Thursday, October 3, 2019

Dear True Environmentalists: Fight Corporate Criminality, not Atmospheric Gases

Dear true environmentalists: I am with you.1

Corporate pollution and releasing of toxic substances should be treated as a criminal act, with full power to seize assets for reparations, actual reparations, not just punitive fines.

I would apply the same standard of prosecution to the “medical”/pharma2 and agri-food industries,3 also.

However, the planet and biosphere are not at risk of imminent collapse, and certainly not from CO2.
The “imminent collapse” fabrication serves powerful manipulators, and necessarily diverts us away from attaining actual democracy and fairness.  In the words of Chomsky:4
For example, suppose it was discovered tomorrow that the greenhouse effect has been way underestimated, and that the catastrophic effects are actually going to set in 10 years from now, and not 100 years from now or something. Well, given the state of the popular movements we have today, we’d probably have a fascist takeover—with everybody agreeing to it, because that would be the only method for survival that anyone could think of. I’d even agree to it, because there just are no other alternatives around right now.
Rather than accept fascism or totalitarianism, corporate and finance criminality can best be fought from a position of realistic perspective regarding the end of the world, sober analysis of means regarding leverage for change, and focused political targeting against corporate rule without accountability.

History of imbedded doomsday narratives

All societies are dominance hierarchies, and all large, human dominance hierarchies have hired high-priests that construct and maintain the State doomsday narrative. These high-priests constantly instruct us on required beliefs and behaviours that minimize the deleterious effects of the alleged impending catastrophe. The behavioural instructions fan everything from diet, to hygiene, to dress code, to physical activity, to work ethics, to attitudes and morals, to child rearing, to political positions, to deference to experts, and so on.

It would be delusional to believe that this structural feature of society is any different than it ever was. In present Western society, the high-priests are the “scientists”, which include the medical doctors and all the “experts”.

This does not mean that science itself is not a valid and rigorous method to test and eliminate hypotheses and theories. It only means that establishment scientists are hired high-priests, notwithstanding the rare exceptions that prove the rule. It also does not mean that scientists never tell the truth. It only means that establishment scientists never harm or rebel against the dominance hierarchy, except by accident or solely in appearance.

These days, there is an industry of scientists that indulge in generating, testing and ameliorating ever more creative doomsday predictions, which are hoped to be of utility to the bosses. The said utility is often termed “societal relevance”. As an eminent example, we have the theory of a “tipping point” towards irreversible total collapse of the ecosphere, often referred to as a “species mass extinction”. The notion of a tipping point has also been advanced for planetary climate, wherein, in the absence of any non-human cause, one crosses into a global climate regime of constant extreme weather and flooded continents.

Whereas past planetary transformations have been related to game-changers, such as the advent of photosynthesis, the calming of tectonic (volcanic) activity, and so forth, and whereas the known recurring climate catastrophe of ice ages is believed to be driven by variations in solar insolation, the new “tipping points” spontaneously occur from the gradual changes of increased modern human or industrial activity, including: habitat destruction, burning of fossil fuel, population growth, and dispersal of toxic substances.

The new “tipping point” theory is not unlike the deluge of the Old Testament, which followed an accumulation of human depravity, except that no god is postulated, and building the Ark requires a centralized and globally restructured economy, handled by overarching elite private institutions, of course. War, disease, hunger … are all defeated under the same umbrella, death itself eventually.

The accompanying calls from establishment icons are often shrill.  In the words of Prince Charles, in 2009:5,6
If we do nothing, the consequences for every person on this earth will be severe and unprecedented – with vast numbers of environmental refugees, social instability and decimated economies: far worse than anything which we are seeing today … We have 100 months left to act.
While the leader of the most warring nation on earth, President Barack Obama, concluded in his 2015 State of the Union speech:7
No challenge  poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.
The role of scientists

