Last Sunday, the so-called Board at Atheist Alliance International (AAI) arranged an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM). Lawrence Krauss acted as the Facilitator of the EGM. Under their purported Bylaws, such a meeting requires an “emergency” that cannot wait until the next annual meeting. In this case, the emergency appeared to be a pressing need for the self-styled Board to whine like 8 year-olds for four-and-a half-hours straight. Not to be left out, even Lawrence Krauss had a little cry on his own behalf.
Before getting to the self-pity of Lawrence Krauss, it is important to state the nature of the issue that was being debated. A fully paid-up and current member of AAI had put some questions to the so-called Board, concerning the recently published AAI ‘Disclosure Document’. This document had admitted to serious wrongdoing by the AAI Board, but failed to address the most consequential aspects of their corruption. Moreover, AAI had already provided several errata to correct some self-serving statements in the document, which turned out to be absolutely false. A full copy of that ‘Comments Document’ from AAI correcting their own ‘Disclosure Document’, is available at the bottom of this page. However, there remained several other demonstrably false statements within the most important parts of the ‘Disclosure Document’. When it was proposed that the so-called Board should answer the questions on these issues that had been submitted by an AAI member, various people from the Board took turns to argue that the Board shouldn’t have to answer questions about wrongdoing by the Board.
Pretending That Accountability Is Persecution
Here’s just one example of the various emotional contributions from many members of the so-called AAI Board, each feeling sorry for themselves because their own members asked them some questions:
“I have a wife. I am a young man. I work. I have two jobs. Between two jobs, every day I give three hours to AAI. Twenty one hours a week. That is itself a job and I don’t get paid for it. No-one else gets paid. This is an international organisation. You guys running organisations, you know how much work it takes. We do it with passion. If you answer 100 questions they will find a little something and they will make another question out of that. These people have become obsessed. For these people, I have a very clear message, actually. Go get a life, man. We have asylum cases all across the world. We have 18 or 19 blasphemy cases right now. Those people will die.”Self-Pitying Quote from AAI Board Member opposed to transparency and accountability
As a brief fact check:
- All previous Directors on the AAI Board had been strictly volunteers only. In contrast, members of the current so-called Board have been the first Directors in the entire history of the organisation to pay Board members thousands of dollars for secular work done on behalf of AAI.
- While it is true that many questions have been put to the so-called AAI Board since their corrupt 2018 takeover, the reason for this is that most previous answers have been deliberate lies. Since 2018, the so-called AAI Board have repeatedly and falsely insisted that they at all times adhered strictly to the Bylaws. In fact, their website still retains these false claims today. Their recent ‘Disclosure Document’ now admits that instead, they broke the most fundamental Bylaws with abandon, and destroyed all democratic legitimacy within AAI. Having now accepted that their critics were right all along, the so-called AAI Board might at least reflect upon the fact that there have been so many questions because they have published so many lies.
Fact checks aside, these repeated “people will die” arguments are becoming entirely absurd. It is just not the case that the so-called AAI Board put on capes every morning and spend every second flying around the world saving lives, such that stopping for a moment to answer a few simple questions will mean that “people will die”. For example, the first question on the list submitted by one of their own members, was as follows:
“Page 4 of your Disclosure Document shows a graph of membership numbers. Please provide the source of the membership figures shown on the graph for November 2016 and November 2017.”Question submitted to the so-called AAI Board by their member, Preston Jensen
The so-called AAI Board has attempted to excuse very serious corruption by publishing a graph that portrays a crisis in membership numbers. The graph has clearly just been made up out of thin air by the authors of the document, who are still demonstrably lying on this point. A polite question has asked for the source of the figures used to create the graph, and we’re told that the sources can’t be provided because “people will die”.
Lawrence Krauss was the Facilitator of this discussion. He expressed absolutely no difficulty with graphs being published where the authors refused to state the source of their data. He was the Facilitator of multiple members within the so-called AAI Board arguing that if the authors of graphs are asked to publish their data, then “people will die”. Lawrence Krauss could find no difficulty with this whatsoever (despite chiming in on the merits or otherwise of multiple motions during the meeting).
