' original letter of complaint was published in the Canberra Times without repercussions.[4]

* In 1989, Tony Katsigiannis, as president of the Free Speech Committee, wrote a letter published in the Melbourne Age and the Newcastle Herald discussing ownership of the media. Among other things, he said of a review of the Broadcasting Act "that its main concern will be to save the necks of the Government's rich mates." Although he mentioned no names, he and the newspaper owners were sued for defamation by Michael Hutchinson, a public servant who headed the review of the Broadcasting Act. Hutchinson sued on the basis of imputations in the letter, which can be judged defamatory even when not intended by the writer. Hutchinson said he wouldn't accept just an apology; he wanted a damages payment and his legal costs covered. Katsigiannis received $20,000 worth of free legal support from friends, but after three exhausting years of struggle he agreed to a settlement in which he apologised but Hutchinson received no money.[5]

* In 1985 Avon Lovell published a book entitled The Mickelberg Stitch. It argued that the prosecution case against Ray, Peter and Brian Mickelberg -- sentenced to prison for swindling gold from the Perth Mint -- was based on questionable evidence. The book sold rapidly in Perth until police threatened to sue the book's distributor and any bookseller or other business offering it for sale. The Police Union introduced a levy on its members to fund dozens of legal actions against Lovell, the distributor and retailers. The defamation threats and actions effectively suppressed any general availability of the book. Over a decade later, none of the suits against Lovell had reached trial, but remained active despite repeated attempts to strike them out for lack of prosecution.[6]

* In the late 1970s, fisherman Mick Skrijel spoke out about drug-running in South Australia. Afterwards, he and his family suffered a series of attacks. The National Crime Authority (NCA) investigated Skrijel's allegations but in 1985 ended up charging Skrijel for various offences. Skrijel went to jail but was later freed and his sentence set aside. In 1993, the federal government asked David Quick QC to review the case; Quick recommended calling a royal commission into the NCA, but Duncan Kerr, federal Minister for Justice, declined to do so. Skrijel prepared a leaflet about the issue and distributed it in Kerr's electorate in Tasmania during the 1996 federal election campaign. Kerr wrote to the Tasmanian media saying he would not sue Skrijel but that he would sue any media outlet that repeated Skrijel's "false and defamatory allegations." The story was reported in the Financial Review but the Tasmanian media kept quiet.[7] Skrijel's view is that most media wouldn't have published much on his case no matter what and that defamation law provides a convenient excuse for media not to publish.

Options
In practice, the structure of the court system and the media serve the powerful while doing little to protect the reputation of ordinary people. They undermine the open dialogue needed in a democracy. There are various options for responding to uses of defamation law to silence free speech. Each has strengths and weaknesses.

 

Avoid defamation
Writers can learn simple steps to avoid triggering defamation threats and actions. The most important rule is to state the facts, not the conclusion. Let readers draw their own conclusions.

* Instead of saying "The politician is corrupt," it is safer to say "The politician failed to reply to my letter" or "The politician received a payment of $100,000 from the developer."

* Instead of saying "The chemical is hazardous," it is safer to say "The chemical in sufficient quantities can cause nerve damage."

* Instead of saying, "There has been a cover-up," it is safer to say "The police never finalised their inquiry and the file has remained dormant for nine years."

Be sure that you have documents to back up statements that you make. Sometimes understatement -- saying less than everything you believe to be true -- is more effective than wide claims.

If you are writing something that might be defamatory, it's wise to obtain an opinion from someone knowledgeable. (Remember, though, that lawyers usually recommend that you don't say something if there's even the slightest risk of being sued.)

Another way to avoid being sued for defamation is to produce and distribute material anonymously. Some individuals produce leaflets. They are careful to use printers and photocopiers that cannot be traced. At times when few people will notice them, they distribute the leaflets in letterboxes, ready to dump the remainder if challenged. Gloves of course -- no fingerprints. For those using electronic mail, it's possible to send messages through anonymous remailers, so the receivers can't trace the sender.

These techniques of avoiding defamation law may get around the problem, but don't do much to eliminate it. They illustrate that defamation law does more to inhibit the search for truth than foster it. If an anonymous person circulates defamatory material about you, you can't contact them to sort out discrepancies.

