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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Orlando Terror Attack ‘Triggered’ by Pentagon Drone Strike

Orlando Police officers direct family members away from a multiple shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Orlando Police officers direct family members away from a multiple shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Washington Free Beacon, by Bill Gertz, Sept. 28, 2016:

The domestic terrorist behind the Orlando nightclub massacre was motivated by a Pentagon drone strike in Iraq a month before the shooting, according to police transcripts made public last week.

Conversations between Omar Mateen and an Orlando police negotiator on June 12 were kept secret by FBI and local police until Friday. The secrecy contributed to misleading media accounts of the terrorist’s motives in the days after the killings.

The transcripts were released by Orlando police Friday after a Florida court hearing held in response to a lawsuit filed by several news organizations.

Mateen killed 49 people during the attack on the Pulse, a gay nightclub, and wounded 53 others. Police eventually stormed the club and killed Mateen in a shootout after talks aimed at convincing him to surrender failed.

During an exchange in the early morning hours of June 12, an Orlando Police Department negotiator identified only as “Andy” asked Mateen, who was speaking by cell phone from inside the club, to tell him what was going on.

“Yo, the air strike that killed Abu Wahid a few weeks ago… that’s what triggered it, okay?” said Mateen, who earlier in the conversation identified himself as a follower the Islamic State terror group.

“They should have not bombed and killed Abu Wahid,” the former security guard declared. “Do your fucking homework and figure out who Abu Wahid is, okay?”

Additionally, Mateen praised one of the bombers of the 2013 Boston Marathon, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and another domestic terrorist whose name was transcribed as unintelligible in the released transcript.

At other points, Mateen told the negotiator that the United States needed to stop all bombing in Iraq and Syria.

Initial reports from several news outlets reporting on the mass shooting variously described Mateen as gay, a “homophobe” and a “wife beater,” despite his having made claims of allegiance to the Islamic State.

The New York Times, for example, stated in an editorial three days after the shooting that the “precise motive [of Mateen] remains unclear.” The editorial then said it was “evident that Mr. Mateen was driven by hatred toward gays and lesbians.” Investigators later dismissed as a false claim that Mateen was driven to the killing spree by gay self-hatred.

The Orlando attack was the deadliest terrorist incident since the September 11, 2001, attacks. The FBI would later reveal it investigated Mateen twice but claimed there was a lack of evidence he was linked to Islamic terrorism.

The Orlando attack came just over a month after the Pentagon announced on May 9 that a U.S.-led coalition air strike killed Abu Wahib, a middle-level Islamic State military leader in charge of Iraq’s Anbar province on May 6.

Wahib was blown up along with three other jihadists in a drone strike on the car they men were riding in. The terror leader had been a high profile figure who appeared in several gruesome execution videos.

A defense official said the raid that killed Wahib employed a missile-firing unmanned aerial vehicle against the terrorist’s car. The fact that a drone was used in the attack also may explain the government’s reluctance to release the transcript.

The secrecy surrounding the transcripts of Mateen’s comments appears based on Obama administration fears that publicizing the jihadist’s statements would fuel further attacks.

The administration has sought to play down domestic ISIS-inspired terror attacks as disconnected from the Islamic ideology. The number of ISIS-linked attacks has increased over the past year.

FBI and Orlando police spokesmen declined to comment when asked why the full transcript was not made public earlier.

Heather Fagan, deputy chief of staff in the Orlando mayor’s office, said the transcripts were withheld by the FBI during the Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation and released last week.

“The Department of Justice and the FBI recently advised the city of the FBI’s determination that the 911 calls no longer need to be protected as their release would not compromise the ongoing investigation into the Pulse nightclub massacre,” she told the Free Beacon.

The FBI and Justice Department released a partial transcript of the calls June 20—eight days after the attack. But those transcripts made no reference to the Iraqi airstrike that killed Wahid, or the Boston Marathon bomber.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said during his first call with the crisis negotiator, Mateen explicitly stated U.S. involvement in Syria and Iraq motivated the attack.

“This fact differs dramatically and widely from the initial media and police reports,” he said. “It is important for us to understand why that was the case. If officials intentionally sought to downplay the threat from radical Islamic terrorism, that would not only be wrong, but would also be a disservice to the American public.”

Counterterrorism experts questioned the FBI’s failure to release the full transcript sooner and suggested it is part of U.S. government efforts to obscure the nature of the domestic terror threat.

Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism expert, said the 911 transcript “completely destroys” the White House policy narrative of so-called “lone wolf” terror attacks.

