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Rachel
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Oct 19 2011 12:02

@298
In the 90s a few people criticised Aufheben as far as I can remember because J was researching protests and policing. Aufheben were also denounced for giving their magazine a tricky foreign name, and for reading and discussing Marx. In those days these things alone were enough to damn them in the eyes of some 'prolier than thou' members of the scene. It would surprise me if Samotnaf wasn't aware of all this - some of the London friends were, so perhaps that makes them all cop collaborators?

Seriously, like others here I find this whole thing very depressing, and one of the things that makes it so is that I find myself being drawn into a 'camp' when I hadn't intended to be - the way that the thing was laid out, and the tone of the writings and Samotnaf especially just seems to make it very difficult for discussion,and makes me want to reply in kind. Some like Serge Forward have taken a measured tone, and tried to look for a possible direction out but that just gets ignored.

This is why I raised the question of what a good outcome could be - it seems to me that destruction itself is one goal. Ad hominem attacks may have been sanctioned by the situationists but they can certainly have the effect of putting people off the movement altogether, as RR says. It's working in my case.

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Devrim
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Oct 19 2011 12:24
Joseph Kay wrote:
- J claimed he wasn't the author of the public order stuff (despite his name being on it), and Aufheben have showed us evidence which shows definitively he was not the author, but was added as a 'favour' by the others.

This is the bit I don't get. If you sign something in order to take some credit from it, then surely you take the flack too.

Devrim

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Devrim
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Oct 19 2011 12:33
proletarian. wrote:
Yes, I see a problem with people thinking about organisations as their political project and not a 'project' of the class.

This sounds all very good, but what does it mean? Obviously Libcom is not a 'project of the class'.

proletarian. wrote:
And yes, I also think there should be room for some who contribute to be involved more in the actual organisation. Forums are different from propaganda sheets - essentially what communist papers are. Some users on here contribute so much to the forums, uploading texts and so on, countless hours. And not in small numbers but quite a few people.

Well if you want to be involved in it then I would suggest that you discuss it with them.

proletarian. wrote:
what I have tried to get across is that I think the internal structure of the Libcom group should be widened and not consist of a small minority with little to no input from others who use the forum. Obviously there is input from these people like this very sub forum! But I am suggesting something more fundamental

Despite disagreeing with some of the admins decisions, I think that on the whole Libcom is pretty well run. More importantly though, it isn't a political organisation. It is a discussion forum.

Devrim

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Fall Back
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Oct 19 2011 12:51
Devrim wrote:
This is the bit I don't get. If you sign something in order to take some credit from it, then surely you take the flack too.

No, not really. I mean, for example if a communist lied/exagerrated on their CV, should they take flak for this? Lied about their beliefs in order to keep their job? There are plenty reasons you might want to lie to your bosses in order to gain benefit - I think it'd be madness to say these have to have political consequences.

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Oct 19 2011 13:45
Fall Back wrote:
No, not really. I mean, for example if a communist lied/exagerrated on their CV, should they take flak for this? Lied about their beliefs in order to keep their job? There are plenty reasons you might want to lie to your bosses in order to gain benefit - I think it'd be madness to say these have to have political consequences.

Except, this isn't just a case of lying on your CV or keeping schtum so as not to get sacked.

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 19 2011 14:02
Serge Forward wrote:
Except, this isn't just a case of lying on your CV or keeping schtum so as not to get sacked.

the stuff on his profile was meant to be taken at face value by potential funders and other institutions. that's one thing (and some of it was stupid, sure). but it's quite another thing for other communists to insist on taking them at face value even when they've been told there's more to it. it's wilful ignorance in fact, choosing to go with bad appearances over banal realities for reasons known only to them.

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Fall Back
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Oct 19 2011 14:08
Serge Forward wrote:
Except, this isn't just a case of lying on your CV or keeping schtum so as not to get sacked.

I didn't say it was - although IMO it's closer to these things than what Samotnaf is trying to present it as. But the point was Devrim's claim that if you do something to gain advantage then you should also take any flak from it doesn't really work.

Yes, it was a mistake to let his name be put to the papers - which J and Aufheben have admitted from the start. But to say he should get the flak for it because he was happy to get the benefit from it is wrong - as the examples I gave demonstrate. If there's any flak to be had, whether he was happy to get benefit from it or not is an entirely moot point.

