Is Google Working with Liberal Groups to Snuff Out Conservative Websites?

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PJ Media, by Paula Bolyard, Aug. 19, 2017:

See below for an important update.

Google revealed in a blog post that it is now using machine learning to document “hate crimes and events” in America. They’ve partnered with liberal groups like ProPublica, BuzzFeed News, and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to make information about “hate events” easily accessible to journalists. And now, there are troubling signs that this tool could be used to ferret out writers and websites that run afoul of the progressive orthodoxy.

In the announcement, Simon Rogers, data editor of Google News Labs, wrote:

Now, with ProPublica, we are launching a new machine learning tool to help journalists covering hate news leverage this data in their reporting.

The Documenting Hate News Index — built by the Google News Lab, data visualization studio Pitch Interactive and ProPublica — takes a raw feed of Google News articles from the past six months and uses the Google Cloud Natural Language API to create a visual tool to help reporters find news happening across the country. It’s a constantly-updating snapshot of data from this year, one which is valuable as a starting point to reporting on this area of news.

The Documenting Hate project launched in response to the lack of national data on hate crimes. While the FBI is required by law to collect data about hate crimes, the data is incomplete because local jurisdictions aren’t required to report incidents up to the federal government.

All of which underlines the value of the Documenting Hate Project, which is powered by a number of different news organisations and journalists who collect and verify reports of hate crimes and events. Documenting Hate is informed by both reports from members of the public and raw Google News data of stories from across the nation.

On the surface, this looks rather innocuous. It’s presented by Google as an attempt to create a database of hate crimes — information that should be available with a quick Google search, it should be noted. But a quick glance at the list of partners for this project should raise some red flags:

The  ProPublica-led coalition includes  The Google News Lab,  Univision News, the  New York Times,  WNYC,  BuzzFeed News,  First DraftMeedan,  New America Media,  The Root,  Latino USA,  The Advocate100 Days in Appalachia and  Ushahidi. The coalition is also working with civil-rights groups such as the  Southern Poverty Law Center, and schools such as the  University of Miami School of Communications.

ProPublica poses as a middle-of-the-road non-profit journalistic operation, but in reality, it’s funded by a stable of uber-liberal donors, including George Soros’s Open Society Foundations and Herb and Marion Sandler, billionaire former mortgage bankers whose Golden West Financial Corp. allegedly targeted subprime borrowers with “pick-a-pay” mortgages that led to toxic assets that were blamed for the collapse of Wachovia. The Southern Poverty Law Center, of course, is infamous for targeting legitimate conservatives groups, branding them as “hate groups” because they refuse to walk in lockstep with the progressive agenda. And it goes with out saying that The New York Times and BuzzFeed News lean left.

A perusal of the raw data that’s been compiled thus far on hate stories shows articles from a wide array of center-right sites, including The Daily Caller, Breitbart News, The Washington Times, National Review, and the Washington Examiner. It also includes many articles from liberal sites like BuzzFeed News and The New York TimesOne story from PJ Media’s Bridget Johnson is included in the list. It’s a report about a Sikh ad campaign aimed at reducing hate crimes against members of their faith community. Many of the articles are simply reports about alleged hate crimes from sources running the gamut of the political spectrum.

ProPublica vows to diligently track “hate incidents” in the coming months. “Everyday people — not just avowed ‘white nationalists’ — intimidate, harass, humiliate and even harm their fellow Americans because of the color of their skin, how they worship or who they love.” [Emphasis added] Note that they’re not just focusing on hate “crimes.”

It’s easy enough to figure out the direction of this project by taking it for a test drive. A search for “Scalise” returned four results, one of which didn’t even mention Steve Scalise, the congressman who was shot by a crazed leftist in June. A search for “Trump” during the same time period yielded more than 200 results. A search of the raw data resulted in 1178 hits for Trump and not a single mention of Scalise.

Note that Google, which recently fired an employee for expressing his counter-progressive opinions, thinks this information could be used to “help journalists covering hate news leverage this data in their reporting.” What do they mean by “leverage this data”? They don’t say, but an email sent to several conservative writers by a ProPublica reporter may give us some indication. Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer along with some others received this from ProPublica “reporter” Lauren Kirchner:

I am a reporter at ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative newsroom in New York. I am contacting you to let you know that we are including your website in a list of sites that have been designated as hate or extremist by the American Defamation League or the Southern Poverty Law Center. We have identified all the tech platforms that are supporting websites on the ADL and SPLC lists.

We would like to ask you a few questions:

1) Do you disagree with the designation of your website as hate or extremist? Why?

2) We identified several tech companies on your website: PayPal, Amazon, Newsmax, and Revcontent. Can you confirm that you receive funds from your relationship with those tech companies? How would the loss of those funds affect your operations, and how would you be able to replace them?

