lawsuit

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Philosopher: Missed Class to Get an Abortion? Not Excused.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 31/05/2024 - 1:08am in

A philosophy professor and a finance professor at the University of Texas at Austin have joined with the state in a lawsuit against the Federal government, particularly the US Department of Education’s “Final Rule” regarding the interpretation of Title IX, which aims to prevent “discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.”


Daniel Bonevac & John Hatfield

The professors are Daniel Bonevac and John Hatfield.

The lawsuit says that with the Final Rule the Federal government oversteps its authority by requiring “students and teachers to, for example, use someone’s ‘preferred pronouns'” and by “reinterpreting the word ‘sex’ to include ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity.'” It also aims to protect the plaintiffs’ rights to treat student absences from class for the purposes of getting an abortion as unexcused, to regulate the clothing their teaching assistants wear, and to decline to hire as teaching assistants students who have received abortion pharmaceuticals in the mail.

In a section of the lawsuit (reproduced below), Professors Bonevac and Hatfield describe ways they plan to behave that they believe are rendered illegal by the Final Rule interpretation of Title IX—hence the lawsuit. These include:

  • Not honoring any student’s demands to be addressed by the singular pronoun “they”. (“I will not violate the rules of grammar or make a fool of myself to accommodate a student’s delusional beliefs.”)
  • Not allowing his teaching assistants to teach or otherwise interact with students while wearing clothing traditionally not associated with their genders.
  • Not treating absences to obtain an “illegal abortion” or “purely elective abortion” as an excused absence. (Note that in Texas, abortions are generally illegal with few exceptions.)
  • Not knowingly hiring teaching assistants who have received shipments of “abortion pills and abortion-related paraphernalia”.

Here’s the full text of Professor Bonevac’s declaration (Professor Hatfield’s is the same):

I, Daniel A. Bonevac, declare as follows:

    1. I am over 18 years old and fully competent to make this declaration.
    2. I have personal knowledge of the facts stated in this declaration, and all of these facts are true and correct.
    3. I am a named plaintiff in this litigation.
    4. I am a professor of philosophy of the University of Texas at Austin. The University of Texas at Austin is subject to Title IX and its prohibition on “sex” discrimination. As a professor at UT-Austin, I am also subject to the requirements of Title IX in my capacity as an educator and scholar.
    5. I have no intention of complying with the Biden Administration’s recently announced Title IX edict, which has nothing to do with “sex” discrimination and represents nothing more than an attempt to force every educator in the United States to conform to a highly contentious interpretation of gender ideology and abortion rights.
    6. The new Title IX rule purports to define “discrimination on the basis of sex” to include “discrimination on the basis of sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.” See 34 C.F.R. § 106.10.
    7. The new Title IX rule also purports to define “pregnancy or related conditions” to include abortion. See 34 C.F.R. § 106.2 (“Pregnancy or related conditions means . . . Pregnancy, childbirth, termination of pregnancy, or lactation”). It requires professors to accommodate student absences from class to obtain abortions—including illegal abortions and purely elective abortions that are not medically required. See 34 C.F.R. § 106.40(b)(3)(ii)(C); 34 C.F.R. § 106.40(b)(3)(iv); see also 34 C.F.R. § 106.40(b)(6)(vi)(4) (“[A] recipient must treat pregnancy or related conditions in the same manner and under the same policies as any other temporary medical conditions”).
    8. There are at least four ways in which I will not comply with the Biden Administration’s Title IX rule.
    9. First. I will not honor any student’s demands to be addressed by the singular pronoun “they”—regardless of whether those demands come from a biological man or a biological woman, and regardless of whether the person making those demands identifies with a gender that matches or departs from his biologically assigned sex. “They” is a plural pronoun, and it is ungrammatical to use a plural pronoun to refer to a single person. I will not violate the rules of grammar or make a fool of myself to accommodate a student’s delusional beliefs. Nor will I honor demands to use other “made-up” pronouns that are not a standard part of the English language. This is not “sex” discrimination of any sort, even under Bostock v. Clayton County, 590 U.S. 644 (2020), because I will enforce this policy equally against male and female students. See id. at 660 (“Take an employer who fires a female employee for tardiness or incompetence or simply supporting the wrong sports team. Assuming the employer would not have tolerated the same trait in a man, Title VII stands silent.”).
    10. Second. I will not knowingly permit my teaching assistants to engage in cross-dressing while teaching my classes or interacting with my students. My teaching assistants—both male and female—must wear professional attire while on the job, and I will not allow a male teaching assistant to wear a dress or high heals or any type of drag attire while working for me. Although I am not opposed to hiring a crossdresser or transvestite as a teaching assistant, they must refrain from this behavior while on the job and when interacting with my students in any way.
    11. Third. I will not knowingly treat an absence from class to obtain an illegal abortion or a purely elective abortion as an excused absence. The law of Texas has outlawed and criminalized abortion in all circumstances unless the mother’s life is in danger. See Tex. Health & Safety Code § 170A.002(a). And federal law imposes criminal liability on any person who obtains abortion drugs through the mail, or from an express company or common carrier or through an interactive computer service— including pregnant women who obtain these pills for use in a self-managed abortion. See 18 U.S.C. § 1461–1462. I will not accommodate or become complicit in these crimes by excusing a student’s absence from class if that student skips class to obtain an illegal abortion in Texas, or to perform a self-managed abortion with illegally obtained abortion drugs.
    12. Nor will I knowingly excuse a student’s absence from class if that student leaves the state to obtain a purely elective abortion. I will certainly accommodate students who are seeking medically necessary abortions in response to a pregnancy that threatens the student’s life or health. But I will not accommodate a purely elective abortion that serves only to kill an unborn child that was conceived through an act of voluntary and consensual sexual intercourse. Pregnancy is not a disease, and elective abortions are not “health care” or “medical treatment” of any sort. They are purely elective procedures, and I will not accommodate an act of violence against the most vulnerable and defenseless members of the human family.
    13. Fourth. I expect my teaching assistants to obey and respect the laws of Texas and the laws of the United States, so I will not knowingly hire a teaching assistant who has violated the abortion laws of Texas or the federal-law prohibitions on the shipment or receipt of abortion pills and abortion-related paraphernalia. See 18 U.S.C. § 1461–1462. The Title IX rule purports to ban “discrimination” against anyone who has had an abortion, even if the abortion was illegal and even if the woman violated or aided or abetted violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1461–1462 to obtain the abortion. But I do not hire criminals or lawbreakers to serve as teaching assistants, and I will not comply with this concocted non-discrimination rule.

