John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 7, part 5

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.

Part 4  left off just as Dr. Baglow explained that he had produced email communication for discovery from the period that he believed ‘the comments’ had disappeared from his old blog, but not the period that the defense claims the comments ‘had been disappeared’, because he simply thought they were not observant enough to notice that the materials they need for their case had disappeared months earlier…

This had actually come out on Connie’s cross of Dr. Baglow on day 6 – but the background had to be explained in order for my report on the events of day 7 to make sense.

As a result of the now defined and testified to difference between the two time periods under discussion, Connie Fournier asked the judge to direct Dr. Baglow to produce the emails they had actually asked for instead of the ones he thought they ought to have.

Which the judge did.

…and which Dr. Baglow had indeed produced – on the morning of the 7th day in court….long after Mr. Bow’s cross examination had finished so he cannot even be cross examined as to the content within them. And Dr. Baglow cannot testify to anything about Mr. Bow’s side of the conversation, as he is not Mr. Bow.

Nice, non?

OK, so Dr. Baglow had finally disclosed the emails from the requested time period on the morning of the 7th day of court….and he even visibly hedged when describing the emails, saying these are the emails from this time period ‘that he thought were relevant’ – immediately raising in me the question whether there were others that the defense might deem relevant but he did not  and so they would not have been disclosed…but I guess that is just my literal Aspie mind!!!

It was during Dr. Baglow’s cross examination by Connie Fournier regarding these late-disclosed-emails (which she had only 50 minutes to review before having to cross examine him on them!!!)  that I reflected on Dr. Baglow’s past as a high-ranking member of PSAC (that’s pronounced P. S. A. C. – Dr. Baglow is not fond of the usual ‘Pee-sack’ pronunciation and testified so in court earlier), a behemoth of a public sector union.  I could juxt picture him in labour negotiations, sticking to his line, appearing reasonable and affable (he can be incredibly charming), and making the most unreasonable labour demands sound like reasonable, middle-of-the-road compromises.

Aside:

This is, again, my literal Aspie mind at work here, but…it seems to me that if a group of organizations has to specifically be exempted from being charged under the racketeering laws, then they are (by definition) a form of legalized racketeering.

 Now had we had a market system (instead of the fascistic crony-capitalism system we actually have now – and I am using the word fascistic in its core meaning:  the collusion of government, big business and big labour against the rest of society), this would be self-correcting in the private sector:  if the labour unions raise labour costs to an unsustainable level, the company goes bankrupt and a correction occurs.

But, in the public sector, unsustainable labour costs get passed down to the taxpayer until the society itself becomes bankrupt and collapses.

That is why I consider public sector union to be the cancer which is weakening our society and hastening its demise.

And, I say this as someone who had been a member of both a private and public sector unions…I’ve see the rot from the inside!!!

In my defense, I was young and when I learned the truth, I took a lower-paying non-unionized job…and felt the cleaner for it!  After all, we Aspies like the laws to apply to everyone equally… As my favourite philosopher of the 20th century once said:  a person’s a person, no matter how small!

In other words, I was admiring Dr. Baglow’s self control and ability to be completely non-pulsed and to appear relaxed even as clear contradictions to his sworn testimony were pointed out.  I could certainly not handle it with such grace…

But, not Dr. Baglow!

Cool as a cucumber, he stuck to his line that all the comments had disappeared in November 2010 and he was positively baffled that the defendants could access them as late as March and/or April 2011!  Not only could he not explain that discrepancy to them, he would have been glad had someone could explain it to him – after all, he testified, he is technologically quite ignorant…

 

When Madam Justice Polowin had a question about IP addresses, Dr. Baglow was very helpful to the court and correctly explained in great detail some very technical aspects of how the internet protocol worked – he spoke with the ease of an expert going over familiar ground and I was very impressed.

But, I digress…

Once the comments had stopped being visible (for whatever reason and at whatever time period) on the internet, the defense had asked for them in disclosure.

From what I understand, after a lot of hum-ing and haw-ing, a TEXT file with tens of thousands of comments, interspersed with code and completely devoid of context (i.e. missing such details like which posts they were in response to, other comments in their thread and their position in that thread – these had been completely stripped out).

As it was a text file, it was not possible to convert it to an actually usable format….

Dr. Baglow explained that they had submitted the comments in that format ‘in order to help the defense’…

Aside:  an unimportant observation… Whenever Dr. Baglow is about to say something particularly patronizing or obfuscating – especially to Connie Fournier – he takes a moment, tilts his head back, glares down his nose at Connie, and only then speaks.  I have no idea why, but it is a definite pattern…

It seems that Connie Fournier had not considered this to ‘be helpful’ and thought it an attempt at sabotaging the defense – and she objected to it.

