Thursday, March 12, 2009
As I've said, while The Daily Cal description doesn't really prove that John Moghtader didn't hit anyone, it does portray the SJP folks as deeply dishonest. If The Daily Cal is to be believed, it seems that all their screaming about Moghtader attacking them actually was "some people attacked us. Moghtader was nearby." I want to remind folks that a description can be technically accurate but deliberately misleading, and to give it is no less dishonest than an outright lie.
I'm taking a look at the statements Sinanian claims are lies based on the video. Not having seen the video, it's difficult to assess his arguments. I suppose one could try to compare The Daily Cal's description if you believe them. I'll go through the statements as best I can.
Dalia Marina's Feb. 20 Op-Ed doesn't make many factual claims about what happened, aside from the fact that he entered Eshleman hall to confront her, which seems unchallenged by the video. Sinanian calls this piece blatantly and intentionally false, but does not explain how.
Dina Omar's Feb. 6 Op-Ed is more fact-filled, and thus more important for these purposes.
Immediately, two of the men attempted to push Dalia and I to get us away from the balcony railing, where we were holding the flags.According to the description of the video, these two unnamed men were, of course, the two who weren't Moghtader, a fact which strikes me as relevant and probably worth mentioning.
Once Husam took out his phone, Weiner rammed him against the balcony rail. At that point, all three men were rushing to get to Husam and I was in the way. I got socked very hard in the back of my shoulder, and Moghtader pushed me.The Daily Cal challenges this account as well, though they indicate that Moghtader pushing her could conceivable have happened.
After witnessing what happened to Dalia and I, and after being hit himself, Husam began to defend himself by swinging his arms.The Daily Cal says the order is incorrect, and Zacharia was already fighting by the time Moghtader went over. I guess "what happened to Dalia and I" could refer to the attempt to get the flag, but the way she writes it strongly implies that it was in response to her getting punched/pushed.
It was shortly after this point that people inside the building opened the balcony doors, and the three attackers ran away.Another statement clearly challenged by The Daily Cal, which indicated that Moghtader was the last to leave the balcony.
Omar also writes an open letter to Moghtader.
The issue is very simple: You hit me, you are a student senator who represents students like me, and after you hit me you lied about it and didn't even apologize.The Op-Ed said Moghtader shoved her. Here she says he hit her. The Daily Cal says neither appeared on the video.
Immediately, you, Gabe Weiner and Yehuda De Sa attempted to push, shove and manhandle Dalia and me so as to get our bodies away from the railing on the balcony, where we were holding the flags.Here, Moghtader is included in the "immediately" that only included two people in the op-ed, and again, The Daily Cal argues that he was not.
Other claims are similar to those in the op-ed.
A campaign flier states:
...he and two other males forced their way into Eshleman hall shouting anti-Arab slurs and battered 3 Palestinian students...My main problem here is that there would have been no need to "force" their way into Eshleman hall, but I suppose you could argue that the point is that Moghtader wasn't battering the students.
Also included are a bunch of statements from the police report he says are false, which includes most of the same statements from Omar, though she came back to UCPD later to clarify that the person she claims punched her was Moghtader, as was the person who "who yelled 'I will kill/kick your Arab ass' as he was running out..." Again, The Daily Cal claims Moghtader was the last to leave the balcony.
Dalia Marina also came back the next day to clarify that Moghtader was the one running out and screaming. Zacharia came back two days later to say everyone was running out and screaming.
I should note that the claims above have nothing whatsoever to do with Sinanian's case, though that didn't stop him from including them. He seems to be pointing to these statements to assert that this is such a big deal that they should assign extra punishment to the one thing he is claiming was a violation on the part of the proponents: The Voters' Guide statement. This adds yet another By-Law to the list of By-Laws he's asking the Judicial Council to ignore, which is that campaigners can't be punished for violations that are not listed as violations in the By-Laws.
Finally, the all-important Voters' Guide statement has the special property that it makes no factual claims on its own, only repeating what other people have said (Omar and the UCPD). So even if Omar was lying, this means that Sinanian is going to have to prove that a proponent was lying in this context. Either the Primary Proponent who approved the Voters' Guide statement (Nathan Shaffer, I assume) would have to have known Omar was lying, or one could potentially argue that if Omar knew her statement was going to be used in the Voters' Guide, she was acting as a proponent. Given that the statement supposedly occurred the day after the attacks, it would be tough to prove she was giving it for the purpose of putting it into the Voters' Guide of a proposition that didn't exist yet.
I want to repeat the distinction between the rules and the right thing. My claims that Sinanian should not be bringing these charges and shouldn't win are independent of my feelings that the SJP folks are liars. Just because an injustice occurs doesn't mean that it would be just for the ASUC to do something about it, if doing so involved violating its own obligations.
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