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Old 9th January 2013, 11:10 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Miragememories View Post
It does give Dr. Harrit the opportunity to defend the legitimacy of his views in court.

MM
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Old 9th January 2013, 12:08 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Hercules Rockefeller View Post
Harrit is using this to promote his views on 9/11. Here's the lawsuit, google translated : http://translate.google.com/translat...tivity&act=url

Cleaned up a bit from the above:

"It is assumed that the reason that the defendant 1 considers the plaintiff a "loonie", because the plaintiff has publicly stated that the three towers that collapsed in Manhattan, New York after the attack on 11 September, 2001, can NOT have collapsed as a result of the two plane crashes into the twin towers - and certainly not in the way that the collapse took place."


Funny how truthers get so fixated on the two plane three collapses 'argument'.
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Old 9th January 2013, 05:02 PM   #43
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There's a great irony in all this. Harrit takes offense at being compared to people who deny the Holocaust. But in a news article about people who deny the Armenian Genocide, Harrit thinks the greater crime is that someone called him a poor scientist.

Last edited by Triterope; 9th January 2013 at 05:20 PM. Reason: Rewording
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Old 9th January 2013, 09:59 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Triterope View Post
...Harrit thinks the greater crime is that someone called him a poor scientist.
And they was RIGHT! /Blazing Saddles
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Old 10th January 2013, 06:09 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Miragememories View Post
It does give Dr. Harrit the opportunity to defend the legitimacy of his views in court.

MM
And I'm sure he'll take them up on that chance!

Not.
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Old 10th January 2013, 06:15 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by OCaptain View Post
And I'm sure he'll take them up on that chance!

Not.
Actually, the best thing that could happen, for the media, is that the suit should go forward, Harrit is compelled legally to provide samples of his chips for examination, and somebody actually cooks them in a vaccuum or argon atmosphere.

Are you familiar with the term "hoist on his own petard?"
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Old 11th January 2013, 06:13 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
Actually, the best thing that could happen, for the media, is that the suit should go forward, Harrit is compelled legally to provide samples of his chips for examination, and somebody actually cooks them in a vaccuum or argon atmosphere.

Are you familiar with the term "hoist on his own petard?"
Yes, and that's why he won't go forward with it.
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Old 11th January 2013, 06:36 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
Actually, the best thing that could happen, for the media, is that the suit should go forward, Harrit is compelled legally to provide samples of his chips for examination, and somebody actually cooks them in a vaccuum or argon atmosphere.

Are you familiar with the term "hoist on his own petard?"

Are you sure that's how it works under Danish law? I many countries in these kinds of cases the burden of proof in on the defendant
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Old 11th January 2013, 12:26 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Lenbrazil View Post
Are you sure that's how it works under Danish law? I many countries in these kinds of cases the burden of proof in on the defendant
In this case, he would have to show that this persons actions alone were responsible for harm to his reputation. He would need to show his work is valid in order to do this (because this is the basis for the alleged slander) . The onus would be on Harris considering his views go against popular belief.
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Old 11th January 2013, 02:22 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by DGM View Post
In this case, he would have to show that this persons actions alone were responsible for harm to his reputation.
Unless you're referring to something unique to Danish libel law, no, there is no requirement for this.

Quote:
He would need to show his work is valid in order to do this (because this is the basis for the alleged slander) . The onus would be on Harris considering his views go against popular belief.
There is no onus on Harrit. The onus is on the journalist to defend his/her comment. To do that, s/he would probably have to show that Harrit's work has been challenged extensively in the scientific community and shown to be invalid. So far it hasn't, so the magazine is in for a ride of their own making. Good on Harrit.
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Old 11th January 2013, 03:00 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Lenbrazil View Post
Are you sure that's how it works under Danish law? I many countries in these kinds of cases the burden of proof in on the defendant
Well no, the plaintiff has the burden of proof. Or in this case, since it's a criminal action, the state has the burden of proof.

One possible defense against defamation is to argue that the claim, while injurious, is true. That's an affirmative defense and shifts the burden of proof to the defendant, but that is not the only possible defense. Further, under Danish law, the truth of the statement is not a defense. My layman's reading of Danish criminal law indicates that a statement is defamatory if intended to be injurious, even if it is true. This differs markedly from the concept of tort in defamation that English Common Law prescribes. Under the law of torts, one is not entitled to a false reputation and cannot be injured by true statements. See what I've written above.

