Category Archives: Abuse

Matt Hancock is gaslighting not only nurses, but ALL of us, over PPE

Smug little liar: when Matt Hancock opens his mouth to make a claim,experience shows it will probably be wrong.

Our nurses are right and Matt Hancock is a liar. He would resign if he had an ounce of integrity but of course he doesn’t, so he won’t.

He has said he would not resign after a High Court judge ruled he was responsible for unlawful delays in revealing how billions of pounds were spent on gowns, masks and other protective equipment at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge: “My officials, with my full support, spent every waking hour buying PPE so that, even though we came close, we never actually ran out of PPE in this country.

“People can make up their own view about whether I should have told my team to stop buying PPE or whether I was right to buy the PPE and get it to the front line.

“And they did that even though the paperwork got delayed by, on average, just over a fortnight.”

Nurses don’t have to make up their own minds. They have the facts. They have experienced the deaths of their colleagues, who were exposed to Covid-19 needlessly because Hancock did not supply them with PPE.

In fact, as I stated earlier, not only did the Johnson government give away the PPE it had, it later wasted millions – if not billions – giving contracts to useless Tory cronies who either couldn’t supply the goods or provided equipment that could not be used.

That will be the buying that Hancock mentioned to Ms Ridge, then?

I also mentioned the fact that nurses caught the virus because they didn’t have proper PPE:

“According to Metro,

Three nurses who wore bin bags on their shifts due to a shortage in personal protective equipment (PPE) have reportedly tested positive for coronavirus.

Just weeks ago, the nurses had shared a photo of themselves with clinical waste bags on their heads and feet as they issued a plea for proper masks, gowns and gloves at Northwick Park Hospital, in Harrow.

“I wrote: ‘One of them had said they were all “terrified” that this might happen, knowing that colleagues had caught the disease from patients, and having treated those colleagues. They had seen what the illness does… We know what the government that failed them is going to give them: Platitudes.’

“How right I was.”

Now, responding to Hancock’s comments, community nurse Angela Roberts recalled the incident when she asked:

Why were nurses forced to use bloody bin bags? Out-of-date masks?

She continued:

Why was PPE downgraded for NHS staff?

‘Why was there no PPE for care homes and community nurses except for plastic pinnies?

And Anthony Johnson, lead organiser for Nurses United, said:

He thinks that he can try to gaslight millions of health and social care workers who had to re-use PPE.

If so, he thinks wrong.

But what difference will it make if there are no consequences for his actions?

Source: Hancock is gaslighting us over PPE, say nurses | Metro

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Game on! Court grants Mike permission to appeal in Riley libel case

I know that UK courts don’t use the gavel. This is for illustrative purposes.

The Court of Appeal has granted me permission to appeal against an order striking out my defence against Rachel Riley’s libel claim against me.

Firstly I must thank all of the readers and contributors who supported my crowdfunding campaign. You made this happen and without your generosity I would have had no way to defend myself against an aggressive attack.

Secondly: the court is allowing me to appeal on only one element of my defence – that publication of my article was on a matter of public interest. This is the end of the line for my defences of truth and honest opinion.

I can now reveal that I never held out much hope for my ‘truth’ defence. The High Court has made it clear that it would not entertain such a defence unless I was able to produce a tweet from Rachel Riley in which she declared herself to be a bully and demanded that all her followers should pile abuse and harassment on a teenage girl.

That simply isn’t a realistic expectation. It doesn’t mean the girl did not receive abuse, and discussion of the manner in which it came to her is certainly a matter of public interest.

I am sorry to see that the court doesn’t think I can defend the publication of my honest opinions. The Defamation Act allows me to rely on any fact that existed at the time my statement was published, and I had plenty of material available to me that would have allowed me to support my beliefs. Sadly, the court won’t hear it – at least in this context.

It is wholly possible to win the case on a ‘public interest’ defence. I have established a host of reasons why it was in the public interest for me to publish my article – and I am sure you can think of a few yourself, just off the top of your head.

I will not be making those arguments in the Court of Appeal. I will simply be putting forward reasons why I should be allowed to do so.

And I don’t need to do anything at all until Riley lodges what’s called a “respondent’s notice” and her skeleton argument against me.

All underlying proceedings are suspended while the appeal process takes place and while the court order does not mention it, the High Court costs order must also be suspended as it will be subject to alteration if I win the appeal.

