Canada’s New Blasphemy Laws

Gatestone Institute, by Khadija Khan, March 8, 2017:

  • Although these motions against “Islamophobia” are not legally binding, extremists have already started demanding them as laws.
  • People in hostile societies put their lives at risk by speaking against the majority; meanwhile, shutting out any criticism against hardliner behaviour in the West actually means giving extremists a license to keep on committing atrocities.
  • Motions such as these are how most Muslim societies — and other authoritarian states — were founded: by depriving citizens of the basic right to express a difference of opinion, and worse, on the pretense of “doing good.” The blasphemy laws of Pakistan were introduced on the premise of protecting the sanctity of the people’s religious beliefs, but the laws only ended up meting out public death sentences to innocent and marginalized victims.

A resolution, M-103, seeking to condemn so-called “Islamophobia,” was introduced a few weeks ago in the peaceful country of Canada by Liberal Party MP Iqra Khalid in the House of Commons, sparking a controversy.

A similar motion, labelled M-37, was later tabled in the Ontario provincial legislature by MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers on February 23, 2017, and was passed by the provincial parliament.

M-37, like its predecessor, demanded that lawmakers condemn “all forms of Islamophobia” and reaffirm “support for government efforts, through the Anti-Racism Directorate, to address and prevent systemic racism across government policy, programs and services”.

Although these motions are not legally binding, extremists have already started demanding them as laws.

There are, of course, no comparable motions against “Judeophobia” or “Christianophobia”.

Neither motion M-103 nor motion 37 exactly define “Islamophobia,” leaving that to the imagination of the supposed victim(s).

Hardliners who support this form of censorship, and presumably other restrictions required by Islamic sharia law, aim to blur the line between genuine bigotry and criticism of core problems across the Muslim world, such as the murder of apostates and homosexuals, communal hatred, anti-Semitism, violence against women and minors, female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage, unequal legal and inheritance rights for women, stoning, flogging and amputation, and social taboos such as honour killings or right to choose a husband for girls or restrict girls’ education.

Those who present these motions claim that “Islamophobia” is rampant across the country, but seem blind to Islamic sharia law’s endorsement of killing homosexuals, violence against women and minors, atrocities such as those enumerated above, and notions of Muslim supremacy across the planet.

These issues are genuine concerns for millions of Muslims as well as human rights defenders, but are never addressed by those apologists, who always try to present these atrocities as perfectly acceptable “cultural norms”.

People in hostile societies put their lives at risk by speaking against the majority; meanwhile, shutting out any criticism against hardliner behaviour in the West actually means giving extremists a license to keep on committing atrocities.

Broadly speaking, in the West, where people have the opportunity to stand up against persecution, Muslim extremists seem determined to sell themselves as victims and to get rid of whatever obstacles contradict a clearly expansionist agenda.

Motion M-103 claimed: “Recently an infinitesimally small number of extremist individuals have conducted terrorist activities while claiming to speak for the religion of Islam”.

Are those who set forth these resolutions oblivious to the clerics who rally hundreds of thousands across the world — organizations such as Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, CAIR, ISIS, Hezbollah, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Jamat e Islami, Sipah-e-Muhammad, TehrikNifaz-i-FiqahJafaria, JamatudDawa, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-jhangwi, TehrikNifaz-i-Shariat Muhammadi, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Islam, Jamiat-ul-Ansar, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Khuddam-i-Islam, Fatah Al Islam (Lebanon), Ansar Al Sharia in Libya, Jabhat Al Nusra (Al-Nusra Front) in Syria, the Haqqani Network in Pakistan and other offshoots of these jihadi movements?

The sales pitch for M-103 was given a pretty façade of human rights concerns, but actually inside was a veiled endorsement of a Muslim supremacist mentality.

While M-103 asks to recognize the need to curb systematic racism and religious discrimination against Muslims, there are no traces of any systematic hatred or racism against Muslims or any religious groups in Canada.

On the contrary, Canada already has laws to curb any discrimination or abuse against individuals or groups. All that is needed is to enforce those laws already on the books.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the Criminal Code, carry progressive laws to handle hate crimes or racism. Section 318, 319(1) and 319(2) are specifically designed to deal with such offenses.

Moreover, criticizing any genuine social concerns about a community or belief system is the democratic right of every citizen in a civilized country.

Motions such as these are how most Muslim societies — and other authoritarian states — were founded: by depriving citizens of the basic right to express a difference of opinion, and worse, on the pretense of “doing good.” The blasphemy laws of Pakistan were introduced on the premise of protecting the sanctity of the people’s religious beliefs, but the laws only ended up meting out public death sentences to innocent and marginalized victims.

Under Muslim blasphemy laws, such as those being slowly presented to Canada, such deeds are punishable by death or life in prison.

Unfortunately, blasphemy laws are often interpreted as a state’s permission to attack, lynch or destroy non-Muslim minorities, while the attackers are regarded as heroes for their crimes.