3) Have you been shut down by other tech companies for being an alleged hate or extremist web site? Which companies?

4) Many people opposed to sites like yours are currently pressuring tech companies to cease their relationships with them – what is your view of this campaign? Why?

In other words, nice website you’ve got there. It would be a shame if anything happened to it.

To summarize: Liberal ProPublica, working with the smear merchants at SPLC — powered by Google — sent a reporter out to issue not so veiled threats against conservative websites. It’s blatantly obvious that the goal here is to tank websites they disagree with by mounting a campaign to pressure their advertisers and tech providers to drop them as clients. This comes on the heels of Google, GoDaddy, CloudFlare, Apple, and others singling out alt-right sites for destruction in the wake of the Charlottesville riots.

Robert Spencer (who also writes for PJ Media) responded to the threat on his Jihad Watch blog:

The intent of your questions, and no doubt of your forthcoming article, will be to try to compel these sites to cut off any connection with us based on our opposition to jihad terror. Are you comfortable with what you’re enabling? Not only are you inhibiting honest analysis of the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat, but you’re aiding the attempt to deny people a platform based on their political views. This could come back to bite you if your own views ever fall out of favor. Have you ever lived in a totalitarian state, where the powerful determine the parameters of the public discourse and cut off all voice from the powerless? Do you really want to live in one now? You might find, once you get there, that it isn’t as wonderful as you thought it would be.

Spencer has recently criticized Google and the SPLC here at PJ Media for their attempts to squelch dissent, so it’s not surprising that they’ve decided to target him. Only instead of fighting Spencer’s words with words of their own, they’re lashing out with actions designed to silence him.

William A. Jacobson, writing at Legal Insurrection, explained the seriousness of this recent spate of blacklistings:

 Companies like Cloudfare and others who provide internet infrastrucure will come under increasing pressure, and it won’t be limited to the Storm Fronts of the world. We know from history that the “hate” label is broadly applied for political purposes, and will be used only against right-of-center websites.

Being cut off from domain registrars and other aspects of the internet backbone is something we expect from totalitarian governments. Now that power is in the control of almost-uniformly left-wing corporate managers.

He went on to warn that the threats he highlights have gone way beyond mere politics. “They are about our liberty — on the street exercising our free speech rights, accessing the internet to communicate our ideas, and preserving the protections of the First Amendment and free speech,” he writes. “It’s a dangerous time.”

Robert Spencer wrote, “Authoritarianism in service of any cause leads to a slave society despite the best intentions of those who helped usher it in.”

We’re on a very slippery slope. Be assured that the left won’t stop at taking down alt-right sites. They’ve tasted blood with their recent successes and they won’t quit until we are all silenced.

UPDATE August 19 5:43 p.m.: ProPublica came out today with the expected hit piece on Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch, and others they disagree with, repeating the Southern Poverty Law Center’s smears and legitimizing the dishonest group’s hate list. In the article titled “Despite Disavowals, Leading Tech Companies Help Extremist Sites Monetize Hate,” Lauren Kirchner along with two fellow journalistsactivists documented the recent blacklisting of “hate websites” by tech companies and, although they didn’t come right out and say it, strongly implied that this should be the norm. They accept without question the hate designations bestowed by the SPCL and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The article leaves no doubt that ProPublica — which is working with Google, remember — wants to see more blacklisting. They will not rest until every one of the names on SPLC’s dubious 900-member hate list is purged from the Internet. Make no mistake. They are marshaling forces to pressure advertisers and tech providers to take conservative sites down. Just take a look at this list of Christian groups that made the listbecause they haven’t jumped on the LGBTQ bandwagon.

ProPublica explained what they’re doing with excruciating duplicity under the guise of “journalism”:

We supplemented the SPLC list with a list of top extremist websites provided to us by the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL does not publish this list and supplied it to us for research purposes. [Wasn’t that super helpful of the ADL?] 

See the list of websites we investigated. Download the data.

We located websites associated with the SPLC hate groups and combined it with the ADL’s list of hate sites. [Because 917 isn’t enought — they want more scalps.] We then compared the combined SPLC/ADL lists with the Alexa’s Top Million websites and filtered our list to use only websites that had enough traffic to appear in the top million sites worldwide.

We then wrote software to automatically browse to each website and collect a list of external domains contacted by each website. In the wake of Charlottesville, some popular white nationalist websites, such as The Daily Stormer, were shut down and we removed them from our list. Others, such as Richard Spencer’s National Policy Initiative, were shut down after we finished collecting data and so we included them in our results.

In order to identify which domains loaded advertisements or provided payment forms for the hate sites, and to eliminate domains that only provided basic functionality, we checked the external domains we found on those sites against the AdBlock Easylist. This crowdsourced list is used by ad blocking software to hide ads when users are browsing the internet.