Originally Posted by DGM View Post
In this case, he would have to show that this persons actions alone were responsible for harm to his reputation. He would need to show his work is valid in order to do this (because this is the basis for the alleged slander).
Yes, if he argues that his reputation and esteem have been damaged, he would have to show facts that substantiate what his reputation is or was. Harrit wants to style himself as a legitimate scientist, albeit retired, who has undertaken (as a serious scientist) to question the official 9/11 story. However, Harrit's belief is not all that's relevant. There is no law against diminishing someone's reputation in his own estimation. The law is only against diminishing a reputation in the estimation of the public. As such he doesn't have the final word on what is reputation is. His reputation is how others perceive him, not how he perceives himself, and that is a finding the court will have to make independently, based on testimony from both sides.

Harrit's belief that he has not been refuted or rebutted is largely irrelevant. The scientific validity of his claims is largely irrelevant. He has chosen to embroil himself in a topic dominated by rhetoric and pseudo-science, and that is the public perception of who he is and what he does. Proving that his handling of the paint chips was sloppy and unscientific would not really help his defense because how the public perceives his work is all that matters. If he were to turn out to be right, but the public universally believed him to be a crackpot up until that point, then that is the reputation he enjoyed at the time the remarks were made.

Forcing Harrit to submit his scientific findings to a less biased and more skilled practitioner for confirmation would be one way perhaps of calling Harrit's bluff. But it may not be a bluff -- i.e., Harrit may be willing to allow others to attempt to replicate his work even if he suspects it may fail. And it has so little legal value. I don't think the defense will follow a strategy of forcing Harrit to prove his science is valid. They only have to prove that Harrit's claim of a high reputation is really what the public has of him, not that of a crank. None of that really has to touch the matter of Harrit's actual work.
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Old 11th January 2013, 03:39 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by ergo View Post
Unless you're referring to something unique to Danish libel law, no, there is no requirement for this.



There is no onus on Harrit. The onus is on the journalist to defend his/her comment. To do that, s/he would probably have to show that Harrit's work has been challenged extensively in the scientific community and shown to be invalid. So far it hasn't, so the magazine is in for a ride of their own making. Good on Harrit.
Just cause you ignore last year's dust study doesn't mean it does not exist...
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Old 11th January 2013, 05:13 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Harrit's belief that he has not been refuted or rebutted is largely irrelevant. The scientific validity of his claims is largely irrelevant.
What precedent do you cite here? Since Harrit is a scientist and not a public figure, his reputation is based on his professional standing in the scientific community. "Public opinion" of his professional reputation cannot be determined by people who cannot assess his professional work.

Quote:
He has chosen to embroil himself in a topic dominated by rhetoric and pseudo-science, and that is the public perception of who he is and what he does.
For that matter, so has James Millette.

It is not Harrit's fault the the 9/11 debate is confused by pseudoscience coming from both sides. Harrit has merely presented findings of his study of WTC dust. Findings which indeed have not been refuted. That members of the public outside the scientific community don't understand his findings does not constitute a legitimate public opinion. Again, those unable to assess his work will not be the ones determining what his reputation is.

Quote:
because how the public perceives his work is all that matters.
Again, wrong.
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Old 11th January 2013, 05:39 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by ergo View Post
What precedent do you cite here?
The entirety of tort law, as I wrote above at length.

Quote:
Since Harrit is a scientist and not a public figure, his reputation is based on his professional standing in the scientific community.
Harrit is a retired scientist who, in retirement, has expressly sought to become a public figure by speaking and writing to the public on his 9/11 conspiracy theories, and to conduct pseudo-scientific activities outside the boundaries and principles of scientific inquiry. It is, in fact, this latter activity by which most of the public knows him. Nobody cared when he was a relatively obscure chemist. It is only after he sought publicity for his conspiracy claims that the public had any knowledge of him. Hence that is the reputation he enjoys in the public.

