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March 11, 2010

Who is turning Canada into a fascist state?

Last Thursday night I spoke at the University of Western Ontario in London about my new book Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid, but the meeting was almost cancelled by the University after it was told that I was wanted on charges of assault - a complete and utter lie.

Not until the organizers of the meeting agreed to pay $450 for six security guards was the talk allowed to proceed.

This followed a series of strange events, which included a radio host in Windsor calling for my book launch in that city to be cancelled and “editing” of a Wikipedia page about me.

Were these events a conspiracy or simply the work of juvenile vandals and willing fools? You decide.

Here’s what happened:

Just after the first event (in Montreal) of the promotional tour for my new book was announced, someone altered the Wikipedia entry for Yves Engler.

Between 12:23 a.m. and 2:45 a.m. on Feb. 23, 2010, a person or persons using a computer with IP address 132.205.242.200 (traced back to a Montreal location) made a series of additions or changes.

The most important change to the Wikipedia entry was the following addition (original grammar and spelling): “Additionally, Yves Engler was found guilty of ‘assult and vandalism in the aftermath of a riot on Sept. 9, 2002, when Israeli politician Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech was aborted by demonstrators.’ In a display of force, Engler threw a bench through the University window. He later blamed it on Jews. Engler later tried to overturn his suspension; however, he was denied by a student hearing panael and Board of Governors. Justice Sylviane Borenstein ‘pointed out that Engler could register at another university to finish his degree if he didn’t want to wait until his suspension was up’ in a judgment from February of 2005.”

Except for the quote by the judge, taken out of context, none of this is true.

Other elements of this “cyber-vandalism” included adding the words “This is further evidence of Engler’s childishness” and “However, the book is not peer reviewed and the claims therein are highly suspect,” and “which might as well be a Batman comic for all its ‘accuracies’” inserted at the appropriate (?) spots.

In addition, the person or persons added the following “publications” to the list of my works:

“Mein Kempf: A Canadian Critique Publication Pending

How to Ruin a Degree via Activism Forthcoming

Cthulu’s Guide to Social Justice

A Toilet-Book Guide to Concordia University

Racism and Sexism: A How-to Manual

My Love Affair with Cthulu and Xenu: A Celestial Threeway

Self-Felating to the Left: An Activist’s Guide

Fear and Self Loathing: Student Politics at Concordia; Anarchist Edition”

In a display of Wikipedia efficiency, the most obvious vandalism was removed within hours.

However, part of the most grievous libel was left in the Wikipedia entry. For days the entry had me convicted of “assault and vandalism” which is completely untrue.

Then the entry was changed to a “student tribunal” found me guilty of “assault and vandalism” which is still untrue, but at least nearer the truth.

The truth is that a student tribunal found me guilty of “vexatious conduct” and putting up stickers but two of the three members of the tribunal later told the Montreal Gazette and other media that the university administration had pressured them into suspending me for a semester.

All these events were linked to my role as media spokesperson for the Concordia Student Union, described by some as the “most leftwing” in North America in the early part of the last decade. Since that time I have worked as a writer and researcher on Canadian foreign policy and the automotive industry. I have four published books and another one to come out early next year.

The amazing thing is that I likely would not even have noticed this cyber-vandalism, except that someone took the bogus information on the Wikipedia site to the UWO student administration in an attempt to have the meeting shut down. UWO security guards delayed the start of the meeting and an atmosphere of tension was created.

So, I repeat, was this an organized attempt to defame me and shut down my book tour?

FOOTNOTE: Last Thursday morning the Wikipedia entry was finally changed to reflect what actually happened. Within three hours someone using the same IP address (132.205.242.200) had once again vandalized the entry.

Yves Engler is the author of The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy (available at turning.ca). His latest book is Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid. http://yvesengler

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