 

Say it to the person
Send a copy of what you propose to publish to people who might sue. If they don't respond, it will be harder for them to sue successfully later, since they haven't acted to stop spreading of the statement. If they say that what you've written is defamatory, ask for specifics: which particular statements or claims are defamatory and why? Then you can judge whether their objections are valid.

It's not defamatory to criticise a person to their face or to send them a letter criticising them. It's only defamation when your comments are heard or read by someone else -- a "third party."

 

Keep a copy for posterity
If you have to censor your writing or speech to avoid defamation, keep a copy of the original, uncensored version -- in several very safe places. Save it for later and for others, perhaps after all concerned are dead. You might also inform relevant people, especially those who might threaten defamation, that you have saved the uncensored version.[8]

Defamation law distorts history. How nice it would be to read the uncensored versions of old newspapers, if only they existed! By saving the unexpurgated versions, you can help challenge this whitewashing of history.

 

Call the bluff
If you are threatened with a defamation action, one strategy is to just ignore it and carry on as before. Alternatively, invite the threatener to send the writ to your solicitor. Most threats are bluffs and should be called. The main thing is not to be deterred from speaking out. The more people who call bluffs, the less effective they become.

If you receive a defamation writ, try to find a solicitor who is willing to defend free speech cases at a small fee or, if you have little money, no cost. Shop around for someone to defend you. You can try public interest groups, contact the Communications Law Centre at the University of New South Wales (The White House, UNSW, Sydney NSW 2052; phone 02-9663 0551; fax 02-9662 6839), or ask members of Whistleblowers Australia. If you send us information about your case, we may be able to refer you to a suitable person.

 

Use publicity
Just because you are sued doesn't mean you can't say anything more. (Many organisations avoid making comment by saying that an issue is sub judice -- under judicial consideration -- but that's just an excuse.) You can still speak. In particular, you can comment on the defamation action itself and its impact on free speech. It's also helpful to get others to make statements about your case.

A powerful response to a defamation suit is to expand the original criticism. Defamation suits aim to shut down comment. If enough people respond by asserting their original claims more forcefully and widely, this will make defamation threats counterproductive.

Helen Steel and Dave Morris, members of London Greenpeace, produced a leaflet critical of McDonald's. McDonald's sued. Steel and Morris, with no income, defended themselves. They used the trial to generate lots of publicity. Because of the trial, their leaflet has reached a far greater audience than would have been possible otherwise. The whole exercise has been a public relations disaster for McDonald's.

 

Recommend law reform
Law reform commissions have been advocating reform of defamation law for decades. Possible changes include:

* public figure defence so that it's possible to make stronger criticisms of those with more power;

* adjudication outside courts, to reduce court costs;

* elimination of monetary pay-outs, requiring instead apologies published of equal prominence to the original defamatory statements.

In spite of widespread support for reform among those familiar with the issues, Australian law remains much the same. That's because it serves those with the greatest power, especially politicians who make the law and groups that use it most often.

Fixing the law is at most part of the solution. It's also necessary to change the way the legal system operates.

 

Campaign to reform the legal system
Any change that makes the system cheaper, speedier and fairer is worth pursuing. The sorts of changes required are:

* reducing costs that are disproportionate to damage done or large compared to a party's income;

* allowing court orders to remove tax deductibility for the legal costs of corporations assessed to have acted high-handedly;

* making laws simpler;

* introducing compulsory conciliation;

* speeding up legal processes.

There's a much better chance of change when concerned individuals and groups organise to push for change. This involves lobbying, writing letters, organising petitions, holding protests, and many other tactics. In the United States, campaigning by opponents of SLAPPs has resulted in some states passing laws against SLAPPs.

 

Speak out
Petitions, street stalls and public meetings can be used to directly challenge the use of defamation law against free speech. One possibility is to circulate materials that have been subject to defamation threats or writs. Another is to protest directly against those who attempt to use defamation law to suppress legitimate comment. If enough people directly challenge inappropriate uses of the law, it will become harder for it to be used.

