John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 7, part 4

Day 1 part 1 and part 2 , Day 2Day 3 and Day 4 part 1 and part 2 of this trial were covered in March, 2014 (write-ups by me at links).

Day 5 was going to be written up later, but….  As I was writing up the background needed to accurately portray the events of day 7 (parts 4 and up), I realized that I am describing much of the material that came out on day 5 and that a separate write up would be redundant.

Day 6 is here.

Day 7 part 1 is here, part 2 is here and part 3 is here – sorry about having had to chop this up, it seems my original write up was too long for WordPress to format correctly.

Following the break (more about that later), Connie Fournier had a chance to cross examine Dr. Baglow regarding some emails he had JUST disclosed to her that morning.  If this seems confusing (given that this has been dragging on for years), let me back up a lot and paint the situation:

One of the ‘bones of contention’ – and a source of huge frustration to the Fourniers – was the disclosure of emails between Dr. Baglow’s technical specialist, Mr. Bow, and Dr. Baglow during the time period when the comments from his old blog had disappeared from visibility on the internet.

Even more background information is needed, or this will not make any sense.  And, I admit freely that my understanding is limited and I apologize for any errors I make.  If you spot them, please, let me know and I will publish the correction!!!  I’d rather be corrected than stay in error any day!!!

Dr. Baglow used to have ‘blogspot’ host his blog – which meant that the word ‘blogspot’ would appear in the middle of his blog’s address.  Online, he had befriended Mr. Bow, who does some IT stuff as his hobby – and Mr. Bow eventually convinced Dr. Baglow to have his blog moved over to Mr. Bow’s server.  Not only would he get a better service, Mr. Bow would get him an address for his blog that would not contain the server name on it.

Aside:  why he would go about it in such a complicated manner is beyond me. All he had to do to get a domain name for his blog without the word ‘blogger’ in it (a few dollars a year) and use a pointer, so that the ‘non-blogger-name-displaying address would be visible and the ‘blogger’ bit be hidden:  no migrating or headaches from lost comments necessary!  But, of course, that would not bring Mr. Bow income for hosting the site, so, perhaps, he might not have mentioned this easy alternative…

For quite some time after Dr. Dawg’s blog had been ‘migrated over’ to the new server (with all the posts but without the old comments, which were in a difficult format), the old blog and all the comments for the posts were still visible on the internet.

According to Connie Fournier, that is – something Dr. Baglow bitterly disputes.

Connie Fournier and Barbara Kulaszka (BK), Mark Fournier’s lawyer, were looking through these comments on the old blog because they believed that much of the material they needed for their defense was contained in these very comments.  According to my understanding (highly imperfect) of what Connie Fournier claims, she and BK were in the very process of looking at them one fine day in the spring of 2011 when suddenly, all these comments went ‘poof!’ and disappeared.

Or, perhaps, were disappeared…

If they ‘had been disappeared’ by the plaintiff or his agents at his direction (as opposed to just ‘disappeared’), it seems to me that this would be a very bad thing indeed….  Something called ‘despoliation’ – or, if I understand, willful destruction of evidence.

Dr. Baglow, of course, most vigorously maintains that the comments had NOT ‘been disappeared’ but simply were not visible on the new site due to a technical glitch and, as far as he is aware, they had also disappeared (not ‘been disappeared’) from the old blog, which he insist on calling ‘the transitional blog’ but admits it is identical to the old blog, except for the colourscheme…..and, of course, it lacks the comments.

As Dr. Baglow had had his blog moved from blogger to Mr. Bow’s server in November 2010, he insists that all comments also disappeared (due to said technical glitch – which was endlessly gone over and over on day 5 of the case – and since I am explaining it here, it now seems redundant to write that day up separately…) in November 2010.

Ms. Fournier insists she was browsing through them online in the spring of 2011.  I am not certain of the exact dates, but the 30th of March and 3rd of April 2011 kept coming up as the timeframe when the comments were visible online and when they disappeared.

Or were disappeared.

Not my call….

So, in discovery, the defense asked for all the emails between Dr. Baglow and Mr. Bow from this time period to be disclosed (I am not certain of how it was phrased, but, I cannot help but have an impression that spring 2011 was specifically mentioned).

Dr. Baglow had indeed disclosed a slew of emails between himself and Mr. Bow – but from November/December 2010.  When questioned about why he had disclosed emails from the wrong time period, Dr. Baglow became nastily condescending and said (and I am paraphrasing) that he just thought  the defendants were too stupid to realize when the comments had disappeared, so he had thought to help them and provided them with the emails from the ‘right’ time period.

And he stuck to that line.

At least, that is my most humble recollection  and my most imperfect understanding of the events and the testimony regarding them.  If I got something wrong, it is not intentional and I would respectfully request that if you can, please do let me know so that I may correct my posts.  Thank you.

More coming soon!

John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 7, part 3

Day 1 part 1 and part 2 , Day 2Day 3 and Day 4 part 1 and part 2 of this trial were covered in March, 2014 (write-ups by me at links).

Day 5 will be written up later, as writing it up may affect the trial…

Day 6 is here.

Day 7 part 1 is here and part 2 is here – sorry about having had to chop this up into short little bits, it seems my original write up was too long for WordPress to format correctly.

 

Following up on Dr. Baglow’s ‘uncivil’ language regarding Kate McMillan, Mr. Frankel brought up Dr. Baglow’s testimony that he believes in being ‘uncivil towards the uncivil’.  In my never-humble-opinion, this was a low point for Dr. Baglow….being shown to have been ‘uncivil’ to Kate McMillan even after she had been so ‘civil’ to him!

It was at this point that the judge noted that the level of sarcasm on the blog posts she had read was incredibly high…and she questioned Dr. Baglow if all the blogs were like this.  He explained that no, not all were – for example, some of the anthropological blogs he frequents, even though they address controversial topics, they maintain an academic level of discourse.

Then we got into the Godwin’s Law…the discussion was predictable, as was the redirect regarding it.

Following that bit, Mr. Frankel went on to demonstrate that Dr. Baglow did not object to much more reputation-damaging statements than the impugned words, such as  being called ‘a shill for Hezbollah’ and ‘traitor’.  Dr. Baglow’s response to all this was ‘context’…as in, had it been in ‘different context’, he would have taken legal action against them, too.

Next Mr. Frankel concentrated on the difference between Dr. Baglow’s blog posts and his editorial pieces for the National Post (having convinced an editor by the name of Kelly McParland (sp?) that having a leftist’s POV would enrich the publication).

It seemed quite clear to me what he Mr. Frankel was doing (if, indeed, he was doing what I think he was doing):  he was demonstrating that the submission process to a newspaper – even an editorial – is much different than a blog post or comment for a blog post.

It also seemed to me that Dr. Baglow also saw where this was going and was doing his best to avoid going there…like saying that ‘he knew how an op-ed ought to differ from a blog post so there was no need for anyone else to make changes to it’ and so on.

Yet, Mr. Frankel got Dr. Baglow to admit that the comments to his blog were not read by him until after they had been posted – in other words, he had no ‘editorial  control’ over the comments posted on his site – while the op-ed pieces he submitted to National Post were not only groomed by himself to adhere to a different standard than a blog post would, but that they had to be vetted by the editor prior to publication.

To me – this is the key difference between the blogosphere/discussion forums and actual online publications:  the ‘newspapers’, even in their online versions, have editorial control of what they publish because they read and OK everything PRIOR to publication, while blog comments and discussion forum posts/comments are NOT read/vetted by the administration prior to publication.  Indeed, in the case of a discussion forum with some 10,000 users (like, say, Free Dominion), vetting all posts/comments by the administrators would not only be physically impossible, but leaving everything in a vetting cue would prevent the ‘online conversations’ which define the very nature of debate on discussion forums.

 Therefore, it is (and I am extrapolating where I think this argument was going) it is ridiculous to hold people who have not seen a comment/post to the same standard of responsibility for it as those who have read and vetted it.

 

The next bit of time was taken up with discussing one of Dr. Baglow’s least favourite politicians… Vic Toews.

Frankly, I did not really grasp the significance of all this – except to unmask the visceral hate Dr. Baglow has the capacity for.  I really did not understand how this bit impacted on the matter in hand…except that Dr. Baglow’s hate-on for this politician resulted in him posting some nasty stuff about him – stuff one might argue was more slanderous than ‘the impugned words’….  As in, it demonstrated Dr. Baglow had both written and published more ‘libel-worthy’ things about Vic Toews than had ever been posted anywhere about him self.