“Omar Mateen isn’t a random individual discontented from a broader conspiracy,” Gorka said, noting the terrorist’s claim of allegiance to the Islamic State ties him to a broader global jihadist movement.

Also, Mateen’s references in the transcript to the Islamic observance of Ramadan and fasting the day of the attack “flies in the face of the administration’s argument that these attacks are wholly disconnected from Islam,” added Gorka, a professor of strategy and irregular warfare at the Institute of World Politics.

“Justifying the attack as a response to our targeting of Abu Wahib, the ISIS head of the Al Anbar Lions, reemphasizes to reality that this is a borderless war in which the individual neutralization of high value targets with not bring us ultimate victory,” Gorka said. “Only the delegitimization of the ideology that men like Mateen adhere to can do that.”

Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the failure to release the Mateen transcript earlier highlights the government’s reluctance to expose the threat.

“It is very disappointing that information like this is consistently withheld,” Hoekstra said. “It’s a pattern that is deeply troubling and calls into question the FBI’s whole strategy of keeping America safer by hiding information.”

Said Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor who handled terrorism cases: “The catalyst for all jihadist terrorism is Islamic supremacist ideology and its agenda to impose sharia.”

“We remain willfully blind to this ideology, so we are increasingly vulnerable to attacks,” McCarthy added. “And by failing to expose and discredit the ideology, we fail both our security and our pro-Western Muslim allies at home and abroad.”

The transcript also reveals that Mateen used deception in his calls to police in an apparent effort to prevent SWAT teams from conducting a raid against his location. Mateen falsely told the negotiator that he had planted car bombs around Orlando and was preparing to outfit four explosive vests on hostages, which he described as similar to the suicide bomb vests worn by Islamic terrorists in the November 2015 mass shootings in Paris.

During the initial conversation, Mateen was asked his name and told the negotiator, “My name is I pledge of allegiance to (unidentifiable name) of the Islamic State.”

The FBI statement said the 911 calls made by Mateen would not be released “out of respect for the victims” of the mass shooting. It stated that Mateen wanted the United States to stop bombing in Iraq and Syria. The FBI said Mateen told police, “I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings” and that he pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.

A joint Justice Department-FBI statement issued June 20 included a partial release of the Mateen calls but did not disclose the details made public on Friday.

“The purpose of releasing the partial transcript of the shooter’s interaction with 911 operators was to provide transparency, while remaining sensitive to the interests of the surviving victims, their families, and the integrity of the ongoing investigation,” the statement said.

“We also did not want to provide the killer or terrorist organizations with a publicity platform for hateful propaganda.”

The statement went on to say that unreleased portions of the transcript that named the terrorist organizations and leaders “have caused an unnecessary distraction from the hard work that the FBI and our law enforcement partners have been doing to investigate this heinous crime.”

“As much of this information had been previously reported, we have re-issued the complete transcript to include these references in order to provide the highest level of transparency possible under the circumstances.”

The statement was referring to the first 911 call made by Mateen. The detailed calls to the police negotiator were withheld from release.

Police in Orlando released a number of 911 calls from victims in and around the club during the attack, but are withholding 230 calls made by victims to 911 emergency dispatchers under a law that allows keeping audio and transcripts secret when the calls involve a person being killed.

Also see:

EXCLUSIVE: Federal complaint against bombing suspect omits journal’s ISIS references

Fox News, by Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Browne, September 21, 2016

Pages from the bloody journal of the New York and New Jersey bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami show he was a follower of Al Qaeda as well as the Islamic State terror group, yet federal investigators made no reference to ISIS in their complaint charging him on Tuesday.

At least two pages include references to Anwar al-Awlaki — the American-born Muslim cleric who was killed in a 2011 drone strike and whose preaching has inspired acts of terror linked to ISIS and Al Qaeda. Federal investigators mentioned Awlaki in the complaints.

However, the journal also appears to reference Abu Muhammad al Adnani — the ISIS spokesman killed by coalition forces in August after he called his followers to attack non-believers in their homelands.

“I looked for guidance came Sheikh Anwar, Brother Adnani, Dawla. Said it clearly – Attack the kuffar (non-believer) in the back yard,” one section read. Page 12 of the indictment references this section without naming Adnani.

Rahami’s screed also praised 9/11 mastermind Usama bin Laden and Nidal Hasan, the former Army officer who went on a deadly shooting rampage in 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas.  Hasan was also a follower of Awlaki. The Counter Extremism Project’s research counted 77 extremists — 43 U.S. extremists and 34 European extremists — with ties to Anwar al-Awlaki. They include the Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen in June, as well as Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the San Bernardino massacre in December 2015.