The scientists follow and are often not more contained than Prince Charles or President Obama:
Earth is rapidly approaching a tipping point. Human impacts are causing alarming levels of harm to our planet. As scientists who study the interaction of people with the rest of the biosphere using a wide range of approaches, we agree that the evidence that humans are damaging their ecological life support systems is overwhelming. We further agree that, based on the best scientific information available, human quality of life will suffer substantial degradation by the year 2050 if we continue on our current path. Science unequivocally demonstrates the human impacts of key concern: Climate disruption – more, faster climate change than since humans first became a species. …8
We maintain that humanity’s grand challenge is solving the intertwined problems of human population growth and overconsumption, climate change, pollution, ecosystem destruction, disease spillovers, and extinction, in order to avoid environmental tipping points that would make human life more difficult and would irrevocably damage planetary life support systems.9
But today, for the first time, humanity’s global civilization—the worldwide, increasingly interconnected, highly technological society in which we all are to one degree or another, embedded—is threatened with collapse by an array of environmental problems. Humankind finds itself engaged in what Prince Charles described as ‘an act of suicide on a grand scale’, facing what the UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor John Beddington called a ‘perfect storm’ of environmental problems. The most serious of these problems show signs of rapidly escalating severity, especially climate disruption. But other elements could potentially also contribute to a collapse: an accelerating extinction of animal and plant populations and species, which could lead to a loss of ecosystem services essential for human survival; land degradation and land-use change; a pole-to-pole spread of toxic compounds; …10
The loss of biodiversity is one of the most critical current environmental problems, threatening valuable ecosystem services and human wellbeing. A growing body of evidence indicates that current species extinction rates are higher than the pre-human background rate, with hundreds of anthropogenic vertebrate extinctions documented in prehistoric and historic times.11
In fact, there is no science of a “tipping point” for earth biodiversity or for earth climate. No such testable theory has been elaborated. The entire notion of “tipping point” is hypothetical and tenuous. It is a product of bias to presume that a large and complex system (planet) would be susceptible to “tipping” rather than extraordinarily stable against internal superficial changes.  A recent paper describes how one might begin to define concepts or measures that would allow even discussing the topic of “tipping point” intelligently, for realistic ecological systems.12

Furthermore, even among scientists, still getting their bearings, there is persistent disagreement as to whether species extinction rates are higher in recent decades. A critical review concludes:13
Net species gains or losses should be assessed with respect to common baselines or reference communities. Ultimately, we need a globally coordinated effort to monitor biodiversity so that we can estimate and attribute human impacts as causes of biodiversity change. A combination of technologies will be needed to produce regularly updated global datasets of local biodiversity change to guide future policy. At this time the conclusion that there is no net change in local species richness is not the consensus state of knowledge.
Reality check

There is a large structurally imbedded industry of doomsday narrative. In addition, individuals are reared in a dominance hierarchy and therefore constantly seek messaging about fitting in. The result is that we adopt the State religion. Even if the State is occupied by an exploitative elite, we continue to uphold and follow any State religion that has been sufficiently implanted.

In this case, the State religion is that we are cared-for by mother earth but that our bad behaviour is poisoning mother earth and that we are therefore all at risk, unless we adopt the new stringent conditions that should be imposed globally. Non-believers should be rooted out and isolated. We should demand that all our peers and our representatives do what is proscribed by the State religion.
Meanwhile corporate criminality, while dressed in the colours of the State religion, will continue at an accelerated rate, and our minds and bodies will continue to be occupied.3

I say no. To escape this trap, we must realize that the planet is, well, a planet, with huge response capabilities; that the planet is far more resilient and robust than we imagine.

Habitat destruction and industrial practices are grotesque, and these cause real and significant harm to human communities and ecosystems — more so even than actual wars in the present era … although not more so than so-called economic sanctions and exploitative nation financing.  In contrast, “warming” itself cannot hurt the biosphere or humans, nor is the planet at risk of “collapse” from all the criminal practices. That is fabricated nonsense.

Our joint efforts should be on justice, attaining actual democracy, the elimination of criminal behaviour, extortion and exploitation, enforcement of reparations, enforcement of corporate transparency and accountability…

