Below is a copy of a letter I have shared with a number of Parliamentary Select Committees in response to what seem to be attacks upon my character and professional reputation by persons employed by or affiliated with the University of East Anglia (UEA).
The letter has also been copied to friends and business associates whose prayers and wider support I am counting on in the days ahead, as I face one of the most cynical, rapacious and reckless adversaries I may have encountered to date.
Like the disgraced Barbadian politician Donville Inniss, arrested in the USA for alleged political bribery and money laundering in June, my adversary has apparently chosen not to face me.
Instead they seem to be conspiring to have the UEA and the podcasting platform Audioboom do their dirty work for them, unwittingly.
In my article Fundamentalist Feminism, I address this kind of indirect aggression, a kind of violence that is characteristic of academic environments, especially where academia, with its written material based, legalistic and literalistic propensities, intersects with gender, race and religious racketeering politics.
Here, as elsewhere, I am arguing for a more “spiritual” academia and a new politics, based on the ancient principle of what I call “common sense”, the Logos, the New Covenant, freedom of conscience and “Lady Wisdom of Proverbs”, in line with its ancient manifestations.
The “Technologies of Trust” (TOT) project that I have initiated with the help of the London based Swedenborg Society, Conway Hall and other secular and religious entities, is the main vehicle I am using to deliver the fundamental aims of TOT
Ever the optimist, I look forward to the day when the current impasse with the UEA and Audioboom will be a distant memory and both organizations will work with me to advance Poetic Jazztice and peace.
On November 27, 2018, I received an email from Mr Mike Newman of the global on-demand audio and podcasting distribution platform Audioboom saying that they had received a complaint from the University of East Anglia (UEA) about “the recording and release” of material that I had posted to my Audioboom account, which bears my brand name “Poeticjazztice”.
And the importance of one’s brand or public image being authentic and rooted in a consistency of thought, word and deed based continuum of character shall become clear imminently.
According to Mr Newman, the UEA is claiming that I had breached their copyright and he identifies the alleged copyright breaching material as two audio recordings that I had created when I attended an event in Harvard Room 3.02 of the Julian Study Centre at the UEA, on October 18, 2018.
The publicly advertised, well attended event, was called “Decolonizing the Curriculum: How Should British Universities Respond?”
It was organized by Dr Claire Hynes of the UEA’s School of Literature, Drama & Creative Writing, at the instigation and/or in conjunction with Norfolk Black History month.
It is listed in the 2018 Black History Month promotional material as “a lively panel discussion with UEA teaching staff, professor Tessa McWatt, Professor Alan Finlayson, Dr Jeremy Noel-Tod, Dr Claire Hynes and guest panelist, professor Robert Beckford of Canterbury Christchurch University.”
I had attended and reported on the event in my capacity as a freelance journalist and independent publisher.
There was nothing secretive or underhanded in my recording of the event, as video footage I have indicates.
I therefore responded to Mr Newman’s email within minutes of reading it, with a clear conscience.
My response notes the public nature of the event and the fact that I had created my recordings openly, and in my capacity as a freelance journalist. I wrote:
“Hi Mike. The recordings were done at a public access event. The process was transparent. No permission was sought because I assumed I didn’t need any. No one objected to the recording at the time. I used the same phone I’m using to type this email. I am known for my work as a freelance journalist. So, I’m challenging the UEA’s claim.”
Mr Newman also responded on November 27, writing “Ok, thanks. We can’t mediate, but I will put you in touch with the University and hope it gets resolved to everybody’s satisfaction.”
Having not heard from Mr Newman by approximately 13:30 the next day, October 28, I became anxious and emailed him as follows:
“Hi again Mike. Thought I might have heard from you or the UEA again by now… This situation is having an adverse effect on my business operations, which as a knowledge trader, are intimately intertwined with my health, especially my mental health. I really don’t have the ‘headspace’ to indulge anyone’s direct or indirect bullying, anticompetitive shenanigans. Could I please have a contact name and email address for the person I need to contact to bring this anxiety generating, professional reputation undermining situation to a speedy settlement? Thanks for your kind assistance.”