 

Conclusion
Defamation law doesn't work well to protect reputations. It prevents the dialogue and debate necessary to seek the truth. More speech and more writing is the answer to the problem rather than defamation law, which discourages speech and writing and suppresses even information that probably wouldn't be found defamatory if it went to court. Published statements -- including libellous ones -- are open, available to be criticised and refuted. The worst part of defamation law is its chilling effect on free speech.

The most effective penalty for telling lies and untruths is loss of credibility. Systems of communication should be set up so that people take responsibility for their statements, have the opportunity to make corrections and apologies, and lose credibility if they are repeatedly exposed as untrustworthy. Defamation law, with its reliance on complex and costly court actions for a tiny fraction of cases, doesn't work.

Defamation actions and threats to sue for defamation are often used to try to silence those who criticise people with money and power. The law and the legal system need to be changed, but in the meantime, being aware of your rights and observing some simple guidelines can help you make informed choices about what to say and publish.

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cicero
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« Reply #6 on: Friday17April2009 »

Lets be not confused about the laws of defamation. They are complex and wide ranging.   

Briggs and Westerway are "para legal minds" on defamation.....and Colmer is also assumed to be full bottle..........as if they have law degrees and empirical legal knowledge... Huh

What is written and commented on this site is public comment.  Before we, as individuals make comment, we should be aware that what we write here is monitored by the Galahs and other miscreants.  Lets not give them any ammunition to fulfil their desires to sue the socks off us......be careful with your words.  Fair comment is fair comment...lets not stoop to their outrageous levels of defamation.

I have seen over the last few years, most criminal and disgusting defamations levelled at certain veterans, simply because those veterans made a statement or failed to respond to them ......questioning matters or statements made by a Galah or TATEWIT.....   to accuse people like Harry Smith, Colin Townsend, Peter Cosgrove, Dave Sabben, Arrowsmith, Bob Buick, and a host of others, with most disgraceful accusations, deserves our utter contempt for these arseholes.

Wise words from an ex-walloper now barrister mate on these things......"be careful what you write" as you may never be out of reach of the law 


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les
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« Reply #5 on: Friday17April2009 »

Lets take a closer look at this situation.

Mr West the President of the Innissfail RSL placed a picture of himself on their website wearing an Infantry Frontline Medal. Many Infantry that served in Vietnam may find this defamatory as they fought in a guerilla war unless someone is able to prove otherwise. This action may very well draw criticism from many WW2 veterans that fought in various frontline battles.

WW2 Veterans may find Mr Wests actions as being defamatory as they dont believe Vietnam Veterans fought in a frontline war.

Where does this leave the RSL. Well the RSL may be in a spot of bother for it has condoned this action by Mr West as he still exists on their website under the RSL banner in other words they have taken part in the publication and it has exposed veterans to ridicule, it has lowered the reputation of the two veteran groups in the eyes of the public and has caused veterans to shun others.

As for Sir William along with Tate and Co they may have a little bit of difficulty instigating a defamation case due to truth/justification. Truth being witnesses to their written and verbal ramblings and justification for their exposure due to their own defamation of others and those others are a very large chunk of the veteran community.

We can consider Tin Heroes in a simillar light " as they say a picture paints a thousand words " other individuals that served with these veterans may consider it defamitory that their mate has decided to embelish their service at their expense.

Make of it what you will.

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80s
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« Reply #4 on: Friday17April2009 »

Yes the obvious reason that people use anonymous freedom of speech is to protect thenselves from physical retaliation. Even if what you say (and in most cases attack occur when the speaking is telling the truth) is true, you cannot guarantee the protection of your family or yourself from some miscreants.

Lets say your a German who opposes Hitler in wartime Germany, are you going to come out publically and verbally berate the Fuhrer for his faults and crimes? Or would you work against him from the shadows? Would u assasinate him and then send your name, address, and phone number to the Gestapo? Yet we would applaud the actions of someone who worked against the unjust and false, even if they had to do so from the shadows.

Infact if it wasnt for these shadowy figures, we would not have any intelligencia, as spies would need to declare their true identity to the opposition based on principals. Yet would their use of deception and the anonymous or false identity to achieve the aim make their efforts less valid?