[…]

In order to verify our results, we visited every website and clicked on the payment links to determine if a working credit card form was loaded, and we visually inspected each site to ensure that the ad networks were actually delivering ads when we loaded the page.

Note what they didn’t do? They didn’t actually read the sites to verify they were “hate sites.” It continues:

We then contacted all the websites and the tech companies and asked them to verify whether our results were correct. In some cases, such as Google Custom Search, the company clarified for us that although some websites were using the technology, none were being paid for its use.

If the SPLC and ADL, with their (growing) list of “hate groups” is going to be the arbiter for approved online speech, we have reached a very scary place in this country. It will be the end of the Internet as we know it and America will be no better than totalitarian China and N. Korea.

Follow me on Twitter @pbolyard

Video: Robert Spencer on Facebook’s censorship of criticism of Islam

Jihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, Aug. 18, 2017:

In this new video, I discuss Facebook’s willing compliance with Sharia blasphemy laws, as indicated by Facebook’s Vice President Joel Kaplan traveling to Pakistan to assure the Pakistani government that material critical of Islam would be removed from Facebook.

Also see:

California: Muslims Attack Counter Jihad Coalition, Law Enforcement Caves to Muslims

Jihad Watch, AUGUST 6, 2017, BY 

At first I thought that the two Muslims shouting at us would leave, as they have done in the past. I was wrong; it played out differently on Saturday. They were there to stay with their loud, obnoxious voices until they could get us shut down. The crowd started growing due to the commotion. Soon it numbered in the hundreds.

The cause of all of this was that the Counter Jihad Coalition (CJC) was out on a public outreach in the Cerritos Mall in Cerritos, California, educating the public on the truth of Islam. The CJC was formed several years ago to get the truth into the hands of people, since most of the mainstream media paints Islam as the religion of peace.

We have developed over 30 brochures on different aspects of Islam. All are factual and true, not our opinions. They are all based on the doctrines of Islam as set out in the Quran and the Sunnah. On a typical day, we pass out 1,500 or more of these brochures to people, who for the most part are thankful for what we are doing.

We saw an increase in Muslim pushback right after the Islamic State (ISIS) made the news, and then a huge increase in their aggressiveness after President Trump was elected. They will go to great lengths to keep the people from knowing the violence, oppression and brutality that are inherent in what they believe. And now more than ever, they are on the warpath to shut down these truths.

This past Saturday, at this venue where we have been going to for a year, Muslim anger came to a head. I called security when things started to get unruly. Soon officers from mall security, along with several Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputies, arrived to try and restore calm and sort things out.

To show you how upside down our society is, the mall manager said to me that he was going to have to shut us down early. What? Everything had been going along smoothly until the two Muslims started yelling, shouting at us and creating the hostile environment. They knew if they disturbed and disrupted, that they would win. They shouted at me that they would be there every day looking for us, and would do whatever they had to do to shut us down.

It was only a few weeks ago that the Sharia police on Facebook banned our Counter Jihad Coalition Facebook site, and took it down. To this day, I have not received an explanation from them for their action. Facebook is simply Sharia-compliant. Not only us, but many other counter-jihad groups have recently been shut down on Facebook. Our freedoms are slowly being taken away from us by the leftists who are in control of the means of communication.

In a similar vein, do you think the Sheriff Deputies escorted the obnoxious, hateful, foul-mouthed Muslims out of the mall? Not a chance! When I asked one of the Deputies if they were going to escort out the unruly Muslims, their response to me was they were waiting to hear from the mall management and what they wanted to do. So much for our law enforcement officials protecting law-abiding citizens. Every time we want to have a public outreach at this mall, we turn in an application and wait until it is approved.

After the Deputies failed to escort out the Muslims who were causing the disruption, the mall manager came over to me and said, “We are going to have to shut you down early today.” When I suggested they usher out the unruly Muslims instead, I was told that they have a right to be there and said they would not leave until we left. Did we not have a right to be there? Our dhimmi law enforcement, mall security and mall management seem to be willing to cater to Muslims anytime they are called upon to do so.

We will see what happens next week, when I turn in a new application to exercise my right of free speech. Americans better wake up fast and start pushing back on this encroachment of Sharia before our freedoms and rights are gone. Then it will be too late.

U.S. town bans residents from criticizing mosque

WND, by Bob Unruh, August 2, 2017:

A New Jersey township that was sued by Muslims for refusing to approve a massive mosque project is returning to court because of a settlement agreement that restricts speech regarding Islam.

The settlement required the township to hold a public meeting about the mosque project, but it forbade anyone from commenting on “Islam” or “Muslims.”

A key tenet of Shariah, the Muslim law that governs both personal and political life, bans any negative comments about Islam or Muslims.