And I can win the appeal.

And I can then go on to win the case.

Sadly, it will cost more money to get that far but – joyfully, if I win – Riley will have to pay it all back.

Therefore I repeat my request for funds. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the CrowdJustice site.

I don’t know how long we have to wait for the court to hear my appeal. This means I don’t know how soon I will need to provide payment for it.

But I will keep you informed, as ever, of all new developments.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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High Court urged to overturn Johnson’s decision to overlook Priti Patel’s bullying

Do you ever wonder whether High Court judges get frustrated that any serious work they do is delayed by the misdeeds of government ministers (not to mention the bleatings of sensitive celebs – but that’s another matter)?

Civil service union the FDA is demanding a judicial review of Boris Johnson’s decision not to sack Priti Patel for breaking the Ministerial Code by bullying officers at the Home Office, Department for International Development and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Johnson rejected the findings of a report by Alex Allan that found Patel was guilty of bullying civil servants while a minister in three government departments.

He defiantly backed her to continue as Home Secretary when, according to the rules, she should have been sacked – and said he had “full confidence” in her.

The decision provoke Allan to resign as government adviser on ministerial standards last November, immediately after the prime minister announced his decision.

It also emerged that Johnson had spent considerable effort trying to rally support for Patel among other ministers. This became even more questionable when it was revealed that Patel’s loathsome behaviour appeared to have pushed one employee into attempting suicide.

Now the FDA is taking the matter to the courts – and about time too:

In a written submission, general secretary Dave Penman told the High Court that “civil servants should expect to work with ministers without fear of being bullied or harassed”.

Mr Johnson’s actions had “fundamentally undermined” the disciplinary process, he added, and the prime minister had “misinterpreted” the definition of bullying in the Ministerial Code.

Mr Penman said there was “bewilderment, dismay and anger among our membership” and there had been “serious detrimental effects to workplace relations and confidence in the process for dealing with complaints against ministers”.

He added that, if Mr Johnson’s decision was not “corrected” by the court, “his interpretation of the Ministerial Code will result in that document failing to protect workplace standards across government”.

This is a row that has been simmering for a year – since the resignation of Sir Philip Rutnam as Home Office permanent secretary in February 2020.

He said he had been the target of a “vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign” ringled by Patel.

And he is pursuing an employment tribunal claim for constructive dismissal.

This action can only be strengthened if the High Court supports the FDA’s application.

Source: High Court urged to overturn PM’s decision to stand by Priti Patel – BBC News

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Why did ‘celebrity’ Twitter users force suspension of ordinary woman? Because they could

Some of you have been kind enough to notice that This Writer’s @MidWalesMike account has been in the Twitter sin bin since the beginning of the month because somebody didn’t like one of my articles about the court case against Rachel Riley.

That is dangerous enough – it’s clearly an attempt to create a “chilling” effect on my crowdfunding (that, fortunately, has failed – the fund has nearly raised £125,000 since it started nearly two years ago).

But now I read that another Twitter user, who apparently has no public profile at all (she’s not a celebrity or a journalist/blogger or a member of the commentatorati), has found her account suspended, simply for expressing her dislike of an actress.

The actress in question was Tracy-Ann Oberman, who apparently searches the social media platform for any adverse comment about her. Spotting this one, it seems she claimed that the lady in question had to be an anti-Semite, even though no part of the view she expressed in her tweet conveyed any such sentiment. See for yourself:

“It’s a sin was doing so well then I saw Tracy Ann Oberman left a bad taste in my mouth … trying to quickly forget I’ve seen her.”

“Caroline do you think that YOU may be one of those intolerant bigots that Russell is talking about in #itsasin

“Seems you’ve missed the entire point of the series. You and the rest of this thread. Oh dear. @cst @UKLabour @LabourAgainstAS”

The @ tags at the end of Oberman’s tweet are significant. She was tagging in the Community Security Trust and Labour Against Anti-Semitism – both highly vocal self-proclaimed crusaders against anti-Semitism (although both could equally well be described as witch-hunters against people targeted with false claims) along with the Labour Party, because ‘Caroline’ could be seen holding a Labour membership card in her profile picture.

The implication is clear: Oberman wanted to brand ‘Caroline’ an anti-Semite and she wanted to bring Labour’s attention to it. In order to provoke disciplinary action, perhaps? Because this person had expressed an opinion about her appearance in a TV show. Overkill?