I declare under penalty of perjury that the facts stated in this declaration are true and correct.

You can see the whole lawsuit here.

UDPATE: Quite understandably, I’m seeing a lot of vitriol in the comments on this post. Comments are moderated, and I would ask commenters to reacquaint themselves with the Comments Policy. I’m sure you can make your points effectively without, for example, name calling, etc. Thank you.

The post Philosopher: Missed Class to Get an Abortion? Not Excused. first appeared on Daily Nous.

Unite senior officer admits Graham asked for updates on Ogle-less Irish organisation plan

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 30/05/2024 - 6:04am in

After claiming it was ‘preposterous’ to suggest there was a plan to oust senior Irish trade unionist returning from cancer, Tom Fitzgerald finally admits under oath that plan he discussed in emails with Graham was the same one he ‘ultimately’ presented without cancer survivor Brendan Ogle

Tom Fitzgerald, a senior Unite officer close to Unite general secretary Sharon Graham has told a tribunal in Dublin that it would have been ‘controversial’ to include the name of Unite’s senior officer for Ireland Brendan Ogle’s in an organisational chart.

Ogle had lodged a grievance that he was being forced out after he returned from treatment for life-threatening cancer and has taken Unite to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) tribunal in Dublin for disability discrimination. He is also, separately, suing Unite, Graham and her ally Tony Woodhouse for defamation.

During his testimony yesterday Fitzgerald, a supporter of Graham, had told the tribunal that it was ‘preposterous on a load of levels’ to suggest there was any plan by Unite to oust Ogle, who supported a rival of Ms Graham during the 2021 general secretary election.

Ogle has testified that Fitzgerald told him during a meeting that Graham had told Fitzgerald to draw up a new organisational plan for the union in Ireland and that Ogle’s name was not to be in it. Fitzgerald denied saying this and had claimed that he was not working on the strategic plan at Graham’s behest, but was working on a regional plan or organisational review for his boss Jackie Pollock and the Irish executive.

I never had a conversation with Sharon about strategy, I was contributing to a regional plan.

Tom Fitzgerald

However, during her cross-examination of Fitzgerald, Ogle’s barrister Mary-Paula Guinness BL pointed Fitzgerald to emails between him and Graham in which Graham asked for an update regarding his plan – and that Fitzgerald went on to present a plan to the Irish executive in December 2022 that did not include Ogle. She also pointed out that Pollock had testified that as far as he was concerned, Ogle was returning to his usual job and responsibilities in full.

Fitzgerald, who was promoted to ‘regional coordinating officer’ (RCO) during Ogle’s illness, a grade 10 position like Ogle’s, said that he had presented his plan to the Irish executive and that Ogle’s name was not on the plan because it would have been ‘controversial’ to include it because he was a Grade 10. Guinness responded, “You’re a Grade 10 and you’re in it!”.

Mr Ogle wasn’t even aware of this documentation [the emails between Fitzgerald and Graham] when he gave his testimony that there clearly was a plan being headed up by you and you were going to deliver by the end of the year. That email to Sharon supports the fact that you were reporting directly to Sharon about this…

Brendan Ogle’s barrister Mary-Paula Guinness

Pressed by Guinness on whether the plan he presented in December that year – from which Ogle’s name was missing – was the same document he had been working on for Sharon Graham, Fitzgerald at first claimed that what he was discussing with Graham was a different plan. However, after further pressure from Guinness – who asked if it wasn’t the same Ogle-free plan where was the other one? Was it this document? – he eventually admitted:

It ultimately become [sic] this.

Guinness retorted, ‘Thank you Mr Fitzgerald, that’s what I was trying to get at’. She then told him, concerning his denial that he had told Ogle that Graham had said Ogle wasn’t to be in the new organisational plan,

The proof of the pudding is in the eating… we have been provided with a plan which you said you told him nothing about, which was presented in December 2022, and he’s not on it.

