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SLOBODIAN: Petulant media letter promotes activism under guise of journalistic integrity

Do you support a democracy? Or do you support a terrorist organization that openly vows to wipe out that democracy?

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It’s a simple choice. 

Do you support a democracy? Or do you support a terrorist organization that openly vows to wipe out that democracy? 

More than 2,000 people rallied behind the latter by signing a May 14 “open letter to Canadian newsrooms on covering Israel-Palestine.”

Many who signed it work for media outlets including the CBC, Toronto Star, CTV, and The Globe and Mail, Macleans, and Global News. Several dubiously claim to be investigative freelancers. Others are academics including journalism professors from Carleton, Concordia and the University of Toronto. 

This letter manifested during the 11-day war this month between Israel Defense Forces and the Islamic fundamentalist militant Hamas, after Hamas launched relentless attacks. 

Unfortunately, a May 21 truce didn’t stop ensuing waves of anti-Semitic sentiment and assaults against Jews in Canada and globally.

This letter is deceptive by omission.

It doesn’t mention that Israel is the Middle East’s only democracy.

It strategically avoids mentioning Hamas. Drawing attention to terrorists responsible for immense death and carnage would expose this crusade.

This letter’s a crafty attempt, peppered with lies, to disguise activism – or worse – as journalistic integrity.

It laments that news editors use excuses that impede “Canadian journalists trying to cover the escalating violence against Palestinians.” 

It’s a childish attempt to bully management into giving anti-Israel reporters a.k.a. activists more freedom to mislead the public than they’ve already been handed.

Some who signed were reprimanded in the past for false reporting about Israel.

Yet the tone of this letter drips with moral superiority.

It accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and “forced expulsions and indiscriminate airstrikes,” using reports from rabid anti-Semite organizations to bolster false claims.

“Violence against civilians and children is not complicated,” states this letter promoting activism under the guise of human rights compassion. 

Enter the tactic of accusing others of doing exactly what you’re doing: “As journalists, we cannot selectively choose which international human rights violations to report on.” 

Odd how they all selectively choose not to report on how Palestinians live under the cruel oppression of Hamas, despite signing a letter fretting about how Canadian media doesn’t include enough Palestinian voices. 

How stupid do they think the public is? By now everyone knows Hamas attacked Israel, eventually firing about 4,000 projectiles into civilian areas. One-third of those projectiles misfired and landed in Gaza killing and maiming Palestinians. 

Israel retaliated to defend innocent civilians. Period.

How is it possible this common knowledge eludes reporters, editors, producers, etc. who demonize Israel?

On May 17, the 35-nation Organization of American States (OAS) designated Hamas as a terrorist group.

“The recent attacks launched by Hamas against the Israeli population undoubtedly constitute attacks of a terrorist nature. Their violence and the objectives they pursue clearly have this characteristic,” said the OAS in a statement. 

“Hamas’s terrorist aggression is unlimited and always seeks civilian victims, seeks to escalate conflict dynamics and armed actions, as well as sowing terror among innocent populations, be they Israeli or Palestinian,” it said. 

“The immoral and unworthy use of children and women as human shields, as well as the militarization of residential areas, constitute in themselves acts that deserve the most absolute repudiation and condemnation.”

Hamas was already designated a terrorist group by Canada, the U.S., Israel, the European Union, Japan, and Egypt.

Nope, nothing in the OAS statement about Israel’s ethnic cleansing because it’s a lie.

And these media charlatans throwing hissy fits and tantrums wonder why editors won’t turn them loose. 

The Toronto Star will let them carry on. The CBC, to its credit, removed staff who signed the letter from the beat, appropriately citing conflict of interest.

Predictably, these persecuted reporters cried racism. The letter tells them they’re victims.

It says: “Racialized journalists have reported feeling overly scrutinized, or even censored, after every story pitch on this region.”

Disgraceful reporting is irrelevant. As is the taboo of inserting activism into news stories.

Here’s where one almost gets embarrassed for media that signed the letter.

They adamantly want to control the Israeli-Palestinian narrative in newsrooms. But someone deemed these esteemed professionals too dumb to figure out how to approach management. 

‘How To Talk To Your Canadian Newsroom Manager About Signing The Open Letter On Isreal (it was misspelled) Palestine’ offers guidance with extraordinarily juvenile questions and answers. This guide was shared by many, including, alarmingly, Fatima Syed, a vice-president with the Canadian Association of Journalists.

Palestine? Syed and company ignore the fact that Canada doesn’t recognize the existence of any such country.

So, will newsroom management take the racist bait and cower to petulant staff? Will they stop the division they meant to cause in newsrooms? Will they explain the true principals of media integrity to their staff?

Hopefully. 

The next step? Take this letter and put it where it belongs – in the trash.