From what I gather, she objected most vociferously!

It then (if I understood Dr. Baglow correctly) still took Dr. Baglow/Mr. Bow a couple of weeks to produce the comments in a format that was sortable and workable with.  Indeed, Connie Fournier had produced a sample page showing how the comments (as Disqus files) were sortable and searchable.

Now that I have explained a little bit about the background of ‘the comments’, I can return to Connie’s cross of Dr. Baglow.

Connie had singled out one email in particular – dated, if I am not mistaken (please correct me if I am), April 3rd, 2011 – that appeared to be a ‘test comment’….since the word ‘test’ or ‘testing’ appeared on it and it had the identifier of having come either from Dr. Baglow himself or from someone who had his administrative identifiers.  Once she established the date of the comment, entered the content, and demonstrated the identifier, Dr. Baglow claimed to have absolutely zero idea of how this could possibly have happened.

He was positively baffled – and looked up to the ceiling as he asserted so.

Well, well, well…

It seems that in one of the emails between the two of them – but only disclosed on the morning of the 7th day of the originally 3-day court hearings – Dr. Baglow had sent Mr. Bow his administrative id and password.

And the email came just before the time/date stamp of the ‘test comment’ from, I believe, April 3rd, 2011…

Now, if the plaintiff and his IT guy were testing the appearance of comments in 2011, why would they believe them to have disappeared in November of 2010?!?!?

As they say – the plot thickens!!!

Before the significance of the ‘gotcha’ could sink in on all present, Dr. Baglow laughed heartily and in a jovial manner informed all in the courtroom that he had since changed this password!

Madam Justice Polowin smiled indulgently and assured him that she has no intentions of using that password to access his blog…

I must admit, the deflection was skillfully executed – and again, in my mind, I was picturing Dr. Baglow sitting at a labour negotiations table.

Let me end here.  There is very little more to come – some more of my observations and, perhaps, something about the pleasant conversations Dr. Baglow and I have enjoyed during some of the breaks.

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 4 part 2

Day 1 part 1 and part 2 are here.  (all previous caveats still apply, though I have temporarily borrowed  slightly better tech.)

Day 2 is here.

Day 3 is here.

Day 4 part 1 is here.

Alternate account is here:  day 1, day 2day 3day 4.

As promised, let’s start with the ‘Fern Hill’ bit:  though, I am warning you, I might get a bit philosophical…

In her opening statement, Connie Fournier said her testimony would demonstrate a multi-year cyber-bullying campaign of herself by Dr. Baglow and that this lawsuit is just another means through which he is victimizing her.  It was alleged that, among other things, Dr. Baglow attempted to isolate Connie by bullying  and targeting people who supported her and even attempted to sabotage a fundraiser for their legal costs.  In order to have Dr. Baglow’s side of the story (as Connie’s testimony is still in the future), Mr. Burnet had to ask Dr. Baglow a lot of questions about this and thus bring his side of the story forward.

So, this is what is happening here.  I’ll explain this the best that I can – though, again, I cannot stress strongly enough that it is extremely difficult to follow what is happening in court because everyone has exhibits and is reading all kinds of materials which are being discussed, but the spectators have no access to these materials and only hear the references to them, what their importance is or is not according to all the different people.  So, I’ve tried to piece this together as best as I could…

Fern Hill is a blogger – and a decidedly progressive one.  Unlike Connie Fournier, Fern Hill is 100% pro choice and, from what I’ve gathered, she is very proudly far left of centre.  She has several co-bloggers, including a female blogger named DammitJanet.  And, as a fellow ideological leftist, she and Dr. Baglow were on very friendly terms.

Yet, when Dr. Baglow filed this particular lawsuit against the Fourniers, in my never-humble-opinion, Fern Hill saw the existential danger to the whole blogosphere that this lawsuit poses:  should Dr. Baglow be victorious, it will not be a ruling against the Fourniers and Roger Smith:  it will be a ruling against the blogosphere, as it exists today.  If one can be fined tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs and penalties for a honestly believed-in comment that 5 or 6 people saw (before the Streissand effect applied), then one could not possibly post one’s own honestly believed-in opinions on any kind of an open forum.

Fern Hill was a friend of Dr. Baglow – but hoped the defendants (whom she disagreed with, but whose silencing she saw as being potentially capable of silencing herself) would prevail in this particular case.  This put her in a very uncomfortable position:  side with her friend and loose her rights, or side with her rights and anger her friend!

