It Depends On What You Mean By Free Speech

I am about to get into the weeds here, but I want to explain what is happening to our freedom of speech in America and where the threat to the First Amendment is coming from.

In his book Catastrophic Failure, Stephen Coughlin explains, “In the United States, the initial amendment of the Constitution indicates the primacy of free expression. The framers of the Universal Declaration of Human RIghts–understanding that free expression is linked with freedom of though and conscience–mirrored the First Amendment’s intent in Article 19:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

“The Cairo Declaration addresses free expression in its Article 22, using language that parallels that of the Universal Declaration:

(a) Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.

(b) Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari’ah.”

The Cairo Declaration embodies the Islamic definition of free speech. As you can see, it differs from the American definition of free speech. Unfortunately, there are those in America (some of whom have a great influence on public opinion) who are moving toward the Islamic definition of free speech.

The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) has released a press release stating the the AFLC has 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.

The press release states:

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.”

…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.”

Unfortunately, there is an implied threat to those speaking out against Islam. Islam in its end game is about political control. One part of gaining political control is to silence any opposition. Although I can understand the reasons for censoring speech critical of Islam (protecting assets, employees, avoiding terrorist attacks), it is folly to believe that anyone benefits from being ignorant of the goals of Islam. Some Americans have done their own research into the Muslim Brotherhood Plan for America (laid out in government exhibit 3-85 from the Holy Land Foundation Trial– the first part is in a language other than English, the second part is in English) and realized what civilization jihad is. If this is a new concept for you, please check out the centerforsecuritypolicy.org for more information. There is a move to take away Americans First Amendment rights. We need to stop that move.

 

Why The Refugees Are Heading To Europe Rather Than Arab Countries

There is a difference between cultures. Western culture, based on a Judeo-Christian ethic, supports the idea of helping your fellow human being in times of crisis. The Muslim culture has built into it the practice of jihad, which by its nature, does not protect innocent life or include the concept of helping those less fortunate.

On Friday, the Center for Security Policy posted a list of reasons why Arab countries are not taking in the refugees fleeing northern Africa and the Middle East.

Here is the list:

  • Muslim countries know that the West will take care of their mistakes so they don’t have to avoid the negative consequences of their actions.
  • Western countries quickly come to the rescue, open their wallets and land to prove to the world that they are not Islamophobes.
  • Arab countries lack compassion and action to rescue each other despite the rhetoric of Arab/Islamic unity. Saudi Arabia and Gulf nations never open their borders to poor Muslims in distress. Even Egypt rejected the Darfur refugees who were later forced to go to Israel, which took them.
  • Oil rich Arab countries make it very difficult for other Arabs to visit except for haj. They are very tribal and refuse to dilute their culture with influx of foreigners. Third world country workers are treated inhumanely and are rarely given permanent residency, citizenship or equal rights as citizens.
  • Arabs would rather spend their petrodollars on expanding their influence in the West rather than making life better for their own citizens or supporting other Muslim nations who are financially less fortunate.
  • Islamic groups believe that refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan will spread Sharia in Europe, which is the main goal of jihad.
  • By clearing the area from the opposition and citizens who are not contributing to the empowerment of ISIS, clears the way for ISIS to expand beyond Syria and Iraq. Europe and America are absorbing the opposition to ISIS, so why stand in the way?
  • Life and saving lives and avoiding human tragedy are not more important than jihad in Arab culture.

There is more to this story. Pamela Geller is an expert who studies Islam and understands how the religion works. She posted an article on her website yesterday. In this article she points out that the majority of the refugees arriving in Europe and young men who are in good physical shape.

On Sunday, Pamela Geller posted an article at World Net Daily that included the following:

In February, the Islamic State threatened to send half-a-million Muslim migrants to Europe in a “psychological” attack against the West. And lest we forget, back in May, I reported that the Islamic State was making a fortune smuggling Muslim “migrants” into Europe.

Immigration jihad, or hijrah, is the migration or journey of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Yathrib, later renamed by him to Medina, in the year 622 CE. It was after the hijrah that Muhammad for the first time became not just a preacher of religious ideas, but a political and military leader. That was what occasioned his new “revelations” exhorting his followers to commit violence against unbelievers. Significantly, the Islamic calendar counts the hijrah, not Muhammad’s birth or the occasion of his first “revelation,” as the beginning of Islam, implying that Islam is not fully itself without a political and military component.

