Yesterday I left you with the picture of the supposedly naïve Naseem on the witness stand. Today she continued her testimony. After her we heard from the lawyer of Maclean’s; Ezra Levant started to testify, but had to stop to provide time for the incredible character Greg Felton (who shouldn’t have been there) and the National Post columnist Brian Hutchinson.
The defense strategy of Ruby Shiller Chan Hasan, which presented Awan as a hapless chap, who somehow found himself in the middle of a storm, influenced at least one person. As I mentioned, Christie Blatchford was there yesterday (and today). The supposedly seasoned veteran journalist fell for the trick and wrote a column in the National Post that could’ve made an average romance reader cry.
Awan is a principled fellow too, but back then, with three other Osgoode Hall students, he was also young, naïve and, perhaps, more easily wounded…
Being good Canucks, though, the students wanted first to assure themselves they weren’t being over-sensitive, so they canvassed their friends, and determined they weren’t. Then they asked, “What do we as individuals do?”
Yes, what would those individuals do? There is nothing more Canuckish than bursting into an office to demand publication control and a “donation” of $10,000 over “hurt” feelings:
“We were pretty keen,” Mithoowani said, giggling at the memory. “We were law students.” They planned to handle it as they would a law school presentation: Each would speak about a certain aspect; they would ask for a response piece from a “mutually acceptable author of some prominence,” and discussed asking for a donation from the magazine to a race relations foundation, maybe between $5,000 to $10,000…
“We had assumed,” she said, giggling again, “naively, in our minds, that it would be a bargaining process” and that they’d play it by ear.
And only after that failed attempt to multiculturalize Maclean’s did the crafty trio turn to other means to get their money. Apparently, the gullible Blatchford doesn’t see anything wrong with that picture, because she boldly states her values in the last paragraph:
I’m such a good and proper Canadian that I too would have published those Danish cartoons, just as Ezra Levant did, and I only wish I could write like Mark Steyn, but I’d also be wearing a veil 24/7 if I lived in Quebec, to tell Premier Pauline Marois and the Parti Québécois what I think of their stupid, and racist, “charter of values.”
Charming! Verily, verily I say unto thee – until we have people like Christie to defend with equal zeal the Danish cartoons and the Muslim veil, Canada is going to be an easy target for blokes like Awan and Elmasry.
Let me bring you back to reality. Today Naseem finished her testimony. After the meeting they continued writing letters eventually decided to file a human rights complaint. They had no other choice after being rejected.
A curious detail was the question of Angela Chaisson: What is taqiya? There was no explanation why she asked and follow up when Naseem replied that she didn’t know.
Then she had to answer about the place where Awan sat during the human rights hearing in British Columbia. She didn’t remember.
Iain McKinnon wanted to know who helped to prepare their press releases; they require more than one author. Naseem replied, yes, we did it that way with different people involved. Awan was also involved with drafting press releases sometime. She didn’t remember whether CIC get involved in the press releases.
McKinnon asked again: You worked at the B.C. hearings assisting. Were you aware that the complaint of Elmasry was the same as Awan’s Ontario complaint? No.
You were not involved in creating the Ontario or B.C. complaints? Did you assist Joseph in the preparation? No. I didn’t even communicate with Elmasry.
Then she explained that they didn’t expect the negative backlash from the press and the blogs. Had Maclean’s agreed to meet their demands, they wouldn’t have started the process.
After her Julian Porter (born 1936) was called as a witness. He shattered the version of the events presented by Awan’s group.
He is a lawyer practicing in different areas, like libel and copyright law. He has been acting for Maclean’s for about 25 years, mostly giving advice on potential libel in publications. He participated in the original meeting and had notes from it.
McKinnon asked who else was present at the meeting. Mr. Whyte was there, Porter remembers he said that he would rather go bankrupt than publishing something imposed on him.
McKinnon said that the meeting took place in March 2007. In the beginning of the notes he see the word “CIC” next to the names. Were they linked to the organization?
In a very strange reaction Justice Matheson interrupted him: I am not going to use this evidence.