Fitzgerald also referred under cross examination to Ogle taking a demotion to a job more than an hour from Dublin because of his health and that he understood that when he (Fitzgerald) was promoted to RCO Ogle would be returning to the more junior role. However, Pollock’s evidence was emphatic that Ogle was coming back to his old job and that a move to Dundalk would likely have been worse for Ogle’s health, because as well as the extra daily travel, in his opinion the regional officer job was the most stressful and difficult one in the whole union.

Guinness put it to Fitzgerald that when he applied for the RCO position, the interviewing panel preferred another candidate for it until Sharon Graham intervened. Fitzgerald claimed not to be aware of it, but admitted Graham had contacted him personally to inform him of his promotion and congratulate him.

The case continues with closing arguments and submissions 18 June.

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Unite ‘tried to have journo report Ogle wanted punitive move to be near [dead] family’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 28/05/2024 - 7:50am in

Leading Irish trade unionist’s first case against union and general secretary Sharon Graham continues at Dublin’s Workplace Relations Commission

Unite tried to have an Irish journalist write a story that leading union figure Brendan Ogle wanted to move to Dundalk – more than an hour’s drive from his Dublin base and to a more stressful job – to be near his family when his family in Dundalk were all dead, according to unchallenged testimony given to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in Dublin today.

Ogle, well known in Ireland for his work on the Right2Water anti-privatisation campaign and others, has taken Unite to the WRC tribunal claiming the union discriminated against him after his return from treatment for aggressive cancer and was trying to sideline him or push him out. Ogle had supported general secretary Sharon Graham’s opponent Howard Beckett during the 2021 election for the position.

His wife, Mandy La Combre, was called to testify today after Unite’s expensive lawyers tried to use a Facebook post by her about Unite’s conduct towards him – described by Unite’s barrister as a ‘hand grenade’ – as justification for the union’s chilly attitude toward her husband. She told the Commission that Irish journalist Mick Clifford told her Unite had approached him to write an article saying Ogle wanted to move to Dundalk to be near family – but Clifford had, correctly, said to her ‘but his family in Dundalk are dead, aren’t they?’

‘Yes they are’, she told him and the tribunal.

Unite’s barrister quickly shut down the conversation, but La Combre’s account was not challenged.

The tribunal also heard, from retired senior official Jacky Pollock, that he had been told by former Unite general secretary Len McCluskey that Ogle needed to ‘watch his back and keep his head down’ because of the new general secretary. Again this was not challenged – Pollock was a witness called by Unite.

Pollock told the tribunal that Ogle was originally enthusiastic about taking the job in Dundalk and that the roles offered to Ogle were ‘very very important’. Pollock was shown emails from Ogle refusing the job and complaining that the work the job involved would have taken only a couple of days a month, along with an email from former retail union general secretary John Douglas – who has given evidence supporting Ogle’s case – saying that Ogle’s ‘position was being dismantled’, a claim he denied.

Unite has claimed in the case that Ogle’s change in role was required because of the union’s ‘change of direction’ under Sharon Graham. In her cross-examination, Ogle’s barrister Mary-Paula Guinness showed Pollock evidence of activities Ogle was undertaking as part of his job and asked which of them would no longer be needed under Graham’s ‘change of direction’, which appeared to be none of them.

And Unite’s witnesses so far have claimed that the move to Dundalk was to protect Ogle from stress that might cause a recurrence of the cancer. Pollock admitted that the job in Dundalk would have been far more stressful that Ogle’s existing role;

There would have been more stress. All the regional officer jobs are the hardest job in Unite.

Pollock appeared unable to provide a clear answer as to why, if Ogle was not being pressured to take the Dundalk job, Pollock raised it on four separate occasions after Ogle had made clear he was not interested in taking it.

In a brief testimony by video, former general secretary Len McCluskey told the tribunal no one had voted on Ogle’s job as ‘senior officer’ for Ireland. However, Skwawkbox understands that the appointment was voted on twice each by the Irish and UK executive groups.

The case continues tomorrow.

Sharon Graham has previously cancelled appearances in the Republic, avoiding members’ anger and scrutiny over the union’s ‘disgraceful’ treatment of Brendan Ogle. The situation caused such outrage in Ireland that union members picketed Graham’s long-delayed visit to Dublin, Unite’s Community section condemned it as ‘disgusting’ and a whole sector branch threatened to disaffiliate.

Graham’s tenure as Unite boss has also been marked by a string of other allegations – which neither she nor the union has denied – including destruction of evidence against her husband in threat, misogyny and bullying complaints brought by union employees. She is also embroiled in a defamation lawsuit brought by Irish union legend Brendan Ogle for the union’s treatment of him and comments made about him by Graham and her close ally Tony Woodhouse.

She has also been alleged by insiders to have:

Her supporters also prevented debate and votes on Gaza at a meeting of the union’s elected executive last month.

Skwawkbox is in Dublin again to cover the continuation of the Ogle vs Unite discrimination case. If you would like to contribute toward the cost of the trip, please use one of the options shown below.

