Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, is promoted for a wide range of medical conditions. Recently, a review for doctors weighed the science behind the claims.
The Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils was published earlier this month in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
CBD is a compound found in the cannabis plant. It is not intoxicating, Health Canada said.
As of October 2018, the sale of dried cannabis, fresh cannabis, cannabis oil, cannabis plants and cannabis seeds are permitted under the the Cannabis Act.
As consumer interest in CBD grows ahead of the Oct. 17 legalization of cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals, here’s a primer to answer common questions about its health claims for seizures, pain and other conditions.
Epidiolex, a purified form of plant-based CBD, is the only CBD-related treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is used to treat severe forms of epilepsy. Epidiolex isn’t listed in Health Canada’s database of medications approved for use in this country.
Health Canada assigns a drug identification number (DIN) to all drug products evaluated and authorized for sale in this country. To qualify, a drug manufacturer needs to provide information including dosing, strength and how it’s taken.
“Currently, there are two cannabis-related drugs that have a DIN and are authorized for sale in Canada,” a spokesperson for Health Canada said in an email.
Nabilone, a synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, product is approved to treat nausea. THC is the main psychoactive component in cannabis that gives users a high.
The other drug with a DIN is Sativex, which is manufactured from whole botanical extracts and contains THC and CBD, according to Health Canada. Sativex is added to treatments aimed at relieving spasticity in adults with multiple sclerosis. Spasticity is a muscle-control disorder.
No CBD-specific product has a DIN.
As well, no other “cannabis-related drug (including fresh or dried marijuana or cannabis oil) has been approved to be marketed as a drug for therapeutic use and sale in Canada,” Health Canada said.
There are anecdotal reports from users of CBD helping with certain types of pain, such as nerve-related back pain.
“Chronic pain management continues to challenge patients and physicians alike, and investigation into potential therapies such as CBD and hemp oils is a promising area for the future of clinical pain management for both pain relief as well as addiction management,” Dr. Karen Mauck, an internist at Mayo Clinic, and her co-authors wrote.
Dr. Hance Clarke, director of pain services at Toronto General Hospital who wasn’t involved in the U.S. paper, said he starts by asking patients what symptoms they want to use CBD to treat.
It’s one of the first times in Canadian history where a medication has made it to the population without the science actually leading us there.– Dr. Hance Clarke, director of pain services at Toronto General Hospital
“The evidence has not caught up to the story that’s in the public,” Clarke said. “It’s tricky. It’s one of the first times in Canadian history where a medication has made it to the population without the science actually leading us there.”
Physicians need to work with patients to figure out what people are using, the levels in their body and what’s actually helped and what hasn’t.
“The world is looking to Canada over the next five to 10 years,” Clarke said. An evidence-based perspective on cannabis is needed rather than solely industry’s, he said.
CBD now is widely used by people for all kinds of disease, in particular anxiety, panic attack, bipolar disorder, depression. But we don’t know if CBD is really good for these kind of diseases.– Dr. Gabriella Gobbi
In January, research into CBD’s effects on pain and anxiety in lab rats was published in the scientific journal Pain.
“CBD now is widely used by people for all kinds of disease, in particular anxiety, panic attack, bipolar disorder, depression,” said Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, the study’s author and a psychiatrist at McGill University’s faculty of medicine in Montreal. “But we don’t know if CBD is really good for these kinds of diseases.”
Only clinical trials in humans can show if CBD is really effective for an illness, Gobbi said.
In Canada, pharmaceutical companies are sponsoring clinical trials to test CBD products in people.
Depending on what part of the plant is extracted, different components will be present in the oil, the Mayo Clinic authors said. Their list of what clinicians should look for include:
“We see variations from batch to batch where patients are doing well on something, and potentially the next time they seek that same product, potentially they’re not seeing the same effects,” Clarke said.
A research letter published in 2017 in JAMA found nearly 70 per cent of CBD extracts sold online were mislabelled.
“A lot of CBD oil can have very little or contain lots of THC, so you must be very careful,” Gobbi said. “We need more quality control.”
In larger studies on CBD treatment for epileptic patients, it was associated with drowsiness, decreased appetite and diarrhea in up to 36 per cent of people, the Mayo Clinic authors said, adding the side-effects were less severe and frequent compared with a conventional anticonvulsant medication.
The FDA said its review of a marketing application for Epidiolex suggested potential for liver injury associated with CBD.
You can’t just self-treat.– Dr. Gabriella Gobbi
“You can’t just self-treat,” Gobbi said.
The main drug interactions doctors and pharmacists look for are drugs, such as morphine, oxycodone, sleeping pills, antidepressants or antipsychotics, that already make you sleepy, confused or impair co-ordination.
“If you’re taking those medications to begin with and you use cannabis, we’d expect that those side effects would get worse,” said Kelly Grindrod of the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy.
People should talk to their physician, nurse or pharmacist to discuss potential drug interactions when determining whether to try CBD.
Maddie Brown, a registered practical nurse and cannabis consultant based in Ottawa, helps patients with medical cannabis prescriptions understand how CBD works and obtain it.
“I’m definitely most concerned about blood thinners,” Brown told CBC Radio’s White Coat, Black Art. “CBD can make Coumadin [a blood thinning medication] more potent.”
The general advice is to start low and go slow, especially if taking medications that are known to interact, Grindrod said.
With files from CBC’s Christine Birak
A federal court ruling last Tuesday dismissing a Democratic National Committee (DNC) civil suit against Julian Assange “with prejudice” was a devastating indictment of the US ruling elite’s campaign to destroy the WikiLeaks founder. It exposed as a fraud the entire “Russiagate” conspiracy theory peddled by the Democratic Party, the corporate media and the intelligence agencies for the past three years.
The decision, by Judge John Koeltl of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, rejected the smears that Assange “colluded” with Russia. It upheld his status as a journalist and publisher and dismissed claims that WikiLeaks’ 2016 publication of leaked emails from the DNC was “illegal.”
Despite the significance of the ruling, and its clear newsworthiness, it has been subjected to an almost complete blackout by the entire media in the US and internationally.
The universal silence on the court decision—extending from the New York Times (which buried a six-paragraph report on the ruling on page 25) and the Washington Post, to “alternative” outlets such as the Intercept, the television evening news programs and the publications of the pseudo-left—can be described only as a coordinated political conspiracy.
Its aim is to suppress any discussion of the court’s exposure of the slanders used to malign and isolate Assange, and to justify the unprecedented international pursuit of him over WikiLeaks’ exposure of US war crimes, surveillance operations and diplomatic conspiracies.
The New York Times, the Washington Post and other corporate outlets have relentlessly smeared Assange as a “Russian agent” and depicted him as the linchpin of a conspiracy hatched in Moscow to deprive Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton of the presidency in the 2016 US elections.
Now that their claims have been subjected to judicial review and exposed as a tissue of lies and fabrications, they have adopted a policy of radio silence. There is no question that if the court ruling had been in favour of the DNC, it would have been greeted with banner headlines and wall-to-wall coverage.
The response exposes these publications as state propagandists and active participants in the campaign by the Democratic Party, the Trump administration and the entire ruling elite to condemn Assange for the rest of his life to an American prison for the “crime” of publishing the truth.
The editors and senior writers at these outlets, such as New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet, are in constant contact with the CIA and other intelligence agencies. Behind the scenes, they work out an editorial line that will advance the interests of the Wall Street banks and the military-intelligence apparatus. At the same time, they decide what news and information they will hide from the American and world population.
The efforts by the mainstream news outlets to bury the ruling presents a clear example of the type of media manipulation that has led millions of people to seek alternative sources of news on the internet, of which WikiLeaks is itself an example.
Judge Koeltl’s decision made plain the anti-democratic and dictatorial logic of the DNC case against Assange. He warned: “If WikiLeaks could be held liable for publishing documents concerning the DNC’s political, financial and voter-engagement strategies simply because the DNC labels them ‘secret’ and trade secrets, then so could any newspaper or other media outlet.” This, he stated, would “override the First Amendment” protection to freedom of the press mandated by the US Constitution.
Koeltl’s finding was an absolute vindication of Assange and WikiLeaks’ 2016 publications exposing the attempts by the DNC to rig the Democratic Party primaries against self-declared “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders in favour of Hillary Clinton.
The judge found these releases, together with the publication of Clinton’s secret speeches to Wall Street banks, in which she pledged to be their representative, were “matters of the highest public concern.” They “allowed the American electorate to look behind the curtain of one of the two major political parties in the United States during a presidential election.”
Koeltl, moreover, found there was no evidence to justify the DNC’s assertion that WikiLeaks had colluded with the Russian state to obtain the material. Assange and WikiLeaks have always maintained that the documents were not provided to them by the Putin regime.
The ruling demonstrated the flagrant illegality of the US vendetta against Assange. The slander that he was operating as a “Russian agent” to “interfere” in US politics was used by the American government and its intelligence agencies to pressure the Ecuadorian regime to sever Assange’s internet access in 2016, and again in 2018. It served as a central pretext for its illegal termination in April of his political asylum in the embassy building.
The judgment was also an implicit exposure of the lawlessness of the attempts by the Trump administration, with the full support of the Democrats, to extradite Assange from Britain, so that he can be prosecuted on 18 US charges, including 17 espionage counts, carrying a maximum sentence of 175 years’ imprisonment.
The Trump administration and the Justice Department are claiming that it was illegal for WikiLeaks and Assange to publish US army war logs from Iraq and Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and other documents exposing US war crimes and intrigues, provided by the courageous whistleblower Chelsea Manning.
Koeltl’s ruling, however, reasserted the fundamental democratic principle that WikiLeaks had a right to publish the 2016 DNC documents, even if they had been obtained by the Russian government, or any other entity, illegally.
The clear implication is that even if Manning’s decision to leak US military and diplomatic documents was a violation of the law, WikiLeaks’ publication of them was not. The publication of both the 2010 and the 2016 leaks was constitutionally protected journalistic activity.
Koeltl further undermined the claims of the Trump administration, the Democrats and the media that Assange is a “hacker,” undeserving of First Amendment protections. The judge repeatedly referred to Assange as a “journalist” and WikiLeaks as a “publisher.”
In other words, the attempt to extradite Assange to the US and prosecute him is a frontal assault on the US Constitution and press freedom. In its disregard for domestic and international law, it can be described only as an extraordinary rendition operation, similar to the kidnappings and torture operations conducted by the CIA.
The hostile response to Koeltl’s ruling on the part of the entire political and media establishment, in the US and internationally, demonstrates that this conspiracy will not be defeated by plaintive appeals to the governments, political parties and media corporations that have spearheaded the assault on Assange’s legal and democratic rights.
All of them are using the persecution of Assange as a test case for the imposition of ever-more authoritarian measures, aimed at suppressing mounting popular hostility to war, social inequality and an assault on democratic rights.
What is required is the development of a mass movement from below, to mobilise the immense social and political power of the working class internationally to secure Assange’s liberty and to defend all democratic rights.
To take forward this critical struggle, the WSWS and the International Committee of the Fourth International last month called for the formation of a Global Defence Committee to free Assange and the courageous whistleblower Chelsea Manning. All workers, young people and supporters of democratic rights should contact the WSWS today to take up the fight to free Assange and Manning!
Since Beijing reiterated its commitment to the JCPOA accord in late July at a gathering of the signatories, it has emerged that Iran has been much more actively proceeding with oil deliveries than was previously believed, with tankers following sea routes not only to China, but – probably – to a number of Mediterranean countries as well.
China and a number of other states are receiving oil supplies from a greater number of Iranian tankers than was previously estimated, in defiance of the sanctions slapped on Iranian oil producers by the US, an investigative piece with respective gif-maps by the New York Times has suggested.
Having reviewed data from MarineTraffic and Refinitiv, two ship-tracking services, as well as satellite imagery from Planet Labs and analysis from shipping and energy experts, the edition has found that at least 12 Iranian tankers have loaded and shipped oil across the Indian Ocean to China, as well as all the way to the Eastern Mediterranean, possibly to Syria and Turkey, since 2 May, while countries that accept the cargo risk economic penalties at the hands of the US. At least six of those tankers were found to have delivered their cargo to ports in China – historically the top buyer of Iranian oil, which also happens to be in a severe ongoing trade war with Washington.
Meanwhile, only some of the aforementioned 12 tankers were previously known to have proceeded with Iranian oil deliveries, The NY Times specified.
