Monday, September 29, 2014

Rogue Courts in Canada Trample Self-Represented Litigants


By Denis G. Rancourt, PhD  [1]

There is a crisis of access to justice in Canada. It is a crisis of systemic judicial partiality against ordinary citizens who cannot afford brand-name “justice”.

PURPOSE AND METHODS FOR THIS ARTICLE

In this article I describe the phenomenon in Canada of systemic and often-egregious judicial and legal-system bias against self-represented litigants.

In a next article, I will give my interpretation about the causes of this phenomenon, in the broad context of judicial and legal-system bias, by describing the different types of circumstances in which extreme judicial bias is most likely to occur, and the systemic devices that are used to cover-up judicial bias. I have already written several preliminary articles about judicial and legal-system bias [2][3][4][5].

My conclusions about the phenomenon itself are based on:
  • many first-hand reports from victims of legal-system bias
  • a review of specialized web-site discussions
  • my discussions and interviews with community organizers against legal-system bias
  • an expert report from an academic legal researcher, and my discussions with that researcher
  • media reports
  • published practitioner commentary, such as on lawyer's blogs
  • my experience as the volunteer coordinator of the Self-Represented Workgroup of the Ontario Civil Liberties Association
  • my in-court observations of several cases unrelated to me
  • my own extensive experience as a self-represented litigant in Ontario, Canada

THE CRISIS IS REAL

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin frequently warns of a crisis of “access to justice” in Canada [6]. This crisis involves a large and growing number of self-represented litigants who cannot afford lawyer’s fees, which are inflated by corporate clients.

The Facebook group “Canada Court Watch” is focussed on self-represented litigants and has over 4,000 members. Self-represented litigants regularly picket outside courthouses and lawyers offices across the country [7]. Researchers, such as law professor Julie Macfarlane, have described a widespread disillusionment and distrust of the legal establishment by ordinary self-represented litigants from all walks of life [8].

Beyond what is acknowledged by the chief justice and the legal establishment, there is a widespread conviction among self-represented litigants that the courts are biased against them [9]. I am the coordinator of the Self-Represented Litigant Workgroup of the Ontario Civil Liberties Association, and I have experienced this bias directly as a self-represented defendant.

EGREGIOUS AND SUSTAINED JUDICIAL BIAS
In a single case of alleged defamation for words on a blog, I have been required to go before 17 different judges, at all courts up to the Supreme Court of Canada, in over 30 open court hearings and a trial, over more than three years -- in the trial, motions, appeals of motions, and case conferences in the action against me [10][11]. I have prepared thousands of pages of legal documents, and I have been ordered to pay legal costs of the suing party, the unpaid portion of which totals more than seven hundred thousand dollars to date, prior to the appeal that has been filed [10][11].

In light of my recent experience as a self-represented litigant, it is difficult for me to believe that the pleas of the chief justice are authentic. I tend to think that the chief justice means only that lawyers should be affordable and available for ordinary persons, and that she wishes that the legal processes were less wasteful. However, access to lawyers alone does not provide access to justice, and neither does strong-handed case management by judges.

I feel like I have seen it all in terms of the behaviour of judges, in terms of the tremendous systemic bias against self-represented litigants, and that is described by legal researchers and commentators. This bias exists irrespective of my level of education (PhD) and irrespective of my ability to present an argument (former university professor) [12], and so I believe what I have heard about what it is like for a single parent navigating issues of child custody.

In my case, the potential for systemic bias is increased by the fact that the plaintiff is a high-status lawyer within the legal establishment, and two of the lawyers who oppose me have formerly represented Canadian prime ministers. In addition, the private plaintiff is funded without a spending limit by a non-party using public money, a situation that has been denounced by the Ontario Civil Liberties Association [13].

At the mandatory mediation I was not allowed an accompanying person (because he was not a lawyer) even though I faced five lawyers on the side suing me. But obvious asymmetries of means are not the only problem.

SYSTEMATIC AND HABITUAL JUDICIAL BIAS

The evidence for habitual judicial bias, as I see it, is overwhelming and includes:

•    the trial judge cancelling my main and pleaded defence, off-the-cuff and in the middle of my opening address to the jury [14], which led to former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's petition to the Canadian courts [15][16]

•    the trial judge, in the charge to the jury, instructing the jury that "there is no defence to consider", despite my having presented the fair-comment defence to the jury and despite ample evidence for the fair-comment defence having been admitted at trial -- see Notice of Appeal [17]

•    the trial judge refusing to recuse himself despite admitting that he has all his university degrees from the University of Ottawa and is an annual financial donor to that university, where the university is a partisan intervenor at trial and is funding the plaintiff's legal fees -- see recusal motion factum [18], and Notice of Appeal [17]

•    judges refusing to consider or recognize (or admit supporting evidence for) the maintenous and champertous nature of the obviously improper and political funding of the private lawsuit using public money [13][19] -- see court documents for the champerty motion and its appeals [10]

•    judges and lawyers disrespectfully referring to me in court as “he”, and discussing me as though I were not present (until this behaviour was denounced on the Ontario Civil Liberties Association website)

•    judges’ frequent, repeated, and disorienting interruptions of me in court -- see many court transcripts [10]

•    allowing opposing counsel to make repeated and hyperbolic prejudicial comments, despite my objections -- see many court transcripts and court submissions [10]

•    not allowing me time to make my arguments, despite my good preparation and organization -- see defendant's factum in appeal from judgement in champerty motion [20]

•    refusals to hear evidence of misconduct by opposing counsel (that could be a separate article)

•    refusing to acknowledge transcript evidence of opposing counsel leading his witnesses in out-of-court examinations

•    allowing procedural dirty tricks by the lawyers, such as calling motions on one day’s notice

•    constructive barring of my evidence on motions and at trial, using both procedural technicalities and legal abstractions (another separate article)

•    allowing the plaintiff to pick and choose which questions to answer in cross-examinations

•    orders that I pay outrageously high costs, which, in effect, punish me for trying to defend myself, despite the known and proven fact that I have no money [21][22][23]

•    two opposite orders by the same (trial) judge on exactly the same question of my inability to pay ordered costs, however it benefited the other party [24]

•    orders that I, rather than the opposing party, pay costs even in the cases where I won all or the majority of the points argued in the motions

•    disadvantageous deadlines for document submissions and disadvantageous scheduling of court appearances, despite objections with reasons

CONTRIVED REASONS MAKE IT WORK

These examples are in addition to the macro-evidence for actual bias that resides in the judges' "Reasons" for their decisions, in which judges allow themselves to:
  • describe only the facts they choose to highlight to support their rulings
  • redefine and recast the actual facts, thereby destroying facts and creating new facts
  • make prejudicial and unnecessary comments that other judges will read
  • make findings of credibility without direct evidence
  • make strongly worded findings on matters that were not before the court
  • or, simply not provide reasons for particular findings
  • (not to mention a case of releasing such "Reasons" after the judge voluntarily recusing himself)
The only way to gauge the systemic bias that is expressed in judicial "Reasons" is to compare the Reasons with the actual evidence and arguments. Legal researchers virtually never do this work but, instead, content themselves with clever analyses limited to the tunnel-vision of the Reasons themselves. The only possible reviews arise from costly appeals, when appeals are allowed, and the appeal courts then write their own "Reasons"... The more less-represented a litigant is, the greater the possible gap between the "Reasons" and reality.

JUDGES CLOSE RANKS

In fact, there appears to be no limit to what the court thinks it can get away with when dealing with a self-represented litigant.

In my own case, for example, some two years prior to trial, I discovered that a motions judge (in a motion to end the action -- "champerty motion") had a blatant conflict of interest. In the middle of the proceedings, I learned that he had strong personal, family, emotional, and contractual financial ties to a party (University of Ottawa) intervening for the plaintiff in the case, and also to the law firm representing the party in court. He had not disclosed any of these ties. The judge’s ties made it inconceivable that he would rule against the plaintiff.

When I presented the evidence of the judge’s ties, the judge lost decorum, threatened me with contempt of court (a criminal judgement), and recused himself, but refused to rule on whether there was apparent bias, and continued to release decisions that stand to this day.

