Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Human Rights" Round ('em) Up

UPDATE: See also reports by Mark Steyn and John Pacheco
(with audio)
And don't miss Ezra Levant's comments.
In the eyes of Free Dominion, this drawing of CHRC investigator, and the day's chief witness, Dean Steacy, sums up the day at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal:

FD's Mark Fournier adds:
Today was the first anyone had heard that jadewarr was not Dean Steacy's private investigative account. Whether this is true has yet to be determined, and while the revelation may give Dean Steacy some wiggle room, it also put responsibility for what was done with that spying account directly into the collective laps of the CHRC.

If jadewarr was used by many people and nobody had control over it and nobody kept track of who was doing what with it and when, as Steacy has testified, it certainly opens up the CHRC to more subpoenas to force the CHRC to reveal their own computer records.

And why was the CHRC's favourite in-house internet spying ID being used by someone in a private residence a couple of blocks from the CHRC headquarters? And why was it being used at that location by someone who doesn't work for the CHRC?

We were happy to see Barbara Kulaszka ask Dean Steacy several questions concerning his activities at Free Dominion. Dean Steacy first admitted he signed up at Free Dominion on April 5, 2006 and reiterated that his registration at this site was the result of a complaint against us. He didn't have a quick answer when it was pointed out to him that the date he registered was half a year before the Marie-Line Gentes complaint against Free Dominion was ever filed. After stumbling around for a while trying to come up with an explanation he settled for - there must have been some telephone complaints or something that prompted him to begin his investigation of Free Dominion.

When asked who had complained he outright refused to answer, claiming he had to protect the identities of the complainants. I suppose he has a point, but I would find his whole story a lot more believable if he produced some documentation proving those complaints actually existed. They could easily black out the names of the complainants. It also would be very interesting to learn the content of those complaints.

If Dean Steacy is telling the truth about these previously unheard of complaints, why were we never charged with anything as a result of these complaints? If there were several of these complaints, and they were all deemed to be groundless (as they must have been since no actual complaints from the time were ever filed), why didn't it occur to him that maybe these complaints were politically motivated rather that genuine complaints?

But the most damning piece of testimony of all was when Dean Steacy testified that the he and the CHRC are now in the business of potential crime investigating. The reason he was snooping around FD was because his version of a thought crime might happen here.

This last testimony, in and of itself, should be grounds for the deletion of Section 13.
Connie Fournier is interviewed at noapologies.

Deb Gyapong:
I spent a bit of time talking with the representatives from B'nai Brith, the Canadian Jewish Congress and the Simon Weisenthal Centre. Basically they were all singing from the same song sheet that Human Rights Commissions and Section 13 were good things and should get credit for the fact that hate speech from the right has been pretty well marginalized. The CJC guy also talked about the need to regulate the Internet.

They also liked the good work HRCs have done in areas of discrimination. Maybe some tweaking is in order, perhaps funding "respondents" or finding a way to get rid of nuisance complaints like those against Steyn and Ezra Levant, but that's about it.
Steacy got questioned quite a bit about the relationship of various police forces to the CHRC. Seems police have been out in force posting hate on various sites too, so that between the police officers and the multi-identity pseudonymous CHRC staffers and complainants posting on various sites you have to wonder how many actual hate mongers (on the right) there are in Canada.

At one point he denied that there was any agreement or cooperation between the RCMP and the CHRC or other police forces on Section 13 hate issues, only on matters of discrimination and sexual harrassment. But when the rest of a heavily blanked out correspondence one of the lawyers had obtained through Access to Information showed that in fact the police and the HRC were cooperating on investigating hate crimes, he kept repeating there was no formal agreement that he was aware of.

Some of the proposed cooperation between the RCMP and the CHRC include establishing direct contacts between RCMP and CHRC officers; sharing of information;
Another interesting thing came up. Marc Lemire apparently tried to launch complaints against the various police and others who were posting hateful comments on his site. Steacy rejected the complaint because he included too many respondents on a double-sided sheet or some such procedural thing. In other words, he didn't fill out the complaint application properly. (Steacy did acknowledge that under the law even police officers could be vulnerable to hate prosecution for hate posts)

However, someone else, whom he adamantly refused to reveal, either casually phoned or emailed a casual complaint and that was enough for Jadewarr to start snooping over at Free Dominion. This complainant did not need to fill out the single-sided form.
Gentes withdrew the complaint last summer, but FD has a record of Jadewarr logging on to their site in January of this year, raising questions about whether they are being monitored. Steacy also said Free Dominion was similar to Stormfront. Well, no, Mr. Steacy it is not. FD is run by two members of the Salvation Army who love Israel and are anything but anti-Semitic. Connie and Mark Fournier allow some rather raucous and crusty people to post on their forum, but there are no White Pride "crosses" or positive links to Ku Klux Klan activities or crap like that over at Free Dominion as there is on Stormfront. It is a conservative site and sometimes a bit freewheeling and immoderate.
Steacy said his manager John Chamberlain was aware of his use of the Jadewarr identity. He said he was not directed to do so. Chamberlain, Kozak and Steacy's assistant also know the password to this identity. It did not seem like there was a clear system of accountability concerning when and how this identity was used. To me, it seems that having the password available to several people makes it easy for any one of the staffers to have plausible deniability when it comes to accountability for posts.

"What I did as an investigator I did not at any time consult with Mr. Warman." But he said he did not know if someone else might have given Warman the password to Jadewarr.

The whole thing had that same kind of banal, bureaucratic, mushy hard to get a handle on it sense to it that Ezra's "interrogation" would have had if Ezra had not seized control and given the event a narrative shape.
See also, this and this from Joseph Brean of the National Post. The latter article suggests the possibility that a member of the CHRC staff may have been secretly (without permission) using a private citizen's wireless internet service to post as Jadewarr.

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