Victims of these laws also include critics of this barbarism such as Punjab’s Governor Salmaan Taseer, Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights Shahbaz Bhatti, and often even human rights activists and the victims’ lawyers.

Aren’t we setting up the foundation of such norms in the West on pretense of curbing “Islamophobia”?

For example, a supposedly “infinitesimally small” number of jihadis are capable of shutting the mouths of approximately 200 million people (equivalent to the entire Pakistani population), seemingly forever, by literally killing dissent.

In the last century, the jihadis’ spiritual father, Sayyid Qutb, commissioned Muslims to impose salafist-style Islamic rule on the world by destroying the “infertile West” and eliminating anything non-Muslim.

Qutb’s book, Milestones, would undoubtedly be an eye-opener for those still unaware of what is required of “true” Muslims. The same is true of the writings of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

This ideology is clawing its way into very fabric of the West, in places such as Britain, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, America, Australia and France.

It poses an imminent threat to the free world. Free societies will have to pay a heavy price if they choose to ignore the menace of extremism through a policy of appeasement and accommodation.

There is no need for specific laws about “Islamophobia”: it is not even defined. Worse, many extremist clerics also consider as “Islamophobic” any criticism of their jihadism, communal hatred, polygamy and violence against women, minors or possibly anyone else they target.

Canada has always been one of the most tolerant countries in the world; please let us keep it that way.

Khadija Khan is a Pakistan-based journalist and commentator.

George Mason University Creates A “Safe Space” for Terror Supporters; Throws Anti-Jihad Activist in Jail

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After repeatedly searching for weapons, the police slapped handcuffs on them, targeting them for the content of their work.

CounterJihad, by Kyle Shideler, November 16, 2016:

Oleg Atbashian—or “Red Square,” as he is known to fans at the popular satirical website The People’s Cube—knows what it looks like when dictators crackdown on freedom of speech. As a former Soviet dissident who once agitated for the release of Andrei Sakharov, Oleg notes that he doesn’t “scare easily.” But now he faces five years in prison for his latest poster campaign, a fate he never faced in the Soviet Union.

Oleg, whose artwork frequently utilizes soviet-style aesthetics to criticize the totalitarian impulses of leftist and Islamist groups, was working on such a campaign at the campus of George Mason University. His sponsor, The David Horowitiz Freedom Center, sought to use his art to comment on the ongoing National Conference of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a rabidly anti-Israel student group.

But Students for Justice in Palestine isn’t your average student group. It’s organized and supported by American Muslim for Palestine (AMP), a group closely linked to Hamas terror finance groups, according to the congressional testimony of Terrorism analyst Jonathan Schanzer.

This year, the SJP’s early November two-day conference at George Mason was a source of debate between pro-Israel and anti-Israel student groups. The first day art campaign was uneventful, as Oleg placed stickers and handed out flyers.

On the second day, however, they realized that there were problems. According to Oleg, they overheard talk that campus police were on the look out for “suspicious” characters distributing flyers. Concerned but confident in the protection of the First Amendment, he proceeded with the project.

After successfully hanging several posters, utilizing a basic water-soluble wheat and water paste, together with commercially available stickers, Oleg and his partner were suddenly accosted by George Mason campus police, pulled over in their vehicle, detained and arrested.

According to Oleg, after repeatedly searching them for weapons, the police slapped handcuffs on them, and immediately targeted them for the content of their work,

My friend and I tried to be as friendly and cooperative as the situation allowed, but that had no effect. We were ordered to sit on the curb, as Officer Daniels told us that the content of our posters was violent and disturbing to some students, especially the one with the Hamas terrorist standing in pools of blood over his dead victims. Such interpretation flipped our message on its head entirely, turning it from sympathy for the victims of violence into a threat of violence.

Since offending the sensibilities of millennial college students is not yet an actual crime, the officers charged Oleg and his confederate with a Class 6 felony, “destruction of property worth over $2500”. The GMU campus police alleged (incorrectly) that the mixture used to hang the posters and stickers was “superglue,” and thus caused irreparable damage.

Oleg maintains the stickers and posters could be removed with a good rain and perhaps a little “Goo Gone,” solution and gladly volunteered to do exactly that.

Instead, Oleg and his partner spent the rest of the morning in the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center and were brought before a magistrate who ordered the artists’ bail set at $8,000. Now Oleg and his partner face up to five years in prison for the act of hanging protest posters.

It might seem surprising that a university—supposedly the bastion of free speech—would aggressively target an artist trying to get his anti-terrorism message out. But then, when it comes to such issues, George Mason University is no ordinary campus.

Not only did George Mason University host the Students for Justice in Palestine National Conference, but George Mason University was listed as #3 on a list of “The 10 Worst Anti-Semitic Campuses.”

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One of George Mason’s associate professors, Noura Erakat, is a founding member of the Students for Justice in Palestine group. Her husband, Bassam Haddad, is the University’s head of Middle East Studies. Both are active within the Students for Justice in Palestine group.

