Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Home Forums Discussion Forum Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019 Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Kim Sanders-Fisher

On the Website, “The Public Participation Project,” an organization dedicated to, “Fighting for Free Speech,” Bruce Brown, Executive Director, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press writes, “Anti-SLAPP statutes are an effective way to terminate meritless lawsuits, thus reducing burdens on the courts, and at the same time promoting the exercise of speech rights.” This organization is making some progress in the US in getting anti-SLAPP laws in place one state at a time, but these vexatious lawsuits are still running rampant in the UK. Our whole Judicial system has been set back months with Court closures due to Covid 19, so it will be hard enough to get caught up without tying up the Courts with frivolous suits designed to weaponize our Judicial system for malicious intent. A couple of high profile people like John Ware and TV personality Rachel Riley are trying to game the system with faux outrage over anti-Semitism and they need to be stopped in their tracks for British justice to prevail.

Government corruption exposed by the horrific murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, an investigative journalist in Malta, made the EU take note of the growing menace of SLAPPs and the need for urgent collective EU legislation to end this grotesque perversion of the justice system. In the Columbia Journalism Review, Elaine Allaby recalls how Galizia, “was on her way to the bank when she was killed by a car bomb outside her house in October 2017. For months her assets had been frozen by a precautionary warrant issued in conjunction with four libel suits brought by Malta’s economy minister and his aide, and she was trying to get her account unblocked. The cases were among 42 civil libel suits open against her at the time of her death, most of them brought by Maltese politicians and their business associates. The people who ordered her assassination, which is linked to her excoriating, reporting on corruption and organized crime in Malta, have still not been identified.” Will the Labour Party now face multiple SLAPP lawsuits?

Do we want similar injustice here in the UK? Allaby reports that, “Following Caruana Galizia’s murder, the suits all passed on to her family. Daphne’s husband, Peter Caruana Galizia, is a lawyer. Since his wife’s death, he has appeared in court twice a week to fight the cases. So far, 13 have either been withdrawn by the claimant or thrown out because they failed to appear in court; the Caruana Galizia family expects the same to happen to the remainder. Daphne Caruana Galizia was used to being sued in defamation cases, many of which ultimately fizzled out. ‘It’s just a form of harassment to eat up your time, eat up your money,’ Daphne’s son, Matthew, who is also a journalist, says. ‘It costs very little to file a libel suit in Malta… there’s almost no risk to the plaintiff. And the defendant has to pay to respond, otherwise they lose by default’.” In the UK those filing SLAPP lawsuits do so on a ‘no win no fee’ basis with backup insurance to reduce their financial liability to almost zero while crippling the targeted defendant!

The UK is not alone in experiencing this same type of what is now being dubbed ‘Lawfare’ as epitomized by the recent bogus anti-Semitism cases. Allaby reveals that, “Journalists in other European countries say they’ve experienced similar harassment through what are called SLAPPs—Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.” These have been widely used in the US to shut down environmental protests from well known organizations like Greenpeace, but they are now being used to target Journalists and silence free speech. Allaby says that, “The purpose of a SLAPP is to intimidate a journalist or news outlet into removing critical coverage or into self-censoring reports by repeatedly taking them to court in order to exhaust their time and resources. Matthew Caruana Galizia says there was a spike in SLAPPs brought against his mother in the year leading up to her murder. ‘The last year of her life was basically horrible,’ he says. ‘She was in court almost every single day’.” No one should face that level of intimidation.

Elaine Allaby reports that, “earlier this year, the Croatian Journalists’ Association (HND) led a march through Zagreb to protest the 1,100 libel cases open against journalists and news outlets at the time, brought on vague grounds including ‘mental anguish’ or ‘tarnished reputation.’ The HND says they are part of an attempt to suppress free speech. Claudio Cordova, who edits the Italian news site Il Dispaccio, says he spends an average of three months out of every twelve defending against libel suits. He has never lost a case, but it doesn’t exactly feel like he’s winning, either. ‘You’re not convicted, but you don’t have any way to recoup your losses, and no one will ever give you back the time you lost attending the hearings’,” he tells CJR. Sadly Starmer’s capitulation will put the fabricated anti-Semitism SLAPP suits into overdrive as his cowardly admission of guilt provides substance that does not actually exist in reality. The financial burden could bankrupt the Labour Party and effectively cripple the main political opposition.