Dr. Baglow’s not entirely convincing response was that had he been called on it, he would have cowered in a corner and backed down with a generous apology.  (I am paraphrasing somewhat…but I found the answer to be less than convincing because Dr. Baglow would not look up while he spoke until almost the end and then hurriedly added that, of course, he would only do it for statements he thought were truly potentially defamatory – and that then he’d re-phrase them but, of course, he would not take down and apologize for frivolous claims…)

I know I am going over this in a LOT of detail – but, I do think that the CCLA’s participation as ‘a friend of the court’ in this matter is very, very important.  The outcome of this case will, after all, determine the freedoms all of us enjoy (or not) on the internet!!!

The next bit struck a little bit close to home for the CCLA:  supporting freedom of speech was being criticized as ‘enabling’ hate speech….

Yet, Mr. Frankel was able to turn it inside out and, after he got Dr. Baglow to admit that supporting free speech – even for neo-Nazis (as per some people’s definitions) could be perceived (and was repeatedly labelled as such by his ideological comrades, as well as Dr. Baglow himself) as ‘support for neo-Nazis’ (or other such ‘hate’ groups), then support for Omar Khadr and his ilk could, reasonably, be seen as ‘supporting’ – or, at least ‘giving aid and support/comfort’ to the Islamists/Taliban that Omar Khadr was working with. What’s good for the goose…

It was very well done and it revealed clearly demonstrated the ‘if one, then the other’ bit here.  I fully expect it to come out in Mr. Frankel’s closing argument.

I suspect this highlights the ‘important’ bits of Mr. Frankel’s cross examination.  I know, my write-up is verbose, but it took surprisingly little time – just over an hour!

The court took a little (less than an hour) break at this point. And, so shall I – leaving the rest for another post!

John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 7, part 2

Day 1 part 1 and part 2 , Day 2Day 3 and Day 4 part 1 and part 2 of this trial were covered in March, 2014 (write-ups by me at links).

Day 5 will be written up later, as writing it up may affect the trial…

Day 6 is here.

Day 7 part 1 is here – sorry about having had to chop this up into short little bits, it seems my original write up was too long for WordPress to format correctly.

We re-join the action as Mr. Frankel, ‘the CCLA guy’ is cross examining Dr. Baglow.

Much of the next bit of cross examination was designed to demonstrate to the judge just how internet forums worked.  The post ‘Yokels with pitchforks’ was used as an example…

In is my strong impression that Dr. Baglow feels really, really badly about having used this phrase.  Not because it insults right-wingers, but because as an avowed blue-collar people defender he is supposed to be protective of our agricultural workers (I do believe this was the turn of phrase he used) and using the negative stereotype of the rural farmers as a smear against his ideological enemies comes dangerously close to lifting the proverbial curtain and revealing the champagne socialist behind it…

It is also my strong impression that Mr. Frankel noticed Dr. Baglow’s discomfort with having so bared his prejudices against our rural neighbours and agricultural workers and that this is precisely why he selected the ‘Yokels with pitchforks’ post as an example.

It is also my strong impression that Dr. Baglow understood perfectly well that Mr. Frankel saw through him and that that is why he elected to use this post as an example of ‘nesting’, as he (Dr. Baglow, that is) flushed and chuckled to try to hide his discomfort.

As I said before – look out for Mr. Frankel, he WILL become a superstar of our legal system!

This is the atmosphere in which Mr. Frankel’s cross examination of Dr. Baglow took place.

Aside:

When Ms. Kulaszka cross examined him, D. Baglow was relaxed and calm.

When Connie Fournier examined him, he assumed a patronizing drawl, an air of impatient indulgence towards a particularly dense student as he alternately said he was baffled by the facts that things he had testified could not have happened had actually happened, explained his technical arrogance ignorance and, for a man in his prime , he certainly experienced a lot of memory lapses.  But, he kept his cool.

When under cross by Mr. Frankel, Dr. Baglow’s cheeks were flushed, he looked down a lot of the time and he seemed very uncomfortable in his seat.

Other blogs and bloggers were raised.  Two that came up a lot were Kathy Shaidle, the Canadian poetess and the grande dame of Canadian blogosphere, for whom Dr. Baglow had visceral contempt (which I found surprising, as she is an acclaimed poetess and Dr. Baglow has his doctorate in poetry – I would have thought there might  have been room for some common ground there) and Kate McMillan of Small Dead Animals (SDA).

Disclosure:  when I first started blogging, it was Kathy Shaidle who reached out to me, even though we are not of the same ideological bend, welcomed me to the blogosphere and encouraged me to blog…as well as introduced me to several other bloggers.  It seemed to me that she did not care about my ideology but thought that the more varied opinions on the Canadian blogosphere there are, the better for everyone.  For her kindness and encouragement, I will always be grateful to her.

As for SDA – I am aware of the blog but, as I am not a fan of the format, I am really not aware of what goes on there.  I just don’t have the time to follow more than a handful of blogs myself.  Yet, after what I’ve heard of Kate McMillan in court, I just might stop by there and check SDA out!

It seemed that the very mention of Kathy Shaidle unsettled Dr. Baglow so much, the judge requested that Mr. Frankel go with the Kate McMillan example – which, with a satisfied smile (I saw that as he turned away from the judge and witness to permit himself that brief smile) he was happy to do. I suspect he wanted to go there all along….as that is where some rather unpleasant ‘stuff’ about Dr. Baglow came out.

A few years ago, Dr. Baglow’s partner suffered an illness, from which she eventually died.  Dr. Baglow was her support, her rock – and was understandably devastated by the loss of the partner he loved.  He has my deepest sympathies for his suffering and loss, which I am certain he still feels every day.

One of the people who expressed empathy to Dr. Baglow and his partner as they were undergoing these trying times was Kate McMillan of SDA.

Mr. Frankel established, through Dr. Baglow’s statements, that Kate McMillan had put aside all partisanship and supported Dr. Baglow on a human level when he needed it most.  For his part Dr. Baglow said he was grateful to her – and looked quite somber and sad as he seemed to know where the questioning was heading… It seems that even though she supported him in his hour of need –  human to human – Dr. Baglow had no difficulty in objectifying her as an ideological enemy, with no regard for her humanity, and calling her some truly vicious, unpleasant things.

Dr. Baglow explained that this was because they had had a ‘falling out’…

Sad, so sad…

And I suspect this was not lost on Madam Justice Polowin…

More installments coming soon!

John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 6

Day 1 part 1 and part 2 , Day 2Day 3 and Day 4 part 1 and part 2 of this trial were covered in March, 2014 (write-ups by me at links).

I have as yet to write up day 5…as it was a little complicated and I would hate to get it wrong…let it suffice to say that the day started out with Mark Fournier’s lawyer, Ms. Kulaszka, cross examining Dr. Baglow – and it was in continuing this cross examination that the trial resumed today.

Oh, what a tangled web this lawsuit has become!!!

So many threads, on numerous blogs, intersecting, backtracking, re-posting of threads between blogs (with the necessarily resulting divergent discussions) – it’s messy, messy, messy, messy!

And the acerbic language, colourful metaphors, hyper-hyperbolies!!!

And by colourful, I do mean mostly brown…as in, Nazi brown…

But, let me narrate the day from the beginning:

The court was scheduled to resume at 9:30, so I set out nice and early so as not to miss a second of it!  By 9 am, I was whipping down the Quensway towards downtown, traffic fast and smooth, despite the warm rain.  The radio was droning on about one thing or another when I heard a report that Ottawa is the 3rd most  traffic congested city in Canada (third only to Toronto and Vancouver) and 5th most congested city in North America. As the disembodied voice in my dashboard went over the details, the traffic on the Queensway slowed down to a crawl!

How lucky for me that I was nearly at my exit – Metcalf St.!!!

I reached my short little off-ramp.  I was quite happy – as, in the past, it had taken me between 7 and 12 (worst traffic imaginable) minutes to get to the City Hall, where the ample parking is practically under the Courthouse.  So, was going to be early!  YES!!!

At this point, the reporter chose to point out that the most traffic congested time period on Ottawa is  – wait for it – Tuesday mornings!!!

(Of course, today WAS Tuesday morning…)

Well….if this were in a movie or a novel, I would have called it ‘calculated’ and ‘overdone’ and ‘not realistic’.  But – and I still have a hard time believing this – the tiny little distance to travel down the short little Metcalf St. offramp took me 20+ minutes to travel!!!

As I finally made it to Elgin St. (just a few short blocks to go up to the courthouse), I realized it was dug up with construction……and very, very s l o w….