In addition, the journal included rantings plotting revenge against the U.S. government for slaughtering Muslim holy warriors. In one section, the Afghan-born Rahami suggested he was worried police or the feds would capture him before he could carry out a suicide attack, becoming a martyr. “The sounds of bombs will be heard in the streets,” the journal declared.

Another section included a reference to “pipe bombs” and a “pressure cooker bomb” and declared: “In the streets they plan to run a mile,” an apparent reference to one of the blast sites, a charity run in Seaside Park. The feds said the journal ended with the words: “Death to your oppression.”

The pages appeared to be pierced by a bullet from the shootout that ended with Rahami in handcuffs on Monday. He’s suspected of planting bombs in Seaside Park and Elizabeth, New Jersey, as well as New York City, where the feds said at least 31 people were wounded after an explosion Saturday night.

Fox News has asked the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Department of Justice to explain why Rahami wrote about ISIS in his journal, but unlike the other terrorists he cited, there was no reference to ISIS in the charging documents.

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.

Also see:

HuffPost Fires Contributor, Deletes Articles Questioning Hillary’s Health [VIDEO]

Daily Caller, by Christian Datoc, Aug. 29, 2016:

Former Huffington Post contributor David Seaman was terminated Sunday evening for writing two articles questioning Hillary Clinton’s health.

Seaman uploaded a lengthy video to YouTube early Monday morning explaining the reason behind his firing.

“It’s chilling,” Seaman noted. “I still haven’t really absorbed it.”

Seaman’s articles — “Hillary Clinton’s Health Is Super (Aside From Seizures, Lesions, Adrenaline Pens)” and “Donald Trump Challenges Hillary Clinton To Health Records Duel” — “were pulled without notice… just completely deleted from the Internet.”

Screen-Shot-2016-08-29-at-9.41.09-AM

“I’ve written hundreds of stories, filed hundreds of stories over my years as a journalist and pundit, and I’ve never had this happen,” Seaman stated. “A couple of times in the past, I’ve had legal concerns with something I’ve reported on so there was discussion with something I’d reported on… but they didn’t simply delete the articles, make them disappear from the Internet and revoke my access.”

“I’ve honestly never seen anything like this, and this is happening in the United States in 2016,” he continued. “It’s frankly chilling. I’m a little scared.”

I’m doing this video right now to say I’m not suicidal, I’m not a clumsy person. I don’t own a car at the moment, I uber everywhere,” Seaman told the audience. “So if I am to slip in the shower over the next couple of days or something like that, we have to employ probability and statistics here, because I am not a clumsy person and I am not a depressed person.”

“I am a person who is spooked out though.”

Follow Datoc on Twitter and Facebook

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Speaking of things being censored:

The Coming Free Speech Apocalypse

shutterstock_238626832The Federalist, by Daniel Payne, Aug. 22, 2016:

Americans generally do not appreciate the United States’ astonishing free speech regime, particularly compared to the historical bastions of political liberalism in Western Europe.

The French penal code criminalizes “defamation” of people based on “their membership or non-membership, real or supposed, of an ethnic group, nation, race or religion;” in Britain the police can investigate you for criticizing Muslims; in Ireland they have something called the “Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act,” which prohibits “inciting” “hatred” against anyone based on, among other factors, “membership [in] the travelling community” and “sexual orientation” (Ireland also forbids speech that “undermine[s] public order or morality or the authority of the State”). Even our neighbor to the north, Canada, forbids people from “incit[ing] hatred against any identifiable group.”

America is not like that: in the United States, you can incite hatred against a gay gypsy Muslim bureaucrat, even specifically becausehe is a gay gypsy Muslim bureaucrat, and you will not be thrown in jail. In America you can say just about any offensive thing imaginable, directed at just about any group or person imaginable, and you’ll be okay. Add to that the strong protections for political speech that statute and Supreme Court precedent have established, and America is almost unique among the nations of the world in terms of freedom of expression. We have it good.

But that might not always be the case. In fact in the very near future American free speech may be sharply curtailed. It is not a sure thing—Supreme Court precedent regarding the First Amendment is robust enough to present would-be censors with something of a challenge—but nevertheless there is a good chance that American enemies of American free speech will shortly mount a sustained and eventually successful effort to drastically reduce American speech freedoms.

Who are these enemies? There are three of them: Hillary Clinton (backed by a Democratic Party that is rabidly anti-free speech), Donald Trump (unchallenged by a weak and useless Republican Party), and, most tragically, the American people themselves.

