Daily Archives: September 24, 2010

Levant and Libel

Libel suits are nothing new to Ezra Levant, who’s racked up a remarkable number of them in the last decade.

He’s currently shilling for a new book about the Alberta tar sands called (no joke) Ethical Oil, despite that fact that Alberta’s bitumen is the single most toxic source of oil mining in the world.

But that should come as no surprise.  In 1994 Levant was in Washington D.C. for an internship funded by the Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Progam.  Charles Koch and his brother David own 84% of Koch Industries, an oil production conglomerate, and have pumped tens of millions of dollars into funding global warming denialism.

It’s thanks to the efforts of the Koch brothers that a lot of people think they can have an opinion on global warming (maybe yes, maybe no) — which is like having an opinion on gravity.

On Second Thought

I have decided to take down Ezra Levant’s column slandering George Soros.  Since posting it this morning with the intent to expose the viciousness of the libel and the ugly way it is expressed in Levant’s September 5th Toronto Sun column, I have realized that it also makes the full text available to those who might wish to reproduce it in order to perpetuate the slander.  I have therefore simply resorted to reporting the libel — the nature of which has long been in the public domain and has been refuted many times — in my own words.  The revised post is here.

That said, I wish to emphasize just how wretched a thing that column is, as well as what it says about Levant and Sun News.  You can read a very thorough account of the evolution of the slander with direct quotes from Levant’s column and what the public record reveals about his libelous claims here.

Out of curiosity, I called a lawyer friend of mine to ask about the legal status of reporting a libel verbatim with the obvious intention to contextualize it and fully expose its fraudulent nature — as well as bear witness to the kind of person who would  perpetrate it in the first place.  (I am especially curious to know because the column still circulates on the internet, which raises the question of being allowed to address the fact of the libel as it was expressed without any implied assertion of truthfulness about its fraudulent content.)  My friend referred me to another lawyer specializing in libel law.  I have put a call in to him and hope to report back on what he has to say about it soon.

In the meantime, I’ve kept a copy of Levant’s column for my files.  Whenever I get complacent about what we’re dealing with here, I’ll pull it out and read it again.

Margaret Atwood in the Toronto Sun

Atwood’s recent response to accusations by the Sun in the Sun here.

Money quote:


“As concerned Canadians who deeply oppose American-style hate media on our airwaves, we applaud the CRTC’s refusal to allow a new “Fox News North” channel to be funded from our cable fees. We urge Mr. von Finckenstein to stay in his job and continue to stand up for Canada’s democratic traditions, and call on Prime Minister Harper to immediately stop all pressure on the CRTC on this matter.” THE VERBS ARE “APPLAUD,” “URGE,” AND “CALL ON;” NOT “BAN,” “SUPPRESS,” AND “CENSOR.”

The “Fox News” comparison is from the Sun’s own CRTC Application # 1. Is it “American-style hate media?” You judge.

The CRTC refused Sun TV News’ request for a special licence that forces all cable and satellite distributors to offer the station, thus generating almost automatic income. Application #2 — almost the same deal as #1, but for three years — will be considered. The Sun says it needs this special deal for its “business plan.” Should it get one? Should anyone? Can I have one too?

This last point goes to the heart of the matter.  Why, just because Sun News has applied for the license, must it be granted one?  Hell, I’d love one of those myself — like Sun News I could have a “business plan” which includes making millions of dollars.  Why should I be refused?  If I’m not owed it, why is Sun News?  Particularly as they employ libel-spouting nincompoops like Ezra Levant.


Mohammed’s Call to Prophecy and the First Revelation; leaf from a copy of the Majmac al-tawarikhTimurid. From Herat, Afghanistan. In The Metropolitan Museum of Art, ca. 1425

On this date in 622 Mohammed completed his hijra from Mecca to Medina.

Frye in notebook 11f:

Still with the Koran: it’s a perfect example of my concern and imagination thesis.  Mohammed was a very great inspired poet, but he found that this quality was precisely what made him distrusted.  So he insisted that he wasn’t a poet but a prophet, & started brainwashing his followers with interminable repetitions of the just-you-wait type.  Islamic culture, Sufi mysticism, geometrical art, mathematics & the like, descend from the suppressed poet; Islamic fanaticism descends from the paranoid prophet.  Yet, human nature being what it is, there would never have been any Islamic culture without the brainwashing paranoia.  Ugh.  But I think we’re finding the moral equivalent of war [para. 78, p. 87] and the next thing to find is the moral equivalent of concerned paranoia.  One element of this is counter-prophecy, of the sort Blake describes in his Watson-Paine notes.  A prophecy that, without being facile or “optimistic,” points out the positive opportunities in each situation. (CW 13, 88)