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Oct 19 2011 15:05

Agreed, some of the allegations about J have been a bit mental and have not helped the situation. Also, the incessant point scoring on these forums is really setting my teeth on edge and I'd really like those concerned to pack it in.

I'm willing to accept that J may have made a stupid mistake. However, given J's association with revolutionary politics and our small revolutionary milieu, then it's a fucking enormous error of judgement on his part, and on the part of Aufheben for being so easy going about this. Given that J is clearly not an infiltrator but, for an educated person, he is apparently entirely clueless about how things work in revolutionary circles, at the first whiff of this, his comrades should have given him a serious bollocking and either put him back on the revolutionary track or disassociated from him, whichever was more appropriate.

I'm a forgiving guy, so, like I say, J needs to grow a pair and accept that he's made an enormous fucking boo boo. Aufheben needs stop colluding with J's dubious activies and tell him to stop or else give him the big heave ho. Libcom needs to stop being so fucking understanding about him (you twats) but carry on doing everything else you do so well groucho J's detractors need to keep to the issue and stop muddying the water or drifing off into weird allegations that have no bearing on reality. And for anyone involved in point scoring, if I catch you at the bookfair, I'll bang your fuckin heads together grin

proletarian.
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Oct 19 2011 18:56
Devrim wrote:
Despite disagreeing with some of the admins decisions, I think that on the whole Libcom is pretty well run. More importantly though, it isn't a political organisation. It is a discussion forum.
Devrim

Yes, I think I previously misunderstood what the Libcom group was. It is not an organisation as such. The other points I think I have already commented on or alluded to.

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Devrim
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Oct 19 2011 19:26
Fall Back wrote:
Devrim wrote:
This is the bit I don't get. If you sign something in order to take some credit from it, then surely you take the flack too.

No, not really. I mean, for example if a communist lied/exagerrated on their CV, should they take flak for this? Lied about their beliefs in order to keep their job? There are plenty reasons you might want to lie to your bosses in order to gain benefit - I think it'd be madness to say these have to have political consequences.

You know that it is different from that. As you wrote:

Fall Back wrote:
Yes, it was a mistake to let his name be put to the papers - which J and Aufheben have admitted from the start.
Fall Back wrote:
But to say he should get the flak for it because he was happy to get the benefit from it is wrong - as the examples I gave demonstrate. If there's any flak to be had, whether he was happy to get benefit from it or not is an entirely moot point.

I don't think it is. There is a difference between the sort of things that I sign in my work, which are actually only timesheets, and things which are 'intellectual products', and you are aware of this too.

Devrim

whatisinevidence
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Oct 19 2011 21:24
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I'm a forgiving guy, so, like I say, J needs to grow a pair and accept that he's made an enormous fucking boo boo.

But he has been doing this for a decade, and Aufheben knew about it. Not only did they know about it, they were criticized for it in the past (something they "forgot" to mention in their letter). Aufheben have been knowingly colluding with his activities for a long time.

The conjecture (since it hasn't been proved, only stated over and over again) that JD had his name put to things with which he did not agree, is laughable, but even if it is true, it's completely fucked. Picture it: Hey J, can we put you down as an author on these papers about policing? ... Sure guys! I didn't write them, and I disagree with them, but what the hell! It'll be good for my career! Just being friends with people who write policing policy papers is fucked.

Why hasn't JD personally defended himself?

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Fall Back
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Oct 19 2011 22:18
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(something they "forgot" to mention in their letter)

Apart from where they explicitly refer to 'ten year old gossip', you mean?

It's not a secret in "the scene" that J does research about crowd behaviour and that there has been (public) criticism in the past. In fact, I'd go as far to same that on the tiny scale of people who would have any interest, it's pretty common knowledge. So the idea that they've been hiding anything is ridiculous.

