Who Are The Factcheckers?

On Friday, Judicial Watch posted the following under its Corruption Chronicles section:

The recently appointed Facebook oversight board that will decide which posts get blocked from the world’s most popular social networking website is stacked with leftists, including a close friend of leftwing billionaire George Soros who served on the board of directors of his Open Society Foundations (OSF). Judicial Watch conducted a deep dive into the new panel that will make content rulings for the technology company that was slammed last year with a $5 billion fine for privacy violations. The information uncovered by Judicial Watch shows that the group of 20 is overwhelmingly leftist and likely to restrict conservative views. More than half of the members have ties to Soros, the philanthropist who dedicates huge sums to spreading a radical left agenda that includes targeting conservative politicians. Other Facebook oversight board members have publicly expressed their disdain for President Donald Trump or made political contributions to top Democrats such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren. As one New York newspaper editorial determined this month, the new Facebook board is a “recipe for left-wing censorship.”

Among the standouts is András Sajó, the founding Dean of Legal Studies at Soros’ Central European University. Sajó was a judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for nearly a decade. He also served on the board of directors of OSF’s Justice Initiative. Sajó was one of the ECHR judges in an Italian case (Latusi v. Italy) that ruled unanimously that the display of a crucifix in public schools in Italy violates the European Convention on Human Rights. The decision was subsequently overturned. Sajó’s deep ties to Soros are also concerning. Through his OSF Soros funds a multitude of projects worldwide aimed at spreading a leftist agenda by, among other things, destabilizing legitimate governments, erasing national borders and identities, financing civil unrest and orchestrating refugee crises for political gain.  Incredibly, there is a financial and staffing nexus between the U.S. government and Soros’ OSF. Read about it in a Judicial Watch special report documenting how Soros advances his leftist agenda at U.S. taxpayer expense.

At least 10 other members of the Facebook oversight board are connected to leftist groups tied to Soros that have benefitted from his generous donations, according to Judicial Watch’s research. Alan Rusbridger, a former British newspaper editor and principal at Oxford University, serves on the board of directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists, which received $750,000 from OSF in 2018. Rusbridger also served as a governor at a global thinktank, Ditchley Foundation, that co-hosted a conference with OSF on change in the Middle East and North Africa as well as understanding political Islam. Afia Asantewaa Sariyev, a human rights attorney, is the program manager at Soros’ Open Society Initiative for West Africa. Her research includes critical race feminism and socio-economic rights of the poor. Sudhir Krishnaswamy, an Indian lawyer and civil society activist, runs a progressive nonprofit called Centre for Law and Policy Research that focuses on transgender rights, gender equality and public health. The group is a grantee of a justice foundation that received $1.4 million from OSF between 2016 and 2018. Krishnaswamy’s Centre also received money from a radical pro-abortion group, Center for Reproductive Rights, generously funded by the OSF.

The list of Facebook judges connected to Soros and the organized left continues. Julie Owono is the executive director of a Paris-based nonprofit, Internet Sans Frontieres, that advocates for privacy and freedom of expression online. In 2018, Internet Sans Frontieres became a member of the Global Network Initiative, an internet oversight and policy consortium handsomely funded by Soros. Nighat Dad is a Pakistani attorney and the founder of the Digital Rights Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Pakistan that has received $114,000 in grants from OSF. Dad’s group also gets funding from Facebook Ireland. Ronaldo Lemos, a Brazilian law professor, served on the board of directors of the Mozilla Foundation, which collected $350,000 from OSF in 2016 and was also a board member at another group, Access Now, that also got thousands of dollars from Soros. Tawakkol Karman, a journalist and civil rights activist, sits on the advisory board of Transparency International, which gets significant funding from Soros’ OSF.

Rounding out the Soros-affiliated field on the new Facebook censorship board are Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Catalina Botero-Marino and Maina Kiai. Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark’s former prime minister, sits on the board of the European Council of Foreign Relations, which took in more $3.6 million from OSF in 2016 and 2017. She is also a trustee at the International Crisis Group which has collected over $8.2 million from OSF and includes George and Alexander Soros on its board. The former Danish prime minister is also a member of the Atlantic Council’s International Advisory Board, which received approximately $325,000 from OSF in the last few years and the European Advisory Board of the Center for Global Development, which got north of half a million dollars from OSF in 2018. Botero-Marino is the dean of a Colombian law school called Universidad de Los Andes that obtained more than $1.3 million from OSF between 2016 and 2018, the records obtained by Judicial Watch show. Botero-Marino also sits on the panel of experts at Columbia University’s Global Freedom Expression Project, which gets funding from OSF, and she was a board member at Article 19, a group that got about $1.7 million from OSF between 2016 and 2018. Kiai is the director of the Global Alliances and Partnerships at Human Rights Watch, which accepted $275,000 from OSF in 2018. He is also a member of OSF’s Human Rights Initiative advisory board and was the founding executive director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission, which got $615,000 from Soros in the last two years.

