Should we doxx anonymous Canadian political trolls?
Ottawa-based journalist collective Blacklock’s Reporter revealed the real name of Twitter troll Neil Before Zod, aka Neil Waytowich of Peterborough, Ontario this week. WHO CARES???? Some highly placed Canadian politicians and journalists, it would seem.
As a veteran of these low-level Canadian politics social media wars, I have noticed there are two things that surprise anyone who is just discovering that this sort of rudeness actually exists in Canada. The first is just how many powerful people are bothered by these mostly obsessed randos.
It’s always been hard for me to imagine a highly-placed American or British politician getting wound up about this sort of thing, but that’s Canada for you. As you can see, the rub this time is that Waytowich was (apparently) a public servant (though of course even that fact has been challenged), which supports the notion that the public service as a whole is BIASED!!! and that the Liberals are egging on these uncouth characters.
Um, yeah? Of course they are. Of course the pretense of civility in this country is a fraud. As is the feigned shock and horror at this violation of our norms of good behaviour and decorum, and the exposed troll’s tired I’m-the-real-victim-here act.
Which brings me to Surprise #2: The obvious nervousness of these trolls at being discovered, and their not-very-convincing attempts to cover up that nervousness.
You would assume that someone who is so moved to despair by the rising tide of US-style white supremacy in this country that they would- gasp- be rude online IN CANADA would be proud to do so under their own name. The excuse they usually give is that it would have adverse consequences for their job if they were ever discovered, and in Mr. Zod’s case, there does seem to be at least some obviously-rarely-observed statute at his former place of employment preventing him from doing what he did, which is why he prudently resigned before committing himself to trollery full-time. Suuuuuure.
The last fellow who made being rude online to Conservatives into a life mission was Robert PJ Day, aka Canadian Cynic. You can read more on Mr. Day’s exploits here and here, if you’ve got nothing better to do. The players change, but the game remains the same, other than the fact that Cynic wasn’t ever so much as rumoured to be a public servant.
Then, as now, all the respectable people on both sides turned their nose up at the dirty business of exposing Cynic’s real identity despite a lot of private backslapping and acclaim. Then, as now, nobody would actually stoop to defend either the doxxers or the doxxed, but were happy to attack the coverage, or burnish conspiracy theories about who knew what and why about the wretched troll in question.
Here’s the thing about these keyboard warriors and the tears being shed over their rights and safety today: They operate under the assumption that they have some right or duty to be vile online, and that any consequences they endure for being vile, be it people not wanting to associate with them or actual job loss (not that that’s ever definitively happened before) is proof of THE MAN holding them down. They’re speaking truth to power, dammit, and they shouldn’t need to be anonymous, except for that invisible group of powerful people with an agenda who want them silenced.
And we would be able to dismiss this conspirazoid nonsense as what it is except—to return to Issue #1—senators and journalists and MP’s actually DO spend time worrying about what these people write about them!!
So—and I say this as someone who thought, at one time, exposing these trolls would do something to reduce the problem—the answer is not doxxing them. It is, in fact, accepting that this sort of vitriol is an unpleasant part of the discourse—yes, even in Canada.
Despite many organizations and institutions distancing themselves from a disgraced Prince Andrew after his disastrous interview with the BBC–discussing his relationship with the late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein–the National Post reported he will still keep his Canadian military appointments.
The step away from public life may come as no surprise, however, the Prince maintains certain roles and appointments that are somewhat tricky to get out of.
“As is the custom, the Duke of York holds honorary title of Colonel-in-Chief of The Princess of Louise Fusiliers, The Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada and Queen’s York Rangers,” Department of National Defence (DND) specialist Jessice Lamirande to the National Post.
The National Post questioned the DND for a week before they were even willing to confirm just what roles the now disgraced Prince held.
The questions surrounding Prince Andrew’s removal from these appointments have left the Canadian Armed Forces and the government puzzled.
“This has never happened before,” said one government source to the National Post.