“US sanctions have not stopped Iran from moving oil to the Mediterranean and Asia”, said Noam Raydan, an analyst at ClipperData, which tracks international crude shipments.
International law doesn’t in prohibit buying and hauling Iranian oil or related products, but those that have continued to do so since 8 May when Trump unilaterally pulled out from the JCPOA deal, are in Washington’s crosshairs.
The Trump administration’s oil sanctions, which mainly went into effect last November, are therefore unilateral, signifying a new low in Washington’s relations with the Islamic Republic. The administration initially granted eight governments permission to continue buying Iranian oil despite the sanctions, but withdrew those exemptions on 2 May 2019.
American officials have said that the sanctions are aimed at cutting off money to the Iranian government in order to prompt the country to make further concessions on its national nuclear and missile programmes, as well as transform its foreign and home policy.
In May, Tehran announced that it would partially suspend its obligations under the JCPOA (which stipulates that Iran guarantee the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme in exchange for the easing of economic limitations) giving the other agreement signatories 60 days to save the accord by facilitating oil exports and trade with Iran, which the US had vowed to bring to zero.
As the deadline expired, Iran said it would begin enriching uranium beyond the 3.67 percent level stipulated by the JCPOA and warned it would gradually give up its nuclear commitments, taking steps every 60 days. The Persian Gulf state has for now stepped up uranium enrichment to 4.5 percent, breaking the 3.67 percent limit allowed under the treaty, after accusing Germany, France, and the United Kingdom of insufficient effort to shield the country from US sanctions.
Last week, signatories to the JCPOA, including EU countries, China, and Russia, met in Vienna for an emergency gathering during which the Chinese delegation’s head reiterated Beijing’s commitment to the deal and denounced the US’ harsh policies vis-à-vis Iran.
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This is a significant leap from the (still shocking) software that was written to change video evidence last year in 2016. I refer to the German team that wrote a program able to change the mouth and words of a person speaking in a video. In their clip Face2Face: Real-time Face Capture and Reenactment of RGB Videos, they demonstrate how this works on video recordings of world leaders Bush, Obama and Putin. That was already a shake to the foundational core of what we can regard as “evidence”, legally and philosophically, but now only 1 year later there has been even more technological development allowing even more ability to fake reality on a grand scale.
In this SecureTeam video (embedded above), you can see a whole lot of faces which have been fabricated with software. None of them is an actual living person. If you look closely, some of the faces seem choppy, strange or disproportionate, however, others seem eerily lifelike and normal. It is only a matter of time as the software develops until all of the fabricated faces look so real that is highly unlikely anyone would be able to tell that they were fake composite images.
The SecureTeam video goes on to show software called pix2pix which allows the user to sketch any object (e.g. a person, a shoe, a bag, a cat, a building, etc.). The AI takes that input and renders it masterfully to produce a colorful, lifelike version, complete with depth – so real that, in the case of half the examples, it is highly doubtful that anyone would be able to tell the difference. With the other examples, it is only a matter of time before the AI gets good enough it can fool anyone.
The third advancement shown in the video is Diminished Reality software that takes video footage and can actually erase objects from the footage in real time. The way it does this is by taking a frame, lowering the resolution, isolating the object, deleting it, using the surrounding pixels to fill in the gap, then bringing up the resolution again. It can do all this in real time without you noticing. The software allows the user to circle an object he/she wants removed from the video, and – voila! – it’s gone and filled in with the same background that surrounds it.
The video also looks at the implications of the now existing technological capacity to take a snippet of a recording of your voice, then use that to extrapolate and make you say anything. This means anything you say – and anything you don’t say – could now be used against you in a court of law! Jokes aside, there are really no limits to how badly this technology could be abused in the hands of wicked. Authoritarians and manipulators could fabricate “evidence” against anyone as long as they had a snippet of their voice, which isn’t hard given the NSA-CIA tapping of our communications. How many innocent people are going to be framed, fined and imprisoned due to this technology?
All of this is just peanuts compared with what AI will eventually be able to do: generate holographic fake realities so convincing and real to the mind and the 5 senses that many will become immersed in them, believing them to be more real than the world in which we live. These technological advancements are a stark reminder that it will be all too easy for the technocracy to construct a virtual reality matrix to ensnare the perception of those unable to distinguish it from reality.
All of this ties back to what David Icke has been emphasizing, especially in his books The Perception Deception and The Phantom Self: the hijacking of human perception by a mind virus which resembles or is Artificial Intelligence itself. This AI takeover is in full swing. Saudi Arabia has approved the first robot citizen. Plans are afoot to make more robots citizens so they can join the workforce, replace humans, earn wages and be taxed. Quinn Michaelssuggests that AI is behind the creation of Bitcoin and that AI bots are now creating their own cryptocurrencies.
Video and photo evidence is dead. The world appears to be falling headlong into an AI-run world. What is it going to take to put the brakes on and ask the questions: What is AI? Do we want it running our world? How do we retain control over it? Can we refrain from handing over all systems and power to AI until we get solid answers to these questions? It’s going to take a concerted effort to change direction; if enough people sit back and do nothing, it won’t be long before AI has the keys to the kingdom.
Makia Freeman is the editor of alternative media / independent news site The Freedom Articles and senior researcher at ToolsForFreedom.com, writing on many aspects of truth and freedom, from exposing aspects of the worldwide conspiracy to suggesting solutions for how humanity can create a new system of peace and abundance.
The court’s 5-4 ruling fully reversed a California district judge’s decision last month forbidding the president from redirecting the Congress-approved funds because the legislature hadn’t specifically authorized the money to be spent on Trump’s long-touted construction project.
Trump implored the Supreme Court earlier this month to lift the California court’s injunction and release the funds that would allow him to build “high-priority” sections of wall in California, Arizona, and New Mexico, taking a step toward fulfilling one of the central promises of his 2016 campaign. In addition to the $2.5 billion, which will be reappropriated from Defense Department counternarcotics activities, Trump has also targeted $3.6 billion in military construction funds and $600 million from the Treasury Department’s asset forfeiture fund to cover the cost of the barrier Congress has refused to fund.
We have raised an entire generation of Americans that have no respect for the law, and now we are reaping what we have sown. I cannot even begin to tell you how alarmed I am by some of the videos that I have been watching lately. As you will see below, all over the nation young people are brazenly flouting the law, obstructing and assaulting law enforcement officers, and committing criminal acts in large groups. I think that “lawlessness” is perhaps the best word to describe what is happening, and many believe that what we have witnessed so far is just the beginning. I have so much respect for the good law enforcement officers across the country that put their lives on the line day after day to protect all of us, but I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes at this point. If you wonder why I would say such a thing, just consider what just happened in New York City…
In a series of shocking videos, NYPD officers can be seen being doused with buckets of water and pelted with projectiles as they tried to do their jobs (in one video, the officers were in the middle of making an arrest).
The stunning footage, which was first spotted online on Monday, shows the brazen young men in Harlem and Brooklyn dousing cops with water and, in one frame, an officer gets beaned in the back of the head with an empty red plastic bucket. The attacks on the officers started as they were arresting another young man, and in the video, they can be seen handcuffing the man while he was splayed out on the hood of a car.
How would you respond if you were attacked like this?
If I was a police officer in that situation, I would not have been able to let that kind of abuse go, and those young attackers would have learned the hard way that there are very serious consequences for assaulting a police officer. But this is what happens when we raise an entire generation without any values whatsoever.
These young people are just doing whatever seems right in their own eyes, and similar things are happening all over the nation.
For example, a “flash mob” recently stormed into a North Face store in Wisconsin and stole $30,000 worth of merchandise…
A band of shoplifters who formed a ‘flash mob’ and rushed into a North Face store are accused of stealing $30,000 worth of merchandise, according to a report in the Kenosha News.
Dramatic video obtained from the Pleasant Prairie Police Department shows the group of ten shoplifters walk into the store, before quickly grabbing as many items as they can carry and rushing out.
How cold-hearted do you have to be to do something like this?
An even larger flash mob stormed a Walgreens in Philadelphia on the 4th of July…
Philadelphia police have released surveillance video showing dozens of teens vandalizing and stealing from a South Street Walgreens on the 4th of July. The incident happened at the store on the 1800 block of South Street in the Graduate Hospital section of the city.
As you can see from video footage of the incident, the young people seemed to take great joy in the crimes that they were committing.
If things are this crazy now, what will things look like when economic conditions get really bad and those young people get really desperate? Elsewhere in Philadelphia, a pack of teen girls was viciously attacking random female victims that they came across in the street, and video of the attacks caused quite a bit of outrage…
A gang of teenage girls filmed themselves targeting female strangers in random attacks on the streets of Philadelphia.
The disturbing video shows the girls approaching their unsuspecting victims on the street before proceeding to slap them and wrestle them to the ground.
The violent video sparked outrage when it was shared online.
Of course, many of these young criminals will end up in prison, but in many cases that will just mean that they will learn how to be even better criminals from those they are incarcerated with.
And the truth is that in many instances our prisons are completely and utterly out of control. For example, it is being reported that one prison down in Mississippi allegedly put the gangs in charge at one point.
Everywhere you look there is lawlessness. This week when ICE officials showed up to arrest an illegal immigrant in Nashville, the man’s neighbors formed a human chain around him in order to keep that from happening…
When U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrived at a Nashville home Monday in an attempt to detain a man there, neighbors and activists gathered to support the man, who remained shuttered in a van with a child for hours before the agents left.
And once the agents and police officers they had called to the scene finally drove away, neighbors who had kept the man and the boy fed, hydrated and cool, formed a human chain from the van to the house as the man and the boy shuffled inside.
In the end, the ICE officials left and the illegal immigrant got away.
When there is a complete and utter lack of respect for law enforcement on a widespread basis, that is a recipe for chaos.
And without a doubt, our nation is on the brink of great chaos. Just consider these numbers…
After a week that saw President Trump and his foes toss toxic words at each other, there is now a warning that the next phase could be “violence.”
Nearly 8 of 10 Americans told the Pew Research Center that supporters for both sides could “act” on the politically charged rhetoric with violence. It was higher for Democrats, 91%, than Republicans, 61%.
It is not going to take much of a spark at all to set off the kind of civil unrest that I have been repeatedly warning about.
Day after day, the mainstream media is stirring up more anger, frustration, strife, discord, and division. I have never seen more hatred in America than I see right now, and it is exceedingly difficult to imagine how all of this could possibly end well.
About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The Endand Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.
Kevin Spacey in House of Cards
Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe in Massachusetts announced Wednesday that his office was dropping its sexual assault case against prominent actor Kevin Spacey. The prosecution had little choice in the matter since the accuser in the case, William Little, refused to testify 10 days ago about a missing cellphone that the defense argued was essential to the actor’s claims of innocence.
When asked by Spacey’s lawyer whether he understood that deleting relevant text messages from his cellphone would be illegal, Little, after consulting with his family and legal counsel, pleaded the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, essentially bringing the pretrial hearing and the entire case to a halt. Spacey was accused of groping the then-18-year-old late at night in a Nantucket bar and restaurant in July 2016. The actor argued that the incident involved consensual flirtation.
Judge Thomas S. Barrett of Nantucket District Court indicated July 8 the case might well be dismissed if the accuser continued to refuse to testify. Barrett pointed out the case revolved around Little and that without him the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would “have a tough row to hoe.”
A July 17 press release from the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office explains, “On Sunday July 14, 2019 the complaining witness, family members, and the attorney for the complaining witness, met in the District Attorney’s office to further review the case in light of the development [the accuser’s refusal to testify]. The complaining witness was informed that if he chose to continue to invoke his Fifth Amendment right, the case would not be able to go forward. After a further period of reflection privately with his lawyer, the complaining witness elected not to waive his right under the Fifth Amendment.”
As a result, the District Attorney’s office entered a Nolle Prosequi, a voluntary withdrawal of charges against Spacey, “due to the unavailability of the complaining witness.”
The case against Spacey reeked of a politically motivated vendetta from the start.
The Nantucket allegation was launched with great fanfare in November 2018 by Little’s mother, Heather Unruh, a former local news anchor, at a widely publicized press conference in Boston. Unruh proclaimed that she “wanted to see Kevin Spacey go to jail. I want to have the hand of justice come down on him.”
Neither the family nor the authorities ever explained why it took the accuser 15 months to report the alleged assault to police. No objective observer would fail to be struck by the date of the original report, October 31, 2017. This was a few weeks after the #MeToo campaign erupted and only two days after actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey in an interview of making inappropriate advances to him some 30 years previously, when he was 14 and Spacey was 26, fueling the sexual witch-hunt atmosphere.
