The title of this article is taken from a slide that Brian Kernick, as purported President of Atheist Alliance International (AAI), presented to their recent Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM). The emergency for the organisation that precipitated the meeting, was the crisis of legitimacy for the current so-called AAI Board. Their extensive corruption of the democratic process over many years, which they recently admitted to in their ‘Disclosure Document’, demonstrated that the current purported Officers and Directors at AAI had never been validly appointed to those roles. Of course this is an issue of the greatest consequence for AAI, but they then proceeded with a meeting that studiously avoided facing up to it in any way.
The self-styled AAI Board avoided facing up to their own lack of legitimacy, by implementing the most appalling governance standards. Their approach would be laughed out of the management committee for any local resident’s association or amateur sports club, and it is astounding that this passes for governance at an international organisation with Special Consultative Status at the United Nations. Their governance process was best summed up by Martin Boers as follows:
“… the AAI ‘Disclosure Document’ was not the result of an independent investigation, and it did not contain any objective evidence. Instead, it contained a series of unsupported assertions, apparently penned by Bill Flavell. Bill Flavell had investigated and reported on the actions of Bill Flavell – but not on all the actions of Bill Flavell – only those actions of Bill Flavell that Bill Flavell had decided were worth reporting on.”Quote from Martin Boers article on The Real Disclosure Document
If any Board wished to demonstrate their own illegitimacy, then this kind of nonsense would be a good way to go about it. Since they won’t even name the issues that they’re required to face up to, never mind address them honestly, here are the four areas of accountability that they must confront directly.
1. Manipulation Of The Electorate
The most consequential vote in the entire history of AAI going back over many decades, involved the introduction of outrageously anti-democratic new Bylaws. Whereas the Alliance had been properly under the democratic control of the affiliate member groups who had built AAI, full control was transferred instead to a small group of individuals on the Board. As they said themselves there were “really only two or three Board members” actively involved in the process, and this small cabal unlawfully appropriated all of the AAI assets. They did this by arranging a vote for which they proactively manipulated the electorate. The corrupt cabal included Bill Flavell, who still presents himself as the Secretary of AAI today.
The AAI ‘Disclosure Document’ admits that many atheist groups were unlawfully excluded from the vote. It also accepts that many other atheist groups that were not entitled to vote, were improperly added to the voting rolls. Moreover, the current so-called AAI Board also admit that the difference between what should have been the valid electorate, as compared to the manipulated electorate that actually voted, was more than enough to change the outcome. These facts on their own leave the vote entirely invalid, such that it should be rearranged on this basis alone. However, the betrayal of democratic legitimacy within AAI is much deeper than that, because the small cabal who took control of AAI deliberately manipulated the electorate by hand-picking which groups would, and would not, be permitted to vote.
This can be most easily seen by comparing two affiliate member groups that were in precisely the same situation. The current so-called Board of AAI has claimed that the invalid electorate was created following a simple misunderstanding of their role in managing annual subscriptions. However, both Atheist Ireland and the Atheist Union of Greece were in exactly the same circumstance in that regard. Even if it were accepted that the AAI Board had misunderstood their own Bylaws, there was absolutely no basis on which to treat these two groups differently. Nevertheless, in the days immediately preceding the vote, the AAI Board engaged with detailed proposals from Atheist Ireland on how to introduce more democratic accountability to AAI, while carefully keeping their plans for the anti-democratic vote entirely secret. At exactly the same time, the same cabal proactively contacted the Atheist Union of Greece and invited them to vote, based on payment of just $1 as a subscription fee. Fotis Frangopoulos paid that $1 subscription fee and then gave the Atheist Union of Greece proxy votes to the corrupt cabal. Immediately after the vote, Fotis Frangopoulos was coopted onto the Board without election. In fact, he was subsequently expelled from the Atheist Union of Greece over a financial issue, but Fotis Frangopoulos still acts as the Treasurer of AAI today.
Based on their own whims and for their own reasons alone, a corrupt cabal on the AAI Board manipulated the electorate for the most consequential vote in the entire history of the Alliance. They used this manipulated vote to remove all control of AAI from the member groups, and award it to themselves instead. They did this by picking and choosing who they would allow to vote, and who they would exclude from the vote, based on no objective criteria whatsoever. This was entirely outside the Bylaws, and their motivations for this do not matter at all. Notwithstanding why it was done, the fact is that the unlawful manipulation occurred. As a result, the outcome of the most consequential vote in the entire history of AAI did not reflect the democratic wishes of the membership. It reflected the private wishes of a corrupt cabal, based on which groups they selected to improperly include on the voter rolls, and which groups they picked out for unlawful exclusion. Irrespective of the reasons why the cabal made these decisions, the fact is that it was the cabal making the decisions and not the members.
Whereas the so-called AAI Board now admit that the electorate was manipulated, they have made heroic efforts to avoid facing up to it. The question they must now answer is … what authority did you have that allowed you to decide which groups to exclude from this vote, and which groups you would invite to this vote?
2. Unelected Directors
The AAI ‘Disclosure Document’ admits that for three years, there was no AAI Board because the self-styled Directors were never elected. The corrupt cabal that took control of AAI never received a single vote from a single member group throughout this entire period. They were co-opted to the AAI Board without election, meaning that the Bylaws required them to seek election by the end of the year or else resign. Instead, they continued to act as Directors for three years, and all of the so-called Directors on the purported AAI Board were guilty of this anti-democratic behaviour. This was an appalling betrayal of democratic legitimacy, such there was no valid AAI Board throughout this entire period.
