I normally am someone who doesn't like to post email correspondence. Usually, if someone takes the time to email me, it is of a personal matter or private matter, which the individual doesn't want aired out all over the interwebz. However, when that email constitutes a legal threat, even one as laughable as this one, then it's fair game to post it on my blog. So, here it is, ladies and gentlemen; my first legal threat from someone who really has no idea what Libel is.
I have been removed as an LBRB contributor after Olmsted made a completely vacuous legal threat:“Remove accusations of hoax by aoa and apologize within 24 hours or I will pursue all available remedies.” I wish to sue Dan Olmsted for libel for said threat, on the following grounds:
1. The reference to a “hoax by AoA” is itself a false accusation. I stated my opinion that AoA was reporting a story based on a forged document. I did not allege that any member of the AoA organization was responsible for a forgery. In fact, I suggested that the document’s creator was “an English-speaking author from the UK rather than the US”, which to my knowledge was not true of any of AoA’s core members. When some misunderstood the article as a direct allegation against AoA, I promptly made revisions and comments to clarify my position.
2. My efforts included 2 comments posted at Olmsted’s own article. The first stated in part that “I do not suspect you or anyone within your organization”. The second, in response to a comment by Craig Willoughby, stated in full: “I proposed that the document was a forgery. I never speculated on the identity of the forger, beyond proposing that it was someone from the UK. To claim that I ever accused anyone within AoA of forgery is LIBEL against me.” By AoA’s stated policies, Olmsted is “moderator” of his own articles and had sole discretion to allow my comment to appear, or at least to make a statement of his own acknowledging its substance. These comments never appeared. This will serve to establish that, where Olmsted may be said to have begun with legitimate cause for complaint, he refused to acknowledge and when given the opportunity actively obstructed my efforts to resolve the issue in “good faith” and in a timely manner. (MySocratesNote: I never said it was David Brown, aka Evil Possum who made the allegation. Here is the actual comment in it's entirety, along with a link to the article:
"I think it is hysterical how some of the Oraccolytes are clinging to the idea that this is some elaborate hoax that AoA has concocted in order to discredit this poor man. I've even seen them go as far as accusing AoA of faking the original document.The pathetic! It Burns!!")
3. Olmsted made his original threat without presenting any argument against my conclusions, offering any evidence or argument for the document’s authenticity, or even stating that he sincerely believed it to be authentic. He thus offered no reasonable grounds for me or LBRB to issue a correction, let alone “remove” the article from public view. Furthermore, his failure to comment directly on the issue of authenticity raises the question whether even he had full confidence in the “source” for his story.
4. A key article, written by Katherine Burgemeister and reposted at AoA under Olmsted’s own byline, made so many allegations clearly contradicted by the disputed document and/or independent records (most notably that ““Thorsen vanished in March 2009”, where the document said only that he “resigned his faculty position at Aarhus University” at that time, and even though I and others easily located ample documentation of his activities after that time) that it could credibly be argued to be a “hoax” (by its broadest usages including unintentional deception and self-deception, as in “`War of the Worlds’ hoax”) even if the document itself is accepted at face value.
5. Olmsted’s failure to correct or qualify a single one of Burgemeister’s unsubstantiated or clearly erroneous claims proves that at best he had not studied the document in any detail, and therefore was unqualified to make any comment on its authenticity. The only alternative is that he chose to repost Burgemeister’s article uncritically, despite full knowledge that it contained many errors, and therefore is guilty (conceivably even more than Burgemeister) of knowingly promoting falsehood.
(MySoctatesNote: The previous statements are grounds for Libel? And, I do believe the story was corroberated by the CDC and several different news sources, wasn't it? Ah, but only David Brown has his story correct.)
6. Olmsted had personal motive to use a heavy-handed response to this article as a means to seek to limit the circulation of other works by me, including an LBRB post in which I showed that Olmsted exaggerated a vaccine inventor’s income from a patent by 500% based mainly on documents which were clearly dated before that patent existed. Since my removal as an LBRB contributor, this work and others making well-substantiated complaints and criticisms against AoA have no longer been visible there, giving Olmsted something he had reason to desire but was in no position to achieve by honest and direct argument. (MySocratesNote: Oh, the horror!! Everyone is out to get him! Dan is teh bad ebil person who is trying to prevent the troof from coming out!!)
7. Writing is my sole source of actual and potential income. Making free contributions to others’ sites is my sole means of promoting works from which I can receive income. By causing or contributing to my removal as a contributor to Left Brain/ Right Brain, Olmsted’s substantially false complaint has significantly damaged my potential to support myself, and thus satisfies the definition of “libel”. (MySocratesNote: And yet, he offers no real evidence of how Dan's complaint is false. He has failed to really offer any valid reason for libel. And if this is his sole means of income? Well, I'm sorry, but he needs to find a real job)
8. Olmsted and other AoA staff have on many previous occasions censored my comments, referenced my work inaccurately and without “credit”, and referred to me pejoratively. I consider some of these prior instances sufficient to justify legal action in and of themselves, if the resources had been available. This will serve to establish that this complaint is only my most serious against Olmsted and his organization. Furthermore, I offer this as evidence that I cannot disregard Olmsted and his allies as a threat to my future livelihood: If I do not take action now to establish as a matter of undisputed, public record that Olmsted’s complaint against me was spurious and that what he reported was in fact false on many levels, said complaint could be reused against me at a future time. (MySocratesNote: *Sniffle Sniffle* They're making fun of poor wittle David? Waaaaaaahhh!!!! Notice how he offers no evidence of said pejorative comments.)