Hillary Clinton

With the possible exceptions of John Adams and Woodrow Wilson, there might never be a president more hostile to freedom of speech than Hillary Rodham Clinton. Clinton has promised, if elected, to introduce a constitutional amendment within her first month in office that would effectively repeal the First Amendment by overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v FEC decision from 2010.

Very simply, Citizens United ruled that Americans do not lose their freedom of speech rights when they band together in corporate form and under the auspices of labor unions and other types of organizations. Practically speaking, this was an uncontroversial and obvious affirmation of American First Amendment rights. But Hillary Clinton has set herself up against this ruling as if it were the Black Death, claiming her litmus test for nominating Supreme Court justices is if they will vote to overturn Citizens United and thus make it more difficult for Americans to speak freely and openly.

Clinton actually has a long history of anti-free speech positions, so in a sense this is unsurprising. But now she is poised to become president of the United States, and with that bully pulpit—and the power of the executive order—you can be sure her avaricious, relentless desire to curtail free speech will be a potent threat to our precious First Amendment freedoms.

You can be equally certain the Democratic Party will be happy to help her out. The Democratic platform not only calls for overturning Citizens United but also calls upon the Justice Department to “investigate allegations of corporate fraud” of fossil fuel companies “accused of misleading shareholders” on “the scientific reality of climate change.” This is a creative way of calling on government to prosecute skeptics of global warming hysteria.

In addition, the DNC calls upon Democrats to “condemn hate speech that creates a fertile climate for violence.” It is essentially guaranteed that, within a few years’ time, the “condemnation” of “hate speech” will progress to demands for an outright prohibition. Progressives in Europe have already done it; progressives in America are assuredly not far behind.

Donald Trump

You might think the Republican nominee for president would stand as a counterweight to the Democratic nominee’s censorious tendencies. You would be wrong. Trump himself has come out against super PACs, which are simply coalitions of American citizens who have banded together to voice their political opinions. Trump has also vowed to “open up” libel laws in order to silence his critics.

Lest you think this is an empty threat, it’s important to note Trump has already admitted to using libel laws to silence his critics. He also called for “closing [the] Internet up in some way” to combat terrorism, while dismissing those who would be concerned about freedom of speech as “foolish people.”

Would the GOP stand against Trump’s demonstrable hostility to the First Amendment? Not likely. Much of the Republican establishment has already proven itself reluctant to challenge Trump in any substantive way. Trump’s obvious antipathy to freedom of speech, coupled with his strongman ambitions and lack of resistance from an emasculated GOP, could pose a serious if not existential threat to American freedom of expression.

The American People

Surely, even if our corrupt and power-hungry elite ruling class opposes freedom of speech, the American people will resist any real efforts to curtail the First Amendment, right? Not so fast. There are genuinely distressing signs that the culture of American free speech is as endangered as the policy.

Some poll numbers suggest as much: two-thirds of Americans, for instance, think people who engage in “hate speech” are “more dangerous” than the people who would censor it. Among younger Americans—millennials—the polls indicate a staggering opposition to freedom of speech: out of 800 students polled at colleges across the country, more than a third believed the First Amendment does not protect “hate speech,” with a third also claiming the First Amendment is “outdated;” more than half believe colleges should have speech codes to police the speech of students and professors.

Forty percent of millennials, meanwhile, think government should be able to censor “offensive statements about minorities.” Indeed, millennials appear to be the most censorious generation alive. As older generations die off or become less politically active, we can assume that more and more anti-free speech millennials will make up a larger and larger share of the electorate.

All of which is to say: if we are worried about the anti-free speech ambitions of our two presidential candidates and the parties they represent, we should also be concerned about the American body politic, a substantial percentage of which is greatly inclined to censor “offensive” speech. A generation so inclined to muzzle its fellow Americans could pose an existential threat to the First Amendment.

Fight for the Right to Speak Freely

So how do First Amendment-loving Americans fight against this rising tide of illiberal anti-speech hostility? The solution is actually quite simple: we must take an absolutist zero-tolerance position regarding censorship and speech policing. In the same way that the National Rifle Association is relentless in fighting the curtailing of Second Amendment rights, Americans must relentlessly protect First Amendment rights.

Daniel Payne is a senior contributor at The Federalist. He currently runs the blog Trial of the Century, and lives in Virginia.