At last, I pull up to the City Hall parking entrance, just south of the Elgin St. courthouse, and I pull in….and, for the first time in my memory (and I have gone to quite a few of these court hearings by now), the lot was FULL!!!  The parking attendant who turned me away told me I needed to go to the Laurier Street parking lot.  So, I went.

Of course, the Laurier Street parking lot was also full.  But, pulling out of that entrance, I got stuck going onto the Laurier Street bridge – and the unholy mess of traffic at Ottawa University.  THAT is a mess at ANY day and time – and much more so on the dreaded Tuesday morning Ottawa ‘worst traffic congestion’.

Oh – did I mention that every one of the streets there is  under construction?

And – there were tour buses with high school trippers stopping everywhere, spilling their charges in all directions….

Eventually, I managed to fight my way to the just-waking-up Market, then back downtown… and now I got turned down by four different ‘always a cert’ paring lots before I finally found a place to rest my teenager-transport-vehicle…

…and I RAN to the courthouse.  Let me warn you – this is a precarious process at best and I would not be surprised if there were reports of earthquakes in the area as a result….

Finally – I was there!!!

I found my way to Courtroom #37 – a really big one (where, if I remember correctly, the jury selection usually takes place).

I burst in, pen and paper in hand (so as to make as little noise/disruption as possible)  and saw that ‘we’ were still waiting for the judge to enter!!!

YES!!!

It may have been well after 10 am, but I still got there before the judge!!!  I just had time to note that Beth Trudeau from the Language Equality folks and a companion were there supporting the Fourniers, as well and the charming Aubrey and his lovely wife (in a pretty floral-print top with an elegant cross-mid-riff detail and flattering tan pants).

Connie Fournier looked very sophisticated in a smart, yet feminine, tan blazer topping an elegant, layered, reddish-brown, abstract-floral patterned chiffon skirt with a matching reddish-brown blouse and a silvery necklace, all polished off with nice black pumps.

The charismatic Mark Fournier wore a grey herringbone blazer, black pants/shoes, striped shirt and a tie – and his deep eyes shone as intensely as ever!

In contrast, Dr. Baglow wore an open-necked blue shirt under his elegant black suit, accessorized with a chunky watch, a lapel-pin and his signature riding boots (which were clean and shined!)  It is really too bad Dr. Baglow is on the wrong (from my free-speecher-absolutist point of view) side of this lawsuit – he is very charming and an excellent conversationalist!  (And very good looking to boot!  …no pun intended – just saw it when proof-reading…)

Courtroom #37 is big – really, really big.  It is the largest courtroom I have ever been in.

There is not one big table for the lawyers/participants, but two, layered behind each other.

On the right, there is a jury box – on the left, there is a plexi-glass ‘penalty box’-like thingy from which I imagine very dangerous criminal suspects would be able to watch their court proceedings.  Quite somber….

In addition, the acoustics in the room are a bit freaky.  Everyone speaking has to speak into a microphone and the words are piped in through hidden speakers…except that all the mikes are on at all times, and pick up ‘everything’.  So, throughout the day, I kept looking over my shoulder as it sounded as if someone ‘just behind me’ were breathing loudly – even though there was nobody there!  Yes, trick of technology – but still creepy…

Madam Justice Polowin breezed in just a few minutes after I caught my breath and settled into a position where I could see Dr. Baglow’s face when testifying….his face is indeed very expressive of the emotions he is experiencing and/or projecting….after all, he IS an experienced Labour negotiator and I, as an Aspie, lack even average ability to judge facial expressions.  Still, I did not want to miss a bit!!!

 

Without all of the documents and threads in front of me, it was a little difficult to follow all that was said.  But, I will try my best.

The morning started with some procedural arguments – par for the course, as I’ve learned.  It seems Connie wanted to include some new documents, but, not being able to prove that they were so hidden that she could not have found them earlier (despite her having said some were too recent to have been included in earlier findings), they got ruled inadmissible.  It seems to my layman’s eye that there is a huge chasm between what is the truth of the matter and what is admissible in court.  Undoubtedly, thinking the courts were there to find the truth of a matter demonstrates my lack of sophistication.  My apologies…

Once the procedural stuff was dealt with (Madam Justice Polowin seemed much more strident than before), Ms. Kulaszka, Mark Fournier’s lawyer, started things off.  She covered some of the same ground as before, which helped me catch up on where it was we had ‘left off’.  In a case like this, chopped up by scheduling pressures, continuity is important!!!

A few times, the judge lectured Ms. K. on ‘stuff’.

A few times, Mr. Burnett, Dr. Baglow’s lawyer, objected to some things.

Aside:  Mr. Burnett affects the same patronizing drawl that so infuriates me when the current Ottawa Mayor, Jim Watson, employs it.  Pretending to sound ‘reasonable’ while uttering the worst kind of jibberish (Mr. Watson,, that is…)  I don’t know what it is about that manner of speech that rubs me so raw, but, it does and it makes me feel so looked-down-upon and denigrated, I have to consciously use self-control not to burst out in protest!!!!  Oh, and during today’s proceedings (and during breaks), Mr. Burnett changed up his nervous tick from scratching the inside of his left ear with the arm of his glasses to scratching of the inside of his right ear with it….

One of the bits that Ms. K.’s cross examination focused on had to do with the IP address of Ms. Mew.

In the past, Dr. Bagow had testified (if I recall correctly) that he is technically not savvy and does not even really know the implications of what an IP address is – he had his IT expert, Mr. Bow, to handle all that.  Yet, under Ms. K.’s cross examination, Dr. Baglow testified that he thought it was difficult to believe that ‘everybody’ (especially Connie F.) would not know that HE was Ms. Mew as the IP address of his email would have been the same as that of Ms. Mew’s post’s IP address….

It came out during the cross examination that Connie F. was using gmail, which does not include the header info that contains the IP address – as Dr. Baglow explained – but he had assumed she could easily get it, somehow.  It was precisely because gmail does not show the IP address in the header that Jay Currie’s involvement in identifying Dr, Baglow as BOTH Dr. Dawg and Ms. Mew became necessary…  If I may say so myself, it seemed that between his testimony in March that he was not really sure how that whole IP thing worked, and today’s very specific testimony how IP address info could be ‘easily’ gleaned and used, Dr. Baglow seems to have acquired a very large amount of IT information in a very short time!!!

What is more, he presumes Connie F. would have been able to use the knowledge he claims now but denied in March to have found his identity out years ago…which, according to him, demonstrates he was not hiding who he was while posting as Ms. Mew.  At least, that is how it sounded to my untrained, ignorant ears:  i.e. my opinion only, not fact and never to be mistaken for fact.

If anyone would like to email me their own eye-witness (or participant) version of these events, I’ll be happy to publish it as an update on this post, in order to be fair and comprehensive and as objective and informative as possible.  After all, the more points of view there are, the better you, the reader, will be informed!!!

Ms. Kulaszka had finished her cross examination of Dr. Baglow at approximately 11:05 am.

Connie Fournierwas the next one to cross examine Dr. Baglow.

The questioning went back and forth, wither and hither.  Yet, the first part of Connie’s testimony focused on the technical aspects of the case.  It was detailed and technical and very, very specific…..it was only after the break that we got to the ‘political’ stuff’

What follows is not the back and forth of the questioning, but, rather, my highly imperfect conclusions as to what was shown by her questioning.  And, I will not limit it by technical/political, when what….just what my highly imperfect observations lead me to conclude.

There was much of going over the ‘same old ground’  – Haloscan, Echo, Disqus, transfer of comments, platforms, tech experts, difficulties, etc.

Still, it seemed to me that Connie established that while Dr. Baglow and Mr. Bow claimed the comments from ‘the old site’ (before Dr. Dawg migrated it to Mr. Bow’s server and newer technology/movable type) were still visible as of March 2011, even though Dr. Baglow and Mr. Bow claim to be ‘shocked, I tell you’ that these comments did not disappear in November 2010.

In my very imperfect understanding, Dr. Baglow and Mr. Bow claim that all comments from the ‘old Dr. Dawg’ site were lost, because Dr Dawg did not update his Haloscan comments to Echo protocol when Echo bought Haloscan….and then the old protocol comments could not be migrated to Disqus because there were no drivers to go from Haloscan to Disqus without the intermediate step…so, all these comments were stored on a server in a file, but could no longer be accessed via the internet.

When Connie F. was working on her defense in this case, she claims the comments were fully visible not just till November 2010, but until late March Early April 2011 – and just went ‘poof’ when she was using them.

