University of Ottawa Professor Melts Down at #HandsOffVenezuela Presentation

March 25, 2019

On March 24, 2019, I concluded a three-city speaking tour about my recent visit to Venezuela. My presentations were open to the public. There was no charge for admission. I was not compensated by anyone to speak at these events, nor were my travel expenses reimbursed by anyone.

Thanks to the admirable efforts of the organizers, who volunteered their time to make this tour possible, all three events were well-attended.

In my presentations, my over-arching theme was that Western corporate media are presenting a grossly imbalanced picture of the reality in Venezuela, and that, while the government of Nicolas Maduro is far from perfect, Western powers cannot be trusted to defend the interests of ordinary Venezuelans – particularly the most vulnerable members of Venezuelan society. The crisis in Venezuela should be resolved by Venezuelans. Foreign powers should confine their role to the facilitation of a peaceful, negotiated resolution with a minimum of suffering.

My presentations in Toronto, Ottawa and London, Ontario were well-received by audience members. In Ottawa, however, I encountered a small group of vociferous, pro-opposition disrupters, including University of Ottawa Associate Professor Isaac Nahon-Serfaty.

I had never heard of Nahon-Serfaty before my presentation in Ottawa. I ascertained subsequently that Nahon-Serfaty has authored numerous anti-Chavismo op-eds, several of which have been published by Postmedia. As I have previously written, Postmedia’s newspapers routinely compromise journalistic integrity in order to advance the right-wing agenda of those who control Postmedia.

Predictably, Nahon-Serfaty’s Postmedia op-eds agitate for foreign intervention in Venezuela and are replete with evidence-free attacks on Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro – for example, the wholly unsubstantiated claim that Nicolas Maduro presides over a “narco-dictatorship“.

In my Ottawa presentation and in the Q&A which followed it (during which the moderators did not vet questions or comments), Nahon-Serfaty and his associates constantly interrupted me. At the outset of the Q&A, Nahon-Serfaty screamed at me and repeatedly accused me of lying. When an elderly audience member became fed up with Nahon-Serfaty’s theatrics and objected to his behaviour, Nahon-Serfaty rushed in his direction and had to be restrained.

Frankly, I have never seen behaviour like this from a university professor. Continue Reading ›

When it Comes to Silencing Israel’s Critics, John Tory and James Pasternak Won’t Take ‘No’ For An Answer

(In the photograph above, John Tory and James Pasternak pose with 30 Israeli students visiting Canada in March 2015.)

March 22, 2019

On March 21, 2019, I spoke at Toronto City Hall on behalf of the organizing committee of the Al Quds Day rallies in Toronto.

The Al Quds organizers, who give their time freely to defend Palestinian human rights, have been smeared repeatedly by advocates for Israel, particularly Toronto City Councillor James Pasternak.

Pasternak has an extensive history of seeking to silence Israel’s critics. As reported by Now Toronto, Pasternak led the charge at Toronto City Hall to ban Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade. Pasternak has also condemned Israeli Apartheid Week.

Like Pasternak, Mayor John Tory works closely with the pro-Israel lobby groups, including the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). In 2016, in cooperation with CIJA, Tory led an “Innovation Mission to Israel.”

With the support of Mayor Tory, Pasternak is now seeking to prevent Al Quds rallies from taking place on Toronto City property, in violation of the constitutional rights of my clients to free speech and free assembly.

Pasternak launched his initiative in November 2017 by seeking advice from city staff on ways to counter ‘hate-infested’ rallies on city property. This month, after more than a year of careful consideration, city lawyers and staff advised the Executive Committee that the city’s existing policies with respect to hate rallies are essentially adequate.

But when it comes to silencing Israel’s critics, James Pasternak and John Tory will not take ‘no’ for an answer. On March 21, 2019, they persuaded an embarrassingly compliant Executive Committee to send Pasternak’s inquiry back to city staff for further consideration.

This is the video of my 5-minute speech to the Executive Committee and of my exchanges with Mayor Tory and Pasternak following my speech:

Continue Reading ›

Puerto Rico’s Government Was Warned Climate Catastrophe Was Coming, But Didn’t Listen

March 21, 2019

In Puerto Rico, I spoke to environmental activist Juan Rosario about the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

As Juan explains, Puerto Rico’s government was warned that a monster hurricane was inevitable, but did too little to prepare.

My interview with Juan can be watched and listened to here:

https://therealnews.com/stories/puerto-ricos-government-was-warned-climate-catastrophe-was-coming-but-didnt-listen

Would Austerity-Stricken Puerto Rico Be Better Off As An Independent State?

For The Real News Network, I recently spoke in Puerto Rico with economist Dr. José Caraballo-Cueto about the economic prospects for an independent Puerto Rico.

Would Puerto Rico be better off if it were to cease to be a colony of the United States and became a truly sovereign state?

My conversation with Dr. Caraballo-Cueto can be watched and listened to here:

https://therealnews.com/stories/would-austerity-stricken-puerto-rico-be-better-off-as-an-independent-state.

 

Insect Apocalypse: New Study Reveals Stunning Decline in Insect Populations

For The Real News Network, I speak to ecologist Francisco Sanchez-Bayo of Sydney University in Australia about a new study showing alarming rates of decline in insect populations.

If current trends persist, the earth could be essentially devoid of insects within about a century.

My discussion with Dr. Sanchez-Bayo can be seen and listened to here:

https://therealnews.com/stories/insect-apocalypse-new-study-reveals-stunning-decline-in-insect-populations?fbclid=IwAR0UwONv6n2pq3vwMO-pk30zi62ePF6IwJlQFv1_7a0laLBb323GejJcrXg

Chrystia Freeland Spreads A Falsehood About The Maduro Government. Will She Now Retract It?

On February 3, 2019, Canadian Ministers Chrystia Freeland and Marie-Claude Bibeau published this statement in which they claimed that Venezuelan forces had burned ‘humanitarian aid’:

statement

Today, a New York  Times expose confirmed that this claim is false.

Will Freeland and Bibeau now issue a retraction and apology?

[For the record, Max Blumenthal revealed this claim to be false well before the New York Times did so.]