Julian Porter went through the specific notes that covered the views of the students. Naseem said that Maclean’s was obligated to publish a rebutting article and that wasn’t an issue of legal debate. The article had to be published as is, without changes, written by a well-known Muslim author. Then a substantial donation was required to be made to the Race Relations Foundation. He wasn’t sure whether the word substantial was used.
Next record was that the group would contact the magazine again within a week. If nothing was done, the next step would be the complaint according to the human rights code.
Ken Whyte is in the notes next – he says that journalists have different opinions; this is part of the debate.
Porter says: I remember they wanted a substantial donation.
Then he read more of the notes – why are you not interested in covering the other side; there is no global jihad; the generalizations of Mark Steyn are not acceptable.
Then Naseem states that they are disappointed that Maclean’s doesn’t want to publish other opinions.
Whyte says – we publish only 800 articles per year; we are not a newspaper; you can write letters instead.
The article causes the erosion of the Muslims. Then somebody says that they are going to pursue legal recourse – according to human rights codes in Ontario or British Columbia or the hate speech provisions.
Stephens says – write letters to us. Then Whyte says that he’d rather go out of business than to publish an author he doesn’t approve. Porter remembers that statement very well.
Then for some reason the name of Sacha Trudeau is mentioned in the notes – Porter doesn’t remember why.
McKinnon asked: At the British Columbia hearing did Awan assist Faisal Joseph?
Joseph definitely needed a lot of help from advisors, like Awan who knew all the facts.
Then McKinnon asked if he found it strange that Elmasry didn’t testify. Did Awan stand for Elmasry?
The Judge objected to the question – it was not related to the case facts, it was requiring an opinion from the witness.
McKinnon objected that the question was relevant, because Ezra Levant said that Awan stood for Elmasry. This opinion is important for Ezra Levant’s fair comment defense.
Justice Matheson: that Porter wasn’t a decision maker, but an observer, so his opinion is not relevant in this particular case. It would be like asking a member of the public.
Shiller asked: Your notes – do you agree that they don’t cover everything? And maybe there were different discussions at the meeting? Do you recall Mr. Joseph having other lawyers?
McKinnon objected – we are going through the same opinion fields. The transcript clearly indicates who was there as a lawyer, his impressions are irrelevant.
The Judge agreed that he needed to reframe the question and exclude the impression.
Shiller: There were two young women sitting with Joseph. Do you remember them? Awan was gone from the room after he testified, do you remember that?
Porter: I have no memory of that.
Shiller: The records show that there was a demand for control and domination. Did you consider this to be extortion?
Porter: I found this to be too much. I wasn’t a happy camper.
Shiller: Did you think that they were not just students?
Porter: They were articulate, well organized and put their case eloquently.
McKinnon: How did you decide what should be put in the notes?
Porter: I just tried to keep track of what was being said. I wanted to cover everything, although I may have missed something.
Then Porter left…
After the lunch break Ezra Levant was called to testify. He said he has always been very political. He has written for school newspapers and joined the Reform Party as teenager. In 1997 he went to campaign politically. Then he became an assistant to Preston Manning when he became the leader of the official opposition. That continued for two years.
Then he moved to Toronto and joined the National Post as a member of the editorial board. Worked there for two years.
Before that he wrote for Calgary newspapers as a student in 1994-1995.
Then he became an assistant to Stockwell Day, but the job didn’t last, it was only for 9 days.
After that he moved again to Calgary – still had political ambitions, but the times were difficult, the conservative party was in civil war. When Preston Manning retired, Ezra ran in the by-election in his riding. However, at that time (2002) Stephen Harper became a leader and dropped Ezra – he was looking for someone with experience sure to be elected.
After that he practiced law in a small law firm in Calgary. At approximately the same time he wrote the book “Fight Kyoto.” Then he revived a magazine that has been out of business. A distinguished feature of the new publication was the Beefatorial as an original editorial. The magazine was published every two weeks from 2003 to 2007 and had 48 pages. It shut down because of economics.
In 2005 the world learned about the so-called Danish cartoon case. A magazine asked cartoonists in Denmark to draw cartoons of Mohammed. Many refused, but some replied and 12 cartoons were made. Nothing happened until a few Danish imams went around the world to create problems, while adding 3 extra very offensive cartoons they made.
