Wednesday, 20 March 2013

John Cusack's Grapes of Wrath :).

"Enough of You. Do your homework"  

For months, the headline news filled with the fiasco concerning England's Lord McAlpine. He was falsely accused by BBC's Newsnight and their associates, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. A scandal broke out after the victim denied the involvement of Lord McAlpine. Lord McAlpine litigated under libel law and many media outlets have settled. This was the biggest libel scandal in recent years. 

By November 2012, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism was in financial crisis. The Daily Mail rolled into action and uncovered the Bureau's association with much criticised organisation - Common Purpose. These articles can be read herehere and here. I make no judgment on Common Purpose save to say that anyone donating to an organisation should be aware of their background and criticisms listed here. It may or may not give rise to bias or a potential conflict. In the interests of transparency these links should be disclosed to the public. 

It is interesting to note that following the recent financial crisis, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can be found on the website of the Press Freedom Foundation. The website requests donations from the public to the Bureau. Everyone else does laudable work but what bothered me was the past of the Bureau. The second aspect that bothered be was the impact of the Bureau's scandal on the board members of Press Freedom Foundation - all of whom are people of integrity. 

Unfortunately, when the write-up on the Press Freedom Foundation website is read here, we note that no mention is made of the Bureau's link to Common Purpose or their past with Lord McAlpine. It is for this reason, I asked one of the Board members to inform the  US public of the UK media furore so those who do donate can make an informed decision. My question was this - if the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can get it wrong in the case of Lord McAlpine, what assurances do we have that they will get it right in other more complex issues of public safety? So I asked both Freedom of the Press Foundation and John Cusack  [Actor] why they supported the Bureau given the Daily Mail exposure on them. 

This was Mr Cusack's response. Following that, I decided to ask further questions on the issue of transparency. My list of questions below questioned whether or not it was fair that the US public may not have been fully appraised of the Lord McAlpine libel scandal. 

The organisation that cites 

"Freedom of the Press Foundation provides you with an easy way to donate to cutting-edge journalism organizations dedicated to transparency and accountability"

Sadly, following those questions, its board member was keen to censor me. Leading actor John Cusack decided that he could not respond to my questions meaningfully. He commenced on an attack on my credibility and integrity. 

To more than 1 million people, he decided to question my research skills. This is all well and good but he has not been able to defend the two points put to him. He may have successfully censored my voice that has asked basic and obvious questions but he cannot run from the truth. My concern of course was that a organisation [The Foundation] with laudable and excellent values/aims should not be tarred with the reputation that currently surrounds the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Moreover, John Cusack, who works tirelessly for human rights, should not maligned by the reputation of potentially unreliable journalism that is currently attached to the Bureau following the Lord McAlpine Scandal. 

Cusack has never denied the Lord McAlpine issue or the Common Purpose link. Instead, he decides to be master of the world and send me off for some "home work". This condescending remark had the effect he wanted. I was bombarded with people mocking me. I suspect that would have pleased him. By engaging in insults, maligning me and essentially discrediting me, he shifts attention from the real questions. By seeking to damage my credibility the eyes of the reader focusses on me not the role of the Bureau in the Lord McAlpine case.

To prevent my response to him, he censored me. A block on Twitter essentially means any evidence of my comments on this subject disappears. People are not able to read my comments on the issue. I was not able to access some trails of conversations either.

Perhaps it was naive of me to believe that Cusack would at least understand the requirement of transparency especially when public donations are involved. It is important for every member of the public to understand the part of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in the Lord McAlpine case and subsequently Common Purpose. Only then can a person make an informed decision as to whether or not to donate finances. Cusack mistakenly believes that I need to persuade myself of the Bureau's integrity. This is not so. It is the public who should be better informed about one of the biggest libel scandals in the United Kingdom. People believe Cusack without question therefore he owes them the duty to declare news that is relevant.

In memory of Cusacks' momentous effort at blocking and censoring me, I thought I would feature this. 

Sedley LJ "Redmond-Bate v Director of Public Prosecutions [1999] EWHC Admin 732 which is persuasive in all jurisdictions

"Mr. Kealy was prepared to accept that blame could not attach for a breach of the peace to a speaker so long as what she said was inoffensive. This will not do. Free speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative provided it does not tend to provoke violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having. What Speakers’ Corner (where the law applies as fully as anywhere else) demonstrates is the tolerance which is both extended by the law to opinion of every kind and expected by the law in the conduct of those who disagree, even strongly, with what they hear. From the condemnation of Socrates to the persecution of modern writers and journalists, our world has seen too many examples of state control of unofficial ideas. A central purpose of the European Convention on Human Rights has been to set close limits to any such assumed power. We in this country continue to owe a debt to the jury which in 1670 refused to convict the Quakers William Penn and William Mead for preaching ideas which offended against state orthodoxy". 

I am of course a no-one, Mr Cusack is a someone. Nevertheless, the facts on this case speak for themselves. These facts have been strewn throughout the UK media for many months now. Cusack cannot absolve the Bureau of their negative role in the Lord McAlpine Libel Scandal.


Lastly, if you do read this John -  I apologise for the fact my questions caused you some irritation. It was never my intention. I merely sought responses to my legitimate questions in the public interest. Many thanks for all you have done for me - first you publicised my article on whistleblower Bradley Manning - now you have probably made me unemployable in the field of journalism by questioning my credibility and research skills and hurling insults at me. You must always do whatever makes you feel happiest. If directing your anger at me makes you feel better - please carry on as you are the King of your world.

My intention was to protect your organisation from problems in the future because I believed in the good work you were doing. Clearly, you do not share or understand this viewpoint.

Incidentally, whatever you do to silence me - the truth will always be the truth. Whenever you are calmer and have understood the above, feel free to contact me. I am still and always will be your friend whether we agree or disagree on subjects. The normal way to deal with subjects is to discuss them. Clearly, you prefer your own point of view. I guess in your view, no one can question the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. This is despite the fact that every single media outlet has questioned them in the UK.

Censoring and maligning me does not remove the facts as they stand. I cannot follow all you say without questioning you. You question everyone - I have a right to behave just as you do.

Just to remind you of your butterflies :-

"The butterfly effect is the root of chaos theory and was first articulated by by Edward Lorenz. It refers to the characteristic of chaotic systems to have greatly varying final states due to the subtle differences in initial conditions. In other words, a ripple effect that is often described as a flap of a butterfly wing in Brazil, could in theory, set off a tornado in Texas.."
Perhaps this was that tornado :).

The most interesting if not amusing aspect about John Cusack is that he never questioned my research skills or ability when I wrote the article in the Huffington Post on Bradley Manning - a case he feels passionate about. He even tweeted it! We conclude, I am mad, bad and sad if I don't agree with him and on the occasions I do support his campaigns, I am a competent writer :).

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” 
― George Orwell


ann ervin said...

Mr. Cusack, you are a brilliant actor and it sounds like a fine humanitarian. I firmly believe in supporting my Freedom of Speech rights. Having said that, I'm not very versed in the Common Purpose, but I have had online conversations with Dr. Rita Pal before and came to my own conclusion. She knows her sources and facts before she writes them because she is a good journalist as well as she supports the right causes. Well done, Dr. Rita Pal.

Rita Pal said...


Thanks for taking the time to write the above. I appreciate it.

I am a scientist and a former whistleblower. I don't move without evidence. I am not a news journalist, I am a medical one - we deal with scientific data and evidence.


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