A Royal spokesperson previously released a statement that he would be stepping away from public duties: “The Duke has stepped back for the time being and will not be undertaking any public duties on behalf of his Patronages or associations.”
This statement has put the Canadian military in a quagmire. The role of Colonel-in-Chief is not just a symbolic one, it does involve some active duties. If the Canadian government wanted to rescind Prince Andrew’s appointments themselves, there is no set of procedures in place that would even necessarily allow them to do so. The various regiments of the Commonwealth can only be appointed a Colonel-in-Chief by the Queen herself, and once appointed there is an expectation to fulfill role until death or a formal retirement from public life.
“The position of Colonel-in Chief is a symbol of a direct relationship between the Sovereign and the members of that regiment,” said Richard Berthelsen, who specializes in the Crown’s relationship to Canada. “It’s not like a patronage. It has a much deeper meaning. It is something that is official and is recognized in the Canadian Forces as having significant importance to history and heritage of that unit.”
“There is nothing stopping a prime minister from making a recommendation, a very strong recommendation, I suppose,” Toffoli told the National Post earlier this week.
The November BBC interview that the Duke of York was hoping would clear his name was generally considered a disaster, leaving many people and organizations scrambling to cut ties with the Prince. Prince Andrew’s own mother, Queen Elizabeth II, even went so far as to cancel her son’s upcoming 60th birthday party.
According to a source on the scene, there has been a suicide at the Alberta Legislature. The interruption has prompted the Legislature to be delayed, as the Legislature buildings are on lockdown.
“I hate to interrupt, however there is an issue that is important to the assembly,” said speaker Nathan Cooper said to the assembly after being notified by security. “I’d just like to take a five-minute recess. If both members of the assembly want to pop into their respective lounges, I’d be happy to provide an update in a moment.”
Members of the assembly left the chamber at 3:15 p.m, according to a source.
According to a source on the scene, a suicide took place on the steps of The Legislative Assembly of Alberta in Edmonton.
“Both buildings are in lockdown right now. Nobody can come in or out,” said the anonymous source on the scene.
The weapon used is currently unknown.
This is a breaking news article and will be updated.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has launched a Title IX investigation against Georgetown University to formally determine if the school’s women-only programs violate Title IX. The OCR, however, has declined to look into the feminist professor whose tweet about Brett Kavanaugh triggered the investigation in the first place.
Title IX—a federal law that threatens to revoke funding for schools found guilty of discriminating “on the basis of sex”—was initially implemented in 1972 to fight for women’s equality in U.S. universities.
Over the past few years, advocates for boys and men have begun challenging the law’s precedents to fight for more resources for male college students. Since 56% of college students are now women, some are arguing that young men are neglected.
Kursat Pekgoz, 31, is one of the key activists who pioneered this approach. In early 2018, Pekgoz filed a federal complaint against the University of Southern California, alleging that USC’s female-only programs discriminate against men.
The complaint—initially dismissed by the San Francisco Office—was reinstated upon Pekgoz’s appeal to the U.S. federal government. This precedent inspired a wave of activism across the nation.
During the Brett Kavanaugh hearing in Sept. 2018, Georgetown Professor C. Christine Fair tweeted that white men who support Kavanaugh deserve “miserable deaths.” Because of this, Pekgoz later wrote the Title IX complaint against Georgetown.
“Look at all the entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement,” tweeted Fair. “All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine.”
Fair’s comments caught Pekgoz’s attention.
“She cannot be expected to teach her male students in a fair manner, and her presence creates a hostile environment against young male students,” Pekgoz wrote in his missive to OCR.
Georgetown has at least 18 programs that violate Title IX, he alleged.
“Georgetown has a very large number of female-only programs, even though women are the majority of students at Georgetown. Christine Fair’s comments supplied an additional incentive to write the complaint,” Pekgoz said by phone Friday.
According to an October 2019 letter, the OCR agreed to investigate numerous Georgetown programs and scholarships to determine if they truly do violate Title IX.
These include the school’s policy of affirmative action hiring for women, seven programs that exclude men, and numerous opportunities and scholarship programs that exclude men, according to the OCR.