All the disclosure materials submitted to Dr Baglow and his lawyer, they requested communication from March/April 2011 when the comments actually disappeared from the web:  however, only communication from November 2010 had been supplied to them by the plaintiff.

Dr, Baglow maintained that he believed the comments had disappeared  in November 2010, which is why he provided emails from then – and that he thought the defendants were just too stupid to have realized the proper time frame, so he provided them with what they needed (in his mind), not what they were actually asking for.

The ‘killing blow’ came from Connie when, after she established (beyond a reasonable doubt, not just by the preponderance of the evidence, as required in a civil suit)  that only Dr. Dawg (Dr. Baglow) and Mr. Bow had admin access to the site and Dr. Dawg’s email at this time – yet ‘someone’ had posted a ‘test comment’ from Dr. Dawg’s gmail account onto that site that is time-stamped in April 2011!!!

Dr. Baglow had no idea how THAT could possibly happen – he is, after all, technologically ignorant…..

Yet, when he testified about this, his gaze was lowered and he would not meet anyone’s eyes until after he had finished his claim of ignorance.  I do not pretend to know what ht means, being really bad at interpreting facial expressions – I am just offering he physical observation for your own conclusions.

There was a lot more Connie questioned Dr. Baglow about, but, this seemed to me to be the most important point.  Not only because Dr. Baglow avoided eye contact, but also because Mr Burnett, his lawyer, exhibited a huge amount of nervous ticks and affected frequent ‘deep sighing’ during this bit of cross examination.  Just from that, this one seemed to be ‘a biggie’, in my never-humble-opinion.

As Connie had finished her cross examination of Dr Baglow earlier than expected, the judge thought it would be a good idea to finish the cross examination (by the CCLA lawyer) today, then start the defense’s case tomorrow.  However, as Mr. Smith had been told that this portion of the trial would only be the cross and the defense’s case would not start till September, and since he ought to be there for all the defense as something Mark Fournier might testify to might end up being exculpatory for Mr. Smith, he needs to be there for the full defense bit….so they could not start it tomorrow.

There was a lot of wrangling, back and forth, and so on….

It seems 5 days in September may be insufficient to finish the case.

Plus the Judge is demanding an ‘expert witness’ that all sides agree to….which the CCLA lawyer will try to find, though finding someone with a PhD in ‘blogging’ willing to testify may be difficult.

Yet, that is exactly where the things ended today.

I look forward to seeing what tomorrow may bring!!!

 

 

Baglow vs. Fournier, Forunier & Smith – the trial continues

Back in March, I wrote about the Dr. Dawg vs. Fourniers and Smith full trial, covering Day 1 part 1 and part 2 , Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4 part 1 and part 2.

Aside:  I did attend day 5, and did keep notes, and I did try to write it up.  However, I found it difficult to do it justice, before the cross examination is finished.  I do still hope to write about day 5, just when the time is ‘right’.)

Well days 6 and 7 are almost upon us!

The trial will continue on June 3rd and 4th, at the Elgin Street Court House in Ottawa.  If you happen to be in Ottawa and have a bit of time, drop by and see history made.

And I am not exaggerating when I say that this will be a historic case:  the full trial is being held specifically because the appeal court justices believed that legal precedents regarding online communications need to be set.  Therefore, this case will become the guidelines by which all future online communication is judged!

In the words of the Fourniers themselves:

A win in the Baglow case could save FD!
 
Hi, FD Friends! 

Once again I’m emailing you with a Free Dominion legal update because you have helped us in the past, and/or you are on our list of friends who are interested in keeping up with our cases. (Please let me know if you no longer want to get these status reports.)
Never give up! 

 

Free Dominion, as you know, is still closed to the public, but that doesn’t mean we have quit! 
We are appealing the Warman decision that resulted in the site being closed, and we are currently fighting a very important test case for internet defamation.  A win in this case, Baglow v Free Dominion, could result in a decision that site operators are not responsible for the posts of other people.  That case law would mean it would be safe for us to re-open the doors of Free Dominion!
 

 

The case so far..

We reported last time we wrote you that the Baglow trial would be three days long.  Not only did it take that entire week, but we have to go back again for two days in June, and for another whole week in September!  That means we will be in court for a total of 13 days for a total of 7 little words!

On June 3rd and 4th we will be in Ottawa for the next phase of that Baglow trial.  Connie is representing herself and Barbara Kulaszka is representing Mark.  The CCLA is intervening on our behalf.

On June 3rd, Connie will be cross-examining John Baglow and we will hear from the CCLA on the 4th.  It will be at the Courthouse at 161 Elgin St, as usual.

Drop by if you can, we would love to see you!

We are running a fundraiser to get our legal fund through the summer.  We’ve decided not to use indiegogo this time because it costs a lot and we have to pay them their percentage on offline donations, too, if we want to keep the total current. Instead, we are running it on Free Dominion.

If you can help, we would really appreciate it!

You can use PayPal by clicking this link:  Donate
or

If you feel more inclined, you can also help out using an Interac Email Money Transfer to connie@freedominion.ca .

Alternatively, our mailing address is:

Connie Fournier
2000 Unity Rd
Elginburg, ON  K0H 1M0

Thank you so much to all of you for being there for us!  Monetarily, but also through your thoughts, prayers and encouragement.  We are not going to give up, and we hope that the result of our fight is more freedom for all of us!

Fondest Regards,
  
Connie and Mark

 

A message from Connie Fournier of Free Dominion:

From an email from Connie:

Never give up! 

 

Free Dominion, as you know, is still closed to the public, but that doesn’t mean we have quit! 
We are appealing the Warman decision that resulted in the site being closed, and we are currently fighting a very important test case for internet defamation.  A win in this case, Baglow v Free Dominion, could result in a decision that site operators are not responsible for the posts of other people.  That case law would mean it would be safe for us to re-open the doors of Free Dominion!
 

 

The case so far..

We reported last time we wrote you that the Baglow trial would be three days long.  Not only did it take that entire week, but we have to go back again for two days in June, and for another whole week in September!  That means we will be in court for a total of 13 days for a total of 7 little words!

On June 3rd and 4th we will be in Ottawa for the next phase of that Baglow trial.  Connie is representing herself and Barbara Kulaszka is representing Mark.  The CCLA is intervening on our behalf.

On June 3rd, Connie will be cross-examining John Baglow and we will hear from the CCLA on the 4th.  It will be at the Courthouse at 161 Elgin St, as usual.

Drop by if you can, we would love to see you!

We are running a fundraiser to get our legal fund through the summer.  We’ve decided not to use indiegogo this time because it costs a lot and we have to pay them their percentage on offline donations, too, if we want to keep the total current. Instead, we are running it on Free Dominion.

If you can help, we would really appreciate it!

You can use PayPal by clicking this link:  Donate
or

If you feel more inclined, you can also help out using an Interac Email Money Transfer to connie@freedominion.ca .

Alternatively, our mailing address is:

Connie Fournier
2000 Unity Rd
Elginburg, ON  K0H 1M0

Thank you so much to all of you for being there for us!  Monetarily, but also through your thoughts, prayers and encouragement.  We are not going to give up, and we hope that the result of our fight is more freedom for all of us!

Fondest Regards,
Connie and Mark

 

John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 1, part 2

All the caveats from part 1 (more or less forming most of part 1) apply.  Please read them….DLDR:  borrowed clunky tech and limited internet time, cannot highlight (thus link etc.) – will update once my computer is fixed.  Also, these are all jut my highly imperfect personal observations and opinions and ought not be treated as anything more than that.

An account of Day 1 can be found at The FreedomSite Blog.

I have been struggling with how to write up this part, because things got quite sensational at some points and I am quite terrified that if I repeat what I believe to have heard in court, I will open myself up to being sued because as I understand the current state of Canada defamation laws, truth is not a defense there, either, as a person is presumed to be guilty and malicious and if the words are ‘spoken maliciously’ then their truthfulness is irrelevant.

In my online persona, I have chosen to emulate Xanthippe, the wife of Socrates and THE proverbial nag:  I am good at nagging, so I thought I’d go with it.  But, as Xanthippa, I try my best to channel Xanthippe with all her vitriol and sharp tongue – that’s part of the fun of creating an online persona:  it is not you you, but that persona you, so you can say what the you you might, but in a different way, more in line with the persona you are attempting to channel.  (Remember, if it were not for anonymous speech, the Federalist Papers could never have been published and the USA would still be a Crown possession.)

