Problems with Tareq Haddad and The Freedom of Speech Society

Recently I had an interaction with Tareq Haddad on Twitter that has raised some problems with his ethics, conduct and his new effort ‘The Freedom of Speech Society’.

Mr Haddad famously left his position at the Newsweek organisation after it refused to publish his work exposing the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had hidden evidence that the 2018 Douma Attack was staged. There is a good interview with him on Mint Press news about it here. In that interview they quote Mr Haddad as saying,

If I am a little lucky, I will be smeared as a conspiracy theorist, maybe an Assad apologist or even a Russian asset—the latest farcical slur of the day.

Lies, Newsweek and Control of the Media Narrative: First-Hand Account

I will not be smearing Mr Haddad as a conspiracy theorist, nor will I be smearing him as a Russian asset or Assad apologist. In fact I won’t be smearing him in any way. I will, however, be showing how he participated in a smear campaign against me.

Some background

On January 31st, 2020 Mr Haddad tweeted a series of promotion links for both his interview with Suzie Dawson and her latest website Protect Suzie (Debunking Suzie Dawson – Part 1). Some people were dismayed that he could have been fooled so easily and on February 6th, when I saw the post, I tried to inform him about some of her ‘better moments’.

All of those examples have a factual basis but instead of being informed Mr Haddad reacted in this way.

The conversation

WTF?

I was stunned. Mr Haddad said my website was aimed at smearing and discrediting and contained factual errors. Then, when asked what they were, he revealed that he hadn’t looked at the post linked to and instead pointed at something not even written by me.

The first article he references has this at the top of it.

Another account of what is happening at Westminster Magistrates Court by Monika Karbowska. This time translated by herself. The original text can be found here (PDF warning).

This first hand account also directly contradicts Greek Emmy in “Wise up Action” that, “Witnesses said Julian Assange hands were covered in white bandages.

By Monika Karbowska

Julian Assange on trial on December 13, 2019

It was clearly not written by me. It was also clearly written by a non English speaker and translated from French with the original French linked. Worse, the sentence Mr Haddad appears to be talking about is, “Nous tentons de lui demander poliment des informations sur l’audience du 20 décembre“. In this case lui is generally translated as him by online translators although it is just as valid for it to be translated as her. Further on in the translation it also says,”Gareth Peirce is missing too, we didn’t see her come out!“. This is pretty basic stuff for someone living in Europe, or in fact anyone who has dealt with translation programs. That Mr Haddad tries to use it to discredit the source and/or imply that my website is to smear people shows a lack of comprehension of the material, especially for a journalist.

He then goes on to say that there was an article attacking Emmy’s conduct in court which he says is factually wrong because he was at the court in December and Emmy was courteous. Leaving aside the point that just because Emmy was courteous to him it doesn’t mean she was to others, he gets it wrong again. The accusations against Emmy are from October 21st and are backed up by an email from the court, the complaints of people who thought they were on the list such as Psychologist David Morgan and other supporters such as Psychologist Lissa Johnson.

Again, this is pretty basic stuff and at this point I was somewhat confused. Why would he have read specific pieces of my website and got things so wrong while ignoring the very obvious post I linked to. To give an idea how small the chance is of him just ignoring my linked post and then selecting those two, there are 465 posts on the site. The chance of him randomly choosing those two posts is somewhere around 1/2000.

However, if you look at the screenshot of the thread you will notice that there are accounts in it that are limiting who can read their threads. Or, in other words, they have blocked me. Looking at the thread in a private window reveals the other people in the thread at which point the whole conversation becomes a lot clearer.

The two people in the background are Kirsten Juel and Kitty Hunsdale. This is interesting for a number of reasons. Both are Suzie Dawson supporters, both have blocked me so they shouldn’t be able to see my posts and both have apparently replied to my post. This would be a use of the Twitter blocking rules where instead of them being used to block people from seeing your posts or being able to reply to them in order to protect you, it is used to stalk other users and then reply to their posts in a way that they can’t see, aren’t notified of and are unable to respond to.

And just to show how farcical the accusations are.

Kirsten alleges that I lied when I said I know Suzie Dawson personally. Here is an annotated conversation from 2018 largely between myself and Suzie Dawson, and another from 2019. I have also had conversations with her in 2017 when I was Facebook admin for the Internet Party and I have had conversations with her on the Internet Party’s Discord channel. If Kirsten and Suzie want to say that she wasn’t personally involved in those talks or when she tried to use lawfare to get parts of my website taken down then that would hold about as much truth as their denials.

Kirsten also says that I said her 2020 Julian Assange Petition was not a ‘petition’. This is true, at the time of reading her petition it was a statement and didn’t petition anyone. Reading it again it still is. I stand by my assertion.

Kitty implies that I have been cyber stalking Suzie Dawson for years as some sort of state agent or contractor yet my first critical post about her is from 17/03/2019, less than a year ago. Both of these facts could have been confirmed on my website if Mr Haddad had bothered to look.

She says that this somehow adds to the mountain of evidence that Suzie Dawson is a target of state agents and/or contractors. No it doesn’t. It just adds to the mountain of opinion that Suzie Dawson is an asshole. Her modus operandi seems to be something like,

  • Doing something for me then grease.
  • Stopped doing things for me then yell.
  • Disagrees with me then accuse of stalking and start smearing.
  • Still disagrees with me then accuse of being an infiltrator and continue smearing.
  • Still disagrees with me then threaten with law suit, defamation, etc…and continue smearing.