Slobodian is a Western Standard columnist based in Manitoba
lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

Linda Slobodian is the Manitoba Senior Columnist for the Western Standard. She has been an investigative columnist with the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun, and Alberta Report. lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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  1. Left Coast

    May 31, 2021 at 10:35 am

    Reports from travelers to the Holy Land before its rebuilding by modern Zionism:

    “There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilee); not for thirty miles in either direction….One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee….Nazareth is forlorn….Jericho lies a mouldering ruin….Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation….untenanted by any living creature

    “… A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds….a silent, mournful expanse, a desolation….

    “We never saw a human being on the whole route….Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country… Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes….desolate and unlovely…” Mark Twain, “The Innocents Abroad”, 1867.

    So where were the mythical Fakeastinians ? ? ?

    “The area was under populated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880’s, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained ‘The Holy Land’ in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people.

    “Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants – both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts. Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen. The plows used were of wood. The yields were very poor. Schools did not exist. The rate of infant mortality was very high. The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert. Ruins were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants.” The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913.

    That the world has fallen hook, line and sinker for duplicitous Arab propaganda speaks to the success of one of the biggest scams ever perpetrated. And Mahmoud Abbas is still at it!

    Canadians have been bombarded with FakeNEWS for many decades now . . . and they lap it up . . . many Canooks I come across have absolutely no friggin Clue what is going on in the world today. Thank the CBC, Global News & CTV . . . they tell you lies and omit anything they deem too dangerous for your tender ears . . . like the 200 bombings in Sweden a couple of years back.
    The CRTC makes sure these Serial Liars don’t get any competition . . .

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OPEN LETTER: Health care workers against mandatory vaccinations

The letter was signed by 3,544 health care workers including 73 physicians, 1,111 nurses, 227 paramedics and thousands of allied health professionals, pharmacists, dentists, lab workers, psychologists and counselling professionals, medical students, AHS administrative and support staff and other health care professionals.

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An open letter penned by Alberta Health Services (AHS) workers was sent to AHS on Monday by Calgary constitutional lawyer Carol Crosson.

The letter was signed by 3,544 health care workers including 73 physicians, 1,111 nurses, 227 paramedics and thousands of allied health professionals, pharmacists, dentists, lab workers, psychologists and counselling professionals, medical students, AHS administrative and support staff and other health care professionals.

Dear Dr. Verna Yiu:

This open letter is in response to your announcement of mandatory full vaccination for all AHS staff by Oct 31, 2021. We represent a wide range of vaccinated and unvaccinated health care professionals from multiple disciplines, who are deeply concerned about these mandatory vaccinations.

There are many reasons why we stand against mandatory vaccination and highlight some of them below. These concerns are supported by peer-reviewed publications and statements by established organizations:

• These mRNA vaccines have not been proven to prevent disease uptake nor disease transmission supported by the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report August 6, 2021 / 70(31);1059-1062 (among other reports) where it is stated “Real-time RT-PCR Ct values in specimens from 127 fully vaccinated patients (median = 22.77) were similar to those among 84 patients who were unvaccinated, not fully vaccinated, or whose vaccination status was unknown (median = 21.54)”. Asymptomatic unvaccinated people have never been proven to be more infectious or transmit more disease than vaccinated individuals.

• The overall survival rate from COVID is approximately 99.7% and varies by age and underlying health status.

• The vaccine is showing weakened efficacy after only a few months. AHS’s own data shows currently approximately 25% of all new cases are in fully vaccinated patients and over 18% of hospitalizations are also fully vaccinated with percentages increasing as weeks go by.

• The United Kingdom and Israel – two highly vaccinated countries have extremely high percentages of hospitalized patients being fully vaccinated. Indeed, the Israeli Public Health Department recently estimated the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine had fallen to 39% against the Delta variant and another recent study from the Mayo clinic had similar numbers at 42%

• Historically, scientific consensus has been that natural immunity is superior to vaccine immunity. Many health care workers are already Covid recovered and immune. What evidence does AHS have for mandatory vaccines in those individuals?

As front-line health care workers, we have witnessed serious adverse events, including deaths, that were temporally, closely associated from the administration of these vaccines.

• As per VAERS data (US vaccine injury database), Aug. 27, 2021, at least 650,077 people in the US have been injured and 13,911 people have died soon after the administration of the Covid vaccine. These numbers could actually be 10-100x higher as a Harvard study showed only 1-10% of all adverse events are actually recorded. The Harvard study’s findings are corroborated by our experience that the vast majority of temporally related adverse events are not being correlated and reported by healthcare workers. If we don’t correlate these temporally related events and report them, the data will never be there to accurately assess causality and truly ensure safety, which is the bedrock to obtaining proper informed consent.