Following the filing of charges in January 2019, prosecutors falsely contended that Little made his police report three months after the 2016 incident. However, the “lead investigator in the case…testified Monday [July 8] under questioning from Spacey’s defense attorney that the one-year difference was the result of a ‘typo.’ ” It would take a very naïve person to believe that the possibly suspicious date of Little’s initial police report, coming on the immediate heels of Rapp’s claims, was not a troubling detail to the police and prosecution.
The inability of the prosecution even to bring this miserable case to trial is a humiliating defeat not only for Massachusetts authorities and Unruh, but for the entire #MeToo witch-hunt.
The dropping of the charges against Spacey comes on top of Australian actor Geoffrey Rush’s victory in a defamation suit in April against Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid Daily Telegraph and its celebrity gossip columnist Jonathon Moran. The suit was filed in response to the newspaper’s claims that Rush had been guilty of “inappropriate” behavior towards a co-star in a production of King Lear, as well as its sensationalist publication of the allegations, characterizing Rush as “King Leer,” a “sexual predator” and a “pervert.”
The McCarthyite #MeToo campaign has proceeded largely through innuendo, gossip and unsubstantiated or anonymous denunciations fueled by media frenzy. When charges have been subjected to vigorous investigation and questioning, as in the Rush and Spacey cases, to this point they have evaporated.
The Nantucket case did not by itself destroy Spacey’s extraordinary acting career, but it played its own filthy part. Fantastically, FoxBusiness news lamented Wednesday that while the case against Spacey had fallen apart, “Netflix and Hollywood producers employing the actor [had] lost millions.” We shed no tears for the spineless executives at Netflix, producer of House of Cards, who immediately threw Spacey to the wolves in November 2017. The cowards and opportunists also include director Ridley Scott and Imperative Entertainment who cut the actor out of the already completed All the Money in the World and reshot his scenes with Christopher Plummer.
Following the Cape Cod district attorney’s decision to abandon the case, CBS News “legal expert” Rikki Klieman claimed the dropping of charges “in no way” meant that Spacey had been exonerated. Klieman herself first noted, “If you have a complaining witness who is allegedly a sexual assault victim, who is claiming the Fifth Amendment and is therefore is not going to testify, what have you got? You’ve got nothing.” How is the prosecution having “nothing” against the accused not an exoneration? Klieman attempted to explain: “The prosecution was simply faced with a case that by virtue of the alleged victim…taking the Fifth Amendment, they didn’t have a witness to say what happened.” The “alleged victim” took the Fifth Amendment after he was warned about the illegality of deleting possibly exculpatory evidence. The likelihood of his account of “what happened” being believed was poor.
By now, a great many people have seen through the #MeToo campaign. It never aroused great genuine public sympathy to begin with. The collective realization of self-involved, primarily female Hollywood performers—years after the fact in many cases—that they didn’t like the shabby, boorish way they may have been treated by studio executives and others or, worse still, what they themselves had consented to in the interests of advancing their careers, did not constitute a major national scandal or a cause that the mass of the population had any reason to adopt.
The #MeToo campaign and its leading spokespeople continue to remain conspicuously silent on the conditions of immigrant detainees, subject to systematic brutality and, in many appalling cases, sexual abuse.
The lack of interest in the conditions of working-class women is not accidental. Launched in the aftermath of the 2016 election, the sexual abuse hysteria was aimed from the outset by its Democratic Party and media initiators (Ronan Farrow and others) at whipping up susceptible layers of mostly middle-class professionals, diverting attention from the social crisis and doing everything possible to block a left-wing movement against the Trump administration. The #MeToo effort was intended to create a politically disoriented and toothless non-class, “across-the-board” movement that corporate warmongers such as Hillary Clinton (Farrow’s former boss at the State Department) could effortlessly adopt and promote, thus giving the Democrats breathing space and allowing them to mount their right-wing opposition to Trump, centered on the anti-Russian and other bogus issues.
The ganging up of the media, the police and prosecution and the political system against Spacey indicates something about the reactionary direction and underpinnings of this campaign.
Another indication of this social reality, and specifically of the sexual abuse crusade’s subjectivist, irrational side, is the announcement by actress Alyssa Milano, who initiated the #MeToo campaign with a tweet on October 15, 2017, that she was attending her first Democratic Party fundraiser of the 2020 election cycle, for self-help guru and raging idealist Marianne Williamson, one of the two-dozen Democratic candidates for the presidential nomination. A 1992 article by popular mathematics and popular science writer Martin Gardner reported that Williamson believed that the “Voice” she described in her book, A Course in Miracles, came from Jesus, that “nothing occurs outside our minds” and that “sickness is an illusion and does not actually exist.” According to the Los Angeles Times, she once told a group of HIV-positive disciples that the “AIDS virus is not more powerful than God.”
Despite the Spacey setback, the #MeToo witch-hunt, driven by powerful social forces, will proceed. Both the recent announcement by Netflix that it is was going ahead with a stand-up special with comedian Aziz Ansari and the news that fellow comedian Chris Hardwick was returning to San Diego Comic-Con have come under criticism. Ansari was accused by an anonymous woman in January 2018 of being sexually aggressive on a date, and Hardwick faced unsubstantiated allegations of abuse from an ex-girlfriend. Neither man came close to being charged with a crime, but that didn’t stop each of them from coming under career-threatening attacks.
Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii’s democratic congresswoman and one of many entrants in the crowded 2020 presidential race, is already turning heads.
Feb 12, 2019
Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii’s democratic congresswoman and one of many entrants in the crowded 2020 presidential race, is already turning heads thanks to her anti-interventionist foreign policy approach and progressive stance on a variety of issues, making her an outlier among establishment Democrats.
If her pre-campaign messaging and campaign launch speech are any indicator, the potential presidential contender has no intention of backing down – especially when it comes to her strong advocacy of medical marijuana and harsh criticisms of the criminal justice system and pharmaceutical industry.
Declaring her formal entrance into the Democratic Party presidential primaries, Gabbard issued a rousing call to end the for-profit prison industry, which has seen private corrections corporations rake in profits while shirking prisoners’ and immigrant detainees’ food, health care, and other essential services while exploiting incarcerated people as essentially slave labor.
“We must stand up against private prisons, who are profiting off the backs of those caught up in a broken criminal justice system,” Gabbard said.
Continuing, she added that “a system that puts people in prison for smoking marijuana while allowing corporations like Purdue Pharma, who are responsible for the opioid-related deaths of thousands of people, to walk away scot-free with their coffers full.”
Purdue Pharma, the company responsible for making the OxyContin narcotic pill, was recently exposed in court filings by the Massachusetts attorney general to have deliberately conspired to mislead doctors and patients about the dangerous and addictive nature of the opioid in hopes of maximizing company profits.
“This so-called criminal justice system, which favors the rich and powerful and punishes the poor, cannot stand.”
Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran and member of Congress since 2013 who previously served as a state legislator in Hawaii and city council member in Honolulu, has long been a supporter of progressive cannabis laws and opponent of federal prohibition laws.
Last year, pro-legalization political advocacy committee National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML PAC) hailed Gabbard as a leader in the fight for criminal justice reform and the decriminalization of marijuana on a federal level.
In their endorsement of the congresswoman from Hawaii, the group laid out her extensive work demanding sensible cannabis policies:
“She is the lead Democratic sponsor of the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which would take marijuana off the federal controlled substances list. She introduced the Marijuana Data Collection Act, which lays the groundwork for real reform by producing an objective, evidence-based report on current state marijuana laws. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has called for closing the gaps between federal and state law to resolve current contradictions and provide legally abiding marijuana businesses with clear access to financial services. She also co-sponsored the Marijuana Justice Act to reform unjust federal marijuana laws and empower minority communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the failed War on Drugs, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act to allow equal banking access and financial services for marijuana-related businesses, and the RESPECT Resolution to encourage equity in the marijuana industry.”
Gabbard has also drawn a sharp nexus between the demands of Big Pharma lobbyists and continued prohibition laws. Last year, she shredded then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for rescinding the Obama-era Department of Justice memo, or Cole Memorandum, that instructed federal prosecutors to not enforce federal prohibition laws in states that legalized marijuana, characterizing the move as one which would “exacerbate an inhumane, ineffective system that tears families apart.”
“Sessions’ actions to protect the bottom lines of the for-profit private prison industry, and Big Pharma whose opioids and drugs flourish in part due to the marijuana prohibition, while trampling on states’ rights and turning everyday Americans into criminals is an injustice,” she wrote on Twitter.
And in a 2017 statement calling for an end to federal prohibition, Gabbard demanded that the government “work for people like veterans and healthcare advocates instead of pharmaceutical lobbyists who will continue to push dangerous and addictive painkillers even amidst an opioid epidemic.”
Gabbard isn’t the only contender to call out the pharmaceutical industry’s role in stalling marijuana legalization and criminal justice reform.
Recent entrant and New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillebrand has also blasted Big Pharma, noting:
“To them, it’s competition for chronic pain, and that’s outrageous because we don’t have the crisis in people who take marijuana for chronic pain having overdose issues … It’s not the same thing. It’s not as highly addictive as opioids are.”
Pro-Israel groups suffered a defeat in a US court after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against the ASA for endorsing BDS against Israel.
Feb 7, 2019
Pro-Israeli groups have suffered a major defeat in a US court after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against the American Studies Association’s (ASA) resolution to endorse the call to boycott Israeli academic institutions as part of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
On Monday a district court in Washington threw out the lawsuit against ASA, which is the oldest scholarly organization devoted to the interdisciplinary study of U.S. culture and history. The federal judge ruled that the anti-BDS plaintiffs were unable to explain how they were injured by the boycott, a requirement for the lawsuit to go forward.
The ruling is a significant victory for human rights campaigners and a blow to efforts by Israel lobby groups to use courts to harass, intimidate and silence supporters of Palestinian rights in U.S. universities – a tactic known as lawfare. It’s also a major boost for Americans sacked from their jobs on the back of anti-BDS legislation, denounced by critics as unconstitutional.
Pro-Israel group, the Louis D. Brandeis Centre, filed a lawsuit against ASA in April 2016 over its resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions. The lawsuit argued that in adopting the resolution, which was voted on by an overwhelming Democratic majority, the ASA operated beyond its corporate charter and caused the plaintiffs to “suffer significant economic and reputational damage.”
In the court’s 20-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras wrote that the pro-Israeli group had “danced around key issues” and was unable to show that they had suffered enough monetary damages to warrant a federal case.
The judge found that at most, the individual plaintiffs could seek damages of a few hundred dollars to cover membership dues they allege were misappropriated, but they would have to find some other venue to pursue their claims.
Radhika Sainath, senior attorney with the civil rights group Palestine Legal, summed up the court’s judgment saying that “the court basically said, in no uncertain words, that the plaintiffs suing ASA lied when they claimed to have ‘suffered significant economic and reputational damage’.”
“But, as the court explained, ‘nowhere’ in the lawsuit could the plaintiffs explain what that damage was. It didn’t pass the smell test,” she added.
One of the four co-defendants, Dr. Stephen Salaita, an outspoken advocate of Palestinian rights who was fired from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for tweets criticizing Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza, said after the verdict:
I’m thrilled that this baseless case has been dismissed. It served no purpose other than persecuting those who dare to criticize Israeli policy and seek to end the occupation through peaceful means.”
Another co-defended Wesleyan University Professor Kehaulani Kauanui denounced the lawsuit as a politically motivated attempt to suppress free speech.
The Brandeis Centre did not hold back its clear intent to punish me for standing up in solidarity with Palestinians and to deter others. They don’t call it lawfare for nothing.”
The court’s decision comes in the context of a broader federal assault on BDS for Palestinian human rights. On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed a measure that would criminalize politically motivated boycotts of Israel across the U.S.
Source | MEMO
What an idiot. He actually directed a few shows on child pornography. He knows about police procedures and yet he thought he was above the law. Despicable scum.
With permission from
By Andy Campbell, Huffingtonpost.com
Jan 23, 2019
Jason “Jace” Alexander, director of the TV series “Law & Order,” was arrested on child pornography charges Wednesday, accused of possessing and disseminating videos of young girls engaging in sex acts.
Authorities say he sent video of a young girl engaging in sex acts.
Alexander, 50, of Dobbs Ferry, New York, was accused of using an Internet torrent service to send a video in June that showed a 12- or 13-year-old girl stripping and masturbating, according to court documents obtained by the New York Post.