But Pekgoz says the letter highlights the OCR’s “hypocrisy.”
Pekgoz notes that the OCR declined to investigate Georgetown’s Women’s Studies Department, based on the claim that Title IX does not allow the OCR to review curricula.
However, the OCR has previously interfered with curricular materials under Title IX before, Pekgoz says. The OCR is also “currently micromanaging” the curricular materials of Middle Eastern Studies under Title VI, a very similar law, Pekgoz argued.
The OCR also declined to investigate Professor Fair, whose tweets triggered the complaint.
“The letter does mention Professor Fair, even though she called for the mass-murder of white men and the desecration of their bodies. OCR’s bureaucrats would have reacted with swift retribution if Fair called for mass-violence against any other ethnic class such as Blacks, Muslims, or Jews” Pekgoz told The Post Millennial.
As I previously reported, Professor Fair also ran a Tumblr blog to doxx men who sent her hate mail. She made 11 full-on doxxing posts (which included full names, addresses, and phone numbers), and hundreds of other partial doxxing posts.
Tumblr de-platformed Fair soon after, citing a violation of the site’s community guidlines against terrorism and harassment. But after Georgetown gave her paid leave for a few months, Professor Fair has resumed teaching at the school.
While Pekgoz wrote the Title IX complaint itself, the National Coalition For Men (NCFM) took charge of filing the complaint against Georgetown University and answering follow-up questions from the OCR.
Harry Crouch, President of NCFM, said that he and his team are hopeful.
“It took a year almost to the day to get a response, but we are very excited that the OCR will investigate significant parts of our complaint. We are hopeful they will rule in our favour, and consequently, Georgetown will become much more male-friendly,” he said.
“We would like to thank Kursat Pekgoz for doing the initial research and draft of this complaint. … We are excited that OCR found sufficient substance to investigate many of our concerns,” he added.
Marc Angelucci—an attorney and NCFM board member—told TPM that the OCR is taking steps in the right direction.
“It’s about time the Department of Education finally looks at discrimination against men. Title IX is not gender-specific. It applies to men too. But the last administration didn’t seem to think so. All we want is fairness and justice,” Angelucci told TPM.
Now that some Georgetown programs are under investigation, it’ll likely take a few months to a year for the OCR to reach a verdict.
Chinese tech giant Huawei tweeted on Monday regarding the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, calling her detainment “an unlawful and illegal act.”
The tweet links to a Globe and Mail article that goes over the moments leading up to Wanzhou’s arrest, but doesn’t provide any evidence her detainment was “unlawful” or an “illegal act”. The article is behind a paywall, so only subscribers can actually have access to the story and that it doesn’t match Huawei’s bold claims.
Reaction to the post from Canadians online was generally one of outrage.
Many replied to Huawei’s tweets, upset with the company’s audacity to complain about Wanzhou’s detention while two Canadians remain in Chinese prison, with another, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, sentenced to death for drug trafficking charges.
Nowhere in the article does it explicitly state that the detention of Wanzhou was illegal, with the word “illegal” not appearing once. Rather, the article features details regarding America’s role in Meng’s arrest, with quotes from Chinese diplomats calling the arrest “unreasonable” due to the lack of notice from the Canadian side during her arrest.
“In accordance with the consular agreement between China and Canada, the Canadian side should inform the Chinese diplomatic missions in Canada immediately of its unreasonable detention of Ms. Meng Wanzhou,” said the Chinese embassy in a statement. “But the Canadian government failed to do that, the Chinese side first learned about the situation from other channels. We lodged stern representations with the Canadian side as soon as we learned about the relevant information.”
The Globe‘s article does note that those familiar with extradition practices call Meng’s arrest a “rare” incident, as Washington “typically pursues criminal charges for sanction violations against an individual rather than a corporation.”
“In a case like this one, where Ms. Meng is in all likelihood executing corporate policy, one would expect individuals not to be charged and the corporation would be fined,” said extradition expert Eric Lewis.