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After 12 years of frustration, Mark Steyn’s brave battle for freedom of speech reaches court today


LONG before the covid era of repression and free speech censorship, well before students and universities began their routine censoring of incorrect speech, sending those who transgressed into the social gulag of non persondom (remember Professor Tim Hunt stripped of his position for observing that women cried), Mark Steyn had taken up arms on thought control and in defence of free speech

It was back in July 2012 that Steyn, amongst the first to defy the new climate change / global warming religion, in a blog post for National Review Online, described the climatologist Michael E Mann’s turn-of-the-century ‘climate change’ (global warming) hockey stick graph as fraudulent. Mann asked for an apology and a retraction but was told to get lost. He was not pleased. In October 2012, he issued a defamation lawsuit.

The graph was, in Mark’s words ‘the world’s most famous and instantly recognisable scientific graph, tirelessly promoted by UN propagandists and mailed by governments around the world to each of their citizens as the pretext for whatever warmist boondoggle they had in mind’. It has been key to the disastrous climate policies implemented by governments zealously throughout the West since. 

In face of this defamation suit, however, Mark stood by his observation – and has continued to do so since – at great cost to himself in time and money. Steyn, unusual amongst men today, lives by his principles.

Back in 2019 when already seven years into this ‘Jarndyce versus Jarndyce’ type climate truth case, Mark compiled some of his cumulative pre-trial research into a book: A Disgrace to the Profession – The World’s Scientists, in their own words, on Michael Mann, his Hockey Stick and their Damage to Science. It recounts how by the autumn of 2014, not a single amicus brief (a legal document supplied to a court of law containing advice or information) was filed on Dr Mann’s behalf, not one. If Mann was ‘taking a stand for science’, then science, as Mark noted, was disinclined to take a stand for him. 

It’s extraordinary that the case is still going, not least since after Mann commenced his action all that time ago it almost immediately ground to a halt:

From approximately June of 2013 until November of 2014, there were no steps taken in the action;

November 12, 2014, the plaintiff filed a notice of intention to proceed;

February 20, 2017, the matter was initially supposed to go to trial, but that trial date was adjourned;

July 20, 2017, the date of the last communication received from Mr Mann or his counsel by the defendant. No steps were taken in the matter until March 21, 2019 when the application to dismiss was filed.

As Mark wrote in 2019, a judge is capable of simple arithmetic – there were ‘at least two approximately year-and-a-half periods when plaintiff Mann did bugger all – not a solitary thing’. Whether or not he dared not put his money where his mouth was we don’t know. The point was that as a basic principle, a plaintiff has a legal duty to prosecute his case and Mann didn’t, year in, year out, for nigh on a decade. As the Court ruled:

This is a relatively straightforward defamation action and should have been resolved long before now. That it has not been resolved is because the plaintiff has not given it the priority that he should have. In the circumstances, justice requires that the action be dismissed.

It wasn’t. This was over four years ago. Finally, or so it seemed, Mark was called to Washington DC for a new trial before Christmas only to be told (after all those airfares and hotel bills) no, sorry, it was postponed. Today, finally, after (in his own words) ‘twelve years of pseudo-jurisprudential bollocks in the city where justice goes to die‘ jury selection in Mann vs Steyn will commence in Courtroom 518 of the DC Superior Court, Mark jokes darkly, ‘just in time for my fourth heart attack’. Let’s pray not.

What we desperately hope for in the coming weeks is to see Mark vindicated – in a victory for free speech. I hope readers will join me in sending him all our good wishes in the hope that justice and the principle of free speech will prevail. 

We can’t underestimate the importance of the trial. The crux of the matter, set out in the brilliant short video below, is our freedom to challenge scientific fraud as argued by Mark Steyn. Nothing in this time of so much scientism as opposed to science, could be more important. Do watch.

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Kathy Gyngell
Kathy Gyngell
Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @kathygyngelltcw on GETTR and is back on Twitter.

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