The EU is telling its members that they must take in these migrants or lose important grants. Yet meanwhile, the oil-rich Muslim countries, chiefly Saudi Arabia, are doing nothing for the refugees. Muslim countries are not taking a single refugee. No, non-Muslim Europe must absorb them all, so as to be all the more easily conquered and Islamized.

The fact is, the mass Muslim migration is symptomatic – it’s not the problem. ISIS is the problem. Iran fueling and fighting Assad’s civil war is the problem. All of this chaos has resulted from Obama’s disastrous and incoherent foreign policy.

I do not have a problem with taking in refugees. However, we need to make sure the refugees come with the understanding that they will need to assimilate and become self-sufficient–not live off of the American taxpayers. In the past when we have taken in refugees, we have not offered them welfare, and they have learned the language and assimilated. We need to understand that every refugee who comes to Europe or America from the Middle East comes with the idea of being part of western civilization.

 

The Need To Protect Free Speech

Free speech is something most Americans take for granted. We don’t necessarily agree with what someone is saying or approve of their language, but generally speaking, we respect free speech. Free speech is under attack in America from a number of directions. Some of them are very subtle and seem almost logical, and some are totally obvious. Both need to be dealt with quickly and openly.

As I have stated in previous articles, I am reading Stephen Coughlin’s book Catastrophic Failure, which is about the dangers America faces at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and other related groups. The book talks about the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the human rights movement in the United Nations. The book explains that the OIC definition of human rights includes the provision that these rights have to be in compliance with Sharia Law. This means that any negative statements about Islam are not considered acceptable free speech, but are punishable by law and may result in the death penalty. The goal of the OIC is to bring non-Muslim countries under Sharia Law–in America that means ending the First Amendment right of free speech. We saw the OIC in action recently when Pamela Geller was condemned for a “Draw Mohammed” contest in Texas which resulted in violence. She was blamed for the violence–not the people who committed the violence. This was an attempt to turn public opinion away from the idea that all free speech is protected. There is nothing in our Constitution that protects us from being offended. However, the First Amendment does protect our right of free speech. The press response to what happened in Texas was a very subtle attack on free speech. It needs to be exposed and countered.

A more obvious attack on free speech was initiated by the U.S. Government recently against “Reason Magazine.” Reason posted an article yesterday telling the story.

The article gives the background of the attack on free speech:

For the past two weeks, Reason, a magazine dedicated to “Free Minds and Free Markets,” has been barred by an order from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York from speaking publicly about a grand jury subpoena that court sent to Reason.com.

The subpoena demanded the records of six people who left hyperbolic comments at the website about the federal judge who oversaw the controversial conviction of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. Shortly after the subpoena was issued, the government issued a gag order prohibiting Reason not only from discussing the matter but even acknowledging the existence of the subpoena or the gag order itself. As a wide variety of media outlets have noted, such actions on the part of the government are not only fundamentally misguided and misdirected, they have a tangible chilling effect on free expression by commenters and publications alike.

Yesterday, after preparing an extensive legal brief, Reason asked the US Attorney’s Office to join with it in asking that the gag order – now moot and clearly an unconstitutional prior restraint – be lifted. This morning, the US Attorney’s Office asked the Court to vacate the order, which it did. We are free to tell the story for the first time.

The article at Reason further reports:

Regardless of the legal details, the growing government demand for user data and our own experience with court-enforced silence on a self-evidently ridiculous investigation raise important questions about free speech and the abuse of power.

Reason’s unmoderated comment space is rare among comparable publications and has, over the years, developed into a forum that is by turns exciting, intellectually advanced, outlandish, cringe-inducing, and more foul-mouthed than any locker room this side of the Crab Nebula. It is something to be celebrated as a voluntary community that can be engaged or ignored as the spirit moves you (we say that as writers whose work and physical shortcomings rarely escape unscathed from any thread). However trollish many of our commenters can be, they have created a sphere of free speech that delivers on one of the great promises of the Internet, which is unbridled expression, dialogue, and argument.

We took risks by creating an autonomous zone in which our readers are left to their own devices. Some of the risk is reputational—how many other serious outlets allow anonymous commenters to run riot as we do? Some of the risk is legal, as in the current situation.

One further note about anonymity in our comment threads. Commenting on our site requires registration using a working email address (which is hidden from public view unless a commenter chooses to have it displayed). We also log IP addresses. We do both of these things in order to fight spammers and trolls–people who have shown enormous determination in their efforts to disrupt the discussion. 

Our commenters are generally a tech-savvy bunch. It is likely that those who have a desire for a very high degree of anonymity are taking control of that themselves, using anonymous email addresses and tools to prevent us from logging IPs connected to them.