Allaby says that, “Anti-SLAPP legislation exists in much of the world, including in 28 US states and parts of Canada and Australia. But in Europe judges are often unfamiliar with the phenomenon of SLAPPs, and lack understanding that libel suits are being used by plaintiffs in this way. The EU currently has no anti-SLAPP laws. We don’t want to ban politicians from filing lawsuits, but we need to find ways to discourage politicians and powerful corporations from filing vexatious lawsuits against journalists and the media.” Have Tories and the wealthy elite been using the threat of a SLAPP to manipulate our media outlets and simply shut down negative reporting of their worst acts of corruption? With the current Tory stranglehold on power freedom of the press is vital to our dwindling democracy. How much control have the Tories already wielded over the compliant BBC and elite owned Media in the UK? We have gained a sorry reputation for one of the most biased Media in Europe and it is only likely to get a lot worse.

In the CJR Article Allaby reports that now, “campaigners are working to change that. After Daphne’s murder, the Maltese European Parliamentary Member David Casa led a call for the introduction of an anti-SLAPP directive in the EU.” A good reason not to Brexit! “A coalition of NGOs including the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), the Committee to Protect Journalists, PEN International, Article 19, and Reporters Without Borders have begun conducting research into how such a directive might work. Their research is still in the early stages, but proposed measures include shifting the burden of proof from the defendant onto the claimant in libel cases involving freedom of expression, and speeding up procedures to enable judges to dismiss meritless cases prima facie. Their plan is to provide the European Commission with preliminary research that will enable the Commission to develop its own anti-SLAPP legislation, which will most likely draw on the Fundamental Charter of Human Rights as its legal basis.”

CJR claim, “‘We don’t want to ban politicians from filing lawsuits, but we need to find ways to discourage politicians and powerful corporations from filing vexatious lawsuits against journalists and the media,’ Flutura Kusari, a legal advisor with ECPMF, says. ‘We also want to make judges across the European Union and beyond aware of the basic phenomenon of SLAPPs.’ Before an EU anti-SLAPP directive is drafted, however, there need to be changes to existing EU laws, says Dr. Justin Borg-Barthet, a senior lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, whom the coalition has commissioned to conduct research into EU libel law reform. In particular, Borg-Barthet advocates for reforming the Brussels I Regulation and the Rome II Regulation, which in their current forms allow plaintiffs to bring defamation suits in multiple jurisdictions of their choice (rather than being restricted to the state in which the dispute arose), and make it unclear which laws can be applied in a given suit, raising costs and increasing uncertainty for defendant journalists.”

It’s known that, “Before her death, Daphne Caruana Galizia was repeatedly threatened with costly libel suits abroad, including a lawsuit filed in the US courts by the Malta-based Pilatus Bank, which she had accused of money laundering. (The bank was shut down in November 2018 after its owner was charged in the US with money laundering and fraud.) In the days after Caruana Galizia’s murder, members of Borg-Barthet’s network noticed that Maltese publications including Malta Today, the Times of Malta, and The Independent had begun quietly deleting their own stories about Pilatus Bank. When confronted, the publications’ editors acknowledged the deletions, saying that they had also been threatened with costly libel suits.” If they had not bothered to inquire this stealth removal of incriminating critical reporting would have gone unnoticed. If we don’t want corruption to reach such deadly extremes here in the UK we need to

Elaine Allaby reports that, “The political blogger Manuel Delia wrote a post denouncing Pilatus’s tactics. ‘In every case they said we’re deleting these stories because it’s too expensive to litigate—so they stood by these stories,’ Borg-Barthet says. ‘It was very much 1984: ‘The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth.’” That sounds like the UK, right her, right now! However, Borg-Barthel proclaimed, “One small victory is we’re now hopeful that the erasure won’t be forgotten.” The fight-back requires those under attack to double-down on their efforts with regard to investigative reporting. After experiencing SLAPP suits intended to sabotage their protest efforts Greenpeace offer the following advice on their Website: “When you’re SLAPPED, stand FIRM.” As Lawfare targeting of their organization them ramped-up they, “created this easy acronym to remember what to do if you or your organization faces a SLAPP, or you want to stand up and support Greenpeace. Stand FIRM.”

