“What happened to me could happen to anybody”

what happened

By Mata Press Service

What would you do if someone you did not know, coming from a place you do not where, for reasons you do not why, spins lies about you on the web?
What would you do if the author of such invalidated tales puts your business at risk, your family in anguish and refuses to correct his unfounded ramblings?
That’s the dilemma facing well known Vancouver businessman Altaf S. Nazerali who recently got a ruling from a B.C. Supreme Court judge who writes: “In the present case, I am satisfied that the words complained of are indeed so manifestly defamatory that any jury verdict to the contrary would be considered perverse.”
But despite this affirmation by the court, which has caught the attention of international internet defamation experts, Nazerali’s battle continues with the American authors who insist that Canadian courts have no jurisdiction on them and that they are free to continue with their smear campaign.
Nazerali a successful businessman, who promotes and invests in international companies, many of which are publicly traded, has also launched www.itcouldhappentoyou.org to help people in similar predicaments.
Speaking to the Asian Pacific Post, Nazerali, who attended the prestigious Columbia University when he was only 15-years-old and graduated five years later with a BA and MBA, said he hopes to prevail in the legal system but just as importantly, in the court of public opinion.
“This is a web of lies..What happened to me could happen to anybody… It’s hard to understand this until it happens to you,” said Nazerali, whose work with high tech companies has helped law enforcement agencies throughout the world to save lives and fight crime.
“No matter how hard you try to live a peaceful, productive and generous life, there are some bad apples out there who gain notoriety by making false and sensational allegations against others to promote their own agenda, as twisted as it may be.
“How many of us have the time and ability to go beyond Google searches, and actually discern what is true and what is not. How many of us believe what we read on the Internet, and simply accept this as being true. I would like to raise awareness about this problem which could happen to any of us.”
Last summer, Nazerali discovered that a number of articles were published on a website called deepcapture.com which contain what he asserts are terrible and utterly false claims about him.
These claims include preposterous and false allegations that he obtained his start as an arms dealer to the mujahedeen, that he has been a Pakistani intelligence asset, that he served as an important financial advisor to the Iranian regime, that he was an important figure in a massive criminal enterprise in the 1970s and 1980s, that he did business with such unsavoury organizations as the Italian mafia, the Russian mafia and Colombian drug cartels, and that he has controlled organizations that have manipulated U.S. markets from their base in the Netherlands.
The articles also link him to attempts to sell enriched uranium to Al-Qaeda, to Russian intelligence operators and arms dealers, to the godfather of the Kremlin, various mafia organizations in Italy and “an impressive number of securities traders who are also narco-traffickers”.
The author is Mark Mitchell, a self-styled investigative journalist who was unceremoniously dumped by the Columbia Journalism Review. He is backed by Patrick Byrne, a Utah-based Internet shopping tycoon and a stock conspiracy theorist.
The duo is represented by Vancouver lawyer Roger McConchie who is arguing that the Canadian courts can’t do anything about these writings because it has no jurisdiction on the matter.
None of them responded to queries for this article.
Representing Nazerali is one of Canada’s foremost media legal experts, Dan Burnett.
Nazerali told the Asian Pacific Post that he contacted Mitchell last September 6 to persuade Mitchell to “correct or remove the falsehoods on his website”.
The author offered to do so, but only in exchange for Nazerali becoming a “source”, according to court papers filed in Vancouver.
In an email, Mitchell said: I do not reveal the names of my sources so if you were to become a source, I would be obliged to remove all previous mentions of your name on Deep Capture. Like I said, some facts are more interesting than others, and I’d gladly take your name out of the story altogether in exchange for having you as a source. Let me know what you think.”
Having no other option, Nazerali filed a lawsuit against Mitchell, Byrne.
In addition the suit named as defendants Deep Capture LLC, which operates the site, and an affiliated company, High Plains Investments LLC. Also named were the site’s registrar, GoDaddy Inc., and its host, NoZone Inc. Other defendants were search provider Google Inc. and its Canadian subsidiary, which publishes a list of links to the defamatory statements along with brief quotes.
Last Oct 19, the Supreme Court of British Columbia ordered the site’s host to block access to any material referring to Nazerali and prohibited the domain’s registrar from allowing a transfer of the domain.
On Dec 12, 2011, when the original interim injunction expired, a second Supreme Court of B.C. judge agreed that the material was defamatory. However he said both Mitchell and Byrne who have indicated they wanted to fight the case, should be given a chance to do so.
“Fortunately, two Canadian judges have read the materials and have ruled that these articles are defamatory,” said Nazerali, whose parents immigrated to Canada as refugees from Africa in the 1970s.
“Unfortunately the legal process is lengthy, expensive and time consuming. I am facing jurisdictional issues, as well as complicated issues involving the Internet, and freedom of speech, which does not mean freedom to lie or defame.”
Both sides were back in the B.C. Supreme Court this week with Mitchell and Byrne arguing a range of issues that ranged from service of court documents to jurisdiction. The substantive issue at hand i.e. did they lie about Nazerali was not addressed as the court has reserved judgment.
Meanwhile, American author Gary Weiss who has been uncovering Wall Street wrongdoing for nearly two decades has been watching Nazerali’s fight with Mitchell and Byrne.
He described the jurisdictional argument by Mitchell and Byrne as a “run for the border” by the defendants in the case.
“This could easily be a crushing blow for both Byrne and his libel factory, the Deep Capture website that he created in 2007 to spin conspiracy theories and stalk his critics,” Weiss wrote on his blog.
“What makes this run for the border even more cowardly is that Byrne told his brainless fellow conspiracy theorists that he was willing to “go a few rounds” with Nazerali. But now he’s trying to break that promise, showing that he’s simply not man enough to let a Canadian jury determine if what he said was true or a pack of lies,” wrote Weiss.
“…if what he put in Deep Capture was a bunch of loony conspiracy theories and outright fabrications, going to trial in a libel suit could be mighty expensive. It is Byrne and Mitchell who would be ripped to shreds….That’s why Byrne is running hard for the border. ..The only question is whether the courts of Canada will see to it that he pays well for the lies that he put on his website.”

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