The problem is human behaviour against humans and nature, organized by an occupied dominance hierarchy, and the solutions are political; nothing to do with CO2, methane or anything else in the atmosphere.
  1. Questioning Climate Politics: Denis Rancourt says the ‘global warming myth’ is part of the problem” by Dru Oja Jay, The Dominion, 11 April 2007. []
  2. Cancer arises from stress-induced breakdown of tissue homeostasis” by Denis Rancourt, Research Gate, December 2015, DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1304.7129. []
  3. GEO-ECONOMICS AND GEO-POLITICS DRIVE SUCCESSIVE ERAS OF PREDATORY GLOBALIZATION AND SOCIAL ENGINEERING: Historical emergence of climate change, gender equity, and anti-racism as State doctrines” by Denis Rancourt, Research Gate, April 2019, DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.26897.89449. [] []
  4. Undertanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky”, by Noam Chomsky, edited by Peter Mitchell and John Schoeffet, The New Press, NY, 2002; at page 388, in Chapter 10 “Turning Point – Based on discussions in Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland in 1994 to 1996 and 1999”, ISBN 1-56584-703-2. []
  5. As quoted in “Apocalypse Now! Fear and Doomsday Pleasures” by Erik Swyngedouw, Capitalism Nature Socialism, Volume 24, 2013 – Issue 1, pages 9-18. []
  6. Climate change must be tackled before global poverty, says Prince Charles” by Andrew Alderson in Santiago, The Telegraph, 10 March 2009. []
  7. Obama: No greater threat to future than climate change” by Madison Park, CNN, 21 January 2015. []
  8. Introducing the Scientific Consensus on Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support” by Anthony D Barnosky et al., The Anthropocene Review, 2014, 1: 78. []
  9. Avoiding collapse: Grand challenges for science and society to solve by 2050, by Anthony D. Barnosky, Paul R. Ehrlich, and Elizabeth A. Hadly, Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, 4: 000094, doi: 10.12952/journal.elementa.000094. []
  10. Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?” by Ehrlich, P.R. and Ehrlich, A.H. (2013) Proc R Soc B, 280: 20122845. []
  11. Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction” by Ceballos et al., Sci. Adv., 2015, 1: e1400253. []
  12. Unifying Research on Social–Ecological Resilience and Collapse” by Graeme S. Cumming and Garry D. Peterson, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Review| Volume 32, ISSUE 9, P695-713, September 01, 2017. []
  13. Estimating local biodiversity change: a critique of papers claiming no net loss of local diversity” by Andrew Gonzalez et al., Ecology, 97(8), 2016, pp. 1949–1960. []
Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured full professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is a researcher for the Ontario Civil Liberties Association. He has published more than 100 articles in leading scientific journals, on physics and environmental science. He is the author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism. Denis can be reached at denis.rancourt@gmail.com. Read other articles by Denis.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

LAWS THAT PUNISH FOR HYPOTHETICAL HARM MUST BE ABOLISHED

By Denis Rancourt

Given the state of laws in Canada, it has become necessary to state the obvious:

An individual legitimately can be punished solely for proven actual harm that is also proven to have been caused by the individual.

In a free and democratic society, laws that punish an individual for harm that is hypothesized to have occurred, or hypothesized to have been caused by the individual, or hypothesized to have both occurred and been caused by the individual, are pathological in that such laws attack democracy itself in its foundation, as explained below.

Canada and institutions and corporations sanctioned by the State enforce many laws and rules that punish individuals for hypothesized harm, in which the State or State-sanctioned actor does not have to prove actual harm or actual cause.  With these laws, proving actual harm is not relevant in the prosecution, and is considered inadmissible and unacceptably wasteful of court and tribunal resources.

Instead, the prosecutor merely needs to argue that there is “likelihood” that unspecified harm has occurred to unspecified “victims”, which is caused via an unspecified mechanism by the accused. Here, the prosecutor can rely entirely on the “judgement” of the court or tribunal, or can bring an “expert” witness to give opinion evidence about the said “likelihood” of harm.

No victim will testify or be cross-examined. No evidence of actual harm, physical or psychological, will be entered. No victim will even be named or identified to the court. There is a total absence of evidence of actual harm caused by the accused person.

The proceedings are separate and distinct from any criminal proceedings of responsibility for actual physical or psychological harm against an actual and identified victim.