If he chooses to endanger his reputation in the scientific community by chasing all manner of foolishness, that is his problem. This is why most respectable scientists do not embroil themselves in conspiracy theories, especially on the loony side of them. Again, the age-old underpinnings of defamation law firmly state that one does not have the right to a false reputation. Cherry picking only the rosy parts of Harrit's public image does not create an accurate picture of his reputation.

Quote:
"Public opinion" of his professional reputation cannot be determined by people who cannot assess his professional work.
His reputation in the community is a combination of all the ways in which he chooses to present himself to the community. If he began his career as a respected scientist and finishes it by persisting in doing something controversial and questionable, he cannot pick and choose which parts of his life he claims were damaged by the actions of another. Danish law expressly allows for the actions of the plaintiff to be taken into account when defamation is alleged.

Quote:
It is not Harrit's fault the the 9/11 debate is confused by pseudoscience coming from both sides.
It is Harrit's explicit, voluntary choice to involve himself in a controversial subject, on the side of the intellectual minority, and without any endorsement whatsoever (indeed with substantial objection) from the scientific community. The question is not whether Harrit is right or wrong. The question is whether Harrit's reputation has been damaged by someone else.

You don't get to wallow in manure and then complain when someone else points out the smell, no matter how clean you were before wallowing.
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Old 11th January 2013, 05:41 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by ergo View Post
What precedent do you cite here? Since Harrit is a scientist and not a public figure, his reputation is based on his professional standing in the scientific community. "Public opinion" of his professional reputation cannot be determined by people who cannot assess his professional work.
You are in the subset of people who can't assess Harrit's work, fooled by Harrit's work. Like your moon size debris physics, some are not able to see Harrit is spreading lies about 911.


Originally Posted by ergo View Post
It is not Harrit's fault the the 9/11 debate is confused by pseudoscience coming from both sides.
911 truth is the the only side using pseudoscience, and they have fooled those who forgot to take the hard courses, like chemistry and physics. Like your moon size debris physics, pseudoscience mixed with nonsense.

Originally Posted by ergo View Post
Harrit has merely presented findings of his study of WTC dust.
Findings which show no thermite. Understanding chemistry and science would help seeing the paper is nonsense.
Originally Posted by ergo View Post
Findings which indeed have not been refuted.
No need to refute lies the entire world of science can see as lies. Feel free to prove the results and claims of Harrit, he has crazy claims about 911. How much thermite did they say was used? lol


Originally Posted by ergo View Post
That members of the public outside the scientific community don't understand his findings does not constitute a legitimate public opinion.
Why are the findings ignored? In fact you can't list his findings. Too bad he can't sue to have his findings become real. Maybe he needs to pray, or have Jones pray for their work to become real.

Originally Posted by ergo View Post
Again, those unable to assess his work will not be the ones determining what his reputation is.
He is a crazy nut on 911 issues. A paranoid conspiracy theorists who apologizes for terrorists by making false statements.


Originally Posted by ergo View Post
Again, wrong.
Harrit is wrong on 911, so are you. Failure is the only product of 911 truth, and profit for Gage due to the gullibility of a fringe few.

There is a chance Harrit can sue people calling him crazy in the news, and he can win. Zero chance his paper and his 911 claims will be more than fantasy for those who can't do science. Why can't you figure out Harrit is wrong?

911 truth followers can improve their position with education, when will they take that critical thinking step?
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Old 11th January 2013, 05:51 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by ergo View Post
Quote:
He has chosen to embroil himself in a topic dominated by rhetoric and pseudo-science, and that is the public perception of who he is and what he does.
For that matter, so has James Millette.
Can you substantiate that claim? Where, when and how has Jim Millette chosen to embroil himself in a topic dominated by rhetoric and pseudo-science?

Does he engage in rhetoric like Harrit does? Does he engage in pseudo-science like Harrit does? Does he seek public attention, e.g. by seeking to be interviewed on TV, radio or YouTube about 9/11 like Harrit does?
One (sourced) example for each of the three activities would suffice as prima facie evidence of your claim.

Alternatively, you could retract it.
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Old 12th January 2013, 12:42 AM   #57
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JayUtah, in the same way that a few morons with megaphones do not constitute public opinion, one's personal and unprofessional opinion as to science vs. pseudoscience in 9/11 inquiry does not constitute valid legal analysis.