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Libel case winner calls for suspension of sanctioned judge from community chair role

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/05/2024 - 8:49am in

Simon Myerson

The President of Leeds Jewish Representative Council, Judge Laurence Saffer, is facing calls to suspend and investigate its hard-line Zionist Chair, Simon Myerson KC for crude and abusive social media posts.

The call for Myerson’s suspension comes from James Wilson, who published his letter to the President of Leeds Jewish Representative Council on Twitter/X on this week. In April 2023 Myerson re-posted a tweet by Twitter/X user Tom Doran which accused Wilson of being ‘the scum of the earth’ and in some way responsible for the death of Pete Newbon, a director of anti-left pressure group ‘Labour against Antisemitism’ (LAAS).

James Wilson’s post containing his letter to Saffer

Wilson was the claimant in Wilson v Mendelsohn, Newbon and Cantor. He was recently awarded £30,000 in damages by a judge for defamation and misuse of private information. Newbon died by suicide in January 2022.

Doran’s tweet and Myerson’s re-tweet led to the High Court judge awarding Wilson increased damages. The judge said Doran’s tweet was crude abuse of the same dehumanising kind used against Jewish people by the Nazis in the 1930s. Despite the judge’s findings, it appears Myerson has not apologised to Wilson.

Myerson is also the part-time judge who was recently reprimanded by the Lord Chancellor and Lady Chief Justice for engaging in political in political controversy and posting offensive tweets. It is not known whether Mr Myerson KC continues to hold judicial office in light of his very public intervention in relation to a Green Party councillor. Skwawkbox has contacted the Judicial Press Office for comment.

Myerson recently called for the Green Party to suspend one of its elected councillors over his social media posts on the issue of Gaza. Myerson was also interviewed by LBC radio demanding the councillor’s immediate suspension. The hypocrisy of calling for another person to be suspended for their social media posts despite a judicial finding that he has engaged in crude abuse seems not to have been raised.

It is not known what, if any, action Leeds Jewish Representative Council will take about Myerson. The Council represents over 8,000 Jewish people who live in Leeds.

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Unite boss Graham ‘not amenable’ to Irish law, tribunal hears in Ogle discrimination case

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 05/05/2024 - 7:29am in

‘Extraordinary position’ taken by general secretary in bid to avoid testimony and cross-examination could result in prosecution

Unite union general secretary Sharon Graham has taken the ‘extraordinary position’ that she is not ‘amenable’ to Irish law, lawyers acting for senior trade unionist Brendan Ogle have told a Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) tribunal. Unite’s lawyers had first used the term during February’s session of Ogle’s discrimination case against Unite, when Ogle’s barrister Mary Paula Guinness BL raised the topic of WRC adjudicator, former UN prosecutor Elizabeth Spelman, issuing a subpoena to compel Graham’s appearance to give sworn evidence. Graham’s lawyers have subsequently confirmed her refusal to appear voluntarily.

Last Friday, the employment tribunal held a hearing, in Ogle’s Employment Equality Act 1998 complaint against Unite, of Ogle’s request for Graham, who is usually based in London, to be compelled to appear in Dublin for questioning under oath.

Ogle is claiming that Unite discriminated against him by sidelining him on his return from treatment for life-threatening cancer – and that he was told that the issue was that Graham ‘recognises loyalty’ from those who supported her in Unite’s 2021 general secretary election. Ogle, like many Irish figures and branches, supported Graham’s rival, Howard Beckett.

Graham’s lawyers argued that there is no need for Graham to appear because Unite will send a subordinate, Ogle’s former colleague, Tom Fitzgerald, to refute Ogle’s claim.

Sharon Graham has previously cancelled appearances in the Republic, avoiding members’ anger and scrutiny over the union’s ‘disgraceful’ treatment of Brendan Ogle. The situation caused such outrage in Ireland that union members picketed Graham’s long-delayed visit to Dublin, Unite’s Community section condemned it as ‘disgusting’ and a whole sector branch threatened to disaffiliate.

The tribunal had given Graham until 12 April for Ms Graham to respond to Ogle’s lawyers’ request to attend the next set of hearings at the end of this month, after which Spelman would hear legal argument the request for a formal summons. Graham did not respond. If a subpoena is eventually requested and issued, refusal to comply is a prosecutable criminal offence under Ireland’s ‘Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018‘.

Guinness, representing Ogle, told the tribunal that it is clear that Graham has “relevant information” in the case:

This is a general secretary who is general secretary over Unite in Ireland; it appears if we are to rely on the respondent’s submission that she has instructed her representatives that she is not amenable to Irish law.

She described the refusal as an “extraordinary” position, referring to Graham’s recent attendance at policy conferences in Dublin, Unite’s status as an active union in Ireland. and Ogle’s separate High Court defamation proceedings against Graham, her right-hand man Tony Woodhouse and the union, in which Graham is scheduled to appear, adding that:

She is general secretary of the whole union, including the union in Ireland. They have a head office here, her authority is exercised – it would be an unusual situation if she was to say she is not amenable to Irish law…

[Unite’s rulebook giving the general secretary sole power to change the responsibilities of union officers] all links in to the fact that in their submission they say this change arose after [Graham’s] election as general secretary.

Unite is the UK’s second-biggest union and one of only a handful of UK unions also active in the Republic of Ireland, with thousands of members in several sectors. Its lawyers claim that the WRC has no jurisdiction to compel Graham to attend.

However, if a summons is issued and Graham refuses to comply, she could face potential arrest if she returns to Ireland and a possible prison sentence and large fine under the Employment Act.

Adjudicator Spelman said she would communicate her decision on the summons in writing to both parties before the next set of hearings begins on 27 May.

In other news, Brendan Ogle announced this week that he will stand in as an independent candidate for Dublin in Ireland’s European Parliament elections in June.

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Unite Brighton & South Coast passes no-confidence motion in ‘shameful’ Graham

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 22/04/2024 - 8:02am in

Betrayals on ‘anti-racism, Palestine, harassment and dignity at work cited by furious members

Unite SE6246 Brighton and South East Coast branch has passed a motion of no-confidence, with no votes against and only two abstentions, in the union’s general secretary Sharon Graham. The motion cites Graham’s actions on anti-racism, Palestine, harassment and dignity at work – and the branch members’ ‘dismay’ at them.

In full, the motion reads:

Emergency Motion – Sharon Graham’s Leadership of Unite

This branch views with dismay recent actions by Sharon Graham and instructs her to abide by union policy on anti-racism, Palestine, harassment and dignity at work. We note:

  1. The ongoing disability discrimination case brought by former senior officer in Ireland, Brendan Ogle, against Unite. It is estimated that legal fees alone will exceed £1m, money paid for out of members’ subscriptions.
  2. The collective grievance from the National Officers’ Group at the high handed behaviour of Graham. They allege that workers are being banned from their workplace and/or suspended for raising a grievance. They state that:

Threats of legal action for raising a grievance cannot be ignored or endorsed…. For any worker to exhibit the courage to voice their concerns about their opinions of inappropriate behaviour against them or others is a right not to be denied. If it is to be crushed or swept away simply because the employer is more powerful and we do nothing about such unfairness in the workplace then who are we standing up for?

  1. The banning from Unite premises of Jeremy Corbyn – The Big Lie about the weaponisation of ‘anti-Semitism’ in the Labour Party.
  2. A new feature-length documentary ‘ON RESISTANCE STREET’, has also been banned. It is an examination of the role which music has played historically in the fight against fascism and racism. The excuse for this is an Executive Committee decision in September 2023. According to Sarah Carpenter:

Unite should not use its premises or resources to show or promote any external films or other content that does not relate to our industrial agenda to support the pay, terms and conditions of our members and/or support existing Unite policies. In this context the Union should be especially careful to avoid appearing to endorse any material which causes unnecessary offence to members.

The reason that Corbyn – The Big Lie was banned was not to offend Zionists. It would appear that this film has been banned in order not to upset fascists or racists.

Historically the trade union movement has taken pride in political education. Industrial action went hand in hand with political action. Without the latter workers are left at the mercy of a capitalist system that has no hesitation in using the state to reduce their rights.

Graham’s tenure as Unite boss has also been marked by a string of other allegations, which have never been denied.

The refusal of Graham to mobilise against the genocide in Gaza or take part in the national demonstrations is shameful. We demand that Graham adhere to union policy on Palestine.

This Branch has no confidence in Sharon Graham and calls for her to resign or be removed.

Proposed         Tony Greenstein

Seconded        Sheila Hall

In an email to Unite’s acting regional secretary for the south-east, copied to the notifying him of the motion, branch secretary Tony Greenstein wrote:

I won’t say I have pleasure in attaching a resolution of no confidence in the General Secretary but nonetheless it is my duty…

…We wish this resolution to be placed before the Regional Executive and all other relevant committees in the region including the Area Activists group. We also want it discussed by the union executive.

Because of the seriousness in passing such a motion, I will add a few comments…

…The final straw for some of us was Graham banning the showing of an anti-fascist/anti-racist film on Unite premises and the explanation for this by the former Regional Secretary for the South-East, Sarah Carpenter that:

‘ the Union should be especially careful to avoid appearing to endorse any material which causes unnecessary offence to members.’

This can only be taken to mean that Sharon Graham doesn’t want to offend racists and fascists ‘unnecessarily’. Such a position runs counter to everything this union has hitherto stood for. Sharon Graham is an utter disgrace.

Jeremy Corbyn – The Big Lie was also banned because it might give offence – in this case to the Zionists who are now supporting the ongoing genocide in Gaza.

Graham has not only done nothing to oppose what Israel is doing in Gaza but she has actively tried to prevent others doing anything. She has ditched policy on Palestine undemocratically and unilaterally, with the compliance of a feeble and deferential Executive.

Her recent statement targeting anti-war groups and activists and giving explicit support for the production and transportation of weapons to Gaza that have so far killed 14,000 children, and thousands of women and civilians is unconscionable.

Any General Secretary worth their salt would be taking steps to ensure that no weapons whose destination was Israel were manufactured and failing that would call upon dockers and other transport workers not to handle them, as she did with Russian oil recently.

When I think of the support that General Secretaries of the T&GWU, which was one of the founders of Unite, gave to the peace movement and anti-racism – people like Frank Cousins and Ron Todd – then Sharon Graham’s behaviour is shameful.

Jack Jones, another former General Secretary, went to fight against the fascists in Spain in 1936. Sharon Graham has banned an anti-fascist film for fear of upsetting fascists. For such an action alone she deserves to go and the Union Executive should have the courage to face her down rather than accepting her dictats.

I won’t mention the other matters such as her behaviour towards the staff and Brendan Ogle.

Suffice to say that if Sharon Graham thinks that anti-racism and anti-fascism has nothing to do with her ‘industrial agenda’ then this demonstrates that she understands nothing about how racism is used to divide the working class.

Sharon Graham’s tenure as Unite boss has also been marked by a string of other allegations – which neither she nor the union has denied – including destruction of evidence against her husband in threat, misogyny and bullying complaints brought by union employees. She is embroiled in a defamation lawsuit and a discrimination tribunal case brought by Irish union legend Brendan Ogle for the union’s treatment of him and comments made about him by Graham and her close ally Tony Woodhouse.

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Victorious smear victim takes aim at ‘antisemitism’ lawyer who misled court

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 21/04/2024 - 11:15pm in

Zionist Mark Lewis panned by James Wilson in series of Twitter posts

Earlier this month, university lecturer James Wilson won substantial damages from two so-called ‘antisemitism campaigners’ who had foully smeared and endangered him and his family in their efforts to discredit him as an opponent of the ‘left antisemitism’ narrative that supporters of Israel have weaponised for almost a decade now against supporters of Palestinian human and political rights.

Now the victorious Wilson has taken aim in his social media feed at Zionist lawyer Mark Lewis, who at one time represented at least two of the defendants. Lewis, a pro-Israel activist who spoke about ‘unapologetic Zionism’ at the launch of a UK pro-Israel group considered by many to be far-right and boasted of wanting to make people whom he considered ‘antisemites’ homeless, has been lionised by the Zionist right for his pursuit of their opponents.

He has also been sanctioned by the Solicitors Regulation Authority for abusive conduct on social media – and wished a young Jewish supporter of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour dead – and was heavily criticised by a judge in a different case for his conduct of the case and his lack of proper research on behalf of his clients:

a matter of very real concern that the Claimants put evidence before the Court, on an ex parte application, that was not true…

…he had simply failed to carry out sufficient (or any) research or to take adequate instructions from his clients.

And, as James Wilson has pointed out – alongside much more – Lewis was forced to apologise to the court for providing misleading information in Wilson’s suit about the financial health of one (by the time of the hearing, apparently former) client, Edward Cantor who, he had claimed, did not own property that could be sold to pay any penalty levied by the court:

As Luke Turner, who responded to Wilson’s posts, pointed out, Lewis’s distaste for ‘antisemites’ did not prevent him representing two extreme right-wingers – described by the judge in the case as bullying and ‘whiffing’ of antisemitism – when they wanted to sue Turner for posts about them:

And in a pair of posts showing screenshots of communications from Lewis, Wilson – himself a now non-practising solicitor – showed that Lewis demanded thousands of pounds, from the victim of the smear, to settle Lewis’s case against them, while expressing his and his clients’ expectation of victory in the case and repeating that Cantor owned nothing that could be used to pay any penalty. The tactic and the refusal to accept Wilson’s settlement proposal racked up enormous legal costs for the failed defendants:

And Wilson concluded his posts – for now at least – by taking aim at Simon Myerson, a supporter of Israel and part-time judge recently sanctioned for abusive comments on social media. Myerson had shared a post calling Wilson the ‘scum of the earth’, which the judge in Wilson’s case described as:

abuse of the same dehumanising kind as was used of Jewish people by the Nazis in the 1930s.

The judge also rejected the defence’s claim that Wilson’s correspondence with Myerson about his sharing of the abusive post demonstrated any kind of aggression or unreasonableness on Wilson’s part.

As Jewish author Michael Rosen, who was also targeted by some of the same people, pointed out, perhaps with his tongue firmly lodged in his cheek, it is noteworthy that the UK ‘mainstream’ press – which will run for weeks with any allegation against a left-winger or supporter of Palestinians – has shown no interest in covering the outcome of the Wilson case or the abusive conduct of those on the losing, pro-Israel, side:

However, Skwawkbox has covered the case in full and a timeline of it can be found here.

The case is not the first conducted by Lewis against supporters of Palestinian rights that ended poorly for his clients. In 2020 Jane Heybroek, a human rights barrister, won a stunning victory when actress Tracy-Ann Oberman and TV presenter Rachel Riley dropped their libel claim against her over an article retweeted by Heybroek criticising their behaviour and contributed toward her legal costs defending the action.

Mark Lewis was asked for comment about Wilson’s comments and analysis but had not responded at the time of writing. He was also ‘tagged’ by Wilson at the start of his Twitter analysis about Lewis’s involvement in the case:

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Exclusive: Graham fails to testify in Ogle discrimination case – subpoena to follow

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/04/2024 - 8:07am in

Failure to obey a tribunal summons is a prosecutable offence under Irish law

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham has failed to respond to a court request to give evidence in Brendan Ogle’s discrimination case against the union she leads – and now faces a subpoena, or legal summons, to compel her to attend, for which she could be prosecuted if she fails to comply.

