Jessica Ernst is a Oil-Industry-Insider Who Took Her Condemnation of the Unsafe Activities of Fracking Enterprises All the Way to the Supreme Court. Here She Compares the Abuses She has Suffered in Her Own Campaign for Ecological Sanity to the Unjust Treatment of a Leading Academic Dissident in Alberta Canada.
Box 753 Rosebud, Alberta T0J 2T0Open Letter to: President Michael J. Mahon and Governors
University of Lethbridge
4401 University Drive
Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4
Sent by Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
March 17, 2017
Re: Dr. Anthony Hall and his Charter Right to Freedom of Expression
I am aghast but not surprised that you and the University of Lethbridge administration have judged and punished Dr. Anthony Hall without due process. It seems this is the new Canadian way of justice, used even by the Supreme Court of Canada. I do not like where it appears to be going.
Suspending Dr. Hall, taking away his pay, reinstating his pay, changing the definition of his punishment, announcing that the Governors will file a complaint with Alberta’s Human Rights Commission afterpunishing him without any formal findings of wrongdoing indicates to me that someone is out to ruin Dr. Hall’s reputation and career.
In today’s world of “fake news” and rampant abuse of power by governments and persons in positions of authority – including at universities, our freedom to doubt can not be more important. Teaching doubt, I think, is the greatest contribution Dr. Hall gives society and his students. I do not agree with everything he says but, I value Dr. Hall’s Charter right to freedom of expression, his freedom to doubt and that he teaches his students to think for themselves (a rare skill).
In my view, what you are doing to Dr. Hall is similar to what the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) and Supreme Court of Canada did to me: judge and punish a civil Canadian without due process. The AER did it because they were admittedly humiliated by me publicly exposing their corruption and incompetence, and wanted me silenced. Why the Supreme Court did it is unclear. Why are you doing it? To quash academic tenure and freedom in Alberta?
Is B’nai Brith or some other group directing you to punish and silence Dr. Hall because they are afraid of his questions and doubts?
We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and there is no learning. … Our freedom to doubt was born of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle. Permit us to question – to doubt, that’s all – not to be sure. And I think it is important that we do not forget the importance of this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained. Here lies a responsibility to society.
Have the Governors filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission or are you just saying they will to justify your unjust actions?
Dr. Hall must be fully reinstated immediately. The Commission may not accept your complaint or may conclude Dr. Hall has done no wrong if they do. It is unjust and cowardly to punish Dr. Hall without any formal findings of misconduct.
Sent by email.
Jessica Ernst, M.Sc.
cc Dr. Anthony Hall
The Canadian Association of University Teachers
Mark Mercer, PhD, President, Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship
The EU’s Institutionalization of Islamophobia: White Supremacy on behalf of the Ruling Class
A heated and often misguided political debate has intensified in recent years around the question of Islamophobia. Events such as the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote have placed Islamophobia in the forefront of political discussion in the US and West. However, the discussion is limited by the control that varying sections of the capitalist ruling class have over its direction. One section of the bourgeoisie views Islam as an abhorrent faith that inherently breeds terrorism while the other promotes “tolerance” but actively supports domestic and foreign policy that disproportionately targets Muslim communities. A recent ruling by the EU Court of Justice has exposed both narratives as equally bankrupt, albeit for different reasons.
The EU Court of Justice has ruled in favor of discrimination against those who wear headscarves at their place of work. This ruling comes after numerous Muslim women wearing headscarves were terminated or denied employment in nations such as Belgium and France. The court justified the ruling with the claim that employers have the right to prohibit visible political, religious, or philosophical symbols in their places of work. Such denial does not constitute direct discrimination. Contrary to the opinion of the court, the ruling does not pass the test of history.
History reveals that the War on Terror has united Western nations against Islam to fulfill broader political objectives. Muslims have been targeted by the West to justify the mass expansion of surveillance against each and every person that resides in the West. This was demonstrated in US President George Bush and Barack Obama’s National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS). The program mandated immigrants from 25 countries to register with the Department of Homeland Security and undergo interrogations before entering the US. NSEERS ended in 2016, but not until 93,000 mostly Muslim immigrants were registered in the tracking system.
These targeted measures have complimented a wider surveillance policy that both WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden exposed as global in scope. US intelligence agencies have the ability to collect every electronic communication that enters cyberspace. Monopoly corporations cooperate fully with intelligence agencies to publicize private information. WikiLeaks revealed that the CIA has similar surveillance capabilities and poses as hackers to sabotage “enemy” nations. US officials utilize the narrative that the Western world is under the constant threat of Islamic terrorist attack to normalize such an unprecedented level of surveillance.
In the EU, despite the existence of somewhat more robust measures of privacy protection, a similar environment of fear exists. The fear of the “other” has existed in Europe for many centuries as a weapon of colonial conquest. Neo-colonialism has created a similar condition. The EU’s participation in the invasions of Libya and Syria has produced a historic refugee crisis. Hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East and North Africa have sought refuge on Europe’s shores from the terror that afflicts their homelands. The far right has used the refugee crisis for political gain while the EU establishment has continued to institute the policies that create refugees in the first place.
The institutionalization of Islamophobia is a material issue of global significance. Islamophobia is less about fear and hatred and more about white supremacy working on behalf of global capital. The EU Court of Justice ruling reveals the hypocrisy of the West’s imperialist design. US and EU policy in Libya, Syria, and the region at large has not only created the refugee crisis, but has also included the covert support for proxies loyal to the “Islamic” Wahhabi ideology. Proxies in Libya, Syria, and Iraq such as Al-Qaeda, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and the Al Nusra front have received military support from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
The EU and the US possess an unholy alliance with the GCC. In exchange for the vast oil and gas wealth of the Gulf countries, the US and EU have propped up regimes with disastrous human rights records. Saudi Arabia, for example, is not just a supporter of Wahhabi terrorism. The Saudi royal family also brutally suppresses its women and Shia populations. US and EU support of the GCC demonstrates the flexibility of white supremacy. White supremacy can allow for exceptions to the rule so long as the interests of monopoly capital are served in the process. Iran and Saudi Arabia are two countries with states guided by Islam, yet it is Saudi Arabia’s compliance with Western hegemony that makes its reactionary, right-wing political rule more tenable to capital than Iran’s defiance stance to imperialism.
The expansion of domestic surveillance and global warfare has rested on the War on Terror’s attack on Islam, yet this attack must be placed in the context of existing material realities. Far right political parties are on the rise precisely because economic misery has intersected with endless war and instability. Domestic terrorist attacks and chronic unemployment have given far right populists the opportunity to develop a stronger base. Far right populists such as Donald Trump have simultaneously spoken to economic frustrations by denouncing anti-worker trade deals such as the TPP and intensified anti-Muslim sentiments that have existed in the West since imperialism casted its gaze on the Middle East and North Africa decades ago.
A disturbing trend has developed in the US and EU dominated Western world. Institutionalized Islamophobia such as the recent EU Court of Justice ruling is contradicted by the empty rhetoric of the neo-liberal establishment. Neo-liberals claim to be champions of diversity while their ruling system of capitalism spreads destruction and oppression all over the planet. The far right will continue to build popularity so long as the so called left in the West fails to articulate a program that can appeal to the material interests of working class and poor people. But the neo-liberal consensus must be rejected first or the connection between capitalist exploitation and white supremacy will remain outside of the consciousness of social movements in the Western world.
*(Image credit: European Parliament/ flickr).