No. Overkill is what followed. Oberman’s tweet led to a dogpile so vile that even some of its participants later withdrew their comments and apologised.

I won’t go into the details but you can read about it on Zelo Street if you like.

Then – apparently after pressure from the usual cohort of “blue tick” celebrities – ‘Caroline’ had her Twitter account suspended.

I repeat that she had not expressed a single opinion that was not well within her right. If she doesn’t like Tracy-Ann Oberman, it is not for Tracy-Ann Oberman to take offence and have her hounded off of Twitter. For all Tracy-Ann Oberman knew, ‘Caroline’ had perfectly good reasons for disliking her.

Those reasons don’t have to be restricted to her acting, either. I refer to her “clitoris” comment in response to David Quantick, and her (clearly racist, in my opinion) “Is Ping Pong the Thai help?” query in response to a tweet from Liz Hurley that her parrot had spoken in human language for the first time.

Nevertheless, Tracy-Ann Oberman reacted the way she did, and now an innocent member of the public has been hounded off of Twitter.

You may be wondering why Tracy-Ann Oberman feels justified in having acted as she did. I’ll tell you the answer:

Because there is a court ruling that says she cannot be held to account for it.

It’s the ruling of Mrs Justice Collins Rice in the case brought by Oberman’s friend Rachel Riley against This Writer.

Riley’s legal team had put forward an argument that she could not possibly be held responsible for the behaviour of her followers, who abused and harassed a teenage girl with mental health problems who had had the temerity to criticise her for accusing Owen Jones (and Jeremy Corbyn) of anti-Semitism.

Riley had tagged celebrities, politicians and so-called activists against anti-Semitism into her tweets responding to the girl, who had received many hundreds of responses critical of her as a result – forcing her to quit Twitter several times for the sake of her mental health.

But the judge agreed that Riley was not responsible. Her ruling means nobody else can be, either.

And this is the result.

It is hugely damaging – not only for the safety of people like ‘Caroline’, but for everybody’s Article 10 right to Freedom of Expression according to the Human Rights Act (she was hounded off the platform for expressing an opinion about an actress, remember).

It also contradicts the intentions of Online Harms legislation that is due to pass through Parliament soon. Part of the proposed law would make participation in online dogpiles a criminal offence with serious penalties attached.

As everybody should be aware by now, I have appealed against Mrs Justice Collins Rice’s ruling.

I hope that judges at the Court of Appeal agree that it has created the opportunity for significant harm – and has already caused such harm in the case of ‘Caroline’.

If so, then we may also hope that the ruling is rescinded and the Obermans of this world lose their legal protection.

My case is still going on, I am still crowdfunding to pay its costs, and you are invited to contribute in the time-honoured ways:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you haven’t donated before, perhaps this story will encourage you.

After all, they might come for you next.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Slaughter by gaslight: why are we letting our leaders lie to us about the deaths they have caused?

His lying face: this is the expression Boris Johnson uses when he’s secretly laughing at you because he’s telling a lie that nobody is going to contradict – like his claim that he has done everything he can to save lives in the Covid-19 crisis when in fact he has caused more than 100,000 unnecessary deaths.

When the British Medical Journal demands the equivalent of a war crimes trial for British political leaders who have worsened the Covid-19 crisis, it’s time to sit up and pay attention.

In an editorial, the BMJ has accused Boris Johnson and his Conservative government of mass murder because he – and they – not only said they were

willing to allow tens of thousands of premature deaths for the sake of population immunity or in the hope of propping up the economy

but actually went through with it – allowing those deaths to take place.

The piece asks serious questions:

If policy failures lead to recurrent and mistimed lockdowns, who is responsible for the resulting non-covid excess deaths?

When politicians wilfully neglect scientific advice, international and historical experience, and their own alarming statistics and modelling because to act goes against their political strategy or ideology, is that lawful?

How big an omission is not acting immediately after the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020?

The BMJ goes on to suggest that Johnson’s failures and omissions amount to “social murder” – conditions created by the privileged classes leading to premature and “unnatural” death among the poorest.

Today, “social murder” may describe the lack of political attention to social determinants and inequities that exacerbate the pandemic.