What are these laws, you ask? These are the so-called “hate speech” laws, the codes of conduct, and also the common law of defamation.[1][2][3]  These laws include:

  • “hate speech” provisions of the Criminal Code
  • censorship codes, rules or “guidelines” enforced by social-media corporations
  • censorship rules and practices of employers regarding the personal actions of employees
  • professional-ethics codes or rules regarding personal expression on public media
  • codes of conduct on campuses
  • common law of defamation

In all of these laws — in a total absence of proven actual harm, from mere expression of comment, opinion, thought or belief, excluding criminal harassment, intimidation or threat against any actual and specific person, often made through the filter of a public social-media platform rather than any face-to-face interaction — the punishments range from fines, to unlimited “damage” awards, to workplace or professional-association discipline, to loss of access to education, to loss of employment, to loss of professional certification, to lengthy jail terms or house arrests, and include gag orders or compelled speech enforced by imprisonment.

Such is the status of Canadian law, despite the fact that Canada has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which expressly prohibits all such written or unwritten censorship laws.[1][2]

As a result, Canada has spawned a legal landscape not unlike that of past eras having blasphemy laws to prevent the alleged deleterious effects of the most offensive and subversive utterances of the day. This legal landscape vitiates the fundamental right of freedom of expression and incapacitates democracy itself.

The fundamental right of freedom of expression is the right that allows the individual free expression, and the personal agency that derives from free expression, even though the individual is confined by society’s changing and democratically agreed-upon rules.  Free expression is the right to express.  It is essential for personal development and emancipation.  It does not, in itself, confine others, and it is up to the individual to seek and secure receptive listeners. This is the essence of both personal growth and society. 

Beyond person growth within the fabric of society, freedom of expression plays a second role that is equally important. Democracy is susceptible to capture by a self-interested elite, and politics must not be solely a contest between dominant-elite special interests. The balancing force against runaway capture, in a democracy, is freedom of expression, together with freedom of association, which permit effective democratic participation, and are the true sources of the often touted “transparency” (whistle blowing) and “accountability” (popular opinion making).

Censorship, including censorship actuated with the pretext of preventing hypothetical harm, does not protect the individual.  It is a lockdown designed to frustrate the essential democratic process of expression, discussion, debate and argument, in an increasingly illegitimate and intolerant system. Its use by politicians in exploiting the oppression Olympiad in their partisan manipulations is unconscionable, as is its use in special-interest propaganda by litigation. 

For these reasons, the State must not provide laws that enable an influential elite in-effect to neuter vehement individual expression that has transformative potential. The State must not be allowed to thus erode and suppress individual agency. Instead, it is the duty of the State to protect individual freedom of expression. If democracy cannot be trusted, then there is no democracy.

Relation to recent work

In her 2018 book [3], Nadine Strossen brilliantly reviews the research showing that “hate speech” laws are harmful to society. While this scholarship brings current empirical support for abolishing “hate speech” laws, I don’t find it to be satisfying. We should not be reduced to making policy arguments regarding harm reduction in order to justify preventing the State from suppressing fundamental human freedom, or preventing the State from enabling elite interests and corporations from suppressing the said freedom. If history itself and the study of sociology[4] cannot inform us about the necessity to safeguard the fundamental human right of freedom of expression, then we are lost.[5]

Opposing “hate speech” law is not “free-speech absolutism”

Unfortunately, in the present climate of clamouring to ask the State to limit fundamental personal freedoms “for our own safety”, the arguments become polarized, and many have used the sophistry that the position of opposing the aberrant inherent features of “hate speech” law is equivalent to advocating for “free-speech absolutism”.  This is a false equivalency.

If the State were to strike down all “hate speech” laws, limit the codes of conduct to exclude “hate speech”, and strike down the common law of defamation (which presumes falsity, damages and malice), then there would still independently exist: the civil tort of malicious falsehood, the Criminal Code provisions against threats, coercion, intimidation, harassment, and so on; and all the laws against discrimination. The individual would not lose any of these common law, statutory and constitutional protections.

Limiting the State’s power to prosecute victimless speech crimes (presuming harm at large, and presuming causation) does not limit the State’s power to enforce crimes that have proven victims and cause, irrespective of the role of expression in these offences, and does not limit the individual’s means to obtain redress.

This article has been published at Dissident Voice, and at Research Gate.

