Debate Magazine

Sandy Hook: The Hounding of Prof. James Tracy

By Eowyn @DrEowyn

Reblogged from the James Fetzer blog

The Hounding of Dr. James Tracy, an honorable man who deserves your support

by Jim Fetzer and Dr. Eowyn

Hound (verb): To harass, persecute, or pursue relentlessly.

18 days ago, on January 25, 2016, warrior for Sandy Hook truth Dr. James Tracy announced on his Memory Hole Blog the instauration of the James Tracy Legal Defense Fund.

Support the James Tracy Legal Defense Fund

The purpose of the James Tracy Legal Defense Fund is stated as follows:

Academic freedom and free speech are the basic and shared tenets of free and democratic societies. On January 6, 2016 Florida Atlantic University terminated Dr. James Tracy’s tenured position as Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies, ostensibly for failing to fill out and file paperwork in a timely manner. Tracy began his employment at FAU as Assistant Professor in 2002, and was granted tenure in 2008. His 13-year record of teaching, research, and service-oriented contributions at the South Florida university has been consistently adjudged as excellent by his peers.

Many observers contend that Tracy’s firing stemmed from his articles and commentary made on his personal blog, Memory Hole, interrogating the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre of December 14, 2012 and similar controversial events. Beginning in early 2013 Dr. Tracy became a target of many mainstream journalistic outlets that have routinely failed to provide objective and responsible investigative coverage of such incidents. Dr. Tracy’s abrupt termination suggests a broader affront to free speech and academic freedom not only at FAU, but for free thinkers throughout the US and world.

The James Tracy Legal Defense Fund was established as a nonprofit entity by Dr. James Tracy and other concerned scholars in January 2016. The central purpose of the Tracy Legal Defense Fund is to generate revenue toward retaining competent legal representation for researching and ascertaining the facts pertinent to Dr. Tracy’s case.

Florida Atlantic University first moved to terminate tenured professor Tracy on December 16, 2015, less than a week after the (Florida) Sun-Sentinel saw fit to publish an op/ed by Lenny and Veronique Pozner, parents of alleged Sandy Hook child victim Noah.

In their op/ed, the Pozners accused Tracy of “harassment” by sending a certified letter demanding that Lenny produce proof that Noah really is dead. The Pozners’ allegation has been repeated by countless subsequent news reports and readers’ comments, including an “expert” on academic tenure who was interviewed on air by NBC and cited Tracy’s alleged “harassment” as sufficient grounds for a university firing a tenured professor.

In writing the op/ed, the Pozners’ intent was evidenced by the word “target” in the title of their Sun-Sentinel op/ed: “Sandy Hook Massacre 3rd Anniversary: Two parents target FAU conspiracy theorist“. Target for what? — to get Tracy fired, an objective in which the Pozners succeeded. To quote their op/ed:

Although FAU issued a “reprimand” to Tracy for the irresponsible and insensitive comments he made in late 2012, he has shown no remorse and continues to conceive conspiracy theories out of each new mass shooting . . . . It is time FAU reassess if their priorities properly reflect the best interests of their staff, donors and — most importantly — their students.

The Pozners accuse Tracy of “harassment” on the grounds that he had sent a certified letter to Lenny Pozner demanding proof that Noah was really dead, a demand that caused the Pozners “pain and anguish.” As they wrote in their op/ed:

In fact, Tracy is among those who have personally sought to cause our family pain and anguish by publicly demonizing our attempts to keep cherished photos of our slain son from falling into the hands of conspiracy theorists.

Tracy even sent us a certified letter demanding proof that Noah once lived, that we were his parents, and that we were the rightful owner of his photographic image. We found this so outrageous and unsettling that we filed a police report for harassment.

But Tracy did no such thing. Instead, his letter to Lenny was a request for evidence that Lenny indeed has copyright ownership of Noah’s photographic images. Claiming copyright, Lenny has successfully prevailed on YouTube and WordPress to remove videos and blogs containing Noah’s images, including Tracy’s and Fellowship of the Minds.