Yes, the issue at hand is whether Harrit's reputation has been harmed by the comments. Integral to determining this will be questioning the notion that 9/11 inquiry of any kind is "questionable". I've seen no scientific opinion as yet that suggests it is, or that Harrit's research is unscientific. Public opinion (which is not a homogenous entity to begin with) is of no consequence here. It's not the business of a court of law to assess public opinion on such matters in the first place, and secondly, to enlist it in determining the validity of libelous comments.
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Last edited by ergo; 12th January 2013 at 01:05 AM.
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Old 12th January 2013, 12:54 AM   #58
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ergo, is there such a thing as an expert in any subject who doesn't believe as you do?
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Old 12th January 2013, 01:16 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
Can you substantiate that claim? Where, when and how has Jim Millette chosen to embroil himself in a topic dominated by rhetoric and pseudo-science?

Does he engage in rhetoric like Harrit does? Does he engage in pseudo-science like Harrit does? Does he seek public attention, e.g. by seeking to be interviewed on TV, radio or YouTube about 9/11 like Harrit does?
One (sourced) example for each of the three activities would suffice as prima facie evidence of your claim.

Alternatively, you could retract it.
Hehe thanks, ergo, for not replying. We understand it means you have been caught with your pants down, and know it.
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Old 12th January 2013, 01:22 AM   #60
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Oystein, I have nothing to retract.
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Last edited by ergo; 12th January 2013 at 01:26 AM.
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Old 12th January 2013, 02:03 AM   #61
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Thanks for confirming my assessment that you have been caught with your pants down and you know it, by ignoring the substance of my posts, which ask you to substantiate a bare-assed claim you made.
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Old 12th January 2013, 03:22 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by ergo View Post
It is not Harrit's fault the the 9/11 debate is confused by pseudoscience coming from both sides. Harrit has merely presented findings of his study of WTC dust. Findings which indeed have not been refuted. That members of the public outside the scientific community don't understand his findings does not constitute a legitimate public opinion. Again, those unable to assess his work will not be the ones determining what his reputation is.
The problem for Harrit is that nobody of good repute within the scientific community thinks he is smarter than the average janitor, he has never proven his work to be valid, and only the uneducated and delusional layman thinks he has his **** together. Thus, he is kind of slander-proof. He has no reputation to defend.
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Old 12th January 2013, 03:49 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
His reputation in the community is a combination of all the ways in which he chooses to present himself to the community. If he began his career as a respected scientist and finishes it by persisting in doing something controversial and questionable, he cannot pick and choose which parts of his life he claims were damaged by the actions of another. Danish law expressly allows for the actions of the plaintiff to be taken into account when defamation is alleged.
Would the fact that the whackadoodle is accusing public figures of complicity in a capital offense of staggering proportions without evidence enter into the arguement?
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Old 12th January 2013, 04:31 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
The problem for Harrit is that nobody of good repute within the scientific community thinks he is smarter than the average janitor, he has never proven his work to be valid, and only the uneducated and delusional layman thinks he has his **** together. Thus, he is kind of slander-proof. He has no reputation to defend.
Perhaps Harrit or ergo could list the relevant academic and professional conferences where Harrit has presented his 9/11 ideas to the scientific community to build up a scientific reputation wrt 9/11?
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Old 12th January 2013, 04:56 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
Would the fact that the whackadoodle is accusing public figures of complicity in a capital offense of staggering proportions without evidence enter into the arguement?
Its highly unlikely that it would be directly involved lefty.

The allegedly offending statement as published translated into English says this "Why not just invite Niels Harrit and the other fools from 9/11 sceptic community in....[then refers to holocaust deniers]"

From the legal perspective of a defamation action the relevant facts are:
1) An assertion that persons identified as 'from 9/11 sceptic community' are fools;
(Edit: BTW as applicable to this defamation action that means 'are generally regarded as fools')

2) An assertion that N Harrit is already one of 'the fools from 9/11 sceptic community'

To prove defamation Harrit has to show that his reputation has been injured by the publication of the combination of those two assertions.
What you describe as 'whackadoodality' is not likely to enter directly into evidence either in the specific example you give or any other specific aspect of Harrit's published beliefs. The sufficient requirement at law would be to show that:
- The '9/11 community' is generally regarded as 'fools'; AND
- Harrit did align with 'the 9/11 sceptic community'.

