First Amendment Rights and the Blogging Community – Without Appropriate SLAPP in Place, Anyone is Vulnerable

News12

http://hudsonvalley.news12.com/clip/14711336/libel-suit-against-ex-anonymous-rockland-blogger-raises-1st-amendment-concerns

 

Libel suit against ex-anonymous Rockland blogger raises 1st Amendment concerns

Posted: Dec 11, 2018 5:08 PM ESTUpdated: Dec 11, 2018 5:10 PM EST


Libel suit against ex-anonymous Rockland blogger raises 1st Amendment concerns

WEST NYACK –

A libel lawsuit against a formerly anonymous Rockland blogger is now raising some First Amendment concerns after the writer’s identity was outed in court and the case kept sealed.

For two years, Rockland corporate fraud attorney Julie Globus has been writing anonymously about alleged crimes and misdeeds in the Rockland Hasidic community under the blog name “Lost Messiah.”

“I have this weird ability to connect dots and find dots,” she says.

Earlier this year, those “dots” led Globus to the state Supreme Court in a libel lawsuit that outed her identity, filed by Brooklyn based real-estate titans Louis and Joel Kestenbaum, for two articles she wrote about them in 2016.

“There were underlying lawsuits cited and an underlying article cited 0 all of which, at the time, I viewed as credible,” said Globus.

Globus’ attorney calls the case a “triple assault” on the First Amendment, with the “unmasking” of her identity, the alleged failure to prove malicious intent and the court’s sealing of the case.

That last part in particular garnered the attention of UCLA law professor and Washington Post columnist Eugene Volokh.

“In American law, litigation is supposed to be out in the open so the public can monitor what’s going on,” says Volokh.

According to statements made by Kestenbaum’s attorney, unsealing the case would “re-victimize” his clients.

Volokh disagrees, saying, “Secrecy is seen as even more dangerous because it increases the risk that the judicial process won’t go the right way.”

A Supreme Court judge is currently reviewing arguments about whether or not to unseal the case.

The attorney for Louis and Joel Kestenbaum declined to comment for News 12’s story      

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LostMessiah, It’s Independence from Any Other Blog or Website and the Generations of Thinkers We Follow –

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TO OUR READERS, OUR CONTRIBUTORS, OUR SOURCES OF INFORMATION AND THOSE WHO ARE PAYING ATTENTION:

LostMessiah is not, nor has it ever been, beholden to anyone. This blog is independent, free-thinking, takes its guidance from readers, obtains its information from those who are willing to provide it and does its best to post accurately or not at all.

We try never to get it wrong and if ever we received demonstrable proof that we were wrong, or even that good faith was warranted, we removed or corrected the information.

We are an independent collaboration of efforts of worldwide readership, dozens of vulnerable voices, and an echoing sentiment of the blood that runs through our DNA.

This effort was created, began and has continued as an effort to make the world a better place. We view ourselves as a tribute to those who came before us.

We do not go to synagogue on Saturday while our lawyers are serving fellow Jews at their homes. We are neither judge nor jury, though we do have our opinions.

First and foremost, our belief in what it means to be Jewish, to be a mensch, to be human and decent comes from stock far better than we could ever dream.

To the Jewish thinkers, the survivors or the first generation US citizens. We owe our collective voices to you…

Benjamin Gebiner 

 

Benjamin Gebiner, 98, Servant of Jewish Culture

Benjamin Gebiner, who devoted a multifaceted career to Jewish communal life and the labor movement, died on Friday at North Shore Hospital in Manhasset, L.I. He was 98 and had been general secretary of the Workmen’s Circle.

His daughter Laura Landis said that her father, a longtime resident of Bayside, Queens, died of complications of a stroke.

In more than 60 years as a tutor, teacher, lawyer, administrator, journalist, editor, lecturer, radio commentator and college professor, Mr. Gebiner never strayed far from his commitments to Jewish cultural life and the labor movement.

He was the original executive director of the Jewish Labor Committee when it was formed in 1934 to oppose the rise of Nazism in Germany, and later served more than 30 years as an administrator of the Workmen’s Circle, the Jewish fraternal organization that has provided education and other benefits to Jewish immigrants since 1900.

And from the time he arrived in New York from Poland in 1921, when he began tutoring students in Russian, Hebrew and Yiddish, until his retirement in 1984 as a professor of Jewish studies at Queens College, he displayed a continuing passion for education — of himself and others.

Perhaps because his own legal studies in Odessa and Kiev were interrupted by the 1917 Russian revolution, Mr. Gebiner, who was born in a Ukrainian area of Czarist Russia later ceded to Poland, seemed uncommonly grateful for the educational opportunities he found in the United States.

Before he had been in New York City a decade, Mr. Gebiner had learned English, taught at several Workmen’s Circle schools, studied journalism at Columbia University, graduated from the Brooklyn Law School and become so active in Jewish and socialist affairs that he was a member of the national executive committee of the Jewish Socialist Verband (organization).

