One problem we all face when presented with information online is very basic: how do do we distinguish fact from fiction? The question becomes especially difficult when the information validates our own biases.
For example, over the past week we have heard a number of disturbing things about Wesley Hall.
- We’ve heard that he falsely accused a man of threatening Wesley’s daughter, and we’ve seen the piece of text which Wesley omitted from his screenshot, which made his accusation appear true.
- We’ve heard that Wesley was exploiting the emotional vulnerability of a woman, threatening to commit suicide unless she continued to send him funds to finance his stay in Spain.
- We’ve heard that when he was caught out, Wesley responded by accusing the man who’d helped expose him of being a paedophile, and then of fraudulent business dealings.
…and so on. You get the idea.
We were shocked by these allegations, and did not publish them until we’d seen sufficient evidence and documentation to back them up.
Yesterday we heard of another strange allegation concerning Wesley: somebody is accusing him of being an agent provocateur, of stirring up trouble at otherwise peaceful protest rallies, only to turn around and sell the resulting footage to business interests.
The text on the video states,
Wesley Hall is a known Agent Provocateur that takes money from big business for causing trouble at otherwise peaceful demonstrations to discredit the protesters. He gets footage of people acting aggressively and sells it.
We’ve watched this video clip several times, and find it hard to give credit to these allegations, unless we are missing something very obvious.
Yes, Wesley is carrying camera equipment, and he does seem to be filming at different points during the video.
Yes, he alone is wearing a mask, and seems annoyed at being identified by the person who calls him out. However, when the video starts, he has the mask pushed back to expose his face, and does not seem overly concerned about being identified.
At one point he is standing at the front facing the group, and he makes hand gestures which seem to indicate he wants people to push forward.
However, we don’t see that anybody in the crowd becomes especially antagonistic or violent as a result of Wesley’s prompting. If anybody can provide us with further evidence, pro or con, we’d be grateful, but until then, we’re concluding that this one is unproven.
This illustrates a challenge, we feel: tempting as it might be to accept an allegation against someone whose behaviour we know to have been reprehensible in the past, it’s not right to accept such things at face value, without corroborating evidence.
Let’s leave that to the other side, shall we?