I am writing this letter to explain the circumstances surrounding my termination from the Northeastern Catholic District School Board (NECDSB) and subsequent revocation of my teaching licence by the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT). Although various allegations were made against me by NECDSB, I never once had a legitimate opportunity to defend myself. After waiting nearly two years for a hearing, I was informed by the OCT that if I chose to contest the findings of NECDSB’s “investigation” and lost, I would be responsible for paying the expenses of the hearing. As the entire process had been a total farce, it would have been naive to think that this ordeal was going to end with the OCT acknowledging my dilemma.
The events leading to my termination began in 2016 when I became aware of credible information related to the attacks of September 11, 2001 that contradicts the government account of what happened that fateful day. Although I can’t summarize countless hours of research into a few paragraphs, the following anecdote is revealing: In 2008, Professor Mark Vorobej taught an upper-level, undergraduate Philosophy course in Argumentation Theory at McMaster University. The class devoted five weeks to studying the arguments of the 9/11 Truth Movement, and the course included an analysis of David Ray Griffen’s book “A New Pearl Harbor - Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11.” Reflecting on the class, Professor Vorogej wrote:
"I think it’s highly significant that, towards the end of the course, one student spontaneously polled the class to see how many were convinced that the official 9/11 narrative is false. The result was unanimous. Everyone present that day - and it was not an insignificant number - was convinced that this narrative is false. Undergraduate students, who are trained in logic and who study the arguments of “A New Pearl Harbour” carefully, recognize that the official 9/11 narrative cannot survive rational scrutiny." - 9/11 in the Academic Community (2013)
Overtime, I've realized the futility of discussing 9/11 with those who remain unaware of the overwhelming body of scientific and circumstantial evidence supporting the conclusion that World Trade Centre 1, 2 and 7 were demolished with pre-planted explosives. There's really no debate here; there's only the gap that exists between those who have done the research, and those who have not. (Appendix A)
Like most authentic researchers, I believe 9/11 was a “false-flag attack,” and a “psychological operation” perpetrated in order to garner support for the so-called “War on Terror.” It was a staged event and an exceptionally sophisticated military operation with multiple objectives. One of those objectives was to tattoo the image of the radicalized Muslim terrorist into the Western psyche, while simultaneously creating a false narrative that could then be used to justify the wars of aggression that followed. In that sense, 9/11 was also a hate crime.
Many individuals, groups and corporations benefited from the events of that day, and I don't believe that any one single group was responsible. Although various individuals within the U.S. government and military were undoubtedly involved, there is also a considerable amount of evidence that implicates members of the Israeli government and military. I do not, however, blame the people of Israel and I certainly do not hold all Jewish people responsible for the actions of a handful of radicalized Zionists. If, despite all the available evidence to the contrary, some people naively chose to believe the ‘official’ account of 9/11, I sincerely hope that they're able to distinguish between the vast majority of peaceful Muslims, and the small group of Islamic extremists who were unjustly accused of that crime.
After deducing the official 9/11 narrative was bogus, I approached my administration and informed them I had encountered credible evidence related to 9/11 that was extremely problematic since it contradicted various resources used at O’Gorman High School (OHS). Shortly thereafter, I was read a prepared statement by principal Ted Weltz that my “views on 9/11 were a problem” and not to discuss my “political views” about 9/11 with my students or else there would “be problems.” (Appendix B)
To be clear, I never shared my “political views” with my students and, despite my sincere efforts to open up a dialogue with my administration, I found myself in a situation where NECDSB was forcing me to deliver content to my students that I knew to be factually and demonstrably untrue. The following excerpt from the opening page of the chapter on Islam in the “World Religions: A Canadian Catholic Perspective” textbook highlights my predicament:
"Being Muslim in Canada has its challenges. Many Muslims feel that the media has portrayed them and their faith in a negative light, especially since the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001. They feel that the richness, goodness, and wisdom within their tradition have benefited the world in the past and can contribute to Canada and global culture in the future." (Page 188)
Why is this how the chapter on Islam begins? What were my students expected to infer from that? If Muslims “have benefited the world in the past, and can contribute to Canada and global culture in the future,” then what does that imply for the present? Not only does the textbook perpetuate a false narrative, but it also promotes bigotry and hate by reinforcing racist stereotypes that underpin the “War on Terror.” I was accused of bringing “politics” into a classroom for attempting to explain to a group of senior students that the classroom resources were politicized - and they were politicized.
With zero support from my administration, I often wrestled with how to approach certain topics in the classroom. Nevertheless, I proceeded to teach the curriculum to the best of my ability and ensured that I was presenting my students with information that was both current and accurate. Despite what some may think, it is not as though I presented my students with a controversial issue, such as abortion, and then tried to persuade them of my opinion one way or the other. Rather, what I did was present my students with alternative perspectives and credible information so that they could decide for themselves what is fact and what is fiction.
After I deduced that the “official story” of 9/11 was bogus, I became increasingly sceptical of other popular narratives that serve similar interests. My dilemma certainly did not improve after I perused “Six Million Open Gates” by S.A.R. Lynch. The following ten excerpts are representative of several hundred articles collected by Lynch and the dates of publication are significant since most were written well before the Second World War even began:
a) The Sun, New York, Sunday, June 6, 1915 page 1, 5th section:
Horrors Worse Than Kishineff Charged Against Russia To-day
By Herman Bernstein, Editor of «The Day.»