How come the Government encourages people to tip them off anonymously using crime stoppers and the like. Is it only OK for the Bureaucracy to use such tactics? Why would the Govt think it OK for the public to inform them even though anonymously? Why would someone need to remain anonymous even though what they say is true. Principals are no protection against the retribution of the exposed madman, criminal or psychopath.

I guess all the people in the witness protection program are cowards and really have no need to hide their identity just because they spoke the truth. No-one who ever exposed a fraud, criminal or psychopath has ever been targetted by their accused, right?

80's

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les
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« Reply #3 on: Friday17April2009 »

CAV thankyou for your words of wisdom.  Please see below.


"Defamation laws have developed over several centuries to provide recourse for people whose reputation is or is likely to be harmed by publication of information about them.

In theory, the objective of defamation laws is to balance protection of individual reputation with freedom of expression. In practice, defamation laws are frequently used as a means of chilling speech. A threat of (costly) defamation proceedings and damages, whether or not a plaintiff's claim is likely to be upheld by a court, is often used to silence criticism not only by a particular person or group but also as a threat to others.

Like almost all other laws to date, defamation is defined within jurisdictions that are based on geographical areas. The Internet is inherently trans-border in nature, with both push technologies like email and pull technologies like the web unconstrained and indeed unconstrainable by state or national borders. The cyberspace era presents challenges to longstanding laws far greater than did the broadcast media of radio and TV.

This document provides an introduction to defamation laws, focusing primarily on Australian civil defamation laws, and the applicability of those laws to material published via the Internet. For legal advice on particular defamation claims, EFA strongly suggests you consult a solicitor. Introductions to qualified legal advice may be provided by the Law Society in each State or Territory of Australia.
Civil and Criminal Defamation
Australian laws include offence provisions for civil defamation and criminal defamation.

Civil liability arises from publications likely to harm a person's reputation and penalties are monetary.

Criminal liability arises from publications that affect the community, such as those that have a tendency to endanger the public peace, and penalties in most jurisdictions include imprisonment. Generally, proceedings for criminal defamation are commenced by law enforcement authorities. (In most jurisdictions, a private prosecution concerning criminal defamation requires the prior consent of, for example, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Attorney-General, or a court order.)

Criminal prosecution for defamation is rare in Australia. However, within the last decade (since 1990) people have been imprisoned in Australia for criminal defamation (the most recently notorious being former WA Liberal Premier, Ray O'Connor).

There are signficant differences between civil and criminal defamation law relative to liability, defences, etc. The remainder of this document addresses civil, not criminal, defamation laws.

What is a defamatory publication?
The definition of "defamatory matter" varies among Australian jurisdictions. In some jurisdictions common law definitions apply, while in others (e.g. Queensland and Tasmania) the definition has been codified.

Very generally speaking, material that could be found to be defamatory includes that which has the tendency to lower the person in the estimation of others, or that would tend to result in the person being shunned or avoided or that is likely to expose the person to hatred, contempt or ridicule (trivial ridicule or good natured humour is less likely to be problematic than derisory ridicule).

In its 1996 report on defamation law, the A.C.T. Community Law Reform Committee outlined defamation as follows:

"Defamation is the publication of words or images to a person that damages the reputation of another ['slander' if spoken words, 'libel' if written words or images]. A defamatory statement is one that is likely to cause ordinary, reasonable people to think less of the person about whom the words or images are published. An inference that casts a defamatory imputation is enough to bring an action.
The following are examples of defamation:

•An imputation which may tend to cause a person to be hated or despised, or cause them to be treated with contempt by their peers;
•The publication of material that renders a person to ridicule, even if involving humour. The publication of a photograph that contained an optical illusion giving the appearance that someone was guilty of indecent exposure is defamatory;
•Certain caricatures have been held to be defamatory. Determining what is defamatory is notoriously difficult in these matters. The distinction between artistic freedom and defamation will no doubt remain the subject of litigation."
For a defamation action to be successful, it must be established that the communication:


•was published to a third person, i.e. to at least one person other than the plaintiff (person/entity defamed).
•identifies the plaintiff, for example, by name or by a reference to a small group of people, etc.
•contains a defamatory statement or imputation (whether intentionally published or not).
Who can sue?
In theory, any individual or entity who considers damage to their reputation has or is likely to occur, as a result of material published, may sue the publisher/s of the material.