Fern Hill arrived at what she thought was a win-win solution:  she would work hard to raise funds for BOTH sides!

This way, she would support her friend, Dr.Baglow, in his fight and thus show her loyalty.  At the same time, she would raise the same amount of money for the defendants, as they were also fighting for her own right to speak freely.

Both sides get some help – all benefit, her conscience is clear.

Win-win!!!

Right?

Wrong!!!

And it was during this portion of the testimony that Dr. Baglow was not his polished, professional self but let some of his raw emotion show.  He was truly and honestly hurt by Fern Hill’s suggestion that she support both her friend and her rights (as she saw it)!  In my never-humble-opinion, Dr. Baglow truly and honestly did not get Fern Hill’s dilemma, nor her reasoning for the proposed solution.  To him, this was a black-and-white issue:  either you support your ideogical allies, or you are a traitor to the cause worthy of the worst possible abuse.

This brings in the philosophy bit….

In my never-humble-opinion, this is a key, fundamental, un-negotiable divide between collectivists and individualists…and why the two cannot begin to see eye to eye.

Individualists  realize just how important to humankind the approval of their peers is, how necessary it is for one to have the acceptance/approval of the social group one exists in in order to thrive, physically and mentally.  It is precisely because they understand this basic human need ‘to be accepted’ that individuals who stand up to the group and/or specific elements of the group (which may be influential and/or powerful) and stand up for what they believe is right and wrong.

In other words, risking social rejection in order to stand on principle is, to the individualist, the highest form of morality, worthy of the greatest praise and admiration.

Conversely, compromising one’s ideals in order to conform to the group is, among individualists, considered to be the height of hypocrisy and the most contemptible, hypocritical  behaviour ever.

Now, let us consider the collectivist point of view:

To the collectivist, the group IS the embodiment of the ‘self’.

Thus, setting personal principles aside and supporting ‘the group goal’ (even if parts of it, or the means of achieving it proposed, are against one’s personal principles of ‘right and wrong’) is seen as the most admirable, praise-worthy quality of self-lessness and altruistic dedication to ‘the cause’.

Standing up against ‘the group’ (or, by default, the loudest and thus most influential elements within the group) in order to preserve one’s principles of right and wrong is seen as the cardinal sin of ‘arrogance’ and ‘self-gratification’  by the collectivists.

With such a different conception of what constitutes morality – standing on principle against the group vs. giving up principles to the will of the group – is it any surprise that a collectivist would not only fail to see how standing on one’s principles would not be praiseworthy, but how he could perceive a person trying to protect themselves from the actions of  ‘a member of the group’ would be seen as ‘betrayal’.

And this is what I think Fern Hill’s problem was.

Dr. Baglow testified that he felt betayed by his friend and ideological ally, he saw her action as aiding and abetting of Nazi enablers (because, even though the Fourniers are not themselves Nazis, by fighting for freedom of speech for everyone, even the distasteful elements in society, he sees their actions as enabling Nazis to spread hate speech).  I hope I have understood this accurately – if I have made errors, please, let me know.

Because Dr. Baglow felt so betrayed by Fern Hill’s support for both sides, he posted and Tweeted some nasty things, designed to express the depth of hurt and anger that he felt.  And, as a true collectivist who presumes guilt by association, he smeared anyone who stood up for Fern Hill (I believe it was in this context that some misogynistic abuse was hurled at DammiJanet, Fern Hill’s co-blogger and a fellow progressive).  He demanded that Fern Hill pick sides – and clearly indicated which side he thought she ought to pick.

In my never-humble-opinion, this admission proves the charge that he interfered with Connie’s fundraising efforts as well as her accusations that he tried to bully people who stood up for her cause, isolating her from supporters.  But, my understanding is necessarily imperfect as I have no legal training, and it is difficult to predict what kind of impression this made on the judge.

Are you familiar with the expression:  “Looking down one’s nose at something/someone”?

I am not a very good observer of facial expressions or body language, so I don’t really recall ever having quite understood what people mean by this phrase.  Until Dr. Baglow’s cross examination, that is.

At times, he would remove his glasses, tilt his head back and glare contemptuously at Barbara Kulaszka (who was the first to start the cross examination) and the rest of the defendants and, in the most derisive, patronizing tone, he’d utter phrases like “extreme free speech types”…  I found this very uncomfortable, because this did not seem like the very charming, courteous man whom I’ve had the pleasure to chat with.