We believe that the proposed vaccine mandate is contrary to section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms “freedom of conscience and religion” as well as section 7, “the right to life, liberty and the security of the person and the right to not be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

Based on our experience, the above arguments (plus others not listed in this letter) and our evaluation of the current literature, we decisively conclude that we are in strong opposition to mandatory vaccination. As of Nov 1, 2021, or earlier, AHS’s decision to implement such a mandate will prevent many dedicated health care workers and other AHS staff from performing the jobs they have done valiantly over the past eighteen months. This will put our currently severely strained health care system under further undue and needless pressure and put more Albertans at risk due to our inability to provide care for our patients. We respectfully request that the vaccine mandate be rescinded immediately so that AHS Health care workers can continue to provide care for Albertans.

cc. Dr. Laura McDougall, Senior Medical Officer of Health, AHS
Dr. Francis Belanger, Vice-President of Quality and CMO, AHS
Dr. Debrah Wirtzfield, Associate CMO, Physician Health, Diversity & Wellness, AHS
Patrick Dumelie, Covenant Health
Dr. Owen Heisler, Covenant Health

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Krahnicle’s Cartoon: Why Conservatives Lost

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AHS investigating Western Standard for restrictions, vaxport non-compliance

The AHS employee responded, “Some of these [regulations] are good, and some of these are, you know…”

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Update from the Publisher

This isn’t a regular news story since its about ourselves; so rather than drink our own bathwater and send this to one of our reporters, I’ve decided to publish this as an update from the publisher.

At 10:25 a.m. MST, the Western Standard received a telephone call from Alberta Health Services (AHS) on our office line. The AHS official — whom I will not name — dialed through to speak with yours truly.

He informed me that AHS had received a complaint that the Western Standard was not complying with government-ordered restrictions and vaccine passports. I responded plainly: “That is correct.”

He was silent for a moment, not quite knowing how to respond to my admission of guilt. He inquired further, asking the same question another way.

Please forgive me the indulgence of quoting myself.

“I take the health of my employees and those around us seriously. I and my employees take COVID seriously. I would be happy to review any recommendations that you may have for us, but I do not recognize the right of the government to tell me how I must run my own office space. Any government official wishing to enter the property must produce a warrant, otherwise they will not be permitted entry.

“Western Standard employees are free men and free women, and as such, I trust them to make responsible decisions about their own risk tolerances. Any Western Standard employee that feels that they would be unsafe in the office has only to inform me and we will make reasonable accommodations.”

The AHS employee was a perfect gentleman and handled himself well. He was just a little taken aback at my answer.

We also discussed the Alberta vaccine passport orders, and the Calgary mayor and city council’s decision to ban non-vaxport compliant “non-essential businesses.”

My response again was simple.

“Media is an essential service and I do not recognize the right of the government to decided if we are essential or not.”

The AHS employee responded: “Some of these [regulations] are good, and some of these are, you know…”

Fair enough.

So AHS is investigating to see if we are deserving of a visit from them and the police or not. We’ll see what comes of it.

One way or another, our policy will not change:

  • Employees are free to make their own choices about their personal enforcement of restrictions;
  • Employees may work from home if they feel that they are at unreasonable risk;
  • Employees must work from home if they are sick or anyone they are in close contact with contracts COVID-19;
  • And, employees are encouraged, but free to make their own informed choices about vaccines.

I suspect that the complaint came from a crank on Twitter that’s upset with my not-so-secret policies as it concerns compliance with government orders.

We take COVID-19 seriously. This isn’t some made-up conspiracy of a mysterious cabal in a dark and smokey room. I personally trust my doctor’s advise on COVID-19 vaccination, and got my jab as soon as I possibly could. I have always encouraged an open dialogue about vaccines with those in my social and professional circles, encouraging it, but never, ever demanding or requiring it.

Alberta’s ICUs are facing incredible pressure right now and necessary “elective surgeries” are being postponed. This is driven by the fact that Alberta’s government has not built up the necessary ICU capacity — despite having one of the most expensive health care systems on the planet — and 19 months since COVID-19 landed to do it. Lockdowns and vaxports will not solve this problem.

COVID-19 will continue to mutate and evade efforts to eradicate it. Alas, it may be with us for a long, long time. Even locked-down island nations like Australia cannot eradicate it, despite turning that once-free country into a veritable police state.

Despite my hopes the vaccines would eliminate it, COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. There appears to be no way around the fact that COVID-19 is going to tear its way through the population until it burns itself out. The cost is, and will be, terrible. But there appears to be no way to stop it, even with a never-ending cycle of lockdowns, and the positive effects of vaccines.

All we can do is build our health care capacity to deal with predictable surges, as the fourth wave was, protect those who are genuinely vulnerable, and make the best of a bad situation.

And as we struggle through this, we cannot lose what is most important in life. We cannot surrender our long-fought freedoms for short-term security. We cannot take away the best years of our children’s lives. We cannot forbid loved ones from mourning their dead at funerals. We cannot outlaw family and friends from gathering for weddings. We cannot forcibly segregate people from these events because of their private medical decisions, even if we disagree with them.

Which brings me back to AHS’s investigation of the Western Standard. I care more about our employees than any government official will. We will be responsible and take necessary precautions, but as we see fit as free men and free women capable of making our own decisions.

Any government official who thinks otherwise had better get a warrant.

Derek Fildebrandt is Publisher of the Western Standard

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