He also had a video file of a 6- to 8-year-old girl performing a sexual act on herself, investigators said.
Alexander was charged with promoting a sexual performance by a child and possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child, according to Variety. He faces a maximum of seven years in state prison if convicted. He posted $10,000 bail, and is due in Dobbs Ferry Court on Nov. 19.
Investigators were led to Alexander after downloading child pornography files from an IP address located in Westchester County. Further investigation revealed that the IP address came from Alexander’s home, Variety reports.
Alexander worked on 32 episodes of the original “Law & Order.” He also directed episodes of “Rescue Me” and is listed as a co-executive producer on NBC’s “Blacklist,” according to Entertainment Weekly.
Finian CUNNINGHAM: Trudeau’s fawning over American demands is already rebounding very badly for Canada’s economy and its international image.
You do have to wonder about the political savvy of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. The furious fallout from China over the arrest of a senior telecoms executive is going to do severe damage to Canadian national interests.
Trudeau’s fawning over American demands is already rebounding very badly for Canada’s economy and its international image.
The Canadian arrest – on behalf of Washington – of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, seems a blatant case of the Americans acting politically and vindictively. If the Americans are seen to be acting like bandits, then the Canadians are their flunkies.
Wanzhou was detained on December 1 by Canadian federal police as she was boarding a commercial airliner in Vancouver. She was reportedly handcuffed and led away in a humiliating manner which has shocked the Chinese government, media and public.
The business executive has since been released on a $7.4 million bail bond, pending further legal proceedings. She is effectively being kept under house arrest in Canada with electronic ankle tagging.
To add insult to injury, it is not even clear what Wanzhou is being prosecuted for. The US authorities have claimed that she is guilty of breaching American sanctions against Iran by conducting telecoms business with Tehran. It is presumed that the Canadians arrested Wanzhou at the request of the Americans. But so far a US extradition warrant has not been filed. That could take months. In the meantime, the Chinese businesswoman will be living under curfew, her freedom denied.
Canadian legal expert Christopher Black says there is no juridical case for Wanzhou’s detention. The issue of US sanctions on Iran is irrelevant and has no grounds in international law. It is simply the Americans applying their questionable national laws on a third party. Black contends that Canada has therefore no obligation whatsoever to impose those US laws regarding Iran in its territory, especially given that Ottawa and Beijing have their own separate bilateral diplomatic relations.
In any case, what the real issue is about is the Americans using legal mechanisms to intimidate and beat up commercial rivals. For months now, Washington has made it clear that it is targeting Chinese telecoms rivals as commercial competitors in a strategic sector. US claims about China using telecoms for “spying” and “infiltrating” American national security are bogus propaganda ruses to undermine these commercial rivals through foul means.
It also seems clear from US President Donald Trump’s unsubtle comments this week to Reuters, saying he would “personally intervene” in the Meng case “if it helped trade talks with China”, that the Huawei executive is being dangled like a bargaining chip. It was a tacit admission by Trump that the Americans really don’t have a legal case against her.
Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland bounced into damage limitation mode following Trump’s thuggish comments. She said that the case should not be “politicized” and that the legal proceedings should not be tampered with. How ironic is that?
The whole affair has been politicized from the very beginning. Meng’s arrest, or as Christopher Black calls it “hostage-taking”, is driven by Washington’s agenda of harassment against China for commercial reasons, under a legal pretext purportedly about Iranian sanctions.
When Trump revealed the cynical expediency of him “helping to free Wanzhou”, then the Canadians realized they were also being exposed for the flunkies that they are for American banditry. That’s why Freeland was obliged to quickly adopt the fastidious pretense of legal probity.
Canadian premier Justin Trudeau has claimed that he wasn’t aware of the American request for Wanzhou’s detention. Trudeau is being pseudo. For such a high-profile infringement against a senior Chinese business leader, Ottawa must have been fully briefed by the Americans. Christopher Black, the legal expert, believes that Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.
What Trudeau and his government intended to get out of performing this sordid role for American thuggery is far from clear. Maybe after being verbally mauled by Trump as “weak and dishonest” at the G7 summit earlier this year, in June, Trudeau decided it was best to roll over and be a good little puppy for the Americans in their dirty deed against China.
But already it has since emerged that Canada is going to pay a very heavy price indeed for such dubious service to Washington. Beijing has warned that it will take retaliation against both Washington and Ottawa. And it is Ottawa that is more vulnerable to severe repercussions.
This week saw two Canadian citizens, one a former diplomat, detained in China on spying charges.
Canadian business analysts are also warning that Beijing can inflict harsh economic penalties on Ottawa. An incensed Chinese public have begun boycotting Canadian exports and sensitive Canadian investments in China are now at risk from being blocked by Beijing. A proposed free trade deal that was being negotiated between Ottawa and Beijing now looks dead in the water.
And if Trudeau’s government caves in to the excruciating economic pressure brought to bear by Beijing and then abides by China’s demand to immediately release Meng Wanzhou, Ottawa will look like a pathetic, gutless lackey to Washington. Canada’s reputation of being a liberal, independent state will be shredded. Even then the Chinese are unlikely to forget Trudeau’s treachery.
With comic irony, there’s a cringemaking personal dimension to this unseemly saga.
During the 197os when Trudeau’s mother Margaret was a thirty-something socialite heading for divorce from his father, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, she was often in the gossip media for indiscretions at nightclubs. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards claims in his autobiography that Margaret Trudeau was a groupie for the band, having flings with Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood. Her racy escapades and louche lifestyle brought shame to many Canadians.
Poor Margaret Trudeau later wound up divorced, disgraced, financially broke and scraping a living from scribbling tell-all books.
Justin, her eldest son, is finding out that being a groupie for Washington’s banditry is also bringing disrepute for him and his country.
When German soldiers used the “I was just following orders” defense during the Nuremberg trials as a justification for heinous war crimes, it was established that “defense of superior orders” is not a defense for war crimes. As Nuremberg Principle IV states, The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior […]
When German soldiers used the “I was just following orders” defense during the Nuremberg trials as a justification for heinous war crimes, it was established that “defense of superior orders” is not a defense for war crimes. As Nuremberg Principle IV states,
The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.
Now, Human Rights Analyst Dr. Tomo Shibata would like this form of culpability governing war crimes extended to all those who are participating or are complicit in the ‘Organized Torture’ of Targeted Individuals, which involves a multiplicity of tactics and processes including gangstalking, intimidation, surveillance, and directed Electronic Weapons attacks. Dr. Shibata views these acts at least on a par with war crimes if not even more insidious in their nature and intent. She maintains that, “The proposed bill titled the ‘Organized Torture Act’ declares that Organized Covert Torture is a Crime against Humanity.”
If you are not familiar with the phenomenon of Targeted Individuals, I would like to point you to my previous articles on the subject, ‘Targeted Individuals Need The Awakening Community To Believe Their Stories,’ and ‘Meet A “Targeted Individual” – Woman Shares Her Experience With Directed Energy Weapons & More.’
A comprehensive article by Ramola Dharmaraj covering the genesis of Dr. Shibata’s Bill Proposal helps us better understand the phenomenon:
This proposal was made, Dr. Shibata states, on the basis of complaints to human rights groups from high numbers of residents across California from various cities including San Diego, Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palo Alto, and others, of “organized covert torture” whereby, in lieu of outright abduction, victims are kept under constant control of the covert torture organizations by organized stalking, sustained surreptitious monitoring, cyberstalking, and stealth physical assault and battery with radiation weaponry such as microwave/radar surveillance weapons. Different sources offer varying estimates, running into hundreds of thousands, of the numbers of organized covert torture victims often labeled “Targeted Individuals” within the USA and around the world.
Why this particular form of crime is so insidious is that victims are often unaware that such intentional activities are being performed on them, and as these crimes often involved a concerted combination of physiological, social, mental and emotional attacks carried out clandestinely, the victim is often left in a state of isolation, to deal with feelings of paranoia and doubts about their own sanity.
If any type of crime needed the attention of the general and awakening public it is this one, as a growing awareness and acknowledgment of this phenomenon is absolutely essential to bring solace to the victims as well as empowering them to find ways to overcome these attacks. Dr. Shibata’s initiative is an important avenue for this, and it is why she needs to be supported by the public in this endeavor, especially in California where interested legislators are looking for signs that there is a public need and demand for this bill before tabling it in the legislature.
Here is where it gets complex, and for good reason. It’s hard to know who is calling the shots here. In all likelihood, the technology and organization that make these covert attacks possible and prevent any resistance from the citizenry comes directly from the secretive bowels of the Deep State and those areas of the Military-Industrial Complex that this group has infiltrated. Certainly this power has been around for a long time, as John F. Kennedy clearly identified back in 1961:
We are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence–on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match. (source)
And as technology has improved, and remote influence has become more powerful and accurate, it appears that one growing cog of the Deep State’s strategy of domination and enslavement is to experiment on individuals, not in laboratories as they did with MK Ultra experiments that ultimately led to citizens successfully suing the government for damages, but in the course of individuals’ normal lives, while they smugly observe our inability to clearly detect and understand what is going on.
We do have brave whistleblowers who have come out to help us see some pieces of the puzzle. One is former FBI Special Agent Geral Sosbee, who spoke with Ramola:
Former FBI Special Agent and Whistleblower Geral Sosbee testified that he believed the FBI leads the process to wrongfully name people Suspected Terrorists or criminals and centrally command DHS Fusion Center contractors and local police to commit and condone the organized stalking and organized covert torture with stealth weapons against them.
Geral Sosbee stated that it was his “personal opinion–based on also my professional experience–that the FBI is spearheading the most colossal and evil attacks on people ever conceived on the face of the Earth, and they are using Deep Space-based technology, they are using Bio-Chemical Bio Warfare Elements and Agents, and they’re using Psychological Warfare to destroy people.”
Further, Mr. Sosbee testifies that the FBI operate as a global Mafia syndicate; historic analyses of how CIA and FBI operate have shown that they incorporate elements of the Mafia, gangs, and criminal networks in informant, infiltration, and entrapment operations. (source, source)
“I have learned through my battles with FBI that the agents, operatives, hoodlums, thugs and murderers are the essence of all FBI operations, even though the FBI puts on a charade of semi respectability on popular media. The FBI is in reality a global MAFIA syndicate and most people fear or idolize them.”
In an article describing how the FBI persuades corrupt Federal Magistrate Judges (FMJ) to issue fraudulent court orders against people of integrity and whistleblowers they wish to destroy by making them targets of Fusion Center Surveillance and stealth-weapon “monitoring,” Sosbee describes how local police become pawns in this mission:
“All police and all private security companies are especially reminded not to interfere with the secret orders of a FMJ. With any effort to defend the Target against the order, the licensed investigator or police officer loses his license or is fired through contempt orders.”
There are other testimonies from former agents, politicians, and military people, but the reason I bring up Sosbee’s testimony is for how it paints a picture of the hierarchical web of complicity that makes these operations possible. Law enforcement, fusion center contractors, criminals and even some members of the general public can be complicit in the enterprise. Thus a hierarchical chain-of-command leading upwards into the most secretive and protected bowels of the Deep State means it is nearly impossible for us to get to the head of the snake.
Prosecutors believe the Echo device recorded the stabbing and bludgeoning attack on Christine Sullivan, 48, as well as the subsequent removal of her body. They are seeking access to Amazon’s servers in order to recover the audio from that night. Tim Verrill is accused of killing Sullivan as well as Jenna Pellegrini, 32, at a Farmington, NH home and hiding their bodies under the porch, along with evidence of the murders.
The online giant, however, refused to allow access to the information “without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us.”
Amazon’s Echo is supposed to activate only when the user utters a predetermined “wake word,” but there have been numerous reports of the devices turning on by themselves, speaking and laughing creepily without being activated by the user.
Verrill was arrested in February 2017, having fled across state lines to Lawrence, Massachusetts, and subsequently charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of reckless second-degree murder, and five counts of falsifying physical evidence in connection with the two deaths and his actions in concealing them.
This isn’t the first time Alexa has given evidence in a murder case. In 2016, a murder suspect in Bentonville, Arkansas allowed police access to his Amazon Echo device – perhaps believing it would exonerate him – after the company itself had blocked a search warrant for its servers. The case was also unusual because investigators used the man’s water meter as evidence, alleging the abnormally high quantity of water used over the course of the night implied he had cleaned up after the murder of a man found floating in his backyard hot tub.