Plus – compared to me, the Fourniers are very much ‘centrists’ when it comes to ‘free speech’ ideas.  Myself, I am an anti-slavery fundamentalist, and, thus, through logical evaluation, I must take the position of a free speech absolutist.  If I own my self, then I am 100% responsible for my actions, regardless of who does and says what.  This also means that if you own your self, then I am not responsible for your actions or how you react to my words.  Thus, falsely yelling FIRE in a crowded theatre must not be prohibited because if I were to be responsible for how other people react to my words, then such a responsibility implies at least part ownership.  After all, how can I be responsible for you if I have no coercive power over you?  And if I have coercive power over you, then you do not truly own your self….or so the reasoning goes.  Others have said all this much more eloquently many, many times before.

Anyhow, the cross examination  was very exciting.

Barbara Kulaszka, the lawyer for Mark Fournier, had gotten Dr. Baglow to agree to some of the basic facts about the Khadr case – in particular, that Omar Khadr had been picked up in a raid on the Taliban.  In other words, we were again covering the whole Al Qaeda vs Taliban thing.

Then we got into the ‘Taliban Jack’ nickname for Jack Layton because of his perceived support of the Taliban and why that was not defamatory.

The next bit covered had, I suspect, something to do with ‘context’.

Throughout is testimony, Dr. Baglow had testified that he did not remove words even more insulting and offensive that he was called, on his own blog and under his control, because of the context…either they were clearly miss-use of the  words or they were a simple vulgarity or if was so obvious from the context that they were just silly that it was not worth his time to bother with them.  This, however, was different, because there was insufficient context around the comment to make it clear it was not literally true.

Barbara Kulaszka skillfully walked Dr. Baglow through many instances on his blog where he relies on ‘general information’ for context and does not supply it – nor does he repair broken links that provide context on older posts, thus committing the same error of publishing strong statements of views without the necessary context.  I think she demonstrated this clearly, as it was at this point in the cross examination that Dr. Baglow began fidgeting in his seat.

There was a lot of back and forth, asking about the blogosphere, other fora and blogs and bloggers – and commenters.  One name kept popping up quite a lot:  ‘MarkyMark’.  Dr. Baglow testified that they had met through the blogosphere and became friends and that MarkyMark even stayed in his house!

When asked about blogs on the political right, he named many.  When asked about blogs on the political left, he hmmmd and eventually came up with a few rather unknown ones while not naming any of the ‘biggies’ (that even I know about – and I know very little about the ‘progressive’ bit of the blogosphere, for obvious reasons).  I was quite surprised at this and wondered about it.

He testified, with a straight face, that when he told people that if they were looking for Nazis (people who said they had guns and were looking to kill Nazis, no less), they should go see Connie Fournier, he did not intend for them to take their guns and threaten Connie but that he honestly believed ‘she could facilitate contact’ with them.  It continued much in this way for quite some time, suggesting Connie should be imitated with a staged Gestapo accent, and so on.  This is obviously just teasing and not abusive in the least, as per Dr. Baglow.

About his online implying that Connie had maliciously sent him an email with an electronic virus, Dr. Baglow forced out a chuckle and said that right after he had read his email, his computer crashed, so he joked about it.

Dr. Baglow mocked the Fourniers from the stand for winning the George Orwell Free Speech Award, sneering that was not an honourable award to win.

It was a bit after this when BlazingCatFur (BCF) was mentioned, and in that context the term SLAPP suit was raised.

For those who do not know, a SLAPP suit is a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation and a favourite tool of the totalitarians to suppress free speech by suing people into oblivion.  If you did not know what this term was, you are not alone – the judge did not know either and commented on what an interesting concept this was.

It was at this point that I got a bad toothache and I did not take as good notes afterwards.  My apologies – I’ll have to be a little bit brief.

The most important thing that came out during next little bit of talking about BCF and his blog was something Dr. Baglow had written.  It seems that something negative was said about BCF on another, most likely Dr. Dawg’s, and BCF copy/pasted it when rebutting it or somehow responding to it, so that the offensive term appeared again, this time as part of BCF’s comment.

Dr. Dawg had then written something to the effect that by showing the text and responding to it, BCF had, in fact, re-published it.

This is important because the words that are the subject of this lawsuit were similarly copied and re-published by the plaintiff.  So, getting him on record that repeating and responding constitutes republishing may become an important part of the case.

There was also quite a bit of stuff about Dr. Baglow saying rather unpleasant things about a lot of people, some in anger, some in frustration – it is what it is – as well as about the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, who also happens to be intervening in this court case as a friend of the court.