I raised the matter through available procedures with three more judges of the Superior Court, three judges of the Court of Appeal, and six judges of the Supreme Court (in two applications for leave to appeal), but all of them refused to allow bias as a ground for appeal.

In my first attempts, I was not even allowed to access the Supreme Court. It is a demonstration of apparent systemic judicial bias at the highest level that the Registrar of the Supreme Court refused to accept my duly prepared application — and then refused to accept my motion to denounce his refusal to accept the application. This was resolved only because the Ontario Civil Liberties Association made a request, directly to the Chief Justice of Canada, that the Registrar’s conduct be investigated [25]. The Ontario Civil Liberties Association complained to the chief justice about an apparent systemic Registrar's bias against self-represented litigants -- see OCLA's letter to the chief justice [26].

That whole bias episode with the motions judge (champerty motion), involving 13 judges from three courts, shows the degree to which the entire judicial structure will tolerate a judge’s apparent bias, at least when the bias complaint is brought by a self-represented litigant being sued by prominent members of the legal establishment [27].

The only remaining remedy in the matter resides in international law. I am preparing a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee for violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [28], which guarantees an impartial court to every litigant in signatory countries, including Canada. Few self-represented litigants can defend themselves this effectively, and there are far too few resources among civil rights organizations to address the gargantuan need.

THE HIGHER ONE GOES, THE WORST IT GETS

All of this has only been repeated at the trial itself, which started on May 12, 2014, and ended on June 6, 2014. Prior to trial, I had asked then Regional Senior Judge Charles Hackland (who resigned on May 8, 2014) to name a case judge who had no connection with the University of Ottawa, and I had made a formal motion for the trial judge to recuse himself because of the judge’s shared interests with the University of Ottawa [18]. None of this mattered and the trial judge refused to recuse himself. This, and the judge’s in-court actions, led to my walking out of the trial [29], which was reported in the media [14][15][16].

In a May 20, 2014, email to the court, I explained among other things that "In the interest of justice, I have withdrawn my presence from the trial in order not to be used as a prop that would make it look to the jury as if I were being allowed to defend myself." I returned to the trial on June 3, 2014, immediately after the jury retired to consider its verdict, to argue post-jury-verdict trial motions. A Notice of Appeal from the outcomes of the trial was served on July 4, 2014 [17].

THE MYTH OF A FAIR COURT CANNOT BE SALVAGED

My case, the ordeals of countless others, and academic research show that there is a systematic bias against self-represented litigants. Such evident, overt, and pervasive bias proves that the judges are not impartial, but rather are significantly influenced by the social status and power of the litigant. Corporate and government litigants know this well, and count on it. It is the elephant in the courtroom for self-represented litigants.

For self-represented litigants the crisis in “access to justice” is really a crisis in access to an impartial court, a court that is not influenced by social status. This crisis will not be solved by increasing access to lawyers and reducing court backlogs. The solution will require that litigants themselves and civil rights organizations insist on and monitor impartiality of the courts.

In my case, high-profile American political activist and former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney launched a petition demanding that the chief justices of Canada allow a new trial with a trial judge having no ties to the University of Ottawa — which is funding the lawsuit without a spending limit — and this has been reported in the media [15][16]. Only this type of protest-application of the open court principle, in combination with media exposure and civil society association pressures, has any chance of catalyzing a reform in a system that has now degraded itself beyond self-repair.

This must be accompanied by formal appeals to the courts, which have been known to make judgements towards correcting undemocratic and unjust systemic trajectories of the legal system [30]. Even when there is a right to appeal, however, the phenomenal costs of the court transcripts [31], which the appellant must buy and provide to the appeal court, is itself a significant systemic barrier to access the appeal court. In my case, the lawsuit washed out my life savings long before I accumulated ordered and unpaid costs totally more than $700,000.00, and a funding campaign was launched by academic colleagues just to collect enough for the court transcripts [23].

There is indeed a crisis, and it is of the legal establishment’s making. It is a crisis of systemic barriers and judicial partiality against ordinary citizens who cannot afford brand-name “justice”.


Endnotes

This article was first published by Dissident Voice.

[1] A judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice cited the author (Denis Rancourt) in criminal contempt of court for among other things publishing an earlier version of this article, and stated in open court that the author could consequently be sent to jail following a "show cause" hearing that the judge ordered the author to attend. The judge then (some three months later, prior to the hearing) dropped all his charges when he realized on further reflection that he had not followed the accepted procedure for criminal contempt of court: The judge never told the accused to not do what the judge wanted to jail him for if he did it! The judge's dropping of the changes is at paragraphs 47 to 50 of this ruling: Joanne St. Lewis v. Denis Rancourt, 2014 ONSC 4840 (CanLII). This all occurred despite judges having been given detailed instructions by the Judicial Council about the correct procedures and fairness principles for making criminal contempt charges. 

[2] "Reflections of a self-represented litigant as an old man", by Denis G. Rancourt, Activist Teacher, February 17, 2012.

[3] "Self-represented litigant discovers the truth about the 'justice system'", by Denis G. Rancourt, Activist Teacher, December 15, 2012.

[4] "David W. Scott on self-represented litigants", by Denis G. Rancourt, Activist Teacher, January 4, 2013.

[5] "Made in Canada legal system costs policy precludes access by design", by Denis G. Rancourt, Activist Teacher, November 30, 2013.

[6] "Access to justice a 'basic right'", Toronto Star, August 12, 2007;
"Access to justice becoming a privilege of the rich, judge warns", Globe & Mail, February 10, 2011;
"For many, access to justice means actually getting to court", Vancouver Sun, March 7, 2011;
"Canadian courts not accessible enough, says chief justice", CBC News, August 12, 2012; 
"Why people representing themselves in court are clogging the justice system", Macleans Magazine, February 4, 2013;
"Ontario courts ‘only open to the rich,’ judge warns", Globe & Mail,July 2, 2013;
"Access to justice in Canada ‘abysmal’: CBA Report", Toronto Star, August 18, 2013;
"Access to justice in Canada ‘abysmal’ and ‘radical reforms’ need to be made to legal system, report says", National Post, August 18, 2013; 
"Too rich for legal aid, too poor for lawyers" (original journalist's title, later: "Legal help beyond the financial reach of many Ontario residents"), The London Free Press, October 25, 2013.
"How to improve access to justice", School of Public Policy, uCalgary, November 5, 2013;
"Chief justice celebrates pro bono work with students", Canadian lawyer Magazine, March 17, 2014;
and many more such reports, starting in 2007.

[7] "We Won't Back Down: CFFLR (video)", by Canadians For Family Law Reform, YouTube, June 9, 2012.

[8] "The National Self-Represented Litigants Project: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Self-Represented Litigants, Final Report", by Dr. Julie Macfarlane, May 2013, pp 147; and media articles about the report, such as: "Ian Mulgrew: Access to justice is a fairy tale, self-represented litigants conclude", Vancouver Sun, May 7, 2013; 

[9] "Self-represented litigants ‘treated with contempt’ by many judges, study finds", Ottawa Citizen, December 31, 2012.

[10] Links to virtually all the court-filed documents of all parties and all interveners in St. Lewis v. Rancourt are listed here: http://rancourt.academicfreedom.ca/background/stlewislawsuit.html; All the U of O Watch reports about the St. Lewis v. Rancourt case are here: http://uofowatch.blogspot.ca/search/label/Joanne%20St.%20Lewis.
[11] Most of the court rulings in the case are listed on CanLII here: http://www.canlii.org/en/index.html#search/id=st.%20lewis%20v.%20rancourt

[12] My ability to understand and make legal arguments (and to design those arguments in view of the systemic bias against me) steadily improved in the lawsuit, but my first document, the Statement of Defence, shows that even my starting ability was reasonably high: LINK-SOD.

[13] "Public Money is Not for Silencing Critics - University of Ottawa must end its financing of a private defamation lawsuit", Ontario Civil Liberties Association campaign, August 2013.