But George Mason may have financial interests in play as well. Beginning in 2008, George Mason University received the gift of $1.5 million dollars from the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a group whom federal agents say was tied to terror finance. The money was in order to establish an Islamic Studies department within their college of humanities.

The little known International Institute of Islamic Thought was founded by U.S.-based Muslim Brotherhood members in the early 1980s to promote the idea of a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West, and to oversee a renaissance in Islamic thought that would lead to the “Islamization” of western social sciences.

But the group had an even darker side as well. According to the affidavit of a federal law enforcement officer, in 1991 IIIT transferred $50,000 to the World and Islamic Studies Enterprise, a front group established by Sami Al-Arian, the convicted organizer for the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. According to a letter from then IIIT President Taha Jaber Alwani told to Al-Arian:

I would like to affirm these feelings to you directly on my behalf, and on behalf of all my brothers, Drs. Abdel-Hamid [AbuSulayman], Jamal [Barzinji], Ahmad [Totonji], and Hisham [Al-Talib], and, at the same time, affirm to you that when we make a commitment to you, or try to offer, we do it as a group regardless of the party or façade you use the donation for.

Speaking IIIT’s leaders, a federal law enforcement officer wrote, “Based on the evidence in this affidavit, I know that they are ardent supporters of [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] and HAMAS. They have repeatedly voiced their ideological support. I have seen repeated instances of their financial support, and believe that they have acted to conceal many other instances of their financial support.”

Of those named above, Barzinji and Al-Talib were actually present in 2008 to hand George Mason University the $1.5 million check.  Also present was Yacub Mirza, another IIIT member, College of Humanites and Social Sciences Advisory Board Member, and Trustee of the George Mason University Foundation.

An FBI report from 1988 notes Mirza as being connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. He played a central role in establishing the network of for-profits and non-profits that federal law enforcement said represented a classic example of money laundering techniques seeking to disguise the origin and destination of the funds the organizations like IIIT received.

Is it any wonder that Oleg Atbashian’s campaign, featuring the hashtag #StopCampusSupport4Terrorism, wasn’t welcome at GMU? Could it be that George Mason University may have monetary reasons for having its students remain blissfully unaware about who’s really behind a viciously anti-Israel student group?

For himself, Oleg lays the blame at the feet of old-fashioned political correctness, saying,

When political correctness comes into play, morality becomes blurry and justice switches the polarity. As a result, terrorist supporters ended up having a safe space and vigorous protection, while their non-violent opponents were subjected to brutal force, thrown in jail, and were robbed blind by the system.

As a satirist, it seems likely that Oleg sees the irony of being arrested for posting political posters and handing out “disturbing flyers” on the campus of a university named after the father of the Bill of Rights.

But as a Soviet dissident, he no doubt also recognizes that the repression of freedom begins when the organs of enforcement are used unequally in order to punish those who raise uncomfortable questions.

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Pro-Israel Artist Threatened With 5 Years in Jail for Anti-Terror Posters

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Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, November 14, 2016:

It’s not a story out of the Soviet Union though Oleg Atbashian, an artist, activist and commentator, had gotten in trouble for defying the authorities there too.

“Back in my Soviet dissident days, when I was collecting signatures in defense of Andrei Sakharov, I was screamed at, threatened, and lectured by the KGB and Communist funcionaries. What I never imagined was that in the United States, the land of the free, I would not only be subjected to similar treatment, but go to jail,” Oleg writes.

But that’s exactly what happened to him.

Oleg’s mixture of art and satire took off with Communists for Kerry. He’s the mastermind behind The People’s Cube and his tweaking of the radical left and  its alliance with Islamic terrorists allowed him to continue the same fight he had pursued in the days of the Soviet Union. But as the US comes to resemble the USSR, political satire and activism carries a serious price.

This is what happened to Oleg when he put up some of his Freedom Center posters challenging the anti-Semitic environment created by the left’s alliance with Islamic terrorists on campus.

This was supposed to be a two-day poster campaign, to counteract the George Mason University hosting an official national conference for Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which is an anti-Semitic organization with well-documented ties to Hamas – a terrorist group whose stated goal is to exterminate the Jews. The GMU poster campaign was conceived by the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

My part in it was to create provocative artwork for the posters and to hang them around the GMU campus, as well as to distribute flyers in order to raise awareness among the students, faculty, and the administration about the true meaning of their support for the SJP conference.

On the first day, my friend and I placed a few stickers on walls, poles, and signs around the GMU campus. We also placed paper flyers inside and outside the university buildings. We had decided to hang the larger posters on the following night, right before the start of the SJP conference.

Arriving at the campus in the evening, we noticed a large police presence everywhere, including the campus Starbucks. From what we overheard at the tables, the police were on the lookout for people posting “disturbing” flyers. At one point we considered canceling our mission due to this higher risk, but then decided to hang a few posters in new locations, in order to get the message out more effectively.