Still nothing happened until Syria orchestrated mass protests. Those protests spread around. The Western media were scared to show them. As a magazine editor, Ezra waited for somebody to cover that event in Canada. It didn’t happen. So he selected 8 cartoons to include in his news report about the issue.
His magazine braced for the worst and hired a security guard. Still nothing happened. The fallout was mostly positive. Then Ezra Levant was invited to radio debate with a Calgary imam of Pakistani background, who didn’t know about the magazine. The imam called Ezra a terrorist.
The imam later asked the police to arrest Ezra for blasphemy, but of course they refused. Then he went to the human rights commission and filed a complaint. To make his case, on additional sheets he used passages from the Koran as jurisprudence.
After the break, the next witness testified on video from British Columbia – Greg Felton. He introduced himself as an ESL teacher and freelance author and journalist. He has been a columnist for Mohamed Elmasry’s Canadian Charger until 2011.
In 2008 he worked as a writer for Canadian Arab News, publishing a monthly column.
McKinnon: Did you attend in August 2008 a conference on Islamophobia?
Felton: Yes, I attended the conference, gave a speech and was in a panel. I spoke about how the anti-Islamic propaganda is disseminated in a subtle way in the media. Khurrum Awan was among the speakers. He spoke about his case with the human rights commissions, but I have no recollection about the specifics. There was a Canadian Arab News report I wrote.
McKinnon: In it there is a quote, where Awan says that the human rights commissions made political decisions that could go either way. Regardless of the outcome, the cases showed everybody that the cost of attacking Islam just got very high, like $2 million for Maclean’s, and not many people will do it now. Did he tell you this?
Felton: Yes, he said that to me. I called him for a story about the decision. I wrote notes, on which I based the article, but couldn’t find them now.
McKinnon: Did the money amount come from Awan?
Maybe, also from a survey or Elmasry.
Shiller took over: Do you remember your conversation with Awan? No, I relied on my notes, replied Felton.
I have here a few articles published on your website. In one of them you wrote that Obama is black, but he is not going to abolish slavery. Did you write that?
Shiller: You also wrote that Obama has surrounded himself with politicians like the “warmongering whore Hilary Clinton.” You published an article about the Kennedy assassination, which you consider coup d’état.
Here McKinnon objected that this shouldn’t be introduced. Felton was asked to step out until the issue is resolved.
Shiller said that he had articles by Felton about John Kennedy and 9/11, which are important to discuss to establish the nature of his journalistic practices. McKinnon stated that he still doesn’t see the relevance. The Judge agreed with Shiller to release the questions as important to establish credibility.
After connecting with Felton again, Shiller quoted an article stating that the 9/11 events followed the JFK script of government, in which pro-Israeli Jews were involved. Is this something you wrote?
So you checked the facts to come to the conclusion that warmongering Jews did the JFK conspiracy and 9/11?
Shiller then asked if Felton wrote the article “With Leaders Like Netanyahu Israel Doesn’t Need Enemies.” In it is stated that mini-hydrogen bombs actually destroyed the World Trade Center. Felton replied that the destruction with airplanes was impossible. There must’ve been other devices and his analysis concluded that the tool were small hydrogen bombs.
At a conference in Vancouver in 2012 you stated that many Jewish employees in the World Trade Center were not at work on September 11, 2001. They were warned, but nobody warned the rest.
Yes, I said that.
Shiller: Did you also state that Al Qaida doesn’t exist and the WTC attacks were organized by Israel?
Yes, there is no difference between the US and Israeli governments. They had interest in attacking it.
Then McKinnon got involved: Did you interview anybody about the JFK assassination piece?
No, it was an opinion piece, relied Felton.
After the very strange and weird friend of the Canadian Muslim fighters against Islamophobia left the distant room.
The last witness was Brian Hutchinson, a columnist for National Post. In July 2008 he attended the tribunal hearing on Maclean’s in British Columbia. McKinnon asked him why he wrote about Elmasry as being a highly controversial figure. He also wrote about Awan as a protégé of Faisal Joseph, who was about to start work at his firm in London and the three students were assisting Joseph.
The trial continues tomorrow…
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