Saturday, June 24, 2006

Conrad Black defended by Peter Worthington of the Toronto Sun

"Harassing Black out of spite
Does anyone think press baron will skip court?

If ever there seemed a clear case of judicial harassment against a defendant, what the U.S. government is doing to Conrad Black seems pure malice and vindictiveness.

Do they really think he'll try to skip bail?

The U.S. District Attorney's Office for Illinois (where Conrad is charged with a bunch of yet-unproven crimes ....

This seems spite and nastiness, even a sadistic urge to hurt or do damage -- all because it's claimed that Conrad overestimated the value of his $36 (or as low as $32) million Palm Beach mansion; that he didn't disclose a tax lien by Revenue Canada; that he didn't disclose that wife Barbara has an ownership interest in the Florida property; that he had more money in his bank account than he said. ...

Does anyone doubt that Conrad intends to fight this case, to try and prove his innocence?..."

Worthington's column

Yes Peter, crimes are always "unproven" until a court says otherwise. However, some of the facts known to knowledgable people raise more than one eyebrow. (And you are knowledgable about this affair Peter, aren't you? You wouldn't write about something you know nothing about, would you?)

Furthermore, the point is not whether Conrad will skip bail or not: The point is that he misrepresented the value of assets he posted as bail. In other words, he lied. But that - as everybody but Peter Worthington knows - is easy for Conrad Black. Lying to a court about bail posted would land everybody else in jail. Conrad may think he's better than the rest of us but the law should treat him just like everybody else.

"Does anyone doubt that Conrad intends to fight this case, to try and prove his innocence?"

My emphasis

What does Peter Worthington know we don't as he just asserted the innocence of Conrad Black? I don't believe for a second that the awkward phrasing of "to try and prove his innocence" was a mistake. "And try to prove" would not assert Conrad's innocence. The way it was printed does.

Makes me wonder if Peter ever worked for Conrad and more generally what the purpose of this column in a paper mainly read by working class people is. To show what wonderful people these "entrepreneurs" (in the true sense of the word "entre") are?

For a more factual treatment of this see:

Bloomberg News

Friday, June 23, 2006

UN World Urban Forum not so united

On June 22, 2006 three youth delegates were dragged out of the World Urban Forum by security officers. An independent film crew was threatened with having their cameras confiscated if they didn't stop filming the fracas.

A weeping Nathalie Lozano, 19, told CBC News the incident began when she and two other women lined up at a security checkpoint in the building, on their way to the washroom. Lozano says officials searched their bags and confiscated T-shirts bearing the slogan 'Don't be a war toy.' We had them in our bags, we didn't have them on. When they saw us in the backpacks with them, they took it from us and they say we couldn't get them."

UN spokesman Shankardass says the T-shirts are considered "objectionable material" by the UN because they directly attack a UN member state. However, he didn't clarify which one."

At the above link there was another one to a sound file when I posted this where Nathalie Lozano tells her own story and Rick Cluff interviews Micheal Vonn of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association who says free speech is compromised when a T-shirt is considered a security threat. (Added on July 23rd: Unfortunately the CBC has adopted a policy of not having a unique resource locator anymore, or url. Even the links that show up in a search on the CBC site lead to a dead end. Are they worried that people might actually keep track of what they are saying on the airwaves? It's annoying and almost unique on the web among news outlets. Incomprehensible is all I can say and there is not much point in linking to anything on the CBC any more since the links go dead shortly after the material is posted.)

Apparently Shankardass has never read the UN Charter, which states that the organisation's highest purpose is "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war." This was reaffirmed at the Un World Summit in 2005 and a year earlier at the Un's High Level Panel of December 2004

Assuming that the T-Shirts' slogan refer to the war on Iraq this ass is apperently also unaware what the Secretary General, Kofi Annan said on September 16th 2004:

"Yes, I have indicated it is not in conformity with the UN Charter, from our point of view and from the Charter point of view it was illegal."

I think this incident is outrageous.

I also think this totally "objectionable" behaviour by Shankardass should be severely disciplined by the UN, which is responsible for security at the World Urban Forum. (Not that I think this will happen)