Also see:

London’s Muslim Mayor Introduces the Thought Police

jk

Front Page Magazine, by Robert Spencer, August 18, 2016:

London’s new Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, is allocating over two million dollars (£1,730,726) to an “online hate crime hub” enabling police to track and arrest “trolls” who “target…individuals and communities.” There can be no doubt, given the nature of the British political establishment today, which “trolls” these new Thought Police will be going after, and which “communities” will be protected from “hate speech.” “Islamophobia,” which David Horowitz and I termed “the thought crime of the totalitarian future,” is now going to bring down upon the hapless “trolls” the wrath of London’s Metropolitan police force — and this totalitarian new initiative shows yet again how easily the Leftist and Islamic supremacist agendas coincide and aid each other.

“The Metropolitan police service,” said a police spokesman, “is committed to working with our partners, including the mayor, to tackle all types of hate crime including offences committed online.” Given the fact that Khan, in a 2009 interview, dismissed moderate Muslims as “Uncle Toms” and has numerous questionable ties to Islamic supremacists, it is unlikely that he will be particularly concerned about “hate speech” by jihad preachers (several of whom were just recently welcomed into a Britain that has banned foes of jihad, including me).

And the “partners” of the London police are likely to include Tell Mama UK, which says on its website: “we work with Central Government to raise the issues of anti-Muslim hatred at a policy level and our work helps to shape and inform policy makers, whilst ensuring that an insight is brought into this area of work through the systematic recording and reporting of anti-Muslim hate incidents and crimes.” Tell Mama UK has previously been caughtclassifying as “anti-Muslim hate incidents and crimes” speech on Facebook and Twitter that it disliked. Now it will have the help of the London police to do that.

“The purpose of this programme,” we’re told, “is to strengthen the police and community response to this growing crime type.” This “crime type” is only “growing” because Britain has discarded the principle of the freedom of speech, and is committing itself increasingly to the idea that “hate speech” is objectively identifiable, and should be restricted by government and law enforcement action. Section 127 of the Communications Act of 2003criminalizes “using [a] public electronic communications network in order to cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety,” and no groups are better at manifesting public annoyance than Islamic advocacy groups. A pastor in Northern Ireland, James McConnell, ran afoul of this law in 2014 when he dared to criticize Islam in a sermon; he was acquitted after an 18-month investigation and a trial, but the Metropolitan police will not want to be seen as wasting their new “hate speech” money; others will not be as fortunate as McConnell.

Behind the push for “hate speech” laws is, of course, the increasingly authoritarian Left. Increasingly unwilling (and doubtless unable) to engage its foes in rational discussion and debate, the Left is resorting more and more to the Alinskyite tactic of responding to conservatives only with ridicule and attempts to rule conservative views out of the realm of acceptable discourse. That coincides perfectly with the ongoing initiative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to intimidate the West into criminalizing criticism of Islam.

This is not the first time that a Sharia imperative and a Leftist one coincided during the relatively brief (so far) mayoral tenure of Sadiq Khan. The London Evening Standard reported on June 13 that “adverts which put Londoners under pressure over body image are to be banned from the Tube and bus network.” This was because “Sadiq Khan announced that Transport for London would no longer run ads which could cause body confidence issues, particularly among young people.”

Said Khan: “As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. Nobody should feel pressurised, while they travel on the Tube or bus, into unrealistic expectations surrounding their bodies and I want to send a clear message to the advertising industry about this.”

And so no more ads featuring women in bikinis on London buses. People often puzzle about how the hard Left and Islamic supremacists can make common cause, when they have such differing ideas of morality; Khan’s ad ban showed how. The Left’s concern with “body-shaming” and not putting people “under pressure over body image” meshed perfectly with the Sharia imperative to force women to cover themselves in order to remove occasions of temptation for men.

What next? Will London women be forced to cover everything except their face and hands (as per Muhammad’s command) so as not to put others “under pressure over body image”? And if they are, will anyone who dares to complain about what is happening to their green and pleasant land be locked up for “hate speech” by London’s new Thought Police?

Welcome to Sadiq Khan’s London. Shut up and put on your hijab.

Also see:

One cannot have discourse if there is no opportunity for opposition. We are now seeing European courts, the European Commission, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the UN Human Rights Council seek to silence those whose views they oppose.

It even turned out, at least in Germany last September, that “hate speech” apparently included posts criticizing mass migration. It would seem, therefore, that just about anything anyone finds inconvenient can be labelled as “racist” or “hate speech.”

Censoring, ironically, ultimately gives the public an extremely legitimate grievance, and could even set up the beginning of a justifiable rebellion.