“Fight back: SLAPPs don’t stand up to scrutiny and it’s important to explore your legal options and build a strong legal defence.
• Investigate: continue to examine and expose the practices of the corporation suing you– they wouldn’t resort to these tactics if they didn’t have something to hide.
• Rally. Bring together your free speech allies to help support the cause and amplify your message.
• Make some noise. Refuse to be silent. Don’t give up your free speech.
For more information on fighting SLAPPs, check out Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Public Participation Project’s campaign for public laws to limit repressive SLAPP suits.”
Identifying their principal adversary, ‘Resolute,’ Greenpeace request that, “Most of all, don’t let Resolute silence you! Take action now!”

Many Labour Party members are angered by the incessant lies over anti-Semitism; when people say “no smoke without fire” I hit back hard with the documented evidence and a scenario that puts this issue into a truly realistic context. Imagine you have a family member or very close friend who has had a traumatic, serious battle fighting cancer. They appear to be in remission and return to their Doctor to find out where they now stand. Their doctor tells them “congratulations, you are 99.9% cancer free!” But instead of relaying the good news they tell you they are absolutely “riddled with cancer.” Among those in the Labour Party, anti-Semitism cases account for 0.01% of the 500,000 strong membership; that makes Labour well over 99.9% anti-Semitism free! Not perfect, but certainly not “systemically racist” or an “existential threat to the Jewish community” or any of the other alarming descriptions applied by those trying to tear the Labour Party apart just to remove Jeremy Corbyn and purge the party of the progressive left.

The stats supporting this evidence were well established and clearly documented in a Labour Briefing in March of 2019, so why were Labour MPs constantly confirming the existence of a massive problem that simply did not exist? The single most serious complicating factor was that this disinformation was being driven by hostile elements within the Labour Party itself with the fatal collusion of the BBC and alt-right media lending them a megaphone. When Chris Williamson dared to challenge the fabricated seriousness of the anti-Semitism issue he was denounced for contributing to anti-Semitism. This groundless charge had the same effect as a SLAPP lawsuit because it served as a warning to others that the fake news was set in stone and those who challenged this warped narrative would be extricated from the Labour Party in disgrace. The most crucial opportunity to fight back before the Covert 2019 Rigged Election was lost when Jeremy Corbyn failed to discipline Margaret Hodge for her vile insult in the Commons.

The EU could potentially put new anti-SLAPP laws in place at some point and their ideas are workable. Currently the burden of proof in a defamation case falls on the defendant, but the suggestion that this should change to placing the burden of proof on the Litigant would see vexatious cases thrown out at a much earlier stage. As a person who took a genuine case of career sabotaging defamation to the High Court in London I can say that this would not prevent such seriously impactful cases being heard in Court. I would have considered this requirement of proof fair and just as it was a burden I was fully prepared to meet in Court if my case had not been rejected on the grossly unfair technicality of ‘Absolute Privilege’ that protected my University from facing justice. That any proposed EU anti-SLAPP laws will not be in place for a while yet is not our major concern here in the UK as we will be forced to not only crash out of the EU, but this rogue Tory Government want to strip away the protection of the Charter of Human Rights!

