Monday, October 1, 2012

The Weird Legal Saga of John Giduck v. Everybody


- Jason Olé -

John Giduck can be mean to you with a shovel when he is done suing you.

Who is John Giduck? 

John Giduck is a lawyer with a PhD from King’s College in London who has built a career selling books and lectures to law enforcement agencies. 

John Giduck is also a basic training washout who lasted 58 days on active duty before the US Army discharged him.  Giduck is a former lifetime honorary member of the Special Operations Association (SOA). The SOA repudiated and expelled him.  The Special Forces Association (SFA) felt so strongly about John Giduck that it went on the record and formally contradicted any inference that Giduck might be a "former Special Forces officer."

Giduck’s career since his failed attempt to complete US Army basic training has been a massive effort to overcompensate. The American Army did not want him, so Giduck went to the Russians, and Giduck now trumpets his relationships with senior Russian intelligence FSB personnel,  and mischaracterizes his attendance at several "play for pay" adventure camps as authentic Spetsnaz commando training.   Giduck claims to be a member of the Russian Special Forces Brotherhood of the Red Beret Association,  and confides that he spent "18 years in Russia in Russian uniforms with Russian Special Forces."  Giduck uses a certificate that bears an uncanny resemblance to blank certificates available online to prove it.

John Giduck with KGB Lt. General Director Anatoli Kurkov and his wife

John Giduck also claims to be a "survivor" of eight conflicts,  a "multiple inductee into two international martial arts halls of fame,” and a bull rider.

John Giduck so desperately wants to be a commando that he took a holiday from his job running a non-profit community corrections halfway house in 2003 to vacation in the Sudan. Giduck uses such trips as photo opportunities to bolster his manly legend, neglecting to mention that women in religious organizations also make the same trips. Giduck went a step too far in this case, redirecting state and local government funds from his halfway house to rebel groups in the Sudan, providing funds and military advice to them in violation of US government sanctions.

John Giduck also claims to be a consultant to the Chester, PA police department, in an apparent violation of the Pennsylvania State Ethics Act. Giduck asserts that he was “hired to assist in creating the international intelligence section of the Narcotics and Intelligence Unit of the City of Chester (PA) Police Department.” The Chester police commissioner, Joseph Bail, reciprocally claims to be a “consultant” with Giduck’s Archangel Group, which he incorrectly describes as a “non-profit” in his official biography, and a co-author with Giduck of the book Shooter Down. This business relationship violates the spirit if not the letter of the law.

Lying is His Business, and Business is Good

Here is an example of the expertise that John Giduck sells to police departments and to agencies of Homeland Security: 



It goes without saying that Giduck lacks formal training or any depth of expertise in the vast majority of these disciplines. He certainly did not receive such training from US agencies. Biographies of John Giduck archived on the Internet prior to 9/11 claim no such skills or expertise.

In the event that John Giduck received such training from the Russians, he would be obligated to register with the Department of Justice, lest he violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act  (FARA) 50 U.S.C. § 851:

“50 U.S.C. § 851 requires registration of persons who have knowledge of or have received instruction or assignment in espionage, counterespionage or sabotage service or tactics of a foreign country or foreign political party.”

Giduck is not a registered foreign agent.

Giduck allowed himself to be described as a former “Green Beret,” as a “former Army Ranger,” and as "former Special Forces" in his speaker biographies for years.  Here is just one example:

“Presented by: John Giduck, MA, JD, former Army Ranger, and president of the Archangel Anti-Terror Group, is a recognized international terrorism expert and author of Terror at Beslan: A Russian Tragedy with Lessons for America & Yuri Ferdigalov, a decorated war veteran of the elite Soviet GRU Spetsnaz.” 

This illusory experience undergirds Giduck’s public presentations, his books, and his attempts to "consult" for American law enforcement and military organizations. Why US agencies are willing to pay for presentations by a poseur like Giduck is mystifying. 

Many of these events are funded by our tax dollars, which means that exposing John Giduck’s misrepresentations is in the public interest. Here are just a few taxpayer-funded events for which John Giduck was invited to speak:

Michigan State Police Training Academy 
Date: Thursday, August 26, 2010

6th Annual GTOA Training Conference
Date: March 8th-10th, 2010

School Violence: A Global Response
Date: October 21, 2008

John Giduck’s misrepresentations continue to the present day. John Giduck is scheduled to share the stage with a senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official at the following event on 19 October, 2012:

ABCHS General Session 
Presenter: William Flynn, Acting Assistant Secretary, National Protection and Programs Directorate Office of Infrastructure Protection
Additional Presenters: John Giduck, CHS-V

One has to wonder whether DHS endorses its officials sharing the rostrum with charlatans like Giduck. After all, Giduck claims to have significant relationships with foreign intelligence agencies, and he cites these relationships to bolster his false military claims.