Samotnaf
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Oct 20 2011 03:49

Admin - fall back, Joseph Kay especially - this is bullshit - maybe bullshit you've been fed but certainly which you've gulped down with relish and vomitted up again - there's no-one I know who knew he was giving his name to stuff useful to the cops until January this year. No one I know knew about Chaos Theory before September this year - Joseph Kay himself said he heard about this article in August. The anger he got in the 1990s was the fact that he was doing research as part of his career burt not that he was feeding this stuff to the cops (and, personally, I had a lot of other things to deal with at that time, including becoming a father for the first and so far last time in my life; someone telling me about this Auf creep didn't register very high). But when someone spoke to G of Aufheben in February she said, "I never knew The Doctor's career had gone that far", so either she lied then or she's lying now out of misplaced loyalty. And back in the 1990s nobody made it public, nor 10 years ago as far as I know - but maybe you could pont out where it has been made public. "Public" usually means published in some form or another, not chatted about in a pub.

All this, on a small scale, is enough data to give some understanding of why people swallow (and want to swallow) The Big Lie generally - amongst which is the idea that "it's so unlikely - it must be true", as a magistrate said about a cop's story in a courtcase a very long time ago.

And about sitting on this since January, that's because of loads of intervening things (personal and financial crises, the class war in Greece, discouraging attitudes, etc. ) which also included waiting for some way of contacting the non-Doctor Aufheben lot (not entirely logical, I admit, since group-type blood is thicker than the watery flow of class solidarity: gang loyalty more important than thinking about the meaning of this for the class struggle; we obviously gave them too much the benefit of the doubt). Personally, I wish I had had the time and energy to have done this in March and I've got a feeling of guilt that I didn't insofar as this needed to be known so that people on demos could make up their minds if they wanted to talk to this guy or if they happened to find themselves next to him: it's the kind of information they should have had.

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Oct 20 2011 04:18
Samotnaf wrote:
gang loyalty more important than thinking about the meaning of this for the class struggle;

What does it mean for the class struggle, Samotnaf? I might be missing something, a lot has been written and I haven't digested every word, but it seems that cops now know that if you're nice to people they're less likely to turn against you, they might even identify with you. It's not exactly a revelation of epic proportions, it's a Janet and John theory expressed in sociological jargon. Is that the spectre in our midst?

I feel a bit like I'm sticking my nose in as I have no connection to anyone involved except for shared politics, but I have a big nose, it has to go somewhere, and it saddens me to see relationships destroyed by something that seems fairly trivial. But as I say I might be missing something.

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jesuithitsquad
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Oct 21 2011 09:19

Edited out mean-spirited comment...

You've been accused of outing people as a hobby. Would you care to respond? It's notable that you keep coming back every 10 posts or so to clarify competely banal points, but haven't as of yet addressed this assertion. I, for one, would really appreciate reading summaries of your counter itelligence activites.

Also just to add: obviously situations dictate our behavior in varying degrees, and while it would've taken Job-like patience given the way TPTG and Samatnof chose to begin the debate, it is really too bad JK's last post wasn't his first post on the matter. It was very informative and measured, and had it come earlier in the conversation, it might have helped frame the debate in a more respctful, informed manner.

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 20 2011 10:47

Samotnaf, you can thrash about calling me all the names under the sun, but the fact remains libcom actually investigated this and saw that Aufheben could back up their explanation with evidence. If you thought they were lying, you could have asked them to prove it. Basic fact-checking of the kind anyone who claims to be concerned with exposing state collaborators should undertake as a matter of course.

Samotnaf
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Oct 20 2011 11:17

Prove it.

whatisinevidence
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Oct 20 2011 16:04
Joseph Kay wrote:
Samotnaf, you can thrash about calling me all the names under the sun, but the fact remains libcom actually investigated this and saw that Aufheben could back up their explanation with evidence. If you thought they were lying, you could have asked them to prove it. Basic fact-checking of the kind anyone who claims to be concerned with exposing state collaborators should undertake as a matter of course.

But even if their explanation is true, it is not an acceptable explanation.

whatisinevidence
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Oct 20 2011 16:13

The problem with this debate is that Aufheben (and by extension, Endnotes) cannot give an inch, because if they accept that J.D. was fucked up etc etc then they are implicated as well. They knew what he was doing for a decade and didn't intervene or give him the boot. It went on too long to claim ignorance or "mistakes" or something.

So we get three explanations:
1) These are all smears or rumors, none of it is true, he didn't consult with police at all, he didn't write the papers
2) Well okay, he did consult with the police but just on minor stuff that doesn't matter, and the papers aren't so bad
3) Actually, J.D.'s research is "humane" and can be defended

Maybe the most interesting thing about this incident is that the defense of Aufheben is rooted in a specific ideological understanding of class - that professors, journalists, etc are actually working class. The implications of this are profound for communist politics. I disagree with the formulation, obviously, but I encourage those making it to follow it to its logical conclusions.

