When Does Newspeak Become Just Lying?

It seems that in our current era, every day brings a new contender for the most Orwellian doublespeak. For example, I can recall participating in the marriage equality referendum campaign in Ireland, and so I was surprised to be told by the ACLU that such advocacy involved, “fighting for inclusion in a deeply flawed and fundamentally violent institution”. Of all the campaigns that may have been deemed “violent”, the one with the “love is love” slogan seemed an unlikely candidate. From there we progressed to the point where racial segregation was described as “antiracist”. However, all of that newspeak can take a back seat behind this new doozy from Brian Kernick, the self-styled President of Atheist Alliance International (AAI):

Screenshot from Brian Kernick Newsletter to AAI Members
Screenshot from Brian Kernick Newsletter to AAI Members

Let’s have a quick review of the recent events that have now been described by Brian Kernick as “transparent governance”:

  1. A wide range of very serious wrongdoing by the AAI Board had been identified, along with some very detailed documentary evidence. As the then AAI President, on 29th May 2022 David Orenstein announced “an independent inquiry, without any AAI Board Member interference in that inquiry …”.
  2. When Brian Kernick became self-styled AAI President, he immediately reneged on this commitment. Instead of an “independent inquiry” into the wrongdoing by purported AAI Directors, he arranged that an investigation into the wrongdoing should be carried out by only those Directors most directly responsible for the wrongdoing.
  3. Unsurprisingly, after the wrongdoers had investigated their own wrongdoing, they reported that there had been no serious wrongdoing. They did this through the simple expedient of ignoring their 4 central corrupt acts, which still remain to be addressed today. They just reported on other areas of corruption instead of the core scandals.
  4. Not least because insiders were speaking out about how inadequate this approach was, Brian Kernick then arranged an Extraordinary General Meeting on 15th January 2023. He set up an online mechanism to allow members to submit questions about the whitewash of a ‘Disclosure Document’ that the so-called AAI Board had published. This was in the context of whistleblowers providing new evidence demonstrating that even this Disclosure Document was full of deliberate lies.
  5. With respect to their EGM, the purported AAI Board had announced their intention “to clear the air and allow AAI to make a new start”. However at the meeting, the supposed AAI Board refused to answer any of the member questions that they had solicited. Having arranged the meeting to answer questions about very serious wrongdoing during 2017 and 2018, Brian Kernick refused to provide any answers on the basis that, “a lot of the questions are dealing with 2017 and 2018 … we need to move forward”.
  6. Just days after they refused to deal with their very serious 2017 and 2018 wrongdoing at the January 2023 EGM, on the basis that they were instead “moving forward”, the AAI Board submitted false financial statements about 2017 and 2018 to the Attorney General of California. These false statements were another effort to cover up their own self-dealing during the 2017 and 2018 reporting periods, when the Board paid themselves thousands of dollars from funds raised for charitable purposes.

This is the behaviour that Brian Kernick described as “transparent governance”, before his newsletter went on to address the latest AAI scandal. It was recently revealed that AAI has been operating illegally since 2021 and that AAI remains legally prohibited from using the name ‘Atheist Alliance International’ or carrying out any business at all. In respect of this situation, Brian Kernick reported that AAI has been on an “administrative journey”. Well, indeed. In such circumstances it is not at all uncommon for a State Attorney General to arrange for an “administrative journey” on behalf of a corrupt charity.

Wall Street Journal story about an administrative journey
Wall Street Journal story about an ‘administrative journey’ for a charity

The Brian Kernick newsletter also states that those at AAI, “remain devoted to ensuring transparency and upholding the highest standards”. That reminds me, since it is nearly November 2023 already, where are the 2022 accounts? How come I can access the 2022 financial statements for other nonprofits at the commensurate public authorities, but not for AAI?

3 responses to “When Does Newspeak Become Just Lying?”

  1. In their newsletter, in the section called “TRANSPARENT GOVERNANCE”, Brian Kernick says “our board conducted a comprehensive investigation, culminating in a Disclosure Document in November 2022.” Brian concludes this section by claiming that “members opted against any further action regarding past oversights.”

    But did members make that decision based on full disclosure from Brian and his so-called board?

    In the very next section of the newsletter, Brian discloses that there are “specific registration and tax concerns from as early as 2013.” What specific concerns? Why were these “specific concerns”, and the efforts to resolve them, not mentioned in the Disclosure Document? Since members were not informed of these “past oversights” until now, will Brian be asking members again if there should be “further action” taken against the so-called board?

    I was an individual member who responded to the call for questions about the Disclosure Document in December 2022. None of my questions were ever answered. In front of more than 50 people at their “EGM” last January, Brian Kernick offered to have a phone call with me, which I accepted, and which he then refused to arrange. My membership of AAI was then cancelled, simply for asking questions – questions that the “board” themselves had invited.

    Brian is now admitting that the “Disclosure Document” did not disclose critical information – that AAI has been operating illegally since 2021, and that there are “specific registration and tax concerns from as early as 2013.” Brian claims that “many non-profits … may be unaware of their non-compliant status.” Maybe that’s because non-profits like AAI cancel the membership of those who ask questions, instead of engaging with them.

    The organisation that currently calls itself “Atheist Alliance International” is irretrievably corrupt. I am not worried about being sued by them for saying this because – as pointed out in this article – AAI’s current “suspended” status means that they are not allowed to initiate legal proceedings. Bad luck, Brian. 🙂

    • Hi Avinash, did you receive any clarity on this issue from the authorities at AAI, perhaps at their “AGM” on November 12?

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