We only had time to hang three large posters when, at about 4am, our car was pulled over by a GMU PD cruiser with flashing lights. As we found out later, they already had a description of our rental KIA Optima. Officer M.J. Guston and his female partner, Officer Daniels, requested to see our drivers’ licenses, which they took away. Then they inquired if we had any weapons and proceeded with the visual search, noticing our bucket with mixed wallpaper paste and some rolled posters on the back seat, covered with towels.

The police officers took pictures of the contents of our car and retrieved some of the loose fliers from the floor as evidence. They claimed that since we were covering the posters and flyers with towels, we intended to conceal our wrongdoing. We explained that the towels were needed to wipe our hands, to prevent the bucket from spilling, and to stop the papers from rolling around the car, which was the honest truth.

The story sounds Kafkaesque. But it only gets more so.

Officer Daniels told us that the content of our posters was violent and disturbing to some students, especially the one with the Hamas terrorist standing in pools of blood over his dead victims. Such interpretation flipped our message on its head entirely, turning it from sympathy for the victims of violence into a threat of violence.

Since they couldn’t find any weapons and our message was protected by the First Amendment, the officers decided to charge us with “destruction of property worth of at least $2,500,” which was a “class 6 felony.” They claimed we had “super-glued” our fliers to school signs and it was impossible to peel them off.

It didn’t matter that we never used permanent glue, or that there could be other volunteers on campus who posted the stickers they could have downloaded online. Our wallpaper paste was made of wheat and water; we only used it on three large posters, which could be easily removed with water and would be washed off by the first rain. The rest were stickers, printed on regular self-adhesive paper found in any office store.

The intent was quite clearly punitive. The goal was to make GMU safe for Islamic terrorists and anti-Semites.

The magistrate’s decision was quick:  $8,000 bail for each of us and a mandatory court hearing within several days. As we were led away to be processed into the system, Officer Guston said, somewhat triumphantly, his final words to us: “You can’t come to GMU ever again.”

That’s the goal. It’s doubtful that this much momentum and energy had been invested without pressure from George Mason University. Which means that GMU should be held accountable for it.

Our posters contained a hashtag, #StopCampusSupport4Terrorism. The just and moral choice here is clear to any decent human being. But when political correctness comes into play, morality becomes blurry and justice switches the polarity. As a result, terrorist supporters ended up having a safe space and vigorous protection, while their non-violent opponents were subjected to brutal force, thrown in jail, and were robbed blind by the system.

When Steven Salaita lost his cushy academic gig for celebrating assault on Jews, the media turned out vocally in his support. But when George Mason University calls out the dogs for protests against anti-Semitism and does its best to intimidate and brutalize a Soviet dissident, there is a great echoing silence. The only mainstream media story on these events quotes “officials” claiming that there was $2,500 in damage. That’s nonsense. As we’ve already seen.

The actions of GMU and its campus thugs need to be challenged. The alternative can be seen above.

Also see:

YouTube Censors Conservative Video Channel by Labeling It Restricted Adult Content

LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images

LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images

Breitbart, by Ben Kew, October 13, 2016:

YouTube have placed some of the videos of the conservative PragerU channel on “restricted mode,” designed to stop children from viewing inappropriate adult content.

The channel, PragerU, which is short for Prager University, produces short, concise, graphics-based videos for young people which are broadly based on Judeo-Christian values and conservatism, but features videos from the likes of feminist academic Christina Hoff Summers, human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Taleeb Starkes, author of Black Lies Matter.

YouTube has marked some of the channel’s videos on topics such as whether George Bush lied about the Iraq War, the university “diversity scam,” and whether Sharia Law and freedom can coexist, as part of a restricted mode.

According to YouTube, restricted mode is designed “to help screen out potentially objectionable content that you may prefer not to see or don’t want others in your family to see.”

On the channel’s Facebook page, PragerU says that they have “worked quietly behind the scenes for months to resolve this, but YouTube’s censorship continues, leaving us with no option but to go public,” before asking users to sign a petition demanding that YouTube stop blocking the videos.

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YouTube is censoring 21 PragerU videos! We’ve worked quietly behind the scenes for months to resolve this, but YouTube’s censorship continues, leaving us with no option but to go public. SIGN THIS PETITION and demand YouTube stop censoring PragerU!
-> http://l.prageru.com/2d5k57G

(The full list of censored videos can be seen by clicking on the link above)

“There is no excuse for Google and YouTube censoring and restricting any PragerU videos, which are produced with the sole intent of educating people of all ages about America’s founding values,” the group states on its website.

The non-profit adds that YouTube “defended their restrictions of the videos,” although does not list their justification apart from the fact the company “takes into consideration what the intent of the video is.”

***

Here is the latest video:

Is Islam a religion of peace? Is it compatible with Western liberalism? Or does Islam need a reformation, just as Christianity had the Protestant Reformation? Somali-born author and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali explains.

 

European “Commission against Racism and Intolerance” Says British Press Must Do More to Suppress the News

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When the truth is deemed to be “anti-Muslim.”

