Dear member of the university community and President Mahon,
A crime of extreme defamation has been committed against one of the tenured faculty members of the University of Lethbridge.
The damage caused by the crime goes far beyond the damage done to the reputation of the professor. It makes a mockery of the motto “Let there be light” and undermines the university’s commitment to academic freedom and the founding principle of liberal education.
There are many people who have aided in the commission of this crime, though some may not have done so wittingly. This letter is both an open letter to the university community and a request to the president that he ask for an apology from one person in particular who aided in the commission of the crime.
The primary defamatory bombshell was dropped on Aug. 26, 2016, when an egregiously bigoted post was placed on the Facebook wall of Dr. Anthony Hall. Waves of shocked complaint immediately emanated from B’nai Brith Canada, which called attention to the bigotry through several posts on its website, including a petition calling for the investigation of Professor Hall.
The post planted on Facebook consisted of an image of one man holding another in a headlock, together with the following piece of text:
“There never was a ‘Holocaust’, but there should have been and, rest assured, there WILL be, as you serpentine kikes richly deserve one. I will not rest until every single filthy, parasitic kike is rounded up and slaughtered like the vermin that they are. The white man has had more than enough of the international Jewry and we are more than prepared to smite the parasite for the millionth time. The greedy, hook-nosed kikes knows that their days are numbered and, unlike in the past, they have nowhere to run. This time there will be no kikes alive to spread around the planet like cockroaches. We will get them ALL into the oven and their putrid memory will finally be erased from the planet once and for all. Like all parasite, the Jew will continue to reproduce until every single last one has been wiped out. This is why it is crucial that all kikes are ruthlessly and mercilessly butchered for the good of us all. KILL ALL JEWS NOW! EVERY LAST ONE!”
This was placed on Dr. Hall’s Facebook wall while he was away in the U.S. visiting Jewish friends. He had nothing to do with putting up the post or with pulling it down, and was completely unaware of what had happened until it was brought to his attention by the B’nai Brith complaints. As soon as he became aware of what the B’nai Brith was saying he publicly condemned the post.
It seems bizarre to me that anyone would find it the least bit plausible that this sort of bigotry could in any way resemble the views of Dr. Hall. Although I have never been a student of Dr. Hall’s I have been researching his views now for over a year. My assessment is corroborated by someone who attended four semesters of his Globalization Studies program whose view can be found here.
If you found a piece of text on the webpage of the office of the president of the University of Lethbridge calling for the murder of liberal professors would you think that President Mahon authored it? Would you call for an investigation of President Mahon by the Alberta Human Rights commission, or would you call for an investigation to find the defamatory trickster?
In damaging Dr. Hall’s reputation this campaign has also severely tarnished the reputation of the university. The repressive actions that have been set in motion have caused bitter divisions within the university community and beyond.
In doing his own research of the source of the post Dr. Hall discovered that the image was altered through photoshopping. The image and text were probably created (though not necessarily posted) by someone named Joshua Goldberg. There are many media reports of Mr. Goldberg impersonating others in order to defame them. He is currently in prison awaiting trial on a charge of sending bomb-making plans to an undercover FBI informant in 2015, expressing the hope that “there will be some jihad on the anniversary of 9/11.”
If you carefully read what the B’nai Brith says on its site, you will see that nowhere do they explicitly state that Hall put up the offensive Facebook post, but it is easy to get that idea. However, in letters to President Mahon, and to the holders of the highest political offices in Alberta, the claim is explicitly made that Hall put up the post.
For further details about the background situation, go to Links to Details About the Planted Facebook Post and follow the links that interest you.
President Mahon reacted on Oct. 3 and 4, of 2016, by suspending Dr. Hall, a tenured faculty member who had taught at U. of L. for 26 years. Dr. Hall was pulled in mid-term from his classes without any process of investigation in which he could present his side of the story. He was suspended without pay, though this was subsequently reinstated.
Since that time a Freedom of Information inquiry shows that President Mahon was speaking to the President of the B’nai Brith about the Hall case prior to Sep. 1, 2016. However, he has never spoken to Professor Hall himself.
The Freedom of Information inquiry also brought to light several documents, some of which contain outright defamatory falsehoods. One letter in particular, which is my primary focus here, was sent on Aug. 27, 2016, to the president of the university, to Premier Rachel Notley, to the Alberta Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, Kathleen Ganley, and to the Minister of Advanced Education, Marlin Schmidt.