Others on the Facebook board have slandered President Trump in social media posts and donated money to high-profile Democrats. Taiwanese communications professor Katherine Chen’s Twitter account includes retweets of numerous anti-Trump and pro-Obama posts and articles. Nicolas Suzor, a law professor in Australia, retweeted a column implicitly comparing Trump to Hitler and Columbia University law professor Jamal Greene has made campaign contributions to Obama, Hillary Clinton and Warren. Pro-Trump impeachment Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, who took a cheap shot at President Trump’s teenage son during the Brett Kavanaugh impeachment hearings, has also contributed money to Obama, Hillary Clinton and Warren. The new board has only a few token conservatives such as Stanford law professor Michael McConnell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. The overwhelming majority of those making Facebook’s “final and binding decisions on whether specific content should be allowed or removed,” are leftists. They represent a new model of content moderation that will uphold “freedom of expression within the framework of international norms of human rights.” Facebook’s economic, political or reputational interests will not interfere in the process, the company writes in its introduction to the new board. Eventually the board, which will begin hearing cases later this year, will double in size. “The cases we choose to hear may be contentious, and we will not please everyone with our decisions,” Facebook warns.

Make no mistake–this is about influencing the November elections. Millennials get their news from social media. If they vote (they have a very spotty voting record) based on what they see on social media, then social media becomes very influential. If social media is censoring the news, controlling the narrative, the decisions made by voters who depend on it will not be based on facts.

A Rookie Mistake Or A Portent Of Things To Come?

Not every country in the world has freedom of speech. In a case recently decided, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff appealed an Austrian court’s conviction of her for denigrating the beliefs of an officially recognized religion by uttering “hate speech” against the prophet Mohammed. Unfortunately the European Court of Human Rights ruled against her appeal.

For those who came in late, the hateful words uttered by Elisabeth were in the form of a rhetorical question about Mohammed’s sexual relationship with a 9-year-old girl: “What would you call it, if not ‘pedophilia’?”

The European Court of Human Rights is made up of a group of countries considered to be part of western civilization. What Ms. Sabaditsch-Wolff said is true, but evidently that fact did not help her case. How in the world did we get here? We need to realize that free speech is a gift that needs to be protected.

Meanwhile back in America, yesterday The Federalist posted an article about a recent statement by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Admittedly the new Congresswoman is not known for her knowledge of the U.S. Constitution or any familiarity with her new job description, but her comment is somewhat chilling.

The tweet below is her response to a meme about socialism that she did not find humorous:

There are some problems with that statement.

The article notes:

Now, in a perfect world, we’d be holding debates about the merits of state-controlled economies versus markets via more dignified forums and mediums, but that’s not how things go in 2018. Not only is this all absurdly juvenile, but Ocasio-Cortez should be aware that, per page 150 of the House Ethics Manual, “Members…are not to take or withhold any official action on the basis of the campaign contributions or support of the involved individuals, or their partisan affiliation. Members and staff are likewise prohibited from threatening punitive action on the basis of such considerations.”

This seems like a small matter, but it is not. Essentially it is an incoming member of Congress threatening to use subpoena power against someone she disagrees with. Combine that with the censorship of conservatives on social media, the concept of ‘hate speech’ (who determines hate speech?), and the rumblings that the First Amendment is no longer needed, and you have the potential for Americans losing a large portion of their freedom. Pay attention and stay tuned. This may not have been a casual remark.

 

 

Europe’s War On Free Speech

Many years ago I met Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff at a dinner in Stoughton, Massachusetts (story here). She told her story of being charged with hate speech for teaching a course about Mohammad that included identifying him as a pedophile (story here).

Today, Reason posted an article about a decision by the European Court of Human Rights that most knowledgeable observers recognize as the case of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff. The title of the article is, “European Court: OK to Criminalize Calling Mohammed a Pedophile.”