CounterJihad, by Bruce Cornibe, October 6, 2016:

A new report from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) accuses the British press of not doing enough to hold down “anti-Muslim sentiment” in the country.  It seems that the press, whose job is ordinarily thought to report the news, has been given a new mandate to hide the news if it might be upsetting.

The ECRI finding might be surprising to many observers, as the British media really has been quite protective of Muslims by many standards. For example, there has a been a large problem in the UK for decades now with Muslim men (typically Pakistani) luring vulnerable white English girls into “grooming gangs,” essentially sexual slavery – yet many news outlets and government officials neglected to report on the prevalence of such crimes for fear of being labeled racist or Islamophobic. If they do report on such instances, then they tend to use vague terms like “Asians” rather than identifying terms.

Another example, is the occurrence of “honor” or “honour” crimes in the UK that are usually against women – one 2015 BBC article (attached here) reveals that 11,744 such cases happened between 2010-14.  Yet, in the same article one won’t find the mention of Islam, nor any discussion of the effects of its law and theology on the status of women.

Nevertheless, the British press apparently still isn’t doing enough to protect Muslims if the ECRI is to be believed.  Reviewing the recently published report. The report notes a case of supposed “inflammatory anti-Muslim” content in the British press, stating,

The Sun newspaper has also published inflammatory anti-Muslim headlines, such as its front page of 23 November 2015 which read “1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis”, along with a picture of a masked terrorist wielding a knife.

Instead of being easily offended maybe it’s time to deal with some inconvenient truths.  Segments of the British Muslim community do support violence as well as the enforcement of Sharia’s tenets. This has been going on for years now. For example, in a 2006Telegraph article it notes how an ICM opinion poll exposed that twenty percent of British Muslims at the time had “sympathy with the ‘feelings and motives’ of the suicide bombers who” committed the London bombings in July of 2005. The report also insinuates that the media should shy away from discussing the Muslim background of a terrorist saying:

ECRI considers that, in light of the fact that Muslims are increasingly under the spotlight as a result of recent ISIS-related terrorist acts around the world, fuelling [sic] prejudice against Muslims shows a reckless disregard, not only for the dignity of the great majority of Muslims in the United Kingdom, but also for their safety. In this context, it draws attention to a recent study by Teeside University suggesting that where the media stress the Muslim background of perpetrators of terrorist acts, and devote significant coverage to it, the violent backlash against Muslims is likely to be greater than in cases where the perpetrators’ motivation is downplayed or rejected in favour of alternative explanations.

The backlash must be a terrible one indeed if it justifies an increased risk of victimization for the entire society.  That is the cost of removing information about perpetrators of crime from public knowledge, especially if — as here — there are demonstrable statistical connections between communities associated with higher risks of crime of certain sorts.  The ECRI is denying the public information it needs to make rational decisions, out of a fear that the public might make irrational ones instead.

The report also reveals a desire for a more regulated British media. As the Express points out the UK already has “an independent regulator for newspapers and magazines” called the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).  The ECRI thinks that is not enough:

ECRI strongly recommends that the authorities find a way to establish an independent press regulator according to the recommendations set out in the Leveson Report. It recommends more rigorous training for journalists to ensure better compliance with ethical standards. It further recommends the authorities to sign and ratify the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime.

The talk of “ethical” duties is a technocratic way of avoiding grappling with the moral duties binding journalists.  It is a profession with a moral purpose related to a free society.  Is it the moral duty of the press to report the truth, or to hide it?  Is it to provide information for the judgment of a free society, or to guide a society away from dangerous ideas because that society can no longer be trusted to exercise judgment?

If the latter, the society is no longer free.  Why should the unfree worry about ethics?  You only ought to do something if you are free to do something else.  Shall the United Kingdom be a free society, trusted to exercise their own judgment?  Shall their journalists be trusted to speak the truth, and to regulate themselves?  If not, then there is no need for talk of ethics.  You might as well get on with giving orders about what we are to think, and how we are to behave.

FREE SPEECH CRACKDOWN: EU orders British press NOT to reveal when terrorists are Muslims

The ECRI suggested the British press should not report when terrorists are Muslims GETTY•TOM KNUTSON•FLICKR

The ECRI suggested the British press should not report when terrorists are Muslims GETTY•TOM KNUTSON•FLICKR

MEDDLING Brussels has said the British press should not report when terrorists are Muslims in a slew of demands to the Government to crack down on the media.

Express, by Kate Mansfield, Oct. 5, 2016:

A report from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) found there was an increase in hate speech and racist violence in the UK from 2009 to March 2016.

Blaming the press, ECRI Chair Christian Ahlund, said: “It is no coincidence that racist violence is on the rise in the UK at the same time as we see worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians.”

The report makes a whopping 23 recommendations to Theresa May’s Government for changes to criminal law, the freedom of the press, crime reporting and equality law.

And despite the report not analysing coverage of the , Mr Ahlund saw fit to comment on the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

In a sweeping statement, he said: “The Brexit referendum seems to have led to a further rise in ‘anti-foreigner’ sentiment, making it even more important that the British authorities take the steps outlined in our report as a matter of priority.”