[14] "Denis Rancourt boycotts his own trial for libel, citing 'kangaroo court'", Ottawa Citizen, May 16, 2014.
[15] "Give a Fair Court Hearing to Denis Rancourt", on-line petition by Cynthia McKinney, former Congresswoman of the USA, Change.org, May 21, 2014; over 1100 signatories at the time of this writing.

[16] "U.S. activist Cynthia McKinney seeks new trial for Denis Rancourt", Ottawa Citizen, May 22, 2014.

[17] "Notice of Appeal", appeal C59074 from verdict and judgements at trial, St. Lewis v. Rancourt, at Court of Appeal for Ontario, July 4, 2014.

[18] "Defendant's motion for recusal of the trial judge (all documents)", St. Lewis v. Rancourt, motion heard and decided on May 7, 2014.

[19] "University of Ottawa paying for pointless legal battles (video news report)", Prime Time, Ezra Levant, SUN Media, May 23, 2014.

[20] "Factum of the Appellant", appeal C56905 (from judgement in champerty motion), St. Lewis v. Rancourt, at Court of Appeal for Ontario, May 9, 2013; and court transcripts and other documents at [10].

[21] "All court documents, submissions, and transcripts regarding costs of the trial", St. Lewis v. Rancourt, June 20, 2014, costs claim to Endorsement on Costs dated August 21, 2014 (10 documents).

[22] "All court documents about requesting that trial judge reconsider his August 21, 2014, Endorsement on Costs", because of apparent factual and procedural errors, St. Lewis v. Rancourt, August 25, 2014, to August 28, 2014 (4 documents).

[23h] The first (now closed) Indiegogo.com funding campaign for the "Denis Rancourt Legal Defence Fund" was HERE. The active funding campaign page is HERE.

[24] ----At trial, on June 6, 2014, when the plaintiff argued that I had no way of paying the ordered costs and damages and therefore that I deserved to be gagged with a permanent injunction, the trial judge, in his oral Reasons from the bench ordered:
“[…] The possibilities of payment of the costs or the compensation or the award -- the costs or the award of damages -- that the defendant suggests are exist (sic) are frankly pure fantasy, there is no reasonable prospect he will be able to pay. Moreover, […]” [Emphasis added]
 ----Then, after trial, when the plaintiff argued that I had the ability to pay large costs, on August 21, 2014, the same judge on the same question, in his Endorsement on Costs, at paragraph 41, ordered:
"The defendant's evidence that he is impecunious is self-serving at best. At his cross-examination he failed to answer most questions put to him preventing any meaningful analysis of his allegation that he has absolutely no asset to pay any portion of the costs award."
(This, after the judge refused to let me make responding submissions to the plaintiff's submissions about the said cross-examination -- only one party was allowed to make submissions about the cross-examination about my inability to pay costs.)
The judge refused to reconsider his Endorsement in order to reconcile this contradiction by finding that he was suddenly "functus" (see all documents on this matter [22]).

[25] See the full chronology and links to all the documents of this particular saga here: "On-going story of an application to the Supreme Court of Canada", U of O Watch, June 10, 2013.

[26] OCLA's letter and attached documents to the Chief Justice of Canada, dated March 4, 2013: "We are writing to bring to your attention serious concerns about the conduct of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada toward self-represented litigants, which deprives unrepresented parties from access to the Court."

[27] The bias episode with the motions judge (champerty motion) affected the entire champerty motion and its appeals. The saga is reported in posts at U of O Watch, with links to court documents and media report, under the tags/labels: "Justice Robert Beaudoin", and "OCLA".

[28] "Un ex-professeur de l’Université d’Ottawa fait appel aux Nations unies", Ici.Radio-Canada, March 14, 2014.

[29] Read my May 16, 2014 in-court statement here: "Why I walked out of the trial in which I am being sued", U of O Watch, May 17, 2014.

[30] One example, in Canada, are the recent rulings that apply the "principle" that there is no valid reason that a self-represented litigant who wins an action or motion cannot be awarded costs, where a represented litigant would be awarded costs. It is remarkable that the opposite largely continues to be the "logic", using glib judicial statements to the effect that self-represented litigants have no or little costs since they don't hire lawyers. See [9].

[31] Court transcripts typically cost $1,000.00 or more per day of trial, which can easily amount to between $5,000.00 and $50,000.00, for a self-represented litigant who did not have the money to hire a lawyer in the first place.


Dr. Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured and Full Professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is known for his applications of physics education research (TVO Interview). He has published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals, and has written several social commentary essays. He is the author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism. While he was at the University of Ottawa, he supported student activism and opposed the influence of the Israel lobby on that institution, which fired him for a false pretext in 2009: LINK.  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Has the Israel Lobby lost ground in its perpetual war against US academia?


By Denis G. Rancourt


The US Israel Lobby is dedicated inter alia to suffocating academic freedom and to intimidating all scholars away from any educational, research, or political stance against Israeli war crimes.

The Lobby does win victories, such when it blocked the tenure and all academic appointments of the outstanding scholar Norman Finkelstein, and too many others.

It wins, also, when it silences establishment critics of Israeli criminality, such as the remarkable and very recent case of Rev. Bruce M. Shipman, Priest-in-Charge of the Episcopal Church at Yale, who made the cardinal sin of authoring a letter in the New York Times that reads [1]:

Deborah E. Lipstadt makes far too little of the relationship between Israel's policies in the West Bank and Gaza and growing anti-Semitism in Europe and beyond.

The trend to which she alludes parallels the carnage in Gaza over the last five years, not to mention the perpetually stalled peace talks and the continuing occupation of the West Bank.

As hope for a two-state solution fades and Palestinian casualties continue to mount, the best antidote to anti-Semitism would be for Israel's patrons abroad to press the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for final-status resolution to the Palestinian question.

(Rev.) BRUCE M. SHIPMAN
Groton, Conn., Aug. 21,2014

The writer is the Episcopal chaplain at Yale.

Within two weeks, Shipman resigned "on his own initiative", as per THIS YALE-STATEMENT.

Overall, the Lobby's seemingly-permanent territorial victory is evidenced by:
  • the silence of the great majority of US academics, even in the face of the recent, overt, and graphic slaughter in Gaza
  • the willingness of many academics to parrot the Lobby's talking-points on Israel (right to defend itself, Hamas charter, their own children as human shields, blah blah blah)
  • the acceptance by academics and their associations of the false notion of legitimate divides between professional work and political expression and engagement, and between cantonized fields of knowledge
On the other hand, I argue below that there is significant evidence that the Israel Lobby has lost some ground in the wake of the latest steps in Israel's progressive and on-going genocide against Palestinians [2].

Existence of empire

A premise of this article is that the US finance-military-corporate empire (US-Empire or Empire) exists. This empire is the largest human dominance-hierarchy to ever occupy the planet. It is based on economic and finance coercion, enforced by the most powerful military and covert-operations apparatus ever assembled.

The US has over 1000 military bases, on every continent except Antarctica. The US military can deploy anywhere and can control any airspace on any of its continental regions of direct exploitation.

The US controls the World money supply and is the sole provider of the dominant World-currency, the US-dollar, which the US prints at will. Any potential threat to the US-dollar (petro-dollar) by disallowed alternative currencies is met with military expediency.

Loans-followed-by-debt-extortion and corporate-predation are the preferred resource-pillaging mechanisms against national economies. When local elites do not enthusiastically cooperate, governments are overthrown and/or all-out paramilitary or military mass-murder and nation-destruction ensues. Ask any Latin American.

Irrespective of any academic debates about the mechanisms of global exploitation, a straightforward macro-economic view of World trade and of World debt is unambiguous, about the reality of the US-Empire [3].

Role of the Israel Lobby

Given the Empire, and given its special and apparently unconditional relationship to Israel, it is natural to ask: What is the complete role of the Israel Lobby?

If the reader does not accept the fact that there is a highly-financed and well-organized Israel Lobby that operates in all the major nations aligned-with and militarily-integrated-to the US-Empire, then the reader may consider some background reading [4][5], and a purview of the mainstream media in the aligned and militarily-integrated White nations.

The Israel Lobby has the role of chief-whip for the US-Empire. That is, the Lobby ensures doctrinal discipline among Western politicians, intellectuals, and the media, regarding the Empire’s Middle East policy. I mean “intellectual” in the broad sense of any professional who has influence, and “media” in the broad sense of anyone who communicates to others.