...and that does not require either identifying the specific points of his agreement with that community OR testing of the validity of any specific point.

To defend the Harrit claim of defamation the defendants can rely on four likely legal outcomes:
A1) A legal threshold finding that their is no prima facie case - "no case to answer" OR ( actually a subset of that threshold)
A2) A legal finding that the newspaper statement was 'fair comment' so not defamation - however that concept of 'fair comment' is handled in Danish law OR
B) A finding that the '9/11 sceptics community' are generally recognised as 'fools' and that Harrit aligned himself with '9/11 sceptic community' thereby voluntarily associating himself with the established standing of that group as 'fools' OR
C) A finding that defamation did occur but that it caused no injury sufficient to warrant either damages award or punishment - the choice depending on the detailed application of Danish law.

Of those 'B)' is the one we are mostly focussed on. Note that it does not directly relate to Harrit's alleged by you 'whackadoodality' () Or any specific aspect of how he has aligned with the '9/11 sceptic community' The fact that he has so presented himself as supporting the '9/11 community' can easily be demonstrated from multiple statements by Harrit and in the public record. So the key legal need would be to establish the fact that the opinion that the '9/11 sceptic community' is generally regarded as 'fools'.

I don't know the specific requirements of Danish code Law but in the Common Law jurisdictions the test would be 'what does the "reasonable person" think'. And 'reasonable person' is sort of 'the average Joe in the street' or (British version) 'the man on the Clapham omnibus'. The characterisation of that notional 'reasonable person' is well established in case law - again the Danish equivalent will be different but will exist.

And there would be no reasonable doubt that the vast majority of citizens would regard 9/11 truth activists as 'fools' or similar.

So Harrit voluntarily aligned himself with a group already believed to be 'fools' - and it follows that, to the extent that his reputation is damaged and if it is damaged, he brought it on himself. The newspaper comment merely reports the damage but does not cause it. He damaged his own reputation by voluntarily associating himself with 9/11 supporters.

Therefore:
Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
"...accusing public figures of complicity in a capital offense of staggering proportions without evidence...
is unlikely to
Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
... enter into the arguement?
A bit of a final disclaimer: Two words 'sceptic' and 'fool(s)' occur throughout my explanation. The actual Danish words could have slight differences of meaning or nuance - my reference is to a machine translation.

We need to remember that this case, if it proceeds, will proceed in a Court of Law and, irrespective of this one being in Danish jurisdiction, it will not be argued by the farcical parody of logic and argument which we see on this forum. Something that truthers forget as they call for 'further investigations with subpoena powers' - court cases and formal inquiries won't play it by truthers' rules of internet illogic.

Last edited by ozeco41; 12th January 2013 at 05:53 AM. Reason: clarify one point actually two - another one
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Old 12th January 2013, 05:25 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
The problem for Harrit is that nobody of good repute within the scientific community thinks he is smarter than the average janitor, he has never proven his work to be valid, and only the uneducated and delusional layman thinks he has his **** together. Thus, he is kind of slander-proof. He has no reputation to defend.
^^ This.

How do you slander someone's reputation when they don't have one?
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Old 12th January 2013, 05:58 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by Sunstealer View Post
How do you slander someone's reputation when they don't have one?
That could be the effective bottom line at law.
...I just took a few hundred words to explain why. 721 to be precise.
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Old 12th January 2013, 09:27 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by ergo View Post
JayUtah, in the same way that a few morons with megaphones do not constitute public opinion, one's personal and unprofessional opinion as to science vs. pseudoscience in 9/11 inquiry does not constitute valid legal analysis.

Yes, the issue at hand is whether Harrit's reputation has been harmed by the comments. Integral to determining this will be questioning the notion that 9/11 inquiry of any kind is "questionable". I've seen no scientific opinion as yet that suggests it is, or that Harrit's research is unscientific. Public opinion (which is not a homogenous entity to begin with) is of no consequence here. It's not the business of a court of law to assess public opinion on such matters in the first place, and secondly, to enlist it in determining the validity of libelous comments.
Harrit is a *********** moron. He's a quack and his study proved that. Based on this study, his employers should probably go back and look at his older work to make sure his quack ideas and jumping to conclusions aren't present there either.

