Re: Ufologists Suing Ufologists - Friedman
From: Stan Friedman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 20:44:17 -0300
Fwd Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 07:06:22 -0400
Subject: Re: Ufologists Suing Ufologists - Friedman
>From: Andy Roberts <AndyRoberts@ancientassociates.fsnet.co.uk>
>To: UFO UpDates <email@example.com>
>Subject: Ufologists Suing Ufologists
>Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 20:15:42 +0100
>Stanton Friedman may squeal and squawk in trying to justify his
>pointless legal persecution of Jenny Randles over her opinions,
>but no-one has yet put the case in any context from a UK ufology
>point of view. I was heavily involved in the scene at that time
>(indeed we put Stanty on at a gig in Leeds and made a healthy
>profit out of _his_ opinions!) and these memories drift into my
I should think that editors such as yourself and Jerry would do
some home work and recognize that there is a difference between
defamation and opinion, or fair comment, criticism..... Surely
there are books you can look at that speak of these differences?
Every country has laws about defamation to protect the
reputations of its citizens. The best defense against such a
claim is truth. Jenny fails. A second defense is that the
defamer honestly believes the untrue defamation. Jenny fails
since the views she expressed to the MEN in her letter and to
the MEN reporter are in complete conflict with her published
views in her books in which she speaks very favorably of the
work of Harry and myself. Jenny tried to claim that the MEN
misrepresented what she said since she was just referring to
American ufologists in general, having just returned from the
USA, and not to Harry and me. This not true as she very clearly
in her letter to the MEN defames us both in very strong terms.
One way to minimize damages to be apportioned because of
defamation is to publish an apology in the same venue in which
the defamation appeared (MEN) promptly... meaning something like
within a week. It took almost a year and access to the defaming
letter took a writ from the courts because Jenny refused
permission for it to be released earlier though the MEN had no
objection. Quick apology would have ended it.
>* There was no love lost between Harry Harris and Jenny prior
>to Stanton's law suit. This situation had rumbled on for several
>years and had involved BUFORA and others. Many people believed
>'something' was bound to happen and that it was just a matter of
>when the necessary ammunition could be found. However trivial.
>There is vast amounts of evidence in ufologists' correspondence
>from the time supporting this assertion. Please note I am not
>for a minute suggesting Harris put Friedman up to the law suit,
>merely filling in the background details of the social history
>at the time.
Andy is correct.There had been some bad blood between Harry and
Jenny, though there had been none between Jenny and myself.
>* Harris was known in ufological circles in the north of
>England as someone who had threatened litigation to at least one
>other ufologist prior to the Friedman event.
>It is tempting to suggest that, as he was a solicitor, it must
>have been, ahem, 'convenient' and 'economical' to send his own
>solicitors letters out rather than have to employ someone like
>everyone else has to.
This would seem to ignore the substantial role played by a
barrister who, of course, had to be paid.
>Harris's letters were on his letterhead which read:
>44 Reading Drive
>Closed for lunch 1pm-2pm
>It may have been easy for people to believe all Harris' letters
>were 'legal' missives when in fact they were probably not.
>Somewhat conveniently Harry only made the distinction when
>specifically queried (evidence available should anyone doubt
>The mere _fact_ that Harris was in the legal game was usually
>enough to silence any UK ufologist with an opinion about
>anything even vaguely Harris-related. Free speech is easily
>stifled by letters with 'solicitor' on them!
Sounds like you have accepted the notion that there are and
ought to be limits on "free speech". Calling somebody a
convicted felon such as a murderer, burglar, etc is libel per se
(providing the claims are not true). Should there not be laws
against inciting a riot? My goodness, Andy, the UK is a leader
in believing that a man is entitled to not have his good name
sullied by false claims. Winston Churchill won a famous libel
suit against Lord Douglas. Have you forgotten?
>Exactly what the ethics of a solicitor acting for himself are is
>open to question. It may have been legal but in my book it's
>thoroughly unethical and immoral.
He was also acting for me and there was also a solicitor
involved. What book is that in about unethical and immoral?
Should not the other counsels have spoken out about this??
>* I still treasure a file of my correspondence with him from
>when he threatened me. The depth of his panic was reflected in
>the fact that he threatened me merely because I suggested in UFO
>Brigantia that his interviewing of some of the witnesses in the
>Alan Godfrey case was not done under the same circumstances a
>police interview would have been conducted.
>Naturally I apologised in print because this served to amplify
>what I was trying to say!
>Harris never did 'get' UFO Brigantia.
>* I had many hours of phone calls from Harris every time
>I disagreed with him and he heard about it. He was always polite
>and courteous and even wished me compliments of the season
>in the same letter he threatened legal action! I could never
>work him out but thought the idea of threatening legal action
>to resolve a difference of opinion rather sinister.
>* I am sure Harris is still out there, but the last
>two occasions I came across him was....
>1. In an article in the popular Manchester Evening News
>which read (exactly):
>"Lawyer's Pet Threat
>Solicitor Harry Harris, 55, of (Deleted by AR), will appear
>before magistrates on charges of making threats to kill and
>possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear - after allegedly
>threatening to shoot a pensioner's dog which chased his cat
>up a tree."
>I don't recall the outcome of this highly influential case.
>Personally I thought he was barking up the wrong tree. The facts
>- printed in the Manchester Evening News, so we know they are
>correct! - speak for themselves, whatever the court's ultimate
>2. At a LAPIS conference in Lytham St Annes in 1997 Harris
>turned up and demanded the right to speak (he wasn't on the
>bill). His 'approach' persuaded the organisers to let him have
>the stage to rant about some alleged and obscure slight against
>him (by Sue Blackmore I think). The video shows he was severely
>heckled and was booed by the audience.
This surely shows how concerned UK ufologists are about free
speech, doesn't it? Free speech is for me but not for those with
whom I disagree, eh??
>As for Stanton, well I just find his actions sad and pointless.
>If you can't take criticism or opinion Stanton you shouldn't
>expect people to take notice of a single word you say. You can
>twist and turn in self-justification Stanton but the ufologists,
>here at least, know what was going on and it may have increased
>your bank balance but it reduced your stature in our eyes.
How many UK ufologists did know what was going on? It seemed to
me that the rantings of some of Jenny's supporters clearly
indicated they didn't know what was going on. How many had read
her letter? How many apologized for their rantings after reading
the apologies? I still seem to be the same stature as I was. Did
a bunch of lectures and media appearances after all that.
Response seemed to me to be excellent. But then I am biased.
Andy I have taken loads of critcism and opinions. Defamation is
not the same thing. It crosses the line. Jenny and the MEN both
crossed the line and both eventually apologized in print on
advice of counsel..... May I presume that no UK publication had
courage enough to publish the apology except the Flying Saucer
Review and the Manchester Evening News. Did you?
>I trust these facts put matters into some proper perspective and
>give you all pause for reflection on what went on.
>I'm sure Stanton will be hot on the 'phone to his friend and a
>writ will be winging it's way to me soon. I'll keep you
I am afraid you don't influence the same size audience as the
MEN, Andy. It seems you were careful not to be defamatory.
Fascinating posting Andy: civil and witty, but totally ignoring
the relevant facts.