Gaslighting

Elected ministers – not just in the UK but around the world – have dodged responsibility for the huge numbers of deaths caused by their deliberate decisions to ignore scientific advice and to avoid, delay or mishandle policies that would have saved lives.

They say they have done all they can – Boris Johnson relies on this one very often.

And Johnson also likes to tell us that there was no precedent for Covid-19, meaning he had no way of knowing what to do and when to do it.

He’s lying when he says these things.

Obviously he hasn’t done everything he could, because he ignored scientific advice and delayed vital decisions, causing tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

If you have a relative or friend who died because of Covid-19, it is probably because of Boris Johnson.

And he did have guidelines on what to do; they just hadn’t been updated since the Conservatives slithered back into Downing Street in 2010. In fact, they systematically dismantled the UK’s processes for dealing with a pandemic – deliberately ensuring that lives could not be saved.

Sadly, the media have not only allowed this gaslighting to go unchallenged but have often been complicit in it:

Truth has become dispensable as politicians and their allies are allowed to lie, mislead, and repaint history, with barely a hint of a challenge from journalists and broadcasters. Anybody who dares to speak truth to power is unpatriotic, disloyal, or a “hardliner.”

Ministers in the UK, for example, interact with the media through sanitised interviews, stage managed press conferences, off-the-record briefings to favoured correspondents, and, when the going gets tough, by simply refusing to appear.

It is this environment that has allowed covid denial to flourish, for unaccountability to prevail, and for the great lies of “world beating” pandemic responses to be spun.

How many excess deaths does it take for a chief scientific or medical adviser to resign? How long should test and trace fail the public before a minister of health or chief adviser steps down? How many lucrative contracts for unscientific diagnostic tests that are awarded to cronies or errors in education policy will lead to a ministerial sacking?

We know the answer now: it will never happen under the Johnson government. They consider themselves unaccountable and will never willingly accept responsibility for the more than 100,000 deaths we know they have caused.

Media complicity

One reason killers like the Tory government are getting away with it is the complicity of the mainstream media, which treats expert evidence as mere opinion, to be given only the same weight as the self-justifications of Johnson.

Simon Wren-Lewis, in his Mainly Macro blog, accurately states that the media have a heirarchy of opinion-holders, with politicians at the top – even though we know that politicians are either ignorant, or they are liars.

Scientific knowledge isn’t another opinion,

he states.

As long as the media treats scientific knowledge as opinion, it removes itself from reality and diminishes its audience.

And there’s no respite, even when the opinions put forward are transparently lies:

Obvious lies should be less of a problem because most journalists will recognise them as lies, and have the potential to call them such [but] so engrained is the notion of balance that often journalists do not even do that.

Time and again over the last decade, expert knowledge has been marginalised as just another opinion, with the opinions (or indeed lies) of politicians ranked higher.

Time and again, expert knowledge has been proved right and the politicians proved to be liars.

Professor Wren-Lewis points to austerity and Brexit as examples within the last decade, making the point that Covid-19 is taking us in the same direction:

Once again the media has decided that politics rather than expertise will drive its coverage. As a result, even after over 120,000 deaths, we have media coverage which sometimes balances the government’s policy against the opposition who want to follow SAGE, or worse the government’s policy against COVID nutters who happen to be Tory MPs. Worse still, the tiny minority of Barrington Declaration academics are given airtime even after they have been proved wrong time and time again.

As a result, the elimination (or zero-COVID) policy that is supported by many medics and is being followed by some countries, and is today being debated among medical experts has hardly been discussed at all in most media outlets.

Elimination is just not practical, it has been decided.

Whether this goes more widely as a BBC policy remains to be seen, but it is not the BBC’s job to decide that a policy recommended by many medics and economists familiar with pandemics, and implemented in many countries, is not practical.

if politicians get involved then knowledge goes out of the window.

No wonder certain politicians lie all the time when most of the media provides no deterrent.

Equally when a politician contradicts knowledge that is not known to journalists there is no deterrent provided by the media.

And people die in their tens of thousands.

And you sit there, spoonfed lies with a sugar-coating of “scientific knowledge is just opinion”, and let it go on.

But we are all part of the system and we can change it if we want. Right?

Or is our democracy just another sham?

Are you going to carry on sitting still while another 100,000 people die and Johnson lies to us that he isn’t responsible, or are you going to get up and have your say?

What will it take to make get up and take action?