Endnotes

[1] “Canadian defamation law is noncompliant with international law”, by Denis Rancourt, Ontario Civil Liberties Association report, 1 February 2016. http://ocla.ca/our-work/reports/canadian-defamation-law-is-noncompliant-with-international-law/

[2] “Towards a Rational Legal Philosophy of Individual Rights”, by Denis Rancourt, Dissident Voice, 15 November 2016. https://dissidentvoice.org/2016/11/towards-a-rational-legal-philosophy-of-individual-rights/

[3] “HATE: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship”, by Nadine Strossen, Oxford University Press, 2018, ISBN 978-0-19-085912-1. http://www.nyls.edu/faculty/wp-content/uploads/sites/148/2018/04/endnotes.apr2818.pdf

[4] “Self-organization and time-stability of social hierarchies”, by Joseph Hickey and Jörn Davidsen, 29 January 2019, PLoS ONE 14(1): e0211403. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0211403

[5] “Cause of USA Meltdown and Collapse of Civil Rights”, by Denis Rancourt, Dissident Voice, 7 September 2017. https://dissidentvoice.org/2017/09/cause-of-usa-meltdown-and-collapse-of-civil-rights/

Friday, September 6, 2019

La géoéconomie et la géopolitique entraînent des époques successives de globalisation prédatrice et d’ingénierie sociale

https://lesakerfrancophone.fr/la-geoeconomie-et-la-geopolitique-entrainent-des-epoques-successives-de-globalisation-predatrice-et-dingenierie-sociale

https://lesakerfrancophone.fr/la-geoeconomie-et-la-geopolitique-entrainent-des-epoques-successives-de-globalisation-predatrice-et-dingenierie-sociale

L’influence des conditions géopolitiques et économiques globales sur le tissu des sociétés nationales et sur la psychologie individuelle est le plus souvent sous-estimée par les commentateurs civils, notamment en ce qui concerne les sociétés occidentales dites « libres et démocratiques ». Les militaires, en revanche, ne sous-estiment pas l’importance des facteurs commerciaux et économiques généraux sur le tissu même d’une société et sur la psychologie de ses citoyens, du moins dans les pays en développement ciblés. 2

Cet article a deux objectifs principaux.

Le premier est de démontrer dans quelle mesure le système financier global détermine la réalité nationale et régionale dans la vie et la sécurité des populations, y compris aux États-Unis et dans le monde occidental en général, en mettant l’accent sur les deux principales transformations de l’après-guerre, qui ont débuté en 1971, après l’annulation des accords de Bretton Woods, et en 1991, après la dissolution de l’Union soviétique.

Le second est de décrire le changement tectonique en cours qui a suivi la dissolution de l’Union soviétique en 1991 en des termes plus larges qu’on ne l’envisage habituellement, et comment ce changement motivé et coordonné a été chronologiquement accompagné par : une accélération spectaculaire de la « globalisation » commerciale et financière, et une campagne sans précédent d’ingénierie sociale des classes moyennes supérieures occidentales, visant à faciliter une exploitation opportuniste des nouvelles circonstances globales, par les États-Unis et l’élite globale, qui a abouti par contrecoup aux Gilets jaunes, au Brexit et à Trump… (Dans un sens, « les Russes l’ont fait. »)


Pour un « résumé des points clés » avec description des données socio-économiques à l’appui, voir la section Conclusion.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Denis Rancourt's conspiracy theory today about the world

By Denis Rancourt

I posted this on Facebook and it generated some interesting discussion.

This is just a conspiracy theory but I think there may be a war raging between (the) two Western elite factions these days:

(1) USA globalists who enforce the US dollar as the global currency, using violent intimidation and destruction, wherever judged necessary, tied to military industrialism and USA corporate interests, (motto: energy, etc. must be traded in US dollars, and we will print lots of dollars...) and

(2) more distributed (USA-UK-EU-G7...) financier globalists who manage the US dollar now but who could manage any global currency and who don't want a world of competing blocks not subservient to a unique world currency (motto: let us handle the money, for optimal stability and development). These boys are more artful at steering the UN, and at social engineering using global imagery (climate, gender equity, etc.), rather than nationalistic sentiment.

This working model helps to interpret many things. Both groups do not want a rising China and Eurasia that goes its own way with currency exchange. Group(1) wants to beat China/Eurasia (MAGA). Group(2) would prefer to entice China/Eurasia into a "more fair and balanced" global exchanges currency.