However, appearing to take matters into his own hands, Mr Newman then responded:
“Hi Jay, I’ve notified the complainant that the podcasts in question have been removed, but it really is up to them if they choose to contact you. As the copyright holders, I don’t believe they’re being anti-competitive, they’re simply protecting their copyright – appreciate your desire to move on, so I think if they don’t get in touch then they would consider it closed and you can carry on as normal.”
However, I am not convinced that the UEA has an unassailable legal claim to the two recordings that I created.
Moreover, for reasons outlined below, including the apparent timing of the UEA’s approach to Twitter, I believe that it would be virtually suicidal to “carry on as ‘normal'” in a situation where the UEA, or some shadowy group or individual that is adept at Great Smog of London recalling smoke screens, may be trying to silence me and assassinate my professional reputation.
I believe that if I were to “carry on as normal” in this situation I might soon suffer a fate comparable to that of the reported suicide death of UEA student Jess Fairweather, a law student whose tragic death by asphyxiation I raised at the panel discussion, incidentally, as my recordings attest.
Indeed, noting the timing of the Audioboom delivered, UEA “baked” allegation of professional impropriety on my part and the fact that it followed a rather tense Twitter encounter with Audioboom ” icon” Stephen Fry and his fellow gay rights activist Bisi Alimi, in which I cited one of those recordings, the subsequent rape-like removal of those recordings has left me fearing a fate like that of the assassinated Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
And the inclusion in the first Newman email of a photo depicting a cassette tape with the words “Dead Man Talking” on it (which I only noticed on December 4) makes me think that being killed by some Fry or Alimi sympathizer, with links to the shadowy, global gay mafia perhaps, is a very real possibility.
That photo adds to the lingering sense of threat and vulnerability that I have been forced to live with since my freedom of conscience and freedom of expression work made me the target of a more than 30 year-long Barbados sown, globally grown, gender, race and religious racketeers orchestrated campaign of character assassination, economic sabotage and related human rights abuses.
I am no stranger to death threats.
I received at least one from Paul Coles, a former fellow Domino’s Pizza colleague who has also baited me with race and sexuality based provocations since at least 2012 (he is white and gay; I am black and straight).
And earlier this year, I received another death threat, cynically worded “Rest in peace”, from a prominent England-born, Barbados-based University of the West Indies academic, Dr Sandra Richards.
And because of the current febrile, volatile state of British politics, the inclusion of the “Dead man talking” photo in Mr Newman’s email is peculiarly threat triggering for me.
I fight a daily battle against the cognitive and affective smog being generated by the current intensification of the age old “battle of the sexes” in the British press and on its electronic airways (especially on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour); the “hostile environment” for immigrants being encouraged by some elements of official UK government policy; the Brexit debacle, Donald Trump’s presidency, the fog of fake news, and other interrelated generators of social tension and volatility all take a toll on my mental health and well being.
This Audioboom fronted, UEA-linked attack on my freedom of speech and professional credibility therefore compounds and triggers a sense of “ambient terror” that all UK citizens and residents are living with to some extent: an ambient terror that I drew attention to in an interview with another UEA student, Patrick McGuchan recently.
My own heightened sense of threat, based on Newman’s photo, the short but nonetheless chilling silence of Mr Newman and the longer, ongoing silence of the UEA, cited previously, have prompted me to refer this matter to the police, as I did Dr Richard’s cold, calculated comment.
The “official silence” of the UEA in this matter continues to be of deep concern to me because it is indicative of an icy “silence of Omerta” like phenomenon that I am familiar with through my nuclear physician like, x-ray tracing of the trajectory of Barbadian politics.
I believe this sinister silencing syndrome, highlighted by the Barbadian politician Dr Maria Agard in December 2015, contributes to the deep snow, deadly cover-up simulating, social distrust spreading cancer that I believe was a psychosomatic contributor to the deaths earlier this year of three female Barbadian Christian friends.
As I indicate in the first article in this Technologies of Trust series, I have been tracking such silent killing, psychosomatic phenomena in Barbados at least since the long illness and tragic, ultimate death of the youthful pastor Ricardo Birkett, of People’s Cathedral.