Source: Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant | The BMJ

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Riley libel case: her lawyers have attacked Mike with ‘hidden assets’ claim

Mrs Mike thinks this is turning into harassment.

Today (February 16) may be the first working day since my application to appeal was lodged last Wednesday, when I don’t receive an aggravating piece of correspondence from Rachel Riley’s solicitors.

I submitted a witness statement with the appeal application, pointing out that I am far from rich, because Mark Lewis was seeking to enforce an expected decision by the High Court judge to award £27,000 in costs to his client. I am disputing this amount in my appeal as it is far too much, according to the rules by which Lewis is supposed to work.

On February 11, Lewis informed my own legal team that he believes my statement of means (as it’s known) was misleading because I had not mentioned the current position of my crowdfunding efforts; he wanted to get his hands on the cash raised by my CrowdJustice site.

In a further communication the following day, it seems Lewis expanded his interest to include cash raised by donations direct to me.

The CrowdJustice money is nothing to do with me. People donate it direct to CrowdJustice, who pass it on to my legal team, and they take cash from that fund to pay my costs as they come up. I simply don’t know how much is in that account at any time.

Donations direct to my site are passed into the CrowdJustice fund – by me – whenever there is an amount available that makes it worthwhile. The account I keep open to receive those donations contains very little cash as it is simply a conduit for money that goes elsewhere.

So I haven’t misled anybody.

I have instructed my solicitor to ask Lewis to produce any material he has that may show that my statement is inaccurate. If not, he is invited to desist from making wholly inaccurate – and serious – allegations about me.

Meanwhile, dear reader, you are invited to continue contributing to the CrowdJustice fund, in the knowledge that the cash will only be used to support my court case against Riley and will not be used to enrich her in any way. Here are the instructions:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

After three weeks of extreme strain, both raising funds for the appeal and dealing with its grounds – while Riley’s legal team threatened to send the bailiffs round to enforce a costs order that still hasn’t been made, I think we can all sympathise with my partner’s belief that Lewis is piling on the pressure purely to cause grief.

Mrs Mike (as she has become known on Vox Political ) is the unseen other victim of Riley’s libel case against me. She has had to endure every stage of this trumped-up and unreasonable court process with me. For a woman with long-term illnesses and disabilities, who has suffered mental illness in the past, it has not been easy.

She has been hugely supportive – and it is a bitter blow to see her becoming upset by something that amounts to nothing more than playground bullying.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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How many times must we tell the ‘health service’ NOT to sign death warrants for people with disabilities?

Ventilator: after all the fuss last year over people with disabilities being issued blanket “Do Not Revive” orders, Mencap has revealed that it is STILL happening.

Who is responsible for this abomination against healthcare?

It has been revealed that, despite being told not to force “Do Not Revive” orders in people with disabilities who contract Covid-19, people with learning disabilities are still having the orders forced on them – whether they agree with them or not.

Pressure over this from the British Medical Association, Care Quality Commission and others, warning that blanket approaches to care are wrong, forced NHS England to tell hospitals, GPs and managers not to issue such letters… in April 2020 – nearly a year ago!

The following month, Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock was threatened with court action unless he legislated to safeguard vulnerable people. At the very least, it is an offence against their human rights.

But now we find that people with learning disabilities are still having “Do Not Revive” orders thrust upon them:

People with learning disabilities have been given do not resuscitate orders during the second wave of the pandemic, in spite of widespread condemnation of the practice last year and an urgent investigation by the care watchdog.

Mencap said it had received reports in January from people with learning disabilities that they had been told they would not be resuscitated if they were taken ill with Covid-19.

The Care Quality Commission said in December that inappropriate “Do Not Revive” notices had caused potentially avoidable deaths last year.

Mencap said they seemed to have been issued for people simply because they had a learning disability.

Do I have to put two and two together for you?

The fact that the government refused to put people with learning disabilities on the priority list for vaccinations makes this behaviour even worse.

So we find from NHS figures that in the five weeks since the third lockdown began, Covid-19 accounted for 65 per cent of deaths of people with learning disabilities. Although the statistics are drawn from different measures, it’s useful to compare this with the rate for the general population: just 39 per cent.

Younger people with learning disabilities aged 18 to 34 are 30 times more likely to die of Covid than others the same age, according to Public Health England.