According to the Thomas More Law Center, which sued the township on behalf of two residents whose home is within 200 feet of the proposed mega-mosque, the settlement with Bernards Township “reads more like an instrument of surrender.”

The Islamic Society of Basking Ridge sued and won a decision in federal court after its mosque proposal was rejected based on traffic and other concerns.

The Township agreed on a $3.5 million payment and a “public hearing to approve the settlement.”

Residents Christopher and Loretta Quick challenged the agreement in court, arguing it restricts speech and violates the Establishment Clause by preferring Islam over other religions.

“The Quicks reside within 200 feet of the proposed mosque construction in a zoned residential area,” Thomas More explained. “Yet, the settlement agreement prohibits them from describing the many unique features of Islamic worship which will impact design of the building, traffic density, water and sewage, traffic control problems, road construction, and parking arrangements. According to the settlement agreement, ISBR is permitted to make statements concerning Christians and Jews and their places of worship, but in contrast, the agreement prohibits commentary relating to Islam or Muslims. In fact, ISBR has previously discussed the Christian and Jewish religions and their places of worship.”

Richard Thompson, chief counsel for Thomas More, said the Islamic center “has taken the extraordinary step of concealing significant links on their website to a radical group named by the federal government as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in America history, the Islamic Society of North America (‘ISNA’).”

“ISNA is claimed by the Muslim Brotherhood as one of ‘our organizations.’ According to internal documents seized by the FBI, the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy is to engage in a ‘grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within,’” said Thompson.

He said that while “claiming that the township had a religious animus against Muslims, ISBR hid from the public view its animus toward Christians and Jews, by not only hiding anti-Christian and anti-Semitic verses published on its website, but also hiding its significant ties to ISNA.”

“Instead of standing up to defend its citizens against ISBR’s hate-filled anti-Semitic and anti-Christian bias, the township colluded with ISBR’s ‘Civilization Jihad’ by capitulating to payment of millions of dollars to ISBR, allowing the construction of the new mosque and Islamic center in violation of zoning codes, and now even suppressing speech concerning Islam or Muslims at a public meeting,” Thompson said.

IslamThreat.com estimates there were nearly 3,200 mosques in the United States as of 2015, with a massive surge following the 9/11 terror attack by Muslims.

The website lists 525 mosques in California, 507 in New York, 302 in Texas, 200 in Illinois and 186 in Florida.

The Islamic center sued the township when officials refused to permit a huge project on a lot critics contend is far too small. Later, U.S. Department of Justice, then under Barack Obama, also sued the township.

The new complaint argues the First Amendment provides no open door for governments to issue blanket censorship orders on speech.

“Defendants … have put in place a prior restraint on speech that bans citizens from engaging in free speech at a public hearing on political matters because of the content,” the complaint asserts.

“The settlement agreement further allows defendants to forbid speech with which they or others disagree.”

Further, the fact that the agreement doesn’t provide the same protections to Christians, Jews and others means that “defendants have shown preference for Islam and Muslims over other religions.”

The complaint seeks a declaration that the residents’ constitutional rights are being violated, preliminary and permanent injunctions against the agreement, and damages.

WND reported earlier this year citizens fought back after the personal communications of critics of the Basking Ridge project were subpoenaed in the case.

Neighborhood residents, including Lori Caratzola, were named by ISBR in its lawsuit as a fervent opponent of the mosque. Caratzola faced demands for all of her personal communications that mention Muslims, Islam, mosques, the Quran, imams, burkas, hijabs, Shariah, jihad and other features of Islam.

“ISBR is setting a dangerous unconstitutional precedent by abusing a court process to chill and trample on the First Amendment rights of private citizens whose only involvement was to speak out against the mosque at public hearings,” Thompson said at the time.

He asked for the subpoenas to be thrown out “because the U.S. Supreme Court has held that speech at a public place on a matter of public concern is entitled to special protection.”

Caratzola charged the Muslims’ intent with her was “to embarrass, strike fear, silence and cause financial harm to any citizen who dared oppose his nonconforming project.”

Now Western media face wrath of Islamic blasphemy laws

WND, by Leo Hohmann, August 1, 2017:

A group of international Islamist organizations led by the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or OIC, recently held a two-day conference on countering “Islamophobia” in which it recommends imposing Islamic blasphemy laws on the media worldwide.

Under Islamic law, it is considered a serious offense to criticize Allah, Muhammad or Islam. In countries like Pakistan, a Muslim can take a non-Muslim to court and claim he was “offended” by something that was said, resulting in a trial and jail time, even death, for the non-Muslim.

Christians in Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Sudan and other Muslim-dominated countries with significant Christian minorities have been the targets of brutal persecution, with the blasphemy laws often serving as the catalyst for their incarceration. Christians have been jailed, stoned, beheaded, and even had acid thrown in their faces for violating the blasphemy laws.