He enthusiastically put himself into the public light. If he can't take the criticism, he shouldn't have participated.

Maybe, in light of this lawsuit, the people who he accused of an inside job (after all, that's the purpose of his bogus study) should sue him for slander, along with other top truthers who put out moronic accusations with no evidence.
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Old 12th January 2013, 10:23 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by Justin39640 View Post
...Maybe, in light of this lawsuit, the people who he accused of an inside job (after all, that's the purpose of his bogus study) should sue him for slander, along with other top truthers who put out moronic accusations with no evidence.
Whilst the idea could be attractive or amusing - depending on the perspective we take - the suggested action is unlikely to be pursuable at law and not likely to succeed if it was pursued.

Simply reverse the logic outlined against the Harrit claim in earlier posts. No ones reputation has been injured by Harrit or the truth movement at large because they are an ineffective and very small minority. Neither the public at large nor the scientific community would take Harrit or the truth movement seriously. So no ones reputation is harmed. No actionable defamation.
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Old 12th January 2013, 10:26 AM   #70
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Not to mention, have they actually named anyone by now?

I don't follow the 9/11 Truthers much (if at all), and all I seem to remember the local truthers getting excited about, was a docu where the Danish PM messed up his timings related to when WTC7 was collapsing. They were certain that this was proof of his advance knowledge, although they never could explain why on earth he would need to have it in the first place...
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Old 12th January 2013, 11:08 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by ozeco41 View Post
Whilst the idea could be attractive or amusing - depending on the perspective we take - the suggested action is unlikely to be pursuable at law and not likely to succeed if it was pursued.

Simply reverse the logic outlined against the Harrit claim in earlier posts. No ones reputation has been injured by Harrit or the truth movement at large because they are an ineffective and very small minority. Neither the public at large nor the scientific community would take Harrit or the truth movement seriously. So no ones reputation is harmed. No actionable defamation.
I was definitely shooting more for amusing lol. I realize all that. I also think that Harrit ruined his own reputation and this guy just pointed it out. Sucks to be Niels!
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Old 12th January 2013, 11:20 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by Justin39640 View Post
I was definitely shooting more for amusing lol....
Thought so. My motive is similar - this thread giving me an opportunity to practice my somewhat rusty legal stuff. JayUtah is doing a better job - maybe I should stick to the engineering.

And I'm doing it the lazy way relying on general memory rather than getting the books off the shelf - and those books are only seven feet away in front of my desk. Although I did a little bit of Googling and read a paper on the history of Defamation Law in AU - Common Law tradition of course so no link to Danish Code law.
Originally Posted by Justin39640 View Post
I realize all that. I also think that Harrit ruined his own reputation and this guy just pointed it out. Sucks to be Niels!
As I said in a recent post "That could be the effective bottom line at law. "
---even if there is some injury to reputation - he brought it on himself.

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Old 12th January 2013, 12:58 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by ergo View Post
Yes, the issue at hand is whether Harrit's reputation has been harmed by the comments. Integral to determining this will be questioning the notion that 9/11 inquiry of any kind is "questionable".
No. Harrit's case attempts to raise that straw man, but as we have belabored, the defendant is not compelled to offer up the defense the plaintiff most desires and for which he is most prepared. The crime of defamation is composed of plural elements, all of which must be satisfied. The defense is naturally likely to attack the element most likely to result in acquittal, which renders the other elements moot. Harrit has the burden to prove that all the elements of the crime occurred.

I have seen many crackpots turn to the law to redress public criticism of their claims. They invariably fail because they wrongly envision the courtroom as a venue for their particular theory, not the points of fact and law that surround the exposition of that theory in public. The court deals only in what is relevant to the accusation, in the narrowest possible sense, not in all the points of irrelevant controversy between the parties.

Quote:
I've seen no scientific opinion as yet that suggests it is, or that Harrit's research is unscientific.
Harrit has that burden of proof. Since Harrit deliberately chose to eschew the time-honored practices associated with scientific inquiry, review, and publication, and instead take his personal case directly to the public, and since he had previously published opinions on 9/11 before having undertaken any scientific inquiry relevant to his stated expertise, it is prima facie that Harrit's claims are not scientific, and likely not intended to be.