Since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem the Jewish people have had no darker page in their history than that which the Russian Government is writing to-day. Six million Jews, one-half of the Jewish people throughout the world, are being persecuted, hounded, humiliated, tortured starved. Thousands of them have been slaughtered. Hundreds of thousands of Jews, old men, women and children, are being driven mercilessly from town to town – driven by the Government, attacked by the troops of their own country, plundered and outraged.
b) The New York Times, Friday, October 18, 1918, page 12:
$1,000,000,000 Fund To Rebuild Jewry
Six Million Souls Will Need Help to Resume Normal Life When War Is Ended.
Six Million Jews Need Help
c) The New York Times, Monday, September 8, 1919, page 6:
Ukrainian Jews Aim To Stop Pogroms
Mass Meeting Hears That 127,000 Jews Have Been Killed and 6,000,000 Are in Peril.
We come out now before the world with the determined slogan, ‘Those pogroms must stop,'» said the President in his annual message. «It is only a question of holding these facts continually before the civilized world; we must not permit the world to slumber. This fact that the population of 6,000,000 souls in Ukraina and in Poland have received notice through action and by word that they are going to be completely exterminated – this fact stands before the whole world as the paramount issue of the present day.»
d) The New York Times, Wednesday, November 12, 1919, page 7:
Tells Sad Plight of Jews.
Felix M. Warburg Says They Were the Worst Sufferers in War.
Felix M. Warburg, Chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee of American Funds for Jewish War Sufferers, who returned several days ago from a trip to Europe for that organization, made public yesterday some of his findings. «The successive blows of contending armies have all but broken the back of European Jewry,» he said, «and have reduced to tragically unbelievable poverty, starvation and disease about 6,000,000 souls or half the Jewish population of the earth.»
e) The Atlanta Constitution, February 23, 1920, page 3:
$50,000 Raised In City To Save Suffering Jews
He called upon the Atlanta Jews to arise to the occasion, and to contribute to the emergency fund in order that the lives of six millions of Jewish people may be saved. Mr. Rusland briefly pictured the conditions that prevail in the European countries in which the Jews are oppressed, and said that in view of the dire need of those people the members of the race who live under the blessings of the American flag are faced with a responsibility they have no right to shirk or shift. […] Dr. Marx [a rabbi] made an eloquent plea for generous responses to the call of the representatives of the Jewish relief fund. He drew a graphic picture of the starvation and suffering of the 6,000,000 Jews who live in eastern Europe and Palestine and reviewed the persecution they have undergone, not only in the last four years, but for almost a century.
f) The New York Times, Friday, May 7, 1920, page 11:
Jewish War Aid Gets $100,000 Gift
The fund for Jewish war sufferers in Central and Eastern Europe, where six millions face horrifying conditions of famine, disease and death, was enriched yesterday by a contribution of $100,000 from Nathan Straus.
g) The New York Times, Wednesday, July 20, 1921, page 2:
Begs America Save 6,000,000 In Russia
Massacre Threatens All Jews as Soviet Power Wanes, Declares Kreinin, Coming Here for Aid. Russia’s 6,000,000 Jews are facing extermination by massacre. As the famine is spreading, the counter-revolutionary movement is gaining and the Soviet’s control is waning.
h) The Gazette, Montreal, Tuesday, December 29, 1931, page 6:
Six Million Jews Face Starvation
Bad Conditions in South-Eastern Europe Reported by Rabbi Wise Six million Jews in Eastern Europe face starvation, and even worse, during the coming winter.
i) The New York Times, Sunday, May 31, 1936, page 14:
Americans Appeal For Jewish Refuge
The petition, in expressing the opinion of enlightened Christian leadership in the United States, favoring a larger Jewish immigration into Palestine, stressed the intolerable sufferings of the millions of Jews in the European holocaust […] Great Britain has it within her power to throw open the gates of Palestine and let in the victimized and persecuted Jews escaping from the European holocaust.
j) The New York Times, Wednesday, February 23, 1938, page 23:
Jewish Teachers Chided by Isaacs
«Jewish Tragedy» Pictured
A depressing picture of 6,000,000 Jews in Central Europe deprived of protection or economic opportunities, slowly dying of starvation, all hope gone, was presented to the teachers by Jacob Tarshis...
It is ironic that referencing 100 year old articles from the New York Times with my senior students - that were originally published to garner support for Zionist aspirations - can lead to accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ and ‘Holocaust denial’ now that those articles no longer serve to forward that same agenda.