In practice, the laws are inaccessible to ordinary individuals who are defamed due to the exhorbitant legal costs involved in bringing a defamation action.

Australia's defamation laws are often used by politicians and corporations who consider the media, individuals or community groups have defamed them in publishing information critical of their activities.

Who is able to be sued and liable?
Defamation action may be brought, not only against the original publisher (writer/speaker), but also against anyone who takes part in the publication or re-publication of the material. Furthermore, re-publication by someone other than the original writer may result in an action against the original writer as well as the re-publisher.

In relation to defamatory material published on the Internet:

•Internet users may be sued in relation to material they write/publish themselves, or if they re-publish/distribute material written by someone else. They may also be sued if another person publishes something they wrote, for example, an email published without the writer's permission on a web site.

•Internet Service Providers (ISP) and Internet Content Hosts (ICH) may be sued in relation to information published by someone else, for example, published by a person who used an ISP's or ICH's system, web server, chat boards, etc, to make information available via the Internet.
However, the fact that a person can be sued does not necessarily mean they would be found liable by a court. There are numerous aspects relevant to liability. Addressing all of these is beyond the scope of this document. As one example, the liability of the original publisher for re-publication by someone else depends on matters such as whether the original publisher authorised or intended the re-publication, whether the re-publisher was under a duty to repeat the statement, and/or whether the re-publication is the "natural or probable" result of the original statement.

There are many circumstances in which persons who can be sued receive credible threats of defamation proceedings against them, but some are pure bluff, and some fall at the first hurdle. For example, some threats are dropped when it becomes apparent that the respondant is aware that they have a legitimate defence, or there is risk of a counter-claim such as 'abuse of process', etc. In any case, ultimately only the court can determine whether any one or other respondent is liable.

What defences are available?
Defences that may be successfully pleaded in relation to a defamation action vary throughout Australian jurisdictions. Depending on the jurisdiction, these may include:

•truth/justification (see below)
•fair comment (e.g. an expression of an honestly held opinion or a criticism on a subject matter of public interest)
•absolute privilege (this attaches to the occasion, not the statement or speaker, such as during parliamentary proceedings, judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings, executive communications and communications between spouses)
•qualified privilege (e.g. fair and accurate reports of parliamentary proceedings, judicial proceedings, public meetings concerning matters of public interest/concern)
•consent (e.g. where the plaintiff expressly or impliedly consented to the publication of the particular imputation)
•triviality (e.g. where the circumstances/occasion of the publication were trivial to the extent that the person defamed was not likely to suffer harm)
•innocent dissemination (e.g. applicable to re-publishers/re-distributors such as newsagents/book sellers, including potentially to ISPs/ICHs. The defence in Clause 91 of the BSA is also relevant to ISPs/ICHs.)
•etc
The circumstances in which the above defences may be applicable varies among Australian jurisdictions. For example, truth alone is not a defence in all jurisdictions. In some, the defendant must also prove that the publication of a true statement or imputation was made for the 'public benefit' (Queensland, Tasmania, A.C.T.) or relates to a matter of 'public interest' (NSW).

In addition to defences available under State and Territory laws, the High Court has determined that the Australian Constitution provides protection for some types of communications for political purposes. Such protection overrides the provisions of State/Territory defamation laws.  "
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cicero
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« Reply #2 on: Friday17April2009 »

Well, well, well........Ian C is correct in his premise.

The reasons we have anonymity, especially on a site like this, would it not be to prevent harrassment, viscious emails and possibility of having a Protection Order placed on you?.


We have already seen Tate, a resident in NSW, place a DVO (Protection Order) on Keith Tennant, a resident in QLD, simply for putting a history of Tate on his site.......and if what is revealed about TATE now is the truth, makes the Order a farce......Tate uses this tool to stifle and stop the abuse of him, his feeling are hurt...yet he responds in most arguable style....(crudeness..and insults.....) he would if he could try and track all of us.....and the origins of this site.....