Courts are not easily fooled. They are well attuned to the attempts of plaintiffs and defendants to change horses as the stakes mount. And they are well attuned to the difference between legitimate science and pseudoscience, even when the latter is practiced by someone who holds scientific credentials. Since Harrit didn't seek any meaningful peer review for his major opus, his claims that his work "has not been refuted" are misleading and beg the question of its correctness.

Science is created by following the scientific method scrupulously. Instead, Harrit seems to be claiming, "I'm a scientist, therefore what I produce is automatically science." Science is not achieved by individuals working in a vacuum. A scientist is responsible for affirmatively seeking out potential refutations in the form of academic peer review by knowledgeable practitioners, both information and formal. When he operates outside the scientific community and in flagrant violation of scientific protocols, and cannot substantiate having subjected his claims to proper review, he cannot credibly suggest that his work is still somehow science. And in the larger sense he cannot suggest that some claimed lack of refutation is due to the claims themselves being irrefutable. "Not refuted" and "irrefutable" are two very different concepts under the law, as they are also in science.

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Public opinion (which is not a homogenous entity to begin with) is of no consequence here.
Nonsense. A person's reputation is by definition the public's opinion of him. That's tantamount to saying no court could ever issue a finding of fact regarding a person's reputation. Without such a finding, no court could ever rule that a person's reputation has been harmed, for such a ruling would have to show -- as a matter of fact -- what that reputation was prior to the alleged defamation and what damage to it was suffered as a consequence.

Harrit is not entited to a falsely favorable reputation. You and Harrit wrongly seem to believe that Harrit's erstwhile career as a scientist legitimizes his 9/11 related public activities and appearances. That's not how science works, and it's not how the law works either. Instead Harrit's deliberate attempt to become a public figure by arguing a conspiracy theory in an unscientific manner taints his reputation as a serious scientist. That is how the law will see it. He cannot simply choose the best parts of his career, ignore his voluntary foray into activism, and say that his cherry-picked reputation has been damaged by another party, when that party is simply commenting on the light in which Harrit has deliberately chosen to stand.

The role of defamation law is to prevent a third party from maliciously attaching to a person's character unwanted belief that that reduces his stature in the estimation of the public. It is not to rescue a person's reputation from a public belief he has engendered through his own affirmative actions. Harrit voluntarily decided to publish beliefs distinctly at odds with the overwhelmingly vast majority of relevant experts, and to do so in an unscientific manner. He reaps the consequences of those choices, and he cannot pin them on another.

Quote:
It's not the business of a court of law to assess public opinion on such matters in the first place, and secondly, to enlist it in determining the validity of libelous comments.
In a case of defamation that's the court's primary business. Before the court can determine whether Harrit's reputation was harmed, it must first determine what that reputation is. What Harrit's reputation was and whether it was harmed by the defendant's actions is an element of the crime of defamation. It may not be ignored. As I have belabored to your deaf ears, the defense is not constrained to offer an affirmative defense against the one point the plaintiff considers most confident.

Your entire post is legal nonsense, for the reasons previously stated.
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Old 12th January 2013, 01:39 PM   #74
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^^^^

Go for it JayUtah.
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Old 12th January 2013, 01:41 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by ergo View Post
Unless you're referring to something unique to Danish libel law, no, there is no requirement for this.
No, it is in reference to claims of defamation. Harrit would have to show that this person(the paper in this case) alone was the reason for the harm to his reputation. He would also have to show that there was indeed harm caused by these statements and these statements alone.

If I point out to a cop that you are committing a crime, I'm not responsible for your arrest, you are. You can't sue me unless you can show I caused you to commit the crime. Same sort of deal.


Originally Posted by ergo View Post
There is no onus on Harrit. The onus is on the journalist to defend his/her comment. To do that, s/he would probably have to show that Harrit's work has been challenged extensively in the scientific community and shown to be invalid. So far it hasn't, so the magazine is in for a ride of their own making. Good on Harrit.
No, Harrit is claiming the comment hurt his reputation. He needs to prove this first. Only after that would the paper have to prove reasoning for the comment.

His work is irrelevant until he gets past the point of proving harm by the defendant.