It is important to realize that in my Grade 10 Canadian history class, I dedicate a significant amount of time to discussing the Holocaust as part of a unit on the Second World War, although I admittedly prefer to focus on concepts rather than on dates and numbers. That European Jews suffered and died as a result of Nazi genocidal policies was, I had thought, a well-established fact in my classroom. The conversation I had with my Grade 11 students, however, was not simply about the Nazi Holocaust, but focused on how this event has been memorialized, commemorated and exploited. This is not an abstract concept, and I disagree with NECDSB’s claim that my Grade 11 students did not posses the “capacity to understand” certain ideas discussed during my lesson. (A250)
The School Trip
The particular lesson for which I was terminated was designed to ‘piggy-back’ off a school trip to Europe, organized by principal Weltz through EF Tours, entitled “Canadians on the Battlefields of Europe.” In part, because I had taught many of them Canadian History the previous year, various students asked me questions about the trip. I believe they appreciated my insight knowing that I had spent so much time studying and researching these particular topics. I subsequently prepared a lesson before they departed for Europe in an effort to “model critical thinking skills.” (Appendix C) The lesson I taught directly addressed various curriculum expectations and reflected over 15 years of experience teaching Social Studies. (Appendix D)
I have a Combined Honours in History and Political Science, and when I reviewed the itinerary for the trip I saw politics, not history. I told my students that I didn’t consider it a mere coincidence that the trip began with a visit to the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, then a concentration camp, and then Anne Frank’s house, and that those stops immediately proceeded visits to a Canadian War Cemetery, the Vimy Ridge Memorial, and Juno Beach. I explained that I considered the choice, and order, of the various stops on the school trip to be a conscious attempt to make the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers during the First and Second World Wars synonymous with the suffering of European Jews during the Holocaust.
Ultimately, what I attempted to explain to my students was the difficulty I had reconciling the iternerary for the school trip with my research into 9/11 since both forwarded a similar agenda. As part of the lesson, I referenced the following insightful quote from George Orwell’s “1984” that I considered to be applicable to the Europe Trip: “He who controls the past, controls the future. He who controls the present, controls the past.” I hoped that quote would help my students understand that the “Canadians on the Battlefields of Europe” school trip was not necessarily simply a matter of historical intrigue. The following excerpt from the curricular document best reflected my intentions:
"Students need support in developing their critical-thinking skills, they need to see these skills modelled in the classroom. Critically literate students adopt a critical stance, asking what view of the world the text advances and whether they find this view acceptable, who benefits from the text, and how the reader or viewer is influenced." (57)
Since I was also mandated by the curriculum to help my students “move beyond superficial conclusions to a deeper understanding of issues” and to consider “alternative points of view,” one perspective that I wanted to expose them to was that of renowned Jewish academic and author Norman Finkelstein. In his book “The Holocaust Industry: Reflection’s on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering,” Finkelstein explains:
"The Holocaust has proven to be an indispensable ideological weapon. Through its deployment, one of the world’s most formidable military powers, with a horrendous human rights record, has cast itself as a “victim” state, and the most successful ethnic group in the United States has likewise acquired victim status. Considerable dividends accrue from this specious victimhood – in particular, immunity from criticism, however justified." (pg. 1)
Although I was mandated by the curriculum to explore “controversial” topics with my students, and present them with alternative perspectives, the OCT deemed Finkelstein’s ideas to be “too controversial” and rebuked me for discussing them with my students. Considering that every member of his parents’ families was exterminated during the Holocaust, I believe Finkelstein’s perspective is as relevant as anyone’s.
To understand my motivation for discussing the agenda I perceived in the itinerary of the school trip with my students, it is important to realize that this bias was not simply limited to that trip, but was also prevalent in various other resources that students at OHS relied upon. What follows are just a few examples from various sources that my Grade 11 pupils were using that semester.
Grade 11 World Religions
Although I consider the reference to 9/11 in the World Religions textbook - on the first page of the chapter on Islam – cited earlier, as serving a particular agenda, I believe a similar theme can be perceived in the textbook by comparing and contrasting the sub-sections on “Interreligious Dialogue.” The section on Judaism is entitled “Common Links” and states:
“Because we have these basic things in common, Judaism must be Christianity’s first partner in dialogue…. It is a tragedy that relations between Judaism and Catholicism have so often violated the sacred bond that ties these two traditions together. How can we overlook the persecution of Jews by Christians and the fact of the Holocaust?”
In contrast, the corresponding section from the Chapter on Islam is entitled “A Difficult Encounter” and reads:
“From the beginning, Muslims crossed paths with Christians and Jews….Despite positive steps, the twenty-first century has already seen bloody clashes between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, Sudan, Iraq, and Indonesia.”
Having studied the 2003 invasion of Iraq, I cannot stress how problematic statements like this are; to characterize that carnage as a “difficult encounter” and/or “crossed paths” does little justice to what actually occurred.
It is also incredible that a textbook entitled “World Religions: A Canadian Catholic Perspective,” dedicates four pages to the Holocaust, but allocates only a single sentence to Residential Schools - despite the fact that one crime occurred in Canada and was perpetuated by the Catholic Church, while the other crime occurred in Europe and was perpetuated by the Nazis. In fact, all the textbook says about residential schools is that:
“Many Aboriginal children were taken far distances away from their families for many years at a time. Many residential schools did not allow students to speak Aboriginal languages.” Page 73
If a genocide that happened right here in Canada was minimalized, trivialized and completely misrepresented by the authors of this textbook, is it not at all conceivable that those same authors could have also misrepresented another genocide that happened in Nazi occupied Europe during World War Two?