Mr. Gebiner, who became a full-time administrator of the Workmen’s Circle in 1937, wrote and lectured widely on Jewish political, cultural and community affairs, edited the Workmen’s Circle publication, contributed many articles to The Forward and from 1950 to 1972 provided daily comment on the news for the publication’s radio station, WEVD.

Along the way, Mr. Gebiner became a familiar figure in Jewish organizational circles here and abroad.

Although his youthful devotion to Zionism abated somewhat when he came to the United States, Mr. Gebiner, whose friends included David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir, made many trips to Israel with his high school sweetheart, Sonia Goldfarb, who, he liked to tell friends, was the youngest dentist in Warsaw when they were married there in 1920. She died four years ago.

When he retired from the Workman’s Circle at age 72, in 1970, Mr. Gebiner began his immigrant’s life anew, once again teaching Yiddish, this time to Queens College students looking to re-establish the cultural ties to their own immigrant ancestors.

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

GoFundMe – Supporting a Site that relies on its readers for Information, Supporting the Community this Blog Helps and Free Speech

8083-Frederick-Douglass-Quote-To-suppress-free-speech-is-a-double-wrong

GOFUNDME

https://www.gofundme.com/free-speech-lostmessiah-and-jg?fbclid=IwAR0BwZUmij1rQyyiIrkNXdCpRgXXRAT5FY_DmfP9DCeTz2n4v4-7nmw9Csk

 

Dear LostMessiah Readers:

On the few occasions over the last 2 1/2 years that LostMessiah has gone down, either because it was hacked or because we became weary and overworked, we have been greeted by consternation. You, our loyal readers, have claimed that we had to have been  bought out or have abandoned the effort. Somehow you viewed our silence, or a slowdown in coverage to be either a shortcoming on our end or an abandonment of those who need us, presumably you our readers.

We have promised, and remain committed to not being bought out. We remain committed to being an endeavor that looks at darkness for what it is and confronts the demons within. Yet, for the last 2 weeks we have been asking for your assistance in financing a defamation case, and potentially the growth of LostMessiah should that defamation case not require the funding we have been advised may be required and the response has been tepid at best.

We get dozens of emails each day with journalistic contributions from our readers, for which we are so grateful. So many of our articles are dependent upon you, our readers to provide information and sources. Yet, to ask you to show your true support by donating money to the cause of Free Speech, Free Press, the rights to be heard and frankly Due Process and to get  little response is disheartening. We are not trying to profit from this endeavor. We have never put out a request for donorship before now.

The people who have filed suit against LostMessiah are ultimately the leaders of the Satmar community. They are financially well equipped to have this lawsuit go on for years and they are working within a court system that is already weighted in their favor. They have resurrected a Statute of Limitations by claiming that we are someone we are not. They never attempted to contact the site in the years post-publication of the articles allegedly in question, which if demonstrably justified would have resulted in their correction or removal. 

The law firm involved has as much interest in seeing a takedown of this site as its client as the ownership of nursing homes covered in these pages is the warp and woof of some of the partners in that firm. 

Ultimately, you are being asked to support an endeavor to which you are, in large part, contributors. You have asked for loyalty and we have offered it to you wholeheartedly and quite honestly altruistically. We are hoping we can count on you when the chips are down to do the same.

 

LM

 

Khashoggi’s body parts found in garden of Saudi consul general’s home – Sky News source — peoples trust toronto

https://ift.tt/eA8V8J Vía BlackListed News https://ift.tt/2PPIsFC

via Khashoggi’s body parts found in garden of Saudi consul general’s home – Sky News source — peoples trust toronto

 

KHASHOGGI’S DEATH AND THE SAUDI PEOPLE, THE LAWSUIT AGAINST THE LOSTMESSIAH BLOGGER AND THE ULTRA-ORTHODOX JEWISH PEOPLE – SAD BY DIRECT COMPARISONS…

Dear Readers:

For anyone who cannot ascertain the magnitude of this information, Khashoggi’s murder, the level of brutality and how viciously it was perpetrated represents an example to others who choose to speak out. It is a fear tactic. “This could happen to you.” The fact this he had been dismembered (while alive) is information that journalists have known for weeks and the US Press is just starting to disseminate.

From our perspective it is a test case in cognitive dissonance. How much can the US people absorb about this case before they start asking themselves the serious cases that need to be asked, first and foremost, how much will our Free Speech be limited by this event; and is it already being limited while we are distracted with other things.

The US government’s casual disregard for the magnitude of Khashoggi’s death and the circumstances surrounding his murder; and the active decision to try and villainize Kashoggi in an effort to “justify” why the purchase of arms from the Saudi government outweighs the necessity to take active measures against the Saudi government is another means of creating smoke and mirrors.