Something that Xanthippa says with the persona-appropriate vitriol which defines her and signifies no more than a reflection of her nature could, quite easily, be misinterpreted as ‘malicious’ when all I am doing is role-playing…presenting my opinion, but with a satirical twist.  And satire does not come across too easily in the courtroom!

Aside:  there will be more personas I am developing in a different, non-written online project, but more about that later.  (But, if anyone has an old but nice wig they’d be willing to donate to that effort, I would be eternally grateful.)

Back to the trial:  first on the order were some legal tidying-up thingies and once these were out of the way, Madam Justice Polowin esplained that she is a bit of a luddite and barely knows how to use email…and has never ever read a blog.  A ‘clean slate’ she called herself.  I am not convinced this is the best background for this case, as it may get very technical, but (and I am jumping ahead in time somewhat) she took copious notes of everything and whenever she needed to understand a point, she not only asked for a clarification, she actually repeated her understanding of the point and asked for confirmation that it is accurate.  That, in my never-humble-opinion, is a good thing.

Another point of interest was that  motion was introduced that any potential witnesses are to be excluded from the courtroom until after their testimony and cross examination, so as not to be influenced by what they hear and see before they testify.  All parties agreed and a nice-dressed gentleman (Mr. Bow, Dr. Baglow’s IT guy) got up and left the courtroom.

Now the opening statements.

Mr. Burnet, Dr. Baglow’s lawyer, went first.  He seems like a competent lawyer and he assumed that reasonable, avuncular style that must be effective because it is affected by so many lawyers (good and bad).  Personally, I find that particular form of arguing patronizing and irritating at best because the Aspie in me considers it to be a form of manipulation.  And we, Aspies, are very allergic to being manipulated:  we see such manipulation as using a subtle form of shaming in order to disguise the lack of convincing evidence.  This opinion of mine was only strengthened by Mr. Burnet’s nervous habit of scratching the inside of his left ear with the arm of his glasses.

But, that is my perception of his mannerisms and not a reflection on Mr. Burnet’s case because a lot of lawyers affect that style – and a lot of lawyers will try to act as if they have a weak case in order for their opponents to underestimate it and not prepare adequately.  And I am sufficiently poor judge of human body language that I would never venture to guess if he was really nervous or pretending to be nervous as part of his courtroom strategy.

If I understood Mr. Burnet’s opening statement accurately, it boils down to a few major points (and I am paraphrasing, at times quite heavily, as my notes are incomplete and I cannot but channel Xanthippe – so, any vitriol you detect below is ‘satire’ and, at times, dark sarcasm, and not malice whatsoever in any way, shape or form):

  • he anticipates that the defendants will try to defend themselves by trying to suggest that there ought to be one set of laws in real life and a different set of laws on the internet and that this is wrong:  the same laws should apply the same way to everybody, for a person’s a person, no matter how small or virtual
  • his client is a retired civil servant, openly and proudly (sic) left wing, enjoys political discourse and enjoys being a blogger in order to promote intelligent (sic)political debate in the public sphere and that while his blog is the primary vehicle for this, he also does so on other blogs and in traditional media.  He engages with people with differing political views.
  • the defendants’  site is ‘extremely right wing’ and their political views are ‘extremely right wing’ which makes them offensive, which is why his client did not usually engage at Free Dominion, but he did engage in a discussion with Mr. Smith on a different blog…

Aside:  up to this point, Mr. Burnet had very considerately explained all the technical terms and jargon patiently answered the many detailed questions the judge had asked.  He kind of got into the habit of talking for a bit, then looking up and asking if any explanations were needed.  So far, so good.  Now, Mr. Burnet delved into how Mr. Smith and his client had gotten into a heated debate about Mr. Baglow’s glaringly hypocritical position* on the re-patriation of Omar Kadr…and he looked up to the judge and asked if she had heard of Omar Khadr.  Madam Justice Polowin smiled amusedly and said that even though she may be a luddite, she does read the papers…

  • His client learned about the offensive comment on the Free Dominion site from somebody else, contacted the Fourniers and demanded a takedown and an apology, but got none.
  • Articles with his client’s negative views of the Taliban were freely and publicly available and clearly contradicted that statement, even though his client continued to vociferously support Omar Khadr in his efforts at repatriation
  • his client may have used caustic and vulgar language against his opponent – including the defendants – while on the blogosphere but that does not give them the right to do the same to him (implying, though never quite stating, that if they did not like it, they could have sued him like he is suing them)
  • the defamatory comment never caused his client any harm, financial or otherwise, but the Canadian defamation laws are so flawed that this does not matter, he can still get money out of this and so he should (the proper legal term Mr. Burnet used, I think, was ‘damages at large’, demanding there not be a breakdown of what were damages and what were penalties, so that the ridiculousness of this situation could more easily be glossed over
  • Mr. Burnet stressed very vigorously that under our current Canadian defamation laws, guilt and malice are PRESUMED and almost impossible to disprove, so they should just win by default
  • facilitating putting something onto an obscure and unread spot on the internet = PUBLISHING and having editorial control
  • this is NOT a Charter challenge because the proper notices have not been filed (with the implications that what the defense is demanding is nothing short of a ‘Charter challenge’  (the judge raised her proverbial eyebrows at this)
  • this is not a SLAPP suit (methinks the lady does protest too much)
  • this is NOT a case of limiting freedoms of citizens  or (I could not help but chuckle at just how sincerely Mr. Burnet managed to deliver this one) libel chill, freedom of speech, blah blah blah…they’re not being silly bunnies or anything like that…..
  • just because the internet is evolving does not mean that the tort of defamation ought to evolve with it, to keep pace with emerging technologies is a silly bunny thing to do and any0ne who says otherwise is a snotling-fondler (Please, google ‘snotling-fondler’ for definition as I cannot currently link:  it is defined as a vulgar insult and not an actionable term of defamation….’snotlings’ are the lowest form of goblins, which are fictional, so this cannot, by definition, be actionable. And, yes, these are obviously not the actual words Mr. Burnet used, but, in my never-humble-opinion, they capture the ‘spirit’ in which this particular point was offered.)
  • (and I think I got this argument’s wording down closely to how it was presented, with a saintly hallow hovering over Mr. Burnet’s head) The tort of defamation is the SOLE LAW that underpins civil discourse & keeps it from descending into a cacophonous, vitriolic shouting match dominated by those with the loudest & most strident voices….  (The reason I think I got this one down relatively closely to what was said is because the judge asked for the statement to be repeated and commented amusedly on the terms used.)

It is not exhaustive nor, obviously, word for word, but I hope this captures the spirit of the opening statement by the plaintiff’s lawyer.

Next up was Barbara Kulaszka, the lawyer representing Mark Fournier.

Honest declaration of bias:  I have met Ms. Kulaszka and observed her in the courtroom.  In person, I think she is brilliant and very, very nice.  I have read some of her writings and been deeply impressed by them – insightful, well researched, documented, eloquently phrased and any other praise you wish to heap upon her head.  I have, however, been less impressed by her past verbal performance in the courtrooms:  that Barbara Kulaszka, however, did not show up today!

I saw passion and fire – and it was excellent!  Not just in her opening statement (sorry, jumping ahead again), but she was up on her feet, objecting, arguing passionately and eloquently.  In other words, I liked what I saw!

Anyhow:  re-focusing!!!