Republicans are more Group(1), Democrats and "liberals" more Group(2), educated at Harvard. You can put almost any Western leader into one or the other: Macron, Trudeau, Trump, etc. And the visible heads of the two groups are really showing their teeth more than usual. Eurasia is a huge pressure making them fight.

Israel, in my view, is clearly tied to Group(1). It exists by US dollar global currency to enforce said currency requirements in the ME.

Group(1) has the guns. Group(2) has the greater elite networks. Fascinating fight.

For related analysis see my report:
Geo-Economics and Geo-Politics Drive Successive Eras of Predatory Globalization and Social Engineering: Historical emergence of climate change, gender equity, and anti-racism as State doctrines”, by Denis G. Rancourt, Ontario Civil Liberties Association, OCLA Report 2019-1, April 2019.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Freedom of speech is on the endangered list: full interview



[First published HERE.]

Journalist Dr. John Cooper recently published this article in LawNow:
In Canada and elsewhere, freedom of speech is on the endangered list
Here is the full interview with OCLA Researcher Dr. Denis Rancourt, which Dr. Cooper made in preparation for his article. The interview was organized through OCLA. It represents the spontaneous answers of Dr. Rancourt, not an official position statement.

Q: What are the major challenges journalists face with respect to press freedoms (e.g. access to sources, reduced access to information, fear of government intervention, arrest, etc)?

A: First, we must define journalist. The Supreme Court of Canada, in decisions related to freedom of expression, recognizes two overlapping categories of journalists: Career or salaried journalists working for large media corporations (corporate journalists), and citizen social-media or blogger journalists working independently under a variety of arrangements (social-network journalists). These two categories of journalists are broadly recognized as influential in society, and are often competitors in shaping or consolidating or compartmentalizing public opinion.

The overriding threat to press freedom for corporate journalists is near-absolute absence of professional independence. Journalists pander to the stated and unstated directives of their publishers. Careerism and job security rule the press office. This has been amply demonstrated in many academic studies. To the extent that the corporate media is a regulator in the democratic system, there has been complete regulatory capture.

Western corporate-media and business-media journalistic freedom existed after the Second World War, thanks to rapid economic growth and opportunities for small and medium-size publishers to sell advertisement to a large array of advertisers. Increasing globalization and corporate mergers (of both corporate advertisers and corporate media), and direct security-State oversight and infiltration, have closed that transitory window of freedom.

In the present era, corporate media really is “fake news”, both in content and by avoidance or omission of content that is vital to democratic societies in States involved in world affairs. It is propaganda. Its utility for analysts is in informing us of what the establishment wants us to think, and, therefore, in identifying some of the establishment’s main preoccupations.

Since corporate journalists are not unionized and do not have professional associations empowered by statute, they do not even have systemic or structural professional independence, compared to the circumstances of judges, academics, engineers, lawyers, doctors, and teachers. Furthermore, virtually all corporate journalists are now educated in specialized professional schools, and are thereby groomed to serve editors and publishers. Jeff Schmidt, author of “Disciplined Minds”, has brilliantly surveyed the grooming of professionals.

That is the elephant in the room regarding the now mythical press freedom of the corporate media. There are a few old guys left, who can negotiate assignments, but their headlines get trashed. Otherwise, the proverbial “two sides of the story” are carefully confined, and more and more frequently there is only one side, since the “other side” only serves as a repugnancy magnet, as with classic propaganda.

The challenges to press freedom for social-network journalists are quite different. Here, there are direct structural assaults against this democratized form of media. The assaults include: barring from the publication venues, blatant censorship following publication, demonetization, shadow banning, corporate manipulation of search results, and so on. In addition, Canada, for example, is implementing laws to regulate the censorship of independent media, using express pretexts that include: foreign interference in elections, preventing “hate”, and generally preventing “undesirable” views declared to be harmful to society. We can add the spectre of civil defamation law assaults, and Criminal Code prosecutions for victimless crimes of expression, all of which the Ontario Civil Liberties Association has consistently attempted to push back. This is a censorship era. We are at the level of the Soviet Union regulating access to photocopying machines.

Q: How are some of these challenges handled?

A: The challenge of corporate media press freedom is handled, primarily in three ways.

First, the dominant near-monolithic propaganda is challenged by a less-dominant opposing corporate media. Here, the finance-sector backed, Democrat-aligned, dominant corporate media is challenged by a lesser USA-domestic-based energy and military-manufacturing sectors backed, Republican-aligned, corporate media.