With the support of retired Canadian diplomat Isaac Goodine, a victim of fraud at the hands of Barbadian, Jamaican and other elites who operated with impunity, I have been campaigning to have the role of Barbados’ Official Secrets Act and other potential corruption “coddling” legislation examined.
And at least two of my sources close to UWI have indicated that the same kind of coercive, corrupt, at least psychologically toxic and violent silencing that Dr Richards maliciously conflated with the idea of “peace”, is having a culturally carcinogenic, peace polluting effect on elements of that institution’s operations and offerings.
And I have personally observed similar deadly, social isolation inducing silencing stratagems being perpetrated (consciously or unconsciously) among personnel at the UEA, Norfolk Police, BBC Norfolk, Norfolk and Suffolk (NHS) Foundation Trust, City College Norwich, Elim Pentecostal Church, Ishaan Mosque, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Wensum Valley Medical Practice, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, the Conference of Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, the Labor Party, the Conservative Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Commonwealth Secretariat, New Covenant Apostolic Ministries International, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, the Eastern Daily Press, the Telegraph newspaper, Wikipedia, the Guardian newspaper, the Independent Press Standards Organization, the Norwich Diocese of the Church of England and Wales, the National Union of Journalists, the Employment Tribunal, the Employment Appeals Tribunal and other UK based organizations that I and others have turned to for help, only to be slighted by them, or worst, ruthlessly attacked by them, like rape victims blamed for having sex appeal.
And the case of one former UEA employee, who alleges that she was forced out of her position at that institution’s British Centre for Literary Translation is possibly a compelling example of the use of Non-disclosure Agreements and similar legal instruments by the UEA to secure short-sighted, soul sickening silence – typically to protect or promote such institutions’ “brand” or that of one or another of their academic “celebrities”.
In a short-sighted, greed and glory grabbing gamble that I feel certain they now regret, one of the UEA’s (or at least the Union of UEA Students’) key business partners, DPGS Ltd, trading as Domino’s Pizza, offered me £1000 and “a positive letter of reference” to induce me to sign such a self-silencing, potentially suicide securing agreement and drop an unfair dismissal case that I had brought against that company.
Fortunately, I had the good sense to reject that offer, despite my desperate financial situation.
If I had signed it, I would not be able to openly explore the possible complicity of Domino’s in the Audioboom-UEA intellectual property breach allegation, as I am currently doing.
I note that the parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee, led by Maria Miller MP, launched an inquiry into Non-Disclosure Agreements last month.
If nothing else comes of my open letter, I hope it will cause that Committee to take a close look at NDAs as part of a human rights circumventing collection of legal and other trust undermining, social cohesion eroding stratagems.
The UEA’s OFFICIAL silence
Please note sirs, that up to the time of the writing of this letter, I have not heard from the UEA, at least not officially: not in writing.
A week or so after I had published the recordings, I was verbally alerted to some concern about my reporting on the event by Dr Hynes, who I encountered on a visit to the UEA.
But the haphazard manner of my encounter with her and the failure of any follow-up by anyone else at the UEA subsequent to that encounter did not encourage me to take her concerns seriously.
Dr Hynes’ and my paths crossed one night, in the vicinity of the UEA Vice Chancellor professor David Richardson’s office, as I was on my way to the main library.
As I recall, having not recognized each other in the dark, until we were virtually adjacent to each other, we were both caught by surprise.
I note this detail because it may explain the “heightened” emotion that characterized Dr Hynes’ and my conversation. Here is a brief reconstruction of what I recall:
Dr Hynes: “Oh, it’s you! Why do you hate the UEA?”
Me: “What?! (A brief, 10 or so seconds of loud, high pitched laughter then erupts internally and escapes from me, lessening in decibels and intensity as I compose myself.) What do you mean? What are you talking about?”
Dr Hynes: “That report you did about the panel discussion. You didn’t have permission. People are very upset!”
Me: “Why are they upset? I don’t understand…”
Dr Hynes: “Well, you better get in touch and sort it out!”
There may have been a brief exchange of pleasantries after that. I do not recall.