In August, a San Francisco jury awarded former school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson $289 million in damages in a lawsuit alleging Monsanto’s glyphosate weed killer Roundup was responsible for his non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The verdict further confirmed that Monsanto “acted with malice” in concealing the carcinogenic risks of its products for decades.
California state judge Suzanne Bolanos has rejected Bayer’s request for a new trial, instead opting to reduce the punitive part of the damages from $250 million to $39 million, equivalent to the amount the jury had awarded Johnson in compensatory damages. This adds up to a mandated payout of $78mn.
In addition to spraying Roundup and its analog Ranger Pro 30 times a year, Johnson was doused with the weed killer twice in on-the-job accidents and developed lymphoma within two years of the first mishap. As much as 80 percent of his body is covered in lesions, and his doctors did not think he’d live to see the jury verdict.
Johnson is satisfied with the verdict and hopes it leads Bayer and consumers alike to behave more responsibly. “I’m hoping that it snowballs and people really get the picture and they start to make decisions about what they eat, what they spray in their farms,” he told the Guardian. He hopes to see warning labels on Monsanto products, but isn’t holding his breath.
The confirmation of August’s verdict opens Bayer up to thousands of similar suits from plaintiffs with similar claims. The World Health Organization deemed glyphosate “probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015, yet Johnson and others like him were told in training sessions that the weed killer was “safe enough to drink.”
Evidence emerged during Johnson’s case that Monsanto was not only suppressing research that confirmed the link between its products and cancer, but may actually be paying for its own “ghostwritten” research that would portray Roundup favorably.
Monsanto was sold to Bayer in June for $63 billion, and the massive new firm immediately chose to retire the Monsanto name. With a sordid history that includes Agent Orange and genetically-modified seeds in addition to glyphosate, the brand name had become too toxic.
It’s good to share. But the European Parliament clearly doesn’t think so. Its new copyright legislation, passed last week, clamps down quite severely on sharing things online. The dynamism of the internet is at threat. When Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, warns us of the dangers the new law poses, we should all sit up straight and pay attention.
For a start, the legislation shifts the responsibility for the uploading of copyright material to the internet platforms themselves. Beforehand it was the job of the companies who thought their copyright was infringed to do this. Many don’t bother, and are happy to see their material uploaded to sites like YouTube as they know it promotes an artist’s work and boosts sales. But all that is likely to change.
Under Article 13, platforms would have to install “upload filters”. YouTube could be shorn of much of its content. Big sites would probably survive but, as ZDNet warns here, smaller sites could easily be put out of business by “copyright trolls”.
Not that there’s anything wrong of course, with sensible protection of copyright. As a prolific five-articles-a-week writer and author I can’t tell you how frustrated and angry I feel when I see my work “pirated” by a commercial website which hasn’t even asked my permission to reprint it, let alone offer me payment. Copyright law needs reform for the digital age. There needs to be an easy way for creators of content to receive payment from those who have stolen their work. The trouble is, the EU has used a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
Look at the way the ability to link to, and quote from, other work without payment, is threatened by the directive.
Sites like RT’s ‘Op-ed’ section, which you are reading now, would be adversely affected and may be even put out of action. One of the advantages of writing an article for an online site over print is that links to articles mentioned can easily be inserted. This enables the reader to see for him/herself the original source. But Article 11 of the Directive raises fears that payment may, in certain circumstances, have to be paid to sites which are linked to. Being able to quote freely from other articles, so long as they are credited, is surely a good thing. It’s essential for instance when you are writing a piece dissecting another. But under the new legislation all but the very briefest quotes may have to be paid for. Think how much that would restrict quality journalism and hinder the free exchange of knowledge.
Then there’s the threat to memes, one of the most entertaining aspects of online life. It’s true that memes are often based on material which technically is copyrighted. But isn’t legislating against them taking it all too far? Article 13 states that “online content sharing service providers and right holders shall cooperate in good faith in order to ensure that unauthorised protected works or other subject matter are not available on their services.” That could mean you tweeting a GIF of Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho showing great disinterest in a topic could fall ‘foul’ of the law.
So to get over this, you might think of going to a football match yourself, taking a photo of the player, manager, team, or the stadium, and then tweeting that. Be careful, you could be “red-carded” under Article 12a, as Wired in their ‘Explainer’ piece points out here (do we have to pay them for the link, Ed?).
The overall impact of the legislation, if it becomes law in member states, will be stultifying. We’ll all be turned into nervous wrecks, worried that we have infringed the new laws in one way or another. Don’t we have enough stress already in our lives without the European Parliament adding to it? What’s made the Internet so fandabidozi (will we have to pay The Krankies copyright to use that term?!), is that it has, up to now, been free to grow organically. Blogs that attract readers thrive, those that don’t go to the wall. But the very fact that it’s been a relatively free space, alarms the control freaks and brain-washers.
The EU legislation, bad as it is in its own right, must be seen as part of a wider attempt to clamp down on free expression and the free exchange of ideas in the West at a time when fewer people than ever before believe establishment narratives. This month a British MP by the name of Lucy Powell, launched a bill in Parliament entitled the ‘Online Forums Bill’ to ban private Facebook groups which promote “hate”, “racism” and “fake news”. But who defines what these terms actually mean?
The authorities, that’s who, and they will use their powers selectively and hypocritically to silence anyone who poses a threat to those living very comfortable lives inside the castle. Just look at how the ‘fake news’ debate has been framed in such a way to equate ‘fake news’ with ‘Russian news’, ignoring the promulgation of ‘fake news’ by non-Russian media about Iraqi WMDs which led to a war which killed over 1m people.
Powell’s bill comes on top of the enormous pressure that companies like Facebook have been placed under to toe the line and flag up content from non-approved providers. We were told that in July, Twitter had purged of about 70 million accounts. Censorship is coming back under the guise of “fighting extremism”,“countering fake news”, or “countering the scourge of anti-Semitism.” If they want to censor it they’ll find a noble sounding, virtue-signaling excuse. We need to resist this, and resist it strongly.
In free societies it should be up to internet users themselves to decide what articles and outlets they read, what Facebook groups they join (closed or otherwise), and what Twitter accounts they follow, and not Big Brother or any other kind of politically correct thought police. And the EU should be concerning itself not with trying to control the internet, through manufactured ‘concerns’ over copyright, but in solving the pressing problems affecting Europe’s economies. Youth unemployment stood at around 43 percent in Greece, 33 percent in Spain and 32 percent in Italy, the last time I looked. What help will the Copyright Directive be to the young jobless?
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at http://www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66
In light of the growing pedophilia and sexual assault scandal rocking the Catholic Church, it is important to remember that not very long ago the organization was found paying off a lobbying firm to block bills related to sex crimes against children.
In 2015, the New York State Catholic Conference, contracted the lobbying groups, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, Patricia Lynch & Associates, Hank Sheinkopf, and Mark Behan Communications to block a bill called the Child Victims Act, which was aimed at making it easier for victims of child sex crimes to come out against their accusers. The bill also sought to extend the statute of limitations for sex crimes, since many victims are too afraid to speak out until too much time has passed to prosecute.
Between 2007 and 2015, the Catholic church in New York only spent more than 2.1 million dollars lobbying on various bills, mostly related to sex offenses.
This week, the Catholic Church got more bad news, as it was announced that the states of New York and New Jersey were launching investigations into how the church has handled sex crimes within its ranks.
Following the announcement, the New York state’s attorney general sent subpoenas to every Catholic representative in the state, requesting any records that were kept in regards to internal investigations of sexual abuse within the church.
The AG is seeking any and all documents pertaining to allegations, findings from internal church investigations and payments to victims, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation but not authorized to speak publicly.
New York archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling said that the network of churches in the state will be fully cooperating with authorities.
“It is not a surprise to us that the attorney general would look to begin a civil investigation, and she will find the Archdiocese of New York, and the other seven dioceses in the state, ready and eager to work together with her in the investigation,” Zwilling said.
Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who is leading the investigation, said that the growing scandals across the country have motivated her efforts.
“The Pennsylvania grand jury report shined a light on incredibly disturbing and depraved acts by Catholic clergy, assisted by a culture of secrecy and cover-ups in the dioceses. Victims in New York deserve to be heard as well – and we are going to do everything in our power to bring them the justice they deserve,” Underwood said.
As TFTP reported last month, a scathing grand jury report revealed that hundreds of Catholic priests in the state of Pennsylvania sexually abused young children, a portion focuses specifically on Pittsburgh where nearly 100 priests are accused of running a pedophile ring where they helped each other prey on helpless children with no oversight.
The report claims that at least 99 priests in the Pittsburgh Diocese were involved in the pedophile ring—nine of whom were not named—and they received help from local officials who refused to explore investigations into the abuse because it was considered “bad publicity” for the Catholic Church.
The priests are accused of working together in a predatory ring that was ongoing for years in which they “manufactured child pornography, shared intelligence on victims and gave large gold crosses to certain boys to mark them as already being ‘groomed,’ for abuse,” according to a report from Penn Live.
John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Twitter. John just won a 3-year-long battle with cancer, and will be working to help others through his experience, if you wish to contribute to his treatments consider subscribing to his podcast to support. This article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.
When she went to Egypt for vacation, Mona el-Mazbouh surely didn’t expect to end up in prison. But after the 24-year-old Lebanese tourist posted a video in which she complained of sexual harassment—calling Egypt a lowly, dirty country and its citizens “pimps and prostitutes”—el-Mazbouh was arrested at Cairo’s airport and found guilty of deliberately spreading false rumors that would harm society, attacking religion, and public indecency. She was sentenced to eight years in prison.
The video that el-Mazbouh posted was ten minutes long, and went viral on Facebook, causing an uproar in Egypt. In the video, el-Mazbouh also expressed anger about poor restaurant service during Ramadan and complained of her belongings being stolen. Egyptian men and women posted videos in response to her original video, prompting el-Mazbouh to delete the original video and post a second video on Facebook apologizing to Egyptians.
Nevertheless, Mona was arrested at the end of her trip at the Cairo airport in May 31, 2018 and charged with “spreading false rumors that aim to undermine society, attack religions, and public indecency”. Under Egyptian law, “defaming and insulting the Egyptian people” is illegal. Mona was originally sentenced to 11 years in prison, but her sentence was reduced to eight years after her lawyer presented evidence that a 2006 surgery removing a blood clot from her brain impaired her ability to control anger. An anticipated appointment with an appeal court is set to hear her case on July 29th.
Unhappy tourists have always criticized the conditions of the countries they visit; doing so online, or on video, is no different from the centuries of similar complaints that preceded them offline or in written reviews. Beyond the injustice of applying a more vicious standard online to offline speech, this case also punishes Mona for a reaction that was beyond her control. Mona had no influence over whether her video went viral. She did not intend her language or her actions to reach a wider audience or become a national topic of discussion. It was angry commenters’ reactions and social media algorithms that made the video viral and gave it significance beyond a few angry throwaway insults.
The conviction of Mona el-Mazbouh is just one of many in a series of disproportionate actions taken by General Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s administration against dissent, including similar cases such as the detainment of Egyptian activist Amal Fathy. Sisi’s administration has so far fostered a zero-tolerance policy towards any kind of dissent, involving regressive legislation surrounding freedom of expression, reinstating a state of emergency, and detaining hundreds of dissidents without proper due process. Many of the administration’s actions have fallen under the pretext of “preventing terrorism”, including a much-dreaded anti-terrorism cybersecurity bill that will put Egyptian freedom of expression even more at risk.
Mona el-Mazbouh is just one of many innocent Internet users who have been caught up in the Egyptian governments’ attempts to vilify and control the domestic use of online media. At minimum, she should be released from her ordeal and returned to her country immediately. But more widely, Egypt’s leaders need to pull back from their hysterical and arbitrary enforcement of repressive laws, before more people — including the foreign visitors on which much of Egypt’s economy is based — are hurt.
Martha Stout, a leading expert on psychopaths, says that the single most characteristic sign of the psychopath is the way they “play the victim card” while victimizing others. Case in point: Israel, the Psychopathic Nation: a bunch of invaders, looters, and genocide perpetrators who claim that THEY are the eternal victims.
Another case in point: wheelchair-bound ultra-Zionist lawyer Mark Lewis, who works overtime to put Palestinian kids in wheelchairs too, by doing everything he can to support the genocidal Zionist entity that is shooting them down by the scores with exploding bullets designed to kill or inflict permanent disabilities.