The report lays into the British press and urges the government to “give more rigorous training” to reporters.

In the 83-page report, the Commission said: “ECRI considers that, in light of the fact that Muslims are increasingly under the spotlight as a result of recent around the world, fuelling prejudice against Muslims shows a reckless disregard, not only for the dignity of the great majority of Muslims in the United Kingdom, but also for their safety.

“In this context, it draws attention to a recent study by Teeside University suggesting that where the media stress the Muslim background of perpetrators of terrorist acts, and devote significant coverage to it, the violent backlash against Muslims is likely to be greater than in cases where the perpetrators’ motivation is downplayed or rejected in favour of alternative explanations.”

Despite the creation of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) in 2014 as an independent regulator for newspapers and magazines, the “ECRI strongly recommends that the authorities find a way to establish an independent press regulator according to the recommendations set out in the Leveson Report. It recommends more rigorous training for journalists to ensure better compliance with ethical standards.”

But as Britain prepares to leave the crumbling bloc, the Government waded in to defend freedom of expression.

In a written statement to the ECRI, the Government said: “The Government is committed to a free and open press and does not interfere with what the press does and does not publish, as long as the press abides by the law.”

ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, intolerance and racial discrimination.

The group writes reports on every member state every five years and says the documents are “analyses based on a great deal of information gathered from a wide variety of sources.

ECRI visited the UK in November 2015 as it gathered evidence for the report.

In a statement, ECRI said: “ECRI welcomed, among other things, the entry into force of the Equality Act 2010 and the generally strong legislation against racism and racial discrimination in the country, as well as the government’s new hate crime action plan and substantial efforts to promote LGBT rights in the UK which have led to a significant change in attitudes.

“At the same time, the commission noted considerable intolerant political discourse in the UK, particularly focusing on immigration. It said that hate speech continues to be a serious problem in tabloid newspapers, and that online hate speech targeting Muslims in particular has soared since 2013.”

Meet the New Authoritarian Masters of the Internet

Getty Images

Getty Images

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept. 29, 2016:

President Barack Obama’s drive to hand off control of Internet domains to a foreign multi-national operation will give some very unpleasant regimes equal say over the future of online speech and commerce.

In fact, they are likely to have much more influence than America, because they will collectively push hard for a more tightly controlled Internet, and they are known for aggressively using political and economic pressure to get what they want.

Here’s a look at some of the regimes that will begin shaping the future of the Internet in just a few days, if President Obama gets his way.

China

China wrote the book on authoritarian control of online speech. The legendary “Great Firewall of China” prevents citizens of the communist state from accessing global content the Politburo disapproves of. Chinese technology companies are required by law to provide the regime with backdoor access to just about everything.

The Chinese government outright banned online news reporting in July, granting the government even tighter control over the spread of information. Websites are only permitted to post news from official government sources. Chinese online news wasn’t exactly a bastion of freedom before that, of course, but at least the government censors had to track down news stories they disliked and demand the site administrators take them down.

Unsurprisingly, the Chinese Communists aren’t big fans of independent news analysis or blogging, either. Bloggers who criticize the government are liable to be charged with “inciting subversion,” even when the writer in question is a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Chinese citizens know better than to get cheeky on social media accounts, as well. Before online news websites were totally banned, they were forbidden from reporting news gathered from social media, without government approval. Spreading anything the government decides is “fake news” is a crime.

In a report labeling China one of the worst countries for Internet freedom in the world, Freedom House noted they’ve already been playing games with Internet registration and security verification:

The China Internet Network Information Center was found to be issuing false digital security certificates for a number of websites, including Google, exposing the sites’ users to “man in the middle” attacks.

The government strengthened its real-name registration laws for blogs, instant-messaging services, discussion forums, and comment sections of websites.

A key feature of China’s online censorship is that frightened citizens are not entirely certain what the rules are. Huge ministries work tirelessly to pump out content regulations and punish infractions. Not all of the rules are actually written down. As Foreign Policy explained:

Before posting, a Chinese web user is likely to consider basic questions about how likely a post is to travel, whether it runs counter to government priorities, and whether it calls for action or is likely to engender it. Those answers help determine whether a post can be published without incident — as it is somewhere around 84 percent or 87 percent of the time — or is instead likely to lead to a spectrum of negative consequences varying from censorship, to the deletion of a user’s account, to his or her detention, even arrest and conviction.

This was accompanied by a flowchart demonstrating “what gets you censored on the Chinese Internet.” It is not a simple flowchart.

Beijing is not even slightly self-conscious about its authoritarian control of the Internet. On the contrary, their censorship policies are trumpeted as “Internet sovereignty,” and they aggressively believe the entire world should follow their model, as the Washington Post reported in a May 2016 article entitled “China’s Scary Lesson to the World: Censoring the Internet Works.”

China already has a quarter of the planet’s Internet users locked up behind the Great Firewall. How can anyone doubt they won’t use the opportunity Obama is giving them, to pursue their openly stated desire to lock down the rest of the world?