To LostMessiah readers: the people whose lives this blog covers are in many cases no different than the Saudi people. The Satmar community, the Vichnitz Community, the Belz Community, the Chabad community and so many others are in many cases victims to the same oppression committed by the Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia against his people. Members of the community are ex-communicated, brutalized, stripped of their rights within a community, fraudulently accused of crimes (think Sam Kellner), hit with expensive frivolous lawsuits (think the LostMessiah blogger), excommunicated (think Manny Waks)- all for reporting.

In the ultra-Orthodox Jewish world there is an entire lexicon for “those who speak out” – referred to as “Mosers” and there is an broadly accepted or imposed school of though dictating how they should be “punished” within the community. The comparisons are direct and exact. There is no saying that Jewish “reporters” are not murdered also or that they won’t be in the future. If we allow Khashoggi’s death to go unnoticed, to get whitewashed, there is little hope for this endeavor or any other.

LM  

Khashoggi’s Final Words – The Right To Speak Freely – Uninformed or Misinformed – Free Expression

Dear LostMessiah Readers:

We are going to begin the weekend with this final blog for Friday, a reprint of the latest New Yorker article” Jamal Khashoggi’s Final Words – For Other Journalists Like Him.” 

This article is particularly relevant because he spoke for the voice of oppressed Middle Easterners. We can only aspire to the eloquence that he possessed. While we are trying to speak for the accountability of the Jewish world for our own, those who write to us daily ARE THE OPPRESSED. The abused children, the defrauded, the insular and uneducated are, in Khashoggi’s words: the “uninformed or the misinformed.” As the headline of his last published words asserted, “What the Arab world needs most is free expression.”  The ultra-Orthodox Jewish world is really no different.

FUNDAMENTALISM whether Jewish, Arab, or anything else is in no uncertain terms still FUNDAMENTALISM. Denial of someone’s free speech, in whatever form instituted, is still suppression.

Khashoggi’s death, from what we have been told, was accomplished by dismemberment while he was still alive. He was then carried out of the embassy in pieces. This was more than simply murdering someone. This was making a very public statement to others: “Look what will happen to you.”

LostMessiah’s online blogger believed that anonymity was necessary because she feared that she would meet an untimely death for speaking out. In the ultra-Orthodox Jewish world of setting examples, however,  instead of using a bone-saw to dismember a voice of scrutiny, the Plaintiff’s weapon of choice in this case is the King’s County Courthouse. Instead of 20 different people carrying the pieces of a body out of an embassy to set an example, the Plaintiffs are using a law firm with nearly unrivaled and intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the King’s County Judiciary -family in high places to delay, to suppress, to confuse and to accuse. 

Similar to censorship commonplace in the countries within the Middle East, the Soviet Union, China and other countries, the Court in the Kestenbaum and Fortis v. Globus case has sealed the documents of the case pending a hearing, thereby effectively judicially censoring the documents. Any analysis of their details, the activity of the Court, the allegations is all censured pending a now extended deadline.

To the family of Jamal Khashoggi, we cannot begin to express how deeply saddened we are by the loss of your family member and how deeply disturbed we are by the forces of evil that must have been involved to so precisely carry out an unthinkable act of violence. We can’t begin to offer you words that would provide any peace. We can say that we believe wholeheartedly in what he was doing. His death means something. It will hopefully be the voice of change in areas that he so desperately wanted to influence.

 

Jamal Khashoggi’s Final Words—for Other Journalists Like Him

On October 3rd, the day after Jamal Khashoggi disappeared, the Washington Post received a final column left behind with his assistant when he went off to Turkey to get married. It was, in seven hundred words, poignant and personal and epically appropriate, considering his fate. “The Arab world was ripe with hope during the spring of 2011. Journalists, academics and the general population were brimming with expectations of a bright and free Arab society within their respective countries,” he opined. “They expected to be emancipated from the hegemony of their governments and the consistent interventions and censorship of information.” Instead, rulers grew ever more repressive after the short-lived Arab Spring.

Today, hundreds of millions of people across the Middle East “are unable to adequately address, much less publicly discuss, matters that affect the region and their day-to-day lives,” Khashoggi wrote. They are either “uninformed or misinformed” by draconian censorship and fake state narratives. As the headline of his last published words asserted, “What the Arab world needs most is free expression.”

In his death, Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and former government supporter who became a vocal and fearless critic of the current Saudi crown prince, has galvanized global attention far more than he was able to do during his life. The horrific details of his murder and dismemberment have had an effect he would never have imagined—putting into serious question the fate of a Saudi leader, the state of U.S.-Saudi relations, American foreign-policy goals in the world’s most volatile region, and even policies that have kept dictators in power. The repercussions are only beginning.