The Empire’s main geopolitical focus presently is the Middle East, where the Empire is dedicated to actively and continuously prevent liberation and coalescence of Arab nations, so as to keep control of the territory and the energy resources. To achieve this, the Empire’s main policy in the Middle East is Israel, which is charged with continual war and sabotage against all Middle Eastern entities that would vie for independence from the Empire.

Thus, the Empire, via Israel, is embarked on a vicious and murderous project without-an-end in the Middle East, and this unsavory project must be sold to the Empire’s home populations, including both managers and ordinary citizens. That is the role of the Israel Lobby; to sell Israel and the continuous and deliberate carnage as acceptable and unavoidable.

That is why the Israel Lobby is actively engaged is creating Islamophobia, in exaggerating anti-Semitism, in constructing Nazi-holocaust remembrance, in suppressing academic freedom, in suppressing freedom of the press, in “finding” and pursuing alleged “terrorists”, in developing anti-speech [or] “anti-hate” laws, in promoting cultural ties with Israel, in attacking Muslim associations, in promoting the myth of unique Jewish suffering [6], and so on.

Attacking academics

As such, the work of the Israel Lobby includes hundreds of ongoing campaigns to intimidate, discipline, fire, and vilify academics who dare to be critical of Israel or of US Middle East policy. The list of shut-out and targeted academics is a long one and includes the well-known cases of Joel Kovel, Ward Churchill, Norman Finkelstein, James Petras, Terri Ginsberg, William Robinson, David F. Noble, Steven Salaita, Iymen Chehade, and many others. The more an academic is threatening to the Lobby, the more aggressively that academic is attacked. My own case is also an example [7][8][9].

Signs of recent Lobby losses

Salaita campaign

Here is the thing. When Lobby-influence recently had Steven Salaita summarily fired -- in the middle of the current slaughter in Gaza; for tweets he made about the slaughter -- there was some significant backlash. Professors identified with Salaita's impulse of spontaneous expression of disgust on Twitter, and were terrified that tenure might so easily be dissolved over social media exuberances.

Influential political scientist and academic blogger Corey Robin followed the Salaita story and nonchalantly suggested on August 8, 2014, that academics boycott the rogue university that had so misbehaved. Surprise. The boycott of the institution skyrocketed: Eminent scholars started publicly cancelling their invited appearances, and the protest movement was reported in the New York Times on August 31. By Robin's count on that day, 5 lectures were cancelled and almost 4000 boycotters had signed-on (all anti-Semites no doubt, :) ).

The backlash from the academic community was so massive, by academic-community standards, that the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) acted quickly (August 29) with a remarkably strong letter statement, by professional-association standards, clearly siding against Lobby wishes on the issue.

The sting caused the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees to get palpably excited. The Board even went through the motion of revisiting the firing, as a late attempt to cure some of the massive procedural anomalies and in a lame effort to cool the mark out, with the community.

The point is: Academia flexed its underused muscle and those aligned with the Lobby were thoroughly exposed and embarrassed. There is now a believable threat of the future possibility of broad and sustained boycotts of institutions that go too far. In addition, it practiced non-aligned academia in the tactic of solidarity, which cannot please the Lobby.

It will have made a difference to the degree that it helped some academics to become radically independent, and committed to creating some change, beyond the sole-use of on-line petitions. It widened the pool of academics who are susceptible to become more radical; which, in-turn, puts the Lobby in danger of coalescence-of-resisters and multiple flashpoints. 

Boycott Divestment Sanctions

This is to be understood in the context of a growing and persistent academic boycott movement that is always finding new small pockets of adepts, and that derives strength from abroad, such as the UK. There are more and more constellations of academics in many fields that are joining calls for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel (LINK-BDSmovement).

The international Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement truly irks the Lobby because it is widespread and diffuse, and it is not effectively discouraged by high-profile firings. BDS is a powerful message and it is constant support for all those who want to join. While the economic impact of such a popular boycott is difficult to appreciate, its potential to change hearts and minds on all sides is significant.

Israel's massive efforts to fabricate cultural and institutional ties, and to counter the cyber movement, are proof of the threat that BDS represents. Brute institutional power is not sufficient -- Israel must dig deeply to constantly counter the awakening movement.

Amcha Initiative

A good illustration that the Lobby may be losing ground is a recent desperate and toothless move by the Amcha Initiative, a Zionist intimidation group that focusses on US universities.

Recently, hundreds of US Middle East Studies scholars signed a joint call for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions [10]. At the time of this writing, 586 scholars and librarians had signed.

The Amcha Initiative decided to act. The Amcha Initiative is a "non-profit organization dedicated to investigating, documenting, educating about, and combating antisemitism at institutions of higher education in America". Or, simply put, as it states "Protecting Jewish Students" (sic).

The best that Amcha could do was to publish the names and affiliations of the first 218 US signatories of the said call for boycott. It called its list "AMCHA Publishes List of Over 200 Anti-Israel Middle East Studies Professors".

The Amcha statement suggests: "Students who wish to become better educated on the Middle East without subjecting themselves to anti-Israel bias, or possibly even antisemitic rhetoric, may want to check which faculty members from their university are signatories before registering." And it asks: "How can professors who are so biased against the Jewish state accurately or fairly teach students about Israel or the Arab-Israel conflict?"

When the Lobby's actions are this ridiculous, it is a sign of weakness. Or spurious feebleness of mind? Amcha would have the state cull academia of those committing the thought crime of being "biased against the Jewish state", and would have us accept the mythical talking-point-notion that a professor can be free of bias.

Intellectual discourse and academic freedom are out. "Neutral" zombies are in. Criticism of Israel is bias, if not anti-Semitism (notice the weakened position here also), and recognizing the existential threat from the Gazan child-wielding terrorists is clear thinking. War crimes are self-defence, and so on, otherwise you are irrationally hostile against Jews, who have barely survived "The" Holocaust.

How long is this crap going to hold out? Amcha is one of many signals that the Zionist hold on US numbness-of-mind is falling apart. Soon there will be a renewed cycle of foreign policy examination in US elite circles -- brought on by social, if not academic, unrest; World, if not US, unrest.


Endnotes

[1] "Three-sentence letter in 'NYT' results in Yale chaplain's resignation", Mondoweiss, September 7, 2014. http://mondoweiss.net/2014/09/sentence-chaplains-resignation

[2] "Israel's attempted genocide must fail -- Lessons from Canada's genocide" by Denis G. Rancourt, Dissident Voice, August 2, 2014; http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/08/israels-attempted-genocide-must-fail/

[3] "Global economic model of war" by Denis G. Rancourt, Veterans Today, September 3, 2013. http://www.veteranstoday.com/2013/09/03/global-economic-model-of-war-understanding-syria-and-more/

[4] "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" by Mearsheimer, John J. and Walt, Stephen; New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.

[5] "The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering" by Norman G. Finkelstein, Verso, NY, 2000.

[6] "Israel Obstructs Gaza Rehabilitation" by Stephen Lendman, Global Research, September 8, 2014. http://www.globalresearch.ca/israel-obstructs-gaza-rehabilitation/5400272

[7] Recent interview of me by Kourosh Ziabari of the FARS News Agency: "Prof. Denis Rancourt: The United States Supports Israel for Constant Bloodletting in the Middle East", September 16, 2014. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13930616000976

[8] Many links here: http://rancourt.academicfreedom.ca/

[9] Present struggle and funding campaign: http://rancourt.academicfreedom.ca/donate.html

[10] "Over 100 Middle East Studies Scholars and Librarians Call for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions", Jadaliyya Reports, August 6, 2014. http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/18811/over-100-middle-east-studies-scholars-and-libraria


Dr. Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured and Full Professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is known for his applications of physics education research (TVO Interview). He has published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals, and has written several social commentary essays. He is the author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism. While he was at the University of Ottawa, he supported student activism and opposed the influence of the Israel lobby on that institution, which fired him for a false pretext in 2009: LINK

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Obama's ISIS project is nothing but a pretext to murder and destroy Syrian society



The US military-finance-corporate empire (US-Empire) is characterized by (LINK):
  • global military projection using over 1000 military bases
  • control over the global finance instruments (and the money supply)
  • corporate exploitation of labour and resources on the scale of entire continents
  • dominant influence on World organizations such as the United Nations
  • a demonstrated willingness to annihilate entire populations and societies -- directly or by proxy -- in order to ensure complete compliance
The nations entirely destroyed recently by the US-Empire include: Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and so on. These actions are outright crimes of mass aggression viciously targeting entire peoples, using combinations of military devastation, political overthrows, and brutal economic blockades.