There is currently a worrying trend. Facebook, evidently attempting to manipulate what news people receive, recently censored the Swedish commentator Ingrid Carlqvist by deleting her account, then censored Douglas Murray’s eloquent article about Facebook’s censorship of Carlqvist. Recently, the BBC stripped the name Ali from Munich’s mass-murderer so that he would not appear to be a Muslim.

Yet, a page called “Death to America & Israel“, which actively incites violence against Israel, is left uncensored. Facebook, it seems, agrees that calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state is acceptable, but criticism of Islam is not. While pages that praise murder, jihadis, and anti-Semitism remain, pages that warn the public of the violence that is now often perpetrated in the name of Islam, but that do not incite violence, are removed.

Even in the United States, there was a Resolution proposed in the House of Representatives, H. Res. 569, attempting to promote the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s Defamation of Religion/anti-blasphemy laws, to criminalize any criticism of “religion” – but meaning Islam.

Yesterday, at an airport, an advertisement for Facebook read, “A place to debate.” Should it not instead have read, “A place to debate, but only if we agree with you”?

“Fireman Sam” Cartoon Character Steps on a Page from the Qur’an, Outrage Ensues

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Outraged Tweeters ask, “Why are there Quran pages on the floor & flying over the place?”

CounterJihad, by Bruce Cornibe, July 28, 2016:

Don’t dishonor Islam or you will be punished – that is a resounding message emanating from the Islamic world. For example, In Islam, when one ‘desecrates’ the Quran it is a form of blasphemy that can carry a death sentence according to Sharia law. Punishment for insulting Islam or its Prophet can be inferred from the following Islamic passages, including:

And who is more unjust than one who invents a lie about Allah or says, “It has been inspired to me,” while nothing has been inspired to him, and one who says, “I will reveal [something] like what Allah revealed.” And if you could but see when the wrongdoers are in the overwhelming pangs of death while the angels extend their hands, [saying], “Discharge your souls! Today you will be awarded the punishment of [extreme] humiliation for what you used to say against Allah other than the truth and [that] you were, toward His verses, being arrogant.” –Quran 6:93

Indeed, those who abuse Allah and His Messenger – Allah has cursed them in this world and the Hereafter and prepared for them a humiliating punishment. –Quran 33:57

Narrated ‘Ali: The Prophet said, “Do not tell a lie against me for whoever tells a lie against me (intentionally) then he will surely enter the Hell-fire.” –Sahih Bukhari 1.3.106

As well as other verses such as Sahih Bukhari 1.4.241,Sahih Bukhari 5.59.369, etc.

We have seen this played out as individuals have been slaughtered or had near death experiences for allegedly insulting Islam such as producing film and artworkdeemed offensive by some Muslims as well as many others acts. So, taking this Muslim hypersensitivity toward offensive behavior into account, one can expect the most ridiculous accusations of blasphemy from the Islamic world. Let’s take a look at a recent example involving a children’s cartoon that reveals de-facto blasphemy laws in the West.

The U.K. children’s show named Fireman Sam is facing Muslim backlash after it was discovered that an episode called Troubled Waters which originally aired back in October of 2014, has a character slipping on some pages of the Quran. One of the sheets of paper that shoots in the air when shown in slow motion supposedly reveals a Quranic page “dealing with punishments for non-believers[,]” says London’s Evening Standard. The Evening Standard captured some of the outrage on social media:

Miqdaad Versi, from the Muslim Council of Britain, tweeted: “Have no idea what went through the producers’ minds when they thought this was a good idea #baffled.”

Twitter user BirdsOfJannah wrote: “Islamophobia in @FiremanSamUK? Why are there Quran pages on the floor & flying over the place?”

Another wrote: “Children’s program Fireman Sam stepping on the Quran. SHAME on this program for promoting hatred against Muslims!”

Muslim Reformer and Counterjihad.com Shireen Qudosi points out how the Quran is essentially being idolized by some Muslims, tweeting:

Of course, caving into pressure from de-facto blasphemy laws (ex. Muslim anger and fear of reprisal) the company responsible for the show issued an apology, said they are going to eliminate that particular episode from circulation, promised they are cutting ties with the animation studio involved in the incident, etc.

All of this for a cartoon character accidently stepping on the Quran? People in the West cannot keep conceding to this Sharia mindset that says any perceived negative thoughts or actions against Islam cannot be tolerated, whether intentional or not. Western freedoms are receding while Sharia is advancing.

Federal Government Authorizes Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to Censor “Anti-Islam” Speech; Lawsuit Filed

3320334677Center for Security Policy, July 13, 2016:

Today, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) under the First Amendment.

