April 08, 2007

Correspondence with Georgina Henry, site editor of the Guardian's Comment is "free"

I am posting some correspondence between myself and the site editor of the Guardian's Comment is free space, Georgina Henry. I believe it sheds some light on the pro-zionist tilt of that particular chunk of the internet and it exposes something very illiberal at the supposedly liberal offices of the Guardian newspaper. Ok, it doesn't explain why it's happening but it does, I believe, show that there is a pronounced pro-zionist bias in Comment is free and the site editor seems to be in a state of denial about it.

Regular readers will recall that I had a ruckus with the Guardian comment is free site a couple of months ago. I did a post on it here.

What actually happened will transpire in the correspondence I had with the site editor, Georgina Henry. A couple of things I will say up front are that I first smelled a rat in this saga when I tracked a hit from the Guardian's internal email, actually Georgina Henry's email at the Guardian. Here's the url:
or, since that's too long, in tinyURL:
http://tinyurl.com/yozmu9
.

The other thing is that I let my Jews against zionism chums know what was going on because I thought among the various journos and lawyers, I could get some advice. Unfortunately, Tony Greenstein appeared to think that it was a call to the barracades. You'll see what I mean when you see the correspondence. It is a minor complication but I thought I'd explain in advance. Oh yes, another thing. The fonts are all over the place, presumably because of different email systems and what have you, together with my inability to master html.

Now read on:

Dear Ms Henry

I have tried writing to you, effectively, care of Comment is free and I have reported a comment by Linda Grant via your "report" facility.

The following is what I had originally written to you.

I was going to respond to some ad hominem attacks on me after Linda Grant's article "Other voices, other lives," and I found that whilst the attacks on me using my name, Mark Elf, and my screen name, Levi9909, are still there, my comments on Linda Grant's article and comments on other comments in the same thread have been removed.

The article and comments are here: http://tinyurl.com/ysf2ga

I checked to make sure that my comments were compliant with the terms and conditions and they were. They did not consist of anything libellous or racist. I see that Linda Grant has now said that "the site's editor has removed links to libellous material about this newspaper and will continue to do so whenever they are posted."

I believe that my comments have been removed because Linda Grant cannot sustain her own arguments, even with help from others. It seems clear to me that if you are allowing libellous comments about me or anyone else, my comments were not removed on a point of principle.
Taking the comments that name me personally together with Linda Grant's comment (No. 419475) a reasonable person might take the view that I am either racist or dishonest. I should be grateful if you would remove these potentially libellous references to me or restore my comments to where they were.

Since writing the above I have now found that I have been banned altogether from commenting to the Comment.is.free site on the grounds that there has been "a breach of our talk policy, or because you picked an unsuitable username. I have written to the registration address about this but since I have posted comments before without any problems (except the usual ad hominem attacks from zionists) I am guessing that there is no problem with my user name.
I have now done a post on this to my blog here:

I should point out that I linked back to my blog and I noticed that I had got a hit, not from the site, but from the Guardian's internal email. This, together with the banning, suggests to me that the deletions were not part of the Guardian's normal moderation procedure.

I should be grateful if you would investigate what has happened here and reply to me with an explanation.

Many thanks

Yours sincerely

Mark Elf


Dear Mr Elf

Thanks for your email.

The reasons your comments were taken down is because Comment is free should not become a site where earlier feuds/disputes between bloggers/posters are played out. You've had a running dispute with Linda Grant who you have accused of lying in a previous article. The rights and wrongs of that dispute are not my concern, but it is my concern when you raise the same issues on a blog about IJV just because the writer is the same person that you're feuding with elsewhere.

I have asked the moderater to look at the comments about you that you are complaining of.

Yours sincerely

Georgina Henry
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk


Dear Ms Henry

Thank you for your reply to my email but I am disappointed that your explanation of why my posts were deleted does not tally with either the Comment is free "talk policy" or what actually happened in the case of the deletion of my posts to Linda Grant's article. It also doesn't mention my banning from making comments at all. Furthermore, I don't think it is fair of you to assume that I have made a comment "just because the writer is the same person that you're feuding with elsewhere." I have had disagreements with Linda Grant in the past but my first post was nothing to do with that and I certainly wouldn't say that any dispute I have had with her amounts to a feud.

I read Linda Grant's article and I left a comment criticising the article itself and drawing attention to a previous occasion when she sided with the establishment.

Someone calling themselves Oliver10 (comment no.417795) wrote this:

"Oh dear the indomitable Mark Elf is back...
Maybe he should also have mentioned how he was nearly subject to a libel charge by Linda Grant?"

This was the first mention of anything to do with a dispute between myself and Linda Grant. My next comment was a response to this. If the post by Oliver10 was in line with your policy then my response was. If it was not then it should have been removed when my response was.
Further, Oliver10 then finished his post no. 417906 with the words, "BTW Mark Elf, what is a 'legitimate state' in your eyes? What makes Israel, which was born out of a UN resolution in a post-colonial era any less legitimate than Pakistan?

Don't the other posters have a right to know that your attack on Linda Grant's article is motivated by the major axe you have to grind?"

Again that post is still there and should be removed or mine should be allowed to remain.
Finally, here's Linda Grant, in comment no. 419475, "The topic of my post is the IJV manifesto and my contention that the signatories should take the debate into the Jewish community itself. The topic is not wartime Nazi collaboration which can and has been discussed ad nauseam elsewhere. Additionally, the site's editor has removed links to libellous material about this newspaper and will continue to do so whenever they are posted."
The reference to "the site's editor" removing links etc, seems to be a reference to my posts and since it falsely accuses me of libel it is itself libellous. Again, my comments should remain or Linda Grant's libellous comment should be removed.

I reported the comments that offended me on the day I realised that mine had been removed which was the same day that I had posted them. My comments were removed on the day that they were left in spite of them being politically and legally inoccuous and in line with the Cif policy. Comments which, taken together, are clearly libellous, have remained in place for nearly five days now.

I should be grateful if you would treat my well-founded complaint with the same urgency with which you have treated Linda Grant's unfounded complaint. I want you to look at the comments which I have specifically complained of and either reinstate mine to ensure balance or remove the libellous comments.

I also want to be able to post comments to articles using my existing log-in so I would like to be unbanned.

Many thanks

Yours sincerely

Mark Elf

[This next is from Georgina Henry to Tony Greenstein and cc'd to me. If you get confused at this point, don't worry, so do I]

georgina.henry@guardian.co.uk
wrote:

Tony

I'm simply not prepared to debate this with all the people Mark Elf is getting to write to me. My job is to run an interesting site, not get bogged down in petty disputes between writers. As I've told him, the site is not here to host a dispute between him and Linda Grant. He's doing it quite successfully on his own site.

Regarding the other comments you refer to, as you will have seen they were deleted in accordance with our talk policy.

Yours

Georgina

Georgina Henry
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk

[My response to the email to Tony Greenstein]

Ms Henry

I have only just seen this email which is clearly libellous.

Regardless of how Tony Greenstein got into the loop, you have no right to repeat your false charge that I was pursuing any kind of personal dispute with Linda Grant. You know that my first comment dealt with points raised in her article and that my subsequent comments dealt with other people's comments that named me. This was all compounded by Linda Grant's assertion that someone (I) had posted comments containing "libellous material about this newspaper."

You have now checked all of the relevant comments (which you should have done in the first place) and so you have no excuse at all to pretend to believe that I have acted improperly.

I think an apology is in order here.

Regarding my blog, obviously it reflects my personal opinion but I don't use it to harrass people. I describe it as "an anti-zionist blog - browsing the media." I try to expose undue zionist influence, lies and hypocrisy in the supposedly liberal media. In this case all three came together at once and rained on my parade.

Yours sincerely

Mark Elf

Dear Mr Elf

We have removed all comments that refer to your dispute with Linda Grant.

What Linda Grant said in her comment about libellous material about this newspaper did not come from me, was not discussed with me, and has been deleted.

Nevertheless my view remains the same: I do not have the time or the inclination to mediate between long-running disputes between bloggers and posters on the site, and if bloggers/posters use the site for their private business - ie, off-topic of the blog in question - then they will be removed. I also do not appreciate being emailed by others about our correspondence, which I had wrongly assumed was private. I should have known better, given that all these emails will no doubt appear on your website.