Lenny’s claim to copyright is questionable on multiple grounds because many images of Noah are already published in countless news reports, as well as on Facebook page that Lenny had set up to memorialize Noah. Just “google” Noah Pozner and you’ll find plenty of his images on the Internet.

All of which means Noah’s images are already in the public domain, which makes Lenny’s copyright infringement complaints dubious, as well as highly selective. He doesn’t want some bloggers and YouTubers to publish those images, but it’s okay if others do — including the people who put up an iconic image of Noah as one of the victims of another school shooting thousands of miles away in Peshawar, Pakistan, two years after Sandy Hook.

In other words, given the wide availability of Noah’s images on the Internet, it is not unreasonable for Tracy to ask that Lenny produce proof of his copyright claim. That precisely was the objective of the March 30, 2015 letter that Tracy sent to Lenny via USPS certified mail, which was certified in order that Tracy be assured that his letter was properly delivered and received. Below is the letter (click here for the letter in PDF format):

Tracy letter to Pozner1Tracy letter to Pozner2Tracy letter to Pozner3

In his letter, Tracy recounted that he had received an email from his Internet service provider of Lenny’s copyright infringement complaint for an image of Noah that was published in a January 2, 2015 post on Memory Hole. Tracy noted that the image in question, “in addition to its broad circulation following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre event on December 14, 2012, was published by British Broadcasting Corporation and numerous other outlets, receiving similar worldwide circulation due to its inclusion in worldwide coverage of the December 16, 2014 Taliban attack on the Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar Pakistan.”

Tracy then said that he had complied with Lenny’s request and “voluntarily removed the image in question.” However, since Lenny has made numerous similar copyright complaints, all directed against “parties that have publicly questioned and analyzed the Sandy Hook massacre event,” which has “the potential weight to stifle free speech and the traffic of ideas,” Tracy therefore asks the following from Lenny:

“1. Proof of your identity via copy of a government-issued document, such as a state driver’s license or passport.

2. Proof of your relationship to the deceased party, Noah Pozner, whose alleged photograph appears in the image in question referenced above. 

3. Proof of your ownership of said image via the signed and notarized statement from a qualified licensed forensic expert substantiating your legal ownership of said image, including the date and time of the image’s capture.”

Please note that nowhere in Tracy’s letter did he “demand proof that Noah once lived” or question whether Noah really is dead, but that’s exactly what the Pozners’ op/ed accused Tracy of doing. And on the basis of that false accusation, the Pozners urged Florida Atlantic University to “reassess” its “priorities,” which resulted in FAU’s termination of Tracy’s employment.

If you were James Tracy, having lost you tenured professorship on account of the Pozners’ misrepresentation of what you wrote in a letter, would you not appeal? And since Tracy is no longer employed, if you were him, would you not seek donations by good-hearted people in order to mount a legal defense? Tracy did just that, and on January 25, notified the readers of Memory Hole Blog — his personal, university-unaffiliated blog — of the James Tracy Legal Defense Fund. Where else would he give public notice of the fund?

But even that effort is now blocked. Tracy received a letter from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), dated February 1, 2016, that FDACS had “received information” that Tracy may be in violation of a Florida law, Solicitation of Contributions Act, because he had not registered with the FDACS “prior to soliciting contributions from the public in Florida.” Failure to comply with that law may subject Tracy “to a cease and desist order and fines up to $1000 per violation.”

Please consider donating to the James Tracy Legal Defense Fund, no matter how small a sum, if only to send a message to Tracy that he is not alone in this fight., which has republished Nobody Died at Sandy Hook, which banned, and has now published And Nobody Died in Boston, Either (to both of which James Tracy contributed chapters) have already donated $3,000 to the fund, and will be donating more. There are at least three ways you can donate:

  • By sending a check.
  • With your credit card.
  • Via the Fundly Campaign.

Or by buying Moon Rock Books. To donate, click here. Thank you for your support and generosity.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog