In the latest news from the blogosphere, lawyer and alleged human rights profiteer Richard Warman has filed suit against several bloggers.
Claiming defamation and seeking $50,000, Warman is suing the National Post, Ezra Levant, Kathy Shaidle, Kate McMillan, Mark Fournier, his wife Constance Wilkins-Fournier, and FreeDominion.ca.
Naturally, numerous bloggers are pleased as punch about it.
Equally naturally, the paintiffs are not so pleased about it (You mean defendants, right, dummy? -ed).
A good deal of the alleged defamation seems to stem from the infamous "Anne Cools" post, wherein he allegedly wrote, under the guise of "90sAreOver":
"“Not only is Canadian Senator Anne Cools is a Negro, she is also an immigrant! And she is also one helluva preachy c*nt. She does NOT belong in my Canada. My Anglo-Germanic people were here before there was a Canada and her kind have jumped in, polluted our race, and forced their bullshit down our throats. Time to go back to when the women nigger imports knew their place… And that place was NOT in public!"The comments have seemingly been traced back to Warman through the IP address from which they were posted.
Although there is clearly some reasonable doubt as to whether or not it was Warman who was actually using that IP address at the time.
Then again, that doubt may be a little less reasonable. If Warman had no history of doing what it's been suggested he's done, that would be one thing. But that isn't the case.
When himself put before the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Warman himself hasn't always stood up to scrutiny, particularly on the topic of his internet dealings. Furthermore, he has done something that closely resembles lying under oath (which is perjury in a proper court of law).
Consider the following, taken from a transcript (via Levant) from a 1 February, 2007 hearing during the course of Levant v. Lemire:
"Kulaszka: Did you ever sign up a user account at the message board?
Warman: No, I don't believe I did.
Chairperson: I want to be clear I understand that. Did he sign up a user account?
Kulaszka: A user account at the message board.
Chairperson: That would enable you to participate in the messaging. Is that what that would do?
Warman: Yes. No, I didn't need to. I could access everything that I needed to as a guest.
Chairperson: So, as a guest, only to view. But you did not sign up in order to add material to it?
Warman: No, I did not."
Yet, it turns out that Warman did, in fact, sign up an account on the website in question, and was eventally forced to admit to it.
Among his other postings as "Lucie" was the following:
""Theres a reason it's called "White" Nationalism and why the founders of NS excluded sexual deviants that are like a Cancer to our movement...""
Charming stuff. But onward, where Warman admits that he, in fact, was "Lucie".
"Kulaszka: If you could go to tab 3, the respondent's binder. Three pages from the back. Do you recognize this user account called "Lucie"?
Warman: Sorry, I stand corrected. Yes, I do. That is an e-mail address that I used.
Kulaszka: When did you use it?
Warman: It indicates on Saturday, November 15th, 2003 at 1:03 pm and on Saturday, November 15th, 2003 at 3:03 pm.
Kulaszka: You made two log-ins?
Warman: That's what it states here."
With this particular episode in mind, the allegations raised over the Anne Cools post is a strange hill for Richard Warman to choose to die on.
If Warman could produce concrete proof that he wasn't responsible for the post in question, that would be one thing. But whatever evidence has led Mark Fournier to believe Warman is the guilty party, along with his past -- confirmed -- episodes in so-called "covert posting", is enough for Levant, Fournier and company to legitimately argue that they believe Warman is responsible.
The legitimacy of such an opinion now established, the only thing Warman's lawsuit could really be about is libel chill -- dredging up fear of a libel suit in order to silence his detractors.
One certainly can't accept Warman's insistence that he didn't on his own say-so. Not based on past experience.
Unless he can conclusively prove that he didn't post under the name 90sAreOver, in which case the opinion that he did so would be clearly disproven. In the meantime, those opinions -- that he did so -- remain legitimate, and those who hold the opinions have the right to express them.