Astonishingly, organizers are still booking Giduck to appear at conferences and seminars, despite the deluge of adverse information that is available about him on the Internet.

Are seminar organizers hiring Giduck because he wrote Terror at Beslan? The book has been thoroughly debunked and discredited.  Are organizers hiring Giduck because he is a lawyer with a PhD? No offense, but these credentials are far from unique, and Giduck is no expert on “militant Islam.” Are conference organizers hiring Giduck because of his claimed expertise, purportedly gained from the Russians? Aside from the fact that failing to register with the Department of Justice as a foreign agent is a felony, Giduck’s claimed capabilities are ludicrous on their surface. Giduck is either a felon, or he is a charlatan. There is no other possibility.

Sadly, the inescapable conclusion is that those who are hiring Giduck are either too indolent to research him, or they are apathetic, or they are negligent stewards of taxpayer monies.

Stolen Valor is Theft

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) overturned the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 (SVA)  last June, constitutionally protecting the legal right of valor thieves like John Giduck to claim military credentials that they never earned.

While SCOTUS calls this "free speech," in practice it facilitates fraud. SCOTUS states that "counter-speech," and "public ridicule," are antidotes to the epidemic of Stolen Valor: "The remedy for speech that is false is speech that is true." (United States v. Alvarez, pg. 15.) In the case of John Giduck, the jury, so to speak, is still out. What has not yet been addressed, is whether it is legal for Giduck to profit by lying about his credentials, or to sit silent while others lie about them, particularly when taxpayer funds are at stake.

Addressing this gaping loophole, the House of Representatives just passed a new version of the SVA that criminalizes the misrepresentation of military service with the “intent of profiting personally or financially.” A Senate version will soon be reintroduced.

Giduck’s historical conduct violates both the 2005 and the 2011 versions of the SVA. Giduck rakes in our tax dollars by misrepresenting himself to Department of Homeland Security agencies, police departments, and school security officer associations nationwide. They let him get away with it. They are still letting him get away with it.

When Exposed, What Does John Giduck Do? He Attacks

In Giduck's world, it is legitimate to manufacture credentials when making a buck. Appearing on the same podium as genuine counterterrorism officials or former members of elite military units helps boost his own thin credentials and credibility. Giduck is a master of being “cool by association.”

But it is not ok, in John Giduck's world, for real Green Berets, real Army Rangers, and real special operators to tell the truth about his illusory credentials and his fabricated experience and expertise.

In an emotional counterattack in February, 2011, Giduck publicly posted the personal identifying information of both serving and retired Special Forces personnel on the Internet,  attempting to intimidate those who discussed his lack of experience, formal training, and expertise.

Giduck first focused on MSG Jon Clouse, a serving Green Beret,  sending Clouse a legal “threat letter” that attempted to extort $200,000 from him, and warning him not to sell his house, so that Giduck could attach it to satisfy a legal judgment. MSG Clouse is also a recipient of the Silver Star and the Purple Heart, and a lifetime member of both the SOA and of the SFA.  MSG Clouse was not amused. Neither were his friends.

In response, the SFA underscored its renunciation of Giduck by purging donations that Giduck made to the SFA in the past. Giduck’s donations were redirected to MSG Clouse’s legal defense, and the SFA called for further contributions from its member chapters, from the Green Beret Foundation, and from the Special Forces Charitable Trust.

The real Green Berets now perceive John Giduck clearly, and they have formally declared their animus for him. The special operations community rejects him. The SOA and the SFA have both condemned his serial falsehoods and his litigious character.

John Giduck Doubles Down, and Then Attacks Some More

If you think that you can safely opine on topics of the day on the Internet, think again.  Defamation, slander and libel are always wrong, but when attacking individual Green Berets proved ineffectual, on 11 June, 2012 Giduck sued the special operations community forum SOCNET,  twenty forum members, and thirty John Does that he identified by their forum user names. Mostly Giduck sued them for telling the truth. In some cases, Giduck sued members of SOCNET for breathing, and for being members of SOCNET. Among the SOCNET members named in the lawsuit were uninvolved third parties, like Karl Monger, a former US Army Ranger.