Oh yes – and Mr. Burnet, Dr. Balow’s lawyer, had, at one point, jumped to his feet and outed himself as PeterOne or Peter1 or some name that sounds like this and admitted taking part in some of these online verbal skirmishes.

At one point, Dr. Baglow testified that ‘there is a lot of political motivation behind it’ – and by ‘it’ I understood he meant this lawsuit (I tried to insert other things, but this was the only one that made sense in this context), which would have proven what Roger smith had said in his opening statement:  this is a political disagreement and does not belong in a court of law because it is inappropriate for the courts to be deciding which political opinions are legal to hold and which are not.

And this ends my account of day 4 – report on day 5 coming soon!

 

 

John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 4 part 1

Day 1 part 1 and part 2 are here.  (all previous caveats still apply, though I have temporarily borrowed a slightly better tech.)

Day 2 is here.

Day 3 is here.

Alternate account is here:  day 1, day 2day 3day 4.

Disclosure:  It may be important to note my past experience with PSAC, that very powerful and ruthless public sector union, of which Dr. Baglow testified he had been the Executive Vice President of.

When, decades ago, I was a wee little teenager, shortly after we came to Canada, my mom got a job where she was forced to become a member of PSAC.  Back then, there was a lot of tension created by this most militant union.  Once, just before a strike, my mom naively said she opposed the strike – within earshot of a union thug.  We started getting phone calls at all times of day and night.  My mom got threats that were not even thinly veiled.  Once, a caller told her where I went to school, the times I walk there and back and the exact route I walk…

My mother was so frightened that she took a leave of absence until after the strike….and this event had, for ever, opened my eyes to the way labour unions in Canada function and ‘get things done’.

Thursday, day 4 of the trial, started with a bit of excitement.

Being a ‘morning person’ (that is, I hardly ever go to sleep until after I’ve said ‘hello’ to the morning), I find it difficult to actually be places at an uncivilized hour, like, say, 9:30 am.  So, I missed the original action, but it had caused such a buzz and so much comment, I was soon filled-in on the situation.  Like I reported earlier, witnesses were not allowed to hear each other’s testimony, nor was anyone allowed to tell them about it.  Thus, as I left the court yesterday, Dr. Baglow was pacing expectantly outside of the courtroom, not being allowed to know what Mr. Bow’s testimony and cross examination brought out.

But…

While surfing the net in the evening, Dr. Baglow accidentally encountered a blog which reported on day 3 in court – and thus Mr. Bow’s testimony!!!

How very, very unfortunate that out of the hundreds of thousands, nay, millions of blogs in the blogosphere, Dr. Baglow accidentally landed on the one and only blog in the world where the forbidden information was published…

Of course, being a moral and upright ex-union boss, as soon as he realized what he was reading, Dr. Baglow logged off right away.

There were only 2 observers in the courtroom who were blogging about the case, and I didn’t write up day 3 until yesterday, so we can narrow down pretty easily which was the blog in question.  However, the court clerk and stenographer did not know that and the court clerk was sending daggers out of her eyes in my direction all morning.

I think the court clerk must have a very difficult and frustrating job.  While I have never heard any of the other court clerks in the cases I have observed so far complain about their job, this one was more articulate.  She kept explaining to anyone within earshot just how much more difficult they were making her job.  And everything in the courtroom seemed designed to annoy her – from the way the chairs were arranged to the fact that some people left the courtroom through the left side of the door instead of using the right side only.  Poor woman – so much responsibility and so many unnecessary obstacles were being hurled into her path.

And now this!

“Now I have to worry about  being on some BLOG!!!’ she lamented at one point, as she shot me a particularly venomous look.

It must be a difficult job, indeed!

But, back to the substance of the trial.  I am not quoting directly, but rather expressing my imperfect understanding of the testimony and cross examination.  Timelines may be jumbled and at some points, I may put specific bits of testimony and cross examination together, to maintain the narrative.

As I came in, the blogger Jay Currie was under discussion.  (Note – the linkie is to his new blog, which I quite like.  The discussion here is about his old blog, which Dr. Baglow says was quite good, but I myself hardly ever went there as I simply did not like the format and feel of it.)

Jay Currie’s old blog was a bit of a cross-roads where a lot of unlike-minded people went to for ‘verbal fencing’ – not because they actually expected to convince anyone of the rightness of their point, but simply to bicker.  Personally, I detest bickering, so I hardly ever went there and never took part in the pointless bickering.  This was not the case for Dr. Dawg (Dr. Baglow’s online persona), nor for Peter O’Donnel, the other persona of Roger Smith.