But the OIC, which consists of 57 Muslim-majority countries and boasts the largest voting bloc at the United Nations, is not satisfied with its own people living under threat of arrest for offending Islam by something that is said, written or posted on the Internet.

The July 15-16 symposium, held at London’s Central Mosque Trust and Islamic Cultural Center, was attended by lawyers, media leaders, politicians, academics from European universities and diplomats from various embassies. It was titled: “Mechanisms to challenge Islamophobia legally and through the media.”

Organizers spoke of the need for a new media strategy, citing there is usually a surge in “hate crimes” against Muslims following terrorist acts perpetrated by Muslims, such as the London Bridge attack and Manchester concert attack earlier this year.

But, as noted by the Barnabas Aid Fund, a group that advocates for persecuted Christians, the conference organizers’ reference to “Islamophobia” should not be confused with actual crimes of violence against Muslim people.

One of the three central themes of the conference was the legal status of “defamation of religion.” This is a term the OIC has previously used as part of its decade-long campaign to make criticism of Islam a criminal offense – even in Western democracies where free speech is a staunch tradition.

In fact, the section on “Islamophobia” in the OIC’s “10-year strategic action plan” published in 2005 only uses the word in this sense and makes no reference to countering hatred of Muslims as people.

So, when the London conference organizers spoke of looking at  countering Islamophobia from a “legal perspective,” this should be taken as a serious threat. In fact, only last December the OIC met in Saudi Arabia and launched a new media strategy, part of which aimed “to tackle Islamophobic discourse in the U.S., U.K., and European media.”

“Barnabas Aid strongly condemns all forms of anti-Muslim hatred,” the Christian-aid agency said in a statement Monday. “However, we also condemn the attempt to use the suffering that has resulted from recent terrorist attacks to advocate the introduction of what is, in effect, a backdoor Islamic blasphemy law.”

As Barnabas Aid has previously reported, there are attempts being made by Pakistan, and 27 other governments who are OIC members, to introduce global Islamic blasphemy laws. In fact, as Barnabas Aid points out, the Palestinian Authority recently enacted just such a law.

“These actions represent a serious threat not only to Christians in the world’s 57 Muslim-majority countries, but also to Christians in the West, particularly those who have fled persecution in Islamic countries and found sanctuary in Western countries,” Barnabas Aid stated.

It is particularly disturbing that the proposals from the Pakistan government seek to criminalize social media posts critical of Islam that are uploaded in Western countries.

So, although Dr. Mahjoub Bensaid of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization spoke at the conference of “the real and true image of Islam as a religion of peace which advocates tolerance,” what he appears to have meant is that non-Muslims should “tolerate” the introduction of an Islamic blasphemy law that prohibit any criticism of Islam by the media, and anyone who does not tolerate the blasphemy laws is labeled “Islamophobic.”

Philip Haney, co-author of the whistleblower book “See Something Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad,” says the OIC’s recent “recommendation” should not be viewed in a vacuum but as the latest in a series of moves by the international community aimed at criminalizing all criticism of Islam, which is being positioned as the global elites’ most favored religion. The end result will be the implementation of Islamic blasphemy laws worldwide.

Here is the timeline for the international effort to criminalize anti-Islam speech in accordance with Shariah law:

  • First came the OIC 10-year strategic plan (2005)
  • The United Nations Human Rights Council passed Resolution 16/18 (March 2011), with the help of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The resolution’s stated goal is “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief.” It calls on all member states to consider adopting laws to criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief. Other recommendations include creating government programs to promote inter-religious tolerance and dialogue, training government employees to be sensitive toward people’s religious sensitivities, which sounds reasonable were it not for the fact that Islam is by far the most sensitive of all the world’s faiths to criticism in the public square.
  • In July 2011, the OIC launched the Istanbul Process in cooperation with the U.S., led by Secretary of State Clinton to come up with a plan to help nations implement U.N. Res. 16/18 into law.
  • November 2011, under the leadership of former National Security Council chair John Brennan, the U.S. scrubs all references deemed offensive to Islam from its FBI counter-terrorism training manuals.
  • In December 2015, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, in the wake of a terrorist attack in San Bernardino in which two Muslims killed 14 Americans, threatened to arrest and prosecute any American who posted comments that “edged toward violence” against the Muslim community.
  • Governments of Germany, U.K. and Canada have all passed or tried to pass laws over the last two years criminalizing speech deemed offensive to Islam.
  • In December 2016 the OIC issues its “Media strategy in countering Islamophobia and its implementation mechanisms” with special focus on media in the U.S., U.K. and Europe.
  • In January 2017, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated at a joint news conference with the Saudi foreign minister that “Islamophobia and Islamophobic comments…in some parts of the world” are the “fuel” that ignites global Islamic terrorism.
  • In April 2017, the U.S. Senate passed Resolution 118, co-sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., and Susan Collin, R-Maine, which critics say lays the foundation for future banning of anti- Islam commentary as “hate speech.”
  • In July 2017 the Palestinian Authority adopts so-called Abbas Blasphemy Law. This law applies to all social media postings. Anyone “sharing” or even “liking” a Facebook post that the PA disapproves of will be arrested and jailed.
  • In July 2017 a court in New Jersey bars anyone speaking at a public hearing regarding a mosque project from mentioning “Islam” or “Muslims.”