Considering the inbuilt, systemic bias against them, it seems clear that we should not be surprised – just horrified at this apparent targeting of people with disabilities by the health service (which is supposed to protect people) and the Tory government.

For the sake of balance, I should report that the Department for Health and Social Care has said that it has taken action to prevent “Do Not Revive” notices and has asked the Care Quality Commission to review all such notices issued during the pandemic.

I look forward to its report.

I wonder if anybody will be found to have issued these notices wrongly.

I wonder if anybody will be found to have died as a result.

And if so, I wonder if we’ll learn the reasons these notices were issued. How damning will they be?

Source: Fury at ‘do not resuscitate’ notices given to Covid patients with learning disabilities | Coronavirus | The Guardian

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Court hears evidence that Rachel Riley bullied vulnerable teen

The High Court in London: The judge was here, but This Writer was at home in Mid Wales because the hearing took place remotely, via the magic of the internet.

ADDITIONAL, 12/12/2020: I woke up this morning to discover my personal Twitter account – @MidWalesMike – has been suspended. I have received no email providing any reason but can only conclude it is because I tweeted the link to this article, and somebody complained. It is not a breach of Twitter rules to tweet a link to a fair and accurate article like this.

Please contact Twitter to request the restoration of my account.

Judgment was reserved – I could have screamed!

It means the judge will consider the evidence and deliver a written judgment in due course, stating whether or not she considers there to be enough evidence to support my defence against Rachel Riley’s claim of libel against me – and for a trial to take place in order to establish whether I libelled her or whether I was right to make the statements I did.

But the fact that a public hearing took place today (December 11) that mentioned some of the evidence means we can discuss that evidence here.

The claim is that I libelled Riley by saying that she had engaged upon, supported and encouraged a campaign of online abuse and harassment of a 16-year-old girl, conduct which has also incited her followers to make death threats towards her.

There are also claims which are defended as matters of honest opinion, based on these facts.

The judge seemed most interested in the way Riley was alleged to have bullied a girl who was aged 16 at the time, and who had mental health issues.

She heard that:

“Celebrity adult claimant” Riley first heard of the vulnerable “child victim” (as my counsel characterised them both) after she tweeted in support of claims that left-wing journalist Owen Jones acted an in anti-Semitic way when he tweeted in support of Lord Sugar leaving the UK if Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister.

The “child victim” tweeted in support of Jones, and this attracted the attention of Twitter followers of Ms Riley, who replied with abuse. They would not have seen the girl’s tweets if they had not been followers of Riley, and she sent a tweet to the celebrity, pointing out the abuse she had received.

This led to more abuse, to which the girl responded at one point by saying Riley had been “encouraging a smear campaign” (against Jones).

Riley responded with seven tweets, all sent to the girl within a 13-minute time frame. Some right-thinking people have questioned whether sending a teenager with mental health issues a tweet every two minutes is harassment.

The content of those tweets is also questionable. My counsel argued that Riley ignored the subject matter – her smearing of Owen Jones – and instead tried to gaslight the girl into doubting both her views and herself.

While recognising the abuse the girl had been subjected to, it was claimed that Riley failed to condemn her own supporters who had perpetrated it, patronised the girl, questioned her motives and suggested she was a dupe for the opinions of undesirable other people.

This led to a “dogpile” on the girl, with many more abusive comments from Riley’s Twitter followers. Riley herself wrote a second thread, but again failed to condemn the activities of her followers (despite the fact that every tweet was a reply to her – meaning she would have seen all the abuse).

By this time, she was referring to the “smear” as being about the Labour Party claiming accusations of anti-Semitism generally were smears, rather than about her having smeared Owen Jones.

She accused the girl of having called her a liar, and also of “helping to spread the virus that is antisemitism”.

The thread totalled 16 tweets over 44 minutes. Harassment?

The girl had certainly had enough, it seems, because she tried to end the dialogue, tweeting, “Have a lovely Christmas, I’m putting this debate behind me now.” [This was on December 17, 2018.]

Matters then became more sinister, because the court heard that Riley would not leave the girl alone. She tweeted: “Thank you for listening Rosie, I would appreciate an update to this please, so as to not encourage the smear rhetoric, if you now think there’s more to the story?” The girl also received more abusive tweets from Riley’s followers.

So the following day, she tweeted that she had blocked Riley. This means Riley was not allowed to read or respond to the girl’s tweets, or have anything directly to do with her on Twitter.