Krauss As “Impartial” Meeting Facilitator
Whereas the rules of the meeting prohibited Observers from contributing to debates, Lawrence Krauss invited Observers to make contributions that were opposed to the so-called AAI Board answering questions. However, when he knew that other Observers were in favour of the so-called AAI Board answering questions, Lawrence Krauss prohibited them from speaking. Only the Observers who wanted the so-called AAI Board to answer some questions were prohibited from making arguments. Instead, Lawrence Krauss asked the Observers on that side of the debate some blunt questions, and then he instructed them to merely:
“Please answer Yes or No [in the chat]”Lawrence Krauss to an Observer who wished the so-called AAI Board to answer questions
Lawrence Krauss continues to “support and advise” the so-called AAI Board today. It is little wonder that the self-styled AAI Board selected Lawrence Krauss as their preferred “impartial” Facilitator for this meeting. As an example of how “impartial” Lawrence Krauss was as the Facilitator, this was his response when one affiliate member group argued that the way to bring the controversy to an end, would be to just answer the outstanding questions honestly:
“I certainly hope that whatever happens will end this, but I’m dubious.”Response from Lawrence Krauss to the idea that answering questions will end the controversy
Perhaps because he felt that the 4-hour EGM was itself preventing the AAI Super-Board from putting their underpants on over their tights, Lawrence Krauss couldn’t resist revealing his own bias against transparency and accountability. When another affiliate member group suggested that the AAI Board could at least answer the most substantive and important of the outstanding questions, this still wasn’t acceptable for Lawrence Krauss:
“When you talk about substantive and important, that’s going to be in the eyes beholder. This Board decides something’s not substantive, and someone could easily then write 100 emails to each of us to say that the other questions were substantive”Response from Lawrence Krauss to the idea of answering the most important questions
It is important to remember who the real victims are here. According to the so-called AAI Board, the victims are the many atheist groups who built AAI and were then unlawfully expelled. In the introduction to the meeting, the so-called AAI Board said that the purpose of the meeting was to decide “how we put this right”. In contrast, Lawrence Krauss seems to believe that he is the real victim. We are all asked to shed a collective tear for Lawrence Krauss, who apparently gets emails with information about AAI that would rather not know. How awful for him. The purpose of this meeting according to Lawrence Krauss, seemed to include deciding how could contrive to continue as Facilitator, without the unlawfully expelled groups sending him emails seeking due process.
Due Process According to Krauss
In the past when he has perceived himself to be a victim, Lawrence Krauss has had an awful lot to say about “due process”. In this case, many of the national atheist groups who built AAI, have been unlawfully expelled from AAI and have been seeking due process. The meeting where Lawrence Krauss acted as Facilitator purported to provide due process for these organisations, such that the meeting would “make amends” for this very serious wrongdoing. Specifically, the following were the three key points that the so-called AAI Board were required to be accountable for:
- When the Bylaws were changed to transfer full control of AAI from the members to an illegitimate Board, the manipulation of the electorate changed the outcome of the vote. The so-called Board at AAI has already accepted that several member groups were improperly excluded from the vote, while several who were not entitled to vote were added to the voting rolls. Excluding the invalid votes and adding the votes of Atheist Ireland and Freedom From Religion Foundation (who were excluded but had made their voting intention public) would have changed the outcome. The radically anti-democratic new Bylaws would not have been adopted, and the so-called AAI Board have not dealt with this issue in any way.
- For many years the so-called AAI Board were entirely unelected and had no mandate or authority to do anything at all on behalf of AAI. None of the actions taken by these people can be considered actions taken on behalf of AAI, and this includes the appointment of the current so-called Board. The so-called AAI Board have not addressed this issue in any way.
- When AAI was unlawfully taken over from the valid member groups, those responsible took control of a bank account containing tens of thousands of dollars. They then failed to retain financial records for several years, during a period when they were awarding other people’s money to themselves and to their own children. The so-called AAI Board have not dealt with this financial misconduct in any way.