Here’s a quote from the letter:
“Yesterday I received a message from B’nai Brith Canada (http://www.bnaibrith.ca/_kill_all_jews_now_is_an_acceptable_message_facebook_says)
reporting a recent social media post by one of your faculty members, Prof. Anthony Hall. I was shocked and upset, both by Facebook’s initial reaction to this post, and by the fact a respected faculty member at a Canadian institution of higher learning would post such an incendiary, hateful message, inciting violence against Jews. It boggles my mind. …
… the concept of academic freedom … was never intended as a shield for spewing hatred and threats against minorities….
I would encourage you to seriously consider whether you want someone on your faculty who would advocate the murder of Jews …”
In another letter, dated September 1, 2016, the late Bert Raphael, President of the Canadian Jewish Civil Rights Association, also reported to Dr. Mahon that Prof. Hall was responsible for the offending Facebook post. Mr. Raphael cited the whole passage, referring to it as coming “from the lips” of Prof. Hall.
Photographs of both of these letters can be seen here.
Whether or not the authors of these letters knew that their defamatory assertions were false they should have known that the evidence did not support them. On the B’nai Brith news release, “Kill All Jews Now” is an Acceptable Message, Facebook Says, there is a sentence:
“UPDATE: As of 3:15 PM ET on Friday August 26, B’nai Brith Canada has learned the image has been removed from Facebook. A screengrab of the image has been taken before its removal and can be viewed here.”
If you go to the screengrab you will see a name purporting to be that of the poster of the message but it is not that of Anthony Hall. Evidence gathered by Professor Hall and myself indicates that the name used was a fraudulent impersonation, but even if the letter writers had not known that, they should have known that there was evidence against the attribution of the post to Professor Hall.
Is the timing of all this just a coincidence or was Professor Hall deliberately framed? By all appearances it was an orchestrated operation against him, akin to planting illicit drugs on someone, and then calling the police.
There are two important issues at stake here. One is the interest we all have in protecting each other from having our reputations ruined by defamatory falsehoods. The other is the vital role that the protection of academic freedom has in preserving a democratic culture. Regarding the latter, it is worth noting that if there was a good case that Hall had views that were so beyond the pale that they could not legitimately be permitted under the principle of academic freedom then it would not have been necessary to resort to a deceitful Facebook post.
I will be writing several letters to various authors who have been part of this campaign against Professor Hall, asking them for clarification of some of the foggy claims they have made, and, where appropriate, asking for apologies.
However, I cannot write a letter to the person who wrote the Aug. 27 letter (the first letter quoted above) because the identity of the author has been redacted in the material obtained through the freedom of information inquiry. The recipients of that letter, including Dr. Mahon, do know that person’s identity. Therefore, as a citizen who believes that protecting academic freedom is essential to the maintenance of a democratic culture, I am requesting President Mahon to write a letter to that person, asking for an apology. Could you please do this, President Mahon, and report back to me and the university community? Given that the reputation of the university, as well as of Dr. Hall, has been grievously impugned in the eyes of those who hold high political office will some of you in the university community join me in this request?
Many of you will know that one of the great advocates of liberal education was John Stuart Mill. You will be familiar with the first sentence of a quote taken from his Inaugural Address to the University of St. Andrews in 1867:
“Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject. It depends on the habit of attending to and looking into public transactions, and on the degree of information and solid judgment respecting them that exists in the community, whether the conduct of the nation as a nation, both within itself and towards others, shall be selfish, corrupt, and tyrannical, or rational and enlightened, just and noble.”
I extended the quote beyond the familiar first sentence because what Mill was talking about here is the responsibility of citizens to inform themselves, and to protest, when governments fail to apply honesty and humanity in their internal and external affairs. This is exactly the sort of thing that Professor Hall used to speak of in his courses, and continues to speak of, in venues like False Flag Weekly News and the American Herald Tribune.
It is true that Professor Hall’s views are outside the mainstream. However, if university students are to learn to think critically they should be encouraged to engage with such views. Liberal education cannot be promoted by allowing a professor to be bullied out of the classroom with deceitful character assassination. To quote again from Mill, this time from On Liberty:
“He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that.”
Remember Semmelweiss. In 1847 he observed that fatal instances of puerperal fever could be drastically reduced if doctors would wash their hands with chlorinated lime solutions before delivering babies. This observation was not well aligned with the prevailing medical theories of the time, and was repulsed by the doctors, who felt insulted. Many thousands of women died needlessly until years after the death of Semmelweiss, when the medical profession finally realized that he had been right.
Is it not one of the aims of liberal education to foster the assessment of unorthodox views honestly, weighing the evidence for and against them, as opposed to silencing them without a fair hearing?