The judge took interest in this and wanted to know how we could be sure that Riley genuinely had been blocked. She mentioned it herself in a tweet on January 15 the following year: “I wouldn’t have been able to contact her even if I wanted to.” Riley certainly never contacted the girl directly again, indicating that she no longer could.

So how did she manage to acquire tweets the girl published on December 31, 2018, and January 8, 2019 – which she published in a 13-tweet Twitter thread on January 9?

This led to a discussion of stalking, and whether Riley had stalked this vulnerable teenager who has – let’s bear in mind – anxiety issues.

Riley’s counsel argued that the dialogue between her and the girl had been entirely polite and civilised, and denied that his client’s tweets contained any questionable material.

He said that when Riley mentioned the girl in her thread of January 9, and another on January 15, she had removed the girl’s Twitter handle in order to discourage any more dogpiles – but her name was clearly visible, along with her profile picture, and her father was fully identified in the January 15 thread, meaning anybody who wanted to do it could go back through Riley’s timeline and find all the contact details they needed.

Speaking for Riley, and in addition to his claims that the dialogue between his client and the girl was perfectly polite, John Stables said the “celebrity adult claimant” could not be associated with any abuse directed at the girl because she was not responsible for the behaviour of her followers.

The judge summed up his submissions as saying, not that there had been no online abuse of the girl but that Riley had not taken part in it or encouraged it, and any such campaign was nothing to do with her.

If that was the case, then why did the abuse follow – and refer back to – Riley’s tweets? Isn’t it more accurate to say that the abuse the “child victim” received would not have happened if Rachel Riley had not tweeted about her and to her?

Stables also suggested that we do not know to what extent the “child victim” suffered Twitter dogpiles. This is also not true, as the defence lists exactly the number of retweets, ‘likes’ and replies each of Riley’s threads received.

There was much more argument but these were the main sticking-points.

Bearing in mind that this hearing was only to establish whether there was enough evidence for a trial, what do you think?

If you reckon I have a strong enough defence, please help me fund it in the now time-honoured manner:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

The evidence may seem obvious from the above – but I have to admit that it is impossible for me to be objective about this case as I am the defendant. The judge may see matters differently.

It seems unlikely that the judge will throw the whole case out completely – as Stables had to retreat from a claim that my defence that I said what I did in the public interest should also be struck out.

But any decision in Riley’s favour could result in a crippling costs order against me.

And even if I beat this application to strike out my defence, I still need to fund the actual trial.

That won’t happen for some time yet, but I need to be ready for it, when it does happen.

I must thank everybody who has supported the crowdfunding effort already. Without your help I would not have been able to get to court at all.

Please help me see this through to the end.

Free speech under attack: McVey attacks Barnardo’s over ‘white privilege’

Mad McVey: she looks like a pop-eyed loon in this image, and she’s been behaving like one in her attack on a beloved children’s charity.

Remember Esther McVile McVey? She was the poster girl for Tory bigotry before Priti Patel and she is still carrying out her vile work.

McVey has returned to headline news with an attack on Barnardo’s – one that could harm the organisation’s position as a charity.

She has said that a blog post by Barnardo’s, which aims to offer a guide to parents on how to talk to their children about racial inequality and white privilege in the UK, is “political”.

Charities are forbidden to campaign on political issues and could lose their status if found to be doing so.

But is it political campaigning when an organisation raises awareness of racism and the fact – fact – that in the UK white people have advantages that other ethnic groups don’t have?

Or is McVile distorting the facts in order to perpetuate the very racism the charity is highlighting?

In an opinion piece unwisely published by the Telegraph, she claimed that Barnardo’s could be “hijacked by people who want to use it as a platform for their political views”.

She said it would jeopardise Barnardo’s fundraising efforts it if it becomes “yet another charity more obsessed with political correctness and virtue signalling than actually helping people in need”.

That is a threat.

And what did Barnardos say, to provoke it?

The blog post states: “For the one in five Barnardo’s service users who are black, Asian or minority ethnic, the colour of their skin is an additional factor that negatively affects them and their families in a multitude of well documented ways.”

The article referenced well evidenced examples of white privilege, including higher employment rates, lower rates of prosecution and sentencing and a longer life expectancy for white people, with black African women having a mortality rate four times higher than white women in the UK.