Russia

Russia and China are already working together for a more heavily-censored Internet.Foreign Policy reported one of Russia’s main goals at an April forum was to “harness Chinese expertise in Internet management to gain further control over Russia’s internet, including foreign sites accessible there.”

Russia’s “top cop,” Alexander Bastrykin, explicitly stated Russia needs to stop “playing false democracy” and abandon “pseudo-liberal values” by following China’s lead on Internet censorship, instead of emulating the U.S. example. Like China’s censors, Russian authoritarians think “Internet freedom” is just coded language for the West imposing “cultural hegemony” on the rest of the world.

Just think what Russia and China will be able to do about troublesome foreign websites, once Obama surrenders American control of Internet domains!

Russian President Vladimir Putin has “chipped away at Internet freedom in Russia since he returned to the Kremlin in 2012,” as International Business Times put it in a 2014 article.

One of Putin’s new laws requires bloggers with over 3,000 readers to register with the government, providing their names and home addresses. As with China, Russia punishes online writers for “spreading false information,” and once the charge is leveled, it’s basically guilty-until-proven-innocent. For example, one of the “crimes” that can get a blogger prosecuted in Russia is alleging the corruption of a public official, without ironclad proof.

Human-rights group Agora estimates that Russian Internet censorship grew by 900% in 2015 alone, including both court orders and edicts from government agencies that don’t require court approval. Censorship was expected to intensify even further throughout 2016. Penalties include prison time, even for the crime of liking or sharing banned content on social media.

Putin, incidentally, has described the entire Internet as a CIA plot designed to subvert regimes like his. There will be quite a few people involved in the new multi-national Internet control agency who think purging the Web of American influence is a top priority.

The Russian government has prevailed upon Internet Service Providers to block opposition websites during times of political unrest, in addition to thousands of bans ostensibly issued for security, crime-fighting, and anti-pornography purposes.

Many governments follow the lead of Russia and China in asserting the right to shut down “extremist” or “subversive” websites. In the United States, we worry about law enforcement abusing its authority while battling outright terrorism online, arguing that privacy and freedom of speech must always be measured against security, no matter how dire the threat. In Russia, a rough majority of the population has no problem with the notion of censoring the Internet in the name of political stability, and will countenance absolutely draconian controls against perceived national security threats. This is a distressingly common view in other nations as well: stability justifies censorship and monitoring, not just physical security.

Turkey

Turkey’s crackdown on the Internet was alarming even before the aborted July coup attempt against authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has banned social media sites, including temporary bans against even giants like Facebook and YouTube, for political reasons. Turkish dissidents are accustomed to such bans coming down on the eve of elections. The Turkish telecom authority can impose such bans without a court order, or a warning to offending websites.

Turkey is often seen as the world leader in blocking Twitter accounts, in addition to occasionally shutting the social media service down completely, and has over a 100,000 websites blacklisted. Criticizing the government online can result in anything from lost employment to criminal charges. And if you think social-media harassment from loyal supporters of the government in power can get pretty bad in the U.S., Turks sometimes discover that hassles from pro-regime trolls online are followed by visits from the police.

Turkish law infamously makes it a crime to insult the president, a law Erdogan has already attempted to impose beyond Turkey’s borders. One offender found himself hauled into court for creating a viral meme – the sort of thing manufactured by the thousands every hour in America – that noted Erdogan bore a certain resemblance to Gollum from Lord of the Rings. The judge in his case ordered expert testimony on whether Gollum was evil to conclusively determine whether the meme was an illegal insult to the president.

The Turkish example introduces another idea common to far too many of the countries Obama wants to give equal say over the future of the Internet: intimidation is a valid purpose for law enforcement. Many of Turkey’s censorship laws are understood to be mechanisms for intimidating dissidents, raising the cost of free speech enough to make people watch their words very carefully. “Think twice before you Tweet” might be good advice for some users, but regimes like Erdogan’s seek to impose that philosophy on everyone. This runs strongly contrary to the American understanding of the Internet as a powerful instrument that lowers the cost of speech to near-zero, the biggest quantum leap for free expression in human history. Zero-cost speech is seen as a big problem by many of the governments that will now place strong hands upon the global Internet rudder.

Turkey is very worried about “back doors” that allow citizens to circumvent official censorship, a concern they will likely bring to Internet control, along with like-minded authoritarian regimes. These governments will make the case that a free and open Internet is a direct threat to their “sovereign right” to control what their citizens read. As long as any part of the Internet remains completely free, no sector can be completely controlled.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudis aren’t too far behind China in the Internet rankings by Freedom House. Dissident online activity can bring jail sentences, plus the occasional public flogging.

This is particularly lamentable because Saudi Arabia is keenly interested in modernization, and sees the Internet as a valuable economic resource, along with a thriving social media presence. Freedom House notes the Internet “remains the least repressive space for expression in the country,” but “it is by no means free.”

