Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Imagine for a moment a situation where an attorney is instructed by their client to find legal reasons to sue people for objecting to what the client writes or says in the public domain. An example would be something like the client saying: "Tell that fat, ugly freak who should be locked up for life, that their objecting to my calling them that is libel against me!"
Well, that is not a satirical comment but an example of how in most cases any respectable law firm would advise the client that in court this would seem ridiculous. But not Peter M Jacobsen. How has it all come to this?
Let's clarify one thing first. The "Client" in this case is Dr Kenneth Zucker who seems to be very unsettled by some of his ex-patients making comments about their treatment under his care at the Clarke Institute of Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), as well as the opinions of others who are critics of the treatment protocols used at the CAMH. . While a lot has been written about Dr Zucker and his associates, not all that much has been said about the legalistic tactics employed by their legal representatives. At present it appears that a number of the people who were targeted by Peter Jacobsen acting on behalf of Kenneth Zucker are beginning to speak out openly after Professor Lynn Conway (A recipient of such legal threats herself) decided to confront this legalistic bullying in the public domain.
The mystery seems to be the way Jacobsen appears to have no problem, or sense of conflict, when it is patently obvious to most observers that he is saying to people, "Do not walk on the grass!", while Jacobsen and those he is representing are standing on the grass. To most observers this appears absurd at best.
Lynn Conway observed that this behavior on the part of Jacobsen and those he is representing formed a distinct pattern of what is clearly intimidation. We don't really have to look very long and hard to see why Lynn Conway came to this conclusion. The way the "Clarke-Northwestern" (A combination of "Clarke" in Toronto and the "Northwestern university" in Chicago, where most of Dr Zucker's associates are located) have conducted themselves to date have been to state that they believe in a theoretical framework to describe mainly transsexual patients, and then to vigorously suppress any dissent or alternative opinion.
They employ a range of methods including threatening emails, barring people from debate in numerous public fora and the use of agitators to confuse or disrupt debate that may go against the "Clarke Northwestern".
The point is that while most of these tactics can be seen as the product of angry debate, Jacobsen's involvement takes this into a new arena. I am of the opinion that Peter Jacobsen should be plainly aware of the fact that his legal arguments have little or no weight. If anything, I feel they undermine his own reputation considerably. So why then does he persist in issuing ridiculous legal threats when the charges tend to characterize the actions of those he is representing rather than those he is issuing the legal threats to?
Jacobsen is most likely fully aware of the fact that none of his claims would probably hold ground in court, and would most likely result in counter claims against the CAMH. Look at this from a rational perspective. The Clarke Northwestern cannot on a collective level complain about the stifling of "Academic Free Speech" when they have so evidently sought to suppress opinions that differ from their own. The very fact that Jacobsen is issuing these legal threats testifies to the fact that the Clarke Northwestern are trying to suppress the free speech of others. While in a number of Jacobsen's letters we read that he considers some of the commentary about Kenneth Zucker in particular goes beyond "Free speech", it is clear that Jacobsen's notions of free speech differ considerably from a more generally accepted definition of free speech. Also, when you consider some of the statements made by those he represents, which are blatant libel, the contradiction becomes even more evident. Meanwhile Jacobsen persists in presenting invidious legal arguments that only serve to highlight the contradictions while at the same time trying to present his clients as the victims of slander and libel.
The only way Jacobsen can make any of his arguments work would be by the use of legal technicalities. Logically his arguments are nonsensical. It is the very fact that Jacobsen appears to believe that such "Legal gymnastics" would convince anyone that his arguments and actions have any validity which leaves me wondering whether or not he is simply engaging in damage limitation on behalf of Dr Kenneth Zucker and the CAMH.
This of course brings up the questions about what the CAMH and Dr Kenneth Zucker have really been doing to damage their own reputations and what good Peter Jacobsen seems to think that repeating the mistake of damaging one's own reputation will serve. The actual activities of the CAMH and Dr Kenneth Zucker do not fall into the scope of this commentary and are probably the subject of jurisprudence at this point in time.
The issue here is the strange approach that has been taken by Peter Jacobsen. If you look at the case in any detail you will find a series of legal threats that are illogical, relying if anything on technicality rather than fact. The question is a simple one. On what basis does Jacobsen do this? Well, that is the riddle.
Friday, May 9, 2008
This response from Peter Trinkl is also available on OII's website at:
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Well, here is the explanation that may help because I can assure you I am not writing out of hostility. I admit there was a time a few years ago when I followed the crowd and said “Americans are dumb. They just got Bush as their president”. But then I thought that instead of simply saying that, why not explain why such a sentiment came about? Today, living in the UK which is a country that has stood by you very often in recent years, has committed troops to fight your wars and even faced bombs, essentially for you, the concept of “Anglo American” relations seems, at best, to feel a little one way. I will give you a personal example. In the US there is a clique of medical professionals whom I have written about very often, that have not only decided what clinical guidelines and treatment protocols should apply in every state in the US but also here, in the UK, and those policies are detrimental to the health care I receive and ultimately to my health.
I will not hide what my health issues are. I was born “intersexed”, that is “of no clear anatomical sex by the currently defined medical standards”. There is nothing politically correct about me, and I am not really a member of the LBGT lobby. I am just an individual with a medical condition that is a bit unusual; I have no “Gender identity issues”. All I really want is just to lead my life as best I can and that is that. It was an accident of birth and nothing I should be made to feel guilty about.
However, the medical professionals who operate from the “Clarke-Northwestern” school of medical opinion over in the
Look at yourselves. At the time I write this, there is an African American and a middle class White Woman doing battle to become a presidential candidate. And listen to what is being said, from the outside, from “Not in
In some countries, like the Islamic countries, you are compared to Nazis. I think that is unfair but from where I am sitting, in all honesty there is little smoke without fire. Take the issue of Homosexuality and Abortion. These are hot button topics Americans are stereotyped over. Now is it not interesting that some Americans, usually of the “Religious right”, would gladly kill a medical professional who carries out abortions, unless of course there is some test that can determine whether or not the unborn child may grow up to be gay. As it happens that is a bit of a joke outside the US, like the aborting of children with many other “Defects” (including those like mine, intersex conditions) is “fine”, and now I hear some (The Clarke Northwestern) talking of eradicating gay fetuses as well.
Any sort of non conformity to some physical or social ideal is met with abortion, with the intent to eradicate and the American Right wing and neo-conservative movements are funding this because they have been lied to. They are also paying doctors to interfere with the internal affairs of other countries. Is it any wonder an American Accent usually gets met with such derision and hatred, even in countries where people have laid their lives on the line defending American interests.
I am not saying the Clarke Nothwestern are solely responsible for the hatred (sometimes visceral hatred) felt towards
And I am talking about people who traditionally are your allies, not your sworn enemies.
Perhaps you need to take a close collective look at yourselves. I am not saying look at the fat bully stereotype. I am saying stop and think. Stop taking other nations for granted. Stop imposing your rules on their day to day lives, and yes stop having the likes of the Clarke Northwestern (Among others) represent you on the international stage, making you look like a bunch of warmongering, genocidal, dictatorial maniacs. I am not anti American, as it happens the organization I am speaking to you from is an international organization (Which qualifies me to say what I am saying) which has a very large American contingent. In a way OII is a microcosm of the international problem you Americans have to be dealing with. OII represents international opinion, unlike say ISNA which represents American opinion. In OII there is a common and consistent thread, even among the American membership that America-centric organizations like ISNA and the Clarke Northwestern are a symbol of American arrogance on the international stage. In a way similar to some large companies like Microsoft or Coca Cola or McDonalds.
Now, you are not unwelcome. In the
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008