Grade 11 - Ancient History
Whereas Chapter 1 of the Grade 11 history textbook “Echoes From the Past: World History to the 16th Century” is entitled, “The March to Civilization,” Chapter 2 is entitled, “Egypt and Israel.” Yet, the notion that Israel was the first civilization on the planet is - like the “official” story of 9/11 - completely contradicted by the available evidence. To teach children that Moses magically parted the Red Sea on his way to the Promised Land is one thing, but to base the entire timeline of human history on the story of Exodus is quite another. This textbook is absolutely preposterous and any history teacher who uses it does their students a great disservice. It is so disheartening to know that our youth are being taught the Great Pyramids of Giza were constructed as tombs for the Egyptians Pharaohs.
Grade 11 - English
My Grade 11 students were also reading Khaled Hosseini’s celebrated novel the “The Kite Runner” in their English class that same semester. Although this novel was touted by media outlets like the New York Times as being a ‘must read’ for students, I consider it to be completely inappropriate - and not because it’s blatantly pro-Israel, but because it literally promotes Islamiphobia in it’s portrayal of Muslims as being sub-human.
To understand the context of the following excerpt from The Kite Runner, one needs to realize that the protagonist’s father, Baba, was the noblest of men, whom in one instance prefers death than allowing a women to be raped. In contrast, the local Taliban leader adored Adolf Hitler and enjoyed raping young boys. Consequently, I presume that most of my students empathized with Baba’s character when the protagonist reflected:
"Baba would enlighten me with his politics during those walks with long-winded dissertations. “There were only three real men in this world, Amir,” he’d say. He’d count them off on his fingers: America the brash saviour, Britain and Israel. “The rest of them –“ he used to wave his hand and make a phht sound “- they’re like gossiping old women.” Page 132
The author continues,
"In Baba’s view, Israel was an island of “real men” in a sea of Arabs too busy getting fat off their oil to care for their own." Page 132
In contrast to these “real men,” the citizenry of Iran are characterized as follows:
"I remembered something my teacher had said that summer about Iranians, that they were grinning smooth talkers who patted you on the back with one hand and picked your pocket with the other." Page 61
There is, however, a critical distinction to be made between depicting Israel as country of “real men” and describing an ethnic group as two-faced pickpockets. Then, in the final chapter of the book, the author writes:
"One Tuesday morning last September, the Twin Towers came crumbling down and, overnight the world changed….Soon after the attacks, America bombed Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance moved in, and the Taliban scurried like rats into caves. "
When over 3,000 architects and engineers have signed a petition calling for a new and legitimate investigation into 9/11, based on evidence that World Trade Center 1, 2 and 7 were demolished with pre-planted explosives, I consider “crumbling” to be a very misleading word. It is also worth noting that describing people as “rats” was a tactic once employed by Nazi propagandists to dehumanize Jews prior to the Holocaust. Although, in a very simplistic sense, the novel is a complete whitewash of history, in various other ways it represents something much more nefarious.
I realize, as well as anyone, that the presentation of history is seldom void of bias; however, there is a distinction to be made between bias and disinformation. Moreover, when the same agenda is evident in multiple sources spanning different subjects - as it was in the Europe trip, the World Religions textbook, the World History textbook, and the English novel – then, at some point, the bias and the disinformation literally constitute a form of indoctrination.
One of my students, with an exemplary academic record, was also selected to attend a national youth leadership symposium that year. Although the school celebrated the fact that the student had been chosen to attend this prestigious event, after I researched the conference, I realized that it was being hosted by members of B'nai Brith Canada. Thus, even our future leaders were being mentored by members of an organization whose stated purpose is to be a "staunch defender of the State of Israel."
Although I do not want the following to detract from the bigger issues, there is another element of this story that is essential to understanding my ordeal since NECDSB’s ‘investigation’ into my conduct more closely resembled an inquisition. Despite the fact that my research had made teaching specific content difficult, my problems were only compounded following an incident involving principal Ted Weltz and myself. The incident took place in the staffroom immediately prior to a planned school trip, I was spearheading, to a remote northern native community. During a lunchtime conversation, Principal Weltz asked me if I had any plans for the weekend and I informed him that I was taking a group of OHS students to Moosonee to construct greenhouses. I was admittedly surprised that he was unaware of the school trip since so many staff members and students were involved in the project. After expressing my hope that the greenhouses would provide a viable alternative to the high cost of fresh produce in remote northern native communities, principle Weltz responded by lamenting, “It’s just too bad ‘they’ will only destroy them” (A283).
Even if there were no racial overtones to his comments, as he would later claim, it was still extremely disappointing to hear him say that since so many people had worked exceptionally hard to bring the project to fruition. For this reason, when the 'investigation' into my conduct began, our relationship was anything but cordial. I am convinced that our acrimonious relationship - and the fact that his wife is also the Director of Education at NECDSB - were contributing factors that ultimately led to my termination, as I had little recourse throughout the entire ordeal.