No other regime in today's world is responsible for such premeditated and repeated acts of mass murder against entire modern societies. The US with its military allies, most notably Israel, is presently by far the greatest threat to peace and the greatest purveyor of terror on the planet.

This is not debatable by reasonable people. The US-Empire's present preeminent position of brutal global thug is a self-evident truth based on hard facts regarding the magnitudes of death and destruction; counted in millions of lives, millions of refugees, and nation-wide obliterations of civil infrastructure, not to mention annihilations of national and civil institutions. US crimes do not diminish the importance of injustices perpetrated by non-aligned regimes, but there is an obvious asymmetry of magnitudes that simply cannot be denied.

It is also apparent that the US-Empire's projects of nation destruction are strategic and premeditated. Having built an instrument for annihilating nations, it appears difficult for the US-Empire to not use it, irrespective of any moral or legal considerations. US "diplomacy" has become strictly an exercise in promoting its wars for geopolitical design.

It is in this realistic context of a ferocious, rogue and barely-constrained superpower that we must understand Obama's emanations about ISIS as nothing but a pretext to "remove Assad". And "removing Assad" can only mean destroying the Syrian nation and its people because the Syrian army and the Syrian people stand together and overwhelmingly support Assad against the foreign invaders.

The legitimate political dissidence in Syria was used as a front and a pretext to inject massive numbers of externally-funded foreign rebels into a proxy war for the US-Empire and its regional partners-in-crime. This is established by every credible researcher. (And, of course actively masked by the US-Empire's propaganda.)

And now an element (ISIS) of the injected foreign rebels is used as a pretext for all-out war US-style. For Syria, this means complete annihilation of the national defence forces, and total destruction of civilian infrastructure to bring the population to its knees and lay siege to any resistance. Straight-up crimes against humanity as the modus operandi for "regime change", a la USA, followed by US corporation predation, territorial control, etc.

Obama's ISIS project is nothing but a pretext to murder and destroy Syrian society.

Obama's ISIS project is nothing but a pretext to murder and destroy Syrian society.

Obama's ISIS project is nothing but a pretext to murder and destroy Syrian society.


* * *

Dr. Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured and Full Professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is known for his applications of physics education research (TVO Interview). He has published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals, and has written several social commentary essays. He is the author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism. While he was at the University of Ottawa, he supported student activism and opposed the influence of the Israel lobby on that institution, which fired him for a false pretext in 2009: LINK

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Major foreign corporation with US-military and IDF ties buys a "security and policy institute" at "Allan Rock's university" in Canada's capital



By Denis G. Rancourt


BACKGROUND ABOUT ALLAN ROCK'S NAKBA AT uOTTAWA

The University of Ottawa was a reputable institution of higher learning in Canada's capital city, before it was taken-over in 2008 by former federal politician and former Canadian Ambassador to the UN Allan Rock.

Following his appointment, Rock immediately proceeded to bring in all his own people to run the place in support of his announced pet projects to support US-colonial "globalization" and to legitimize the state of Israel, in the face of growing international condemnation of Israel's on-going war crimes in Palestine.

There was a complete overhaul of the executive team, and of the Board of Governors (BOG). The new VP-Academic, Francois Houle, disappeared shortly after the start of his mandate. The whole executive team left for one reason or another. The Chair of the BOG left, to be replaced by a retired federal senior civil servant who had been an underling of the then federal minister Allan Rock, and so on.

Rock has gone so far as to receive public condemnations from both the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Association of University Teachers for administrative interferences with the student-based Israel Apartheid Week (see Appendix). He created a questionable joint law graduate degree with an Israeli university, for which there was no apparent or expressed need. He has been pressing for a "School of Government" without consulting the academic community. He accepts large anonymous donations for his pet programs. And so on.

Since Rock's appointment, damaging public relations fiascoes have followed, one after the other, somewhat like in Rock's former political career in which a colleague from his own party said that he has "shit magnets in his pockets".

The most recent matter illustrating Rock's ability to continually harm the institution's reputation has been the subject of several harsh editorial critiques in the national print media: Rock prejudicially and publicly dismissed and tarred the entire university hockey team, thereby wrecking student athlete careers, prior to any criminal charges being laid against two of the team's members.

A partial list of Rock's notorious achievements, up to 2010, in both his past political dealings and on campus, is given in the Appendix below.


A PATTERN OF UNILATERAL AND UNCOLLEGIAL EXECUTIVE DECISIONS BY ALLAN ROCK

An illustrative example of how Rock operates, is shown by student reactions to his "School of Management" brainchild, as follows (LINK).

On January 29, 2013, Sarah Tayyem, President, Public & International Affairs Association, Representative of Students from the Public & International Affairs Program, writes (in part):

"Lack of student input into the consultation process ... The consulting group did not include students in their process, and so this report does not address or cover student concerns. ... There was no student input solicited for the original consultative document, and there has been a lack of effort on the part of the University to solicit feedback from students even though we are at the heart of this proposal. GSPIA students would appreciate a consultation session, especially as we stand to be strongly affected by the proposed SoG."

Similarly, on March 4, 2013, the president of the Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO), Professor Christian Rouillard, wrote THIS damning letter to Allan Rock (in part):

I am writing to you in regards to the projected School of Government. Listed as one of the initiatives on the horizon in the plan Destination 20/20, where it is introduced as «a premier centre for governance and public-policy research» (...), this project remains a mystery to most members of our university community.

About a year ago, at the Ottawa Mayor's Breakfast: Ottawa Business Journal and Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, you  explained to the members of the business community present that ... Yet, one year later, as attested by the feedback we received from many members who are themselves part of «the exceptional cluster of expertise that is already at the  University», i.e. faculty conducting research in the areas of governance, public administration, international affairs,  security and human rights, everyone on campus it seems, has been kept in the dark. No relevant information on the projected school has been formally shared by the administration. Not a word on it is to be found in the minutes of the  Senate meetings held in  the  2012-2013 academic year (...). Similarly, not a word on it is to be found in the minutes  of the Board of governors meetings held in the 2012-2013 academic year ...

Such public letters are unprecedented at the University of Ottawa.


THE LATEST ALLAN ROCK SURPRISE: A FOREIGN-FUNDED SECURITY AND POLICY INSTITUTE FOR CANADA

On September 8, 2014, the Allan Rock university put out THIS previously unannounced press release:

MEDIA ADVISORY: Launch of the Security and Policy Institute of Professional Development at the University of Ottawa

OTTAWA, September 8, 2014  —  The University of Ottawa invites members of the media to attend the launch of the Security and Policy Institute of Professional Development. The new institute will offer a unique professional development program for decision-makers working in the public, para-public and private sectors whose responsibilities require them to pay particular attention to national and international security issues.

The courses offered by the Institute will focus on sharing knowledge and best practices to help students take more informed decisions.

In honour of the Institute’s launch, internationally renowned intelligence expert George Friedman will present the first in a series of in-depth lectures on emerging security issues given by world-leading specialists.

Serge Blais, Director of the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Ottawa, will be on hand to answer questions about this new professional development program.

WHAT: Lecture and inauguration of the new Security and Policy Institute of Professional Development
WHEN: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: Ballroom of the Chateau Laurier, 1 Rideau Street, Ottawa

It is interesting to note that the press release announces an event to be held off-campus, that a university communications person will answer questions rather than Rock himself, that there is no mention of the funding source of this new institute, and that the guest speaker is a US military intelligence expert (more below).

THIS university webpage informs us that "Symantec is the main sponsor for the launch of the Security and Policy Institute of professional development."