The article reports:

The case, decided yesterday by the European Court of Human Rights, is E.S. v. Austria — I assume from the facts and from the initials that this is the Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff case. Here’s the court’s own summary:

Criminal conviction and fine for statements accusing the Prophet Muhammad of paedophilia: no violation

Facts – The applicant held seminars with the title “Basic information on Islam” at the right-wing Freedom Party Education Institute. At one such seminar, referring to a marriage which Muhammad had concluded with Aisha, a six-year old, and consummated when she had been nine, she stated inter alia “[Muhammad] liked to do it with children”, “the thing with Aisha and child sex” and “a 56-year-old and a six-year-old? What do you call that? Give me an example? What do we call it, if it is not paedophilia?”

In 2011, as a result of these statements, the applicant was convicted of disparagement of religious precepts pursuant to Article 188 of the Criminal Code. She was sentenced to pay a fine of EUR 480, or serve 60 days of imprisonment in the event of default.

The domestic courts made a distinction between child marriages and paedophilia. In their opinion, by accusing Muhammad of paedophilia, the applicant had merely sought to defame him, without providing evidence that his primary sexual interest in Aisha had been her not yet having reached puberty or that his other wives or concubines had been similarly young. In particular, the applicant had disregarded the fact that the marriage with Aisha had continued until the Prophet’s death, when she had already turned eighteen and had therefore passed the age of puberty.

The thing to remember here is that there is no regard for truth here.  What Ms. Sabaditsch-Wolff said about Mohammad is true, but according to Sharia Law, any speech that a Muslim does not like can be considered slander. In a country under Sharia Law, you can be executed for slander. Is Europe moving toward a Sharia Law definition of slander by calling it hate speech? In America we have the First Amendment (at least for now). We need to protect our First Amendment rights because they are somewhat unique–even in the western world. In Britain and Canada pastors have been charged with hate speech for quoting the Bible on such issues as homosexuality. Their pastors are not free to share the Bible in its entirety. In America we need to make sure we elect leaders who will abide by the Constitution and protect free speech.

I strongly suggest you follow the link above to read the entire article at Reason. The thought that you can go to prison for telling the truth is chilling.

 

When The Government Decides Who Gets To Live

The U.K. Guardian is reporting today that Charlie Gard‘s life support will be turned off to prevent him for suffering any further.

The article reports:

At an emotional hearing, in which lawyers as well as relatives were in tears, Charlie’s mother was invited to give a statement before the court.

Standing at the front of the room, choking back tears, with Chris Gard beside her, she told the packed courtroom that the couple had only ever wanted what was best for their “sweet, gorgeous and incredible boy”.

She said the care by Gosh had been second-to-none but that it was now too late to give Charlie the treatment that she and her husband believe would have benefited him

“Charlie is Charlie and we wouldn’t change him for the world. All our efforts are for him, we only want to give him a chance at life,” she said. “There’s one simple reason for Charlie’s muscular deterioration [and] that was time.”

She went on: “We knew in July [the treatment could work] and our poor boy has been left there to lie in hospital without treatment while court battles are fought.”

Herman Cain reports:

Gard will now be moved to pallative care where the NHS will guarantee he dies with dignity.

Essentially, what happened here is that the UK government “ran out the clock” by trapping these poor people in a maze of red tape. Time was of the essence and whatever hope Charlie had dwindled as the days passed. Now, the longshot treatment that was available in the U.S. will no longer work – so they’ve ended their efforts.

This is the future of American healthcare if ObamaCare is not repealed.

Common Sense Is Obviously Becoming More Rare

On Thursday, MSN News reported that the European Union human rights court has ordered France to pay thousands of euros to Somali pirates for violating their rights.

The article reports:

The Somali pirates were apprehended on the high seas by the French army on two separate occasions in 2008 and taken back to France for trial.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said that French authorities should have brought the pirates before a judge “without delay” when they arrived on French territory after being held at sea. The EU’s top human rights court said French authorities were wrong to keep the pirates in custody for an additional 48 hours before bringing them before a judge.

“Nothing justifies such an additional delay,” the court said in its verdict, adding that it constituted a “violation of their rights to freedom and security”.

France was ordered to pay between €5,000 and €2,000 ($6,100 and $2,500) to each pirate for “moral damages”, plus amounts varying from €3,000 to €9,000 ($3,700 and $11,200) to cover legal costs.

They are pirates. They earn a living by attacking ships, stealing and kidnapping and killing innocent people. They gave up their rights to freedom and security when they chose piracy as a profession. Would the court have ruled this way if any of its members had any personal knowledge or experience with Somali pirates?