It is admittedly difficult to explain my situation without being critical of my former administration since, in many ways, their allegations reflect more upon their inept leadership than they do upon me. I realize that my views on 9/11 are controversial, but what I have said, I have said openly. By twisting my words, all NECDSB did was completely absolve themselves of any responsibility and obfuscate the very real dilemma that I found myself in. (Appendix E)
In my letter of termination NECDSB stated:
"At common law, the standards of care owed to a pupil by a teacher is that of a careful or prudent parent in the circumstances… after a full and thorough investigation, it is our view that your conduct represents a fundamental breach of your duties as a teacher. "
Yet, how can NECDSB actually consider their investigation to be “full and thorough” when they never once addressed my concerns? What “careful and prudent” parent would knowingly teach lies to their 16-year-old? Ironically, the person who evoked the principle of “loco parentis” at my termination proceeding, Superintendent Jennifer Dunkley, was also the first person I had approached at OHS when I realized how problematic my situation had become. When I initially tried to explain the implications of my research to her, she simply smiled and said, “When it comes to politics, I prefer to keep my head in the sand.” Then in a follow-up conversation, she told me, “A friend of mine who ‘knows about these things’ gave credence to what you are saying,” but then warned me, “when push comes to shove, I have a family to take care of.”
At my termination hearning, Superintendent Dunkley concluded her pathetic presentation to the NECDSB Board of Trustees by claiming that, “Since the investigation into Mr. DiMarco’s conduct began - students and staff have been living in fear!” Yet this accusation, like many that have made against me, is completely baseless and amounts to nothing more than slander. NECDSB can claim that I “failed to demonstrate several expected behaviors of a Catholic teacher,” but they themselves failed to uphold the basic principles of Truth and Justice that are purportedly at the heart of Catholic Education. Religion may be a matter of faith, but history should never be.
Without the support of my administration, the OCT's decision was a foregone conclusion and I was glad to have read Franz Kafka's "The Trail" before this process began. Like NECDSB, the OCT is led by people who care more about their own careers than they do about the students they claim to serve.
Throughout this ordeal I have often reflected on the notion of the “good German” - a term used to describe those individuals who did not support the NAZIs, but also did not resist in a meaningful way. My music has been characterized as “promoting hate” by people who have chosen to remain wilfully ignorant of a modern day hate crime that I sought to expose through my art. Yet, since the notion that Israel is implicated in 9/11 has been deemed to be an ‘anti-Semitic conspiracy theory,’ then it follows that anyone who dares address this topic directly is easily discredited and slandered.
The longer I taught history, the more I realized how powerful it was to control the narrative. The Holocaust, 9/11, the school trip, and even my termination from NECDSB are all examples of this. In my case, rather than hearing the story of a teacher who struggled to bridge the gap between bogus school resources and reality, the story most people will hear is that of a “disgraced teacher". For the lawyers who drafted the allegations against me, terms like “racist” and “neo-Nazi” serve as nothing more than ‘trigger-words’ that appeal to people who have learned about the past from bogus textbooks, lacklustre teachers, Hollywood movies, and Facebook memes.
At the heart of the conspiracy we find individuals like J. L. Granatstein, arguably the most celebrated ‘historian’ in Canada. How someone can author multiple books and countless articles on the “War on Terror” but never once explore the premise of the war is beyond troubling, because it leaves us with only two possibilities, and neither bodes well for him - either he is completely incompetent, or he serve other interests. Although I was assigned his books and essays to read at both university and teacher's college, the only actual value his work has is to teach Canadian youth about the role of a “gatekeeper.”
When I first approached my administration and attempted to explain how problematic my research had become, I recognized the precarious nature of my situation exponentially better than they did. Having Principal Weltz read me a prepared statement afterwards stating that my “views on 9/11 have become a problem,” did not help one bit. I sometimes compare my interactions with NECDSB to the Apollo 13 astronauts who, after experiencing a crippling explosion, radioed Mission Control and said, “Houston, we have a problem.” In my scenario, however, there was nothing but radio silence. Then - after an extended period of time struggling unassisted with an extremely difficult situation - Mission Control finally responded by declaring, “You have a problem… We don’t want there to be a problem, but there is a problem.” This announcement was then followed by more radio silence as the situation on board the spaceship continued to deteriorate.
The Internet has impacted teaching in ways that the majority of people in the field of education have yet to realize, nor appreciate. A growing - and exploitable - gap currently exists between legitimate information in the public domain and various bogus narratives perpetuated by resources that students and teachers throughout Canada rely on. Although hard scientific evidence that debunks the official account of 9/11 serves as a poignant example of this phenomenon – it certainly isn’t the only example I could use to illustrate my point. The goal of educators should be to minimize that gap.
For a democracy to function effectively, the public must be able to make informed decisions. Unfortunately, when public opinion is purposefully being manipulated, then democracy becomes nothing more than an illusion. I have been repeatedly lectured to, and berated, by self proclaimed ‘experts’ on misinformation who have little - to zero - understanding of the extent to which they themselves have been victimized by a relentless and vile propaganda campaign. No one pumps out more disinformation than the government, and I don’t care what type of political system you want to discuss – fascist, communist, capitalist, democratic, or totalitarian – it doesn’t matter.
One main function of the mainstream media is to make the general public embrace governmental policies that would otherwise be deemed completely unacceptable. Corporate owned media like Fox, CNN, BBC, and the CBC, cater to different audiences, but essentially all serve the same function; they are instruments of power. The danger of the media lies not only in the ability to manipulate people’s thoughts and feelings, but also to convince them that they actually understand what those who disagree with them are thinking and/or represent. At that point, convincing those same people they have the moral high ground is easy.