During these years, nothing that these people did could be said to be a valid action taken by AAI. For example, they made submissions to the United Nations, including writing to the Secretary General of the UN, purporting to be representing dozens of national atheist groups worldwide. However, they were representative of absolutely nobody but themselves. Those submissions to the UN were not made on behalf of the Alliance or any atheist groups at all. They were made on behalf of a small cabal of charlatans, imposters and frauds. No actions of the cabal were legitimate activities of AAI, and this includes arranging meetings at which they appointed new Directors, like those on the current so-called AAI Board.
The question they must now answer is … on what basis can anything done by this unelected cabal be considered a valid or legitimate action of AAI, including their appointment of new Directors such as the current purported AAI Board?
3. Missing Financial Accounts
During the same three years when there was no valid Board of AAI, the small cabal in control of AAI also failed to retain adequate financial records. They unlawfully appropriated a bank account containing tens of thousands of dollars of other people’s money, and then they declined to keep proper records of how they spent it.
Some of the individual expenditures during this period have been revealed. For example, Bill Flavell’s Board awarded a contract to his own daughter without advertisement or tender. The members were not informed. Previous AAI Boards had awarded contracts only after an open application process, such as the contract that had been awarded to Rustam Singh. However, Bill Favell’s Board improperly cancelled that contract and instead awarded the cash to themselves. This so-called Board became the first people in the entire history of AAI to pay themselves for secular work done on behalf of AAI. They paid themselves a contract worth thousands of dollars, using other people’s money that they had no authority to control.
Many of the atheist groups who had built the Alliance and had accumulated those AAI funds through their membership subscriptions, were improperly expelled from the organisation by the corrupt cabal that took control of their cash. Those atheist groups are entitled to know how their cash was spent. In the AAI ‘Disclosure Document’ it is admitted that no adequate records of this spending were kept, such that the nature of some expenditures had to be “inferred”. In other words, the current so-called AAI Board just imagined what the cash might have been spent on, and included that in the financial accounts that they later reconstructed. They spent other people’s money without any mandate to do so, and it remains the case that still haven’t revealed what they spent it all on.
The question they must now answer is … why have you never made any effort whatsoever to account towards the unlawfully expelled atheist groups that built AAI, for how the unelected cabal spent the funds accumulated by those groups through their membership subscriptions and donations?
4. Years Of Deliberate Lies
During the recent EGM, Brian Kernick complained about requests for his so-called AAI Board to be accountable for their actions. He stated as follows:
“This is stuff that happened in the past. A lot of the questions are dealing with 2017 and 2018.”Quote from Brian Kernick at the recent EGM, arguing against AAI Board accountability
The reason why the outstanding questions relate to events that took place some years ago, is that the so-called AAI Board has been deliberately and intentionally lying about those events throughout all of the intervening years. In referring to how long ago these events took place, Brian Kernick is not demonstrating that critics are engaged in some kind of ‘outrage archaeology’ to dig up scandals from the past. He is enumerating the number of years that the AAI Board has been inventing lies to cover up their very serious wrongdoing.
It was only in November 2022 that the AAI ‘Disclosure Document’ was published, admitting that the critics had been telling the truth all along. Up to and including 2022, the so-called AAI Board continued to publish deliberately dishonest statements, denying what they knew to be true and falsely attacking those reporting the truth. In fact, the AAI ‘Disclosure Document’ itself includes manufactured data, demonstrably false allegations, and many other deliberate deceptions. The current so-called Board of AAI still refuses to deal with the irrefutable fact that much of what they have published on these issues has consisted of calculated lies.
For example, the AAI ‘Disclosure Document’ admits that none of the Bylaws were adhered to in any way, in relation to the most consequential vote in the history of the Alliance. However, for years the so-called AAI Board insisted that they strictly followed all aspects of the Bylaws in terms of how member groups were invited to this vote. Here’s Bill Flavell making that claim in 2021, which he knew to be absolutely false as he was speaking:
Moreover, the AAI website still retains many of those deliberate and intentional lies today, such as this statement:
“The AAI vice-president [Bill Flavell] checked the records … and all were invited in accordance with the timetable established in the bylaws … John has no evidence to claim otherwise as he has done repeatedly.”Quote from the AAI web site
Bill Flavell knew that this was false when it was published. This and other lies remain on the AAI web site today. The AAI ‘Disclosure Document’ now accepts that the number of member groups invited to this vote according to the Bylaws, was precisely zero. However, not alone have the current so-called Board of AAI been unwilling to delete the intentional lies that they published, they have made no effort whatsoever to explain how they came to fabricate so much deliberate mendacity in the first instance
The question they must now answer is … why did the so-called AAI Board consistently publish deliberate lies about all of these issues for so many years, up to and including 2022?
At the recent purported EGM of AAI, Brian Kernick as self-styled President described the emergency that precipitated the meeting as relating to the crisis in legitimacy for the current so-called AAI Board. He presented a slide that read, “You Can Never Forget The Past Unless You Face Up To It”. Here are the four questions that the current so-called Board of AAI need to face up to:
- What authority did you have that allowed you to decide which groups to exclude from the most consequential ever AAI vote, and which groups you would invite to this vote?
- On what basis can anything done by the unelected cabal that unlawfully took control of AAI be considered a valid action of the Alliance, including their appointing of new Directors such as the current so-called AAI Board?
- Why have you never made any effort whatsoever to account towards the unlawfully expelled atheist groups that built AAI, for how the unelected cabal spent the funds accumulated by those groups through their membership subscriptions and donations?
- Why did the so-called AAI Board consistently publish deliberate lies about all of these issues for so many years, up to and including most of 2022?
The current so-called Board of AAI has never even attempted to offer an answer to any of these questions. Brian Kernick is correct about this very serious wrongdoing. Nobody on the purported Board of AAI will be able to forget about their past unless they face up to it.