Wellclose Square
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Oct 20 2011 16:16

And it's not just about a name appended to a couple of articles...

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 20 2011 16:23
Samotnaf wrote:
Prove it.

I don't have to "prove" anything as I'm not the one making very serious allegations against a named individual. If you don't accept Aufheben's explanation, do what we did: talk to them and get them to back it up. Pretty basic fact-checking you could have done months ago.

dinosavros
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Oct 20 2011 20:05

Joseph K,
you keep mentioning again and again the "facts" and "concrete evidence" that you have seen, and then you admit that it is only an "e-mail trail". That is hardly concrete evidence, it would be very easy to fake or alter. J and Aufheben haven't made it public so in fact all we have is your word for it, your entire argument is based on an appeal to your own authority. And then you and others accuse Samotnaf and TPTG for publishing allegations that they know to be false... well obviously they are just not convinced by this 'evidence', neither are a lot of us it seems.

You blame TPTG & Samotnaf for not contacting Aufheben and asking for the evidence like you said you did, but Aufheben were aware of the letter and texts for months now but didn't bother to let them know, so the blame is equally on Aufheben. But in any case I am not convinced that the email trail constitutes evidence.

The fact remains that there are two articles with J's name in the authors that are written to explicitly advise the british police on how to police crowds more efficiently, and specifically how to divide the violent and the nonviolent protestors so as to isolate the violent ones. To my mind it is natural that TPTG and Samotnaf have reacted as they did and the attacks against them are unfounded.

While on the other hand it is worrying how Aufheben and some people from the libcom team have reacted, giving such unbelievable defenses such as saying that it is normal for academics to be attributed as authors on papers they had nothing to do with and in fact apparently disagree strongly with, or claiming that J had no control over his faculty web page (despite the fact that he changed it after becoming aware of the letters, something that nobody has denied).

If I was in Aufheben's shoes I would ask J to publicly leave the group or else kick him out, and publish something that distances the magazine from his work in no uncertain terms without attempting to defend his work. I think this would be the only way to at least save some face. Because it is a pity, Aufheben is one of the few marxist theoretical groups that deserve respect today and if they don't react in this way this whole episode will leave a stain on their reputation for good, and they will deserve it too, they are excusing the inexcusable.

I am sure J is a nice enough guy judging from the support he is getting, probably very smart and good to talk with etc, but responsibilities are responsibilities. You can still be friends with someone you have distanced yourself from politically.

RedHughs
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Oct 20 2011 20:19
Joseph Kay wrote:
If you don't accept Aufheben's explanation, do what we did: talk to them and get them to back it up. Pretty basic fact-checking you could have done months ago.

The basic outline of the argument against JD can sumarized by these three links.

On the other hand, the source material for libcom's "fact checking" has not been provided. IE, we haven't seen the "email trail" which proves JD didn't write "the article". And further, this invoking of private information has not even mentioned the other, non-academic article - "Chaos Theory" (a point already mentioned numerous times in this very long thread - please tell us, why is JD's name on that?).

So for an outside observer, the damning information remains public and the hypothetical exonerating evidence remains private and based on "trust me - I checked the facts". Given this, both the Libcom administrators and Aufheben just don't look good. "Not good" both in terms of the facts and "not good" in terms how they are handling the situation.

I suspect that many others folks here indeed keep at this thread because we want Libcom and Aufheben to provide something more. We "shout" online because we indeed cannot step through the computer screen and shake them by the collar yelling "wake up to how much you've fucked up, do something different".

Read Serge Forward's post. He likes you. A large group of folks like both the Libcom admins and Aufheben and value the significant contribution they have made to the libertarian communist milieu. I suspect a significant portion of those feel betrayed by you (and of course another significant portion dismiss this as a trivial shit-storm in a tiny milieu but those are the people don't think much of the project to start with).

And integrity of those who unearthed this is totally irrelevant. If Aufheben was more widely read, the facts could have been unearth by the right wing press and you would still have to deal with them using a plausible story. And so far, your story hasn't been plausible.