I only recall being somewhat bemused by the conversation after she and I had parted.
In fact, the incomprehension and incredulity in my response to Dr Hynes probably stemmed from the fact that as far as I was aware, my report on the panel discussion had presented the UEA in a mostly positive light.
It is true that in one of the recordings, or the brief texts explaining them (which may now be forever lost) I share my disappointment at the way an “exchange of services” business offer that I had put to the course director of the UEA’s Masters program in Creative Entrepreneurship, Mr Ian Chance, was rejected.
But in that segment of the recordings (or in the text) I was also careful to point out that I did not think Mr Chance’s refusal was necessarily racially motivated.
The recordings certainly present Dr Hynes and the other academics on the panel in a more positive light than their Canterbury Christchurch counterpart, professor Beckford, as far as I am concerned.
Dr Noel-Tod and Dr Hynes both seem to express a genuine awareness of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students’ need for safe spaces.
And the brief text I posted on Audioboom along with the recordings certainly made it clear that I do not uncritically support the arguably “reverse racist”, segregationist ideologies and political strategies that Beckford and other literalistic, evangelical fundamentalist Pan Africanist and other “group think Garveyite” academics and activists endorse.
Actually, it could be argued that professor Beckford’s rather simplistic, reductionist Garveyite approach to discussion of race in academic settings was not seriously challenged until I introduced a more nuanced perspective, made the more poignant and compelling by my reference to the white student Fairweather’s death.
News of the 20 year-old’s demise, found hanging in his room at the UEA, had actually been reported on the front page of the EDP that day.
So, much like the suggestion that I hate Domino’s Pizza, when I was in fact trying to rehabilitate it internally and improve its external reputation with UEA students, Dr Hines apparent assumption that I hate the UEA suggests that someone at or close to that institution is deliberately misrepresenting what my recordings clearly demonstrate: my efforts to bring a balanced, constructive viewpoint to the discussion of “safe spaces” for all UEA students, not just BME ones.
Even so, while being convinced that I had been fair to the UEA and not violated any intellectual property law, I still intended to contact them and try to clear the matter up, as Dr Hynes suggested.
My limited “head space”
But other, more immediate, well defined, “deadlined” or at least time-sensitive matters were burdening my mind and pressing for “head space”.
Chiefly, at that time, I was contemplating the next move in my long-running legal dispute with the millionaire businessman Surinder Kandola, the principal of DPGS Limited, the main controller of the UK branch of the US based, global pizza delivery “Goliath”, Domino’s.
On October 17, the day before the UEA panel disussion took place, an Employment Appeals Tribunal decision on my attempt to have an appeal I had brought against the original 2013 ruling in Domino’s favour had also gone against me.
Ironically, my concern for the safety and well being of UEA students was one of the main fators that had brought me into conflict with Domino’s in 2013.
And like the UEA, arguably, Kandola seems to be concerned about his public image to the detriment of those that Domino’s and the UEA’s administrators, including its student administrators, are supposed to be serving.
And I note the complicity of members of the University of East Anglia Students’ Union in my dispute with Domino’s by denying me access to the details of its questionable, trade monopolizing commercial contract with DPGS Ltd when I requested access to it as a student member of that Union in 2012.
And as I have reported previously, as a parent, the “grooming gang” approximating behavior of some students and lecturers in UK, US, Caribbean and other tertiary and lower level educational institutions is of deep concern to me.
In this respect, I note former Foreign Secretary William Hague’s description of “student politics”, shared in an interview with Peter Hennesey that was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 last August:
“I feel I learned an enormous amount from that no holds barred student politics… Student politics is rougher than West Minster politics. There’s far more skulduggery than in Westminster!”
Might Hague’s own political failings be explained by his apparent endorsement of and seasoning in such political skulduggery?
Should he perhaps count himself lucky to have escaped a fate similar to that of the young Conservative activist Elliott Johnson who committed suicide in 2015 because of alleged political bullying, perpetrated by a seemingly “normal”, well adjusted older political activist, Mark Clarke.
