Canada's Human Rights Tribunals are a fair game dream machine for the Church of Scientology. One wonders why its Office of Special Affairs (OSA) has not begun to use them in its lawfare campaign against Anonymous, the anti-Scientology free speech movement made up of 10,000 high school and college students world-wide.
Canada's Human Rights Tribunals were established as informal administrative hearings with the laudable purpose of protecting poor minorities from discrimination in employment and housing. They are now being used to prosecute hate speech crimes and have become the greatest threat to freedom of speech in Canada.
The cases of Mark Steyn, Ezra Levant, and Pastor Stephen Boissoin illustrate the tribunals' jihad against free speech. Steyn and Levant were charged with Islamophobic anti-religious hate speech and Boissoin with homophobic hate speech. Boissoin's sentence forbids him from ever making a disparaging remark about homosexuality anytime, anywhere including in his sermons and on the internet.
Commenting on the Boissoin sentence, former Executive Gilles Marchildon of Canada's leading gay rights organzation, EGALE, wrote Freedom For Each is Freedom For All. He recognizes both the viciousness of Boissoin's homophobic stance and the tribunals for the destroyers of human rights and free speech they are. Steyn and Levant are conservatives and widely disliked on the left. Steyn was charged for publishing portions of his book America Alone that raises alarm about the encroachment of Shariah law in liberal democracies through suppression of free speech. Levant published the famous cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that created a furor of reactionary Islamic rage when first published in Denmark.
From the outset bloggers on the left led by Glenn Greenwald, (The Noxious Fruits of Hate Speech laws) have recognized that, as much as they despise Steyn, their own and everyone else's right to free speech is at risk. In fact, David Bernstein reports that University of British Columbia Professor and Marxist, feminist, and multicultural activist Sunera Thobani, a native of Tanzania, faced a hate-crimes investigation after she launched into a vicious diatribe against American foreign policy. Noam Chomsky has agreed on the anti-free speech nature of the tribunals. The entire center-right blogosphere is up in arms. A liberal and a conservative member of Parliament have each introduced resolutions to mitigate some of the deleterious effects of the tribunals. The Supreme Court of of Canada has also recently taken a more liberal updating and expansion of the realms of speech permissible without penalty of libel.
Still, the attitude of the tribunals has not changed. Charges against Steyn were dropped. The judge sniffed that, though Steyn was guilty of hate, prosecuting him was beyond the mandate of the tribunal, mostly because the case involved him quoting himself. A principal investigator for the tribunals has said, “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.” So it looks like more suits are coming.
For Scientology as for reactionary Islam the main attraction of the tribunals is that they are outside the legal system and lack its safeguards. There is no discovery and no trial by jury. Truth is no defense if you are accused of hate speech. The complainant merely has to feel disparaged, offended or hurt. All his costs are borne by the tribunal. The defendant bears the cost of lawyers for his legal defense, even if he wins, along with penalties and fines if he looses.
In the kangaroo court process of the tribunals, corporate Scientology would have a case to make on the grounds of anti-religious hate speech, though no one but Scientologists believe Scientology is a religion. "Hate speech" here meaning "speech I find disparaging and insulting even if it is true." If that sort of disparaging speech is a crime, Anonymous stands gleefully guilty as charged. The image board culture of Anonymous also provides a deep well of suitably shocking anti-PC offensiveness guaranteed to give the vapors to the tribunals' prissy guardians of PC righteousness.
Given the draconian Boissoin sentence, one win against Anonymous would be sufficient to silence all of Anonymous in Canada. No disparaging remarks about Scientology ever? From Anonymous? lol. Relentless and hilarious disparagement of corporate Scientology and its vicious litigiousness and dirty tricks is the heart and soul of Anonymous. This is why among other things it would be stupid for OSA to go to the tribunals. There would be an enormous outcry from Anonymous, the entire anti-Scientology movement, and their sympathizers.
Public opinion, however, has never been anything corporate Scientology thought it couldn't manipulate or intimidate. It is also busy shoring up its inter-faith alliances with its fellow travelers and useful idiots. It wants to form an alliance against anti-religious internet hate crimes to silence Anonymous and the entire anti-Scientology movement. The tribunals afford a way for the Church to play the persecuted religious minority aggrieved by the hateful signs, leaflets, posters, videos, and photoshops of 15-year old boys living in their Mom's basement.
With the out-of-nowhere appearance of the Anonymous Insurgency a mere six months ago, a paradigm shift has occurred in the relationship of Church of Scientology to the anti-Corporate Scientology free speech movement. The previous calculus for the cult was easy: Maximum prosecution by OSA in the courts with minimal exposure in an easily intimidated media. Now, as the extraordinary Gerry Armstrong says in his interview with Dawn Olsen, every move of corporate Scientology is watched and immediately reported on the internet by Anonymous.
OSA has not understood the paradigm shift. It continues to display its traditional broad range of immoral and unethical means of lawfare against its Number One Enemy, Gerry Armstrong, now a fugitive in his native Canada. Armstrong fled enforcement by a court in Marin Country of a gag agreement with the Church of Scientology that is a dream for those who want to punish the likes of Mark Steyn, Pastor Boissoin, and Sunera Thobani. Armstrong must pay $50,000 per recipient for anything he says in speech or writing about Scientology even if it his own personal experience. If he so much as mentions the word Scientology to an audience of 100, he is penalized $5,000,000. No wonder he fled.
Corporate Scientology is beginning its lawfare against Anonymous with low-level legal scare tactics. There is no indication that OSA will do anything other than what it has always done. It will lumber along raising legal pressure as it always has, smearing reputations and engaging in character assassination all along the way. It does not realize that things have changed and that reaction to any action grows exponentially on the internet.
OSA is deluded, as is head of the Church, David Miscavige, that they can control everything including the internet and public opinion. Public opinion is increasingly, if not yet completely, shaped by the internet. In its 13 year war against the internet, corporate Scientology's blunder of suppressing of free speech on YouTube ignited the Anonymous Revolution. I don't think the Church of Scientology would do anything different if the scenario were replayed. The same deluded mindset continues to operate. Which is to say, I think OSA just might well try to use the Canadian Human Rights tribunals to silence Anonymous, in spite of the fact that there are 10,000 anons watching and publicizing every move they make.
If that happens, the possibility of joining Anonymous to a broader cross-ideological free speech coalition arises. There are several free speech movements operating in parallel: the anti-reactionary Islam free speech movement; the anti-Political Correctness free speech movement, and the anti-Scientology free speech movement. An Anonymous show trial for anti- Scientology religious hate speech would bring these currents together as allies.
There will also be enormous opposition. Reactionary Islam, the PC establishment, and corporate Scientology are formidable adversaries, and odd bed fellows. They each find things quite appalling in the other. Reactionary Islam and Scientology are doctrinally homophobic, and share urgent dreams of world domination justified by any barbarous means necessary. PC has turned a blind eye to reactionary Islam's homophobia, Antisemitism, and disenfranchising of women's rights in the interest of PC class warfare.
All three of them are united in their desire to impose an ideology on all of society and to do so by repressing free speech. In Canada the PC tribunals and reactionary Islam have made cozy bedmates. Corporate Scientology is busy creating alliances with religious groups and heightening its image as a persecuted religious minority.
Will Scientology fair game Anonymous in Canada's Human Rights tribunals? I think it probably will. I don't think OSA realizes the game has changed. It will do what it knows how to do and has always done. Sooner or later it will try to fair game Anonymous in the Canadian Human Rights tribunals.
Watch out, OSA. It's a trap.
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