Section 230 provides immunity from lawsuits to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, thereby permitting these social media giants to engage in government-sanctioned censorship and discriminatory business practices free from legal challenge.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Jihad Watch.

As alleged in the lawsuit, Geller and Spencer, along with the organizations they run, are often subject to censorship and discrimination by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because of Geller’s and Spencer’s beliefs and views, which Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube consider expression that is offensive to Muslims.

Such discrimination, which is largely religion-based in that these California businesses are favoring adherents of Islam over those who are not, is prohibited in many states, but particularly in California by the state’s anti-discrimination law, which is broadly construed to prohibit all forms of discrimination.  However, because of the immunity granted by the federal government, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are free to engage in their otherwise unlawful, discriminatory practices.

As set forth in the lawsuit, Section 230 of the CDA immunizes businesses such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from civil liability for any action taken to “restrict access to or availability of material that” that they “consider to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.”

Robert Muise, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, issued the following statement:

“Section 230 of the CDA confers broad powers of censorship upon Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube officials, who can silence constitutionally protected speech and engage in discriminatory business practices with impunity by virtue of this power conferred by the federal government in violation of the First Amendment.”

Muise went on to explain:

“Section 230 is a federal statute that alters the legal relations between our clients and Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, resulting in the withdrawal from our clients of legal protections against private acts.  Consequently, per U.S. Supreme Court precedent, state action lies in our clients’ challenge under the First Amendment.”

David Yerushalmi, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, added:

“Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have notoriously censored speech that they deem critical of Islam, thereby effectively enforcing blasphemy laws here in the United States with the assistance of the federal government.”

Yerushalmi concluded:

“It has been the top agenda item of Islamic supremacists to impose such standards on the West.  Its leading proponents are the Muslim Brotherhood’s network of Islamist activist groups in the West and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which co-sponsored, with support from Obama and then-Secretary of State Clinton, a U.N. resolution which called on all nations to ban speech that could promote mere hostility to Islam.  Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are falling in line, and we seek to stop this assault on our First Amendment freedoms.”

AFLC Co-Founders and Senior Counsel Robert J. Muise and David Yerushalmi, along with the plaintiffs in this case, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, will hold a Press Call from 2:00-2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13.  To access this press conference call, dial (641) 715-3655 and enter code 111815.

Also see:

AOSHQ: YouTube’s Video Ban Proves Rich Higgins Right

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Former DOD Official Rich Higgins warned of the Islamist influence shaping America’s policies against “violent extremism.” He was right.

CounterJihad, July 6, 2016:

Just yesterday, the right-of-center blog Ace of Spades described an interview given by former DOD official and Special Forces trainer Rich Higgins.  Higgins said that the Obama administration had adopted a set of counter-terrorism policies that ended up being drafted by many Islamists, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Ostensibly about countering extremism, these policies were really about silencing critics of Islam and Islamism.  That motive, which is a core part of the Brotherhood’s agenda, is also shared by other radical Islamist groups including al Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS).

Political warfare includes both non-violent and violent actions working in synthesis, Higgins says. The left, with enemy-friendly Muslim Brotherhood allies, is able to control the dominant cultural narrative with the media and the government, blinding us in the war on terror and impacting how Americans think, he argues.

Higgins calls for a “strategic and operational pause” in America’s misguided battle to stop the terror. He would, instead, ask new leadership to develop a comprehensive political warfare plan, while removing the subversive policies and personnel causing America to lose this paramount battle.

He cites the “purges” carried out by law enforcement and intelligence officials throughout government, which Phil Haney, Sebastian Gorka and Steve Coughlin have made public.

Today, Ace notes, the YouTube controversy proves that he was right.  While YouTube is not a government agency, YouTube’s parent company is involved in a public-private partnership with the US government aimed at “countering violent extremism” — the very program Higgins is describing.  Jigsaw, formerly “Google Ideas,” is being run by a former US State Department employee who has been tasked with figuring out how Alphabet (formerly Google) can “use technology to tackle the toughest geopolitical challenges, from countering violent extremism to thwarting online censorship to mitigating the threats associated with digital attacks.”

Higgins is indeed correct about the root of the issue.  The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) was identified by the FBI as an American front for the Muslim Brotherhood.  Its current president is Mohamed Magid, who has been celebrated in the press for helping the Federal government develop its “countering violent extremism” plan.

Likewise, the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has been an active participant.  By its own admission, its intent is to weaken the degree to which American officials have elected to frame their “relationship with American Muslims through a securitized lens.”  Expressing a concern that this stigmatizes the community, they would like to push security professionals out of the center role.  Efforts like this Google outreach are just what they have been hoping to see.