“While the state focuses on combatting violent extremism and disrupting terrorist networks, it has clamped down on nonviolent liberal activists and human rights defenders with the same zeal, branding them a threat to the national order and prosecuting them in special terrorism tribunals,” Freedom House notes.

USA Today noted that as of 2014, Saudi Arabia had about 400,000 websites blocked, “including any that discuss political, social or religious topics incompatible with the Islamic beliefs of the monarchy.”

At one point the blacklist included the Huffington Post, which was banned for having the temerity to run an article suggesting the Saudi system might “implode” because of oil dependency and political repression. The best response to criticism that your government is too repressive is a blacklist!

The Saudis have a penchant for blocking messaging apps and voice-over-IP services, like Skype and Facetime. App blocking got so bad that Saudi users have been known to ask, “What’s the point of having the Internet?”

While some Saudis grumble about censorship, many others are active, enthusiastic participants in enforcement, filing hundreds of requests each day to have websites blocked. Religious figures supply many of these requests, and the government defends much of its censorship as the defense of Islamic values.

As with other censorious regimes, the Saudi monarchy worries about citizens using web services beyond its control to evade censorship, a concern that will surely be expressed loudly once America surrenders its command of Internet domains.

For the record, the Saudis’ rivals in Iran are heavy Internet censors too, with Stratfor listing them as one of the countries seeking Chinese assistance for “solutions on how best to monitor the Iranian population.”

North Korea

You can’t make a list of authoritarian nightmares without including the psychotic regime in Pyongyang, the most secretive government in the world.

North Korea is so repressive the BBC justly puts the word “Internet” in scare quotes, to describe the online environment. It doesn’t really interconnect with anything, except government propaganda and surveillance. Computers in the lone Internet cafe in Pyongyang actually boot up to a customized Linux operating system called “Red Star,” instead of Windows or Mac OS. The calendar software in Red Star measures the date from the birth of Communist founder Kim Il-sung, rather than the birth of Christ.

The “Internet” itself is a closed system called Kwangmyong, and citizens can only access it through a single state-run provider, with the exception of a few dozen privileged families that can punch into the real Internet.

Kwangmyong is often compared to the closed “intranet” system in a corporate office, with perhaps 5,000 websites available at most. Unsurprisingly, the content is mostly State-monitored messaging and State-supplied media. Contributors to these online services have reportedly been sent to re-education camps for typos. The North Koreans are so worried about outside contamination of their closed network that they banned wi-fi hotspots at foreign embassies, having noticed information-starved North Korean citizens clustering within range of those beautiful, uncensored wireless networks.

This doesn’t stop South Koreans from attempting cultural penetration of their squalid neighbor’s dismal little online network. Lately they’ve been doing it by loading banned information onto cheap memory sticks, tying them to balloons, and floating them across the border.

Sure, North Korea is the ultimate totalitarian nightmare, and since they have less than two thousand IP addresses registered in the entire country, the outlaw regime won’t be a big influence on Obama’s multi-national Internet authority, right?

Not so fast. As North Korea expert Scott Thomas Bruce told the BBC, authoritarian governments who are “looking at what is happening in the Middle East” see North Korea as a model to be emulated.

“They’re saying rather than let in Facebook, and rather than let in Twitter, what if the government created a Facebook that we could monitor and control?” Bruce explained.

Also, North Korea has expressed some interest in using the Internet as a tool for economic development, which means there would be more penetration of the actual global network into their society. They’ll be very interested in censoring and controlling that access, and they’ll need a lot more registered domains and IP addresses… the very resource Obama wants America to surrender control over.

Bottom line: contrary to left-wing cant, there is such a thing as American exceptionalism – areas in which the United States is demonstrably superior to every other nation, a leader to which the entire world should look for examples. Sadly, our society is losing its fervor for free expression, and growing more comfortable with suppressing “unacceptable” speech, but we’re still far better than anyone else in this regard.

The rest of the world, taken in total, is very interested in suppressing various forms of expression, for reasons ranging from security to political stability and religion. Those governments will never be comfortable, so long as parts of the Internet remain outside of their control. They have censorship demands they consider very reasonable, and absolutely vital. The website you are reading right now violates every single one of them, on a regular basis.

There may come a day we can safely remand control of Internet domains to an international body, but that day is most certainly not October 1, 2016.

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Technology CEOs Shamefully Lubricate Internet’s Surrender by Frank Gaffney

Congress has just showed why so many Americans are sick of their politicians and ready to throw the bums out. The Senate and House leadership have agreed to President Obama’s surrender of your Internet to freedom’s enemies.

The deed was done yesterday when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed through the Senate a funding bill without a prohibition on the Internet give-away.  The House is expected to rubber stamp it today.

Political cover came from something called the Technology CEO Council.  This group of interested parties, whose lobbyists give generously to politicians’ campaigns, blithely assured Congress: “Placing stewardship of these technical but important functions beyond the control of any one government or group of governments will best secure the principles of Internet freedom and de-politicization of technology.”

Shame on the CEOs for disseminating such transnational rubbish – and the Congress for swallowing it.

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