But Khashoggi was hardly a lone voice decrying political repression in the Middle East, as he acknowledged in his final Post column. Saudi Arabia may be the most cruel and ruthless government in the region, but it uses tactics embraced by dictators, sheikhs, and Presidents across twenty-two countries.

In 2014, Egypt’s military-dominated government seized all print copies of the newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm, whose name means “The Egyptian Today.” Al-Masry Al-Youm is that rare private newspaper in the Arab world where young reporters once dared to question government policies in hard-hitting editorials and groundbreaking journalism. “The Egyptian government’s seizure of the entire print run of a newspaper, al-Masry al Youm, did not enrage or provoke a reaction from colleagues. These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community,” Khashoggi wrote. “Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence.”

The world, particularly the West, is partly culpable for looking the other way, he wrote. It is a tragic irony that the world is paying attention to Khashoggi’s death, yet still not making an issue of a sweeping problem that could determine the future of a region of twenty-two countries and four hundred million people. On Thursday, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, announced that he would not attend the Saudi investment conference known as “Davos in the Desert,” which is pivotal to the crown prince’s plans to modernize the kingdom’s oil-reliant economy. The British trade minister, the French and Dutch finance ministers, and the president of the International Monetary Fund also backed out after Khashoggi’s disappearance. But no foreign government is addressing the broader political practices in any other country, or any other case, in the region.

In his column, Khashoggi drew attention to imprisoned colleagues who receive no coverage. “My dear friend, the prominent Saudi writer Saleh al-Shehi, wrote one of the most famous columns ever published in the Saudi press,” Khashoggi noted. “He unfortunately is now serving an unwarranted five-year prison sentence for supposed comments contrary to the Saudi establishment.” Shehi, who had more than a million followers on Twitter, was charged with “insulting the royal court” for his statements about widespread government corruption in his columns for the newspaper Al Watan and on a local television program.

Michael Abramowitz, the president of Freedom House and a former national editor at the Washington Post, told me that Khashoggi rightly identified the broader stakes. “Khashoggi’s final column accurately pinpointed the appalling lack of political rights and civil liberties in much of the Arab world, especially the right to freely express oneself,” he said. Khashoggi began his last piece by citing Freedom House’s 2018 report—and the fact that only one Arab country, Tunisia, is ranked as “free.” Abramowitz told me, “What is especially sad is that, while we are properly focussed on the outrageous actions by the Saudi government to silence one critic, we must also remember that countless other bloggers, journalists, and writers have been jailed, censored, physically threatened, and even murdered—with little notice from the rest of the world. And, in some cases, notably Egypt, conditions have deteriorated.”

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Please Show Your Support for LM and Your Global Blogger: https://www.gofundme.com/free-speech-lostmessiah-and-jg

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Chilling Free Speech Legal Defense

https://www.gofundme.com/free-speech-lostmessiah-and-jg

LostMessiah readers – your blogger could use your help – not in huge amounts – 

and anonymity would be protected.

LostMessiah has over 1200 visits each day. If each visitor donated $18.00, we would be in really good shape moving forward.

In 2015 Failed Messiah succumbed to the difficulties of pressure from the communities he investigated. You say he sold out. We say, the pressure was likely too much. 

LostMessiah will not be bought, will not be frightened and has been re-energized. But yesterday’s Court appearance (October 17, 2018) proved that Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Press, Freedom of Expression and the Right to Due Process are luxuries we should not ignore or take for granted.

We are asking our audience, readership and those who might be responsible for publicizing this issue to assist.

By allowing the record to remain sealed without appropriate arguments, in fact by refusing to hear arguments at all, the presiding Judge, censored free speech at least until December 5, 2018.

The presiding Judge, in 2014, campaigned with and now sits on the Court with the sister of the attorney handling the case on behalf of the Plaintiff. 

Please be clear on the ramifications.

To Have Free Speech in the United States or to be Denied Free Speech in the Unites States? – Kestenbaum and Fortis v. Globus Update

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FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN THE UNITED STATES IS NOT GUARANTEED. ANYONE WHO TELLS YOU OTHERWISE IS MISTAKEN.

Records were submitted provisionally under seal and as of today, absent an adjudication of any case between Plaintiffs and Defendant, are remaining under seal.

In fact, the Court decided to push any discussion on the merits of the matter until December 5, 2018.

 

CASE UPDATE:

At 10:00am today, August 17, 2018, there was a hearing which was, ostensibly to argue, amongst other things, Plaintiff’s motion to seal the record. Please keep in mind, the documents were submitted provisionally under seal and the Court must decide of a permanent seal is consistent with the First Amendment. 

At 9:45 Defendant arrived at the court and was told that the Plaintiffs had requested an adjournment to the case, which procedurally in the Kings County Court, they are entitled to request and to receive.

The documents are under currently sealed even though there has never been an adjudication as between Plaintiff and Defendant, in direct violation of Defendant’s rights to Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Press.