And questions concerning what S, TPTG or anyone else but Libcom admin and Aufheben "wants to get out of this" are a bit misplaced. Considering they are seemingly allied, the problem seems to be Libcom admin and Aufheben's. However much I might want them individually or collectively to solve the problem, I don't think I can tell them how to do this.

All this is from everything I've read, gone over numerous times in this thread so far. If you evoke some crisp, clear link or argument showing me wrong, I'd be happy. But I haven't anything remotely like that so far.

RedHughs
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Oct 20 2011 20:32

Yes,

I wrote and posted my reply above before dinosavros' earlier reply became visible.

Notice that we more or less say the same thing in different words.

Best...

whatisinevidence
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Oct 21 2011 02:38
dinosavros wrote:
If I was in Aufheben's shoes I would ask J to publicly leave the group or else kick him out, and publish something that distances the magazine from his work in no uncertain terms without attempting to defend his work. I think this would be the only way to at least save some face. Because it is a pity, Aufheben is one of the few marxist theoretical groups that deserve respect today and if they don't react in this way this whole episode will leave a stain on their reputation for good, and they will deserve it too, they are excusing the inexcusable.

Well yes, but...

They knew about his work for a decade, so if he goes down, they go down with him.

tastybrain
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Oct 21 2011 03:58
whatisinevidence wrote:
Maybe the most interesting thing about this incident is that the defense of Aufheben is rooted in a specific ideological understanding of class - that professors, journalists, etc are actually working class. The implications of this are profound for communist politics. I disagree with the formulation, obviously, but I encourage those making it to follow it to its logical conclusions.

No, it's really not about that. I started a whole different thread for that debate, discussing that question on here will only cloud the issue. The fact is that the vast majority of academics do not consult with the police or any other branch of the state apparatus.

Someone asked what I thought was wrong with this. I will copy the relevant passages.

Quote:
Wanstead residents objected to their local green being dug up for the construction of a trunk road. They changed on a number of levels. They came to see themselves as in the ‘same group’ as the ‘activists’ who had come to the area for the protest - and indeed in the same group as activists across the country and around the world. They therefore came to see themselves as different from their local neighbours who stood passively by and watched the loss of green space. They also adopted a much more critical view of the police force: when previously the police had been seen as neutral or a protector of their individual rights, now they were seen as agents of unpopular government policy and hence ‘political’.

The ‘activists’ I spoke to attributed these changes in the views of ‘locals’ to the force of argument. They had spent long hours together in vigils to protect the green, and in that time had the opportunity to develop their points about the global significance of the ‘local’ road-building scheme and hence the political nature of ‘environmental’ issues.

The role of ‘discussion and debate’ in ‘politicizing’ people in social movements is also stressed by a number of sociologists and social psychologists. There is plenty of evidence that discussion and argument can be persuasive.

But there was something else happening at the time of the transformation of these ‘local’ people into ‘political subjects’. This was their participation in the ‘direct action’ itself. While they may have intended their participation to be different (less ‘direct’) than that of the ‘activists’, it was not seen that way by the police, who acted upon the protesters as a whole – as a crowd, in fact.

Put differently, the (unintended) consequence of the ‘locals’ acting ‘with’ the rest of the crowd was police action which served to impose a common experience (of ‘illegitimate attack’) on all, such that the distinction between ‘activist’ and ‘local’ could no longer be easily sustained. In a context when one is treated as ‘oppositional’ by the police, arguments about the ‘political’ nature of road-building will seem more plausible, and those making them more persuasive. Such people come to be seen as ‘one of us’ rather than ‘one of them’, and we might listen to more carefully.

By itself, this observation is not damning. Lot's of writers have noted how indiscriminate attack on a crowd can in some cases unify the crowd and obviously lower their opinion of the attackers. But the fact is that he made these observations as part of academic research, which was then used as the basis for a model for "public order policing" (however ineffective or flawed such a model might be) which is intended to isolate more combative groups during protests; groups which some people on this forum might conceivably be a part of. I simply don't buy the idea that his name has been on so many things which are directly meant to be of use to the police and that he has lectured the police and he is somehow completely innocent of any kind of cop-collaboration. Regardless of any effect this does or does not have it is clearly intended to be of use to the state for more intelligent repression. Even if there are no real-world consequences from this research the mere fact that it is meant to teach the police how to isolate radical elements of protests makes his participation in this unacceptable, and I highly doubt he hasn't participated as some people are asserting.