And yes, my opinion of her methods has a factual basis. 🙂

So now we have Mr Haddad who hasn’t read or understood the material and/or is apparently being egged on by others who, chances are, are also feeding him things to say and he leaps right in. Unfortunately, he has managed to make a fool of himself as both his examples contain “big factual errors”.

In fact his response to my warning has made him a participant in the smearing. He obviously hasn’t gone through the website and he therefore has no factual basis on which to claim that its aim is to smear and discredit or that the source is not trustworthy.

An interjection

I am going to interject here for the benefit of those who think I am being unbalanced. I did not want to believe that Mr Haddad had been fooled by Suzie Dawson or intended to participate in a smear campaign. I even went so far as to concoct a theory in which he was implying he knew about the facts and was pointing to the easily disprovable information in order to show that.

At the time I, rather embarrassingly, replied with,

And then deleted it ten minutes later…

Unfortunately, Mr Haddad was not trying to say he was onto what others call “Miss Dawson’s grifting ways”. He was a willing participant in the conversation and fully cognizant that he was participating in a smear campaign.

The Freedom of Speech Society

This does not bode well for The Freedom of Speech Society. That its founder participates in smearing others and, possibly worse for the society, repeats what others tell him without understanding or investigation and then bases his conclusions on inaccurate information is disturbing. Also disturbing is that when Mr Haddad talks about defending people from being smeared and attacked for speaking the truth it apparently only applies when they are on ‘his side’.

To make things worse Mr Haddad also appears to have no idea about the dangers of conflation.

NameBasis of fame
Julian AssangeFounder of Wikileaks who published the Collateral Murder video, the Afghanistan war logs, the Iraq war logs, and Cablegate.
Edward SnowdenCopied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency
Glen GreenwaldHe is best known for a series of reports detailing the United States and British global surveillance programs, and based on classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden.
Chelsea ManningDisclosed to WikiLeaks nearly 750,000 classified, or unclassified but sensitive, military and diplomatic documents.
Seth RichMurdered. Spawned several right-wing conspiracy theories.
Reality WinnerRevealed Russian interference in US elections.
Suzie DawsonBelieves someone tried to assassinate her for something.

All these people are mentioned in his open letter for The Freedom of Speech Society. Immediately there are some glaring discrepancies. The highlight of which, for me, is Suzie Dawson who gets placed in the same paragraph as most of the others. Not bad for a person who seems to have lied about the security services trying to kill her.

And for those that don’t know, Suzie Dawson’s claim to fame was her Dairy of a Person of Interest video in which, among other things, she says she was targeted by damn near everybody and that they also tried to assassinate her. Her evidence for this has thus far been two texts, neither of which mention assassination or lasers. She doesn’t specifically know why this happened and doesn’t even mention it happening in her ‘live blog‘ creation of Diary of a Person of Interest two years after the supposed event.

I went through through the first part of her Protect Suzie website and it’s proofs. It is apparent that there was nothing in her activism to separating her from thousands of others than a good dose of fantasy. Certainly not enough to have the intelligence agencies try and kill her using military dazzlers on a busy road with her children in the car. For a journalist to believe that, based on the proof she has presented, is…..well, someone has a bridge they would like to sell you.

In conclusion

In conclusion, I think it would be helpful if Mr Haddad sought to embody the morals that his Freedom of Speech Society professes to want to defend in his own conduct. If he wishes to critique the basis of my posts claims and conclusions then he is welcome to do so in an honest manner. If I believe him to be correct then I will change the post. Why does he think I asked what the factual errors were in the first place?

I do not consider myself a journalist. In my and Suzie Dawson’s country, we are considered journalists but this is only because the law is so broad anyone publishing tends to be able to use the label. I hold the term in high regard though and while I applaud Mr Haddad for sticking to a high standard in leaving Newsweek because they refused to acknowledge the truth, to watch Mr Haddad make the same decision when presented with lack of evidence about Suzie Dawson’s claims makes me angry.

To watch him try and smear me on the basis of easily disprovable evidence also makes me angry. The aim of my website is not to smear. There are two entries in the Mirriam-Webster about what he has accused me of.

The first contains,

a usually unsubstantiated charge or accusation against a person or organization —often used attributively

Definition of smear

My accusations against Suzie Dawson are not unsubstantiated. He might have noticed that if he had bothered to read the linked post in the first place. His accusation is.

And the second,

to vilify especially by secretly and maliciously spreading grave charges and imputations.

Definition of smear

Which is exactly what Mr Haddad and Suzie Dawson’s cohorts participated in.

Perhaps Mr Haddad’s time could be better spent looking for fraud in his guests. He could even ask some questions like,

  • Who tried to kill you?
  • That’s a big claim, do you have any proof?
  • Why don’t you have any proof?
  • Why do you promote Lynn’s story as reinforcing yours when they are clearly different?
  • Why do you describe the incident happening on a ridge-line in one interview and a valley in another?
  • Why did you keep driving back the same way when there were two other options?
  • What are the chances of a person in a moving vehicle being able to point a dazzler into the rear view mirror of another vehicle?
  • How much did you sell your house for?
  • Why, so soon after selling your house and traveling the world, did you start asking for money due to financial stress?
  • In 2017 you borrowed $8000 off Fred Look saying you would pay it back after you were paid and yet you were paid over $25,000 during that year and never paid him back, leaving him in debt to his sister. Why is that not fraud and/or theft?
  • Etc…

With freedom of speech and journalism comes a responsibility to question assumptions and motives, take care in your assertions, have some basis for your opinions and to try and reveal the truth and correct your errors. I feel Mr Haddad has fallen far short of these principles in his interaction with me. I certainly hope I am the only one,

Mason Bee


Further reading

From me

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