Throughout history, people in power have manufactured, manipulated, and exploited crisis to their advantage - and that's not a ‘conspiracy theory,’ but rather it’s the starting point by which to better understand various popular narratives, both historical and current. Although I never said that the school trip to Europe was “propaganda and information created by the Jews,” as Ted Weltz claimed, I admittedly did my best to explain to my students that I considered the Europe trip as an attempt to make the sacrifice of Canadians synonymous with the suffering of European Jews during the Holocaust. In reality, virtually none of the Canadians who died during the First and Second World Wars would have even known what the Holocaust was - why it was now featured so prominently in a school trip entitled “Canadians on the Battlefields of Europe” was something I considered worth exploring with a group of senior students.
Although I am not the type of person that NECDSB has portrayed me to be, it has been extremely difficult to discuss my predicament with individuals who neither realize the truth about 9/11, nor grasp the implications. That the collapse of World Trade Center 7 defies the laws of physics is not “my opinion” – it’s science. That traces of unexploded military grade nano-thermite were discovered in multiple dust samples collected from ‘ground zero’ is not a “conspiracy theory” – it’s a fact. That five Israelis were arrested on 9/11, after they were seen dancing on a roof top and giving each other celebratory high-fives as the towers ‘fell’ down is not an anti-Semitic canard – it’s a well documented event.
As a child, my parents taught me to never judge someone based on their race or religion. Those are values that were reinforced by my teachers when I was a student at O’Gorman High School, and they are the same values I strived to instil within my students. Not only do I reject anti-Semitism, but I unequivocally denounce all forms of racism – including Islamophobia. That is why I could not, in good conscience, let my students read the first page from the chapter on Islam in the World Religions textbook, where the attacks of September 11th, 2001 are falsely attributed to Muslims, without addressing the topic directly - that was my dilemma.
The following are messages of support that I received from former students, and their parents, after the article written by Ellin Bessner was printed in the Canadian Jewish News and then regurgitated by Darren MacDonald of CTV acclaim:
“Hi Mr. DiMarco, not sure if you remember me but I was in a couple of your history and religion classes throughout high school a couple years ago. Hope you’ve been doing well throughout the last couple years. It saddens me to see the article being passed around social media right now as I think its very exaggerated and is also sad to see all the rude comments people are making without knowing you first hand. Just wanted to reach out and let you that I thought you were one of the best teachers I ever had because you taught us to think for ourselves, something the school system is not good at teaching. Anyways I hope you’re doing okay and letting you know that plenty of your past students that I have talked to have the exact same thing to say. Thanks for everything.”
“Hey DiMarco, I saw that article about you and just a lot of chatter on the Timmins Facebook groups in general . I know there’s alot of nasty stuff being said about you and although I don’t agree with some of your opinions, I know the stuff people are saying is not true. I know you’re not a racist nor an anti-semite and i am confident that there isn’t an ounce of hate in your heart towards anyone or group. I hope you’re doing well and i just wanted to say that there’s a lot of ppl out here that still got your back and if you ever need someone to talk to, I’m sure any of your former students, myself included, are here. Take care buddy.”
“I thought I’d let you know that I think you’re still a great teacher! The indigenous history class you taught me has helped me tremendously in nursing. I have such a passion about indigenous history and culture that I want to do rural nursing.”
“Mr. DiMarco, You were one of my favorite teachers so it kind of killed me to read about everything that went down. A lot of the reasons why I pursued going to university was because of your passion for teaching. Not sure how to ask this, but how are you doing?”
“Just saw this brutal article written about you, and I just wanna let you know that you'll always be the down to earth friend I know, as well as a great role model… I'm in your corner! Always had the highest amount of respect for you. I wouldn't worry about it, I know it's tough but everyone who genuinely knows you, knows the kind of straight up man you are!”
“Hey I heard what happened, you need anything let me know. How the fuck would anyone that knows you believe this is 100% your fault is beyond me.”
“Hi Mr DiMarco Just touching base again with you - like I said before - (our son) loved your class, as many kids did. Hang in there. We hope you are well and healthy."
The starting point for anybody who wishes to learn about - and from - the events of September 11th, 2001 should be the destruction of the towers. Science is the reason one can deduce that those buildings were demolished with pre-planted explosives and it is better for someone to first recognize that it was done, before beginning to explore why it was done, and who is responsible. For these reasons I recommend the following sources for anyone who wishes to begin investigating the topic.
A) Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth is a group of over 3,000 architects, engineers and scientists calling for a new investigation into the events of 9/11. The “Video Gallery” found under the “Evidence” tab includes the documentary “9/11: Explosive Evidence, Experts Speak Out.” This is one of the most comprehensive scientific analyses of the towers’ collapse:
B) The Lawyers Committee for 9/11 Inquiry website is another excellent source. The “Exhibits Index – Grand Jury Petition,” located under the “WTC Grand Jury Petition” tab on their website includes a full list of evidence demonstrating, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the “official story” is bogus.
C) "This is a study of the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 (WTC 7) — a 47-story building that suffered a total collapse at 5:20 PM on September 11, 2001, following the horrible events of that morning.... The principal conclusion of [the] study is that fire did not cause the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11, contrary to the conclusions of NIST and private engineering firms that studied the collapse." Debunk that.