Symantec is a US Fortune 500 corporation, which deals in software/internet "security" (including "cyber war"), and which has strong US military and IDF ties.

Symantec's nine-member Board of Directors (LINK) includes one "Major General and Commander, United States Air Force (retired)".

Symantec has strong corporate ties with Israel and the Israel Defense Force (IDF). Symantec's country manager for Israel is Shmulik Angel. His web bio at Symentec states (LINK):

Previously, he served in the Israeli air force for 25 years. He retired from service as a Colonel and continues to perform active reserve duty in the air force and in the Ministry of Defense. Mr. Angel holds BSc. degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA from Ben Gurion University, Israel.

The Mossad's cyber weapon "Stuxnet" is said to be "the world's first cyber-weapon of geopolitical significance". It is believed to have been developed in collaboration with the US military, and it is linked to Symantec, as per THIS media report.


IMPLICATIONS OF ROCK'S SECURITY AND POLICY INSTITUTE

Nothing could be a better illustration of Allan Rock's zeal to make the University of Ottawa an instrument to dissolve Canada's sovereignty and to serve the US-Israeli military complex.

Now let us examine Rock's proposed inaugural lecture to launch his institute, given by "internationally renowned intelligence expert George Friedman". Who is George Friedman?

George Friedman is the Chairman of the US global intelligence firm Stratfor (LINK).

Stratfor is dubbed a "shadow CIA" firm, and Wikileaks has shown that 13 Canadian government agencies have high-cost subscriptions to Stratfor (LINK). "National Defence paid Stratfor $78,225 in 2011, $80,175 in 2012 and $82,200" for 2013.

In addition to obtaining actual contracts for secret services, George Friedman also spews out public "intelligence" reports, which are unabashed propaganda, about every conflict of concern to the US-Israel military. These "reports", masked as objective "intelligence" serve to legitimize the global empire's every intervention, including Israel's so-called "self-defence" against the surrounding Arab aggressors who do not accept Israel's existence and who pose a "long-term threat to its survival".

Allan Rock's star speaker is an Israeli apologist, invited just days after Israel's recent bloody massacre in Gaza. And this invited guest will deliver a "series of in-depth lectures on emerging security issue" to Canada's captive minds.

The Emperor will be pleased to learn that President Rock did not show leadership by condemning Israeli war crimes, or the massacre in Gaza. Quite the opposite, their man has stifled such discussion and replaces it with US-Israel propaganda.

Welcome to "Allan Rock's university", in Canada's capital city.


***

Dr. Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured and Full Professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is known for his applications of physics education research (TVO Interview). He has published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals, and has written several social commentary essays. He is the author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism. While he was at the University of Ottawa, he supported student activism and opposed the influence of the Israel lobby on that institution, which fired him for a false pretext in 2009: LINK


Appendix: Rock's dealings up to 2010

PART-I : At the University of Ottawa
  • Made a commitment at university Senate (April 12, 2010) to repair the Ann Coulter freedom of expression fiasco and then "clarified" at Senate (February 7, 2011) that this "was not a commitment"
The "clarification" only occurred after physics student Senator Joseph Hickey insisted that the commitment should be honoured as agreed by Senate (LINK, LINK).

  • Deceived the student body and university community regarding donation ethics, again (February 2011)
In the fall of 2009 Allan Rock put on a series of show panels as a mock consultation to prepare an upcoming administrative policy for “donor recognition”. The policy was to be presented “within weeks” (LINK). It never materialized.

There was a tacit understanding that large donations would not be accepted until the new policy was developed and instituted.

On June 22, 2010, the University announced a 3.5 million dollar anonymous donation for a research chair in business management (LINK, and below).

On February 7, 2011, the University announced a new exchange program with Israel "generously supported by the Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman Foundation" (LINK, LINK)

  • Lied about the origin of the infamous March 2010 Francois Houle letter to Ann Coulter  
“Worse yet is that Mr. Rock fudged when initially questioned about the letter. He stated that “it was sent with my knowledge” – when the truth is it was sent at his instigation. When it blew up into a controversy, he let Mr. Houle take the brunt of the heat. Talk about the boss hiding behind his staff.”
– National Post, June 30, 2010.

BC Blue blog report: HERE.


  • Hypocrisy regarding respect, restraint, civility, consideration, and a reasoned and intelligent approach…
“I therefore ask you, while you are a guest on our campus, to weigh your words with respect and civility in mind. There is a strong tradition in Canada, including at this University, of restraint, respect and consideration in expressing even provocative and controversial opinions and urge you to respect that Canadian tradition while on our campus. ... [This will] lead not only to a more civilized discussion, but to a more meaningful, reasoned and intelligent one as well.”
– Rock-Houle letter to Ann Coulter, March 19, 2010.

Versus Allan Rock to Houle and staff:

"Ann Coulter is a mean-spirited, small-minded, foul-mouthed poltroon... She is 'the loud mouth that bespeaks the vacant mind'."

"She is an ill-informed and deeply offensive shill for a profoundly shallow and ignorant view of the world. She is a malignancy on the body politic. She is a disgrace to the broadcasting industry and a leading example of the dramatic decline in the quality of public discourse in recent times."

"You, Francois, as Provost, should write immediately to Coulter informing her of our domestic laws. ... You should urge her to respect that Canadian tradition as she enjoys the privilege of her visit."

"Quel excellent message! Merci et felicitations. I am sure she has never been dressed down so elegantly in her life!"

  • Deceived the student body and university community regarding donation ethics
In the fall of 2009 Allan Rock put on a series of show panels as a mock consultation to prepare an upcoming administrative policy for “donor recognition”. The policy was to be presented “within weeks” (LINK). It never materialized.

There was a tacit understanding that large donations would not be accepted until the new policy was developed and instituted.

On June 22, 2010, the University announced a 3.5 million dollar anonymous donation for a research chair in business management, anonymous no less (LINK).

It seems to us that anonymity would be an important discussion point in any “donor recognition” or donation ethics policy.

  • Was publicly accused of lying by a student representative about budget consultations
On June 2, 2010, Martin Schoolts-Mcalpine, Senator-elect for undergraduate students of the Faculty of Arts publicly called for Rock to be impeached and publicly accused Rock of have lied to him about the Faculty of Arts having been consulted in an imposed budget exercise. Rock responded by belittling the student representative who had made every effort to be consulted by his faculty. (VIDEO LINK HERE)

  • Mislead the Board of Governors with incorrect budget information
At the April 27, 2010, Board of Governors meeting Rock told the Board members in his briefing that the projected budget deficit was 25 M$ whereas he had previously told the media that the projected deficit was 19 M$ (without ever explaining how the figure jumped from 25 million to 19 million).

Rock only corrected himself to the Board near the end of the budget discussions and only after being confronted on the question during a break by graduate student union representative Sean Kelly (LINK).

  • Lied to the media to cover up his attacks against freedom of expression
““Freedom of expression is a core value that the University of Ottawa has always promoted,” said Allan Rock, President of the University.”
University press release, March 24, 2010.

Rock had been sent a letter in 2009 from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) explaining that the University had violated the principle of freedom of expression by banning a student poster. And in 2010, the national media had the CCLA and the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) explaining to the Rock administration that its March 2010 letter to potential speaker Ann Coulter was a violation of freedom of expression.

Therefore Rock knew that the University of Ottawa had not always promoted freedom of expression (LINK).

  • Hired a student newspaper editor in the president’s office, effectively as a reward for favourable editorial support, in violation of the paper’s rules of ethics
Quite remarkable: LINK. The student retained a senior position at the paper while he was fully salaried by Rock.

Related background articles: LINK.

  • Practiced flagrant disregard for student democratic and procedural rights
THIS letter from the student union was sent to Rock requesting urgent attention to student rights being violated by his administration.

The student concerns were disregarded and the student representatives were simply brushed off.



PART-II : Before becoming University of Ottawa president



  • Accepted what was effectively a bribe – This put an end to Rock’s political career and showed him to be “ethically challenged”
"[Rock's] behaviour since the Irving affair became public has revealed him to be ethically challenged. […] it took Rock days to apologize. And he only grudgingly did so after Labour Minister Claudette Bradshaw rose in the Commons and offered an unqualified apology for accepting a ride on the Irving corporate jet three years ago. She also announced she was reimbursing the family for the flight."
– Ottawa Citizen, November 8, 2003, page 1.