At some point in time, Dr. Dawg had a private email conversation with Jay Currie, which he had subsequently learned was shared with Mark Fournier’s lawyer, Barbara Kulaszka.  Dr. Baglow was deeply hurt and very disappointed by this breech of trust and invasion of privacy.  Poor Dr.Baglow…

It is my guess that the emails referred to here were the ones which definitely established the identity of Ms. Mew as a handle of Dr. Baglow.  Dr. Baglow insisted that everyone knew he was Ms. Mew as the nickname was an obvious play on ‘Dr. Dawg’.  However, I suspect ‘everyone knew’ would not be a good enough identification for the courts….and nor would using Ms. Mew’s IP address, as numerous courts have ruled that an IP address cannot be used to identify a person.

Anyhow, at this particular time, Dr. Baglow testified, the online sparring in the comments between himself and Jay Currie had gone on for quite some time.  Dr. Baglow was upset to find out that the offensive materials (those 7 little words, and, in my never-humble-opinion, had the article used been ‘a’ instead of ‘the’, we could not be here, in court – so, listen to all us Grammar-nazis out there, it may help you avoid a lawsuit!) would not be taken down and he was very, very hurt and angry.

The discussion now moved to something that had been written, but I could not see as the exhibits are not available to the spectators, but it was understood by the Fourniers as a threat to use the courts to bankrupt them – and thus was said to have demonstrated malice on the part of Dr. Baglow.   If I am not mistaken, it was something like that when this was all done, he, Dr. Baglow, would get Roger Smith’s harpsichord and play it in Mark and Connie’s house, which he will have won in the lawsuit.  Or something like that.  The Fourniers and Roger Smith took this to be a threat of lawfare – where the process is as much of a punishment as any potential outcome (and something which spreads ‘libel chill’ throughout the blogosphere)  but Dr. Baglow testified that this was just a bit of ‘bravado’ and ‘nothing to pay serious attention to’.

As a matter of fact, there were quite a lot of instances where Dr. Baglow was ‘displaying bravado’ or just writing words in frustration at having such an injustice committed against his person, and any words uttered in such a state of mind, no matter how derogatory or sexually degrading (those would be the ones directed at Connie Fournier, the lone female participant in this farce of a trial – and the one for whom Dr. Dawg’s vilest of insults were reserved), were not any evidence of malice or bad will, but just a symptom of frustration.  Had the Fourniers been good little unwashed plebs, and done everything the intellectual Dr. Baglow demanded, they would not have brought such malicious invective on themselves!!!  At times, I think Dr. Baglow felt quite hurt that the Fourniers, Connie in particular, had forced him to use such uncivilized language…

Please note, I am paraphrasing and getting the ‘gist’ of the testimony as I understood it, not quoting Dr. Baglow directly….and I am using the word ‘malicious’ in the colloquial, not the legal sense of the word as I have no legal training.  And I am applying the word ‘malicious’ t the words used, not to D. Baglow.  Just thought I ought to clarify that here, so nobody would be misled.

Aside:  the kind of language that Dr. Baglow used was truly, truly ‘past colourful’.  For example, he called a male blogger (not involved in this lawsuit) a ‘flaming …..’ where ‘…..’ is a word for female genitalia.  Now, I don’t care how punny anyone thinks this may or may not be, but, using bits of female anatomy as an insult to hurl at another man:  if THAT is not anti-woman hate-speech, I don’t know what is!!!

Dr. Baglow testified most vehemently that he does not approve of, indulge in or permit (on his blog) ‘Hate Speech’ of any kind.  Whenever someone used the phrase ‘right to freedom of speech’, he made sure to insert the word ‘alleged’ before the word ‘right’ – with great emphasis.

His lawyer, Mr. Burnet, kept ‘fumbling’  the documents and getting the exhibits ‘mixed up’.  And, at times, he kept ramming the left arm of his glasses into his left ear….  How exciting to witness such skillful courtroom theater!!!!

Another ‘current’ through this testimony was about likening Connie Fournier to Nazis.  Perhaps not in name, but in imagery.

Dr. Baglow testified that he did not say Ms. Fournier was a Nazi, nor does he think that she is.  But there were so many statements brought up during the testimony and the cross examination where Dr. Baglow used Nazi imagery that his professions seemed weak at best.