Ergo: You're 10 days in to a court case that is unlikely to last a day.
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Old 12th January 2013, 01:55 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
No. Harrit's case attempts to raise that straw man, but as we have belabored, the defendant is not compelled to offer up the defense the plaintiff most desires and for which he is most prepared.
[...snip...]
Your entire post is legal nonsense, for the reasons previously stated.
Nom'ed
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Old 12th January 2013, 02:11 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
Agreed. It was so well written that I am resisting the temptation to comment on some minor related aspects. I would certainly need to go back to the law books and do some research of Danish law before I could comment.

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Old 12th January 2013, 02:19 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by ozeco41 View Post
JayUtah is doing a better job - maybe I should stick to the engineering.
Actually I'm an engineer. But I work closely with lawyers and am not a stranger to the courtroom. The law sometimes requires expert understanding that I provide, and the practice of engineering requires legal expertise to satisfy the public constraints on that practice.

Quote:
---even if there is some injury to reputation - he brought it on himself.
Indeed, and Danish criminal law (which, unlike English Common Law, governs defamation in Denmark) explicitly excuses liability where the actions of the defendant warrant the allegedly defamatory comment. And unlike Common Law, the truth of the questionable comment is only tangentially relevant in Danish law. To expect the defendant to attempt to prove the statement was factually true is Anglo-Saxon bias. That is not a defense under Danish law, and therefore not something that the plaintiff should expect.

However in neither tradition is there required a secondary inquiry into whatever deeper controversy may exist between the litigants. Hence there is only mild interest in whether Harrit's 9/11 publication is real science.

The defendant may attempt an affirmative defense on the point of justified commentary, arguing that the plaintiff brought on himself ridicule through his actions. But that is not rebutted by the plaintiff showing that he has produced what he believes to be (and what may hypothetically be endorsed as) good science. The point of fact is not what the plaintiff believes to be his honorable and strong points, but what the defendant identifies as those points he believes merit public ridicule. A married man caught red-handed with a prostitute may not base his reputation solely on his charity work or his prominent position in his local church, and demand that his critics deal only in those. He must endure all he does.

Should the question of Harrit's extracurricular publications arise, the court is not bound to respect Harrit's definition of what good science is and whether his publications fit that mold. The court will rely on its own judgment and testimony to determine what good science consists of, and will reach its own conclusion about whether Harrit's claims are properly scientific. Harrit wants to dictate to the court what his reputation is and how it was arrived at. He does not seem to understand that he has a burden of proof on all those points, and that the defense will be given every opportunity to rebut it.
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Old 12th January 2013, 05:46 PM   #79
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From what I understand, Harrit's "selling point" is that "tosse" (loonie) is used about mentally ill persons, and therefore the paper is claiming that he is mentally ill.
The main problem is that "tosse" more often than not is used as meaning "fool" or "idiot" instead of "mentally ill". This alone undermines his case. The context in which it was used, makes it even more clear that the intention wasn't to label Harrit "mentally ill". Plus, the column was a debate-column, expressing solely the writer's opinion. I doubt the case will progress as far as discussing the validity of Harrit's publications
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Old 12th January 2013, 06:34 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Actually I'm an engineer. But I work closely with lawyers and am not a stranger to the courtroom....
Civil Engineer here - plus 15 years Army Reserve Engineers (included demolitions training) I practised mainly in the utilities area - most relevant experience was in managing engineering and managing regulatory functions hence the legal perspective. Add Bachelor of Laws as a "mature age student" but never practised. Managing engineers who persist in losing the big picture plot the most relevant experience I think. Recall the story about alligators and swamps. Or forests and trees. You see that a lot here IMNSHO.

Cannot remember if I said it in an earlier post but our state statute diminished "truth" as a defence in defamation cases so similar to the Danish law. For example if the victim had some reputation damaging history which had not been published then publishing it would be defamation. Sure it was true but making it public was the act which caused the damage. So that was a significant step away from CL tradition.


The rest of your post - well stated - understood and agreed.

Remember we are operating under "Internet Forum Discussion Rules" so ergo et al can keep pretending that courts and the law of the land don't exist and/or that silly internet debating tricks would be allowed in a court. That is a big reason why the truth movement would never go there or welcome another investigation.
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