Yours sincerely

Georgina Henry
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk


Dear Ms Henry

Not having recourse to the legal advice available to the Guardian, I turned to some friends, including journalists and lawyers, connected with Jews against zionism. I gather that one such contacted you without my prompting and against my wishes. If you object to correspondence, you should object to the correspondent, not to me.

I am again disappointed that you see fit to repeat your false allegation that I posted a comment to further a dispute between myself and Linda Grant. And I have not asked you to mediate in any way; just to be fair. I am glad that you have acknowledged and deleted the comments by "Oliver10" and Linda Grant, which clearly libelled me. But many people will have seen these libels already. My legitimate criticism of Linda Grant's article lasted less than a day as did my response to an off-topic comment referring to Linda Grant threatening me with a libel action. Linda Grant and her acolyte's libellous, and therefore, illegitimate comments stayed on the site for nearly six days in spite of you having been alerted to them on the day they appeared. And in spite of your rules about libel and being on-topic.

As you know, I posted a comment criticising Linda Grant's article and linking back to another episode that had her siding with the zionist establishment. Another commentor, typically, a zionist, then invoked a time when Linda Grant threatened to sue me for libel. Now, if what you are saying is true about not allowing reference to past disputes in a thread then you would have had that comment removed without me having to respond to it to set the record straight. It seems to me that my comments were deleted on the direct request of Linda Grant. Now she may have lied to you and said that my comments appeared a propos nothing in particular and you took her at her word or you looked at my comments, saw the context and still decided to delete my comments simply to placate Linda Grant for reasons best known to yourself. Since you seem to have been a little less than forthcoming over the whole thing, I can only speculate as to what moved you to behave so unfairly.

Just to recap, the false allegation that I have used Comment is free to further a running dispute has now been made by a commentor twice, by you twice and presumably by Linda Grant. I think it ill behoves you now to act like a wronged party simply because I sought advice and one of my well-wishers got carried away and wrote to you.

I have behaved impeccably throughout this. My first comment was addressed to the article and subsequent comments addressed other comments. I divulged your emails to others to seek advice. You have made false allegations against me and you have facilitated, indeed committed, libel against me.

I am owed an apology, a truthful explanation and confirmation as to whether I can post comments using my existing log-in.

Thank you

Yours sincerely

Mark Elf

Mark

If you don't want me to explain my position to Tony Greenstein, don't include him in your email round robins. You got him involved - without, incidently, telling me who else you were emailing.

I'm sorry, but your emails just reinforce my view that it was right to take down your comments and those about you from the blog. If you disagree so strongly with the way the site is run and moderated, why not read and post somewhere else?

I, too, intend to draw a line under this and am no longer prepared to answer your increasingly belligerent emails.

Yours sincerely

Georgina


Georgina Henry
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk

Ms Henry

If my tone has become less civil (it's not belligerent) it is because at first I thought you had made an honest mistake and it has become more clear to me that you have not made an honest anything. Your deletion of my posts seems to have been nothing to do with a declared policy but a response to a request or an order from Linda Grant with no regard to the context of the posts. In fact you still have not acknowledged the context of the posts. And your emails have gone from disingenuous to downright ludicrous.

At every turn you have compounded the situation by persisting in false allegations against me and now you have repeated them to Tony Greenstein. On that latter point, whoever else I copied into the correspondence is irrelevant. I have told you that I only sought advice and you have no reason to doubt my word.

Now, you clearly lack the integrity to own up to what you have done, still less, to apologise. Now, since I have always abided by the rules and my posts are always relevant to the article, the thread or the context. all that remains is for you to let me know if I can post to the Cif site with my existing log-in and I'll trouble you no more.

Thank you

Mark Elf


[End of the correspondence]

So there we have it. I was lied to and lied about by the site editor of the Guardian's Comment is free space and for a zionist. Georgina Henry acted on a direct instruction from Linda Grant. I had done nothing to breach their rules whereas Linda Grant and her acolytes clearly had.

A friend of mine told me that I should be pleased that I beat Linda Grant "on her own turf" and, in truth, I am. But it took me several days to achieve what it took her minutes to achieve. And where's my apology for Georgina Henry's own dishonesty? And where too are my posting rights?

Actually I know the answer to that last one. My posting rights are right here on my own blog though once upon a time Linda Grant threatened to have those rights taken away. I'd better get backing up. These zionists are powerful you know.

Pip pip!

0 comments:

Post a Comment