This makes the determination to fight the threatened SLAPP cases over fake anti-Semitism even more vital to salvaging our embattled democracy. Crowdfunding has opened up the potential to fight-back and we must continue to support these efforts in the hope of restoring justice. In Jeremy Corbyn’s case with a Fund of £332,000 he is in a strong position to countersue and he should prioritize this option before Ware has a chance to back away from the fray now that a settlement will not be forthcoming. This is important for two reasons. Firstly the burden of proof will shift from Corbyn trying to disprove a negative to Ware being forced to produce evidence in defence of his false assertions. Secondly, once his case is unwinnable a “no win no fee” legal defence is harder to secure and insurance to cover his loss will become prohibitive. This is precisely the type of proactive and decisive action that must be consistently taken to make these vexatious SLAPP lawsuits financially untenable in our Courts.

As an accomplished lawyer Sir Keir Starmer was acutely aware of the fact that the Labour Party had more than enough evidence to fight the Ware SLAPP case in Court even without the supporting advice of Labour’s Legal team telling him not to settle. Solid evidence of the anti-Semitism hoax would have emerged had the case gone to Court, but it would have exposed the internal efforts of numerous centrist Labour MPs who were working against the best interests of the Labour Party to oust Jeremy Corbyn. His cowardly capitulation was intended to keep the disgraceful truth hidden with his own interests in retaining leadership a principal motivation at the expense of the Labour membership. However, his dishonourable conduct will now encourage numerous other SLAPP lawsuits cantered on his cowardly false admission of guilt and data issues from the leaked Labour Report that he is trying equally hard to keep under wraps. That will mean more settlements and the possibility that Labour Unions decide to block Union member funding of the Labour Party.

The case Chris Williamson is bringing against the EHRC is for Judicial Review; the burden of proof is his and the case can only proceed if he presents credible evidence that there is an injustice that requires correction. Williamson’s Lawyers must be feeling really confident in the available evidence as this is not a SLAPP and he fully intends to go to present that evidence in Court. There is no way for EHRC to offer a settlement that would make this go away; they are a public body answerable to the British people with regard to adhering to their remit and investigating fairly. Although the leaked Labour Review was conducted precisely to rebut the allegations of mishandling anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, despite Starmer’s refusal to submit it to EHRC an unredacted copy was provided to them by Craig Murray which EHRC were obligated to consider. The threat of this legal action in response to the draft Williamson received should make them reconsider their final judgement, but we must continue to support his legal fund.

The case Ware has brought against Paddy French at Press Gang is all part of the same massively corrupt false allegations that Ware is trying to cash in on using SLAPP cases and he needs our funding support too. Another case has been dragging on for nearly two years and is similarly interconnected with the fake anti-Semitism witch-hunt. Using the same disreputable lawyer, Mark Lewis, in a ‘no win no fee’ suit with backup insurance to cover costs despite her personal wealth TV personalities Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman brought a SLAPP against Mike Sivier. He wrote an article about Ms Riley and Ms Oberman’s bullying of a teenage girl, so they threatened to sue him for libel, claiming that they didn’t behave inappropriately, but he has crowdfunded over £92,000 to Fight Back and you can help out. Mike Sivier is a news reporter with more than 25 years’ experience who currently runs the influential Vox Political website and is also a full-time carer for his disabled partner; Rachel Riley is a serial SLAPPER!

Solid proof that bogus anti-Semitism charges were and still are being weaponized, to demonize Corbyn and deliberately sabotage the progressive socialist agenda of the Labour Party, will soon be exposed if and when these SLAPP cases make it to Court. Tory approved state funding of the integrity Initiative to magnify the anti-Semitism propaganda was concocted and widely disseminated in the media to lend legitimacy to a fake ‘landslide victory’ in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. These acts alone were criminal and fraudulent enough to remove this Tory Government from power even without further Investigation into the Postal Votes. Those who brought SLAPP suits hoping for a rapid payout that would avoid the troubling necessity of proving a case in Court will be starting to panic due to the huge level of grassroots support for those prepared to fight back. Smoke and mirrors will not hold up in Court so we’re on the brink of exposing the whole truth of this scandal and documenting irrefutable facts to oust this Tory Government. DO NOT MOVE ON!