I may not have captured everything, but here are some of the highlights of her opening statement (again, as with the rest of all my writing, paraphrasing, satire, sarcasm, hyperbole and all that, are in play)

  • pseudonyms not the same as the people who use them (quite right – I may have similar opinions as Xanthippa – but I would not express them in the same way that, as Shakespeare calls he, ‘the proverbial shrew’ would!!! – ok, back to Xanthippa’s voice)
  • Dr. Dawg called Connie Fournier ‘his worst cyber enemy’ – superhero analogies  (In my never-humble-opinion, Connie Fournier IS a real-life super-hero!!!  Please, don’t ask me what that would make her cyber-opponents…I don’t want to get sued!)
  • the argument started on the Jay Curry blog  (Aside:  I like his new blog much more than his old one.)
  • heated argument, August 2010, Omar Khadr…election year…
  • argument started on Jay Curry’s blog, went on to Dawg’s Blog, then there was 1 post on Free Dominion where Roger Smith put up an op-ed type of a post
  • Omar Khadr, Canadians getting killed – back to Dawg’s Bawg ‘They dare call it treason’…
  • traitor, treason. +++ – John Baglow does not find being called that ‘objectionable’ (unstated implication: is he proud of those epitaphs?  Just what kind of a cat is this ‘Dawg’?)
  • For his support for Omar Khadr’s repatriation and opposition to the was in Afghanistan, Jack Layton earned the nick-name of ‘Taliban Jack’:  this is the same thing!  A vocal supporter of the Taliban-linked Omar Khadr’s propaganda message gets tarnished with a Taliban-linked position….logical and natural – and not actionable.
  • her client, Mark Fournier, had never wrote or approved those words, Roger Smith did – so he should not be liable for them
  • Mark Fournier never repeated those words (though Dr. Baglow did re-publish them on the internet, several times)
  • Mark Fournier never received any complaint about those words or any request to remove them – at any point, as the plaintiff only contacted Connie Fournier, never Mark.
  • WIC Radio vs Simpson, Hill vs Church of Scientology (precedents)
  • not a Charter challenge, ‘incremental changes’ to the law
  • ‘publication’ should not be found for something anonymous 3rd parties posted in an un-moderated medium
  • Cost of freedom of speech is getting too high, chilling effect, need legal guidance
  • words were not capable of defamation in that context
  • test is contextual, interactive…quoted justice Labelle in the Simpson case (thick skin quote)
  • political rhetoric…
  • words do not carry the meaning assigned them by the plaintiff…
  • public interest
  • malice? – ‘comment’ = editorial comment = hyperbolic language
  • comment may not be fair, but that is not what ‘fair comment’ means
  • Dr. Dawg had means to refute, used Miss Mew as a sock-puppet
  • 3rd of April, 2011 – 10’s of thousands f comments suddenly disappeared, denying Mark Fournier access to information needed for his defense
  • justice Annis found the words were not defamatory
  • her client is being sued for his political positions and how people react to them, then 10’s of thousands of comments he could have used for his defense disappeared…

There may have been more, but this is what I ‘caught’.

Next came Connie Fournier’s opening statement.

I will not report on what it contained because I am not as brave as Connie and I am afraid that if I told the truth of what was said in public court, I would get sued and loose the family home and my ability to provide a home for my children.  Let it suffice to say it included allegations of statements made by Dr. Baglow regarding justice Annis as well as several other, un-named judges which made the judge’s jaw to, quite literally, drop.

Next came Roger Smith’s opening statement.

He was extremely eloquent and, in  my never-humble-opinion, totally  brilliant.

First, he explained that while his legal name is Roger Smith, his birth name is Roger O’Donnell  and he is widely known under that identity in  professional circles, specifically in the weather forecasting circles and in Ireland.

Next he explained (to a ‘knowing’ and ‘understanding’ head-nodding of the judge) that by defining his client as ‘proudly left wing’ and the Free Dominion forum as ‘extremist right wing’, the plaintiff (through his judge) had made this a case that is NOT about defamation, but about one’s position on the political spectrum…and, in his opinion, the court of law is NOT the appropriate place to rule on which political opinions are permissible and which ones are not.

By the plaintiff’s lawyer’s opening statement alone, this case is not about defamation of an individual but about which political opinions are legally permissible and which political opinions are against the law…

He was, by far, the most  eloquent of the bunch  – so much so that I stopped taking notes and listened to him (regardless of the judge’s annoying interruptions) with ever growing respect and admiration (and I do NOT say this lightly!!!).

Next, the judge asked the CCLA lawyer, who did not have the ‘right’ to make an opening statement, to briefly sketch what the CCLA position is, which is what he did, in 5 points:  all of which boiled down to ‘we want the law to evolve with freedom of speech in mind and something as ludicrous as this case ought to be tossed out of court…

Actually, it was quite brilliant:  the young man (oh, I feel so old) argued their position logically and eloquently and really, really well, bringing in some of the phrases Dr. Baglow’s lawyer used and demonstrating just how ridiculous and absurd those arguments were, without needing to resort to any manipulative means or methods.

I think I love the CCLA!

OK – this is MY highly personal and admittedly prejudiced perception of what went on in court – please, do not treat is as anything more than my highly imperfect and admittedly ignorant opinion of the proceedings.

 

*   *   *

*  I consider this position to be highly hypocritical because I cannot believe that an intelligent man, with a doctorate to boot, could possibly honestly think that using a colloquial definition of some words which are identical to a ‘legal jargon’ label with a very, very narrow and specific legal meaning, applying them in the colloquial sense to a person who glaringly does not qualify for the legal definition of that term, and then, wrapping himself in the tattered cloak of self righteousness, demanding the legal protections for that person for which he would only qualify had he satisfied the ‘legal definition’…and branding anyone who fails to buy in to his glaringly flawed argument as evil and unfeeling and somehow less than human.  Sorry, the man I see in front of me seems much too intelligent not to grasp exactly what the difference between the colloquial and legal definition is, and how Omar Khadr does not qualify for the UN legal definition of ‘child soldier’.  Sure, some of the ‘unwashed & uneducted masses’ could have fallen prey to such glaringly obvious propaganda, but not an intellectual with a doctorate!!!  In the absence of stupidity/ignorance, the only other possible explanation, in my never-humble-opinion, is hypocrisy…for partisan political ends.

 

 

 

John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 2

EDIT:  Dr. Baglow has been kind enough to inform me that I made a mistake in my reporting of when he joined the NDP.  Indeed, he was inspired by Bob Rae’s victory in Ontario and joined then – but later, he was so disgusted by the political policies that he tore his membership card up.  That is an important distinction, as it completely negates any accusation that Bob Rae’s wife’s religion/nationality had been any kind of a factor in his decision to leave the NDP under Bob Rae’s leadership.

First and foremost, please, see the write up of ‘John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 1, part 1′ for the details and the warnings.  Short form:  using a borrowed tablet to blog till my laptop is fixed, can’t even highlight, so cant’ put in links and such, but, will come back and do so once I’m ‘back in business’.  So, this will be brief and, temporarily, not linked to supporting materials.  My apologies.  Also, these are my observations and opinions and as I am not legally trained and not a human behaviour professional, all of this content ought to be treated as very highly imperfect opinions and nothing more.

Also, if anyone can add to this account and/or correct any of the many errors I am bound to make, please do so!

Day two of this ‘FULL TRIAL’ was held at the Elgin St. Court House in Ottawa on Tuesday, 25th of March.

It started punctually, but, going on the experience from Monday, I thought I had a bit of leeway and did not enter the courtroom until a few minutes past.  By this point, Dr. Baglow was testifying about having received his doctorate, chuckling about how he spent more years in school than he expected – but I did not catch what that doctorate was about.

He went on about his CV, his jobs, his political affiliations over the years, and so and so.  It was very interesting – and quite a lot of content, as he was asked to quote something from page 6 of it.

For example, Dr. Baglow testified that he considered himself ‘more or less’ a ‘man of the left’ and was a member of the New Democratic Party (NDP) while a student at McGill. Then, he was fascinated by the Communist party (though he never actually joined), but the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia cooled him somewhat (my words, not his) and he returned to the NDP.  He had stayed with the NDP for much of the time since:  except, of course, for when Bob Rae had run it:  he had torn up his membership card then), but returned thereafter.

Aside:  this is very, very interesting….one of the things Connie Fournier said in her opening statement was that a B’nai B’rith member had (rightly or wrongly) accused Dr. Baglow of anti-Semitism…and Bob Rae has, throughout his career, claimed that he had been persecuted by ‘some segments of the population’ because he is married to a Jew.  I’m sure it is a coincidence, as Dr. Baglow asserts contempt for anti-Semites – and Bob Rae’s politics are enough to turn anyone off, regardless of whom he may or may not be married to.  And while I can see how this co-incidence could, potentially, be abused, as my son is fond of saying, co-incidence is not evidence of causality.  And, in all my (admittedly limited) interactions with Dr. Baglow, I have never detected any anti-Semitism (as almost all Europeans, I am part Jewish myself, so I’m touchy on this).

Another, completely irrelevant, aside:  seeing the tanks roll down our street in ’68 when, as a toddler, I climbed up a sofa and a dresser to look out the window, is one of my earliest childhood memories…

Dr. Baglow was as well groomed as ever, wearing a dark suit/shirt, testified he became a civil servant and then joined PSAC (a public service union) and, eventually, became an executive VP thereof.  In this capacity, he had lobbied for all them policies that I consider to be evil – like, for example, the universal child care thingy.