In 2002 when the then Ethics Counsellor Howard Wilson discovered that Minister Rock had in summer 2001 accepted a private jet stay at the Irving family salmon fishing lodge, he issued a ruling that Rock was to avoid all ministerial dealings benefiting Irving enterprises for one year. During that blackout year Rock made three significant ministerial decisions benefiting Irving Shipbuilding Inc.

On investigating the latter multimillion-dollar violations, "Wilson said it 'would have be better' if a minister other than Rock had signed the $55-million grant, but noted the signature was made by a machine on instructions from Industry officials." (Ottawa Citizen)

Rock accepted the latter whitewashing that the opposition leaders called a "complete joke" but it put an end to his political and federal judgeship ambitions.


Other well known affairs:

  • Deceived Parliament and the Canadian public regarding the cost of the gun registry: The costing reported to Parliament was overshot by one billion dollars.

  • As Minister of Justice, Rock paid 2 million dollars to Brian Mulroney for no known reason. This was never justified. (RECENT COMMENTARY)

  • As Minister of Health, Rock allowed and found justification for a dubiously discriminating attribution of reparations to tainted blood victims: Victims had to have been infected between 1986 and 1990, not before, not after.
“The offer came despite a recommendation by the report of the Krever Inquiry a year earlier, which called for compensation for anyone harmed by bad blood, regardless of when they were infected.

In just over two months, Ontario would break ranks, saying people who were infected before 1986 had waited long enough for help. The province came up with another $200 million for victims of tainted blood.

"Regardless of legal liability, all governments have a moral responsibility to Canadians who placed their faith in the blood system, and, through no fault of their own, became infected," [said Ontario Premier Mike Harris.]”
CBC media report, July 2006.

"We've done the best we can under very difficult circumstances."
– Federal Health Minister Allan Rock, February 27, 1998.

The cost of the inadequate federal compensation package was less than the gun registry budget overshoot.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Broad-ranging media interview with Denis Rancourt about Israel's massacre in Gaza


FARS News Agency published this broad-ranging interview, done while the recent Israeli massacre in Gaza was ungoing:


TEHRAN (FNA)- A Canadian scholar and academic, who was fired from the university where he was teaching because of his pro-Palestinian viewpoints, believes the US government is funding and supporting Israel for its continued bloodletting in the Middle East.
According to Prof. Denis Rancourt, Israel's plan in the Middle East is ethnic cleansing and the total obliteration of Palestine and its citizens in order to realize a colonial, imperial agenda backed by the US military, economic and finance empire.

"Israel’s program is to eradicate or neutralize all Palestinians who make claim to a home in Palestine. This is exactly what Israel has been doing since before its artificial creation," said Prof. Rancourt in an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency.

"Israel’s program is planned incremental dispossession and an ongoing attempted genocide. This has been repeatedly and explicitly expressed by the Zionist architects and executioners," he noted.

Prof. Denis Rancourt has also praised the resistance movement in the Gaza Strip for its steadfastness against the Israeli aggression during the past two months, maintaining that it was awe-inspiring that Hamas could kill some 70 invading Israeli soldiers.

Denis Rancourt is a former professor of physics at the University of Ottawa. In the fall of 2008, he was removed from all teaching duties under the pretext that he had granted A+ grades to 23 students in one course during the winter 2008 semester; however, it's quite clear to everybody that his outspoken criticism of Israel and his pro-Palestinian activism had triggered his dismissal from the university. Prof. Rancourt's classes were always attended by tens of students and he was considered as one of the popular university professors at the Faculty of Science.

Rancourt has published more than 100 academic papers. He was a member of Ottawa-Carleton Institute for Physics and the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre. He is the author of the book "Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism."

During the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip that just ended on August 26 following the victory of Hamas and the declaration of ceasefire between the Israeli regime and the resistance movement, FNA did an interview with Prof. Denis Rancourt on the influence of the Israeli lobby over the media, politicians and universities in the West, the history of Israel-Canada relations and the international reactions to the recent Israeli war on Gaza. The following is the text of this in-depth interview. CONTINUE READING

Monday, September 1, 2014

Adult university students are entrapped unpaid workers, captured and broken by institutional schooling


By Denis G. Rancourt


Adult university students are entrapped unpaid managerial-labourers, intellectual slave-workers in forced indoctrination camps.

The institutionally imposed "study" is unpaid forced labour done by adults and minors.

By virtue of entirely blocking a person's freedom of inquiry, and freedom to thus self-define within the unpartitioned community, schooling and university "education" are as dehumanizing as any regime of forced labour. Furthermore, university is not only unpaid but also imposes life-long personal debt and relative health deterioration.

The relative health deterioration comes from the well-known dominant individual-health determinant that is the particular stress inherent in a dominance hierarchy (see articles under the label "medical"; and reading below).

Schooling's ancillary benefit arising from social-interaction is strictly limited and codified, and otherwise only tolerated as a necessary management allowance. (Studies in the developing World have shown that the main benefits from classic schooling arise from the students from several villages meeting and comparing communicated experiences about home-life.)

The fact that university, by virtue of unavoidable spatiotemporality, allows a melting pot of meetings, including between students and the few non-student adults, does not diminish the inherent violence in the institution's systemic and willful attack against student freedom. The said meetings occur despite the structural cantonizations into year-groups, study programs, academic disciplines, schools of thought, professional doctrines, and so on, and despite the grueling impositions of mindless (uncreative) and constrained "intellectual" work.

* * *

At the very least, students should be PAID a salary, and allowed to be unionize as workers. Those should be the demands from students. These demands are a rational imperative within the logic of a (hypothetical) capitalism that rejects all slavery except wage-slavery.

Anything less -- such as demanding "free" tuition, or "merit" scholarships, or interest-free loans -- condones unpaid child labour and professional-worker slavery.

Student loans, in particular, are exactly a buying-of-freedom system of slavery, which extends for decades beyond the actual schooling. The "schooling" itself is analogous to slave capture and breaking of the will, followed by forced behavioural and task training. Only fully integrated student-slaves and unconscious managers of student-slaves cannot recognize this obvious fact about student "loans" and "education funds".

Regarding public schooling, if the system is going to take children, hoard them into factories, and rob them of their natural developments, then it should at the very least pay money for the forced labour. This would make the dealing overt rather than covert, and would allow an evaluation of the arrangement, based on reality.

Likewise, home-schooling parents should be paid at least the same per-capita cost that the state pays for institutionalizing children, including any state salary to the institutionalized child. That should be the parents' negotiating position when home-schooling parents demand their due.

Note: In this post, I used the word "slavery" for the wage slavery of professional workers, including university students. It is completely predictable, in this age of "words that wound", that some readers will complain. I don't agree that my use of the word "slavery" trivialize the word. Quite to the contrary, my use of the word unifies struggles across social classes and historic periods. The human mind is more-than-able to discern violent and brutal physical enslavement from the violent psychological domination described by Paulo Freire, and explained in the context of the modern professional worker and graduate student by Jeff Schmidt.


Related reading and related links

Farber, Jerry, "The Student as Nigger", Canadian Union of Students, May 6, 1968.

Freire, Paulo, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed", 1970.

Rancourt, Denis G., "Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism", Stairway Press, Mount Vernon, WA, 2013.

Rancourt, Denis G., Links to Denis Rancourt's essays about the student condition and student liberation

Schmidt, Jeff, "Disciplined Minds -- A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-Battering System that Shapes their Lives", Rowman & Littlefield, 2000. 