The effect, though, is to turn the program’s intent on its head.  This was intended to address the dangers of increased terrorism.  Instead, it has made it more difficult for critics of the ideology that produces such terror to speak and be heard.  That happens to be a goal of radical Islamist groups, ironically.

As Ace put it, “somehow our policy has been turned inside-out from being anti-terrorist to anti-upsetting-potential-terrorists — which is the precise goal potential terrorists seek… The goal is to make people afraid to speak negatively about their religion and their Caliphate — to implement sharia’s prohibition against ‘slander’ against Islam.”

CAIR and ISNA will likely say that they have some other goal than advancing the rule of sharia’s prohibitions in America.  However, that has been the effect of their actions.  That effect does line up with the express goals of outlined in the infamous Explanatory Memorandum, which was introduced as evidence by the Department of Justice in the nation’s largest-ever terrorism financing trial.

Perhaps that’s just a coincidence.

YouTube bans video on Muslim Brotherhood, Sharia and Civilization Jihad as “hate speech”

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Jihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, July 6, 2016:

Here is a full transcript of the video. Where is the “hate speech”? Where is there even any factual inaccuracy?

For the Left, truth is no defense. What they want to do is silence their ideological foes. That’s all. The problem with the increasingly mainstream concept that “hate speech is not free speech” is that what exactly constitutes “hate speech” is a subjective judgment, often based on the political proclivities of the person doing the judging. If a Leftist analyst who subscribes to the fantasy that the Muslim Brotherhood is a “firewall against extremism” is doing the judging, he may think that the information below is “hate speech,” while if someone who is aware of the true nature and magnitude of the jihad threat is the judge, he would more likely consider Hamas-linked CAIR’s “Islamophobia” reports to be genuine “hate speech.”

The concept of “hate speech” is, in reality, a tool of the powerful to silence and demonize their critics. It has no place in a free society. This action by YouTube is ominous in the extreme, and is almost certainly the harbinger of much worse to come.

You can still see the video on Facebook here, and here is the full transcript: “Killing for a Cause: Sharia Law & Civilization Jihad,” Counter Jihad, June 29, 2016:

What is Civilization Jihad? This video explains in three minutes.

We have a new video aimed at non-experts as an introduction to the basic ideas behind the Counterjihad. Please watch it, and share it with those whom you think need to see it. The text of the video is as follows:

Terrorism seems to be everywhere, and it’s getting worse. The bad guys have lots of names—ISIS, al Qaeda, Boko Haram—but they have one thing in common. They are all killing for a cause: Islamic Law known as Sharia.

Sharia is a return to medieval Islam. Sharia demands a Holy War calledJihad. The most widely available book of Islamic Law in English says: “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims.”

There are two kinds of Jihad. Violent Jihad is horribly simple, slaughtering innocents and forcing submission. Violent Jihadists want to conquer land for their Caliphate – essentially an Islamic State where Sharia Law is supreme.

But there is another kind of Jihad. In their Explanatory Memorandum, theMuslim Brotherhood, calls this, “civilization jihad,” saying, “The [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers…”

Civilization Jihad has the same goal as the Violent Jihad—to conquer land for their Caliphate—but instead of waging war or staging terror attacks like their brothers in the violent jihad, these Civilization Jihadists wear suits and ties, and their work is much more subtle.

So what do they do? They file lawsuits for Muslim truck drivers who don’t want to drive beer. They convince schools to hold Muslim Day, where the girls wear head scarves and the kids say Muslim prayers. They complain when our government watches to see if their violent buddies are hanging out with them.

They call anyone critical of Islamic Law an “Islamophobe,” a term they invented to make people scared to speak out—like the neighbors of the terrorists in San Bernardino who knew something was wrong, but didn’t want to say anything because they’d be accused of profiling.

These bad guys have lots of names, too: the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); the Muslim Student Association (MSA); Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). The Justice Department found that these groups were, in fact, started by the Muslim Brotherhood.

These groups like to say that terrorism has no religion, but only Islam has Sharia and Jihad.

Not all Muslims practice Sharia or support it, but an awful lot do. They believe that anyone who insults Islam can be killed; they believe thatwomen are property; that gays should be killed; and that little girls should be mutilated and forced to marry old men they’ve never men. These things are simply not allowed in our free society and are against the Constitution.

There are plenty of Modern Muslims who want to “live and let live,” but unfortunately the groups that speak most often for the Muslim community follow the medieval version based on Sharia.

They are working to make the US more like the Caliphate. They have to go.