Mr. Karl Monger never posted a single statement about John Giduck. Mr. Monger, who runs GallantFew,  a reputable non-profit organization that benefits veterans, had no connection of any kind to the dispute with Giduck. But Mr. Monger is a registered member of SOCNET. That was enough for Giduck to sue him.

Mr. Monger, like other SOCNET members, none of whom made false, slanderous, libelous or defamatory statements about Mr. Giduck, has been forced to retain legal counsel, and to file motions in response to Giduck's lawsuit.

Giduck's lawsuit asserts:

"The Defendants waged a public campaign of defamation all over the web and through other correspondence in which the Defendants knowingly made false statements about Giduck in an effort to prevent him from being hired as a lecturer and to prevent the sales of his books.

"The Defendants campaign has been successful and largely destroyed Giduck's ability to be hired as a lecturer/speaker/teacher. The campaign has drastically reduced the number of lectures/presentations for which Giduck/Archangel were hired and eviscerated their earnings. The campaign has caused Giduck and Archangel to lose nearly $500,000 in annual profits." (Giduck, et al, v. SOCNET.COM, et al, Case Number 12CV128, Park County, CO, pg. 2.)

Unfortunately for Giduck, the facts are not on his side. Despite his legal background, Giduck’s interpretations of applicable case law are bizarre, so in his mind he apparently had no alternative but to shoot the messengers and to file suit against his critics. Giduck is a public figure who engages in activities that are in the public interest, which makes it more difficult for him to prove that he has been libeled, defamed or slandered.

Giduck's lawsuit, which is a type of SLAPP lawsuit, is intended to chill the First Amendment rights of his critics. Giduck wants everybody to stop telling the truth about him, because it is bad for his business.

Exposing Giduck's lack of formal training, his history with the Russian FSB, and his fantastical connections to Russian Spetsnaz, is legal. Telling the truth about a charlatan who masquerades as an experienced specialist in Counter-Terrorism and Anti-Terrorism is protected speech under the law, just as Giduck is legally entitled to claim to be a Green Beret and a former Army Ranger, even though it is not true. While it may not be nice to call somebody a "member of the unholy alliance of the satanic undead," as Giduck alleges that a member of SOCNET did, that is not illegal, either. (Giduck, et al, v. SOCNET.COM et al, pg. 10; Giduck, et al v. SOCNET, et al, Revised Complaint and Jury Demand, pg. 13.)

Just remember that in John Giduck’s world, it is ok for John Giduck to lie about his credentials and experience, even to audiences consisting of federal agents. It is not ok for real Green Berets, real Army Rangers, and real special operators to tell the truth about him. Do that, and you can end up in the elite fraternity of defendants named in John Giduck’s lawsuit.

“I Know You Are But What Am I?” The Pee-Wee Herman Defense

Giduck's refrain is that "everyone is lying about him," but he fails to rebut any observations made by his critics with facts. Two websites, www.socnetlies.com , which is run by Giduck and his cronies, and www.thetruthaboutsocnetlies.com , which appears to be a semi-satirical response to Giduck's site, synopsize much of the dispute point-by-point.

After spending five minutes on both sites, the reader can weigh whether Giduck actually addresses any factual observations published by his critics, or whether he instead shrouds himself in the flag, proclaiming that he is a "good man" and a great patriot, impugning his critics as both "bad" and un-American.

Giduck insists that he never claimed to be an Army Ranger or a Green Beret. His allies have more carefully asserted on his behalf that he never made such claims “in writing.”  Unnamed "others," Giduck says, made those statements about him, on more than a dozen occasions over a time-span of several years.

Giduck claims that he is not responsible for any false statements that repetitively appear in his conference biographies. Further, in every instance where yet another false claim by Giduck was exposed, he asserts that anyone commenting on the lie was magically aware that the false claim was fake, and that they therefore maligned him.

"Defendants defamation began with Defendants falsely making accusations that Giduck claimed he had special military or other training. For example, Defendants stated that Giduck claimed he was a former Special Forces soldier, even though Giduck did not make that claim. Because Giduck was not a former Special Forces soldier, after Defendants stated that Giduck claimed that he was, Defendants then called Giduck a liar and fraud. Defendants then made false statements about Giduck's credentials. Defendants knew their statements were false when they made them. In fact, Defendants lauded the intense research they had done before making the statements and thus knew they were false." (Giduck, et al, v. SOCNET.COM, et al, pg. 5.)