I prefer to be anonymous....although I will if I have to use my real name, if the matter warrants it.  I have myself emailed the Galahs prior to this site opening....and all I did get was abuse for stating my opinion.





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Cav
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« Reply #1 on: Friday17April2009 »

Well Cassius, you had my agreeing with you right up until the last paragraph.

Using the freedom of speech bit to bolster your argument as to why you want to remain anonymous while you trash someone’s reputation is absurd.

This is my opinion of course.  Freedom of speech gives me the right to express my opinion, but it does not allow me to potentially break the law and remain anonymous.

Anonymity and freedom of speech should not be used in the same breath.  If you cast aspersion upon another, and wish to remain anonymous, then you cannot use the concept of freedom of speech to support your anonymity.

With freedom of speech comes responsibility.  You can say anything you like, so long as it is regarded as your opinion.  Lemme give you an example to show what I am on about. 

I can say you are a dickhead, Cassius.  That would be regarded as my opinion.  I am entitled to my opinion, even if I am wrong in your eyes, and I have the right to express it. However if I were to say that you dogged it in Vietnam and didn’t go outside the wire, then I am not expressing an opinion, I am relating a fact, which can be true or false.

If what I say about you is false, then the law allows you, Cassius, to seek recourse.  That’s what we do in a civilized democracy. And while the law may be an ass at times, the court is there to allow the victim the right to face his accuser.  If you remain anonymous, you take away the right of the victim to look his accuser in the eye in court and deny him the right of being able to defend himself according to our laws. 

Is that what you really want Cassius?

In my opinion, a person who casts aspersions upon another, and remains anonymous, is a coward who doesn’t have the courage of his convictions.

Ian Cavanough
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Zion
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« on: Friday17April2009 »

The importance of the Free flow of information

Freedom of speech, in most western cultures, is generally considered to be one of the most important rights any individual might have. Why is the freedom to share ideas and opinions so important? There are several ways to answer this question.

Knowledge is good

Most people, given the option of knowing something and not knowing something, will choose to have more information rather than less. Wars have been won and lost over who was better-informed. This is because being better-informed allows us to make better decisions, and generally improve our ability to survive and be successful.

The solution

The only way to ensure that a democracy will remain effective is to ensure that the government cannot control its population's ability to share information, to communicate. So long as everything we see and hear is filtered, we are not truly free. Our aim is to allow people who wish to share information, to do so.

Democracy assumes a well informed population

Many people today live under democratic governments, and those who don't, probably want to. Democracy is an answer to the question of how to create leaders, while preventing them from abusing that power. It achieves this by giving the population the power to regulate their government through voting, yet the ability to vote does not necessarily mean that you live in a democratic country. For a population to regulate their government effectively it must know what their government is doing, they must be well informed. It is a feedback loop, but this loop can be broken if the government has the power to control the information the population has access to.

Censorship and freedom

Everyone values their freedom, in fact, many consider it so important that they will die for it. People like to think that they are free to form and hold whatever opinions they like, particularly in western countries. Consider now that someone had the ability to control the information you have access to. This would give them the ability to manipulate your opinions by hiding some facts from you, by presenting you with lies and censoring anything that contradicted those lies. This is not some Orwellian fiction, it is standard practice for most western governments to lie to their populations, so much so, that people now take it for granted, despite the fact that this undermines the very democratic principles which justify the government's existence in the first place.

The solution

The only way to ensure that a democracy will remain effective is to ensure that the government cannot control its population's ability to share information, to communicate. So long as everything we see and hear is filtered, we are not truly free.

But why is anonymity necessary?

You cannot have freedom of speech without the option to remain anonymous. Most censorship is retrospective, it is generally much easier to curtail free speech by punishing those who exercise it afterward, rather than preventing them from doing it in the first place. The only way to prevent this is to remain anonymous. It is a common misconception that you cannot trust anonymous information. This is not necessarily true, using digital signatures people can create a secure anonymous pseudonym which, in time, people can learn to trust.
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