Dr. Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured and Full Professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is known for his applications of physics education research (TVO Interview). He has published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals, and has written several social commentary essays. He is the author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism. While he was at the University of Ottawa, he supported student activism and opposed the influence of the Israel lobby on that institution, which fired him for a false pretext in 2009: LINK.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sweeping agreements will further degrade university education in Ontario, "Canada"

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ontario-unveils-deal-with-universities-colleges-to-specialize-programs/article19969302/

 By Denis G. Rancourt


In mid-summer vacations we learned from the media that the "Ontario government has signed a sweeping set of agreements with universities and colleges that will oblige them to choose areas of specialty and avoid overlapping programs with one another". [1]

This is a structural change that goes to the heart of institutional identity and jurisdiction. Thus, it is important to ask what the large societal forces are that have driven this change, and what the foreseeable consequences of this change might be.

The significance of this massive legal and structural re-organization of the higher-education complex in Ontario is confirmed by the facts that these changes:
  • were not subject to public consultation;
  • were made entirely my management without seeking university senate approvals; 
  • were negotiated behind closed doors without collegial participation;
  • were announced when the students are away.

Since their creation, universities in Ontario have been independent bodies. This independence is statutory. Each university derives its legal authority from a law enacted by the provincial parliament. This gives each institution the responsibility to develop its academic programs through a collegial process culminating in decisions made by the university senate, subject to the management of financial funds overseen by the university board of governors.

The idea is that a university is suppose to serve the needs of the local (city and regional) population, although not exclusively, and that the collegial process involving students, professors, and community members, is best suited to identifying academic needs.

The university administrations (the executives) have now sold-off institutional independence without a fight, and without consulting their communities. They have collaborated with the service executives that run the province.

Increased specialization will necessarily have large societal costs, that will be paid by students and their families. Students will need to travel further and live away from home sooner, at great extra costs, without the option of a local institution that offers a desired program.

Increased specialization will eliminate much healthy inter-university competition, both competition for enrollments and intellectual competition between departments in a given academic discipline. Whereas, larger academic departments are known to be more hierarchical, often at the expense of the individual academic freedoms of professors and students.

As it stands, there is more variation in brilliance from professor to professor (and from student to student) than variation in brilliance from university to university. The academic reputation and influence of an individual researcher is relatively easy to gauge whereas the academic reputation of a department or university is ill-defined, and more often than not simply and superficially tied to size, and thus arising from the department's or university's political weight within the discipline.

Increased specialization will force-out individual brilliance by subjecting all the professors and students within a discipline to be subjugated to the authority of a large departmental hierarchy. All such hierarchies tend towards schools of thought, normalization of investigative procedures, and so on -- they constrain and stifle creativity and risk-taking.  

Increased specialization represents monopolizing and cantonizing of academic disciplines. The relative fluid ability that an institution possessed to create new programs and research areas will be replaced by fossilization tied to provincial funding.

Furthermore, the increased specialization will not produce savings for the province. Where are the studies that predict such savings and what are the underlying assumptions of those calculations?

The promise of savings for the province is a false pretext to achieve specialization. As with virtually all institutional changes, specialization is driven by covert underlying forces. Namely, the natural forces towards sharpening and consolidation of hierarchical control of the economy and of people who populate the economy. [2]

Specialization serves "globalization" and "corporatization" -- that is, further vassalization of "Canada" into the US corporate-military-finance empire (Empire).

Specialization of Ontario's higher-education complex enables a tighter control on students and professors in view of accepting "globalization", and of accepting their roles within the globalization project. Specialization facilitates indoctrination into the logic of the US corporate-military-finance empire. The mechanisms are as follows:

  • Cross-fertalization between disciplines is physically barred.
  • Disciplines that are potential threats are physically isolated and hierarchically controlled.
  • Students with different perspectives cannot physically meet.
  • Students in a given location are controlled by a single administration, allowing tighter discipline.
  • Students are virtually all away from home and thus more vulnerable to hermetical training and indoctrination.

As a result, a student is more tightly indoctrinated into his/her role in the service of the Empire, and is thus made more stupid than he/she otherwise would be. He/she is also less able to adapt to any other role than the prescribed role -- a dangerous attribute in a changing world.

To give ONE EXAMPLE, the main geopolitical obsession of the US corporate-military-finance empire these days is its policy in the Middle East. Empire strategists believe that controlling the Middle East allows the US to control access to energy, and thus control development and a strategic resource. This militarily-enforced control of the Middle East and of the exploited realm also allows the US to impose the US-dollar as the World (energy) currency, and the dollar (which the US prints), in turn, is the empire's main economic exploitation device. [3][4]

In order to keep control in the Middle East, the US must constantly prevent the Arab Wold from coalescing and liberating itself. It must generate controlled perpetual war, as needed. It must kill Arabs. Its main agent in the region is Israel. [3][5]

In order to help make its perpetual waring acceptable to the citizens of the Empire, there must be a "war on terror", and there must be Islamaphobia, including regular discoveries of "sleeper agents", "terrorist plots", and so on [6]. All this is difficult to swallow for many students (professors generally have an easier time).

Overall, their is a risk that the Empire's perpetual waring, including Israel's pet project of its genocide against Palestinians, will become fatally unsavory to liberal citizens of the Empire (except in Israel where killing Arabs is, by necessity, culturally normalized by state indoctrination and enforcement). The main agent at home to align political positions, thought, and discourse on Israel is the Israel Lobby [3][7][8]. But the Lobby is becoming insufficient. Campuses are alight with "Israeli Apartheid Weeks" and with "BDS campaigns". And genocides and war crimes seen on YouTube make people quite angry.

One part of the solution, for universities, is a classic divide and conquer: Specialization. [9]

When campuses become unimodal professional-training boot camps, there is no campus activism that could poison societal consciousness [10]. And the professors are not disturbed by colleagues in other fields having different perspectives.


Endnotes

[1] "Ontario unveils deal with universities, colleges to specialize programs" by Adrian Morrow, Globe & Mail, August 8, 2014. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ontario-unveils-deal-with-universities-colleges-to-specialize-programs/article19969302/

[2] "Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism" by Denis G. Rancourt, Stairway Press, Mount Vernon, WA, 2013; see chapter entitled "Institutions Naturally Evolve Toward More Control".

[3] "The Intended Roles of the Israel-Lobby and of Israel in the US-Empire are Incompatible with Peace" by Denis G. Rancourt, July 30, 2014; http://activistteacher.blogspot.ca/2014/07/the-intended-roles-of-israel-lobby-and.html -- and at Dissident Voice.

[4] "Global Economic Model of War: Understanding Syria and more" by Denis G. Rancourt, September 3, 2013; http://activistteacher.blogspot.ca/2013/09/global-economic-model-of-war.html -- and at Veterans Today.

[5] "Israel's attempted genocide must fail -- Lessons from Canada's genocide" by Denis G. Rancourt, July 29, 2014; http://activistteacher.blogspot.ca/2014/07/israels-attempted-genocide-must-fail.html -- and at Dissident Voice.

[6] "Canadian judge goes bonkers on a thought crime: Case of Mohamed Hersi defended by lawyer Paul Slansky" by Denis G. Rancourt, July 25, 2014. http://activistteacher.blogspot.ca/2014/07/canadian-judge-goes-bonkers-on-thought.html

[7] "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" by Mearsheimer, John J. and Walt, Stephen; New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.

[8] "The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering" by Norman G. Finkelstein, Verso, NY, 2000.

[9] Similarly, all the major societal changes that have occurred in Canada since Jean Chrétien was ousted -- prominence of the Israel Lobby, change of position on Palestine at the UN, seeking foreign investments as the main economic "motor", allowing exponential increase in foreign ownership, privatization of public holdings, change of geopolitical stance from peace-keeping to war-mongering, treatment of refugees and immigration policy, politicization/corporatization/globalization of universities, militarization of police, surveillance practices, increased criminalization of citizens, reduction of democratic processes, alignment of the media, ... -- are attributable to the on-going vassalization of "Canada" into the US corporate-military-finance empire, and its pillaging.

[10] See "Disciplined Minds -- A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-Battering System that Shapes their Lives" by Jeff Schmidt; Rowman & Littlefield, 2000.


Dr. Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured and Full Professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is known for his applications of physics education research (TVO Interview). He has published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals, and has written several social commentary essays. He is the author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism. While he was at the University of Ottawa, he supported student activism and opposed the influence of the Israel lobby on that institution, which fired him for a false pretext in 2009: LINK