At the present time, I have no fiscal resources to pursue such an action. I request donations and/or other assistance that others can offer this matter. I will freely forego such an action now or in the future if Age of Autism publishes a post making the following admissions:
i. Statements by Olmsted, Craig Willoughby and others to the effect that I had accused AoA of creating a forgery were in error. (MySocratesNote: Be specific now, David....where did I accuse you of making the claim that AoA made a forgery? Lawyers and judges like specifics)
ii. As of end March 2010, representatives of Aarhus University had neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of the disputed document. (MySocratesNote: In the case of a criminal investigation, that is entirely in their right and best interests)
iii. The statement that Aarhus “appears only to have been made available today to the media” was unsubstantiated, as the full contents of the document were not carried by mainstream media prior to its distribution by the anti-vaccine movement. (MySocratesNote: Except from the Copenhagen Press....which is a media outlet)
iv. Statements that Thorsen “disappeared” on March 2009 or at any other time were in error, as the document stated only that he “resigned his faculty position at Aarhus University” at that time, and his regular appearances and communications (if not his exact, current place(s) of residence) can be documented from public information up to at least March 16, 2010. (MySocratesNote: No, they said he resigned his position at Aarhus University in March of 2009 (link here))
v. The initial identification of Thorsen as a suspect, prior to a confirming statement on March 10 from the US CDC, was based on descriptions of an unidentified suspect in the Danish media. Those who identified Thorsen on these grounds, without qualifying that the suspect was unnamed in primary sources, acted inappropriately. (MySocratesNote: How so? The statement was true, was it not?)
vi. The statement that Aarhus “`expressly prohibited' Dr Poul Thorsen from working for a second university, Emory” was unsubstantiated, as the relevant passage in the document refers to “double Full-time employment “ as the subject of a dispute. It is reasonably clear that it is not being claimed that Thorsen was forbidden from being employed at all by Emory. It was also highly improbable, given that simultaneous employment at multiple institutions as “adjunct faculty” is a pervasive practice, and Aarhus openly records current employment of others such as Albert Gjedde, Martin Kussman and Henrik J. Andersen as “adjunct faculty”. (MySocratesNote: Evidence?)
vii. The statement that “(t)he double role of Thorsen came to light after the university detected a shortfall in funding” was unsubstantiated and probably in error, as the document makes no statement to this effect. (MySocratesNote: So, the document was their only source of information about this? Wow)
viii. The statement that “(t)he revelation that Thorsen had a second secret job will raise fears of a hidden bias in the studies and undermine the scientific case for thiomersal" was in error. His employment at Emory was not secret, as he was openly listed among Emory faculty, and the Aarhus document makes no statement to the effect that his employment there was ever wholly unknown to the university. It did not constitute a “conflict of interest” related to vaccination, because Emory University does not manufacture vaccines. It was irrelevant to his paper on thimerosal, because that paper was published 5 years before he became an emory employee. (MySocratesNote: The Danish publication Politiken reported [in translation]: “'He is no longer employed at Emory. He was part time occupied at the department of epidemiological research from 2003 and from April 2008 to June 2009 as full time research professor' informs assistant vice director at Emory University Sarah E. Goodwin." When was the Thimerosal study done again? 2003?)
ix. The statement that Thorsen “continued to pass himself off as the head of the international project” is unsubstantiated, as the document only states that he “has continued to act in such a manner as to create the impression that he still retains a connection to Aarhus University after the termination of his employment by the university”. The document’s allegation appears to be itself in error (at least for the document’s given date), as Thorsen’s biography as of January 22, 2010 indicates that his employment at Aarhus ended in 2008.
x. The statement that Thorsen “was an author along with Kreesten Madsen of a key study that used data from Danish children to show that there was no link between mercury” was in error. This study was published in 2003, and had five additional coauthors. (MySocratesNote: Is AN AUTHOR. Doesn't that make him a co-author? So, how is this in error again?)
xi. Statements that Thorsen “absconded with $2 million” are unsubstantiated and probably in error, as the relevant document mentions only “advances” of an unspecified amount on grants for that total amount, makes no allegation that Thorsen took or spent any amount of money for his personal use, and makes no reference to a discrepancy between the money given and recorded spending on research that would justify such an allegation. (MySocratesNote: This claim by David is unsubstatiated. The CDC has confirmed the missing $2 million)
xii. The statement that data in an email by Dianne Simpson showed “a clear, linear relationship between the increase in vaccination rates (from 50.9% to 75.7%) and the number of autism cases per year (from 176 to 1182, a 6.7x increase) between 1980-1994...” These data actually show an exponential rise in autism diagnoses, compared to fluctuations and some linear increase in vaccination rates. The data also show the trend in autism diagnoses continuing if not accelerating in ca. 1990, as low-thimerosal or thimerosal-free DTaP vaccines became increasingly available. (MySocratesNote: Heh.....heh heh...BWAHHAHAHHAHAHA!!!!! Oh my....oh my goodness...stomach hurts!)
Now, I understand that, allegedly, David has Asperger's Syndrome (likely self diagnosed). Some of you may think that my criticism of this letter is cruel because of this. No, I am treating this letter with all of the scorn and derision it deserves because this is nothing but the petty foot stomping of a spoiled child. If he thinks that some of the things said about him by Olmsted and Handley were cruel, then he needs to pony up and offer examples.