But Reason.com is not the dark web. Many of our regular commenters voluntarily display either personal website information or their email addresses. In fact, three of the six commenters subject to this very subpoena voluntarily displayed public links to personal blogs at Blogger as part of their comments, one of which further links to a Google+ page. Raising the question: How can the government view these so-called “threats” as so nefarious when people posted them in such a non-anonymous fashion? 

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is an amazing saga of an out-of-control government trying to conceal the fact that it is out of control. Thank you, editors of Reason for standing up to this threat.

 

Does Your Right To Free Speech Depend On What You Have To Say?

The U. S. Constitution includes the right of free speech for Americans. That allows anyone to say pretty much anything no matter how popular or unpopular it is (short of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater). Theoretically the government cannot punish you for your opinion or voicing your opinion. But we need to remember that the First Amendment is not universal. Most countries in the world do not grant their populations the right to speak freely.

Tommy Robinson is a British activist who speaks out against the goals of radical Islamists to bring Sharia Law to Britain. He is the leader of the English Defence League (EDL) whose website defines it as an inclusive movement dedicated to peacefully protesting against Islamic extremism. Although he tells the truth about what is going on around him, he is definitely not appreciated by the British government. Yesterday Channel 4 News (British Channel 4 I presume) reported that Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll were arrested during a planned walk to commemorate Lee Rigby, the soldier hacked to death in Woolwich.

The story at Channel 4 reports:

As well as laying flowers in memory of Drummer Rigby in Woolwich, Mr Robinson and his co-leader Kevin Carroll had planned to walk to raise money for a young girl fighting against neuroblastoma.

Reacting to the Met’s decision to impose restrictions, Mr Robinson said: “The police are enforcing no-go zones for non-Muslims. It’s a charity walk with two people taking part.

“When has a Muslim charity walk ever been made to have conditions?”

The police force said the conditions were imposed due to fears that both the march and gathering would “result in serious public disorder and serious disruption to the life of the community” and a breach of the conditions would be a criminal offence.

Pamela Geller and Robert Specer, two American authors who routinely speak out against Islamic radicalism, were barred from entering Britain to take part in the walk. An article at Townhall.com on Friday pointed out that Britain had no problem letting in Che Guevara’s daughter, Aleida.

The article at Townhall states:

“The UK should never become a stage for inflammatory speakers who promote hate,” is how the British Home office explains its recent barring of Geller and Spencer.

Townhall reminds us of the history of Che Guevara and recent statements by his daughter Aleida:

In an interview with the Guardian Aleida Guevara boasted: “I want to be like Che and fight until final victory, then you feel elated. It is preferable to sink in the sea than to betray the glory that once lived!”

And what was this glory? Her father was 2nd in command of a regime that murdered more Cubans in its first three years in power than Hitler’s regime murdered Germans during in its first six, jailed and tortured political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin during the Great Terror, and came closest of anyone in history to starting a worldwide nuclear war.

There seems to be a bit of a double standard here. Why? Fear. Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer are not likely to blow people up if they are denied admittance to England. On the other hand, the area of Woolwich seems to be something of a ‘no go zone’ in Britain where the British authorities have ceded control of an area to Muslims who want to practice Sharia Law.

The Gates of Vienna reports:

Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll, the leaders of the English Defence League, were arrested today in Tower Hamlets during their walk to Woolwich. Their crime? Entering a shariah-controlled area of London, where they were considered persona non grata by the Muslim inhabitants, who were expected to respond with violence.

There is now at least one official Islamic no-go zone in Britain. Presumably there are numerous others — in Birmingham, Bradford, Dewsbury, and all those other places where Muslims have claimed ownership of “their” areas. The Metropolitan police have now taken on the responsibility of enforcing the borders of these shariah-controlled zones, applying the rules laid down by the Islamic inhabitants.

No-go zones are rather common in France and certain other European countries. They are areas where a Jewish person or a woman dressed in western-style clothing may be assaulted or even killed for entering the area. They are not something we would like to see in America, but they will come here eventually if they are allowed to thrive elsewhere. One of the main causes of no-go zones is the failure of a segment of the immigrant population to assimilate. As we are talking about immigration reform, we need to ask that the people who want to settle in America also want to be Americans. There is nothing wrong with keeping alive the traditions of the country you left, but when you immigrate to a new country, you need to live under the laws and customs of that country.  That is a lesson that European countries are learning the hard way.

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