Giduck's lawsuit is replete with such contortions. Amazingly, the false claim that Giduck is a "former Special forces soldier" still appears on the website of his firm, Archangel, as recently as 19 September, 2012.

Link.

Critics brought this falsehood to Giduck’s attention on his mouthpiece site SOCNET Lies on 2 March, 2012.  Giduck then posted a “disclaimer” on his Archangel site confessing that the assertion was an “error” and that it would be corrected within 30 days. That was seven months ago. In a better world, there would be a statute of limitations on a Stolen Valor lie. (Interestingly enough, there is evidence that Giduck himself, or someone at Archangel, added the words “Special forces” to the review. The original review by J. Bierly appeared on Amazon, as follows: “This is a story of an event almost too horrible to imagine. John Giduck has the credentials to write this book – he is not only a former soldier and expert on Russian history and culture, but he was on the ground in Beslan within hours of the assault.” -Third review from the top- The corresponding sentence on the Archangel site reads, “John Giduck has the credentials to write this book – he is not only a former Special forces soldier and expert on Russian history and culture, but he was on the ground in Beslan within hours of the assault.” Joe Bierly is a former Marine, with a good reputation. He is entitled to his opinions regarding Giduck’s work. We have not yet contacted him to ask him whether his original text on Amazon read “former Special forces soldier,” or whether that amendment was introduced after it was posted on the Archangel website.)

John Giduck: Victim and Legal Genius

Giduck claims that he is the victim of a "campaign" that aims to destroy his business. The irony is that John Giduck is responsible for his own self-destruction. His critics merely catalogue his own words, uttered over a career built on lies. His critics expose the falsehoods in his statements, and then express opinions about them. This is no crime.

Giduck's lawsuit is going poorly. It is premature to forecast an outcome, and the defendants to the suit understand that it is likely that litigation may continue for years, but the district court judge assigned to the case, Judge Stephen A. Groome, ruled on 15 August, 2012 that Giduck's suit "lacks sufficient definiteness and particularity."

What this means in plain English is that Judge Groome agreed with the SOCNET defendants that Giduck's strategy of listing fifty members and then accusing them all of being mean to him, basically throwing legal mud at a wall and hoping that it would stick, lacks judicial validity. ("Order for Motion for More Definitive Statement," Giduck, et al, v. SOCNET.COM, et al, pg. 2.)

John Giduck's response, filed with the court on 14 September, 2012, was predictable. Yet again, his complaint lacked specificity, and with two minor exceptions, which must be adjudicated separately, Giduck failed to hang precise complaints around the necks of most of the defendants. (“Draft Renewed Motion for a More Definite Statement, Motion to Dismiss, 19 September, 2012,” Giduck, et al, v. SOCNET.COM, et al, pg. 3.)

Giduck repeatedly castigates “the defendants,” all of them, claiming that everybody is responsible for everything bad that ever happened to him. Never mind that the members of SOCNET primarily discussed statements that Giduck made himself, about himself. Giduck is the Victim. In Giduck's world, Everybody is a party to the vast global campaign to destroy him and his business with the truth. In John Giduck's mind, it is John Giduck v. Everybody.

Giduck has been immortalized with a dedicated page on the Fake Warriors.org Wall of Shame.  This is an illustrious accomplishment, but not one that John Giduck will likely include in his future biographies for conferences and seminars. Like the statements about Giduck published by the SFA and the SOA, it is easily findable by any conference organizers that plan to hire John Giduck.

Conference organizers should do their homework where John Giduck is concerned. When Giduck is asked about his lawsuit, he reportedly replies that it is “a legal dispute with a few disaffected Green Berets.” When the SOA and the SFA repudiate John Giduck, it looks like more than just a few. It looks like virtually all of them.

Supporting evidence for every statement made above can be found on The Truth About SOCNET Lies.

Or, you can take the long walk, and simply Google John Giduck's name.

John Giduck wanted to be famous. We wish to help him.

Long may he live in infamy.

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  4. Yikes, wish that I knew this when I named my Emergency Management/ Homeland Security consultancy "Archangel Emergency Management Group" in 2001.

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