D) Only after someone realizes that those towers were demolished with pre-planted explosives would I then suggest exploring sources that examine the ‘how’, ‘why’ and ‘who’ aspects of the crime. Canadian born investigative journalist James Corbett of “The Corbett Report - Open Source Intelligence News” has done excellent work on this, and various other important topics. I highly recommend his website as an invaluable resource for anyone who wishes to pursue these subjects further.
The only time that NECDSB officially acknowledged my dilemma was at the end of a meeting in which I was reprimanded for allegedly telling a student that I “hate” him. Although this accusation was one of the reasons used to justify my termination, what actually happened was much more mundane. The comment I made was to a group of students who were taunting each other by repeatedly saying “Don’t be a hater!” at a time when that word “hate” was commonly used in a non-literal way. At one point during a lesson, a student began provoking one of his classmates by repeatedly saying, “Why you always hating on me?” As his classmate was becoming increasingly frustrated, I interjected by saying, “Now I’m starting to feel the hate,” at which point several students began to giggle, including the students involved, and I continued with the lesson. My comment was not even an issue until several days later when I sent the same student to the office for inappropriate behaviour. It was only then, under threat of suspension, that the student claimed I had said that I “hated” him.
Although it’s frustrating to have had my words repeatedly and purposefully misconstrued by NECDSB, what’s most insightful about this incident was how the meeting, in which I was reprimanded for this incident, actually ended - with me being read a prepared statement by principal Weltz not to discuss 9/11 with my students or there would “be problems.” The fact that the Canadian Jewish News is now speculating that I told a Jewish student “I hate them” is complete and utter nonsense.
I believe that the following excerpts from the curriculum document justify my decision to teach the lesson that I taught, and best reflected my intentions:
"Critical thinking is the process of thinking about ideas or situations in order to understand them fully, identify their implications, make a judgement, and/or guide decision making. Critical thinking includes skills such as questioning, predicting, hypothesizing, analysing, synthesizing, examining opinions, identifying values and issues, detecting bias, and distinguishing between alternatives. Students who are taught these skills become critical thinkers who can move beyond superficial conclusions to a deeper understanding of the issues they are examining. They are able to engage in an inquiry process in which they explore complex and multifaceted issues, and questions for which there may be no easy answers." (56)
"Students use critical thinking skills in religious education when they make reasoned judgements about what to do or what to believe about problems that do not have clear solutions. Students need support to develop skills that enable them to make critical judgements, considering alternative points of view, assessing evidence, and drawing logical conclusions. To support this development, teachers should infuse the curriculum with opportunities for critical thinking. It is of vital importance that teachers encourage students to explore issues, interpret information, and develop thoughtful responses in all religious education courses." (56)
"In order to think critically, students need to examine the opinions and values of others, detect bias in their sources, determine why a source might express a particular bias, look for implied meaning, and use the information gathered to form a personal opinion or stance, or a personal plan of action with regard to making a difference." (56)
"Students need support in developing their critical-thinking skills, they need to see these skills modelled in the classroom. Critically literate students adopt a critical stance, asking what view of the world the text advances and whether they find this view acceptable, who benefits from the text, and how the reader or viewer is influenced. (57)
Teachers need to integrate current events and issues within the curriculum expectations, and not treat them as separate topics. The integration of current events and issues into the curriculum will help students make connections between what they are learning in class and past and present-day local, national, and global events, developments, and issues. Examining current events helps students analyse controversial issues, understand diverse perspectives, develop informed opinions, and build a deeper understanding of the world in which they live. In addition, investigating current events will stimulate students’ interest in and curiosity about the world around them. The inclusion of current events in religious education will help keep the curriculum a relevant, living document."(57)
In justifying my termination NECDSB claimed:
"This slideshow provided by Mr. DiMarco as evidence of his teaching resources includes a significant focus on the Zionist movement. Mr. DiMarci [sic] has confirmed that he is critical of the policies of the Modern State of Israel and believes that anti-Zionism is different from anti-Semitism. It is unclear if his students have the capacity to understand this distinction. It is clear that a focus on the Zionist movement is an insignificant aspect of the World Religions course, as confirmed by curricular expectations and the approved course textbook." (A250)
Firstly, one of my goals in teaching the lesson was to ensure that my students were able to distinguish between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, and although it serves NECDSB’s purpose to use the word “anti” when describing the concepts I taught, it would be much more accurate to say that I wanted my students to distinguish between Zionism and Judaism – a critical distinction that NECDSB were themselves unable to make. Secondly, the following nine learning expectations from the curricular document (page 19-33) clearly reveal that NECDSB’s claim “the Zionism movement is an insignificant aspect of the World Religions course” is completely misleading:
CM3.5 identify challenges of, and strategies for living a moral life in Canadian society (e.g., case studies/debates, Holocaust and Zionism)
CM3.2 critically assess how Abrahamic religious traditions and locally appropriate religious traditions have applied their moral teachings to the social teachings of the promotion of peace and global solidarity (e.g. Holocaust and Zionism)
CM2.4 critically assess how various world religions have applied their moral teachings to contemporary social justice issues (e.g., war and peace, poverty, sanctity of life, human rights; Holocaust and Zionism)
PF2.3 critically analyse and compare the central tenets of the world’s religious traditions and their significance for believers (e.g. Zionism)
PF2.5 analyse the religious and cultural mosaic that constitutes Canadian society (e.g., analyse demographic data to determine the global spread of the world’s religious traditions and the religious fabric of Canada, identify the local presence of various religious communities; Zionism)
CM3.3 explore models of advocacy of various faith groups in one’s own community (e.g. Holocaust and Zionism)
CM1.2 identify the notions of freedom and justice of the Abrahamic religious tradition and the First Nations, Métis and Inuit spiritualties as they relate to the Golden Rule (e.g. Holocaust and Zionism)
SC3.1 evaluate how secularism and secularization influence the interpretation of sacred texts in the Abrahamic religious traditions (e.g. The Enlightenment, the Holocaust and Modern-Day Israel)
SC3.5 Identify the link between sacred scripture, the unfolding of revelation and the structure of religious communities and institutions (eg. The Enlightenment, the Holocaust and Modern-Day Israel)
There are also two entire pages of the textbook devoted explicitly to the Zionist movement.