Indulgently personal aside: I grew up in the Socialist Worker’s Paradise and, as such, was institutionalized (during the daytime) from toddlerhood till gradeschool, in a ‘universal daycare/kindergarten’ system.  I am a survivor of this evil and I fully understand its workings and impact, from the inside.   As such, I swore that I’d rather sell myself on the streets than permit such an evil to ever touch MY children!!!

So, when Dr. Baglow willingly testified that  he had fought FOR such evil institutionalization of innocent children (and seemed proud of promoting what, in my never-humble-opinion, is ‘government enforced child abuse’), I kind of lost my composure for a bit and had a hard time hearing the next bit of testimony.  My apologies.

This is about where the ‘interesting’ bits ended – at least, in my never-humble-opinion.  All the next whole bunch of testimony was about what is the ‘blogosphere’, how to spell the word (neither the judge, nor the person transcribing the trial seemed to know the spelling), and so on and so on and so on.  The only ‘colourful’ bits I gleaned fro this are that Dr. Baglow’s lawyer is a frequent commenter on ‘Dawg’s Blag’, even though he and Dr. Baglow have wildly (and chucklingly so) divergent political opinions.

Perhaos one thing I ought to note is that after Dr. Dawg’s lawyer explained one of the finer points of the blogosphere culture,  he mentioned Omar Khadr.  And, since he ‘got into the mode’ of explaining ‘everything’ to the judge, he tried to explain to her who Omar  Khadr was….Amused, the judge replied that though she might not be up on the latest internet jargon, she’s not an idiot….my wording, not hers, intended to capture her body language, not words.  (Note:  later, the judge demonstrated she knew exactly what a ‘hyperlink’ is, and thus may be tiny bit less of a luddite than she postures as….  To me, this is a very positive thing, indicating she ‘gets’ what she knows and does not know, both, and is not afraid to ask questions!

Actually, I had been quite impressed by Madam Justice Polowin, J.:  she takes copious notes (Dr. Baglow even slowed his lawyer down a bit by gestures to ensure she gets all the note-taking in).  My own experience is that if I hear something, I may forget it on perhaps even not ‘process’ it correctly…but if I write it down as part of ‘taking notes’ – I can usually recall it very accurately, without needing to refer to the notes themselves.  Having observed Madam Justice Polowin, J., I am wondering if her note-taking serves a similar function because if she writes it down, she seems able to quote it without difficulty…

As best as I can determine, the rest of the morning’s testimony had been taken up by defining terms like ‘thread’ and technical details about who has editorial control over posts and comments and site meters and such…

Of interest to other bloggers may be some little tidbits, otherwise unimportant….

  • Dr. Baglow testified that though his readership fluctuates, it averages about a thousand unique readers per day
  • he currently has 3 co-bloggers who can post, but not have moderating control
  • he described a very different ‘startup’ and ‘functions’ experience from mine – but that is to be expected as I have used different platforms than he has
  • he deferred to his tech guy, Mr Bows (sp?) for all tech details, said not knowledgable himself
  • he uses SiteMeter
  • he does not permit racist, anti-Semitic or any kind of hate speech comments on his blog
  • he did 2 takedowns/apologies (with qualifications, making it seem like Ezra Levant’s claim against him was both a persecution for an innocent and understandable misunderstanding of legalese as well as an ‘over-reach’…and the other was a simple misunderstanding of the facts, rather than a misstatement)

‘The term ‘trolling’ got discussed a lot and had been, in my never-humble-opinion, woefully poorly defined and misrepresented to the court – though, it seemed to me, this was not done as a deception but as a deep and true misunderstanding of the very philosophical basis of the concept of ‘trolling’ and the positive, beneficial and, frankly, necessary (for freedom of thought), function of an ‘internet troll’.

At a point just shy of 11:25 am, Madam Justice said she had received a request from her court staff that they would like a little recess –  and we were adjourned for 15 mniutes.

Oh, how things can change!!!

As we all filed back into courtroom 21, Dr. Baglow’s lawyer became concerned over the redness in the face of Dr. Baglow, who suffers from high blood pressure.  While Dr. Baglow protested and insisted some of this redness was due to a sunburn he had just suffered on his holidays to Cuba*, his lawyer was not taking any chances.  All the lawyers and self-reps met in the judges’ chambers while the court clerk took Dr. Baglow’s pulse, declared it way too high, and called the judge with her finding.

On this note, the hearing was adjourned on medical grounds for a bunch of hours….and, no knowing for how long it would go on for following such  a long break, and considering the start of a migraine in me…well, to make a short story even shorter, I went home to try to recover.  My understanding is that tomorrow morning will be taken up with more background testimony and we’ll not get to any of the juicy/substantial stuff until tomorrow pm…

 

 

 

 

John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 1, part 1

Today, Monday, March 24th, 2014, was the first day in the ‘FULL TRIAL’.

First, a few caveats:

*       My computer has died and I am sending it in for service:  this means I have borrowed equipment (my long suffering hubby’s tablet) and this is NOT the ‘ideal’ blogging medium under any plausible definition… so, instead of highlighting or bolding, I will have to capitalize for emphasis.  I am not shouting, just emphasizing  – my apologies.

*       Due to this really, really slow machine with none of ‘my stuff’ on it (and my limited access to it, as I get to ‘share’), I don’t have the quotes/links to previous/cited cases and so on.  I could get them, if I had the time online, but, currently, I do not.  I may – time and technology permitting – re-visit this post and insert quotes and/or links at a later date when time and internet access are more under my control.

*        Due to me being me – and a certified Aspie to boot – my observations are very, very limited.  They are limited both by my lack of legal training (my area of education is Physics, not Law) and my linguistics (while I may have beecome fluent in 5 languages by the age of 13, I have never mastered ‘legaleese’).  I cannot highlight it this mchine, so I cannot link:  please check out ‘Asperger’s on Wikipedia to understand my limitations in abilities to ‘get’ some of the nuances of what went on:  however, if you are ble to correct me or explain any of my observations more accurately than I, please, I TRULY BEG YOU:  COMMENT!!!  Help others get a better, more accurate picture of what is going on,  I would much rather be corrected than go on in ignorance at any time, on any topic, so, please help me and anyone else reading this get a more insightful picture of the situation, if you possibly can.

TLDR: this will be  a condensed, highly personal and highly imperfect account of my admittedly falliable observaions of this first day of the FULL TRIAL of this particular defamation case.  If you can correct me and/or are willing to add to it, please, do!  As I have borrowed and klunky tech, I cannot highlight or link or spellcheck – sorry…

Background:

Connie and Mark Fournier are the operators of Free Dominion, oldest and longest running political forum in Canada until it was sued into silence by Richard Warman.

Roger Smith, aka Peter O’Donnel (and not just online), is a member and frequent content supplier on Free Dominion and elsewhere on the blogosphere.

John Baglow, aka ‘Dr. Dawg’, aka ‘Ms. Mew’, is a guy who is a retired civil servant and unionist, a self-proclaimed leftist activist, an avid blogger, a Richard Warman groupie (imnho), and a guy with a pechant for black riding boots with the most adorable little silver trimmings.

Please note:  all my own dealings with either John Baglow or ‘Dr. Dawg’ have been very amicable and positive.  I have, in the past, asked him to get me in touch with another progressive blogger I have crossed swords with amicably in the past (I may hold many of the so called ‘progressive views’, but disagree with most of the so called ‘progressive metods’ of achieving them) and he had done so very quickly and courteously.  I was seeking some help/publicity for some Tibetan refugees to Canada and Mr. Baglow has provided it and been very nice to me throughout – and, by extension, to them.

I have found him to be pleasant and charming when ever I have interacted with him.  In fact, I find him quite charismatic.

And, I find it admirble that he has brought a young man I presume to be his step-son to the courthouse to observe civic cases:  it is imperative that we get the next genetration interested in our civics, and I give praise to all who do.  Kudos to him for that!!!

Yes, I bash when bashing is due, but I also give credit when that is due, too…so, please, don’t sue me!!!

This particuar ‘flame war’ started on the blog of Jay Curry and bled over to a number of online spots, including Free Dominion, where the 7-word phrase this courtcase is about was posted by Roger Smith.  I am afraid to report what those 7 offending words were, because from the Richard Warman legal precedent, if I, as a private person, publish the ‘public’ documents of what had been filed at court, I, too, might become liable for ‘re-publishing’ those ‘defamatory’ words.

Yes, it is a matter of ‘public record’.

And, yes, it is ‘factual reporting’ of a ‘public document’….or what was said on public record in a court of law and thus apart of ‘public record’…

BUT!!!