Then there was some testimony I could not follow, but it sounded as if Dr. Baglow were defending himself from accusations of having written that Judge Annis (the one that ruled that the ‘disputed words’ were not capable of being defamatory) – among other judges – was ‘in the pocket of the conservatives’…  Please, do take care that I am stating, flat out, that I did not understand heads or tails of this bit of testimony – just that this is what it sounded like was happening.  Mr. Baglow, while admitting to writing the words, denied most vehemently that this was their implication.

Then Dr. Baglow referred to 2 different studies – again, I had no reference, this was all in the documents I had no access to – that ‘proved’ one or another of his statements/positions.  But, the judge stared at Dr. Baglow and verbally spanked him by pointing out that she read those two things and they were nothing like ‘scholarly studies’ but just the ravings of some inconsequential journalists.  (Again, I am conveying my impressions of what happened, not the actual words uttered.)

Mr. Burnet asked Dr. Baglow if it is true that he wrote about a judge that he is guilty of statutory rape for having had sex with his baby sitter.  Now, again, I did not have the documents in front of me, so my understanding is highly imperfect and I would love to be corrected, so that the record will be accurate.  But, it seems that event though the babysitter was over the age of 16 (not statutory rape), the judge – as an employer of the baby sitter – was ‘an authority figure’ which Dr. Dawg thinks ‘bumps up’ the statutory rape thingy to 18, not 16.  And, Dr. Baglow would appear to have been highly critical of this and he appears to have blogged his criticism.  But, writing that ‘a man in position of authority’ was having sex with someone under the age of 18, as he asserted the judge had indeed done, this apparently did not imply, in any way, shape or form, that he was accusing that judge of statutory rape.  And while I can respect his opinion and his original blogging thereof, I must admit I was disappointed in how he tried to walk this bit back…

The post by Dr. Dawg called ‘Off with his head’ – and referring to Prime Minister Harper – was also brought up, both during the testimony and the subsequent cross examination.  While Dr. Baglow insisted this reference was satire, the fact that there actually was a real-life plot to behead our Prime Minister makes this assertion sound hollow, at best…rather, it would seem to (in my never-humble-opinion) a very thinly veiled sympathy and/or support for militant Islamist terrorists.  OK, it was never openly stated in the testimony, but, it hung in the air like a miasma which all parties present pretend is not really there…silent, but palpable!!!

Then the issue of Fern Hill came up….

….I just realized I’m at over 2k words and we have not yet hit lunch!!!

Let me break here and start part 2 from the ‘Fern Hill’ bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

NOTICE:  this post discusses and assesses the testimony given by Mr. Bows, so, if any reader who is banned by the court from reading about Mr. Bow’s testimony until his own is finished comes across this post, they ought to leave this page right away in order not to breach the court’s order.

Day 1 part 1 and part 2 are here.  (all previous caveats still apply, though I have temporarily borrowed a slightly better tech.)

Day 2 is here.

Alternate account is here:  day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4.

Day 3, Wednesday, was the ‘broken-up day’:  Madam justice had a previous commitment for a 3 hour meeting smack dab in the middle of the day.  So, the court was scheduled from 9:30 to 10:30, then a bit of a break, then again from 1:30 to 5:00.  And, as I had commitments of my own which I had been neglecting due to the trial, I took the morning to try and get caught up on some of them.  So, I missed the morning hour…

I was there for 1:30, ready to go!  But, the most exciting thing to happen was that the bailiff announced that the courtroom clock had finally been fixed!!!  It now actually displays the correct time….

After a bit of waiting, we learned that Madam justice had finished her meeting, but needed a bite to eat, so the court would not reconvene until 2 pm.  Oh well…

At 2 pm, on the dot, the court reconvened.  And, I had another little surprise:  Dr. Baglow was not on the stand!

Could he have finished his testimony and been cross examined by 4 people in the span of the morning hour?  Not quite…

Because the trial had originally been scheduled for 3 days only, that is how long Mr. Bow had planned to be away.  In order to accommodate him, all the participants agreed to permit Dr. Baglow’s  testimony to be interrupted in order to let Mr. Bow testify and be cross examined first.

Mr. James Edward Bow chose to swear on the Bible, then settled in to the witness box.  In his dark grey suit, white shirt, striped tie, with understated wire-rim glasses complementing his dark hair and eyes, he looked handsome and dapper.

Aside:  while talking about what people were wearing…Connie wore a fuchsia cardigan that was almost identical in colour to my own top, but mine was short sleeve, so all awkwardness was avoided!  Sorry – humorous interlude over!