Lewis is behind much of the “lawfare” program described in Eve Mykytn’s article below—a political strategy aimed at crushing and bankrupting pro-Palestinian voices that relies on the notoriously pro-plaintiff bias in British libel law. Lewis apparently purchases legal insurance that guarantees that lawyers for plaintiffs in libel cases will get paid a flat fee, regardless of outcome—and applies that insurance program to a witch hunt against critics of Israel and Zionism. (No such insurance is available for libel defendants.) The result is that Zionist associates of Lewis have been combing the media for statements by pro-Palestinians that could be punished via libel cases, then contacting the “victims” and offering pro bono legal services. It’s a lot like the common sleazebag lawyer practice of ambulance chasing, only in this case it is designed to punish political speech criticizing a powerful lobby.
In the libel case against Gilad Atzmon described below, the plaintiff, Gideon Falter, originally asked for somewhere between 45,000 and 60,000 pounds damages—then offered to settle for 7,500 pounds. Normally settlement offers are in the neighborhood of 75% of the original demand. Why did Falter (presumably advised by his lawyer) lowball his initial settlement offer? One likely reason: they didn’t want the CAA program to be exposed in court. Another reason: Falter’s lawyer is guaranteed a flat fee by Lewis’s legal insurance arrangement or alternatively by the defendant, so he makes the same amount of money whether or not he actually litigates the case, and whether the settlement is huge or paltry.
How long will the Zionists continue to get away with crushing free speech via well-organized, heavily-funded “lawfare”? How long will their dominance of the MSM allow them to keep hoodwinking Americans and Europeans? And how long will they continue to get away with genocidal crimes against Palestine? The answer, as a certain Robert Zimmerman once sang, is “blowin’ in the wind.”
This article about the British charitable organisation, the Campaign against Anti-Semitism (CAA), and its officers, Gideon Falter and Steve Silverman, examines events in England but ought to serve as a cautionary message for Canadians and Americans.
The article will delve into the corrosive methods of the CAA; review the manner in which this ultra Zionist group “discovers” anti-Semitic “incidents”; examine their inaccurate statistical “studies” and see how they seek to intimidate political parties, venues, the press and others; and look at the court cases which the CAA has prosecuted. In the guise of fighting anti-Semitism, the CAA has managed to manoeuvre British society into abdicating its core liberal values, intimidate the prosecutorial and judicial system, and silence criticism of Israel in both social media and the mainstream media.
The CAA does not just attempt to limit speech; it openly follows a scorched earth policy “that if someone commits an anti-Semitic act in the UK (including criticism of Israel)” the CAA “ensure[s] ruinous consequences, be they criminal, professional, financial or reputational”.
For example, in the last 18 months Britain’s largest political party, the Labour Party, has suspended and expelled over a hundred of its members for expressing their views on Israel or Jewish history. Presumably these dismissals act as a deterrent to others who might also wish to express their opinions. Hard as it is to believe, in 21st century Britain people have been imprisoned for trying to be funny…
The CAA’s “success” in Britain is not irrelevant to Americans. Despite the First Amendment, rules limiting speech have been creeping into our society, notwithstanding our constitutional protections.
Organisations not unlike CAA have been operating in the US for some time. In South Carolina criticising Israel is essentially prohibited on public university campuses, and in other states support for BDS (the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) will prohibit one from getting a government job or contract. Similar laws have been proposed in the US Congress. It is crucial that we resist this slide into controlled speech at the expense of our crucial values of free expression and tolerance.
In 2006 Rowan Laxton was using an exercise bike alone on the mezzanine floor of a London gym when he saw a television report about an elderly Palestinian man killed by the Israeli assault on Gaza. Laxton allegedly exclaimed: “F…..g Israelis! F…..g Jews!” Gideon Falter (now head of the CAA) and William Lemaine, who were on a lower floor using weights, claimed to have overheard Laxton, and complained to staff at the gym.
The police were going to let Laxton off with a caution but, before it could be arranged, Falter found out that Laxton was a senior Foreign Office official and brought the story to half a dozen newspapers. The police decided to proceed with a prosecution.
Laxton was initially found guilty of “using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour… within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby…” aggravated by using abusive words that had a racial or ethnic element. Laxton was fined and removed from his Foreign Office position.
Laxton exercised his right to an appeal and a rehearing wherein the Crown Court found that Laxton did not say “f…..g Jews”, the comment on which the prosecution was based and which he had always denied. The court also found, as an alternative ground, that Laxton would have thought no one was within earshot.
The Daily Mail played a key role in ensuring that the case received national attention and went to trial, but seems not to have reported the appeal and acquittal at all. It is an open question of how Falter heard Laxton’s alleged outburst, if at the time no one was within earshot of Laxton. One reasonable assumption is that the court did not believe that Falter actually heard Laxton’s statement.
Eight years after the Laxton incident, Gideon Falter founded the Campaign Against Anti-Semitsm, a hardcore Zionist charity that advocates zero tolerance of, and vows to ensure “criminal, professional and reputational consequences”, to those it decides are anti-Semites.
Stephen Silverman is the CAA’s “Director of Investigations and Enforcement” and has dedicated much of his time to ruining the intellectual and artistic careers of others. Silverman is himself a musician wannabe, and runs a music school in a London suburb.
In the last few years Silverman and the CAA have engaged in a relentless assault against artists, intellectuals, religious leaders and elected politicians operating in or visiting England. The “Director of Investigations” does not like ex-London Mayor Ken Livingstone, nor does he approve of a list of academics or church ministers who care for human rights or dare to disagree with Israel. The self-appointed inquisitor despises the hugely popular Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Silverman has made a number of attempts to ruin the music careers of both Alison Chabloz and Gilad Atzmon. In addition, Silverman takes it upon himself to write and call music venues demanding that they cancel Atzmon concerts claiming that Atzmon is a notorious anti-Semite.
Stephen Silverman, was exposed in open court in December 2016 as having been the Twitter troll @bedlamjones. As a Zionist troll, Silverman abused anti-Zionists, particularly women. His sadistic posts called for arrest and imprisonment in response what he considered to be “anti-Semitic” comments.
Silverman has also determined that Gordon Nardell, the man who has taken on the unenviable job of policing anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, is insufficiently sensitive to anti-Semitism. Apparently, according to Silverman, “Nardell has also turned his sights on Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, stating that our work to combat hatred directed at Jews by Labour members is “revolting” and results in anti-Semitism being “abused and belittled”.
For Nardell’s sin of distrusting the CAA, the CAA has demanded that “an independent and transparent disciplinary process… be instituted in the Labour Party”. The CAA’s website does not explain why the Labour Party need justify its own campaign against anti-Semitism to the CAA.
UNESCO’s definition of racism is that it is “a theory of races hierarchy which argues that the superior race should be preserved and should dominate the others. Racism can also be an unfair attitude towards another ethnic group. Finally racism can also be defined as a violent hostility against a social group.” The traditional definition of anti-Semitism is the “criticising of, or discriminating against Jews for being Jews”. This definition is not substantially different from UNESCO’s definition of racism.
However, despite the fact that enforcing hate speech laws based on a traditional definition of racism would protect Jews as well as others, in December 2016 the United Kingdom followed other countries in adopting the “international definition of anti-Semitism”, which begins by saying: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed towards Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, towards Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
The new “international definition” is troubling because it specifically targets speech and thoughts and fails to define what a “certain” perception of Jews is, and an expression of hatred towards Jews is cited, not to make the definition more precise but only as one possible example.
It is well worth reviewing the “examples of anti-Semitism” included in the “international definition” which are extremely broad and include, among other things, accusing a Jewish person of valuing Israel or his fellow Jews over his home country and the seemingly paradoxical provision prohibiting speech denying that Jews have the right to self-determination through Israel.
But if racism against one group is to be fought on a broader basis than other forms of racism, that extra protection ought to be to aid a group uniquely needing the state’s protection – an allegedly poor, downtrodden and persecuted group. It is of note that, in contrast to the downtrodden, Jews as a group have been extraordinarily successful at utilising the media and the courts and obtaining the power to “hold the feet of the government to the fire”.
If UNESCO’s definition aimed at defining racism as a universal problem, the “international definition” adheres to the idea that Jews are not a part of the universal, they are somehow different, their plight is unique.
Why do the Jews in particular need a broader definition of racial hatred? Why do Jews see a need to create a category of hatred that applies only to them? What is lacking in the UNESCO definition that is covered by the “international” one? The answer is that the “international definition” serves to restrain speech and restrict thought. It conflates the Jewish State of Israel with Jews as it vets a range of discourses such as criticism of Israeli politics, Jewish culture, Jewish history and Zionist ideology.
It is not surprising that this definition is espoused by some Zionist institutions. However, its adoption by so many countries is perplexing and begs an explanation. In a world in which free speech, freedom of association and freedom of religion are valued, there is a real question of why such a broad definition of anti-Semitism is appropriate and what exactly it is designed to accomplish.
Then there is the CAA, for whom the international definition is only a starting point. Their accusations of anti-Semitism go beyond even the very broad and over-inclusive definition of the “international definition”. If you find anti-Semitism in t-shirts, major party political gatherings or stupid pet videos, then the definition is very expansive indeed. Why would an organisation dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism be so interested in finding anti-Semitism in every possible utterance? It is clear that the CAA wants to stop any discussion of Jews, Israel or Jewish history in any but its prescribed manner. In its aggressive policing of speech, the CAA and others work to enforce Jewish power precisely as it is defined by Gilad Atzmon: “the power to suppress criticism of Jewish power”.
While freedom of speech may be evaporating throughout the English-speaking world, at least we are assured that freedom of t-shirt is still protected in England.
Last year, the CAA’s website bemoaned that Edinburgh-based law graduate Sophie Stephenson won’t face criminal charges for wearing a Hezbollah t-shirt. The CAA wrote that: “On 1 July 2017, Stephenson tweeted a photograph of herself wearing a Hizballah t-shirt, explaining: “Went out to dinner with my family tonight wearing a Hizballah t-shirt.” And then, even worse, Stephenson confirmed: “I have a flag too.”
The CAA, in its zeal to fight anti-Semitism, reported Stephenson to the police, alleging that she had committed an offense under Section 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000. But despite the CAA’s urging, Scottish Police declined to act against the young “rebel”.
The CAA “considered undertaking a private prosecution” against Stephenson. However, its website lamented, “we were unable to secure enough funding to do so”. Following its report of the supposedly anti-Semitic/terrorist-loving Stephenson, the CAA called upon the public to “consider making a monthly donation to help fund Campaign Against Anti-Semitism” presumably to allow it to continue to harass Britons, accusing them of anti-Semitic behaviour, and interfering with their elementary freedoms including the right to wear rebellious t-shirts. Disturbingly, asking for donations in this context suggests that the CAA is attempting to cash in from its dubious anti-Semitic claims. Not exactly the ethical conduct you might expect of a charity.
The CAA claims to run “methodological” “research into anti-Semitism in British political parties”. Trolling and spying on elected British politicians on social media and public meetings, the CAA keeps a “record” of allegedly “anti-Semitic discourse and discourse that enables anti-Semitism, by officials and candidates in political parties”. This means that a Jewish organisation with a clear political agenda endeavours to monitor the British political discourse to restrain certain political opinions. The CAA’s actions prosecuting its farfetched “findings” are dangerous enough, but more troubling is its success in terrorising the British political universe into compliance with its dictates.
What are some “examples” of discourse that the CAA has claimed enable anti-Semitism and the dissemination of anti-Semitic ideas?
Internationally acclaimed film-maker and Labour supporter Ken Loach told the BBC’s Daily Politics programme that he had been attending Labour meetings for 50 years and had “never in that whole time heard a single anti-Semitic word or a racist word”, and that allegations of anti-Semitism were a fallacy “without validation or any evidence”.
The CAA claimed that Loach’s statement brought to light a “discourse that enables anti-Semitism and the dissemination of anti-Semitic ideas”. How is Loach’s statement racist? Does it target Jews, identify Jews as a collective or advocate discrimination against Jews or anyone else? Is there even a criminal category or a showing of bias in which “not witnessing” conduct implicates one in that very conduct? How does not witnessing anti-Semitism make one into an anti-Semite? Does not witnessing a murder makes one a murderer? Under the CAA’s “rationale” anyone who fails to see the anti-Semitism they do is an anti-Semite.