Even though I had prefixed the lesson by distinguishing between Jewish people and the Zionist elements that I believe played a major role in staging the attacks of September 11th, 2001, this critical distinction was completely ignored by NECDSB during their investigation. The following statement by Principle Weltz is a clear example of how my remarks were purposefully and maliciously misconstrued:
"Throughout the Europe Trip I heard several students talk about comments that Joe D made about our trip and more specifically comments about the Holocaust. His message (overall) should be that students should question what they see and that not all the information shared will be accurate and factual. In other words much of the information is propaganda and information created by the Jews." A74
I always stress to my students that they should “question what they see” (and hear), but I never said that “much of the information is propaganda created by the Jews,” and when Ted Weltz says “In other words,” those are his words - not mine. Although I wholeheartedly agree that that statement is racist, it is not what I said. Whereas my lesson dealt with a controversial political movement that I am mandated to teach about, essentially all principle Weltz did was substitute the word “Jew” for the word “Zionist” and, in so doing, NECDSB justified my termination by unfairly labeling me a racist.
Only after I was terminated by NECDSB was I privy to the “evidence” used to justify their decision. It was then that I realized the investigation into my conduct was ostensibly the result of a single parental complaint - whose child admitted to being absent for a portion of the lesson. According to NECDSB’s own notes, when asked about certain content presented during the lesson, the student in question said that she “thinks it may have been shown when she was absent.” (A103) Moreover, when asked about specific comments I allegedly made, the same student responded by saying, “Not that she has witnessed, but heard from others.” (A76)
In contrast, a student who was actually present for the entire lesson described my comments about the Europe Trip in the following manner: “I thought it was appropriate, he wanted us to go with an open mind… He goes on tangents, but brings it around to the curriculum, I can’t think of anything inappropriate. He is appropriate.” (A81) Another student likewise stated that he “Has not been bothered by any comments this year.” (A99) Yet these favorable comments, recorded by NECDSB during their interviews with my students, were never included in the documents sent by NECDSB to the OCT.
Aside from the student whose parent initiated the complaint, the only other student who claimed to have had an issue with my conduct was, for numerous reasons, an unreliable witness. Although this student’s statements were repeatedly used to characterize my teaching, according to Ted Weltz’s own hand written notes, when he asked for parental permission to interview the student, her mother explicitly said that she “wanted [him] to consider [the student’s] mind frame.” Moreover, only after that student was sequestered for an interview – and prompted by Ted Weltz with leading questions– did she seemingly have any issues with the lesson I taught. (A98) When the “findings of the investigation” were sent to the OCT, her statements were paramount and highlighted on the first few pages. Yet, buried over a hundred pages later in the documents were Ted Weltz’s handwritten - and extremely hard to read – notes, in which the student’s mother explicitly asked him to take her “mind frame” into consideration. Considering the emotional trauma that the student was experiencing that week - for reasons that were known by her classroom teachers and administration - it is nothing less than shameful that NECDSB not only sequestered her for an interview, but also relied so heavily on her “testimony” to discredit me whilst disregarding the testimonies of the others.
In a concerted effort to paint me as a horrible teacher, NECDSB also claimed that my students had “fallen behind” and that their notebooks contained “little evidence of learning.” Firstly, we were only a few weeks into the winter semester during which time the district had experienced a record number of incremental weather days, and there was not a teacher in the district whose progress had not been impeded. Despite the weather, my students had already completed an entire unit and performed extremely well on their unit test. Secondly, NECDSB informed OCT that my student’s notebooks contained “little evidence of learning” when they knew I was using a “blended learning” approach and that all of the content for the course was online. In fact, NECDSB had encouraged all the staff to specifically incorporate that technology into our classrooms. Although NECDSB had access to all the assignments, learning expectations, student submissions, and unit review – this content was never shared with the OCT and instead they claimed that the students' binders were found to be empty.
After I deduced 9/11 was an orchestrated event, I strived harder than ever to empower my students with the ability to think critically about the information they were encountering, and to provide them with a more balanced perspective. I believe the vast majority of my students appreciated my efforts in that regard, and if my former administration would have spent less time building their case against me, and more time evaluating the evidence that debunks the government narrative of 9/11, then maybe they could have better understood my intentions.