The blog post states that being white doesn’t mean life is not hard, but it means it is not made harder because of your race.

“Helping children and those who nurture them, to understand what white privilege really means will not only prevent future generations from growing up to ignore race as an issue – but to be actively anti-racist through their actions.”

That all seems perfectly reasonable to This Writer.

But McVile went off the deep end:

McVey said while she will always be “grateful” to Barnardo’s, she was “deeply troubled” by its decision to “divert its attention to political activism”.

She continued: “This is such a misguided and misjudged move away from what the charity is about and what it ought to be doing.

“Barnardo’s is too important a charity to be hijacked by people who want to use it as a platform for their political views.”

On Friday, a group of 12 Conservative MPs reportedly wrote a letter to Barnardo’s chief executive, Javed Khan, to express their “concern and disappointment” over the post.

According to The Guardian, the MPs described the post as “ideological dogma” and “divisive militancy”. They also asked for it to be investigated by the Charity Commission.

So there it is – a threat against Barnardo’s charity status, simply because the charity spoke up about racial inequality.

Perhaps the 12 Tory MPs should be reported to the Equality and Human Rights Commission? Ah, but the EHRC has already refused to investigate Tory racism, hasn’t it? Isn’t that an example of white privilege, right there?

It seems the UK’s governing party is employing that classic DARVO gaslighting technique – deny, attack, reverse victim and oppressor. By claiming Barnardo’s has become political, the Tories are hiding their own racism.

Source: Former minister criticises charity for ‘activism’ and discussing white privilege | The Independent

Hodge wants ban on social media anonymity – what a great idea! It will curtail fake anti-Semitism claims

It’s the first time This Writer has agreed with Margaret Hodge in years.

She has said the government must ban online anonymity or make social media directors personally liable for defamatory posts, revealing that she receives tens of thousands of abusive tweets a month:

Hodge accused the government of deliberately delaying the online harms bill in order to avoid difficult conversations with powerful social media companies, and said she was prepared to take up a campaign to make sure the law was tough enough.

The Online Harms Bill arises from a White Paper produced last year – and This Site commented on it at the time.

The White Paper – and now the Bill (I expect; I haven’t actually seen any information on it since April last year) proposed a statutory duty of care, to be conferred on media companies including platforms such as Facebook and Google, online messaging services like WhatsApp and file hosting sites.

They would be required to comply with a code of practice, setting out the steps they must take to meet the duty of care. This may include designing products and platforms to make them safer, directing users who have suffered harm towards support, combating disinformation (for example by using fact-checking services), and improving the transparency of political advertising.

They would be expected to co-operate with police and other enforcement agencies on illegalities including incitement of violence and selling illegal weapons.

And they would have to compile annual “transparency reports” detailing the amount of harmful content found on their platforms and what they are doing to combat it.

The government would have powers to direct the regulator – initially Ofcom, with a dedicated regulator to follow in the future – on specific issues such as terrorist activity or child sexual exploitation.

I pointed out last year that the White Paper did not include any measures to stop people creating anonymous accounts.

If Ms Hodge wants to see that happen now, then I am all for it.

It will stop me receiving much (but not all) of the abuse I get from people wrongly accusing me of anti-Semitism after the Labour Party expelled me under false pretences (as shown in court).

But that’s not what was on offer in April last year. As I made perfectly clear, “regulating online media platforms will not stop people posting “harmful” content to them, if there is nothing to stop them from doing so. It is farcically easy to create anonymous accounts, from which to post objectionable and/or abusive content.

“Shut one down? That’s fine – the individual responsible can have another up and running in a matter of minutes, if they don’t have multiple aliases working already.”

And I made that point that “it has been argued that people must have a right to be able to post anonymously, because of personal circumstances that make it important – possibly for their personal safety.”

My response: “Fine. A system can be devised in which people apply for anonymity and the number of people or organisations able to ascertain their real identity is strictly limited. That would allow these individuals to continue functioning in the online world. And it would prevent others from abusing social media platforms. Any posts from an unrecognised anonymous account would be easy to flag up and isolate.”

If Ms Hodge is proposing such a system then I am behind her every step of the way, and never mind all the other differences we have.

Although – as a staunch witch-hunter herself – I wonder whether she would approve of that outcome.

Source: Margaret Hodge calls for ban on social media anonymity | Online abuse | The Guardian

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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