“The OIC has put a lot of effort into criminalizing speech critical of Islam, along with solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” Haney said. “Those two issues have been at the top of their agenda for the last 10 years, and I’d say they’ve made plenty of progress.”

Read more

Robert Spencer Defends the West: ‘The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech’

FILE – DECEMBER 25, 2013: The Egyptian interim goverment has declared the Mohammed Morsi led ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ a terrorist organisation. The action was taken in response to the bombing of the police station in Mansoura earlier this week, which the government has stated was the responsibility of the Brotherhood, despite denials from the group itself. CAIRO, EGYPT – DECEMBER 14: Supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and members of the Muslim Brotherhood chant slogans during a rally on December 14, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. Opponents and supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi staged final rallies in Cairo ahead of tomorrow’s referendum vote on the country’s draft constitution that was rushed through parliament in an overnight session on November 29. The country’s new draft constitution, passed by a constitutional assembly dominated by Islamists, will go to a referendum vote on December 15. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

PJ Media, by Andrew Bostom, July 31, 2017:

A review of The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies), by Robert Spencer, Regnery Publishing, 2017, 274 pp.

———-

Twenty-four years ago, the late Mervyn Hiskett, renowned British scholar of the history of jihad and Islamization in sub-Saharan Africa, turned his attention to the looming impact of Islam on his own Britain and Western societies more broadly, including the United States. In his 1993 Some to Mecca Turn To Pray, he articulated presciently the Islamic conundrum now enveloping us, which requires an immediate response if we still cherish individual liberty:

 As is so often the case when considering Islam, one has to concede the power of certain of its ideas. But when it comes to having these ideas advocated within our own shores, and as alternatives to our own insti­tutions, one must then ask oneself: Which does one prefer? Western secular, pluralist institutions, imperfect as these are? Or the Islamic theo­cratic alternative?

And if one decides in favor of one’s own institutions, warts and all, one then has to ask again: How far may the advocacy of Islamic alternatives go, before this becomes downright subversive? And at that point, what should be done about it? Finally, do liberal, demo­cratic politicians have the political and moral guts to do what is needed, or will they simply give way, bit by bit and point by point, to insistent and sustained pressure from the Muslim “Parliament” and other Muslim special-interest lobbies like it?

Robert Spencer’s concise, lucid analysis, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies), validates Hiskett’s gravest concerns about Islamic subversion: the relentless campaign to abrogate our most basic, unique Western liberty — free expression. With characteristic erudition, attention to detail, and wit (see text box on p. 28, “Did Any Of Them Have Eating Disorders? Those Can Make You Crazy,” from this video), Spencer chronicles how free speech in Western societies has been dangerously eroded by what Hiskett aptly termed “the Muslim ‘Parliament’ and other Muslim special interest lobbies,” in full collaboration with statist Left cultural relativists.

The grotesque harmonic convergence between mainstream, totalitarian Islam — epitomized by Sharia “blasphemy” law — and the “democratic” totalitarianism of the Left, derived from Robespierre and the Jacobins through Communist ideologues and leaders Marx, Lenin, and Stalin, is an underlying, recurrent theme of Spencer’s urgent presentation. Indeed the latter, “Dr. Crankley’s Children” (per Whittaker Chambers’ acid 1948 discussion of the Communist legacy on the 100th anniversary of the publication of Marx’s manifesto), and their “softer” statist minions of our era, bear at least as much responsibility for the erosion of Western free speech as institutional Islam and its pious Muslim votaries. Spencer elucidates how, despite superficial appearances of being oddly conjoined:

… endeavoring to weaken and destroy the freedom of speech, leftists in the United States have found ready allies in the Muslim community. Many observers have remarked that the Left and Islamic supremacists make strange bedfellows: the former advocate a moral libertinism; the latter are attempting to impose a repressive moral code. What binds these unlikely allies is a shared taste for authoritarianism. Both parties want to stifle dissent, and in doing so both find themselves fighting the same foes. Why not join forces?

All 13 of Spencer’s carefully arranged, remarkably compendious chapters have germane (even pathognomonic!) titles, including 10 epigrams:

Chapter 1, “Just Stay Quiet and You’ll Be Okay”

Chapter 2, “Tailored in an Appropriate Way”: Can Free Speech Really Be Restricted in the United States?

