Libel/Slander vs Protected Opinion

Craven, Jim jcraven at
Tue Sep 4 14:54:11 MDT 2001

Let me try to reason with you one more--and for the last--time. My students
often say to me "I worked really hard..." but failed an exam. I always ask:
"How would you like it if a surgeon did a magnificent job, worked really
hard, cutting off the wrong leg.?" The issue is results and causes and
effects; intentions are meaningless if, with the best of intentions, real
people, real victims and real struggles are sabotaged and injured.
If Annett wants to call me whatever--opportunist, scum, slime, megalomaniac
etc--that is protected speech as it is "opinion" to be accepted or rejected.
But if he calls me an FBI informant (provably false in court, but not with a
mere denial, and something that could get me killed) or says that I received
government money to travel to New Brunswick etc (a provable lie) that is no
longer opinion--that is libel in print and slander in word; it is the
spreading of a falsehood that he knows to be false and/or has spread with
reckless disregard for facts, with obvious malice and real damages. Further,
anyone who facilitates or widens the spreading of such libel or slander is
also liable under law as an accessory (again that is why newspapers, tv,
radio etc have lawyers and do not print anything even when accompanied by a
Suppose I wrote the naked and provable lie and  that Jean Cretien has
obstructed justice and compensation for Residential School victims because
he is a convicted sex offender and has sympathy the sex offenders in the
Residential Schools. Would you print that and then send it to Jean Cretien
for his "rebuttal" that he is not a sex offender? Then would you sit back on
your perch above the fray and say "Well you know there are always two or
more "sides" to a dispute? What if someone reads only one charge but not the
"rebuttal"? Further, only someone very detached--morally and
practically--would suggest that their only responsibility is to present the
different "sides", being "neutral" as to the truth or falsehoods embodied in
either side. Yes, there is the "side" of the nazi (WE really thought Jews
and others were vermin and a contagion on the society and "therefore" it was
only logical and imperative to eliminate them as any society would when
dealing with a "national security" threat) versus the "side" of the Jews,
Roma etc; but only a highly-detached moral eunuch would suggest that they
should be presented side-by-side as if there were some kind of parity or
equality or merely subjective differences between the two "sides." 
So again, with your rendition or spin that I am trying to silence free
speech--no only stop provable libel--you continue to miss the point.
Further, Indians have suffered long and hard from missionary types,
wannabes, playing-Indian types and the just generally misinformed--claiming
to be so well intentioned--invading and attempting to control or manipulate
Indian issues and struggles. You have been told by very experienced Indian
activists on Warriornet and elsewhere that you are in way over your head and
meddling in issues and affairs about which you are patently ignorant;
further, you remain unwilling to appreciate the real damages you are helping
to cause. It is bad enough spreading ersatz versions of "Indian Culture" on
various websites; when you get into real life-and-death struggles and issues
in Indian Country, presenting what you call "different sides", you become an
instrument of real damages on real people. If you don't know or don't have
an opinion on contending perspectives, then stay out of it; but neutrality,
or "neutrally" disseminating libel--even when contrasted with "rebuttal"--is
not an option in this case.
So for the last time, print anything of Annett's (calling me anything he
wants) you want as long as it does not involve libel (which is a Crime as
well as a Tort in Canada). I will be dealing with Annett in Canada through
criminal law, and I will also charge anyone who assists in or helps to widen
his libel. When you have your own website, you legally incur certain
responsibilities and potential liabilities. You might want to get a primer
on internet law (BTW a person may be sued even for providing links to where
libel or slander has occurred).. I send this only to lists and places where
Annett's libel has been spread and assisted by types such as yourself.
Your subjective, well-meaning intentions, and amount of personal effort in
constructing and maintaining your website mean nothing if, through ignorance
or rank arrogance, you are doing real damage to real people and struggles
and remain unwilling to consider how and to the extent to which you are
doing so.
Also, you have not printed everything sent (the materials were sent to you,
by the way, not to be printed in rebuttal, but to aprise you that libel has
been committed, that you have wittingly or unwittingly assisted in it and as
a good-faith attempt to mitigate damages) but there were three letters from
activists in Vancouver who know Annett well and one of whom is mentioned on
his website and has had her testimonies used without his permission (Harriet
This will be my last communication. Any others will be through other venues
and channels.
Jim Craven

-----Original Message-----
From: Svhyeyi Aga [mailto:crow at]
Sent: Friday, August 31, 2001 12:53 PM
To: Craven, Jim
Subject: Re: Conference on Residential Schools Part 2

Mr. Craven..think of me what you will...but I am sending this latest update
out to you first....
I am not feeding off anyone's misery...I have friends who were victimized by
the boarding schools in Canada - Miq'maq...and one of my friends told me of
her experiences.  As a child, I was forced into Catholic School, although
not a boarding school and experienced things I'd much rather forget as well.
I am disabled...and although I cannot compare myself to your experiences or
level of activism....I have worked very hard and done as much as I can
throughout my life..I'm not just someone sitting around...trying to get some
sick satisfaction off the sufferings of others...not by any means.
I am nearing my 51st year and have been physically disabled for 6 years...I
have faced one cancer surgery in June, another on the 12th of
September..rather than feel useless - and unable to participate in things I
once did...I started My Two Beads Worth.  Recently I acquired a paid domain
for it - which we - meaning my husband and I paid for...I do all the
work....I sometimes spend too many hours here...but I could never just roll
over and go to bed as I should, and leave things as they were.
I have printed everything you have sent, in an attempt to provide as much
information as possible..I have provided links to your sites - to
information which is readily available on the internet in a simple google
search.  I think I have done as much as I possibly can to be as fair as
I am not seeking your sympathy or anyone else's....but I simply ask that
before you so quickly judge me...that you remember we never know what it is
like to walk in another's shoes.
I have tried my best....and I always try to do so in a good and fair way.
Jeanne Svhyeyi Aga Chadwick
American Indian and Indigenous News Online <> 

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