Afte the latest Warman vs. Free Dominion and John does decision, that is no defense:  if the factual record is, at some later point in time, found to be defamatory, the factually reporting on it on the internet is considered to be ‘re-publishing the defmatory statements’ and it would open me to liability.  So, my reporting of tody’s events will necessarily be highly constrained.

The subject of the ‘flame war’ was Omar Khadr, his inaccurate (as per UN’s definition) characterization by ‘Dr. Dawg’ as a ‘child soldier’ and the implications of willfully promulgating this demonstrably inaccurate legal description.  Peter O’Donnel’s opinions complied with the UN’s legal definition (thus leaving Omar Khadr outside of the protections UN grants to ‘child soldiers’) while Dr. Dawg attempted to draw the moral high ground by inaccurately describing the Taliban terorist as a ‘child soldier (in the legal, not colloquial, definition) and then demanded the legal protections for Omar Khadr that are only available to UN-defined ‘child soldiers’….a demostrable and rather glaring hypocrisy which ‘Peter O’Donnel’ pounced and opined upon.

In many online spots.

On Free dominion, he opined so in 7 words which I dare not repeat.

These 7 words that ‘Peter O’Donnel’ posted – and which, he asserts, are his honestly held opinon, shared by some 8 million Canadians (according to his opening statement), are the ‘basis’ of this lawsuit.

It was originally dismissed as a frivolous and a vexatious lawsuit. (And, I reported on it – oh, how I wish I could link!!!  The more I use it, the more I loathe this borrowe tech!!!)

Then, it was appealed – and several judges agreed that internet ‘flame wars’ were ‘legally uncharterred terrtory’ and that some ‘precednt-setting rulings’ need to be made here.  Just so us iternet folks would know where the actual boundaries lie…you know, so we could stay within the lines, the lines are your friends…..(OK, old commercial – but applicable!)

Thus, we have a ‘FULL TRIAL’

TLDR:  trial, ruling against Baglow (frivolous), but no legal rules for ‘internet flam war’ so FULL TRIAL to set ‘legal precedent’.  Baglow:  cute guy, charismatic and nice, wrong side of argument here.

OH, MY – OVER A K OF WORDS AND I HAVE NOT STARTED ON TODAY’S EVENTS YET…..deepest apologies, just trying to get the parameters in before I start today’s observations, as I honestly cannot afford to get sued…

FACTS:

These are the facts as posted outside the courtroom #24 at the Elgin St. Courthouse on the 24th of March, 2014:

Justice:          Polowin, J.

Plaintiff:        Baglow, John

Lawyer:          Burnet, Peter Francis

Defendant:     Smith, Roger

Unrepresented

                 Fournier, Connie

Lawyer:             Kulaszka, Barbara

                 Fournier, Mark

Lawyer:            Kulaszka, Barbara

Mr. John Baglow turned up as well groomed as ever:  a dark suit, a blue-collar shirt and them cute riding boots with the adorable silver trimmings he has become so well known for.  He knows what he looks good in and uses it well!

Connie Fournier wore a classy, slim-line dark skirt with a gray pattern, a pretty blouse with a multi-red abstract pattern and a red blazer that accented the blouse perfectly – with an understated, classy gold/gold-tone diamond/rhinestone necklace (sorry – I am not knowledge-able enough to tell the two apart…it was ‘understated’ and ‘classy’ at the same time and I wish I could pull a similar look off….Connie looked smart and classy and – well, we have words for women like that!!!).

Roger Smith wore a blue blazer and khakis – understated, yet elegant.  With his silver-kissed hair, he was easily the most attractive person in the courtroom.

The charismatic Mark Fournier wore a tweed jacket and slacks and, despite his bigger-than-life persona, tried his best to stay in the background.

In addition to the people listed above, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association were interveners in this case – as friends of the court – on the side of the defendants.  The lawyer sent to represent them was a young man named Steven Frankel – and while he had a wedding ring on the ring finger of his left hand, he looked younger than either of my sons.  OK – I officially feel old now….but, when he spoke, he sounded really, really smart!

And, of course, the judge…

Madam Justice Polowin, J., presided over the case.

She looked sharp, with her pale hair cut short-ish, slicked back at the temples and wonderfully fluffy on top, she wore understated light stud earrings (pearls?) and her judge’s robes flowed playfully about her slight frame.  She self-admitted to being a luddite (knowing how to send and receive emails – but nothing else on the internet) and asked for every bit to be explained, internet technology and jargon and culture included.

I see now that it is way late, and I plan to be back in court to observe tomorrow – so I must suspend my narrative here.  Let me just state that, at the end of the day, Madam Justice Polowin stated (at the end of the day) that even though the trial had been scheduled for Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday, she sees no way they’ll get through it all (while doing a proper and thorough job of examining the underlying issues, as the appellate court had directed) by the end of this week and so participants ought to alter their travel plans accordingly…

MORE LATER!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freedom of Speech: still under fire

As Ezra Levant reminds us, freedom of speech is under fire all over the world.  He recently raised the case in Spain, where an ex-Muslim is being threatened with deportation to Pakistan, where he will most certainly face death for blasphemy.

But, it is not only something that happens in the illiberal European Union:  freedom of speech is under fire, right here, in Canada’s capital:

Next week, the 24th, 25th and 26th of March, 2014, Mark and Connie Fournier of the formerly ‘Free Dominion’ (currently ‘Censored-Out-Of-Existence Dominion’), will be back in court, fighting to protect our freedom of speech on the internet.

It is, indeed, the continuation of the ‘Dr. Dawg case’ which had been summarily dismissed in a ruling where the judge was incredulous that Dr. Dawg was willing to admit – in court – to having conducted himself as foolishly as he had.  At least, that is my highly imperfect understanding of that ruling.

Aside:

While I have observed the various legal opponents of the Fourniers’ in court, and have found many of them to lack charisma, I cannot say this of Dr. Dawg.  He may be dead wrong on this issue (in my never-humble-opinion), but, he is a charming guy with a disarming smile.  And, he is always meticulously turned out:  not stuffy, but striking and he takes great pride in his always polished and tidy riding boots. (The ones with the adorable silver trimmings – I’ll be sure to let you know if he wears them in court next week….and they are ‘riding boots’, not ‘cowboy boots’, as I have erroneously reported in the past.  I know, because Dr. Dawg was kind enough to send me the link to them, so that I would make the necessary correction – which, of course, I am more than happy to make.  So, to be sure – they are ‘riding boots’, not ‘cowboy boots’ – and they always look polished and well groomed!)

And, sometimes, Dr. Dawg wears hats – I am very partial to hats!  Did I mention the most awesome steampunk hat my son got over the March break?  Hats get the thumbs-up from me!

Plus, Dr. Dawg had brought a young man (whom I presume to be his step-son) to court to observe some of the non-Dr. Dawg related cases:  this, I truly respect because as a parent myself, I really appreciate the importance of teaching civics lessons to our young people.  So, kudos to him for that – even if I disagree with this particular case of his or his politics in general.  After all, it is our duty to teach our young ones to respect the process – and think for themselves:  the rest is up to them!

But, enough of my ranting…refocusing:

Even though the ruling was for the Fourniers and Peter O’Donnel, a frequent poster at Free Dominion, the court of appeals overturned the summary dismissal.  I am sure there were very sound legal reasons for this, but, to my untrained mind and ‘farmer’s wisdom’ (the best, yet clumsy, translation of my dad’s favourite expression – implying ‘layman’s comprehension’ as my father was not a farmer and not even a gardener (this early pioneer in AI’s outdoor activities during my formative years being exclusively limited to tennis and windsurfing), and thus his comprehension of the ways of farmers and acquisition of any actual ‘farmer’s wisdom’ was quite literally non-existent – I’ve never even seen him mow a lawn…not even once!), it sounded like a bunch of hypothetical judges thought:  “Wow, one of them new-fangled ‘internet cases’ – here’s our one and perhaps only chance to make a ruling that will go into the textbooks – so, let’s prolong it as long as possible, because, after all, we are getting paid to do this:  the poor schmucks in front of us have to pick up the bill!”

OK, perhaps I am overly cynical, but that is what it sounds like to me and my legally untrained mind…

But, regardless of the reasons, the Fourniers will be in an Ottawa court room (Elgin St. Court house, for those wishing to pop by and support either side, or just curious about the ways of our justice system) and, health permitting, I will be there to report on it, to the best of my highly limited abilities!

P.S.  Omar Khadr is not, according to the United Nations own definition, a ‘Child Soldier’ – and anyone who claims otherwise is a snotling fondler and a silly-bunny to boot!!!