Mr. Bow testified that he lived in Kitchener, Ontario and worked as a freelance writer with a web designed business on the side.  While he never had any formal training in web designed, he had worked for a number of tech companies in the 90′s and received a lot of on the job training.  In 2005, when his daughter was born, he became a stay-at-home dad while doing the writing and web stuff on the side from home.   As a stay-at-home mom who also blogs, I can relate!

When Mr. Bow testified that he had received his degree in Environmentalism, I began to seriously doubt Dr. Baglow’s sanity:  is he really bringing a capital ‘E’ Environmentalist to try to support the veracity of a contentious claim?  Really?!?!?

I had to work hard to suppress a bout of giggles:  like ANYONE on EARTH would ever again believe a word that comes out of the mouth of an ‘E’nvironmentlist!!!

Disclosure – my  background is physics, field of data acquisition and analysis…and I specialized in helping scientists/technologists avoid ‘conformational bias’…so, I find the modern ‘E’nvironmentalists particularly, well, how can I put this without being defamatory…’not up to snuff’ scientifically and having a very, very deep, perhaps un-bridgeable, credibility deficit.

In my never humble opinion, Mr. Bow’s testimony bore out the expectations one would have of an ‘E’nvironmentalist:  lots of claims of technical expertise followed by ‘D’uh, I don’t know how to do that…’

To his credit, Mr. Bow tried very hard to support his friend, Dr. Baglow, but to anyone with an iota if IT knowledge, he simply did not come across as credible – to my never-humble-thinking.

He blamed Dr. Baglow for not updating the comments before they attempted to migrate them to the new platform (without explaining why they could not have simply gone through the steps of updating step by step by step…), completely forgetting that if they had both migrated the site to the new spot (for the hosting of which Mr. Bow got paid by Dr. Baglow) AND left the old site up, instead of shutting it down, the defendants in this case would not have been deprived of access to information essential to their defense.  No amount of difficulties with migrating the comments over would have caused this damage had they not actively shut the old site down…

In another bit of testimony, Mr. Bow testified that it was Dr. Baglow’s decision to stop trying to recover the ‘lost’ comments, or he would have continued to look for ways of migrating them over.  In my never-humble-opinion, this was Mr. Bow covering his rear end, making sure his incompetence did not get perceived as malice and shifting all responsibility for the ‘lost’ comments squarely onto Dr. Baglow.

At this point, my other-world duties pulled me out of the courtroom:  I may have put off fixing my own broken (front) tooth till next week in order to attend the trial, but, I could not put such limitations on ‘my little one’ (OK, he’s taller than I am, but he will ALWAYS be ‘my little one’!!!) and I had to leave the courtroom in order to take HIM to the dentist…

When I left the courtroom in a rush, I found Dr. Baglow pacing nervously in front of the courtroom:  by the judge’s order (and as per ‘normal’ practice, he was excluded from the courtroom while other witnesses for his side’ were ‘on the stand’).  As we had exchanged pleasantries in the past few days, and as he had always been very civil towards me, I greeted him and had a little (though very hurried – I had stayed in the courtroom well into my time-margin).

During this exchange, he pointed out to me that I had indeed misunderstood the timing when he had joined the NDP.  I had reported on this in Day 2:  having heard that he had torn up his NDP membership card during Buffalo Bob’s reign, and the accusations that Bob Rae’s political opponents were motivated by anti-Semitism (since Mr. Rae’s wife is Jewish), I wanted to head off any potential smear campaign against Mr. Baglow due to the confluence of this.  Yes, I pointed this out in my reporting – but, with sincere and honest statement of fact that I do NOT believe Dr. Baglow to be an anti-Semite – specifically to ward off any potential smear campaign.

Which is why I was  very happy that Dr.Bglow corrected my error:  he had actually joined the NDP because he had been inspired by Bob Rae’s electoral victory!  And, as I understood (and reported), it was Mr. Rae’s subsequent policies that got him so disgusted, he ‘tore up his membership card’.

He accepted my assurance that my calling attention to this was an effort to ‘nip in the bud’ any smears – and appreciated it.  I in turn, appreciated being corrected, because I would much rather be corrected in the short run and carry accurate information than be left in error!!!

I promised to correct in in the original post (I put the edit at the top, so anyone reading it will have the correction before getting to the erroneous bit, without hiding I had made an error), and I also promised to describe our conversation on ‘day 3′ to explain how the correction came about.

That was it for me for ‘day 3′ – days 4 and 5 are coming up as soon as I can type them up!

 

As always:  if I have made any errors,  if you can correct/add to this commentary, please do so and I’ll be glad to edit this post in order to add your comment!!!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 124 other followers