Skwawkbox has covered the discrimination case extensively – Ogle is also suing Unite, Graham and her sidekick Tony Woodhouse over defamatory comments made about him by Graham and Woodhouse in an apparent attempt to discredit Ogle and his discrimination case.

Despite attempts by Unite’s hugely expensive legal team, in an apparent demonstration of their eagerness to keep Graham from having to give sworn testimony, to argue that she was not relevant to the case because she is the UK general secretary and other witnesses would do instead, Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Adjudicator Elizabeth Spelman has responded to Graham’s failure to respond by inviting Ogle and his lawyers to apply for a binding subpoena to compel Graham to attend and give evidence under oath – which Ogle’s barrister Mary-Paula Guinness has already confirmed in an earlier hearing that she will do.

Ogle’s legal team has until 22 April to file its application and Unite’s lawyers have another week to respond and a hearing of the arguments will take place 7 May.

The Unite argument that she is not relevant falls apart under scrutiny, as she has featured heavily in others’ testimony during the case so far, including her allegedly telling Irish officials to inform Ogle that there was no place for him. Unite barrister Mark Harty has also said that Graham may not be ‘amenable’ to subpoena, as if a legal summons is a matter of whether one feels like being summoned.

Ogle is claiming that Unite discriminated against him by sidelining him on his return from cancer treatment – and that he was told that Graham ‘recognises loyalty’ from those who supported her in Unite’s 2021 general secretary election. Ogle, like many Irish figures and branches, supported Graham’s rival, Howard Beckett.

In last week’s sessions of the hearing, Irish Unite stalwart James ‘Junior’ Coss gave evidence corroborating Ogle’s account of sitting through the creation of a whiteboard chart about how the union would be organised after his removal, to the evident ire of the aggressive Harty, whose approach in the preceding session in February led to several ‘sidebars’ with Spelman and Ogle’s outraged barrister.

John Douglas, former general secretary of Irish retail union Mandate, also gave evidence in support of Ogle’s case, to a similar reaction from Harty.

Sharon Graham has previously cancelled appearances in the Republic, avoiding members’ anger and scrutiny over the union’s ‘disgraceful’ treatment of Brendan Ogle. The situation caused such outrage in Ireland that union members picketed Graham’s long-delayed visit to Dublin, Unite’s Community section condemned it as ‘disgusting’ and a whole sector branch threatened to disaffiliate. She did, however, briefly speak at Unite’s Irish policy conference this week, although she did not attend the union dinner with delegates.

Skwawkbox wrote to Unite to ask for comment on the issue:

Ms Graham failed to attend the Brendan Ogle hearing in Dublin by last Friday’s deadline, despite being asked to attend and testify. The Workplace Relations Commission has now invited Ogle and his lawyers to apply for a subpoena.

Please advise, no later than 5pm:

  1. Why didn’t she attend to give evidence?
  2. Does she and Unite intend to contest the subpoena request?
  3. If a subpoena is issued, non-compliance is a criminal offence under Irish law. Will she comply?

    At the time of writing, almost six hours after the reply deadline, Unite had not provided any response. Failure to obey a subpoena in employment cases is a prosecutable criminal offence under Ireland’s ‘Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018‘, with with penalties including prison sentences and large fines.

    Sharon Graham’s tenure as Unite boss has also been marked by a string of other allegations – which neither she nor the union has denied – including destruction of evidence against her husband in threat, misogyny and bullying complaints brought by union employees. She is also embroiled in a defamation lawsuit brought by Irish union legend Brendan Ogle for the union’s treatment of him and comments made about him by Graham and her close ally Tony Woodhouse.

    She has also been alleged by insiders to have:

    Her supporters also prevented debate and votes on Gaza at a meeting of the union’s elected executive last month.

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    A timeline of Wilson’s victorious case over ‘antisemitism campaigner’ smearers

    Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 17/04/2024 - 1:09am in

    How the case developed that ended with uni lecturer James Wilson’s hard-fought win in court after smears put him and his family in danger – and saw LAAS director Newbon commit suicide

    Last week, university lecturer James Wilson won £30,000 in damages from two defendants, James Mendelsohn and Edward Cantor, who had contributed to a smear against Wilson by a third ‘antisemitism campaigner’, Peter Newbon, that put the lives of Wilson and his family at risk. Newbon, a director of the right-wing pressure group ‘Labour against Antisemitism’ (LAAS), was a defendant in the case but died by suicide, after a row with his wife, before the case was concluded. The judgement in the Wilson case revealed that Newbon had ‘concealed’ the case from his wife

    The case never involved much-loved Jewish author Michael Rosen. However, Newbon’s fellow ‘campaigners’ have tried hard to associate Newbon’s death with Rosen because Rosen dared to complain about the antisemitic doctoring of his famous children’s book, Bear Hunt, in a social media post by Newbon used to attack former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The coroner presiding at the inquest into Newbon’s death made no such connection, nor even mentioned Rosen throughout the proceedings, but this has not stopped the trolls’ efforts.