With respect to these three issues, it is important to note the kind of due process that Lawrence Krauss acted as Facilitator for. There were many atheist groups that were unlawfully disenfranchised by this appalling conduct. They deserve due process as much as Lawrence Krauss. Regarding this very serious wrongdoing, the following was the process followed by the so-called AAI Board and Facilitated by Lawrences Krauss:
- The so-called AAI Board were Facilitated in re-writing the issues they were required to be accountable for. Unsurprisingly, they grossly understated what the wrongdoing consisted of, such that they avoided dealing with the most serious issues.
- Having significantly understated the nature of the wrongdoing, the so-called AAI Board then allowed the wrongdoers to investigate their own wrongdoing.
- After the wrongdoers investigated their own wrongdoing, the same wrongdoers were also allowed to determine the conclusions.
For example, Bill Flavell was central to all of this wrongdoing. After Bill Flavell had investigated the actions of Bill Flavell, the slide below describes what conclusions Bill Flavell arrived at.
It is risible that the misdeeds of Bill Flavell are described as “errors”. Unlawfully taking control of other people’s money and paying it to your own family members, is not an “error”. The cash did not end up in the bank account of Bill Flavell’s daughter by accident. Moreover, the financial accounts for the period did not suffer from “delays”. No adequate records were kept, such that the so-called AAI Board have already admitted that the purpose of some payments had to be “inferred”. That is, if you want to know where the rest of the money went then the best you can do is listen to the imaginings of the people who unlawfully took control of it.
Lawrence Krauss was the Facilitator for the supposed due process in relation to how this money was misappropriated. That money was raised in large part through the membership subscriptions of those atheist groups who were unlawfully expelled from AAI. Lawrence Krauss expects them to be satisfied by a statement from those who took the money, that the financial accounts were “delayed”. Huh?
Moreover, there was no mention whatsoever of the fact that the illegitimate manipulation of the electorate changed the result of the most consequential vote in the history of AAI. The due process Facilitated by Lawrence Krauss had absolutely nothing at all to say about this. The atheist groups that were disenfranchised by this unethically manipulated ‘vote’, got nothing but silence. The main concern of Lawrence Krauss in this regard seemed to be that nobody should email him complaining about this situation.
The worst was yet to come, though. The most outrageous aspect of this report, was when Bill Flavell addressed the bullet points illustrated above by jumping from number 2 straight to number 4. While Bill Flavell acted as an AAI Director for many years without ever earning a single vote from a single affiliate group, he had nothing whatsoever to say about this. The due process that Lawrence Krauss facilitated, was no due process at all.
When Lawrence Krauss was asked about the “emergency” that caused the meeting to be arranged, which was the lack of legitimacy for the AAI Board due to the 3 central areas of wrongdoing enumerated above, his response was as follows:
“the Board is legitimate on the basis of advice of lawyers”Quote from Lawrence Krauss during the EGM
Of course, nobody is allowed to know what briefing was given to the lawyers, just like nobody is allowed to ask the so-called Board any other questions. It can only be assumed that the so-called Board gave their lawyer the same kind of briefing that they gave to the EGM. That is, they failed to honestly describe the true nature of the wrongdoing they were required to be accountable for.
If I broke into the home of Lawrence Krauss and stole his TV, then I reported this to a lawyer merely as the availability of the TV being “delayed”, then I’m sure there would be few people who would be concerned about such a report. This is the kind of due process that Lawrence Krauss has Facilitated for the atheist groups who built AAI and were unlawfully expelled. The report to the EGM was just more overt dishonesty from the same people who have demonstrably been lying about these issues for years.
Lawrence Krauss did not Facilitate any transparency or accountability or due process. What Lawrence Krauss was the Facilitator of, was the cover up of very serious wrongdoing using a four-and-a-half hour self-pitying CryFest.
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[…] by Onur Romano, who is a colleague of Lawrence Krauss on the AAI Advisory Council. Lawrence Krauss acted as Facilitator of this meeting, and it included the following comment from Onur […]