Chapter 3, “Now Obviously This is a Country That is Based on Free Speech, but…,”: The U.S. Government vs. Free Speech

Chapter 4, The “Hate Speech” Scam

Chapter 5, “Peer Pressure and Shaming” to Rein in Free Speech

Chapter 6, “Is That Being Racist?”: Americans Learn Self-Censorship

Chapter 7, “Irresponsibly Provocative”: The Erosion of Free Speech From Rushdie to Geller

Chapter 8, “Can’t We Talk about This?”: The Death of Free Speech in Europe

Chapter 9, Catholics Against Free Speech

Chapter 10, “Not Conducive to the Public Good”: Free Speech Dies in Britain and Canada

Chapter 11, The New Brownshirts

Chapter 12, “The University Prides Itself on Diversity”: Administrators vs. Free Speech Chapter 13, “Facing the New Totalitarianism”: Fighting Back for the Freedom of Speech

Spencer traces the living Islamic law imperative to brook no criticism of the Muslim faith, or its prophet founder, to both canonical traditions of Muhammad and the Koran (9:14-15) itself, which exhorts Muslims to wage jihad to punish the “offending” infidels. Muhammad in effect created his own “Dead Poets Society” comprised of victims (men and women, elderly and young) slain at his behest by his most ardent early Muslim followers, for perceived “insults” to Islam’s prophet. Citing the contemporary example of the Islamic State of Pakistan (and the plight of Pakistani Christian, Asia Bibi), Spencer asks: to assure a “future free of offense to Islam,” what exactions will “our leftist politicians, media elites, and much of the Western intelligentsia” be willing to impose upon their own citizens?

For saying, “I believe in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your prophet Muhammad ever do to save mankind?”, a Christian woman named Asia Bibi is on death row in Pakistan, where “wounding [Muslims’] religious feelings” is a crime and blaspheming Muhammad is punishable by death. Pakistan doesn’t have the First Amendment. Americans in the United States are in no danger of execution for testifying to their religious beliefs. But the Asia Bibi case illustrates the utter futility of attempting to keep Muslims from ever being offended — unless we are willing to give up our right to freedom of speech entirely.

Americans should not be complacent about First Amendment protections. Reminding readers that the divide separating “treasonous and seditious speech and speech that is simply unwelcome to the government” has proven controversial throughout U.S. history, Spencer avers:

The Sedition Act [of 1791] and the Espionage Act [of 1917] demonstrate the U.S. government has placed severe restrictions on the First Amendment’s protection of the freedom of speech in the past, and indicate that it could do so again in the future. This history also shows that the First Amendment protections of free speech are most likely to be curtailed in a time of serious and imminent threats to the nation. That time may be upon us now.

Spencer emphasizes one particularly alarming Obama administration reaction to the 9/11/2012 jihad massacre at Benghazi — “scapegoating a video [and subsequently the videographer] criticizing Muhammad” — which illustrates such curtailment, “placing the onus on freedom of speech.” He adds: “The unmistakable implication was that if only Americans would not criticize Muhammad, attacks of this kind wouldn’t happen.” Worse still, two days following Barack Obama’s surreal Islamic blasphemy law-compliant pronouncement to the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2012, that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” America’s first Sharia blasphemy law victim, Egyptian Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, producer of the Innocence of Muslimsvideo, was arrested, declared a “danger to the community,” and imprisoned without bail. He was incarcerated for 12 months.

Devoid of First Amendment equivalent laws, governed by Left statists marinated for decades in cultural relativist claptrap ideology, and subject to the same forces of Islamization by Muslim immigrant populations, Western Europe, as Spencer demonstrates, including Britain as well as Canada, is even further along the trajectory towards self-inflicted full compliance with Sharia blasphemy law.

Perhaps the most illuminating and disheartening chapter of The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies) chronicles progressive Western supplication to Islam since Ayatollah Khomeini’s February 14, 1989 fatwa condemning novelist Salman Rushdie to death for his The Satanic Verses, and its perceived insults to the Muslim creed and Islam’s prophet. Spencer provides an especially astute observation regarding a follow-up Khomeini fatwa denying Rushdie any leniency for repenting, and offering a reward for any non-Muslim willing to execute the beleaguered author:

The invitation to non-Muslims to murder Rushdie was significant: Khomeini was inviting non-Muslims to share Muslim sensibilities regarding Rushdie’s alleged offense, and trying to induce them to do so by the prospect of financial reward. It would take years for this invitation and foreigners and non-Muslims to kill Rushdie to evolve into the “shaming,” as Hillary Clinton would put it, of those who dared to decline to participate in the de facto implementation of Islamic blasphemy laws. Clinton’s “peer pressure an shaming” imperative demonstrated that, in the two decades between the Rushdie fatwa and her endorsement of UNHRC 16/18 [i.e., the United Nations Human Rights Commission’s “defamation of religion” resolution which riveted upon Islam and was aggressively lobbied for by the UN’s Muslims nation members], non-Muslims had become the principal enforcers of Sharia blasphemy law in the West.