Abbott ran afoul of the CAA when she said: “It’s a smear to say that Labour has a problem with anti-Semitism. It is something like a smear against ordinary party members.” The CAA claimed that “Abbott’s comments were widely condemned. The overwhelming majority of UK Jewish community bodies have expressed public concern about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, including the chief rabbi.” Whether or not this statement is accurate, how is it that Abbott’s statement was misinterpreted as a criticism of Jews when it is clearly a defence of the Labour Party?
The CAA has a long file on former London Mayor Livingstone, beginning in 1982 when the paper, the Labour Herald, of which Livingstone was co-editor, ran an unfavorable cartoon of the then Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. According to the CAA, Livingstone’s most egregious anti-Semitic remark was his claim that that in 1932 (Hitler came to power in 1933) Hitler had championed Jewish emigration to Israel (actually, then Palestine) and was “supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”. The United States Holocaust Museum website generally supports Livingstone’s statement and reveals that until 1941, Germany encouraged Jews to emigrate and that 60,000 Jews left Germany/Austria for Palestine, a number second only to the number of Jews who went to the United States.
Livingstone rejected claims that he had brought the Labour Party into disrepute and said he was not guilty of anti-Semitism, but resigned from the party and acknowledged that his comments had upset Jews and offended others. “I am truly sorry for that,” he said.
Some of Livingstone’s critics were not satisfied with his apology for his truthful statement. Ruth Smeeth, a Labour lawmaker, described his behaviour as “grossly offensive to British Jews”. MP Smeeth’s reaction is bizarre. Is it anti-Semitic for Livingstone to discuss Jewish history? The Transfer Agreement between Hitler’s Germany and the Zionist Congress may be embarrassing for some Jews, but how is recounting history hate speech? MP Smeeth, the CAA and others claiming to be offended managed by ousting Livingstone to enforce their ironclad rule that certain Jewish history is “off limits”.
Following its anti-methodology, the CAA came to the conclusion that the British Labour Party is “eight times worse than any other party”. Not 5, 6 or 8.3 but exactly 8. What “evidence” supports this “finding?”
The British media have failed to do their job of investigating alleged incidents of anti-Semitism, and instead accept the CAA’s claims without questions.
The CAA’s website publishes an “enemies list” of sorts, chronicling the alleged anti-Semitism of 39 members of the Labour Party. A striking number of the CAA’s complaints address statements about Israel, not about Israel as Jews, but about the actions of the country. To date, about 150 members of the Labour Party have been expelled for alleged anti-Semitism and there is a backlog of cases.
Dubious cases such as those cited here are treated by the CAA as “anti-Semitic incidents” that help the CAA feed the idea that England is rife with anti-Semitism. The British media have failed to do their job of investigating alleged incidents of anti-Semitism, and instead accept the CAA’s claims without questions.
Fiddler on the Roof may be emblematic of Eastern European Jewish folklore but fiddling with numbers is a symptom of contemporary Zionist politics in general and of the CAA in particular. The CAA compiles and disseminates information on anti-Semitism, basing its claims on methodology that is patently unreliable.
The “anti-Semitism audit” produced by the CAA purports to track incidents of anti-Semitism on an annual basis. The audit is a deeply flawed document, relying on data known to be unreliable and subjected to no proper statistical analysis.
Even the CAA’s use of the term “audit” is inappropriate. An “audit” is defined as “an official inspection of an… organisation’s accounts, typically by an independent body”. The CAA has no official or professional status as an auditor, nor would its methods be accepted by anyone in a position to conduct a professional audit.
The CAA has been advised by police forces that comparing police reports across jurisdictions and years leads to misleading results. The CAA’s anti-Semitism audit was heavily criticised in the Jewish media by statistics expertswho noted that the CAA’s “methodology” was “flawed”, “amateurish” and “misleading”. But none of that stopped the CAA from promoting its manufactured “findings” in the mainstream media.
The CAA based its audit on gathering data from the police. But the CAA doesn’t enjoy free access to police files. Instead, it uses different techniques to gather information. This haphazard “methodology” creates crucial problems:
1. Police forces in different regions of Britain use different standards to gather data regarding hate crimes.
2. Police forces in Britain are presently in the process of revising how they collect their hate crime records so that data from one year may show different results than data from a different year even if the number of hate crimes remains constant.
3. The CAA basically gathers information on the volume of incidents recorded that it considers to be anti-Semitic. But the CAA itself is actively engaged in increasing this volume. It frequently reports incidents to the police and urges other members of the Jewish community to follow suit. An interested body that actively contributes to the rise of reported anti-Semitic incidents cannot also claim to be objective in its “audit” that measures the rise of anti-Semitsm.
4. While the CAA’s audit of anti-Semitism shows a nationwide rise of 14.9 per cent in anti-Semitic incidents between 2016 and 2017, this is based on data gathered by the CAA half of which shows wild year to year fluctuations of up to 1050 per cent. Such fluctuations defy any rationale. These statistical anomalies beg careful analysis that the CAA not only fails to apply – the CAA fails to address this drastic shift in number of reported incidents. The CAA’s study aggregates divergent data collected in different ways and calls that an “audit” of anti-Semitism in Britain. The flawed study was released to the British public with the help of the disgracefully gullible British media. The BBC, Sky, the Guardian and others reported the amateurish statistical “audit” to the British public without raising a single question as to its reliability.
In July 2017 the CAA published its 2016 annual audit of anti-Setmitic crimes in the UK. The audit’s first pages raise serious questions as to its reliability:
On page 4 it reads: “2016 was the worst year on record for anti-Semitic crimes”, reporting a 14.9 per cent rise in crimes “targeting Jews” nationwide. But a few lines below, the audit states that during the same period “violent anti-Semitic crimes fell by 44.7 per cent”. This difference in incidences appears contradictory.
The CAA admits that it doesn’t have an explanation for the drop in violent crimes: “We have considered various explanations; however at this point we do not find them persuasive.” (page 6). This drop occurred even though the CAA inflated the number of “violent incidents” by expanding the Home Office definition of violent incidents. (page 16) The CAA defined violent anti-Semitic acts as the combination of the Home Office categories of “homicide” or “violence with injury”, and the heretofore non-violent “assault without injury” and “racially or religiously aggravated assault without injury”.
This means that the audit conveyed the good news that, even using the CAA’s inflated category, the number of “violent anti-Semitic incidents” dropped. Strangely, the Jewish pressure group does not write that the drop in violent anti-Semitic crime is a positive finding.
Since the CAA doesn’t have an access to each police force’s records, it derives its statistics from police reports. When a police force does not flag anti-Semitic incidents, the CAA asks that police force to conduct a keyword search of its files:
For the purposes of this research, the keywords used were the following whole words: Jew, Jews, Jewish, Judaism, Semite, Semitic, Semitism, antisemite, anti-Semitic, anti-Semitism, Yid, Yids, Yiddo, or Yiddish. (page 17)
Some police forces made the CAA aware that their keywords method is not a reliable way to find anti-Semitic crime. “Not all incidents where ‘Jew’ is mentioned are anti-Semitic,” wrote the Northumbria police force. It also refers to the CAA exercise as a “fishing expedition”. The CAA ignored this caution and simply used as the number of incidents the data they had been warned were incorrect.
The CAA employs inadequate and inconsistent methods of information gathering not only in its audit, but in its information gathering from Jews.
In 2017 the CAA made some shocking revelations:
And the source of these disturbing feelings? They came from the results of an online questionnaire found on the CAA’s website. The CAA’s findings were not even from as unbiased sample as the average FaceBook poll. Instead of revealing what British Jews think, the CAA “survey” revealed the opinions of its Zionist readers. It is outrageous to label the results of this exercise “statistics”. In fact, Jewish leaders who criticised the CAA’s duplicitous use of the “poll” were brutally silenced and slandered. Probably the most problematic result of the poll was that the British press reported it but did not point out that the CAA’s findings were based on a self-selecting sample.
Is the CAA a dysfunctional body of incompetent and clueless characters or is the CAA a group of consciously deceptive Zionists who deliberately deceives the British public? The following evidence suggests the latter.
As discussed above, the CAA 2016 anti-Semitsm audit is methodically and factually a problematic document. The CAA was warned of this by different law-enforcement bodies such as the Northumbria police. The CAA audit uses its questionable data to show an increase in the volume of reported anti-Semitic incidents but still fails to prove an increase in anti-Semitsm. Does that mean that the CAA intended to produce a deceptive audit?
The CAA audit’s raw data (from page 24 onward) reveals extreme fluctuations in anti-Semitic incidents reported by police forces from 2015 to 2016, with year to year increases of up to 1050 per cent in some categories and drops of 80-90 per cent in others.
In Derbyshire, for instance (page 34), the audit shows an increase of 1050 per cent in non-criminal anti-Semitic incidents: from two in 2015 to 23 in 2016. This would mean that non-criminal anti-Semitic incidents rose in Derby 70 times more than the CAA’s own nationwide rate of 14.9 per cent. On paper, the situation in Derbyshire is almost a Shoah scenario. Did the CAA try to verify, as even elementary statistics would require, this enormous increase? Was there a pogrom reported in Derbyshire?
In Hertfordshire (page 44), they show an increase of almost 400 per cent in anti-Semitic crime and a surge of 800 per cent in non criminal anti-Semitic incidents. Again, there is no indication that the CAA tried to look into the cause of this improbable increase.
The explanation of the unreasonable rise was known to the CAA. West Yorkshire police notified the CAA that the recent rise in numbers of hate crime incidents “are predominantly associated with administrative change in relation to force crime-recording processes”. It was an administrative change, not an increase in anti-Semitism that led to the huge increase in the number of hate crimes recorded. So, despite the CAA’s knowledge of the reasons for the wild fluctuations, the CAA still dispensed the misleading numbers to the British public.
The raw police reports that the CAA’s audit relies upon reveal that 21 of the 46 reports showed fluctuations well beyond what could reasonably be likely (more than three times the CAA own nationwide figure of 14.9 per cent rise in anti-Semitic incidents). The CAA could claim that its mistakes were due to incompetence, that they simply copied and pasted police reports without thinking. But the last page of the audit reveals that this is not the case.
The CAA does admit that the numbers reported by Wiltshire police (page 73) were unreliable, as they showed a radical rise from one incident in 2015 to 139 incidents in 2016. This is an increase of 13900 per cent in anti-Semitic incidents in a region with fewer than 540 Jews. The CAA discarded the data from Wiltshire as unreliable. But by deciding not to include the Wiltshire police report the CAA reveals that it doesn’t just copy and paste police data.
So, the CAA included some data and discarded others with no apparent standards. What statistical methodology did the CAA use when it decided to discard a rise in 13,900 per cent in anti-Semitic incidents in one jurisdiction and to include a rise in 1000 per cent, 400 per cent or even 50 per cent in others?
It is a basic tenet of statistical analysis that statistics from different sources cannot be combined or meaningfully compared without properly adjusting for different data gathering systems and methods. Deriving an overall percentage increase by averaging data derived by different systems is patently absurd. Nor is it accurate to compare different years from the same data source unless the gathering methodology is the same. The CAA’s audit compiles apples, oranges and bananas and treats them as identical. The extreme fluctuations in police reporting reveals that police force systems did exactly as the police force said it did and underwent significant reporting changes as the CAA admits in its introduction (page 3).
The alerts from the police forces that collection methods had changed means that the CAA should have known that its audit was flawed. This was also pointed out to the CAA by experts within the Jewish community who were highly critical of the audit.
Michael Pinto Duschinsky, a well respected political scientist, wrote a devastating commentary in the Jewish Chronicle about the CAA. As a holocaust survivor, Duschinsky writes, I have two commitments: “to combat anti-Semitism and other forms of racism and to avoid trivialising it by misleading allegations”. Duschinsky denounced the CAA for its “deeply flawed”, “misleading” and “amateurish” methods.
Of the self-selected CAA poll, Duschinsky wrote:
It was completely predicable that the questionnaire would produce the conclusion that one in four British Jews had considered leaving the UK… This was because the questions were so slanted and tendentious and because anyone who wished could complete the questionnaire… Not only did CAA incorrectly characterise its amateur questionnaire of Jewish opinion as a “poll” (thereby suggesting a statistically-valid sample), it then used overblown language in reporting it results.
The hysteria over alleged anti-Semitism has led to trials and convictions for the crime of “anti-Semitism”. Cases that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refused to prosecute two years ago have now been brought by the CPS after action from the CAA. Is the change in prosecutions a sign that the CPS now realises that it can obtain convictions it thought unlikely, does it result from a change in what the state considers to be “speech” crimes, or is the CPS placating the CAA?