I note the description offered by one Conservative Party member of the manner in which Clarke, having developed a reputation for frightening political excess and been ostracised from the Party, managed to silence his critics and occupy the position of trust he is believed to have so abused that he should be held accountable for Johnson’s death.
According to a 2015 Guardian article, then Party Chairman Grant Shapps and Paul Abbott, his chief of staff were “so keen to rehabilitate Clarke when he had been left out in the cold by the party for four years because he had turned up in summer 2014 saying: ‘I’ve grown up, I’ve changed, I’ve had a kid, I’m married.’”
Quoting an unnamed source at the Party headquarters, the article continues “He’s very capable of seeming like an ordinary, sensible human being, he’s got a proper job at Unilever, he’s in his late 30s, he’s capable of seeming like a normal person. He can be very seductive. He seduced Paul and Grant.”
It seems to me that the normalization, even normatization of such poisonous, psychosocially polluting politicking across the UK political spectrum is at the root of much of the deadly, Great Smog of London simulating moral confusion that has been turning Britain’s, the United States’ and other Western democracies on their heads.
Anyway, with my case against Domino’s hanging in the balance last month and other day-to-day challenges weighing on my mind, I was not inclined to take on anything else that would burden me psyhosomatically, unless I felt I absolutely had to.
I was also busy preparing for a trip to Barbados for my brother’s wedding and a then “ill-defined” “Technologies Of Trust” (TOT) event that I was contemplating doing there, as a follow-up to the first TOT I had done, at Michael Church in London, with the gracious assistance of its pastor Ethan McCardell.
I therefore thought that rather than act on words spoken by Dr Hynes during a chance encounter, it would make more sense to wait until I had received some written expression of precisely what the UEA found offensive in my recordings.
But now Audioboom has removed those recordings and the brief descriptive text that accompanied them from the internet in an act poetically and politically proximate to the murder and silencing of the journalist Khashoggi.
And this happens just as I am warming to the idea that the Barbados-sown, globally grown campaign of character assassination that had been choking the light and life out of my capacity to pursue my dreams and live up to my full potential was finally ended, with the arrest of the Barbadian politician Donville Inniss, a key business and political adversary, in June.
Inniss’ arrest in the US on bribery and money laundering charges had been a source of some consolation to me ahead of my Barbados visit.
As one prominent Barbadian businesswoman noted, my warnings about him, based on his effort to destroy my business name Intelek by linking it to a pornography website he owned (intelek.com) were vindicated.
And while in Barbados I had been enouraged by the launch of my book “The Bible: Beauty And Terror Reconciled” (TBBTR) there on November 13, despite some signs of surviving Inniss-linked interference in my affairs.
Certainly, with significant coverage by both the print and electronic local media, I felt that the decades long media blackout that seemed to have been secretly imposed on me had come to an end.
Now, I am not so sure.
Now I wonder if the London-based Audioboom may be alligned with Inniss’ UK based business interests, the BBC’s Mike Liggins, who shielded Kandola from journalistic scrutiny, the gay rights activists Fry and Alimi or some other English or Barbadian, secular or religious power brokers who TBBTR or something else that I have written or said previously has offended.
Could the UEA seriously believe that they have a legitimate claim to recordings that I created in the routine pursuit of my journalistic responsibilities?
If so, why did they wait more than a month to complain to Audioboom?
And why are they yet to contact me personally?
I have tried to contact their “IP Officer”, on the basis of a reference to such an office holder in one of Mr Newman’s emails.
But I was told by a female manning their PBX line that no such post exists.
She said that the UEA does not even have a legal department.
And an email that I received from Audioboom’s Mr Newman on Teusday, December 4, suggests that even he is now having trouble tracing the source of the UEA complaint.
My sense of the situation as it stands, the “current state of play”, if I may employ that cricketing language, is that having been seduced by someone at or close to the UEA feigning sexual maturity, Mr Newman has found himself metaphorically copulating with a partner who is both underage and out of their depth.
My sense of the situation is that Mr Newman, Audioboom and the UEA (if indeed the UEA was aware of any of this) are coming to the understanding that they have unwittingly become party to something like statutory rape.