Second, the two competing corporate media, in this limited-view media-scape world, draw on social-network technology to boost their influence, thus somewhat levelling the coarse imbalance of means between the two camps. Trump tweets, social-media stars leak into corporate coverage as commentators, and so on.

Third, and most significantly, independent social-network journalists release vital reports and information that otherwise would never see the light of day. Sometimes, the information is so compelling and reaches such a wide audience that the corporate media cannot ignore it, and struggles to recast it. This is the undeniable contribution of Wikileaks, which is mostly ignored by the corporate media and academics, but which has exposed the greatest known systems of corruption and crimes in the Western world.

There are many others than just Julian Assange in social-network journalism — in a large organic network of contributors, publishers, whistleblowers, leakers, and researchers — but the vicious and sustained attacks against Assange most graphically proves the influence of social-network media, and its threat to the corporate media propaganda edifice.

Regarding loss of publication venues and censorship, social-network media handle this by exploiting windows of alternative venues and the ever changing technological landscape, in the same way that pamphleteers of the past exploited press technology, from silk screens to photocopiers and guerilla radio transmitters.

Q: With the advent of a dense and intense social media landscape, how challenging is the issue especially in light of concerns over ‘fake media?’

A: The “concerns over fake media”, expressed by the dominant corporate media and its associated pundits and politicians, is a crass pretext for outright State and corporate censorship. The said pretext is an assault against the presumption that citizens in a democratic society have the ability to judge and decide if they are allowed access to the broadest possible sources of information. The population will have been infantilized to the degree that it will accept the said pretext as legitimate.

Q: How confident are journalists in the ability of their media outlets to protect their free speech rights?

A: As a general rule, corporate media journalists are part of corporate media, and do not have a valid concept of or a surviving individual impulse for journalistic independence, nor are they given the time and freedom to research, except at the elite level where editorial wishes are fully assimilated.
There are exceptions, as rare reports, that prove the rule, but red lines are never crossed. There are also exceptions with specific journalists at niche outfits, such as reports in the Haaretz newspaper of Israel. But these repeated exceptions can only exist in societal circumstances in which they can have no substantial influence beyond selling copy to a niche audience or serving as a lightning rod for the dominant paradigm.

Social-network journalists, on the other hand, are confident that the technological venues they rely on for publication will always be assailed by dominant forces. They reasonably have little confidence that the courts can effectively protect their freedom of expression rights, nor do they have the resources to use the courts, nor does pro bono law exist anymore that would be of use in this regard, because of corporate capture of the legal profession.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court of Canada has not exactly been progressive in its freedom of expression decisions. It likes to distinguish “useful expression in a democracy” from “expression not worthy of protection”, it condones the common law of defamation, which violates universal standards of protection of freedom of expression, and it regularly makes regressive applications of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms loopholes that are sections 1 and 32.

Q: What changes have you seen over time (i.e. is press freedom being reduced? Is it growing?)

A: There can be no doubt that suppression of freedom has progressed, from the post-war Bretton Woods economic era, to the popular movements of the 1960s and 1970s, to the establishment’s coordinated assaults against democracy of the 1980s, to the aggressive new era of globalization starting in the 1990s, to the global corporate and finance mega-merger sprees of the late 1990s and mid-2000s.

The economic and institutional and statutory transformations were accompanied by large-scale social engineering of attitudes and beliefs, related to the emergent culture of “safe spaces”, and of “hate speech” as being assimilated with physical or psychological violence against specific and identified individual persons.

These economic and societal transformations have been outlined in the Ontario Civil Liberties Association’s published “OCLA Report 2019-1”.

Q: Are there more challenges/barriers to journalists reporting on the important issues at hand?

A: With corporate media, in a nutshell, there cannot be a “challenge” in preserving press freedom where there is no press freedom.

With social-network journalism, the challenges are endless, because social-network journalists threaten the mental landscape being fabricated and maintained by the bosses of the economy, via corporate media and institutional capture. As such social-network media is targeted for capture and confinement.

Q: What do you think the future holds for journalists in terms of freedom of speech and freedom of the press?

A: This is the future. 1984.