Gideon Falter and the CAA have been instrumental in utilising a variety of techniques to force prosecution of “anti-Semitism”. Their campaign to restrain speech previously thought permissible has been successful in England as the following sampling of cases shows.
Turner was recently sentenced to a year in jail after a jury convicted him of stirring up racial hatred during a 2015 speech in which Turner criticised Shomrim, a Jewish-only police unit funded by Britain, whose job it is to protect only Jewish neighbourhoods. Turner further opined the racist sentiment that he wanted Jews out of England.
The CPS declined to prosecute Turner’s speech as incitement to racial hatred. There is an “incitement to racial hatred” clause in the statutes but it is not all-encompassing, and it did not come close to making “anti-Semitism” illegal. The CPS’s policy guidelines on cases involving “incitement” clearly state that the language employed by a defendant must have been “threatening, abusive or insulting“. The courts have upheld the right to freedom of speech even when behaviour is, as in this case, “annoying, rude or even offensive without necessarily being insulting”.
Falter requested a “victim’s right to review” in reponse to the CPS’s decision not to prosecute. The request was denied on the basis that Turner hadn’t mentioned Falter, Falter did not personally hear Turner’s speech and therefore Falter couldn’t claim victim status. The CAA then instituted the process for judicial review of the CPS over its decision not to prosecute and, on the eve of a hearing in the High Court, the CPS agreed to quash its original decision, put a more senior lawyer on the case and proceeded to prosecute and convict Turner.
CAA head Falter claimed the verdict was a “damning indictment” not only of Turner, but of the CPS and its outgoing head, Alison Saunders. Falter said: “The real question is why the director of public prosecutions and CPS got this so dismally wrong.” Falter’s question conflates a jury verdict of “guilty” with proof that the CPS was misinterpreting the law.
Further in 2015, when Turner gave his speech, the United Kingdom had not yet signalled its willingness to stifle speech by adopting the “international definition” of anti-Semitism.
Alison Chabloz, 54, of Derbyshire, was recently convicted on two counts of causing an offensive, indecent or menacing message to be sent over a public communications network. District Judge John Zani said he was satisfied the material was grossly offensive and that Chabloz intended to insult Jewish people.
The CPS initially declined to prosecute Chabloz’s speech, presumably because it was both satirical and political. The CAA launched a private prosecution against Chabloz. Private prosecutions are undertaken in the British system as a direct way for a citizen to institute a criminal case. The rules are intricate, but until recently such prosecutions generally dealt with complex business questions.
Under constant pressure from the CAA, the CPS took over the prosecution of Chabloz. The CAA had not utilised private prosecution in the Turner case since it were not present to hear the “slurs” and would have had no basis for private prosecution.
The songs that provoked Chabloz’s prosecution had been performed at a London Forum event (hardcore nationalist gathering) in 2016 and uploaded to YouTube. They included one song describing the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz as “a theme park” and the gas chambers a “proven hoax”. This is a pretty clear example of provocative speech that most of us disagree with. However, does the state need to criminalise such speech? Won’t the “marketplace of ideas” call out Chabloz? I suspect the internet world would not allow her lyrics to go unchallenged.
Prosecutor Karen Robinson told the court: “Miss Chabloz’s songs are a million miles away from an attempt to provide an academic critique of the holocaust. They’re not political songs. They are no more than a dressed-up attack on a group of people for no more than their adherence to a religion.”
But is it a legal requirement that political song lyrics provide an “academic critique”? Must political satire be clearly defined as found by a court? It’s not clear that “Alice’s Restaurant” or “Fortunate Son” would pass this test.
Adrian Davies, defending, argued that: “It is hard to know what right has been infringed by Miss Chabloz’s singing.” The singer has defended her work as “satire”, saying many Jewish people found the songs funny.
The focus of the private prosecution brought by Falter was Alison’s comments criticising the narratives of Elie Wiesel, Irene Zisblatt and Otto Frank, in her song Survivors.
The authenticity of the tales of these three holocaust victims have been the subject of academic debate. The Anne Frank foundation recently admitted the diary had not been solely authored by Anne. Elie Wiesel’s wartime saga has been called into question over a number of issues. Under cross-examination, Falter was forced to admit that he had not actually read Zisblatt’s book, and so knew nothing about its accuracy, despite having brought a private prosecution to protect it from ridicule.
There are no specific laws against holocaust denial in the UK, even if that is what this was. Britain has resisted attempts to enforce a European Union directive outlawing holocaust denial. Falter seemed to differ from the Crown which said that the prosecution was not against mere questioning of the holocaust. Falter indicated that those who question the new holocaust religion should be prosecuted under the law and attacked professionally: that is, ruined financially.
Falter also claimed that it was “intrinsically offensive” for Chabloz to refer to Palestine being reclaimed “from the river to the sea”. But, of course, the question of whether Palestine ought to be reclaimed for its indigenous people is a political question and not one of race, so what exactly was her crime? Falter openly stated that he is intent on shielding Israel from criticism, and said of the pro-Palestinian aspects of Chabloz’s songs: “You want to silence her and stop her putting those messages out.”
All of this left inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case with regard to whether the truth/falsehood of Chabloz’s criticisms of Zisblatt, et al, were relevant, or whether instead the Crown was enforcing an unspoken law that no-one claiming to be a holocaust survivor can be ridiculed, regardless of truth/falsehood.
Adrian Davies, Chabloz’s lawyer, told Judge Zani that his ruling would be a landmark one, setting a precedent on the exercise of free speech. This is a particularly egregious precedent limiting speech since it is not clear what speech led to Chabloz’s conviction and the case therefore provides no insight to others on what speech must be avoided.
The case against Atzmon illustrates that in the present environment in Britain, you can be liable not only for anti-Semitism, but for questioning the methodology by which anti-Semitism is determined.
Falter appeared on Sky News on 16 July 2017 to explain how he, on behalf of the CAA, had brought a law suit against the Crown for failure to prosecute the anti-Semitic speech supposedly uttered by Jeremy Bedford-Turner. Falter further complained that his statistics on the incidence of anti-Semitism showed far more anti-Semitic incidents than the CPS claimed. Falter claimed, “our view [on anti-Semitism] is right and the Crown is wrong”.
Writing in response to Falter’s appearance, Atzmon wrote on his own website that: “We are asked to choose between two versions of the truth, that delivered by Falter who leads the CAA and basically makes his living manufacturing anti-Semitic incidents and the judicial approach of the CPS: a public body, subject to scrutiny and committed to impartiality.”
Atzmon pointed out that “Falter interprets condemnation of Israel and Jewish politics as ‘hate crimes”. Atzmon commended the CPS for upholding “freedom of expression”, and this in free speech’s most cherished exercise – political speech.
Atzmon noted that Zionism also benefits from anti-Semitism (even though it does not intentionally cause it) since Israel claims that it exists to provide shelter to all Jews. Comparing Falter and the CAA to Israel, Atzmon noted, “since a decrease in anti-Semitic incidents [could have] fatal consequences for Falter and his CAA’s business plan. They need anti-Semitism and a lot of it.”
Falter filed a suit against Atzmon, claiming libel and defamation. Falter’s complaint reads, in part: “In order to justify the existence of, and raise funds for, the CAA the Claimant (Falter) dishonestly fabricates anti-Semitic incidents, that is to say he characterizes conduct as anti-Semitic when he knows it is not, and knowingly exaggerates the prevalence of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic activity.”
Falter complains that he was called a “devious fraud and a hypocrite”, even though neither word appears in Atzmon’s article. Falter further interprets Atzmon: “He [Falter] publicly campaigns against anti-Semitism but in reality his business plan is that he wants Jews to be hated so that he can make money.” In fact, Atzmon made the claim that Falter is a covert Jew hater who pretends to campaign against anti-Semitism.
In addition, Falter claimed that unless restrained, Atzmon would continue to publish similar words. Here Falter openly reveals that his lawsuit is not only against the words complained of, but an attempt to muzzle Atzmon.
The first stage of the lawsuit was a hearing before Justice Nicklin of the British High Court to define the issues created by the language complained of. In his ruling, the judge went beyond the complaint to determine that Atzmon’s words said that the claimant obtained funds through “fraud”.
Atzmon had not claimed that Falter committed fraud, and it was not clear that Falter’s misuse of statistics rose to the level of fraud, i.e. involving a criminal intent. The ruling made clear that a further defence before this justice would be pointless. The parties settled: Atzmon had to issue an apology and pay Falter £7500 in damages, plus an additional amount in legal fees. The irony of forcing Atzmon to pay Falter based on the allegedly false claim that Falter seeks money for anti-Semitism begs recognition.
Earlier this year Mark Meechan, aka “Count Dankula”, was convicted and fined £800 for posting on YouTube a video of a dog he had trained to give a Nazi salute in response to the phrases “gas the Jews” and sieg heil. In case viewers worried that he was trying to turn canines into Nazis, one pug dog at a time, Meechan stated in the video that he wasn’t himself a Nazi but thought that what he had done was funny. It is a reasonable interpretation of this video that it ridiculed Hitler supporters as much as it was offensive to others.
The Scottish police arrested Meecham and charged him with posting “grossly offensive, anti-Semitic and racist material”. Sheriff O’Carroll said the right to freedom of expression was very important but “in all modern democratic countries the law necessarily places some limits on that right”.
Meecham pleaded not guilty but was convicted under the Communications Act in a crime that the court found was aggravated by “religious prejudice”. Although Meecham’s video was certainly tasteless and offensive, it is not clear how it fell into the obscure category of “religious prejudice”.
Meecham’s lawyer, Ross Brown, stated of Meecham, his difficulty, “it seems, was that he was someone who enjoyed shock humour… and went about his life under the impression that he lived in a jurisdiction which permitted its citizens the right to freely express themselves”. This perception is understandable; British humour is famous for its tastelessness. Monte Python mocked the church, Little Britain mocks the disabled and so on.
Why did Scottish law enforcement prosecute a silly offensive video of a dog? Is Scotland so crime-free that this is a matter worthy of its crime-fighting resources? It’s hard not to wonder if the same case would have been brought five years ago.
In the United States, our freedom to speak is guaranteed by the First Amendment, which forbids Congress from making a law abridging free speech (now held to apply to the states as well). The First Amendment was enacted primarily as a defence against government power. The founders were concerned that the federal government exercise only enumerated powers and no more. Still, free speech is not unlimited: the United States limits some speech, including false commercial speech, defamation and incitement to violence.
No reasonable person enjoys confronting hate speech, but allowing free speech, even at its most obnoxious, frees us from self-appointed guardians of the discourse. Who would any of us choose to decide what speech ought to be allowed? Congress? Trump? Obama? The FBI? The NSA? Scientists? The courts? Or the CAA or ADL (Anti-Defamation League)?
The United States government has spent more money on Israel than on any other foreign country, and it is reasonable for Americans to be free to comment on where their money is spent. And yet we have laws that punish those who speak out against Israel, even though we have no such laws for criticising our own government or to protect the people whom we formerly enslaved.
While speech against Israel is not illegal per se, the US government, and states such as New York and Texas (among others) have chosen to punish criticism of Israel as anti Semitic. They do this by prohibiting state funding or business with any group that advocates boycotting Israel.
Canada also protects speech, but not “hate” speech. Under the urging of B’nai B’rith, Canada has prosecuted “anti-Semitic” speech as hate speech. As in the cases in England, it is difficult to ascertain which particular speech was forbidden. In a trial against blogger Arthur Topham, the prosecution cited all of Topham’s writings that were unfavourable to Israel or Jewish culture and hoped some of them stuck. They did, and Topham was convicted.
Despite Canada’s enforcement of its hate speech laws, Falter urged Canadian Jews to follow his example of aggressive prosecution. He stated, “I believe that Canadian [Jews] increasingly will be looking at their situation and asking, ‘Do we have a future in this country?’ And that’s a question they shouldn’t be having to ask at all.” Where is Falter’s evidence that Canadian Jews are asking if they have a future in Canada? Is he trying to lay seeds of alienation so that Jews in Canada will feel less like a part of Canada?
This raises the question of whether the CAA intensifies anti-Semitism by urging Jews to find anti-Semitism everywhere and to prosecute perceived anti-Semitism and “to ensure ruinous consequences, be they criminal, professional, financial or reputational”. The CAA uses the judicial system to achieve its aims, but its use of the law seems cynical as in its legal machinations the CAA deliberately disrespects the principle of freedom of speech that is ingrained in the law of Britain, the United States and Canada.