Thursday, September 3, 2009

CHOICE Computer magazine puff piece

On 02 September 2009 CHOICE Computer magazine published an article prima facie concerning online censorship. The article appears to be an apology piece for Tony Brisciani and zgeek. The article reports incorrect facts, fails to report likely bias, and makes no attempt to discover the truth behind the events it claims to report. I will state the facts that correct this inaccurate reporting.

CC ARTICLE: "Tony Brisciani is being sued over comments posted by a member on the site's forum."

FACT: Tony Brisciani is being sued over multiple publications he made on his site, zgeek. There were several authors of the publications.

CC ARTICLE: "The issue relates to a war of words about a book that says the 9/11 terrorists attacks were a conspiracy."

FACT: The issue before the courts relates to Tony Brisciani publishing comments stating as fact that Greg Smith as a "scam artist" and a "fraud". Greg Smith first posted on the forum to give a brief review of an exert from the book 'The Third Truth'.

CC ARTICLE: "The defamation action has been brought by Sydney film producer Greg Smith because the subject of the documentary is the same as the conspiracy book."

FACT: The defamation action has been brought because damaging lies about Greg Smith were published by Tony Brisciani. The documentary 'MERCHANT OF DEATH' detailed the life and times of alleged arms-dealer Viktor Bout. The documentary had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks in the USA or the book 'The Third Truth'. Greg Smith has nothing to do with the publication or sales of book, ‘The Third Truth’. No comments from zgeek members about the book, ‘The Third Truth’, are mentioned in Greg Smith’s legal pleadings.

CC ARTICLE: "[Smith] claims that the comments about the book and the subject, arms dealer Viktor Bout, have damaged his reputation and caused him to lose substantial funding."

FACT: The comments referred to in the law suit are the comments that refer to Greg Smith as a "scam artist" and a "fraud". The book is not referred to in Greg Smith's legal pleadings.

CC ARTICLE: "Tony Brisciani told CHOICE Computer magazine that Greg Smith was never mentioned in any of the posts."

FACT: Greg Smith was mentioned in the posts by name, business name and address on several occasions.

CC ARTICLE: [Tony Brisciani says] "I didn't know about it until later when a moderator noticed it."

FACT: Tony Brisciani wrote to Greg Smith in an email responding to Greg Smith's request to remove the posts. In this email Tony Brisciani says...
"Dear Madam,
After reviewing your threatening email, myself and my team would like to thank you for your feedback but would like to point out you're bat shit crazy and full of shit.
Please consult a real lawyer before sending out threatening emails or you may well be on the receiving end of a lawsuit yourself.
Also, I can't remember when Australian law because enforceable in the USA.
If you could refresh my memory that would be very helpful.
The ZGeek Management."

FACT: When asked again to remove the posts, Tony Brisciani replied with...
"I hope you have deep pockets. It's going to take a lot to sue the owner as they live in the US, not Australia. And they have different laws from us. I hope that gets through your thick head.
You haven't even contacted them properly! I'm not forwarding your shit to them. And I am not going to give you their details unless a court orders me too.
So eat shit sucka! Learn to internet, you come to a forum spamming your book and you get flamed. Your such a fucking poofter you have to sue people because you can't back your shit up.
Pathetic. Go die in a fire."

FACT: Tony Brisciani posted offensive material on the initial thread, and in other areas of his site, after the publications in question were made. Tony Brisciani had full knowledge of exactly what the alleged defamatory material was.

FACT: An initial request for an injunction on the zgeek site was denied due mainly to the fact that by then the material had been removed from public display. Three days after the request for an injunction was dismissed, Tony Brisciani republished some of the allegedly defamatory material on the zgeek site.

CC ARTICLE: "... generally a person and not a company can be defamed and it must affect someone's standing"

FACT: The comments published as fact referred to Greg Smith by name.

FACT: Greg Smith has been the subject of threats by members of the zgeek community as a result of this matter. The threats were published on the zgeek forum and referred to visiting Greg Smith's residential address. Sasha Shaw, an associate of Tony Brisciani, was interviewed by NSW police regarding his involvement in a telephone death threat directed at Greg Smith.