Drawing upon his shared experience with journalist and activist Pamela Geller in the wake of the May 3, 2015 Garland, Texas, jihadist attack on a staid exhibit of historical and contemporary depictions of Muhammad, Spencer concludes:

It is not an offensive act, but ultimately an act in defense of Western civilization to show Islamic jihadists that their violent threats will not cow me and that I will not allow violent intimidation to rule the day, and that I will not offend them in any larger sense by treating them as if they were demented children who cannot control their actions and must necessarily kill in the face of being offended. It was the murderous jihadis who made drawing Muhammad the flash point of the defense of free speech, not Pamela Geller, and I.

It is they who, by their determination to murder non-Muslims who violate their religious law on this point, have made it imperative that free people signal that they will not submit to them. If we give in to that demand that we conform to this Sharia principle, there will be further demands that we adhere to additional Sharia principles. It is ultimately a question of whether we will submit to Sharia or stand up for freedom. At Garland we were standing. In the aftermath, it is clear a huge segment of the Western political and media elites are ready, if not eager to kneel, daring not to “provoked” their new masters.

A quarter century after Hiskett’s Cassandra-like warning about the liberty-crushing peril of acquiescing to Islam within Western societies, Robert Spencer has meticulously documented its most dire consequences: de facto elimination of free speech criticism of the Muslim creed — and, ultimately, free expression, overall. Spencer’s courageous and irrefragable analysis is simultaneously a tocsin of imminent calamity, and a clarion call to action in defense of free speech, our most fundamental, keystone liberty. Western freedom-loving citizens must help bring his message to American political and religious leaders before our liberties are transmogrified by the global Muslim “umma,” seeking unabashedly (since 1981) to impose “The Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights,” i.e., Sharia totalitarianism.

“The most important book on the most important right by the most courageous defender of free speech in America today”

Jihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, July 24, 2017:

My latest book, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies) is out today from Regnery Publishing. You can order it now here.

“Robert Spencer’s The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies) is the most important book on the most important right by the most courageous defender of free speech in America today.” —David Horowitz, founding president of the David Horowitz Freedom Center and author of Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey and Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left

“The ‘War on Terror’ has nothing on the jihad against free speech. The ability to express ideas and information is essential to a functioning democracy, which is why snuf ng it out has been the top agenda item of Islamic supremacists, abetted by useful idiots in the West. Fortunately, it will not be enough to silence Robert Spencer, who turns his characteristic clarity and scholarly rigor to a compelling defense of our most precious right.” —Andrew C. McCarthy, former federal prosecutor, bestselling author, and National Review contributing editor

“A tour de force. A precise and irrefutable defense of our foremost and foundational freedom—and an extraordinary exposé of how deeply threatened it is. Must reading for all elected of cials and anyone who is even contemplating public office, as well as for every patriot in the land.”—Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative

“Robert Spencer has written a courageous and enormously important book, analyzing Islam’s global effort to destroy free speech. This is the most important book of the year. Read it and act! The choice is simple: Speak out against Islam or lose freedom forever.” —Geert Wilders, member of parliament in the Netherlands and leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV)

Here is some information about the book:

As bestselling author Robert Spencer shows in his startling new book, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies), Islamic supremacists and their appeasers have mounted a dangerous and disturbingly successful campaign against our constitutional rights. Spencer reveals:

  • How social media behemoths Facebook and Twitter—not to mention student groups at American college campuses—are doing the bidding of anti-First Amendment Muslim activists
  • Why core Islamic teachings make criticism of Islam punishable by death
  • How American representatives at the United Nations have already agreed to limit freedom of speech
  • How Curt Schilling and other outspoken conservatives have lost their jobs for criticizing Islam
  • Why Twitter and Facebook now regularly censor speech critical of Islam—while allowing death threats against its critics
  • How blasphemy laws in Muslim countries are used as a pretext for arresting—even lynching–Christians
  • How European “hate speech” laws are used to prosecute and harass critics of Islam
  • Why appeasement of Islam is endangering our First Amendment freedoms and could lead to your prosecution for “hate speech”

If you value your First Amendment rights, you owe it to yourself to read The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies). It will give you the information and tools you need to fight back—because Islam and its progressive fellow travelers have only begun their campaign to define what you can read, say, and think.

ROBERT SPENCER is a New York Times bestselling author and the director of Jihad Watch (jihadwatch.org), a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and the author of sixteen books on Islam. He has led seminars on jihad for the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and United States Central Command.