    For readers unfamiliar with the Wilson vs Mendelsohn et al case, below is a timeline showing the chronology of the smears and the subsequent legal victory:

    • Nineteen months before August 2020: a confrontation takes place at Wilson’s children’s school with ‘Mrs A’. The trial judge has ruled that Wilson was blameless, but A posts a picture and libellous claim to Facebook
    • August 2020: Wilson disputes with Newbon on Twitter about the so-called ‘IHRA definition’ of antisemitism – a definition that has been heavily criticised, not least because it doesn’t define, is used to suppress criticism of Israel and enables false accusations of antisemitism – by Jewish legal experts in the UK and even by its original author, Kenneth Stern
    • August 2020: in a manoeuvre typical of so-called ‘antisemitism campaigners’, Newbon resorts quickly to ad hominem personal attacks and responds with libellous  claim that Wilson is a ‘freak who takes photos of kids’
    • August 2020 onwards: Wilson tries to negotiate with Newbon to remove the libel and warns that he will sue if it is not taken down
    • Around August 2020: Newbon’s university employers warn Newbon that he is in breach of the university’s social media code
    • November 2020 Newbon gets into dispute with another person on social media – and receives a second warning from university
    • Around the same time, Newbon also becomes involved with the so-called ‘University Antisemitism Map’ which targets academics who criticise Israel or dispute the right-wing claim of ‘Labour antisemitism’, labelling them antisemitic and identifying their place of work so collaborators can target their employment. Newbon contacts one institution with an allegation about an employee – the employee is exonerated by institution
    • May 2021: Newbon posts a doctored screenshot of a famous ‘tweet’ that originally showed Jeremy Corbyn reading ‘Bear Hunt’ to a group of children. The book held by Corbyn has been photoshopped to make it appear that Corbyn is reading from a notorious antisemitic text, ‘The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion’. The image is accompanied by a parody of the words from the Bear Hunt book
    • May 2021: numerous Twitter users object and write to Newbon’s university, whose name is displayed on his Twitter profile. Rosen is informed of the tweet and comments publicly that the doctoring was an antisemitic thing to do. The university says it will take action
    • May 2021: As revealed during the subsequent Wilson case, Newbon prepares an apology to be issued to Rosen, then withdraws the apology and starts legal proceedings, presumably having been advised by lawyers that he has a case against Rosen
    • December 2021: Newbon escalates by issuing a ‘Particulars of Claim’, the formal opening of a libel case, in which he accepts that Rosen is ‘in’ the tweet but claims Rosen is not the target, as the target is Corbyn who is reading Rosen’s book to children in the image. Rosen prepares defence
    • January 2022: Newbon ends his own life after a row with his wife
    • January 2022 onwards: Rosen is blamed for Newbon’s death by various parties either by implication or actual accusations. In articles at the time, another case (ie Wilson’s) is mentioned,  but not by name. Some people note that Newbon was running two cases at the same time, defending against Wilson, claiming against Rosen
    • March 2022: Wilson and Newbon’s wife settle Newbon’s involvement in Wilson’s case against Newbon, Mendelsohn and Cantor
    • February 2023: a High Court judge rejects an attempt by Mendelsohn and Cantor to have the case against them thrown out. The pair had attempted to claim that Wilson could and should have minimised the damage they did to him by backing out earlier from the online conversation in which he was smeared. The judge described the attempt as ‘not very attractive’
    • April 2023: The inquest into Newbon’s death takes place. The coroner makes no mention of either the Wilson or Rosen legal cases. The coroner does mentioned that Newbon had a ‘disagreement’ with his wife and that he left the house in a ‘fragile state’. 
    • December 2023: the Wilson v Mendelsohn, Newbon (deceased) and Cantor case leads to a four-day trial.
    • April 2024: the judge’s findings are published. The judge finds against Cantor and Mendelsohn, dismissing the claims of a string of their witnesses and awarding a total of £30,000 in damages to James Wilson. In the judgment narrative, the late Newbon is described as a bully

    The case, which involved the disclosure by Newbon’s widow of his personal communications, also revealed interesting aspects of his conduct toward Michael Rosen and the behaviour of the trolls who have tried to exploit his death to attack Rosen. Analysis to follow.

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    APA-led Class Action Lawsuit Prevails

    Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/04/2024 - 10:30pm in

    Tags 

    News, lawsuit, Taxes

    In February, a judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit known as American Philosophical Association et al. v. District of Columbia.

    The lawsuit was started in 2017 by the American Philosophical Association and the American Anthropological Association.

    It concerned a provision of District law that gave “semipublic institutions”—such as nonprofit academic, educational, and charitable organizations—that have offices in Washington, DC a hotel and sales tax exemption, but did not give the same exemption to semipublic institutions without offices in DC.

    The Superior Court of the District of Columbia ruled that the law violates the U.S Constitution’s Commerce Clause. According to a press release from attorneys involved in the case,

    that Clause prohibits a state, including the District, from discriminating against out-of-state entities when they participate in its economy. Thus, the District, in favoring its own resident organizations, was found to have discriminated un-Constitutionally against such entities from other states. Not a single other state imposes a residency requirement on semipublic institutions in order to obtain a tax exemption when engaging in commerce in it.

    The case will now move to determining how much in damages DC must pay, and to whom.

    Further details here.

    The post APA-led Class Action Lawsuit Prevails first appeared on Daily Nous.

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