Wellclose Square
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Oct 21 2011 05:57

Tastybrain, you're right to highlight the above, especially as the implications you draw out have largely been overshadowed by the 'sound and fury' of whether the Dr. approves of his name being appended to a couple of papers.

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jesuithitsquad
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Oct 21 2011 09:24

Just a quick note to apologize to Samatnof for an unkind comparison I made earlier. It was pointed out to me by a comrade that it was an unhelpful comment and in hindsight I agree.

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Oct 21 2011 11:17

This is going round in circles. No sooner is one charge refuted than the goalposts shift. 'He didn't write the papers? Never mind, he works for NATO. He doesn't work for NATO? Never mind, Stott & Reicher want to crush 'violent minorities'. Oh, Stott & Reicher are reformists who think "riots are the voice of the powerless" and argue explicitly against the "repression agenda"? Never mind, Katrina. His work has nothing to do with Katrina, and in fact argues the exact opposite? Never mind, his name is on the papers...' And round and round it goes: he must be guilty of something, enough shit's being thrown, some of it has to stick! It's dishonest to quote detail after detail, then when these are disputed, to claim the details don't matter anyway. Quantity of allegations is not a substitute for quality. If you're going to claim 'Chaos Theory' (for example) as a smoking gun, you can't just shrug off the fact the authorship is disputed (and Aufheben can prove this).

And I'm not telling anyone to take my word for it. By all means don't. But nobody is in a position to opine about how "plausible" or "unbelievable" Aufheben's explanation is unless they've checked it out, otherwise it's just more hot air in cyberspace. There's nothing stopping anyone else getting in touch and doing exactly the same thing libcom have done, i.e. basic fact-checking (hear their explanation, see if they can back it up). If you don't accept Aufheben's explanation, get in touch and arrange something. If you can't be bothered, that's fine. But then don't call us dupes or liars!

It's particularly ironic (/depressing) that this whole affair is supposedly motivated by the dangers of the state getting inside knowledge on the movement, yet the persistent demand - by people with anonymous pseudonyms, some registered especially for this thread - is for personally identifiable information on another communist to be put in public on a site we all know is read by google, cops and journos (and has been used as evidence in numerous workplace disciplinaries). Stop and think about it for a minute.

I also didn't say the evidence is "only" an email trail. The email trail relates only to the authorship question on the Stott/Reicher papers. We've also spoken to J and Aufheben; heard his explanation for the 'consultancies' and followed the links to confirm it; seen the powerpoint slides on mass emergencies he gave to (amongst others) cops; and read academic papers. In other words, we've got off our arses, got off the internet and actually investigated the situation whereas it appears everyone else has just googled for incriminating quotes and ran with it, or worse, just taken the people doing that at their word. And then those same people claim libcom bothering to investigate the matter is itself suspicious and proof of a conspiracy! First comes the verdict, then follows the trial...

Of course if people are going to go down the road of saying evidence is faked, nothing will ever suffice. After all, since J is 'guilty', any contrary evidence must be a fabrication and libcom must be dupes or liars (*sigh*). But to go down this road is getting into conspiracy theory territory. If J is so dangerous that TPTG can't even email him (!), why on earth would Aufheben (and libcom?) - i.e. groups who have a working relationship with him - want to start faking emails, powerpoint presentations, web pages and so on to cover it up? It doesn't make any sense, we'd be the ones at most risk if what TPTG says is true! It's just piling one speculative accusation on top of the other to try and distract from the fact TPTG and Samotnaf have made very serious allegations they didn't bother to investigate thoroughly, and in assembling various googled tidbits into a narrative of enemies within have ignored all contrary information first from others in the scene, then from Aufheben and now from libcom.

Samotnaf
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Oct 21 2011 11:44

I've not heard ONE bit of verifiable information "from others in the scene, then from Aufheben and now from libcom." If you're going to play "I know best", at least try to show you do with some knowledge we don't know other than hearsay.

PS Thanks, jesuithitsquad, for the apology - besides, I know very little about "Bored not bored" other than he attacked Dauve because of some crap Dauve's dad did, if I remember correctly....the sins of the father...